Session 2.1: Kingmaker, Lamashan (Harvest Season)

After a summer of hard work, exploring the terrain between their township and the Brevoy (in particular Oleg’s Trading Post) and the founding of Hillsdale, our heroes were in a town meeting when a local tanner approached the council and told of goblins–and their kidnapping of his son.

We return to the action already in progress. Our heroes are:

Bryan is our fearless GM
Marc plays our warrior Stannis, skilled with a bow. Did you see that shot?
Hudson plays Sonja, who fights with savage fury, hewing foes with a greatsword
Brian plays Ambario, whose mastery of armor cements his bold advances
I play Arndor, a sorcerer with a fey talent for hypnosis
Paul played Egg Shen, a monk of unusual disposition from distant eastern lands. He’s taking a break for now.

As the game resumed, the PCs told the tanner that they’d investigate his son’s disappearance. As he’d reached us late in the day, we decided to set off in the morning. That night we gathered gear and arranged for the council to handle matters while we were away. Egg Shen decided to remain behind and continue keeping the town free from spies.

We set off first thing in the morning, shortly before dawn. We rode with the tanner to his rough cottage at the forest’s edge, stabled the horses, and continued on to the clearing where his son had been taken. Time had ravaged the site; it took hours of searching to find a trail that didn’t immediately fade into a game trail. Finally, Stannis found painted rocks marked with goblin runes. We followed the faint trail that led from that point; as we expected, it headed south. We followed the trail for what little daylight remained, then set up camp.
Continue reading “Session 2.1: Kingmaker, Lamashan (Harvest Season)”

Triumph over The Staglord: Kingmaker 6

When my descendents tell the tales of ancient days, of their long ago ancestor Arndor, they will say that destiny reached out. They will remember the day that we defeated the Staglord and were confirmed as heroes.

Who is “us”? A brief reminder; it’s been a while, I know.
Bryan is our fearless GM
Marc plays our warrior Stannis, skilled with a bow
Hudson plays Sonja, who fights with savage fury, hewing foes with a great-sword
Paul plays Egg Shen, a monk of unusual disposition from distant eastern lands
Brian plays Ambario, whose mastery of armor cements his bold advances
I play Arndor, a fey-blooded sorcerer (history here)

When our tale left off, I was telling you of that fateful moment of confrontation, when the door fell and we stood mere feet away from the Staglord. His expertise was immediately obvious; before Sonja could regain her balance from hammering down the door, arrows stabbed fletching deep in her muscles—a mere hands-breadth from dropping our fierce warrior. We rushed forward, trying to close and trap the Staglord where we could engage him. He shrugged off a color spray from Arndor and retreated into the heart of his inner complex, firing arrows to dissuade our pursuit.

In the very next room we encountered Valkeri; we moved with reluctance to engage him—and he proved equally reluctant. Ambario reluctantly agreed to let him leave unmolested, if he would abandon the Staglord to our justice. He agreed, so we continued forward, keeping under cover to avoid the punishing arrows from above. We advanced, until Stannis was blindsided by a horrific beast—an owlbear! Fortunately, Arndor was able to hypnotize the beast, which distracted it while we advanced. Ambario and Sonja led the way, braving the attacks and rushing up exposed stairs toward the Staglord. The Staglord’s men interposed themselves and died. Arndor struck at the Staglord with magic missiles, prompting the Staglord to launch his own deadly missiles back at Arndor, but distracting him from the advance of the other heroes.

The Staglord retreated along a narrow wall, interposing his bandit defenders and refusing to engage with Ambario and Sonja. Egg forced his hand by scuttling over the roof and coming from an oblique angle, forcing his retreat into the tower. Egg pursued, but was hammered back by the Staglord’s deadly arrows; he had to bide while reinforcements caught up.

After a lengthy duel that traced across most of the first and second levels of the fort, the Staglord was finally caught between Egg (who went a long way around to come up behind the retreating Staglord), Sonja and Ambario (who pushed the Staglord into a steady retreat), while Stannis and Arndor peppered the mighty bandit leader with arrows. It took a long time, but finally the Staglord’s retreat led him stumbling back into Egg. He fell to fists and swords, and we shouted our victory to the heavens.

== ==

The Staglord’s remaining followers took advantage of our lengthy duel with their leader to flee the fort. We began searching the fort thoroughly, but found little treasure. It took two days before Arndor stumbled on a secret door leading from the kitchen down to a dungeon of a kind. Their treasury was here, as was a trapped shapeshifter, who attacked Stannis at the first opportunity. (Perhaps because Stannis had taken the Staglord’s bow as his own, and the prisoner recognized that weapon?)

We stuffed the most valuable goods in our pockets and packs, then gathered up the Staglord’s body to commit to the river at Davek’s crossing. As we left the foul keep, we burned it behind us—we knew how terrible that keep would prove in the hands of foes. It lay too far from Oleg’s to keep reliably as our own outpost. So it burned as we headed north, bearing the fallen Staglord, who we unceremoniously tossed in the river. Avenged, Davek has abandoned haunting the old ferry crossing.

== ==

The reception at Oleg’s was joyous. It must have been a week before we could stand, so hard had we celebrated our victory. But danger and adventure called us to action once more; we headed toward the Skunk River, where rumors placed the tazzlewurm. Along the way we encountered a troglodyte and his pet, Sluurg. Sonja impetuously slew Sluurg, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to slay the pitiful troglodyte who owned the beast; Arndor called images from the trees that distracted him until we were out of sight—but not earshot, as we heard him loudly mourn his lost pet.

The Skunk’s sulfurous waters made the next day of travel unpleasant, but we found the tazzlewurm on the beach. Sonja lept the river and engaged; the rest of us had to rush a circuitous route to the ford to aid our impulsive companion, who was shocked when a mate answered the bellows of the first wurm. Fortunately, Stannis was able to help Sonja whittle down her foe, while Egg Shen raced ahead and cut off the second wurm. He couldn’t hold out long alone, but was swiftly joined by Ambario; together they defeated the mate.

That was the last of our foes as merely wandering adventurers… though we did come across a strange unicorn, hornless and lying dead—though otherwise unmarked. We took our trophies from the tazzlewurms and our tale of the Unicorn back to Oleg’s. We caught our breath and prepared for the next disaster.

== ==

What came next was no disaster; a message arrived from Brevoy. A message from the Swordlords of Restov praised our deeds and confirmed us as stewards of a new town—a new city. Wealth was pledged, as was help and assistance in establishing our first settlements. A well practiced team of people were sent south to try their luck and join the founding of our outpost. But where to locate it?

We asked those more familiar with the area; Svetlana and Oleg, our friend the priest Jhod, and others for advice. After much debate, we decided that along the Tuskwater made good sense as a location. Over the next month we cursed having burned down the old monastery/castle, though the curse seemed to have burned away at the same time as the support beams.

In short order the fledgling town of Hillsdale, overlooking the Tuskwater, began taking form. The locals pitched in and helped us to establish the lines of our town; houses popped up, along with a mill, the beginnings of a garrison (using much of the old castle’s stone) and more. Oleg turned his attention to running the town’s finances; Arndor got lost in tuning the leylines to power the region’s magic, Ambario heads the council, Sonja’s our general, Egg is keeping an eye on the shady elements, Stannis keeps the bandits down, while Svetlana makes sure that all opinions are heard.

In the last few months, a kernel of order has begun stretching from Hillsdale, back north towards Brevoy. Farmers are turning their attention to the land, while we keep an eye on the lake and rivers and watch our humble town find its feet. It’s growing quickly; mile long walls are being erected as defense against the wilderness, but leaving ample space for the town to develop within the protected area.

== ==

Our council meeting on the town green was nearing its end yesterday, when a worn man who has long lived at the forest edge addressed us. The man’s son—a simple boy—has gone missing. His absence was marked by a peculiar cloth, one that Oleg recognized from the bad times 25 years ago. That was a time of war, a time of goblins pushing out of the forest and raiding as they wished.

As Oleg laid out the meaning of this ominous cloth with its simple stitching, we felt the renewed call of adventure. We agreed to help the man track his missing son. Though we are pessimistic, given the time that has passed and the tales of goblin cruelty, we do not give in to despair. We will recover the boy and restore him to his family. And we will return with more certain knowledge of the forest that lies only a double dozen miles from our young town, knowledge of the creatures that dwell within. Our fledgling city seems to lie in the path of marauding goblins. In the morning we set off with our reluctant guide, to find a missing son, and to learn of the storm that we must secure our city against.

Kingmaker Resources

Kingmaker Player’s Guide (pdf)

http://atuan.com/city-map-toolkit/ A City Mapping Toolkit (downloadable file; build images w/ HTML editing)

Kingdom Record Sheet (open office)

Kingdom Building Log (excel)

Kingdom Builder Q&A thread on Piazo’s forums.
Kingdom Building Guide with the steps of an upkeep turn. (Reference sheet)

Kingmaker Session 5

The cast of characters:
Bryan is our fearless GM
Brian plays Ambario, whose mastery of armor cements his bold advances
I play Arndor, a fey-blooded sorcerer (history here)
Marc plays our warrior Stannis, skilled with a bow
Hudson plays Sonja, who fights with savage fury, hewing foes with a great-sword
Paul normally plays Egg Shen, a monk from distant eastern lands, but he was out this week

Hours of travel after our encounter with the Owlbear, we neared the fortress of the Staglord. From our side, a single road approached the blasted waste that stretched hundreds of feet from the walls; the monastery’s curse clear in the barren soil.

As we studied and debated approaches to the wooden walls, we were suddenly interrupted by a high voice. Perlavish, as he introduced himself, was revealed to be a pseudo-dragon–about cat sized with large wings. He told us that he’d been sent by his friend, Tig, with important information.

  • That empty land is more than burned or cleared; it’s cursed to the soil.
  • The Staglord can somehow see the Fey
  • Falgrim Sneed was leading a group of more than 20 bandits against Oleg’s Trading Post!

We asked Perlavish to help the fort, but his courage wasn’t up to it. It was clear that they had quite a jump on us–riding at a gallop probably wouldn’t be quick enough to warn the fort. We convinced him to carry a note invisibly to Erastil’s priest. He reluctantly agreed. Arndor broke out his mother’s writing tools and dashed a quick warning to the fort’s defenders.

We decide to halt our own raid; we hoped to move fast enough to catch the bandit force between the soldier’s at Oleg’s and our own blades, as a bloody vice. But fate denied us that chance; unknown to us, the bandits struck only shortly after Perlavish delivered the warning to the priest. That notice was all it took for the soldiers to turn the ambush into a rout; a half dozen or more bandits died, and the rest retreated to the comfort of the Thorn River Camp.

We pushed our steeds and arrived the day after the bandits had retreated to their camp. Egg Shen scouted at twilight; a keen eared guard heard something and directed a search in Egg Shen’s direction. But Egg Shen successfully returned to us, unheard… leaving them wondering if they’d jumped at shadows.

On Egg’s report, we decided that a leisurely meal would give them time to relax after their scare. After our meal and full dark’s fall, we struck. Their camp was divided by the Thorn; we struck hard at the guards on our bank, firing arrows at the shadowy forms in the distance. Many arrows were wasted on both sides, with only stray arrows finding targets. In large part that was due to Egg Shen’s bold leap onto the firing platform, which forced the last archers on our side of the river to drop their bows and draw swords. They swirled in combat for almost a minute, while the rest of the battle developed.

Something like a half a minute after our arrows had first announced our attack, Falgrim successfully rallied a few of his men for a charge across the river. Ambario and Sonja were pleased to crash into their rush, drawing them into darkness. Hypnosis took a few foes out of the fight temporarily; the heroes pressed their advantage, and Falgrim fell to Ambario’s deadly blade. The few remaining foes fled; in the distance one fell as Stannis dropped two arrows at extreme range into his back.

We returned with Falgrim’s corpse and loot from his men. For our deeds, a masterwork longsword is being crafted for Stannis, while Sonja’s masterwork blade is much larger. We rearmed and set off first thing in the morning, south, hoping to catch fleeing bandits. Instead, we crossed wandering mites; who fell to our charge, led by Stannis who wants to see the foul beasts eliminated. Another day’s travel and we approached the Staglord’s keep.

Ambario decided on some bold research. He strode down to the blasted lands, then left the safety of the road. 20′, no attack, but a few steps further and suddenly zombies burst from the soil. Egg Shen rushed to the rescue, while Stannis contributed deadly arrows to the mix, and the other heroes contributed less useful archery. The fourth zombie fell in a heap of dust and our heroes waited to see the response. They didn’t have long to wait; again, dusty zombies burst from the ground, attempting to encircle Egg Shen and Ambario. Flashes of magic light blasted the zombies as Arndor unleashed his newly mastered magic missiles down to complement Stannis’s deadly archery. Now that the had good information, Ambario and Egg Shen cautiously retreated toward the road, downing zombies steadily. When the last zombie fell, no new one leapt up to fill its place. The road is the only safe route through.

Over the next two days, the heroes studied the fort and recovered from their wounds. A ladder was roughly hewn in preparation for the upcoming assault. When the second night fell, the heroes crept together to the edge of the light. From there, Egg Shen trusted his stealth, carrying the ladder forward. A guard caught Egg Shen in the attempt; Egg converted his creep to a rush, throwing the ladder against the gate and scrambling ably up. The other heroes rushed up behind him, and were amazed when Egg Shen leaped from the wall to the neighboring tower and engaged the defenders. Stannis’s arrows proved deadly against the bandit archers, screening the other heroes as they climbed over the palisade and dropped to the silent street below.

Between them, Egg Shen and Stannis took care of the ready defenders, while the raiders (Ambario, Sonja, and Arndor) scuttled around the solid walls and found a pair of doors in a short hall behind a wooden portcullis. Feeling time was of the essence, Sonja hewed at the great boards with her greatsword; the first respondent was hypnotized by Arndor after his puzzled question, “What are you doing?”

Sonja’s sword battered away, the gate shuddered under each powerful blow. As it rocked and rattled, a guard appeared at the other door. No, not a guard at all… the powerful smell and bulk were a clue, but the great horned helm marked this foe as the Staglord himself!

(cliffhanger ending!)

Kingmaker Session 4

The cast of characters:
Bryan is our fearless GM
Marc plays our warrior Stannis, skilled with a bow
Hudson plays Sonja, who fights with savage fury, hewing foes with a great-sword
Paul plays Egg Shen, a monk of unusual disposition from distant eastern lands
Brian plays Ambario, whose mastery of armor cements his bold advances
I play Arndor, a fey-blooded sorcerer (history here)

We began the session in the comfort of the fort, discussing our options. A dozen more soldiers had arrived, bringing the complement up to 18. The priest was grateful for the liberation of the temple.

We are motivated to strike down the bandits; they seem like an ambitious target (said Arndor), particularly holed up in their fort, but harassing tactics would keep them rocked back on their heels. We also decided to investigate the far side of the Thorn and make sure that bandits weren’t widely roaming there.

We set off for the Thorn River bandit camp the following morning, crossed at its bridge, and scouted the south side of the Thorn. No serious obstacles cropped up, though we noted that the water was high with snowmelt. We continued down until the thorn flowed into the Shrike, then backtracked to the ford. There was no bear at the ford this time… but the water was much higher with snowmelt.

Stannis took the lead and crossed the river; we were poised to haul him to safety if the river current proved too strong. He crossed successfully and anchored a rope to guide his allies across. That worked for a while… until Ambario and Arndor were swept from their horses by a freak wave. Luck was with them and they caught the guide rope before they were swept downstream to dash against the rocks. Bruised and teeth chattering, soon everyone had completed their crossing back to the north side of the Thorn. We were less than a mile from the bandit’s bridge across the Shrike where we had won our victory against Kressel. Confidence bubbled up in us; we mounted up and headed out to investigate.

When we approached, we noted that a new detachment of bandits had set up at the bridge. They were all keenly armed with long bows, but their archery proved no match for Stannis. We plunged forward at a gallop, trying to close the distance and take as few arrows as possible. At hundreds of yards their arrows went wide, but as we closed their aim improved. Sonja veered when struck and galloped into a copse of trees near the river, screened by the foliage. Ambario continued straight ahead, his armor turning most of the arrows. Behind him rode Arndor, who mimicked Sonja in veering for cover when the range grew too short. At a lope followed Egg Shen, who still adhered to humility, asking no horse to bear him. From the rear, Stannis’s precise volleys proved deadly.

As Sonja and Arndor sought cover, the leader of the bandits balanced his paired blades in hand and dashed forward to engage Sonja. The remaining four, then three, archers (one fell, speared by Stannis’s arrows) tried to provide cover fire, but Ambario could not be dissuaded. Arndor’s magic sought the archers holding the bridge; two were ensorcelled and stopped their firing.

The bandit wielding short sword and blade struck at Sonja as she emerged from the trees; they proved well matched. Quite well matched until Ambario closed on the bandit from behind; while Sonja was marked by his blades, they soon caught him between their skilled assault and cut him down like a mad dog. Meanwhile, Egg Shen had closed with the remaining non-ensorcelled archer, and broke his neck with a snap kick. By the time the last two bandits shook off the enchantment, they were menaced by the heroes’ blades.

They surrendered. The first refused to speak, terrified of the Staglord. Ambario formed a noose and prodded him off the bridge. The second, tongue loosened but still brave enough to demand amnesty, filled us in on the fort–and his friend, who had fled for reinforcements on spotting us. It also became clear that the Staglord was using the danger of facing us as a threat; guarding the bridge was a punishment detail.

The friend who fled was a member of Falgrim Sneed’s force. Evidently, while Falgrim may be welcome in the bandit keep, his men aren’t. Falgrim’s men are a band of about 8 river kingdoms mercenaries with a savage dog who lair in the marsh, only a few miles to the south. Our captive also told us that the fort is well defended, with few approaches–and haunted, built out of the ruins of an old monastery. Few safe approaches to the bandit keep exist. It lays west of the Shrike river against Tuskwater Lake; access from the east side of the river required crossing a guarded causeway. The Staglord is still served by about 10 men at the fort; he drinks all the time and is fiercely strong–he bites people in battle. His lieutenant Akaros is a strong thug. With that information provided, we reluctantly agreed to let him go, though Ambario ensured that he had no weapons as he departed north, towards Oleg’s, Brevoy, and civilization.

We decided to wait, lurking in ambush, for Falgrim’s men to ride to the rescue. But a day passed; on the second day, we realized that the mercenaries weren’t going to ride into our ambush–or come to visit the bridge at all. Advancing south would do little good; we’d approach the keep from the wrong side–across the causeway, and likely drawbridge, protecting the fort. Given the inadvisability of that route, we decided to investigate a lead we’d let slide… the fangberry patch.

So we recrossed to the north and rode to the Thorn. We rode along the bank and came to the ford; Ambario and Arndor refused to cross–they’d already felt the treacherous river almost sweep them to depth. So, with some humor, the group agreed to ride all of the way north to the bandit’s bridge and cross the Thorn in safety. We took advantage of the remaining cover of the old bandit’s camp and settled in for a night. During his watch, Stannis noticed that his belt pouch had vanished. Ambario decided to investigate, and climbed down the hole where Kressel had holed up; in that room, he found small furniture, glowing rocks, small playing cards, and the stolen coins divided into stacks–as if he’d interrupted a game in progress. He collected a glowing rock and the stolen coins and emerged from the hidden chamber, puzzled.

The next day the heroes found the fangberry patch in a shallow valley. Stannis took a position on a short hill and kept a watch over the horses, while the rest of the heroes descended into the web covered thorny bushes. The thorns were sharp; the warriors cleared a broad path with axes and blades to ensure that we wouldn’t be caught and prodded both in and out. Finally we reached the bright leaves and began picking. Suddenly, a wave of disturbed spiders–not large, but a swarm of thousands–emerged from the bushes and flowed toward the berry pickers. Sonja was engulfed, her skin turning red with dozens of bites. Desperate plans were selected; Ambario took his large shield and flopped down crushing spiders by the dozen, while Arndor flicked a cloud of sparkling sand that flashed into light, stunning the horde of spiders… but also dropping the mighty Sonja in their midst. The warriors continued whomping on the stunned spiders, while Stannis rushed down the hillside to recover our fallen friend. He lifted her out of the spiders as they shook off the spell; soon the violence and a kindled torch broke the swarm and sent the remnants fleeing. With a wary eye to the bushes, Stannis and Sonja kept an eye out from the hilltop, while the rest harvested the precious berries.

That night we ran two two-person watches, letting Sonja sleep through to recover. Stannis was attacked by four wolves and was pulled down, but everyone rushed to his aid and we were soon victorious. On the late watch, Ambario skinned the wolves for our return to the fort.

The heroes returned north, crossing again at the Thorn River bandit camp’s bridge. Rather than continuing down river to the bandit’s bridge across the Shrike, they decided to return to Oleg’s and drop off their fresh fangberries. The alchemist was pleased, offering a 25% discount on his valuable potions. The swordlords’ reward for bandit suppression (400 gold!) had arrived. Arndor asked Oleg to request skillfully wrought chainmail and a masterwork steel shield from his contacts back in civilization. We stocked up on fresh healing, resupplied, and finalized their plans for a strike against the bandits. We headed south the next morning.

Two days later we reached the bridge across the Shrike… to find no bridge at all. The bridge had been burned down to their pilings at the river’s center. We discussed the possibility of repair, examining the trees of the copse that had protected us from bandit archery only a few months ago. Few were long enough to even reach the smoldering pilings at the river’s center, and without proper tools to fell the trees and place them, repairing the bridge appeared impossible. Our heroes were not deterred; abandoning the bridge repair plan, they spent the next day exploring north along the Shrike, seeking a ford. They found none. So our heroes decided to cross south at the Thorn River bandit camp bridge and skirt the forest edge in a broad arc leading to the bandit keep.

This time they hustled through the bandit camp by day, not trusting the mischievous forces that had taken stolen so subtly from Stannis last time. As we passed through Egg Shen heard voices, but couldn’t find the speakers. Ambario did recheck their hole, where he traded some copper from his purse for gold on the table. Without pause, the heroes continued their journey.

As we advanced through the woods, Sonja suddenly signed danger to the rest of us. Once alerted, several others heard the crashing sounds of something large snapping winter brittle brush. In the distance Tuskgutter–an immense boar, tall as a horse–was spotted. We scattered and positioned ourselves; then Ambario started pig calling. Arndor caught his cloak on a tree as it charged; Ambario leapt into the lane it was charging down and intercepted it. Arrows leaped from Stannis’ bow, burrowing deep, and Egg Shen launched a brutal combination of strikes against the boar. Sonja’s great axe cut deep in its hide; after perhaps twenty seconds of ferocious fighting, it suddenly slumped.

We divided the board for travel and returned to Oleg’s; they were excited to see the such a feast of meat, which would help break up a monotonous winter root diet. Vekkel Venzen, who had lost a leg to Tuskgutter, gifted Stannis with an enchanted bow and a half-dozen animal bane arrows.

We renewed our provisions, loading up for an extended journey to strike at the Staglord’s keep–or at least to harass his men. After a few days of relatively easy journeying, in the woods south of our fight against tuskgutter, we set a watch for the night. On watch, Sonja was ambushed by an owlbear; her shouts roused her slumbering allies, who rushed to battle. A whispered spell from Arndor bought them time to position themselves to strike with deadly force from all sides; then the fight began in earnest. The heroes fought boldly, and the great bear, still dazzled by its enchantment, was unable to find a chink in Ambario’s skillful defense. Then, suddenly, its heavy paws landed on Egg Shen; we feared it would smother our monk friend to its chest. But the weird magic of its being couldn’t overcome our heroes’ skill and training; several skilled blows opened it up and it fell, dead, at our feet.

[End of session]

Kingmaker Session 3

The cast of characters:
Bryan is our fearless GM
Marc plays our warrior Stannis, skilled with a bow
Hudson plays Sonja, who fights with savage fury, hewing foes with a great-sword
Paul plays Egg-Shen, a monk of unusual disposition from distant eastern lands
Brian plays Ambario, whose mastery of armor cements his bold advances
I play Arndor, a fey-blooded sorcerer (history here)

We resumed immediately after the wolf attack that closed Session 2. Our characters spent a restless night recovering from our wounds and debating whether we should drink the healing potions to eliminate our recovery time. The chill night passed.

The next morning we awoke and decided to spend a day of chores and recovery at the camp. Early in the morning, a trapper approached. After an exchange establishing that he was not aggressive, he came forward and traded us healing poultices for the wolf skins that Ambario had prepared while we waited. They worked incredibly well, so we resumed our quest.

We decided to indulge Egg-Shen, who was fascinated by the tale of Davek’s ferry over the snake having been burned out and Davek killed. When we got there, only a rope remnant crossed the river. Near the old crossing a brass bell waited. Impulsively, Ambario decided to ring the bell. As the clear note sounded, everyone was struck dumb by a sudden plunge in temperature and fog that boiled out of the river. Stannis stumbled away from the bank, hefted his bow, and prepared for battle, while Sonja gripped her huge blade and likewise prepared to fight.

From the river emerged an emaciated, haunting form: the dead Davek. Ambario spoke boldly, telling the apparition that we fought the bandits who had killed Davek, and that we had already slain many. Davek’s apparition extracted a promise from us, to throw the Staglord’s body in the river so that he could watch him die. We promised him the deed, though once he departed we worried about the difficulty of transporting the Staglord alive to the river for a grizzly execution.

After we recovered our courage, we continued on to visit the kobolds. We followed the river, and knew we were close when we spotted a bright blue mite staked to a post on the hill. Once we neared the staked mite, a keen eyed companion spotted a sign marking an abandoned silver mine. When we investigated, a kobold guardian called a challenge out from within the cave. Fortunately, he then recognized us from the moon radish harvest; unfortunately, he lacked wit enough to greet us in a tongue that any but Ambario could understand.

He led us into the depths of the mine; Ambario noticed the glimmer of silver in passing as we negotiated the mine. At one point we passed a caged mite prisoner and asked the kobolds how their questioning progressed; later we turned sideways and shuffled to avoid a pit trap. Soon we reached at the main hall. Both the Chief and the Shaman were present; only Stannis was keen eyed enough to notice the subtle control that the shaman was exerting over the chief. They told us of their war with the mites; the raids

We negotiated; the kobolds would not agree to harvest their silver for us, and we were unimpressed with their offer to let us keep what we gained from the slaughter of the mites–since we had no intent to share what we’d won by force of arms with them–other than their statue. Eventually Arndor suggested that we extract a promise that the kobolds stop their raids on “biguns” instead. Reluctantly, Ambario offered that as the requirement, and they agreed. We would attempt to recover their missing idol. On the way out of their warrens, the shaman asked us to deliver the idol to him personally. Stannis was insulted by the attempt to break our proclaimed word.

We advanced halfway between the kobold camp and the great tree the mites were said to haunt. We decided to set up camp and sleep; to hit the mites in the morning. (The mites are nocturnal, reported the kobolds.)

The next morning we woke shortly after dawn, and it only took a few hours to reach the tree. We expected less activity by day, but were surprised to find the tree totally deserted. We hunted about, almost at random, before Stannis finally stumbled on a concealed entrance to their lair among the roots. The tunnel was small; we all dislodged tons of dirt on the way down.

Ambario was first down; his armor turned aside the tabletop catapults two mites fired as he descended, their caltrop ammunition harmlessly deflected. The mites decided discretion was wisest and fled by two exits. Or tried; Stannis cut one down with a well-placed arrow. The other got around a corner, calling alarm. The mite tunnels were a tight squeeze for us all; they stood 3′ high with few spaces more than 4′. So, stooped, we rushed after the fleeing mite. In the next room, guards attempted to delay our advance, while centipede herders roused their beasts (more than a foot across) to fight. Luck was on our side; while minor wounds were inflicted by the mites and centipedes, their poison did not bite.

A few got away, calling alarm, though Stannis’s arrows pinned several more before they could flee. When we reached the next room, a few guards tried to hold us away from their piles of junk, but Sonja’s great-sword and Ambario’s slashing blade felled the first; again they fled. Egg-Shen and Sonja raced across the room, heedless of traps, and slew them as they bottlenecked exiting the chamber. Our confidence was high; the mites we’d seen were no challenge to our skill. Which is how we came to overreach…

Rounding the corner, Sonja raced into the midst of the next chamber, where the mightiest mite warriors rose from their table and fanned out before their chief, who straddled a great tick. Sonja raced forward to cut down the fleeing mites, outpacing her allies. The warriors rushed to confront our barbarian, heartening their allies, who ceased fleeing and surrounded Sonja, cutting her off completely.

Before we could break through the mites and link back up with Sonja, the chief’s riding tick leapt forward and plunged its melon sized head into our barbarian, drinking deep. We redoubled our efforts to reach her; Arndor ensorcelled several mites clearing a path for allies to reinforce Sonja. Ambario’s heavy armor proved an impenetrable wall to the beleaguered mites. A hard fought engagement left many of our heroes wounded, but slew the mite king, his pet the tick, and the king’s guards. The mite remnants fled to the dark rear of the chamber, hurtling themselves into a chasm, swinging from great root to root. We didn’t pursue.

Among the chief’s loot was the kobold’s idol. Meanwhile, a crazed mite was our prisoner; while he understood the common tongue, his thoughts were too disordered to be of use. This chasm was the end of our path (we had no desire to descend), so we retraced our steps and soon approached the tunnel where we’d entered. Given the generally easy slaughter of the mites (their chief and his warriors exempted), we decided to proceed down the other path and clear the nest. In the next chamber we encountered a brave remnant of the mite hordes–but rather than prepare for us, their death, they instead enjoyed themselves with the torture of a kobold they’d captured earlier. We clashed and the mites fell, but before they died one of their number roused a truly tremendous centipede that emerged from the chasm at the back of this chamber. It lunged forward, startling the warriors with its speed, but luck favored our heroes; it landed sharp slashes of its scythe like mandibles, but never caught and drug our warriors away from their companions. Eventually it lunged forward one time too many, and the coordinated blows of our warriors felled it.

Meanwhile, Arndor had freed the kobold. The prisoner proved to be a member of the same kobold tribe; on our journey back, he told us of his capture and the plight of his tribe. (He, at least, spoke common.)

We retraced our route and reached the kobold warrens before sunset. We asked him to fetch the chief and shaman. He was reluctant; he blamed the troubles of his tribe on the mean-spirited shaman. We suggested that since he would be out of our sight, he could fetch whomever he chose. Several minutes later, he returned with the chief and his warriors in tow. We offered the chief the idol; he took it and smashed it to the stones. We prepared for an attack following his bold gesture, but instead he swore to break the shaman’s hold over the tribe. His warriors fell in enthusiastically, and together they raced to confront the shaman. We followed, hurrying to catch this confrontation.

The shaman appeared ready for a fight with the chief and his warriors… but confidence turned to terror as Sonja charged forward, Stannis contributed arrows, and the rest of the humans charged. The fight was brief. After the shaman’s death, the chief thanked up publicly, repeated his pledge to end his people’s raids on biguns, and invited us to take the shaman’s horded treasure with us in thanks for freeing him and his people.

We returned to Oleg’s–or, at least, set a path to do so. Each evening, Sonja was wracked by terrible, worsening chills. It appeared that the foul tick had passed some disease to our mighty barbarian. In the still frigid nights, we made warm camps and tended to our sick companion; when day arrived, we hurried our horses and finally reached the humble trading post.

The priest (who had come with the soldiers) tended to Sonja, curing her disease. We told tales of our exploits; Lieutenant Kreston told us that he would send to the Swordlords for our reward for taming the kobold problem.

[Ding, level 2!]

Several paths were open to us at this point; after discussion, we decided to try to find the abandoned temple to Erastil, in part to repay the priest of Erastil who had cured Sonja. We set off for the short journey on foot; the temple was in rumored to be in the woods, with passage too tangled for horses to be of much use.

We searched about and quickly found the ruins of the temple. Or… not quite ruins. Statues of the god in many forms were still present, just deeply tarnished; the font of holy water was stagnant and green with slime. Stannis, one of Erastil’s faithful, searched his pack and took out a cleaning cloth. He began applying it to the tarnished statue, while the other heroes kept a wary eye out for the rumored guardian.

Our efforts to clean were interrupted by a great snort, and the charge of an immense bear! We scattered, then reformed to wolf pack the great beast. Arndor lashed out with bright colors, dazzling it and allowing us to reposition. Much like wolves against a bear, keeping its attention off of any one target was critical–one heavy paw was enough to drive any hero to their knees… had it successfully landed both paws on any one hero, death would have followed. But fate, or Erastil, was on our side and we finally defeated the mighty defender.

On the bear’s collapse, we saw the great beast’s form replaced with a humble man’s–an old priest, whose corpse aged to oblivion before our eyes, tattered vestments threadbare around the bones. A wave of holy energy swept the temple, scrubbing the statues bright and restoring the holy water’s purity. We gave thanks, then returned to Oleg’s to describe the temple’s restoration to Erastil’s priest. He was so taken with our description that he immediately discussed heading out to see the sanctified temple.

Kingmaker Session 2

After our victory against the bandits, but fearing Kressel’s ability to quickly muster more bandits and strike against Oleg’s, we headed back to the trading post. We were ambushed by a pair of wolves on the way; they were quickly killed. We traded in our goods (selling many on consignment) and re-equipped. We also studied our options, first by reading the local wanted posters.

Wanted: Bandits The bandits in the Greenbelt need to be shown their activities will no longer be tolerated. There will be a reward of 400 gold coins paid to the adventuring company deemed most responsible for a major reduction in bandit activity.

Wanted Dead or Alive: Kobolds in the Hills The Sootscale Kobolds dwell in a cave somewhere in the Kamelands. Normally not a problem, they have been riled up by something lately; Find their lair and ensure that the Kobolds aren’t going to continue to be a threat. Diplomacy may be possible.
Once the Kobold activity is under control, the Swordlords will send 800 gold coins to those deemed responsible for the deed.

Wanted Dead: Tatzlwyrm Hunt and slay this rare predator and bring Oleg a mountable head for his trading post. If the head is undamaged, Oleg will pay up to 600 gold coins for an admirable trophy displaying such a feat of hunting.

Wanted Dead: Tuskgutter Every Greenbelt hunter has a story about Tuskgutter. Vekkel Benzen, a retired hunter, lost his leg to the vicious pig a year ago. Vekkel has promised his masterwork longbow and six magic arrows to whoever can kill the monster pig. Deliver Tuskgutter’s head to Oleg’s.

We also got the following leads:
* Alchemist Becon wants Fangberries from 55 mi SW of trading post. He will pay 25% discount on potions in the following month.
* Svetlana will pay 250 GP for Moon Radishes to make her soup. Located about 16 mi south.
* Oleg will pay 1000 GP for the return of Svetlana’s wedding ring.
* Shrike River Crossing is haunted where Davek was killed by the Stag Lord; he drowns his victims.
– A merchant revealed that Bandits frequent the Thorn Bridge Ford and Shrike Crossing [revealed as true!]
– A gold mine is due south about 40 miles

We met Kreston Gueress, a Brevoy Lieutenant with about 6 men reporting, who set up as garrison for the trading post. Hopefully the first of a wave of soldiers; he expects engineers and the rest of a troop to come in a month or two. Kreston is interested in finding a traitorous ex-watchman named Falgrim Sneed. He’s wanted alive for betraying his duty, sleeping with a nobleman’s wife, and being scum.

We decided to continue our efforts against the bandits. We decided to use the captured wagon as a false merchant wagon (to be bait) and to ride toward the bandit infested river crossing. Along the way we were ambushed by a giant trap door spider who had a bandit in his larder… including a map of a claw tree. We detoured to test the treasure map and recovered a wizard’s gear.

We then reached the bridge, where 4 bandits waited. We played concerned merchants and steered toward the ford–but a bear was fishing. At that, we turned back to the bridge to engage the bandits. Before we could trick them, a band of riders at our rear blew a horn alerting their confederates. We rushed forward and engaged the three on the bridge, quickly slaying them. We crossed the bridge and set up a defense using the wagon to block the bridge. Our archery was poor but cautioned the pursuing bandits–led by a double riding Kressel. They rode forward near fearlessly; at 100′ 4 bandits dismounted and unlimbered their longbows, while Kressel and her rider raced forward. Color spray leapt out, stunning the rider, arrows struck Kressel, and Sonja leaped into battle and cut her down with her greatsword. The remaining bandits reconsidered on seeing their leader fall and mounted to flee north. Two escaped…

Our prisoner confirmed some rumors. He also added the following:
– The Stag Lord’s fort is a castle at Tuskwater Lake where the Shrike flows in
– The kobolds are at war with the mites
– He and his men sought the elk temple north of the thorn river camp, but never found it.
– Falgrim Sneed lives in the Stag Lord’s castle.

We headed back in the direction of the moon radish patch. Along the way we found a rickety bridge [mid hex with “Thorn River” written on it]. At the moon radish patch Ambario spoke with kobolds; we traded 7 short swords for the right to harvest radishes. He also arranged for us to speak with Chief Sootscale and Shaman Tartuk in 3-7 days.

We returned to Oleg’s trading post, dumped off consignment goods, and rested for the night. Then we set off in the direction of the kobolds. When we camped the next night (about 20 miles from our destination), wolves struck in the night.

Our Loot List

Kingmaker Session 1

We’re playing through the Kingmaker Adventure Path. I’m playing Arndor– see the previous post (Kingmaker Arndor Background) for his story.

The first session began with our characters riding out to Oleg and Svetlana’s Trading Post. This became our base of operations, for our charter to bring peace and prosperity to Brevoy’s borders.

When we arrived, Oleg told us about bandits who made quite a nuisance of themselves. We decided to ambush them when they arrived on schedule the following morning. Haps led five of his men into the fight; they fell to terrible spells and deadly blows. We took their cloak pins, interrogated the two men we’d captured, and set off to the bandit camp.

There, Egg-Shen crept around the camp and silently gathered information on Kressel’s men. We were outnumbered, but struck with the advantage of surprise. After pressing hard, Kressel fled into a hollow log–but did not emerge from the far edge. We pursued her into the log and found a passage to a cave/chamber below. Stannis climbed down the ladder–and was struck by two deadly axe blows, falling unconscious. Arndor pledged her safe escape if she allowed him to treat their fallen friend. She accepted, and we let her walk from her camp while we treated Stannis.

Kingmaker Session 1

We’re playing through the Kingmaker Adventure Path. I’m playing Arndor– see the previous post (Kingmaker Arndor Background) for his story.

The first session began with our characters riding out to Oleg and Svetlana’s Trading Post. This became our base of operations, for our charter to bring peace and prosperity to Brevoy’s borders.

When we arrived, Oleg told us about bandits who made quite a nuisance of themselves. We decided to ambush them when they arrived on schedule the following morning. Haps led five of his men into the fight; they fell to terrible spells and deadly blows. We took their cloak pins, interrogated the two men we’d captured, and set off to the bandit camp.

There, Egg-Shen crept around the camp and silently gathered information on Kressel’s men. We were outnumbered, but struck with the advantage of surprise. After pressing hard, Kressel fled into a hollow log–but did not emerge from the far edge. We pursued her into the log and found a passage to a cave/chamber below. Stannis climbed down the ladder–and was struck by two deadly axe blows, falling unconscious. Arndor pledged her safe escape if she allowed him to treat their fallen friend. She accepted, and we let her walk from her camp while we treated Stannis.