DGA15.02: Red Hand of Doom II – Rhest in peace Regiarix

The level 10 Vale Heroes for this session

Ulric von Kessel, wielding the black-dragon-tooth warhammer Kinslayer;
Cat Weasel, wielding the Staff of the Seas;
Seck Rustrau, wielding throw-blade Maelsauga and occasionally shortsword Red Whisper

assisted by NPC this session Phoenix Pilandaros wielding greataxe Mocair, and (hopelessly out of her league) Trellara Nightshadow)

The vale heroes begin 28,500 from level 16 and end on 26,000. They all end with Inspiration from gaining the Phylactery

The story so far

Elsir Vale under attack! The Red Hand armies temporarily stall at Nimon Gap and the heroes seek the Dark Lord’s phylactery, as barter for the undead army being withheld. Animal messenger links between their erstwhile comrade Vir Onden and his occasional girlfriend Kestrel Blueleaf bring the heroes to the Blackfens and the village of the swamp elves, the Tiri Kitor. From there they head with local guide Trellara Nightshadow into the ruins of Rhest. Cat uses the powerful illusion spell Seeming and after stealing lizardfolk rafts five fake lizardfolk pole in. They come under attack not by the hobgoblin sentries but by three giant crocs!

All aboard the croc tour!

As their raft collapses under croc slams Ulric obeys the law of physics and sinks while Seck uses his Ring of Swimming to avoid the crocs. Trellara is grabbed by a croc and badly hurt, but before it can haul her down to drown, she sings a song of Friends! It releases her and she clambers up onto it. Ulric appears nearby atop a lump of stone rubble and she calls, “mount up!”

Nearby Cat zaps the croc attacking his raft as Phoenix rages, leaps from the raft up above the unfriendly croc and dashes its brains out with a mighty blow!

Seck powers across to the other raft, porpoising up and hurling Maelsauga into the gaping maw of the croc menacing Cat! It sinks, dead. Phoenix leaps back, and Cat clutches on again.

Ulric brings Trellara back near full health with Lay on Hands. Some heroes switch around, Ulric and Phoenix on the raft with Cat, Seck with Trellara. Phoenix – now persuaded not to continue his Persistent Rage – brags contentedly – seeing the Teulon paladin sink has put him in a good mood. He occasionally focuses enough to guide the party (Commune with Nature) as Cat does most of the donkey work using Arcane Eye to explore.

A plan comes together

Cat reports the results of his eyeballing the central civic building complex:

  • Outbuilding is a hatchery, a greenspawn razorfiend tending them, a walkway leads across to
  • The civic center, slimy, statuary, ogres atop it on guard, access down stairs to
  • A two-headed giant, and separate wings for a mage and guard hob versus an admin master; or via a gaping hole to
  • A black dragon!
  • The walkway runs right round the civic center

The plan the team comes up with is to use a decapitating strike on the black dragon, while Trellara distracts the ogres. Once they slay the dragon they can kill their way out.

The plan kind of works!

Still disguised as lizardfolk the paladin with barbarian and warlock with rogue appear in the air over the hole and drop onto Regiarix, the black dragon! Seck is first (possibly the first time ever this tactic has happened) giving everyone advantage as he hurls Maelsauga down!

Chop, maim, slice, Regiarix dies! But once again obeying the law of physics Ulric plummets down the dragon’s escape chute below! And the dragon’s bellowing has alerted every enemy in the vicinity! But Phoenix, also barely avoiding falling, grabs and hauls the hefty armored paladin back up:

“Let this be the time that Teulon and Tlinget wotsit together”

The paladin passes on his thanks, lines up the ettin, leaps… and falls into the water again – and this time Phoenix misses his grab.

The wyrmlord Saarvith – the goblin admin manager – rallies his forces brusquely. In the annex hatchery, the razerfiend bursts out – and is distracted by Trellara’s taunting! Unfortunately for her a razorfiend is a LOT faster than an elf and she lasts but a few seconds before being caught and slain. Fearing for the eggs however the razorfiend retires there.

Meanwhile the ettin – both heads on task – beats on Cat! Who retreats and uses Dominate Monster to claim and ogre, which attacks his comrades. Seck zips around the ettin’s flank and stabs deep, but comes under attack from the whirring force-blades of Karkoran, top mage to the wyrmlord. But he has come too close – everyone begins targeting him!

Cat dives perfectly into the dank water below and finds Ulric, steps back out. He (or Dis) registers what looks like a dragon hoard, as well.

The heroes take the fight to the ettin’s guard chamber as the creature falls into the water to join Regiarix’s corpse. Karkoran loses his sword barrier as Seck hurls Maelsauga home, then as he attempts to retaliate, Phoenix cuts him down. “And that is how you do it,” he yells triumphantly. The allied ogre dies finishing off another ogre and the remaining two ogres are easily dealt with.

That leaves Saarvith! As Ulric closes in on him he surrenders. “You’ll find plenty to interest you in my files,” he promises.

Loot: The prisoner Saarvith, files on the red horde warlord, intel on plans and where Tiamat priests and monks hail from, decent amount of coin, Karkoran’s blood ruby bracelet(1), Saarvith’s mithral shirt(2) longbow(3) and 1 x greater healing, suit of full plate(4) and matching shield(5); a horn(6) and phylactery(7)

What to do about the dread lord’s phylactery

With the small iron coffer in his hands Cat smiles and declares:

“While we are together, let’s take out the razorfiend and bake those eggs. Then, send up the beacon.”

“My priority is the phylactery, has anyone seen it?” – Ulric

“Not I!” – Cat

“Mysteriously my divine powers tell me you are holding it” – Ulric

“I just need to make Elke a free woman, the dark lord will withhold his armies, the vale can deal with the red hand” – Cat

“But I do not see this as more than a temporary fix, the lich will menace the vale at some later date”

“I can’t find any flaw in Cat’s arguments, Ulric. He may be naive thinking the dark lord will do as he says he will but otherwise it’s fine” – Seck

“I’m happy to get Elke back, but I want a plan to destroy both the phylactery and lich” – Ulric

“My point is this: his track record. He was so inactive, a figure of such remote legend everyone thought he was gone for good” – Cat

“I’ve heard enough of this, Cat’s wrong – he’s always tricking us” – Phoenix

“He will kill Elke! If we go back on our word it’s over for her!” – Cat

“I’ll agree on condition I go with you when you hand the doodah over” – Phoenix

“I think we’re all in on that” – Seck

“I have deep misgivings but will join you” – Ulric

“File five, you’ll find plenty of reading on the dread lord…” – Saarvith

Razing doubts

And so with nothing to do here other than gather the loot into a tidy pile, the heroes kill the razorfiend, torch the hatchery, and gather Trellara’s corpse. Then Ulric activates Daylight, Lothair brings the Liberator over, and after they board makes a slow circuit around and heads back to the Tiri Kitor.

“You know if we just hand that phylactery over to the inquisition they could command him to use his evil power for their purposes…” Ulric starts the argument up again

“Let us swear blood oath that none of us will betray one another” – Phoenix

“I will swear but I must be the hand that hands the phylactery over” – Ulric

“Cat over the years my opinion of you has risen, I trust you but… remember you will never be able to hide from my vengeance” – Seck

“Hey Seck you wanna strip off and show Ulric what happens if he crosses you?” – Phoenix

“Not here!”

“If you bond with me you will not be able to betray the vale” – Ulric

Phoenix offers to cut everyone’s hand using Mocair but everyone uses their own less deadly instruments. And as the blood joins in solemn oath the session ends!

Loot notes

  1. Blood ruby bracelet: Bears a demon patron, the attuned wearer is permitted to multiclass into Blood Hunter
  2. Mithral shirt: medium armor, AC13 + Dex modifier (max 2), can be worn under normal clothes. Does not impose disadvantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
  3. Longbow of the wyrmlord: Elven ancestral weapon, fashioned by the forebears of the Tiri Kitor. Once Attuned, provides the Assassinate feature: the Assassin has advantage on Attack rolls against any creature that hasn’t taken a turn. Any hit the Assassin scores against a surprised creature is a critical hit. Once Attuned, provides the Bestial Bane feature, dealing an extra d8 damage on a beast.
  4. Full plate of encouraging marksmen: Plate Armor of Gleaming+2, antique design
  5. Shield of discouraging marksmen: +2, antique design, requires Attunement, provides resistance to damage from ranged weapon attacks, has the Missile Attraction curse
  6. Horn of Fog: Wondrous item, requires Attunement. This small bugle allows its possessor to blow forth a thick cloud of heavy fog similar to that of an Fog Cloud spell. The fog covers a 10-foot sphere next to the horn blower each round that the user continues to blow the horn; fog clouds travel 10 feet each round in a straight line from the emanation point unless blocked by something substantial such as a wall, out to a maximum of 120′. The device makes a deep, foghorn-like noise, with the note dropping abruptly to a lower register at the end of each blast. The fog dissipates after 3 minutes. A moderate wind (11+ mph) disperses the fog in 4 rounds; a strong wind (21+ mph) disperses the fog in 1 round. The horn carries 3 charges and recovers 1 charge per day. Each charge powers any number of blasts in a sequence, but only in sequence. The maximum length sequence is 5+CON modifier rounds.
  7. Phylactery: contained a small iron coffer, the phylactery takes the form of a decorated chain. Even holding the coffer presents the bearer with a feeling of dread and unease.

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