A group of our friends have joined my wife and I for D&D every Tuesday for a little over a decade playing the same campaign. Our DM told us that we were near the end, and the final mission was a big one – we were sent by Bahamut to kill Tiamat.
Our 18th level party consisted of a human psionic wizard named Scarlet, a human cleric of Bahamut named Gabriel, myself as a dwarven druid named Orim, and my wife plays Cora, the titular Rogue-Paladin of Bahamut.
Before we got to fight Tiamat, we had to defeat five chromatic dragons protected by high-level monsters. We had finished one of them, an ancient white dragon, who was protected by a lich. We were now on to the next dragon, but it was protected by a very, VERY strong beholder. We rolled initiative, and that’s when we beheld our doom.
Right off the bat, a lair action initiated – tenticles reached out from the wall and restrained the wizard and our cleric, pinning them in a corner. As soon as that happened, the beholder focused its anti-magic field on them, perfectly neutralizing them. It took a Strength check to get them out, and both PCs had no modifier, being skinny bois. It was bad.
Meanwhile, an eye stalk ray hit my dwarven druid, petrifying him within first two rounds of combat and took me 100% out of the fight. It was pretty much a fight between Cora the Paladin-Rogue and this beholder.
Since none of the other targets were a threat, the beholder focused all it’s eye stalk attacks on Cora the rogue – 6 per round, plus a lair action! Cora dodged as many of these as she could, and kept up the pace. My druid had given her Foresight at the beginning of the day, so she had advantage on every check and attack. So while the beholder was blasting her, she was dealing huge damage right back, sneak attacks every round. It was a duel for the fate of our party.
Eventually the beholder caught Cora in a Telekinetic Ray and grappled her, dangling her above a 120-foot drop. This grapple negated Cora’s advantage on Dexterity saving throws, which caused her to fail practically all the saving throws, pretty quickly bringing her down to zero HP. Meanwhile, he petrified the wizard and droped the cleric. Cora was rolling death saves the whole time, and she was at two failures and two successes. It all came down to one more roll – if Cora fails, it’s a party wipe and our decade-plus campaign is over before we even get to Tiamat. Taking a deep, shaky breath, Cora rolls.
Cora awoke with 1 hit point.
The beholder, being no fool, noticed that she wasn’t dead, and headed over to finish her off. Three eye ray attacks, and Cora saved from all of them, taking no damage. It’s her turn.
Our DM lets us know that it will take a really big hit to take the beholder down, and our DM is a Rules As Written, no fudging rolls or numbers kind of guy, so we know when he says it’ll take a big hit, he means that Cora still might not do enough damage. It all comes down to the final roll. If Cora hits, she gets sneak attack, but she has to hit really hard to do enough to finish him off. If she doesn’t do massive damage, the beholder will just bite her next turn and it’s all over. We all held our breath. This was the literal knife’s edge – this roll would determine our fate.
We play online, so we could only hear our friends cheering over their mics through Discord. I was running around the room screaming (I think I woke all our four kids up too). With shaking hands, my wife rolled dice and did math. It took a while, she was so keyed up on adrenaline, but she told us the final result – 58 damage.
The line goes quiet. The DM does some math. After a tense moment, the DM, in a somber voice, says “How do you want to do this? The beholder had 54 HP.”
Through all the yelling and excitement on the line, my wife describes how her rogue Cora grabs an eye stalk, using it as a rope to swing over to the beholder’s body. As soon as she lands on it, Cora pulls out both her blades and proceeds to evicerate the beholder, tearing it to pieces till it goes quiet.
A few Greater Restorations and Healing Spirits later, we were all winded, but alive, and ready to finish our march towards Tiamat. This was on January 12 of 2021, just a few days from when this was written. So we still haven’t made it to Tiamat yet. But when we do, maybe I’ll update y’all.
Long time listener, first time submitter. Keep up the great work!