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Kingmaker: Sound of a Thousand Screams, Session 6, Part 2

January 24, 2020

The rulers of Caerelia stood on the other side of the gate that ringed the ruined Castle of Knives, and saw that they were no longer in Golarion. Behind them, the town of Feywatch had been replaced with primeval forest. Ahead, the wild tangle of trees now had a well-worn trail leading into it. Above, the morning light had been replaced by twilight. The group now stood in Queen Nyrissa’s realm of Thousandbreaths.

The adventurer’s great fear before this journey had been that the Queen would immediately arrive to smite them, but after waiting for a few tense minutes and seeing no sign of her, the group visibly relaxed. They broke out their flying carpet, hopped on, and zoomed up to get over the treeline.

The trees wouldn’t let them. No matter how high they flew, the trees were always taller.

Puzzled, they headed back to the ground and considered alternate means to their end, which was to perform a hit on the Misbegotten Troll. Why the Troll? I suppose their thinking process was, they wanted to start winnowing down the Green Lady’s allies, and they figured he probably wasn’t a spellcaster, and would thus be the easiest of the lot to bump off.

Aakif the arcanist proposed that he could scry on the Troll – they had met him, briefly, once before – and they could then teleport to his location and fry him. The only downside is that scrying takes an hour to cast, so the others would need to protect him. Naturally, I had the players roll for a random encounter, and the dice came up with a single athach.

And so, a lone three-armed giant gardener stumbled upon the group as they were camped out by the entrance to the realm. Kwin the dwarven cleric tried to convince the large fellow that they were servants of the Queen, but flubbed the roll badly. “Waitaminute, why am I making the check?” exclaimed Kwin’s player Antony. “My Charisma is horrible!” The gardener scowled and stomped off to inform someone more important of the intruders.

Naturally, the PCs couldn’t allow that to happen! Satampra the swashbuckler clicked his heels together, activating his boots of speed, and ran up to Vital Strike the athach in the back! The giant turned on him, slicing at him with its sickle and clawing at him with its weird 3rd arm. Kwin used his Travel domain power to appear at the swashbuckler’s side to heal him, while Orseen the gnoll warpriest raced up to join the battle. But it was too late – Satampra got off a full attack, which included a crit, and downed the towering athach before it could raise an alarm.

Satampra decided to then scout ahead a bit, whereupon he came to the whirlpool lake and its black swans. He quickly retreated back to the others, and they waited for Aakif to finish his spell.

The scrying succeeded, and Aakif spied upon a large forest clearing, with a tall beehive-shaped structure, covered in heads on spikes, at its center. A ghastly green glow came from the heads’ eye and mouth holes, turning them into grotesque lanterns. The light lit the space up, as opposed to the twilight gloom that dominated elsewhere, clearly illuminating the Misbegotten Troll. The Troll was currently tossing out chunks of meat to a dozen or so spiky, dragon-like animals.

The party buffed and gathered together for their surprise attack. Aakif cast the spell, rolled very low on the usual miss %, and the assembled warriors appeared… elsewhere!

Tea and Biscuits

Instead of standing before the Baleful Lantern and the Misbegotten Troll and his drake pets, the group now stood before a large ramshackle house that appeared to be haphazardly constructed out of dozen smaller houses! The house was surrounded by tangled, thorny briars, and upon its porch sat… the Knurly Witch!

So, in looking over the various defenses of Thousandbreaths, I noticed that there wasn’t anything to stop the PCs from teleporting around. After a bit of thought, I settled on a randomizer effect: there are 10 locations in the realm, so I would roll a d10 for each on-target teleport and move the teleporters to the location indicated by the die roll. In this case, they ended up at the Witch’s house.

The rulers had met the Witch briefly, as well, way back during the first proto-bloom. She recognized some of them, grunted, and said, “Well, don’t matter where you were going, you’re here now. Might as well come inside for a spot of tea.” Without waiting for an answer, she rose off the porch steps and turned to go into her abode. The adventurers looked at one another in confusion, and then cautiously followed her inside. “Well, it would be rude to refuse,” rationalized Satampra.

The inside of the house (houses?) was similar to the outside: a jumbled mishmash of corridors and stairs and rooms. Soon the heavily armed adventurers were standing awkwardly around the Witch’s kitchen while she busied herself with making the… (checks adventure) ground maggot and crow’s blood tea.

“So, what is it you lot hope to accomplish here?” the Witch suddenly inquired of her guests as she worked.

“Um. To stop the Green Lady from stealing our kingdom?” replied Satampra.

The Witch came around with a dented tray of mismatched cups that contained a foul brew. “You’d do better to call her by her proper name, Queen Nyrissa, in this realm, dearie,” she said, not unkindly. Kwin and Orseen sipped at their drinks, and passed their Fortitude saves against being made nauseous, while Aakif set his down on a table. Satampra poured his into a plant when the Witch’s back was turned and made as if he enjoyed it.

“And that kingdom of yours,” the Witch continued, “sits on land long claimed by that same Queen. And no mere mortal ruler is she! She is queen of the First World, and your better.” She settled herself into a chair with a sigh. “Would you cease plans to uproot a tree if the squirrels threw acorns at you?”

“We’re not squirrels,” Aakif helpfully pointed out.

The Knurly Witch shrugged. “To her you are. Mighty squirrels, perhaps. But a lesser creature, nonetheless. Oh! I forgot the biscuits.” And she got back up and bustled about the kitchen once more.

The Emperor frowned and put forth a question of his own: “Why is the Stolen Land so important to the Queen?”

“Hmph,” replied the Witch. “Not my story to tell.”

Satampra changed tack. “Why do this now? She’s the Queen ‘of forgotten time.’ What is time to her, or to you? Why not do this 100 years in the future, by our reckoning?”

“You would condemn your descendants, then?” The Witch chuckled. “Why not now, to one whom all times are the same?”

She came around again, this time with a selection of beautiful-looking cakes that nonetheless had a whiff of mold and rot. The mortals each took one and, after smelling them, declined to partake.

The conversation seemed to be winding down of its own accord, and the players decided to express their gratitude and say their farewells. “It did seem like it would be rude to attack her in her own home after she gave us food and drinks,” noted Satampra afterwards. Looking at the adventure now, I suppose she was to attack them after talking to them, but… eh. I feel like the Witch would be smart enough to bide her time and strike when she held the advantage.

Next: the Misbegotten Troll!

  1. Pinkius permalink

    Nothing is more cruel than forcing the heroes to do something heinous to enter your super evil base. Unless they’re pragmatists and just reason that since you set things up in that manner that the villainous act was the BBEG’s fault and not theirs, adding to the laundry list of things to beat up the villain for.

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  1. Kingmaker: Sound of a Thousand Screams, Session 6, Part 1 | Daddy DM

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