AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 13

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, let’s talk about Gnomes.


Gnomes are small creatures, about the same size a Halfling, and tend to live underground in hilly woodland areas.  They’re often presented as engineers, inventors, tinkerers, jewelers, researchers, or sages.  Due to their underground dwellings, all gnomes can see in the dark the same way that Dwarves can.  Gnomes natural cunning makes it easier for them to resist certain magical effects, giving them advantage on all INT, WIS, and CHA saving throws against spells.  All gnomes also start with a +2 bonus to their Intelligence scores.

Gnomes can be divided into 2 subraces, Rock Gnomes and Forest Gnomes. Rock Gnomes are the type found in the Dragonlance books–they’re primarily inventors and tinkerers.  Rock Gnomes get a +1 bonus to Constitution and have expert knowledge of magical items, alchemical objects, and technological devices.  They’re also naturally proficient when using Tinker’s tools and can use those tools to create small mechanical devices, such as a clockwork toy, a music box, or a fire starter.  Forest Gnomes, on the other hand, are more akin to David the Gnome (though not quite so tiny).  Forest Gnomes get a +1 to Dexterity and can naturally speak with small forest animals.  They are also automatically know the Minor Illusion spell.

Either Gnome subrace is well-suited to the Wizard class, because of their INT bonus.  They also make pretty good Rogues (especially the Arcane Trickster type) or Bards, since both types get a decent distraction ability.  The Forest Gnomes’ ability to speak with animals might make them appealing as Druids as well.  For some reason, I can’t really imagine a Gnome warrior of any kind.  Have you ever played a Gnome as a martial character?

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.

This week we welcomed a new player, the one and only Wafflicious!

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; 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)
  • Carabelle Longstride, a Halfling Cleric of Lathander; a Southern-accented American on a personal mission of her own (Wafflicious)
Spoilers for Curse of Strahd


We started off this week having spent the night in the Blue Water Inn in Vallaki.  We discussed our options a bit, and decided to pay a visit to the dusk elves that we met previously.  On our way out of town, we noticed a bit of commotion in the square, so we decided to check it out.  There were several townspeople locked in the stocks, each wearing a wooden donkey head. The guards were struggling with a halfling, who was apparently being imprisoned for not being happy during the Festival of the Blazing Sun.  Wick, who was surprised to see another halfling, tried bribing the guard to let her go, but the guard proved incorruptible.  However, ENGR-23 had another plan. The Warforged grabbed one of the donkey masks, put it on, and started dancing for the prisoners, hoping to make them laugh.  Since they were locked up for not being festive, it seemed logical that making them merry would mean they could go free.  Luckily, Txan is pretty persuasive and managed to make the guards see that logic the same way.

And that’s how we met Carabelle Longstride, a young American halfling with a southern accent.  She told us she was looking for “someone, or something” and spreading the word of her god as she goes.  We invited her to join us as we made our way to the dusk elves’ hill.

The elves live inside the hill on which the Vistani camp was situated. The first time we approached, most of the elves had been away searching for the Vistani girl.  Now that she was safe, we saw more elves around the hill, but noticed that there were no children, and seemingly no women.  We knocked on the door of Kasimir Velikov, the elf we had spoken to previously.


Kasimir invited us in for duskweed tea, and we discussed the current state of political affairs in Barovia, and determined that we all seemed to be on the same page as to our stance on the Count.  Kasimir then told us about his deceased sister, Patrina, who was married to Strahd long ago and whose spirit may or may not still be lingering within the castle.  Kasimir asked us to accompany him to a temple in the mountains, where he hoped to find a way to restore his sister to life, and also weaken Strahd’s grip in the country. He had dreams of a hidden god, behind walls of amber.  He also told us that the leader of the Vistani camp was working for Strahd, but that he believed other Vistani encampments, in particular the one to the east, were free of his influence.

It would be a week or two before Kasimir could be ready to set out on this expedition into the mountains.  In the meantime, with the help of our new cleric friend, Cara, we decided to track down the seer Madam Eva at the Vistani camp to the east.  Since following the road there would mean passing by the witch Morgantha’s windmill, we decided it was time to deal with her as well.  However, we agreed it would be best to start that journey in the morning, and headed back to Vallaki to partake in the Festival of the Blazing Sun.


The guards at the gate recognized 23 from its impromptu performance earlier, and to our surprise, said that the burgomaster wanted to meet the machine that brought so much joy to the townsfolk.  While Kissi and Cara went off to the inn, Peter and Wick accompanied 23 to the burgomaster’s mansion.  The burgomaster of Vallaki, Vargas, was a cheerful man, with a cheerful wife, and 2 very angry-looking mastiffs.  Vargas told us that he had thrown festival after festival to prove to Strahd that he couldn’t break Vallaki’s spirit.  Vargas planned to burn Blinsky’s large wicker sun during the upcoming festival.  He said the ‘blazing sun’ would be bright enough for Strahd to see from his castle, and invited ENGR-23 to lead the festivities as grand marshal.  We accepted, feeling that something bad might happen before the end of the night.  As we left the mansion, we saw a heavily armored man, with one arm that appeared to end in sharp claws, who gave us a bit of side eye as he entered.

And that’s where we left off.  Tune in next time to see what excitement awaits us at the Festival of the Blazing Sun!