Red Hand of Doom

For centuries, the dry and dusty Stonemarch has been home to dozens of goblinoid tribes. Travelers skirted the goblin-infested hills by a generous margin, but the Stonemarch tribes posed no significant threat to the nearby human townlands and settlements other than the occasional bloody raid. Yet deep within the mountains lay hidden something that would spell doom—-an ancient temple dedicated to Tiamat, the Queen of Evil Dragons.

Built hundreds of years ago to serve as the hidden redoubt of a despicable cult of dragon-worshipers, the temple was eventually cleansed by a band of heroes from the Nerath Empire. For several centuries the complex lay empty. Then, thirty years ago, the young half-dragon hobgoblin warrior Azarr Kul discovered the abandoned temple and was awed by the teachings of Tiamat he read on the walls therein. He abandoned Maglubiyet, the traditional deity of his people, and dedicated himself to leading the rest of his nation to Tiamat’s worship.

Over the next twenty years, Azarr Kul grew into a powerful warlord and a mighty priest of Tiamat. Early in his rise to power he struck up an alliance with the blue dragon Tyrgarun, his own sire. Aided by this powerful ally, Azarr Kul converted his entire tribe into fanatical worshipers of Tiamat. He renamed the tribes that had fallen under his wing the Kulkor Zhul and began to lay his plans for the conquest of Nentir Vale. Dedicating themselves to the Queen of Evil Dragons with the fanaticism of the recently converted, the members of the Kulkor Zhul grew strong, stronger than any Stonemarch tribe before them. Adopting the standard of the Red Hand, an ancient symbol of Tiamat’s cult, Azarr Kul created an elite caste of warpriests, monks, and dragon-favored champions to lead the Kulkor Zhul. Eleven years ago, Azarr Kul and his dragon-worshiping zealots destroyed the last opposition to his supremacy over the Stonemarch tribes, slaughtering the Black Knife Goblins and the tribes allied to them in a ferocious onslaught. The survivors accepted his suzerainty and were absorbed into his realm. Azarr Kul named his new kingdom Harg Kulkor, or “Land of the Dragon.”

After a long season of rebuilding his strength, offering bribes to many of the intelligent monsters in the region, and reinforcing the power of his Red Hand warpriests over the disparate tribes he ruled, Azarr Kul fi nally turned his attention to the lands beyond the Stonemarch Mountains. What he saw whetted his ambition for power; no city or state within hundreds of miles could field an army as strong as his. The High Wyrmlord dreamt of carving out a hobgoblin empire stretching from the Sunset Sea to the Golden Plains—and the first step was to crush the human towns of Nentir Vale.

They swept through the Vale, subjugating Winterhaven and Fallcrest, and utterly destroying Fastormel. Nenlast probably fell as well, but the path to the town is lost, and none have gone searching—none who have returned, in any case. The Nerath Empire abandoned the vale, and it was only the heroism of various bands of adventurers that kept the goblins from conquering the civilized lands. The Night Hunters, Free Riders, and Farstriders combined their forces to organize the human and dwarven resistance to the goblins. Hammerfast mustered a large army to meet the goblins in the field while a human force struck from Fallcrest.

Victory was swift and decisive, but many dwarves and humans fell. Azarr Kul was killed, and his armies scattered. The deeds of the many heroes of the Red Hand War are celebrated in the Hall of Great Heroes in Fallcrest.

The Nentir Vale still has not recovered from the war. The withdrawal of the Empire has impacted trade in the region. Fastormel still lies in ruin. Nenlast is still lost. Fallcrest’s southern wall remains destroyed. Only Hammerfast survived intact, but its families still honor those who fell in battle against the Red Hand of Doom.

Red Hand of Doom

4th Edition Scales of War AZ skotothalamos