The Dragon's Claw

Chapter 1: Between a Rock and a Gelatinous Place

Our story begins with a group of adventurers known for their ability to recover rare and magical artifacts. Björn the Ascended is an aasimar barbarian who acts as the “muscle” of the group. Smooth talking Corros Almorn is a half-elf bard who likes to play the lute and throw darts. Dagheiður Maul is a wood elf rogue who is clearly only interested in personal gain. Mazel is a wood elf who prefers diplomacy, but wields destructive magic when necessary.

Our heroes were hired by a dwarf named Fossmar Silverbeard to recover the Amulet of Álfþór. Fossmar is the owner and chief curator of the “Museum of Wonders,” which is located in Rúndís. Their quest eventually leads them to a stone stronghold in the middle of the swamps of Fylikir Island. After bypassing several traps, the companions discover the amulet on a raised platform at the end of a small, dimly lit chamber.

After some careful investigation, Mazel decides to magically lift the amulet off the platform while the rest of the party prepares to run. As soon as he does this, the platform shifts up slightly, the wall opens up behind the platform, and a huge boulder begins to roll toward the group. At the same time, the ceiling above the doorway to the room opens and a gelatinous cube falls to the ground, closing off the way out.

The group manages to get out of the way of the boulder without suffering too much harm, but the massive ball of stone bounces off the gelatinous cube and rolls back toward them. As the boulder rolls into the platform, just a few feet from crushing most of the group, Björn uses his brute strength to shove the boulder to the side and stabilize it. Meanwhile, Dag finds himself stuck inside the cube. With much effort, the companions kill the cube and release Dag from its gummy grip.

Just then, Fossmar appears in the doorway. The group learns that this all has been an elaborate test of their skills. Fossmar has a much more important job for them: to find the legendary Dragon’s Claw, a weapon forged by warlocks and used by Sir Bertram of Valpor to slay Rurik the dragon. Fossmar tells the adventurers that Sir Bertram was last seen in the desert of Gyða, a wilderness that few have ever explored. In fact, the only person known to have mapped the area was a cleric named Doramir. The companions are instructed to travel to the forest of Holmdís, which is where Doramir was last seen.

Before they depart, Fossmar insists that they take one of his employees with them. After some discussion and throwing of darts, they elect to take Torment, a tiefling ranger with a penchant for dramatic special effects.

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Chapter 2: The Map to Find the Map

Our heroes return to their boat, which had been guarded by Lárensína, the halfling rogue. They paddle down the river toward the forest of Holmdís.

As they come ashore, they meet young Bertram, who takes them to see his father, Patrek Ósvald. Patrek informs them that as a warden of the forest, he cannot permit them to make the dangerous journey to Doramir’s home. While Mazel distracts Patrek and Corros distracts the warden’s wife, Lárensína sneaks into the warden’s house and steals several maps. Corros quickly memorizes the route to Doramir’s home and Lárensína successfully returns the maps.

The group travels into the forest and decides to set up camp for the night. During the second watch, as Lárensína begins to nod off (both in the game and in real life), one of the party members spots an orc creeping into the torchlight. Mazel fires off a bolt of pure energy at the orc and a battle ensues. Corros is knocked unconscious and Lárensína is badly wounded, but the group manages to kill the two orcs who invaded their campsite. A third orc steps into the firelight and angrily tells them they will pay for their actions. The orc tries to flee into the forest, but Dag chases him down. As Dag and the orc trade blows, Corros casts a sleep spell and the orc falls to the ground, unconscious.

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Chapter 3: I'm the Map

After interrogating the remaining orc, who has a long jagged scar on his left cheek, the adventurers learn that his name is Hjörtur. He is a bounty hunter from Grimkell. He works for a dwarf named Freymar and claims to be a champion painball player.

The party has him lead them to a gigantic tree, which has a circular building around its trunk, about 80 feet up in the air. Dag and Torment begin to climb the tree and several dryads appear higher up in its branches. One of the dryads touches a huge acorn, which falls toward Dag, narrowly missing him. Dag continues to climb toward the dryad, who magically charms him and forces him to leave the tree. Meanwhile, Corros has a word with Hjörtur and then sets him free.

At this point, Mazel begins to talk to the dryads, eventually convincing them to allow him to climb the tree and enter the dwelling. Inside he finds various books. There is also simple cloak on a bed, with a leather bound book on top of it. As Mazel touches the book he receives a shock and is struck blind. As Mazel tries to decide what to do next, the book begins to speak to him. It turns out that the Doramir (the exploramir) has been cursed by Kuldene, the goddess of healing and wisdom whom he serves. He has been transformed into a sentient book. He begs the group to go in search of the Horn of Larimar, which he believes will lift the curse. He also mentions that the group will not be able to get into Sir Bertram’s hidden fortress without a magical concertina. Last he knew, this instrument was owned by Nývarð Ashwell, the owner of a music emporium in Grimkell.

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