AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Carnival of Shadows, Episode 2

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.

Today’s discussion topic is the Druid of the Circle of Spores.  These Druids revere the great cycle of life, death, and decay and understand the role of molds and fungi in that cycle.  sporesdruidBecause of their connection to fungi and their ability to tap into the cycle of life and death, they get access to additional spells at certain levels, including the Chill Touch cantrip at 2nd level, Blindness/Deafness and Gentle Repose at 3rd, Animate Dead and Gaseous Form at 5th, Blight and Confusion at 7th, and Cloudkill and Contagion at 9th.

At level 2, you’re surrounded by a Halo of Spores.  The spores are harmless until you use a reaction, which you can do when another creatures comes within 10 feet of you or starts its turn there, to deal a small amount of necrotic damage if the creature fails a CON save.  The damage starts at 1d4 and increases as you level up to a maximum of 1d10 at 14th level.  Because it uses your reaction, you can only deal with damage once per round.  Also at 2nd level, you can use your Wild Shape to become a Symbiotic Entity, rather than transforming into a beast.  When you do, you gain temporary hit points equal to 4 times your Druid level, you can roll 2 damage dice instead of 1 for your Halo of Spores, and you can add 1d6 poison damage to all of your melee attacks.  These benefits a maximum or 10 minutes, or until the temporary HP are depleted or you use Wild Shape again–so you can’t be a bear with poison claws.

At level 6, you can cause a Fungal Infestation to reanimate a recently dead beast or humanoid corpse.  You use your reaction when a creature dies within 10 feet of you to reanimate the corpse as a zombie with 1 hit point.  The zombie lasts for an hour, and can only take the Attack action.

At 10th level, you gain the ability to seed an area with Spreading Spores.  As a bonus action while your Symbiotic Entity ability is active, you can move your Halo of Spores to fill a 10-foot cube anywhere within 30 feet of you.  Creatures entering that space have to make a CON save or take the normal Halo of Spores damage, without requiring you to burn your reaction each round.  Note, however, that you can’t use the normal Halo of Spores reaction while the Spreading Spores are active.

Finally, at level 14, the spores have combined with your physiology, giving you a Fungal Body.  You become immune to being blinded, deafened, frightened, or poisoned, and as long as you’re not incapacitated any critical hit against you is treated as a normal hit instead.

The AvocaD&D crew is playing in 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.

Cast of Characters

  • 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)

Mazes and Monsters

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

Our contact from House managment handed us a packet of documents.  Our next assignment promised to be interesting.  The higher-ups of House Phiarlan had heard there was a student at the University in Arcanix who had manifested the Mark of Shadow–a student who no one in House Phiarlan knew previously.  markofshadowThis meant that she was either the illegitimate child of member of the House, or someone associated with House Thuranni. Either way, our goal was to find this girl and figure out where she came from.

We were about 250 miles from Arcanix.  We traveled with the carnival to the northeast, toward Lake Galifar.  When we reached the lake, the carnival turned northward, following the the shoreline through the Eldeen Reaches.  Our small group, however, instead crossed into Breland and took a coach from Xandrar all the way to the city of Arcanix is Aundair.  It wasn’t cheap, but with the treasure we’d recovered from those satyrs we could afford the ride.  Upon arrival in the city, per our instructions, we made our way to the Wizard and Weasel pub, where we were to meet with an agent of the House by the name of Warble.  Warble turned out to be a Warforged, apparently originally designed as a sonic siege weapon and now working as a musician, accompanying a young elf woman who was performing at the pub.

Warble told us a story about a young woman named Merryt Amastacia.  She was a regular customer at the Wizard and Weasel, and always wore a long scarf around her neck.  As a student of the University, Ms. Amastacia seemed to have some trouble controlling her magic, often with strange and unexpected results.  Warble had identified her as bearing the Mark of Shadow after an incident at pub where she had somehow caused the entire room to fill with blue smoke.  All of the other patrons had left, but since the Warforged don’t need to breathe, Warble had stuck around.  As the smoke cleared, he caught a glimpse of Amastacia without her scarf and noticed the dragonmark on her neck.

As part of out assignment, we were provided cover identities by House management.  We would be posing as newly hired gardeners at the University.  First we had to get up to the Floating Towers, though–luckily, we were able to arrange a lift with some hippogriffs. When we arrived, we met Vermis the dwarven garden master. He wasted no time putting us to work–we were assigned to gather some roses from the center of a hedge maze and bring them back out without dying.  Wind Over Sand thought to try and climb up the hedge walls, but the hedges just seemed to grow infinitely taller as she climbed.  The wizards of the University clearly discouraged shortcuts in their mazes.  So, we entered the maze, following the path single-file with Clo in the lead. At first it was actually sort of fun.  Every so often, we would pass by a glyph of some kind and be suddenly pushed back by a sudden gust of wind, or slip and gall in a grease trap. Once, Clo was shrunk down to half her size for a minute.  It was all pretty harmless.  But after a while we heard footsteps of a large beast of some kind, moving along on the opposite side of a hedge wall.  minotaurNot long after that, we were suddenly attacked by plant creatures that emerged from the hedges all around us.  The narrow pathway made it hard to fight effectively, but The Shill summoned some holy hedge clippers that helped make short work of those creatures.

Eventually, we caught up to the large beast we had heard–down a long narrow path, we saw a large minotaur coming toward us. We quickly ducked down another path to the side, and as luck would have it, we found ourselves in a dead end  with a large rosebush in the middle.  Knowing the minotaur was coming, I started to clip roses off, but the bush came to life and it didn’t seem to take too kindly to my dagger cutting its flowers.  Clo, Shill, and I battled the bush, while Wind and Tinka, along with Tinka’s mechanical lion Androcles, stalled the minotaur.  Let me tell you, that rosebush packed quite a punch!  I took a couple of blows to the head and passed out for a few seconds.  Shill brought me back to consciousness with a Healing Word, just in time for me to see Clo get knocked out and engulfed by the bush.  rosebushI could hear Tinka yelling that Wind was down as well.  Luckily, Shill finally managed to bring down the rosebush with an Inflict Wounds spell.  I revived Clo with a Healing Word of my own, then tried to help the others fight off the minotaur. Thankfully, the monster had been rather reckless swinging its axe at Wind, and had left itself vulnerable to Tinka, Androcles, and Shill’s attacks.  Still, we were in a pretty way–until I managed to hit the beast with some Dissonant Whispers that made its head explode.

With both creatures destroyed,  we took a short breather in the center of the maze.  I played a soothing melody on my lyre, and Tinka identified a bunch of loot we found at the base of the rosebush.  Apparently, that old rosebush had killed more than its share of gardeners.  Among the bones scattered around the ground, we found a sapphire elemental gem, a tan bag of tricks, a potion of hill giant strength, and a fancy brass mug with jade inlay.  We also picked up the minotaur’s magical greataxe.  It’s too heavy for everyone but Clo, but I’m sure she can put that thing to good use.

Once we were all rested up, we retraced out steps back through the maze to report back to Vermis and deliver his roses.  I just hoped that we’d been able to gather enough to satisfy Vermis so we could get on with our real mission…