AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Carnival of Shadows, Episode 5

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 writing about the Barbarian Path of the Zealot, one of my favorites and one of the few subclasses that I have some first-hand experience with.  The Zealot is a Barbarian whose religious fervor turns them into ferocious holy warriors.zealot

Starting at level 3, the Zealot can add Divine Fury to their attack.  While raging, the first creature you hit on each turn takes additional radiant or necrotic damage equal to 1d6 plus half your Barbarian level.  Note that it’s the first creature you hit, not the first creature you attack.

Also at 3rd level, you become a Warrior of the Gods.  If you die, anyone casting a spell to bring you back to life (such as Raise Dead) can ignore the material component of the spell.  Most of those spells require costly gems, so this allows the party healer to save that gold for other things.

At 6th level your rage also grants you a Fanatical Focus.  Once during each rage, if you fail a saving throw, you can choose to re-roll it.  You must use the new roll, even if it ends up being lower.

At level 10, your Zealous Presence allows you to inspire a level of zealotry in your allies as well.  As a bonus action, you can unleash a battle cry that gives up to 10 allies within  60 feet of you advantage on all attack rolls and saving throws until the start of your next turn.  You can only use this ability once per day.

Finally at 14th level, you can Rage Beyond Death.  If you fall to zero hit points while raging, you are not knocked unconscious.  You remain conscious and can act normally on your turn. However you still need to make death saving throws until you either succeed or fail three times.  Taking damage while at 0 hp still causes you to lose death saves.  If you accumulate 3 failed death saves, you still don’t actually die until your rage ends, assuming you’re still at 0 hp when that happens.

My own experience with the Zealot begins and ends at 5th level in a one-shot adventure.  I played a Half-Orc who had credited his survival of the sinking of the Titanic to an indeterminate god of the sea, and started zealously worshiping any and all sea gods after that.  He used two battleaxes, ensuring he delivered his Divine Fury damage every round.  Never did need to be resurrected, and of course those higher-level abilities remained out of reach, but he was a fun character to play.


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)

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Cornelius Kluzthopper

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

With the animated undead fetuses put down, we continued on down the corridor.  Before long, we found ourselves in the large central meeting hall that we’d seen from the entrance, still covered in twisted plant growth.  JumanjiThere was no barrier preventing us from entering this time, so we moved in cautiously.  On closer inspection, it looked like every table and chair had suddenly begun growing, sprouting roots and leafy branches that all tangled together.  Some of these were bearing large, brightly colored fruit, and Tinka picked a purple one off one of the branched for later study.  We made a quick searched the room looking for survivors. While we didn’t find any people, I did notice a pair of boots tangled up in some roots, apparently abandoned by their owner as they attempted to escape.  I picked up the boots for safe-keeping.  In the meantime, Wind had found a couple of ladders leading up to a well-furnished loft office, with two pairs of high bookshelves on either side, a big desk in the middle, and large floor-to-ceiling windows along the eastern wall, looking out into the sky.  The building was situated at the edge of this floating island, so it was quite a spectacular view.

We all climbed up and moved toward the windows, around the desk.  As we passed by the desk, we heard someone call out from from behind the desk.  The man told us he was the Dean of the University, Dr. Gustavio Dollamacher.  With him was a young elf woman wearing a long scarf–it seemed we had made contact with Merryt Amastacia.  Dr. Dollamacher blamed this young woman for everything that was going on in the building.  She claimed to have no idea what happened, and was just trying to levitate a book onto a high shelf when everything in the room seemed to come to life.  The two of them were hiding from “Cornelius,” the stuffed mascot that normally resided in the entrance hall.

Of course, as soon as the Dean said “It looks like we’re safe to come out now,” a flesh golem wearing a straw boater hat emerged from between the bookshelves and started coming towards us.  fleshgolemBoth Clo and Wind were still nursing injuries from our earlier battle with the zombies.  Acting fast, I threw one of my daggers at the golem, and gave Wind a quick Healing Word, while Shill cast Cure Wounds to Clo. My dagger sunk piericed deep into the golem’s chest, but the creature didn’t seem to react at all, nor did it seem fazed by Wind’s staff.  Gustavio warned us too late that Cornelius was immune to normal weapons, but suggested we should try using fire.  Unfortunately, I had no way to make fire, having used my Circlet of Blasting against the zombies earlier.  That was when I noticed that Cornelius happened to be standing quite close to one of those big windows.  I ran up and tried to break the glass with my swords, cracking the glass, but not quite shattering it. Clo, Tinka, and Androcles kept the monster busy, and Tinka and Clo’s magical weapons even managed to do some damage. Shill saw what I was planning and threw another dagger at the window, making the crack bigger. At this point everyone began to catch on.  I pressed in with my sword, forcing the golem to back up against the weakened glass.   Clo and Wind both tried to shove the golem through the windoe, but it was too strong.  Finally, Androcles leaped at the monster from the top of a bookshelf, pouncing with enough force to shatter the window. The golem tumbled out of the window, and off the edge of the floating island.  Unfortunately, Androcles’ momentum meant the mechanical marvel fell as well.

With the monster gone, Gustavio ran off to see what had become of the other experiments in the building.  He seemed quite distressed when we told him that we’d had to destroy so many of those preserved fetal creatures.  That left us alone with Merryt.  I showed her my own dragonmark without actually mentioning which House we had been sent by.  Merryt was surprised but said she’d been doing well here and that she’d been sent to to learn to control her magic.  I attempted to use a Suggestion spell to get her to tell us who exactly it was she was sent here by, but the spell didn’t seem to work.  Still, we were able to convince her to accompany us to Warble’s safehouse, where she could lay low for a while after the day’s excitement.  Hopefully we’ll be able to figure out who she is once we get there.

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