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

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 looking at the last of the One D&D playtest’s Expert classes, the updated Rogue and Thief subclass. Of the three Expert classes in this playtest document, the Rogue probably has the fewest changes from the 2014 Player’s Handbook, at least in the base class. They still get Thieves’ Cant, Expertise, and Sneak Attack at 1st level; however there is a subtle change to the wording of Sneak Attack that has some pretty big implications. Sneak Attack can now only be applied when you take the Attack action on your turn. This shuts down the potential for the Rogue to deal that Sneak Attack damage twice in a round using their reaction for an attack of opportunity.

Apart from that, the Rogue is pretty much unchanged up through level 14, aside from some abilities moving around. The addition of a Subclass feature at 6th level pushes their second Expertise and Evasion abilities back a bit. A new ability at level 13 called Subtle Strikes replaces Blindsense. Subtle Strikes allows you have advantage on any attack roll as long as you have an ally within 5 feet of your target.

The Thief subclass has a few more significant changes than the base class does. The 3rd level feature Fast Hands now allows you take the Search action1 as a bonus action, instead of Use an Object. Second-Story Work grants a climb speed equal to your normal walking speed and allows you to use DEX instead of STR for the Jump action. At 6th level you get constant advantage on Stealth checks, as long as you’re not wearing Medium or Heavy armor. This was a 9th level ability previously, and you were limited to half your movement to get the advantage. At 10th level, the Use Magic Device ability now lets you attune to up to 4 magic items, and you have a chance not to expend charges when you use an item with charges. In addition, you can use any spell scroll for a cantrip or 1st level spell, and attempt an Arcana check to use any higher level scroll. Finally at level 14, your Thief’s Reflexes allow you take a second bonus action on your turn for Cunning Action, a limited number of times per day.

So, how do you feel about the changes to the Rogue?

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
Thrilling Conclusion

At the top of Doonagore Tower, Catriona quickly concludes that our heroes are not Nazis. She says someone called “Michael” told her to hide in this secret room when an Italian man showed up with some German soldiers and started ransacking the place. From her hiding place, she heard the Italian questioning Michael, wanting him to lead them to Isle of Speirling. The island, just off shore though currently shrouded by the fog, is where the Gormghiolla Daigh keeps their most valued treasures. Not finding Michael among the dead in the castle, and remembering the row boat they saw embarking on their own approach, our heroes assume that Michael has been taken to the island. With Catriona’s help, the group finds a boat and begins rowing out to sea.

The thick fog makes navigation very difficult, but our heroes reach the Isle of Speirling after about 30 minutes. Another rowboat is tied up in the bay, and has our heroes move quietly inland, they can just start to make out a small circle of standing stones, with a large dead tree in the center. The Italian man, Ludo, is shouting something at a kneeling figure, while a half dozen guards peered through the fog. The thick fog does provide some cover for our heroes, but as they approach the henge as quietly as possible, Duke suddenly slips on some loose gravel.

With the Nazis now alerted, the situation rather quickly devolves into chaos. Alexsandra runs north, and Duke goes south. Tang rushes forward towards the nearest Nazi with her sword out, stabbing the soldier and using his body as a shield at the same time. Catriona follows suit, brandishing a pair of daggers. Johnny sees Ludo pull a soldier aside and give him some kind or orders. When that soldier tries running back towards the boats, Johnny cuts him off and kills him. I saw Ludo tell one of the soldiers something and send him off, so I shot at that one. Meanwhile, Willy and Solange engage with the remaining soldiers. Duke manages to rush up and tackle Ludo, but the Italian then pulls out a flare gun and fires off a signal into the air. Alexsandra is shot and wounded while untying the captive Michael, but he is in no shape to fight.

As the group closes in on the tree, they see that the entire tree seems to have been carved from (or turned into) amber. And there’s a body trapped inside of the Amber Tree! As the battle continues, a U-Boat surfaces off shore, though Willy and Alexsandra are the only ones who notice. Willy also sees that the body in the Amber Tree seems to be holding a large jewel.

Duke shoots Ludo point-blank, killing him, and it’s not long before the remaining Nazis are dead or neutralized. Michael and Catriona confirm that the jewel that the man in the tree is holding is indeed the lost Diamond Star of St Patrick, which is what led to the success of the Gormghiolla Daigh all these centuries. The body in the tree is ancient and mostly mummified, but Michael says that he believes to be the actual Merlin. Catriona speaks a few words in Gaelic, then passes her hand through the solid amber and pulls out the gem. Michael says that any attempt to retrieve the gem without speaking the correct words would result in the tree pulling the person inside to join Merlin.

Suddenly, three Italian frogmen emerge from the fog with harpoons, apparently having deployed from the U-Boat in response to Ludo’s flare. Solange is severely wounded and falls, unconscious. Michael and Catriona take for the boats immediately, while our heroes fight off the frogmen. With the Italians dead, our heroes catch up with Michaela and Catriona at the boats and row back to the castle, having successfully kept the Lost Jewels of Eire from falling into Hitler’s hands.