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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    I wanna hold your HAAAAAAND!

    *ahem*

    So yeah another one of these, this time in PATHFINDER! It also uses my homebrew setting, found here and in my sig. It also uses the few homebrew feats I've made. A couple important houserules:

    #1: No resurrection, raise dead, reincarnate, nothing. As compensation, I offered #2 to help take the edge off.

    #2: I call this "the Video Game Way." If a PC hits negatives in combat, they don't die unless an enemy takes the time to Coup de Grace them. This only counts for combat damage, so jumping off a cliff or getting your throat slit still kills you normally. This helps make it so a lucky crit just takes them out of the fight, not the campaign. This rule actually prevented at least one character death in the very first fight.

    THE PARTY:
    Skalfdir No-Trousers, CG Kitsune Bard 5 (Savage Skald): A white-furred kitsune from the frozen north. Wears an armored kilt he is rather proud of, and sings of great viking heroes while charging into battle with his rapier. Uses my Finesse Fighter feat to actually do damage.

    Jack'o Longfellow, CG Gnome Cleric of Thor 5 (Arson and Community domains): Jack is open, charitable, and kind. He believes people are best gathered in harmony around a fire, like a hearth... or Burning Man.

    Raiku Hoshimura, N Human Ranger 5 (Guide archetype, Two-handed style): Taciturn fellow from Distant Eres. Wanders the world in search of adventure and of himself. Uses a naginata and my not-sucky version of Whirlwind Attack to kill a bunch of guys at once.

    Nico Surienne, LN Half-Elf Monk of the Four Winds 5: Intelligent and inquisitive, Nico seeks out places with rich history so that she might record them. Uses my Powerful Intellect feat to get skill points without gimping her ability scores, and uses Finesse Fighter to further reduce MAD.


    SESSION 1: In Which The Dice Are Incredibly Fickle
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    So, Jack's player wasn't actually here for this session, but he filled us in on what his character is like and sent me his character sheet so I could control the character in his absence. A good thing too, his healing would turn out to be invaluable...

    The party is heading towards Drellin's Ferry. Skalfdir and Jack wish to help the people with rumored bandit attacks. Nico wishes to inspect Vraath Keep, among other historical sites. Raiku serves as their guide. They are not too far outside the village when Nico spots hobgoblin archers in the trees! Combat breaks out, and Nico and Raiku charge off into difficult terrain to take out the archers on one side, while Skalfdir charges off to the OTHER side, with Jack a little ways behind to provide support.

    The hobgoblins didn't even really get to fire, as their targets are on top of them very quickly. They drop their bows and brandish their longspears (yup, I basically wanted hobgoblins to be Spartans so I gave them spears). The reach on the spears makes it difficult to engage them, but Nico has good Acrobatics and Raiku can attack with reach also. Their targets go down quickly, but Skalfdir has trouble getting close and finishing off his.

    It isn't long before Uth-Lar and his six subordinates show up (the regulars have spears, I made Uth-Lar a two-handed fighter for extra oomph). Raiku and Uth-Lar meet in combat back on the road. Uth-Lar makes a charge attack, taking moderate damage from Raiku's AoO, and takes a swing for a good portion of Raiku's health. Raiku's counterattack is better though, a DOUBLE CRITICAL takes Uth-Lar from most of his HP to dead in one shot. Three of the spearmen move to surround Raiku, and the other three move to attack Skalfdir, leaving the kitsune facing down five opponents with superior reach (he killed one beforehand).

    The rest of the fight is very swingy. The goblins actually have OK attack bonuses, even against Nico and Skaldfir's pretty good AC. They can't seem to roll high... unless they get a critical, sometimes a double critical. Zarr makes is presence known with a Spiritual Weapon that targets Raiku and never hits the whole fight. He tries to Hold Person Nico, and when that doesn't work, Command her. She shrugs off both spells and moves to engage. She and Zarr engage in an epic duel where neither manages to hit the other for many, many rounds.

    Raiku uses Whirlwind Attack to kill all three of his attackers in one shot (jeez this guy rolls high) and moves to help Skalfdir. Unfortunately the sheer number of attacks and AoO's knocks both the Bard and Ranger into negatives. Jack saves the day with a selective channel energy, bringing both warriors back to consciousness. They make some good attacks while prone, but Raiku hits negatives again, though he is once again healed back. Nico FINALLY knocks Zarr unconscious and moves to help the others, which turns the tide and the two surviving hobgoblins flee south with great haste.

    After healing up and tying the unconscious Zarr around a tree, they pursue the fleeing hobgoblins. They catch up to them, and some Intimidate checks make them decidedly less hostile. Skalfdir wants survivors from the fight to flee back to their leaders to spread word of these "fearsome warriors" aka PCs. That's what appears to happen.

    The party heads back to Zarr and interrogate him. He is evasive at first, literally laughing off their attempts to get information. Some intimidate checks from Skalfdir, however, gets him to spill the fact that a larger group of hobgoblins is preparing to attack Drellin's Ferry, and possibly more of the Vale. They also get a name: Azarr Kul. They know from Zarr that he's their leader, but knowledge checks turn up nothing on the guy, so this isn't particularly useful at the moment.

    The PCs knock out Zarr again and drag him to Drellin's Ferry, which earns a healthy measure of respect, admiration, and a bit of fear from the guards and the townsfolk. The PCs are offered good furnishings at the Old Bridge Inn, and Skaldfir gets along famously with Kellin Shadowbanks as they swap stories over ale. Meanwhile, Raiku explores the town a bit, taking particular interest in the circle of menhirs known as the Old Ones.

    The next morning, Norro Wiston arrives to thank the party and help make them feel welcome. I played Wiston... well you know the kind of camp counselor that never raises his voice and is just so positive and nice to the point of being annoying but you can't get mad at him because he's too nice? Wiston is sort of like that. He very politely asks if they would help dispatch the hobgoblin warband, which he believes has taken up residence in the Witchwood. He also informs them of Jorr. They accept for 500 GP apiece. They also go around town selling stuff from they looted from the hobgoblins. They sell a +1 banded mail to Captain Soranna, and have a run-in with Siertieren the Not-So-Wise-As-His-Name-Implied, in which he tells them to bring him anything "neat" that they find in the Witchwood. They also visit The Old Ones and end up interrupting Avarthel's meditation. He irritably answers their questions and sends them on their way, since he wishes to continue meditating to communicate with the spirits in the menhirs.

    So the party heads out into the Witchwood to find Jorr. Raiku uses wild empathy to calm Jorr's rowdy dogs, which makes Jorr much more receptive to their presence. My terrible hill-billy accent goes over quite well, and Jorr agrees to guide them to Vraath Keep, where he suspects the hobgoblins have made camp. They come across the causeway over the river and see the overturned wagon. Raiku makes a beeline for it but a last-minute perception check prevents him from becoming Hydra bait. Initiative is rolled, and the hydra does a bit of damage, shrugging off the first couple hits with its fast healing (I used the improved version from 3.5). The hydra doesn't get a second turn, however, as with both melee characters in range and Inspire Courage up it takes way more damage than even Fast Healing 16 can handle.

    We ended the session there.


    Thoughts (players keep out)
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    1) The hobgoblin regulars each are each Fighter 2 (Phalanx Soldier archetype), since in PF CR is equal to class levels -1. They had OK attack bonuses, which meant they could actually hit the PCs, but their HP was low and they got 1-shotted left and right. The decision to give them long spears was great though, as it turned a relatively boring encounter into a semi-complex tactical fight.

    2) I totally forgot to put the hellhounds in the ambush

    3) PF PCs can do a lot of damage. I had been holding off buffing other creatures in the adventure too much for fear of overpowering the players. I probably don't need to do hold back anymore. Karkilan's getting a barbarian level. The worg riders are already 4th level cavaliers, I might buff them more. Ozzyrandion is gonna be the full CR 8 for a young green dragon.

    4) I restatted Uth-Lar as a 5th level fighter with the Two-Handed fighter archetype. I really wish he hadn't gotten criticaled into oblivion.

    5) Seriously, there were a crap-ton of criticals rolled in that first fight.

    6) I think my characterizations of the NPCs went over quite well (I think). It was a lot fun to do them at least.


    EDIT: I should mention, in my campaign setting, Tiamat is a CE Demon Lord, not an LE deity. So the party notes how odd it is that decidedly lawful hobgoblins would worship her...
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-07-22 at 08:13 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    As always when it comes to RHOD journals - watching with interest!

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    As always when it comes to RHOD journals - watching with interest!
    Thanks!

    For the record, people can expect the next update this coming Sunday, and then hopefully twice a week from then on, since I want to get through the adventure before summer is out.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Bookmarked! I'll be reading with great interest and inticipation. :)
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

    Vaz approval for the best backstory. Villainous Competition 16: Burn Baby Burn
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    Honorable Mention Villainous Competition 22: I Am The Night
    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...e-Night!/page6 Xihu Ayame

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Ok so Jack'Os player was absent again due to illness (I don't think I've ever run a game where a character has been there, but their player wasn't for the first 2 sessions). He was once again relegated to healbot duty, which helped the party a lot actually, and his ranks in knowledge engineering actually proved valuable.

    Breaking this session up into two posts for my own convenience.

    SESSION 2 Part 1: We'll "Keep" it!
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    Jorr leads the party to Vraath keep. They almost go into the ricketty gardner's shed, but decide against it (good thing too). They enter the keep and identify the large skeletons as Wood Giants (the pathfinder analog for Forest Giants), and head for the stables. They almost get a surprise round on the goblins, but a couple low stealth checks lead to an initiative roll. The goblins start yelling for their Worgs, but don't get far enough to mount them, as they are cut down by Raiku and Nico. The worgs actually put up an ok fight, but that's mostly because of poor rolls on the PCs' part. It takes Skalfdir, Jorr, and Raiku to put them both down. Nico spends this time tying up the second goblin, which promptly surrendered upon seeing how much damage the PCs were dealing out.

    Unfortunately, the hobgoblins in the barracks get lucky on their Perception checks, and by the time the PCs reemerge into the courtyard the hobs are moving to engage them. Karkilan the Minotaur takes a round to warn Koth, who begins to back up his stuff. Karkilan then bursts through the wall of the barracks Kool-Aid Man style and flies into a rage. The manticore hears the noise of battle appears on its roof, but doesn't join the fight yet. The hobgoblins and PCs trade blows for a while. The gobs wield shields in one hand and spears in the other, so their AC is such that neither side makes much headway. Things start to go south once Karkilan starts swinging, mostly at Raiku and Skalfdir (who are in range).

    BGM: The "Lord" of the Keep

    Koth then makes his appearance, commands the manticore to attack, and tries to nail Nico with Blindness/Deafness, but she saves. She moves up to strike the bugbear, but with Shield and Mage Armor up she has a tough time hitting him (I don't think Koth got hit once this fight), so she goes back to pursuing the hobgoblins. Koth can't line up a good Lightning Bolt for a long time, so he uses his wand most of the fight, occasionally throwing out a save-or-suck that the PCs save against. Karkilan deals a ton of damage to the boys and both hit negatives several times. However, Jack'O is there with a Selective Channel Energy each time, and Karkilan grows frustrated with his ability to end the interlopers. The hobgoblins pop in for damage too, but Raiku's Whirlwind Attack puts damage on all them in a hurry, and they eventually go down. The manticore is spraying spikes, but focuses on Jorr mostly, hoping to take out the only member of the party with a really good ranged attack. Eventually Raiku gets a double critical, which finishes off the already gravely injured Karkilan. Koth gets a lightning bolt off, but with only the manticore to back him up, realizes that he probably can't take the intruders, and thus drinks his potion of Fly and leaves. The manticore flees as well, once Jorr nocks off most of its HP. The keep is theirs!

    They search the barracks, finding that there was once a rectangular object on a table, but it is now gone. Searching Koth's quarters reveals the secret vault, which the PCs set about looting immediately. They find the cash and the deed to the keep, which makes them very happy. They also read Vraath's journal, and they are bemused by the fact that Vraath's final entry was one describing his victory. They begin to imagine what an entry would've been like if it was written while the keep was falling, to the point where Vraath would be writing as a wood giant pulps his legs, and merryment is had. They find the massive spiked gauntlet and the Staff of Life, which they are very pleased about (though the Raise Dead option is removed in my campaign setting).

    After realizing that this hardly constituted a headquarters for an entire hobgoblin war party, they discuss how to proceed to the real HQ. Skalfdir gives the captured goblin a drawing of the party defeating Koth and the Minotaur, and he intimidates the little green bugger into running back to his masters with it. (That's the second time he's done something like that...). After spending the night in their new keep, they decide to head north, the direction in which the goblin fled. They happen upon the Wood Giant effigy, but they don't know enough about Wood Giants to know whether they would be hostile or not, and thus they pass it by.


    Thoughts (players keep out!)
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    1) I'm really glad I gave Karkilan that barbarian level. It really turned him into a credible threat. (Credit to the Saintheart handbook there)

    2) The hobgoblin veterans are 4th level Fighters with the Phalanx Fighter archetype and the Shield wall feat, meaning they can wield reach weapons and shields. Their buffed AC made them a lot more durable

    3) Koth escaped with the map. I'll have to think about when he'll show up again.

    4) This is the second time Skalfdir has intentionally identified the party to the enemy. That's gonna come back to bite them later. I'll probably have Miha Serani and other assassins show up earlier. I'm thinking the raid on Drellin's Ferry might be refluffed as a mission specifically to kill the PCs.

    5) Raiku continues to be a bit of a glass cannon. He can deal lots of damage in a wide radius, but his AC is only 18. He has the Shield of Swings feat, but has been neglecting to use it. I might put extra AC items later on to help him out. Nico and Skalfdir both have great AC already.

    6) Nico's player realized she hasn't used her Ki Pool even once yet


    More to come
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-07-22 at 08:13 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Realized I should probably be spoilering these walls of text

    SESSION 2 Part 2: RHoD (Un)Abridged
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    The party comes across Skull Gorge Bridge, and fortunately are able to stop themselves in the tree line before they are spotted. They see the hobgoblins holding the bridge and are not particularly worried. The presence of a large sized Green Dragon panics them though. They seriously consider retreating back to Drellin's Ferry, but ultimately decide that if they can take one of the towers and force the enemy to come to them, they can maybe succeed in clearing out the threat.

    BGM: The Draconic Menace

    They charge in, Raiku first, attempting to blitz the unaware goblins and take cover before the dragon can wreck them. Ozy reacts quickly and buzzes them with his acid breath, dealing not too much damage but his speed worries them a bit. Raiku takes a couple turns to take out the hell hounds with Whirlwind Attack, but the pressure is on when the phalanx soldiers start advancing from their camp. Jorr is mostly attacking the archers, unable to get a good bead on Ozy, who's using his 200 foot fly speed to Fly-By Attack and then disappear over the trees or to the other side of the gorge. Fortunately for the party, another breath weapon is able to come for a while. And they engage the phalanx soldiers. The enemy holds out for a while, but the bridge forms a chokepoint that Nico and Raiku are able to hold without too much trouble. The hobgoblin archers end up being a bigger threat than I expected. They have crappy attack bonuses, but keep rolling high and roll an unusual number of 8s on their d8 bows. Ozy drinks his cure potion, and the party remarks that a dragon drinking a potion looks kind of surreal. When he vanishes into thin air the party freaks out a bit, and efforts to take cover are renewed. The phalanx soldiers are finished off and Nico moves to take out the archers. Raiku moves to engage them too, and just at the right moment. Ozy had set up a nasty full attack, but has to settle for another breath weapon. Ozy sees that Skalfdir, who had been focusing on the hobgoblins is on a tower roof and relatively undefended. The two engage in melee, and Ozy only manages to hit with a measly 2 of 6 attacks. The party regroups, and put a lot of damage on the dragon in one round. Ozy seeing as he may not be able to take another onslaught and that his allies are all dead, withdraws off into the distance.

    With the bridge secured, the party loots the encampment. The only real thing of note is a map detailing the movements of the oncoming forces. Seeing that the main war party is camped nearby, they decide to take a look. The sheer size of the army comes as a shock, and the presence of hill giants is worrying. Even more worrying though is the looming crimson form of a red dragon.

    They beat a hasty retreat back to Skull Gorge, and quickly decide to destroy it to delay the horde. After resting a repreparing spells spells, Jack'O identifies the weak point in the bridge. The party throws everything they got at it, using all the applicable spells available to them, and its just enough to send the bridge tumbling into the gorge. They quickly return to Drellin's Ferry to warn the hapless villagers... and that's where we left it.

    And they Level Up!!!


    Thoughts (players keep out)
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    1) Yeah I put the map at Skull Gorge. It makes sense that an away team would have it so they know when to expect the horde (at least it does to me).

    2) I ended up not making Ozy a young green, though the party may have actually been able to handle it. I instead kept him very young (which is the new age category after converting to Pathfinder) and gave him the Giant template to make him large and give him more HP.

    3) The reveal of the horde went really well. They were quite worried by the sight. I'm glad, since if that scene falls flat then the entire campaign loses impact.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-07-22 at 08:14 PM.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    Realized I should probably be spoilering these walls of text

    SESSION 2 Part 2: RHoD (Un)Abridged
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    The party comes across Skull Gorge Bridge, and fortunately are able to stop themselves in the tree line before they are spotted. They see the hobgoblins holding the bridge and are not particularly worried. The presence of a large sized Green Dragon panics them though. They seriously consider retreating back to Drellin's Ferry, but ultimately decide that if they can take one of the towers and force the enemy to come to them, they can maybe succeed in clearing out the threat.

    BGM: The Draconic Menace


    They charge in, Raiku first, attempting to blitz the unaware goblins and take cover before the dragon can wreck them. Ozy reacts quickly and buzzes them with his acid breath, dealing not too much damage but his speed worries them a bit. Raiku takes a couple turns to take out the hell hounds with Whirlwind Attack, but the pressure is on when the phalanx soldiers start advancing from their camp. Jorr is mostly attacking the archers, unable to get a good bead on Ozy, who's using his 200 foot fly speed to Fly-By Attack and then disappear over the trees or to the other side of the gorge. Fortunately for the party, another breath weapon is able to come for a while. And they engage the phalanx soldiers. The enemy holds out for a while, but the bridge forms a chokepoint that Nico and Raiku are able to hold without too much trouble. The hobgoblin archers end up being a bigger threat than I expected. They have crappy attack bonuses, but keep rolling high and roll an unusual number of 8s on their d8 bows. Ozy drinks his cure potion, and the party remarks that a dragon drinking a potion looks kind of surreal. When he vanishes into thin air the party freaks out a bit, and efforts to take cover are renewed. The phalanx soldiers are finished off and Nico moves to take out the archers. Raiku moves to engage them too, and just at the right moment. Ozy had set up a nasty full attack, but has to settle for another breath weapon. Ozy sees that Skalfdir, who had been focusing on the hobgoblins is on a tower roof and relatively undefended. The two engage in melee, and Ozy only manages to hit with a measly 2 of 6 attacks. The party regroups, and put a lot of damage on the dragon in one round. Ozy seeing as he may not be able to take another onslaught and that his allies are all dead, withdraws off into the distance.

    With the bridge secured, the party loots the encampment. The only real thing of note is a map detailing the movements of the oncoming forces. Seeing that the main war party is camped nearby, they decide to take a look. The sheer size of the army comes as a shock, and the presence of hill giants is worrying. Even more worrying though is the looming crimson form of a red dragon.

    They beat a hasty retreat back to Skull Gorge, and quickly decide to destroy it to delay the horde. After resting a repreparing spells spells, Jack'O identifies the weak point in the bridge. The party throws everything they got at it, using all the applicable spells available to them, and its just enough to send the bridge tumbling into the gorge. They quickly return to Drellin's Ferry to warn the hapless villagers... and that's where we left it.

    And they Level Up!!!


    Thoughts (players keep out)
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    1) Yeah I put the map at Skull Gorge. It makes sense that an away team would have it so they know when to expect the horde (at least it does to me).

    2) I ended up not making Ozy a young green, though the party may have actually been able to handle it. I instead kept him very young (which is the new age category after converting to Pathfinder) and gave him the Giant template to make him large and give him more HP.

    3) The reveal of the horde went really well. They were quite worried by the sight. I'm glad, since if that scene falls flat then the entire campaign loses impact.
    Good use of templates! also, good to see the reveal of the horde worked. Do you have any advice to ensure it has such an impact?
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Doorhandle View Post
    Good use of templates! also, good to see the reveal of the horde worked. Do you have any advice to ensure it has such an impact?
    Well it really lies in the setup. The hobgoblins should seem organized, but not such that they seem to have formed an army. The adventure kind of does this for you, having the party fight mostly raiders and small groups at first.

    Another thing is how the people in Drellin's Ferry react. They should seem on guard, but not particularly worried. They use words like warband and raid. I would avoid using terms like "horde" or "army" until after the reveal. Lulls the party into a false sense of security.

    I went into a bit more detail describing the horde's other threats than the module did. Putting particular emphasis on the hill giants and ogres. Of cousre describing the massive red dragon flying about will scare the pants off any party.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-07-23 at 05:22 PM.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Good session last night. Some good roleplaying and some fun military planning. Jack'O's player was actually there also, so YAY!

    SESSION 3 Part 1: Ready to Roll Out!
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    The party has destroyed Skull Gorge Bridge and quickly returns to Drellin's Ferry. Noro Wiston is stunned by the news that a massive army is on the way, and a town council is called. They party has no trouble convincing the town leaders to flee and most of the meeting is planning how best to do so. They fail to convince Iormel, who, being the crotchety old man that he is, storms out hell-bent on fighting rather than fleeing. They also come up with a sensible but off-the-wall plan: They want to enlist the Wood Giants, but wisely decide to stay with the town and help evacuate, so they petition the Avarthel the Druid to contact the giants and ask for aid on the town's behalf. I let them make a diplomacy check via the Animal Messenger spell at a penalty. They roll well, and the Twistusk giants agree to harry the horde with thrown rocks and trees before retreating themselves.

    That evening, goblins attack the west bank of Drellin's Ferry. They party rushes over to assist, and they take out the first wave inside of a couple rounds. They are then blasted with a nasty fireball as the second wave arrives: 5 hobgoblin veterans and a Redspawn Arcaniss. The battle goes well for the first round, Jack'O uses Flaming Sphere to good effect and Raiku gets off plenty of good Whirlwind attacks, but then the Arcaniss casts Glitterdust, leaving Jack'O and Raiku blinded. They flail about for a few rounds trying to find targets, while Nico and Skalfdir are able to clean up the veterans rather effectively. Seeing that his meat shields are all but dead, the Redspawn beats a slow retreat while spamming fireballs at the party, but finds his flight stymied by Nico's Scorpion Style feat. Nico's got evasion so she's unharmed by the fireballs, but Jack'O has to channel energy a bunch to keep the others in good health. They eventually corner the Arcaniss and beat him unconscious. They interrogate their captive, but get little new information out of him.

    The town rushes to finish their packing after the raid and is ready to go the next day. It is then that a Lion of Brindol arrives, beaten and haggard, to warn of of the blockades to the north. Upon hearing the news of the approaching army, she speculates that the blockades are the work of a Red Hand vanguard unit holed up in the swamps around Rhest. She is also able to forewarn them of the ogres and the razorfiends (though she doesn't know what they are, knowledge checks tell them). The party agrees that the vanguard must be dealt with, but first escort the Ferry folk to Brindol, warning the other towns along the way. On their way out, they go to Iromel and manage to convince him to come with, so as not to die a lonely and pointless death. The party and the Drellin's Ferry council hold a meeting with Lord Jaarmath and Sir Lars Uverth upon arrival. They agree that the citizens need to be evacuated, and then set about assessing their situation. They learn that Brindol's walls may hold, and that they might be able to survive a siege scenario, but the first attack from the Red Hand is likely to be vicious and decisive, making a prolonged siege unlikely. Jaarmath says that the vanguard in Rhest must be dealt with, lest Brindol be caught between two armies, and asks the PCs' aid in taking it out. He's unable to send help with them however, as the militia and Lions will have their hands full evacuating the city.

    After buying and selling some loot, the party is ready to head north.


    SESSION 3 Part 2: Blockade Busters
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    The party spies the first blockade a couple days later, and attempt to approach it stealthily, but are spotted by the archers on the roof. Nico makes an amazing jump check onto the roof and spends a few rounds taking out the goblins up there. The rest of the party rushes headlong into the compound, only to be met by a hobgoblin phalanx. Furthermore, the ogres (replaced them with Skullcrusher Ogres, as everyone does) each nail the party with a rock and then move to engage, trapping the boys between them and the hobgoblins. The battle goes poorly for the party. Jack'O spends most of his time triaging the the damage on Raiku and Skalfdir. Raiku is targeted a lot, since his whirlwind attack is rather dangerous, and takes a boatload of damage, even when using his Shield of Swings feat to make his AC not terrible (Skalfdir also cast Rage on him, which hurt his AC). Raiku gets a nice crit against an ogre before going unconscious, but Jack'O actually gets the killing blow with his active Divine Trident spell. The party engages the remaining ogre, who deals a ton of damage on a full attack. The tide turns when Nico joins the fray, and the ogre goes down. The three remaining hobgoblins realize they can't take the entire party and attempt to flee. One gets killed, and Nico chases down the others with her awesome move speed and beats them senseless with nonlethal damage.

    The party makes camp in the now safe barricade and restrains their new prisoners. The next morning, they interrogate one of the hobgoblins, who is actually quite easy to talk to, since he's resigned himself to his fate and knows he can't go back to Saarvith anyway lest he be executed for his failure.

    Skalfdir: Who is your leader?

    Hobgoblin: Which one? I've got like five.

    The party now knows that there are several leaders in the Red Hand, but the only ones they are able to get confirmed IDs on are Koth, Saarvith, and Kharn, though they suspect from the map that Ozyrrandion and Tyrgarun are also such leaders. They also learn that Saarvith is hiding out in the ruins of Rhest. Feeling somewhat sympathetic for the hobgoblins who clearly did not want to be there to begin with and were somewhat press ganged into service for the Red Hand, the party releases them and lets them flee to the east, hopefully never to be seen again.

    The party approaches the second barricade the next day. The doors appear to be to be slightly ajar, but it is dark inside, and the rain hampers sight and hearing. Nico and Raiku sneak up close and sneak a peak inside. They make out a large, shadowy shape perched on top of another, and gutteral screeching and the sounds of raw meat being chewed can be heard. Jack'O tries to sneak around the side of the compound, but is heard by the Greenspawn Razorfiend hiding behind the fence. Initiative is rolled, and the Razorfiend makes covers the distance between it and Jack'O in a single jump and starts swinging with its wingblades. The party forms up around Jack'O as the second Razorfiend bursts through the doors and charges them. The party takes damage, but aren't too impressed by the Razorfiends at first. Raiku is actually sitting pretty at near full health for once, but then takes a wingblade crit that knocks him into single digits. If I recall correctly though, this was actually the first fight that no one hit negatives, and the Razorfiends go down.

    Me: Crap! I completely forgot about their bite attacks!

    The party moves into the barricade and sees that a hole has been punched in the ceiling, and below it lies the corpse of a massive owl. They find the ring on its leg, and also find the Razorfiend's treasure. Nico takes the headband of intellect, and Raiku takes the Ring of Protection +2, making his AC not garbage anymore! Yay! The party decides to give the owl proper funerary rites, since it obviously belonged to someone until recently, and Jack'O rigs up a funeral pyre for it. They decide to bed down in this barricade also.


    There is actually one more part to this session, which I shall post soon.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-07-29 at 01:34 PM.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    SESSION 3 Part 3: Ocean's 4
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    It isn't long after that they spot the circling forms of more large owls silhouetted against the night sky. Skalfdir hails them first, using the Clarion Call spell (basically a magic megaphone) to call out a greeting. The owls land in answer and Killiar Arrowswift dismounts to approach them.

    Killiar: Who are you who would burn our owl?

    Skalfdir: I am Skalfdir of Pants Unsheathed!

    Killiar: ...

    Skalfdir: And these are my companions! Raiku of Many Blows!

    Killiar:

    Skalfdir: Nico the Inspired! And...

    Jack'O: Jack'O Longfellow at your---

    Skalfdir: Jack the Explosive!

    Killiar:

    Jack'O:

    Killiar: I am grateful that you performed funeral rites for the owl, but you need to come with us.

    The elves take the party on a nighttime ride over the Blackfens and to Starsong Hill. I did away with whole treehouse look, because that's stupid, and made it a more established town, with full houses shaped from trees using magic. They meet with Sellyria and explain the situation with the owl and the greenspawn. The party is respectful, but they cut to the chase after the formalities and ask for the elves' aid in fighting the Red Hand. Syllyria is sympathetic, but the elves have not had any real contact with humans for a couple centuries, the party didn't even know they were there until Killiar showed up. Sellyria explains that they've been dealing with Saarvith and other Red Hand forces for a while now, and that if the party can take him and his dragon out, the other elves will be more inclined to break their solitude and help the people of Brindol. The party agrees, because they're adventurers and that's what they do.

    The party attends Lanikar's funeral, and is very respectful (to my relief. No one performs though). They enjoy the feast, and spend a couple days bartering with the elves for some gear upgrades. Raiku buffs his AC more, and now officially has AC on par with the rest of the party! (23 or 24). While hanging around Starsong Hill:

    Skalfdir: So... whats the situation on winsome elf maidens?

    Me: *sigh* Bluff checks...

    Nico: Can we go adventuring now please?!

    They are lent swamp skiffs by the elves and make their way to the ruins of Rhest. They spend a good amount of time assessing their surroundings, seeing all the lizardfolk encampments around the lake, they hear the razorfiend, and spot the ogres on top of the town hall. They discuss several
    different plans of approach. They hit on the fact that they are not going to get close without stealth pretty quickly, and deicde that when they do approach, it will likely be at night. They take note that the watchtower is leaning slightly, and Jack'O starts brainstorming ways to get to its base and topple it. They are worried that if they attack, the enemy will upon the lizardfolk to pin them down. Seeing Saarvith leave on his dragon, they sieze the opportunity to start taking out the lizardfolk encampments, which are populated with Blackscale Lizardfolk and Poison Dusk Lizardfolk. They take out the camp with no issue at all, though two Poison Dusks escape.

    That's where we ended.


    Thoughts (players keep out)
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    1) I'm glad the players are roleplaying a bit more. They've been a bit silent in that regard till now.

    2) I'm not sure on what to have happen next. They definitely won't be able to get all the lizardfolk camps without someone noticing, but it may also
    take some time for the Red Hand to be alerted. They lizardfolk camps hate each other, so they won't run to each other for help right away. When Saarvith and Regiarix get back they are immediately going to notice that something is up, so I'm going to time how long they have.

    3) I skipped the Chimera attack. It was basically just a speed bump anyway.

    4) It's Day 16 on the timeline if anyone's wondering. The Red Hand has just overrun Drellin's Ferry.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-07-29 at 06:43 PM.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Wanted to toss some ideas out for next session and see what the Playground thinks of them

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    1) I have Regiarix as a juvenile black dragon, with his size increased to large without changing his ability scores or HD. His AC is 25 right now, and Saarvith has Cat's Grace prepared to cast on him. He should be good, I want this dragon to be more durable than Ozzy was. Do you guys think I should buff him more or less?

    2) Saarvith is now 8th level because Pathfinder. Being a goblin, his ride skill is insane, so with mounted combat Regi's AC is going to be even higher. His favored enemy will be quite effective against Nico, who's a half-elf. Are there changes that other people have found effective that I should use?

    3) I'm thinking about just letting the PCs take out a bunch of lizardfolk camps, lure them into a false sense of security. Then I'll have Regi and Saarvith come back and notice that something's up immediately.

    4) Jack'o included in his backstory that while he turned out good, he has an evil brother who is also a pyromaniac. I'm going to start dropping hints that he has joined up with the Red Hand here, and I plan to replace Skather with him during the battle of Brindol. Just thought people should know that so it doesn't come out of nowhere.

    5) Speaking of backstory, I've noticed that both Nico and Raiku have been rather silent during roleplaying encounters, as I've mentioned. Raiku speaks up a lot, but I'm not sure when he's in talking IC or OOC, and I don't think Nico's actually said anything in character. Skalfdir and Jack'o have high charisma, so it makes sense that they would do most of the talking, but any ideas on getting the others to speak up a bit more?
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    Wanted to toss some ideas out for next session and see what the Playground thinks of them

    PLAYERS KEEP OUT
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    1) I have Regiarix as a juvenile black dragon, with his size increased to large without changing his ability scores or HD. His AC is 25 right now, and Saarvith has Cat's Grace prepared to cast on him. He should be good, I want this dragon to be more durable than Ozzy was. Do you guys think I should buff him more or less?

    2) Saarvith is now 8th level because Pathfinder. Being a goblin, his ride skill is insane, so with mounted combat Regi's AC is going to be even higher. His favored enemy will be quite effective against Nico, who's a half-elf. Are there changes that other people have found effective that I should use?

    3) I'm thinking about just letting the PCs take out a bunch of lizardfolk camps, lure them into a false sense of security. Then I'll have Regi and Saarvith come back and notice that something's up immediately.

    4) Jack'o included in his backstory that while he turned out good, he has an evil brother who is also a pyromaniac. I'm going to start dropping hints that he has joined up with the Red Hand here, and I plan to replace Skather with him during the battle of Brindol. Just thought people should know that so it doesn't come out of nowhere.

    5) Speaking of backstory, I've noticed that both Nico and Raiku have been rather silent during roleplaying encounters, as I've mentioned. Raiku speaks up a lot, but I'm not sure when he's in talking IC or OOC, and I don't think Nico's actually said anything in character. Skalfdir and Jack'o have high charisma, so it makes sense that they would do most of the talking, but any ideas on getting the others to speak up a bit more?

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    1. Seems legit. Note that cat's grace is only 2+ to A.C
    2. Might want to do some work to protect the goblin as well. just saying.
    3. Good idea. Maybe have the ogre/ettin on high alert, or resetting fortifications. Possibly have the dragon-rider show up easily and start sniping them with acid and bow as they fight their way across.
    4. Neat.
    5. Directing questions directly at them may or may not help. Could be explained by a local lord who has no respect for Skalf or Jack'o. maybe you could ask them why they are so quiet?
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Combat heavy session last night, but they pulled through it

    SESSION 4: And the Rhest is History
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    The puns will continue until morale improves

    The party continues to take out the lizardfolk encampments on the south side of the lake. I buffed the encounters a bit to make them more interesting, though most were still nuisances to the PCs rather than challenges. There were blackscale lizardfolk barbarians and lizardfolk fighters. Later on there were lizardfolk druids, who proved to be the most dangerous, as they constantly harassed the party with Summon Swarm, Entangle, and Flaming Sphere. The final camp finally gave the PCs a good fight. There was a blackscale barbarian, a few fighters, a druid, and an enraged Otyugh that they had been keeping captive for just such an occasion. A well placed entangle from the druid slows the party's progress, and renders Jack'O unable to get into a good position to heal. Nico actually gets hit a bunch this fight and hits negatives, which I don't think has happened before, so it's ultimately Raiku's massive damage that wins the day.

    The party wants to keep fighting into the night, but the return of Regiarix and Saarvith has them run back to the other side of the lake. They wisely disguise their camp, no campfire, and its a good thing Raiku rolled high on their stealth check, as Regiarix noticed the absence of lizardfolk on the lake, and ordered the rest to scour the shores in search of the intruders. Fortunately their perception checks were low

    The next day, the party prepares spells, most notably Communal Resist Acid, and then immediately dive into the lake with Water Breathing active. They decide to skip the tower and head straight to the town hall because they recognize that that's where the high priority targets are. They pop up in Regiarix's lair and run right into the ettin. The ettin deals out some hefty damage, but doesn't last long. However, two of the four ogres squeeze their way down the stairs and engage the party. The party also starts making saves against mind-affecting spells from an unknown source (Nurklenack with greater invisibility). Nico fails a save against charm monster, and runs off to the razorfiend hatchery to "free the war prisoners." When the waiting razorfiend attacks her, she breaks free from the charm and runs back to the main building, where she helps the party finish off the ogres. The razorfiend follows, but this is also when the dragon arrives.

    BGM: On Black Wings

    Regiarix: I've been expecting you northman! Come out and face me!

    The entire table glares at Skalfdir's player. Skalfdir:

    Saarvith: Oh and the rest o' ya come out too. We wanna kill all o' yas!

    The party finishes off the Razorfiend while Regi and Saarvith start making strafing runs, firing through windows and doorways.

    Saarvith: Hey gnome! You look familiar... have you been to the Wyrmsmoke Mountains lately?

    Nico manages to hear where Nurklenack is and starts attacking him with a vengeance. She follows him onto the roof, and right into a readied action from an ogre. She gets hit, tries to complete her movement, takes another hit from the ogre's AoO and hits negatives for the second time in the session, tumbling back down the stairs. Nurklenack tries to drop Fear on the party, but they pull through it. The party slowly tries to make their way to the roof, but Jack'O eats a nasty full attack from Saarvith, who had left Regi's back and was hiding on the roof. Raiku makes it to the roof, but Regiarix bull rushes him off into the water, and he has to spend several turns returning to the fight. Nico and Skalfdir get to the roof, but Nico falls victim to Nurklenack's Hold Person, and Saarvith shoots her into negatives. Regiarix uses his breath weapon, then hits the roof to engage Skalfdir. Jack'O gets to the roof but also gets a Hold Person. Skalfdir fights admirably against Regiarix, but the dragon's full attack takes him to single digit health, and that's only from three attacks (Regi's other three missed).

    Skalfdir: There's no reason to hold back my friend

    Things aren't looking good, but Raiku finally arrives and attacks the dragon. Regi is forced to divide his attention between two opponents. Next turn, Raiku makes a Whirlwind Attack that manages to catch the Dragon, an ogre, and Nurklenack, killing the spellcaster and severely wounding the others. Jack'O and Nico break free from their hold persons, and Regi is forced to flee. Saarvith makes the jump check to get onto his back. As the leaders are fleeing, Skalfdir casts Clarion Call, so the entire lake can hear what happens next.

    Skalfdir: Cowards! See how your leaders flee before Skalfdir Enemy of Pants, Raiku of the Many Blows, Nico the Graceful, and... crap what's your name?

    Jack'O OOC: Jack'O...

    Skalfdir: Jack'O the Explosive!

    He successfully intimidates all the lizardfolk and the goblins in the tower, both of which begin to flee, but not the dragon.

    Regiarix: Enjoy your victory now, northman! I look forward to that powerful voice of yours screaming in agony!

    Rhest is theirs! They search the place, finding Regi's hoard and the letter, which drops the bomb of the Ghostlord's phylactery. They find it and are as of now trying to figure out what to do with it and the hatchery.

    They level up to Level 7!!!


    Thoughts (players out)
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    1) Pretty much all combat, but they seemed to all have fun. Except Jack'O who was constantly stymied by his slow move speed and difficult terrain during the lizardfolk fights.

    2) Raiku's player immediately hit upon the idea of bribing the Ghostlord into helping them instead, so that's probably what they're going to do.

    3) As of right now, they are 1 alliance point short of getting aid from the elves. They'll have an opportunity to make up for that point, but they'll have to be exceptionally kind to have any hope of getting the owls.

    4) As I said, I had Regiarix as a juvenile black dragon, with his size increased to large without changing his ability scores or HD. I gave Saarvith slightly better armor.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-08-06 at 01:14 PM.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Great session last night. They made a lot of progress and there was some good roleplaying.

    I'll be posting it in three or four parts.

    SESSION 5 Part 1: Blood on the Green
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    The party is still somewhat unsure what to do with the phylactery. They are leaning towards using it as leverage to convince the Ghostlord to abandon the Red Hand, but Skalfdir maintains that they should destroy it. The hold off on a final decision, destroy the razorfiend hatchery, and return to the elves. The elves are surprised to see them come back alive, and after hearing their story (playing up the idea that they scared the dragon off), agree to send a squadron of hunters to Brindol to aid in its defense. They show Sellyria the phylactery, and she is able to identify it as druidic. The party barters with their new loot, and then sets off to return to Brindol.

    After narrowly avoiding being caught on the open plains in the midst of a thunderstorm, they proceed down the road. During a forested portion of their journey, they spy a group of Blackspawn Raiders hiding in the trees. The party gets high perception checks, and follows them up with really high initiative rolls. A critical each from Nico and Raiku makes it seem as though the battle is over before it has really begun. That's when Ozyrrandian appears overhead, carrying an angry Wyrmlord Koth on his back.

    BGM: Same as before...

    Ozy breaths acid, but Jack'O had cast Communal Resist Acid in preparation for fighting the Blackspawn, and this reduces the damage to nearly nothing. Ozy is forced to engage in melee, dropping down behind Jack'O. Koth stays in the air, flying under his own power, and starts debuffing the party with Blindness and Deafness. Raiku succumbs to Blindness and finds it difficult to hit a dragon he can't see. Skalfdir uses his Incite Rage performance to whip Koth into a rage and render him unable to cast spells. Wands don't require concentration, however, so the bugbear whips out his wand of magic missile and starts blasting. Nico, Jack, and Raiku manage to kill Ozyrrandion. And Koth flees swearing vengeance on them once more.

    He doesn't get far though as several arrows the size of javelins suddenly pierce his chest, and he falls to his death (I did actually roll to-hit and damage for this, I didn't fudge it). Three Wood Giants emerge from the trees. They sought the PCs in order to thank them for warning their tribe of the
    Red Hand's coming, and asked if they was anything the tribe could do to repay them. The PCs simply asked that the giants continue to harry the Red Hand if possible, though they forget to specify whether they wanted the giants to join in the actual defense of Brindol or not.

    The party continues on, and the weather is not on their side, as a heat wave strikes and they need to make many Constitution checks, and they have to forced march the last stretch to Brindol to get there when they wanted to. Fortunately, Jack'O has several abilities that remove fatigue and nonlethal damage, so these are rather minor setbacks. They reach Brindol without any more dragons popping out of nowhere to hassle them
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    SESSION 5 Part 2: Hitting the Books
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    The party meets with Lord Jaarmath to bring him up to speed. The excitement of having help from the elves is dampened by the news that the Ghostlord actually exists. Jaarmath agrees that the Ghostlord needs to be
    stopped but recommends that the party talk with Immerstal the Red and/or Tredora Goldenbrow to figure out how to actually do it. He also informs them that he sent out an envoy to recruit the Shining Axes, a mercenary guild from Valon that he learned happens to be operating in the mountains to the south. He also says that the evacuation of the city is going slow, as the prominent lords of the Brindol (primarily Lady Kaal) are reluctant to leave or outright refuse to believe that a horde of such great size could exist. This will come up later.

    The party goes to Immerstal the Red to buy/sell magic items. When they ask if he knows anything about Ghostlord, his face lights up. He's been researching the Ghostlord for a while, but had been having trouble since no one in the Vale believes in the Ghostlord. The PCs describe what they saw at Rhest: while they were underwater, they saw a very out of place cliff around the perimeter of the city, as though a massive foot had pounded the entire city into the lake.

    [Fluff differences from the module incoming]

    Most people of the Vale believe that Rhest was destroyed by savages during the Barbarian Wars 300 years ago. Very little seems to indicate this though, and what the PCs saw there only support Immerstal's theory that it was
    the Ghostlord that destroyed Rhest. Immerstal goes into full blown teacher mode for (in-game) hours, and the PCs actually stay and listen. He believes the Ghostlord was a member of a nomadic tribe of lion-worshippers that inhabited what is now the Thornwaste. It's not hard to imagine why a native nomadic tribe might come into conflict with the self-proclaimed "civilized" culture of the Vale at the time. These conflicts likely culminated with the Ghostlord becoming a lich and destroying Rhest, or at least that's what Immerstal thinks.

    The party then visits Tredora Goldenbrow to learn how to protect themselves from liches and other undead. They also want to find out more about how liches are made to hopefully learn as much about the Ghostlord as they can. Tredora says they might have something in a book to that effect, but such texts are forbidden and they fail to convince her to let them see it anyway. She does offer them discounts on weapons and potions suited to fighting undead, and even offers mostly-free scrolls of Death Ward... and the PCs for some reason don't take advantage of hardly any of these resources, relying on Jack'Os ability to cast Death Ward himself ???

    The party buys horses to expedite the journey to the Thornwaste, and head out. They decide to spend the night in an abandoned farmhouse, and the Barghest Reavers ecnounter occurs. Nico spots the enemy approaching pretty quickly, and they fight well, despite being caught unarmored (though Raiku has endurance so he sleeps in his). I ran the fight pretty much as written, and while the party did have some trouble, no one was in danger of dying.

    They hurry on the next day, as Raiku senses another thunderstorm incoming. Despite the heavy rain, Raiku manages to spot the silhouettes of hobgoblins and ettins milling about further down the road. The party stops before they can be spotted, and Raiku sneaks around behind a hill in order to initiate a surprise attack. One of the ettins spots him though, and initiative is rolled. Jack'O gets to open with a Fireball that takes all the hobgoblins down to single digits, but both ettins are still going strong. Nico moves into melee, and Skalfdir moves to the top of the hill to inspire courage and generally look awesome. The ettins light into Raiku and Nico and the monk and ranger take heavy damage. It's all Jack'O and Skalfdir can do to keep them standing. They ettins don't have great AC though, and they go down, quickly followed by the remaining hobgoblins.

    The PCs now see that the group had just attacked a wagon and killed the Lions of Brindol guarding it. I describe all the gold in the coffers (I upped the amount to 10,000) and the party is already salivating before I can describe the note explaining that this is the payment for the Shining Axes. The party decides they should finish the delivery, since the Shining Axes' camp isn't too far out of their way. Raiku is sad

    They arrive at the camp, and Captain Helmbreaker readily agrees to take on the task of defending Brindol. As the camp is packing up. The party continues on to the Thornwaste...
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    SESSION 5 Part 3: Monking Around
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    The party ultimately decides to offer the Ghostlord his phylactery back in exchange for him not helping the Red Hand, and want to convince him to help them. They also decide that they should hide the phylactery somewhere nearby so that the Ghostlord can't just kill them and take it. Jack'O Stone Shapes the phylactery inside a boulder, and the party continues on.

    They find the Ghostlord's lair in short order, kind of hard to miss a 50 foot sphinx carved into the side of a cliff. The party approaches the entrance... and gets lightning breath to the face for their trouble.

    BGM: The Exterminator

    Varanthian: So you are the pests that have been running about in our future home. Well, I am the Exterminator!

    Varanthian, a bronze dragon, awaits them inside the statue, and she lights into the party with devastating full attacks. Things look bad for the party at first, Raiku and Skalfdir can't seem to hit the dragon, and Jack'O has his hands full with healing. Nico though, is absolutely on fire here. She hits with ALL her flurry of blows attacks multiple turns in a row, with a critical or two
    for good measure (I don't think she rolled under a 17 on the d20 the whole battle.) That NEVER happens! THe dragon begins to take massive damage as well, but uses her repulsion breath to send everyone except Skalfdir running away at top speed for 6 rounds, and flies out of melee range. Skalfdir decides to stand and fight the dragon (no surprise there). He uses Sound Burst:

    Me: Sure, her fort save is like a million but OK

    [Proceeds to roll a nat 2]

    Me:...

    Skalfdir:

    Varanthian takes damage and is stunned. Giving Skalfdir a chance to gain the upper hand. He follows up with Ear-Piercing Scream:

    Me: OK

    [Rolls nat 1 on save]

    Me:

    Skalfdir:

    Varanthian takes full damage and falls to the ground dead. Skalfdir plays the clip from Skyrim where you absorb a dragon's power. The party is happy, as that could have gone very badly for them. I'm sad that my cool dragon encounter got punked out by me rolling a nat 1.

    Anyway, the party continues into the sphinx, making note of the murals that cover the walls that depict the lion tribe and its former leader. They find the hidden door and head up the passage, only to find themselves contending with two Ghost Dire Lions. The fight isn't too hard, but it could gone a lot worse if Jack'O didn't have Remove Fear prepared. They go further into the
    statue, and Raiku enters the guest room, only to find himself facing down three Doom Fist monks, and an invisible force shuts the door behind him.

    BGM: The Deceiver

    The monks don't do much damage, but the are constantly grappling, tripping, and constricting Raiku. I made the fight tougher by making them 6th level Flowing Monks, so they could also reduce the damage they take and trip in response to an attack. The party takes several rounds to force the door open, and many more to actually get into the room, as the monks are blocking the way. Furthermore, they are constantly harassed by spells from a spellcaster using Greater Invisibility (Ulwai). Her spells seem to be mostly sonic-based, which gives Skalfdir an idea:

    Skalfdir: COUNTERSONG!!!

    Ulwai has to fall back on her arrows since the party basically just auto-saves against all her sonic spells due to Countersong. Jack'O starts using Flaming Sphere to try to locate her, since the room isn't very big and the sphere stops whenever it hits a creature, whether it's visible or not. The battle slogs on. The monks have great AC, so they last a lot longer than their low HP would indicate. It actually lasts long enough for Ulwai's invisibility to run out, at which point the remaining monks spam grapples to deprive the PCs of AoOs, and Ulwai runs out of the room and up the stairs.

    Ulwai: I wish I could say it's been fun, but it really hasn't.

    The party finishes off the monks and chases after ULwai, only to run right into three more monks on the upper floor. They get a couple hits on Ulwai, but she makes a running leap out of the Lion's mouth, Feather Falls to the ground, and flees into the distance using Phantasmal Steed. Raiku actually has space to maneuver now, and he makes short work of the monks with Whirlwind Attack, but Ulwai is too far away for them to catch up.

    The party continues into the statue, coming across the Chamber of Rebirth. Here they encounter two Bonedrinkers (not the lesser version) and a Boneclaw. These undead have deep health pools, massive reach, and their DR is killer. No one gets Con drained, but the party is low on resources and is generally grossed out by these disgusting undead. The battle is won, but the party took loads of damage an has no high-level spells left. They leave the massive black sphere and gross "undead jacuzzi" as they called it alone, and quickly find the door to the Ghostlord's lair. They steel themselves, in character and out, and pass through...
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-08-13 at 02:14 PM.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    SESSION 5 Part 4: The Ghostlord
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    OK so I kind of indulged myself here, quite a bit actually. But as far as I could tell the party loved it, so I guess it's fine. A bit of info about where we play: We play in the dining room of my parents' house, which is an old craftsman style home. The entrance to the room has two massive sliding double doors, which the players didn't know were there since they're open all the time. I shut them now, with a satisfyingly ominous BOOM. The lights also have adjustable brightness, so I turn them down real low, just enough to barely see. Furthermore, we had been playing for like 10 hours at this point, so it was literally midnight and pitch-black outside. No light was coming in from outside. The characters and their players are tired, drained, and somewhat afraid as they enter the room.

    BGM: The Betrayer and the Betrayed

    Me: Your light sources cast eerie shadows into this room. The walls bear murals of a cloaked figure slaughtering tribesmen and soldiers with a spell in each hand. The rear of the room is taken up by a twisted mockery of a tree. It has gray and black bark with jagged pieces of obsidian for leaves. Nearly overtaken by the roots of this tree is a stone throne, on which sits a gaunt figure in brown robes, its leathery skin pulled taught over its bones. Green flames dance in his hollow eye sockets. He speaks in a voice that sounds like the movement of ancient silt and dust.

    Ghostlord: More intruders... state your business...

    The party asks the Ghostlord to stop helping the Red Hand. Raiku makes a point of kneeling and using honorifics to get on his good side. The Ghostlord isn't having any of it until they mention his phylactery, and he demands its return. They promise to return it if he stops aiding the Red Hand. Jack'O tries to enlist his aid by playing the vengeance angle. If he helps defend Brindol, he can take his revenge on the hobgoblins. The Ghostlord doesn't buy it, he hates the other residents of the Vale just as much as the hobgoblins.

    Ghostlord: Return my phylactery and I will withdraw my creations. Leave it in front of my domain. Move swiftly, your lives DO depend on it...

    The party gets the hell out of dodge and retrieve the phylactery from the boulder. Night has fallen when the return to the statue, and they see the ghost lions surrounding out. One of them swoops down and takes the phylactery from them, entering the statue to return it to it's master.

    That's where we stopped.

    The party levels up to 8!!!



    THOUGHTS (players out)
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    1) As I said, lots of good roleplaying this session. This makes me happy.

    2) The second encounter with Ozy and Koth went basically how I planned it, which is nice.

    3) The Varanthian encounter technically went how I wanted it to, but I was miffed that it was ended prematurely by my poor die rolls. Dragons aren't color coded by alignment in my setting, so I figured I should replace her with a metallic dragon of some sort. Young Bronze Dragon is just the right CR and retains the lightning breath of the original Varanthian.

    4) That's the THIRD wyrmlord that's gotten away. I was hoping they'd actually capture this one. I'm uncertain if they'll see her again before the Battle of Brindol. Saarvith still needs to show up again.

    5) I had a lot of fun playing the Ghostlord :P

    6) The only way the Ghostlord would agree to help them was if they managed to figure out his real backstory and bring it up. There were hints in the murals throughout the statue, but they were intentionally vague. They also didn't explore every room so they didn't get the whole story. I figured they wouldn't get it, but it would have been a really good roleplaying opportunity if they did.

    7) The party still has a few weeks until the horde shows up. I hinted at some political intrigue involving Lady Kaal that I'm gonna follow up on, and this will also involve Miha Serani. Saarvith and Regiarix are gonna show up again too. And I might have Jack'Os brother make a cameo before they fight him in the Sniper Attack encounter. What have other people done in this intervening time?
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    I wanted to run some more ideas by the Playground, mostly to make sure they make sense.

    PLAYERS OUT
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    1) I'm thinking about modifying the Marked for Death encounter. I'm currently removing the ogre and one of the greater barghests for Saarvith and Regiarix. This should make it a CR 11 encounter. If I play this smart it could be really tough (as it should be). Do you think a party of 4 level 8s could handle a second barghest? Or should I play it safe? This serves the dual-purposes of having a tough encounter, and giving them another chance to take out a Wyrmlord.

    2) I established earlier that Lady Kaal is opposing Jaarmath's efforts to evacuate Brindol, mostly because she's a stubborn B. She also refuses to commit her private defense force to the town's defense, as she wants to be as close to them as possible if something does happen. I'm going to try and play it off like she's an obvious spy for the Red Hand. Her secretary (Miha Serani in disguise) will come to the PCs saying that she has documents that are evidence of Kaal's betrayal. What the PCs want to do about this is up to them. The documents do exist, but Kaal knows nothing of them of course. Miha is trying to frame her in order to force her personal guard to disband. The PCs will likely figure out the scheme, as Lady Kaal will deny her involvement under any form of scrutiny.

    3) I'm thinking Immerstal the Red, Lord Jaarmath, Lars Uverth, Kellin Shadowbanks, and Tredora Goldenbrow, used to be an adventuring party known as the Order of Dawn. They'll be a valuable asset in the Battle of Brindol. I'll try to establish some sort of interaction between these characters this week.

    4) I'm basically just trying to kill some time before the horde arrives, but I might just give the party a week to do whatever.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    I wanted to run some more ideas by the Playground, mostly to make sure they make sense.

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    Why do you want to toss the Wyrmlords and dragons back at the party sooner than the module calls for? Leftover Wyrmlords are supposed to make an appearance with Kharn at the battle of Brindol, and the dragons show up again with Tyrgarun at the Fane. Are you worried those would end up being too difficult of encounters?

    Keeping them busy with intrigue sounds good. Unless you think they want a lot of spare time to prepare for the Red Hand. One of the parties I ran through the module took a good week and a half or so stocking up on items, planting traps all over Brindol and enchanting their gear.
    Last edited by Greymane; 2013-08-16 at 10:55 AM.

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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Genn Greymane View Post
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    Why do you want to toss the Wyrmlords and dragons back at the party sooner than the module calls for? Leftover Wyrmlords are supposed to make an appearance with Kharn at the battle of Brindol, and the dragons show up again with Tyrgarun at the Fane. Are you worried those would end up being too difficult of encounters?
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    It's mostly a difficulty thing yeah. Ulwai will be in the final battle though. It also doesn't make sense to me that the dragons would hold off on trying to kill the PCs. I get waiting for the Battle of Brindol, but why would the Red Hand send Regi back to the fane when he'd be far more useful during the siege? TBH it stretches my suspension of disbelief that they wouldn't make use of Tyrgarun during the battle, but I guess I can justify it as Abithriax being too proud to have a similarly powerful dragon help him out.

    Perhaps I should have Regi show up during Streets of Blood or something? Run Marked for Death as is? I guess it won't be too bad if Saarvith shows up during the final battle too, the PCs will hopefully have allies in that fight.


    Edit: Next session is tonight BTW. So hopefully I get everything pulled together in time.
    Last edited by Axinian; 2013-08-16 at 02:01 PM.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
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    It's mostly a difficulty thing yeah. Ulwai will be in the final battle though. It also doesn't make sense to me that the dragons would hold off on trying to kill the PCs. I get waiting for the Battle of Brindol, but why would the Red Hand send Regi back to the fane when he'd be far more useful during the siege? TBH it stretches my suspension of disbelief that they wouldn't make use of Tyrgarun during the battle, but I guess I can justify it as Abithriax being too proud to have a similarly powerful dragon help him out.

    Perhaps I should have Regi show up during Streets of Blood or something? Run Marked for Death as is? I guess it won't be too bad if Saarvith shows up during the final battle too, the PCs will hopefully have allies in that fight.


    Edit: Next session is tonight BTW. So hopefully I get everything pulled together in time.
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    I'm not sure I would want to just have dragons and Wyrmlords tossed in on random stretches of road, but with so many dragons and Wyrmlords escaping, yeah, difficulty could really be an issue. Marked for Death is a funny encounter, for when the Red Hand knows the PCs and wants to eliminate them, so really, I don't see any issues with your changes and additions to it. It's supposed to be a pretty brutal fight.

    And as for the dragons and Wyrmlords not always doing anything if they escaped, I just assumed that in there wasn't anything important to have them do and not feel insulted by doing demeaning work. Brindol is a big one, but as you said, Abithriax is the big bad red and likely wants all the glory to himself. He's also uniquely suited to the fight because the fires he starts obviously spreads, doing more damage to the city overall than any of the other dragons. I think Wyrmlord allies in Kharn's fight are a good addition if Kharn hasn't been modified too much. As is, he's rather underwhelming. With the other Wyrmlords there it's kind of a tough battle where the PCs are already running on empty.

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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

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    Kharn is actually heavily modified. I figured an Oracle with the Battle mystery captured the sort gishy nature of the original build, so he's an 11th level Battle Oracle. I also gave him the Fiendish template for DR, but depending on how the rest of the battle goes I might remove it.

    So I'll probably go with my modified Marked for Death, but Regi and Saarvith won't fight to do the death. If they escape again, they'll show up at the locations they're supposed to in the module.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Much shorter session last night, but a lot of good roleplaying happened.

    SESSION 6: In Which Skalfdir Yells A Lot
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    The party force marches themselves out of the Thornwaste, so as not be caught in a dangerous wasteland in the middle of the night. They do that a lot actually. I've been keeping track of their day by day travel time because that's important for the timeline of the module, but Jack'Os Community domain gives him the ability to heal fatigue and nonlethal damage, so they just forced march hour by hour until he runs out of uses. They actual wound up a day ahead of their projected schedule thanks to this.

    After traveling the normal roads for a while, they spy six hobgoblins in a small wood near a ruined farmhouse, prodding at the bloody forms of two men strung up on a tree. They successfully identify the bodies as completely dead (as opposed to mostly dead), and Jack'O leads off with a fireball from a safe distance. Five of the goblins fail their saves and are roasted instantly. Thinking that this encounter will be easy and probably intended as a joke, Raiku and Nico charge up to the remaining goblin... It's of course at this point that the four blackspawn and a greater barghest break invisibility and light into Jack'O and Skalfdir, who remained behind the others. Jack'O takes heavy damage, but Skalfdir has the highest AC and takes little. However, Jack'O decides to give the baddies a taste of their own medicine and drinks a potion of invisibility. He spends the entire battle healing, so the invisibility never breaks and the enemies fail to locate him.

    BGM: Same as before

    Unfortunately for the party, these aren't all the enemies. From behind a distance hill, the black dragon Regiarix takes flight with Saarvith on his back. The party starts taking heavy damage from breath weapons, and Jack'O is too busy healing to put up Resist Energy. Jack'O actually gets hit with breath weapons several times even though the dragon didn't know he was their due to poor positioning. Nico beats the extraplanar crap out of the Barghest, and Skalfdir uses Dirge of Doom, and that -2 penalty to hit really hurts the Blackspawn.However, they are wielding falchions, so when they do hit, they critical. Some criticals and a breath weapon later, Raiku and Nico are in negatives, and had Jack'O not used a channel energy, they would have died to Coup de Graces on the next round. With them back up though, the blackspawn don't last much longer. Jack'O finally gets Communal Resist Acid up, and it looks like they'll have an even fight against the dragon should he ever land. Skalfdir goes for a Sound Burst (FUS-RO-DAH!) and while the dragon makes his save easily, Saarvith fails! He's stunned for a round, which means he drops his bow! The party uses their actions to take the bow before it can be retrieved. Regi, knowing that resist acid is up, his backup is without his primary weapon, and all the minions are dead, begrudgingly flees once again. They party is elated having won this tough fight, shouting insults after the fleeing dragon, who is too angry to form a proper retort.

    The party continues on for a couple of days, passing through the now abandoned Dauth. They fill in Lord Jaarmath on all that happened, and learn that the Shining Axes and the Tiri Kor have both arrived in the city. This makes things immensely overcrowded, as Lady Kaal is still stymying evacuation efforts. Lord Jaarmath says to leave the political maneuvering to him, so of course Skalfdir immediately decides to handle Lady Kaal himself . More on that in a moment. The party visits Immerstal the Red to sell and buy items and fill him in on what they learned about the Ghostlord (Nico took copious amounts of notes!), and also visit the elves, who they kind of have a repertoire with now. Raiku starts forging a masterwork sansetsukon that he's been wanting, but can't buy because of its exotic nature (I rule this will only take him a week of dedicated work, as it woud normally take him SEVEN weeks by RAW I think, which is absurd). Lady Kaal has been hiring criers to persuade people the people in Brindol not to flee, since she believes the horde isn't that big and that it would be too expensive and cowardly for everyone to leave. Skalfir bluffs that he has also been hired by Lady Kaal, so the crier gives him a turn on the soapbox. With an excellent intimidate check, he tells of the danger that's coming and the people in the marketplace immediately start to pack up and get out of dodge. He does this while under the effects of Clarion Call, so half the town hears him also . This of course brings Lady Kaal herself to chew them out, with a couple of burly looking members of her personal guard. Not really knowing who the PCs are yet, she demands that they follow her to Lord Jaarmath to face punishment for "inciting panic". Jack'O, Nico, and Skalfdir try to talk their way out of it, but Lady Kaal isn't budging, so they follow her willingly. Lord Jaarmath is surprised to see the PCs back so soon, and while he's grateful to have a full-scale evacuation finally happening, he's rather miffed that Skalfdir did it without his say so. He's not looking forward to any reprisals from Lady Kaal. Jaarmath vouches for the PCs though, and good diplomacy from everyone gets Lady Kaal to back down for now.

    That night in the Inn, the party is approached by a cloaked stranger who wants to speak to them in private. Suspicious but curious, the party agrees. The visitor reveals herself as a pretty young girl named Miha Serani. She nervously says she works as a secretary for Lady Kaal, and by chance she uncovered financial documents that indicating that Lady Kaal has been secretly buying weapons and shipping them to unknown buyers, who she suspects are the Red Hand, given the delivery locations and unusual pseudonyms. The big three suspicious names being "Client #5", "Mr. K", and "Lord Azure." She aks the party if they can expose Lady Kaal. She doesn't want to go to the guard because she couldn't smuggle to documents out of the manor, and Lord Jaarmath can't really do anything without sufficient evidence. Naturally, during this whole serious conversation, Skalfdir is trying to "impress" Miha . She's not returning his interest, not yet anyway. The party agrees to help; Skalfdir's especially excited.

    And that's where we left it.


    Thoughts (players out)
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    1) Actually, Skalfdir didn't yell any more than usual this session (all his offensive spells are sonic, and he sings for Inspire Courage), it just seemed to be more effective than usual :P

    2) It's hard to convey in text since there were so many details I had to leave out for the sake of sanity, but the roleplaying took quite a while and was probably the best the party has had so far.

    3) Saarvith and Regi will now show up at their normal places in the module, since they had to flee again.

    4) The party seems genuinely interested this new plot development, so hopefully the twist works well too!


    Thoughts for later in the campaign (players REALLY out!)
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    BRIAN!!!
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    I'm completely reworking the Fane of Tiamat. I'm populating it with half-fiend spawn of Tiamat, half-dragon demons, and other weird stuff like that. Are there any abyssal/extraplanar creatures that you guys can think of that are obscure or rarely used that I can put there?

    In terms of fluff, I've put the Runelords in my setting. The ancient Ormir empire was ruled by them before its demise. The Fane used to be a research center for minions of the Runelord of Sloth, which makes it the ideal place to get some heavy duty summoning done. It contains, among other things, a Runeslave Cauldron, which the Red Hand has used to make their hill giants into Runeslave Hill Giants. The PCs saw the runes of sloth on the giants' chest when they saw the horde, but they don't know what that means yet. Azar Kul has since converted the place into a temple for Tiamat, but many of the sihedron markings and ancient technology remain.



    Edit: I should mention, there won't be any updates this coming week, but the Monday after that is our next session, and weekly updates should come back.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Sorry for the belated post. We did in fact have a session a few days ago. It was basically all roleplaying.

    SESSION 7: Spider-Spy, Spider-Spy...
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    Quick correction for last session: I accidentally left out that Jack'O sent a Sending to the wood giants asking for their aid in the defense of Brindol.
    The giants are friendly to the party and want to strike back against the Red Hand, so they agree to send warriors to Brindol.

    The party starts out the day with Raiku going to work more on his sansetukon, with Miha nearby so he can make sure Lady Kaal's people don't come after her. The rest of the party decides to investigate Shank's Shivs, the smithy that Miha says the illicit weapons may be passing through. Seeing that the store's closed, but there is light from the forge inside, Skalfdir immediately begins to bash at the door with his shield With his strength score of 8 this doesn't really work out for him. Furthermore, the party has to scatter before any guards come running. Nico stealths into an allyway and watches the store, seeing Shank, the surly dwarf blacksmith (because really, is there any other kind?) Talk with the guards for a moment before the commotion dies down and he enters the store. Jack'O and Skalfdir, meanwhile, hit up the locals (a good distance away from the shop of course) to learn about Shank himself. They learn that he used to be a petty criminal a decade or so ago, but after spending a lot of time in the dungeons he opened his shop and has been supposedly clean since (few actually believe that though).

    They return to the store , this time going around back and knocking on the back door. A disgruntled Shiv answers yelling that the shop is closed and tries to slam the door. Skalfdir blocks it with his foot and forced his way in (the other party members just as unsettled by his actions as Shiv himself). After insisting that they are not their to rob him, Shiv's goes from scared to angry, insulted that they would suggest that he would knowingly work for such a despicable purpose. The party says perhaps he aided the Red Hand unknowingly. Perhaps a large order of weapons actually went to the hobgoblins? Shiv says that he has not taken on any jobs of such a size as to be useful to the Red Hand, but Skalfdir's sense motive tells him that the dwarf is holding something back. After some excellent diplomacy, Shiv spells that a massively suspicious character in a brown cloak came to him a few months prior, asking for a large order of unmarked weapons. The dwarf, his life of crime allegedly behind him (and being genre-savvy enough to know not to trust people in dark cloaks) refused. The party believes his story, and they pay for the damages to his door and apologize for the intrusion before leaving. They decide to seek out the other major smithy in town, Axenhaft Security, to investigate if they are providing the weapons.

    Meanwhile, at Axenhaft Security, Raiku is still working on his sansetsukon at a rental forge. Miha actually seems to be attracted to him and starts trying to put the moves on him, leading to his best character moment so far:

    Raiku: Can you please stop? I'm trying to work.

    Miha:

    The party arrives not long afterward to find that the rest of the store is crowded and frantic. As the citizens are franticly buying weapons to defend themselves on their flight to Dennovar, and the employees struggle to keep up with all their orders. Talking to the halfling clerk informs them of the half-elf owner of the shop (who actually went unnamed this session, woops ) is swamped with paper work in his office and is not taking visitors. Skalfdir is not to be denied however, and rushes upstair. The rest of the party decides to stay behind and NOT get involved with whatever's about to happen. Sure enough, Skaldir forces his way into the office and demands answers of the half-elf. The half-elf seems willing to comply, but Skalfdir hears a soft click and the owner flicks some sort of switch in his pocket. A few moments later, several members of the city guard, rush into the store and instruct everyone to leave, which they do in a panic. The guards rush upstairs and into the office, only to see Skalfdir and say:

    Guard: Oh... it's just you. False alarm everyone.

    Skalfdir learns that Lord Jaarmath has ordered the city guard to go easy one the party, since anything they're doing is likely in the defense of Brindol. Skalfdir also still insists on interrogating the owner, and is able to persuade the guard to let him do so... with supervision, of course. The owner is angry at this, but appears to to answer Skalfdir's questions honestly, saying that he has not made any order that could have gone to the Red Hand and that he was not contacted by the obviously suspicious figure in a cloak.

    The guard still elects to take Skalfdir back to Brindol Keep, as this appears to be a very serious issue that Jaarmath and Uverth should both know about. He is taken to a small interrogation room, where he is confronted by Lars Uverth. Skalfdir is reluctant to talk, uncertain of Lars's trustworthiness. The captain of the guard reveals that he is a Paladin of Izanagi (or at least he is in my version). Don't get more trustworthy than a paladin of the Lawful Good god of truth. So Skalfdir spills everything except Miha's name, saying that his "contact" would be safer anonymous. They decide that it would probably be
    better for the entire group to be there to give the whole story, and leave to find them.

    While this is going on, the party, having seen Skalfdir leave with an escort of armed guards, decides to follow after him. With a good perception check though, they notice Miha has slipped off into the crowd. They follow, and Miha starts running as if to escape them! She's much faster than the party... except for Nico, who moves to intercept her. Miha tries to cast spells, but Nico gets through them all, and hits her with a Scorpion Style, which cripples Miha's ability to flee. Miha shifts to spider formto try to attack in melee,

    Skalfdir: Not sure if that actually makes her less attractive to me.

    Us: (Though I can't say I didn't see that line coming...)

    A killer flurry of blows takes out most of Miha's hp, and she surrenders. The guards and Skalfdir are drawn over by the panicking crowd, and Miha is taken into custody. After taking her back to Brindol Keep, the party explains the whole situation to Lars Uverth, and try to interrogate Miha, who is having trouble keeping human form in her agitated state. She basically just gives non-answers and screws with the party for a little while. They do learn that her aranea colony may have been forced into serving the Red Hand, but she is vague and declines to speak further. Lars throws her in a cell, saying that he need to inform Jaarmath of all that's happened and that he'll interrogate her the next day. It's getting late, so the party decides to retire for the night also.

    They don't get much sleep however, before they are awakened by the yelling and shouting of many guards. They rush out of the inn, all except Raiku still in their PJs (he can sleep in his armor), to learn that Miha killed 3 guards and escaped her cell! Raiku is able to use his superb tracking skills to identify chinks in walls and fallen roof shingles as Miha's trail and are able to catch up to her. She's invisibile, but an invisibility purge from Jack'O makes things easier (yes he did have it prepared, he got sick of all the invisible enemies in this adventure). A haste from Skalfdir let's everyone keep up, and several rounds of frantic roof jumping later have Miha in custody again. She's clearly angry this time, and the next morning Lars Uverth is able to get a bit more out of her, confirming that she was paid to frame Lady Kaal. The exact hows or whys remain unclear however.

    That's where we ended.


    THOUGHTS (everyone can look this time)
    It's at this point that the players are discussing what to do in the time before the Red Hand arrives. Raiku has two more days of crafting left to do, so Jack'O uses those two days to cast a bunch of Divination spells. We've resolved two castings so far, and are handling the rest via email, since I want know what they are going to to do so I can prepare for it, as what they may want to do isn't covered by the module. They seem to be eyeing the Wyvernwatch Mountains, so maybe I'll do something there.

    As for the Divinations, they first asked if there are any ancient sources of power that they can use against the Red Hand. They received this answer:

    "In terms of ancient power, there is not much
    One is a heart none dare touch.
    The other is doom for you but also they
    Only the one wielding it wins the day"


    The first item is referring the the big evil sphere the Ghostlord has, which they actually clue in on.

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    The second is the runewell powering the Fane of Tiamat.



    They next ask if there is anything they can do now to strike a blow against the Red Hand without getting themselves killed. They received this answer:

    "Many targets must be brought low
    Only you can decide which way to go.
    Regardless of which you seek to destroy,
    A divide and conquer tactic you must employ."



    So that's that session. I'm looking forward to creating something completely from scratch, though it's still possible we'll skip forward to when the Red Hand arrives.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    On Regi and Saarvith
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    I think they should always be fought together unless one of them is dead. My recommendation is to have them fight in the Battle have them run if one of them is injured or have them fighting off screen away from the party. If they are still around after have them fight at the Fane and if they get away again there, just say that in the epilogue that they ran off somewhere and Regi revealed he was in love with Saarvith or something and they did not bother anyone anymore.

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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    I've missed noticing the last few updates, and therefore haven't commented. But I think you're doing quite well!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    1) I'm thinking about modifying the Marked for Death encounter. I'm currently removing the ogre and one of the greater barghests for Saarvith and Regiarix. This should make it a CR 11 encounter. If I play this smart it could be really tough (as it should be). Do you think a party of 4 level 8s could handle a second barghest? Or should I play it safe? This serves the dual-purposes of having a tough encounter, and giving them another chance to take out a Wyrmlord.
    I'm glad you did this. It was a good way to give them another shot at these bosses. The only thing I might have done differently is including Jack'O's brother in this encounter as well.

    2) I established earlier that Lady Kaal is opposing Jaarmath's efforts to evacuate Brindol, mostly because she's a stubborn B. She also refuses to commit her private defense force to the town's defense, as she wants to be as close to them as possible if something does happen. I'm going to try and play it off like she's an obvious spy for the Red Hand. Her secretary (Miha Serani in disguise) will come to the PCs saying that she has documents that are evidence of Kaal's betrayal. What the PCs want to do about this is up to them. The documents do exist, but Kaal knows nothing of them of course. Miha is trying to frame her in order to force her personal guard to disband. The PCs will likely figure out the scheme, as Lady Kaal will deny her involvement under any form of scrutiny.
    OK, having Miha frame Kaal for collaboration was a brilliant idea. I wish the party had had to catch her through investigation rather than noticing her snooping around where she shouldn't have been, though.

    At this point, is there going to be any more aftermath of their relationship with Kaal or the delayed evacuation? Or do they just get the +1 victory point for stopping Miha and that's it?

    Did Kaal end up with a non-negative impression of any of the PCs? She could still try to recruit one into her organization. Or hey, she could actually turn collaborator at this point -- partially or unwittingly -- and be in some kind of cahoots with Jack'O's brother. He could come to her offering information about the PCs' personal secrets or something.

    Or the framed Shank's Shivs dwarf could hire the PCs to make more trouble for Lady Kaal to get back at her. Just brainstorming ways that the final week of waiting could be full of intrigue.

    3) I'm thinking Immerstal the Red, Lord Jaarmath, Lars Uverth, Kellin Shadowbanks, and Tredora Goldenbrow, used to be an adventuring party known as the Order of Dawn. They'll be a valuable asset in the Battle of Brindol. I'll try to establish some sort of interaction between these characters this week.
    Eh, to be honest, I wouldn't. They don't seem to have the personal relationships that a history like this would have led to. (In particular, Jaarmath and Ulverth seem overly professional, and Jaarmath is too protective of Tredora to have fought at her side a lot in the past. Also, I like Ulverth as the mundane warrior he's presented as, so I wouldn't have made him a paladin ... and two fighters in a 4-hero party is a bit much. Also, the default fluff has Immerstal quite disdainful of adventuring in general, although that's easy enough to change.)

    I think it would be more interesting to create new characters if you want to delve into Jaarmath's past. Perhaps a leader or two in Dennovar?

    Speaking of Immerstal, though ... the module does talk about him possibly seeing arcane casters as rivals, especially if there's some Charisma Envy involved, and possibly challenging one to a public contest or something. You could have him get a little feisty towards Skalfdir as another way to fill the remaining week.

    4) I'm basically just trying to kill some time before the horde arrives, but I might just give the party a week to do whatever.
    One more idea: you could copy one of the other RHoD journals from GitP (AslanCross, I think?) and give the PCs each a Lion of Brindol apprentice to train and somewhat re-build in preparation for the big battle. If they each end up with a custom-made Lion at their side, it could make the cathedral showdown more survivable with Ulwai and possibly Regi/Saarvith added into the mix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    I'm completely reworking the Fane of Tiamat. I'm populating it with half-fiend spawn of Tiamat, half-dragon demons, and other weird stuff like that. Are there any abyssal/extraplanar creatures that you guys can think of that are obscure or rarely used that I can put there?
    Well, since you changed Varanthian into an actual dragon, you could just use a fiendish behir. Likewise, since you're replacing Skather in his normal role, you could include a dragonspawn (white, since there is a dearth of white representation in the module? or red?) with class levels.

    I'm sure there are loads more, but I'm no expert on D&D planar bestiary.
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    Thanks for the compliments Draz! And for the suggestions.

    1) Regarding Lady Kaal, I'm going to handle the fallout of all this this coming session. We kind of ran out of time last week. Lady Kaal may actually try to recruit Raiku, since he's probably the most mercenary of the group. I don't think I want Kaal to actually turn traitor, though she will continue to be a nuisance.

    2) Perhaps I will scrap, the adventuring party idea. I think I would have had to establish their relationships already for it to be effective anyway. Actually they've talked with Immerstal quite a bit when researching the Ghostlord. If anything his rival would be Nico, since she's the one with all the knowledge skills. Immertstal doesn't really see a Skalfdir as a rival, but his clear inferior with regards to arcane magic

    3) I might do the training thing, Jack'O would be down for it anyway. The rest seem itching to try and directly hinder the Red Hand.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

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    Thanks for the compliments Draz! And for the suggestions.

    1) Regarding Lady Kaal, I'm going to handle the fallout of all this this coming session. We kind of ran out of time last week. Lady Kaal may actually try to recruit Raiku, since he's probably the most mercenary of the group. I don't think I want Kaal to actually turn traitor, though she will continue to be a nuisance.
    Ah, ok. And I wasn't intending completely traitor ... but having her meeting with the brother could still be interesting. Perhaps she doesn't realize he's aligned with the Red Hand, or thinks that the deal is going to help Brindol more than it helps the Horde.

    2) Perhaps I will scrap, the adventuring party idea. I think I would have had to establish their relationships already for it to be effective anyway. Actually they've talked with Immerstal quite a bit when researching the Ghostlord. If anything his rival would be Nico, since she's the one with all the knowledge skills. Immertstal doesn't really see a Skalfdir as a rival, but his clear inferior with regards to arcane magic
    OK.

    3) I might do the training thing, Jack'O would be down for it anyway. The rest seem itching to try and directly hinder the Red Hand.
    Of course you're there and I'm not. But it's possible that they are "itching" because they don't feel like spending time preparing for the battle will actually help anything. I've read other campaign journals where a similar tactic ended up holding a lot of interest for the players, and being very beneficial to their survival in the long run.

    If they insist on going out on another mission to directly hinder ... I'd be tempted to send them on a wild goose chase after a red herring. They've already done the things that can be done to directly sabotage the baddies, after all. And, well, red herrings and dead ends are realistic.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Ok got some questions for the playground. We just did some emailing and I want to get people's thoughts

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    Envyus, I am thinking your suggestion is good, though it might get preempted by the players.

    Jack'O's getting a lot of mileage out of Sending. They're thinking about sending one to Regi, calling him out to finish things once and for all. Regi's not stupid, he knows that the PCs can take him and Saarvith now, and he's not going to put the two of them up against the 4 PCs. The PCs are expecting him not to fight fair, but they want to try it anyway.

    I'm legitimately unsure how to react to this plan, but I have a few ideas:

    1) Regi knows a trap when he sees one and just doesn't show up.

    2) He shows up with other Red Hand forces. This is the most likely I think, but I'm unsure what forces he'll bring:

    a) He shows up with a regiment of Blackspawn, Barghests and such. Like last time, but with more of them.

    b) He shows up with the above, but Jack'Os evil brother comes too, sniping at them from a distance and giving Jack'O some characterization.

    c) He shows up with an overwhelming number of troops and monsters, which will likely force the PCs to withdraw.

    The only reason he wouldn't do C) is because of his pride. A valid reason, it's been wounded twice already, but I'm still unsure.
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    Default Re: I Wanna Hold Your Red Hand! [RHoD Campaign Journal, PF]

    Quote Originally Posted by Axinian View Post
    Ok got some questions for the playground. We just did some emailing and I want to get people's thoughts

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    Envyus, I am thinking your suggestion is good, though it might get preempted by the players.

    Jack'O's getting a lot of mileage out of Sending. They're thinking about sending one to Regi, calling him out to finish things once and for all. Regi's not stupid, he knows that the PCs can take him and Saarvith now, and he's not going to put the two of them up against the 4 PCs. The PCs are expecting him not to fight fair, but they want to try it anyway.

    I'm legitimately unsure how to react to this plan, but I have a few ideas:

    1) Regi knows a trap when he sees one and just doesn't show up.

    2) He shows up with other Red Hand forces. This is the most likely I think, but I'm unsure what forces he'll bring:

    a) He shows up with a regiment of Blackspawn, Barghests and such. Like last time, but with more of them.

    b) He shows up with the above, but Jack'Os evil brother comes too, sniping at them from a distance and giving Jack'O some characterization.

    c) He shows up with an overwhelming number of troops and monsters, which will likely force the PCs to withdraw.

    The only reason he wouldn't do C) is because of his pride. A valid reason, it's been wounded twice already, but I'm still unsure.
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    I would vote C because Regi and Saarvith have been forced to withdraw twice before and know they can lose quite easily if they are stupid. Added on both time they were beaten with quite a bit of back up.

    In fact as I was typing this I thought of a Devilish Idea. It depends how far away the Red Hand is away from the City but if they are decently close at this point. Regi could set up a meeting place for the duel at a decent distance away and maybe set the time a day or two after they ask for the duel. He would then send the overwhelming force to the meeting spot (maybe led by Jack O's brother) but not bother going himself. While allowing the Red Hand to march closer to the city unopposed by the PC's meaning they have to get back on the double or the city will be attacked with out them to help.

    Oh I also suggest buffing Regi to Young Adult if you have not already while giving Saarvith some levels as well.
    Last edited by Envyus; 2013-09-06 at 09:20 PM.

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