AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 16

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.

We’ve reached the end of our fantasy race discussions with the Tiefling.

tieflin

Tieflings come from a mix of human and demonic bloodlines.  They have horns on their heads of various shapes and sizes, long pointed tails, skin that is one of many shades of red, and pupil-less eyes of solid color.  Though not necessarily evil, they are rare and often looked upon with suspicion by members of other races.  Tieflings can naturally see well in the dark and are resistant to fire, thanks to their fiendish heritage.  They also have the ability to cast certain spells innately, beginning with Thaumaturgy at first level and gaining Hellish Rebuke at third and Darkness at fifth level.  They get a +1 bonus to Intelligence and a +2 to Charisma.  With those stat bonuses, Tieflings are best suited to be spell-casters, particularly Warlocks, Sorcerers, or Bards.

What, if any, Tiefling characters have you played?


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)
    [collapse]
Spoilers for Curse of Strahd

We picked up this week having just fought our way out of the city of Vallaki, leaving a wounded and now one-armed (again) guard captain called Izek behind.  We decided to finally try and kill the witch Morgantha, who had captured (and maybe eaten) our porter as we passed by her windmill home on our way to Vallaki previously.  But Txan thought it’d be a good idea to try and do some recon first, by visiting the Vistani seer, Eva.

ravens

So we headed that way, but as it was late and we were pretty exhausted from our recent battle, we made camp in the woods. Kissi took the first watch, followed by Wick, then ENGR-23.  The night passed uneventfully, though we could hear wings and caws from the trees overhead, and what sounded like a tussle between wolves and birds of some sort during Wick’s watch.  As the next day dawned, we saw hundreds of ravens perched in the trees around us.  The birds didn’t bother us, but it was slightly ominous, so we decided to leave as quickly as possible to find the seer.  As left camp, Peter noticed a fresh smear of blood on some leaves.  We decided to follow the trail after a brief debate.

We followed the trail to the top of a ravine.  Looking down we could see a black shape lying in the shallow water at the bottom.  As we watched several ravens flew off from the thing, and we could make out a massive dire wolf in the process of being pecked clean.  It seems like the ravens may have protected our camp from the dire wolf, or it may have just been a coincidence.  We left the birds to their meal and headed for the seer’s camp.  As we crossed through the mountains on our way towards the camp (which was back near the village of Barovia), we could see the ravens in the distance, following us.  Eventually we passed through the gate into the capital region, and made our way south to the Vistani camp near Tser Pool.  We finally lost sight of the ravens as we entered the encampment.

madameva

A group of Vistani near the central bonfire of the camp pointed us to Madam Eva’s tent.  The seer was peering into her crystal ball as we entered, and naturally, seemed to know we were coming.  Eva immediately freaked out Peter with her knowledge of his other half, Kragen Tempest.  She offered us guidance in our confrontation with Strahd in the form of a reading.  She said she needed each of us to give her something important to us. Wick gave his lucky tricorner hat; Kissi, her favorite gnome-made toy; Cara, a fancy folding fan; Peter, an old Greek ring; ENGR-23, its half-finished mechanical lobster; and Txan, his hammer.  Then Eva shuffled a deck of cards and laid 5 out on the table, and turned them over one by one.  This is what she said:

“This card tells of history, where you may find ancient knowledge that will help you better understand your enemy.”
She turns the card.
“Ah, the nine of stars. The Conjurer! What you seek lies in a dead village, long drowned by a river. It is a place one of you knows well. And it is ruled by one who brought great evil into this world.”
“Next…there is in this world a holy symbol of great hope. A powerful symbol of good and protection.”
She turns the next card.
“Ah! I see Castle Ravenloft…but no…it is the castle, but…NOT the castle. It shines amber and gold, but it is in darkness, beneath a mountain.
“And last…oh, you’ll like this one, I think. A sword. A sword that shines like the sun itself.”
She turns the third card. “Ah, it lies at the crossroads of life and death, among the buried dead.”
“Now, this fourth card is a little different. It tells not of a thing, but a person–a person who may help you in the fight.”
She turns the fourth card. The other cards were numbered cards, but this is a face card. It displays a slavering wolf.
“There is in this realm a werewolf whose heart swells with hatred for the land’s master. You may turn her to your advantage.”
She cocks her head. “Though of course, she is a werewolf…I also see paths where one of you becomes her dinner.”
“This last card will help me see where your meeting with our land’s ruler will take place.”
She turns the final card. It shows a king.
“Ah…you shall come to him as an audience-seeker does. You shall find him upon his throne.”
She sweeps the cards back into her hands.1

After the reading, which offered up plenty of new leads for us to follow, we asked Eva what she knew of Morgantha, the witch.  Eva told us that Morgantha lived with her 2 daughters in the old windmill–so there were 3 witches in that place, enough to form a coven. The only real advice she could offer was not to face all three at once.

Peter then questioned Eva about cursed Barovian artifacts, specifically if she knew of any such items that contained violent spirits. Eva asked to see the item, or to speak with Kragen directly.  Kragen emerged, and we learned that he’d been locked away in a statue by an old cleric.  Kragen made it clear that he wasn’t happy being stuck inside the Professor, and Eva suggested the possibility of finding a more suitable host for him, but said that she did not have that sort of power.  As Kragen tried to leave the tent and strike out on his own (taking Peter with him), Txan cast his Stonehand spell, but Kragen was too strong for the spell to hold him.  Luckily, there was a party starting up in the camp outside, with plenty of strong Vistani wine to be had.  Kragen stared drinking heavily while Wick tried to convince him to stick around with us for a chance to kill Strahd. Kragen eventually agreed, after bonding a bit with Kissi over fishing, and even consented to give control back to Peter every couple of days.  Then he finished off a barrel of wine and passed out.

And that’s where we ended.  We’re all at Level 5 now!  Tune in next time to see if we can  successfully destroy Morgantha and her coven.

[collapse]

As a side note, we decided to take next week off from the game, since a couple of us (myself included) won’t able to play.  I’ll still put up a discussion thread for those that wanna chat about other games, of course!