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Kingmaker: Stolen Land, Session 11

February 25, 2014

bear-hugWherein the barbarian spends a lot of time getting familiar with the grapple rules…

1. Owl-Bearhug

The group had set out from Oleg’s Trading Post with Jhod Kavken in tow, in order to escort the priest to the lost temple of Erastil. Spirits were high as the group rode into the forest and made their way towards the Thorn river crossing, where twice before they had defeated bandits in the service of the Stag Lord. But on the way they ran across a hungry owlbear, which charged into their midst, making whatever sound it is that owlbears make. Hoots? Growls? Growling hoots?

Stolen Land 11aThe horses panicked, and Satampra the rogue and Travaris the cleric got carried off by their mounts, while the others tried to dismount gracefully, mostly without success. One of these days they’re going to put ranks in the Ride skill, or train their horses for combat, or both. The hybrid beast raked its claws across Boliden the barbarian and then gathered him up in an owlbear hug. While Boliden wrestled with the creature, the rest of the group attacked it, eventually putting the poor thing out of its misery.

As they gathered up the horses, Satampra realized that they were attacked by an owlbear in the same hex way back in the day, as they were riding back to Oleg’s after the first battle of Thorn River Crossing (they sacrificed a horse to escape it, rather than fight). Obviously, Satampra’s player reasoned, it must be the same animal – they had finally dealt with the savage menace of the moon radish hex!

A few days later, they left Jhod at the temple and set out to do some more exploring.

2. Boggard Break

Stolen Land 11bThe party headed to the southwest, where they found another large river and, after a bit of searching, an old ruin partially sunk into the muck. As they cautiously approached the buildings, a frog-man appeared on one of the roofs and croaked out, “Truce! Truce!”

The group accepted the creature’s offer, and soon found themselves inside one of the ruins with Garuum, who made his home here with his pet giant frogs (I replaced the slurk with some advanced giant frogs). Unfortunately, Garuum didn’t speak more than a few words of common, and no one spoke his language. Through pantomime, Garrum extended an offer of food and shelter for the party, and they accepted the shelter part, at least, as Travaris planned to cast comprehend languages on the following day. The food was mostly not to their liking…

During the day, Garuum and his pets left to go fishing in the Skunk River, and the PCs set to searching the ruins. But all they found was Garuum’s small stash, which they left alone. “If this was Baldur’s Gate [yes, we’re old – ed.] or some other CRPG, we would definitely have robbed him,” noted one player, to which the others nodded their assent. In the morning, Travaris invoked his prayer and managed to get Garuum to relate his sad story of exile. The frog-man also told them about the statue of Erastil to the west, and the tatzlwyrms downstream, which they excitedly noted on their maps. That afternoon, the explorers bid Garuum and his frogs adieu, and headed off to confront the wyrms. Oleg was paying a pretty penny for a tatzylwyrm head, and the group was eager to collect.

3. Wrestling With Wyrms

Stolen Land 11cA summer storm forced the party to stop for a bit, and they didn’t reach the ford where the tatzylwyrms were reported to be until just before sunset. The ford had been partially dammed with sticks and debris, and a few bodies, but there was no sign of the wyrms themselves. The party briefly discussed whether they should investigate the dam immediately or in the morning, and as usual, immediacy won out. Satampra, Salar the halfling ranger, and Boliden set foot on the river blockade and slowly advanced.

Once they were almost to the other end of the dam, the wyrms slithered out of hiding and leapt at the intruders. The wee dragons bit down hard on their prey and wrapped their serpentine bodies around the humanoids. Satampra managed to wiggle free, but Boliden and Salar were held fast.

Mestinous the elven wizard summoned a flaming sphere to fry the one un-grappled wyrm, to which I inwardly sniggered. I recalled that to be a poor spell, but it seems they upped its damage in Pathfinder (although its damage still doesn’t scale), and it actually put some hurt on the little dragon. The rest of the hunters took out the wyrm before it could re-attach itself to anyone, and they moved on to help Salar and Boliden.

Boliden had been uncharacteristically struggling with his grapple, and was glad to have some help in dispatching his tatzylwyrm from Satampra and a pair of earth elementals. The wyrm wrapped around Salar, though, was on the side of the dam that faced the downstream flow of the river, and used its action to pull them both off of the dam and into the water. As the pair struggled in the water, the wyrm opened its mouth and breathed a cloud of poisonous gas in Salar’s face, but the plucky little guy managed to not breathe too much of it in.

“I’ll save you, little buddy!” cried Eagle-Face Dan (a reformed bandit that the group adopted) as he ran down the riverbank, loosing arrows at the dragon. Salar was the only unabashedly Good character in the group, and Dan’s only really ally. But unfortunately, the former bandit only managed to hit his friend with his hail of hastily-shot arrows.

Ultimately, Salar managed to pull free his trusty boot-dagger and stabbed the wyrm until it stopped moving and before it could drown him. He then managed to pull himself to shore, dragging the dying tatzylwyrm behind him.

While Travaris the cleric dispensed healing to the wounded, Mestinous spotted a glimmer amidst the debris of the dam. A little digging turned up a corpse with some magic armor and a partial map of the region to the NW. The group gathered up the loot, lopped off the wyrm head that was in the best condition, and made camp well away from the ford.

4. Feed Me, Seymour

On the following day, the group was riding north along the west bank of the Skunk River when a pile of muck by the water rose up and attacked! The party had come across a shambling mound, and I rolled to see where it was in relation to the rest of the party, which placed it at their rear. That meant that – luckily for the PCs – Eagle-Face Dan got to eat the mound’s surprise attack, which is to say, the mound got to eat Eagle-Face Dan. The hapless bandit got roped by a tentacle and pulled into the plant creature, where he struggled in vain to free himself. Half the party ran away, while the other half, led by Salar, charged to Dan’s rescue. Alas, he died on the following round, consumed by the living muck.

Those who had fled reluctantly came back to support their fellows, as Boliden once again got grabbed. This foe proved too much for him, and the barbarian was not able to do much while the shambling mound slowly crushed him. The rest of the party hammered away at the mound’s hit points while Travaris kept Boliden conscious with a steady stream of channeling. Finally, Mestinous used his bonded sword to recall enlarge person and cast it on the barbarian. That gave Boliden the extra boost he needed to break free, although the monster ran out of hit points right afterwards.

As it happened, I was running the grapple-constrict rules wrong, so Boliden was only taking about half as much damage as he should have. Which is probably a good thing, in the end, since the actual damage would have almost certainly killed the character, and this is the player’s first time playing D&D, or any RPG for that matter. And I don’t want to crush his spirit… at least not yet!

Dan was mourned by Salar, and basically no one else. The group healed up, got back on their horses, and continued on their journey.

Next: showdown by the sycamore!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Our cleric got killed by a shambling mound at one point when we fought a pair of them after we had started the kingdom. Turns out they’re resistant to fire, so Sarenrae’s domains… not so great.

  2. Hah! I forgot to mention that the wizard was trying out his new favorite trick, flaming sphere, on the mound, only to have it do nothing. But man, if there had been 2 shamblers… the party would have been plant chow.

  3. Pinkius permalink

    What level was the party around this point? 3 or 4? the double shamblers encounter was level 5 (or 6, pretty sure 5)

  4. They are level 3 at the moment. But 4d6+12 x2 each round (if the shambler is played according to the rules; I was playing it incorrectly this session) is pretty brutal, even for a 5th or 6th level PC. The barbarian could probably take that, but I’m not sure about any of the others.

    OTOH, the cleric would have access to better healing. This is my first real Pathfinder game, and I’m finding the cleric’s ability to heal via channeling, and then having spells on top of that, to be very potent. And the party would have more offensive capability, as well.

    • Pinkius permalink

      Yeah, grappling monsters are pretty nasty. But healing in combat isn’t the best use of actions player side.
      Like they say, “a dead monster stops doing damage”.

      … Except on the rare occasions where on death the monster EXPLODES, but those tend to be rather high CR.

      Really we’ve found that combat tends to be really FAST in character; 3 rounds TOPS for a single wave of enemies. An issue not relieved when we started giving our wizard a huge list of things to craft and inflated our character wealth. Might want to keep an eye on that around level 8 or so

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