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Kingmaker: Stolen Land, Session 12

March 4, 2014

sand_people_ambushThis session went in a bit of an unexpected direction, which is I guess why we play the game instead of writing a novel…

1. The Worgs of Summer

After burying what was left of Eagle-Face Dan, the party continued to map the forest to the north west. There was more rain, which developed into a full-blown thunderstorm as they located a 15′ tall statue on the edge of the Narlmarches. It was an old statue of the stag-headed god Erastil, cracked and overgrown. A search turned up a few foundation stones that indicated that perhaps there was once a structure here, but nothing more. The party shrugged, shook the water off their cloaks, and moved on.

Stolen Land 12aFrom the statue, they kept going north west (actually, I suppose it’s just north, now that I look at the map), which took them out of the forest and out into the rolling plains. With the help of a partially completed map that they found on a corpse last session, they were able to make good time despite the frequent rainfalls. At least it was warm.

Or was it too warm? After the last round of storms, the heat and humidity soared, and everyone failed their save against the heat, taking some non-lethal damage and becoming fatigued. Naturally, it was that same day that a random encounter turned up, and Satampra’s player rolled a 100 for the encounter. Excitedly, I looked at the encounter chart to see what fearsome monster would turn up, only to find… 1 worg.

Well, I increased that to 2 worgs, since the party has 6 PCs. A mated pair of worgs had been lying in wait in the underbrush, and ambushed the group from both sides. The slavering creatures politely requested their extra horse (Dan’s horse, now riderless), but the party, after recovering from the shock of talking to wolves, was reluctant to part with the mount. Instead, Salar the halfling ranger offered the worgs some owlbear jerky, which the monsters tried to take from his hand. To be fair, they tried to take his hand, too. They were a bit hungry, it seemed. Battle was joined!

The horses were already very uneasy at the scent and sight of these dangerous predators, and tried to bolt when the worgs leaped to attack. The group dismounted as best they could, while finally realizing that perhaps they should invest in warhorses. Or maybe just walk – that was Mestinous the elven wizard’s idea (“I can walk, I have a 14 Con!”). Anyway, before Boliden the barbarian could dismount, one of the worgs tore into his horse’s belly, nearly killing the poor animal, and it took off, dumping Boliden to the ground. Travaris the cleric cast bless, while Mestinous and Salar used sword and spell to handle one worg, and Boliden and Satampra the rogue took on the other. Iofur the druid, whose player was absent for the session, used his Weather domain ability a few times, but kept missing.

The worgs did not last very long under the assault, and were quickly put down. The horses were retrieved, and the wolf-like monsters were skinned by the ranger. They stopped short of eating their meat, however, thinking that perhaps eating something that could talk was a bridge too far. Perhaps.

Later that same day, Boliden spotted an old Tiger Lord burial mound. It was overgrown with blackberries, and the barbarian could only speculate that perhaps his people had controlled much more territory than they do now. Satampra was eager to loot the grave, but was reluctant to do so with Boliden around, especially since the huge man was easily the most dangerous member of the group.

2. The Perils of Beer & Pretzels

Stolen Land 12bThe group continued to make good time exploring the plains west of Oleg’s, and continued to get rained on a lot. Salar speculated that perhaps they would be better off waiting for a less rainy season to go mapping the wild, but it was pointed out that conditions would probably be worse once it got colder (and continued to precipitate). After a few more uneventful days, they reached the South Rostland Road and followed it south to Oleg’s. There they reported on their latest journey, and presented a tatzylwyrm head for Oleg to mount on his wall. The mining equipment that they had ordered on their last visit had arrived – it was all part of their “bandit rehabilitation program,” which basically meant hard labor in the kobold mine – and they set out for the Sootscale’s cavern in order to deliver the goods. Also to fill the kobolds in on the plans that had been made for them without their input…

Stolen Land 12cHowever, the adventurers did not quite make it that far. They were traversing the hills of the Kamelands, not too far from the towering Old Sycamore tree that once sheltered the evil mites, when they spotted another party on horseback in the distance, heading roughly north while our heroes were going south. The two groups had spotted one another, and the other group looked to be about a half-dozen strong. A random encounter of bandits had been rolled, and I decided it was time for the PCs to meet Akiros, in the hopes that they would learn that he was a potential ally in the Stag Lord’s fort. So I threw together a group of 6 bandits, Akiros, and Auchs.

The party started to head towards the other group, who in response ducked out of sight behind one of the hills. The players then thought that they would try to circle around a bit and approach from a flank, but they weren’t expecting much trouble, for some reason. I had Salar make a Survival check, opposed by Akrios’ check, to see who would outwit the other. Akiros won the roll, and thus had anticipated that the PCs might try to approach from the direction they chose, and had an ambush waiting for them. So the group rode around a bend in a ravine, and came face to face with 6 bandits with bows already in cover, with Akiros, holding a javelin, and Auchs, holding a big rock, more out in the open. For one long moment, no one spoke.

And then Auchs, squinting at Boliden, slowly realized something. “Hey,” he exclaimed, pointing at the barbarian, “Auchs know big man. Big man hurt Auchs!” His brutish face twisted in anger. For his part, Boliden recognized Auchs from the battle at Oleg’s, and quietly relayed this information to his companions.

“Is that so?” Akiros replied to his oversized companion. He assumed that he was faced with the group of warriors that took out Kressle’s camp, and was responsible for Searos’ disappearance. He wasn’t too keen about attacking them, but then again, it would probably be a worthy battle. He hefted his javelin and prepared to order the assault.

“Woah. Woah!” Salar rode forward a bit on his pony, holding up a hand in a gesture of peace. “We’re friends! Friends! We don’t want to fight!” That may not have been strictly true of the party as a whole, but Salar’s player was usually determined to make friends with whomever they met. Even the undead revenant Nettles.

“Friends, eh?” Akiros chuckled. “Well, friends, I’m a bit short of coin at the moment.” The bandits around him grinned. “Perhaps you all could lend me some gold until I’m back on my feet again?”

“Uhh… maybe. How much gold?”

“Oh, I dunno. How about all of it?” The bandits laughed, and Auchs awkwardly joined in too, although he didn’t really get it.

That didn’t sit right with Mestinous, who immediately reached for his spell components. That struck the others as a bit hasty, but they went along with it. For my part, I was expecting some back-and-forth that would allow Akiros’ dissatisfaction with the Stag Lord to come to light. But the player had been drinking a bit, and we reasoned that perhaps Mestinous and Travaris (a cleric of Cayden Cailean) had been imbibing a bit too freely as the group headed south, making the elf surlier than usual.

Satampra got off the first shot, while Mestinous started summoning an earth elemental. The bandits fired off a volley of arrows, doing minimal damage, while Auchs threw his rock to absolutely no effect. Akiros, cursing at the poor sightlines in the canyon, dropped his javelin, drew his sword, and ran up behind a boulder.

Boliden also tried to advance without exposing himself to enemy fire, while Satampra charged over a hill to reach the archers and the others dismounted and prepared for melee. Mestinous’ elemental appeared, and he sent it through the boulder that Akiros was hiding behind. Akiros smashed the summoned creature in one blow, alerting the group that maybe he was actually pretty dangerous.

Iofur (player still absent) fired off storm bursts at the bandits and took the closest one out. Mestinous summoned a flaming sphere for his next trick, and used it to burn Auchs pretty badly. Auchs didn’t like that, and the big guy (rebuilt as a 4th level Brawler, from the Advanced Class Guide playtest) charged at the wizard, grabbed him, pulled him off his horse, and put him in a headlock. Where’s that 14 Con now, hmm?

Salar the halfling ranger rushed to Mestinous’ aid, and scored a maximum-damage critical against Auchs. Mind you, that was only 10 points of damage, but the event boosted morale. Then Travaris the cleric hit Auchs with a hold person, to which the big lug easily failed his saving throw (and every subsequent saving throw). Salar used the opportunity to get out his rope and tie Auchs up.

Meanwhile, Boliden and Akiros were trading blows, and Satampra was dueling with the bandits in cover. Akiros, seeing that they were getting overwhelmed, called for a fighting retreat. The 4 bandits that were still standing started to move to where they had stashed their horses, firing arrows as they went. Akiros, for his part, tried to block the PCs from getting to the others. The PCs not dealing with Auchs started to move up.

The bandits did escape, but as Akiros was planning to run, someone had the bright idea of having Iofur the druid cast entangle. I grimaced – I didn’t want them to kill Akiros so soon, and certainly not in such a humiliating fashion. But as luck would have it, Akiros made his save against the grasping roots, and charged out of the AoE. He would have struck Iofur, but as his player was not present I didn’t think that would be fair. Instead I had him attack Satampra, who was standing next to the druid and who had been chucking alchemist’s fires at Akiros.

Threat. Crit. Akiros struck Satampra for 26 points, which put him a few points from death. Boliden charged up while the others scrambled to save the rogue. Akiros was cut off from his horse and running out of hit points, but he had enough to try one last desperate gambit. He ate an AoO from the barbarian and took off at a dead run. He was still conscious, but only until his rage wore off. Boliden decided to run him down if he could.

Over at the other end of the canyon, Travaris’ prayer had worn off and Auchs was struggling to break free of his bonds. As he did so, Salar and Travaris tried to convince the poor guy that he had been abandoned and that they were his friends. But then I rolled a 20 for Auchs’ Strength check, and he did actually break the ropes! He ran off blindly. Salar grabbed his pony, got it under control, and rode after him.

And that’s when we ran out of time. Needless to say, it seems unlikely that Akiros (should he escape) will side with the PCs against the Stag Lord in the future. But you never know! Next session I will attempt to use the chase rules, so that’s something to look forward to.

Next: bandit chase!

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14 Comments
  1. Pinkius permalink

    Sounds like Akiros is going to die. Despite having helped overthrow the Stag-lord, our version of Akiros has never popped up again. He’s… around? Eh

    • We shall see! His rage lasts a long time, and he has some healing potions. He just needs to get enough of a lead that he can stop to drink one. Then if he can avoid getting caught until the PC barbarian’s rage runs out, he should be good.

      Even if they catch him, they may want to talk to him, in which case it’s possible that he will end up going back to the fort as a double agent. That would probably be the best possible outcome for the party. Once the Stag Lord hears of this latest affront, he will probably rouse himself long enough to hunt these interlopers down himself, unless someone can talk him out of it…

      • Pinkius permalink

        Our bandits were not the pro-active sort. We didn’t really have many encounters with them outside of the few camps they had lying around. Granted, we never let a survivor escape, so there’s that

      • Ah. 🙂 My bandits are a cowardly lot, and the group is not that well organized. I don’t think they’ve had one bandit encounter where at least one didn’t escape.

        By the book, the bandits just sit in the fort (or Kressle’s camp) until the PCs attack them. That’s actually a theme throughout the AP – many chapters kick off with an attack of some sort but zero follow-up. To me, that didn’t make much sense, wasn’t very interesting, and was a waste of all of the backstory the DM is given on the characters (unless the characters go for a full-on infiltration of the fort).

        What happened when your group attacked the fort?

  2. Pinkius permalink

    I tried asking the DM and our then cleric, but the best we could recall was… We tried to disguise ourselves and walk in through the front door, as we heard that they were disorganized from our turncoat bandit, the one guy we didn’t straight up kill! (Mostly because 2d6 + strmod + Power attack + challenge does enough to oneshot bandits) Of course my Cavalier didn’t pass the snuff against the staglord’s right hand rogue, who was standing just inside the fort. I asked later and the GM span it like I reminded him of Akiros or came off too knightly.

    Anyways, we were up to our neckholes in Bandit mooks, but under cover from the archer towers. So my heavy horse animal companion, and cavalier started mowing down the bandits. The bandit rogue, whose name I have just plain forgotten, released the owlbear. A pair of bandits, one of them named, I think there was a bounty poster for him, arrived at some point, maybe climbing down from the sniper towers but I was on the opposite side of the fight getting shot and fighting an owlbear, I just know he was there. I can’t remember for the life of me how Auchs died, but he died. Somehow.

    Akiros helped fight the bandit rogue who had tumbled away into a corner, because apparently they had a feud, and when the Staglord showed up he shot my cavalier with a human bane arrow he’d been saving, then got Hold Person’d by the cleric. Unfortunately nobody was in position to take advantage and coup-de-grac him, and he made his save on his turn, becoming un-helpless.

    The wizard had been summoning and color spraying his way through the fight, the rogue was… not mounted, and therefore couldn’t keep up with the cavalier to flank. Which was a problem with the party composition, when my character left and came back the GM let me retrain him into a samurai who threw his sword at people, it was silly, but better for flanking. Unfortunately we didn’t have a rogue anymore, but I digress.

    From there it was a pretty simple task to gang up on the Staglord, unfortunately he had the presence of mind to stand in a choke point, so we couldn’t attack him more than two at a time.but he kept getting tripped by summoned wolves, and we stamped on him til he stopped twitching.

    Total Casualties:
    Bandit side: 8+ bandit mooks, Auchs, “That bandit Rogue”, Owlbear, The Staglord
    Our Side: a healing potion for Edgar

    Then we hunted down the druid in the basement and my cavalier used a hero point to impale him with a thrown greatsword because he was standing on the roof spider-climbing and casting a full round spell. (on a nat twenty too, it was commented after that I wasted the hero point :[ )

    • Pinkius permalink

      Whoops, name dropped my cavalier, “Edgar”

    • Thanks for the recap! Dovan is the name of the Stag Lord’s rogue. Sounds like your group was pretty effective.So when did Akiros enter into it?

      • Pinkius permalink

        I think we were fighting the owlbear. If you want a round by round recount, it was probably round 3 or 4, several bandits were dead by then and Dovan had tumbled out of the way so the owlbear was between us and him. We’re finishing book 5 right about now so this was a year ago

      • Pinkius permalink

        Oh, as for how he arrived, he just walked out of a building because there was a huge commotion going on with battle cries and guys screaming. Took a quick survey of the battle field and realized the law had come, with men in breastplates and sharp weapons.
        So he decided to beat the tar out of Dovan.

  3. Wow, you guys move fast. I think we’ve been doing book 1 for about a half a year now, and they’re not even at the fort yet. Although we only meet every 2 weeks, at best.

    I was just curious how things went down so I have some idea what to expect. I think that when they do go to the fort, they’re going to try to have some infiltrate and maybe have some waiting outside, which could go badly if the ones inside get discovered like you guys did.

    • Pinkius permalink

      It may have been 2 years, we do a session of Kingmaker per week, and if we’re not doing at least two fights per session it feels like we’re dragging our feet.

      What we were really looking forward to was leading a kingdom, conquering through our superior tactics and building insane armies like stone golems.

      Unfortunately the mass combat (even using Ultimate Campaign) is unanimously bad. It’s too swingy, and the side that’s defending a castle (and why wouldn’t you be defending your castle) has such a large advantage it’s not even funny. Kingdom building is fairly tedious and at the same time too easy to botch up, and wizard decided instead of making golems he’d just get a +40 something spellcraft skill by level 12 and try to spellcraft artifacts. They’d have probably had ridiculous consumption anyways (despite not eating, being made of rocks, etc etc…).

      So instead of leading armies on grand campaigns to pacify our enemies, we’re playing tax collector, and adventuring in our hours off.

      I guess it might just be our party doesn’t have the patience for it, but it’s a lot of book keeping, and we’re too stubborn to call it quits and pick a new AP (or play a Non-AP, *gasp*).

      If that sounds too negative, we’ve all been fairly skeptic of the kingdom building once we discovered it was mostly BUILDING and the RULING was secondary if not ignored, but we’ve had our share of fun encounters.

      • Yeah, I can see that. In a sense, the kingdom-running part just serves as a backdrop to the published adventures. You could ditch all the number-crunching and it wouldn’t make a huge difference – the AP even gives you some tips on how to do just that. I’ve read that some groups basically handed over the kingdom to one player, or to the DM, after book 3 or so. For my part, I’m going to try and inject more politics into it and hopefully make that part of the AP more interesting.

        And I noticed that you can get massive defensive bonuses from your settlements, way beyond your typical offensive bonuses. But I suppose that’s why the attacker needs siege weapons and bigger numbers. I’m going to try and introduce the mass combat in book 2, so I’ll get an idea of what I need to fix before we get too far into it.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Stolen Land, Session 11 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 19, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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