Skip to content

Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 10, Part 2

September 30, 2014


Once upon a time – or last year in game terms – our heroes had helped out the Sootscale tribe of kobolds, who were living in an abandoned silver mine. Some months later, those same heroes founded a town near the silver mine, expanded their borders to encompass the mine, and restored the mine to working order, all without ever really consulting the Sootscales. The kobolds tried to go along with the new way of things, but they were not terribly happy about it. Their traps had been removed, their homes had been relocated to make way for the mine operations, and filthy “tall ones” were making a huge racket in the tunnels while the kobolds tried to sleep.

So when an elf maiden arrived and planted the idea of sovereignty in Chief Sootscale’s head, the kobold chieftain was definitely receptive to the concept. The Sootscales threw the human workers out of the mine soon after, set up traps everywhere, and re-occupied their former homes. The miners did not relish the idea of fighting the kobolds, and so sent word to the capital of Stagfell that soldiers were needed.

Rivers Run Red 10aBy the time the PCs arrived at the mine, stone statue of Travaris the cleric in tow, it was nearly mid- Gozran (April) and more than half of the workers had left to find employment elsewhere. The foreman, a gruff human – who for some reason spoke with a pirate accent (I was reading a pirate book to my daughter earlier, which is why I think I accidentally slipped into the pirate accent when I was trying for something less specifically growly) – was not pleased. He advocated killing every last little bugger in the mine, so that they could get it up and running again ASAP. If you’re a miner, kobolds are always bad for business, and the only solution is extermination.

But the players were determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. How did this happen? Who was this elf woman? How long did she stay? The foreman didn’t have a lot of answers, aside from knowing when the woman arrived and how long she stayed (a few hours). So the adventurers approached the mine itself.

The kobolds on guard hailed the group as their heroes and saviors, and welcomed them into their territory – if they would kindly leave their weapons outside. The party balked at that. Why did the kobolds not want to welcome a band of powerful and murderous armed warriors and wizards into their home?! The guards shrugged – chief’s orders. Salar the halfling ranger requested that the chief come meet them out at the entrance, but word came back that that was not going to happen. After ensuring that they could still commit murder and mayhem, even without their weapons, the party reluctantly disarmed and was led into the caverns.

They were brought before Chief Sootscale, once again presiding from his old cave. After pleasantries were exchanged, the PCs wanted to know what was going on. They were a bit surprised to learn that the Sootscales did not agree that they were part of Caerelia – they had never agreed to add their tribe to the kingdom. And, as it happens, they were here first. Chief Sootscale claimed these caverns as his territory, and he did not recognize the Caerelians’ right to displace his people and flood the mine with dirty noise-making tall ones.

Salar protested, listing off how the PCs had helped the kobolds. “And you get paid! You’re getting paid, aren’t you?” Sootscale scoffed. Kobolds do not sit around and “get paid.” And they are not miners. They are trappers and takers. And they wanted to live in their own caves – located near the mine entrance, and thus seized by the miners by necessity – not in the lesser, deeper caves they had been moved to.

Satampra the rogue was less interested in Sootscale’s demands than he was in the elven visitor. The chieftain told them what he knew – her name was Nekista Syla (“Not an elven name,” noted Mestinous, elven wizard) and she represented the overlord Hargulka. Hargulka, she had told the chief, merely wanted the kobolds to take back what is theirs. Their human friends wouldn’t mind, right? And if they did, were they really the kobolds’ friends?

[Nekista is a green hag with skald levels, part of a coven that is allied with Hargulka’s trolls.]

As it happens, Salar and Travaris had heard Hargulka’s name when they were held captive by the lizardfolk, and had met a different hag in service to Hargulka there, just before they escaped. This was a bit awkward at the table, however, as Salar’s player had not been present for that part of the session, and the others had been so engrossed in their plans for murdering the lizardfolk that they had not been paying attention to what Travaris was up to. So Travaris’ player filled everyone in, even though his character was currently petrified. So, in-game, it was Salar who had to remind the others of what he & the cleric had seen and heard back in the lair of the lizard king. Notes were taken, and the players speculated about whom this Hargulka was and why he had hags working for him.

In the end, Satampra proposed that the miners dig a new entrance to the mine, one that bypassed the kobold’s home. Chief Sootscale agreed. The foreman was less than happy about the idea, but orders is orders. I ruled that it would cost 1 BP and take 1 month before the mine would be operational again, although now I’m thinking it should have been more to create a whole new tunnel that bypasses the old one. Maybe it should take 1d4 months and cost 1 BP/month. I can always introduce that as “cost overruns” later on.

The council also tried to impress upon the chieftain that this “Hargulka” was their enemy. “I thought we were all friends!” the surprised kobold replied. “No. We are not friends. Not at all.” Sootscale promised to have no further dealings with the mysterious overlord or his minions.

Off to See a Wizard!

Rivers Run Red 10bWith that matter resolved, the party hauled their statuesque cleric north to Bokken’s hut and gave him the locket that they found on the herbalist’s murderous brother. Bokken was very grateful, and gave them several healing potions as reward. Next, they headed over to Oleg’s trading post, and spent a pleasant evening with Oleg and Svetlana Leveton. Oleg was impressed by the rulers’ accomplishments, and remarked upon how much Satampra had changed in the past year, to which the Baron replied, “No, I haven’t.” It had almost been a year since Satampra’s disastrous plan almost got himself and the Levetons killed by bandits. But in the rogue’s view, he hadn’t gotten any wiser – just more powerful.

River Runs Red 1bThe group slept in beds at the trading post and left for Restov in the morning. When they reached the big city, they promptly set out to find some means to restore the cleric to his normal fleshy self. Satampra was eventually able to locate a shady antiques dealer who had a scroll of stone to flesh. Mestinous verified the scroll’s contents, a price was settled upon, and then the elven wizard attempted to cast the spell from the scroll. Success! Travaris the statue slowly became pinker and softer, and soon he was returned to his normal self! He was quite surprised to find out that he was in Restov, and not Stagfell, and to learn of all that had transpired while he was a statue.

What Now?

So, that was the end of the session. Only now am I beginning to regret not taking the adventure’s advice, which was to spend a year doing nothing but kingdom-building before letting the players adventure again. When we started book 2, running through 12 kingdom turns seemed like it would have been an awfully boring session, especially if the kingdom events were simply resolved with rolls rather than being role-played. Also, I couldn’t imagine the players sitting still while the “troll rumors” event destroyed their loyalty bonus and ratcheted up the unrest. So the players only ended up taking a month or two off as the kingdom got set up. I also convinced them to take the winter months off.

But they are now covering a lot of territory in the three weeks between kingdom turns, and I’m a bit worried that they will defeat the trolls and the owlbear in the next few months of game time. Book 3 isn’t supposed to start until the kingdom reaches 50-60 hexes, which is almost ten times what they have right now! I fear I may have sprung the threat of the trolls on them a bit early, and propelled them into a conflict before their kingdom is ready.

So I’m now trying to think of ways to distract them from the trolls. Perhaps this is a good time to get them embroiled in Brevoy politics. And as it happens, they ended the session in Brevoy! Meanwhile, the trolls can lay low for the time being, and perhaps they will fall off the player’s radar.

Next: lust and marriage!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Hmm, quite a pickle you have, if the kingdom isn’t getting large enough fast enough, you could try dumping more BP onto the problem.
    The real problem would be justifying all the bp, they already have a bunch of sponsors from Brevoy.

    Or you could give them more time between book two and three, I don’t recall what the trigger is for book three, but isn’t it when the lich ransacks varnhold?

    • Yes, that’s correct, and so it can happen at any time. But then do we just zoom through a couple of years’ worth of turns in between adventures? Do we continue to play out each month of game time? I dunno. The first seems like it would be boring; the second like it would take forever before the kingdom is large enough.

      Maybe each year of downtime could have 1-2 pivotal events that require the PCs’ attention, and all the kingdom building in-between could be hashed out by me & the players that are interested. That might still convey the passage of time without getting bogged down too much in side quests.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Well, book 3 itself has almost 0 relation to the size of the pcs kingdom, you could consider it a giant sidequest between kingdom building segments

      • That’s true. I guess the player kingdom is supposed to be able to absorb Varnhold by the end, but that’s not entirely necessary – it could be treated as a colony or something until the kingdom can absorb it.

        I had wanted to introduce a bit of the mass combat here, instead of waiting for book 5. That would be a bit of a problem at the moment, given the upkeep costs of army units. Which, if the kingdom was bigger, would not be as much of an issue.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    If the pcs are more interested in adventuring than building their kingdom after a few turns, maybe throw in some roleplay heavy encounters that don’t reward them with exp, but items instead, and have those break up the kingdom building

    • That’s a pretty good idea. That way they don’t get too far ahead on the XP, and they are kinda item poor at the moment (although they have yet to sell off anything that they’re not using).

      • Pinkius permalink

        Ah well, item hoarding is a thing gamers tend to do, especially consumables. And who knows when you’ll need those 12 suits of studded leather armor to outfit part of your militia.

        Selling loot tends to put you farther back than you’d expect anyways, and there’s always the possibility that some loot disappears. Personally, in another campaign I’m in, a party member found a scroll of dimensional lock without telling the party, and traded it away for a custom version of shocking grasp… when we’re fighting demons. And the wizard just asked for payment offhandedly, not even a price. And it was a 9th level scroll. And the wizard was helping us as community service anyways so paying him just set him back.

        It wasn’t even that special a shocking grasp, it just did the 1d6 touch attack as cold damage instead of electric and staggered on a failed save for a round instead of the +3 to hit against metal.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 10, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 11, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  3. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 13, Part 2 | Daddy DM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: