AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Murder in the Skyway, Week 1

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.


Eberron is a D&D campaign setting, a pre-made world into which the Dungeon Master and players can place their story.  Choosing to set your game in Eberron means taking on certain assumptions about the world, many of which may differ from the generic fantasy-land of most D&D campaigns.  Though all of the normal fantasy races and tropes exist in Eberron, they’ve been tweaked to have a more pulp adventure and film noir inspired tone.

One of the biggest differences between Eberron and, say, the Forgotten Realms is the level of magic in the world. In Eberron, low-level magic is commonplace–it’s used everywhere for all kinds of mundane purposes, from lighting up a room to powering the high-speed “lightning rail” system.  On the other hand, high-level magic is still exceedingly rare, even more so than in other settings.  In addition, Eberron encourages moving away from static alignments among the various races.  Characters of canonically evil races like orcs and goblins can and should be played as lawful good, and vice versa.

In 5th edition D&D, the Wayfinder’s Guide to Eberron also introduces 4 new playable races.  The Warforged are living constructs, created to use as soldiers in the Last War, but now that the war has ended, they are free to search for their own purpose.  Shifters are born from a cross between humans and lycanthropes, and while they can’t fully change their shape, they can manifest certain alterations to their bodies that correspond to the ‘beast within.’  The Kalashtar are humans who are connected to otherworldly spirits from the plane of dreams, which grant them some psionic abilities.  Finally, the Changelings are true shapeshifters, with the ability to take on the face and form of any other person.

What sort of experiences have you had playing in the Eberron setting?  Do you find the pulp or noir tone an enjoyable change from the default Tolkienesque high fantasy of the average D&D campaign?

This week, the AvocaD&D group started a brand new Eberon adventure.  Josephus Brown took over the DM’s chair for this campaign, and the rest of us made new level 1 characters. The cast of characters this time includes:

  • TheCleverGuy as Cybin Stoneswift, a Hill Dwarf Wizard who’s singularly obsessed with the study of various forms of mushrooms
  • Otto (our only non-Avocado party member) as Magz, a Changeling Rogue, a native of Sharn familiar with the city’s seedy underbelly
  • The Wasp Woman as NRS-K80, a Warforged Cleric, who discovered a passion for healing after serving as a living weapon in the Last War
  • The Hayes Code as Cassidy Cody, a Tiefling Bard, who makes a living busking in the lightning rail stations with the talent passed down her from her Pa’s deal with the devil

Wafflicious couldn’t make it for the first session, but hopefully we’ll meet her character next time. And, sadly, forget_it_jake has opted to drop out of the group for a while, because of scheduling conflicts.  If anyone’s interested in jumping into the game with us, let us know in the comments.  Just remember to tag Josephus (by typing “@JosephusBrown:disqus”), so that he sees your post.

Murder in the Skyway

Sharn 01a

We opened on a stormy night in the City of Sharn.  In the Skyway–the upper part of the city where the wealthy and powerful live in literal castles in the sky–a crowd had gathered on the street as rich party-goers left a gala event of some kind.  NRS-K80 had crashed with some of her friends who’d just graduated from Cleric school.  Also in attendance was Lady Shiana Longspire, a minor noble visiting from Fairhaven.  Cassidy Cody was playing her guitar on a street corner nearby.  Cybin Stoneswift was waiting to meet some rich kid who’d arranged to buy some special mushrooms.

As the city watch started moving the crowd along, we came to a narrow bridge, connecting two sections of the Skyway.  We saw a hooded figure stooped over something in the darkness ahead and watched as the figure stood and leaped off the bridge, leaving the body of another man behind.  Cybin and K80 both saw a large grin on the figure’s face, and noticed that he was holding a bag and a strange blade that didn’t reflect the light of the flashing lightning.  K80 rushed up to the crumpled body and found that he was definitely dead–she found a very precise stab wound shaped like a cross and could tell that the man had been dead for only a few moments.  Lady Longspire quietly searched the body and found a wooden drink token from a bar called the Rat’s Paw.  OrienShe also noticed that the victim was a dragonmarked human from House Orien, which controls both the couriers guild and the transportation guild in Sharn, and he had a broken satchel strap over his shoulder.

Before too long, the city watch appeared from both sides of the bridge, trapping our group.  The leader of the watch decided we would all be arrested.  Lady Longspire protested, and Cybin and K80 told the watchmen about the man we’d seen jump over the bridge.  This was apparently not an uncommon occurrence, as Feather Fall spells were easy to come by the city. We were able to convince the guards to give us 24 hours to find the real murderer, but after that time we’d be arrested for the crime.

With the help of an assigned officer from the watch, we gathered up the body and dragged it back to the offices of the Couriers Guild.  An official from the guild met with us and told us the dead man’s name was Tarsus and that he lived in the Middle Dura. She said he was one of their best messengers and was carrying an important message, but couldn’t tell us who it was for (due to privacy concerns), only that it was meant for someone in the city.  Cassidy convinced her to slip us the information on the side–she slipped us a note with an address in the Azure district of the Skyway and the name Lobana Petrievna.

Since it was the middle of the night, we decided to head to the Rat’s Paw first, with our assigned city watchman in tow.  We took a sky cab down to the Lower Dura, during which Lady Longspire shifted into her true form, a changeling called Magz.  As the cab sped away after dropping us off, we walked into the Rat’s Paw, though the guard stayed outside.  In one dark corner, we spotted a group of shady-looking Halflings, who seemed to take an interest in us as we started asking the bartender about the murdered man.  The bartender told us that Tarsus was a regular customer here, but seemed reluctant to say much with the Halflings around.  Cassidy tried to distract them with a song, and Cybin almost caused a brawl by casting Dancing Lights into their dark corner. Luckily, Magz was able to talk them down by buying a round of drinks and convincing them that we could be useful to their organization.  While Magz and K80 had the halflings were distracted, Cassidy talked to the bartender a little more privately.  He told us these same halflings had been pumping Tarsus for information a few weeks ago, and it seemed like they might have been sent here tonight to make sure no one was asking questions about him tonight.  It seemed like their boss might have something to do with the murder.  K80 and Magz were able to get in good enough with the halflings to learn that they’re boss was called “Big Mondo” and he could be found in an unmarked restaurant in the district.

Since it was so late, we decided to ride up to the Middle Dura to check out Tarsus’s living quarters, rather than try to wake up either the mob boss or the noblewoman.  We ditched our police escort first, though he gave Cybin a cursed, unremovable ring to track us by.  We found the apartment, and Magz expertly picked the lock to let us in.  The man had evidently been drinking pretty heavily after the death of his wife, and had been reprimanded by his boss.  K80 found a potion of healing and a Feather Fall token in a hidden compartment.  We spent the night in Tarsus’s home, raided his kitchen in the morning, then went to pay a visit to the woman whose message he was carrying, Lobana Petrievna.  We called a cab to take us to the noblewoman’s house, with Magz disguised as Lady Longspire again and the rest of us playing her servants. From her contacts in the city, Magz knew that Lobana was new in town, had recently lost her rich husband, and her business was dealing in trendy art.  Magz was able to talk our way into a meeting with Lobana in her surprisingly un-decorated home.  We asked about the dead courier, and Lobana told us she had been sending a personal letter to her sister in another city.  This didn’t track with what we had been told earlier, that the delivery was meant for someone within Sharn, so we knew that Lobana was not being totally honest.  She said she’d had problems with both the government of Thrane and the Church of the Silver Flame and she suspected that either may have stolen her personal correspondence in an attempt to discredit her.

That’s where we ended for the night.  Next week, we’ll probably start by seeing what we can learn by paying a visit to Big Mondo.