Welcome to the recap of the 15th session of my Eberron campaign, which took place on April 20th, 2010. (Actually, a tiny portion of this happened at the end of the 14th session, but shhh.) Recently, the PCs had the final page of their mysterious book stolen by Lan Hazal and members of the Emerald Claw in Sharn. They fought him and his undead minions in the temple of Vol but he was able to complete his portal to Xen’drik and get away with the page.
For the next sessions, I’ll be running Grasp of the Emerald Claw by Bruce R. Cordell. It was written for 3x Eberron, but I’m updating the encounters with 4e monsters. I’m mostly just stealing it for the story, with a few tweaks to make it work with this campaign.
A knock on the door of the adventurers’ apartment startles them. Their door alerts them that it is a gargoyle messenger. Jelly opens the door and the gargoyle asks for her by her full name and then hands her a note before leaving.
The note says:
I cannot go into details in this missive, but we have similar goals. If you’d like some financial assistance on your quest in exchange for completing mine, please meet me at my town home at the sound of the second evening chime. Parlan Tower in Middle Central, Town House 19.
Lady Elaydren d’Cannith
They go to Lady Elaydren’s town home and find the door open. The lady herself is on the floor, being beat on by several Karrnathi zombies. The party easily defeat the zombies and Jelly offers Lady Elaydren some healing. She explains that the zombies were the last of a force of Emerald Claw operatives, lead by some sort of shapeshifting pale-skinned emaciated man and accompanied by a warforged with a wickedly curved scimitar.
The group killed her guards and servants, smashed her pre-Galifar memory urn, and took the very things she was supposed to be guarding – two schemas, a creation pattern, and notes from an ancestor that revealed the location of the final schema deep in the heart of Xen’drik. She was hoping the adventurers could help protect her and the schemas from attack, but they arrived too late.
“There is still time to retrieve the schemas and keep the Order of the Emerald Claw from gaining whatever power the completed creation pattern may possess. Time is of the essence, and there isn’t a moment to waste. Will you undertake the mission for me? I know you have a quarrel with the Emerald Claw yourselves, so you could finish your business on my gold, as it were.”
The PCs were a little wary at first, but after hearing how much Lady Elaydren was planning to pay them for their help, they agreed to take her quest and go to Xen’drik. She tells them to come back in a couple hours and she’ll have arranged travel for them – for now, they need to stock up on whatever they’ll need for the journey to Xen’drik.
After probably two hours of real life shopping through Adventurer’s Vault and Adventurer’s Vault 2, the PCs feel ready to return to Elaydren’s house. They notice that the men she’s hired to clean up her house are not House Cannith servants, nor are they affiliated with any other dragonmarked house. Eru asks why and Elaydren flushes, explaining that she was hoping to have the schemas back and safe before anyone knew they were gone. She’s looking to move up in her house, and a scandal like this wouldn’t help her any.
Of course, the PCs then realize that they could probably extort Lady Elaydren upon their return for much more than she originally agreed to pay them. They’re discussing this in their kalashtar “chat room” when they hear Lady Elaydren mention that they’ll be traveling to Xen’drik via undersea ship. (“Crap! Now we gotta go buy water breathing potions!”) They need to find Captain Byam in the Greyflood district and give him her letter and he’ll take them on this secret vessel directly to Xen’drik and hopefully quickly enough to get the trail of the Emerald Claw operatives in Stormreach before they head up the Rachi River to the temple where the final schema is hidden.
“Kedran’s notes place the ancient site about four hundred miles up the Rachi River. Here is the clue from Kedran’s notes to finding the site once you reach that stretch of river: At the turn in the Rachi River, where the land rises and the hands of stone reach for the sky, look toward the giant’s left hand for guidance to the schema’s resting place.”
After a quick trip to buy some additional supplies, the party heads to the Greyflood district and finds the gnome Captain Byam engaged in a rowdy game of dice. He refuses to talk to them until he’s won the pot of gold and his opponents have gone away. He takes the letter of passage and leads them into a warehouse set back from the docks, where inside, hidden from view, is a sunken pool containing a strange-looking vessel.
It appears to be an airship, but it floats in the water and has a water elemental spinning in the binding ring rather than an air or fire elemental. It’s a thin and elongated vessel and sealed tight. Several of his crewmen are loading crates into the craft. Byam introduces her as the Sea Dart, and says that if they take the path through Shargon’s Teeth, they should be able to shave a good day, day and half off the normal five day trip to Xen’drik.
The PCs are shown around the ship and to their cramped but otherwise hospitable quarters. The first day of the voyage goes smoothly and on the second day, Byam calls them to the observation area to see Shargon’s Teeth from the vantage-point of an undersea vessel.
“Beyond the clear dome of the observation blister, a breathtaking vista reveals itself in startling hues of phosphorescent color. Thousands of glowing fish, some in schools, some alone, flit through the dark water. Great columns of stone, in luminescent yellows and greens, punch up from the darkness below and extend toward the surface, slowly narrowing as they reach upward. Some of the columns are only tens of feet across, but those farther away in the hazing distance could be far, far broader, perhaps supporting small islets of rock on the surface.”
Just as Byam and the party are admiring the beautiful scenery, they spot a dire shark barreling toward the vessel at high speed. Before they even have time to react, it slams into the craft, shaking it and damaging the binding ring that holds the water elemental. Byam lets out a few choice words and calls out to his crew to bring the craft to the surface for repairs.
Shark & Sahuagin
If it could only be that simple. As the ship rises, it catches in nets set by a group of sahuagin (I asked Twitter how to pronounce this word – my favorite answer? “Mur-loc.”). Several members of the crew head out the airlock to cut the ship free, and Beatdown, Brick, Eru, and Cyd go out to help. Eru decides to disguise himself as a sahuagin (and then rolled a 7 on his swim check).
As the PCs and gnome crewmen are trying to cut the ship free of the nets, the shark attacks. It even grabs Beatdown Machine in its mouth and shakes him a bit. (The best part of this encounter was DaveTheGame playing the JAWS theme song whenever the shark’s turn came up in the initiative order.) Once the ship was cut free, the PCs decided to hang on the outside as it rose to the surface, especially once they realized their water breathing potions would prevent them from dying from the bends.
The ship gets to the surface and the gnomes disembark to start the repairs and five minutes later, they are attacked by a party of sahuagin. The fight was hilarious since Beatdown spent most of it sinking like a lump of metal after being immobilized. Finally, the PCs killed the final sahuagin, the repairs to the ship were made, and the rest of the trip to Stormreach went without incident.
When the Sea Dart reaches Stormreach, Captain Byam surfaces a half mile down the coast. He gives the party traveling papers saying that they arrived on the House Lyrandar galleon Strong Wind and that they’re part of the expedition from Morgrave University. Just as long as they aren’t asked for the papers by anyone from Morgrave University, they should be fine. He also gives them a letter of credit that they can use at the House Cannith enclave to secure transportation up the Rachi River.
The adventurers poke around Stormreach, checking out the ridiculous items for sale at the docks.
Beatdown: “My friends went to Stormreach, and all I got was this lousy Hand of Vecna.”
Eru goes into a seedy bar full of sailors, where he chats up a couple sailors who say that they saw some soldiers that fit the description of the Emerald Claw a couple days ago. (They were sure it wasn’t yesterday because yesterday was the day they ate that bad fish and threw up.) Eru asks where they were going and the sailors say they were headed into the jungle, but then again, that’s really the only place people go, other than to Sharn.
While the party was walking about, they are approached by a strange elven woman who says that she is a scholar of the draconic prophecy. She knew the PCs arrived on an undersea ship, she knew each of them (by description, not by name), and she begged them to let her come along with them on their journey so she could watch the prophecy unfold. She claims the PCs were spoken of in the Endworld Mountains verses. She tells them that great events are going to happen, and she just has to see them and document them.
(Ironically, the PCs did not ask her name. Finally they did after I reminded them they hadn’t. Her name is Muroni.)
Brick: “Little did we know, her name was Mrs. Death BadIdea BadGuyPants.”
The adventurers head to the House Cannith enclave, where they show their letter and are told to go to the docks to meet with Chinxero, the captain of the riverboat Marlow. When they explain how far they want to go, Chinxero balks. Too dangerous, much too dangerous. Muroni’s offer of 4000 extra gold beyond his contract fee changes his mind however, and he agrees to take the party to their destination.
The boat departs in the morning!
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