Adventure: Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Sessions: 2007-03-04, 2007-03-14
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Xame
Status: Rogue 1 / Cleric 4 / Divine Oracle 3

The mole reveals himself

Oh, forgot to mention earlier, since I didn’t think he would be of much consequence, but in retrospect it’s all so obvious. While nosing around in Stormreach trying to find information on the Lord of Blade’s task force, I had encountered this rather bookish warforged. He did not so bad, and was able to provide me with some pittance of information. Then, he asked to come along with the party. I warned him we were headed into the deep belly of the jungles, and that it would probably not be safe, but he insisted on witnessing the undead dragonmarked warforged himself.

He seemed to be a crafter of some sort: he had numerous wands, some of which mimicked effects of Eldon’s arcane powers. For the time, though, he seemed especially clumsy, since he did not manage to hit any of our foes with the magical energies stored within. I attributed this once more to the fact that librarians should stay in cities, and leave the adventuring up to us.

As we continued to explore the ancient temple, easily dispatching everything in our way thanks in part to the Gray Render zombie, we came upon a locked door. Rather than having the zombie bash it down as usual, Mike and Eldon decided to try to listen at it—and was rewarded for their efforts with the usual blasting trap. Inside appeared to be a storeroom of supplies; alas, they were mostly food supplies, and had nothing of magical value. I just “raid the pantry,” so to speak, and cooked us up a savory feast. Mike refused to partake, but the others quite liked it.

The next day, Atronarch (the warforged I wrote of earlier) joined us once more (he had been waiting on the ferry, at my suggestion), claiming to have been bored. We accepted that; the day is much longer and drier when one does not need to sleep. And thus we continued venturing into the upper-most floor of the temple.

A stout woman was there, studying the runes. She claimed to be from Morgrave University, and had been forced on this expedition. She was in the middle of explaining when she suddenly turned and bolted. A good number of zombies and warforged arrived from a side passage. Mike took it upon himself to go after the woman, while I incanted a spiritual weapon to distract our opponents. Eldon directed our zombie (who was currently disguised as an ogre) to meet the oncoming waves of troops.

Before we could act any further though, a wall of electricity then enshrouded us, and while I was able to time to sparks so as to be able to dodge out of the way, my companions did not seem as agile. Immediately following this, an undead four-armed humanoid leapt over the wall, beside Taris and Anson. I had seen Eldon zap undead enough times to trust him to it, so I pushed myself through the energy wall (it was like one of those trick mirrors, where you can only see through on one side) and then tried to demolish the enemy zombies by channeling divine power. It was less effective than I’d hoped, only some third of the zombies were destroyed.

I looked back to check on my companions, to see that Taris had been paralyzed by the thri-keen, and just in time to see a couple arrows strike Eldon into unconsciousness. The projectiles did not strike particularly vulnerable areas, so I could onlly assume poison. Anson, in the mean time, had vaporized the remaining zombies with a flame strike, and was starting to summon a team of Earth Elementals.

At that moment, a powerful wave of energy missiles hit Anson, Taris, and Eldon, instantly killing the latter two… or would have, except for me. However, I had only one delay death spell prepared—no brainer, Taris is much more friendly to me than Eldon (ironically enough, this choice nearly caused my own demise a little while later).

Atronarch grabbed out his wand of scorching ray and… wait, WHAT? fired it at Anson. He followed up with a battle cry, “For the Lord of Blades!” The druid was barely able to dodge one of the two rays, but the other struck true, and singed his entire right half. Suddenly, everything made sense. The whole bit about repeatedly missing was a sham; Atronarch would have preferred that the trolls and other random encounters did us in, but was smart enough to put on the semblance of trying to attack so that we wouldn’t get suspicious.

A sense of anger filled me, and I powered up my only offensive spell, the light of Venya, and took aim at the traitor/spy. The first bolt struck true, and he seemed de-animated, but I did not wish to risk his treacheries a second time, and fired the second at him to ensure his destruction.

The leader of the enemy pack, identifying himself as Falchion, who had been remade from the remains of Sabre (from the Sewers of Sharn), charged me, breaking several of the chains on my mithral shirt to accompany the pain. I quaffed my potion of invisibility and disappeared from his sight, then ran to the body of Taris (whose body had continued to decay due to an area effect acid arrow). After quickly incanting a protection from energy (acid) on her, I yelled to Anson to help out with healing, and began to chain-cast cure spells.

Mike and Isabelle (Anson’s pet eagle), in the mean time, finished up Falchion, while the Gray Render plowed through the rest of the attackers… but then it struck me that since Eldon was no longer here to direct it, the Gray Render is probably not considering us to be its friends anymore, and is just blinding lashing out at all living creatures. I quickly warned the others, and Anson followed up by summoning wolves to keep its attention away from us.

In the end, we managed to kill the entire attack force with the loss of Eldon, but events had been set in motion. The central column had risen into the sky, with presumably the female directing it. While the last schema is certainly powerful, it wasn’t worth suicidally rushing in for. The four of us high-tailed it back to Stormreach, where I planned to recruit another mage before returning.

On the way, I starting itemizing and identifying all the items from Eldon, Atronarch, and the other warforged, I ran across this scroll in Eldon’s haversack: It registered as magical, and I started reading it. I got about two words in before the thing exploded in my face. ^%$*&#(& Zarking Eldon, booby-trapping his stuff. I swore some more and stormed up into the cargo holds, intent on tossing my former compatriot’s body overboard, but then Taris stopped me, reasoning that he probably didn’t intend for it to be used against me. I calmed down somewhat, and we returned to Stormreach without further trouble.

After selling all the goods that we decided not to keep, G contacted me. This was unusual, because I usually contact G, and not the other way around. Anyway, he told me that I should head to Jorasco headquarters in Korth immediately, and that this was important. I didn’t argue—you just don’t, not against G. So I told Anson and Taris and Mike my circumstances, and bid them farewell.

I wonder if I’ll ever see them again.

Player’s Notes:

I decided before the start of this adventure that Xame would be “retiring” after this session. Mostly because I want to play a slightly different character. With the dragonmark implications written up from before, this was a perfect excuse for him to leave the party on friendly terms in a reasonable way.

In retrospect, everything regarding Atronarch really fits well together from the Xame’s perspective. In reality, of course, Bob just fumbled nearly every attack roll up until the end. But still, the interpretive way makes for a better story.

Oh, another way to get rid of excess wealth: since Xame was presumably systematically categorizing all the looted goods, some were probably destroyed by the Explosive runes. I really would like not to have Xame “sneak off with the bulk of the goods,” because I’d like Xame to be on good terms with the remaining party members, in case I play him again in this campaign.