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Kingmaker: Intermission #1, Session 1

October 6, 2015

While the group had completed the published adventure, I wanted to give them the opportunity to wrap up loose ends or pursue personal goals before heading into book 3. Iofur the druid wanted to rescue his parents from the clutches of the evil Lord Ivo Tesarik, and Satampra the swashbuckler wanted to court the Swordlord Jamandi Aldori. Mestinous the elven wizard wanted to craft some magic items, and the others didn’t have any plans in particular.

In addition, while the troll king Hargulka was dead, his two-headed troll warlord Nagrundi and the bulk of the remaining troll forces had fled into the Narlmarches. And two of the three hags that were allied with the trolls were still at large. And neighboring Varnhold wanted to discuss setting a shared border, as that colony’s eastward expansion had been checked by the Nomen centaurs. And the council had to deal with the fallout of Tatzylford’s destruction. So there was still plenty of work to be done!

Spygames

Spymaster Mestinous set his underlings to the task of tracking down Lord Ivo Tesarik’s whereabouts, while Grand Diplomat Vendelin Fodorov extended discreet overtures to Brevoy Houses that had tangled with House Tesarik in the past. While they waited for those efforts to bear fruit, they had to deal with rebuilding the damage wrought by the trolls and Talonquake. Tatzylford had been torn down to its foundations, and a chunk of Stagfell had been squashed flat. In addition, a little shantytown had sprung up in Stagfell as refugees from Tatzylford and elsewhere flowed into the capital seeking protection. That was a Squatters event that I had rolled up some time ago, which just happened to coincide nicely with in-game events. I love it when that happens!

The council promised to rebuild Tatzylford, and to make some new homes for those that wished to remain in Stagfell, which defused the squatter issue for the time being. It occurs to me now that the building of the housing never happened, owing to the large gap we had where we weren’t playing this campaign, so that’s something that will have to be remedied in the future.

In any case, they rebuilt the brothel in Stagfell and the mill and houses in Tatzylford, but otherwise held onto their BP. The deadline for building a Black Market for the Thieves’ Guild was approaching, and they wanted to ensure they had the funds for it when the time arrived. The troops that had been raised to combat the trolls were sent back to their homes, and General Boliden started work on rebuilding the Stagfell militia after the disastrous losses that had been suffered during the conflict.

Conscience Attack

Rivers Run Red 27aWith that taken care of, the group ventured forth to explore the south-western corner of their map of the Greenbelt. Along the way, they rolled for a random encounter and I ditched the normal result in favor of a small group of trolls. I didn’t bother playing out the fight, because 3 trolls can’t compete with the group, or the ensuing interrogation, because I just wanted to feed them a plot point (Nagrundi and the remaining trolls were headed south, further into Mivon’s territory) and get on with the game. But the act of the trolls rolling over for the PCs gave the players some unexpected sympathy for the monsters, and a debate over whether to kill them or set them free ensued. So much for saving time. Eventually they remembered what they were dealing with and killed the man-eating giants.

Rivers Run Red 27bAfter their explorations were concluded, they headed back home. With the next kingdom turn, they finished rebuilding Tatzylford. A minor magic item turned up in town for sale – an Unexpected Find event – but I don’t recall exactly what it was.

Caerelia after month 22:

Size: 15; Cities: 3; Control DC: 38

Economy: +43; Loyalty: +23; Stability: +41

Unrest: 1 + 1/turn; Treasury: 27 BP; Consumption: 2 BP/turn; Income: +7 BPs/turn

On the Hunt

The Grand Diplomat’s search for allies against House Tesarik had turned up empty; those Houses that had fought with Tesarik in the past had suffered greatly and would not cross Lord Ivo again. But the Spymaster’s agents had somewhat better luck. They learned that Lord Tesarik would be attending the celebrations in honor of Brevoy’s founding in Brevoy’s capital, two months hence. And they further discovered that Ivo was currently in Fort Drelev, Caerelia’s neighbor to the west, on a hunting expedition! The time to strike was now!

Rivers Run Red 27cThe group decided to visit Fort Drelev incognito, seeing as they were going there to assassinate a foreign noble. They rode north to Oleg’s Trading Post, then struck west across the plains. After a few days, they reached the mighty East Sellen River, and followed the riverbank north until they encountered the Wyvernstone Bridge. The bridge was an impressive stone structure that had been built centuries ago, in the days after Brevoy was forced into being by Choral the Conqueror. Stone wyverns, dark and weathered, ineffectually guarded both sides of the span.

From the west bank of the East Sellen, they traveled southwest, keeping some distance between them and the marshlands on their left. They met few on their journey and did not encounter many villages or farms, which was surprising given how close they must have been to Drelev’s capital. Eventually they rode into Fort Drelev itself, a small and miserable port that sat where the Kestrel River emptied into the great Lake Hooktongue.

Their cover identities were that of wealthy merchants scouting out new prospects, and they rented the finest rooms that were available at the Iron Steeple Inn. Satampra soon took to the streets and learned that Lord Tesarik was a guest of a local lord, although Tesarik and his entire household had left town weeks ago to go hunting. His party was expected back soon, though. Iofur scouted the lord’s home in bird and mouse form, hoping to find one of his parents, but left frustrated.

Mist in the Wind

If Tesarik would be coming back to town soon, they reasoned, they could wait in ambush along the road! They packed up and rode west, until they felt that they were sufficiently far from town to carry out their dirty deeds. After a day or two, they spotted their quarry: a wagon and two carriages bearing Tesarik’s crest, flanked by an escort of mounted humans and gnomes.

Mestinous created a pit for the middle carriage to fall into while Iofur animated a zone of entangling flora to surround it. The rest of the party, soon joined by summoned tigers, engaged the guards. The gnomes turned out to be spriggans – size-changing fey that the party had encountered before – but neither they nor the mundane human warriors could stand up to the PCs. The driver of the wagon made to get away, while the leading carriage was halted and then crushed by Evard’s black tentacles. The ambushers reluctantly allowed the wagon driver to flee, and the servants in the carriage that was being crushed were reluctantly rescued. No one had emerged from the carriage that teetered on the edge of the pit, but there were screams and calls for help from within.

Cautiously, the PCs surrounded the carriage and flung open its doors, only to find… more servants! Where was their master?!? When the attack started, the servants said, Lord Tesarik had turned himself and one of their number into mist using his dark powers, and then both misty beings had vanished from sight. The one that Ivo grabbed was soon identified as none other than… Iofur’s mother! What was she doing there?!?

After some debate, the party decided that they shouldn’t slaughter the servants. The group questioned them and then let them  go, with a promise of employment should they choose to travel to Caerelia. From them the adventurers learned that Lord Ivo Tesarik had terrible and frightening sorcerous abilities, and that all lived in fear of him and his cold, calculating wrath. He almost always traveled with (Iofur’s mom, whom he hadn’t bothered to name) or her husband (ditto), but never the two together. The servants didn’t know why the two were so important to Ivo, but it seemed he wanted them to lead him to a particular blade, or something like that, and often grew angry when they could not.

After retrieving their mounts, the rulers took a round-about route back to Fort Drelev and waited to see if Ivo would appear. But he had not materialized by the time his servants returned to town a day later. As word spread of the ambush, the party decided to retreat to Caerelia, feeling confused about what had happened out there on the road and who exactly they were up against.

On the journey home, Satampra experienced a terrible nightmare. He was running through dark streets and alleys, chased, inexorably chased, always chased by someone, some dark awful figure, who was only glimpsed from around corners or the corner of his eye. He ran and ran, until he was stopped by a dead end, there was no escape, and the shadowy hunter blocked the way he had come, and drew closer, ever so slowly closer, extending razor-sharp claws, claws that would easily tear through his flesh… The swashbuckler awoke, screaming and covered with sweat, startling his comrades. Satampra found that he was unable to sleep the rest of the night, and was miserable and weary for the next day of riding.

That night, Iofur had the same nightmare. The night after, Remesio the cleric experienced it as well. And so it went, each one visited in turn. And then Satampra had the nightmare again…

Next: celebration time!

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