Red Hand of Doom

19 January 2008

Start of the campaign! It would take us nearly a year of weekly play to complete. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we enjoyed it a lot.

I personally consider this to be one of the best campaigns that I've participated in. The module is really well written. There is a constant time pressure, but the players still have a lot of agency. It is also one of just a few campaigns where you have to defend civilization against an encroaching horde of baddies. I consider that to be pretty much the archetypical fantasy story and had been dying to play (or DM) such a scenario.

This campaign was remarkable to us for a number of reasons. It was the very last third edition campaign we did, the only one we did using the 3.5 rules, and the first one where we used miniatures.

Using minis was something that I had been wanting to do for some time, as I felt the we kept underestimating how many enemies would be hurt by things like fireballs. Indeed, area of effect spells turned out to be incredibly effective in this campaign, at times taking out dozens of opponents at once.

Though we have since gone back to playing without miniatures, it worked really well for this particular campaign. You really got the sense of going up against overwhelming numbers and it really highlighted how huge and scary some opponents were.

The logs below are incomplete and translated from Dutch. I hope they are nonetheless an entertaining read.

9 February 2008

Today was part 2 of the battle for Vraath Keep.

After some healing and return of visual abilities, the keep got explored by an invisible Nyrr. He discovered that he could lure 2 worg riders from the keep with a Ghost Sound spell, but the keep looked otherwise abandoned.

Shortly thereafter, some invisible party members climbed the keep and Nyrr repeated his trick. This caused a fight to break out, as Wyrmlord Koth had recalled a patrol to the keep, which was now defended by the Wyrmlord, the manticore, a blade bearer, a cleric, 9 hobgoblin veterans (who are a bit stronger than the fanatics the party encountered previously), and 2 worg riders (as before, quite capable types).

The party was able to defeat most of the Red Hand troops (hobgoblins and worg riders), but was left in quite a poor state themselves. Everybody was below half their hp (some far below; the corpses were already being searched for potions), most spells and useful items had been spent, and Jinn was being chased through the woods by the manticore, whom he could only keep ahead of by throwing down his items.

The battle was decides when, by desperate courage, the Wyrmlord was charged. The Wyrmlord was still in pretty good shape, and still had a Lightning Bolt and a Wand of Magic Missiles (level 5) at his disposal. He did not, however, fancy grappling with Dugh, quaffed a Potion of Fly, and set off. He did not get far, as he got horribly impaled by the manticore's spikes. The greedy monster had been bribed by the party, who loudly swore an oath to the gods to reward him handsomely.

The end result of the battle is as follows:

23 February 2008

This time you followed the Dawn Way in the northern direction, towards Cinder Hill. This hill has been marked on your map near the statement "All tribes muster here under Kharn".

After about 8 miles, you see the likeness of a 10 foot high sitting person, made of branches and moss, and with a barrel for a head. The likeness is near a side path. The party recognizes it as a marking made by forest giants. Probably the same ones that are mentioned in the books of Amery Vraath.

This is confirmed when, after travelling down the path for about an hour, the party arrives at the now mostly collapsed remains of what must have once been a mighty keep of the giants.

Here the party meets Old Warklegnaw, the last forest giant still living in these parts. After some diplomatic talks and gifting the gauntlet found in Vraath Keep, he turns out to be quite friendly. He provides the party with some information, some wonderful roasted dire boar, and promises to ask his tribe, who have been living in the hills for the past 200 years, for aid against the hobgoblins. To help him in his journey, the party cures his "red ache" disease, which had been causing him quite a lot of discomfort.

The party then continues toward Cinder Hill.

When they explore the dwarven bridge across Skull Gorge, they notice that it is quite heavily defended. At each of the bridge's 4 corners stands a massive tower. Each of these has a platform 30 feet up, that can only be reached by ways of a rather narrow staircase that winds around the tower. (At one point precariously close to the gorge.) Each of these towers is manned by a hobgoblin veteran, and on the northwestern tower a large green dragon (Ozyrrandion) is basking in the sun. The roard across the bridge is guarded by 2 hell hounds, and there is an encampment on the other side with 5 additional hobgoblins.

After a long discussion about how to proceed, the party decides that going around the gorge will take too long. (At least a full day.) Instead, Dalbrecht and Gilgan will pose as travellers who did not expect to encounter a dragon. They will flee back into the forest, where the rest of the party will be hidden, hopefully drawing the dragon into an ambush.

The plan worked, although the dragon had little trouble spotting the hidden party members. After enduring a few blasts of chlorine gas from the dragon's maw, Jinn managed to get him down with a Suggestion spell. ("That guy in the tin suit looks tasty. Attack him with your claws.") After this, he was defeated pretty quickly.

Taking down the hobgoblins turned out to be harder than expected. They used their longbows to pepper anyone who tried to get up the narrow staircases. (And if the attacked got to the platform, they tried to push him down the gorge.)

With considerable effort (and a large number of healing potions), the party eventually managed to defeat their foes. They now control the Skull Gorge Bridge!

1 March 2008

Spotted near Cinder Hill:

We also managed to extract some information from the papers of Wyrmlord Koth.

Koth was in charge of the reconnaissance mission. He seemed to have some reason to pay considerable attention to Drellin's Ferry.

The Green dragon was in charge of the bridge. Both the dragon and the bridge are no more, so hopefully that will cause considerable delays.

(We have dealt a severe blow to the recon part of the invasion; of course, it's likely there are sill some unknown number of patrols at large.)

The army consists of a dozen or so bugbear/hobgoblin tribes that have been unified by High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul. He seems to have a temple in the mountains, but we have no other information about that.

We found some references to dragons in the papers.

Finally, we have the names of the four wyrm lords under Azarr Kul:

Additions by the DM:

You've only directly observed a part of the army at Cinder Hill. (They were spread around the hill, so only a part was directly visible.) The army likely counts thousands of warriors.

The two blows by Dugh that caused the bridge to collapse were truly extraordinary. Dugh had already spent some time working on a weak spot with a heavy pick with next to no progress. (Total result after 5 rounds was 1 point of damage to the bridge.) As dwarves are wont to do, they constructed the bridge to be extremely sturdy.

Right at the moment when Jinn commented on how utterly hopeless breaking down the bridge was, and how it would be far better for the party to get away before another patrol arrived, Michiel rolled 2 criticals in a row. A heavy pick has a x4 modified on a crit, so that leads to some incredibly high damage values. Not even dwarven crafsmanship can stand up to that, so that meant the end of a bridge that had stood for over a millennium.

Not everyone in Drellin's Ferry was pleased by this. Without the bridge, no wagons can come down the Dawn Way, and that is desastrous for trade. Others thought the inconvenience to the horde was well worth the loss of the bridge.

With some trouble, the party managed to convince the village council of the need for evacuating. Most inhabitants are not prepering for the journey to Brindol; the first (and second to last) place in the valley that might be able to resist the horde.

The party itself decided to pay a visit to Wyrmlord Saarvith in Rhest. The plan is to follow the river in northeastern direction through the Wyrmwood, and then take the Rhest Trail north. The Quaal's Feather Tokens that the party managed to acquire could come in very useful in this trek.

8 March 2008

The party decides to rest before undertaking the journey. It is somewhat dangerous to sail up river at high speed while you can see little due to the darkness.

The night's rest was interrupted due to an alarm. The bit of village on the forested side of the river was under attack by a band of fire setting goblins. That could not be allowed, especially when it was realized that the village brewery was in danger, so the party intervened.

After Nyrr had done some scouting, the party except for Jinn crossed the river together with captain Sorannah and the guards Jaap and Joop. The goblins were greatly outmatched and fled. Dugh celebrated the victory by acquiring a considerable supply of beer at the aforementioned brewery.

On the next day the party undertook the journey on the river. Thanks to the Fan and Boat Quaal's Feather Tokens, the party together with Jaap and Joop, managed to make the journey to the village of Witchcross in just a few hours. The only obstacle on this journey was an attack by six horse-sized wasps. The attack was repelled, but Joop got badly hurt.

In Witchcross messengers carrying warnings were sent to the local fey and circle of druids. These druids, who seemed to be the ruling power in Witchcross would then have to warn the village itself. Jaap and Joop thought this was a stupid plan and raised the alarm themselves.

Meanwhile, the party headed north via the Rhest Trail. On the journey some farmers were alerted to the danger. One of these (Bob-Wouter van Pijkeren) was hired for 20 gp to accompany the party and mind the horses. This turned out to be money well spent, as when the party was about to go into the swamp shortly after leaving the Witchwood, he informed them that there was a pretty decent road to Rhest. This road is a side branch of the Rhest Trail, so the part continued following this road.

After a day, the party reached a small wooded fortress built right across the road. This fortification is definitely a considerable obstacle for any carts that intend to travel on the Rhest Trail.

15 March 2008

While the rest of the party stays at considerable distance (600 feet) of the fortress, Dalbrecht and Kaas approach. Close to the fortress, Dalbrecht announces himself. The occupants of the fortress don't show themselves and make a poor attempt at passing for toll collectors. When it becomes clear that Dalbrecht isn't fooled 4 hobgoblins of the Red Hand emerge and open fire with their bows.

At causes a large fight to develop in which the party storms the fortess. It quickly becomes apparent that it is held by 8 hobgoblins. The party is not impressed and continues to storm the fortification. Dalbrecht lets his horse prance against the gate, which the hobgoblins were just working to close, and violently smashes it open. Kaas and Nyrr create a large cloud of smoke that causes great discomfort to the defenders makes it almost impossible for them to see what is going on. In short: the party was making short work of the defenders.

The party was unpleasantly surprised when suddenly a very muscular ogre stretched over the pallisade and hit Dugh with a terrible blow. "Surprise!"

Another such brute appeared from the other side of the fortress. This one throws javelins to the assailants, but does not hit any. Her willpower proved to be formidable though, as she resisted Jinn's Suggestion spell.

The battle has now progressed into the fortress itself. The hobgoblins fled down and 2 of them try to catch Dalbrecht in the central hallway by closing the gate behind him. However, Kaas used super-koboldly strength to force the gates open (and into the hobgoblin's faces), which put a stop to their plan.

Some time later, when more party members are in the central hall, the roles get reversed, and Ulftor get thrown 15 feet backwards by a side door that it violently opened by an ogre.

Both ogres now get involved in the fight and deal some very heavy blows. The first eventually gets killed by the party, at considerable effort. The second eventually succombs to a second Suggestion spell by Jinn. After this a short pursuit follows in which the eventually all Red Hand troops get kiled, except for 4 hobgoblins who had fled earlier because of a combination of Kaas' and Nyrr's action and a well placed Ghost Sound.

The party finds, apart from the equipment of the defenders, quite some loot from mugged travelers.

After traveling a bit farther, to get away from the now burning fortress, the party camps for the night.

The next day the party arrives at the road to Rhest. After following this until the end of the day, the party arrives at the edge of the swamp. They leave Bob-Wouter with the horses and some weapons and armor. After a night full of mosquito-caused misery the party treks into the swamp.

This Everglades-like swamp is a very unpleasant affair for everyone except Kaas. It smells horribly, the high reeds severly limit sight and you spend a lot of time slogging through waist-high water filled with bloodsuckers, or heel-deep in mud. It is very slow going. 5 miles a day is quite an accomplishment.

Halfway through the second day in this swamp, the party finds the ripped apart carcass of a very large owl, lying on the roots of 2 trees on a mossy hill. The smell of chlorine reminds the party of green dragons, and some party members do indeed spot a green dragon-like creating sneaking up on them...

Next session will start with a surprise round.

22 March 2008

The party manages to kill the green dragon-like being. Although it quite annoyingly jumped around with great leaps, made terrible cuts with its scimitar-like wingsblades, and breathed clouds of chlorine gas, he was clearly no match for the party.

He apparently had less difficulty with previous opponents, because the party for quite a nice cache of loot. Shortly after the party found this, 5 giant owls with riders arrived. This turned out to be a patrol of rather irritated elves.

After some talking and searching, it became clear that the draconic creature (a "harrowblade" according to the elves) killed and ate one of the elves' comrades. When it become clear that the party had nothing to do with this, they were invited to the elves' camp. To expedite this, some more giant owls were called. The party got to fly on their backs to the main encampment of the elves.

The elves call themselves the Tiri Kitor. They have a rather unfornate predilection for names that would make 14 year old gothic-and-wicca-wannabe's jealous. Things like Moonkiss, Brightflower, etc.

These Tiri Kitor turn out to have a pretty big semi-permanent encampment (some 500 souls) on an island called Starsong Hill. The party conducts some trading and talking to local notables. They learn that Wyrmlord Saarvith is accompanied by a black dragon roughly the size of a small horse, that lately there have been a bunch of harrowblades near Rhest, and that the elves currently avoid the area for that reason.

The party is invited to spend the night as guests of the Tiri Kitor and to attend the funeral of the victim of the harrowblade.

5 April 2008

The funeral (of Lannikar) consists of a hour of singing by the sister of the deceased, followed by the ritual burning of a number of his beloved belongings (by lack of a body), and a great feast in which his people celebrate the time they had been allowed to spend with him. The party participated in the celebrations by playing music, holding a religious ceremony, and a display of acrobatics.

The celebration lasts most of the day. Near the evening the party takes their leave. The elves fly them to a spot not far from Rhest. They offer to pick them up, but the party will have to contact them somehow. Kaas tells them that he expects to be able to do so by magical means in the near future.

Rhest turns out to be a large swampy lake from which the tops of a large number of ruined building stick out.

Most of these building only show parts of crumbling walls over the surface of the lake. Two however are in much better shape. These ruins, a tower and a lower but much larger building are being used. Their are surrounded by small docks and various lights are visible. The lower building is close to the center of the lake. The tower is on the edge of the ruins and is about a quarter of a mile from the coast. (Unfortunately not the part of the coast where the party is. The party is at the southern end of the lake, while the tower is closest to the eastern coast. The lake stretches from north to south.)

After some exploration the party discovers two small lizardfolk villages nearby. The party attacks the one nearest, which was both successful and very lucrative. (These lizardfolk were quite well off somehow.) One of them did escape and raised an alarm. The party hides and waits.

A while later, a large group of lizardfolk emerges from the waters. Thanks to the recently learned Fireball spell these were quickly taken care of.

The party is out of resources and is considering resting and/or scouting.

12 April 2008

The party retreats and sets up camp. During the third watch they are attack by the dragon and a goblin archer on his back.

The dragon, which proved to be extremely nible, performed a couple of strafing runs on the party, during which the goblin make it abundantly clear that he wants the party to leave the area. After the goblin got pretty hurt by the party, he and his mount retreated.

The next morning the party followed the edge of the lake in counterclockwise direction, heading for the place that is closest to the ruined tower. There they set up another camp.

On the next morning the party made plans for crossing the lake to the ruins. These deliberations took most of the morning, and while the party was doing so, they saw several lizardmen vessels on the lake. Most of these were rafts make of reeds, but they also included a few skiffs.

Around noon Nyrr disguised himself and flew on the back of an eagle over the ruins to scout them. He learned that the tower has a large bell and that it is manned by a number of hobgoblins. Two of its floors stick out of the water (and it looks as if there is 1 submerged floor). The tower is surrounded by a wooded platform at which 3 skiffs are moored.

The other utilized ruin seems to have once been richly ornamented. Like many of the other ruins it is decorated with all kinds of lion motifs. Two of its floors stick out of the water. The roof of the top floor is almost entirely gone and the floor is full of debris. It has a big hole through which water is visible (so the floor underneath likely has a similar hole). Like the tower this ruin is surrounded by a wooden platform. This platform also connects to a nearby ruin. This other ruin is little more than some outer walls the edges of what was once the roof.

Four ogres are sitting on the top floor of the ruin and 2 more are walking on the wooden platforms.

26 April 2008

The party takes considerable time to determine how to proceed. They eventually decide to waste no more time and take action this day. This action being for Jinn and Gilgan to steal a skiff from the ruins while in magical disguise.

This plan succeeds and it is discovered that the tower is manned by 7 hobgoblins. The party then uses the skiff to head to the big ruin (where the skiff was originally stolen). Jinn and Nyrr disguise as lizardmen and Gilgan is invisible. The rest of the party disguises as cargo.

The ruse succeeds and the party get into the large ruin. The six ogres are quickly dispatched, but they also encounter an ettin, a mage, a harrowblade, and Wyrmlord Saarvith and his dragon. These turned out to be a harder challenge, but the party is undeterred.

The session ends with the party surrounding the harrowblade, the Wyrmlord and his dragon high in the sky, and the other opponents in the ruin dead. The fight is not over yet, and the bell in the tower has been ringing for some time...

3 May 2008

The continues the combat in the ruins of Rhest. The horrowblade is slaughted with little effort. When Wyrmlord Saarvith got hurt pretty badly he and his dragon took off and flew in a western direction.

After this the party searches the large ruin. They find a number of taxidermied animals, a large collection of torture tools, some antique magical equipment, and a necklace made of lion claws, lion teeth and adamantion that strongly radiates evil and necromancy. A nearly forgotten letter leads the party to conclude that this is a phylactery belonging to the "Ghostlord".

While the party is busy searching for loot they are suddenly attacked by a large band of lizardfolk and some hobgoblins (37 total). While these religious fanatics ("In the name of the god!") attack the party, a small number of them go into the nearby ruin, which the party had not yet explored.

After the party has taken care of their assailants, they discover that the nearby ruins contains large eggs with small, sharp scales; presumably the brood of the harrowblade. Although the lizardfolk likely took a bunch of them, the party at least managed to destroy 12 of them.

Finally, the party explored the ruin of the bell tower. It was empty and abandoned.

24 May 2008

The party retreats from the ruins. After spending the night, they get picked up by the Tiri Kitor and flown to Starsong Hill. Here they reported on the events of the past days. The elves were very pleased by this new, although they were a bit worried about the harrowblade eggs that the lizardfolk took.

The party asks if the elves know anything about the Ghostlord, but they do not. Two divinations by Gilgan were also unsuccessful.

After a short stay, the party is taken to the edge of the swamp. They find Bob-Wouter van Pijkeren still minding the horses. After giving him some equipment as a reward, they go with him to the south and spend the night at his farm.

The next day the party continues to Witchcross. The farms they encounter on the way are all deserted. Some more observant party members spot a pixy-arrow in one of the rain gutters. It is unclear why it is there.

Witchcross itself also proved to be abandoned, except for half a dozen looters. These were agile folk and Fireballs were disappointingly ineffective. Nyrr's Entangle spell was quite effective, although mostly against the party, rather than the looters. Nonetheless, after some time the party managed to take out four of the looters and the remaining two fled. The party was hardly hurt, except for their pride, particularly that of Dugh, whose acrobatics met with a lot of misfortune.

The party spends the night in an abandoned inn and in the morning took off towards Brindol. Fortunately the journey was uneventful. If there had been any trouble it could have ended badly, as apart from Nyrr and Gilgan the entire party suffered from serious cramps.

On the journey to Brindol it the party was distraught to see that most of the farmers were not very impressed by the rumors of a goblin horde. Only near Witchcross and Brindol did they seem to take the news seriously.

The city of Brindol certainly takes the news seriously. Soldiers are patroling everywhere, the walls are being reinforced, and ditches are being dug. The wall looks solid, but it is immediately obvious that it does not surround the northern part of the city, where the river Elsyr flows. The river is of course a formidable obstacle in its own right. Both bridges across the river have gatehouses with towers and have battlements over their entire lengths.

Once inside the city, the party went to the local prominent mage. This Immerstal The Red was very interested in the party's dragon skulls. He also shared some information on the Ghostlord.

The Ghostlord turns out to be a fairly well known figure in this part of the Elsyr Valley. He is used as a kind of bogeyman to scare little children. According to Immerstal he is based on a real historical person.

This person was a druid from the southern steppes. He led various trides of nomads and had a special affinity for lions. Under his leadership the nomads thrives and lived in harmony with the lions. A society formed that lived according to the "way of the lion" and more of that kind of stuff. The nomads even build a large Sphynx-like lion for the druid.

All went wel until Rhest, which had just started its decline, sent a delegation of nobles to the tribes. These nobles hunted the lions for their hides and claws, which they took as trophies for the rules of Rhest. (The party remembers how lions were a prominent emblem of the city.) This enraged the nomads who killed the nobles. Rhest reacted by declaring war.

Although the nomads fought valiantly and were aided by the lions, they were no match for the military might of Rhest. The nomads were wiped out by their opponents' cavalry and the druid was killed between the paws of his great stone lion.

On the night when the army returned to Rhest, they still fell as a consequence of their actions. The streets filled with the ghosts of lions who killed anyone that showed itself. They also entered the houses of any who were involved in the deaths of the nomads. The next morning Rhests entire cavalry force, their families, and all their servants were dead.

The city never recovered from this heavy blow. The goblins, giants, and other enemies of Rhest seized the opportunity and the state collapsed.

The party leaves the icy sword from Vraath Keep with the wizard for research and booked accomodation at The Stone Wyvern. This quality inn is run by halflings and gets its name from the enormous petrified wyvern that takes up half the common room.

Having taken care of this, the party went to Brindol Keep. This solid keep is the seat of government for Lord Jarmaath and is situated on a hill in the south east of the city, between the great cathedral of Pallas Athena and Brindol Academy.

In the keep the party meets with the Council of Brindol. This Council consists of lord Jarmaath, lady Verrasa Kaal (head of the influential Kaal family), captain Lars Ulvert, and prelate Tredora (an aasimar) of the temple of Pallas. Captain Sorannah and town speaker Wiston of Drellin's Ferry join them. They took fast horses to the city to help convince them that the news about the horde should be taken very seriously.

The council interviews the party about all they've seen and done. They also ask about all the things marked on the party's map. This causes Nyrr to finally discover that the Ghostlord is is conveniently indicated on the party's map.

From the conversation, the party learns that Brindol can muster the following forces:

Lady Kaal has personal forces which she is so far hesitant to commit:

Lord Jarmaath has sent a small fortune to the Hammerfist Holds to hire the services of the Shining Axes. This mercenary company consists of around 200 hardened dwarven warriors.

Other troops in the valley:

16 August 2008

We had an exciting session. Three encounters in the Thorn Waste, in which all party members nearly died multiple times. Dalbrecht was nearly eaten by a demonic behir; apparently a servant of Tiamat.

The create will have some explaining to do when it returns to hell. Being killed by a tiny being (for such a creature the equivalent of a mosquito?) may be quite shameful. Nyrr "Demonslayer" Mistblossom has once again proved to be a true hero.

Gains: 2750 xp and a chain with black pearls worth 3500 gp.

Losses: 23 potions of cure light wounds (from the party supply) and 2 charges from the Staff of Life.

18 October 2008

The party is now level 10. The battle for Brindol continues. The party has dealt a heavy blow to the horde, but the Red Hand has breached the walls.

22 November 2008

Final session.

Total Kill Count

The total kill count is a follows. It excludes summoned creatures, but includes executed prisoners.

Red Hand




Day 1
Party gets together, spends the night in the monastery of Dugh's brotherhood.
Day 2
Party goes to Drellin's Ferry, fights a Red Hand raiding party, promises the local prominents to investigate the situation.
Day 3
Cross the river Elsyr, enlist the aid the Jorr, fight a pyro-hydra, storm Vraath Keep, but are repelled.
Day 4
Storm Vraath Keep again, defeat Wyrmlord Korth and his minions, plunder the keep.
Day 5
Travel to Skull Gorge, befriend Warklegnaw, defeat Ozyrrandion and the other defenders of the bridge, see the enormous horde at Cinder Hill, collapse the bridge, convince Drellin's Ferry to evacuate.
Day 6
Repel goblin raiders, sail to Witchcross, fight 6 giant wasps, arrive at Witchcross and warn the people there, travel north along the Rhest Trail.
Day 7
Find wooden fort on the road, defeat defenders, resume travel.
Day 8
Arrive at edge of swamp, leave horses, travel on.
Day 9
Travel through swamp.
Day 10
Find carcass of giant owl, fight a "harrowblade", are flown to Starsong Hill by Tiri Kitor patrol, learn various things, spend the night as guests of the tribe.
Day 11
Explore the camp, do some shopping, attend funeral of harrowblade victim, participate in feast celebrating deceased, travel to Rhest at end of day, fight a bunch of lizardmen, set up camp at some distance.
Day 12
Repel night-time attack by a black dragon mounted by a goblin archer, travel along lake in counterclockwise direction.
Day 13
Make plans for entering flooded ruins, explores them around noon, steal skiff around 3 o'clock, bluff themselves into ruin, kill all inhabitants except Wyrmlord Saarvith and his dragon who flee, find Ghostlord phylactery, fight a horde of lizardfolk and some goblins, destroy 10 harrowblade eggs and take 2 whole, discover bell tower has been evacuated, send message to Tiri Kitor.
Day 14
Get picked up by Tiri Kitor, explain situation, unsuccessfully try divinations about Ghostlord, get dropped off near horses, spend night at farm of Bob-Wouter van Pijkeren.
Day 15
Travel to Witchcross, drive off some looters.
Day 16
Arrive at Brindol, gain information on Ghostlord, meet with council, meet elven druid Lily and her rhinoceros.
Day 17
Do all kinds of shopping, use a Scry spell to see a tortured Wyrmlord Saarvith fly over mountains towards the east and Warklegnaw and 3 other forest giants with fresh battle injuries in the forest, send a request for aid to the Tiri Kitor, discover the properties of the ice sword from Vraath Keep, help set up defenses, make plans for a guerilla war in the hills near Nimon's Gap.
Day 18
Are about the leave but decide to ask some more questions about the Ghostlord, find out that he was not actually a very nice guy, acquire some maps of the area where he stays, do some more shopping and sell the harrowblade eggs, take some of the more capable warriors towards Nimon's Gap.
Day 19
Party continues traveling, send 4 militia members to start evacuating people. Nyrr and E'Velyn (one of the Lions of Brindil) go to Talar while the rest continues. E'Velyn convinces Talar to start evacuating and Nyrr meets Pierewiet the (wasted drunk) pixy. Nyrr gets pretty drunk and gets into a fight with Jinn and Ulftor.
Day 20
Nyrr and Pierewiet sleep off their inebriation. Pierewiet is conviced to go to Brindol, where Nyrr's wife should also be headed. Party continues traveling and arrives late at night at Nimon's Gap. Make some preparations for guerilla actions like sabotaging the bridge at starting a forest fire.
Day 21
Continue traveling and find a cart that has been attacked by 2 ettins and 5 goblins. After a find in which (among other things) an invisible Nyrr site on Dalbrecht's lance, causing it to get stuck in the ground, it is discovered that the cart is carrying the shipment of gold intended for the Shining Axes mercenaries. The party cremates the fallen guards and takes the (partially molten due to a Fireball spell) gold and a somewhat damaged contract to the Hammerfist Holds.
Day 22
Party continues traveling.
Day 23
The party arrives at the most northernly dwarven settlement. The gold is left with a representative of the Shining Axes and Jinn spreads all kinds of gossip about Ulftor among the local Stronginthelegs. (Including Helga Hammerfist-Strongintheleg, the wife of Ulftor's cousin Snordrik.)
Day 24
The party arrives at The Iron Halls, the main dwarven settlement, and has a short conversation with their clan leader Tordrek Hammerfist. Ulftor visits his family and Jinn now spreads positive rumors about him.
Day 25
The party searches the archives of The Iron Halls for information about the Ghostlord, but finds no new information. They see the Shining Axes mobilize and arrange that research will be done in Sneeuwbron for more information about the Ghostlord, the result of which will be sent to them via Sending spell. After this they set off toward the Ghostlord. At a fork in the road they meet refugees from Terrelton, who report that their village has likely been razed. This is communicated to lord Jarmaath, who reports that the pixies have arrived at Brindol.
Day 26
The party continues traveling and sets up camp at a fork in the road. Here they are attack at night by hobgoblins and "woblins".
Day 27
Party arrives at the edge of the Thornwaste.
Day 28
Party treks through Thornwaste and fights off a chimera.
Day 29
Party continues on trek through Thornwaste and has a very hard fight with 3 hieracosphinxes. A charge of the Staff of Life is used to prevent casualties. (6 charges remaining.)
Day 30
Party arrives at the Ghostlord's stone sphinx. It is very apparent that there is no vegetation at all within 4 miles of the building. The party makes camp at the edge of this area and sees dozens of ghostly lions floating around the structure at night.
Day 31

The party climbs the mesa on which the sphinx stands and gets into a fight with a formidable fiendish behir. After an Unholy Blight washes over the party the creature swallows Dalbrecht whole. He manages to survive the ordeal thanks to the Staff of Life. (5 charges remaining.) Ulftors only just manages to avoid this fate, but his beard it standing upright due to a lightning bolt shot be the monster. Nyrr was already planning his retreat, but after some convincing makes a final attack, which does the monster in.

Inside the party fights 3 ghostly lions and a group of Red Hand folk. In this fight lightning bolts and magical mist are cast by an invisible figure. After a lot of back and forth it is discovered that the figure is a female hobgoblin who eventually surrenders. She introduces herself as Morwai, the local Red Hand liaison. She tells the party that the High Wyrmlord is gathering a second army of hobgoblins and giants in the Giantshield Mountains with which he plans to attack Brindol in the back, and that the Ghostlord's army is abuot to assassinate Brindol's leaders.

The party ties her up and leaves her for now, promising that her jewels, which she seems very attached to, will be returned to her at her trial in Brindol.

The party goes deeper into the structure, fights some undead, finds many secrets doors and several mysterious magical contraptions.

They meet the Ghostlord, who will draw back his troops if his phylactery is returned to him, which to party agrees to. The Ghostlord then tells them that the party merely defeated an incarnation of Varantian and that Morwai is in fact Wyrmlord Ulwai Stormcaller.

She and three previously ignored Doom First monks turn out to have fled. The party chases the monks, leaving slower party members behind. They get ambushed by 3 hieracosphinxes, who are defeated with some effort. One of the sphinxes falls under the effect of a Suggestion spell and kills one of the monks.

Day 32
The party continues the chase and runs into 4 assassin finds, who get defeated with some effort.
Day 33
The party abandons the chase, regroups, and travels towards Brindol. Gets attacked by a hungry lion.
Day 34
Party continues traveling.
Day 35
Party reaches the edge of the Thornwaste. Send Kaas with the animals to the dwarves while the rest uses Phantasmal Steed spells to travel to Brindol by was of Dauth. Just before Dauth they attack a group of Red Hand troops who were torturing two humans. This turns out to be an ambush, but they overcome their opponents. They make camp in the woods beyond Dauth.
Day 36
Party reaches Brindol. Report, buy and sell stuff. Nyrr is reunited with his wife. Cast a Scry spell on Wyrmlord Saarvith, who appears to be active near Talar.
Day 37
Cast a Scry spell on the forest giants. Take care of some business. Travel towards the elves.
Day 38
Manage to persuade the elves to join the fight, which adds some 250 warriors and a bunch of giant owls to the defending forces. Contact the dwarfs to let them know that there are now more elves than dwarves in the fight against the goblins. Contact the forest giants. Travel to forest giants by way of Brindol.
Day 39
Arrive at forest giants. Leave them behind in the forest and go back to Brindol where preparations are made for the fight. Dalbrecht and Ulftor are made lieutenants in the Lion Guard and Nyrr and Jinn are made deputy Lions of Brindol.
Day 40-45
Additional preparations are made.
Day 46
The Red Hand horde has come within sight of the city. 300 dwarves warriors join the defense.
Day 47

The Red Hand encircles the city and attacks at night. (When hobgoblin eyes are more effective than human eyes.)

The attack begins with a heavy bombardment of the walls by two groups of four hill giants. In a close fight the party manages to kill the giants in one group just before some 250 hobgoblin reinforcements arrive. Two giant owls were lost, however.

The Six Blades (another group of adventurers) kill 3 giants of the other group and chase off the last one. The two groups of giants did do quite a bit of damage to the walls. The section defended by the Six Blades even has a significant breach.

Shortly after the fight a large fiery explosion takes place near the southern gate. A telepathic alarm of "DRAGON!" is heard. After a successful Confusion spell the party is able to defeat the juvenile red draon and a Control Weather spell is used to stop the fires.

The Red Hand meanwhile manage to breach the western wall and the party is called on to reinforce a barricade on the Dawn Way. Here they defeat four waves of attackers, including Wyrmlord Saarvith and his dragon. A fifth wave is kept away.

Day 48

Lord Jarmaath summons the more powerful defenders to the cathedral. At the end of his message he suddenly falls away with a sound that suggests that he has been wounded.

When the party arrives at the cathedral they discover that several people, including town speaker Wiston of Drellin's Feryy have been killed by a sniper. Lord Jarmaath has been severely poisoned, but is healed with the Staff of Life. The party manage to defeat the sniper, a nasty blackspawn ninja (and his minions).

Shortly after, a great cheer is heard from the horde. The name "Azarr Kull" (the High Wyrmlord") is chanted. Captain Ulfert reports that a large blue dragon has landed and Wyrmlord Kharn and a group of giants and (presumably) Wyrmlord Ulwai are en route to the cathedral. This results in a nasty fight, in which the last charges of the Staff of Life have to be used, but the party is victorious in. This causes the horde to get very demoralized. They fall back to their positions in the west of the city.

The clerics have meanwhile discovered that the blue dragon, who is called Tyrgarun, has overturned the soil in the graveyard of the temple of Loki. Azarr Kull has started a ritual there to create a portal to Tiamat's domain in hell. (He uses the freshly chopped off heads of 5 good dragons; one for each kind.)

The party races to the cemetery and attacks the dragon. (After a few hints that it might be better to not draw the High Wyrmlord into this fight.) The dragon is by far the nastiest so far. The party is almost wiped out, but manage to eke out a victory.

They then race to the High Wyrmlord. This leads to a drawn out, though spectacular fight, in which the High Wyrmlord uses Antilife Shell, Mislead, and Heal spells to occupy the party, while he casts reinforcing spells on himself and deals heavy blows. The party is barely alive anymore, completely without spells, and has depleted a large number of limited-use items, but just manage to kill Azarr Kull and disrupt the ritual.

This clearly causes great anger in Tiamat, as the sky is torn open, showing a hellish landscape. Against this background, with a strong smell of sulfur, and among the sounds of tortured souls, a manifestation of the five-headed goddess herself shows. Her blue head, the size of the largest ancient wyrm that ever lived, shoots down with lightning speed and swallows Azarr Kull's body (which was just inches from many of the party members). As the head retreats with similar speed, the four other heads let out a terrible roar that can be head for miles around. Half deaf the severely wounded and exhausted party is terrified to see that where Azarr Kull had fallen now stands an Aspect of Tiamat!

Fortunately, Loki decides that this unheard of defilement of his domain cannot stand. He lights a small divine spark in the party, causing them to full heal and regain all their spells. The heroes have one more fight to win to save Elsyr Vale! Gilgan and Nyrr go down, Dugh is pinned beneath one of the monster's paws, and Ulftor and Dalbrecht are severely wounded, but the party prevails!

The hightly demoralized horde is now easily chased from the city. Brindol and Elyr Vale are saved!

Day 49-57
The horde gets chased out of the valley.
Day 58
The party gets celebrated in the great hall of Brindol Castle.


The fate of the party

Is made Axelord of Skull Gorge. He now rules as baron over the area from Cinder Hill to 4 miles south of Skull Gorge and to the Rhestwash in the west. As Axelord he is responsible for rebuilding the dwarven bridge over the Gorge. He is aided in this task by master builders from the dwarves as well as several folk whom he trained in Brindol. Over time a prosperous dwaven settlement forms around the bridge.
Is recognized as baron of Vraath Keep. As such a rules over the area around Drellin's Ferry and the Witchwood up to Ulftor's domain. He is responsible for the western defenses of Elsyr Vale. To aid him in this, the Keep is restored and expanded. Several of the people he trained in Brindol enlist in his garisson.
Becomes high priest of Bahamut in a great cathedral that is built in the part of the city that was razed by Abitriax the red dragon. The skulls of the good dragons that were abused for Azarr Kull's ritual are interred in the crypt of this cathedral. In the following years the teachings of the church spread across the rest of the valley.
Returns to his monastery, which gets reinforced to defende the southwestern edge of the valley. Becomes a partner of the half-orc brewer in Drellin's Ferry. As a local celebrity his task is to promote Dugh Beer by consuming it in great quantities all over the valley.
Is appointed spokeperson for the official Pixy reservation in the Wyrmwood. Builds close ties to the Tiri Kitor, who build a nice village for the pixies with many items made from frog bones. Sires a terrifying number of children.
Becomes a Divine Agent of Loki. Get a relic from the high priest consisting of a mantle with the color of a moonlit night and the wolfs head embroidered on the back using a single silver thread. This thread was once woven in Loki's own divine mantle and enables the relic to function as a combined Cloak of Charisma +6 and Cape of the Mountebank. Jinn spends most of his time spying on and sabotaging the hobgoblins in the Wyrmsmoke Mountains.
Is appointed as custodian of Rhest. The swampy landscape of this legendary city is very pleasant for kobold druids. Is eventually worshipped by the local lizardfolk.

The fate of Drellin's Ferry

Survived the Red Hand due to his excellent knowledge of the Witchwood. After the war he becomes Dalbrecht's gamekeeper.
Captain Sorana
The wizard
Was killed while defending Brindol.
The druid
Led guerilla actions against the Red Hand. Was captured and tortured, but managed to escape and survived the war.
The other people
About 15% died, mostly in Brindol. Some in the defense of the city, others in the general slaughter of civilians after the Red Hand breaches the walls. The latter could easily have ended much worse, but the defenders were quick to start the evacuation.