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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 2, Part 1

May 26, 2016

grimstalker“Come out and face justice, cowardly mortals!” bellowed Ahmrin Fiarr, the ferocious fiddler.

The explorers were holed up in the home of Willas Gunderson – Varnhold’s Marshal and discoverer of a mysterious jade bracelet. The house was built into a hillside and thus only had the one door. Outside said door was a grove of banan – murderous elf-like, plant-like fey that could turn into trees – and the Fiddler – a malicious, musical water spirit.

Satampra the swashbuckler poked his head out and called back, “Um, so, just to be clear – what particular crimes are we to face justice for?”

“What crimes!” boomed the incredulous Fiarr. “I gave you leave to spend the night in my domain, and as my guest you murder my subjects and steal my treasures?!?”

Satampra ducked back inside to discuss the charges with his fellows before responding. “The grimstalkers in the church attacked us first!” (a lie) “And all that we’ve taken were some possessions of the former townsfolk!”

Everything in this town is mine, you rogue!” Fiarr roared as he played short, sharp notes on his fiddle. “I thought I made that clear when first we met. I command you to exit the dwelling and deposit upon the ground all that you have stolen. Then you and your companions will leave my town, never to return. Do not test my mercy further, mortals!”

Satampra glanced at Maestro Pendrod’s viola that they had recovered in the inn. If only he had some ranks in Perform (string instrument), he could challenge Fiarr to a duel… but alas, it was not to be. Instead, the group hid Gunderson’s journal, the scrolls from the church, and Pendrod’s loose papers in their packs, and gathered everything else – Pendrod’s books, his instrument, and Andrisha’s wedding gift – for Ahmrin Fiarr.

After cautiously emerging from the house and setting down the possessions, the Fiddler asked them if that was everything. Satampra answered in the affirmative, flubbing his Bluff check in the process, the first of many rolls that he would flub that evening. The distrustful Fiarr played a tune of suspicion, and ordered the banan to search the mortals for contraband. Two of the closest trees shifted into their humanoid form and advanced on the Emperor, who had no intention of allowing the fey to touch him. Instead he shouted a warning to his companions and brandished his fey-bane spear.

I’m Chaotic What Now?!

Inside the Marshal’s house, Orseen the warpriest used his Fervor to swiftly give himself the divine favor of Iomedae. He also sanctified his greatsword, causing it to burst into flame and become keenly sharp. Then he rushed outside to do battle. Remesio the cleric chanted a prayer, while Iofur the druid and Mestinous the elven wizard both summoned several ball lightnings. Outside, Satampra parried the poisoned claws of the grimstalkers, as their fellows also shifted from tree to humanoid form and advanced.

In the blockhouse on top of the hill, spriggans hooted and hollered and readied their crossbows in case a clear target presented itself.

Ahmrin Fiarr started to dance with abandon and struck up a wild, boisterous song on his fiddle. The grimstalkers were transformed by the music, becoming more bestial than before. They grew larger and more savage looking, horns grew from their heads, and their claws, teeth, and horns dripped with acidic poison. This was the result of the skald’s Inspired Rage song, with the lesser fiend totem, lesser elemental blood [acid], and linnorm death curse [tarn] Rage Powers.

The melee was concentrated outside the doorway, with the spellcasters clustered just inside so they could have line of sight to their foes. Into that cluster, Remesio dropped a holy smite, which led to some quick character sheet checking. Remesio, Satampra, and Orseen were Good, Iofur was Neutral, and Mestinous was… Chaotic Evil?!? “I was probably drunk when I wrote that,” was his player’s all-too-likely explanation, as he lamely erased CE on his sheet and replaced it with CN. Iofur and Mestinous ended up taking some minor damage, while the grimstalkers were burned by holy energy. Their leader, a grimstalker with rogue levels, was even momentarily blinded.

Orseen hacked away at the blinded grimstalker while Satampra stabbed and killed another with his spear. As the creature died, it uttered a death curse (thanks to the Fiddler’s song), much as the Dancing Lady had many years ago. Only this curse prevented its recipient from receiving any sort healing! Mestinous also ended up cursed (and poisoned, and quite wounded) after blasting apart a grimstalker that made it into the house.

While Iofur summoned a tiger, the Fiddler played a slightly different tune, one that wormed its way into the Emperor’s head… and his loins. Satampra had the sudden urge to run over and kiss Fiarr on his full, juicy lips. Thinking quickly, Remesio froze the swashbuckler in place with a prayer of hold person. Satampra had flubbed both saving throws, but on the next round he received another save against the hold and rolled a 20. After breaking free, he eagerly approached the Fiddler and passionately kissed him – at which point, his lungs began to fill with water! (he flubbed that save, too) Ahmrin Fiarr laughed as Satampra stumbled back, drowning in the evening air.

Next: glub glub!

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9 Comments
  1. I’d never thought to give NPCs/monsters Death curses. That’s nasty and evil! I love it 😀

    • *puts on his Rat Bastard DM hat* 😀

      • Pinkius permalink

        Skalds can do that!? That’s sinister!

      • Yeah, instead of inspire courage they can give listeners a barbarian rage (which does have drawbacks), PLUS rage powers, which are a mixed bag. But extra attacks? Extra energy damage? Death curses?! Pounce! (I didn’t give them that but it’s possible) Of course from a book-keeping standpoint it’s an absolute nightmare.

      • Pinkius permalink

        I was under the impression all the “good” rage powers had rediculous pre-requisites, like, level locks, or 3 other rage powers, or having natural attacks (which the core races do not). but I can imagine gaining 1 rage power to be better than inspire courage, at least at low to mid levels.
        Inspire Courage scales well, but a +1 or +2 can be gained easily from somewhere else for less effort.

      • Depends. The level prereqs, in any case, are borne by the skald and not the song target. In this situation I chose rage powers that would be good for empowering creatures with natural attacks (the grimstalkers) by giving them an additional attack (gore) and adding 1d6+1 acid to every attack. And also the death curse. 🙂 The advantage of the skald, as a NPC anyway, is that you can throw all sorts of interesting abilities onto a non-classed creature. A PC barbarian that has a death curse is pretty meh. A crowd of NPC mooks that have death curses, OTOH…

        As a PC, the skald is also useful since the buffs are morale bonus to stats, instead of the bard’s morale bonus to hit & damage. The skald’s rage doesn’t stack with other rage effects, which isn’t a big deal, I don’t think. The bard’s courage doesn’t stack with some cleric buffs, which might be an issue, depending on party composition.

      • I can remember being frustrated by stuff being morale bonuses and so not stacking with the bard. Cleric spells certainly. Cavalier’s Banner ability. Some other stuff too I think.
        I remember it as the great restriction on crowd buffs, though that might be an exagerration.

        Skalds do loose a bit as PCs though, since they incite a Rage, which means affected individuals can’t (normally) cast spells.

        The Death Curses on crowds thing is just nasty though! Or summoned hordes.

      • Yeah, rage has its drawbacks. No spellcasting, AC penalty, can’t use a lot of skills…

        Enraged summoned hordes, eh? Hmmm!

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  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 1, Part 3 | Daddy DM

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