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AvocaD&D & Tabletop Gaming Thread: Carnival of Shadows, Episode 13

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 look at the Oathbreaker Paladin, one of a few subclasses that has only been printed in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. It’s also the only class I’m aware of that has an alignment restritction–a paladin must have an evil alignment to become at Oathbreaker. As the name suggests, this character is a Paladin who has willfully broken their sacred vow and turned to darkness. Like all paladins, the Oathbreaker has a handful of spells at certain levels that are always prepared, including Hellish Rebuke and Inflict Wounds at level 3, Crown of Madness and Darkness at level 5, Animate Dead and Bestow Curse at level 9, Blight and Confusion at level 13, and Contagion and Dominate Person at level 17.

Starting at 3rd level, the Oathbreaker gains two ways they can channel the power of whatever dark god they now serve, though they can only use one of these options per rest. First, they can use their action to Control Undead, causing a single undead creature within 30 feet to make a WIS saving throw. On a failed save, the undead creature must obey the paladin’s commands for 24 hours. The Oathbreaker can only target undead with challenge ratings lower than their paladin class level, as more powerful creatures are immune to the effect.

Second, the Oathbreaker can use an action to channel their darkest emotions into a Dreadful Aspect. Each creature of the paladin’s choice within 30 feet must make a WIS save or be frightened of the paladin for 1 minute. Creatures can repeat the saving throw if they end their turn more than 30 feet from the paladin.

At 7th level, the Oathbreaker projects an Aura of Hate. The paladin and any fiends or undead within 10 feet of them deal extra damage with their melee weapon attacks equal to the paladin’s CHA modifier. The range of this Aura increases to 30 feet when the Oathbreaker reached level 18.

At level 15, the Oathbreaker gains Supernatural Resistance to bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage from nonmagical attacks.

Finally at 20th level the Oathbreaker becomes a Dread Lord. As an action, the Oathbreaker can surround themselves with aura of gloom, reducing any bright light in a 30-foot radius around the paladin to dim light, and enveloping the paladin and any creatures they choose in the area in deeper shadow. Creatures that rely on sight have disadvantage on all attack rolls against targets affected by the aura that way, and any creature that is frightened of the paladin takes 4d10 psychic damage if it begins its turn in the aura. In addition, while the aura is active that Oathbreaker can use their bonus action to cause the shadows to attack a creature within the aura’s effect. The paladin makes a melee spell attack roll, which deals 3d10 plus the paladin’s CHA modifier in necrotic damage if it hits.


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)
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The Plot Thickens

After returning the barlgura to Zelda Felbinder, we decided to pay a visit to the Church of the Silver Flame ourselves, to see what role they might have played in Zelda’s poisoning. Annabelle, Shirley, Tinka, and I went inside, and I made a small donation to grease the wheels, so to speak. We interview Brother Marcus, who confirmed that the deer-like shifter courier we’d found the other day, by the name of Jane Doe, stopped by frequently, and had even been in the church on the day of the attack. Annabelle is pretty good at reading people, and she seemed confident that Marcus was innocent of any wrong-doing. We also spoke with Sister Alina, another member of the clergy whom Jane told us she was friendly with. Alina did seem to be hiding something, but whatever it was it didn’t have anything to do with the attack–she also read as innocent to Annabelle’s trained senses. Alina told us the only other person who might have been around the Church when Jane was there last was the custodian, Gunther.

We found Gunther sweeping the church steps. While Brother Marcus and Sister Alina had seemed like nice enough people, with more progressive attitudes towards shifters and warforged than the Silver Flame is known for, Gunther was… unpleasant, to say the least. Openly hostile towards Tinka, and not shy about sharing his feelings on shifters like Jane. After a few minutes of talking to him, Annabelle used her Detect Thoughts spell and probed into his mind–she discovered that Gunther did indeed tamper with Zelda’s bonbons, while Jane and Sister Alina were having a bit of a tryst. She also saw some kind of connection between Gunther and Rudolph Von Pique, something about the sewers. Gunther tried to run, but Wind was able to chase him down quickly, and Clo manacled his wrists. This caused a bit of a scene though, and Brother Marcus came out to see what was going on. I explained the situation to him, and he allowed me to accompany him to search Gunther’s room. We found a bunch of sleepweed and a syringe in Gunther’s room without trouble, and Brother Marcus called the city guard to take him away.

With Gunther arrested, we confided in Marcus that Von Pique may be involved also. Gunther said he might be able to arrange for us to get into Von Pique’s next party, but first he asked us to look into the attacks still happening in Little Cyre. He was concerned about the people there.

We agreed, and made our way into Little Cyre. We stopped at a tavern called the Raised Crown, where Clo and Tinka, as Cyrian refugees themselves, made a few friends and learned where the most recent attack had taken place. It had happened just night, after we’d returned the Barlgura to Zelda’s place, so we knew that it couldn’t have been the demon that was leaving half-eaten corpses all over town.

We visited the crime scene and started snooping around. Though the body itself had been removed by now, Tinka found a few bits of rotted flesh that seemed much older than a fresh kill. Annabelle used her magic to detect a faint necromantic aura around them. Clo caught a scent from the meat and was able to sniff out a trail that led into the sewer.

Once we’d climbed down, the smell of sewer was too overpowering for us to be able to follow Clo’s nose any longer. We saw a light coming from a tunnel to the east, and followed it to a small chamber. The lightsource turned out to be an ever-burning lantern, apparently belonging to the remains of a maintence worker that had been there for long enough that it was just bones. Before I could stop Clo, she had gone to inspect the skeleton, and green slime had dropped on her from the ceiling above. I scraped the slime off her quickly, and Tinka pointed out that there was more of the slime hanging down from above. I used Dancing Lights to create a vaguely person-shaped mass and moved it around under the slime. Green slime reacts to motion, and the Dancing Lights was enough to get it all to drop down to the ground, where we could easily avoid it. Annabelle and Shirley picked up the lantern, and I managed to find a few coins in the dead worker’s pockets, and we moved on.

Further down the tunnel, we came to a large cistern where a bunch of undead of various types gathered. As Clo, Shill, and I snuck forward to try and get the drop on them, a giant crocodile came up out of the cistern and ate one of the ghouls in one bite. After that we abandoned any pretense of stealth–the croc was a serious threat, but the undead were just a nuisance in the way. Luckily most of them were pretty far away. I conjured up a Cloud of Daggers around the croc’s head, while the others started rushing forward. The thing was smart enough to move clear before the daggers could do too much damage, and managed to grab hold of Wind in it’s jaws. Some skeletons started shooting arrows us from across the cisterns as zombies and ghouls closed in slowly. Tinka and the twins had to run to catch up, while Clo and Shill engaged with some of the nearer undead creatures. I tried to help Wind escape the croc’s grip by casting Bane on it, but one of the skeletons managed to catch me with an arrow and break my concentration. Clo destroyed a ghoul and then lept onto the croc’s back, and Wind finally managed to wriggle free and climb onto the ledge near the skeletons, but she was looking pretty hurt. While most of us engaged with the undead, Annabelle did something to the croc’s mind that stopped it from attacking briefly, and Clo kept wailing on it’s head. Shill healed some of Wind’s wounds and Tinka’s frog gave her a bit of a boost as well. Meanwhile, the croc had started to flee down the tunnel with Clo still on it’s back. I didn’t want it to get away with my friend, so I cast a Hypnotic Pattern to stop it from moving. I had to catch Clo with it as well, but on the bright side I also stopped one of the skeletal archers from shooting us for a while. Clo caught another in a shoulder, which snapped her out of the daze from my spell. I tried to warn her that hurting the croc would snap it awake, too, but she didn’t hear me. Luckily, Clo was able to kill the beast with two well-placed blows before it could react and flee back to it’s nest. After that it was just a matter of cleaning up the last of the zombies and skeletons.

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