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Kingmaker: Intermission #1, Session 6, Part 2

March 19, 2016

The players had expanded their kingdom’s borders without also shoring up the kingdom’s bonuses, leaving Caerelia in a weaker-than-usual position. Some kingdom events and lucky rolls on my part left them with a high level of Unrest which, when combined with some unlucky rolls on their part, led to several failed Stability and Economy checks. And then as autumn turned to winter, they got an Inquisition event!

No One Expects the Rostland Inquisition!

The Inquisition event, it turns out, is one of the harsher ones. It’s continuous, but unlike most such events you have to succeed at two checks in a row in order to end it. That is, two checks made over two consecutive turns. And when you fail, or even when you succeed but not for the 2nd time in a row, you get hit with a penalty to the kingdom bonus that’s needed to end the event.

In this case, the event represented a pogrom against Riverlanders in the kingdom. The council seized and locked up the charismatic demagogue who was riling up the mob (succeeded 1st check), but after a brief respite, a prominent noble took up the cause and re-ignited the crusade (failed next month’s check). The noble was too important to throw in the dungeon, but they beefed up the guard in order to keep the peace (succeeded the 3rd check). Finally, Spymaster Mestinous’ agents were able to dig up some blackmail dirt on the noble, and the council persuaded him to recant (succeeded again, ending the event). All in all, the kingdom lost 4 points of Stability and Loyalty, gained 1 Infamy, and the capital took heavy hits to its Lore and Production stats.

There were some bright spots during this dark winter, however. An artist from the village of Last Hope (built around the lost Temple of the Stag) was taken by divine inspiration and produced a beautiful painting of Erastil. Worshipers traveled to the village to see the work, and the kingdom gained some BP, a temporary boost to the Economy, and +1 Fame. A month later, a noble family, inspired by the story of Salar’s death, or perhaps just seeking to curry favor with the rulers, donated a Monument dedicated to the halfling ranger in the town of Salar’s Rest (build around the Dancing Lady’s castle, where Salar perished).

Nightmare on Elk Street

In Abadius (January), while the pogrom was still in full swing, the PCs were struck, one by one, by terrible nightmares. In their dreams, they were running scared through dark alleys and empty streets, running away from a shadowy figure that was always just around the corner. Finally, they ran into a dead-end and were cornered! The dark figure stood at the alley entrance, blocking their exit, and slowly advanced upon his prey. His claws scraped against the stone walls as he gradually, inexorably came closer and closer, until the shadow loomed over the dreamer. “Where is the sword?!” the figure screeched, before driving his claws into his victim and tearing out their insides.

The victim always awoke with hysterical screams, and was unable to return to sleep that night. Sometimes they woke up with faint scratch marks on their bodies, and Mestinous the elven wizard found himself unable to concentrate upon preparing his spells on days after he had the nightmare. The source was obvious enough – Lord Ivo Tesarik, captor and tormentor of Iofur the druid’s parents, and possible vampire. He had sent rounds of nightmares to the PCs before, after they had confronted him face-to-face. Here’s a tip: if your enemy can cast nightmare as a spell-like ability, don’t ever meet him or her face-to-face. Or get on their radar at all! Nightmare is a nasty piece of work. Strange that its “can’t prepare new spells” bit only affects arcane casters, though.

On one of those nights, Iofur was the target of Ivo’s dark magic. He awoke from the night terror, yelling and clutching his body, as usual. But this time, as he struggled to calm himself, he thought he saw something moving in the darkness. It’s probably nothing, he thought. Just my imagination. Regardless, he invoked the spirits to shine a magical light upon the room, so as not to give his imagination any further ammunition. And he was shocked to find an intruder! It was a short humanoid, with shadowy skin wrapped in shadowy rags, and it was standing right next to his bed!

The darkling was holding a small box out in front of it, as if to offer it to the druid. As the light revealed its form to Iofur, it quickly lifted the lid of the box, which held a severed finger! “This isn’t your parents’ finger,” it whispered, “but it could be!” With a laugh, the figure dropped the box and its contents, and seemingly faded into the shadows. Iofur took his light and hunted around the room, but found no traces that anyone had ever been there, aside from the gruesome gift.

Another few days passed, and the terrible dreams stopped. But three months later, in Gozran (April) 4714, the nightly terrors came again. Iofur was visited in the flesh again as well, although this time with a hand. In the morning it was learned that the hand had come from a man in town, who was assaulted in his bed by a gaggle of the shadowy beings. They had chopped off the fellow’s hand and then disappeared into the darkness with it.

But it didn’t end there. On the following night, Mestinous the elven wizard was struck by the bad dreams. When he woke up screaming and sweating – waking up his wife Tamara as well – he spied 4 of the stealthy minions in his room, creeping next to his bed with drawn knives! Tamara shrieked as she jumped up and ran out of the room, followed by one of the small assassins. The others stabbed at the wizard with their knives, although he was able to avoid the worst of their attacks. Then Mestinous grabbed his sword – his arcane focus – from next to his bed, pulled it from its sheath, and channeled a fireball spell through it. The blast destroyed half the room and immolated two assailants. The last one, now alone in the room with the wizard, considered his options and melted away into the darkness.

Mestinous ran out into the hall, where he found his wife and the guards. Her pursuer had also vanished into the shadows, and she was afraid but unharmed.

Come morning, the weary wizard started hunting through all the bestiaries that he could find in Stagfell’s library. His research led him to the conclusion that the assassins were dark folk – shadowy caerelia turn 43humanoids that were nearly impossible to see in darkness. Were they fey? the group wondered. Not normally, but I decided that perhaps they originally hailed from the First World. Basically I had wanted some mini-Ivos to hit the group with, and the dark folk were close enough without being exactly the same. I gave them the shadowdancer’s Hide in Plain Sight ability, and intended for them to have a fear aura as well, but forgot about that part. I can always bring it in later if I end up using them again.

What’s in the Box?!?

stagfell turn 43Now the group was getting worried. Mestinous started to research a spell of alarm that could wake up the occupants of a bedroom if strangers entered. But that would take time, and they needed to take precautions before nightfall. They decided to all sleep in the same room and have the guards stand watch over them. If they were attacked, the spellcasters would light up the chamber while the others would attempt to grab the little buggers. Long story short, the plan worked. Remesio the cleric was struck by last-hope turn 43the nightmare, and when he woke everyone else up, the others lit up the room, spied the intruders, and managed to wrestle two of them into submission.

Some questioning revealed that the shadowy assassins were indeed working for Lord Ivo, although they knew him as their “Master of Fear and Darkness and Murder.” And they considered themselves to be lesser servants of fear, darkness, and murder. They didn’t know much else, and so the group tatzylford turn 43considered what to do with them. “Ivo’s screwing with us,” declared Satampra the swashbuckler. “We’ve got to screw him back!” Bereft of options, the settled on cutting off the… um, genitalia of the captive dark creepers, and sent them to Ivo’s residence in Restov. In a box, naturally. This is what happens when players are called upon to make decisions at the end of the night…

At this point in time, the thieves’ guild war seemed to be winding down and the pogrom against salars-rest turn 43Riverlanders was losing steam. Caerelia had been wounded by the internal strife, and now was a time of rebuilding that which had been damaged.

Caerelia after month 43:

Size: 35; Cities: 4; Control DC: 59

Economy: +61; Loyalty: +55; Stability: +52

Unrest: 1; Treasury: 14 BP; Consumption: 0 (-2) BP/turn; Income: +13 BPs/turn


Next: rebuilding period!

 

 

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12 Comments
  1. Mei Yu Lian permalink

    Did you use the Dark Folk ‘as is’, or did you change them into Fey?

    • In terms of story or mechanics? The answer would be “maybe/indeterminate” and “no” respectively. Mechanically, the whole point of using them was for the sake of expediency so I wasn’t going to spend time rejiggering their stats or anything like that.

      • Mei Yu Lian permalink

        That makes sense.

        And I was thinking mostly mechanically, since I’d been annoyed about how tricky it would be 🙂

      • I enjoy Pathfinder’s character/monster-building minigame a lot, but I’m definitely not a slave to it. While the differences between stats for monster types seemed cool when 3e came out, after DMing it for a long time I realized that it was actually contributing to bad monster design. I try not to think too much about it these days. If I want something to be faerie, it is, regardless of its “real” monster type.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    That’s some good flavor.

  3. Pinkius permalink

    Spellturning might be an interesting counter to Nightmare, if Lord Ivo isn’t immune to his own spell-like ability, and if they can even access spellturning.

    • That’s a pretty good counter, and available sooner than mind blank, but still way out of their reach.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Wait, isn’t Mestinous an elf? elfs are immune to nightmare because they don’t sleep

      • Elves in Pathfinder are immune to sleep spells, but there’s nothing in the description that I can see about not actually sleeping.

      • Pinkius permalink

        I looked it up, there was some confusion about the elves of golarion book, which was written before pathfinder came out, when the makers of pathfinder were writing supplements for 3.5.
        TL:DR, Elves do sleep. Continue as you were.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red, Session 32, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 2, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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