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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 1, Part 2

May 19, 2016

The bejeweled but otherwise nude fiddler stood atop the river’s surface as if it were the most natural thing in the world. He swept his arms wide to indicate the breadth of his domain.

“Welcome to my home, a place for all those born of the First World to come and live! I call it… Fiddler’s Rest! What do you think of it, mortals?”

Satampra the swashbuckler stepped forward to address the fossegrim. “It looks great, but – who are you? And what happened to all of the… mortals who lived here?”

“You do not know me? Me? The ferocious fiddler? The maestro of music? The terror of the Tors? The drowner of the… um, discordant?” The fiddler looked expectant that they might recognize him by his reputation, if not his good looks. And in fact, some did – there were tales that told of Ahmrin Fiarr, a water spirit that haunted the rivers and waterfalls of the surrounding mountains. It was said that Fiarr might teach you how to play the fiddle with amazing skill if the proper offerings were made… or he might drown you instead. When folks ventured into the Tors of Levenies and did not come back, it was sometimes said that they must have run afoul of Fiarr the fiddler.

Ahmrin was pleased to be recognized. And as to the people who lived in the town before him? He waved his bow in the air dismissively. “Gone. I know not where to, and do not care to.” The players seemed to accept his statements at face value, which surprised me. They had assumed the fey were behind the disappearances, but when one appears and says, “nah, not us,” they just believe it?

Some more back and forth led to the fiddler recounting that after the locals had vanished, the Culcheck clan of spriggans moved in, followed soon after by a grove of banan (grimstalkers). The two groups fell to fighting over the town, and when word of the conflict reached him, Ahmrin swam down from the mountains to put a stop to it. Oh, and to take the town as his own personal demesne. Fiarr further stated that it was within his rights to do so, as all the Stolen Land had been claimed for faerie-kind by the Green Lady. The mortals who had invaded the lands were intruders, and whatever happened to them was their own fault.

Then the fiddler played a joyous jig to celebrate his new town. The listeners could not help but tap their feet and bob their heads in time with the tune, aside from Iofur the druid, who still had his fingers in his ears. Satampra stepped forward and danced a lively and dexterous dance to accompany the tune. “I’ve invested a lot of points in Perform (dance),” he explained, “I can’t pass up an opportunity to use it!” Everyone else shrugged and joined in, again aside from Iofur who was starting assume the rest of the group had been charmed.

When the song came to an end, Ahmrin laughed a hearty laugh and complemented the swashbuckler on his fine moves. In exchange Satampra’s skillful dancing, he agreed to let the party spend the night in the town, as it was now quite late. And with that, he sank back into the rushing river.

Going to the Chapel

varnhold vanishing session 1 map 2The group, staying off of the road for fear of more pit traps, headed for Varnhold’s small shrine to Erastil. They were supposing that the fey would not bother them there, as they were thought to be an irreligious sort. From outside the building, they could hear the sounds of heavy objects being tossed about and splintering wood. A magical torch was tossed into the building’s main chamber, revealing a grimstalker who was trashing the place. The grimstalker, startled by the light, hissed at the party and fled into the shadows.

Finally, a flimsy pretext for a fight! Mestinous the elven wizard flung a fireball into the shrine, blowing out the windows and charring the broken pews. Satampra and Orseen the warpriest drew their weapons and charged into the temple, at which point they were ambushed by a second grimstalker that was hiding inside the doorway. The first grimstalker also re-appeared, and shouted out a command to attack as it charged the humans. Outside the building, several weedwhips came to life in response to the command and swung their poisonous fronds at the casters.

Aside from Satampra losing 5 points of Dexterity from the grimstalkers’ poison, the fey and their plants were defeated without too much trouble. A search of the shrine turned up a secret drawer in the altar; inside were scrolls of cure serious wounds, remove paralysis, restoration, break enchantment, breath of life, and raise dead. That’s about 12,000 gp worth of scrolls! The adventure notes that this was an emergency stash for the town, but remove paralysis is unlikely to come up unless a lich should happen to walk through touching people, and breath of life isn’t doing anyone any good in a drawer. After passing out the scrolls to the divine casters, the group piled the pews up at the doorway and made camp.

Forget Me Not

varnhold vanishing session 1 map 3In the morning, the investigators went looking in the adjoining graveyard for any recent deaths, thinking that they could use speak with dead to get some information on what may have happened to the townsfolk. And they found one such grave, with a wooden marker that read, “Andrisha the Potter.” Poor Andrisha was dug up, whereupon the cleric admitted that he didn’t actually have speak with dead prepared, and they would have to wait until “happy hour” in the evening for him to swap out prayers. The potter’s coffin was closed in great frustration, and the party made for her shop.

As they were gathering their possessions to leave the church, the group realized that several of the town’s new trees had moved since dawn, and now there was a large cluster around the entrance to the shrine. So the party exited through the graveyard instead and gave the trees a wide berth as they walked. Along the way, they stopped off at a tree in the center of town – a real tree, not a grimstalker-tree – so that Iofur the druid could speak with it.

Now, speak with plants doesn’t give you a lot of guidance as to what plants are able to perceive. I was caught a little off-guard here, but I assumed the tree was aware of what was going on around it in general terms. It basically told the druid that it “saw” everyone in town coming out of their homes in the middle of the night and heading southeast. It couldn’t really pinpoint when it happened other than “many dawns and dusks ago”, but it did give the PCs a valuable lead to follow up on.

At the potter’s, they found that the door to Andrisha’s house had been busted down, whereas the other buildings they had investigated had simply been standing open. A search of the interior revealed a secret compartment, inside of which they found a fine set of flagons and platters that were chased in platinum. A card revealed the serving set was a gift for the wedding of Regent Noleski’s daughter in Brevoy. Each piece was wrapped up and stowed for transport by the PCs, amid talk that perhaps the set could be repurposed as the Caerelian rulers’ wedding gift. Their only concern was that it might seen as being a little cheap for the rulers of Caerelia.

Once again, some trees had gathered outside the shop while the party was inside. The investigators were preparing to go out the back way, which appeared to be clear for the moment, when Remesio the drunken cleric smacked his forehead with his hand. “Wait! I do have speak with dead prepared!” The others groaned and charted a course to take them back to the graveyard.

Next: Andrisha speaks!

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9 Comments
  1. Pinkius permalink

    Spooky! Hey, did you consider having the fey give the party fiddling lessons?
    I mean they were his first friendly mortal visitors of his new town, surely he was in a good mood, and they were suitably supplicant.

    • Ahmrin Fiarr the Fiddler does not just hand out music lessons willy-nilly! Satampra did want to know what the legends said about suitable sacrifices to get the Fiddler to teach someone. But the legends didn’t agree on one method. The only common element was an offering meat on a Thursday, and it was a Tuesday, so that was a no-go.

      • Pinkius permalink

        So they weren’t pushy enough about it then ;D

  2. Forgetful clerics can be a pest.

  3. somesaycubbish permalink

    Well I’m heartened to see that a Kingmaker character has put Perform (Dance) to good use. I played a wizard in our Kingmaker campaign, and I kept putting points into Dance. But she never once got a chance to use it before our campaign ended prematurely… 😦

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 1, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 2, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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