Prologue – 989 YK, Cragwar Academy, Breland.
General Vinius Caprotan, human dean of Cragwar Academy, played by David
Wolfram Apgar – thirtyish warden of the Eldeen forest, played by Edbury
Epirus Golan, precocious gnome illusionist, played by Kevin
Ocelon Oion, elf ritualist, played by Will
Cedric Burkh, human artificer, played by Jon
Rollo, elf son of Thranic defectors, ex- of prestigious Rekkenmark Academy, played by James
Faced with five equally qualified candidates for entry into Breland’s premier institution of war learning, the Cragwar Academy, the school’s dean General Vinius Caprotan (retired) proposes to the applicants that they settle the five-way tie in a soldier’s fashion: by gambling. The general brought out his dice and all the students played Discretion and Valor for the right to enroll. Immediately Epirus Golan, the young gnome illusion prodigy, lost. After him were Ocelon Oion and Rollo, the latter of whom endured the veiled taunts of the general at the defector status of his parents. Finally there was only Wolfram Apgar, an older student in his thirties, and an adult in a roomful of young men and children, and Cedric Burkh, age 21, a poor farm boy from just outside Ringbriar who had already done service as an enlisted man in the Brelish army. After much gambling and chicanery, and when it looked like Apgar’s victory was assured, he rolled red and “died”, while Burkh cheated a little to edge his score into the winner’s circle, gaining a spot for himself at the academy, and dooming the other applicants to make other, less prestigious arrangements for their education.
Present day – 998 YK, Breland, foothills southeast of the Graywall Mountains.
Cedric Burkh, human artificer, played by Jon
Reinbold, fire genasi fire mage, played by Will
Orlop, warforged fighter, played by James
Gift d’ Thuranni, elf assassin, played by Edbury
Hapax Amathos, sand and storm genasi swordmage, played by Kevin
Embarking into the woods, our adventurers encountered agents of the Emerald Claw under a Captain Warrik, a Karrnath veteran. They had clearly received intelligence regarding the party’s possession of Ashurta’s Blade. Warrik offered a civilized solution to the standoff: they play Discretion and Valor for the artifact. If the party’s player could beat Warrik before the sand ran out in his large hourglass, he would let them carry on their way. If he was ahead when the sand ran out, they would have to give him their piece of the Ashen Crown. Gift d’Thuranni accepted the challenge, but as soon as the Captain was ahead in points, the sand in the glass abruptly ran out. Feeling they had been cheated, our adventurers voided the terms of the wager and drew their weapons against the agents of the Emerald Claw. In the ensuing melee, the hourglass was knocked over and out sprang a man! He was named Hapax Amathos and was apparently made entirely from sand. Not knowing which way to swing his blade at first, he attacked the rampaging robot Orlop, but quickly saw the writing on the wall and allied himself to our adventurers. Orlop dug a trench and buried the bodies within.
Reaching the end of the forest line at the foot of Six Kings just before nightfall, our adventurers snuck up on a band of goblinoids making camp. These they discovered to be the party of archaeologists from the Kech Volaar they were seeking. Their leader was a female hobgoblin named Yeraa, and her band of merry explorers: Akitani, Jezirpa, Murdaak, Ulkuuz and Tikulti. Also present was the goblin Govaan whom the party had previously freed from captivity under a group of road bandits collecting tolls, who vouched for their character and good intentions. Still, our adventurers were required to prove their worth to Yeraa, and they engaged in the traditional goblin rite of Amalorkar, a simple friendly(ish) combat trial. Our adventurers won with ease, although some of the goblins did not appear to be trying their hardest.
Yeraa proposed they enter the Warrior’s Tomb together, splitting apart and taking separate roads to acquire the two artifacts concealed within. Yeraa proposed that her squad take a lower tunnel that our adventurers could not traverse (she didn’t not offer an explanation why, and the party did not ask) while our adventurers take a more direct route across the river and past the King’s Pillars to the main gate of the tomb. Not coincidentally, this gate was defended by an opposing squad of goblins, the Kech Sharaat, who had dug themselves in to lie in wait for their adversaries, not knowing there was an alternative entrance.
Our adventurers began to ford the river to gain entry to the tomb, and were set upon by the Kech Sharaat under the foul-mouthed goblin Chib Naersaar. Our adventures seemed to be getting the best of their enemies until they realized that they all appeared to be slathered in a musky kind of oil of some sort. It was then that a cloaker descended upon them and nearly claimed the lives of some of their number. Still, our adventurers again prevailed in their murder of the opposition. Orlop again displayed an almost pathological need to dispose of the carcasses cleanly and humanely, and buried the dead once more.
Our adventurers gathered up the cloaker’s balm for themselves and looked into the tomb for themselves, steeling themselves against their already considerable wounds and preparing themselves for what lies ahead.