Ah, Kingmaker. An ongoing campaign that began sometime in 2009, making it the longest running single campaign in my current groups' history.
Some of you may be familiar with this product from Paizo. For those of you that are not, let me tell you a bit about it. It was billed as the ultimate sandbox adventure where your PCs literally built a kingdom as they saw fit, governed it how they wanted, built cities where and how they wanted, the whole shebang. If you have read my previous entry, the Undermountains of Madness, you will know that this is not an uncommon desire in my group. And to actually have rules to support such conquest? I was eager to run this campaign.
I gathered together quite a large group. Familiar face Paddy McRuleslawer heeded my call to arms along with several new additions. The former ran Roman the Human Ranger. Now let me take some time to introduce all the latter.
First we had the Mistress of Pain, running a human fighter. She runs a "weekly" 3.5 D&D game and, as DM, frequently lives up to her moniker. That, and girl is just kinky.
The second lady (I use the term generously) who joined us was the Whore of Babylon, a nickname earned from something her significant other did. Plus, she eventually lived up to the name... Anyhoo, she too ran a human rogue, Lyla.
WoB's then boyfriend, a frequent collaborator of ours going back a few years, is LongDong Silver, a man whose endowment is legend (I seen it!). He portrayed a Human Cleric of Erastil.
Lastly (for the first session, anyway), we were joined by the Dragonking. On top of sharing my religion (Asatru, if anyone was wondering), he also shares my penchant for loving Kobolds and Dragons. He was the first to suggest adding Kobolds as a permanent PC race. It was with him that I created the Kobold modified starting attributes (+2 dex & cha, -2 str, in the event you were curious). Also, he was an extremely competent DM in his own right. He controlled Torgar, a Dwarven Fighter.
The cast assembled for the first session (more were added later; gird yourself for future introductions), we began in Olaf's trading post. We had been sent out by the mighty Swordlords of Restov to curb the recent influx of bandits as well as chart the massive swath of land that separated Brevoy from the River Kingdoms. This land, widely dubbed the Stolen Lands, was home to all manner of beasts and brutes. It was also home to a lovely elderly couple.
Olaf, a hard man with a heart of gold, and his wife, Svetlana, operated a little place just outside of recognised Brevoy territory, situated on the southernmost corner of the South Rostland Road, a major trading route.
While there provisioning themselves, my PCs were informed by Olaf that they had come at a most opportune time; bandits were scheduled to arrive any day now to collect their "due". My PCs politely informed him that they had not been sent to aid him, as was his misconception, but they would gladly do so out the kindness of their hearts. This rare outburst of altruism warmed my own.
The PCs got together with Olaf and Svetlana and discussed what usually went down when the bandits arrived. My players at first wanted to deal with the thieves immediately but Dragonking pointed out that they were unlikely to be carrying the previous loot on them and that a bit of sleuthery would net them Olaf's missing valuables, which included his wife's wedding ring.
Deciding discretion was valour, the PC's hid out while the bad guys beat around on old Olaf. Eventually, after making certain that the old geezer hadn't broken a hip, they left and the hunt was on.
Our heroes competently tracked the bandits (Paddy rolled really well) and followed them to a clearing. The battle was harrowing but they made it out alive, liberating the ill gotten gains of their fallen foes. They returned the booty to Olaf and Svetlana only to discover that, while the ring and several other stolen goods were there, a large chunk of what had been stolen in previous months was not. It appeared that these were not the chiefs of the bandit operation. That's when Olaf told them about the Stag Lord, king of the bandits. Oh good.
So, new goal, the group begins exploring the world that is the Stolen Lands. Along the way they encountered a berry patch with kobolds stuffing their faces. At the sight of the PC's they squawked but could do little else, for they had eaten themselves silly. Berries are irresistible to the little buggers and they simply couldn't help themselves.
When the PC's didn't slaughter them on sight, they began to relay their tale of woe and misfortune; mites (evil, goblin-looking fey) had stolen the tribes idol, the latest development in their lifelong war. Seriously, the war between the two species had been waged for decades, which in kobold time, means several generations.
Once they could move, the kobolds led the PC's back to to their homeland, a silver mine. The $$ in my players' eyes were unmistakable.
The entrance was 'guarded' by a sleeping kobold who awoke at the piteous mewling that their captured mite made at our arrival. The players opted to not put it out of its misery. Go figure.
After being cautiously escorted to chief Sootscale of the Sootscale tribe (originality runs deep with kobolds...) he pulled the PC's aside and told them of their ills.
A purple kobold (he stood out because all the Sootscales' were black of scale) had recently come in and taken over the tribe with his foul magics. During this time, the idol representing the tribal gods had been stolen by the mites. He had sent his most powerful warriors to retrieve it. Dragonking looked over at him.
"If you sent the strongest, why didn't you go?" The question befuddled me momentarily, until I remembered that kobolds, despite their awesomeness, are quite evil.
"Who would govern if I were gone?"
"The purple one," Mistress muttered, to much laughter. The kobold chief was not happy but knew better than to cross the large party of skilled warriors, especially since all his own were gone.
"Look," the chief said, "if you help me out and rescue the idol, I'll make it worth your while."
"How's that," WoB asked, to which the chief spread his arms wide.
"Have you seen where we live?" The matter settled, the party headed north to the old sycamore tree to fight the evil mites and retrieve the idol. I did not then comprehend just how much that decision would shape the rest of our 4+ year campaign.