DGA10.05: Red Hand of Doom Part I – Victory at the Bridge

The level 10 heroes for this session

In order of initiative

Vir, wielding longbow and spells;
Ulric, wielding Kinslayer warhammer and healing;
Seck, wielding Maelsauga;
Phoenix, wielding Mocair;
Cat, wielding Staff of the Seas and spells, with Dis his familiar

The heroes begin with 9,365xp plus 35% story bonus, and add 3680 and 10% story bonus.

When you have a moment to breathe

You take it, and jolly well swim away from the sinking hydra, and splash up the slick bank to support your fellow heroes! By the time Phoenix achieves this, Cat has taken an arrow from the approaching hobgoblin squad. Ulric engages the charm that shifts half damage from Cat to himself. Seck shifts downstream, calling out urgently,

“When they reach mid-bridge, unleash hell!”

Vir drops back away from the bridge rail, and as he does so, catches a hobgoblin instruction:

“Fly fast, inform the lord of this.”

The flapping wings that follow sound familiar. Vir remembers boarding a giant bloodhawk bearing a goblin messenger! He calls this out, flinging up a Fog Cloud mid-bridge.

An Ice Storm hammers down! Phoenix Ulric and Cat wince under its frigid pounding. But the latter is still in the fight, thanks to Ulric, and unleashes a powerful Wall spell! Blinding light glares up from a ten-foot wide “road” of light stretching right into the fog! The hobgoblins push forward and all die.

Fireball! Only Vir, from his angle away from the bridge on the upstream side, catches where the red dot streaked from. He sends two arrows over and is rewarded with a shriek!

Fireball! Now Cat’s robes and gear are burning, and Phoenix is little better off. Another arrow from Vir discourages the caster.

Cat pulls back to the trees and Levitates to get a hidden vantage point. With the fog cloud drifting away, Vir throws down Plant Growth centered on the bridge! He leaves a passage for Ulric to escape.

With the light and fog gone, the bugbears mustered from the work parties surge forward, preceded by a pair of Dire Wolves. Plants thrusting out of the old structure impede them.

Maelstrom! Raising the Staff, Cat turns the bridge and near shore into a churning vortex. But the water flattens the entangling greenery. Suddenly the enemy is charging home!

Ulric and Phoenix have been waiting, and Seck and Vir send in support fire. From his lofty vantage Cat does the same. The Dire Wolves are instantly finished, quickly followed by the pair of unharmed bugbears, and then their four surviving comrades.

Victory!

Thoughts of pulling back, news of Vraath Keep

As our heroes swig potions and cast Heal Wounds, Seck works his way to the others. He proposes that he turn artist and paint a huge hole on the bridge: “These Marvelous Pigments make the stuff of dreams into reality,” he explains. “The point is, we can pull back with time to spare.”

Phoenix pops his mighty pectorals and heaves one of the maelstrom-damaged planks off the deck and hurls it into the river: “I’ll get going on the nearest planks, you can paint the stone further in if you want.”

Vir calls out: “We have visitors… Cat? Are you able to drop by?”

Two dryads have come by to see who is messing about with Plant Growth. Vir has already smoothly name-dropped both Arcenaur and Aventhel’s names. The pair are delighted to meet Cat the Magnificent, beloved of Titania.

They have information:

  • Upriver, assault barges are being prepared
  • Vraath Keep is the center of activity. The warlord Koth, riding a terror-lizard, and his 2-i-c Karkilan, are based there. Aside from the terror lizard there is a green dragon, a manticore, a few wolves, and a lot of work parties.
  • The green dragon Ozyrandion is causing the forest-wide effects that Cat has picked up on
  • Ozyrandion is most likely at Vraath Keep, having sided with the hobgoblins
  • The Rhest swamp (known as the Blackfens) is patrolled by dark elves riding giant owls, and lies north of where the heroes are now, beyond Vraath Keep.

“I know of the keep,” Ulric recalls. “A simple donjon corner tower and square trace. Knocked about by forest giants about a generation back, and abandoned.

“So do we pull back to Drellin’s Ferry and warn the town it is doomed, or do we head for Vraath Keep?”

And as they all ponder options, the session ends.

DM Notes – Logistics

An Animal Messenger can fly for twelve hours, reach Drellin’s Ferry, and have 12 hours left to find its described target and deliver a 25 word message. Long Rest + Flight time = minimum 20 hours to begin finding a target.

Ulric may be able to use his powers to summon his steed,* and the heroes pull back during the rest of the night, in order to meet the mounts at the forest edge. They would reach Drellin’s Ferry quicker than Vir could rest then send an Animal Messenger. This assumes the paladin has Find Steed available. If not, Long Rest + march to forest edge + ride to Drellin’s Ferry = minimum 20 hours to begin finding a target.

A forced march back through the forest then to Drellin’s Ferry, all afoot, will cause at least two Exhaustion levels. It is the swiftest option: No rest + forced march to Drellin’s Ferry = minimum 12 hours to begin finding a target.

The Blackfens are still far away. Vir cannot send an Animal Messenger himself, since he has never visited the place.

*Yes, house ruled that a bonded war steed is the Find Steed target.

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