AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 14

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’s discussion topic is the Half-Elf race.


Half-Elves tend to split the difference between their Elven and human parents, but don’t really belong with either.  Half-Elf characters get some of the same traits that full Elves do.  They can see in the dark, they can’t be put to sleep by magic (though they do still require sleep, unlike their Elf ancestors), and they resist being charmed by others.  On the other hand, Half-Elves get some of the versatility of their human side.  A Half-Elf gets a +2 bonus to their Charisma score and an additional +1 to any other two stats, as well proficiency with any two skills. Like with humans, their versatility makes them a good choice for any class, though the CHA bonus and skill choices make them ideal Bards and jack-of-all-trades Rogues.  Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Paladins also benefit from the CHA bonus.

What’s your experience with Half-Elves, and how would you play them differently than a human or elf 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.

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)

I actually had to miss the game this week, because I was off spending quality time with my family.  I wrote up the following recap based on the chat logs in Roll20.  For the folks who were there, if I missed anything important, let me know in the comments!

Spoilers for Curse of Strahd


During the Festival of the Blazing Sun, we had 2 main objectives.  First, we wanted to do some investigating about the Ireena-doll that Wick found at (and stole from) Blinsky’s toy shop.  Second, we wanted to see if Vargas, the burgomaster of Vallaki, had any connection to Strahd.  On top of that, ENGR-23 had been named grand marshal of the festival, and therefore its presence was required for the parade and other festivities.  We decided to split up for a while.

Txan went to find Blinsky to ask about who had commissioned that creepy doll from him. Blinsky was at the front of the parade putting the finishing touches on his large and off-putting wicker sun (which was to be burned at the climax of the festival).  While ENGR-23 was draped with streamers and flowers, Txan spoke with the toymaker.  He learned that the doll was the latest in a long line of Ireena-dolls commissioned by a man named Izek, the captain of the burgomaster’s guards.  Blinsky also mentioned that he had told Izek that Wick had seemed interested in the doll and that it had gone missing shortly afterwards.  (Wick should probably lay low for a bit–Izek doesn’t sound like a friendly man.)


Meanwhile, the rest of the team went to poke around the burgomaster’s mansion. With preparations for the festival in full swing, lots of people were going in and out, so Peter, Cara, Kissi, and Wick were able to walk right into the house without much trouble and begin searching.  The kitchen and dining areas were being used to prepare food for the festival, so the group continued to the upper floor. The first door was locked, but Wick was able to pick the lock without issue.1 The door opened into someone’s bedroom, which was full of creepy dolls that looked more or less like Ireena.  Cara tried a Detect Good and Evil spell, but none of the dolls appeared to be cursed in anyway. We backed out and made sure to relock the door behind us.

Across the hall was the burgomaster’s library.  We spent some time going through the books there, but didn’t find any information linking Vargas to Strahd.  It was beginning to gate late, and starting to drizzle as we made our way to the other two doors in the upper hallway.  One opened onto an ordinary bedroom with nothing interesting inside.  The other turned out to be a closet where a man in a loincloth was chained up.  The man had been beaten badly.  He told us the burgomaster had imprisoned him after a recent festival where he had been seen with a sign saying “Feed the Burgomaster to the Wolves.”  Cara healed the man’s wounds, and Wick tried to unlock the chains but failed.2  Peter decided to try and break the chains with his sledgehammer.  After a few strikes, the chains weren’t breaking–Peter was getting frustrated.  He let out a yell and released Kragen Tempest for another swing at the chains.  This time they broke, but Kragen made enough noise to attract the attention of the maid.  The loinclothed prisoner bolted from the house, followed by the maid, both heading toward the town square.  The party rushed out of the house to meet up with Txan and exchange information.  Then, together, we made our way to the festival to find ENGR-23 in the parade.

We arrived just as the parade reached its endpoint, where the burgomaster meant to light Blinsky’s sun on fire.  Just as he gave he order, however, thunder burst overhead and it began to downpour. With his plans ruined for now, Vargas determined that the next festival would be even better.  We’d lost sight of the burgomaster’s prisoner and the maid, and as the townsfolk began to return to their homes through the pouring rain, we decided to go back to the church to warn Ireena about her stalker.

I think it’s about time we got out of Vallaki for a bit.  Between the guard captain’s unhealthy Ireena fixation (that he suspects we know about) and the burgomaster surely finding out his prisoner escaped (with help from a group of outsiders), the town may not be so welcoming anymore.  Our plan was to head back east to see the Vistani fortune-teller and dispose of a witch after the festival.  Tune in next week to see if we can leave town before being arrested.