A bit of context before I jump into the story, I run a homebrew DnD game every Thursday with a group of very close friends. For the most part, all of us have DM'd a game or two and know 5e like the back of our hands. Well, all except one. Cue my best friend. She had only played 4e and briefly at that. Maybe a total of eight hours in her lifetime. She is an excellent roleplayer and always expressed interest to me to play DnD, but she was scared and hesitant. So when I started to get an idea for a campaign around the fall of last year and went on to gather my party, she was the first person I invited. I explained to my friends that I would invite my best friend and said that she might need a little extra help sometimes. No problem. They were all ready to help and offer advice. At first, she was very shy and hesitant because she knew all of them were veteran players and DM's, but I told her that she would be fine and I would be there to help.
When I asked what class she would play, we tossed around a lot of ideas. She gave me what she sort of wanted in a character/idea, and I tossed out the idea of a Warlock. I explained to her what they were all about and she was hooked. Normally, I would not discuss patrons and their identities with my players and I like to leave it a surprise and something to figure out over the course of the game. But, because she was new, I gave her the choice of a few patrons and what pacts they can have. Immediately, she gravitated to The Great Old One patron. This is important and will come into play later. I said it was a-okay and the campaign started up.
Our party consists of the following;
a Shadar-kai Monk of the Long Death named Elandiel,
a Zendikar Vampire Runic Fighter named Myth,
a Halfling Druid of the Flame named Teara,
and, lastly, my best friend who is playing a Human Warlock with The Great Old One pact named Theresa.
The party had made its way over to Theresa's home city and found something amiss. First off, there were people starting to go missing. It started off in the lower districts, but even some nobles were going missing. Second, the Queen of the city was starting to have random conniptions. Moments where she would just pass out and start having seizures, sometimes being out days at a time. Third, there is a dark group going around named 'The Brotherhood' and they have been gathering members under the guise of fair treatment for all lower-class and non-human citizens. Fourth, the party was on the trail of someone named 'The Dark Viper'. All the fun stuff but nothing too outlandish for an adventuring group!
After meeting with a contact in the lower districts, the contact complained that any time any of her people got close to the 'Dark Viper', she would lose all contact with them. The contact assumed they were dead until they would be sent back to her -- nothing but shells of their former selves. Nice house but nobody was home. She called them 'living vegetables', as if something odd happened to their mind. Immediately the DM's of the group knew that I was sending out a bunch of red flags with my warnings. There was something in the city and it was not good. When Teara and Theresa left the bar this contact was at, they found a woman from the noble district, dumped there and not responsive. Her eyes opened and she was breathing, but no response outside of just drooling. Teara did an excellent nature and arcana check and deduced that her brain was drained. The discord started to buzz, as they all knew the creature that could do it. Teara deduced that this was the work of a Mindflayer, and a sloppy one at that, since they did not outright kill the victim.
Teara said that they should notify the guards while Elandiel and Myth said that a Mindflayer may be a bit out of their reach. But it was then that Theresa stood her ground, saying they needed to stop the mindflayer in a heated moment of roleplay. Through her excellent roleplay, Elandiel and Myth relented and agreed to help Theresa's plan to stop the mindflayer. It was a hairbrained scheme, but it is a bit of a running joke with my friends that our ideas, while not always the smartest, gets things done. The plan was to have Theresa dress up as a noble and get her into the nobles district to try and lure the mindflayer out to grab her. When it did, the party would attack. Remember I said it was a hairbrained scheme? Teara would be transformed as a mouse to be in Theresa's pocket at all times. Elandiel and Myth were her 'bodyguards' that might have been a bit 'careless' to see their charge be lost.
The Roll20 Dice Gods had to be smiling on Theresa because her rolls that night were superb. She convinced a high profile tavern to let her in and managed to chat with some nobility, none of them knowing that Theresa was just a commoner. Eventually, a woman came over to Theresa and the two hit it off immediately. The woman convinced Theresa to go on a walk with her so that she could 'show Theresa the sights'. Elandiel and Myth were following behind but far enough not to be noticed -- stealth checks were great. The woman eventually led Theresa down an alley and pointed to a statue to get her attention.
"And this! This statue was gifted to us by the Elven kingdoms!" The woman said, pointing to the statue.
"Wow, I read about this statue in a book once. It is so odd to find it here," Theresa said.
"You know, you are very intelligent! Not many people know about this statue. It is a little known gem of our city I suppose."
"Well, I read a lot of books. It is a bit of a hobby of mine," Theresa said off-handedly.
And then I changed my tone into a cool and sophisticated voice.
"Your knowledge will be a treat for me rather than these lesser beings I have tasted."
Before Theresa could even say anything, I asked her to roll me a Wisdom save. Elandiel and Myth start running towards Theresa, and Teara goes to hop out of Theresa's pocket and turn back into a halfling. Theresa rolls the dice.
19 on the dice. 22 in total.
"You feel as if something tries to grip your mind, to stupify you or confuse you. But you shake it off! The woman grins and you hear a voice in your head," I said.
"Interesting… prey that fights back? How delightful." The woman is amused and intrigued by Theresa’s ability to resist her.
And then… Theresa does the craziest thing I have ever seen someone do.
"I use my ability from my patron to talk back to the mindflayer in its mind!" Theresa shouted.
The discord starts going crazy. I am staring in disbelief at my screen at what she just said, but Teara, Myth and Elandiel are cheering her on. Even her husband who I can hear in Theresa's background asked what was going on. She explained, and I heard him say: "Oh no… are you insane?!"
I take a deep breath and ask the age-old DM saying, "Are you sure?"
Theresa: "Yes! I talk to it in its mind!"
A quick thing to note about mindflayers: aside from… well… don't try to talk in a mindflayer's mind! The particularly nasty thing about Mindflayers is that they are part of a hive mind. If you were to magically go into their mind, you would hear a lot of voices but also direct voices from the Elderbrain or whatever it had. Their minds are like networks. And Theresa could easily go insane from the number of voices she could hear or god knows what else. But, I pull myself together and say, "Okay, roll me a wisdom save to go into its mind."
Everything is quiet as she rolls her dice.
And the Dice Gods smile on her.
The discord erupts in cheers and even I cheer her on.
"You enter into the mindflayer's mind, breaking past their layers of psionic energy as you hear all around you murmurs and whispers. Some are louder than others, but you know that you and this mind flayer are not alone. If anything, it sounds like being in an auditorium. People are talking among themselves and it is hard to make out individual conversations. Okay, what do you say to the mindflayer?"
Theresa says, “First off, I am not prey and second off, you are not the only thing that can do that little trick too!' "
The woman's face goes into shock for a brief moment and then into pure, unbridled rage, 'HOW DARE YOU COME IN MY MIND, YOU LESSER CREATURE!' It flings you out of its mind, but you remain unharmed by its exit thanks to your steely resolve. The woman's form changes into that of a slender purple man with tentacles writhing on his face. The Mindflayer Arcanist hisses at you and has you only in its sights. Roll for initiative!"
As I reveal the pog, I hear Eldaniel start saying: "Oh no, oh no, that's bad. That's REALLY bad!"
"I don't know about you, but I think Squid is on the dinner menu for tonight. I never tried mindflayer blood." Myth said, stalking forward.
"Please don't," Taera said with disgust.
The party dispatched the mindflayer quickly and came out victorious.
"You know… we have done a lot of crazy things in DnD but that has to be one of the craziest moments I think I have seen in a very long time," I said, completely blown away by what had just happened.
"But we did it!" Theresa beamed.
"I don't think you understand. That could have ended… REALLY badly."
"But it did not!"
The party then started to praise Theresa and her player, both in and out of character, saying how it was a crazy idea but it managed to work. They all leveled up after that encounter. As of this date, it was this moment that I was beyond proud of my best friend who went from DnD newbie weeks ago to hatching crazy plans and just going along for a fun ride now. Who knows where this adventure will take them… but if this is what is to come of my campaign, I think by the end of it I will have plenty of stories to tell!
Unless explicitly stated, this story remains the property of (and under copyright to) All Things DnD & Chynamarie Colon (Cassie) and is not supposed to be narrated or performed, or adapted into a film, television, audiobooks, animation, republished, reposted or media of any kind without our consent.