The Red Hand of Doom

Five Foot Steps

They don’t provoke attacks of opportunity.

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The True Nature of the Red Hand
What will the group do in the face of the odds?

Returning from the mysterious old keep in the Witchwood, our brave adventurers seek out the Town Speaker of Drellin’s Ferry, Norro Wiston. The heroes tell the Speaker of the map they found in the keep, and the goblin writings that seem to indicate a plan to destroy not only Drellin’s Ferry but all of Elsir Vale! Without another creature in town that speaks goblin however, there is no one to confirm the groups theory. Without proof, Wiston cannot in good conscious take this threat seriously and frighten the people of the town.

Convinced to provide the town proof of its impending destruction, our adventurers venture back into the Witchwood, the hardy Jorr in tow. After retracing its steps to the keep, the party heads north and after traveling for a few hours happens upon a decrepit effigy standing at the crossroads of the Dawn Way and a very wide, rarely traveled footpath. This effigy, crafted long ago of heavy branches and trees, looks like a massive humanoid skeleton and once marked the territory of a tribe of giants. Intrigued to see where the path might lead, and knowing the bridge to the north is but a few hours walk away, the adventurers take a detour and explore the dark woods beyond the overgrown path.

It does not take long for our heroes to happen upon the remains of an ancient massive fortress made of immense trees lashed together to form the walls. Within the walls of the fallen fortress the group finds one lonely old forest giant, talking to himself and cooking his dinner (an entire dire boar) over an open fire. Seeing a potential ally against the goblins, the group presents the giant with a gift they found in the keep’s hidden storeroom. The giant intoduces himself as Warglegnaw and invites his kind new friends to have a shank of dire boar, and warm themselves by the fire. Having been abandoned hundreds of years ago when all of his brethren were either killed or run out of the forest, Warglegnaw is the only of his tribe left in the Witchwood. However, whether in an attempt to repay the little ones’ generosity or out of a desire to see if any of his kin are still alive, Warglegnaw promises to seek out any remaining relatives he may have and try to recruit them to deal with the Red Hand threat. Warglegnaw wastes no time and takes his leave to the west leaving our heroes alone in the ancient fortress of his kin.

Happy to have a new ally, the adventurers rest and prepare for whatever resistance they may meet at the bridge the next day. Waking up early, so that they might take the bridge at dawn, the seven swashbucklers head north. They find the bridge heavily guarded, but before they can regroup to create a plan they are spotted and the battle begins. With some quick thinking and a bit of luck our heroes manage to defeat the bridge guard without any casualties (but more than a few close calls).

The team then heads further north, hoping to get a glimpse of what the goblin army may have in store. With Jorr’s expert guidance, the group find a safe spot to gaze upon the army’s forces. What they see however, is not at all comforting. The Red Hand numbers in the thousands with dozens of giants, manticores, and worse. With this knowledge the group wastes no time in heading back to the village.

On their return journey, the group decides that destroying the bridge, while cutting of all trade to Drellin’s Ferry and the surrounding areas, may buy the townsfolk valuable time for making their escape. After a flurry of spells and sword swings targeting the bridge’s weakest point the dwarven edifice come crashing down.

Upon returning to the town, they waste no time in imparting their new found knowledge upon the unsuspecting Wiston. Having confirmation from Jorr that the threat is indeed serious, an emergency meeting of the town council is called later that night. Although heated, the discussion eventually leaned in favor of complete evacuation of Drellin’s Ferry while there was still time.

This left our brave heroes with an important decision: what will they do next? Wiston made two suggestions for the esteemed heroes: stay ahead of the horde, crushing their raiding parties and helping the locals, or head north in an attempt to free up travel from the north, the only possible entrance to the vale that could provide valuable assistance against the goblin horde.

After intense debate, it was decided that the team would head north, making fast time on horseback, and investigate the area called Blackfens.

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The Adventure Begins....
What does the Red Hand have in store

The first riveting installment in our adventure began with a fairly innocuous map taken from the lair of the Owlbear overlords that were plaguing the city of Three Swords. This map revealed that an old keep hidden within the Witchwood may be home to a hidden vault of untold treasures.

Luckily for our adventurers, the lands of Elsir Vale and the Witchwood within lie only a fortnight’s travel west. They plot their course for a small city on the edge of the wood named Drellin’s Ferry.

The party’s travels did not go unimpeded however, as our brave warriors were waylaid by vicious hobgoblins and their pet hell hounds outside the city limits. The battle seemed one-sided as the adventures were outnumbered 3 to 1, but smart tactics and a firm hand led them to victory relatively unscathed.

Arriving at Drellin’s Ferry, our heroes discovered that such vicious attacks as they had just survived were startlingly common as of late. Determined to help the citizens of the town (and make a fair bit of coin on the side), they sought out the Town Speaker Norro Wiston, and the Captain of the town guard Sorrana Anitah. Happy to receive the aid of such capable adventurers, a deal was made, and the party made their way to the Witchwood.

The group wasted no time, and entered the forest at dawn on the following day. At the suggestion of Sorrana, the party sought out a man by the name of Jorr Natherson, a seasoned woodsman whose knowledge of the wood was rivaled by none. The party found his secluded cabin, and after a brief conference, the party was relieved to find that Jorr was not only as knowledgeable about the forest as claimed, but also took a severe disliking to the goblins that infected “his” woods.

Finding a new ally in Jorr (at the small price of a few gold of course) the group headed north toward the Skull Gorge bridge; the location that Jorr thought most likely acted as the goblin warband’s entry point to the wood. In addition, Jorr revealed that an ancient castle, Vraath Keep, sat directly on their path to the bridge.

Only a few hours into their travels however the group encounter a fearsome 8-headed hydra who had every intention of making our good adventures his next meal. The party had other plans, however, and dispatched the foul beast quickly, severing several of its terrible heads in the process.

After regrouping the party traveled north for several hours until they stumbled upon the remains of an ancient keep. Hearing strange sounds emanating from aged edifice the party decided it best to rest and investigate the building at dusk under cover of nightfall.

The adventurers got more than they bargained for as this keep had been acting as the goblin warband’s headquarters in the region. After slaying many hobgoblins and defeating two mighty manticores, the warriors faced off against Wyrmlord Koth, the bugbear ruler of the goblin warband. A powerful Sorceror, Koth slung many a wicked spell against the stalwart heroes, and in the end used his magic to escape the keep, and fled north toward the Skull Gorge bridge.

Having bested the powerful spellcaster, the party turned to searching the keep for valuables the bugbear might have been hiding. The sharp eyes of the party’s wizard spotted a secret hatch in the sorcerer’s quarters. Investigating the hatch the adventures discovered a hidden vault rife with coins and powerful magical items and weapons. It seemed as though Vraath Keep was not only the keep hinted at on the map they had found early in their adventures, but the powerful sorcerer had not even known such treasures lied directly beneath his feet!

The party found one other important item: a map detailing some sinister plans aimed at overthrowing all of Elsir Vale!

The first installment of our brave heroes ends here. What fiendish monsters might they encounter next? What is behind the strange goblin activity? What will happen to Drellin’s Ferry and all of Elsir Vale!? It’s all for our party of heroes to discover and decide!

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