AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Yig Snake Granddaddy, Part 18

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’s discussion topic is the last of the Paladin subclasses, the Oath of the Ancients. Paladins who follow this oath are less concerned with things like justice and honor and more interested in protecting the beautiful and life-giving things of the natural world. The tenets of the oath are as follows:

Kindle the Light. Through your acts of mercy, kindness, and forgiveness, kindle the light of hope in the world, beating back despair.
Shelter the Light. Where there is good, beauty, love, and laughter in the world, stand against the wickedness that would swallow it. Where life flourishes, stand against the forces that would render it barren.
Preserve Your Own Light. Delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art. If you allow the light to die in your own heart, you can’t preserve it in the world.
Be the Light. Be a glorious beacon for all who live in despair. Let the light of your joy and courage shine forth in all your deeds.

The Oath of the Ancients grants the Paladin access to a list of Oath Spells, which are automatically prepared each day and don’t count against the number of spells the Paladin can have prepared. These spells become available when you reach certain levels, and include Ensnaring Strike and Speak With Animals at 3rd level, Moonbeam and Misty Step at 5th, Plant Growth and Protection From Energy at 9th, Ice Storm and Stoneskin at 13th, and Commune With Nature and Tree Stride at 17th level.

When you choose this oath at 3rd level, you also gain the ability to Channel Divinity in one of two ways. Remember that you can only use one Channel Divinity per short rest. First, you can invoke Nature’s Wrath to ensnare an enemy in magical vines. As an action, you can cause a creature within 10 feet of you to make a STR or DEX saving throw or become restrained by the magical vines. A creature restrained in this way can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on a success.

Alternatively, you can use an action to Turn the Faithless, presenting your holy symbol and causing each fey or fiend with 30 feet of you to make a WIS saving throw. On a failure, the creature is turned and must spend its turns trying to get away from you. A turned creature can not willing move to a space within 30 feet of you, can not take reactions, and can only use its action to Dash away from you or attempt to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there is nowhere to move, the creature can take the Dodge action instead. These effects end after 1 minute, or if the creature takes any damage. If the creature is under an illusion or shapeshifting effect that conceals its true form, the true form is revealed while the creature is turned.

When you reach level 7, you emanate an Aura of Warding that grants you and your allies within 10 feet of you resistance to damage from spells. The range of this aura increases to 30 feet when you reach level 18.

At 15th level, you are an Undying Sentinel. You suffer from none of the effects of old age and cannot be aged magically. More importantly, once per long rest, when you are reduced to zero hit points but not killed outright, you can choose to drop to 1 hit point instead.

Finally at level 20, you can assume the form of an Elder Champion, an ancient force of nature. As an action you transform for 1 minute, altering your appearance in a manner of your choosing (eg, your skin turns green or bark-like, your hair becomes leafy, or your sprout antlers from your head). While transformed in this way, you regain 10 hit points at the start of each of your turns, and enemies with 10 feet of you have disadvantage on saving throws against your spells or Chanel Divinity options. In addition, when you cast a spell that has a casting time of 1 action, you can cast that spell with a bonus action instead. You can only assume this transformation 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
Tavern Brawl

Excerpts from the notes of Bastian Updelver…

After a few days of traveling through the forest and grasslands, avoiding the odd pair of mating triceratopses and the occasional pack of scavenging raptors, we made it back to the elf city we passed through shortly before being betrayed and captured by Gehir. We’d brought the pair of elven refugees with us, since they seemed eager to be home and see what had happened.

It didn’t look good. The city walls were badly damaged, even toppled in some places, and the local wizard’s tower was in rubble, but there were still some elves living there. Their leader, Lord Redwind, told us that the city had been attacked by serpentfolk riding on some of the huge lizard-beasts that we’d encountered ourselves, and eventually the elves had managed to drive off the attackers. Anton and Leah asked about the wizard’s tower and Redwind said no one was really sure what happened exactly, but the tower fell in the midst of the battle and that the wizard who lived there hadn’t made it out. Redwind seemed to think that it some kind of magical catastrophe might have ocurred inside the tower, but Anton said he could see that something big had simply crashed into the tower from the outside. In poking through the rubble a bit, Anton did manage to dig up a battered scrollcase and a partially burned spellbook, which he kept for later perusal.

We lost track of our refugee friends as made our way through the town. Seeing the blacksmith shop still seemed to be operational, Ku went to inquire about getting some new lighter armor. Unfortunately, the smith didn’t have anything useful for sale and no worthwile material left to make anything new. At least the tavern was still intact, and Redwind encouraged us to stop in for a drink and a meal.

As we started to drink, Anton quietly mentioned that there was a chance that the elves in this town were really serpentfolk in disguise. I thought he was just being needlessly paranoid–until Ku and Hazel suddenly collapsed onto the table after their second drink and the rest of us found ourselves surrounded by elves with swords drawn. They told us to put down our weapons, but I don’t think any of us wanted to be taken prisoners by serpentfolk again! Leah and Minty started to fight the guards around us, but two of our friends were already incapacitated by whatever poison was in those drinks. Luckily, I’d concocted a few doses of a potion to neutralize poisons, and I was close enough to Ku to slip her some. Worked like a charm! As Anton shoved his chair into the elf behind and him and rushed to attack the leader, Ku was able to summon up her Spiritual Weapon to attack the leader as well.

The other guards started to attack in earnest at this point, but Leah’s Dissonant Whispers made one run off. I saw that the leader was getting ready to cast a spell, and recognized some of the same words that Hazel uses to cast a Hypnotic Pattern. I quickly managed to cover my eyes, but Anton wasn’t so quick and he stood their hypnotized. Hazel was still laid out by the poison and now also seemed dazed by the spell as well. Thankfully Minty was to enraged for the spell to effect her, and she continued slashing at the elf closest to her until he fell down dead, turning back into a serpent-man as he died. I shot an Acid Arrow from my Upshot at the leader, and Ku followed up with another attack from her Spiritual Weapon and Toll the Dead for good measure that broke his concentration on the Hypnotic Pattern spell.

Undeterred, the serpentfolk leader cast another spell, and the air around him was suddenly filled with tiny spectral Elder Things that attacked anyone who got too close. I was finally able to get over to Hazel and neutralize the poison in her system as well. In the meantime, Anton had managed to kill the caster, and Minty and Leah took out the two remaining serpentfolk.

We took a moment to catch our breath and plan our next move. We didn’t want to leave our two elven refugee friends behind at the mercy of the serpents (not least because they could potentially lead them back to our camp). We had to find them, and then get out of the city. Looking outside of the window, the whole town now appeared to be deserted. And that’s when we noticed the rumbling in the ground. Anton quickly sent his owl familiar up into the sky, and saw a huge Tyrannosaurus heading straight for us!