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Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 25, Part 1

June 29, 2015

redshirtsAs the daylight seeped out of the sky, Mestinous the flying elven wizard found his compatriots and related to them Simon the cleric’s unfortunate end. The party figured that they were in no shape to press the fight, and set out at once for Stagfell. In the dark. On foot. Having been recently acquainted with the rules for forced marches, and owing to the seriousness of the situation, they figured they could walk until they reached town, a journey that would normally take several days. They marched through the night, and all the next day, and reached the capital a few hours after dawn. By that point, the elf, the druid, and the monk had all collapsed from exhaustion, and it was left to the barbarian and the swashbuckler to carry/pull them along.

When they reached town, the Marshal Pelagia greeted them with surprise – she had just arrived herself, having taken a more measured pace in her journey. She was about to leave with the Grand Diplomat Vendelin to press Caerelia’s noble houses for the soldiers needed to repel the troll assault. Satampra the swashbuckler asked them to wait; he only needed 2 hours of rest thanks to his ring of sustenance and then he would be able to join them. The others retired for much longer periods.

While the Emperor was out begging for troops, the others had jobs of their own. Mestinous began to research a spell that would allow him to pierce the veil of invisibility. Boliden worked with Warden Kesten Garess to ensure the strength of the Stagfell’s defenses, and to draw up tactics for fighting trolls. Councilor Breen struggled to quell the panic resulting from the destruction of the Stagfell militia and the village of Tatzylford. It fell to Keeper Iofur to inform one of Simon’s lieutenants that he or she had received a promotion to High Priest, a job that, it was turning out, was quite dangerous.

Mass Hysteria!

It was only a few days until the next kingdom turn, so after Satampra made his rounds the council holed up in Stagfell and waited for word of the trolls from Pelagia’s scouts. Tatzylford was completely leveled, the reports came back. The trolls were moving south, stated another. The final troll sighting was at the the watchtower along the Murque River, which was now destroyed (the tower, not the river). It seemed that perhaps the trolls had gone back home.

tatzylford-turn25Tatzylford had four plots’ worth of buildings, so their demolition ratcheted up the kingdom’s Unrest by 4, to a total of 5. The destruction also significantly depressed Caerelia’s bonuses, since the destroyed buildings were no longer contributing anything. The rulers then started off the turn by failing the Stability check, increasing Unrest to 6. Breen’s efforts were in vain; panic gripped Caerelia as people realized just how vulnerable they all were to dismemberment by troll! The loss of the High Priest added on another Unrest, for a total of 7, and the Loyalty check to ensure a smooth transfer of power failed.

On the bright side, I let them recruit a Large unit of infantry. The nobles saw that their only hope for survival was to band together and provide the Emperor the levies that had been requested. But after paying for the army, they had no leftover BP to buy or rebuild anything. They did manage to pass the Economy check in order to collect taxes, which was fortunate.

There were no events this turn, but the influx of refugees from Tatzylford will nicely foreshadow next month’s event – Squatters! I rolled that event so long ago; strange how it turns up just in time to sync up with current happenings.

Caerelia after month 20:

Size: 15; Cities: 3; Control DC: 38

Economy: +34; Loyalty: +25; Stability: +30

Unrest: 7; Treasury: 20 BP; Consumption: 8 BP/turn; Income: +7 BPs/turn

Another Red Shirt

After the kingdom turn had concluded, the council sat around Stagfell for another two weeks – publicly to make sure the soldiers were properly trained for warfare against trolls, but privately because they wanted to wait until Mestinous concluded his arcane research. The next time they encountered the remaining hags, they wanted to be able to do something about their invisibility. It occurs to me now that researching see invisibility was unnecessary, given that the cleric can always cast invisibility purge, but I had forgotten about that spell and the cleric’s player apparently isn’t that familiar with his spell list.

Speaking of clerics! During the downtime, a wandering priest of Cayden Cailean visited Stagfell: Remesio of Mivon. He had heard tale of this kingdom that held his god in the highest esteem, and had wished to meet its High Priest. Remesio was saddened to learn that said priest had been killed – the 2nd such High Priest to bite it in the past year – and that as a result, the local church was in some disarray. And so he volunteered to stay and help rebuild, and also to assist the council in exacting revenge upon the trolls and hags that killed Simon. The council liked Remesio well enough, and so they appointed him High Priest over the objections of the lower-level local priests who had hoped to fill the position. After all, levels are power, and power is everything!

With the cleric replaced and the army secured, it was time to go on the attack!

Let Loose the Thylacines of War

Rivers Run Red 25aThe PCs and their army headed west along the road to Tatzylford, turning south when the road went north in order to reach the watchtower on the Murque River. The tower was indeed torn down to its foundations, and while scouts were sent off to the lizardfolk village – the players were concerned the trolls might be massing there – the soldiers were set to clean up and start rebuilding the site. After a few days, the scouts returned, reporting no troll activity at the village. The council members grumbled about the lizardfolk and discussed plans to come back and wipe them out after dealing with the trolls, but didn’t let themselves get too distracted. They set off for the troll camp once more.

When they were camping for the night while still a hex away, Iofur the druid predicted that the morrow would bring a major thunderstorm. There was some debate about whether to wait it out or press on, but eventually the more aggressive stance won the day. The morning brought a heavy downpour and a stiff wind as the army packed up their gear. The last leg of the march would be a particularly miserable one.

Rivers Run Red 25bLate in the day, when the infantry’s feet were sore from slogging through mud and their bones were chilled by the wet, they finally reached a huge clearing, with a towering rocky spire at the opposite end. Crude wooden huts and shelters, some troll-sized and others meant for humans, littered the base of the spire, along with other ramshackle structures. Between the humans and the settlement were two forces: around two dozen human slaves, armed with spears and commanded by troll taskmasters, and a mob of more than thirty trolls! The trolls were led by a hideous two-headed version of their kind, who had to shout with both heads to be heard over the howling wind. High up on the spire, a large bejeweled troll with a crown, leaning on a spiked club, stood on a ledge overlooking the host.

The order to advance was given, and the soldiers groaned at the prospect of going into battle – in the mud, in a thunderstorm, against trolls – after a day of travel. But they dutifully raised their spears and their shields, and grimly marched forward to meet their fate.

Next: war’s end!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    How well armed is the army the players felt confident enough to attack the trolls?
    That’s a pretty vicious troll army sounds like.

    I suppose if they lose here their kingdom will fall into anarchy, and if they win that’s pretty much Hargulka’s kingdom toast too, infact that sounds like Hargulka with the bejeweled crown.

    An important thing to remember with invisibility purge, while it’s a more powerful spell as it handles natural invisibility too, is that it works on allies. So you can kiss your invisible ninja or wizard a fond farewell as they’re left vulnerable and squishy

    • Their army had a ACR of 3, I believe? And the trolls’ ACR was 1, I think, although I don’t recall off the top of my head. The slaves were a non-entity. So the PC army had pretty good odds on a level playing field. Of course the trolls have regeneration, etc. so makes them a bit stronger.

      That’s a good point about invisibility purge! They haven’t been making much use of invisibility for themselves as of yet. I’m sure at some point Mestinous will get his hands on greater invis, though. And won’t that be fun for me… wheee.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Mmhm, spells like invisibility purge and antimagic field are those sort of spells that just highlight what a savvy player SHOULD be doing.
        They’re good, until you realize there’s nothing stopping you from abusing invisibility or magic, which makes them bad.
        That and all magic items are, of course, magic, so any adventurer loathes to step into an antimagic field.

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  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 24, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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