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    Default Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Shayne, Hannah, Jeff, and Max, I don't think any of you follow this forum, but if you do, it'll be more fun if you don't read this thread ...

    After a year and a half of inactivity, I'm returning to my conversion of Red Hand of Doom to 5e, and also running it for my group. It's just one new player added to a group that's been very consistent and high-quality (under a different DM), so hopefully it'll have the lasting power to get through RHoD, which I've always wanted to do but never accomplished. And that would also push me to finish the conversion I started.

    I got a surprising number of requests to finish that conversion. I know some other people have attempted the same conversion in the interim, so maybe demand is gone, but just in case, I thought I'd write not only a Campaign Journal but also the stats of everything I throw at them, and how that worked out. But I'm starting a new thread, partly to avoid any chance that I'll get in trouble for Thread Necromancy.

    Tables of Contents

    Conversion

    Part 1: The Witchwood
    Marauder Attack
    Drellin's Ferry
    Witchwood Random Encounters
    Jorr's Cabin
    Blackwater Causeway
    Vraath Keep
    Old Warklegnaw
    Skull Gorge Bridge
    Goblin Raid
    Chimera Attack
    Massacre at Drellin's Ferry

    Part 2a: The Elsir War
    Easy Skirmish
    Dirty Rotten Looters
    Mercenary Gold
    The Not-So-Sick Spy
    Barghest Reavers
    Marked for Death
    Captured!
    Into the Horde

    Part 2b: The Blackfens
    Blackfens Random Encounters
    Road Blockade
    Spawn of Tiamat
    Killiar's Hunters
    Meeting the Tiri Kitor
    Lizardfolk Huts
    Bell Tower
    Town Hall
    The Elf Alliance

    Part 3: The Ghostlord's Lair
    Thornwaste Random Encounters
    Varanthian's Lair
    The Lion's Path
    Guardroom
    Ooze Pit
    Guest Quarters
    The Pool of Rebirth
    Chamber of the Betrayed
    Shrine of Blight

    Journal

    The cast of PCs
    Journal 1/5/2019
    Journal 1/12/2019
    Journal 1/19/2019
    Journal 1/26/2019
    Journal 2/9/2019
    Journal 2/23/2019
    Journal 3/2/2019
    Mini-Journal 3/9/2019
    Journal 3/16/2019
    Last edited by Draz74; Yesterday at 11:54 AM.
    You can call me Draz.
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    Also of note:

    I'm back to working on converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    The Cast of PCs:

    I let the PCs roll for their stats, and three of them rolled really really well, so I let the fourth player reroll until he got a comparable set. I can always boost encounter difficulty if I need to, and it seems like it will be more fun to have all the PCs relatively equal.


    Spoiler: MOXIE WAVERIDER
    Show
    Race: Zariel Winged Tiefling
    Background: Sailor
    Class: Storm Herald (Sea) Barbarian 5
    Str 16, Dex 15, Con 18, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 15
    Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation, Perception, Survival
    Alignment: CN
    Noteworthy Equipment: Waterborne Maul +1, Candle of the Deep, 4 Javelins, lots of other weapons
    Backstory: She's not the product of two other tieflings, but of a drunken rendezvous between her father and something fiendish. She comes from a moderately far-away wilderness, from which her father raised her as a sailor. Her crew adventured some, earning enough treasure for her to commission the crafting of her Maul. But recently, she was involved in a traumatic shipwreck in which most of the crew died; she escaped thanks to being winged. Now she's adventuring inland to avoid stormy seas.
    Notes: I decided to let the player combine Zariel Tiefling (for the Strength boost) with Winged Tiefling from SCAG, with Winged replacing the spell-like abilities as normal. Also, I thought "Moxie" was a brilliant choice for the name of a Tiefling Barbarian.



    Spoiler: BARNABUS BRAVE
    Show
    Race: Changeling
    Background: Charlatan
    Class: Lore Bard 5
    Str 12, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 18
    Proficiencies: Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Deception(Expertise), Insight, Intimidation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion(Expertise), Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Survival, Thieves' Tools, lots of languages
    Favorite Spells: Tasha's Hideous Laughter, Heat Metal
    Alignment: CN
    Noteworthy Equipment: Glamoured Studded Leather Armor (without the +1 to AC), 2 Carriages, 4 Draft Horses, Rapier, Hand Crossbow
    Backstory: He's from Drellin's Ferry! Doesn't know, obviously, that the module will involve evacuating the place completely. Originally inserted into a human family to cover up a kidnapping of a baby (who was then sacrificed for a dark ritual), his family still doesn't know that he's not human. Travels the countryside as an entertainer and adventurer, with his whole entertainment troupe being him in various shapeshifted forms -- which is going to be harder and harder to hide from both his family and the party as time goes on. Fairly large family in Drellin's Ferry; he's detailed out a number of individuals. Wealthy family. He's a little bit of a black sheep, as he's kind of resentful of gods and most of the family doesn't like either his adventuring or his musicianship.
    Notes: This player is crazy. Antics will surely ensue.



    Spoiler: BITORE WORDBEARER
    Show
    Race: Hill Dwarf
    Background: Acolyte
    Class: Knowledge Cleric 5
    Str 11, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 16, Wis 20, Cha 11
    Proficiencies: Arcana(Expertise), History(Expertise), Insight, Medicine, Persuasion, Religion, lots of languages; anything else (temporarily), through Knowledge of the Ages.
    Alignment: LG
    Noteworthy Equipment: Cloak of Protection, Breastplate of Gleaming, Shield
    Backstory: From a distant plateau land, the equivalent of Tibet in this world, called Quoon. Part of a sect centered there, the Oorothic Order, who are monastic and philosophical and worship Mother Time. Recently gifted his cloak and sent via teleportation circle to Brindol, to be a missionary for Orothism and seek greater knowledge that he can contribute to the community.
    Notes: This player is the new addition to the group, new to Roll20 and fairly new to D&D in general. He seems pretty chill, a little unsure of himself still, so I hope his character will become a little less shy as the player starts to feel more included.



    Spoiler: MARR
    Show
    Race: Black Dragonborn
    Background: "Wasteland Survivor"
    Class: Samurai Fighter 5
    Str 16, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 7, Wis 17, Cha 14
    Proficiencies: Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Intimidation, Survival, leatherworker's tools, weaver's tools
    Feat: Dragon Fear
    Alignment: NG
    Noteworthy Equipment: Necklace of Adaptation, Maul, Splint Armor, 6 Javelins
    Backstory: His jovial nature belies that he grew up a total loner, abandoned in a wasteland on the distant dragon continent (where most dragons and dragonborn come from). Is very proud of his mighty will to fight and survive. Recently deposited on this continent by a Brass Dragon who was impressed with him and gave him a loose mission to hunt down Tyrgarun, who disappeared "some years ago" into this continent.
    Notes: This player is our usual DM. Playing a non-spellcaster is a big change for him.
    Level-Up Notes: Took Resilient (Wisdom) at Level 6, so now has a Wisdom of 18 and an excellent save.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-28 at 10:24 AM.
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    Also of note:

    I'm back to working on converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e.

  3. - Top - End - #3
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Marauder Attack

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Hell Hound
    Show
    Medium Fiend, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 6 (-2), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +5
    Damage Immunities fire
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages understands Infernal but can't speak it
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The hound has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    Pack Tactics. The hound has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the hound's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing + 2d6 fire
    Fire Breath (Recharge 5-6: The hound exhales fire in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 6d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Doom Hand Cleric 'Zarr'
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (chain shirt)
    HP 27 (5d8+5)
    Speed 25 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 10 (+0), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Arcana +2, Deception +3, Religion +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages Goblin, Common, Infernal
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Divine Eminence. As a bonus action, the doom hand cleric can expend a spell slot to cause its melee weapon attacks to magically deal an extra 3d6 radiant damage to a target on a hit. This benefit lasts until the end of the turn. If the doom hand cleric expends a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each level above 1st.
    Spellcasting. The doom hand cleric is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The doom hand cleric has the following spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): resistance, spare the dying, thaumaturgy
    1st level (4 slots): bane, cure wounds, detect magic, guiding bolt
    2nd level (3 slots): hold person, invisibility, spiritual weapon
    3rd level (2 slots)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Mace (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d6+1 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Bladebearer 'Uth-Lar'
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (chain shirt)
    HP 67 (9d8+27)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 16 (+3), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +3
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 3d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    Dual Wielder. When the bladebearer takes the Attack action, it can use a bonus action to attack with a weapon in its off-hand.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 piercing
    Shortsword (off-hand) (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 piercing
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Potion of Healing. Restores 2d4+2 HP when drunk.


    Encounter Composition
    Hobgoblin Regular *11
    Hobgoblin Bladebearer "Uth-Lar"
    Doom Hand Cleric "Zarr"
    Hell Hound


    XP Award: 2700

    Terrain
    The wooded terrain to both sides of the road is filled with light undergrowth (difficult terrain). The steep escarpments on the sides of the road also count as difficult terrain, and to move up them requires 4 feet of movement for every 1 foot actually moved (like the Plant Growth spell).
    The tree trunks within the wooded areas can be used for half cover or for three-quarters cover, depending on the angle from which a creature is targeted.

    Setup
    Five hobgoblin regulars start out in the woods to the side of the road, hidden behind tree trunks, a little ahead of where the party start the encounter. Uth-Lar, Zarr, and the Hell Hound start out in the farmhouse. The remaining six Regulars start out off the edge of the map to the southwest, but will join as reinforcements after two rounds.
    The creatures in the woods start off with advantage on their Stealth scores due to cover, but disadvantage for heavy armor. Have all the PCs make Perception checks. If any PC's Perception result is 21 or higher, they notice something in the woods ahead of time, and can warn the other PCs if they wish. If any PC's Perception result is 11 or higher, they at least are not surprised by the ambush once it begins.

    Tactics
    Uth-Lar, Zarr, and the Hell Hound come out of the farmhouse as soon as they hear the sounds of combat; they are initially expecting just to watch a quick slaughter, but will quickly notice that they have a real fight on their hands and join in. Zarr begins combat by casting invisibility, then casts spiritual weapon as soon as he is revealed.
    The hobgoblin regulars start out firing their bows from their covered positions, with their shields stowed on their backs. They focus first on PCs against whom they can use their Martial Advantage, followed by PCs who are already wounded. If archery starts to feel ineffective and any PCs are nearby, they switch to sword and shield (dropping their bows) and run down the escarpment to engage in melee.

    Informational Development

    This group of hobgoblins is particularly fanatical. It requires a DC 25 Intimidation check to get them talking. Even a DC 25 Persuasion check will only work if a significant reward is offered to the interrogated creature, more than just letting it live. Of course clever Deceptions or magic can make the interrogation more successful.

    Treasure
    Besides their weapons, armor, and shields, and Uth-Lar's potion, the ambushers carry little of interest. Zarr's holy symbol of Tiamat can be identified with a DC 10 Religion check, with circumstance modifiers depending on the PCs' familiarity with dragons.
    In the farmhouse are bedrolls and mess kits and such mundane travel equipment for the hobgoblins.
    The three dead guards are dressed in chain shirts and carried light crossbows and spears. The merchant's coin pouch contains 130 gp, 80 sp. Locating it is only a DC 5 Investigation check.

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

    Notes

    The hobgoblin regulars are just Hobgoblins from the MM. Hell hounds are likewise unchanged from the MM.

    The Doom Hand Cleric is based strongly on the NPC "Priest" stat block, but with spell selection and skill selection and some other things tweaked. I decided giving it Martial Advantage would be overkill, even though it's a hobgoblin trait, since it already has the bonus action "smite" thing in its stat block for some reason.

    Finally, the bladebearer was based loosely on the Berserker NPC stat block, but I did a bit more homebrewing here.

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

    Results

    My PCs ate this encounter up without as much trouble as I would have liked. Other than the one breath weapon the Hell Hound got off, the baddies did little damage.

    After playtesting this encounter, I kept the six "reinforcement" Regulars in reserve, planning to only bring them out if the battle was going too well. It did, so I did. But the additional six bodies/actions per round made very little difference. I definitely recommend including them when you run this. I'm torn about recommending other upgrades to the baddies (a second Hell Hound?) because my PCs are slightly overpowered in their stats and the dice were kind to them, and I can imagine this battle going very differently otherwise.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-07 at 10:33 AM.
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Drellin's Ferry

    XP Award:
    Award the players 450 XP if they make a particularly good impression on the guards when initially entering town.

    Spoiler: Avarthel
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human/elf), Neutral Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (hide armor, shield)
    HP 33 (6d8+6)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 14 (+2), Wis 18 (+4), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Int +5, Wis +7
    Skills Medicine +7, Nature +5, Religion +5, Survival +7
    Tools Herbalism Kit +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Common, Elvish, Sylvan, Druidic
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Fey Ancestry. Avarthel has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic canít put him to sleep.
    Mask of the Wild. Avarthel can attempt to hide even when he is only lightly obscured by foliage, heavy rain, falling snow, mist, and other natural phenomena.
    Wild Shape. Avarthel can use his action to magically assume the shape of a beast that he has seen before. He can use this feature twice. He regains expended uses when he finishes a short or long rest. The beast he transforms into can have a maximum CR of 1/2 and cannot have a fly speed. He can stay in beast shape for up to 3 hours. He then reverts to his normal form unless he expends another use of this feature. He can revert to his normal form earlier by using a bonus action on his turn. He automatically reverts if he falls unconscious, drops to 0 hit points, or dies. This ability otherwise follows the rules of Wild Shape (PHB pg. 66-67).
    Natural Recovery. During a short rest, Avarthel chooses expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level of up to 3, and none of the slots can be 6th level or higher. He can't use this feature again until he finishes a long rest.
    Land's Stride. Moving through nonmagical difficult terrain costs Avarthel no extra movement. He can also pass through nonmagical plants without being slowed by them and without taking damage from them if they have thorns, spines, or a similar hazard.
    Spellcasting. Avarthel is a 6th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). Avarthel has the following spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): druidcraft, magic stone, mold earth, thorn whip
    1st level (4 slots): animal friendship, cure wounds, earth tremor, fog cloud, longstrider, speak with animals
    2nd level (3 slots): barkskin, spider climb, animal messenger, beast sense, lesser restoration, locate animals or plants
    3rd level (3 slots): call lightning, plant growth
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Quarterstaff (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8 bludgeoning
    Sling (Magic Stones) (ranged 30/120 ft) +7: 1d8+4 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Brother Derny
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Neutral Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 9
    HP 27 (5d8+5)
    Speed 20 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 9 (-1), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Wis +5, Cha +3
    Skills Arcana +3, History +3, Medicine +5, Religion +3
    Senses passive Perception 12
    Languages Common, Celestial, Dwarvish, Gnomish
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Channel Divinity. Brother Derny can use Channel Divinity once. He regains the use of this feature when he finishes a short or long rest.
    Spellcasting. Brother Derny is a 5th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). Brother Derny has the following spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): guidance, light, mending, sacred flame, word of radiance
    1st level (4 slots): burning hands, faerie fire, ceremony, cure wounds
    2nd level (3 slots): flaming sphere, scorching ray, calm emotions, lesser restoration, zone of truth
    3rd level (2 slots): daylight, fireball, mass healing word, meld into stone
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Channel Divinity: Turn Undead. Each undead that can see or hear Brother Derny within 30 feet of him must make a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw. If the creature fails its saving throw, it is turned for 1 minute or until it takes any damage. If its CR is 1/2 or lower, it is instead instantly destroyed. A turned creature must spend its turns trying to move as far away from Brother Derny as it can, and it can't willingly move to a space within 30 feet of him. It also can't take reactions. For its action, it can use only the Dash action or try to escape from an effect that prevents it from moving. If there's nowhere to move, the creature can use the Dodge action.
    Channel Divinity: Radiance of the Dawn. Brother Derny presents his holy symbol, and any magical darkness within 30 feet of him is dispelled. Additionally, each hostile creature within 30 feet of him must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw. A creature takes 2d10+5 radiant damage on a failed saving throw, and half as much damage on a successful one. A creature that has total cover from him is not affected.
    -------------------------
    Reactions
    Warding Flare. When Brother Derny is attacked by a creature within 30 feet of him that he can see, he can impose disadvantage on the attack roll, causing light to flare before the attacker before it hits or misses. An attacker that can't be blinded is immune to this feature. He can use this feature 2 times. He regains all expended uses when he finishes a long rest.

    Spoiler: Captain Soranna Anitah
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Neutral Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (scale mail, shield)
    HP 42 (5d10+15)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 16 (+3), Dex 14 (+2), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +6, Con +6
    Skills Acrobatics +5, Animal Handling +4, Athletics +6, Intimidation +3, Persuasion +3, Stealth +2 (with Disadvantage)
    Senses passive Perception 11
    Languages Common, Dwarvish
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Determination. When Soranna makes an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, she can do so with advantage. Once she uses this ability, she must finish a short or long rest before she can use it again.
    Second Wind. On her turn, Soranna can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+5 hit points. Once she uses this feature, she must finish a short or long rest before she can use it again.
    Action Surge. On her turn, Soranna can take an additional action, on top of her regular action and a possible bonus action. Once she uses this feature, she must finish a short or long rest before she can use it again.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. Soranna makes two weapon attacks (but only one heavy crossbow attack).
    Flail (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d8+3 bludgeoning; crit 19-20
    Heavy Crossbow (ranged 100/400 ft) +5: 1d10+2 piercing; crit 19-20
    Dagger (melee 5 ft or ranged 20/60 ft) +6: 1d4+3 piercing; crit 19-20
    -------------------------
    Reactions
    Protection. When a creature Soranna can see attacks a target other than her that is within 5 ft of her, she can impose disadvantage on the attack roll. She must be wielding a shield to use this feature.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Potion of Healing. Restores 2d4+2 HP when drunk.

    Spoiler: Delora Zann
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Chaotic Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (studded leather armor)
    HP 57 (5d10+2d8+21)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 10 (+0), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +5, Con +6
    Skills Animal Handling +9, Athletics +5, Insight +9, Investigation +3, Perception +6, Sleight of Hand +3
    Senses passive Perception 21
    Languages Common, Orc
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Observant. If Delora can see a creature's mouth while it is speaking a language she understands, she can interpret what it's saying by reading its lips.
    Second Wind. On her turn, Delora can use a bonus action to regain 1d10+5 hit points. Once she uses this feature, she must finish a short or long rest before she can use it again.
    Action Surge. On her turn, Delora can take an additional action, on top of her regular action and a possible bonus action. Once she uses this feature, she must finish a short or long rest before she can use it again.
    Sneak Attack. Once per turn, Delora can deal extra 1d6 damage to one creature she hits with an attack if she has advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. She doesn't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and she doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
    Cunning Action. Delora can use her Bonus Action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. Delora makes two scimitar attacks.
    Scimitar +1 (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d6+3 slashing; crit 19-20

    Spoiler: Iormel
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 9
    HP 13 (2d8+4)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 9 (-1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 12 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Intimidation +3
    Senses passive Perception 10
    Languages Common, Dwarvish
    CR 0 (10 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Club (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d4+1 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Jarett Nurth
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14
    HP 52 (8d8+16)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 18 (+4), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Dex +7, Int +2
    Skills Acrobatics +7, Deception +6, Intimidation +3, Persuasion +3, Religion +2, Sleight of Hand +7, Stealth +10
    Tools Thieves' Tools +7
    Senses passive Perception 13
    Languages Common, Abyssal, Thieves' Cant, Orc
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Determination. When Jarett makes an attack roll, a saving throw, or an ability check, she can do so with advantage. Once she uses this ability, she must finish a short or long rest before she can use it again.
    Sneak Attack. Once per turn, Jarett can deal extra 2d6 damage to one creature she hits with an attack if she has advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. She doesn't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and she doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
    Cunning Action. Jarett can use her Bonus Action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
    Assassinate. Jarett has advantage on attack rolls against any creature that hasn't taken a turn in the combat yet. In addition, any hit she scores against a creature that is surprised is a critical hit.
    Channel Divinity: Touch of Death. When Jarett hits a creature with a melee attack, she can deal 13 extra necrotic damage to the target. Once she has used this ability, she cannot use it again until she finishes a short or long rest.
    Reaper. When Jarett casts Toll the Dead or Chill Touch, the spell can target two creatures within range and within 5 feet of each other.
    Spellcasting. Jarett is a 4th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Wisdom (save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). Jarett has the following spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): chill touch, guidance, light, thaumaturgy, toll the dead
    1st level (4 slots): false life, ray of sickness, bane, cure wounds, guiding bolt, inflict wounds, sanctuary
    2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness, ray of enfeeblement, hold person, locate object
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Dagger (melee 5 ft or ranged 20/60 ft) +7: 1d4+4 piercing

    Spoiler: Kellin Shadowbanks
    Show
    Small Humanoid (halfling), Chaotic Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
    HP 27 (5d8+5)
    Speed 25 ft, climb 25 ft (still requires Athletics checks)
    -------------------------
    Str 8 (-1), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 14 (+2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 16 (+3)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Dex +5, Int +5
    Skills Deception +9, History +5, Insight +4, Perception +7, Persuasion +6, Sleight of Hand +5
    Tools Thieves' Tools +5, Three-Dragon Ante +8
    B]Senses[/B] passive Perception 17
    Languages Common, Halfling, Dwarvish, Thieves' Cant
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Lucky. When Kellin rolls a 1 on the d20 for an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, he can reroll the die and must use the new roll.
    Brave. Kellin has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
    Halfling Nimbleness. Kellin can move through the space of any creature that is of a size larger than his.
    Naturally Stealthy. Kellin can attempt to hide even when he is obscured only by a creature that is at least one size larger than him.
    Sneak Attack. Once per turn, Kellin can deal extra 3d6 damage to one creature he hits with an attack if he has advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. He doesn't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isn't incapacitated, and he doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
    Cunning Action. Kellin can use his Bonus Action to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
    Fast Hands. Kellin can use his Bonus Action to make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check, use his thieves' tools to disarm a trap or open a lock, or take the Use an Object action.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+2 piercing
    Dagger (melee 5 ft or ranged 20/60 ft) +5: 1d4+2 piercing
    -------------------------
    Reactions
    Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker that Kellin can see hits him with an attack, he can halve the attack's damage against him.

    Spoiler: Morlin Coalhewer
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (dwarf), Lawful Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 10
    HP 58 (9d8+18)
    Speed 25 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 10 (+0), Con 15 (+2)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Wis +4, Cha +2
    Skills Athletics +4, Insight +4, Medicine +4, Religion +4
    Tools Smith's Tools +6
    Damage Resistances poison
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 12
    Languages Dwarvish, Common
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Dwarvan Resilience. Morlin has advantage on saving throws against being Poisoned.
    War Priest. When Morlin uses the Attack action, he can make one weapon attack as a bonus action. He can do this twice, and regains all expended uses when he finishes a long rest.
    Channel Divinity: Guided Strike. When Morlin makes an attack roll, he can use his Channel Divinity to gain a +10 bonus to the roll. He makes this choice after he sees the roll, but before the result is declared. Once he has used this ability, he cannot use it again until he finishes a short or long rest.
    Spellcasting. Morlin is a 4th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). Morlin has the following spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): guidance, mending, spare the dying, thaumaturgy
    1st level (4 slots): divine favor, shield of faith, guiding bolt, healing word
    2nd level (3 slots): magic weapon, spiritual weapon, blindness/deafness, lesser restoration, locate object, silence
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Hammer (melee 5 ft or ranged 20/60 ft) +4: 1d4+2 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Sertieren the Wise
    Show
    Small Humanoid (gnome), Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (14 with mage armor)
    HP 22 (5d6+5)
    Speed 25 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 8 (-1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 16 (+3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Int +6, Wis +4
    Skills Arcana +6, History +6, Insight +4, Investigation +6
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Gnomish, Common, Draconic, Dwarvish
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Gnome Cunning. Sertieren has advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.
    Arcane Recovery. During a short rest, Sertieren chooses expended spell slots to recover. The spell slots can have a combined level of up to 3, and none of the slots can be 6th level or higher. He can't use this feature again until he finishes a long rest.
    Arcane Ward. Sertieren has a magical ward on himself. The ward has 13 hit points. Whenever he takes damage, the ward takes the damage instead. If this damage reduces the ward to 0 hit points, Sertieren takes any remaining damage. Whenever Sertieren casts an abjuration spell of 1st level or higher, the ward regains a number of hit points equal to twice the level of the spell.
    Spellcasting. Sertieren is a 5th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). Sertieren has the following wizard spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): fire bolt, infestation, mold earth, prestidigitation
    1st level (3* slots): mage armor,* magic missile, shield, sleep
    2nd level (3 slots): invisibility, levitate, web
    3rd level (2 slots): dispel magic
    *Sertieren casts this spell on himself before combat begins
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Staff (melee 5 ft) +2: 1d8-1 bludgeoning
    -------------------------
    In Spellbook
    1st level: alarm, comprehend languages, identify, unseen servant
    2nd level: arcane lock
    3rd level: fireball, fly

    Spoiler: Speaker Norro Wiston
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Neutral Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 10
    HP 13 (3d8)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 10 (+0), Con 11 (+0)
    Int 13 (+1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Insight +3, Investigation +3, Persuasion +2
    Senses passive Perception 11
    Languages Common
    CR 0 (10 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Club (melee 5 ft) +2: 1d4 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Tharrma
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (dwarf), Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 10
    HP 13 (2d8+4)
    Speed 25 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 10 (+0), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Damage Resistances poison
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Dwarvish, Common
    CR 0 (10 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Club (melee 5 ft) +2: 1d4 bludgeoning
    Light Crossbow (ranged 80/320 ft) +2: 1d8 piercing


    Rewards

    Halve the rewards offered to the PCs (if any); 250 gp apiece for helping. 350 gp apiece, and up to 300 gp worth of the potions and scrolls listed below, for making some impressive level of connection (probably involving Persuasion checks) with Speaker Wiston.

    For Sale

    Spoiler: Morlin's Smithy
    Show
    battleaxe +1 - 210 gp
    adamantine chain mail - 375 gp
    20x arrow +1 - 20 gp each
    20x bolt +1 - 20 gp each

    Spoiler: Shrine of Pelor
    Show
    4x potion of healing - 50 gp each
    2x potion of greater healing - 150 gp each
    spell scroll of bless (level 1) - 60 gp
    2x spell scroll of lesser restoration - 120 gp each
    spell scroll of protection from energy - 210 gp
    spell scroll of dispel magic (level 3) - 220 gp

    Spoiler: House of Sertieren the Wise
    Show
    2x spell scroll of mage armor - 60 gp each
    2x spell scroll of invisibility (level 2) - 130 gp each
    spell scroll of web - 120 gp
    spell scroll of dispel magic (level 3) - 220 gp
    spell scroll of fireball (level 3) - 230 gp
    2x spell scroll of fly (level 3) - 210 gp
    potion of invisibility - 180 gp
    potion of flying - 500 gp
    ring of protection - 3500 gp

    Spoiler: The Old Ones
    Show
    potion of resistance: poison - 100 gp
    potion of heroism - 500 gp

    While I've been pretty stingy about how many of these items are available, the casters can be commissioned to craft more, and these are good guidelines for the sorts of things they're able to craft. Feel free to adjust these, of course, especially the type of weapon available from Morlin, to suit your party (or not).

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

    Notes

    I built most of these NPCs approximately like PCs. Since most of them are more likely to fight alongside the PCs than against them, this seems fine.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-02-10 at 12:42 PM.
    You can call me Draz.
    Trophies:
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    Also of note:

    I'm back to working on converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Post Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Journal 1/5/2019

    Spoiler: Setup
    Show
    We got things started. To finish character creation, the party pooled their leftover gold to buy a couple diamonds for Revivify. I declared that they'd been traveling together since Brindol, and Moxie the Barbarian and Barnabus the Bard had been together for a few days before that, traveling to Brindol. Now they were all headed west: Barnabus to visit home (Drellin's Ferry), Bitore the Cleric chasing a vague rumor about the Witchwood, and the others just kind of wandering.

    I asked if they'd been doing anything in particular while traveling, and Barnabus had given them his "show." Which, in turn, inspired Marr the Fighter to become a performer as well. He'd adopted one of Barnabus's costumes that was fit to a dragonborn, and was attempting (badly) to learn to play Barnabus's lute. Bitore said he had tried to take a peek inside the carriage that Barnabus's performers ostensibly lived in (and only came out when performing), but he didn't roll high enough on his Stealth skill to get a chance to peek without Barnabus blocking him.


    Spoiler: Marauder Attack
    Show
    That settled, I called for Perception checks as they entered the map of Marauder Attack. To my dismay (I wanted something of an ambush, even if most of them weren't surprised), Marr rolled really high Perception, so I couldn't really justify that they were going to take their carriages straight into the middle of the hobgoblins without noticing that something was afoot.

    The hobgoblin regulars won initiative, but that was about the last die roll that went well for them. As I commented under Marauder Attack, this fight was blessed by the dice for the players, and was too easy. Oh well, at least it wasn't plot-critical that the fight be hard.

    Moxie raged without hesitation, and was the main tank against the hobgoblin regulars. With Reckless Attack, she hit nearly every time, and she could sometimes drop the regulars in one hit. Her storm aura did a fair amount of damage to them too, and with her raging resistance and high Constitution, the return fire didn't faze her much.

    Barnabus initially cast Faerie Fire on two Regulars, then switched to Tasha's Hideous Laughter on the Hellhound as soon as it appeared, then threw a Stinking Cloud at the six Regulars who came in as reinforcements, scattering them all about. He might need to work on not casting multiple concentration spells so quickly in succession, but it worked out this time. He also threw Bardic Inspiration around liberally. (He can get it back on a short rest, but he might have to learn the value of saving some of it for Cutting Words.)

    Marr intercepted the Bladebearer Uth-Lar before he could reach the Bard, and then found himself the target of Zarr the hobgoblin Cleric as well. He wasn't bothered. He combined Fighting Spirit with Action Surge to slaughter Zarr in a single turn and still have an attack left over to deal serious damage to Uth-Lar.

    Bitore opened with a Bless on three party members (as if they needed it), then a Spiritual Weapon, which he declared took the form of a book whomping enemies. ("Throw the book at him," the party quipped.) Then he mostly just coasted the rest of the battle with the whomping book and Toll the Dead.

    The only time the PCs were remotely in any danger was when the Hell Hound had one turn after getting over Hideous Laughter (having saved against it when Marr whacked it twice) before it got pulverized, and unleashed its breath weapon on Marr and Barnabus. Barnabus, the "squishy" member of a "tanky" party, would have been very near unconscious if he hadn't saved, but he did. And then Bitore threw a Healing Word at him for good measure.

    The party let the last 4 hobgoblins flee.


    Spoiler: Combat Aftermath
    Show
    They checked out the farmhouse before worrying about the bodies strewn all over the road, and easily found the money stowed there. Bitore cast Speak with Dead on the merchant's corpse, but learned nothing useful about either the merchant or the hobgoblins. Then I let them notice (with a Perception check) that Uth-Lar wasn't dead, having barely been dropped by a whomping book. (He also stabilized when I gave him Death Saves.) With a 26 Intimidation check (!) from Barnabus, I decided their interrogation went fairly well, the fanatical Uth-Lar giving up some information about the Red Hand, mostly about Koth, in exchange for being slain quickly. So the party knows there's a sorcerer awaiting them in the Witchwood, and thinks he's the Big Bad.

    Finally they turned their attention to looting the hobgoblins, most importantly finding Zarr's holy symbol. Bitore rolled fairly poorly to identify it even though he's the party Religion expert. Marr has a -2 Religion skill, but his DC to recognize Tiamat's symbol was only a 5 because he's from Draconic lands -- but he rolled even worse, for a total of zero. Barnabus rolled much better, and was able to identify the relevant goddess. They acted like good low-level adventurers and loaded up most of the weapons and armor from the fight onto their carriages to sell in town. (I thought they might not bother at Level 5, but they did.) They reached Drellin's Ferry without further incident.


    Spoiler: About the Town
    Show
    After an uneventful conversation with Sergeant Hersk, they went to Barnabus's home. I tried to roleplay some interaction with his sister and parents, though it's surely not my strong suit. They learned that Little Brother has been hanging around Morlin's Smithy, asking for an apprenticeship. Since they wanted to sell armor and weapons anyway, they headed to the forge next.

    Morlin brightly greeted Bitore as a fellow dwarf in the name of Moradin ... and expressed disappointment (rudely, but not violently or anything) when he found out that Bitore is an Orothic worshipper. He then examined the armor they were selling, turned up his nose at the Goblin craftsmanship, and said they should instead sell to Jarett's Sundries (general store) if they wanted prices better than for scrap metal.

    Jarett Nurth bought all their looted weapons and armor, though she did complain about much of her liquid capital being used up. I let them sell it all to be nice, and to hint that Jarett's more than she seems, even though it will surely encourage them to continue looting every little weapon and armor they can find. They made a tidy sum. Barnabus failed to lie to her that the equipment had nothing to do with goblins, but she didn't care and bought it anyway.

    Red Hand of Doom provides Jarett as a possible subplot; she never gets involved in the main plot, but her being a secret cultist and murderess is left there in case the party wants to go into the detective genre. I wasn't really planning on developing that direction, but the party made enough conversation with Jarett that I decided to give them (except Barnabus) secret Insight checks to see if they detected anything phony about her. Marr succeeded, so I told him that he suspected some martial skill in the shopkeeper, based on her stance. He challenged her boldly, and passed another Insight check when she denied knowing what he was talking about. He told her that it was a shame for martial fighting spirit to go to waste, then flung a wood chip at her as he walked out the door. She failed a Wisdom save to keep her facade intact, and skillfully deflected the wood chip. So ... it will be interesting to see where that goes.

    Finally, the party made their way to the Old Toll House to talk to Captain Soranna. Barnabus's player decided he has a bit of a crush on her, so he started flirting with her as they reported their fight with the hobgoblins (and exaggerated the numbers they had slaughtered). Without Soranna or Wiston having to ask them, they volunteered they would go into the Witchwood the next day to deal with this "Koth" leader. That's where we left off.


    Spoiler: What's Next
    Show
    So the party is planning to have dinner at Barnabus's house, then rest for the night and head out in the morning. Either at dinner, or later in the evening, or early in the morning, I think Speaker Wiston will pay them a visit, basically to confirm that they're going to try to solve the hobgoblin problem. (And to give them a chance to ask for a reward, or learn about Jorr.)

    I might as well develop the Jarett subplot at this point. I'm thinking she'll come poking around at night looking for Marr, but get turned away by an innkeeper or guard or something. In the morning, the party will receive an ominous hint that some cloaked figure was looking for them in the middle of the night. We'll see what they do with just that, then I'll eventually have Jarett make some more moves, like murdering townsfolk during evacuation.

    Seems like they won't need much prodding to follow the main plot.

    I'd kind of like to see if I can develop the romance between Soranna and Barnabus, just because I've never seen a romantic subplot go anywhere in any of my D&D games. But I'm not sure how to do that. Any suggestions? In any case it will probably wait until the party has proved their valor with some more victories.

    Anything else I'm missing?
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-11 at 03:21 PM.
    You can call me Draz.
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    Also of note:

    I'm back to working on converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Witchwood Random Encounters

    Encounter #1 (400 XP)
    Stirge *16

    Spoiler: Stirge
    Show
    Tiny Beast, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 2 (1d4)
    Speed 10 ft, fly 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 4 (-3), Dex 16 (+3), Con 11 (+0)
    Int 2 (-4), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 9
    Languages n/a
    CR 1/8 (25 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Blood Drain (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d4+3 piercing, and the stirge attaches to the target. While attached, the stirge doesn't attack. Instead, at the start of each of the stirge's turns, the target loses 1d4+3 hit points due to blood loss. The stirge can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. It does so after it drains 10 hit points of blood from the target or the target dies. A creature, including the target, can use its action to detach the stirge.


    This stat block is, of course, straight from the MM (as most random encounters will be). This encounter will test the CR system, and Bounded Accuracy, and the party's access to AoE. If this encounter ends up being too easy, which is possible, at least it was just a random encounter anyway.

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

    Encounter #2 (700 XP)
    Giant Wasp *7

    Spoiler: Giant Wasp
    Show
    Medium Beast, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 12
    HP 13 (3d8)
    Speed 10 ft, fly 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 10 (+0)
    Int 1 (-5), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 3 (-4)
    -------------------------
    Senses passive Perception 10
    Languages n/a
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Sting (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 3d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.


    Just like the stirge encounter, this is a test of whether swarms of low-CR creatures can be a reasonable threat. After playtesting, though, I'm considering bumping the number of wasps up to more than 7. Thoughts? How hard should random encounters really be?

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

    Encounter #3 (800 XP)
    Worg *4
    Goblin Wolf Rider *4


    Spoiler: Worg
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 26 (4d10+4)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 16 (+3), Dex 13 (+1), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Worg, Goblin
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The worg has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 2d6+3 piercing, and if the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

    Spoiler: Goblin Wolf Rider
    Show
    Small Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
    HP 16 (3d8+3)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 11 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Athletics +2, Nature +2, Perception +5, Stealth +7, Survival +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Goblin
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Sight. The wolf rider has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.
    Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The wolf rider makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Shortbow (ranged 80/320 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing


    The goblin wolf rider is an example of a random encounter that's not straight out of the MM; it's heavily based on the Scout NPC stat block, but with some modifications to make it more goblin-y.

    Note that this encounter could affect the ongoing plot more than most random encounters: goblins and worgs won't hesitate to run for their lives if they're losing, and if they escape, they may give some useful information about the adventurers to Vraath Keep.

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

    Encounter #4 (1050 XP)
    Dryad *3
    Awakened Tree


    Spoiler: Dryad
    Show
    Medium Fey, Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (16 with barkskin)
    HP 22 (5d8)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 12 (+1), Con 11 (+0)
    Int 14 (+2), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 18 (+4)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4, Stealth +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Sylvan, Elvish
    CR 1 (200 XP)
    -------------------------
    Innate Spellcasting. The dryad's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14). The dryad can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
    At will: druidcraft
    3/day each: entangle, goodberry
    1/day each: barkskin, pass without trace, shillelagh
    Magic Resistance. The dryad has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
    Speak with Beasts and Plants. The dryad can communicate with beasts and plants as if they shared a language.
    Tree Stride. Once on her turn, the dryad can use 10 feet of her movement to step magically into one living tree within her reach and emerge from a second living tree within 60 feet of the first tree, appearing in an unoccupied space within 5 feet of the second tree. Both trees must be large or bigger.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Club (melee 5 ft) +2 (+6 with shillelagh): 1d4 bludgeoning, or 1d8+4 bludgeoning with shillelagh.
    Fey Charm. The dryad targets one humanoid or beast that she can see within 30 feet of her. If the target can see the dryad, it must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be magically charmed. The charmed creature regards the dryad as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn't under the dryad's control, it takes the dryad's requests or actions in the most favorable way it can.
    Each time the dryad or its allies do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until the dryad dies, is on a different plane of existence from the target, or ends the effect as a bonus action. If a target's saving throw is successful, the target is immune to the dryad's Fey Charm for the next 24 hours.
    The dryad can have no more than one humanoid and up to three beasts charmed at a time.

    Spoiler: Awakened Tree
    Show
    Huge Plant, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 59 (7d12+14)
    Speed 20 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 6 (-2), Con 15 (+2)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Damage Vulnerabilities fire
    Resistances bludgeoning, piercing
    Senses passive Perception 10
    Languages Sylvan
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    False Appearance. While the tree remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal tree.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Slam (melee 10 ft) +6: 3d6+4 bludgeoning


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

    Encounter #5 (1050 XP)
    Giant Spider *3
    Ettercap


    Spoiler: Giant Spider
    Show
    Large Beast, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 26 (4d10+4)
    Speed 30 ft, climb 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 16 (+3), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 2 (-4), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 4 (-3)
    -------------------------
    Skills Stealth +7
    Senses blindsight 10 ft, darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages n/a
    CR 1 (200 XP)
    -------------------------
    Spider Climb. The spider can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
    Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the spider knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web.
    Web Walker. The spider ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing, and the target must make a DC 11 Constitution saving throw, taking 2d8 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.
    Web (Recharge 5-6) (ranged 30/60 ft) +5: The target is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).

    Spoiler: Ettercap
    Show
    Medium Monstrosity, Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 44 (8d8+8)
    Speed 30 ft, climb 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 15 (+2), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4, Survival +3
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages n/a
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Spider Climb. The ettercap can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
    Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the ettercap knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web.
    Web Walker. The ettercap ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The ettercap makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with either its claws or its web garrote.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d8+2 piercing + 1d8 poison. The target must succeed on a DC 11 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    Claw (melee 5 ft) +4: 2d4+2 slashing
    Web Garrote (melee, one Medium or Small creature against which the ettercap has advantage on the attack roll) +4: 1d4+2 bludgeoning, and the target is grappled (escape DC 12). Until this grapple ends, the target can't breathe, and the ettercap has advantage on attack rolls against it.
    Web (Recharge 5-6) (ranged 30/60 ft, one Large or smaller creature) +4: The creature is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained creature can make a DC 11 Strength check, escaping from the webbing on a success. The effect ends if the webbing is destroyed. The webbing has AC 10, 5 hit points, resistance to bludgeoning damage, and immunity to poison and psychic damage.


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

    Encounter #6 (1400 XP)
    Adolescent Girallon *2

    Spoiler: Adolescent Girallon
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13
    HP 42 (5d10+15)
    Speed 40 ft, climb 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 16 (+3), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 4 (-3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3, Stealth +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages n/a
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Leaping Charge. As a bonus action, the girallon can move up to its speed toward a hostile creature that it can see.
    Keen Smell. The girallon has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The girallon makes five attacks: one with its bite and four with its claws.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d4+3 piercing
    Claw (melee 10 ft) +5: 1d4+3 slashing


    This is a souped-down version of the Volo's Guide girallon (adjusted to be a different CR). Hopefully my adjustment algorithm works!

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

    Encounter #7 (1400 XP)
    Owlbear *2

    Spoiler: Owlbear
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 59 (7d10+21)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 20 (+5), Dex 12 (+1), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 3 (-4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages n/a
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Sight and Smell. The owlbear has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight or smell.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The owlbear makes two attacks: one with its beak and one with its claws.
    Beak (melee 5 ft) +7: 1d10+5 piercing
    Claws (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d8+5 slashing


    Results

    This was a respectable random encounter. The owlbears rolled well on Stealth and the PCs rolled poorly on Stealth, so the owlbears got the drop on them, and actually did a lot of damage to the normally-invincible Barbarian before she got a chance to rage. They then went down without any real danger to the PCs, but I felt like it was enough of a drain on their resources for a random encounter.

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

    Encounter #8 (1800 XP)
    Assassin Vine

    Spoiler: Assassin Vine
    Show
    Large Plant, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 136 (16d10+48)
    Speed 20 ft, climb 20 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 12 (+1), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 4 (-3), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 4 (-3)
    -------------------------
    Skills Stealth +4
    Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning
    Condition Immunities blinded, deafened
    Senses blindsight 60 ft (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 10
    Languages n/a
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The assassin vine makes two constrict attacks. If both attacks hit a Medium or smaller target, the target is grappled (escape DC 14), and the assassin vine uses its Engulf on it.
    Constrict (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d8+4 bludgeoning
    Engulf. The assassin vine engulfs a Medium or smaller creature grappled by it. The engulfed target is blinded, restrained, and unable to breathe, and it must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw at the start of each of the vine's turns or take 2d8+4 bludgeoning damage. If the vine moves, the engulfed target moves with it. The vine can have only one creature engulfed at a time.


    Careful observers will see that I based the Assassin Vine closely on the Shambling Mound. I did at least look at the Vine Blight monster for inspiration, but I liked the Shambling Mound mechanics better (and the fact that it was already a higher CR).

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

    Encounter #9 (1800 XP)
    Dire Boar

    Spoiler: Dire Boar
    Show
    Large Beast. Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 102 (12d10+36)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 16 (+3), Dex 11 (+0), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 2 (-4), Wis 6 (-2), Cha 5 (-3)
    -------------------------
    Senses passive Perception 8
    Languages n/a
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Charge. If the boar moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a tusk attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 4d6 slashing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
    Relentless. If the boar takes 15 damage or less that would reduce it to 0 hit points, it is reduced to 1 hit point instead. Once this feature has been used, it cannot be used again until the boar completes a short or long rest.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Tusk (melee 5 ft) +8: 2d12+7 slashing


    This is my attempt to bump a Giant Boar up to CR 5. In playtesting, it wasn't a particularly difficult foe overall, but it did knock one PC unconscious with a single Charge attack. So I guess that's enough "resources spent" for a random encounter.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-12 at 02:34 PM.
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    Jorr's Cabin

    Spoiler: Jorr's Dog
    Show
    Medium Beast, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 12
    HP 5 (1d8+1)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 3 (-4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3
    Senses passive Perception 13
    Languages n/a
    CR 1/8 (25 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. Jorr's dog has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d6+1 piercing. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 11 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

    Spoiler: Jorr Natherson
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Chaotic Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (studded leather armor +1)
    HP 35 (3d10+2d8+10)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 16 (+3), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +3, Dex +6
    Skills Animal Handling +5, Athletics +3, Medicine +5, Nature +4, Perception +5, Stealth +9, Survival +8
    Languages Common, Goblin, Orc, Thieves' Cant
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Favored Enemy. Jorr gains a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against humanoids. He has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track humanoids, and on Intelligence checks to recall information about humanoids.
    Natural Explorer. Jorr ignores difficult terrain. He has advantage on initiative rolls, and on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted (in the first round of combat). When Jorr travels for an hour or more, his group is not slowed by difficult terrain, and cannot get lost except by magical means. Jorr remains alert to danger even while engaged in another activity, such as foraging, navigating, or tracking. When Jorr travels alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace. When he forages, he finds twice as much food as normal. When he tracks other creatures, he learns their exact numbers, sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
    Wanderer. Jorr has an excellent memory for maps and geography, and can always recall the general layout of terrain, settlements, and other features. In addition, he can find food and fresh water for himself and up to five other people each day, provided that the land offers berries, small game, water, and so forth.
    Cunning Action. Jorr can take a bonus action on each of his turns in combat. This bonus action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
    Crossbow Expert. Being within 5 feet of a hostile creature doesnít impose disadvantage on Jorr's ranged attack rolls.
    Sneak Attack. Once per turn, Jorr can deal an extra 1d6 damage to one creature he hits with an attack if he has advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. He doesn't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isnít incapacitated, and he doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
    Horde Breaker. Once on each of his turns when he makes a weapon attack, Jorr can make another attack with the same weapon against a different creature that is within 5 ft of the original target and within range of his weapon.
    Spellcasting. Jorr is a 2nd-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom. Jorr knows the following ranger spells:
    1st level (3 slots): alarm, hunter's mark, longstrider
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Dagger (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d4+3 piercing
    Dagger (ranged 20/60 ft) +8: 1d4+3 piercing
    Heavy Crossbow (ranged 100/400 ft) +8: 1d10+3 piercing
    Animal Empathy. Jorr has an innate ability to communicate with beasts, and they recognize him as a kindred spirit. Through sounds and gestures, Jorr can communicate simple ideas to a beast, and can read its basic mood and intent. He learns its emotional state, whether it is affected by magic of any sort, its short-term needs, and actions he can take (if any) to persuade it not to attack. He cannot use this ability against a creature that he has attacked within the past 10 minutes.


    Encounter Composition
    Jorr's Dog *3
    Jorr Natherson


    XP Award: 1800
    If the PCs manage to enlist Jorr's help, they gain this full XP Award. If they merely gain useful information from Jorr, they are awarded 1100 XP instead. If they win this encounter via combat, they are only 775 XP.

    Treasure

    Jorr's stash of gold is 43 gp, and it's a DC 15 Investigation check to find it under the floorboard. (I generally think giving about half as much money as 3.5e makes good sense for 5e's scale of wealth.)

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

    Notes

    Jorr's dogs are just mastiffs from the MM. Not too scary.

    Like Captain Soranna, Jorr is much more likely to be an ally to the PCs than an antagonist, so I just built him as a Level 5 character. Interestingly, he came out to be CR 3 (where Soranna was only CR 2).
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-10 at 08:06 AM.
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    Blackwater Causeway

    Spoiler: Adolescent Hydra
    Show
    Huge Monstrosity, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 161 (14d12+70)
    Speed 30 ft, swim 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 20 (+5), Dex 12 (+1), Con 20 (+5)
    Int 2 (-4), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +6
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 16
    Languages n/a
    CR 7 (2900 XP)
    -------------------------
    Hold Breath. The hydra can hold its breath for 1 hour.
    Multiple Heads. The hydra starts with five heads. While it has more than one head, the hydra has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, and knocked unconscious.
    Whenever the hydra takes 23 or more damage in a single turn, one of its heads dies. If all its heads die, the hydra dies.
    At the end of its turn, it grows two heads for each of its heads that died since its last turn, unless it has taken fire damage since its last turn. The hydra regains 9 hit points for each head regrown in this way.
    Reactive Heads. For each head the hydra has beyond one, it gets an extra reaction that can be used only for opportunity attacks.
    Wakeful. While the hydra sleeps, at least one of its heads is awake.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The hydra makes as many bite attacks as it has heads.
    Bite (melee 10 ft) +7: 1d8+5 piercing


    Encounter Composition
    Adolescent Hydra

    XP Award: 2900

    Treasure

    Chain shirt +1, DC 15 Investigation to find in the mud under the hydra's nest.

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

    Notes

    To make a long story short, this encounter might be rendered trivial if your party has access to Slow. But I don't know a good way to fix that, and don't think just beefing the hydra up overall is a good method.

    Mithril armor doesn't seem to be a thing in 5e.

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

    Results

    The hydra rolled great on Stealth, and the party Fighter waded right in to search the wagon, making himself an easy target. I was too nice and only gave the Hydra one attack, instead of a full salvo, in its surprise round. The Hydra regrew a few heads during the fight, but it rolled poorly for Initiative, and it couldn't do much past the Fighter's AC and the Barbarian's resistance to piercing damage. The action economy wrecked it pretty easily. Not as dramatic a fight as I would have liked.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-12 at 02:37 PM.
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    Vraath Keep

    Spoiler: Goblin Wolf Rider
    Show
    Small Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
    HP 16 (3d8+3)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 11 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Athletics +2, Nature +2, Perception +5, Stealth +7, Survival +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Goblin
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Sight. The wolf rider has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.
    Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The wolf rider makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Shortbow (ranged 80/320 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing

    Spoiler: Dire Wolf
    Show
    Large Beast, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 37 (5d10+10)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 15 (+2), Con 15 (+2)
    Int 3 (-4), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4
    Senses passive Perception 13
    Languages n/a
    CR 1 (200 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The wolf has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    Pack Tactics. The wolf has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the wolf's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 2d6+3 piercing. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

    Spoiler: Manticore
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 68 (8d10+24)
    Speed 30 ft, fly 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 16 (+3), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Common
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Tail Spike Regrowth. The manticore has twenty-four tail spikes. Used spikes regrow when the manticore finishes a long rest.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The manticore makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws or three with its tail spikes.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing
    Claw (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 slashing
    Tail Spike (ranged 100/200 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Veteran
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 38 (7d8+7)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1 (200 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d8+2 slashing, or 1d10+2 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Minotaur 'Karkilan'
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 76 (9d10+27)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 18 (+4), Dex 11 (+0), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Intimidation +1, Perception +7
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 17
    Languages Abyssal, Common, Goblin
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Charge. If the minotaur moves at least 10 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 2d8 piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 feet away and knocked prone.
    Labyrinthine Recall. The minotaur can perfectly recall any path it has traveled.
    Reckless. At the start of its turn, the minotaur can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls it makes during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Greataxe (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d12+4 slashing
    Gore (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d8+4 piercing

    Spoiler: Wyrmlord Koth
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 12 (15 with mage armor)
    HP 44 (8d8+8)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 14 (+2), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 17 (+3)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Con +4, Cha +6
    Skills Arcana +3, Intimidate +6, Stealth +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Goblin, Common, Infernal
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Heart of Hruggek. Koth has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned, stunned, or put to sleep.
    Spellcasting. Koth is a 7th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). Koth knows the following spells:
    Cantrips (at will): acid splash, mage hand, message, minor illusion, true strike
    1st level (3* slots): charm person, mage armor,* shield
    2nd level (3 slots): blindness/deafness
    3rd level (3 slots): fear, fireball, fly
    4th level (1 slot)
    *Koth casts this spell on himself before combat begins.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. Koth attacks twice with his morningstar.
    Morningstar (melee 5 ft) +5: 2d8+2 piercing
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Wand of Magic Missiles (7 charges). For one charge, casts the 1st-level version of the magic missile spell; increase the spell slot level by one for each additional charge expended. The wand regains 1d6+1 expended charges daily at dawn. If Koth expends the wand's last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the wand crumbles into ashes and is destroyed.
    Potion of Flying. When Koth drinks this potion, he gains a flying speed equal to his walking speed for 1 hour and can hover. If he's in the air when the potion wears off, he falls unless he has some other means of staying aloft.
    Heward's Handy Haversack.
    Potion of Healing. Restores 2d4+2 HP when drunk.
    Crystal (arcane focus).


    Encounter Composition
    Goblin Wolf Rider *2
    Dire Wolf *2
    Manticore
    Hobgoblin Veteran *4
    Minotaur "Karkilan"
    Wyrmlord Koth


    XP Award: 4600

    Terrain

    If an Athletics check is necessary at all to scale the walls of the keep, it's only a DC 5 to not fall, and a DC 10 to climb successfully. (If the PCs are under no pressure, they can probably climb without making checks.) The exterior walls are 15 feet high, with a walkway within them 4 feet down. A human-sized guard on top of the wall can easily fire at would-be-intruders with three-fourths cover (AC and Dex saves +5).

    Detecting the potential peril of the gardener's shack requires a DC 15 Investigation check, which is attempted if the PCs do any examination of the structure before entering it. Otherwise, there is a one-round warning of the shack's collapse if they succeed on a DC 15 Perception check (to hear timbers straining). The collapsing shack deals 2d10 bludgeoning damage (DC 11 Dexterity saving throw to take half damage). Collapsing the shack alerts the keep to the PCs' presence. Successfully bypassing or otherwise dealing with the shack is worth 400 XP.

    The iron gates in the concealed vault are DC 20 to either break with an Athletics check, or to pick with thieves' tools. They have AC 17 and 50 HP.

    Tactics

    Generally, follow the tactics given in the book, except ignore the specific values of HP at which various creatures retreat from battle. Just use your best judgement about when the goblin wolf riders, dire wolves, hobgoblin veterans, the manticore, and Koth fear for their lives and flee. Karkilan does not retreat or surrender, but will fight to the death.

    Also ignore the various rounds of delay between when a creature is alerted and when it joins the battle, except for the sleeping veterans needing 1 round to retrieve their swords and shields. They do not put on their chain mail if the battle is already at their doorstep, since that requires 10 minutes to do properly. (Without their armor, their AC is 13.) The goblin wolf riders do not linger in the courtyard before riding out to find the PCs if they suspect someone is out there (although they do take a round, if they have the chance, to rendezvous with the dire wolves and mount them). If battle has already found the keep, Koth (being confident that he can deal with the threat) does not take time to hide or collect his papers before joining battle.

    If the manticore joins combat, just use your best judgement about its battle tactics; it's cunning enough to try to kite the PCs from a distance, using its flight. It's dumb about recognizing that it should fight the PCs in the first place, though. Even if an obvious battle breaks out between the PCs and the goblinoids, it may just watch until Koth orders it to attack.

    Informational Development

    The goblins and hobgoblin veterans here aren't quite as fanatical as the ones in Marauder Attack, but they still require a DC 20 Intimidation check or a DC 25 Persuasion check to get them talking. Magical or creative Deception methods may be more successful. Intimidation checks against them have disadvantage as long as they believe Koth may still be alive to punish them for talking. Follow the book as to what the common soldiers know.

    Also follow the book as to what Koth knows about the Red Hand. If they investigate his notes (and can read the Infernal), give them one clue (your choice) for a DC 10 Investigation check, about half the information for a DC 15 Investigation check, or all of the information for a DC 20 Investigation check. (Because Koth does use some code.) Be a little more lenient with what they can decipher from Koth's map if they can read Goblin, since clues from the map help to direct the PCs towards ongoing plot elements.

    Treasure

    The manticore has been paid 108 gp, 4 pp, a gold necklace worth 125 gp, and an embroidered cloak worth 125 gp (if properly cleaned).

    Karkilan has 177 gp in his stash.

    Besides his combat equipment, which is significant treasure, Koth also keeps quite a lot of coinage in his Handy Haversack: 371 gp and 1490 sp.

    Finding the trapdoor to Vraath Vault requires a DC 18 Investigation check. Amery Vraath's skeleton has Gauntlets of Ogre Power OR a Frost Brand Longsword, not both. Your choice as to which will be more interesting for your party.

    The first alcove's coffers are DC 20 Thieves' Tools checks to unlock. They contain 1250 sp, 1050 gp, 60 pp, expired letters of credit, and the deed to the Keep.

    The third alcove contains the items detailed in the book, except it has a random treasure from Magic Item Table D instead of a Mithril Chain Shirt +1. (I rolled a Spell Scroll of Antimagic Field, myself.) The spiked gauntlet, which the players shouldn't be able to use, deals 3d10 base damage. Import the Staff of Life pretty much unchanged from 3.5e: 7 charges, no recharging, 1 charge to cast Heal, 5 charges to cast Raise Dead, requires attunement by a bard, cleric, or druid.

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

    Notes

    Goblin Wolf Riders are the same as they were in Witchwood Random Encounters. Dire wolves, the manticore, and the minotaur are out of the MM, with minor changes to the minotaur (nothing that would change its CR).

    Compared to my conversion a year and a half ago, I've added a few more hit points to the Veterans and to Koth. And a potion of flying for a better getaway strategy. (Unlike a Fly spell, concentration can't be broken.) We'll see if these minor changes make this into a decent boss fight. I'm afraid they won't be nearly enough, if the PCs have Jorr fight with them and intelligently split up the enemy forces into separate battles.

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

    Results

    The party basically took the whole encounter on at once, rather than splitting it up; the monsters were forewarned about the PCs by the collapsing gardener's shack, so they were ready. I was a little bit merciful to them; Koth spent his first turn hiding his documents, then spent his third turn drinking his Potion of Fly so that he was ready to bombard them from the air and retreat if necessary. The result of the party's poor setup-tactics and my mercy was a nice, close, dramatic fight. Overall, I'm happy with the current balance of this encounter.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-19 at 08:12 AM.
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    Old Warklegnaw

    Spoiler: Old Warklegnaw
    Show
    Huge Giant, Chaotic Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 168 (16d12+64)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 22 (+6), Dex 7 (-2), Con 18 (+4)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Intimidation +4, Perception +5, Persuasion +1, Stealth +1
    Senses darkvision 60 ft
    Languages Giant, Common
    CR 7 (2900 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. Old Warklegnaw makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Greatclub (melee 10 ft) +8: 3d8+6 bludgeoning
    Boulder (ranged 60/240 ft) +8: 3d10+6 bludgeoning


    Encounter Composition
    Old Warklegnaw

    XP Award: 2900
    The PCs can earn the full XP Award for this encounter either peacefully or through combat.

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

    Notes

    Old Warky is loosely based on the Hill Giant, advanced to CR 7. I bumped up his difficulty compared to a year and a half ago. That way diplomacy rewards the players more.

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

    Results

    There was no debate about what the party wanted here; they were hell-bent on recruiting Old Warklegnaw and the other forest giants to fight the Horde from the get-go. They didn't think to offer up the huge spiked gauntlet, but still made their intentions very clear and rolled pretty decent Persuasion checks, so I eventually had Old Warkie give in and join their side.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-26 at 05:57 PM.
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    Skull Gorge Bridge

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Veteran
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 38 (7d8+7)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1 (200 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d8+2 slashing, or 1d10+2 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Sergeant
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17 (half plate)
    HP 39 (6d8+12)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Intimidation +3
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common, Draconic
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 3d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The hobgoblin makes two greatsword attacks.
    Greatsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 2d6+2 slashing
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Leadership. For 1 minute after activating this feature, the sergeant can utter a special command or warning whenever a nonhostile creature that it can see within 30 feet of it makes an attack roll or a saving throw. The creature can add a d4 to its roll provided it can hear and understand the sergeant. A creature can benefit from only one Leadership die at a time. This effect ends if the sergeant is incapacitated. Once the sergeant activates this feature, it must finish a short or long rest before it can use it again.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Potion of Healing. Restores 2d4+2 HP when drunk.

    Spoiler: Hell Hound
    Show
    Medium Fiend, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 6 (-2), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +5
    Damage Immunities fire
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages understands Infernal but can't speak it
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The hound has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    Pack Tactics. The hound has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the hound's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing + 2d6 fire
    Fire Breath (Recharge 5-6: The hound exhales fire in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 6d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Ozyrrandion
    Show
    Medium Dragon, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
    HP 105 (14d8+42)
    Speed 40 ft, fly 80 ft, swim 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 19 (+4), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 16 (+3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 14 (+2)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Dex +7, Con +6, Wis +4, Cha +5
    Skills Deception +5, Perception +7, Stealth +7
    Damage Immunities poison
    Condition Immunities Poisoned
    Senses blindsight 20 ft, darkvision 90 ft, passive Perception 17
    Languages Draconic, Common, Infernal
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Amphibious. Ozyrrandion can breathe air and water.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. Ozyrrandion makes three attacks: one with his bite and two with his claws.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d6+4 piercing + 2d4 poison
    Claw (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d4+4 slashing
    Poison Breath (Recharge 5-6): Ozyrrandion exhales poisonous gas in a 25-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking 8d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Potion of Superior Healing. Restores 8d4+8 HP when drunk.


    Encounter Composition
    Hobgoblin Regular *4
    Hobgoblin Veteran *4
    Hobgoblin Sergeant
    Hell Hound *2
    Ozyrrandion


    XP Award: 5100, plus 3900 for destroying the Bridge

    Terrain

    There is a 60-foot width of open terrain between the edge of the forest/underbrush and the towers at the near side of the Bridge. A DC 5 Perception check is sufficient to avoid blundering into open terrain without noticing that the forest ends.

    The towers are about 30 feet tall, and the staircases ascending them are about 60 feet long in total. The gorge is 150 feet deep, but with sloping sides, and falling into the water in the middle reduces fall damage to 11d6 -- but leaves a character being swept downstream.

    If the players attack the bridge or towers, treat them as having an AC of 17, and 150 HP per 10-foot section, with a damage threshold of 10 against most types of attacks (but not something like a pick). The weak spot, however, has only 27 HP. Noticing the weak spot at a glance is a DC 22 Investigation check, while finding it during a more thorough search (outside of combat) is a DC 12 Investigation check. The weak spot, once identified, can also be simply broken by a DC 25 Athletics check. The collapse of the bridge takes 1 round; realizing it is imminent requires a DC 5 Perception check during calm conditions, or a DC 15 Perception check if engaged in melee combat, or a DC 10 check for intermediate conditions. When the bridge collapses, characters near to either side may attempt a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw to catch the edge rather than falling far.

    Setup

    Mostly by-the-book. For an extra layer of challenge, assume that the hobgoblins atop the towers are all Veterans, while those in the camp are Regulars. For more realism, distribute the two kinds of hobgoblins randomly (they take turns manning the towers).

    Tactics

    Ozzy prefers strafing and kiting with his breath weapon rather than melee combat, unless the Bridge is in peril. He does not fear to fly into the Gorge, and may retreat that direction or straight up into the air if he feels his life is in danger.

    The hobgoblins in the camp do take a round, once alerted, to be ready to do battle.

    The hobgoblins close to melee if they get a good chance to do so (triggering Martial Advantage), but fire their bows from a distance otherwise. They do not retreat from this post, knowing it will mean their execution if they do.

    If the PCs retreat, only the Hell Hounds are likely to pursue them very far, as the others are posted to guard this location.

    Informational Development

    If these hobgoblins are interrogated, it is not hard (DC 10) to learn basics about the Horde at Cinder Hill. They still see Wyrmlord Kharn, rather than High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul, as their primary leader in this war.

    Treasure

    Play by the book as to Ozzy's pearls.

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

    Notes

    Hobgoblin veterans and hell hounds use the same stat blocks that they had in earlier encounters.

    For the Hobgoblin Sergeants in RHoD, I can use the Hobgoblin Captain stat block from the MM -- it's a good CR and, for the DM, is a low-bookkeeping way to do a leadership ability. I made a few minor changes that shouldn't affect the CR, like adding Intimidation proficiency (which I do a lot) and changing the greatsword to the correct damage type.

    For Ozzy, I wanted a CR 5 creature, just like I did for Koth, so that he could be a boss battle without being instant death when surrounded by minions. I also wanted to make him a bit different than other dragons (in RHoD or elsewhere), for flavor, so I gave him very good DEX. I started with the Young Green Dragon stat block, then adjusted it down by 3 CR (hopefully). I interpolated somewhat with the Green Dragon Wyrmling, but erred on the side of making it similar to the Young Green Dragon. I left its speed the same as the Young Green Dragon for flavor (instead of interpolating), messed around with the DEX score and a few other minor details ... let me know what you think of the result.

    I've run this encounter a couple times, with incredibly swingy results. Too easy once, TPK another time. The most recent change is trying to avoid a TPK by downgrading some of the Hobgoblins to Regulars instead of Veterans (especially since I've buffed the Veterans' HP). Hopefully the PCs at least get a chance to retreat before they all die.

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

    Results

    This time through, the party won handily, without any real risk of losing. A couple of save-or-suck spells shut down the dragon, the party used the southern towers for cover quite effectively, and yeah. I wish it had been a little harder, especially Ozzy.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-26 at 05:54 PM.
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    Goblin Raid

    Spoiler: Goblin Wolf Rider
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    Small Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
    HP 16 (3d8+3)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 11 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Athletics +2, Nature +2, Perception +5, Stealth +7, Survival +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Goblin
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Sight. The wolf rider has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.
    Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The wolf rider makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Shortbow (ranged 80/320 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing

    Spoiler: Worg
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 26 (4d10+4)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 16 (+3), Dex 13 (+1), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Worg, Goblin
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The worg has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 2d6+3 piercing, and if the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

    Spoiler: Hell Hound
    Show
    Medium Fiend, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 6 (-2), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +5
    Damage Immunities fire
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages understands Infernal but can't speak it
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The hound has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    Pack Tactics. The hound has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the hound's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing + 2d6 fire
    Fire Breath (Recharge 5-6: The hound exhales fire in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 6d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Kulkor Zhul War Adept
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (14 with mage armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 16 (+3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Int +5, Wis +3
    Skills Arcana +5, Deception +2
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Arcane Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a damaging spell attack if that target is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin and that ally isn't incapacitated.
    Army Arcana. When the hobgoblin casts a spell that causes damage or that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, it can choose itself and any number of allies to be immune to the damage caused by the spell and to succeed on the required saving throw.
    Spellcasting. The war adept is a 7th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The war adept has the following wizard spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): chill touch, mage hand, minor illusion, ray of frost
    1st level (3* slots): chromatic orb, detect magic, mage armor*
    2nd level (3 slots): mirror image, ray of enfeeblement, scorching ray
    3rd level (3 slots): fireball, fly, lightning bolt
    4th level (1 slot): Evard's black tentacles
    *The war adept casts this spell on itself before combat begins.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Quarterstaff (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 bludgeoning, or 1d6+1 bludgeoning if wielded in one hand.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Diamond (50 gp).


    Encounter Composition
    Goblin Wolf Rider *3
    Worg *3
    Hell Hound
    Hobgoblin Regular *5
    Kulkor Zhul War Adept


    XP Award: 2900

    Setup

    Don't bother separating the monsters into two waves, at least not 5 rounds apart. Maybe 1 round apart. Probably have them all show up at the same time, just with the Regulars and War Adept in the back of the formation, with the hell hound right up front.

    Tactics

    These creatures retreat rather than fighting to the death; as the book says, they're mostly trying to cause mayhem rather than single-handedly conquering the area.

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

    Notes

    I've already described how I arrived at most of these creatures' stat blocks. The new element is the Kulkor Zhul War Adept, which is based on the Hobgoblin Devastator from Volo's Guide. But the spell list is reworked, along with other minor tweaks.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-10 at 09:34 PM.
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    Chimera Attack

    Spoiler: White-Headed Chimera
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 114 (12d10+48)
    Speed 30 ft, fly 60 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 11 (+0), Con 19 (+4)
    Int 3 (-4), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +8
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 18
    Languages understands Draconic but can't speak it
    CR 6 (2300 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The chimera makes three attacks: one with its bite, one with its horns, and one with its claws. When its cold breath is available, it can use the breath in place of its bite or horns.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d6+4 piercing
    Horns (melee 5 ft) +7: 1d12+4 bludgeoning
    Claws (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d6+4 slashing
    Cold Breath (Recharge 5-6): The dragon head exhales an icy blast in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 7d8 cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


    Encounter Composition
    White-Headed Chimera

    XP Award: 2300

    Setup

    This encounter is narratively most powerful if it takes place in the middle of town, as per the book's italic text. The chimera is dumb enough to take on the whole town by itself.

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

    Notes

    Since the module is otherwise lacking in white dragons, I homebrewed a white head onto this chimera, as was possible in 3.5e. Other than the breath weapon type, this is straight out of the MM. The CR is fine for a solo encounter. It's a little weird narratively that this throwaway encounter is tougher than Koth or Ozzy were individually, but that's how solo encounters vs. group encounters work out.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-28 at 09:07 AM.
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    Massacre at Drellin's Ferry

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Bladebearer
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (chain shirt)
    HP 67 (9d8+27)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 16 (+3), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +3
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 3d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    Dual Wielder. When the bladebearer takes the Attack action, it can use a bonus action to attack with a weapon in its off-hand.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 piercing
    Shortsword (off-hand) (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 piercing
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Potion of Healing. Restores 2d4+2 HP when drunk.

    Spoiler: Manticore
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 68 (8d10+24)
    Speed 30 ft, fly 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 16 (+3), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Common
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Tail Spike Regrowth. The manticore has twenty-four tail spikes. Used spikes regrow when the manticore finishes a long rest.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The manticore makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws or three with its tail spikes.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing
    Claw (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 slashing
    Tail Spike (ranged 100/200 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing

    Spoiler: Wyvern
    Show
    Large Dragon, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 110 (13d10+39)
    Speed 20 ft, fly 80 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 10 (+0), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 5 (-3), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages n/a
    CR 6 (2300 XP)
    -------------------------
    Multiattack. The wyvern makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its stinger. While flying, it can use its claws in place of one other attack.
    Bite (melee 10 ft) +7: 2d6+4 piercing
    Claws (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d8+4 slashing
    Stinger (melee 10 ft) +7: 2d6+4 piercing. The target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 7d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Kulkor Zhul War Adept
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (14 with mage armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 16 (+3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Int +5, Wis +3
    Skills Arcana +5, Deception +2
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Arcane Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a damaging spell attack if that target is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin and that ally isn't incapacitated.
    Army Arcana. When the hobgoblin casts a spell that causes damage or that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, it can choose itself and any number of allies to be immune to the damage caused by the spell and to succeed on the required saving throw.
    Spellcasting. The war adept is a 7th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The war adept has the following wizard spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): chill touch, mage hand, minor illusion, ray of frost
    1st level (3* slots): chromatic orb, detect magic, mage armor*
    2nd level (3 slots): mirror image, ray of enfeeblement, scorching ray
    3rd level (3 slots): fireball, fly, lightning bolt
    4th level (1 slot): Evard's black tentacles
    *The war adept casts this spell on itself before combat begins.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Quarterstaff (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 bludgeoning, or 1d6+1 bludgeoning if wielded in one hand.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Diamond (50 gp).

    Spoiler: Abithriax
    Show
    Large Dragon, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
    HP 178 (17d10+85)
    Speed 40 ft, climb 40 ft, fly 80 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 23 (+6), Dex 10 (+0), Con 21 (+5)
    Int 14 (+2), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 19 (+4)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Dex +4, Con +9, Wis +4, Cha +8
    Skills Perception +8, Stealth +4
    Damage Immunities fire
    Senses blindsight 30 ft, darkvision 120 ft, passive Perception 18
    Languages Draconic, Common, Infernal
    CR 10 (5900 XP)
    -------------------------
    Innate Spellcasting. Abithriax's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). Abithriax can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
    3/day: locate object
    1/day: grease
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. Abithriax makes three attacks: one with his bite and two with his claws.
    Bite (melee 10 ft) +10: 2d10+6 piercing + 1d6 fire
    Claw (melee 5 ft) +10: 2d6+6 slashing
    Fire Breath (Recharge 5-6): Abithriax exhales fire in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw, taking 16d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Doom Fist Monk
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17
    HP 52 (7d8+21)
    Speed 45 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 17 (+3), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +3, Dex +5
    Skills Acrobatics +5, Athletics +3, Perception +4, Stealth +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Evasion. When the monk makes a Dexterity saving throw to take half damage from an effect, it takes no damage if it succeeds on the saving throw, and only half damage if it fails.
    Flurry of Blows. Immediately after the monk takes the Attack action on its turn, it can make two unarmed strikes as a bonus action.
    Patient Defense. The monk can take the Dodge action as a bonus action on its turn.
    Step of the Wind. The monk can take the Disengage or Dash action as a bonus action on its turn, and its jump distance is doubled for the turn.
    Stunning Strike (Recharge 5-6). When the monk hits another creature with a melee attack, the target must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be stunned until the end of the monk's next turn.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The monk makes two attacks.
    Unarmed Strike (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 bludgeoning. This attack is considered magical.
    Meteor Hammer (melee 10 ft) +5: 1d6+3 bludgeoning
    -------------------------
    Reactions
    Slow Fall. When the monk falls, it reduces the falling damage it takes by 35 hit points.
    Deflect Missiles. When the monk is hit by a ranged weapon attack, it reduces the damage it takes by 1d10+10. If it reduces the damage to 0, it can catch the missile or re-direct it in a ranged attack. This attack is made with proficiency and deals at least 1d6+3 damage.

    Spoiler: Blood Ghost Berserker
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14
    HP 42 (5d12+10)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 14 (+2), Con 15 (+2)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +6, Con +4
    Skills Athletics +6, Intimidation +3, Stealth +4
    Damage Resistances all damage except psychic
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Rage. The berserker has advantage on Strength checks (including Athletics) and Strength saving throws.
    Reckless. At the start of its turn, the berserker can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.
    Surprise Attack. If the bugbear surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 2d6 damage from the attack.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The berserker makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Greataxe (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d12+6 slashing
    Handaxe (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d6+6 slashing
    Handaxe (ranged 20/60 ft) +6: 1d6+4 slashing

    Spoiler: Doom Hand Cleric
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (chain shirt)
    HP 27 (5d8+5)
    Speed 25 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 10 (+0), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Arcana +2, Deception +3, Religion +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages Goblin, Common, Infernal
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Divine Eminence. As a bonus action, the doom hand cleric can expend a spell slot to cause its melee weapon attacks to magically deal an extra 3d6 radiant damage to a target on a hit. This benefit lasts until the end of the turn. If the doom hand cleric expends a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the extra damage increases by 1d6 for each level above 1st.
    Spellcasting. The doom hand cleric is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The doom hand cleric has the following spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): resistance, spare the dying, thaumaturgy
    1st level (4 slots): bane, cure wounds, detect magic, guiding bolt
    2nd level (3 slots): hold person, invisibility, spiritual weapon
    3rd level (2 slots)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Mace (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d6+1 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Hell Hound
    Show
    Medium Fiend, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 17 (+3), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 6 (-2), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +5
    Damage Immunities fire
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages understands Infernal but can't speak it
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The hound has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    Pack Tactics. The hound has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the hound's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+3 piercing + 2d6 fire
    Fire Breath (Recharge 5-6: The hound exhales fire in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 6d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Veteran
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 38 (7d8+7)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1 (200 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d8+2 slashing, or 1d10+2 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing


    Encounter Composition
    Manticore *6
    Hobgoblin Bladebearer *6
    Wyvern *2
    Kulkor Zhul War Adept *5
    Abithriax
    Doom Fist Monk *3
    Blood Ghost Berserker *3
    Doom Hand Cleric *2
    Hell Hound *4
    Hobgoblin Veteran *8
    Hobgoblin Regular *12


    XP Award:
    I guess be nice to the PCs and total up whatever they manage to kill before they retreat.

    Setup

    Just do your best to introduce waves fast enough that they convince the PCs to retreat, but slowly enough that you don't get a TPK. Although the book says a TPK is narratively appropriate at this point, hopefully your players are more attached to their characters than that.

    The composition here is pretty flexible. Introduce more barges as necessary if your PCs somehow manage to beat what's provided, or even look further into this conversion and pull out some Hill Giants or something. But i'm assuming with my stat blocks here that you follow the wave composition described in the book, sans Heriacosphinxes.

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

    Notes

    The wyvern is straight out of the MM.

    Abithriax has only minor changes from the MM Young Red Dragon (which was the correct CR). I'm glad 5e has moved away from dragons being full sorcerers, since they should mostly be using melee attacks and breath weapons in combat, but I do miss the unique feel that their innate spellcasting gave them, so I've brought it back in small doses. Abithriax probably won't find his innate spells useful in standard combat anyway, but they're there just in case.

    Doom Fist Monks are built mostly as PHB Monks, but with a few tweaks. I didn't want the DM to have to keep track of ki points for each of them, so I just assumed an unlimited pool of ki and limited Stunning Strike with a recharge.

    I kind of wrote up the Blood Ghost Berserker from scratch, taking inspiration from MM Bugbears and the PHB Barbarian.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-10 at 09:33 PM.
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Easy Skirmish

    Spoiler: Tribal Hobgoblin
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 12 (hide armor)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 11 (+0), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin
    CR 1/8 (25 XP)
    -------------------------
    Pack Tactics. The tribal hobgoblin has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the hobgoblin's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Spear (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d6+1 piercing, or 1d8+1 piercing if wielded in two hands.
    Spear (ranged 20/60 ft) +3: 1d6+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Goblin
    Show
    Small Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (leather armor, shield)
    HP 7 (2d6)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 8 (-1), Dex 14 (+2), Con 10 (+0)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Stealth +6
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 9
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/4 (50 XP)
    -------------------------
    Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Scimitar (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 slashing
    Sling (ranged 30/120 ft) +4: 1d4+2 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Ogre
    Show
    Large Giant, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (hide armor)
    HP 59 (7d10+21)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 8 (-1), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 5 (-3), Wis 7 (-2), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 8
    Languages Giant, Goblin
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Greatclub (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d8+4 bludgeoning
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +6: 2d6+4 piercing

    Spoiler: Kulkor Zhul War Adept
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (14 with mage armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 16 (+3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Int +5, Wis +3
    Skills Arcana +5, Deception +2
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Arcane Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a damaging spell attack if that target is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin and that ally isn't incapacitated.
    Army Arcana. When the hobgoblin casts a spell that causes damage or that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, it can choose itself and any number of allies to be immune to the damage caused by the spell and to succeed on the required saving throw.
    Spellcasting. The war adept is a 7th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The war adept has the following wizard spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): chill touch, mage hand, minor illusion, ray of frost
    1st level (3* slots): chromatic orb, detect magic, mage armor*
    2nd level (3 slots): mirror image, ray of enfeeblement, scorching ray
    3rd level (3 slots): fireball, fly, lightning bolt
    4th level (1 slot): Evard's black tentacles
    *The war adept casts this spell on itself before combat begins.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Quarterstaff (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 bludgeoning, or 1d6+1 bludgeoning if wielded in one hand.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Diamond (50 gp).


    Encounter Composition
    Tribal Hobgoblin *8
    Goblin *3
    Ogre
    Kulkor Zhul War Adept


    XP Award: 1900

    Setup

    Whatever's appropriate to where and when you run this encounter.

    Tactics

    The others are likely to run if the Ogre and War Adept get taken down.

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

    Notes

    It's up to you as a DM with instincts to know when and if this encounter is a good one to run. Maybe if the PCs need a big confidence boost. Because this encounter is, as the title suggests, Easy. (Well, according to the XP Budget rules, it's actually Medium, but I think that's deceptive; and anyway, Medium is pretty easy compared to most of what they'll face in RHoD.)

    I have changed up the composition of this encounter quite a bit from what's in the book. Not sure why, except that facing another hell hound and bladebearer felt repetitive. And maybe the book encounter was too easy.

    The Ogre is very close to the one in the MM. The Goblins are close to their standard MM entry, too. And the Tribal Hobgoblins are based on the Tribal Warrior NPC stat block.
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    Dirty Rotten Looters

    Spoiler: Crimson Tiger Thug
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (human), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (studded leather armor)
    HP 32 (5d8+10)
    Speed 30 ft, climb 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 18 (+4), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 9 (-1), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Dex +6, Int +2
    Skills Athletics +6, Deception +3, Intimidation +5, Investigation +2, Perception +1, Sleight of Hand +6, Stealth +6
    Tools Thieves' tools +6
    Languages Common, Halfling, Thieves' Cant
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Determination. When the thug makes an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check, it can do so with advantage. Once it uses this ability, it can't use it again until it finishes a short or long rest.
    Cunning Action/Fast Hands. The thug can take a bonus action on each of its turns in combat. This bonus action can be used to take the Dash, Disengage, Hide, or Use an Item action, or to make a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand) check, or to use its thieves' tools to disarm a trap or open a lock.
    Second-Story Work. When the thug makes a running jump, the distance it covers increases by 4 ft.
    Sneak Attack. Once per turn, the thug can deal an extra 3d6 damage to one creature it hits with an attack if it has advantage on the attack roll. The attack must use a finesse or a ranged weapon. The thug doesn't need advantage on the attack roll if another enemy of the target is within 5 feet of it, that enemy isnít incapacitated, and the thug doesn't have disadvantage on the attack roll.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d6+4 piercing
    Hand Crossbow (ranged 30/120 ft) +6: 1d6+4 piercing
    -------------------------
    Reactions
    Uncanny Dodge. When an attacker it can see hits the thug with an attack, it halves the damage of that attack.


    Encounter Composition
    Crimson Tiger Thug *4

    XP Award: 1800

    Terrain

    Start with broken wine bottles producing a Caltrops effect, if you like, but not in the squares the thugs start in. They don't need that kind of handicap. More likely between the thugs and the PCs.

    Tactics

    The thugs break and run if they think they're about to be killed. If two flee, the other two are likely to do so even if they're not yet hurt.

    Treasure

    Whatever tavern was being looted has 35 gp worth of loot available, if the PCs take up the thugs' business model.

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

    Notes

    These guys are built as Level 5 Rogues. In playtesting, the PCs wrecked them pretty easily, but I think I kept forgetting to use Determination and Uncanny Dodge during the fight. I could see adding a 5th Thug, though, if other people find this encounter too trivial.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Results

    This fight was indeed pretty darn easy. Which is narratively ok, and I think the PCs still enjoyed the catharsis of throwing the looters out into the street (literally in some cases).
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-02-23 at 04:44 PM.
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    Mercenary Gold

    Spoiler: Goblin
    Show
    Small Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (leather armor, shield)
    HP 7 (2d6)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 8 (-1), Dex 14 (+2), Con 10 (+0)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Stealth +6
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 9
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/4 (50 XP)
    -------------------------
    Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Scimitar (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 slashing
    Sling (ranged 30/120 ft) +4: 1d4+2 bludgeoning

    Spoiler: Ettin
    Show
    Large Giant, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
    HP 85 (10d10+30)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 21 (+5), Dex 8 (-1), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 6 (-2), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Giant, Goblin
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Two Heads. The ettin has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks and on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, and knocked unconscious.
    Wakeful. When one of the ettin's heads is asleep, its other head is awake.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The ettin makes two attacks: one with its battleaxe and one with its morningstar.
    Battleaxe (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d8+5 slashing
    Morningstar (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d8+5 piercing


    Encounter Composition
    Goblin *5
    Ettin *2


    XP Award: 2450

    Tactics

    As per the book, the monsters here aren't too eager to start a fight; they'd rather just abscond with the loot they've got. But they'll fight to defend it. At least the ettins will, and the goblins will as long as the ettins are there to take hits for them. The goblins actively use their slings as much as they can, but aren't willing to die for this fight.

    Treasure

    The Thieves' Tools DC to open these chests is 25. I don't recommend halving the treasure here like I do in most places; leave it as a full 6000 gp worth. Make some of it platinum pieces, though. Something like 700 gp, 30 pp, and 1000-worth of gems in each coffer.

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

    Notes

    Describe the battlefield being littered with a few more bodies, Horde and guard alike. It's pretty pitiful if this group of monsters was able to take out the escort of such treasure without casualties.

    If the PCs have a good sense of the Horde's makeup and are bored fighting the same things over and over, you could spice this encounter up with something else. Be creative. The point of this encounter isn't the combat, though, but the moral dilemma/quest hook that awaits the PCs when they obtain the treasure.
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    The Not-So-Sick Spy

    Spoiler: Miha Serani
    Show
    Medium Monstrosity (shapechanger), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor; 15 with mage armor)
    HP 97 (15d8+30)
    Speed 50 ft, climb 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 10 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 15 (+2)
    Int 14 (+2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 19 (+4)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Con +5, Cha +7
    Skills Arcana +5, Athletics +3, Deception +10, Intimidation +7, Perception +4, Persuasion +7, Stealth +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Sylvan, Common, Dwarvish, Elvish, Orc, Thieves' Cant
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Cunning Action. Miha can take a bonus action on each of her turns in combat. This bonus action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.
    Spider Climb. Miha can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
    Spellcasting. Miha is a 7th-level spellcaster. Her spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 15, +7 to hit with spell attacks). She knows the following spells:
    Cantrips (at will): acid splash, friends, mage hand, message, minor illusion
    1st level (3* slots): charm person, disguise self, mage armor,* shield, Tasha's hideous laughter
    2nd level (3 slots): invisibility, suggestion
    3rd level (3 slots)
    4th level (1 slot): greater invisibility
    *Miha casts this spell on herself before combat begins.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Shapechanger. Miha can polymorph into a specific Medium half-elf or a Medium spider-half-elf hybrid or a Tiny spider, or back into her true form (that of a Medium monstrous spider). In half-elf form, her Speed is reduced to 30 ft, she cannot use her climb speed, her spider climb ability, or her bite or web attacks. In hybrid form, her spider-like nature can either be obvious or obscured; if obscured, it requires a DC 18 Perception check to spot. In Tiny spider form, her Speed is reduced to 20 ft, her Climb speed is reduced to 20 ft, and she cannot cast spells or use her bite or web attacks. Otherwise, her statistics (other than size) are the same in each form. Any equipment she is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. She doesn't change form if she dies.
    Bite (melee) +5: 1d8+2 piercing + 1d8 poison. The target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    Web (Recharge 5-6) (ranged 30/60 ft, one Large or smaller creature) +5: The creature is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained creature can make a DC 13 Strength check, escaping from the webbing on a success. The effect ends if the webbing is destroyed. The webbing has AC 10, 15 hit points, resistance to bludgeoning damage, and immunity to poison and psychic damage.


    Encounter Composition
    Miha Serani

    XP Award: 3900
    The XP Award should be adjusted based on how much damage Miha is prevented from doing to the defense of Elsir Vale. Merely defeating her in combat is only worth 1800 XP (e.g. if she's already done maximum damage as a spy). The full award of 3900 XP should be granted if she is caught just after the PCs meet her, before she can do anything nefarious. Intermediate outcomes can lead to intermediate XP Awards.

    Setup

    If the clerics' stats are needed for some reason (they shouldn't be), use the Acolyte stat block from the MM. But they're out of spells and in need of a long rest.

    Tactics

    Miha Serani mostly follows the book's recommendations, or whatever else you think would be more effective for her as a spy. If she works with the PCs, she will try to underplay her sorcerer and rogue abilities, masquerading as a low-level sorcerer, but without explicitly denying that she can use more powerful spells, so that she has plausible deniability if she has to use more power in front of the PCs.

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

    Notes

    Since 5e doesn't have an Aranea stat block yet, and Miha really can't just be built using PC rules, I was kind of winging it with this stat block, just combining PC levels with a shapechanging Ettercap and hoping that it ended up being a good CR. Thanks to Lord Ruby34 for his stat block for ideas.
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    Barghest Reavers

    Spoiler: Barghest
    Show
    Large Fiend (shapechanger), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
    HP 90 (12d10+24)
    Speed 60 ft (30 ft in goblin form)
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 15 (+2), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 13 (+1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 14 (+2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Deception +4, Intimidation +4, Perception +5, Stealth +4
    Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning; bludgeoning/piercing/slashing from nonmagical attacks
    Damage Immunities acid, poison
    Condition Immunities Poisoned
    Senses blindsight 60 ft, darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Infernal, Goblin, Abyssal, Common, Worg, Telepathy 60 ft
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Shapechanger. The barghest can use its action to polymorph into a Small goblin or back into its true form. In goblin form, its Speed is reduced to 30 ft, and it cannot use its bite attack. Otherwise, its statistics (other than size) are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. The barghest reverts to its true form if it dies.
    Fire Banishment. When the barghest starts its turn engulfed in flames that are at least 10 feet high or wide, it must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or be instantly banished to Gehenna. Instantaneous bursts of flame (such as a red dragon's breath or a fireball spell) don't have this effect on the barghest.
    Keen Smell. The barghest has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
    Innate Spellcasting. The barghest's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12). The barghest can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
    At will: levitate, minor illusion, pass without trace
    1/day each: charm person, dimension door, suggestion
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d8+4 piercing
    Claws (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d8+4 slashing

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing


    Encounter Composition
    Barghest *3
    Hobgoblin Regular *6


    XP Award: 3900

    Setup

    Don't railroad your PCs into staying in a farmhouse, but otherwise going by the book in making this encounter a nighttime ambush is good. Don't forget that the hobgoblin regulars have Disadvantage on Stealth checks due to their armor, but enforce that sleeping PCs probably don't have their usual medium or heavy armor on.

    Tactics

    The barghests save their dimension doors for getting away if the battle turns against them. Don't forget that levitate can be used offensively, to take an enemy melee combatant out of the fight.

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

    Notes

    The barghest is minimally altered from its stat block in Volo's, partly so that I'm not posting copyrighted material unaltered.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-10 at 02:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Marked for Death

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Ogre
    Show
    Large Giant, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (hide armor)
    HP 59 (7d10+21)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 8 (-1), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 5 (-3), Wis 7 (-2), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 8
    Languages Giant, Goblin
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Greatclub (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d8+4 bludgeoning
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +6: 2d6+4 piercing

    Spoiler: Barghest
    Show
    Large Fiend (shapechanger), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
    HP 90 (12d10+24)
    Speed 60 ft (30 ft in goblin form)
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 15 (+2), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 13 (+1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 14 (+2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Deception +4, Intimidation +4, Perception +5, Stealth +4
    Damage Resistances cold, fire, lightning; bludgeoning/piercing/slashing from nonmagical attacks
    Damage Immunities acid, poison
    Condition Immunities Poisoned
    Senses blindsight 60 ft, darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Infernal, Goblin, Abyssal, Common, Worg, Telepathy 60 ft
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Shapechanger. The barghest can use its action to polymorph into a Small goblin or back into its true form. In goblin form, its Speed is reduced to 30 ft, and it cannot use its bite attack. Otherwise, its statistics (other than size) are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. The barghest reverts to its true form if it dies.
    Fire Banishment. When the barghest starts its turn engulfed in flames that are at least 10 feet high or wide, it must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or be instantly banished to Gehenna. Instantaneous bursts of flame (such as a red dragon's breath or a fireball spell) don't have this effect on the barghest.
    Keen Smell. The barghest has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.
    Innate Spellcasting. The barghest's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 12). The barghest can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
    At will: levitate, minor illusion, pass without trace
    1/day each: charm person, dimension door, suggestion
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d8+4 piercing
    Claws (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d8+4 slashing

    Spoiler: Blackspawn Raider
    Show
    Medium Monstrosity, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 105 (14d8+42)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 17 (+3), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3, Stealth +5, Survival +5
    Damage Immunities acid
    Senses blindsight 10 ft, darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages Draconic, Common
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The blackspawn makes two weapon attacks.
    Scimitar (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 slashing
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +5: 1d6+3 piercing
    Acid Breath (Recharge 5-6): The blackspawn raider exhales acid in a 15-foot line. Each creature in that area must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d8 acid damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


    Encounter Composition
    Hobgoblin Regular *5
    Ogre
    Barghest *2
    Blackspawn Raider *4


    XP Award: 7550

    Setup

    The whole beating-corpses ruse to lure the PCs into this fight is a good one. The Perception check to spot that the bodies are dead should be DC 25, unless the PCs get pretty close, which could reduce it to a 20 or 15. (Or if they're actually examining the bodies, a DC 0 Medicine check.) Use the Hobgoblins' Deception skill vs. the PCs' Insight if the PCs think the bodies are alive, but are still suspicious that the beating might be staged. Before they blunder into the ambush, the PCs should also get a DC 24 Perception check to spot the hiding ambushers (the Barghests and Raiders).

    Tactics

    The hobgoblins may use Dodge to live long enough for the ambushers to arrive, and may use Help instead of attacking once their allies are in the fray. The ambushers prefer to use their special abilities rather than simple attacks (breath weapons for the Blackspawn Raiders, Levitate, Suggestion, and especially Charm Person for the Barghests). Only the Raiders have the dedication to fight to the death without question, but the hobgoblins and the Ogre have to be pretty hopeless to retreat knowing what their punishments will be.

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

    Notes

    5e seems to have done away with having "Greater" Barghests be a thing. They were only 1 CR higher anyway. So I just re-used regular Barghests.

    My Blackspawn Raiders are CR 4 by the numbers, but I'm afraid they might be a pretty easy CR 4, and also boring (not much for special abilities, sacks of lots of HP).
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-10 at 02:20 PM.
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Captured!

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Sergeant
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17 (half plate)
    HP 39 (6d8+12)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Intimidation +3
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common, Draconic
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 3d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The hobgoblin makes two greatsword attacks.
    Greatsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 2d6+2 slashing
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Leadership. For 1 minute after activating this feature, the sergeant can utter a special command or warning whenever a nonhostile creature that it can see within 30 feet of it makes an attack roll or a saving throw. The creature can add a d4 to its roll provided it can hear and understand the sergeant. A creature can benefit from only one Leadership die at a time. This effect ends if the sergeant is incapacitated. Once the sergeant activates this feature, it must finish a short or long rest before it can use it again.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Potion of Healing. Restores 2d4+2 HP when drunk.

    Spoiler: Worg
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 26 (4d10+4)
    Speed 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 16 (+3), Dex 13 (+1), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Worg, Goblin
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Smell. The worg has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +5: 2d6+3 piercing, and if the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

    Spoiler: Goblin Wolf Rider 'Lupe'
    Show
    Small Humanoid (goblinoid), Neutral Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
    HP 16 (3d8+3)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 11 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Athletics +2, Nature +2, Perception +5, Stealth +7, Survival +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Goblin
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Sight. The wolf rider has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.
    Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The wolf rider makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Shortbow (ranged 80/320 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing


    Encounter Composition
    Hobgoblin Regular *4
    Hobgoblin Sergeant *2
    Worg
    Goblin Wolf Rider "Lupe"


    XP Award: 2000

    Setup

    Use the rules given for escaping or breaking manacles in the PHB, pg. 152. They have an AC of 19 if attacked. Tearing them free of the splintering wood they're chained to is a DC 15 Athletics check, and makes enough noise that the worg and Lupe can hear it with a DC 15 Perception check. Finding a specific item in the PCs' belongings is a DC 15 Investigation task.

    Follow the book about the potential weapons available to escaping PCs, except for the edition-specific rules such as the -4 attack penalty. The hobgoblins will fight to the death, while the worg and Lupe will try to retreat if it will save their lives.

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

    Notes

    This encounter is really designed for one captured PC to escape from. If multiple PCs get captured, you may want to beef up security guarding them.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-11 at 09:41 AM.
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  22. - Top - End - #22
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    Default Re: Red Hand of Doom: Conversion/Journal in one!

    Into the Horde

    I'm going to assume that this encounter, if it occurs at all, is the PCs' attempt to assassinate Wyrmlord Kharn, and detail just the creatures listed as nearby or guarding him when he sleeps. Of course you are free to use the rest of the Horde as needed to make it impossible for the PCs to assault the Horde by themselves, and very very difficult for them to accomplish an assassination.

    Spoiler: Blackspawn Raider
    Show
    Medium Monstrosity, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 105 (14d8+42)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 17 (+3), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3, Stealth +5, Survival +5
    Damage Immunities acid
    Senses blindsight 10 ft, darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages Draconic, Common
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The blackspawn makes two weapon attacks.
    Scimitar (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d6+3 slashing
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +5: 1d6+3 piercing
    Acid Breath (Recharge 5-6): The blackspawn raider exhales acid in a 15-foot line. Each creature in that area must make a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5d8 acid damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Blood Ghost Berserker
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14
    HP 42 (5d12+10)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 14 (+2), Con 15 (+2)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +6, Con +4
    Skills Athletics +6, Intimidation +3, Stealth +4
    Damage Resistances all damage except psychic
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Rage. The berserker has advantage on Strength checks (including Athletics) and Strength saving throws.
    Reckless. At the start of its turn, the berserker can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.
    Surprise Attack. If the bugbear surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 2d6 damage from the attack.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The berserker makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Greataxe (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d12+6 slashing
    Handaxe (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d6+6 slashing
    Handaxe (ranged 20/60 ft) +6: 1d6+4 slashing

    Spoiler: Abithriax
    Show
    Large Dragon, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
    HP 178 (17d10+85)
    Speed 40 ft, climb 40 ft, fly 80 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 23 (+6), Dex 10 (+0), Con 21 (+5)
    Int 14 (+2), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 19 (+4)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Dex +4, Con +9, Wis +4, Cha +8
    Skills Perception +8, Stealth +4
    Damage Immunities fire
    Senses blindsight 30 ft, darkvision 120 ft, passive Perception 18
    Languages Draconic, Common, Infernal
    CR 10 (5900 XP)
    -------------------------
    Innate Spellcasting. Abithriax's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). Abithriax can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
    3/day: locate object
    1/day: grease
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. Abithriax makes three attacks: one with his bite and two with his claws.
    Bite (melee 10 ft) +10: 2d10+6 piercing + 1d6 fire
    Claw (melee 5 ft) +10: 2d6+6 slashing
    Fire Breath (Recharge 5-6): Abithriax exhales fire in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 17 Dexterity saving throw, taking 16d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

    Spoiler: Kulkor Zhul War Adept 'Ruven'
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (14 with mage armor)
    HP 45 (7d8+14)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 16 (+3), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Int +5, Wis +3
    Skills Arcana +5, Deception +2
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 11
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Arcane Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a damaging spell attack if that target is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin and that ally isn't incapacitated.
    Army Arcana. When the hobgoblin casts a spell that causes damage or that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, it can choose itself and any number of allies to be immune to the damage caused by the spell and to succeed on the required saving throw.
    Spellcasting. The war adept is a 7th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The war adept has the following wizard spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): chill touch, mage hand, minor illusion, ray of frost
    1st level (3* slots): chromatic orb, detect magic, mage armor*
    2nd level (3 slots): mirror image, ray of enfeeblement, scorching ray
    3rd level (3 slots): fireball, fly, lightning bolt
    4th level (1 slot): Evard's black tentacles
    *The war adept casts this spell on itself before combat begins.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Quarterstaff (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 bludgeoning, or 1d6+1 bludgeoning if wielded in one hand.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Diamond (50 gp).

    Spoiler: Doom Hand Warpriest 'Pash-Kari'
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    AC 19 (splint armor, shield)
    HP 40 (9d8)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 14 (+2), Dex 9 (-1), Con 11 (+0)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 17 (+3), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Wis +6, Cha +3
    Skills History +4, Religion +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 13
    Languages Goblin, Common, Infernal, Giant
    CR 6 (2300 XP)
    -------------------------
    War Priest. When the warpriest uses the Attack action, it can make one weapon attack as a bonus action. It can do this 3 times. It regains expended uses of this ability when it finishes a long rest.
    Channel Divinity: Guided Strike. When the warpriest makes an attack roll, it can use its Channel Divinity to gain a +10 bonus to the roll. It makes this choice after it sees the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses. The warpriest can use Channel Divinity once, and regains its use when it finishes a short or long rest.
    Spellcasting. The warpriest is a 9th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks). The warpriest has the following cleric spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): resistance, thaumaturgy, toll the dead, virtue
    1st level (4 slots): divine favor, shield of faith, bane, bless, command, cure wounds, detect magic
    2nd level (3 slots): magic weapon, spiritual weapon
    3rd level (3 slots): crusader's mantle, spirit guardians, bestow curse, dispel magic, mass healing word, revivify
    4th level (3 slots): freedom of movement, stoneskin, banishment, death ward
    5th level (1 slot): flame strike, hold monster, holy weapon
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Battleaxe (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d8+2 slashing, or 2d8+2 slashing once per turn on the warpriest's turn
    -------------------------
    Reactions
    Channel Divinity: War God's Blessing. When a creature within 30 feet of the warpriest makes an attack roll, the warpriest can use its reaction to grant that creature a +10 bonus to the roll. It makes this choice after it sees the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses. The warpriest can use Channel Divinity once, and regains its use when it finishes a short or long rest.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Diamonds (300 gp).
    Diamond Dust (200 gp).

    Spoiler: Wyrmlord Hravek Kharn
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    AC 21 (plate armor +1, shield)
    HP 98 (7d10+6d6+39)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 8 (-1), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 13 (+1), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 18 (+4)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +8, Dex +3, Con +11, Int +5, Wis +8, Cha +12
    Skills Arcana +5, Deception +7, Intimidation +7, Religion +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common, Draconic, Giant
    CR 10 (5900 XP)
    -------------------------
    Saving Face. If Kharn misses with an attack or fails an ability check or a saving throw, he can gain a bonus to the roll equal to the number of allies he can see within 30 feet of him (maximum bonus of +5). Once he uses this trait, he can't use it again until he finishes a short or long rest.
    Favored by the Gods. If Kharn fails a saving throw or misses with an attack roll, he can roll 2d4 and add it to the total. Once he uses this feature, he can't use it again until he finishes a short or long rest.
    Channel Divinity: Guided Strike. When Kharn makes an attack roll, he can use his Channel Divinity to gain a +10 bonus to the roll. He makes this choice after he sees the roll, but before the DM says whether the attack hits or misses. Once he has used Channel Divinity, he cannot use it again until he completes a short or long rest.
    Divine Smite. When Kharn hits a creature with a melee weapon attack, he can expend one spell slot to deal radiant damage to the target, in addition to the weapon's damage. The extra damage is 2d8 for a 1st-level spell slot, plus 1d8 for each spell-level higher than 1st, to a maximum of 5d8. The damage increases by 1d8 if the target is an undead or a fiend, to a maximum of 6d8.
    Aura of Conquest. Kharn constantly emanates an aura while he's not incapacitated. The aura extends 10 feet from him in every direction, but not through total cover. If a creature is frightened of him, its speed is reduced to 0 while in the aura, and that creature takes 3 psychic damage if it starts its turn there.
    Aura of Protection. Whenever a friendly creature within 10 feet of Kharn must make a saving throw, the creature gains a +4 bonus to that saving throw. Kharn must be conscious to grant this bonus.
    Font of Magic. Kharn has 6 sorcery points, which are refreshed when he finishes a long rest. He can convert them (inefficiently) into spell slots as a bonus action. Once per turn, when he or an ally within 5 feet rolls dice to determine the number of hit points a spell restores, he can spend 1 sorcery point to reroll any number of those dice once, provided he isn't incapacitated. When he casts a spell that targets only one creature and doesn't have a range of Self, he can spend a number of sorcery points equal to the spell's level to target a second creature in range with the same spell.
    Spellcasting. Kharn is a 9th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16, +8 to hit with spell attacks). Kharn has the following sorcerer and paladin spells known or prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): acid splash, booming blade, fire bolt, friends, guidance
    1st level (4 slots): armor of Agathys, command, compelled duel, detect poison and disease, searing smite, thunderous smite, wrathful smite, absorb elements, bless, healing word
    2nd level (3 slots): hold person, spiritual weapon, branding smite, zone of truth, dragon's breath, mirror image, misty step
    3rd level (3 slots): bestow curse, counterspell
    4th level (3 slots)
    5th level (1 slot)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Lay on Hands. Kharn can touch a creature and heal it. Once he has restored 30 hit points this way, he must replenish this ability by finishing a long rest.
    Channel Divinity: Conquering Presence. As an action, Kharn forces each creature of his choice that he can see within 30 feet of him to make a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw. On a failed save, a creature becomes frightened of him for 1 minute. The frightened creature can repeat this saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. Once Kharn has used Channel Divinity, he cannot use it again until he finishes a short or long rest.
    Multiattack. Kharn makes two weapon attacks.
    Vicious War Pick (melee 5 ft) +8: 1d8+6 piercing. When Kharn rolls a natural 20 on his attack roll with this magic weapon, the target takes an extra 7 piercing damage.


    Encounter Composition
    Blood Ghost Berserker *24
    Blackspawn Raider *4
    Abithriax
    Kulkor Zhul War Adept "Ruven"
    Doom Hand Warpriest "Pash-Kari"
    Wyrmlord Hravek Kharn


    XP Award: 36400
    That's the award for just the creatures listed above, not the whole Horde. Either way, it ain't happening.

    Setup

    This is the creatures nearby when Kharn rests for the night in his tent or a "borrowed" mansion or town hall. Out of these, at least the Blackspawn Raiders and the Blood Ghost Berserkers will be awake. Others may be asleep, which makes them significantly easier to sneak up on.

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

    Notes

    The Warpriest is a Level 9 War Cleric, basically. Kharn is basically a Conquest Paladin 7 / Divine Soul Sorcerer 6. Which is a nasty combination, I must say. But it's probably the best equivalent to the Favored Soul / Talon of Tiamat combo that he was built with in 3.5e.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-10 at 09:39 PM.
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    Blackfens Random Encounters

    Encounter #1 (500 XP)
    Stirge *20

    Spoiler: Stirge
    Show
    Tiny Beast, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 2 (1d4)
    Speed 10 ft, fly 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 4 (-3), Dex 16 (+3), Con 11 (+0)
    Int 2 (-4), Wis 8 (-1), Cha 6 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 9
    Languages n/a
    CR 1/8 (25 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Blood Drain (melee 5 ft) +5: 1d4+3 piercing, and the stirge attaches to the target. While attached, the stirge doesn't attack. Instead, at the start of each of the stirge's turns, the target loses 1d4+3 hit points due to blood loss. The stirge can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement. It does so after it drains 10 hit points of blood from the target or the target dies. A creature, including the target, can use its action to detach the stirge.


    Like the Stirge random encounter in the Witchwood, it is kind of crucial that the stirges start out already surrounding the party at the start of the encounter. Also like that previous encounter, it may turn out pretty easy in spite of the enemy's numbers and positioning.

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

    Encounter #2 (1200 XP)
    Harpy *6

    Spoiler: Harpy
    Show
    Medium Monstrosity, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11
    HP 38 (7d8+7)
    Speed 20 ft, fly 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 13 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Senses passive Perception 10
    Languages Common
    CR 1 (200 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The harpy makes two attacks: one with its claws and one with its club.
    Claws (melee 5 ft) +3: 2d4+1 slashing
    Club (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d4+1 bludgeoning
    Luring Song. The harpy sings a magical melody. Every humanoid and giant within 300 feet of the harpy that can hear the song must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed until the song ends. The harpy must take a bonus action on its subsequent turns to continue singing. It can stop singing at any time. The song ends if the harpy is incapacitated.
    While charmed by the harpy, a target is incapacitated and ignores the songs of other harpies. If the charmed target is more than 5 feet away from the harpy, the target can take the Dash action on its turn to move toward the harpy by the most direct route. It doesn't avoid opportunity attacks, but before moving into damaging terrain, such as lava or a pit, and whenever it takes damage from a source other than the harpy, a target can repeat the saving throw. A creature can also repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. If a creature's saving throw is successful, the effect ends on it.
    A target that successfully saves is immune to this harpy's song for the next 24 hours.


    Just as the MM suggests, make sure there's some quicksand (DMG pg. 110) or something between the harpies and the party at the start of the encounter. With the harpies working together (targeting different PCs each, not attacking each other's victims), I think this encounter could actually be quite dangerous.

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

    Encounter #3 (1050 XP)
    Lizardfolk *6
    Lizardfolk Shaman


    Spoiler: Lizardfolk
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (lizardfolk), Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor, shield)
    HP 22 (4d8+4)
    Speed 30 ft, swim 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 10 (+0), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 7 (-2), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +3, Stealth +4, Survival +5
    Senses passive Perception 13
    Languages Draconic
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Hold Breath. The lizardfolk can hold its breath for 15 minutes.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The lizardfolk makes two melee attacks, each one with a different weapon.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Heavy Club (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 bludgeoning
    Spiked Shield (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing

    Spoiler: Lizardfolk Shaman
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (lizardfolk), Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
    HP 27 (5d8+5)
    Speed 30 ft, swim 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 10 (+0), Con 13 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 8 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4, Stealth +4, Survival +6
    Senses passive Perception 14
    Languages Draconic
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Hold Breath. The lizardfolk can hold its breath for 15 minutes.
    Spellcasting. The lizardfolk is a 5th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). The lizardfolk has the following druid spells prepared:
    Cantrips (at will): druidcraft, produce flame, thorn whip
    1st Level (4 slots): entangle, fog cloud
    2nd Level (3 slots): heat metal, spike growth
    3rd Level (2 slots): conjure animals (reptiles only), plant growth
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The lizardfolk makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Claws (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d4+2 slashing
    Crocodile Bite (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d10+2 piercing. If the target is a Large or smaller creature, the target is grappled (escape DC 12). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the lizardfolk can't bite another target. If the lizardfolk reverts to its true form, the grapple ends.
    Change Shape. The lizardfolk magically polymorphs into a Large crocodile, remaining in that form for up to 1 hour. It can revert to its true form as a bonus action. In lizardfolk form, it cannot use its crocodile bite attack. In crocodile form, it cannot cast spells or use its multiattack, bite, or claws attacks. Otherwise, its statistics (other than size) are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn't transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Once it uses this feature, the lizardfolk must finish a short or long rest before it can use it again.


    These are out of the MM.

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

    Encounter #4 (2200 XP)
    Chuul *2

    Spoiler: Chuul
    Show
    Large Aberration, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
    HP 93 (11d10+33)
    Speed 30 ft, swim 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 10 (+0), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 5 (-3), Wis 11 (+0), Cha 5 (-3)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +4
    Damage Immunities poison
    Condition Immunities Poisoned
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages understands Deep Speech but can't speak it
    CR 4 (1100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Amphibious. The chuul can breathe air and water.
    Sense Magic. The chuul senses magic within 120 feet of it at will. This trait otherwise works like the detect magic spell but isn't itself magical.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The chuul makes two pincer attacks. If the chuul is grappling a creature, the chuul can also use its tentacles once.
    Pincer (melee, reach 10 ft) +6: 2d6+4 bludgeoning. The target is grappled (escape DC 14) if it is a Large or smaller creature and the chuul doesn't have two other creatures grappled.
    Tentacles. One creature grappled by the chuul must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. Until this poison ends, the target is paralyzed. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.


    Nice to get a taste of Aberrations somewhere in this campaign that's otherwise dominated by other creature types.

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

    Encounter #5 (1800 XP)
    Will-o'-Wisp *4

    Spoiler: Will-o'-Wisp
    Show
    Tiny Undead, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 19
    HP 22 (9d4)
    Speed 0 ft, fly 50 ft (hover)
    -------------------------
    Str 1 (-5), Dex 28 (+9), Con 10 (+0)
    Int 13 (+1), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Damage Resistances acid, cold, fire, necrotic, thunder; bludgeoning/piercing/slashing from nonmagical attacks
    Damage Immunities lightning, poison
    Condition Immunities Exhaustion, Grappled, Paralyzed, Poisoned, Prone, Restrained, Unconscious
    Senses darkvision 120 ft, passive Perception 12
    Languages Common
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Consume Life. As a bonus action, the will-o'-wisp can target one creature it can see within 5 feet of it that has 0 hit points and is still alive. The target must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw against this magic or die. If the target dies, the will-o'-wisp regains 3d6 hit points.
    Ephemeral. The will-o'-wisp can't wear or carry anything.
    Incorporeal Movement. The will-o'-wisp can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. It takes 1d10 force damage if it ends its turn inside an object.
    Variable Illumination. The will-o'-wisp sheds bright light in a 5-to 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional number of feet equal to the chosen radius. The will-o'-wisp can alter the radius as a bonus action.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Shock (melee 5 ft) +4: 2d8 lightning
    Invisibility. The will-o'-wisp and its light magically become invisible until it attacks or uses its Life Drain, or until its concentration ends (as if concentrating on a spell).


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

    Encounter #6 (3900 XP)
    Hydra

    Spoiler: Hydra
    Show
    Huge Monstrosity, Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
    HP 172 (15d12+75)
    Speed 30 ft, swim 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 20 (+5), Dex 12 (+1), Con 20 (+5)
    Int 2 (-4), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +6
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 16
    Languages n/a
    CR 8 (3900 XP)
    -------------------------
    Hold Breath. The hydra can hold its breath for 1 hour.
    Multiple Heads. The hydra starts with five heads. While it has more than one head, the hydra has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, and knocked unconscious.
    Whenever the hydra takes 25 or more damage in a single turn, one of its heads dies. If all its heads die, the hydra dies.
    At the end of its turn, it grows two heads for each of its heads that died since its last turn, unless it has taken fire damage since its last turn. The hydra regains 10 hit points for each head regrown in this way.
    Reactive Heads. For each head the hydra has beyond one, it gets an extra reaction that can be used only for opportunity attacks.
    Wakeful. While the hydra sleeps, at least one of its heads is awake.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The hydra makes as many bite attacks as it has heads.
    Bite (melee 10 ft) +8: 1d10+5 piercing


    By this time, the party should certainly be able to handle a full MM hydra. Hopefully if they run into this random encounter, it doesn't detract from the drama they hopefully went through in the Blackwater Causeway encounter.

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

    Encounter #7 (3600 XP)
    Giant Crocodile *2

    Spoiler: Giant Crocodile
    Show
    Huge Beast, Unaligned
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
    HP 85 (9d12+27)
    Speed 30 ft, swim 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 21 (+5), Dex 9 (-1), Con 17 (+3)
    Int 2 (-4), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Stealth +5
    Senses passive Perception 10
    Languages n/a
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Hold Breath. The crocodile can hold its breath for 30 minutes.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The crocodile makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its tail.
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +8: 3d10+5 piercing, and the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the crocodile can't bite another target.
    Tail (melee 10 ft, one target not grappled by the crocodile) +8: 2d8+5 bludgeoning. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 16 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.


    Results

    This encounter was easy for the party to chase away, but not before they'd lost a horse to the surprise round. So maybe that's an ok level of resource expenditure for a random encounter. If the fight had continued, I'm sure the party would have won, but they would have taken some decent damage first I imagine.

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

    Encounter #8 (3600 XP)
    Greenspawn Razorfiend *2

    Spoiler: Greenspawn Razorfiend
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13
    HP 119 (14d10+42)
    Speed 50 ft, swim 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 18 (+4), Dex 17 (+3), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Athletics +7, Perception +4
    Damage Immunities poison
    Condition Immunities Poisoned
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Infernal
    CR 5 (1800 XP)
    -------------------------
    Amphibious. The razorfiend can breathe air and water.
    Spring Attack. The razorfiend can take the Disengage action as a bonus action on its turn.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The razorfiend makes three attacks: two with its wingblades and one with its bite.
    Wingblade (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d10+4 slashing; crit. 19-20
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d8+4 piercing
    Poison Breath (Recharge 5-6): The greenspawn razorfiend exhales poisonous gas in a 20-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 8d6 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


    Note that I want the Spawn of Tiamat to be a significant encounter with only one Razorfiend, so I'm using slightly weaker razorfiends for random encounters and the Town Hall (where fully-grown ones would be overwhelming to a party), and a stronger "mature" version for the solo encounter.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-03-03 at 10:05 PM.
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    Road Blockade

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Regular
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 18 (chain mail, shield)
    HP 11 (2d8+2)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 12 (+1), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 2d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Longsword (melee 5 ft) +3: 1d8+1 slashing, or 1d10+1 slashing if wielded in two hands.
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +3: 1d8+1 piercing

    Spoiler: Hobgoblin Sergeant
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (goblinoid), Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 17 (half plate)
    HP 39 (6d8+12)
    Speed 30 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 15 (+2), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 12 (+1), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 13 (+1)
    -------------------------
    Skills Intimidation +3
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 10
    Languages Goblin, Common, Draconic
    CR 3 (700 XP)
    -------------------------
    Martial Advantage. Once per turn, the hobgoblin can deal an extra 3d6 damage to a creature it hits with a weapon attack if that creature is within 5 feet of an ally of the hobgoblin that isn't incapacitated.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The hobgoblin makes two greatsword attacks.
    Greatsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 2d6+2 slashing
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Leadership. For 1 minute after activating this feature, the sergeant can utter a special command or warning whenever a nonhostile creature that it can see within 30 feet of it makes an attack roll or a saving throw. The creature can add a d4 to its roll provided it can hear and understand the sergeant. A creature can benefit from only one Leadership die at a time. This effect ends if the sergeant is incapacitated. Once the sergeant activates this feature, it must finish a short or long rest before it can use it again.
    -------------------------
    Equipment
    Potion of Healing. Restores 2d4+2 HP when drunk.

    Spoiler: Ogre
    Show
    Large Giant, Chaotic Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 11 (hide armor)
    HP 59 (7d10+21)
    Speed 40 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 19 (+4), Dex 8 (-1), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 5 (-3), Wis 7 (-2), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 8
    Languages Giant, Goblin
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Greatclub (melee 5 ft) +6: 2d8+4 bludgeoning
    Javelin (ranged 30/120 ft) +6: 2d6+4 piercing


    Encounter Composition
    Hobgoblin Regular *6
    Hobgoblin Sergeant *2
    Ogre *2


    XP Award: 2900

    Setup

    Have the baddies on some level of alertness. No special bonuses or penalties to the PCs' Stealth skills to sneak up on the blockade. The hobgoblins within the watchtower do take a round to gather their arms and prepare to fight, but the ogres wake quickly and fight as soon as alerted.

    Tactics

    By the book, but the hobgoblin regulars aren't so likely to fall off their ladders (DC 5 Athletics check, Disadvantage for accelerated climbing). It would be comical, but kind of pathetic, and this encounter doesn't need to be easier. Of course if they leap from the tower, it's an Acrobatics check rather than a Jump check to reduce the falling damage.

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

    Notes

    More than most encounters, I'm considering deviating from the source material here and beefing up this encounter, probably by making the ogres something nastier. That was a common DM-adjustment to make in 3.5e anyway, because the composition of monsters presented in the module is just not very challenging at this level. On the other hand, this is supposed to be an out-of-the-way assignment for troops with low morale, not the finest elite of the Horde. Any suggestions?

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

    Results

    This fight was actually ok without beefing it up. It's not that it was hard and made the PCs fear for their lives, but at least the terrain was interesting and the ogres packed a punch.
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    Spawn of Tiamat

    Spoiler: Mature Greenspawn Razorfiend
    Show
    Large Monstrosity, Lawful Evil
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13
    HP 153 (18d10+54)
    Speed 50 ft, swim 50 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 18 (+4), Dex 17 (+3), Con 16 (+3)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 12 (+1), Cha 7 (-2)
    -------------------------
    Skills Athletics +7, Perception +4
    Damage Immunities poison
    Condition Immunities Poisoned
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Infernal
    CR 7 (2900 XP)
    -------------------------
    Amphibious. The razorfiend can breathe air and water.
    Spring Attack. The razorfiend can take the Disengage action as a bonus action on its turn.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The razorfiend makes three attacks: two with its wingblades and one with its bite.
    Wingblade (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d10+4 slashing + 1d8 poison; crit. 19-20
    Bite (melee 5 ft) +7: 2d10+4 piercing
    Poison Breath (Recharge 5-6): The greenspawn razorfiend exhales poisonous gas in a 20-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 10d8 poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.


    Encounter Composition
    Mature Greenspawn Razorfiend

    XP Award: 2900

    Treasure

    Keep the Headband of Intellect and adjust the rapier to a Rapier +1. (Or adjust based on your party's needs, of course.) Replace the pearl with a Level 2 Spell Scroll and reduce the coinage to 346 gp.

    The jade band and the obsidian ring can be found as detailed in the book, and are worth the amounts stated there.

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

    Notes

    I came up with the Razorfiend stat blocks pretty much from scratch.

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

    Results

    This encounter was plenty dangerous, if only because the party was split at the start and the Razorfiend rolled 19, 19, 20 in one round for its Multiattack.
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    Journal 1/12/19

    Spoiler: More Business In Town
    Show
    After Marr the Dragonborn Fighter paid a whopping 35 gp to get a nice outfit tailored for himself, the party settled in for dinner at Barnabus the Bard's family's house. They roleplayed several conversations with the family. Bitore the Cleric confessed that they're an adventuring party, not Barnabus's troupe of traveling entertainers, which actually made the father act considerably warmer toward them. The want-to-be-adventurer younger sister asked if she could join them going into the Witchwood, which prompted Marr to tell her stories of his homeland and his bleak childhood. The subject of Vraath Keep being haunted came up, and Marr expressed his resolute belief that ghosts are only myths, not something an adventurer need concern themselves with.

    Speaker Wiston came in at the end of dinner and talked with them as well, basically just confirming that they were going to go into the woods, scout out the hobgoblin problem, and possibly even deal with it. They didn't press him hard for a reward, except that Barnabus said he wanted a statue of himself in The Green, and Wiston said he would talk to the Council about it.

    They went to the Old Bridge Inn to stay the night. I think they took a liking to Kellin Shadowbanks. Except Barnabus, who's convinced Kellin is a card cheater. Marr and Bitore took turns learning and playing Three-Dragon Ante for some gold. Marr won his first game in spite of his Intelligence penalty. Bitore lost against Kellin, narrowly, even though he used Knowledge of the Ages to become temporarily proficient (which we liked).

    DAY 2

    In the morning, Marr arose early and went for a refreshing swim in the river. He made friends, sort of, with ferryman Drathgar. As the party discussed traveling tactics over breakfast, Kellin came and warned Marr that a mysterious cloaked figure, "about as tall as Moxie," (the Tiefling Barbarian) was looking for him in the middle of the night, but had been turned away. This was Jarett Nurth, looking for an easy window to murder him, but she wasn't willing to fight her way in. So that will keep being a storyline ...

    As they were crossing the river on the Ferry (with Barnabus complaining that the prices for non-townsfolk were a racket -- I bumped it up to 3 gp each), Captain Soranna approached them on the shore and called out that they should seek out Jorr.


    Spoiler: Entering the Witchwood
    Show
    The party entered the Witchwood on the Witch Trail, rather than the Dawn Way, because that was the part of Soranna's instructions on finding Jorr that they picked up on. They decided to move stealthily through the forest (and left their horeses and carriages in town), even though it was slower. (Not THAT much slower, in 5e rules; still 18 miles a day.) I rolled for random encounters, but none happened before they reached Jorr.

    Jorr's dogs aren't supposed to proactively attack anyway, but Marr made a good Animal Handling check to make sure they wouldn't. I definitely played up the hick racist version of Jorr, starting with the grumpy "get off my lawn!" line. But Bitore soon mentioned cleansing the hobgoblins and Jorr was interested. They agreed to pay him 10 gp a day, though they weren't thrilled about it.

    Again no random encounters before the Blackwater Causeway. The Hydra rolled excellently on its Stealth check, and Marr was curious about the overturned wagon's contents anyway, so he waded straight in toward the Hydra without seeing it. I felt a little too nasty giving it 5 attacks in the Surprise Round, so I just did one attack before going to normal initiative -- where the Hydra rolled poorly. The party started wailing on it: Fighting Spirit + Action Surge from Marr, a Hunter's Mark from Jorr, a Bless spell from Bitore, and raging reckless attacks + Storm Aura from Moxie (who could, nicely, fly over the difficult watery terrain of this encounter). But the most interesting tactic came from Barnabus, who spent a round casting Heat Metal on his nocked crossbow bolt, then firing it at the Hyrda to do its damage. He wanted to argue that, because it couldn't "drop" the crossbow bolt sticking out of its hide, the Hydra would take Disadvantage on attack rolls & ability checks, but I felt like that combination would make Heat Metal way too good, so I ruled that the Hydra could flick away the embedded bolt as a reaction. (Which works well with a creature who has 6 reactions, but I'm not sure if this will still come back to haunt me in future encounters.)

    The Hydra lost two heads and regrew four the first round, but that meant it only got three attacks, and the raging Barbarian hardly felt the damage from its bites. The second round it couldn't regenerate heads because of the Heat Metal damage. And before anything beyond that mattered, they finished it off with a Toll the Dead from Bitore.

    Marr didn't quite roll high enough on Investigation to find the hydra's magic armor treasure, but I let Bitore cast Guidance on him retroactively since Investigating the area was a lengthier process anyway. And that was enough. Bitore ritual-casted Identify on the armor before Jorr insisted they get off the rickety causeway. A +1 Chain Shirt isn't very different from a Breastplate, so it won't be terribly useful to my party. They took a short rest, traveled some more hours, and camped to take a long rest. Jorr foraged, Moxie took Marr up on a game of Three-Dragon Ante (and won), Bitore sketched the Hydra in his journal. I rolled for no random encounters during the night, but Jorr was nervous about letting other people do the watching, and rose numerous times during the night to look around. (I should have had him cast Alarm.)

    DAY 3

    In the morning as they set off, I finally rolled for a random encounter. I rolled ahead of time to see what random encounters they would face, in what order, and the first one was 2 Owlbears. The Owlbears rolled well on Stealth and the party didn't (I think Moxie in particular had multiple natural 1's on Stealth this session), so the Owlbears attacked the party from both sides with surprise. They both went for Moxie in the middle of the group, partly because I wanted to see her take damage for a change before she could Rage. They tore into her, both in the surprise round and on their first turn, doing pretty good Claw damage a few times. Barnabus made one of them move away from her and lose a turn with Stinking Cloud, and critical hit it with his rapier as it moved. Marr took the Dragon Roar feat from XGtE, and used it to frighten the retching owlbear. Bitore spent a Level 3 slot on Cure Wounds to put Moxie back into a safe quantity of HP. Before either owlbear could retreat, they were both dead, although Bitore wasted a Bless spell right at the end of the combat.


    Spoiler: Vraath Keep Battle
    Show
    After another short rest, we got the party to Vraath Keep. Marr teased the others about being afraid to wade right in, then decided to investigate the gardener's shack before the actual keep. He rolled a natural 1 on hearing that the wood was straining and about to break, then failed his Dexterity save as well, taking 15 damage from the collapse, and more importantly alerting the whole keep that something was there.

    Marr's pride was hurt, so he let Moxie go first entering the courtyard, where they were met immediately by the two goblins on dire wolves. Barnabus tried talking rather than fighting, with the Goblins but especially with the wolves (casting Speak with Animals). Jorr won initiative, pushed his way into the door of the northern gatehouse, and started firing at goblins.

    Karkilan Dashed out into the courtyard next, and Marr got very very excited to face something so big and muscular. He charged it with his Fighting Spirit + Action Surge combo, taking it down nearly halfway in one turn.

    The hobgoblin Veterans shuffled out into the courtyard to fight.

    Barnabus wasn't convinced his words were affecting the wolves enough, so he Suggested that one of them take its rider on a nice run away from the keep. It failed its save. (I forgot to think about it coming back after Barnabus cast another Concentration spell, but I guess it was far enough away by that point that it would just wander off, or maybe come back and realize it didn't want to rejoin this fight.) Its rider ineffectually fired a couple parting arrows at Bitore.

    Moxie almost killed the Minotaur on her turn, bringing it to one knee. Marr started getting upset about her kill-stealing. Then the Manticore appeared, just watching the fight. I decided Koth spent one round putting his secret plans in his Haversack. Maybe should have had him come out to fight immediately, but I was feeling like that might be overwhelming on top of everything else that had suddenly appeared from all sides.

    Bitore finished off the remaining Goblin Wolf Rider with a Spiritual Weapon hit, then finished off the Minotaur with Toll the Dead. ("Oh, come on!" yells Marr loudly.) Barnabus hit the Manticore with Hideous Laughter, which made it fall from the walltop to the ground (which made it take enough damage to overcome the spell, but was still prone.) Moxie ran over and promptly dropped the beastie to less than half health. It took off into the air and hit her with one tailspike, but her opportunity attack almost dropped it.

    Marr started getting swarmed by Veterans, and they did some solid damage to him with a critical hit with Martial Advantage, even though Barnabus has learned to save some of his Inspirations for Cutting Words. In fact, Marr was taken down to 1 HP!

    Koth emerged. The evil part of me wanted him to instantly slay Marr with Wand of Magic Missiles, but gosh darn it, I like Marr. And the others were arranged pretty well for a Fireball (which unfortunately caught the Manticore too, finishing it off). Everyone but Moxie saved vs. the Fireball, and Moxie has fire resistance anyway. (Tiefling.)

    Bitore dropped a Level 2 Healing Word on Marr. Marr defended himself with a Second Wind and a Dragon Roar, frightening a few of the Veterans and the remaining Wolf, who was uncertain whether it wanted to keep fighting anyway. I've had my doubts about Dragon Roar as a feat, but in this case it seemed like pretty good defense against a bunch of enemies piling on top of a lone Fighter.

    Barnabus cast Heat Metal on a Veteran's armor, which was enough aggro to pull that Veteran off of Marr, though Barnabus lost concentration on Heat Metal after one piddly hit.

    When Koth's turn came around again, things looked bleak enough for the baddies that I decided he would drink his Potion of Fly and take off, though he would stick around to bombard the PCs more with Fireballs and Magic Missiles from above. And I guess, after this (merciful) precedent, that I'm not using the house rule that drinking a potion is a bonus action? Anyway, the party apparently did not want Koth to get away. Bitore hit him with a "land" Command spell, Barnabus readied a Hideous Laughter spell to cast as soon as Koth floated back down into range, and Koth failed both Wisdom saves. Oops. Suddenly the party started feeling like they might actually win.

    Marr used everything he had -- all his Fighting Spirits -- to stay up and try to deal with the swarming Veterans, and just barely (2 HP) managed to stay on his feet through the whole fray. Bitore finished off Koth with another Toll the Dead. Barnabus spent yet another Heat Metal on one of them, and got taken down to 2 HP himself in response. The last two hobgoblins were willing to surrender, but got cut down too fast. And so peace descended on the formerly tense battle scene in the courtyard ...


    Spoiler: What's Next?
    Show
    Barnabus went in to parlay with the wolf that had run into the stables after being Frightened. He succeeded on starting to befriend it, although he thinks it's friendlier than it is. (He's starting to talk about using it as his own mount.)

    Bitore used his second-last spell slot on a Prayer of Healing, and everyone else resolved to take a short rest in the courtyard before they investigate the keep more or even loot the bodies. Marr used all his Hit Dice, and Song of Rest, and still isn't looking so hot.

    They got a lot of XP for all the combat this session, although they're still further from Level 6 than I would like. I gave out a pittance (100-200) for their roleplaying in town, but I might have to give them more for uncovering Vraath Vault. Anyway, I suspect they'll be quite pleased with their loot.

    As for leads on the next part of the chapter, they killed Koth, so they will probably find his plans. And they have Jorr with them for DM hints. (They stopped grumbling about Jorr once they saw his combat contributions, even though I didn't describe those much. He did a decent amount of damage with his high-accuracy, Hunter's Marked arrows.) So hopefully they will realize pretty easily that Koth was not the head of the goblin menace like they thought, and go on to investigate Skull Gorge Bridge and/or Cinder Hill.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-17 at 10:03 AM.
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    Others are allowed to contribute to this thread. I'm especially keen on advice about:
    • the house rule that drinking a potion is a bonus action: good idea or bad idea, especially now that I had Koth dramatically spend an action drinking one?
    • how hard should it be for Barnabus to tame a Dire Wolf to use as a mount? (considering it already was a goblin mount)
    • what should I do about the party not getting to Level 6 soon enough to handle the Blackfens? Scrap XP altogether and just level them up when they hit milestones? Double the XP I award them for each fight?
    • how much information should I give them when Barnabus (who understands Goblin) examines Koth's map? How can I make the note about Saarvith in the Blackfens noteworthy for them without them feeling like they're being railroaded to go there?
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    Journal 1/19/19

    Spoiler: Looting Vraath Keep
    Show
    First, there was over an hour of roleplaying looting, which isn't really surprising. The party went around Vraath Keep to all the obvious places first, generally figuring out what had gone on in the area. Including the forest giants' attack -- being 5e players, my players weren't familiar with the existence of forest giants, so they were a little puzzled over that. They puzzled over the effigy with Continual Flame on it up on the tower, not having approached the Keep at night to see its role in "haunting" the Keep. (But Marr the Fighter did make a few more comments about how there were certainly no ghosts to be found.)

    I decided Koth's map had been left in the War Room in spite of Koth spending a round before emerging into combat earlier. They found the map and rolled ok (13) on reading it, not great, so I fed them all the important information on the map, plus a couple red herrings. (Red Rock was circled, Dauth had "halflings?" written by it.) They pretty quickly noticed the ascending numbers by communities approaching Brindol and deduced that a larger attack plan was in the works, and were concerned.

    Then they searched the Keep more thoroughly, making Investigation checks. 13, 12, 1. I had hoped Bitore the Cleric would have used Knowledge of the Ages for Investigation proficiency to help him make this important check, but no. Moxie the Barbarian had to be convinced to participate in the searching, even though Jorr was already keeping a lookout over the area for more baddies and she has a +2 to Investigation. She rolled an 18 -- the exact DC to find the trapdoor.

    They took the Manticore's stuff, Koth's stuff, the Minotaur's stuff, not every piece of weapons and armor this time. There was a little dispute where Bitore was super curious to see what all was inside Koth's Handy Haversack, but Barnabus the Bard was feeling a little possessive and somehow had gotten into his head the idea that turning a Bag of Holding or similar item inside out would ruin it. This went as far as an opposed check to snatch the bag, but Bitore's natural 20 on Athletics couldn't compete with Barnabus's natural 19 on Acrobatics.

    They explored the vault, diligently looking for traps before they worried about opening the alcoves. At Bitore's vehement request, they went for the second alcove first. Barnabus was able to open the lock on this one quickly, and they found accounting paperwork and a novel and a history book. Bitore pocketed it all with great care. Barnabus failed to open the first alcove, even when he made the others turn their backs so he could use Divergent Persona to increase his bonus. So Marr used his acid breath weapon and one swing of his maul to break the lock. While Barnabus struggled to open the coffers inside (and Bitore, using borrowed tools and Knowledge of the Ages, rolled even worse), Marr bashed the third alcove's lock off. They gathered all the stuff in the vault except the desk and the large chest.

    An Extended Rest started. The party didn't have access to Detect Magic, so Bitore started ritual casting Identify on just about everything, whether it was magical or not. He eventually did turn the Heward's Handy Haversack inside out, once Identify confirmed it was safe, producing a huge pile of silver pieces and some taxidermy tools. They distributed the magical loot. Bitore took the Staff of Life, even though I was hoping they'd intelligently give it to Barnabus to attune to, so that they still have some healing if the Cleric goes down. Marr took the Wand of Magic Missiles, so now he has a better ranged option than mundane javelins, which may be a big relief in the upcoming Skull Gorge Bridge battle.

    Barnabus was able to open the coffers eventually, so they got excited about the deed to the Keep and distributed even more money. Moxie, being the party member who knows Infernal, worked on the code for Koth's notes. They learned the basic power structure of the Red Hand, connected Saarvith's name with his location on the map, and learned that the big army was at Cinder Hill.

    Day 4

    The party decided that going back to warn Drellin's Ferry of the impending attack was even more important than scouting the Bridge or Cinder Hill, so they braved their way south at a fast pace even though it meant more chance of being ambushed by monsters. That let them arrive back at Drellin's Ferry just after a full day's travel.

    Spoiler: Back in Town
    Show
    After leaving "Barnabus's" wolf outside of town, and complaining some more about the toll on the Ferry, they went straight to Speaker Wiston with news of an attack, "including dragons." They repeated that part to the town a lot, thinking it would be extremely persuasive -- and to be fair, it helped. It was kind of a problem that they couldn't give more details about the Horde though, especially its overall numbers. Still, with a good Persuasion check, Bitore was able to convince Wiston to call the town council right away, even though dusk was approaching.

    The whole party didn't deliberate much about the danger; they were pretty adamant from the start that Drellin's Ferry needed to prepare to evacuate, if not actively evacuate already. So they kind of steamroll-talked over Iormel and Kellin's protests. It helped that, you know, they were actually right about what needed to be done. Marr even brought up destroying the old Bridge, though Wiston pleaded with him not to. And Barnabus rolled a fine Persuasion check (only an 18) to convince Wiston to at least start sending children and the elderly East. The party said to evacuate if they weren't heard from in 4 days, and figured out that they may be able to use Sending to make contact if necessary.

    Marr got it in his head that Jorr should lead the evacuation effort, in case fleeing into the Witchwood proved to be prudent. But his Persuasion check failed -- there was no keeping Jorr away from the role of killing goblins, especially when the rest of the party didn't really agree.

    They dropped by Barnabus's home and insisted that his family, regardless of whether the rest of the town evacuated, needed to get ready, and leave after 4 days if they didn't hear otherwise.

    Bitore wanted to start preparing Clairvoyance, but he needed its casting focus. Which was not to be found at Jarett's Sundries. So they went to see if they could buy it from Sertieren the Wise. I played him as super crotchety and maybe a bit senile. All the knocking on the door in the world wasn't going to rouse him from bed, so Marr tied 30 gp to a rock and threw it through Sertieren's window. I decided to reward him for the creativity, so Sertieren started yelling at them out the window and was a little bit willing to hear them out. With an ok Persuasion check and 50 gp extra, they were able to purchase the glass eye required for Clairvoyance and convince Sertieren to let them see his other wares. They were kind of amazed that he actually had some decent stuff for some reason. They hungrily bought up the Scrolls of Invisibility, Scroll of Dispel Magic, Potion of Invisibility, and Potion of Flying. Barnabus even only haggled on one of the items, despite his great loathing for parting with money. (Not sure whether that's the player, or the character.) They came away with not the best impression of the wizard, even though they'd roused him from bed, but with a good amount of their new money spent on adventuring gear.

    Barnabus brought his carriages with him this trip, even though it meant paying more at the Ferry. (Moxie flew over the river this time, and Marr swam it, away from Drathgar's eyes.) The party still doesn't really suspect that the traveling performing troupe is a farce -- they keep rolling low Insight against that. They reunited with the Dire Wolf (whom I worry they might need in the upcoming fight) and camped just outside of town for the night.

    DAY 5

    They traveled quickly back to Vraath Keep, not rolling any random encounters.

    DAY 6

    Spoiler: Approaching the Bridge
    Show
    I rolled for a random encounter, but we were running out of time and I was hoping to have the Skull Gorge Bridge fight today, so I told them I was fiat-ing the encounter away. (It would have been 4 worgs with 4 goblins riding them, which wouldn't have been that interesting.)

    They investigated Old Warklegnaw's effigy, which was a new landmark to Jorr, and determined that it was a territorial marker for giants, but weren't sure if it was forest giants. Marr guessed it was and immediately latched onto the idea of getting aid against the Red Hand from the forest giants, but he acknowledged that it was the sort of thing they could do on their way back from investigating the Horde's numbers. So they went on.

    When they (Barnabus mostly) got a good enough look through the trees to be sure the Red Hand was occupying the Bridge, they decided to do quite a bit of reconnaissance before just attacking. Which is smart. Apparently dragons have that effect on a party. The idea of a Clarirvoyance was tossed around, but they were a bit loathe to use a Level 3 spell slot up. So instead, Barnabus "disguised" (shapeshifted) himself as a hobgoblin and went to infiltrate them on wolfback, while he made Moxie invisible with a scroll and she flew over the area. Barnabus didn't roll very well on his Disguise check, even with Guidance, but that was only to appear as a wounded hobgoblin.

    Moxie, with advantage from Invisibility plus a Bardic Inspiration, rolled just high enough on Stealth to beat Ozzy's passive Perception, so her flight was uneventful.

    Barnabus used a mostly true story about how the Keep had been sacked by five adventurers, so I gave him advantage on his first two Deception rolls. He rolled very high (30, 25, 26) to talk to the first tower guard, then to talk to the Sergeant, then to convince the Sergeant to let him travel back across the bridge "looking for a survivor of the Keep who may be in league with the adventurers." The Sergeant even recruited another random hobgoblin to go convey the message to Kharn's army, so that will be one less they have to fight. But will also mean Kharn doesn't wait a day to get Koth's message to "go."

    Belatedly, I rolled to see if the Hell Hounds smelled that Barnabus wasn't a hobgoblin. I made the DC pretty high, though, since the Dire Wolf's smell was in the picture too, and the Hell Hounds might not even care about differences between humanoid races. So he got by that just fine.

    Moxie, coming back, managed to startle Bitore but not Marr with her invisible "ghost" act.

    Finally, after discussing tactics for a while against 2 Hell Hounds, a Medium Green Dragon, and a guess of 9-11 hobgoblins, Bitore finished off their preparations by asking about the attack with an Augury spell. I have no real idea if they're going to win this fight, but if they do it will be very beneficial to their overall goals, so I said "Weal and Woe." At this point we ran out of time.


    Spoiler: What's Next?
    Show
    Well, obviously next session will begin with a battle, and they seem excited for it. I was a little disappointed that there was no combat this time, but now I have to live another week wondering if I'm going to TPK them all.

    Beyond that, they seem to be following the right leads as the module gives them hints. They've been just a little bit slow, though, so
    the Red Hand is almost ready to head out from Cinder Hill! If they take a long rest after fighting at the Bridge, they just might meet a Horde on the march, and have to take down the Bridge moments before it's crossed!

    At least they'll hit Level 6 after the Bridge fight, if they win, with the milestone leveling system. (I asked our usual DM for advice, and that's what he suggested doing.)
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-19 at 05:32 PM.
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    Killiar's Hunters

    Spoiler: Killiar Arrowswift
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    Medium Humanoid (elf), Chaotic Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 16 (studded leather armor)
    HP 37 (5d10+10)
    Speed 35 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 12 (+1), Dex 18 (+4), Con 14 (+2)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Saving Throws Str +3, Dex +6
    Skills Animal Handling +4, Athletics +3, Investigation +1, Perception +4, Stealth +6, Survival +4
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 14
    Languages Elvish, Common
    CR 2 (450 XP)
    -------------------------
    Favored Enemy. Killiar gains a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against monstrosities. He has advantage on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track monstrosities, and on Intelligence checks to recall information about monstrosities.
    Natural Explorer. Killiar ignores difficult terrain. He has advantage on initiative rolls, and on attack rolls against creatures that have not yet acted (in the first round of combat). When Killiar travels for an hour or more, his group is not slowed by difficult terrain, and cannot get lost except by magical means. Killiar remains alert to danger even while engaged in another activity, such as foraging, navigating, or tracking. When Killiar travels alone, he can move stealthily at a normal pace. When he forages, he finds twice as much food as normal. When he tracks other creatures, he learns their exact numbers, sizes, and how long ago they passed through the area.
    Colossus Slayer. Once per turn when Killiar hits a creature with a weapon attack, the target takes an extra 1d8 damage if it's below its hit point maximum.
    Fey Ancestry. Killiar has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic canít put him to sleep.
    Mask of the Wild. Killiar can attempt to hide even when he is only lightly obscured by natural phenomena.
    Spellcasting. Killiar is a 2nd-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom. Killiar knows the following ranger spells:
    1st level (3 slots): animal friendship, goodberry, hunter's mark
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Rapier (melee 5 ft) +6: 1d8+4 piercing
    Longbow +1 (ranged 150/600 ft) +9: 1d8+5 piercing
    Primeval Awareness. Killiar has an innate ability to communicate with beasts, and they recognize him as a kindred spirit. Through sounds and gestures, Killiar can communicate simple ideas to a beast, and can read its basic mood and intent. He learns its emotional state, whether it is affected by magic of any sort, its short-term needs, and actions he can take (if any) to persuade it not to attack. He cannot use this ability against a creature that he has attacked within the past 10 minutes.

    Spoiler: Tiri Kitor Hunter
    Show
    Medium Humanoid (elf), Chaotic Good
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
    HP 16 (3d8+3)
    Speed 35 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 11 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 11 (+0), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 11 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Athletics +2, Nature +2, Perception +5, Stealth +6, Survival +5
    Senses darkvision 60 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Elvish, Common
    CR 1/2 (100 XP)
    -------------------------
    Keen Hearing and Sight. The hunter has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.
    Fey Ancestry. The hunter has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic canít put it to sleep.
    Mask of the Wild. The hunter can attempt to hide even when it is only lightly obscured by natural phenomena.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Multiattack. The hunter makes two melee attacks or two ranged attacks.
    Shortsword (melee 5 ft) +4: 1d6+2 piercing
    Longbow (ranged 150/600 ft) +4: 1d8+2 piercing

    Spoiler: Giant Owl
    Show
    Large Beast, Neutral
    -------------------------
    Armor Class 12
    HP 19 (3d10+3)
    Speed 5 ft, fly 60 ft
    -------------------------
    Str 13 (+1), Dex 15 (+2), Con 12 (+1)
    Int 8 (-1), Wis 13 (+1), Cha 10 (+0)
    -------------------------
    Skills Perception +5, Stealth +4
    Senses darkvision 120 ft, passive Perception 15
    Languages Giant Owl; understands Elvish, Sylvan, and Common but can't speak them
    CR 1/4 (50 XP)
    -------------------------
    Flyby. The owl doesn't provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemy's reach.
    Keen Hearing and Sight. The owl has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or sight.
    -------------------------
    Actions
    Talons (melee 5 ft) +3: 2d6+1 slashing


    Encounter Composition
    Killiar Arrowswift
    Tiri Kitor Hunter *4
    Giant Owl *5


    XP Award: 1100
    The XP Award can be granted if the encounter is negotiated reasonably smoothly, not only if it turns into a combat encounter (which it probably shouldn't). Whether Killiar's attitude towards the PCs actually becomes friendly doesn't affect the XP the PCs receive, but it will become important when The Elf Alliance encounter occurs later in the adventure.

    Interaction

    Play this more organically than in the book, rather than boiling it down to simple numerical Persuasion checks. Let the PCs present themselves to Killiar through roleplaying. However, he does start off with an Indifferent attitude, leaning towards the negative. It should help the PCs if they killed the razorfiend and if they offer up the jade band and/or ring, and it will bother Killiar if the PCs keep demanding information from him.

    It's up to you whether to "bend" the geography of the Blackfens to make sure that Starsong Hill is reached promptly after this encounter.

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

    Notes

    Like other probably-helpful NPCs, I built Killiar close to a PC, in this case of 4th level (with a few extra Hit Points). His hunters and owls come out of the MM (Scout NPC block for the hunters), even though that makes them considerably weaker than they were in 3.5e.

    Whether they're a challenging combat encounter probably won't matter at this point, because the PCs probably won't fight them, but I do wonder if I should beef them up more so they will put up a better fight if they fight on the PCs' side in Brindol.
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-26 at 08:55 AM.
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    Journal 1/26/2019

    Spoiler: Skull Gorge Bridge Battle
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    The party recapped their opening battle plans. I thought they still sounded kind of scattered, indecisive about whether to focus on the near towers, the hell hounds, or the dragon first, but I guess the important part was that they agreed not to worry about the Sergeant or the other hobgoblins across the Gorge until everything else was dead.

    Bitore the Cleric started with a Bless spell on himself, Moxie the (flying) Barbarian, and Marr the Fighter. Then they let loose an opening volley at the creatures on their side of the canyon. With a 7 Stealth result from Bitore, I didn't rule that any of the Horde creatures were surprised, but other than the dragon they rolled poorly on initiative anyway, which is a similar result.

    Barnabus the Bard, riding his Dire Wolf, won initiative and opened with a Heat Metal on the armor of the SW tower hobgoblin. It was only a Hobgoblin Regular in that spot, but Heat Metal rolled low and still didn't drop it. Jorr Hunter's Marked the SE tower hobgoblin, who was a Veteran, and started firing away. Marr started doing his usual "nova" on the nearby Hellhound, using Fighting Spirit for a few extra HP and advantage on attacks, but he decided to save Action Surge for later even though he may well have killed the Hell Hound before it got a chance to act if he had. Ozyrrandion and Moxie converged on the roof of the SW tower. Bitore used Toll the Dead on the Hell Hound, but it rolled a nat 20 on its save, so he hit it with a Book of Force Damage instead.

    I didn't think the party had done all that well at staying spread out like they had talked about, but they were spread out enough that the Hell Hound could only get Marr in its breath weapon attack, so that's what it did. He saved for half damage though.

    The Sergeant used his Leadership ability to "bless" the hobgoblins with him in camp, but they still weren't very effective shooting at one of the few targets they could see, the Dire Wolf, who had taken the Dodge action. Then the ones on the towers all rolled poorly.

    Barnabus hit the close Hell Hound with Vicious Mockery, and finished off the SW tower hobgoblin with another pulse of Heat Metal.

    Then it was Ozyrrandion's turn! I excitedly had him fly around Moxie so that he could hit Marr, Barnabus, the Dire Wolf, and Bitore in his cone. (For a moment I thought I could even get Moxie too, but my players reminded me that 3-D geometry meant she was much too high for that.) He rolled 30 poison damage, which was solid. Marr failed the save in spite of his Necklace of Adaptation ... until he remembered to include Bless. Barnabus failed the save, wishing he was similarly Blessed, and dropped to very low HP in one blow. The Wolf failed as well, but could handle the damage. Bitore passed the save, and resisted the damage (Dwarf), and passed his Concentration check, so the effect on the healer was minimal. Still, I was pleased with how things were going by this point, thinking that with Barnabus so low, they'd probably have to at least burn a Heal spell (from the Staff) on him.

    Marr used Second Wind while he debated what to do. There was a very nearly-dead Hell Hound next to him, but also a dragon to worry about. In the end, he decided to ignore the Hound and pump a Magic Missile into the dragon from his wand, for 9 damage. He was vindicated as the Spiritual Weapon Book finished off the Hell Hound, with a joke that this time it was a book about various skin ailments and rashes that Hell Hounds can contract.

    Then ... things turned south for me, as the party put their trusty "Koth combo" to work on Ozzy. He rolled a whopping 6 to resist the Command to "land." But he was still up in the air until his turn, near Moxie the Barbarian. She wailed on him Recklessly, still missing once.

    The second Hell Hound arrived and breathed on Marr and the Dire Wolf, rolling well on damage. Then it was the hobgoblins' turns. They ... didn't have a lot of clear shots, thanks to the frontal towers that everyone was fighting behind. One did manage to hit Marr, dropping him to 1 HP! And another hit Moxie for piddling damage through her Rage.

    Barnabus debated what to do for a while, other than let the Wolf go to run away from the battle before it died. (At that point, he would have needed an Animal Handling check to keep it fighting.) But he settled on completing the "Koth combo" and casting Hideous Laughter on Ozzy as soon as the dragon landed. Sure enough, Ozzy couldn't do anything on his turn other than try to recharge his breath and fly straight down. And then rolled a natural 4 on his Wisdom save (8 total), to fall prone and incapacitated. Sigh. No chance for him to even drink his Superior Healing Potion.

    Now Marr whipped out his 4-attack "nova" combination, counting on it to finish off the second Hell Hound in a single turn, but rolled really low on one attack and the Hell Hound was still up ... and with his new temporary HP from Fighting Spirit he was up to a whopping 6. The Hell Hound then Bit him and easily dropped him unconscious. So Moxie flew over (now that she didn't have to worry about Ozzy, sigh) and finished off the Hound with one blow, lamely throwing a javelin at the SE tower hobgoblin for her second attack.

    The hobgoblins with no clear shot Dashed along the bridge to get to where they could really join the battle. (In hindsight, I probably should have had them climb the northern towers.) The remaining one on the SE tower shot at Barnabus. He wanted to take no chances of dropping, so he REVEALED HIS CHANGELING ABILITIES with Unsettling Visage. Turns out the attack would have been a natural 1 anyway. The hobgoblin then took cover, though (backing up from the edge of the tower and ducking down so no one could see him), which made all the players angry.

    Barnabus spent his turn feeding a healing potion to Marr. Jorr hit the approaching Sergeant with a critical hit, with Sneak Attack and Favored Enemy. The players remarked how Jorr was actually remarkably competent, maybe even better than them. So I need to make sure Jorr doesn't keep stealing the show ...

    Now the immediate threats were handled, it was time to finish off Ozzy. Marr's first blow snapped the dragon out of Hideous Laughter (now he rolls a nat 20 on his save), but still. Working together, the maul-warriors finished off the prone dragon while Bitore the Cleric dropped a Level 3 Cure Wounds on Barnabus the Bard to get him back out of danger.

    Now the hobgoblins crossing the bridge arrived ... and were greeted with Stinking Cloud. Although it has that funny effect where it often has no effect, as the attacker gets advantage because the target is Blinded, but disadvantage because it can't see the target. For a net effect of zero. After a few attacks went off that way, Barnabus declared he's swapping that spell out ASAP, even though Marr and his Necklace like the tactical advantage it gives them.

    Marr grappled one hobgoblin soldier in the Cloud, tried for a second one but failed, but that was generally his strategy: to lock them down where they couldn't take actions. The non-grappled individuals scattered, the Sergeant staying close enough to still use his Leadership Aura on the others.

    But yeah, at this point the battle was won; they were just mopping up stray hobgoblins. Jorr got another crit, Barnabus threw another Heat Metal that ended the stinking cloud, and the maul-warrior duo marched out onto the bridge, crushing hobgoblins left and right (who fell into the Gorge as they died). The hobgoblins on the northern towers knew this was a hopeless battle and ran, but you know what? Crossbows have long ranges with disadvantage on the shot. The party meticulously kept track of how far off the map those two were and kept firing until both eventually did go down. At least Marr used up most of his Magic Missile charges on them?


    Spoiler: Aftermath
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    I rolled secretly to see if anyone spotted the Bridge's weak point at a glance, but nope. They went straight to searching the Dragon's body, finding his potion and two of the pearls embedded in his skin. (With 18 Investigation, I probably should have let them find more, but I was feeling stingy.)

    Next priority was Barnabus running after "his" Wolf. The Wolf hadn't stuck around nearby (Animal Handling result 12), but he managed to track it down (Survival result 22). And convince it to come with him again (Animal Handling result 16).

    While he was gone for a couple hours chasing the Wolf, Marr acted like a good adventurer and pulled out his leatherworking tools to skin the dragon and harvest its skull. He was interrupted briefly by Bitore, handing him a freshly Identified Potion of Superior Healing. As if this party needed more healing. Marr kept it on the necklace that Ozzy had used to carry it.

    By the time Barnabus got back, it was dusk and they decided (against Jorr's wishes) to wait for morning to approach Cinder Hill. I made them take watches, but I knew nothing was going to happen this night, so I didn't even bother having them roll Perception.

    DAY 7

    Spoiler: Cinder Hill and Breaking the Bridge
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    In the morning they went to Cinder Hill, which doesn't take very long, and rolled ok on Stealth to approach it, so I didn't give them any trouble as I did The Big Reveal. Hundreds of goblinoids, "more than a thousand." (Even though it's actually more than 2000.) Giants. Makeshift fortifications around the camp. And, with a decent Perception check, a red dragon in the sky, though they couldn't tell its age. Since this was Day 7, I also let that decent Perception check reveal that the hobgoblins were breaking camp, getting ready to march.

    Bitore used Sending to relay the news to Speaker Wiston, and tell him to evacuate. Full stop.

    There was no debate among the party: the next priority was to destroy the Bridge. Bitore did mention using his Dwarven knowledge of architecture, so I let him roll Investigation to find the weak spot. 7. I'm not sure whether giving him advantage on that roll thanks to the rest of the party's help was really legit, but I'm a pushover and let them do it, and this time he rolled high enough. Easily.

    So the two maul-wielders went to work on the weak spot, Moxie standing over the canyon since she can fly if it collapses under her. Marr even used Action Surge just out of pride, so that he could do more damage in one round than Moxie. Together it was something over 70 damage in one round. So maybe I shouldn't even have worried about them finding the weak spot?

    I was going to have the Bridge collapse just from that, but I described it as a spreading crack first -- and the party latched onto the idea of leaving it like that, so that hopefully the first few ranks of the Horde would fall to an untimely death. I thought that was actually more clever than the book gave the party credit for, so I rolled to see if the Bridge stayed intact when they stopped whacking it, and it did. (50/50% chance.)


    Spoiler: Old Warklegnaw, For Real This Time
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    The party then lost no time heading back to where they had seen Old Warklegnaw's effigy. They weren't sure (hadn't asked at the time), but they didn't remember seeing green skin on the Horde's giants, so they were hopeful this was a different group of giants and could still be recruited to aid against the Red Hand.

    They found Old Warklegnaw cooking his dinner, and didn't get baited by my moving them to a battlemap and the giant waving his club at them and saying he hoped they tasted good. They made it clear they were not attacking, then made several rather passionate speeches to the giant about how and why they wanted it on their side. They didn't bomb any Persuasion checks, so I had Old Warklegnaw invite them to dinner and say he would consider aiding them. They didn't think to offer up the Spiked Gauntlet +1, even though they did think to offer "rewards" -- trades of metal to his tribe from the human town, or the most enormous "sweet roll" the giant had ever seen. The giant was moderately interested in the latter. They did think to ask if he had any other giants that could join him, so he said he would talk to his daughter, granddaughter, and nieces, and see if they were game to harry the Red Hand. Essentially I decided they had done well enough even without offering the Gauntlet, which would have made it an easy decision.


    Spoiler: Leveling Up
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    At this point I definitely let the party advance to Level 6 to end off today's session.

    Marr took Resilient (Wisdom) as his Feat for this level, making Wisdom easily his best stat. He rolled for Hit Points, and rolled a 10 (max)! Bitore rolled too, and got a 7 (almost max)! So they were rewarded for their risk-taking. Moxie and Barnabus went with average HP.

    Moxie got lightning resistance and a swim speed. She's actually more excited about the swim speed, even though she can already fly. She talked about the lightning resistance as if skeptical that it would ever come up. Heh, heh, heh.

    Bitore was most excited about gaining the ability to read minds, even though Barnabus already had Detect Thoughts. Really, Bitore should be most excited that he can Channel Divinity twice now. He also got another 3rd level spell slot and another spell prepared.

    But of course Barnabus is the one everyone was really paying attention to. No, not Countersong. Or even a 3rd-level spell slot. No, instead he got his Lore Bard Magical Secrets. He didn't manage to pick what he would take, and that's fine; it's a big decision. He's got a week. Counterspell and Fireball were both definitely mentioned, but I'll be a little surprised if he ends up picking Fireball.


    Spoiler: What's Next
    Show
    So. The party is planning to head back to Drellin's Ferry next; they should have time for that, since the broken Bridge and the giants should delay the Red Hand by 5 days' total.

    Next session might be taken up quite a bit with just getting back to the town, since I owe them a random encounter and may roll more. And a lower-key session full of random encounters might be good anyway, since Marr's player isn't going to be able to join us next week.

    But then? They're thinking of returning into the Witchwood, to fight alongside the giants. They even thought to tell Old Warklegnaw that he could expect to be contacted magically (Sending) by Bitore in the next few days. And while that would be interesting, of course it's not where the main story is supposed to go.

    So I'm looking for ways to lure them further north or east. Without making it too obvious, where they feel railroaded.

    The standard "hook," Teyani Sura, the Lion of Brindol who tells them about the Road Blockade in the north, has always felt a bit forced to me. For one thing, it doesn't make much sense geographically. Did she traverse the whole Witchwood alone to come to Drellin's Ferry? Doesn't seem likely. More likely she went back to Brindol first, then was sent west to spread the word ... except why do the western towns need to know "to avoid the old Rhest Trail"? Are they really likely to go that way anyway? Without going through Brindol first? And I guess it makes sense for Brindol to already know something is brewing, but that's not clear from the way the rest of the module is written.

    It doesn't help that, in my campaign setting, the northern roadblocks don't go to super-important places anyway.

    So ... I think I might hint to the players to travel east first, even though they already know that Saarvith is doing something up north. I could run a few of the Elsir War encounters and get them to Brindol, perhaps. Then it would make a lot more sense for them to go investigate a northern road blockade if Lord Jaarmath or Captain Ulverth sends them that way, perhaps as a test of their mettle. It's a slowdown, but other peoples' experience with Red Hand of Doom suggests that there's plenty of time to spare, right?

    So I think I'll have Speaker Wiston ask them to take the word of the refugees to Brindol, or Barnabus's family asks him to escort them as they evacuate, or something like that. I'll have to play it somewhat by ear.


    Suggestions of what to do next, or rationalizations of the Teyani Sura encounter, are welcome!
    Last edited by Draz74; 2019-01-26 at 07:55 PM.
    You can call me Draz.
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    Also of note:

    I'm back to working on converting Red Hand of Doom to 5e.

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