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Kingmaker: Stolen Land, What Happened to Auchs?

March 13, 2014

auchsOne of the big questions on the mind of the players as they entered the Stag Lord’s fort was, had Auchs somehow made it back there ahead of them? It seemed unlikely, given his lack of intelligence and that he had run off into the hills, on foot and alone, in the Old Sycamore hex. But was it possible, and if so, how? I decided to let the dice decide his fate.

I started off assuming Auchs was lost after escaping from Salar, using Pathfinder’s “Getting Lost” rules. He didn’t really know how to get back to anywhere that he wanted to be, but I’m sure he’d been told by Dovan or the others that if he ever got separated to head south and follow the rivers to the fort. But, of course, he had no idea which way was south. So he wandered in random directions for a few hours, until night fell. Even though the rivers were only 1 hex away, it did not seem like the dice were going to take him in the right direction. As it got dark, the big man hunkered down to sleep, overwhelmed by fear and loneliness.

And then I rolled a random encounter, and rolled a 02 on the % dice – 1d6 bandits! 3 bandits set to attack the giant, thinking him a lone and vulnerable traveler. They were stunned to find that it was someone they knew! As unlikely as it was, it seemed that Auchs had been rescued.

Auchs would tell the bandits about the battle, and insist they go look for Akiros. After finding no trace, he would insist on going back to the fort, to find either Dovan or Akiros. And so, because the party had taken a day to visit the kobolds before heading to the fort, they would arrive just after Auchs and his new-found friends. Auchs was present at the fort, and no doubt had been told by Dovan that Akiros had indeed abandoned him (as Salar and Travaris had been saying to Auchs before he ran off).

What’s Akiros’ Game?

A related matter is just what Akiros was planning to do when combat erupted in the fort. This isn’t an Akiros who had arrived at the decision to fight the Stag Lord on his own (as the adventure proposes); his capture by the party had forced his hand. And I don’t see Akiros as a man that likes to be pushed around like that.

My thinking is that he doesn’t have a huge problem with the rank-and-file bandits, but he knows that Dovan and the Stag Lord are thoroughly evil. And that Dovan already does not like him. If they were to escape the battle, they might seek revenge against Akiros. But why risk his neck unnecessarily?

In practical turns, I think he will hang back in the fight unless Dovan presents himself as a target, in which case Akiros will try to take him out. Of course, Dovan will also be gunning for Akiros. And if it looks like the Stag Lord is gaining the upper hand, Akiros will do what he can to put that monster down for good.

The challenge is that I don’t want the few notable foes in the fort – Dovan, Auchs, or the Stag Lord – to get hung up trying to take out Akiros, who is really, really, tough. I want the PCs to face them and defeat them, maybe just with a little help if they need it. The mook bandits are not going to be a threat, despite their numbers.

We will see how it works out.

Next: the beginning of the end.

  1. Pinkius permalink

    There’s always the chance that the low level bandits MIGHT be a threat to your party. We were mowing them down pretty easily, but then again, big bad cavalier with a 18 13 14 physical stat array and 20 point buy. I was mowing down everything. (oneshot tuskgutter ftw)

    if they flank and gang up on your squishier characters they might have a bad time.

    For the maths, i’ll recount our party to the best of my knowledge.

    Rowan – Cleric of Sarenrae Ash and Sun domains. no dex mod, had a breastplate and a morning star. decent str and con scores.

    Marinda – Rogue, two weapon fighting, lots of acrobatics and Dex, would attempt to flank with Edgar, also hit on him, Edgar ignored her. +4 ? dex mod, which would mean 18 dex

    Edgar – Cavalier, Order of the Sword (later Cockatrice, later Samurai, Order of the Cockatrice)
    very high str, not the maximum, but 18 is very high. Breastplate, a +1 dex mod, and a hulking big Greatsword he used to chop things with. Bit ornery.

    Zenith – Edgar’s Mount. Totally fair and balanced

    Finwe – Wizard, “air specialist” likes to drink tea and teleport the blood knight party members out of combat against their wills. Of course he didn’t have that at this point so things got a little hairy. +3 dex mod, and robes, worst wizard.

    ?Cairne? – I’m pretty sure Cairne the Oracle had left by this point, to go… smoke with the ancestors or something.

  2. The players are planning on getting the mooks drunk with poisoned ale (the poison causes sleepiness). Even if that doesn’t work, they do have an element of surprise. They easily fought off a night-time ambush by 9 bandits several sessions ago, but maybe my dice were not very hot that night, I don’t recall.

    The main problem PCs are the druid (entangle), the wizard (sleep), and the barbarian (combat monster like your cavalier). They can decimate or incapacitate a group of low-hp foes really fast. Maybe I can have Auchs tie up the barbarian long enough for Dovan & the bandits to take out the squishies (although the druid isn’t actually very squishy). We have 6 players, and are using the 6-player conversion, so there are 11? regular bandits in the fort. That might be enough to overwhelm the group if magic doesn’t take them out of the fight.

  3. Pinkius permalink

    It’ll get worse if your wizard is the type to invest in spells like Confusion and Slow.

    I’ve… never seen a druid played “properly” but a friend of mine did play a saurian druid, turned into a T-Rex for most of the day and chomped a unique eyrines that was supposed to be a recurring villian.

    Another thing about Kingmaker is you have plenty of single encounters. You’ll go around for a day or more and only have a single encounter, so everyone gets their spells and daily powers back, rage, challenges, shape shifts, summons, etc.

    • Yeah, the wizard, at least, seems to have figured that out and started blowing everything when they have an encounter in the wild. Which is how Tuskgutter only got to go twice in 4? rounds, if I am remembering correctly.

      Is there a proper way to play a druid? Ours is summoning-focused, but entangle is more of an issue than the summons (which are still rather weak) at the moment. He also has (I think) the highest AC in the party. And next level he gets wild shape, but I don’t know how useful that will be in combat since he dumped Strength.

      • Pinkius permalink

        I’ve heard the “proper” way to play a druid is to get the feat that lets you cast in wildshape form. That way you have a bear casting buffs on himself, stoneskin, magic fang, etc etc. Ever fought a bear with bull’s strength? Ever fought TWO bear’s with bull’s strength? Because he has an animal companion as well!

        That said, our group by and large avoids druids for some reason. so I’m not familiar with their spell list.

        If you want to make a broken summoner. Use Summoner, except don’t because everyone bans that class, because it’s broken almost out of the box.

        I avoid dumping strength, because I like my casters to be able to carry a small sack of potatoes around if the need arises without taking huge penalties to max dex, ACP and move speed. Also, if you get hit with ability damage or drain you’re that much weaker.

        About the summons, they’ll quickly start getting better once they last more than 3 rounds. CR 1 creatures for 3 rounds seem easy enough, but then you have cr 4 Tigers running down hallways for a full minute infront of the party setting off ambushes and letting the party engage at their leisure.
        Spells are at a premium at low level, but the higher level summons start casting their OWN spells, and it can quickly turn a battle around by the action economy alone.

        Black tentacles, Pit spells, Slow, Sirocco, Waves of Exhaustion, Tar Pool, Confusion. Any spells that give penalties to attack and damage, or prevent enemies from taking their turns are the real tide turners you want to keep an eye on.

        Haste is also something that benefits the party far more often than enemies, you’d think more of them would invest in that.

  4. Pinkius permalink

    OH! Something else you might want to keep an eye out for… The Stag lord’s human bane arrow? brought my cavalier with 14 con and almost max d10s hp down to around 3 hit points from maxed.
    I’m not sure if he crit or not, but it was high to-hit and high damage.

    • Yeah, I’ve been wondering what would happen if I blew all the Stag Lord’s bonus damage dice at once – probably against the druid, who would remind Staggy of his father (the old druid in the basement) moreso than the others. I think it works out to +12 to hit, 1d8+5d6+10 damage – that’s the human bane arrow, his sneak attack dice from insightful shot, point-blank and deadly aim. Average damage roll of 32. I should probably see what everyone’s health totals are before unleashing that… Especially since they will be confronting him after fighting 11 bandits, Dovan, and Auchs.

      Game night is next Tuesday! I’ve very excited to close the book on this chapter of the AP and get onto the kingdom building!

      • Pinkius permalink

        Oh, we tested the mass combat in book two as well actually… Against the trolls?

        We got routed fairly handily in the open field, then turned around and routed the trolls when they attacked our town.

      • Pinkius permalink

        I’m sort of getting nervous about saying too much about our groups experiences, if only because the way I’m describing things sounds sour when I read it back. :/

      • Well as a DM, I am usually more interested in what went wrong for others so that I can preemptively deal with the issue for my group. 🙂 So no worries there!

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