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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 7

August 14, 2014

There’s a Light, Over at the Candlemere Place

Rivers Run Red 7aThe party left behind the old swamp witch and headed south, on the lookout for trolls. What they found instead was a large lake with an island in the middle. On the island was a crumbling tower – Candlemere! Candlemere was rumored to be haunted, cursed, and generally a bad place to be. When the group had first encountered Jubilost Narthropple, intrepid gnome explorer, he had claimed that he had swam to the island, stolen a piece of treasure, and swam back. And Satampra the rogue/swashbuckler was eager to steal some of that treasure for himself.

Unfortunately, the adventurers had no way to easily cross the few miles of water that separated them from the island. Unless they wanted to wait until the next day – the group had reached level 5, and Travaris the half-elf cleric could now pray for water walking. So they explored the northern shore of the lake and then camped for the evening. As darkness fell, strange lights appeared in the tower, and disturbing sounds drifted over the water to their camp. Soon the lights – dozens of them – flew out of the tower, and “danced” around it in a chaotic manner, as the awful sounds intensified. As daylight approached, the lights fled back into the crumbling ruin, and the noises subsided.

In the morning, Travaris said his prayers over the group, while Iofur the druid prayed for a more druid-y way to walk on water – lily pad stride. The magical effects would last just long enough for them to make it across the water. While most of the adventurers simply walked over the lake surface, Mestinous the elven wizard decided to do “mostly cartwheels” instead.

The island itself was covered in thick layers of brambles and stinging nettles. Iofur moved through the growth without issue, but everyone else had to slowly wade through the brambles and deal with the poisoned nettles. Boliden the barbarian, with the highest Fortitude saving throw in the party, was the only one affected by the poison, which left him with a -2 to d20 rolls and damage. As the party pressed on towards the ruined tower, they felt a growing sense of unease and discomfort, and had to make saves vs. fear, which everyone failed, aside from Iofur. Boliden was now at -4 to d20 rolls, and -2 to damage. When they reached the tower base, they could faintly hear some of the bizarre noises from the night before, and could make out faded symbols on the tower stones. They weren’t quite sure what the symbols were, but Travaris started to do a rubbing for later study when one of the lights floated out of a window above. The glowing spirit “saw” the group, and swooped down to attack.

The creature proved to be immune to all magic, save for magic missile, and was so fast that no one could connect with it (the fear and the poison certainly didn’t help). Luckily, Mestinous had his trusty mega-magic missile wand, and it took 15 missiles (or 3 charges) to destroy the glowing monster. Before it died, however, the thing had inflicted a good deal of damage on the party. Boliden scaled the tower wall to peek inside the window. Inside he saw more rubble and dozens more of the glowing lights. The group debated how they could take on so many at once, or if it was even worthwhile to do so. Eventually, they decided to leave, but they had one problem. Travaris and Iofur had only prepared one water-crossing spell each, which they had used to reach the island.

So the adventurers trudged back out through the brambles and the nettles to the edge of the island furthest from the tower, and made camp. It wasn’t even noon yet, so they had a lot of time to kill. They tried playing cards for a while, until Mestinous got a lucky streak and was accused of cheating, and the cards got thrown into the water. “That was my only deck!” complained Iofur. They passed the rest of the day in an anxious boredom, always watching the tower for signs of attack.

When night arrived, the lights once more came out and swirled around the ancient structure, accompanied again by the sounds of madness. The party attempted to sleep through it, but were interrupted when one of the lights detached from the swarm and flew over to them. I rolled a 1d4 to see how many would attack, and luckily for them I rolled a 1. Also, they had figured out that the lights were will-o-wisps and did electricity damage, so as soon as battle started, Iofur protected the party with a communal resist energy (electricity) spell. The wisp was only able to plink away at the party’s hit points – a crit against Satampra did only 4 damage – and it was more vulnerable to weapon attacks now that the fear and poison penalties were gone. The group was victorious, but they decided that they needed to leave, now, before more noticed them.

Rivers Run Red 7bMestinous used his bonded sword to cast a fly spell on himself, and Travaris took off his armor and gave it to the wizard so that the cleric could swim (he has a Strength of 10). Iofur (Strength of 8) was going to do the same when he remembered that he could turn into a bird! For his inaugural use of wild shape he morphed into an eagle and flew with Mestinous over to where they had left the horses. The others started swimming to the south, where the distance to reach the far shore was smaller, and, presumably, followed the current. I don’t know if it makes geographical sense or not, but I said that Lake Tuskwater and the Murque River were flowing into Candlemere, and the Shrike River to the south was flowing out, and no one had a problem with that. But then, I play mostly with engineers and not cartographers.

The swimmers all failed their Swim checks to avoid fatigue at the 1 hour mark, and just barely made it to the edge of the lake. Near midnight, they wearily dragged their aching bodies out of the water and onto land, as the night sky behind them was illuminated with the eerie lights of Candlemere. They crawled up from the bank, collapsed to the ground, and passed out until morning.

Meanwhile, Mestinous and Iofur were relaxing with the horses. The elf broke out some of his special pipe weed, and the two unwound with a pleasant smoke before retiring for the night.

Parlez Vous “Kill”?

Rivers Run Red 7cIn the morning, the group reunited on the south side of the lake, and headed southwest into the tangled trees of the Narlmarches. The trackers found signs that trolls had been through the area, along with human-sized reptile-folk, and even some sort of giant 4-legged lizard – perhaps the green dragon that they had heard rumors of? But tracks were all they found.

Next they headed north and explored along the southern bank of the Murque River. Early in the day, they were attacked by an angry owlbear (is there any other kind?). Satampra got off a ranged sneak attack on the beast before it could close, and in response, it charged at the Baron and scooped him off of his horse and held him tight. The rest of the party beat the owlbear down in record time, causing Travaris to remark on how much more powerful they had become since their previous owlbear encounter.

Later that same day, near where the Murque flowed into Candlemere, they found a good sized island in the middle of the swiftly-moving river. The island was about 200′ in diameter, and had a spiked wooden wall guarding its perimeter. Large earthen mounds could be seen rising above the wooden spikes, along with a couple of lizardfolk sentries.

Satampra called out a greeting to the lizardfolk, which Mestinous translated into Draconic. The reptilian humanoids weren’t much interested in talk, however, nor in trade, nor in anything else the Council offered. The party was ordered to depart and threatened with violence if they did not. The group just kept talking, and talking, and so a druid within the island village opened up the fight with a shifting sands spell. There’s no lizardman druid in the adventure, but I added one as part of my own spin on the Rivers Run Red 6-player conversion. Generally I favor more opponents rather than adding a HD or template to existing opponents, and in this case I wanted a spellcaster, as the lizardfolk were lacking in magic and in ranged attacks. But more on that in a bit.

Most of the PC’s mounts failed their Reflex save and were entangled as the riverbank rose up and sought to entrap them. Most of them managed to flee the area on their turn, save for Iofur, who didn’t care that his horse was stuck, and Travaris, whose donkey fell over while trying to get out, spilling him into the muck as well.

Lizardmen warriors and their trained crocodiles spilled out of a gate in the fence and into the water, whereupon they started swimming towards the council. Satampra hit one with an arrow as it dove into the water, while Mestinous unleashed magic missiles at those within the river. Iofur summoned a small thunderstorm, and called down a bolt of lightning into the water. I allowed that to function as a small AoE instead of a single target effect, and it took out 2 of the swimmers.

The lizardfolk were going to get slaughtered if the PCs were allowed to pick them off before they got into combat. Unfortunately they were only armed with javelins for ranged weapons, and the druid had a limited selection of ranged spells. We ran out of time and had to call the session mid-battle, which will hopefully give me some time to scheme up some solutions to the lizardfolks’ dilemma.

Next: This means war!

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  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 6 | Daddy DM

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