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Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 3, Part 2

May 26, 2017

As the time for battle drew near, Orseen the warpriest got the idea that they could call for a parley, and in doing so size up the opposition a bit. White flags were waved from the parapet, and after some delay, a group poked out from the trees to wave flags of their own in response. The gates were opened, and Satampra the swashbuckler, Remesio the cleric, Orseen, and an honor guard rode out into the field of the future battle. A similar party rode out from the enemy camp.

A herald riding with the Emperor noted the banners of the other riders. The largest sigil was identified as that of Lord Aemon Trask’s, known to be one of Baron Drelev’s lieutenants. There was also a Tiger Lord contingent which, in lieu of a banner, carried high a war totem adorned with pelts and skulls. When the two groups met, heralds announced their leaders names and titles, followed by an uncomfortable silence.

Finally Satampra got tired of the staring contest and spoke up. “Why is Drelev invading my lands?” he demanded. “We have done you no wrong.”

The Tiger Lord chieftan yelled, “For battle!” while holding his axes aloft. The rest of his band cheered and banged their weapons on their shields. When the clamor died down, Lord Task deigned to respond.

“It is said that you are a foppish fool, my dear ‘Emperor.’ If you believe that you have done Drelev no harm, then perhaps there is some truth to such tales. You have spurned offers of friendship and alliance. You counsel with thieves and villains. You have stolen lands that were rightfully ours by treaty with Brevoy. You have insulted us, time and again, and spread vile slanders against my liege lord, the mighty Baron Drelev. For these slights and many more, the gods have blessed us to carry out their righteous justice against your corruption before it spreads any further into the Stolen Lands.” That was all exaggeration, if not outright lies, but the PCs did decide to let Drelev dangle when he personally came to them for aid against the Tiger Lords. And anyway, if the Tiger Lord army wasn’t going to sack Fort Drelev, Caerelia was the next most obvious target.

The Emperor responded by questioning how long it took before Baron Drelev bravely knuckled under to the Tiger Lords. The barbarians laughed heartily at that, while Trask glowered. Then the Caerelians started to make fun of Armag, the mysterious warlord who had united the barbarian clans, and Trask chuckled while the Tiger Lords growled. The parley collapsed into repeated volleys of insults before any negotiations could even begin. And thus the two parties retreated, and made ready for battle.

Who Let the Dogs of War Out?

Horns blared. Soldiers sheltering behind the trees of the Narlmarches grimly hefted their shields and advanced into the open ground that surrounded Tatzylford’s walls. Tiger Lord barbarians yelled and shouted. Giants hefted their clubs and throwing stones. War machines creaked as they were pushed and pulled forward. The attack had begun.

Arrows filled the sky, going in both directions, as the invading forces charged the walls. The mercenary army moved forward slowly, returning arrow fire and working to get their catapults operational as soon as possible. The hill giants hurled rocks at the walls, while the barbarians and trolls raced to be the first over the walls.

The militia defending those walls were buoyed by their Emperor’s presence, but they were also spared from facing the brunt of the assault. For Remesio and Orseen met the barbarians and the trolls, respectively, as those shock troops came over the walls. The cleric smote the attackers with columns of holy fire and rays of searing light, while the warpriest cleaved through the vile trolls almost as quickly as they could make it over the parapet. Meanwhile, Iofur the druid called down lightning strikes on the mercenaries and summoned terrible beasts into their midst.

By this point I had reached another mass combat rules query: siege engines “reduce the enemy’s bonus to DV from fortifications by 1d4 per siege engine in your army,” in each melee phase. The mercenaries that the engines were attached to missed the defenders for the first couple of rounds, though. Did the catapults still wear down the defenses? I suppose now that I look at the text outside of the combat, I would say it’s obvious that they do, but at the time I wasn’t sure and silently ruled against the siege engines having any effect on a miss. The army had 2 engines, and Tatzylford had a Defense of +5, so on average they would have wiped out the walls on the first melee phase. I didn’t want to take that advantage away from the players right away.

But I did unleash the lurkers in light upon them! I was holding the flying invisible faeries in reserve to counter any last-minute player tricks, but as those did not materialize I threw them into the fray. The archers on the wall were suddenly struck by tiny arrows fired from the sky behind them! Small blurs zipped through the air, firing poisoned arrows as they moved. No one was quite sure what was going on, and they ignored the relatively minor pew pew to focus on the more immediate threat of visible attackers trying to get over the walls.

In a couple of great rolls, Orseen the 1-man army wiped out two dozen trolls in two phases while suffering no damage in return, but that was but a small part of the attacking forces. The catapults had brought down a section of wall by that point, and the remaining Tiger Lords started to pour into the breach. Remesio and Orseen quickly flew/leaped down to try and stem the tide while the reserves moved into position. The barbarians were soon stymied, cut off, and then destroyed.

But there were hundreds of soldiers ready to replace them, not to mention the hill giants! And the lurkers still shot at the defenders from the rear. The militia was caught between a rock and a hard place, and while their morale never broke, they were soon eliminated as a fighting force. I allowed Satampra to convert himself into his own 1-man army as the remnants of his army fled the slaughter.

Nature’s Revenge

Tatzylford’s defenses were gone. All that remained to protect the town were the 4 rulers, against a Gargantuan (albeit damaged) army of human soldiers, and 2 Tiny armies of hill giants and lurkers in light. Satampra and Orseen took on the giants, while Remesio and Iofur concentrated their spells on the soldiers. The lurkers had free reign to attack, and soon they had brought down the cleric. Luckily for the party, the mercenaries failed a save vs. rout during the same phase, and fled from the wrath of nature that Iofur had called down upon them.

The druid then followed up that feat by summoning a flock of dire bats, who could easily chase down the unseen lurkers with their blindsight. The giants were soon finished off, and just like that, the battle for Tatzylford was over. The defenders had won, although the lives of hundreds of Caerelians had been given to buy that victory. Nevertheless, Tatzlford would be spared from being sacked a second time.

Next: aftermath!

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16 Comments
  1. Awesome! A four man army in the end, interesting. Did they take Trask or the Chieftain as prisoners?

    I haven’t read the mass combat rules yet, but I’m about to. I’m curious to see what, if any, differences there are between the PF and 5E rules. I’ve switched my Kingmaker over to 5E rules so should be interesting. I’ve created a WP page if you’d like to follow along with my Kingmaker DMing misadventures. 😉

    • Does 5e have mass combat rules?

      As someone who’s been around for a looooong time (I remember Battlesystem), mass combat is always one area that’s been problematic to integrate into regular gameplay. Which is kinda funny, considering D&D’s roots.

      Pathfinder’s mass combat rules kinda suck, but they got the job done here without being too complicated.

      • All hail the victorious Emperor Satampra?

      • Chris permalink

        WOTC has released unofficially a mass combat system through an Unearthed Arcana article. Also Legendary Games released Kingdoms! which is basically the Kingmaker (Ultimate Campaign) & mass combat rules converted for 5e. Kingdoms is what I am using in my campaign although we haven’t got to mass combat yet.

  2. Pinkius permalink

    Sounds like Remisio ate it, time for an Nth high priest? Or perhaps he is down for a reincarnation or raise dead now.
    It still is freaky that martial characters be such CHUMPS compared to spellcasters in mass combat. I mean, sure aoe this, crowd control that. But in the stories when a mage walked onto a battlefield, the fucker took an arrow and went down almost as quickly as he fire-balled a phalanx.
    And mass combat takes place in phases, a fighter can attack for far longer than a wizard.

    • How did you get Remesion dying? He’s mentioned as active in the second-to-last paragraf, at which point the whole thing has been largely won.

    • Yeah, that’s a good point. Like, Remesio has some damage-dealing and crowd-control spells, but nowhere near the capabilities of the druid or wizard. But it’s all the same to the rules. And prepared casters in general don’t have a great deal of endurance without relying on scrolls/charged items. The “spellcasting” special should maybe be something more like: “Add X to your OM and DM for one phase, where X is a spell level that the units can cast. You can do this 1/battle for each spell level that the units can cast.”

  3. Pinkius permalink

    My group’s been looking at the new starfinder stuff, and I can’t say I’m terribly interested in it so far. Sounds very “pathfinder scifi! but we’re redoing systems” which okay, it probably needed, but I KNOW the systems, they’re familiar and comfortable and I don’t trust paizo to make a direct improvement over their current fare.
    Point being, I don’t want to be left behind, but I’m not diggin’ the stuff everyone else is looking at playing. What do?

    • I have no interest in Starfinder, but then I’m not exactly a fan of Pathfinder to being with. I think level-based d20 is a terrible system for modern/sci-fi games, personally.

      “Everyone else” is kinda broad. There’s people all over not playing D&D-based systems, yeah?

      • Pinkius permalink

        well, by everyone else i mean the more vocal members of that one pathfinder group, are you suggesting I look elsewhere when they want to run starfinder?

      • One of the eternal questions of being part of a RPG group!

      • Kinda depends on your local gaming community. If you play with friends you’ve know for a long time, that’s probably the most important part.
        If you’re playing with a bunch of semi-randoms, in a large healthy RP community, you might want to explore playing with other people.
        Or you could go with it, let someone else buy and read the rules, and if it turns out to be horrible, now they know too.

        And I’ll add my voice to that of the DaddyDM: I too think level-based d20 seems like a terrible vehicle for modern/sci-fi games, as well as horror. I’m not even too hooked on it for fantasy to be honest.

      • Pinkius permalink

        Pathfinder I’ll prefer over another d20 system because I know it already, unless it’s similar but with an interesting mechanical twist, like 13th Age.
        Shadowrun almost seems like a game you need a mentor who’ll tell you everything you need for a given character to play, because Isure can’t tell if I need a commlink attached to literally everything, if you need hacking AND lockpicking AND a autopicker for every lock or if you can make do with just lockpicking, etc. not my cup of tea
        I’ve been watching some youtube and twitch TTRPGers (Mostly the Third Wheel guys and Warped Lamp) so I’ve been dabbling in systems they’ve run, like Ryuutama, Golden Sky Stories, and Spell. Ryuutama I tend to overreach in theme, GSS I have only run like, 1.5 times, (co-gmed) and Spell is great, it works with basically everything because the rulebook is 24 odd pages long and the last 7 pages are fluff you don’t even need to read.
        Unfortunately it’s a Kickstarter abort.

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  1. Kingmaker: Blood for Blood, Session 3, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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