Red Hand of Doom
|Rules required||3rd Edition D&D|
|Character levels||(6-12) starting at 6th|
|Campaign setting||Generic D&D|
|Authors||James Jacobs and Richard Baker|
Red Hand of Doom is a 128-page adventure module for the 3.5 edition of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). It is designed to be used as a generic D&D adventure, which can be dropped into any campaign world, including a personal one. Instructions are given in the first pages of the module on where to place it in the worlds of Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms, and Eberron, the three primary campaign settings of D&D at the time of release.
The adventure was indicated as appropriate for characters of experience levels six to twelve, but the designers have stated that it is targeted to levels five to eleven. It is also the first Wizards of the Coast Dungeons & Dragons adventure to make significant use of designer notes. The adventure is expected to take players weeks—or even months—to complete.
The plot of Red Hand of Doom follows a group of adventurers who have entered the Elsir Vale, a thinly populated frontier region. The party uncovers and then is placed in the position of stopping a massive hobgoblin horde who are fanatically devoted to the dark goddess Tiamat and led by the charismatic half-dragon warlord Azarr Kul. To stop the horde, the players have to muster the inhabitants of the Vale, battle hobgoblins, giants, and dragons, and defeat an overwhelming enemy.
Red Hand of Doom was designed by James Jacobs and Richard Baker, and published in February 2006. Cover art was by David Hudnut, with interior art by Wayne Reynolds, Randy Gallegos, Des Handley, Ralph Horsley, Howard Lyon, Lucio Parillo, Eric Polak, Scott Roller, Francis Tsai, Franz Vohwinkel, and Eva Widermann.
Prior to the publication of Red Hand of Doom in 2006, no Dungeons & Dragons adventures had been published by Wizards of the Coast since early 2002, and only four adventures had been published for other systems in the intervening years. The publication of Red Hand of Doom marked something of a turning point, as it was the first of six Dungeons & Dragons adventures to be released that year—a publication rate that continued through 2007 and into 2008 at a reduced rate.
Red Hand of Doom was also the first Dungeons & Dragons adventure to include Designer Notes—asides written by the authors to provide additional advice to players and to explain decisions made during the design process, as well as incorporating downloadable content in the form of PDF stat blocks.
The authors regard the adventure as being self-contained and don't intend to continue the story in later publications. The first Dungeon Adventure Path for 4th Edition, Scales of War, does start off in the same location, reusing the maps from Red Hand of Doom, but quickly diverges into a history and geography of its own.
The publication has been generally well received, with reviewers rating it as one of the best adventures in many years and comparing it favorably with both the The Temple of Elemental Evil and The Keep on the Borderlands in terms of both content and quality. The inclusion of the Designer Notes was well regarded by critics, as was the provision of downloadable content. The artwork featured throughout the publication received special attention, with Howard Jones describing it as "fabulous".
The generic nature of the campaign was seen as both a strength and a limitation. While it permitted the material to be inserted into existing campaigns and game worlds, it was acknowledged that doing so might be a difficult task, and that the publication lacked sufficient information for such a task, especially for non-standard campaigns.
Dungeon Master for Dummies lists Red Hand of Doom as one of the ten best 3rd edition adventures.
- "Wizards of the Coast". California Bookwatch. June 1, 2006. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
- James, Jacobs; Richard Baker (2006-02-02). "Red Hand of Doom Excerpt". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Kushner, Joe. "Staff review of Red Hand of Doom". EN World. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- "Product Spotlight: Red Hand of Doom". Wizards of the Coast. 2006-02-10. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
- Jones, Howard Andrew (2007). "Red Hand of Doom". Black Gate (New Epoch Press, Inc.) (Summer 2007).
- "Dungeons & Dragons (Publications)". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Carroll, Bart (2006-02-10). "Red Hand of Doom: Designer Interview". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Grigsby, John (2006-04-13). "Red Hand of Doom Review". d20zine. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Wells, Daniel (2006-02-27). "Red Hand of Doom: A Dungeons & Dragons Adventure". The Official Time-Waster's Guide. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Cooper, John. "Review of Red Hand of Doom". EN World. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- Pook, Matthew (August 3, 2007). "Red Hand of Doom (for the d20 System)". Pyramid (Steve Jackson Games). Retrieved 2008-02-05.
- Slavicsek, Bill; Rich Baker, Jeff Grubb (2006). Dungeon Master For Dummies. For Dummies. p. 320. ISBN 978-0-471-78330-5. Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- d20zine review
- Timewaster review
- review by enworld staff reviewer John Cooper
- Neverwinter Nights 2 adaptation