AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Yig Snake Granddaddy, Part 20

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.

The final Monk subclass we’ll discuss is a new one published in Fizban’s Treasury of Dragons, the Way of the Ascendant Dragon. Monks who follow this tradition, believe that by emulating dragons they can connect more fully to the prime elemental magic of the world. In doing do, they focus their ki to resonate with draconic energies for a variety of effects.

When you choose this subclass at 3rd level, you become a Dragon Disciple, giving you three three benefits. You can tap into your Draconic Presence to reroll a failed Intimidation or Persuasion check. If the second roll succeeds, you can’t use this ability again until you finish a long rest. Additionally, you can turn your unarmed attacks into Draconic Strikes, changing the damage type of unarmed strikes to either fire, lightning, cold, acid, or poison. You can choose the damage type with each hit, and you don’t have to stick to a single type. Finally, you learn the Tongue of Dragons, which allows you to speak, read, and write the Draconic language (or another language of your choice if you already know Draconic).

Also at level 3, you can channel your ki into the Breath of the Dragon. When you take the Attack action, you can replace one of your attacks with an exhalation of draconic energy, which takes the form of either a 30-foot line or a 20-foot cone. Creatures in the area must make a DEX saving throw or take damage equal to two rolls of your Martial Arts die as either fire, acid, cold, poison, or lightning. Creatures take half damage on a successful save. You can use this ability for free a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, and after that it costs two ki points. Your free uses recharge on a long rest. The damage increases to three rolls of your Martial Arts die at 11th level.

At 6th level, whenever you use your Step of the Wind ability, you can also use Wings Unfurled, manifesting spectral draconic wings from your back. When you do so, you gain a flying speed equal to your walking speed until the end of your turn. You can use this ability a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus, recharging on a long rest.

At level 11, you can use a bonus action to take on the Aspect of the Wyrm, granting you a 10-foot aura of draconic power for 1 minute, which can have one of two different effects. You can choose to emanate a Frightful Presence, which lets you use a bonus action to cause one creature within the aura’s range to make a WIS saving throw or become frightened of you for 1 minute. An effected creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. Alternatively, you can use an aura of Resistance, granting you and your allies within range resistance to your choice of acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison damage.

Finally at 17th level, you have reached the Ascendant Aspect, granting you additional benefits. First, you gain blindsight to a distance of 10 feet, allowing to effectively see any creature that isn’t behind total cover even if you are blinded or in total darkness. You can also see invisible creatures in that area, as long as they are not actively hidden from you. Secondly, you can spend an additional ki point when you use your Breath of the Dragon to augment its power. This changes the shape to either a 60-foot cone or a 90-foot line, and adds an additional Martial Arts die to the damage roll. Finally, when you activate your Aspect of the Wyrm aura, creatures of your choice within the area of effect must make a DEX saving throw or take 3d10 of your choice of acid, fire, cold, lightning, or poison damage.

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
A Solid Plan

Excerpts from the notes of Bastian Updelver…

After escaping from the ambush in Alithe Yunmel, we made it back to the temple of Parabasti, only to find it in ruins again. There were no signs of our companions, though there were a handful of serpentfolk bodies and dinosaur corpses strewn about. Some of pit traps had even seen some use. Ku used a Sending spell to get a message to Gunner, and thankfully got a reply right away. They all made it out alive, with the help of Dandelion, the mummified cat/avatar of Bastet. We poked around a bit in the rubble until Dandelion appeared to bring us to others’ camp.

That was a very interesting experience. Dandelion started to walk down the temple steps, and then simply vanished into thin air. As my friends and I followed, we suddenly stepped into a strange place, nothing but grey mist in every direction. I believe we’d passed into the Astral Sea. Hazel spied a greenish glow in the distance, and with nothing else around to point our way, we headed in that direction. Very soon, we suddenly reappeared in the Yilan jungle, and found the rest of our companions waiting for us. We were miles from Parabasti though.

Dandelion let us know that the red snake totems we had destroyed were focuses for Gehir’s power. If we could destroy them all it would go a long way to crippling him and ending whatever insane plot the serpentfolk were hatching. While we had destroyed two already, we knew that were a half a dozen or more still standing, scattered around the jungle.

According to Anton’s map, the closest totem to our camp also happened to be the closest to Alithe Yunmel, where we had just escaped from. The idea of going back in that direction seemed unappealing, but we did have numbers on our side. We decided to take the full company to the first totem, so we’d be ready if the serpents from the town tried to attack. Once that totem was destroyed, we’d split into two groups, one heading north and the other west, to try and knock out the remaining totems as quickly as we could…

It took us a few days of travel to reach the first totem. Along the way, we ran into a serpentfolk patrol. There were two serpentfolk riding on the back of one of those huge lizard-skinned beasts with the nasty looking horns on its head, and one more warrior on the ground. Ku banished the dinosaur out from under the riders, which both fell to the ground. We routed the serpentfolk pretty quickly after that, though two of them tried to run and we had to chase them down. Nasty business, but at least we didn’t have to kill the dinosaur. Once the serpents were dead, we just got as far as away as possible before Ku’s spell ended and the beast reappeared. I like to think that we freed it from whatever charm the serpents used to control it.

Next day, while gathering some wild potatoes, we saw a huge swarm of insects coming our way. We ducked into some trees and I threw up a Web behind us to slow the swarm down. Worked like a charm, and we managed to escape from the swarm without much trouble. Also killed a snake that was large enough to feed the whole company for a night.

We finally reached the snake totem the next morning. There were no signs of serpentfolk about, but it looked like the vegetation nearby was growing at a remarkable pace–any recent tracks may have been already grown over. Like we’d seen before, the red stone snake had a skeleton tied to it, apparently a sacrifice victim, which Anton cut down. Searching the body, he found pouch full of silver, a fossilized claw, a large aquamarine, and a shortbow with a minor enchantment on it, which he gave to Hazel. While Hazel started a seance to try and talk to the spirit of the victim, Gunner and Minty got to work smashing the totem into dust. It bled when their axes cut into the stone, something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to seeing, no matter how many of these things we destroy. In the meantime, Hazel’s seance was successful, and we learned that the woman’s name was Laurel, and as we suspected she’d been killed by Gehir, whom she called “Cerastes,” in some kind of ritual. She didn’t know much more than that, but we took the time to give the remains a proper burial in the woods nearby–Leah was able to dig a decent grave very quickly by magic. Hazel swore she heard a voice whisper “Thank you” after we finished, and the new magic bow felt warmer in her hands. It seems like the enchantment on the bow grew more powerful, particularly when used against serpentfolk…