Kingmaker

Kingmaker Book 1 - Stolen Land Recap
A recap of the adventure so far.

Given a charter to explore the Greenbelt south of Brevoy and eliminate any banditry there by Lord Mayor Ioseph Sellemius, the halfling alchemist Leoamus, half-elf forester Herne, dwarf druid Dvalinn, and human horselord Gurnison Haldane prepared to set off to the west out of Restov towards a lone outpost just outside of Brevoy called Oleg’s Trading Post.

Before they left, the newly formed party was approached by a half-elf in a tri-corn hat named Finnegan stating that he was a mapmaker within Restov’s surveyor and architecture department. He offered up his services as mapmaker to the party for a nominal fee. Herne instantly distrusted the man, as he didn’t believe that he would just leave his post without an ulterior motive. Finn protested and said that he wanted the posterity of mapping the Stolen Lands, but Herne would hear nothing of it and told him to stay away. The next day, the party set out.

The journey only took a few days of travel in the snow, but they all arrived safely. The party was greeted at the gates by Oleg himself followed by his wife Svetlana. Clearly Oleg believed this party to be the group of soldiers meant to help defend the outpost against the threat of bandits as there has been a great deal of trouble recently in the form of extortion from the bandits and their leader Happs Bydon. The party agreed to help protect the outpost from these bandits as it was part of their charter. The bandits were scheduled to come early in the morning to take their payment.

During the evening, the party made acquaintances with a number of people in the trading post. Svetlana cooked a fine meal for everyone and made sure people were having a good time even though the situation the next morning could result in dire consequences. A young half-elf woman named Celeste flirted with a number of the patrons and caught Herne’s eye and they both went off on their own little excursion. A middle aged human woman named Sofia had rented out a room and filled it with her books. She requested of the party to find any interesting monsters or items in the field and bring them back to her for research. A young halfling woman named Tella offered to assist the party as a guide but was turned down as the party had no qualms about going into the wilderness on their own. Finally, a dwarf porter named Garen was looking for work to help in any sort of way. He was turned down as well.

Happs_Bydon_300.pngThe next morning came around, and the party set a trap for the bandits. The party killed 3 of the bandits and were able to capture the leader Happs Bydon. During their interrogation, they found that he was not the leader, just a bandit sent out by Kressel to extort Oleg. He was quite cocky believing that Kessel would not allow Oleg’s to ramain standing.

The party decided to allow Happs Bydon to escape and then follow his trail back to the bandit camp. They left at midday, tracking the man as they went, and bringing along Celeste, as Herne fancied her.

Back in Restov, it was discovered by the real Gurnison Haldane that a man had intercepted the charter that was supposed to have been given him. The mayor of Restov tasked Gurnison to take care of this man quietly as it was an embarrassment to Restov. The mayor gave Gurnison a new charter and a sealed affidavit testifying to the validity of this Gurnison Haldane.

Gurnison was approached by Finnegan as well and offered his assistance to map the region. Gurnison knew this was an aspect of the charter and agreed to let him come with. In addition, Gurnison hired on a young woman to operate as his cook. Lanna Urthoge’s father was given money to help assay his fears about losing a productive person in his house. Lanna was eager to accompany Gurnison.

On their way out of Restov, they hooked up with a group of people: Kesten Garess was the leader of a group of mercenaries hired by Restov to help Oleg’s Trading Post defense against bandits, and Dabul, a half-orc mercenary and former member of the Green Dragons militia in Restov looking to be hired on by a party as a man at arms. They arrived at Oleg’s in the evening the same day the party left to track the Happs Bydon.

Finding Tella, Gurnison hired her to help track the party in order to catch up with them the next day. It took a day to track the party and when they caught up to them, the Gurnison impostor galloped off after seeing the real Gurnison ride up. Confused at the reaction, the party identified that the person coming up to them and presenting his papers, he was the real Gurnison Haldane. Herne, upon seeing Finnegan come up with Gurnison and believing him to be a spy, immediately let loose a blunt arrow hitting him directly in the forehead, with Finnegan falling off of his horse unconscious.

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Founding a Kingdom
Rivers Run Red - Session 1

After being awarded the 5000gp and received the charter to establish a new kingdom in the Stolen Lands, the party spent a couple days at Oleg’s Trading Post to plan and rest. The evening before they set off, a new visitor from Herne’s past entered the trading post.

Edris had received a vision about her old friend Anundr who was now living as Herne in the Stolen Lands. She went to Oleg’s in order to try to find him. As luck would have it, she found him at Oleg’s sitting at a table for dinner. She quickly sat down and talked to him.

Herne kept the ruse up of not knowing Edris while she grilled him with questions of why he said he wasn’t Anundr, but once they were alone together, a big hug from Herne confirmed her vision. Immediately, they spoke of their pasts and how they came to be where they are now.

Herne related to Edris the story of one of the bandit camps he stayed at. The group of bandits seemed real enough, but the man who mentored him and the men he worked with all disappeared rather suddenly leaving suspicion that perhaps they never were truly alive to begin with.

Herne invited Edris to join them in founding this new kingdom and was accepted by the rest of the party. The next day, Herne gave Celeste 200gp to journey back to Restov with the charter messenger and start her training as a priestess of Calistria. It was sad to see her go, but she would achieve her dream and come back to their kingdom when she was ready. Tella didn’t need to join them in their journey as well, as they didn’t need a guide at that point and she said she’d meet up with them when they started to build their new kingdom.

Faerie Tricksters

They struck out to the Temple of the Elk with Jhod Kavken and Lanna Urthoge to pray to Erastil and seek out the invisible pranksters who had caused the party to have some interesting experiences.

Herne and Edris both entered the forest to seek out these tricksters. Herne being the observant ranger was able to spot nests high up in the trees and tried to call out to them to bring them out with promises of fruit. All of a sudden, Edris’ backpack erupted in fireworks causing her to drop it as the pops and whistles and fire balls flew from the pack into the trees. It was quite shocking to her, though Herne saw that it was just another one of their pranks. Edris picked up the pack and found that the fireworks were just an illusion, but that discovery was just the tip of the iceberg. The ground underneath her became slick and she would have fallen if it weren’t for her quick reflexes, but once she was able to recover her self and ask what was going on, she fell asleep. It would have been a nasty spill if Herne was not there to catch her before she tumbled to the ground.

Herne woke Edris and offered these pranksters a bottle of wine, which did wonders to placate the trickster and they came out to enjoy the fruity flavored alcohol. There were two of them, a faerie dragon with butterfly wings named Pervilash and a Grig, a half cricket half woman, named Tig-Titter-Tut. They drank together, and talked about how much they disliked the “bigenses” who were mean and wanted to only hurt others. Soon, Edris and Herne said their farewells and left the fey on good terms. Of course, they did give Edris a parting gift as she struggled to pick up Kellehrny now that he was full of grease.

Sootscales

Chief_Sootscale_full_300.pngThey continued to the South East and entered the Sootscale silver mine and requested audience with Chief Sootscale. The party wanted to make sure that this kingdom that they would build would consider the Sootscale kobolds in their plans and perhaps become their allies in building for the future. The kobolds only wanted to live as they had with no interference. They would be fine with their non-aggression pact between them, but the party wanted something more.

An ember Sootscale kobold named Kiza stood at the side of Chief Sootscale and spoke to him in Draconic telling him that this new arrangement would favor the Sootscales. Not only could they get someone on the leadership council and protect the interests of the Sootscales on a daily basis, but would also establish an alliance between the two societies. Chief Sootscale acquiesced but was sad to see the smartest of all the Sootscales go. The next day, the party left the Sootscales and journeyed to the Stag Lord’s Fort to consecrate the land.

Founding of Stagholm

The consecration of the Stag Lord’s Fort took the all the time they had until their supplies showed up to start building their capital city. They decided to retrofit the fort into a castle as their first order of business. Most of the work was easy because the fort was ready to be upgraded. They also decided to build housing for the influx of new people that would be arriving to live in their city and kingdom.

They built their leadership, giving Rulership to Gurnison Haldane, Spymaster to Herne, Marshal to Dvalinn, Councilor to Leoamus, Magister to Edris, Grand Diplomat to Kiza, High Priest to Jhod, and Treasurer to Oleg. All the positions need not be filled at that moment, the kingdom was still small.

After a month passed and construction had completed in their new city, a visitor from Gurnison’s past came by looking for him. And old family friend named Ruki Malith wanted to join Gurnison as she had learned that he had become an adventurer and she wanted to become one too. With her hood pulled up, no one could tell that she had very large horns that dominated her visiage, nor the tail that also betrayed her heritage.

Gurnison took her around the city and spoke of their plans for building the kingdom and invited her to join them for dinner and to stay the night. At dinner, a few of the party caught a glimpse of the horns, but Gurnison felt a tingling from his ring and accessed a memory he never knew he had before. The vision started with him seeing a younger Ruki inside a cage in a bandit camp. She looked extremely frightened. One man who looked like a pirate, was yelling at the bandits and pointing at Gurnison telling them, “If you don’t get rid of him by the time I get back, I’ll do it for you.” The bandits looked very frightened of this man but looked sadly at Gurnison. The memory ended there.

Gurnison and Ruki spent the next several days in talks with him trying to make sense of the memory. It did establish that they had a deeper history together. Gurnison asked Ruki if she would become their Royal Enforcer to ensure that the Loyalty of the kingdom would be in good hands. The first thing she had to do was to reveal her true nature to the rest of the leadership, and it went over swimmingly, except for Leoamus, who is pretty much scared of anything that might eat him.

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Blood Claws Attack the Expedition
Rivers Run Red - Session 2

After Archer’s Feast, the party decided to venture out of the kingdom to explore it’s immediate surroundings. Before they could leave, they heard a few rumors which might lead to adventures of their own:

Rumors

1) The Stag Lord has risen from the dead and now stalks the Greenbelt, gathering an army of ghostly bandits from an ancient crypt in the eastern Kamelands.
2) Beware the mad hermit to the south. He speaks to beasts and lives in a hollow tree.

Quests

Gurnison was approached by the local flirt, Lily Teskertin, at the local inn. She asked him to return a fine mithral statue of elven craftsmanship, perhaps of religious value. She would reward him with her father’s old cloak of protection and a kiss (or perhaps something more).

Edris was contacted by an alchemist asking her to bring her a waterskin full of troll blood to assist in the production of healing potions. It’s quite dangerous to go alone seeking a troll, but since the party has a great deal of members, it would be a lot easier for them to gather what he wants. He offered a reward of potions worth up to 1200gp.

Northrople Expedition

Once they were ready, the party set off into the west to explore the area in order to exert their influence and possibly claim the area for their new kingdom. In their travels, they happened upon a wagon in the river that was caught upon some rocks. The panicked ponies that were attached to the wagon were attempted to be calmed by a half-elf which the party would discover to be Finnegan Farseer. 10 gnomes were standing upon the shore watching in futility as Finn was their only hope to get the ponies free and to save the wagon and its contents.

Gurnison galloped with Julesy into the river to help free the horses and save the wagon, while Dvalinn quickly made his move to empathize with the ponies to calm them enough that Finn could loose the reins and lead them out of the river. Once the ponies were safe, ropes were thrown to Gurnison for him and the recovered Finn to tie onto the wagon. Once Julesy was setup and ropes were secured to the wagon, Gurnison led Julesy and the wagon safely out of the river.

Jubilost_Narthrople_300.pngIn unison, the gnomes shouted a cheer showing gratitude for the assistance given to them. The leader of the gnomes introduced himself as Jubilost Narthrople and stated he was on an expedition to find an old Dwarven Outpost which acted as a toll for an old Taldoran trade route to the north. In gratitude he offered a discount of 500gp or a one to one trade on the maps of the southern Greenbelt that Finn had helped him create. Dvalinn wasn’t interested in such a high price, and denied the offer.

Questioning about why the gnomes looked beat up, Narthrople told them that a group of red scaled kobolds had ambushed them as they were trying to figure out how they would ford the river. The ponies became frightened and bolted into the river getting the wagon stuck in the process. The gnomes being capable fighters, especially against kobolds, were able to drive the kobolds off. It was a few minutes later that the party came by and saved their belongings.

All the while, Herne recognized Finn in the water and hid amongst the trees in order to get the drop on him if he made any suspicious moves. Nothing about the entire encounter with the gnomes that seemed too out of the ordinary and Herne felt he couldn’t put an arrow into Finn without due cause.

Leaving the gnomes to their own devices, the party headed off to the northwest to track the kobolds which attacked the gnomes. Unfortunately for the party, they were unable to find the kobolds before they popped out of the trees and ambushed them. The kobolds targeted their horses first with their slings and frightened a few which their riders couldn’t control and galloped off, reducing their number.

It was of no use though, the party was much too strong for the kobolds and one was captured alive out of the eight. Through intimidation and a very large sword, the kobold spoke to them about their tribe called the Blood Claws and chieftain, Guthook. He told them that they were ousted by the Black Fog thieve’s guild and ventured out into the Stolen Lands to settle by the big swamp west of the Narlmarches forest. Now they’ve been living there for a year and have established a foothold even though they had tussled with the “frogmen”.

The party eventually let him go to warn Guthook and his breed that a new kingdom was building and they would not tolerate wickedness or disruption to their civilization. They could either fall in line or die. The kobold quickly agreed as it would save his scales and free him.

The Old Beldame

Continuing to the south east, the party happened across a dilapidated hut on a large hummock in the middle of a swamp near the Tuskwater lake. The hummock was surrounded by a old fence adorned with fetishes and a gate which had an old rusty bell. Inside the fence was a pumpkin headed scarecrow which wasn’t providing much protection as a crow was sitting on its shoulder.

The_Old_Beldame_300.pngThinking it would be a good idea to ring the bell before entering the premises, for politeness sake, the party waited until an old green skinned elf woman appeared at the window shouting at them to go away. Through some clever diplomacy, Kiza and Edris were able to peak her interest enough for her to invite the two of them in. As they walked up the pathway, they discovered that the scarecrow was truly a construct set there as a guardian for this woman Kiza knew to be known as the Old Beldame.

Once within her hut, Kiza and Edris were able to find out that the Old Beldame only appeared to be a witch, but in reality, was an old fey-blooded sorceress who’s green-tinged skin and pointed ears were from the blood gaining potency over the years. She had developed a infamous reputation that she didn’t want to deny as it kept people from seeking her out. She enjoyed her solitude.

During the conversation, she told them that she knew a few things about the area they might be interested in: the mad hermit to the west who cut the finger off his hermit brother in the north, the lizardfolk village to the west of Lake Candlemere, the island in Lake Candlemere which is inhabited by will o’ wisps, the lonely barrow to the east of their fair kingdom in the Kamelands, and the Tendriculous the the southeast across the Tuskwater. It was where the Tendriculous is that she asked them to find her black rattlecap mushrooms which she would pay a handsome sum of 100gp per rattlecap head. She couldn’t go there to get them as the Tendriculous is far too dangerous for her to handle alone. She also told them that they could possibly avail themselves to her service: spellcasting, crafting wondrous items, and crafting magical arms and armor. She’d provide these services for typical prices they’d find in a town.

They said their goodbyes and left to finish exploring the area. Before they stopped for the night, one of those will o’ wisps happened upon them and caused all sorts of havoc on the party. Eventually, they brought it down, but it was extremely difficult to do so. Once the will o’ wisp was out of the picture, they decided to make camp a bit a ways a way.

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Lurking Murders and Almost Dead
Rivers Run Red - Session 3

Deciding to explore more of the area immediately around their kingdom, the party journeyed back to Stagholm to restock before setting out again. Herne and Dvalinn decided not to stop but to continue on to Oleg’s Trading Post to discuss with Kesten Garess of joining their kingdom as General.

Lurking Murders

The remaining party members arrived in Stagholm in the morning and found that there were reports of attacks on livestock by wild beasts and the death of Saki, a barmaid at the local inn, and Beven, a shepherd boy bringing in his flock.

Jhod had been caring for the mutilated bodies of the boy and maid. The party asked him questions regarding what might have killed these folk and Jhod indicated that it was some sort of large beast which had torn them asunder. The party decided to investigate the area where the attacks took place.

In each area, they found a set of very large wolf tracks that were able to be followed back to a copse of trees. Within those trees, they found that the wolf prints stopped and a human foot prints left the trees. Believing that this could be the acts of a werewolf, they went to the inn to ask the innkeeper to ask if there have been any strange people seen at the inn recently. He said that there was a visiting barbarian who has kept to himself .

Feeling that this could be the break they needed, the party went to his room and investigated it. Searching under the bed, they found an ear with the earring of the barmaid under it. They also found that there were claw marks on the window sill outside of the room that indicated that the werewolf must have been the same barbarian.

That night, the party stood watch and waited for the werewolf to come to town. The werewolf attempted to sneak into town but the party was able to see him. A battle ensued which was quite difficult. It even involved the werewolf resisting the coup de grace from Gurnison. But in the end, the werewolf was put down.

A few townsfolk saw the fight and even more found them over the body of the man after he shifted from wolf hybrid form. Confusing word rang out about the incident which had many different stories by the morning. Kiza calmed things down with an official announcement from the leaders of the kingdom. After that, they set out east to explore more area around their kingdom.

Howl of the North Wind

Venturing to the West of Stagholm, the party explored the area past the river to see if there were any threats in the area. Upon travelling over the hilly terrain, the party was set upon by a few wolves. Edris did recognize that one of the wolves was different, it was a worg. The wolves swarmed the front of the party tearing at the legs of Gurnison’s horse Julsey. Julsey would have none of it and bit and stomped one of the wolves to death. The other wolves tried to bring her down with Gurnison still on top, but they were unable to succeed.

Lanna showed some mettle against the worg, hitting it thrice with her heavy mace until Gurnison could come up on foot to assist her. Soon, the wolves were all dead and the worg was attempting to escape. Edris moved up within range and let out her ear piercing scream successfully taking down the worg.

As they gathered up the wolves and searched for treasure, they noticed that this worg must be the same one called Howl of the North Wind. It had been terrorizing bandits for a while, but the local citizens wanted to be rid of it in case it developed more of a civilized taste. Gurnison skinned the worg and they packed it away so they could display it in town.

Lonely Warrior

The party decided to go to the Lonely Barrow, which the Old Beldame directed them to and a rumor indicated where the undead form of the Stag Lord was raising an army. Taking the directions, they found a crack in a hill that led into an ancient burial tomb.

Upon entering during the day and being quiet, they noticed that the first chamber had hundreds of bats sleeping and clinging to the ceiling. They wisely decided to leave them alone and not disturb them.

The next chamber had passages exiting in each direction and had four large monstrous faces, carved from stone, which leered and grimaced from each of the walls. A skeleton was face down in the middle of the room. Edris cast detect magic and found that there was magic underneath the skeleton as well as on his finger. Fascinated by the prospect of magic, Edris attempted to find what it was after Ruki had performed a cursory look for traps in the area.

Unfortunately, Ruki’s abilities were insufficient to find the magical trap as black tendrils of smoke enveloped Edris and exhausted her. Then, sounds of stirring down the north and south tunnels alerted them to 12 skeletons about to attack. A battle ensued, but a well placed web spell quickly hindered the skeletons in one room and a bead of force blew apart the other group of skeletons. Not very worse for wear, the party were able to search the area, but with nothing to show.

Ruki saw through the east tunnel, that there looked like a body atop a stone catafalque in the darkness. She approached and when she entered the room, it rose to attack her while threatening their lives. The battle was dangerous with every hit of his sword causing a great deal of damage as well as suffering from an affliction that made them weak. Gurnison was hit the hardest, falling unconscious. Luckily Kiza was there to heal Gurnison enough where he could fight on, though in a weaker state. It took the combined might of everyone in the party to take him down, involving plenty of luck provided by Edris, damaging electricity spells from Ruki, and damaging healing spells Kiza turned upon their undead opponent. The final blow was a desperate maneuver by Ruki which sent her sword flying, but luckily, downed their undead foe.

Hurt, relieved, and tired, the party found the last remaining magic item in the tomb: the undead creature used a broken aldori dueling sword which was determined to be very strong magically, but needed to be repaired in order to use it again. They decided to leave the tomb and journey back to Stagholm, to rest up.

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Logger Conflict
Rivers Run Red - Session 4

Logger Conflict

Exploring further west of Stagholm, the party came across an incident where a logger was at a standoff with a fey creature. The fey was a nixie who had charmed two of the loggers to defend her while the leader of the loggers was Corax, a man who had already felled five trees to the dismay of the nixie.

When the party came on the scene, Corax immediately intercepted them to speak, rather vulgarly, and to gain the party to his side of the argument. It seemed as though Corax had chopped down 200 year old trees in order to sell the lumber. The nixie was affronted by the prospect of those trees being chopped down around her home and wanted the trees replaced. In order to protect herself, she charmed two of the loggers which stood guard in front of her pool.

Herne was offended by the gall of the logger and intimidated him to stand down. Gurnison then questioned Corax’s motives and he found that he wasn’t a very savory sort of person who had no intention of completing the reparations the nixie demanded. Gurnison then lunged at Corax attempting to subdue him with a grapple, but Corax raised his hand axe and struck Gurnison before he could solidify the hold.

Battle broke out and the group of loggers were taken down, the majority of them killed. The nixie assisted with a magic missile spell that took down Corax, but really stayed out of the fight otherwise with her two protector loggers. After the battle, the nixie still demanded that her trees needed to be replaced and she would not release the loggers until those reparations were fulfilled. The party agreed to replace them and the nixie told them that the dryad to the west might be able to help them if they provided her a favor. The party agreed, camped, and would head out in the morning.

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