Kingmaker

Session 1
And so it Begins

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.

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I hope you brought a jacket
After spending the morning stocking up on rations our heroes sit down to a hearty breakfast of ham and eggs before heading out to map the area around the trading post. A boring day of mapping the flat area surrounding the post passed. On the way back to the post for ab evening of rest the party sees lights off in the distance accompanied by cries of help. While the rest of the party seems okay with just waiting until morning to check out what happened Corinth’s goody goody nature persists and the group proceeds to hopefully aiding the people in danger. While riding along on her horse Natalia gets a nasty surprising shock, realizing what has happened Hayley takes the time to berate Corinth for leading them into a trap and gives him a death glare before trying to shoot a crossbow at the terrible little beast. The floating glowing skull zaps Natalia’s horse seeming concerned with little other than having him some gypsy for dinner. While everyone is trying to attack the glowing ball of doom they seem to be having very little success and it was looking pretty grisly for our “heroes”. At the last moment when all seemed lost, or in the least someone would be left behind, Off in the distance we heard other voices approaching. What could only be two gifts from the gods came to our rescue, one a super shiny paladin named Sir Percival, The other a gruff druid named Gnort. The two swept in and Blew away what we found out to be a Will o’ the Wisp.

After we had all recovered and Sir Percival had patched the two “ladies” up we proceeded to chat with the two rescuers. They inquired about our mission and warned us that the surrounding area was indeed quite dangerous and that the temple we had been looking for was thought to be far south from us. We also talked about the Paladin’s mission to the world wound and Layanos in all of his bluntness questioned his judgement and debated how long he thought Sir Percival would survive. After escorting the group back to the post undaunted by Layanos’ doubts The two set off to continue on to the world wound.

The next day we set out to the east and what could only be our doom as every day seems to start out. After traveling for some time we spot in the distance a single tiny hut, Hayley and Natalia set out to hopefully sneak up on and scout what could be in the tent. Able to sneak straight up to the hut without being seen the notice a man standing over a boiling cauldron appearing to be in the act of brewing potions. After hearing some of the ingredients being placed in the brew they head back to the boys who appear to be sitting in super awkward silence. To the knowledge of Layanos the man could be making pretty much anything so the party chooses to approach without provoking and to pretty much fly by the seat of their robes. To their surprise the hermit wasn’t plotting to kill them and in fact was a potion vendor who made most of his money in dealings with Oleg at the trading post. After realizing they were all broke hoes (except for Douglas) they decided to bed down for the evening outside the hut. During all of their watching they all seem to notice what appear to be more will o’ the wisp in different directions, thankfully nobody is foolish enough to pursue the little balls of nasty.

With another evening behind them they decide to continue mapping the area. After awhile they start to hear giggling in some nearby bushes, weary of traps after their luck so far most of the group decides to just steer clear of the bushes. However Natalia being a gypsy couldn’t seem to help herself and as she’s investigating she is surprised to find a grease trap spring into existence below her. Not being caught off guard by this she manages to remain right side up and continues to investigate. After much goading to light the bush on fire from Hayley, Natalia gives up the chase and the party continues on. After traveling for some distance the party comes across an area littered with skeletons of all kinds, some of them are marked and scarred by what appear to be giant fang marks. After identifying the nest of what could only be a giant trap door spider the party decides to leave the area before it’s too late. But before they can all mount up and vacate the area the spider springs the trap. Layanos thinking everyone not on a horse is probably dead decides to run for it and so his recollection of this fight is a little foggy but when he decides he might need everyone for future encounter he returns to combat only to find the spider dead and his cohorts standing triumphant, Huzzah! Afterward we decide to examine the trap door spiders hole for shiny objects after more goading from party members to light things on fire we decide to have Corinth crawl down the hole while it’s still full of webs. He find a few more corpses and a human one with the same stag skull necklace that we found on the bandits we had vanquished previously. After a hard day of fun we decide to bed down in the wilderness.

After a night of watches Layanos finds his spell component pouch missing, after some detective work by Douglas he’s lead to a tree. Deciding not to go into danger by himself Layanos goes to wake the rest of the party who each also find their weapons stolen or broken. After rigging a pulley system and retrieving their belonging they hear more giggling from a nearby bush. Realizing they are being followed and tricked by some fae Natalia tries to bribe them out with a single gold piece to no avail. Giving up for now the party continues on for another uneventful day of mapping.

During the evening watch Corinth is put to sleep, when he finally wakes he goes and checks on the others only to find all of them have shiny new mustaches drawn on their faces. Outraged by this the group decides to lure out the troublemakers with a trap bribe. After placing a few shiny objects and a flower wreath on the ground the group hides. When she sees the objects disappearing from the pile, Hayley using her wits throws a bag of powdered chalk at the area coating what appears to be a half lady half cricket creature. Leaping in to action and harnessing all the rage a fake mustache can bring the party attacks the creature and brings her down with the mighty Corinth dealing the final blow with his shiny sword. Enraged at the loss of his partner what appears to be a cross between a dragon and a kitty cat appears and attacks the party. While the tiny animal brings its breath upon Hayley the party unleashes a might rain of arrows, swords, whips and spells with Natalia ripping the creatures head off with a mighty flourish of her whip and collecting it’s tiny bow and arrows as adorable trophies.

After the battle Corinth using his mighty weatherman powers says there’s a storm coming and it’s going to be nasty. Trying to make it back to the hut for a little shelter they try to navigate the storm,. Unfortunately Corinth’s navigating is not as a good as his weather predicting and eventually the party is forced to try and make an igloo and ride out the storm. Burning torches to try and stay warm they wake to find all of their horses have died. Natalia having an emotional breakdown while trying to skin her own horse and Hayley not enjoying the weather retreat to the safety of the igloo. After Corinth and Layanos finish the job they bring the skins and meat into the shelter. After having a good idea to insulate the shelter with the horse skin and burn enough torches to not freeze to death the team decides to ride out the storm.

When the storm finally breaks they emerge looking like hell covered in soot and smelling like burnt horse and leather they decide to head back to the hut and eventually the trading post to recover and finish up the winter and safety. The trip back to Oleg’s is uneventful and they arrive at the trading post a couple days later.

The next couple weeks fly by and are the easiest they’ve had since arriving. Layanos spends his time meditating and playing with his tubby rat Douglas who seems to be enjoying the relaxation and Svetlana’s cooking more than anyone, except maybe Natalia who seems to be making “friends” with a handsome guard/guards. Needless to say Oleg and Svetlana’s shack isn’t the only one that’s rocking every night. While Hayley seems to be making friends with some of the guards she either keeps her affairs quite secret or threatens to kill anyone making accusations. Corinth takes time to improve his swordplay (wink wink nudge nudge), and also duels the Captain of the guard after a close and enjoyable match the captain shows his experience and prowess with the blade and defeats Corinth, But Corinth being a good sportsman takes the chance to learn and grow in the art he practices.

Interval for all the secret sharing and plotting

At some point Natalia’s lover starts acting weird, Layanos really has no idea why, he ponders to himself that maybe Hayley has something to do with it who knows.

More secret sharing and plotting

The team then sets out in the direction of their old bandit buddies. On the way they come across a dark cave, thinking that whatever was in there would probably come back to bite them in the ass they decide to leave it alone for now and keep heading toward the bandit camp. Not even sure if the bandits are still in the area that they once occupied Hayley and to Hayley’s disdain Natalia seat of to scout again. Arriving at the camp Natalia tries to sneak straight into the open once again demonstrating her ability to walk straight into the maw of hell for the case of curiosity or gypsy air headed-ness who knows for sure. After every bandit in sight sees her she starts trying to make excuses about how she stumbled into the middle of a bandit camp. At this point Hayley makes a break for it possibly with a slight grin on her face headed back toward the guys to maybe help or maybe leave her.

Natalia using all of her eyeball eating gypsy prowess of lying makes the bandits believe that she is from a caravan that is east of the bandits and that she got lost. The bandit queen and the bandits capture her and proceed to take her away to capture her imaginary caravan. The rest of the team show up what could only be moments after the bandits left to find the camp being guarded by a couple stragglers they swiftly dispatch one and put the other to sleep to interrogate when he awakens.

What will happen in our next bungling episode? Will the party arrive in time to avoid awkward terrible things happening to Natalia? Will they vanquish the bandit burs from the area? Will Douglas cut back on his food to lose some weight and avoid a terrible case of rat diabetes? Tune in next time to find out in The really dangerous tale of Kingmaker!

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Chases, Loss and Slaughter

Episode three begins with a fade in to a quiet forest. Three people stand around an unconscious man bound by ropes. As the camera fixates on the three, we see that it is our heroes: Corinth, Hayley and Layanos.

Hayley kicks the unconscious bandit until he comes to; then kicks him a few extra times for good measure. When he’s able to focus, the three question him about the whereabouts of Natalia and the rest of the bandit clan that took her captive. Learning that they have proceeded to the West in search of Natalia’s made-up gypsy caravan, we dispose of the bandit and head off to track them (after convincing Hayley that there’s more benefit from this than just rescuing Natalia).

Meanwhile, the bandit leader grows tired of traipsing through the forest with an impertinent gypsy and continues to question her about the made-up caravan. Natalia’s bluffing abilities fail to convince just as she manages to free herself from her bonds. Some of the bandit mooks jump her and pin her to the ground while the other goons go to investigate a conveniently distracting nearby clicking noise. To their dismay, the bandit clan discovers that a rather large beetle is baring down on them and fighting ensues as Natalia struggles against her captors.

During this exchange, Corinth, Hayley and Layanos manage to creep up on the scene and opt for different strategies of attack. Hayley sneaks around to confront the bandits attempting to restrain Natalia, Corinth simply approaches them and Layanos boldly walks out into the middle of the whole group. With Hayley’s sneak attack aid, Natalia is freed of her bandit captors as Layanos draws some of the other bandits’ ire. Fortunately, a portion of them are preoccupied with the giant beetle who proves most effective at skewering them. A mixture of the beetle and our team takes down all of the bandits and we then square off against the insect. Fortune favors us and we all manage to land successive hits on the beetle, reducing it to crusty goo before it has a chance to skewer any of us.

After looting the bodies and resting up, we proceed back to the bandit camp and finish searching the area. To our dismay, we do not locate Svetlana’s missing ring; however, Natalia finds some potent flasks of alcohol and gets quite drunk. Still resolved to eventually find the ring for dear Oleg, we continue on our quest of exploring the area. Layanos remembers a cave we encountered previously and suggests we actually go investigate it.

Once we arrive, we work up the courage to descend into the depths and to our drool-inducing delight (at least in Hayley’s case) we discover that there is a vein of gold running through this small cave. Noting it on our map, we vow to come back and mine the gold some day.

Exploration and mapping becomes the norm for awhile until we come upon a lone tree sitting in the middle of a vast plain. It catches Natalia and Layanos’ eye and we contemplate burning it down for a bit. However, noticing nothing of particular interest about it, we abandon the fire-talk and continue on a little ways before camping out for the night.

That evening, little creatures visit our camp as we slumber and Layanos is vexed by the appearance of tiny footprints even though Hayley checked to make sure nothing was taken when she first noticed. Conferring with Douglas, Layanos is led to believe that the footprints lead back to the tree. Rousing everyone else, he convinces us to investigate.

After we make it back to the tree, Layanos spends some time observing its’ base and discovers an opening between some of the roots. With little thought, we all climb down into a cramped tunnel underneath the tree. Eventually, we hear voices conversing in an unknown language some way ahead of us and, losing his patience as we sit debating what to do in the cramped space, Layanos shouts an insult at whatever is speaking before high-tailing it back outside. The rest of us quickly follow Layanos and prepare ourselves for whatever pops out of the hole. Three large centipedes soon appear and we deftly hack them to pieces. Having had enough of this tree, Natalia then throws six of her recently acquired alcohol flasks into the hole and starts burning the tree from below. This move brings much more than we bargained for however.

The fire burns below for a short while before some enraged subterranean inhabitants emerge to do battle with their home’s attackers. A giant centipede, a handful of mites and a large tick with mite rider spew forth to deal major damage. Although we attempt to fight to the best of our ability, the tick and the centipede prove to be skilled at inflicting punishment and we soon find ourselves in dire straights. Corinth, the brave swordlord, stays in the middle of the fray only to be beaten into unconsciousness. Although Hayley manages to stabilize him with a potion, he had sustained too many injuries while surrounded by our foes and is killed in a horrifying act of violence. The rest of us barely manage to escape with our lives and we make the trek back to Olegs with our heads held low.

When we arrive back at our home-away-from-home, we tell our friends what has befallen dear Corinth. We know there is little hope that we will be able to procure the magic necessary to revive him. However, after the sad story has been told, Oleg mentions that a crate arrived for us. Exploring its’ contents, we find packages from Lady Aldori. These packages contain useful items, armor and weapons for each member of the group. However, not wanting to disgrace the generosity of their gift to Corinth or our fallen friend’s memory, we send the Aldori sword back to Lady Aldori with word of Corinth’s passing and with a note about the completion of the bandit quest they had tasked us with. Then, knowing that a replacement would be sent for our fallen comrade, we take some time and camp out at the Trading Post.

During our stay, Natalia continues to make music with Frederick, get drunk and dance. Hayley explores, chats and casually keeps up a relationship with Jarek, and Layanos cares for Douglas, broods and sulks. The week flies by with the exception of two particularly eventful days.

The first of these days leaves Hayley doubled over with laughter and tears streaming down her face as a routine of slapstick comedy transpires between Layanos and Natalia. As Natalia is attempting to perform tricks on horseback, Layanos, who had previously been trying, and failing, to put her to sleep, finally manages to at least put the horse she’s on to sleep. The horse slumps over, Natalia tumbles, Hayley laughs and the gypsy retaliates by repeatedly trying to kick the wizard in the balls but only succeeds in injuring her toes. With each successive toe injury, Hayley laughs and cries harder at Natalia’s misfortune.

The second of these days involves Jarek seeking Layanos’ advice in writing a love poem. Messing with the poor, foolish solider, Layanos tells him to spell “party” as d-u-m-b-a-s-s. When Jarek reads the poem to Hayley, he soon finds himself up against the wall with her blades pressed against his throat. After soiling himself, he tells her that Layanos is the one that helped him with the spelling and Hayley stalks off to find the wizard meditating on top of one of the towers. She draws close and warns him that he will pay in his sleep in a harsh whisper. Seemingly unfazed, Layanos continues meditating.

Later that day, however, Layanos sends a mouse courier dragging a small pouch to Hayley. Inside she finds an apology note and 20gp in an attempt to make amends. Appreciating a good bribe, Hayley only resorts to sneaking to Layanos’ bedside during the night and slashing his backpack. Layanos, perturbed, is at least able to quickly mend his backpack with his magical abilities.

The rest of the days pass by in relative obscurity and eventually our new addition arrives at the Trading Post. A halfling druid by the name of Samba Tiburon enters the grounds accompanied by his animal companion, Stripes the tiger. After rather blunt introductions, the new group heads out the next morning to continue mapping the area after Layanos is assured that Stripes will not devour Douglas.

The exploration and mapping takes a bit longer than we have been accustomed to because of our newest additions stubby legs and slower pace. Although most nights prove uneventful, one night Natalia is alerted by rustling bushes while on watch. She wakes up the rest of the group and we gather near the bush, which appears much larger than any of us remember. We try to determine what might be the cause of this sudden size increase. Our new druid friend suggests that some sort of plant monster hides in the bushes and, tired of the guesswork, Hayley fires a crossbow bolt into the thicket. We then quickly discover that the hunch was correct as a large plant monster steps out from the bush and begins to attack.

Stripes, the feral beast he is, rushes up to battle the plant only to be smacked down with brutal force. Divining that this monster is beyond our capabilities, Layanos advises us all to run. When we notice that the monster loses interest in Stripes after he is rendered unconscious, Layanos takes the opportunity to revive Samba’s companion and the three of them begin to run from the area. Hayley cautiously tries to keep her distance and fire crossbow bolts at it, while Natalia sticks around to attempt daring stupidity. Lighting a torch on fire, she throws it at the monster to no avail. It rushes up to Natalia but thankfully doesn’t destroy her as Hayley continues to chip away at its’ health slowly. As the plant beast turns from Natalia, she escapes through the trees. Suddenly rather alone, Hayley finds the monster bearing down on her but manages to avoid its’ attack and runs for dear life. Thanks to sheer dumb luck (and some bad dice rolls), we escape the monster and sneak back in the morning to reclaim the supplies we had left behind. Back to exploration!

When our trail rations begin to wither, we head back to Oleg’s to replenish and Samba picks up a donkey to increase our speed. With our pace back up to normal, we continue exploring the northwestern part of our charter area and make good headway through the open plain. In the most northwestern hex, we come across a band of mites and launch into battle against the oddly-shaped opponents. Fighting like a true team for the first time, this new group of adventurers works together to take down the pitiful mites with little damage taken. Stripes lashes out with his natural weaponry, Hayley slices and dices with a flurry of short swords, Layanos hexes and vexes, Natalia whips and melts flesh and Samba learns that a slingshot isn’t always that effective. A much easier fight than the plant monster encounter, we squash the mite army and prevail with relative ease. To add to our sense of victory, we successfully finish mapping the entire Northern border of our charter area (huzzah!).

This concludes the evening’s session and the camera pans over the battlefield. Blue mite corpses litter the plain but four heroes and one tiger stand tall and defiant amidst the blood-soaked landscape.

Next time on Kingmaker…will Douglas continue to fend off rat diabetes? Will Samba be scared away when he sees the true crazy within the group? Will Stripes finally grow tired of trail rations and strike out for other prey? Can the rest of us actually survive without having to roll up another character? Will secrets ever be revealed? Tune in next time to find out these answers and so much more!

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They Might Have Gold...
Episode Four

Episode four of our intrepid heroes’ adventures picks up the action shortly after the group decides not to disrupt a burial mound west of Oleg’s. Instead, we opt to continue to the southwest, exploring another hex as we travel. The first interesting occurrence of this session is when we find a dead fellow buried in a pile of logs. It’s a gristly sight as we investigate and notice that his entire lower half was crushed by what appears to be the trapper’s own trap. We are all quite grateful that night around the campfire that none of us have perished in our own traps.

Later on that night, Samba’s watch is interrupted by the sounds of loud stomping. While he can’t understand what the large creatures in the distance are saying, he is reasonably confident that these are trolls. He quietly wakes up Natalia before the noise jostles Hayley and Layanos awake. Deciding we aren’t as tough as we’d like, we run for it. The trolls start after us, engaging in a spirited chase. It seems that luck isn’t with us, as Layanos promptly runs into a beehive while we flee. The group dodges vicious beestings while trying to stay ahead of the trolls.

The chase continues to a ravine. Most of the group makes it through, but Stripes is grabbed by one of the trolls. Samba doubles back and sets off an Entangle spell that causes the nearby trees to wrap their branches around the troll. Temporarily free, Stripes bolts away and the chase continues. We continue across a river and then through brambles that even trip up the agile Hayley. Somehow, we make it through with Natalia leading the way to freedom.

After doubling back early the next day to retrieve our abandoned tents, we continue exploring to the southwest. We cannot finish mapping this area without crossing the river, but Natalia is able to gauge from her whip that the river is strong here. Not thinking too highly of our own swimming skills, we opt to instead follow the river south and try to cross later. This strategy leads us into a swampy and wet area, and we stumble upon two eroded and ruined structures. We hear a deep croaking sound from within one, and a frog man emerges before we can decide whether to retreat.

The frog man (who is actually a boggard) has a problem with a language barrier. We aren’t entirely certain of his intentions, as he keeps mentioning both “truce” and “hungry”. When he is joined by a man-sized toad, we decide that he is planning to feed us to the toad and that we need to avoid this fate. Layanos makes the executive decision to attack the boggard. The boggard goes down quickly with Hayley shanking him before he can do much to us. The toad is hard to hit with its slippery skin, but we take it down soon after.

After a short investigation of the frog man’s place, we continue our trek south and follow the river. This finally leads us to a sandy fjord leading across the river. At first, we rejoice that we can finally reach the other side. It turns out to be too good to be true, as we run into a territorial tatzylwyrm that is in no mood to negotiate. It immediately attacks and grapples Natalia. Before we can do more than pull weapons and start to fight back, its mate crawls up from the water and grapples Hayley. Not to be taken down lightly, Hayley manages to escape its grip and fights on. Stripes rips the back of the neck off the male, freeing Natalia to take the fight to the female. Hayley nails a running dive across the ledge to flank the female from the other side. With everyone else distracting and damaging the tatzlwyrm, Samba sneaks in and finishes it off with a stab from his dagger.

Once we’ve caught our breath, the group finds the tatzylwyrms’ hoard (they are dragons, after all) and we inherit some valuable swag. Among the collection is a map that identifies a few landmarks to our north that we weren’t previously aware of. Among them are a frog pond, a statue of Erastil, and the Temple of the Elk. Before leaving the area, we recall that Oleg mentioned his willingness to pay a decent price for the heads of tatylwyrms. We collect two before continuing on our way across the river and to the north.

Mapping as we go, we eventually make our way to the frog pond. In fact, we find two frog ponds that seem to interestingly form a bizarre shape with the river that could be misconstrued as male genitalia. Naturally, our characters can’t wait to investigate. Before we can enjoy the hot springs that await, however, we have to face off with two more frogs that don’t want to share their space. Stripes rips one apart after it grapples Hayley with its tongue. The other goes down shortly after, and our reward is a relaxing soak in the springs.

The next day, we map the area to the west, and the day passes uneventfully. That night proves more exciting, as Hayley hears something with many legs approaching. She wakes everyone up in time to witness a giant centipede rolling into camp. Samba takes a few of its legs off with rocks from his sling while Natalia sings encouragement to the group and Hayley shanks the big bug. Layanos offers a great deal of assistance by keeping it magically blinded so that it can’t fight everyone off. In the end, Stripes rips it in half with his tiger teeth.

We decide the next day to head for the Temple of the Elk that is marked on the map. The first day takes us closer to the area, but Layanos hears trolls again that night. Alarmingly, it sounds like there are more of them this time, and he hurriedly wakes the others. Everyone grabs their things and bolts. The next day, our tired group continues mapping the area but does not reach the Temple.

That night, a couple of mites come into view of our camp. When they see us, they take off running. We don’t want them to inform their friends of our location, so the chase is on again. This time, we are the pursuers, which makes for an interesting chase. the terrified mites scramble up a cliffside that gives everyone in our group trouble except for Stripes. While the tiger stays hot on the mites’ heels, everyone else fights through a series of thick vines to bypass the climb and keep up the chase. Stripes catches one, tackling it to the ground and ripping it to shreds. The other seems to have an extra jolt of adrenaline. It dodges an Entangle spell from Samba and a slumber spell from Layanos. Its luck finally runs out when Hayley catches up to it and stabs it to death.

The rest of the night passes as we try to catch up a bit on sleep. The next day, we see two elk in the distance. We avoid them (probably saving our bacon later) and continue onward to the Temple. The clearing here has a pool and an interesting rock face taking the shape of an elk. We don’t have long to admire the view, however, as a furious grizzly bear sees us and roars his displeasure. Samba notes that there is something seriously off about this bear, but the others consider that a bit of an understatement. Hayley and Stripes charge the crazy bear with the matted fur. Hayley hits the animal first and royally pisses him off. The bear decides that Hayley is due for one of his signature bear hugs after whacking her with both his paws and inflicting a ton of damage. Layanos catches up in time to put the bear to sleep with a well-timed spell. With the bear down for a moment, Stripes rips out the bear’s throat.

The bear changes into an extremely old man who seems to sigh with relief as his body finally disintegrates. The area seems to shine brighter, and we notice that the water suddenly is clean and heals our wounds. Investigating further, we head into the temple and find only a great deal of excrement and a slashed altar (turns out the bear had been living here a long time and wasn’t in the entertainment business). The weather has eroded the area, but it will still function as a temple once the last traces of the bear are cleaned up.

We camp out just outside the temple, but our old friends the trolls seem to have followed us. With dense vegetation to our north and south and the temple to the west, we’re trapped in a bottleneck and not able to easily escape. In desperation, Hayley and Natalia hide to the north while Layanos climbs a tree to the south. Samba and Stripes climb almost halfway up the rock face before the trolls rumble into the clearing.

They seem a bit perplexed at first, but their sense of smell starts to lead them toward the ladies. While they desperately try to stay hidden, the guys notice that the rock face Samba and Stripes are clinging to is starting to glow. While everyone tries to shift down and maybe make a run for it, a colossal stag bursts out of the rock face and takes full shape above the pool. This huge white stag appears to the avatar of Erastil himself, and he charges the trolls. The carnage is over quickly, as the stag gores the trolls with his antlers and cleanses them in holy fire for good measure. It then retreats back into the rock face and we are left blinking in shock. With no other reaction readily available to us, we return to camp.

The next day, we start to head back toward Oleg’s. It has been close to a month since we last checked in, and much has happened. It takes us two days to reach the trading post, where we find the old crew waiting for us. Svetlana cooks a delicious meal for the group while we tell Jhod about the Temple of the Elk. In response to us putting the bear to rest, he agrees to offer us lifetime spell-casting services for free. We are also able to sell some of our new stuff to Oleg. In the contentedness of newfound gold and glory and being reunited with friends, Layanos returns to his old tricks and tries to put Natalia to sleep. The gypsy is yet again too difficult to affect, and Layanos instead puts Samba to sleep beside his tiger. At least for the moment, all is well. The map is starting to take shape, we have defeated several bandits and tatylwyrms, we have survived a group of trolls (with major help from Erastil), and we haven’t all perished in the wilderness. To see if our good fortune continues, check back soon for Episode Five of Kingmaker.

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How the West was won (or at least explored)

As the sun rises on another day for our intrepid adventurers, it looks at first light like it shall be a good day. After a restful stay at Oleg’s Trading Post, the group plans to depart today to continue exploring the Greenbelt. Alas, the morning doesn’t stay peaceful for long. As we gather in the courtyard, we notice that our gypsy friend Natalia is not present. Around the time we make this realization, we hear screams coming from the guest house. Upon closer inspection, the door to the guest house is locked from the inside, and Natalia yells at us to keep our distance. Our friend seems to have contracted a nasty illness that involves bleeding from the eyes (an ironic fate if indeed Natalia consumed the eyeballs of our enemies in earlier sessions – though that remains unconfirmed).

Almost as though the gods are keeping a watchful eye on our quest, our soon-to-depart group does not stay at three members for long. A burly half-orc rides into the trading post wanting to know who the bandit killers are. We cautiously introduce ourselves, learning that this delightfully personable fellow is Harahsh Manslayer, a bounty hunter hailing from the villainous sector that is Pitax in the Riverlands to the west. While we aren’t in any hurry to cross this warrior, we are grateful that he seems likely to help in our quest.

Before we depart, however, Oleg alerts Layanos to the fact that a package arrived for him seemingly out of nowhere. Layanos is alarmed as he reads a note from the mysterious evil figure from his past. Sensing our curiosity, he finally fills us in about Raylas and how he “really got those scars.” The peculiar and ominous part of the story is that Raylas mentions paying a visit with Layanos’ wife, whom Layanos believed to be dead at Raylas’ hands.

The note comes with a chest, which we anxiously examine. Hayley’s skills as a thief come in handy as she is able to find and disable a needle dripping black goo that would’ve undoubtedly led to nasty consequences for us. We then open the chest, finding a brown cloth sack inside. The bag is clearly magical, and Layanos convinces Harahsh to open it. A man-sized zombified hand zips out of the bag and grabs furiously onto Layanos’ face.

Taking this is an act of war, the rest of us attack the hand. Hayley quickly discovers to her dismay that every blow on this hand releases disgusting necrotic pus. Samba tries fruitlessly to master his new scythe in these close quarters, and Layanos gets knocked out cold by the vicious hand. Samba gives him a different sort of hand by healing him back to consciousness, and the fight continues. With Oleg running away screaming, Stripes the tiger figures that something is wrong and dashes back to help. After everyone weakens the hand, Harahsh finishes the undead appendage and drops it to the floor.

For his trouble, Layanos is able to recover from it the ring that he had given his wife. He also keeps the bag of holding. Jhod is able to heal the group, Hayley particularly grateful for the healing of her face. With our guard officially up, we leave Oleg’s Trading Post with our new ally and head south. The adventure is quiet at first, revealing only a deer and another meeting with the river. We explore to the east of the river, eventually seeing a bridge in the distance. When we approach, we see that the bridge has decayed into a mere soggy rope now. A nearby sign identifies this area as Nettles Crossing.

Ringing a nearby bell (always a great idea), the group summons a soggy and rotten corpse with a personality to match. He asks us to end his torment. When we push him for details, he lets us know that he wants us to bring him the Stag Lord from a castle on the river. Having no clue where this castle might be, we move on and continue exploring the area before bedding down.

This night proves more interesting, as a group of bandits surprise-attack our camp during Hayley’s watch. She is peppered with arrows, but overcomes the pain to lead the attack. Ou group slowly turns the tide, taking the bandits down one by one before the last one has the bad sense to try to run away from Stripes. The tiger chases him down and we are able to heal and rest up some more before morning.

Our trek turns west now, our exploration continuing throughout the day. That night, our camp is approached again by mites. When Hayley sees them turning around and running from us, she opts to let them go. The next day, we continue exploring until we come across a sort of den. Hayley vaguely recalls hearing about a wild boar called Tuskgutter that has been tormenting locals in this area. Taking this is an opportunity to get us all in trouble again, Layanos yells out taunts about wanting to consume some crispy bacon this day.

Predictably, that brings the boar charging angrily. Learning yet again that life in the Greenbelt simply isn’t fair, Hayley finds herself the victim of this beast’s charge. Everyone surrounds the boar, fighting together to take the big pig down. Harahsh cleaves the boar’s head off, in case it leads to some sort of reward or local gratitude later.

The next day, we nearly stumble upon a 20-foot deep pit. Inside, a wolf-sized marsupial howls in agony. Despite it jumping and biting at us angrily, Samba’s conscience won’t let him leave the creature to starve to death in the hole. Hayley devises a plan to hoist the beast out of the pit involving her net. Layanos puts the beast to sleep, and Samba is lowered into the hole to fasten the net around the marsupial. Harahsh uses his strength to hoist them both up, and we depart the scene before the sleep spell wears off.

We find ourselves up against a far more dangerous beast that night, however, as Samba’s watch is interrupted by an Owl Bear. While this unnatural creature is formidable, Layanos gives us a fighting chance by blinding it. We lay into the Owl Bear, Hayley finishing the hooter off by severing its spine. The rest of the night passes uneventfully.

The next day, we decide to finish our exploration of the western fringes of our charter. The first thing of note we see is a statue of Erastil. Nature has nearly taken over the statue, but we clean it off and are rewarded with temporarily keener weapons.

The next day is more ominous as the forest grows very quiet at a clearing. We find a moldy pond with what first looks like a dead white horse in the water. Something seems odd about this, and closer inspection reveals that this creature was a unicorn. Its horn is missing, but it otherwise seems unharmed save for the fact that it is clearly dead. Unsure how to proceed, we nervously pull the deceased unicorn from the water and leave it on the dry land. Sure that this scene will come back to haunt us later, we’re happy to finish the western exploration and turn to the east.

Nature confronts us again as we are stalked during our travels by a wolf. Hayley begins to set a trap, Samba using his nature skills to enhance it and lure the wolf into a trap. Sensing that we can likely intimidate the hungry lone wolf without killing it, Samba calls Stripes over. The wolf runs away when freed, and we are able to press on.

Our exploration finally leads us to a fangberry patch. Remembering Bekken’s request for fangberries, the group decides to pick some. Samba relies on his druid abilities to navigate through the thorny patch without problem until he disturbs an angry swarm of spiders. He turns around to run, but Hayley thinks quickly and summons her swarm of origami rats. The swarms battle head-to-head while we back away to watch from a cautious distance. The rats eventually win, turning around to come after us. Layanos uses burning hands to put an end to the rats, allowing Samba to return to gathering fangberries for the quest.

That night, Layanos hears what sounds like a young girl calling for help during his watch. He doesn’t fall for what is in all likelihood another will o’ the wisp trick, Harahsh seeming unconcerned even if the call for help is sincere. We all return to sleep, continuing east in the morning. As we travel, however, we catch a glimpse of a pillar of smoke to the southwest. We know that this smoke is technically coming from past the border of our charter, but we head toward it anyway. The river feeds into a lake, the northern shore of which hosts a fortification. We sneak up toward the area, preparing to storm the keep when we recognize a flag that looks like that of a Stag Lord.

Our adventures in the Greenbelt have contained plenty of natural dangers, but our next mission may be the most dangerous we’ve seen yet. Will Harahsh continue to prove a fearsome ally? Will we meet the Stag Lord in this keep? Will Natalia’s eyes quit bleeding? At least some of the answers likely await in our next session…

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The battle at The Stag Lord's Keep.

Our day begins with our heroes trying to plot ways to thin or at the very least determine what kind of force they may be dealing with within the Stag Lord’s fortress. With Layanos throwing out a couple of ideas the team set about their work. With patience winning over, they first attempt to wait out a patrol or some sign of people but to no avail with nobody appearing after a couple hours of waiting. Next they attempt to burn a section of the forest to try and lure some people out, but nothing happens once again. Layanos thinks to himself that, if he had a fortress on a hill, he would also probably let all the threats come to him; either that or everyone in the fort is blind or dumb as a thumb tack. With the party’s patience wearing thin we decide to walk around to the southern edge of the great expanse of dead grass around the fortress on the hill.

Around what the group of heroes estimates to be midnight we head into the open area trying our best to sneak like a pack of rats chasing after a pile of cheese. Layanos notices a faint aura of necromancy coming from the dead ground. Alas, it is too late and a group of zombies dig themselves out of the ground surprisingly quickly and surround the party. The group tries to dispatch the undead scourge as quietly as possible but they notice shouting and laughter coming from one of the guard towers of the fortress. While everything still seems to be occurring under cover of stealth, more and more zombies pop up faster than our mighty heroes can slay them while Layanos stands to the side ashamed of his inability to help his fellow compatriots. Noticing the futility of the slaughter and deciding it would be best to move on Layanos yells for his friends to join him in vacating the area. Unfortunately, our dearest buddy Stripes is overwhelmed by a new wave of undead and ripped to bits sending Samba into a fury worthy of a halfling named after a dance.

When the rest of the party had caught up to Hayley and Layanos outside of the fort out of the range of the terrible area that had taken our tiger friend from us, Layanos noticed what looked like a hidden door and started to hatch a plan. Running towards the nearest guard he could see, he tried to suggest to the guard that perhaps the invaders would be easier to fight if he were outside and closer to them. Layanos had meant for him to open the secret door but who knows if the guard even knew about that door. Thanks to a slip up in his wording, the guard headed to the front gate which equally served the purpose. Hayley, not detecting any other immediate option, decided she would take matters into her own hands and, after consuming a potion of jump, performed a marvelous feat of acrobatics and jumped up to the edge of the wall in one graceful bound. Harahsh, Samba and Layanos, noticing that the path of the guard seemed to lead towards the front of the fortress, headed up towards the gate to meet him. While this was going on, Hayley, using all her sneaky prowess, was hanging from the outside wall and waiting for just the right moment. Eventually dropping from the wall, she stalked around the edge of the fortress wall, waiting to strike. Once around the front, the guard opened the gate and walked outside the fort. The other guards looked out just in time to see Harahsh the mighty half orc decimate the guard who had opened the gate. The battle at The Stag Lord’s keep had finally begun.

The battle went more smoothly than any of the group had anticipated starting with a combination of Harahsh’s brute strength, Layanos’s mystifying magic, and Samba’s terrible fury at the loss of his dearest friend. The first guards standing in our way drowned like a kitten without its’ sea-legs under a crashing tidal wave of power. When Hayley joined from the shadows it was like a cobra striking from the depths of hell and our enemies fell one by one. Our first trouble seemed to appear when the Stag Lord himself appeared; though he seemed to draw most of his power from the magic helm he wore. Taking shot after shot at our noble cohorts, it seemed Layanos or even the mighty Harahsh might fall. His might, the power of his lackeys and a mighty owl bear that seemed a pet of the fort was almost too much for our brave companions; luckily we had an ace up our sleeve that we didn’t know we possessed as a man who appeared half crazed stumbled out of the background, attacking our foes. He slew one of the weaker looking men and started smashing and destroying men and chairs and tables and whatever got in his way. With his help and the combined strength of all members of the party, the enemy was destroyed with Harahsh nearly turning the Stag Lord in to paste with his final blow. After the final confrontation Layanos noticed what appeared to be a man trying to sneak away. With the man bearing a resemblance to the person in a bounty they were trying to locate, Layanos put the man into a deep slumber and tied him up. When the man awakened he identified himself as Falgrem Sneed, the man in the bounty, so they decided they would bring him back to face justice. Not wanting him to make trouble or run away, Layanos blinded him with a spell just to be sure he wouldn’t try and run.

After bagging up the body of the Stag Lord, they decided to venture underneath the fort. They found a dirty tunnel filled with an even dirtier man who proceeded to attack them. According to Samba, the man was shouting at them in druidic calling them interlopers or meddling kids or something along those lines. The battle seemed more annoying than difficult owing to the fact that the druid spent most of the time on the ceiling probably trying to flaunt his dirty loincloth. After many arrows, a few hexes and even an attempt by Harahsh to climb the walls and pry the man from the ceiling, the druid was brought down and the final enemy of the fort was vanquished. After looting what they could and reviving their new friend who they found to be a bandit who wanted to repent named Akiros and recovering dear Stripes’ body, they headed back north, stopping only to return the body of the Stag Lord to the vengeful spirit at Nettle’s Crossing who permitted us to use his pathway. We then headed north to return to Oleg’s trading post victorious.

After turning over our bounty and introducing our new friend Akiros to the Captain of the guard to be taken under his wing and watched closely, they proceeded to make Oleg and themselves very rich people. About halfway through the trading, Hayley seemed to slip into a fit of happiness like none of them had ever seen. When all of their trading was done, a messenger approached them telling them that, in reward for accomplishing their quest to destroy the bandit menace in the north and exploring the area assigned to them, they had all been made Lords and Ladies in charge of all their charter land and that they would be in change of starting their own kingdom under the wing of the Queen of Brevoy. With her as our sponsor, she wished to help start our kingdom and provided us with a beginning fund of 5,000 gold coins. With all of us stunned at the thought of ruling our own kingdom and hopefully with not too many thoughts of backstabbing and taking all of the gold for ourselves, the scene fades to black.

Next time on Kingmaker! Will Hayley finally get that gold plated swimming pool filled with gold coins she’s always wanted? Will Douglas finally be made into a gentleman with his own top hat? How much of this whole kingdom building thing can we screw up? Find out next time on Kingmaker!
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Kingdom Building Ho!
Session Seven

Our latest session begins at Oleg’s trading post; our home away from home. We find ourselves with a week to kill as we await the arrival of the caravan bearing goods from the Lady of Brevoy. During this time, our halfling friend Samba performs a daylong ritual to summon a new tiger companion and the striped beast, cleverly named Dalton, wanders out tiger.jpg of the treeline and into our hearts.

After Samba is made whole again, we convene and begin discussing what to do with the gold we recently acquired from selling off numerous goods to Oleg. With the understanding that we are about to undertake a costly process, we consent to divide the take four ways: one portion for each of us and the other as a beginning fund for our fledgling nation. That settled, we all turn to purchase some new and wondrous items for our personal needs.

The rest of the week relatively uneventful, we allow it to transpire and welcome the caravan’s arrival. Much to our surprise, we are also graced with the presence of 150 new settlers for our tiny kingdom and we quickly reason that it would be best to found things at the Stag Lord’s fortress. Gathering our not-so-insignificantly sized party, we begin the trek to the South to break ground on our new territory. However, the first night of our journey is not as smooth as we had hoped.

While on watch, our Warlock Layanos hears a familiar noise in the distance; the booming “Who” of an OwlBear. Having a lapse in judgment, Layanos calls out to the entire encampment about the threat. This call sets off a minor panic as our new settlers see one of the land’s dangerous creatures for the first time; however, Getty, the blacksmith and leader of the caravan, manages to calm the masses while we stride off to protect our people.

When we leave the confines of the encampment, we get a good look at the beast and charge in, showing no fear to the trembling onlookers in the distance. His better judgment returned, Layanos immediately places the creature under a heavy sleep. This allows Hayley and Harashsh to essentially coup de gras the snoozing OwlBear to raucous cheers from our caravan. The threat vanquished, we all return to take advantage of the few fleeting minutes of darkness left and sleep soundly. The next day, Layanos proves he’s adept at stirring up the masses once again.

river.jpgAs we cross the Thorn River Camp river crossing, Layanos, tired of the relative stink with which the settlers seem to live, becomes fed-up with the stench his dainty half-elf nose has to endure. Putting on a spectacle involving Stinky Pete, a wispy young lass, Samba and the river, he uses his vast intelligence to essentially cajole them into bathing. What follows is a much more pleasant-smelling and unhampered trek to the fortress.

Finally, on June 17 we arrive at our destination and are forced to sit down and make some tough decisions about the workings of our new kingdom; the most pressing of which seems to be who should rule. Coming to a consensus, Samba is appointed our new interim King of our neutral nation of Coravin whose founding city, Corinth, is so named for our fallen comrade. What proves even more challenging than this is getting some of our trusted friends to agree to hold positions of power within our nation. Layanos naturally takes the Magister position while Hayley relishes being the land’s SpyMaster. Oleg, Svetlana, Kesten, Aikros, Harashsh and Johd eventually find suitable roles and we are able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that we have relatively trusted individuals in place to handle some of the biggest jobs in Coravin. While we allow them to get a feel for their new positions and let them mingle with out 150 settlers, the five of us (Harashsh included) set off to finish exploring the surrounding area.

While roaming through some tall grass on horseback, our group is attacked by some fast-moving and well-organized wolves. They quickly kill off two of our horses and send Layanos and Harashsh tumbling to the ground. The beasts are on the fallen two instantly and begin tearing into them. The rest of us are then able to get our bearings and get into the fray and we eventually see Layanos and Harashsh make their way to their feet. These beasts prove to actually be worgs and they bite and tear at us with great efficiency.

Layanos is able to put one to sleep and blind another, while Samba entangles a third with a spell, turning the grass into living cords. The blinded one soon stumbles into the entanglement himself and two of the worgs are out of the fight.

Hayley is able to maneuver into a flank with our newest animal compatriot and lands the first killing blow of the battle, raking her short swords through worg hindquarters. Nearby, Samba strikes with what should be a hefty hit but angles his scythe in such a way as to not deal as much damage as he should.

When the non-blind worg breaks free from the tangling grass, he sees his fellows in dire-straights and lights out for greener pastures. Meanwhile, Harashsh has been having a painful back and forth with one of the creatures and is finally able to best it with some aid from Layanos’ slumber spell. Across the battlefield, Dalton fiercely wrestles with a worg of his own and eventually puts it out of its’ misery.

One remaining, the blind and entangled beast has its’ faculties further affected by Layanos’ spectral hand/touch of idiocy combination attack. Sparing it a pitiful future, Hayley ends its’ life with a well-placed crossbow bolt.

After patching up our half-orc Slayer, we fetch the two living horses who bolted when they saw their four-legged comrades fall and return to the fortress. Gathering up the mass of people, we set them to the task of clearing the area and making it sufficient for building upon. The necessary sweat shed, we turn the dilapidated fortress into something grand: a castle dubbed The Fortress of Attitude. When the castle stretches sufficiently into the sky, we then turn our attention to constructing housing for the new townsfolk.

Our founding structures in place and Coravin underway, we being declaring some edicts for the people: the regrettable yet necessary taxation edict, our land’s promotional edict (“A brighter future for the Greenbelt”) and six holiday edicts:

  • Long Night – January 25
  • Remembrance Day (Tiger Day) – April 13
  • Founder’s Day – June 3
  • Archer Feast – July 3
  • Harvest Feast – 2nd Monday of November
  • Winter Week – December 10-16

The first month full of hard labor and now behind our new country, we come together in frivolity to celebrate our first holiday: Archer Feast. archery.jpg King Samba gives a nice speech to the citizens of Corinth before the festivities begin and Layanos and Hayley get in on the crossbow competition. Shocking herself with her crossbow antics, Hayley wins and is ecstatic to receive the 50gp prize. The rest of the feast transpires with joyous celebration.

Our first holiday successfully under wraps, we head out the next morning to attempt to finish exploring all remaining areas of our original charter. Shortly after departing, Kesten crosses our paths and beckons us to examine some tracks he discovered. Determining that these footprints belong to a troll, we decide to tackle the problem straightaway and grab General Aikros to set out on a troll-hunt with us. What we end up discovering in the pursuit is much more complicated.

A few days into tracking the troll, we come upon an old mine with nearby kobold tracks. A skittish kobold at the mine entrance strikes up a conversation with Layanos in his native Draconic. He claims a curse has been placed on the kobolds since the mites stole their sacred statue and that the troll we’ve been seeking is in the mine attempting to get the kobolds to serve the troll king. After some back and forth, we agree to follow this little creature to his leader to try to get more information about the situation we’ve stumbled into.

Conversing in turn with the kobold king and the troll, we’re left facing some difficult decisions. The troll assures us that his king will destroy our new settlement and the humans there eventually, regardless of our course of action. The kobold wishes us to help retrieve their statue or deal with the oppressive troll menace. Knowing that our forces are not currently strong enough to deal with a group of trolls, we look further into retrieving the kobold statue to perhaps make a tentative alliance with the race. The kobolds are holding a rather whiny mite prisoner and Layanos converses with him in the mite’s native tongue. From all the information we’ve received, it seems that the large mite tree we burned out many months before is now home to something sinister the kobolds call “not-mites” and that they now reside in the tunnels under the tree with the statue most likely in their possession.

Pondering this new turn of events, we finish exploring the remaining land of our initial charter and head to the expanse near Corinth where we work to set up farms for the people. During this second month of kingdom building, an unfortunate event befalls the fledgling Coravin, but we must wait til we resume to face it.

Next time on King Maker: Will Coravin be obliterated before we have a chance to build it up? Will Natalia ever show up again? Will we find out what these “not-mites” are? And will King Samba ever make a formal decision as to how the citizenry should address him? Find out next time for what is sure to be another session full of harrowing adventure and close calls!

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Assassination Attempts, Unrest and Resurrection
Session Eight

The kingdom-folk hard at work, they look up from their labor to see an unknown figure pass them by. Shrouded in numerous scarves, her arms covered in bangles, a slight smile plays on the face of one Natalia Emilia Sofia Lacusta. Her disappearing trick now over, she wanders into Corinth in search of her former companions.

Soon enough, the gypsy spies one of her groupmates, Hayley Darkhawk, and approaches. A very curt greeting with a sprinkle of forced politeness ensues and Natalia eventually steps away from the awkward proceedings to investigate this new city. Hayley, less-than-enthused that her old acquaintance has returned, sets off to inform Layanos and King Samba of the turn of events.

Overshadowing this potentially troubling news however, is the arrival of a dwarven druid toting a large lizard and an even larger plant. The dwarf asks to see King Samba, who promptly summons his friends before greeting the envoy. Natalia, who happened to be speaking with Samba when he was informed of the groups’ arrival, sticks around. It’s almost as if the old gang is back together.

Meeting in the castle’s courtyard, we come upon these unusual travelers and Samba offers his greeting. The dwarf states he is from the Thorn Claw Druids sect and is here to present the plant to the King. Studying it more closely, Layanos is able to determine that the creature is a rather large Fly Trap.

Samba reveals to the dwarf that he is Coravin’s acting king and a heated conversation in druidic follows; it appears the dwarf is not pleased with a fellow druid living in such a luxurious manner. Escalating to a near shouting match, the druid assures Samba that the Thorn Claws do not appreciate our fledgling nation and that they will tear it down. Seeking a compromise but finding none, the dwarven druid goes on the attack.

Although a few of them could not understand Samba and the dwarves’ conversation, this group has faced enough danger for all of them to realize when on the verge of a battle. Hayley and Harashsh react first and charge in to attack the druid; actions that prove to be horrendous ideas.

The druid quickly transforms into a sabretooth tigersabretoothtiger.jpg and charges at Samba. Meanwhile, the large lizard, which we now know to be a T-rex, chomps down on Hayley’s midsection and lifts her into the air, shaking her like a rag doll. Blood flies from the puncture wounds. Seeing her distress, Samba quickly casts a spell on Hayley that allows her to attempt to wiggle free of the dinosaurs’ jaws. Able to slip through the teeth thanks to her friend, Hayley lands on the ground just in time to have her neck snapped by one of the Fly Traps’ vines. The rogue falls over dead! Still out for blood, the plant then whips a limb around Harahsh and hoists him into the air by his ankle. His strength winning out, however, the half-orc is able to break free and falls back to the ground. From afar, Layanos is able to put the T-rex to sleep and it lays down to dream about tasty, tasty Hayley flesh.

Natalia gathers herself and bursts into song to inspire her comrades while Dalton gets in the sabre tooth tiger’s face. Unfortunately, Harahsh is still the closest to the plant and the foliage reaches forth once more and wraps itself around his midsection. With a giant squeeze, it breaks Harahsh’s spine and lets his body slump over next to Hayleys! Seeing the incredibly quick and tragic turn of events, Natalia takes a guess and flings all of her trail rations at the Fly Trap.

Samba and Dalton have their hands full with the druid and the halfling summons a wolf to aid in the fight. Though it quickly succumbs to the sabre tooth tiger’s teeth, the wolf distracts it just enough to allow Dalton to rip out it’s throat. The druid is finally defeated! Luckily for the group, Natalia’s ploy has succeeded and Fly Trap focuses its’ energy on munching on twenty pounds of trail rations. Seizing the moment, an invisible Layanos slides over to the castle gates and calls for help from Aikros and Kesten. The general, responding to the call, rushes in and ends the sleeping dinosaur without hesitation. Giving the plant a wide berth, they drag the two bodies from the scene and convene on the outside of the castle walls.

Trying to make sense of all that has transpired of the last few minutes, the group decides to move the conversation to a back room at the Stumble Inn so as not to attempt to pass by the plant. Luckily, the druid had a Scroll of Reincarnation on him and the trio had enough wits about them to grab it before they left the area. Samba, with his magical intellect, knows that a Reincarnation spell is akin to playing the magical lottery and that the target may not come back as they previously were. Having little options, they decide to use the scroll on Harahsh and dip into the royal treasury in order to secure enough funds to pay for the materials Jhod will need to perform a Resurrection spell on Hayley. Oleg, present for this discussion, seems to be taking Hayley’s death particularly hard. Needing at least a day to prepare for the Scroll of Reincarnation, they turn to focus back to the plant problem.

Natalia, using her mastery of tongues (and tonsils), heads back to the castle in an attempt to converse with the plant. Her warnings, pleas and politeness seem to have no effect on the creature as it happily munches on the rations. The day a relative disaster, they wearily turn in for the night and rise the next morning with the hope of bringing one of their fallen companions back from the dead.

After having a tent erected for privacy, Samba gets down to business to perform the ritual. As he begins, vines snake from the soil and surround Harahsh’s broken body. Magical happenings occur under the foliage and soon enough, a reincarnated Harahsh emerges from the wrappings. However, much to his horror, his finds his body is not quite the same as it once was. Formerly a burly and intimidating half-orc, Harahsh now finds he has been brought back as a black human being. Furious at the loss of his old form, Harahsh demands to know what has been done to him with such forcefulness that our King wets himself in a moment of royal pride. Somewhat placated by the fact that he is alive once more, Harahsh stalks off with Jhod who restores him to full strength. With three weeks to wait before the components arrive to resurrect Hayley, a bored Natalia wanders off back into town to see what sort of shenanigans she can get herself into.

Layanos and Samba, finding themselves alone, turn their attention back to the Fly Trap issue. Concocting a plan, Layanos suggests that scaffolding is built on the castle wall perimeter to allow archers wielding fire arrows clean shots at the plant.

After construction, Aikros leads the men in firing two volleys at the creature. Perturbed by the event, the Fly Trap makes its’ way within range of the scaffolding and rips it down. Luckily, no one is injured. Seeing that the plants’ movement placed in in front of the main gate, Samba leaps into action and sends a flaming sphere at the foliage; parking it on what best appears to be its’ face. All of the fire damage eventually withers the plant into oblivion and the castle is once more safe for use.

Having tackled the most pressing issues, the group waits for the rest of the three weeks to elapse and for the diamond dust to arrive. The day eventually here, Jhod uses the component to cast a resurrection spell on Hayley and the rogue awakes to find herself back in the land of the living. After being filled in on the events since her untimely demise, and being thoroughly concerned by Harahsh’s reincarnation, Hayley wanders off with Jhod to have her strength restored.

Having been put back in order and learning the steep cost of her resurrection, Hayley goes to see Oleg. He and Svetlana are elated to see their dear Hayley alive and well. Much rejoicing was had by all.

Things now as they should be, the fearless leaders of Coravin turn to bolstering their kingdom. Unfortunately, the recent deaths, dip into the treasury and troll tracks cause some unrest among the citizens and we are only able to construct a Western wall in an attempt to deter wandering trolls. Coravin’s third month was certainly not a good one.

Knowing that we need to win back some goodwill and money for the land, we peruse the jobs on the Stumble Inn’s bounty board. Scanning the options, Layanos pushes for pursuing a troublesome forest drake known to be somewhere within the gnarlmarshes. drake.jpg Trekking into the woods, we hunt down Old Ted, one of the town’s premier hunters. He tells us that the beast was last seen travelling South West.

Blocked by the river, we begin following it due West and come upon a group of gnomes having difficulty crossing the river with their wagons. Rushing in to help, we jump in the water and swim out to aid them. With his smooth-talking animal ways, Samba manages to calm their panicking horses and unhitch them from the sinking wagon. Grouping up, we all try to push the wagon onto land but sadly fail and watch as the vehicle is swept along down stream.

Pulling ourselves back onto dry land, we strike up a conversation with the grateful gnomes. Samba, our benevolent King, heals the bruised and battered creatures as they reveal that they are in search of an ancient dwarven fortress. Not able to help them with this quest, we haggle a bit over a map of the area they are willing to sell; however, the asking price proves obscenely steep and the two groups part ways.

That night, as Layanos keeps watch, tradition continues and he hears something approaching the campsite. The rest of us wake to the sound of a thundering herd and are soon greeted by a group of frisky wild boars storming by. Sensing the opportunity for boar bacon, we seize the moment and attack. wild_boar.jpg Hayley rolls up to one and strikes first, quickly followed by Dalton. Two of the boars, pissed at Hayley’s interruption, attempt to gore her but fail.

Nearby, Layanos pops a spectral hand into existence between two more of the beasts as Harahsh runs up to Hayley and helps her take down the first bacon bit. Not to be outdone, Samba rushes up with his scythe and starts swinging away.

Using the hand, Layanos renders one mildly stupid and Harahsh moves to flank with Dalton and end a second boar. Laying on the punishment, Layanos then uses the hand once more; this time to curse the stupefied one. Striking back in its’ derpy state, it manages to wound our tiger companion.

Harahsh, all over the battlefield, returns to Hayley and sets up a flank. He severely wounds the third beast and Hayley finishes it off.

Enjoying his malicious torment of the final boar, Layanos blinds the poor beast and steps back to let Harahsh run over and finish it with explosive force.

The boars dead, we heal up Dalton and focus on cooking up some tasty, tasty boar meat.

Next time on King Maker, will we find the forest drake? Will Natalia randomly show up again much to Hayley’s displeasure? Will Harahsh ever get used to being a black guy? Tune in next time to witness chills, spills and thrills!

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Stepping away from the Kingdom

As our quest continues, we have left our new kingdom behind in order to find and eliminate a forest drake that has been causing trouble in the area. We know from our prior conversation with Old Ted that the creature was headed south and west, but tailing it proves difficult. Our exploration is uneventful at first and we are able to map another hex without incident. The day after, however, we hear a commotion nearby. Hearing voices mentioning “stringing up the bitch” in common, we decide that we need to investigate.

We follow the sounds, leading us to a pool and a strange sight. A group of lumberjacks stand back from the pool, two at the banks looking transfixed by a strange female creature over the water. Further investigation makes us realize that this is a nixie, a fey creature known for charming men. We learn from speaking with the leader of the lumberjacks that the nixie didn’t take kindly to them chopping down the trees near her pool. Their plan is to kill her before she can transfix them all. We decide to hear the nixie’s side of the story, and understand that she is simply defending her forest. Samba is sympathetic to her wanting to defend the forest, and Layanos recalls that the lumberjacks could find the same kind of wood ten miles north at the tatzylwyrm’s den. We decide that the lumberjacks ought to leave, but Samba insists on attempting a diplomatic solution and not unnecessarily shedding blood. The lumberjack boss isn’t open to such negotiation, however, and we’re forced tofight the men.crazylumberjack.jpg

Layanos gives us the early advantage by blinding the boss. Hayley darts over to one and kills him before he can react. The others swarm her, but luckily she is able to react quickly to their attacks and ensure that none of them can land a killing stroke. The nixie lends some assistance as well, freezing one of the men solid. In spite of their advantage in numbers, our group wins convincingly and forces the boss to surrender when all of his men are dead.

We approach the grateful nixie, who introduces herself as Melianse. At our request, she releases the two charmed lumberjacks, and urges them to grab their boss and leave immediately. They are happy to oblige, and we doubt we’ll see them again any time soon. Melianse requests that we help replace the trees the lumberjacks cut down, advising that we speak to a druid woman named Tirisia to the west.

We camp out that night, exploring the next day until we encounter the tall and beautiful woman. This is Tirisia, and she is accompanied by a severely injured satyr companion named Falcos. Layanos heals some of Falcos’ grievous wounds, hoping to keep us on the druid’s good side. She wants us to help rid the area of a pernicious plant called a scythe-tree that injured the satyr. In spite of our hesitance to fight against another fearful fauna, we know that this is the easiest way to obtain tree feather tokens and replace the nixie’s trees. Plus, Samba is quite attracted to Tirisia. We are allowed to camp out with our new acquaintances that night, and it’s unclear exactly what activities occurred after the scene faded to black.

The next day, some exploration to the southeast leads us to the scythe-tree. Standing 15-20 feet tall, the tree poses a serious threat. Samba attempts to burn the tree down with a flaming sphere. It is effective, but the tree doesn’t go down without a fight. Harahsh hacks at the tree in the meantime, doing some damage but taking more. The others attempt to dodge the tree while waiting for the fire to eventually run its course and turn the tree into a charred set of sticks. We break one off and start to make our way back to Tirisia.

That night, our camp is unfortunately invaded during Hayley’s watch. Likely fatigued from the battle with the tree, Hayley doesn’t realize that a group of dredges is coming our way until they arrive at the camp. She yells to wake up the others just as the nasty creatures attack. Layanos emerges from his tent and tries to draw some of them away from Hayley by taunting them. These dredges aren’t easily intimidated, however, and simply launch a noxious cloud over the camp that instantly nauseates Harahsh.

We try at first to fight back against the dredges, Hayley finding the cold-iron ax she took off the lumberjack boss useful. They seem to realize she is the biggest threat to them, however, and they all focus on taking her out. Barely able to stand, Hayley summons the last of her energy to acrobatically dodge around the dredges and make her way to Layanos. He heals some of her injuries, and they lead the retreat. Samba, Dalton, and Harahsh follow, and the group manages to escape the foul enemies.

We return to camp the next morning to find Hayley’s dropped sword broken and our tents defiled. Layanos is able to mend the sword, but nothing can be done about the desecrated tents. We return to Tirisia, letting her know that we destroyed the scythe-tree. True to her word, the druid gives us the tree feather tokens and promises to keep an eye on the forest for us. We thank her and return to the nixie’s pond. Melianse is also grateful for our help after we replace her trees, and she promises to keep an eye on the river near our kingdom.

Rather than return to Corinth after being gone for seven days, however, we set off for the west to continue our search for the forest drake. The first day is uneventful, but our second day leads us to a ruined elven castle. We see an open gate on the east side, and our curiosity gets the best of us. Harahsh leads the way through the gate, tripping a trap and slamming the portcullis shut behind him. With us blinking confusedly on the other side, Harahsh is ambushed by an astonishingly-quick green fellow.Portcullis-Bamburgh_Castle_3660.jpg

Hayley uses her rope to scale the castle wall while the others try to reach our companion’s side by reaching the rubble on the south side. The green fellow continues to attack Harahsh with an annoying but effective strategy of turning invisible and hitting Harahsh before retreating. Once the rest of us reach the courtyard, however, we’re able to turn the tides against the fellow. Samba summons lightning and nails the fellow with a bolt after Layanos blinds him. Dalton also lands a tiger bite on the fellow before he decides he’s had enough. The creature’s speed allows it to escape us, and we know it’s too fast to pursue.

Hayley turns her attention to investigating the area. She is beside herself when she finds a hidden urn full of gold and rubies in one of the turrets. When she reaches the third tower, however, she finds more than she bargained for. Samba calls out a warning too late, and an assassin vine attacks and grapples the rogue. The others hurry over to help as a fey-like creature emerges and joins the fight. We surround him, Layanos slumbering him so that Hayley can finish him off with a coup de grace. We then turn our full attention to the assassin vine, which manages to grapple Dalton before the tiger bites it to death.

We find more loot afterward, and Hayley opens the door to the fourth tower. She immediately slams the door shut after spotting two swarms of rats ready to make her their dinner. One more tower in the center of the castle awaits us, but our session is drawing to a close. Will we continue to explore this dangerous castle and find whatever else is waiting for us? Will our kingdom hold up in our absence? Will we ever locate the forest drake? At least some of the answers await in the next installment of our Kingmaker Quest.

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