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Kingmaker: Stolen Land, Attack at Oleg’s!

February 3, 2014

So what exactly happened on the night when Oleg’s was attacked by agents of the Stag Lord? Originally I had the idea that the PCs would take the part of the various NPCs at the trading post (Kesten Garess, his guards, Jhod Kavken, Oleg, Svetlana) and play out the attack. But in the end I discarded that idea. I didn’t think it was a good fit for my players, who often struggle thinking outside their character sheets, and would possibly flounder trying to think of what to do with a 2nd level Expert in a conflict. Plus, we don’t get to meet very often, so spending a session on the stories of NPCs did not seem like a good use of our time. Instead, I wrote up the events as some short fiction and sent it out to the players, hoping to introduce them to some of the remaining minions of the Stag Lord.

I’m a little behind on the recaps. I hope to be caught up by next week.

Falgrim Sneeg

They had found their mark easily enough. Dovan had taken the group a few days’ ride to the north, and then ordered them to spread out and start looking for prey. “Handsome” Celthric was the first to spot something – a young tiger-wolf caught in a toothy metal contraption – and he signaled the rest of the bandits. The lot of them killed and ate the beast while they waited for the trap’s owner to return. When he did come to check on his work, they chased him down, beat him, stripped him, and tied him to a tree. The trapper had become the trapped.

dovanBefore any questions were even asked, Dovan got out his special set of knives and had a little “fun.” Then they got to work. Between Dovan’s knives and Auchs’ fists, the unlucky bastard soon spilled everything about himself, about the loose-knit community of hunters and trappers in the Greenbelt, about this trading post to the north… and then he spilled some more… and more, and more, and more. The bandits had all the information that they needed, as far as Falgrim could tell anyway, but still Dovan asked his questions, and still they cut and beat the man’s flesh. The poor fool said what he thought they wanted to hear, said anything to get them to stop, but the two kept at it well past sundown.

The rest of them were gathered around the fire, out of sight but not out of earshot. Topper Red, always the idealist, was clearly not happy with the situation. After a lot of fidgeting and grumbling, the young man finally spoke up. “He’s said all he’s gonna say, right? Can’t they at least gag him? All his hollerin’ is upsettin’ my dinner.”

Without looking up from the fire, Markard the Stitcher muttered, “Why don’t you go ask Dovan to stuff a rag in the guy’s mouth.”

“Or ask Markard to stitch his mouth shut,” Falgrim said with a grin. Markard glared at Falgrim in response. That sort of cruelty was not Markard’s style (his nickname came from his crude healing skills), and neither was a sense of humor.

“Handsome” Celthric stayed silent, although he smiled a little at Falgrim’s little joke, careful not to open his mouth. He didn’t open it often these days unless he absolutely had to, not since the Stag Lord had beaten his good looks and all of his teeth out of him.

“Nine hells, I ain’t dumb,” Topper said with a scowl. “I know well enough to not get between Dovan and his fun.” Topper spit into the fire. “I’m just bellyachin’, I suppose. Don’t see the point of it, is all.”

“The point is that Dovan has the favor of the Stag Lord and you don’t. So keep your aching belly to yourself,” Falgrim said sternly. Dovan was a cruel and vindictive devil-spawn, and Auchs was violent and so dumb that the giant would do whatever Dovan wanted. It wasn’t worth it to risk getting on either one’s bad side.

Topper Red breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief when the screaming finally stopped. Soon after, Dovan strode out of the darkness and towards the campfire, with Auchs trailing close behind. Dovan was shirtless, revealing the strange tattoos that snaked across his chest and arms, but was in the process of pulling on the trapper’s tunic as he walked. Once dressed, he asked, “What do you think, gentlemen? Do I look the part?”

“It’ll do,” replied Falgrim, “but that tunic’s too big, and I can see bits o’ your tattoos. Don’t see many trappers with that sort of thing, not in these parts. And then there’s your accent…”

Dovan scoffed. “Minor details,” he said, ridding his voice of its normal foreign lilt and replacing it with something that sounded much more local. “I’ll have the disguise perfected by the time we reach this Oleg’s.”

auchs

“Hey!” exclaimed Auchs, who looked down at Dovan with new wonder in his dim eyes. “You sound like hunter man!”
Dovan shot Auchs a look of pure disgust. “Yes, you lumbering oaf! That’s the whole idea!” He then delivered a savage backhand across Auch’s huge, misshapen face. Everything stopped as the bandits awaited Auchs’ reaction, but the mighty fool only cowered in response. If anyone else had tried that, Auchs would probably have ripped their head off. But the giant was scared of Dovan, as small and slight as the man was in comparison. Nine hells, I don’t blame him, thought Falgrim. The former mercenary had been all around the Inner Sea, and had seldom encountered as nasty a group of characters as the Stag Lord’s lieutenants.

“Get some rest,” Dovan ordered the others. “We ride at first light. That little trading post will soon be a pyre to our glory.”

Dovan from Nisroch

In his disguise, gaining entry to the trading post was child’s play for Dovan. As he entered over the drawbridge that spanned the dry moat, he was daunted by the evident work that had gone into the fortifications. But once inside, Dovan found that the walls were only sparsely manned, and the fort itself was mostly empty.

Two merchants; an older man and a pretty woman, married to each other. A priest of Erastil; a civilian by the looks of him. Three guards and their captain, but only two were on duty. And Dovan himself. He slipped into his best impersonation of a trapper of the Greenbelt who had just come to the trading post to sell his furs, and they all bought it. The old merchant paid him for the furs and rented him a room for the night, and the priest chatted him up a bit, but they paid the disguised Dovan no special mind.

In the middle of the night, Dovan slipped out of his bed and crept unnoticed across the yard to the stables. Auchs and the others were waiting outside on horseback, hopefully out of sight. Once they saw the fire, they would ride for the gate, which Dovan would have to get open. As Dovan poured oil along the base of the stables’ back wall, he fervently hoped the guard at the gate stayed at his post when the blaze started. He missed the catch in their breath and the startled look in their eyes, right after the blade slipped between their ribs. It had been too long since he had killed.

Boliden

Boliden woke to the sound of thundering hooves. He quickly rolled to the side, grabbing his axe as he did so, and then jumped to his feet, ready for trouble.

It was still nighttime. Clouds blocked most of the light from the moon and stars, but the barbarian could see a red glow to the north. Fire. Five men on horseback rode hard towards the light, one of them so massive that the horse under him looked more like a pony. Boliden was a big man, the biggest and strongest in his tribe, but this man was possibly even bigger.

Without another thought, Boliden untethered and mounted his horse and spurred the beast towards the smoke and flames. He had been traveling east, looking for suitable opportunities to prove himself in the eyes of the Tiger Lord tribes and Gorum, and this looked like it might be just such an opportunity.

As he came upon the source of the fire, Boliden realized that he had unknowingly camped just out of sight of an old fort. One of the structures behind its wooden walls blazed, and he could hear the distant screams of horses and shouts of those trying to douse the flames. A lone figure stood on the wall, working to lower a drawbridge for the five riders. As Boliden got closer, he could see a devilish grin on the man’s face, and he realized that the riders were assaulting the fort. The man on the wall must have snuck into the place in order to lower its defenses. They would fall upon those trying to put out the fire and cut them down before arms could be raised. A clever plan.

But which side to join? Boliden knew nothing of either party. To join with the attackers was to participate in a slaughter. To side with the fort’s defenders was to battle against superior arms and numbers, likely with few allies. The young Tiger Lord then smiled and raised his axe above his head as he urged his mount to run faster, for the answer was obvious.

They did not notice him, at first, with all of the noise in the courtyard. One of the attackers, a man with the face of one who had been severely beaten, turned just in time to see Boliden’s axe cleave into his arm. His scream caught the attention of the others, and they turned to face the barbarian. Boliden laughed as he felt the battle lust overtake him, and he prepared to charge the big one. Take him down, and the others would run, he thought, just before he was stabbed in the back by the grinning man who had lowered the drawbridge.

In the end, both the big one and the grinning backstabber had proved to be capable opponents, and endured or dodged many of Boliden’s swings. But he had bought time for the fort’s defenders to rally. When the invaders saw that they had lost the element of surprise and the advantage of numbers, they quickly fled the field of battle.

Boliden laughed at the sight. “COWARDS!” he yelled after them. Then he laughed some more, until the battle lust wore off, and his wounds got the best of him. It suddenly dawned on him that much of the blood that covered him was his own. Shoulda donned my armor before ridin’ off. That was his last thought before he felt himself fall to the hard earth.

Luckily for Boliden, there was a priest at the fort by the name of Jhod. Otherwise, the warrior might not have woken up the following morning – in a bed no less, with his wounds bandaged. A pretty woman even brought him breakfast, and thanked him for his heroics in the night. She politely declined to thank him further, though. Something about being married. Her husband, Oleg, was an older, weaker man, who ran a trading post out of the fort. There were some guards as well, although one fewer in number since the battle. The barbarian helped bury the fallen guard, and string up the bandit he had killed.

Boliden felt good, even though his body still carried wounds from the previous night. He had been outnumbered and unarmored, and still he prevailed in righteous battle against his foes. Surely these folks would tell the tale of his bravery and prowess to all who passed through here, spreading word of his deeds. Maybe, he thought, he should pursue these bandits. The old merchant said that the bandits’ leader is a fearsome man known only as the Stag Lord – now that sounds like a worthy foe for a son of the Tiger Lords!

Next: pork & berries.

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