AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Lost Jewels of Eire, Part III

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 Ranger in 5e D&D has generally been perceived as one of the weakest classes in the game, so much so that it got a major update already in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. The new One D&D playtest material presents a new take on the base Ranger, as well as an update for the Hunter subclass.

As a member of the Expert class group, the Ranger now gets Expertise in two skills at 1st level, and two more at 9th level. The Ranger also gets spell casting at 1st level, and like the Bard can now prepare different spells every day. They choose spells from the Primal spell list, and can use magic of any school except Evocation. Still a half-caster, the Ranger’s spell progression tops at at 5th level spells as before, but they do get to learn cantrips. The biggest change though is that the Ranger automatically gets the Hunter’s Mark spell prepared every day and does not need to concentrate on the spell.

All Fighting Styles in the game have been reworked as 1st level Feats and are normally only available to the Warrior class group. At 2nd level, however, Rangers can choose a Fighting Style feat, either Archery, Defense, or Two-Weapon Fighting. In addition, when taking Feats at later levels, all of the Fighting Style feats are available to the Ranger.

Rangers still get Extra Attack at 5th level, and at 7th level they get an updated version of the Roving ability from Tasha’s Cauldron. This increases their movement speed by 10 feet and gives the Ranger both Climbing and Swimming speeds equal to their normal movement speed. At level 11, they get another ability from Tasha’s, Tireless, which allows the Ranger to give themselves some temporary hit points after every short or long rest, and also allows the Ranger to clear a level of Exhaustion after a short rest.1

At 13th level, the Ranger can use a bonus action and expend a spell slot to turn invisible until the end of their next turn. Of note, attacking or casting spells does not end this condition early. At 15th level, you get Blindsight to a range of 30 feet, and at level 18 your Hunter’s Mark deals 1d10 damage instead of 1d6.

Like all classes in One D&D, your subclass is chosen at 3rd level and grants abilities at levels 3, 6, 10, and 14. The Hunter subclass presented generally just gives you the most powerful options that were in the 2014 version of the Hunter. At level 3, one per turn, you can deal an extra 1d8 damage with your weapon attacks and unarmed strikes as long as your target is missing any of its hit points. At 6th level you get a new ability called Hunter’s Lore, which lets you know any immunities, resistances, or vulnerabilities of the target of your Hunter’s Mark spell. At 10th level, your have the Conjure Barrage spell prepared automatically, and you can “downcast” the spell, using lower level spell slots and reducing the damage accordingly. Finally, at 14th level when you’re hit with an attack, you can use your reaction to take half the damage and redirect the other half to another creature within 5 feet of you (other than the attacker).

Does this take on the Ranger meet your expectations for the class, or is it still falling short?

[spoiler title=”Players and Characters”]We’re currently playing a D6 Cliffhangers game, run by Otto, “The Lost Jewels of Eire.” Our players include:

  • CleverGuy as Johnny Talon, the Daredevil Pilot
  • TheHayesCode as Aleksandra Pavlovic, the Tour Guide
  • Spiny Creature as Willy van der Woodson, the Independently Wealthy Adventurer
  • The Wasp as Solange “Patience” Pacquet, the French Intelligence Agent
  • Wafflicious as Duke Duckworth, the Hard-Boiled Detective
  • Josephus Brown as Tang Yingxia, a Bartender with an enchanted sword[/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”Action Set-Piece”]

As the German soldiers approach to investigate the plane crash, our heroes stumble out of the plane. Alexsandra sees the Nazis coming and tries to pass the group off as tourists who have experienced a little unforeseen engine trouble. The Nazis yell in German and point down the road. When our heroes don’t start moving fast enough, the German lieutenant fires a round into the air. When even that doesn’t scare anyone away, he starts shooting to kill. Most of the group takes cover behind the damaged plane, but Solange fires back, killing the lieutenant with a well-aimed shot to the head.

Meanwhile, inside the tower, two prisoners tied back to back hear the shots fired and start to struggle against their bonds, starting to loosen the knots holding them. One is a young Chinese woman, the other a middle-aged African American man.

Outside, Johnny and Solange are the only two armed. Johnny breaks cover and starts running toward the soldiers, shooting one along the way, trying to close get in close to stop the Nazia from shooting at his friends. Alexsandra and Willy follow his lead, running in different directions, while Solange stays near the plane and tries to cover everyone. Johnny is extremely lucky not to be shot, but he manages to close in and try to tackle one of the Nazis. Alexsandra manages to circle around behind the man fighting Johnny and jump on his back, batting him with an umbrella. Willy runs toward the door in the castle wall, but before he can get there, the door bursts open from the inside.

Tang Yingxia

Tang springs out with an ancient Chinese sword in hand and stabs one of the soldiers through the back. Duke is close on her heels, shooting at the other Nazi soldier guarding the door. With the Nazis suddenly surrounded, it’s not long before our heroes manage to subdue them, though Johnny, Solange, and Duke are all wounded in the firefight.

Noting that Duke and Tang are clearly not locals or Nazis, Johnny asks how they came to be in the castle. Duke mentions that they were investigating something called the Gormghiolla Daigh, when they were captured by Gestapo agents and brought to castle. No one knew exactly why the Nazis were so interested in this conclave of Irish thieves or the lost crown jewels, but Johnny points out that if Hitler wants something, it’s probably best that he doesn’t get it.

Duke Duckworth

After gathering up some more weapons from the dead Nazi soldiers, the group goes inside the Doonagore Castle courtyard, where there are a handful of corpses. The dead men and women are all wearing expensive black sweaters, and most appear to have been shot execution style in the back of the head. Duke says that he saw the Nazi agents executing these people, presumably members of the Gormghiolla Diagh. Doonegore is mostly a ruin, with the tower being the only intact structure inside the walls. The first three floors are identical circular rooms full of smashed furniture and debris, but when our heroes reach the top floor, they see a much smaller semi-circular room, with a limestone wall running through the middle. This wall is clearly a new addition to the castle, and Willy quickly finds a secret door.

Tang forces open the door, only to be shot by the single Nazi hiding inside the hidden chamber. Though wounded, she quickly stabs the soldier with her sword, and Johnny shoots him for good measure. The room is lined with bookshelves, but most of the books are scattered over the floor. Another Gormghiolla Diagh agent lies dead on top of a desk in the middle of the room. There’s a single window faced west, over the sea, but it is too foggy to see anything. Alexsandra looks through the books on the floor, and finds that most are architectural plans for famous buildings around the world. Willy looks around for a map of the castle itself, and finds a label that says “Pearl Diadem worn by Queen Catherine Howard” underneath a smashed cabinet.

Tang and Alexsandra find another secret wall hidden door behind one of the bookshelves. Tang pulled open the secret door to reveal a red-haired dark-eyed girl in a black sweater. She’s remarkably calm facing this group of strangers, but she quickly ascertains that our heroes are not the Nazis who so recently took over the castle. Her name is Catriona…