Last session, we ended with the party (accompanied by an elderly forest giant named Warklegnaw) gazing at Skull Gorge Bridge, an ancient stone walkway spanning a chasm hundreds of feet deep, occupied by a small group of Red Hand agents, and signs of a huge army (10,000 strong) mustering on the distant Cinder Hill.
After some debate, the party decides to charge and attempt to destroy the bridge, halting the progress of the army (that obviously intends to cross). They charge and take out the dire wolf guards. Rolan pinpoints the bridge’s weak spot, and Tuvatu casts Soften Earth and Stone. The structure beginst to fall away into Skull Gorge. Meanwhile, the green dragon has swooped down and is making strafing attack with its breath weapon and claws. Tenzin, who was holding off hobgoblin troops in the middle of the 100-foot long bridge, is on it when it begins to collapse. Bounding along at top speed, he and his tiger make it to the edge just when the building finally caves in. The two, clinging desperately to the edge, pull themselves (with a little help from Rolan) up while narrowly dodging the dragon’s fangs. The dragon begins to loop back and make another dive, but Tuvatu summons a hippogriff, and the two aerial creatures claw and grab at each other until the dragon flees the scene.
(As an aside, Warklegnaw promises to gather what remains of his tribe to aid the Vale in coming battles. He estimates that he will be ready to go to war in ten days.)
With dire news, the party rushes back to Drellin’s ferry. Norro Wiston calls a town meeting immediately, and he, Captain Sorrana, a halfling tavern-owner named Kellin, a wealthy landowner named Iormel, and Delora, a former adventurer and current manager of the town livery stable, begin to discuss plans.
Kellin, at first, advocates diplomacy, but is convinced that evacuation would be better when he is shown a note on Koth’s map that says “Tyrgarun wants Halflings to eat.” Iormel wants to stand and fight (largely due to all the land he owns in Drellin’s Ferry that he is unwilling to part with), but is outnumbered by Sorrana, Delora, Norro Wiston, and all four PCs, all of which advocate retreat.
At this point, a warrior with a golden lion (the symbol of Brindol, the largest town in the Vale and the only one with a standing army) emblazoned on her armor, a member of the meeting who had up until then been silent, speaks up. She informs the gathering that the old Rhest Trail, a road used by travelers, has been blockaded by Red Hand agents and that all passersby are being imprisoned or killed.
Kellin also mentions that a band of nomads, Children of Fharla (demigod of travel and roads), passed through a few days ago on their way to the marshes of Rhest and haven’t come back since. He suspects that the Red Hand may have something to do with their disappearance.
There is also a note on the map suggesting that, at some point, the Red Hand will pass by the Dwarf Bridge, a location to the south that is near the Hammerfist Holds, home of a dwarven mercenary company known as the Shining Axes. The party fears that the Shining Axes may sell their services to the Red Hand, so they head off to recruit them first (with two hundred gold pieces donated by the Council to pay them). The journey takes two days, and when the PCs arrive, they are informed by the Shining Axes that they have no plans to help for a meager sum of two hundred gold. They do agree, however, to notify Drellin’s Ferry if the Red Hand passes by.
Learning that the horde is only seven days away from Drellin’s ferry, the party hurries back (a trip that consumes two days of time) and discusses with the council again. Many civillians are refusing to believe that the horde exists at all, and are stubbornly resisting all efforts to evacuate them.
Suddenly, a Dwarven messenger of the Shining Axes arrives and informs the PCs that there is a raiding party heading towards the town that will be there by dusk. The PCs recruit the aid of the town’s militia and prepare for the attack.
The first wave of attackers consists of five dire wolves. Militiamen take down two, and the PCs easily wipe out and rout the final three. The second wave (ten hobgoblins led by a Kulkor Zhul War Adept, a vicious hobgoblin spellcaster) is, while crossing the river on a boat, waylaid by a shark summoned by Tuvatu. Tuvatu calls a lightning storm and begins to strike at the War Adept with bolts of electricity. When the group of Red Hand warriors finally reaches the shore, the War Adept casts a spell on Finnix, who immediately collapses on the ground, screaming and writhing, unable to act. The rest of the party charges and begins mowing down hobgoblins, until Tenzin strikes the final blow and sends the War Adept keeling over dead. The two surviving hobgoblins surrender, but the party decides to let them go.
With time rapidly running out, the party decides to split up. Tuvatu leads a group of Drellin’s Ferry militiamen and begins waylaying the horde, slowing it down and casting spells from a distance to halt its progress. After his third raid on the army, Tuvatu is noticed by a huge, muscular, hobgoblin carrying a greatsword, who seems to be in some position of authority. After that, he is careful to avoid him and keeps a lower profile. Rolan, accompanied by Hathar, Tuvatu’s animal companion (a giant tasmanian devil), rides ahead and begins warning towns of the impending danger. He manages to convince Nimon Gap and Talar to evacuate, but Terrelton stubbornly remains behind. Finnix and Tenzin, since your players weren’t there at the time, I’m leaving it up to you whether you went with Tuvatu or Rolan.
Notes and Ideas:
I am now tracking a mechanic called victory points. I won’t tell you how many you have at any given time, but essentially, you get them by damaging the Red Hand horde in as many ways as you possibly can. Victory Points will help you in battles later on in the campaign.
And well, would you look at that: you guys made 7th level! Congrats. I’ll discuss with you individually about feat, spell, and maneuver selections later.