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Now that my Wordpress blog at has been going strong for a year, I'm going to stop crossposting Parsantium content here, and go back to using this Livejournal primarily for session logs from my D&D games.

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4e Forgotten Realms Map

The new FR map has been posted here. It's pretty nice-looking, although I prefer the 3e FRCS map. However, what's striking is the number of new locations post-Spellplague and the changes to the landscape. For example, Chult is now an island as the Mhair Jungles and most of Lapaliiya are now underwater. The area in the Shining South where I set Red Hand of Doom looks like it's had a particularly rough time in the last century!

Looking forward to picking up the Campaign Setting at Gen Con UK!

4th Edition

I played my first session of 4e tonight with kb98, playing through the first encounter of Keep on the Shadowfell, run by Andy and involving a fight with a bunch of kobolds. It took us all a while to get used to our characters and their various powers, made worse because I was playing two PCs: Lucan the half-elf cleric and Mignola the tiefling warlord. I'm off to pick my books up from Orc's Nest tomorrow but got to have a look at Andy's this evening: the layout and design looks very crisp and the Monster Manual seemed, at first glance, to contain most of my favourites from previous editions with some great art. So far, so good....

I really don't want to sign up for D&D Insider but I do like the sound of this:

Dungeon Magazine Announces New Adventure Path

The Elsir Vale has known a decade of peace following the rise of the Red Hand. The valley, as well as the town of Brindol, has flourished after adventurers defeated the threat posed by the hobgoblin armies. But now, from out of the hills to the north, a new threat has emerged. Natives of Brindol have been abducted, and the town’s war museum—dedicated to those fallen in the war against the Red Hand—has been raided and desecrated.

Meanwhile, beyond the Vale, the rumbling rumors of more trouble have begun to surface. Warbands forming in the mountains… Monsters crawling forth from the dark bowels of the world… And people everywhere have begun waking up at night in a cold sweat, uncertain where their feelings of dismay and panic come from…

The Scales of War Adventure Path will premiere in Dungeon #156, July 2008, with the 1st-level adventure “Rescue at Rivenroar,” by Wizards of the Coast designer David Noonan. Scales of War will continue each month in Dungeon, taking characters from 1st level all the way to 30th over the course of 18 adventures, spanning 18 months. This is the most ambitious Adventure Path in Dungeon’s history, and will take full advantage of the versatility of the new 4th Edition D&D rules. Support articles will appear regularly in Dragon, beginning with issue #366, August 2008.

Very tempting....

Red Hand of Doom #32 Final Session

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in yesterday's final game. It's been a very enjoyable campaign!

7th Eleasias (contd)
With Enzo unconscious and Fabius under the spell of the attractive erinyes, Johan moves close to Avatea and the party dimension door to safety. Enzo is healed and there is some deliberation about whether to continue with the attack on the High Wyrmlord now or after resting. Fabius offers to go back in and speak to the two devils but the others decline his offer. Head back down the mountain and rest. Avatea has another bad night’s sleep, losing another point of Consitution and another spell slot.

8th Eleasias
Enzo and Avatea both cast dispel magic from scrolls on Fabius to try and remove the erinyes’ charm – both fail. Cast protective spells, drink potions of invisibility, and teleport back into the Inner Sanctum. Johan charges in to attack the High Wyrmlord while Ager goes to fight one of the abishai who is up on the balcony. Fabius is still charmed so heads for the balcony and stays invisible. Enzo casts dancing web to entangle Azarr Kul and one of the erinyes. The second abishai swoops down to strike Avatea but fumbles his attack. Both erinyes throw their ropes at Johan but are unable to entangle him. Still at large, the Jade Phoenix Mage strikes down the High Wyrmlord with his blade magic, doing a total of 75 points of damage with a full attack.

As Azarr Kul falls to the floor, the swirling vortex of energy above thunders and rumbles with power. The roof is swept away and the winds of Hell itself sweep through the chamber as Tiamat’s massive blue head darts down with lightning speed, swallowing Azarr Kul’s body with one effortless gulp. As this head pulls back into the infernal sky above, her other four leer down at the PCs and an unholy blast of divine retribution tears into the gap between planes, deafening Avatea and reducing Johan (who is standing on the raised platform) to 8 hp with acid, cold, electrical and fire energy damage. The abishai and erinyes are reduced to piles of wet corruption but an Aspect of Tiamat manifests into the centre of the room.

Ager moves to attack the Aspect of Tiamat in melee as Johan flees down the shaft to heal himself. Avatea tries to cast a spell to protect herself from acid but she miscasts due to her deafness. Enzo flies above the creature, casting dancing web as a ray and Fabius sneak attacks it. The dragon breathes cold on Avatea and attacks Ager and Enzo with its other heads and its wyvern-like tail. Fabius tries to hide but the Aspect has five pairs of eyes so this is much harder than usual for the halfling. Avatea retreats down the shaft out of harm’s way as Enzo casts ray of dizziness on the dragon, restricting it to one action per round; it responds by breathing a line of electricity at the sorcerer which knocks him down unconscious. Dying, Enzo feather falls to the floor of the room but Ager is able to deliver the killing blow to Tiamat’s servant.

The room goes quiet as the party wait to see what happens next. When nothing does, they search the sanctum thoroughly: Fabius looks for treasure while the others look for ways out. Ager flies up to where the roof was to check they’re not in Hell – fortunately, they’re still in the Wyrmsmoke Mountains. Finding no secret doors after much searching, they head down to the temple below where Fabius finds one in the west wall.

Head into the corridor beyond, exploring the High Wyrmlord’s Quarters and the Summoning Chamber before Fabius finds yet another secret door leading to the Treasury. Ager charges the barbed devil standing at the far end of the room, triggering the Wall of Tiamat’s Wrath trap at the top of the stairs and taking lots of energy damage. Johan follows, also taking damage, as Ager is panicked by the barbazu and cowers in the corner. The devil grabs hold of Johan whose usual protective spells have worn off and impales him on his barbed spikes. The Jade Phoenix Mage casts benign transposition to swap places with Avatea, but the cleric also falls victim to the devil’s fear attack and ends up cowering in the opposite corner to Ager. Enzo comes through the wall trap, protected by energy spheres, and casts dancing web on the devil; Fabius dives through too to make sneak attacks from hiding. The barbazu advances on Enzo, grabs hold of him and impales him too. Johan has healed somewhat by now so charges through the wall to make a divine surge attack on the devil, doing enough damage to kill it. He kicks the puddle of ichor the devil dissolves into in anger (or in triumph) and smears some of the gunk over his face.

With the devil out of the way, Fabius is able to get down to the serious business of searching for traps and opening the five coloured chests. He doesn’t find all the traps and is blasted several times by different energy types but doesn’t take too much in the way of damage. After all the loot is stashed into Fabius’ bag of holding and various handy haversacks, the halfing disarms the wall of Tiamat’s wrath trap and the PCs leave. They try and find the elf princess, Laryssa, but she’s not in the kitchens. Leave and rest.

Avatea has nightmares again; she’s now lost 4 Con and three spell slots.

9th Eleasias

Teleport to Brindol and meet with Lord Jarmaath to report. Each PC is given a special magic item by the ruler of Brindol as a reward, and they are all offered land grants in Elsir Vale. Enzo tells the lord about Laryssa the missing elf princess.
Afterwards, Avatea goes to the Cathedral of Lathander where Morninglord Tredora Goldenbrow casts restoration on her to restore her lost Con. That night, Avatea dreams of the night hag riding on her back again; in the nightmare, the old crone turns into the elf princess – it appears Fabius was right about her after all.

Session xp: 6,500 xp for Enzo, 11,000 xp for Johan, 9,000 xp for the others.
• Johan becomes 10th level; Avatea, Ager & Fabius become 11th level.
doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game. Experience points will be given out at the end of next session....

6th Eleasias
Fabius scouts ahead invisibly. Spotting seven hobgoblin clerics and four wraiths in the domed Outer Sanctum ahead, he wisely withdraws and tells the other PCs what he’s seen. The party cast protective spells and then move towards the temple. Enzo casts fireball in the centre of the room as the wraiths swoop down to attack, only to be turned by the power of Selune wielded by Avatea. The hobgoblins are defeated but the wraiths return, stripping Johan of his magical protections with dispel magic. When they’re dealt with, Enzo and Avatea fly up the shaft at the northern end of the room to spy on Azarr Kul in the Inner Sanctum 100 feet above. As they do this, the two surviving wraiths come back and attack the others. This time the PCs manage to get rid of the incorporeal undead permanently.

Leave the Fane and rest for the night. Avatea is plagued by terrible nightmares again – a wizened old crone is riding on her back – and wakes up feeling drained (-1 Con, one 5th level spell slot lost).

7th Eleasias
The PCs cast plenty of protective spells and then teleport into the Inner Sanctum, arriving on the balcony 30 feet above the pedestal and Azarr Kul. To their dismay, a silence effect pervades the chamber, preventing Enzo and Avatea from casting spells. To make matters worse, the silence only affects the party; Azarr Kul’s two erinyes lovers are able to charm first Ager and then Fabius to keep them out of the battle. Meanwhile, the four abishai swoop into combat and Johan leaps down to the floor below to attack the High Wyrmlord. He gets one really good blow in before Azarr Kul protects himself with fell magic that prevents Johan from closing to melee; the frustrated Jade Phoenix Mage is forced to take his angst out on the blue abishai. Enzo and Avatea move to the top of the shaft from where they can cast spells; the sorceror attacks the two diabolic temptresses with dancing web and devil blight but ends up entangled in one of their ropes. The two erinyes and Azarr Kul cast unholy blight and flame strike on the PCs who are bunched up near the top of the shaft; these spells break the charms on Ager and Fabius but the halfling is soon charmed again. As Johan finishes off the last abishai, Azarr Kul casts mass inflict light wounds which puts Enzo unconscious.
doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game.  I've lost track of what level each PC is but 9th level PCs get 2,450 xp, 10th level PCs get 2,050 xp and 11th level PCs (Enzo?) get 1,620 xp.

6th Eleasias (contd)
Reunited with Ager and Johan, the party spends a few minutes debating what to do next and casting spells. Ever impatient, Fabius drinks a potion of invisibility and heads through the secret door from the torture chamber into a large temple to Tiamat. Ager follows him, also invisible, but both appear again as soon as they enter the room and spot the five wyverns (or wivverns) sitting in alcoves high above. Fabius runs away as the beasts fly down to attack. Johan charges into the fray but Enzo hangs back on the stairs and fires scorching rays. Avatea doubles back round, following Fabius.

Unfortunately for the rogue, his plan to get round and approach the temple from the main entrance backfires as he blunders into a patrol of three blackspawn led by a redspawn arcaniss. He immediately ducks back round a corner and hides so he can unleash sneak attacks with his sling. Back in the temple, Ager and Johan are battling the wyverns, aided by Enzo’s spells. The draconic beasts are no match for the PCs and are killed without landing too many hits on the warriors. Avatea arrives to support Fabius and the dragonspawn are also dispatched with help from Johan who attacks from the rear. With the battle over, Enzo and Fabius search for secret doors, finding one in the north wall while Ager leaps up and grabs the edge of each alcove to see if they hold any treasure or doors. They don’t. On the plus side, the blackspawn have a number of potions to add to the party’s collection.

Johan charges through the secret door into the large cavern beyond. Unable to see in the dark, he doesn’t spot the three harrowblades in here until its too late but his dragonskin spell protects him from their breath weapons. Enzo fires a crossbow bolt with light cast on it into a stalagmite so the PCs can see. The party rushes in to support their bold warblade companion as the harrowblades use spring attacks and their acid breath on them. To make things worse, the monsters are reinforced by a redspawn arcaniss, a greenspawn zealot and three blackspawn raiders who appear from the passage to the north. The redspawn strikes Johan with his scorching rays while the greenspawn uses its touch of Tiamat power to drain hp from Ager. Avatea casts flame strike on two of the harrowblades and Enzo casts ray of clumsiness on the redspawn while as Johan fumbles yet again while fighting the third harrowblade, dropping his enormous sword on the cavern floor. Eventually, the PCs vanquish all their foes.
doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game. This time, the two spellcasters and Fabius were much more effective and managed to clear out the first part of the Fane.

Session xp: 3,250 xp for Avatea & Enzo, 4,013xp for Fabius

5th Eleasias (contd)
Fabius, Avatea and Enzo continue to explore the Fane without Ager and Johan. Fabius scouts ahead invisibly, heading east from the barracks and finding the kitchen. Inside, a captive elf princess named Laryssa pleads with the party to rescue her. Before they can do this, a patrol of three black dragonspawn enter the room and attack, followed by a pair of bearded devils armed with vicious barbed glaives who appear from the pantry. Finally, a second dragonspawn patrol appears. Although the odds are against them, the three PCs are victorious with Fabius able to make several effective sneak attacks with his sling from beneath the table. Avatea (wearing the angelhelm) is able to strike the devils and dragonspawn hard with her mace while Enzo casts multiple scorching rays.

With all their opponents dead, the PCs tell Laryssa to remain where she is (perhaps because Fabius doesn’t trust her?) while they continue exploring the dungeon. All three go invisible using some of the many potions they’ve acquired. Fabius enters a hobgoblin priest barracks where he is attacked by flame strikes by two airwalking clerics. He fights back, becoming visible, and soon finds himself surrounded by more hobgoblin priests of Tiamat and summoned hell hounds. Enzo bravely flies in and grabs the halfling, carrying him back to the entrance. There, Avatea casts dimension door and the PCs escape to the ledge outside.

Fly up to Tyrgarun’s cave and rest for the night. Unfortunately, Avatea does not sleep well, dreaming of being tortured by the bone devil in the torture chamber as the otherparty members look on from the cells and laugh at her fate.

6th Eleasias
The three PCs cast several buff spells and then dimension door back into the priests quarters, killing the hobgoblin clerics as they sleep or start to wake up. From here, the party drink more invisibility potions and explore the guest quarters used by the Wyrmlords when staying in the Fane and the Council Chamber before returning to the dragonspawn barracks. Here, they attack and kill six black dragonspawn who are caught unawares in their beds.

Red Hand of Doom Session #28

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's action-packed game. Enzo gets 1,500xp; the others get 1,870xp.

5th Eleasias (contd)

 Ager and Johan rejoin the party. Fabius opens the main doors, triggering the trap again and catching Ager and Johan in the blast. Invisible, he clambers over the wyvern corpses and enters the Foyer as the others move into the corridor. The blue abishai casts suggestion on Ager who runs towards the ledge to throw himself off. He’s tripped by Avatea and Enzo who then casts fly on him, so he is actually able to follow the blue devil’s instructions without plummeting to his doom. Meanwhile, Johan (in troglodyte form with dragonskin) fights the black dragonspawn while Fabius is attacked by the devil who manages to guess correctly where he’s standing. With Ager back, the PCs manage to dispose of their enemies in short order and head west into the Barracks.

 Here, they are faced with six more black dragonspawn: three of these double back round the party to attack from the north but Enzo is ready with a fireball. The monsters are struggling to do much damage with their breath weapons  and are forced to rely on their falchions. Johan gets a bit carried away and goes for a troglodyte bite attack on one of the spawn; he fumbles and manages to clobber Fabius very hard with his sword. Reinforcements arrive but to no avail: the PCs slay these too and then search the barracks, finding lots of potions on the bodies as well as a chest full of treasure.

 Johan goes through the north door and into the Torture Chamber. The bone devil inside tries to summon some help but can’t finish his spell due to a devastating Divine Surge attack from Johan. The devil flies into the barracks but is hit by a ray of dizziness from Enzo and then a moonbeam from Avatea that leaves it helpless, allowing the others to finish it off.

Red Hand of Doom Session #27 Into the Fane

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game when we learned that cleric/rogue/sorcerer is a suboptimal party combination.

Session xp: 917xp for Enzo; 1,200xp for Avatea & Fabius.

 4th Eleasias (contd)
 Leaving Ager and Johan outside on the ledge on guard, the others head inside the Fane, with Fabius in the lead, checking for traps. He opens the door to a large chamber, with five exquisitely sculpted dragon heads protruding from the ceiling, each spitting coloured jets of fire. Also in here are two blue draconic devils (abishai) and two wyvern zombies. The devils both cast suggestion on Fabius, forcing him to drop his sword and his gear, and to take off his armour. He runs off when this happens. Avatea tries to turn the zombies but fails as Enzo blasts the room with fireballs. The devils summon another two abishai which attack Avatea in the corridor. The two wyvern zombies fall to Avatea’s moonblade and Enzo’s spells but the cleric is knocked unconscious and, embarrassingly, has to be saved by Fabius with a potion. The PCs manage to bring down one of the devils as the two summoned ones disappear back to Hell and the fourth one retreats, but the party are unable to finish off the unconscious abishai without good-aligned weapons. Despite this, Fabius keeps hitting it to make sure it doesn’t get up again.
 Enzo casts identify on the helmet found in the troll’s sack: this is an angelhelm which allows the wearer to strike as if his weapons are good-aligned. They use this to finish off the blue devil with a coup de grace. Avatea uses Johan’s magical sleeping bag (?) to recover her spells as Enzo identifies some more loot. Rest in the dragon’s cave 140 feet up.
 5th Eleasias
 Fabius triggers the five-headed dragon trap on the main doors yet again! Then, Avatea casts mass resist energy (electricity) and mass align weapon on everyone plus protection from evil on herself before donning the angelhelm. Then, the trio head back inside, only to find the surviving blue devil has been reinforced by three black dragonspawn which breathe acid on the party. The abishai casts suggestion and Enzo runs off, out the Fane and down the mountain. When he collapses in exhaustion, the others catch up with him.

Red Hand of Doom Session #26 On the Ledge

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game. Session xp is 2,700 xp each for Enzo, Johan and Ager.

4th Eleasias (contd)
Enzo and Johan arrive on the ledge at the entrance to the Fane. Avatea casts protective spells on the party: anti-dragon aura and mass resist energy (fire) on everyone, resist energy (cold) on Enzo and protection from evil on Johan and Ager. As she does this, a huge voice booms out from the five giant dragon heads, telling the party to leave their offerings to Tiamat and then go away. Johan attempts a witty reply and in the process figures out that the voice is only coming from one place: the blue dragon head. Then, Tyrgarun, a large blue dragon flies out of the mouth of this head and down to attack the party. Fabius runs off in terror, leaving Ager, Enzo and Johan to fight it. Enzo takes to the air, casting rays of enfeeblement and clumsiness as the dragon breathes on him and then hurls a fireball at the other two from a wand. Ager is ineffectual, plinking away with his crossbow until Enzo casts fly on him. Johan casts alter self to turn himself into a troglodyte and then dragonskin (to give himself an almost untouchable AC 42) and charges bravely into melee with Tyrgarun. True to form, the ensuing attack is a spectacular miss and the hapless Jade Phoenix mage drops his oversized sword into the ravine 150 feet below. The dragon manages to score a couple of lucky blows before also fumbling and dropping its wand of fireballs into the same crevasse.

Johan goes after his sword, pursued by the great beast, and manages to hit it very hard with a Divine Surge attack (for 56 damage) when he gets it back. Enzo helps out with scorching ray, luminous swarm and orb of acid, but it’s Ager who deals the killing blow with a Stygian strike from his morningstar. With Tyrgarun dead, the PCs decide to fly up to the blue dragon head and into its mouth; inside is a large cave which seems to serve as the lair of five different dragons. There’s a lot of treasure which they grab, including a magical morningstar, a belt, a cloak, pair of boots and a staff. Flying back down, Johan tries to open the doors into the Fane, triggering a trap which blasts all three PCs with acid, fire, cold and electricity from the five-headed dragon sculpture above the entrance. Despite this setback, the doors now stand open….
doom, red hand
Here's what happened in Monday night's game. We didn't get to try out the new Death & Dying rules after all!

Session xp: 1,800 xp for 9th level PCs; 2,200 xp for 8th level PCs.
 1st Eleasias
 Avatea, Ager and Fabius are hiding among the trees when three of the black dragonspawn approach. One of them charges Fabius who is spotted as he moves from one tree to another, forcing the halfling to fight defensively. Meanwhile, Ager takes to the air to use his breath weapon on the other two as Skather (the sniper from Brindol) attacks Avatea with poisoned arrows. The badly wounded cleric flees from Skather to heal herself and the sniper switches targets to Ager, doing quite a bit damage to the dragon shaman. Once Avatea has healed herself, she helps out Ager and then uses sound lance to finish off Skather. Fabious is still fighting the one remaining dragonspawn, ducking behind a tree trunk to avoid being hit; the others help him out and all four dragonspawn lie dead. There’s no sign of Johan and Enzo so the PCs loot the bodies, try and work out what everything is, and then head off.
 3rd Eleasias
 After trekking through the mountains for a couple of days, the three PCs set up camp for the night. Avatea, on first watch, is disturbed by a troll hunter who starts chasing her round the campfire. The others wake up and join in the battle. The troll is knocked unconscious but it’s still regenerating and the party are forced to cut off its head and throw it in the fire to finish it off.
 4th Eleasias
 The three PCs arrive at the  Fane of Tiamat. A sheer cliff, several hundreds of feet high, is carved with the lifelike rendition of a five headed dragon. The dragon is massive, easily 150’ tall and carved to look as if it were perched on the wide ledge at the bottom of the cliff and emerging from the stone itself. This motif is repeated in another carving above the double doors leading into the fane.

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game as the PCs (minus Ager) took on the "chapter boss", Wyrmlord Kharn, and then learned there was another chapter to come.

Session xp: 3,600 xp for Enzo & Avatea; 4,500 xp for Johan & Fabius

 28th Flamerule (contd)
 The PCs return across the square to the Cathedral of Lathander where Lady Kaal is organizing the final defence while Tredora tends to Lord Jaarmath and the poisoned Ager. Then, Captain Lars Ulverth arrives with grim news: Wyrmlord Kharn and his forces are heading for the cathedral. The PCs don’t have long to get ready before Kharn, a 7’ tall hobgoblin wearing red dragonscale plate armour, appears at the head of the Red Hand troops and makes a beeline for the party. Johan ends up fighting him toe to toe while his giants and ogres engage the other PCs and Captain Ulverth and the Lions of Brindol do battle with hobgoblins, goblin worg riders and bugbears. Fabius hides behind a statue of Lathander outside the temple, stepping out to make attacks on a hill giant as the surviving Tiri Kitor elves fire arrows, Enzo strikes with lightning bolts and Avatea supports Johan with healing. He needs it too as Kharn is a tough opponent, wielding a wounding heavy pick against the Jade Phoenix mage. Eventually Kharn falls to Enzo’s scorching rays, leading to a retreat by the Red Hand Horde – the efforts of the PCs and their allies have been enough to win the day!

29th Flamerule
 A great victory celebration is held in Brindol and the recovered Lord Jarmaath publicly thanks the PCs for their role in the Battle of Brindol. Afterwards, he summons the party to Brindol Keep – he has grim news. Although the Red Hand Horde has been driven off, their leader, Azarr Kul, the High Wyrmlord is working on a ritual to open a portal to Tiamat’s realm in the Nine Hells. He must be stopped!
 30th Flamerule
 Teleport to Vraath Keep: Avatea casts a spell; Enzo uses one of the scrolls given to them by Lord Jarmaath. Avatea casts longstrider on Fabius so he can keep up with everyone else on his little legs. Head for the Fane of Tiamat in the Wyrmsmoke Mountains. Attacked by two cyclops and a sonic-lance firing yrthak; easily dealt with.
 1st Eleasias
 Ambushed by blackspawn raiders led by the sniper from Cathedral Square in Brindol. End up surrounded with Johan in trouble. Enzo and Avatea open up an escape route for him by killing one of the dragonspawn. Scatter into the trees.


Red Hand of Doom Session #23 Sniper Attack!

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game. Session xp: 2,606 xp for Enzo; 3,333 xp for Ager, Avatea & Johan; 3,900 xp for Fabius.

 28th Flamerule (contd)
Once the PCs and their allies have had a chance to regroup, the barricade comes under attack again, this time from white-furred Blood Ghost berserker bugbears. Enzo tries to trap them in a web but this doesn’t work as some of the goblinoids set fire to it while others climb onto the roofs of nearby buildings. Ager leaps onto the rooftops also, jumping across to where two bugbears are, but the monsters ignore him and jump off. The dragon shaman springs back on to the first roof and launches himself at one of them, scoring a decent hit before falling prone on the ground in front of the other one. He recovers, killing the pair with his cold breath weapon. Meanwhile, the other bugbears have rushed the barricade with two leaping over it. Eventually all of them are slain but Soranna, two Lions of Brindol, one elf and two soldiers also fall in the battle. The cowardly Fabius tries to loot the bodies of these allies but it discouraged by the others and fills his bag of holding with bugbear armour instead.

 The next wave consists of goblins riding on bluespawn thunderlizards – big draconic beasts bristling with electrical charges and capable of firing lightning bolts at the party. These creatures are defeated too, with Enzo using his cone of cold scroll to devastating effect, but by now there are only five elves, two giant owls and two soldiers left standing.

 As the PCs head back to Cathedral Square to regroup, their telepathic bond to Lord Jarmaath is abruptly cut off: the leader of Brindol’s defenders has been shot by a sniper and Speaker Norro Wiston of Drellin’s Ferry has been killed. As Avatea and Fabius go inside the Cathedral of Lathander to see what’s happened and help the clerics, Ager sprints across the square, jumps up to the first floor window of Discreet Departures (a coffin shop), only to be attacked by the black dragonspawn sniper himself. Enzo flies across to help and opens the door downstairs, getting blasted by lightning bolts from two hobgoblin sorcerers. This is the last thing they ever do as Enzo's retaliation is swify and lethal.

Upstairs, the assassin keeps going invisible after his attacks, making it hard for Ager and now Johan to pinpoint him. Then, the dragonspawn strikes at Ager, knocking him down to –15 hp – the dragon shaman is weaker because he has switched his +4 amulet of health for Abithriax’s +2 amulet. When the other PCs arrive to help, the sniper leaps out the window, turns invisible and escapes.

Johan's Story

doom, red hand
Here's Johan's tragic tale. One day we might even learn the mysterious origins of Ager.  Then again, we may not.

Johan Koenig was born (as it turned out, reborn) into a house of minor nobility in the Halruaan capital. His father Mikal was amiable but indifferently talented Mage who nether less as a result of his talent for war and equally for telling the tales of his own exploits had found his way into a position of influence in the Halruaan army. It was this position and influence that was to lead to the greatest tragedy of his life, his marriage to Mirabel.

The Lady Mirabel as she styled herself was at base (and she would cheerfully admit this to anybody, usually before she killed them) a ruthless, remorseless, amoral and relentlessly ambitious low born commoner, who unlike her somewhat weak willed acquisition (for the truth of the union was never much in doubt) had a fearsome talent for Wizardry. In particular the forbidden arts of Necromancy, which while frowned on Halruaan society at large were easy to conceal for a woman married to a man of high office.

In the early years of their union, while she still worked to break Mikal to her will, Lady Mirabel consented to producing the heir that Mikal so desperately sort after. While the boy was young, Mikal poured a never ending river of love and affection into the lad. Instilling in him much of his own love of battle and the joys of honourable combat between honourable men. Johan's overdeveloped sense of right and wrong and the love of hideously overwrought prose would also stem from this period in his life.

However once Johan became old enough to begin learning the art of magic The Lady Mirabel ordered all such martial and emotional pointlessness to cease and the real task of schooling the boy to begin. The next 10 years were an ordeal that indelibly left its mark on the boy. He learned to be harsh, cruel, to always seek the advantage and to bend the forces of magic to achieve his will.

His father increasingly spent more and more time away from the family home, on endless inspection tours of Halruaa's outlying fortresses. It was during one of these visits that he was waylaid and killed by a pack of common brigands. With the death of her by now unnecessary husband (she had long surpassed his minor position in society) Lady Mirabel's ambition had no more restriction and she began to lay the path to her planned ascendancy to the ruler ship of Halruaa.

As one might cover a useful tool from the rain she arranged for Johann to be accepted into an academy for the scions of the military establishment where she trusted that the legacy of the boys father would shield him from any direct consequences if her plans should fail. If the truth be told, the Lady Mirabel like most mothers did care for her offspring (many years later when word of his death reached her it is said that it broke her heart, or at least having obtained Lichdom by this time, the jar she kept it in) and this was the best way to protect him should events turn against her.

As it transpired Lady Mirabel's insurrection was a five minute wonder, with the Mage Hounds of Halruaa quickly neutralizing her conspirators and then rounding on her in her sanctuary. A hard fought battle that left two Mage Hounds dead and many more injured saw her make her escape into brooding exile.

With the malign influence of his mother removed Johan once again came under the influence of honourable men and his magical and martial studies continued apace. When he neared his 20th year he began to have disturbing dreams, dreams of battles and combats in such vivid and exhaustive detail that he felt as if he himself had lived through them. He became convinced that these visions were a contrivance of his exiled and reviled mother and turned to the local Temple of Mystra in the hope that they could shield him from her powers. When they proved unable to do so he began to despair and feared that his mother meant to turn him into one of her "creations". At this point images of a green robed monk began to appear in his night time visions. Each night this figure would tell him that the answers to his questions could be found at a remote citadel high in Halruaa's surrounding mountains. Each night the figure who eventually introduced himself as Master Ozencal implored the increasingly troubled Johan to learn the solution to his strange dreams. At last Johan gave in and leaving the academy behind struck out for the monks mountain retreat, in the knowledge that whatever lay ahead it couldn't be worse that the counsel of his own fears.

As he neared his destination he found that the dreams became less intense, somehow muffled. Thinking that they were receding of their own accord he began to retrace his steps only to find that the intensity increased once again the further backwards he traveled, he restarted his journey to the citadel. On arrival Ozencal greeted him as an old friend, constantly referring to shared events that could never have occurred, each time Johan protested that this was the case he would silenced with a laugh and told that in due time all would become clear.

Over the course of the next few months Ozencal explained to him the mysteries of the Jade Phoenix Order. A group of heroic adventurers, masters of sword and spell who tirelessly fought to contain an ancient evil. An order that never dies as when each member fell he was reborn in a new body to eventually relearn of his heritage and past lives. An order that included Johan as one of its members and as the new incarnation of Ozencal's oldest friend. Ozencal would now teach him the skills he would need to take his place in the order and to control what he now understand to be memories from his past existences.

However as time passed it became evident that all was not well with Johan, there was a canker at his core, some leaving of his mothers that had coloured in darker shades a soul meant to be an avatar of light. Ozencal hoped that in time this corruption of his old friends soul might be vanquished through his teachings, but it was not to be. Knowing that the correct course of action would be strike the young Johan down so that he could be born again, untainted by the foul Lady Mirabel, Ozencal stayed his hand. His love for his old friend and the affection he had for his young student stopped him from taking the only certain path to cleansing Johan's soul. Instead he chose to cast Johan out into the world in the hope that the temper of experience would accomplish what he could not. Hiding the truth from his pupil he simply stated that he had no more to teach and that Johan must look elsewhere to complete his training. Somewhat confused at being abandoned for the second time in his life Johan obeyed and left Ozencal's citadel to seek out and defeat evil wherever it could be found.

Years have passed and Johan still wanders the Realms looking for confrontation with the forces of darkness. He imagines himself a battle hardened veteran, an amiable man of honour but underneath he remains an untested weapon. Whether his true heritage will triumph over the taint of his mothers upbringing only time will tell.

Fabious' Story

doom, red hand
Here's the back story of Fabious Grabbyloot, latest defender of Elsir Vale:

Early life
The bloody battle of Vymer Pass came to a climax as General Yardling struck the death blow to one of the heads of the mighty ettin commander, Yogral Tah. Unfortunately the other head, not yet fully appreciative of the fact that its own life was by association seeping away, struck back with its nail spiked club knocking the General's helmet (and a meaningful part of his skull) flying across the battlefield. For those few survivors watching the tragic moment, it was as if the whole thing was played out in slow motion. The drawn out sound of a nine inch nail screeching across the General's helmet, his skull erupting in a blossom of blood and gore, his body gracefully flying backwards in an ark.

As one of those watching, Private Fabious Grabbyloot wasn’t sure why time was being so over dramatic but decided to use the opportunity to run in and deftly prise the General's sword from his dying hand before he had even hit the ground. As a souvenir of course!

At the end of the court martial that ensued, the Lord Marshal described Fabious as “An opportunistic rogue with the moral integrity of a Drow”. When Fabious asked if that qualified him for some sort of pay rise he was thrown in the stockade without further evidence.

Luckily for Fabious though, he discovered that the stockade was largely built on the assumption that soldiers thrown in there were honour bound not to try and escape. Free from such burdens, he identified at least three ways to escape in the first hour. His preferred option was the latrines used by the inmates at break times. He found that by crawling down one of these convenient halfling-sized holes he could just about squeeze his way out to freedom.

Thus ended Fabious’s very short career as a soldier. His father, who had hoped Fabious would be the first Grabbyloot to break from the traditional family career of thieving resigned himself to teaching his son the ‘art’.

Fabious excelled in his studies and in just a few months acquired a years worth of skills. But his father was something of a traditionalist and believed that the best way to learn the skills of a thief were by necessity. And so at the end of his training, Fabious was kicked out of the family home without a copper piece and only the clothes on his back (although his mother did manage to smuggle a rock cake into his jacket pocket). His father decreed he could not return to his parents until he had collected enough money to buy a palace.

This all but impossible challenge was largely meant to break the bonds between father and son and make him an independent free spirit, something he would realise as he matured. However, after three years, Fabious seems to have missed the deeper meaning of his challenge and is still amassing money so that he can return home to his mum's rock cakes and his father’s outlandish tales of adventure over the family meal.

Fabious is rather like a child serial killer. He is whiney, annoying, and an absolute coward when it comes to combat, and has no compunction at all about committing morally repugnant acts to acquire wealth. Although he has a mind like a steel trap when it comes to acquiring treasure, he also has all the common sense of a headless zombie.

His primary role within a party is support. He is expert at finding secret doors and hidden treasures and, although he is cowardly in combat, he is more than happy to risk his life trying to disarm traps if there is potential treasure involved.

Although Fabious is obsessed by treasure he would not steal from his own party, but the benefits of any extracurricular activities he performs are never shared. He is very neutral in outlook and doesn’t like to be restricted by laws and codes of conduct.

Fabious prides himself on the fact that he has never bought anything in his entire life. But the rarity of halfling-sized gear and the increasing dangers he faces means he is giving serious but painful thought to the fact he may one day have to buy protective magic items. He wears a potato sack with the words ‘Windy Farm Potatoes’ printed in red as a sort of overcoat and two odd boots. He hasn’t washed in about two years and relies on the occasional downpour to dampen his considerable odour.
doom, red hand
Hey, no PC deaths this week! Session xp:  1,215 xp for Enzo; 1,680 xp for Avatea & Ager; 2,205xp for Johan & Fabius.

Once the hill giants have been dealt with, Avatea gets an urgent message from Lord Jarmaath: a red dragon is attacking the city, breathing fire. The PCs and their allies hurry back to the southern part of Brindol to confront Abithriax, the red dragon, with some of the party protected by mass resist energy (fire). Enzo casts an empowered ray of clumsiness which reduces Abithriax to 1 Dexterity but this doesn’t stop the wyrm swooping down to breathe fire on Ager, Johan and the elves. When Enzo hits the dragon with a ray of enfeeblement, he lands next to the sorcerer and bites him. Enzo moves away, casting another spell, as the Lions of Brindol charge in to melee. Ager tries to jump on to the back of one Lion’s horse and use his breath weapon. This tricky manoeuvre goes badly awry: Ager breathes cold on the Lion, his horse and Johan, before falling at Abithriax’s feet and suffering a full attack from the dragon! However, the PCs inflict more and more wounds on Abithriax and eventually Avatea is able to finish him off with a searing light. Two elves and two Lions of Brindol were lost in the battle.

Next, the PCs need to put out the fires started by the red dragon’s breath. Fortunately, Killiar and the other surviving elves are good at firefighting, as is Ager who is able to extinguish one fire with his icy breath. As the party fight the fires, Ager notices a scruffy halfling prying a scale from the dragon’s body. This turns out to be Fabius, a halfling rogue who reluctantly agrees to rejoin the bucket chain.

 The PCs don’t get long to catch their breath before Lord Jarmaath contacts Avatea again: fighting has moved into the city streets and the PCs are needed to slow the horde’s advance into Brindol by reinforcing a group of soldiers and elves stationed on the Dawn Way just west of the marketplace. Here, the party repel an attack from two manticores and eight hobgoblins. The Tiri Kitor elves are particularly effective with their bows, taking down the manticores while Enzo traps the hobgoblins with a web and Johan and Ager rush round the barricade and into melee. Fabius hides in a bush, supporting with sneak attacks from his sling. The enemy is defeated but five soldiers are killed. The PCs are certain more of the Red Hand forces are on their way…
doom, red hand
Here's what happened in Monday night's session. Another PC death! I feel like a butcher!

1,260 xp for Enzo, 1,547 xp for 8th level PCs, 1,960xp for 7th level PCs

 22nd Flamerule
 Arrive near Talar at the crossroads of the Dawn Way and the trail from the Ghostlord’s lair, guarded by a hobgoblin sorcerer mounted on a wyvern. The PCs take too long to decide what to do and the wyvern swoops down. Enzo casts lesser orb of acid which damages the winged beast but it still manages to hit Ager with its stinger, poisoning him (-10 Con!). Avatea casts restoration on Ager as Enzo brings the wyvern down with a scorching ray. The hobgoblin rider falls to the ground and Avatea finishes him off with searing light.
 Meet Johan, a Jade Phoenix Mage with an enormous sword who appears from the abandoned  town of Talar – he agrees to escort the other PCs to Brindol.
 23rd Flamerule
 Arrive in Brindol: the PCs are taken to the Great Hall at Brindol Keep to meet with Lord Kerden Jarmaath and his Defense Council. Also present are Lady Verrrasa Kaal (wealthy noblewoman & merchant), Captain Lars Ulverth (leader of the Lion Guard) and Morninglord Tredora Goldenbrow (cleric of Lathander) as well as old friends Norro Wiston, Soranna Anitah and Sellyria Starsinger.
 The PCs introduce themselves with Enzo and Old George making a particularly good impression while Ager has the opposite effect and Gusty is sent to the kitchens. Nevertheless the party manage to convince Lord Jarmaath and the council to defend the walls instead of meeting the Red Hand Horde in open warfare, and to use the town’s clerics as mobile support. They also argue successfully that Avatea and Sellyria should be linked to Lord Jarmaath via Immerstal the Red’s telepathic bond.

28th Flamerule

 The horde reaches Brindol and encamps, attacking at night.
 Lord Jarmaath sends the PCs and their allies (Soranna, four Lions of Brindol and four Tiri Kitor elves) outside the south wall of the city to take out four hill giants throwing boulders at the walls. Ager, George, Johan, the Lions and the elves charge in while Avatea and Enzo take to the air, invisible. Johan is struck hard by a power-attacking hill giant and is knocked unconscious. Old George is killed by a second giant with a critical hit; the giant is finished off by Soranna and the Lions. Meanwhile, the owl-riding elves deal with Johan’s opponent as Avatea and Enzo support with spells. Two owls are killed by the third giant, their riders falling to earth. The third giant is slain; the fourth decides to flee into the darkness. The PCs have triumphed but not without paying a terrible price. Gusty’s howls of sorrow ring through the air.
doom, red hand
I've recovered from my horrendous cold and returned from the Celtic lands in time to write up Monday night's tougher than usual session.

Quite a lot of xp which will definitely see Enzo hit 9th level:  2,040xp for 8th level PCs, 2,608 xp for 7th level PCs.

18th Flamerule(contd)
Emerging from the opening in the stone lion is a huge fiendish behir. Most of the PCs retreat to a distance but Ager stands his ground, only to be subject to the monster’s lightning breath. When the behir closes, it manages to grab the dragon shaman in its jaws and swallows him. The others try to help but struggle to overcome the beast’s spell and energy resistances or break through its tough hide with weapons. Ager is able to use a potion of gaseous form to escape, but the behir switches its attentions to Avatea, swallowing her instead. Old George tries to help but it grabbed and constricted by the monster’s tail, Trying to help, Kiaphas casts fireball which does some damage to the behir, but more worryingly, does so much damage to George that he goes unconscious, much to Gusty’s disgust! Ager, now substantial again, attacks the creature, killing it, and Avatea is able to climb out through its mouth.

After some healing has taken place, Ager and Kiaphas head up the steps, past the two formidable lion statues and into the behir’s lair where they find little of interest. Enzo follows them in and finds a secret door leading to a passage which heads upwards. Ager opens it and steps in, only to be attacked by two ghostly lions. The lions roar and the PCs flee in terror. Once they’ve calmed down, they decide going back in is only going to upset the Ghostlord so they set off for Brindol.

20th Flamerule
 At the end of the day, the PCs near a farmhouse where they spot a group of hobgoblins and an ogre torturing a couple of captives. They go to help, blundering straight into an ambush as two greater barghests and four blackspawn raiders attack with surprise, having been hidden with invisibility. A very tough fight ensues as George and Ager battle the barghest and blackspawn nearest the torture victims while the others fight the second group. Enzo takes to the air but when Kiaphas turns into an avariel using alter self and tries to do the same, he is brought down by attacks of opportunity from his foes. Eventually, the party are victorious: one blackspawn escapes along with a couple of hobgoblins but their other enemies lie dead. Unfortunately, Kiaphas is among the fallen, yet another casualty of the Red Hand Horde.

Red Hand of Doom Session #19 The Ghostlord

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in last night's game. 8th level PCs get 1,500 xp each; 7th level PCs get 1,838 xp.

17th Flamerule (contd)
After Avatea has done cast restoration on Old George from a scroll (restoring his 6 lost points of Dexterity), the PCs explore the chamber to the east which contains a four foot diameter sphere of black stone floating above a small dais and surrounded with ghostly, orange lion-shapes. Ager fires a crossbow at one of the lion-shapes and then tries to push the sphere with his sword to no effect. When they return to the main chamber, the undead goblins have returned: Avatea turns two of them again while the others attack the remaining four. This time, they are dealt with fairly easily.

Opening the door to the west, the PCs find a treasury which someone appears to have smashed up, scattering loot everywhere. Gusty swallows a few gems while the others aren’t looking; Ager picks up an amulet, two scrolls, a wand and a kukri. He puts the amulet on (+4 amulet of health) and gives the arcane scrolls and the wand to Enzo.

Next, the party heads to the north where they find and open a secret door. Beyond is a room with a sick and unnatural looking tree in the corner. Beneath the tree are six small bodies wrapped in shrouds. As Avatea goes in to investigate a ghostly dire lion appears and attacks. Its corrupting gaze is fearsome, nearly killing Gusty, and its Strength draining touch weakens Ager. Avatea tries to cast dimension door but fails to cast defensively, meaning the PCs have to flee the old-fashioned way: by running for their lives with their eye shut to avoid the gaze attacks. The ghost lion pursues, attacking Avatea, but all of the party make it out of the stone lion’s maw alive. Avatea revives Gusty and the PCs rest for the night.

18th Flamerule
Avatea casts restoration on Ager. A heated and fairly lengthy debate ensues over what to do next which frustrates Gusty and Old George. No one wants to give the Ghostlord his phylactery back but there don’t seem to be many alternatives.

They head back inside, climbing back up into the mouth of the stone lion using the hobgoblin’s rope ladder. Return downstairs where Ager runs into the Ghostlord, a terrible figure with yellow, shrunken flesh and pale green flames where his eyes should be. The dragon shaman starts to negotiate, not helped by Enzo’s heckling from outside. When two ghost dire lions appear through the walls, Ager decides to accept the Ghostlord’s offer of withdrawing his support for the Red Hand in exchange for his phylactery. The phylactery is returned and then the PCs leave via dimension door before the lich can change his mind.

Outside, the PCs receive a message from Sellyria Starsinger. The leader of the Tiri Kitor elves is in Brindol where the Red Hand Horde grows near. As the party get ready to go, they hear a huge roar from the opening in the chest of the stone lion…..

Red Hand of Doom Session #18

doom, red hand
Here's what happened in Monday night's action packed game. Experience: 1,100 xp for Enzo, 1,313 xp for Avatea & Old George, and 1,650 xp for Ager.

17th Flamerule (contd)
The PCs head downstairs from the upper level. The room at the bottom of the spiral staircase is filled with fog again but Avatea dispels the spell as Enzo blunders into an ambush by two undead goblins. The creatures grab hold of him but Avatea manages to turn them before they can do too much damage to the sorceror. Then, Old George opens the door to the room beyond and Ager charges in, only for both of them to be attacked by spiritual hammers under the control of two hobgoblin priests and thunderstrikes from the bard, Ulwai. The spellcasters kill Ulwai with scorching rays and sound lance while Old George trips one of the clerics and finishes him off.

Once the party have defeated the hobgoblins, they head into a grisly dissection chamber where Gusty offers to drag one of the dead bodies into the pit so the PCs can measure its depth. From here, they enter a large hall where six more undead goblins are lurking in alcoves to either side of a large pool full of a strange liquid and holding a dark shape. Ager leaps on to the lion statue where he is soon surrounded and attacked by four of the undead. Meanwhile, Old George tries to maneouvre round the room and is bull rushed into the pool where his body goes numb as his dexterity is drained away. Again, Avatea saves the day by turning the undead, driving the six creatures through a secret door and out of the immediate area.


Green Man
Richard Green

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June 2014


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