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 I’m looking at one of the newest subclasses, the College of Spirits Bard, which was printed in the horror-themed sourcebook Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. Bards of this College are less musicians and more occult storytellers and mediums. They can reach out to spirits of the dead and hear their tales, which the bards then pass on to those around them.
Starting at 3rd level, you can use a Spiritual Focus for your spellcasting in place of a musical instrument or other arcane focus. These can include candles, crystal balls, skulls, spirit boards, or the tarroka deck. In addition, when you reach level 6, when you use your Spiritual Focus to cast a spell that deals damage or restores hit points, you can add 1d6 to one damage or healing roll of the spell.
Also at level 3, the spirits you reach out to can give your Guiding Whispers that you can pass along to your allies. You learn the Guidance cantrip and can cast it with a range of 60 feet.
The main focus of the subclass though is the ability to learn Tales From Beyond, which you also get at 3rd level. As a bonus action, you can expend a use of your Bardic Inspiration to contact the spirits and learn a tale that you can then spend an action to tell later. You can hold one tale in mind at a time, and you can use your action to bestow the tale’s effect to one creature within 30 feet of you. The tale you learn and the effect it has depend on your roll.1
1 = Tale of the Clever Animal: For 10 minutes after you use this effect, whenever the target makes an Intelligence, a Wisdom, or a Charisma check, they can add your Bardic Inspiration die to the roll.
2 = Tale of the Renowned Duelist: You make a melee spell attack against the target, which deals force damage equal to two rolls of your Bardic Inspiration die plus your CHA modifier.
3 = Tale of the Beloved Friends: The target and another creature of the target’s choice within 5 feet of it gain temporary hit points equal to your Bardic Inspiration die plus your CHA modifier.
4 = Tale of the Runaway: The target can immediately use their reaction to teleport 30 feet. In addition, when the target teleports, they can also choose a number of other creatures within 30 feet of it equal to your CHA modifier and allow those creatures to also use a reaction to teleport.
5 = Tale of the Avenger: For 1 minute, any creature that hits the target with a melee attack takes force damage equal to a roll of your Bardic Inspiration die.
6 = Tale of the Traveler: The target gains temporary hit points equal to your Bardic Inspiration die plus your Bard level. While those temporary hit points last, the target’s speed increased by 10 feet and it gets a +1 to its AC.
7 = Tale of the Beguiler: The target must make a WIS save or take psychic damage equal to 2 of your Bardic Inspiration rolls and be incapacitated until the end of its next turn.
8 = Tale of the Phantom: The target becomes invisible until the end of its next turn or until it hits a creature with an attack. If it does hit a creature with an attack while invisible, that creature takes necrotic damage equal to your Bardic Inspiration die and becomes frightened of the target until the end of the creature’s next turn.
9 = Tale of the Brute: Each creature of the target’s choice within 30 feet must make a STR save or take thunder damage equal to three of your Bardic Inspiration die and be knocked prone. A creature that succeeds on the save takes half damage and isn’t knocked prone.
10 = Tale of the Dragon: The target breathes fire in a 30 foot cone. Each creature in the area must make a DEX save or take fire damage equal to four of your Bardic Inspiration die. A creature that succeeds on the save takes half damage.
11 = Tale of the Angel: The target regains hit points equal to 2 of your Bardic Inspiration die plus your CHA modifier, and you can end one of the following conditions on the target: blinded, deafened, paralyzed, petrified, or poisoned.
12 = Tale of the Mind-Bender: The target must make an INT save or take psychic damage equal to three of your Bardic Inspiration die and be stunned until the end of its next turn.
At 6th level, you can conduct an hour-long Spirit Session during a short or long rest. You can conduct this ritual with a number of willing creatures (including yourself) up to your proficiency bonus. At the end of the ritual, you learn one divination or necromancy spell from any spell list. The spell must be of a level equal to or less than the number of creatures involved in the ritual, and must be of a level you can cast. You know the spell only until the beginning of your next long rest, and you can’t conduct the ritual again until you start your next long rest.
Finally, at level 14, your Mystical Connection to the spirits allows you to have some influence over the tales they tell you. When you use Tales From Beyond, you can roll twice and choose which of the two effects to bestow. If you roll the same number twice, you can choose any effect from the table.
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)
I am pleased to report that neither I nor any of my friends are dead, and Sharn is standing just as tall and proud as ever! It wasn’t easy, but we did it. Don’t believe the stories you might get from travelers, or especially the account in the Sharn Inquisitive–Scylla embellished quite a bit while giving that interview. I’ll tell you what really happened.
After running all of the city disrupting rituals and collecting artifacts, we were starting to get a little exhausted but also running out of time. Thankfully our last stop was a mausoleum outside the city. After convincing the lich living there to give up his artifacts for the good of the city (not an easy feat in itself), we were able to rest a bit on the ride back into Sharn proper and up to the Clifftop district.
When we arrived back at the guildhall, Lhara was waiting for us with a friend from House Orien, who could teleport us up to Skyway. There was no time to lose–we had to track down the Provost and put a stop to whatever it was he was doing up there. As soon as we arrived, I thought we were in trouble. There were half a dozen or more towers that all looked identical and all had some kind of magic happening in them clearly. Luckily, Scylla realized that for this kind of ritual, there should be only a single focus point, and all the other towers were illusions designed to slow us down. Petie closed her eyes and then pointed toward a spire over a restaurant and said that was the one–she could feel the planar energy coming off it.
As we got to the restaurant, we saw that it was surrounded by a thick wall of ice. Uda and I started using our fire cantrips to melt the ice, but then Scylla thought it’d be faster to just climb over. Easy for her, she can fly. I still haven’t quite mastered the use of wings. Petie give me a boost, but the ice was just too slippery for me. Petie instead started to hammer some pitons into the wall to assist in climbing, but the noise alerted an air elemental that swooped down to attack us. We made short work that, and finally hopped over the wall and into the restaurant.
Inside the restaurant we found the Provost enjoying an expensive dinner all on his own, a single scared-looking waitress standing near him. Uda approached, tossing a bag of gold at the waitress and telling her to get out. The Provost started monologuing about his grand plan and scheme for revenge. Going on and on about the rich were oppressing the poor, and not listening a bit to us when we asked how dropping a city on the poor people below would help. Then suddenly his form shifted into that of a gnomish woman with long blonde hair–apparently the “Provost” had been a disguise all along. Anyway, this gnome was pretty clearly just mad with power and also pretty clearly just stalling for time.
Scylla dove under a table as the “Provost” stood and cast a spell to make Cherrazai invisible. But Scylla and Petie suddenly found themselves restrained by pillars of ice. Cherri must have escaped because the gnome took a hit from Cherri’s sword and a burst of cold exploded from her. I dove behind the bar, shifting as I went, and tried to cast Hold Person, but she resisted the spell. Uda tried to frighten her, but she just laughed maniacally and brought a piano in the corner to life, which charged at Uda and slammed into her.
It was a pretty chaotic battle, spells and weapons flying back and forth all over the place. Scylla was able to dispel some of the “Provost’s” defenses, and I was able to summon up a fire elemental spirit to deal wit the animated piano. The gnome took off into the air to get away from Petie and Uda, but Cherri was still invisible and shooting off crossbow bolts at her, at least until she managed to hit Scylla with a spell, breaking her concentration. With the piano destroyed, I told my fire elemental to attack the gnome, but she was still airborne. I had to get her down into melee range, so I jumped on top of the bar and Thorn Whipped her down to the ground, so my Elemental Spirit could wail on it. Unfortunately, she retaliated, hitting me with a lightning bolt and making lost my hold on the spirit.
By this point, she was starting to get desperate. She put up a Wall of Force, cutting Cherri and I off from the others. I admit, after that lightning bolt I was a little worried. But the “Provost” didn’t count on Petie being able to teleport right through her Wall. Petie appeared and threw her javelin into the gnome, bringing her down. As the mage died, the waitress who was still hiding in the corner, and miraculously unharmed, pointed up the stairs, saying the mage had come down from there just before everything went nuts.
At the top of the stairs we found a dragonshard tethered by ethereal chains to a dozen different symbols etched into metal plates in the surrounding buildings. As we watched a tentacle snaked out of the dragonshard along the chain toward one of the sigils, lighting it up. Some kind of astral horror was trying to pull itself through a portal, using the glowing symbols as anchors. We knew that if it managed to light all 12 symbols, it would burst through and destroy the Syrania manifest zone that keeps Skyway floating.
Luckily, something about the planar energies in the area allowed all of us to fly, and we all took off in different directions to try and put out the glowing symbols and weaken the astral horror’s hold. Attacking the chains physically didn’t seem to do anything, though Cherrazai was having success with her thieves’ tools. I’m not sure what she was doing, but it was working and she was fast. Not fast enough though, as more tentacles kept snaking down the chains and lighting more symbols. When I got close enough, I realized that each symbol represented one of the planes we’d traveled to, and we could use the associated artifacts to break the horror’s connection if we could get close enough. While Cherrazai continued pulling apart the connections with her tools, and Scylla blasted some of them apart with her magic, Petie, Uda, and I coordinated to get the artifacts we had to the right places and deactivate the runes. It was frustrating work–every time we got we deactivated one rune, the monster would reactive another two, sometimes two at once. And all the while it was also swinging huge tentacles around at us–I took a nasty hit at one point and blacked out, but Petie was able to revive me pretty quickly.
Finally, with most of the symbols disconnected, Petie started hacking away at the horror through the portal in the center while Cherrazai, Scylla, and Uda converged on the last of the runes. I dropped a Moonbeam on the beast and flew over to heal Uda, who was badly hurt. Then, just before the beast could reactivate another connection, Scylla’s Eldritch Blast destroyed the last connection and the portal suddenly closed. Unfortunately, gravity also reasserted itself and we all fell to the tops of various buildings.
In the next couple days, as word spread about what had happened in Skyway, the Clifftop Adventurer’s Guild had become heroes. The mayor of Sharn gave us all a huge sum of gold and even commissioned a couple of magic items from the remains of the planar portal. Scylla is definitely enjoying being famous, with all those interviews she’s giving. Meanwhile, Petie has asked us to travel to her home in the Mror Holds to try and close a planar gateway to Xoriat there. I’m looking forward to this trip–I haven’t made it Mror yet in my travels. I just hope that there’s not actually a gateway to Xoriat there.
As always, I know that Grandmother Wolf will watch over me, and you as well.