Actual Play – Heroes of Skywatch (10/24/2015)

Blood for BloodGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

The triumphant return of our heroes after rescuing the hostages… and all the sacrifices they had to make.

Last session we ended with our return. At the start of this session we saw Chall Fingo vanish along with nearly a third of the hostages, who, now free, were immediately heading back to Restov to arm up and plot their revenge.

Last session actual play: Big Damn Heroes

When we turned our attention back to the PCs we found them, as often the case in the…

Small council meeting

First there was a discussion of awards. Yay for one happy topic. All who fought would receive a metal forged by Christoph and emblazoned by one of our artisans recognizing them as a “Hero of Skywatch.”

Others would receive greater rewards commiserate with their contribution and station.

  • Ribissi – for his contributions and the contribution of Mivon, Miquela would offer to foster one of his children as her own. Additionally we will name the first ship in our navy the Water Dancer and make the masthead in his image as a nod to him.
  • Aldo – Named the Warden of the North.
  • Xanthia – Named the Warden of the East and given leave to raise a Centaur army (Free Nomen Legion).
  • Sootscale – We delayed the awards until the evening so that he and the rest of his entourage could participate. Additionally he will be named Warden of the Deep.
  • Roy – A graveyard would be built in honor of the fallen in Tazzleford. (+1 graveyard).
  • Franco – A memorial would be built in his honor (+1 monument in the Tusk) and Miquela would speak of the long road he had to walk to earn our trust and our respect and how his shoes would be very hard to fill.
  • Jerome – Awarded an official title, head of the Swordlord’s Intelligence Service (SIS).

For the others, they were awarded a special medal for their contribution.

And then the bad news

What to do with Peitro?

Really, we’ve got this kid, and he’s been working with our enemy. The man who kidnapped our loved ones, and kidnapped the loved ones of many Rostland families. He’s despicable, and should be put the sword.

But how to do it without destroying his father, or if not destroying his father, destroying his father’s credibility, which we will need if we are to unite the houses?

Maybe more so than ever before the council was divided. Do we give Pietro back to his father? If so, do we do it publicly or secretly? Maybe through a message to his mother first? Do we put him on trial ourselves for treason against Aldoria? If so, what do we do when he calls for an advocate? No matter what we do it could be bad.

Edward got up and left the table when Merrowyn suggested that if Lord Sellemius stepped up to be the advocate for his son, they should throw the match. Not long after Merrowyn got up and left the table after it was clear that we were going to lock him up in some dungeons and throw away the key.

Which is exactly what we ended up doing. Nobody felt great about it, but Kobb and Domingo’s cold logic won out over our own sense of right and wrong.

Disappointed Dad

What made Edward leave was his daughter saying something that hurt him at the core. That she would consider having an advocate throw the match, even push for it. He thought he had trained her (all those ranks in Profession: Advocate!) and she just gave it all up in a moment when it would serve her purposes.

Later, Merrowyn, Olivetta, and Leccio made a quick jaunt to Skywatch (Leccio wanted a look at the Rogarvians) and came back beaten and battered. Edward found Merrowyn later and was about to forgive her, but then he saw her all beaten up just like she was 12 again and constantly getting into fights.

Kingdom Turn 37

The Kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Paying consumption and 10 BP for the rescue mission.
Expansion into hexes C0, C-1, and C-2
Farms in C0 and C-2
Fishery in C-1
Roads in C0 and C-1
Buildings (Tazzleford): Graveyard
Buildings (The Tusk): Monument
Increase size of Arvin’s Rangers from Medium (100) to Large (200).
Event: Outstanding success in Tazzleford – Dug up an old Cyclops graveyard and sold off artifacts (+16 BP, +4 Economy until next turn, +1 Fame, -2 Unrest)

Liberation Day

During the morning there was a parade through the Tusk and Miquela used her Rod of Splendor to create a giant feast for everyone to partake in. Leccio pointed that since the rod can be used once a week, she should do this every week! Tuesdays would be best!

In the afternoon Miquela sat in the common ground and received petitions from the people. Many asked for impossible things, others had grievances easy to solve. The worst of the complainers were saved for the end, when Miquela’s patience was the most strained. Kobb had engineered it, trying to get her to snap. She kept her calm though and addressed even the most cantankerous citizens with civility.

At the end of the hearings one final petitioner, Lady Simeraldia Amato, wife of Bruno Amato and a her small entourage stepped up and asked if they could approach the Swordlord. She was admitted to come forward where she took a knee and held out her upward turned hand to Miquela. Not sure what to do, indeed there was no protocol for this, Miquela stood and took Lady Amato by the wrist in a soldiers’ embrace and lifted her up.

Standing very close Lady Simeraldia said “House Amato does not forget!”

Fuck yeah. A win for the good guys! Or at least, you know, a win for us.

After that there were games and contests. People trying to enter the temple of Gorum (good luck), wheelbarrow jousting, you name it. Merrowyn was peopled-out and spent some good time drinking with Santiago and talking about alternative ale-dispensing vessels.

At dusk the kobolds arrived in an giant parade. Sootscale had commanded his soldiers to put on their finest polish and clean up as well as they could. Quite an impressive feat. They had giant paper dragon puppets driven by 20 kobolds, gymnastics, jugglers and other fanfare. They also had the stuffed corpse of the Hobgoblin commander they defeated during the last raid. Festive by kobold standards, a bit crass by ours.

Hero-of-Skywatch_clear2Awards Ceremony

At night, after the parades and festivities, we performed the awards ceremony, commemorating those who fought at Skywatch to bring our families home.

  • Atonio Ribisi, his five dualists, one of them fallen, and his wizard – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal. We further offered to foster one of his children to be raised by the Swordlord herself alongside her own.
  • Roy Resnick  – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and a graveyard for the fallen erected in Tazzleford.
  • Aldo Resnick – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named Warden of the North.
  • King Sootscale – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named Warden of the Deep.
  • Nat Pick and the twenty kobolds, four of them fallen – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal.
  • Jerome, and “staff,” one of them fallen – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named head of the Swordlord’s Intelligence Service (SIS).
  • Xanthia – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal and named Warden of the East, and granted the commission to lead a Free Nomen army.
  • Chall Fingo, his two bodyguards, one of them fallen, Jarl the wizard, and Laren the archmage – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal in absentia.
  • Akiros – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal in absentia.
  • Mik Mek – Was not mentioned, though a medal was left for him later by Miquela.
  • Brigitte, and her three clerics of Abadar –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal.
  • Rombilard, Felix, and the Twins, one of them fallen but raised again  – Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal partially in absentia.
  • Lieutenant Solia, Private Delaco Farell, and Sergeant “Stoney,” soldiers of the Swordlord’s Own –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal.
  • Sergeant  Nolan, soldier of the Swordlord’s Own, fallen in battle –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal posthumously.
  • Captain Franco, commander of the Swordlord’s Own, fallen in battle –  Awarded the Hero of Skywatch medal posthumously, thanked personally for his service by the Swordlord, and a memorial erected in his honor.

The awards were often accepted by loved ones and then placed by them on the recipients. There was a joyous scene where Tad accepted Xanthia’s and vice versa and then placed them on each other. The same for the Resnicks and the twins.

When Franco’s medal was awarded a woman in battered adamantine full plate stepped up from the crowd and accepted it in his honor. She introduced herself as Savia Sordello, Franco’s older sister, and simple as that, returned back to a crowd of soldiers.

The Afterparty

Someone doesn’t walk around in dented adamantine plate if they haven’t seen a lot. Like, a lot. And she didn’t storm out the moment she received the medal, so that was another good sign.

Merrowyn approached, made the briefest of small talk and then offered her a position. Something like “So, you’re Franco’s older sister. Want a job?” Not surprisingly, after 3o years of soldering Savia wasn’t interested in anything but a command position. Specifically Franco’s. “I think my brother died trying to be like his big sister. I intend to honor that.”

This was a problem. The position was to be given to Lt. Solia. She was the next in line for it. She fought at Skywatch. She was one of us. Savia, despite her accolades, was a stranger. Solia was understanding, kind of amazingly so. She liked that most problems, big or small, went to Franco, and she wouldn’t mind if they went to his sister instead.

But of course, nothing could be that simple. Miquela also had to have a say. She needed to make sure that Savia’s ego wasn’t going to interfere with her duties. Not an unreasonable question, but damn Merrowyn was sure she was going to undermine her. Savia laid it out pretty clearly “I don’t really care about you, or about Aldoria. But my brother did, and I love my brother.” Maybe not what Miquela was hoping for, but good enough!

Elara and the ranger’s hut

Enter Elara, Druid, upon a simple scene of Akiros digging  a well out in the woods. Toilsome work with spade and sweat. As she flew down and took human form the spoke about why he was out here, to offer the rangers a place of respite on their travels and why he was out here, to do Erastil’s will.

The recent rescue of the hostages shook Elara up, again. The lizardmen taking that boy, the kidnapping of our family, those things were just wrong. Yet there isn’t a place for right and wrong in the Green Faith. A wolf who kills a lamb isn’t wrong, he’s just hungry. And when that wolf is killed by a hunter who will use his fur for a pelt, that isn’t wrong either, so long as it all stays in some kind of equilibrium.

But those acts were not done out of necessity but from malicious intent. What of that? Meanwhile Elara offered to help dig the well, and took the form of an Earth Elemenal and dug it out in no time at all. The work was done but there was no satisfaction in it.

They talked. About one’s place in this world and one’s purpose. About beliefs and direction. About choosing a path before one is chosen for you. In the end Akiros told her that he finds purpose in doing Erastil’s will, and when he needs guidance he looks to Jahad. Maybe she should too.

Elara and the pool at the Temple of the Elk

Enter Elara, the reluctant druid to the Temple of the Elk, where all sorts gathered. Rangers on their way to and fro. Families that lived in the area. Pilgrims wanting to see the sight, and of course Jahad, welcoming them all in.

Elara also sought council from Jahad. The conversation was a bit more direct. He pointed to the rangers, noted how they were necessary to keep the land safe, but by necessity were not part of the same society that they protected. If Elara also wanted to protect people, she’d have to make a choice to stand apart as well.

And how do you make that choice? By being throw into the transformative pool and then yanked back out again.

Exit Elara, Inquisitor of Erastil.

Kingdom Turn 38

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Expansion into hexes D-2, E-3, and F-3
Farms in F-3, E-3, D-2
Roads in C-2, D-2, E-3, F-3
Settle in Sellen’s Gate! (Held together with shoeshine and promises till now)
Balanced Treaty formed with Mivon. We share an enemy. Pitax!
Treaty with Mivon. Successful. We created a balanced treaty!

Event: Fued. Savia has taken over leading the Swordlord’s Own and not everyone is making the cut. +1 Unrest as she kicks out some of the original soldiers!

Kingdom Turn 39

The kingdom is stable (-1 Unrest)
Claim three water hexes (Lake Hooktongue) establishing two separate routes to Sellen’s Gate.
Buildings (The Tusk): Library, Barracks, and a Temple of Pharasma (just in time!).
Army expansion: Increase the size of the Swordlord’s Own from Large (200) to Huge (500).
Army creation: Nomen Free Legion (Small army of Centaur Rangers)
Event: Natural Blessing (fires burn through the kingdom but miss inhabited areas, the next harvest will be a fantastic one) [+4 Stability until end of next turn]
Event: Vandals. Mivon duelists show up excited that we have no lists and so they can duel anyone they wants. They leave with broken faces muttering about out incivility (put down before they could spread unrest).

Other matters of state

We put a call out for wizards wondering if we could lure any to the Tusk by building them colleges and academies and such, then…

One day we receive a letter, no wait, we received a verbose invective, from none other that Ervil Pendrod. The missive went on and on (many pages, both sides, small lettering) about how we abused him, took him for granted, and tried to take advantage of his good nature. But that wasn’t all, he went on long tangents about how this is how wizards are always treated and that he has never been given the respect he deserves.

As the small council reviewed the pages of the letter in confusion it was Kobb who finally burst out in exaltation. “Wait a second… Penrod was know for being calm, rational, and patient. This letter is anything but… He must have one of the rings!” And in short order we all agreed. One more ring accounted for, two more at large!

When we realized this, we also began to wonder if the reason we’ve had so much trouble recruiting wizards was because of Dopple-Svetlana. We reached out to Ribissi and asked if he knew any wizards looking for a home. He said he thought we just didn’t like wizards!

We built a library that month, and will soon upgrade it to an Academy and then a University! We’re going to start bringing some arcane might to our kingdom!

Plans for next session

Kingdom turns permitting: expand to more plains hexes, build farms in new hexes and in H7, building granary and storehouse in Sellen’s Gate, establish a trade route to Mivon, grow our armies, create a standing army in Sellen’s gate, build a cathedral in Sellen’s gate, build an academy in the Tusk.

War efforts: Talk to Sootscale about the hobgoblins. How do we face a foe that has every terrain advantage over us (underground, dark, in their home). We can fight them out on the open front, but if we don’t destroy them, they will eventually grow so vast they can crush us.

Personal goals: Get some hounds for the castle. It needs a good pack of dogs to be running around eating the scraps, keeping us warm, and barking at intruders.

What Rocked

We’ve got the following houses that would right now raise banners for us: Sellemius (most likely), Amato (hell yeah!), Strozzi, and Aldori. House Ridolfi also has strong nationalistic views and may stand with us, but we’ve made no specific inroads with them to make them believe us. They might just as well back another leader to fight the throne. House Infaganti are making money and that is the way they like it. They are at present in favor of the status quo. House Villani are moderates not inclined to take sides. Finally there is House Sordello, which as far as we know, still hate our guts. Should our play win them over, we have a chance of uniting all the (capital “S”) Swordlord houses, which hasn’t happened since… oh yeah, the time House Aldori led the houses to their fiery graves. Hmmm… let’s stock up on our Rings of Fire Resistance!

What could have improved

Damn it. I always have these ideas too late! Treason is a crime fought over with greatswords. Instead of suggesting we throw the match, Merrowyn should have demanded that she be allowed to be the advocate! Arg, that would have been cool. Fuck, fuck, fuck. It might still happen. I’m going back to my dueling strategy doc I made several levels ago to update it. It’s like updating your resume.