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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    You know how people occasionally love going off on tangents about what characters are actually qualified/able to lead armies and such?

    I was wondering if anyone has ever gone about rebuilding Kharn in that way (though I know both crusader and cleric are quite capable of leading under the frameworks for examining it that I've seen so far). Just sorta occurred to me from seeing a thread about leadership in D&D and heroes of battle come up in my history while looking through old threads for info on the ghostlord that's more than adding some more Blighter to him.

    I know, arms race and all, but it looks like we're going to end up with a confrontation inevitably...
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quick thought or two before I head off to start painting bedrooms, but first thing that occurs to me is: how do you make a satisfying contest between the party and Kharn if he's primarily a leader and strategist? I would have thought with only 10 levels to spend someone who focuses towards Leadership and controlling others is going to be somewhat squishy in combat compared with the PCs who have only been specialising in building bigger and better boots for wading through blood.

    Maybe there's some sort of mechanic for actually making a "contest of tactics" out of the Battle of Brindol, but that might well be rebuilding the entire scenario.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Very good read. Very useful.

    A question though.
    Do you intend to do some notes on how to connect the end of this campaign to the start of another. You mention DemonWeb pits is a good next stage (currenty running it, its a good module) but I'm not sure how you would go about doing that. The players would be higher level than intended for the module and you would need to strike a careful balance between making the first encounter highlight the threat of the drow but at the same time not overshadowing the epic fights that conclude RHoD. Any ideas?

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  4. - Top - End - #214
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by Runestar View Post
    You don't get the stat boost from the minotaur's racial 4th HD, that's already factored into its stat modifiers, so you only get +1 from the 2nd lv of fighter (for its 8th HD). Though you can always just give it higher stats, but the tinkerer in me just won't let it go.

    Hence, the suggestion to go barb2 (which offers more benefits than fighter2) for the free improved trip instead.
    Yesterday I ran my game with your suggestions. This is how the assault on Vraath Keep turned out:
    PC's climbed in, making some noise and alerting everybody (through one of the guards shouting). Cleaned the Worg riders, scared the manticore, even disposed of the Hob-veterans. They were at half strength when the minotaur came out of the barracks. PC's put up a fight, but were quickly tripped down and surrendered (but one, which organised a prison-break later).

    Thoughts: Karkilan with 2 barbarian levels (wolf totem) makes him a fun and tough encounter (also giving him a big hp-boost: elite array+2d12+Con), maybe making him the boss of Vraath Keep combat wise. Rather than just smashing everything with his greataxe, he focuses on tripping everybody with his guisarme (with a free attack afterwards because of imp. trip). It gives him great battlefield control with 3 Attacks of opportunity. Also, all the tripping allows the PC's to surrender if they are losing by just lie still on the ground.

    Advise: Karkilan Wolf totem Brb 2 is a though encounter, but it is capable of challenging both martial and magical PC's. It adds an other element of combat (trip) and encourages tactical thinking (how do we take him down/how do I avoid AoE's). However, I would not recommend this upgrade to "weak" parties, as this minotaur is really a step up from hobgoblin regulars.

  5. - Top - End - #215
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jair Barik View Post
    Very good read. Very useful.

    A question though.
    Do you intend to do some notes on how to connect the end of this campaign to the start of another. You mention DemonWeb pits is a good next stage (currenty running it, its a good module) but I'm not sure how you would go about doing that. The players would be higher level than intended for the module and you would need to strike a careful balance between making the first encounter highlight the threat of the drow but at the same time not overshadowing the epic fights that conclude RHoD. Any ideas?
    Fair point. I'll add it onto the to-do list. Best thought I can come up with off the cuff is to point out that the Red Hand were basically terrestrial in origin; if they had summoned creatures they were mostly towards the end and mostly high level.

    You could highlight the threat of the drow as a people for whom summoned creatures and really evil summoned monsters are an everyday occurrence...?

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    With Saph's ending (players escaping Tiamat by jumping into the portal) I imagine you could skip the first few encounters all together, having the portal warp them straight to Sigil and the motivation being that they need to find a way home, as opposed to the 'defeat the drow for all that is good' motivation the module suggests. Would skip a few encounters and if you missed out on some of the optional ones/ones in the Demonweb that would sort out the xp difference (though the party wouldn't get Spidersilk unless you gave it to another drow later on).

    Perhaps for a regular game it would be better to simply give the PC's some down time after the events of RHoD (regardless of what campaign you intend to run next) and have a one shot of something with the campaign then picking up a week later or so in game time, the climactic battles of RHoD neither overshadowing challenges yet to come nor making them seem to throw the events of RHoD out of perspective by suddenly throwing mooks at the players whose challenge is on par with Azaar Kul, Kharn or even the aspect thanks to the break in the game.
    I do really like the idea of running Demonweb as a follow up to RHoD as it continues on some of the very nice themes of the module. RHoD introduces the characters to aspects with Demonweb then expanding upon this idea, RHoD is ultimately about a battle of the players versus Devils with Demonweb having them now fight demons for a change in theme... has some good plot potential.

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  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by Coidzor View Post
    I was wondering if anyone has ever gone about rebuilding Kharn in that way (though I know both crusader and cleric are quite capable of leading under the frameworks for examining it that I've seen so far).

    I had actually thought about running him as a Paladin of Tyranny with my homebrew Warleader Paladin substitutions. (Gains the Marshal's abilities without haven't to, you know, be a Marshal.) Never got much further than Skull Gorge Bridge when I ran it three times in 3.5.

    (I'm currently running a 4E conversion, where the PCs are defending Brindol. I've had to basically redo all the Wyrmlords anyway, but I've decided Kharn is gonna be an Elite Soldier with a LOT of Leader abilities. They've still got to get through fire-fighting, Abithriax-fighting, and the whole "Streets of Blood" thing first, so I've got a couple of weeks at least to get him squared away.)
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by rtg0922 View Post
    I had actually thought about running him as a Paladin of Tyranny with my homebrew Warleader Paladin substitutions. (Gains the Marshal's abilities without haven't to, you know, be a Marshal.) Never got much further than Skull Gorge Bridge when I ran it three times in 3.5.

    (I'm currently running a 4E conversion, where the PCs are defending Brindol. I've had to basically redo all the Wyrmlords anyway, but I've decided Kharn is gonna be an Elite Soldier with a LOT of Leader abilities. They've still got to get through fire-fighting, Abithriax-fighting, and the whole "Streets of Blood" thing first, so I've got a couple of weeks at least to get him squared away.)

    Hear hear. RHOD is fantastic for any D&D system, and it's great in 4th ed.

    How's remaking all the Wyrmlords going for you? I've actually just remade Kharn as a Warlord. Though it's not visually appealing and it doesn't follow the normal rules (plenty of fudging ) his powers are very complementary - at least if you've got other Wyrmlords left for them to fight.

    This should hopefully lead to a somewhat entertaining scenario whereupon the players fight mirror images of themselves - a Bard, a Warlord, a Ranger...
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Although this strictly speaking is a 3.5 RHOD thread, and I'm utterly ignorant of 4e, we've heard Scales of War supposedly works rather well as a follow-on from RHOD. Any thoughts, feedback on that? If so, is Scales of War worth a "backgrade" down to 3.5 rules?

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by EccentricOwl View Post
    How's remaking all the Wyrmlords going for you?
    It's getting better. Koth (Elite Artillery) ended up being kind of a glass cannon. He was a straight-up blasty guy (with a few control spells), but got ranged SA'd by the Rogue and taken down in a couple of rounds. Karkilan (Elite Soldier), his bodyguard, outlasted him by several rounds. Saarvith (Elite Skirmisher) was just a basic Goblin Ranger kinda guy, but with Regiarix (Solo Lurker) as his mount it made for an awesome encounter. Ulwai (Elite Controller [Leader]) made for really fun monster design, adding a lot of leader abilities to support her Doom Fist monks while also throwing out lightning bolts and stuff. For Kharn, I haven't statted him out yet, but I'm thinking he'll be a lot like a Warlord. Don't know about about the High Wyrmlord yet, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saintheart View Post
    Although this strictly speaking is a 3.5 RHOD thread, and I'm utterly ignorant of 4e, we've heard Scales of War supposedly works rather well as a follow-on from RHOD. Any thoughts, feedback on that? If so, is Scales of War worth a "backgrade" down to 3.5 rules?
    Scales of War takes place a generation after Red Hand of Doom, IIRC. I never really looked at it much, but I think you could probably port it to 3.5 pretty easily. I know several people online who really enjoyed it, for what it's worth.
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  11. - Top - End - #221
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    For those who've run through the campaign before, I've got a few of questions regarding Chapter 2. None are RAW rule-based questions, but more about the workings of the elven alliance and the climactic encounters. We're a session or two from making a first try

    A. The first is more a "did this seem reasonable?" than a proper question, but I thought I'd ask anyway. There seems to be a treasure lump stuck onto the first fight with a Razorfiend. Unless my math is wrong, the campaign dumps +24K of treasure (2x 4K items and 2x 8K items and some gold coins) on the PCs with barely a sentence of explanation. When running through the encounter, I missed that note due to a rushed ending and so they didn't get that loot then. Since the next 1.5-2 sessions were likely to be strictly social, I gave them a simple side-mission to help the elves with a lesser threat so the players wouldn't get restless without combat. They succeeded, and so I had the elves reward them each with a significant magical item. The total worth of the reward was 7K less than it would have been had I remembered the Razorfiend wealth, but it was more customized for the party. Was the gift out of line, or am I overly worried about it?

    B. More relevantly, would that assistance be reasonably worth a +2-4 bonus on a diplomacy check retroactively? While the Diplomacy check (for the alliance points) were based on initial interactions, they'll be staying with the elves for a while and so additional assistance to the Tiri Kitor could raise opinions. I ask because Killiar is Friendly, bordering on Helpful. While they aren't hurting for Alliance Points, it doesn't seem an unreasonable additional benefit considering Lanikar's belongings were worth +4.

    C. Skull Gorge Bridge went badly for them. They stole some military papers, but the attack on the bridge was a complete failure (though didn't result in any PC deaths amazingly). In response to most opinions I'd read of the encounter, I'd buffed Ozzy a little by shuffling some feats around, which was likely the cause. As such, I'm leaving most of Rhest's climax as written regarding the foes. I'm fine with a PC (or even two) biting the dust, but there's no fun for them in a TPK. Most of the party is fairly squishy. The Barbarian has one-shotted ogres before, but the Bard, Rogue, and Sorceress are all justifiably more fearful for their hit points when around large foes. They're doing more planning than with the bridge, but I'm expecting trouble. What's a good way to provide assistance without making it easy or pushing them into a strategy?

    Uh, and, if it's not too much trouble, this is more a board thing than a Rhest thing. I'd been posting my group's campaign journal, but I took a break around the time two of my players brought a new little nerd into the world. We've started up again (sooner than I expected), but I worry that continuing to post about their adventures would seem like Thread Necromancy as the last post was the November 19th, 2010 and I've no idea if there was much interest in it as, of the 13 posts in the thread, 10 were mine. Should I pick up the thread again as they continue combating the forces of the Red Hand or would revisiting a +3 month old thread with little outside participation be ill-advised?

    By the way, thank you all for your writings on the finer points of this epic module. It's been very handy thus far.
    Last edited by Jastermereel; 2011-02-28 at 12:15 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #222
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jastermereel View Post
    Lots of stuff.


    A. I tend to think make it up to the party out the gear recovered when (if?) they finish up at Rhest. If it's 7K down on the RHOD standard I reckon that's still a substantial hit they take -- remember they're supposed to be basically acquiring wealth by level as they go. But it was a good idea to customise the treasure to them.

    B. The RHOD text provides a prcedent for retroactive improvements to Diplomacy with the Tiri Kitor, so I see no reason why you couldn't do the same. The final decision on whether the elves will help the Vale isn't really going to happen until the situation in Rhest has been dealt with conclusively, so up until that point you've got time to shuffle the numbers a bit.

    C. In terms of rendering assistance: the keys to turning Rhest into a cakewalk are waiting until the dragon and Saarvith leave, Water Breathing, and Silence. This allows the party to control the flow of opponents, moving underwater from the belltower to the town hall and handling opponents piece by piece rather than all at once. So the easiest way to help the party unobtrusively is have Saarvith and Regiarix away when the party reaches Rhest, or depart shortly after they arrive but before they make their attack.

    Also remember they don't have to clean the place out on the first run. They can retreat and all that'll happen on the RHOD text is the hobgoblins celebrating into the night. It's only if they fail twice in a row that Saarvith and Reggie come out looking ofr them. This isn't a "stand or fall, death or glory" situation, particularly if they have Water Breathing.

    Incidentally, looking very quickly at your party again I'm not surprised they take hammerings, and you're right to restrain yourself on rebuilding encounters. RHOD's balanced for the standard arcanist+cleric+meatshield+trapmonkey, but it begins to suffer against optimisation, stronger classes, or bigger parties. Yours, I think, isn't quite the bog-standard gang of four; assuming the bard's the only one with any cure spells, there's not a cleric among them, and the sorcerer will have set spells without versatility like a mage would.

    Honestly, with a party like that, were it me I'd turn Trellara Nightshadow (the useless Tiri Kitor bard) into a low-level cleric and have her carry a Water Breathing scroll to cast. As to how you can nudge them towards going underwater -- perhaps the Tiri Kitor can mention how their best intel on the ruins comes from their mages casting it and the hunters taking a look around that way, though they're still too cowardly to try and attack the place themselves.

    Uh: I don't think it'd really be thread necromancy, but it's not as if you lose Internet access if you up the thread with an explanation. I say go for it.

  13. - Top - End - #223
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    I'm running this game via maptools at the moment (first, bug-ridden session yesterday).

    Now, my players are both numerous and inexperienced, so the only real changes I made to the first encounter was increasing the size of each wave of Regulars by 2 and raising the Bladebearer up a Warrior level.

    Things went well right off of the bat, with two critical arrows on the Beguiler (only one confirmed) shaving off half his health. After that though, it went abruptly downhill for the Hobgobs, with the blaster Psion in particular carving a wave of destruction through the ranks.

    Once the Cleric and the Bladebearer hand been alerted, i Had them both head towards the fight, untill they saw how badly things were going, whereupon the Cleric popped Invisibilty (Trickery doman) and ran for the second wave. By the time he had gotten to them, the rest of the Hobgobs were dead. So, rather than a suicidal charge, I had them flee to tell their superiors about the arrival of a band of heavily armed and aggressive mercs in the area.

    How would you expect the Hobgob hierarchy to react?
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  14. - Top - End - #224
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Aside from Koth maybe raising an eyebrow over it, I'd say there's no reaction at all. Remember, roving packs of adventurers are commonplace in a campaign world. If Uth-lar and Zarr go over with Koth that they just ambushed the party, no indication that the party was out hunting for them, I think Koth would be just as likely to assume that the party's nothing but a passing-through bunch of murderers who aren't going to be a problem. Given there's about 100 hobgoblins in the Witchwood (Soranna's estimate) area, I doubt the Horde would really think much of one patrol that finally met some stiff resistance and foundered.

    I seem to remember off the RHOD text that there's some support for this. Kharn and the Horde don't take notice of the characters until they've done some serious damage -- Skull Gorge, certainly, but in particular Rhest because the players are due to wipe out the greenspawn razorfiend hatchery there. At that point they're a serious enough threat to warrant sending out assassination squads against the characters. Prior to that, Kharn's got the classic blindness consequent upon the Conservation of Ninjutsu -- he's got thousands of hobgoblins and a red dragon under his command, if he meets these clowns in battle they won't make the slightest bit of difference to the result.

    There's also every possibility that Uth-lar or Zarr might have more regard for their own skin than to actually report anything went wrong. We don't know whether Koth's a You Have Failed Me kind of guy, but it's a distinct possibility that Kharn is.

    Or indeed Koth might be sufficiently cowardly that he won't report the matter upstream -- RHOD seems to indicate he's low man on the pole and trying desperately to impress his way further up the chain of command.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    I don't know if it'd work at all, but could RHoD be adapted for the Iron Kingdoms setting? The main obstacle I see is how the setting handles dragons (I'm not 100% sure on how they're handled, but what little I've read makes them seem like sources of corruption - I doubt half-dragons are even physically possible in Immoren).

    But if it can work, then my dream of marching on the Fane of Tiamat at the head of a small army of warjacks is one step closer.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Not that I know the faintest thing about Iron Kingdoms, but I'm guessing from a brief look it can be done. It's obviously not a direct D20 setting, but RHOD's structure is beautifully portable IMHO. Anyone else want to chip in on this?

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    The main problem I see (again, I'm still looking at the fluff for the setting so I might be wrong on a few points) is that every dragon in the Iron Kingdoms setting emits this kind of corruption or blight. I don't know if hobgoblins and such would survive it or not. They'd be mutated in the least.

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    On top of that, the other planes don't exist in Iron Kingdoms (or if they do, then the people of Caem are about as certain of it as we are of the existence of heaven and hell) and Tiamat isn't the mother of all dragons. In Caen, the father of all dragons is believed to be Lord Toruk, ruler of Cryx and worshipped as a god by its citizens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia's Iron Kingdoms article
    He is the most powerful dragon in the world, called the Dragonfather largely because legend states that all other dragons on Caen were spawned when Toruk split his heartstone or Athanc into multiple pieces and each piece regenerated as a separate dragon.

    One great goal of most worshipers of Lord Toruk is to continue service to him in undeath. Through the necromantic practices of his priests and other servants, Toruk keeps the souls of those who worship him from passing to Urcaen, the realm of gods and departed souls. Lord Toruk is believed to have the power of a god, though he has no presence in the Divine Realm.
    You could make her an Infernal creature of some kind, but all of them look more like ultra-slender humanoids, having a big dragon would seem out of place.

    A possible explanation is that Tiamat is an actual dragon, one of the first alongside Toruk. Toruk feared her because she was far more powerful than he was until he found a way of sealing her into whatever realm the Infernals are from (don't know how possible this is, but it should get someone thinking). Since then, Tiamat has found a way of contacting her children - the other dragons of Caen - and organised a way to open her prison and free her so she can take revenge on Toruk.

    Of course, that sounds like a good thing at first - Cryx has been a serious threat for centuries, but no one country's strong enough to risk attacking Toruk and they're all too busy blowing each other up to work together (and even then they might not have enough firepower) so having Tiamat come along and turn Cryx from an undead-infested hellscape to a black and charred hellscape would be very helpful. Unless Tiamat decides that Toruk had the right idea with the country and now the rest of the Iron Kingdoms have an even stronger dragon to worry about. One who may not be as content as Toruk to sit on a mountain and wait for a chance to strike.


    On top of that, I'm not sure how much the IK hobgoblins differ from the normal DnD kind, if they even exist at all.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Perhaps use hobgoblin stat lines for Nyss bladebearers etc?
    Effectively it is a war of the 'drow' trying to raise up one of their dragons in that case. For the final encounter of course it could be that Azurr Kul doesn't summon a dragon but become a dragon.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Here's a thought on the whole lack of planes and dragon gods:

    Tiamat, as thought of, is one of the oldest dragons - a "prototype" dragon, predating or possibly the one and only sibling of Toruk. She was intended as Eve to Toruk's Adam, but dragon physiology is flexible enough that (as Toruk demonstrated) it doesn't require conventional sexual contact to spawn more of them. Rather than submit to the base and intended instinct, recognising Tiamat could only be a rival, Toruk put her into a deep magical slumber - one that was meant to be eternal. (He did so because he didn't have the power, at that early stage, to kill her.)

    The site of Tiamat's physical slumber is the Fane of Tiamat, buried deep inside the mountain itself. Toruk of course didin't intend for anyone to find her, but various Tiamat cultists over the centuries have tried unsuccessfully to wake her (and dig her) up. Toruk's own activities have frustrated these attempts.

    But the latest attempt has been somewhat more subtle. Azarr Kul's managed to reopen the Fane and disable the magical wards and alarms that otherwise would have warned Toruk another attempt is being made to wake Tiamat. Azarr has also managed to cobble together a recipe of spells that should awaken her. The main ingredient is the spilling of blood - on a large scale. Thus the invasion of Elsir Vale -- not to conquer as such, though Tiamat's going to need an army and a defensible position pretty damn quick since Cryx is likely to mobilise once Toruk learns Tiamat has returned. The spilling of so many lives will fuel the magic which will cause Tiamat to awaken, break free of her mountain prison, and escape.

    The final confrontation with Azarr Kul then becomes Azarr getting killed by the party and then reanimating as a shard of Tiamat's own strength fuels him, turning him into what would otherwise be the Aspect of Tiamat the party faces at the end of the adventure.

    No need for other planes, or Infernals. It's just straight-out sleeping dragon stuff.

    I'd also borrow a lick from AslanCross's suggestions off the front of the thread about Eberron RHODs: if the heroes fail, you have an elder evil campaign. Cryx mobilises, Toruk probably appears openly, and he and Tiamat go to open outright war the likes of which haven't been seen since the elder days. Quite possibly massive swathes of the Iron Kingdoms will be devastated in this war, leaving the people having to figure out how to kill not one, but two elder dragons.

    EDIT: On how one deals with the corruption element -- maybe Tiamat functions as something like a "positively charged" dragon, cancelling out Toruk's "negative charge" -- around Tiamat (as in, within Elsir Vale and surrounds) a dragon's corruption power is neutralised. Doesn't work at all?

    (This is all in relative ignorance of how the setting works, I might add.)

  20. - Top - End - #230
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    That sounds bloody amazing, actually. I'm as in the dark as you about the corruption, but with that origin for the dragons, the corruption could just be because of Toruk being the father of all current dragons. Tiamat possibly having some aspect of her body to counteract it.

    The main question is how to make Azarr Kul a half-dragon (and again, I'm not sure about how the goblin races have been changed - I know the normal gobbers are more civilised goblins who are meant to replace gnomes and halflings who don't exist in the setting), though some complex ritual to try and tap into Tiamat's power could've turned him from a bogger (more traditional goblin, might include hobgoblins, not sure) into a half-dragon bogger. Even if hobgoblin's don't exist, you could homebrew up a hob-bogger (or use the normal hobgoblins) that Kul was mutated into for his body to contain Tiamat's power.

    The Battle for Brindol would certainly be more impressive if the owning country sends a warcaster or two to help in the defence. You wouldn't have to use warjacks for the enemy forces either - there's bound to be stuff in Hordes (a sister game for Warmachine, you can pit an army from one against the other without problems and they use the same setting) that can fling boulders that far and having Kul try to recruit these other factions to his cause would be a good way to use the setting to its fullest.

    Warning whichever country the Vale is in about the danger to Brindol might be trickier - IK imposes a lot of restrictions on certain spells (even Dimension Door could unleash an Infernal) and I think Sending is one of them. But if the Vale is in Cygnar, then they'd probably be able to just use the telegraph to get the word to Cygnar's military. Do it soon enough and there could be a decent-sized force of men and warjacks ready to defend the city.


    Is there anyone reading this more knowledgeable about the Iron Kingdoms setting? Namely how it handles dragons and their corruption?
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  21. - Top - End - #231
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Frist of all as I understand Cryx is not the dragon related faction.
    The legion of everblight are. I don't know what monsters are statted in Iron Kingdoms but here is how I see it.

    Your basic goblinoid forces are probably either going to be restatted/refluffed as Nys and or Nephilims (respectively the settings drow and as I understand 'half dragons' though Nephilims are not of the smart variety of half dragon).
    For the worg riders you may want some Raptors (Nyss archers who ride on the back of reindeer) and for the Lizardfolk near the Elf village you may want to use these guys who are effectively Gator men.
    For your dragons you are actually in luck as the dragons in Iron Kingdoms are predominantly wingless so the normal problems that revolve around varanthian don't happen in this setting. For the other four you get flying dragons in various sizes ranging from about man sized to proper dragon sized.
    For the Blackswawn raiders I'd say you may want Nephilims, for the Greenspawn razorfiends take your pick theres all sorts of dragonspawn in Everblight.
    The Wyrmlords are up to you really but you'd probably want to refluff most of them as Nys in one sort or another (the goblin though could probably be refluffed as a corrupted gobber).

    The big question on how to do Tiamat and Azurr Kul is a tough one but I have an idea. Thagrosh.
    Thagrosh is no longer ogrun. He has become Everblight’s true avatar. It is as though the dragon lurks just behind the top layer of his thoughts, a vast alien presence looking through his eyes and speaking with his tongue. Similarly, the draconic temper increasingly dominates Thagrosh’s mood. This fury is a brand of searing iron that ignites the pure dragon blood pumping through his veins, pushing him to crush and humiliate each foe he faces.
    One of the Everblight 'casters' he is effectively their messiah, the chosen of the dragons who will bring about the new age of dragons yadadada, sound familiar? I would avoid using Thagrosh himself but perhaps a similarly fluffed half dragon Ogrun/Nys would work well? A second Thagrosh (perhaps rival to him) who desires to bring about the return of the dragons.
    And now for Tiamat. The only named character warbeast in Legion is called Typhon. Typhon is a three headed hydra beast (for this reason I would replace the hydra encounter for something else, the single official hydra in the setting being a nigh unkillable beast of legend). Perhaps the portal Azurr kul is attempting to open to signal the return/awakening of the dragons lets a beast Akin to Typhon through before it closes? Insteead of three heads it has five, and wings too but it lacks the regenerative capabilities of its brother.

    Any of those ideas any good (not an expert of the setting but i know some bits).

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Another question to those who've run it before (or those just really well read in it): Does the Red Hand, in the stretch of time where they march across the vale, occupy or simply destroy the various towns?

    If my players do as I think they might (which likely guarantees it to be a false prediction) then they might cross back to towns they'd seen before. I figure this'll be a great time to show them the impact of the Red Hand and a reminder of the consequences should they fail, but I'm not sure what they should find there. The front line should have already passed, but I don't know what it leaves in its wake. Should the party waltz through the barren and blackened remains of a town set to the torch? Should there be a few hobgoblins or assorted monsters (manticores and the like) occupying the place, keeping watch behind the bulk of the forces and scavenging the ruins? Or should towns be used as a staging area for some of the nastier forces (bluespawn thunderlizards, assorted ghosts and such sent by the lichlord, etc) to show them what is to come, forcing the party to keep a low profile or face terrible danger?

    Each seems to have some merit, but I don't know if there's a cannonical answer. My best guess is that the party might glimpse Drellin's Ferry sometime between the fall of Terrelton and the taking of Nimon's Gap.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    My impression on the RHOD text is that the Horde will devastate the towns it crosses until it reaches Brindol. Brindol's about the only strategic strongpoint in the whole Vale, and the Horde isn't anticipating any real resistance from any of the towns bar Brindol and Dennovar. I would have thought the Horde simply plunders and destroys everything in its path until it hits Brindol. From memory there's an IC contingency that Brindol gets sacked if the party loses there, which I would have thought is consistent with how they've been behaving along the way.

    On the other hand, you could have a small supply outpost in one of the devastated towns if you really wanted a combat encounter. Maybe there's stuff that's being ported down from the Wyrmsmokes, or even communications between the Fane and Wyrmlord Kharn.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Hey I need a little help re-stating Koth for my game of Red hand of Doom, the problems lies that due my houserules, everyone (including players and monsters alike) gets feats at 1 and even levels.

    Thus Koth has 4 feats to burn, and there is where you guys enter I have just brainstormed a few ideas and I want to know what you think about my ideas

    1 Draconic Heritage (Green)
    2 Improved Initiative
    4 Green Dragon Lineage
    6 Practicided Spellcaster


    Also some insight in the spell selection

    0 level: Do they matter?
    1st level : Grease, Mage armor, Ray of enfeeblement Shield
    2nd level Wings of Cover Cloud of Knives
    3rd level Slow
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Those two draconic feats are basically useless. You should get rid of them. If you want some sort of draconic vibe for Koth, just describe him as having a dragon-y tinge to his features or whatever.


    Like Saintheart sez, saveboosting feats are really not a bad option for Koth. You could also squeeze in Improved Toughness, possibly; Spell Focus feats are also rarely a bad investment.

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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Ok point taken, how about the spell selection? I'll probably take Lighting Reflexes and Great fortitude.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    I thing I realised that really helps to make sorcs more durable is to take the spellshield sorc variant in dungeonscape. As an immediate action, you can give up a slot to negate up to slot lvx5 worth of damage. So for a 2nd lv slot, that's 10 damage each round.

    Save boosting feats are great because they are passive abilities which don't require tracking once you have factored them into the npc's statblock, so that is one load off your mind. Not all that great, but you could do worse, so take them only when you have run out of ideas on what feats to take.

    I like the idea of arcane thesis: scorching ray, because with practiced spellcaster, you hit caster lv 11, just enough to squeeze out 3 rays. As a bonus, you can empower them using a 3rd lv slot.

    For spells, I mean really, barring buffs, your highest spells are all that matter, you shouldn't ever need or get to cast your lower lv spells unless they are swift/immediate actions. So just assume mage armour and false life are always on, and shield when he gets alerted to combat.
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    I've played through, and attempted to run this one a few times.

    Here's some of the things that stood out that bugged me:

    Enemy tactics: For a while at least, they're practically nonexistent. I mean, they're not even focusing fire. Sure, they aren't aware of the true power of the PCs. But when enemy 1's init comes up, and they shoot someone, but they don't go down when enemy 2's init comes up they should be shooting at the same person. Not a different one. They're portrayed as elite forces. They need to at least perform common sense tactics, or they can't be taken seriously.

    Weak statblocks: This is always a problem in published modules, so it's not specific to this one. The more important the enemy is supposed to be, the more annoying it is when they are not well designed at all, both at whatever it is they are supposed to do and in general. Now I understand why this is so - both because the module writers were limited in the sources they can use and published modules are generally marketed to inexperienced players, whereas I and my gaming group are anything but. It still bugs me though. And by bugs me, I mean a small part of me dies when the boss's action is to cast a Lightning Bolt instead of a Slow or Stinking Cloud.

    Vendor trash: There is a lot of it. A whole lot. And due to a combination of the time pressure and the rather limited selection of casters in towns there are few opportunities to convert it into things that the PCs are likely to use. Several people have hypothesized that the module is designed for a stereotypical party, but even in that context, for example the Fighter will happily keep the +2 Str item but that +1 Frost Bastard Sword is still going to a vendor. I'm not going to break down every single instance where this occurs, only leave this point by saying that even assuming a stereotypical party, a good deal of loot is just easily transported gold that you can't do a whole lot useful with due to limited shopping opportunities.

    Slow reactions: There are several points in the campaign where you assault an enemy base of some kind. But they react slowly to your presence, or not at all. Any decent party can just zerg the place before anyone gets ready, since you have so much time to react. They're supposed to be elite forces. They need to be faster and more eager to swarm the party, so that Leeroy Jenkins only works if you're just that awesome.

    The dragons: I'm sorry, but I'm not impressed with any of them. The statblocks are poor, the default strategies are poor... all of these problems are fixable, but by default, they are not nearly as impressive as they need to be.

    The obviousness: Ok, I understand published modules are marketed to inexperienced players. One of my first gaming experiences was with this module, and even then I felt like the module was hitting me with a clue by four as to what the correct course of action is at any given time. It doesn't have to be that obvious. It'd be better if it didn't. Especially in regards to...

    Telegraphing: If you have a green dragon attack the party suddenly, that's a very scary moment. If you have the party able to spy on a green dragon and friends in a situation where they're hiding well out of visual range, and the dragon and friends are out in the open the party is going to take advantage of the fact that dragons are color coded for your convenience, perfectly prepare, and cakewalk right through it. One of these situations occurs in the module, one is what should be happening. Can you guess which is which?

    ...The module telegraphs so much so as to be unmetagameable, simply because you'll know about any significant battles, and their capabilities in advance. And it doesn't even require divination use. It just gets dropped in your lap.

    The whole mount thing: The module kind of assumes you'll be mounted, for travel if nothing else. Ignoring campaign specific stuff such as a part of Talentan halflings riding dinosaurs along, this means dragging around what is quite honestly a liability. I've seen groups struggle with their horses as much as they have the enemies they're fighting. The mount thing also ignores that for half the level range, the party is wherever they want to be, there they are. It's entirely possible to "sequence break" and skip most of the rest of the second half of the campaign simply because for all their supposed magical might, the final area has painfully few defenses against a Scry and Fry. And even though you're underleveled, you could probably still pull it off, too. But even with nice players, it's still a flawed assumption to be making.

    The Ghostlord: He gets his own section, even though my problem here is an amalgam of the other problems I mention. He's played up, very obviously as something you don't want to fight. You're also told IC, that he's a Blighter (read: complete push over). One of these things is not like the other. Chances are, you also still have an item that does a number on undead. I haven't seen anyone mention it, but my first thought to "powerful undead" is "use this neat powerful anti undead spell I got, maybe that's what it's there for". The result of this, the first time I tried it was a 1 HP Lich who subsequently died to a pinprick (literally, a 1 damage attack after DR). Phylactery gets smashed, and that's that. I later found out this was a lucky break, but even without it he goes straight down to 24 HP. That's what, 1-2 hits? It's more bothersome than you might think, as there are a number of character archetypes who would find the prospect of giving up their advantage on, and treatying with an evil lich, and blighter abhorrent so even given the obvious Do Not Fight sign... there's still a lot of potential PCs that'd want to fight him. Which in turn means this could come up by accident. Just as it did for me. An actual spellcaster of those levels would have destroyed us, no contest.

    Yes, that's a long list of complaints. The concept is interesting, it's just the execution falls short in a number of ways. Since most of these are based on the fact experienced players aren't the target audience here, I'm not complaining too loudly. It wasn't meant for me, and I'm quite capable of adjusting it so that it is.

  29. - Top - End - #239
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Ok I redid Koth feats selection and spell list, how about this

    Spells

    0th (6/day) level: doesn't matter
    1st (6/day) level Ray of Enfeeblement, Shield, Mage Armor, Grease (DC 14)
    2nd:(8/day) Wings of Cover, Cloud of Knives ( 1d4 +3), Scorching Ray (extra spell)
    3rd (4/day) Slow (DC 16)

    Feats:
    Improved Initiative, Practised Spellcaster, Extra Spell (Scorching Ray) Extra Slot (2nd level slot)
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    Default Re: The 3.5 Red Hand Of Doom Handbook for DMs [Major spoilers!] - WIP, PEACH!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dusk Eclipse View Post
    Ok I redid Koth feats selection and spell list, how about this

    Spells

    0th (6/day) level: doesn't matter
    1st (6/day) level Ray of Enfeeblement, Shield, Mage Armor, Grease (DC 14)
    2nd:(8/day) Wings of Cover, Cloud of Knives ( 1d4 +3), Scorching Ray (extra spell)
    3rd (4/day) Slow (DC 16)

    Feats:
    Improved Initiative, Practised Spellcaster, Extra Spell (Scorching Ray) Extra Slot (2nd level slot)
    About the only other suggestion I'd have is to hand him a scroll of Haste. He doesn't have to have crafted it himself, remember, it could come from the Horde's own stores. One casting of Haste with its range and number of allies is enough to cover Karkilan and the hobgoblins, which is a nice buff partywide. Have you boosted Karkilan as well, or are you planning for Koth to be the major threat of Vraath Keep?

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