AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Carnival of Shadows, Episode 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.

This week, I’m taking a closer look at the Samurai archetype for the Fighter class.  The Samurai is a Fighter with limitless resolve and unyielding spirit in the face of the enemy.  samuraiStarting at 3rd level, the Samurai gets to choose an additional skill proficiency, choosing one of History, Insight, Performance, or Persuasion, along with one additional language.

Also at level 3, the Samurai can call on their Fighting Spirit. They can use a bonus action to grant themselves advantage on all attack rolls for the rest of their turn, along with a small number of temporary HP.  This ability can be used 3 times per day.

By 7th level, you become an Elegant Courtier, gaining proficiency with WIS saving throws.  You can also add your WIS modifier to any Persuasion checks, in addition to the normal bonus from CHA for that skill.

At level 10, your Tireless Spirit means that if you’ve used up your Fighting Spirit for the day but are about to start another battle, you’ll automatically regain one use.

At 15th level, you gain the ability to make a Rapid Strike.  Once per turn, if you’re making an attack roll with advantage, you can instead choose to ignore your advantage and make an additional attack roll instead.

Finally, at level 18, the Samurai can demonstrate Strength Before Death.  If the Fighter is reduced to zero hit points, they can use their reaction to delay falling unconscious and immediately take another full turn, interrupting whatever they current turn is.  You remain at 0 HP, and any damage that you take still counts as a failed death save, but you can take a full round of action, bonus action, and movement.  You do fall unconscious at the end of that extra turn, if you’re still at zero hit points.

This week, the AvocaD&D crew started a brand new, The Hayes Code-original adventure in the Eberron setting.  We’re playing as members of a traveling carnival, who are also known to do a little investigation or espionage work on the side.  Here’s a brief rundown of the PCs, all starting at 3rd level:

  • Tinka, the Warforged Battlesmith Artificer, who performs tricks with the mechanical animals she creates (The Wasp)
  • Wind Over Sand, a Tabaxi Open Hand Monk and contortionist (Wafflicious)
  • Clo Fullia, a Shifter Battle Master Fighter, a bearded lady who also has a tendency to shift into strange beasts (Otto)
  • Tano Lyrimasyl, a blade-juggling Elven Bard of the College of Swords (TheCleverGuy)
  • The Shill, a Changeling Trickery Cleric who works the crowd looking for easy marks for the rest of the carnies (Josephus Brown)
Spores and Sewers

From the memoirs of Tano Lyrimasyl, former soldier of Valenar…

The Last War had been over for a few years, and I’d been with the Carnival for somewhat longer than that.  We were in the Eldeen Reaches, set up near the town of Greenblade.  Eldeen_ReachesWe’d been there a few days and would be moving on soon.  I was starting to hear rumors of small thefts from some of the locals and carnies alike.  The locals of course blamed our goblin compatriots.  I can’t really blame them, even though I had actually grown somewhat fond of Honest Drajj and his family.  I knew they hadn’t been thieving.  So I was shocked to awaken one morning to find that the magical cloak passed down to me from my honored ancestor was missing from my wagon!

I set out down the midway at once, looking for Drajj.  I’d heard one of his daughters had perhaps spotted a thief in action the other night.  On my way, I ran into a few other carnies looking for missing items.  The Tabaxi contortionist,  Wind Over Sand, and Tinka, the Warforged inventor of Mechanical Marvels, were both without their immovable rods.  Clo, the bearded Shifter lady was missing her favorite muu-muu.  Even the strange little Changeling we all only really knew as “The Shill” had misplaced a breastplate.

As the five of us stopped to compare notes, we happened to see just a little way up the midway an elderly human woman getting her handbag snatched by a small hooded creature. The bag appeared to contain a small dog, and the woman began shrieking about her “precious Treasure.”  We all immediately started chasing the little thief, but before we could catch up, it tossed the bag to another small figure who continued to run–right into the funhouse.  Tinka and Clo followed, while Wind grabbed hold of the first thief and I stopped to try and calm the old woman.  I’m not sure exactly what happened in the funhouse, but I heard a lot of breaking glass and Tinka and Clo emerged with another captive– but not handbag.  The creature had apparently made another handoff and the third accomplice had escaped through a vent.

Drajj appeared just then, wanting to know what was going on.  Clo and Wind handed over their captives, and Drajj pulled off their hoods to reveal a pair of tiny mushroom-people. MyconidDrajj took them to security office.  We started to follow, but the woman with the stolen dog asked us to stay for a moment and speak privately.  The lady told us she was an agent from House Phiarlan, and she’d been sent to give as an assignment.   Unfortunately, the documents were in the handbag that had been stolen, so we’d need to recover them. And her “precious Treasure” as well.  She also let us know that Treasure was well-trained and would attack if given the command word “sic ’em.”

Our first stop was to see those mushroom creatures.  Drajj had them locked up in little cells he normally reserved for lost children.  The mushrooms didn’t really speak, but communicated by releasing some kind of spores that put pictures into our heads. We asked all the usual questions and they sent us images of an underground lair, an invasion of goats, and mushrooms being forced to steal things and bring them back to the goats.  It was a little confusing, but they at least let us know where to start looking.  We brought the little creatures along to guide us the rest of the way.

We headed off into the woods of the Eldeen Reaches, following the direction of our “guides.”  Not far from the camp, we came across an old goblin ruin, the kind you find all over Khorvaire.  owlbear-threeBefore we could check it out, we were attacked by an angry owl bear.  Or maybe it was just in heat–it did charge straight for Clo.  Clo shifted her form, becoming covered in reptilian scales with a burst of peacock feathers, and everyone fought to get the beast off of our Shifter friend.  Nothing seemed to phase the owlbear until I got into its head with some Dissonant Whispers.  The spell made the monster back off briefly, giving everyone a chance to refocus and make sure their blows landed.  We made short work of the beast after that.

The mushrooms led us down into an ancient sewer.  I surreptitiously activated my dragonmark and cast Pass Without Trace on everyone, ensuring that we could move through the sewer without disturbing anything.  I saw some strange frog-like creatures lurking in the water, but they didn’t notice us.  Our guides led us through a large round cistern, with a couple of large trees growing in the center, and then farther on into a large natural cavern where the myconids lived.  mushroom_men_sage_3A larger member of the species spoke with us (through its spores), and told us that a group of satyrs and dryads had taken their elder captive and forced the rest of the colony to steal things from the surface world.  No one seemed to know what their motivation was, but the mushroom begged us to get rid of the satyrs and recover the elder.  We agreed, knowing we’d need to recover our stolen goods as well.

The myconids directed us through a tunnel to the north, where we eventually came upon a small room.  Crates were stacked along the back wall, and something moved as approached. A zombie with a rope tied around it’s neck started shambling towards us.  The Shill saw that the rope seemed to be attached to a pulley system near the ceiling, and then disappeared through a hole in the wall.  Shill threw a dagger and cut the rope before whatever alarm it was tied to could sound, and we smashed the zombie without alerting whoever was inside.

We opened the door to find 3 satyrs and 2 dryads sitting around and taking large huffs of myconid spores. A large pile of stolen goods was in one corner of the room, and we could see the old lady’s handbag at the top, with two little eyes poking out.  satyrWind Over Sand gave them a chance to parley with us, but the satyrs didn’t seem all that interested in what we had to say.  Until the Shill told them he could get them some “stuff” that was even better than these spores, if they returned all of those stolen items.  Naturally, this piqued their interest, but they wanted a sample.  Tinka offered them an illusory sample, in exchange for at least the dog, and one of the satyrs went to pick up the bag, Shill shouted “sic ’em!”  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t that the little doggy bag was a disguised mimic!  A quick battle ensued, but after the one satyr was eaten by the mimic, the dryads surrendered fast, and Shill made the other two satyrs satyrs fall in line by taking on a frightening appearance.  They agreed to return all the stolen items and release the mushroom elder. We brought the two satyrs back to the circus with us, to keep them out of trouble for a while anyway.

We recovered out stuff, along with a bunch of other goods from the cave, including a silver pocket watch, silk purse, gold locket, 3 silver rings, gold bracelet, hundreds of loose coins, a flask of oil, container of dust (that turned out to be sneezing powder), a scroll, and what looked like Honest Drajj’s entire cashbox.  We also got the mimic calmed down and back into handbag form to return to the old lady.  She pulled out a sealed packet of documents for our next assignment…