AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Carnival of Shadows, Episode 4

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.

Our subclass of the week is the College of Whispers Bard.  Bards of this college might look and act like an everyday musician, but they’re really working the crowds to gather secrets and hidden knowledge for use later.  whispersbardThey could be spies working for their country behind enemy lines, or they could be tied to a noble house as an agent of political espionage.

Starting at 3rd level, a Whispers Bard can use Psychic Blades when they hit with an attack.  You expend one use of your Bardic Inspiration to deal an extra 2d6 psychic damage to the target.  The extra damage increases as you level up, similar to the Rogue’s Sneak Attack ability, and can only be used once on your turn.

Also at 3rd level, you learn how to use Words of Terror, infusing innocent talk with insidious magic.  If you talk to a humanoid creature alone for at least 1 minute, you can force the target to make a WIS save or become frightened of you or another creature of your choice for an hour.  This effect also ends early if the target or any of its allies are attacked or damaged.  However, if the target makes their initial saving throw, they have no idea you tried to frighten them.

At level 6, you get a feature called Mantle of Whispers, which allows you to essentially steal someone’s identity.  When someone dies within 30 feet of you, you can use your reaction to magically capture their shadow.  Later, you can use the shadow as an action to create a disguise that makes you look like the dead person and even lets you draw on the person’s memories to pass yourself off as that person to any casual acquaintances.  You don’t learn any of the person’s deep secrets, just general details of their background and personal life.  You also get a +5 bonus to Deception rolls made when someone tries to use their Insight skill to see through the disguise.

Finally at level 14, you learn how to use Shadow Lore to tap into a creature’s deepest fears and use them to get the creature to do your bidding.  As an action, you whisper a phrase that only one creature within 30 feet can hear.  The creature makes a WIS save, and on a failure is charmed by you for the next 8 hours as it is convinced that you have knowledge of something that it desperately wants to keep secret.  You don’t actually gain that knowledge of what that secret is, but the charmed creature obeys your commands because it thinks you will reveal its secret if they did otherwise.

In a campaign that is heavy on intrigue and espionage, and maybe a bit lighter on the combat and dungeon-delving, the Whispers Bard is a force to be reckoned with.

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)

Developmental Teratology

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

We split up to search the campus for Merryt Amastacia.  We weren’t having much luck until Tinka decided to search the records office for Amastacia’s class schedule.  We decided to try and find the girl at her class on bio-monstrosity studies.  As luck would have it, shortly after we arrived at the building, we heard a loud explosion from somewhere inside and crowd of people started fleeing from the building.  From what we’d heard of Amastacia, that sounded like our girl.

We rushed inside, splitting up to cover both of the main entrances.  Both doors opened into the same antechamber.  There was shattered glass all over the floor that looked like it came from something that had been standing on a pedestal in the middle of the room.  Whatever it was, it wasn’t there anymore.  Amid the glass on the ground, we found a copper nameplate that must have been on the pedestal before.  The name written on it was “Cornelius Klutzhopper,” but that name didn’t mean anything to any of us.  Behind the pedestal, directly opposite the main entrance, there was a large open archway, through which we could see another room that appeared to be covered in plants, all overgrown and tangled.  It reminded me of a spell I had picked up a scroll for a while back–Plant Growth.  However, when we tried to go in, we discovered that there was some sort of force field blocking our path through the archway.

There were two other exits, one to the north and one to the south.  The northern door was labeled “Developmental Teratology,” while the other door was “Experimental Alchemical Testing.”  Reasoning that we’d be less likely to be blown up going north, we chose the Tertaology door.

We ran down a long narrow corridor to a large room with two sets of long shelves running down its length, each nearly as high as the ceiling.  The shelves held a vast number of jars in every shape and size, each containing some malformed fetal creature suspended in a liquid of some kind.  zombiebabyAs we entered the room several of those jars seemed to fall of their own accord, smashing on the ground, and the preserved fetal things inside started crawling toward us.  At the same time, in the far corner, a gigantic undead monstrosity pulled itself out of a large vat, picked up a huge morningstar and started slowly lumbering in our direction as well.

Thinking fast, Tinka covered an area of the floor close to the larger group of zombie babies with a blob of Grease.  As each zombie moved in to attack, they slipped and fell to the ground, leaving them vulnerable to the blows from Tinka, Androcles, and Shill’s Spiritual Weapon.  Clo and Wind moved in the other direction to hold off another handful of crawling zombies, and the larger one as well.bigzombiebaby  Luckily, the big one moved very slowly.  With Tinka, Androcles, and the Shill keeping half of the zombies busy in the Grease, and Clo and Wind engaging the other half, we were able to withstand the onslaught.  I set up a Cloud of Daggers in the path of the largest and slowest zombie, and Clo and Wind managed to take out the smaller ones and move up to the big guy from moving past the spinning knives.  Luckily, the zombie was too stupid to move backwards.  Killing zombies isn’t easy though.  Every time we thought one was down for good, it would just get back and start crawling towards us again.  One by one the crawling horrors went down and eventually didn’t get back up.  Wind finally brought down the large zombie with a punch that smashed its skull and splatter the goo inside all over the place.  When there was only a single zombie baby left moving, Tinka had Androcles grab the thing, and she managed to wrangle it into her bag of holding.  It would probably make a good addition to the sideshow when we hooked up with the Carnival again.