2007-04-01


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
Sessions: 2007-02-18, 2007-03-04, 2007-03-14, 2007-04-01
Player: Michael Busch
PC: Mike
Status: Monk 7-9

The stormtalon landed lightly on the edge of the ledge in front of the rookery, back from a patrol of his flock’s section of the river. The evening debate was to begin, and there came the ritual request for new stories. The stormtalon spoke and, as he did, the flock burst into laughter, which stopped after a while.

On the river, I saw a river-boat propelled by an elemental. I think the captain is the same one who tried to run a con on us five years back, although the vessel is now trailing an airskiff. Normally, I’d have given it a wide bearth, but night had fallen and the fair-haired human on watch was talking to himself in Tuilvilanuue, incredibly well for one with such a throat. So I answered, softly, and we spoke without disturbing the rest of the people on the boat.

He calls himself Anethilzair Mykispar. I hear by your laughter that you remember the name: he was the orc who visited the Rifinti a couple of weeks ago, and showed himself to be a reincarnation of a wing-clawed from the monasteries that used to be in Cyre. It seems that the gods have ordained that he die another time, and have made him a human in this life. I’m not sure which of his last two bodies is worse, but I wonder what he will be if and when he passes this way again.

He and his companions pursued forces of the Emerald Claw to the Giant Temple in the south. It seems that the Emerald Claw has allied itself with the Lord of Blades, and they pursue relics of power here, not being content with the havoc they have wrought in Khorvaire.

Anethilzair and his companions were defeated, by poison and betrayal, and forced to return to Stormreach to re-supply and re-group. He warned me that the Emerald Claw force was not completely destroyed, and that he suspected some ancient predecessor to the warforged lay dormant in the temple. We should avoid it still, even though the Drow that lived there are all dead.

There are changes in the world outside our jungle. We will hopefully be passed by, but the last of the Mykispar monks has asked that we do one thing. If any leave the temple before he returns, and we can make it to Stormreach before they would and without hazard, he asks for a message.

* * *

Player’s Notes:

Raptorans have keen ears, and with the party so diminished, this device seems reasonable.

Domenic has given us several options for what to do next in the campaign, not all of which involve Mike returning to the temple, but he would vote very strongly for doing so. I personally do want to know exactly who was on the throne (I suspect changeling, but we killed and burned Garrow once already, and would an undead changeling be able to change form?)

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.