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Kingmaker: Stolen Land, Session 13

March 12, 2014

map_in_the_sandThis ended up being mostly a planning session, as the group considered the possibility of taking on the Stag Lord’s fort right away. “Can we do it? Should we do it? Let’s do it!”

1. Bandit Chase

So, last session ended with Salar and his pony chasing Auchs, and everyone else running after Akiros. I borrowed & cleaned up some chase rules for the two chases, and it went… alright in play.

In the Akiros chase, I started Boliden at Point Blank range, Satampra, Iofur, and Mestinous at Short range, and Travaris at Medium range. There were no obstacles the first round. Satampra drank a potion, halving his movement bonus. Iofur, hampered by his hide armor, tried for a Desperate Push in order to keep up. (Akiros should have also used Desperate Push, but I forgot in trying to get everything started; I don’t think it would have made a difference in the end given the rolls) Everyone kept their current position except for Satampra, who got left behind right away. Iofur then failed his fatigue check and also dropped out.

In the second round, I rolled a predator obstacle, but we didn’t get that far. Mestinous the elven wizard asked if he could get off a magic missile spell, and I gave him a 25% chance of having LOS, given the terrain. He had LOS, got the spell off, and Akiros was knocked out. Then his rage ended, and he was left 2 hit points from death. Travaris caught up to Akrios, and a brief debate erupted over whether to let him live or not. They decided to heal him right before he would have slipped away into oblivion.

At the other end of the canyon, Salar rode after Auchs but only gained on him a little. After 2 rounds, their path took them towards a steep hill that the pony would not be able to easily climb. The giant easily clambered up the hill, and Salar attempted to quickly dismount to follow, but got caught in his stirrups. By the time he made it up the hill, Auchs was gone.

I think the chase rules would have gotten more of a workout if Akiros had not been so close to unconsciousness at the start. And I wonder if he had the extra +4 from a Desperate Push if Mestinous would have been pushed out of range for having LOS, which would have changed the outcome dramatically. Oh well.

2. Repentant Bandits

The group looted Akiros and tied him up. They found a silver holy symbol of Erastil buried in his pack, which caused them to also gag him in case he was a spell-caster. By the time they gathered up their mounts and gear, Akiros had awoken.

Salar ungagged him and gave him some tatzylwyrm meat, and then they proceeded to question him about the Stag Lord’s operation. Right away Akiros wanted to know what game was being played – what did they intend to do with him? Satampra replied that he would die, unless he helped them, in which case he might not die. Akiros didn’t care for that, but a chance of living was better than no chance. He fed them surface answers at first, only offering up more information as he saw them starting to trust him.

They asked him about the fort, the bandits, the Stag Lord, the holy symbol of Erastil, and his past. He told them a little about the fort, the numbers of bandits, the remaining lieutenants, and the Stag Lord himself (“I am afraid of no man, but I would be wary of attacking the Stag Lord.”) He said the symbol was a gift from his parents, and that he kept it out of sentimentality, although he also displayed a lot of animus towards the god Erastil himself. He gave them surface details of his past, but angrily refused to say much about what caused him to leave his village. Salar’s player actually guessed that Akiros was an ex-paladin, but I didn’t confirm or deny any of their speculations.

Was Akiros repentant? (the Swordlords’ charter states that they only need kill “unrepentant” bandits) Sure. He explained that the Stag Lord and his men were a crueler sort that he liked, and that he had already been considering moving on before the fight. Salar was very gung-ho about recruiting him, so much so that Mestinous had to take him aside so the more sober-minded could probe Akiros without interruption. Satampra grudgingly admitted that he liked Akiros, but that he didn’t trust his own judgement (“Remember the werewolf!”). The group as a whole was sure that, given half a chance, Akiros would turn on them and rejoin the Stag Lord. But as he gave them more and more information, they gradually convinced themselves that maybe he could be recruited after all.

In the end, it came down to a vote. Kill him, let him go and tell him that he could not return to these lands, or take him along? The “take him along” vote won the day, 4-2. Next they had to consider what to do with him. After seeing how dangerous he was, they were reluctant to leave him with the kobolds. Eventually they decided to keep him close, wrists bound and leashed to Boliden.

3. Bandit Rehabilitation Operation

Stolen Land 13The adventurers reached the kobold cave without further incident. The Sootscales were very happy to see the return of their saviors, and happy to receive the gift of brand-new mining equipment. Salar (a former slave) tried to talk to the chieftain about their idea of subjecting “repentant” bandits to hard labor in the mines until they can be re-introduced into polite society, which sounded a lot like slave labor to the chief (which he was happy to have!). “No, not slavery! Indentured servitude.” “So… temporary slavery?” “…” Boliden came up with the title Bandit Rehabilitation Operation, or BRO, for the program.

The party also got to meet several kobolds who had changed their names to kobold approximations of the PC’s names, and who sought to emulate their heroes. Mexinux the shaman, Sakar the hunter, Sakkamra the crafty, and so on. The group was simultaneously flattered and a little horrified.

Over a kobold feast of cave lizard and mushrooms, the group wondered where they should go next. Akiros mentioned that the fort had a passcode that changed frequently, and that of course he had the current passcode – but it was only good for a few more days. Should they assault the fort now? Could they? Akiros drew a map of the fort in the dirt and pointed out where things were, and the group started debating the proposition.

Well after the end of the feast, they were still there in the common room discussing their plans. Many different ideas had been proposed and rejected, and they had to decide what to do with Akiros. Would he betray them once they were inside?

What they finally agreed upon was this:

They would ask Chief Sootscale for some of his warriors to help (he ended up providing 4 kobold warriors, including Mikmek). They would all travel down to the fort. Travaris the cleric would cast hide from undead on Satampra the rogue and Salar the halfling ranger, who would sneak up the blind side of the hill to the wall, and wait for the signal. The kobolds would wait at the bottom of the main path up the hill, and wait for the signal. The rest would go up to the front gate with Akiros. Mestinous would cast disguise self to look like one of the 2 bandits they defeated in the canyon. Boliden the barbarian would use their single dose of illusion dust (looted from the fake kobold shaman Tartuk) to look like the other bandit. Travaris and Iofur the druid would smudge themselves up some, keep their hoods up, and attempt to look like random bandits. Finally, they would spike Travaris’ small keg of ale with some wolf thistle and attempt to get the bandits to drink it. If the shit hit the fan, Iofur would blow Salar’s warhorn, which would be the signal for the other groups to enter the fray, and they would attempt to release the Stag Lord’s owlbear (did I mention he has an owlbear?). If Akiros betrayed them, they would run away.

It seemed like a good plan. Now they just had to go there and execute it.

4. The Execution Begins

In the morning (which was really night-time for their new kobold companions), the group rode south to the Shrike River and followed it west to where it met the Thorn. At the ford there, the crossed over to the west side of the combined rivers and followed it down towards the Stag Lord’s fort. It took them two days to make the journey, and it was hot and humid for those days – many of them failed their Fortitude saves and were fatigued by the journey.

They reached the fort around dusk, as they had planned, but then rested and re-hydrated in the slightly cooler air for a while before proceeding. Satampra and Salar received Travaris’ blessing, and snuck off around the hillside. The kobolds hid at the base of the hill. And the rest openly rode up the main path.

It was a clear night, and the bandits on watch recognized Akiros. He waved and hailed them, and they did not fire upon the travelers. When they reached the gate, the bandits called out, “Who goes there?” and Akiros replied, “By the blackened hide of St. Angmort, who wants to know?” The passcode was correct, and the bandits opened the gate for the group.

They rode in, and a handful of bandits came out of the common room to greet the arrivals. They hailed Akiros and wanted to know what happened to him, and his two companions, who they had considered lost in the canyon fight. Akiros spun a stirring tale of bravery and violence, that resulted in him chasing off their attackers and saving his 2 fallen compatriots (whose likenesses were being worn by Mestinous and Boliden). Then on travelling back to the fort, he met up with these 2 fine bandits (Iofur and Travaris), who were coming to offer tribute.

“What tribute do you have for the Stag Lord?” they were asked. “Beer!” Travaris said as held aloft his pony keg of poisoned ale. “And gold!” Iofur threw down a large sack of coins. The bandits laughed and cheered. It was going to be a good night.

But off in the shadows of the ruined fort, Dovan from Nisroch leaned against a wall with his arms crossed as he observed the new arrivals in the courtyard. He had never liked Akiros, and now he knew that he was right not to do so – the man was a traitor. Dovan could see that something fishy was going on here. He was now certain that Akiros Ismort had joined with the enemies of the Stag Lord.

Next: where did Auchs run off to, anyway?

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