AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: The Convergence Manifesto, Part 25

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’s subclass discussion is the Way of the Kensei Monk. Whereas most monks are masters of unarmed martial arts combat, Kensei Monks are weapon masters. They train for years to hone their skills until their chosen weapon becomes an extension of their body.

As a Monk following the Path of the Kensei, you gain access to multiple abilities starting at 3rd level. First, you can choose two types of weapons to become your Kensei Weapons, one melee and one ranged. They can be any simple or martial weapon that doesn’t have the Heavy or Special properties (with the exception of the longbow, which is Heavy but remains a valid choice). Your Kensei weapons count as monk weapons for you, which means you can use your martial arts skills with them. You can choose additional Kensei weapon types at 6th, 11th, and 17th levels.

While holding your Kensei weapon, you can make an Agile Parry. If you use the Attack action on your turn and make an unarmed strike as part of that action, you can add +2 to your AC until the start of your next turn. Note that your bonus action unarmed strikes from Flurry of Blows don’t count for this–you have to forego using your weapon on at least one of your main attacks to get the AC bonus.

You can also use a bonus action to take a Kensei’s Shot when you attack with a ranged Kensei weapon. Any creature you hit with your ranged Kensei weapon attacks take an additional 1d4 damage for the remainder of the current turn.

Finally, the Path of Kensei also includes the Way of the Brush, giving you proficiency with either painter’s supplies or calligrapher’s supplies.

At level 6, you learn to extend your ki into your chosen weapon to become One With the Blade. All your attacks made with Kensei weapons count as magical for the purposes of overcoming resistances to nonmagical damage. In addition, once per turn you can spend 1 ki point when you hit a creature with your Kensei weapon to deal extra damage equal to one roll of your Martial Arts die.

When you get to 11th level, you can Sharpen the Blade to further augment your weapons with your ki. You can use a bonus action and spend up to 3 ki points to give your Kensei weapon a bonus to attack and damage rolls equal to the number of ki points spent. This effect lasts for 1 minute, but note that you can’t use it on a weapon that already has an magical bonus to hit and damage.

Finally, at level 17, your skill with your weapons gives you Unerring Accuracy. Once per turn, if you miss with an attack roll using any monk weapon, you can reroll the attack.

Players and Characters

Josephus is back as DM to continue his Eberron adventure. The members of 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)
  • Cherrazai, a pink Tiefling Rogue, recently bonded with a quori from the Realm of Dreams (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 that was unfortunately built too close to a Xoriat manifest zone (Spiny)
  • Scylla, a Half-Elf Genie Patron Warlock, who a found a curious patron in a back alley market near Morgrave University (Hayes)

Spiny Creature provides this week’s game recap. Thanks, Spiny!

Chess Games and Time Loops

I don’t have time, so I’ll have to make this journal entry really fast – we’ve barely taken a breath since we found out about the provost’s betrayal.

After destroying the convergence of Thelanis and Dal Quor, we decided to travel ASAP to Shae Lias. Lhara says that Aena, the failed Clifftop Adventurer – you remember, the one who tried to kill me after I saved her life and offered her a rescue boat home – was seen with the artifacts of Irian and Mabar there. The elves of Shae Lias were very friendly and helpful! They said Aena was last seen barricading herself past the Deathgate, and sure enough it was blocked when we reached it. Scylla flew up through the transom to get to the other side of the barricade and let us in. Inside, we found… something really weird, but I guess that’s normal now!

Aena was on a ritual ground, but the ritual ground looked like a giant chess board? She was in the white queen’s place and there was a shadowy copy of her in the black queen’s place. And she was wearing the artifact we recovered from Irian (that sapphire medallion). The Mabar artifact was the chess piece itself – the Queen of Night. She basically said she was using the convergences to gain her own power through this ritual, and we had better not disrupt it. The ritual was a chess game, and if either side won it would disrupt the balance and end it. Plus, if we took black we would kill her, but if we played on her team – white – we could spare her but risk our own souls in the process.

Scylla and Sly wanted to spare her, and normally I’m with Sly on these things, but I did not want to risk all my friends’ souls to spare a lady who stabs you in the back when you offer her a hand up. So we went to the black side to fight White Queen Aena. Uda and I picked rooks, Cherrazai and Sly were bishops, and Scylla replaced a pawn. On the board, we suddenly could only move like the pieces do, which was very annoying! 🙁

Sly cast Erupting Earth and I cast Spike Growth on the white half of the board, so we turned their half into an unpassable wasteland. Scylla blasted pieces back into the spikes and Cherrazai and the black queen dueled a white bishop. As for the white rooks, they were trapped in the craters and stone rubble Sly created, but Uda teleported to them and I… well… just created more craters in the earth barreling over to them. We didn’t kill them fast enough, though, because the black queen made a sacrifice play – she blasted the whole area, hurting me along with the rooks. I didn’t mind, though! It killed the rooks, and I guess that’s chess for you.

The white queen was blasting us with ‘holy’ (as if!) radiant damage, and she hurt me and Sly really badly. But once all the white pieces were gone, we could attack her. I’m glad I was OK with not sparing Aena, because I kind of got carried away and impaled her with a javelin. That ended the ritual fast enough! The sapphire medallion and Queen of Night lost their power. 🙂

We decided not to rest for even a moment, though – there were so many convergence points still left. We traveled to Morgrave, where the convergence of Daanvi and Kythri (the Quintessence Engine and the Aether Vane) was supposed to be.

A professor named Cornella met us on the campus and said a sphinx in the library just asked for us by name. On the threshold of the library, we saw the sphinx inside, but we also saw that time was… totally frozen. A whirlwind of papers was hovering midair. That didn’t last long, though. We stepped inside, and things went bananas! Time sped up to normal when we were in there, and we realized the sphinx had frozen whatever was happening inside a time loop to prevent it from going any further.

‘Whatever was happening’ was a tornado of paper and a golem of arcane scrolls and artifacts, all powered by the Vane and the Engine. The sphinx said a bunch of rhymes about needing to answer her questions, and she said we had already had this conversation with her dozens of times. I didn’t think that was very encouraging! >:(

We tried to fight the whirlwind and golem, but we… didn’t get far. Sly burned the papers, but that wasn’t enough. Cherri and I got poisoned from getting too close to the golem when we hit it. Finally, the sphinx gave us a riddle: “For the living to advance, a murder could be fun perchance”.

Cherri and Sly were getting knocked out, so I was distracted, but I saw Uda get hit in the face with a stray book about corvids. She solved the riddle with her face! It was a murder of crows. I hate riddles.

And then Sly… well… died. The sphinx gave us a new riddle (an easier one – the answer was “a key”), but before we could answer it, Sly’s death made the sphinx reset the time loop back to the beginning so we could try and do it right this time. It’s gonna be a long visit to the library.