Bear Claws

43. The Siege of Akma'ad
a funny thing happened on my way to Sayre...

Characters: Jak, James, Alton, Thornside, Xaladin, Roland
Level: 12/13
Location: Overlook, Conqueror, Akma’ad, Sayre
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Tokk’it, Odos, Izera

The githyanki attack and the Bear Claws fight heroically, driving them back until only their captain and a few others remained. The Captain, a githyanki woman named Iquel, surrenders to the Bear Claws but tells them that she will continue to fight them as long as she lives.

James kills her just as the airships crash to the ground a few hundred yards from the edge of the bluff.

The githyanki guarding the boulder trap see the two airships locked together crash to the ground and send up a giant cloud of dust and smoke and splintered wood. Out of the cloud flies the bloody head of the githyanki captain and the Bear Claws striding in a line from the wreckage.

Thornside fires two arrows, loaded with sticks of dynamite at the pillars holding up the boulder trap and the boulders plunge over the edge of the bluff on the githyanki armies below.

Tokk’it quickly leads the Bear Claws into a secret entrance into the monastery where he is attacked by Izera a githzerai monk. When she recognizes him she chastens him for bringing so few but lets them into the monastery.

The monastery is stark, covered with writings of prophecy and magic but devoid of anything that could be called decoration. Several rooms are being used as triage centers where githzerai are treated for wounds and sent back out to the front to defend the monastery.

In the main courtyard an older githzerai, a bandage over his eyes, stands in the midst of chaos shouting orders to the githzerai there.

Outside the Bear Claws find the githyanki soldiers assaulting the main gates on either side of the courtyard. A few githzerai hold them at bay but they are clearly outmatched. The Bear Claws rush to their aid, smashing through the githyanki invaders.

Tokk’it runs along one wall and leaps off it to land on the back of a githyanki and begins punching him in the face. Izera is also there, bright short swords flashing as she darts about the entrance, dark robes rustling.

Despite the best efforts of the githzerai the wall is soon breached and the Bear Claws turn to fight on that side as well. When the battle finally ends the old blind man emerges from the monastery, his face twisted in sadness. Tokk’it tells the Bear Claws this is Odos of the House of Reprisal.

Odos mourns the loss of so many githzerai and and pronounces that they must abandon the monastery. With such heavy losses they cannot survive another attack. He orders everyone to pack up. There is a deep anger in his voice as he tells them that he is the last leader of the githzerai and that he must meet other refugees in Sayre before they abandon the material plain and its problems for the ‘humans’ to take care of.

In the crashed githyanki ship nearby Jak finds another portrait of the king he once served and shows it to Odos, asking who it is. Odos is surprised that there are ‘humans’ here — he seems to think all non-gith are humans. He tells Jak that this is Emperor Zethr’r of the githyanki.

He is angry and upset but understand that the Bear Claws were instrumental in aiding the monastery in its defenses. As a reward he gives a few of them some magical items as well as payment in gold and potions of vitality.

While they stand around the courtyard discussing what to do next Thornside’s armor swells around him into the shape of a shadowy demon and devours two nearby githyanki bodies before shrinking back to its normal size.

The other Bear Claws want to know what is going on with Thornside’s armor but he seems either oblivious or unwilling to talk about it.

They are similarly curious about Jak’s association with the githyanki Emperor and he explains that he was press-ganged into service before leading a rebellion. When Jak knew him he was only a king on the material plain, obsessed with conquest.

About this time Tokk’it sees Gallia, his former fiancé. She is poking around the edges of all the conversations, trying to listen in. Tokk’it rushes over and brings her to meet the Bear Claws but she seems aloof and uninterested until they notice that she exhibits many of the same awkward mannerisms that the possessed leaders of Overlook did. James quickly grabs hold of her and the githyanki mindslicer that possesses her departs, leaving her lifeless. Upon searching her body they find a piece of glass that Alton can tell is some kind of magical communication device.

James and Xaladin perform the speak with dead ritual to ask Gallia what has been going on. She confesses that the githyanki possessed her a month previously and used her to relay information so that they would know when and where to attack. She tells them that the assassin, Brann’ot, is still at large somewhere.

Alton can tell that the piece of glass is linked to something to the west of Akma’ad, their current location so James heads out in that direction, looking for tracks or clues of Brann’ot.

Alton summons some fiery steeds for the rest of them to ride and they head out in the same direction, except for Emil, Pattie and Roland who stay to help the githzerai and all their wounded.

Alton, Xaladin, Jak and Thornside quickly pass James but never seen any sign of the assassin that they suspect is ahead of them. Instead the trail they follow leads them twenty miles away to the city of Sayre.

Sayre is an artistic city with a large university and three rivers running through it that eventually converge into one to tumble over a tall waterfall. The city gates is a busy place full of buskers, merchants and beggars, tumblers, workers and nobles. One servant approaches them and asks if they are the famous Heroes of Overlook. When they acknowledge the title he begs to introduce them to his master. His master turns out to be a finely dressed githyanki by the name of Telicanthus.

Telicanthus appears very excited to meet them and heaps praises on them, insisting on paying for their stay in Overlook at the finest inn — the River Jewel. He also invites them to tea on the next day which they postpone until the following day in order to wait for James and Roland to arrive.

Not trusting his heaps of praise the four of them do not immediately seek the River Jewel but head towards the University district to look for the Tankard of Ink, an inn that Roland had previously mentioned to them as a meeting location.

Meanwhile Pattie speaks with Roland and is worried about Emil. She tells him that Malthazard speaks through him while he sleeps. She wants Roland to talk to him and see if he knows about it.

Emil doesn’t know about but seems to think it’s pretty exciting until he realizes that it’s not a good thing. Roland tries to teach him some ways to keep his mind safe while he sleeps. At some point as the wounded githzerai make their way to Sayre James joins up with them.

Episode 43 – 1
Episode 43 – 2
Episode 43 – 3

View
42. What Rhymes with Pact Dragon?
Chuck Wagon

Characters:Jak, James, Alton, Thornside
Level: 12
Location: Overlook, Conqueror (en route to Akma’ad)
NPCs: Emil, Pattie

Jak, meets Overlook’s new elite squad of defenders — the Minotaurs, the squad of dwarves trained to fight with the Ugrosh that Jak favors. He also develops an itch on his arm that, when scratched, reveals skin the color of flames underneath. The healer in Overlook tells him that it is likely a permanent condition as a side effect of his being turned to slime by elemental magic.

James makes Marchand a prosthetic arm and Thornside checks in on the Free Traders.

During a meal one evening a private from the city watch bursts in and asks them come to the Western gate. An airship is approaching from the West.

When they arrive Captain Daurallis hands Jak a spy glass and asks for his opinion. The ship is flying, sails full, seemingly crewed by ghost-like figures. The ship is heavily damaged and grinds to halt on the ground just outside the gates of Overlook. The ghosts fade away and a young githzerai appears on deck.

The Bear Claws go out to see what is going on and the githzerai introduces himself as Tokk’it. He has stolen the airship from a githyanki force that has invaded his fortress monastery of Akma’ad. He seeks aid from the heroes of Overlook to come with him right away. The fortress might already be lost.

The Bear Claws board the ship — called the Conqueror — and Tokk’it takes off flying back to the southwest, across Orc lands. Tokk’it mentions that he is not well-liked at the monastery because he is not a very good monk. He also talks about Gallia, his girl-friend who suddenly quit speaking to him about a month previous.

Finally he mentions that, not only did the githyanki have inside information about the locations of the githzerai leaders in the monastery, but they received that information within hours of it becoming relevant. Somebody has a way to communicate with the githyanki instantly — or very nearly.

He also happens to mention that two pact dragon knights pursued him and will almost surely catch them soon.

Jak sees a painting of his former King hanging in the room with the psychic helm. He buries the axe end of his Ugrosh in its face.

Shortly after that the dragons are spotted and the Bear Claws fire the deck ballistae at them as they approach. The githyanki on their backs leap onto the deck of the ship and the dragons fly around burn things with fire until the Bear Claws kill the knights and their mounts.

James makes Jak a dragon-slaying bow and the Bear Claws rest while the ship sails steadily on over the Orcish plains. Thornside leans over the bow to shoot at tribes of Orcs as they pass overhead.

Pattie talks to Alton and tells him she knows that Malthazard has been using Emil to talk to Alton. She doesn’t know what to do about it. “I don’t know what he wants with Emil. Emil’s kind of an idiot but he’s my idiot and I won’t let him go… If you tell anyone I said that I will remove your eyes while you sleep and feed them to wild animals.”

Alton agrees that they don’t know what is going on but says that eventually they’re going to have to take the fight to Malthazard.

The Conqueror approaches Akma’ad where smoke can be seen rising from under a bluff. At the top of the bluff several githyanki stand guard near a giant pile of boulders, held in place by a chain net stretched between two tall pillars. As they watch a troop of githzerai make a charge toward the githyanki but before they make it very far a large red dragon rises up above the edge of the bluff and incinerates them all. The dragon and his rider wheel around once then turn in a dive and head for the Conqueror.

Even as the dragon approaches the sails of another airship can be seen rising above the edges of the bluff. Lightning and fire shoot from below the bluff to scorch the hull of the airship which is beginning to list. Large bolts from the deck ballistae follow the lightning back below the bluff. The airship rises above the edge of the bluff and turns toward the Conqueror.

The large dragon and rider charge at the Bear Claws and spray fire across the deck, swords slashing and teeth biting. The Bear Claws manage to kill both of the intruders but just as they do the ship shakes violently and Tokk’it comes running from the control room, followed by flying splinters and dust, a long spar juts from the control room of the ship as the enemy vessel rams its front spar right through the control point of the Conqueror.

The two ships, now stuck together begin to slowly spiral down, toward the ground, their momentum carrying them toward the edge of the bluff even as they drift downward.

The Bear Claws are bloodied and wounded as they turn to face the army of githyanki swinging across on ropes and bounding over the railing of the ships, brandishing their silver weapons, eyes dark slits as they leap to the assault.

View
41. Chaos is Chaotic
...and Sarshan is dead.

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Xaladin, Alton
Level: 12
Location: Elemental Chaos, Djamela’s Tower, Overlook
NPCs: Emil, Pattie

The Bear Claws attack immediately with Jak pinning down the closest githyanki. Roland followed it up with a blast of chaotic magic that teleported Sarshan out of his protective forcefield and next to the edge of the tower. James ran at him and tried to push him over the edge but only succeeded in knocking him down. One of the githyanki taunted Alton by claiming to be the one who possessed Miranda in Overlook. His attack was successful in keeping Alton focused on him.

Sarshan attacked everybody with a burst of blood chaos before Roland exploded again throwing Sarshan and Xaladin off the 200-foot tower. They fell to the bottom where James could see Sarshan arise and start to turn back to the entrance of the tower to attack them. Xaladin wasn’t moving but appeared to be alive.

Emil considered dropping his spear on him to see if it would heal him.

The rest of the crew succeeded in killing the rest of Sarshan’s cronies while he was on his way up the tower. Alton jumped off the tower, turning into a swarm of flying dice then gave Xaladin a healing potion to revive him from the brink of death. Emil and Pattie gathered up all the ropes they could find and tossed them down for Xaladin and Alton to climb up.

Sarshan appeared in the teleportation circle and Jak, James and Roland unleashed on him. He teleported over to Roland, stabbed him and teleported away. Jak pursued and Sarshan blasted him with blood chaos, coving him with acid.

James pursued and Sarshan teleported again, stabbing Roland several times before teleporting away once more. The blood chaos covering Jak turned him into a pool of slime that spread out on the tower top.

Xaladin and Alton reached the top of the tower and Alton let loose with an attack that immobilized Sarshan inside a floating bubble just before Roland blasted him with Chaos, killing him and sending him over the edge of the tower to fall into the slowly rising lava.

The Bear Claws found a chest in the area where Sarshan had been preparing his linked portal and inside they found gold and several wondrous magic items. A Handy Haversack, a golden spade that will instantly dig holes in dirt, sand or ice, a gem that will record voices for playing back later and a ribbon that allows question rituals to have extra questions.

Meanwhile Alton casts multiple version of his floating disk while James performs a ritual to restore Jak back to his mobile and non-slimy self. Xaladin can see the earthberg that they came in on still floating on the lava in the distance so the party mounts Altons floating disks and he takes them back.

They make their way back through the caverns, up the tree, into the caves under Falrinth’s tower and out to the city of Talar where they emerge, bedraggled, exhausted and nearly beaten but triumphant. They find the city even more destroyed than before and Megan and Falrinth just mopping up a team of mercenaries led by Thorn the bounty hunter to try and claim Sarshan’s bounty on her.

Falrinth gives the Bear Claws a copy of his Linked Portal ritual with the runes for Brindol Keep and the Stone Hammer temple in Overlook.

James and Alton stay up all night learning the new ritual and then take everybody home to Overlook. They hurry back to the Belden’s Rest to find the Jacob and Coriander have redecorated with bright red curtains, bright green tablecloths and bright yellow chairs. The Bear Claws are too exhausted to care.

The next day they go to the Overlook Council and claim their reward for killing Sarshan.

Afterward Alton takes the entire group out to dinner at Leena’s. While there the server mentions that the githyanki have been attacking all over the world and seem to be very well coordinated in their attacks. The city of Dornaithos to the north has been spotting Githyanki airships nearby and the city of Corwyn is already under siege.

Jak meets the new Captain of the City Guard, Jerra Dauralis who is a competent woman that seems to take to the position well. She tells him that Kalad has recruited half a dozen dwarves from Bordrin’s Watch to help him clean out the Monastery of the Sundered Chain and start the order back up.

Emil also gathers everybody together to give them lessons on Pattie’s sign language. Alton and Xaladin are successful at picking it up. Jak and James seem to be confused that all those hand motions are actually supposed to be communication.

While they are gathered at the Belden’s Rest one night a young dwarf rushes in excitedly and tells them Captain Daurallis needs them right away. “One of our southern outposts spotted an airship heading this way. She’s armed and we don’t recognize the make. There could be trouble.”

View
40. Sarshan, let down your hair...

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Xaladin, Alton
Level: 11/12
Location: Elemental Chaos, Under the World Tree, Djamela’s Tower
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Pug, Quick

After the deaths of the dragons near the giant world tree Pattie digs through their eyes to scramble their brains with a dagger. While exploring the island that the world tree grew on the Bear find the nest that the dragons had made, piling sticks and straw and old dry leaves together into a kind of bed. Nearby is an entrance to a tunnel leading underneath the world tree, twisting and winding about the roots.

The Bear Claws venture inside, seeing Sarshan’s boot prints in the dirt and sensing a strange magical residue that resembles the Blood Chaos. They venture into the darkness following the trail until a cave-in of soil slows them down. When they finally clear the cave-in they can hear the sounds of fighting from further down. They send Pattie to check it out, sneaking down the corridor. She returns to report that there is a cavern with dead skeletons and she saw a Shadar-Kai fleeing through a portal.

The Bear Claws approach cautiously and find a giant 3-headed skeleton, its remains burned and pitted as if with acid lying in the middle of a small cavern that has two unfinished teleportation circles on the floor. A large pipe drips Blood Chaos slowly into a pool in the cavern. Alton and Roland identify the teleportation circles as leading to other places in the Elsir Vale and surmise that they are part of an unfinished plan to pump Blood Chaos into the Vale.

On the remains of the 3-headed skeleton they find a notebook with a letter from Irfelujhar and Onthorirfel that speak of tasks to find ritual components and a record of transactions working to obtain items for somebody.

Passing through the portal where Pattie saw Sarshan go the Bear Claws find themselves on a floating earthberg in a sea of lava. In the distance is the burning City of Brass — the stronghold of the Efreets that have tamed a part of the Elemental Chaos. Nearby is an island seemingly cooled out of the sea of lava into a solid mass of razor sharp obsidian. In the center of the island rises a square tower, 200 feet high, also of shiny black obsidian.
3.jpg

Waiting for them on the earthberg is a fire elemental, a fire lizard and a duergar who begin attacking immediately. On the edge of the island stand two githyanki warriors who draw their silver swords and leap across the sea of lava to attack the Bear Claws.

Roland dumps the fire lizard into the lava, killing it. The duergar and the flame elemental try to blast the Bear Claws with fire, attempting to knock them into the lava in turn. James catches himself on the edge and the everybody attacks. The earthbergs drift around in the sea of fire leaving Roland floating away on a small berg.

The Bear Claws succeed in killing the duergar, flame elemental and githyanki and then make their way to the island. As they approach the tower the doors open and Pug and Quick emerge.

Pug congratulates Jak on being called Clankiller, thinking it an honor. Jak disagrees with him but Pug seems to ignore his arguments, warning him that Sarshan has powerful friends and he should watch out. Pug tells him that he would be a great ally if he were on the right side.

Quick goads James and tells Alton that he’s lucky Malthazard couldn’t fully manifest or Overlook would have burned down. James charges and Quick sidesteps, knocks him down and takes his weapon.

He drops the weapon on the ground, tells James he’s “too busy to do this right now,” and walks away. James tries to shoot him with his bow but misses and as they watch there is a bright flash and Pug and Quick disappear through some kind of portal.

Inside the tower the Bear Claws find a large gallery that is quickly filling up with lava from underneath. Across the gallery is a teleportation circle. They quickly rush across the room and jump into the circle where they find another room with some undead specters inside. As they begin to move across the room the walls begin to close in on the room. Proceeding to the next room the ceiling starts to move downward. There is a third room that contains a set of doors guarded by a flesh golem. The resulting fight is given tension by the fact that the ceiling and walls are moving in to crush them while the monsters attempt to kill them before that can happen.
tumblr_o70c07v3GF1v9qvuco1_1280.jpg

They kill the flesh golem and escape through the door just in time to keep from being crushed and find themselves on the room of the tower. Several githyanki are arrayed around the rooftop guarding the portal the Bear Claws appear in. Opposite them is Sarshan and two Shadar-Kai warriors inside a force bubble working on scribing another teleportation ritual into the rooftop. Below them the dikes around the rim of the island have broken down in places and the sea of lava is starting to flow, slowly, across the island.

View
39. The Wrath of Dragons

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Thornside, Alton
Level: 11
Location: Elemental Chaos, Under the World Tree
NPCs: Emil, Pattie

The Bear Claws continue to explore the caves that Sarshan fled into. They encounter a room with a bookcase, a weapon rack and a table with a treasure chest. There is also a painting of chaos energy that makes those looking at it a little queasy.

Roland looks at the picture and finds himself in an alternate, mirror dimension. He passes back through easily enough. Jak picks up a weapon from the rack and finds that he can’t put it down, his hands will not let go. James figures out that the weapons in the rack are cursed and begins a ritual to remove the weapon from Jak’s hand.

Alton picks a book from the bookcase and the bookcase swivels around, locking him inside a closet on the other side of the wall.

Thornside sees the unlocked chest on the table and recognizes it as a mimic. Jak sees Alton disappear and helps pry the wall open so he can get out. Thornside tries to take a cursed dagger by throwing his cloak over it. It gets stuck to his hand.

Emil, intrigued by the mimic, tries to open it. It bites him and Thornside, Alton and Roland all unleash on it, killing it. Thornside uses the dead mimic to take another dagger from the weapon rack.

James begins the ritual to remove the first dagger from Thornside’s hand while they continue to explore.

Moving further through the caves the Bear Claws encounter a rear guard that Sarshan left behind. They tell the Bear Claws that he instructed them to make a line with the pillars to get out. They don’t know what the pillar are.

Jak tries the adamant one door blocking the northern exit which triggers odd shaped pillars to begin falling at random into the room. The Bear Claws quickly realize that they can slide the pillars and interlock them until they make a line.

When they do the pillars fade away and an image of an old man appears. He repeats a riddle about a salt shelf and a key that floats. The Bear Claws recognize the entrance room to the cavern being mentioned in the riddle. They head toward the entrance, passing through a shorter route that Sarshan’s guards tell them about.

On the way they enter a room with a raging river running across it and a slick rope bridge. Jak passes across safely but when James follows the bridge breaks and James is washed away under a stone shelf.

He finds himself in a pool under the pit-filled entry room, a large wooden key floating in an eddy current nearby and a sucking whirlpool near a small crystal shelf.

Jak runs to the room with the crystal floor and begins smashing it. James yells at him to stop.

Roland turns back and makes his way to the crystal-floored room the way they first came. Alton casts his Tenser’s Floating Disk and he, Emil, Pattie and Thornside ride it across the river and down the passage to the entry room just in time to see James climbing out of one of the pits with the wooden key stuck into a pouch in his armor.

They return to the adamantine door and open it. On the other side is a long corridor filled with boulders, running perpendicular to the direction they want to go. As they start across the hallway the gravity shifts and they begin to fall toward one of the distant ends. Jak catches a boulder, Alton grabs hold of Jak and Roland lands on the boulder next to them. Using a rope they climb to the exit and Jak and James stretch a rope across the span so the others can cross.

The passage slopes up slowly but feels steeper and steeper until they have climb along it. Finally they climb out into sunshine, the cave entrance a portal on a platform high in an enormous tree that is floating in a lake of Blood Chaos. As they start to descend two green dragons rise up from the other side of the island.

image.jpeg

They attack the Bear Claws but quickly find themselves outmatched as Alton opens up with a giant burst of energy.

The Bear Claws dispatch them quickly with one final blast from Roland who delivers the final blow to both of them in one shot.

View
38. Down the Rabbit Hole

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Thornside, Alton, Xaladin
Level: 11
Location: Overlook
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Falrinth, Megan Swiftblade, farmers and travelers in the Green Dragon Inn

The Bear Claws journey toward Talar. While camping Pattie offers to tell a story about Malthazard and where he came from. She claims it’s because she is a bard.

That night Emil speaks to Alton using Malthazard’s voice. He tells Alton he will get what he wants which is the deaths of Emil and his family.

In Talar they enter the Green Dragon and Jak and Thornside get into a discussion with a drunk tiefling who tries to sell them his load of expensive cloth. Xaladin speaks to an Eladrin woman about the feywild and why she doesn’t feel comfortable with non-fey people.

The locals share some stories about rumored Githyanki attacks taking place in other parts of the world. They seem to think that there is an advanced communication between the armies.

One also claims to have seen a three-headed calf in Brindol.

While they are talking an earthquake starts and the building starts to fall. The Bear Claws leap into action to try to save the people and the building but quickly learn it is a lost cause when the building collapses on several of them.

Outside is a long flow of blood chaos coming from Falrinth’s tower. Tentacled chaotic beasts start to rise from the blood chaos and attack the Bear Claws in the destruction of the town.

As they wipe up the chaos creatures they see somebody crawling on the roof of the tower at the top of the hill. The tower has sunk into the hill until the roof is level with the top of the hill.

The Bear Claws approach and see that Megan is on the roof with a broken leg. Jak rescues her and she tells them that Falrinth is till inside. They find him shoring up the doors on the ground floor and help him wedge them in place. He repays them with some much needed items and a potion of vitality.

He tells them that Sarshan was there but he fled down a hole in the floor of the tower.

The Bear Claws follow Sarshan down the hole and find themselves in a maze of caverns. They pass through several caverns before they are split up by hallucinatory mushrooms. Roland absorbs the magical effect of the mushrooms and they find themselves somewhere in the dark on the other side of a cavern full of dead mushrooms.

View
37. An Elephant in My Pajamas

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Thornside, Alton
Level: 11
Location: Overlook
NPCs: Brak, Kalad, Emil, Pattie, Mary, Jalissa, Althaea Windleaf, Ruth and Rory Teng, Jacob and Coriander, Gwen, Marchand, Elder Ironfell, Elder Caddrick, Amyria

Thornside is woken up one morning to a banging on the door of his room at the Belden’s Rest. Kalad has come with an order to arrest him for cruelty in treating a prisoner. Rory has filed a complaint against him for breaking his pelvis after the battle with Malthazard in the inn.

While he is in prison Jalissa, Emil and Pattie come to visit him. Jalissa gives him a lodestone so that they can tell which direction each other is in. She mentions that she got it in the feywild from a gnome merchant.

Emil thinks Thornside is imprisoned illegally and wants to bust him out. Pattie teases Thornside about Jalissa after she leaves.

Roland agrees to be Thornside’s legal representative, called a second, and begins putting together a defense. While he is studying legal documents and precedent at the library he is approached by Althaea who is curious about his abilities because she doesn’t understand how he doesn’t explode or go insane from using his powers. Eventually they come to an understanding when Roland figures out that she summons creatures from the Elemental Chaos as part of her magic.

Mary speaks to James and Alton and mentions that she, Althaea and Jalissa are heading across the Orc lands to find her village and meet her mother, but first she’s stopping at the monastery to talk to Bain.

Alton checks on Gwen at the temple of Avandra and finds the place clean and in good shape. She mentions her family and tells him they have moved into the priest’s shack behind the temple.

Jak assists Roland in his preparations by completely misinterpreting his description of the traditional clothes worn by the legal council.

James visits with Brak and sets up a forge so that he can create magical items for people.

Emil and Pattie ask Roland what they can do to help Thornside and Roland mentions that if the accusers tongue were removed then there would be precedent to cancel the trial. Pattie gives him a nod of acknowledgment.

The next day the trial starts and Elder Ironfell is presiding as the judge. Rory and his council try to establish Thornside as a thief in order to defame his character but when Roland points that being a thief has nothing to do with what he’s being tried for the accusers find that they quickly have little to go on. Roland posits that Thornside’s actions were part of battle and Elder Ironfell lets him go.

Back at the inn they celebrate and Emil comes to tell James his elephant is at the stables. James runs away to get his elephant which is named Tembo and leaves enormous piles of waste behind — it’s a match made it heaven.

Alebottom comes to get Thornside to buy him a drink (or two) and is almost nice to him.

Glorin Hammerfist also shows up to ask the Bear Claws if she can reinvest their profits from the Freetraders back into the group, “In ten years you guys could own this city.” They agree and she tells them that the Freetraders held their first council meeting that morning and elected a council to run the coalition.

The next morning the trial of Ruth and Rory is postponed because Rory’s tongue was cut from his mouth during the night while he was in his cell.

Over the next month these events take place:

Alton checks on the temple of Avandra. Meets Gwen’s family, her husband who lost an arm in the siege and her four-year-old daughter who loves to tell stories as long as she’s got an audience — or possibly even when she doesn’t. He sets up a job for Marchand, Gwen’s husband, to help train new recruits when he’s healed. Gwen also tells him that there is a harpy living in the rafters of the temple.

Jak spends much of his time helping to train the troops himself, showing them techniques. He also makes a mess out of a library, mostly on accident because he’s not sure what to do in one. He speaks to Amyria about the former owner of his Urgrosh. She tells him a few stories about Grath and her experience fighting alongside him for Arkhosia. Then she tells him she must go to the University of Sayre and will be leaving.

James talks Brak into letting him have an old unused training ground in back of the temple to make a pen for his elephant and spends his time getting the pen and forge up to his standards. He also offers to make a prosthetic arm for Marchand.

Roland asks James about enchanting some magic items for him and gives him an old cloak that he can repurpose for something useful — magical components.

Thornside and Pattie spend their nights hunting down the few remaining members of the Lost Ones and killing them. He is surprised to learn that Pattie is surprisingly good at sneaking and at assassinating people.

Alton takes Thornside to the temple of Avandra and asks him how to take out the harpy. Thornside admits he doesn’t know what to do but he suggests that, when they know where Xaladin is he use the harpy as an animal messenger to somebody in the feywild and that will get him back home.

Jak, while out visiting temples sees a strange multi-weaponed elf with an eye patch watching him. He calls out to Gilgathorn and goes over to talk to him. He tells Jak that he has not found Sarshan but he has found somebody who knows where he is. Megan Swiftblade of the Freeriders knows where Sarshan is but she seems to have disappeared.

Jake goes off to tell the rest of the Bear Claws. When they all arrive at the inn they have a message waiting from Elders Cadrick and Ironfell asking to meet with them.

They have a mission for the Bear Claws. They want them to journey to Talar, at the Green Dragon Inn and leave a message for Megan. She will contact them and they should bring her back to Overlook so they can figure out a way to remove the threat of Sarshan. If the Bear Claws find out where Sarshan is and they kill him then they are willing to pay extra for the service.

View
36. Mawiage
That bwessed awangement...

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Thornside, Alton, Xaladin
Level: 10/11
Location: Overlook
NPCs: Brak, Kalad, Emil, Pattie, Mary, Jalissa, Washburn Windleaf, Althaea Windleaf, Bain, Nathyra, Ruth and Rory Teng, All the Halflings

The Bear Claws face off against Bain. Mary tries to calm the village citizens while the Bear Claws and Emil do their best to stop Bain’s advance. Jak tackles the crazed dwarf and Xaladin pins him down with a fallen tree. He struggles to free himself but as they close on him Nathyra charges in and cuts the hand from his arm.

His blood sprays across the snow and Mary kneels at his side, tears in her eyes as she reaches out to heal him.

Washburn watches the hand of Vecna fade into the Astral Plane and gathers his soldiers about him to return to the feywild. Nathyra approaches him and asks him to take her egg with him, to keep it safe and return in a few months when the village is safe and there are buildings where the egg can be kept warm.

Washburn wordlessly takes the egg and disappears into the feywild. James warns Nathyra that Washburn will never return with her egg. She seems distraught but can’t do anything about it any more.

Mary asks the people to take care of Bain until he heals. They look willing to not kill him, at least. The Bear Claws suddenly find themselves being sucked back the inn in Overlook where they find Althaea swearing and complaining that the field collapsed too soon, they should have been gone longer. Jalissa seems non-plussed by it all.

Mary grabs Washburn and holds him against the wall. She snarls at him to never show his face near her again. He has manipulated all of them including telling Mary that she was an orphan when her mother was clearly alive.

He leaves them calmly, with a look of satisfaction at getting what he wanted.

Emil’s wedding is about to begin.

Ruth asks Alton if he is nervous.

The Bear Claws sit down for the wedding and Kalad begins the officiating with many metaphors about the unity of marriage and forge work.

Malthazard speaks to Alton in his mind. “Kill them. Kill the halflings. This is your task. This is how you complete our pact.”

Alton starts to summon his powers. James sees his distress and reaches for him. Mary puts her hand on his shoulder and asks if he is alright. She tells Alton that Avandra will be with him.

He releases all his energy into the ceiling and Roland absorbs it, making his body glow with stored potential. Alton cries out to Avandra and collapses, seemingly dead.

Ruth shouts for Malthazard to come and draws a summoning circle on the floor of the inn. Rory opens up the trap door behind the bar and two minotaurs and six tieflings poor out as the demon forms at the end of the bar.

Althaea sees Malthazard and shouts, “It’s not a full summons. The aspect can be sent back. I need thirty seconds and a piece of him.”

The minotaurs focus on Jak. The tieflings die before they can even get around the bar. Malthazard lashes out with his lightning sword and flame whip striking at those who are nearest him.

Jak cuts off a piece of Malthazard’s earlobe and tosses it to Xaladin who changes to a wolf and catches it in the air. He delivers it to Althaea, Emil, Kalad and Jalissa who are working on the ritual to banish Malthazard.

Malthazard notices Thornside’s armor and speaks to it, “Rauthoros? Where have you been?”

The armor responds, “Trapped, brother.”

At that moment Roland hits Malthazard with an acid orb and the ritual completes. Malthazard fades into nothing.

Ruth is crying, “My Lord Asmodeus will not be happy.”

Meanwhile Alton wakes up on the side of a grassy path, with forest all around him. Avandra, a pretty young halfling with red curls, greets him and offers to take up his pact in place of Malthazard. He will have access to her power.

Alton agrees and she puts her hand on his chest and sends him back.

He wakes in the inn and his hair has gone completely white.

Rory is pale and shaking as Kalad ties him up along with Ruth and the one living Minotaur, Krombastrafina. Thornside approaches them and borrows James’ hammer. He smashes Rory’s pelvis. Kalad shoves him back as Rory screams.

James heals Rory and Kalad takes the prisoners away. James officiates over the wedding, marrying Emil and Pattie. Emil’s father sings them a song then the party begins. Dancing, food, drinking and lots of songs.

Jacob, Emil’s father, offers to settle down and run the inn instead of being a Tinker. He’s ready to retire.

The inn is still being held by the Teng’s until their trial at which point the ownership can be negotiated.

The next couple of days are quiet while the Bear Claws go about their business.

Alton checks on his sculptor and gives him a sketch of Avandra to work from. He also checks on the temple. One of the times he goes there he finds Mary there. He thanks her for helping him make the right decision and she tells him that she sought the truth thinking it would set her free but now she wishes she had not found it.

While they talk they find they are no long in the temple but are on the grassy roadside where Alton met Avandra before. Avandra approaches them and tells Mary her road will be harder still, and with much pain. She touches Mary’s forehead and tells her that she will the Hammer of Avandra to strike fear in the hearts of the enemies of freedom.

She tells Alton that is broken by Malthazard’s control but is on the way to being healed. She has need of him. She wants him to be her Hellbringer to those who bring captivity.

Jak goes to help train the troops of Overlook to point out ways to use weapons and how to fight so that their forces can be ready for any future engagements.

On his way home one evening a minotaur named Kruk steps from an alley, several others come from the alley and surround Jak. “Minotaur does not kill minotaur. You are not Jak Gorebeast. You are Jak Clankiller.”

The minotaurs attack and Jak whirls into combat and cuts them all down in a matter of seconds, his urgrosh whirling and dancing among his enemies. When the last one falls he looks up and sees Amyria who is amazed at his prowess. “Never in a dozen life times of memories have I seen someone with such grace and strength in battle. You are a true Kensei warrior.”

James goes to the temple of Moradin where Brak anoints him as a cleric. Later while they are working at the forge and studying the making of armor James remembers the runes that Amyria showed him for fire, earth, air and water and sees the symbol of Moradin, representing the forge. He suddenly sees how all four of those elements are present in the forge and he draws the rune on his chest, combining the elements and the forge of Moradin.

Brak watches him in astonishment and tells him he has discovered the forge rune. He tells James that he is now Moradin’s Master of the Forge.

Thornside has a conversation with Emil. Emil needs to go on a journeyman adventure or three. He wants to be Thornside’s minion. They spend the next two days playing as many pranks on Kalad as they can. Pattie and Emil argue about Thornside’s archery prowess.

As a test, to prove his ability Emil climbs a tree and drops three apples. Thornside shoots an arrow that bounces off a rock and impales all three apples. Pattie sees it and tells him that he needs a real test. She turns and fires two crossbows at him.

Thornside fires an arrows that splits in two and intercepts the crossbow bolts before they get to him. Emil is jumping up and down laughing and Pattie does a quiet golf clap. Congratulating Thornside on his sharpshooting.

Roland talks to Alton about how his magic has changed. Then he searches through the libraries looking for information about chaos power. While there Althaea sees him and asks him questions about how he controls his power. She asks him if he would like to visit the Elemental Chaos. It’s basically a revers summons. He agrees and finds himself in the Chaos where elements war with each other. Malthazard speaks to him and offers more power. Roland doesn’t even hesitate to turn him down.

When he returns Roland is a Wild Mage.

Xaladin spends time in the forest watching the animals and practicing his primal magics. He sees a lone wolf and remembers his experience under the blood moon. As he thinks about that experience his senses expand and he summons the power that he felt during that red moon.

He becomes a Blood Moon Stalker.

View
35. Wibbly Wobbly
Timey Wimey

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Thornside, Alton
Level: 10
Location: Overlook, 18 Years Ago — Village
NPCs: Brak, Kalad, Emil, Rufus, Mary, Jalissa, Glorin, General Zithiruun, Washburn Windleaf, Althaea Windleaf, Bain, Nathyra, Balatan

The Bear Claws jump into the battle with Zithiruun. Seeing his ability to shift around the battlefield Alton pinned him to the ground with a magical spike through his foot, keeping him place. His dragonborn henchmen closed in and the undead dragon blasted them with his poisonous necrotic breath before flying up to knock tiles from the rooftops of the buildings at those below.

Thornside and Jak both had close calls with death and the Bear Claws burned through a number of healing potions before they finished off the fight.

When it was over the word of Zithiruun’s death passed quickly through the mercenaries who quickly broke off the assault and fled from the city. Emil and Kalad searched the bodies of their comrades to find those who were still alive and try to heal them. Covered in blood and grime a small caravan of halfings arrived with Emil’s parents who stopped and watched him work before his mother came forward and said, “Emil, what did you do?”

Glorin Hamerfist and the Free Traders volunteered to help rebuild the damaged parts of the city and Ruth and Rory Teng opened up the Belden’s Rest with free food for anybody helping rebuild.

The city elders thanked the Bear Claws and paid them handsomely for the many ways in which they saved the city. It was their destruction of the mercenary camp in the Shadowfell, the closing of the portals in the Mountainroot Temple and their actions in helping with the siege that saved the city from much worse damage.

During the next week the Bear Claws spent some of their hard won money. They had to approach several merchants to sell their valuables because the Elsir Consortium goods were poor quality and not selling well so the merchants didn’t have money to buy their wares.

Jak got a tattoo shaped like a bear claw. James put in an order for an elephant and a war chariot to go with it.

Roland spent his time trying to figure out how to control the massive amounts of power that he channels from the Elemental Chaos.

Thornside checked on his ‘father’ and left him some gold while he was sleeping.

Alton hired somebody to take care of the Temple of Avandra and also commissioned somebody to carve a statue of Miranda and Avandra playing dice in the courtyard.

Jak and James took the body of the undead dragon to Rufus and found him packing up his tower and leaving town, moving back to Sayre. He told them he has an estate there and his tower was mostly destroyed during the siege. He will ship their table to them when it is finished.

Back at the Belden’s Rest Emil introduces them to his fiancé, Sweet Potato. Her friends call her Pattie. She can’t talk and speaks in sign language which Emil translates. Even though it’s obvious she is not happy about meeting all his friends he translates her gestures as, “she’s happy to meet you too.”

Their wedding is the next day. He wants to make sure that all the Bear Claws will be there. Family starts to arrive. The wedding is going to be at the Belden’s Rest and Ruth has cleared the common room of all the tables so she can set up for the service.

While the Bear Claws are there Mary comes in with Jalissa and two other Eladrin that she introduces as Washburn and Althaea Windleaf. Washburn was the Eladrin who raised her. Althaea is her ‘aunt’.

Washburn explains to the Bear Claws that he met them, eighteen years ago in a small village in the mountains beyond the Orc lands. They helped him destroy a dwarf who had been possessed by the hand of Vecna and was murdering his way across the countryside.

Althaea steps in and explains that the magical situation is just right and the stars aligned just so that it is possible, right then to send the Bear Claws back in time to the location Washburn is talking about.

They agree and she and Jalissa start the ritual that will send them through.

James invites Emil along and he quickly agrees.

Mary accompanies them as well. As they pass through the portal Washburn shouts at them that Emil wasn’t there when he met them before.

They arrive on a snow-covered hillside and see a small village below surrounded by a deep black forest in a vale surrounded by mountains. As they approach the village they see a large deep red dragonborn outside one of the houses cutting wood. He introduces himself as Balatan and invites them in. Inside they find Nathyra, his wife, who is watching over her egg protectively. They are in disagreement as to what to name the infant when it hatches.

As they are talking there is a commotion outside and they see Washburn with a small squad of six Eladrin marching through the streets. “Get out now. He’s coming and I don’t know how many of you will die if you are still here.”

The Bear Claws help him convince the dragonborn, who do not want to leave their village, to hide in the forest so they will be safe, just for a few hours until the danger is past.

Once they are hidden Washburn leads his Eladrin into the forest in the direction of the danger to face down the Hand of Vecna. James, Roland, Thornside, Jak and Emil go with Washburn. Alton and Mary stay behind to guard the hiding civilians.

A large horde of zombies comes shambling, running and crashing through the forest and the Bear Claws and the Eladrin soldiers lay about them with their weapons bringing everything they can to bear on the undead.

They fight off the horde and the dragonborn come out of the forest to find their village mostly destroyed, their houses burning or torn down by the horde. They gather in the square. Nathyra has her egg and is clutching a two-handed sword in one hand, spattered with blood she drags the body of Balatan behind her.

Washburn warns them that it’s not over yet and at that moment one of his scouts shouts a warning. A dwarf, wearing chain mail and a dark baldric marked with the symbol of Vecna strides out of the forest, his movements unnaturally quick. He catches the Eladrin scout and tears his throat out with his withered and rotten right hand.

As he approaches Mary steps up beside the Bear Claws who are getting ready to fight and whispers, “Bain?”

View
34. The Nine Bells is Burning

Characters: Roland, Jak, James, Thornside, Xaladin, Alton
Level: 10
Location: Overlook
NPCs: Brak, Kalad, Emil, Rufus, Mary, Jalissa, Glorin, General Zithiruun

117734_CN_GL.jpg

The Bear Claws sit down with Brak and take an opportunity to look at the Incanabulum Primeval. They find that it is written as a very intricate illuminated manuscript in the dwarven language. When James tries to read it he find it to be gibberish. They also notice that the letters change when you look away so that it is hard to find interpret what it says.

Brak tells them it will in the Stone Anvil if they ever want to look at it again. He also tells them the method for reading it is a closely held secret of the priesthood of Moradin.

The next morning the Bear Claws are wakened by the sounds of large boulders pummeling the walls of Overlook. They are summoned to the council chambers where they immediately are pulled into helping with the organization and operations of the siege.

Not long after it starts reports start coming in of a near-breach in the outer wall, the Nine Bells district being on fire and Councillor Itrika Mountainhome is missing.

Elder Caddrick tells them they might be better used in the field.

The Bear Claws hurry to the weakening portion of wall to find a group of trolls breaking through a breach. The Bear Claws fight back the trolls just in time for Brak to lead a squad of Clerics who blast the mercenaries outside with fire while masons reassemble the fortifications of the breached wall.

The Bear Claws then rush to the Nine Bells district where they find a Berbalang that has split into two different aspects and is dropping fire bombs on the buildings while also flying mercenary troops over the walls to drop them into Overlook.

The Bear Claws fight off the mercenaries, lead people to safety, put out the fires and bring down both aspects of the demon Berbalang.

They get a sending from Elder Caddrick telling them where Councillor Mountainhome’s house was, asking them to look for her since she is the Minister of Defense for the City.

The find the entire neighborhood destroyed by a boulder from a catapult and set into the burning rubble to rescue the trapped Councillor. They dig through the rubble, and succeed at rescuing Councillor Mountainhome.

Throughout the day the Bear Claws have seen many of the people they know fighting the siege of the Lost Ones in the city. They see Glorin and Megan leading a group of dwarves fighting mercenaries soldiers. They see Emil and Kalad leading guardsmen who are rounding up Lost Ones that are burning buildings.

They see Rufus and his zombies building some kind of contraption to generate a forcefield.

They see Mary and Jalissa, returning from the feywild with two Eladrin who immediately leap into the fray to help defend the city.

They see Amyria, standing atop the wall sweeping infiltrators off the wall with great swinging blows of her sword.

Jak joins the city guard to lead a push in the fiercest part of the fighting.

James joins Glorin and the Freeriders to systematically hunt down all the Lost Ones in the city who are causing problems within.

Roland climbs atop the wall to hurl spells of destruction at the mercenaries without. From his vantage point he can see a dragon with a rider swooping high above the mercenary army.

Alton joins the masons and clerics at the breach in the wall to discuss arcane and divine methods for strengthening the fortifications.

Xaladin turns into a dire wolf and carries Thornside on his back as they tear through the streets of the city shooting and mauling any mercenaries of Lost Ones they see.

As dusk comes Rufus’s shield finally takes hold, pushing the mercenaries away from the city, at least for now.

James goes to Brak and expresses a desire to become a cleric of Moradin.

Alton checks on the temple of Avandra to make sure it’s okay, he cleans it up a little to make it seem less neglected.

Xaladin asks Brak about Cachlain but Brak knows nothing about him.

They rest and are awoken the next morning with Brak teling the Bear Claws that they have lost all communication with Caer Overlook. The messenger they send have not returned and there is no word from the Council. He is leading a group to the Dwarf Gate to deal with a breach there and wants the Bear Claws to check on Caer Overlook.

As they approach the keep the find a street littered with dead guards, some of them look as though they had been dead for weeks. In the midst of the bodies are three dragonborn and a giant fire drake. Beyond them they can see a large army of mercenaries, Kalad and Emil fighting them with more city guards and dwarf civilians. Down another street they can see Rufus fighting an army of mercenaries by bringing back dead mercenaries to fight for him.

An undead dragon lands on the corner of a building. The rider throws off his hood to reveal a Githyanki. He says, “General Zithiruun claims Overlook for the Emperor Zetch’r’r of the Githyanki Empire,” his voice booming in an unnatural volume that can be heard in the entire city.

He leaps from the dragon’s back and flies in front of his dragonborn before he drops to the ground in a puff of dust. He draws two silver swords from his back while he turns to face the Bear Claws.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.