AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Yig Snake Grandaddy, Part 32

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.

Despite their surge in popularity in recent years, D&D and TTRPGs in general can still be considered sort of a niche hobby. As illustrated in a montage from the recent season premier of Stranger Things, broaching the topic to a random group of classmates or coworkers, you’re likely to get responses ranging from polite indifference, to feigned interest, to confusion about funny dice, to poorly concealed contempt, and at worst out-right derision or mockery. Every once in a while though, you’ll find someone who says something like, “You know, I’ve always wanted to try that, but never really had an opportunity.”

A small fraction of the time, that conversation will lead to an actual game, and you’ll be on the hook to teach a brand new player how to play. How do you go about it? You could hand them a rulebook and tell them to read it, but a ~300 page textbook will scare many potential players away for good. You could jump in and walk them through creating their first character, but the process of character creation can be overwhelming, especially when you’re doing it in a vacuum. Perhaps the best way is to just start playing through an adventure (or even just a single simple combat encounter) using pre-generated characters. This gives a new player an idea of what to expect, a chance to learn which of these funny dice is which, and maybe gets them excited for a more long-term campaign. But it can also require the most patience and support from more experienced players. What has been your experience in introducing new people to TTRPGs, or how were you brought in to the hobby? D&D 5e might be the most well-known TTRPG, but is it the easiest to teach, or there other game systems that you find more intuitive for new players?

Players and Characters

Wafflicious is back in the DM’s seat this week to continue our 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
  • The Ugly One with the Jewels as Minty Rocksmasher (Dwarf Berserker Barbarian), survivor of an eldritch accident which decimated her tribe

This week’s written by Spiny Creature, who also wanted to provide a bit of an explanation: “Because my PC is a kenku, this writeup is from the perspective of Dandelion – a dead (resurrected) cat NPC. Dandelion the cat watches and protects the party on behalf of Bastet, the only Elder God to take the remotest interest in humanoids.” Thanks, Spiny!

Mission Accomplished(?)

It has been several hours since the tall and talking people woke up in the bodies of Yithians, who have claws on their bodies but nothing else sensible.

The race of Yith can swap minds and bodies with anyone they meet. A rebel among the Yithians has placed the party of people I follow inside the bodies of Yithians so that they may slink into and claw apart the Yithian compound from within.

This was, anyway, what I gathered before I became bored and lay on the ground.

The humans and dwarves and whatnot have done well since they entered Yithian bodies. They have found three of the four demolition charges needed to bring the compound to the ground, and they have stolen shiny badges which let them past tall and unreachable doorknobs.

However, they thought they needed even shinier identity badges – ones that would let them past even better and shinier doors. For this, they needed to track and hunt a Yithian wearing the best type of badge.

They tracked such a strong and powerful Yithian and found him in a room with a strange-looking scientist. Because they coveted the shiniest badge, the party attacked them both.

The Yithian general with the shiny badge used his claws to wound the party, which is sensible. He also shot them with a complicated gun, which is foolish when you have claws.

The smiling woman called Hazel turned the tall man called Anton invisible. This let Anton creep about like a cat, instead of the lumbering slime-trail-leaving tentacled Yithian that he was.

The birdwoman called Ku blessed the party, and the loud woman called Minty flew into a rage. Meanwhile, the small man called Bastian reached the console controlling the loud building alarms and turned them off.

Ku killed the general with a Spiritual Weapon bestowed on her by my mistress. Anton killed the Yithian scientist, who seemed to have mind powers beyond the rest of his species.

With the alarms turned off, the people were free to proceed through the building in their Yithian bodies, and I was free to stop hissing at all the fucking noise. The shiniest identity badge was given to Hazel, the smiling woman, since they hoped she could slink past any guards unnoticed.

She used the badge to get into a locked and secured room which contained the last demolition charge needed. The party slunk through the compound to place two demolition charges in the righthand corners of the building, but I saw a bug around this time and became distracted.

Next, the people began searching for access points to the lefthand corners of the building, to place more explosive charges. Two real Yithian guards became suspicious and followed them, so they cornered one inside a small room while the other guard left to set off the compound’s alarms again.

The party killed the guard that followed them and then hid inside the tubes that Yithians use when swapping their minds with other bodies. They lay and pretended to sleep, and no one came near them.1

The party’s real goal was to give Hazel time, because she had used Dimension Door to leave the room and was in the lefthand access corridor, planting the last two explosive charges to bring the building down. Finally she returned, and the cackling woman called Leah psychically communicated to the Yithian rebel who had asked them to do this, telling him the job was nearly done and they would soon be returning to him with the detonators.

At that moment, the entire compound shook. The Yithian rebel communicated back that outside security had finally broken through, and would soon be teleporting all over the compound to catch the human impostors.

The party of tall people still had their work cut out for them returning through a compound crawling with security. To be honest, though, at this point I was sleepy and wanted to lay in the shape of a ball, or maybe a loaf. I stopped observing them so I could close my eyes, but I assume their important work continued, or something. What is that, a string? Give me three minutes.