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Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 1, Part 1

April 21, 2017

Plane shift is a bit of an odd spell – it requires an intended destination, but then it always sticks you 5d100 miles off-target, meaning that you’ll have a long journey ahead of you after shifting, or will need to have a teleport spell handy. When some of the rulers of Caerelia plane shifted to the First World, they ended up 267 miles away from their target – a fairly average distance – which stuck them in the middle of a primeval bog.

The place was alive with the sounds of animals and insects, and several varieties of giant vermin were spotted – dragonflies, mosquitoes, and swarms of thumb-sized gnats. When one particularly pesky giant mosquito was chased off, it cursed the visitors and their parentage in sylvan before flying off.

The adventurers tried to get their bearings before remembering that (a) they’re probably really far away from the city that they were trying to go to, and (b) Remesio the cleric can cast teleport. After uttering his prayer, the party subsequently found themselves at the edge of a large faerie community where the buildings were incorporated into towering mushrooms. They had arrived at the First World city of Gorias.

Goomba Town

This is a strange start to the Blood for Blood adventure, you might be thinking. And you’d be right! My attempts to foreshadow a possible civil war in Brevoy led to the players’ becoming obsessed with locating the missing royal family, who had mysteriously vanished about 19 years prior. And because the group kept running into fey who felt a strong claim for the Stolen Lands, they assumed that House Rogarvia had been stolen away to the First World, or something. They further reasoned that if they could find the Rogarvians, the could put the royals back on the Dragonscale Throne and stop the civil war before it started. They had no idea that that wasn’t even part of the text for the adventure, and that a sneak attack was coming to their kingdom!

And so, in searching for the lost royal line of Brevy, four brave and foolhardy adventurers had traveled to the faerie realm:

  • Emperor Satampra Zieros, male human rogue 3/swashbuckler 7
  • High Priest Remesio, male human cleric of Cayden Cailean 10
  • Keeper Iofur, male human druid of Gozreh 10
  • Councilor Aurelius Heptamus, male human halfling fighter 8*

* Aurelius had been retired when he got reincarnated as a halfling; his player Bill usually plays Orseen, male human warpriest of Iomedae 10, but dusted off Aurelius for this otherworldly jaunt.

But having arrived, they weren’t too sure of what to do next. And in truth, neither was I! I had been so busy with real life events that I had totally forgotten that the players were in the First World looking for clues about the Rogarvians, leaving me no more prepared for their investigations than I had been in the previous session. The situation clearly called for more stalling on my part!

After a brief discussion, the bulk of the party sought out sources of historical knowledge in the hopes they would find mention of humans trapped in the fey world, while Remesio ambled off to get drunk ask the townsfolk directly. The cleric located a drinking establishment easily enough, but the locals were not very friendly towards him. After some rude comments in languages that he did not understand, he left that establishment and used a prayer of tongues to search for a tavern that catered to Golarion expatriates.

Meanwhile, Satampra did understand the local language, and soon led the others to the home of a renowned sage. The sage’s home occupied an entire giant mushroom, but one with no apparent doors – the only entrances appeared to be windows located higher up on the mushroom’s stalk. Satampra and Aurelius climbed, while Iofur wildshaped into a bird and easily beat them to the nearest opening. From there the druid could see that the stalk was like a hollow tower, with book-stuffed shelves carved into the interior wall. Where the mushroom stalk met the cap was a large trapdoor, which soon swung open to allow an oversized owl to fly down through it.

The owl introduced himself as the sage in residence, one Ibis Sophus. Satampra explained their needs, and after paying the scholar’s fee for his library and his expertise, the owl started to assemble a series of tomes for the visitors to peruse. After spending some time paging through First World histories and compendiums of Golarion flora and fauna, they also asked for information on dragons in the First World, recalling the Owl Prince’s hint about House Rogarvia’s fate.

When faced with how to handle their investigations, I was reminded of the research subsystem from the intrigue rules, found in Ultimate Intrigue. I didn’t have time to look the rules up, though, partly because I can never remember what they’re called or how to find them online. Also I didn’t have any set of prepared clues to offer the players as they searched through the tomes for relevant information. And truth be told, the rules are not necessary in situations where the players aren’t under any kind of time pressure.

Time Runs Out

Although in this case, unbeknownst to the players, they were operating under a deadline! I had planned for Fort Drelev’s invasion that kicks off Blood for Blood to happen near the end of Arodus (August), the current month, and I wasn’t going to modify that just because the PCs might be out of town. We had previously established that time passes faster in Golarion than the First World, although I didn’t want to commit myself to a consistent ratio. So the group knew that they couldn’t spend too long in Gorias, or they might miss the Rova (September) kingdom turn. What they didn’t know was that they would also be giving the invading armies more time to wreak havoc!

But back in the realm of what the players were aware of, I had to give them something for their troubles. Lacking any actual clues for them to follow, I fed them a lot of background information instead. Some of it was culled from faerie tales, some was simply bits of data about the First World. Like the fact that “regular” D&D dragons aren’t native to or commonly found in the First World, but linnorms are. In lieu of anything related to their search, I gave them a list of the names of powerful Golarion dragons that were known to have relocated to the First World, which were all made up save for Ilthuliak (book 6 foreshadowing).

And as the rulers searched through sylvan tomes and drank in expat dives, a gigantic army of humans and giants marched over the Wyvernstone Bridge and into Caerelian territory…

Next: Remesio drinks!

  1. I’d have had no idea what so ever if my players had gotten that idea!

  2. Pinkius permalink

    AH, the problem with adventure paths, if your players latch onto a plot hook that’s not explained in the AP< you have to wing it, and if it takes up any significant portion of time, it probably awards experience that throws off the book.

    • Good point. Thanks for the warning.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Mmhm, it is a fact with AP books and not your players or gming style though, you want players to hunt down their own story in a roleplaying game, but in an AP book you’re rather stuck to the railroads.

      • Pinkius permalink

        problem* not fact, eurgh weird typo

      • Yeah. I’ve been giving the whole AP concept some thoughts. Will probably have to write something about that on my own little blog.
        But I haden’t thought about the XP-effects at all.

      • Pinkius permalink

        It’s not that big an issue with martial characters, but magical characters get new capabilities at new spell levels, often exactly what an AP relies on the characters not being able to do. Like, flight, or cast dispel magic, or teleport

      • I find teleportation hard to plan for. Fortunatly, it’s still a way off for my players! 🙂

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Kingmaker: Intermission #2, Session 2, Part 2 | Daddy DM
  2. Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 4, Part 2 | Daddy DM

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