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Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 1, Part 2

April 28, 2017

Remesio the cleric followed the directions that he had been given to a giant reddish mushroom building. A sign hung over the door that sat at the base of the stalk; painted on the sign was a picture of a gnome riding on the back of a strange four-legged bird creature. The cleric of Cayden Cailean pulled open the door, strolled inside, and looked around. The interior was a dimly-lit tavern, with a wooden bar, toadstool seats, and flat lichen-covered rocks to serve as tables. A set of rickety-looking wooden stairs curved around the back wall, leading up to a second floor. A cluster of gnomes sat drinking and chatting around one of the stone tables, while a pretty elven lady sipped wine at the bar. Behind the bar stood a woman with mismatched eyes, sharp talons on her fingers, and a greenish cast to her skin. They all glanced up at the newcomer as he entered, and then went back to their business. Except for the elf, who watched the priest with undisguised interest.

After ordering a drink from the changeling bartender, Remesio avoided the elf and casually sidled up to the gnomes, who stopped talking and looked up at the human expectantly. He introduced himself, and attempted to ascertain if the small folk were from the Brevoy area or not. As it turned out, they hailed from elsewhere in Golarion. Only a few of the gnomes had even heard of Brevoy, and none of them were very familiar with the Vanishing or House Rogarvia.

Femme Fatale

So the priest turned to elf. She was happy to talk with him, and even demonstrated some knowledge of Brevoy and its Vanishing. After introductions were made, the woman suggested that they might enjoy a more frank conversation upstairs, in her room. Remesio demurred, and probed her for knowledge of Brevic history and Golarion visitors to the First World. Again, she offered to go upstairs, and again he refused. Finally she resorted to a suggestion spell.

Remesio made the save. As it happened, has a trait that gives him a bonus to Will saves when drinking, and it actually made the difference in his roll! The cleric felt the intense desire to follow the elf to her room, but then he also felt an intense desire to get another ale. Weighing the two options, he went with the ale. After that, the woman (a hag in disguise) dropped all pretense of wishing to speak with him, and the cleric went on his way.

Eventually the others concluded their research and, after some searching around the city, found their High Priest valiantly holding a wall up. The party compared notes and passed the time until Remesio felt his buzz start to wear off – a sure sign that “happy hour” was approaching, which meant that he could refresh his spells. A ritual of plane shift followed, and then a prayer of teleport, bringing the rulers to the city of Salar’s Rest.

Home Sweet Home

Why did the group go to Salar’s Rest and not the capital, Stagfell? I’m not entirely sure. Salar’s Rest, built around the ancient elven citadel that was previously occupied by the Dancing Lady, had become a sort of Versailles-like location. The Palace was located there, along with parks, monuments, museums, and sumptuous estates, and they regarded as their summer home. And it was, after all, summertime.

However, the rulers were surprised to find the city transformed as it prepared for a siege. “We’re under attack!” wailed one noble after the PCs made their presence known. Almost a week had passed since they left Golarion, and it seemed that during that time an army had crossed into Caerelia from the west and defeated the garrison at the fort known as Tiger Watch. The invaders’ current whereabouts were unknown, but Tatzylford and Last Hope were the two closest settlements, and neither was particularly well-fortified.

It was a two-day ride back to the capital, so the players opted to wait a day at Salar’s Rest until Remesio could simply teleport them over. The Empress Sojana Zieros had been guiding the realm’s defense during her husband’s absence. She had called for all town militias to be armed and prepare for battle, and sent riders out to recall units in the field. Caerelia had available:

  • the Nomen Heights cavalry; a Medium army of 1st level warriors  mounted on light horses; currently in reserve in Varnhold
  • Salar’s Pathfinders; a Tiny army of 5th level rangers mounted on light horses, armed with ranged weapons, magic weapons, and magic armor; currently exploring near Lake Silverstep
  • the Varn Garrison; a Large army of 1st level warriors with ranged weapons; currently in reserve at Varnhold
  • Oleg’s Troubadours and Varn’s Hellions, two Medium armies of 1st level warriors guarding fortifications at the northern border and the Varn pass.

It was still about a week until the start of the next kingdom turn, and thus a long time before the players could officially recruit any new army units. This represented a bit of a quandary for me. Could the players really not do anything but muster their meager forces until the next turn arrived? Does an army automatically defeat a town or fort that has no defenders? The players had instituted a militia-training program way back in the early days of the kingdom; did that have any effect, or did they need to have the militia already recruited and sitting in the town? Could a city really not mobilize any defense for itself if it came under attack? The kingdom and mass combat rules did not address any of that.

In the end, I decided that a settlement could activate its militia out-of-turn, creating an army whose size can not be more than 1/10th the settlement’s population. As a side note, I use a metric of 1 building plot = 100 population for my game, instead of the published rules’ 250 population per plot, so Caerelia’s settlement populations are lower than one might expect from their size. A normal militia might be composed of 1st level commoners, but seeing as my players had taken steps to train their citizens, I figured they should be 1st level warriors instead.

So anyway, the militias in the towns (aside from Shrike Crossing to the south, which was thought to be out of danger) were already activated, thanks to the Empress. All the players had to do was stall the invaders until a more formidable army could be assembled.

But while plans for hindering the Drelev armies were being made, word reached the capital that the town of Last Hope had been sacked!

Next: this means war!

  1. Remisio keeps teleporting the party around – doesn’t their wizard memorize Teleport?

    • Pinkius permalink

      Well, he gets that domain spell he may as well use it! What else is he going to prepare in that slot? Dispel Evil?

    • Back when the party reached 9th level, Mestinous declined to learn teleport because the cleric had it automatically from the Travel domain. Since then, the Mestinous’ player has been indisposed, which is why you don’t see his name these days. In-game, he’s been busy crafting a flying carpet (a long-held dream of the party’s) since they got back from killing Vordakai.

      • Oh. That makes sense. Though I haden’t even noticed his absence to be honest.
        Will it pass?

      • I hope so but I’m not sure. The player got swamped at work and I haven’t seen much of him for months now.

      • Ewww. Good luck.

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