AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 10

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’ll continue our fantasy race discussions and talk about Halflings.

Halfling_Welcome

Whew, it’s hard to find a decent Halfling picture that gives you a good sense of scale.  If you’re expecting Hobbits, you’re not far wrong.  D&D Halflings don’t seem to have furry feet and don’t expect to eat 7 meals a day, but otherwise they wouldn’t be out of place living in The Shire.  Generally kind and practical, Halflings are simple folk.  They have no large kingdoms or nobility, and often live peacefully among other races, particularly humans. Smaller even than Dwarves, they can’t wield large heavy weapons without disadvantage, and they can’t move quite as fast as taller races. There are 2 major Halfling subraces, Lightfoot and Stout.

Common traits to all Halflings include a +2 bonus to Dexterity, since they’re small and nimble, and they can use their size to their advantage by moving through spaces occupied by larger beings.  They’re very brave (they can resist being frightened better than other races) and unusually lucky–any time you roll a 1 on a d20, you can choose to roll again instead.  Lightfoot Halflings get an additional +1 to their Charisma score, reflecting their friendly nature, and can hide behind larger creatures.  Stout Halflings, on the other hand, get a +1 to Constitution and a poison resistance that’s similar to the Dwarf’s natural ability.

Like Elves, Halflings are a decent choice for most classes–it’d be strange to see one as a Barbarian or Wizard (though not unheard of), but the DEX bonus comes in handy for just about anyone.  Lightfoots tend to be Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and even Paladins (which all benefit from the CHA bonus), while Stouts are better suited to be Rogues, Fighters, or Rangers.

My current character is a Stout Halfling Ranger, and I’m having a great time playing him. The luck feature itself is really good, almost ensuring you’ll never critically miss your attack.  What are your favorite Halfling characters?


This weekend was Nope’s last session playing with us, as a new job is going to cut into our session time. Congratulations and well wishes to you, Nope, but we’re also losing our party’s main healer!  So, if anyone has an interest in joining our game, let us know in the comments (make sure to tag @TheHayesCode:disqus).  As a reminder, we play Saturday nights starting at 9pm EST, and sessions generally last 3 to 4 hours.

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 Zarovich) 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
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Spoilers for Curse of Strahd

vallaki

Having safely arrived in the town of Vallaki, we decided to visit the local church first, where Ireena and Izmark wanted to hole up for the time being. We walked in to find the preacher in mid-sermon. We learned that Vallaki burgomaster has been throwing festivals every couple of weeks in order to keep spirits up in town, but the people were beginning to resent it.  Some folks had even been arrested and put in stocks for speaking out against it.  The priest noticed Edwin, and asked us to remain after the service to discuss a “sensitive matter.”

After the parishioners left, the priest, Father Lucian (not to be confused with the boy Lucien we rescued from the witch), led us into his office. He told us that the holy relic of Saint Andral that protects the church had vanished, though no one in town was aware of it–the townsfolk would panic if they learned they’re protection was gone. Father Lucian asked us if we could discreetly recover the missing holy bones.  We learned that the bones were kept in a small crypt beneath the church among lots of other bones, and only the Father, an altar boy called Yeska, and a gravedigger named Milivoj would have reason to enter the space. The Father had pointed out the bones to Yeska recently, so we decided to talk to the boy first, and the priest called him into the room right away.  Yeska pretty quickly let slip that he showed the bones to Milivoj, the gravedigger.

We found Milivoj in the churchyard, where he had just finished interring the remains of the Widow Buddig.  We approached and started to talk to him, but hadn’t gotten much past “hello” when ENGR-23 suddenly grabbed the man and accused him of stealing the relic.  Luckily, Milivoj was pretty easily intimidated, and he told us he’d been hired by Hennrik (who runs the coffin shop) to steal the bones.  By this time, it was getting late, so we decided to retire to the inn and sleep before dealing with Mr. Hennrik.

Next morning, we called on the coffin shop, which was closed and locked up.  A knock at the door produced some angry yelling from inside. While 23, Txan, Peter tried to talk and threaten their way in, Wick and Edwin went around to attempt to find another entrance, but all the doors were locked. We decided ENGR-23 should pick the lock on the back door, since whoever was inside would expect us to come in the front.  The lock opened easily, but the door was also barred from the inside, so Peter and Kissi rushed the door to break it down.  The shop owner cowered against the wall and told us “they” made him take the bones–the relic was upstairs along with whatever creatures had wanted them.

Hennrik told us the bones were hidden in his wardrobe and that “they” should be sleeping in a storeroom across the hall, packed in crates of earth.  So we knew we were dealing with vampires, or vampire spawn.  We were told there were 6 of them, and that they may have once been a party of adventurers themselves before Strahd turned them.  We decided that was too many to face, so Wick offered to sneak upstairs and into the wardrobe without waking them.  A creaky floorboard at the top of the stairs nearly gave him away, and Wick felt as if someone was watching him through the keyhole.  But the door stayed closed.  Wick made it to the wardrobe, but it appeared to be empty, until he found a false panel at the bottom.  Inside there was a sack of bones and small coin purse, which Wick pocketed.

On his way back down, Wick caught some soft giggling coming from the storage room, but he handed the relic over to Edwin.  Suspicious, Edwin cast Detect Evil and Good and discovered that these bones were not the holy relic we were looking for. Suddenly, a pale, laughing gnome with sharp teeth emerged from the shadows. The gnome offered to trade us the relic, but would only deal Edwin, the cleric.  She pretended to whisper in Edwin’s ear, but it was really just a sneak attack! She bit Edwin’s neck and dragged him back up the stairs, slamming the storeroom door shut behind her.  Peter and 23 started trying to hack and burn through the door, but the sounds of a vampiric feeding frenzy were enough to convince Txan and Wick that there were too many of them in there for us to take on.  But the enraged professor and the Warforged were soon through the door and into the storeroom.  As the room filled with smoke from the fire, we saw a handful of shadows leap out of the window, leaving a large pool of blood behind.

We made our way back to the church, heartbroken and angry, to return the relic.  ENGR-23 confronted the old priest, but there was nothing we could have done.  RIP Edwin Potts, Cleric of Torm.  Man, what a way to go out.

Edwin Potts

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