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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 11, Part 2

October 20, 2014

dr-who-mummyAre You My Mummy?

While wedding preparations were being hurriedly made, Iofur the druid was busying himself with a guerilla tree-planting campaign around the city. After a particularly productive afternoon of arboretum-creation, he was stopped in his tracks as he caught the eye of an older woman in the crowd. She was dressed as a servant and shopping in the marketplace. But what struck him is that her face reminded him very strongly of… his mother. The woman noticed Iofur as well, and bowed her head and hurried off in response to his gaze.

Iofur’s parents were bandits that were captured by a noble when he was around 7 years old. He had not seen either of them in 19 years, and had not really expected to see them ever again – at least not in this life. As the servant tried to disappear into the stalls and shops, he recovered his wits and took off after her. She noticed him following, and tried to lose him, but he quickly cornered her. She kept her face lowered.

The druid searched what he could see of the woman and matched it against his memories. Was it her? Could it be her? After several long moments of awkward silence, he attempted to speak. All that came from his mouth was a hoarse croak that sounded like: “…Mom?”

She quickly glanced up at him, her face full of fear, and then looked down again. “Is it you?” She sobbed, but quickly regained her exposure. “You must leave. Forget that you saw me. It’s not safe.” He protested, and reached out to touch her arm, but she pulled away. “It’s not safe!” she yelled, and ran past her bewildered son.

Iofur stayed on her trail, and followed her to a large walled compound that was heavily guarded. She disappeared through the servant’s entrance. He did not know the crest on display – a simple device featuring a red moon on a black field. He wildshaped into an eagle and took to the air, scoping out the area from above and watching it for hours. But all that he determined was that the family that lived here had a lot of money, and they also had a lot of disciplined guards. Occasionally he caught a glimpse of his mother through a window.

By the time his wildshape ran out, it was well after midnight. He headed back towards the inn.

Two Weddings & a Break-In

Earlier that evening at the temple of Cayden Cailean, Travaris Stone the half-elf cleric and Mestinous the elven wizard were married to the eldest daughters of House Fodorov, Dunyasha and Tamara. Iofur’s absence was noted, but the group had no way to reach their companion, and the ceremonies proceeded without him. After the hasty weddings, the festivities moved over to the inn, where there was much drinking and dancing. Travaris cast delay poison on himself a few times, which allowed him to drink Boliden the barbarian under the table. Eventually, the newlyweds were ushered up to their rooms and the celebration began to wind down.

Iofur arrived before everyone had turned in for the evening, and told those who were present and still conscious what he had seen. Salar the halfling ranger was immediately gung-ho for storming the mansion, but was talked down to merely sneaking in. Satampra the rogue, who has often been Salar’s “stealth buddy” in the past, declined to participate. He felt that it would be bad for Caerelia if its ruler were to be caught breaking into a Brevoy noble’s house. And while the Baron did not recognize the insignia that Iofur had spied, Vendelin Fodorov, father of the brides, was able to supply some details.

“That’s Lord Tesarik’s coat of arms.” Vendelin frowned. “Ivo Tesarik appeared out of nowhere 20 years ago. Many looked down on him as nouveau riche – he was probably a wealthy merchant from a remote corner of Brevoy who was pretending to be of noble birth. But he quickly amassed money and influence; exactly how he did so is a mystery. These days, many Houses overlook his unlikely origins for fear of crossing him.

“The man himself is equally mysterious – he is rarely seen in public, and seems to vanish for long periods of time. His rise to power and strange habits were the talk of the town for many years. After the Vanishing, the Surtovas awarded him dominion over a choice bit of House Rogarvia’s lands, which angered many at the time.

“What is he like? I cannot claim to have ever met the man, but… my apologies, Iofur. His reputation is not a good one. It is said that he is a cruel and clever lord. I do not imagine that your mother has been well-treated in his service.”

Iofur led Salar to the walled mansion on the following night, and let the halfling get to work. Salar located a remote section of the wall and scaled it with ease. He snuck over to the house, and, having spied a window on an upper floor that was slightly ajar, started climbing up a wooden trellis. At one point, part of the trellis broke under his weight, but he managed to hang on. The ranger then pocketed the piece of wood that had broken free. Why would he do that? “This guy is a vampire! I’m going to make this wood into a stake and stab him with his own trellis! It’ll be so ironic!” That led to a stream of jokes: <staked!> Vampire: “Ugh, I always hated that trellis.” <staked!> Vampire: “Huh? I had that trellis replaced years ago!” <staked!> Vampire: “That’s not even my trellis! It was there when I bought the place!” And so on.

Anyway, Salar slipped in through the window, and opened it wide. Iofur swooped inside in eagle form. They made their way over to the servants’ quarters, and Salar crept into each room and tried to figure out if the sleeping figure was Iofur’s mother or not. Luckily enough, he didn’t wake anyone up until he got to Iofur’s mom. She was startled awake by the halfling’s investigations, and sat up screaming. Iofur, still in eagle shape, hopped into the room and turned back into a human, which caused her to scream some more. Salar quickly shut the door while Iofur attempted to silence his mother. The other servants were banging on the door, but the mother (no name as of yet) called out that she had a nightmare, and they let her be.

Finally, Iofur got to have some quality time with his mom. She cradled his face and cried, whispering his name over and over. She told him what she knew, which wasn’t much. Iofur’s father was alive, but was captive somewhere else. Tesarik interrogated them every so often about a sword and had their old haunts searched, but they didn’t know what or where this sword was supposed to be. Lord Tesarik also liked to play cruel mind games with them. Sometimes he kept them out in the open as servants, and they cooperated because they feared he would hurt the other if they did not.

She begged Iofur once more to leave them behind. Lord Tesarik was dangerous, and had awful magic powers. Iofur tried to convince her that he had a kingdom now, and that he had some power himself, but she couldn’t quite wrap her head around her outlaw child being a ruler. He promised that he would be back to rescue her and Iofur’s father, and they left.

The Zombies Hit the Fan

The council members and the Fodorovs departed Restov and rode back to Stagfell for the next kingdom turn. As I had explained in the previous session, I started writing up reports for the PC leaders from their underlings, and also from the NPC leaders. This turn’s reports will be at the end of this post.

The kingdom turn ended up being a bit of a clusterf**k. First, they flubbed the initial Stability check and added +2 Unrest. Within the game, I said the unrest was caused by a drunken man wandering onto the cursed hillside and getting torn apart by the zombies that lurked there. During the previous kingdom turn, they had conveniently learned how to lift the curse (it’s not pretty), and rumor of that discovery leaked out. Now the populace, but especially the priests of Pharasma, was demanding that the council do something about the zombies. They defused this somewhat by confiding exactly how to remove the curse to the Pharasma delegation. The priests were appropriately horrified, and requested leave to summon some anti-undead specialists to deal with the problem, which was granted.

Next, the council realized that they had promised to build both a shrine to Erastil and a brewery for Cayden Cailean by the end of the current turn. But they could only construct one building. They elected to build the shrine, reasoning that Travaris, as a cleric of Cayden Cailean and High Priest, would have an easier time talking down his followers than he would the Erastil-lovers. I let him roll a Loyalty check with a +2 bonus. He failed, and I added another +1 to their Unrest. Their Unrest had gotten high enough that they decided to hold off on switching Grand Diplomats for now, leaving Vendelin Fodorov waiting to take over the job.

caerelia-turn8Finally, the event for the turn was a crop failure. Blight had struck the farms around Stagfell! Iofur made two Stability checks to assess the impact of the event, and failed both. That will raise their Consumption by 4 on next month’s turn. They also received word of cost-overruns on the planned renovation of the Sootscale silver mine, costing them another 1 BP and 1 additional month of downtime for the mine.

They ordered the plains hex south-east of Oleg’s to be claimed, and built a road and a farm in that region. That gave them an uninterrupted road from Stagfell to Restov! As previously mentioned, they built a shrine to Erastil in Stagfell. (click the stagfell-turn8thumbnails for larger pictures) In some good news, they rolled well for their Economy check, and added 14 BP to the treasury.

Caerelia after month 8:

Size: 8; Cities: 1; Control DC: 29

Economy: +25; Loyalty: +16; Stability: +23

Unrest: 3; BP: 15; Consumption: 5 (1 before the Crop Failure event); Income: 2 (4 once the silver mine is restored to order)

Next: tomb raiders!

Council Reports for Desnus, 4711 AR (May, Turn 8)

Grand Diplomat Joren

The Swordlords’ ambassador, the Lady Minerva Lebeda, has arrived. And I have word that the ambassadors from Houses Medyved and Orlovsky will be coming to Stagfell soon. Let us be sure to give them a warm welcome, and to treat them with respect. I will also stress that we should say little of importance when these ambassadors are nearby. I knew nothing of statecraft before all of this, and I still don’t know very much. But what I have learned is that exchanging ambassadors is mostly a polite way to spy on your neighbors.

I have heard that the council is searching for a new Grand Diplomat, and I am grateful for it.

Magister Jhod Kavken

Stagfell is a small town, and news spreads fast. The local priests of Pharasma have heard rumors that we have in our hands the knowledge to put the cursed souls on the hillside to rest. Thankfully, they have not learned of the awful details. But they are clamoring for us to end the zombies’ existence.

I would also like to remind the council that a pledge was made to build a shrine to Erastil by the end of this month. We should get started on that right away.

Marshal Pelagia Medyved

Before we settled the hills around the Old Sycamore, I took some of my scouts into the area to clear out any threats. We tracked down a few separate groups of mites that still lingered there, and killed them or drove them off. I don’t think they will return, but I will keep patrolling the region until we are better established there.

I think we should build a road to the Old Sycamore. The people are curious about visiting the landmark, and they will be happy to have a clear path to it. It will also be easier for me to keep the travelers safe, if I know where most of them will be.

Royal Enforcer Ianomara

I assisted the Marshal with putting an end to those pitiful little blue monsters. See, the Lady Medyved and I can get along just fine. Ianomara smirks; Pelagia frowns. I ordered the mite corpses to be strung up at the edges of our territory, as a warning to any that might try to slink back. We also collapsed the entrance to their tunnels under the Old Sycamore.

With the silver mine closed for renovations, profits are down. Pelagia coughs and looks away; Kesten looks uncomfortable. While we wait for the new mine entrance to be tunneled, we should look at other means of revenue. Building a pier would provide a lot of… opportunities, in my estimation.

Warden Kesten Garess

I really have to question where our priorities lie at the moment. Instead of walls, or a barracks, or a watchtower, we build more houses?! There are marauding trolls, malicious faeries, and a damn dragon infesting that giant forest on our doorstep, and we offer up more people for them to eat?! We have to take the defense of our lands seriously if we don’t want to lose them. At the very least, we should ring Stagfell’s land borders with walls. Perhaps building a quarry in the nearby hills will aid with its construction.

Emperor Satampra Zieros (Desnus, 4711 AR)

Tirouv Ompallios reports: How was your venture to the big city? Did you meet any beautiful but deadly women? Those are my favorite.

I’ve been stinking drunk for the past few weeks, so I don’t have much to report. No wait, I wish I had been stinking drunk, but there’s a distinct lack of drinking establishments in town. Instead I was bored out of my skull! Why couldn’t I have been your ambassador to Restov? Now that’s a city that caters to the finer things in life!

Oh, I would have insulted everyone and maybe started a war? Well… fair enough.

Councilor Salar (Desnus, 4711 AR)

Breen Everstead reports: Stagfell continues to grow, my lord, and we have more than enough housing for the new arrivals. Concerns of a monster attack linger, although I believe that the people feel better knowing the militia is there to protect us.

I have had no further report of trouble from the Sootscale kobolds, my lord.

My lord, I am sorry to say that there is some strife among the priesthood. Pharasma’s faithful wish to see the undead on the hill destroyed for good. They have heard that the scrolls that were discovered contained the secret to end the unnatural un-life of the zombies that guard the hillside. Also, the council had promised to build both a shrine to Erastil, as well as a brewery in Cayden Cailean’s name, by this time. But we have only the manpower and funds for one such structure. One of the groups is going to be very upset when their promise is not fulfilled.

Lord Velim Draganov reports: My spies within the Vacuna household are still gathering proof of their treachery, Councilor. Soon I will be able to demonstrate to you the depths of their disloyalty!

Lady Iren Vacuna reports: Councilor Salar, I have sadly received word that you have sided with the vile Draganovs, and have tasked them with framing my family for crimes against the council! Say it is not so, friend Councilor! I tell you, the Vacunas desire only peace. It is the Draganovs who are traitorous snakes! They will stab you in the back at the first opportunity. Call off this pogrom against my kin, and banish the Draganovs as a show of good faith; I implore you!

General Boliden (Desnus, 4711 AR)

Aeson Stalkingwolf reports: Militia training proceeds apace, General. We are focusing on crossbow and pike formations; I thought those would be the easiest to train, and the most effective if we are attacked by trolls or a large beast. Although, should the militia face such threats, it’s more likely that these farmers and shopkeeps will just break ranks and flee. <Aeson spits in the dirt> We will be vulnerable until we build barracks and begin training real soldiers. General.

Vicar Travaris Stone (Desnus, 4711 AR)

Archaedius Storantus reports: Your Eminence, we have a problem. Both a shrine to Erastil and a brewery for your faithful were promised by this month. But neither has been built, and we have not the manpower to construct both. The council will have to break its promise to one of these groups.

Furthermore, Pharasma’s priests have learned that we possess the knowledge to destroy the undead that plague the fort’s hillside. They demand to know what is being done on this front.

Spymaster Mestinous (Desnus, 4711 AR)

Malthanis reports: We have arrived at Varnhold in the east. Incidentally, we passed by an entourage heading west that was led by the daughter of Maegar Varn, lord of Varnhold. It seems that the daughter – name of Sojana Varn – is heading to Stagfell for an official visit.

Varnhold has been mustering footmen, archers, and calvary for an assault upon the Nomen centaurs. The army is led by one General Akiros Ismort – a name familiar to you, I believe. It seems the former lieutenant of the Stag Lord has found a new home. I have no way to gauge the army’s chances against the centaurs at the moment, but spirits are definitely high over here, and the general is well-loved by his troops. I will be spending the summer here, and will report in when I can.

Belgrin Ratbone reports: There is some growing unrest in the ranks of the priests. And some farmers have lost their crops to blight. But otherwise I have heard little to be concerned about.

Keeper Iofur (Desnus, 4711 AR)

Disaster, my lord! The crops near Stagfell have been stricken with blight! The first harvest of the year is ruined!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Ouuh, political.

    Akiros joined up with Varnhold? Good, and not good, for him.

    Good because he deserves a chance to redeem himself, not good, because he’s totally outgunned and doomed to failure. Not against the centaurs, against the Lich!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 11, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 13, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  3. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 16, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  4. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 17, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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