View Full Version : [3.5] Red Hand of Doom at a Higher Level...

2010-02-22, 08:54 PM
So, I recently managed to score a used copy of Red Hand of Doom from my local bookstore, which is great since I offered to DM an "off-shoot" campaign to give everyone a nice, classic, highish level dungeon romp as a counterpoint to our high-intrigue E6 steampunk campaign. I've read through most of the module, as well as some of the useful RHoD threads on these very boards, and I'm very excited...there's just one problem:

My players already rolled characters, and I told them to start at ECL 11. Well, half of my potential players did at least. One has his character sheet 100% done complete with standard wealth by level, while the other has the framework. The rest (2-3 more players) haven't even started yet.

As I see it, I have three options:

1) Tell the first player (dwarven monk/drunken master with house rule that both classes have full BAB) to go down to level 5 or 6, and have the other (a goliath barbarian) do the same. Run RHoD "out of the box" or mostly so with a few changes here and there.

2) Level everything in RHoD up, and try to run the campaign at a higher level. Azaar Khul gets to be 20th level, everything gets nastier, the mooks all get a level or two and fighter levels, etc. I don't mind this as much since I am good at crunch but not at fluff, so long as the basic premise of the story still works at this level.

3) Don't do RHoD this run. Do something else entirely, and save the classic module for a day when everyone is okay starting fresh with a more balanced party at 5th level or even 1st level with a prologue.

What, playgrounders, is the way to go? Is RHoD even fun and exciting when the party has access to resurrection and teleport and polymorph from the get go, and is it even worth having them fight "mooks"? Do the npcs of the town need to be similarly leveled, or is it more cool to have the heroes and villains be impossibly strong, to make the battle seem even more hopeless? And do you have any advice on RHoD in general? Does the monk fix seem to strong compared to what the others in the party are going to be doing (the other players are looking at Warlock, Rogue/Nightsong Infiltrator, and unknown but most likely Druid, Sorcerer, or Bard)? Or even with such a fix, is this party going to die a tragic death against even an unmodified RHoD?

2010-02-22, 09:00 PM
Creating 2 new characters is much easier than modifying every creature in an entire campaign.

2010-02-22, 09:17 PM
1 or 3 seem to be the best options really.

I'd honestly go with 1 to begin with, and if they're really passionate about playing their characters at level 11, go ahead and shelve RHoD for another time.

2010-02-22, 09:33 PM
1 or 3 seem to be the best options really.

I'd honestly go with 1 to begin with, and if they're really passionate about playing their characters at level 11, go ahead and shelve RHoD for another time.

/agree with Kylarra.

IMO, Teleport/Resurrection/etc. will, indeed, ruin the tension of RHoD.

2010-02-22, 10:50 PM
Go for 1 or 3. 1 is what I did for my campaign. My players actually wanted a "prequel" to an existing adventure, so I decided to run a war adventure since it was their background. We ended up with RHOD, with the same characters 5 levels lower.

It diverged into its own continuity, though, since the characters died. :P

And as for Azarr Kul---are you SURE you want to run him as a Lv 20 Clericzilla?

2010-02-22, 11:41 PM
Yeah, save yourself a world of headache and have your players roll up at level 5. It's not that big of a deal, and by the end of the campaign they should be about level 10-11 anyway, so they should be able to reach that level of power.

2010-02-23, 02:36 AM
Yeah, so Red Hand of Doom doesn't remotely work at higher levels. Armies of mooks simply don't matter after about level 10 or 11, and fighting armies of mooks with the occasional boss fight is basically the story of RHoD. Have a couple players build new characters; it won't hurt anything and it'll save you a ton of work.

The good news is, people rolling out with monk builds probably aren't going to optimize enough to force you to buff or rework your NPCs and monsters from the default in RHoD. Good luck, have fun. :)

2010-02-23, 05:06 AM
RHoD is a very well written adventure. Running it with level 10-11 characters will ruin it. I'd start at level 5 or 6. It makes it more fun and more gritty.

2010-02-23, 07:11 AM
Just finished the adventure a week ago.

It's a good module, and I would recommend that you use the levels given, hell even weaken your party a bit for the real tension provided.

My party when they faced Azar Kull were all level 9. The wizard had a good Hide check before and managed to Spellcraft the area around, knowing about the effects of Unhallow(silence) and Antilife shell which made them able to prepare well enough.

They killed Azar Kull, albeit with some problems, but the Aspect? They curb stomped it in like three rounds immediately after Azar Kull and not a single one of them fell beneath 10 hp.

2010-02-23, 08:19 PM
Yeah, I'm with everyone else here. Start them at level 5, or try a different adventure.

Our group started at level 6 (due to a typo/discrepancy between the cover of the module and the internal text), and even that one extra level made a difference, especially early on.

A lot of what makes RHoD such a great module would be lost if everything was ramped up to start at 10th+ level...

2010-02-23, 08:27 PM
I'll throw in my 2p and agree with the overwhelming consensus - RHoD is deliberately designed for the levels at which it occurs. Leveling it up would require changes much more fundamental than simply raising a bunch of CRs.

EDIT: Apparently one of the reasons for starting at 5th level instead of 6th is so that you can get through a good chunk of it before choosing your 6th level feats. It may seem like a small discrepancy, but it does matter.

2010-02-23, 08:37 PM
Yeah, it quite bugged me that the cover clearly said 6th.

At some point in the future, the DM would like us to play the adventure from scratch again, armed with our foreknowledge (i.e. optimizing our builds for the adventure).

RHoD was also our first foray into a pre-written 3.5 adventure. We were all basically 3.X n00bs when we played it, only having done a handful of homebrew adventures (our group went straight from 2E to 3.5 after a several year break). The final battle ended up in a TPK. :smallfrown:

...still, all in all, a very enjoyable and memorable adventure. :smallsmile: