AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Light of Xaryxis, Part 5

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.

Discussion topic: How often do you use props or handouts in your game? For online play, it’s sort of a moot point, though it can be nice to give the players a jpeg map of the area or visual representation of a printed letter or something. For the actual play show Relics & Rarities, DM Deborah Ann Woll made intricate puzzles for each game that her players had to physically interact with to solve. Matt Mercer of Critical Role regularly gives his players large hand-drawn maps of the areas of the world they’re exploring. But Mercer and Woll both have the benefit of a production team and funding. But there are also companies like Beadle & Grimm’s, that offer boxes of props and handouts specially designed to go along with WotC’s published adventures. And I’m sure we’ve all been following Smilner’s quest to get a full broadsheet newspaper printed up.

What sort of props have you utilized? Are you crafty enough to make your own, or did you spend your hard-earned money on the perfect mysterious puzzle-box? Or maybe you have some interesting objects around the house that can be repurposed for an on-the-fly visual aid? And for those that put in the time/effort/money, do you find that props of this sort greatly improve the experience of playing the game?

[spoiler title=”Players and Characters”]Our group started up a new adventure this past weekend. We’re starting in Eberron and running through the Light of Xaryxis module that was released as part of the recent Spelljammer set for D&D 5e. Josephus Brown is taking the reins as DM, and our new characters include:

  • The Wonderful Wizard AN (Plasmoid Divination Wizard) The Wasp 
  • Delilah Delethorn (Satyr Swashbuckler Rogue) TheHayesCode
  • Geenie Crambits (Halfling Undying Light Warlock) Spiny Creature
  • Okassaath Ch’katroth d’Tharashk (Half-Orc [Mark of Finding] Arcane Archer Fighter/Stars Druid) CleverGuy 
  • Tekili-Li (Wildhunt Shifter Twilight Cleric) Otto 
  • Ximon (Fire Genasi Swords Bard) Wafflicious [/spoiler]

[spoiler title=”The Derelict Nautiloid, Part 2″]

This monster looked vaguely arachnid, and apparently used the memories of the people whose brain it had eaten to set up this trap. It rushed up as soon as the door was opened, but Delilah leaped over Ximon’s head and stabbed the creature in midair. Ximon cast a Cloud of Daggers right on top of the beast, and I shot it with a Grasping Arrow to slow it down even more. AN threw a Fire Bolt at it, while Tekili-Li healed Geenie, who was still hurt from the worm-creatures we’d fought before. As the beast was being cut up by Ximon’s daggers, it hit him with a psychic blast of some kind that seemed to completely shut him down for a little while. It looked the spider-thing was about to devour Ximon’s brain right in front of us, but thankfully, Delilah managed to stab the creature through its own brain instead. We took a little bit to catch our breath in what looked like a mess hall, then continued searching the ship.

There was a grate in the floor nearby that offered a view down into the main cargo hold of the ship, and it actually seemed pretty quiet down there to me. Just to make sure, Delilah dropped a piece of that arachnid monster down between the bars. When nothing reacted, we made our way down ourselves. There had definitely been some major fighting here, because the deck was littered with corpses. Most of them were recognizably humanoid, but there was one with sort of an insectoid body and a long curved neck. Pretty much every one of the bodies had circular bite marks on them, which Tekili said matched up with the worm-creatures we fought earlier. The cargo had mostly already been ransacked, but we did manage to scrounge up a handful of gold and silver coins, a bloodstone ring, and a pair of magic gloves.

Down in the brig, we found the remains of another grisly battle. Another decapitated mind flayer, along with three large white furred carcasses. Tekili went in to inspect the bodies and pulled a shiny breastplate off the mind flayer. Some of the cells in the brig also had bodies inside, and while the mind flayer had put up a fight, it looked like these prisoners had just been executed where they were sitting. Another door at the end of the hall opened intoa darkened room–we couldn’t see anything inside at first, but we could hear something breathing. Delilah picked up one of the bodies on the ground and tossed it inside, and another of the white furry creatures leapt on it. AN called it a quaggoth. We quickly shut the door again while it was distracted and decided to just leave it alone.

With that, we headed back to the Moondancer to report to Captain Sartell, and she started sending more sailors over to gather up some of the supplies we’d salvaged. As we were loading the salvage off the nautiloid, a spider-like vessel suddenly appeared from behind another asteroid. The Captain called it a “night-spider” and said the Neogi must have been using the derelict nautiloid as bait. Luckily, before the night-spider could close in with the Moondancer, a pair of galleons arrived and started pummeling the Neogi ship, forcing it to flee. A githyanki captain offered us an escort to the Rock of Braal, and Capt Sartell agreed.

Along the way, AN was able to identify some of the items we’d recovered. I kept the gloves, which were enchanted to improve my reflexes and let me catch arrows and other missiles that were launched at me. Ximon took the breastplate that we’d pulled off one of the mind flayers, which had a protective enchantment on it. And AN herself kept the Ioun Stone, which could store a few minor spells inside.

We finally arrived at the Rock of Braal, a huge asteroid, sort of long and flat. On one side, a rather large city was built on top. The opposite side had a huge fortress, fields of crops, and a few sets of massive sails. The gravity plane seemed to be right in the middle, so you could stand just as well on either the top or the bottom, and the sails even allowed the Rock to be steered to a degree.

Captain Sartell dropped us off at the docks and then bid us farewell. I’m not sure why she didn’t want to stick around, but she said to look for someone named Commodore Krux. He has some history with the Astral Elves, and could probably at least give us some information about why they attacked our home and what they’re up to. We found Krux in a tavern called the Happy Beholder, run by an actual beholder who called himself “Large Luigi.” Krux is a Giff, a hippo-headed man, who was eager to talk about the Astral Elves. He told us they’d been in town a few days before the attack on Eberron and made it perfectly clear then that other ships in the area should steer clear of our system. Krux didn’t wasn’t to go into too many details in the bar, for fear of elf spies around, but told us to meet on his ship in the morning.

With that he took off, and we had the night to ourselves. I headed out to explore the town a bit, making my usual inquiries at various brothels and taverns, trying to find you, Shriss. Ximon followed along, though I think he was more interested in patronizing the various establishments. I didn’t find any answers, but then I hadn’t really expected to. I’m not giving up, though! .

Anyway, apparently, Krux wasn’t just a paranoid drunk when it came to the Astral Elves. Ximon and I were jumped by a group of them in the street as we made our back to the Happy Beholder. I guess I should have been a little more discreet in my questions all night. The Elves had us outnumbered at first, but Delilah came barreling out of the tavern at the first sound of trouble, and AN and Geenie were not too far behind. It didn’t take long to send them on their way–those that survived anyway. I was worried we’d made too much of a scene, because there was a crowd watching, but some of the onlookers started throwing bottles and things at the Elves–apparently they’re not very popular around here. I wonder what Krux will have to say about them tomorrow…