Taris


Adventure: Before the Storm
Session: 2007-05-05
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris Talandro
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +4/Duelist 1/Ninja +1

We reached the ziggurat today. The lake the others mentioned has been replaced by a bone field. Ugh. Allia seemed delighted, and promptly set up for more tea. The name-changing gnome decided to stick around with her. I think he’s waiting for more of those fanatical followers of his to arrive.

The rest of us decided to go on in, and see what we could find. As we approached the entrance, we were attacked by this gigantic purple worm. No eyes; it could sense things well enough that my disappearing trick wouldn’t have done any good.

Ah, what would be do without Mike, though? He was the first to attack, the first to be bitten, and the first to be swallowed. I will admit that Blaze followed soon afterwards. He said that he was just trying to rescue Mike. Hm. He didn’t seem to have planned to get swallowed… but he did cast a spell to get him and the monk out of the creature’s innards. Neither of them looked very good afterwards… well, I skewered it a bit (as much as you can skewer a worm bigger than you are), Anson’s eagle and air elemental whacked at it and Sovalem zapped it into submission. Since he’d heard that they occasionally swallow valuable things in their tunneling, we sliced open its stomach. In addition to some gold, we found an immovable rod. Push a button, and it stays where it is. Even in mid-air. I’m sure that will come in handy.

After that, we entered the ziggurat. Sovalem and I worked to disable a couple of traps, and we even found a sapphire amulet and some black dust. Sovalem’s out of whatever he needs to identify what they do, since they’re both magical. Blaze is trying out the amulet… I hope he doesn’t hurt himself accidentally that way. Paladins. He’s almost as likely to get himself hurt as Mike.

After that, we met this elemental, except its element was evil or something. Big, black, nasty thing. We surprised it, so I used my bracers and, with some difficulty, found a weak spot… and Sovalem zapped it. It liked the zapping less than the skewering, and went for Sovalem — hard. His head just snapped back and — well, that would have been it, except that Anson cast that instant reincarnate spell of his. Blaze finished off the elemental, and then I turned back to see… a female kobold?! I think Mike got lucky in his reincarnations; at least he stayed the same gender! Ugh! I think I’ll just avoid the question of “what will you reincarnate as next?” by not dying. There’s a plan. But this is going to be almost as confusing for all of us as for Sovalem, since he — she? — is a different gender but pretty much the same person otherwise… and the kobold thing. May the Flame have mercy…

Otherwise, we took the downward fork in the stairs, since Lucan was known to be upstairs before, and we didn’t want to go after him until we knew we wouldn’t be attacked from behind.

We met a group of mummies, and destroyed them. We met a bunch of vampire spawn, whom we quickly destroyed. One of them was apparently familiar to the rest — he used to be dragonborn or something.

We’re just preparing to go on — I certainly hope that this works out, since we still haven’t met Lucan himself yet. I think we’re going to try to get him on our side, by giving him the amulet from the keep, and then just go get him if that doesn’t work.

And I wonder. There was another person, a wizard named Antinua, who was also killed by Lucan. From what the others say, she’s probably a vampire now. Ugh, what a horrible fate. She’s certain to be under Lucan’s control. But, if you don’t want to be a vampire, if you become one against your will, do you actually become evil? I mean, Allia’s undead, and she’s not evil, just childish. She’s more interested in tea with her skeletons than anything else.

Maybe part of the reason I’m speculating about this is that I don’t really want to need to face an undead wizard…

Player’s Notes

I’m looking forward to the next session. New character vs. old character? Could be interesting. And, given that this is Eberron, and alignments are difficult to predict, I wonder if Antinua could still have her good alignment, despite being a vampire under Lucan’s control… hm… that would make things interesting indeed…

In any case, I suspect that Taris is going to be rather ineffective if this comes to a fight (which it probably will) except for the “I vanish” and “I use deathstrike bracers,” which she can only do about three times anyway. I seem to recall that Antinua didn’t have see invisibility at the time she died… although she probably had a scroll for it… oh, dear. I anticipate eagle+elementals, wind+zapping and alter-self+power-attack+light of the flame (ie, “light of venya” etc. in Eberron) to be the strategies of choice.

More Player Notes

Everything above this was written prior to last Saturday’s session… oh, dear. I suppose I will summarize here:

Taris, Blaze, Anson, and Sovalem go up the stairs. They meet Antinua-turned-vampire. Antinua casts Blaze into a stone dome. Taris, who’s not good with undead, watches Antinua turn invisible. She relays this information; Sovalem casts his… her windy spell-thing. This has no effect, since before we can do much else, Antinua casts cloudkill (we all take Con damage) and then a Sudden Maximized flame spell — I think it was flame burst or something. Take 90 points of damage, reflex save for half. Sovalem and Taris take half, and die anyway. Anson takes full and dies, although he would have survived had he made his save. Blaze escapes by casting fly on himself, breaking through the stone with an adamantine shard, taking reflex save for half on a lightning bolt, grabbing Sovalem the kobold and carrying her body out while flying as fast as he can manage.

Vampires 2, party 0.

The rest of the session turned into character-building… with no XP loss, thanks to DM mercy.

Adventure: Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Session: 2007-04-15, 2007-04-28
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris Talandro
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +4/Duelist 1

What have I gotten myself into? The gnome — Feralis, or whatever he’s calling himself now — seems to be some sort of psychic beacon, since he’s got a whole bunch of crazed people who want to follow his every whim, including this half-orc named Ankya. Well, except for Ankya, they’re trying to carry the gray render back to Stormreach… like that’ll work… since the gray render won’t fit in the airskiff. This is, of course, at Allia’s request.

And then there’s Blaze. He’s still at it with all this stuff about propriety and “fair lady” and “dear sir” stuff. Huh. I wonder why he bothers. I go to a great deal of effort to not act particularly ladylike.

***

I have reached a conclusion. Specifically, everyone I’m traveling with is completely insane, with the possible exception of Sovalem. We already knew Mike was crazy. Swear off magic items? Pah. That, and he always seems to be the first to be struck by whomever we’re fighting…

First off, the druid, Anson, decided that he wanted to “explore the wonders of nature” for a little while. In the jungles of Xen’drick, no less!

We were traveling north from Stormreach, originally planning on heading back to Sharn… when we received a magical message from Viorr Malik. We learned that Breland had fallen to the Lord of Blades… and that now-occupied Breland was attacking Thrane! Ack!

While we were flying past Sharn (from quite a ways away) we could see the smoke. It seems as though the fires are still burning there. And Feralis (or whoever) was perfectly willing to drop that kalashtar — what’s his name? — over the side just to have a look. And he was willing to go, if his master wished it. Insane. Blaze even checked to see if he was being compelled against his will, which he wasn’t. Crazy, both of them. Blaze ended up just flying over (magic has its uses) to have a closer look. He says he saw… well… warforged…

In any case, we’re now headed to Flamekeep.

***

Flamekeep. Kahlia visits here fairly often. Praise the Flame, Sovalem consented to “adjust” my appearance a bit. He also disguised Allia, so she looks a little less… dead.

We did pass by Kahlia in Flamekeep. Considering everything that’s been going on, I’m not surprised she’s here. She gave me a funny look, but kept on going, thankfully.

Blaze, I think it was, said something about making up with my relatives. Oh, that’ll go over well. I think that can be put off until later.

In any case, after a lot of wandering around and trouble, we learned that the king of Breland is dead, but there’s still some members of the royal family around, and Viorr Malik is, of course, here as well. A lot of people from Breland fled to Thrane.

It seems that Karrnath is now allied with Thrane against warforged Breland, and that Aundair is being all neutral. Stupid magicians hiding behind their towers while we make agreements with undead and necromancers to keep the crazed warforged from conquering Khorvair. This is not what I had planned to do when I first left home…

In any case, Malik had a task for us: go and deal with an important warforged lieutenant, and knock out a bridge near the Mournlands, to slow the advance of the warforged. Sounds good to me.

***

This airskiff is highly useful. Being well above everything keeps you from being attacked.

However, Sovalem decided to show off his talent for a bit, so we few between a number of trees for a little while… until we were attacked by a bunch of vines. Vines! One of them even pulled me off the airskiff. I landed on the creature, so I was fine. These new bracers I’ve got came in handy — pointed me right towards a vulnerable spot I can’t usually see at all. We managed to deal with all of them, although at the end, Ankya was looking a little strange… almost as if she were going to go after me for lack of a better target. Ugh. Feralis, or whatever that gnome’s name is, and his following are rather disturbing.

After that, Sovalem declined not to fly too low, although Allia wanted a closer look at a hydra we passed. I’d rather not get snapped at by one of those heads unnecessarily.

We reached the lieutenant’s keep, and approached the entrance. I was all for doing something a little less direct, but, well, this group includes a nine going-on 210 halfing girl, a crazed gnome, and a paladin. Subtlety is not their style.

The first this that happaned was someone let a huge dinosaur — a tyranosaurus rex! — out of the gate at us. Killing it was straightforward. While that was going on, Sovalem did something… he made a large tornado-type thing, and it smashed up the keep pretty well. We were all in the eye, of course. I guess dragonmarks have their perks.

In any case, something survived all that (although a large number of warforged apparently did not) and taunted us. Right.

Meanwhile, Anson showed up. He’d gotten Blaze’s message a while back, and had been flying over when he saw Sovalem’s unnatural tornado. Allia was distracted by the deceased dinosaur… I knew she would want to do something with it. And the gnome joined her for tea. The insanity…

Except for Allia, the gnome and their undead and living followings respectively, we went into the keep. I tried to suggest caution, but gave up eventually. It just doesn’t seem to work with these people, except for Sovalem. Of course, he had his troubles, too.

We first found a caged gold dragon. A young one, by their standards, whatever those are. He was named Andrexanezmanel, but he said that calling him Adrexan would work. Apparently, the dragons in Argonessen are concerned about what’s going on, but don’t want to interfere. Adrexan, however, thought he ought to help or at least find out what’s going on, but was captured. We apparently prevented him from being used in some terrible arcane experiment. I don’t even want to know what they had planned to do with him.

Blaze tried to break the lock on the cage (the cage was adamantine, to keep the dragon in), but was rewarded by a blast of fire from a trap. Smart. Sovalem shattered the lock with a spell, and Adrexan did the rest on his own. He flew off to warn the other dragons, and perhaps bring back some to aid us. All the better.

After that, we fought the lieutenant, who wasn’t a warforged at all, but some sort of very strange, disgusting creature. Ugh. I felt that this would be a good time to use that dagger I keep in my left boot, but the poison didn’t do any good. At least I still have a dose of the good stuff left.

Having killed that unnatural thing, we checked the rest of the keep. Sovalem checked the door to the room at the foot of the tower for traps, didn’t find any, and then promptly walked in and set off another trap, which caused the room around him to start shrinking. Between him, Blaze, and Anson wildshaped into a rhinocerous, they were able to bash the door down before he started being crushed.

The only item of note we found was an amulet in a chest. Blaze said that it radiated a powerful aura of evil. And reading the note with it, I’m not surprised. It said that this kept the vampire Lucan (whom Anson and Mike met before) under the power of the Lord of Blades. And presumably whatever allies Lucan has as well. Not good.

Once we were sure that there was nothing else of import in the keep, we took as many of the adamantine shards from the cage as we could (Adrexan broke it up pretty well, and adamantine is valuable stuff).

We took a quick detour to destroy the bridge, which was handily done by Anson’s earth elementals, with some help from Blaze. That paladin seems to be all about the most direct, forcefull way of doing things. I’ll admit, I’m not much at chopping through stone.

I’m writing this on the airskiff. And by the Flame, Allia’s new tyranosaurus skeleton is keeping pace. Watching her and that monster drink tea earlier… no one will ever believe I have seen a tyrannosaurus drinking tea.

We’re going back to the ziggurat where they found Lucan before, and we’re going to face him. If he’s still there, then I have no respect for him. I mean, what sort of person stays in the same hideout for months after it’s been discovered?

In any case, we don’t want to have this vampire on the side of the Lord of Blades. Although, it does sound as though he’s not willing, since this amulet is necessary. The party is divided on what’s best to do. If we destroy it, we simply release Lucan, and then, who knows what he’ll do. We’re probably going to end up killing (or unkilling?) Lucan and whatever minions he’s gathered.

That does worry me, though. Apparently, Lucan killed two former members of this group. I worry that they’ll be part of his entourage. In any case, it even sounds as though Lucan might not have wanted to become a vampire in the first place. But chances are, if we were simply to free him from the Lord of Blades’ control, he would go about his own evil agenda. And then there’s Allia… evidence that not all undead are utterly evil.

And Thrane is allied with Karrnath in all of this. The enemy of my enemy…

I remember how the survivors looked after meeting Lucan — not good. And my brothers, after returning from a vampire-hunting expedition. Tired, drained, but ultimately successful in their case. I’m not in competition with them, really I’m not, but maybe… maybe if this all works out, my family will recognize that I don’t have to be a cleric or a high-and-mighty paladin to do good.

They’ll probably want me to pay back that money I took when I left. Oh, well.

Player’s Notes

Considering we’re getting close to the end of the campaign, it might be nice to tie up Taris’s familial issues at the end of this. At least partly, anyway.

Now, being epsilon away from 10th level, Domenic has declared this close enough. I think I’ll just take the next level of ninja, since that involves more chances to be invisible, more sudden strike, and more tumbling excitement. +21 tumble => 4/5 chance of being able to tumble through enemy spaces. Hm…

Also, Taris put a dose of “the good stuff” on her dagger. Just in case the vampire employs something nasty and susceptible. Probably when she thought nobody was looking…

Adventure: Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Session: 2007-04-08
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris Talandro
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +4

Well, we’ve gotten back to Stormreach, and Xame has decided to part ways with us. Something about “G” telling him to haul himself to the headquarters of House Jorasco. I don’t think I’ll ever really understand clerics.

In any case, we’ve managed to resupply, and I’ve found some bracers that might help me find the vulnerabilities of people who are undead, warforged or both. We’ve also found a pilot for our airskiff—Sovalem d’Lyrander. He seems competent, but finding a pilot in the most drunk patron of a tavern bothers me a bit. He did sober up quickly when we said we wanted a pilot, though. He’s got a dragonmark, too, presumably from House Lyrander, although I wouldn’t know the difference. While he was still inebriated, he said something about being shunted off here due to a romance that his parents disapproved of. Something about rules about relations between dragonmarked houses and noble families being pretty strict. Ridiculous. And can I sympathize. Parents tend to meddle a lot where they’re only going to make their children more miserable.

While we were there, we were joined by a strange little gnome. He carries a large number of very large swords around on a disk that floats behind him. That, and he goes by a different name every day. One day he’s Feralis, the next day he’s Zentar… how confusing. I don’t see a point in changing your name unless you’re trying to avoid someone, which he apparently isn’t. Hm. In any case, when Solvalem first tried the air skiff, he did a loop (which was great fun), but Feralis couldn’t hold on, so he cast something to make him fall slowly, then caught him in the air skiff. Very impressive. Now that we’ve recovered a bit, we’re all returning to the temple by air skiff, to deal with, to use the overused cliché, “unfinished business.”

***

By the Flame, somebody’s got it in for me.

We returned to the temple, and the first person we met wasn’t undead or warforged or even associated with them. He’s a paladin of the Silver Flame, by the name of Blaze. Oh, (curse in Infernal) paladins. Yes, they serve an important purpose, but do I have to be around them all the time? I was trying to avoid them! He even noticed my pendant and asked if I were a member of the clergy… yikes. I hope he hasn’t met any of my relatives… pretty much all of them visit Flamekeep from time to time on business. I don’t know what would be worse—associating me with them or with Uncle Korref. Probably Korref, considering how he reacted to Alia…

Ah, yes, Alia. After Blaze joined us, we all went in to counter the grave threat posed by the Emerald Claw and Lord of Blades, and so on and so forth. We did not find anyone associated with them at first. Instead, we met an adorable little halfling girl having tea with a few friends. Or rather, she would be adorable if she weren’t an undead necromancer having tea with a bunch of skeletons. And she even had the old undead gray render with her! Blaze’s first reaction was to destroy all the weak undead, leaving Alia and the gray render. Alia was unhappy about this, and threw a cup of tea at him. (I’ll never cease to be amused by the image of the tough paladin with tea on his armor.) After Sovalem restrained Blaze enough to calm him down, Alia explained that her parents were members of the Blood of Vol who’d done this to her when she was around ten. Horrific. I did mention that parents do a lot of terrible things to their children, even when they mean well, right? Ugh. I have some sympathy for her… although I won’t get too close. And I suspect that standing between her and Blaze is a very bad idea.

In any event, the lot of us decided to climb up the throne and see what had happened in our absence. Alia hadn’t seen anything while she was… having tea. I don’t want to think about where she got her friends. In any case, once at the top, we found an apparently magically-warped section of floor which had remains from a number of different races all sort of blended into each other… disturbing. And there were large blocks and strange equipment everywhere… leading up to this giant warforged… he wasn’t undead, and he said his name was Xulo. He wasn’t very clear (he’s not very bright) but it seems like the Emerald Claw and the Lord of Blades needed the last schema in order to activate him, and that they planned to control him… and failed miserably. We ended up attacking him, since he seemed to have vague plans of gaining power and tried to whack us first.

I must note that I’ve figured out what Feralis (Zentar? Whatever name he’s using) does with those swords on a floating disk. He throws them at things, with some kind of mental power. Very impressive.

In any case, we nearly killed Xulo, and he started begging for mercy. I would have been fine giving it to him, except one of Alia’s minions (some undead flying thing) didn’t stop attacking him. Blaze fixed him up a bit after he was knocked out, and Xulo seemed… recalcitrant. After convincing him that there were a lot of people out there as tough to beat as we are, we managed to calm him down. We even managed to convince him to try to tell us about himself. Based on what he said and some history that Sovalem remembered, he was probably some sort of spirit from the dream-plane or something created by them, and intended to be housed in this warforged body to fight against the giants by the people from the dream-plane—the quori, I think Sovalem called them. In any case, they were at war with the giants, and the giants kept them from invading our plane, at the cost of the loss of their civilization. And this all happened 38,000 years ago! It’s almost unbelievable that something from then could have survived so long. We’re going to try to convince Xulo to visit the giants. Maybe he can learn something more about himself from them.

Then again, maybe they’ll just destroy him out of fear or something. I don’t know what the giants thought about warforged, and if they think that all warforged are evil, well, I don’t know if this is such a good idea. But it’s been so long… and maybe they’ll be open-minded. Right. And people in Thrane don’t still dislike lycanthropes. I should probably point this out.

Player’s Notes

Yay, 9th level! Time for the first level of duelist, methinks. And then there’s the question of feat… I had planned to take Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (additional skewering = good), but, given the setting, she really needs something to help with the smacking of undead and constructs, against which she is not particularly good. Hence, deathstrike bracers! Use a swift action to activate them, and she can use her sudden strike ability. But wait, she can only use that if she’s got the drop on them… and that only happens if she gets high initiative or goes invisible. The former is chancy, and the latter requires… a swift action! So she can’t be invisible and use the deathstrike bit in the same round. Irritating. But Domenic says there’s a way to use up two chances to be invisible, and stay invisible twice as long, and thereby get a chance to sudden strike stuff… by taking a feat. Gah!

Taris really hopes that Blaze has never heard the name “Talandro.” Of course, she hasn’t mentioned her last name to him yet… and will probably avoid doing so. But if he has, and relatives are concerned about her whereabouts, that could get interesting.

That said, this whole paladin-vs.-necromancer bit is going to be highly entertaining.

Adventure: Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Session: 2007-04-01
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +4

What a day! We continued exploring after meeting the scorpion. Atronach met up with us. He’d gotten bored with watching the prisoners, and considering the amount of fighting we’d been doing, we could use all the help we can get.

We decided to take the other staircase up, letting the gray render zombie (ugh) go first; we saw a group of Emerald Claw soldiers working with some kind of mechanism to open a large door. Xame snuck forward to get a better look, and did just fine since they were all distracted. We decided that the safest course of action was to let them open the door. When they did, a huge wave of water promptly washed out over us. We all were pushed down the stairs; Murani, Eldon and all of the soldiers fell off the temple’s edge. Eldon used feather fall on himself and Murani; the soldiers all perished. Convenient.

Inside was more than knee-deep in water. Anson thought that there must be some connection to the water plane inside, which is where the water kept pouring from. We met some strange sort of undead creature, which looked like a drowned elf. We started to attack it… and it had some sort of aura which made the air like water. I stabbed at it, and a moment or two later, I made the bad move of trying to breathe. The next thing I know, Mike is hauling me out of the water. They had dealt with the undead while I was busy drowning, which made the air breathable again.

We found the sources of water—Mike even went into one, which he said was like a huge ocean—but the only other item of interest was a discovery that Eldon made. He had a flash of insight, and looked through the golden hoop-crystal object we found, and discovered that he could use it to read the glyphs on the ziggurat in this chamber. Something about a parable involving terrible lizards and the names of three dragon constellations. We looked at the other ziggurat, the one of the second floor, and it had another parable and a different three dragons. I wonder how that fits in.

Well, we next went up the stairs to the top. We dealt with the guards at the top, only killing one and tying up the rest. They told us that the rest of the group was divided into two parts in the top level—one part lead by a warforged, and the other part lead by, apparently, a vampire. I hate undead.

Eldon and Xame tried to listen at the first door we came to, and got whacked by a ward for their trouble. It looks like it was just placed there to protect more of the Emerald Claw’s supplies. We found another unoccupied room, and now that we’ve cleaned a skeleton out of the closet, we’re staying here for the night. There is one strange thing about this room, though. There’s a mosaic in here, and if you examine it from the right distance, you can see that the figure in it looks a great deal like a warforged. Except the picture is as old as the temple, I’ll bet. Perhaps the idea of warforged is older than we thought. That’s probably why the schema is here… somewhere.

***

And I thought yesterday was exciting.

We began to continue our exploration of the upper level. We found a very large open-air chamber, with a huge throne in it. Near the throne was a rotund woman, apparently in distress, who said that she was an archaeologist being forced to work for the warforged. She seemed genuine, but the whole setup was suspicious. No one was guarding her…

When we got to what was apparently “close enough,” she ran behind the throne, and stuff started happening. A large group of warforged and zombies came from a hall to our right, and between them, they fired an arrow into Eldon, knocking him out, and another arrow with a bunch of acid, and some caster or another put up a wall of lightning that zapped me and Xame, in addition to blocking our attackers from view. Then this four-armed insectoid undead THING jumped OVER the twenty foot wall! I can jump, but not that well. Eek.

Well, the first thing Mike did was try to go after the woman. I was similarly inclined, but decided that the undead bug should probably be skewered first. I tried to go around it, to be closer to chasing Mike and to leave a line of fire open for everyone else, but the bug managed to get me as I went by. Usually I can dodge that sort of thing, but… oh, dear… well, it stopped me in my tracks. Mother always told me to stand straight, but I don’t think this is what she intended. I couldn’t move, at all. I did get to listen to everything that was going on… until something dropped from above us, and I couldn’t move to avoid it, and I blacked out.

Did I mention that I hate undead?

I think I owe Xame a huge favor. Both Murani and Eldon were killed by the falling object and more acid. I would have been dead as well, several times over, apparently. I’m glad I wasn’t conscious for that. Xame cast some sort of spell on me that kept me from dying, and then he and Anson cast a large number of healing spells.

I should try to get a new set of clothes in Stormreach. The ones I’m wearing now have been slashed by assorted drow, soldiers, and undead, and then soaked in acid for a while. Not really presentable, and not very far from falling apart, either.

By the time I was back on my feet, most of our enemies had been dealt with. Since Eldon was dead, the gray render zombie was out of control and being distracted by Anson’s summoned creatures. I knew having that thing around was a bad idea, even though everyone else says it did a good job at slowing down the other undead. Atronach was dead now, too… killed by Xame. Apparently our artificer was a traitor following the Lord of Blades, and changed sides when things looked worst for us. Horrible. I was sure that he was an example of a warforged who was neither insane nor evil.

In any case, those of us still living were in fairly bad shape. We took a large number of useful objects off of the deceased, and Mike was able to carry back Eldon’s acid-eaten remains. Poor Murani. I hope she and Eldon join the Flame and find peace. I have no such pity for Atronach.

We’re heading back to Stormreach now. We’re having to tow the air skiff, since none of us is sure how to pilot it. Also, Xame managed to blow something up from Eldon’s pack and damage a good fraction of the items we managed to salvage.

We’re in trouble now, in any case. Three of us are dead… one not a real loss… and the Emerald Claw, warforged and company, have free access to the temple while we heal our wounds and try to find more help.

This should only be a temporary setback. We’ll still keep the Lord of Blades from getting the schema and doing who-knows-what with it. I hope.

Player’s Notes

All that, and still just short of 9th level. So much fun stuff that level… sigh… oh well.

I do hope we end up getting the schema somehow. Otherwise, I suspect we’ll end up having to take out the Lord of Blades, which will probably be a pound of cure.

This session was Taris’s turn to play “you can’t kill me… I have cool friends!” instead of Mike. Knocked out twice, whew. And Scott just seems to have no luck with his characters…

Dave—as a thought, you ought to add to your death statistics (I’m guessing this is true)…

Record for most negative hit points survived: Taris (-38)

Adventure: Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Session: 2007-03-04, 2007-03-14
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +3

We reached the temple today. I’m writing this just before we rest, so I don’t forget anything.

Let’s see. We found the giant’s left hand and all that, and then stopped the guards on the Emerald Claw airskiff. Then we went in. And were promptly smacked by a large boulder. It seems a number of drow have claimed part of the temple, and didn’t want us in there with them. Mike tried to convince them that we would be perfectly happy to leave them be, but they wouldn’t have it. They’d probably had too much trouble with the Emerald Claw types. We were forced to deal with them via skewering and scorching.

Upstairs, after dealing with a couple more guards, we found a “small” ziggurat inside the temple itself. This place is huge! Well, it was built for giants. We ended up dealing with an Emerald Claw soldier, a few zombies and a mummy. The mummy had some sort of displacing cloak, which made it seem to be where it wasn’t. I’ve got it now. Eldon has my old cloak of resistance in storage.
This seems to be where the Emerald Claw folks were camping, so this is where we’re camping. Although, it seems somewhat deserted now, which bothers me.

***

I’ll fill this in now, now that we’re taking a quick stop before moving on.

Last night, we met some serpent-people called Yuan-ti. It sounds like they’re looking for some other artifact, a giant’s tooth. We agreed to swap if they find the schema and we find the tooth. They also said that they’d found some deceased humans, in an area they did not enter.

We found them pretty soon afterwards. They were all, well, dead, and lying around an adamantine door. Anson sent in an earth elemental, which went through the stone wall, opened the door, and promptly died. He sent in another elemental, which retrieved the giant’s tooth. Without dying. None of us wanted to get too close. According to Eldon, it’s very magical. Xame is concerned about just giving something that powerful to the yuan-ti, and I’ve got to agree with him. Unless they’ve got the schema, which is probably pretty powerful in itself. So long as the yuan-ti don’t plan to do evil, the exchange should be all right.

Mike finally caught up with us this morning. He’d forgotten that humans don’t have darkvision, and gotten lost. He does seem to have a great deal of bad luck. He did seem somewhat surprised when I told him that Eldon had turned into a raptoran for a little while to fight the mummy.

While we were exploring this level, we ran into a bunch of large apes. Dealing with them is far easier than undead, since I know where to hit them.

In one chamber, we found a large monster — an undead gray render. Disgusting creature, living (scratched out) unliving in filth, horribly stupid… and instead of just putting the thing out of its misery, Eldon started commanding it! Ugh. I can hardly believe it. I mean, it’s undead! They’re so unnatural. Well, so are warforged, but at least warforged are truly living beings, not hideous parodies of life. Except for the undead ones…

The undead gray render did prove useful. I haven’t done too much study of traps, and the others have done less. So we let the gray render set off the traps first. It fell down a pit that opened up in front of a door. After opening the door using a pole, Mike jumped across, I jumped across, and Anson flew across on his eagle. I think I should have been the only one to go across, since I’m a bit tougher than Anson, jump well, and can handle magic items, unlike Mike. However… we all went through, and we all were hit by a burst of flame. I grabbed the object — some sort of gold hoop around a crystal lens — and we all went back across before the trap reset.

There was nothing else to see, so we decided to check the ground floor before examing the third floor. Eldon found his gray render, and we entered a room we hadn’t examined earlier. After passing some strange offerings and another dead Emerald Claw soldier (we seem to be doing much better with this temple than they are) we met the largest scorpion I have ever seen in my life. It must have been twenty feet long! The gray render drew most of its attention… until Mike decided he would punch it himself. He got torn a bit and stung. He afterwards was very greatful that monks are immune to poison. I ought to remember that, in case we meet any evil monks. In any case, after some zapping, the scorpion went down. I cut off its stinger, and Xame agreed to put it in his bag of holding, since, honestly, I don’t have space in my pack for a two-foot-plus stinger. But the venom would make a nice poison, I think. I guess I owe Xame one.

We found a strange rod in that room, also. I’d be glad if we find the schema soon, and can clear out. By the Flame, I hope Eldon doesn’t decide to keep his “pet.”

Player’s Notes

So, I just looked up the cost of a Cloak of Displacement, minor… um… that’s a LOT of gold pieces.

But she does get 8th level. Hm. Ninja or duelist? Duelist yields more hit points, but ninja implies being able to put a bunch of skill points into making her search/disable device checks halfway reasonable. Or we could just leave that business to the undead gray render.

And she ought to put a point into craft (poison). Oh, well, worst comes to worst, she could ask Xame to help find a poisonmaker in Stormreach, and get a discount for having the main ingredient. If it doesn’t go bad or something. And share with the others, of course, if they’re interested in such things.

And no, I couldn’t resist the title. Especially with the rolling boulder bit at the beginning.

Adventure: Interlude, Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Session: 2007-03-04
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +2

Our cover story is that we’re with a Morgrave university group going exploring. The captain of the Sea Dart even gave us papers, from Maelik, to that effect. Well, let’s hope we don’t run into any of them while we’re here.

***

Today has been busy. First off, Stormreach is a fascinating place. The buildings are a patchwork of pretty much everything from Khorvaire mixed in with giants’ ruins. And the people are the same.

Xame’s been busy — he found us some information about traveling upriver to the ruins, and that the Emerald Claw, undead warforged and company were traveling by airship, and he sold those magic battleaxes we got in Sharn. Well, I got a bit more than the others… since I knew about one more battleaxe than the others. Not bad for a day’s work.

Xame also bumped into an artificer named Atronarch. He’s a warforged, so I suppose he’s got some extra qualifications in that. He’s joined us. This just proves that at least some warforged have some common sense where the Lord of Blades and evil in general are concerned.

We got a strange message… written in blood. And terrible grammar. Offering information. We eventually decided that regardless of whether this person knew what we were up to, this could be nothing but trouble, and we’d take care of it after we went to the docks to get a boat to take us upriver. At the docks, we met an elf named Murani. She said she was following the Draconic Prophecy, whatever that is, and believes that our particular group is involved, and wanted to join us. The more the merrier, right? I wonder how important what we’re doing really is. Prophecies are so vague anyway that they’re practically useless.

Well, we did charter a boat… and Murani kindly paid the fee, which was high because travel is treacherous in Xen’drik. Meanwhile, we tracked down the person who’d sent us the bloody note. He was some sort of undead my brothers never mentioned dealing with, but some work by Eldon and Xame destroyed him pretty quickly. All that was left of him was a holy symbol Xame said was of the Blood of Vol cult in Karrnath. Karrnathi everywhere. The presence of both that creature and the Emerald Claw seems a bit too much for coincidence.

***

Today we had our first bit of excitement on the river. The ship was attacked by a trio of trolls. Very annoying creatures — as soon as you skewer them, they start to heal back up. Fortunately, they’re not very intelligent, and so Eldon was got them with his spell that seriously slows down stupid things.

However, Mike was killed again. One of the trolls bit at him, dug its claws in and… ugh. Fortunately, Anson still had that instant-reincarnate spell prepared. Which means that Mike is now human. In any case, he can no longer complain that he is ugly… well, maybe by raptoran standards, but I wouldn’t know about those. How many bodies is he going to go through, anyway? If he keeps this up, he just might end up as a raptoran again.

This means, however, that Anson is out of something he needs for the spell. Which means that nobody else is allowed to die until we get back to Stormreach.

Hm. I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about that extra gold Xame gave me. Maybe I’ll just give it to Anson when we get back, and tell him to buy that ingredient he needs. Since I’m probably the person most often in the front line other than Mike, nobody will wonder why I’m contributing.

Player’s Notes

Well, this is going to get interesting. I’m not filling in the rest of what happened this session, since Taris wouldn’t have written an entry inside of the temple just yet…

Meanwhile, Taris took another ninja level right after the troll incident. Whee! Let’s just hope there aren’t any issues revolving around Anson’s lack of spell component.

Also, I did write this one mostly before the following session.

Adventure: Interlude
Session: 2007-02-18
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Taris
Status: Ninja 1/Swashbuckler 3/Ninja +2

Yesterday was relatively boring, until Eldon got back from another “Hey, I’m a warforged, too” meeting. Where he learned that his next task was to guard a runner as he transported something, then scatter (with the rest of the hidden guards) while the runner made his “sacrifice.” Right.

Well, we went and told Viorr Maelek immediately. He wasn’t so pleased about this, and said that he’d heard about similar things going on. Our job? Catch the runner, preferably just before he gets to his destination, so we stop him and figure out what’s going on.

So, midnight sharp, Eldon was warforged and the rest of us were hanging about the House of Hazal. And out comes an undead warforged carrying a glowing blue orb. I think it made noise, too, but I couldn’t be sure. Well, the plan went as planned for about ten seconds. Then Mike (who had apparently missed the “let’s see where he goes first” part) caught up to the runner and made himself noticeable. At that point, he started getting into trouble and Eldon sent out enough rays at enough warforged (we started seeing the other guards) to have other warforged call him traitor. The rest of us started getting mixed up in this, too. I had some trouble with a great-axe wielding warforged. I managed to avoid his blows, but it took a while to take him out of action because he’d protected all his vulnerable points! Very frustrating. Xame at least distracted him with some sort of magic flying weapon and with his own small rapier. I think Xame needs to learn about skewering rather than poking.

After that, we caught up with the rest of the group, and helped deal with another warforged. There had been a couple of other warforged, and a couple of skeletons; the former ran for it and the latter were destroyed. Eldon’s rays are quite effective. The undead one had been killed, and Anson had some air elemental holding on to the orb thing. Or so he explained after returning to human form from being some sort of two-legged reptile I’d never seen before. When he called down the elemental, we had Eldon hold on to the orb. He said something about it probably being command-word activated. And being careful with it. Mike missed most of the fighting; he was in pretty bad shape before Xame tapped him. Mike seems to have extremely bad luck.

Xame picked up the two great-axes; he said something about them being magical. Nice. I wouldn’t want to use one, but they are worth something. I wonder if anybody other than me saw him pick up the first one. Anson, maybe. Hm.

So, there we were, the five of us, feeling pretty proud of ourselves, strolling leisurely back towards Maelek’s greenhouse, carrying a seriously dangerous magic object and thinking that we had just averted a serious problem.

That soon had to be corrected to a small part of a very serious problem. Apparently, there were more runners. A lot more. And most of them reached their destinations, where they activated the orbs and… there were a lot of loud, screeching explosions. (The next few sentences don’t translate well. The first line or so is insulting the parentage of the Lord of Blades, but is scratched out. The next three lines insult the intelligence and parentage of the person responsible for creating the Lord of Blades. After that, a long sentence details the stupidity of the Lord of Blades and all of his followers.) I suppose he’s not that dumb, if he carried this all out. Well, he’s still stupid enough to be crazy.

It took a while to get back. There was chaos in the streets — warforged and the Watch — people fighting everywhere, looting… Xame didn’t seem to think that looting was such bad thing. He didn’t seem to get the difference between spoils from a defeated enemy and the possessions of an innocent victim.

We did make it, however, and Maelek’s area was fairly intact. Ironic indeed; we had apparently stopped the orb intended for him, and then brought it right to him! Perhaps the Dark Lanturns will be able to learn something from it. He told us about what had happened; that not all the orbs had been stopped was obvious. He’s imposing martial law, to maintain some sort of order. I don’t like this martial law business… they’d better not take it too far… but I’m not sure what else there is to do. Now, I’m getting at few hours of sleep.

***

Due to martial law, Xame was granted access to Elaydren’s remains. Even got her to speak, which was quite disturbing. The answers weren’t very clear, but it sounds like the Emerald Claw were after the last schema, which was part of a creation pattern to… something. Who knows.

We spoke only once more to Maelek, who told us that House Cannith had been secretly creating warforged. Well, that’s not wrong in and of itself, but their motives are suspect. Then there’s the Treaty of Thronehold to consider. House Cannith is in deep trouble. I wonder if the Lord of Blades is hoping to do something similar. Probably. Or is he already?

In any case, House Cannith also had an underwater ship, which Maelek is commandeering for us to go to Xen’drik to track down the Emerald Claw, since there isn’t really any much more help we can give here. It sounds like they’re after the last schema, in some ruins in Xen’drik. I wonder what you can build when you have all the pieces. If it lets them do anything like last night we’d better find it first, or else… we’d better find it first.

***

We had some trouble on the ship, the Sea Dart. We ran into a net while going through the Dragon’s Teeth… and had to slice open a huge shark to keep it from eating the gnomes while they cut us free. Waterbreathing is a strange experience, as is swimming like you were made for it. Useful magic, though. Eldon disabled the shark by magicking its brain to new levels of stupidity. A good thing, too, or Anson would have been its meal.

While we were onshore to make repairs, Xame made a meal of the shark. Soup. It was… decent, I suppose. I guess I don’t like shark so much. Well, I went up top, and only had a few minutes to think before a bunch of sahuagin came out and started attacking everybody else. They must’ve been the ones who set up the net. This time, Xame missed all the fun.

Well, we should get to Stormreach in a couple of days.

Player’s Notes

Were we able to tell how large the net was? That is, was it high enough to catch sailing vessels, or what is clearly intended only for undersea ships? Could we tell? If the latter… either there are lots of undersea vessels to be pirated, or the sahuagin had some advance information, somehow… Or would somebody have had to have thought of this all at the time? Drat.

That… and we should definitely come up with a “potion chugging” feat. I don’t know if anybody would ever use it, but it would be hilarious. Drink up to your dex mod in potions/round? Hm… and possibly some consequence for drinking too many…

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