DGA10.03: Red Hand of Doom Part I -Drellin’s Ferry

The level 10 heroes for this session

Ulric, paladin, has a d10 reputation here;
Cat, warlock, with Dis his familiar;
Seck, rogue;
Vir, ranger;
Phoenix, barbarian

All of the Long Roaders have a d4 rep in Elsir Vale

Our heroes begin with 3025xp and 15% story bonus, and gain 1,780 plus 15% story bonus

You rest, we ride!

Seck listens to Etgar describing the rough treatment dished out by the hobgoblins and picks up on a key point:

“Etgar thinks they were to be fully interrogated later. That means the enemy are not sure of their plan yet. So we do have time. Just not a lot of time.”

Since all of the forward post’s mounts and sumpter were taken away, and they are still battered, they will not be able to keep up. And Vir and Phoenix are the worse for wear. It takes some debate, but at length:

“Very well! Phoenix and Vir, you rest up here and share some rations with the militia. I Cat and Seck will ride in. And yes Vir, we will be cautious.”

“Keep a lookout for signs we turned off,” Seck adds, “If the next post is held against us we’ll be hiding.”

Ulric swings up on his ambler, Seck and Cat on their mounts, and the mighty war-steed Bestellen trots along behind.

Dis, I pick you!

After an hour’s canter-trot-canter pace, Seck picks up a regular blot against the night horizon.

“Must be the barricade Etgar warned us of. How are we going to do this?” Watchwords they know, but they first need to know if the post is held against them.

Seck is wearing and is attuned to his elven cloak, and is ready to sneak forward. Cat has an idea though. He has a nifty new spell from Titania…

“Just send a riderless horse in, then see how they react,” Bestellen suggests. The ambler tosses its head in alarm, but it can’t voice its objection.

Bestellen’s suggestion merely causes further delay. But at length the vote is for Cat to try his new trick.

Invisible in the night, Cat walks along the trail verge to about 90 feet from the barricade, then casts Fey Servant: Distelvolle!

The empathic bond between them locks into full Familiar power, and Cat uses her fey senses as she flies, invisible, over the barricade.

Fear not, Ulric is here

Minutes later:

“WHO GOES THERE” – first nervous sentry

“Your’re supposed to give a watchword!” – second nervous sentry

“I can’t remember the watchword!” – first nervous sentry

“Is it Flame Fist, or Lion of Brindol?” – Cat, politely

“The enemy already know our watchwords!! WE’RE DOOMED!!!”

“We accompany mighty Ulric, who rides to Drellin’s Ferry – we have been told the watchwords by the soldiers at the old turnpike.” – Cat

As they ride in, Seck draws down his hood, so all three can be seen. Cat congratulates Dis for her good work.

The militia here are one of five one-mile posts. They explain that a command post has been set up in the Old Toll House. It’s likely Sergeant Hersk is still there, and, can sir Ulric remind him about reliefs.

As they head south-east to the ferry, it’s apparent that lights have been kept to a minimum in town. Ulric’s presence secures them immediate ferry transport, and they cross.

DM Insert

Drellin’s Ferry is, by the standards of DGA, a city. It is smaller than Mooregate but has about the same population as Stiglehold and Leischport. RHoD sets Drellin’s Ferry up really nicely for city-gaming. Unfortunately I’m using an accelerated timeframe, so all the faction stuff gets kicked to the curb. I do have some design critiques for Drellin’s Ferry, but I’m still using it as is. I add one pleasant surprise, based on the town senior mage living off in an isolated mansion. (Side-prop to MT Black for Into Ivy Mansion!)

By the time the forward party reach the Old Toll House, the resting pair have enough rest to roll HD. I’m picturing them rising at nag speed with Etgar and crew walking with them. So Sgt Hersk, having met and spoken to Ulric, reaches the watch-post before Vir and Phoenix.

I’m pretty sure it is Cat’s player that starts riffing on Soranna being Ulric’s booty call. I pick up on it somehow and keep going with it, to the point I end up rolling a pair of d6s to see if she is genuinely into Ulric (she is). So apologies to all those who ran her differently.

The Green Apple

As Ulric heads forward to the situation-table, Cat and Seck are hailed by Bax, the crossbow expert whose life they saved in goblin valley.

Since none of them are on duty, she offers to split a few bottles with them at a local. They head to the Green Apple, across the town green – it’s not as close as the Old Bridge Inn but the cheaper drinks and beds make it Bax’ choice.

The Green Apple is a pleasant establishment, with a clean taproom and well-behaved locals. The wait staff seem to be a mixture of experienced and new. Then having secured a table and drinks they are at leisure to listen to Bax.

She, Luskar and some new Flame Fist mercs are here to stiffen up the town guard. They are paid out of Brindol, though, so if things go to hell, that’s where they’ll fall back to.

Bax mentions that Sgt Luskar has some private stuff to tell Phoenix about his girlfriend.

The time passes easily and Seck and Cat enjoy a

Short Rest: Seck rolls 1HD, Cat 2.

Just jolly Sertieren in – eat a cream bun or two, use your charm

Ulric appears, and it seems he is pressed for time.

“Sorannah tells me there are a couple of issues to deal with. First, lack of intel. We will need to scout into the Witch-wood, I think. Second, the town’s senior mage Sertieren lives outside the perimeter of effective defense. He needs persuading, so I thought of you, Cat.”

“What manner of mage is he?”

“A halfling, said to be able to produce potions and scroll spells.”

“Ah, so, a pleasant chat over tea and buns.”

“That doesn’t sound like my cup of tea,” Seck jokes, “but I’ll mooch along, you never know…”

Phoenix, you son of a b***h!

Meanwhile, the remaining heroes have managed to cross and report to the Old Toll House. A familiar guttural northern accent is heard: it’s Luskar, last seen as sergeant of the Flame Fists!

He and Phoenix clasp a manly grip.

Luskar has the command of the Flame Fist detachment. Vir and Phoenix learn very much what Bax told the other pair. Luskar invites them to the Old Bridge Inn, the closest taproom and best stay.

The DM also has fun with a hat-tip to Commando as Luskar tells Phoenix that he needs to stick a knife a knife in and watch it wriggling around. Phoenix merely holds up Mocair: “this is all I ever need.”

Into Ivy Mansion (the super-abbreviated version)

While Ulric heads away to visit local baron and town speaker Norro Wiston, Cat and Seck walk the riverside bridle path to the outlying mansion of Sertieren the Wise.

A Magic Mouth warns them off (if they have no business here) and alerts the household. Cat and Seck assure the sentry that they do have business, and approach the ivy-covered building. There are no visible lights.

Another magic mouth on the front doors asks them their business. It allows them in after a few witty exchanges, by opening the doors fully. They see a broad well-furbished hallway, dim-lit by some permanent light, leading off to a T-junction. Double doors on the left seem to suggest a drawing room or the like.

It is a comfortable but well-tended sitting-room, with furniture large enough for regular folk. An immensely fat halfling is seated in such a chair, half-turned to examine the pair.

His voice seems gloating and uncanny. While explaining the issue Cat plays for time until he is sure: this is not Sertieren.

Seeing that his deception has not worked, the oni transforms from its chair-plus-halfling guise, and attacks!

Inits: oni, Seck, Cat.

Things may have gone poorly – in fact Seck mutters “I shall probably die here” at one point – had it not been for Cat’s pact magic. He summons Fey Brute: a loftan shee or ram spirit that is every bit as aggressive as its mundane counterpart! With a “stitch this jimmy” it head-butts the oni and close-presses it after that. The oni manages to part-catch Cat with cone of cold and Seck three times with its glaive, but as it transforms to Gaseous Form to escape, Cat finishes it with Eldritch Blasts.

With a <POP> sound Sertieren, the genuine article, appears from whichever dimension his pact-done-gone-wrong with the demonic oni sent him.

Naturally he is willing to go into town, there’s no need for awkward talk of the inquisition between friends. He gathers up necessaries (quite a lot of vittles and drink is deemed necessary) and the loftan shee stomps along behind them in a new job as porter.

Lord Wiston thinks the emergency is west

Sir Ulric is welcomed into the baron’s spacious old manor house. No doubt once it was the largest house for many miles, now it is just one of the town’s larger houses.

Norro Wiston likes his own importance, but still has a valid point to make. Sorannah may believe that the Witch-wood holds vital information, but for two years, hobgoblins have been building their strength in Ironwood Gorge. It would be far better to search the Thorn Wastes behind the Murder Cliffs off west.

Ulric offers some meaningless assurances of the situation being under control. Wiston seems mollified. Ulric returns to keep probing Sorannah.

Before he can get deep into tactics with her, he finds that all of the Long Roaders are present.

“I’m told the druid in the grove may know much of the Witch-wood. Perhaps this is one for you Vir?

“And we do need to find out if this is the same druid the Grafin blamed for hobgoblins being able to cross the river in secret,” he adds.

Word of the Witch-wood

Seck once again mooches along as back-up, despite some bloody scratches. Cat puts his feet up at the Green Apple and Phoenix at the Old Bridge.

Following the simple-enough directions, Vir follows a path west to a clearing within a sacred grove.

There, he and Seck meet Avarthel, an attractive, delicate-skinned, sharp-chinned man who welcomes Vir but is slightly cool toward Seck.

Avarthel, in front of Seck, is reticent with explanations but tells them that the other druid they met, Arcenaur, protects miners and prospectors around Windtop, while he keeps a watch over the townsfolk here.

He gives Vir two potions – explains that these will add to protections – and passes him a map, which reveals certain secrets about the Witch-wood.

And as Vir and Seck carry that back for final plans to be laid, the session ends.

XP: 8,900 plus 15% story bonus

Loot: 2xPotion of Invulnerability, also a note to the DM to have an Old Ones believer speak to Vir about a bow.

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