Kingmaker - Dawn of a New Age

Once upon a time...

When you heard rumor of the nation of Brevoy’s need for explorers, something piqued your interest. Whether it was the long hours with little pay, or the severe conditions you must endure, or the ever-present paranoia of having to watch over your back, you knew right away you were IN!!!

I’m sure you had other reasons of your own, and we may never know why. That is up to you. One thing is certain. The frontier city of Restov, in Rostland, calls you. Brevoy is enduring entropy after the death of Choral the Conquerer, with two nations always seeking the upper hand (Issia in the north, Rostland in the south). Currently Issia’s nobles rule, with their royal line of the Surtova family upholding the kingdom. Tales of civil war brewing may have grains of truth (and hops of sedition…)

You may have lived your whole life in the Stolen Lands, a buffer zone on Brevoy’s southern end and rife with shifting borders claimed by local warlords in the northern River Kingdoms.

Or you may have wandered into the area, finding yourself knowing nothing of the wild expanse that stretches out before you. Perhaps you are fleeing persecution elsewhere, or want to disappear from authorities in a foreign land, trying to carve out a new life from a savage wilderness.

One thing is certain; danger awaits.

Staying to the roads, you luckily avoid banditry and other hazards. You eventually succeed in entering Restov, your wits about you.

True to rumor, Restov is a frontier city of 43,000. It is also the home of several Aldori and Taldan sword-dueling academies, none of whom are modest enough to go undecorated. Colorful banners flap in the wind, trying to draw distinction to themselves.

Hushed words whispered in back alleys suggest that dissenters against King Noleski Surtova dwell here too. Not all support the king, and the Rostland faithful’s ostentatious displays border on open rebellion.

As you make your way to the Swordlord headquarters, a myriad of youthful nobles, busy with wooden swords, practice parries and dodges. Many sneer at your presence. Your inquiry about a commission to explore the Stolen Lands draws dismissive upturned noses, condescending looks, or raise a few eyebrows in curiosity. At least one helpful noble points you in the right direction.

Waiting for the meeting, you notice a few other mercenaries, and others who don’t fit that description but are here nevertheless. One group of stout men-at-arms, some bearing heraldric crests upon their tabards, stand ready to receive orders for their noble commander, who arrives with a flourish. Barking orders with confidence, his company departs, heading toward the city gates.

At last, your audience is granted. The Aldori Sworldlord representative, one Sworldlord Tavius Mettleton, listens to your pleas for employment. Tavius notices a glimpse, a promise of success perhaps, in the way you stand, the cut of your chin, your knowledge of trolls, your sharpened blade, the confidence of your word.

He then hands you a charter. [Player Handout 1]

His manner of excusing you connotes that he doesn’t expect you’ll succeed. You’re one of several adventuring companies he’s sent out over the last year, many of whom have not returned. He remarks that they were better outfitted than your group, with Brevoy’s noble houses sponsoring them.

He informs you to meet the others assigned to your team at the Sprite’s Rapier, a local tavern, at midday.

Together, over a mug of your preferred beverage, you greet one another, and unseal the document, which reads…

Swordlord Mettleton recommended Oleg’s Trading Post as a first stop, about 40 miles distant…

A Matter of Honor
Bandit Crises at Oleg's Trading Post

Emmond stands over one body, presence enough to dissuade Oleg from snapping it’s neck. The other four however, get their heads kicked, as Oleg empties his rage upon them, cursing.

The door to the living quarters opens, and Svetlana calls out “Oleg? Is it safe?” which shifts the big man’s visage to one more peaceful. With a deep sigh, Oleg turns and “Da, my little babushka. It is done at last.” Svetlana races in to Oleg’s widespread arms, a few tears trickling over her cheeks.

Embracing her, Oleg shouts “Friends…you are welcome to stay as long as you like. Make yourself at home, we may be awhile.” With that, he lifts Svetlana whose smile stretches ear to ear, and carries her into their quarters. Over his shoulder, her palm comes to her mouth and then quickly away, and her last words for awhile are “Thank you, friends”, and then a giggle as the door closes…

At that, the horses spring up and backstep toward the gate. Sleestack calms them down, and after a minute they rustle noisly, but under control. Alarrah tends to the slash wound upon Erik’s right arm, while Emmond considers the scene.

- D

Wanted Posters
at Oleg's Trading Post

In the late afternoon on the same day as the fort’s liberation from bandit coercion, Oleg tacks up a poster…

Wanted: Bandits

Capture or defeat at least six bandits infesting the Greenbelt, proof is necessary.

The Swordlords will pay a bounty, in gold crowns, for each bandit, up to six total. (The bandits you previously defeated do not count toward that total.)

as well as three others that were there previously:

Wanted: Eliminate the Sootscale threat

The Sootscales live in a cave somewhere in the Kamelands. Normally not a problem, they have been active lately. Find their lair and ensure that the kobolds aren’t going to continue to be a threat – either slay or make peace with them.

The Swordlords will pay a large sum for completion of this quest.
Wanted: Tatzlwyrm
I want a Tatzlwyrm head! This place needs a symbol of conquest! Bring me one – with no damage! mind you – and I will pay you a small fortune in gold crowns and silver links.
Uh, the rumors of Tatzlwyrms being vicious, deadly and undetectable are probably not true.
For better or for worse, these wyrms are quite rare. Remember: head unspoiled!
- Oleg
Wanted: Tuskgutter!
Vekkel Benzen wants his revenge! After losing a leg to the monster a year ago, he’s putting out a bounty.

He will turn over his family’s bow and some magic arrows to whomever can kill Tuskgutter. Bring the monster pig to me, here, and I’ll arrange payment. Vekken will also share the head cheese he’s going to make with Tuskgutter’s head.
- Oleg

Session 2 summary
Exploring the wilds

The PCs explored 7 hexes, and made notes on the master map. Encounters included 4 radish crazed kobolds, a flighty trapdoor spider which poisoned a hero, and a crowded campsite popular with bandits. Also some unexplained mishaps…

Thrice more Into the Wild
The Intrepid Four continue their journeys [Pre-session 3]

Oathday, the 15th of Pharast

Ice crusts the puddled waters in the courtyard of Oleg’s Trading Post after a long, cold night in the wild and an early morning ride in. Svetlana sees your approach, and busies herself with bringing a flaming brand from her quarters to yours, lighting the hearth fire. She then takes the reins of your horses and leads them into the stables. You dry out your gear, sharpen your weapons, prepare your magicks, and discuss your plans for the coming day.

Scanning over the map, your notice the immediate adjacent hexes to the south and southwest are marked as explored. There remains unexplored areas along the plains to the southeast, and farther south, along the border of the Narlmarch Forest and the Kameland plains, and then deeper into the Narlmarches themselves.

Somewhere Tuskgutter roams, tatzlwyrm heads lie comfortably atop their bodies, and the Sootscale kobolds and a rumored mite tribe go about their business…

We’ll take a look at the campaign website together, finish character backgrounds, review some posts, and you four can discuss your options…the hungry maw of the Stolen Lands awaits your stumbling steps…

One month in... [Post-session 3]
[Post-session 3]

Starday, the 24th of Pharast

A month has passed since first starting out from Restov, in southern Brevoy, with the exploration charter in hand.

The party looks back on its victories, its close calls, and its strange encounters, takes a bite of mutton, a swig of spirits, and has a few laughs in the relative safety and warmth of Oleg’s Trading Post.

A colorful mix of personalities: from Swordlord Mettleton to Slink, the map-trader, to hosts Oleg and Svetlana, Jhod Kavken, Kesten Garess and his 3 guardsmen, and now Bokken, the crazed potion-maker.

Somewhere out in the wild a savage beast roams, scenting for Sleestak. A few angry witnesses bear mention of a group of defiant adventurers carving their way through the wilderness to unspoken masters. While the snow softly falls, blanketing the fort’s roofs and courtyard, one cannot help but wonder what myriad secrets lie beyond the palisade, undiscovered in the Stolen Lands…

[Pre-session 4] Temperatures drop...
Late Winter in the Stolen Lands

Another few-day spell of cold weather assaults Oleg’s Trading Post. This morning a strong wind swirls around the dilapidated buildings, bringing with it a chill that finds its way through your clothes like icy, probing fingers.

The wind picks up during the morning hours, reaching 30+ miles an hour, coming down from the northwest. It would be warmer, but swift moving clouds blot most of the sky.

Svetlana offers to put the radishes gathered into some of her tasty borsht, and prepare the venison with some watercress and other local herbs for the evening meal.

Kesten Garess and his 3 men spar with wooden blades in the courtyard, and then follow with whetsones upon their swords and spun cloth upon their armor.

Oleg continues to repair a leaky roof, stirring some pitch and splintering some wood into shingles.

At mid-morn, Kazov, one of Kesten’s men, rolls back the gate to reveal Jhod Kavken. Jhod, with an earnest smile, and strong armclasp, greets you warmly. He unloads his furs with Oleg, and then joins up with you. He asks about your travels, and if you need any assistance. Only later in his conversation does he inquire about you having come across a bear or ruin in the last week…

[Pre-session 5] A Bounty awaits...
A mite bit cold...

Tuskgutter’s corpse is being shucked and dressed for consumption and return to Oleg’s. Sleestak’s knife flashes, working furiously to bring apart the large boar into manageable portions.

Emmond’s air of superiority is adequately maintained with over-the-shoulder comments expressing appropriate amounts of condecension ( : )

Alarah’s snippets of verse and song make the work go by fast, and keep the party’s spirits warm in the cold temperatures.

Eric adjusts the new breastplate uneasily, where it seems to be a bit snug in places and loose in others.

The party considers another night out in the cold, as the sunlight begins to wane…

[Pre-session 7] Developments at Oleg's
Head cheese and song

Later that night, Vekkel Benzen arrives at the fort. Within the hour he is stewing Tuskgutter’s head in its own juices, stripping the meat from bone. In the middle of the night he alllows the concoction to cool, jelling the broth, and layering the meat. At lunch, the loaf is sliced and served. Vekkel is in his cups, and tells the story of losing his leg. As he recounts the tale and gets to the climax of his story, he loses his balance, falls over and laughs at himself.

Later that afternoon, Eric, Sleestak, Alarah and Emmond gather around the campfire circle in the courtyard inside the relatively safe walls of the Trading Post.

Emmond mulls over how long it’ll take to repair the catapults.

Alarah is putting the finishing touches on a newly composed song about the wilds of the northern River Kingdoms, and adds a few choreographed flourished movements to the high points in the melody.

Eric contemplates the mysteries of Erastil’s teachings on family, considering Oleg and Svetlana’s coming newborn. The youngster should arrive in the deep of winter, barring complications.

Sleestak also mulls over the found ruins and statue. At one point, Erastil’s influence over the region once held stronger sway, but the wilderness has reclaimed it’s rule over the lands.

The four adventurers discus plans to further explore the wilds. At some point soon a report will be delivered to the Swordlords in Restov regarding the findings of the pioneering party.

Kesten reminds the party of the bounty on nefarious Falgrim Sneeg. Both Svetlana and Oleg have their own requests of the party (ring and soup), and Bekken, the reclusive hermit potion-maker wants his fangberries.

Somewhere out in the wilds, the Stag Lord watches…

Session 8 Recap - Of Frogs, Faeries and the Treacherous Tartuk

Sleestak tracked Tartuk to a clearing near the skunk river. Moving on ahead he makes a wrong step and alerts his quarry. Silently summoning a massive Aurochs, Tartuk gets the drop on Sleestak and the cat with the beast trampling through the underbrush and over the two of them. Sleestak fell under the weight of the beast while the cat got in a claw or two before being gored.
Emmond was struck with a burst of magical bolts and took off through the trees, blipping through a patch of dense brush to get closer to the Shaman. While Eric advanced, javelin in hand, towards the beast, Alarah cast a warding shield.
The Aurochs gores the cat and charges the young warrior, the two trade blows while Alarah calls out for aid from beyond. Emmond has approached the treacherous shaman and attempts to catch it in a color spray, having shaken off the first casting, he redoubles his efforts and casts again, stunning it.
Still tangled with the huge beast, Eric strikes at it as the dual form of Alarah within some summoned entity join the fray. Between Alarah and Eric they strike it down, it vanishes from whence it came. Alarah runs over, heals Sleestak to consciousness and runs to aid Emmond against Tartuk. Eric kneels and makes sure Sleestak and the cat are alright. Sleestak tends to the bleeding wounds of the cat (making the heal check by 1 point on the cat who is at -12 hp)
Back at Tartuk, Emmond tags him with a flaming bolt and manages to cast another color spray, keeping him stunned. Alarah moves closer as Emmond gets another shot with a flaming bolt and drops the kobold.
Alarah looms over the body of Tartuk as the shaman’s raven pecks at her through the summoned form. As she, Sleestak and Emmond try to knock it out of the air, Alarah finally sinks a claw into it, killing it. She then grabs Tartuk, lifts him up and breaks his neck before the summoned form collapses around her and she falls to a knee, exhausted.
Eric calls out to Erastil for aid and manages to bring the cat back to consciousness. The group then decides to camp in a nearby clearing, Alarah taking first watch so Sleestak can rest.

The next morning the group makes their way to Oleg’s through bitter cold, comforted by Emmond’s magic, where they return Sventlana’s ring to Oleg for a reward of a heavy purse of 1,000 gold. They speak with Jhod Kavken who helps to heal Eric of the lingering centipede poison in his wounds and they learn that Desnaday is soon approaching and we should make our way to the temple before then to observe the beginning of Spring. They decide to take a day of rest while Eric is purged of his envenomed wounds and Emmond, Sleestak and Alarah head out of view of the fort to experiment with her new-found summoning power. The next day dawns, and the group, along with Jhod make way for the shrine of Erastil.

On the way there, more pranks occur, Emmond is furious at the creatures, believing them to be fey tricksters and he attempts to color spray a bush. Alarah ends up offering first her hip flask of brandy and then a number of her books of poetry and various items from her courtesan’s kit. Placated somewhat after getting Emmond to grab a hat full of fire ants and a song from Alarah, they ask her to come a ways away from the rest of the group and the cold iron weapons. A faerie dragon and Grig reveal themselves to her and she talks with them for information on the area. She unsucessfully attempts to get them to stop playing pranks on Emmond, as she is concerned he may resort to something rash. Eric is called over and tells them a story of his childhood as well as gives them a small mirror, which placates them. Sleestak attempts to bribe them with cooked meats and other things but they are unimpressed.

Moving southwards towards the shrine with the faeries in tow, they arrive at the shrine with a few days to spare and tend to it while Eric and Jhod talk about Erastil and his worship.
Wanting to explore new territory with the time they have, another swampy area is explored, meeting with a frog-like Boggard with a crippled hand and his pet Slurk. The creature only knows a few words of common and Alarah ends up eating a bug offered to her as a sign of good faith. Despite Emmond’s warnings that such creatures are evil, Eric looks to Erastil for a warning as to some sort of malevolence and doesn’t detect anything so a truce is made and the adventurers start to head back to the shrine for Desnasday.


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