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Kingmaker: Intermission #1, Session 7, Part 2

April 3, 2016

big_bad_wolfThe riders reached the House Tesarik lands by mid-Lamashan (October). They held off from approaching the manor house until dark, and passed the time hiding within a copse of trees. After the sun went down, Iofur the druid took the form of an owl and scouted out the area. There were several patrols of human and gnomish guards, along with… a pack of large wolves*? The gnomish warriors were probably spriggans, they assumed, based on past run-ins with Lord Ivo. The wolf pack seemed to freely roam the area and didn’t bother the guards, nor were the guards startled or scared by the wolves, so it was inferred that the animals were extraordinary in some fashion.

* These were actually size Large wolves, which is not something one would miss even on casual observation. However, I had put together their stats so long ago that I had forgotten that tidbit, and missed it when I quickly glanced at my stat sheet. So I described them as simply “wolves” and didn’t realize that they were much, much bigger than normal until Satampra charged forward to face them. But I’m getting ahead of myself!

After Iofur delivered his report, the party discussed various ways to take out the patrols without alerting the entire compound. They had invisibility, they had silence… no, wait, they didn’t have that, Remesio the oft-unprepared cleric noted matter-of-factly. The group would have to wait until the following evening before they could attack, in order to have the proper spells prepared. They reasoned that they still had time before the Lord of these lands returned, so their only challenge was to evade detection until then. Iofur scouted out an area that they could hide in for a day, and they relocated to their new campsite and waited 24 hours.

With plan and spell and cover of darkness in place, the adventurers left their horses behind and approached the manor under the veil of an invisibility sphere. The guards patrolled in pairs, and after staking out a spot with some cover for the casters, they targeted an isolated spriggan duo to pounce on first. Remesio prayed for a zone of silence and placed it on a stone, which was given to Boliden the barbarian. Other buffs were doled out to the barbarian and Satampra the swashbuckler. When the evil gnomish guards stomped by, the adventurers pounced, breaking the sphere.

But before the guards were dispatched, one broke free of the silence and managed to scream for help. The party quickly dragged the bodies out of sight and laid in wait for someone to respond. Soon they had a team of spriggans approach from one direction, and a pair of human guards from the other. Caution was tossed to the wind as the group summoned tigers, called lightning down from the sky, and detonated fireballs in their opponents’ midst. The guards were quickly put down, but nearby howls indicated that the wolf pack would be on the ambushers before they could regroup. Satampra bravely rushed forward to hold the hillock between the wolves and the rest of the group; this is when I realized that he was facing a half-dozen monstrous lupines that were as big as horses. “If you had told me that I think I would have done something else,” Satampra’s player complained, but in truth, the group was spread out and the wolves would have been snacking on the casters had he not stepped forward.

So what were the wolves? A while back I had this idea of statting up the Big Bad Wolf, more or less; a primal manifestation of humanity’s fear of an apex predator, an outdoors version of the bogeyman basically. And an alpha wolf needs a pack, so I took some fiendish dire wolves and fiddled with their stats a bit to make them less fiendish and more faerie.

In any case, the wolves savaged the swashbuckler a bit without managing to trip him (which is actually shame, as he’s the only character who can recover easily from a trip), and then the Big Bad shifted into hybrid form and pounced. Satampra’s hit points were shredded, and only a lucky opportune parry kept him from getting taken out of the fight.

At this point, the situation was looking a bit shaky for the PCs. Boliden and the summoned tiger were on the other side of the battlefield, with the casters in a cluster that was much closer to the wolves. Mestinous the elven wizard did what he always does in the face of danger and ran away. The barbarian and the tiger tried to close the gap. Satampra also retreated in the hopes of being healed, but Remesio had a leg pulled out from under him by one of the wolves. He was prone, with a huge slavering beast hovering over him, and when that happens in 3e/PF, you’re mostly screwed. Stand up? AoO and another trip attempt. Crawl away? AoO with a bonus to hit, and you can only go 5 ft.

The tiger was offered up as a sacrifice to the Big Bad Wolf while Boliden shifted gears and helped take down the wolf that was menacing the cleric. Remesio was then able to stand up and graced the swashbuckler with a cure. Mestinous sicced several ball lightnings and a flaming sphere on the wolves, and then tried to slow The Wolf down with a create pit spell, which it leaped clear of. Iofur’s tiger didn’t last long, and a second one ran off in a panic when the Big Bad howled, but he kept the lightning bolts coming. Soon the pack was down and only its leader remained.

Boliden went toe-to-toe and claw-to-claw with the terrifying beast, while the casters hammered it with spells and Satampra slipped around the back to sneak attack it. And while it was a fearsome opponent, it couldn’t last long against the focused might of the party. It uttered its final growl as it slumped to the ground, its body torn and burnt. I thought the Big Bad performed well, although I ended up upgrading the actions needed for his fearsome growl and terrifying howl abilities. An AoE fear effect was too much for a move action in the end, even for a “boss” monster.

While more healing was passed around – Boliden probably would not have survived another strike from the monster – Iofur took to the skies to ensure no one ran off to fetch aid. And sure enough, some of the house servants were already heading for the nearby village. An entangle stopped them in their tracks, and they were herded back towards the manor. The remaining guards had barricaded themselves within the home, but could not offer much resistance when the reinvigorated party stormed the building. The servants were rounded up, and the PCs went looking for the dungeon. “Because you know this guy has a dungeon,” noted Satampra.

And indeed, in the wine cellar they found the door to the Lord’s private prison, a place the servants feared to enter. The brave and/or foolhardy adventurers, of course, had no such qualms, and prepared to kick down the door.

Next: what lies beneath!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    This is almost another book of a dungeon sounds like, after this escapade, are the cyclops going to stand a chance? I mean, they dismantled us, but that’s just what happens when you fight a boss lich and his antipaladin guard at the same time. Paralysis sucks.

    • We’ll see how things go. Right now they’re 8th level, which is a level above what’s expected for starting VV. But I dunno how much of VV they’ll really be doing – they’re kinda beyond the whole “hexplore” thing at this point and I’ll probably scrap most of the quests, or at least how they’re presented in the adventure. And given the way things have gone so far, they might end up going to war against the centaurs. I actually need to figure out something for the BBEG to be doing while the group is undoubtedly distracted by other stuff.

      • Pinkius permalink

        What else does an immortal spellcaster do? Craft! He’s got a treasure horde, he’s got a whole buncha souls, i mean, sure he’s already got a whole buncha swag lying around, but you can never have too many… Maybe he reaches out some feelers for some minions, reanimates and sends out some more giants, gets in a conflict with the campaign BBEG, that’d be interesting don’t you think? Fey Vrs Undead.

      • Mei Yu Lian permalink

        That’s kinda my worry too. The whole hexploration thing kinda goes off with rulers, I’d expect.

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