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Kingmaker: Stolen Land, Session 8

January 3, 2014

double rainbowA double rainbow! What does it mean?!? <sobs & laughter>

As the sun rose over the hills of the Kamelands, Salar the halfling ranger and Satampra the rogue packed up their barely-used camp and promptly set out to find the rest of the group. After their escapades with the whiptail centipede in the night, the two PCs were a little more aware of their mortality and, in game terms, fatigued from the lack of sleep. There would be no more splitting the group for the time being.

After the whole party was reunited, there was some discussion about whether to press on, or to spend a day resting so that Salar & Satampra could rest up. The plan was to head NW into the forest, cross the Thorn river at the site of the former bandit camp, and head back to Oleg’s. Over Satampra’s objection, the group voted to keep moving. What’s going to happen in one day, anyway, right?!

As the group was getting ready to start the day’s journey, Iofur the druid spots an eagle circling overhead. In fact, now that he thought about it, he had spotted the same eagle over them over the past few days! Was someone following them?!

The eagle was some retroactive foreshadowing on my part, so that I could finally execute the bandit ambush I had been planning – and forgetting – for several sessions now. The eagle is Searos the Skinchanger’s animal companion, and Searos himself had been changed from a ranger 1/druid 2 to a druid 4 so that he could wildshape (in his initial build, I had misunderstood how the Eagle Shaman archetype worked). My in-game rationale for the extreme delay in Searos executing the attack on the PCs is that by the time he tracked them down, their numbers had swelled (because they were travelling with several kobolds), so he headed back to the fort to get reinforcements. When he picked up their trail again, the party was headed up the Thorn River, and Searos & his men set up a rudimentary ambush at the old bandit camp. Not that such an explanation was needed by the players, but as a DM I prefer it when the NPCs’ actions make some sense.

Stolen Land 8So anyway, the group headed into the cover of the Narlmarches. After they had traveled for a time, a few of them scaled the trees and looked around for the mysterious eagle. After a bit of waiting, they saw the bird making its way towards their position, and they quickly prepared a plan of attack. Iofur summoned an eagle of his own to intercept their aerial stalker, but some bad rolls left the enemy eagle unharmed. The eagle was hurt by an arrow or two, but it was not interested in a fight, and it turned tail and flew back up-river.

The travelers continued on, and rode right into the bandits’ ambush at the Thorn River ford. As they crossed the river, a couple of PCs spotted movement up in one of the platforms in the trees that Kressle’s men had constructed. “Who is there?” called out Satampra. “Show yourselves!” The party readied their weapons and spells.

“Vengeance is here!” shouted a voice from the trees. “Vengeance for those slain in their sleep. Vengeance against those who would dare defy the Stag Lord!” There was a bit more back-n-forth as the PCs scanned the foliage, looking for foes. They didn’t have to wait long before Searos got the party started with an entangle spell.

Except that Mestinous the elven wizard had readied his wand of magic missile to use against the first person to reveal themselves! Searos made the concentration check from the first missile, and then botched the second one – the spell fizzled! In retrospect, this was a really good thing. Not only is entangle incredibly annoying and tedious, if the spell had gone off there probably would have been a TPK.

Bandits popped up in the two sentry platforms, armed with longbows, and started taking potshots at the group, while Searos shifted to eagle form and dived into combat with his companion, Shred. He and his companion were already buffed – they knew the PCs were coming, and when – which made them into real terrors. They tore into the wizard, ranger, and druid, while Halas the inquisitor whittled away at their hit points. Satampra and Travaris the cleric tried to deal with the bandits on the nearby platform, while Iofur largely neutralized the other platform with his own entangle. After Satampra struggled for a few rounds just to get up on the platform without getting stabbed (and losing his horse in the process), Travaris set it alight with some alchemist’s fire. The bandits jumped, and were knocked out by the fall.

Meanwhile, Searos and his eagle had felled Mestinous and were in the process of dismantling the other PCs. The players were predicting a TPK given the damage they were taking and their general inability to hit, but as it happened, the eagles were running out of hit points. The two withdrew to the air, hoping to fight another day, but a lucky bowshot connected and knocked Searos out of the sky. Shred, enraged at his master’s death, turned and re-engaged the party, but was quickly put down as well. The two bandits on the entangled platform managed to break free and ran off. Though battered and beaten, the party had emerged triumphant!

After looting the bodies, the group moved well away from the ford and set up camp – they were in bad shape. Salar and Satampra were still fatigued, everyone was badly hurt, and the casters were mostly out of spells. Luckily, they were not bothered for the rest of the day and night, and continued on their journey north in the morning.

The next night, the group was setting up their camp in the woods when a large bear came sniffing around. Iofur and Salar decided to work together to befriend the beast with their wild empathy. Unfortunately – and even with the +2 from aid another – Salar rolled so poorly that the bear became enraged! That’s 2 uses of wild empathy, and 2 complete flubs. I will be a sad DM when their bonuses get high enough that this sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore.

The bear went after Salar first, but after some storm bursts to the face, it switched targets to Iofur. It snatched the druid up in its paws and prepared to squeeze… when Mestinous cast a color spray spell in the creature’s face. The bear was stunned by the colors and dropped Iofur. On his next action, Mestinous used his bonded sword to recall the spell, and cast it again. The bear remained stunned by the beautiful sight of the double rainbow, and fell to the slings and arrows of the group.

There were no more incidents as the party left behind the forest and made some good time over the plains. Around mid-day, they came within sight of Oleg’s Trading Post, although all was not as they had left it. The stables were burnt as if by fire, and a grave marker sat outside the walls for one of Kesten Garess’ men. The night before, Oleg’s had been attacked by agents of the Stag Lord, and the post was only saved thanks to the bravery of its guards and a traveler named Bolidun. Bolidun was a huge, burly human, a barbarian from the Tiger Lord tribes to the west. He was on a quest to prove himself, and just happened to be spending the night at Oleg’s when the attack took place.

And as luck would have it, a letter had arrived for Halas while the explorers were gone. Halas’ father had died, and control of his noble family had fallen to him. He said his goodbyes, took his share of the treasure, and handed his charter to Bolidun before departing. Halas’ player had to move out of state some sessions prior, and this was the first chance to introduce the PC for his replacement. Bolidun’s player is new to D&D and RPGs, so we will see how that goes. He also rolled some rather awesome stats (20 strength!) which is going to dramatically change the power of the group.

Next: the attack on Oleg’s!

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