Viewer submitted story by Eva. Thank you!
First of all, this story took place during my first-time playing D&D 5th edition. We were playing through the module, Curse of Strahd.
Let me quickly describe the two main characters of this story and outline the rest of the party. My character was Cassandra, or Cassy for short, a half-elf paladin. Ever since I created her, I wanted her to take the oath of vengeance. However, despite taking this violent oath and having a tragic backstory, she had the most positive outlook on things, even after Barovia. I believe this says more about the rest of the party than my paladin.
The second main character in this story is our dwarf cleric, Carnys. She was a worshipper of Moradin and chose the light domain. She was played by an experienced D&D player, so this balanced out the naive recklessness of the rest of the party, who were new players.
Quickly going through the rest of the party, we had a halfling rogue, a half-orc barbarian, and a human wizard.
At the beginning of the adventure, the mists transported us to the land of Barovia, a place where the sun doesn’t shine, traveling is dangerous, and the people are sketchy. It is ruled by the vampire, Count Strahd von Zarovich. Our party traveled along the only road to the town of Barovia. We immediately found the plot hook: a girl named Rose and a boy named Thorn wanted us to go inside their house and save their baby brother from the monster in the basement. As the paladin of the group, I managed to convince the other players to go inside.
After a session or two, we had explored the first and second floor and found no sign of life and no sign of how to reach the basement. We went up to the third floor to encounter an animated suit of armor. Being one of the tanks in the group, I tried to fight it.
Emphasis on tried…
I was having bad luck with my dice that day and I kept missing attack after attack. Eventually, we won against the armor and Cassy did nothing but swing her sword around.
We decided to explore the third floor room by room. Again, trying to fulfill my role as a tank, I was in front of a door with the rest of the party behind me.
My hands clenched the hilt of my sword and I braced for the attack I knew was coming. I gave the wizard the go ahead and he used mage hand to open the door.
It was a broom closet.
However, someone in the house decided to animate the broom, because before I knew it, the DM was telling me I had been hit by a broom. And not just any broom, this thing must have been the Louisville slugger of brooms. After rolling the dice, he told me the staggering amount of hit points I lost.
And that is how poor Cassy was knocked out by a broom in one hit. If my memory is correct, the combat against the broom only lasted one round. The other players kept on teasing me about the broom incident session after session. However, this joke was short lived compared to the joke that came the next session.
After going to the attic, we found a spiral staircase that went straight to the basement. It was a classic dungeon crawl. Among the enemies we fought were some ghouls, shadows, and a grick. Cassy was unable to hit any of the enemies, despite now being level two. This was in contrast to Carnys, who hit the monsters as much as she healed the party.
Finally, we came across a door. In hindsight, this should have been suspicious, since there had been no doors in this dungeon. However, most of us were new to D&D, so mistakes were bound to happen. Upon seeing this door, the rogue noticed a lock on the door and took out his thieves’ tools in order to unlock it. This was a mistake, for when the tools touched the door, they stuck to it. Curiously the rogue tried to pull his tools away and part of the door came with them. The dull wooden brown boards of the door began to shift into a soft pink fleshy tongue. Eyes popped open as it opened its mouth wide enough to swallow the rogue whole.
Of course the door was a mimic.
Our party fought hard. That is except for my character. It seemed my bad luck continued. Cassy just kept on swinging and swinging, but couldn’t hit the mimic. Eventually, the damage the party did was enough to cause the mimic to disengage and move away from us on its turn. It went out of the room and around the corner into the next room.
Carnys ran around the corner into the room in pursuit of the wounded mimic. She tried to attack the mimic, but missed.
My turn. Being a future paladin of vengeance, Cassy ran around the corner out of the party’s view. I rolled to attack, and for the first time in the campaign, I managed to hit. Not wanting to waste this opportunity, I added a divine smite for some extra damage. This resulted in my paladin slicing the mimic in half.
Initiative ended and the rest of the party entered the room. What the other characters did afterwards highlights what I love about roleplaying games. Imagine you entered a room with a slain mimic. Who would you think killed the mimic? The dwarven cleric, who has diligently healed your wounds and has killed creatures before, or the incompetent paladin, who not only hasn’t hit a single enemy once, but has also been knocked out by a broom?
The characters immediately went up to the dwarf, patted her on the back, and said “Good job, Carnys!”
This became an inside joke amongst the party. Every time Cassy killed something, whether the party saw it or not, they would say “Good job, Carnys!” Maybe to other players if they were in my position, this joke would get annoying, but I loved it. I completely embraced it and I was never bothered by it because Cassy turned into a tank just as formidable as the barbarian. In a way, it reminded me of my paladin’s humble beginnings. In roleplaying terms, Cassy wasn’t bothered too much by the praise going to Carnys, since she only cared if evil was defeated.
At one point, we gained a new party member: Nikolai, an NPC-turned-PC. His wife had worshipped Strahd, and when Nikolai realized that they should not worship the vampire lord, he succumbed to a sickness and died. In a creepy manner, his wife kept him under gentle repose for years in their bedroom. What we did when we entered his house is a story for another time. To make a long story short, we entered the house diplomatically, excited for her book club, and exited with the dead body of Nikolai after Cassy, with the help of Carnys, killed his wife. “Good job, Carnys!” Another long story later, and Nikolai was raised from the dead and played by a new player who was just getting into D&D.
Later on in the adventure, Nikolai had a dream in the Amber Temple, showing the body of his wife with Cassy and Carnys beside it. Before the dream, we had told him Strahd killed his wife. When he confronted Cassy about it, I, the player, said, “It wasn’t me! Just ask the party! Carnys did it!” We all laughed. This was out of character, of course, but if it worked, it would be the one time this joke went in Cassy’s favor.
Cassy did eventually get credit for something, though. The party eventually fought Strahd. In the end, Cassy, with a sun sword named Avenging Dawn in hand, struck down the vampire lord.
The vampire turned to dust, the mist retreated, and the sun reappeared for the first time in centuries. However, what was more amazing than all of that to Cassy, now level 10, was that instead of congratulating Carnys, the party said, “Good job, Cassy”.
Now that was a miracle.