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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 11, Part 1

October 15, 2014

bankrupt-monopolyHey Buddy, Can You Spare a Diplomat?

With Travaris the cleric restored to his normal fleshy self, the group was free to pursue other goals in Restov. Priority number one was finding a new Grand Diplomat. Iofur the druid’s Uncle Joren had graciously filled the position since Day 1 with the understanding that it was a temporary situation. Now Joren had asked to step down and return home, and the council was searching for a replacement. They had gotten a list of names and some letters of introduction to suitable nobles from Restov’s ambassador to Caerelia, and started making appointments.

But after a week of scheduling conflicts, unexpected family emergencies, unplanned trips out of town, and so on, the council started to get the sense that the local nobles were ever-so-politely avoiding them. They weren’t sure why, and (frustratingly, for me) were inclined to throw up their hands in defeat rather than investigate the matter. They started going over the list of friendly NPCs that they knew, but didn’t find anyone they considered suitable for the role. As a side note, it’s interesting to me that they have never once considered Oleg or Svetlana for any position whatsoever within the kingdom. Their names have never even been floated as possibilities.

Gnomes are Magic!

I broke up the pity party with a visitor: Dringle Talespinner, the magical rogue! Dringle was one of the three candidates that the thieves’ guild put forward for the position of Royal Enforcer, back in the day. The exuberant gnome had impressed most of the party at the time with his plans to pacify the populace with “magic!” rather than fear. But in the end, the adventurers chose “the hot chick” for their Enforcer, noted Iofur, “because you’re a bunch of 14 year-old boys.”

But now Dringle was back, and “no hard feelings,” he told them. The thieves’ guild had heard of the council’s difficulties in finding a suitable head diplomat, and Dringle was there to offer up his services. “I can revolutionize the art of statecraft,” the diminutive would-be diplomat declared, “with magic! Who needs a stuffy stuffed shirt when I can use arcanery to influence negotiations in our favor?!”

As for why the nobility was disinclined to meet with them, Dringle informed the group that there was a rumor going around (100% true!) that the council was in bed with the thieves’ guild. Caerelia’s rulers were already of low or uncertain birth, and now it was well-known that they had given low-down robbers and rogues a seat at the table. To the blue-bloods, meeting with the party now would be the height of impropriety.

Satampra the rogue accused the thieves’ guild of spreading the rumor themselves, in order to make the kingdom more reliant on them. Dringle protested the charge – the guild had a large stake in Caerelia, and wanted them to succeed and prosper. What was good for one of them was good for the other. But the Baron didn’t quite buy it.

The group liked Dringle’s attitude and his energy – “He would add a lot of excitement to the kingdom,” noted Mestinous, elven wizard – but Satampra was concerned about giving the guild a second council position. In the end, they decided against the gnome’s offer, but told him that they were going to consider it and get back to him. “Sure thing! Take your time!” Dringle replied, and he departed from their lives once again.

Tainted Lust

While the diplomat search was going on, Boliden the barbarian was continuing to have strange, erotic dreams of a mysterious woman. It had gotten to the point where he would catch phantom glimpses of her in the city crowds, and he began to wonder if something was wrong with him. One day, he was out & about with Mestinous when he spotted her out of the corner of his eye once again. But this time, she did not disappear when he looked at her. He started to follow her through the crowd, and the elf tagged along.

The woman eventually noticed the large man’s attention, and, smiling, beckoned him to follow her into an alley. When Boliden turned the corner, she was leaning up against the wall seductively. “Take me,” she told him in a sultry whisper, “take me now.” They embraced. The touch of her fingers, the taste of her lips, the sweet sound of her breath, lit a blazing bonfire inside of Boliden. She was everything he could possibly want in a woman. When Mestinous caught up to them, he found his companion making out with a stranger, and decided to stay put at the alley entrance. He didn’t want to get in the way, after all.

Boliden was shocked out of his all-consuming lust when his make-out partner suddenly demanded payment before things proceeded further. He pulled back and saw that this was not his mystery woman, but rather a regular old lady of the night. He stumbled off into the streets in a daze, ignoring the pleas of both his elven friend and the prostitute.

The woman turned to Mestinous, but he was uninterested. “No thank you. I have… unusual tastes,” he told her. He was, however, interested in searching her for magic. He paid her for time and gave her a thorough once-over with detect magic. He found nothing. He tracked down Boliden and scanned him as well, but the only aura on the barbarian was the strange ring they had taken from the Stag Lord. It appeared to be woven from green hair, and bound in impossibly delicate gold. Other than its unusual look, it was just a ring of protection +1… or was it?

Boliden recalled that the Stag Lord had said something about a “Green Lady” before he died. Maybe the ring had something to do with all of this? To test out the theory, the ring was given to Mestinous to wear.

(The ring is tied to the adventure path’s BBEG, and it is the cause of Boliden’s dreams and visions, which will soon start happening to the wizard)

Pride & Penniless

Before the party could declare total defeat in their search and head home, I threw an opportunity into their collective lap. They received an unsigned message that promised a solution to their dilemma. It requested that Satampra visit a particular tavern, alone and in disguise, that evening. They were intrigued!

Of course Satampra wasn’t really going to go alone. Mestinous used a disguise self spell to alter his appearance, and arrived at the tavern ahead of time. Satampra donned a mundane disguise and came to the tavern as instructed. Soon he was approached by a man who was also disguised.

The man introduced himself as the head of an old, storied noble house that had a high reputation and lots of prestige… but no money; not any more. The house’s economic fortunes had taken a turn for the worse, and he was faced with the prospect of complete ruin. He was offering to lend his services as Grand Diplomat to Caerelia, a position that he claimed he would excel at, if only Satampra would marry one of his daughters. In doing so, the noble was risking his reputation but hopefully would save his house. The player’s first response was, “Are any of them hot?” thus proving Iofur’s earlier comment about the maturity level of the group.

When Satampra agreed to meet the daughters, the man revealed his name as Count Vendelin Fodorov. The Baron had recently engaged in a crash course in Brevoy’s noble houses (he picked up 5 ranks of Knowledge: Nobility the last time he gained a level in order to increase his kingdom bonus), and he recognized the name of the house, and knew that what Vendelin had told him was true.

The next evening, the party attended a small party thrown by House Fodorov that served as a way for Satampra to meet the four daughters. The nobles at the event turned up their noses at the PCs, but there were some military officials and wealthy merchants who were happy to talk to them. The daughters were, to Satampra’s disappointment, not much to look at, although each did have particular talents. As the night drew to a close, the Baron told their host that he would need a few days to reach a final decision, and the council members headed back to their inn.

On the morrow, Satampra sought out the Swordlord Jamandi Aldori* for counsel. Jamandi was looking to open up a new school in one of the Stolen Land colonies, and he had been trying to get her to pick Caerelia for months now. He confided to the group that she was the one that he eventually wanted to marry, which was a surprise to me as their relationship had never been flirty or romantic in any way. After some sparring matches, Jamandi noticed that Satampra was distracted and asked him about it. He explained the difficult choice facing him and asked for advice. But the only wisdom Jamandi had to offer was, “commoners marry for love; kings marry for duty.”

* Jamandi is actually one of the suggested hooks for book 3 of the adventure path – she writes the PCs to tell them that Varnhold has mysteriously gone quiet. I wanted to introduce her, and Varnhold’s inhabitants, earlier so that it’s vanishing would have more impact. On their first trip to Restov, Satampra went looking for a dueling instructor, and so I gave him Jamandi.

The group discussed it for a little while before concluding that the Ruler’s spouse was too important a prize for what was being offered. They struck upon the idea of a counter-offer of marrying someone else to one of Vendelin’s daughters, and Travaris volunteered. Vendelin countered again, stating that if marrying Satampra was off the table, they had to take two of his daughters, and Vendelin got to pick which ones. In the end, it was agreed that Travaris would marry Dunyasha Fodorov (the athlete of the group), and Mestinous would wed Tamara (the bookish one). A kingdom turn was fast approaching, so it was decided that the two couples would be married as soon as possible at the local temple to Travaris’ god, Cayden Cailean.

As an aside, as I write this I’m struck by just how many NPCs I’ve had to create out of whole cloth as the PCs have taken the story in different directions. I wonder if other Kingmaker campaigns have taken similar paths, or if the PCs were content to stick with the characters and opportunities present in the published adventures.

Next: two weddings and a break-in!

 

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11 Comments
  1. Pinkius permalink

    Alas, me and my group are not that inventive, I think we’ve mostly stuck to the books. Then again, we ran weekly sessions not bi-weekly.

    • Which NPCs did you recruit for leadership roles?

      • Pinkius permalink

        I think we started with 5 PCs, so we grabbed Kesten, Akiros, Oleg, Sootscale, Jhod, and maybe Svetlana? (if we did she didn’t stick around) Nobody married during the course of the campaign or had kids, although the king did have sex with a doppleganger of his girlfriend. Oleg got assassinated pretty early on, so we raised him and I think Svetlana quit. I think the rabble rouser showed up about then. The bard who tries to stir up the people? That guy, so we recruited the town gossip to replace Svetlana, found out where he was sleeping, wrote ourselves a warrant, broke into his room, searched it, arrested him, then banished him from the kingdom.

      • Pinkius permalink

        The town gossip would be an custom npc I suppose. Lily Teskertin, I think her name was…
        Later still we recruited Maray, the bard from Fort Drelev.

      • Lily is actually in Rivers Run Red as a quest giver. Although she also shows up in the list of potential NPCs to recruit for leadership roles, which none of the other quest givers appear on. Her desired role is “Ruler.” 🙂

        That’s interesting that you recruited Drelev’s mistress. How did that come about?

    • Having thought about it a bit more, I think I had to create a lot of the NPCs are because I wanted to involve the PCs in Brevoy politics, and the adventures contain basically nothing on that front.

      It’s strange that most the kingmaker campaign traits tie the PCs to Brevoy, and there’s all this information about the major houses, the vanishing, and so on, and then none of it is ever utilized in the published material. Other than having nameless Swordlords set up and then abandon the PC kingdom, of course.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    Oh well, we snuck into Drelev’s castle and released the previous ruler, Teron? or something, I kept trying to make everyone call him Gorefiend ooc because I’m a nerd.

    Then we started tearing through the guards, until we heard a challenge through the door from Drelev himself. Obviously, my cavalier/samurai could not allow this glorious opportunity for a 1 on 1 duel of honor to go to waste, so he kicked open the door and strode in accepting the duel, then guards attempted to shank him.

    Through his by then +5 fullplate.

    Did I mention before that we had a wizard crafting gear for us at half price? It was silliest about this point.

    So the guards got backhanded, and the fight was on, Drelev disarmed the samurai, who promptly quick-drew another katana from his blinkback belt, he had 3 of them. (only the first was magical)
    and the rest of the party made mincemeat of the remaining guards, because the samurai would probably attack any of them if they interrupted.

    Then Maray teleported in.

    She got hit for more than half of her health by the cleric (crusader of gorum, also king) and promptly surrendered.

    Drelev decided his duel wasn’t going well and ran over to attack the cleric, so we all turned around and knocked him unconscious.

    The campaign was rather poor for duels, that was the closest we ever came to one.

    • Pinkius permalink

      TL;DR the king smacked her with the friendship mallet. they started dating.

    • lol on the Gorefiend bit. 🙂 I had to check to see what the guy’s name was after that – it’s actually Terrion, but it’s one of the downsides of being DM that players will always creatively re-name the NPCs…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 10, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 16, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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