Red Hand of Doom 5E

Game Master Arcmagik

“We are mercenaries, all of us, but only a precious few have honesty enough to admit it. Whether we sell ourselves for coin, for honor, or ideals, we all have a price whose continued payment leads us inevitably to our end. But when that end comes, will you admit to your balance sheet? Or will you lie when you claim that the blood on your hands was spilled for just cause, not simply your hunger for glory?”

The world has never been a safe place. Bastions of civilization populate a dark, menacing world—islands of order and reason exist in a land otherwise overrun by dark cults, vile monsters, creatures from the dark edges of the imagination, and worse. One of those bastions are the Elsir Vale, a quiet frontier land bordered by mountains. It is inhabited by farming communities and various small cities and towns. No monarch or ruler holds sway over the Vale; each city is run by a council and manages its affairs in a state of relative peace with its neighbors.

Ancient History of Elsir Vale:

The scattered human towns and villages of the land now known as the Elsir Vale grew up along the Dawn Way, an important east-west trade road linking the heavily settled lands that lie northwest across the Endless Plains with the exotic kingdoms and goods of the coastal lands lying to the southeast.

Much of the Dawn Way was built by an ancient dwarven kingdom that spanned the Wyrmsmoke and Giantshield Mountains more than a thousand years ago. While their kingdom is long gone, their roads, bridges, and cisterns remain in use to this day. After the kingdom passed, the presence of various monsters and raiders kept traffic along the Dawn Way light for many years; few caravans dared the long and dangerous trek. Few humans lived in Elsir Vale during those years - only scattered settlements of druidic folk who tapped into the rich planar magic of the Vale. In the end, however, they left behind little more than grassy barrows and stone circles on the hilltops.

About five hundred years ago, the nearby city of Rhest came to control the vale and a large swath of land north of the Giantshields as well. Soldiers from Rhest secured the roads all the way to Dennovar and beyond, creating a safe passage for trade. More and more traders traveled the Dawn Way, and the kingdom of Rhestilor grew wealthy on the tariffs exacted from the passing merchants.

Under the kingdom's shield, the towns along the Dawn Way - Brindol, Dennovar, Talar, Terrelton, and the rest - grew up from tiny hamlets or lonely soldiers' posts to flourishing human settlements. The kingdom of Rhestilor eventually collapsed under civil strife, monstrous incursions, and magical blights. Almost two hundred years and fifty years ago, the city of Rhest was burned by a savage horde that descended swiftly from out of the Wyrmsmoke Mountains. Although the warriors of Rhestilor killed much of the horde, the city was abandoned and the already weakened kingdom broken. The locks and canals surrounding Rhest fell into disrepair, and the Blackfens Swamp swallowed the ruined city.

For centuries following the collapse of Rhestilor, the dry and dusty Wyrmsmoke Mountains were home to dozens of goblinoid tribes. Although travelers were forced to skirt the goblin-infested hills by a generous margin, in general the Wyrmsmoke tribes, depleted by the battles surrounding the collapse of Rhestilor, posed no significant threat to the nearby human towns and settlements other than the occasional bloody raid.

In the years after the kingdom's fall, the towns of Elsir Vale came to look after themselves. Most of the local lords still held titles derived from the old kingdom of Rhestilor. While everyone knew that the kings of Rhestilor were long dead, no new realm arose in the Vale.

Elsir Vale Today:

The vale stretches almost 250 miles east to west and averages about 70 miles north to south. Several small mountain ranges and dense forests form the vale's borders. Though the borders of the vale are mostly hills, mountains and forests, the heart of the vale is grassy plains for the most part. Every town in the vale is surrounded by numerous farms. Beyond the civilized areas are vast rolling plains with infrequent hillocks and copses of trees.

Elsir Vale lies in the subtropical latitudes. Summers are hot and dry (although punctuated by the occasional intense thunderstorm), and winters are warm and rainy. Large stretches of the area are quite arid, and the vale is flanked by the vast savannahs stretching for mile after dusty mile. The forests that stretch across most of the vale's northern reaches are stifling and sweltering hot in the summertime, with not a breath of wind to relieve the oppressive heat.The largest town in the Vale is Brindol, located roughly at its center. Brindol is a thriving trade community.

At the western edge of the Vale, a week’s journey from Brindol, the city of Overlook and its fortress of Bordrin’s Watch command the only pass across the Stonehome Mountains and keep the Vale safe from the occasional Orc incursion from the wild, lawless lands of Thar.

In between, along the Dawn Road, lie a number of smaller towns that serve as market centers for outlying farming communities and host various trade fairs.

The town of Dennovar lies to the east of Brindol, and represents the last sizable population center as the Vale spreads outwards into the Golden Plains.

To the east, across the Golden Plains (at least some of the time) lies the fae city of Mithrendain, known to residents of the Vale as the City of Autumn. This magnificent city strides the border between the mortal realm and the Feywild, and exists in each for fully half of every year. During the spring and summer, it resides a few hundred miles to the east of the Vale and is the source (or destination) of a significant amount of the trade that flows through the Vale.

To the north, outside the borders of the Vale lie the ruins of the city of Rhest, once the center of a kingdom that spanned the entirety of the vale, but now a long crumbled remnant inhabited mostly by Lizard folk and other creatures best left unmentioned.

To the south is the eerie and undead-infested Barovia... a blighted land that is ruled by whatever dark master resides there. Only the truly desperate or hopeless visit or worse choose to live in those lands.


Setting Expectations
The following guides are excellent resources for GM & Player's alike.
Doomed Hero's Guide to PbP
Painlord's Tips
I have read several times and will be continuing to use the following guide to help the players and myself remain on the same page.
Painlords PbP GM tips
Some of the things that I want to set expectations on are as followed:

1 - We are here to have fun. When it becomes a chore to be active in the game it is time to take a step back and reevaluate. If the issue is something that a bit of communication and effort can resolve then drop me a PM. If not, and a brief sabbatical (two weeks), can not rectify the situation then I will not take issue with you leaving the game. Just communicate with me!
2 - I ask that you be prepared to post once every 24 hours. You don't need to force it to kep up the rate (though a quick post to describe your character's demeanor, reaction to the last action, or something of the like is always welcome), but being prepared to deal with bursts of activity is a must. The main Combat is absolutely necessary to be as active as possible in because that is one of the points where PbP suffer.

Fair warning I will not hold up the game for anyone. If you take longer than 48 hours, I may either assume your action (or "bot" you) or say your character does nothing.

Barring unusual real life occurrences or especially busy work days, I will be prepared to post once a day (though I will likely check the game multiple times per day), but if there isn't anything for the GM to add then you will not see anything. That is why ensuring that each post is a "Push" per the guidelines threads above is important. If conversation has stalled out then I will push the game in my assumed direction.

3 - Put your vital stats, expended charges and active conditions in your forum tag line. It really helps for those situations when I may need to make a roll for the whole party (eg. everyone makes a reflex save) and I don’t have to click on everyone’s profile.

When you edit the profile for your alias, anything that appears these fields will appear on your tagline in posts on a PbP thread (in this order):
1. Gender
2. Race
3. Classes/Levels

All you need to do is put your vital stats in these three fields and you are good to go. Formatting goes a long way. Here is some code from GM’s Damo’s page (with extra spaces before the the "ooc" that you will have to remove).

Gender: [ ooc]Male[/ooc]
Race: [ ooc]NG Half-Orc[/ooc]
Classes / levels: [ ooc]Fighter 1[/ooc] | HP: 12/12 | [ ooc]AC: 16 (11 Tch, 15 Fl)[/ooc] | CMD: 16 | [ ooc]F: 4, R: 1, W: 3[/ooc] | Init: +1 | [ ooc]Perc: +7, SM: +2[/ooc] | Active conditions: None | [ ooc]Wand (CLW) charges: 12/50[/ooc]
**Note how he used "ooc" tags to alternate the color of each snippet of info to make it more readable.If you run out of room in one field then just put part of the information into a preceding field.

4 - The following PC rolls will always be made by me to keep things moving:
Sense motive
Saving throws
Group diplomacy*

Player dice rolls of these types will be ignored, unless specifically requested by me.
I may make the following where appropriate, but you may request to make these yourself (let me know if you prefer to roll these yourself):

Knowledge checks
Survival checks
Individual diplomacy*

Furthermore, I may make a roll of any kind on your behalf if you do not make it within a timely manner (see above on this).

* Where the group is involved in a diplomatic action and a diplomacy roll is required, I will roll using the PC with the highest modifier for the group as the primary roll and the next highest modifier for an assist. Depending upon roleplaying and other circumstances, I may allow multiple assists also, or require someone other than the PC with the highest modifier make the primary roll. Otherwise, the players roll these individually.

5 - Format speech in bold with the quotes still there. This helps to draw attention to what the character is actually saying (as opposed to what you are saying about the character).

Eg. Jambon the Ranger runs back to the party. Goblins around the corner, beware!"

Use "ooc" tags to say things out of character. It puts your post in blue and helps GMs and players alike to tell when you are talking about mechanics and when you are talking about your character.

Eg. Jambon tries to squeeze through the door. Do I need to make an escape artist check or something?

Make sure to use the discussion thread for "ooc" text that is not relevant to your current post.

For some cool ideas on how else to format your text, see Doomed hero's advanced tips.

6 - When leveling I will ask that you post all alterations and changes in the OOC Thread so that it can be tracked.

7 - We will be using the D&D 5E “Theater of the Mind” approach to combat. I will post maps / pictures as I feel necessary and have time to alter/create them. If clarification is needed for lack of mapping / pictures then please ask before stalling on the post.

8 - If some of this looks familiar… some of it was copied, altered, and twisted from GM Damo’s page linked off of Painlord’s Guide. Credit where credit is due.

The Crunch:

Standard rules apply except as follows:
Race: Human (use Variant Human Traits)
Ability Scores: Use the standard set (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8)

If you are still with me after reading ALL of that… here is the final steps for what I am looking for in the game. I will be looking to recruit 6 players to set off on this journey (though if, and I mean IF, there are just to many absolutely fantastic applications I might expand it to 8 players). Characters should be made at Level 4 with the above (Under The Crunch) ability scores.

I tend to use an amalgamated world so you may see references to many gods or things outside of the “standard”. For example, you may see references to the Krynn Gods of Magic alongside of the Faerun or Greyhawk gods… I also have a soft spot for Norse gods. You may or may not noticed that I included a bit of my own spin to the Elsir Information (replacing the Thornwaste with Barovia and included an Eladrin City). I may include several concepts from other editions here and there… that being said I am pretty flexible with concepts.

Everyone that is planning on putting in an application should understand that I ultimately plan to finish this module as a lead-in to Scales of War. Any player that makes it through the end of this module will be given priority for that but for now we will focus on the Red Hand of Doom.

If you have any further questions feel free to ask them so I can expand upon anything here.

Interested, I'll get back in here with a character asap


Aiming for human ranger (archer).

Forgot to add the time-frame that I am looking at here.

Recruitment will be open until Monday August 3rd.

Liberty's Edge

Ok..very interested and will have something up ASAP!! Looking for a wizard or warlock, I think.

This is Filios, and I submit Rolen Philandril, Male Elf Rogue Assassin for consideration.

Very interested in this AP. I should get this crunch updated to level 4 and modified to fit what you have above by the 3rd.

So far
Daniel has a Wizard or Warlock
Filios has an Rogue
Caps has a Fighter

So I think I'll make a divine character, a Druid.

Interested Parties
Torillan - Human Ranger (Archer)
Daniel Stewart - Wizard or Warlock
nilesr - Druid

Complete Applications
Filios - Elf Rogue (Assassin)

Incomplete Applications
caps - Mountain Dwarf Fighter

I am interested, some type of barbarian I am thinking. Will work on it tonight.

How does this look?

I'm interested have wait till I get home tonight.

Interested Parties
Torillan - Human Ranger (Archer)
Daniel Stewart - Wizard or Warlock
nilesr - Druid
Jack Daniels - Barbarian
Dale Lee - ???

Complete Applications
Filios - Elf Rogue (Assassin)
caps - Mountain Dwarf Fighter (Champion)

Incomplete Applications

Almost done....hope to post later tonight or tomorrow.


It appears that Brokr's level says 1, but everything appears to be the equivalent of a 4th level character.

@All Interested Parties
Everyone include the class feature where you get increased stats (or a feat) and how it is distributed on your character sheet for easy of reference.

Updated with ability score increases accordingly.

Rolen Philandril wrote:
Updated with ability score increases accordingly.

Also, Rolen, I believe studded leather armor is 12 + dex, not 11 + dex.

[note: merely looking at sheet formatting, and noticed as my character also has studded leather]

That is true - good catch! Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Wait. Your crunch section says races: human(variant rules.) does that mean humans only? I see at least one elf and one dwarf being rolled up. Just want to make sure which it is before I try to submit something.

I think he meant variant rules for a feat at 1st Level if a Human is chosen.

Liberty's Edge

Okay, that makes sense, then. The phrasing felt a bit ambiguous to me.

I'll have to see if I can cook up something before the 3rd.

Torillan here....

Here is my Human Ranger...still a WIP.

I still have some info to input, and background.

Here is NilesR's druid. I'm still working on a is a rough idea.

Kristoph was a druid who lived in seclusion somewhere in the Elisir Vale until he made a startling discovery *background trait* (tied with the AP/Module's BBEG). Kristoph knew he could not just retire back into seclusion he must act!

Daniel Stewart here with my submission. Still needs some work, but here is the basic crunch for him...thanks

Should be fixed now. Let me know if everything is satisfactory.

I'm working on a bard, that I will post tomorrow afternoon.

Just got a 'backtracking to far' error when I went to preview the profile, so I have to redo the entire character from scratch.

I plan on going down the college of lore path.

Is today still decision day?

Looking forward to seeing who gets in!

I've wanted to play this module ever since I first read about it, and the 5e touch is extra-exciting.

Yes, though I assumed (wrongly) I would have time during work to do the selection. We got hammered for the week and part of my lunch was spent working (while the other part of it the forums were down for me) so with only five minutes to go I will be making my selections tonight around 7:30 pm.

Assuming we have enough of what I am looking forward otherwise I may have to extend the deadline. I suspected more would come over from the interest thread, but it doesn't appear to have happened.

Interested Parties
Daniel Stewart - Wizard or Warlock (Submitted an alias, but no crunch appears for me on the alias).
Jack Daniels - Barbarian
Dale I - Bard (College of Lore)

Complete Applications
Filios - Elf Rogue (Assassin)
caps - Mountain Dwarf Fighter (Champion)
Torillan - Human Ranger (Hunter)
nilesr - Human Druid (Circle of the Land)

Incomplete Applications

Okay, this is Dale, here is most of crunch for my Bard. I need to put all the stat in the tagline, fill out the equipment, and write a background, but everything else should be in place.

Liberty's Edge

Ok...dont know what happened to my character!!! I will add it all in again...that is a first..I have lost posts before, but not an entire character!! I will get it done tonight!

Background and history ,, doing this quickly so I intend to go back and flesh it out some more later, but for deadlines sake.

Endia is short (5 feet 3 inches), lean and scrawny looking. She has pale blonde hair, green eyes, and lighly tanned skin. She has a lute, flute, and harp cases on her backpack, along with a raiper at her waist and knife hidden away.

Endia never knew her father, an elf, and was raised by her mother, until her mother was taken away sold for negecting to pay the local taxes multiple times. Endia then went and lived with her great aunt in country, but ran away at age 12 because she didnt want such a boring and backbreaking life.

She joined a traveling company and started to discover her natural talents. In a city state Endia went too far in making fun of the local nobility in charge and a bounty was put on her. The company promptly left that night but after a couple of weeks the pursuit was still fierce with some close calls. So Endia decided to leave the company and journey to the far away Vale in hopes sparing her friends and escaping the bounty.

Sorry for any mistakes I rushed this on my phone.

Thank you. I will have to complete my selection in the morning. I just had to much to do outside of here when I got off work.

Though all things considering... if Daniel gets his character built then it will look like it will be the six applications that we actually had.

Filios - Elf Rogue (Assassin)
caps - Mountain Dwarf Fighter (Champion)
Torillan - Human Ranger (Hunter)
nilesr - Human Druid (Circle of the Land)
Dale I - Half Elf Bard (College of Lore)

Daniel Stewart - Wizard/Warlock if he completes it.

I'll check back tomorrow.

Are the five that you listed "in"?

Liberty's Edge

Ok..dont know why but every time I build the profile, Pazio deletes it...I still really want to play, so I can give you a link to my charactersheet for now, if that is ok with you?

Alistair Character Sheet

Fair enough. It will be fine for now. We'll have to figure it out eventually though once things get moving.

Looks like the Cast will be...

Brokr Stonegullet
Endia Livet
Rolan Philandril
Alistair Orm
Kristophe Kristophson
Alaric Morguhn

I'll set the OOC Discussion Thread up and post a link.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks..I will keep trying to get him set up properly.

Awesome, looking forward to it!

Fantastic! I did have all my ideals and such, and background typed in, but it got deleted! So I feel Daniels pain.

Anyway, I should have that done soon. Looking forward to adventuring with all of you!

Liberty's Edge really sucks...I did it twice now, and both times when I save it disappears...will be backing it up this third time...just in case!!!

Discussion Thread Link for those that haven't found their way over yet.

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