The last "wave" of the battle consisted of Wyrmlord Kharne, the war leader of the Red Hand Horde (but not the true master, Azarr Kul) himself, accompanied by two hill giants, four ogres, and about five hundred hobgoblin warriors, bugbears, and a few other miscellaneous monstrous humanoids. On the heroes' side were the twelve or so remaining Lions of Brindol, about twenty guardsmen and militia (War 1/Com 1 respectively), Captain Ulverth (Ftr 7), and some tapped-out NPC spellcasters. It was quite a fight, but after the night they'd had it turned out to be easier overall than one might have expected. Mostly the spear-carriers on both sides engaged each other, leaving the players and the big-bads to have it out. As Wyrmlord Kharne finally went down, a new force entered the fray on the edge of the fight — but instead of another hundred hobgoblins, it was the dwarf mercenary reinforcements, marching in phalanx formation and chanting "Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai menu!" as they battered the Red Hand horde's rear flank. A late rescue is better than no rescue at all, as they say ... a well-placed heal scroll on Captain Ulverth allowed him to rally the troops, and the tide of battle quickly turned. In a few rounds it became a rout, and then it was over.
Then it was time to tally "Victory Points." There were a few "big hits," but mostly it was a matter of little things adding up ... the destruction of Skull Gorge Bridge, the elimination of two dragons, the disruption of the Red Hand/Ghostlord agreement, etc. I was pleased that there were plenty of "That was me! I did that!" moments to go around to various players with the Victory Point allocation, and the players seemed to gain a lot of satisfaction from seeing direct evidence of how their actions carried the day. I forget the final tally, but it was solidly in the 50s, while they only actually needed 40 to achieve victory. Well done, comrades!
They day after the battle, after as many slain clerics, comrades-in-arms, animal companions, and so forth had been raised by the Temple of Pelor as possible, the PCs were reunited with a familiar face, or at least semi-familiar, in the form of Miha, the turncoat who caused them so much trouble at the beginning of the battle. She'd been captured somewhere along the way and thrown into a magic-disrupting dungeon cell, and wanted to parley only with the PCs (who, in her words, would be "the only people in Brindol who would think of her as anything other than a monster"). She offered to relay very important information about the activities of Azarr Kul and the true motives of the Red Hand in exchange for guaranteed safe passage out of Elsir Vale and 500 gp. There was a lot of grumblings and a few "Can't we just kill her a little bit?"s, but they finally arranged for the casting of zone of truth so everyone could negotiate in good faith.
If you've played Red Hand of Doom, no doubt you know what information Miha revealed. If not ... you'll just have to wait 'til next time to find out!
But next week — a Halloween Call of Cthulhu one-shot!