This story begins with myself and a group of friends from various games I've played with over the years. Our DM was a good friend of mind and encouraged out of the box ideas. The world in which we were playing is a soft homebrew world based loosely off a familiar enough campaign idea. However, I don't think he ever planned for something like this.
The party had been traveling together for a while, it was a interesting four man party. Aesherwyn, the half elf, Circle of the Moon druid, Zireweria, the dragonborn paladin of Bahamut, Daelyn, the halfing rogue and myself, playing Ander the human war cleric. The group had been traveling for a while, dealing with various creatures as we were approaching our first major boss fight. We tracked down information on this magic user who was masquerading as various monsters and leading them up in a rebellion against the free peoples of the world. We found his hiding place to be this sunken keep depth within the swamps.
The Dm sets the scene were we enter the swap in the day, to see any threats as they are coming. We deal with various waves of creatures. Crocodiles, bullywogs, kobolds jand brids, lots of birds, just to name a few. As we began to approach the sunken keep in the heart of the swamp, the day shifted to night, as if evil seemed to permeate the very air itself and deny the light access. Being the only human in the party, I had no dark vision and for the sake of stealth was holding onto my compatriots hands for dear life as we snuck into range.
What happens next shocks everyone.The DM asks us to roll both stealth and perception rolls. Due to the Pass without Trace spell our druid was using, even myself, who was wearing full plate armor, manage to pass the check without fail. However, none of us rolled well on our perception checks and almost stumbled immediately into a guard patrol. Thankfully, we were no spotted due to our stealth checks, but our plan to get in was in tatters almost immediately.
That is when I had an idea. I messaged the DM about whether or not I could do this idea in my head before mentioning it to the rest of the players. The DM thought about it for a long moment and simply replied, Yes, but you will need multiple rolls to ensure its success. I grin and begin laughing in the call with everyone. It takes me a moment to call down. I take a deep breathe and say, "Once the guards are away from us, I cast light upon my armor and use thaumaturgy to make the sound of rustling bushes." The group just wonders if I had lost my mind. I simply say, "Wait, I am not done." This is when the moment of brillance comes through, "Once the guards start moving back towards us, I will recast the light cantrip upon this rock and skip it across the bog on the other side of the path. While doing this, I use thaumaturgy again to create the sounds of sloshing footsteps in time with the rock." The group call goes silent. The DM simply asks, "First, give me a Performance check to see how well you do these actions, second, do an Arcana check to be able to use these spells in such a complicated manor." I, still grinning like an idiot, roll the dice. Performance Check, 19, Arcana check, natural 20. The group begins cheering in the chat, but I tell them to calm down to wait to see the reaction. Within the span of moments this guard patrol that passed us, and one some small distance away chase after the stone. I just turn to the party and say, "Move quickly! While they are distracted!" The group does not need a second round of encouragement.
We speed off towards the castle remaining in stealth as my DM messages me that I have inspiration for that idea. I just do my best evil villain impersonation but our job was not done. We approached the sunken keep and Daelyn, our Rogue, managed to find a secret entrance into the keep under water. The disgusting, crocodile filled bog water. The group decided it was out best chance. To give us additional cover, I used Thamaturgy once again to create the squawk of crows in a tree over by the bridge to the keep. The guards immediately react by firing numerous crossbow bolts into the tree to no avail. We sneak into the keep just as Aesherwyn's Pass without a Trace spell wears off. We surface inside one of the keep towers. For some reason, this guy used humans for his lower level guards, I told the party, "When I kill the torches, you all strike." The group simply nods and I use my trusty Thamaturgy once again to kill the torches in the corridor to allow my dark vision enabled brethern to dispatch the human guards with little trouble. The group placed the bodies in a nearby room and closed the door. Our DM once again asked for some perception rolls. Aesherwyn passes while the rest of us fail. The DM tells Aesherwyn that she can hear the faint sounds of chanting coming deep within the castle.
She doesn't have to tell the group twice as we charge down towards the source of the noise. When we arrive, the scene is chilling. Within the room, there is a young human woman laying in the middle of a pentagram as a cloaked figure chants in arcane language. The room is dimly lit once again as I struggle to see. The party turns to me, to see whether or not I have any more harebrained schemes. A thread of a idea forms within my head. I say, "I draw my crossbow, casting the light cantrip upon the tip of the bolt and fire it at the figure!" The DM looks at me confused, wondering if I had actually gone crazy. He allows it, but considering I am a human, I have to roll at disadvantage. I roll a 15 and a 19. With my modifier for my crossbow that puts it at a even 20 to hit. The figure, concentrated on the chanting gets hit in the league with the bolt as it continues to stick out the other side. This illuminates his location for me. The DM has us roll for initiative. What follows next is a close intense fight with myself and Aesherwyn almost going down and out of spell slots. I have one ace left in my sleeve, my guided strike as a war priest, my final channel divinity. I had rolled a 6, with my bonus that puts it at a 11 for my mace. So a 21 with my channel divinity. The DM asks for damage, I roll my max damage for my mace which is 9 damage, which is just enough to finish off the figure.
The group call erupts with excitement and joy at defeating the figure and saving the girl. Imay have landed the killing blow, but the smites and sneak attacks from the rogue did most of the work. This is the story I tell any new players who look at cantrips and scoff at the fact that they have to take them as spells. Never underestimate player ingenuity.