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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 7, Part 2

September 16, 2016

eye-of-sauronSatampra the swashbuckler laid out the results of their investigation to Aecora Silverfire, the leader of the Nomen centaurs. Varnhold’s vanishing. The discovery of Maestro Pendrod’s research in the abandoned town: the jade bracelet, Vordakai Island, Vordakai the possible centaur god. The soul eater attacks. The commune session: Vordakai Island was located in the Tors, Vordakai had summoned the soul eaters and set them after Satampra, Vordakai was responsible for Varnhold.

When Satampra was finished, Aecora stood in silence for a long while, pondering the information that he had presented. “Vordakai is no god,” she finally said. “In truth, we do not know what he is. Was. All we have are tales as old as time.”

The Legend of the Fall

The Daughter of the Moon gave a heavy sigh before starting her story. “It is said that at the beginning of time, Vordakai was a powerful and evil warlord whose terrible armies scourged all the lands. Mother Moon saw the death and devastation that he had unleashed, and she wept, and her tears fell to the earth and became flesh. Mighty battles followed, as the Mother’s Tears warred against and then defeated the dark forces. But Vordakai could not be killed. Instead he was entombed beneath the ground, and slumbers there still. Or so the legends say.”

“What happened to the tears? That became flesh?” asked Remesio the cleric, after Satampra translated her words. The swashbuckler then repeated the cleric’s question to Aecora in her tongue.

“They are our ancestors,” she answered, “the progenitors of the great centaur tribes.

“We are the Children of the Moon. We protect these lands in the name of our Mother, who has many duties and cannot always watch over us. As such,there are specific dangers that we guard against. Vordakai is the greatest of these dangers… although it has been so long, I admit that we came to doubt that he still lived. From what you have said, it could be that he stirs once more. If so, we must gird ourselves for war. We are not the equal of the our forebears, but we must do what we can. That is our duty.

“First, we must contact Kerezar the Watcher. He ranges the foothills, looking for signs of trouble. If Vordakai is active once more, it is his job to know.” Aecora paused as she considered the situation, and then continued, “Although if Vordakai is active, then the Watcher should have ridden back here to report. And he has not…” She frowned, and then summoned another centaur. They talked in hushed tones for several minutes, and it was clear to the guests that their host did not like what she heard.

Finally, a Quest!

The upshot of Aecora’s private conversation was that Kerezar had not been seen for months. That happened sometimes, so no one had been particularly concerned. And anyway, the tribe had been preoccupied by the possible war with Caerelia that had just been averted.

Well, one person had been concerned – Aecora’s daughter Xamanthe, who was sweet on Kerezar. She had recently snuck out of camp to track down her love. Her mother had not been aware and was not pleased to hear the news, especially now that they suspected that Vordakai had awakened.

The Daughter proposed that some of her best scouts and hunters would take the Caerelians to the Valley of the Dead, beyond which it is said that Vordakai lies sleeping. Hopefully they could find Kerezar and Xamanthe there, or nearby. “My daughter is stubborn and foolhardy,” said the Nomen leader, “and I fear for her life. I must stay her with my people and make ready for war against this new foe. Please, if you find Xamanthe, bring her back to me.”

In the morning, the adventuring party and a group of four centaurs left the camp and rode south through the flowering plains.

Next: the forbidden valley!

Kerezar Who?

Those who have read or are familiar with the adventure will know there’s no centaur named Kerezar in there. He came from an idea that I stole from a thread in the Paizo Kingmaker forum by a user named Pennywit, and it’s part of a larger re-imagining of the Nomen where the centaurs have not forgotten Vordakai, as they have in the published adventure. My Kerezar is a lot different than Pennywit’s, but I liked the name and the concept of a centaur guardian corrupted by the evil that he watches over. Now that I think about it, I probably liked the idea because I played so much World of Warcraft back in the day – Kerezar’s origin is basically shared by 90% of WoW bosses. But I also thought Kerezar could serve as a way to put more minions of the big bad in front of the players (and crucially, a minion who could & would communicate with the players) before they reached the tomb. As it turned out, I nixed Kerezar as an encounter in the interests of not unnecessarily prolonging the adventure, but I kept him in the story because I thought it was a cool idea. Also, his (lack of) presence helps explain why Xamanthe is where she is. Kerezar’s final, unused (as of this writing, anyway), writeup was an unholy deathleech centaur oracle (dark tapestry mystery) 8. Although I also had an alternate version that was a dread bodak centaur oracle (black-blooded archetype) 2, accompanied by a couple of bodak centaurs that he had killed and converted. I think I liked the deathleech version better, as he’s more a good man twisted by evil forces, rather than an undead death machine.

  1. Those are some nasty templates!

    • I know, it would have been so much fun to hit the players with one of those… sigh.

      • I decided against using the corrupted Watcher as an encounter. Whereas with RRR, I kept adding and adding more stuff, here I am trying to slim things down so it doesn’t take a year to get through.

      • We’re not there yet, but it feels like it’ll play a lot faster than RRR.

      • Pinkius permalink

        this book does place fast, at least it did in the playthrough I participated in. Although my group was blazing through combat encounters until pretty much the last book, and even then, it was mostly bosses that gave us pause.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    death leech, speficially greater death knell is fascinating… If only there were some variant of it that weren’t evil so players could try it out.

    • A non-evil version of “drain the life-force of my enemies in order to empower myself”?

      • Pinkius permalink

        It’s a stretch, perhaps a bit of creative reinterpretation as a morale boost “Yea! I did the thing!” and not y’know, eating souls would be necessary. Setting the enemies to dead is probably not required either, but morale boosts are kinda temporary… iunno, maybe a tertiary exp system? … And now we’ve spun all the way back-round to mythic, where you level up based on mythic challenges, and my interest is gone.

  3. pennywit permalink

    Personally, I thought Kerezar was a stroke of genius ….

    • You would! 😛 Nice to see you here, pennywit. Your posts on the forum have added a lot of great new ideas to Kingmaker, IMO.

      • pennywit permalink

        Thanks. I was kind of curious to see if anybody’s used my creations, so I searched a couple things this morning and found yours. I like the way that you wove Kerezar into your lore here; it’s some pretty good stuff. Right now, my Kingmaker barely resembles vanilla Kingmaker. We’ve also been playing it long enough that my players acceded when I suggested that I combine the last two modules.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 7, Part 1 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 16, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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