Excellent adventure, very tense, with the difficult encounters and sense of
urgency with limited time, and a vast horde approaching. Many varied
locales, monsters, and a nice mix of roleplay and hard combat. As the player
of the wizard, I felt the lack of leisure to pursue my own individual projects,
but that's war!
- The PCs find a map on the wrappings of a mummy in the service of Chresh
the lich necromancer. The map shows someplace called "Elsir Vale".
- 26-June-2006 (5 IC days)
- The PCs embark on a trip to Elsir Vale, aided by amulets provided by
the grateful mages of Hawthorn Abbey. The amulets enable those Cursed by
the Ark to prolong their time away from the Ark. A few hours before they
reach Drellin's Ferry, they come across a group of hostile hobgoblins.
The hobgoblins appear to be cultists of the evil dragon deity Tiamat,
calling themselves members of the "Red Hand". And indeed, they wear the
Red Hand insignia. A search of the abandoned farmhouse nearby reveals 2 dead
farmers, 2 dead caravan guards, and one dead merchant.
- 10-July-2006 (continuation of the last IC day from the previous session)
- The PCs reach Drellin's Ferry. They arrange for a wagon to bring back
the loot and care for the bodies of the dead. The Town Speaker (Norro Wiston)
and the Captain of the Guard (Soranna) ask the PCs to help out: Hobgoblin
raiders have been harassing their lands for several days now --- the townies
need the main road kept open. There seem to be 50-60 fighters, of three
tribes. The PCs agree, then go trading for new supplies. The next day,
the Captain shows them a map of the attacks. We note that:
- All the other attacks were on the west side of the river. The PCs were
attacked on THIS side (the east side) as they came up from the south. The
townsfolk do not seem as worried as they should be about this.
Clarification: The Ark is to the WEST of Drellin's Ferry, but the road
the PCs followed was south of the river, so they came in on the bottom
of the map, then had to turn north. They have not yet crossed the river.
- Vraath Keep: it seems to be sitting in an ominous location in the
middle of all the attacks. The captain says it's within a few days travel
and might be a lair. It's mostly ruins, thought to be haunted by the locals.
Fell to a giant attack about 40 or so years ago."
It's 10-15 miles from town. (Contradiction? Edit: Gronwin says it's one
- No hobgoblins detected by Sviar's rat in town.
- No one in Drellin's Ferry seems to have heard of the "Red Hand."
- 17-July-2006 (1.5 IC days)
- The PCs cross the river, cautiously, sending Hayli, Lana, and Sviar's
rat familiar ahead as scouts, checking out the sites where the attacks
occured, seeing if the group can flush out a small group of the hobgoblins.
All they find are old tracks. The group spends the afternoon hiking towards
the keep. They camp out in a traveller's cabin, without incident. The next
day (c. 11 am, 4-5 miles from the Keep), the party comes across an area of
flooded woodland, the road crossing it on a rickety wooden causeway. There
they are attacked by a six-headed hydra. The hydra defeated, the party finds
remains of a sunken wagon and hobgoblin corpses (at least a month dead). No
hydra lair is found, but Tylan gets a +1 mithral breastplate off one of the
- 2-Aug-2006 through ? (1 IC afternoon)
- The PCs reach the ruins of Vraath Keep and find it occupied by a force of
half a dozen goblins and hobgoblins, led by a spellcaster hobgoblin,
supplemented by a manticore, a couple of worgs, and a minotaur. The PCs
eventually defeat them in battle (the manticore flees and one hobgoblin
warrior is taken prisoner). A map is found
on the spellcaster/leader. The map has notations indicating what seems to
be an imminent invasion of Elsir Vale. The first attack is noted on "day 5"
at Drellin's Ferry. The map has the "tribes" mustering under Kharn to
the north of Vraath Keep.
- 23-Aug-2006 (rest of the IC evening, into the next IC morning.)
- The PCs interrogate the prisoner,
finding that the Horde is on the way. It is led not by a dragon, but by
someone strong enough to command at least one true dragon (green wyrm
Ozyrrandion (sp)). They kill the prisoner. They find a hidden vault
underneath the keep, apparently untouched since the place fell to the
giants. Mucho loot. The group camps there overnight. Hayli sends
an animal messenger warning Drellin's Ferry of the horde.
- 30-Aug-2006 (the rest of the IC day, into the next IC morning. Day 4-5)
- The PCs go to the bridge at Skull Gorge, hoping to cut off or at least
delay the horde. They find it defended by a young green dragon, a couple
of hellhounds, and a bunch of hobgoblins. The PCs win the ensuing battle,
taking a prisoner and preparing to break the bridge. Highlight of the battle:
Tylan (under the influence of a fly spell) wrestles the dragon mid-air!
He wins! He attacks the shocked hobgoblin in the bridge tower with the
corpse! He also sees (from high up in the air) smoke and dust, as of a large
group, perhaps 2-3 days away.
After the battle, the PCs camp there. The next morning, they interrogate the
Hayli sends another animal messenger to Drellin's Ferry.
- scouts and communication with the main horde? the dragon was handling that.
- size and composition of horde? Manticores, a red dragon, hill giants,
a few thousand hobgoblins. 3-5 wyrmlords.
- when? horde should be marching tomorrow
- what now? Wyrmlords pissed as hell, probably march around the gorge.
Gronwin noted: At least a day's travel to march around it to the east.
- Kharn and Turgarum? Kharn is the general of the horde.
- How long have they been worshipping Tiamat? A couple years.
- Why? Goals? They march for the glory of Tiamat and hobgoblin kind.
Plan to destroy all towns and kill or capture all the humans. Take Elsir Vale.
- And then? Prisoner doesn't know. Just in for the loot, killing, female
- 6-Sep-2006, 13-Sep-2006 (day 5-6)
- Tylan (with architectural advice from Sviar) destroys the Skull Gorge
bridge. On the way back to Drellin's Ferry (bringing the hobgoblin prisoner
along), the PCs investigate the old path
with the giant tribal marker, and find a solitary, aged (Kyliea diagnoses
the "red ache" in addition to age) hill giant named Warklegnaw. Hayli
plays diplomat, using the giant-sized magical spiked gauntlet from the
trophy chest in the hidden vault at Vraath Keep as a peace offering. The giant
identifies it as belonging to "old Crashbag" (presumably their former chief?).
He says the other giants (including his daughter) went away (a day and a half
on giant legs) to the west, because they think this land is cursed/bad luck
for giants. Hayli tells him of the Horde, and Warklegnaw agrees to try to
recruit the other giants against the Horde. The PCs spend the night at
Vraath Keep. The next day, they run into a strange zombie-like creature
on the road, but manage to defeat it. They arrive at Drellin's Ferry towards
- 13-Sep-2006, 20-Sep-2006 (day 7-9)
- The PCs re-iterate their warnings about a Horde. This time, they have
enough evidence (enemy map, notes, prisoner, dragon head) to convince
Drellin's Ferry that they are in serious trouble. The PCs help the locals
evacuate, suggesting that they gather all the local militia to Brindol
(apparently the closest fortified town). Sviar and Lana assist in setting
up a few feeble traps to try to delay the Horde. Hayli sends animal messengers
to the Ark (and receives a reply from Hyan Luize, Skrags, Slash, and Inconna)
and to Brindol.
The PCs have Koth's notes decoded.
Based on those
notes, the PCs decide to go after Wyrmlord Saarvith's "special mission"
at Rhest (ruined human city by the swamps near Lake Rhest - destroyed several
hundred years ago by water). They spend some
time buying supplies (Sviar makes a few scrolls). They trade a
+1 breastplate for horses and gear and set off again on day 9. They
plan to warn all the towns along their way (aided by a letter from the
authorities at Drellin's Ferry). The first day, they overtake some refugees
from DF, and encounter some giant wasps, then reach a town to spend the night.
- 27-Sep-2006 through 25-Oct-2006 (days 10-13)
- The PCs continue on their way towards Rhest, warning all the towns that
they ride through of the imminent invasion. Along the road, they fight a
tendriculos. On day 11, Inconna rides in from the Ark. She brings a message
that sends Lana and Kyliea back home, while she stays to make up their
numbers. On day 13, the group is past the last town and turning north towards
Rhest. Around noon, they come across a crude palisade and watchtower
built across the road. Sviar's divination (arcane eyes) scout out the force
of hobgoblins and ogres inside, and discovers a captive priest (?) of Bahamut.
The PCs rescue the prisoner (who turns out to be a scaly lightning-breathing
humanoid - a dragonborn elf, named Thurirl Litrix) and kill everyone else.
- November (days 13-14)
- Continuing on towards Rhest, the group heads into the swamp. They come
across a dead giant owl, apparently killed by the green acid-cloud spewing
dragon creature (later identified as a Greenspawn Razorfiend, called a
"harrowblade" by the local elves) which attacks the PCs. After the group
kills the creature (and finds some treasure), they are accosted by wild elves
mounted on giant owls. After some diplomatic efforts, we find that the dead
owl was one of theirs, and its rider was killed and eaten. The PCs go to
the elven tree village, talk some more, participate in the funeral, and arrange
to borrow a big rowboat for the trip to the drowned ruins of Rhest.
The group spends one full day resting at the village (and identifying the
Elves: Killar Arrowswift; Sellyria Starsinger, Speaker for the Tiri Kitor;
High Singer Trellara Nightshadow (whose brother was killed).
They call this place the "Blackfens." Hayli asks about "Soaringhome Garth".
They say it is a mountaintop home to the winged elves, far to the east.
- 29-Nov-2006 through Jan-2007 (day 15)
- It takes almost all day to reach drowned Rhest. It is in the middle of
an oval lake. Lizardfolk huts around the shore. 7 hobgoblins (including the
leader?) in a watchtower to the east. 6 ogres, an ettin, a goblin, a hobgoblin
in the big building in the middle of the lake. They also hear the sound of
another razorfiend not so far away (but it doesn't seem to find them.) The
group decides to attack the tower by surprise: Tylan and Inconna approaching
under invisibility and flight spells, while Sviar teleports himself, Hayli,
and Thurirl in.
They kill all the hobgoblins inside fairly quickly, without raising the
alarm, taking one prisoner. About 40 minutes later, they notice some kind of
ruckus over at the big building, and someone taking off on dragonback. Sviar
shifts into pegasus shape, Hayli leaping aboard as they give chase...
They manage to lure the dragon and rider back to the tower, where they
wound it badly and kill the rider (Thurirl's summoned hippogriff does a
snatch and drop.) The dragon flees, but two very lucky shots by Hayli brings
it down. Meanwhile, they've attracted notice from the big building. They
go over in a boat, and after some more fighting (involving ogres, an ettin,
and a hobgoblin spellcaster). There is a difficult moment as the spellcaster
dominates Inconna to attack Sviar, and suggests to Tylan that he take the
elf away to safety on the shore, but Hayli and Thu manage to save the
They find another greenspawn razorfiend in a flooded shed. Although it
escapes, Sviar (in altered form) swims around for the tedious process of
searching out all the eggs in this nest. Searching the building, the group
finds much treasure. Also a letter. The
adamantine chain that detects as magic and evil is inferred to be a lich's
phylactery ("the Ghostlord").
- 24-Jan-2007 (Days 15-18)
- The group makes its way back to the elven village near the swamp.
Inconna has planned a surprise: a wedding for Hayli and Tylan! After the
celebration, the group persuades the wild elves to assist in the defense
of Elsir Vale (they will send a small force to Brindol in a week.)
The adventurers rest for a couple of days, then head to Brindol themselves.
- 31-Jan-2007 (Days 19-20)
- Hayli presents the elven chainmail to the local elves as a gift, after
which the group sets off for Brindol. They spend the night at Witchcross,
and arrive at Brindol on day 20. After making some inquiries (Hayli and Thu
at the local temples - a temple to Pelor, and a school for the well-to-do,
Sviar at the mage guild - there isn't one, just a shop ("Red Magic and
Sundries") run by a wizard, and Inc and Tylan at the taverns), we find out
that 1) Drellin's Ferry has been burned to the ground and the horde is on
the march and 2) a legend about the
Ghostlord and 3) the city captain wishes to meet with the adventurers.
The captain thanks them for getting the elves to sign up, etc. Asks if they
are willing to assist with a concern of his. A local lord (Denovar) sent to the
neighboring city for assistance and gold to the south for a mercenary troop.
He was forced to send the gold with only a handful. The captain wants the
PCs to head south with the captain's signed missive and become backup guards
to make sure the gold gets through and the mercs on their way.
The guards left two days ago by wagon. Their route takes them to Prosser and
Dauth on the way to the Hammerfist Holds. As this happens to be where the
PCs wanted to go anyway, everyone agrees.
- 7-Feb-2007 (Days 21-26)
- Leave Brindol on day 22. Catch with the wagon on day 24. It's been attacked
by goblins and ettins. Guards are all dead. The adventurers kill the attackers
in turn and recover the money (meant for the mercs) and continue to the
Hammerfist Holds. Arrive on day 26/27. Spend day 27 there, delivering money
and contract to the dwarven mercenaries, who set off shortly for Denovar.
- Feb-Mar 2007 (Days 27-30)
- Day 28: Travel through the dwarven holds to the edge of the Ghost Lord's
wasteland. Inconna flies up for a look: spots a huge animal about 10 miles
away. This is the giant lion statue of the
Day 29: Leaving the horses behind, the adventurers hike out to the lion. It
is indeed a statue, 80' high, 240' long. They scout out the place, finding
Red Hand hobgoblins and a half-fiend behir. They fight and kill the behir,
then find a secret door into the statue. Going inside...they face ghostly
lions. Then, many more hobgoblins. They have spellcasters! Hayli is
magically immobilized, then killed!
The adventurers prevail, however, capturing one of the spellcasters, a bard
named Ulwai Stormcaller (she is the Wyrmlord who sent the phylactery and
letter to Saarvith at Rhest.) She is at first resistant to interrogation,
but when she realizes that the adventurers really do have the phylactery,
she is terrified and agrees to talk, as long as they will take her away
from there. She says that the Ghost Lord is making undead for the Horde
(using "volunteers" as the raw material). She says
Tylan and Thu ride away with Ulwai and Hayli's body, while Inconna and Sviar
go to deliver a message to the Ghost Lord. He is at first unwilling to show
himself or respond in any way, but after Inconna finds another secret door
and opens it, he appears on the other side, casting a ray of enfeeblement
of devastating force onto Inconna. The Ghost Lord takes Inconna as a hostage,
demanding the return of his phylactery, but promising that if this is done,
he will not attack the adventurers now or in the future, and will cease his
assistance to the Red Hand. Sviar rejoins Tylan and Thurirl Litrix...after
some discussion, Sviar rests for a day, then hands over the phylactery.
Inconna is released.
Day 30-31: The group returns to the Hammerfist Holds. They spend day 31
talking to the local authorities, identifying their loot, shopping, etc.
Ulwai handed over to the dwarves.
Day 32: Thurirl receives a magical sending from Sellyria, of the Tiri Kitor
elves. The horde is near Brindol and they need reinforcements."
- April 2007 (days 32-39)
- Day 32: Sviar teleports the group back to Brindol, where they meet with
Lord Jarmaath of Brindol, Sellyria of Tiri Kitor, Soranna Anitah and Speaker
Wiston of Drellin's Ferry, Tredora (head priestess of Pelor), Lady Kaal, and
Captain Ulverth (head of Brindol's defenses) for a war council. The Horde is
about a week away at Talar. The civilians of the Vale have all evacuated to
the next city beyond Brindol. The dwarven mercenaries are at Brindol now,
along with the elves. The war council decides not to try to harry the Horde
as it approaches (too dangerous with the dragon and assorted other fliers.)
When the Horde hits, the priests should be based at the (relatively)
defensible temple, rather than spread out around the city to be picked off.
Tylan emphasizes the fire danger, and has the town make preparations. Sviar
seeks a druid to help with that (and possibly make use of the stormclouds
staff taken from Ulwai), but none can be found. The PCs agree to be used as
a trouble shooting patrol, linked to Brindol's mage via a telepathic bond.
Day 38: The Horde arrives outside the walls of Brindol. They wait until
nightfall to strike. Thu acts as the group's liaison with the telepathy spell.
Two hours after sunset, the group is sent to sally out the south gate to
take down four hill giants who are bombarding the wall with rocks. The group
kills three, while Sviar takes over the body of the fourth.
About 5-10 minutes after that, the group is sent to take down a red dragon
attacking at the north gate. With Tylan enlarged and flying, the group barely
manages the task, with Inconna nearly killed in the process, and Sviar's giant
Fighting continues as the walls are breached. The PCs battle hobgoblins,
manticores, bugbear barbarians, etc. They fall back to the Temple, beating
back an attack by the hobgoblin warlord (Kharn) and some giants and ogres.
This ends the battle of Brindol, the Horde beaten back...
- May-June 2007
- The adventurers take a quick trip (via teleport) back to the Ark.
There, the half-dragon sister of the red dragon killed at Brindol comes
hunting for vengeance. She manages to kill Inconna before she herself is
slain. Inconna is raised from the dead (using the staff of life), and the
adventurers head out to cleanse Tiamat's Fane...
- 13-June-2007 (c. day 50)
- The PCs reach the outside of Tiamat's Fane. It is defended by traps
and a large blue dragon! A lapse of judgement proves fatal to Sviar.
The PCs manage to kill the dragon, then retreat with the wizard's corpse
to a druid circle about 6 days away (near Terrelton). Sviar is reincarnated...
as a dwarf. Of course.
- 20-June through 9-August 2007
- The PCs return to Tiamat's Fane. They find the cave above the fane where
the dragons were lairing (and considerable treasure!). Later, they decide to
hack their way into the fane, bypassing the trap on the main gate, and using
Thurirl's silence spell to give them the element of surprise. They fight
through successive layers of guardians: abishai, zombie wyverns, hordes of
blackscaled guards, one of them a ninja, wyverns...
They finally break into the inner sanctum. Finding it located atop a 100'
smooth vertical shaft, they use a "fly" spell and a "dimension door" for
a sudden arrival. Managing to kill the High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul (a half-dragon
hobgoblin) quickly only calls down more trouble for the PCs, in the form
of an aspect of Tiamat! The adventurers hang in, barely managing to defeat
this last dragon. Thurirl Litrix barely survives, by the favor of his patron,
Bahamut... but victory is theirs. At last!
- August 2007
- The PCs return to Brindol to report to the authorities there. An award
ceremony for our heros! Someday they may go after the Ghostlord...but not