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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 9, Part 3

September 18, 2014

ThylacineThe group rode north from the lizardfolk village, into the tangled trees of the Narlmarches. As they travelled, a light rain began to fall, and after riding for a few miles, they found a relatively dry spot to set up camp. During the first watch, a pack of hungry thylacines approached.

Iofur the druid, frustrated from not getting to massacre the lizardfolk, took out his rage on the poor wolfish marsupials. He called lightning down on their heads, and the surviving thylancines ran off. I didn’t bother playing the encounter out (or awarding XP) – the beasts might have gotten a few bites in, but they just didn’t seem like much of a threat to the party at this point.

Ever the practical one, Satampra the rogue thought they should ride northeast into a hitherto unexplored part of the forest and map it out before heading home. Travaris the cleric and Salar the halfling ranger were naked and equipment-less, but what’s the worst that could happen, right?

In this case, the worse that could happen was an ambush by a crazy hermit and his pet puma.

I should have had the hermit attack while they slept, which would have made the attack much more deadly. I also should have remembered that Travaris left his holy symbol/divine focus with the lizardfolk, and thus shouldn’t have been able to cast many (any?) spells. Instead, the ambush took place as they were ready for trouble, and Travaris’ healing was crucial to the group’s survival.

Rivers Run Red 9aWhat happened was this: “Cat,” the hermit’s puma friend (actually a dire lion, as per Alexander Kilcoyne’s 6-player conversion), leapt out of the heavy undergrowth and missed Boliden the barbarian with its bite by 1 point – argh! Were it not for uncanny dodge, he would have been bitten. The hermit jumped down from a tree and tried to stab Mestinous the elven wizard, but also missed. I was not off to a very good start.

That was just the surprise round, though. Cat got its teeth around the barbarian on the 1st full round, pulled him off of his horse, and raked him over with its claws. Boliden dropped his axe, raged, and clawed the great cat right back, scoring a critical hit on one of his attacks. Mestinous protected himself with mage armor, but that didn’t mean much when the hermit feinted and then stabbed the elf for 5d6 damage + 4 bleed damage. Sadly, that was the one and only sneak attack that the hermit managed to execute.

Salar, suffering from PTSD as a result of his captivity and torture (according to his player), cast magic fang on his teeth (!) and charged the hermit. The naked halfling bit the old man’s calves, and then tackled him to the ground (!) and proceeded to bite him some more. A flaming sphere was summoned on top of the wrestling pair, but both managed to easily dodge the fireball. Iofur called lightning down on them as well (at Salar’s insistence), only hitting Salar but doing minimal damage. Obviously, Iofur was holding back a bit as he intentionally targeted his companion.

Mestinous cast fly in order to get out of the hermit’s reach, but that also put him out of reach of any healing. The bleed damage brought him down to 0 hit points, but he managed to down a potion and remained conscious.

The savage struggle between Boliden and Cat did not go that well for Boliden. Despite his strength, endurance, rage, and claws, his opponent was getting 5 attacks a round, and was pretty strong and tough itself. Cat tore into the barbarian and brought him to death’s door before a magic missile knocked it out. Travaris hustled over and stabilized… the puma?!? “Boliden will be fine, right? Doesn’t he have a lot of hit points?” the cleric said. The rest of the group roundly criticized his healing priorities, and so he cured Boliden with his next action. The barbarian struggled to his feet, grabbed his axe, and knocked their attacker unconscious.

Travaris stabilized the hermit and they tied him up. Recalling rumors about a mad man who lived in a tree, most of the group (sans the wizard) went searching for his tree. They found a large hollow oak, filled with crude wooden furniture and a bed of leaves. Under the leaves, Salar discovered a box that contained some treasure and a locket wrapped in an old map. The locket contained a picture of the hermit as a young man, along with a woman who was presumably his mother. Satampra correctly guessed that the hermit was Bokken’s brother, and that the herbalist would probably want the locket.

The writing on the old map claimed that there was a powerful weapon buried in a dangerous tomb to the east. The party rubbed their hands in glee and consulted their maps, trying to figure out where the tomb was located.

Mestinous stayed behind as the others went looking for the hermit’s lair. He was angry that he had almost been felled in battle, and was maybe also feeling frustrated at not getting to kill more lizardfolk earlier. As a result, he slit the hermit’s throat. The council wasn’t too happy when they discovered what had happened, but they didn’t have any clear plans of what they wanted to do with the madman if he were kept alive. “Curing” him of his madness, or taking him to see Bokken, were two possible outcomes that were discussed and shot down. In the end, they decided that the hermit should have been executed in Stagfell in front of the citizens. But he was already dead, and there was little point in crying over spilled blood.

The puma was a different story. Why did Travaris want to ensure that it lived? He said that it was just an animal, and thus he figured that it could be trained to serve them instead. Salar wanted to turn it into a war-cat and ride it into battle. Satampra wanted to build a menagerie back in town and put it on display. But for the time being, they resolved to drag it back and stick it in the Stag Lord’s owlbear cage, which henceforth was to be known as the “puma pen.”

On the way home, they came across two more packs of thylacines! All three random encounters this session got the same exact result. The first group, Iofur tried to use wild empathy on, but he rolled a 1 (which has actually happened a few times before!) and angered the animals instead. Salar befriended the 2nd pack with food (since he lost his jerky stores, presumably this was thylacine meat from the group that Iofur killed – ewwww) and some speaking with animals. He invited the now-cannibal creatures to follow the adventurers back to town, but the beasts declined. As the party completed their journey back to Stagfell, they discussed how the forest was being overrun by thylacines and how to deal with the problem.

A day before the council session was scheduled to start, the rulers of Caerelia rode into the capital of Stagfell, minus one donkey and all of Travaris’ and Salar’s clothes and equipment, and plus one hog-tied puma and a lot of thylacine pelts. Several weeks back, they had set out seeking trolls, but had picked a fight with lizardfolk instead. They had also pushed the lizardfolk into an alliance with the trolls, which will definitely have repercussions down the road.

Next: sub-plot city!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Hm, are you keeping up with Boliden seeing fleeting glimpses of Nyrissa because of the ring?
    y’gotta stay ontop of these things

    • Hah! Nope! I have some dreams and visions printed out, ready to hand to him, and I either forget to put them into play, or it’s not the right time, or the player isn’t there. Maybe tomorrow evening he will be there and I will remember. Maybe… He’s been kept late at work a lot recently, so what usually happens is that by the time he shows up, the group is in the thick of things and I’m so focused on that, that I forget about sub-plot stuff like that.

      It’s the bandit ambush all over again. I need to tape giant notes to my game folder so that I don’t drop the ball so much.

      • Pinkius permalink

        All these unfortunate timing problems, first Salar missed out on his anti-slave shtick, and boliden is showing up too late for his subplot… At this rate Mestinous is going to miss fighting the lich at Varnhold because he has to make a doctors appointment.

      • Tell me about it. Salar’s player has an evening class on our game night for the moment, and so he can only make the back half of the session for the next couple of months. I was planning on having them deal with a kobold rebellion tonight, but since Salar is really the only one who cares about the little buggers I’m going to have to delay things somehow until his player shows up. If he’s not there, the others would probably just kill them all.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 9, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 10, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  3. Rivers Run Red: Session 10, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  4. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 20, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  5. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 33, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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