AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Carnival of Shadows, Episode 12

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.

The subclass of the week for the discussion today is the Horizon Walker Ranger. Rangers that follow this path focus on protecting the Prime Material plane from threats from extra-planar entities by keeping watch over portals to other realms, such as the Feywild or the Astral Sea. Many even go so far as to venture through those portals to pursue their foes and preserve the planar order. Horizon Walkers learn certain spells automatically at specific levels, including Protection from Evil and Good at 3rd level, Misty Step at 5th, Haste at 9th, Banishment at 13th, and Teleportation Circle at 17th.

Beginning at 3rd level, the Horizon Walker also gains the ability to Detect Portals, using an action to determine the direction and distance to any planar portal within 1 mile of their current location. In addition, also at 3rd level, you also become a Planar Warrior, allowing you to pull energy from the multiverse into your attacks. As a bonus action, you can use this ability to target a creature within 30 feet of you. The next time you hit that creature with a weapon attack, all of the damage from that attack becomes force damage, and you deal an additional 1d8 force damage as well. The extra damage increases to 2d8 when you reach 11th level.

At level 7, you learn to walk through the Ethereal Plane for a short time. When you use your Ethereal Step, you can cat the Etherealness spell as a bonus action on your turn. Doing so does not require a spell slot, but the spell only lasts until the end of the current turn, and you’ll need at least a short rest before you can do it again.

At 11th level you can move through the planes to make a Distant Strike against your foes. If you take the Attack action on your turn, you can teleport up to 10 feet before making each attack roll. If you target two different creatures with your attacks in that turn, you can make one more attack against a third creature as well.

Finally, at 15th level you gain a Spectral Defense. When you take damage from an attack, you can use you reaction to slip through the planar boundaries and grant yourself resistance to all of that attack’s damage for the turn.

The Hayes Code is currently DMing our group, running an original campaign in the Eberron setting. We’re playing as member of a traveling carnival/spy network for House Phiarlan.

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)
  • Annabelle and Shirley Fredricks, conjoined twins, one of whom is a Human Divination Wizard (Spiny Creature)

With Zelda unconscious and the demons either subdued or chased off, we set about trying to figure out exactly what happened. In Zelda’s dressing room, we found a box of chocolate bonbons from the Auburn Fountain, as well as a bottle of wine from the Grape Delight vineyard. Annabelle was quickly able to determine that the wine and chocolate had been tampered with somehow, and Wind confirmed our suspicions by sampling a couple of bonbons, which caused her to pass out after about 30 minutes. Clo also tested the wine, and while it did appear to have been drugged, Clo was able to shake off the effects. We asked around to see if anyone knew where the wine and candy had come from, and one of the goblins who run the carnival games said she saw a woman in official House Orien livery deliver them to Zelda not long before the show started. She gave us a pretty generic description, but also said that the delivery person had sort of a “woodsy” scent.

Clo found someone in the crowd who pointed us to the Auburn Fountain, but we needed a rest, especially with Wind knocked out from eating the soporific candies. In the morning, Shill was able to determine the type of poison in the chocolate, which ended up being a fairly common herb that could be found almost anywhere. Before visiting the candy store, we decided to talk to Zelda herself. Now that she was awake, Zelda had no idea who would have poisoned her. We noted that she’d had some run-ins with her neighbors before, who weren’t happy to have demons kept as pets in town. Zelda also mentioned that members of the Silver Flame church were always particularly opposed to the existence of demons. She’d been targeted for harassment by the church in the past. However, Zelda’s main concern was tracking down and recapturing the barlgura that had escaped-she begrudgingly offered us a reward of 300 gp if we could recover the beast.

We decided to split up and try to gather information to see if we could find out who tried to poison Zelda first. Shill, Clo, and Wind went to the chocolate shop (with a stop to buy some manacles that we could use on the barlgura), while Tinka, the twins, and I tried to find the courier who had delivered the tainted goods. Wind also picked up her magical fruit hat.

At the House Orien office, I actually managed to spot the delivery-person in a crowd right away, heading towards an airship with another package Tinka sent her frog over asking the woman to stop so we could ask her some questions, but the woman immediately bolted. We chased after her, and as she ran down an alley, I tossed up a Cloud of Daggers in front of her to slow her down. We managed to catch up and found out that she was a shifter. We were able to calm her down enough to talk–she said she’d just delivered the package and had no idea it was poisoned. Annabelle’s good at reading people, and she said that the shifter woman wasn’t lying. We asked her if she knew how the package could have been tampered with, and she swore that she hadn’t even let the package out of her sight, but Annabelle’s Detect Thoughts uncovered that she’d stopped by the Silver Flame temple on her way to make the delivery. Despite the church’s official anti-shifter stance, this particular woman was friendly with a couple of the clergy there.

Meanwhile, the others were visiting the Auburn Fountain. The gnomish proprietor was able to tell them that the chocolates had been purchased by someone from the estate of Rudolph Von Pique with instructions to deliver them to Zelda’s dressing room. They found much the same information at the Grape Delight vineyward–this Von Pique had arranged for the wine bottle to be delivered as well.

We still had more questions than answers. Was Von Pique trying to kill or embarrass Zelda for some reason? According to Zelda, they’d been friends for some time, but “Rudie” had been donating money to the Silver Flame lately. Or perhaps someone wanted to ruin Von Pique’s reputation and Zelda was merely caught in the middle. Or maybe Von Pique is completely innocent, and the Silver Flame itself wanted to get rid of our favorite demonologist. There were just so many possibilities–but we did have a demon-ape to track down.

Luckily, even while invisible, the barlgura left a bit of a trail. We were able to track it to a farm on the outskirts of town, where it had apparently eaten all of the chickens in the coop. The farmer pointed us to a copse of trees where the thing seemed to have made a nest. From there, Shill was able to follow it’s tracks for a way, until we came upon the beast getting ready to make a meal of some other farmers flock of sheep. Wind tossed it some fruit from the top of her hat, and was able to lure it close to us. Then, I cast Suggestion before it was close enough to hurt anyone, and got it to follow us all the way back to Zelda’s trailer. I’m just happy that the spell was effective, because the thought of trying to knock out a demon and drag it back to town was not very appealing.