AvocaD&D and Tabletop RPG Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 25

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.

Tap into the arcane energy within yourself, because it’s time to discuss the Sorcerer.

elsaSorcerers are magic-users, but rather than learning magic from a book or being granted power from a deity, their power is simply innate.  Like Queen Elsa, magic is just something that the Sorcerer is born with.  A Sorcerer will learn less than half the number of spells that a Wizard can over the course of their career, but they make up for that in a couple of ways.  First, Sorcerers can tap into their innate well of magic to create more spell slots, or use spell slots to increase the level of the font of magic within.  Second, they can use that same inner source of magic to alter their spells in a variety of ways, from making them more powerful, to increasing their range or duration, to splitting a spell effect in two.  Like most spell-casters, Sorcerers aren’t likely to be found in the front lines.  Rather, their role in combat it to blast enemies from afar.  Also, since they control their power through sheer will, they generally have high CHA scores, so they’re pretty good in social encounters.

sorcerer

What sets an individual Sorcerer apart from another is the origin of their power.  Most Sorcerers can trace their lineage back to a certain other-worldly being whose magic has infused their bloodline.  When creating a Sorcerer, a player chooses one of these Sorcerous Origins beginning at level 1:

  • Draconic Bloodline–your bloodline is mixed with that of a powerful dragon
  • Wild Magic–you can channel pure chaos magic
  • Divine Soul–you’re descended from a deity or some other celestial being
  • Shadow Magic–your bloodline traces back to a creature from the Shadowfell
  • Storm Sorcery–your magic stems from a connection to elemental air itself

Sorcerer Build

Auric Weatherbeard, Hill Dwarf Sorcerer (Storm), Level 3

weatherbeard

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

Skill/tool proficiencies: Arcana, Intimidation, Medicine, Religion; Herbalism kit, Smith’s tools

Weapons: Handaxe

Armor: None, AC = 12

Spells: Cantrips: Lightning Lure, Gust, Thunderclap, Dancing Lights; Level 1: Thunderwave, Witch Bolt, Fog Cloud; Level 2: Shatter

Alignment: Chaotic Good

Background: Hermit
To the human villagers, the old dwarf on the hill near their town had always been there, and was simply known as “Old Weatherbeard.”  The dwarf lived alone on the hill, and didn’t often enjoy the company of any visitors.  Weatherbeard spent his days tending his herbs and watching the skies.  His gruff appearance and personality, along with the rumors that he could control the weather on the hilltop, meant that many of the villagers grew up being more than a little afraid of the Dwarf.  Weatherbeard himself did very little to discourage that fear, but he would occasionally warn the villagers of coming storms, and he had been known to make potions and salves to heal injuries or cure poisons when needed.  It was a great shock to many when Weatherbeard showed up in the village one day.  He went straight to the elder’s house to ask her to look after his herbs for awhile.  He’d received a dark portent from the winds, and had to travel over the mountains back to his homeland for the first time in 200 years.

As a Hill Dwarf, Weatherbeard has Darkvision and resistance to most poisons.  He also gets one extra hit point each time he levels up, which helps make up a bit for his low hit dice and armor class.  As a 3rd level Sorcerer, he knows 4 cantrips and 4 spells of 1st or 2nd level. Weatherbeard’s spells are generally related to wind, lightning, and thunder. He can use 6 spells before needing to rest to recover his energy.  Because of his Storm Sorcery origin, he can speak the Primordial language of elementals, and he can fly a short distance when casting a spell, to escape the reach of nearby enemies or move into an advantageous position.  His Font of Magic has 3 sorcery points, which can be converted into spell slots or spent to fuel his chosen Metamagic abilities.  Weatherbeard’s Metamagic allows him to extend the range of his spells or cast them more quickly.  At his next level, Weatherbeard would learn an additional spell and would want to increase his CHA score.  Eventually, he’d look into taking the Elemental Adept feat for lightning or thunder, so that his spells could cut through resistance to the chosen element.

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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

knights

We had to end the session mid-battle last week, so this week we’re picking up right where left off.  As a reminder, we were fighting a group of 3 revenant knights in Argynvostholt castle.  We were on the upper floor of the chapel, and the knights were coming up from below. Kissi was kicking major undead ass with the Sun Blade and blocking one stairway; Peter/Kragen was soaking up damage and blocking the other; Cara was alternating between keeping the two of them alive and burning the revenants with holy fire; Txan and ENGR-23 were plunking away with spells and crossbow bolts; and Wick was paralyzed with fear and reliving 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!

At the start of this week’s session, Cara used a Cure Wounds spell to give Kissi back some hit points, as the Big revenant’s blows against Peter were turned aside thanks to Cara’s Protection spell.  Txan cast another Thunderwave at the Lithe revenant but it had very little effect.  Wick came out of his paralysis, but was still frightened–nevertheless he fired off two arrows into the Big revenant, and scored two lucky hits.  The Big one went down, and Wick’s fear was gone!  We could hear the Rusty one clanking up from behind us, but he was too far away to hurt anyone yet. With Rusty approaching (so far untouched), ENGR cast a Bless spell on Kissi, Txan, and Kragen.  Since the Big one went down, Kragen rushed out the door to meet Rusty and in his frenzied state, hit him with 3 blows from his hammer.  Kissi jumped down the stairs after the Lithe revenant (who had fallen) and completely destroyed the thing with a critical hit from the Sun Blade.

We had killed 2 revenants, but the third was in the hall behind us.  Cara peaked out and attempted to hit Rusty with a Guiding Bolt, but the spell went wide  Txan followed her out and cast a Firebolt, scorching the revenant.  Wick rolled out as well, firing off two more arrows–one narrowly missed Cara’s head, but both arrows found their intended target.  The Rusty revenant gave Txan a couple of nasty strikes with its sword.  ENGR took a pot shot and hit with its crossbow, and Kragen unloaded his rage on the knight again, but they couldn’t bring it down.  Kissi charged back up the stairs, and dove past the knight, who caught her with a swing of his sword as she passed.  But Kissi’s adrenaline carried her through and she slashed the Sun Blade through the knight, with another critical hit.  At the same time, Txan’s hammer crashed into the Rusty knight’s head.  The knight was smoldering and barely together, but still up.

Carabelle cast another Guiding Bolt, and this one struck home, lighting up the undead knight.  Txan let loose a barrage of Magic Missiles that tore into the revenant, putting it down for good!

With the battle over, we were in need of a rest.  A few of us were badly injured and Peter was exhausted after Kragen went back to sleep.  We decided to head back to the kitchen and camp for the night with the wounded elf we’d met earlier and headed downstairs through the chapel.  One of the eastern windows of the chapel was shattered, and there was glass all over the floor.  The alter in the center was decorated with images of the sun, and Cara recognized them as symbols of the Morninglord, a god of the dawn, life, and renewal.  We also noticed a barred door in the north wall, that appeared to lead to the outside, to the graveyard we had seen earlier.  Txan and ENGR searched the room quickly and found a dusty old prayerbook to the Morninglord.  We could also see up into the tower above us, going up about 80 feet, with a platform near the top.

nightmare

We made our way back into the kitchen to sleep.  Wick and Cara took the first watch, along with ENGR’s mechanical lobster, while the others slept.  Cara noticed that Kissi was groaning in her sleep, and thrashing about as if having a nightmare.  Cara tried to cast a Lesser Restoration spell, but it didn’t seem to have any effect.  Eventually, the watch changed and ENGR took over, reading over the old prayerbook.  Txan took the last watch, and went into the chapel to see the sunrise. Kissi’s nightmares continued the entire night, and as the sun rose, she awoke but still felt exhausted. Her dreams had featured a tall, dark shape standing over her and forcing her to cook gnomes, who came out as gingerbread men that the figure devoured.  Kissi didn’t get any benefits of having slept, and her hit point max was reduced by 5.  None of us knew what had happened, but we were concerned.  Cara gave Kissi a Protection from Evil spell, and we set out to continue exploring the castle.

Back on the second floor, we started checking the doors off the northern side of the main hall. Wick traveled down a hall way, peeking into a door that was slightly ajar on the way.  Inside was a bedroom with 2 large beds and blackened fireplace.  There was a soft hiss coming from the fireplace.  Peter approached the fireplace, and suddenly a small dragon made of smoke appeared, beating its wings and filling the air with ash and soot.  The smoke dragon flew past Peter and into the hall.  It flew over out heads, into the main hall, and then up the stairs to the next floor.  We decided to continue searching this floor before moving on (since there was no immediate reaction from anything upstairs as far as we could tell).  Wick found a few gold coins in the mattress on one of the beds, then we moved on into another corridor with doors to the east and west.

phantomwarrior

We flipped a coin and settled on the western door first.  Wick checked the door for traps, and found some magical script near the bottom, covering both the door and the wall next to it, such that opening the door would break the line of text. We had no idea what it would do, but Peter decided to push open the door and run. As soon as the door opened, a stone wall slammed down, cutting Wick and Peter off from the rest of the group.  The doors on either side of the hallway opened and 7 spectral figures carrying swords started to swarm into the hall.  Peter and Wick decided that between fighting 7 ghosts on their own and jumping out a window on the second story (20 feet up), jumping was the smart move.

Peter and Wick leaped out the window!  Wick managed to land on his feet, but Peter face-planted in the newly fallen snow outside. Wick immediately turned and readied an arrow as one of the ghosts leaped out the window behind us–but the ghost vanished halfway to the ground.  Wick recognized these as phantom warriors, and he and Peter decided it was better to trudge through the snow back to the front door of the castle than to try and climb back up.

We managed to get back to our friends without incident, and eventually the stone wall retracted.  Both doors in that hallway were closed again, but we decided not to try them a second time.  There was one more door off the main hall–behind which was a room with lots of spider webs (but just normal sized) and a large black marble hearth with a portrait over the mantle, a large bed carved with dragons, and a big overstuffed chair by the fireplace.  Txan searched the mantle for signs of a secret passage or anything, wile Wick searched the bed and chair, but nothing interesting turned up.

We called it a night there, having explored most of the second floor of the castle.  Next week, we’ll head upstairs to see what fun new death traps await us there.

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