On Sunday nights, a group of friends and I gather to play Dungeons & Dragons. This is the chronicle of their tale. (This post contains spoilers to “Curse of Strahd”)
The fight continues.
Cairie manages to climb one of the house’s legs and gets up to the open doorway. Looking inside, she sees a bunch of old, wooden furniture, and a strange crib in the center of the space, with a beautiful baby inside it. Beneath the crib is an eerie glow.
Cairie is suddenly attacked, swarmed by HUNDREDS of black flies, which bite at her painfully, and almost push her backwards. Thinking maybe the infant may hold some key to the witch’s power or the magical hut, she casts cloud of daggers on the crib.
The floating tornado of metal blades swirls and slashes…at nothing. They pass right through both the baby and the crib. It’s an illusion. The hut suddenly bucks forward, spilling Cairie out into the thigh-deep water below. It then stomps on her some more, before throwing a large rock across the battlefield at Fletcher, smashing into him.
The two remaining hags make their attacks on the party, casting ray of enfeeblement onto their barbarian/fighter Krossa, making him weaker with his attacks. Van Richten responds by closing the distance to one of the hags and tries attacking it with his silvered sword cane. But he misses.
Baba Lysaga swoops down from the cloud cover and casts finger of death at Cairie, she who dared to enter her hut. She is furious, and vows to crush the elf who sets foot upon this land. Amazingly, Cairie survives this attack. Malis works with her spells to stop the hags that remain.
Fletcher, meanwhile, moves out of the area of black tentacles that held him in place and starts running through the deep water around and to the other of the two hags, readying the Gulthias Staff he took from Rolen.
Krossa moves over to the hag that Fletcher is targeting and uses his silvered dagger from the werewolf caves to attack her. Then, four scarecrows rise up out of the swamp and start moving to attack the nearest adventurer – one going for Krossa, one going for Malis, one going for van Richten, and the last heading for Cairie.
Ezmerelda casts magic missile at one of the scarecrows, still invisible. Cairie attempts to fend off the one attacking her, but the hut suddenly stomps her into unconsciousness, nearly killing her outright. Her scarecrow attacker is destroyed.
Khurz uses his spiritual weapon to attack one of the hags, and moves the other way around the black tentacles. The hags try to claw at their attackers. Van Richten is slowing, his attacks missing. The energy it has taken to hike down to Berez, to cast his powerful spells, and to trudge through the deep water is beginning to take a toll on the old man.
The tentacles disappear, only for Baba to fly down and cast cloudkill on nearly the whole party, but everyone fends it off very well for now. Malis moves out of the poison and continues to attack the one hag. Fletcher reaches the other hag and lays into her with the staff.
Krossa ignores the hag and scarecrow, and goes to defend Cairie’s body. This gains the attention of the hut, which stomps at Krossa hard. Khurz attempts to make it over to Cairie as fast as he can, while the hags continue their attack and severely injure van Richten in the process. Baba flies down and casts a powerful fireball at most of the party, greatly damaging several of them.
Malis, resistant to fire, also goes over to Cairie, outrunning her scarecrow in the process. She aims to guard Cairie until proper healing can be administered. At that time, Fletcher beheads one of the two remaining hags with the Gulthias staff, clubbing her head clean off. He runs away from the spreading poison cloud and toward the hut. He ties a rope around one of its legs.
Khurz makes it to Cairie and casts spare the dying on her, while also moving his spiritual weapon over to the hut in order to attack its legs. Van Richten also arrives to Cairie, taking a scarecrow swipe across his back, and casts a very powerful cure wounds on her, bringing her back to consciousness. Cairie sees the state he’s in and urgently tells him to heal himself, but he says that she’s more important.
Just then, Baba Lysaga descends and casts a finger of death at the weakened man. His surprised eyes go blank, and he falls backward into the water…dead.
Baba cackles as she disappears back up into the clouds. From somewhere nearby, Ezmerelda screams in shock and rage, dealing huge damage to the last hag with a lightning bolt.
Fletcher works on tying up the hut’s legs, but can’t move fast enough to get it done. The hut then attempts to stomp on him, and deals a fair bit of damage. Cairie tells the others what she saw inside, and thinks that there’s something important in there, and that Baba Lysaga is protecting it. She goes invisible, and starts backing away from the conflict.
Khurz tries to cast spare the dying on van Richten, but finds it ineffective, proving that he has died. He then attempts to get up the hut and inside. He makes it to the doorway, and is also attacked by swarms of black flies. Their bites nearly drop him, but he manages to stay on his feet thanks to his orcish resilience.
Krossa goes over and stabs the last hag through the forehead with his silvered dagger, killing her, and then wades his way through the water toward the hut, intending on climbing it. A crown of iron thorns appears around his head, but nothing comes of it yet.
Van Richten’s body lurches, and then uses Malis as support to pull itself to its feet. His milky eyes stare hungrily at Malis, and he emits a low, gurgling growl at her before trying to attack, missing her. Fletcher makes it around the hut’s legs with his rope, and hastily ties it off to the other leg.
Malis, truly sick of all of this, of losing people, of constantly being this close to death, uses the same strategy that worked for her so well in Wachterhaus. She casts a high level fireball point-blank on her position. The nearby scarecrows are absolutely incinerated, leaving no traces of anything behind. Van Richten’s zombified body is blown to pieces in the explosion. Malis takes minimal damage, thanks to her resistance to fire.
The only remaining enemies are the elusive Baba Lysaga and her tremendous hut-on-legs. Malis climbs onto one leg, while Krossa gets on another. Krossa is able to shake off the effects of the attempted crown of madness. The hut bucks Khurz off of its porch, dunking him into the water, and goes to stomp on him.
It lifts one leg, and Fletcher’s rope pulls taut. The hut loses its balance…and topples over backwards into the water, sending a large splash outward. Krossa and Malis jump off safely. Fletcher pumps his arms into the air and laughs triumphantly.
Until Baba Lysaga descends and casts blight on the man.
The necrotic energy washes over Fletcher, and he falls over dead.
Session 2 against Baba Lysaga and her cohorts. It’s getting super crazy now, and all kinds of serious. I knew I wanted this to be the single-hardest thing they’ve ever done in this whole campaign, and it’s definitely shaping up that way. This session right here was the one that cemented that fact. Cairie – who has never been in a lot of danger before due to her rogue nature and abilities – has gone unconscious, and started making death saves. That’s never happened before.
Luckily, she was saved, but she was very close. And then van Richten died. Immediate death, outright killed. It was insane. Baba Lysaga has access to some ridiculously powerful spells, and they have been put to good use. But there’s more.
This is now the second session in an encounter with Baba Lysaga, and we’re not done. We’re about to go into a THIRD session in the SAME encounter, also a first for this party. Even facing Strahd the multiple times they’ve done so, it’s never gone on more than one session.
And then Fletcher goes down. Fletcher, thanks to the many boons he took from the Amber Temple, is one of the more powerful party members. He’s a rogue/fighter with access to some fun spells (thanks to the Dark Powers), extra HP, and additional STR and CHA. Plus some other cool stuff. And he’s now making death saves.
I’m very happy and proud of how I built this encounter, and made it so deadly. To be fair, though, I DID warn them, several times. As the adventurers traveled through Barovia, and mentioned Berez, they were always told never to go there. And then I tried giving them an out of this encounter with the deal that the Danika hag wanted to make. But they said no.
What will happen? Will they win? Will they pull through? Or are we headed toward a total party wipe? What would happen if they all go down? Or do you think they’ll succeed and find the sunsword? Find out next time, in “An Unfortunate Outcome.”
Until then — Well Met!