Kingmaker

In the Dungeons of Ironwolf Keep

Summarized recap:

  • Left the trading post within intentions to raid the Abbey and kill or subjugate the bandits there
  • Avoided a shambling mound en route
  • Discovered the Abbey had been abandoned by the bandits due to a summons by the Stag Lord
  • Scouted the bandits’ new camp at Ironwolf Keep
  • Infiltrated the dungeons of the Keep by scaling the lakeside cliffs and traversing a natural tunnel
  • Made peaceful contact with ambassadors of a lizardfolk tribe, there to negotiate with “Hargulka’s folk”
  • Fought goblin sentries in the dungeon’s entrance hall
  • Investigated the castle’s crypt level but turned back
  • Discovered a hidden cache in the dungeon’s armory
  • Bypassed a gelatinous cube
  • Fought more goblin and bugbear soldiers
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Springing the Trap

Summarized recap:

  • Left the Abbey Camp with instructions to find out what happened to Aldona’s Camp
  • Encountered Old Man Nettle and learned that he seeks vengeance upon the Stag Lord
  • Hexplored for a few days, finding a buried treasure along the way
  • Sent the elves back to Oleg’s to prepare an ambush – they fought off a pair of wolves en route
  • Remained returned to the Abbey Camp, successfully bluff/sold the plan to Firean
  • Headed out with Hannu’s gang to “attack” Oleg’s
  • Successfully caught Hannu’s gang in a pincer, taking most captive and killing the rest
  • Interrogations and negotiations lead to the subordination of Hannu’s gang to your party
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The Little War
The Third Week

7 Pharast

Continuing to escort Lander Lebeda (Baron Silverhall) back from his captivity, the party encounters a pair of carbuncles, smallish lizards with gemstones between their eyes and an innate capacity for suggestion. The party quickly dispatches the lizards and cleverly allowes Lander to strike the last killing blow.

The party then stumbles into its first encounter with the Little War, a skirmish between the mites and kobolds at half-a-dozen warriors apiece. Khofnaak finds their battle laughably pathetic and sits on his horse scoffing. Aust proposes a bet that he can throw a dagger into one of the combatant’s eyes, which Khofnaak takes. Aust throws with precision and wins the bet, killing the little warrior in the process.

Mihalis unleashes his illusions for the first time, creating additional combatants for each side. This later causes problems for the party when Lander feels insulted by this trickery.

The party eventually decides to wipe out both sides and move on.

Meanwhile, Malin Quella, a clerk in the employ of Master Mallister, arrives at the trading post with additional supplies for the party and instructions to join them.

That night, party arrives at the trading post and incorporates Malin into their group. Not everyone is accepting of the new recruit – Khofnaak bullies the elven mage in their first encounter.

8 Pharast

Khofnaak and Shokeen wake everyone with loud devotions to the Lord in Iron. Lander joins in, and the party acheives friendship with the young noble.

The Khavortorov search party comes back through the trading post and Lander decides to go back with them. The party receives their reward from the castellan but must wait a month before receiving the additional reward promised by the lady-in-waiting.

Oleg, Kesten, and Irfan make a proposal to the party whereby the party can invest in the restoration of the trading post’s central keep (ostrog) and in exchange acquire the right to occupy it. After long deliberation, the party agrees and also strikes an additional bargain whereby the carpenter and his crew will act as trading agents when the caravan back to civilization for supplies.

The prisoners are offered the opportunity to join the tower’s work crew. Proud Happs Bydon choosesKh death before servitude, but Daron Felwister takes the offer to regain a small measure of freedom.

9 Pharast

The party heads out in search of the little war. They locate the mites’ warrens under the Old Sycamore, but camp for the evening before venturing in.

10 Pharast

In a very eventful day, the party wraps up both ends of the Little War in the space about twelve hours.

Under the Old Sycamore, the party sweeps through the mites’ tinkering workshop and torture chamber, but then faces trouble crossing a rootbound ravine than turns out to contain a giant whiptail centipede. Khofnaak falls early (both literally and figuratively), but the party perseveres. A combination of Malin’s shadow magic, Mihalis’s wand of magic missiles, Cyra’s accurate archery, and Shokeen’s physical courage take down the gigantic beast.

The next chamber holds Chief Grabbles astride his giant tick mount (Tickleback) and his honor guard. The party demolishes the military elite of the mite tribe just about as easily at it took down the rank-and-file. In the fracas, one of the honor guard escapes, and the mite tribe evacuates the commons and vermin hatchery before the party can advance on them.

Chief Grabble’s treasury is small, but it contains important information that allows the party to track down the kobolds’ lair, which turns out to be in an old silver mine to the south. It also contains an important trophy in the form of a kobold idol that party hopes to use to its advantage.

Later that afternoon, the party reaches the mine. A lone mite prisoner is caged outside. His interrogation goes poorly and Khofnaak strangles the pitiful creature.

Heading into the mine, the party is stymied by a locked gate. As they contemplate how to proceed, a kobold guard approaches. He identifies himself as Nakpik, and yells “I wanna talk. I wanna talk.” The party agrees to parley, quickly informing the kobold that they have destroyed the mites and proving it through their possession of the idol.

“You have Old Sharptooth!”, he exclaims and agrees to escort the party to meet the chief. A throng of curious kobolds quickly join the procession into the mines.

Through tense and terse diplomacy, Khofnaak succeeds in getting Sootscale, the kobold chieftain, to swear fealty in exchange for the idol. Upon gaining control the idol, Sootscale wrenches his face in agonizing concentration then smashes the idol the stone floor. “The curse is lifted. Kill the usurper!” he yells.

The party is briefly concerned that the kobolds are talking about them, but the chieftain is instead referring to Tartuk, the tribe’s shaman. A purple-scaled kobold, he appear some months ago and had been using the power of Old Sharptooth to control the tribe. The party agrees to help defeat the usurper.

In the shaman’s lair, the party encounters a entity that looks much like the kobold idol brought to life. Malin deduces the shaman is a summoner, and that Old Sharptooth is his eidolon. The party defeats the eidolon, banishing it, but is unable to track down the invisible summoner before he escapes on a summoned mount (despite valiant attempts to shoot him down from extreme range.) The shaman’s treasury is good-sized and includes both his journal (telling the vindictive story of reincarnated gnome) and Svetlana’s wedding ring.

The kobold tribe celebrates their liberating heroes well into the night.

10 and 11 Pharast

The party travels back to the trading post, camping once overnight. They return Svetlana’s ring, earning their reward from the grateful couple. They encounter Bokken, the hermit potion-maker, who warns them about his crazy and dangerous brother to the south and offers them a discount on potions if they can recover some fangberries for him. Cyra has an unfortunate encounter with Jhod Kavken, who attempts to strike up conversation but turns Cyra offer when she discerns his lack of truthfulness.

12 through 15 Pharast

The party kills time by exploring some of the territory near the post. They spend two days exploring the hexes immediately north of the post, then two days clearing the northernmost hex of the Gnarlmarch, which turned out to be a trapping area of the notorius Breeg (about how they had been warned via the message board.)

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To Fetch a Lordling
The Second Week

2 Pharast, continued

The party takes a different route back to Oleg’s, just to see some new terrain. The weather is warmer than it has been lately, and they appreciate the respite from the cold. Khofnaak forces the two captives to do a lot of the heavy labor in setting up the campsite. They comply but clearly resent it.

3 Pharast

The last of the trek to the trading post occurs uneventfully. As the party arrives, however, they are startled to realize that the guard towers of the fort are manned. Approaching warily, they discover that Mallister has contracted with Kesten Garess’s mercenary company to provide security at the fort while the party continues its mission of exploration.

In addition to Kesten’s company, there are four other new arrivals at the fort: the halfling trapper Wyllis and the half-orc carpenter Irfan with his two apprentices. Wyllis is a regular customer at Oleg’s, while Irfan and his crew have been contracted by Oleg to begin repairs to the dilapidated buildings of the fort, starting with the stables.

Svetlana pulls Cyra aside to request her aid in acquiring an herbal ingredient to help with Oleg’s stress. She is looking for moon radishes, a hardy vegetable which she says grows in a patch about sixteen miles south of the trading post. She offers a couple hundred gold worth of herbal reagents in exchange.

Meanwhile, Kesten and Oleg pull the Ugazkull brothers aside to request aid in ridding the fort’s wooden keep of an infestation. Kesten’s soldiers attempted to the do the job themselves but were stymied when they encountered some monster capable of creating magical darkness.

The party (mostly) clears the tower, engaging four darkmantles across the various levels but deciding to leave the bats roosting on the observation deck to Kesten’s company. While the tower had obviously been looted before, they party discovers a few treasures here and there in the main tower and bashes into a locked vault in the basement. The basement turns out to contain a jail, where the captive bandits are quickly stowed and handed over to Kesten’s men to guard.

The guesthouse is crowded that evening. Kesten’s group has taken the northern room as their barracks, while the southern room has only one bed free between the party, the carpenters, and the trapper. In the close quarters, the party has an opportunity to mingle with the other inhabitants.

Khofnaak learns that one Kesten’s former soldiers, a Varisian named Falgrim Sneeg, is known to be in the employ of the Stag Lord. During a recent caravan guard job, Falgrim murdered his partner-on-watch and absconded with a lockbox from the caravan. Kesten wants Falgrim to face justice – preferably at his hand. He offers the party 1500 in masterwork gear if they can capture the Varisian or half that if they return with his dead body.

Aust, meanwhile, chats with the halfling trapper and learns about “the Little War”, an ongoing conflict between the local tribes of mites and kobolds. Wyllis advises Aust that he sticks to Narlmarch forest – the hills are just too dangerous between the bandits and the Little War.

4 Pharast

The next morning, Marcus – one of Kesten’s men – reports that a couple hours before dawn a solitary man on horseback came down the New Stetven road and continued directly onto the South Rostland road. As the party prepares to head out for the day, another group of four mounted humans come riding into the fort.

One identifies himself as Sir Andre, castellan of the White Keep in service to House Khavortorov. He inquires whether anyone has seen a man on horseback come through. A ward of his house has turned run-away and they are attempting to reclaim him. It turns out that the man they are looking for is Baron Silverhall, heir apparent to the duchal House Lebeda, which controls western Rostland. The party denies knowledge of any such person but notes that 2000 gold piece reward House Khavortorov has placed for his safe return.

As the Khavortorov knights head out, the sole woman in their number hangs back. She introduces herself as Dame Anastasia, attendant to Lady Katarina, one of the daughters of Baron Khavortorov. Lady Katarina has designs on Lander Lebeda, and her knight offers a doubled-reward if the party returns the young man in the following condition: (1) alive, (2) in good spirits, and (3) unlikely to go wandering off again. She warns that the arrogant aristocrat is prat who fancies himself a heroic adventurer and rides off to join the rest of her party.

The party decides to pursue this reward and heads off down the South Rostland road watching for signs of Lord Silverhall’s passage. Twenty miles down the road, they discover tracks where it appears a lone horseman headed off into the plains. Near dusk, the party is charged by a riderless horse. Khofnaak successfully calms it. Given its gear and armor, the party surmises that it is the horse of Lander Lebeda. It eventually grows too dark to continue, and so the party makes camp for the evening.

5 Pharast

The next morning, the party continues to follow Lander’s tracks, quickly coming across a small pond where three bandits are searching the reeds. A short battle ensues, with Aust and Shokeen competing instead of cooperating in taking down their nearest target.

The party captures the bandit sergeant Wiccent alive. The interrogation is short and swift: he captured a young dandy the day before, he is in service of the Stag Lord, his local superior is a bandit captain named Aldona, she is a werewolf, their camp is a ways down the Shrike, he thinks that there are only three people currently at camp (four if you count the wolf). After forcing what information they can from him, the party executes under the terms of the group’s charter from Restov.

Following Wiccent’s directions, the group heads east until they hit the Shrike River and then follows it south. Along the way, they discover why Restov’s waterfront has so little traffic – there are two sets of water falls in the way of travel from the south – the Crooked Falls and the Shrike Cascade. The hilly terrain slows travel, and the party camps for the evening near the southern falls.

6 Pharast

Following the Shrike south, the party spots the bandit camp on a hilltop a ways off. Aust goes into to scout and verifies Wiccent’s information. The party attempts a pincer attack, with the main group coming in from the north while Aust sneaks back in from the southeast.

Aust successfully draws off the dire wolf pup, but then chooses to lure it back towards the main group to get help Shokeen’s help in confronting it. Meanwhile, Cyra and Khofnaak charge the camp. Aldona storms out of her tent in hybrid form and proves a fierce combatant. Mihalis attempts his daze strategem again, but it works less well against the willful lycanthrope. In a long and tense battle, the wolfling and one of the brigands are brought down, and eventually Khofnaak scores the killing blow on the bandit captain.

The remaining brigand surrendered and was interrogated in standard fashion. Yes, he works for the Stag Lord; the other half of their camp has gone on an expedition across the river; the only bandit camps he is familiar with are this one, the Abbey Camp, and the Thorn River Camp.

The party searches the camp’s tent, finding Lord Silverhall bound and unconscious inside a locked chest. Cyra heals him and the party suavely introduces themselves. Not letting on they came specifically to rescue him, they act as though they just happened across this bandit camp. Learning that Lander Lebeda considers himself an enterprising adventurer, they announce that they too are adventurers and invite them to join their mission. Khofnaak presents the charter from the Lord Mayor and then invites Lander to execute the captive bandit – he does so with gusto.

The group decides to pursue the bandit expedition that cross the Shrike, but as they head upstream, they discover that although the bandits did cross the Shrike at a relatively narrow point, they did so on canoes, which they left on the far bank. They grudgingly give up their pursuit and ultimately make camp back on the pond where Wiccent’s crew was killed.

7 Pharast

During the morning activities around camp, Lander approaches Khofnaak to inquire about his fine sword and hears the story of the Ugazkall brothers’ mentor.

The session ends as the party starts to begin travel for the day.

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Into the Stolen Lands
The First Week

24 Calistril, 4710 AR

A party of adventurers operating in the employ of Master Perryn Mallister of Restov woke early in the morning at the Black Badger Inn some three hours north of the city. They were returning from Allenstead, a mining village just north of the dwarven city of Brunderton, where they had saved the townsfolk from a two-bit con artist with a magical artifact of mind control.

Braving the bitter cold, they arrived in Restov as the cathedral’s bells rang nine o’clock. They were met at the north gate by Mallister’s manservant Mikhail and a sullen soldier named Kesten Garess and then escorted to the guildhall to meet with their patron. They reported the successful completion of their investigation into the goings-on in Allenstead.

Mallister then informed them that he had arranged for them to receive a commission from the Lord Mayor to explore a nearby region of the Stolen Lands known as the Greenbelt. The region has seen a surge in banditry, threatening trade along the South Rostland Road. As a personal matter, Mallister offered to pay the party to aid the inhabitants of a trading post along the road, who have been facing monthly extortion of “taxes” by the bandits.

The party agreed to take the trading post job and to go receive the Lord Mayor’s commission at Fort Sokol in the neighborhood of Old Restov. At the fort, they discovered that they were not the only group being commissioned to head into the Stolen Lands and met leaders from three other groups:

The party quickly requisitioned additional gear and supplies and hit the road to Nivakta’s Crossing. They arrived well after dark and spent a pleasant evening drinking and swapping tales with Varn’s company and the local populace.

25 Calistril

The party parted ways with Varn’s company and continued along the South Rostland Road, lodging at the end of the day at Fort Serenko, the last outpost of Restov’s authority in the region. The soldiers seemed to bristle at their lack of ability to go after the bandits, but the Ugazkull brothers thought it was probably for the best — the soldiers of Fort Serenko were not an impressive bunch.

26 Calistril

Leaving the fort, the group traveled along the road, intending to press further this day than usual. They were ultimately delayed when they encountered a small trade caravan in the aftermath of a bandit attack. Khofnaak talked the merchant Ulwen Igorson down from his post-battle panic whileCyra tended to the wounded guard captain Phara. The party righted an overturned wagon, tracked down the missing horses, and helped Phara load the bodies of the dead into the wagons. Ulwen promised the party a reward of 100 gp each in trade when they returned to the Crossing.

27 Calistril

The party arrived at the trading post well into the evening. Oleg Leveton was shocked the “gasbags” in Restov had actually done something about his pleas for aid and gratefully offers the party free lodging until the first, when the bandits will arrive.

28 Calistril

The party spends the day talking with Oleg and his wife Svetlana, examining the grounds of the trading post, and planning an ambush for the bandits the next day.

They learn that the bandits first appeared six months ago, lead by a cruel woman named Kressel and her lieutenant Happs Bydon. On the first of every month since, the bandits appear to collect their “taxes”. There have been progressively fewer bandits each time — a dozen the first time; only six the last time.

The trading post turned out to have been built on the grounds of an abandoned border fort. Shokeen recognized the faded insignia of House Rogarvia on the dilapidated wooden keep at the center of the fort and deduced that the facility was likely abandoned in the Vanishing. Only three buildings are still in use: the commander’s house, now home to the Levetons; one barracks, now used as a guest house; and the stables, which are in poor repair.

1 Pharast

The bandits came just after dawn, joking coarsely and pleased to see that the Leveton’s have left a nice pile of furs and goods for the taking. The party sprung their ambush. Two bandits were dead and three (including Happs) captured in less than thirty seconds of fighting. The party claimed their gear, including horses, and interrogated the captives.

Happs told them that these bandits came from the Thorn River Camp, the westernmost of the Stag Lord’s establishments. The other two captives, Kaver Kaynel and Lonal Longlegs, clearly knew nothing more than Happs, and were summarily executed by the party for their crimes.

With Happs bound and in tow, the party made its way south to the Thorn River, making camp overnight about 12 miles upstream from the bandits.

2 Pharast

In the morning, the hilt of Shokeen’s sword was mysteriously and magically greased. Shokeen and Khofnaak raged about fey pranks, while the rest of the party looked on bewildered.

The party sent Aust ahead to get the lay of the land. He discovered that the camp is as Happs indicated, with guards up in watchtowers on either side of the ford.

The party attempted to parley with the bandits, using Happs as bait, but the bandits were not interested and immediately attack. The common bandits fare poorly against the party, but their leader Kressel savaged Aust and Shokeen. She was ultimately brought down by Mihalis’s magic, as he dazed her repeatedly into inaction as the party’s melee warriors hacked at her.

The party claimed the bandit’s hoard of plunder and took prisoner the only surviving member of the Thorn River camp, Daron Felwister, who spilled additional details about the Abbey Camp at the River Fork, the next nearest base of operations of the Stag Lord.

The party decided to return to Oleg’s to stash their haul and regroup before tackling the next bandit camp.

Campaign map:

campaign_map_2_Pharast_4710.png

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Welcome to Kingmaker
The Opening Narration

Civilization is thin on the ground in northeast Avistan, far from the ancient empires of the Inner Sea – Osirion, Cheliax, Taldor. Here, the mighty Sellen River and its many tributaries wind through anarchic lands, binding them by trade and separating them through natural borders.

At this region’s heartland lie the River Kingdoms, where petty tyrants and bandit lords seem to rise and fall on a monthly basis. It is known to the elves as the Shifting Lands for it is both geographically and supernaturally mutable. The rivers alter their courses easily in the silty soil while the walls to First World are thin and fey influence runs rife.

To the north, the barbarian tribes of Numeria are ruled by the mysterious artificers of the Technic League, while the Crusaders of Mendev struggle to contain the abyssal terrors of the Worldwound. To the west, gothic terrors haunt the dark forests of Ustalav and the God-King Razmir inspires his devoted worshipers to expand his theocratic rule. To the south, the insular elves of Kyonin have – by their reckoning – only recently reclaimed their ancient homeland and once-proud Galt staggers under decades of revolutionary fervor, now ruled as much by its guillotines as by any person. To the west, old Iobaria lies broken and plague-ridden, its people now scavengers among the bones of the ancestors; and the feudal Kingdom of Brevoy is on the verge of civil war eleven years after the mysterious disappearance of its ruling house.

On the border between the River Kingdoms and Brevoy lie the Stolen Lands, a vast wilderness that has so far refused to bridled. Trade flows uneasily here, down lazy rivers and barely marked trails. Those who brave the journey contend not just with larcenous highwaymen and monstrous tribes but with all the land itself can bring to bear. Though many have tried, it has never been successfully surveyed; and though its basic features have been named, they have never been fully explored.

As Brevoy girds itself for civil war, its potential belligerents look towards the Stolen Lands as a potential source of material and support. If tamed, it could provide the crucial edge necessary to prevail in coming conflict. And so the Great Houses and other centers of power start to place pawns on the table.

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