2006-11-11


Adventure: Shadows of the Last War
Session: 2006-11-11
Player: Rachel Reddick
PC: Antinua
Status: Wizard 3

Dear Kanathas:

If you would, please tell Uthen that it is a pity he has not previously encountered many psionics. However, considering my experience with Raidith, this may not be an entirely bad thing. I am glad to know that you are both well. I myself am in good health, which is fortunate, considering the activities in which I have been involved of late.

I must apologize for not writing for so long. I have been traveling on behalf of House Cannith, and therefore have been out of touch, out of Sharn and out of Breland altogether.

I also apologize that my handwriting is worse than usual; I am writing this on the lightning rail back to Sharn.

We were passing by a post office for House Sivis, to check for a message from Lady Elaydren, when we noticed that it had been damaged. We entered, and found the place in serious disarray and the clerk, unconscious. When the poor gnome awakened, she said that one tall humanoid and a number of smaller creatures had entered. The taller one had demanded, then apparently taken, a number of the messages.

Afterwards, an owl delivered a letter from Lady Elaydren. She had apparently noticed that transferring messages through House Sivis was unlikely to be successful, and asked us to meet her in the usual place.

Soon thereafter, we again met Lady Elaydren in the Broken Anvil. A somewhat broad human druid and his wolf accompanied her. She seemed anxious, and did not waste time with introductions. She gave us a pack, and stated that it contained both supplies and instructions. She also suggested that we would be well rewarded if we succeeded.

We had little more time before a tall, cloaked humanoid and a large number of kobolds entered. He fired an arrow directly at her head; however, it was somehow deflected to her shoulder instead. Additionally, a wound appeared in Alain’s shoulder at the same time. I took note of this at the time, but did not consider the implications beyond those of the magical capabilities of Elaydren’s enemies.

After a skirmish in which we all demonstrated our talents for subduing kobolds and causing mayhem in taverns, we found that the lead attacker was another warforged. This seemed hardly surprising, considering the interest of the Lord of Blades in the matter of the schema.

After this, and a quick application of Xame’s healing magic, Elaydren stated that we should leave as soon as possible; we asked her to join us, but she apparently had other tasks and means for departure.

We soon discovered that the sack she had given us was a handy haversack, and contained many useful items, notably a letter of credit with House Orien. It also held the critical instructions, which were essentially thus:

We were to meet a man by the name of Failin in the Bloody Market of Rhukaan Draal. He would take us to Rose Quarry, where we would be able to determine the location of Whitehearth, a House Cannith workshop. We would then go to Whitehearth, and retrieve another schema, which was connected to the same creation pattern as the one we had previously retrieved on Elaydren’s behalf. Afterwards, we would meet Elaydren in Rhukaan Draal.

This task was somewhat more arduous than we anticipated; Whitehearth lies in the Mournland. I did not remember enough of Uthen’s warnings about the Mournland before beginning this venture. Tell him that I consider his “I told you so” to already have been said.

The well-fed druid introduced himself as Anson Silverkin, of House Orien.

Thus, we took advantage of the letter of credit from House Orien, and rode the lightning rail most of the distance we needed. However, Rhukaan Draal is not sufficiently large to merit a station of its own. We accompanied a caravan that traveled there, and defended it from a group of bugbears and kobolds. I learned something of the negative qualities of thrown spears, but there was little trouble otherwise.

We reached Rhukaan Draal without other incident, where we eventually found Failin. He was formerly of House Orien, and operates an elemental-bound land cart. He was willing to ferry us to Rose Quarry, for a price. He also seemed to be in rather a hurry.

The reason for the hurry was a pair of bugbears who claimed that Failin had cheated them. After some confusion, we managed to evade them. Thence, we boarded his land cart, and began the journey to Rose Quarry.

We reached Rose Quarry around dusk. Some calamity had befallen Rose Quarry. Most of the area was burned, or covered in molten glass; much of the rest was touched by frost. Many of the buildings were reduced to the foundations, disconnected bits of wall, and rubble. We approached with caution. By “we,” I mean all of us save Failin, who was content to remain in his cart.

We immediately observed that a large group was camped within the ruins. The details were difficult to make out without a closer approach. Xame claimed that he would be the stealthiest of us, and I did not doubt it. I cast invisibility on him, which permitted him to observe the camp unnoticed. He described the camp as being guarded by both skeletons and living guards; he also observed a human woman who was apparently a necromancer, and a strange cleric. They all wore the symbols of the Order of the Emerald Claw.

When Xame returned with this information, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and chose to examine the parts of the ruins away from this group. We did not get very far. When we passed one of the more vitrified buildings, a group of dwarf zombies emerged. They were burned, covered in glass, and floated rather than walked. I pity the dwarves who died in Rose Quarry; I wonder how many more of them did not find their proper rest.

As zombies are unintelligent creatures, few of my ready spells would have any effect on them. I had not expected to meet undead. Tui, Alain and Mike held them off, while Xame called upon his divine powers, and turned a number of them. However, this problem would not be so easily resolved. The noise had attracted the attention of the members of the Emerald Claw; a pair of clerics came and rebuked the undead, sending them against us again.

By this time, we had determined that we would rather not remain in this position. We departed in the direction of one of the more intact buildings, from which a light could be seen. We entered as quickly as we could, and left Alain and Tui to guard the door. They were most effective, as their plate armor protected them from nearly all of the zombies’ blows. It took them time to deal with the undead due to the difficulty inherent in striking an enemy protected by glass.

Anson, Mike and I went towards the back of the building, to determine from whence the light was coming. In one chamber was another glass-encased dwarf, hauling rubble. In the other were two human guards, a man and a woman, both in the uniform of the Emerald Claw. Between myself, Mike, Anson and Anson’s wolf, we managed to subdue them.

Anson himself used his club to smash the male guard into oblivion, after the man was already unconscious. Anson is a rather brutal druid.

Alain and Tui joined us afterwards, having defeated all the zombies and seeing no other opponents in near proximity. Apparently the Emerald Claw thought that their zombies and the two guards were enough to destroy us. This is at least one case where it is better to be underestimated.

Xame healed the female guard, but only for the purpose of questioning her. She was rather strong-willed, and refused to say anything. He then attempted to forcibly persuade her. Torture is not effective; Alain, Tui and Mike were also of that opinion. Something of a tussle followed. As a result, no torture occurred and no information was given. I suspect that there was little to gain in any case. We then had another argument, over whether or not we should kill her to keep her silent about us! I seem to have joined a group with widely varying moral philosophies.

We had sufficient time to examine the chamber in which we had found the guards. It contained an unlabeled map of Khorvaire on the floor, as well as three hearths of different colors, one of which was white. Each had two statues, one on either side; each statue had written directions on the back, leading to a particular location on the floor and, thus, Khorvaire. One of these clearly indicated the location of Whitehearth. We took this information, and left the living guard. Before we were able to leave, however, we encountered a strange vampire. We asked no further questions, and simply dashed for the land cart.

I am afraid that I must resume writing later. Indigo seems to have gotten himself into trouble.

Your sister,

Antinua

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Adventure: Shadows of the Last War
Session: 2006-11-11
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Xame
Status: Rogue 1 / Cleric 2

Part I: Hunting Clues

Some time after the trade treaty events, the five of us were summoned once more by Lady Elaydren. Or rather, we were individually instructed to go to the message station, which got sacked by a warforged and some kobolds. A giant eagle then delivered the message by dropping us a note to tell us to meet Elaydren at the usual place.

Once again, I’m utterly baffled by the stupidity of this aristocrats. If it was important enough a message to warrant sending the eagle, why not send that in the first place? Also, they should know we’d be smart enough to look for her at the Broken Anvil after seeing the ransacked message station. Geez, save on those costs and pay us more, dammit!

At the Broken Anvil, Elaydren informed us that a member of House Orien would be joining us for our next mission. As he had a rather large wolf as a pet, I can only assume he’s one of those “druids” I had heard about a while back. This should have been my first tip that perhaps the coming days would be rather difficult, but I was growing overconfident with my newfound casting abilities.

Immediately after introductions, the afore-referenced warforged and his kobold cronies charged in and attacked our patron. I was quite shocked to see that the fired crossbow bolt damaged both Elaydren and Alain… Holy! These guys were armed with seeker bolts!? (I would later find out that Alain had the Mark of Sentinel.) Well, at the time, it looked to me like they had prepared only a single one, because we managed to dispatch of the larger attack force with relative ease. In any case, Elaydren then sent us on ahead, emphasizing urgency and telling us we’d have everything we need in a bag.

After reading through the information in the bag (which, I might add, was a rather nice Heward’s handy haversack), we decided to travel via lightning rail to Sterngate. From there, we journeyed with a caravan to Rhukaan Draal, where we met our contact, a man named Failan. He had rather the amount of greed I would personally liked to have think was unique to myself: he charged us an outrageous 1000 gp for fare on his elemental-driven land cart.

Journeyed to Rose Quarry, rumored to contain clues on the location of Whitehearth. Only to find that a group of Emerald Claw soldiers arrived before us. The elf wizard casted invisibility on me (a rather neat trick, actually… I’ll need to buy myself a potion of it later; it could be useful for certain… hobbies), and I went ahead to scout. Foes looked redoubtable, so we avoided them and explored the rest of the town. Found the location in a ruined temple, after we subdued its inhabitants. Wanted to interrogate the one who wasn’t quite dead yet, but the annoying Tui tried to grab me when I poked my rapier under her nails. Bah, stupid and uppity musclehead.

Player’s Notes:

Yeah, yeah, I know. Torturing is leaning a bit too far towards evil.

Adventure: Shadows of the Last War
Sessions: 2006-11-11, 2006-11-19, 2006-11-26, 2006-12-02
Player: Michael Busch
PC: Mike
Status: Monk 3

Elaydren had told us that she would send messages to the gnome at a post office near our lodgings if she had need of us again. Every day we would go there, and there would be no work. Then came the predictable interference. That morning, the post office was ransacked and the gnome knocked out. We awakened her, and she told us that a half-dozen people had come, one large and several small. Tui was very interested in interrogating her, but it seemed more important to contact Elaydren. As we left the office, an owl dropped a letter at our feet. It was from Elaydren, and told us to met her at the Broken Anvil immediately.

At the tavern, Elaydren seemed harried. She introduced us to a man with a wolf, saying that he would accompany us to Rhukaan Draal and that we should leave immediately, as another party was trying to stop her. This party presented itself in the form of a warforged and eight kobolds. The kobolds were disposed of by Tui and Alain, while the warforged fell to a combination of the man with the wolf casting a freezing magic, Antinua cursing it with disabling laughter, and me kicking in the chestplate. I did not know warforged could laugh. It is a strange sound.

Elaydren gave us a haversack containing supplies and instructions, and ordered us to go, saying she would make her own way to Rhukaan Draal after us. As we went towards the lightning-rail, the man with the wolf introduced himself as Anson, a druid of House Orien. In the haversack was a writ of passage to Sterngate, where we would join a caravan across Marguul. We made it to Rhukaan Draal without major inconvenience.

There we were to meet a man named Failin, exiled from House Orien, to take us to the village of Rose Quarry and to then locate a House Cannith research station called Whitehearth, where Elaydren believed there was another schema. We found Failin in a place called the Bloody Market, which is bloody whenever someone feels they have been robbed. Failin possesses an elemental-powered landcart and an unhealthy obsession with coin, but he agreed to take us to Rose Quarry. There we found the village laid waste, covered in molten glass. There was also an encampment of soldiers of the Order of the Emerald Claw, who were apparently engaged in ransacking the ruins for treasure and bodies for their undead. I do not like undead, nor am I wild about getting stabbed by swords. Fortunately, Alain and Tui formed a wall of steel in the doorway of the ruined quarry headquarters and killed all zombies that came. Xame runs remarkably well at times: I doubt you or the stormtalons could catch him in a sprint, although they would win any distance race. Anson is rather militant for a druid: I saw him very persistently clubbing a prone Emerald Claw soldier to death. His wolf was also very violent, but that might be the result of having a mouth full of crushed glass.

We found the location of Whitehearth, but encountered a very ugly, vampire-like person as we left. We managed to run around him and made it back to the landcart, where we persuaded Failin to take us to our destination. It is inside the Mournland, to the east and south of where Mykispar once was.

You haven’t been to the Mournland? If you do go, either take a wizard who can make you extradimensional space, or bring gallons of goodberry wine. Paladins can heal there, and my masters could cause injured tissue to knit by sheer will, but normal healing does not work and the dead from the Last War litter the battlefield as if they had just fallen. Undead roam, and we were attacked twice before we reached Whitehearth, which was built into an old mine.

Elaydren had given us a key to the outer door. We left Failin behind in the cart, and entered. We soon found that the doors were all electrified, but Anson can pick up and move small objects without touching them. The mine is a warren, with individual chambers linked by a network of rotating key-coded spheres. It is filled by experimental magic, mangled by the Day of Mourning. Some is good and some bad. We found a wolf-pack whose leader had been awakened, and a stone wolf holding them hostage. Antinua found a prepared spell she calls rope trick, which let us heal Alain, who had been knocked out when the stone wolf fell. We had to fight our way through living spells to find the keys to the rest of the mine.

We eventually found where the schema was being stored, in a room at one end of the mine that was boiling hot, with fire elementals guarding it, but at a high price. There was a trap in one of the spheres, so that it opened into a well. Tui fell. I jumped after him, but by the time I reached the water at the bottom, he had drowned and sunk too far down to even recover the body.

In the hot room, Alain tried to hold off the elementals, but was smashed to the ground and set afire. By the time Antinua figured out how to open the roof and make the remaining elemental leave, he was all but reduced to ash, along with the haversack from Elaydren. Enough of his body was intact to reveal that he carried a dragonmark of House Deneith. We did recover the schema, as well as an apparent copy and a disk, which we now know is a creation pattern.

We four survivors managed to get the wolves out of lower levels of the mine, only to find that the soldiers of the Emerald Claw had encamped outside. We conceived of a plan, whereby Antinua would make herself, Anson, and me invisible and we would sneak out, while Xame ran, carrying one copy of the schema. We would meet at a fixed point away from the mine, so that I could guide them out of the Mournland if Failin was dead (none of them can remember which way is north). The wolves would attack the soldiers.

This plan broke to pieces when I found Failin slumped by his landcart. I was then swept off my invisible feet by a whip, to find the vampire-like commander, who could apparently see me and demanded the schema, before rippling into the form of Raidith and saying that he recognized me. I started attacking him, but eventually had to throw the schema away to avoid my own death.

We probably would not have survived, although most of the Emerald Claw soldiers were dead, except that two others arrived. One was a paladin by his armor, the other sprayed fire on the surviving Emerald Claw before getting on a liberated horse and chasing the changeling, who he apparently knew as Garrow. Anson, whose wolf had gone with the pack, had also grabbed a horse. The paladin awakened our driver, and we followed.

Garrow, who may or may not have been Raidith, died in fire. We took the schema, and our new acquaintances, the paladin Valith and the dragon-born Malik, accompanied us back to Rhukaan Draal. There we met Elaydren, who had us accompany her back to Sharn.

Now you know who I am and what I have done. I hope our fellows in Xen’drik find some amusement from the tale. And should I reach the flocks of Xen’drik, when I have fulfilled The Walk, I will stay and speak more with our people. But I feel that enlightenment is to be found in other races, so I shall stay with my companions for the while. Farewell.

* * *

From the top of one of the five spires around the central dome of Dalannan Tower in Upper Menthis, two winged forms jumped. One flew with towards the air galleon port with powerful wingbeats, although a keen eye could see the flickering of the air as the skypledged twisted the wind to her bidding. The other glided silently, slight wing movements turning his course towards the House Cannith enclave.

Player’s Notes:

I’m not sure if two out of six PCs dying in a 3rd level adventure is the right number, but we certainly don’t have the option of resurrection at this level. Fortunately, Dan Thai and Scott Wilbur had some good characters as back-ups. I’m still not sure what this fire-breather Scott developed is.