AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Yig Snake Granddaddy, Part 13

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 on the Oath of Conquest Paladin, found in Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Paladins who take this oath are driven not only to defeat their enemies, but to completely subjugate them. To impose order where there is chaos, and dominate the will of others is the ultimate goal. Paladins who take this Oath are bound to the following tenets:

Douse the Flame of Hope. It is not enough to merely defeat an enemy in battle. Your victory must be so overwhelming that your enemies’ will to fight is shattered forever. A blade can end a life. Fear can end an empire.

Rule with an Iron Fist. Once you have conquered, tolerate no dissent. Your word is law. Those who obey it shall be favored. Those who defy it shall be punished as an example to all who might follow.

Strength Above All. You shall rule until a stronger one arises. Then you must grow mightier and meet the challenge, or fall to your own ruin.

Like all Paladin oaths, the Oath of Conquest grants you access to some specific Oath Spells when you reach certain levels. These spells are automatically prepared each day and don’t count against the number of spells you can prepare otherwise. Conquest Paladins gain access to Armor of Agathys and Command at 3rd level, Hold Person and Spiritual Weapon at 5th, Bestow Curse and Fear at 9th, Dominate Beast and Stoneskin at 13th, and Cloudkill and Dominate Person at 17th level.

Starting at 3rd level, you gain two options to use your Channel Divinity ability. As an action you can exude a Conquering Presence, causing creatures of your choice within 30 feet of you to make a WIS saving throw or become frightened of you for 1 minute. An affected creature can repeat the save at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success. Being frightened prevents the creature from moving closer to the source of its fear, and while it can see the source it makes all attack rolls with disadvantage.

Alternatively, when you make an attack roll you can use your Channel Divinity for a Guided Strike, adding +10 your roll. You can choose to do this after you roll, but before you know whether the attack hits or misses.

Starting at level 7, you emanate an Aura of Conquest in a radius of 10 feet around you. Any creature in range that is frightened of you has its speed reduced to zero, and takes half of your Paladin level in psychic damage if it starts its turn in the aura. The radius of the aura increases to 30 feet when you reach level 18.

At 15th level, any creature that hits you with an attack suffers your Scornful Rebuke, taking psychic damage equal to your CHA modifier, provided that you are not incapacitated. Note that there’s no saving throw made, and no action or reaction required by you, it just happens.

Finally, at level 20, you can harness your martial prowess to become an Invincible Conqueror. As an action, you can give yourself resistance to all damage for 1 minute. Also during that time, when you take the Attack action, you can make one additional attack as part of that action (giving you three attacks a round, since you already have Extra Attack), and your melee weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20 on the d20. Note that you can only use this feature once per long rest.

Players and Characters

Wafflicious is in the DM’s seat for this 5e Cthulhu Mythos adventure. Our players include:

  • JosephusBrown as Anton Illinois (Human Inquisitive Rogue/Fighter), a disgraced archaeology professor who has turned to seeking arcane rituals
  • CleverGuy as Bastian Updelver (Deep Gnome Alchemist Artificer), an eccentric local potionmaker
  • TheHayesCode as Hazel Green (Dhampir Spirits Bard), a flapper, séance MC, and aspiring spiritualist
  • Spiny Creature as Ku (Kenku Twilight Cleric), a local priestess of Bastet, goddess of protection
  • The Wasp as Leah Zann (Tiefling Great Old One Warlock), a professor from Miskatonic University who accepted a deal with Yog Sothoth to get an advantage over her male colleagues
  • Otto as Minty Rocksmasher (Dwarf Berserker Barbarian), survivor of an eldritch accident which decimated her tribe
The Bleeding Statue

Excerpts from the notes of Bastian Updelver…

Day number… hmm, I probably should have been counting the days. Oh well, it’s not really important. I wanted to take a close look at the Red Stone Snake that Gunner found nearby. So I went out with the hunting party and we headed in that direction, northeast of our encampment. Leah and Ku stayed behind to read more of those scrolls and tomes we’d uncovered, so it was Hazel, Minty, Anton, and myself, along with Gunner, Enni, and Cathbad.

We followed a trail of giant lizard footprints toward a small river, then followed the river to where we found the carved red stone pillar. We’d seen a few other statues like this before, but never really had time to study them up close. Looking it now, I could tell it was incredibly ancient, but also it somehow looked like it had been carved mere weeks ago. Hazel said she recognized that this snake wasn’t just any serpentfolk, but a deity known as “Yig.” I don’t know anything about Yig, but Hazel seemed to be genuinely frightened of it, and Gunner said the statue was evil and thought we should knock it down. I gave Minty an enlarging potion and she attempted to push the statue over, but it wouldn’t budge in the slightest. “Like an immovable rod” is what Minty said, but I wonder if it was really just that the pillar extended too far down into the ground.

I don’t really know why, but at that point Enni just hauled off and punched the thing, even managed to take a chunk off of stone off it. And that’s when we found out the statue was bleeding. Actual blood (I checked), was coming from the stone at the pace where Enni had chipped it. All this time, Anton had been setting up one of his rituals around the clearing. He said the statue was definitely magical, but not any type of magic he was familiar with. And it was somehow connected to the others we had seen, as if they’d been placed along some sort of magical leylines.

We did a few more tests of the statue. It looked like common stone, and felt like stone as well, even where it was bleeding. But when I splashed some acid on the stone, it seemed to bubble and burn like flesh. If destroying the statue was the goal, acid seemed to be the most effective method. After conferring with my compatriots, I melted the whole thing down. It took some time, and once the statue was completely destroyed there was sort of flash of darkness, just for an instant. Gunner seemed satisfied that the evil here was gone, though, so we continued on our hunt. Cathbad found one of those big bird-like creatures that we brought down and headed back to camp.

When we got back, Maxx and Sarai had put up some more barriers near the entrance to our little hideout. Leah and Ku told us what they’d found in their research, but it wasn’t much. Something about a “Cave of Whispers,” but that didn’t sound familiar to anyone. During dinner, Hazel offered to read her tarot cards, and Maxx asked if she could tell who was watching her. She said she’d been feeling like she was being watched since we escaped from the snakes’ cave. Hazel performed a ritual seance and said she was able to detect the thoughts of any creature around, even if they were invisible. She made a circuit of the camp, but said she didn’t sense anyone. I don’t know if Maxx found this comforting or not…

Hazel and I found the missing arms from the statue of Sekhmet in one of the smaller shrines. They were both submerged in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall in the southeast corner of the little canyon the temple is set in. We did our best to reattach them, and when we were finished a basin appeared in the statue’s hands and filled with a red liquid. I thought it might be blood again, but this was thinner and tasted like a rich barely beer. Hazel downed a full pint and found it had some magical bolstering effects on whoever drank it. For a little while, she felt healthier and braver. The basin held about 3 more pints, so I bottled them up for later. In the meantime, Leah and Anton did some more research, and learned a little bit more about serpent-folk. They’re naturally immune to poison, paralysis, and fear and have some innate abilities with illusion and enchantment magic.

Minty and Cathbad had gone out hunting and came back with a whole deer carcass and a pair elf refugees. They said they were fleeing from that elf city we’d passed through, which had suffered some kind of attack. The elves had never seen anything like the creatures, but from their description and that dream we had, it sounded like the Elder Things. I’m afraid we won’t be safe here very much longer…