Our Kingmaker story begins in Brevoy, specifically in the city of Restov. The scene opens in a waiting room, in which our four adventurers and a fifth man sit waiting. The four of us include Hayley Darkhawk, Corinth Hastings, Layanos Calavarian (and his rat Douglas), and Natalia Emilia Sofia Lacusta. Of the four, only Corinth seems to recognize the fifth man in the room as a fellow swordlord-in-training from a nearby academy. After a bit, Maegar Varn (the fifth man) is called in and leaves the four of us alone with each other. We sit in mostly awkward silence, exchanging looks while Natalia laughs quietly, until ten minutes later when we too are called in by James the butler.
We are shown to a conference room, where a distinguished brunette named Jamandi Aldori awaits. We grab some of the provided food and drink while she speaks to us. She informs us that we are headed into the Stolen Lands to settle the Greenbelt. We will be one of four groups sent to settle the area, and she recommends we stock up on supplies before setting off. Since it is still winter, we pick up some cold weather gear before setting off for Oleg’s Trading Post.
The 70-80 mile trek to Oleg’s is mostly uneventful. When we finally arrive, Hayley and Natalia sneak ahead to scout out the trading post, but it turns out to not be all that interesting/dangerous and they simply wait for Corinth and Layanos to catch up. A woman named Svetlana sees us first and warmly welcomes us to the post. She calls Oleg down from the roof where he’s working, and feeds us stew while we sit around a fire. After a brief set of introductions, she admits that they are being harassed by bandits. These bandits frequently come by to collect “taxes” from the trading post stores. They even captured Svetlana’s ring (a fact that Oleg is particularly upset about and that strikes a chord with Layanos).
For the rest of the afternoon, we make a plan for how to combat the bandits, involving Layanos dropping an obscuring mist at the gate, Natalia disguising herself as Svetlana, and Hayley and Corinth springing out of a hay bale near the storehouse. We sleep in the guest room that night, and wake up in the morning to a hearty breakfast before we take our positions for the ambush.
Four bandits with six horses arrive on the scene soon after. Led by a fellow named Hopps, they are supremely confident as they make their way across the outpost. Hopps taunts the woman he thinks is Svetlana, and seems taken aback as Svetlana dares to talk back to him. When Natalia starts laughing at him, Hayley decides the time has come to spring the trap. Everything erupts into a battle as Hayley and Corinth attack the henchman and Layanos drops his obscuring mist. The battle doesn’t last too long, with our only real problem being Hopps planting an arrow in Natalia’s chest. Soon after, however, Hopps has to surrender with all his men dead and Hayley’s blade at his throat. Natalia and Corinth question the man about the other bandits and where their base is located. He answers our questions, but isn’t particularly respectful. By the time we finish our questions, he has angered all of us enough that nobody blinks when Hayley separates him from his head.
Svetlana and Oleg are incredibly grateful for our help, even though they now realize from our charter we aren’t the soldiers they requested. As Oleg begins to string up the bandit corpses, he and Hayley realize that one eye is suddenly missing from all of the bandits. This sets off a short investigation to see if we can figure out what happened. Layanos can’t detect a magical reason for the disappearance, and borders on paranoid as he asks to check all the rest of the adventurer’s belongings for eyeballs.
Once we let the eyeball conversation drop for the time being, we sell off some of our newfound loot to Oleg and claim four of the six horses. We spend the rest of the day at the trading post, Svetlana pulling Hayley aside to ask her to search for moon radishes. She is trying to give Oleg a child and knows that the radishes help Oleg “perform” in the bedroom. Hayley maintains her composure enough to agree to look for the radishes, and doesn’t burst out laughing until she’s out of Svetlana’s earshot.
The next morning, we ride off after breakfast in the general direction of the bandit village. Corinth tracks the bandit and horse tracks while Hayley keeps her eyes peeled for radishes. It takes us a long day’s journey, but we finally see the fires of the bandits in the distance just before nightfall. We hide out and wait for the full cover of darkness before Hayley and Natalia sneak off to investigate the bandits. Corinth and Layanos wait while the girls almost reach the campsite along the stream. Before they can do much scouting, however, Hayley steps on a stick and alerts the bandits to their presence. The girls try to avoid making much noise as they retreat, but can definitely hear at least two alarmed voices. 90 minutes after they originally separated, they safely return to Corinth and Layanos.
We keep watches through the night, camping out with a fire. We sleep in before turning back. We plan to leave the bandits for now while they are alert about our presence. We map out the area, revealing plenty of forest. Partway through the afternoon, however, a snowstorm blows in and dumps five inches of snow on us. We wake up the next morning fatigued, cold, and miserable. Continuing to the northeast, we aren’t able to make as good of time because of the bad weather, and eventually run into an emaciated dog-like animal that attacks us. We stop the would-be predator (aided greatly by Layanos casting bumble and slumber on it), skinning the body afterward for meat.
That night, we are visited at our fire by Bryce the Hunter, who seems to be a genial and trusting fellow. He falls asleep at the fire, prompting Hayley to sneak a few gold away from him. Not much else happens that night, and we find a radish patch the next afternoon. Unfortunately, four kobolds have just gorged themselves and feel particularly territorial about the patch. They attack us, forcing us to defend ourselves and take the creatures apart. Hayley pulls some radishes before we set up camp for the evening.
This time, however, our rest doesn’t end well. In the final watch of the night, Layanos is attacked by a sneaky tatzlwyrm that knocks him unconscious and begins dragging his body away. Corinth and Hayley wake up and give chase, the noise waking Natalia up as well. Hayley reaches the reptile first, only to also be knocked out by it. Corinth hammers it with his sword, weakening the creature before Natalia finishes it with her whip. We’re forced to use the healing potions Oleg gave us, but we revive our fallen allies and are able to hightail it back to the trading post.
When we finally arrive, we see that the soldiers Oleg and Svetlana asked for have arrived and are keeping guard. We’re allowed in, where we meet Kesten (the leader of the soldiers) and a cleric for Erastil named Jhod. Jhod asks to speak with us about mission, offering to add his healing and spellcraft to our group. He specifically asks us to be on the lookout for a temple hidden in the south of here. It is guarded by a bear that needs to be put to rest. Kesten also has a request for us as we sit around the campfire – that we hunt down a bandit named Falgrim Sneeg and bring him back. Kresten says his preference is that we bring him back alive, prompting an awkward conversation with Natalia about just how broken this guy can be.
Meanwhile, Hayley gives the radishes to Svetlana, who prances off to make her special stew. She offers some to Corinth and Layanos. The elf recognizes the aphrodisiac side of the radishes and politely declines. Everyone neglects to inform Corinth of this, and the fighter ignorantly eats the soup. Shortly after, Natalia begins one of her gypsy dances which the off-duty soldiers join. Hayley joins in as well, dancing with one of the more attractive soldiers, but Corinth is feeling the full effects of the soup and is living a little too large to join the dance. He tries to walk off his problems behind the guest house, and no one wants to know how he finally prevails against such stiff odds.
The goal for tomorrow is to restock on rations and continue the exploration. The mission has only begun, and many more adventures await next time on Kingmaker.