AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 6

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop RPG thread!

General discussion topic for the week: What kind of player are you?  Matt Colville put out this video (it’s a couple years old now) about different player types. (By the way, I’ve been watching a lot of Colville’s videos, and I quite like them–would recommend.)

The video is nearly 20 minutes long, so here’s a quick breakdown of the types he mentions:

  • Power Gamer–wants to be the most badass character ever
  • Butt-Kicker (aka Murder-Hobo)–just wants to kill bad guys
  • Tactician–enjoys combat and planning out their character’s actions
  • Specialist–always plays the same character
  • Actor–role-play and backstory are most important
  • Storyteller–wants the game to be a movie or video game, dramatically satisfying
  • Casual Gamer–just wants to hang out with friends, game itself isn’t really important
  • Mad Scientist–wants to break stuff to see what happens

Where do you think you fall on this spectrum?


Our AvocaD&D group is currently running the Curse of Strahd adventure module, DM’d by The Hayes Code. As a reminder, our party consists of:1

  • Txan Einreique, a Half-Elf Stone Sorcerer; the Company Representative and nominal party leader (Josephus Brown).
  • Kissi Farwood, a Human Fighter; a former solider hired as a bodyguard by Txan (forget_it_jake).
  • Edwin Potts, a Human Cleric of Torm; a government agent sent to oversee the deal and make sure the company isn’t doing anything shady (Nope).
  • ENGR-23, a Warforged Artificer; a living machine employed as a railway engineer (our only non-Avocado party member).
  • Peter Peregrine, a Human Barbarian; a researcher with a rage-filled alter ego called Kragen Tempest (Doctor Nick).
  • Wickerwelt Tanglewood, a Halfling Ranger; a Barovian native brought along as a guide (TheCleverGuy).

Spoilers for Curse of Strahd

baroviainn

We picked up having escaped from the murder house and purchased a round of drinks at the local watering hole, the Blood of the Vine tavern.  There we met a man, Ismark, who claimed he could help us get the attention of Strahd, if we met him at town burgomaster’s house in the morning.  We agreed to the meeting, then went over to the townhouse across the road for a bed.  However, we found the front door blocked–so we went around back and ENGR-23 picked the lock on the kitchen door.  We let ourselves in that way.  We could hear someone wailing from upstairs, and called out to the proprietor to assure them that we meant no harm.  The woman was clearly distressed, but allowed us to stay the night.  After some prodding, we discovered that her daughter. Gertruda, had gone missing recently and that she suspected Count Strahd had taken her.  After promising to search for the girl, we bedded down for the night.

Next morning we paid a visit to the burgomaster.  The mansion was in a sorry state, looking like it had been the site of a battle recently.  Wick noticed marks on the walls left by ghouls, and Txan noted burned patches where fires had been purposefully lit.  We knocked on the door and were met by a distrustful woman who didn’t want to let us in “under the circumstances.” She was on the verge of shutting us out when Ismark showed up.  The woman, Ireena, let us in and we learned that the house had been besieged at night for months, until the old burgomaster finally died of a heart attack.  The nightly attacks stopped suddenly after the old man passed. Ireena and Ismark (who it turned out were siblings) asked us to help them bury their father before we did any more business with them.

We agreed to help them, and as Txan and Ismark carried the coffin to the churchyard, Ismark asked us to escort his sister out of town.  He said that Strahd had bitten Ireena twice already, and if he bites her again she’ll become a creature like him–a vampire!  Wick immediately volunteered to take Ireena to safety in the western part of Barovia, which he knew well, having grown up there.

We ended on that note, before reaching the churchyard. I wonder exactly how obvious Strahd’s true nature is meant to be to the player characters at the start of this adventure.  I feel like we all (out of character) knew when we decided to run this module that Count Srahd is a vampire.  But I’m not sure how much the characters are meant to suspect (aside from my own of course–Wick is Barovian after all).

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Our final character spotlight is on the Warforged Artificer ENGR-23.  23 is played by the one member of the group who’s not an Avocado regular.  This write up and image were provided by the player, and I have to say I love the idea of the murky legal status of the Warforged race in this world.

engr23

Like most English warforged, ENGR-23 began its life as property of the State, constructed to be hardy battle support in the Napoleonic wars. Faster and smarter than the frontline combat troop models, it was assigned to the Royal Wagon Train to maintain and defend supply lines. In the wake of Napoleon’s defeat, the standing corps of warforged retained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure became embarrassing to an Empire that sneered at the American institution of chattel slavery. A haphazard emancipation process began, aimed at integrating the warforged into English society. No longer property but not considered truly English, the repurposed warforged hold roughly the same legal and social status as colonial subjects.

For ENGR-23, emancipation meant having its wartime experience applied to the emerging field of locomotion, and it feels a deep kinship to the engineering principles in which it has happily buried itself. In its spare time, it tinkers endlessly on anything it can lay hands on, including itself, and is given to creating small clockwork toys. Uninterested in much else, ENGR-23 placidly considers the Company to be its new owner – which is just fine for the Company. ENGR-23 represents a valuable asset to them, as it enjoys creating and maintaining machinery in adverse conditions and has knowledge gained from having traveled extensively during its time as a soldier.

As a warforged, ENGR-23 has no true gender and cares little as to what pronoun is used to refer to it. It also has little interest in selecting a new name beyond its manufacturing designation, but will answer to anything its companions choose – though it did not appreciate its time being referred to as “that creepy fuckin’ thing” in its initial deployment. It likes putting things together almost as much as it likes taking them apart.