I had only played three sessions of dnd before joining a whole new group to play with- one campaign that was stopped immediately after the first session, and then a single session campaign. They were a lot of fun, especially because they were with people I had known for 4+ years. But their lives got so busy, we could never pick up the main campaign again. My third campaign was at a comic book store with a bunch of strangers, which squished 14+ people into it because only one person showed up to dm. This new group, however, was a lot better, and had a healthy mix of what I liked from my previous attempts to play; it was in-person, had a couple of people I had known for a few years, and it wasn’t too big.
I had brought my character from the first campaign I ever played into this new one- a human ranger who also multi-classed as a fighter named Kiera. The only difference was instead of a dog for a familiar, I chose a hyena who I named Maxie. He was woven into my character’s backstory, where they helped each other when they were both injured, and traveled as mercenaries as a two-for-one deal. But for comedic purposes, thanks to my hilarious dm, we decided that Kiera was only ever hired on these jobs because of her hyena Maxie.
When my character finally joined the party, she and the hyena were somewhat comedy relief for the group after our first mini-boss. We were given a great feast as thank you for saving a tree that was vital to the life of the island we were on. One of our other characters was a great cook and took on the challenge to make the perfect cheesecake for another character. But none of the NPC’s knew what a cheesecake was, so they failed twice before finally making a somewhat decent treat. But then, the hyena stole the cheesecake not once, not twice, but three times. It was a running gag after that to always keep eyes on your food, or else Maxie would steal it.
It was a lot of fun to see the other players interact or joke about the hyena, who I had already grown super attached to. I didn’t think much of the possibility of my trusty hyena dying too soon, if at all. The dm assured me that it was very rare that he’d kill off someone’s familiar, especially for a character like the one I was playing- because Keira’s strength in battle relied on whether or not I had a familiar.
But one of the major parts of our campaign was coming up, and we needed to get to an island that two of our players (a brother and sister duo), were once a prince and princess before their father, the former king, died. It turned out they were wanted in their homeland for reasons we didn’t know, and we couldn’t be let in unless we were giving them to the authorities. So, we tried sneaking around the back of the island. But there turned out to be a navy ship toward the back. The majority of the party thought we could take them on should it come to fighting, despite the island being well-known for its top-notch military. So, our polymorph player and the brother and sister tried swimming to the island as dolphins, while we tried sailing through peacefully. We got caught in the act when they managed to dispel magic and capture the sister. The fight was on, and four of the five of us that were on our boat went to fight on the navy ship. The hyena and I were the only two that stayed on the ship to try to cover the others.
But as it turned out, the navy ship also had some minor enchantments that did something to magic as well. Our druid tried mist-stepping, only to teleport into the prison cell below. Another player tried using a lightning spell, only to also end up imprisoned, same with the third. The fourth player on the ship nearly died but the captain spared him, sending him to the cell too.
It was just me and my hyena against 15+ soldiers now. Nearly every single soldier succeeded their roll, and my character would’ve instantly died. Until the dm spoke; “You shut your eyes, waiting to face her demise as all soldiers shot their crossbows. You only feel a couple of arrows hit you before hearing a yelp. When opening your eyes, you see two arrows go right through your hyena as he had jumped out right in front of you, then lands on the ground to your left with a loud thump. He slides across the floor lifeless.”
Upon losing my familiar, I immediately surrendered.
I remember the whole party was at a loss for words, even the dm looked very guilty for what happened. Kiera was spared but at the cost of her best friend. She never even had the chance to say goodbye to the hyena, as she was arrested as soon as she made the decision to forfeit.
Kiera was mocked about how stupid her hyena was and how he willingly took the arrows to the back. And was teased that he turned into a porcupine from how many arrows pelted him. If she weren’t handcuffed, you better believe she would’ve clocked them for saying such things.
This happened fairly recently, actually, so I don’t even know whether or not Kiera will get a new familiar soon or later on. Or if my character will even get to see her faithful friend one last time.