AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 8

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop RPG thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other nerdy table-top RPGs that you might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.

This week, we’re talking about Dwarves.


If you’re familiar with Tolkien or just about any other fantasy literature, Dwarves in D&D are about what you’d expect.  Short, but powerful; long beards; enjoy mining, smithing, and the brewing of ale.  They can see pretty well in the dark, as they’re accustomed to being underground.  Their hardy nature makes them resistant to most poisons, which is a pretty nice thing to have.  If you choose to play a Dwarf, you’ll be naturally proficient in the use of axes and hammers, as well as one type of artisan’s tools (you can choose from Smith’s, Mason’s, or Brewer’s tools).  Dwarves also have “Stonecunning,” which gives them a bonus to very specific types of intelligence check for things related to stonework, which doesn’t come up very often, I imagine.

All dwarfs automatically get +2 to their Constitution score, which means they generally have a decent amount of hit points.  In addition, Hill Dwarves (one of 2 subraces) get a +1 to their Wisdom, making them a solid choice for a Cleric or Monk.  Hill Dwarves also get one extra hit point per level, and more hit points are always good.  The other subrace, Mountain Dwarves, get an automatic +2 to their strength score as well as proficiency in a couple types of armor.  Having +2 to both STR and CON is great for a Fighter, Barbarian, or Paladin, but the armor proficiencies are redundant for those classes. Still, Mountain Dwarves are one of the only race options that give you such high stat bonuses from the get-go.

There’s a reason my first D&D character was a Dwarf–they’ve always been my favorite.  Something about 4-foot-tall powerhouses with great big bushy beards and giant battleaxes appeals to me.  And I always imagine them with Scottish accents for some reason.  Who was your favorite Dwarf–either from fiction, or that you played in an RPG?

Our AvocaD&D group is currently running the Curse of Strahd adventure module.  Our version takes place in a pseudo-historical 19th century Earth, and the group is playing as representatives of a railroad company sent to the tiny Eastern European nation of Barovia (ruled by Count Strahd von Zerovich) to negotiate the expansion of the railway through the country.

Dramatis Personae

Our Dungeon Master is The Hayes Code, and the party consists of:

  • 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 Professor of Antiquities 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

As we picked up this week, Wick was recovering from the serious wounds he suffered from the vampire trapped in the basement of the local church.  While he rested at the burgomaster’s mansion, the rest of that party visited the general store to purchase supplies.  The party haggled a bit with Bildrath, the shopkeeper, but as the shopkeeper was the only game in town, they didn’t get a great deal.  They did, however, get a promise of reward if they convinced an old woman to stop selling meat pies outside of the shop (which Bildrath viewed as competition).  The group started to look for this old pie lady, but saw no sign of her.


Meanwhile, Wick started helping Ireena and Ismark  fortify the mansion, preparing for a possible visit from minions of Strahd after sunset.  We rested as night fell, then as the clock struck midnight, we heard someone playing a flute and the sounds of moans and shuffling feet.  Wick went up to the second story and looked out to see a small figure on the rooftops below wearing a jester’s cap and followed by an army of zombies and wolves.  As the zombies approached the house, we used the furniture to barricade the doors.  Wick cast his Hunter’s Mark on the jester on the roof.  Edwin read a scroll of blessing to help some of our attacks, and ENGR-23 managed to hit the jester with a crossbow bolt.  Dodging Wick’s follow-up arrow, the jester retreated to a safe distance, while the horde of undead swarmed the door of the mansion.  ENGR-23 grabbed a flaming log from the fireplace, tossed a flask of oil down onto the zombies below, and followed up with the log, making a fireball erupt in the midst of the undead.  But more were coming in through the dining room window.  Txan and Peter quickly barred the doorway with a sofa. Then another crash, as one broke through a window on the second floor, an undead female, armored and wielding two longswords.


ENGR-23 got the first move and shot the creature with a crossbow, and Txan followed up with Maximilian’s Earthen Grasp,  summoning  a hand made of compacted soil that grabbed her stopped her from moving. Peter let loose his inner Kragen Tempest, but was a bit too far away from the wight and had to settle for a thrown javelin, which connected.  About this time we realized the wight wasn’t taking full damage from our attacks.  Edwin hit the wight with another crossbow bolt, then Wick sunk 2 arrows into it’s chest.  Wick remembered that this type of creature could be harmed by silver, but didn’t want to get close enough to use his silver shortsword himself.  He tossed the sword to the ground at the top of the stairs, so that one of his more hardy friends could pick it up and put it to good use.  The wight, still restrained by Txan’s Earthen Grasp, managed to catch Wick with an arrow of her own.  Kissi dashed up to the second floor, grabbing the silver sword on the way and continued straight in to slash at the wight, who clearly felt the full force of the silver sword.

And that’s when the zombies at the front door finally burst in.  Zombies began flooding the parlor as ENGR-23 cast a Daylight spell from it’s driftglobe. Txan’s stone hand squeezed the wight a bit, while still restraining her, then he tossed a Firebolt at her for good measure, finishing her off for good.  With zombies and more wights starting to pour into the house, we retreated with Izmark and Ireena through a trap door in the ceiling on the second floor, into a cluttered attic.  ENGR-23 pulled the trap door closed behind us, but we knew it wouldn’t stop them long.  Kragen smashed a window in the attic, and we all climbed out onto the roof.  From there, we were able to climb down the outside of the house, avoid the few zombies in the back, and book it for the woods.  We decided we’d try to stay hidden in the woods until morning, then hopefully, take stock of the situation once the zombies had retreated.

We’ll see how that works out for us next week.