Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread! Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games 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.
The hardest part about playing through a long-term campaign in D&D or any tabletop game is scheduling. Finding a time to play that works for everyone in the group is really hard, especially playing as an adult. Real life gets in the way for everyone, in the form of jobs, families, or just other commitments. Even for a group playing online like ours, it’s actually pretty rare that we have the full party in attendance every week.
How do you deal with missing players in-game? Do you work out a way to write them out of the story for a while, or does someone take over that character for a session? Or does that character just cease to exist for a while? What if more than one player can’t make it to a given session–how many players can be absent before you just cancel the game that night?
Our AvocaD&D group is playing through 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.
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)
- 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 (The Wasp)
- Wickerwelt Tanglewood, a Halfling Ranger/Rogue; 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)
When we left off last time, we had just discovered a hidden room in the Amber Temple that housed an skeletal figure with no memory of who it was, though it did have what appeared to be a spellbook labeled “The Incants of Exethanter” nearby. ENGR had tried to convince the skeleton that it was A) the King of Barovia and B) an enemy of Strahd. As the senile lich didn’t seem inclined to fight us, Wick searched the rest of the room and found a hidden door. This led through a short dusty hall and another secret door into a hidden library. The library contained a dozen or so heavy bookshelves, filled with books. Painted on the ceiling were the figures of angels burning in hellfire, and a large spiral staircase led down on one side of the room. ENGR examined some of the books, but they were all blank inside. ENGR tried to take one book back the lich, but the book disintegrated as she left the library. Instead, ENGR brought the lich back with her, sitting him in a comfy chair with a nice blanket. Unfortunately the lich couldn’t read the books either. Cara tried writing in a book, and the words she wrote faded after a moment. The lich remembered there was some magical password that would allow us to read these books, but couldn’t remember what it was. While the lich was distracted in the library, Wick went back to try and snag his spellbook. In the meantime, Txan went down the stairs to find a large vault with 6 person-sized wooden crates inside. Assuming that these crates contained vampires, Txan used his Message cantrip to alert the rest of us. Wick left the spelbook behind and we all tried to sneak down the stairs and stake the vampires before they knew we were here. But Carabelle tripped on her way down and one of the lids of the crates began to open. Six vampire spawn emerged and started to attack us!
Reacting quickly, Wick hit one of the vampires, a hulking male, with an Ensnaring Strike, wrapping it up in magical vines. Kissi’s lit up her Sun Blade and attacked the same one–but the light from the Sun Blade filled the small chamber and all of the vampires started slowly burning.
Though the ensnared vampire spawn couldn’t break out Wick’s magical vines, 3 others surrounded and attacked Kissi, a fourth slashed at Peter, and the last one scored a particularly nasty hit on Txan with its claws. Txan retaliated by casting Thunderwave, blasting 3 of the vampire spawn back away from us. Peter let out the raging Kragen Tempest, and stabbed at the restrained vampire with his Blood Spear. Cara blasted another with a Guiding Bolt, scorching it with radiant energy. Wick shot the restrained one again, while Kissi turned her attention to another. As she attacked, restrained hluking vampire burned to ash in the Sun Blade’s light. Seeing this, and feeling the effects of the Sun Blade themselves the rest of the vampires started to flee. Four of them ran through a narrow passage in the south wall of the vault, but one that had taken the full force of Txan’s and Cara’s spells burned up before she could reach the passage. The last one climbed up the wall and ran into the library upstairs. We decided to chase down the 3 heading south, since we didn’t want them coming back to bite us later on. Through the narrow passage, we could see a room with piles treasure and 10-foot-tall falcon-headed statue. There was a set of closed doors on the far side, and the 3 vampire spawn were trying to get through. Txan cast Erupting Earth, hoping to take out all three spawn at once. They were able to avoid most of the damage, but the force of the spell launched some of the treasure into the air and awakened the statue.
The stone golem blocked the entrance to the treasure room, and Peter and Kissi charged in to attack the golem to clear the way. ENGR cast Bless on Peter, Txan, and Kissi, and Cara summoned a Spiritual Weapon in the form of a glowing parasol into the room behind the golem. The golem stood firm in the entrance, taking on Kragen and Kissi, while the vampires tried to get through a door on the far side of the room, scratching and clawing at the door. Knowing he wouldn’t be much help against the golem, Wick took a moment to heal some of Kissi’s injuries with a Cure Wounds spell. Txan cast Shatter into the room, exploding one of the vampires and taking a chunk out of the golem, and followed up by launching a Firebolt at the golem as well. While Kragen, Kissi, and Cara’s spiritual parasol chipped away at the stone golem, Wick dashed under the golem’s legs to fire two shots at one of the remaining vampires. Taxn hit the Golem and one vampire with another Shatter spell. The vampires kept clawing at the door and almost had it off the hinges. Wick wrapped up one of the vampires with another Ensnaring Strike, and the magical vines wrapped up and killed the vampire spawn. However, the last one finally managed to break the door down and escape. All that was left was the golem. Txan launched a volley of Magic Missiles, Peter hit the golem a couple more times, and Cara’s spiritual parasol burst through the chest and exploded the golem.
The door that the vampires had broken down led back into the main hall of the Temple, but with the golem destroyed and the vampires spawn dead or fleeing, we started to take stock of the treasure in the room. There was so much stuff that we ended for the night there, so Hayes could compile a list of everything and email it to us later. We also leveled up again!