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Red Hand of Doom 5e
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Red Hand of Doom 5e
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Terrainosaur
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Post Part III: The Ghostlord's Lair Reply with quote
Varanthian: I used a young bronze dragon as the behir's stats. Since my players are new, I added three Legendary Resistance points to her. This toughened her up and introduced the concept of Legendary actions. It also emphasized the power of the lich inside, if this was his door guard.

The PCs scried the entrance with clairvoyance, then snuck in through the mouth and surprised the three hobgoblin guards. One hobgoblin ran to warn Ulwai, and the other two ran into battle, shouting loudly. Just as the PCs finished them, Varanthian flew up into the mouth. The monk discovered her ability to ignore stuns! The sorcerer discovered her elemental resistances and immunities!

The cleric banished the behir for a minute so they could catch their breath.

The behir returned and breathed on the cleric and sorcerer, knocking them both down to 0 health. Coincidentally the monk went next. He fed the cleric a healing potion. The cleric stood up and healed everyone, putting the PCs back in the fight.

The rest of the battle was just damage dealing. The halfling rogue's offhand attack did 1 point of damage, just enough to finish the beast. They were completely out of spells and similar stuff.

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Last edited by Terrainosaur on Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:24 pm; edited 1 time in total
Thu Aug 02, 2018 12:16 pm View user's profile Send private message
Terrainosaur
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Post Into the Lair Reply with quote
Ghost Lions: These were no danger, and did no damage to the adventurers.

Ulwai Stormcaller: The PCs used a scroll of dispel magic to banish the fog cloud. They dealt with the three doom fist monks easily, resisted the doom hand clerics' spells, and cornered Ulwai. She dimension doored away. It was night time so she easily got away.

Pool of Rebirth: I had to change this encounter because the monsters haven't been converted. I chose six wights plus a ghost lion. The monk stunned three wights in one turn, allowing the rest to destroy the undead.

By this time they were truly spent! But the party had hit level 8 and left to rest and level up. (They started this adventure a level ahead but now they're matching step. This is partly because I haven't thrown many random encounters at them.)

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Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:22 pm View user's profile Send private message
Terrainosaur
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Post The Ghostlord Reply with quote
I used the stats for Tarul Var, a CR 13 lich. He used a scroll of fire shield before entering the room since I knew the monk or rogue would strike first if combat broke out.

No fight ensued though, like the adventure planned. They returned his phylactery.

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Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:25 am View user's profile Send private message
Terrainosaur
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Post Trap 1 Reply with quote
Blood Ghost War Party: On the way back to Rethmar, at an intersection near the Hammerfist Holds, a trap had been set. Figures had been arranged on the ground around broken barrels and crates, made to look like another battle.

Blood Ghost Berserker (x5, CR 3)
Hobgoblin Devastator (CR 4): Replaced fly with major image to create the trap.
Manticore (CR 3)

I had the PCs check Perception several times and describe their actions. They never looked skyward.

Arrows identified the hobgoblins as illusions. The cleric charged in (maybe roleplaying his anger over negotiating with a lich), the sorcerer slowed one berserker, and the monk/rogue did their usual thing.

The manticore arrived around turn 4. This is my way of bringing flyers into a combat: I assume they're out of sight and it takes some time to descend from on high, or wing their way over land from cover. In any case, no PCs were seriously injured. This encounter was a clue that they were being hunted.

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Wed Aug 29, 2018 3:32 am View user's profile Send private message
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Post Trap 2 Reply with quote
Barghest Reavers: 'You’ve spent a hard day riding across the vale. Signs of war are everywhere. The horizon is littered with the twisting smoke-plumes of distant burnings, and most of the farms around here have been abandoned. Bedding down in a sturdy farmhouse, you are just about to seek your bedrolls for the night when wild war-whoops rouse you from your rest!'

Barghests (x3)
Hobgoblins (x6)

This happened the day following the last trap. Even with the PCs' reduced Armour Classes, this was no challenge. Again the problem is fully-rested PCs are very powerful. I'm disappointed in this adventure for these situations.

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Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:11 am View user's profile Send private message
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Post Trap 3 Reply with quote
Marked for Death: I ran this to the letter, except I had Meha Serani appear late in the battle, cast one cloudkill, and then escape again.

Ogre
Hobgoblins (x5)
Barghests (x2)
Blackspawn Raiders (x4)
Meha Serani (Mage)

The PCs fell for this trap. The ogre and hobgoblins dodged and ducked back into cover, jeering at the adventurers, who obliged by charging. The Blackspawn Raiders' acid breath surprised the PCs. It was a messy, all-over battle.

Ending it with cloudkill shook the party. Cloudkill uses a CON save not DEX (which the rogue and monk are good at). But it's still been a while since one of them had to make a death saving throw.

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Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:14 am View user's profile Send private message
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Post Return to Rethmar Reply with quote
The party got back to the city, had the audience with the lords, and did an entire session of roleplaying. Few dice were rolled. By the end they had (unknowingly) already achieved the 40 Victory Points needed to win the Battle of Rethmar. (Even with Meha Serani and Ulwai Stormcaller escaping, and failing phase 2 of the audience.)

This left two weeks to go before the battle.

I built a mechanic much like this one: Training the garrison ahead of the battle.

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Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:39 am View user's profile Send private message
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Post She's at it again! Reply with quote
Meha Serani wasn't done with the adventurers.

From my email summary:

It was the morning of day 32 as the city prepared for war. The session began with clarification on leadership and defense of the city.

On day 33, Immerstal the Red had grim news. 'One I valued as a colleague is lost. Although the evacuation column was guarded by the Company of Last Resort, rumours spread of a raiding party, south, near Prosser. Serterien the Wise volunteered. I received a message that he made it to Prosser, but then ... nothing. The brave little man disappeared defending the town with his magic.'

On day 34, a young scout, a girl barely able to carry a sword, came riding fast into Rethmar. She was covered in dust from the road. She found Nabo (the rogue) and told him that the refugees were being attacked by monsters of the air, beating leathery wings, and shooting arrows at the column. Her sergeant told her to call for aid. She had a hastily-drawn charcoal map of where they thought the beasts laired each night.

Nabo asked her to come with him to the Keep. She said she was tired from the road and needed to stable her horse first. Nabo went to the Keep, summoned his allies (the other PCs), and presented the information to the Council. They waited for the girl. She didn’t arrive. They went looking for her. They found where she had stabled her horse. The lad there said she left and disappeared. Grigor (the monk) had the divine inspiration to call on Dareford Hillbelt. The NPC druid spoke with the horse, then changed form into a dog. He followed her track to a sewer; she had changed form into a spider along the way. Back at the Keep, Immerstal the Red took a long drag on the Pipe of Potential (a magic item the PCs have), and through the purple haze deduced that Meha Serani is an aranea. (An aranea is an intelligent, shapechanging spider with sorcerous powers.)

The adventurers gave a variety of instructions to spread around, to capture her if she showed up again. They debated her ploy. Assuming it was a trap, they traveled to the point on the map but snuck up in an unexpected direction, ambushing the ambushers. They defeated six manticores and five hobgoblin iron hand monks. Then they returned to Rethmar.

(What have we learned? Everybody trusts Girl Scouts!)

On day 36, the Red Hand took Talar.

The leadership points by the morning of day 37 stand at: training 3, strategy 2, first aid 4, defense 3.

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Wed Aug 29, 2018 5:45 am View user's profile Send private message
Terrainosaur
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Post Leadership points Reply with quote
On day 41, Miha Serani allowed herself to be captured inside Rethmar. She tried to convince the PCs to run off to the Rathgaunt Hills (RHoD p. 75). The PCs didn't bite.

By day 43, the PCs had accumulated these leadership points:
    Training: 6
    Strategy: 6
    First Aid: 7
    Defense: 3


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Wed Oct 17, 2018 5:17 am View user's profile Send private message
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Post Day 44, the Red Hand reaches Rethmar and encamps Reply with quote
'The sound of massive dragonbone horns pealing through the air, accompanied by a rising and thunderous roar, announces the event Rethmar has come to fear – the Red Hand is on the march!

At dusk, the hobgoblin horde marches into sight, serried ranks in martial order. The tromp of boots matches the pounding of drums and blasts from warhorns. Giants are grouped together, eyeing the walls from under heavy brows. Less disciplined units of ogres, bugbears, and barghests supplement the enemy army. A long row of goblin worg riders stretches far across the front line. And overhead fly monsters, most dwarfed by the red dragon, whose flames lick the skies.'


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Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:13 am View user's profile Send private message
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Post Day 45, Probing the Bridge Reply with quote
Hell hounds were sent to test the northern defenses, cut off supplies and retreat, and convince the defenders that a credible threat comes from the north.

This was to keep the players busy and advance to the next level. They blinded the wyvern for 1 minute so it flew away for that time. They jumped down from the wall and beat up the hell hounds. A party with a monk and a rogue takes little damage from breath weapons.

Hell hounds x5
Wyvern

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Last edited by Terrainosaur on Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:31 am; edited 1 time in total
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:19 am View user's profile Send private message
Terrainosaur
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Post Day 46 - Red Hand attacks Rethmar Reply with quote
Save The Walls: The PCs forgot they could bring reinforcements. Although they killed the giants in 6 turns without taking much damage, they spent several high-level spells doing it.

Hill Giants x4

Abithriax’s Rampage: Absolutely no challenge whatsoever. They knew of a big, red dragon for months. They gulped down fire resistance potions, then fly potions, and killed the dragon. I even added some tiny assistants to help the dragon, plus gave him legendary resistance x3, but it didn't matter.

Young Red Dragon
Magma Mephits x6

Put out the fires: Ulwai lived so the PCs had 10 fires to put out. They used all the remaining Dust of Dryness in a well, plucked the pellets out, and used those to extinguish the fires.

Streets Of Blood I: This started good - the manticores killed two guards. I kept the hobgoblins inside buildings. They would move out, shoot their longbows, and move back in. Slowly they were worn down by return fire though, until the PCs jumped the barricade and rushed them. The regulars helped each other and their captains. A captain critted the monk for 10d6+2 damage! 42 as I recall. The PCs finished off the wave, got back behind the barricade, and healed up. From this point on, they kept most NPCs out of sight. By now they were quite careful about spells and such.

Manticores x2
Hobgoblin Captains x2
Hobgoblin Regulars x10

Streets of Blood II: The berserkers took so much damage, 67 hp each, that the PCs were sweating when the berserkers clambered over the barricade. They expected the berserkers to do 30 points of damage each, so when they had a single attack that did 9, the PCs almost laughed.

Berserkers x8
Hobgoblin Captain

Streets of Blood III: I mounted the goblins on the little ambushers, but sent the thunderlizards in first. At only level 3 each, they were easily dispatched. 'This seems like a good time for a fireball,' the cleric said. 'I agree' said the sorcerer, so the mass of little ambushers got demolished.

Goblins x10
Bluespawn Ambushers (Copper Dragon Wyrmling without a fly speed, x10)
Bluespawn Thunderlizards (x4) (From this patreon post.)

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Last edited by Terrainosaur on Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:46 am; edited 1 time in total
Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:25 am View user's profile Send private message
Terrainosaur
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Post Day 46 part II Reply with quote
The PCs got a short rest.

Sniper Attack: What a mess. The monk and rogue crossed the 200-ft square in 2 rounds, then ran up the wall, entered the open window, cornered the assassin, and killed him. Then they went downstairs, encountered the devastators and killed them. This is garbage encounter design. Even without free-climbing up walls, 9th level characters have ways of going straight at enemies. So disappointing.

Blackspawn Exterminator (From this patreon post.)
Hobgoblin Devastators x2

Final Battle: The monk ran through the lines and stunned Kharn. The rest began destroying the giants and ogres. Then Ulwai appeared and cast Call Lightning. That got the sorcerer's attention. It was over soon.

Kharn: I used the Young Copper Dragon baseline stats. I dropped the Bite attack and gave him 3 claw attacks, as his sword.
Fiery Strikes (Recharge 6). Kharn uses Multiattack. Each attack that hits deals an extra 5 (1d10) fire damage.
Spellcasting. Kharn is a 4th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks).
Cantrips (at will): guidance, mending, resistance, thaumaturgy.
1st level (4 slots): bane, healing word, sanctuary, shield of faith.
2nd level (3 slots): hold person, spiritual weapon.

Hill Giants x2
Ogres x4
Ulwai Stormcaller (From this post.)

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Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:45 am View user's profile Send private message
Terrainosaur
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Post Disappointed Reply with quote
Again this adventure disappointed me. To be fair, part is that it's a conversion. But the lame encounters that let PCs solve everything with fireballs (narrow streets) or stuns (single targets) really get on my nerves. I would never put a sniper by an open window at 9th level. PCs have too many ways to avoid running through the doors and up the stairs. And I wouldn't send in a big boss with no buffs! They need to be protected by defensive spells cast by underlings. Could I have rewritten the encounters to do these things? Yes, but then what's the point of running a published adventure?

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Wed Oct 17, 2018 12:21 pm View user's profile Send private message
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