I started to run Red Hand of Doom using old school D&D rules last month because I had fond memories of the adventure. If you’re reading along as Zak S. bashes the module on his blog you will know of all the weaknesses this module has. It’s true! It’s verbose. There is a lot of useless info. There are “interesting” fights with waves of mixed enemies, but these waves are also staged, fixed, a railroad you need to adapt. So here’s what I’m trying to do:
So, last session I noted that the hobgoblins should have added nearly 6000 gold pieces to the treasure of Vraath keep. Well, as I ran the module today, I forgot all about it. It didn’t matter much.
One player decided to abandon her elf character and pulled a fighter named Sirius from the stack of old characters. It turns out he’s third level where as the others all hover around fifth level (20k XP is what we started the adventure with).
The party lures the manticore away from Vraath keep using phantasmal force to imitate the sorcerer and bribes it using jewelry worth 800 gold. I decide that it works and the manticore goes to fight the hobgoblins. I let the kids roll dice for manticore and minotaur and the manticore won, with 7 hit-points left. The real sorceror then showed up and cast lightning bolt to kill the manticore. The party realizes how powerful the bugbear sorceror is and attack him using hold person (he saves), a poisoned needle (he saves), and a melee attack which finally kills him before he can cast another lightning bolt. Yay!
They find all the treasure as written.
At the beginning of the session I mentioned rumors of a hydra along the main road (which they had avoided the last session). As their thoughts turned towards home and splitting up treasure, I said that they weren’t home yet. Which way did they want to take? Along the main road, of course.
“You see a six-headed hydra raising her head as you march across the wooden walk way.” “I’m not there.” “I’m in the back.” “I’m not there.” “I’m not there either.” “Uh, the hydra raises here head as at least one of you is there. So, any volunteers? Who’s first?” “I am.” “Anybody with him?” “I’m there as well.” “Ok.” “I shoot the hydra with my crossbow!”
In the end, the new fighter loses a leg due to the Death and Dismemberment table! As he survives, I tell them that if having a wooden leg is worthy of a pirate, then you can still fight with a wooden leg. Everybody nods.
Each character gains 476 XP due to the defeat of monsters and 940 XP due to treasure, plus a lot of magic loot.