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.
Next up in our ongoing discussion about the various races of D&D is the Humans.
A common line I’ve seen (and I’ve had the same thought myself) is, “I play a human in real life every day, why would I want to play one in my fantasy?” But Humans do have a couple of things going or them. They have the most flexibility in terms of ability bonuses and skills. Humans don’t get anything like darkvision or natural resistances, but they do get a+1 to all stats across the board, which means they’re good for any class. There’s also an option to forgo the +1 to all stats in favor of +1 to any two stats, plus proficiency in a skill and a free Feat. Feats are optional rules that allow you to customize your character by making him/her better at certain things. Generally, you’re only allowed to take choose a feat at certain levels, and doing do takes the place of increasing your stats, so getting to start with a feat from Level 1 makes the variant Human a tempting option for an early power boost.
So, do you tend to gravitate towards human characters for extra feat, or away from them for the sake of high fantasy?
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.
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; deceased (torn to pieces by vampires) (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)
Having returned the stolen relic to the church, and still mourning the loss of Edwin, we decided to explore the town of Vallaki a bit while we figured out our next move. Our first stop was actually outside of town, at a nearby Vistani camp. The camp was situated on a hill, where we also met a group of dusk elves, led by one Kasimir Velikov, who lived there permanently. Kasimir told us that that most of the Vistani from the camp were currently searching for a missing child. He also mentioned that the Vallaki burgomaster was planning a Festival of the Blazing Sun, apparently the latest in a recent succession of festivals thrown in an effort to keep spirits up in town.
Wick offered to help find the missing girl, and Kasimir directed us to the Vistani tent at the top of the hill, where her father and uncle were. We approached the tent, and found several unconscious Vistani and several empty wine casks strewn about. Inside, a young man was being whipped by the father of the missing girl–apparently this youth was supposed to be watching the girl, Arabelle, but instead was drinking and reveling in the night. Wick immediately tried to pick up the missing girl’s trail around the tent, but there were too many tracks in the area to make out anything. Txan tried talking to Alexei, the boy being whipped, and we learned that folks from the town had visited last night, including a fisherman, a cobbler, and a “creepy toymaker.” Alexei said the fisherman was talking to a girl called Natalie, who we found asleep outside. We woke her up and she corroborated Alexei’s story, and told us the fisherman was very interested in the Vistani girls–he’d been told they were lucky. We discussed the possibility of the wine being drugged, but had no real way to test that theory. So, we headed back to town to pay a visit to the toymaker.
We entered Blinsky’s shop and noticed that his toys were all rather macabre–toy gallows, headless dolls, etc. Blinsky himself appeared from behind a large wicker ball he was painting and greeted us. ENGR-23, something of a toymaker itself, immediately engaged Blinsky in conversation about purchasing small parts for a windup lobster. Meanwhile, Wick quietly searched for any signs of Arabelle, and Txan asked some questions about the Vistani girl. In the back of the shop, Wick noticed a small doll that looked remarkably like Ireena, who we had helped to escape from the village of Barovia. Wick asked Blinksy some questions about the Ireena doll, but the toymaker would only say it was a special request. Wick decided there was something shady going on and stole the doll, despite knowing that he’d be suspected immediately. Blinsky, as creepy as he was, did not seem to have anything to do with Arabelle’s disappearance, but mentioned that he had seen Bluto the fisherman talking to the girl at the Vistani camp.
As we made our way to the lake to find the fisherman, ENGR-23 inspected the stolen Ireena doll with its Detect Magic ritual, but found no enchantments. We arrived at the lake and saw 3 boats on the shore and one out in the lake, with a lone figure sitting in the boat, holding a fishing rod. No one else was around, so we took one of the boats and rowed out to talk to the fisherman. As our boat approached, the man in the other boat tossed something in a sack in the water.
Txan dropped his gear and dove into the water after the sack, while 23 pulled our boat close enough to the other to board it. Txan just managed to grab the bag and drag it back up to the surface, but saw a shadow swim past him. Txan managed to get back into the boat, with the bag, while 23 tried to accost the fisherman. The fisherman made no move to resist, and in fact didn’t even seem to have noticed us until now. He seemed to wake from a trance, and said Mr and Mrs Silver would help him catch a fish if he caught them dinner too. Mr and Mrs Silver, who apparently lived in the lake. Two scaly merfolk creatures splashed out of the lake around the boat, and they weren’t too happy we’d spoiled their dinner plans.
And that’s where called it a night. Tune in next week to see if we can survive a battle on the open water.