AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 24

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 tabletop 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.

Find a shadowy corner to hide in and sharpen your favorite dagger, because this week is all about the Rogue.

catwoman

Stealthy, agile, and not too concerned with personal property laws, Catwoman is the perfect example of the Rogue class.  Rogues can be thieves, assassins, or con artists, but they generally rely on stealth and skill gain the upper hand in combat, as opposed to brute strength.  They tend to favor small, easily concealed weapons like knives or daggers, and they know how to strike their target at the right time and in the most vulnerable areas.  They’ve honed their reflexes to a degree that allows them to escape dangerous situations easily, allowing them to strike and then slip away from a target to avoid retaliation.  All Rogues know a secret language called Thieves’ Cant, which allows them to talk to each other without fear of being overheard.  Additionally, all Rogues know how to use Thieves’ tools to open a locked door or disarm a trap.
dwarfrogueAt third level, a Rogue will choose an archetype that defines their particular area of expertise.  The options are as follows:

  • Thief–focus on the picking of both pockets and locks
  • Assassin–use stealth and disguise to surprise and eliminate enemies
  • Arcane Trickster–use illusion and enchantment magic to enhance their abilities
  • Inquisitive–spymaster who excels at uncovering secrets and plots
  • Mastermind–focus on manipulating others through deceit and intrigue
  • Scout–skilled in wilderness survival and stealth
  • Swashbuckler–a dashing duelist, relying on elegance and charm (along with some fancy footwork)

Rogue Build

Quintin Stonecrest, Half-Elf Rogue (Swashbuckler), Level 3

quintin

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

Skill/tool proficiencies: History, Persuasion, Acrobatics (Expertise), Deception, Perception, Sleight of Hand (Expertise), Stealth, Insight; Thieves’ tools

Weapons: Shortsword, dagger

Armor: Leather armor, AC = 14

Alignment: Chaotic Good

Background: Noble
The birth of Lord and Lady Stonecrest’s fifth child caused a minor scandal, as the boy’s lightly pointed ears seemed to confirm some rumors of infidelity on the lady’s part during a recent visit from some Elvish nobles.  Lord Stonecrest wasn’t a cruel man–he provided young Quintin with the same education and up-bringing as his half-siblings, but studiously avoided any discussion of Quintin’s parentage.  When he grew old enough, Quintin was quietly sent off to live with his maternal grandmother, whose late husband had owned a small silver mine.  Quintin grew up wanting for very little.  His grandmother doted on him, and eventually named him heir to the silver mine, though he had very little interest in the business.  His only real interest was swordplay.  One night a thief broke into the manor, attempting to steal his grandmother’s jewels.  Quintin surprised the rogue and, seeing an opportunity for adventure, told the thief he’d go free if he promised to teach Quintin everything he knew.  Quintin left the manor a few weeks later, eager to test his skills.  He’s not motivated to thievery by greed, but by the challenge of it.

As a Half-Elf Rogue, Quintin as proficiency in 8 different skills, and gets double his proficiency bonus in 2 of those.  His Elven heritage also grants him advantage against being charmed, darkvision, and an immunity to magically induced sleep.  As a 3rd level Rogue, he can Sneak Attack once per turn, adding 2d6 to his normal weapon damage, provided he has advantage on his attack (from any source) or has ally in melee range of his target.  As a Swashbuckler, he can also use his Sneak Attack when fighting alone, as long as no other creatures are close to him.  He can also move away from an enemy he’s attacked without using his bonus action to Disengage, which allows him to make off-hand attacks with his dagger and still avoid attacks of opportunity.  Finally, Quintin’s boundless confidence gives him a bonus to initiative rolls equal to his CHA modifier.  Quintin would probably want to take the Dual Wielder feat as soon as possible, to increase his AC and allow him to use more powerful weapons.

[collapse]


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 left off after a short session last week having explored most of the first floor of the ruin at Argynvostholt.  We decided to check out the upper floors before moving through the fancy stained glass doors in the dining hall.  We went up the stars in the main entry hall to the second floor.  There were doors leading south, north, and east, and two alcoves to the east covered by curtains, one of which was rippling.  We decided to check out the southern doors first, figuring that’s most likely where any spiders that escaped the fire we set below would end up.

spiders

The door opened to an old bedchamber, with one wall open to the elements, and sure enough 3 angry giant spiders.  Peter burst into the room and swatted the biggest spider twice with his sledgehammer, while Cara cast Bless on Txan and Kissi (and screamed about spiders).  Kissi followed Peter into the room with Cara’s blessing guiding the Sun Blade to strike the same spider and kill it. The remaining two spiders attacked, and while Kissi was able to block with her shield, Peter was bitten by the spider’s venomous fangs.  Luckily, he’d built up a tolerance to spider venom over years of working in old ruins and tombs.  ENGR joined the fray and scored a hit on one spider, and Wick followed up with 3 arrows, pinning it to the ground with a lucky shot.  Txan swung his hammer at the last spider, earning a glancing blow.  The spider proved too fast for Peter’s follow-up, avoiding both of his attacks.  Kissi’s sword did a bit better, and she jumped in front of Peter to protect him from the spider. The spider shot Kissi with it’s web, sticking her to the wall.  ENGR used a Sacred Flame scroll to scorch the spider, but it was still hanging on.  Wick put it out of its misery, then Peter freed Kissi from the web.  There was nothing really interesting in the room, so Cara patched up Peter’s wounds and we moved on.

A little ways down the hall was another door, which Txan opened onto an identical ruined bedchamber.  There was a single spider, curled up on the bed, literally under the covers.  It was apparently alive, but didn’t attack right away.  This was rather odd, so ENGR used another scroll to cast Speak with Animals.  We learned that the spider hadn’t seen a dragon, but there were apparently some undead entities in the ruin somewhere, mostly ‘up top.’  He also told us there were more through the stained glass doors.  ENGR promised the spider we’d leave it alone, and it was more than content to eat the remains of its sisters.  We left it behind and continued our search of the second floor.

Moving back to the eastern part of the main hall, Wick peeked behind the rippling curtain we’d noticed earlier.  Behind the curtain was a white marble pedestal with something on top covered by black cloth.  Txan used his Mage Hand to pull the cloth without getting too close, revealing Txan’s own disembodied head! Peter and ENGR inspected the head carefully.  It looked and felt like a real head, but heavier than expected.  We assumed it was some sort of illusion magic, but nothing bad seemed to happen when we picked it up.

After that disturbing find, Wick opened up a door into an inner chamber to find a room with a clawfoot bathtub.  Another inner door turned out to be a storeroom, long since looted of anything valuable.  Water had pooled on the floor, apparently having dripped from above.  We continued eastward, finding a balcony overlooking the chapel below, with a couple of spiral stairways leading down.  There was a wooden throne between the two doors on the upper level.  Peering over the edge of the balcony, Wick could see the chapel’s alter and the stained glass windows behind it.  One of the windows was broken, letting in a cold fog.  There were three armored figures kneeling before the alter.  Txan decided to try sitting on the throne, thinking perhaps that knights below would follow his commands if he sat there.   The rest of us spread out along the balcony.  Txan addressed the knights below–and they groaned, snarled, and drew their swords.  The revenants immediately started up the stairs, and we scrambled to change positions.  Peter and Wick covered one side, while Txan and Kissi covered the other.

knights

As the knights started up the stairs, Cara cast Protection from Evil on Peter.  A Lithe Revenant reached the top of the north stair and swung his broadsword at Kissi.  Kissi took the first hit, but blocked the second with her shield. Txan teleported to Kissi’s side and attacked the Lithe Revenant with his hammer, but missed.  He then let out a Thunderwave, hoping to knock the revenant back down the stairs.  He dealt a little damage, but the revenant was too strong to be knocked down, and it’s wounds seemed to heal.  Wick tried to use his Ensnaring Strike against a Big Revenant to the south, but it was too strong to be restrained.  Two of Wick’s arrow hit him, but the revenant barely noticed.  ENGR’s crossbow bolt flew wide, and Peter released Kragen Tempest and attacked the Big Revenant with his hammer, hitting it once.  A third Rusty Revenant couldn’t get up the stairway around the Big one.  Meanwhile, Kissi was swinging the Sun Blade at the Lithe Revenant attacking her.  She hit twice (the second was a massive blow), and the sword’s magic seared the undead knight.  Those wounds stayed open.

The Big one attacked Kragen, but Cara’s protection spell helped him avoid one hit, and his own rage protected him from the next.  Cara cast a Sacred Flame on the knight attacking Peter, scorching it a bit. Kragen shrugged off another hit, and Txan fired off some Magic Missiles into the knight attacking Kissi, then backed away.  Wick hit the Big Revenant with another Ensnaring Strike, and this time he was wrapped up in vines, giving everyone advantage on their attacks and keeping the stairway blocked so the third knight couldn’t get up.  ENGR shot another bolt at the Big one, then Kragen smacked it twice with his hammer. Rusty started back down the stairs and out of sight. Across the way, Kissi’s Sun Blade carved up some more undead flesh, as she blocked the revenant’s return swings.  Cara tried to burn the Big one again, but against all odds it avoided the Sacred Flame, even tied up.  The revenant then glared at Wick and filled his head with nightmarish visions, causing the Halfling to be paralyzed with fear–this broke his concentration and the vines holding the revenant in place disappeared.  Txan threw a Firebolt against the Big guy and also launched another salvo of Magic Missiles.  Peter’s hammer crashed down on the Big guy twice more as well.

Kissi’s next swipe at the Lithe knight was deflected, and she nearly fell down the stairs, but recovered and was able to deal another solid hit to the knight.  The Lithe knight was still standing and hit Kissi back, but then over balanced and fell down the stairs itself.

We had to end there, because it was getting super late.  We’ll have to wait until next time to see if we can survive this battle. To sum up, Kissi is kicking major undead ass with the Sun Blade and blocking one stairway; Peter/Kragen is soaking up damage and blocking the other; Cara is alternating between keeping the two of them alive and burning the revenants with holy fire; Txan and ENGR-23 are plunking away with spells and crossbow bolts; and Wick is currently paralyzed with fear as he relives some traumatic moments of his past.  Of the 3 revenant knights, the Lithe one just fell downstairs and seems close to death, the Big one is standing toe-to-toe with Kragen Tempest, and the Rusty one is currently MIA.  We’re doing great!

[collapse]