AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Yig Snake Granddaddy, Part 19

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.

Up for discussion this week is the Battle Master Fighter archetype. While all Fighters excel in combat, Battle Masters have studied the art of war academically and have trained in a variety of techniques and maneuvers to make themselves even more effective on the battlefield.

Starting at 3rd level, as a Student of War, you gain proficiency with one type of artisan’s tools of your choice. You might have trained with smith’s or leatherworker’s tools to make and mend your own weapons and armor, or maybe you studied calligraphy in order to hone your skills with a blade.

Also at level 3, your extensive training and study of combat grants you Combat Superiority. You know three special maneuvers to enhance your attacks or aid your allies, and you will learn two more at levels 7, 10, and 15. You have a pool of four superiority dice (d8s), which can be used to perform these maneuvers, which will increase to five dice at level 7 and six at level 15. Using a maneuver expends one die, and spent dice are refreshed on a short rest. The full list of maneuvers (including those listed in the Player’s Handbook and the additional options from Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything) you can choose from is below.

Battle Master Maneuvers
  • Ambush: When you make a Stealth check or roll for initiative, you can use a superiority die and add it to your roll, as long as you are not incapacitated.
  • Bait and Switch: You can use a superiority die to switch places with another creature within 5 feet of you, as long as you move at least 5 feet and the other creature is willing and not incapacitated. This movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks. In addition, until the start of your next turn, either you or the creature you switched places with gain a bonus to AC equal to the number rolled on the superiority die.
  • Brace: When a creature moves into your melee range, you can use your reaction and a superiority die to make an attack against that creature. If the attack hits, add the superiority die to the damage roll.
  • Commander’s Strike: When you take the Attack action on your turn, you can give up one of your attacks and use your bonus action to command one of your allies to strike. The creature you choose can use their reaction to make a weapon attack against an enemy in their range, adding your superiority die to the damage roll if the attack hits.
  • Commanding Presence: Whenever you make an Intimidation, Persuasion, or Performance check, you can use a superiority die and add it to your roll.
  • Disarming Attack: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can use a superiority die to attempt to make the creature drop a weapon (or other object) that its holding. Add your superiority die to the damage roll of your attack, and the target must make a STR saving throw, or drop an item that you choose, which lands at their feet.
  • Distracting Strike: When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, you can use your superiority die to distract the target, leaving an opening for your allies. Add the superiority die to your damage roll, and the next attack roll made by another creature against the target before the start of your next turn has advantage.
  • Evasive Footwork: You can expend a superiority die when you move to add the roll to your AC until you stop moving.
  • Feinting Attack: You can use a bonus action and a superiority die to feint toward a target on your turn, giving yourself advantage on your next attack against that creature. If the attack hits, you can add the superiority die to the damage roll.
  • Goading Attack: When you hit with a weapon attack, you can use a superiority die to goad the target into attacking you. Add the superiority die to your damage roll, and the target must make a WIS saving throw or have disadvantage on attacks against creatures other than you until the end of your next turn.
  • Grappling Strike: Immediately after you hit a creature with a melee attack, you can spend a superiority die to attempt to grapple the creature as a bonus action. Add your superiority die to the Athletics check you make to grapple the creature.
  • Lunging Attack: When you make a melee weapon attack on your turn, you can use a superiority die to increase your reach for that attack by 5 feet. If you hit, add the superiority die to the damage roll.
  • Maneuvering Attack: When you hit with a weapon attack, you can use a superiority die to command an ally to move to a more advantageous position. Add the superiority die to your damage roll, and your chosen ally can use their reaction to move half their speed without provoking opportunity attacks from your target.
  • Parry: When you take damage from a melee attack, you can use your reaction and expend a superiority die to reduce the damage by the amount rolled plus your DEX modifier.
  • Precision Attack: When you make a weapon attack against a creature, you can use a superiority die and add it to your attack roll. You can choose to use this after you make the attack roll, but before any effects are applied.
  • Pushing Attack: When you hit with a weapon attack, you can use a superiority die to attempt to drive the target back. Add the superiority die to your damage roll, and if the target is Large or smaller it must make a STR saving throw or pushed up to 15 feet from you.
  • Quick Toss: As a bonus action, you can use a superiority die to make a ranged attack with a weapon that has the Thrown property. You can draw this weapon as part of the same bonus action, and if the attack hits the superiority die is added to the damage.
  • Rally: You can use a bonus action and a superiority die to bolster one of your allies, granting them temporary hit points equal to the superiority die plus your CHA modifier.
  • Riposte: When a creature misses you with a melee attack, you can use your reaction and a superiority die to make a melee attack against that creature, adding the superiority die to the damage if the attack hits.
  • Sweeping Attack: When you hit with a melee weapon attack, you can use a superiority die to try to hit another creature with the same attack. The second target must be within 5 feet of the first target and within your reach. If your original attack roll would also hit the second target’s AC, that creature takes damage equal to your superiority die.
  • Tactical Assessment: When you make an Investigation, History, or Insight check, you can expend a superiority and add it to the roll.
  • Trip Attack: When you hit with a weapon attack, you can use a superiority die to attempt to trip the creature. Add the superiority die to the damage roll, and if the creature is Large or smaller, it must make a STR saving throw or be knocked prone.
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When you reach 7th level, you have learned to take time to Know Your Enemy. If you spend at least 1 minute observing or interacting with another creature outside of combat, you can get a sense of their capabilities compared to your own. You learn whether they are superior, inferior or equal to you regarding two of the following characteristics: STR score, DEX score, CON score, AC, current hit points, Fighter levels, or total class levels.

At level 10, your Improved Combat Superiority makes your maneuvers more effective. You superiority dice increase to d10s. They increase again at level 18 to d12s.

Finally, at 15th level you are Relentless. If you need to roll for initiative and you have no remaining superiority dice, you immediately regain 1 die.


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
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Recap this week comes from Hazel’s diary, courtesy of TheHayesCode. Thanks, Hayes!

Escape From Alithe Yunmel

Hoo boy, Diary, what a mess! I’d just discovered that our helpful hosts were really slithery snakes, and worse yet, I’d found out this little tidbit via a snootful of poisoned wine which left me face-down on the table much earlier than usual. And no sooner had I been sobered up from that little experience with a boost of poison resistance, but we found ourselves with a terrible thunder lizard bearing down on the bar, and it didn’t look like it was here for a cocktail! Soon as I saw it coming, I reached out for a specter and I pulled up a doozy – some ancient warrior with a nasty looking blade who kept muttering about killing. That, I figured, oughta come in handy!

First things first – I summoned a few hypnotic swirls of ectoplasm to stop that beastie in its tracks. And it worked! Unfortunately, he had pals – a couple more serpents, and one of those ugly bug-suit fellas who I knew were real bad news. Looked like it was time to beat feet – but before we could, that gruesome insect busted in and a sprayed up as with its nasty web! I managed to wriggle out, but Leah wasn’t so lucky, so I tossed that ghost her way to help her on my way out. It really added some oomph to her next attack and managed to at least give Ugly Bugly a moment’s pause.

I saw Ku doing a spell as I ran past, but it looked like it fizzled. Then Bastion tossed a jar of something over my head just as I booked it out the back, and I heard a WHOOMF behind me as the webs went up in flames like old newspaper. Bugly was gaining on me again – that sucker was speedy! – but a few grave moans to the brain drove it back. Too bad for me that those snakes managed to make it around the bar, and one of ’em planted an arrow square in my delicate porcelain keester!

I flung another mind-scrambler back at the real big lizard, which was trying to knock the bar down at this point, and had it so confuzzled with phantoms it smashed Bugly with its tail. I think Minty ran back into the bar to help Leah, which was kind of a problem, ’cause the whole thing collapsed. It was a real mess, and on top of everything, I caught another arrow in the fundament.

Somehow the behemoth snuffled Minty out of the wreckage and started chewing, and I tried another mind-mixer but it didn’t do squat. She managed to pry its jaws open herself, though, and a well-placed patch of grease knocked the thing down, giving us a chance to get away. Whew! Is it too much for a girl to ask to just have a nice sit-down drink once in a while? I guess so.

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