AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Yig Snake Granddaddy, Part 21

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 I’m taking a look at the last Fighter archetype, the Arcane Archer. As the name implies, this is a Fighter subclass that really focuses on ranged attacks, specifically using a shortbow or longbow, and infuse their arrows with a little bit of magic to produce supernatural effects.

Starting at level 3, you’ve learned Arcane Archer Lore, giving you proficiency with either the Nature or Arcana skill. You also learn a cantrip, choosing between Prestidigitation and Druidcraft.

Also at 3rd level you learn to make Arcane Shots, special effects you can add to your arrows whenever you hit with an attack. Note that this ability does specify that you must be using a shortbow or longbow–you can’t use Arcane Shots with crossbows or other ranged or thrown weapons. You can only use one Arcane Shot per turn, as part of your Attack action, and you are also limited to two Arcane Shots per short or long rest. The effect of your Arcane Shot is determined by choosing from a list of options–you learn two Arcane Shots at 3rd level, then one more at each of levels 7, 10, 15, and 18.

Arcane Shot Options

There are a total of 8 Arcane Shot options, each one corresponding to one of the schools of magic. Note that if a shot requires a saving throw, the DC for that save is based on your proficiency bonus and INT modifier. Also, all of the Arcane Shot options improve when you reach level 18.

  • Banishing Arrow: You infuse your arrow with abjuration magic, forcing a creature you hit to make a CHA saving throw or be banished to the Feywild for a short time. While banished, the creature’s speed is 0 and it is incapacitated. The creature reappears at the end of its next turn. At level 18, you also deal an additional 2d6 force damage to the target, regardless of whether or not it saves against the banishment effect.
  • Beguiling Arrow: An arrow infused with enchantment magic deals an additional 2d6 psychic damage on a hit, and the creature must make a WIS saving throw or become charmed by one of your allies within 30 feet of the creature. This effect lasts until the start of of your next turn, but the charm breaks early if the creature by whom your target is charmed attacks it, deals damage to it, or forces it to make a saving throw of any kind. At level 18, the psychic damage increases to 4d6.
  • Bursting Arrow: Your arrow is imbued with evocation magic, causing it to explode after hitting a creature. The target and all creatures within 10 feet of it take 2d6 force damage, increasing to 4d6 at level 18. Note that there is no save for this effect.
  • Enfeebling Arrow: You weave necromantic energy into your arrow, dealing an additional 2d6 necrotic damage on a hit. In addition, the target must make a CON save, or the damage dealt by it weapon attacks is halved until the start of your next turn. At level 18, the extra necrotic damage increases to 4d6.
  • Grasping Arrow: This arrow uses conjuration magic to create grasping, poisonous brambles that wrap around the target. The creature takes an additional 2d6 poison damage, and its speed is reduced by 10 feet. The brambles last for 1 minute, during which time, the creature affected will take 2d6 slashing damage the first time it moves on each of its turns. The target, or any other creature, can use its action to make an Athletics check to remove the brambles, ending the effect on a success. At level 18, both the poison damage and slashing damage increase to 4d6.
  • Piercing Arrow: This shot uses transmutation magic to give your arrow an ethereal quality. Instead of making an attack roll, your arrow travels in a straight line for 30 feet, passing through objects and ignoring cover. Each creature in that line must make a DEX save or take the arrow’s normal damage (as if you hit with an attack) plus an additional 1d6 piercing damage. Creatures that succeed on the save still take half damage. At level 18, the extra piercing damage increases to 2d6.
  • Seeking Arrow: Using divination magic, your arrow seeks out a specific target. Instead of making an attack roll, choose any one creature you have seen in the last minute. Your arrow flies toward that creature, moving around corners and ignoring up to three-quarters cover. If the creature is within your weapon’s range and there is a path large enough for the arrow to travel through, the target must make a DEX save. On a failed save, the creature takes the normal attack damage plus an additional 1d6 force damage and you learn the creature’s location. On a success, the creature takes half damage, but you don’t learn its location. At level 18, the force damage is increased to 2d6.
  • Shadow Arrow: Your arrow is imbued with illusion magic, causing it to cloud the target’s vision with shadow. A creature hit takes an additional 2d6 psychic damage and must make a WIS saving throw or be unable to see anything farther than 5 feet away from it. This effect lasts until the start of your next turn. At level 18, the psychic damage is increased to 4d6.

At level 7, you can always fire Magic Arrows. Your nonmagical arrows can be infused with magic for the purposes of overcoming resistances and immunity to nonmagical damage sources. You also learn to make Curving Shots. When you miss a creature with a magical arrow, you can use your bonus action to reroll the attack against a new target within 60 feet of the original target.

Finally at 15th level, your Ever-Ready Shot makes your magical ability available whenever battle starts. If you roll for initiative with no remaining uses of your Arcane Shot, you regain one use of it.

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
Tyrannosaurs and Towers

Excerpts from the notes of Bastian Updelver…

With the totem near Alithe Yunmel destroyed, we split up to try and take down the remaining totems more quickly. Gunner, Cathbad, Serai, and Maxx headed west, while our group turned north. The plan was to hit multiple totems as close to the same time as possible, which would hopefully prevent the serpentfolk from mounting an effective defense.

Our journey northward was anything but uneventful. The first day we were attacked by a pair of giant carnivorous lizards, one of which even climbed a tree to try and get at Hazel. But we were able to kill them pretty quickly and got a decent meal out of it. Later that afternoon, Leah accidently led us right into the path of wounded pterosaur, it had a broken wing. Ku got close enough to heal the break, but got a bite taken out of her for her trouble.

That night while we were sleeping, Anton woke us up in a panic thinking he heard some serpentfolk death machine in the grass. Turned it was a pair of giant centipedes, almost as big as me! They were probably just attracted to our fire, but Ku was able to frighten them away by imitating that wounded pterosaur we’d seen earlier. After that excitement, Anton learned a bit about debased serpentfolk, which had turned from the worship of Yig to some other deity, and as such lost must of their magic capabilities.

The next day we left the forest behind and began walking through the grasslands. Before too long, we heard a rumbling in the ground and caught sight of one of the huge bipedal lizards heading straight for us. There was nowhere to hide, so we spread out to try and surround the beast as it approached. Leah kept it at bay momentarily with a Dissonant Whispers spell, which gave me time to give Minty some of my Enlarging elixir. Though the dinosaur still towered over her, an 8-foot-tall raging dwarf is pretty impressive, and Anton was able to take advantage of the beast’s distraction. Hazel hit it with a Dissonant Whispers spell of her own, and after that the creature decided to find a meal that was easier to kill elsewhere.

We then came to the river, where we had to deal with a couple of crocodiles the size of horses. then we tried to cross the river before making camp for the night. Hazel teleported across with Ku, and Leah froze some of the water and just walked over. Unfortunately, the ice melted too quickly for the rest of us to follow, but Leah brought a rope and secured it so that we could at least hold on and not get swept away by the current. I’m not a strong swimmer, so I decided to use one of the crocodile corpses as a raft of sorts. Didn’t count on it attracting another crocodile, which started to drag my ride upstream. Thankfully, Hazel scared it off with another Dissonant Whispers, and I took some Enlarging elixir myself to help me swim the rest of the way. We moved a bit away from the river and set up camp, knowing that we’d reach the next totem the following day.

When we finally saw the totem rising up out of the grass, we discovered that this snake had been fortified. A tall, three-legged tower had been built over the totem, and we could see a handful of serpentfolk archers stationed on a platform at the top. We were a ways away still, but we could see a ring of torches around the tower that marked the end of the archers’ range. We turned Leah and Minty invisible, hoping that they could get up the tower without being spotted to engage the serpents and start taking down the totem. In the meantime, the rest of us started edging closer, but we were spotted almost immediately and just started running as fast as we could. I lost track of Minty pretty fast, but we closed in quickly, trading arrows with the serpents even though we were really too far away for any real accuracy. One of the serpents on top of the tower blew a horn blast, potentially calling in some reinforcements. Leah turned herself into a raven and flew close into the statue long before the rest of could reach it, and then started blasting away. Two of the serpents climbed down to engage with Leah, but by that time Hazel had gotten close enough to let out a Shatter spell that destroyed the totem and weakened the legs of the tower. Ku’s spiritual weapon finished the job, collapsing the tower. From there, we killed the remaining serpents and then got out fast before whatever reinforcements could arrive.

If all has gone according to plan, Gunner’s group should have destroyed one totem already, and will be hitting another tomorrow. In the meantime, we’re following the river westward to the next totem on our list…