AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: An Invitation to Karnov Mansion, Cont’d

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.

Wizards of the Coast released the new Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons book last week, which includes new subclasses for the Ranger and Monk. Today, we’ll just take a look at the new Drakewarden Ranger. These Rangers form a bond with dragons, whether it’s through draconic magic, the divine influence of a dragon-god, or just being present when a dragon egg hatches. This bond manifests itself a drake companion that grows as you level up.

Starting at 3rd level, you get your Drake Companion, magically summoning the drake as an action. The drake is a Small dragon that is friendly to you and takes its turn directly after yours in combat. Like the Beast Master Ranger’s companion, its statblock is tied to your proficiency bonus, and you can use your bonus action to command your drake to attack or take some other action in combat. Each time you summon your drake, you can choose its Draconic Essence, making it immune to your choice of acid, fire, cold, lightning, or poison damage. When an ally within 30 feet of the drake hits with a weapon attack, the drake can use its reaction to add 1d6 damage of the same type as its Draconic Essence to the attack. Note that you can only summon the drake once per day, unless you use a spell slot of 1st level or higher to summon it again.

Also at 3rd level, your Draconic Gift allows you to speak, read and write the Draconic language (or another language of your choice), and you learn the Thaumaturgy cantrip.

At level 7, your Bond of Fang and Scale intensifies. Your drake companion grows to Medium size instead of Small, and also sprouts wings that give it a flying speed equal to its riding speed. You can also use your drake as a mount, as long as your size is Medium or smaller, though the drake can’t use its flying speed while you are mounted on it. You also gain resistance to the damage type chosen for your drake’s Draconic Essence, and the drake’s bite attack automatically deals an additional 1d6 of the chose damage type.

At 11th level, your bond with the drake allows you or your drake to use a Drake’s Breath attack. As an action, you can exhale a 30-foot cone of acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison damage (this does not have to match your drake’s chosen Draconic Essence), or command your drake to exhale it. Each creature in the cone must make a DEX save or take 8d6 damage of the chosen type, taking half damage on a successful save. The damage increases to 10d6 when you reach level 15. You can only use this ability one per long rest, unless you expend a spell slot of 3rd level or higher to use it again.

Finally, at level 15, you have a Perfected Bond with your drake. The drake’s size becomes Large and it can now fly while you are mounted on it. The damage of the drake’s Bite attack increases by another 1d6 of your chosen type. Also, while you and the drake are within 30 feet of each other, you can use a reaction when either you or the drake take damage to give yourself or the drake resistance to that damage. You can use this reaction a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, recharging on a long rest.

Players and Characters

TheHayesCode took over the DM’s chair this week, for a special spooky one-shot (or probably more like two-shot) for Halloween! This adventure is set in Eberron, where 5 strangers each receive an invitation to a dinner party at the isolated Karnov Mansion.

Our players include (with thanks to Spiny Creature for these brief introductions):

  • Wafflicious as Chaz Templeton, Half-Orc Redemption Paladin, a fashionable gentleman in a full tux
  • CleverGuy as Haefral Razwunder, Hill Dwarf Celestial Warlock, a woodcutter turned sudden hero after rescuing a duke
  • JosephusBrown as Harold, Hobgoblin Order of Scribes Wizard, a visiting Droamish scholar
  • Spiny Creature as Mallory Ert, Human Circle of Bees1 Druid, an eccentric Warden of the Wood turned beekeeper
  • The Wasp as Mary Worthy, Kobold Grave Cleric, a claustrophobic ghost hunter
The End of the Karnovs

I didn’t ask for any of this. All I want to do is help rid the world of the evil that I foolishly let in. But I’m just a simple woodcutter–I can’t refuse a request from a Duke of Sharn. So my name ended up in the Inquisitive, and before you know it I’m being summoned to isolated mansions where I’m dropped into a maze and hunted by weretigers!

It’s lucky for me that the Guardian’s magic lets me speak the language of beasts, because I was able to convince some of the normal tigers not to kill me, or my fellow huntees. The whole Karnov family were arrogant bastards, thinking they could just play with us for sport. They even seeded little puzzles into that maze of theirs. Like the statues with the picture frames. So this statue was holding three empty frames, and there some portraits of the three Karnov daughters in the ground nearby. A little inscription on the statue saying “Adventures be your boldest, put us in order from youngest to…” I’m sure they just loved the thought of us answering trivia question about their family. And when Ms. Mallory went and put the pictures in the frames in the right order, a compartment in the base of the statue opened up to reveal three healing potions and a note from the Karnovs inviting us to refresh ourselves, so we didn’t “die too soon.”

We decided to bypass the Exhibit Hall in the middle of the grounds–seemed like an obvious trap. Mr. Templeton led us around the outside of the building, where a wider area, covered with ivy vines led toward another pedestal with a bronze bust on it. Another Karnov lycanthrope was laying in wait for us behind the ivy, but he got a little more than he bargained for. Mr. Templeton engaged the weretiger with his sword, Mr. Harold’s little cat familiar started breathing lightning at the lycanthrope, like a dragon would! Karnov was certainly no match for the five us, plus a lightning-breathing cat. He did manage to sink his fangs into Mr. Templeton before we could dispatch him though.

That bronze bust came to life as I approached it, just to say that “Madam Karnov” was having so much fun and we should feel free to take a short rest before continuing the hunt. I found it hard to believe anyone could describe watching two of their children die as being “fun,” but apparently the depravity of these beasts knows no bounds.

And there was more than just tigers in this maze. We had to fight off a pair of Hook Horrors that had escaped from an enclosure of their own. And there was a group of white apes from Xen’Drik, which thankfully were still contained. Near the apes, though, we found a man locked in a cage of his own. He said his name was Ansel Marten, and that he was actually the owner of this manor. The Karnovs were ‘specimens’ he’d captured and brought back for his menagerie, but they turned the tables on him and left him locked up for the last 5 years. I have to admit, I didn’t have much pity for Mr. Marsten, especially since he didn’t seem to feel any shame over his actions. Ms. Mallory broke the lock on his cage and let him loose though. The old fool couldn’t even tell us how to escape from this maze of his.

We had another run-in with two more of the Karnov daughters not long after freeing Marsten. One of them played a lute and charmed Mr. Templeton briefly, while the other fought with her hands and feet as well as her claws and teeth. Mr. Harold cast a spell on the lutist to freeze her in place, and Ms. Mallory summoned a bunch of giant wasps. It was a lot of chaos in a small area, and I think Ms Worthy was bitten at one point. and I’m afraid I only added to it when I used the Mirror Image trick that Guardian taught me. I can see why the Karnovs decided to flee, each of them grabbing a blue pendant they wore and vanishing.

They didn’t go very far though. Just down the corridor we found the Karnov matriarch, along with her three remaining children and pair of regular tigers. Madam Karnov went off about how adventurers had killed her husband years ago and now she wanted revenge on adventurers in general, which is why she lured us all here for this game. But then Mr. Harold launched a fireball into the room, and everyone started fighting. Well, Mr. Templeton and the weretiger monk started fighting, blocking up the entire hallway. I couldn’t get close enough to anyone to even see what was really happening. But I called on the Guardian to give us her blessing and my companions slowly whittled down the Karnovs. The matriarch was the one left standing, until Mr. Templeton finally cut her down.

I’m just glad that whole thing is over with. Lycanthropes are not really my area of expertise. I have to get back to my real task.