Scales of War

Session 3: It's Not Easy Being Green.

Having rescued the alchemist Adronsius from the Red Hand, and uneased by the revelation that the Hand have made pacts with the old powers of the Rivenroar crypts, the party continued their search for more hostages from Brindol.

Lair of the Frog-Men

Exploring down a long stair, they discovered a half-ruined chamber, filled with oozing water, slime, and sprouting growths of fungus. Another of the Red Hand’s alliances – a gang of Bullywugs from the Blackfens – had been given this chamber, charmingly decorating it in their quaint slime-and-mushroom decor. They’d also been given one of the hostages to guard: Zerriska, the Witch of Brindol. Zerriska had convinced the Hand that the terrible powers she’d bargained her soul to watched over her, and any who harmed her would be cursed, so they figured the bullywugs should watch her – after all, if you curse a bullywug, who could tell? She’d been imprisoned in an old conjury circle while the Hand tried to convince her to use her magics to serve them.

The party made short work of the bullywug croakers and muckers, but their shaman was more of a challenge, using his croaked elemental spells to set off various harmful fungi growing around the room. Darrak, caught in a blast of fire and then a cloud of soporific spores, choked into unconsciousness until someone stamped on a nearby screamer mushroom that woke him up. It’s allies dead, the shaman retreated to the adjoining chamber where Zerriska was held, stepping into a smaller magic circle adjoining hers. It took the party all of half a second to guess that the circle would allow him to drain life from Zerriska to heal his wounds. A quick charging bull rush from Tam knocked him out of the circle, and things went rapidly downhill for the poor bullywug, Rock’s Oath of Enmity buying Tam the second chance he needed to land a killing blow.

Zerriska’s initial caustic mood (“Well I suppose that wasn’t entirely ruibbish”) faded when she saw her friend Darrak was there, and she let the facade of black-spirited witch drop. She’s just an old lady with no power to speak of, who’d been buying a few more hours of life with her sharp tongue. Her captors, in an attempt to convince her to use her sorceries in their cause had shown her other hostages: kartenix the guard captain, dead and wrapped in webs, and then, later, his son, Thuran, who they threatened to give to the powers of the crypt if she didn’t obey them. Zerriska had told them Thuran was her grandson, and that the same cursed blood that flowed through her veins flowed through his, and would invoke the same hideous curse if anyone spilled it. Her bluff worked – Thuran had been taken away again, but alive.

Mire, exploring the chamber, discovered two chutes leading up to a level above. Curious, he climbed up. What might be there? More hostages? Treasure? A secret chamber?

Two nervous goblins, it turned out, with crossbows and itchy trigger fingers. Hearing his armour scrape on the stone they fired down the shaft, then alerted allies in a nearby room.


Their secrecy blown, the party raced for the exit, trying to get Zerriska to safety. Too slow – as they reached the entrance chamber, soldiers of the Hand burst through a side door, hobgoblins adopting a quick defensive formation to screen the goblin crossbowmen.

The party hadn’t had a chance for a proper short rest – their encounter powers were back, but they’d only been able to spend a single healing surge a piece. They worked quickly, picking apart their foes’ formation methodically – Rock and Gryll opening gaps to allow flanking and prevent the hobgoblins locking their shields, then Darrak and Mire dropping the tougher soldiers as Tam slipped through to harrass the archers. The last archer went down to a brutal combo: Mire shield bashing it to the ground before Tam, who finished it with his patented half-orc brutality.

The Old Portal

Once Zerriska was delivered safely to Adronsius, our heroes return to the crypts, where they discover a chamber dominated by a floating, flickering image of a broken castle in a swamp.

Mire recognises it as a very bad part of the Blackfens called the Living Marsh. The fenfolk bring the worst of their criminals there to be killed, tying a noose around their neck and then throwing them into the marsh to choke to death.

Runes on the floor beneath the image invoke and bind the powers of Mual-Tar the Thunder Serpent, and Nidhog, the Gnawing Worm. Gryll deduces that the runes are creating a profound elemental imbalance contrasted by an opposing imbalance at another point in space, distorting the world between the two and creating this portal. The magics are old and wavering, but they are still strong enough to allow passage, which becomes clear when a tide of marsh rears up and oozes through, feeling its way towards the warm bodies it can sense.

Amongst the scum and fungus and rotting matter within the ooze float to corpses: withered and leathery, their neck stretched by the ancient nooses that still coil about them. And in the air above the ooze, spectral figures shimmer – the gaunt spirits of two hanged men, hungry for revenge…

Session 1: Ogres and Fireworks
In which our heroes tackle a drastically level-inappropriate enemy and their hapless GM realises, to his horror, that the isn't a trained Diplomacy skill among the lot of them

A quiet evening’s drink in the Antler and Thistle tavern in Brindol (following a hard day of doing whatever it is our reprobates get up to) is interrupted by a impolite and untimely invasion by the Red Hand – a group that everyone believed wiped out ten years ago!

The heroes (and I use the term loosely) of our tale?

Tam the Bastard: a half-orc rogue, and ex-initiate of the Even-Handed, an assassin-cult allied once allied to the Red Hand.
Rock: a shifter avenger, and another ex-acolyte of the Even-Handed.
Mire: one of the strange Fenfolk, a fighter haunted by the ghosts of the marsh.
Gryll: a dragonborn war-cleric of the Torchbearer, hatched by alchemy and adopted by the folk of Brindol.
Derrek: a dwarven druid and part-time kitty in search of a fabled lost clan.

The inn’s attackers are handily repulsed (although a chandelier-swinging goblin makes life particularly hard for poor Tam, who doesn’t know how to fight it) and the party race out into the town to witness a raid. The town is aflame, and hobgoblins are looting anything they can get their hands on.

And what’s this coming down the street? Why, it’s an ogre, pulling a cart of pitch barrels which his minions light and pass to him to be thrown at anything flammible-looking. Like Derrek, it turns out.

A savage battle breaks out in the street, our heroes frantically trying to keep the ogre from pressing further into the town. Gryll rushes forward recklessly and tries to set the pitch-wagon on fire, succeeding with a combination of his firey breath and an invocation to the Torchbearer. But it’s a costly move – the wagon explodes, blasting him unconscious. Mire tries to hold the ogre back, putting up a good show of himself until, trying to lure the beast away from Gryll, he is smashed to the ground by the ogre’s club. Fortunately, he had reluctantly called upon the spirits that rarely leave him in peace, and their cruel thievery steals a little of the ogre’s vitality and grants it to Gryll, who recovers.

Meanwhile, Tam and Rock are moving to the attack through abandoned houses and dark alleys, pausing only to do a Batman and rescue a townswoman from the attentions of two hobgoblins.

The wagon is now exploding, as barrel after barrel of pitch ignites. The ogre and several of our heroes are caught in the flame, and things look grim for poor Mire until Tam leaps in, snatches the fighter from beneath the ogres legs and drags him to safety seconds before another fireball erupts from the wagon. Jolly exciting.

Rock leaps to the attack, bloodying the ogre, but its counterstrike is brutal, knocking him unconscious in a single blow. Derrek turns into a snowleopard, darts to the attack and retreats before the ogre can retaliate.

And now Tam rushes back into the fray. He hurls a spray of weak acid into the ogres eyes, blinding it for a moment, then slips beneath it and drives a savage, precise blow into its vitals, wounding it badly (45 damage in 1 round!).

It’s left to Derrek to finish the creature off – he conjures a thorny vine, which twines around its neck and throttles the creature. It falls to its knees, clawing at the vine, then slumps forward, dead.

Short work is made of its allies, and the rest of the night is spent putting out fires and restoring order to Brindol. After their ogre artillery fell, the raiders slipped away. But when a dawn grey with mist and clinging smoke comes, it is clear that they took prisoners with them, and the relics of the war against the Red Hand from the Hall of Valour.

Caspen, the town clerk turns to the party for help. Someone must go after the radiers and get the hostages back. The Brindol militia managed to take a hostage in the fighting – a hobgoblin called Volk, and the party decide to see what can be found out from him.

Volk is imprisoned in the stocks in the town square, where an angry mob is gathering, baying for blood, and two harrassed guards try to keep them back. Realising that cunnig plans and diplomacy are not their strong point, the party turns to Mire, whose method of interrogation is direct and brutal, but it gets them what they need: a name, and a place.

The Red Hand are based in the crypts under the ruins of Rivenroar Castle, a fort of the early migrants who founded the kingdom of Rhest. The Rivenroar Family were one of the earliest families of the Rhestine nobility, and dark rumours linger about their name. The ruler of this new Red Hand is Rain – a visionary whose dreams inspired her to launch the raid on Brindol. Her name is familiar to Tam and Rock – she was one of Tam’s tribe, born under the yellow star of the Gleaming, who was taken by the Right to become another acolyte of the Even-Handed. She, Rock and Tam were acolytes together, but she had drunk the Black Lotus Tea and became a full member of the Right on the night before the Red Hand attacked Drelin’s Ferry ten years ago. She was lost in the battle, and no-one knew what became of her.

Having asked Caspen to gather supplies for them, the party head out into the wilds, in search of Rivenoar Castle, and the ghosts of the past.

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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