Kingmaker

30 August, 2010

Well, this Friday we had 5 players and a DM, so good to go. Bevis is leaving us and this was his last week playing, so it was nice to finish on a high note – we have completed module 1.

I have finally made some progress remembering the character names. Morgan’s witch is Morgana, Brett’s ranger is Rainor, my Rogue/Wizard is “Switch”. Andrew’s cavalier is some german-sounding thing, and Bevis’ paladin … a complete blank. I’ll get there.

Michael,

Exciting news! We have found this “Stag Lord” villain and defeated him!

Last I wrote, we had dispatched that enormous boar that was being a problem for the locals. We were killing time, really, waiting for our purchases to arrive at Oleg’s. Since there was a bounty on the board head and we had been exploring for a week or so, we decided to head back, collect the bounty and our purchases.

Our gear had arrived – mine was a second-hand wand of Mage Armour (I use it all the time, and I can only memorise a few spells at a time) and a couple of scrolls which I transcribed into my book. The reward for the boar head was some magical arrows enchanted to kill animals [bane animal]. These would turn out to be pivotal, so thank Desna we decided to deal with that boar.

We idled a couple of days – I wrote a few more scrolls – and then we decided that there was really nothing for it but to deal with this “Stag Lord” head on. Our ex-bandit sergeant gave us excellent directions to his fort. We decided to pose as commoners with a wagon on the way in hopes of being attacked so we could get today’s password. It worked nicely. We were attacked and killed all but one of them, who Morgana blinded (permanently I think). A nasty spell – frankly, I think there is a little moral ambiguity there [Morgan’s characters always turn out to be a little, well, CE]. Anyway, we promised him that the blindness was temporary and we’d cure it in exchange for information, which think we are not able to do. Anyway, he told us a password (which we never used, in the end) and that was that.

We saw the fort from a way off. It is, well, a fort. Log palisade, stone walls, on a hill overlooking a lake whose name escapes me. The sort of thing you’d expect. We noticed that the guards at the back were quite lax, so we thought we’d head in the back way. Rainor and I would sneak in, “gakk” the guards, then hoist the rest of the party over the wall.

It went – well really about as badly as it could possibly go. Heading over the ground to the back wall, the only warning we got was an uncanny feeling, and then these zombies came up out of the ground and attacked us – nicely explaining the laxity of the guards. I stabbed one of them but got mobbed and was knocked unconscious for a moment [-3. Had to use a hero point to stabilize.]. The rest of the party were watching from a ways off and they abandoned stealth and ran in to help. There was a fight – the zombies actually started pulling us underground. I was barely able to do anything – fumbling around for one of my potions of healing, while the guards at the fort jeered us and shot some arrows. Eventually I managed to quaff a potion and get up. I used my trusty Colour Spray spell, but these things were mindless and it had no effect whatsoever. We got out, eventually, away from the dead things, but we had been discovered and so we decided to just go the frontal assault in the morning.

We prepped. We decided that the simplest way to deal with things was to enlarge our two fighters and have them lift us over the palisade. I opted to use a potion of invisibility – those zombies gave me a scare and I think I’ve learned my lesson about not fighting hand-to-hand. Anyway. There was some arrow fire and the fighters decided simply to shoulder-charge the gate. It worked: after a couple of moments the thing burst open and we were in.

I slipped inside. Really, I felt pretty useless – I’m dividing my attention between magic and other things, and it’s not working out very well. If I attacked anyone then my invisibility would cease, but there was nothing for it: I cast a shield spell on top of the mage armour and then used my wand of grease on a couple of archers up on the wall. And it did nothing. There was this fighter inside who it seems was a paladin of Erastil who had not kept his tithes up, or something. He and our paladin had a little exchange, and he joined our side – his medallion thingy changed from being a dull lead colour to all shiny. Divine magic is like that.

Anyway. The Stag Lord himself was watching the combat from the upper floor of the fort and firing some sort of arrows that made this enormous screaming noise – rather unsettling (a magical fear effect, I believe). Then he dashed off out of sight. I moved around to see what he was up to and he was headed to some lever in the wall. I decided this was probably a bad thing, so I greased the lever. But it was no use: he got it open after a few moments.

The lever opened a wall in the lower floor, and a huge (and hungry and angry) bear came out. Our new paladin friend ran at it sort of to protect me, which was sweet of him I suppose, and this bear opened him up a treat. However, Rainor and I both had these arrows of animal slaying, and we both scored hits. The bear went down and it’s just as well.

Meanwhile, all sorts of things had been going on. Our regular paladin had fallen (just around the corner), and I told the new paladin so – kind of as a test. He rushed in to help, and I decided to head upstairs. My spells weren’t doing anything, but I have my bow. The fort is a semi-ruin, most of the upstairs floor is missing, which was good – it meant I could keep my distance and shoot. I’d get shot at, of course, but I was swaddled in protective spells. Well: I shot terribly [rolled a 5, a 3, and a 5] and accomplished nothing. The rest of the party had dealt with everyone on the ground (I think at least one of them was permanently blinded) and began to come upstairs. As they did, this other person broke cover and attacked – I think he might have been one of the other bounties on those wanted posters. I forget what happened, he got away for the moment and disappeared or something.

Anyway, most of the minions got killed and finally we were dealing with just the Stag Lord and his offsider. They retreated down into a ruined room and we all piled on. The two of them had one of our party flanked at one point, which would have been bad news, but I stunned one of them with a colour spray and he dropped his rapier and I got it (a nice weapon – I might use it). After a moment or two, these final two were dead, and suddenly everything was quiet, save for a lone “Gakk!” sound from the archery tower as Morgana dealt with the final bandit.

Anyway. What to do now? We can’t just leave this fort vacant – some other bandits will grab it. It’s ruined, but fixable, so perhaps we should base ourselves here for a while. More immediately, the ground outside is infested with undead and needs to be cleansed. Our paladin and his new friend might be able to help there, and there’s that temple that we fixed up – maybe some priests might care to take up residence now that we have dealt with the worst of the banditry, and they can deal with the dead things.

Arguably I’ve fulfilled my obligations here, but I don’t know that they’d be happy to see me back home just yet, so I will continue on with these for a while. I’d like to be more useful, though. Speaking of which, could you possibly be a dear and have Arithel do me one of those hunter’s cloaks? You know his are the best, and I can afford one now. I can arrange to send trader’s credits, I think. I’ll have to check.

Your sister in exile
Selrynn.


Well, not finished yet – we have the undead, and possibly a basement in this fort. Dave has asked us to keep our character sheets as they are for the moment so there’s a hint. I’m not happy with Selrynn, but it’s possible she’ll come good once I start prestiging her as an Arcane Trickster at 7th level. I just don’t know how to play a Rogue, I suspect, so I should stick with it. What shall I level up for 4th level? Rogue or Wizard? Probably Wizard – keep things in sync.

And farewell Bevis, may your eyrie receive you at journey’s end and all that. Safe travels.

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Kingmaker

18 August, 2010

Michael,
It’s been a busy week or so. We have been exploring the area, as doing this is part of our mission here and also because we don’t feel quite up to dealing with this “Stag Lord” person. There’s also the fact that there are other bounties to collect, now that the Kobolds are pacified.

We recovered some sort of idol thingy in the mite lair and intended to trade it with the kobolds for Hilda’s (?) wedding ring. We arranged a meeting. we had a couple of days and did some exploring, uncovering a cache of loot and a very nice spellbook.

At the meeting the chief, who we had met before, was there and also a shaman/priest thingy. Negotiations were off to a tricky start – the shaman spoke common, but the chief did not – so it was all at cross purposes. Our paladin was very sure that the shaman was “a bad egg”, as he put it. And pandemonium broke out when we dragged out the idol – both the chief and the shaman insisting we give it to them, while all the other kobolds cowered.

Well, we went with the paladin’s feelings on the matter and gave the idol to the chief, who immediately smashed it. A fight broke out, of course, and since we had made our decision we decided not to hold back – stacks on the shaman. He went invisible and tried to sneak away, but the paladin could sense roughly where he was. We all attacked – including the chief – and killed him. The chief cut his head off and displayed it to much rejoicing from the other kobolds. “There shall be trade, there shall be peace!”, he declared, which was very gratifying. Wise, too, because we would certainly have had to wipe them out otherwise. Not an idiot, that chief.

Turns out that most of the bad will between the kobolds and the humans was down to the shaman. And: it turns out he was an arcane caster, a wizard! His spellbook holds a few spells beyond my ability to cast – cause fear, illusions, the sort of thing you’d rely on to cow a kobold tribe. I transcribed Major Image and Minor image, and some others – a very nice find. My spellbook is not full yet, but it’s beginning to look respectable. I’m not studying magic as much as I should – spending too much time working out what to do with this dagger. But I’ll get there, even if the greater magics remain beyond me.

The kobolds were very, very grateful and showered loot on us. We took a delgation back to Oleg’s to normalize relations, and they’ll sort out a trade language eventually.


This week we had a couple of players away, so we decided to explore some hexes on the overland map.

There were a couple of bounties – one for a particularly large boar, and one for the capture of some sort of fabulous beast – which would probably be somewhere near a river in woodland. So we systematically searched the woods to the southwest of Oleg’s , particularly around the rivers, and eventually found what was unmistakably a pig run.

We set some traps and retreated to some distance away. Our witch girl left her familiar in a tree as a sentry. That afternoon, we were alerted – the boar had come home and was not at all happy about the traps, which had done very, very little but upset him. We approached the lair, but the fight was over very quickly. Our halberdieer set his spear and the boar charged, impaling itself, and then the paladin rode by and lanced it. It was quite quick and humane.

Still looking or that worm thing or whatever it is. I’ll post this when we return to Oleg’s.

Your sister-in exile,
Seldrynn


Kingmaker

9 August, 2010

Michael,

What’s that word for “allies that you’d rather not have, but it’s marginally better to have them as allies than as enemies”? Well, we made some of those. I think.

Oleg had put up some posters for jobs back at his fort thingy. There are a few of them, but one of them was that they wanted to stop the kobold raids. Either way of doing it is fine. Seeing as we had already made sort-of peaceful contact with the kobolds, we opted for “Plan B”, as the humans say.

We went back to the Kobolds at the turnip patch and told them that we wanted to be allies asked them for an introduction to their chief. Unfortunately, the only one that speaks draconic is me, and I’m not much of a talker. We found out that their main issue was they were at war with the “mites”, whose description matched the description on one of the other posters at Oleg’s. Some of these things had stolen his wife’s wedding ring. So we were looking at a two-for-one: pacification of the kobolds, and recovery of a wedding ring.

Despite my awful attepts at diplomacy, they agreed – we’d meet in a few days at a particular location to the southeast.


We made our way to the nominated area, exploring as we did so. We killed an Owlbear and were roasting it when the Kobold chief arrived. The diplomacy went – well, not all that well really. My fault again (you know, we never even thought to see if anyone of them knew common – if anyone else had been negotiating, it would have gone much better). But they told us that the “mites” were laired in a tree nearby. We said we’d take care of them in return for … well, I’m not sure what, really. People were talking at cross purposes and I’m not the best translator in the world.

Well, the lair was a tight squeeze – ceiling about four foot or so high. There were mites, and there was this chasm (well – long pit) in the ground with a rope bridge. I used an animate rope scroll to sort of repair it, but it was still quite fragile – mite sized in fact – so we sent the little witch across trailing a stronger rope.

Anyway, there was this enormous giant centipede in the pit – they are poisonous, you know – and it bit her, and we fought it but it was very tough. We continued, and there were more mites but we cleared the lair out eventually. We recovered a little loot, and an interesting document that seemed to indicate that the kobolds had the wedding ring. I wonder – did the kobolds raid the mites, or were they co-operating and splitting the loot?

Anyway. [memory hazy – are we back at Oleg’s yet in-game?] we told the Kobolds that the ring was Oleg’s wife’s, and that the Kobold chief could return it to cement the new era of friendship and cooperation. It will be *days* before those of us bitten by the centipede recover, so I might take the time to do up a couple more scrolls. Might do some mail-order shopping, too.

Your Sister-in-exile,
Seldrynn


Kingmaker

29 July, 2010

Damn, I’ve left this too long. I only half-remember last week’s game. I’ll do the best I can.

Michael,

It’s ok, I am alive. And a little drunk, to tell the truth, but save enough here at the trading post. I’ll continue from where I left off.

We scouted the bandits and found a lookout post up in the trees with some archers. So we decided that Rainor and I would attack that as a distraction or something, and then the rest of us would attack. Well, to cut a long story short we attacked it, and they raised the alarm, and then I think everyone else attacked the main camp but I don’t know much about what wen on there. We (Rainor and I) basically tried to hide in the trees and take shots at the archers in the lookout. At one point I created a little audible figment – some other archers in some greenery where we wern’t – and that distracted one of them. I also used that little blinding flash thing, which worked rather well. But essentially all that happened was we shot them, they shot us, and eventually we killed them first. It’s all rather nasty and horrible really.

After the archers in the lookout were dead, we came out into the open and shot a few of the bandits on the other side of the creek, which I hope helped out the rest of our party a bit. But I think they were doing fine.

Anyway, we questioned a couple of prisoners. The leader was (is) a nasty bit of work, but our paladin insists that all bandits must be given a chance to repent. Our stick fighter added her to his little army, and maintained that that’s repentance enough. I think we should have just hanged them, but really I don’t care all that much. He kept scacles on her though, which was sensible. The other survivor we let go, with a letter for Oleg explaining that we let him go. He took to his heels, I can tell you.

The really interesting thing is that these bandits are actually working for someone called “The Stag Lord”, or someone. Seems to me that if this stag lord rules these lands, then the swordmasters of Restov are not really pacifying some wild uninhabited land, but are in fact engaging in a war to annexe someone else’s territory. But what do I know about politics?

What I was mainly interested in was in transporting the loot. If we have gone to the trouble of “dispersing” this band of “bandits”, then leaving the loot lying about the place was just a waste. The prisoner told us that the wagon came regularly, that there was a password, and a few other items about this stag lord. I insisted that we had to get this wagon to transport back the loot, so that’s what we did. We set up our ambush in open grassland to the south, cunningly deploying a mounted halberdeer that could be seen for miles in any direction.

It was a quick fight. I got in close and Color Sprayed the horse and its drivers, and they were out for the count. While it was down, I hobbled it. Everyone else was busy fighting, but someone has to keep an eye on business. Not much else happened. We took the cart back to the bandit camp, loaded the loot onto it, and headed back to Olegs.

Well! He’s doing well for himself! The post is aive of activity. There was some nonsense at the gate from the new guards, but dealt with fairly quickly. Some of the loot was some very, very nice liquor destined for the Stag Lord. We gave it to Oleg in exchange for – I don’t know – him agreeing to think we are fine and trustworthy people. I snagged a bottle of it, and that accounts for the state in which I write this.

But there was other loot, furs and some gold. We have sold the sellable goods to Oleg (no doubt at a ruinous discount) and ordered in some supplies from civilisation. I have ordered a [magic item of some sort] and looking forward to getting it.

Haven’t disgraced the name of elvenkind so far, if anyone cares.

Till next time,
Your sister in exile,
Seldrynn.


Kingmaker

21 July, 2010

Michael,

This is just a short note in case these bandits kill me and they recover my body. No, I am not captured, no need to panic. I think I should start from where I left off last time.

After getting the goblin-ear bounty, we (that is to say, the group of people I am with) decided to go shopping and to head out within a few days. Annuals can be terribly hasty about things – we would plan things out for a while, but I suppose they know they don’t have all that much time.

I spent a day or two tracking down some spells that might be useful – this little spell that does the job of a watchdog, the spell of comprehension of languages (a fascinating divination), one or two others. I prepared a few scrolls for contingencies – you know, spells that you might want to cast in a pinch but that you don’t want to go to the trouble of preparing. Oh, and I bought a secondhand wand of “Grease” – a little conjuration that is handier than you might think at first.

I’m not sure what everyone else did, although I do know that the fighter with this long stick with a blade on the end – it’s not a spear, I think it’s a farm implement that’s been turned into a weapon – anyway, he decided to acquire a personal army of five by the simple dint of paying them. I think he’s terribly vain. But it’s nice to have some spare eyes and ears keeping watch, even if they are not particularly acute.


Our first port of call was this fortified trading post – “Oleg’s”. I hadn’t heard of it before – it’s right at the southern border of the settled lands, and our charter from the swordlords uses it as a reference point.

Well, Oleg was being blackmailed by a group of bandits and he seemed to think that we had been sent to help him. I suppose that’s what we are here to do – deal with bandits and reopen trade – so that’s all right then. Our stick fighter wanted to ambush the bandits – to have his men close the gates behind them so as to trap them inside. Besides that we didn’t really have any strategy. He was very unimpressed by the state of the defences – four wooden towers with a broken siege engine at the top of each.

Anyway, the bandits rode into the fort, bold as you please, and the damned paladin strides out to challenge them. So much for surprise. We attacked, and the bandits threw a flask of alchemical fire into the stable. Well at least they carry out their threats. The bright idea of trapping the bandidts inside was the worst possible thing we could have done. Serves us right for not asking Oleg in more detail what the bandits had threatened to do.

So, they fired the stable. The horses panicked and bolted – Dobbin too, the ungrateful nag. They trampled some of the bandits and one of us too and escaped down the road. One or two of the bandits got away, unfortunately. We had to track them down or they’d just come back and burn the trading post some more.

So we put out the fire – good job Oleg wasn’t hurt – and followed them. And Dobbin.


Well, a few miles south we saw a group of Kobolds and we decided to ask them about the bandits. Because, well – it’s couldn’t hurt. We may have to clean them out of the area too, but it would be best if everyone could just get along. Rainor approached them. The plan was that he would grab one, the others would scatter, and then we’d threaten question it.

Unfortuantely, these kobolds were turnip-farmers. Yes, by that I mean the sweet turnips and it’s pretty clear that they were addicts. One of them was particularly savage and more than a little mad. When Rainor grabbed one of them, instead of scattering they attacked. A tricky situation to manage when you are trying to get on their good side. I ran up yelling “Don’t kill!” (they speak draconic, you know, so all that dreary study has been of some use) so that after we had beaten them they would know that we were not necessarily here to kill them.

We were in no danger whatever, really, but I thought it best to Colour Spray the lot of them. It knocked out Rainor as well as two of the kobolds, which was a calculated risk – I had waited for the slower fighters to get close enough to the fight that he would not be in any danger. Well, I misjudged and one of the little bastards tried to jut his throat and I owe Rainor an apology. The fighters finally lumbered up and brained the thing.

Well, we tied ’em up and decided to play it tough (Koblds don’t really respond to anything else) and so we did the thing that guarantees cooperation from any addict. We threatened their turnips.

They knew (or at least claimed to know) where the bandits camped. We left behind the mad one and the one with the rather nasty head injury (he deserved worse) and went to find ourselves some bandits.


I think Rainor is an elf – someone might have mentioned it. I’ll write this as though he is.

Our guides led us south, which seemed probably about right. We had to camp overnight, and the Kobolds didn’t like the idea at all. And rightly so. At about midnight we were attacked by one of those marsupial tigers (you know the ones?). I wasn’t going to be able to sleep through it (the little witch must be deaf – she’ll be nice and rested and able to prepare spells tomorrow) so the night’s meditation was lost anyway, so I tried to light up the area a little.

The thing went straight for one of the kobolds and killed it more or less straight away. We killed the tiger, but it was too late. The other kobold was distraught (“I known him since he was an egg!” etc etc) so we buried the body and planted a turnip on top.

Later than night, Rainor toed me in the ribs. Noises in the dark. Well, there was no point waking up a human (they are blind at night) so we went to have a look. I’m not sure where the woodsman is from – I suppose I could ask – but it’s nice to have another of the folk in the group. I think the spell-casting girl has a little elven as well. In any case, we are both able to walk about without kicking up a dreadful boat-footed clatter.

Another tiger had found the grave and dug up the kobold and was happily munching on it. We watched for a while, and it noticed us, but it was calm. Eventually it finished and did an enormous shit in the hole and left. Rainor and I filled in the grave again and planted another turnip on top. In the morning, the other kobold came out to pay his final respects. “Don’t worry”, we told him, “he’s in a better place now.”


And here we are. It seems that the kobolds knew what they were talking about after all. We have sighted the bandit camp and will attack in the morning. I couldn’t prepare spells, but I have my bow and dagger and they will have to do.

In hopes that I shall be able to write again,
Your Sister in exile
Seldrynn.


Kingmaker – letters home

11 July, 2010

My other character – Baharash – is always careful to never big-note himself in his journal. So Switch can be a shade boastful.

Michael,

As you know by now, they have exiled me. It’s not too bad – I shall probably be able to return home in a few years. Apparently I was giving the annuals a bad impression, but they have such short memories – it will all blow over in a decade or two, if even that.

Things have already turned interesting – our caravan to Rostov was attacked by a band of goblins, of all things. No wonder they want to extend a buffer to the south: but enough politics! I shot two of them, and some of the other people in the caravan ran off the rest. We kept a prisoner and he told me that there were “hundreds” more, which goes to show that it’s always silly to ask questions of people who are just going to lie to you.

One of us is a Paladin of that dreadful human god that wants to chop down the forests and pave what’s left. He bandaged up our prisoner, all proper and noble and merciful and then released him with a warning. Insufferably good and foolish. Well, it would have been, except that the entire point of the exercise was so that a woodsman with our caravan could make careful note of which direction the goblin went as he left so we could follow him. Not that the Paladin would or even could ever admit that. No no, it was all about mercy and helping even the lowest creature in its time of need. Absolute hypocrites, humans, believe me – they honestly think they are good and pure and right exactly when they are doing the worst things.

Anyway. Some of us wanted to track down the goblins immediately, but the hired guards couldn’t leave the caravan, and I thought we should see if there was a bounty we could collect, so we continued on to Rostov.

At Rostov we visited the local authorities and found that yes, they would pay bounty for left goblin ears – just like home! And far too much bounty, too – obviously they don’t know how fast the things breed. It turned out that I was not the only one signing up for the frontier. Most of the others on the caravan, including one or two of the guards, were also there. We all decided to backtrack to collect bounty before heading south.

Our woodsman tracked the goblin-blood from a wound that our noble warrior of goodness had thoughtfully left bleeding, and we eventually saw cook-fires. The goblins appeared to have commandeered someone’s old hunting-lodge. The woodsman went ahead to scout, and reported back that there was a break in their perimeter. Seeing as we were at a disadvantage in the dark against tunnel-dwellers who can see in the dark, we moved back a way and made camp.

Bright and early we set forth. We slipped past the “sentries” easily, and then – assembled in the back yard – looked at each other and shrugged “Ok, what do we do now?”

But, soon enough we were spotted. I think we actually had to knock on one of the doors to get the attention of these detestable, lazy little vermin. Anyway – they absolutely poured out of the door, and I shot some more of them and the fighters decapitated a few. One of us is a human girl who casts spells and I’m sure we shall be very good friends, and she conjured some grease on the ground just outside the door (I happen to know that one too, and I had it prepared) so that the goblins would sip when they came out. It worked – but falling over just made the things harder to shoot.

Anyway. The woodsman and one of the others went around the side to pick off the sentries. One of the fighters went inside the lodge and there was a bit of a kerfuffle and some big ones (orcs, I think, or half-orcs. Humans will sex anything) came out and I think one of them hit the girl and she went over straight away as she is a frail little thing or maybe she was faking it. But you know that party trick – the spray of colour that knocks people out for a few seconds? Well, it worked a treat on these. Well, on one of them, anyway. I could have cast it again, but some of the fighters were in the way.

So, basically we won. I learned that the best way to deal with a goblin is to stab them in the kidneys (which is higher up than you think – almost up at the middle of the back) while they are looking somewhere else.
The band didn’t have a lot of loot (It’s not murder and theft if they were trying to kill you, or if they would have tried if they knew you were there – it’s loot. Morality can be so confusing. Apparently, they normally hang people for theft around these parts.) But they all had ears, and we collected them.

There was, well, a bit of a moment. You know, because we’d all fought together and saved each others life and things. I suppose it’s what the warriors are always going on about – the camaraderie, almost like being with family. I think we are destined to travel together now. Destined or not – it’s what we are going to be doing.

So, that was that. And I’m off shopping (did I mention that the bounty was way too much?)

Till next time,
Your sister in exile
Seldrynn