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Kingmaker: Stolen Land, Session 10

February 12, 2014

1. The Lost Temple of Doom

lego_indiana_jonesAfter killing Tuskgutter and turning his carcass into heaps of delicious pork, the party headed north west. During their exploration of the area, Iofur the druid spots a large rock formation peeking above the treetops. When the group gets closer and investigates, they find a large clearing surrounded by pillars, with a stagnant pool of water in the middle. At the far end of the clearing sits a massive, 300′ tall and 200′ wide hill of stone. The side facing them featured a huge detailed carving of an elk, whose downward-pointing antlers framed a large opening in the rock. Months back, the priest Jhod Kavken had asked the party to find an old temple of Erastil lost in the forest; this appeared to be the place.

The adventurers moved into the clearing with extreme caution, expecting trouble at every turn. A set of stone steps led up to the temple entrance, and Satampra the rogue carefully checked the stairs for traps. Then he moved up and searched the opening. Having found nothing dangerous, he lit his bullseye lantern and shone it into the depths of the shrine, revealing an irregularly-shaped cave that was about 80′ deep. As he pointed his light into the nooks and crannies, a loud growl emerged from the shadowy depths. Satampra aimed the lantern in the direction of the sound, only to see a giant bear charging straight for him! Oh yeah, Jhod said something about a bear guardian, too…

Stolen Land 10a

Satampra quickly ran back to the rest of the group as the enraged bear charged down the stairs. Boliden the barbarian quickly moved up to block the monster’s advance, and halted it in its tracks with a wicked blow from his greataxe. The bear reared up, roared, and snatched up Boliden in a crushing hug.

As the rest of the group whittled away at the bear’s hit points, Boliden managed to reach his dagger and stab the bear as it painfully compressed his body. It was here that I realized that the bear was better off not using its grab ability – it could do much more damage with 3 attacks than with 1 grapple. Assuming that I was misinterpreting the grapple rules somehow, I let the bear continue to hug the barbarian until it ran out of hit points. Or until Boliden did, but the bear lost that particular race.

The temple’s guardian fell over, burying Boliden under several hundred pounds of fur and flesh. After the others worked to free him from the carcass, the bear transformed into an ancient human before their eyes. The man’s papery flesh withered away until all that was left was bones, and then even the bones crumbled into dust. A feeling of peace settled over the clearing, and when the adventurers looked about, they noticed that the stagnant pool was now full of clear blue water! The cleansed water healed the wounds of those who drank it, and after drinking their fill, the group bottled some of the water up for later. But unbeknownst to them, the water lost its magical properties when they removed it from its source.

2. Fun With Faeries

Stolen Land 10b

After leaving the lost temple, the explorers finished mapping the area around it, and headed north until they hit the Thorn river. Then they started mapping upstream, determined to find a crossing or the river’s source.

During this time, I decided to release the pranksters Perlivash and Tyg-Titter-Tut on the party once more. I decided at this point that they didn’t range far from their nest, which is why the party had not been pranked since their much earlier time in the forest. I focused my attention on Mestinous the elven wizard at first, until Satampra – the only PC with a decent Diplomacy bonus – made an offer to the fey on the elf’s behalf. In Sylvan. Everyone at the table, including myself, were a bit shocked that Satampra’s player had chosen that as his one extra starting language.

(By the way, I got some ideas for pranks from this thread over at the Paizo boards)

Satampra was successful, and so the faeries switched targets to Salar the halfling rogue. Salar wasn’t so appreciative of their efforts, however. He just wanted to communicate with them, and not endure their odd hazing ritual.

While this was going on, I completely forgot about the dead trapper, and so the party did not find his body. I will have to move him elsewhere, perhaps after they run into his traps to the north.

Eventually they locate the Thorn river’s source, which was… Uhm, well, I wasn’t sure. The module doesn’t say and I don’t really know much about this sort of thing in real life, aside from water coming down from mountains. I said there were some springs here, which seemed to both satisfy and please the players, who stripped down and took a bath. Which bodes well for the hot springs encounter to the southwest…

They mapped around the river’s source, and started following it downstream to the east. Along the way, they had a brief run-in with some wolves, who didn’t attack, and spotted the faeries’ nest. Perlivash used grease to keep them from climbing the tree to reach his home, and after a while, they abandoned the nest and finished exploring the area.

3. Werewolf in the Woods

Stolen Land 10c

During their last night in the Narlmarches, a lone human soldier stumbled into their camp. He was scruffy and disheveled, and his armor was rusty and poorly repaired. He claimed to be a mercenary who was separated from his companions when they were attacked by trolls. He had been wandering, lost, in the woods ever since. The group was instantly suspicious, but nevertheless they gave him food and water while he related his story, which the man consumed eagerly. They let him know that there was a trading post nearby, and offered to escort him there, for which he seemed grateful.

As they mapped out the plains that laid between them and Oleg’s, there was some discussion about hiring this man on, what’s a fair rate for a trained soldier with his own equipment, etc. Which I found rather endearing, considering that the players knew that he was produced by the random encounter table, and thus was probably a threat (although they have met friendly NPCs and animals before as a result of random encounters). They figured that the man is holding something back, and pressed him for more and more details concerning his story, but were unable to come up with much, aside from a vague suspicion that he was a ghost.

As luck would have it, I rolled another wolf encounter as they were camping that evening. The mercenary was, of course, a werewolf, so this seemed like a perfect time to strike! The wolves attacked the camp, and as the players fought them off, their prospective hireling transformed before their eyes into a horrible man-wolf! He got in a few good hits, but he and most of the wolves were rendered irrelevant by another damned entangle spell cast by Iofur. I hate that freaking spell.

The wolves turned out to be useless, and the werewolf wasn’t much better while entangled. The group managed to kill him despite his damage reduction, and Boliden beheaded him – DR 10 doesn’t help much against a greataxe crit delivered by a barbarian with a 24 Strength and Power Attack.

When they returned to Oleg’s, they had quite the story to tell. Jhod was overjoyed to hear that the lost shrine to Erastil had been rediscovered, and asked the group to escort him there. But first they had a discussion with Kesten Garess about what to do with “repentant” bandits. Their charter stated they should kill the “unrepentant” ones, of course. But could they convert those that surrender into productive members of society? Ultimately they come up with the idea of sending such bandits to work in the kobold’s mine until they’ve shown that they can be trusted, and to that end place an order for human-sized mining equipment with Oleg. They also clean the trader out of his stock of alchemist’s fire, and take payment for delivering Tuskgutter’s head.

The next morning, they head east a bit to give crazy old Bokken his fangberries. The alchemist gives them a discount on his potions for a month in return, but they decide to not buy anything for the moment. They head back to Oleg’s, grab Jhod, and set out for the lost temple.

Next: tatzylwyrm throwdown!

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