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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 24, Part 2

June 25, 2015

Working quickly, the party spellcasters bestowed prayers and empowering magics upon Satampra the swashbuckler. He had the strength of a bull, the grace of a cat, the speed of a… well, of a hasted human, and was invisible as well! He quickly and quietly crept up to the coven of hags and their four troll bodyguards while Mestinous the elven wizard and Iofur the druid began summoning tigers.

Unfortunately, invisibility doesn’t mask one’s scent, and the trolls’ keen noses picked up on Satampra’s presence as he tried to get close to the green hag known as Nekista Syla. The guardians alerted the hags that an unseen human was amongst them, and Nekista instantly vanished from sight – having invisibility as an at-will spell-like ability is very useful! The river witch Mamuna began casting some of her own buff spells, while the monstrous annis hag Toboura bellowed for the war party to return.

Plan B

Okay, thought Satampra, I dunno where Nekista is. Time for plan B! Toboura was the closest hag, so he padded up to her and thrust his sword up under her spiky breastplate. As he wrenched the blade free of the creature’s vile body, his invisibility disappeared, leaving him exposed to the trolls and the coven. But his companions could also see him, and they sprang into action!

Boliden the barbarian and Breen the monk raced forth from the treeline with preternatural speed to engage the trolls closest to them, and they were swiftly followed by a pair of summoned tigers (one natural, one entropic). Toboura and the trolls attacked the humans while the invisible Nekista began a battle chant and Mamuna called forth a thorny entanglement to slow down the assault. Mestinous the elven wizard lobbed a fireball at their foes, beating the hags’ spell resistance, and Iofur the druid summoned a flaming sphere.

Mestinous making his spell penetration checks was no fluke; this was one of those sessions where I mostly rolled like crap and the players’ dice were on fire. The hags’ SR didn’t work once. Mamuna tried to dispel Mestinous’ fly spell and failed. Toboura, despite being a terror in melee – on paper, at least – could barely hit. The trolls weren’t having much luck, either.

And uncharacteristically, the players did a pretty good job focusing on a target for once. Now that Satampra had tagged Toboura, the others adapted to the new plan and ran with it. Soon the annis hag was running low on hit points, and she drank a potion of displacement – which ended up blocking exactly zero attacks. Mamuna tried to blind the attackers with a glitterdust, which only affected the barbarian, and then only for a round. Nekista Syla tried to infect Satampra with some hideous laughter, which he likewise only found hilarious for one round. Although that did give the swashbuckler the chance to use his much-derided Kip Up ability.

As the horde of trolls was about to fall upon the PCs, Toboura collapsed from her wounds. She might have still lived, but Iofur’s flaming sphere was left sitting on top of her. And thus one of the terrors of the Riverlands died after centuries of causing death and madness, and with a rather lovely funeral pyre to see her out.

One Death Deserves Another

Of course, even as the party fled the advance of 20+ trolls, they were still looking for ways to take out the other hags. What had been a plan to kidnap one of them and spirit her away had turned into delusions that they could wipe out the entire coven even while running for their lives. Mamuna had disappeared, but Nekista was visible, and about to pounce on Simon the cleric, who was bringing up the rear. So the flying Mestinous created a pit under her.

Nekista jumped clear, but Simon and a wounded troll were caught on the periphery; both slid in. The damage, luckily for Simon, knocked the troll unconscious for a moment, but the priest had a problem – there was no way he could make the DC 25 Climb check to escape. And by the time the spell expired, he would be surrounded by trolls. And to make matters worse, another troll got too close to the pit and fell into it, and survived the fall.

The elf swooped down and grabbed the cleric’s hands, but their ascent was checked when the troll in the pit grabbed Simon’s legs! Simon used a hand to grasp his holy symbol and uttered a prayer of sanctuary. The troll failed its save and couldn’t maintain the grapple! But Nekista Syla was not so weak willed – with a howl of rage, she leaped over the edge of the pit and, after making her save against the sanctuary, wrapped her arms around Simon’s waist!

Mestinous took to the sky as the priest futilely tried to dislodge the hag from his mid-section. Higher and higher they went, and Nekista (and I) began to doubt the wisdom of her actions. If the wizard flew them back to his companions, she would be toast. And she was unable to fly herself. She needed some way to take charge of their direction, and fast! She tried some long-shot charm person spells, but they failed (+5 to the save for being in combat, +2 because elf, decent Will save). Meanwhile, the wizard freed up one hand to pull out his 5-missile wand of magic missile, and was firing it at the hag. Simon clasped both of his hands onto the elf’s non-wand arm and held on for dear life.

With her hit points being stripped away by the wand, Nekista resolved to take some drastic action. And so she cast grease on Simon’s hands. He failed the saving throw to avoid the spell, and lost his grip on the wizard! The green hag kicked off from the cleric with a laugh, and the pair plummeted down to the trees below. There was the sound of snapping branches, and then an explosion of panicked birds as the two slammed into the trees, followed by a sickening thump as their bodies hit the ground.

The wizard flew down to investigate. Simon was mush, and on fire to boot – his store of alchemist’s fire had exploded on impact, as per his player’s request. Nekista Syla picked herself up off the ground, broken and bloody but not beaten, and with a terrible cackle she vanished from sight.

Or Did She?

Immediately after the session, Satampra’s player grasped at straws and wanted to know if Nekista needed to make a massive damage save. I hadn’t even considered the possibility, but the fall met the criteria, barely – I think the damage was exactly half her hit point total.

If she died, that would have thrown a wrench in my plans. My thought was that Nekista – a bard as well as a hag – had to be the one to play the flute that would send Talonquake (the giant owlbear) after the players’ kingdom at the end of the adventure. If she died, could I go back and say that anyone could play the flute? The players wouldn’t know either way; this was all just background fluff in my head. Perhaps a less skilled performer might cause control over the owlbear to go awry in some way? After some thought I decided that Nekista was necessary and the owlbear simply would not appear if she died, although of course it would still be in its cave, should the PCs ever get around to exploring that hex.

With that settled, I let Simon’s player roll her Fortitude save at the start of the next session. Success! Nekista lived after all. Simon, of course, was still dead. The council would have to go down to the brewery in Stagfell and sober up another cleric of Cayden Cailean.

Next: the penultimate chapter!

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5 Comments
  1. Mei Yu Lian permalink

    Penultimate? Just for Rivers Run Red, surely? Not for the campaign I trust?

  2. Pinkius permalink

    Another Cleric of Cayden? Surely they must view the job as Red Shirt material by now

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  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 24, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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