Bear Claws

68. Wings of Love
Heart of Fire

Characters: Roland, Jak, Thornside, Xaladin, Murook, Alton
Level: 23
Location: Vaerothim, The Forest of Twisted Souls, The Mantled Citadel
NPCs: Ana, Alain, The Autumnfalls, Xaladar, Kalad, Bahamut, Mornujhar, Irfelujhar

The Bear Claws find themselves in the Forest of Twisted Souls in the demiplane of Vaerothim. As they move through the creepy forest they encounter shadows of people they knew who have died.

Ana guarding the way, Alain high up in a tree, Thornside’s parents looking for him, Xaladar pursued by orcs, Kalad warning them about the forest. They meet an undead dryad who asks them to free her from the demiplane by taking a cutting from her tree. She tells them that the dead they see are of actually dead people but are merely shadows of them.

At the entrance to the Mantled Citadel they see an old man, his head bowed, a canary flitting about his gray hood before he fades to mist like the rest of the dead they have seen.

Inside the Citadel they explore the traps and rooms of the tower, working their way up through the inside. When they finally reach the top they find a huge library with a mosaic of Tiamat on the floor. The shelves are nearly empty and a dragonborn, a lich and a beholder are quickly shoving the last of the books into a bag.

The lich speaks to them, “I’d like to thank y’all for your help in bringing the Sword of Kas to me. It was the last component I needed to complete my ritual.”

Murook charges.

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67. The Care Bear Claws
We care about tasty pastries.

Characters: Roland, Jak, Thornside, Xaladin, Murook, Alton
Level: 22
Location: Monadhan, The Domain of Betrayal
NPCs: Dahllia Greenhill, Kas the Betrayer, Arantor

Alton wants to go back to speak with his mother. She insists that what she did was the best choice she could make at the time. It saved Alton’s life. Alton explains to her that her actions mean that he has no more life to go to, the farm, the inn, it’s all gone.

She acknowledges that he is right but she insists she would do it again.

Alton is too angry to keep speaking with her and leaves. She gives Roland a box and asks him to give it to Alton when he has cooled down.

The Bear Claws traipse across the jungle toward the cave entrance that Kas told them about. On the way they discuss alternate ways to traverse the jungle that may or may not be easier/more interesting/faster.

They enter the cave and follow a path down into the earth. Down there they find a rushing waterfall. A troll charges from the waterfall and shouts a riddle at them — the answer to which is obviously ‘river.’

Looking forlorn the troll slinks back into the waterfall. Jak and Thornside make conversation with him and teach him a few more riddles before they continue past.

The next room leads them to a tall cliff, a deep ravine and another cliff with fake handholds. Using a combination of their magic items and skills they make it across then follow another passage only to come to a dead end.

On turning back they find themselves entering a torture chamber rather than the cavern of cliffs. They free a prisoner who is tied to a rack and doors of stone slam over the exits. They understand that the only way to open the doors again is to fill the T-shaped channel in the floor with blood. Jak, Xaladin and Murook each cut themselves and drain some blood into the channel to open the doors.

The prisoner, calling himself Macaebus, says that he went to visit the seer and ate some of her stew. When he woke up he was tied up on the rack in that room. He thinks she sold him to Rolain (who is really Kas) so that he could get past the room in case he needed to.

The Bear Claws continued on and found a room full of statues. In the center is a great silver dragon in a rampant pose. Around the room are six other statues. They are, Irfelujhar — a skeletal creature holding a giant hour glass, Mornujhar — a black dragonborn exarch of Tiamat, Dhallia — Alton’s mother, Guionne — a devil wearing spectacles, Amyria — carved in a pose of great agony, Niuria Angel of Secrets — this looks just like Rachaela only with Vecna’s hand on her chest instead of Kord’s.

The Bear Claws assume this means that Rachaela tricked them somehow and wonder what the statues mean.

As they continue down through the caves they find themselves in a huge cavern so vast they can not see the ends of it. In the distance they can see the glint of light reflecting off of something faintly. As they venture across the cavern a voice speaks above them, taunting them. The voice tells them that nobody leaves the Domain of Betrayal because everybody who is there deserves to be there.

When Jak tries to continue towards the sword and giant skeletal dragon lunges forward out of the gloom and yells at him. The dragon’s tail smashes the ground and the Bear Claws plunge into a rushing underground river. They attack when Jak starts by teleporting next to the dragon and attacking it brutally. The dragon flies up into the air after swiping at him with it’s claws and teeth. The others move around and blast away at the dragon until it lands near Murook who nearly removes its head.

As the dragon falls to the ground it murmurs, “Imrissa, revenge me, forgive me.” A smaller, skeletal dragon begins to claw it’s way from the rib cage of the larger dragon and whispers to Murook as she emerges. Roland takes control of the dragon’s mind and forces her to claw at her father’s body until the other Bear Claws succeed in killing her as well.

They make their way over to the pile of treasure that Arantor has stashed and find the Sword of Kas among the riches. There is also a portal that shows blurring gray trees in half-light.

Kas appears, surrounded by over a hundred vampires. He demands the sword and wants it now, not after the Bear Claws go through the portal. “I expected betrayal, so I brought one of my own.”

As the vampires leap toward them the Bear Claws grab hold of the sword and step through the portal. On the other side they see a forest that is twisted and sickened by magic the trees themselves in a state of undeath. A bell-like gong sounds around them and a voice says, “Finally.”

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66. You Killed Alton!!?
No, the demon...

Characters: James, Roland, Thera, Jak, Izera, Althaea, Thornside, Kira, Xaladin, Glamor, Murook
Level: 21
Location: The Abyss
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Mary, Dahllia Greenhill, Ponocrates, Kas the Betrayer

Thornside sneaks into a village on the edge of the Abyss to see if he can find a way home while the rest of the Bear Claws set up a camp on the plateau where they landed after their battle with Malthazard. He finds directions to a demon who can create a demon gate for them at a discounted price and then he sabotages the legs of the village that keep it from plunging into the Abyss.

In the morning he tells the rest of the Bear Claws what he has found and they go to talk to the demon. Jak convinces the demon that he is a demon and the others are his slaves. He agrees, after some agonizing, to pay the demon 10 souls for the demon gate. The demon says they can pay him later. They can owe him.

Once back in Sayre they try to settle into their new roles as supremely powerful beings while while dealing with accusations of Quelenna who, as after her transformation into a githyanki, has started to show signs of age. She blames the Bear Claws and wants them banished.

The rest of the Coalition has mostly broken up in this time of peace and the Bear Claws settle in to learn more about who they are and what they have become.

One day while they are eating dinner an angel calls at their mansion. She introduces herself as Rachaela, angel of Kord and she has a quest for them. She explains that Mornujhar, the black exarch of Tiamat, has secreted away a powerful lich ritualist. This lich ritualist has been working on a ritual for over a thousand years. She doesn’t know what the ritual is but she knows the location now and wants the Bear Claws to go and stop it.

Mornujhar has created a demiplane called the Vaerothim that can only be reached by traveling through Monadhan, the Domain of Betrayal which lies deep inside the Shadowfell. The Domain of Betrayal, once reached can not be left unless one holds the key — which is the item of greatest betrayal at any given time.

Rachaela wants the Bear Claws to travel to Monadhan, find the key, go to Vaerothim and stop the ritual from taking place.

As a sign of good will she blesses the armor of most of them and introduces them to a new savage looking half-orc woman named Murook, a valiant follower of Kord.

The Bear Claws depart for Monadhan and find themselves in a stifling jungle of oppressive heat and hazy light. The trail leads them into a valley where a wooden fort squats atop a small rise in the swampy jungle. Around the fort is a shanty town and they quickly learn that the denizens, when they die, blurt out their greatest betrayal with their last breath. The speak with a few of the denizens but find most of what they say filled with lies and half-truths and blatant manipulations.

They do get one clue, that they should visit the seer on the other side of the shanty town. As they make their way there they come across Ponocrates, Roland’s old mentor, who has just been beaten to death. They hear him say something about Roland before he dies. Xaladin performs the Speak with Dead ritual and Roland asks him what that was about. Ponocrates says that he sacrificed a student to a Primordial to grant Roland his sorcerous powers.

Roland takes one of his fingers to ask Alton raise him from death later.

At the seer’s hut they find a halfling woman who looks just like Alton. She reveals that she is Alton’s mother and she made a deal with Malthazard when Alton was sick as an infant. She told him he could destroy the entire village is Alton lived. Malthazard destroyed the village years later to make Alton think he had done it.

The seer, whose name is Dahllia Greenhill, explains that the Domain of Betrayal is controlled by Arantor, a silver dragon and that the key to leaving the realm is the sword of Kas the Betrayer.

She also tells them that Rolain, the vampire, sometimes goes to visit Arantor in his caves and can be found in the graveyard at midnight.

She also tries to poison them while they are talking to her. It doesn’t work on every body and they tie her up and put her to sleep before leaving.

In the graveyard, Thornside sneaks in to have a look around when the mists coalesce into a vampire right in front of him. The vampire turns out to be Rolain who is actually Kas the Betrayer. He wants his sword back but isn’t strong enough to get it. He tells the Bear Claws he will tell them how to defeat Arantor if they will give him the sword when they get it.

After some debate the Bear Claws agree to this arrangement.

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65. As Old and as True as the Sky

Characters: James, Roland, Thera, Alton, Jak, Izera, Althaea, Jalissa, Thornside, Kira, Xaladin, Glamor
Level: 20
Location: The Abyss
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Mary, Pug, Quick, Malthazard

Gith offers the Bear Claws and Daughters of IO the gift of their astral skiff — the newly rechristened Filia Ursa as well as the entirety of the Vraxanault’s horde. After this she offers them a portal back home and they accept.

Something goes wrong with the portal when they step through and they hear a voice that says, “got them.”

When they stop out of the portal they are in a different place than they ever expected to be. James, Jak, Jalissa, Glamor, Roland, Thera and Mary find themselves in a cube shaped place where gravity shifts and changes and and each surface offers a new danger. Pug and Quick are there with an assortment of devils to try and convince Jak and James to join their side. Their arguments are specious at best and the thinnest of justifications for the evils that they have willingly wrought upon the world. Claiming that they are saving the planes from another Dawn War with their atrocities.

Jak isn’t buying it and neither is James. They attack and the fight quickly shifts and changes as the gravity in the room randomly changes flinging people around. It ends when James slays Quick and Jak lops off the head of his older brother.

Everything freezes in that instant and a creature appears to Roland claiming to be Shakti of the Reigar and tells him he has been chosen to inherit the mysteries and knowledge of his race. Roland is now a Lord of Chaos and the Reigar tells him that the room they are in plunging into the infinite Abyss and that he will make it fall on the Plane of a Thousand Portals.

At that instant the room strikes a floating rocky mesa high above a hideous plane of red wheat and pink trees with a mottled purple sky.

James hears the ringing of a hammer on an anvil and ventures into a cave where he meets Moradin who gives him the Incanabulum Primeval and tells him he has been Chosen. “You can read it now, James, though it may take several lifetimes.” He is now a Chosen of Moradin.

Jak hears the distant chanting of minotaurs praying to him and telling stories of his deeds. Referring to him as “The Dapper One.” Jak is now a Demigod.

Glamor speaks to her Primordial patron who informs her that he is actually her daughter and she is part Primordial. She is an Emergent Primordial.

Thera feels her body becoming stronger and more powerful and knows that she is far stronger than normal mortals could ever expect to be. She is now an Eternal Defender.

Meanwhile Alton, Izera, Althaea, Thornside, Kira, Xaladin, Emil and Pattie find themselves on a plane of fire standing on small floating bergs of earth that surround a much larger island streaked with flame. Standing in the middle of the island is Malthazard the demon who taunts them. “Alton, I always knew you and I would be back together… and you brought snacks. I love it when a plan comes together.”

Malthazard also talks to Thornside’s armor and asks the demon bound inside for aid. Rauthoros tells Malthazard that he is still not free but he is strong enough to control Thornside’s movements.

The characters leap into the fray to fight the demon and Malthazard seems immune to their attacks his body healing every time they hurt him. He taunts them by telling them that he can’t hurt in the Abyss and none of them know his true name.

He also taunts Alton by telling his friends that Alton murdered his entire village just make a deal with the demon. “And you don’t even know the role your mother played in all of it.”

Alton and Izera and Kira fly around Malthazard keeping him confused and disoriented until he becomes frustrated and turns to Emil, commanding him to kill himself.

“If you want me dead, then you’ll have to kill me,” Emil says and leaps for Malthazard, an Eldritch Blast gathering on the end of his hammer. Pattie sprouts wings and darts through the air after him, her body shifting into a silver dragon as she screams Emil’s name and tries to stop him. She is too late and Malthazard stabs his sword through Emil’s middle then flicks him off and onto the ground. “As you wish little fool.” Then he catches Pattie by the throat with one of his hands while two of his others grab her wings and snap them. He tosses her aside.

The Bear Claws renew their attacks, angry and devastated. Alton materializes on Malthazard’s head and tries to freeze him while Althaea summons a freezing hand and the others pound and stab at him.

Emil spits out blood and shouts a string of syllables that make everybody who hears it feel like they are losing their grip on sanity. Malthazard freezes at the sound and all the wounds they have inflicted on him suddenly reopen and he turns and begins to pound on Emil’s face with his huge fists. Thornside, unable to control his movements shoots Emil in the throat.

Alton drives a silvery spike through Malthazard as Althaea chants the name that Emil shouted. The demon dies and Thornside’s armor goes dormant in an effort to go unnoticed.

Pattie cries out for Alton to save Emil, he’s dead.

Alton picks him up and prays to Avandra. She appears before him, talking with Mary and tells him there is a price. She will heal Emil but Alton can no longer be her follower. He is now an Exalted Angel and his power is his own. Avandra thinks he will one day be her equal.

She tells Mary that she is the Avatar of IO, bearer of the divine spark of that dead god.

Alton returns to the rest of the group. Althaea and Xaladin release the demon from Thornside’s armor and Thornside takes it off for the first time in years before he stows Malthazard’s weapons in his bag of holding. Althaea opens a portal to the Plane of the Thousand Portals and Alton quickly takes them safely through the portal and to the ground.

Kira sees Pattie in her dragon form and feels her own dragon wings on her back and briefly changes into the shape of a large dragon. She quickly changes back but she knows that taking on that shape is part of who she is now. She is a Draconic Incarnation.

Althaea finds a scroll slightly buried in the plane and finds that it is the Scroll of Knowledge and contains enough information to keep her busy for centuries. She is a Sage of Ages.

Izera realizes that her study of the martial arts and focus of her githzerai mind have given her the ability to do any of the things that she sees her companions doing. She is no an Eternal Seeker.

Jalissa and Thornside see an old man approaching them with seven golden canaries flitting about his head. He blesses Jalissa and tells her, “You are now my Vessel in the world. You carry a portion of me inside you, anywhere you go.”

To Thornside he offers a gift of some new armor and a torque. Then he tells Thornside that Xaladar was acting under the orders of Tiamat when he killed Thornside’s parents. He calls Thornside Godslayer after giving him this information.

Xaladin meets a primal spirit that calls him Sovereign and enters into him, giving him the ability to control his shape. He is now a Sovereign Beast.

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64. Dis is the Place...

Characters:James, Roland, Thera, Alton, Jak, Izera, Althaea, Jalissa, Thornside, Kira
Level: 19/20
Location: Tu’narath, The Fortress of Three Sorrows
NPCs: Gith/Vlaakith CLVIII, Zetch’r’r

The group enters the Fortress of Three Sorrows as githyanki forces begin to muster against them in the distance. Inside they find dead githyanki scattered about every level. The burns and wounds on the githyanki appear to be from infernal magics caused by a devil.

In the bottom of the Fortress they hear an argument through a door between two beings. They decide to barge in and find an angel of Tiamat guarding the immobilized form of a young githyanki woman. He is arguing with a devil who is clutching a gnarled staff. The devil claims that her soul belongs to him. The angel refuses to release her.

When Roland opens the door they turn to look at him and Roland hears the voice of the githyanki woman in his mind telling him she will help them if they release her. The group unleashes their attacks against the devil and angel as well as the magical barrier that is holding the githyanki woman captive. When it falls she leaps free and kills the angel. The devil escapes through an infernal portal but not before shouting a warning that by freeing her they have doomed millions.

The woman explains that she is Vlaakith reborn but she is also Gith — the founder of the githyanki race. Several months ago she found herself free from the prison in Dis and came to inhabit the reborn Vlaakith. Since she is free then that means that the Scepter of Ephelomon that Zetch’r’r holds has been broken, which means that the dragon pact has been broken.

Gith wants to expose that fact tot he dragons so that they will abandon Zetch’r’r. She believes that the Separatists can then seize the empire and she can reclaim her rightful place.

Rushing out to the Filia Ursa they set sail for the city while Gith shoots flaming symbols into the air to signal her agents in nearby fortresses and ships. The rebellion for the city of Tu’narath has begun.

Meanwhile, Jalissa, Thornside, Jak, Kira and Izera make their way, under cover of the fighting and chaos in the city, to the Chromatic Bastion where Zetch’r’r is hiding in his tower. Izera and Kira fly to the top of the tower while Jak, carrying Jalissa, and Thornside climb the outside of it. At the top they find Zetch’r’r sitting on a throne in the open-air upper story. When he sees them he calls to his handmaids to deal with them.

Jak leaps down on top of him and strikes him multiple times with his Ugrosh. Jalissa slips off his back just before he jumps off the wall and she lights Zetch’r’r on fire. Zetch’r’r is surprised that Jak is alive and hits him once before running away while calling on his dragon. Vraxanault is a huge red dragon that rises up from the floor below and grabs Jak in his jaws.

Izera and Kira focus fire on Zetch’r’r as well. Jak teleports out of the dragon’s mouth and attacks again. The dragon bites him again and drops his unconscious body onto the floor below. Then he turns his attention to the other attackers. Kira finally kills Zetch’r’r and the dragon picks her up in his mouth and breathes a blast of his fire at her, ripping her arm off and dropping her to the ground. She blasts him back with a reactionary attack of magical daggers.

Thornside runs over to Zetch’r’r’s fallen corpse and picks up the Scepter on his belt. It falls in two pieces as he picks it up. The dragon stops and stares at him. With the Scepter broken the dragons are no longer under a pact to help Zetch’r’r or the githyanki. The giant red dragon climbs from the tower, stretching his neck up in to the sky and bellowing his rage in a draconic fury. The other dragons all around the city answer his call and he leaps off the tower and flies away.

Thornside climbs to the top of the tower and holds the broken Scepter over his head just as the Filia Ursa swoops in close and Gith jumps down next to him. She proclaims the city as hers and thanks Thornside for ending the dragon pact.

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63. Follow Me
This way to Bahamut...

Characters: James, Roland, Xaladin, Alton, Jak, Izera, Althaea, Jalissa, Glamor, Kira
Level: 19
Location: Tu’narath, The Fortress of Three Sorrows
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Esuriit, Mary, Gharvag, Rhapsody

Xaladin, Izera, Jalissa, Kira and Jak take a portal to Tu’narath and meet up with a githyanki who is working with the separatists. He leads them to bar run by a tiefling woman named Rhapsody. She explains that the Emperor has figured out what they are doing and is executing anybody even remotely associated with the rebels.

When she discovers that they have friends coming by ship her and Gharvag have an idea that is a last desperate attempt to seize back their empire. Vlaakith CLVIII has been captured and is being held in The Fortress of Three Sorrows, a floating fortress about a mile off of the city proper. If the other group can bring their ship close enough and make a raid on the Fortress to free her at the same time as this group attacks Zetch’r’r then they have one final chance to free their people. The separatists are going to activate all their cells around the city at that moment as well so that the city will be distracted.

The Scepter of Ephelomon is the symbol of the pact that githyanki have made with the dragons of Tiamat. If the scepter is taken from Zetch’r’r then the dragons will no longer fight for him.

Xaladin sends a sending to Alton and tries to tell him the plan. He is able to get enough across that Alton knows they should attack the Fortress and not to kill Vlaakith.

Althaea questions the githyanki prisoner in the hold and he tells her that the Fortress of Three Sorrows is one of the defensive cordon around the githyanki capital city. He helps point it out and helps them avoid the blockade around the city, which seems to be on high alert.

Alton, James, Roland, Glamor, and Althaea pilot close to the Fortress of Three Sorrows and attack. The githyanki fight back brutally, firing ballistae at them. Things are pretty tense when Althaea and then James are knocked unconscious from their wounds but they manage to clear the surface of the Fortress by fleeing back to their ship and using the spell turrets to pick off the remaining enemies.

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Fortress of Three Sorrows Map
Tu’narath

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62. Don't feed the dragon...
...he bites Minotaurs.

Characters: James, Roland, Xaladin, Thornside, Alton, Jak
Level: 18/19
Location: The Astral Sea, The Citadel Mercane
NPCs: Emil, Pattie, Esuriit

Jak catches up with the Bear Claws while killing two of the Pact Dragons. He lands on Xaladin and James, knocking James unconscious after being newly revived. He gives James a healing potion and James begins applying his healing magics.

The ship they are on, the Cev’ren, is drifting into the portal to the Astral Sea, it’s helm is locked. James tries to steer a different direction but can’t figure out the unfamiliar helm. They bring Roland and Kada’ne over to the Cev’ren and cut their disabled ship loose.

Emil and Pattie, riding on the back of Fariex shout for them to throw the key to them before they pass into the portal. Thornside tries to anchor their ship to the copper dragon but his arrow bounces off Fariex’s scales and the Cev’ren passes through the portal to the other side.

There are more than three dozen githyanki war ships surrounding the portal. One of them sounds a horn blast and comes about, moving toward them. Kada’ne wakes up and tells them they are going to die. He will give them a life boat and let them live if they will surrender.

They refuse and he instructs them to wave a white flag in response to one of the other ships messages. Thornside, thinking Kada’ne is trying to trick them, waves a blue flag. The githyanki immediately start sounding horns, alerting all the other ships and the begin to close in on the Cev’ren in a loose sphere. The Bear Claws jump into action and ram the closest ship, shearing off it’s masts then turn and flee, dodging between attacking githyanki ships.

They manage to steer the ship through the foray, only taking minor damage to the ship from the fire and lightning attacks of the other ships before they break away and flee into a cloud of night.

In the cloud they hear and then see an Astral Dreadnought swimming past through the astral sea, it’s mouth large enough to swallow their entire ship. They move along through night for a few days, repairing the damage and exploring the ship.

On the third day they meet an Aaracokra fisherman who is casting nets to find Astral Trout — which he claims taste like ‘your god has welcomed you home, when they’re fresh.’

He realized they do not know how to navigate and gives them a crash course on the six directions in the Astral Sea (North, South, East, West, Zith and Terth). He also tells them that they might find a portal home in the Citadel Mercane which is inside the Blood Mountain about a day and half North by Zithwest.

The Bear Claws arrive at the Citadel and dock their ship inside the huge cavern that holds the Citadel Mercane. One of the local sailors tells them to stay at the Dreaming Spire because anywhere else is too dangerous.

Prices here are exorbitant.

The Bear Claws fly across to the Citadel and go inside where they find a giant Bazaar of randomly floating earthmotes that are covered with booths and stalls and even a few permanent buildings.

The Bazaar, because of it’s random nature, has a constructs that act as guides to show people how to find what they need. Roland, James and Xaladin schedule a portal to the Material Plane for the next day at a ridiculous high rate before heading to the Dreaming Spire where they find people expecting them, asking if they are there for Rel’thrik.

When Roland says yes they give him a box that opens when he places his thumb on the indentation on the bottom. An image of a githyanki appears and says that the Dark Lady’s spies are everywhere and he has failed in his mission. “If you still want an alliance go to Tu’narath, we will find you.”

As Roland is leaving he hears some shouting and sees Emil standing on a table hopping up and down and gulping from a mug as he waves his hand at his mouth. Sitting near him is Pattie and Mary.

The Bear Claws approach, confused at how they got there. James, has gone to get a massage and Thornside is busy loading up all the prank paraphernalia he can carry.

Emil explains that the githyanki separatists approached the Coalition about an alliance and asked to meet their representative, Rel’thrik, here. Emil is the representative, Mary and the Daughters of IO are his protection. With the Bear Claws gone the Coalition doesn’t have their go-to heroes and they Amyria is struggling to keep things together after the coup that she helped them stage to thwart Quelenna and the other Coalition members.

After the Bear Claws tell them about the message and that they learned earlier that Rel’thrik was murdered by a trio of dark angels they suggest going to Tu’narath to meet up with the the separatists.

Pattie points out the the Bear Claws are pretty noticeable as a group and suggests that they split up, half of the Daughters of IO with half of the Bear Claws could take a portal that Izera will be able to open for them. The other half of each group will take the Cev’ren.

With that plan in mind they give Kada’ne’s key to Brin to take back to Amyria.

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61. Roll the Dice...
...who do you want to be today.

Characters: James, Roland, Xaladin, Thornside, Alton
Level: 18
Location: The Well of Worlds, Garaitha’s Anvil
NPCs: Amyria, Bejam, Emil, Pattie, Haryssus, Mary, Althaea, Izera, Thera, Jalissa, Glamor, Kira, Quelenna, Caliandra, Eoffram Troyas, Fariex the Scalehammer, Brik, Del, Galadorn, Lorne, McCross, Thoran, Megan Swiftblade, Sylen Leafrunner, Ragnum Dourstone, Ghenna Tenson, Madrick, Bede, Buttercup, Loovat, Misty, Brak, Blightfang, Nathyra, Conrad the Black, Rufus Cromley, Brin, Reniss, Tokk’it, Falrinth

The Bear Claws learn more about the Well of Worlds. It appears to be a True Portal and a scrying focus at the same time. When they return to the portal chamber they find the pool of healing water has turned into a substance that looks like a rich dark wine. Roland tastes it and his skin turns blue and his hair turns into a wave of water. He suddenly finds he can sense the liquid in the pool and that he might be able to manipulate it. He becomes a Water Genasi.

Thornside see this and takes a taste as well. He instantly gets ten years younger, resembling a 9 year old boy. Alton refuses to drink it but studies it and realizes that the chaos added to the pool has made its effects random.

Thornside takes another drink and gets lucky enough that he returns to his original age.

Xaladin is tempted but he doesn’t drink from the pool. Thornside and Roland bottle up some of it for later use.

Amyria and Bejam come through the portal with the Coalition leaders. Quelenna, Troyas and Caliandra are upset that Amyria is using Coalition resources to attack the githyanki. They think that those resources would be better used to bolster defenses of Coalition lands. James punches her in the face. Roland calls him off and gives her a healing potion which Thornside adds a drop from the pool to. Quelenna drinks the potion and turns into a githyanki. Everyone is shocked and Roland tells them that the chaos of the area has messed with the healing potion and it will go away in a few days.

Quelenna believes and Amyria puts her off by asking to speak in private with the Bear Claws. She tells them that nothing will get done if the Coalition has a say. She wants the Bear Claws to rally everyone together to go fight the githyanki.

The Bear Claws use the Well of Worlds to scry on Quick — who is being reprimanded along with Pug. They also look for a key to the Well of Worlds. They find one on Admiral Kada’ne, a githyanki leader who appears to be inside of a giant shipyards that is built on the inside of a sphere.

Bejam tells them that with Haryssus’ help and a couple days study he can give them one use of the Well of Worlds to go anywhere they want. Amyria wants to send the 100 heroes that are there, into the shipyards as a distraction while the Bear Claws get the key then return to one of the dozens of linked portals in the shipyard.

The Bear Claws rally the troops to the disgust of Quelenna. Fariex the Scalehammer joins them and reveals himself to be a copper dragon and says he will join the battle.

The Bear Claws step through the portal to see Kada’ne’s ship lifting away from the docks and fleeing toward the astral portal high above. All about the shipyard chaos reins. Fariex swoops about, spitting acid at nearly finished ships while Emil and Pattie cling to his back sniping at githyanki as he flies past. Other heroes can be seen fighting in different places all about the shipyard.

The Bear Claws board a smaller, faster ship and take off after Kada’ne. They catch him just as their ship is disabled by the blasts of lightning coming from Kada’ne’s ship and the attacking dragon knights.

The gityhanki cast out boarding lines and lash the two ships together as they drift ever nearer to the astral portal. The ghityanki attack and the Bear Claws respond in kind nearly wiping out the githyanki. Kada’ne, getting frustrated that his crew was being wiped out before his eyes moved in for the attack. James met him head on and Kada’ne sliced him up and left him unconscious on the decks of the Cev’ren. He leaped over to the Bear Claws ship and did the same to Xaladin.

Roland and Thornside backed away shooting at him and he went down with an arrow through the leg, pinning to him to the deck of the ship.

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60. Roger, Roger...
What's our Vector, Victor

Characters: James, Roland, Jak, Xaladin, Thornside, Althaea
Level: 17
Location: The Fane of Chanhiir, The Well of Worlds
NPCs: Talanee, Amyria, Bejam, Emil, Pattie

Talanee and her githyanki tidy up the place by gathering all the bodies into a single room. Then they remove the force field protecting the portal at the center of the building. Talanee explains that this is a portal that allows people to move between planes at will and is linked to an ancient, extra-planar place called the Well of Worlds.

Her and her people go through the portal but the Bear Claws can’t tell where they went. They send a sending to Amyria to tell her what they found and she asks for the portal sigils. After James sends them to her she comes through the portal followed by Bejam, Althaea and Emil and Pattie.

Bejam and Althaea set to understanding the portal right away, arguing about the theory and the magic involved. While they work the portal is kept active the Coalition leaders come through as well as a steady flow of adventurers and people that the Bear Claws have known — all gathered by Amyria to push back against the githyanki.

She asks the Bear Claws to organize the defense and guard posts for the fortress they are in, expecting the githyanki to try again to seize the World Gate — as the portal is called.

Althaea and Bejam take nearly three days to study the World Gate. In that time Thornside and Emil join up with Pattie to switch the clothing of the various adventurers.

One night Thornside has a dream about a wizard fleeing from a demon. The demon catches him and, even as he is torn apart he casts a spell that sucks the demon into his armor. Thornside wakes up to find his armor has swelled up to form a shadowy demon around him and it is speaking. The demon says he is getting stronger and will kill them all when he gets free. Then he insists that he will get free.

The voice is loud enough to wake his friends up and they discuss various way to remove his armor including killing him and raising him afterward. He refuses the last offer when they tell him he will have to pay for his own raise dead ritual.

Amyria comes and tells them that Althaea and Bejam want to talk to them. She leads them to a library, this one with dozens of intact books. Althaea and Bejam have set up a study and want to explain what they have learned.

Through the technical talk and babble they reveal that the World Gate is linked to another place, the Well of Worlds which can be used to move about the planes or anywhere in the world. They also reveal that the only way to use it is to be a githyanki… or to have a special tattoo.

They want to know if the Bear Claws are willing to go the Well of Worlds to clear it out and make sure it’s safe so that they can move on the githyanki.

The Bear Claws get their new tattoos and move through the portal where they find a group of githyanki drinking water from a pool. They look as if they’ve just come from a battle. Roland tries to talk to them but they quickly recognize that he should not be there and attack. Jak spends most of the battle unconscious. But the Bear Claws succeed in killing the githyanki.

They quickly learn that the Well of Worlds is a dimensionally confusing place, doors in opposite ends of a room both lead to the same room and rooms seems to be occupying the same space as each other.

In the third room they encounter some guardian beasts that nearly kill Thornside by jumping out of the mirrors and transporting him to another dimension.

Xaladin is able to communicate with him and explain that killing the beast is the only way to get back to the rest of the Bear Claws.

Beneath the grated floor of that room they descend down a spiral stair to a room with a study. An eldritch giant sits, chained to the table, working on books and scrolls. She introduces herself as Haryssus and has been chained for three hundred years. She maintains the Well of Worlds and tells them that they need a key to operate it and the keys are all held by the leaders of the githyanki.

James sends a message to Amyria telling her that the Well of Worlds is clear.

Her response: “We’re on our way.”

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59. It looks like a cute little bunny...
...but tastes like githyanki.

Characters: James, Roland, Jak, Xaladin
Level: 17
Location: Sayre
NPCs: Birkeni, Talanee, Megan Swiftblade, Sylen Leafrunner, Ragnum Doustone, Ghena Tenson, Madrick

Roland discovers information about the Reigar who claim that they have mastered the Elemental Chaos and can create beauty and shape reality with it.

The Bear Claws travel to Corwyn, the northernmost city in the Coalition lands. Corwyn is a mining town that is known for their opals. From there the watchtower of Thiradith is a three day hike into the mountains. The Bear Claws set out and James has never been happier, seeming to love the barren, rocky highlands.

As they approach the watchtower of Thiradith they see a loan half-elf watching them approach. He greets them as the watch commander and invites them in to share a meal with the soldiers there. Megan Swiftblade sees them and taunts them mildly before acknowledging that the Bear Claws did save her life once.

Jak stops to change into his new fancy duds before going in to the soldiers mess where they are served a hearty dinner of hard tack and salted pork. Jak sits down right next Sylen Leafrunner who is talking trash about the Bear Claws. He then daintily cuts and eats his food with his fork and knife.

The Bear Claws and the Freeriders agree to investigate the site where the githyanki were spotted. They agree to work together on the investigation and James asks Megan to decide when they will leave and where they will go.

One of the soldiers tells them that his patrol found three dead githyanki on the trail about a week ago and tells them where to find the trail.

They leave the next morning at dawn and quickly find the spot where the githyanki were killed. Blood still stains the rocks but the bodies are gone. Xaladin sniffs around and finds that, not only were the bodies carried away — which is unusual for githyanki — there is evidence that they caused a rockslide in their haste to get away from something. The rockslide hides a narrow trail that branches up into the mountains.

They decide to follow this new trail and soon come to a man-made building that is disguised to look like a natural bluff form a distance. Scouting around the building they discover there are two entrances with githyanki stationed at each entrance. The githyanki don’t seem to be concerned with anybody approaching their building as they are pretty casual and don’t have any patrols.

Megan proposes a friendly wager. She offers a bag of magical stones if the Bear Claws can get to the center of the building first. They offer her a translation gem as their end of the wager.

The Bear Claws attack the githyanki stationed at the entrance they chose and wipe them out almost before they can even react. Roland teleported them off a cliff and Jak scattered them like the charging bull he is. The last githyanki taunted Xaladin by calling him a dog and asking him to fetch a rabbit. Xaladin turned him into a rabbit and then ate him.

Inside the Bear Claws found a hallway with stairs. At the top of the stairs they found a room that was once a library but all the books in the room had been piled into the center and then burned, they were nothing now but a pile of ash.

In another room they found many statues of githyanki warriors that had been pulled down and broken in pieces. There were three dead githyanki in the room, clothed in robes and slain by blades.

Xaladin and Roland both felt like they were being watched.

A balustrade guared the edge of the room from a larger room twenty feet below that filled with many bedrolls and a couple of campfires. Around the farthest campfire sat six githyanki laughing and talking with each other.

Jak and James snuck down the stairs and charged the githyanki. They were caught by surprise but quickly recovered stabbing at Jak with their swords. Three githyanki specters rose up behind Roland and Xaladin. “Why do you desecrate our sanctuary,” and they struck at the two surprised Bear Claws. Both of them teleported away and the specters follows Roland who convinced them that the real desecrators were the other githyanki.

Once the githyanki were all dead the spirits returned to their statues to guard the room from further intruders. The Bear Claws opened a door to find nearly 30 githyanki in monks robes chained together in a dark room.

Their leader called himself Talanee and he said that followers of Zetch’r’r were here to “seize the Fane because we have denied him its use.” Talanee said that not all githyanki supported the false Emperor. He also said that the Bear Claws were great friends of the Empire because of the great good they had done this day in setting them free.

Talanee said that he and his people are the Chanhiiri, monks who guard this building and the secrets that it keeps. He tells them also that Zetch’r’r’s soldiers were in the center of the Fane, trying to remove the wards that were put in place there.

Talanee and his monks refuse to be left behind and come with the Bear Claws as they charge through the doors into the center of the building. In the room is a large force sphere, opaque with glowing light. Many githyanki are gathered around the sphere muttering rituals and incantations to try and break it. Across the room the doors burst open and Megan and Freeriders, bloodied but alive, stumble through. Megan sees the room full of githyanki then the Bear Claws on the other side and lets out a battle cry and charges forward with her sword raised.

Jak also rushes in and is immediately surrounded by githyanki, slashing at him with their swords. James lights them all on fire and Xaladin blows them away in the wind. Jak goes down before the githyanki are all dead. The Chanhiiri charge into the room and rush toward the Freeriders to help them with the githyanki that are setting about them. The room is chaos and githyanki fight each other and the Bear Claws and Freeriders finish off the enemies.

Sylen Leafrunner plants an arrow through the eye of the last githyanki and says, “I’m always cleaning up after your mess.”

Exhausted and covered in wounds Megan acknowledges the Bear Claws beat them to the center and gives them her bag of magical stones. They are a set of elemental stones. James sets about healing those wounded.

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