AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Fluxx

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, we’re talking about the Way of the Astral Self Monk subclass from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. These Monks believe that the physical body is an illusion, or merely a vessel for one’s astral self. They channel their ki in such a way as to manifest portions of the astral self into the material plane.

Starting at 3rd level, you can use a bonus action and spend 1 ki point to manifest the Arms of the Astral Self. When you do so, each creature within 10 feet of you must make a DEX save or take force damage equal to two rolls of your martial arts die.1 Afterwards, the astral arms remain for 10 minutes, hovering near your shoulders or surrounding your physical arms. While they persist, you can use your WIS modifier instead of your STR modifier for STR ability checks and saving throws. You can also use the arms to make unarmed strikes, which have a reach that 5 feet greater than your normal reach. Strikes made with your astral arms use your WIS modifier for attack and damage rolls and deal force damage on a hit. The Arms vanish early if you are incapacitated or die.

When you reach level 6, when you summon your Arms of the Astral Self, you can also spend an additional ki point to summon the Visage of the Astral Self, which appears over your head like a mask or helmet. You can also use a bonus action and 1 ki point to summon the Visage separately from the Arms if you choose. Like the Arms, the Visage lasts for 10 minutes, unless you are incapacitated or killed. While it lasts you have the following benefits:

  • Astral Sight, allowing you see normally in darkness (even magical darkness) to a distance of 120 feet
  • Wisdom of the Spirit, which grants you advantage on Insight and Intimidation checks
  • Word of the Spirit, which allows you either to speak so that only a single creature within 60 feet of you an hear you, or to amplify your voice such that anyone within 600 feet of you can hear it.

At 11th level, while both your Arms and Visage are summoned, you can also manifest the Body of the Astral Self, which requires no action or ki points. The body connects the Arms and Visage and surrounds your physical body like a suit of armor. While the Body lasts, you can Deflect Energy, using a reaction when you take acid, cold, fire, force, lightning, or thunder damage to reduce that damage by 1d10 plus your WIS modifier. You also gain Empowered Arms, which allows you, once per turn, to deal an additional Martial Arts die of damage when you hit with an unarmed strike from your Arms of the Astral Self.

Finally, at level 17, you can unleash the full potential of your Awakened Astral Self. As a bonus action, you can spend 5 ki points to summon the Arms, Visage, and Body of the Astral Self at the same time and awaken your true form. For 10 minutes, you gain a +2 bonus to your AC, and you can make a third attack with your Attack action, as long as all of those attacks are made with your astral arms.

We were short a few players again this week, so we ended up playing a few rounds of one of my favorite card games, Fluxx. If you’ve never played before the rules are pretty simple. On your turn you draw one card from the deck into your hand, than play one card. You could play a Keeper, which is simply put down on the table in front of you. Or you might choose to play an Action card, in which you do whatever the card says then put it in the discard pile. How do you win? You won’t really know until someone plays a Goal card, which sets the condition for winning the game; for example the player with a certain combination of two or more Keepers in front of them wins the game. That Goal can change at any time though, whenever another player puts a new Goal card down. Players can also put down New Rules, which range from altering the number of cards you can draw or play each turn, to setting limits on how many cards can be in your hand or how many Keepers you can have in front of you, to allowing players to dump their hands for a new one if they choose.

Fluxx comes in a variety of flavors, pulling inspiration from all sorts of pop culture sources. There are Fluxx games based on Star Trek (both in general and specific to each series), Doctor Who, Batman, Monty Python, Cthulhu, and many more, as well as more generic Fantasy Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, and Pirate Fluxx. There are also educational versions, like Math Fluxx, Chemistry Fluxx, and Astronomy Fluxx. And there are even “adult” versions like Drinking Fluxx and Stoner Fluxx. Some have more card types, like Creepers (which are automatically played in front you if you draw one and prevent you from winning even if you have satisfied the current Goal), Surprises (which can be played on another player’s turn), and Ungoals (which set a condition under which the game ends with no winner).

Fluxx is an easy game to learn and quick to play, making it a great one to have in your back pocket. Pull it out when part of you group is running late for your usual game night, or if your RPG session comes to a sudden and abrupt ending.