AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: The Convergence Manifesto, Part 7

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.

We’re starting off the new year with a look at the College of Lore Bard. This is the classic Bard archetype, the silver-tongued jack-of-all-trades traveling from town to town with a lute on their back, gathering information, singing songs, and telling stories. Starting at 3rd level, when you choose this subclass, you automatically gain proficiency in three skills of your choice, in addition to skill proficiencies you picked at 1st level. Combined with your Background and any skills you might get from your choice of race, you’ll be proficient in a majority of the possible skills in the game.

Also at level 3, you can use your Cutting Words to distract or confuse your opponents. Whenever any creature within 60 feet of you makes an attack roll, ability check, or damage roll, you can use your reaction and roll one of your Bardic Inspiration dice, subtracting the amount you roll from the creature’s total. Note that this can be used to aid your allies as well as yourself, but it won’t be effective against creatures that are immune to being charmed or that can’t hear you.

All Bards learn Magical Secrets at certain levels 10 and 14, which allows them to learn spells from any spell list. Lore Bards get Additional Magical Secrets at level 6 as well, choosing any 2 spells (of a level you can cast) from any class’s spell list.

Finally, when you reach level 14, your Peerless Skill helps you complete any task. Whenever you make any ability check, you can use one of your Bardic Inspiration dice and add that to your roll. Normally, Bardic Inspiration can only be given to other creatures, so being able to use it for your own rolls is nice. However, note that you can only add to ability check rolls, not saving throws or attacks.

Players and Characters

Josephus is back as DM to continue his Eberron. The recruits for the Clifftop Adventurer’s Guild in Sharn include:

  • Sly, a Wildhunt Shifter Druid of the Circle of Dreams from the mysterious and exotic continent of Xen’drik (CleverGuy)
  • Cherri Bomb, a pink Tiefling Rogue (Waffle)
  • Uda Haserrea, a Summer Eladrin Paladin hailing from the Fairy Court of Thelanis (Wasp)
  • Petie, an Earth Genasi Ranger, who grew up in mostly Dwarvish community underground (Spiny)
  • Scylla, a Half-Elf Genie Patron Warlock, who a found a curious patron in a back alley market near Morgrave University (Hayes)

This week, Spiny provides a recap of our latest adventures, writing as her recently-resurrected-from-the-dead Earth Genasi Ranger, Petie. Thanks, Spiny!

Blood and Bones

Well, just got back from a job where the agents of Xoriat failed to destroy me again! I must remember that they only do that so I’ll let my guard down and relax, which I can NEVER do. :o)

This one was for an artifact pertaining to Mabar, the Plane of Endless Night. We got a message that we needed to return to Karrnath for a mission of “Blood and Bone,” which Uda thought was a reference to the Blood of Vol church with their undead priests and stuff.

We met up with Lhara in Vulyar, and she introduced us to her contact Vedim. Vedim is from Karrnath but he’s not a Blood of Vol member. He worships the Lady of Light and was all fired up about undead abominations corrupting his country and stuff. He said his grandfather’s property was taken over by the Blood of Vol.

We’d get paid if we entered Fort Bones, their fortress defending the Talenta Plains border, and stole an artifact from the crypts. They called it the Queen of Night, and it’s a black chess piece with power from Mabar’s negative energy. Apparently, the fort’s Captain of Bones has been keeping it on her all the time these days.

Ideally, Vedim wanted us to make it look like the elves of Valenar did it. Valenar raiders are always coming over the border to attack Fort Bones anyway, so Vedim could avoid putting his family in danger if Karrnath thought the usual enemy stole from them.

Once Vedim left, Lhara asked us for a private favor, too: her wife’s brother was killed at Fort Bones during the Last War, and they couldn’t recover his remains. She gave us a psi crystal which would glow in his presence so we could find his body. Of course, this being Fort Bones, he could be up walking around, I guess!

Almost all of us agreed that we should sneak in through the sewers instead of trying to pose as Blood of Vol army recruits. I definitely thought it was better not to get killed talking to a bunch of undead strangers.

But Scylla was the only one who wanted to talk our way in. At first I thought she was trying to get me killed (of all possible agents of Xoriat in this party, Scylla seems the most likely!). But then she pointed out that once we snuck inside, we’d have to talk to people and pretend to be new recruits anyway.

That was a good point, and then I felt bad that we were leaving Scylla to go talk to army recruiters all alone. She can’t even do a pushup or anything. So I went with her while the others waited behind.

Scylla and I walked up to Fort Bones, which is completely covered in skeletal remains. I know it’s meant to be scary, but I kind of thought it was hilarious – undead are like little bunny rabbits next to the unknowable aberrations of Xoriat! Like, why would I be scared of a skeleton that looks human?

Scylla is a good actress, so she helped me plan what we’d say when we got recruited. She was gonna be Kelsey Snarlfist. I couldn’t think of a name better than Kelly Barlfist, but Scylla thought of “Dirty Dora” for me. I love that! Normally I don’t like when people call earth genasi dirty, but that makes it sound cool. 🙂

The army recruiter woman didn’t care about the names and backstories we made up, though. She just threw a sentient skeleton at us and told us we could come in after we beat him.

When we were in, another raid from Valenar elves started. Scylla and I fought on the battlements, and the rest of the group decided to use the moment of distraction to sneak through the sewers.

Cherri told me they had to fight off two Valenar raiders, but after that they could sneak into the fort easily. They came out in the washroom (luckily, since they were in the sewers) and took a shower with some other recruits.

The others also managed to get Valenar weapons and corpses so we could stage a scene making it look like the Valenar elves snuck in and stole stuff, not us.

Anyway, Scylla and I ate at the mess hall and the others found us there. Scylla and I had overheard a bunch of good information on the battlements. Most important was the Captain of Bones arguing with the Kine, who’s the Fort’s head necromancy wizard. He was warning her that she couldn’t keep the Queen of Night on her all the time without it killing her, but she ignored him. She told him she’d return the Queen to its storage place in the crypts after evening prayers.

I wanted to go grab a shower since the rest of the group found the washroom and I had a little blood on me! While I was in there, apparently Cherri spotted a servant holding keys to the officer’s quarters (which lead to the crypts) and she stole them.

Even though the Captain still had the chess piece on her, we decided to enter the crypts now anyway. We worried if we waited too long, the servants would realize the keys were stolen.

In the officers’ sanctum, we saw a big scary door obviously leading to the crypts. It was sealed with a lot of skulls and a gap where another skull would fit.

Since we didn’t have a skull, we searched the officers’ rooms. We had to hide from the Inspector when she came in looking for tea, but Sly turned into a spider so he could sneak into the head necromancer’s room. He found a whole bunch of skulls there, plus a record book of the dead.

We found Lhara’s wife’s brother in the record book with the location of his remains, so we could go get those later. I was glad we could do that extra favor for Lhara – she could be an agent of Xoriat waiting to kill me, but she seems nice.

We tried all the skulls in the door, but none of them worked. Eventually, I realized that the skulls needed to be freshly dead or reanimated – they just needed a spark of necrotic energy in them. I asked if anyone had spells like that, but nobody did.

(Scylla tried to fit her own face in the gap because it has a skull after all, but her bones were too wet for it to work.)

I normally don’t like to think about the dragonmark I got when I died. But I know that it lets me cast Spare the Dying if I hurt myself. I gave myself a really bad nosebleed and put the lifeforce from Spare the Dying into the skull.

After I did that, though, Sly and Scylla said THEY could do Spare the Dying without hurting themselves and they “just forgot”!1 I tried not to show it, but I was REALLY upset because they were probably being corrupted by the Plane of Madness to make me hurt myself. It’s this sort of thing that’s a reminder to TRUST NO ONE.

Scylla threw the keys we stole into the hallway outside so the servant might think he dropped them, and we entered the crypts. A steel security golem who I think was also undead – he had some bones in him – woke up and started attacking.

Uda, Cherri, and I surrounded the golem and killed him while Scylla dealt with the shadow spirits.

He had some Mabar darkness magic, ‘cause he summoned shadows to attack and blind us. Sly got blinded and hurt really badly, so he turned himself into a blind crocodile and restrained the golem so the rest of us could hit him better.

Sly hid the golem’s body among the bone piles and we all found hiding places in the crypts. We had to wait a couple hours for evening prayers, when the Captain would come in and leave the chess piece.

It was dark and cold and scary waiting for so long… but I’ve got to stop there because Mal is reminding me to go get my laundry before it gets all mildewy! I don’t know what I’d do without her!