AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Session 8

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’s thread is dedicated to the Monster Slayer archetype for the Ranger class. The Monster Slayer is a Ranger whose personal mission is to hunt down and exterminate supernatural threats, such as vampires, demons, or evil fey creatures.  undead-slayer-1They’re sort of like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but without the “Chosen One” aspect.1

When you become a Monster Slayer at level 3, you gain two new abilities:  Hunter’s Sense lets you use your action to look at a creature and discern any damage immunities, resistances, or vulnerabilities it has.  At the same time, Slayer’s Prey lets you use a bonus action to mark a target as prey, giving you an extra 1d6 of damage each time you hit–essentially it’s a built-in, permanent Hunter’s Mark spell.

At level 7, you gain Supernatural Defense, which allows you to add 1d6 to any saving throw from an effect originating from a creature you have marked with Slayer’s Prey, as well as to ability checks to escape a grapple from the marked creature.

By the time you reach level 11, you’ve become a Magic-User’s Nemesis.  Whenever you can see a creature attempting to cast a spell or use a teleportation effect, you can use your reaction to make that creature roll a WIS saving throw–if they fail, the spell or teleport has no effect.  This is essentially a free Counterspell, but it can only be used once per short rest.

At 15th level, you can use Slayer’s Counter to make a reaction attack against the target of your Slayer’s Prey whenever that creature forces you to make a saving throw.  If your attack hits, you automatically succeed on the saving throw in addition to the attack’s normal effects.

In addition to all of these abilities, the Monster Slayer also automatically learns the following spells at certain levels: Protection from Evil and Good at 3rd level, Zone of Truth at 5th, Magic Circle at 9th, Banishment at 13th, and Hold Monster at 17th.

This subclass might be worth it for the level 3 abilities alone.  Slayer’s Prey increases your single-target damage considerably, and it doesn’t require concentration, leaving you free to cast other spells, or double that extra damage by casting the actual Hunter’s Mark spell.2  The level 7 and 15 abilities are somewhat nerfed by only being effective against the creature you targeted with Slayer’s Prey, but they’ll be clutch in most boss fights.

The Hayes Code is guiding us through the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign, with the setting adjusted to a fantasy version of 1930.

The Saltmarsh Situation Solvers
  • Sgt. Vivian Aequoreus, a Dragonborn Sorcerer, an admiral’s daughter and naval officer serving as representative of the Navy in Saltmarsh (The Wasp)
  • Rainn Cloud, an Air Genasi Bard, of uncertain origin and purpose (Wafflicious)
  • Festuca Glauca, a Human Cleric, raised on a floating brothel and now striking out on her own (Otto)
  • Constable Renard Muldoon, a Half-Elf Paladin, a life-long resident of Saltmarsh assigned to this new task force as liaison to the local town guards (TheCleverGuy)
  • Rielle, a Human Druid, who’s definitely NOT a mermaid transformed into a human through magic (Anna Nomally)
  • Dr. Nickel Ferrous Testling, a Kobold Artificer,  a scientist currently working for the WPA in their cultural archivist project, primarily focusing on folklore and legends, local religious cults, and regional variations in spellcasting technique (Josephus Brown)

Our recap this week is courtesy of Wafflicious!

Thousand-Teeth the Devourer

Rainn is taking notes on the groups activities for the moment

Setting off to see Thousand-Teeth in our somewhat crowded little boat we don’t get far before we run into an old woman heckling us from the shore. Her name is Lil Greenwillow and she mocks our ability to take out the local legend of a beast. She won’t rise to my wager, but she will trade some magical berries to us for Festuca’s parrot.

The berries fill our bellies, but don’t allow us to see any new colors or experience new states of mind. Something of a pity. We continue down the river until we spot some frog people giggling at us from the marsh and attempting (poorly) to hide. Renard yells at them to leave before there’s trouble… so of course they charge us with trouble.bullywug

Not the sorts to leave a fight, apparently, we row our way to shore and take them on. One of them is slowed immediately and I take advantage of that to thunderwave them… from the quicksand patch I just walked right into. Renard comes charging in, smashing one to goo. But our sounds of battle just draw more frog people.

Nickel fires on the newcomers and Vivian hits them with a nasty infestation. Then things go dark for a bit as I’m swallowed in the quicksand. I assume there are more amazing hits and magic and all the things my fellows are best at until Renard pulls me back out again.

And in my absence a larger frog ‘King’ riding on a massive toad who doesn’t take kindly to my mockery of his unforgivable aesthetic. Nickle gives us a bit of an advantage by groveling to the frog people, as they don’t take us as seriously, and we make short work of the rest of the tadpoles. One, however, lets out a curse that sends ribbits reverberating through our very bones. But it’s quickly undercut when their king falls into the same quicksand I was previously sinking in when he tries to attack.

Festuca makes short work of the big riding toad, or so I heard when I was brought back from the space between the planes where my soul briefly drifted. Renard wrestles the king to his amphibious knees but lets him go again. Such a soft touch. Though it’s worth it in the end because we manage to find ourselves a helmet full of platinum pieces!

thousandteethAfter a bit of rest on the river we finally make our way to the spot we expect to find Thousand Teeth. Sure enough, the illusion of a fat bird draws him out of the water and right into battle with us. Not to self, tell everyone before you try to provide distraction. Our hitting inclined people hit it, and Nickel ads lightning to the mix. Festuca gives us a boost and the sea elf we’ve been dragging along with us even gives it a shot, though he ends up downed by monster tail. Nickel manages to take the final blow and we take the skin and the head back to the lizardfolk who sent us on this crazy journey.

A profitable, if disgusting, venture. And we all seem a bit stronger for the experience.