AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Curse of Strahd Campaign Journal, Week 40

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.


This week, I’m just gonna roll some dice!  D&D (and most other tabletop games) relies on polyhedral dice to add an element of chance into the game.  Whenever a character in the game makes an action that would have a meaning chance of failure, the player or DM rolls a die to determine the outcome.  A standard set of gaming dice contains one each of 4-, 6-, 8-, 12-, and 20-sided dice as well as two 10-sided dice, which can be rolled together to generate a number from 1 to 100.  In D&D the d20 is king, used for attack roles, ability checks, and saving throws.  The others are used for damage from attacks, spells, or traps.

Other game systems are based on percentile dice (d100), or simple d6s.  Many games include dice with special symbols on each side rather than just numbers.  micemysticsdiceThe game Mice & Mystics, for example, comes with 6-sided dice that include pictures of swords, shields, bows, and cheese, as well numbers and stars.  When rolling for an attack the player looks for swords or bows, while the defending monster rolls hoping to get shields.  Other actions might depend on that little star showing up, while the numbers are used primarily for movement.  Rolling the cheese symbol gives the player characters the resources they need to use their special abilities.

How many sets of dice do you own?  Do you have a favorite (set or individual), or any that are special to you in some way?  Are you preternaturally lucky or unlucky?  Any superstitions you have, like blowing on the dice before each throw? How do non-d20 systems stack up against other dice-based game systems–is there a particular system you find more or less intuitive?  

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.

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)
  • 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)
Curse of Strahd

We started out still in the Amber Temple, where Kissi accepted a dark gift to increase her hit points by 30!  She became evil and grew oily hair all over her body as well.  It would only last 10 days, though.

ENGR also accepted a Dark Gift, gaining the ability to walk on walls and ceilings.  ENGR managed to resist turning evil (with help from Cara’s Guidance), but an extra eye sprouted from her left pinky finger.  The extra eye was always open, but unfortunately blind.

Now that everyone had a chance to become cursed (Wick and Cara had abstained), we decided to go back and destroy a jackal-headed stone golem we’d avoided fighting earlier.  anubisThe golem had been preventing a wizard by the name of Vilnius from leaving the temple.1

We gathered in the hall outside the room where the golem was, and Peter summoned his Hell Hounds.  They ran in first and used their fire breath on the golem.  Peter followed them in, turning into Kragen Tempest, and jabbed at golem with his Blood Spear.  ENGR cast Magic Weapon on Wick’s bow, which would allow Wick to actually hit and damage the golem.  Kissi charged in after Peter, Sun Blade flashing to land two hits on the golem. Wick’s enchanted bow peppered the golem with arrows.  Txan used his turn to give Kissi a bit of damage reduction, then launched a Firebolt.  The golem lashed out at Kissi and missed, but hit Peter, who’s rage allowed him to shrug off the damage.  Peter’s dogs bit the golem with their firey teeth, and Peter’s spear struck home as  well.  ENGR rushed up to the golem and used a scroll of Inflict Wounds, causing the golem to fall to pieces.

During the battle, the evil wizard had bolted.  Once the golem fell, Wick started chasing him, but Peter’s Hell Hounds caught him first.  The wizard was torn to pieces and incinerated, but left behind a golden amulet and a spell book.  ENGR picked up the amulet and used Identify to find that there was a Shield Guardian bound to it. shielguardian ENGR used the amulet to summon the Shield Guardian, and it stomped its way up to us from somewhere from the Temple below.

Now that ENGR could walk on walls, we went back to the room with the chest affixed to the ceiling that we couldn’t open before. She used Identify again to find out that the chest was sealed with an Arcane Lock spell.  Exethanter kindly let us know the password to open the chest, “Red Snapper.”  Hanging from the ceiling, ENGR said the words, and the chest opened.  It was empty, but the floor below disappeared, and Peter fell through to the room below.  He found a second treasure room, but it appeared to have already been plundered. A group of 4 specters appeared and attacked, but Peter and ENGR together were able to destroy them without any trouble.  Wick tossed down a rope for Peter to climb back up, while ENGR simply climbed up the wall.

We spent another day at the Amber Temple, while Cara finished reading her Tome of Understanding.2 The rest of took some time to sort through the treasure and pack up the cart to head back to Vallaki.  We headed back the next morning with a cart full treasure, but also 2 Hell Hounds and Shield Guardian following us.  We noticed some bandits in the mountains, but they wisely left us alone.  We made it back to the town with no trouble.

We stopped there for the night, preparing to set off for our first venture into Strahd’s castle next time.