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Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 9, Part 1

With the meeting at Wightwood concluded, the rulers of Caerelia contemplated what to do next. They could fly or teleport home and personally lead their armies north to hook up with their allies… OR they could delegate that rather boring task and then run off to do some damage on their own! It should come as little surprise which choice they made. A prayer of sending transmitted orders to General Boliden to bring the Caerelian forces into Brevoy. Then the players contemplated what sort of fun they could get into.

A scry-and-fry of Regent Noleski Surtova was contemplated, but the last time they had tried a similar tactic, it had not go so well. And the Regent was probably better protected than Baron Kruskel had been! So that plan was discarded.

Next, the idea of screwing with the loyalist armies before the battle came up. But they didn’t really know what the disposition of the Surtova forces was, and so they resolved to go gather some intelligence before deciding what to do. They hopped on their flying carpet and headed west, towards the Brevoy capital of New Stetven.

Surprise!

They arrived after the sun had set, which revealed a sea of campfires spread across the lands south of the capital: the Surtova’s army. The PCs set down their carpet some distance away, and Satampra the swashbuckler broke out his little-used Disguise skill to made the group look like grubby mercenaries. Then they infiltrated the soldiers’ camps. Councilor Aurelius the hafling was left behind, partly because he was not equipped for a dangerous mission, and partly because we had forgotten that he had made the journey to Wightwood with the others. 😮

Remesio the cleric shared his flask liberally among the soldiers, while Satampra tried to start the rumor that the vanished royal house of Rogarvia had been rescued from the fey realm, and the true king was marching north alongside the Caerelians! He was hoping to weaken their resolve, though it was unclear how much the rank-and-file cared about a king who had been gone for a generation.

After feeling that he had planted the seeds of his story, Satampra and the others headed towards the city itself. It was on lockdown, but walls were little barrier to a cleric with the Travel domain! Remesio transported the group into the city, choosing a room in a brothel he was familiar with from their previous visit as his target. Unfortunately, that room was currently occupied! And the occupants were not pleased to have three grubby mercenaries appear suddenly in the room.

The characters fished out a couple of bags of gold and tossed them at their surprised hosts. “You didn’t see this, it didn’t happen. Go back to your business.” They exited the room and headed downstairs, where they found no warmer welcome. All the talk, drinking, and music came to a screeching halt as the filthy warriors clanked into the main room. As everyone else gawked, the proprietor quickly stomped over to the intruders and demanded that they leave immediately.

“We would love to, ” Satampra whispered in her ear. “But we require some discretion. And an inconspicuous way out.” The madam charged them one thousand gold (paid in gems) for her silence, and showed them to a back alley exit.

Taking the Piss

The city was under martial law, and they couldn’t be seen out in the open. Nor could they stay out all night, for it was late autumn and freezing outside. Satampra shed his disguise and took to the rooftops, searching for a house that was not currently occupied. Eventually he located a cozy two-story number that appeared empty, and broke in through a second-story window. He went back and told the others, and Remesio used a series of dimension hops to move himself and Orseen the warpriest into the abode.

In the morning, Satampra watched the street from their bedroom window. He saw guards, and soldiers, and officers, and women and children, and some elderly men. Every able-bodied male had probably fled or been conscripted, he assumed. As a result, if he wanted to walk around in the daytime, he would need a good disguise. He found the lady of the house’s makeup, and with that, a change of clothes, and a bent back, he was able to appear as an old man.

Once out in the streets, he waited until he saw some young officers of the watch going by, and trailed them to a barracks near the wall. When they did not immediately come back out, he went to a shop a bought a jug of oil. Why oil? Good question! Perhaps he thought he might need to set something on fire. Then he went back to the barracks and waited for a good target to appear.

Soon a lone captain of the guard emerged, and Satampra followed him to a tavern. When the officer went out back to relieve himself, the “old man” did so as well, whereupon he clobbered the captain with his jar, knocking him unconscious. As he was stealing the poor sap’s clothes, he contemplated what to do with the unconscious fellow. Reluctantly, the rogue concluded that his target could not be allowed to wake up and report that he had had his uniform stolen. And so the rogue made sure that the captain would never wake up again.

Now disguised as a captain of the watch, Satampra made his way to a different barracks, where he managed to slip in and steal some uniforms for his companions. He then quickly hurried back to the house that they were squatting in.

When he arrived, he was shocked to find Orseen and Remesio downstairs, standing next to a bound and gagged servant! Also, Orseen was naked and Remesio was wearing a dress.

Next: discovered!

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Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 8, Part 2

It was pure chaos inside the feasting hall of House Biala’s small keep. On one side, the three Swordlord emisaries – Ruva, Alexi, and Callok – and assorted guards were fighting monsters made of shadow. In the back stood Lord Gurev Medyved, surrounded by his personal guard. And roughly in the middle of the room, a hole had magically appeared under the patriarch of House Orlovsky, dropping him and several of his entourage into a deep pit. And only those inside or near the edge of the pit knew that Lord Poul Orlovsky had just been stabbed!

Zay Tonday the sorcerer cried out, “Assassin in the hole! The Lord has been stabbed!” as he cast around, looking for whoever was summoning these effects. The edge of the conjured pit was slippery, and so he moved away and readied a glitterdust should he hear another spell being cast.

He didn’t have to wait long before the chanting of arcane words reached his ears. Zay released his spell in the general vicinity of the sound, just as the room was once again plunged into night!

Luckily, Orseen the warpriest and Satampra the swashbuckler had handily dispatched the assassins outside, and were making their way back to the hall when the darkness fell. Orseen didn’t have any more prayers of daylight prepared, but he did have a dispel magic, and he now used it to banish the inky blackness once again. With the magical darkness gone, a short figure covered in glittering dust appeared, and ran for the door!

Meanwhile, Remesio the cleric jumped into the pit, where he landed atop a scrum of guards that were fighting the stabber. Hurriedly he searched the ground for Lord Orlovsky, and upon finding him, dimension hopped them both out of the room entirely. There he sacrificed some of his strongest spells to heal Lord Poul, thus rescuing him when he was just a few hit points from death. Not that death is the end for rich people in D&D land. Then he dimension hopped them back into the battle.

While the sorcerer ran after the glitterdusted enemy caster (a gnome sorcerer 7 with the shadow bloodline), Satampra jumped into the pit in order to get at Fancy Boots the assassin (a human slayer 6/assassin 6). Unfortunately, Fancy Boots used his boots of speed to parkour his way up and out of the pit! The swashbuckler sighed, and started working his way back up the side of the hole.

Outside, Zay struck the shadow caster in the back with a lightning bolt, which fried the little gnome to a crisp. Then Fancy Boots zipped past the fey sorcerer, but not before Tonday cast a spell of dominate person on him. Boots failed his saving throw, and was ordered to take off his boots and sit down on the ground.

Aaron Burr, Sir

The shadow creatures were dispatched by the others, and Fancy Boots was tied up and brought back inside. Then the questioning began. Who hired him? The Throne did, through intermediaries. Why? Boots looked puzzled at the question, but was forced to answer regardless – the assembled were traitors and rebels. They deserved no better. Who were the targets? Boots replied that the leaders of the factions were, but on Satampra’s urging he was compelled to list out exactly who was to be killed: Emperor Satampra of Caerelia, Lord Poul Orlovsky, Lord Gurev Medyved, and the Swordlords Ruva and Callok.

Of course, there were three Swordlords at the meeting, and Boots had neglected to name Alexi! Who had apparently slipped away in the confusion. Well, the PCs reasoned, at least they now knew how the assassins had learned of the secret meeting.

Boots was taken to the dungeon, where the PCs personally stood guard over him. In the morning, Lord Biala, looking much better thanks to Remesio’s prayers, sentenced the assassin to death and carried out the penalty himself, as was the custom in Medyved lands.

War Games

With all of that out of the way, the assembled parties could finally get down to business! And they were quick to do so, lest the Regent send any more trouble their way. Winter was almost upon them, and they were lucky that the snows had not fallen yet – there was time perhaps for one major offensive.

Poul Orlovsky and Gurev Medyved wanted to hit the capital of New Stetven with their combined forces as soon as possible. The Swordlords, on the other hand, said that was impossible – they were surrounded by nobles loyal to the Regent, and could not leave their city undefended. They wanted the alliance to consolidate their territory by conquering south-eastern Brevoy – the former House Rogarvia lands – so that Restov could send all of its might into battle in the spring. The Great Houses did not like that plan, for if they did not hit New Stetven now, the Sutrovas would have all winter to fortify their defenses there. Meanwhile, the PCs still had to worry about raids from Fort Drelev or the Tiger Lord barbarians.

Councilor Aurelius the halfling, who had not had much to do on this trip before now, successfully brokered a compromise. Restov’s forces would conduct raids on the surrounding loyalists, in order to keep them from defending the capital or mounting an effective assault on the city. Orlovsky, Medyved, and Caerelia would join their armies east of the capital and then meet the Regent’s might on the open field of battle. And Caerelia would leave some of its lesser armies, like the Sootscale kobolds, near the Fort Drelev border to watch for incursions. If needed, the players figured, they could teleport back in case of trouble.

And with that, the leaders shook hands and parted ways. It was time for the war to be fought in earnest.

Next: sabotage!

Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 8, Part 1

We had a guest player this session, who took on the role of a retainer to House Orlovsky: Zay Tonday, a NG human sorcerer of the fey bloodline.

As the Caerelia, Medyved, Orlovsky, and Swordlord entourages started the process of relocating to the keep, Remesio the cleric paid a visit to the poisoned Lord Biala. Now that the blackmail had been revealed, the High Priest of Caerelia was free to treat the sick Lord. Unfortunately, he had no prayers for curing poison, but he did have a restoration that undid some of the damage done to Biala’s body. Orseen the warpriest followed that up with some holy Fervor, which restored some vitality to the bedridden man.

Back in the feast hall, everyone was tired and cranky from having been woken and moved to the keep. The room was cramped, and many grumbled about crowding together to sleep. But with the poisoning, the attempt on Emperor Satampra’s life, and the revealed blackmail against their hosts, everyone acquiesced. Watches were set, and the assembled dignitaries attempted to get some rest before dawn.

Dead By Dawn

House Biala’s guests tossed and turned on the cold floor as they tried to sleep despite the temperature, and the glow of the magical lights around the room, and the snoring. Remesio was one of those on the final watch of the night when the magical lights suddenly went out! The room was plunged into darkness!

Shouts, the scraping of steel, and the sounds of people fumbling around filled the hall as the cleric prayed for a bit of holy light. But as soon as he had conjured it, the blackness swallowed it up. “It’s magic!” he cried as Orseen shook the sleep from his head. The warpriest grasped the symbol of Iomedae around his neck and called forth daylight to banish the darkness. And it did.

The room went from pitch blackness to too-bright-light. As the parties looked around and got their bearings, they witnessed a strange sight: one guard had a hand over the mouth of another, and was drawing a blade over the struggling guard’s throat. A dead guard laid near their feet in a pool of blood. The killer paused mid-cut, blood spurting from the wound he had created and looked up in shock at the sudden brightness. He was caught – literally – red-handed!

As the witnesses worked to understand what they were seeing, shadows cast by Orseen’s symbol twisted and coalesced into shadow monsters! The creatures leaped at the warrior-priest, biting at him with large teeth made of night! The confusion was enough for the assassin to flee the chamber, ducking under a swing from another guard as he did so.

Lord Orlovsky’s personal sorcerer, Zay Tonday, reacted by casting haste on several of the more notable personages present, including Orseen and Satampra the swashbuckler. The sorcerer didn’t personally know them, but the Emperor was, after all, one of those who killed the Stag Lord, killed the would-be troll king, killed Talonquake the giant owlbear, and destroyed an ancient cyclopean lich. Now acting with great swiftness, the swashbuckler pursued the assassin out of the chamber. The shadow monsters chomped on Orseen as he leaped over them and followed Satampra outside.

Out in the cold night air, Satampra caught up to the killer and knocked him out with a pommel strike to the back of the head. But before he and Orseen could return to the keep with their captive, there was a distinctive twang of crossbows being fired! In their haste (hah), they had run past two guards at the entrance to the keep, who now dropped their crossbows and drew blades. Apparently it was not just the servants who had been infiltrated!

Back inside, the floor under Zay and the Orlovsky entourage suddenly vanished, leaving a deep pit below them! The sorcerer and some of his group managed to jump at the last instant, reaching the edge of the pit, while Lord Poul Orlovsky and others were not so fortunate! They fell thirty feet down and landed with sickening thuds. Zay looked down as those on the bottom hobbled to their feet, when he suddenly noticed that one of the guards was wearing some very fancy-looking boots. And didn’t Emperor Satampra say he was attacked by an assassin wearing fancy boots…?

Time seemed to slow to a crawl. Just as that realization passed through Zay’s mind and his lips started to shout a warning, Fancy Boots (as the party took to calling him) slid up behind the head of House Orlovsky, smoothly drawing a concealed blade as he went, and then thrust the knife with great force into Lord Poul’s back!

Next: stabbed through the heart!

Kingmaker: Other Campaign Blogs

I just wanted to take a moment to do a quick shout-out to some other Kingmaker blogs out there:

  • Rosecrown. Written by a frequent commenter at this blog, this game is currently on Rivers Run Red.
  • The Busy Basilisk. This one is just getting started with Stolen Land. So far, it’s featured extensive DM notes on each session, which is something that I always appreciate.

If you’ve got an ongoing (or complete) Kingmaker campaign blog, let me know and I’ll add you to the list!

Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 7, Part 2

A splash of cold water revived the groggy Satampra the swashbuckler. He felt nauseous, his whole body ached, and it was an effort to move his limbs. But he was still alive, because ever since 3E D&D, poison has been an amazingly ineffective way to kill someone in this game. Despite the drama of my description, the reality was that Satampra only took 1 point of Strength & Constitution damage. Then he had someone fetch his totally-not-Keoghtom’s Ointment and used almost of it to cure himself and all the other lords.

Now that his system was no longer being ravaged by dark reaver powder, the Emperor recalled that he saw a servant with blond hair and ice-blue eyes sprinkle something on the dishes that were headed to the lords’ table. At the time, he had just thought it to be some spice, but now the act took on a more sinister cast. Guards were sent out to look for the servant, but it appeared that he had fled before the poison had taken effect.

Remesio the cleric suspected that their host, the deathly ill Lord Biala, was involved with this attempt on the rebel leaders’ lives, and he demanded that he be allowed to diagnose the Lord. The other leaders supported him, and the Lady Jalina Biala was forced to rescind her previous order that her husband be left alone. A sorcerer from House Orlovsky accompanied the priest to check for any arcane funny stuff. They found that Biala was, indeed, lying in bed and looking very sick. Though after giving him a thorough Heal check, Remesio determined that Biala was not suffering from an illness so much as he was suffering from a slow-acting poison! The last of the Restorative Ointment was fetched and applied, but it seemed to have no effect on the victim.

Back downstairs, Lord Poul Orlovsky had been questioning the servants about the poisoner, but the obviously terrified servers claimed that they didn’t know him and begged for mercy. On the lords’ orders, they were locked up until their innocence could be assured. Furthermore, the town gates were closed so that no one could enter or leave Wightwood.

Masked Menace

As the different parties desultorily left the keep for their assigned quarters in the surrounding town, Satampra donned his black mask so that he could roam the dark rooftops in his vigilante guise! Wightwood, being a smallish sort of settlement, didn’t have much happening on its rooftops this evening, so the swashbuckler turned his attention onto the guards at the town gates.

He leaped down in front of the guards, startling them, and started to question them about anyone entering or leaving despite the orders to close the gates. The guards, understandably, did not not take kindly to this masked stranger barking questions at them, and leveled their weapons at him. But Satampra is an 11th level martial PC, and he quickly disarmed them and then Intimidated them into submission.

“We were just following orders,” muttered one of the guards. When pressed, they revealed that the Lady Biala told them to say nothing to the visiting dignitaries about any other strangers in town, or their Lord would be killed! Clearly, thought the masked swordsman, the Lady is being blackmailed! With that information in hand, the mystery man leaped away, removed his disguise in a convenient alleyway, and made for Lord Gurev Medyved’s lodgings.

Knife From the Dark

The Emperor pounded on the door, told the servant who answered that he needed to speak to Lord Medyved, immediately, and was asked to wait outside while the Lord was roused and made ready. Even the best homes in Wightwood were too basic to have a foyer, apparently. While Satampra stood there, wondering how to expose the blackmailer, he caught sight of motion on a roof across the street! He drew his blade with great alacrity, only dimly aware of something hurtling towards him, but was unable to dodge it or strike it off its course. The thrown blade sunk deeply into his shoulder, dealing quite a bit of damage and poisoning him as well!

The swashbuckler ripped the blade out and bounded up to the offending rooftop with the help of his boots of elvenkind. There he found his prospective assassin, who seemed surprised that Satampra was both still alive, and sharing the roof with him. The assassin was not the man whom Satampra had seen sprinkling something – presumably poison – onto the food, which meant there was more than one enemy to contend with. But this fellow had no intention of divulging the names of his accomplices! He clicked the heels of his rather fancy-looking boots together, and took off at a very great speed, much faster than Satampra could follow.

After conferring briefly with Gurev (“Good gods, Emperor, you look terrible!”), Lord Poul Orlovsky and the Swordlords were also roused, and all marched to the keep, where they confronted the Lady Biala. She threw herself onto the ground, sobbing and begging for forgiveness. She told them that strange men arrived in town before the dignitaries, and poisoned her husband, and would only agree to give him the antidote if she let them pose as servants and kept everyone else’s mouths shut. She didn’t know what they planned on doing! And she had to protect her husband!

From her confession, the lords determined that there were about a half dozen of the enemy agents hidden among the servants. Which meant they had all been locked up earlier! But when the group marched down to retrieve them, they found the guards’ throats slit and the assassins gone. The regular servants remained locked up in their cells.

With that grim discovery, it was agreed that everyone should spend the rest of the night in the feast hall, under heavy watch. It was hoped that that would frustrate any potential further attacks from the assassins.

Next: further attacks!

Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 7, Part 1

Noleski Surtova’s initial attempt to strike at Caerelia had not only failed, it inspired a rebellion against his rule as Regent of Brevoy! The various players in the rebellion – the Great Houses, the city-state of Restov, and Caerelia itself – have readied their armies, but winter was almost upon them. There would be time for one great battle, if that, before the snows came. If the rebels hoped to win the war, they needed a decisive blow to be struck before the Surtovas could solidify their defenses.

Frustrated with the limits of sending spells, the leaders of the rebel side called for a face-to-face gathering in order to discuss strategy. A site roughly in the middle of rebel territory was chosen – a small town in southern Medyved lands called Wightwood*, located south of the East Sellen River. The meeting was to take place in one week, which gave the Caerelians just enough time to get there on their flying carpet.

* Originally I had named the town Whitewood, but when Bill heard me say the name he assumed it was Wightwood. Which was a much cooler name, and definitely better suited for a settlement in D&D land! And so when he asked if that’s how the name was spelled, I smiled and said, “Yes!”

The Caerelian armies were ordered to garrison at Oleg’s Gate, save for the kobolds who were sent to assist Salar’s Pathfinders – a small unit of elite rangers – in keeping an eye on the border with Fort Drelev, where there were still scattered reports of raiders. With the main forces underway, Satampra the swashbuckler, Remesio the cleric, Orseen the warpriest, and Aurelius the halfling fighter hopped on their carpet and started flying north to Wightwood! Aurelius Heptamus was Bill’s character before Orseen, a sword-and-board fighter who died, was reincarnated as a halfling, and subsequently retired from active play. Bill likes to bring him out for diplomatic occasions such as this, as Aurelius is still the kingdom Councilor. This meant he had two characters to play, but the other players didn’t mind, and the halfling only participates in talky scenes anyway.

The flight north to Wightwood was mostly uneventful, save for a surprise sending from the High Priest of Brevoy to Emperor Satampra! As sendings are limited to 25 words, it took the Priest a couple of castings to get through all of his titles, and then all of Regent Surtova’s titles, for whom the cleric was speaking. Satampra rolled his eyes as the voice droned on an on, until eventually it got to the point, which was also expressed in convoluted language and took a few more prayers to get through. “The Regent congratulates you on your victory over the unlawful invasion of Baron Jaroslav Kruskel into your holdings. Nevertheless, the Baron is a close personal friend,” [break], “of the Regent, and we wish to secure his prompt release. We are aware that he survived the battle, but are concerned that your messenger,” [break], “carrying the terms of Baron Jaroslav Kruskel’s ransom may have been waylaid. We wish to discuss this matter directly and resolve it forthwith.” 

Ah. In fact, no such messenger had been sent, and the Emperor was in no hurry to send one. Especially now, since it appeared that the Baron was so highly valued by Regent Noleski Surtova that he went through all of this trouble! This surprised me a bit as the group had agreed among themselves to ransom Jaroslav back, but it seemed that since that time they had become concerned that sending him home might lead to trouble.

“Additionally,” came the voice again into Satampra’s head, “the Regent wishes to avoid this misunderstanding from leading to further violence. Baron Kruskel acted of his own accord, and the Dragonscale Throne does,” [break], “not desire further conflict with Caerelia at this time. We wish for our two kingdoms to deliberate upon this unfortunate accident further, under terms of,” [break], “peace.”

Ah! So news of Caerelia’s allies rising up against the throne must have reached the capital. Responding was technically a matter for the full council (after the Grigori incident, the PCs agreed to run these sorts of decisions past the entire council first), but Satampra was too pleased with himself to wait until they were back in Stagfell before answering. After a brief discussion with Remesio and Aurelius, Remesio prayed a short and simple sending back to the High Priest of Brevoy: “No and No.”

Still, if the Regent was trying to entice them to sit out the rebellion, he had probably also gone to work on the other members of the rebellion. The rulers realized they should be wary when they reached Wightwood.

The Last Supper

Wightwood was a small town nestled in the great Gronzi forest in Medyved lands, located near the East Sellen River. It was ruled by a minor Lord named Biala, who ruled from a small, squat keep that sat atop a small, squat hill. The House Orlovsky and Medyved contingents had reached the town ahead of the Caerelians; everyone was now waiting on the Swordlords. But in the meantime, the Emperor of Caerelia finally got to meet the patriarchs of two of Brevoy’s Great Houses, Lords Gurev Medyved and Poul Orlovsky. Gurev was a genial man, who acted friendly with Satampra and asked after his niece Pelagia, who served as Caerelia’s Marshal. Poul was somber and serious, until the topic of the Surtovas came up. It was clear he hated them with a vengeance for “seizing” the Dragonscale Throne and “not lifting one finger” to find the missing royal bloodline.

The leaders were given quarters in town, and the meeting was to be held in Lord Biala’s fort. Remesio headed over there to scope the place out, and then went in search of the local Lord to obtain permission to conduct rituals of forbiddance in the meeting hall. But he was soon told that Lord Bialla was deathly ill! The Lady Jalina Biala came to greet the High Priest, and apologized profusely on her husband’s behalf for not being able to greet his important guests. The cleric offered his services, but the Lady refused; she explained that he was already under the excellent care of their local priest, and didn’t wish to upset his condition by having strangers casting spells upon him. Puzzled by her response, Remesio asked to at least speak with the local priest about the Lord’s treatment. Lady Jalina clearly looked uncomfortable, but told the cleric where to find the man.

Wightwood’s priest was a middle aged servant of Erastil, who regarded the tipsy cleric of Cayden Cailean with some suspicion. He said that his Lord was sick and he was doing all that could be done; he didn’t need the help of outsiders from disreputable kingdoms that followed disreputable deities. Remesio tried arguing the point with the man, but got nowhere. Convinced now that something odd was going on, he resolved to cast his rituals of forbiddance in the meeting hall on the sly.

The next morning, three Swordlords – Ruva Vadilow, Alexi Sosnik, and Callok Soyka – and their retainers arrived in town. They reported that they were delayed by attacks on the road. Restov was surrounded by lands once held by the vanished royal house of Rogarvia, which were now mostly held by loyalists to House Surtova. In order to reach the meeting, the Swordlords had to hide, run, and fight the lordlings whose land they rode through.

Now that all had arrived, the gathering could get underway! That evening, a feast was held in Biala’s keep for the many important visitors who had come to Wightwood. Lord Biala did not attend, of course, but his wife sat in his place, though she did not eat much. Nerves for her husband’s health, no doubt. Or worried that his ill health reflected poorly on their name. Her hall had rarely been packed so full, and never with such important people before. Talk and laughter and the clinking of plates and cups filled the humble space as servants rushed about, filling goblets and bringing out the food.

Satampra took a swig of wine and leaned back in his chair, feeling like there were too many people in the room. He was sweating, and felt strangely twitchy. Then a tremor shook his bowels, and for a moment he wondered if the cooks hadn’t served him some rotten food. But before he could ask if anyone else was feeling off, the room started spinning… He reached out to steady himself on the table, but his arms were made of lead. He opened his mouth to cry out, but his voice was dried up and gone. With a supreme effort, he turned his head to look at the others, and saw that they were in similar distress, but no one else had seemed to notice yet. Then his plate of food came up in a rush to cushion his oh-so-heavy head.

Next: whodunnit!

Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 6, Part 2

On the way home from stopping the Swordlords’ slaughter of the Nomen centaurs, the rulers of Caerelia decided to pay a visit to their kobold vassals. The Sootscales joined with the kingdom back in its early days, and although plans to have them labor in a silver mine and/or rehabilitate bandits back into polite society didn’t pan out, they had at least kept their Lawful Evil snouts mostly out of trouble.

Upon their arrival, the group was surprised to discover that in the intervening years the kobolds had dug out quite the warren in the hills of the Kamelands, and multiplied sufficiently to fill that warren! “We have to keep digging to have room for all the younglings!” beamed proud papa Chief Sootscale. As it happened, without external threats to their well-being or food supplies, kobolds reproduced at a prodigious rate.

Which was perfect from the PCs’ point of view, since they had come to ask for soldiers to fight in their wars! After the obligatory feast of cave lichen, lizard, and subterranean fish, the Chief was happy to oblige. He promised to send as many kobold warriors as could be spared to Stagfell. “But,” he reminded them, “we can’t stand the light! Only send them out to fight in darkness. Preferably when the enemy is asleep. That’s the best time for the stabbing!”

With that accomplished, they got on their magic carpet and flew back home.

Born Again

In Stagfell they picked up their Tiger Lord barbarian General, Boliden, and flew off to northwestern Caerelia to track down the other Tiger Lords that had reportedly been raiding farms and villages. The hope was that Boliden might be able to talk with his kinfolk, and that their common heritage might overcome his terrible Charisma score. Remesio the cleric used prayers of sending to coordinate with Salar’s Pathfinders, an army of two dozen elite rangers that was already in the area, and together they were quickly able to track down the band of barbarians.

Boliden approached the group alone. He was taken into their camp, where it looked like he was able to talk to their leader. However, even from a distance it was apparent that the conversation quickly turned sour, and weapons were soon drawn! Boliden, poor in social skills but mighty with his axe, began to cut down the Tiger Lords as the others rushed in to aid him. Soon the enemy barbarians were on the ground or running away, with the Pathfinders in close pursuit of those that fled.

When asked what had happened, Caerelia’s General reported that his kinfolk seemed to truly believe that the legendary warlord named Armag had returned to lead them to greatness. According to them, this Armag – known as the “Twice-Born” – had several artifacts that the Armag of old was said to have possessed. Though when they had mentioned that this Armag wielded an axe, Boliden had scoffed at them; Armag was said to have carried a great sword, one crafted by Gorum himself! Then the barbarians had insulted Boliden, claiming that he no longer looked or acted like a Tiger Lord, and now was a slave to the weakling city folk. A true Tiger Lord would join with his people and follow Armag Reborn, not fight against them! And that was the end of that.

The others were not familiar with the story of Armag, so Boliden recounted it for them, or what he could remember of it in any case. The original Armag had led the Tiger Lords to their current home, and waged great wars against the humans and centaurs of Iobaria. Over time he gained the favor of Gorum, but then he had angered Pharasma by promising to live forever. The two gods battled over the fate of his soul, a battle that Gorum won. Or so it is said among Boliden’s people.

As the group chewed over the story and its relation to recent events, Orseen the warpriest asked Boliden if they said Armag Twice-Born wore a green hair ring. “Maybe this Armag is another servant of the Green Lady?” Though he acknowledged that Orseen’s question was a good one, Boliden admitted that he didn’t think to ask that of the barbarians before he killed them. Did the original Armag have such a ring? Boliden scrunched up his big meaty face in thought before shrugging his shoulders; he had no idea.

Show of Force

With the raiders taken care of, the rulers headed back to their capital for a kingdom turn. It was a mostly uneventful one, although they did make use of the Royal Enforcer to lower Unrest, in order to show the allies of the former Thieves’ Guild that they meant business. Whenever they had tried that in the past, they would fail the follow-up Loyalty check, but for perhaps the 1st time ever the roll succeeded and their gambit worked without a hitch! Aside from that, they finished up some highways so their armies could move faster, and raised some more armies to replace those lost to Baron Jaroslav’s vanguard. They recruited:

  • The Immortals Too, a Colossal army of human fighter 2’s; ACR 9
  • The Armored Saints, a Medium army of human cleric 5’s with heavy horses and masterwork arms & armor; ACR 4
  • A Sootscale warband, a Huge army of kobold warrior 1’s; ACR 2

And now they felt ready to make war on the Dragonscale Throne… but they would have to hurry, for winter was fast approaching!

Next: the gathering!