Our story begins as Arya Lightfoot, a ranger native to the Elsir valley (more specifically, the mining town of Red Rock) was hired by Lord Jarmaath from the city of Brindol to investigate the growing goblin menace in the western end of the valley along the Wyrmsmoke mountains. The goblin hating Arya was more than happy to take up the offer, given that she would gladly slay goblins for free! With her, she brought with her her adventuring companions:
Doren Caskbreaker, dwarven monk from the (in)famous Caskbreaker clan. Doren is a cousin of notorious Rudolf Caskbreaker. Rudolf is known as friend of whores and enemy of constables who managed to earn a life time ban from the City of Freeport.
Cari Shadowslip, a gnome rogue/summoner and her summoned griffin companion.
Inquisitor Trallis Zwan, a human inquisitor and a follower of Thor.
The part had traveled for many days along to the road. A few hours away from the town of Drellin’s Ferry, the party was attacked by a group of well armed and well trained hobgoblins and two hell hounds. The party eventually prevailed against the onslaught. After the battle, the party noticed that the hobgoblins all wore the same symbol: A red hand. More interesting was that the hobgoblin leader was a cleric of Tiamat, not a cleric of the typical goblin deity of Maglubiyet. The party also found some earlier victims of the hobgoblins and gave them a proper burial.
Upon arriving at Drellin’s Ferry, (and after the rest of the party convinced Cari that it would be a good idea NOT to bring her griffin into town) the party spoke to the members of the town militia. The senior militiamen informed the the characters that there had been an increase in goblin activity and that they should speak to Captain Soranna Anitah, the commander of the local militia. Soranna seemed relieved to know that a group of powerful adventurers had arrived to help her deal with the growing goblin problem. She quick informed the party the goblin and hobgoblin attacks had grown more numerous and more organized and the at the Norro Winston, the Town Speak would like to talk to them about the possibility of hiring the party to investigate the hobgoblin activity.
After the party conducted some business in town (mainly trading the masterwork weapons that the hobgoblins had been wielding) our noble group of heroes had dinner at the local inn. While having dinner at the local inn, town speaker Norro Winston formally hired the party (and picked up the tab for dinner and lodging) to travel north into the Witchwood to the north of town to eradicate the goblin menace. He also advised the party that the should find and hire Jorr Natherson, a local ranger who knew the Witchwood better than anyone. He also warned the party that a group of militia had been sent into the woods earlier only to be sent packing by a combined force of hobgoblins, “dragon men” and power beasts, including hell hounds and manticores. The party decided to head out in the morning.
Having encountered and hiring Jorr (who shared Arya’s hatred of goblins) the group headed further north into the Witchwood. Jorr told the party that if the goblins had a base in the Witchwood, it was likely at Vaarth Keep, an abandoned castle that had fallen to forest giant attack over two centuries ago.
While crossing a small stream, the party was attacked by a 6 headed hydra and Jorr was nearly killed. Arya’s archery actually made very quick work of the hydra which crashed back into the water after being turned into a pin cousin. The hydra then carried down stream. The party did find a mithral breast plate on the corpse of a hobgoblin which was found in the nearby wreckage of wagon.
Upon arriving at Vaarth Keep, the party quickly determined that the keep was anything but abandoned. Trallis scouted the place invisibly and reported back that he had seen goblin and worg tracks as well as the tracks of a large humanoid. The party moved in and attacked what turned out to be a worg stable. Immediately after attacking the worg stable, the party suddenly found themselves also fighting a manticore and a minotaur. Although both the minotaur and the manticore were dispatched, (but not before the manticore had mauled Cari’s griffin and not before the minotaur had inflicted a grievous wound to Cari) Trallis found himself being turned into a chew toy both the worgs as he had a hard time dispatching them. Then the second wave of attackers arrived. A group of 4 heavily armed hobgoblins lead by a Bugbear sorcerer attacked. The hobgoblins took out Cari’s griffin with arrow fire (it was temporary banished) and Arya was stuck by the bugbear’s lightning bolt. Cari’ dropped a fireball on the hobgoblins and then Arya took out the bugbear sorcerer with a barrage of arrows. (Man that was disappointing) Eventually the party was able to finish of the keeps vile inhabitants.
The dead goblins, hobgoblins and the bugbear all had the same red hand symbol that the hobgoblin bushwhackers had. Moreover, the bugbear sorcerer had in his possession a map of the valley with various notes that certainly looks like a large force would be launching an invasion of the valley!
This included the first session of the Red Hand of Doom.