Actual Play – Preparing for War (11/22/2014)

PathfinderCoreCoverGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, Mia Blankensop, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

The royal children have been kidnapped. The city is on fire. We’ve been attacked by Issia and then told to sit on our hands and watch the war we were all born to fight in.  FAT. FUCKING. CHANCE.

Noleski Surtova, so called king of Issia, we’re coming for you. Here’s the story of how…


The day after the fires, the small council met and were presented with a host of recommendations, some more in the form of demands.

  • We must go to war now!
  • We must wait until the children are safe!
  • We must stay for peace!

These three views (and small variations thereof) all have merit but there were some undeniable facts. A lot of people died in the that attack. A lot of good people. To do nothing now would not only betray our own sense of justice, it would betray our nation and their faith in us. Peace with Issia is not a option.

Dead Ends

At first we were faced with nothing but road blocks.

Leccio, our sage, and greatest source of information was, well distracted. He was not only having a hard time getting used to being in the body of a Half-orc but also still suffering the trauma of death, and of not being a hedgehog. He really liked being a hedgehog. Now things tasted different, felt different, looked different. Everything was out of proportion. Everything he touched he broke. Leccio was just a mess.

Edward did what he always does, focus on crisis control. He made sure no more fires started and that the existing ones were being put out. Edward is the rock that hold us together, but he was in no position to help us prepare for war.

Merrowyn had a few go between that Cobb used to contact her. A man named Jerome, and a woman Lydia. She searched but both were missing as well. None of her drops were picked up. No response from the spymaster or his organization.

A week later, Brigidda attended a small council meeting to tell us that the Church of Abadar declared this a civil matter and would not take action. Their silence in the matter condoning the trechery of Noleski. More on this below…

Fighting back against the tide

Giovanni began to transform. Some might have said he saw war as inevitable, but secretly we could tell he was looking forward to it. He loosened his iron grip on our finances and tightened belt. He began training, exercising, and even dressing a little bit more…like a pirate. Yar!

Brigidda, agreeing that the church was complicit with this atrocity, left her position and asked to work for us, to become the high inquisitor of Aldoria!  Whut! This mean placing Toti high priest of Abadar in Aldoria and officially (if silently) breaking from the fold! Toti was ready to go war with the church. Proclaim them heretical. Abadar may be the god of wealth, but he’s also the god of Cities and laws. Issia was in clear violation of both. Toti was ready for a schism! We are the new orthodoxy! Merrowyn wondered if this would displace our beloved Jahad. 70% of our population reveres Erastil, would we be shoving orthodox faith in Abadar in their faces?

“We are about to go to war with Issia. We’re not starting a religious war with the church of Abadar as well! If they want to sit out fine, but we’re not nailing any priests to the wall right now!” – So spaketh our Swordlord.

Interestingly Domingo had some information on Brigidda that Cobb had shared with him in case blackmailing was necessary. Specifically that she liked innocent young girls, who she hardened, trained to be more like her, and then grew bored of and left.

King Sootscale and an army of 1000 kobolds came to our doorstep and re-pledged their loyalty. Not only would they watch our front at night but he also offered to help train our troops for fighting in the night or preparing for surprise attacks.

Franco was put in command of the First Aldorian and instructed that the swordlord herself would be training with the troops. With her ring of sustenance and her mithral full plate, she hardly slept and when she did it was in her armor. Miquela expected the same out of her soldiers!

When reviewing the scene in the nursery Merrowyn noticed something she had missed before. One of the wet nurses looked striking like Cobb. At first she even thought it was him wearing a disguise but not, she just bore a striking resemblance. Enough that she could have been related. Merrowyn took her to the secret sally port she used to frequent with Marcus and Olivetta cast a Speak with Dead spell to see if she could provide us any information. Even in death she was reluctant to help us. Part of her pact with the Family to never reveal secrets. But we did receive one clue that gave us hope. The tavern we had built Cobb. The one that been burnt to the ground (and then some, the basement burnt as well) was a front. Just a distraction to give would be enemies a target. Apparently it worked… but if it did that almost meant Cobb might still be alive!


Leccio was distraught. Olivetta’s presence didn’t help him either. It just made both of them uncomfortable. He was hiding in the dark, dismissed all of his staff, and hardly eating. He kept trying to scry on the children every night, but to no avail. He kept trying because it game him some kind of purpose, but he wasn’t helping anyone. Rombilard, who we thought might understand the whole “changing forms against your will” thing wasn’t much help either. He just yelled “Get over it!” and walked out, thinking his job done.

After some time it was finally Toti that got him to come out of his dark place. At least a little. She took him out to a wooded area and gave him some privacy so he could take off his clothes and roll around in the dirt. After that he wept for a long time, but seemed better, a little better at least, after that. Toti had a dust bath installed in his chambers and we worked on finding him more comfortable footwear!

Domingo gave us an update on the political front

  • We need to prepare for war, but not look too much like we’re going to war just yet. It’s political theater.
  • Other families have hostages as well. Noleski didn’t stage as grandiose an abduction but he still took their loved ones.
  • The Lord Mayor Sellmus is being oddly quiet. He doesn’t seem to be really present at all.
  • House Strozzi and Ridolfi are openly at war.
  • House Sordello, Sellmus, Amato, and Aldori are all holding back. We’re not sure which direction they are going to go.

2nd Week… Progress!

Leccio, in slightly better spirits told us he attempted to scry on someone who was… not with us any more. The good news is the results he gets when scrying on the dead are decidedly different then when scrying on our family. And even among them, there were differences.

  • Rudolfo, Savia, and Floriana were behind some kind of fog. He could sense there were present but got no sense of where they were. He suspected some kind of passive defense occluding their detection.
  • Renato on the other hand was a complete block. He was shut down at every attempt. This seemed more like an active attempt to protect him.

Chall Fingo, the advocate (among other things) that a year ago came and defended the spy Jubilost, teleported into the middle of our court. Wow… we gotta get better defenses than that. Unfazed by intruding on us unannounced Chall told us a few things. First, the Shalaza-Dak (Righteous Death Dealers they call themselves) were the ones that abducted the children and wreaked havoc on the city. It seems these guys give bad names to sell swords like Chall. While he’ll do a lot of things for money, they go too far.

Chall gave us a scroll with information about them and told us that he wanted to aid us in the rescue mission to get back the children. He surrendered that he must be paid for his services so for propriety sake he accepted a single iron coin. He gave us a token that we could use to alert him that we were ready and then bid us adieu.

The scroll revealed that they were really diabolical people. They inhabited the Astral Plane and had been granted a domain their by the Githyanki queen herself, presumably for services rendered.

Still needing more information Olivetta attempted a difficult communion with her ancestors to see if they could aid us in finding the children. The answers to her questions had to be simple, yes or no, but some were certainly more emphatic than others.

  • Are your missing grandchildren together? No.
  • Are you missing grandchildren on this plane of existence? Unclear
  • Have they been harmed? Unclear
  • Is your great granddaughter Floriana in Issia? Yes!
  • Is House Infangati our enemy? (After much consternation) No.
  • Will any of our family turn on us? Unclear.
  • Are there sympathizers to our cause in Noleski’s court? (Sounding indecisive) No.
  • Is Mivon sympathetic to Aldoria? Unclear
  • Will the other the other houses follow us if we go to war? A resounding NO!

The commune was coming to an ended and all of the voices became suddenly quiet when one who had not spoken before gave Olivetta a single imperative “Stop embarrassing me!”

Domingo came back with more news from the front.

  • He was able to find some of Cobb’s connections in Restov and some of them would be returning to Aldoria soon.
  • The Strozzi and Ridolfi houses out outnumbered so they are picking their battles carefully.
  • Staggio and his small force are killing a lot of people.

Elara and Arvin set out to explore our norther frontier in the Narlmarshes for future (and imminent) growth.

Miquela sent a letter to Antonio Ribissi of Mivon asking him to come up and visit us.

Merrownyn one day when she was at a vendors stall eating soup after many long hours of training with the troops was bumped into by a stranger…who turned out to be Jerome. He informed her that the family was hurt, and scattered by not dead. There were still in action in Aldoria but looking for a spy. Someone had to know what we were doing. Someone inside. They couldn’t reveal themselves until they knew who it was. When he left Merrowyn realized he slipped a wand into her pocket. A wand of non-detection (10 charges).

Kingdom Building

With the immediate fires put out it was time to gather our forces and prepare them.  Some Kingdom building turns:

Turn 33

  • Kingdom is stable (+1BP)
  • Claim hexes B8,B4, and C8
  • Farms built in B8, B9, C8
  • Watchtower built in B9
  • Sawmill built in I3
  • New Army – The Horde. Cleric/Barbarians of Gorum.
  • Buildings: Tavern (to replace the old), Barracks (for the Horde, though we had to fight them out of taking over the Cathedral of Abadar), Smithy, and a Military Academy.
  • New Arrivals: Christoph The Forged. A dwarven blacksmith who really doesn’t like to be with other dwarves. Especially not the Dwarven Improvement Society!
  • Event: Large disaster. A forest fire that threatened our Sawmill. Our druids and rangers put it out!
Mivon Coat of Arms
Mivon Coat of Arms

Turn 34

At the start of the month Antonio Ribissi arrived from Mivon. He made his necessary public appearances and then met with Miquela in private. He was sympathetic to us because of the abduction. He couldn’t promise anything but said he would vouch for us to be recognized at the next outlaw council.

When he returned we send a small visiting party with him. Toti and Olivetta. Then went to Mivon and learned a little more about the river kingdoms.

The met with various locals, learned that “a walk to the fish pond” has sinister meaning, and found out about Pitax. You know the place that Kasten went to be general for…it’s ruled by a megalomaniac bard King Castruccio Irovetti, a petty tyrant who fancies himself a god and makes artist of the city create terrible art in his effigy. Oh… and BARD!

They also met the lord Mayor Raston Selline, a famous swordlord himself. Willing to abdicate control of Mivon to anyone who can best him in a duel. Speaking of duels they learned about the lists! An official system for sanctioning duels. A duel must start as a response to a challenge or insult, who petition to duel. Petitioners are called suitors and the lists contain the results of the previous month’s victors. There is an art to insulting someone just enough so they challenge you to a duel, but no so much that they actually want to kill you in said duel.

There is also a code that if you wish to challenge someone of great station, say the lord mayor himself, you have to first defeat their inferior. In Rason’s case, his inferior is Caspar Tillick, an incredibly capable swordsman himself.

The Mivon armies are made up of warriors from different houses, with each house pledging to a swords in defense of the nation. There is also a splinter faction of the thieves guild that resides there. In many ways it is a mini Rostland.

They also discovered that Ribissi himself is the brother in law of the heir apparent!

elemental_earth_wtrees__ryan_sumoBack on the home front Leccio’s research revealed that there are several substances that block scrying naturally. All of them rare, expensive, and dangerous to obtain. He also reminded us that he knows someone who could get information for us. A telepath. Someone who can pick up the thoughts of everyone in a room. His problem is that he can’t turn it off. Somewhat dubiously we sent for him.

  • Kingdom is stable (+1BP)
  • Claim hexes D7, D8, D9
  • Farms built in D7,D8,D9
  • Roads built in H4, I3
  • Druid Army – The Red Claw raised in the old Dwarven hold. Their leader is Ferendir.
  • Event: Monster Attack – Engraded by the road built over it’s child and Elder Earth Elemental came to trash the gates of the Tusk (and everything in it). For possibly the first time ever, the people of Aldoria got to see their leaders being awesome, and fighting to defend them. The great creature, after giant chunks of rock were chipped from its mass by spell, sword, and claw, finally retreated back into the below.

Turn 35

We drafted a letter to Issia. Telling them we just wanted to see our children. A visit from the swordlord to make sure they were still okay. The letter was written but before we could send it out Jerome approached and begged Merrowyn to hold onto it. For just a bit longer. Trusting, perhaps blindly in Jerome as an agent of Cobb, Merrowyn consented and told Miquela not to send it. They were close to uncovering something and this letter would, inexplicably, foil all their hard work. Bitterly, Miqeula held onto the letter… and waited.

32-old_beldameMeanwhile, back from her trip to Mivon, Olivetta went to visit the swamp witch to negotiate our expansion into her land. She let Olivetta in (something we haven’t been able to do in the past) and seemed pleasant enough. She told Olivetta that most called her the Old Belthane but her name is Galandrial . Galandrial knew of Luronico, the green dragon that had been attacking our lands, and warned Olivetta against confronting her. The witch herself had gotten the dragon to stay at bay, but only after several painful encounters. Oh yeah, and Galandrial wasn’t going anywhere.

  • Kingdom is stable (+1BP)
  • Claim hexes J5, I5, and G7
  • Farms built in J5, I5, and G7
  • Roads built in J2 and J3
  • Settlement started in the old Dwarven hold J2
  • Events: Squatters (+2 Unrest, -1 Fame, -1 Stability) and then New Subjects (Society +1, Stability +1, Unrest -1)

And then the news. The big reveal. In the sally port that held secrets we awaited something Jerome told us we would all want to see.

From out of the shadows Cobb appeared. With Rudolfo and without one of his arms. “I had to take him to keep him safe. And I had to keep him from you until we found her.” He gestured back to the shadows and Jerome and Lydia came out pushing a figure in front of them. It was Svetlana! Cobb seemed angered by her appearance, he raised his hand at her and before we could stop him we saw her shift. Her features drained away. The color in her eyes when from brown to a metallic silver. Her skin faded and turned grey. Her hair whitened and shew grew slightly taller. We were looking at a doppleganger. Specifically a doppleganger spy that killed Svetlana, replaced her, and had been feeding information to Brevoy.

dopplegangerWe’re gonna need a new lord mayor!

What now!

Franco was immediately awarded a medal for not sleeping with Svetlana again (DoppleSvet had tried to seduce him).

Enza (Miquela’s sister) was appointed Lord Mayor of the Tusk.

As soon as we were done with that, we got a raven from Tazzelford with an urgent summons!

Plans for next session

The next time we do kingdom building we need to build a house, magical academy, guildhall in the Tusk and raise an army in Tazzleford. Assuming there is anything left of it!

Thoughts on the game

Wow, we did a whole lot. If this AP post wasn’t enough, before the game I asked a bunch of questions of Dennis to try and get a sense of the scope of he game. Should we be concerning ourselves with local, national, global, or planar affairs? And if we were dealing with threats and opportunities from every part of the world (and beyond) how granular can we act in our personal lives?

I got answers to questions of our capacity. How large of armies can we raise, how high level. How far away (in hexes) are our nearest neighbors.  What I couldn’t tell and still don’t know is what should we be expecting. How big of armies do we need to go fight a war? We don’t want to bring a paltry force that is decimated, but neither do we want to spend a fortune on armies we don’t need. We’ll have to find out.

We’re similarly uncertain with regards to getting back the children. So far our spy network has revealed that we were being spied on. Maybe now that we’ve stopped the doppelganger (how can we be sure there was just one though) we can start spying on Issia to find out how strong their armies are, where the children are, and how we might be able to hurt them.

There are also local hazards that we’ve been ignoring because we don’t know how to address them. The will-o-wisps on Cadlemere island, the old beldame in her hut, the dragon that periodically raids our settlements. From everything we’ve heard all of these are bad news and we should stay away from them. I’m wondering if a better tactic to take with this would be to not worry about them. Leave the hag along, leave the wisps along, and only fight the dragon if we need to drive it off. Focus on the war and forget about the domestic problems until we have to face them.

I’m looking forward to trying out the mass combat rules. The Horde, the First Aldorian Heavy Infantry, the Red Claw, the Second Aldorian, and the Third!

Actual Play – Invasion from Brevoy! (10/11/2014)

PathfinderCoreCoverGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, Mia Blankensop, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

The story of our heroes held aloft by their triumphs whilst their nation was brought low by enemies a far.

Basking in our Glory




We totally destroyed a lich. Sure, an old-busted-janky lich who lost half his wizard levels and suffered from 10,000 years without his twitter feed, but no matter, we killed a lich and everybody knew about it.

Xamanthe Silverflame, the last Centaur Knight knew about it! The Noben centaurs knew about it. Tad knew about it. And soon, pretty much all of Aldoia (and possibly parts beyond) knew about it. For once we came home and instead of folks asking what we had be off doing while they were dealing with bad weather, or two farmers filing grievances over property lines, or monstrous owlbear attacks. You know, little things. For once we came home and people cheered us. Lich killers! Woots.

Tending to the Kingdom

Knowing our recent discoveries would quickly perish if we didn’t secure them we focused our efforts in branching out both east to Varnhold and south to the Dwarven outpost. Annexation of Varnhold was costly (as Giovanni liked to remind us over and over) but a great boon to the kingdom overall. It’s next to plains and was at one point a thriving settlement, that we could benefit from investing in.

Kingdom Turn – 30

Claim Hexes E8, E9 (going towards Varnhold)
Build Farms in E8
Roads in E8,E9, and E7
Build a Market and two houses in the Tusk
Raise a new army to protect Varnhold (Commanded by Vettick)
Event: Monster attack. The Green Dragon attacked Ogelton and was only driven off by the efforts of the 2nd Aldorian infantry. Rombilard returned with information about it. It is no mere dragon, but a also a creature of the fey, that can pass between here and the First World. It lives in the “Heart” of the forest.
Event: There was also civil unrest in Varnhold, the locals complaining about Aldorian’s taking control of the town. The matter was settled (for now at least) with a town hall meeting.

Kingdom Turn – 31

Claim Hexes E10, E11 (Varnhold), and H4
Farms built in E9 and E7
Varnhold annexed and Lilly Tuskerton installed as Lord Mayor
Diplomatic Envoy: Domingo came to the Tusk with a missive from afar. The good news was a powerful country wanted to open up diplomatic negotiations with us and install an embassy in the Tusk. The bad news was the country was Chelliax, Empire of Devils. Great! We declined the offer and asked that they send one of their own to the Tusk so we could speak with them directly. So they’ll be sending a Hellknight over. Wow, these people!
Event: A natural blessing, the fire in the watchtower of Varnhold lit itself signifying a good open upon the new settlement.
Event: The soldiers of the Tusk are restless and want a “dancing hall” (read brothel) built!

Kingdom Turn – 32

Claim Hexes I3, I2, and J2 (Dwarven Watchtower)
Built a Fishery in E10 and E11
Built Sawmills in J2 and J3
A Dance Hall and Pier built in the Tusk
Cobb came to visit Miquela in the castle (disguised of course) to inform her that Issaian spies, disgruntled by the Family leaving their service is not putting more pressure to push out the Aldorian spies Cobb has established up there. Miquela instructed him to hold strong.
Our leaders traveled north to the Temple of the Elk and spoke with Jahad, at first coyly and when that did not suffice, very bluntly about the Oculus of Abaddon. He lost his composure some when he realized we actually possessed it but was greatly relieved when Miquela pulled it out of her backpack (though I do think it might have been a good idea to just pluck out one eye and wear it, I mean, don’t look a gift horse in the eye socket, right?). Though Akiros was ready to plunge out his own eyes, Jahad stayed his hand “You still have more work to do…more atoning to do.” Serenely Jahad put his hands in the holy water of the lake, put them to his eyes, and when he pulled them away, his eyes were white. Blinded by the same waters that healed Elara of lycanthropy.
Event: Political calm… (before the storm)

Changed in our characters

During these intervening months, our characters changed substantially. Most of this by dint of hitting level 9, but also through purchases made and time dedicated to the kingdom.


  • Learned Draconic and Sylvan so that should could speak in native tongues to our neighbors the Sootscale and the Nomen.
  • Gave her Mithral Full Plate to be further enchanted (now +2) by Elara
  • Gave the Talden Blade (Cold Iron Fey Bane) to Elara to be repaired. Now Miquela weilds Varn’s sword in one hand, the Talden blade in the other.
  • Now wears Belt of Physical Might


  • Much of her arms arms and armor enchanted by Elara (Mithra Cestus and Armor)
  • Armor also taken to wizards to have a shadow glamor placed upon it (it darkens now when she attempts stealth).
  • Commissioned a ring of tactical mastery, with it, and her new dedication to learning the arts of war, has been training the  First Aldorian Heavy.
  • Claimed from our bounty the Silver Raven figuring of wondrous power for conveying messages to the troops.


  • Trained by the Nomen on enchanting weapons and armor she set to work improving the enchantments of her allies, but most miraculously enchanting her own Blue Drangonscale Breastplate to be “Wild” so that it will now shift with her as takes the form of animals, plants, and elementals!
  • She also trained with the druids among the centaurs to change her form faster than she had ever before (retraining feat for Quick Wildshape)
  • She crafted a score of Dragon Bane arrows to do battle with the green dragon with.
  • Elara was able to purchase several items from the Tusk (now producing items of value equal to that if Restov), and Amulet of Mighty Fists and a belt of physical might!


  • As it is befitting for a Daughter of Aldori to travel in mundane armor, her’s was enchanted by Elara as well.
  • She also purchased living garments, silky robes made of spider silk of the finest quality.
  • Took from our recent bounty the Gloves of Swimming and Climbing.


  • Spent much time purchasing new scrolls and then studying them to add to her collection of spells.
  • Met her father Giovanni. It was less of a disappointment than we all thought, though it seems she still harbored fantasies that he would get back together with her mother in Diobel,
  • And her dream lover Leccio, significantly more of a disappointment. Totally smitten…by a hedgehog! It would be hard for anyone to take.

Tragedy Strikes, War is upon us!

While all of our character were away attending a kobold ceremony all hell broke loose! At the start of the game Dennis had give us each a sealed envelope with specific instructions not to open them until instructed to (by threat of level drain).

We were now told to open them and revealed new characters for us to play. Karen drew Rombalard, I had Domingo, Mia played Edward, Eric was Akiros, and Regina would play Hima. We spent sometime reviewing these character sheets and becoming familiar with their powers and abilities. After learning about their feats and tactics, we asked Dennis what was next.

Domingo was riding hard from Restov where he had just heard the word. A royal house Surtova tax inspector had a dispute with someone in house Strozi and was killed in the disagreement. Almost immediately by house Surtov and house Strozi called their banners. Staggio, unsurprisingly left Ogelton (as he said he would) to go fight in north. It looks like civil war might be upon us already!

When Domingo arrived he shared the news with Edward and Giovanni and they all decided to wait out the night until the swordlord and the others returned. No action would be taken until we determined if this was just a border skirmish that would die down, or if the war had really broken out. We didn’t have time to find out.

Ambush in the Tusk

That night as the leaders of Aldoria fretted, our enemies enacted a brutal plan. Hordes of invaders telelported into key regions of our home. Two by the park where the colic sickened Renato was being walked. One inside the castle where the young Floriana was attended by wet nurses and Hima. One on either side of the royal villa, one by the tavern, one in Edwards chambers, and possibly more.

The groups, alien to us, were composed of  wizard, several fighters, and two rogues. Between the surprise, their trained expertise, and their vast numbers they overcame the cities defense (including Domingo, Akrios, Edward, Rombalard, and Hima, who died trying to protect Floriana).  They took the children, Savia (from the  noble house), and a few other family members. The also fireballed (there were a lot of fireballs) the Magister’s tower killing Leccio, and destroyed the Tavern (Cobb’s base of opperation), burnt it right down to the foundation, leaving nothing behind.

Damage done, hostages kidnapped, they broke small rods and instantly teleported back to whence they had come.

A bitter return

Leccio had just enough time before his death to send a message to Olivetta. She and Toti both teleported (along with the rest of the group) back to the Tusk.

What they found was wreckage and ruin. Quickly they sought the children and found Hima dead besides Floriana cradle. In a rage at the loss of her daughter Miquela commanded Toti to read from the scroll we had taken from Varn, and bring Hima back from the dead so that she could answer the questions all burning in our brains. Leccio was similarly brought back to life, but this time by Elara, who reincarnated him…into a half-ork.

In the morning thing were made clear enough. A messenger came with a missive from Noleski Surtova, King of Brevoy. When opened a giant translucent talking head appeared and the King himself (or a facsimile of him at least) addressed us and declared that by his account Aldoria was not a part of the war that had just broken out, and that he was happy to let bygones be bygones provided we didn’t perform any acts of aggression towards Brevoy.

Yah, after just kidnapping our children and loved ones…sure, like Gorums Rusted Boot we will! (Gorum’s boots never rust ass hat!)

Thoughts on this game

The interaction between Olivetta and Leccio was priceless. She just couldn’t win. She met him and he was a hedgehog… the he died and came back a half-ork… Well, stranger things have happened.

Speaking of stranger it was noticed by Toti first, but eventually by all of us that Tad and Xamanthe had maybe taken some interest in each other. Adorbs!

What to do now is a really good question. Scrying in the north or for the kids was block, so we’re blind at the moment. Go after the kids on our own? Stay home and build up our armies to prepare for an attack? Try and get more information (scrying isn’t working so possibly sending scouts or find and Issian turncoat).

It was good times playing our NPC counterparts for a session. Though I’ll totally admit that I was looking at their character sheets and thinking…could I take Domingo in a duel? Could I in two levels? (all the NPCs were 11th level, we’re 9th).

Miquela was pretty hard core in her interrogation of dead, recently raised Hima. “Where are my daughters? Like, now!”

After the game I sent Dennis about a million questions regarding what kind of armies we can raise and train. Here come some small platoons of Fighter/Rogues, devout Cleric/Barbarians of Gorum, the Tactical Alchemy Defense (T.A.D.) unit, and maybe some Druids wild shaping into Black Bears!

Actual Play – Vordakaiiiiiiii! (9/20/2014)

PathfinderCoreCoverGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Eric Fattig, Mia Blankensop, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

We hella re-killed the crap out of that lich! This was the first (and so far only) dungeon delve in Kingmaker, and really the first time we were seriously taxed on resources. Having those discussions like “do we have enough time to rest or do we need to forge ahead even thought we’re out of spells and special abilities?” Kind of a Torchbearer moment. I love it.

Dudeface was bad news

One of his minions had captured Xanthia (the daughter of the Centair Chieftess) and he had been torturing her, you know for funzies.

He had a awful demon. The kind that talks in your head and constantly demeans you and insults you and talks about things that make you sad. And then tearing you to shreds with his crab claws. Bad demon.

He had a freaking dinosaur in a lake. Okay, that probably wasn’t because he was a bad guy, but still… Dinosaur!

He had a trap that, if we weren’t clever enough to detect would have dropped a lake on us!

He had not one, but TWO soul eaters just waiting for us to take a nap so they could get their soul chomping on.

Varn’s wizard was turned into a dread zombie. Dread zombie wizard, with fly and invisibility. And Fireball. And he was above a lake of lava. Ass!

Varn’s Ranger Gundarson was killed and then raised as a specter. Yeah, of the level draining variety.

And get this. Some trap with a riddle that needs all kinds of blood offered. It was kind of a lose-lose situation.
His feasting hall was filled arranged around a table with their heads opened up like cereal bowls. (the cereal is the brains). His basement was full of soul jars. 40 or so people preserved in little vessels and mentally tormented on his whim.

Vordakai himself is no chump. Or rather he’s a major chump. A needs magical bludgeoning weapons to hurt him, dimension dooring, dominate othering, negative energy channeling, rotting away lich chump!

Daughters of Aldori are pretty bad news themselves

Xanthia – Freed her. Gave her some weapons (Elara’s Keep Spear), makeshift armor (Armor spell from Oliveta), healed all her wounds (there were lots) and told her our solemn purpose to kick Vordakai’s ass. +1 Party member!

Insult Demon – Tricked him the first time into believing we were Big V’s servants. On the way out, he couldn’t be fooled (we had, after all just freed Xanthia) so we just smashed in him the carapace and kept smashing till it was dinner time. Wait, scratch that, we would never eat demon crab. Plus, he popped back Abyssal plane of Rush Limbaugh for more schooling on flinging insults.

Honey Badger don’t care about underwater dinosaurs. Honey badger doesn’t give a shit. It just stabs them and shoots them and dives into the water to ride on them. Honey badger, er the daughters of Aldoria don’t care.

Traps, shmaps – We figured out (thanks to a 32 Disable Device roll, woot!) how the whole late above was going to come flooding down on us if we didn’t disable the lever… so disable it we did. Sorry lake and lake inhabitants, no water slide rides for you.

He’s a soul man. Wait, he’s a soul eater. Wait, there are two of them. Rude enough to interrupt our rest and trying to get to our already damaged souls. Snicker snack, a few potions and scrolls of lesser restoration and we’re ready for more!

Cephal Lorentus, I think his name was. Sing it with me (to the tune of Rocky Racoon)

Cephal Lorentus checked into Varnhold
Only to find Vodekai’s summons.
Cephal had come equipped with a wand
To blast off the legs of a lich cyclops.
This lich it seems had broken his dreams
By turning him into a dread zombie
His name was Cephal and he called himself Ill
But we all knew him as flamecrombie
Now he and his spells which hurt just like hells
Were in the next room all invisible
Ladies burst in and grinning a grin
He dropped on our heads a fireball
But the Aldori were hot, they drew fast and shot
And Cephal collapsed in the lava, ah

D’da d’da d’da da da da
D’da d’da d’da da da da
D’da d’da d’da da d’da d’da d’da d’da
Do do do do do do

Gundarson – Man, he almost got what he deserved. I mean, people say Merrowyn is reckless. Nobody is dumb like Gundardumb! But fighting till the bitter in and then being turned into an undead abomination, that’s just rough. So we made things a little better for him and sent his restless soul onto whatever elysian fields it was destined for. Read: we got stabby here too!

Fire Trap goes boom. We go heal. We’ve got more heals than fire trap has boom. Not a smart way to get through an obstacle but it worked.

The feasting hall was gross. The soul jars go for like 5K a piece. We burned those bodies and broke those jars. Not even a little tempted to keep them. Okay, a little tempted.

VordakaiVordakai. Man, this dude was a rock. Like, literally, his skin was rock hard. It’s rough when you find out someone has major damage reduction that requires magical bludgeoning weapons to overcome. Even rougher when you a bunch of SWORDLRDS! But we had one of those shrill piercing cries of “Lady Miquela!” and Tad arrived on hand with his +1 magic club. Nothing too fancy but it got the job done! That plus Merrowny just hits hard. Vital Strike, Enlarge Person, Lead Blades, and a lot of muscle make for a pounding, even with DR!

He kept using save or die spells on us (Dominate person and the like), between Oliveta’s Fortune hex, Hero Points and some god damn lucky rolls, we made it out without a TPK!

After the dust settled

We killed a freaking Lich. A weakened and withered, phylactary long since broken, forgot half his wizard levels, and way disoriented lich, but a lich just the same.

We found out after destroying the heck out of him that his eye wasn’t an eye at all but a an evil artifact.. the Oculus of Abaddon. What? This dude was messed up. Some seriously evil stuff there…but you know, if I just plucked out my eye, and put that in in it, the thing offers some pretty awesome powers. I mean… it’s just one eye.

But that eye… you know he one that would be really fashionable, it was also the spiritual center of the Centaur’s solemn duty. They were to watch over the cyclops graveyard, but really they were to make sure he Oculus stayed untouched and unused. Now that we captured it, the last of the Knights sworn to protect it, Xanthia, and really all of her people, had no purpose left but to destroy it. And hey, besides kind of wanting to insert it, that was our goal too! Allies!

Loot, we got a lot!

Description Qty Value Cash Value Kept by
Large Masterwork Battleaxes 6 1280 640
Silver Raven Figuring of Wondrous Power 3800 Merrowyn
Ring of Freedom of Movement 40000 Elara
Spellbook (spells to follow)
Dagger +2 8002 4001
Ring of Protection +3 18000 Merrowyn
1140 Platinum 11400
13,000 Gold 13000
103,000 Silver 10300
Art objects 19500
Diamonds 2 10000 Toti
Ring of Friend Shiled 50000 Divy
Phylactery 3500 1750
Cloak of Reistance +2 8000 Miquela
Ring of Protection +2 8000 Elara
Ring of Protection +2 8000 Oliveta
Cloak of Reistance +3 18000 Oliveta
Tablets of Cyclops History 10000
Headband of Mental Prowess (+2 Int (Know: Planes), +2 Cha) 10000 5000
Dust of Dryness 3 2550 1275
Gauntlets of Swiming and Climbing 6250 Divy
6,750 Gold 6750
Greatsword +3 18350 Merrowyn


Thoughts on the game

This is the first real “dungeon crawl” we’ve seen in Kingmaker. I’m glad it was well thought out. Interesting monsters and fun landscapes for battles (underwater, over a lava pit, etc) and some unique and clever traps.

We played a long ass session to finish it out, but it felt super satisfying to have completed some thing big. It was the most straightforward of the adventure paths, but it all funneled down into one path. Discovering Varnhold, meeting with the centaurs and finally putting down Vordakai.

It was great getting to play with everyone at the table. Also, put us all together in one battle and we’ve got some serious firepower!

Actual Play – Brain Consumption (Ex) – WTF? (9/1/2014)

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

Seriously Greg Vaughan, WTF? Dread Cyclops Zombies that literally just chomp brains? Miles of cyclops graves to walk past? Fuck up shit yo. But why despair when we have some seriously cool stuff to be happy about!

Return from Restov – With Interest

What would have been a quick shopping trip (picking up Mithral Full Plate for Miquela, a Mithral Chain Shirt for Santiago, and a Headband of Unshakable Resolve for Merrowyn) turned out to be a whole adventure of it’s own because a new sister came to town…Oliveta the witch!

Yes, daughter of Giovanni when he was a pirate with long locks of curly hair, dapper clothes and a flashing blade. She had been raised on stories of his heroics and now, a young woman with powers of her own, she sought to seek him out. She had been visited in her dreams by a man named Leccio, who appeared quite the handsome prince himself… dreams are funny that way… and told that she could find her father by coming to The Tusk.

She journeyed across the inner sea to find the seat of the Aldori homestead in Restov, where she met a very amused Domingo, a very distrusting Merrowyn, and a very gracious Bog. After much more delay that Merrowyn would have liked, Bog finally handed her his sword, feigning as if he needed someone to hold it while he stood up, and we all saw that she held with it grace and form. Another Aldori daughter is found.

But wait, she’s a witch. We’ve had bad dealings with witches. Swamp Hags. Cultists of Gyronna, Stygira the eyeless crones… okay none of them actually “witches” but close enough for Merrowyn.

Unable to tell Oliveta what ha happened to her father over the years (none of us could bring ourselves too), Merrowyn simply stated that Giovanni was a great asset to our nation and that we couldn’t run it without him.

Journey from Varn – A short one to be sure!

PZO1116-PreviewMonster-2Once Merrowny returned to Varn with presents in hand, and with a bonus treat of Oliveta, the daughters of Aldori set out to find the centaurs. Merrowny did not know of Oliveta’s power over the supernatural realms and so at first was protective of her, but learned quickly that she could take care of herself. Unfortunately, nobody was able to protect Elara…

Our first night on the plains, on the way to the centaur, Elara, ever watchful was still surprised as  creature made of shadow blinked into existence and started harvesting her soul! Like for reals yo, a Soul Eater was summoned… I wonder by who, and it tried to kill Elara. Thankfully there was enough there there for us to chop at and we slew the thing before it could finish the job, but had Elara been any less wise to begin with, it would have finished her off.

Oliveta, wise in the way of otherworldly things recognized the creature and helped us fend it of. She also alerted us that this monster could come back again to plauge us. We made haste back to Varnhold to recover, when we were reminded that the one night everyone disappeared was the night someone forgot to light the fires in the watchtower. A brazier was there and believed by the people to fend of evil spirits. Magical or not people believed in it! We started planning…

Elara needed a few days with Oliveta’s ministrations to recover. Dennis likened the pain she had to what she felt when her mother died. Ouch! Merrowyn made haste back to Restov for another quick trip. A whole bandoleer full of Protection from Evil potions. The spell protects the user from physical touch from summoned evil extraplanar creatures, and we believed, that is exactly what that soul eater is!

A Journey from Varn – Take two!

Realizing how much we’d hurt morale if we took the much coveted brazier, we opted instead to have two people on watch at all time instead of just one, and to keep a gods forsaken bonfire roaring all night, the kind that would make Abadar proud.

Whether or not this staved off the Soul Eater, what it certainly did do was get the attention of the Nomen Centaurs. A warband thirty strong rode up to “greet” us and let us know how we were invading their lands, burning down their plains, and otherwise just doing it all wrong.

However, Oliveta spoke sylvan, their native tongue. Told them that we were lighting to fires to make our presence clear and that we only sought peaceful interaction with them. To know the lands they roamed so we could stay clear. With the aid of others providing assurances that we shared enemies in the Cyclops and the Spriggans. [Oh, and we rolled a freaking phenomenal Diplomacy rol].

We were taken back to the heart of the  Nomen tribe and introduced to Aecora Silverfire, their leader. She too was at first affronted by our presence. Two legs are weak a best, and enemies at worst. Again, the soothing platitudes of Oliveta rang true and after some posturing [and another epic diplomacy roll] we were invited into Aecora’s tent. There she told us that things had not gone well between her and the humans, but that she had no part in their town vanishing. She also told us that her daughter Xamanthe had wandered into the Valley of the Dead after seeing something moving through the mist and has not returned. She said although her tribe are forbidden to enter the Valley, we could, and it was clear that she’d very much like to see her daughter again.

We then presented the bow we had taken off the Spriggans, and suddenly the ground was rumbling with the thundering hooves of excitement. We shouted, we danced, we drank mare’s milk, and celebrated the night away.

Then we headed out to do some killing.

Cyclops’s oh My

The Valley of the Dead turned out not to be a Centaur Graveyard, but a Cyclops Graveyard. With thousands and thousands of graves. We walked past them… forever it seemed like before we got to the end. On our way we saw some not-so-ancient tracks. One set of hooves, presumably Xamanthe and another set of human tracks, light of foot and probably impossible to track if not for Elara’s keen eyes. Our guess is Gundrun, the ranger who found the bracelet, found it here.

Further in we saw the signs of a fight, where some thing big, like Cyclops big fought a Centaur. Two sets of tracks let to the fight, only one left it!

Once we finally got past the graves we came to some giant steps (of course they were giant) and after walking forever (again) we saw a loan figure standing on steps above us. We hailed and got it’s attention. Then it bellowed and charged us. And we killed the fuck out of it. But… what was that thing. Cyclops. Check. Zombie. Check. Freakish Raging Beast? Also check. Yikes.

The we walked you know… for our third forever, until the steps crested the mountain peak and revealed a valley below. At the base of it a waterfall pooled into a lake and there was an island at the center of the lake. Once off the steps on and to dirt again, we saw more tracks in that direction. Using Gundrun’s folding boat, likely just as he had not long before, we set out for the island but were attacked by Wyverns on the way there. The were smote quickly. One fell by an expert shot from Tad, the other, barraged by all of us. Merrowny was sorely disappointed that she managed to leap onto the creature’s back and was sure she could have finished it of in mid air, however Miquela’s blades were too fast it it was cut down before it could ever take flight again.

On the Island we once again tracked Gundrun inside a tower that was on it and to a broken Amphora featuring a non-magical jade bracelet similar to the one we read about. The wall then exploded and another Dread Zombie burst out. We cut it to ribbons.

Down the hall we found three more, but this time the fight got somewhat ugly, as twice they bit our heads and tried to crack our skulls open to eat our brains. Cause that’s a thing. Dread Zombies vanquished, we stopped to rest and take stock of our situation…

Meanwhile outside…

Toti, after conferring with the resourceful Leccio, is told by Leccio “A Witch, hmmm, that could be a problem.”

He rummages in dusty cubbyholes and comes up with a tattered scroll. Muttering to himself “This is an emergency and I am sure Giovanni will reimburse me”

He puts his UMD skill that will not be numbered out loud or in type, out of regard for Merrowyn’s feelings.

“I had been scrying on them semi regularly but they are currently shielded somehow but I anm fairly confident I can send you where they were an hour ago.”

Toti materializes in a fog shrouded ancient graveyard, with 12′ tombstones stretching in all direction for miles.

Yay, Toti will be with us next game.

Thoughts on this game

We had, what I thought was a hilarious scene where Santiago got bored and wanted Miquela to ride him. But then when everyone returned his dropped her in the mud and pretended like she was crazy.

That Soul Eater was seriously scary. If there had bee one for each of us we would have been dead. If it had been on Merrowyn, she would have died from Wisdom Damage. I’m curios why it hasn’t attacked again (maybe the fires kept it at bay, who knows), but I’m also curios if the Protection form Evil portions will do any good.

This is what we’ve pieced together so far (at least what we believe). Vordekai, a powerful Cyclops Lich was just chilling in his 10,000 year slumber, when Gundrun, just a board fucking ranger, stumbled upon his phylactery. Vord, having alarmed his treasure trove, woke up with a giant WTF and started looking for his lost soul gem. When he realized the humans had it, rather that try to recover it from the single person who took it, he just summoned them all. Now he’s got his magic ring back, and everyone who was in Varnhold.

I think we’re going to eventually find out enough to figure out where he’s at, if he’s not in this tower itself, and hopefully find the people of Varnhold when we do. If they aren’t already zombie minions by now.

First thing’s first though. We gotta find Xamanthe!

Actual Play – So much for Varn (7/19/2014)

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

What a great session. And a long one too. Dennis is a machine. I think we played for nine hours, maybe 10! We heard rumors of evil fey, ancient magic using cyclops’, and a silver dragon. We traveled into new lands and found an entire town abandoned. We killed everything that tried to move in. A good day!

Talking about the Game

I had a few things that were starting to get under my skin revolving around our characters role in the setting and our agency. Dennis and I had been talking a bit over email, so he was prepared, but prepared or not, it isn’t easy hearing a player complaining.

I had a list of five things that I wanted to talk about. Mostly variations on a theme, but each of them I had some examples from play where I wasn’t thrilled with what had gone down. I went through all of them in a row and pointed out specific instances where I could (as I know vague discontentment is not productive at all).

You know what that fucker did? Listened. Patiently! I’ve never come to Dennis before with complaints about the game (I haven’t had a reason to) but I’ve voiced my concerns to plenty of GMs in the past and often been met with a defensive reaction. Dennis was great. He not only heard what I said but also explained from his perspective his intent in the specific instances, and offered up a lot of answers to mysteries that had left us stumped and frustrated. In Dennis’s words “I have found that sometimes you need to lift the veil from time to time and let the players see what you’re doing behind the scenes.”

We talked about the vision of the world and it’s development, as well as our characters roles in it. At the end of probably an hour long conversation I was really happy. We had all talked about what we wanted out of the game and I felt like we were going to get it. And eight hours later, I was sure of it!

PZO9033_500Side Quests Galore

As we were starting a new module (which I looked up later just to get the name of it and laughed when I realized that Varnhold being empty was kind of the point!) a ton of side quests begin with it as well:

  • Our lead in at the end of module two was “how to get on the good side of Brevoy, with you know, not actually becoming their buddies…since we plan to go to war with them just as soon as our kingdom is ready”. From all sources it sounds like the Nomen Centaur are the key. They harass merchants going in and out of brevoy and need either something to calm their anger, or if we can’t a good killing.
  • 50 yards of Giant Trap Door spider silk.  A local weaver was offering a cloak of protection (+2) if we could find her 50 yards of giant trapdoor spider silk. the silk of 10 trap door spiders should be enough. Yay, killing bugs!
  • An aristocrat of a lesser family is offering a 3,000 gp bounty to find her missing brother Tomen. She had planned to come with us to find him… but then realized it was way too dangerous!
  • Finding the missing scholar Ervil Pendrod. He had left an academy without taking a leave of absence. Whatever could be so important that he wouldn’t have told his fellow academics!?!

Rumor mill

We also heard several rumors. Some of which we really hope are true. Others, the opposite:

  • Valley to the South of Nomen Centaurs – Ghosts of them guard the place
  • Silver Dragon in the Tors of Levenies lives there but nobody has seen her for a long time.
  • Tribe of Spriggans live in the Tors – at war with the Nomen Centaurs. Their king has the Nomen Chieftess’s bow!

 Preparation for our Journey

Knowing that we were heading for Varnhold, we put several things in motion.

  • Release the army and let them roam the kingdom to guard it. Consumption goes up but we have it covered with farms.
  • Send rangers to scout the lighter forest hexes of the Narlmarshes (E3 and E4)
  • Send Rombalard to look for the Green Dragon and keep people away from it (especially Tazzleford).
  • Have Leccio contact us nightly (or as needed) with sending spells to keep us current with the goings on at The Tusk.
  • Verify with all our leaders that every position has been made official.
  • “Give” Cobb the Tavern. Let him operate it and call it his place.

The last one was particularly fun, because (with the application of some pressure from Merrowyn) it forced Cobb to greet the Swordlord on her terms and grovel (if feigning it the whole time) in front of her.

Miquela decided to greet him in her throne room, nursing the children. Yeah! Cobb endured a lot of crap to satisfy Miquela’s ego. Merrowny owes him big for that.

Suspicions of Varn

Before leaving we speculated what we’d encounter with Varn. Wondering if he had tried peace with the Centaurs or just went straight to violence. From what we knew of him in our meeting years ago, he seemed a decent enough fellow, but who knows what really happened. We went prepared to strong-arm him into letting us negotiate with the Centaurs if necessary. Turned out it wasn’t…

StygiraFun on the way there

On the way out we had some awesome encounters. At night while camping we were attacked by three Stygira, crone like hags with gems they used as eyes and and to enchant the unwary. Their claws turned people slow to stone, and their visage was horrific! So we got really stabby really fast. And that damn wolf almost took a piece out of Merrowyn’s hide when under their spell!

The fight was a fun one. They were tough, resistant to magic, and caught us off guard. They got in some licks and cast some wicket spells. Some of our guards fell during the fight, killed before they could act. Others succumbed to the slow petrification caused by their claws. Two of note survived.

Nolan the guard – Stayed in the fight the whole time and offered Merrowny a much needed flanking ally.
Cliff “Stoney” the guard – Nearly turned to stone over night but hung on until day break when the curse was broken!

They are both getting promotions when we get back!

Also, we encountered a Bull Mastadon wading through the river. We could have taken it! I could have had it’s horns. Merrowyn doesn’t get to have any fun.

The Watch are done with Waiting

We encountered the western outpost and it was in shambles. A single lieutenant was trying to keep order, but he was clearly green and did not inspire faith in his men. The soldiers, who deferred to a sergeant Vredick were a hair’s breadth away from mutiny when we got there, and when we can and provided the fresh water, food, and their first human contact in a month, all bets were off.

Originally the plan had been to pass through without causing trouble but the lieutenant made that impossible. He was going to do his job. Merrowyn put him in a choke hold and knocked him out. They left him alone in the watch tower with enough food for two weeks, a bow, and plenty of arrows. Pharasma, make his death a quick and painless one.

The other guard came with us. It was a chance for them to return home and no, you know, kill their superior officer. The swore them in to be our vassals until delivered to their lord. Yeah… that never happened.

What Varn? What Hold?

We got there and the place was deserted. Like Roanake deserted.  Food left out to rot on tables, boots left beside beds. It looks like everyone just got up in left. Exploring we ran into a wild boar that had taken up residence in a house, a swarm of ravens that were in the stables, a empty distillery, a fort inhabited by a whole mess of Spriggans, and a single clue of what had happened, someone’s scratches in the door of an inn with only the word “Nomen”.

Other clues were the wizard Ervil Pendrod books and notes, indicating that one of Varn’s men had found a jade bracelet of mystical interest. We believe after reading his notes that Penrod might have abandoned his post just for that. There was also indication of a race of Cyclops that used to enslave the Nomen. Powerful necromantic magically advanced Cyclopses! Oh my.

Cooling our Jets

We sent all the books back with some of our people to Leccio in order for him to decipher what they meant and in that time just has to wait around Varnhold until we could get some answers from him.

In that time we tracked the footprints of the inhabitants to a place outside the city where they all just stopped and miraculously vanished.

We also spotted a lone raven that seemed to be watching us. Elara took the form of an eagle and gave it chase, but clearly the raven was a powerful wizards familiar. It cast spells on Elara, including one that froze her stiff and caused her to plummet to the ground, but not before having an entire flame strike spell pass over it harmlessly. It was flying on its way to the mountains. The mountains that are rumored to have cyclops liches in them. Yikes!

Our Haul

Quite a nice one this time. Mostly from the Spriggans!

Description Qty Value Cash Value Kept by
Jade Gemstone 50 50 Sell
Opal Gemstone 100 100 Sell
Diamond Gemstone 1500 1500 Sell
Elemental Gem of Earth 2250 1125 Sell
Scrolls of Cure Serious Wounds (CL9) 3 2025 Divy
Scrolls of Remove Paralysis (CL9) 3 1350 Divy
Scroll of Restoration (CL9) 1 900 Divy
Scroll of Break Enchantment CL 9) 1 1125 Divy
Scroll of Breath of Life (CL9) 1 1125 Divy
Scroll of Raise Dead (CL9) 1 1125 Divy
Folding Boat 7200 Divy
Breastplate, MW 550 275 Sell
Morningstar +1 2308 1154 Sell
Masterwork Halberd, Small 8 2480 1240 Sell
Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL7) 700 Divy
Breastplate +1 (adaptable) 4550 2275 Sell
Heavy Crossbow +1 Seeking, Large 18400 9200 Sell
Great Club, MW, Large 310 155 Sell
Bag of Holding (IV) 10000 Divy
6000 gp in coins and jewelry 6000 6000 Sell
500gp in a payroll cofffer 500 500 Sell
3500gp in gems 3500 3500 Sell
Longsword, +2 Defending with the sigil of house Varn 18330 Miquela
Wand of Spectral Hand (17 charges) 1530 765 Sell
Ring of Friend Shiled (only one of them) 0 0 Hold for now
Exquisite Darkwood and Ivory +2 Thundering Composite Longbow (+4 Str) Centaurs. 18930 Hold for Centaurs


Thoughts on this Game

As noted above, Dennis is an awesome GM. I started the game feeling really lackluster. I finished once again really excited to play! That’s all due to his willingness to listen and talk about the game as people and friends looking to have a good time together.

Roanoke anyone? Greg Vaughn, the lone name scratched into a door really put the nail in that coffin.

Very curious about the challenges we’re going to face in this adventure. So far they have been fun and unexpected. I look forward to learning about more of them.

Really not sure if we should try to lay claim to Varn’s holding or not. I think the jury is out till we discover if he’s alive or not.

We played for more than eight hours and I still wanted to keep going. I haven’t played that long all at once in AGES! Can’t wait for next game!

Actual Play – Babies, Blunders, and Birthrights (6/8/2014)

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

Wow, so much happened in this game. No trolls stabbed, but some hearts broken.

Tad Aldori?

Our longtime faithful servant Tad was confronted with two brutal truths.

  1. His lifelong crush Lady Miquela was pregnant. Which means she was not, like Tad, a “maiden”.
  2. She was also his cousin.

Miquela didn’t know the whole truth at the start of the session, only that her brother Edward got extremely uncomfortable when the topic of Tad’s lineage came up, and that he handled an Aldori Dueling Sword like he was, well… and an Aldori.

So she pushed, and she pushed, and eventually the damn broke. Bog admitted that he was Tad’s father, that Gloriana (the midwife and nanny to most of the Aldori children) was his mother, and that the parents that raised him and loved him were trying to protect Tad from his heritage. The same heritage that sent Donna Aldori and many others fleeing Brevoy in search of a place where they wouldn’t be persecuted for their family name.

When confronted with the truth Tad fled from it. When confronted again, he resisted. When his own father finally told him who he was, it stuck. He was given a choice to join the servants again as “just Tad” or to accept his family name. After a long time considering the choice he slept in his new bed in the Aldori family manor.

In the morning he was named Head Steward of the castle (which needs a name) and resumed his place in the kingdom. There is a distance though. He’s not as obsequious as he used to be. He performs all of his duties remarkably, but the drive to constantly go above and beyond for Miquela is gone. If asked he’ll provide her a foot massage, or a fresh lemonade, but he used to never need to be asked in the first place.

I think Tad is growing up. Hitting puberty at age 20.

Kasten’ Duress

That is a funny. It’s a play on words because his last name is Garess, which rhymes with duress, and our encounter with him was full of it.

The scene was between Merrowyn and Kasten discussing command positions. Merrowny was suggesting potential leaders and Kasten was shooting them down. His concerns were sound but in her mind not significant enough to disqualify her choices. When she turned the tables and asked who he would recommend for command, things got intense.

Kasten had helped build the kingdom. He was one of the few that was there since the beginning. He was also Marcus’s commander and it was under his watch that Marcus died. That shouldn’t matter, soldiers die and it wasn’t Kasten’s fault anyway. Merrowny didn’t see it that way though. For most people, Merrowny was a tough as nails, hothead. For Marcus though, she was a 21 year old girl who finally found someone she thought understood her. And then he was ripped away from her and nobody ever seemed to notice. Merrowyn has a lot of anger issues in general, but in this case all of her rage about Marcus’ death was focused on Kasten, and when she finally let that out, everything went to hell.

Kasten was incensed that she would let a personal matter get in the way of his well earned promotion, or that she would blame him for Marcus’s death. And then he was gone. Really, really gone.

Merrowyn tried to stop him from walking out, but he wouldn’t relent. When the realized he left, she consulted Leccio to scry on him and find where he was. When she realized he was in Restov, she asked Leccio to contact Domingo via a sending spell where she begged him to get Kasten back, offering him to be general of the Kingdom if he wanted it. When Domingo reported in the next that Kasten wouldn’t listen to him she got on a horse and rode as hard as she could for Restov. When she arrived and found she has missed him she asked around for where he went but the other soldiers wouldn’t talk to her. When she found a solider that was in the know, but wouldn’t tell her, she took him outside and beat him within an inch of his life before he told her that Kasten had joined a unit serving in Pitax, one of the River Kingdoms. He was gone and there was no getting him back.

More on this in thoughts below.

Baby Daddy Strozzi

Miquela came to give Staggio the news that she was pregnant and asked if he was wanted to be father to his child. He wasn’t quite filled with the over abundance of joy she hoped for, but he didn’t run screaming either.

Staggio made on thing really clear. All he was living for was the inevitable civil war with Issia. Even if he was going to be their father, that was, is, and will always be his first priority. Perfect, no, but it will due until the war starts. Hopefully then we’ve got an army he can lead.

What won him over in the end? He wasn’t going to let someone else claim to be the father of his child.

Official Appointments

After the clusterfuck with Kasten, and with much admonition from Edward, Miquela and Merrowyn set quickly about appointing everyone titles.

  • Svetlana, Lord Mayor of The Tusk
  • Roy Resnick, Lord Mayor of Tazzton
  • Tad Aldori, Chief Master Steward of the Castle
  • First Aldorian Heavy appointed captain Franco Sordello, lieutenant Solia, and private doesn’t-give-a-fuck-what-you-think-of-him-will-tell-it-like-it-is Delaco Farell..

There was some major concerns about Franco being a turncoat, given that the Sordellos pretty much universally despise the Aldori, but he so far he’s given us no reason to doubt his loyalty.

In a moment of weakness Merrowny came very close to trying to dupe Akiros into running the army. He said that his god whispers to him in his sleep and she nearly sent Mik Mek to sneak up on him while he slept and whisper instructions to go lead the army in Ogelton. No good would come of that deception though. He’d see through it eventually, and she would have burnt another bridge, never mind the fact that she would feel horrible about it. Yay for Lawful Evil kobolds being your moral compass.

Family Reunion

Everyone knows uncle Bog is doing worse and worse. His gout is getting the better of him and walking isn’t something he can do anymore without significant pain. He’s getting old and all the clerics in the realm can’t save him from that.

We made a big point of Miquela, Elara, and their entourage going up north to visit him and have him bless the new baby. When we arrived we got to see some amazing changes. All the money that had been sent to the family (2 Build Points per turn, for more than 25 turns) had paid off. The manor had been restored to it’s former glory. Servants and men at arms had been hired on. Several family members had opened up shops or other businesses in Restov. Perhaps most impressive, the ancient ivy covered statue in the center of the courtyard had been cleared off, cleaned, restored, and revealed to be a fountain in the likeness of Sirian Aldori (the first Aldori).

Very nice to see that our contributions have paid off and that the family is doing well. It was at the reunion that Bog told Tad he was his father. It was also where Domingo in his first recorded act of kindness, stood up for Merrowyn to Miquela, and we got to see that Domingo was also maturing.

Assassination Attempt

When we had returned to The Tusk, and when Miquela was showing quite a bit, she had to work on places to put her swords. The would no longer fit on her belt, so she had a lone short sword on her back. Don’t mention that she probably couldn’t draw it if she needed to. At least not to her face.

While in the Inn, she encountered Cobb, and he was dragging Ioria Valopi by the hair. This was the young, naive, distant relative of ours that almost got mixed up with a cult of Gyronna. We let her off the hook because she was just a kid who made a mistake, hanging around the wrong people… Or maybe she was now a full fledged priestess of Gyronna and was trying to poison the entire cities water supply with Mother’s Bane, and powerful abortifacient that would kill all the expecting mothers (and their children) in the city.

Miquela had a moment of indecision. To try her through due process (Edward was there after all) or exact justice now? Ioria made the choice easy by cursing all of them in the name of Gyronna and starting to channel negative energy. Yep, that was it, Miquela cut her down!

Afterwards Miquela and Cobb had another one of their run ins, where Cobb showed his patriotism without bowing.

The inquisitor of Abadar Brigida had been a holy pain in our asses since she arrived, but now we finally had a task for her. Go find them cultists!

Getting in bed with the enemy

Domingo was putting pressure on us to get an embassy in Restov, however that isn’t something we can do locally. An embassy in Restov is an embassy in Brevoy, and to make that work we’ve got to make nice with the Issians we plan to go to war with eventually.

Much as Domingo wanted an embassy to make his relationship official, he didn’t want us to go asking for one, he wants Brevoy to come to us. Sigh. So how to get the attention of the giant nation we’re secretly planning to war with and make them think we’re formidable but not a threat? Some ideas:

  • Pacify the Nomen Centaurs. They seem to be threatening the borders again. Making peace or giving them a good thrashing would earn us respect.
  • Clearing the Lizard folk out of the Slough would allow safer travel and trade through the River Kingdoms. A boon for all. This would serve us as well, since it would be territory we could take over without infringing on other human nations, and we hates lizardfolk for being child-torturing, oath-breaking, chicken-shit fleeing, asshats.


Reports came from the west that the great green dragon we had heard rumors of was attacking our people. Merrowyn, Elara, Akiros, and Rombilard all rode out to meet it and drive the creature off, back to the Narlmarshes from where it came.

Next up on list when we’ve got Miquela and Toti in shape to fight. Dragon slaying!

Scandal in the Tusk

One of the Kingdom events that we rolled, which was tragic but awesome, was an affair between the Lord Mayor Svetlana and the army captain Franco. It was an ugly situation. Our two most prominent deities worshiped are Erastil (god of community) and Abadar (god of civilization). They are both pretty much NOT OKAY with illicit affairs. But the rulers? We really didn’t care. They were both great people and we didn’t want to have to replace either one of them. All we wanted was to squash the scandal.

Erastil doesn’t brook divorces, but Abadar does! So we fudged the numbers, back dated a divorce between her and Oleg and told the two of them to keep it in their pants from here out. This was a tough situation with no good answers and certain to snowball into some bigger problem later, but I loved it because in the end we were making the moral choice of whether or not we cared about the affair (we didn’t) and if we were willing to skirt our own laws to preserve the status quo (which we did).


Midwives at the ready. Tad there with cold lemonade. Everyone was prepared. Except they weren’t when not one but two babies were born!  Baby Floriana Agresese Strozzi Aldori and baby Renato Sergio Strozzi Aldori were born!

Soon after the mysterious guardian appeared Hima to watch over them. Sellemus’s “assistant”. Read: bodyguard.

Kingdom building

We played out a few more kingdom turns. Enough to grow The Tusk to 36 districts (almost a large city now), to take over Tazzleford, and to round out the pere

Troubles in Varnhold

The session ended with word from Varnhold, or rather lack there of. The Lord Mayor Sellimus told us that Varn had not reported in some time as asked if we could check in on him.

Thoughts on the game

A lot of awesome shit happened in the game, for good and ill. Our world is very alive and complex, and it’s easy to focus on one thing and let others get out of hand. Dennis does a great job of presenting the pressures of being rulers. We’re often bound by the very laws we made to serve us. We’re the ones that have to be reasonable because so many others are completely inflexible.

This has a downside though, or at least for me it did. For me a lot of it comes down to knowing where to engage the system. Without kingdom building rules you interact with each NPC and situation individually in game through role-playing. When you add the macro mechanics on kingdom building though, it abstracts a lot of the minutia of kingdom building into things like stability checks and build points. By the rules you don’t need to create specific laws for trials, you just declare you kingdom is lawful (or neutral or chaotic) and the rest is implied.  You don’t need to appoint a Lord Mayor of the city, you just build a town hall and it’s assumed someone will be put in charge. Watchtowers come with guards, armies come with officers, etc. In our game though, many of those finer points are handled in-game through our characters actions rather than based on the kingdom building rules.

The tricky part is knowing what is covered by the mechanics, and what needs to be role-played out. The kind of kingdom problems we’ve encountered have felt like going into combat and then being told that your sword breaks on the first attack because you haven’t said that you’ve been oiling at night and n0w it’s rusted and brittle. Made worse because your NPC squire is now fighting in your place because she remembered to oil her sword every night.

To be my own devil’s advocate, I know that if you followed the rules verbatim, the entire kingdom building component of the game would be totally dull and flat.  It would just be a series of die rolls and markings on a map with no personality; as bad as a game that is only combat with no role-playing.

Actual Play – The Royal Baby (5/17/2014)

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

There was hardly a stabbing in this game. Well, at least none done by us!

Jubilost’s Trial

Remember that no good Pathfinder-ing spy Jubilost Narthropple who was making maps of Aldoria for some patron in Daggermark? Yeah, we had to eventually give him a trial, and we wanted to be done with it before the Lord Mayor arrived in town. Man, what a farce.

As his crimes were announced and an advocate was called for, none would stand for him. His fate seem sealed until the last moment when an advocate, Chal Fingo from Mulan stepped forward to defend him. Chal’s reputation proceeded him and it was clear that the prosecuting would not best him in combat. We squirmed for a bit, trying to figure out a way to call off the trial, to postpone it, or to substitute advocates, but all of our attempts were in vein. Chal moved through all the preliminary proceedings (which involved all the talking) quickly and in no time the “trial” (duel to the death) was upon us.

Chal killed the man, stepped out of the dueling circle with Jubilost and was met by and elf. Before we could approach them, the three teleported and vanished from our Kingdom.  Poof!

In a rage of frustration at how her own laws bound her, Miquela rode a horse hard all day to travel from The Tusk to Ogelton. She told him it wasn’t personal, to follower his swordlord upstairs, and not say a word. At least not until the door was closed. Insert sexual innuendo here.

Merrowyn on the other hand, had been arguing (much to her surprise) the whole time for non-duplicitous solutions to this problem. She wanted to postpone the trial, find a substitute prosecutor, and in fact wanted to step up herself to be the advocate. All of those options were shot down, but the trails outcome just strengthened her resolve. Afterward she cornered her father and told him in no uncertain terms that he was going to train her to be an advocate! (Yay for kingdom turns taking months to justify the training)

Arrival of Lord Mayor Sellemius

Once the nasty bit of that trial was over, the entire city got to work on preparing for a feast. Alerting the Ale House,  Bailing out the Barns, Cleaning the Castle, all the way down to Washing the Watchtower!

Merrowyn and Toti along with a small entourage greeted the lord mayor and his assembled nobles. There were emissaries from house Sellemius, house Strozi, house Amato (not a huge surprise as the are supporters of house Sellemius), house Aldori (Miquela’s sisters), and house Sordello! The last was a huge surprise as the Sordellos have been enemies of the Aldori since before their was a Brevoy!

As the entered the throne room, Miquela sat upon the fanciest chair tad could muster and moments before they arrived Stephano barged into the great hall and flopped down at her feet. Nice touch. The official greeting of the lords was very posh.

That evening after the feast came the mingling and the politics. Merrowyn told the lord mayor that she needed 200 men under her, er, to serve under her. She was quickly hushed away but Toti who kept her distracted by asking about her weapons. The Mayor then told Miquela that he had come all this way to tell Aldoria that we were officially being cut off. With the Strozzi’s being so open in their aggression the threat of civil war was looming closer and closer, a war that most of Rostov wasn’t prepared for yet. The mayor’s fear was that continuing to give aid to Aldoria would be the final straw that showed Restov was planning a revolt. So, there’s that.

We did however get the story of Bog and Ioseph, how they were pitted against each other as young men, and when they discovered the duplicity became fast friends, as they have been ever since.

Other things of note

Tad is training with a sword now, investing his time in more martial pursuits and starting to fill out. Also, we’re pretty sure he’s actually Bog’s bastard son. Fun times!

Kingdom Building

After that, we got to some much needed kingdom building. Kasten was pushing for an army. Giovanni for a waterfront, Toti for a cathedral. Yikes! So we started focusing on building up our resources and making sure we had enough food to feed said army.

Turn 15

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Settling Ogelton (what used to be Oleg’s Trading Post) (-26 BP)
Event: Diplomatic envoy from King Sootscale (yeah, king). He wanted to expand to the Gold Mine to the north. We agreed but said he had to make peace with the humans that lived there and let us build a road to the Silvertop Mines. Later we realized he’s up to about 5,000 or so kobolds in his mine. Damn, the breed fast!

Turn 16

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Fisheries Built (-8 BP)
Event: Outstanding success in Ogelton

Turn 17

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Event: Inquisition of Abadar in The Tusk.  Zealots are somewhat supressed. Church of Abadar sends a new Inquisitor.

Turn 18

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Event: Inquisition from Gorum in the Tusk. Wondering what is taking so long to erect a shrine. Fought off but land near the waterfront is claimed as the future site of the temple.

Turn 19

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Waterfront built in The Tusk (-90 BP)
Event: Pirates attack. Shut down. Inquisition of Gorum shut down as well.

Turn 20

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Event: Pilgrimage of Abadar comes to The Tusk. The pressure is on.

Turn 21

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Cathedral to Abadar is built in it’s own brand new district! Gold and Slate. GOLD AND SLATE! (-58 BP)
Event: Good Weather

Turn 22

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Temple of Gorum built at the site of the inquisition battle (-16 BP)
Event: Feud – Giovanni and Edward want an Heir. +1 Unrest.  Settled because the Swordlord is pregnant!

Turn 23

The kingdom is stable (-1 Unrest)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Expansion into G4 and G3. Fisheries and roads built
Event: Natural Blessing & Beneficial Settlement Event: Swordlord is pregnant (+4 on stability checks until next turn) and Justice prevails (+1 Law, +1 Loyalty, Crime -1, Unrest -1)

(The next two turns completed over email)

Turn 24

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Expansion into B5 and C7. Farms and roads built.
Event: Food Shortage: Spoilage, treachery, or bad luck has caused a food shortage this turn. Consumption increased by 50% next turn.

Turn 25

The kingdom is stable (+1 BP)
Support for House Aldori (-2 BP)
Expansion into E6 (between the mines) and E7 (Nettle’s Crossing). Roads and a quarry built.
Event: Squatters in The Tusk (-1 Fame and Stability, +2 Unrest) and an assassination attempt!

Kingdom Results




The Tusk

The Tusk - Hex

The Tusk - Settlement

The Tusk - Magic Items




Ogelton - Settlement

First Aldorian Heavy Infantry

First Aldorian Heavy

Thoughts on this game

Going in reverse order. We were continuing the kingdom turns over email because we didn’t quite get in all the kingdom turns we wanted to do and because we wanted to continue with them through the swordlord’s pregnancy. We were going to do a few more (she should give birth around Turn 27-28) but then the assassination event came up. We’ll see how that goes. The groovy thing is that will give us time to play through a few things that have been brewing:

  • Deciding who the Swordlord’s baby daddy is going to be. Stagio if he wants his son, but if he doesn’t it will be someone!
  • Visiting Bog to check in on his health.
  • Deciding on who will lead an army in Ogelton. A big point of contention with Merrowyn, who still blames Kasten for Marcus dying.
  • Commemorating our memorial day (for the peeps that died in the owlbear attack)
  • Trying not to be assassinated. Woot!

Very excited about that list. All good roleplaying opportunities for our characters.

Business with Sootscale is going to be interesting, I’m really wondering what will happen when they get too big for their current space. We got another hex that we can offer them, but not sure what will happen after that.

I realize we’ve just about paid back our starting funds (50 BP) to house Aldori now.  I’m hoping we can see some development there. Who will take over when Bog dies?

During the party Savia got mysteriously sick just before everyone arrived and then recovered just after they left. Thanks Tad. Also… Tad is scary.

I’m loving that Elara is getting really into being a revolutionary. Wearing a red armband (the sign of the revolution), hanging out with the Strozi, and generally being very open about her allegiances. Excited to see where this goes.

That business with Jubilost was so incredibly frustrating. It seems at every turn outsiders are fucking with us and we don’t even know who they are, let alone how to protect ourselves from them (or better yet, how to fuck with them back). The upshot is the visceral reaction we’re all having to such fuckery is really good for the story. Merrowyn training to become an advocate, Miquela getting pregnant, and Elara going full-fledged revolutionary have all been reactions to the external antagonism.

It’s not really in the Kingdom building domain, but I think (especially given Elara’s new allegiances) that some attacks on Issia would be great. Maybe stealing supplies, cutting off their trade routes, or just otherwise messing with them would be nice. Show that we won’t take this shit lying down. That’s going on my list of shit to do next session!

Actual Play – Trollocalypse (4/19/2014)

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

Trolls! So many trolls.

Before that though, yay, we’re 7th level, and with 7th level comes a certain degree of badassery. 4th level spells like Atavism and Blessing of Fervor. More sneak attack dice. Feats. Big ass fucking wolves. Yeah, 7th feels pretty bad ass to me.

We got Mia back. After some tormenting texts sent to her last game, she wasn’t going to miss another.

Sean’s character might die.  – Karen

Noooooo, can I dial it in? – Mia

Kingdom affairs

Stagio (Luca’s younger brother) was put in charge of Oleg’s trading post. He walked in and declared the new sheriff was in town. A dozen duels and a dozen victories later and people finally started to listen. Lots of objections at first. Not so many now.

Kesten wants an army. Noting new there, but since Toti was still in The Tusk, he felt the need to impress the urgency of that on her again.

A delegation from the church of Abadar came to see how things were shaping u in the tusk. They were condescending and threatening. The pointed out that the high priest of Aldoria was follower of Erastil, and that a shrine of Erastil has been built before the shrine of Abadar. Toti, defensive and nervous responded by promising them the world! A giant cathedral of Abadar would be built, made of gold and slate! Come back in a year and you will see! Impressed, really impressed, the delegation left 20 priests behind to aid (read: spy, cajole, and direct) Toti in her dedication of Abadar.

A missive arrived that the Lord Mayor of Rostov was coming to The Tusk for a visit. Since the swordlord was off and about in the wilderness, Edward suggested that Toti find her and get her back before the the mayor arrives in three weeks time. To adventure!

 Exploration and adventure

Toti met up with her cousins as the tromped through the marshes west of Candlemere. They were searching for an surviving lizardmen and arguing (Merrowyn arguing, go figure) about how to handle them.

“That’s it Miquela. When you get back to the Tusk you’ve got to go stand up and tell the people we’re not going to allow this to happen again. We’re going to build an army to defend our walls and we’re going to hunt down and kill any creature that thinks it’s okay to attack our citizens. Fey, Lizardmen, Owlbears, I don’t care who they are. The hurt our people, we kill them, all of them!”

“I’m not killing children, Merrowyn. If we find them and they fight, we’ll kill them, but we’re not killing innocents.”

“What about Tig? They tortured him. He was a child. It didn’t stop them.”

“I’m not killing children, and I’m not going to let you either!”

It went on like that for a bit. Ending with some grunting and some posturing. Next time we see Lizardmen will tell the truth of it.

Toti arrived with news of the Lord Mayor arriving which got us all moving. There were still trolls to kill so we had better get around to it.

Exploring I3

A bog that eventually turned into thick forest. A perfect place for lizardmen to hide as evidence by the fact that we found none of them. There was one remnants of a “camp” they made. A meal eaten raw and then a camp quickly abandoned. We cleared the area and found no traces of them.

Exploring I2

More forest, denser now. Into the parts of the Narlmashes that wiser folk encourage you not to go.


Exploring J2

Atop a hill, with Elara’s eagle eyes (in eagle form no less) a watchtower carved out of stone was found. Using Flight and Dimension Door we quickly made it to the top and found two troll sentries inside. We made quick work of them, but knew we had been heard during he fight. There were stairs that went up into the mountain and echoing down form them we heard screams in crude Giant tongue.

So we decided to wait. Let the trolls come to us. And by Gorum’s Iron Stones did they! It took them a minute to gather their forces but once they did and onslaught of trolls came raining down like we could hardly imagine.

There was Hargulka, the leader, and his trolls. There was Nagrundin the two-headed half-troll half-ettin and his trolls, there was Kargadd the stone troll and his trolls, and oh yeah, for fun there was a few troll hounds added to the mix as well. It was Trollocalpyse!

The fact that we survived this fight at all seems predicated on few things. First, that we prepared with all of our most spells, potions, and wands cast or at the ready. Second, we dropped the leader Hargulka in very short order (I think two rounds thanks to Blessing of Fervor), and three that in Pathfinder -10 hit points doesn’t necessarily mean dead (Merrowyn was so close to croaking in that fight, I could feel my eraser mark in her hit points section beginning to rub through the page).

At one point I had the choice of fleeing or staying to take one more attack. Dennis was evil when he said chuckled “Gorum is watching.” Merrowyn attacked and eventually planted her giant sword right through that two-headed, four-testicled monster of a troll’s lower half. Even the wolf was impressed!



Once everything was dead and we had quaffed more healing potions, alchemical concoctions, and spontaneous cast cure spells than every before, we began scouting out these awesome dwarven halls, and then deeper, crudely carved out tunnels. Inside we found all manner of things both wondrous and terrible.


Off the fallen Trolls themselves

  • 234 sp
  • 589 gp
  • Large Darkwood Thundering Morningstar +1
  •  Necklace of Fireballs (1 x 8d6, 2 x 4d6, 3 x 2d6)
  • Large Hide Armor +1
  • Large map detailing the trolls lair, all of our holdings, and the places the trolls had been raiding.

Deeper in the lair, among there holdings we also found

  • A crude sand table with a map of our kingdom
  • A headless halfling
  • A giant larder filled with supplies, our supplies, worth 4 build points.
  • A severed head
  • 1902 sp
  • 888 gp
  • Ioun Stone – Dusty Rose Prism (Toti)
  • Amulet of Natural Armor +2 (Merrowyn, her’s going to Tad)
  • Corpses, both animal and human.
  • Statue of a Dragon (200 gp)
  • Gold Necklace (500 gp)
  • Jewelry (750 gp)
  • Five gems (500 gp)
  • Dwarven Wine (45 gp)
  • Troll Hound
    Troll Hound

    Dwarven silver tankard (50 gp)

  • 1484 cp
  • 3550 sp
  • 652 gp
  • Challenger’s Gloves (to be gifted to the Mayor)
  • Composite Adaptive Shortbow +1 (Merrowyn)
  • Beast bond-brand (Elara)
  • Light Crossbow +2 (Toti or Tad)
  • Handy Harversack (Toti)
  • Boots of Elvenkind (Miquela)
  • Shawl of Life Keeping
  • Meridian Belt
  • Did I mention heads and bodies… ugh.

We were going to need a bigger backpack! While Toti, Miquela, and Merrowyn stayed behind to clean up the fort and lay the dead to rest (thankfully were able to match up heads and bodies), Elara flew back to the Tusk to commission a small caravan to come  meet us at collect all the supplies.

Exploring H4

Realizing that there was one area the caravan would have to pass through that we hadn’t cleared, we ventured back to the Tusk to make sure there was a clear path. And by Erastil’s Horny Antlers, glad we did!

We’re just some adventures minding our business, murdering trolls and taking their things, wandering back home, when some crazy old cook jumps out of a tree and stabs Miquela. Stabs her super hard… where it hurts… in the stabby parts. Him and his crazy puma!

Thinking this might be Bokken’s brother (and guessing that correctly) we tried not to harm him, but the man was out of his mind! Eventually we subdued him and took him back with us but overtime realized that he was not only crazy, but a serial killer. Sadly, with no cure available for his madness, we opted to try him for his crimes (at the very least assault of the swordlord, but by his own confession the murder of many, many people including his mother. He was sentenced to death and executed summarily by Edward. Merrowyn most notably was happy to have her father handle that task.

He had loot as well, which, crazy as he might be, we were still happy to take.

  • Potion of Cure Light Wounds (CL5)
  • Potion of Invisibility (CL5)
  • 165 sp
  • 31 gp
  • Tarnished silver locket (10gp, wanted by Bokken)
  • Treasure map to the barrow we previously found.
  • Whip +1
  • Leather Armor +1
  • Ring of Protection +1 (Tad)
  • Masterwork Shortsword

 Thoughts on this Game

Kingmaker has some hard breaks. Lots of problems that I don’t think there are good solutions to. A dead boy (discussed in the last actual play report), many murdered citizens, and finally a crazed serial killer that there was no rehabilitating. Rough stuff with few options to solve (most of them involve “can you find a high level cleric and pay them enough money to fix this problem”). I like that we don’t have that power in our hands right now (or every solution would be a cleric spell), it keeps the business of running a kingdom full of difficult choices (and sometimes none of them are good).

I really enjoy our debate over lizardmen, and frankly what to do with any external threats. Miquela is trying to keep a very firm hand on the reins of the kingdom, commanding that we try peaceful interactions first and only resort to violence when that fails.  Much like Elara though her convictions are constantly challenged. Each time we make a peace offering that blows up in our faces that ideal gets a little bit harder to hold. Now Merrowyn has abandoned it completely, so it’s not just the pressure of the anonymous citizens asking for security in their homes, it’s her own family and boon companions. I look forward to seeing how this progresses.

Dennis does a great job of keeping the kingdom pressures constant. In a vacuum running a kingdom is easy, but when monster attack and your military officers demand and army, when high priests come by and look down on your paltry shrine to their god, when your ex-ship captain treasurer says that the city needs a waterfront, all of those things compete for time, attention, and build points!

As much as 7th level was a big deal for the arcane casters, 8th will be a big deal for everyone. Boosting a stat, iterative attacks (for everyone now), Shattered Defense for Merrowyn. Good times ahead.

Merrowyn gets hurt… a lot!. I kind of love it. – Sean, character masochist


Actual Play – The kid we couldn’t save (3/23/2014)

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

Sadness, Mia couldn’t make the game. You know, pesky weddings around the corner and all. Still, we persevered (in some cases only barely).

A lot happened in the game. Cultists were killed, as were trolls and lizardmen. Some kingdom problems were resolved, while new ones cropped up. The signature moment however was right at the end, when the daughters of Aldori realized they failed their people.

Changes in the Kingdom

Edward was really losing his mind trying to keep order. All the mayoral candidates died in the Owlbear attack and he just doesn’t have the temper. It got so bad he decked a citizen who was decrying the kingdom on the bitching post. He then took himself to town hall an fine himself 2cp for disturbing the peace.

Kestin was urging Miquela to hire an army, even a small army, to protect the gates from invaders. Merrowyn initially protested as it would mean her actually having to do her job as general, but agreed that had one been present the city would have fared better. We all agreed that after we build up the resources we would hire a small army to station at The Tusk.

Reports from Oleg’s Trading post (a letter from Svetlana) came in that the place is a mad house. It needs to have a settlement established pronto. Great, one more thing to spend money on. Luca’s younger brother Stagio Strozzi was a firebrand that had gotten on the wrong side of the law in Brevoy and so had been living at The Tusk while things cooled down. A fierce nationalist and skilled duelist, we offered him a job in helping our kingdom, go take charge of things

Domingo approached Miquela in private and asked for 50,000 gold to aid the family. Even for a kingdom, that is a lot of money (generously translated to only 10 build points). He told her that she needed to give the money to Merrowyn and not ask questions. Reluctantly, and after much prying, she relented. Merrowyn received the money from Domingo (with no explanation as to where from) and was told it was for The Silent Brotherhood (Cobb’s “Family”). The payment was to make the thieves guild separate from the ties with House Rogarvia. Merrowny tried to get a bit more out of it (specifically buying favor for house Aldori) but the deal had been made already. It was that or wait for the hammer to come down on uncle bog (whose gout is getting worse, by the way). 

While in Restov, Merrowyn sold most of the loot they had aquired and purchased several enchanted items for her and her sisters. She also spoke with the priests of Gorum (during some of her training with them) and found out that to be authorized to build a temple of Gorum in the The Tusk she’d have to be willing to defend it from wave after wave of attacks from priests of Gorum, to prove that the warriors of the area were worthy. Fun times. Items purchased:

Purchase: Cost Recipient
Hat of Disguise 1800 Toti
Metamagic Rod: Extend 3000 Toti
Merrowyn Retrain Feats (Training cost) 600 Merrowyn
Aegis of Recovery 1500 Miquela
Enchant Dragonscale Armor and Shield (+1 Each) 2000 Elara
Lesser Elemental Metamagic Rod 3000 Elara
Adamantite Armor Spikes 3030 Merrowyn
Quick Runner’s Shirts (1 for all) 4000 All
Cloak of Resistance +2 4000 Merrowyn


The Sootscale clan is beginning to chafe against their neighbors. There were some altercations with a farmer along a river “trespassing” on Sootscale land. Our local officials were able to quell the offended parties anger (thanks to a stability check) but tension keeps growing. It’s going to take more than a Dragon Rug to keep the peace in the future. Also, there may be anywhere between 200-1000 kobolds in that mine by now. Yikes, that gets a little scary.

Adventure Time

On of the smaller branches of the Aldori family had a daughter, Idori Volpe. She was a girl always getting in trouble because she fell for every story she heard. Very irresponsible. She was the name dropped in Merrowyn’s pocket with just the words “we’re sure”. A little bit of back story here. Cobb’s men had been searching for both a serial killer and the cult of Gyronna. When then got to talking one night they realized the victims were the same women as the suspected members of the cult! They were also worried that the leader of the cult was an influential citizen and might be someone we knew. Merrowyn told him in no uncertain terms that he was to look for but not lay a hand on any member of house Aldori he suspected of being a cultist. Once confirmed, he was to report the name to her…and so he had.

The daughters Aldori found their sister in Strozzi park (the first time Miquela had entered it, and she was aghast to find that there was a glen there that was a perfect recreation of a secluded spot she shared with Luca in their youth). We came down on Idori like a ton of unsubtle bricks. “So, we hear you’ve got some new friends… they are cultists, tell us all about them!” It may have been a tad more delicate than that, but only a tad.

Idori had no clue about any cult but she had met some new friends at the tavern and they seemed very like minded. Men were all no good scoundrels who deserved whatever misfortunes they got, or that was the party line. Using the Hat of Disguise so that Merrowyn could impersonate Idori, and with Elara in the form of house cat (hello +24 stealth) following after them, and then Miquela following Elara from even further behind, we planned a undercover operation to find the cult leader.

By hook or by crook, it worked. The hook was Miquela ran into Mik Mek along the way…and realized that he had been our secret royal enforcer all along! Of course, how could we have been so blind! The crook was that as much as Merrowyn convinced the girls that she was one of them, she let her guard down a little. She actually enjoyed talking to the girls (which was pretty much the opposite of who she normally is) and when she entered the circle with a permanent “detect good” spell (Merrowyn is chaotic good) and started to glow, she didn’t realize anything was up until the cult leader, Goody Niska (the Tusk’s beloved midwife) placed her hand upon Merrowyn and cast Slay Living. Fun!

Malgorzata Niska
Malgorzata Niska

Our Hardest Fight Yet

Fighting a bunch of evil clerics is rough. Even rougher without a cleric of our own. They have abilities like channeling negative energy to hurt everyone, then channel smite, destruction, and rage domains to do all kinds of extra damage. Oof, they tore us up. It really didn’t help that I was also rolling terribly the whole fight. I rolled a 1 on my charge attack, spent an action point to reroll the die and got another 1. In fact, I used up all of my action points and all my healing potions in that fight just to stay alive. Peachy!

Miquela rocked it though. Since the clerics weren’t moving around all that much (wanted to stay in their unhallowed ground) she was chopping things up nicely with her two blades.

Elara was also a constant source of stability in the fight, dropping her flaming sphere and lighting bolts, and then following up with more healing when it was needed…oh was it needed.

Mik Mek, with his ninja vanishing trick (yes Mik Mek is our Royal Enforcer and a ninja) and shortbow sneak attacks of death made up for all the damage Merrowyn wasn’t doing. He dropped three or four of the junior priestesses. Aww, and I was really getting to like Trixie.


After the mess was over, we let the barn burn down and called it a tragic accident, never revealing that Goody Niska was actually a super evil horrible cult leader. Before doing that however, we looted the hell out of her and found:

  • Potion of Eagle’s Splendor (CL7)
  • 3 Potions of Cure Serious Wounds (CL7)
  • Potion of Gaseous Form (CL7)
  • Hag’s Shabble – Hella evil, but I think we have a place for it.
  • Holy symbol of Gyronna (melt it down)
  • Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl (rumored that Gyronna herself can scry through them)
  • Cloak of Resistance +2
  • Keen Dager +2
  • Ring of Fire Resistance, Minor
  • Ring of Protection +1

One last errand in the Tusk

Quite happy about solving two of our kingdoms problems in one blow, the daughters intended to head south to investigate these Lizardmen that Rombalard told us about. But first, we remembered the braided hair rings with the fine engraved silver band in the middle of it.

Leccio, our ever friendly and helpful hedgehog sage took to examining them for us. He recognized the inscriptions has having been written in the First Age but could not decipher their meaning without more study. He cast some spells to unravel the mystery of the rings, and earned a fireball for his efforts. The inscriptions had been trapped to explode upon inspection. Not only was Leccio a bit burnt, his lab damaged, but the rings themselves were also destroyed.

4e_trollsTroll Time

Heading south to find the Lizardmen we caught sight of a half dozen trolls in the distance, hiding (poorly) behind rocks and trees, hoping to ambush unwary travelers. They just weren’t expecting Elara “eagle eyes” Aldori to come along. Having spotted them a large distance off we had time to prepare with spell and bow. Elara cast Bull Strenth on both of us while we start raining arrows down the the trolls. That go their attention. They tried to charge forward but before they could get to us were caught in Elara’s entangle spell! We kept peppering them with arrows, flaming spheres an lightning bolts. By the time they got to us, we had wheedled down their numbers and then finished them off once our melee combatants Merrowyn and Sergio could be effective.

Go team Aldori!

We kept one of them alive (the one that thought surrendering was a good idea) to interrogate him. We didn’t get much useful information except that the name of their leader is Hargulka, a troll warlord. Go Miquela for learning giant!

LizardmenI4 – Lizardman Island

In the delta waters as lake candlemere feeds into the murque river is a small island. From the shore we could see it and tell it was walled but that was all. Elara in the form of a bird flew over to scout it and found that several dozen lizardmen lived there, sharing many small huts, shielded behind a crudely built wall.

We decided (foolishly) to try and use diplomacy with them. First they were all bluster “We’re allied with the Trolls!” but then we realized the don’t speak giant and trolls don’t speak draconic, so that was a line of crap. We pressed harder and eventually they let us in (we sailed up in our styling swan boat, TYVM).

Inside though, it was all a trap. Once we came to the center of an open area, the “king” Veska called all his forces to attack. Bad plan, Mr. King. Elara changed form into a brown bear, Miquela used her blades of amazing speed, and after dispatching the king, Merrowny made a dazzling display, pronouncing Miqeula their new “Queen” and they the could all down down to her or lose their heads.

The fled.

We looted.

  • Potion of Cure Serious Wounds CL7)
  • 3 Citrines (worth 50gp each)
  • Large Leather Armor +1
  • Large Keen Trident +1
  • 2 gold Armbands (100gp each)
  • Choral Crown with lapis lazuli (500gp)
  • Malachite statue of a dragon (200gp)
  • Furs (300gp)
  • Animals skins (300gp)
  • 694 gold in loose coin
  • Masterwork cold iron longspear
  • Feather Token – Swan Boat
  • Ring of Swimming

Tragedy strikes

We also found the body of a small boy, clearly tortured for days if not weeks before he was killed. We had found Tig Tannerson.

“No! No! This is not right!” Elara bellowed. With a torch she lit fire to the lizardmen’s wooden palisade. “We will not stand for this. We see another lizardman and they are dead!”  Regina out of character noted that this was the tipping point for Elara. Forget about protecting nature, that never works. She is now first and formost an Aldori!

XP Rewards

We had missed out on XP for session 9, so we did the combined XP of session 9 and 10, putting us right at 35,001 XP. 7th level!

Thoughts on this game

There is a visceral reaction I get (and a lot of people have) in response to violence against children. It’s not something I can’t handle, but I certainly don’t like it, and I like even less being powerless to stop it. I’m really, really curious how a group was supposed to find the lizardmen in time to stop them from killing Tig. The moment we heard that he was missing we went searching for him. We searched every hex we passed until we arrived back at the Tusk and found it on fire. After that we got pretty damn distracted killing owlbears and taking care of kingdom affairs, but I don’t think any of that mattered. He was already long dead by then.

This is kind of an ongoing issue I have with Kingmaker. As much as I love exploring, the whole game feels like a giant fog of war. We’re constantly walking into situations unprepared and our efforts to do reconnaissance are high risk, low yield. Generally speaking when we send someone else to get information, it comes in at a snail’s pace (examples: sending out spymaster to research the cult/serial killer), when we try to infiltrate it ends in violence we’re unprepared for (Stag Lord’s keep, Lizardmen holding, Goody Niska, etc). Other times asking people in the know (Aldo, Rombalard, Arvin) they give us short term leads (Tazzleworms over there, A mean old turtle over here) but nothing comprehensive.

Net result is that we’re never prepared for the disasters at hand and our characters look like idiots. On the flip side though our characters, which aren’t even all that optimized, are insanely deadly, so given even a few rounds to prepare, we make many challenges trivial. That’s also tied into resource allocation. The Kingmaker default is one fight per day, so in every fight we can afford to throw every spell and once per day ability at it.

I see the conundrum. Let us get prepared and we’re likely to breeze through the challenges. Increase the difficulty of the challenges and we’ll only survive if we’re perfectly prepared. Attempt to enforce more conservative resource management means more fights per day, which means less happening in the game and, perhaps ironically, less exploration.

Either way, screw those fucking lizard fuckers. Yeah, I know it was a will-o-wisp, but our characters never learned that.

Plans for next game:

  • Offer the Hag’s Shabble to the swamp witch as a peace offering.
  • Talk to Sootscale and find out what he’s up to and why the fighting keeps going on
  • Kingdom turns: settle Oleg’s Trading post, build cheap structures to improve our kingdom stats (Shrine to Gorum, yeah, yeah?)
  • Kill some fucking trolls.
  • Raise and army out of nothin

Actual Play – Reconstruction (2/12/2014)

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

We tried something new here, which was doing Kingdom turns online. There isn’t much role-playing during the kingdom turns, most of it is administrative work, which email works well for. We got a Google spreadsheet and went to town!

Chaos during Adventuring

During our adventures, two events happened that severely effected Aldoria’s stability:

  • Grigori incited the people against us (+4 Unrest)
  • A monstrous owlbear tore through the city killing over a hundred people and leaving a wake of destruction in his path. (+2 Unrest. Inn and House destroyed, City wall damaged).

Turn 13 – Reconstruction

  • Kingdom is stable (-1 Unrest)
  • Consumption (-2 BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Royal Enforcer: A local community organizer that has been riding on the coat tails of the trouble Grigori stirred up, has all his hair fall out, breaks out in boils and there are persistent rumors of his impotence. (-1 Unrest)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • Farm in DC (-4 BP, -2 Consumption)
  • Watchtower  built in D6 ( -12 BP, -1 Unrest)
  • House rebuilt (-2 BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Barracks built (-3 BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Graveyard built (-4 BP)
  • Income Result: (+20BP)
  • Event: Good Weather (+2 Loyalty, Economy, and Productivity until next turn)

Turn 14 – Reconstruction continues

  • Kingdom is stable (-1 Unrest)
  • Consumption (-1 BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Royal Enforcer: All is quiet. (-1 Unrest)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • House built (-3 BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Shrine to Abadar built (-8 BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Inn rebuilt (-5 BP)
  • Income Result: (+24BP)
  • Event:  Outstanding Success (Settlement): One of your kingdom’s citizens creates an artistic masterpiece, constructs a particularly impressive building (Shrine of Abadar), or otherwise brings glory to your kingdom. Fame increases by 1, your Treasury increases by 1d6 BP, and Unrest decreases by 2. You gain a +4 bonus on Economy checks until the next Event Phase. (+1 BP, -2 Unrest)

Aldoria, Month 14




Hexes Claimed


The Tusk!



 The Plan to catch a cult!

Karen and I have been talking about this a lot outside of game. My first thought is, we need like as 12 hour session. Maybe two of them. Dennis, you’re with that right? Maybe March 8 through March 9th? Yeah?

The second thought was we need to start piecing together the disparate pieces of information we’ve got. Loving the idea that we’d actually be running strings between pieces or parchment in the fiction, here’s my version of it in Visio.


PDF version

Thoughts on this game

This was the first time we tried playing online. It worked out well because everyone had some free time, but I don’t think it’s sustainable for things other than administrative work.

This did get me thinking that some of that downtime could be fleshed out though some in a play-by-post format. For instance, I wouldn’t advocate playing out scenes with significant interaction over email, but Regina could write a nice post about retiring Kiri to stay with Rudoplho, or I could have a recounting of training with the priests of Gorum. I’d be up for it if we had another stretch of downtime between games.