Kingmaker

Session 6

Who said Butterfly's Weren't Full of Secret Malice?

  • 09/03

    • As the weary party approached Olegsburg with Wallace gibbering at Stephanos in disapproval for our late arrival, evening began to sink in. A peaceful lull settled about the party, helped in part by the contest between the stars and the lightning bugs for control of the darkened skies, and in part by the drone of Wallace’s chidings. Suddenly, a bright streak was seen shooting from Vandamar’s head!

      • Almost too fast for the eye to follow, the happy butterfly which had accompanied Vandamar since the pool in the Dwarven ruins had taken a kamikaze course into Wallace’s chest, and exploded!
      • Once the red mist had cleared, only a pair of leg-stumps on Wallace’s saddle and a disturbing amount of bloody meat-chunks scattered about (both on the ground and all over Destin’s tunic) were all that remained of our kingdom’s royal (and not-so-loyal) diplomat.
    • Kestin Garris, who had been riding out behind Wallace to greet our party, was told to snap out of shock and place what bloody, meaty remains he could find into a bag, and prepare it (if possible) for a burial. Stephanos decreed that a kingdom-wide funeral party should be held in celebration of this sad affair, and that week-long wake was to be observed. Garris mentioned something about the oddity of a death-celebration, but promised that he would take care of it.
    • We turned back to our course into Olegsburg, and after short rest, began our necessary and long-overdue governance affairs.

  • 10/03

    • After a month of wading through record back-logs and enjoying the new-found silence from the diplomat’s chair, we decided to appoint a new diplomat, as none of us were particularly keen on taking on another role. After much deliberation (and much initial resistance from some townsfolk), we appointed Bel Dame to fill the role.
    • A few days later, we received a letter from the sister of our dearly-departed diplomat Wallace, claiming that our leader Stephanos was a traitor to all, and that he and the rest of his consort could expect nothing but painful torture and death should they ever cross into “civilized” territory again!

      • Stephanos was giving this some serious consideration, until Kodar mentioned that Wallace’s sister’s power was derived primarily from her husband, the monarch of the area just north of Olegsburg, who bore the nickname of “Larry the Loose-Boweled.”
      • Bel Dame suggested that sending a flowery apology letter of no less than 4 pages should be sufficient to satisfy the sister’s fury.

  • 10/04 – 01/02

    • Dealing with more affairs of state.

  • 01/03

    • On this day, Kodar informed the rest of us that Kestin Garris had been caught salami-slicing money off of the Kingdom funds. Even though Kestin was popular with many people, we decided to immediately banish him and his family. However, Destin, robbed of his chance to slay the long-hated Wallace himself, took matters into his own hands, and tracked down Kestin as he was cleaning out his barn, and dispatched him messily.

  • 01/04 – 04/02

    • Attended balls, voted for issues, wasted taxpayer funds on parties and fine wine.

  • 04/03

    • Foreigners stick out like sore thumbs in this small but growing city, but very short foreigners with long beards and ill tempers stick out that much more.

      • Today, a group of dwarves had travelled in from parts unknown, and had spent the day walking through the small city of Olegsburg. Among their activities was the purchasing of the ancient dwarven armor recovered from the ruins to the east, along with several other lesser artifacts. After their purchase, they had been spotted moving Southwest out of the city.
      • Kodar and Destin left their administrative duties aside and tracked this party for several days. Eventually, the trail led them to the abandoned outpost known for its habit of collecting trolls and forcing our party to evict them. Upon noticing that the watchtower was manned by a short and squat being wearing armor, they turned back for Olegsburg to relay the news.
    • While Destin and Kodar were out, Stephanos received a letter from Sword Lord Jarvondi, the man responsible for sending our party to this remote part of the world.

      • After several pages of billowy pleasantries and an essay about the merits of silken undergarments, Jarvondi relayed that the city of Varnhold to the East of us had gone silent. The party was to make the journey East to determine if anything was amiss.
      • After reading the letter 2 more times in disbelief (more for the pantaloons essay, than anything else), Stephanos burned the letter and sent the courier back with a one-word agreement.

  • 04/27

    • Today, it was decided that the investigation of Varnhold’s silence should be investigated fairly soon. But first, a trip south to the Troll fort would be undertaken.
    • Saying goodbye once again (Kodar to his museum, and Cadoc to his kegs of ale), the party ventured forth.

  • 04/28

    • Day spent travelling south.

  • 04/29

    • As midday passed by, the party approached the ramp leading up to the entrance of the dwarven outpost with clear signs of recent occupation everywhere. After being hailed by an unknown and extremely rude voice named “nobody”, the party was approached by 6-8 dwarves.

      • One came a bit closer than the others, and introduced himself (aren’t the females as long of beard and gravelly of voice as the males?) as one “Dmitri Inesque,” the Commander of this Dwarven attachment. When asked why they were here, the response came as “We hope not to be here long, although we have been ordered to stay until further word arrives. Our presence is warranted by word of a party of non-dwarves who found an ancient Dwarven fortress, and made off with significant cultural artifacts. We are here to recover what we can”
      • Thinking of the massive “Dwarven Hammer of Thunder Humping” placed prominently on a display case back Olegsburg’s town hall, Stephanos bit his tongue and wished the dwarves good luck on their recovery mission. Now knowing their intentions towards the developing kingdom, the party turned northward for the return journey to Olegsburg.

  • 04/30

    • Travel back to Olegsburg.

  • 05/01 – 05/06

    • Week spent finishing last minute government details, signing papers, kissing babies, delivering lambs, making public appearances, etc.

  • 05/07

    • Today, the party was finally able to begin their journey Eastward towards the silent city of Varnhold (taking the Dwarven “Hammer of Big Smashes” with us for safekeeping).
      Along the way, the party passed through abandoned Fort Surenko as well as the small town of Nevachta’s Crossing.
    • Later afternoon, Kodar spotted a flock of buzzards circling while he was fiddling with his spyglass. Running off without a buddy, he soon found the remains of a dead human.

      • Stephanos recognized the body as belonging to a “courtier” to the newly developing court of Olegsburg, and it appeared that the clumsy ribbon-wearing fop had slipped and fell into the ditch, breaking his neck in the process.
      • The only item of value was a Mother-of-Pearl brooch that would go to his brother. His body was buried at the spot, and Stephanos gave a quick Eulogy in Erastil’s name.
    • After 12 to 15 more miles, the northern boundaries of Varnhold were crossed. Here and there, signs of civilization such as bridges, silos, and the occasional cottage were seen. Further south, the party came into Varnhold center from the East.
    • Turning onto the main drag, the first thing Stephanos noticed was that only animals seemed to be around. Not a single voice was heard coming from the direction of any of the buildings in town. The town appeared to be completely void of human existence, and it appeared to have been that way for quite some time.
    • Feeling a bit conspicuous, the party moved towards the center of town, which was dominated by the “Water Horse Inn”. Scratched into the open door was a single word: “Nomen.” Kodar filled us in: “The Nomen were a tribe of nomadic centaurs, who lived on the plains around this area.” Through the window, Destin saw a vaguely humanoid figure standing still at one of the tables, and pointed him out to the rest of the party.
    • As Vandamar and Cadoc found useful objects to cast “Light” on, the party crossed the door’s threshold and walked inside.

      • At their first step into the dark, gloomy interior, a wave of rotten odor washed over them coming from abandoned plates of food set at the tables. Spiders and rats ran away in fright at their intrusion, as the 3 members of the party approached the upright form.
      • Feeling a chill of superstitious horror, Kodar held his hand up to halt the rest of the party – he had noticed that the form appeared to be missing the back of its head. Stephanos threw a copper at it, but did not elicit a response. Approaching closer, it was observed that the table in front of it was covered with books, and that the corpse was staring at one clutched in its hand. Along the spine read “Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds by E. Davenport”. Vandamar spent a few minutes poking the corpse and muttering to himself before standing up and declaring it to be a “Spriggen”, which apparently was some sort of Evil, Dark Gnome.
      • Amidst the piles of books (Jobarian pre-history, Reports on Taldan Armies, Studies about Centaurs, “Rashalka Centaurs by Irvil Pindrod”), several detailed charcoal sketches of what appeared to be an ornate jade bracelet were found. As Kodar studied them (masterfully ignoring the silent, staring corpse beside him), he remarked the inscriptions and pictures detailed on the bracelet could place it as pre-migration Nomen work.
      • Stephanos pulled out a letter from a few months back, from Mayer Varn to a Maestro Pindrod, mentioning that “Willis discarded the Jade bracelet at the river”.
      • As Kodar riffled through the contents of the table, Destin went upstairs to have a look at the rooms. Out of the 6 rooms, only one appeared to have had a boarder. A trunk stuffed with books and clothes was taken downstairs, as well as an incredibly nice Viola found underneath the bed.
    • Stephanos walked outside to the temple he spotted on the way in. Approaching closer, he was able to identify it as a temple of Erastil, however the interior had been completely devastated, and gutted of anything approaching the semblance of value. Kodar, who had followed him, noticed a concealed drawer on the desecrated altar. Springing it open, a number of intact magical scrolls were found, including one scroll of “Raise Dead”. Mumbling something about how the existence of such powerful scrolls meant bad luck to those who found them, Stephanos stuffed them into his pack to give to Cadoc later.
    • Joined by Vandemar, they found the Weavers House next door was in a similar state. On their way out to check the next building, Stephanos noticed a half-starved Calico Cat, and tossed some meat from his rations at it.
    • A tailors house nearby was barely standing, and the storage barn next door was packed full of swarms of rats, consuming the grain.
    • At the potters house, which was full of smashed crockery, Vandamar noticed a small, hidden door, inside of which was a pair of small, handcrafted platinum flagons. On reading the engravings, Stephanos remarked that these were to be meant for the King’s Daughter as wedding gift.
    • Joined now by Cadoc and Destin (who had been checking the ale house for any intact libations), the party began to slowly make their way up the street towards the town fortress. On the way oddly enough, Kodar noticed several primitive pit traps lining the pathway, and marked them as he went along.
    • Suddenly, passing a long, low house, a cloud of crows rose up from feeding on the dead livestock, and began flying towards the party!

      • Thinking quickly, Vandamar cast “Fireball” in the center of the cloud, and roasted them all- which didn’t add to the already unsavory smell of the town.
    • On the other side of the street in a sod house with its door askew, Kodar found a torn-up book written in an unknown language, which Vandemar tentatively identified as Skald.

      • Reading between the missing sections, someone named “Ranger Rick” Willis found a bracelet near the river. In between lewd drawings of females and self-portraits of “Ranger Rick” fighting back hordes of Goblins by himself were several entries that mentioned skirmishes with the barbaric centaurs. Stephanos picked up a small box, and was astonished when it unfolded and became a boat! Score!
    • Finally, as night was falling and after looking through several more buildings (each more destroyed than the last), the party approached Varnhold’s triangular fortress. Everyone noticed the thick black pillars of smoke rising from several areas behind the 8-foot wooden palisade.
    • Feeling manly, Stephanos and Kodar scale the wall, but eventually Stephano’s attempts to climb in armor failed, and he dropped behind the wall. Where he was attacked! By dark Gnomes! With Swords!

      • Hearing sounds of combat as well as the tolling of a bell that began ringing, Destin scaled and vaulted over the wall in one fluid motion, raining steely doom on one unfortunate wolf that was innocently busy trying to bite Stephanos’s arms off. Explosion upon contact occurred, spraying everything on that side of the wall in large gouts of blood.
      • Vandamar and Cadoc slowly moved up the wall. Once on top, Vandamar cast “Magic Missile” (Finally!), sending 8 large energy spheres ripping into a Spriggen, dropping it for good. Cadoc hit the ground without stabbing himself with his rapier, and entered the melee.
      • From his somewhat protected perch on top of the wall, Kodar used his shotgun to deadly effect on the Spriggen on the ground, until some crossbow bolts from the highest tower forced him to drop and run for cover.
      • Vandamar landed on the ground and ran towards the nearest of the buildings. As Vandamar approached the door, three drunken Spriggen shambled out. Thinking quickly, he stepped back, cast “Invisibility,” and then cast “Spike Pit” beneath them, but only caught one of them.
      • Meanwhile, Cadoc, Destin, and Stephanos ran across the ground to the door of the highest tower, Kodar ran along the edge of the compound to join the three by the tower door. Cadoc and Stephanos both tried to force the door, but were unsuccessful.
      • Suddenly, they were rushed by the two Spriggen that escaped the spike pit as Stephanos tried again to force the door. He succeeded, but only to face a few more Dark Gnomes. Destin and Cadoc turned around and engaged the two rushing Spriggen, as Stephanos worked his way through the startled ones in front of him. Once the last fell, Stephanos broke down the next door and was immediately attacked by yet another Dark Gnome. Before he could finish it, Kodar ran in and blew its head off with his pistol for the scavenged kill.
      • Outside, Vandamar cast a spell and flew upwards, but became a target for crossbow bolts. While dodging, he noticed that 3 more Spriggen had joined the one shooting at him, and were busy drenching the building with oil. He cast pit underneath them, catching two of them along with their casks of oil. Of the two that remained, both ran off of the roof! One broke his leg in the attempt, but the other was soon running away at full tilt. Vandamar cast light on his staff and flew after it, but quickly lost sight.
      • Inside, after yet another door was forced, the other 4 members of the party rushed into the tower proper. Stephanos and Kodar rushed upstairs to the oil-soaked roof, while Destin and Cadoc remained to check the rest of the closed doors. Passing a room, two Dark Gnomes burst out and attacked! One of them was immediately rewarded with a nasty blow from Destin, which left large arterial spurts continually gushing from his midsection. Cadoc, assuming that a nearby door led into the same room as the Spriggen was attacking from rushed in, but found a nice Well Room instead. Running then through the next door, he entered the armory, and was then able to flank the Spriggen Destin was engaging. After the first was finished off, Destin ran off up the stairway to assist, allowing Cadoc to finish the last.
      • Upstairs, hearing Vandamar’s shout (and dropping a flask of Alchemists fire for good measure into the deep, magical pit they encountered), Stephanos and Kodar ran downstairs first past Destin and then past Cadoc to get outside.
    • Kodar was only able to track the Spriggen’s tracks to the nearest river, but then had to admit defeat. Returning to the keep afterwards, the party found several spellbook pages as well as a large map showing Varnhold and the surrounding country.In the Well Room, 4 potions of Waterbreathing were found in the Well Run. Kodar, jumped in the well, and discovered an underwater tunnel leading off somewhere. On one of the Spriggen corpses, an ancient and elaborate bow was found. Kodar noticed that the markings matched those on the charcoal drawings of the Jade Bracelet, and declared this bow to be of Nomen creation.
    • The party rested in the “keep” for the evening.

  • 05/08

    • In the morning, Cadoc cast “Speak with the Dead” on one of the Spriggen corpses. The party learned of the location of the Spriggen base (Talon Peak), but were hard pressed to get anything else of value from it. Kodar spent 2 hours gearing up for a fantastic voyage in the well tunnel, only to find that it terminated at the river, a good 500 feet away.
    • The party crossed the river, and encountered a tannery with 3 drying Centaur hides, as well as a hog Keeper’s farm. However, nothing else of importance was found, so the party decided to head for Talon’s Peak. Oddly enough during the journey westward, each member felt as if they were being observed by something.
    • Near the end of the day’s travel, a ruined tower high on the mountain marked the beginning of the pass. As evening was falling, cursory examination was given to the area before setting up camp at the foot of the sheer cliff, below the tower.
    • During 3rd watch, as Cadoc was polishing his favorite flagon, two crossbow bolts came from nowhere, one hitting him in the neck!

      • Kodar, who was sharing the watch, began randomly firing his shotgun out at the darkness, fanning towards the general area the bolts came from, which awoke the rest of the party. As Cadoc ran towards the foot of the cliff to heal his punctured alcohol-conveyance passage, a bolt hit him squarely between the shoulder blades. Stephanos observed the bolt’s trajectory, cast “Detect Evil”, and got a confirmation somewhere in the darkness behind Cadoc.
      • Following Stephanos’s directions, Destin ran out and forced the assassin from its hiding spot. Before being brought down and tied up, the Spriggen got two more shots off at Cadoc.
      • After pulling out a shocking number of crossbow bolts, Cadoc healed enough to get through the rest of the night.

  • 05/09

    • This day spent resting and questioning the Spriggen who attacked the night previous. The Spriggen have apparently been in the area for about 3 weeks, and have indeed taken up residence in a large tower. His crossbow was special; in that once a target was designated, the bolts fired had a sort of seeking property imbued on them, making it nigh impossible to miss.
    • Late afternoon, after dispatching the assassin, Kodar was fiddling with his spyglass yet again, and this time saw what looked to be an extremely large bird high up on the cliff next to the tower. Needless to say, the party was very quiet from that point on.

  • 05/10

    • With Cadoc able to speak again, the party rode to the areas East of Varnhold towards where the Centaurs supposedly lived.
    • After a while, the party encountered a bunch of 8-foot high mounds, covered by 3-foot high stones. Opening up a book found back at Varnhold, Kodar mentioned that these were probably Burial Mounds created by the Centaurs.
    • As the party approached the Burial Mound, 3 manticores leapt out of hiding high into the air, and attacked!

      • Cadoc, having received 2 days of sleep and no hangover, was quick to respond, and cast “Searing Ray” on the nearest. Vandamar followed up with “Fireball”, hitting all three. Stephanos challenged one of the others, and Kodar shot it with his shotgun.
      • The third Manticore, perhaps noticing that Destin did not have any ranged weapons and was running around gesturing with his daggers in a threatening manner, swooped down and raked him with its talons, while the one unchallenged by Stephanos did the same to Vandamar.
      • Vandamar responded with “Phantasmal Killer”, and killed the manticore mid-flight in a poof of expanding feathers. Kodar aimed and connected with an amazing shot that sent another to the ground, as the last went for Destin again.
      • As the Manticore swooped down, Destin sidestepped and embedded his daggers into its body and was pulled off of his feet and in the air. Kodar’s shot with a pistol brought it down for good.

    • Cliffhanger!

  • End Session 6

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