Session one of a brand new campaign. The ink was barely dry on the character sheets when we sat down to play. Everyone had rolled typical characters except for one player.
They bring out an old lady in a mysterious black hooded cloak as his character. She talks like Queen Elizabeth, can cook, clean and sew. And she also apparently has Eldritch Blast and Hex.
Granny’s a warlock.
She swore by her soul that she can find her kidnapped grandchildren. Granny cooks for the party and is a nice grandmotherly figure. Everybody loves Grandma.
Fast forward. The campaign has been going on for a while. We start to notice a few other odd things about Granny. She has proficiency in Deception, she never takes off her cloak, and she has surprisingly high AC.
She pretty much exclusively uses Eldritch Blast, Hex, and some melee spell that deals another D8 of damage. On top of that she is super effective at smacking things with her walking stick, classified as a quarterstaff.
But the real mystery is when our healer went down and Granny cast a healing spell.
The group shared a collective W-T-F.
The DM assured us it was fine and everything was on board so we went along with it.
We are working our way through a dungeon crushing every encounter the DM throws at us until we get to the end. The boss’s eyes focus on Granny and a wicked smile spreads across his face.
“Look at you all, carrying this pathetic old wretch around. You should be careful, those that are close to her end up disappearing in the night. Just ask her grandchildren. Oh… wait, that’s right. You couldn’t save them then, and you won’t be able to save them now.” He barks out a cruel laugh.
Granny steps forward, “That night, I looked to the black skies and I vowed that I will find them. There is no mountain too tall, no river too wild, no alley too dark that can stop me. My mortal body will REFUSE to die until I find them! For I…” she drops her cloak. Hidden beneath the cloak this entire time was a full set of plate armor.
“My name is Gertrude, Paladin of Vengeance, harbinger of justice, and deliverer of death to your doorstep.” She paused and took a deep, steadying breath.
“Now. Where the HELL are my grandchildren?”
DM has her roll for initiative.
The boss craps his pants in fear. She charges the boss by unleashing an Eldritch Blast, and proceeds to beat him down with her walking stick. The party jumps in behind her and they proceed to cut the boss into unrecognizable chunks of meat. We find a reference to a slaver’s prison in a ledger. With the location of where her grandkids may be, we sidestep the main campaign and are entirely focused on rescuing her grandkids now. As a fun fact, I also learned about the Magic Initiate Feat which means Granny is 100% RAW compliant.
The slaver stronghold is a long ways away and Granny is leading a march of death and destruction through bandit territory. Despite her almost trance-like focus she still makes cookies for the party.
Combat has changed considerably since Granny unveiled her true form. She used to hang back and Eldritch Blast everything she could, but now she charges in, smiting anything in her path with her walking stick. The party now has two tanks and we are kicking behinds. Nothing can stop us.
We leave a trail of corpses and destruction all the way to the front door of the slaver’s stronghold. It is a wooden-style fortress with sharpened logs for walls and barricades. Twisted, sharpened metal is imbedded into the walls to shred anyone foolish enough to try scaling the walls.
The party huddles to plan an assault. The rogue suggest he and I, a Tabaxi monk, do a little recon because we are sneaky. The bard wants to try and sneak in, disguised as a traveling band for a surprise attack. The Fighter, of noble background, wants to try to use his connects and/or money to rouse an army to help us. I rolled my eyes at his plan. Like that would ever happen.
I turn to ask Granny if she has any ideas. And she isn’t there.
She is sauntering up to the gate of the fortress, cloak thrown back, head held high. I could see a complete lack of fear and concern for her life in her gait. With a cold, quiet confidence she said, “I’m going to smash the door open.”
“The guards will hear you,” the DM warned.
“Did I stutter?”
I use my Tabaxi’s Feline Agility to sprint to Granny’s aid. I’m closing the distance rapidly when she reels back and smites the fortress gate. The gate detonates with an earth shaking explosion. Splinters of wood spray into the compound, peppering bandits with wooden shrapnel.
The rest of the party pulls their weapons and sprints to the now decimated gate. Bandits pour out of their huts to meet the party.
Granny stands in front of the wave of oncoming bandits, feet firmly planted, walking stick in hand. The first bandit roars out a battlecry and swings his curved blade at Granny’s head. With a quiet “tsk tsk” Granny stabs the walking stick into the bandit’s chest, sundering his ribcage and collapsing his lungs. He goes down in a heap, desperately trying to draw breath with lungs that work as well as popped balloons.
Bandits throw themselves at Granny with reckless abandon. Each one falling to her brutal strikes. The fighter and monk are protecting her flanks, trying to keep up with the number of bodies that are piling up around her.
The bard uses Mage Hand to open the slave pens. Slaves rush out of the pens and pick up fallen swords and turn on the bandits.
This entire time granny is yelling out the names of her grandchildren like battlecries:
"FOR GLORIA! FOR JOHNATHAN!"
Now the DM’s bandit army is getting overwhelmed with NPC's.
Granny hears a female voice calling out to her from the stone tower in the center of the fortress. From what she can see, all of the guards have abandoned their posts to stop the slave uprising.
“GLORIA!” Granny shouts out as she rushes the tower. The whole party storms the tower, leaving slavers and slaves to duke it out.
Inside the stone tower is a throne covered in spikes and skulls. Kneeling beside the garish throne bound in chains is a young woman with red hair and freckles. Granny knows what her granddaughter looks like even after all of these years.
“GLORIA!” Granny cries out, her heart breaking at the sight of her sweet, granddaughter.
And sitting on the throne, wielding a massive greatsword, is Johnathan.
A slaver turns to Johnathan and asks, "what do we do, boss!?"
“... Johnathan?” Granny asks weakly. She is grappling with this even being a possibility.
“That's not my name anymore. I am now Deroth, lord of the slave trade,” he spat.
“You left me to die, you old crone. Abandoned. Alone! I was just a boy. Well, no longer. Now this is mine and no one will take anything away from me ever again.”
“I-I spent so many years… looking for you…” Granny’s shoulder slumps and her confident posture slips.
“And you failed. You are weak. You sicken me. And now, you’ve ruined EVERYTHING I ever had! So yeah… you can all just go die now, ok?” He rises from the throne and spins the greatsword with the ease of an expert swordsman.
Slavers slip out of the shadows surrounding the party. We are outnumbered and in trouble now.
Granny looks broken, her walking stick held loosely in her wrinkled hand. She can't even bring herself to raise her weapon against the towering Deroth.
Deroth is suddenly hit with Eldritch Blast from behind.
The chains that bound Gloria slip to the stone floor with a metallic clamour. She stands up, her eyes glowing red.
“Die, you bastard!” Gloria screams out as she readies another Eldritch Blast.
Now we have an ACTUAL warlock in the party.
Gloria’s Eldritch Blast snaps Granny out of her spiraling sorrow. Her sadness turns to rage and her bloodlust is entirely focused on Deroth. She charges him, swinging the walking stick with the force of a warhammer. Deroth brings his sword up in time to parry the crushing blows, but with each block he is driven backward.
“I am so disappointed in you!” She feints another swing with the walking stick but dark energy rips out of her hand. The Eldritch Blast takes Deroth in the chest, dropping him to one knee.
The Monk is stunlocking slavers left and right. The Fighter is trying to take out smaller minions.
The Bard is trying to keep everybody inspired and healed.
The Rogue is being useless like usual, occasionally stabbing at flanks.
The slavers see their leader on his knee, clutching at his chest and leaning heavily against his sword to keep his balance. They turn and flee.
Granny watches the cowards run but does not pay them any heed. Her eyes are fixated on Deroth. On Jonathan. A tear streaks down her cheek as she raises her staff, preparing to smite.
“... G-grandma please!” Deroth begged.
She hesitates. The face she sees isn’t that of a slave lord. It is that of a young boy clutching at her dress and smiling up at her.
Gloria blasts Deroth in the face. Deroth screams in agony as he burns to embers on the floor. He reaches out a blackening hand to Granny.
But that boy is gone. Johnathan died a long time ago.
“Goodbye… Deroth,” she said quietly. Then she stomps on his hand, turning it into dust.
Gloria throws her arms around Granny and squeezes her tightly.
The remaining slavers are all mostly killed or captured by the now free slaves.
Gloria is so thankful for her Grandma coming to save her, but she can't leave her friends. She needs to help them rebuild their lives and protect them so that this will never happen again.
Granny wants to stay with her.
Gloria says Granny has a new family to look after, looking at the party.
Real life tears were shed.
Granny and Gloria say their goodbyes, with Granny promising to return someday.
Granny puts her cloak back on.
“Well, dears, let's get going. I'll make cookies!” Granny says happily.