Actual Play – Mark Twain (2/13/2015)

War of the River KingsGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Adrienne Mueller, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

Ah life on the river! Good for the lungs, bad for politics! What adventures could we find on our river journey to Pitax? Elderly stewards with a fondness for Imogen, fancy balls where Oliveta danced all night long, a nation warring with itself, and a stow away! Read on to find out about all our intrigue and adventure.

The Swordlord’s PRIVATE Chambers

Lady Miquela met with our spymaster Kobb to ensure him that Domingo would not take out retribution on his agent (though he should probably be on the look out for other, more petty retorts). Kobb was not concerned for his agent’s well being but was glad he got to the Swordlord first so she didn’t side with Domingo on the matter.

Then she broke the news to him that he was no longer permitted to enter her private chambers unannounced or uninvited. He just looked at her like he didn’t know what she was talking about. That is just how he does. Eventually he acquiesced to her will. There were some words of “I gave you that silver arm… I can take it back!”

Miquela also asked him to keep an eye on Merrowyn, and inform her if Merrowyn went too far. He was astonished and surprised that she didn’t expect he would already have contingency plans for any of the leadership going wrong. Hrm, maybe she should have asked about his plans for Savia Sordello!

Kobb also mentioned that it was looking like Tad and Xanthia were going to elope.

The River Kingdoms

Based on our accumulated knowledge, surveyors, spies, and other information gathering networks this is what we learned about the regions we would pass through.

River Kingdoms

After Mivon, and the river Kraken lie ahead:


A small but very wealthy city in the Embeth Forest, Uringen exists half in our our plane and half in the fey realm, forever fading back and forth. Principal exports: Fey items, sold through Gristmill.


A dead city that once sold fey silks, now gone.


A nation of exiled elves that allow none other than their ilk to enter.


A wealth trading city along the Chalkstone River.


A small nation of half elves. Includes the village Novoboro, which has a giant white wall made by the elves ages ago from a single solid piece of stone.

Kallas Lake

The portal to the Sellen River and the Inner Sea. The small town of Riverton, home to many worshipers of Hanspur, sits on its eastern bank.


Ancient land long ago inhabited and then abandoned by elves. Now the home of humans lead by a powerful order if druids, whose word is law. Though the elves have tried to take it back, the inhabitants of Sevenarches had held them back for over a hundred years.

Named for its seven stone arches scattered across the settlement.


Expats from Galt; refuges with lots of problems. Very militaristic but filled with enough inner turmoil that they aren’t about to start any wars (though trained well enough to end them!).


The byproduct of a failed military coup by a race of aquatic creatures, who made a giant aqueous orb and tried to travel inside it across land to their enemies, but hit a pothole along the way and got stuck in what is out Outsea!


Long ago conquered by an exiled prince and his army of assassin soldiers, Daggermark is the seat of power in the River Kingdoms. Once the prince had taken over the city he ruled it well and for a few centuries it prospered. Eventually though it became corrupt and a group of poisoners entered the city and killed the weak king. It turned out that the poisoners and the assassins got along very well, and the city has been ruled by a controlled anarchy every since.

Once a year, any citizen may purchase an assassination of any other (non-military) citizen at a very reduced rate. Citizens of Daggermark tend to be extremely polite to each other!

Abadar_holy_symbolSAF, LFG (Single Aldori Female, Looking for God)

Olivetta approached Miquela in her cabin and asked about Miquela’s faith. A rare subject for the Swordlord, as she is reasonably secular by nature. “Sure, Abadar is good I guess. There isn’t much religion or faith there, more accounting and duels.” Olivetta tried to dig deeper but there just isn’t all that much to Miquela’s faith.

As she was about to leave she remembered to tell her “oh yeah, by the way, I don’t think Savia is Franco’s sister… the genealogy doesn’t match up.” Unsurprisingly given the luck we’ve had with military commanders, the Swordlord did not take this well.

“Teleport home, get all the research you have on this, and bring it to me…also, don’t tell Merrowyn!”

The War Council

Meanwhile, in other parts of the ship Imogen and Merrowyn were discussing the wartime efforts. Though Imogen was impressed at first with Merrowy’s plans, and even more so with the impressive information network afforded to Aldoria by Kobb’s family, she was dismayed to find out our numbers. The Swordlord’s Own is a thousand strong, as is Arvin’s Rangers. All our other armies are smaller still. Hardly more than a percent of the size Estruan led into the Valley of Fire.

Ovinrbaane had it’s fare share of opinions, mostly along the lines of kill them all. And that it liked Imogen (or at least her current plans of killing them all).

250px-Hanspur_holy_symbolThe shores of Riverton – a spectacle of fervent drowning

Midway through our journey we stopped in Riverton to restock. They had plenty of fish, fresh water, and other supplies. They also had a lot of religious zeal.

As our ship pulled up close we saw a large procession, at least hundred men and women standing on the shore as their priest drowned a man, gave a sermon (a long one at that) and then pulled the man out of the water, thumped his chest with a blessed revival, and then watched as he spit up half the Kallas was was restored. As this happened, many of the sailors on our ship, either followers of Hanspur themselves or just eager to fit in, began hoisting up buckets of river water and choking themselves on it.

Hanspur, the river rat, is a god worshiped almost exclusively on the Sellen River, though his followers of often persecuted for their faith rituals. Some time back, almost a year ago, we found some followers of Hanspur outside Fort Drulev (now Sellen’s Gate) and gave them refuge for the night in our camp, and then swan boat to take back to Tazzleford, where we promised them succor, and they have been thriving there since. Yay, for not having pissed off this god… yet.

The word we got on Riverton was that everyone was very religious but otherwise easy going. They are friendly, and so long as you don’t disparage the River Rat, they are easy to get along with, if a bit too evangelical at times.

There we learned:

  • The Sea Hag’s name is Minico. She is a follower of Hanspur but twists his fate (more about the drowning, less about the salvation we’re guessing). Now she works as a mercenary. She’s also known for having a log of enemies because she forces others to work for her by means of magical domination.
  • Their head priest, Neril Twice Born is the closest thing to ruler but he seeks no fame, nor wealth, nor power. Though they all look up to him, he lives an ascetic life, and didn’t seem quite “all there” to us when we spoke with him.
  • The port master Algen, also a priest of Hanspur was fair in his dealings with us.
  • Miquela wasn’t going to let Elara hide out on the boat. She demanded that her Marshall be present, keeping an eye out for threats and giving her a read on the people. The Swordlord is tightening her inner circle.
  • During dinner on the shore, when word got out of who we were, the high priested visited us and thanked us for taking his people in. He then asked for an offering, which, after a short pause, one fisherman gladly offered. He walked out into the water and drowned. He didn’t come back. Yikes!

Olivetta returns with notes

Knowing that trying to teleport back to a moving ship was dangerous, Olivetta waited till we got to port to return home. And boy howdy was she happy to teleport away when she saw the drowning happening. Bad memories from growing up a swamp witch.

Back in her cabin she compiled her notes and met with Leccio. Their budding romance continues to blossom. It’s adorable.

When she teleported back and gave her report to Miquela and Kobb, we learned that Kobb doesn’t like witches… to unpredictable. Miquela also sussed out that he does have some kind of wizard/sorcerer/arcanist/witch in his back pocket, but he won’t admit to it!

Back on the River

Restocked, we set out, passing Novoboro and its gleaming white wall, and into Gralton, where we were immediately stopped at a watchtower that overlooked the tributary where the Yhalt and Sellen. We were boarded and directed to a port where we could be processed through customs. It was clear that Gralton’s military precision lived up to it’s reputation.

At port we split up, Merrowyn under the disguise of a sailor slipped off the boat to find provisions, while Miquela awaited greetings from the powers that be.

Dinner and a Ball

Miquela, Olivetta, Elara, and Imogen were summoned to meet the Lady Dela Morgayn, the councilor of Gralton, who stood in the Governor’s stead as he was away on business. Dela, Lady Kazelle (another dignitary who clearly did not like us), and one other functionary, escorted our party to Lady Dela’s villa, where the other two departed. There we were offered good food and creature comforts.

Over lunch we realized that Lady Morgayn was a patron of the arts, and upon hearing about the play, she called her master of the calendar to find time for her to see it when it tours in Mivon.

As Olivetta yearned to dance in a foreign realm, they asked if there were any dances happening that night. As it turned out Lord Nagaté was hosting one that very evening and Lady Morgayn’s son would enjoy nothing more than to take Olivetta as his date (once Dela to him to that is!).

Makeover Montage! Imogen worked on cleaning the rats nest out of Olivetta’s hair. She pulled out her one nice dress. Dance lessons were given and the swamp witch was ready to be a princess.

At the ball Olivetta’s odd jilting and old fashion dance moves turned out to be a great hit, and all night long one gentleman after another was asking her to dance!

As Imogen looked on approvingly, and elderly gentleman, Lord Captain Jontas Kerathin, the chief chaperone, approached her and showered her with the praise appropriate to refined gentry. Though he layed on quite thick, he also laughed at himself for this boldness of his advances. At the end of the dance he departed, watching like a hawk over several young noble men and women, and suffering no foolishness from any of them.

In the morning, Lady Morgayn woke early for breakfast but then had to return to work.  When Miquela inquired though she did mention that she was a widow and had been a contessa in Galt before the Red Revolution.

Slumming it

Meanwhile, Merrowyn was up all night trying to sell the recent loot acquired in their last encounter (and getting paltry payment for it) and then gathering the necessary ingredients for Imogen to perform an important ritual. During her journeys, thanks to the hat of disguise she assumed the role of soldier to find out more about their structure. She found they were disciplined warriors, skilled to be certain but not all had seen battle. And though they had large army it was split by internal divisions who argued over what the should do about Galt. Though it was clear they were capable of defending themselves, they would not be an ally in a war with Pitax.

The process was harrowing and she found herself in and out of many hawkers stalls looking for these esoteric ingredients. By the middle of the morning her eyes were blurry and she realized that while she though she had gotten everything, there was still a few items on the list including fresh bat guano.

The next morning she woke up in a tavern where she had passed out and it was clear that someone tried to filch her purse in the night. The purse was still intact, there was a few drops of blood on the ground, and there was a mangy mutt curled up beside her. “Good dog!” She scrubbed its flea bitten rump and  didn’t object at all when it followed her back to the boat.

Insert Romantic Comedy Hi-Jinks

Miquela, concerned that once they eloped Tad and Xanthia would never return, in a kind act of faith turned to Merrowyn to secure their allegiance. Conveniently, Merrowyn had a crossbow bolt in her leg, was exhausted, and had a gnarly hangover. All things which an alchemist could help her with!

Merrowny beseeched Tad for his aid, and while me mixed brews for her, asked him directly about his plans to elope, and what he would like for his wedding. Though blushing at first, he eventually admitted that they would like something small, officiated by Jahad, and… if at all possible for Miquela to make nice with Xanthia before the wedding date.

Though Merrowyn at first had ideas of Kobb forging a gift from Miquela to Xanthia, she quickly thought better of it and sequestered both Olivetta and Elara to have an intervention with Miquela, compelling her to make the first offer of friendship to Xanthia. While we all thought a shared book of genealogy (of both families) would be a thoughtful gift, the sword (yeah Ovinrbaane), embarrassed as it was to even be in this conversation, suggested giving her one of Savia’s famous jewels.

Miquela was unsure about the idea, asked Imogen what she thought of her sister’s jewels being separated. Though it clearly broke with tradition, long tradition, Miquela is the Swordlord now, so if it is her will… she should do what she thinks is right.

Voluse, as small port town in Touvette

On the edge of Touvette we saw elite cavalrymen training alongside what looked like auxilliary irregulars. As they entered the port city of Voluse, where they were also held at the dock, we noticed that no one over the age of 14 wasn’t in a uniform, clearly they conscripted all their citizens. They also taught them to read as the tavern signs were all written words rather that symbols.

While in port we got a brief history less of Touvette. King Aven was a good king; strong and just. His son Aven II was a drunkard and coward. The apple fell very far from the tree. A few years ago General Cabol Voran launched a successful military coup, overthrew the monarchy and drove out all the priests and became High Lord Protector of Touvette. He exiled or killed all the nobles (their choice) and replaced them with his own elite soldiers. Rumor has it that he has Aven’s wife and child in custody and seeks to marry Aven’s wife to legitimize his rule.

While we were in dock, several vendors came on board to deliver provisions and then we set back out for Pitax.

Aven III

We arrived in Pitax without much ceremony. As the games were taking place up the river we continued on without stopping.

Some time later however Imogen realized that someone had been in her room. Some of her food and drink were missing, as were a pair of her socks. After checking with all the likely culprits (Rudolpho and Olivetta) she eventually summoned a celestial being, a Hound Archon and set it about the noble task of sniffing her socks and then tracking the scent… to a pile of laundry in Olivetta’s room where a small child was hiding!

The child turned out to be Aven III, smuggled on board by his mother and those who still support her. After a short discussion Imogen teleported Aven back to the Tusk and put him in Edward’s hands for safekeeping. It wasn’t until after she returned that she suggested we could have given him to General Cabol Voran, who would have invariably killed him. Doing so would be awful, but it also may have gained us an ally. Thankfully for all of us, now that he was in the hands of Edward, that ship had sailed.

Ovinrbaane also likes the way Olivetta thinks!

New NPCs this session:

  • Minico, sea hag mercenary. Using dominate person to conscript soldiers has made her few allies.
  • Neril Twice Born, de facto leader and high priest of Riverton.
  • Algen, honest portmaster of Riverton and priest of Hanspur.
  • Lady Dela Morgayn, councillor of Gralton. Patron of the arts. Widow.
  • Lord Captain Jontas Kerathin, the chief chaperone at Lord Nagaté’s ball.
  • Dog, a mangy mutt that Merrowyn has claimed. “What? I like dogs!”
  • General Cabol Voran, ruler of Touvette (by force)
  • Aven III, presumably rightful heir to Touvette, in our custody.

NPCs who changed this session:

  • Savia Sordello, under investigation by Kobb and Miquela.
  • Tad and Xanthia, planning to elope. Hoping we can keep them!
  • Kobb, revealed to have arcane resources and have plans for removing any of us should it be necessary.

What Rocked

A few moments that I didn’t catch in my notes but remember from the game:

  • Merrowny and Elara talking about Pietro and both being pretty “meh” about him now.
  • Olivetta asking Merrowyn about her intentions to go to war and Merrowyn being completely perplexed at how Olivetta could believe it wasn’t inevitable.
  • Imogen being completely unappreciative of all the work Merrowyn went through to get her the ingredients she needed, and then the wicked cool ritual she cast to have a permanent tongues spell!
  • While in the Tusk, Imogen also accidentally let slip that Olivetta had a wonderful time dancing at the ball. Ouch!
  • Bipi vetting Dog, but only after it got a wash!

All the private meetings in different quarters, and the intrigue developing as be begin to keep secrets from each other is great. I like that Merrowyn isn’t as trusted as she used to be. I also liked that there was an opportunity to do something that had nothing to do with war or conquering or politics, just keeping Tad in the family!

There was some discussion about meeting with Kasten and who should and should not speak to him. More plotting against our own general!

We hit 13th level. Yay!

What could have improved

I was a bit antsy to get to the games and I remember pushing things along at some points which wasn’t a kind or gracious thing to do. Sorry all.

2 thoughts on “Actual Play – Mark Twain (2/13/2015)”

  1. Yay, 13th level indeed! Thanks for the awesome write-up!

    My favourite bits included:
    – Also, Merrowyn’s hunt for Imogen’s ingredients! This could have been a throw-away scene, but it became something so much better.
    – Miquela talking to Cobb about “putting down” her niece – and closest friend. So cold!
    – Merrowyn casually proposing to discard to Ring of Fraternity (or whatever it’s actually called). Also: so cold!
    – The interventions: First Olivetta’s with Merrowyn then Everyone’s with Mikaela (re Xanthia). Very, very fun.
    – Olivetta’s gauche witchiness. (Still delighted by the insectivore argument!)
    – Dancing with suave, distinguished Lord Catherton.
    – The stowaway! Such a cool plot point!!
    – Historizing, and bonding, with Miquela.
    – Elara’s conflicted response to the followers of Hanspur.

    Other Thoughts:
    – Lots of reminiscing! Impossible to reproduce with one-shots; there’s like three years worth of adventures and NPC-drama, and it’s really, really fun to see so much history remembered and relived.
    – Sliiightly worried about Merrowyn splintering. I know she loves her family, but her path is taking her further away from them. She’s also dealing with a lot of mistrust and animosity. The scenes this results in are fantastic, but hopefully it’s not making it hard to play her. Also – from a story perspective – hope either the severance doesn’t come until the very, very end, or, her family (and she herself) are able to pull her back.

    1. Adreinne, getting your feedback on sessions is the best.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about Merrowyn. I’m very happy for her to go down a dark road and come out of it something very different. If she becomes a monster that needs to be put down, I’ll revel in her downfall. If she can be saved, that much cooler. We really won’t know until she does something that is irrevocable. Until then, all we’re doing now is speculating 🙂

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