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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    A 5e Conversion Guide for The Red Hand of Doom

    Introduction

    The Red Hand of Doom is widely considered to be one of the top tier adventures in the DnD canon. There are multiple guides and adventure journals on this site, and DnD celebrity Matt Colville lists it as one of his go-tos for mid-level campaigns. You can still find games and guides for 3.5 edition, but thereís a gap in updating this classic module for the fifth edition of the game. Itís my hope that this will be a valuable resource for DMs in one of the most popular editions of the game to date.

    Invitation to Contribute

    This guide is largely inspired by Swordheartís Red Handbook of Doom elsewhere on this site. That handbook is still active thanks to an open invitation to comment and improve on the guide. Following this excellent example, I hope that other DMs and players will contribute ideas and improvements to this guide going forward. Note that Swordheartís work still has some great advice on the fluff and RP for this module and I would refer the reader there for general discussion. Since I can rely on that work, Iíll be focusing on issues specific to the rules and fluff for 5th edition, such as using the Red Hand of Doom alongside other published 5e adventure campaigns.

    Links

    Iíve found the following links particularly useful in shaping my thinking about the adventure. Thereís a lot of other material available, and I refer you to the Red Handbook of Doom for further information.

    Swordheartís Red Handbook of Doom: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...ers!-WIP-PEACH!

    AslanCrossís Red Hand of Doom Campaign Diary: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...mpaign-Journal

    Outline

    I will be following the general outline of the campaign for this guide. Post #2 gives general information on the campaign, including updating the stats of the commonly found antagonists to 5th Edition. Post #3 discusses common advice for running the adventure as well as advice on adapting it to work with 5th edition campaign settings and adventures. Post #4 looks at the first arc of the campaign up to the Skull Gorge Bridge and the first of the dragons. Post #5 reviews Rhest, with an emphasis on updating the special monsters of this adventure to the 5th edition rules. Post #6 takes us to the Thornwastes and the Ghostlord, and in Post #7 we return to Brindol for the penultimate battle of the campaign. Post #8 wraps up this guide with a discussion of the Fane of Tiamat.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    General Mechanical Considerations

    This section focuses on the changes between 3rd and 5th edition in terms of mechanical expectations. Optimal spellcasting choices have changed, especially due to the concentration mechanics. Finally, conversions for the common members of the Red Hand are provided.

    Spoiler: Party Level and Number
    Show
    The original module was designed for 4 players at level 5. DnD 5e assumes a 5 member party, so there are immediately some issues with scaling. That said, many of the fights include low level opponents that would have been trivial in 3.5e. With bounded accuracy, these minions form a credible threat. Overall Iíve had good success using 5e versions of the enemies listed in the encounters. There is an action economy issue with some fights where the party has been able to down a large threat before it gets to do much, so itís always a good idea to tune encounters with the action economy in mind. Throwing in a few more low level enemies, or doubling up on mid-level threats, helps to keep the fights at the expected difficulty.


    Spoiler: Tactics and Builds
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    Tactics and builds make a big difference in how hard the party may find the adventure. Parties lacking area of effect abilities may find the large number of low level monsters difficult to deal with. Similarly, parties with poor ranged capabilities and poor mobility may have difficulty with the dragon fights, which largely expect the dragon to strafe while using their breath attacks.

    On the flip side, there are many occasions where a stealth oriented party has the opportunity to defeat their enemies in detail. Vraath Keep and Rhest both have fights which are hard to deadly if the monsters support each other, but each group of monsters is easy to deal with. A stealthy or blitz approach can steamroll these encounters. That is a natural reward for clever play, but the DM should ensure that such tactics arenít universally applicable. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

    Spells like Polymorph, Wrathful Smite, Fear, and Hypnotic Pattern can all quickly shut down a fight, particularly against a single foe, but the concentration mechanics serve to mitigate this somewhat. It is worth noting that some of the big enemies in the module are melee focused and lack either magic or ranged attacks of their own. Varanthian and Kharn are both subject to this weakness. The climax of Critical Roll demonstrated how important Counterspell is in 5e, so itís worthwhile to keep at least some support spellcasters in the big fights to keep PC spellcasters from dominating the game. Dispel Magic can also be a good way to strip buffs and end persistent area of effect abilities that shut down the fodder in an encounter.

    The adventure does have a few tricks that donít translate well into 5th edition. The Staff of Life, for instance, is a sneaky way to nearly one-shot the Ghostlord via its Heal ability. This item does not exist in 5e, so the DM may wish to create some stats for an equivalent item. Also, charges work differently in 5e, so a different balancing mechanism may be needed to ensure that this item does not outlast its intended use.

    There's a lot of controversy about the Sharpshooter and Heavy Weapon Mastery feats. A lot of DMs feel like they deal too much damage, especially in the hands of fighters with tons of attacks per round and Action Surge. This kind of burst damage can be especially deadly to large solo monsters, as it will chew through their hitpoints very, very quickly. That said, these feats have also been the only thing that have saved parties from wipes in certain big fights. I personally don't have a problem with these feats, though I will give the big hitters in memorable fights some reaction like Shield to get 20+ ACs. I used the dragon magic option for Tyrgarun, for example, to keep him from getting taken out too quickly by my very mobile party. In any case, you can choose to allow these feats or not in your game. Feats are an optional rule, after all.

    I have not noticed any problematic builds in my own play-through, including the dreaded Sorcadin. My struggles have a lot more to do with the action economy. That said, my experience with character optimization is limited. What problems have others noted with 5e character builds, whether in RHoD or in general?


    Spoiler: NPC Spell Selection
    Show
    The big things to watch for in 3rd Edition were save or suck effects and stuff that impacts the action economy. Both have been significantly reduced in 5th Edition, with the introduction of the concentration mechanic preventing stacked buffs and debuffs, or even having both a buff and debuff active at the same time. Now the primary decision of the spellcaster is to select which spell to concentrate on, limiting them to one role in the fight. This makes blaster spells a bit more important, too, since it gives the caster something to do with their action while concentrating on the main spell.

    For all this, itís not a bad idea to have multiple concentration effects on the spell list. Even if the caster is never forced to make a concentration check, many spells like Hold Person allow a save every round. The target will eventually end the effect, giving the caster a chance to use another spell. Now, you could just use the same spell again, if you have the spell slots, but variety is nice so Iíll recommend having a second (probably lower level) option in the list.

    Note that it is generally better to have spells that target multiple opponents rather than one as thatís more likely to result in someone actually failing the save. Something like Hold Person can swing a battle in a big way, but does nothing if the target passes the save. That can leave your spellcaster with egg on her face, and worse it feels like a wasted action. Now, statistically itís not - your players will remember the battle where someone got Held and took several crits in a row! - but itís not very fun to have the spellcaster not seeming to do much round after round. Make one attempt at the big effect, then maybe try some multiple target effects for a while. Just to keep it interesting. Slow, Bane, Fear, and Command (at higher levels) are all good examples of this sort of thing.

    One big change from 3rd edition is the elimination of the Summon Monster spells. Since those spells are supposed to be the source of the ubiquitous Hell Hounds found in the adventure, that leaves a bit of a hole that needs to be filled. We could add a 3rd or 4th level Conjure Hellhound spell, handed out via scroll. The problem with that is that the Conjure spells require concentration, which means thatís pretty much all the summoner gets to do. Another option is to have some Unexplained Magical Ritual that pulls these things through the dimensions periodically to reinforce the Hobgoblin army. Maybe itís the early fruits of whatever it is thatís going on in the Fane.

    It might also be worth having both. Having one fight where a spellcaster summons one hellhound after another could be pretty interesting, especially if we enable 1d3 or so to be summoned at a 5th level slot. Maybe Koth could have something like that. You could also have such an effect at the Fane, where thereís a portal that hell hounds just keep leaping through.

    This is one area where I have to confess some lack of expertise. Are there any spellcasting gurus in the audience that might give more advice on spell selection for the adventure?


    Red Hand Forces

    The Red Hand of Doom has extensive stat blocks in the back even for the Red Hand base troops. Rather than updating all of these to 5th edition manually, itís recommended to just use the monster and NPC entries in the Monster Manual. I donít currently have access to Voloís, so if anyone has alternative suggestion from sources other than the Monster Manual please add a comment. The following substitutions work well:

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regulars
    Show
    The basic Hobgoblin entry works quite well for these troops throughout the adventure. With an 18 AC they remain tough to hit even at the higher levels, and 11 hp is just high enough that the players canít just take it for granted that theyíll drop one with every hit. This keeps them relevant in terms of action economy and resource management, giving players the choice between expending resources to ensure that the basic troops are eliminated quickly or using several rounds of actions to mop them up (and potentially take more damage). Choices are good!

    The 3rd edition version of this adventure used the hobgoblin troops as something more like scenery than an actual threat. In 5th edition, a dozen hobgoblins can still be a significant threat even to a level 9 party thanks to bounded accuracy. This makes the fights with a large number of antagonists a little harder than might be expected for the listed CRs, which the DM should take into account. In my experience this does not make the fights overwhelming and balances against a 5 member party quite well. Still, YMMV and if the party is getting overwhelmed the DM may opt to reduce the number of opponents in some fights.

    The hobgoblin bonus damage in particular can make them deadly enemies, especially at the early levels. The book has recommendations to slowly improve the tactics of the hobgoblin troops over the course of the adventure. Early on they split up and divide their attacks over the party, making it less likely that theyíll get the bonus damage. Later they focus fire and move to flank, giving an advantage to hit and unlocking the bonus damage. This works well to keep the hobgoblins relevant throughout the adventure.


    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Veterans
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    I honestly think these only exist to keep the fodder slightly relevant at higher levels. Since bounded accuracy already does that for us with 5th edition, I think itís fine to just keep using the Hobgoblin stats from the Monster Manual. You can reflect the difference by using smarter tactics when Veterans are present. If you really must, doubling or tripling their hitpoints makes them a more persistent threat. You may also consider giving them Multiattack.


    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Bladebearers
    Show
    The Veteran NPC template is a good start for these antagonists. At CR 3, this keeps them at a nice mid-level threat. Theyíll form the big hitters at the beginning of the adventure and secondary threats later in the adventure. I would recommend giving them the Hobgoblin 2d6 bonus damage once per turn. This keeps their distinctive character as Hobgoblins and gives them a little more punch at higher levels. Again, be careful at lower levels and have the Hobgoblins spread out so they donít get this damage too much. Once the horde realizes what theyíre up against, or the players are facing more disciplined troops, you can use them more ruthlessly.


    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Sergeants
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    The Hobgoblin Captain in the Monster Manual is pretty much made for this role. Their Leadership ability synergizes nicely with the regular Hobgoblins and their presence can be an excuse to be a little more ruthless with tactics. Having the Hobgoblins fall into a disorganized mob when the Sergeant is eliminated can be quite satisfactory for tactically minded players. They also have pretty good hit points and damage, making them solid opponents in their own right.


    Spoiler: Hell Hounds
    Show
    The Monster Manual entry seems to work pretty well here, though they may be a little tougher than intended by the original adventure designers. My players didnít have problems with them after the first section, but they still make solid speed bumps and area damage even at higher levels.


    Spoiler: Doom Hand Clerics
    Show
    The Cult Fanatic NPC from the Monster Manual is a good start for these characters. I do suggest increasing their Consitution to 14 to reflect the Hobgoblin racial bonus, thus giving them 28 hp and making them a little tougher. Replace their dagger with a whip, but describe it as a 5 headed scourge with dragon motifs. That reflects the 5 headed nature of Tiamat and lets them stand behind the front line and make attacks. Upgrade them to a chain shirt for an AC of 15, and it may even be appropriate to give them a shield to get to AC 17.

    Their spells give them two different potential roles, which can be used to add variety to fights where they are present. Shield of Faith, Inflict Wounds, and Spiritual Weapon give them a close in role where they join the front line and have good spike damage from the Inflict. Command and Hold Person give them a crowd control option. If you go for the latter, consider swapping out Inflict Wounds for Bane. If Hold Person doesnít work or when the target passes their save, the Cleric can switch to Bane for their Concentration spell.

    Note that it is generally worthwhile to at least make the attempt at Hold Person. Itís a big swing in terms of action economy, and the paralyze effect can enable allies to do a lot of damage with the easy critical hits. If going for this, the Cleric should make sure that at least one ally acts immediately after them to try to get the bonus damage. It is not recommended to continue to use Hold after one attempt, though, since those 2nd level slots can be used for Command. That gives Command 2 targets, increasing the chance that at least one of the target fails their save.


    Spoiler: Goblin Worg Riders
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    When I first ran this in 5e, I just used goblins on worgs from the Monster Manual. Thanks to bounded accuracy the goblins were able to deal a fair amount of damage with their spears, or close in with the worg and add an extra attack. That works particularly well with the worgís knockdown ability, which can be used to grant the goblin advantage. Thatís good for decisive charge attack, and for that reason it may be worthwhile to also give the goblin a larger weapon like a lance. The goblin wonít have a good attack modifier with this weapon due to their poor strength, but having advantage on a prone foe may make up for this.

    One of the great things to do with mounted combat is to take advantage of the extra actions from two creatures. The worg can use the disengage option to swing in close to opponents while the goblin makes melee attacks, then the worg carries the goblin away out of range of retaliation. This tactic can also be used at range, though the worg no longer has to make a disengage action. Instead they use their full move to close to within 20í for a javelin throw, then runs out of movement range from the target.

    If you want a tougher monster, switch the goblin for the scout NPC in the monster manual. This gives more hit points and multiattack for greater potential damage. I would switch from longbow to shortbow so that the worg rider can continue to make ranged attacks from the mount, or keep javelins to keep the flavor of the goblin.


    Spoiler: Kulkor Zhul War Adepts
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    If you have access to Volo's, the Hobgoblin Devastator is a good fit for these spellcasters. Army Arcana is the key ability, allowing them to shape their evocations around the hobgoblin regulars at the front of the battle. It's recommended to swap out one of their first level spells for Shield for more survivability.

    An alternative is to build versions of these based around the different colors of chromatic dragons. We can use the Priest NPC as a base to get close to the intended CR, which would give us 27 (6d8) hit points and 1st - 3rd level spells (4, 3, and 2 slots). I would boost Constitution by 2 to end up at 33 HP, and of course swap Wisdom and Charisma. As these are supposed to be sorcerers, give them the Draconic Sorcerer scales feature and boost their armor class to 13. You may also consider giving them a +2 or +4 to Dexterity to increase AC further and give them a better initiative modifier.

    All of the casters should have Counterspell since it's so vital to the mid and high level spellcasting strategy, and since weíre going with dragons give them all Chromatic Orb. Message is also a great cantrip for an army, so all of them should have that. As for the remaining:

    3rd Level Spells - Fly, Fear, (both good for any dragon) or
    Red - Fireball
    Blue - Lightning Bolt
    Green - Stinking Cloud
    Black - Water Breathing (good for ambushes)
    White - Sleet Storm

    2nd Level Spells -
    Red - Scorching Ray, Web (to set it on fire)
    Blue - Shatter (thunder pairs well with lightning), Blur
    Green - Alter Self (reflecting the Green Dragon predilection for deception), Ray of Enfeeblement
    Black - Acid Arrow, Darkness
    White - Mirror Image (imagine ice mirrors), Gust of Wind

    1st Level Spells -
    Red - Burning Hands, Shield
    Blue - Witch Bolt, Thunderwave
    Green - Ray of Sickness, Charm Person
    Black - Grease, False Life
    White - Magic Missile (imagine shards of ice) or Ice Knife (if using Elemental Evil), Fog Cloud

    Cantrips -
    Red - Fire Bolt, Dancing Lights
    Blue - Shocking Grasp, Prestidigitation
    Green - Poison Spray, Minor Illusion
    Black - Acid Splash, True Strike
    White - Chill Touch, Ray of Frost

    The Red and Blue War Adepts are fairly classic blasters, with the Blue being a little more comfortable mixing it up in melee thanks to Blur, Thunderwave, and Shocking Grasp. Be a little careful with their Witch Bolt as it eats their actions for later turns. Red has a good combo with Web and Fireball - trap a bunch of opponents in the web, then drop a fireball to light it on fire for the bonus damage.

    The Green War Adept is a debuffer. Stinking Cloud can shut down multiple opponents, but the rest of their spells focus on a single target. Use their poison rays against those with poor Constitution saves and Charm Person on front liners with poor Wisdom saves. The Black War Adept focuses on ambushes. True Strike can be used before the ambush to ensure that a 3rd level Chromatic Orb or Acid Arrow lands. Use Acid Arrow early for the continuous damage, though Darkness may be a preferred initial spell if the Blackís allies can be effective in it. Such as if theyíre Devils.

    The White War Adept is a battlefield controller. Use Sleet Storm to shut down a section of the battlefield, or Fog Cloud to cover an advance or a retreat. Mirror Image is one of the best low level defensive spells. Gust of Wind may be rather narrow in area of effect, but can be used to push back a rogue or lock down a line of advance.

    All of the Adepts can use Chromatic Orb for consistent ranged damage, so if nothing else the Adept can sit back and blast away.

    And yes, thatís a mix of the sorcerer and wizard spell lists. I found it difficult to match the themes just from the sorcerer list, so I borrowed a few things. Presume itís a blessing of Tiamat. Praise Tiamat! :-p


    Spoiler: Doom Fist Monks
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    If you have Volo's, the Hobgoblin Iron Shadow fits these very well.

    If you don't have Volo's, a Monk type can be built fairly easily. First, we note that most of the CR 2 NPCs have about 6 HD, so weíll use that for the Monk, which uses d8s. Give them 10 Str, 14 Dex, 14 Con (hobgoblin bonus), 11 Int, 16 Wis, and 10 Cha. Theyíll have a +5 to hit, 39 hit points, and 15 AC. Give them multiattack with unarmed strikes dealing 1d6+2 damage. As a bonus action, they can either flurry of blows for two more unarmed strikes, dodge, or take a dash action.

    That would be sufficient to capture the flavor for an NPC monk, but if you want to add some specialist flavor you could give them a 1/day ability. Stunning fist (on hit, Con DC 14, stunned for one round), darkness, or fangs of the fire snakes (on hit, +1d10 damage, and make all attacks reach 10 for the rest of the combat) all make these monks a bit more memorable.


    Spoiler: Blood Ghost Berserkers
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    I ran these using the Berserker NPCs from the Monster Manual and I have to admit that I found them underwhelming. Reckless Attack doesnít really say ďraging bugbear barbarianĒ to me. At the very least they should be given the Bugbearís Brute and Surprise Attack features, plus the Bugbearís Stealth Modifier. Imagine these guys leaping out of a blind in the swamp or from an alley in Brindol to land a big attack for 2d12 + 2d6 + 3 damage. Imagine them getting a critical hit with that attack. Also they should really have Multiattack at the levels where they appear. Altogether this would probably increase their CR to 3, though.

    If you want to go all out, give them resistance to slashing, bashing, and piercing damage for their rage, a +2 to damage, and the extra attack as a bonus action from the Frenzied Berskerker path.


    Spoiler: Doom Hand Warpriests
    Show
    The Priest NPC is where weíll start for these antagonists. Youíll want to increase their Strength and Constitution as well as their hit dice and caster level, though. Give them heavy armor and shields, too. With 8 HD and 14 Con, theyíll have 52 hit points. Plate armor is not out of the question at the level at which they are found, so give them that and a shield for 20 AC. Or make it Dragon Scale for 19 AC, saving plate for the big bosses like Kharn and Azarr Khul. Maces are fine to attack, shaped like a dragonís head perhaps.

    As a level 8 caster with 16 Wis, theyíll have a spell DC of 14 and a spell attack of +6. Theyíll have 4 1st level slots, 3 2nd level, 3 3rd level, and 2 4th level. Weíll make a special ďTiamatĒ domain with some elemental or dragon themed spells to throw in.

    Cantrips: Guidance, Thaumaturgy, Sacred Flame, Spare the Dying (good for rescuing an important villain)

    1st: Cure Wounds, Burning Hands (draconic), Command, Faerie Fire
    2nd: Flame Blade (draconic), Lesser Restoration, Spiritual Weapon
    3rd: Dispel Magic, Mass Healing Word, Fear
    4th: Banishment, Guardian of Faith (draconic)

    This spell list is fairly full of Concentration spells, so the Warpriest will need to select a set of spells to suit their role. If they want to wade into combat, Flame Blade is a good choice for a concentration spell (perhaps even using a 4th level spell slot). This type of Warpriest should use the rest of their spell slots for Divine Eminence unless needed for healing, lesser restoration, or dispel magic.

    A support War Priest might open up with Faerie Fire then focus on healing the front line. Burning Hands can be used to give support where needed, or Spiritual Weapon to shore up that front line. Meanwhile, Fear and Banishment give the War Priest great debuff and crowd control options. Iíd recommend opening with Fear to hit as many targets as possible, then drop it when most of the enemies have made their saves. At that point make a play for Banishment.

    Note that Guardian of Faith does not require concentration, so is a good area denial spell.

    I marked some spells as (draconic) to indicate that their default damage type should be switched to one of the chromatic dragon types. Instead of a humanoid, the Guardian of Faith might be a green dragon with a cloud of poison around it. The Flame Blade could be a field of freezing cold. Burning Hands might be a breath weapon, with the War Priest spewing lightning with the attack. These damage types should be fixed for the dragon facet the War Priest most reveres, with high priests like Azarr Khul getting to use all five types of elemental damage.


    Spoiler: Kulkor Zhul Mindbenders
    Show
    These may be represented with the Bard NPC from Volo's, but lacking that the following may work:

    Medium Humanoid (hobgoblin), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (studded leather)
    HP 44 (8d8+8)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 12 (+1), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 18 (+4)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60ft, passive perception 10
    Skills: Insight +4, Persuasion +8, Deception +6
    Languages Common, Goblin
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Traits
    Spellcaster: The mindbender is an 8th level spellcaster. They use Charisma as a casting stat. They have a spell save DC of 13 and a to-hit bonus of +5.

    Spells:
    4th (2 slots): Compulsion, Confusion
    3rd (3 slots): Hypnotic Pattern, Dispel Magic
    2nd (3 slots): Hold Person, Suggestion, Zone of Truth
    1st (4 slots): Bane, Charm, Cure Wounds, Dissonant Whispers, Faerie Fire, Sanctuary
    Cantrips: Bladeward, Friends, Vicious Mockery
    -------------------------
    Actions:
    Dagger: +3, 1d4+1 piercing damage

    Reactions:
    Cutting Words: When a creature that can hear you within 60' makes an attack, check, or damage roll, roll 1d8 and subtract that from their roll.

    These spellcasters are focused on debuffs and crowd control. Most of their spells do require concentration, however, so they will need to choose their actions carefully. Hypnotic Pattern is a great opener with a long range and a wide area of effect. It can really turn the tide of a battle. That is recommended as a starter.

    Another good concentration spell is Bane. This imposes a penalty on saves, which makes spells like Vicious Mockery, Sanctuary, Dissonant Whispers, and Charm more effective. The mindbender could spend the entire combat using these spells.

    Hold Person and Suggestion are fantastic ways to deal with a single target. Hold Person works really well when there are a lot of other monsters on the battlefield, as it gives them a chance to land a lot of damage. Suggestion can swing the action economy by causing a PC to switch sides for a turn or two (though the suggestion must be carefully worded - at best, it might be used to send one PC off of the battlefield for an extended period of time).

    Confusion has a small area of effect but can be quite potent. It is best used when the PCs are clustered together. Compulsion is useful when the PCs start getting near the mindbender, causing them to scatter. This can also be used to trigger attacks of opportunity.
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-12-04 at 11:27 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Running the Adventure

    There are several non-mechanical issues that tend to come up again and again over the course of running this adventure. These transcend editions, so anything from the various 3.5 guides and campaign journals will be helpful, but I have a few things from my own experience to add.

    Spoiler: Introducing the Adventure
    Show
    There is some discussion below about how to connect this adventure to other adventures, particularly the published adventures from 5e. Here we will discuss the hooks and startup expected by the adventure itself.

    The default link into the adventure is a treasure map indicating good money to be made at Vaath Keep. The ambush on the way to Drellin's Ferry gives some hint about what's ahead, but isn't particularly unusual - you see similar ambushes in adventures like Keep on the Shadowfell and they don't amount to much more that side-quests. If you really want to give the players some idea of what's going on, and they haven't gotten that from a hook in a prior adventure, then the NPCs at Drellin's Keep are the best bet. Sergeant Hersk and Speaker Winston are what fill in the players as to the local situation, so these are key interactions.

    The players can often get a little lost about what to do next after they defeat Koth, so it would be a good idea to seed some ideas at this point. Have Speaker Wiston as them to return and report. Or he may even mention the worries that this might be a larger than normal force and the possibility of evacuating, but that it would take a long time and that he'd rather not if he doesn't have to. He needs the PCs to assess the situation and let him know whether that drastic step is necessary.

    I'm a big fan of Matt Colville's idea of using the opening town to set the tone and theme for the adventure to come. Put some thought into how the NPCs might show what's going on. Talk about previous raids, have some shopkeepers confident that this will blow over and others be more worried. Maybe talk about some of the local areas, too, like Rhest and the Ghostlord, to give the history of the area. Talk about the old bridge and the history of Vaath keep. Get the PCs involved by having the NPCs ask them questions, like where they are from and what they're up to.


    Spoiler: Managing Information
    Show
    There can be some difficulty in making the transitions from one area to the next. I completely missed the section on the Lion of Brindol showing up and talking about the roadblocks and the players didnít really pick much up from Kothís map except that the army was heading to Brindol. This is part of why they decided to just try to assassinate Kharn (see below) - they didnít have a good idea of their alternatives. It also wasnít immediately clear that they needed to drop the bridge.

    Making use of The Alexandrianís 3 Clue Rule can help to make sure that the players move smoothly through the adventure. This is also an opportunity to take it a bit off the rails. If the players have the opportunity to decide whether to tackle Rhest or the Ghostlord first, that gives them a little bit more agency in the adventure. The 3 Clue Rule article actually uses a 5 node adventure as its example, and thatís what we have here. If Drellinís Ferry is node A, then Rhest is node B, the Ghostlord is node C, Brindol is node D, and the Fane is node E. Weíd like clues at node A to point to B, C, and D, while node B points to C, D, and E, C to B, D, and E, and D to B, C, and E.

    Now, this is something of a misnomer, because what Brindol is really fixed in time. If you havenít resolved Rhest and the Ghostlord by then, itís really too late to do so. However, if we include the sidequest material then you can have some pre-battle stuff to make a node D out of. Of course, that makes node D less of a specific location and more of an open world area for the players to freely explore. As such, youíll not only need clues to lead people to the vicinity of Brindol but also hooks to get them to interact with specific events within Brindol.

    Drellinís Ferry

    The map from Koth is a really good clue and pretty much lays out the whole adventure. However, the only thing thatís obvious from the map is that the army is heading to Brindol. We could use some reinforcing clues to point to the other areas. I would suggest adding a report from Miha, giving the players some idea that thereís a spy in the Vale. This is before the horde is moving, so there's not a lot of reports on what the Vale is doing in defense. It would just be about where she's set up and perhaps some information about routes. Something along the lines of "these villages have lots of supplies that may be useful to the army" gives the players a clear course of action of speeding up evacuations there in a scorched earth strategy. That gives them one clear path forward toward Node D.

    The Lion showing up to talk about the blockades is a clue pointing toward Rhest, but (1) they donít actually talk about the monsters, so thereís a chance that the PCs just clear the blockades and leave, and (2) itís easy to miss this encounter either because the DM forgets it (as in my case) or because the players donít go back to Drellinís Ferry after the start of the adventure (also in my case). Itís okay to have clues that can be missed since weíll make up for it later, but itís a good idea to make this at least a little bit stronger of a clue. Have the Lion emphasize the importance of clearing those blockades and specifically ask the players to do so. The Lion might even search them out since they were successful in dropping the bridge, and could meet them in a village in the Vale if they decide to help with evacuations. They could mention the monster, too, talking about some grisly kill or another or a strange sighting along the way. Or that they noticed tracks of hobgoblins going into the swamp, and they'd like the PCs to find out why.

    That just leaves the Ghostlord. Since we donít want the players rushing right to the Ghostlord, itís okay to make this a weak clue or difficult to find. Maybe have one of the Ghostlordís undead supporting Koth, or added to the random encounters with raiders. If the players think to ask about where this came from, give them a roll on Religion. At a 20 or higher, they not only know what kind of undead it is but also that itís the handiwork of this particular Lich. Maybe use the Ghost Lions to reinforce this connection and the unusual nature of the undead, thus provoking the question.


    Rhest

    The big clue in Rhest is the Ghostlordís phylactery. The main problem is that the players rarely have a good idea of what to do with this phylactery. Itís not obvious that the Horde is using the phylactery to force the Ghostlord to help them, or that itís necessary to return the phylactery in order to get the Ghostlord to stop helping them. Players will often just pocket it or destroy it. Once again, it may be a good idea to have a few undead in Rhest to make the players aware that an alliance exists. Actually, it would be even better if the undead in Rhest were /not/ there as allies of the Horde. Make them agents of the Ghostlord trying to locate the phylactery. Have one group of dead Horde members obviously killed by level draining or something, and a chance to encounter these undead. It will likely be a fight, but the players might also think to talk to them. In addition to this, put some documentation. Have a letter from Ulwai to Sarviith warning about these undead, saying that the Ghostlord is on the hunt for this phylactery and warning him to take care to hide it well.

    The clue pointing to Brindol might be at the blockades. Have a letter warning the blockade to be on lookout for the treasure caravan going to hire the mercenaries. Thereís no sign of it yet, but that might get the players to go look for it. As for the pointer to the Fane, again we donít want the players to skip ahead, so letís make it rather hard to find. Sarviith is going to know about the Fane, so interrogating him will point to it. We could also say that one of the clerics served there for a while to help with the ritual, so interrogating them will get some information about it if the players think to ask. Letís also put an obscure clue in so that the Fane isnít a total surprise after Brindol. That same cleric has a memento from the Fane, a particularly potent holy symbol imbued with the dark energies of the place. Make it a magic item, because those get the attention of players. Something like a Pearl of Power, but with a curse so non-clerics of Tiamat get burned trying to use it until they hallow it and reconsecrate it to their own deity. Or maybe they can use it, but then Tiamat has insight into their location. They have dreams of her, and she passes on information about the PCs to her favored clerics. That would explain the death squads later. A DC 20 Religion or Arcana check would identify the energies as coming from the Fane.


    Brindol

    The players should get a big pile of documents after the Battle of Brindol pointing them at the Fane. They should also be able to get these documents if they try to assassinate Kharn or otherwise infiltrate the Horde. Thatís hard enough that itís okay to leave these as a strong pointer to the Fane. If the players are clever or strong enough to go Into the Horde, they might be able to pull off attacking the Fane earlier than expected.

    Miha is another great clue. She talks to everyone, so could have information all about Rhest and the Ghostlord and even the Fane. However, sheís a lot more likely to be accessed than Kharn. What if sheís loyal to Kharn and doesnít know about the ritual. Sure, she knows the Fane exists, but doesnít know what theyíre doing there. Sheís even contemptuous of Azarr Kul for just sitting up there, and thinks Kharn should be in charge. Now, why would she talk? Iím not a big fan of Jack Bauer torture scenes, so think of what might motivate her. Gold? Pride? Charm Monster? Maybe she talks freely of Kharn, revelling in the inevitability of his victory and accidentally drops hints of why sheís so confident. ďHe commands even the deadĒ or ďTiamat has blessed him with unstoppable weapons.Ē Or maybe she talks freely, mixing in truths and untruths and the challenge is to detangle them. She could be trying to hide the importance of Rhest, so perhaps she makes it seem like the Ghostlord is freely allied with the hobgoblins. She hopes that the players will attack him directly, both getting them killed and prompting the Ghostlord to take a more active part in the battle.

    The treasure wagon can be another clue. Have a survivor of the wagon who says they tried the blockades but had to turn back, thus giving another pointer to that location.

    If the players haven't dealt with Rhest yet, the escaped Razorfiend might be hunting refugees near the swamp. As they help with the evacuation, they might get word of this and be asked to go and kill the monster. This leads to the larger complex.

    Iíd also say that if the players are kicking around Elsir Vale, take this opportunity to introduce them to the NPCs from Brindol. Maybe Tredora Goldenbrow is among the people of the Vale, coordinating evacuations. Lord Jarmaath may be leading sorties. The mercenary gold might have been funded by Lady Kaal, and if the players find survivors theyíd mention her. Or maybe they get word of the gold when they are in a town and one of her agents is looking for it.


    The Ghostlord

    The adventure uses a very blunt transition from the Ghostlord to the Battle of Brindol. A messenger arrives and asks the players to go to Brindol. Furthermore, they should already have some idea of where the army is going and when itís going to get there, so there shouldnít be much confusion about the next step. Still, by this point the players may have some idea about the ritual at the Fane and want to go there first. And Iíd say let them! Yes, Kharn will likely destroy Brindol (though technically itís possible for the players to clear the Fane and reach Brindol in time), but you can still have a showdown with Kharn even after Brindol is leveled. Maybe you have the players joining an army to assault Brindol and take it back, or the battle occurs at the next big town. If youíre playing with the idea that Kharn and Azarr Kul are rivals, this ďchoose your own big badĒ approach could give a big twist to the adventure even for folks whoíve played it before. If the players go out of order you might want to reduce the difficulty of the Fane a little, indicating that the ritual is not as advanced, while beefing up Kharn and his army to compensate. I mean, dude should have leveled after taking a city, after all. Maybe a bunch of new cult members and nasty monsters flock to his side after his demonstration of power.

    Ulwai makes a solid connection to the Fane. She knows about the ritual and can fill the players in if captured. Iíd say that she can be convinced to share this information to save her own life. She has confidence that Azarr Kul can defeat the PCs, so sheís okay with letting them know about the Fane. Sheís more reticent about Rhest, but if the players kill the Ghostlord anyway then thereís nothing really to protect there. Of course, if she flees or is killed then the players get none of this. The Ghostlord may give this information if the PCs negotiate with him (as a way of getting back at the Horde), and it may also work to have Sarviik send a letter saying that he dealt with those undead looking for the phylactery. Or if the players have already dealt with Rhest, maybe some communication indicating their activity.


    Spoiler: Scry and Die
    Show
    I had a very proactive group, and one of the first things they tried to do was assassinate Kharn. The book actually anticipates this and provides the ďInto the HordeĒ encounters to run such a session, but somehow I missed that and ended up ad-libbing my own material. It worked out okay, but I wasnít really satisfied with throwing together a response. I recommend planning a little better for the layout of the camp, whatís required to actually get to the important NPCs in the camp, and the security in the camp to run this sort of thing. Pulling off such a feat is entirely possible for players even at 6th level (though escaping afterwards can be tougher - donít forget to prep for that too), and it should feel appropriately difficult and epic. Remember, if the PCs fail there are also suggestions on what to do if they get captured. Itís also fine to just have a TPK in such an event, especially if they actually manage to take out Kharn or the red dragon. The players chose this course of action and should be okay if it goes poorly. As long as you give them plenty of chances to consciously make the decision and make sure that they know what theyíre getting into, of course.


    Spoiler: Victory Points
    Show
    Almost any discussion of RHoD will touch on Victory points. Pretty much the only way to fail the secure the victory points to win the Battle of Brindol is to skip both Rhest and the Ghostlord. This is largely because the fall of the town is a huge failure state - without the records in Kharnís tent, the players wonít know to go to the Fane. Including all the other pointers to the Fane makes the fall of the town less critical, but you could also include some backup plans. Maybe Kharn himself recruits the players to destroy the Fane, desiring to eliminate a powerful rival. Or if they defeat Kharn but fail to save the city, have the documents captured in the chaos of the battle. Or in his dying breath Kharn laughs at the PCs, saying that their victory is temporary and Kul will surely be their doom.

    Now that itís okay for Brindol to fall, consider what that looks like. This doesnít mean that the PCs die or even fail to kill Kharn. It just means that the horde as a whole is so strong that the defenders of Brindol have to evacuate. It could also mean that Brindol was so savaged by the attack that itís not inhabitable anymore. That gives you space for a ďdrawĒ result. Both armies are savaged and retreat to lick their wounds, and Brindol ceases to exist as a viable settlement.

    So letís start there. The listed VP in the adventure is for total defeat for the defenders. The defenders evacuate, the horde takes the city, the PCs are possibly captured. Add 15 or 20 VP to that, and thatís total victory for the defenders. That means that the horde is broken and fleeing. Anything in between is a draw. The horde is not totally defeated, but retreats to Drellinís Ferry. Meanwhile the town is too destroyed to support the defenders. They can leave a small garrison, but the townspeople canít live here anymore. They are now refugees.

    The other change Iíd make is to only give VPs for the Wyrmlords and Dragons (other than Kharn and Abithriax) if the PCs actually finish them before the battle. If they so much as show their faces at the battle they cause enough damage to possibly swing the outcome. This makes it a priority for Wyrmlords to flee, and the decision to avoid the Ghostlord has big consequences for the fate of Brindol. Between these two changes, you should see the fate of Brindol being a little more uncertain. Does anyone else have suggestions on how to handle this?


    Spoiler: Treasure
    Show
    Thereís a huge difference in expectations on treasure between 3rd edition and 5th edition. Permanent magic items are a lot more rare, while things like potions are intended to be a much more prominent part of the campaign. Furthermore, the PCs are likely to be drowning in coin if you use the treasure hoards from the DMG. That happens even in games where magic items are abundant (**cough cough**).

    Iíll discuss changes for specific items in the sections where theyíre found, but generally speaking itís a good move to switch permanent items for temporary items. An abundance of potions of healing takes some pressure off the clerics and fixes the ď10 minute adventure dayĒ somewhat. Buff potions like Strength or Speed can make up for not having a buffing magic user. Speed potions are very popular in my group since you can take one and then get the extra attack in the same round.

    The other issue is that the adventure presumes an abundance of +1 weapons and armor, enabling the party to equip themselves with at least baseline gear if they canít find the best weapon or armor for them. That assumption no longer holds. What I might recommend instead is rolling hoards for each of the major encounters, then go ahead and spend some of the coin on gear for the monsters in the encounter. This cuts down on the coin bloat in the game and gets some useful gear in the hands of the party. Iíll make notes on the relevant sections on what level of hoard to roll and what kind of gear might be appropriate for the antagonists near that hoard.

    In terms of buying gear, the adventure as written is too fast paced for custom gear. However, itís reasonable for the players to expect Drellinís Ferry, the Kiri Tor, and Brindol to have some magic items in stock. Basic items like healing potions should be abundant, and then give some distinctive consumable items for each area. The Kiri Tor might have several jars of Keoghtamís Ointment, for instance, as well as potions of invisibility and water breathing. The folk of Drellinís Ferry, meanwhile, make a pretty mean Potion of Giantís Strength. As for permanent magic items, have a few...but roll or select them in advance! Give the players a list of what can be found, no more, no less. Itís a good idea to make a bag of holding available, so put one in each settlement. Try to ensure at least one commonly used magic armor and weapon in each area, like a +1 longsword and chainmail in Drellinís Ferry and +1 longbow and leather armor among the Kiri Tor. Then add something distinctive like an arrow catching shield and an oathbow, respectively, if the players earn the trust of the town. Also, players love cloaks of protection, but those might be better found on hobgoblin corpses. Brindol should have an order of magnitude more items, especially uncommon items, and it should be pretty easy to get a +1 weapon or armor of any kind in case one player is playing a polearm fighter and needs that magical glaive.

    You might also put in some other money sinks. Mounts are good for this, and maybe there are some sections where the players can flat out buy VPs. Hiring more mercenaries, for instance, or buying a lot of gear for an elite strike team.


    Adaptations

    Thereís a lot of discussion on how to adapt to settings like Eberron or Forgotten Realms, so here Iíll focus more on how to tie this adventure to the published adventures from 5e. This list will be updated, and Iíd love to hear input from others on the forum!

    Spoiler: Lost Mines of Phandelver
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    The Lost Mines are an excellent starter for any 5th edition campaign. It works particularly well for Red Hand as it ends at 5th level, just where Red Hand begins. Lorka has used this introduction, and notes that the dopplegangers could be replaced with Draconian shapeshifters and the Black Spider could be switched from a drow to a hobgoblin to give more of a link to the events of Red Hand. They do recommend doing some adaptation to put Lost Mines in the Elsir Vale so that the group gets a little more rooted in the region before having to defend it.

    Moradin has several suggestions for tying LMoP to RHoD. First, switch the orcs at Wyvern Tor for hobgoblins in the full Red Hand get-up. These are scouts who got a little carried away and started attacking passing merchants. Second, place a map to Vraath keep in the adventure. Area 14 specifically encourages the DM to leave such a link to a future adventure. You could also have it at the Black Spider's desk in Area 19, perhaps with a note along the lines of "Have Koth check for this.
    Treasure = money for invasion."

    If the Black Spider is a major spy and provocateur in the area, then they have some overlap with Miha Serani. Perhaps both they are rival spies, or Miha is meant to be a "silenet partner" to back up the Black Spider. In any case, it may make sense for Miha to be involved in a few events of LMoP,
    maybe as an intended recurring villain.

    Moradin also suggests replacing Ozzyrandian with Venomfang. They suggest changing the Thunder Tree part to have Venomfang looking for her eggs. If the PCs help her recover them,
    then she actually hangs back and doesn't help the Red Hand at the bridge. This would require beefing up the Red Hand forces there to account for her not being part of the fight.

    Moradin also has a revised map of the Baldur's Gate region that blends Phandalever and the Elsir Vale so that the players can move between the two adventures. It can be found at: https://imgur.com/P4xKq6Z


    Spoiler: Hoard of the Dragon Queen
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    This adventure is pretty much made to work with Red Hand of Doom. Itís easy to recast the rampaging cultists as rampaging hobgoblins and move the opening town to Drellinís Ferry. Just fending off that attack gets the party to level 3. The rescue of Leosin gets the party to level 4 or 5, then you just swap in Koth for Rezmir and send the players into the woods instead of off to Waterdeep on a caravan. Make Joss a friend of Leosinís and youíve got a pretty smooth transition from one adventure to the next.


    Spoiler: Out of the Abyss
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    The first portion of Abyss is all about escaping the Underdark, and completing that gets the party to somewhere between levels 5 and 7 depending on what events occur. You can take out the hints of demon activity (or just leave them unexplained), and make the first 5 levels of the game just about getting back to the surface. Then when the players emerge, they get ambushed by the hobgoblins near Drellinís Ferry. Out of the frying pan and into the fryerÖ

    Then fold the campaign back on itself. Once the players dispatch Tiamat, they discover that sheís not the only demon lord trying to make a break for it! The PCs have to go back to the underdark after level 11 to finish the demon lords below.


    Spoiler: Yawning Portal
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    The Sunless Citadel and the Forge of Fury span levels 1 to 5 and thus make a good introduction to The Red Hand of Doom. Kuulvheysoon had the duergar of the Forge acting as weapon suppliers to the Hand. They also changed the final dragon to a white, because gosh darn it the Red Hand of Doom is missing a white dragon. Like Lost Mines of Phandelver, these two adventures could be transplanted to Elsir Vale without much effort, thus giving a chance for the players to learn the setting and the NPCs before the region comes under threat. That raises the stakes somewhat as well as gives them a better grounding in the setting from which to make decisions. If they're already familiar with the Thorn Wastes from Sunless Citadel, then they might have a quicker uptake on the importance of the Ghost Lord's phylactery, for instance.
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-12-29 at 02:23 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Part 1 - The Witchwood

    This section will provide a conversion for the encounters in Part 1 of the Red Hand of Doom adventure as well as advice on running them taking into account the change in rules. This introduction also plays through a transition from local threats to regional threats, which can be a bit tricky. As such, some discussion is included as to how to give your campaign a solid start.

    Spoiler: Marauder Attack
    Show
    The initial ambush is a pretty tough fight, but in 3rd edition the hobgoblin regulars were sort of non-entities. That's no longer the case in 5th edition. The fight could therefore become somewhat overwhelming. The advice in the book is to run the fight in stages, with the big hitters hanging back for a round until they realize that the adventurers are tough. It can take them another round to actually reach the fight. Meanwhile, the second wave of regulars doesn't arrive until round 4. This should enable the PCs to win the battle in detail and avoid getting overwhelmed.

    The hellhound is the initial melee threat, and the hobgoblins should hold back so that she gets a clear area for her breath weapon. Note that anyone next to the hell hound is subject to the increased damage from the hobgoblin archers. This could get very nasty very quickly if the hobgoblins rushed in for flanking and the bonus damage, so it's better to keep them at range. The second wave might try such tactics if the group has gotten through thus far unscathed.

    Uth-lar the blade-bearer has fairly straightforward attacks and again provides a source of bonus damage for the archers. If he and the other hellhound attack the same target, Uth-lar would also get bonus damage. They could also provide each other with flanking.

    With so much melee force on the field, Zarr might be better served to use the control spells from their list. Hold Person would be devastating against Uth-lar's target, providing advantage and criticals. It might be worthwhile to save such a deadly combo until a later fight. Targeting a skirmisher like a rogue or ranger would be worthwhile, as it ties up that character for a few rounds, without being overwhelming. Zarr can then use Command to try to push back the melee types (kneel is a good command, reducing their actions and providing advantage to those in melee). Once Hold Person wears off, Bane is a solid follow-up spell. Remember that Zarr can't have both active at the same time since both spells require concentration.

    355 gp is a somewhat large amount of gold coins in one go at this level, so I'd suggest rolling a Level 0 - 5 hoard from the DMG. This gives a little more variety to the treasure with the possibility of a consumable magic item or two. Roll in advance in case these are useful to the hobgoblins (or you could say it was on the merchants and hadn't been found yet). In the end it should be about the same amount of money, but with interesting things like gems and art objects included. One art object may even be of interest back in the town, provoking an RP interaction later. Note that Zarr won't have a suit of +1 banded mail and Uth-lar will not have two +1 swords. It might be worth replacing those with consumable items like potions of healing.

    Finally, the DC 15 skill check to identify the symbol of Tiamat is somewhat high for 5th edition. This is intended to be an easy check, and as such should be DC 10.


    Spoiler: First Visit to Drellin's Ferry
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    The main thing to remember whenever running a town is that the DM is the eyes of the players. They can't interact with anything if they don't know it's there, and they don't know things are there until you tell them. As such, a good description of the town gives a strong start to the adventure.

    This doesn't mean that you have to read all 19 locations off a list, but a one paragraph description should give enough information for the players to find the rest with a few follow up questions. Something like:

    "The town of Drellin's ferry is organized around the village green, where a pair of inns serves locals and visitors and a cluster of government and militia buildings can be found. As one of the major stops along the Dawn Way, there are many shops and warehouses serving passing merchants. The eponymous ferry runs along side the ruins of an old bridge of dwarven manufacture. The religious needs of the town are tended to by a small shrine and a druidic circle on the other side of the river. The town seems prosperous despite the recent raids, and there's even a town wizard. "

    This gives enough for the players to start asking questions. If they ask about the shops, for instance, you can then give a list of all the things to buy in town - Morlin's Smithy for weapons and armor, Jarret's Sundries for gear and potions, Delora's Livery Stable for mounts, Sterrel's Provisioning for travel arrangements and supplies, and of course Gausler's Brewhouse. Iormel and Jendar's warehouses are also centers of commerce, though they don't have gear of interest to adventurers. That said, they might have quest hooks or prior relationships with the PCs. If any have served as caravan guards, for instance, they might have dealt with the warehouse masters.

    The gear available in the shops, temples, and from the wizard needs a bit of tweaking. 5th edition presumes that permanent magical items are quite rare, so it may be desirable to eliminate the magic armor, weapons, bracers, and ring entirely from this town. At the very least the bracers no longer exist in 5e, and the ring is a much more powerful item. If you want to keep the same kind of item, replace them with one or two cloaks of protection. The potion of cat's grace likewise does not exist. It may also be worthwhile to change the scroll of haste to a potion of speed (always popular with my party). Also, the scrolls at the shrine would be for Cure Wounds, perhaps at higher levels, since cure moderate and serious wounds are no longer spells. Or replace them with a potion or two of greater healing. The scroll of resist energy may become a potion of resistance. And the potions of cure light wounds at Jarret's Sundries are just plain potions of healing.

    On the subject of the magic armor and weapons, I don't recall seeing a list of such items for sale in either Tyranny of Dragons or Out of the Abyss. However, such items do have to come from somewhere. It does makes sense that a prosperous trading town would attract a skilled specialist like Morlin, in the same way that they've attracted a wizard. He could become a key supporting NPC, providing benefits but also getting the players invested in the fate of the town. If you want to preserve the mysticism of magical items, you could make his stock of magical items reserved only for PCs who prove themselves worthy. As such, he might not reveal this stock until after the threat is revealed, or would have to be impressed by Persuasion checks or a display of skill. Or perhaps he just recognizing the PCs as having potential; the sorts of people who would carry his blades into legend.

    Of course, I have a hard time getting excited about a plain old +1 weapon, and I'd expect any PC to abandon that weapon once the good stuff starts rolling out later in the adventure. Which sort of undermines Morlin as a Smith of Legend. In this case, perhaps the +1 gear is just what he makes as master pieces, with no-one in mind, and later he might forge a true legendary (or at least rare) item to suit the PCs given enough time. If the PCs provide the resources, he might present them with this item just before the Battle of Brindol.

    The exploration of the town and shopping trips give an opportunity to for role-playing and to lay out the themes of the adventure. It can be worthwhile to make a couple of notes on what the NPCs might be talking about and their reaction to the events. Morlin, for instance, might be steadily churning out weapons with grim purpose when the PCs arrive, and his eyes spark when he sees a warrior that may be worthy of his blades. Perhaps he has something in the back that he has saved until a proper bearer arrived...or maybe he holds onto that until the PCs have proven themselves. Jendar, by contrast, might be looking to pack up and leave town, to no little delight from Iormel.


    Spoiler: Witchwood Encounters
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    The random encounters in the Witchwood have several monsters which have changed CR or no longer exist in 5th edition. Here are a few possible substitutions:

    Grey Render - Giant Ape, or better yet, Tyranosaurus Rex! (the latter is great for a game set in Chult, the former can be re-skinned to be more of a sasquatch of the like to suit a temperate forested environment)

    Centipede Swarm - start with the swarm of insects, but increase hit dice to (45) 10d8, attack to +5, AC to 13, damage to 6d4/3d4, and size to Large. Note that the last change means that this swarm can attack up to 4 Medium creatures at once. Increase CR of an individual swarm to 2

    Dryad - their CR is lower than expected for the desired encounter level, so add an Awakened Tree or two to the encounter. This could easily become a role-playing encounter. Presume that the Dryads have been fighting the hobgoblins and see the PCs as similar invaders. If they can be calmed down, they could become allies.

    Assassin Vines - replace with 7 - 10 Vine Blights, draped over trees and dropping down to get an ambush off

    Digester - This is a tough one. If we're going with Dinosaurs, then a stegosaurus or tricerotops family (1d2+1) or deinonychus pack might make a good thing to go here. Otherwise...two Basilisks? A Catoblepas from Volo's? Both fit into the "weird monster in the woods" sort of idea that Digesters had.

    Ettercaps and Giant Spiders - fine as is, even fitting into the desired encounter level

    Giant Wasps - 2 to 5 of these isn't really much of a fight, so increase to 7 to 10. Make it a whole Giant Wasp nest.

    Girallon - You need Volo's for this, and one Girallon probably isn't much of an encounter for the party at this level. Make it two, though, and it's a significant fight. Or make it a more complex encounter by having it be hunted by goblins to be trained as a war beast. A goblin hunting party might be a half a dozen goblins, perhaps with some worg riders. If we're going with dinosaurs, switch it out for an Ankylosaurus or two.

    Goblin Worg Riders - fine as is, but see the notes above on translating the Red Hand army members

    Manticore - another one that's fine

    Owlbears - still fine

    Shambling Mound - just take it right from the Monster Manual

    Tendriculous - probably misspelled, but it doesn't matter since it doesn't exist anymore. I really don't remember this monster very well, so, uh...pack of Velociraptors? Or if we're not doing dinosaurs, maybe a dozen twig and needle blights?

    Trolls - fine

    Stirges - You need something like 15 of these before they become a notable challenge, but hey, that could be fun. Or a slog.

    Dire Boar - Giant Boars are CR 2 now, so you'd need a pair of them to make it at all interesting.

    Giant Stag Beetle - Giant beetles aren't really a thing anymore, so maybe more giant spiders? Or wolves?


    That's it for direct conversions, but honestly...what's the witchwood without some witches??? I kind of feel like the trolls don't really fit the whole giant beast/angry plant motiff of the woods, so I'd suggest replacing that with a coven of hags. Or maybe not a coven, since even a coven of 3 green hags is pretty deadly at this level. But take a hag and give her a few of the woodland creatures to defend her, like some of those Blights or swarms of insects.

    On the subject, I feel like those ettercaps and spiders are a bit out of place too. These are classic forest creatures, but everything else has a specific sense of place - a swamp with intelligent plants and bloodthirsty bugs. If nothing else I'd run this encounter to really emphasize the swamp feeling (use pit traps in the swamp rather than web traps) or replace this with something that evokes the Forest Giants that show up later. Maybe run into the old fellow out hunting or picking berries or the like, just to tie him a little more to the story.

    I've always liked how random encounter tables can be used to tell the story of a region. These tables tell the story of a swampy wood haunted by giant insects and predatory plants, with strange monsters that have wandered out of the deep woods (the girallon, grey render, etc). If you want to change the story a bit then I suggest picking everything from one of those categories and replacing it with linked encounters from another categories. For instance, the dinosaur theme above switched out the strange monsters for dinosaurs, leaving the bugs and plants to tell a new story of a primeval, Land of the Lost sort of place (again, good for a Chult game using the Tomb of Annihilation setting material).

    Another example might be rooted in the Dryads. That lone encounter gives the Witchwood just a touch of the fey, reflecting maybe an isolated place tied to the Feywilds but for the most part leaving the Witchwood a more mortal place. If we want to make it more of an enchanted forest, maybe we'd take out the bug encounters and replace them with will'o'wisps and trickster fey, and replace the plants with stuff like Animated Trees and murderous fae (perhaps bring those trolls back, putting them under some bridges waiting to drag people into the water).


    Spoiler: Updating Jorr
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    There are two good approaches for updating Jorr to 5th edition, depending on how you want to use him. Using the Scout NPC is a quick and easy solution and is easy to run, whether by the DM or by one of the players. This works well for his stated purpose - a guide and a bit of combat help in the Witchwood portion of the adventure.

    Jorr can also make a good backup PC, however. If he's to be used as such then it's worthwhile to develop a proper character sheet. Hunter Ranger or Beastmaster Ranger would work well for him. You might also have your players make the character sheet, giving them a bit more investment in the character and making it easier to make the switch if a PC bites it and Jorr needs to step in full time.


    Spoiler: Blackwater Causeway
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    A hydra fight is a Hard encounter for 5 5th level PCs. Given that this hydra just fought a bunch of hobgoblins, it might make sense to knock it down to 3 heads and something more like 102 hit points. It should have advantage on the Stealth roll, but only get the +1 bonus from its Dexterity (the circumstance bonuses in the adventure turn into advantage in 5e). With passive perceptions on the order of 14 to 16, that means there's only about a 1 in 3 chance that the hydra actually pulls off the ambush. It also has a pretty poor initiative modifier, so it's possible that the players will get a full round of actions before it goes. Or it may get an ambush and another round before the players. Given that you don't reveal the number of heads until the monster's first turn, I'd suggest giving it 3 heads if it gets the ambush off and 5 heads if it doesn't. A solo monster like this really suffers from the action economy, so tweaking like this helps to keep the fight interesting.

    As for treasure, I suggest replacing the +1 Mithral Breastplate with a level 0 - 4 hoard, reflecting that this is a loot wagon that was ambushed by the hydra. One might also use non-magical Mithral armor, though Mithral doesn't really add much to a breastplate. Mithral Chainmail would be a nice upgrade to a heavy armor user since it removes the disadvantage for stealth rolls.


    Spoiler: Vraath Keep
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    Most of the monsters at Vraath Keep can either be taken from the Monster Manual or from the discussion of the Horde above. Koth needs some updating for 5th Edition. If we're using the presence of undead as a clue to the Ghostlord's environment, a ghost lion can be added to this portion of the adventure. This does increase the difficulty of the encounter. The lion may replace Karkalan if the DM judges that the encounter is too difficult with an extra creature. Stats for Koth are in the next spoiler block.

    I recommend replacing Karkalan and Koth's gold piles with level 0 - 4 hoards, or level 5 - 10 for Koth. You might give Karkalan a couple of healing potions and a potion of Growth for the magical portion of his hoard. If Karkalan ends up fighting in the open then the Growth could be a lot of fun. Use Koth's gear as the magical portion of his hoard too. He should have the bag of holding and a potion of fly at least. He might also have one or two greater healing potions. Ditch the wand of magic missile; cantrips fulfill that role in 5th edition. The scroll of Mount becomes a scroll of Phantom Steed, and the elixirs of truth should be ported over to 5th edition with a Wisdom Save of 13. Those give the PCs some interrogation methods beyond going Jack Bauer on some poor goblin, and might guide them into picking up tools like Charm Person and the like for future interrogations.

    The treasure down in the basement should be a level 5 - 10 hoard for coins and art objects, using the giant teeth and dragon skull as the art objects. The deed is fun and can lead to some follow up adventures after this campaign. Replace the frost bastard sword with a Frostbrand, but make it a kind of sword that one of the PCs use (rapier, longsword, and greatsword are all solid choices). The Staff of Life needs to be updated for 5th edition. I gave it 10 charges, recharging 1d8+2 every day. It had the spells Cure Wounds, Mass Cure Wounds (for 3 charges), and could be sacrificed for Raise Dead. You may also consider allowing Heal for 10 charges, which risks breaking the staff, but does give a very potent attack spell against the Ghostlord. The +1 Mithral Chain Shirt should be fine, or could just be a +1 Chain Shirt.

    The map is a key clue for the rest of the adventure, basically laying out the whole thing. Savvy players may figure out everything they need from this material, but it's always wise to include additional links.
    This was discussed in Information Management in the previous post, but as a reminder it was recommended to have a letter from Miha here detailing her spy work to give the PCs a clue as to what they might do in the area around Brindol.


    Spoiler: Wyrmlord Koth
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    As a sorcerer, Koth looses out on the Bugbear Brute trait. He's not going to be making many weapon attacks. However, he can get a lot of mileage out of the Surprise Attack trait. The strategy is to use Invisibility to get the drop on the players, then Scorching Ray to make attacks against 3 targets from invisibility. Surprise Attack says that Koth gets the bonus damage on /any/ attack made against a surprised creature on the first turn. Scorching Ray grants three attacks, so Koth can get off a pretty massive hit right on the first turn. Technically Fireball would do more damage, but he can always do that on the second round. He has a potion of fly as a getaway measure.

    I suggest Fireballing any clustered PCs in the 2nd and later rounds (basically any time he can catch 3 or more in the area), unless that would catch friendlies. He has the AC and hitpoints, especially with Shield, to close to melee and use Burning Hands to get 2 or more PCs. Charm Person can be used to pick off a fighter or rogue, especially if they somehow manage to get within Melee range of him. If they fail the Charm save, they won't make an attack of opportunity when Koth retreats. Fire Bolt is a solid attack cantrip that he can use if he lacks other options. Shocking Grasp gets him out of melee if the Charm doesn't work or he's out of spells. Mage Hand lets him close doors behind himself as he runs, or open a window as he runs toward it. I leave Minor Illusion and Prestidigitation to the creativity of the DM.

    Koth gets the 27 (5d8+5) hitpoints from Bugbear, plus 22 (5d6+5) hit points from sorcerer, for a total of 49 HP. He doesn't wear Hide, but gets 13 base AC from the Draconic Sorcerer feature. With 14 dex that gives him 15 AC. He should have at least a 16 Charisma, giving him a spell attack modifier of +7 and a Spell Save DC of 15 (note that 10 HD corresponds to a +4 proficiency modifier). His spell list leans heavily on fire:

    Cantrips: Firebolt, Shocking Grasp, Mage Hand, Minor Illusion, Prestidigitation
    1st (4 slots): Burning Hands, Shield, Charm Person, Expeditious Retreat
    2nd (3 slots): Invisibility, Scorching Ray
    3rd (2 slots): Fireball

    From a roleplaying perspective, Koth isn't typically around long enough to leave much of an impression. If we go with the faction idea mentioned above in Management of Information, then we might be able to craft a picture of him posthumously. One option might be to make him something of a double agent. He's parked himself at the base of the trail up to the Fane, putting him in an ideal position to report to both Kharn and Azarr Kul. Let's have the stack of intelligence contain some duplicates, indicating that they're sent to two places...and the stuff being sent to Azarr Kul also has reports on Kharn's activities. I can think of two reasons why Koth might do this. First, he might just be trying to stay on the good sides of both powerful leaders so he can prosper regardless of which comes out on top. This version of Koth is ambitious but also somewhat cowardly, carefully watching which way the wind blows. He'll be quick to retreat and fight from a position of strength, or to provide information to the PCs when captured in order to improve his own position. Second, he might be a true believer placed by Azarr Kul to watch Kharn. This version of Koth is fanatical and will attack the enemies of the Red Hand with zeal. Note that your presentation of Koth is the first time that the players are really exposed to the Red Hand. The first version of Koth portrays them as a faction ridden organization with deep internal rifts. The second version of Koth portrays the Hand as a monolithic threat that inspires fanatical loyalty in its members. Both are valid, but will provide a bit of a different play experience.


    Spoiler: Warklegnaw
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    Forest Giants were a bit odd in 3rd edition in any case, and as far as I know they don't exist in 5th edition yet. You could use Firbolgs, or just give a Hill Giant 10 Intelligence and 12 Wisdom. The return of the spiked gauntlet should grant advantage rather than a numerical circumstance bonus.


    Spoiler: Skull Gorge Bridge
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    The troops here can be built using the material from the Horde discussion above. Ozyrrandion can use the general stats for a Young Green Dragon, but the breath weapon damage has been found to be pretty deadly at 5th level. One option is to reflavor the Young White Dragon, resulting in a lower hit point, lower damage foe, just by switching out poison for cold damage in the breath attack.

    I would note that I made the mistake of having Ozyrrandion end a turn close to the party on one of the bridge towers, and the barbarian jumped onto him. He did not survive long when exposed to close up melee damage. This can be used to your advantage, though, if the party is struggling to deal with his flyby breath attack tactics. Have the fellow get overconfident and land to pick off a spellcaster, giving the melee types one round to leap in and rack up some damage.

    Note that in 3rd edition the dragons were seen as underwhelming against a well crafted party. That seems to be less of an issue in 5th edition, with the breath weapon packing a huge punch, but I will note that dragons, as with the hydra, suffer from action economy disadvantage. The Juveniles lack the Legendary actions to close the action gap, making them vulnerable to getting ganged up on. It's less of an issue here with Ozyrrandion's tactics and minion backup, but should be considered carefully in each fight. The listed tactics keep them effective, but even big damage monsters like dragons fall quickly when going toe to toe with a full party.

    One other issue with the dragon fights is that they can get monotonous. There's not much to distinguish the dragons other than the type of their breath weapon damage. I'll make a note as we go how to make each fight distinct and memorable. I think the big thing here is Ozyrrandion's fly-by tactics and the use of minions to give a secondary threat. We'll contrast that to the later dragon fights as we go.


    Spoiler: Cinder Hill and the Return to Drellin's Ferry
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    Most of the combat encounters for the rest of the section can be run using the listed numbers and the Horde conversion given in the previous post. The DC of climbing down the Gorge should be reduced to 20, and disadvantage may be imposed instead of the -5 penalty. Any other numeric circumstance bonuses should either be converted to advantage/disadvantage or an adjustment to the DCs. Rescale DCs so that 10 is easy, 15 is medium, and 20 is hard. 25 can be used as a threshold for exceptional success at a check, resulting in additional information.

    It's critically important that the PCs get the information about the road block from Treyani, the Lion of Brindol. This is a key clue leading to Rhest. The encounter should be run as soon as the players return to their chosen inn after Vraath Keep. Then have Treyani present at the Desperate Counsel encounter, just to reiterate how important this clue is. She should specifically ask for the players to go deal with that while she takes word to Brindol. Emphasize that this will help refugees and open the door to reinforcements. You may also add some information about hobgoblins going into the swamp, and have her ask the PCs to find out what they're up to. Offer a bounty that can be claimed at Brindol later (this seeds a clue for the PCs to later return to Brindol). This really solidifies the pointer to the next portion of the adventure.
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-11-21 at 10:24 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Part 2 - The Ruins of Rhest

    This section discusses the smaller encounters from the Elsir War as well as the material in Rhest. The earlier links to Rhest are not abundantly clear, and certainly seem no more important than other courses of action like bringing word to Brindol or evacuating the towns in the path of the horde. This weak link is one of the big challenges of the adventure, but is also an opportunity to open things up a bit and let the PCs have their head. The Elsir War encounters enable a sort of sandbox war campaign. Note that this also solves a second problem in the campaign, which is that the PCs often reach Brindol well in advance of the Horde. Fleshing out the war in the Vale can use up some of this extra time.

    This post will provide advice on how to run the resistance to the horde as a sandbox as well as providing mechanical updates of the encounters.

    The Elsir War

    Spoiler: Notes on the Elsir War
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    The PCs only have a weak link to Rhest at the conclusion of the events in the Witchwood, and if you're using the extra clues from Managing Information in the earlier post then they might have other leads that are more compelling. While this can be a big problem in getting the PCs to tackle the main events of the adventure, it's also an opportunity to break the adventure out of the railroad that it commonly becomes. The trick is tying Rhest to the rest of the war effort. This can use the 3 Clue Rule again - open up a lot of opportunities for the players to make a difference in the course of the war, and as they deal with these encounters put in more clues to point to Rhest. Eventually the players will decide to investigate the swamp on their own. The following sections on the various encounters will include some thoughts on how to point to Rhest. I will also add more encounters to flesh out this section and give the players a chance to encounter the important NPCs in Brindol before the major events there.

    While running the Elsir War, consider what's going on with each side. The hobgoblins push fairly slowly through the Vale until they besiege Vale. I think this is largely due to their need for supplies and loot. They don't have great supply lines from the mountains, instead relying on what they can take from the villages and farms they attack. The main army moves from village to village, because that's where the food is, while outriders scour the countryside for supplies and loot. Thus you have room for smaller skirmishes with raiding bands and the like while saving the big battle for Brindol.

    Meanwhile, the residents of the Vale are mostly trying to escape or organize a defense. Managing the flow of refugees is a full time effort. Meanwhile, Lord Jarmaath is trying to figure out what's happening and to slow down the horde. He's pretty confident in his martial prowess at Brindol, so it would not be surprising to encounter him leading a band of swift knights in hunting down hobgoblin raiders and scouting out the main army. Captain Lars Ulverth might be encountered with him or leading a band of troops on his own. Tredora Goldenbrow might be encountered helping with refugees. Lady Verrasa Kaal can be used in several different ways. She's presented as the head of rather unsavory elements, so she might be engaged in war profiteering and taking advantage of the exciting new opportunities for crime. This presents her and her minions as a secondary threat which can trouble the players during this portion of the war and at the Battle of Brindol. On the other hand, she's also presented as a canny operator who does what's necessary to save the city, like knocking down buildings for a fire break. She might be the one to recognize the importance of supply lines (or lack thereof) and be engaged in things like scorched earth tactics. She's also a good source of the mercenary gold. In this version she may serve as a patron for the PCs. If they're having trouble deciding what to do next, she might slip them some intelligence about monsters in the swamp near Rhest. In either incarnation, it's unlikely that the PCs would encounter her directly. Instead they will likely deal with her minions for some time before a personal interview might be granted.

    Considering the above, the players will mostly be dealing with raiding bands of hobgoblins. They might have have other encounters involving defending refugees or holding a defense point long enough for the locals to evacuate. They might get caught up with scouting or neutralizing the hobgoblin scouts. Then you have the set piece encounters like Miha or the mercenary gold. At the same time, they might encounter or hear of the main NPCs of the game operating at the same time. This makes Brindol have a little more impact later.


    Spoiler: Easy Skirmish
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    This fight can be constructed using the Red Hand Forces described above. It can be re-used by swapping out the elite hobgoblin in the encounter - a War Adept backed up by some hobgoblins plays quite differently than the Blade Bearer presented in the book. Another way to get more mileage out of this encounter is to vary the circumstances. Some of these fights might be ambushes on the part of the hobgoblins, while others might be the players stumbling on them in the midst of looting, with a third option of the players picking up the band's trail and executing an ambush on /them/. You could also use this for outriders and scouts near the main army, making this the first challenge the players must overcome if they attempt to infiltrate or attack the main army.


    Spoiler: Dirty Rotten Looters
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    The Thug NPC can be used for these looters, but four thugs aren't really going to be much of a challenge for a party of 5th level characters. You could make this more of a role playing encounter, with the main issue being how the players handle this looting. If you want a tougher encounter, the Spy NPC could replace one or all of these looters to create a slightly more challenging encounter. Or their leader might be a Veteran, becoming the main combat power while the thugs provide flanking support and go after isolated targets. You could also increase the gang to 6 members or so, with one or two higher level NPCs backed up by 4 thugs or so.

    One interesting option is to use Wererats. That creates a tougher fight and also introduces a different kind of antagonist to the adventure. This can be a welcome change of pace after waves of hobgoblins and NPCs.

    This encounter could be used to put the players in contact with Lady Kaal. If that's the case,
    these thugs might have a little more going on than just opportunistic looting. Not that they shouldn't be looting - this is a great opportunity for Lady Kaal to engage in a bit of wealth redistribution.
    But you can use this encounter multiple times to represent the different kinds of crime that she's engaged in, with an entire parallel structure of antagonists and assassins that might help or hinder the players.


    Spoiler: Mercenary Gold
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    The standard ettin and goblin Monster Manual entries work well here. It's worth noting that this comes to a deadly encounter for 5 characters of 5th level due to the large number of monsters present. However, there's a bit of a breakdown in the difficulty estimation when you have a large number of low CR enemies supporting a couple of higher CR enemies. Yes, the low CR enemies are still relevant, but they don't have the multiplicative power on the higher CR enemies that the system presumes.

    Given that, an alternative version of this would be a single ettin, 8 goblins, and a goblin boss. That comes out to a Hard encounter and adds a bit more diversity to the fight. Have 4 goblins slinging javelins, the ettin tying up the front line warrior, then the boss and his 4 goblins dancing among the PCs to skirmish and get to the squishier members in the back.

    The main RP portion of this is to justify the presence of the dwarves at the Battle of Brindol and stack up a few extra victory points. This can be expanded on in a few ways. For one, move the Hammerfast Holds to the north side of the Giant Shield mountains. That requires the PCs to go through the Rhest roadblocks in order to deliver the money, resulting in one more Clue for our 3 Clue Rule to get the PCs to head to Rhest. This is also an opportunity to have some RP at the Hammerfast Holds, which may be more meaningful if these Holds were part of a previous adventure. Tying them to the Forge of Fury, for instance, might be a good way to tie a larger campaign together.

    This letter also ties to Lord Jarmaath, giving the PCs a chance to interact with him at some point, and could also tie to Lady Kaal if she provided the money for the mercenaries. Either of their agents may encounter the PCs at some point and ask them to follow up on the lost money, or may be encountered after and know them because of the help they provided.


    Spoiler: The Not-So-Sick Spy
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    The aranea does not exist in 5th edition, so a substitute is required. Miha is intended to be a spell-casting foe with good mobility, with the difficulty of the challenge being (1) detecting that she is a spy and then (2) chasing her down. She is an advanced Aranea with several levels of sorcerer to support her base powers.

    The basic doppleganger is a decent substitute for any supernatural spy, and adding seven levels of sorcerer gives access to Polymorph. This can be used by Miha to switch to an escape form and increases the challenge rating of the monster to reach the expected difficulty (a doppleganger on its own is a pretty weak challenge for a 5th level party). This works particularly well in Eberron, where Miha might be a Changeling.

    Another option is an Incubus/Succubus. This fits well with the fiend/hobgoblin theme of the adventure. The Charm ability gives the option of backup in any given fight, while Etherealness makes for a very slippery opponent. The fiend is slightly weak for a full party to fight, but might work out with Charmed or paid backup or if it stalks and attacks one party member at a time. Miha could become a full night's adventure with this option.

    A third alternative is to make Miha a lamia. This is a leonine monster rather than an arachnid one, and lamias don't have the same mobility as araneas, but you could add the levels of Sorcerer as above to get Polymorph or the like for a really monstrous transformation and to make an appropriate challenge fight.

    You could also change the nature of the encounter if you select a different set of powers. Lamias have access to Charm Person and Geas, so Miha could have a whole network of geased spies doing her bidding. This removes the need to improve Miha's stats to get a challenging fight since she can rely on her minions during a battle. In honor of Skurge the Executioner, I'd suggest providing her with a Goliath bodyguard based on the Gladiator NPC. She might also have a smaller group of geased or simply paid off thugs nearby to reinforce her.

    For the fight itself, presume that Miha has been working the crowd with her Intoxicating Touch. If she can tag a PC all the better, but at the very least presume that she's touched a few of the nearby priests. When the battle begins, have her use Charm Person to bring in allies from the crowd that the players may be reluctant to mow down. If she's touched a PC, have her use Suggestion to try to get that PC to switch sides. This covers her retreat. If the PCs pursue, have her lead them to various safe houses she's established where additional geased and paid off minions stand by to help her out.

    Note that if Miha succeeds in infiltrating the group, she'll need to be particularly conscious of her privacy. She can use Disguise Self for a convincing cover, but it will lapse at night. Skurge likely guards her well during these times so that the PCs won't find her out, but this can give a good opportunity to discover the deception.

    As for information, Miha knows quite a lot about the overall plans of the Hand. The Developments text in the adventure indicates that she tells the players just enough to get them to either Rhest or the Ghostlord in the hopes that they'll be killed off by the Hand agents there. I'd suggested a specific strategy in the Managing Information box above, which is that she would try to convince the players that the Ghostlord is willingly participating with the Hand's plans. The advantage of this is that the players would be likely to attack the Ghostlord directly, which could very likely get them killed. In addition to that, the Ghostlord would likely take such an attack as a reason to join the Hand in truth, cementing the alliance. Unfortunately this means giving some truth away along with the lies, but there's really no reason to mention Rhest, is there? Don't give the players an Insight check unless they ask for one, but they should absolutely get the chance to realize that they're being played if they think to ask.

    If you're using the idea of Factions to flesh out the Red Hand NPCs, then I'd suggest that Miha firmly supports Kharn in his bid to conquer the Vale and usurp Azarr Kul's affections in Tiamat's eyes. Miha has no respect for Kul hiding in the Fane, and while she knows the location of the Fane she likely does not know the significance of the ritual taking place there. If asked about Kul or the Fane, she has no reason not to express her disdain since it distracts from talking about Kharn's plans. If the PCs go after Kul, that's a win for Miha and Kharn no matter who comes out on top.


    Spoiler: Barghest Reavers
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    As long as you have Volo's converting this encounter is fairly straightforward. Barghests are a bit more deadly in 5e than they were in 3e, so it might be a good idea to reduce them to 2 rather than 3. Even then this is a fairly deadly encounter, especially with the potential ambush and the lack of armor from the PCs. Having a fortified position in the form of the farmhouse mitigates this somewhat, so it's advisable to start the Red Hand forces at least 30 feet outside of the farmhouse on their surprise round so that they don't bypass this defense before the players can react.

    If you lack Volo's, things get a little tricky. One could replace the Barghests with a Bugbear Chief and two Bugbears, though that is a much lower encounter difficulty than the Barghests. This may be a good point to add in the Ghostlord's influence - add a Ghost Lion to the fight. Use the Lion stats and make it insubstantial. This preserves some of the terror of the situation - just as the players start to get a handle on defending the farm house, someone walks through the wall and attacks them from the inside! The barghests are supposed to do this with spells in the original 3e encounter, and the Ghost Lion could provide a similar effect with its insubstantial characteristic.


    Spoiler: Marked for Death
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    The first problem of this encounter is finding substitutes for the creatures of the encounter. There is no Greater Barghest even in Volo's and the Blackspawn Raider is of course an original monster for the adventure. If you have Volo's then the regular Barghest can fill in well enough. As with Barghest Reavers, the Bugbear Chief makes a good thematic substitute for the Barghest (as a big beefy goblin), with a Ghost Lion is a potential substitute that conveys a more supernatural threat. A Bodak from Volo's also gives a similar supernatural threat and a link to the Ghostlord, but is a lot more deadly than the Ghost Lion.

    The second problem with the encounter is its deadliness. The encounter is intended to be deadly,
    but six CR 4 creatures is much more deadly in 5e than it was in 3e thanks to bounded accuracy. For instance, a group of two Barghests and four Blackscales is an equivalent of 8000 XP, or just over the deadly threshhold for a group of five Level 6 PCs. Giving these creatures an ambush makes them even more likely to kill a couple of PCs. The DM should be cautious when designing this encounter. If the party has been rolling over everything then it may be appropriate to throw the full encounter at them, but if they struggle then a weaker version can still result in an epic fight.

    Note that this situation gets even worse if the PCs have to fight the hobgoblins and ogre while also dealing with the creatures in the ambush. I would suggest that the ambushers use the duration of the fight to get into position, not actually joining combat until the 2nd or even 3rd round. The party may be able to wipe out the entire initial encounter by this point, and at the very least they'll have cut down the number of actions against them when the heavy hitters arrive.


    Spoiler: Blackspawn Raider
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    Kuulvheysoon provided input on this build of the Raiders. I've changed the subtypes to add Fiend (Demon), giving these creatures a whole bunch of resistances to make them a little tougher than their hit points might indicate. On the flip side, it makes them vulnerable to things like the Paladin Turn ability.

    Medium Humanoid (Draconic), Fiend (Demon), Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 68 (9d8+27)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 14 (+2), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60ft, passive perception 12
    Skills Survival +4, Perception +2
    Damage Resistances Acid, Cold, Fire; Lightning, Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing From Nonmagical Weapons
    Languages Common, Draconic
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Traits
    Brutal: The blackspawn raider adds an additional die to the damage of weapon attacks. This is already factored into the attacks below.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack: A blackspawn raider makes 2 falchion (greatsword) attacks when using the Attack action
    Falchion (melee) +3: 13 (3d6+3) slashing damage
    Acid Breath (Recharge 5-6) 15ft line, DC13 Dexterity saving throw or take 22 (5d8) acid damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful save.


    Spoiler: Captured!
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    This encounter can be built using the horde members in the previous post. The listed monsters are a medium encounter for a party of 5 level 7 party members, but I'd bump that up to hard given that the players are bound and without equipment. That can jump to Deadly if you have a lower level party or fewer party members, so I'd suggest removing one of the Hobgoblin Sergeants if you have such a party.

    If the party survives this, award 1000 XP per surviving party member.


    Spoiler: Into the Horde
    Show
    The adventure represents this as a laughably stupid idea that the players should be railroaded away from, but in my experience the players can come up with some pretty clever plans to get into the army and cause problems without fighting the whole thing at once. The adventure does consider the possibility that the PCs try to assassinate Kharn, but lacks details on how to adjudicate that encounter.

    The first thing that needs to be resolved is infiltrating and moving around the Horde. I usually resolve these sorts of things using theAlexandrian's "Let it Ride" mechanics; namely, the party makes one check and then you compare it against ascending DCs as they push their luck going into the Horde. They don't get a reroll unless circumstances change, which mostly happen as a result of PC actions. They might come up with a clever plan to distract the guards, granting a reroll, or might so something that draws a lot of attention, requiring a reroll. I also use the group check mechanics, meaning that as long as half the party passes the DC the whole party can progress. Bluff, Stealth, and Disguise Kit checks are the go-to skills to use for this endeavor.

    Getting close enough to just see the army is trivial. Set the DC of that at 5. This isn't useless - from here the PCs can get an estimate of numbers and what kind of troops are present. You can also get a sense of the pickets from here. I'd give a Perception check of varying DC. With DC 10 they party gets basic information about troops and numbers, and with DC 15 they get a sense of the pickets and placement of things in the camp.

    Getting past the pickets is the main challenge, and how much of one depends on how you are role-playing the army. While neither goblins nor hobgoblins are particularly perceptive, a well placed picket allows them to Aid each other and provide advantage. That's worth about +5, making the passive perception of goblins at the picket 14 and hobgoblins 15. This makes a good DC if you see the army as being well organized and disciplined. Alternatively, you could play up the divisions and lack of organization among an army composed of tribes that had been at war with each other before the Red Hand forced them to unite. In that case presume that the pickets don't get the advantage of Aid and the DC is 9 for goblins and 10 for hobgoblins.

    Another way to increase the difficulty of the pickets is to add worgs. They have a passive perception of 14 and could get to DC 19 with a well organized picket. Rather than using these to raise the DC universally, I'd suggest spreading them out at key points. A clever party that scouted the pickets in advance might discover where the worgs are and choose a spot to infiltrate that avoids them. A party going in blind would have a random chance of encountering them - I'd suggest roll a d6, and on a 1-2 they infiltrate at a goblin picket (only DC 9 or 14), 3-4 at a hobgoblin picket (DC 10 or 15), and on 5-6 at a picket with a worg (DC 14 or 19).

    Once past the pickets things actually get easier. The camp is fairly chaotic and has lots of places to hide. However, there's a /lot/ of people there. I'd suggest starting at a low DC, like 10, and then increasing it by 1 for every 10 to 30 minutes the party spends in the army. This reflects that the longer the party is in the camp the more likely it is that something happens to reveal them.

    The army is large but not too large, about 5000 creatures. According to the UNHCR, a well spaced camp would be about 35 - 45 square meters per person. We can approximate that as a 10' x 10' space per creature. That makes the army 50,000 feet on a side (10 miles!). Just walking that would take about 167 minutes, and if the PCs move at full speed they get disadvantage on the stealth check. If you use the +1 DC/10 minutes, the party would require a DC 18 stealth or disguise check to reach Kharn at the middle of the camp. They're require DC 26 to get to Kharn and then get back out! Using 30 minute time steps reduces that to DC 13 and 15, respectively. 20 minute time steps may be a good intermediate result, or the DM might have different intervals depending on how the party infiltrates. Stealth might be 10 minutes, while Disguise is only 30 minutes or even once a day!

    We can also include actions that the PCs can take to reduce the DC. For instance, if the PCs get passcodes to answer challenges in the camp of one tribe, they might not get the increase for 30 minutes as they pass through that tribe's area. These can be gotten by interrogating a member of the tribe or by listening for the passcode from passerby (DC 10 to 15, depending on the professional level of the army).

    The DM may also require navigation checks to get to a desired location in the army. A perception check at DC 10 (for an organized army) or 15 (for a disorganized one) may be required to navigate to any given location, or more than one if the location is far away (I'd recommend one every 30 minutes). Failure results in the party getting lost and having to spend another 10 minutes in the army, and failure by 10 or more results in running into trouble of some sort. This might be a good point to force a Stealth or Bluff reroll.

    Getting caught in the army need not be the immediate end for the PCs. In a less organized army, fights might be pretty common. They might only be faced with something like the Easy Skirmish. As long as they finish the fight in 2 rounds, they attract no further attention. After that, another Easy Skirmish worth of foes shows up to see what the fuss is about. If the party clearly doesn't belong, their foes might go try to raise the alarm. If they are well disguised, however, they might win praise from the onlookers for their martial prowess! A more disciplined army still has fights, but tough sergeants and priests will act quickly to quell them. This would require quick thinking on the part of the PCs to talk their way out of trouble or to duck into the crowd. This would be precisely the kind of change in circumstances that would necessitate a reroll of Bluff or Stealth, with the NPC actively rolling against the party on Insight or Perception (perhaps with advantage).

    Any sight of importance is going to have a well organized guard and perhaps even magical alarms. I'd add a worg, which gives a baseline DC of 19 due to the advantage of the Aid action. The adventure lays out what happens if the party tries to assassinate Kharn, but the players may also be interested in the food supplies (to poison or burn them), the monster pens (to free them and cause havoc), or a large collection of closely spaced tents (to burn them). Note that in the latter case a well organized camp will have fire breaks every 300 feet to limit the damage of such an attack, while a less organized camp would be more subject to such an attack. Rather than tracking specific numbers, the DM might simply reward VPs for attacks of this nature. 2 or 3 should be sufficient, with as much as 5 for a fire attack on a poorly organized camp as it rages out of control. The DM may require multiple sabotage checks to set up such an attack, however.

    Once the PCs hit a major site, the alarm should go up. They should reroll their Stealth or Bluff check. This might be actively opposed by nearby hobgoblins, and later by a tracking unit with a worg (who get advantage on scent based Perception checks). If the PCs fight, sending an Easy Skirmish once every couple of rounds should be a good model of the army swarming them. If the whole party ends a round in stealth against all foes, then I'd say they escape in the chaos. They still have to get out with the escalating DC (perhaps at +2 per time interval, or with a shorter time interval), but have that reset every time they have an encounter and escape to reflect that they are moving toward the edge. They might also try to find a place to lay low until the heat lets up, which could be a DC 20 Perception check to find a suitable location during the chase (or maybe they would have identified such a place from their earlier scouting). A rough sketch of the camp is useful here with important locations and hiding spaces identified.


    Spoiler: Additional Encounters
    Show
    The Goblin Raid, Chimera Attack, and Massacre at Drellin's Ferry encounters can all be used during the Elsir War.

    The Goblin Raid functions similarly to the Easy Skirmish but is a little bit tougher. I'd recommend using both for the same purpose of harrying the players and telling the story of raiders pillaging the countryside, but switching between them in order to vary the experience somewhat. You could also combine all the monsters in Goblin Raid in a single wave for a tougher encounter. As with Easy Skirmish, the War Adept can be swapped out for a different specialist in order to change the nature of the encounter.

    Chimera Attack also tells the story of the army on the march, but throws in the detail that monsters accompany this army. You may swap out the monster to keep things interesting. Three manticores have about the same XP budget as a single Chimera. A hill giant with the support of some hobgoblins or ogres might also make for a good encounter. I'm also partial to the idea of just a giant pack of hell-hounds.

    The Massacre at Drellin's Ferry is exceptionally deadly and isn't really a random encounter. It might be used if the PCs put themselves in the path of the army for some reason. Maybe there's a village that is in the process of being evacuated and needs a desperate rear-guard action to cover the civilians. Or this could be used with NPCs to drive home the deadliness of the horde. If it is used, it will need to be modified somewhat to reflect the lack of a river.

    If you have access to The Hoard of Tiamat, then the opening encounters in Greenest make a great variation on Massacre at Drellin's Ferry. Instead of being the whole horde, the attackers are a large group of troops sent to sack a town and secure supplies from it. This lets the party tangle with a more manageable portion of the Hand in an important battle. You would need to convert the enemies to goblins and hobgoblins rather than cultists and kobolds, as well as increase the difficulty of the fights to match a higher level party. You might use Abithriax to harass the castle. This could be a good place for Koth to show up again if he escaped, or to have an early run-in with Kharn. This can also be used at the lower levels to introduce some secondary PCs to the action or for a one-shot if not everyone shows up for the main campaign.

    I also like to include a couple of extra non-combat encounters to flesh out the story of the war.

    Refugees - the party encounters 2d10 refugees fleeing from the horde. If there are more than 5 refugees, there is one wagon for every 5 refugees in the band. The band may also include livestock. The refugees are in no immediate danger, but may welcome the presence of armed adventurers to guard them on the road. If the players choose to accompany these refugees to a safe shelter, grant 100 XP per surviving refugee to the party in addition to the XP from any further encounters on the way. The refugees can also be sources of news, talking about the blockades near Rhest or the progress of the horde.

    Raid Aftermath - This encounter emphasizes the grim cost of the invasion, and may be omitted if the DM doesn't want too much grimdark in their campaign. The PCs come across some sign of the horde, whether that be a burned out farm house or a slaughtered refugee caravan. There's a 30% chance that the perpetrators are still nearby, and they can be tracked down with a DC 10 Survival check. Roll 1d8. On a 1 - 2, run Easy Skirmish. On a 3 - 4, run Goblin Raids. On a 4 - 6, run Chimera Attack, and on a 7 - 8 run Barghest Raiders.

    Lions of Brindol - A troupe of 2 - 12 knights rides past the PCs on their way to fight the horde.
    If there are at least 10 knights, then either Lars Ulverth or Lord Jarmaath accompany them.
    These knights can be sources of news, such as about the missing Mercenary Gold or the blockades near Rhest, as well as a chance to interact with friendly NPCs. The players may elect to join the knights on their mission. This may be hunting raiders (use Barghest Raiders, Easy Skirmish,
    or Goblin Raid), scouting the horde (use Into the Horde, but the knights are just there to look at the enemy and estimate numbers so stop at the outskirts), or defending a town (use Massacre at Drellin's Ferry, though in this case have additional friendly forces already on site to make things a bit more even). In the last case the PCs and the Lions aren't expected to hold the town, just to slow down the horde enough for the civilians to escape. In the most desperate circumstances, have the captain of the defense order the PCs to leave to fight the horde elsewhere rather than stand with the rear guard and die. The DM may also use the Defense of Greenest for this encounter for an easier time.


    Spoiler: An Elsir War Encounter Table
    Show
    The following random encounter tables can be used to tell the tale of the Elsir War. Note that the adventure is expected to play out over 40 days or so, of which perhaps 25 - 30 involve traveling through the Vale. Having a 15% chance of an encounter results in 4 - 5 encounters over the entire adventure, while a 25% chance of an encounter results in 6 to 8 encounters over the course of the adventure. Since this encounter table has non-combat encounters, I'm using the higher chance of an encounter.

    I see random encounter tables as a way to tell the story of a region, so that's why I have the non-combat encounters. Even though it may be trivial to have a party of knights ride by and only takes a couple of minutes to describe, it does tell the players that the Vale is active in its own defense and gives them the chance to make contact with friendly forces.

    Roll a d20 for each day of traveling through the Elsir Vale. On a 15 - 20, a random encounter occurs
    01 - 10 - Lions of Brindol
    11 - 20 - Refugees
    21 - 25 - Raid Aftermath
    26 - 45 - Easy Skirmish
    46 - 65 - Goblin Raid
    66 - 80 - Chimera Attack
    81 - 95 - Barghest Raiders
    96 - 100 - Mercenary Gold

    Note that the PCs may specifically be looking for the Mercenary Gold, in which case they should be able to track it down with a series of Survival or Persuasion (Gather Information) checks. I suggest that they be able to make a check at DC 15 each day, with three to five such successes needed to find the gold. Persuasion can only be used if the PCs enter a friendly town or encounter friendly NPCs on the road. If they randomly roll the encounter while searching before getting the successes, well...it seems they got a lucky break and stumbled across the object of their search!

    Towns are busy places, so the chance of encountering something of interest there is higher. An encounter occurs on a 13 - 20 for each day spent in a town.
    01 - 15 - Refugees
    16 - 35 - Lions of Brindol
    36 - 45 - Goblin Raid
    46 - 55 - Chimera Attack
    56 - 80 - Dirty Rotten Looters
    81 - 95 - The Not So Sick Spy
    96 - 100 - Massacre at Drellin's Ferry

    If the PCs end up at the Massacre event then they are massively in the wrong place at the wrong time. There should likely be plenty of warning before this event that the horde is on the way - it's not like PCs don't know where it is. If this is rolled, then the DM might phrase it as "the horde will be here within a day" rather than "and the town is now under attack." This gives the PCs a chance to leave, or perhaps some NPCs are here to fight a rear guard action. It may also be preferable to have this be a triggered event if the PCs stay in a town close to the path of the horde rather than a random event. In that case, this event could be replaced by the Defense of Greenest encounters from HotDQ or the Not So Sick Spy could be run instead.

    Marked for Death is not on these tables as it's a triggered rather than a random event. Once the PCs have made a nuisance of themselves (either after Rhest or after three or four Elsir Vale encounters), run this encounter. I suggest having it occur the next time that a random encounter is rolled while the party is traveling rather than something from the table. If no such encounter is rolled, it means that the horde was never able to track the PCs down and find an opportune moment to attack them.


    The Blackfens

    Spoiler: Road Blockade
    Show
    This encounter can be built using the hobgoblins and ogres from the Monster Manual. Once again, however, bounded accuracy makes this a tougher encounter in 5e than it would have been in 3.5e. If the party is lower level or has fewer people, then it may be suitable to remove one Captain from the fight.

    Having a Captain present gives an excuse for tougher tactics. The hobgoblin bonus damage applies anytime an enemy is adjacent to one of the hobgoblin's allies. Therefore the hobgoblins can stay back and take shots at the PCs while the Captains and the Ogres engage in melee. Leadership from the Captains can make this archery fire quite deadly, especially if they manage to to get an Ogre into melee with a spellcaster. Remember, though, that it does take time for all of the forces to get ready to fight.


    Spoiler: Blackfens Encounters
    Show
    The Blackfens encounter table includes swamp creatures,
    oozes, and a smattering of undead. There's also a Tiri Kitor encounter to include the elves and a chance to encounter more Razorfiends. This tells the tale of a slightly haunted swamp, reflecting the fall of Rhest.

    As with the Witchwood, several of these creatures have changed CR or disappeared, so the following substitutions are recommended.

    Greenspawn Razorfiends - see below

    Tiri Kitor patrol - The Scout NPC works for the elven rangers.

    Chuul - These are lower CR in 5e compared to 3.5e. 2 - 4 make a full encounter.

    Hydra - Fine as is

    Manticores - Fine as is

    Giant Crocodiles - These are higher CR in 5e compared to 3.5e, so it's probably best to cap out at 2 of these rather than 3.

    Giant Wasps - 7 to 12 of these are needed to even get an easy fight for a 6th level party

    Harpies - These are lower CR in 5e compared to 3.5e, so 4 to 6 of them are needed to get to an easy fight for a 6th level party

    Will-o'-Wisp - These are CR 2, much lower than in 3.5e. You can get to an easy fight by having 3 of them, but the will-o'-wisp in mythology tends to lead people into trouble rather than attack on its own. I'd suggest increasing the CR by adding a trap (like quicksand), or by adding additional creatures (e.g., ghouls). 2 wisps and a big patch of quicksand or 1 wisp and 3 or 4 ghouls would work fairly well.

    Gibbering Mouther - These are lower CR than 3.5e expected, so make it 3 - 4 mouthers to reflect a bigger monster or the like.

    Ochre Jelly - 2 to 3 of these are needed to get to the desired difficulty as they're CR 2 in 5e

    Stirges - So many stirges are needed for this. So many. 15 to 20.

    Ghouls - Fine as is, though 1d3+1 ghouls makes sure to get to at least an Easy fight. It also helps with the action economy

    Lizardfolk - At least 7 lizardfolk are needed to get to an Easy fight, but it can be fine to have fewer and make it a roleplaying encounter. These also represent the Red Hand forces in the swamp, so it may be appropriate to have a hobgoblin captain or the like with them.

    One change I might suggest to this table is to put in an encounter with Bonedrinkers and Ghost Lions to provide another clue that points to the Ghostlord. A more intelligent undead like a ghost or banshee may be needed to lead these troops so that the PCs can get some information from them.


    Spoiler: Spawn of Tiamat
    Show
    Solo monsters are pretty tricky in 5e, tending to fall quickly to the action economy. The key in this fight is ensuring that the razorfiend gets a surprise round. Recall that it is hiding quite a large ways away, so it's worth raising the DC to spot it to something like 20. The build presented below aims at mobility and hitting hard, so the creature can leap out and sow a lot of panic before succumbing to the party's combined attacks.

    The treasure in the tower is quite significant and needs to be toned down to fit 5e's expectations. A headband of intellect is situational enough to leave in. The rapier should be toned down to +1 and may be swapped for a different weapon depending on what the party needs. I'd move the Pearl of Power to Rhest so it can serve as a clue pointing to the Fane. A ring of protection is going to be a big find and highly desired by the whole party. I might suggest having it still on the finger of the wizard's skeleton in the tower so the party only finds it if they think to search the place. That makes it a nice reward for a party that engages with the game.

    As for the coin, switching it to 3600 electrum makes it a bit weird. Have it marked with the symbol of Rhest really gives a feel like this is coin from a fallen kingdom. The coin might have originally been in strongboxes, but have the boxes split open and the coin piled up to make a nest for the razorfiend. This emphasizes its draconic nature. The rapier may also be in the pile, as well as the skull of the wizard with the headband of intellect still attached.

    If the tower has several layers, it can be worthwhile to make one a lab that still has some potions. A pair of potions of water breathing makes a nice hint about how the PCs should approach Rhest.


    Spoiler: Greenspawn Razorfiend
    Show
    Large Monstrosity (Draconic), Fiend (Demon), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class: 15 (natural armor)
    HP: 110 (13d10 + 39)
    Speed: 50 ft, swim 50ft
    -------------------------
    Str 18 (+4), Dex 14 (+2), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 12 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws: Dex +5, Wis +4
    Senses: darkvision 90ft, passive perception 14
    Skills: Athletics +7, Perception +4
    Damage Immunities: poison
    Damage Resistances: Cold, Fire; Lightning, Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing From Nonmagical Weapons
    Condiditon Immunities: poisoned
    Languages Common, Draconic
    CR 6 (2300 XP)
    -------------------------
    Amphibious: A greenspawn razorfiend can breathe air and water.
    Mobile: A greenspawn razorfiend does not provoke attacks of opportunity when it moves away from a creature that it has attacked this turn.
    Expanded Critical: The greenspawn razorfiend gets a critical hit when they roll a 19 or a 20.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. A greenspawn razorfiend makes three attacks: two with its wingblades and one with its bite

    Wingblade (melee) +7: 1d12+4 slashing, reach 10'

    Bite (melee) +7: 1d8+4 piercing plus 1d8 poison. The target must then pass a DC 14 Constitution save or be poisoned for 1 minute.

    Poison Breath (Recharge 5-6) 20ft cone, DC14 Constitution saving throw or take 24 (7d6) poison damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful save.


    Spoiler: Killiar's Hunters and Starsong Hill
    Show
    Updating the elves for 5e can be done with NPC templates from the Monster Manual for the most part. The hunters can be represented with Scouts, while the Bandit Captain makes a good dex-based character for Killian. I would add a Longbow attack to his stats, though:

    Longbow: Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage.

    The DC for Performance checks at Lanikar's funeral are actually fairly in line with the expectations of 5e and can be left at 20/10.

    Trellara Nightshadow may need further development as an NPC. She's intended as a cohort for a PC with the Leadership feat and may accompany the PCs on their expedition into Rhest. She may also make a good PC to replace any fallen members of the company. In 3.5 she is a Level 4 bard, and that would be a good place to start here. If she is going to act as a replacement PC then I would actually recommend that the players fill out her character sheet (as they're the ones that would go on to play her). If she is just going to accompany the PCs to Rhest, the Bard NPC from Volo's guide would be perfect. Lacking that, the Priest from the Monster Manual might work


    Spoiler: Lizardfolk Huts
    Show
    6 lizardfolk don't achieve even an Easy encounter for the party, so it might be worth redistributing the lizardfolk among 7 huts rather than 10. That makes about 8 lizardfolk per hut. That said, the challenge here is preventing the lizardfolk from raising the alarm rather than actually fighting them, and 6 may be enough to make that tough for the PCs.

    If the alarm is raised, however, Korkulan should definitely send 8 lizardfolk to ambush the PCs from the water rather than 6. Also, it could be really tough for the PCs to fight 60 lizardfolk at all, much less with the other backup available at the site. Now, the PCs are /supposed/ to retreat if the alarm is raised, but the DM should strive to avoid having the entire weight of the camp come down on them at once so that they have the time to retreat.

    As for treasure, lower the Investigation DC to 15 and vary the coins. Putting in electrum coins with Rhest's mark makes this treasure a bit more interesting. Note that Karkalan has been paying some lizardfolk, so they might have fresher coins.


    Spoiler: Bell Tower
    Show
    The monster and treasure in this encounter can be used as written. The hobgoblin veteran and bladebearer are discussed in the previous post on the Red Hand Forces. I added Red Hand Clerics in my version, and doing so here gives a place for the Pearl of Power and a clue pointing to the Fane. Make the Pearl shaped like a dragon egg and clearly be associated with Tiamat.


    Spoiler: Town Hall
    Show
    The ogres on the roof and the boardwalk can be used as they stand.

    The greenspawn razorfiend uses the stats from above. It would have disadvantage on Perception from being underwater rather than a -4 penalty, but that may be balanced by giving it advantage on the Stealth roll to catch the PCs by surprise if they enter the hatchery.

    A single Ettin is not a full challenge for the party, but it works well as part of an encounter with the ogres or with the leaders. Similarly, the Mindbender requires a lot of support to be a challenge.
    However, it is a great support character and works great behind the Ettin and/or Ogres.


    Spoiler: Wyrmlord Saarvith and Regiarix
    Show
    Regiarix can be modeled on the standard Young Black Dragon. The version of Wyrmlord Saarvith below is based on Kuulvheysoon's write-up for the character.

    Small Humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17 (+1 blackscale studded leather)
    HP 60 (8d10 + 16)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Abilities
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 18 (+4), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 12 (+0), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +3, Dex +7
    Skills Acrobatics +7, Perception +5, Stealth +7, Survival +5
    Senses darkvision 60ft, passive perception 15
    Resistances Acid
    Languages Common, Goblin
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Nimble Escape Saarvith can use the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on his turn
    Natural Explorer Saarvith gets advantage on attacks against foes who haven't acted yet in the first round of combat, as well as advantage on Initiative checks and the ability to ignore difficult terrain.
    Fighting Style Archery adds +2 to all ranged weapon attacks rolls
    Colossus Slayer once per turn Saarvith may deal an additional 1d8 damage to a creature already below its hit point maximum

    Spellcasting Saarvith is a 7th level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (Spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). Saarvith knows the following ranger spells:
    1st level (4 slots): fog cloud, hail of thorns, hunter's mark
    2nd level (3 slots): pass without trace, silence
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack Saarvith makes two shortbow attacks, or two scimitar attacks
    Shortbow (ranged 80/320 ft) +9: 1d6+4 piercing
    Scimitar (melee) +8, 1d6+4 slashing

    Blackscale studded leather is magical studded leather armor. It adds +1 to the wearer's armor class and provides resistance against acid damage. This armor is made from Regiarix's shed scales riveted to an enchanted leather backing.

    All of Saarvith's spells require concentration, so he must be careful in his selection. Hail of thorns is excellent if the enemies are clustered, but Hunter's Mark is better against a single target. Colossus Slayer and Hunter's Mark can result in some pretty spectacular single target damage, especially if Saarvith gets a critical hit. Pass Without Trace is excellent as long as there's plenty of cover, and Fog Cloud is useful if there is no cover. Both combine well with Saarvith's Nimble Escape trait. Finally, Silence is used to shut down a PC spellcaster for a round. Particularly one that can't move out of the area of the spell.

    A nasty alternative to the tactics in the book is to have Saarvith take a potion of water breathing and cast Pass Without Trace on himself and Regiarix before the fight. Then they slip out Regiarix's underwater entrance into the swamp. They then spend the next 10 rounds popping up out of the water, unloading on a party member, then disappearing below the waves again. Even if the players manage to spot them, they get a +5 AC bonus from the cover provided by the water. These are pretty nasty tactics, so use them with care. Perhaps this could be an opening attack from the pair, introducing them to the battle as they burst out of the water. Then they take to the skies.

    Fighting Saarvith and Regiarix indoors is the best circumstance for the PCs. This neutralizes a lot of their ranged advantages and keeps them from making use of stealth. Sticking to dragon-back is actually a bad move for Saarvith (who'd be better serve hopping from cover to cover), but does fit his character. He just feels stronger with his dragon, and this is a good way to show it.

    The bags of gold and silver in Saarvith's quarters are good treasure for the level. Regiarix's coin and art are in line with a CR 5-10 hoard, but he has way too much magical treasure. That said, the horn of fog is just cool. It doesn't exist in 5e, but give it 3 charges,of which 1 recharges at dawn. A charge can be used to cast Fog Cloud. A regular suit of Full Plate would be great treasure at this level for a fighter, paladin, or some clerics. The Periapt of Wisdom does not exist in 5e and can just be left out, and a silver magic mace is redundant for most creatures in 5e. Perhaps just make it a silvered weapon. That makes it effective against demonic foes.
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-12-04 at 04:21 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
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    At school
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Part 3 - The Ghostlord's Lair

    This section tackles the major side quest of the campaign. The Ghostlord is a big change from fighting hobgoblins and dragons, and both he and many of his minions are original to the campaign. The following material will provide mechanical updates for these unique monsters and discussion on running this side quest.

    Spoiler: Random Encounters in the Thornwaste
    Show
    The PCs likely have the owls at this point, which is something of a shame as the random encounters here have a lot of great flavor and a change of pace from fighting goblins. Still, the PCs can't sleep in midair so there's still the opportunity to catch them in camp...

    The story here feels very Lion King with the lion themes. You've got a lot of other pretty great scrubland encounters here like Bulettes and Ankhegs. There's not really anything here about what the lions eat, so you might throw in an encounter with a great herd of wildebeasts or the like to draw out the sense of being on the Serengeti.

    Varathian - see the write-up below

    Basilisks - A single basilisk, or even a pair is pretty trivial for the party at 8th level. A nest of them, however, is quite a different story. This encounter might mean that the party has accidentally gotten close to a basilisk lair...which means that there might be a fair bit of treasure in a cave nearby. Consider dropping a level 1 - 5 lair treasure in such a location with some consumable magic items.

    Bulette - A single Bulette is trivial to a party at this level. Make it two, or part of a more complex encounter where the party is fighting something else and attracts the Bulette.

    Chimera - This is an easy encounter for a party at this level, but there's nothing wrong with an occasional easy fight. This can be especially great if the party fought a Chimera back at Drellin's Ferry. Repeating the fight, but having an easy time of it, will really give the party a sense of their growth.

    Dire Lions - These don't exist in 5e. Consider substituting with saber-toothed tigers. A pride of 3 to 6 would be a solid encounter. Target the mounts to really frustrate the players.

    Ghost Brute Lion - A special monster from this adventure. See the write-up below.

    Ghost Dire Lion - A special monster from this adventure. See the write-up below.

    Heiracosphinx - These don't exist in 5e anymore, and sphinxes are pretty powerful in this edition. Consider replacing with Lamias, perhaps with some non-Lamia minions. If Miha is a Lamia, this might be where she comes from!

    Spider Eaters - Once again these don't exist anymore. Consider replacing with Giant Scorpions.

    Lions - You'll need a lot of lions to challenge the party. Go with 6 to 12 of them. An average pride in the real world has 13 lions anyway, and they can get up to 40. Maybe have them not even be hostile. The party should get kind of freaked out when 40 lions just sort of camp out with them. It can also be a cool RP moment for druids or for just seeing something neat in the world to come across a huge pride of lions chilling on Pride Rock.

    Wights - You need 3 to get to a reasonable encounter. Less than that is pretty trivial for the party. Make them goblins that annoyed the Ghost Lord for a bit of RP potential, or back them up with a Wraith to make it a more difficult fight.

    Ankhegs - Works pretty well as it is.

    Assassin Vines - These were reprinted in the Tomb of Annihilation adventure. If you lack access to that adventure, twig and vine blights are /very/ appropriate for this kind of scrub land. Unfortunately they don't make for a very tough fight at 8th level. Advanced blights will be presented below to give some variety to this kind of encounter.

    Monstrous Spider - A single huge spider doesn't really do much in 5e. You need 6 of them to be any sort of threat. Alternatively, a Yochlol demon spider would be a pretty good fight if you just need a big bad nasty thing to tangle with.


    Spoiler: Ghosts and Vines and Lions, Oh my!
    Show


    Ghost Brute Lion

    Large Undead (Augmented Animal), NE
    -------------------
    Armor Class 12
    HP 55 (10d8+10)
    Condition Immunities - Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Grappled, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Prone, Restrained
    Damage Immunities - Cold, Necrotic, Poison
    Damage Resistances - Acid, Fire, Lightning, Thunder; Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing From Nonmagical Weapons
    Speed 50', Incorporeal Movement
    -------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Con 13 (+1), Dex 15 (+2)
    Int 3 (-4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------
    Senses - Darkvision 60', Ethereal Sight, Passive Perception 13
    Skills - Perception +3, Stealth +6
    Languages - Common (understands limited commands)
    CR 4

    Ethereal Sight - The ghost brute lion can see 60 ft. into the Ethereal Plane when it is on The Material Plane, and vice versa.

    Incorporeal Movement - The ghost brute lion can move through other creatures and Objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.

    Rejuvenation - A destroyed ghost brute lion returns to its old haunt 24 hours after being discporporated. The only definitive way to destroy a ghost brute lion is by destroying the Heart of the Lion in area 15 of the Ghostlordís lair.

    Actions

    Bloodcurdling Roar - The ghost brute lion can howl as a standard action. All living creatures within a 30-foot radius must make a successful DC 11 Wisdom save or become frightened. Each turn the creature may make another Wisdom save to throw off the effect. A creature that successfully saves against the bloodcurdling howl cannot be affected by the same ghost bruteís howl for 24 hours.

    Corrupting Touch +5 Melee (5' reach), 4d6+3 necrotic damage

    Ghost Dire Lion

    Large Undead (Augmented Animal), NE
    -------------------
    Armor Class 11
    HP 85 (10d10+30)
    Condition Immunities - Charmed, Exhaustion, Frightened, Grappled, Paralyzed, Petrified, Poisoned, Prone, Restrained
    Damage Immunities - Cold, Necrotic, Poison
    Damage Resistances - Acid, Fire, Lightning, Thunder; Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing From Nonmagical Weapons
    Speed 50', Incorporeal Movement
    -------------------
    Str 21 (+5), Con 17 (+3), Dex 13 (+1)
    Int 3 (-4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------
    Senses - Darkvision 60', Ethereal Sight, Passive Perception 14
    Skills - Perception +4, Stealth +6
    Languages - Common (understands limited commands)
    CR 6

    Ethereal Sight - The ghost brute lion can see 60 ft. into the Ethereal Plane when it is on The Material Plane, and vice versa.

    Incorporeal Movement - The ghost brute lion can move through other creatures and Objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 5 (1d10) force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.

    Actions

    Bloodcurdling Roar - The ghost brute lion can howl as a standard action. All living creatures within a 30-foot radius must make a successful DC 11 Wisdom save or become frightened. Each turn the creature may make another Wisdom save to throw off the effect. A creature that successfully saves against the bloodcurdling howl cannot be affected by the same ghost bruteís howl for 24 hours.

    Corrupting Gaze - A ghost dire lion can blast living beings with a glance, at a range of up to 30 feet. Creatures within a 30 foot cone that meet the ghostís gaze must make a DC 15 Constitution save or take 2d10 points of necrotic damage.

    Life Drain - +8 Melee (5' reach), 4d8+5 necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the target finishes a Long Rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

    Vampiric Twig Blight

    Small Plant, NE
    -------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 18 (4d6+4)
    Condition Immunities - Blinded, Deafened
    Damage Vulnerabilities - Fire
    Speed 20'
    -------------------
    Str 6 (-2), Con 12 (+1), Dex 15 (+2)
    Int 4 (-3), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 3 (-4)
    -------------------
    Senses - Blindsight 60' (blind beyond this distance), Passive Perception 9
    Skills - Stealth +3
    Languages - Common (understands but can't speak)
    CR 1

    False Appearance - While the blight remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a dead shrub

    Actions

    Claw - +4 Melee (5' reach), 1d6+2 piercing damage and the blight grapples the target (DC 12 to escape)

    Blood Drain - The blight extends its thorns into a grappled victim's flesh. +4 Melee, grappled target only, 1d6+2 piercing damage + 2d6 necrotic damage. The blight heals an equal amount as the necrotic damage that was inflicted by the attack. A blight absorbing its full hit points in blood turns green and sprouts blood-red flowers.

    Vine Blight Mummifier

    Medium Plant, NE
    -------------------
    Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
    HP 32 (5d8+10)
    Condition Immunities - Blinded, Deafened
    Speed 10'
    -------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Con 14 (+2), Dex 8 (-1)
    Int 5 (-3), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 3 (-4)
    -------------------
    Senses - Blindsight 60' (blind beyond this distance), Passive Perception 10
    Skills - Stealth +1
    Languages - Common (understands but can't speak)
    CR 2

    False Appearance - While the blight remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a pile of dead vines

    Actions

    Constrict - +4 Melee (5' reach), 2d6+2 bludgeoning damage and a Large or smaller target is grappled (escape DC 12) . Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the blight canít constrict another target.

    Dessication - The blight draws water out of a grappled victim. +4 Melee, grappled target only, 4d6 necrotic damage. A victim must make a DC 12 Constitution save or their maximum hitpoints are reduced by the amount of necrotic damage taken. A victim reduced to zero maximum hitpoints by this attack dies and rises as a zombie 24 hours later. These zombies exist to protect the vine blight and to bring it new sources of food.


    Spoiler: Varanthian
    Show
    A behir is a much tougher opponent in 5e than in 3.5e, but as a solo this can work out. The action economy is fairly brutal in this edition.

    One wrinkle is Varanthian's fiendish nature. Giving her resistance to fire, cold, poison, and bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons makes her a lot tougher, but gets at that fiendish resilience. If the players mostly have magical weapons this is fine, but otherwise it might be better to just give her resistance to fire and poison. A bit of spellcasting can also bring out that fiendish feel - the ability to cast darkness 3 times a day for instance. In 3e she has a smite ability, but that may be overkill given the Behir's already high potential damage output.

    Legendary actions can serve to balance the action economy disadvantage and are recommended for an optimized group. The following may serve well:

    For one action, cast Darkness.
    For one action, make a Perception check.
    For two actions, release a blast of electricity causing 3d10 damage to all creatures within ten feet of Varanthian and knocking them prone, Dex DC 16 for half and to avoid being knocked prone. Varanthian then takes a move action.

    Alternatively Varanthian may be a spellcaster with reaction spells. Making her a 3rd level Warlock with Darkness 1/day from an invocation works well. Give her hellish rebuke, expeditious retreat, and spider climb for a surprisingly mobile combat can be a neat surprise.

    Note that Varanthian is less of an end boss than a sentry in this scenario. She doesn't have to wipe out the PCs single handed. Her role is to make a lot of noise to alert the hobgoblins and to deplete the party's resources. The party is really better off sneaking past her so they can catch Ulwai by surprise.


    Spoiler: Guardroom
    Show
    The three monks in the guard room are an easy encounter for a group of 7th or 8th level characters. That's fine since this is intended as more of a trip-wire or resource depletion encounter. Giving them potions of Hill Giant Strength similar to what's described in the adventure does increase their damage output. Shield of faith isn't really accessible in 5e, but a potion of heroism might provide a similar defensive buff.


    Spoiler: Ooze Pit
    Show

    A gray ooze is not a very tough encounter on its own. One option would be to have a whole swarm of them - about 12 should be a good challenge. Alternatively, you can use a custom Large Gray Ooze. Start by increasing its HP to 122 as in the adventure. Then upgrade its attack routine. It should have a Str of more like 23 or 25, giving it a pseudopod attack of +9 or +10 and a damage of 2d6+6 or 7 bludgeoning as well as +2d6 acid. However, it should then get a grab and constrict ability. If the pseudopod hits the target is grabbed and is restrained (escape DC 17 or 18). Every turn it makes a constrict attack (use same stats as the pseudopod) on every grabbed target. It's only large, so it can probably only have two targets grabbed at a time


    Spoiler: Guest Quarters
    Show

    A lot of the stat blocks have changed for the monsters in this encounter, so the tactics need to change somewhat. The monks work similarly to the ones in the guard room, with potions of Giant Strength and Heroism replacing the potions of bull's strength and shield of faith. The clerics can have scrolls of Conjure Hell Hound so their first round is pretty standard. They can also have potions of invisibility for the defensive buff. The invisible cleric can heal just fine while the visible cleric uses spiritual weapon and hold person, so their tactics work well as written.

    Ulwai changes pretty significantly due to concentration issues. Haste is no longer a great buff for a group and summoning spells aren't really present. Further, Invisibility now takes concentration, but most buffs also take concentration. This changes her from primarily support to more of a blaster type. Greater Invisibility is a great defensive spell and should probably be used for her concentration effect. If the party uses a lot of buff spells, she should use dispel magic to get rid of them. She should also use her bardic inspiration every round to buff her allies. Other than that, her tactics depend on her build.

    As a Valor bard, her main action should be attacking. Her Stormheart feature buffs her damage and she can attack from behind the front lines. She can attack and move, making it hard for the PCs to keep track of what square she's in.

    As a Lore bard, she might use shatter or thunderwave against clustered enemies. If her minions have the party well bottled up, she might use vicious mockery to keep the enemy in melee at disadvantage. She might also consider foregoing Greater Invisibility, instead staying at the back and using Faerie Fire to help her allies hit more effectively. She can also use Charm Person and Suggestion to help shut down party members, though that means dropping Faerie fire as they require concentration. Those may best be used out of combat for interrogation or the like.


    Spoiler: Ulwai Stormcaller, College of Valor
    Show

    This version of Ulwai was contributed by Kuulvheysoon and represents a more melee oriented threat.

    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (breastplate)
    HP 130hp
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 16 (+3), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 14 (+2), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 18 (+4)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60ft, passive perception 15
    Saves Dexterity +6, Charisma +7
    Skills Deception +10, Perception +5, Performance +7, Insight +10
    Languages Common, Goblin
    CR 7 (2900XP)
    -------------------------
    Traits
    Army Arcana As hobgoblin devastator (VGtM, pg. )
    Arcane Advantage As hobgoblin devastator (VGtM, pg. )
    Bardic Inspiration (d8 4 times/rest), options as College of Valour Bard, PHB pg. 55
    Stormheart once per turn, Ulwai may add 2d8 electricity damage to one melee attack
    Spellcaster As 8th level bard (Spell save DC 15, Spell Attack bonus +7)
    Cantrips known: message, stormbolt, true strike, vicious mockery
    4 1st level slots (faerie fire, sleep, tasha's hideous laughter)
    3 2nd level slots (detect thoughts, heat metal, shatter)
    3 3rd level slots (dispel magic, stinking cloud, lightning bolt)
    2 4th level slots (greater invisibility, polymorph)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack Ulwai can make 2 whip attacks when she uses the Attack action.
    Whip (melee, 10ft reach) +6: 5 (1d4+3) slashing damage
    Spellcasting (see above)

    *stormbolt is simply an electric version of firebolt


    Spoiler: Ulwai Stormcaller, College of Lore
    Show

    This version of Ulwai is more of a support character. She uses her arcane secrets to get Druid spells like Call Lightning, filling out why she is known as Stormcaller.

    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (breastplate)
    HP 88hp (8d8+24)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 15 (+2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 20 (+5)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60ft, passive perception 14
    Saves Dexterity +5, Charisma +8
    Skills Deception +10, Perception +4, Performance +7, Insight +9
    Languages Common, Goblin
    CR 7 (2900XP)
    -------------------------
    Traits
    Bardic Inspiration (d8 5 times/rest), options as College of Lore Bard, PHB pg. 55
    Stormcaller Ulwai may spend a use of Bardic Inspiration as a bonus action add 3d6 electricity damage to one melee attack
    Spellcaster As 8th level bard (Spell save DC 15, Spell Attack bonus +7)
    Cantrips known: message, thunderclap, true strike, vicious mockery
    4 1st level slots (charm person, cure wounds, faerie fire, thunderwave)
    3 2nd level slots (detect thoughts, shatter, suggestion)
    3 3rd level slots (dispel magic, clairvoyance, call lightning)
    2 4th level slots (greater invisibility, dimension door)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Whip (melee, 10ft reach) +5: 5 (1d4+2) slashing damage
    Spellcasting (see above)


    Spoiler: Staff of Stormclouds
    Show

    Moradin contributed an update of the staff of stormclouds.

    Staff of Stormclouds (Strong Conjuration; rare, requires attunement):
    This staff can be wielded as a magic quarterstaff that grants a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with it. It also has the following additional properties. The staff has 10 charges, and it recovers 1d3 charges each day at dawn.

    Fog Cloud, 1 charge as a 1st level spell;
    Call Lightning, 3 charges as a 3rd level spell;
    Control Weather, 8 charges as an 8th level spell.

    Price: 10000 gp
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2018-01-11 at 03:09 PM.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Post #7 Reservation - Battle

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Reservation the 8th - The final Reservation

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Thereís anorthern excellent 5e RHoD Guide thatís got started here, but appears to ha have faded away about a third of the way through. Iíll post more when I get home, but I can give you my initial comments based on my own 5e RHoD.

    1. Honestly, just use the straight Priest for the Doom Hand clerics. Iíve been doing that and it fits fine.

    2. (Ab)use Voloís Guide to Monsters! In it youíll find the Hobgoblin Devastators and Hobgoblin Iron Shadows, which are appropriate substitutes for the War Adepts and Doom Fists respectively.

    3. I just doubled the hit points on the veterans and gave them a point higher in Strength Bonus while playin them a bit smarter.

    4. I refluffed Ozyrrandion and used the Young White dragon as a base, and even that was pretty deadly. Dragon breath weapons are no joke in this edition.

    5. Youíll want to tone down the hydra in chapter 2- the base hydra is 5e is quite a bit higher of CR than the one they assume in 3.5e.

    Iím freely available if you want more. Iíd be glad to help a project such as this.

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    The Power of the Orient: A Wu Jen Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. Kemp
    Frankly, I think the designers and novelists did great work in the post-Spellplague Realms. But, in the end, this wasnít a new setting. It was the Realms, the Realms 100 years later, and therein lay the problem.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Thanks for the feedback, Kuul. Can you comment on the spell selection for Devestators? What should they concentrate on, etc?

    My party killer that Hydra before it even acted, though I think I was running it incorrectly. I just tallied hitpoints as normal, and avoided head regrowth if they did even one point of fire damage. I think it should have only died when all the heads died, requiring a seperate application of flame each, right? What if you start the thing with fewer heads, like 3?

    As for the Clerics, I avoided priest because I didn't want them to have 3rd level spells. I wanted to save the dispel/countermagic shenanigans until later in the adventure. The cult fanatic makes them better matched to their fellow minions, with the Warpriest being a big upgrade in terms of caster power.
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-10-28 at 04:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Also, Ozyrrandion was taken out pretty easily by my party. Now, that's because I had him engaging in melee instead of strafing with his breath weapon, but what was your experience that even a depowered version was so troublesome?

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, Kuul. Can you comment on the spell selection for Devestators? What should they concentrate on, etc?

    My party killer that Hydra before it even acted, though I think I was running it incorrectly. I just tallied hitpoints as normal, and avoided head regrowth if they did even one point of fire damage. I think it should have only died when all the heads died, requiring a seperate application of flame each, right? What if you start the thing with fewer heads, like 3?

    As for the Clerics, I avoided priest because I didn't want them to have 3rd level spells. I wanted to save the dispel/countermagic shenanigans until later in the adventure. The cult fanatic makes them better matched to their fellow minions, with the Warpriest being a big upgrade in terms of caster power.
    I just changed out the Priest's spell selection; removed dispel magic and spiritual weapon for mass healing word and more 2nd/1st level spells (with upcasting).

    The Devastator has a pretty decent spell selection for what it does - it's up to 4th level spells, with mainly evocations. I switched out a spell known for shield, just to add some survivability. Mainly though, you're wanting them for the Army Arcana ability: its the improved version of the Evocation wizard's sculpt spells. Arcane Advantage is similar to Martial advantage, except with spell damage.

    I ran the hydra with about 2/3 hit points, but what I didn't expect was for our (red dragon) sorceror to blow all of his sorcery points in two rounds and scor3e double crits with fire bolts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    Also, Ozyrrandion was taken out pretty easily by my party. Now, that's because I had him engaging in melee instead of strafing with his breath weapon, but what was your experience that even a depowered version was so troublesome?
    I played him to his Intelligence - with a score of 14 (IIRC), so he was strafing and diving into the canyon as necessary. Dropped two players to 0 when I rolled well on the second breath weapon. Co-ordinating well with his minions (the tower hobgoblins and hell hounds) also proved to be quite effective.

    Also, Koth had managed to escape their clutches in Vraath Keep so they had him to worry about as well.

    Avatar by Iron Penguin.

    The Power of the Orient: A Wu Jen Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. Kemp
    Frankly, I think the designers and novelists did great work in the post-Spellplague Realms. But, in the end, this wasnít a new setting. It was the Realms, the Realms 100 years later, and therein lay the problem.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    I am DM'ing this in 5E right now. Progress to far:

    My players defeated Koth (I made him a Hobgoblin Devastator from Volo's) and Ozyrrandion, and then after scouting the army went back to Drellin's Ferry. Here they sent the Lion Knight to Brindol with a copy of Koth's map and all the information they had and then went straight to the Dwarfs to enlist help. Quite rightly they quickly realised they need to raise all the armies of the Vale to defeat the Red Hand army.

    You will noticed that the dwarves are hardly mentioned in the campaign. I made a little detour into the underdark to meet the dwarf king and they did a little side quest to recruit the mercenary army of the dwarfs, I also gave them 12 elite axe dwarfs as a personal guard.

    Due to how I got them into the campaign they posses a scroll they can use once a week to cast teleport circle to Vraath Keep vault. So they go back to the vault at the exact time the army is right outside on it's way to Drellin's Ferry. They are now calling themselves the Wyrmwood Dragonslayers.

    They have so far ignored all clues about Rhest and they now want to go straight for the Fane of Tiamat - they have no clue where it is, but have this idea about ambushing hobgoblins until they find one who knows the way.

    I think this is a boring plan, but I have a solution, my Arcane Trickster halfling player is wearing a cursed spider mask and have been gifted a Quasit familiar that 'help' them with 'clues'. So on Thursday they are entering the Shadowfell where the familiar will guide them to a Haunted House (The Haunt - Halloween Oneshot on DMsGuild). Here they will find clues that the location of the Fane is described in the library of Rhest. I am hoping that can finally get them to Rhest, from there I hope they go to Brindol and talk with the Lord to coordinate the defenses and research how to find the Ghostlord - but they will probably just go straight for the Ghostlord or do something else I haven't thought about.

    ----------------

    Advice and reflections:

    About Ozyrrandion; if they fight him on the bridge he is a terror that can inflict a TPK, but the description don't say that the treeline goes all the way to the bridge, in fact it describes how it's cleared back on both sides making it possible to see what is on the bridge from some distance, and my players ended up engaging from a distance and fought the dragon not on the bridge but over land. They went nova and burned everything and I must say when 5E players go nova they can put some hurt out, the dragon was close to taking a couple of them out. I used a young green dragon. I did remove the hellhounds and replaced them with worgs since I wanted the dragon to stand out more as a special encounter.

    My biggest advice is to give more clues leading to Rhest. If nothing else maybe have someone in Drellin's Ferry (maybe the druid) tell them there are Elves in the swamp that might be able to help.

    I intend to make major changes to Rhest, most importantly I will use the map of Xak Tsaroth (from Dragons of Despair). I will replace the Lizardmen with Bullywugs since I think there is already plenty of draconic looking opponents, Bullywugs are fun. Also in my campaign the Hobgoblins are spawning Draconians instead of the, IMO boring, mini-dragons. Since no one had interest in playing a Dragonborn I have just decided they don't exist and have replaced them with Draconians.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    I played him to his Intelligence - with a score of 14 (IIRC), so he was strafing and diving into the canyon as necessary. Dropped two players to 0 when I rolled well on the second breath weapon. Co-ordinating well with his minions (the tower hobgoblins and hell hounds) also proved to be quite effective.

    Also, Koth had managed to escape their clutches in Vraath Keep so they had him to worry about as well.
    How did you players ultimately triumph? Or did they?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorka View Post
    They have so far ignored all clues about Rhest and they now want to go straight for the Fane of Tiamat - they have no clue where it is, but have this idea about ambushing hobgoblins until they find one who knows the way.
    Did you run the encounter with the Lion of Brindol telling them about the blockades?

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    How did you players ultimately triumph? Or did they?
    They eventually caught a break - my dice started actively working against me and I could not roll decently to save my life. Koth only appeared about halfway through the encounter, and got off a single fireball before everyone focused fire on him (even incurring AoO from the hobbos and hell hounds).

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    The Power of the Orient: A Wu Jen Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. Kemp
    Frankly, I think the designers and novelists did great work in the post-Spellplague Realms. But, in the end, this wasnít a new setting. It was the Realms, the Realms 100 years later, and therein lay the problem.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuulvheysoon View Post
    They eventually caught a break - my dice started actively working against me and I could not roll decently to save my life. Koth only appeared about halfway through the encounter, and got off a single fireball before everyone focused fire on him (even incurring AoO from the hobbos and hell hounds).
    How did they even reach Ozzy to hit him? Lots of ranged attacks? Or were they able to force him to the ground?

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    How did they even reach Ozzy to hit him? Lots of ranged attacks? Or were they able to force him to the ground?
    One feat - Sharpshooter. Alas, I allowed it without even a second thought. My ranger has it and a longbow - that's 600ft with no disadvantage, and ignoring all forms of cover except full.

    EDIT: I should probably mention that Ozzy fled when he reached <30% hit points. He'll be back when they hit Brindol, and this time he knows who he wants to kill.
    Last edited by Kuulvheysoon; 2017-10-29 at 02:59 PM.

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    The Power of the Orient: A Wu Jen Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. Kemp
    Frankly, I think the designers and novelists did great work in the post-Spellplague Realms. But, in the end, this wasnít a new setting. It was the Realms, the Realms 100 years later, and therein lay the problem.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    Did you run the encounter with the Lion of Brindol telling them about the blockades?
    Yes, they found the huge army about to decent on the Vale a large concern than a blockade. They sent the Lion to Brindol, with all the intel they had. Then they went to enlist help from the dwarfs.

    Seeing thousands of goblinoids, giants, manticores and red dragon. They where convinced the army was to much for them to deal with. Better to take out the power behind it all.

    I see nothing wrong with that analysis, so my plan now is to tell them, a ghost will tell them this, that they can find the location of the Fane of Tiamat in the library of Rhest.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    That's interesting, Lorka. So the issue is that the players are aware of Rhest, but don't understand that it's important? I like your idea of providing more to Rhest, like old libraries or magic items. They did fight the hobgoblins once before, as I recall. It would make sense that they'd know about the Fane.

    I've added a bit to the Managing Information section to have the Lion mention that the hobgoblins have been seen going into the swamp, and the Lion wants to know why. I've also kicked in the idea of monster sightings in the surrounding areas. Maybe that could be something going on as the players lead the evacuation into the Vale. Refugees might get picked off by these monsters, and the players are recruited to hunt them down...leading to Rhest.

    An open comment to any reader - I've only played the two 5e adventures I listed above. What do people think about tying Red Hand of Doom to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Ravenloft, Storm King's Thunder, or Tomb of Annihilation? How about tying it in with the shorter adventures from the Yawning Portal?
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-10-29 at 07:21 PM.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    That's interesting, Lorka. So the issue is that the players are aware of Rhest, but don't understand that it's important?
    They have translated most of Koth's notes and battleplans. So they know the names of all Wyrmlords, they know that a secret weapon is being made in Rhest. But they think the most important right now is to find a plan to save the Vale. That means getting everyone engaged in the defense, so going to the dwarfs first thing is a good plan.

    They didn't bother with the bickering council when they wanted to debate what to do the party lost patience and started a panic in town telling everyone a huge army was marching kill them all. So the Lion of Brindol arrive in the middle of this panic and tell them of a blockade to the north, it was such a tiny detail compare to the huge army marching - in the player's opinion - so they just send the knight to Brindol with a copy of Korth's map and all the intel they had. So it ended up that the knight just cemented their plans to go to the dwarfs, because now they had someone to warn Brindol and the other towns on the way.

    I had to skip all the other encounters that was planned to happen, the Campaign for some reason think the PCs will stick around in Drellin's Ferry for many days after finding a huge army and plans saying that that army will be in Drellin's Ferry in 6 days (when that 6 days start they don't know, but it is obviously soon).

    In hindsight I would probably have made a bigger issue out that the army will be moving slowly so they have time. Maybe have the knight calm everyone down and maybe insist that they go with her to Brindol or something, but I try to give my players as much agency and they had a solid plan for defending the Vale.

    One thing I would probably have changed is have the druid tell them that there are elves in the swamps around Rhest and with that blockade the adventures are probably the only ones that can get them engaged.

    But now I instead gets to run a Halloween one-shot with a HUGE blinking arrow pointing at Rhest, then we will see what they do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    I've added a bit to the Managing Information section to have the Lion mention that the hobgoblins have been seen going into the swamp, and the Lion wants to know why. I've also kicked in the idea of monster sightings in the surrounding areas. Maybe that could be something going on as the players lead the evacuation into the Vale. Refugees might get picked off by these monsters, and the players are recruited to hunt them down...leading to Rhest.
    Yes as I mentioned the knight may be a good resource to lead them to Rhest, if you expand greatly on the vague blockade idea. I think the campaign makes some weird assumptions about what the PCs would do after Drellin's Ferry.
    I mean that basically gets handed all the information, then the writers assume that since they now know where one Wyrmlord is at, that they will go there. Reading the book it sort of made sense, but I agree with my players that the army is the main problem, and they cannot face an army, so primary goals is getting the dwarfs, a known force, involved and then trying to go straight for the big bad behind it all, remember they don't know about the elves at this point.

    Where my players made a mistake is thinking they can just start kidnapping random soldiers and one of them will know the way to the Fane of Tiamat, since that won't work - but luckily one of my players have put on a cursed spider mask (looks like a pulsing facehugger over his face) and are slowly being corrupted by his demon familiar and he will lead them all to damnation, or hopefully they will manage and free the ghost and the ghost will tell them to go to Rhest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio@Bridge View Post
    An open comment to any reader - I've only played the two 5e adventures I listed above. What do people think about tying Red Hand of Doom to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Ravenloft, Storm King's Thunder, or Tomb of Annihilation? How about tying it in with the shorter adventures from the Yawning Portal?
    I am constantly throwing other stuff in there, I think Red Hand of Doom is a great setting campaign, but it would quickly get boring if you are just fighting hobgoblins all the time, I would probably not combine it with one of the other big ones tho. If you want to continue after they handle everything you will of course need to put in some seeds and foreshadowing for what comes after.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    I'm interested in the 5e adventures for a couple of reasons. First, you've got to get to level 5 for RHoD, so you might grab material from them for those first bits if they have a good jumping off point. Second, they have a lot of great setting material. Storm King's Thunder just has a ton of people and places in it, and Chult from Tomb of Annihilation just seems like a really fascinating culture. It would be fun to run a bunch of adventures in that place.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    I have completed the section on the Witchwood. Does anyone have any comments on the conversion or things to add for that section?

    I'm still interested in tying this adventure to other 5e adventures. Also, I'd missed the Mines of Phandelver. That's a good starting place and ends at just about the point you'd want to start Red Hand. Does anyone with experience with Mines have advice on moving from it to to Red Hand?

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    What I did was set the RHoD right after the Forge of Fury (Tales from the Yawning Portal for the 5E update). I don't like to start characters off at 1st level (I'm far too lethal for that to be a good idea), and since it starts at 3rd level, that's right at a decent level of survivability for me.

    Anyways, I did it so that the Duergar in the lowest levels of the Forge were supplying the Red Hand with the weapons to outfit their troops (all you really need to do is mention a red hand stamped onto a yellow background) and I changed Nightscale into Iceclaw (refluffed him as a white dragon, because gods be damned, there's a missing white dragon in the adventure).

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    The Power of the Orient: A Wu Jen Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. Kemp
    Frankly, I think the designers and novelists did great work in the post-Spellplague Realms. But, in the end, this wasnít a new setting. It was the Realms, the Realms 100 years later, and therein lay the problem.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    We did LMoP before RHoD. I changed out LMoP bad guy the Black Spider, with an agent of the Red Hand trying to see if they could use the place to make magic weapons. Instead of a drow the Black Spider was a man wearing a black spider mask, this is a cursed relic that one of my players are now wearing - and just starting to realise is a really bad thing, it is gripping his face like a facehugger.

    I re-based the adventure to Red Rock and they found a treasure map leading to the hidden vault in Vraath Keep.

    I skipped most of the side quests in Phandalin/Red Rock, because I think most of them are boring, I did tell my players about them, but each time they came back to town, after doing something, some other adventures had dealt with one or more of the side quests.

    I also replaced the doppelgangers with a draconian shapeshifter.

    While I sorta liked LMoP, I would probably have chosen several smaller adventures set in the different villages and towns of the Vale to get my players to know more NPCs and get more involved with the setting.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Ah, yes, the Yawning Portal! Those work well. I've also used Forge of Fury as a companion adventure, running it when people couldn't come to the main game. I changed it to a former goblin forge rather than a dwarven one (I am running in Eberron, so goblins have a bit more history of civilization than normal). It was of interest to the Red Hand to get weapons and armor for their people.

    Thanks for the notes on Phandelver. I'm interested in the idea of running prequel adventures in the Vale. What kind of stuff might work?

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    I'm trying to add some notes on how to RP the major villains and NPCs in the adventure. How have people played these NPCs in their own games, and how do you get those characteristics across? For instance, Koth didn't really last very long in my game and so he didn't make much of an impression on my players. I'm trying to think of what I could have done to make the most of his brief time on screen. What has worked for other folks?
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-11-10 at 03:36 PM.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    I have some ideas on builds for the NPCs, but the razorfiends are a bit more of a puzzle. I haven't done a lot of design on original monsters thus far, so I wanted to solicit feedback on the following ideas before committing them to the guide.

    For the Greenspawn Razorfiend, the target CR puts them on par with a Young White Dragon. We have a lot of dragons so we don't want to replicate that experience too closely. When I reviewed their statblocks a few things stood out:

    1) They have the mobility/spring attack line of feats. While everyone gets this sort of thing in 5e, this indicates that the Razorfiend is intended to be a highly mobile opponent. Designing an ability to support this would be good.

    2) Their wing blades have an expanded critical range and modifier, making them deadly attacks

    3) They can't fly but they have a great jump score. Perhaps a leap ability? They don't have Hide, so they're not really ambush predators despite the nature of the first encounter with them.

    4) Their breath weapon is acid instead of poison for some reason

    These are intended as Solo threats at level 6 but to be thrown into larger encounters at later points in the adventure, so they need to work well in either scenario.

    From that, we get:

    Greenspawn Razorfiend
    Type: Dragon, Fiend (Demon)

    Armor Class: 16 (natural armor +3)
    Hit Points: 110 (13d10 + 39)
    Speed: 50 ft (swim 50 ft)
    Str 18, Dex 17, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 12
    Skills: Athletics +8, Perception +6
    Senses: Passive Perception 16
    Immunities: Poison
    Resistances: Cold, Fire; Lightning, Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing From Nonmagical Weapons
    Condition Immunities: Poisoned
    CR: 6

    Traits:

    Amphibious: A greenspawn razorfiend can breathe air and water.

    Mobile: A greenspawn razorfiend does not provoke attacks of opportunity when it moves away from a creature that it has attacked this turn.

    Expanded Critical: A greenspawn razorfiend gets a critical hit when they roll a 19 or a 20, and rolls one extra die of damage on a critical hit.

    Actions:

    Multiattack: The greenspawn razorfiend makes three attacks: two with its wingblades and one with its bite

    Wingblade: +8, 10 foot reach, 1d12+4 slashing damage

    Bite: +8, 1d8+4 piercing damage

    Poison Breath (Recharge 5-6): 20 foot cone, each creature in the area must make a DC 14 Constitution save. If they fail they take 24 (7d6) poison damage. On a success they take half. Creatures who fail the save are also blinded by the caustic gas. A creature may make another save at the end of each of its turns to end this condition.

    Move Actions:

    Leap: The greenspawn razorfiend jumps up to 50 feet horizontally or 25 feet vertically.
    Last edited by Horatio@Bridge; 2017-11-13 at 01:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Here's what I used for my players-

    Spoiler: Greenspawn Razorfiend
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 130
    Speed 50 ft, swim 50ft
    -------------------------
    Str 18 (+4), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 12 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Dex +5, Wis +4
    Senses darkvision 90ft, passive perception 14
    Skills Perception +4, Stealth +5
    Damage Immunities poison
    Condiditon Immunities poisoned
    Languages Common, Draconic
    CR 6 (2300 XP)
    -------------------------
    Amphibious A greenspawn razorfiend can breathe air and water.
    Mobile A greenspawn razorfiend can take the Dash or Disengage action on it's turn as a bonus action.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. A greenspawn razorfiend makes three attacks: two with its' wingblades and one with its' bite
    Wingblade (melee) +7: 2d8+4 slashing plus 1d8 poison; crit. 19-20
    Bite (melee) +7: 1d10+4 piercing
    Poison Breath (Recharge 5-6) 20ft cone, DC15 Constitution saving throw or take 24 (6d6) poison damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful save.

    So this is my take on a CR 6 Greenspawn Razorfiend - it proved to be pretty deadly, dropping both my Paladin tank and Ranger archer with a pair of crits. Bonus action Disengage isn't quite equivalent with the Spring Attack chain of feats in 3.5e, but its undoubtedly effective. I don't know how I feel about the breath weapon, given how many dragons there are already in this campaign (in addition to the Hell Hounds), but I was trying to pretty faithfully reproduce the original.

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    The Power of the Orient: A Wu Jen Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. Kemp
    Frankly, I think the designers and novelists did great work in the post-Spellplague Realms. But, in the end, this wasnít a new setting. It was the Realms, the Realms 100 years later, and therein lay the problem.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    Yeah, I do worry that the fights will eventually feel repetitive since 5e has reduced complexity so much. Solos in general feel like big bags of hit points with lots of attacks, and doing a bunch of those can be boring. I really want to find ways to make these fights have at least one trick that makes them different from each other. That said, looking at your stat block makes me think that mine has a little too much going on with leap and the blind effect on the breath weapon. Mobile alone is going to make this critter a frustrating opponent, and the expanded crit range is going to be pretty brutal later in the game when these things have buddies with which to flank.

    Though it would be pretty cool if Green Dragons had such an effect with their breath weapon...I might need to make a note under Ozzy.

    What did you do for the Blackspawn Raiders? I keep trying to force them into the "rogue" box, but the more I look the more I think they're a better fit for a barbarian archetype. Something like:

    Blackspawn Raider
    Type: Humanoid (draconic), Fiend (Demon)

    Armor Class: 15 (natural armor)
    Hit Points: 76 (9d10 + 27)
    Speed: 40 ft
    Str 14, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 8
    Skills: Perception +2
    Senses: Passive Perception 12
    Immunities: Acid
    Resistances: Cold, Fire; Lightning, Bludgeoning, Piercing, And Slashing From Nonmagical Weapons
    CR: 4

    Traits:

    Brutal: A blackspawn raider adds one die of damage to weapon attacks. This is already included in the attacks below

    Actions:

    Multiattack: The blackspawn raider makes two attacks with its greatsword.

    Greatsword: +4, 3d6+2 slashing damage

    Acid Breath (Recharge 5-6): 30 foot line, each creature in the area must make a DC 15 Dexterity save. If they fail they take 24 (7d6) acid damage. On a success they take half.

    Alternatively, I'm thinking of making these guys more like veterans with the longsword/shortsword attack pattern. That would get a lot of mileage out of the Brutal trait.

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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom 5e Conversion Guide [Spoilers, WIP, PEACH]

    I'm probably going to try my hand at building these guys when I get home, then see how Marked for Death looks. I'll let you know how it goes.

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    The Power of the Orient: A Wu Jen Handbook

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul S. Kemp
    Frankly, I think the designers and novelists did great work in the post-Spellplague Realms. But, in the end, this wasnít a new setting. It was the Realms, the Realms 100 years later, and therein lay the problem.

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