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Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 11, Part 1

November 11, 2016

After touching the eye carving and getting shocked by lightning, the group wondered if perhaps the trap had discharged and it was now safe to probe the wall. So Orseen the warpriest touched it again. And got zapped again. With that, the party gave up on figuring the room out and decided to go through the remaining door on this side of the dungeon.

Beyond that door was a hall that took off at a weird angle and lead to a flight of stairs going up. Then the passage turned to the right, and turned again before ending at a set of bronze double doors that bore a water pattern. After checking the doors for traps, they were opened, revealing an ornate shrine on the other side. There were several stone altars, columns carved to look like daemons, unusual tile patterns on the floor, friezes of animal-headed creatures walking along a river bank, pictures of a robed figure on a longboat, and a mosaic of a black river. It was a lot to take in.

varnhold-vanishing-session-11-map-1First the floor tiles were inspected. Then the columns. Then the altars. The stone altar on their left had an empty oil lamp sitting atop it. The two altars on the other side of the room were made of solid blocks of quartz. Each had an oil lamp with fuel and a stained cup on top. The PCs lit the lamps, but nothing appeared to happen in response. They shrugged at each other and opened the double doors that sat between the two altars… which caused those altars to flood the room with cold, black fire!

Once the black energy receded back into the quartz blocks, Remesio the cleric used up the last of his channels to heal the party, which had been badly “burned” by the freezing flames. The group considered pressing on, but were understandably reluctant without access to the priest’s “free” healing. And they didn’t want to retreat back to their boat on the river outside, lest they have to fight their way in again. So they decided to camp inside the dungeon this time, and picked the “eye” room as the best place for resting, given that it was behind a secret door.

Diplomacy Fail

varnhold-vanishing-session-11-map-2But the day was still young, so the PCs had a lot of time to kill before they could recharge their spells and abilities. While they were sitting around, I had Satampra the swashbuckler roll a Will save, which of course he failed. Vordakai was using the Oculus of Abbadon to cast greater scrying on the Emporer of Caerelia in order to see where the invaders were. Upon finding them camped out in his very important room, he cast spells of tongues and message, which can work through a greater scry.

“Greetings, Emporer of Caerelia,” a gravelly voice whispered in Satampra’s ear. He spun around, and the others looked up at him.

“You didn’t hear that?” he asked, and the rest of the party shook their heads. “That voice? Like from a grave?” They shook their heads again and look concerned.

“They cannot hear me, Emporer,” whispered the voice again. “I would have words with you, and you alone.”

“And whom am I speaking to?” replied the swashbuckler, as he held up a finger to silence the questions of his companions.

“I am Vordakai the Dread One. The All-Seeing, All-Knowing. The Master of Death. The Stygian Lord. And so forth. You have invaded my resting place and destroyed my underlings. But we need not fight. I am not your enemy.” The Big V went on to propose an alliance between himself and Caerelia against the true opponent, their common foe: the Green Lady who had claimed these lands for herself. “I have slept for far too long. But since awakening I have worked to understand this world that I find myself in. The centaurs, the other human tribes, scattered giants – they are no threat to me. But the Green Lady is. Wherever I look, her minions whisper her name and say she is preparing to seize our lands, to take them for herself and herself alone. And so I endeavored to find out all about her that I could. And she is mighty – much more so that you and your lackeys. I discovered that she does have the power to conquer the so-called Stolen Lands, and you could not stop her. Only if you allied with me, would your kingdom have a chance.”

The discussion went on for several minutes as Satampra nailed down what such an alliance would entail (Vordakai would leave Caerelia alone and conquer its neighbors), and why V was bargaining with them (they had proved themselves to be powerful, and thus worthy). But in the end, the Emporer could not agree to join forces with an undead monstrosity from before recorded history, who was responsible for the death of Varnhold and (presumably) Satampra’s father-in-law. His wife Sojana would never forgive him!

“So be it,” rasped Vordakai before cutting off contact. Satampra started explaining to the others what had just transpired, but before he could finish, a towering undead cyclops with a huge red gemstone for an eye suddenly appeared in the room next to the adventurers!

Next: Vordakai strikes!

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8 Comments
  1. Nice scene!
    I hadn’t even thought about letting V do something like that. That is beautiful!
    I… uh, may want to steal that idea when we get that far. 🙂

    • Pinkius permalink

      Agreed! This paints Vordakai as much more dynamic and the party as more powerful. I’ve found that over plenty of APs with the villians refusing to parley with the “unworthy” PCs it just degrades on you, they respect your power enough to set death traps that could easily kill their minions, but noooo you’re unworthy of their time. Pft.

    • Thanks! 😀 Throughout this entire AP, I’ve been trying to put the villains in front of the PCs, instead of just sitting in their bunkers waiting for the end.

  2. pennywit permalink

    Oh, this is neat. Vordakai made similar offer to my players … but they sort of flipped out when he wanted to turn them into undead to serve beside him.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 10, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Varnhold Vanishing, Session 16, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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