Actual Play – Path of Destruction (2/9/2014)

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

Man, this was another brutal session. James Jacobs, I give you props for bringing on some serious pain. I’ll go into more detail below, but I left with a real damned if you do, damned if you don’t taste in my mouth after the game. We had left city to clear the way for settlers. Had we not done that, a spy wouldn’t have been found, and our settlers would have had to contest with a dozen Tatzlwyrms. But, since we did leave, we missed a rampaging owlbear that wreaked havoc on our city, killing 112 people, and injuring more than two hundred more.

It sucked every way from Sunday…which rocked. I’m looking forward to figuring a way out of this mess.

World Building

Before the adventuring started, Dennis promoted us to do some more world building, focusing around two of our family members:

Savia Aldori. Clearly with Savia around, a scandal needed to crop up. And sure enough, after Grigori’s trial, once we had left the city, Savia started talking. It started as bragging about her son, but turned sour after too much drink. She told everyone the trial was rigged against the bard, and that we just wanted him dead. (All true, we just didn’t want the public to know that). Toti tried to stop her from running her mouth off and was bit on the hand for her efforts. Savia turned particularly cruel in that moment and let out her dark secret, that Toti was a twin, and that her sister Tati died in childbirth, strangled by Toti’s umbilical cord.

Edward Aldori. As our warden Edward had been playing the role of mayor of the Tusk, even though that wasn’t his actual position. He asked Miquela how she would like to proceed in governing the city. We discussed it and agreed that there would be an appointed mayor and elected aldermen for each district of the city that would serve as the mayor’s council. Edward would start interviewing candidates for mayor. Additionally we needed to hire some guards proper, as the soldiers that were acting as guards just weren’t suited for it.

Family Reunited

As Mia was back, Toti was reunited (didn’t much feel like staying in the Tusk after the incident with her mother) with her cousins in the woods. We we’re happy to see her, but sad for the new she brought. There was some discussion of “what to do with Savia” and we ended up deciding Merrowyn would hook her up with some smarmy boy toy, which should keep her occupied for a few months. (Note from future Merrowyn: Merrowyn will not be doing this).

Exploring F3

In the morning Toti wandered off into the woods to have herself a nice primal scream or seven (still upset about her mother) and got lost..

We searched for her but after hours of searching instead of finding her, Miquela found a giant bear. A gods damned giant bear! It roared at her loud enough to strip the bark off trees. She ran from it, climbed up a three and was just knocking backer her animal bane arrow when she heard a mans voice calling out “Felix. Felix! FELIX!!!” A A half dressed man burst out of the woods holding a bar of soap with one hand and his unlaced trousers up with another. He apparently had been taking a bath.

After the confusion was over, the man introduced himself as Rombalard, the ranger we had heard about. The rest of us met up and he of course made instant friends with Kiri. He also made an instant impression on Merrowyn and Elara. Possibly all of the Aldori ladies. Rombalard is a pretty, pretty man.

To make up for the scare, we asked him to help us find Toti. From what I know of Rom personality, he probably would have helped us find Toti if we had just sent a wild bear on him! We searched all day and of course found her back at camp, sipping hot toddies and singing shanties with Tad.

That night over the camp fire Rombalard shared some of his knowledge with us.

  • The area to our west was known to include Tatzlwyrms. A nuisance by themselves, but dangers in mated pairs or in packs.
  • The trapper up north that we found dead in his own trap was probably Klein. A particularly anti-social hunter!
  • In the Slough nearby is a tribe of lizardmen, led by a priest king. The are very territorial and brutal. We’re going to have to deal with them sooner or later.
  • On the subject of werewolves he got very cagey. At first he didn’t want to admit anything beyond the fact that the stolen lands were full of them, but after some persuasion, admitted that there were stories of a werewolf lord that he suspected were true. He thinks werewolves may be the reason nobody has able to settle the stolen lands for a thousand years, and that if there is a lord, and there probably is, it might be the same one this whole time.
  • Aldo use to be a general. 30 years ago he led an army in a great battle. Hmmm, I wonder if this is an Easter egg from the designers or just a coincidence.
  • He didn’t much like Jubalist either. He called the gnome a grifter who posed as an explorer.

Though Merrowyn told him he had best keep one of there beds warm that night (in pretty much those words), Rombalard stayed up all night talking to Miquela and noting improper happened. From Merrowyn’s perspective, a bloody shame.

Oh yeah, adventuring!

tatzlwyrmWe spent three days exploring the area and all was peaceful until we ran into a sandy beach with two tatzlwyrms tanning themselves, apparently asleep.

We snuck up close, took out our bows, and shot the hell out of them! Both were dead in moments, but then 10 shot up out of the water and attacked. It was a merry battle in dead. Miquela got to slice and dice [attacking four times in a round using both of her weapons] and Merrowyn got in a wrestling match with one that did not end pretty for the wyrm.


Be it ever so trampled, there’s no place like home

After setting Roy Resnick, his wife, and followers up in a nice safe spot we headed back to the Tusk… which we found on fire.

It was bad. Really bad. A huge section of wall was torn down and something had rampaged through the streets crushing people and buildings. There were fires everywhere. People were trying to keep things together but the damage was severe. As we got further into the city it just got worse. We arrived at the Advocate’s Rest and saw the roof had collapsed but there were still people trapped inside. Of all people Cobb and Akiros were the ones trying to hold one of the supports up so that Edward could help people out.  Miquela and Merrowyn jumped in to help brace, and with their strength were able to raise the support up so that most of the inn’s inhabitants could be rescued. Some didn’t make it.

city_on_fireThe Town Hall was also on fire, and a whole district of houses had been destroyed.  In the chaos, Edward and Akiros had kept their heads. The told us than a monstrous owlbear, bigger than anything they had ever seen, had rampaged through the city. The Fearsome Badgers pelted it with flaming arrows to draw it’s attention, and led it out of the city. Akiros put his hand on Merrowyn’s shoulder and gave her and consoling look. “He died well” and she knew exactly what he meant. Marcus lead the light infantry unit. The ones who would be peppering them with the arrows, the ones that probably saved the city, and the ones that it murdered.

Merrowny through his hand off her, got on Horse and started bolting through the city, following in the wake of this monster. Elara went after her while Toti and Miquela stayed to do disaster relief in the Tusk.

Miquela and Toti: [Stability check DC 2o succeeded to save the Town Hall]. After putting out the fires they learned that this owlbear was different. Not only was it monstrously big, bit it had armor on. Poorly made and patched together in places, but armor. Owlbears aren’t sentient and would normally do this kind of thing.

Elara and Merrowyn: Swan boat used to catch up with the thing and track it’s back to it’s lair, where Tad, Miquela, and Toti caught up with us.

Monster_OwlbearKilling the Hell out of J7

Expecting one hell of a fight we prepared with every magical reinforcement we could. [I think we hit our record of buff effects: Bull Strength, Bless, Aid, Prayer, Shield of Faith, Shield, and later of course rage and a barrage of fire and lightning].

Entering the cave we smelled the stench of the Owlbear’s ordure and saw that despite our light sources, it went quite deep. We wouldn’t be able to just drive him out, we’d have to go in.  And there was a lot of in.

First, living off the dung piles, we encountered shrieking fungus. It’s piercing shrill must have alerted everything in the care to our presence so we back up to the mouth of the cave to see what would come out.

What came out first were a pair of shambling mounds. Ready to fight a monster owlbear, we pelted them full of arrows, flaming spheres, and spiritual crossbow bolts. By the time they made it to us, as Miquela shredded them to ribbons with her swords.

Just as the last one fell though we heard thundering roar that made the entire cave shake and from it’s depths came the monstrous owlbear. I was really happy when I rolled a crit on the final blow to kill the ever-loving-fuck out of that thing! Oh, and yeah, it tore us up something fierce!

After killing it, the rest of the denizens in the cave scattered like the wind, so we explored it relatively unimpeded by spiders, fungus, and ettercaps that otherwise would have given us grief. At the end we found that the cave had another entrance, and in it was the remains of a savage battle fought a few weeks ago (based on the state of the decaying bodies). Another monstrous owlbear, presumably the one we just killed’s mate, along with a dozen tiger lord barbarians. The leader wore a ring made of braided hair wrapped around a silver wire. The owlbear we fought had a similar ring around one of it’s talons as well.

We camped overnight and in the morning Toti prepared a spell to speak with the dead. We questioned the Tiger Lord but his will was inimical to ours, and he provided few useful answers. His name was Eriiiiiik, he hailed from the unending plains in the east, and performed all his acts of his own volition. Thank’s Eriiiiiiiiik!

Between the discarded bits on the cave, and what we looted off the Tiger Lord, we claimed the following:

  • Masterwork Thieves Tools
  • Silversheen
  • Wand of Lightning Bolts (33 Charges)
  • Chain Shirt +2
  • Longsword +1
  • MW Throwing Axes x2
  • Potion of Speak with Animals x2
  • Restorative Ointment
  • Antitoxin
  • Smoke Sticks x2
  • Tanglefoot Bag
  • Tunderstone
  • Eyes of the Eagle
  • Blood Reservoir of Physical Prowess
  • Gold (267 total)
  • Shambling Mound sap (quest item)

Some really good stuff in this haul. The weapons, armor, and wand will all go into the sell pile, but the eyes of the eagle are great, and the blood reservoir is the perfect kind of creepy blood doping kind of magic item that Merrowny would use. I love it.

Return Home

We returned with the head of another beast, but it was a joyless victory. Some information was learned though. Cobb said he had finally had a break through on the cult, and on the serial killer. The killer was in fact, only killing cultists. And he or she was doing so incredibly professionally, better than Cobb’s men. It seems our serial killer was probably helping us out (maybe even our mystery royal enforcer).

We’ll be looking into that!

Thoughts on this game

I’m hoping that I’m just being slow in not understanding the connections between the characters. Clearly there are clues that link our royal enforcer to being the serial killer, and possibly being from Daggermark (assassin and poisoner). There are ties between the unidentified prisoner we never found being the Gryronna cult leader, but we don’t know either of their identities so not much help there. I’m putting bets that the swamp witch is the leader (taking different forms to attract different levels of society) or that she would at least know something about her. I hope some of these connections are real and that we can discover them through play next session, as that will finally start to make some sense out of all our trouble.

As mentioned at the start this session was rough. Dennis was very wise by making the carnage personal and killing one of our named NPCs. Marcus wasn’t critical to the story, but he was important to me, and more so to my character. Merrowyn, who is normally a little indignant, is now in full on “fuck this place” mode. For her everything about adventuring on the open road is great, and everything about running a kingdom is miserable. She’s still upset about not being able to fight in Grigori’s trial, and now she’s just lost he lover. As a player I don’t want to be disruptive to the group, but every chance I have for Merrowyn to act out without hurting everyone else, I’m going to take.

Rombalard was a bit over the top, but I like him. I’m happy that we made contact, made a friend and got some useful information out of him. Kingmaker author’s I commend you on creating NPCs that are interesting and tie our characters more into the world. Now I’m curious about Aldo leading an army, about this Werewolf Lord, and other deets.

Fucking Trolls. That is all.


Actual Play – Heavy is the head… (1/12/2014)

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

Damn, this session was a bitch. Problems at every turn, often ones that we didn’t have the solution for.  This session could have been called, “Help me Toti Aldori, your my only hope”. Mia couldn’t make this session and it felt like at every turn we were like “oh, if Toti were here she could do this”. We got through it, but it was rough.

Breathing life into our Kingdom

We started the game doing some setting building, with each of us contributing a detail first of the castle and then of the town itself. Here’s the bits we added.

  • A rear sally port, currently empty except for a stack of hay in the corner. Where Merrowyn goes to both meet Cobb (if he has to come to the castle) and to get busy with Marcus.
  • The “throne” room without a throne, just a dais with a comfortable chair where a throne will some day go. Leading up to the room is a long hallway where the leaders can display their various trophies. To the side are ante chambers with long tables where meetings can be held.
  • The courtyard is simple but attractive. Filled with goats.

For Tusk itself we added these details.

  • At the town hall there is a stump of a large tree that was cut down so the building could be built in it’s place. The stump remains and those would would petition officials stand on it to make their claims. Someone in the night carved into the stump a title that has stuck “The Bitching Post”.
  • Our bank is the “First bank of the Tusk” run by Giuseppe Aldori a middle aged and incredibly fastidious man that frustrates himself trying to get everything perfect. Our coin has the bear crest of house Aldori on the front and “Triumph through Adversity” written in Talden on the back.

Picking up where we left off

After triumphantly slaying Howl of the North last session, we continued our (so far fruitless) search for the boy Tyg.

Exploring J5

mungukWe entered the steep hills to the south and soon found ourselves in a north-south traversing ravine. During camp we heard a horrible crashing sound, followed by others. Something big was making a lot of noise. As we thought to look closer, a giant rock soared overhead and crashed into nothing in particular.

When we traced the source back we saw a lumbering giant, clearly drunk, throwing a fit! He was distressed and angry. Munguk (the giant) felt like an encounter that screamed “diplomacy” but we just couldn’t fathom a way to make it work. None of us spoke giant and this was one of those cases were, for once, we were able to prepare for the battle in advance and fight on our own terms.

So, instead of trying to figure out what ailed him, we added swords and spells to the list of ailments. He hit hard (bringing the raging Merrowyn to 1 hit point) but we took him down, and walked off with his loot. And some crazy loot it was:

  • Hide Armor (large)
  • Masterwork Greatclub (large)
  • Three boots of different sizes (small, medium, and large)
  • A wooden bowl and spoon
  • Dwarf Jerky
  • A partially eaten pickled sheep’s head
  • A bent grappling hook
  • A battered (but functional) spyglass
  • Wand of Hideous Laughter (10 charges) that looked like driftwood
  • Necklace of fireballs Type 2, with a single 4d6 Fireball remaining.

I love the stuff they come up with this game. That wooden bowl is totally going to be a serving platter in The Tusk, and the greatclub is going on our wall.

Traveling through I4

Heading back to The Tusk we spotted three elk drinking from the Tustkwater Late. While we briefly considered elk stew, we decided that the chosen animal of Erastil should probably not be harmed. Instead Merrowyn had the brilliant idea of trying to herd them back to The Tusk with us to keep as royal elk.

Yeah… twenty minutes of screaming, kicking, and falling in the mud later, three very smug elk wandered off as Merrowyn chased them with her greatsword.

H5 – No luck with the swamp witch

The heading sums it up. We went to the Swamp Witch’s hovel, saw smoke (albiet blue and sickly) coming from the chimney and tried to get her attention. She wouldn’t answer our calls. Of course when we entered the Scarecrow hopped off his stand and came to block the way. We even tried having Elara take the form an Eagle and fly onto her room and peck at it. No dice.  She wasn’t coming out.

G4 – Fishing Stories

We found Arvin the ranger, sure enough, by a stream fishing. He was glad to see us and soon talked our ear off about fish…like he does.

When we showed him the shell of that took off that mean old turtle, he was elated, and happily gave us the ring of feather falling he had promised. Miquela had fun with that one, jumping off whatever she could.

We tried to get more information out of him about Tyg (he had been looking himself but not spotted the boy), the swamp witch (he could only tell us that the only person she ever liked was Aldo), and connecting up with hunters and trappers in the area (he suggested finding a respected ranger named Rombalard). After sharing a meal, and mining Arvin for information, we set off.

GrigoriHome sweet…WTF?!?

Literally as we walked through the gates into the tusk, we were instantly accosted by an angry crowd. Or rather we spotted an angry crowd, and when they spotted us, the rabble-rouser that was exciting them directed his furor at us, and at the shoddy jobs we had done as leaders. While Miquela tried to speak to him, he cut her off at every pass.

Finally, frustrated that everything we said was turned back on us, we eventually retreated to the castle, and angry (but not quite rioting) crowd at our back.

[Dennis turned to me and said, “Sean, add 4 unrest to your kingdom”. Ouch]

As soon as we had a moment we check with all the other leaders to find out who this guy was and what his problem was. Edward (our Warden) told us he just showed up after we left and started aggravating people. He would have locked him up but he hasn’t committed a crime. Cobb (our Spymaster) said much the same, but offered to off him if that’s what we wanted. Thanks Cobb, you’re a sweetheart. Both reported that he was never without a crowd around him, even when he returned to his room in the inn at night.

We wanted to speak him privately so we sent Edward and Marcus to bring him to the castle. When the returned some time later with black eyes and split lips we gathered that it didn’t go so well. He turned the people against the guards and they had to either give up or start killing our citizens.

Deciding that if he was fighting dirty, we would have to as well (or at least Miquela agreed after much insisting from Merrowyn) we arranged to clear out the inn at night (helps when your mother runs the place) and then pay him a visit. We caught him snoring, with the wainwright’s wife in his bed. We delivered her to her husband’s doorstep and hauled him (gagged) back to the castle.

Interrogating Grigori

Once inside the castle, with only Marcus, Edward, Miquela, Merrowyn, and Elara as his audience, we started by talking at him (while he was still gagged). Miqeula told him that we both wanted the same thing, for people to live and prosper in Aldoria. Unless of case he didn’t want that, and then we had a problem.

As soon as the gag was removed, he took the predictable route of calling us all tyrants and saying that we were oppressing him. We first started with diplomacy. Miquela did as well as she possibly could (A hero point and lots of help) and still couldn’t get him to crack.  When diplomacy failed, I stepped in with rage. Merrowyn rolling intimidate while raging, being aided by threats from others and spending a hero point as well, is a terrifying thing (total: 41). Grigori’s bowels got the better of him and his desire to live betrayed his professionalism.

He couldn’t tell us much useful, only that he had been hired by an agent to sow discord in our kingdom. It didn’t really give us any leads as to who was trying to hurt us, but it did give us grounds to try him for treason!

merrowyn_cropMerrowyn’s Rage

Merrowyn really, really, really wanted to be the advocate that fought to prosecute him. He had hired an advocate Sergio Duval to defend him, and she was sure that she could take him. She was so excited to do it…until Edward said that she shouldn’t. Law shouldn’t be executed with rage and passion, but instead with calm determination. He convinced Miquela and after that Merrowny was out, stuck on the sidelines.

She hated it. She hated being robbed of her moment of glory. She hated standing there useless while someone else fought her battles. She hated that the someone else happened to be he pompous as hell Domingo. She hated that others didn’t believe in her. That her temper had backfired on her. That in everyone’s eyes that mattered she was still a child. It didn’t matter that she was the “General of Aldoria”, she wasn’t respected. What she hated most was that they were probably all right.

The duel proceeded according to Aldori law. The advocates each stated their claim to the judge, who agreed that they were worth of dueling. The faced each other with nothing but leather armor and their own dueling swords. All magical items, except their swords, were confiscated, and they fought until Domingo had to kill Sergio in order to win (and presumably not die himself).

Miquela, who has presided over the event, dispensed her justice and Grigori was executed by Edward’s hand. Merrowyn watched from up top a wall, drinking herself stupid with Marcus who was wise enough to not say a word. The only he did do was make a “huh” noise when he saw Edward behead Grigori as swiftly as he’d have put on shoes. Apparently the apple doesn’t fall that far from the tree.

Grigori’s Loot

Once killed, we also totally took all his stuff. Like you do.

  • Potion of Cure Light Wounds (5)
  • Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (5)
  • Potion of Undetectable Alignment (5) x3
  • Scroll of Scare (5)
  • Scroll of Soundburst (5)
  • 20 x Silver Caltrops
  • Chain Shirt +1
  • MW Buclker
  • Rapier +1
  • MW Shortbow

Besides the healing potions and caltrops, everything went into the sell pile.

Matters of State

While in The Tusk, we had several other matters of state to attend to. Merrowyn missed a few of these due to her three day drunken bender, but Miquela and Elara handled all these things well.

Roy Resnick (Aldo Resnick’s son we found out) asked for permission to establish a settlement in the Narlmarshes, into a region we had not explored, and independent of Aldoria. After some discussion we agree to allow him to do so, with a few provisions.

  • First we were going to explore the area and make sure it was safe.
  • We would aid them in there settlement, offering supplies and man power (a few build points)
  • Once we expanded that far, their settlement could be annexed into Aldoria

hedgehog-11979-1600x900In order to read the map we took off Munguk we asked around for someone who spoke giant. It took several days but eventually we got word that the person to talk to was Leccio. So we put out word that his knowledge would be welcome and rewarded. When he did show up, it was all that the court could do not to barrel over laughing. Leccio is a hedgehog. Awakened by a druid long ago to prove some kind of point (which backfired horribly on the Druid) he has since gone about studying everything he can, with a particular interest in siege artillery!

Leccio was a delightful fellow and he asked if he could have a job in our castle. We made him Magister. Right on the spot. He was delighted, as was Tad (who wanted out the job since the start)!

Aldo arrived. He was delighted that we had killed Howl of the North, happy that his son was here, but absolutely, positively, would not, under any circumstances go anywhere near the swamp witch. She was bad news who gave him a lifetime of pain and he didn’t want to go through that again. He suggested that we stay clear of her… which we might very well do. He rewarded us as promised with:

  • +1 Animal Bane arrows (2)
  • +1 Dragon Bane arrows (2)
  • +1 Fey Bane arrows (2)
  • +1 Giant Bane arrows (2)
  • +1 Undead Bane arrows (2)
  • +1 Magical Beast Bane arrows (2)

Metal-cestus-transparentDuring their stay, Merrowyn commissioned a few items, specifically for dealing with their fey and werewolf infestations.

  • Masterwork Cold Iron short short sword
  • Mithral (imported from Rostov) cestus

Back on the Road

 G4 – Searching for Tyg, finding Gnomes!

Traveling near the Skunk River on our way out west, we heard the commotion of people in trouble. When we crested the hill we discovered a caravan of gnomes in distress. Their wagons and ponies were nearly swept up by the river.

Elara and Merrowyn dove in the water, while Miquela got the horses ready to start pulling. We free’d the ponies from the wagons and the pulled the wagons to shore. A few parcels were lost but everyone was safe and we saved the day. Hooray, we’re heroes.

JubilostOr maybe not. When we introduced ourselves and asked what they were doing, we almost immediately got contradictory answers. Their leader Jubilost Narthropple said they had been attacked by kobolds trying to ford the river, but his workers were clearly upset about something more. When we asked them, the tried to silence them, to the point were we eventually had to muzzle him to hear their story. They were map makers, but they had taken particular interests in things that didn’t seem quite right.

We looked at the maps and saw the were general except where they concerned Aldori, in which case the were incredibly detailed! When we interrogated him and discovered (from his wayfinder, ooh la la) that he was a pathfinder. Also, that he has been hired by someone in Daggermark (the largest of the River Kingdoms, know for it’s assassins guild and poisoner’s guild) to draw maps of Aldoria!

First treason then espionage! Who are these people that have such a hate on for us? Rulers of Daggermark? Issian’s hiring people indirectly to hide their affiliation? Someone else all together?

We bound him, took his possessions, and told him we would try him for espionage, after we finished clearing the path for Roy and his people. This spy was well equipped:

  • Wayfinder
  • Amethyst Pyramid Ioun Stone
  • Alchemist Fire x2
  • Antitoxin
  • Caltrops
  • Thunderstone
  • Potion of Cure Light Wounds (5) x 3
  • Potion of Expeditions Retreat (5)
  • Chain Shirt +1 (small)
  • Light Crossbow +1 (small)
  • MW Cold Iron Heavy Pick (small)
  • Feather Token (Swan Boat) x2
  • Sunrod x 3

 NixieF4 – Heavy woods with heavy woes

We heard shouting ahead and entered a clearing filled with lumberjacks surrounding a pond. In the pond was a small female fey, exposing only her head above the surface. On the edges of the pond were two of the men holding axes against their brothers, charmed by the fey.

We tried to settle the peace and figure out what the creature wanted. She was infuriated that her kin (the trees) had been cut down and she was going to take back from those that had taken from her. We tried to negotiate peacefully but both sides wanted mutually exclusive goals. We were ready to give into the nixie’s terms if she’d let the men free, but she wouldn’t do that until we brought her back her own brothers. We scoured our resources but could find no way to magically create two tree, nor would she be patient enough to wait for them to grow.

Eventually we were forced to act. The lumberjacks, while we were negotiating snuck up on their charmed brothers and tried to jump them. A fight broke out and we killed the nixie dead. Fey bane arrows, a squid grappling her, and a Cold Iron Fey Bane Sword rolling a critical hit meant she was over in hurry.

We felt pretty terrible about it. She was just defending her home, which we took by force. In squid form Elara took her body to the bottom of the pond and laid her to rest in her home. She also found there a half a dozen corpses. We felt less bad then, but still, wished we had some other solution. Sad or not, we took all her stuff.

  • Wand of Grease (29 charges)
  • Light Crossbow
  • Short Sword
  • Ring of Protection +1
  • Bandages of Rapid Recovery
  • Boots of the Cat

Korax and the other lumberjacks were happy that they were all free. We just wanted to put it behind us.

XP Rewarded

3,270. New total: 24,726.

6th level. Woot!

Future planning for our Kingdom Building Phases

Previously I had wanted to expand, but given the huge unrest hit we just got, I have a new plan. We’re hurting on Unrest and Stability. To address those I say we do:

Month 13

  • Upkeep Phase
    • Roll well and hopefully reduce unrest. (-1 unrest)
    • Send our royal enforcer to quiet rabble-rousers. (-1 unrest)
    • Trolls! [+2 Unrest]
    • Consumption (just gotta pay it) [-2BP]
    • Pay House Aldori [-2BP]
  • Edict Phase
    • Terrain Improvement – Build a Watchtower on D6 (our gold mine) (+1 Stability, +2 Defense, -1 unrest) [-12BP]
    • Terrain Improvement – Build a Farm on D6 (-2 Consumption) [-4BP]
    • Building – Build a Barracks (half cost) in The Tusk (+2 Defense, +1 Law, -1 unrest) [-3BP]
    • Building – upgrade the Shrine of Erastil to a Temple (+2 Loyalty, +2 Stability, -2 unrest) [-24BP]
    • Let Giovanni lose his mind because we’ve drained the coffers, but we’re back down to 0 unrest, in time for our
  • Income Phase
    • Roll (1d20+40)/3 +5 BP added to the coffers. We can only fail this roll on a natural 1, and for that we’ve got hero points to spend for a reroll!
  • Event Phase
    • Hope the world doesn’t end. 

Quote of the game

“We can’t take you anywhere twice, unless it’s back to apologize” – Miquela, speaking of Merrowyn

Thoughts on this game

This was the total, “If only we had Toti” game. When facing Grigori we wanted someone who could Entrall the audience, or who could dispel his magic, or who could silence him, or could cast Eagle’s Splendor on of us to talk to him, or who could cast Zone of Truth… or Detect Evil… Sigh. Every turn.

In lesser degrees it kept happening. With Jubilost I wish she could have cast Zone of Truth. With Munguk, she could have read her Comprehend Languages scroll to speak to him. With the nixie she could have cast Dispel Magic to free the charmed lumberjacks. Even without her spells, when people were really upset what we wanted was our councilor to find out what was ailing them.

Somewhat related, Kingmaker has a lot of problems without obvious solutions. I like that, but I dislike that it isn’t obvious how you go about finding what those solutions should be. Here’s some examples:

  • For two sessions we’ve been running around trying to find a kidnapped boy with no leads whatsoever (except the first one which gave us a hex to start from). No NPC or exploration has given us any information except that he’s not here.
  • Grigori had us out classed at every turn. We decided to be “above” the law and drag him into a private meeting simply because we couldn’t think of any other way to do it. It was an ugly solution, but for the life of me I can’t think of a better one.
  • There is a serial killer in our town, we’ve possibly pieced together that they may be an assassin from Daggermark (this is speculation still) but even if that is true, the notion of travelling to Daggermark to figure out who is sending all this pain our way is foreboding. We’re working on the scale of clearing out one hex at a time. At our rate Daggermark is a lifetime away.
  • We similarly have no leads on werewolves, a secret cult (or secret society), or our spy. We’ve got some hunches, but nothing real leads to track down. The one person we do have, Jubilost, seems unlikely to give us more information.
  • The Nixie wanted something we just couldn’t give, fully grown trees. I’m sure there was a way we could have done it (finding a higher level druid perhaps) but nothing we had on us. Perhaps the lesson the module wants to teach is don’t try to solve every problem immediately, come back when you’re prepared. But had we done that, two innocent men would be dead.

I don’t want to bitch, as I’m loving the game, but once I’ve played it, I’m totally going to read the adventure path to trying and figure out what they hell the writers though the PCs would do.

We had some genuine frustration this game over the Grigori event. Dennis was pretty compassionate and told us that everyone hates Grigori, but man, did we feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I think our choices were fair, maybe not Lawful Good fair, but certainly at least Chaotic Good fair. Heh!

As a player I did have my hopes up about fighting a duel. I was really confident that Merrowyn could do it. She gets sneak attacks on a charge, and even if that didn’t work, she could feint, roll back (so as to avoid a full attack) and then hammer home a nasty sneak attack in person. From a distance she could do a dazzling display to demoralize, and as soon as she did do a sneak attack, she’d land a brutal beating to sicken. Between her raw output of damage, various debuffs, impressive acrobatics, and general versatility, I was pretty sure she could take most duelists her level.

That said, I know that sitting around while one player gets to act and everyone else waits can be boring and frustrating, so I don’t begrudge anyone for allowing an NPC to step in (and thus not have the dice rolled). I’d just like to see how I can do.

Actual Play – Howl of the North Trophy Room (12/28/2013)

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

Less paper, more rock! Amazingly, I was a tad disappointed that we didn’t do another Kingdom building turn. I mean, I love adventuring, but I was kind of hoping to build that pier!

A questing we will go

Last session we were so eager to run out in the woods and kills stuff that we didn’t pick up the plethora of quests available to us. Dennis fixed that this time by having Tad give us one, Toti deliver some others (Mia missed last session and so Toti was joining us) and have us “remember” a few others from before we left The Tusk.

  • An alchemist, oh hey, Tad, believes that Troll’s Blood might be a powerful reagent in creating healing potions. He wants a sample. I think the reward is healing potions. Nom!
  • There is a dragon in the Narlmarches. We should go get rid of that thing. I don’t know dragons in Pathfinder but I’m suspecting we’ll do well to stock up on fear and acid resistance!
  • Aldo the old hunter told us a story of the one that got away. A worg named Howl of the North Wind. Supposedly somewhere in the Kanelands, Aldo hoped we could finish the job!
  • Lily Tuskerton, a young flirt and explorer from a minor family is in search of Elven ruins. If we could find any for her, she’d be ever so grateful. There are supposed to be some in the southern Narlmarches.
  • Shambling mound sap is wanted. Bounty: 600 gold and three (3) potions.
  • Young Tyg Tannerson disappeared south east of the Tusk. If we can find him, the people will be delighted (+2 Loyalty).

There were also a few lingering quests that we had to wrap up.

  • Arvin wanted that old turtle dead, and a shell to prove it!
  • A poster outside Oleg’s Trading Post offered a reward for the killing of one giant boar: Tuskgutter.

Adventure Time

With Toti joining us, we headed out for more adventure, and to complete some of our quests!

Exploring G8

werewolfNothing here…except a pack of werewolves that were hunting us! Toti was the one who noticed them approaching. She quietly woke us all and cast a prayer to bless her allies and doom her foes. The fight was quickly on. Six of them had us surrounded but we used tactics!

Merrowyn made a Dazzling Display with Great Bog and because of her Frightening presence and Intimidating Prowess, all six werewolves were frightened and ran away for a round. That round bought us all time to prepare.

Elara cast Bull Strength on Miquela. Toti Blessed the Group. Miquela used her Tactician ability to share her Outflank feat and handed her Dueling Blade to Tad. Merrowny drew out her Ioun Stone and cast a shield on herself. Tad got busy applying Silver Weapon Blanch to Miquela’s blade

Then the Werewolves charged!

The fight was a good practice round for trying out various tactics. Elara got several spells off (Flaming Sphere, a second Bull Strength, and a Summons). Toti added Bless, Spiritual Weapon and some channeling to the fray. The support and every round attack spells (Flaming Sphere and Spiritual Weapon) worked great. Some things didn’t work out: Toti firing her crossbow and the summoned wolf. The melee fighters did okay though Miquela had every other round silver weapons (thanks to Tad) and Merrowyn just tried to overpower their damage reduction with big power attack hits and cleaves.

Lessons learned from this fight (and the later worg fight confirmed)

If critters flee from Dazzling display, Elara should follow up with one of many spells that will prevent them from charging back. Options: Entangle (creates difficult terrain even if they make their save), Soften Earth and Mud (same), Obscuring Mist (Can’t run through what you can’t see), Stone Call (does damage and creates difficult terrain), Sleet Storm (Blocked vision and difficult terrain).  As a contingency, if Elara can help out, Toti could cast Darkness on them.

Alternately, Elara could set her spear and ready an action to impale would be chargers!

We should always have a secondary weapon (or arrows) silver blanched. There are just too god damn many werewolves out here to keep getting caught off guard by them.

After the fight.

When the werewolves reverted back to their human form we had some disturbing discoveries.

  1. One of the werewolves was a Blacksmith from the Tusk. A young man who had a promising future. Now he was naked and dead.
  2. One of the others had a handkerchief that was preserved in an air tight container. The kerchief was one of Miquela’s. It had her monogram sewed in. It had been preserved to save her scent so the werewolves could track us down. This wasn’t a random attack. It was a an assassination attempt. We tried to track them back, but as far as we could get was were they made camp the night before. They had been watching us!


We also found cold hard loot on them. Always a pleasure

  • Swarmbane Clasp – Granting the wielder the power to resist the distracting effect of swarms and fight them normally. (Elara)
  • Ring of Protection +1. Handy for keeping us not dead. (Toti)

We looked but no sign of Tyg Tannerson here.

Exploring H8

We found a straight up tomb! Like a crypt of old tomb. So old that the entire thing besides the entrance had been covered over by dirt and vegetation. It looked like some sacred place…so we kicked the door in!

Inside we found a trap, which was insanely lucky because I rolled a Natural 20, getting a 28 (Perception +8) on the DC. Disarming the trap was also insanely lucky (spent a Hero point before the roll, added to a bonus for our good ideas of filling the poison excreting statues with mud, and some masterwork thieves tools… and we just hit the Disable Device DC (28 as well) to avoid being poisoned four different ways.


From the skeleton that didn’t make his DC 28 checks, we found a lot or rotten garments as well as a ring of sustenance. Woot, Elara can have guard duty all night long! But for reals. She has the highest perception check an low-light vision. Elara on guard duty all night long!

32-lonely_warriorRun, Skeletons, Run!

As we discussed he merits of “always stay on the left wall when exploring dungeons” we were beset on both sides by Skeletal Champions! Cleaving skeletal champions at that. These guys were of the tough-ish variety and we didn’t have much time… what we did have however was  a cleric with oodles of channeling!

Elara went eagle form and called lighting (yes, it can be used indoors) to blast skeletons from above. Merrowyn got cleave happy (yay, for undead being subject to sneak attacks) and Miquela got stabby as well, getting full attacks every round. Mostly though it was Toti. If she had really waned to she could have channeled three times in a round (Move actin, Standard action, + Standard action with Hero point), used up four of her daily 6 channels and destroyed them all in one go. As is, she played a bit more moderate and just blew up most of them.

It was then that we realized the entire crypt was desecrated grounds. Not good news for Cleric, but we persevered.

While Elara’s indoor storm was still raging we quickly moved through the rest of the crypt and found the head honcho in charge. A burial room with mosaics adoring the walls, all of the battered and cut up, presumably the the sole inhabitant. From the artwork and his dress, we guessed (Knowledge (History) checks, that he was an old, old dude, like over 1000 years. Most likely a barbarian chief, possibly a precursor to the current tiger lords. On his chest was an ancient and broken Taldan blade. A prize taken off a duelist he killed most likely.

When we entered he came to life, a man bent on revenge for those who would plunder his remains. And yeah, a plundering we came.

The fight

We weren’t so hot here, mostly because we were taken by surprise by an energy drain attack right off the bat. Miquela failed one save, got a temporary negative level and we all lost our shit a bit.  Merrowny took a potion of Aid for the temp hit points and attack bonus. What she should have done was cast shield (the AC would have been more useful). We all got stabby, while Elara dropped some more lightning on his dome and Toti traded out one of her 3rd level spell slots for a Cure Serious Wounds to drop 3d8+5 damage of positive energy on his dome. That polished him off, but we still have the negative energy level to deal with.

Loot and other aftermath

On the dude we found two magic items (the only thing that survived):

  • His broken +2 Fey Bane Cold Iron Longsword which we’re intent on fixing (see thoughts below)
  • A Catching Cape (one use magic item going in the sell bin)

The next morning Miquela spent a hero point and made the save to remove the Negative Energy Level. Phew.

We also dragged his now deader undead body out of the desecrated aground and Toti cast Speak with the Dead to ask him some questions.

  • First, he was a barbarian lord (as we suspected), and his crypt had been looted once before. By his own brother no less!
  • Second, after that act of sacralidge, he rose from the dead to go get his bloody blade back, and retrieve it he did. Though it was worse for the ware. Ironic, since we’re pretty sure he took the blade of a corpse himself.

Exploring I7

Nothing here but some clanless kobolds. They were already terrified of us, so Merrowyn incited a bit more fear and coerced them into spilling their guts. Toti cast Zone of Truth so they couldn’t like. Goblins to the south had taken out their tribe and now they were moving north to try and join the Sootscale Clan.

Elara wanted to treat them fairly, and Toti wanted one as a pet. We decided that sentient pets were the same thing as slaves and sent them packing, but not before one could filch a pouch of gold off Elara.

32-old_crackjawComing for you Turtle (I5)

We entered I5, continuing our search for Tyg, but also knowing there was a bounty on some a turtle’s shell and we were going to come to collect. Or at least all of us except Elara. Doing as a druid should I guess she wanted to see if the animal could just be persuaded to leave. It meant we wouldn’t get a reward, but a ring of feather falling (the reward Arctis had offered) wouldn’t make or break us, so we agreed to give piece a chance.

Then we found the mean old turtle, or rather it found us, and took a bight out of Elara. “Kill it” she yelled and the fight was on. How quickly turtle teeth in our asses change our minds.


Not only did we get a Turtle shell for Arctis as well as plenty of turtle meat for soup, we also found the body of another ambitious and optimistic druid (I crap you not, it’s in the text), and on him was an:

  • Elemental Gem of Water (when broken, summons a large Water Elemental). More on this in thoughts below.

ancientworgfinalSearching I5 for Tyg and what do we find… Worgs!

Right in that same spot we found old Tendriculos, that spot Merrowyn swore she would never stop being able to smell, Elara smelled something off.  And then from the underbrush came a pack, yeah a pack, of Worg! And at their lead was Howl of the North.

This was the first fight where we didn’t get to fight on our own terms. First off, we were often flanked, rather than flanking. More importantly half of us were on our asses the whole time.

For Merrowyn, I just stayed down. She was often cornered by two or three of them and standing up would invited all kind of pain. -4 to AC sucked (she got hit a lot) but -4 to attacks wasn’t bad since their AC was only 14. Miquela stayed up and was able to get flanks, so swinging from her knees wasn’t all that bad…except that she was back in the mud she promised she would never go back to again!

Elara tried to stand up and took some chomps. She also lost a spell trying to cast it defensively. Dennis gave her a really good idea, to wildshape into a quadruped. She changed into cheetah form and got to wrangling with them.  Between her previously cast flaming sphere and claw/claw/bite attacks, she tore them up!

Lessons learned

Again, we would have done better to create some difficult terrain. Merrowyn scared them off for a round (another good roll) but they just came charging back. See ways to create terrain above.

Wildshaping into a Cheetah was useful, but in retrospect a snake might have been better. They can’t be tripped and the free grab with a bite would have been nice too. Fewer attacks but d4+6 damage followed by constricting 2d4+12 wound have done nicely if Elara’s CMB was high enough to pull of he grab. Mostly thought, the benefit is not being tripped again.

After this fight, I realized that Kingmaker has a lot of melee combats that could be fought very differently by leaving a few people on the ground and others taking flight. Elara can wildshape into an eagle and cast from above. Toti (thanks to the Travel domain) can cast fly and do the same. Leaving Merrowyn, Miquela, and Kiri on the ground does mean them taking more of a beating, but it also means the casters don’t need to worry about defending themselves or casting defensively. All of this is based on the assumption that our enemies can’t fly and don’t have ranged attacks, which I’m sure some of them will.

Not that I think any of us will go down this path, but it looks like the best solution for fighting trippers is to be a monk(ey).


  • We totally killed Howl of the North and we’re taking his head back to The Tusk to put in our own trophy room.
  • We got a few other worg pelts, though none of us are tanners, so I doubt they’ll be worth anything. Winter’s in Aldoria are cold, Merrowyn wants a cloak make out of them!


We finished two questions, now we just need to turn them in and collect rewards!

XP for the session: 4,400 (Total: 21456).

Thoughts on next game

Glad we didn’t level this game. I like level five a lot. I’m glad we’ll spend at least two sessions there.

Next chance we get, I’m replacing my garden variety secondary weapons with a Mithral cestus (505 GP) and a Cold Iron Short Sword (20 GP). Yeah, a little pricey for the Mithral but FUCK ALL THESE WEREWOLVES!

We thought to cast Speak with the Dead on the thousand year old barbarian, but not on the freshly dead werewolves? What was wrong with us. We could have totally gotten the information we needed from their bodies. The next set of werewolf assassins will serve us better! That was really spooky. I’m looking forward to figuring out what’s going with this.

Fixing the broken Talden blade is giving me headaches. On one hand I think the CL of the sword is 8 (Minimum of enhancement bonus x 3 or min for Bane, which is 8).  Mending says it requires a CL of at least as high as was used to create it (which would be 8), but Make Whole says a destroyed item can be remade, but you have to have double the caster level (16 in this case). The weapon is described as broken, but half of the blade is missing (Mending requires that all the pieces are there). So it seems clear that Make Whole is necessary, but at CL 8 (broken) or 16 (destroyed). It makes a big difference not because the cost of paying for a 16th level caster vs. an 8, but because we have no idea how to find a 16th level caster! There are optional rules for repairing it by spending half what it would cost to craft it, which would end up being over 5K.

James Jacobs on the Paizo boards says a 8th level caster would do, and suggests buying a scroll. Ultimately though, it’s up to Dennis ad I could see this thing seriously tipping the balance of power in the game (at least with regards to Fey) if fixed cheaply, but also seriously tipping the balance of loot being divided (getting a weapon that is both worth 20K and having the group shell out 5K to have it fixed) if it costs bank.

Wow, so far we’ve found three feather tokens to make a boat, fan (to bush a boat) and anchor. We’ve also gotten an aquatic cummerbund, and finally an Elemental Gem of Water. Me thinks that island of Candlemere has some nasty shit on it.

We’ve still got all these troubles in the home front. A serial killer on the loose. A cult or secret society. A spy. Werewolves. People being generally upset about everything. Trolls in the south. Some or all of these might be related, but I want to spend next session trying to sort these out. Our kingdom needs us!

Actual Play – Aldoria – Year 1 (12/21/2013)

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

Yay Pathfinder! Boo, Mia couldn’t make it. We adventured in her stead.

A year of Aldoria

We decided to do 10 more Kingdom turns to round off the first year in Aldoria. Man, I wish someone took a picture of me. I was buried in my notebook (to record all the turn), my laptop (to track our current kingdom stats from turn to turn), and the printout of the Kingdom Building chapter from Ultimate Campaign. It was intense.

Thankfully Karen and Regina were willing do do all the rolling, and Regina did all the cutting and gluing of buildings into The Tusk (our capitol city).

Turn by Turn

Turn 3 – Albrich’s issues

  • Kingdom is Unstable (+3 Unrest)
  • Powerful community leader Albrich raises up commoners to object as developments move urban
  • Royal Enforcer: Later he was trampled by his own Oxen (-1 Unrest)
  • Edicts: Miquela steps up as ruler (Title: Swordlord). Edward Aldori steps in as Warden.
    • Coronation Festival (-1BP, +1 Loyaly)
  • Claim Hex F7 (-1 BP)
  • Mine built on Silvertop Mine F7 (-3BP, Diplomatic negotiations with the Sootscale established based on Kobold autonomy)
  • Road F6 (-3 BP)
  • House Built (-3BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Town Hall (-11BP)
  • Income Result: (+12BP)
  • Contribution to Aldori Family (-1BP)

Turn 4 – Local Leaders Upset

  • Kingdom is Stable (-1 Unrest)
  • Low level leaders in disagreement (+2 Unrest)
  • Consumption (-1BP)
    Edicts: Promotional changed from Token to Standard (Stability +2, Consumption +2)
  • Claim Hex E5 (-1BP)
  • Road E5 (-3 BP)
  • Jail Built (-7 BP, -2 Unrest)
  • Income Result: (+14BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-1BP)
  • Beneficial Event – Good Weather (Economy, Loyalty, Productivity +2 for one turn)

Turn 5 – A Spymaster for our Spymaster

  • Kingdom is Stable (+1 BP)
  • Edicts: Leadership edict. Cobb takes the roll of Spymaster. Mik Mek secretly assigned to spy on the Spymaster)
  • Claim Hex D6 (-1BP)
  • Road D6 (-3BP)
  • Mine D6 (-6PB, Gold mine)
  • Income Result: (+19BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Beneficial Event – Political Calm (+1 Loyalty, +1 Stability)

Turn 6 – Trolls at the Gates. A visit from Mivon

  • Kingdom is Stable (+1 BP)
  • Trolls at the Gates (Ongoing event +2 Unrest/turn)
  • Consumption (-1BP)
  • Claim Hex C6 (-1BP)
  • Road C6 (-1 BP)
  • Farm C6 (-2BP)
  • House Built (-3BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Watchtower Built (-6BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Income Result: (+14BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Beneficial Event – Visiting Celebrity from Mivon (River Kingdoms): Antonio Ribissi. (+4 BP, +1 Fame) Required that
  • Aldoria abide by the six River Freedoms:

1. Freedom of Speech
2. Oathbreakers Die
3. Walk any road, ride any river (no tolls).
4. Courts are for kings (abide by local laws).
5. Slavery is an abomination.
6. You have what you hold (right to take by force).

Turn 7 – Spy found in the Castle

  • Kingdom is Unstable (+1 Unrest)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • Royal Enforcer (Killed a spy and cyphers found in her room. She had sent them via raven but the rooker was a dupe not an accomplice) (-1 Unrest)
  • Claim Hex B6 (Oleg’s trading post)
  • Road B6 (-1BP)
  • Watchtower B6(Free, -1 Unrest)
  • Inn (-10BP, The Advocate’s Rest)
  • Income Result: (+18BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)

Turn 8 – Unexpected Find

  • Kingdom is Stable (-1 Unrest)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • Consumption (-1BP)
  • Claim C5 (-1BP)
  • Road C5 (-2BP)
  • Farm B6 (-2BP)
  • Noble Villa (-12BP)
  • City Wall Built (-2BP, -2 Unrest)
  • Income Result: (+20BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Event: Unexpected Find: Belt of Tumbling

Turn 9 – Grim White Stag sighting

  • Kingdom is Stable (+1 BP)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • Secret society (or cult) discovered (+1 Unrest)
  • Sawmill C5 (-3 BP)
  • Built Shrine to Erastil (-8BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Built House (-3BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Income Result: (+18BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Event: Natural Blessing. Grim White Stag spotted passing through (+4 Stability until next turn)

Turn 10 – Strozzi Park

  • Kingdom is Stable (-1 Unrest)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • Royal Enforcer: Serial Killer discovered (-1 Unrest)
  • Wondrous Item populated at Shrine: Aegis of Recovery
  • Claim Hex D5 (-1BP)
  • Bank (-28 BP)
  • Income Result: (+20BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Event: House Strozzi Erects a park (free) in our honor. Strozzi Park. (+1 Loyalty, -1 Unrest)

Turn 11 – Giovanni stops losing his hair

  • Kingdom is Stable (+1 BP)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • Royal Enfrocer: Small (dead) troll paraded through the streets (-1 Unrest)
  • Consumption (-1 BP)
  • Claim Hex B7 (-1BP)
  • Road B7 (-1BP)
  • Farm B7 (-2BP)
  • Income Result: (+19BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)

Turn 12 – Fire in the Tusk!

  • Kingdom is Stable (-1 Unrest)
  • Trolls at the Gates (+2 Unrest)
  • Royal Enforcer agitates the locals (-1 Unrest, -1 Loyalty)
  • Claim Hex D4 (Temple of Erastil)
  • Built Moat (-2BP, -1 Unrest)
  • Income Result: (+21BP)
  • Contribution to Alodri Family (-2BP)
  • Event: Fire started in the Town Hall. Put out by the bucket brigade.

Aldoria, Year 1


Aldoria – Leadership



Aldoria – Hexes



The Tusk – Year 1





Dennis, I have a lot of stats on my character sheet for stabbing things. I want to use some of them now.

After about five entertaining hours of kingdom building, our gracious GM entertained our desire to sate our bloodlust and kill some stuff. Our troubles (and stabbing opportunity) started inside our own town!

Cobb reported that one of our citizens (Saki, a woman that worked at the Advocate’s Rest) was killed last night. Ripped to pieces in the street. When we looked at the body, Elara determined the wounds were caused by an animal, a bear or wolf.

I probably jumped the gun a bit, but Merrowyn immediately blurted out “Werewolf” And a werewolf we found!

Chase Mechanics

We did some investigation and determined the werewolf had moved into the city last night, and was still there (he left a trail of bodies on his way). We closed the city gates (cause hell yeah, we built a wall) and set up guards at all the major buildings. The badgers were holding the watchtower as the castle. Merrowyn on the Inn, Elara at the park, and Miquela at the town hall.

We quickly cut the chase when Merrowyn (on watch) noticed a clawed hand suddenly on her shoulder. She nearly cut it off but then realized it was Mik Mek’s and he was alerting her to the werewolf just ahead in an alley… stalking the streets with a great axe!

Merrowyn whistled to signal an alert and then bolted to the town hall to meet the others, with a raging (yes, raging) werewolf hot on her heals. We tried out the chase deck, which involved laying down five cards (face down) and positioning our characters at different cards. Each card represented a challenge that you could overcome in one of two ways.  For example one was a spooked horse that you could either try to calm with a Handle Animal check (DC 10) or roll under with an Acrobatics check (DC 20).

The chase mechanics clearly favored someone with a variety of skills (or perhaps a group with a variety of skills) because I ended up using Climb, Intimidate, Acrobatics, and Handle Animal.  Fortunately, by virtue of being a human rogue with a 14 intelligence, Merrowyn can’t help but be a skill monkey.  She made it there, but not without being briefly tangled up with Mr. Barbarian Werewolf and eating a big piece of his Greataxe. Ouch!


When we did make it to the town hall Miqeula and Elara were ready! We were expecting a werewolf, so all of our weapons had been coated with silver blanch. Only good for one hit, but one was enough. Elara, knowing that magical fire would burn the creature, cast a flame blade spell, but not before endowing Miquela with bull strength. Miquela swigged a potion of Aid and stepped up, armed with a stack of temporary hit points. Merrowny backed out of the fight briefly to use the Shield spell stored in her Ioun Stone. All in all, we were hella organized!

Add that to Mik Mek dropping arrows into his head from afar, and hombre Barbarian Werewolf dropped. Leaving behind loots! Oh, and the body of a Tiger Lord (barbarians from the west)

  • Hide Armor
  • 4 Javelins
  • Potion of Remove Fear
  • Greataxe +1
  • 11 GP

No to bad for a scruffy nerf herder.

LeucrottaExploration before Expansion

Realizing that we were getting close to the borders of our expansion, this was the perfect time to go exploring again.

We marched east, to the edge of the stolen lands and set about exploring the hills there. All seemed calm when one night Merrrowyn heard a woman cry out in distress. She called her sisters to her and bolted over the hill…right into the trap of a Leucrotta.

The fight went well. Again I thought we had some solid tactics. The surprise round and first round (it beat me on initiative) was a little scary. Mr. badger-face bites hard.  I was alone so I as soon as I could I went  full defense (+4AC). Having my shield spell active before I ran over the hill (+4AC) put me at AC 28, and besides one natural 20 (which thankfully wasn’t confirmed) I was holding it off until the cavalry arrived.

We held up using some decent tactics, but it didn’t live long enough for most of them to pay off. Miquela opened up with a Shield of Faith potion and Elara first healed Merrowyn and then cast Flame Blade. I tried a demoralize move (but failed the intimidate check) and then later used the brutal beating to sicken it. That would have rocked (-2 to attack and damage is a nice condition to drop on baddies) but it died before we could reap the benefits.

In his lair, we found loots!

  • Masterwork Blue Dragonhide Breastplate
  • Masterwork Blue Dragonhide Heavy Shield
  • Ivory comb (50gp)
  • 86gp

End of Game deets

We were all 1,500 XP away from leveling, so we were pretty sure that between the XP bonus for getting a kingdom to 11 hexes and a settlement to 16 lots, plus that from killing critters, and completing the quest to Bokken, we would hit level five.

Woot for 3rd level druid spells and the Natural spell feat. Woot for the Tactician fighter ability and sharing the Outflank feat! Woot for Dazzling Display, Strong Impression (rogue talent), and Scout’s Charge! Yay for 3rd level Cleric spells and 3d6 Channeling!

Also some hiccups:

Because I can’t add, can’t subtract, and twice forgot to pay Uncle Bog his build points, we were actually 12 BP lower than I had recorded (47 instead of 59). The good news is that we also forgot to roll income on our first turn. So we should add a Economy +13 roll (DC 21) in BP. Hopefully that will split the difference.

I’m not sure if Hero Labs is tracking the Fighter Tactician archetype ability correctly.

Tactician (Ex)

At 5th level, a tactician gains this ability as the cavalier class feature. He may use this ability once per day at 5th level, plus one additional time for every five levels after 5th (to a maximum of four times at 20th level). If the tactician also has cavalier levels, these levels stack for determining the number of uses per day, and he can take the better progression.

Tactician (Ex)

At 1st level, a cavalier receives a teamwork feat as a bonus feat. He must meet the prerequisites for this feat. As a standard action, the cavalier can grant this feat to all allies within 30 feet who can see and hear him. Allies retain the use of this bonus feat for 3 rounds plus 1 round for every two levels the cavalier possesses. Allies do not need to meet the prerequisites of these bonus feats. The cavalier can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus one additional time per day at 5th level and for every 5 levels thereafter.

As I read it, that means the fighter gets a bonus Teamwork feat at 5th level, but Hero Labs doesn’t offer one up. Some more discussion on this here:

Thoughts on this game

So much fun, but Kingdom building takes a lot longer than I expected. I thought we’d do 10 turns in an hour or two. It took half the day! But well worth it. I really enjoyed the twists and turns we hit along the way.

Kingdom plans for turn 13

  • Special Edict: Offer to create an Embassy in Mivon and open trade with them!
  • Claim two plains hexes (-2BP)
  • Add Farms to both (-4BP, remove all our consumption)
  • Add Roads to both (-2BP)
  • Building: Pier (upgrades to Waterfront, should make Giovanni happy)
  • Building: Foundry (improves the output of our mines!)


Actual Play – And we shall call this land… Our land! (11/24/2013)

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

So much fun playing Pathfinder! Now that we have Mia in the group, I feel like we’ve got a perfectly motley crew of Aldori daughters.

TL;DR – We founded an new kingdom, with the intent to build our strength and they ally with Rostland! We also patrolled the region near our capitol and found some of Gloarion’s more aggressive flora, to which we applied sword and flame in equal measure.

This actual play report is a bit long. I’m dedicating the first portion of it to discuss a topic that is near and dear to my heart…

System Matters

After this game a twitter feed that sparks my particular interest followed:

The essential crux of this argument is that system matters. I’ve been parts of system matters conversations on forums, over email, and in person. I’ve also taken both sides of the argument. For me it comes down to this:

System Matters argument:

If the game system you are playing doesn’t mechanically reinforce the game play it strives for, that game won’t happen. Fantastic examples of this are D&D 4th Edition and World of Darkness. 4th Edition is extremely honest about it’s goals. It’s a tactical miniatures game with progression mechanics. However, if gamers come to 4th looking for “their” D&D they will be sorely disappointed. The game is about combat, and it’s good at that. Trying to do anything else outside means heading out on your own (as we have done with Pathfinder). You can do it, but the system won’t back you up.

White Wolf’s World of Darkness is a far worse offender in this arena, because the game advertises itself as a “stortytelling game” when all that is in the game are combat mechanics. I heard an interview of Sam Chupp who worked on a lot of these games, and he said that the technology to make a game that wasn’t about combat just didn’t exist at the time. The method they used was to fill the pages with rich flavor text and hope that gaming groups followed their example. In the interview though he lamented at how frequently what he saw was D&D with vampires.

Result: You need a mechanic to back up the play you want to see. Burning Wheel is my go to game to show this off. Specifically because of setting the stakes and opening the arena for important conflicts to cover any part of the human experience (social, spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, you name it) and then creating a driving force to have those conflicts which changed as play progressed (beliefs, instincts, and traits).

Another factor in the system matter’s argument is that without rules to govern interactions, player social dynamics become character social dynamics. The charming player who knows how to get his way can playing the Charisma 5 Half-Orc and still get his way, because the player himself is charming and good at getting his way. By enforcing a mechanical resolution, you even the playing field (at least on that level) between more or less socially aggressive players.

Get your system out of my role-playing argument:

This rests on one of two different approaches.

1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ve been gaming for 30 years and I’ve had plenty of adventures with amazing stories. I don’t need rules to make awesome role-playing happen.

2. Rules interfere with the natural flow of the game. Burning Empires, with it’s structure scene economy. Monsterhearts with it’s rules to turn someone on, the Authority’s limited options (to only oppose the YO) in Misspent Youth, and the required belief all Dogs in DiTV must posses all transgress upon the idea of free flowing narrative based on the whim of the players at the table. Play is specifically structured, and the game requires players to play inside that structure. Like a board game, or a video game, or a miniatures game, or really most any structured activity.

I generally find myself leaning very heavily on the system matter’s side of the argument (you can probably see my bias above), but I’m not unsympathetic to the “let me do my own shit” argument, especially the second one. I’ve run Burning Empires and been confused as fuck as to how I’m supposed to present challenges to the players, or how I go about running my FoNs in a way that is interactive with the PCs.

What I do now

I used the tools I learned in any play environment.

Sure, I like to go back to my Burning Wheel games to build up those muscles, and make sure I’m not being lazy, but now when I play Torchbearer, I don’t worry about whether or not I’ve set the stake in advance (which you specifically don’t) because I know that success or failure, the results will move the action forward. I know because I’m confident in my ability to make it so, and in I’m confident that I play with other gamers who will make it so. Lastly, I’m confident that if we make a bad choice, go in a direction that stalls the action, or hit a roadblock, I’ll stop and talk to my fellow gamers and as people we’ll figure what we need to get the game moving again and make sure it’s satisfying the needs of the players at the table.

Some of the best gaming I’ve ever done has been in the PTA game Blue Gene with Lenny, Rich, and Scott. One of the themes we’ve run into over and over is that none of us as players are in a rush to resolve scenes and to push for the mechanical resolution. Rather we prefer to push the scene as far as it will go, build up as much tension as possible, till we finally hit a question we’re burning to have answered, and then let the cards tell us the truth from there. Those scenes are so richly rewarding because each one has been built up and invested in by all of the players (including the ones not in the scene). We’ve talked, and agree that while PTA has a great resolution system, we’ll get to it when we get to it, and in the mean time our collective instincts will build awesome scenes.

So, when Dennis said he wanted to story-fy Pathfinder I had no question that we would do just that. We’ve built up a great struggle of one family trying to redeem itself inside the context of the Kingmaker adventure path.

What is probably certain about this game: We’ll kill stuff, get treasure, go up in levels, and get more powerful. All tropes of D&D. What’s also likely is that we’ll build up a powerful kingdom in our wake (an aspect of the Kingmaker). In power we’ll move linearly up.

What I don’t know: The sacrifices we’ll make for that to happen. The sides that will form, or the hearts that will be broken. Everything Dennis mentioned in that tweet, the stalker, the forlorn love, the alcoholism, and everything else was real in the game. I trust that we’ve gained enough from playing Fiasco, Burning Wheel, and PTA, that we’re going to push those issues to the forefront and that they’ll be meaningful to our characters and to the players.

Set this straight

We started with our return to Rostov and I immediately opened with Merrowyn accosting Miquela.

“We’re going to set something straight before we get to Rostov!”

We had a hilarious discussion revealing Merrowyn’s insecurity about being the family outcast. Toti and Elara joined in, voicing some of their on concerns being left out, or thought lesser of. I can’t reproduce the dialog, but trust me, it was divine. Dennis chimed in that Domingo had warned Toti she might be excluded. I kept citing Merrowny’s achievements as ground for why Miquela should support her, and Miquela was quick to respond that only for maybe the first 1/3 of their adventure did she thing Merrowyn was a liability.

It was a humorous argument for sure, but an important truth rang out of it. The Aldori daughters were standing together, no matter what they faced.


The return to the Aldori homestead was eerie. When we arrived the keep appeared deserted. As we entered, everything seemed normal, except nobody was there. We explored further (sending Tad to check out the servants quarters) until finally we noticed some lights coming from the great hall, which hadn’t been in use for ages. We cautiously approached and when we entered….

“SURPRISE!” The family and servants alike yelled. The had thrown us a welcoming home party… and what a party it was.

Toti got smashed on two pints of ale (she’s a lightweight) and we got to see an endearing scene of Domingo stoically caring for his drunk mother and drunk sister.

The rest of us cavorted, drank, and sang with the family. After some of the festivities had died down Uncle Bog summoned us to his trophy room, where we discussed the next phase of our exploration. As we predicted, settlement into the Stolen Lands had always been part of the plan. But what we didn’t realize was just how far back the plan went, or how devious it was. Apparently Bog and the now lord mayor had been planning this expansion for the last 20 years, long before Bog was head of house Aldori, before the disappearance of house Rogarvia, and before the Lord Mayor held his title in Rostov. The two had been in cahoots for ages.

Which is even more peculiar, because when they were young men, Bog nearly killed Ioseph in a duel over a woman. As uncle Bog explained it, the lord mayor is giving house Aldori another chance because “20 years ago I gave him one.”

After that revelation, we got to discussing some of the specifics about settlement, namely where to start. The Stag Lord’s Keep would offer us a castle in ruins that could be repaired and a strong central location to branch out from [1/2 cost on a Castle, +1 Economy/Stability/Loyalty]. Oleg’s Trading Post had the advantage of being on the road, near fertile plains, existing trade routes, and existing infrastructure [Free Shop, Stable, or Watchtower, plus existing roads]. The Temple of Erastil was a holy site, which would draw ardent followers as well has already having a temple, which once repaired would be serviceable [1/2 cost on Temple]. After some discussion we settled on our going back to our initial instinct, we’d claim the Stag Lord’s Keep as our own!


Back in Rostov we were able to spend some of that hard earned loot. Most of our purchases were uneventful. Uncle Bog accepted a donation to the House, and in turn gave Miquela one of his first enchanted blades [+1 Aldori Dueling Sword]. She also commissioned magically hardened armor [+1 Agile Breastplate]. Elara conferred with druids in the area and from them purchased enchanted Wooden armor [+1 Wooden Armor] and a Cloak of Elvenkind.

Others were more involved…

Toti conferred with several orders of Abadar about her plans to expand civilization into the Stolen Lands. One group scoffed at the notion, deeming it impractical. Another group thought it had merit and was curious to hear her reports. A third was enamored with the plan and jealous it wasn’t them making the journey south. From the church she purchased a headband to reflect on the teachings of Abadar [Headband of Wisdom +2].

And some were just downright brutal…

On her first day back in Rostov, Merrowny visited the temple of Gorum. She had to literally fight her way into the temple (a standard practice) and then petitioned to have her blade enchanted. She recounted her battles and the blood already drawn by her greatsword. After a donation to the temple the priest prepared the blade, first with the blood of the petitioner (that would be by back handing Merrwoyn in the face and having her bleed all over it it), and then by blood of the fallen (an execution). Showing a little of her moral leanings [Merrowyn is Chaotic Good, Gorum is Chaotic  Neutral] she knocked a guard back and stole his blade, set the man free and the gave him a chance to fight. It was a small mercy, if any at all. He was already a dead man. She just gave him a chance to hope before cutting him down. Day one ended up returning with a split lip and a smile on her face. She told uncle Bog that she named her sword “Great Bog”.

On her second day in Rostov, Merrowyn earned another split lip, this time from a beating from what seemed like the entire thieves guild. She had been asking around for her contacts from the Red Brigade to purchase some not quite off the shelf items [spring loaded wrist sheath] when she found out the hard way that the red brigade wasn’t in favor with the Rostov “family” and by asking for them, neither was she. Luckily it turns out that the band Cobb, who they had set free (or rather just allowed to escape) upon his promise to return to Rostov and lead a productive life, was not just a member of the family, but a “made man”.  Just as the fight was going from fists to knives he appeared and broke it up. “Sorry Cobb, I didn’t know she was a friend of yours.” “No, she’s a friend of ours.” (Incidentally, yay, I’m a friend of theirs). Cobb and Merrowyn talked and she agreed to spread the word, at least to the people who it mattered to, that the Rostov family was the one that sent her to deal with the Stag Lord (apparently he had gotten too close to Rostov for their comfort). Also, Merrowyn might have just let it slip that they were building up a new kingdom in the south and they might have use of a spymaster that was connected with affairs in the north. Cobb reassured her of the family mantra “If you build it, we will come.”

Kingdom Making

At the end of our stay, the Aldori daughters were invited to a grand ball. Lots of who’s who big wigs were their, as well as three of the four chartered “explorers”. Present were:

  • House Aldori – Charged to explore the region of the Stolen Lands south of Oleg’s Trading Post
  • Drevoy – A lone noble with a band of hired mercenaries sent to explore the Slough. A swampy land filled with centaurs and barbarians that he was systematically going to war with. Charming.
  • Group C – The other adventuring group. Like us, but different, you know. The Linear Guild I’m sure.
  • Lord Varn and his fellow band of adventurers. Sent to the direct south in the Nomen Plains.

The Lord Mayor himself then, commenting on the success of the of the expedition teams, revealed what we all knew was coming…settlement. What we didn’t expect however, was the new charter he offered up, specifically a charter to create a new kingdom of our own. A charter go expand Rostov was expected. A charter to go start our own… with support from noble houses, is just crazy talk! It makes sense. If Rostland expands it will be obvious to Issia and the impending civil war will erupt before we’re ready. By sponsoring independent nations which will then ally with Rostland, we may be able to grow without all of Brevoy being savvy to the plan. Makes sense. Wonder if we can keep it under wraps!

Bumping into old flings

When official announcements weren’t being made, socializing of one kind or another happened.

Elara – A strange man who introduced himself as Ugo Sordello found Elara and seemed to expect her to recognize him. Disappointied when she didn’t, he proceeded to read her a poem of unparalleled awfulness, which he had apparently written for her. Yeah, that was some creepy awfulness. [Backstory: This is the NPC that we made up who had a forlorn love for Elara’s mother Donna years ago, and has transferred that affections to Elara]

Miquela – When walking through the throng of people, Lady Miquela bumped into a man. When the both looked up she recognized Luca Strozzi, the man everyone thought she would marry, right up until the moment he married Larissa Lebeda, a wealth noble from Issia. The first words out her mouth “I was gone for a few months and you couldn’t wait!” It was going to be like that. Luca, it seemed never received Miquela’s letters, and more to the point, his did what his family required him to do. Something Miquela could understand, even if she didn’t like it. She threw him a pair of turquoise earrings at him “There. A wedding gift…for your lovely bride!”

Merrowyn & Toti – Merrowyn wanted to talk directly to the Lord Mayor himself, which everyone agreed was a terrible idea. Toti went has her chaperone, which was wise on account of the fact that Merrowyn started the coversation with “You know Lord Mayor, I am really sorry that I beat up your son and broke his precious sword. I mean, he really deserved it, but -” That’s about when Toti cut in and took over. She also got to the point, which was that Merrowyn wanted the mayor’s contract on the Fearsome Badgers. Specifically she wanted to hire Kasten Garess and his small unit. The Mayor’s wife Marissa came to his side. She and Toti hit it off well, and made all the arrangements necessary. As we parted she told us to give their greetings to Bogathotus, which made us both do a double take.

And then we had that light bulb moment. Bog didn’t attend because that woman he nearly killed the mayor over twenty years ago was probably his wife Marissa!

Hitting the Road

Soon we were back on the road… but instead of going at it alone we head out with a heard of cattle, a few dozen workers, the fearsome badgers, lumber, stone, livestock, feed, foodstuffs, and everything else we needed to create a settlement! [Entering Kingdom Building with 55 BP].

As a group we decided to alternate between Kingdom building and adventuring, representing our characters spending time working on the construction and once wheels were in motion, exploring the region for further development.


No, we haven’t called our nation Aldoria… but Tad did, and it just might stick.


The first thing we did was determine the outlook we would foster in our new nation. One of loyalty to Rostland, but defiance of Brevoy. And one of moral standing [Alignment: Neutral Good]


We then set about appointing our leaders:

  • Ruler: None for now. We’ll fill that role when needed [Dennis has house ruled there are no vacancy penalties in the first 12 turns].
  • General: Merrowyn – Yep, she’s in charge of the Fearsome Badger and Akrios (we got him to come along)
  • Warden: Miquela – Nobody sets people straight like Mequela. She’s keeping the peace.
  • Councilor: Toti – The friend of the people, er Tad!
  • Marshall: Elara – Patrolling outside of camp.

We also convinced, or perhaps coerced friends of the family to fill other roles

  • High Priest – Jahad. The cleric who had visions granted by Erastil.
  • Grand Diplomat – Domingo. This was a perfect choice for us. Someone to be far, far away.
  • Treasurer – Giovanni. After managing finances for merchant traders, we felt good about putting him in charge of our books!
  • Magister –  Tad. He really, honestly didn’t want the position, but he’s the smartest of us all!
  • Royal Enforcer – The role has been filled, and we think we know by who.
  • Spymaster – Also vacant, though we’ve got a few ideas here (Mik Mek or Cobb, assuming Miquela doesn’t kill Cobb the moment she sees him).


  • Holidays – Founders Day [1 holiday/year]
  • Promotion – Sure… we’ll give land, if you can make it out here [Token promotion]
  • Taxes – What’s to tax? [No Taxation]


Though we didn’t do them back to back, here are the Kingdom turn expansions.

Turn 1

  • No Upkeep Phase [Starting BP = 55]
  • Edicts (see above)
  • Expansion
    • We claimed the region of the Stag Lord’s keep [G5] [-1 BP]
    • Farm built around the old Stag Lords keep [-4BP]
    • We struck ground and started preparing the old bandit keep to be a new city. [-2BP]
  • Events Phase: Bandits on the roads. Some of the Stag Lord’s missing recruits were terrorizing our supply lines, trying to loot what they thought were easy pickings. The Fearsome Badgers set to the task of make thing a painful lesson and drove them off [Stability roll succeeded]

Turn 2 

  • Upkeep: Our nation stayed stable [Stability check succeeded. Consumption -1BP]
  • Edicts (none changed)
  • Expansion
    • The Tusk of Aldori (or simply The Tusk) declared a settlement!
    • Construction of a castle from the ruins of the keep begins. [-27 BP]
    • We claimed the ford between the Thorn and Shrike rivers [F6] [-1BP]
    • Farms build along the river. [-4BP]
    • Roads out of The Tusk started. [-3BP] (See thoughts below, I think we should have paid double for this)
  • Income Phase: Our new nation was prosperous and bountiful [Rolled a 30 on the Economy Check = +10 BP]
  • Events Phase: Giovanni brought his own resources to our castle, a river boat! [Beneficial event +9BP]

Ending Kingdom Stats:

Aldoria - Turn 2

Paperworkfinder? No, this is Pathfinder!

Thought the session flew by, I can now hardly believe how much stuff we did. In addition to all of this, we explored and cleared out seven nearby hexes! Between those two Kingdom turns we went out adventuring.

G6 – A hilly region, most notable for the small spring we found and the Shambling Mound that leapt out of said spring onto our heads. Tentacles, grabs, and constriction, oh my! Slashing and stabbing seemed to work well enough on this lovely specimen of nature.

H6 – The Gudrin River ran fast and high through this region. Once we found a ford (in H7) we discovered some bramble covered cliffs overlooking the Tuskwater on the south side of the river.

H7 – Nothing remarkable about this hilly region except the Ford that allowed us to cross the Gudrin.

Tendriculos_smI5 – Mostly hills but in the north western portion of the region was a foul smelling sulfer spring. What we thought might at first be an pleasant mud bath turned into an exfoliating experience Merrowyn will never forget.  What looked like a pile of rocks exploded into this thing, which tried to eat our faces… and succeeded. Well, it at Merrowyn’s face and the rest of her as well. Yay, we got to play with “swallow hole” mechanics and I got to ask Dennis the most awesome question ever. “Does being inside the creature count as flanking it?” Hah! Merrowyn cut her way out, as Miquela filled the critter with flaming arrows and Elara scorched it with her Flaming Sphere spell (we figured out it didn’t like fire).

Merrowyn will never, ever, ever take a mud bath in that sulfer bog. Ever.

H5 – This partially hilly, partially swampy, and partially forested region was inhabited by a figure lovingly known as the “swamp witch”. She didn’t how crude Merrowyn was, nor how polite Toti was, but she seemed adequately appeased by Miquela’s straight forwardness. The old woman invited her into her cabin and closed the door behind her. As Miequla entered the Scarecrow in the garden turned it’s pumpkin head to follower her until she entered. When we advanced (notably uninvited) the Scarecrow climbed down from its post to block the path. Creepy. But not as creepy as the old witch who served Miquela tea… and thankfully didn’t turn her into a newt. Miquela said her business (to expand into these lands) and the woman made it clear that as long as people stayed clear of her, she wouldn’t trouble them either.

When Miquela exited, still in one piece, we all agreed that maybe building another fence around the witches fence would be a good plan.

G4 – In the forests west of the lake we met Arvin, a hunter and fisher. He seemed a likable fellow and had an offer for us. Down a secret path between the brambles on the cliffs over the Tuskwater was his favorite fishing hole. However, a giant snapping turtle had recently claimed the location and made it impossible (as well as very dangerous) for him to fish there. Kill that turtle for him, and he’d give us a magical ring he found in the belly of a giant eel [Ring of Feather Fall].

F5 – Fangberries. Woot. We finally found Fangberries. Surrounded by spiders and vicious thicket. Screw you Bokken, I got your Fangberries right here!


Description Qty  Value  Cash Value  Kept by
Previous Total* 15939.8
Stag Lord Bounty 5000 Quest Reward
Credit for Cobb tipping us off 1000
Dueling Sword enchanted to +1 -2000 Miquela
Greatsword enchanted to +1 -2000 Merrowyn
Wooden Armor +1 -1170 Elara
Mithral Breastplate +1 -5200 Merrowyn
Wand of Shield -750 Merrowyn
Headband of Wisdom -4000 Toti
Cloak of Elvenkind -2500 Elara
Agile Breastplate +1 -1550 Miquela
Scale Mail 1 25 Miquela Sold
MW Chain Shirt 1 125 Merrowyn Sold
Spring loaded wrist sheath -25 Merrowyn
Silver Blanches (10) 10 -25 Group
Cold Iron Blanches (5) 5 -100 Group
Dragon Tapestry -100 Group
Wand of Burning Hands 1 390 234 Merrowyn Sold
Wand of Magic Missiles 1 1170 702 Merrowyn Sold
Ioun Stone: Vibrant Purple Prism, Craked -2000 Merrowyn
Total at end of Session     1605.8


This is somewhat lower than the value from the previous report (Death to the Stag Lord) because we opted to keep (or gift) some of the loot found rather than sell it. (Specifically the swords, bows, and arrows, which were kept for castle defense, and the turquoise earrings given to Luca Strozzi as a gift for his new wife).


XP award is 4,325 per character. Current total is 13531. Woot, 5th level is getting close!

Thoughts on this game

I think we should have paid double for the road section in the Tuskwater Lake Hex. Specifically because the Terrain Improvement cost section has a footnote (#5):

Road cost represents the BP cost to establish a Road that crosses a hex and connects to all adjacent hexes. The cost to build a Road doubles if the hex contains rivers.

Much of my reflection on the game is above in the system matters discussion. I’m really enjoying the tale we’re weaving. It’s got plenty of mechanical crunch in the combat arena, and plenty of depth in the personal, emotional, and political ones.

I was surprised to see Cobb back in play. I like conservation of NPCs and reincorporation, so I’m glad the thieves guild had a face we knew, but I swore we had pegged him as a farmer down on his luck, backed up with sense motive checks and all. Seeing the reversal felt like we had been duped, and I wasn’t sure if the “we” was the characters or the players. I like twists like this in stories so I’m inclined to roll with it, but I’m wary of smug, unaffected NPCs that hold all the cards. The can end up as NPC-as-plot-device, which goes against the ethos that external problems should be solvable, often with swords.

I’ve been reading about performance combat (and sad to see that my character would probably suck at it) but I’d like to see some duels handled using those rules. Specifically, I really can’t wait for the day (and hopefully this is a way off) that I get to defend against charges of treason, because, c’mon, you know it’s going to happen! That and witchcraft.

I forgot about Edward and Arlette (Merrowyn’s parrents). I was totally going to ask them to come down and live with us. But that’s cool, now that we have a castle and soon some houses, I spend some of the downtime between kingdom checks heading up to Rostov to get them.

Really looking forward to next session. We’ve got some quests to wrap up: Fangberries to deliver and a giant turtle to shell. I also want to have Toti do some potion brewing during the downtime between kingdom turns and to go negotiate mining rights with the Sootscale clan!

Actual Play – Death to the Stag Lord! (10/27/2013)

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

Woot, Mia joined our game. Her first time playing Pathfinder and I think she had a blast.

The Aldori family grows

In order to place Toti (Mia’s character) into the game, we spent some time doing more world building.  Dennis proposed, and Mia gleefully accepted that:

1. Toti is Domingo’s sister (we needed to place Domingo in the family tree as well), and

2. That they were both the children of Savia, the twin sister of Athon, lush, and black sheep of the family.

Awesome. We inserted a deceased father as well. Taldo Aldori, who married his 2nd cousin Savia and then died serving as an Advocate! We also established that Savia had long since given up raising her children and left that duty to Gloriana, thus Toti had spent many of her childhood years with Tad, Gloriana’s grandson, and our faithful cook!

Bringing us all together

Toti had been up in the north, performing religious duties, and when she returned, Bog summoned her and asked that she join the other daughters of Aldori. He was concerned that he hadn’t established a method of communication and was worried that his nieces had been go so long without word back. Toti accepted and with a large crate of ravens on a pack mule headed out for Oleg’s trading post.

A day into her travels however, she was caught by Domingo, strongly inferred that he was to go with her… and inspect things! She knew he was lying, but she really had nothing to say. So they arrived together, and what a mixed reception they received! Merrowyn hid on the room where she had previously been tormenting Oleg. Elara played with Kiri.  Only Miquela, our fearless leader stood fast to greet Toti and Domingo.

“Where’s your report?” He started as a way of greeting. Domingo asked for a report to take back to uncle Bog, clearly as a power play to make us feel and look incompetent. After some arguing back and forth Merrowyn shouted down “Why don’t you just give him the money?” Merrowyn, never being one to know when to keep her mouth shut just blurted out that they had several thousand gold for Domingo to take back to Rostov…

He was impressed, or at least couldn’t balk at that kind of money, and after much encouragement from Miquela, agreed to head back to Rostov with 4,000gp we had gathered. He was a duelist after all, not a woodsman. Not waiting for him to leave, we ate the lunch Tad had prepared and hit the road.

Wolves in the Woods

Camping by the patch of Moon Radishes, Merrowyn was on guard duty and she was talking to the sleeping Miqula. In between her aunts snores she reproached her for always underestimating Merrowyn, or for acting so put out by her presence. In the middle of this one sided communication, however, she heard something rustle and saw shadowy movement in the woods. Waking the camp, Elara spotted one of the, and Miquela spotted the other… Werwolves!

That fight was tough. Unlike our previous encounter it didn’t start and end with a one hit critical. In fact, there was a whole lot of just trying to hurt the beasts. Elara eventually cast a flaming sphere, which burned the beast mightily and sent it running (where we cut it down). Our enemies defeated we realized that they were werewolves… and that thankfully none of us were bitten… but then we realized that a week ago, on our way west, Elara had been bit… oh know, was she one of – HOLY BURNING BREATH OF GORUM- FIRE!

Firefighters we are not

In late summer, when everything was dry all it took was a small breeze to move the fire from the flaming sphere into a full fledged forest fire. We literally had to run through the flames to get in front of it and then worked our asses off to build a firewall and contain it.  Dennis handled this as a series of DC 10 constitution checks that we needed to make in order to put out the fire. Each round of checks (successes or fail) we took 1d4 damage, and we needed a total of 10 success to put it out.

Before the actual putting it out started some (Thanks Elara)  were able to grant aid by way of Knowledge (Nature) while others (Yep, Merrowny and Miquela)  just ran through the wall of flame (2d4 damage) to get to the front of it. That was after trying to get Horse to rider her around it (two failed Animal Handle checks and Horse did the smart thing and bolted).

Thankfully we put it out just in time to prevent the fire from spreading into the Fey-inhabited woods to the Northwest. When we finished Miquela found Perlavish on her helmet exclaiming  that he didn’t think “we” (including himself) could do it. Thanks Perl!

We then had amazingly comical scene of all the women tearing out of their metal armor down to their small clothes, baked like lobsters, and Tad getting all out his cold balm, all ready to apply it to Lady Miquela’s wounds when Toti channeled the power of her god and healed us all. Miquela called him off at the last moment. “Oh, thanks Tad, but I’m okay now.” Bemused as he was, and much more familiar with Toti than he was with anyone else, gently slapped her face, covering it in cool, slimy balm.

By the Pale Moonlight

Paranoid that Elara had been bit, we all started talking about what would happen if she was a Werewolf. Would she rip us to shreds? Should we tie her up at night? Surround her with bear traps?

Tad answered this question by putting tons of wolfsbane in our porridge every morning. Which was adorable because Lady Miquela took that to mean that he was upset about something (she didn’t recognize the spice, she just noticed it tasted bad, and Tad’s porridge never tastes bad).

After some days traveling south – and watching Elara very closely -we both decided it was probably safe to assume she wasn’t a werewolf and that we were upon the Stag Lord’s camp.

Down by the riverside

Of all things to find on the body of a werewolf, what we fond was a stately cummerbund made of blue silk and depicting dancing dolphins. It was in fact magical, an Aquatic Cummerbund, and with it Merrowny was able to swim donw the Shrike River into the Tuskwater lake and pop up on the shore behind the Stag Lords’ camp. She got out of the water, stayed low and crept along the camp to survey it.

She spotted a crumbling tower surrounded by a wooden palisade with only a single entrance. From inside she could hear one guard yelling at another to stay awake, he was on duty.  With as much information as she thought she could get Merrowyn scampered back up north to meet her family by the ford.

The Plan

Using the dust of disappearance found on Tartuk’s corpse, Toti diguised Merrowyn as Kettle and the other three as male bandits (since Kettle was the only female we saw in the group). As it started getting darker Toti cast a darkness spell in front of the gates and we snuck into the darkness, lit our lantern low and set bear traps all just in front of the entrance to the palisade.

After that we allowed the darkness to dissipate and then walked forward (carefully avoiding the traps) and called up the guard to “Open the bloody gates!” The guards, recognizing Kettle (Toti got a 35 on her disguise check, and I was rolling 25+ on my bluff rolls!) wanted to open the door (because they were afraid of her) but  also wanted to get the go ahead from their boss. Merrowny barked a few more threats (involving he removal of ears and the opening of gullets, and, terrified, they opened the door. Then she tore into them for not asking for he password! It was good times.

The gig went pretty well for a while. We met Dovan, a man who’s swagger gave Domingo a run for his money, and took a liking to Miquela dressed up a man. In a bit of panic Merrowyn said “he” was a new recruit named Marcus… Marcus the Mouth. Called so because he never talks. Ha! Passing Doven’s inspection we met up with the main rabble and another leader, the Stag Lord’s second in command, Akiros. He seemed unimpressed by Kettle, and saw right through Miqeula’s disguise, but this actually afforded us an opportunity to communicate with him, let he know we were up to something, but that it didn’t have to involve him. He continued to appear indifferent.

The gig is up

The Stag Lord is summoned but my dice finally failed me, or he just rolled phenomenally. The brute of a man walked out of his chambers, took one look at me and drew his bow “Who the hell are you?”  It was initiative time, and I beat him. “The woman that’s going to take your head!” And we did.

The fight was a tough one, but made much easier by the fact that Akiros turned to our side to prevent the release of a caged Owlbear and that Merrowyn got a crit and one-shot killed Doven. The Stag Lord dropped her after that, but with the healing ministrations of Toti, and a bit of rage, she was back in the fight! Miquela, Elara (and her burning sphere) and Merrowyn kept stabbing till the Stag Lord fell down.

Seeing their bosses defeated the rabble fled…right into the bear traps set out front. As a player I felt pretty horrible about that. It’s just a terrible way to go. Most of them were killed outright by the brutal traps. Yikes! One was merely maimed, which we were quite happy about, as that as our man… Fangrim Sneed!

Broody McBrooderson

After the fight we asked the one man who had stood with us what his story was. His name was Akiros but he really didn’t want to say more. Merrowny recognized his accent as Taldan (like really Taldan from the way south) and that got him talking some. Miquela drew him out some more by chiding him for being so morose. Finally, the absinthe intended for the Stag Lord got him talking enough to admit he is a fallen paladin. Though the previous god he served, and his crime against said god, he would not reveal.

Cleaning House

We looted that place… oh boy did we loot that place. We also considered that the building would make a nice stronghold should we muster the funds to make one. Hmmm…

Putting the Ferryman to rest

As promised we drug the body of the stag lord back to the river crossing to give it to the undead Davik Nettles. The spirit was finally put to rest and although his body turned to water… his magical spear was left behind. Go Elara!

Journey Home

We traveled back to Oleg’s, collected the bounty for turning in Fangrim Sneed (or the promise to receive the reward) and then alongside our pseudo-ally Akiros, made our way back to Rostov, carrying the head of the Stag Lord with us!

Loots Collected

Woot, we got tons of stuffs!

Qty Value Cash Value Kept by
Our total cash = 5123 (850 of that credit at Olegs). 5123
Money sent back to Rostov with Domingo for House Aldori 1 -4000 -4000
Longwords 2 30 18
30sp 3
Cummerbund, Aquatic, Stately cumberbun – Blue silk with Dancing Dolphins 1 2600 Miquela
Masterwork Studded Leathers 1 175 105
Daggers 3 6 3.6
Silver Stag Lords Pendant 4 80 80
Turquoise Earings 1 260 260
28gp 28
2pp 2
Short Sword +1 1 2310 Miquela
6pg 6
Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL5) 2 1000 (Divy)
Leather Armor +1 1 1160 696
MW Longsword 1 315 189
Composite Shortbow +1, Adaptive 1 3375 Miquela
Amulet of Natural Armor +1 1 2000 Merrowyn
141gp 141
Polished Azurite Crystal 1 9 9
Canellion 1 80 80
Hemitite 1 13 13
Shard of Obsidian 1 14 14
Red Garnet 1 100 100
Pewter Belt Buckle with twin Succubi 1 30 Merrown
Silver Charm Bracelent 1 60 60
Longbows 5 375 225
Longswords 5 75 45
Arrows 280 14 8.4
Short Swords 5 50 30
Spears 5 10 6
Leather 5 50 30
Stag Lords Helm 1 3500 2100
Trade Goods 1 6850 6850
4500cp 45
2052sp 205.2
894gp 894
21pp 210
Jewelry 1 2900 2900
Spear +1, Keen 1 8302 Elara
65gp 65
Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL5) 2 1000 (Divy)
Potion of Lesser Restorday (CL5) 1 500 (Divy)
Masterwork Club 1 300 Tad
 Total 16544.2gp

Thoughts on the game

Werewolves, when you don’t have silver weapons are rough! That was a good fight and would have been an even more brutal one if Dennis wasn’t rolling poorly. I love that our characters are seeing things we’re not quite ready to fight and struggling through them now. It will make it that much more rewarding when we bust out our Mithral Greatswords and hack those wolfies to bits later on.

Speaking of tough, it was great wondering whether Elara had been afflicted or not. I think the fact that the players knew added comedy, but took some of the tension out of it. Very fun when Tad was loading our porridge up with wolfsbane!

I expected the Stag Lord to hit harder than he did. Maybe he was more bad ass with a bow, or when he could get a sneak attack (or both with that helm)? We cut off (har har, literally cut off) both of those opportunities pretty quickly so I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Merrowny didn’t die (which seemed like a possibility) but I thought he’d pack a bigger punch. Maybe it was just him being described as this giant brute of a man, I was envisioning 18+ strength and barbarian raging.

We got to see some interesting tactics come up with spell use this game. Toti’s darkness allowed us to set the bear traps. Elara’s Frostbite fatigued the Stag Lord (which I wanted specifically because I thought he would rage), and Elara cast Burning Sphere to overcome the werewolves damage reduction. I was happy to see some different ideas tried out. I think if  made a Wizard character I’d try to scribe scrolls whenever I could just so I could try lots of different spells in different situations!

This is the end of module one. We’re heading back to Rostov and will start the Kingdom making portion of the game, which I’m looking forward to, but also really want to keep running around exploring hexes and going on crazy quests. Where are those Fangberries? What about that boar with the wanted sign? What was he story with the trapper that hated the fey so much. I totally want to find out while killing stuff and taking it’s loot.

Next session totally isn’t soon enough. I find that I watch the clock when we start. This session we were giving Mia the intro for a bit, then did her character’s connection to the family, and then did her intro story. It was 1:30 by the time we were all together. Time well spent, but I found myself wishing we could play longer. You all aren’t free this weekend are you?

Actual Play – Destroying False Gods and Finding Real Ones (9/29/2013)

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

Two Pathfinder games in one month. This is madness! This game was set a week before Big Bad Con and the day after I ran a Tough Mudder. I had a lot to do still to prep for the con, but was incapable of doing much more than roll dice and drink beer thanks to a sprained hand and a billion scrapes and bruises.

Frosty beverages in hand, we sat down to game!


This session we started our setup in Rostov, looking at the Aldori lands (or land as they case may be).

Syrian I – Manor House

  • Now dilapidated by years of neglect
  • Huge sprawling manor, much of it (including the great hall) is unused.
  • We have money to live in and maintain the residence halls, servant quarters, and Bog’s trophy room inside the south tower.

Savia Aldori – Twin sister of Athon, she is now the black sheep of the family. At first everyone understood when she mourned her brother’s death, but five years later she is still mourning him, and she never mourns sober.

Domingo Aldori – A proud Aldori duelist and rising start of the family. Domingo was incensed that Bog picked the daughters of Aldori accept the charter.

Arlette (no family name) – Arlette was a harlot that fell in love with Edward Aldori in a case where he was defending her. Surprisingly, he returned her love, and married her. Part of the reason he still takes on such lowly cases is for his fondness of his wife, and memory of where she was long ago.

Maria Aldori (Barberas) – Maria, widow of Athon came from the Barberas family but is now fiercely loyal to the Aldori, even after Athon’s death.

And an adventuring we would go…

Mik Mek, the Magnificent

Mik Mek, the kobold ally we had gained last time, turned out to be quite the charmer, and quite the devious manipulator. As we traveled and shared tales, he gradually lured us into talking about House Aldori and our charter. Once she caught onto this Merrowyn used the familiarity they had developed to find out about chief Sootscale and the demon worshiper Tartuk, the Kobold shaman that worshiped the demon Sharptooth (of which we now carried an idol of).

Mik told us he could get us to the chief, but after that we were on our own. So we made a plan to offer him trade with a powerful noble house (hey, it once was true, and we’re still noble), but before we would work with him, we had to know he was the sovereign ruler of his clan. You know, with no outside influences.

As we entered a hidden Kobold with a spear (Nat Pick) was disarmed by Mik Mek’s chiding. He wondered why “bigems” were being led into the clan’s lair, but Mik Mek told him it was better if he let smarter Kobolds do the thinking. As we ventured in, we noticed a fallen board that identified this as Silvertop Mine. Whut? Unpossible! Two mines, just waiting to be harvested.

Down with False Gods

Negotiations went well (I got a 27 on my Diplomacy roll) and despite perhaps his better judgement, Sootscale took the Ivory Statue we brought back and shattered it on the ground! Of course Tartuk was watching all of this and preparing. The fight was on!

He got a surprise round on all of us and decreed that Sharptooth would have his vengeance… and then cast burning hands on half the humans and kobolds gathered there.

The fight itself was a good one. Tartuk had a ton of defensive spells cast (Blur, Windy Escape, and possibly others) and he summoned up a Dredge to fight along side him. But we had three melee fighters beating on his head, so even with his defenses bolstered, Tartuk was not long for this world. His begrudgingly summoned demon, fought as it was commanded, even after the sorcerer (shaman my eye!) had perished.

During the fight, when Merrowny realized that Tartuk wasn’t a shaman at all, but a sorcererous charlatan, and that he had been duping the kobolds into following his conjured up god, it really upset her.  Deities are, by their nature, divine, and for a mortal to usurp their power (even if that power is just the influence over other mortals) is an offence against the heavens.  So yeah, she raged out, and did that crazy thing you can only do while raging, which is keep standing (and fighting) while technically at negative hit points, but currently positive due to the constitution bump from raging.

Making friends and looting caves!

Sootscale was grateful that we defeated Tartuk and was happy to let us loot his corpse and raid his quarters…where we found all kinds of treasures:

  • Wand of Magic Missiles (26 charges) – Merrowyn
  • Masterwork Small Cold Iron Sickle – Elara
  • Amulet of Natural Armor +1 – Elara
  • Ring of Protection +1 – Miquela
  • Feather Tokens: Fan, Anchor, Camp site, and Swan Boat – Merrowyn
  • 7,420 cp (yay for high strength)
  • 2132 sp
  • 203 gp
  • Masterwork light metal shield
  • Boots of Elvenkind – Merrowny (hah, tumble master!)
  • +1 Flaming Arrows (x7) – Miquela
  • And some more cash:
  • 321 sp
  • 249 gp
  • 33 pp
  • Dust of Illusion (1 use) – Merrowyn
  • Silver ring with a pearl on it – Yay, Svetlana’s ring!
  • Tartuk’s journal with his life/death/life story, and a fly scroll in the back – Dude, he was one messed up Gnobold!

Sootscale also shared with us some information including the general location of the Stag Lord, where a ford in the Shrike and Thorn rivers was, where we could find a working bridges, and that he had not seen Fangrim, our missing bandit.

Return to Olegs

With supplies low we headed back to Olegs, though we took the time to explore another plains area on our way back. There we found he lair of a trapdoor spider… and we stabbed it in the face bits.

In it’s lair we found a dead bandit (but not Fangrim) and on his body found a short sword, stag lord pendant (now we have 3) and scrap of paper in his boot with a treasure map… to the wizards’ treasure we had already found.

Good times at the trading post

We returned to the trading post to unload our haul, collect our bounties (800 gp for dealing with the Kobolds), and re-provision. While there we had a few choice encounters.

Jahad Cafcan – A wandering missionary with visions of a lost temple of Erastil.

A trapper who told us to be wary in the woods, it was filled with woodsmen, hunters, and trappers that were not as friendly as he… and also wild animals.

Markus the Mouth – After may drinks and more playful flirting, Merrowyn asked Markus if he wanted to show her how he got his nickname. Fade to black, but in the morning Tad, without saying a word, served her an abortifacient tea. “It coats, all the way down to the uterus” – Miquela (quote of the game).

We also restocked on some of potions Oleg had received since we last visited (for which he charges us a minor 400gp):

  • Cure Light Wounds (CL: 2, x2) – Elara
  • Protection From Evil (CL: 2, x1) – Elara
  • Shield of Faith (CL: 2, x1) – Merrowyn

 Aldo’s Tree House

Traveling west from Oleg’s trading post we found a giant tree house, big enough for a whole family, but currently only occupied by an old hunter named Aldo. He was a pleasant fellow, came down and shared lunch with us, and told us a bit of his life. His wife had passed and his children wanted more from life than a fancy tree house next to dangerous woods. So he was left to himself, living in the woods as he liked it.

Though he was old and lived in a tree, Aldo was no Bokken’s brother… thank goodness.

Also said he had seen Fangrim a month back or so, and sent him packing with an arrow at his feet. He told us to watch out for the fey in these woods as the were capricious creatures. After a nice lunch we headed west into the woods.


Make a perception check he says. Fail it we do. Make a Knowledge (Nature) check he says. Fail it we do. Rolls a die at random he does and CHOMP, a big old bite is taken out of Elara, but some wolf headed creature that stalked us in the woods.

Greatswords are great. One mighty cut (a critical hit mind you) and the beast dropped.

Make a Fortitude save he says. Fail it Elara does.

Oh well, it was some scary beast in the woods, but we cut it down. No worries, I’m sure.

Man Traps

Make a perception check he says. Fail it Merrowny does. CHOMP, a bear trap nearly takes off her leg (Thank Gorum for 2nd level). With some work (and a lot of asking “why are we in the woods again”) Merrowyn found the release, and popped open the trap (yay, disable device).

Then the party looked around and found another, and another, and another. After some careful poking around with sticks, we found a dozen bear traps in one narrow pass. Clearly the pass that any travelers (not necessarily animals) would take. Who the hell set these and what (or who) were they trying to trap (or kill)?

Loot collected: 12 bear traps!


As we continued to travel, out of no where, bees descened upon us all and stung us like crazy. Then Tad’s shoelaces were mysteriously tied together. That night there was a snake in pot, and spiders in his sleeping bag. Yep, you guessed it, we had wandered into Fey territory.

Using almond cookies from Svetlana as bait, and a readied entangle spell to capture the, we caught a single Girg named Tyg’titter’tut (Tigger reference anyone) and her Faerie Dragon companion Perlivash. We traded cookies for amnesty!

They also told us of the hunter that set the traps, that he was a “bad man” and that Tig might have tripped one of his traps while he was setting it up, and how maybe, just maybe, the several hundred pound log that fell on him crushed him to death… you know, good faerie fun.

No funeral for the bad man

We found a the hunter, tapped as the fey said under a log, and long dead. He had thrown an axe at someone or something while trapped under the log, and had stuck into a nearby tree, but otherwise we learned nothing about the man.

We took his axe but I’m a little disappointed 4 we didn’t even think to bury (or other wise tend to) his corpse.

Loot collected: Masterwork Handaxe

Temple of Erastil

A tromping through the woods we went until we came to a strange clearing. The glade was surrounded by broken and overgrown pillars that created the perimeter and was dominated by a large murky pool some 20 feet wide and 50 feet long.  It’s sluggish waters are covered in a thick layer of scum and have a foul smell.  Beyond the pool a crumbling set of stone stairs lead up into a large dark cave.

As we approached, wary or what we might find in the cave a giant bear, the likes of which we had never seen came charging out and attacked immediately! You know what’s good against big monsters? Big swords. The daughters of Aldori got stabby in a hurry, which was good because the giant bear was going to tear us in half otherwise.

When the beast fell, we all had a what the hell moment. As it collapsed it turned into a man, who whispered “Thank you” and then aged a thousand years in a few seconds, turning to dust before our eyes.

After that a giant elk (to which Merrowyn raised her sword to, but Miquela forced her to bring it down) came to sip at the murky pool, and in doing so cleansed it and all of the old temple. The elk looked at us knowingly, nodded, and the retreated out of site (out of existence) into the woods. Yup, I think we got a visit from a god. Pretty bad ass.

Seeing the water purified we all drank from it. I was perfectly clear and crisp, healed all of our wounds, and the infection which we did not know about lingering in Elara’s veins.

Back to Olegs we go

After this we headed back to Oleg’s trading post, with a bit of loot, and some good news in hand. Jahad was so happy that we found the temple he immediately raced of to go find it himself. Svetlana was kind and Oleg was grouchy. All is well in the world.

XP Rewarded

2900 XP. That gives each player a grand total of 6686 (3rd level, hell yeah).

Treasure Found 

1210 gp
Masterwork Light Metal Shield (159gp) (Sell for half)
Wand of Magic Missles (26 Charges, 1170gp) (Merrowyn)
4 Feather Tokens (Fan, Anchor, Camp Site, Swan Boat) (Merrowyn)
Ring of Protection +1 (Miquela)
Amulet of Natural Armor +1 (Elara)
Boots of Elvenkind (Merrowyn)
7x +1 Flaming Arrows (Miquela)
Dust of Illusion (Merrowyn)
Small Materwork Cold Iron Sickle (Elara)
Stag Lord Pendant (Miquela)
Short Sword (10gp) (Sell for half)
12x Beartraps (24gp) (Merrowyn)
Masterwork Handaxe (306) (Sell for half)
Scroll of Fly (Merrowyn)
Total: + 2447

Purchases Made

2 x Cure Light Wounds (2nd) (Elara)
1 x Protection from Evil (2nd) (Elara)
1 x Shield of Fatih (2nd) (Merrowyn)
Total: -400gp (take off our credit at Oleg’s)


800gp- Making peace with the Sootscale Kobolds
1000gp – Svetlana’s wedding ring
Jahad’s thanks – Finding the temple or Erastil

Net Gain: 2847 gp

Our total cash = 5123 (850 of that credit at Olegs).

Rewards unclaimed

The mercenary band deserter (4 masterwork weapons)
Fang berry bushel to Boken “old man” (Deal on potions)
Stag Lord’s body – “Safe” passage across the river.

Thoughts on this game

Dennis opted to use the Critical Hit cards instead of the standard double damage. They are, um, brutal. In I think every instance we drew, they were devastating. In once case 3d6 dexterity damage just ruined someone’s Armor Class. In another after the double damage we also caused the baddy to bleed, which didn’t really matter since it was dead, dead, dead, but still. Brutal.

For monsters he opted to have their crits just do max damage. Dangerous, yes, but not wildly off the chart.

Really torn in this game. I love the family being developed, I’m also a greed gamer chasing loot/XP. I like them both but I’m not sure if Pathfinder works well mashing them together. If Kingmaker has any family “quests” involving returning to Rostov and setting things right, that would be killer.

Pathfinder has lots of options, and though they seems to fit together more thematically than the hodgepodge of feats and prestige classes in 3.5, it’s still  big list. Between all the archetypes, class powers (like rogue talents and rage powers), feats, and magic items one could potentially buy, character building can be a bit staggering. Guides are a double edge sword. They help you weed out some of the poor choices and illuminate some good ones, but they also expose you to a whole new realm of optimization that feels very much like why I got sick of 3.5 (optimization at the expense of any kind of credibility or authenticity).

Really loving this game. I’m so ready to go kick some Stag Lord ass.


Actual Play – Mik Mek and the Mite Cave (9/7/2013)

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

Warning: There are a ton of spoilers in here. If you plan on playing the Kingmaker adventure path I recommend skipping the actual play part of this actual play.

Any sane person would probably say that opening sign ups for games at your convention and playing Pathfinder at the same time is a stupid idea. And they would be right.

For most of this game I was responding to tweets, texts, emails, calls, FB posts, blog comments, and who knows what else, as sign ups open and registrations poured in. For the most part that was actually fine, except that a new system update requires me to specifically designate that a ticket must take up a minimum of 1 space, otherwise it will allow a booking to take up 0 spaces in a game once the game is full. For example if Jackson is running a game with 4 spaces, and then say six people try to sign up, all six get in, the system just says the last two have 0 spaces.

Yeah, that didn’t fly. Fortunately, I was alerted to it quickly, was able to prevent it from happening any more, and then painstakingly went through each game to find overbookings and dropped the folks with 0 spaces. Luckily there weren’t too many of those.

But this isn’t an actual whining report, it’s an actual play report, so here’s the game!


Before game starts in earnest, Dennis has been having us spend some time to build up the world around us. In our case it’s the Aldori family, and those connected to it. Here was our family tree:


New NPCs Created

Edward Aldori – Merrowyn’s father and defender lost causes. Edward is a lawyer (read: dualist) who long should have retired or become a judge, but neither of those are an option. He fight with mace and board, lowly armaments for lowly cases. Edward defends those in civil disputes regarding labor and property. Many of his clients don’t have the money to pay him, but he does the work just the same.  Edward lost his right eye in a particularly brutal duel years ago.

Pietro Sellemius – First born son of Lord Mayor Isoeph Sellemius. He is known as a self entitled braggart and all around general ass. Five years ago, Pietro’s reputation suffered a mighty smear. He had stumbled across Merrowyn Aldori, while she was in the course of negotiating a business deal with a half orc smuggler with a rare legal cargo to sell. Pietro mocked and cat called the young Merrowyn, till finally she knocked him sprawling from his horse and into the mud. Merrowyn proceeded to give him a trashing he has never forgotten. When Pietro attempted to draw his sword, Merrowyn disarmed him and snapped his sword across her knee and dropped the remains of the sword down into the mud with Pietro.

Governess Glorianna – has raised no less than three generations of House Aldori. While definitely in her twilight years, her presence is still felt in House Aldori, among noble and commoner alike. Counted among her many talents is: bookkeeper, midwife, administrator and alchemist. She is the grandmother of the stalwart Aldori adventuring servant, Tad.

Luca Strozzi – One of House Strozzi’s rising stars. He is a skilled duelist and orator. He is heavily involved in the politics of Rostlandic nationalism. He was recently married to a noble lady from the Issian House Lebeda. His new bride is a beautiful noblewoman named, Larissa. Their marriage was a considerable political achievement for House Strozzi. The arranged marriage came as surprise to Miquela Aldori, his childhood friend and long distance companion in love.

Rudolfo Aldori – A lad of 10 years. His mother died in childbirth and his father,Giovanni, is away for extended periods of time, as he is a sailor on a merchant ship. Rudolfo chafes in living under the implications of the Aldori name. He being raised by the Aldori House as a whole and he has gone through phases of running away, lying and stealing. Currently, he finds solace in working with animals. He has taken a liking to the newly arrived addition to House Aldori, Elara the druid.

Ugo Sordello – Not a son that most would count among House Sordello’s best and brightest. A swordsman of middling skill, no head for business and a talent for poetry, that would give a Vogon pause. His only lasting mark on his House was when he proclaimed his love for Donna Aldori. This raised considerable strife for him among his House, as they are the most vocal and determined of House Aldori detractors. His years of lovelorn melancholy are legendary, in certain circles, and he has taken quite an interest in the newest member of House Aldori, Elara Aldori.

After the setup we got to play…

Oleg’s Visitors

The Daughters of Aldori returned to Oleg’s camp to find (to their surprise) it was occupied! A guard stood on top of the wall and called out to them as they approached to identify themslves. Merrowny’s retort was simply “You’re late”, his response of “Better me than you” began the playful relationship of Merrowyn and Markus the Mouth!

The guard Oleg sent for had finally arrived, and with them some word from Rostov. Kasten Garess and his mercenary band the Fearsome Badgers took the Lord Mayor’s coin and agreed to guard the trading post against banditry. Seeing that the Aldori had already done some of that work for him, he gladly paid them a bounty of 800 gold, but was otherwise tight-lipped about his job and his past.

Svetlana was quite please we returned and even offered a generous payment for the moon radishes, so that she could make Oleg’s favorite dish…to which of course he grunted!

Eventually we realized that Kasten was none other than a noble of House Garess brought low because of his love for a weaver’s daughter. Kasten has paid greatly for his folly, and doesn’t like to talk about it! He did however, offer a bounty on one that betrayed him. Falbrim Sneeg, a former Badger himself, was due to carry their payment back to camp but instead ran off with hit for himself. Kasten wanted him back alive, preferably.

falgrim sneeg

After selling the loot collected from the bandits, and returning Oleg his furs (but alas not Svetlana her ring), the Aldori restocked their camp supplies and headed back out into the Stolen Lands.

Old Man Bokken

Early on, we stumbled upon an old hermit’s den. It was filthy and stinky, and his manners reminded us of how Oleg would act if he didn’t have Svetlana around to rein him in, but we shared a meal with him just the same.

Bokken mostly complained about bout things, but in the middle of it all he informed us that he could make potions, was looking for fang berries, and wanted use to find his brother, who had cut off one of his fingers (and we can’t imagine why).

Shambling Hell No

In another region of plains we saw a mound shambling in the distance… and we stayed WAY THE HELL CLEAR OF IT!

Buried Treasure

While traveling into the low hills we found a stash, presumably belonging to a wizard. In it was:

A masterwork dagger
A wand… which we discovered was of Burning Hands (woo hoo)
A plain silver ring, not Svetlana’s alas.
A moldy spellbook with 6 arcane spells. Perhaps we can sell this to an enterprising wizard!

A gold mine!

Yeah, exactly. There aren’t good words to describe finding a gold mine, because usually saying “this is a gold mine” is a euphemism for incredible luck and fortune. Well, that’s what we found, yep, and abandoned gold mine, with veins of gold still visible in our lantern light! DIBS!

Toll Bridge, Interrupted

When we came to the Shrike River, we found the remnants of an old toll bridge, along with a sign saying passing was 5cp, and a bell to ring for service. Out of amusement Merrowyn rang the bell.

And then we faced the undead!

Right out of the river, with water draining from him like a human colander, walked a creature of nightmares… as well, toll crossing. In a panic Merrowyn threw a silver on the ground at his feet, which the undead abomination studied for a moment, and then… shrugged. “Not really interested in that any more.” He said in a voice that was surprisingly gentle. We asked what he did want, and was told the Stag’s Lord’s body.

Well, that’s simple enough. Seems like he’s one bandit lord that’s gotta die.

This Mite be a problem

In one stretch of land we found a great sycamore tree, and under it a warren. Elara noticed signs of fey being present, so we tried to bribe them out of their warren with sweet treats. That earned Tad (who was far away) a spear in the arse, from the Mites who were returning home. We dispatched the small group easily and after identifying them as the vermin of the fey world, set to exterminating them.

We set a giant fire in the base of the warren, to smoke them out, but when the fire had burned down and none poured out of their wholes, we ventured it to find them… and find them we did. ON A GIANT TICK!

A giant tick that TRIED TO EAT MIQUELA! Battle was done. Without much trouble we cut them down and found they had a kobold prisioner named Mik Mek. Just as we were trying to get to know him better, Miquela discovered a whole in the ground with A GIANT WHIPTAIL CENTIPEDE.

More violence was done and we looted gold and an Ivory statue of a demon god from their lair.

Mik Mek

We also met Mik Mek, the much smarter than you’d expect Kobold. He told us of his clan, the Sootscale, and of their theological divide. What, Kobolds arguing over theology? This was awesome. We really didn’t like the sound of demon gods and all that balderdash, so we agreed to go back with him, try to win over the favor of his chief, and defeat the interloper Tartuk!

With rations running low, we tightened our belt and headed south!

XP Rewarded

2726 XP (2nd level, legit!)


Masterwork Dagger (302g)
Wander of Burning Hands (13 charges) (390g)
Silver Ring (75g)
Moldy spellbook with 6 arcane spells
Ivory statue of demon god (250g)
32g, 132s


1000gp bank note (from last session)
800gp bounty for Bandits
250gp reward for moon radishes

Rewards unclaimed

Svetlana’s silver wedding ring
The mercenary band deserter (4 masterwork weapons)
Fang berry bushel to Boken “old man” (Deal on potions)
Stag Lord’s body – “Safe” passage across the river.

Thoughts on this game

The setup phases we do at the beginning of the game are great. Dennis is really coaching us through bringing the game to life. I think right now we’re still mostly concerned wit things like leveling and magic items, but the more we develop and become attached to our family, the more relationships are going to matter in the game.

There was a point where Tad revealed some of his skills and I thought we got all up in his business way too fast. I’m excited to see Tad’s character unfold. Also, I plan to mercilessly tease Miquela about his crush on her.

Kobold theology is awesome. It kind of reminded me that Merrowny is a follower of Gorum, and she’s really not a fan of false gods.

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

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

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

The Setup

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Pitch

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

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

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

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


Charming Oleg

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

Trading Post Blues

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

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

It’s a Trap

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

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

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

The Bank of Levelton

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

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

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

A murdering we will go (by Miquela)


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

Things we learned:

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

Things to remember:

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

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

The Stag Lords Password

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

Who goes there?

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


Loot acquired

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

XP: 1000

Thoughts on this game

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

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