View Full Version : Red Hand Journal

2010-07-13, 10:03 PM
Finally got myself a stable group to run a Red Hand of Doom game, I had one previous that got themselves to Skull Gorge, but then the game fell apart for various reasons. Five out of the six players I have now are from my old one, but there has been no meta-gaming issues and they didn't get all that far before anyway. We've had a few sessions thus far, I'll do the first session in the first post and go from there.

I'm using a non-specific campaign world thus far, throwing the players into it directly going towards Drellin's Ferry from the start, allowing their backgrounds to flush out the campaign world for when the Red Hand part is finished.

The characters

5/6 of the players are male, the other one is my girlfriend, will let you know which character is hers when the campaign ends.

Lucius Whisperwind (human male bard2/marsh3) - Traveling historian for the Disciples of Legend, heading to Elsir to gather stories and information about Rhest and Vraath as the valley is secluded and not much is known about the heroes of those times.

Zhoia (human female scout/sublimeway ranger, not sure on spread, but tot lv 5) - Hired guide to Lucius, doesn't know the vale, but is good in the wilderness. Has three warbeast leopards that she got from service to her king.

Jim Jameson (human male warblade 5. Tiger focused with hatchets) - A bit blood thirsty, and kind of reckless in combat. Traveling mercenary that met with the group on his way to new lands.

Kara Karinch (half-elf female cleric of garl glittergold) - Returning to visit her Gnome adoptive-uncle in Brindol. Incognito as there were some assassins looking for her. Met the rest of the group on the road to the vale and joined for protection.

Korgoth (gnome/winged dragonborn male dragon fire adept) - Kind of obnoxious and greedy, but otherwise the most stringent on being as ethical as possible in most circumstances. Felt a spiritual calling to the vale, joined the party on the road as they were heading in the same direction. Knows more languages than the rest of the party combined.

Jane (female halfling spirit shaman) - Wondering healer and nature lover, rarely stays in the same place for long. She has three apes: Kong (warbeast, used as mount), Andrew, and Coco. Prefers to sit back while they smash and she throws lightning at her foes.

To give an idea of why some villains have such high stats, I had the PCs make theirs with a base of 8, then having 30 to spend on a 1:1 basis (though not going over 18 without racial adjusts).

Monster Modifications:


Swordsage 2/Warblade 2
dual wielding +1 short swords


Swordage 4
I have unarmed and dragon chain variants for this.
Depending on weapon I either have desert wind dodge or exotic weapon prof.

Session 1:

The party, sans Jane, started the game with the Marauder Attack happening about 3 hours outside of town, timing it so they go to town late afternoon.
Zhoia, using her scent ability, and good perception checks, was able to pin point the hobgoblins hiding about rather early, sent leopards after them promptly, and set to work herself. The rest of the party, following slightly behind, joined in, and made short work of the whole encounter, killing most of the soldiers before the Cleric and Bladebearer showed up, and made short work of them too. Kara threw out some inflict spells. I was surprised at how good some of the Marshall's auras worked, I don't think anyone wound up with an initiative below 20 this combat.

Surprisingly enough to me, after the combat the party pretty much just left the bodies alone, didn't drag them off or anything. They checked the farm house, saw the bodies, and left. Very distinct lack of looting from anyone.

The party gets to Drellin's Ferry after another few minutes of real time, few hours of game time. The party greeted Sgt Hersk reasonably friendly, Zhoia was told that she would need to see about getting her Leopards watched by Avarthel, since the towns folk wouldent much appreciate them roaming around, even if trained. Everyone else was waived through, after an idle mention of being attacked down the road.

Korgoth and Jim ran into Gausler's, while Kara took a shopping trip and put on a disguise (as her parents' murderers were from the Vale), Lucius hung around the Brewhouse and watched Korgoth and Jim start their fairly antagonistic rivalry. Jim starts by ordering the strongest Gausler has, who then brings him back a huge ol' tankard filled with different booze and beer that he aptly calls the "Dwarf Killer," Korgoth decides to prove his dragoniness by getting the same (despite being 1/3 the size of Jim). They both polish off 3 and a bit of a 4th before passing out (they were both rolling like crazy on their fort saves, both of which had fairly respectable ones). At which time the rest of the party drags them onto the ferry and get a bit polite conversation from Drathgar.

That night Jim and Korgoth are dumped into their bedroom by the party as they go out (Korgoth in a footlocker with a pillow and Jim on a bed, the other bed being for Lucius), while Kara explores the town (and actually goes to have a fairly polite and slightly awkward conversation with Sertieran, where she learns a good bit about the area and gets hit on a little), Lucius takes a trip back to Gausler's to play a tune, and Kara takes a walk around the town to get some fresh air and find out what's going on. Kellin (who I'm surprised is CG by the book) decides that the two drunks being left alone is prime opportunity to snag some extra cash and swipes 20gp (which at this point is maybe 1/5 of their holdings) from each of the sleeping adventurers. Wiston and Soranna catch up with Zhoia and convince the group, after gathering the non-drunk ones up, to fix this goblin problem for 500gp each. Kara ties down the foot locker that Korgoth is sleeping in for the fun of it before everyone settles down for the night.

Lucius wakes up to Korgoth freaking out in his box, thinking Jim killed him, while Jim counts his coins and starts yelling at Korgoth for stealing them, despite being locked in a trunk. Korgoth counts his up and starts blaming Jim for stealing his, leading to, at least as a DM, a hilarious moment of bickering. Finally, Kara and Zhoia walk in, laughing at the bickering and with Lucius get everyone settled down and ready for the travels ahead. Zhoia learned about Jorr from both Brother Derny and Soranna the night before, so they set their course for him. Zhoia picks up her leopards and notices that Avarthel is taking care of some apes as well, which seems rather odd to her, but decides to not investigate further. The party finds Jorr's place, with Zhoia luckily being able to restrain her cats as the dogs run up to greet (read: bark viciously at) them. However goblins and sent by Soranna were quickly out of the parties' mouth and he happily obliged to help them to Vraath for 10 gold and some goblin killin'

On to the hydra, as the party approached the marsh, Jim sees the downed wagon and quickly rushes to it to inspect, and rather quickly gets mauled while digging the armor out just as Zhoia smells something (gotta love that scent stance) and starts to call out a warning. The hydra makes another pretty good attack on Jim, almost knocking him into unconsciousness. Every round Jorr is pounding at least one arrow into it, nobody else has much range, Kara keeps heals up a bit, and Lucius throws out a silent image of a huge dragon, the hydra critically fails on its will save, 3/4 of its hit points are gone, and it runs away.

By this time Jane's player finally finishes the character up (after showing a few hours late due to work), I rule that Avarthel mentioned to Jane that a group was traveling north to try to get rid of the goblin raiders, and that it was the same group that had left the leopards there before, so Jane gets to the group, Zhoia recognizes the apes and they join up (and I don't feel like I hand waved it too much). Jane makes some funny comments about now they are such a big tribe now and everyone shall be such great friends, notably after Korgoth and Jim fight some more.

End of the second night is spent sleeping near Vraath keep, the party sees the "ghost" but is not well fooled.

Day 3 - Battle for Vraath Keep:

Zhoia scouts around Vraath to get a gauge of what they will be facing, between the giant boulders, a respectable hide check, and best of all: Shadow Jaunt.

This take some time, but before too long they have a plan (heavily influenced by Jane, Lucius and Zhoia):

FYI, I throw in a couple more worg riders and four more vets due to the party size and some of them having good builds. Koth is beefed up too, with much of his sheet at the bottom.

Zhoia and Jane get their animals up around the back, from there they will jump/climb up to the roof via boulders and the wall only being 15' (leopards and apes are rather mobile creatures!) while Kara, Lucius, Korgoth, and Jim go around the side. Everyone gets in place except Korgoth, who decides to just walk in the front door, "Because I'm a dragon, rawr." Kara goes invisible, and gets sight of some hobgoblins gambling inside the quarters, Lucius takes a peek and horribly fails his hide, and gets spotted. The minotaur and hobgoblins rush out to attack as Korgoth runs in the front door and Jane throws down an entangling roots where the minotaur and three of the hobgoblins are, trapping them pretty badly, and leaving the three hobs in a perfect cone for Korgoth.

Karkilan's cry alerted Koth, who ran into the war room pretty quickly and started casting some buffs on himself (mage armor and shield, I screwed up and forgot displacement and had him start packing up first). Then Karkilan got himself commanded to sit in the entangling roots and his axe greased out of his hands via Kara and Lucious, then properly beaten to death by Kara's maces and freedom of action via travel domain.

Zhoia and her leopards jumped into the open tower and ran down through it to the ground level and she made a good listen to hear Koth packing up, sending one leopard to kill a hobgoblin while she investigated, Zhoia found Koth packing and promptly send a leopard after him, all of the attacks bouncing off his now 24 ac. Koth, having everything in the bag, decides to make an over run through the leopard so he can escape, the leopard then starts its crazy as all hell string of AOO and grapple checks, knocking Koth on his butt and grappling him for the remainder of the combat, Koth got a displacement, but just could not get away from two leopards and a ranger stabbing him to death.

Outside the hobgoblins are getting wasted by dragon breath, apes, and a tiger style warblade ripping through everything, not to mention a flame sphere (from Jane) chasing doggies and goblins away.

One rather memorable scene involved a worg rider getting trapped between a wall, the giant skeleton, and a flaming sphere, leaping off his worg, climbing the skeleton, up the wall, and turning around to see the sphere just rise up off the ground and consume him in fire (as I give a "Wait, those things can fly?" response) as he fell to his death on the other side of the wall.

Koth somehow managed to get down to 0 hp, hardly got to his anyone with anything except a lightning blast I rolled a bunch of 1's on and everyone made saves. Korgoth walks into the war room and says "Hey, you know you have a cat on your face?" Koth surrenders, which is accepted and he is shackled, Kara casts comprehend languages after Koth refuses to acknowledge that he understands common. Korgoth does much of the talking/translation/interrogating, not getting much except the occasional "The red hand will kill you all" and a laugh that says "I'm in control." Even after waving the yet unidentified magic missile wand (ironically, shield was the only spell not dispelled on him) in Koth's face, Korgoth announced "He laughs like he is still in control, what the hell?"

Jim makes some thinly veiled remark about Bahamut, Koth remarks which makes Korgoth focus his attention on Jim. Everyone else is outside of the room because Korgoth can speak goblin and Zhoia went to make sure everyone outside was alright. They walk back in about the time Jim walks up to Koth and punches him in the face, as Koth unleashes a final dragon breath on him before getting KOed. The party starts arguing about beating prisioners unconscious (of course, Korgoth says it was wrong, always being contrary to Jim). Having refused to make Jim immune to his breath weapon (or the weather for that matter), Korgoth does his slow and sickening breath on Jim in revenge for knocking Koth out, Jim punches him and leaves the war room.

We cut the session here because it is nearing 11 pm, the players are getting a little heated, and most of us had work at 7 am the next day x.x

As promised, Koth's build:

I beefed him up a fair bit and gave him some better spells, though much of the beefing just gave more HP, and let his AC go up without the spell failure. I've always loved the flavour of the Dragonheart Mage, and thought it would be appropriate for a Wyrmlord.

I think his stats were done the same way as the players', though I made him a while ago.

Bugbear Sorc 2/Dragonheart Mage (races of drag) 5

St 16
Dx 16
Cn 16
It 8
Ws 12
Ch 16

Fort 8
Ref 7
Will 9

HP 81

lv 1 Imp Initiative
lv 3 Skill Focus (bluff)
lv 6 Practiced Spellcaster
lv 9 Draconic Legacy
Sorc lv 1 (house rule) Draconic Heritage
DHM 2 Draconic toughness
DHM lv 4 Draconic Resistance

Lv 3 spells: Major Image, Displacement
Lv 2 Spells: Glitterdust, Detect Thoughts
Lv 1 spells: Charm Person, Ventriloquism, Mage Ar, Shield, Ray of Enfeeblement.

Plus the standard treasure from the book.

The next session took place a week later, but I still have much to write for it, and would like to get this done and through.

My favorite highlights were Korgoth and Jim getting real mean with each other over the stolen gold, the flaming sphere following the goblin, and Korgoth freaking out over Koth laughing knowingly while tied up.

I was a little sad to see Koth go down so easily, but there was something funny about that leopard making crazy good rolls and just bringing him down little by little as he struggled.

Overall, the battle went well for the players, Korgoth's huge amount of HP (freaking 22 con due to gnome/dragonborn) let his walk in and attack tactic work (this time at least).

2010-07-13, 10:57 PM
As promised, here is session two, which took place roughly a week after the first session. I gave out copies of Koth's map to everyone to look at over the week, and they let me know that they wanted to head to the bridge next.

Lucius' player is sadly absent today, I was going to NPC him, and left the character sheet at work >.< So the npcing gets a bit improvised.

Day 3 - Aftermath and walking:

Our heroes finally calm down, heal up, and do indeed wind up finding that vault. Lucius pops open some locks, the bastard sword, I turned into a long sword due to utility, but still did not get any takers (everyone was using maces, or hatchets, kukris, apes and fire, or dragon's breath. Lucius may take it upon returning. I forgot to tell Korgoth's player what the smaller gloves did when he put them on, but will have to do it next session. Korgoth took the dragon's head as a helmet. Lucius and Zhoia sift through the treasure and divide it up completely fairly, though don't mention the deed to anyone (though the two of them know about it). Kara takes the staff, as Zhoia is nervous about unidentified magical items, and Kara is pretty sure she knows what it is after using a detect magic and spellcraft check. Jim splits up the gold (splits it 5 ways, just gives Korgoth a much heavier bag of silver and says it was fair, with Korgoth for some reason accepted at face value) he gathered from the troops upstairs while Jane has a "banana party" with her apes, which I hope really means feeding them bananas.

They load Koth up on an ape and head back to Jorr, who was keeping camp, they agree to send Jorr back to Drellin's Ferry to warn them about the army that is suppose to march down the Dawn Way, to which Jorr agrees. There is some discussion about what to do about Koth, as Jorr can't carry him back, and they all need to investigate the bridge. Nearing the end of the discussion Jane, much to my surprise, tosses Koth off her ape and orders Kong to smash, taking care of the whole "What do we do about Koth?" discussion. Jorr is pleased with the turn out because Koth was in league with the goblins, and nobody else says much, either out of shock or embarrassed agreement with the solution.

They get to the bridge that evening, but set up camp far enough into the woods not to be seen, as few of them have good night vision, so sneaking would not work well.

Bridge Crew:

Added a second hobgoblin for each tower as well as 3 more vets plus two clerics to the encampment.

Ozy got clinging breath and a minor con/st boot (+1 or +2)

Day 4 - Battle on the Big Bridge:

The plan is simple, charge in with two groups, take the towers, then figure out what to do from there. Which they do.

First off, Kara goes invisible and hits the SE tower with fly, Zhoia/Leopards and Lucius charge the SW, Jane/Apes and Korgoth charge the SW one with Jim running down the middle toward the hell hound.

Ozy flies around, does a breath attack to the crew in the SE tower, then loops back for his bull's strength potion while his breath resets.

The tower hobgoblins go down quick, with one in the SE surrendering and Jane watching as she does not call off Andrew the ape caving his head in. Jim takes good care of one of the hell hounds and is dealing with the other while the encampment gets organized. The four total in the other towers do some fair ineffective aid another to let others hit actions, though the minor damage is adding up a bit. Kara (now buffed with bull's strength too) flies over to the NE tower to start fighting, while the Sgt lines up his men on the bridge and start firing, mostly at Jim, who takes some hits, but not too badly.

Ozy decides to just go for the easy kill and tries to eat Kara, who does a full retreat (err, more like a drop and stop) about 30' above the raging river. The rest of the party gets things together to finish the hobs, Jane does another flaming sphere, setting the stairs on the NE tower ablaze, while Zhoia and Jim finish off the last hell hound and charge the arrow line, leopards making short work of the front line. Ozy grapples Kara, who freedom of movements out of it, I forget what Kara did after that, but Ozy tore into her, hit thrice, somehow only did 13 damage, but that took Kara to -1, which dropped her into the water.

Not bothering to check on how long it takes to gain altitude, I gave the party 3 rounds before Ozy got back to the bridge. In those, the NW stairs were ablaze, the clerics got some hold persons in place on Jim and Korgoth, but were killed when Zhoia was able to get on them. Ozy finally hops up onto the bridge to see his troops all killed, or on fire and gives another round of breath, hitting a couple of leopards, Zhoia, Korgoth, and Jim. They all launch a few weak attacks, some call lightning, but nothing major. Korgoth drops from the clinging damage next round, Jim gets a look in his eye of "I can just kick him and he'll be dead" but he also drops from clinging when his turn comes up right after.

Jane sends Andrew and Coco, the apes, down to go fetch the bodies (both in negatives, and have until -con score to die, so both have at least a few more rounds). Zhoia is grappled, but next turn shadow jaunts into a tower and ducks down, sufficiently hiding. Ozy full attacks Andrew the ape, who is right next to him, completely killing him. After being shocked with another lightning bolt, being pissed at a second puny human escaping his grasp, and being down to 50 HP, Ozy decides to cut his losses, snags the ape he killed because he's never eaten ape before, and takes off.

The session ends with everyone except Kara being recovered, some hobgoblin funds being recovered, and healings happening.

Whew, first death, easily could have gone with a second one, but decided to just get rid of one of those apes instead. Kara held a bag of holding, pretty sufficient funds, and that really sweet staff of life, with no way to recover any of it.

I definitely think I need to redo the Sergeants into Warblades with some white raven stuff, if nothing else leading the charge, just to give that bit of extra oompf.

Everyone else hits level 6 (except lucius, though I'll likely hand him enough xp for it when he returns due to my playing him a bit, he mostly hid in a tower for the fight though). Kara made some foolish choices, but was a good character, so I let her player's next character start at min xp for lv 6.

Jane is getting bloody merciless about the hobgoblins living, and keeps getting more and more into the "We are a big happy tribe, like best friends" and Korgoth has gotten around to the idea of "If we're a tribe, then we should share our dragon horde." So party cohesion is happening.


we spoke through e-mail a bit, they recovered a hobgoblin, and with Lucius' silly high social skills, found out that the army is due to cross skull gorge within the next week. Their plan about the bridge is thus:

Zhoia and Korgoth run down to Drellin's Ferry (as with 40' move Zhoia can make it to town in a day, and with Korgoth's minor flight and really high con, he wont be far behind) to warn the town about the impending invasion, hoping that Jorr has prepped them for it, and to get permission to take out the bridge, since it would be wrong to screw up the trade route without the town's permission.

However, the rest of the party is left at the bridge as a contingency, if they see the army get close, Jane technically has up to 10 castings of soften ground, so they'll collapse the bridge then, unless they get further instructions from Zhoia or Drellin's Ferry.

On an end note, Korgoth feels the need to take leadership, and based on wanting to be nice to the players' needs, give it to him. Especially since I've been beefing things up anyway.

Next game is planned for 19 July, so hopefully have more to add then!

Hope everyone has enjoyed so far.