4e adaptation of Red Hand of Doom

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Battle of Brindol Aftermath, Day 51
We may play again this weekend if we end up getting snowed in again.

The days following the death of Kharn are a mish-mash of celebration and revelry, the residents beginning to return to their homes, and the duty of driving off the scattered warbands of hobgoblins. Although the later takes on the feel of sport instead of duty after the first day. The hobgoblins are so scattered and disorganized, they are surprisingly easy pickings for Brindol's remaining soldiers.

The party is universally lauded as the heroes and saviors of the city. A banquet is quickly put together to honor your accomplishments. The skull of the dragon Abithriax decorates the merchant square in town. Immerstal the Red assembled a repeating illusion portraying the fall of Kharn in front of the Cathedral of Pelor. The party has even been asked to sit for both portraits and sculptures to honor them forever.

After a couple of days, Lord Jarmaath is finally beginning to recover from Skather's assassination attempt and musters up the strength to deliver a speech to the town. He heaps praise on each and every person who defended the city, blesses those who gave their lives, and assured all the survivors the losses were not in vain. He also calls out each member of the party for their contributions to the win. Perhaps the town could have driven off the hobgoblins, but the hobgoblins plus the giants and the dragon and the dinosaurs and the assassin all led by an accomplished general may well have been more than they could handle. Truly these are the heroes of Brindol!

After the public handshaking and congratulating, the smile on Jarmaath's face begins to vanish and he asks the party meet him at the Security Council chamber in the Keep this evening.

That evening, the party meets Jarmaath along with Lady Kaal, Tredora Goldenbrow, and Lars Ulverth...all with long faces.

"Your capture of the assassin Skather proved to be both a curse and a blessing. After three days of interrogation, we finally reached an agreement with him and have uncovered some frightening information.

"This Red Hand hoard of hobgoblins, giants, dragons, and even dragonspawn was nothing more than the advance scouts for the real threat. This Azaar Kul referenced in the notes you retrieved was not present for the assault of Brindol because he is still in the Wyrmsmoke Mountains working on a month-long ritual to open a portal to Tiamat's court. If that portal is opened, a nearly limitless stream of fiends and dragonspawn will overwhelm the Vale and probably much of the land beyond.

"Skather reports Kul is located inside the Fane of Tiamat...a temple to the dragon queen carved out of the mountain itself. It is located deep in the Wyrmsmokes, but a trail leading from Vrath's Keep into the mountains will take you directly to it if you are diligent.

"Skather believes Kul is nearing the end of his ritual. It may be complete in a couple of days, perhaps as long as a week, but not likely any longer than that. With that timeline, I fear your group is the only one we know of who may be capable of both getting there in time and being able to stop Kul when you get there.

"I do hope you are up to one last challenge...."
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Battle of Brindol Conclusion, Day 48 (1/31/10)
Next game is likely in 2 weeks. Everyone level-up to 15th for the next session. You will have a couple of days to fully rest up, craft magic items, and anything else you want to do that might take some time.

Party hustled back toward the Cathedral of Pelor following the telepathic scream from Jarmaath. Upon arrival, the place is in chaos as soldiers scramble around for cover. Seven of the Lion Guardsmen lie dead in the courtyard from the sniper's arrows and Jarmaath is unconscious in the cradled arms of Tredora. Jarmaath's body has been pulled back to the entrance of the Cathedral as several Lions of Brindol form a ring around him to protect against further sniper attacks. Tredora has managed to stabalize Jarmaath, but he remains unconscious.

The Lions are able to indicate the shots are coming from the west-northwest, but no one has spotted the sniper yet.

The party headed west and was fired upon by the sniper. The shot missed, and while no one saw the sniper, you did spot the window the shot was fired from. A second story window of the coffin maker's shop that occupies the former Temple of the Raven Queen.

Once inside the former temple and dispatching the perimeter guards, the party headed upstairs to confront the sniper. The sniper, a humanoid / black dragon mix ninja named Skather spent the first few round disappearing in a puff of smoke then slicing hamstrings and spitting acidic goo. But he seemed to run out of smoke grenades and couldn't hide from the party after about 15 seconds, and he got locked down and beat up until he finally surrendered.

The party gave up on trying to tie up the accomplished rogue and just knocked him out to haul his limp form back to Ulverth and Tredora for questioning.

After a few minutes of explaining the ordeal with the sniper, howls, roars, and horns can be heard outside. The Red Hand seems to have pressed through the perimeter defenses and is marching toward the Cathedral.

Dozens of soldiers, several of the dwarven mercenaries, and the last of Brindol's Lionguard form ranks in front of the cathedral. Sweaty, bloody, and with unsteady hands from fear, but they have chosen to make a stand here.

The marching hoards of hobgoblins reach the perimeter of the coutyard, beating their shields and shouting in unison. But before the arrow is fired, a horn sounds from behind the hobgoblin ranks and the party sees two giants flinging hobgoblins to the side to clear a path. From the opening emerges a towering hobgoblin wearing armor fashioned from the scales of a red dragon and confidently holding a blood soaked greatsword.

He glares at his troops and calls out a challenge to these heroes of Brindol.

The opening salvo of ogres charging, giants swinging small trees, a hobgoblin adept assaulting your minds, and Wyrmlord Kharn whacking on Artex until he was dazed was a formidable first move. But then the defender launched into the pack to draw their attention, the artillery rained fire and thunder the likes of which no hobgoblin has ever seen, and a warforged sprang into the fray, incapacitated Kharn with a pommel smash to the throat and emerged with a brain-stained rapier. Years of war planning by the Red Hand virtually ended in about 30 seconds.

The surviving hobgoblins begin to scatter as word of Kharn's demise (plus the dead body of their red dragon) spreads through their ranks. Many return to the encampment a few miles outside the city and seem to be awaiting orders, but almost as many break into their former tribes and flee. The army of over 3000 hobgoblins has been reduced to about 400 after the morale break. Hardly a threat to the remaining defenders of Brindol.

Stripping the gear from Skather, Kharn, and their associate adeptes yielded:

+4 orb of inevitable continuance
+4 cloak of distortion
+4 oathblade greatsword
+4 subtle shortsword
+4 shimmering feyweave cloth armor
+4 serpent's kiss shortbow
floorfighter straps
green thumbs

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Battle of Brindol, Day 48 (1/23/10)
The party continued to pitch in as best they could to help with battle preparations in Brindol...digging ditches, casting rituals, and advising the security council to stay away from some of their really stupid ideas (like meeting the hoard head-on outside the city walls).

Lady Kaal was able to locate a druid interested in the party's mistletoe, and secured 100,000 gp for the party in exchange.

For the next few days, the haze of the oncoming hoard could be seen over the horizon. The lights from their evening fires put an orange glow in the sky and partially blocked out the stars. Finally, the hoard itself comes into view from the watchtowers of the city and they advance to within a mile of the walls and make camp. Thousands of hobgoblins, dozens of beasts, a few giants, and a red dragon circling overhead all helped put Brindol on edge. It was all the town leaders (and the party) could do to keep everyone focused and ready instead of panicked.

Shortly after dusk two days after the hoard arrived, it started moving again. A dozen or more companies of soldiers began advancing toward the western walls when the low hum of a thousand feet marching was drowned out by the crash of rock on rock. Giants, hidden the darkness beyond the walls, were throwing boulders to weaken the city defenses. Jarmaath relays to the party the city is under seige from two directions...the west and the south. They have focused defenses to the west and can repel the giants with longbows and ballista, but the southern wall is not as well fortified. The giants to the south appear to have broken off from the main army and could be met in the open battlefield without engaging the entire hoard.

Heading out the southern gate, the party first encountered the giant's pet displacer beast. A vicious creature, but hopelessly outmatched without its master nearby. Closing with the rockthrowers, the party finally spotted several ogres along with an earth titan chucking rocks at the city walls. The party was able to distract and dispatch the giants, saving the southern wall.

Returning to the city for a breather, the party was about to head back to the western wall to help with the giants there when the night sky exploded in a blast of fire as one of the buildings near the gate were set on fire by the red dragon Abithriax. He seemed intent on setting the city ablaze with strafing runs.

The party quickly got his undivided attention, knocked the dragon to the ground, and pinned him there while they ran it through a meat grinder.

Another short breather ended abruptly with word from Jarmaath that the western wall had been breached by the giants and the hoard is slowly starting to pour through the narrow opening. The city's archers are able to pick off most of the intruders, but a little over a hundred hobgoblins made it through and reformed into shield-wall companies while several other huge beasts were marshalled through in an attempt to bust the barricades setup throughout the town.

The party headed to the northwest part of town to defend one of the pinch points from the oncoming barricade busters. Wave after wave of hobgoblins, lizards, and manticores locked horns with the party and lost.

While isolated skirmishes continue throughout the city, much of the hoard is pulling back to the wall breach. Captain Ulverth relays to the party this zone appears to be secure and he is moving archers to the rooftops surrounding each pinch point.

After taking a few minutes to catch your breath and clean some of the dried blood out of your hair, you get a telepathic relay from Jarmaath to you and the rest of the security council:

"It appears we have the hoard on their heels. Their initial assault has been repelled and they scurry back to avoid our arrows and spears. All of Brindol should be congratulated for this early victory, but there is still much to do.

"I would like for you all to meet me at the Cathedral of Pelor. I believe an appearance by the security council, plus our town's adopted heroes, would both sooth the worries of the wounded at the Cathedral and boost the morale of our brave defenders. The war is not yet won, but the hoard has tasted the mettle of Brindol!

"Please meet me here at the Cathedral when...AARRRKMPHLUG! What the?! Sniper!


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Brindol Prepares for Battle, Day 31+
Next game is either Saturday 1/23 or Sunday 1/24. Any preferences? Level-up your characters to 14th.

Word on the street is the Red Hand has taken Terrelton and Nimon Gap, and is just over 50 miles from the gates of Brindol. The towns in between are already evacuated, so the hoard is methodically marching this way, looting and burning most everything in its path. It will likely be here in about ten days. The battle for the survival of Brindol, and the entirety of the Elsir Vale, is upon us.

In the few days since you have left, Brindol has changed a bit. The town security council gave the order for all non-military or military-support personnel to evacuate to Dennovar, so there are virtually no children or elderly in town and much of the housing and shops are vacant and locked up tight.

The Lady Kaal again offers you hospitality in her mansion as thanks for you service to the city, but asks if you would be interested in addressing the security council.

“For the most part, the city’s preparations go well. The wall is being reinforced by the mercenary dwarves, trenches and palisades are being constructed, and those not fit for construction or military training have gleaned the surrounding fields for all the food we can stockpile.

“We are even in agreement how your group can help the most: by acting as skirmishers throughout the city, concentrating your skills on the giants, ogres, manticores, and other heavy artillery the hoard has (while the town militia focus on the hobgoblin hoard itself).

“But we have reached an impasse on a few key issues. I was hoping your front-line experience with the hoard might be able to sway some opinions on the council so we can finalize the city’s defenses.

“The security council is made up of Lord Jarmaath, Captain Lars Ulverth, the priestess Tredora Goldenbrow, and myself.

"I know you have met and spoken with Jarmaath, but I wasn’t sure if you were aware he is a retired adventurer. He is a charismatic and idealistic leader, but I fear his adventuring days have him believing that boldness and a good cause are all that is necessary to win the day.

"Ulverth is imminently practical, and has an almost dwarf-like sense of duty and honor. His opinions on military tactics are probably the best of the group. His real loyalty is to the city and to the elected office Jarmaath holds more than to Jarmaath himself.

"Tredora is a bit of a peacenik and just wants whatever solution will involve the least amount of suffering. It also isn’t a big secret she and Jarmaath are lovers, so she has a habit of voting however he does when she can’t make up her mind.

"Our impasse is over three specific issues: how to repel the initial assault, how to deploy the Pelorian clergy if the walls should be breached, and how to coordinate all the defense activities.

"When the hoard does arrive, Jarmaath wants to send most of our troops out into the fields around Brindol and meet them with a shield wall of spearmen and trenches full of archers. He believe the Red Hand must be shows we have the courage to defend our homes and doesn’t want to see the war taken to the streets of the city. Ulverth and I would rather use the city’s walls and streets in our defense and let the hoard suffer the casualties of an open battlefield. Exposing our men (many of the city’s army are my own personal guard, after all) to the sheer numbers of the hoard may save the city’s buildings, but we believe the cost will be too high. Tredora favors abandoning Brindol altogether and pulling back to Dennovar.

“This is a decision that needs to be made immediately so we can complete our preparations. Anything you can say to convince either Jarmaath or Tredora to keep our soldiers within the city walls to give them a chance against the numbers of the hoard would be helpful.

“As for the Pelorian clergy, they are some of the most accomplished healers you will find anywhere. Their services will clearly be necessary in the coming war. Jarmaath wants to transform the cathedral into a hospital and keep the majority of the clergy there tending to the wounded. Ulverth and I are again in agreement that setting up several field hospitals throughout the city will make their services easily available to more soldiers. Tredora has yet to vote on the subject…she wants to protect her clergy by keeping them in a central, fortified location, but her calling requires her to alleviate suffering and help as many soldiers as possible. While I appreciate her protectiveness of her charges (I feel the same way about my soldiers), I think we are in this together and sacrifices need to be made by all.

“Once the war does start, the four of us agree the best way for you to help is to focus your fire on the larger beasts the hoard can bring. Arrows and spears are great for felling thousands of hobgoblins, but don’t work as well against giants. The city sage, Immerstal the Red, even found a good way to coordinate your skirmish attacks…he has a scroll that allows up to three people to telepathically link over great distances for a few hours. That would allow the security council to quickly communicate with your group no matter where you are in the city.

"Our issue is who gets the third link. Jarmaath insists on getting one, and that is tough to argue. One of you should get one. I would like the final telepathic link since, quite frankly, my people are better at communicating information to me quickly than most of the city’s residents or militia. Odds are, I’ll know about events throughout the city before Jarmaath does. Ulverth thinks he should have it since he is commanding the bulk of the city’s forces. Tredora thinks she should have it so she can better coordinate the hospital. And we have even floated the idea of a second member of your group having it just in case you get separated…or worse.

"Would you be willing to meet with the council and try to talk some sense into Jarmaath and Tredora?"

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Dauth to Brindol, Day 27-30 (1/17/10)
After loading up the last remnants of the town of Dauth in a few wagons (including the town's ballista to aid in the defense of Brindol), the party set off for Brindol while guarding the wagon train.

The first day of travel was uneventful, but that evening the encampment was jumped by some worg riders, an ogre, and a few hobgoblins. They kept the party split up enough to keep things interesting, but were ultimately no match for paragon adventurers.

Down the road a bit later in the day, the party encountered the sounds of battle up ahead. Battle shouts in goblin, the twang of bowstrings, the creaking of tree branches, and the crackle of fire. A group of hobgoblins and some hippopotamus-sized fire breathing lizards were assaulting a huge maple tree with red and orange leaves that was fighting back while shouting in a very strange dialect of Elven.

As the party started carving through the hobgoblins and lizards, the treant didn't seem to take notice of the party and was simply attacking whatever was closest while directing his minion bonsai treants to do the same.

Partway into the fight, a couple of half-spider, half-black dragon devilspawn things emerged from the forest canopy and focused their fire on the party.

With the hobgoblins and devilspawn defeated, the party set about putting out some of the forest fires and trying to communicate with the treant. The gesture of putting out some of the fires got its attention and it eventually came out of its rage long enough for the party to heal it (it was down to 26 hp out of over 300).

The party warned the treant about the oncoming Red Hand hoard. In thanks, it offered the party several sprigs of mistletoe wrapped in leaves. You got the impression the treant considered this a substantial gift. But beyond its use as a reagent for nature spells, you aren't quite sure what to do with it.

The remainder of the trip back to Brindol was unremarkable. A few goblin skirmishing parties who thought the Dauth wagons looked like an easy mark, but who weren't prepared for a group of paragon adventurers.
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