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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 1

April 9, 2014


A New Chapter Begins

The party has vanquished the Stag Lord and fulfilled their charter with the Swordlords of Restov. In response, the Swordlords sent them a check for 5,000 gp and an invitation to a feast in their honor. The group, consisting of:

  • Satampra Zeiros, male human rogue/swashbuckler, an exile from a far-away land
  • Iofur, male human druid of Gozreh, the child of good-hearted bandits who was raised by his uncle after his parents got arrested
  • Salar, male hafling ranger, a former slave who now yearns to make friends with everyone and to free anyone, anywhere, from any sort of bondage
  • Travaris Stone, male half-elf cleric of Cayden Cailean, the bastard child of a Brevoy nobleman
  • Mestinous, male elf wizard, who doesn’t have much of a backstory
  • Boliden, male human barbarian, a hulking warrior from the Tiger Lord tribes who is out to prove himself

River Runs Red 1a…saddled up and rode off to the distant city of Restov… which was all of 2-3 days away from Oleg’s trading post. So much for being on the frontier.

The Swordlords were putting up the adventurers in a swanky inn, which pampered them in the extreme. After the characters (and their clothes!) were scrubbed and scented, they ventured out into the streets to find some entertainment.

River Runs Red 1bSatampra went to a fancy tailor and was measured for an outfit fit for a king. He paid extra to rush the order; he wanted the clothes before the feast. Salar liked that idea, and also got a fancy halfling outfit. Travaris and Boliden went whoring. Satampra joined them later on. Iofur went to a park to meditate, and was later joined by Salar.

Mestinous went looking for magic items to buy. I didn’t have anything prepared, so I used the items listed in book 3. Mestinous had a wand of magic missile (found in a hidden cache in the hills, I believe) that he used to great effect, but it was out of charges and he wanted a replacement. The list of items for Restov included such a wand, but it was an extra-powerful one (caster level 9, or 5 darts, with 33 charges) that cost around 4,500 gp. I thought the price would scare the players off, but they agreed to buy it for the wizard. So now I have that to look forward to…

In the morning, they were eating breakfast in a private room at the inn when one Lady Minerva Lebeda entered. She introduced herself as an agent of the Swordlords, and greeted the group to the city. She was there to collect their maps and to inform them that the feast would be that evening. While they were chatting, the adventurers got her to reveal her “surprise” (not much of one, given the title of the AP) that they were to be given the Greenbelt to rule as they saw fit.

That evening, they reconvened at the inn for the feast. In addition to the Lady Minerva, they were also introduced to Sojana Varn, daughter of Maegar Varn of Varnhold; and Baroness Pavetta Stroon-Drelev, wife of Baron Hannis Drelev of Fort Drelev (and her annoying lap dog). Both were there as representatives of the neighboring outposts. Friends and family of the group were also invited, including the head of the local church of Cayden Cailean (who had practically raised Travaris from when the half-elf was 12), Iofur’s uncle Jorun (who had raised Iofur after his parents were captured, and trained him as a druid), and Halas Halasin, the inquisitor who had liberated Salar from slavery (and whose player had to leave the game some months ago). During the feast, Lady Minerva made the formal announcement and presented the group with their new charter.

Once dessert had been served and the plates had been cleared, Minerva informed the party that, due to political tensions, Restov could only offer so much aid to their fledgling outpost. As such, she had lined up meetings with potential investors for the following day. She advised the group to get some rest, because tomorrow was going to be a long day.

And this is when I presented the players with printouts of the various offers that awaited them. This was an idea inspired by this thread in the Paizo forums, that makes the players work for their startup funds. For anyone that is interested, my own version of the investment offers can be found here. They spent the rest of the session discussing and in some cases voting on the offers, despite Mestinous’ player agitating that they put the offers into a spreadsheet so that they could maximize their starting BP.

In the end, I was surprised by which offers attracted them and which turned them off. They assembled a decent amount of BP by forging deals with many smaller faiths (Gorzeh, Cayden Cailean, Erastil, and the “lite” Pharasma offer) and some of the less onerous Brevoy Houses (Medyved, Orlovsky, as well as the Swordlords). They were insulted by attempts to keep Boliden (a Tiger Lord, and thus nominally an enemy to those who live near Brevoy’s southwestern border) away from the General position and declined to sell their mineral rights away to House Garess. They also weren’t interested in tying themselves to any of the major faiths of Brevoy.

The one real argument developed over the thieves’ guild. Satampra and Mestinous were fully for it, just on the basis that allying with a thieves’ guild was awesome! Iofur and Travaris were convinced it was a bad idea. Boliden was swayed by Mestinous’ enthusiasm, and Salar initially sided with the ‘nays.’ Deadlock! But then Salar decided that they could “regulate” the guild and that would solve any potential problems, and switched his vote.

They ended up with 67 BP to start, a decent amount more than the 50 BP the book gives you. But they also have to build several shrines in a short time-frame, as well as an inn and a brewery. And eventually found a city at the site of the Temple of the Elk.

The kingdom’s alignment ended up being NG, which I thought strange since the party has two TNs, two CNs, and two CGs. For a time they were talking about making it LN, which would have been bizarre. They then debated for a time about names, eventually picking Caerelia for the kingdom (based on the Latin for “Greenbelt,” apparently), and Stagfell for the capital, which would be located at the Stag Lord’s fort.

The compiled list of their obligations and benefits based on their dealings:


The Swordlords of Restov, Brevoy

  • Exchange ambassadors with Restov within 6 turns

House Medvyed of Brevoy

  • Send an ambassador to Stoneclimb, the seat of House Medvyed, within 6 turns
  • It must be illegal to despoil or disturb the habitats of peaceful fey
  • The House gets to choose the candidates for the Marshal position

House Orlovsky of Brevoy

  • Send an ambassador to Eagle’s Watch, the seat of House Orlovsky, within 12 turns
  • Do not officially recognize King Noleski Surtova as the rightful ruler of Brevoy

Thieves’ Guild of Restov

  • A black market district is built within the capital within 2 years
  • Guild operations will not be subject to law enforcement
  • The guild gets to choose the candidates for either the Marshall or the Royal Enforcer position

Church of Pharasma, Brevoy

  • A shrine to Pharasma is built in the capital city within 4 turns
  • “Black” necromancy and the undead must be barred from the kingdom
  • Internment or disposal of the dead must be supervised by the church

Church of Erastil, Brevoy

  • A shrine to Erastil is built in the capital city within 8 turns
  • A settlement is built at the site of the Temple of the Elk within 2 years
  • The Temple of the Elk is restored within 6 turns after the settlement is founded

Church of Cayden Cailean, River Kingdoms

  • An inn district is built in the capital city within 4 turns
  • A brewery district is built in the capital city within 8 turns
  • Kingdom holiday frequency cannot be less than 6/year for the first year, and 12/year thereafter

Church of Gozreh, River Kingdoms

  • A shrine to Gozreh is built in the capital city within 4 turns
  • Hexes with unusual flora or fauna (e.g. moon radishes) must be preserved
  • Settlements are limited to 2 districts

House Halasin of Osirion

  • Slavery must be outlawed throughout the kingdom


The Swordlords of Restov, Brevoy

  • Further investment of 10 BP when a safe trade route can be established between Restov and the River Kingdoms.

House Medvyed of Brevoy

  • +4 bonus to Diplomacy checks with non-hostile fey

Thieves’ Guild of Restov

  • The guild will keep the council informed of its operations to avoid any unfortunate situations
  • If for some reason a guild operation goes awry and a public scapegoat is needed, a scapegoat will be provided to the council for punishment
  • A generous monthly stipend will be supplied to the council in exchange for their discretion
  • Buildings that increase a settlement’s Crime modifier can be built at a 10% discount
  • The kingdom takes a -1 penalty to its Economy modifier
  • After the black market in the capital is built, there is a 20% chance that Unrest will increase by 1 during each Event phase

Church of Pharasma, Brevoy

  • Kingdom settlements with a temple to Pharasma gain +2 Lore
  • If the capital city has a temple to Pharasma, there is a 1% chance each kingdom turn that Pharsma’s priests will discern the nature of the next turn’s event, if any

Church of Erastil, Brevoy

  • Kingdom settlements with a temple to Erastil gain +2 Law and -2 Society

Church of Cayden Cailean, River Kingdoms

  • Kingdom settlements with a temple to Cayden Cailean gain -2 Law and +2 Society
  • Exploration edicts cost -1 BP per month (minimum 1 BP)

Church of Gozreh, River Kingdoms

  • Settlements with a temple to Gozreh gain a +2 bonus on rolls vs. monster attacks and bad weather events

The group also started assigning roles. Satampra was made Ruler by default when it was discovered that he was the only one with a positive Charisma bonus! Mestinous’ player seemed surprised at how useful Charisma was to the kingdom rules, but it was all in the Player’s Guide, which they all supposedly read, so I don’t feel too bad about that. Boliden was game with not taking General in order to expand their deal options, but the rest of the group insisted. Mestinous grabbed Magister and Travaris took High Priest – Iofur wasn’t even interested, to my surprise. Both Iofur and Salar wanted Marshal, the lone nature-themed role, but when the party accepted the House Medyved deal, they sold off that position. So those two are still up in the air, although we talked about Iofur possibly taking a redesigned Treasurer position – something to do with agriculture, perhaps. Salar might end up as Spymaster, although given his dedication to making friends, I would say he’s better suited as Councilor or Grand Diplomat personality-wise, if not numbers-wise.

The challenge now is to turn their alliances (and the factions that they spurned) into some interesting political intrigue. My first thought is that explicitly allying with House Orlovsky will piss off House Surtova. Surtova will be looking to limit the growth of the fledgling kingdom, lest it grow in power and tips the fragile balance of power towards Orlovsky.

Ooh, I just had an evil idea. House Medyved will be supplying the group with a NPC to fill the Marshal position (the top law enforcement officer, basically). The Thieves’ Guild will be supplying the group with someone to fill the Royal Enforcer position, who is supposed to punish criminals and work with the Marshal to capture fugitives. Medyved’s Marshal will actually be interested in enforcing the laws, while the guild’s Enforcer will be working to see guild members escape justice. Conflict will ensue! And the players will be forced to take sides. Mwahahahah!

Next: the situation in Restov heats up!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Oooohhhh my, doesn’t the Erastil package secretly require husbandos and wives for everyone?
    At least, that’s what I recall seeing in that thread, was it someone else?

    My shipping sense has been piqued

  2. Heh. I came up with my own offers. Erastil’s was mostly to found a settlement at the lost temple and rebuild it, but they didn’t offer many BP.

    I edited this post with the exact obligations & benefits the group gets as a result of their deals.

  3. Ooh, I just had an evil idea. House Medyved will be supplying the group with a NPC to fill the Marshal position (the top law enforcement officer, basically). The Thieves’ Guild will be supplying the group with someone to fill the Royal Enforcer position, who is supposed to work with the Marshal to capture fugitives. Medyved’s Marshal will actually be interested in enforcing the laws, while the guild’s Enforcer will be working to see guild members escape justice. Conflict will ensue! And the players will be forced to take sides. Mwahahahah!

  4. Pinkius permalink

    I remember when we had to fill positions of our kingdom, it was either the PCs or someone from Olegs trading post. I think we ran with a few empty positions

    • That’s rough. Most of the roles put severe limits on the kingdom if they’re vacant, to the point where it’s always better to have a warm body doing the job than no one. Even if the warm body has a negative modifier. No treasurer? No income AND your Economy takes a -4 hit. No Spymaster? Suffer +1 Unrest every turn AND take a -4 to Economy. It’s a bit odd that you could make Auchs your Treasurer (+1 bonus, actually, because of his Wisdom) and that would be better than having no Treasurer at all.

      But then in the adventure, it suggests a couple of NPCs who won’t turn up until the party starts exploring the southern Greenbelt, which isn’t supposed to happen until the kingdom’s been running for a year. So I’m not sure what was intended. And with the standard party of 4, you’d have 6 roles to fill, and only 4 candidates for most groups (Oleg, Svetlana, Kesten, and Akiros). Maybe that’s why I’ve read of groups recruiting the faeries or the kobolds or the bandits.

      My group has 6 PCs, though, and they’ve sold one of the required roles to House Medyved, so they only need to find 3 NPCs. They really liked Akiros, so he will probably be one of them, if they can track him down and convince him to sign up.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Ha, we recruited Oleg, Kesten, Akiros, Sootscale, and Jhod. I think there was a role that had less of an impact than all the others, so we left that open for a short bit.

        Edgar ended up as our ruler for a bit, with his +1 charisma mod and +5 strength, even though another player joined around then and he was an oracle (+3 or 4 cha mod), the party simultaneously agreed he wasn’t suitable for office even though none of them wanted the responsibility.

        He ended up rage-quitting the position due to the paperwork, although it was actually because he didn’t care anymore once the cleric died, who was the only one he liked.

        Edgar actually rolled all the diplomancy rolls to convince the npcs to join the PCs, and succeeded, even though he sorta mixed and matched their favorite positions (on purpose!).

      • Oh, and Jhod. I forgot about Jhod.

        So did Edgar leave the game with the cleric gone? Or just stepped down from being ruler?

      • Pinkius permalink

        Edgar left the game, I actually had a lot of work on my plate at the time. He made a return a while later rebuilt as a sword saint samurai who throws his Katana at dudes.

        He hasn’t died yet.

        Yes I’m aware you don’t get challenge damage on thrown attacks :..(

      • Pinkius permalink

        It just occurred to me you might have been asking if Edgar stayed around as an NPC king. He stepped down, and rode off into the sunset towards Brevoy, I imagined someplace cold and mountainy, but nobody ever asked IC so whatever.

        At some point he had a realization that he actually liked the glory more than the justice, because really who’s passionate about justice? He then had a training montage in the flashiest sword-techniques he could find; and thus did Edgar of the Sword become Edgar of the Cockatrice, also a Samurai sword saint.

        I think only half a year passed IC, but you can have a 1-20 adventure in less time then that. Unless you take negative levels, those take forever to cure.

    • Oh, I did forget one bit where they were looking at the roles and realized that the rogue was the only one with a positive Charisma bonus. And thus he became ruler by default.

      • Pinkius permalink

        And lo, did every kingdom start with a roundtable discussion “Who DOESN’T make young women scream on sight?”

  5. Hey, big fan of your blog. It’s really helping me DM my own Kingmaker campaign!

    I have a question about the investment offers and requirements.
    Sometimes it’ll say things like “a black market district must be built” or “temple district” tand “barracks district”. What exactly did you mean by that? To just have a Black Market or Temple built? I’m having trouble with those requirements


  6. Charles permalink

    Do you have a full list/spreadsheet of the offers you gave them; benefits. obligations, BP, etc. that you would be willing to share?

    • Yes, it’s linked in the post above. But here it is again so you don’t have to go hunting for it: link.

      • Charles permalink

        Thank you. I wasn’t sure if there was more and you were just listing what they took.

      • Charles Kimbril permalink

         A generous monthly stipend will be supplied to the council in exchange for their discretion

        What did you do for this?

      • For a while each council member got around 100-200 gp a month, although not all of the NPCs wanted that money (the PCs gladly took their cut). I think I based the amount on the Economy check for that month, in some way. At this point the players have forgotten about it; given what they can skim off the treasury it’s just peanuts.

        Maybe if I were to do it over I would give them the capital’s Crime bonus x10 in gp, or something like that.

  7. Hi Scott,

    I’m currently running Rivers Run Red as well and borrowed many of your ideas listed in the document on google drive. It was awesome — my players had a lot of discussions, argues and fun! Interestingly, they took the offer of Restow’s thieves guild as well … 🙂

    This is indeed very good material! What I would like to do is to translate it into German and repost it on my blog called “Doctore Domanis Archives”, which describes my experiences with running the Kingmaker adventure path. Is that O.K. with you?

    • I’m happy to hear that! Kingmaker has sparked a lot of interesting discussions in my group, that we have not normally had in D&D games.

      Yes, please go ahead and translate! I only ask that you provide a link back to this blog.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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