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Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 2, Part 1

April 7, 2017

When the moon was right, the rulers of Caerelia rode north to the crossroads near the confluence of the Shrike and Thorn Rivers, and made camp atop a hill that sat a little ways to north of the road. When the moon reached its zenith, the Owl Prince and his court strode out of nowhere in particular and climbed up to meet the humans.

After formalities and greetings had been exchanged, Satampra the swashbuckler started to ask questions of the Prince. The party had recently taken an interest in the Vanishing, and had come to seek answers from the most knowledgeable creature they knew. But the Prince cut the Emperor short, raising up his hand to forestall any demands. “Pleasure before business, my lord!” intoned the looming fey. “It is summer; the wind is warm, the moon grows fat, and the stars look down upon us with bright hopes for the celebration to come. Let us feast!” The assortment of faeries clustered around the Owl Prince raised a cheer at his words.

Tables were sprouted from the underbrush and soon covered with platters of cakes and fruit and pitchers of mead. The Caerelians were pulled and pushed by sprites and pixies and woodwose to sit, and flagons filled to the brim were thrust into their hands. Fiddles and flutes struck up a lively tune, and Satampra got up to dance with the faeries, taking frequently breaks to drink and eat.

Part of this was just a stalling tactic on my part. I didn’t expect the players to actually pursue this investigation into House Rogvaria’s fate. I never gave much thought to the actual cause of the Vanishing, as the players had not previously shown any interest, and there is no official explanation. I’ve seen various theories floated about by other DMs, but they’ve all been very “a deal with the devil,” which I find to be a little boring and pedestrian (no offense to those DMs, I’m just not interested in that sort of plotline). So, what to do? Delay and be mysterious!

The gathered players had to make Fort saves to endure the revelry, which only (and somewhat ironically) Remesio the cleric of Cayden Cailean failed. As the celebration died down, Remesio was left passed out atop one of the tables.

Finally, the players had an opportunity to pester the Owl Prince with their questions. Did he know anything about the Vanishing, they inquired? “I know more than most about some things, and less than some about most,” he replied, in a clumsy attempt by me to channel J. R. R. Tolkien. But do you know anything, they pressed? “I have only heard that a debt came due.” Further questions were only answered with, “Look to the arms.” I hoped this was both cryptic enough and vague enough for me to come up with a satisfying answer later.

Arms, you say? What arms? Whose arms?! The group figured he meant House Rogarvia’s crest, which featured a two-headed dragon. This image, and the history of Choral the Conqueror and his red dragons, was puzzled over for a long time. “It has have something to do with the fey. All these plot lines have to be related,” declared Drew, Satampra’s player and one of the table “leaders,” causing me to inwardly groan. “The Green Lady, the rings, that sword Ivo was looking for, the Vanishing… why include it in the story if it’s not related?”

Bill helpfully pointed out that Vordakai wasn’t related to any of the fey story threads, but still, Drew was determined that the answer was in the First World somewhere. Now, there’s a school of DMing that says that when you have a mystery, to follow the players’ lead. If they go searching in one direction, then don’t give them a dead end; incorporate their theories into whatever the answer ultimately ends up to be. I have a lot of sympathy for that viewpoint, but at the same time, I didn’t want the answer to be tied up with the First World or the Green Lady. Nor did I especially want them to bring back House Rogarvia, if that was even possible. I was really just humoring them until I could either come up with a good answer, and/or kick off the next chapter of the adventure path.

As of this writing, I still don’t have a good story behind the Vanishing. I’m honestly not really sure what to do with the players’ interest in the topic. I want to reward that, but I don’t know what breadcrumbs I should give them, nor to where those crumbs should lead. I only know what I don’t want it to be, which is fey- or fiend-related.

Next: an ultimatum!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Was not the vanishing due to Vordekai? I was under the impression he cast some ritual to enchant every humanoid in the place to leave and go to him. Or attacked it with cyclopsi or something,
    pretty sure our GM had the cyclopsi attack.

    • The terminology is a little confusing here, which is why I put a link around “The Vanishing”. Yes, Vordekai caused the “Varnhold Vanishing” (that’s a lot of V’s). But they’re looking into THE Vanishing, the Brevoy one, where every single member of the royal family disappeared overnight, leaving no one with a valid claim to the throne.


  2. Yeah, I’m not sure what to do with The Vanishing either. My players haven’t really looked into it yet, but I do suspect it’ll come. They’re clearly aware of Brevoy (, perhaps more so than the writers of the AP :-/

    • Yeah, the AP teases you with all these Game of Thrones/political intrigue concepts and then makes zero mention of them throughout the AP. Except as an excuse to not have Restov help out the PCs in later books, I suppose.

      • Barely that. Odd mixture of clever ideas and lack of follow-through I think.

  3. Rich S permalink

    Just been reading these posts; haven’t got up-to-date as returning to game at book 5; don’t worry nothing here has been a spoiler, but be dropping out of reading these soon; my loss, you have some awesome additions! Not sure if you’ve resolved this Vanishing issue, but as I also DM I had some thoughts that might give you a nucleus of an idea. Anyhow:
    1) the twin dragons; Choral was linked to the twin dragons; bloodline, dragon worshiper, opportunisitic pact maker? They lent their might for a future return on investment of a small army of dragon blooded humans to help them in their own fight (v good dragons?). The disappearance was a call to arms; the family are now off fighting for the red dragons. Abandoning Brevoy is fine with them…and fits with look to the [coat of] arms.
    2) There is a suggestion the Surtova’s have a power hidden under the lake…something akin to the aboleth? 200 years to get agents into position and snatch the family away. And maybe 200 was auspicious with the underwater race. Spurious “look to the arms”; agents are a more human appearing skum with deformed arms (but easy to conceal with clothing)?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 1, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 1, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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