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    danielxcutter's Avatar

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    Default Red Hand of Doom - Saintheart Edition!(D&D 3.5e, FR)

    Spoiler: Introduction
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    The dry hilltops danced with fire.

    Throughout the heart of the wild badlands the humans called the Wyrmbones, great bonfires had been kindled atop the ridges overlooking Cannath Vale. There thousands of warriors had gathered -- hobgoblins in armor dyed scarlet, thick-thewed bugbear berserkers, goblin worg riders and skirmishers and archers, and the scaled ones as well, who often towered over the rest. For so long they had fought each other, tribe against tribe, race against race, engaged in the endless test of battle, feud, and betrayal. But tonight . . . tonight they stood together, hated enemies shoulder-to-shoulder, shouting together as brothers. And they saw that they were strong, and together they danced and sang and shook their blades at the smoke-hidden stars overhead.

    "We are the Kulkor Zhul!" they shouted, and the hills shook with the thunder of their voices. "We are the People of the Dragon! Uighulth na Hargai! None can stand before us!"

    One by one the tribes fell silent. Armor creaked as thousands turned to look up to the Place of Speaking. There, a single champion emerged from the assemblage and slowly climbed the ancient stone stair cut into the side of the hill. A hundred bright yellow banners stood beneath him like a phalanx of spears, each marked with a great red hand. The warpriests holding the banners chanted battle-prayers in low voices as the champion ascended.

    On the hundredth step he stopped and turned to face the waiting warriors. He was tall and strong, one of the hobgoblin chieftains, but dull blue scales gleamed along his shoulders, and jutting horns swept back from his head. "I am Azarr Kul, Son of the Dragon!" he cried. "Hear me, warriors of the Kulkor Zhul! Tomorrow we march to war!"

    The warriors roared their approval, stamping their feet and clashing spear to shield. Azarr Kul waited, holding his hands aloft until they quieted again. "The warpriests of the Doom Hand have shown us the way! They have taught us honor, discipline, obedience -- and strength! No more will we waste our blood fighting each other. We will take the lands of the elf, the dwarf, and the human, and make them ours! Under the banner of the Red Hand of Doom we march to victory and conquest! Remember that you stood here this night, warriors of Kulkor Zhul! For a hundred generations your sons and your sons' sons will sing of the blood spilled by your swords and the glory you win in the nights to come! Now, my brothers -- to WAR!"

    The burning hills were too small to hold the shout the Kulkor Zhul gave in answer to their warlord's call.

    Welcome, to our campaign journal of Red Hand of Doom.

    D&D 5e might be mainstream these days, but 3.5e is still quite popular, and RHoD is one of the best crafted modules of the edition from what I’ve heard. I don’t know much, but since I’m a player it’s for the best, because that means I can enjoy what our DM has in store for us to the fullest.

    So, I invite you to our tale of misadventures about our journey in the Realms. Maybe we’re just clowning around, but to be honest we’re more like the entire circus.

    That, er, that wasn’t a metaphor. Believe me, I wish I was making that up.

    Spoiler: Cast
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    Our DM is Saintheart. I’ve never played with him before, but he seems like an old hand at this kind of thing. I’m noticing he has a handbook about this module, so I’m expecting he’s putting his own twist to make the campaign 300% as awesome. He’s certainly willing to err on the side of fun when it comes to rulings.

    Alastor is played by A.A.King. His halfling is a bard with the Fey and Savage variants, so he has a black bear animal companion, a riding dog wild cohort, and a parrot familiar. He’s quite literally the ringmaster of the party, or to be precise the “Great Bremen Circus''(which is how this whole circus thing started in the first place). It’s not as great as it used to be according to his backstory, but that’s kinda what we’re for.

    Aidan Blackbow is the PC of ShedShadow, who posted the recruitment thread in the first place. He’s a drow ranger - with the archery combat style, go away lawyers - who’s rather foulmouthed but actually seems less likely to cause problems than most of the other characters. He traded his animal companion feature for an ACF, but has two donkeys both called Toje. No, I don’t know why either, but apparently there’s a funny story about that.

    Diana is Dimers’ character. She’s a nezumi-turned-dragonborn Dragon Shaman, with somewhat morbid taste in gear as typically dragonborn tend to find dragoncraft items distasteful. Not that Diana cares, of course. Double the dragon means double the breath weapons, and having an absolutely ridiculous Con score of 22 certainly helps. And why yes, she’s the circus fire-breather, how did you know?

    Aerilaya Ralothyra’s played by Deadguy. Human Paragon 3/Swordsage 2 with a bit of homeruling and adaption of 3.0e and PF material. Probably the most optimized in our party. The DM said that her player bribed him with booze, but I’m pretty sure that was a joke. She’s the tightrope walker, and considering she has something like a +14 bonus she’s probably really good at that, too.

    Aracor plays Vokon Giantbreaker Nugalatha, goliath warblade. Unsurprisingly, he’s the circus strongman, and in general the strongest member in our party(22 Str, and that’s without magic items!). DM okayed proficiency with goliath greathammers too, which means he can really smash hard.

    And then there’s me. I play Arendi Marthebar, cleric/crusader planning on RKV next level, and if you’ve ever felt that the Wall of the Faithless is a load of gorgon poo then he would certainly agree - in fact, that’s a fairly significant part of his backstory. Kelemvor actually tried to remove it, but the other gods whined about losing followers. Naturally, Arendi’s more than a little salty about that.

    Spoiler: Houserules
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    Spoiler: Group Initiative
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    Thanks to long and bitter experience of a standard-ish D&D combat taking the better part of months to finish out by the book, I handle initiative during combat a little differently to the standard. If combat starts, here’s how I handle the rounds:

    (1) Everyone including the opposition has initiative rolled
    (2) Anyone who got a roll higher than the monsters is put in one group
    (3) Anyone who got a roll lower than the monsters is put in a second group
    (4) Those who get initiative results higher than the monsters have 48 hours from the time of the DM’s update to post their actions. If someone in this group doesn’t post in that time, they are automatically shunted down to the group who acts after the monsters. Actions will be resolved in order of people’s posts.
    (5) I then update taking account of people’s posts and provide the monsters’ actions
    (6) Those who got rolls lower than the monsters (or who have been shunted into this group) have 48 hours from the time of my update to post their actions. If there is no post within 48 hours, the character is deemed to remain where they are and go on total defense for the round – no exceptions. Again, actions otherwise are resolved in order of posting.
    (7) Actions commencing in one round are resolved at the time of your post in the next round.

    Edge cases may well arise (especially if stuff like Incite or Inhibit are used), but these will be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

    Spoiler: Overland Travelling
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    For the purposes of overland travel, the default is that you can cross 24 miles in a full day’s travel, regardless of whether the party has mounts or not. That’s based on the rough idea that you’re travelling about 8 hours per day, at 30 feet per round (travel can be pushed into the twilight/nightfall hours for another 4 hours or so). While mounts help you maybe have more carrying capacity or assist in combat, because you’re generally in trackless if not rugged wilderness they generally don’t help that much to increase the party’s overall travelling rate. Think of it as similar to why despite an Enlarge Person spell your movement rate doesn’t change ;)

    As said, the default is that you can travel about 24 miles in a day. However, terrain factors may affect whether you actually cross a full 24 miles in the day. As such, journeys are better thought of in terms of the number of days taken to reach the intended destination.
    When you travel from one place to another, your group gets to pick a travel pace for the day: fast, normal, or slow. Each has benefits and drawbacks as follows:

    • FAST:
    o The party gains 1.5 days on the route.
    o The party can’t forage for food at all on the way.
    o The party takes -4 penalty on all checks to perceive dangers and on navigation checks.
    o Hostile creatures get +4 on checks to detect or track the party.

    • NORMAL:
    o The party gains 1 day on the route.
    o The party can forage for food on the way, but at a -4 penalty.

    • SLOW:
    o The party gain 0.5 days on the route.
    o The party can forage for food normally.
    o The party gets +4 to all checks to perceive dangers and on navigation checks.
    o Hostile creatures get -4 on checks to detect or track the party

    Notice, then, that terrain factors may affect your pace. For example, due to heavy snowfall, a route that normally takes 1 day to cross in fact takes 2 days (heavy snow halves movement). The party could still elect to counter this increased time by travelling at a fast pace, but they ultimately still only gain 1.5 days on the route, they only travel 1.5 of the 2 days required to cover the distance. Conversely, if they travel at a slow pace in this terrain, then they’ll only get about one quarter of the way to their destination.
    As for foraging and navigation and how they work:

    Foraging:
    At the end of a day of travel, everyone rolls a Survival check against the appropriate Resources DC of the terrain:
    5: Coastal or urban areas
    10: Forests or hilly regions
    15: Grasslands, swamps, open sea, and underwater
    20: Arctic tundras, mountains, or the underdark
    25: Deserts, and most planar locations
    If a character fails their check, the player marks off one use of their rations. If the players have no food, they can survive (3 days + their Con mod) travel days without food, or twice that if they decide to spread their food thin. After that time runs out, they start taking starvation.
    If at least one player succeeds on their foraging roll, all players obtain water and can refill their waterskins. If a player has no water or are starving, they become fatigued (-2 STR, DEX, can’t run or charge.) and start taking nonlethal damage. They remain fatigued until they find water, no matter how much they rest. (Certain spells creating food or water or similar are adjudicated case by case. There are no such things as Everfull Mugs or Everlasting Rations.)

    Navigation:
    Each day, whoever has the best WIS check, or someone with a good navigation ability (i.e. survival), is subject to a navigation roll. This is against the Navigation DC of the terrain they’re passing through on that day, and is checked by the DM in secret. Failing a navigation roll means the party is off target from its destination, i.e. got lost at some point, whether in a totally wrong direction or just a few degrees off course (which can still mean you're miles off course). The difficulty of this roll depends at least in part on the route you’ve chosen.

    Of course, you might be able to realize you're lost before the navigator passes a roll.
    - If there is a major landmark, like a river, that your character is aware of, you might run into it and realize you’re going the wrong direction.
    - If your days spent travelling exceed the planned days of the route, you’ll certainly figure out you’re lost. For example, if you're expecting to reach a location in three days given the pace you set but the journey stretches into four for no reason, you would immediately deduce that you're off target if not outright lost.

    Once you know you’re lost, you have three options:
    - Pick a direction and travel that way until you hit a landmark (river, edge of forest, etc)
    - Find high ground and try to locate a landmark you can orient yourself by
    - Backtrack until you hit a landmark you know.

    No matter what option you choose, it’s treated as a new journey.

    In summary: every day spent travelling, you all roll a forage check and at the end of the day your navigator gets a navigation check. This determines whether you’re on course for the destination you're going to and whether you get fed that day.

    Wait, what about wandering monsters and other encounters?
    Encounters may well occur even if you're totally on course. Your choice of route to the destination – and there are always more ways than one to get somewhere – may affect the frequency, and depending on where you want to go and how fast, you might choose to accept the risks of such a journey. And of course the pace you move at will have an effect on your capacity to meet those encounters as they arise (if they are combat encounters at all.)

    Spoiler: The Complication Pool
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    Time flies, and waits for no orc. This rule is essentially a way of reflecting the time and to some extent the risk and danger that might be taken on a task.

    Whenever players spend a meaningful amount of time on a task, a d6 die is added to the Complication Pool. These are an abstraction for time passing; they could represent anything between 5 and 15 minutes, or indeed hours in the case of travel, or even months, depending on the situation.

    But the dice also serve as the relentless advance of ill fortune, or karma; as such, a dice may be added by the DM if a party member does something that in the DM’s view is reckless or risky.

    When there are 6 dice in the Complication Pool, the Pool is rolled and cleared. If any of the dice roll a 1, there is … a Complication. A random encounter might happen, your horse might step in a hole and break his leg, your torches might blow out, you might discover a mouse has eaten all your rations.

    Also, the DM may in his discretion add a dice and roll the pool before it contains 6 dice, if a character does something exceptionally risky. In these circumstances the pool is not cleared. One ill turn deserves another, as someone once said.

    The Pool is there to remind you that you are always against the clock, always daring Lady Luck. Your only grace in this respect is that you always know how many dice there are in the Complication Pool.


    Now that I’ve gotten the basics down, we might as well get started. We’re doing this on the forums via play-by-post, so there’ll be updates when there’s enough progress rather than each session.

    And so, the tale begins… a tale of the Great Bremen Circus, and the Red Hand of Doom.

    Spoiler: Episode 1 - Orange You Glad To See Us?
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    Spoiler: Opening
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    Quote Originally Posted by DM
    Mid-afternoon, on the road outside Drellin’s Ferry
    Cannath Vale,
    (South of the Shaar, East of the Wyrmbones)
    The Sixth of Mirtul, 1372 DR, Year of Wild Magic




    At some point over some couple of miles, the washed-out yellow of tallgrass either side of the dusty trail gave way to green copses of white-trunked eucalyptus. Jaslyn’s Pea dotted the earth all around like little hanging rubies in the afternoon sun. The wind slowed, bringing the wafting scent of distant orange groves. And the rocky flatlands gave way to Cannath Vale’s rolling hills, the straight trail shifting to undulate around the rises and falls.

    It made the muscles soften, the back curve into a more agreeable shape for strolling, slowed one’s mount from a walk to an amble. The shallow shadows of the hills began to relieve the day's heat, and the wind shifted westerly, putting the breeze as well as the sun at their backs for the last few miles of travel left to the travellers before they reached Drellin’s Ferry. And a strange band of travellers it was.

    First came a giant.
    Or goliath, rather; head and shoulders bigger than an ordinary man, a massive hammer balanced across one shoulder, eyes glinting like emeralds. This fierce look was offset by the incongruous yellow parrot perched on his other shoulder. As it was, the hammer had apparently been lonely; half a dozen smaller hammers bounced in a bandolier across the big man’s chest like a litter of puppies under the statuesque figure’s protection. And death walked beside him.

    This was not precisely a euphemism. The armoured man matching the goliath’s pace might not have been bristling with weapons, but the combination of full plate, heavy shield, and hand-and-a-half sword in its sheath might have given one pause. Few men knew how to use such weapons effectively with one hand. But fewer still also wore the holy symbol of the Scales and Bones, the sigil of Kelemvor, Lord of the Dead, and such men were not to be trifled with.

    A stranger combination walked behind them. One was a solid-sized black bear. The other was a young woman. It was a question of considerable debate as to which was more deadly. One might have been entranced by the woman’s graceful stride and long auburn tresses that seemed to drift against the wind, but one would have had a note of disquiet raised when one met the woman’s single, sharp, frigid sapphire eye, and the faint unease that greeted the traveller whenever their gaze dropped to the weapon at her side – a weapon easily the size of the Death Cleric’s own bastard sword.

    Behind these, camels and mules. And another pair of travellers, stranger still. One was perhaps familiar to those conversant with bards’ tales and overblown deeds of derring-do out of the North: the black skin, dark grey hair, elongated ears and cloak against the sun marked this one as a drow, a dark elf, hands never far from the dragonbone bow he carried, though this one would never have claimed to the ways or deeds of that drow from Ten-Towns. The other was not so familiar: a walking brass dragon. Or not so much walking as gliding; the creature’s posture and gait were excellent, as though it were on a dance floor or in a great lord’s chamber rather than in the middle of a dusty road. The more observant would then see that this could only be a member of the people known as the dragonborn, though the walking dragon’s age and sex were difficult to judge.

    And on the left hand side of this curious menagerie of travellers, perhaps the strangest one of all: a wild-bearded Halfling with a formal bow tie and top hat riding on the back of a great riding dog. The halfling’s vest was straining to contain a generous frame (itself the result of much past prosperity). This odd vision rode up and down the left hand side of this odder column, occasionally (and not-so-occasionally) regaling the other travellers with tales of past greatness and coming magnificence for them, and, in particular, for himself.

    This, then, is the band that moves from out of the obscurity that is the place of all people outside recorded history, and into this chronicle. (And here my hand relents for a cup of mulled wine, a bowl of chalked water to ease the Dry Twist of my knuckles, and to ask a blessing of Oghma: make the tale live for us in all its many bearings, O muse of historians across the Realms…)


    We started our game on the road towards Drelin’s Ferry.

    The idea was that we’d all been travelling together for a bit, so things were pretty much normal for us. Alastor was going up and down encouraging everyone and the rest of us were just chatting with each other IC except for Aidan, who was grumbling that the trees and such would make it hard to keep a lookout.

    As it turned out Aidan was entirely correct, because that was when combat started and everyone except him completely blew their Listen and Spot checks despite Alastor and Aerilaya actually having good bonuses.

    Eight hobgoblins were perched in the trees, four on each side of the road. Each had longbows.

    The good news is that everyone except my cleric won initiative, which meant Aidan at least could act in the surprise round. He fired an arrow, the first attack roll not only of the game but of the year.

    The bad news is that he rolled a nat 2, nowhere near enough to hit the hobgoblin he’d aimed at(with cover they had an AC of 18).

    Which should probably give you an idea of just how bad our luck was this fight.

    The hobgoblins’ turn - half of them for some reason did… nothing? The other half weren’t sitting on their thumbs though - they threw tanglefoot bags and thunderstones at us.

    Aidan and Diana were okay because they were closer to the back(we’ve got a LOT of pack animals - two donkeys and three camels), and Alastor and his animals all managed to make the Fort saves against being deafened. The other half of the party wasn’t as fortunate though - Aerilaya got deafened, Vokon got a tanglefoot bag to the face, and my poor cleric got BOTH of those.

    Vokon(ooc): Well, I didn't expect Vokon's flaw to come into play on the very first action. He panics when entangled, bound, or pinned.And since he can't activate his Third Eye to prevent the effect, that's not great for him.

    DM: ...I had so forgotten about that flaw

    Yyyyyup.

    With the surprise round over, combat started in earnest.

    Vokon easily made his Str check to break out of the glue, but since you’re still entangled for 2d4 rounds after that he ended up using the rest of his turn getting the dodge out of there.

    Aidan: Blasted TREES! *uses Rapid Shot to fire two arrows and misses*

    Alastor: “Blasted trees indeed! I think it is time for a little fire show!!” *throws vial of alchemist’s fire*

    The vial of alchemist’s fire had slightly more effect, and he also sent his bear Dobble at one of the hobgoblins.

    Since none of us are druids, Diana thought that “blasted trees” was a good idea as well. She switched her dragon shaman aura to the Energy Shield option and used her breath weapon… which rolled a 5 on a 3d6, scorching a pair of hobgoblins but not much else.

    Diana(ooc): “We're hot tonight! And the hobgoblins are barely warm!”

    Me(ooc): lol

    Aerilaya changed her stance to Step of Winds and moved closer to the nearest hobgoblin.

    And then four of the hobgoblins - the ones that hadn’t been attacking in the surprise round - opened their eyes and fired, one at Diana, one at Dobble, and two at Aidan.

    All four of them scored crits, knocking Aidan into the negatives with 32 damage{!) and seriously damaging the others with Diana taking 6 points of damage and Dobble 19.

    Yyyyyyyup.

    The rest of the hobgoblins didn’t have any luck, and the one suddenly finding himself treemates with an angry bear dropped his bow and took a swing(which failed), but it was still looking bad.

    Worse, even more enemies appeared. There was an abandoned farmhouse around the corner, and a hobgoblin wielding two shortswords and a pair of hell hounds with scales came out.

    The hellhounds attacked Aerilaya. The first one missed - Aerilaya’s got the average AC of a character twice our ECL. The second used its breath weapon on her, and despite the name Energy Shield doesn’t actually duplicate the Fire Shield spell so she still took damage. It only did about 4 points of damage after the Reflex save, but some of it stuck to her like napalm.

    And then it was my turn. Fortunately, I have the Travel domain.

    Me(ooc): Can I see that Aiden's fallen even though I'm deaf? I'm too far to use Close Wounds on him yet, but I can get closer if Arendi knows that an ally's fallen. Does the Travel domain ability let me ignore the difficult terrain as well?

    DM: Yes to both. Call it some minor boon of the God of Death when someone comes close to knocking on his door.

    I wrote down my actions in the reply box, and after some IC praying to Kelemvor from my cleric and some OOC actual praying from myself to get past the spell failure check, I posted it.

    Me(ooc): Making my spell failure check; if I get a 1 on 1d5 that counts as blowing the 20% chance due to deafness.

    (1d5)[3]
    Me(ooc): PRAISE KELEMVOR, INFIDELS!

    It wasn’t much, but that was still enough to get Aidan out of the negatives.

    Aerilaya took 2 points of damage from the breath weapon residue and went with her strongest attack possible. A combination of Cloak of Deception, Mountain Hammer, Iajuitsu Focus, and a Guided katana(PF material; use Wisdom for to-hit and damage) hit the bladebearer for a total of 24 damage.

    Alastor used Dark Way to make a path to the nearest hobgoblin and ordered his riding dog Pogo to charge, which unfortunately missed. Dobble had slightly better luck and slapped the hobgoblin she was attacking with a claw for 7 damage.

    Diana blasted one of the hellhounds with a cold breath weapon - her dragon shaman breath weapon is limited to a line of fire, but the dragonborn option lets you choose between the four common energy types. And that was it for that hellhound. It also caught the bladebearer, but he was still on his feet.

    Aidan got up and used his Healing Belt to bring himself back to max hit points.

    Vokon continued running around like a vorpal’d dire chicken.

    And initiative passed on to the monsters. The one hacking at the bear didn’t do well this time either, but the one sharing a tree with Pogo and Alastor dropped his bow and pulled out a shortsword, landing a pretty nasty hit on the halfling. The rest still had their bows - Dobble got hit by another arrow and Diana got two.

    The air rippled, and yet another hobgoblin appeared - this one clad in a mixture of armor and robes.

    Hobgoblin Cleric: Silly hu-man girl likes to play with swords!

    And she cast Blindness on Aerilaya.

    Me(ooc): I'm guessing you forgot about Aerilaya's Murky flaw as well, since you just blinded her? I thought this was Red Hand of Doom, not Tomb of Horrors.

    DM: I ... what? (Checks CS) Good gravy, I didn't see that Murky Eyed flaw there either. I swear!

    Meanwhile, Vokon was having trouble of his own. Three more of them came screaming out of the wood, swinging shortswords at him. Two of them hit, doing 13 damage to him(counting his Lesser Ironward Diamond)... but the DM also ruled that was enough to crack the tanglefoot bag glue, so he was no longer panicked.

    I sighed(which would have been more cathartic if I could hear it) and trundled off to the eastern side of the road - only Dobble was on that side, and was hurting a lot. Then I pulled a tanglepatch out of my Handy Haversack and threw it into the middle of the hobgoblins.

    Turns out I really should have checked what that thing does properly - it mostly duplicates the Entangle spell…Which has a radius of 40 feet.

    And I was in range of the effect.

    Me(ooc): ...I think I may have underestimated the radius of that item. Like, holy crap.

    Fortunately, I still had enough time left on my Travel domain power, and Dobble made her save.

    Unfortunately, so did every single one of the hobgoblins caught in the radius.

    Next round, Aidan activated his Amber Amulet of Vermin to summon a giant stag beetle and moved further into the woods for cover. The beetle gored the cleric with an antler, who shrieked "You will pay, scum! The Kulkor Zhul will feed your bodies to the vultures!"

    And Diana noted that “Kulkor Zhul” was Draconic - meaning “people of the dragon”...
    Spoiler: Draconic note
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    Races of the Dragon doesn’t have the word for “people” or even “person”, despite having the word for “unfashionable”, but it does say the Draconic word for dragon is actually “darastrix”. I suppose the devs couldn’t check all the sourcebooks, though.

    Vokon, finally able to contribute to the fight, switched to Leading the Charge, pulled out a light hammer from his bandoleer and swung it, while Alastor drew his whip and ordered his animals to keep attacking.

    Every single attack missed.

    Me(ooc): Okay, who pissed on the RNG’s altar?

    Alastor(ooc): When the numbers aren't there, the numbers aren't there. And [Alastor] is supposed to be worshipping the luck goddess….

    DM: I have to say, this is about the worst run of dice I've seen in a D&D game, and you're talking to a guy who pulled three natural 1s in a row and whiffed his way through a whole level one time.

    Aerilaya at least did a bit better - she switched to Hunter’s Sense to get scent, took a five-foot step, made the check to not miss, and hit the bladebearer again with a Sapphire Nightmare Blade. And her katana’s the cursed kind that forces you to draw it whenever you try to draw another weapon, so she made another Iajuitsu Focus check as well. Combined with the strike, she managed to do an impressive 28 points of damage.

    Aerilaya(ooc): You keep taking all the bad dice, I'm ok with how mine work.

    Me(ooc): >:v

    Diana didn’t manage to post within the 48-hour period, so initiative passed on. Alastor got slashed again by his hobgoblin treemate, and the bladebearer moved to flank with the hellhound and got Aerilaya with both swords as well. She actually blocked one, but the other still got her in the side - he took backlash from Diana’s aura, but still did more damage to the swordsage than he took.

    (She also seemingly heard a mocking chuckle from her sword, but I’m sure that was nothing. Hopefully.)

    Most of the hobgoblins missed their shots, but the two near Diana didn’t actually fire. Instead, they closed their eyes and concentrated… just like the ones that’d blasted Aidan into the negatives earlier.

    The hobgoblins stabbing at Vokon didn’t have any luck either. Instead of bows, they had shortswords and heavy shields and were using Phalanx Fighting, but apparently they hadn’t had the feats to invest in Weapon Focus or something.

    The cleric moved away from the beetle, but ate an AoO. However, she also noticed Diana.

    Cleric: Hated one! Servant of the hated one!

    Instead of hitting her in the face herself, though, she cast a Mass Aid on the hobgoblins on the west side of the road.

    Since I still had that very nice FoM effect still going on, I decided to take a risk by going deeper into the tanglepatch area. I pulled out my bastard sword, raised it to the skies, and cast Bless.

    And I blew the spell failure check. :insertfacepalmsmiley:

    Me(ooc): ...Fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffrankfurters. Should we start preparing our new character sheets yet?

    DM: ...I just don't have any words, I really don't...

    Me:(ooc) Our luck's so bad it's actually hilarious at this point. I mean seriously, like what? Losing my s*** at this point, guys. Jesus. H. Christ.

    Aerilaya(ooc): If we don't remove any threats this round, I don't really see us living. I can't really contribute to that, though. I only really have like a 25% chance to hit, and I'm out of damaging maneuvers.The archers will probably get one of us with a crit since they're buffed, and with 19 hp remaining, a single good full attack from the demon pupper and Mr. Stabface, and I'll be down.

    Vokon(ooc): Yep, I would say this is getting pretty ridiculous. Saintheart, if you didn't want to go through the entire campaign, you should have just SAID so!

    Aidan(ooc): Definitely enjoying the descriptions, I'm pretty sure that the dice are the only ones not enjoying the campaign.

    Alastor(ooc): Perhaps it's because in a real-life campaign (over roll20 now) I'm giving my players too much loot? The D&D gods must be mad at me for giving them stuff. ::p:

    And while I didn’t get to know that until the round resolved, my tanglepatch had caught Dobble as well. And Alastor’s camels.

    Oh well, at least I got two of the archers too.

    Diana moved to threaten the cleric and blasted both her and one of the archers with a breath weapon. She rolled about average, and also put Alastor and Aerilaya in her aura range.

    And that brought her close enough to see the markings on the cleric’s robes… which turned out to be the symbol of Tiamat, goddess of chromatic dragons.

    Which made perfect sense; for those not familiar with 3.5e dragonborn, humanoids can pledge themselves to Bahamut to turn into dragonborn, and Tiamat hates Bahamut. But at the same time, it made no sense at all - Tiamat’s powerbase is Unther, in East Faerun, while the Channath Vale(where we roughly are) is located in South Faerun.

    Of course, nobody was really worrying about that now, not when we were doing our best to, y’know, not die.

    Aerilaya tried to use a Mighty Throw to pile-driver the hellhound - and blew her miss chance rolls.

    Alastor had his animals attack again - which also missed completely.

    Alastor(ooc): Well, the animals tried guys... with 5 D20s in a turn you'd expect atleast ONE of them to be higher than a 10...

    That wasn’t his last trick, though - he cracked his whip, and used the wand of Benign Transposition in its wand sheath to switch places with his seriously injured bear, getting her out but being entangled himself.

    Vokon(ooc): Oh wow, so you put yourself in place of the bear. Yikes! I hope you're not screwing yourself (not that this battle is doing anything good for us).

    The guy’s CN but he does care for his animals, got to say that much.

    Vokon used his Anklet of Translocation to VORP away from the phalanx fighters without provoking an AoO and charged the bladebearer, and Aidan had his beetle charge the cleric -

    DM: Sorry, fellas, but per the terrain notes in earlier posts you can't charge or run if the movement would take you through both green and brown squares, i.e. the road cut's gradient prevents Vokon and/or Mr Beetle from doing that if I'm reading it right. Happy if Vokon keeps his place but wants to edit his post, same with Aidan and the beetle.

    Me(ooc): Ah bollocks.

    Okay, make that “Vokon teleported, took an AoO from one of the phalanx fighters(which missed), made the Jump check to go OVER the road, and charged the cleric.” Which did hit for a fair amount of damage, but wasn’t a killing blow.

    Aidan unleashed a Rapid Shot full attack as well, both shots hitting the cleric, and then had his stag beetle trample the phalanx fighters.

    Phalanx Fighter 1: We are Kulkor Zhul! Our Queen is watching!
    Phalanx Fighter 2&3: *defiant snarls*
    Spoiler: Stag beetle
    Show

    Unsurprisingly, half a ton was considerably more than the lethal dose for Angry Stag Beetle.

    The hellhound moved to catch Aerilaya, Vokon, and even the bladebearer, who screeched in pain. At that point he was seriously a mess - two Iaijutsu Focus-boosted strikes from Aerilaya, a breath weapon from Diana as well as backlash from the aura, a charge from Vokon and now hellhound halitosis.

    He turned to the goliath, coughed blood, rang its swords together, and grinned. “So! Will you challenge me, gulat! Good! You will be more challenge than stupid hu-man girl!”

    (Apparently “gulat” is a goblinoid slur for goliaths or something. Huh.)

    Vokon realized the bladebearer’d been trained in the Sublime Way as well as he dropped into the Blood in the Water stance, and then landed both sword attacks on the goliath for considerable damage.

    And killed himself from the energy shield backlash damage.

    The cleric was calling Diana names like “Weakling dragongirl!” when she got shot full of holes by Aidan. She cried, “Khulor Zhul! Kill the defiler! Kill the hated one!” and Diana got two super-arrows to the chest for 36(!!) damage.

    Of course, the cleric himself still had her actions. Diana got an AoO but missed - and failed her save against a Heartache spell. If you’re not familiar with it, it makes you helpless for a round if you fail.



    Meanwhile, I was obviously pretty surprised that Alastor would willingly put himself into melee for his animals - he has pretty much zero melee ability. I moved to right under where he was in the tree, and then made my check to cast a Spiritual Weapon. Since that archer’d already been smacked in the face by Dobble, that was enough for the final blow.

    Diana gasped helplessly.

    Round 5.

    Vokon charged the cleric, but missed - he rolled a nat 3, and the cleric had 18 AC. Aidan’s arrows similarly missed, while his stag beetle took a double move closer to the fight.

    Alastor blew his ranged attack roll to chuck a vial of alchemist’s fire, and finally his dog landed a hit. The damage wasn’t too impressive, but riding dogs can trip with their bite attacks - and the falling damage finished the job.

    Aerilaya used her Adaptive Style feat to recover all her maneuvers.

    All the hobgoblins on my side of the road were entangled now, so they were too busy getting free. Not that the rest were doing much better; precisely three out of three archers blew their attack rolls.

    The cleric decided to try her luck and swung her pick at Diana… and got a crit. It could have been much worse, but that still dropped her down to 3 hit points.

    The hellhound attacked Aerilaya with a bite attack. She dodged, getting a further +1 bonus to her Extreme Cool stat.

    I moved in closer to the hobgoblins - seriously, I never knew 10 feet less movement speed was so restricting - and redirected my Spiritual Weapon to another archer, landing a hit.

    Diana’s player missed the deadline again, so the DM put her on total defense. Though considering how low her hit points were, maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing.

    Aidan let loose another Rapid Shot, refunding our bad luck with interest by rolling extremely high and nailing an archer to the tree with both arrows, while his beetle got a crit on another of them for no less than 52(!!!) damage.

    Considering that the archers only had about 13 hit points, that was less “dead” and more “paste”.

    Aerilaya tried a Sapphire Nightmare Blade on the hellhound with little luck.

    Vokon took a 5-foot step to flank with Diana, and then bonked the cleric in the face with his tiny hammer. The damage wasn’t much, but the flank was juuuuuuuuust enough for it to hit. And he used his swift action to pull Diana back into the first initiative group with White Raven Tactics.

    Cleric: You -- will -- still -- die, your doom -- is here -- we will take your lands -- and your children -- and --

    Diana: Bahamut blast you, wretch. *uses breath weapon*

    And that was finally enough to drop the cleric.

    Alastor had Pogo take a double move towards the hellhound, then cracked his whip again to activate his wand to switch the dog with the bear.

    Alastor: TO ALL THOSE LEFT STANDING! AS YOU HAVE WITNESSED I AM IN COMPLETE CONTROL OF THE STAGE. SURRENDER NOW OR MEET THE SAME FATE AS YOUR BRETHREN.

    Only a claw hit, but that was enough for the hellhound to decide that was enough - and by retreating, it got cleaved from hind to heart by Aerilaya’s AoO.

    As the cleric fell and Alastor’s threat boomed out, that demoralized the remaining archers enough. The three still in my tanglepatch drew their blades, and slit their own throats.

    The last one drew his own, and shouted hoarsely “We are Kulkor Zhul! The Kulkor Zhul does not die! The Day of Doom is ours!”

    He drove the sword into his body, slipped, and fell out of the tree to his death with a crack.

    Spoiler: Thoughts
    Show
    • Wow, this fight was terrifying. That ambush locked half the party out of the fight for the first few rounds. Part of that was luck, and part of that was the DM missing Vokon’s Wild flaw(not sure if Aerilaya being blinded counts; she has Blind-Fight which kind of cancels things out and she was still the MVP in this encounter), but it would have been pretty brutal even without that.
    • To elaborate on that last bit, we’re a bit short on ranged combat options, which also caused us to waste some time being filled with arrows. If the ambush hadn’t messed up half of us the elite hobgoblins and the hellhounds probably would have gone down a bit faster, but most of us would have had to climb up into the trees to attack them properly.
    • Of course, there’s no denying our luck was absolutely horrible. I checked the average of each d20 roll we made - which includes a few unused crit confirmation rolls and doesn’t include the ones our DM rolled in secret - and our 58 rolls got an average of 9.08. And Aerilaya getting blinded negated some of the good rolls as well, so… yeah.
    • Those super-arrows hit hard. Probably some sort of magic item, but the important point is that the DM is not pulling his punches. Aidan and I are considering tweaking our builds a bit to keep up better - I didn’t take any flaws, and Aidan’s considering switching one of his favored enemies from orc to goblinoid.

    I’ll add the aftermath of the fight in the next update - we’ve just got to Drelin’s Ferry and getting to know the place. And later on, the others are going to be putting on a show - they are a circus, after all. I’m not going to be performing myself, but as a Kelemvorite I prepare my spells at dusk, so later I can prepare and cast Guidance of the Avatar on some of them to supercharge their checks!

    Hope you enjoyed the first installment of our misadventures!
    Last edited by danielxcutter; 2021-02-02 at 04:47 AM.
    Cool elan (no not that kind) Illithid Slayer by linkele.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom - Saintheart Edition!(D&D 3.5e, FR)

    Have there been any further sessions?
    I'm taking part in the Character Creation Challenge (#charactercreationchallenge): 1 character per day for January 2021. Come see who I've made at:
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom - Saintheart Edition!(D&D 3.5e, FR)

    I'm happy to see another TRHoD campaign Journal.
    We are eagerly waiting for further installments :)
    The beatings will continue until morale improves!

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom - Saintheart Edition!(D&D 3.5e, FR)

    Circus seems accurate indeed, with the comedy of errors from all of your poor rolls :P
    The Romanov Incident A 3.5 campaign journal, complete. Magic! Mystery! Mind control! Murderous Demon Apes!

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    danielxcutter's Avatar

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom - Saintheart Edition!(D&D 3.5e, FR)

    Quote Originally Posted by thorr-kan View Post
    Have there been any further sessions?
    Quote Originally Posted by PrismCat21 View Post
    I'm happy to see another TRHoD campaign Journal.
    We are eagerly waiting for further installments :)
    Oh, I've been busy recently, but I should start on the next chapter yeah.

    It's a play-by-post so "session" wouldn't be the right word, but there's been enough progress for another update, yes. I'll see if I can get it done in a week.

    Quote Originally Posted by curious-puzzle View Post
    Circus seems accurate indeed, with the comedy of errors from all of your poor rolls :P
    Pretty much, yes.
    Cool elan (no not that kind) Illithid Slayer by linkele.

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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom - Saintheart Edition!(D&D 3.5e, FR)

    Quote Originally Posted by danielxcutter View Post
    It's a play-by-post so "session" wouldn't be the right word, but there's been enough progress for another update, yes. I'll see if I can get it done in a week.
    No problem. I just want to hear what happens next. :)
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