|“||Yuty, what is- you can't be serious. Yuty- they tried to kill you!
- Wenrule, of the offer for peace terms with Mire's Edge.
Wenrule is an NPC from the Temphere campaign universe. He was the main antagonist of the Garden Party's second adventure, and the true leader of the Black Claw. As with all Temphere NPCs, Wenrule was played by Tiger.
Wenrule was once a citizen of Kuria and a member of the Shifting Mist tribe, as his family had been for generations. When humans established the village of Mire's Edge in the swamp that the Shifting Mist controlled, there was a tremendous amount of tension, and Wenrule's family in particular wasn't happy about it. When Apogri, the leader of the tribe, established a truce with Mire's Edge, Wenrule and most of his family were adamantly opposed to the idea. Only one of the family- Wenrule's brother- was willing to give peace a try.
At some point, a long sunken Yuan-Ti temple rose from the water of the swamp. With both Mire's Edge and the Shifting Mist highly intrigued by this new treasure, they decided to send a joint archaeological team to explore and study the temple. However, the team vanished without a trace, nobody hearing from them after they left for the temple.
Eventually, Wenrule went alone to the temple to investigate. He found the entire expedition team dead, to all appearances having killed one another. The exact circumstances of what happened are unknown, but it is presumed to have been at least in part caused by the power of the Silvertongue Staff, an artifact in the temple which Wenrule then took possession of.
Regardless, Wenrule was overcome with fury at the death of his brother, and saw this disaster as proof the humans and scalefolk could never cooperate. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and with the help of a naive young green dragon he met named Dodriar, he gathered like-minded scalefolk to form a group called the Black Claw. With Dodriar as their leader, the group dedicated itself to interfering with trade in and out of the swamp and robbing the folk of Mire's Edge, in order to make life in the swamp as inhospitable as possible for the humans. The group used the Yuan-Ti temple as their base of operations and hideout.
Dodriar warned the Black Claw not to actually hurt anyone, but to destroy as much property and steal as many valuables and goods as they could. Relations between Kuria and Mire's Edge frayed as the humans believed the Shifting Mist to be behind the banditry, while the Shifting Mist uninvolved with the Black Claw were incensed at the baseless accusations.
At some point during this, Wenrule and Dodriar came across a trio of kobold scouts from the Shifting Mist being attacked by six humans who were bent on killing them. Wenrule and Dodriar killed the humans to save the scouts, in the process winning to their cause the help of Yuty, the captain of Kuria's winged kobold scouts. Yuty was able to warn them when the Shifting Mist was planning to send search parties into the swamp after the Black Claw, so that the bandits could negate the threat without having to hurt their own people.
However, it became obvious as time passed that their efforts were doing little but infuriating the humans. Shortly after Yuty was attacked the truce broke down entirely, and while there were no further open hostilities neither side was talking to the other. Yet the humans showed no signs of planning to vacate their town, and Wenrule started to get impatient. He chaffed at Dodriar's peaceable efforts to drive out Mire's Edge, advocating for more direct attacks on the human invaders- if thefts, hunger, and want hadn't gotten rid of them, maybe fear of dying if they set foot out of their homes at night would. Dodriar was emphatically against this, and Yuty supported him. At first, so too did the rest of the Black Claw. However, Wenrule started using the Silvertongue Staff's power, augmenting his own charisma with it to persuade more and more of the group to his side. He and his followers started taking violent measures, over top of Dodriar and Yuty's protests.
Adventure 2 - The Black Claw Gang Edit
The Black Claw had been setting bug traps all throughout their campaign, however at Wenrule's instigating they swapped out what had previously been nothing more than a swarm of annoying mosquitoes for much larger and more aggressive swarms that could easily suck a person dry within a few minutes. It was one of these bug traps that was the Garden Party's first exposure to the Black Claw... and once they managed to fight the bugs off, they were ambushed by five members of the gang in person, Wenrule with his Silvertongue Staff among them.
The party was in no shape to confront the bandits directly, so Cree attempted a monumental bluff- convincing the Black Claw that Dahlia was a gold dragon wyrmling in disguise. The scalefolk were incredulous, but after taking a moment to consider the situation Wenrule decided it was not worth whatever they might get from the party to risk angering a pair of dragon parents, and so allowed the group to proceed without further harm.
The party began to investigate the strange goings-on, learning about the tensions between the Shifting Mist and Mire's Edge as well as the fatal archaeological expedition that Wenrule's brother was lost to before venturing to the Yuan-Ti temple directly. Curiously, however, no one they talked to in the temple seemed to recognize them, or understand what Cree was talking about when she referenced Dahlia's being a gold dragon.
Wenrule was not directly encountered by the party again until they reached the bottom of the temple, and overheard him arguing with Yuty (though at the time they didn't know who they were listening to). Wenrule had apparently been deliberately keeping the whole "gold dragon" thing a secret to prevent the rest of the Black Claw from panicking, though Yuty accused him of leaving them ill-equipped to handle the danger posed by such a threat in the process. They argued for a bit, until Wenrule dismissed Yuty to assume watch over Dodriar and went back to his chambers.
The party followed Yuty, and after a moment's surprise, she decided that they were her best shot to bring the situation back under control. She explained everything she knew, and asked for the party to help her prevent Wenrule from pushing the Black Claw into doing something they wouldn't be able to take back- something that she knew would be the end of them. They agreed, and she introduced them to Dodriar, who also wanted to help stop Wenrule.
At first the party wanted to try to reason with Wenrule, but as soon as he realized he'd been betrayed, the kobold went berserk. Furious, he shut down all attempts at diplomacy, and used the Silvertongue Staff to cast Charm Person on Dodriar and "persuade him to my side." He started to order his men to attack, but Cree- incensed that he would use mind control magic on a child, dragon or not- cut him off by spraying acid at the entire group. As his men moved to attack back at the party, Cree charged past them at Wenrule himself, wresting the Silvertongue Staff from his hands. The two scuffled briefly, Wenrule calling Dodriar over to help protect himself. Anther finally managed to knock Wenrule out, snapping Dodriar back to normal and ending the fight.
Cree used the Identify spell to inspect the staff, discovering what it did and guessing that Wenrule must have been using it to sway the Black Claw against Dodriar. The still conscious scalefolk agreed with this hurriedly, stating that they were no longer feeling like hurting anyone. The still unconscious Wenrule was bound and given to Dodriar to carry back to Kuria, where he was taken into custody to be healed before facing justice for his crimes. His ultimate fate is unknown.
Wenrule was a rotten piece of work. Selfish, self-aggrandizing, obsessive, and with some seriously lax morals, there was no way the party was ever going to get him out of power without a fight. Wenrule was fixated on his hatred of Mire's Edge and desire for revenge to the exclusion of all else, even concern for the other scalefolk he was nominally supposed to be helping. When things didn't go his way, he had no quibbles about using manipulative magic to sway them his way, even to the point of using Charm Person on a young child in the hopes of forcing that child into genociding the human town against his will. It isn't entirely clear if he was always this way, or if frustration and impatience drove him to it over time, but it is very probable that of all the Black Claw, Wenrule has the most to answer for.
- Pretty much the entire party of players assumed Wenrule was a lizardfolk- such to the point that when he appeared in person, the party thought he was just some random kobold sorcerer until Tiger slipped his name in narration.
- Anther struck the final blow against Wenrule.