AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 20

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 table-top RPGs that you nerds 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.

Sharpen your swords and strap on your armor, because this week’s discussion topic is the Fighter.

boromir

There’s no shortage of Fighters depicted in movies and television.  Boromir from LOTR, Worf in Star Trek, Captain America and War Machine in the MCU, pretty much every knight in Game of Thrones–generally speaking, if you’re not using magic, you can be a Fighter.  The base Fighter class is almost certainly the simplest class in the game.  The Fighter gets to use any weapon and any armor, has only a few abilities that require any sort of resource management, and doesn’t need to worry about learning, preparing, or casting spells.  In combat, most Fighters will do one thing–attack!  And they are very good at it–at the highest levels, the Fighter can make 3 or 4 attacks per round.  Even first-level Fighters have an edge, specializing in certain fighting styles depending the type of weapons they prefer, whether that be a sword and shield, a two-handed greataxe, or a bow-and-arrow.  Fighters also have a unique ability called Action Surge, which allows them to take a second action on their turn–this can be used to do whatever you want including making more attacks.  Fighters also get more ASIs than any other class, which means they’ll be able to max out their stats sooner and have more opportunities to take Feats (if allowed in the game).  Feats can be a big power boost, and allow for more specialized or customized characters.

femalefighter

Another way Fighters can distinguish themselves is through the variety of Martial Archetypes.  At 3rd level, the Fighter chooses one of several Archetypes to follow, depending on how they choose to use their skills.  The options are:

  • Champion–focus on raw physical power
  • Battle Master–studies combat academically to learn a variety of powerful maneuvers
  • Eldritch Knight–learns to enhance their combat effectiveness with spells
  • Arcane Archer–focus on ranged fighting techniques, with magically enhanced arrows
  • Cavalier–master of mounted combat
  • Samurai–a warrior of implacable spirit and unshakeable resolve
  • Purple Dragon Knight (aka Banneret)–a noble knight who is an inspiration to those that follow them

Fighter Build

Threnody, Tiefling Fighter (Eldritch Knight), Level 3

threnody

Stats:  STR 14, DEX 12, CON 15, INT 13(+1), WIS 8, CHA 10(+2)

Skill/tool proficiencies: Acrobatics, Athletics, Performance, Intimidation

Weapons: Longsword

Armor: Chain mail and shield, AC = 18

Spells: Cantrips: Thaumaturgy,1 Mage Hand, Fire Bolt; Level 1: Shield, Thunderwave, Longstrider; Level 2: Hellish Rebuke2

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral

Background: Gladiator
Abandoned as an infant due to his demonic heritage, Threnody was raised as a fighter in coliseums and arenas all over the world.  His dark red skin, glowing yellow eyes, curled horns, and long tail made him a frightening sight on the battlefield, even as a young man.  His natural talent with a blade made him even more dangerous.  Threnody’s closest friend was the apprentice of his sponsor in the fighting pits, a powerful wizard.  The apprentice recognized Threnody’s natural demonic magic and taught him to use it to augment his already formidable talent for combat.  When the wizard found out her apprentice was spreading the secrets of magic outside of the academy, she cast her into the fighting pits herself.  Threnody protected his friend, and the two eventually escaped together.

Threnody’s preferred equipment is his longsword and shield, so he’d choose the Dueling fighting style at first level, which increases his damage when using a single, one-handed weapon.  He’s able to draw on his reserves of stamina to regain a small amount of HP, and can push himself beyond his normal limits briefly with his Action Surge.  He’ll need at least a short time to recover after using either of those abilities.  As an Eldritch Knight, he’s learned spells that will boost his defenses, give him some ranged attack options, and increase his movement speed.  He has also learned to form a magical bond with his sword, which prevents him from being disarmed and allows him to instantly teleport the sword to his hand if he is away from it.  As a Tiefling, Threnody is resistant to fire, and for the first of many ASIs, he could increase his CON score through a Feat that would make him resistant to cold and poison as well.

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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)
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Spoilers for Curse of Strahd

cart

We picked up this week having just defeated Morgantha and one of her 2 daughters in their windmill home (the other escaped).  We had recovered our old cart from the hags, but there were no draft horses to pull it.  We decided to head back towards Vallaki, with the stronger party members, Txan, Kissi, Peter, and ENGR, pulling the cart while Cara and Wick walked with the two children we rescued, Ada and Freek.  On our way along the road, Peter and Wick suddenly heard a cackling sound from the bushes and noticed that the trees above were rustling despite the lack of wind. Wick quickly got the children under the cart for cover, and was about to climbing into the trees, when we were suddenly pelted with hail.  Someone was hiding in the brush and had hit us with an Ice Storm spell, dealing a substantial amount of damage and leaving a large area of treacherous ice and snow on the ground.

ENGR, not really knowing what was going on, used an emergency scroll to cast Bless on Txan, Kissi, and Peter, while Carabelle gave Kissi an additional boost to her defense with a Resistance cantrip.  Angry after getting hit with the hail stones, Kragen Tempest charged into the brush to attack whoever had cast the spell.  Kragen was expecting to see the hag who had escaped at the windmill, but instead found a wild-haired old man who nimbly dodged Kragen’s blows.  The old man, laughing, cast another spell and turned Peter into a rabbit! Txan used his own magic to quickly cast his Earthen Grasp, restraining the old man in a giant stone hand, then caught him with a blow from his hammer, dishing out some of the cold damage he’d absorbed from the Ice Storm for good measure.  The crack on the head was enough for the old man to lose his concentration, and Peter was freed from his rabbit form–unfortunately knocking Txan backwards as he returned to normal shape, and almost bowling over Kissi as well.  Wick rolled out from behind the cart and hit the old man with 3 arrows–but then a whole bunch of tiny, twig creatures fell on us from the canopy above!
twigblight

The creatures fell on Txan, and bit him with venomous teeth.  Luckily, Txan’s stony skin was able to resist to the poison.  Kissi lit up the Sun Blade and attacked the old man, slashing at his chest, then running him straight through the heart. Txan was still swarmed by the twig creatures, so ENGR cast a Shield of Faith on him.  Cara called down a Sacred Flame on the wooden swarm, burning several of them, and sending more running off into the woods.  Kragen turned and started recklessly swinging his sledgehammer into the swarm.  He managed to scatter the swarm, knocking the last creature off the top of Txan’s head and into the brush (luckily without harming Txan himself in the process).

We searched the body of the druid and found a couple of potions, as well as a scroll with strange writing and a picture of large black, twisted tree.  Carabelle recognized the writing as the Sylvan language and was able to translate it as: “Need for ceremony: decent dagger, acorns, victims, wine.”  With a note that said “try usual spot” under the word “victims.”  “Acorns” was crossed out–it appeared he had already gathered enough of those.  No one had any idea what sort ceremony the old druid might have been planning, so we continued on our way back to Vallaki.  The guards at the gate recognized us, but didn’t try to stop us from entering the town. We parked our cart at the stockyard, and sold off some of the tarnished jewels we’d found in the windmill.  We learned that burgomaster had burned us in effigy, but the furor had died down after a bit.  It seemed that burgomaster had lost his taste for festivals, and another noble, Lady Wachter, had taken over most of the running of the town.

ENGR-23 decided to stay and with the cart for the night, while the rest of us booked rooms at the inn. Wick visited the church to check in on Ireena–she was still there and seemed well.  She told him that Izek hadn’t been seen since our battle, and the word around town was that he was still recovering from his wound in the burgomaster’s house.  Peter and Kissi ordered drinks at the inn, where they learned that wine was in short supply due to an extremely late shipment.  The innkeeper, Urwin, had no idea what was keeping the shipment, but said we could check it out for ourselves if we were heading west. Word of Morgantha’s demise had traveled fast, and the innkeeper let us drink for free for getting rid of the witch.

We also learned from Urwin that a circle of druids who worshiped Strahd met in a place to the far west called Yester Hill. It seemed likely that the old man we had encountered on the road was one of them.  Urwin and his wife agreed to take Ada and Freek in, so they’d be safe in the town.  And with that we retired to our rooms for the night, and ended the session there.

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