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The Ghostlord's Lair (1).jpg
Red Hand Of Doom, Part III: The Ghostlord's Lair
Welcome to the third installment of our glorious thread featuring /mlpol/'s first running of the classic d&d 3.5e campaign, Red Hand Of Doom.

Quick Rundown: A massive army of savage goblinoids, giants, monsters and dragonspawn fanatically devoted to the devil Tiamat march on the frontier region of Elsir Vale. Will the PCs be able to thwart the army and save the region and the world? Only time will tell.

At the end of our last adventure, the party had just sabotaged the Red Hand's operations in the Ruins Of Rhest by defeating the Wyrmlord Saarvith and and the Dragon Regiarix, and as a result earned the allegiance of the Tiri Kitor Elves in the inevitable Battle Of Brindol. Their efforts earned them flying mounts, and a good amount of treasure. Most important, however, is the mysterious amulet that was latter revealed to be the phylactery of a powerful lich who rules the Thornwastes.
Knowing that the Battle Of Brindol would be all the harsher if the Red Hand had the allegiance of the Undying Lion King, the party has decided to head southwards to interfere with the plans of the mysterious Uwali. The Thrnwastes are 150 miles away from Starsong Hill as the owl flies, so our heroes may be able to get there in three days if they go straight and nothing happens along the away... (AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! *wheezes*)

Little is known about the Ghostlord, other than that he is a powerful lich and a sort of indigenous boogeyman feared by all in Elsir Vale. Our Heroes may perhaps research him as they stop along the way, commission professionals to find documents, or attempt to ask locals about stories of this ghastly overlord, or even just roll some knowledge checks to see what they already know.

New players are welcome. New PCs begin at lvl 6 and start with normal Wealthy-By-Level. I will provide the updated housetules upon request to anyone interested (they're basic 3.5e houserules, except I give all players some extra stuff). PCs of any kind are encouraged.
52 replies and 23 files omitted.
Artorias Greenmarsch's Player, Recap Summarizer
One final note: I personally am choosing to think that the ghost lion now residing within Artorias's shield is a token of appreciation from the ghostlord for giving him back his phylactery. Whether that's the case or not is up to the GM to decide, but I believe that it's his way of giving us at least a little bit of help going forward.
It could indeed be a token of appreciation, or perhaps it may be a memento from one of the noble lions of Rhest. Only time will tell.
>played for 8 hours straight
>6 encounters (arguably 8)
>finished an entire dungeon
>All of the encounters were challenging, some near-deadly
>Party forced to expend their resources, cooperate, buff eachother, saving eachother's lives
>despite that, encounters still give PCs chance to feel powerful
>Everyone got to use their class features and racial abilities
>Enemies got to use their special powers too
>Major story developments
>Non-combat challenges
>Ad Hoc story completion
>Dialogue and jokes between encounters
>I didn't even feel exhuasted/miserable by the end of it
>Was really fun
Now that is what I call a splendid session. You guys were incredible, exceeding my expectations yet again.
Too bad plague couldn't be here. It's his birthday, so I'll let them level up anyway. I'll just say they were busy defending the mounts from undead sphinxes.

This part of the adventure was short and sweet. Now, off to Brindol, where the real battle shall unfold.

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It's sad I didn't get to use Uwali Stormcaller this encounter, since the Ghostlord kicked her ass. Her powers and tactics would have made her the most challenging enemy yet. You'll get to interrogate her next session though. Consider what you'll ask her.
Hmmm, Aral didn't get any class specific permanent loot this part..
Oh well, he's already got the Summer Star and basically completed the essentials of his kit in Part II, so I guess the magical ammunition and the Mithral Mist shirt should be good enough for him this session.
Night Shroud got some decent Monk Nun items, from my Doom fist Monks, who turned out to be just as tough as I wanted them to be. She also got her hands on a certain massively cursed historic condition piece of Rhestian culture that the Ghostlord claimed as a trophy a century ago, one that I think will serve her well. Perhaps she could bring it back to the church in Brindol and have it appraised.
Artorias also seems to have had his shield haunted upgraded, as a curse parting gift from one of the dire lions. I think it's nice for him. Also a bunch of divine scrolls he can use.

I did remember to include Bro's birthday present, even though Killer and Pursuer (Plague) didn't participate in this crawl. He didn't ask for much anyway.
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Some of the ebin lewts from this encounter (not the best loot in the pile, but the prettiest):
>Haunted(?) Rhestian Lion's Shield
>Blade of Black Sun, unawakened
>Shadowsilk Blindfold Of True Darkness (What? you thought you'd escape Goblin Slayer references in the goblin slaying campaign?)
>Shadowsilk Monk's Belt
>Mithral Mist Shirt
Also several stat-enhancement items, utility gear, potions, scrolls, wands, Skull Talismans, armor bracers, a fuckton of gold, a wicked-looking kukri, an ioun stone, and not one but three dwenomered Dragon Scales (The Fanged Ring, the Opalescent Amulet, and the Sonorous Scale), which I am disappointed to find out lack official illustrations...
I just had another idea: What if the loot goblin is actually a Red Hand agent gathering up all the leftover resources the party doesn't take to feed it back into their war efforts?
I mean, that's just as likely. If you leave a bunch of masterwork weapons and magic items in the middle of a field, somebody is going to take them.
Anyways, I think I'm going to hold off until after next session before I decide if I want to make a thread for Part IV. I can't actually be sure you guys will go straight to Brindol. There's actually a lot of stuff left to do across the vale, and there's actually a few different directions the story could take right now that might be equally critical to your success or failure in the next part.
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When the adventure's over will you do a "behind the scenes" bit where you talk about what went into this and inspired things?
Wow, hadn't checked this thread in a while.
I could certainly do that, but what is it that you're curious about?
File (hide): 35549E35F0C882D4DA36BEB3991139C4-1981702.mp4 (1.9 MB, Resolution:1280x720 Length:00:00:09, sexy_goblin.mp4) [play once] [loop]
>[...] Wyrmlord Ulwai Stormcaller is strangely attractive for a hobgoblin, something that has been both a blessing and a curse for the stormsinger. Other hobgoblins accused her of having human or even elf blood in her veins. [...]
>[...] Ulwai has red hair woven into numerous braids and fitted with tiny bits of metal and ivory. Her eyes are a bright shade of blue, highly uncommon for hobgoblins. She wears numerous pieces of beautiful lightning-themed mithral jewelry. [...]
... Thank's a lot, Dick and James...

Anyway, I'm only bringing it up because it's an observable fact about this prisoner. The now-naked hobgoblin woman's eyes were still wide open when the ghostlord paralyzed her, and you could tell that they are brilliant azure blue, and that she's especially beautiful (for a goblin).
All of these traits allow a passive Arcana check (using Aral's modifier; he won the check) that "Ulwai" is a Sunscorched hobgoblin: a rare variety of hobgoblin with an ancestral connection to blue dragons. Sunscorched hobgoblins were known for posessing exceptional cunning and patience; they do not have the same charisma penalty that typical hobgoblins suffer, but often share the vanity of blue dragons. They have a natural love of power: when a sunscorch hobgoblin isn't leading a warband or tribe, he (or she) is likely the voice of wisdom behind its leader.
From her race, her jewelry, and what you know of the Blood of Morume, you can assume that this hobgoblin is one of the higher ranking officers of the Red Hand.
I need to get a better note-taking system...
Nothing in particular, was just wondering about the writing of the campaign. I've never seen any roleplay go this well before.
> Interrogate Captive Hobgoblin General. fall for her Lies
> Encounter some Ettins and Goblins that keep coming back. Pelor's Light proves useful. long fight until we finally make progress. Nightshroud overcomes her bratty mood swing and realizes she does have a dress to wear.
>recover gold intended for dorf mercenaries. deliver it
>trade with dwarves, Little Nightshroud's surviveability increases
>help out some nuns, earn the curiosity of a sorceress
>do a patrol. find the red tiger gang, instead of fighting. we bribe them to pursue mercenary work defending brindol
>4,000 gold well spent
>more patrols, find 5 hobbos and an ogre in a farmstead, fight was a piece of cake, get ambushed by 4 black dragonspawn and a super barghest
>fight goes on, session ends in middle of fight, 8 hour session.
>image, badass Nightshroud in new dress overflowing with shadow sun Qui
c33554a361ecbf5c0c77e19e8bcbe8c1 (1).jpg
>a closer image to the dress, minus the Umbrella. just add a blindfold and a black qui powered lightsaber. as soon as she levels up. her unarmed damage will be holy rather than axiomatic.
DAY 27, MID Day
>the party's attitudes rapidly shifting now that most of them are lvl 10 and can dematerialize bugbears with one hit
Artorias's Player, Action Point Collector
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>Where we last left off...
>Collect prisoner from ghostlord's temple, GTFO
>Get back out of thornwastes, wait for spells to regen so that they can be used for interrogation
>Make sure the prisoner's tied up firmly, cast zone of truth, and ready interrogation!
>Ask her a bunch of questions about tactics, force size and whereabouts, other miscellaneous nonsense as it pops into our heads
>She answers, saving her opera from the ever-hungry mouth of the steel dragon toddler nearby
>When we run out of questions, time to seal the deal!
>Ring up mah nigga Bahamut and ask him about if she actually told the truth
>Answer Unclear; Try Again Later
>Turns out she's also free of her bindings and is running the fuck away!
>Welp, time to feed her opera to Billie!
>Aral and Umbrie give pursuit while Artorias sits back and makes sure every single heretical paper is eaten by his adoptive daughter, Billie happily obliges
>Umbrie fucking decks this woman, but not before she's able to summon a tornado that we all have to deal with
>Tornado rampages around the battlefield, nearly killing us all
>Well, at least the prisoner isn't dead
>Retie her up, get her just healed enough so that we can perform a quadruple amputation without killing her
>She shoots awake, plants us all firmly with a song
>Unfortunately, because of stupid fucking bard magic, nobody can do shit to salvage things while the exact same scene plays out again
>This time though, there's not going to be a prisoner
>After the second tornado clears, Umbrie drains enough of her energy to melt her flesh off her bones, Aral turns her skull into a pincushion, and Artorias makes sure there's not even a skeleton to bury
>Nah, this bitch has effectively been cremated at room temperature
>Just in time too, a fuckload of other green knife-eared dickeaters come stampeding out of the nearby forest!
>Everybody either naruto runs or flies back to the owls, and we escape unharmed (well, more unharmed than we would've if we had actually fought there)
>Well, now we have some faulty information, but it's all we have to go on right now, so it'll have to work until tomorrow
>Owls start flying northeast towards Giantshield mountains, maybe there's a macguffin there that we can steal from some other goblin assholes to get the help of an eldritch giant?
>Maybe, but on the road below we see a bunch of gobbos looting an overturned carriage with two ettins overseeing them
>Time to do some murdering!
>Ettins are tanky, but they go down like anything else
>Goblins are peons in every sense of the word, so they literally splatter underfoot for us
Soon enough, everything we can see has been killed once
>Shit starts reanimating across the battlefield, and it's not pretty
>Those ettins are now even tankier, the goblins are back to being minor annoyances, and these land goblin sharks are swimming around in the dirt below us and doing their best to make us corpses too
>They fail, though
>It's an annoying fight, but the party succeeds and we collect the fat stacks that the goblinoids were trying to pilfer from this carriage
>Turns out this was meant as payment towards a merc group currently working in Brindol
>Well, let's finish the delivery then!
>Deliver stuff to dorfs, they at first are hostile but quickly change their tune when they learn that not only are we not gobbos, but we also have money
>Give them the dosh, make some trades for some new flashy bitz, and go back to Dauth nearby
>Tool around there for a while, help some peasants, make a new sorceror friend who will meet us at brindol, ask B-Hams some more questions (turned out the bardic whore made by the horny module writers was an ENORMOUS liar, literally one thing she said turned out to be true), and ventured out to the surrounding villages to make sure people are evac'ing and not being stubborn (((merchants)))
>Run into a group of murderhobos while out
>Turns out they're part of some gang, but that doesn't matter
>They're still idiots refusing to evac!
>Give them a good yelling, eventually convince them to go out and target gobbos instead of people by paying them off and telling them Brindol would probably pardon them for the help
>New mercenaries acquired!(?)
>Who knows, they could've just taken the gems we offered them and ran off to piss away their lives as rich fucks
>Eh, we're kinda swimming in money as is, so does it really matter?
>No, no it doesn't
>Anyway, walk continues and we eventually start heading back
>Along the way, find some dudes tied up by an ogre and some hobgoblins!
>Activate righteous might, grow to absolute unit sizes, and start the fight!
>Umbrie and Aral start working on the hobgoblins while Artorias takes on the ogre, damage isn't as big as before since the weapon crystal has been changed, a meaty thwack from a mace is still something to be feared
>Until some more barghests show up, that is
>Barghests melt their allies in breath attacks targeting us, but we are mostly unharmed
>From here, the session falls apart because I stop feeling good and Mr. That Guy has to go do IRL things
>Until next week!
Ah, now that's a recap. Take your extra Action Point as usual.
I think yesterday's session was fun, if a bit clumsy. 4-6 encounters, and two PCs got to level up.
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>land goblin sharks
It's called a Krathbairn, a kind of fiend originally created by subjecting the eggs of brown dragons to horrible magic. Their burrow speed, regeneration, enchantment abilities, and at-will animate dead makes them a rather deadly addition to the battlefield.
I'm glad I got to use them this campaign: I'm not even halfway done with the published Spawn of Tiamat.
Don't forget the four Blackspawn Raiders that have currently surrounded the party. The session will begin again on their turn.
If you guys wanted an image of what my Pyroclastic Bargheists looked like, think of large, winged goblinoid-wereworgs, with ashen fur and patches of black, scaly, dragon-like skin full of cracks that expose molten flesh. These monsters are the result of an unholy pact with Tiamat that liberates them from Gehenna by turning them into dragonspawn and makes them closer to Hellhounds. They share similarities with the Pyroclastic Dragons of Gehenna, and are immune to fire, not fearing banishment through flame. They're deadly melee juggernaughts, and fearsome spellcasters.

You can roll your relevant knowledge skills (planes, arcana, religion) if you want to know more.

Truth be told, I gave you guys too much XP for the last time you fought them, since I used their lesser equivalants, didn't make them fly, didn't use their items, and forgot about half of their spells (big brainfart that session...). Thus, I reserve the right to reuse them Xp. You can expect these motherfuckers to be much, much, much more difficult.
I will probably make a new thread the session after the next session.
Sure, I could go over it. It would be easier to answer your questions one by one though.
Red Hand of Doom is a classic d&d module that I've always personally wanted to play, but never found a DM for, and thus took it upon myself to run it for somebody else. I've modified the adventure with the help of some friends to try to make it more suitable for online campaigns. I also took some creative license in quite a few places, but I've generally stuck to its main structure.
The module is well-written, and surprisingly adaptable. I was pretty close to running it in Equestria with ponyfinder rules, but I figured I'd stick with the system and setting I knew.

At the rate we're covering, we'll be over in just a few months, which puts us on track to have completed the game in less than a year. I was worried it would be a run-on campaign at first, but progress has been great. The party is getting an average of four-to-six encounters per adventuring day and more than one adventuing day per session. PCs have been leveling up smoothly (once every 2-4 sessions), while I've made efforts to keep the game challenging. The players have all been great so far and lovely to play with, although not all of them were able to play through the whole thing.
I'm actually considering running another game after this, perhaps at higher level, and maybe a bit shorter in game length. It's just food for thought though. It depends if I have time and how many players are interested. Perhaps I can work out a system to encourage board participation while running combat in voice chat.
The writing of Red Hand of Doom is ultimately based on a "Countdown to Destruction", where a massive army of hobgoblins storms across the vale to conquer every settlement in the region. PCs at their level have no hope of defeating the entire army by themselves, so their quests revolve around rallying allies, learning secrets, hindering the army, and thwarting enemy plots in every way they can. Of course, they're not required to do any of the quests or sidequests in any particular order; in fact, nearly all of the quests are optional. I have used pre-written and adapted flowcharts to calculate the consequences of the party's participation, ommission, success, and failure in any particular element of the game. The enemies are mostly intelligent humanoids, and brilliant tacticians to boot: their tactics and plans will change in response to the party's actions.

Red Hand of Doom is at its core a war game, and is structured like one, with elements from Heroes Of Battle. I've already spoiled that I use Hero Victory points to calculate the party's success: the PCs are the heroes of the story, even if they're not fighting all of the goblins themselves. The PCs victories in various miniquests across the game increase the likelihood of the "good guys"'s success against the goblinoids. Certain quests may delay the advancement of the hoard, buying the people more chances to flee and prepare for the inevitable final battle. Every warband, leader or monster defeated is subtracted from the Red Hand's forces, meaning that PCs help their allies by killing powerful/important monsters and NPCs, wherever they do so. PCs can also use their non-combat abilities to thwart the enemy: stealth and intelligence gathering is valuable; diplomacy and social skills help to rally allies (the elves, for example); divination and insight can help to clear up information (Nice job with that Commune to back up the zone of truth, Artorias); utility and support abilities passively speed up travel time (Aral's survival checks); even personal character motivations and backgrounds may be valuable (Night Shroud has a rather high affiliation score with the Shining Light of Pelor) as many elements from across the setting are subtly included; even simple acts of kindness, selflessness or generosity can go a long way. The Victory Point system isn't so stringent that it necessitates particpation in every quest, but it's not a walk in the park either: at this point, PCs are on a good path, but they'll need to struggle if the forces of Brindol are to be victorious with only what they'e accomplished so far. Their preparations before the battle will also effect how difficult their future battles will be, so they're questing for their own survival just as much as anything else. The game might not necessaily be completely over if PCs lose in Brindol... but they're going to want to do everything they can if they want to save the rest of the world and avoid further tragedy. The Red Hand grows stronger with every victory.
So, basically, it's an open-world game that PCs can play in as if it were a sandbox, but the progress of the hoard, and the way PCs respond to it, ties the whole plot together. I keep record of everything the party does and how

Red Hand Of Doom is very adaptable, and can include quite a bit of original content. The book refers to other 3.5e books that may be useful in making the game more colorful, like Heroes Of Battle, Dragon Magic, or the Monster Manuals 4 and 5. It also makes an effort to use many generic-looking monsters that can easily be represented with common minis, and provides no shortage of ways to replace them with more exotic ones. It's can be easily adapted too: for example, goblinoids could be replaced with humans, the Red Hand with Zhentarim, and Tiamat with Bane. I've seen logs of it being run in Oriental Adventures, Grayhawk, Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and even in Equestria. I've personally added-to and adapted quite a bit of it, to make the game more personalized and interesting.

Overall, very good module. I can see why it's such a classic.
That's everything I can reveal without spoiling things any further than my dumbass self has already.
Next session may or may not be cancelled due to Night Shroud's mom having found the piss drawer.
Also I have a lot on my plate this weekend. We'll see how it goes.
>piss drawer
I'm gonna need a quick rundown on that
Literally who?

Quick rundown is that the swordsage had her laptop confiscated, and we left off in the middle of a hig-crunch encounter that is outright unbeatable with only two players. It depends if I can get Plague online.
It's come to my knowledge that Plague is no longer with us, after missing the last two sessions.
I was going to have them reenter on the backs of two thunderlizards, but we've all got our personal schedules.
We'll play as soon as the Ranger and Cleric show up.
Pic unrelated
I will be making a new thread shortly.

It means whenever I feel like it, between today and tomorrow.
Or next week, who knows.
>throw literal army at the party
>they burn/cleave through it in one round
>One part due to Aral's Empowered Fireballs
>But mostly due to Night Shroud's absurd swordsmanship
I may need to reconsider the Red Hand's tactics if I want to keep scaring you guys...
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eh, just throw something really big and tanky at us or something. You know, like have one of the handler-less dragons (or both) be sent on a mission to kill us or something. Not saying you should, but that would probably scare the willies out of us.
Oh no, don't worry. General Kharn has a lot worse than a couple Draconic Barghests in store for you guys. It's only a question of when and how I use them.
Also, do you want us to post recaps for this session in this thread or the next one?
You can go ahead and post it here.
There will be plenty of tanky things to kill when the horde reaches Brindol.
Giants, Dragons, Dragonspawn, Warhounds, Devils, Barghests, high-level hobgoblins/bugbears/goblins, and much more.

Some visuals of the monsters from yesterday's session:
And of course, a shot of two of the guys who made our juggernaught of an Int-based Ranger suddenly regret dumping Con.
Artorias's Player
Fair enough

>Squaring off against the party is the aforementioned barghests and some blackspawn raiders
>Artorias and Umbrie up at the front, with Aral watching it all go down and picking off other targets in the back some ways away
>Artorias does what he can to soak damage, but these guys hit hard and I forget to take damage reductions into account
>Either way, the targets all start going down 1 by 1
>Well, until we realize that one of them is currently pinning Aral to the ground
>Everybody runs over to help, Aral is helped
>All of a sudden, a large pile of tiamat spawn come charging us down at full speed out of the woods!
>Aral fireballs, Artorias recitations, and Umbrie eviscerates the entire horde the instant they get within spitting distance
>Spend some time cleaning up the leftovers and looting, nothing else comes by in the meantime
>We find a scroll of revivify though!
>Alright, time to save the guy that we were here to save!
>... Oh, he's already dead?
>Well shit
>At least we can bury him
>Bury the guy, head back into town
>Meet back up with the sorceress friend, she talks with us some more and expand more on what we both know
>Take care of the miscellaneous nonsense and get back on the road after ringing up the Platinum Ass-kicker himself and asking some more questions
>Gobbo horde will arrive between 7 and 14 days from now, also around 3-4 thousand strong
>Also, we've been scried
>Encounter some suspicious looking cloud on the way there, so try to give it some distance as we pass
>Turns out the wyverns and gobbos insode the cloud don't like that, so the fight's on!
>Owls take some damage and Umbrie and Aral's owls are forced to the ground
>Artorias remains flying, but goes to ground too and puts a wind wall between the wyverns and the party
>Wyverns take the bait and follow us down to ground level with their gobbos, party begins making mincemeat of wyverns
>Except Aral's having trouble again
>Well, he had trouble
>What I'm saying is, he died
>... Shit
>Well, it's a good thing we took that revivify scroll!
>He's back up with nothing majorly wrong, wyvern completely misses that fact and lets Aral pincushion it next round
>Wyverns are all kill, time to splatter goblins!
>Goblins splattered, owls come back, time to get on the road again
>Heal the owls first though, just in case
>Now that everything's back in working order, we fly!
>Until we're stopped by some familiar elven faces
>Turns out they were sent to find us by the Brindol officials!
>Well, doubletime then!
>Arrive in the city as it preps for siege warfare, get taken to the makeshift war room they're all in
>Meet the head honchos of the city, start telling them what's what and who we are
>Mr. That Guy didn't want us to get this far though, so we're asked if we can cut it there so he could prep some more and we all agree
>Next session: Politics and planning as the goblin pile plods closer to pillaging the pleading peasantry of the city!
images (3).jpg
>4 black Dragonspawn and two bharghests. Artorias is Flanked, Nightshroud Starts Murdering Dragonspawn, the Bhargests die before they can flee. i could have Sworn Monks were underpowered.
> Small Horde of Green Dragonspawn, Aral throws a fireball that fucks them up, loli draws her qui powered light saber, steps in front of party and readies a gruesome samurai jack level display of army slicing, the kinda stuff from the old Clone Wars Cartoon.
>Nightshroud gets ganked by the remants of the horde, stabilzes, is healed after the fight by Billie as Billie and Artorias finish things.
>take off, encounter stormcloud. goblins on Wyverns, 4 Gobbos per Wyvern
>mounted combat feat proves to be annoying as fuck. thank pelor for flurry plus swift action shadow sun rays.
>Aral dies, only to be saved by a scroll of Revivify. 7 Constitution damage, oh wait, Aral's worst stat is constitution.
> Wyverns die and goblins are finished off. heal up owls, finally break into my box of cookies
> meet sorceress friend with the broken arm. turns out people from brindol want us back.
> go to brindol. get invited to town hall to inspire morale.
>oddly enough, party, despite lacking a dedicated face, is good enough at social rolls.
> more storytelling in part 4 thread.
>image? how could something so pure and sweet be so violent?
>Small Horde of Green Dragonspawn
>Small horde
There were 50 of them. Lmao.
Freaking Swordsages.
considering how large armies were and how large the Mongolian hordes were. a Horde of 50 while definitely large numbers to face for the small skirmish unit that is a party of adventurers, is small on the horde spectrum. a small but elite horde. but horde makes me think starship troopers, Samurai Jack or the Xenomorphs.
Alright. Next time you'll get 200.
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that actually feels closer to a horde. though the party is already prioritizing surviving to the detriment of RP or side content.
Well, you can expect a couple thousand at the Battle of Brindol. How many you'll personally face is still to be determined.