Content of the article: "When the DM gets creative; or, How I turned a lady into a cat without using polymorph; or, I’m totally not a furry you guys (spoilers for Descent into Avernus)"
Be me, DMing heavily modified version of Descent into Avernus because we're building off of a Dragon Heist campaign and the DIA book is a dumpster fire of editing
Be my players, wandering the city of Elturel which has been transported to Avernus
Playing from the supplemental Hellturel module that was available for free during the COVID lockdown (as if it never ended, all of our games are now on Foundry and Discord)
A couple months ago, the warlock player couldn't make it, so I threw in a tiefling warlock DMPC based on a PC that I built for AL just so that combat doesn't become too challenging, because the concept of adjusting enemies for the players present was beyond me
Later session, players found a cat in an abandoned house. Just an ordinary, every day cat. Fighter takes it and puts in into a bag of holding because "How can I just abandon a kitty in hell?". Makes sure to occasionally open the bag to let in fresh air.
Be me, wracking my brain what to do with the cat
PCs are going through the High Hall, a combination cathedral and castle, where numerous NPCs are hiding from the devils who are ravaging their city.
Another NPC told the players that another adventuring party set off for the High Hall, but disappeared. Included in the party was the tiefling warlock.
Half-orc Paladin was simping hard on the warlock, and wants to find her and rescue her, m'lady
PCs are on the main floor of the cathedral. Players are stumped what to do.
Me "From the choir loft above, you hear a piercing woman's scream!"
PCs are motivated to rescue the lady
Its the tiefling warlock, tied up and lain in a pentagram. She is surrounded by cultists, who are about to kill her as a sacrifice to Zariel
Players kill the cultists, but halfway through the combat, the warlock is about to be stabbed by the lead cultist
"Just before the knife strikes her, an orb of red light bursts from her head! The force of its release knocks the cultist backwards. It beelines towards the bag of holding. The tiefling's body appears to still be technically alive and breathing, but there's nothing behind the eyes"
Me grinning like the fucking joker, but we're doing audio only so they can't see
Next round of combat
"Another orb of light, this time gray, leaves the bag of holding and shoots towards the tiefling's body. It enters her head, and her body shakes with a jolt"
A few of the players are piecing together what just happened: "Um…oh shit I forgot about the cat"
Battle ends. The paladin rushes over to the tiefling's body and unties her.
Paladin: "M'lady! How those beasts have treated you. Are you ok?"
Tiefling: "Meow? Meow!"
Me: "She starts to act like a cat, licking the back of her hand, walking around on all fours, wagging her tail. From the bag, there is an angry meowing and cat screaming"
The fighter opens the bag and the cat tumbles out of it.
"The cat is decidedly not acting like a cat. It looks at its paws in amazement, and feels the back of its head where its ears are, perhaps expecting horns or something else on its head"
Players "DM, did you do what I think you did? Is this a Freaky Friday situation"
I just laugh. "The cat tries to 'talk' but only meowing comes out. It mimes writing with a pen on parchment with its paws"
The fighter gives the cat parchment and a pen
"The cat starts to scrawl on the parchment with the pen, using both hands to guide the pen. Its still very sloppy, but recognizable words are written: 'I am the warlock. Archfey patron did this. Made deal before being stabbed to be rescued'"
Fighter "How long are you going to be a cat? How long will this spell last?"
"Cat continues writing: 'Didn't think to ask'"
Fighter "well shit, now what?"
Me "The cat-in-the-tiefling starts running around the choir loft"
Fighter "I put her into the bag of holding"
Me "Perhaps you can put a leash on her? Or a rope?"
Cleric "…DM, is the start of your furry fetish porn?"
We all laugh, because our campaign is totally beer and pretzel and not serious at all
Fighter puts the tiefling into the bag of holding. Then he picks up the cat and puts it on his shoulder.
Fighter: "Can we do anything to reverse this?"
Me: "Perhaps if there was some way to, I don't know, have magic be dispelled"
Completely lost on PCs what I'm suggesting
"I'm saying to try Dispel Magic"
Cleric attempts it at 4th level. Rolls a one. Not high enough.
"The cat shrugs and it sounds like its meowing the words 'At least you tried'"
- Why do humans suck?
- Help with combat balance
- Warlock who becomes bound to the soul of a Paladin – Concept
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