Actual Play – Redemption delivered at all the worst times (8/11/2013)

PathfinderCoreCoverGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

I haven’t had this much anticipation about a game for a while. It’s all the dials and fiddly bits in 3.5 that send my mind into “solve a puzzle mode” and keeps me wondering about what play will be like. It’s a lot like building magic decks for me. I care about both the strength of the deck build, and the aesthetic of it. I liked combo desks that take some time to build and engine and then start rolling ferociously. I felt the same making a rogue. There as lot of “shiny” that was hard to choose from. On one hand I wanted to be the skill monkey, covering that huge breadth of rogue skills, which inclines me towards Dex, Wis, Int, and Charisma. On the other hand I wanted to have a strong combat effectiveness, and for this build (the “brute” rogue), that is all about Strength and Constitution. Gah, what to do?

The Setup

Dennis stated off with something I really enjoy in any game, and think is super critical in a goal-focused (rather than story-focused) game like Pathfinder. We sat around the table and figured out how we were all connected. He started with a history of Brevoy (the setting for Kingmaker). After that we drilled down a bit into the Aldori family, which we would all be part, and then finally the current state of affairs, with Bogathotus (Uncle Bog) trying to hold the house together, but things looking grimmer every day.

Then introduce our characters, all daughters of the Aldori family, all with something to prove.

Miquela Caterina Barbéras Aldori – Youngest daughter of Lord Athon, Miquela set out at a young age to earn money for the house Aldori and win back respect for her family name. She accepted the quest to the Stolen Lands with honor, though some resentment towards her fellow party members.

Miquela considers herself the leader even if she is not the best at diplomacy, and her strategies often lack finesse. She makes up for her bad attitude with fierce loyalty (when earned). she can be a bit of a daredevil and has a definite zeal for glory.

Elara Aldori – Bastard daughter of Donna Aldori (Miquela’s sister). Donna traveled away many years ago and had a child with an elf from far away. When Donna died, and her elven father clearly did not want to be bothered with her, Elara traveled to Brevoy to find the house she had heard so many wonderful things about crumbling away. With little to do in the city, Elara was elated when she was given the opportunity to travel into the wilderness and explore.

Merrowyn – Daughter of Edward Aldori (Miquela’s brother), Merrowyn has been biting off more than she could chew all of her life. She’s a proud Aldori daughter and believes in the greatness of her house, but lacks the discipline to learn dueling, instead leaning on her natural reserves of eagerness and anger. In attempts to aid the family, Merrowny worked in Restov trading with those she could. However, the only ones who will still work with the Aldori are often criminals themselves, and so Merrowyn spent more time locked up than she did making money for the family. Sending her away meant keeping her out of trouble, and giving her an opportunity to prove herself.

The Pitch

Uncle Bog brought his nieces (and grand nieces) together to give them a job. Miquela was returning from a less than idea venture. Elara was wander, a bit lost, around the Aldori estate, not knowing what to do with herself, and Merrowyn was being dragged home by a constable. His timing was perfect, all of the were itching for something to do.

Bog told them about the charter, and that he used his last remaining influence with the lord mayor to secure it for his house. Then he told his nieces that they were the ones he picked to represent the family. Miquela was at once eager and doubtful. She was ready to go, but with these people? Her always-in-trouble niece, and the stranger who says she’s her sister’s daughter, but you know, who really knows.

Just the same Bog wanted all of us gone. Miquela was capable, and a trusted representative of the family. Elara really, really, had nothing to do in Rostov, and if she wanted to help the family, this was a way she could earn her keep. Merrowyn just needed to get out of places she was causing trouble.

And so, with some old reserves provided by Bog (potions and some gold), and our youngest servant Tad, we set out to Oleg’s trading post, equipped with at charter even!

charter

Charming Oleg

After three days travel we arrived at Oleg’s trading post. A well made fort inside a wooden palisade. As we entered it was clear the post could handle a bustle of activity (several buildings for storage, guests, etc) but at present only a grumpy carpenter on the roof (Oleg) and his wife Svetlana, were present.

Trading Post Blues

After we got the gruff reception (Oleg was none too happy about our presence), we shared a meal and Svetlana told us why her husband was being unusually curmudgeonly.

Bandits! Bandits had come to their post and taken everything. What’s worse, they kept coming back. Led by a mysterious figure in a cloak and a savage woman that wielded two wicked axes, the bandits came back at the first of each month to take everything Oleg had.

It’s a Trap

With this knowledge and our charter in hand, the daughters of Aldori set about to trap the bandits when they came the next day for their bounty.

Yeah, that worked about as well as we would expect it to. We left Oleg in the key roll of tricking the bandits to come inside, into our trap. He goofed, and the were a bit too wary for our trap to go off. That said, we still split them up and was able to take them down!

The last bandit standing, the one who wore the cloak, turned out to be a sap named Hap. Hap lied through his teeth to us, but eventually let slip where his base was. We took all his martial belongings (weapons, armor, etc) and gave him a rusty trowel and sent him packing (a mistake).

The Bank of Levelton

With the bandits defeated and with much prodding from his wife Svetlana, Oleg agreed to let us use his Trading Post as a base of operations, which included free lodging, rations, and selling him all the loot we found (at least all the loot he could manage). I’m sure this is baked right into the Kingmaker adventure path, but I think this set up is brilliant. Players are geographically bound to an area, which I assume will suffice for a while, until we get brave enough to move further into the wild and have to set up trading posts of our own.

One of the things I was most delighted about was that our first concern was establishing a method for safely getting gold back to Uncle Bog. We decided to hold onto it for now and send a courier to Rostov informing them that we needed a member of the family to travel to the trading post. Time has taught us that family is all we’ve got!

As record keeper, I scrounged everything worthwhile bit of loot and gold from the defeated bandits, along with their horses and we turned in all of this enough credit with Oleg to buy all of the potions and alchemical tonics he had, as preparation for setting out into the wild!

A murdering we will go (by Miquela)

Encounters:

  • Discovered the Moon Radish patch; met Took, the slightly-smarter-than-others Kobold.
  • Killed some bandits in the woods.
  • Fought the remaining bandits, including Kessel, the double-axe-wielding crazy lady. Killed all except for one who ran away and another (Kobb) who later escaped.
  • Recovered most of Oleg’s things and returned them.

Things we learned:

  • The Stag Lord is a crazy drunk who may or may not have magic strength powers.
  • His camp is above Tuskwater Lake.
  • We can use alcohol found at the bandits’ camp as a ruse to get in, and the amulets we took off the bandits.
  • The Kobold leader and priest are pretty scary, and Took won’t let us meet them.

Things to remember:

  • Svetlana, Oleg’s wife, said her wedding ring had been stolen by the bandits. It was not found at the bandits’ camp.
  • Kobolds love Moon Radishes, we can use them as a bribe later.
  • We should have a plan for storing our gold, and a system to send it back home.

We ended the session at Oleg’s, where we’ve just dropped off all that we plundered from the bandits’ camp.

The Stag Lords Password

We learned this form Cobb, the only bandit we didn’t end up killing (Hap went back to a life of banditry, like, immediately, and when we defeated him the second time, it was with a arrow in the chest).

Who goes there?

“By the bloody bones of St. Gilmore, who wants to know?”

-WTF

Loot acquired

  • Composite Longbow (+2 Strength) – Miquela
  • Bushel of Moon Radishes (for Kobold negotiation)
  • Stag Lord’s Brew (absinthe) x8
  • Crate of furs (given back to Oleg)
  • Silver Stag Lord Amulet – Merrowyn
  • Alchemical Fire x 2
  • Masterwork waterproof tent (fits two)
  • Potion: Cure Light Wounds (Level: 1) x 2
  • Potion: Shield of Faith (Level: 1)
  • Antitoxin x 2
  • 1024 GP, 6 SP in other loot that was sold to Oleg.
  • Given to each of us by Bog
    • Potion: Cure Light Wounds (Level: 3) x 3
    • Potion: Aid (Level: 3) x 1
    • Potion: Protection from Evil (Level: 3) x 1

XP: 1000

Thoughts on this game

A ton of fun. Didn’t think I’d enjoy Patherfinder nearly so much as I am.

We do a lot of killing, in fact, it’s all about the killing. The title of this post is in reflection of one bandit Merrowyn murdered while he was taking a crap. I think it was particularly hard because all the people we killed were human. In fact, one of our most civil conversations was with Kobolds. We did have a charter that justified it, I just realize I haven’t been in the “kill em all, sort out the loot later” mindset in a while.