AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Carnival of Shadows, Episode 17

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 the Path of the Storm Herald for the Barbarian class. Barbarians who follow this path tap into the primal forces of nature when they rage, allowing them to produce magical effects depending on their chosen environment.

Starting at level 3, a Storm Herald emanates a Storm Aura. This 10-ft radius aura extends out from you when you active your rage and causes an effect based on your choice of environment, either Desert, Sea, or Tundra. A Storm Herald who chooses the Desert environment will deal 2 fire damage1 to any creature within the aura when it’s activated. Activating a Sea aura lets the Barbarian cause one creature within the aura to make a DEX save or take 1d6 lightning damage.2 If the creature makes the saving throw, they still take half damage. Finally, the Tundra aura grants 2 temporary hit points to creatures of your choice within the aura.3 These effects occur when you begin raging, and while raging you can use a bonus action to active each one again on each of your turns. Also, you can choose a new environment whenever you gain a level in this class.

At level 6, your Storm Soul grants you benefits even when your Storm Aura is not active. The benefits again depend on your chosen environment. A Desert soul grants resistance to fire damage, and allows you to ignore the effects of extreme heat. Also, you can use an action to set fire to an object that isn’t being worn are carried with just a touch. The Sea option grants resistance to lightning damage, and also gives you a swimming speed of 30 feet and allows you to breathe underwater. Finally, the Tundra soul grants resistance to cold damage and protects you from extreme cold environments. You can freeze a 5-foot cube of water for 1 minute as an action, though this fails if there is a creature within the water.

When you reach level 10, you can protect others with your Shielding Storm. This allows you spread the damage resistance you get from the Storm Soul ability to creatures of your choice in the area of your Storm Aura.

Finally, at 14th level, you can channel the Raging Storm into your aura to lash out at your foes. With a Desert aura active, you can use your reaction when you’re hit with an attack to cause the attacker to make a DEX save or take fire damage equal to half your Barbarian level. If you have a Sea aura active, you can use a reaction when you hit a creature with an attack to cause that creature to make a STR save or be knocked prone. Finally, when you activate the Tundra aura, you can choose a creature in the aura and force it to make a STR save. On a failed save, the creature’s speed becomes 0 until the start of your next 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)
Von Pique's Basement

We briefly debated the merits of sending The Shill in first, disguised as one of the hired goons, but ultimately decided that the benefits of that approach were negligible. Instead we went for the direct method, and just burst through the door. Inside was a large laboratory, where two robed figures were working some strange magic to create undead creatures. One of them was stirring something green and bubbling in a large cauldron; the other was tending to what appeared to be corpses in tanks full of some kind of glowing fungus. Sitting against a table nearby was a large headless body that reminded me of Cornelius Klutzhopper, the flesh golem we’d taken care of back at the Arcanix University.

The two people in the room did not take kindly to our interruption. Shill was able to paralyze the man at the cauldron with a Hold Person spell before he could get too far, and Annabelle followed up by blasting him backwards with a Psionic Blast. Tinka lobbed a ball of Grease over the low wall between us and the other robed woman in the room, while finishing off the man with a well-aimed shot from her bolt gun. The other woman slipped and fell in Tinka’s Grease, but managed to drag herself over to a button that sounded an alarm.

Not knowing how much time we’d have, and not being able to see the enemy rolling around in the grease on the ground, I decided to try and upset the cauldron so that whatever process was started in there wouldn’t finish. The cauldron was too heavy for me though. Wind moved ahead to protect Shill and Annabelle, while Clo turned to watch the hall behind us, expecting reinforcements to show up any moment, and shifted so that she suddenly looked like a rather soft fluffy lizard.

The reinforcements came from an unexpected direction, though, as a trap door in the ceiling opened, and Rudolph Von Pique himself started lowering down from the ceiling in his chair. Von Pique demanded to know what we thought we were doing in his house, and The Shill decided to use some psychological warfare of their own. They transformed to look like Von Pique and claimed that the real Rudolph was in fact the imposter. I don’t think anyone was surprised when no one fell for this ruse. However, Shill used the brief distraction to summon their spiritual weapon, this time taking the form of the deed to Von Pique’s manor house. Annabelle let loose another Psionic Blast, knocking back Von Pique’s flesh golem and the priest who’d sounded the alarm, then Wind ran up to attack the golem, connecting with her staff but not appearing to do any damage. Tinka sent Androcles in to join the attack and pegged the golem with a radiant bolt from her bolt gun for good measure.

The golem rose and slammed back at Androcles and Wind; the mechanical lion managed to take the brunt of the attacks, though preventing Wind from being seriously hurt. I moved up and hit Von Pique with a Blindness spell, and Clo took advantage of this to leap over my head and hack at the flesh golem with her magical axe. Before anyone else could attack the blinded Von Pique however, the priest in the grease was able to dispel it somehow. With the flesh golem still surrounded though, Tinka turned her attention to the priest. Tinka connected with her giant wrench, but had apparently forgotten about her own Grease spell and also slipped and fell to the ground. With the golem swinging its fists wildly at Clo and Wind, I cast Dissonant Whispers to get rid of that annoying priest once and for all. After that, Clo’s magical axe and Shill’s spiritual paperwork combined to take the flesh golem apart.

With Clo’s final blow, Von Pique’s chair was ejected from the golem’s body, sending Von Pique himself back through the trap door and into the punch bowl in the banquet hall on the floor above. Clo leaped out of the trap door after the dwarf and grabbed him while the majority of the party guests, who had been watching the whole battle through the trap door, began to flee. The rest of us made our back up the stairs, releasing the two hired goons as we went. Shill rolled the bodies of the two spellcasters, pocketing a few coins, then smashed his pellet of water to flood the laboratory chamber on the way out.

The Shill used Zone of Truth to try and get Von Pique to confess, but the dwarf didn’t seem to want to answer. I used my own spell, Suggestion, to convince him to cooperate. He admitted that he’d been planting undead creatures in the sewers below Little Cyre to drive down property values so that he could expand his estate into the neighborhood. When Zelda Felbinder moved in with her captive demons, he thought he’d have the perfect scapegoat. When the city guards arrive, his confession, combined with the paper evidence that Tinka had recovered from the basement, were enough to convince them to have him arrested.

The Carnival will be moving from Fairhaven soon, but I’m not sure of our next destination…