Kingmaker

Session 15 - Council Matters
In which the legal system and kobold-human relations are improved, and winter wolves are coming.

DECEMBER (Kuthona) 4710 AR

Brand has kept his mission of werewolf hunting front and center, despite the cold, and makes a room at the inn his base of operations as he methodically explores the wilderness around the city. He’ll find them! (Brand’s player was unavailable on this day, and bid us to continue without him for the moment)

Mason, Finch, and Sarthaal are all gathered in the dungeon around the turn of the full moon, awaiting confirmation on Kundal’s werewolf problem. They discuss if it works how he might repay his debt to society. Even though the murders occurred while he was out of his mind, he at least should have self-reported earlier when he began to suspect what happened, which might have saved two lives if not the first. Working off his debt as a guard is believed to be the best use of his talents, as his father’s trade of working as a tanner is somewhat underwhelming.

The full moon rises, and Kundal remains human. Hurray for wolfsbane! Sarthaal enters the cell and, when asked by Kundal why a year of work protecting Solace would be followed through on- not that he was planning on running away, he claims- Sarthaal inscribes a magical rune that disappears shortly after on Kundal’s forehead. Kundal is very superstitious about magic, having failed a check to notice that the rune was so much smoke and mirrors. Sarthaal explains that this is a mark of pain that will hurt him if he leaves the borders of Solace- that it will slowly grow to be debilitating the farther he is outside of the barony. Believing it completely (for now), Kundal is set free and. The following day, at the baron’s mercy, Kundal is invited to dinner with the castle’s inhabitants and enjoys fine steak.

Reeves tries to get in a few words with Finch edgewise but is bolted over by Sarthaal insisting that he, Mason, Finch, Kush’ket, and Kundal all ride for the Sootscale caverns overnight. Nobody is happy about this, but they go along with it at the elf’s vehement insistence. They are understandably tired when they arrive the next morning, with Kundal being presented to Chief Sootscale as a symbol of human and kobold alliance; the man is instructed to accompany a team of kobolds through the wilderness of Solace as part of the newly formed kobold ranger group The Silver Peace. He gets his badge and is sworn in; Sootscale is pleased, as much like with his niece Kush’ket being a consort, it means there will be more signs of kobolds and humans getting together, which will hopefully lead to them getting less lip from everyone who is not hip to the new dynamic of peace and inter-racial harmony. To similar effect, Sarthaal requisitions a few kobold braves, champions of the spear to serve amongst his honour guard.

The party immediately goes to sleep after the meeting, with Sarthaal in particular bothering Kush’Ket’s family (they do not yet know how to speak Taldane, the common tongue).

Returning home that night, they discover Reeves continuing his training of the local militia- Finch noting that he’s helping an attractive human woman at that moment in time with her archery. Later on, he has a serious discussion with her… regarding their relationship, and the defining thereof. He’s grown tired of just being the occasional lay, and would rather they be an actual relationship of adults. Finch squirms a bit at being put in the crosshairs so directly on the matter, especially with explosive sounds outside, and Reeves presses the matter for an answer, not letting her simply run off! She finally exclaims yes, fine, before throwing open the shutters (like other castle residents) to discover Sarthaal engaging in silly shenanigans with the minor explosives with his new kobold guard buds. Everyone does an anime sweat drop and then goes back to their business.

JANUARY (Abadius) 4711 AR

The new year is brought in with an important meeting where matters of council are discussed, with the entire council present. Of note:

Svetlana notes that a gregarious man named Loy Rezbin, who had approached them for the right to build a town in the name of Solace to the northwest, would as a natural leader type and man of words, probably be a good fit for the position of Grand Diplomat to further relations with neighboring baronies or countries (such as Brevoy). The position, til’ now, has been lacking.

Oleg brings up the matter of the nation’s woeful economics, encouraging everyone to hunker down and focus on that to the detriment of other factors, because if the place can’t be paid for, there isn’t going to be a barony much longer in any event. Making note of this, Finch decides to have her spy network focus on underground wheeling, dealing, and smoothing rather than focusing on security concerns (She switches her leader bonus from stability to economy).

Chief Sootscale insists that as soon as the nation expands north, that he wishes to claim the hills around the old sycamore tree that the mites inhabited as kobold farmland, where they can harvest mushrooms, tubers, rodents, and other proper kobold foodstuffs. He is already thinking of cornering the rat-on-a-stick market. Secondly, reports are in regarding Kundal and his task force- they had gone into the woods to seek out the supposed Redscale kobold menace (that attacked the gnomes)… and found but one half-filled burrow, which was easily routed. The redscales appear to have fled, which is a bit of a non-sequitir at this point.

The council decides that first they’ll make an actual tavern establishment over the winter before expanding the confines of the barony in the spring, hopefully, to expand on farm production which will lower costs. Finch and Sarthaal also seem keen on a brothel, despite how an obviously lurid location may provoke some unrest, but are content to get a few other things first.

Bored of meetings, they experience some excitement a few days later, as the winter wolf that Reeves first encountered a few months prior has returned in ferocity, harassing hunters to the east. They ride out to meet it, and though Mason tries out his new wolf-form shape change to sneak into its cave and perhaps speak to it in wolven language, the wolf turns out to have been wise to them having found its lair- and attacks! It’s frosty breath and ferocious jaws prove almost overpowering to Reeves and Finch, who fight alongside eachother (to her chagrin, having never been seen by Reeves before in a fight, and worried about him thinking differently of her after seeing her in action). Sarthaal’s scorching spells in particular wear away it’s tough hide. They fell the wintry beast, and breathe a sigh of relief, and healing potions, before struggling with primitive surgery. Sarthaal produces a somewhat damaged freeze-breath gland, before they head back to town.

REWARDS
1600xp (wolves, politics, a late XP shot for number of buildings).
3 kobold spear champions added to Sarthaal’s honour guard.
1 committed relationship (Reeves + Finch)

The party has 15600xp total now, tipping them into level 5!

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Session 14 - Murder in the Ville
In which a new companion arrives, and a murderous werewolf is dealt with...

October 28th (LAMASHAN) 4710 AR

Brand Medyved, a minor noble from north-eastern Brevoy, arrives in town after a long ride on the trail of a few werewolves who had been on a murder spree. First, however, he deals with sore riding muscles by getting off the horse, and into a proper Inn. As it is morning and he’s not ready for sleep yet, he inquires as to where a gentleman might find some local colour- and is pointed over towards Murderpub, the unofficially named tavern where Tobias Dark spends much of his time between hunting trips.

The party of Sarthaal, Mason, and Finch are led by Jeoff the guard to the scene of the crime- one of them. A shepherd’s boy lies eviscerated on the outskirts of town, torn apart in a bestial manner, with large wolf tracks leading away into the woods. Inquiring his bereaved father about the boy’s death does not really present new information, except giving the poor man someone’s shoulder to cry on for a moment. Riding off, the party heads off to investigate the second murder- an innkeeper’s hired girl killed while apparently fetching water. She is missing bits and looks like she was partially eaten, in particular missing an ear entirely. Further tracks are not located, the ground not being as soft and print-friendly as the previous location.

Brand enjoys his ale, and chats up some locals in a friendly manner.

Heading back to the first location, Mason tracks the foot prints which were fortunately not forgotten about, and when trailed into the woods, forms into a patch where wolf and human footprints meet, suggesting some form of lycanthropy. Everyone is pretty sold that this is indeed a werewolf scenario.

The three then split up to fetch various numbers of the guard, and to seek out contacts amongst the locals in search of a likely culprit, with the assumption being that the werewolf is a newcomer to town, if indeed he or she is still in town. The last night of the full moon is coming, and they hope to figure this out within the next several hours.

Between Finch’s contacts, Mason’s presence in the pub, and Sarthaal’s shakedown of the unofficially named ‘Fluffy Cloud’ inn, it is determined that there are only a few new folks in the area, and that the guy in the inn with the hairy uni-brow probably was in the clear. At the inn, they discover Brand, and interrogate him, with the noble readily admitting that he was from Brevoy, of the Medyved family (which Mason vouches for, having grown up in the same city area), and furthermore on the trail of a werewolf. There’s a natural fit present, and he accompanies them on the investigation.

Finch offers up that she’s received some private info that a Iobarian barbarian sort with a wolf-fang necklace is known to be in town, they wind up back at the inn, with Sarthaal demanding entrance to the man’s room- one the bartender didn’t cop too earlier in an egregious demonstration of it slipping his mind. The perp’s name is Kundal.

The room is empty barring private possessions, and beneath the bed… Finch finds an ear. It’s a match; the earrings are rather distinct between it and the other ear of the murdered inn-worker.

With Kundal not found in town by the guard, it’s determined that he may still be out in the woods or otherwise hidden in some fashion. They confer, and decide to come up with the tastiest bait possible, which seems to be Finch riding a delicious pig purchased from a local farmer. The rest of the band hides nearby on the outskirts of town, hoping this will attract attention. The werewolf proves canny as night falls, however, ignoring the trap and stealthily creeping towards town instead (after a successful perception check to notice the trap, and a following 19 on the stealth roll). A scream goes out, and party runs as fast as they can (as well as Squealy Nord, the pig).

It’s too late to save a merchant who was stabling his horse, but the werewolf can be stopped now mid-murder, as it turns to face the party who leap from horseback to engage it! As with most single but powerful monsters, they circle about the werewolf and via attrition beat it down to unconsciousness. Quickly, they tie up the beast and haul it’s bleeding body to the castle with Brand bearing most of the weight, getting it into the dungeons. By morning, it’s converted back to human form… Kundal.

With some light interrogation, the morose man admits readily that he knows he killed those people, but that he couldn’t resist while in the lunar blood rage lycanthropy gave him. Furthermore, he claims that he was not part of any pack of werewolves from Brevoy, but that he was attacked outside of town less than a week ago, indicating that there may be another group of werewolves still out there leaving ‘children’ in their wake. Punishment is discussed, with a near split on the “kill the werewolf” vs “try to heal the werewolf”, until Joan Khavken, who has a history with werewolf problems, comes down firmly on what their city is named: Redemption. Missives are sent, with an order specially worded to find good quality wolfsbane from a herbalist in Brevoy.

NOVEMBER (NETH) 4710 AR

The Sootscale Silver Mine receives an influx of labour and is prepared to have production begin in earnest throughout the winter! Kobolds and a handful of chain-ganged bandits are now procuring valuable ore for the barony- though some of the Sootscale guard take to banging some of the fresh metal into badges befitting their station.

Sarthaal takes Brand for a ride to introduce him to the Chief, and the racial tensions while present are at a ‘distasteful’ level rather than open hatred. Using some of the new silver ore, the Chief promises to send a custom-made set of silver manacles as a gift in exchange for their good relations. A week later, his word is made good on, and the captured werewolf beneath Redemption’s castle is bound in a metal befitting his cursed desease- at least until the wolfsbane order that was sent to Restov can be processed. When the herbal treatment arrives, it seems to be successful. It will take a test of the full moon’s presence the following month to truly determine whether or not the taint of lycanthropy Kundal acquired has been cured.

REWARDS
700xp each
Mason retrieves Kundal’s Bulette Armor.

SOLACE, NG Kingdom

Size: 5, Control DC: 25, Population: 2750

Economy: 19 (+3 buildings, +2 taxes, +10 leadership, +1 roads, +1 fangberries, +2 mine)
Loyalty: 14 (+2 buildings, +2 festivals, +10 leadership, +2 alignment, -2 taxes)
Stability: 20 (+3 buildings, +12 leadership, +2 alignment, +4 fae allies, +2 mine, -1 no promotions, -2 no diplomat)

Edicts
Promotion Level: NONE
Taxation Level: Normal
Feasts Per Year: 6

Unrest: 0

Consumption: 4 (+2 festivals, +5 size, +1 city district, -4 farmland)
Treasury: 0 BP

Notable Sites: Tatzylgrad (capitol city), Sootscale Silver Mine, Fangberry Farms

REDEMPTION, capitol city

Base Value: 200 gp
Defense: +8
Population: 1500

1x Castle
1x House
1x Mill

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Session 13 - Even The Trees
In which our band makes peace with woodland denizens, and burns down a tree.

October 24th (LAMASHAN) 4710 AR

Towards the end of the month the ruling council is sent word that a diplomatic incident is occurring to the west, where, in unclaimed woods, loggers who claim to hail from Solace are in conflict with some form of nixie over the ownership of a section of forest. While heading out to deal with this, the party is approached by Reeves, who announces that he’s been informed by some of the guard that to the east are reports that a great white wolf and what laymen suspect to be worgs are causing destruction. Unwilling to divide their already limited party of three, Reeves is instead instructed to take a group of the guard and go deal with the wolf threat personally, while diplomacy is handled by the ruling council. Everyone gears up and rides on out, ensuring that neither threat is left untouched.

Riding hard most of the day, Finch, Mason, and Sarthaal discover, with some exploration, the location of the point of contention. The loggers are lead by a brutish man named Corax who does not like being given shit by the nixie, Melianse, who has been using her magic to trick and elude the loggers while preventing them from commencing their operation in earnest. A few valuable coachwood trees have been cut, and in response three of the loggers appear to be charmed- standing at attention with their axes at the edge of the nixie’s watery pool. She peers from the water, nose-high.

Corax believes them to be here to slay the nixie, but Sarthaal belays that command and says they’re here for diplomacy. Grumbling, Corax allows it, but is displeased that his claims of ’they’re trees here for the takin’" and ‘I thought this was a community run by civilized folks, not tricksy fae in the woods" are not paid as much heed as Melianse the nixie’s tale of her home being invaded without so much as a consultation, and suggests they simply go exploring to find more coachwood- though he tries to remember, Mason is more earth concious as a druid rather than in tune with plant life, and is no help recalling where coachwood might be located in the north.

Corax is about ready to riot after being told to buzz off, but between the party’s obvious prowess, baron-like authority, and Melianse’s charm tactics, he decides a fight isn’t worth it and grumbles while the loggers pull up camp and prepare to head north to find a better source of coachwood.

Melianse is pretty annoyed with the trees of hers having been chopped down, but bears no ill will towards the diplomatic group. She asks that they simply replace the trees, and that a dryad to the west that she knows of may have a few magical talismans that could help put right the damage done to her domain. Sarthaal agrees that this is the right thing to do, and that it is best that they continue doing some exploring in their southern realms.

October 25th (LAMASHAN) 4710 AR

As promised, they find a dryad’s grove- and a very sad dryad, crying to herself on the edge of a watery pool (presumably not entirely created by her tears). Approaching in a non-threatening manner, Finch asks the dryad what is wrong. The dryad, Tiressia, is distraught over a menace that has been threatening the woodlands… and specifically, her bonded tree. According to her, a fearsome abomination of plant life known as a scythe tree has been feeding in their vicinity, roving north from it’s home somewhere in the darker woods to the south. She fought it and was unable to defeat it’s sharp, flailing limbs, and requests that the party, if they could be ever so kind, battle it on her behalf. By way of trade, she agrees to the request that she provide them with her magical tree growing tokens to help Melianse- a name she recognizes, and has had agreeable relations with in the past.

Playing a little unprompted tune on his mandolin, Sarthaal is surprised as pan pipe music emerges from the bushes, followed by a satyr- Tiressia’s companion, Falchos.

Without waiting to see how many other creatures might be hiding in Tiressia’s grove, they set out to confront an evil tree.

October 26th (LAMASHAN) 4710 AR

In a dark glen they locate the tree- or rather, it locates them! Hiding ever so well amongst other flora, it launches out to slash it’s whipping branches, and the group- particularly Finch- really feels that having someone better armored than they around would be a real help right now. Or loggers, come to think of it. Nevertheless, they wear it down, especially as Sarthaal’s scorching rays cause it’s bark to blister and burst. Falling dead, the party breathes a sigh of relief, loots it’s environs, and heads back to Tiressia, who is so delighted on the quick turnaround on their promise that she doesn’t just give them the tree tokens they asked for, but some additional wand and potion aid besides. Flirtily, she winks and adds that she’ll keep a good eye out for any trouble in the future, and that she’d know just who to call if she gets in a tight spot.

October 27th (LAMASHAN) 4710 AR

Melianse is also pleased, as the tokens are used and her replacement coachwood trees spring to full bloom. Much like Tiressia, the nixie promises to keep an eye along her riverbanks for signs of trouble- particularly loggers. Some fae might be bad, but others are helping improve the security of the barony, and everyone considers it a win for diplomacy.

On the way home, they discover a party of gnomes who are in trouble- their carriage is stuck in the muck of the river, apparently having gotten stuck while crossing. Their leader is cursing and directing them, but it seems like the small gnomes may simply be too weak without their ponies to help pull- who are also stuck. Hitching their mounts to the carriage solves the problem- additional heave-ho dragging the whole shebang out of harm’s way. The gnomes are very happy to share their evening campfire with the tall folk- except for Finch, who gets the same welcome, but is treated more as brethren by virtue of height.

Their leader is a gnome by the name of Jubilost Narthropple, and his caravan was run into the river after getting spooked by a bunch of kobolds. “Filthy redscales!” he says; “Not the Sootscales…” the party hears. He is on an expedition to find some dwarven ruins, he subtly reveals, and to this effect has been scouting the southern regions of the Greenbelt for it. Sarthaal asks what they’ve found so far, but they are unwilling to share the information freely- they worked hard for that mapped information, after all. Finch tries to sneak into the carriage in broad daylight, with little success. Payment is required, and the haggling involves not only Sarthaal’s personal stores, but also a bit of price cutting by way of Finch giving the man a healthy flash. The old gnome considers this kind of treatment one way to avoid the Bleaching, and agrees. Finch, though protesting that it wasn’t her idea, goes along with the plan, and they receive information on a few areas to the south and east of Redemption.

With all that silliness settled, they rest one more night before getting back to Redemption.

October 28th (LAMASHAN) 4710 AR

When they get back home, Reeves reports that they dealt with the worgs, but that the alpha was definitely a winter wolf and that he retreated before he lost all of his men. The threat has been cut down, as has some of his posse, and Reeves, though injured, claims he’ll be fine.

At which point, they get reports about two gruesome murders on the outskirts of Redemption while they were gone….

REWARDS

2800xp each (Sarthaal, Finch, Mason)

Gnomish Map info
2x Potion of Cure Mod. Wounds
1x Scroll of Summon Nature’s Ally 2
6x Feather Tokens (Tree). Five were given to Melianse.
1X Wand of Cure Light Wounds (8 charges).
3x Pieces of golden amber
A robe of vermin
Silver ring
12gp worth of change

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Session 12 - Birth of a Nation
In which a barony is built, month by month, brick by brick.

Ruler: Sarthaal (Adam)
Councilor: Svetlana Leveton (NPC)
General: Cpt. Reeves Falgrim (NPC)
Grand Diplomat: ?
High Priest: ?
(waiting on Joan Khavken* to finish her meditations…)
Magister: ??? (waiting on Count Rocca to send someone qualified…)
Marshal: Chief Sootscale (NPC.)
Royal Assassin: Tobias Dark (NPC)
Spymaster: Finch Cloudkicker (Diane)
Treasurer: Oleg Leveton (NPC)
Warden: The Mason (Andrew)

  • At which point Erastil will be the barony’s state religion.

MAY (DESNUS) 4710 AR

Of first importance is namings, and the Stag Lord’s old demesne is new again as the capital named Redemption of the barony of Solace- a new land where any immigrants from Brevoy or elsewhere may find peace, even if they didn’t fit in where they came from. The settlers set up making temporary structures, huts, carriages, or the like as Brevoy’s artisans on loan spend an extremely efficient and hard working month on the castle itself. Stag Fort is remade into the Castle of Redemption, overlooking the Tuskwater Lake. Though all manner of general market work, revelry, labour, and homes may slowly be forming outside the castle, it is only over time that they will grow into true establishments that make the barony proud and prosperous! Sarthaal, Finch, Mason, and Tobias have got their work cut out for them.

Though it will take most of a year to get back to it, the 28th of Pharasma (March) is deemed the day of Stagfall, a celebration of the Stag Lord’s defeat.

JUNE (SARENITH) 4710 AR

Bolivar Trask, the magister Count Rocca promised arrives, tending to his duties tepidly. There’s not a whole lot to do, and he’s taking his sweet time with it, but the mage’s limited efforts to set up training sessions and the framework of education and magical care for the kingdom are better than nothing.

A proper residential block is built, transforming the huts near the base of the castle from thatched mud to walled structures. Some of the first citizens now have something solid to live in. It is with some annoyance that banditry returns to the region briefly, but is ended just as decisively- the early deployments of kobold marshals along pathways between Oleg’s to the north, the Sootscales to the east, and Redemption to the south manage to capture the brigands- and actually leave two alive. One enjoys a sentence of work in the kobold silver mines as a preferable alternative to death, while the other is brought back as a dungeon mate for Redemption’s castle’s underbelly. Little information on their disorganized mass is present other than that they were to take advantage of the sudden influx of travelers.

Farmland is established in the hills to the northeast, bringing in fresh hope as crops are planted late, but not too late to make a difference come winter. The light taxes make the citizens present quite happy for the present.

JULY (ERASTUS) 4710 AR

A peaceful month in which the kingdom expands to the northwest in fangberry country, some tax money finally flows in, and as a result a mill is built within the city of Redemption. Though as of yet unofficial, the more Erastilian citizenry celebrate Archerfeast on the 3rd of Erastus. Salsa proves a popular food during this time, for some reason.

AUGUST (ARODUS) 4710 AR

Rumblings of bandit activity once again flare up as the kingdom expands north along the Thorn River, prompting questions of why they’re even bothering at this point- as they only have at best a month to make a kerfuffle before they are rounded up or run out of the barony’s environs by a mixture of kobold and human defence.

Bolivar Trask’s tepid performance as Magister due to his dislike of living in the boonies is mildly improved as Finch makes him a few offers (and positions) he can’t refuse.

Joan Khavken arrives, having meditated for months and ready to take up the chains of office in service to Erastil, which most of the citizenry who are faithful at all embrace. She settles for now into a room in Stag Castle, though almost immediately Sarthaal sets about trying to set Mason up with Joan due to their previous knowledge of one another from the city of Stoneclimb. Though the tie is tenuous, a series of hilarious antics ensue in the kitchen where Lily Teskerten rolls her eyes, putting together crude icing decoration at the behest of her Ruler. In a private dining room, a table is set by Jubex, the incredibly nervous servant boy, and Mason and Joan are told separately to meet there at the same time with Sarthaal for dinner. This is clearly a ploy, and when they arrive, they are ‘sealed in’ so as to have a proper private meal with one another. Neither is exceptionally offended by the situation, nor particularly attracted to one another, and hey there’s cake so it’s not really a loss. Afterwards they leave, because Jubex is seriously not going to be able to stop them. Matchmaking failure.

SEPTEMBER (ROVA) 4710 AR

The kingdom finally expands eastwards, enveloping Sootscale territory. Some ceremony is held as the newly formed ‘Sootscale Village’ trades drink and food, having a feast to unite their tribe with the ‘Solace’ tribe. Chief Sootscale is a crafty leader and sees where the wind is heading… and consequently, is very amenable with providing his neice Kush’Ket as a consort to go back to the city with Sarthaal, who much as in the past has expressed an interest in non-elf creatures. Some people look askance at this relation, but it more firmly cements the kobolds as a true part of the kingdom and not simply vassals as some of the citizenry has taken to doing. He takes to calling her ‘Yuvitza’ while in private. Despite murmurings, there is no proof of their relationship being sexual.

Joan proposes the September 22nd celebration, in line with harvest week and the equinox, be termed the Unity Harvest.

For their part, Redemption brings with it some newly farmed fangberries, the juice of which even the kobolds find delicious. At some point, Bokken hears about the whole barony having occupied fangberry territory, and decides to move his hut south where he can be closer to his favourite food- now that it’s not menaced by bandits.

While at Sootscale, the ruling council can clearly see that bandits who are not slain are being put to hard use- the long abandoned silver mine is slowly but surely being cleared up and being set up for production.

OCTOBER (LAMASHAN) 4710 AR

With the economy performing weekly, discussion is had and the tax level is raised to be able to afford continued production. The lack of a proper diplomat keeps relations with Brevoy or anywhere else at a minimum, and promotional campaigns remain inaccessible. It is otherwise a peaceful month, simply maintaining the holdings they have at present.

KINGDOM STATUS

SOLACE, NG Kingdom

Size: 5, Control DC: 25, Population: 2750

Economy: 17 (+3 buildings, +2 taxes, +10 leadership, +1 roads, +1 fangberries)
Loyalty: 13 (+2 buildings, +2 festivals, +10 leadership, +2 alignment, -2 taxes)
Stability: 14 (+3 buildings, +12 leadership, +2 alignment, -1 no promotions, -2 no diplomat)

Edicts
Promotion Level: NONE
Taxation Level: Normal
Feasts Per Year: 6

Unrest: 0

Consumption: 4 (+2 festivals, +5 size, +1 city district, -4 farmland)
Treasury: 1BP

Notable Sites: Tatzylgrad (capitol city), Sootscale Silver Mine, Fangberry Farms

REDEMPTION, capitol city

Base Value: 200 gp
Defense: +8
Population: 1500

1x Castle
1x House
1x Mill

REWARDS AND LOOTS
1750 xp, which pushes the party into level 4!
-for founding a kingdom, settling a capital city, and expanding your kingdom to 5 hexes!

GAME QUOTES

“I dont think anyone here is fit (to rule).” – Tobias
“He’s not people, he’s important!” – Saarthal

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Session 11 - Who's Who
In which rulers are chosen, and a fort is rebuilt...

8th of Desnus (May) 4710 AR

Count Rocca, Tobias, and the rest of the party gather inside Oleg’s while the big line of carriages settles down for a pit stop for the evening. Tobias gets a chance to explain what he’s been up to, regarding him heading back to Restov (perhaps a bit sulkily) after Joan was unable to help him destroy the pendant they retrieved from the Stag Lord. In Restov, Count Rocca’s forces conspired to use the pendant as bait- successfully! Godfred Lambert and the rest of the Asmodean cult were drawn out and captured or killed. Finch eases up, willing to accept that Tobias was not actually possessed by Asmodean spirit or something like it, which is what she half-way seems to believe happened to Vitrius.

Somewhere in there, Yuvitza slinks off to her quarters for a brief meditation. The chains of office are not for her; with new found enlightenment, she turns into a bird and leaves. Sarthaal is quite sad when he learns of this, but manages to choke back most of his tears for the ensuing meeting.

They sit down and discuss who’s going to be what in the new regime of the barony they are forming. Sarthaal seems a natural choice for Baron, though Finch fights him on that score. Some impromptu voting is brought in, and Sarthaal is chosen. Finch instead takes up the reigns of Spymaster, with Mason being unofficially in charge of architecture, and officially in charge of guarding their urban holdings as Warden. Tobias is more than happy to be the scary man called in when needed as the kingdom’s Executioner, or Headsman. Headmaster is also bandied around.

Names for the new kingdom are discussed, and while Railington is mentioned and Murderville roundly shot down by any except Tobias, eventually Solace is settled on as a symbolic name for the barony; the alternative, Redemption, is instead going to be reserved for the capital city, which will be formed around the Stag Lord’s former holdings, against the bank of Tuskwater Lake.

9th of Desnus (May) 4710 AR

The following day, Count Rocca and the settlers proceed forth in a southern fashion to get to Stag Fort, while Tobias rides on ahead to make sure all is well. Finch, Sarthaal, and Mason go for a bit of a ride, beginning their journey to convince other fine folks they’ve met to take up senior positions in the new management. Oleg and Svetlana know which way the wind is blowing, and friendly as they are agree to become Treasurer and Councilor, respectively. Though they don’t know any wizards, and Bokken seems right out to lunch as a choice for Magister, Count Rocca promises that he might know a guy they can at least pay to come out to the boonies; he’ll get back to them on that. Reeves, a consummate soldier, is happy to serve as General of the barony’s armies (small as they will be for some time to come).

11th of Desnus (May) 4710 AR

Arriving at the Temple of the Elk, the party tries to convince Joan Khavken to come on as their High Priest of Erastil… partly unsuccessfully. She is unwilling to give up her meditations and reflection, considering them only partly done, and thus, only partly able to serve. She promises that within the next few months she will return, when her inner peace is achieved.

At Stag Fort, Tobias Dark and some good ol’ boys pull up their sleeves and get to work, prepping the fort for conversion into something whole. Sean “Akiros” Bean pitches in.

The most contentious choice of senior council member is to the east… as they intend to entreat upon Chief Sootscale to become their Warden, with his kobolds watching the roads and conducting patrols. Better to have these allies working for the man, it is thought, rather than be outside the system.

13th of Desnus (May) 4710 AR

When they arrive, they are surprised to find the tunnels increased in size for larger guests… and what guests are there, are surprising. Chief Sootscale speaks to Hragulka the troll and his two troll guards. The kobolds are on edge, but Chief Sootscale appears to be bravely discussing diplomacy with the trolls who hail from somewhere to the south; the trolls are trying to convince the kobolds to join them in a monstrous kingdom free from the rules and misunderstandings of holier-than-thou humanoids. The party, naturally, disputes this. In the ensuing struggle of words, Chief Sootscale is convinced to maintain contact with the developing human kingdom that is encroaching from the north; his past interactions with Finch and Mason have convinced him that they at least are true to their word, and significantly less likely to wind up regarding kobolds as food. Hragulka retreats, having been surprisingly articulate for a troll. He doesn’t make any kind of physical attacks on anyone while exiting.

That being done, Sarthaal and co stay for dinner, before getting ready to head to where the real work will begin… at Stag Fort, now named Redemption.

REWARDS LOOTS
375 XP each, for Diplomacy

StarJumper, a riding dog for Finch, is brought along with the Count!
A barony.

GAME QUOTES

“This is the shittiest bread ever” – Saarthal (about nature’s pocket)
“You’re making a cake for Waffles, from Waffles? That’s… the most pathetic thing i’ve ever heard…” -Finch

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Session 10 - Allegedly
In which a troll is defeated, a charter is completed, and the Dark arrives with the dawn...

23rd of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

The party’s initial plan is to get away from the troll as soon as possible- they’ve tired themselves fighting Tuskgutter and her young, and need time to come up with a better plan than ‘keep wailing on it’. Taking to horse, the group as a whole manages to flee, with Mason’s aerial squadron providing harassment for a few moments while they do so. Unable to keep up, the party gets some breathing room, and decides to send Finch through the woods extra-sneaky style, while they make a distraction, so that she can get a hold of one of the giant boar’s tusks as proof of their deed. Roaring at their audacity of returning, the troll ineffectually chases them once again, and Finch nabs some boar proof.

They leave and go back to a prearranged meeting place, completing their duty of charting the area before they rest for the night, though the troll is better tracker than they thought. In the night, their guard is interrupted and they are forced to fight for their lives against the troll who howls as it rends into them with his claws. They manage to repel him, however, with Yuvitza and Sarthaal’s firepower particularly defeating his regenerative abilities. Beaten and burnt, the troll is now the one who flees, not to return.

24th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Passing through familiar fangberry territory, they find the area relatively clear of the spiders from before- but a new guest has taken up the area as a home. Muggles, Vitrius’ pet mite who fled during the battle for Stag Fort, is now gorging on the local fangberries and peacefully living alone in meditation and not doing any bad things whatsoever (allegedly). He resists urgings to return to the fold of the party, preferring his much quieter, berrier existence amidst the thicket (particularly without Vitrius there to command him anyways). His mourning for Vitrius is brief, and his well-wishing to the party profuse.

25th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Pushing west, they encounter a trapped canine at the bottom of a trapper’s pit. Half-starved to death, it yips and barks up at them weakly but ravenously, and thus it is fortunate that nobody got close enough to fall in. Throwing in scraps of food, they get it fed and calmed down. In his head, Mason has the thought ‘Squealy Nord’, but doesn’t know why. Though it resists more obvious attempts to catch it, they manage to eventually slip a rope about it and yank it out of the hole. Finch considers making it a riding pet, but this is likely going to take far too long to properly train it, and thus she returns to sitting on someone else’s horse for the duration of their forest explorations.

26th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

A tatzylwyrm sleeps peacefully in its lair in the middle of the river. Discretion being the better part of valour, the group decides to just tip-toe on by and not fight anything remotely descended from dragon-kind for now.

27th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

In an unnaturally still area of the woods, the thick trees open up to reveal a pond… and the body of a dead unicorn next to it, with it’s horn cut from its head. The pool itself is also empty of life, with a hint of staleness, and the body of the unicorn has no obvious wounds, leading to the conclusion that some form of magic must have felled the celestial creature. Everyone’s pretty sad, because, you know… dead unicorn with a stolen horn, man. Who would do that? And how?

Unable to answer that for now, the party conducts a burial ceremony, and moves on a little more tired than they thought, because a hole to fit a horse-sized body in is bigger than a man’s by far. This is kind of a downer for the end of their charter- as they have indeed explored their designated region of the Greenbelt. The next day, they saddle up, and head for home.

29th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

They loop north around the exterior of the woods, sticking to the plains rather than going through the woods again. Despite their best efforts, the cow they encountered before STILL won’t come with them, and still is just a cow (allegedly).

1st of Desnus (May) 4710 AR

Three months to the day, the party arrives back at Oleg’s with their duty completed, ready for some rest while they wait for a response to their reports sent to Count Rocca. Oleg sets to making a personal copy of the map for his own reference, though his art skills are sorely lacking.

Vekkel Benzen is happy to receive a token of Tuskgutter, and rewards the group with magical arrows guaranteed to put down beasts with ease. Nobody mentions how much easier it would have been to put down a giant boar with an animal-slaying magic arrow.

Mason takes the time to head off west while waiting with some men, and start clearing the land for a future farm. The work is hard and they mostly manage to clear the land in preparation for foundations to be laid.

Finch reunites with Reeves, and much nookie is shared in relief. Setting up a training area, she sobers up and starts honing her skills.

Sarthaal composes and sings a surprisingly good love ballad which is clearly intended for Yuvitza. She blushes and Finch asks her how she feels about it, given how nice Sarthaal’s been trying to be; Yuvitza isn’t really a ‘warming up’ kind of gal. Life on your own for years at a time will do that to you. Still, she… thanks Sarthaal for a good song and makes some small talk, which invites a little more of Sarthaal’s far-too-intent behaviour (which is a result of growing up in a completely different society).

Time passes…

8th of Desnus (May) 4710 AR

Count Rocca Marina shows up… with hundreds of settlers in tow, a whole column of carriages loaded with people, material, support, and livestock riding behind him. At his horse’s heel, a riding dog specially trained up for Finch… and at his side, Tobias Dark on his own steed. Oleg’s front door opens, and a new future for the Greenbelt begins.

REWARDS AND LOOTS

900xp each
-for completing exploration, helping a trapped animal, and handling a troll.

Vekkel’s magical animal-bane arrows.
Boar meat.
Fanberry juice.
More cow bell.

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Session 09 - Tuskgutter's Fall
In which songs are sang, trade is established, toads are encountered, and boars are busted.

9th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

After the dispiriting inter-party verbal fight over Tobias the previous night, the tired explorers decide to head back to Oleg’s and get in some rest and report.

11th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

As the party arrives at Oleg’s, mail arrives for the party- their first really good report having netted them some support from Restov in the form of requisitioned equipment. Count Rocca Marina isn’t sparing expenses, either, with a handy haversack for Yuvitza to haul her wares with. The Mason’s home town of Stoneclimb has had a smith forge an ebon-stone blade for him, heavy and true. Finch now has a blade to call her own, a serrated dueling rapier the Count had won in a bet. Tobias’s mithral chain shirt, light and strong, goes nowhere but into Mason’s care for now, as he is not present to claim it (Michael Mornard, the mailman, insists that he sign for it, however).

The party is happy to see not just some quality earnings, but familiar faces like new guard Captain Reeves, Svetlana, and Oleg alongside new ones- trappers and frontiersman who are beginning to move back into the area now that the bandit threat has been eliminated. One in particular, Vekkel Benzen, listens intently as the group relates their adventures in the Greenbelt (some more believable than others), before telling them his own tale- of losing his leg to the dread boar Tuskgutter, a monstrous matron of a boar. To have proof of the beast’s death, Vekkel would offer up his best arrows, tinged with the touch of magic. Some froofery in the discussion happens here, which the narrator doesn’t entirely remember because like everyone I was drinking, and in any case Sarthaal summons birds and Vekkel shot one, which made Yuvitza sad, but, well-fed afterwards as there was more for the fire.

It might have been the wine, but around this point Sarthaal begins making overtures towards Yuvitza- apparently entranced by her orc-touched lineage, which is very unlike the features he knew growing up. Tracking down a battered mandolin, he hastily composes an allegorical song praising Yuvitza’s traits, which plays pretty well to the crowd and nets him a few unintended coppers. The druid is taciturn, however, and uncomfortable with this kind of attention, which she may never have received before as an outcast.

12th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

A carriage arrives from Stag Fort bearing the completely accounted for goods that the bandits had stolen. Oleg is happy to retrieve some of his own personal tradesgoods, comparing his ledgers with the one that Akiros Ismort (the fallen paladin who helped the party in the retaking of the Fort, and who bore an uncanny Sean Bean-like presence) so handily provided. A note attached explains that for now, he will remain in vigil as steward of the Fort so that it cannot simply be reclaimed by another group of vagabonds, and holds it for the party instead.

For the explorers, this means that Oleg has a great sum of goods to trade on their behalf with contacts back in Restov, although due to the volume and the fact that Oleg isn’t ‘big-time’, he will be able to get 1000gp per week’s time transferred back to his trading post so that they can enjoy the fruits of their labors. The goods might not be able to go back to the bodies of those it was stolen from, but it can go towards helping ensure a better future for this borderland.

Refreshed, everyone heads out again, eager to finish the job they began over a month and a half ago.

13th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Preparing for this journey requires potions, which Bokken has. Bokken is happy to talk about all the things he has, to anyone who will listen. Anyone.

Nobody sticks around for long to admire his alchemical prowess, and he resumes making hats for his chickens. Everyone has to have hobbies.

15th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Returning westward of Oleg’s, the plains between Brevoy and the woods to the south are charted. Mason admires the fine farmland and thinks that one day fields of potatoes will grow here, and possibly cabbages.

Especially cabbages.

16th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

More plains. A candidate for carrots? Mason’s not talking, that clever turnip.

17th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Pushing towards the westernmost area of their immediate chartered concern, the plains give away to less inviting ground, as scattered rocks would make quite a problem for a plow. A mound is located, presumably some kind of burial ground, which the group agrees to leave be, simply noting it on their map. As near as they can tell, it was for an unknown barbarian chieftain or chief’s son- someone of passing importance.

18th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Some stinky hot springs are discovered within the woods upon the banks of the Skunk River. While they smell like the name, the soothing waters are frequented by some disquieted giant toads who attack the group- Foosa helping by climbing up a tree and launching from above, the others from clustering together on dry land instead of getting bogged in the water. Triumph is assured, though, as nobody is foolhardy enough to fight the amphibians underwater.

19th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Taking another zig-zag jaunt out of the woods towards the clear air of the plains, the party discovers a cow. Despite their best efforts, the cow seems to be entirely ordinary. Seems.

20th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Back into the woods, where their old, tired rations are supplied with fresh deer meat from a hunt. Everyone but Sarthaal enjoys organic free range venison in the meantime.

21st of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Erastil didn’t just leave a half-broken temple of the elk in these woods- there is also a long lost statue, which the party stumbles upon. Covered in dirt, vines, and accumulated muck of generations, the statue itself is in surprisingly good condition despite its age. The druids in particular are keen on cleaning it, and set about doing so- though everyone helps out in the end. Many hands make light work, as well as for a clean Erastilian presence. The party decides to camp here, as it is safe and silent- no wild animals approach the God of the Hunt’s symbol.

22nd of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

The woods become more boggy, much like the toad-lands to the north, and it is with some trepidation that the party stumbles upon a half-ruined home. Its state of ruin does not mean it is unoccupied, though, and perhaps it’s non-fully upright status makes the home better camouflaged for its boggard occupant. Unable to speak much of the common tongue, he nevertheless is non-threatening enough that his urges for ‘truce, truce!’ give the party pause to make what conversation they have. They establish that the boggard is named Garuum, and that this plot of land is his home; there does not appear to be any other boggard tribes in the immediate vicinity. Since the party is content to leave him alone, as long as he isn’t a threat, they get on well enough. Yuvitza is the only one who even remotely looks interested in the diplomatic meal offering- giant bug meat. It’s juices are a delicacy in boggard lands, if not in Finch’s stomach. Finch keeps up with her everyday meal of ‘grain product’ instead.

23rd of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Deeper into the woods again, where once upon a time a bandit indicated “hey, here’s a camp of ours!” is no bandit camp at all, but a den. Tuskgutter’s den- a huge brute of a boar whose size is nearly dire. Squealing with rage, and presumably to defend her babies, she charges out to reduce the assembled map charters to gorey bits, just like she did with Trapper Vekkel’s leg. She is unsuccessful, though a few good hits show why you don’t want to get hit by her tusks more than once, if at all- the tangled roots of Yuvitza, the summoned eagles of Mason, the fiery spells of Sarthaal, and the thrown daggers of Finch wear her down. Moonlight helps too, when the baby boars- the size of normal boars- rush out. One manages to slip away from the party’s victorious clutches, running back into the underbrush of the den- and with a snap, is dead. Shock, as a troll crawls out of the den with a dead meal in it’s sharp claws- and looking at the party as if they would make another good meal, themselves!

REWARDS AND LOOTS

1375 XP each
- for exploration, amphibian encounters, and a big boar problem.

1000gp worth of currency from Oleg’s, as stolen goods are returned.
Healing Potions, purchased from Bokken.
Toad meat. Bug meat. Deer meat.
Mithral shirt
Ebonmore blade
Handy Haversack
Serrated Rapier

GAME QUOTES

“You’ve been drinking… a lot.” said Svetlana. “No I haven’t!”, Finch replied angrily. “Seven days straight!”, Saarthal helpfully added.

“Yay! Treasure makes Finch HAPPEH!” -Finch

“I head you like the northern tip” -Saarthal (?) (no clue what this was about)

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Session 08 -Temple of the Elk
In which fae are found, temples are cleansed, and parties are sundered

2nd of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Arriving back at Oleg’s, everyone but Tobias moves to help Finch bury Vitrius’s body behind the fort, alongside Kesten Garess and the soldiers who were killed defending it from the bandit assault a little over a week ago. It’s tough work, but it needs doing. Just inside the stable, Tobias encounters a strange bird the size of a horse- it, too, having a saddle meant for a man. It makes no move to attack, and simply stares at him suspiciously, so he goes to get a drink. Svetlana and Oleg are very accommodating, especially when they hear that the Stag Lord and the bandits are a threat no more. The axe-beak bird’s owner, Sarthaal is present for this, sipping wine as he waits for an undetermined later time to speak.

The deed done, leftover moon radish stew is eaten by all who enjoy a fine meal, relate stories, and promises of the return of Oleg’s stolen goods are made. Sarthaal finally speaks, relaying that he was sent here to deal with Vitrius, but as he has already been dealt with, he is to defer to the party’s current leader, the half-drunk Finch who is drowning her sorrows and grief. Sarthaal joins the party! Finch makes a pass at Sarthaal, who seems surprised by the forthright offer, and is politely declined. Everyone passes out in proper beds and gets a well deserved night’s rest.

3rd of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

They awaken, and with Sarthaal’s help, Finch composes a proper report back to Count Rocca Marina, detailing their efforts, successes, and losses in the Greenbelt, as well as putting in an order for reward- specifically, better gear, rather than simple coin.

Setting out, they head west to begin charting the woodland regions of the Greenbelt (the forests are named the Narlmarches, being somewhat more river-ridden than the average wood). Soldiers arrive as a replacement complement, along with a letter that Reeves has been promoted to acting Captain for his bravery and fidelity to duty in preventing Oleg’s from being overrun, although it is with a heavy heart that he does so (his former Captain’s body currently being buried 45 feet away from him, after all). Oleg makes preparations for a carriage ride and transport between his fort and the Stag Lord’s, to retrieve the assembled loot, which even then will probably take weeks to properly sell through channels in Restov- Oleg doesn’t have thousands upon thousands of gold just lying around to pay the party for it. Trust is in evidence, however, as they’ll figure that out mutually at a later time- time to explore woods!

…The plains to the west of Oleg’s are unremarkable.

4th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

Striking southwest, the party properly gets into the woods, finding the northern regions of the Thorn river where it spreads through the woods, but, other than enjoying a very different day beneath pine branches than open sky, find nothing of exceptional note.

5th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

The party awakens to… tricks having been played on them! Finch’s hair is now shockingly blue, and Mason was knit to the earth via an entangling of roots! It wasn’t Yuvitza, so who? Tobias and Sarthaal’s guess: Fairies are messing with them, prank-style. Finch manages to incorporate blue as part of her new look, and Mason grumbles as he eventually manages to tear himself free.
Veering northwest, the party is nearly caught in several bear traps. The region is littered with them, as though by a careless trapper who hasn’t been properly checking them. It is fortunate that only animals and not men or women are caught, but, still… dangerous. The assembled party agrees it’s best to spring the traps so nobody gets hurt, and spends two days doing so as best they can- Mason’s detecting of natural traps to be a boon, as while it doesn’t point out the bear traps exactly, it does give him a vague impression of their presence existing.

7th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

More tricks are played in the night, as Tobias’s boots were apparently greased, and Sarthaal gets a face full of pyrotechnics from the fire, like a fireworks show. Sarthaal gets down to brass tacks on this one and makes a peace offering with the fairies, putting together a small sum of gold from each of the party members. Invisibly, it is taken.

Southwest once again, they stumble upon a dead trapper at Thorn River caught in what was likely his own trap- a dead-fall of logs, which went off prematurely and pinned him. His masterwork hand-axe lies in a tree trunk nearby, the only real item of value. In a show of compassion, the party removes him, and gives him a proper burial- whoever he was.

That night, a few more gold pieces are given up in offering, and Sarthaal implores the fairies to make themselves known as friends. His diplomacy is rewarded with a tiny fae dragon and a grig appearing- Perlivash, and Tyg-Titter Tut, one being a miniature butterfly dragon, and the other being a grasshopper-woman of sorts. Perlivash is polite and magnanimous to his hosts, and the party finds them absolutely adorable (with the exception of Tobias, who rolls his eyes at the display). The party shares their meal, and Finch shares her hair with Perlivash, while Tyg Titter Tut perches atop an accommodating Foosa for the night.

8th of Gozran (April) 4710 AR

They rise, prank free, to enjoy breakfast with the fairies, who are very informative. When asked about the location of the temple Joan Khavken may have been looking for, they indicate that it’s not all that far to the southeast, and even agree to guide them to the edge of its territory! The fae do so, before flying off and turning invisible, the party glad to have met some non-humans who were friendly. The heavy growth of the forest thickens and then makes way for the run down Temple of the Elk, with it’s staid watery basin and broken pillars, leading to a cave against a hill.

The blood splatter they stumble across, however, is of more immediate concern, and Tobias traces it to its source- Joan Khavken. She is unconscious and near death, but Yuvitza and Mason manage to restore her health so that she can sit up and draw away from death’s door. The temple is found, and by her the previous day (she did not have the advantage of fae telling her where it was), with an accompaniment of maddened bears, who seem possessed by angry souls, and bear the eyes of men. Not expecting them, she managed to fight them off enough to get free, but collapsed afterwards. She asks the party for aid to purify the temple- which can only be done when these ursine guardians are defeated.

Finch and Tobias stealth into the cave to scope out what’s going on, and discover two bears, one apparently sleeping and the other roused but not expecting them. On the offensive, Finch stalks up, and sneak attacks the bear… drawing its attention, at which point it decides to bear hug her with thunderous power! The rest of the party emerges quickly, engaging the bears in battle, and managing to defeat them without getting too mauled by their powerful claws. Upon their defeat, Joan utters some words to Erastil’s name, and the bears’ souls seem to be drawn out of them- souls of men (mysteriously, not that of bears). They shakily look at peace, floating overhead and dissipating into the late afternoon sun.

At this point, the water begins to grow clearer in the man-made pond, fresh as nature itself ought to be. Finch and Yuvitza begin to bathe, and Finch in particular notices its restorative efforts healing her bear claw wounds! Attention is drawn afterwards to what they came to see Joan about- identifying the amulet Vitrius took off the Stag Lord. Though it would take more to determine exact specifics, Joan’s assessment names it an amulet of Asmodeus, and while it would not drive a normal man to insanity, it could in theory empower a devout worshiper in a limited context, which would match up with Vitrius’s sudden restoration to full health. This sets Finch particularly on edge- the name Asmodeus having historical implications for her, and not good ones. She demands that the amulet be destroyed. Tobias- who thus far has been the bearer of the amulet, balks at the motion to take it from him, and refuses. Finch reiterates the demand, with the qualifier that Tobias can, otherwise, get the hell out of there.

Tobias gets pissed at this, and does so, leaving the party. The rest of the night is pretty awkward, with light chatter between Joan and Yuvitza, as Joan tries to spread the word of Erastil to a potential new convert.

REWARDS AND LOOTS
1100 xp each
-For exploration, making friends with fairies, and cleansing the Temple of the Elk.

GAME QUOTES

“Seems like the “bear” minimum damage… huh? huh?" – Saarthal

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Session 7 - The Fall of Stag Fort
In which triumph and betrayal lead to victory- at a cost

28th of Pharasma (March) 4710 AR

The battle is still in full fight mode as the mysterious figure who aided them retreats along the upper walkway, while the Mason, Tobias, and Finch finish off the owlbear. Yuvitza is frustrated with her difficulties shooting upwards, and Foosa yowls as he snaps his jaws onto the tattooed dagger throwing man just around the corner- only to be kicked off, and stabbed, before the man also disappears.

Blades in hand, Tobias howls with orcish ferocity as he scales the poles supporting the raised sentry platforms, and hauls himself up, ignoring arrows to lay waste to one of the archers. The second is dispatched by Finch, whom Vitrius launches up like a shot put to clear the upper levels. Then, and only then, does the team experience a brief moment of respite, where what limited healing resources are used and as a whole marginally becoming patched up.

Snarling, Vitrius begins to interrogate the simpleton as to the location of The Stag Lord, and ‘the Amulet’. Stuttering, Auchs manages to point off in the direction of the Stag Lord’s room, but doesn’t seem to know about any special amulet- he’s got a silver stag amulet, too, after all. Getting what information he wanted, Vitrius surprises everyone present by stabbing Auchs viciously, and then proceeding to stomp his head in a show of rage. Yuvitza is particularly displeased.

Rallying together again, they explore the rest of the fort by heading to the first stairwell and rising atop the ruined tower, using the walkways to get a better view and see if any other bandits await them from on high- apparently, none. The fort is eerily quiet in that following two minutes after the first wave of the battle, and no figures present themselves. On the far side of the walkway, Finch stops everyone for a moment, hearing the sound of moving figures beneath them, where they believe the Stag Lord’s chambers to be. They act immediately- jumping down to the ground level, with Vitrius and Yuvitza taking hard landings, and certainly blowing any chance of particular surprise, before standing to arms in a doorway that reveals a fully armored and half dressed Kressel, whirling to face them. She growls, and behind her they see the silhouette of the sly tattooed man and who can only be the Stag Lord himself, drawing his bow.

The battle begins quickly, with proclamations that no quarter will be given, and from Vitrius that the Stag will hand over the Amulet draped about his neck immediately. Kressel is immediately set upon by Finch who has a score to settle, and Tobias. They whittle away at her as arrows are exchanged with the Stag Lord who has no trouble with Yuvitza’s suddenly entangling roots springing from beneath his feet; an archer has no fear of being forced to use range only.

Kressel struggles to retreat amidst the roots, not envying her front line position against so many foes at once, and is the first to fall as the battle pushes inwards. Dovan is next to take a significant beating as they are pushed back step by step towards the center of the tower, and is reduced to a bloodied state from the party’s tactics. Vitrius offers but one reprieve- flee now, and never return, or die. With the only he and his Lord left to battle five, Dovan shows his level of loyalty and flees- but not before taking a nearly fatal arrow to the back from the Stag Lord’s own hand. Alone and outnumbered, Stag manages to fell Mason in battle and severely weaken the rest of the party. Uncharacteristically, Vitrius uses the last charge of the flaming wand they picked up a few days ago in the mage’s cache and tries to fry the Stag Lord… simultaneously nearly killing Mason and endangering the rest of his party in the tight cluster around the Stag at the same time. In the end despite his might, the Lord dies in battle, in the center of his tower, the center of his power base, and takes with his death the heart of the organized crime of the bandits in the Greenbelt.

Everyone breathes great sighs of relief, and tends to what matters to them most just then: Tobias smirks and checks out the Stag’s assembled gear, removing his helmet and seeing the Lord’s acid-scarred face for the first time. Vitrius’s first act was to snatch the evil looking Stag amulet from the fallen Lord and huddle in the corner, clutching it to his breast almost feverishly. Finch heads back to Kressel’s bleeding, dying, and unconscious body, and “returns the axe she borrowed” to the woman it came from, showing that actually stabbing Finch in the back could see her doing the same to your head. Yuvitza tends to the unconscious Mason’s wounds, ensuring that he is not to die, even though he saw a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Calmly, Vitrius rises from his corner, and approaches behind Tobias, whom has just put on the Stag Lord’s helm to gain some new perspective. This is cut short as Vitrius suddenly attacks Tobias, stabbing him down in a blaze of betrayal. Everyone is shocked, most notably Finch, who stares in amazement as her most trusted friend and protector screams that the rest of the group is against them, and urges her to fight at his side! The melee that follows if pitched and frightful as the weakened group can scarcely stave him off- Finch pleading for him to stop, but taking no action except to play a music box she found earlier, in the hope that music would stop the savage beast. It does not. Mason still lies fallen, and Yuvitza soon joins him, with one last directive to Foosa to find the man who had aided them earlier… leaving Tobias and Vitrius to battle as equals in strength. Despite his renewed vigor, Tobias’s double blades find the dark paladin more powerfully, and lands a near killing blow. Vitrius collapses, and Finch cries out to stop fighting- her pleas ignored then, but not now by Tobias.

At her protector’s side, she begs Vitrius to answer why he betrayed them, what is happening, with the rising suspicion that it must be this Amulet he took that has changed him so- clearly, to have such a sudden rise in rage against his own teammates, it must be an outside influence. Vitrius rises to her, begging her closer, and silently slips her dagger from her pocket while telling her, “It was all lies. None of it was real! None of it!” Finch barely has time to cry, “But I love you!” before Vitrius commits suicide, goring his own neck with Finch’s dagger rather than become captured. Finch goes numb, and the mood is black as Akiros Ismort rounds the rear doorway behind Foosa, rubbing his bumped head (sapped unconscious by right-hand-man Dovan earlier on), and asking why that guy just killed himself.

Using the last of his healing potions, Akiros helps Mason and Yuvitza to consciousness, and explains that he was a bandit himself who grew weary of the pointless violence and bleak life in the Greenbelt. Without purpose, he looked to strike back at the Stag Lord, but on his own could not have hoped to have accomplished anything. When the party struck, he knew it was his as well, and regrets that he was so easily ambushed by Dovan before the fight against the Stag Lord proper. He asks them, who is their leader? Of the remaining four, Finch woodenly replies that it is her who heads this band. Heading outside in the dark to retrieve the steeds, she returns with the obedient horses- but when Pookie sees the fallen body of her master, the mare shakes her head and breaks away, clopping into the night.

29th of Pharasma (March) 4710 AR

Tales are swapped as darkness falls, and the gates of Stag Fort are drawn closed- the party too weak to do anything else but hunker down for the night and fall into a coma until late the next morning, where Yuvitza’s and Mason’s curative magics help immensely with the tending of cuts, scrapes, and deep bruises. The mood is not notably improved, as Vitrius’s untouched corpse leaves a particularly bleak reminder of what their victory cost, and what mystery remains, not knowing what happened to the mind of who they thought friend. Tobias handles the devilish stag amulet, and does not appear to immediately turn to evil himself, pocketing it with a promise not to wear it until they can find someone better to study the item for them and let them know it’s purpose and role in Vitrius’ betrayal. Mason recalls the priestess of Erastil (Joan Khavken) whom he encountered back at Oleg’s as a possible source of knowledge, and everyone agrees that they will soon enough have to explore the forest to the west to find her (as she is purportedly searching for a lost temple there). Other things need come first though, such as the burying of the dead.

The bandits themselves are buried just outside the fort along the wall, with a painted warning being slammed up on the gate as a temporary measure to any returning bandits that Stag Fort is closed for business. The Stag Lord’s head is removed as Finch recalls they had made a promise to one Davik Nettles concerning his killer’s remains and the returning thereof. Throughout this, a careful accounting of the contents of the Fort with Akiros’ help is performed- there is much stolen loot here for the party to plunder, the vast majority of which will be unable to ever properly be returned, with the possible exception of a certain amount to Oleg who would be delighted to have his sale goods back.

The majority of these goods, however, were not in the Fort but below it- Tobias having discovered the hidden cellar door in the pig roasting room, leading down to the mounds of coins, chests, furs, and gear that have been amassed. Before Akiros can warn them however, they are set upon by Nurgrah, the Stag Lord’s father in wolverine form- apparently, he is a somewhat mad druid, explaining his shape changing abilities, and when told about his son’s death, retreats from battle against the stone wall… hisses with anger, and magically melds into the earth to escape. Mason is impressed, and wishes he could do that.

30th of Pharasma (March) 4710 AR

Getting another night’s rest after the accounting and burial activities of the previous day, the party saddles up to ride out, with Vitrius’s body over one of the bandit’s pack horses, and none of his equipment taken- except for one. Finch removes the charter they received in Restov, and now bears it in her pack. They invite Akiros to come with them, and he declines for the moment, saying that it is instead more valuable that he stay in the Fort and guard it’s stolen wealth so that in a week’s time the party may be able to send transport from Oleg’s to retrieve it’s treasures- the sheer amount of loot impossible to carry in pockets and on their horses. Akiros asks if they trust him to do so, and they accede that they do, and he seems relieved to have some measure of it despite his past. Waving at them, he locks the doors behind them as they depart.

31st of Pharasma (March) 4710 AR

The party encounters the speaking dead once more at the old broken ferry, and Davik Nettles gets what he asked for- the head of the Stag Lord, whose scarred visage melds into water as they hand it over to the animated corpse, as does he, becoming one with the river as his spirit is put to rest. On the river’s edge, his magical ranseur remains, a reward to the group for staying true to their promise. With Finch in the lead, they trot off towards Oleg’s, the four of them to begin a new chapter with the end of the old- a place to bury the dead, and get on with the business of living- or staying alive.

MEANWHILE IN RESTOV

An arcane agent arrives before Count Rocca Marina in his quarters, pouring a glass of wine and reading a letter in the other hand. He bids Saarthal to sit, and though wine is refused, the Count has no problem offering him a finely sieved glass of pure, freshest water instead. The letter comes from Vitrius, whose last incident at Oleg’s had him sending the Count a report, but instead was apparently a message to the effect of “It was all a lie. None of it is real. Your minions are now dead,” which is understandably of concern to the good Count who wants to protect his investment. He has thus summoned the wizard Saarthal who he had worked with before to enter the Greenbelt, locate the chartered party, and show a letter of marque and a copy of the letter Vitrius wrote to the other group members before “mutinying” with their aid, to overcome the turncoat paladin. This is of course if they are all alive. If they are not and he is, then the wizard is to use whatever means necessary to end Vitrius’ life. If he is already slain, then he is charged to aid whomever now leads the band accomplish their chartered goals, a statement which draws Saarthal’s brow. Surely the Count would like his own man to lead the party again? The Count assures him no, that it is better for the will of the people and particularly the loyalty of the chartered group that that not come to pass- for now, anyways.

Though the Count has assured him his own agents are already searching for Godfred Lambert and his associates (who seem to have left town in haste), Saarthal requests to check in on the matter personally before heading out on a provided steed. The Count accedes, and bids him well on his way to Oleg’s in the Greenbelt.

REWARDS AND LOOTS

1800XP for the defeat of Stag Fort, and completing a number of quests!
(Everyone has 5000XP- Congratulations on level 3!)

The Stag Lord’s Gear
Lots of Treasure, Gems, Trade Goods

Quotable Quotes:

“Bitch! You’ve shot at me 6 times!”
“The Staglord was not… staggered…”
“What’s your AC?” “One… million!”
“If you can’t take one in the butt and keep running then you’re not a soldier…”
“You can have your axe back…”
“Just say panties!!”
“Hush, you’re dead now.”
“Right up your alley, waffles!”
“Orc-fist-bump!”

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Session 6 - The Battle For Stag Fort
In which one fort being breached prompts the attack on the other

25th of Pharasma (March) 4710AR

Yuvitza’s explorations beneath the tree have netted not only the pittance of mite treasure, but also discovers Svetlana’s wedding ring (assumedly stolen from the bandits by the mites). Nestled in her druid’s hands, though, is a magical staff hewn from the tree itself, a fae-touched stave that has enabled her to speak ritualistically to vermin every so often, in the fashion of the mites.

Heading northeast, the assembled group decides it would be best to head northeast, both exploring the last hex in the hills region of the Greenbelt, and to get to Bokken’s so their fangberries net them a healthy discount on potions. The last section of hills contains a claw-like tree, under which Tobias and Yuvitza discover and with help dig out an old cache, presumably of some wizard. The spellbook and wand in particular seem to suggest this. Adopting finders keepers, the party divvies up the loot and heads on towards Bokken’s.

26th of Pharasma (March) 4710AR

Bokken’s provides some conversation as he boils up their fangberries into tasty, delicious potions of Cure Light Wounds and Endure Elements (which Bokken assures them works, as he stood outside in a thunderstorm naked to no ill effect. Everyone assembled agrees the potions work and bids Bokken stop talking about his state of dress and the freedom the feeling of breeze gives him. As they drove a hard bargain of a 50% off discount, it was for that day only.
When they arrive at Oleg’s after a quick ride west, they discover that all is not well. There is some sign of smouldering flame at the fort, and as they get closer, they discover bodies of bandits and guardsmen alike- most notably Kesten Garess. As they turn over the Captain, they discover his face horribly maimed and carved upon, with a note pinned to his chest that states simply, “message received.” Cue thoughts about how corpse desecration may lead to escalation. Yuvitza furrows her brows a little more- everyone’s been rather vague about what they were up to with the bandits while she was purifying the tree.

Inside, they discover Reeves, the last guardsman, with Svetlana who is binding Oleg’s leg wound. According to Reeves, the bandits posed as traders with a carriage, and when the carriage came in to trade, bandits poured out instead. The attack was swift, and vicious, but the guardsmen managed to force them out, with Captain Garess closing the doors behind him as a last act of bravery before he met his fate. The remaining bandits fled after the main thrust of their ambush was finished, not prepared to assault a closed fort, and in poor spirits with their numbers whittled down.

Yuvitza manages one ray of hope for Svetlana, who takes her wedding ring whilst sobbing, and gives what is possibly Yuvitza’s first hug, emploring them to make their lands safe of the Stag Lord and his agents.

Filled with resolve, the party rides south- prepared or not, they intend to follow the trail of hooves back to the Stag Lord’s fort, and take him on once and for all.

28th of Pharasma (March) 4710 AR

Two days hard ride, following Tobias’ tracking abilities lands the group outside the woods near Stag Fort. It’s evening, and they can see bandits peering over the edge of the spiked walls, doing sentry duty. Guessing that the Stag Lord may have eight or more men aside from himself (based on intel from the bandit they tortured at Thorn River camp), they figure they’re going to have to come up with a plan to get inside before that’s even a problem. Discussion is had, and Vitrius provides Muggles the mite an opportunity to prove himself worthy by letting him off the leash he’s been attached to for the past week or so, if he can only sneak up and suss out the perimeter of the Fort. Muggles agrees with enthusiasm and hustles…. being quite sneaky, but not sneaky enough for the dead, as zombies rise from the hillside and give chase. Muggles runs screaming into the woods, well past the party, who rises to engage the enemy.

This obviously is enough of a ruckus to rouse the bandits, who call out to who might be there, and the party moves fast- making a quick litter and having Yuvitza drag them behind her horse as an offering to the bandits. The bluff- that she found them dead, with their Stag Lord pendents identifying them, and thought their fellows might want to give them a proper burial. The bandits are dubious, but seeing the pendents, allow her passage, dragging them inside, with all bandits present pointing either short sword or arrow in their direction. Finch hides particularly well not on the litter, but as a ‘hunchback’ beneath Yuvitza’s cloak.

The ruse only lasted long enough to get inside, and the group rises to battle immediately despite the risks to themselves, engaging the bandits on the ground effectively while Yuvitza peppers them back with arrows to limited success. Apparently in the darkening light, nobody is a terribly effective shot.

Though the bandits aren’t the best soldiers, they give time for others to draw close, as a lumbering ox of a simpleton engages Vitrius, wailing on him with his giant club, while a mystery rogue lobs daggers at them from somewhere in the shadows. Of most particular concern, is that an owlbear has been released. Mason is severely wounded, but manages to rise with some healing aid, and the party is feeling very beaten up as they defeat Auchs, and engage the owlbear, while a second mystery figure slays a bandit atop the raised platforms, prompting questions as to who on the inside of the fort would be willing to fight for their cause, and draws curses from a now revealed devilish bastard who had been tossing the daggers.

REWARDS AND LOOTS

500xp each (for exploration, returning the wedding ring, and the assault of the Fort)
The Sycamore Staff of Vermin + 1 (Yuvitza’s new stave)
The mite’s petty cash / kobold spears.
1 wand of burning hands ( ?? Charges)
1 silver ring
1 masterwork dagger
1 spellbook with five level 1 spells.
1 leather cloak
The mite’s petty cash
Potions of cure light wounds/endure elements from Bokken (various numbers)

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