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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 7, Part 1

September 9, 2016

Before the adventurers could go chasing after this Vordakai fellow, there was the matter of peace talks with the Nomen centaur tribe to deal with first. The group went forward with their original plan – meet with the Nomen leader in the Dunsward, and then head down to the Tors to look for Vodakai Island – except now they had a better fix on where the island might be. Also, they were hoping that the Nomen might know more about their mysterious attacker.

Landshark!

The trip eastward was rather uneventful, at least until the expedition descended out of the foothills and into the plains of the Dunsward. It was nearing the end of spring, a rare time of pleasant weather in the Stolen Lands, and the group rode through fields of blooming flowers and buzzing insects. Soon they came to an area where the landscape was marred by large furrows of churned earth, the likes of which the explorers had never seen before. Nevertheless, Iofur the druid recognized the shifted soil as a sign that a landshark, also known as a bulette, hunted in the region. The PCs considered, and then quickly discarded, the idea of riding around the bulette’s territory; they were level 9 bad-asses now, and they could handle whatever nature threw at them. Probably.

varnhold-vanishing-session-7-map-1The horses they rode, though, were a different story. When the landshark finally made itself known, it erupted from the ground and swallowed Orseen the warpriest’s mount in one gulp! Orseen himself managed to pass the Ride check to suddenly and quickly slide off the horse’s back and land on his feet before he, too, became a snack. This was a big change from the early days, when the PCs couldn’t pass a Ride check to save their lives.

Unfortunately for the bulette, though, once it was on the surface it was no match for the adventurers. Orseen wanted to knock it unconscious so that they could bring it to their menagerie back home, but issues of transporting a Huge monster, and then containing a burrower within the zoo, made the idea a difficult one to execute. So the warriors went ahead with their original plan, and slew the creature with blade and fire and lightning.

Daughter of the Moon

On the following day the adventurers encounted a band of wary centaurs. After Satampra the swashbuckler introduced himself as the deliverer of Skybolt, however, the horsefolk were happy to escort the humans (and elf) to their camp a few hexes away. There the Caerelian envoy surrendered their weapons and were lead to a large tent made of mastodon hides. They dismounted and were ushered inside to meet the Nomen leader – the Daughter of the Moon, Aecora Silverfire.

Aecora bid her guests to sit on the furs that covered the ground inside her tent, and ordered that they be brought refreshments. Servants carried in a platter of meats and cheeses and tankards of fermented milk for the visitors. Orseen and Remesio the cleric both grimaced in disgust. The warpriest whispered his concern that the dairy products were made from centaur secretions, to which Iofur the druid scoffed. “So what? Where do you think milk comes from?” he whispered back. Satampra settled the matter by asking Aecora what they were eating and drinking, and it turned out to be goats all around. Orseen still wasn’t sure about drinking fermented goat milk, but at least it didn’t come from the woman/horse hybrid standing in front of him.

The party (via Satampra, who spoke the centaur’s language and was the only one with any real social skills) told the Daughter of the Moon that they had encountered and killed a bulette out on the western edge of the plains. Aecora was saddened to hear the news; the landshark was known as Kankerata by the Nomen, and surviving a run through its territory was a test of adulthood for her tribe. And while she understood the situation – the group was attacked, and defended itself – she pointed out that Kankerata’s death was a setback, and would not have happened if the two-legs stayed in their own lands. The humans apologized, and she accepted their words. She then said a prayer for the bulette’s spirit, and spoke a toast to its service to the Children of the Moon. Everyone drank in the beast’s honor, although Orseen gagged a bit on his drink.

Everything in its Place

With the formalities out of the way, the Emperor of Caerelia and the Daughter of the Moon got down to brass tacks. Satampra agreed to recognize the Nomen’s claim to the lands south of the Shrike River and east of the Tors of Levenies. Aecora agreed to allow Varnhold to remain as an embassy town where their two peoples could meet in peace – in exchange for a modest rent (3 BP/month in supplies) and a limit on its size. The humans wanted to go further, and forge a security arrangement where they would come to each other’s aid in case of an attack, but Aecora was not interested. Firstly, she didn’t fully trust these humans who had so recently been invading her land and killing her people. And secondly, she didn’t want to get involved in any two-leg wars.

Satampra had a hard time grasping her position, so she explained how the Mother Moon had granted these lands to the Nomen, her children, to watch over and protect. That was their sacred charge, and they really didn’t care about what happened outside their borders. But to end the matter, she allowed that perhaps once trust had been rebuilt between Caerelia and her tribe, the centaurs might agree to such an arrangement.

Having concluded the peace talks, the Caerelian envoy had some additional matters to discuss with Aecora. They gave her Maestro Pendrod’s sketch of the jade bracelet that was the subject of much interest in Varnhold before it vanished. Pendrod had thought it a centaur artifact, but the Daughter of the Moon frowned when she saw it. “No, I don’t think comes from our people. These markings are unfamiliar to me.” She summoned a wise woman, who concurred that the bracelet did not come from the Iobarian centaur tribes. But she, too, did not know its true origins.

Then Satampra asked if the Nomen knew the name Vordakai, and Aecora’s face turned to stone in alarm. “Mother watch over us,” she said softly, and made a warding gesture. Then she faced her guests once more with a look of grim determination.

“You will tell me how you know that word, and then I will tell you what I know of the matter. And then, Mother help us, we will see if we will march together to war, after all.”

Next: legends and portents!

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12 Comments
  1. Level 9 badasses? If the loss of the Bulette was such a problem, perhaps Raise Dead would’ve been a choice?

    • Huh, didn’t think of that. But they’re not rich level 9 badasses. And anyway, I assume its body would have been partially eaten by the time they got back to it with a 5k diamond.

      • Pinkius permalink

        when resurrection magic is used all willy nilly, it really cheapens the concept to me. Dying becomes incurring a 7000 gp and 3 spell slots fee. Granted 7000 gp is rarely a trivial price, but ehh…

      • I completely agree. Resurrection magic cheapens … everything.
        I’m glad I was the only one thinking of that.

  2. Wait, Satampra is the only one with real social skills?
    Are they ignoring what AP they’re playing?

    • Hah. Quoting from the 1st session of Rivers Run Red:

      “The group also started assigning roles. Satampra was made Ruler by default when it was discovered that he was the only one with a positive Charisma bonus! Mestinous’ player seemed surprised at how useful Charisma was to the kingdom rules, but it was all in the Player’s Guide, which they all supposedly read, so I don’t feel too bad about that.”

      Anyway, does even a Kingmaker group really need more than one social specialist?

      • I… kinda remember reading that, but they still haven’t bought social skills?!
        My players aren’t even in RRR yet, and most of them have deent social skills. :uhoh:

      • Pinkius permalink

        Turns out having a strong personality isn’t as important in pathfinder as a strong constitution, strong arm, or magic. :O

      • Even in Kingmaker.Who’d have thunk.

  3. Scott permalink

    I remember laughing over that line from your blog! About Satampra being the only one with a positive charisma bonus… Now seriously though, I am surprised that none of your other PC’s have bothered to pump points into diplomacy or similar skills. Especially given the highly political nature of this AP.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 6 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 1, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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