Twenty years ago, a great army of goblinkind cut through the Strathan Vale like a scythe. The Army of the Black Hand was a terrible scourge that threatened everyone in the town of Haven and the many farms and villages nearby. An unlikely group of heroes emerged and rallied the people to defeat the invaders, securing peace for a generation.

Now, it seems those days of safety are threatened again. Hobgoblin raiders have again started attacking the people of the vale. Most recently, they brazenly attacked Haven and breached the gates, kidnapping several townspeople and escaping into the night. Everyone waits anxiously, wondering when the next attack will come and what can be done to stop this menace.

Episode 1: Haven

Cast of Characters
Kaolen Bearcharger, male human ranger (played by Jason Sproles)
Gorgoth Khrem, male dragonborn wizard (played by Ben Moy)
Kedrick Killmeister, male human paladin of Erathis (played by Derek Beam)
Perrin Tuatha’an, male halfling bard (played by Christopher Schwartz)

Hobgoblin marauders attack the town of Haven, intent on spreading death and destruction. One party of raiders meets unexpected resistance when they encounter the heroes in the Antler & Thistle public house. A pitched battle ensues, and the companions are victorious. Several civilians escape to safety, and the destruction of the tavern is prevented. The flames are barely extinguished, however, when a new threat appears: an ogre bombardier. It is only after stopping this menace that the heroes begin to realize just how serious the attack on the town was.

The heroes learn more about the recent kidnappings of local citizens by the hobgoblin raiders.

DM Commentary:
The element of the fire in the bar added great tension to the fight, but in hindsight I should have added a mechanism for the PC’s to be able to extinguish the fire as an added layer of complexity.
The guard character, Sergeant Reeves, was created on the spot to give the characters information about the attacks on Haven, but was apparently considered a highlight of the evening. I was not expecting that.

Episode 2: Road to Raventree Keep

The morning after they helped repel a goblinoid attack on Haven, the companions are summoned to the town hall by Lord Ernst Padraig. Having heard of their bravery, the Lord Warden interviews them. Satisfied with what he learns, he commissions the heroes to rescue the kidnapped townspeople from the hobgoblins’ hidden stronghold. He also requests they return a number of artifacts stolen by the raiders, trophies from the war against the Black Hand of Doom a generation ago.

Episode 3: Rescue at Raventree, Part 1

The heroes venture into the crypts of Raventree Keep. First entering the Arkalis family vault, they find that none of that noble family had been buried there. What did await them were a goblin and his pet needlefang drakes, which the companions dispatch. In the next room, they discover the dwarven alchemist Adronsius Ironbound, chained to the wall and badly wounded from repeated beatings by his hobgoblin captors. They bind his cuts and he tells them that the prisoners are all being kept separately, giving them directions to where he believes the eladrin Jalissa is being held. They leave him with the weapons recovered from the dead goblin while they go in search of the other prisoners.

Episode 3: Perrin's Thoughts
Lessons Learned

Luck is a fickle mistress, Perrin thought as he gritted his teeth, watching the second goblin sharpshooter turn past the dark corner of the corridor. Adventuring continued to be harder than he had thought, and his admiration of the heroes of legend grew further with each twist in his own tale. Of course, when he told this story, there would be details he would conveniently forget. These same details he would always remember.

Episode 4: Rescue at Raventree, Part 2

The group raced down the corridor, hot on the trail of the shouting goblin sharpshooters. They rounded the corner, finding themselves staring at a group of waiting hobgoblins. A pitched battle ensued. The combat was fierce, but the companions defeated their enemies – except for one hobgoblin archer, who escaped up a metal stair to another floor.

Episode 5: Rescue at Raventree, Part 3

The adventurers burst through the doors to a spiderweb-filled landing where three hostile ettercaps waited. After defeating the vicious, spider-like creatures, they found the body of the unfortunate guard captain, Kartenix Osborn.

Episode 6: Sinruth

In the depths of the Raventree Crypts, the party knew they needed a plan to find the missing captives and get out alive. They decided to return to the Raven Queen’s shrine in hopes of finding clues to the missing Mirtala. They did not, but they did find more goblins, who were unable to ambush the adventurers thanks to Kaolen’s keen senses. The battle was brief, and brutal for the attackers – only the hobgoblin archer who had harassed them before escaped.

Episode 7: Sindarak

Flush from their victory over Sinruth, the adventurers delved further into the crypts of Raventree. Returning to spiderweb landing, they charged up the stairs to confront the remaining members of Sinruth’s Hand. The hobgoblins were quickly dealt with, and they coerced the group’s leaders into surrendering. One – the archer who has hounded them throughout their time in the crypts – turned out to be Sindarak, tribe brother of Sinruth. They interrogated the hobgoblins for information and learned that the captives had been taken to the lower levels, where the wight makes his lair. Sindarak also taunted the group that other goblin tribes would be arriving to bolster their numbers.

Side Trek: Coppernight Hold

Cast of Characters
Davorin Evermead, male dwarven fighter (played by Christopher Schwartz)
Marcus Coldshore, male human rogue (played by Chris Rampolla)
Morthos, male tiefling warlock (played by Derek Beam)
Rogath Ambershard, male dwarven warlord (played by Jason Sproles)

Inspired by the deeds of Monster Management, a group of would-be heroes from Harkenwold formed their own adventuring party. Calling themselves the Lions of Harkenwold, they set out to make their mark in the world.

At the request of Bran Torsson, the adventurers set out to find Coppernight Hold, a small keep being constructed by Kavalar Coppernight, a dwarven prospector from Overlook. Torsson had sent two militiamen to seek Coppernight’s aid during the revolt against Baron Teso, but they had never returned.

The companions traveled west, reaching the excavation site only to determine it was overrun by kobolds. They cut their way through the small reptilian pests until reaching the inner chamber of the keep, where they found a green dragon wyrmling. After a fierce battle, they defeated the beast and his followers. They found a locked room where Coppernight, his surviving followers, and the missing militiamen were chained to the walls. Once they were certain that Coppernight and his fellows were safe, they returned to Tor’s Hold, their first quest as an adventuring party an overwhelming success.

DM Commentary:
This was a one-shot session intended to allow Chris Rampolla a chance to play with the group and get his first experience with D&D 4th Edition. Overall it was a very successful venture, and I was pleased with how well it went. The other players also seemed to really enjoy getting to play different characters who were outside of the roles they have grown comfortable with in the main campaign. I would be interested in doing more side trek adventures of this sort, both to give the players something different to experiment with, and to tell tangential stories in the world.


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