Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kingmaker: Part 2, the Return

After almost two years of inactivity, I suppose it would be a good time to pick up from where we last left off.  Let me regale you with another tale from Kingmaker.

The session described herein is a continuation of the last.  Most of the characters are the same, but we added a face toward the end of the day.  Get used to it; players (and thus their characters) jumped in and out of the game frequently.  Familiar faces Paddy McRuleslawer (Roman the Ranger), Mistress of Pain (Bardock the Fighter), Dragonking (Torgar the Dwarf), Whore of Babylon (Lyla the Rogue), and LongDong Silver (Spit the Cleric) returned.  Joining them was Roommate the Terrible, Mistress's then-boyfriend.  While RtT was a terrible, terrible person (and roommate, surprisingly...) he was a pretty good gamer.  He ran a somewhat reformed former Paladin NPC.  He comes into play towards the end of the story.

Now that you are reacquainted with the cast, the show can go on!

Once a price in silver had been agreed upon, the players shook hands with the kobold chief and agreed to get his idol back from the mites of the evil sycamore tree.  Directions were given, and away the party went. 

It was about twelve miles between the two settlements, so the party took their time.  After a day or so (sleep was needed, and walking hurt their feet-sies) they came upon the unmistakably evil-looking giant tree.  Paddy asked if the mites were, in fact, ter-mites.  Dice were thrown his way before the story continued.

As stealth wasn't the forte of the party (and honestly never would be), the combat route was chosen.  Bardock was fairly good at wrecking shit, being a barbarian and all, but the mites were a bit tough for the party.  The racial DR/cold iron was a pretty big bane to overcome.  The party fought tooth and nail before finally making it into a torture room, where they found three kobolds chained to a wall.  Two of them were dead, but the last... He would grow to have a life of his own, far and away above anything I ever dreamed.

This kobold, last of his warriors, was the greatest of them.  He had survived days of torture, even after his compatriots had expired, out of spite.  He refused to give his mite captors the satisfaction of seeing him beg.  Or die.  So, once the PC's arrived, he took his chances with the big'uns and threw his lot in with them.

Announcing himself as Mikmek, the kobold bartered his services as a warrior for his freedom.

"How much of a warrior could you be if you and your men got captured."  Lyla's question drew a hiss of anger from the proud dragonkin.

"They outnumbered us 20 to 1, and we killed more than our fair share.  Also, I know where some cold iron weapons are being kept."

That got him released quickly enough, as well as a round of healing hands from Spit.  Once free, Mikmek lead them to the weapons cache of he and his fellow (fallen) warriors.  The party was unimpressed with the three small-sized short spears, even more so when Mikmek reclaimed his own.  Still, anything to overcome the DR was a step above where they had started.

Proper tools in hand, the PC's mowed through the mites.  Their newly acquired ally, through a series of good rolls that would come to characterize much of his existence, landed the killing blow on the mite leader and picked up the idol both he and the PC's had been sent after.  Thus began the days long trek back (hey, health was needed).

Fully healed, the party returned to the kobold cave.  Mikmek proudly presented the idol to his chief, who promptly called forth all of the tribe and declared holy jihad on the purple interloper who had usurped him.  The chief promised his weight in silver should the players join his cause.  They quickly agreed that the purple-kobold-eater had to go.

Despite the entire tribe rallying behind their chief, only the recent rescue-e joined the players at the forefront.  Bravery is not a trait found common amongst kobolds.  It was a mighty battle, in which the Gnomish sorcerer (heretofore cursed to live as a purple kobold) wounded several of the players before he could be dispatched.  A few healing rounds from Spit (courtesy LongDong Silver) and the party had found itself in the everlasting good graces of Chief Sootscale.  The chief paid his dues, 31 lbs of silver (1550 silver pieces, or 155GP worth of loot for you conversionist pigs who can't stand wealth of other types) for the assistance of the PC's.  When asked about their reward for bringing back the idol, the chief balked.

"Isn't a cache of silver enough?"


The matter settled, Chief Sootscale thought about another possible avenue.

"Hey, do you need a map of the area?  'Cause I can draw you up one of those!"

The players debated his offer hotly before declining with a counter offer.

"What if we take Mikmek as a guide?"

Now, I was shocked, as I had previously told my players that I did not want to run an NPC player under any circumstances.  They had grown to love the little guy with the fiery heart that was so atypical of his people.  I reluctantly agreed, provided that Paddy (resident stat-rolling God) roll me up some stats.  They were appropriately wonderful.

Another matter settled, the group, now plus a kobold warrior, decided to go about their original task of founding a city to help tame the Stolen Lands.  Also to get Olaf, lovable old junk dealer from the intro, his shit back.  And kill bandits.  Roman loved to kill bandits, usually in creative ways and leave their corpses displayed in such a manner as to discourage further banditry.  Mikmek let on that the he knew where the bandit king known as the Stag Lord resided, but that it was a dangerous place full of dark sorcery.  So he lead them there.

The players 'covertly', and by that I mean stayed well enough away to avoid being spotted, surveyed the area.  Dragonking had a plan.

"Hey, wasn't there a beat up ballista back at Olaf's?"

"Erm, yes?"

"Good.  Torgar has ranks in Craft: Siege Engines."  I had to double check Torgar's character sheet.  Not because I doubted Dragonking mind you, but the sheer good fortune of it blew me away.  Sure enough, max ranks (all of 2 at that point) plus a couple of points from Int and Trained.  A +7 total.

"It may take you awhile to fix it, not to mention weeks to pull it to the location!"

"Great, that gives me the time to fix it."  Dragonking and I bantered back and forth about the need for lumber and tools, but they players were able to get everything they needed from either Olaf's or the nearby forest.  Then the march began.  Along the way, a catapult was built as well.  High craft rolls and weeks of time can do that for you.  The PC's arrived with enough ammo to bring down Camelot.

The players fired an opening volley to get the bandits' attention.  Their gambit succeeded, as the Stag Lord drunkenly made his way to the battlements.

"Surrender yourselves to the lawful authorities, us, and we will deal with you fairly!" cried out Torgar as he stood atop the ballista.  Paddy had a better idea, but thankfully Roman muttered it only loud enough for his fellow party members to hear.

"Yeah, we'll kill you all slowly then leave you for your friends to find."

"Surrender!?  Pfft, we'd rather die than surrender to the likes of you," came the Stag Lord's predictable response.  Enter Terrible the Roommate.  His character was the second in command of the fort.  Unlike his fellow bandits, he didn't much care for the lifestyle of raping and pillaging.  The only reason he stuck around was because a far worse fate awaited him back home, should he ever be found and deported to his home country.  Something about the way Dragonking presented the case, along with the impressive armaments and TtR's own lack of desire to die, caused a wonderful scene.

"I stab the Stag Lord through the heart, throw him off the ramparts, and declare 'We Surrender' at the top of my lungs." 

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