Actual Play – The Valley of Fire (7/30/2016)

Sound of a Thousdand ScreamsGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Adrienne Mueller, Eric Fattig, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

The final session. The war is over. Long live the queen.

Aftermath of a Fallen Dragon King

In the wake of Noleski death, Imogen, Miquela, and Elara met with the house leaders and pressed them to band together and go to war while Issia was still reeling from the loss of their king.

In the streets, Paulo the Blacksmith was held up as a hero of the people, and in private conversation with Merrowyn made it clear that for these many years while the swordlords may have suffered, the people suffered more. They were ready to go to war, but they expected to protections which the swordlords had been failing to deliver for generations.

Athon’s Story

Before we could head out though, Miquela needed to know something. What really happened to her father. She asked Olivetta to use her connection with the ancestors to pull Athon from the demi plan and force him to speak. He fought hard and resisted her summons. Even when he arrived, he was reluctant to answer, but Olivetta compelled him with her force of will to relent and reveal the truth.

Did you kill yourself? No. [That was news right there. Everyone said Athon’s death was a suicide]
Who killed you? I don’t know.
Why would they do it? Jealousy.
What do you remember? I was in my study. It was a good day. I drank from my cup and my throat began constricting. That was all.
Why do you linger with our other ancestors? Because I failed my family…and my children.

When he returned to the demi plane of our ancestors Olivetta tasted hemlock in her throat. When we consulted our master poisoner Mik Mek, he said that hemlock had too strong a taste to be used on it’s own. Very likely they used a two fold poison. One to numb the senses, the other to kill him. That would have to be done by someone close.

Brevoy_MapMarching through the Valley of Fire

The only way to move a large force north, without being exposed to the Issian forts on the Rostland Plains was to circle east and cross through a mountain pass, through the same place that our ancestors marched to fight Choral the Conquerer, through the place where they were burned alive by molten dragon fire, into the Valley of Fire!

As we passed through the valey many of the bodies of the fallen were still visible, preserved perfectly under the glassy molten rock that was super heated into liquid by dragon fire and then quickly hardened again once the flames ceased. All around use were bodies. Thousands and thousands of them.

When we were nearly out of the valley, we had come to the place where Imogen died, just beside Estruan Aldori, we felt a rumbling of the earth around us and then saw the rock around us being cracking open, and the dead rising out of their molten graves.

We were surrounded by an army of 114,552 dead soldiers and kin or not, they were not keen on us passing!

Miquela and Merrowyn both spoke of us continuing the battle that the started, but it was Imogen, speaking to the ghost of Estruan, that convinced them to stand down. As each of them returned to the earth, Estruan held out a staff with a bear flag whipping from it, somehow preserved through all this time and destruction.

The banner of of Sirian Aldor I, the Sword Baron.

Capturing the Forts

In a planned pincer move, the Sordellos broke out into the Rostland Planes and the twin forts connected by a protected bridge over the water moved all their forces to the southern fort to defend it. And when they did our forces in the north easily captured the norther fort and once inside steamrolled through their meager forces.

There were six pairs of forts across the river and we repeated to to fort after fort until finally we were met with a force that gave us pause: Regent Narissa.

She met under a flag of truce with Miquela and made this offer. “I just want to go home. Allow me to leave and I will abdicate throne and it will be yours for the taking.”

A difficult decision

When Miquela returned we had to decided if we could trust this woman. If she told the truth, we might walk into New Stetven and claim it as our own. If she lied, she was using the time that we spent arguing to wait for reinforcements to arrive.

The argument was fierce, not only among the Daughters of Aldori, but among the many lords we brought with us. There were those who wanted to accept her deal, those who wanted violence before it was too late, and those who to try another plan altogether.

Merrowyn called Elara a coward for being to scared to go to war. Merrowyn and Miquela got in a fist fight over it. But in the end, we accepted her offer, and true to her word, she gave us New Stetven.

Narissa never made it home. She was killed by a fellow Issian on her way there.

The war was over.


As forces moved and borders on maps were redrawn, those of us that could slip away, traveled back to Skywatch. Rudolpho, terrified of the place, mustered the courage (a few remove fear potions helped as well) and together we went back to the Cyclopian Observatory, down into it’s depths and found the force that was keeping the Rogarvian family in stasis.

In it’s depths we found a giant sphere crackling with blue electricity orbited by smaller spheres that appeared to move of their own accord. This “machine”, as our knowledgeable ones identified it, was an artifact that bridged two (maybe more) planes of existence into one. This created a place where the planes collided and intersected, allowing easier passage between them and having other bizarre effects such as the temporal stasis we observed.

As Imogen and Olivetta discussed the artifact and what could possibly destroy it, Merrowyn got in her head a very simple solution to all this business. Only an artifact cold destroy another artifact. Ovinrbaane would finally get to blow up something REALLY big. She prowled away from the group, leapt on to one of the orbiting spheres, and then, with blue lighting all around her dove, sword first, into the sphere…

Many years later

Imogen lived in her own manor in Aldoria, helping to raise her grandchild. Her son was indeed in that stasis field, but on the verge of death and finally released from his torment when time was restored. He had with him though his wife and child, which she took into her arms as her own.

Olivetta, who has lost her source of power as the ancestors had all returned to The Tusk, and picked mushrooms with Leccio. She gave up the adventuring life and decided to become a mushroom farmer [Ex-Witch 15, Commoner 1, Alignment: Neutral Good].

Elara and Akiros went off to dig a well somewhere. That’s what they call that when Paladins and Inquisitors…who I am kidding, they were actually digging a well together.

Miquela and Staggio were reunited. The man who said he was married to the blade and would die fighting in the north, finally returned, dropped his blade and said “I want to go home, I want to see my family.”

Merrowyn got to ride on Saint Fang to Gorum’s final resting place and join Marcus. She was cracking skulls, drinking mead, and enjoying cunnilingus in the afterlife. Not a bad way to go.

The future of Aldoria… secrets revealed

What happens next? The campaign is over but we still have questions.

Mivon turned out not to be the great neighbors we hoped for and eventually expanded around us and a new war was at our doorsteps.

Aldoria made it onto the Outaw Council! Huzzah.

Tad figured out a way to mass manufacture his alchemical ice and became the richest man alive brewing “iced” beer.

Rudolpho who had taken a bit from all of us did the only thing that made sense, he went off to be an adventurer.

Edward tried to retired but got pulled back into action six times before they finally let him go.

Jonas, turned out to be the lost god of humanity Aroden. Reincarnated as a human without knowledge of his own divine nature. Huh.

Pietro was finally returned to Sellemus but he brushed him away. “I have no son.”

Kasten never really bounced back from his betrayal. He remained a broken man.

A few words were said over Merrowy’s grave. Edwards thanked Abadar that he was never able to break her will. Santiago howled for all the world and the afterlife to hear. He took it the hardest. Poor pup.

But wait, who killed Athon?

It was Savia. His own sister. She couldn’t handle his success. Hated seeing what he was becoming and watching him make something of himself and of the family. When she couldn’t pull him down with her, she resorted to killing him instead. What a way to go.

What rocked

Oh, so many things. In no particular order.

That moment when we realized that Athon couldn’t have killed himself. He was still fit and could hold a blade. The way a swordlord commits suicide is by picking a fight they know they cannot win. Athon would have never poisoned himself.

Meeting Estruan and witnessing the devastation they faced. Not only earning his trust but also restoring his good name that had been besmirched for so long.

Actually having enough forces that we could use some military tactics. We didn’t use the mass combat rules but it was fun to catch an enemy by surprise!

At one point Miquela and Domingo spoke about who would carry the sword of Sirian. Who would lead the family. There was a brief pause where it seemed like they might duel over it, but it passed. Miquela did not want to be a swordlord, she wanted to be The Swordlord!

It was pretty darn cool to blow up that big thing. Merrowyn had swallowed her pride one to many times for Miquela and after obey a direct order to cease fire that she knew was the wrong call, she continued following her sisters, but was done with being a general. She was looking to finish this and do something new…she just didn’t know how quickly an opportunity would present itself!

The fact that Marcus the Mouth had been making bets with Gorum in their Valhalla about what Merrowny would do was just touching. We had a fun moment where she walked into the pub and saw he was serving drinks behind the counter!

Imogen meeting herself, her old destroyed body, possessed by some spirit or another. It was creepy on a personal level and terrifying on a “this could mean a giant battle with the undead” level.

The fight between Elara and Merrowyn was pretty intense. As a player I had to stop several times to say “sorry I’m getting loud. are we okay?”. Regina was a champ and love butting heads as well. And she won!

Olivetta, her ancestors gone, and her desire to work arcane arts gone as well, turning to a simple life and becoming a farmer was a great story. Seems like the kind of story that turns out of be the background of the farmer who comes out of retirement to go back to war. But I think for Olivetta the story was just done.

We had been waiting so long for Staggio and Miquela to be reunited. It was great to see them finally together again.

What could have improved

From all I know about it Module 6 sounds like an insufferable grind. Dennis, you did us so right by dropping that and making the final games about the things we always cared most about. Our country, our land, our people, and our family. I guess this is actually a could be and was improved category!

Actual Play – The Sword of Sirian Aldori Changes Hands (7/23/2016)

Sound of a Thousdand ScreamsGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Adrienne Mueller, Eric Fattig, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

Alt Title: Soul for Sell – Discount Rates!

Spoils of War

We started the game reviewing the spoils we took from the palace in Pitax. Oh, so many spoils. Since the campaign has wrapped now, and since we had more coin than we knew how to shake a stick at, I’m only going to mention the notable bits (as I didn’t record them in our master chart of accounts):

  • Monsters of the Arena (gargoyle, hell hounds, advanced dire tigers, remorhaz…all put to the sword)
  • Arms of the Arena (greatswords and full plate)
  • Throne of a king (Burgundy stone with veins of white gold)
  • Villamor Koth’s bedroom filled with gaudy tapestries of dragons along with standard adventuring loot (and some poison…weird).
  • Articles of the palace (hidden ballista, masterwork musical instruments, bottles of fine wine,  amazing carpets,  five build points of goods)
  • Irovetti’s bedroom including his bound mistress Engelidius, a spirit naga who just wanted his head!
  • A Treasury…that was totally empty.
  • And underground grotto filled with crystals, and a chest that had Briar, the Bastard Sword (the Nymph Queen’s Doom) wrapped in Evindra’s shawl, who once she wore it remembered her purpose to guard the blade from the Nymph Queen and her agents.
  • 19 more build points taken from looting the city!

Lessons Learned

From the mouth of Herald Beneku who was more than happy to turn on his dead king, we learned Irovetti has had the sword for years. He was supposed to let his mistress know when he found it, but never did, instead he just continued to enjoy the benefits of her patronage!

We left Pitax in ruins but gave the portmaster and the union chief (the mayor was killed in his home) in the city, ostensibly in charge.

Mikeal Trushian, the First Lance, led the Silver Lances, an army of Cavaliers [11th level cavaliers!] was on his way to the battle, but accepted our offer to pay him for his services (albeit, extremely expensive!)

Pitax is in a bad enough state that we’re pretty sure they won’t even be on the Outlaw Council to vote us down. We’ll call that a win.

A Blessed Wedding

Back home, at the Temple of the Elk, Tad and Xanthia were gathered together with Jahad officiating a ceremony observed by all their loved ones. Akirso gave Xanthia away, Miquela gave Tad away and the two were married and given the blessing of Erastil.

The Great Elk appeared at a distance, a bright light shown from the heavens upon them, Tad shapechanged into a Centaur then back, and Xanthia shapechanged into a human and back again!

Miquela used the Rod of Splendor and created a feast for all!

The next day there is a cry in the keep… as Xanthia was wearing a dress and trying to walk in shoes! Leccio, understanding her plight was very sympathetic and told her it gets better. She took the form so that she could learn to dance with Tad. Awwww.

Financial Woes

In the midst of all this nuptial bliss, those with a more pragmatic mind, realized that our coffers were dipping incredibly low [We started a kingdom turn and added up the cost of all our armies being in use for all those weeks]. Though we able to cover our costs barely, things looked very grim for continuing to fund the armies as we go to war with Issia.

Hima delivered a note to Miquela… it was a 100,000 gold piece note from the Iron Bank, a gift from Mik Mek, essentially the “break glass in case of emergency”.

Merrowyn’s attempt to sell her soul, apparently not worth much.

Merrowyn, seeing that Olivetta and Imogen had great success bargaining their souls for information and power thought this was definitely the right path to power. (This may have been motivated somewhat by playing with Stras in Blades in the Dark).

She had a scroll of Contact other Plane scribed and then endeavored to read it herself, knowing that if her intelligence and charisma were shattered, it would mean much less than if the same happened to Olivetta or Imogen. She tried to contact Gorum, a greater diety, and her mind would have not been up for the task if not for Olivetta loaning her a powerful headband of intellect and Santiago howling with such fervor, that the ground shook and every Gorumite for miles held up their sword and joined in with the howl!

She was able to ask these questions and gain these answers:

  • If I give you the rest of my life, will you grant me an army of Zentragt, your divine servitor race of iron armored bears to fight beside us? Response: Roaring laughter.
  • If I give you my soul, will you send Saint Fang, your minion, to fight beside us? Response: Yes (turned out to be a lie, a capricious god she’s got).
  • And some other bullshit questions about whether or not Sordellos would side with us… to which she was only told: wait!

So apparently there is more to bargaining with outsiders than just reading some funny words on a scroll and bloodletting.

Urgent sending from Rostland

An urgent sending came in, cut off midstream. Merrowyn stayed behind to keep mobilizing our armies to move north, but the rest of our heroes teleported into the action! On their way however, they felt something blocking their transit, a dimensional barrier that they wouldn’t have made it through, except for by the will of our Ancestors that battled the barrier down and allowed the to arrive, stunned but in tact!

Mik Mek and Domingo were surrounded by thirty Issian soldiers at the fountain outside House Aldori. After aiding in the skirmish for a moment, they heard and explosion inside and rushed in after it.  Inside they found Bog and Gloriana bleeding out on the steps of the great hall. As Bog said his final words, happy with the life he led, he handed his sword, the blade of Sirian I to Domingo, signifying that he was now the head of House Aldori.

Rostland Under Siege

There was little time for sentiment. Outside a few Sordello, including Contessina Sordello, the head of the house, stood off against 100 Issian Royal Guard who told them all to go back to their homes, that nothing was happening here.

Domingo, Elara, Miquela, and Imogen all went to meet with the heads of the great houses to warn then that this is exactly what would happen to them if they didn’t band together now.

Olivetta returned to The Tusk (teleportation was easier now) and grabbed Merrowyn, who went through the streets bellowing news of the attack and rallying the people to the plaza, forming them into a mob!

Inside some of the major houses were still holding out, and some were missing, but Lord Mayor Sellimus saw the writing on the wall and said that like it or not, we’re at war now!

Orb of the Dragon

Incited to violence the nobility and common folk alike too to swarming the palace, and thanks to many castings of passwall, they were able to enter it with ease! The first fight that broke out was one of guards and people, catapults and cavalry, all the forms of violence we were accustomed to.

The next fight however, we did not expect at all. Our spells were being countered from an unknown source, blazing jets of fire were coming from knowwhere, and so we assumed Stroon was close. However what we did not assume was that King Noleski and his sister were present, and what we assumed EVEN LESS was that he had an Orb of Dragons and would change into a Great Wyrm Red Dragon right there in front of us! So that’s where the 3rd Great Wyrm that seemed to be in some stories but not in others came from!

Another item on Sean’s Bucket List

Though Dennis played Noleski as unfamiliar with dragon form and did not make optimal use of his powers that was still one damn tough fight. Between multiple time stops spells, incredibly deadly attacks, and movement speed that outstripped anything we could muster, he was incredibly difficult to catch, and then incredibly difficult to harm [Displacement, you can die in a fire!]. There were only three great advantages that we had in that fight.

  1. Early on Contessina Sordello cast a slow spell upon him [which he could only fail his save with a natural 1, and Dennis rolled in front of us…and got a 1. Note, later he realized that Noleski was hasted so it should have just cancelled that out… but it was much later in the fight after a Time Stop where he did dispel it]
  2. An early Greater Dispel Magic which dispelled his Contingency Teleport home spell.
  3. Noleski’s arrogance, which caused him to only teleport to the horizon where he could mock us after his second Time Stop spell ended…to which Imogen used her last Greater Teleport to put us all on top of him, where Miquela put her magical blade into his brain!

Yay, Great Wyrm Red Dragon and King Noleski killed in one blow!

What Rocked

As mentioned, the battle with said Red Dragon. Fucking epic.

The passing of the blade to Domingo and Bog’s death was very sad and very poignant.

I was pretty pleased that Pitax was such a mess. I felt like we wanted into other locations (Varnhold and Sellen’s Gate) and just took over without really dealing with the plight of what conquering is like. I was happy that this was messy and filled with ugly outcomes.

I had a mixture of amusement and disappointment that my communing with Gorum was so ineffective. I got one straight answer out of him, which turned out to be a lie. It’s rough I think, to GM deities. I mean they are supposed to be the superlative example of their domains, but how do you play that out as anything other than alien? One way is to model them after Greek Gods I guess, capricious and human in every way except their vast power. The other is to make them very distant, which is what Gorum has been. But that unnatainable approval is also a drive for Merrowyn. The fact that she can never get either father (Edward or Gorum) to just say she’s good enough makes her try to get their approval ever more. So, this was another in a long series of attention grabing schemes from a fundementally insecure young person who wanted to be told she was doing the right thing.

What could have improved

Wow, do we just give no shits at all about this adventure path anymore. The civil war, our internal family struggles, losing bog. They are all so much more important to us than a Nymph we never met who hates us because we exist. I mean big fights and another artifact sword, whoopee. We just don’t care. To address that (and because Dennis and Regina will be moving away soon) we’ve pretty much cut that story-line out of the game and are focusing our final game sessions (this was the 2nd to last one) on the civil war, of which most of our characters have been preparing for this entire time!

Wow, combat in Pathfinder is slow when you’re not a part of it. I had to step out for a few minutes (I think to walk the dog or to swap out the laundry) so I said that Merrowyn should stay behind to mobilize the army, thinking that whatever happened in Rostland wouldn’t take that long. When I got back, I sat there for over an hour while they fought off the invaders. It wasn’t the worst thing ever. I’ve had a hand in a lot of the characters build so I was excited to see them pull of their moves like using Judgments and Panache, or casting Summon Monster One Billion, but it hit me just how much time it takes to do combat. And that was combat with identical foes (the Issian soldiers)!

Actual Play – Pitax Falls (7/2/2016)

Sound of a Thousdand ScreamsGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Adrienne Mueller, Eric Fattig, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

White Rose Abbey

Seemed like a perfect nice place to make wine and enjoy an autumnal sunset. Inside the main doors a vestibule led off on either side to stairwell that opened up to an outside patio with a splendid view. One could easily imagine drink deep from the monk’s wine well into the wee hours of the night up there.

There was also a red curtain covering the entrance into the main hall…of doom!

The scariest fight to date

Inside the abbey, protected by invisibility spells, illusionary terrain, illusionary walls, readied dispel magic spells, and several other abjurations were no fewer than a:

  • Geatane, the Wererat Doppleganger Ranger/Assassin follower of Gyronna who thoroughly reviled the Swordlords [CR 18!]
  • 20 Elite Pitax Wardens [10th level Fighters]
  • 12 Elite Pitax Heralds [10th? level Bards]
  • A mercenary wizard a Staff of the Magi! [Level unknown…but high! Plus Staff of the Magi!]

That fight was rough. Is started out with Merrowyn opening the curtain and feeling like someone slit her throat. Once inside the illusions made it appear as though the Abby was empty when it was infact filled with both cover, barricades, and a host of killers. The moment we walked in, out of nowhere (literally) shafts of ice came flying toward us impaling all who were exposed. Soon after a wall of force came up behind us trapping us there, and finally a mob of wardens came rushing toward us to lock us down. [With those arrows doing about 30 points of damage each, and the wardens hitting for a good 20-25 a pop, we were not in a good place]. We were not in a good place!

In that fight both Olivetta and Imogen feel and were dropped within an inch of death’s door and Merrowyn wasn’t close behind. We only, only survived the fight because of Elara casting True Seeing and Spell Resistance, Imogen following up with a couple Greater Dispel Magic spells, a Sleet Storm to drive the assassin closer, a summoned Dire Tiger that swallowed the mage, Olivetta casting a Cone of Cold that  insane amounts of healing spells and finally a Glitterdust spell on Geatane. We also got insanely lucky and made our saving throws against all five (FIVE) dominate person spells cast!

Dennis has a plan for a TPK right? I’m sure he’s got a plan for that!


By Gorum’s rusted iron, this was a big haul. Kind of them to be wearing Handy Haversacks for us to carry it all back with!

Description Qty Value Cash Value Kept by
Dark Leaf Leather Armor +4 (Fire Resistance 10, Shadow +5, Fortification (Light), Glamoured, Poison Resistance) 52460 26230 Sell
Belt of Physical Might (+4 Strength/+4 Dexterity) 40000 Miquela
Boots of Escape 8000 4000 Sell
Chest Piercing, Minor 2200 1100 Sell
Cloak of Resistance +4 16000 Elara
Head Piercings, Major 6000 3000 Sell
Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (CL 10) 10 15000 Divvy
Potion of Fly (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Heroism (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Magic Fang, Greater (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Misdirection (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Pass without Trace (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Good (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Shield of Faith (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Quick Runners Shirt 1000 Imogen
Ring of Chameleon Power 12500 Merrowyn
Ring of Protection +3 8000 Olivetta
Snipers Goggles 20000 Merrowyn
Gloves, Poisoner’s 5000 2500 Sell
Composite Longbow +4 (Pauliewood, Adaptive, Human Bane, Frost, Greater Sniping) 90275 Elara
5000 Platinum 50000
Handy Haversack 2 4000 Divvy
Ring of Protection +2 2 8000 4000 Sell
Amulet of Natural Armor +3 8000 Imogen
Bouncing Metamagic Rod 11000 Olivetta
Cloak of Resistance +3 8000 Imogen
Gloves of Elvenkind 7500 Olivetta
Headband of Mental Prowess +6 (Intelligence/Wisdom, Skills: Dungeoneering, Spellcraft) 90000 Olivetta
Ioun Stone (Amber Spindle, Resonant Power: Evasion) 10000 Divvy
Potion of Bear’s Endurance (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Cat’s Grace (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (CL 10) 6 9000 Divvy
Potion of Darkvision (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Displacement (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Fly (CL 10) 3 4500 Divvy
Potion of Gaseous Form (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Good Hope (CL 10) 2 3000 Divvy
Potion of Invisibility (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Neutralize Poison (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Owl’s Wisdom (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Electricity (CL 10) 1500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Fire (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Good (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Protection from Evil (CL 10) 500 Divvy
Potion of Resistance to Acid (CL 10) 1000 Divvy
Ring of Protection +3 8000 Miquela
Ring of Wizardry (Type II) 40000 Imogen
Staff of the Magi Artifact Olivetta
Full Plate +1 20 53000 26500 Sell
Greatsword +1 20 47000 23500 Sell
Potion of Cure Serious Wounds (CL 7) 40 42000 24000 Sell
Rapier +1 3 6960 3480 Sell
Short Bow +1 3 6990 3495 Sell
Potion of Invisibility (CL 10) 3 3000 Divvy
Potion of Fly (CL 10) 3 4500 Divvy
Chain Shirt +1 3 3750 1875
2,237 GP 2237
10,000 GP owed in IOUs

We were set up

After all that…it was a setup. No weapons of mass destruction. No Horn of Deathly Fog. Just a setup for yours truly.

Well, much as we didn’t like being tricked…it didn’t work and now we have a Staff of the Magi. Oivetta eventually ended up taking it but I had a delightful time with Merrowyn holding the staff in one hand and Ovinrbaane in the other, while the two artifacts seethed with venomous vitriol for each other.

The staff, which for some reason, neither Olivetta or Imogen though would be good to break and give each of them half of it, once handed over transported both arcane casters to a elven glade where an ancient elf named Vanlanthiriel stood beside a glistening waterfall. She explained that she just wanted to be of some use, that she was dreadfully tired of being wielded by conservative wizards that never wanted to exhaust her energy and that the only way she could find any rest was if strength was utilized [Read…spend all the charges!]. Olivetta agreed to take up this daunting task!

Dead men tell many tales

After surveying the battle, Imogen summoned her familiar Anomander to cast Speak with Dead to converse with one of the fallen Heralds (the one who played the drums no less!) and asked him questions about what in the world was going on. Here’s the answers we got to our seven questions:

  • This place? An abbey.
  • Been here a while? Yeah, it took a long time to set up this ambush. Days. Weeks?
  • Evindra’s shawl? Irovetti has it.
  • Irovetti’s plan for this place? Who knows. Brought his closest circle of cronies here, took everything they found, killed off all the lower level minions that came with him.
  • Evindra? She was guarding in a trunk. Irovetti carried it out.
  • The Palace? Irovetti has secret passages in and out of it, but otherwise who knows how to get in.
  • How to defeat him? Move fast! He’s got mercenary armies on their way in. Much easier to defend against if we’re in the city. The palace is called the House of 1,000 Doors for a good reason. It’s impossible to navigate, full of dead end hallways and traps, designed by a wizard ages ago to stupify invaders and only made more complex by Irovetti. Also, watch out for his mistress, she’s dangerous!

Return to Camp

After telling everyone what happened, and asking some of Xanthia’s soldiers to watch over Evindra, we met with our advisors to make a plan to take the city and the palace.

Kasten knew about the palace but had no idea where the secret entrances in and out are. He did know the exterior walls are made of 3′ of stone, 3″ of steel, 3′ of stone, 1″ of lead, 3′ of stone, 3″ of steel, and 3′ of stone! The adventurers solution: Passwall (Staff of the Magi), Disintegrate (Imogen), Passwall (Staff of the Magi), Improved Alchemical Acid (Tad’s concoctions), Passwall (Staff of the Magi), Disintegrate (Imogen), and Passwall (Staff of the Magi)!

Jerome found the swordlord to tell her than Kobb had returned and he was with three men that wanted to talk to her!

  • Amana Ranikea, an out of shape man who was the mayor (not Lord Mayor) of the city. His son is the commander of the military inside the walls.
  • Wacla Skiba, an outdoorsman turned union leader, who represented the people of the city.
  • Abdul-Malik Usamov, the shrewd portmaster who controlled trade via the waterways. Also, the only one who was not terrified of us.

We negotiated with them and agreed that if they let us into the city and through all the city gates unmolested (or at least mostly), we would spare the lives of the citizens and hand over  the city to them once we sacked the palace, killed Irovetti, and fended off any of his mercenary armies should they still pledge fealty to a dead man.

Taking the Palace

In the cover of night we led our armies into the city to hold it. The Griffon Slayers and Sootscale’s Own encircled the palace, and with judicious use of passwall spells we tunnelled our way into it, through the library filled with low brow fiction, the conservatory filled with masterwork mystical instruments, the arena which housed all manner of monsters, and into the throne room where Irovetti and guests were feasting.

Irovetti, Avinash Jurrg, and a Weretiger, oh my!

It was one arrow into Irovetti and and the shortest of ever monologues before he disappeared (Contingency Dimension Door spell) and initiative was rolled!

The fight was another very tough one, which became much easier because midway through Olivetta cast Dominate Person on the 15th Rogue Weretiger and she ended up flanking Avinash (who, amazing isn’t immune to precision damage) with Merrowyn, which meant they were both dealing out insane amounts of hurt [between the two of them and an arrow from Elara, we did 350+ in one round.]

It was also much easier because of our multiple T-rex summonings (thank you Staff of the Magi), many giant ankylosaurus (thank you Imogen) to tackle the host of heralds, wardens, and the summoned demons that would have otherwise given us trouble (and taken a lot of time to roll out their attacks and damage).

Ding dong, the wicked king is dead.

As someone we never really thought that much about at first, Irovetti proved to be a giant pain in our asses, and given that we absolutely could not ignore his aggressions, he still may yet be the deciding factor in our war with Issia. We’ve defeated him but at what cost. The kingdom’s treasure for sure, but also the good will of our neighbors. The Nomen, the Sootscale, and Mivon all came to our aid, at least in part because they were threatened by his aggressions themselves, and because they saw him attacking their ally Aldoria.

Will they do the same again to attack a foreign nation that poses them no threat? Especially after receiving nothing from this venture (Irovetti’s treasury was empty!)?

We did find among his personal possessions however a chest with:

  • Evindra’s shawl
  • A bastard sword made of translucent steel with a thorn motif.

What Rocked

Wow, that fight was brutal. I mean, both of them really, but the second one less so because we skipped over the dozens of wardens in the room with the help of several summoning spells, and the successful dominate person had a huge effect on the battle. While Avinash did cast Blasphemy, which left Merrowyn paralyzed, weakened, dazed, Olivetta responded with a heal spell and Ovinrbanne cast Freedom of Movement, so the spell that should have taken her OUT of the fight didn’t stop her from putting her greatsword of war through Irovetti’s chest.

The first fight, however, ouch, that one was really close. Geatane being able to drop about 180 points of damage a round (average 30 per arrow, 6 shots with rapid shot) and being totally undetectable put us in BAD shape. If not for the sleet storm spell that forced her close, the True Seeing that spotted her, (even then, Elara had to roll a 49 on her Perception check) and the combo Greater Dispel and Glitterdust that finally made her detectable to us, she would have just picked us off one by one. Thank Pharasma, Erastil, and our Ancestors for our spellcasters! Also, the early Cone of Cold was devastating. It turned the tough as nails wardens in to one shot mooks.

Our decision to hand over the city to the citizens was a pretty cool one. If we were going to play longer, I’d really like to see how relations with Pitax would continue. Seems like we could make something good out of all this carnage.

There was a moment when Merrowyn was in full-kill mode and could only see red. When Olivetta tried to heal her, I rolled to save against it. Failed the roll (phew, she needed those hit points) but it was a tense moment.

Vanlanthiriel was super cool. I loved that she was just like “just use the damn charges, you conservative ass player characters!” I had a lot of fun mis-remembering the Story of Solomon when I offered to break the Staff in half and give one half to each of our arcane casters. Something along the lines of “split the baby in half and everyone was happy”.

What could have improved

Oh man, I just want to play more of this game out and I know that we’ll only have another session or two. A civil war to fight, Olivetta and Imogen’s souls gambled, Merrowyn losing it completely and having to be put down by Miquela. Hope to see these things, not sure if we’ll have time to fit it all in.


Actual Play – There are no bad ideas in brainstorming! (5/21/2015)

Sound of a Thousdand ScreamsGM: Dennis Jordan
Players: Regina Joyner, Karen Twelves, Adrienne Mueller, Eric Fattig, and Sean Nittner
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Kingmaker

Garess in Duress

Kasten’s debriefing was done by Merrowyn and Elara (who was mostly there because she didn’t trust Merrowyn to talk to him alone). We learned several things:

  • The walls of Pitax are high, taller than the Tusks. It will take siege engines to bring them down.
  • There are granaries inside, but they aren’t well stocked.
  • The palace itself is a fortress. Getting inside will be next to impossible.
  • There are three armies that are two weeks out. A huge (500) army of archers. A huge (500) army of cavalry, and a colossal (2,000) army of orc infantry.
  • Avinash Jurrg approached Irovetti asking to aid him. That is highly irregular and means the demon must have some vested interest in destroying Aldoria.
  • If given the opportunity to serve again, Kasten is too broken a man to take it.

What to do now?

Probably the most moving scene of the game (but not the most terrifying, that comes next) was when a small band of the leaders, primarily the player characters, were pitted with deciding what they should do next. Here was the essential conundrum: To focus our efforts on destroying Pitax or prepare for the civil war we must step into soon. The problem is that we really have to do both. Ignoring Irovetti means that he’ll sack our cities the moment move our forces north. Laying a long siege on Pitax means we’ll be over committed when we’re needed for the war up north.

Xanthia pointed out that the Nomen were loyal to us, and would view as siege on Pitax and an extension of their response to Pitax aggression. Further, we knew that Mivon had vested interest in crushing Pitax as well. Since it was unlikely we’d be able to bring those forces to bear against Issia, and since maintaining Aldoria gives us a staging ground for the attack (thanks Savia) and a place to fall back if we lose, it’s critical that we don’t give it up to Irovetti.

As we thought about all the possibilities, Miquela often repeated one mantra. “There are no bad ideas in brainstorming!”

The Plan

We’re going to siege Pitax. It’s the only thing to do. With Leccio’s knowledge of siege engines we’ll mobilize the ballista and catapults in Sellen’s Gate and begin construction of trebuchet and siege towers. We’ll do all that we can in two months and then hand the rest of the siege over to Mivon. In that time we’d commit our personal efforts to killing Irovetti and replacing him with an ally so the demon Avinash could not continue to lead the Pitaxian forces.

Rallying our Forces

Merrowyn stayed in Sellen’s Gate to mobilize our units, oversee the construction of siege weapons, and prepare the supply trains to keep our armies fed.

Elara and Miquela met up with Atonio Ribissi and he led a force of another 1,000 Mivon soldiers to aid us. The discussed giving the city to Mivon, but Ribissi didn’t want to extend themselves that far. Instead we agreed to sack the city, take all it’s wealth, divide up its lands, and leave Pitax as nothing but a memory.

Imogen and Olivetta teleported to the Tusk in order to find out what they could about Avinash’s motivation for targeting Aldoria. Presumably if there was something there that he wanted we might find a way to offer it to him or remove it from the equation.

A bargain struck

Books however, were of little use. They had already learned everything they could from researching in Leccio’s library. Imogen, perhaps always planning to do this suggested that there may be a demon which she could summon, bind, and then ask if it knew of Avinash, and what he sought in Aldoria. Foolishly, Olivetta agreed, and together the performed the ritual.

Imogen inscribed a magical circle of protection against evil and inverted the runels to funnel it inward. Then she cast a gate to reach the infernal realms and a binding to bring the demon Af, a fiendish Glabrezu to heed her call, but his next door neighbor picked up instead!

Demon Choices

Lahatiel, the creature that we faced so long ago in Vordekai’s lair, decided to interrupt the summons and show up instead, with a brand new sheen of demonic power at his disposal which he demonstrated by breaking the circle of protection as easily as one would smudge a chalk line.

With that big of terror on the table, he negotiated with Imogen and Olivetta, trading information for services. It wasn’t easy of course, these demons live for mystery and subterfuge, but he a positive disposition towards us as he was quite thankful that we send him back to the infernal realms as he had been trapped too long on the prime material plane and had been missing out on life back in hell.

After much deliberation however, a bargain was struck:

Imogen and Olivetta would ensure that souls promised to hell long, long ago, made their way there in our lifetime, and if they didn’t Imogen and Olivetta’s souls would go in their stead. In exchange we were granted three questions about Avinash Jurrg. To seal the deal lots of blood was shared and drunk, and apparently the most delicious thing you could ever imagine.

The questions three:

What does Avinash Jurrg seek in Aldoria? – He seeks an object inside Aldoria and to destroy it’s current inhabitants on behalf of another

[Oh snap, there is someone even bigger and badder?]

Who does he serve? – He serves no one.

[Thanks pal, way to be a sport].

Who does he work on behalf of? – He owes a favor to the Nymph Queen Nyrissa

[Knowledge: Planes check result 53!]

Nyrissa is a powerful nymph of the fey realm of the First World. Count Ranalc, one of the Eldest, the rulers of the realm, fell in love with her and bestowed upon her some of his essence. She grew haughty with power and considered herself one of the Eldest. As punishment the 13 Elders banished her to a demi plane Thousand Breaths and too from her part of her essence, which they forged into a weapon that can destroy her, and that she is completely blind to.

Avinash, as he works on her behalf cannot actually claim the weapon, but he can make way for her agent to do so and kill the usurpers in the process.

Hah! That’s how Irovetti got so powerful!

Big Bad Choices

Careful reading of the contract

Another revelation. The souls that were to be delivered? All the descendants of Choral the Conqueror! HAH! So that is how Choral got his dragons! And why he put all his family in stasis to cheat his way out of the deal. So much makes sense now.

Merrowyn’s read – we need a more powerful patron. She wonders what kind of army Gorum would offer up in exchange for all of her descendants? Or to be his agent on this world. Imogen can cast Contact Other Plane 1/week…

Meanwhile, in the land of less demonic…

A new army raised (Sellen’s Sentinals, 1000 3rd level fighters), Arvin’s Rangers bolstered (from 500 to 1000) and three siege engines built, we headed out for Pitax to do war. Along our armies were also the Nomen Centaur, Sootscale’s First Infantry, the Mivon Bravos, and a new army of Mivon Infantry. We renamed our Second Infantry to be the Wyvern Slayers (a title they earned) and moved out with them and the Swordlord’s Own! Quite a force.

When we arrived at the walls of Pitax our herald Rudolpho walked up to the gates to read our demands, that Irovetti be turned over to us and that the gates be opened for us. The response was…predictable.

“His Supreme and Inimitable Magnificence, Castruccio Irovetti, by the grace of the gods the rightful King of Pitax, Marvel of Numeria, Master of Mormouth, and Prince-Regent of the Sellen, will not surrender to the unlawful agressions of…”

What was a bit of surprise was the sound of panic and doubt in the herald’s voice, which was only increased when we started lobbing giant rocks of all shapes and their walls!

As the siege continued, and bow fire was traded, we saw something new in Leccio. Ever the mild mannered scholar, he was strutting about the battlefield (barefoot in his kilt of course) talking about how he was going to bring those walls down and how he would open that city up and all sorts of other boasts we would have expected out of a swordlord, but certainly not out of good Leccio! Yeah!

News of dangers to come

In the morning of the third day of the siege, Jerome presented an intercepted missive to Merrowyn. When she shared it with the group and they reviewed it, the message revealed that Irovetti had been developing a lethal version of the Horn of Fog, which would emit a toxic mist rather than just an obscuring one [Read: Cloudkill instead of Wall of Fog].

From some Knowledge: Local checks we realized it the location the weapon was being developed was Whiterose Abbey to the north. From a Knowledge: History we recalled it’s story:

Priests of Cayden Cailean were taken by the beauty of the white roses that grew upon the hill, they chose the hill as the site to build a remote abbey and winery. Over the decades that followed, the need for companionship eventually drove Evindra, a nereid, to contact the priests, and they welcomed her presence, seeing her as a benevolent spirit once she began to teach them the secret of how to enhance the quality of their wine by using purer forms of water and more efficient methods of filtration. A horrid halfling that offended the church of Cayden Cailean, rather than being banished was sent to Whiterose to tend the garden, hoping that he could do less harm in such a remote location.

Not much has been heard about Whiterose Abbey since.

Weapons of mass destruction? Not in our enemies hands! (we could at least agree to that, though Merrowyn was sorely tempted to use them on the upcoming mercenary armies, or to threaten to at least, if they didn’t turn back, others thought their use was absolutely out of the question… THERE ARE NO BAD IDEAS IN BRAINSTORMING).

Setting out

Thanks to Greater Teleport we all took a jaunt up to Whiterose. Before we headed out though:

  • Cronc personally packed Merrowyn’s pack for her, which she tried to make into a thing so she could flirt with him, but did it all wrong. Merrowyn isn’t good a flirting.
  • Olivetta told Leccio what she and Imogen had one wow, was he displeased. “You mad bad decisions when you’re with Imogen. Will you promise me that you won’t go off with her alone in the future?” A pretty reasonable request given that Olivetta had just bargained her soul away!

Whiterose Abbey


Unable to scry into the abbey itself (Olivetta didn’t preparing a scrying spell that day) we opted to try and get closer so that a Clairvoyance spell could be cast. Surreptitiously we crept along the outside wall to the ruined winery, crawled over it an entered. Once inside Imogen went about summoning Hound Archons (including Myrmidon of course) to teleport all through the grounds and report back to her.

The ones who went down the long tunnel under the abbey reported a pool of water at the end. The one that went into the guest house reported it was abandoned. The ones that entered the Abbey, even invisible, didn’t return. Imogen re-summoned Myrmidon who told her that something which was invisible itself, detected him and banished him, with quite a zing mind you!

The Starry Pool

We continued down the tunnel, again with hopes to use a Clairvoyance spell and to find out what was in the pool. Here’s what we found:

  1. A crystal clear pool of water.
  2. A constellation of starry lights glittering on the roof of the ceiling.
  3. A ledge beside it with many fungal blooms growing on it.
  4. A water clock covered in a tarp, which was not running because the reserve had been closed off.
  5. A face the water basin of said clock, that appeared to plead for mercy.
  6. A haunted scream followed by a mad advanced ghost halfling sorcerer monk with some serious firepower and a whole lot of fear factor!
  7. Six advanced willowisps with a whole lot of scorch factor.

The fight was a rough one. In part because only Olivetta and Merrowyn survived the first shriek, which caused everyone else to gain the panicked condition. Luckily for Elara and Miquela, it only lasted one round. Unluckily however, because of the panic they dropped their weapons and the ghosty ghost cast a black tentacles spell right where they dropped them. Evil and smart! Imogen was out for three round, which she spend in her room at the royal villa, thanks to a teleport spell. That was one surprised housekeeper!

I don’t track round by round accounts here but the fight was a rough one. Merrowyn took 227 points of damage, and only stayed up because she was raging, Ovinrbaane cast Aid on her, and Olivetta dropped a 140 hit point heal spell on her!

The ghosty ghost was bad news, dropping first a quickened hasted, then later quicked magic missiles every round, passing through us to age us horribly with each touch (thought the aging wore off after the damage was healed), and flying all over the place being super hard to hit and even then taking half damage on account of being incorporeal!

evindraFreeing Evindra

Once the ghost was defeated we got the startling suspicion that he was not gone for good. The more martially inclined members of our party swam down into the water where we found his bones. Above Imogen and Olivetta (a pairing Olivetta was quite concerned about) inspected the water clock and in doing so released the nereid Evindra from her watery prison.

Evindra was traumatized by the ordeal but was eventually able to tell us that she was here (and we suspected “here” meant on the prime material plane) for a reason. She had something she was supposed to do, but couldn’t quite remember it. We were eventually able to find out that she helped the priests make better wine, and that they were very kind to her, but that the creepy gardener had become obsessed with her, and to claim her has his own he eventually killed all the priest and caged her in the water clock.

[Note: The message that I get from this entire adventure path is a) Owlbears are best and b) Will-o-wisps are fucking jerks.]

Who knew t-rex likes his vegetables

After an attened at Clairaudience into the Abbey with which we heard very little, we made our way up to the top of the hill. Beside the abbey was a few other smaller buildings and a fenced off area that turned out to be a graveyard full of advanced shambling mounds.

They stood up, and we chopped them down, including an extra large tyrannosaurus rex that Imogen summoned, which swallowed one whole! So awesome!


At least I know where I’ll go when I die” – Olivetta, on demon bargaining after forsaking your god.

There are no bad ideas in brainstorming” – Miquela, as we suggested some really bad ideas.

Chart of Accounts

Its been awhile since I’ve updated our ledger, mostly because until the last two sessions our games had been pretty loot-light so it wasn’t necessary, but we’ve come into a nice chunk of change

Item or Description  Quantity  Value Paid/Gained  For or From
Totals as of 1/2/2016     191
Sahuagin Barbarian:
Greataxe +3 18,320 7,328 (Sold for 40%)
Large Breastplate +3 9,550 3,820 (Sold for 40%)
Total as of 1/30/16     11,339
Scroll of Water Breathing -375 Imogen
Bracers of the Falcon -4,000 Elara
Tongues Permanency Spell -7,500 Imogen
Issian +3 Greatsword 18,350 9,175 Merrowyn
Total as of 2/20/2016     8,639
Rushlight Tournament:
Rod of Lordly Might 75,000 Divvy
Total as of 4/2/2016     8,639
Scroll of Regeneration -2,275 Olivetta
Scroll of Waves of Fatigue -1,125 Merrowyn
Villamor Koth:
Hide Armor +5 26,165 13,083
Ring of Protection +2 8,000 4,000
Potion of Barkskin (CL12) 1,200 Divvy
Potion of Heal (CL 15) 4,500 Divvy
Vicious Greataxe +2 18,320 9,160
Barbarian Ltd:
Greataxe +2 8,320 4,160
Hide Armor +3 9,165 4,583
Potion of Barkskin (CL6) 2 1,200 600
Ring of Protection +1 2,000 1,000
Cure Moderate Wounds Potion (CL9) 3 2,700 Divvy
Rune Giant:
Huge +3 Keen Adamantine Longspear 35,020 17,510
Breastplate +4 16,950 8,475
Intricate Clay Barrel of Rice Wine 2,000 Divvy
Large Gold Ingots 40 20,000 20,000
Mithril Ore (40 lb) 20,000 20,000
Total as of 5/1/2016     107,809
Crazy ghost hafling gardner:
Water Clock 2,500 2,500
Rod of Lesser Quicken Metamagic (3rd level or lower) 35,000 Olivetta or Imogen
Total as of 5/21/2016     110,309

What rocked

Debating our actions, with the legitimate fear that overcommitting to war with Pitax would surely mean we could not win the war with Issia to come, was fucking awesome. Importantly because if showed a divide that we didn’t know existed. One one side Miquela and Merrowyn very much believe that the only purpose of Aldoria is to be a staging ground to prepare for the war with Issia, and more importantly that losing Aldoria is an acceptable price for winning the war. Olivetta and Elara however didn’t grow up in Rostland, they knew of the family, but didn’t lived under Issian rule. Aldoria is there home and the are ready to sacrifice it. Imogen ultimately doesn’t care about the Issians at all, they are just an obstacle in the path of defeating her true foes, the Rogarvians.

Some pretty deep stuff there, and I was delighted to see it all come to the surface.

The entire demon summoning and negotiation was wonderfully agonizing. A particularly beautiful part was when Imogen tried to summon forth a cup of Lahatiel’s blood with a mage hand spell but it could not penetrate his spell resistance, so wincingly she took it herself, coming far closer than she wanted to the demon.

Also the scenes of them licking their lips and craving another taste of his blood. So good.

The Imogen and Olivetta antics just keep getting better and better. After Leccio’s request that they not be alone together, we just kept pressing on that obvious solution to every problem “Oh, why don’t Olivetta and Imogen go do that…” It was awesome! As was Imogen’s uncertainty about why Olivetta was acting strange around her, and why Leccio was giving her side-eye.

Leccio’s talk with Olivetta was super endearing.

When Imogen pancked and teleported back to her bed chambers and then spend three rounds screaming as a terrified housekeeper also screamed back in terror, was awesome. The fact that at the end Imogen released the dire tiger which she had been storing as a tattoo on her back (which just terrified the housekeeper even further) and then teleported back so that her little black ichorous kitty could pouce the ghost and tear it asunder was AWESOME!

Merrowyn got to ride a Colossal T-Rex. It just doesn’t get much better than this. And yes, in case your wondering, Merrowyn really just wants to ride big things. She’s not all that subtle. Note, she also not good at flirting. I think she’ll have to be more direct with Cronc (who, btw, packed her some very nice spiced rum in her travel kit, what a sweetie).

That fight was a fun one. Lots of surprises from the ghost, and resourcefulness on our part (Elara casting communal resist energy against lightning was a clincher!). Improved Vital Strike with a greatsword while enlarged and sneak attacking…is nice!

What could have been improved

I think I don’t know how to flirt (like Sean, personally doesn’t). Merrowyn was trying to create an inside joke with Cronc, but everyone said it came off like I was brushing him off. Ah well, it makes sense for Merrowyn to be terrible at nuanced social interactions.

Actual Play – The Battle of Sellen’s Gate (5/1/2016)

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

The war continues. After the initial confrontation at the Stone Bridge, the war reached its crescendo as the champions of Aldoria broke the line of mastodon riding hill giants. But first… we did all this stuff.

Merrowyn doing what she’s told

Merrowyn walked the battlefield looking at the bodies of her fallen warriors. 100 followers of Gorum, all of them rent and broken. Cut by blades, hewn by wyvern fangs, or pierced by arrows. As she walked across the battlefield, feeling like an imposter of a general and a failure as a leader, she heard a presence behind her. It was Santiago with a wolf smile on his face (not a wolfish smile, a wolf smile, because he’s a wolf). “Did you hear them last night?”

“Hear who?”

“100 Gorumites all singing of their glorious death in the halls of the boneyard.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t hear any of them. I just heard wails of pain and agony and death.”

Merrowyn wasn’t feeling good, and she took it out on those around her. In this case Santiago. However she thought there might be a way to rectify this sorrow, by going and killing Villamor Koth! Santiago was game, Imogen was ready to teleport her into his camp. But they didn’t know where he was. And Olivetta didn’t have a scrying spell prepared. And Savia kept reminding Merrowyn what a general should do. And Ovinrbaane wanted her to kill him on the battlefield in front of everyone. And. And. And. And. And….

The only person who was just ready to go with her was Miquela. All decked out and ready for a fight, but but that time Merrowyn had already given up and would fight Koth tomorrow on the battlefield…or the next day really, because tomorrow we’d probably be marching to Sellen’s Gate to defend it.  Bleh.

A crisis of faith

While tending to the sick Olivetta and Imogen ran into one another. “So what’s the plan?” inquired Olivetta.

Imogen had lots of plans for lots of things, but she wasn’t sure what the witch was speaking of. “The plan to protect our families spirit realm after you fulfill your destiny. You know the plan to cheat Jonus the BALANCER.”

Imogen had no plan. She made the agreement in good faith, which upset Olivetta quite a bit as she was not only talking about destroying the home of her ancestors, but also the source of her power. And Imogen was just ready to let it all go.

This did not go over well.

Olivetta was angry as Imogen for deciding on her own to destroy the family home and Imogen thought it was selfish for Olivetta to desire to keep them for her own benefit. Neither one was really ready to budge.

Except Olivetta. She did make one change. Which was to give up her faith in Pharasma and change her alignment from Chaotic Neutral to Neutral. And doing that all just before war. Talk about putting your soul in a perilous place!

Tactical withdrawal – not fleeing at all.

In the morning Merrowyn commanded Arvin and his rangers to form our vanguard and protect the Swordlords Own, the 2nd Infantry, and the First Cavalry as they withdrew to Sellen’s gate to reinforce the Mivon Bravos against the forces moving up from the south.

The rangers used their knowledge of the nearby Narlmarches, the their speed, and deadly accuracy to harry  the Cat’s Paw Marauders and the Pitaxian Horde, slowing them down, but taking heavy losses in doing so. At the end of the day Merrowny received a letter by raven that they had held them off as long as they could before retreating into the woods to meet up with the Red Claw and Sootscale’s Own (an army of Kobold infantry).

Status Report at Sellen’s Gate

When we arrived we found that Tad and Leccio had made their way to Sellen’s gate, and that many reports were coming in about the status of the approaching armies. We tallied them as

  • A Pitax Regiment, 2000 strong, armed with bows.
  • 100 Trolls
  • 50 wyverns
  • And something else they were using everything in their power to screen. Some scrying spells however revealed it was 100 hill giants on mastodons, lead by a Rune Giant, along with a regiment of Pitax Wardens led by Kasten Garess!

Fun times. And good that we had made it to Sellen’s gate. It’s wall and castle would be needed!

Villamor KothRevenge is a dish best served…

…a night later than you expected by someone else?

Merrowyn’s plan of teleport into his command tent and murder Villamor Koth, then teleport back turned out to actually be the plan, just a night later than she meant it. Leaving once we got back to Sellen’s gate meant the troops were safe (or safe-ish) behind the wall and that Olivetta had a scrying spell prepared.

Wave of Fatigue is the worst (read: the best)

Before jumping in Merrowyn found a temple which had a scroll of Wave of Fatigue. Being a barbarian herself, Merrowyn knew what a buzz kill that would be for Koth and his companions. Imogen cast invisibility on us, we teleported in. Merrowyn read the scroll and hit most of them in it’s area of effect, and then the fight was on. They all wanted to rage, but most of them were just too sleepy to do it. Yay!

The fight was cramped and awkward leaving us all pressed up against each other [without any dex bonuses]. Asses and elbows just like a rogue with lots of sneak attack dice likes it. Fun times with lots of sword slingers getting stabby and spellcasters being crafty!

After he died and alarm went off in the camp. The horde came rushing to their fallen commander’s aid. We shoved Koth and one of his commanders in a bag of holding, dropped a cloudkill spell, and teleported home. Yikes, Imogen is a fucking one woman army killer!

Loots taken off their bodies:

  • Greataxe +2
  • Hide armor +3
  • Potion of Barkskin (+3) x 2
  • Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds (CL 9) x 3
  • Ring of Protection +1
  • Hide armor +5
  • Potion of Barkskin (+5)
  • Potion of Heal (CL 15)
  • Ring of Protection +2
  • Vicious Greataxe +2
  • Koth’s head on a pike, to be displayed on the wall of Sellen’s gate before his troops when the came to attack us the next day.

Tired as we were from the fight and concerned about being prepared for the battle the next day, Tad helped us out with some pick me up alchemical concoctions.

A trip to the Tusk

Imogen, still having a few teleport spells as her disposal then went to the Tusk with Miquela, where they checked in on the kids, grabbed MikMek, met with Sootscale and ask him to guard the Tusk with his 2nd heavy infantry, bought a scroll of greater dispel magic, and then teleported back.

Still in the middle of the night we sent MikMek to go find the Rune Giant and place something on him, or take something of his so we could scry on him and break his control. Imogen then set to learning Greater Dispel. Just six hours of reading before battle in the morning. Tad, make that a double!

Avinash JurrgBattle of Sellen’s Gate

Gorum be praised there was a lot of death this day! To the south we had the forces mentioned above, lead by none other than Avinash Jurrg! To our north was the Pitaxian Horde (diminished and demoralized but not destroyed) and the Cat’s Paw Mauraders. Inside Sellen’s gate we had the Mivon Bravos, the Swordlord’s Own, and the 2nd Infantry. Outside we had Arvin’s Rangers, the Red Claw, Sootscale’s Own (who appeared later in the day, being carried by the rangers and druids) and the 1st Cavarly.

The battle itself was an ugly siege. The cities defenses are really the only thing that kept us alive, and allowed us to repel and destroy the enemy forces. As the armies battled on the walls, the heroes [read: PCs] made grand displays to bolster their morale, terrify our foes, counter their leaders tactics, or just outright destroy enemy forces. A few of the highlights:

  • Imogen casting Circle of Death right in the center of the Pitaxian Regiment…countered by Avinash Jurrg.
  • Merrowyn chanting the Gorumskagat as she fought along the wall to embolden the Swordlord’s Own.
  • Miquela used her dragon-bane arrows to fell five wyverns before the reached our walls.
  • Elara following suit and firing arrows blessed by Deadeye himself to slay even more.
  • Olivetta attempted to dominate one of the enemy commanders, but he miraculously resisted her enchantments.
  • Miquela meant to mutilate the body of Koth on the wall before the horde but Leccio though it would be more impactful to hit their current leader with the head of Koth, launched from a catapult.
  • Merrowyn flew up to harass and distract Avinash Jurrg, first by chasing him down and attacking him savagely then when she had his attention, calling upon Ovinrbaane to counter his magic as he tried to summon another mighty demon to fight her.
  • Avinash Jurrg casting a holy blight on the entire city of Sellen’s Gate, a horrific spell that would have killed most of the civilian population… if not for Imogen being prepared with her Greater Dispel Magic to counter it!
  • Elara casting a blistering invective to terrify a group of soldiers and lash them with flames.
  • Olivetta using a mass suggestion to divert the troll forces and block up the enemy ranks.
  • Imogen casting cloudkill just outside the walls as the Pitax regiment was trying to scale them.
  • Merrowyn flying over the Pitax Horde, waving Ovinrbaane over their heads commanding them to follow her or be destroyed… and then when they hesitated concentrating all forces on destroying them (which we did!).

Call out the Champions

As the trolls and wyverns fell to the ground with a thunderous crash, the horde was destroyed, and the Cat’s Paw Marauders furled their banners and retreated, we could feel first then see the rumbling dust cloud of death on our horizon. A look of grave concern washed over all of our faces. While our soldiers were loyal and well trained, they were not prepared to take on these kind of forces. There was a pause and then Savia’s 2nd in command (the brutal half-ork) shouted out in a voice that resonated across the battlefield. “Champions. Attack!”

And with that we leapt to action. All the great heroes of Aldoria vaulted over our walls and charged, flew, or rode out into the field to do battle! We had Aldo and Robillard, Arvin and the Twins, Savia and her commanders. And of course, the leaders of the realm [yeah, us, the PCs]. We charged in to break their line or die trying!

Fog of War

Elara and Miquela teamed up to tear down giants one by one.  Imogen summoned a throng of gargantuan flaming woolly rhinos to traple the somehow smaller mamoths under foot and gor them with flaming tusk. Merrowyn and Olivetta used their hats of disguise to appear as wardens, infiltrate the front lines and get to Kasten.

And then we got into the fray and were lost in the chaos of dust and blood.

Elara and Miquela did indeed fight giants…including the Rune Giant who apparently had a real hate on for all of us because we killed Vordekai. Who knew ol’ vordo had a BFF.


He was deadly. Deadly as fuck. However, Miquela and Imogen and Elara are even deadlier. In two rounds of combat Miquela and Elara scored five critical hits on him. Thank you Battlefield Mind + Improved Critical + Critical Focus + Haste + Outflank + Precise Strike (the teamwork feat) + Precise Strike (the swashbuckler ability). 300 hit points of ugly buys you apparently two rounds in front of the meat slicers!


Amid all this confusion, Oliveta, who had first dispelled the compulsion spell on a Hill Giant, and then cast one of her own, and was amiably riding behind it on the mastadon, couldn’t spot the giant 60′ tree Merrowyn had dropped in the middle of the battlefield [Feather tokens are awesome] but she did find Kasten.

In a brief exchange between then she cast an evil eye on him, tried to hex him to sleep, was nearly decapitated by him when it didn’t work, and then – for the first time in this campaign – successfully used her ice tomb hex to encase him in ice!

Coming to a close

The giant’s leader killed, Kasten captured, and much of their forces wrecked in the face by our heroes, they fled the field. As we came out of the dust we saw the Pitax Regiment had finally scaled the walls and were about to break our resistance when an army of a thousand centaurs led by Xanthia swarmed in and destroyed them.

Inside our dungeon we talked some about what to do, then Merrowyn lost her patience and chopped off one of Kasten’s hands. After a tense moment, we saw the First World ring appear, and then Kasten’s stern face fall into tears.

What rocked

Having our individual character actions during the battle made it a lot more fun for me and I think for everyone else. Simply rolling the battle dice is pretty unsatisfying. There just isn’t enough tactical nuance to make the mass combat system fun in it’s own right.

Messing with Avinash Jurrg was great. I’d never called on the swords 1/day Dispel Magic spell (Caster Level 20) so it was super fun to get to use it. Similarly, Imogen just countering his holy blight with a greater dispel and using her potent magic arcanist exploit was super cool.

Telling the Horde we would crush them and then when they paused, crushing them? Win!

The fog of war was a great complication. We had all these plans and it was cool to see us all scrambling to make them work.

Riding on the back of a flaming whooly rhino? What won’t Merrowyn try to ride? So good, even at 3d6 fire damage a round. Sooooo good!

Dropping a giant oak tree in the middle of the battlefield didn’t really do anything useful, but it was fun.

That rune giant. Man, he was rough. And I really liked him, for the three rounds he lived at least. Nice to see some tie in from earlier modules.

A lot of firsts for spells this time around. A herd of flaming whooly rhinos. Circle of Death. Cloudkill. Blistering Invective. Good stuff!

Oh that wave of exhaustion was good. I remembered when Vordekai used it in us. So much fun to use it right back!

The debate between Olivetta and Imogen was amazing. Possibly one of the best parts of the game. Then Olivetta abandoning Pharasma. AMAZEBALLS!

We all leveled up and our surviving armies all gain +1 morale and a new tactic. Woot!

What could have been improved

Merrowyn had a couple of false starts this game. I really wanted to go kill Koth and then totally got to exactly that, but the next day on other people’s terms. I feel like I should have just pushed, been vengeful and gone for it, but even my bloodthirsty sword said to wait. Killing him the next night was all good. I just wondered why my plan was such a bad one, when the good was was to do the same thing only a night later. Similarly I thought she’d have this show down with Kasten and as I imagined it he was about to murderate Olivetta when she charged on the back of his steed. They could have had an awesome battle. But she was 300 yards away and it was impossible to clear the distance… so she charged for two rounds and then went “oh well” as he was already encased in ice. Not really sure what to do about that, or if anything should have been done. I had plenty of good moments this game and sometimes things just don’t work out.

It’s too bad Elara didn’t have a more meaningful interaction with Katen. Olivetta and Imogen didn’t know him. I was pretty satisfied playing the much more callous Merrowyn who didn’t give a shit about him, or at least pretended not to give a shit. Miquela was in it for the intel he could offer about Pitax, which seems just right. But Elara has always has this attraction to him and she wanted to nurture him and I didn’t see that happen. Instead Rudolpho had the really meaningful connection of telling him he hasn’t quit. Which was cool to see, I just wish that had been Elara. Good news is that he’s with us now and she can have that scene (or scenes) next game.

Mass Combat is fucking rough when you’re attacking someone inside a city. I mean, we had +11 to our defensive values. It was just gross. The only way, that I can see to make it work is with siege weapons. Which is kind of great, I mean it make some sense. But they are bloody expensive (15 BP per engine). I think is just a guarantee though that if we want to take Pitax we’re going to need them. Sellen’s Gate isn’t half as fortified as The Tusk, so I can only imagine how brutal Pitax will be. And even then, siege weapons reduce DV bonuses from cities by 1d4 per round. So you’re likely to be battling them for a long ass time before their DV is low enough to hurt!


I change our strategy to “murderous” or whatever the most aggressive one is. I think for Mivon, that is what they call it.

“Stop embarrassing me!” The line that would have landed great if Merrowyn wasn’t 300 yards from Kasten and by the time she got there he was already frozen in ice and ready to be teleported into our dungeon for decapitation. As is she was just shouting into the wind.

Actual Play – War of the River Lords (4/2/2015)

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

The best laid plans of wyverns and women…

Alas, we had about an hour before our game where we mapped out an elaborate plan to get our beloved Kasten back on #TeamAldoria. The plan had four main phases, each with complicated and interlocking activities. Some, but not all of these steps had backup plans, redundancies, and/or were robust enough to endure varied outcomes.

We seriously Shadowrun’d the shit out of this plan.

To our character’s great dismay (and a little to our own) we found out that as of the start of game Kasten was gone, and had in fact already been gone for a day. Asking around we determined he left after the party the previous night, entering a tent and then never coming out (presumably teleported by someone).

300x419xflangedmace.jpg.pagespeed.ic.RBZwDLuJOw-1Farewell to Pitax

Learning that we couldn’t get ahold of Kasten, and seeing that everyone else was packing up, we accepted the prize, a Rod of Lordly Might, said our goodbyes and starting heading home. Of note:

  • Our faithful and overworked spy has a name: Lapo Baldi, aka, That Poor Bastard.
  • Merrowyn met with Dizon, the dwarven Gorumite from Mivon to give her farewells and ensure that we’d meet again when we were sacking the place. She also invited Timsina from Tymon to come to Aldoria sometime and help her set up a gladiator arena.
  • Arvin, overwhelmed by accolades tried to dodge all his adoring fans. Miquela ran interference for him.
  • At the awards ceremony everyone was hung over, there were lots of speeches and standing around, Nunzio and Grigori announced some minor awards, Villamor Koth was notably not present to receive a 2nd place prize, it was a very hot day, the rod of lordly might came out on a red velvet cushion. Miquela accepted the reward eagerly and told Grigori that his body was currently rotting in an Aldorian graveyard.
  • We planned to head to Pitax to socialize there for a bit but then heard there were lots of assassins waiting for us.
  • Concerned that both Kasten and Villamor Koth’s absence might mean Pitax was going to make a military advance while we were sailing home we teleported back to The Tusk with Oliveta, Merrowny, Miquela, Elara, Kobb, Imogen, Arvin, The Twins (who finally were named Miro and Maria), and Lapo.
  • Others stayed on the boat to take the sea voyage home: Tad, Xanthia, Rudolpho, Stone Faced Killer, Domingo, and the Swordlord’s own.

Savia’s Secret

The moment we arrived Miqeula and Merrowyn, after an argument of who should talk to her, both approached Savia together to find out the truth. Which was that we never should have asked. Savia, her hand forced, admitted that Franco was not her brother, but her son. She was 13 was he was born and not at all prepared to be mother, so her parents took him in as their son instead. He didn’t know. Nobody knew except now Merrowyn, Miquela, and Edward.

Goings on in the Tusk

  • Olivetta and Imogen going dress shopping for Olivetta’s apology to Leccio.
  • Giovanni losing his mind hearing about how expensive the Rushlight Tournament was [5 Build Points, which you know could have fed the entire Swordlord’s Own for a month, or paid for magical streetlamps].
  • Miquela told Giovanni that we should throw a party for winning the Rushlight! We we’re pretty amazing.
  • Miquela warmed Leccio up for Olivetta’s apology by saying that she just likes dancing and that she really likes you!
  • Olivetta came in, wearing her nice new dress, and asked Leccio if he would like to dance with her some time. Which he would, as long as they could still pick mushrooms and research demons together. Deal!

Pit_fiendSizing up our Enemies

In another attempt to find Kasten, Olivetta cast a scrying spell and found him in some military tent, moving pieces around on a map. The image was cut off abruptly though as a powerful looking Ogre Magi came into view and then with hardly the flick of his wrist dispelled the scrying spell. Just as it ended she heard Kasten say “excellent” and realized that whatever that creature was, it was very powerful.

To the books!

Imogen researched ancient Ogre Magi and determined that this one’s name is Avinash Jurig, and incredibly powerful devil who hollowed out the body of an Ogre Magi to ride him as a fresh suit.

Olivetta took the dangerous journey to the Old Beldane who said that we should all run away. The devil, who she wouldn’t speak his name, was only here because all the other demons kicked him out of their infernal realm. He was that much of an ass.

Leccio researched father and discovered that Avinash is the original pit fiend! Good times for Aldoria!

Preparing for War

Olivetta, Merrowyn, and Savia began planning for what they imagined would be an imminent attack from Pitax.

  • We all agreed that we need to get Kasten!
  • Merrowyn splits up the Red Claw into 10 squadrons that will each patron one hex and moved them north from Fort Marcus to the form a picket line around Sellen’s Gate.
  • We also ordered the Horde to move from the Tusk to Sellen’s Gate.
Symbol of the River Kingdoms
Symbol of the River Kingdoms

Paying a visit to Gralton

Despite the impending attack, Gralton was expecting our presence, so Imogen, Elara, Olivetta, and Miquela teleported there to meet up with the Water Dancer (our ship) and do the politicking thing with Lady Dela Morgayn and her retinue. Some highlights of that visit:

  • Learning the history of Gralton, who broke away from Galt because of devil worship, which started when Chelliax took control of Galt way back when.
  • The True King sent 20,000 people on an exodus to find a new home along with 600 of his finest soldiers to guard their escape, led by Morgayn’s brother Jontas Kerathin, who was the True King’s squire. Of the 600 soldiers, only 11 made it to Galt, but all 20,000 civilians (and a few more that were born on the way) made it safe.
  • Kerathin holds the king’s sword to put in the hands of an heir that will one day reclaim Gralton.
  • Rulopho had a date! A young woman who was still much older than him. Imogen watched him closely.
  • At the party Miquela socialized with a lot of foreign dignitaries and at the end met with Lady Morgayn to discuss her chances of getting recognition at the outlaw council. The agreed that we probably had the support of Mivon, Gralton, and Tymon. That Pitax, Sevenarches, and the Protectorate of the Black Marquee would probably speak against us, and that it would come down to the uncertain votes of Lambreth, Uringen, and Daggermark. While there are other River Kingdoms, but they don’t have a significant voice at the council.
  • We discussed opening an embassy in Gralton as well!
  • Elara schmoozed with Gralton nobles.
  • Olivetta gossiped and found it was hard to keep up!
  • Imogen was once again showered with flattery by Kerathin, who she new respected more than ever. They flirted and then talked some of war, but then she departed home.

Pietro gets a Pass

Between battle planning sessions with Savia, Merrowyn checked in on Jerome to find out how Pietro had been doing. And the answer was not well. He seemed to show now aptitude for anything involving physical prowess; fighting, sneaking, building, working hard, he was bad at all of them. He did seem to show some interest in books though.

Merrowyn took him to Leccio’s lab and and asked the archivist if he could appraise Pietro. Leccio observed as he let the prisoner peruse his library and took notice of the books he picked out. The archivist would have to study with him for a while to tell Merrowyn more.

Captain_Jontas_KerathinDeparting Gralton

Cutting back to the end of the night at Gralton, our heroes departed from Gralton with a goodbye and a teleport spell:

  • Morgayn said she thought we had a good chance getting the Gralton vote at the Outlaw council.
  • Rudolpho escorted his date to her carriage…like a perfect gentleman.
  • That night, when Kerathin retired he found a sealed envelope from him from Imogen. In it she expressed her more than perfunctory interest in Kerathin and in his noble cause, and that should he ever want to stand by Aldoria, we would stand by him as well. He held onto the note for some time before placing it very carefully in his chest, on top of the sword of the true king.
  • They teleported back with Rudolpho, Domingo, Tad, Xanthia, and SFK as well.

Early Warning

Merrowyn received a letter with no recognized seal on it. “Merro, Pitax troops seen moving eastward in the North. This one is on the House. -Dario”

Yes, we had our troops (mostly) in the right position! It was time to mobilize! Merrowyn and Imogen sat on top of the castle towers reviewing a map of the region while Imogen began summon hordes of Archons (Lantern and Hound) to teleport into the various hexes and search for Pitax forces. With greater teleprotation and the extended summoning duration (13 minutes instead of 13 rounds) we were able to find all of their forces and their locations. A few of our hounds never made it back, so Imogen cast invisibility on them before sending them out, and sent them out in greater numbers. When one made it back, shredded and beaten, he exclaimed there were wyverns! Here’s the armies we spotted:

  • A medium army (100) of Wyverns
  • A huge army (500) of camouflaged soldiers with bows.
  • A gargantuan army (1000) of Tiger Lord barbarians.

Here’s what we had:

  • The Red Claw, broken into ten 10-person squadrons. As they could wildshape into animals that made the great for scouting but not a substantial force in the fight.
  • The Horde, 100 cleric/barbarians of Gorum in Sellen’s Gate, that had just been itching for a fight since the day we formed them, led by Merrowyn.
  • Arvin’s rangers, a huge army (500) of experienced rangers (6th level) already deployed in Tazzleford and Sellen’s Gate, quick to move through the Narlmarches to meet them, led by Arvin and Elara.
  • The Swordlords Own, a huge ammy (500) of experienced soldiers (6th level fighters), led by Legion Marshall Savia Sordello and Swordlord Miquela. Who only made it there because of a forced march, and arrived exhausted.
  • Clerics from all faiths (Gorum, Pharasma, Elrastil, and Abadar) joining together to aid the forces [Acting as healing potions]

Here’s what we had coming to our aid, but not there for the first battle:

  • Sootscale’s own, a gargantuan army (1000) of Kobold fighters.
  • The 2nd infantry, a large army (200) of fighter/rogues moving from Ogelton.
  • The first cavalry, our medium army (1oo) of cavalry moving from Varnhold.
  • The First Nomen Legion, a small army (50) of Centaurs, led by Xanthia, our warden of the East.
  • Potentially additional support from Sootscale (who had to mobilize his heavy infantry) and from the Nomen.

In our time of need

Knowing that war was upon us Miquela and Oliveta teleported down to Mivon to have a meeting with the Swordlords and convince them to come to their allies aid. It took some time for Ribissi to assemble them all, but when he did, they were quick to hear her plea.

Miquela reminded Mivon of their own wars with Pitax, of Irovetti’s treachery, and of what good allies we’ve been. She told them that if there was ever a time to join forces against a common foe it was now.

The swordlords rallies around three beliefs. The first group was bloodthirsty and could not wait to take up arms against Pitax again. The second group was wary that they weren’t prepared and needed more time to supply, the the third group wondered why they should extend their forces when they weren’t in any danger. It seemed more logical for Mivon to wait until both of us had bloodied our noses and then sweep in for the victory. It was cold and calculating, but that’s how Swordlords can be!

Miquella rebutted their concerns and told them that if Pitax took control of Sellen’s gate it would cut off their river trade, which would be a blow to everyone’s economy, and that if the conquered Aldoria completely they would be poised to attack Mivon from the west and the north.

Her words moved many, but the final vote came down to the Lord Mayor, who opted for a cautious measure and said that Mivon would not join us.

There was a silence in the hall, our cause was defeated… until Oromano, Ribissi’s brother in-law and the 2nd to the Lord Mayor stood up and said “you are weak old man. The time for was is now and if you’re not willing or able to lead us then someone else needs to. I challenge you!”

Within moments there were judges and advocates standing outside hastily drawn dueling circle. The two men who had for so long worked at each other’s side, were now at each other’s throats! It was quick, a few blows to size once another up, before Oramano thrust his blade deep into the chest of his long time lord. When the held each other close, something was whispered between them, which none but the two of them could hear.

Now in charge of Mivon, Oromano declared that they too would enter the field of battle and fight besides their allies in Aldoria!

Bring in the reinforcements!

As the battle raged on, here’s what the red claw detected coming from the south west going straight for Sellen’s gate:

  • A medium army (100) of trolls.
  • A colossal army (2000) of human soldiers

And here’s what Mivon was sending up the river directly to Sellens’ gate to guard it:

  • A huge army (500) of duelists and bravos.


The Clash of Sword and Shield – Battle of Stone Bridge


When we took the field at the ancient stone bridge that crossed the Sellen, our forces were exhausted and outnumbered, though not by so much that we could not hold the line, we just needed to summon our our vigor and might to do so.

The Horde was the the first to go. The charged for with Greatswords in hand and spiritual greatswords swing about overhead. They send several of the more crazed members ahead with bags of holding filled with alchemical fire. And while they did manage to cause great losses to the wyvern army, they were assaulted and overwhelmed by Villamor Koth’s barbarians who outnumbered them 10 to 1. Within the first few salvos the Horde was decimated.

Arvin’s rangers, bows in hand and with avian animal companions as well were able to finish off the last of the wyverns, and turn their attention to the similarly equipped Cat’s Paw Marauders, who they matched numbers with but neither force could muster sufficient advantage over the other and minimal losses were taken.

The Swordlords own, exhausted from their forced march [-2 OM and DV] did their best to simply hold off against the barbarian onslaught. Shields raised high and fighting defensively, they hardly blunted the Tiger Lord’s assault but they did manage to hold their own and though there were many losses, many of those were tended to by the clerics who came to our aid [Yay, healing potions]. The Swordlords Own held the line until night fell and the forces of both Pitax and Aldoria were forced to leave the field of battle.


At 13 I had the motherly instincts of a Blade Barrier spell! – Savia Sordello

What Rocked

The moment everyone but Merrowyn was concerned about Pitax invaded and she was totally confident that Savia would keep the kingdom safe, and then finding out that Miquela had suspicion Savia wasn’t actually Franco’s sister…and that she had told everyone but Merrowyn. That was as an awesome moment of betrayal.

The Horde dying like they should, for a glorious purpose of killing wyverns!

Savia told Merrowyn all these things about being a good general. That she needed to treat troops like assets to be traded and lost to achieve a goal. It took Savia 10 years to learn that lesson, Merrowyn had to to it in 10 hours. She told her that a general can’t always be a leader, sometimes they need to stay in the back to direct. There are times to be a hero, and there are times to trade glory for victory. That took her 20 years to learn and Merrowyn would have to learn it… oh wait, nevermind, the war is here, she’s got no time. Go, go, go!

I loved those scenes (they felt like the most serious anywho had ever taken Merrowyn as the general) but what I particularly love about them is that right after Merrowyn led an army to their total destruction. Everyone but her, Dizon (who had rushed up from Mivon to join them), and Rudolpho (who kept up in the fight until he ran out of spells and barely survived) were destroyed. I’m really looking forward to playing out her feeling of being an imposter and a failure, as well as wanting personal revenge. All the wrong things for a general to feel.

Savia’s secret was cool. I hated that we did it, I felt like an asshole, but I was really glad that we had someone who just had personal shit, and that is all it was. Not betrayal or switching sides, or anything else, just skeletons on their closet.

Despite my frustration with the adventure path (I feel like the tournament was pointless, see below) I’m very excited to try out the mass combat more and see what war is like. We’ve been itching to do it for a while and while I’d really have liked about 6 more kingdom turns to build up our armies, I think we got a few tricks up our sleeve, that we can play. This ties into Merrowyn’s emotional state. I as a player have some ideas that I think are good, but Merrowyn is way too irrational right now to consider them. It’ll be fun to see how it plays out!

What could have improved

We were a little crushed that approaching Kasten was just out of the question. And then more so when we found out he was with the fucking Balrog! So we had these ideas, and they all have to go on the back burner, and by the time they come up, there is a good chance they will be moot. It’s every Shadowrunner’s nightmare experience. You make all the plans to get the nuke out of the complex and when you arrive at the complex all kitted out for infiltration, you find out the nuke has been moved and you don’t know where it is. And it’s like fuck, back to the drawing board.

I think it’s bad adventure design on the part of the AP, but I can’t tell what the point of the Rushlight was. I mean we do kind of the dream thing PCs in RPGs do which is compete is this big tournament and win it, but what came out of it? Assassins in Pitax. Armies coming to our house? A prize that nobody cares about? It might turn into something more down the line, like additional glory and accolades that will help us on the Outlaw council, but it’s hard to say. It feels mostly like it was meant to show what a shit heel Irovetti is, and I get that, he’s really a dick, but does the aventure need to spend that much time teaching us he’s a dick? I just remember feeling so excited that we won the tournament and then so let down afterward. Everyone leaves, nobody gives a shit about the rod, and oh, by the way, here’s our armies in your face.

This was our first encounter with the mass combat system, and there were several things that came up:

  • The system is very swingy. Because there aren’t very many rolls made each one made a big difference. We only had 3 “rounds” of combat, so each army roll 3-4 times (4 if they had ranged weapons), so there was a lot of wiff opportunity. In that we rolled two 1s which really hurt, especially because they came at the beginning. Pathfinder combat normally gets around this by virtue of the number of dice rolls. Sure, you’ll get your good and bad rolls, but they even out because you make some many of them. Where there are only a few, each roll matters a lot.
  • The role of the general was pretty inconsequential to the mechanics. Dennis gave me a Profession (Soldier) roll that I allows us to detect a very slight terrain advantage [+1 DV] but after that it was really up to the armies. That may very well be intentional, but I was wondering where clever tactics, risky gambits, and inspirational speeches would come in. So far as I can tell, the don’t have a place within the mass combat rules, but I think we can probably add them in anyway.
  • Adrienne was rightfully loosing her mind sitting by and watching all of this happen. Imogen, as she was designed is literally a one woman army.  Between the hordes of flying electric dinosaurs she can summon, the cloudkill spells, the circle of death spells, and the teleprotation she can do, there was no reason for her not to be wrecking faces during the fight. There are rules for statting up one person armies and when we quickly built her in hero labs we could see that at she would be formidable, but we didn’t do that to the end of the session, so she never entered the fray. Also, on the army scale, she’d have very few hit points, so there is a good chance she’d be killed in a round or two. Still, she really wanted to be out there and it was a shame that she couldn’t. I also know Dennis has some plans to let her use her stuff next session, so I imagine this will be more than made up for.

Actual Play – We are the Champions (2/20/2015)

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

I was so excited about this session, and it did not fail to deliver. We finally met back up with Kasten, our ex-commander that left years ago and discovered why he left us…. but Merrowyn was too caught up with her plans for triumph to care! We competed against our fellow nations in friendly competition, and DOMINATED them! We met Castruccio Irovetti, His Supreme and Inimitable Magnificence, Castruccio Irovetti, by the grace of the gods the rightful King of Pitax, Marvel of Numeria, Master of Mormouth,
and Prince-Regent of the Sellen. Not one, but two of the Daughters of Aldori were smitten by him. We had amazing games of deception and they actually worked! We met up with old friend like Imeckus Stroon (#NotAFriend) and made new ones like Villamor Koth (#AlsoNotAFriend).

All in all we had a delightful time.


Miquela and Kobb

These two, always in each other’s business. I remember when Kobb had secret meetings with Merrowyn

Anywho, it turns out that Kobb doesn’t eat, or drink (he must have one of those fancy rings) so not only is it hard to poison him, it’s also hard to share a drink with him.

Miquela apologized for her reaction about Aven sneaking on board and said that she called him a shitty spymaster in a moment of frustration. Kobb responded that he didn’t need to be liked, implying that he didn’t care what Miquela thought about him. She apologized anyway, and then everyone was uncomfortable.

The shifted topics to the Rushlight Tournament, of which Miquela told Kobb we didn’t have to win, but we did have to place well. “The most important thing is that we look good in front of the other nations.”

Merrowyn and Kobb

As Kobb walked out of Miquela’s cabin Merrowyn intercepted him “Kobb. The Rushlight Tournament. The most important things is that we win. Oh, and that nobody kills Miquela. Make sure of both of those happen.”

Arrival at Rushlight

Rushlight is a small yet unusually deep lake located about a dozen miles north of Pitax, but still technically within the Stolen Lands. It has a paradoxical reputation as bestowing both great and terrible luck. Its name comes from the lights that dance upon its service, spectral flames of green and blue that whisk into life, slash across the water, and then disappear. During the day the lights are hard to see, but occasionally one can see flashes of brilliance that streak across the water’s surface. Witnessing these “daylights” is thought to bring good luck.

At night the lights are easy to see, and local legend holds that to look upon their eerie glow is to be coaxed by the spirits of the lake, charmed into entering the water and drowning amid the spectral flames.

In the middle of the lake stands a small island, speckled with reeds, shrubs, and hemlock. An unusual species of egret live on the island, possessing unique and beautiful plumage. Hard to capture, the birds are disquietingly silent and still (but said to scream like a woman when slain).

– Guide to the River Kingdoms

Upon arriving we saw the festival grounds were already bustling with activity. There were common stall with merchants hawking their wares, there were all manor of savory and sweet delights, surrounding the late itself there were luxurious tents provided for all the invited guests, and there was a menagerie, presented by the one and only Madame Duclarion. Duclarion is widely know for her amazing selection of beasts. It is said that she is a Chellaxian magic user who was displaced from her home and now travels with her collection. She isn’t cheap and she does not like to be cheated out of business.

The rotunda itself was where the actual games would be featured and those all were welcome, those who could afford it were able to purchase box seats at the mere price of 1,000 gold per day. Domingo said we needed three of them for our retinue. We could hear Giovanni’s ulcers flaring up from here! Also, other strange thinks kept appearing in our camp: steam baths, exotic foods, massages, etc. Domingo knows how to do this right!

Festival Grounds

PitaxWardenScoping out the Security

Planted all out the festival grounds were the Pitax Heralds and Wardens. The heralds were event organizers, entertainers, and the people people. The wardens were there for when civil approaches were unsucessful. From the look of them, these were some bad ass dudes.

[Is it wrong that as a player I really wanted to one by one sneak up and take these guys out, then put our men in their suits of armor. As it turns out that not only wouldn’t have been necessary, but it would have ended up with us “cheating” accidentally in the midnight joust. See below.]

Honor of the Swordlord’s Presence

Lieutenant Ignato Dolfino looks like he was once a pretty man, but years of soldiering and a few wound which never received magical healing have turned him into a horribly scarred mess. He’s a little old for an  lieutenant but that is probably because he likes where he is. He’s ruthless, and a stern disciplinarian, but not ambitious. Dolfino approached general Merrowyn and requested that one of his soldiers have the honor of having lunch at the Swordlord’s table.

“Wow, that is going to be uncomfortable for everyone, but sure, go for it. Only I don’t care if they are only armed with a shrimp fork, as long as the are in her presence, they are still the Swordlord’s own and they are still responsible for protecting her.”

35-nunzio_arpaiaRules of the competition

The chief bard Nunzio Arpaia greeted the audience and told them the rules of the event, and the schedule for the tournament. Rules first:

  1. Harm no spectator
  2. Kill no competitor
  3. Don’t get caught cheating

Then the Schedule

  • Day One – The Archery competition
  • Day Two – The feat of strength
  • Day Three – Boasting competition in the morning and the the drunken joust as midnight.

Who’s who at the Rushlight

Once the announcements were made, we all had some time to socialize with the other attendees. This is what we found.

  • Daggermark is competing, but their competitors are fractures. They are just in it for the price.
  • Gralton is here to win to gain fame among the River Kingdoms and sell to support their war effort with Galt.
  • Mivon wants to win to rub it in Pitax’s face (we knew that)
  • Pitax, even though it is gauche to even compete in your own tournament, still want to win to the be best.
  • Tymon, a nation of gladiators, wants to win, because winning is everything to them.

Go great, everyone wants to win. No surprises there!


Elara’s Entrapment

On the first day Miquela and Elera were invited by Nunzio Arpaia to meet the king himself. What an honor! Nunzio Arpai, chief steward escorted them. He seemed just as pompous as Domingo, but without a sword. The royal pavilion they were brought to was made all of white cloth, which despite the very hot temperatures outside seemed to radiate cold. Elara realized it was the underbelly soft skin of a white dragon.

When the were brought to Irovetti the found him surrounded by two beautiful women who were instructing him on playing a new instrument. Although it had the appearance of being an interruption, both Miquela and Elara, keen into the hearts and minds of men, saw this was all a set up to appear harmless and benficient… and it worked.

As the king spoke with the Daughters of Aldori, he focused his charm on Elara, and much to her surprise she found him very pleasant indeed. He invited her to sit in his box with him tomorrow. Again what an honor… until later when we realized that tomorrow was the archery competition and he knew Elara was our contender. What a weasel!

Other thing they notice were that he personally was decked out in adventuring gear. Magic items in every slot! He also carried bizarre contraptions that Elara later realized where relics of the Iron Gods [Read: super science gizmos from a crashed spaceship] and that his musicians were accentuating his natural charm. Finally, his tastes go all over the place. He’s an adventurer who now fancies himself an art connoisseur. Not all of it is bad, but he couldn’t tell if it was!

OlivettaLegend Lore

Olivetta, curious of the Rushlight lake really did have magical properties walked out into it (which felt nice in all this heat) and cast a Legend Lore spell. Oh my! The mystical lights themselves? Swamp gas. But the other here:

  • Tad and Xanthia accompanied by a glow, perhaps their bond of love. No, it was Erastil’s favor
  • Domingo is very ambitious malevolent [He’s Chaotic Good].
  • Irovetti took his name (it’s an old Taldaran name). His real name is Manda Larucio.
  • This place was important to the elves before they left and many important people have died here.
  • Villamor Koth is here. A barbarian tiger lord and right bastard.
  • Pitax is a seething pit of depression but it looks good on the outside.
  • Milalethia is here. An elven cleric of Calestria.
  • Kasten is here! He’s self important. He’s confident. He’s angry. He’s prideful. And he’s something else…
  • Anamida Belahara, a human bard, is here. Seen seducing and fighting demons. She is a beloved Pitaxian social commentator who the common people love. She has been exiled for mocking Irovetti.
  • Merrowyn and Oninrbaane are communing with each other. Nothing new there!
  • And more, but the oracles were a bit hazy (see if you can make out the missing pieces):

File Mar 07, 5 05 25 PM

File Mar 07, 5 05 50 PM

Shakespeare would be envious

How could Elara compete in the archery contest and be Irovetti’s guest? How could she refuse either? We argued about this for a while before finally deciding that Olivetta, using her Hat of Disguise would pose as Elara, while Elara, using her Hat of Disguise would pose as Arivn, while Arvin, who just wanted to fish, would be sat on by a few of the Swordlords Own. A perfect plan. How could it possibly go wrong?

Olivetta/Elara, for her part did remarkable. Imogen went as a servant (where she heard and took part in lots of gossip, about everyone save Lady Miquela, who she held in the highest esteem and would not besmirch her name). She wasn’t able to help out Olivetta as much as we hoped, but she was there for moral support at the very least. Olivetta/Elara played it pretty cool, asking the king about his interests and trying not to say anything that Elara wouldn’t. She also found that she was rather charmed by his wiles, and when the king put his hand on her knee, she covered it with her own. Scandalous! He invited her to be his personal guest at the Pitax party the next evening.

Also in his pavilion was the inestimable Imeckus Stroon! Yeah, that Stroon. The one who we’ve given a very bad day several times and has removed more than a few of our eyebrows. He was as civil as one can be when all they want to do is drop an empowered fireball at ground zero! “Charmed. I’m sure.

Archery Contest

GrigoriBelow, in the arena the master of ceremonies was announced… and it was none other than Grigori. That bard we killed for treason? Yeah, same guy! We immediately started asking our lone spy what the hell was going on. Was this an illusion? Did they somehow get the body and raise him? WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?

But the show went on, and the MC announced the competitors. He even make sure to mispronounce the name of our country. Jerk. The rules were simple. Each archer had 36 seconds (six rounds) to fire six arrows provided into a target of their choice:

  • Blue target with a Kobold face on it (thank god Sootscale wasn’t here for this) at 30′. A hit worth 1 point. A bullseye [crit] worth 3.
  • Green target at 220′. A hit worth 3 points. A bullseye worth 9.
  • Red target at 550′. A hit worth 5 points, A bullseye worth 15.

Additionally two points are to be awarded for every round not used (giving some incentive to finish quickly). Here’s how the contestants scored:

  1. Filatia Manando (Gralton) – Six shots into the green target with three rounds to spare. 24 points.
  2. Ilraith Valadhkani (Daggermark) – Notably palmed his arrows, but when Elara/Arvin called him on it Grigori make it sound as though accusing another contestant of cheating was bad form, so she let it drop. Fired six arrows into the red target, all of them landing. 30 points.
  3. Navarathna (Mivon) – The ringer we met on our travels here. A bullseye into the red, four hits into the red, and then one arrow that hit the red and then bounced off. All fired in two rounds! 43 points.
  4. Damanjot (Tymon) – Alternated shots between green and red. Not sure the specifics but she scored 30 points.
  5. Elara/Arvin (Aldoria) – Began the tournament with prayers to Erastil (Greater Magic Weapon and Divine Power). And then dropped arrow after arrow into the red target. A hit. A bullseye. A hit. A hit. A hit. And then… the sky parted and the sun glinted brightly off the head of her arrowhead and… another bullseye, right through the first and destroying the red target! An amazing 52 points!
  6. Villamor Koth (Pitax) – On his third bow, he dropped powerful arrow after arrow into the red target. I don’t remember the specifics but he got 38 points. A solid third… at which he snapped his third bow!

ElaraWhen the announcement was made that Elara/Arvin was the winner our stands went wild! A team of rangers leapt onto the grounds, charged Elara/Arvin and gave her/him no less than six victory laps around the colosseum. The enthusiasm was shared by all (or mostly all) in the Aldoria tents, but not many others.

Point totals: Aldoria: 3, Mivon: 1

Celebrations hosted by Mivon

They really thought they were going to win. 43 points is damn impressive. But only 2nd place. Still, they were prepared for a party and they were going to host it! And oh what fun we had.

Merrowyn approached Kobb’s hapless agent and told him “I want to win tomorrow and I’m pretty sure that monster of a barbarian is going to be representing Pitax tomorrow, and I’m betting he’s better at feats of strength than archery!” He looked she asked him to move mountains, and apparently she did!

At the party we talked about Kasten, and who should approach him. Merrowyn, who for so long had pined after mending the damage she had done with Kasten, now just didn’t care. In fact she actively thought that engaging with him for any reason beside sizing up his armies was a waste of time. Miquela and Elara disagreed. And Domingo posited the question “what if he has one of those rings? If he does, then he is the victim here.” They agreed to try and find out. Merrowyn, now deep under the influence of Ovinrbaane, scoffed at them.

Aecora SilverfireBlessings to Xanthia and Tad

[After some google fu to find her picture, I realize I’ve been spelling Xamanthe’s name wrong for ages. I’m okay with that. It’s staying Xanthia for my records. Also, this is a picture of her mother Aecora because the one shot available of her, presumably from when we first found her just depicts the head of a beaten woman. I thought this did more justice to her.]

In the morning of the second day Miquela, who had long been trying to figure out how to combine her idea of creating a shared genealogy and the damn sword’s insistent idea of giving her some of Savia’s emeralds (splitting up a 2000-year old set for the first time!), decided to present them as such: a book with the detailed lineages of Tad & Xanthia, which Miquela memorized and recited to Xanthia in full, and a pair of emerald earrings of Savia Aldori, which have never left the family before, and Miquela hopes will will not now either, as Xanthia will now be part of the family. Miquela added that she hoped Xanthia would wear the earrings to the wedding, which gave Xanthia a bit of a start since talk of their elopement had been very hush-hush.

Xanthia, always prepared for a fight, was not prepared for this gesture. She took a dagger from her waist, pierced her ears there on the spot, and put the earrings in them, covered in blood at all. A bit emotional her thanks were “I’ll never hurt him.” The words Miquela had hoped to hear ages ago.

Villamor KothA Feat of Strength

The contenders were once again brought out onto the field and once again Grigori announced the contents. When Pitax was announced Villamor Koth, took his flag pole, snapped of the end and hurled it halfway down the coliseum to stab into the ground. Guy likes breaking stuff! But also…damn, why didn’t Merrowyn think of that?

The contestants were each given their choice of either a great axe or two hand axes. When picking her’s Merrowny found an axe that had it’s half hanging over the edge of the table, the snapped it up by stomping on the exposed end, sending it flying through the air, and catching it just before the blade bit into the skull of Grigori. “I’ll take this one.” Grigori did not mispronounce our name this time!

Each contestant was given one minute [10 rounds] to cut through as many hardened logs as they could, starting in the middle and making their way through anyway they wanted. Each destroyed log was worth 5 points, each damaged one worth 2.

  1. Yegina Varudu (Daggermark) – A small frail looking woman, who after the casting of a few spells, tore into the logs with abandon, Destroying two and chipping away at a third. 12 points.
  2. Kilbaskian Ord (Gralton) – A ranger from Gralton who picked two handaxes. The sawed through three logs, damaged a fourth, and then threw his axes at a fifth and sixth. The fifth struck home but the sixth seemed to bounce off as though by some unseen force. 19 points.Merrowyn_25
  3. Dizon Marmada (Mizon) – A fellow Gorumite, she took her and sawed through four logs. 20 points!
  4. Timsina Siraj (Tymon) – A priestess of Gorum as well, she enchanted her blade and also tore through the logs (though I didn’t record the number but it was under 22)
  5. Villamor Koth (Pitax) – Howled in rage, drank from his flagon, and attacked with abandon destroying four logs and damaging a fifth. 22 points!
  6. Merrowyn Aldori (Aldoria) – As though Gorum’s blood ran in her veins, she quaffed a potion of Enlarge Blades, used her wayfinder ioun stone to cast Lead Blades, and in the end even used her weapon chain of blood doping to burst her strength. She also wore Miquela’s Boots of Speed. Put this all together and not only did she destroy all six logs, she broke the last one apart with her bare hands and had a round to spare. 30 points! [Note, I really threw out all the stops on this one, and borrowing Miquela’s boots made a huge difference. I spent a hero point on the first round to drink the potion, and another on the second round to cast Lead Blades, something the NPCs didn’t get to do. So while I won, I think to some degree I won by virtue of being a PC. 10′ reach helped a lot too!].

Ovinrbaane spoke to Merrowyn as her blade bit deep into the wood and as she wrenched it out over and over. It told her that Gorum was watching, and that he noticed when she broke the log in twain with her adamantine armor spikes!

Grigori made some noise about it being “unconventional” but it was allowed just the same and cheers from the Aldori crowd came that she “Arvin’ed it!” (I think our new term for Acing something!).

Point totals: Aldoria: 6, Mivon: 1, Pitax: 1

After the contest Ribissi and Oromano approached Miquela and told her that they no longer saw a possibility of winning the contest, so if they could win, they were going to help us!

OvinrbaanePitax’s Party

That night the king held a party for all contestants and other important dignitaries to attend.

Olivetta spent time with the contestants from Gralton, especially Lady Mogayne’s son, who had taken her to the dance when we passed through. He said that he was competing for Gralton tomorrow night in the joust. She did a fine job of socializing, but kept an eye out for Kasten. When she saw him she cast true seeing and detect magic and scanned for enchantments upon him. Though it took all over her arcane insight to unveil the magics that hid it from her [DC 40 Knowledge (Arcana) check] she confirmed he was controlled by magics the likes of which must come from the First World. No wonder he turned on us. I’m sure it had nothing to with Merrowyn being immature afterall. </snark>

Merrowyn, Timsina, and Dizon drank together, talked of battle, of the arenas in Tymon, and that they all hate Vallimor. Eventually, after a bit of mead, she unsheathed Ovinrbaane for them both to ogle and covet. When Dizon met her eyes with a look of “You know, I might just jump you now and take that blade from you, Merrowyn welcomed the challenge.

Elara (real Elara this time) was at the king’s side the entire time. He introduced her to several dignitaries, danced with her, and surprised her by being extra amorous!

Arcanist_RectMiquela and Imogen started the evening socializing with the folks from Mivon, but once Olivetta came with word of casten they split up.

Miquela made for Kasten directly and tried to see if there was any common ground between them. He was civil, but clearly brushed her off, and made it clear he had no interest in coming back, and that if he did, it would be with an army behind him. Subtle Kasten, real subtle.

Imogen was approached by none other than the Lord Captain Jontus and he asked if she was following him! Adorable! The left the party and went walking out by the lake where she found that he had been a soldier in Galt and was initially impressed but then her hopes were dashed when he revealed that his family had fled the conflict. She could never love a coward, so she parted ways with him only to find Rudolpho impressing a gaggle of young women. She took him by the metaphorical ear and pulled him away from them, saying it was time for both of them to retire for the evening. Shut down by a two hundred and fourty year old!

Boasting Contest

  1. Ankus Depergode (Gralton) – Boasted of his pirate days and doing well until a bard was discovered manipulating the crowd. Disqualified!Domingo
  2. Annamede Belavarah (Pitax) – The favored pitax comedian told a ribald tale of how she had spied on and sabotaged another River Kingdom…hey that sounds like all the things that happened to Aldoria!
  3. Memon Esponde (Daggermark) – Boasted of seducing all seven high priestess of Calistria and then making off with the high priestess’s corset, which he revealed as proof!
  4. Silia Ravenbrow (Mivon) – Sung a song about blood and danger and did quite well until she fumbled her drink!
  5. Mialolessa (Tymon) – A priestess of Calistria, it seemed from their body language that Memon od Daggermark was talking about her! It looked like she did some quick improvisation and changed her boast to a time when she seduced a succubus, and mentioned that it took weeks for her to recover from a condition she caught from her lover!
  6. Domingo Aldori (Aldoria) – Walked on stage and shoved his drink and cigar into the hands of the other contestants before he began his story of seduction and dueling, dancing at increasing speed as went along… and destroying the competition!

I don’t recall the point totals, but Domingo won by a landslide.

Point totals: Aldoria: 9, Mivon: 1, Pitax: 1, Tymon (?): 1

MiquelaJousting Competition

The drunken joust at midnight was, as expected, a ribald event. Tad, Miquela’s squire, however, kept her from suffering any ill effects. First he gave her a concoction to make sure she was quite sober indeed. Later he gave her other “drinks” between each joust to magically bolster her!

The first round included all the contestants except Pitax (who got a free pass for winning last year’s contest) jousting against the Pitax Wardens. Any who were unhorsed would not move on. Miquela and most of the other contestants advanced. The next round was jousting each other. Miquela faced off against Lady Morgayne’s son. A young lad and quite spirited, but she knocked him off his horse soundly! Finally she made it to the final round and faced Villamor Koth (jeez, I wonder why they didn’t have him the boasting contest too!). The draught Tad gave her just before the joust mader her lance strike true and she unseated the villain!

Point totals: Aldoria: 12, Mivon: 1, Pitax: 2, Tymon (?): 1

And the Rod of Lordly Might goes to… the highest bidder. Or if Elara has her way, the hall of trophies!

New NPCs

  • Castruccio Irovetti – wined and dined Elara/Olivetta
  • Madame Duclarion – runs the menagerie.
  • Lieutenant Ignato Dolfino – unambitious but stern officer.
  • Nunzio Arpaia – chief herald of Irovetti and Pitax.
  • Oh my god, so many contestants. See above!

Updated NPCs

  • Imeckus Stroon – No change. Still loathes us all.
  • Kasten Garess – He’s got one of the rings on!
  • Lord Captain Jontus – Pursuing Imogen but he lost her when he revealed the family fled rather than fought.
  • Xanthia – Given the emeralds of Savia Aldori. Brought into the family. Tad was pleased!
  • Grigori – True Seeing revealed he’s who he says he is, and word form home is that his body is still buried in the unmarked grave we gave him. A twin? A clone? Resurrected from a lock of hair they kept?

AnomanderWhat Rocked

Imogen’s drunk familiar was the best. I loved him being the worst chaperone ever.


It isn’t spelled out above but there were only two if Kobb’s agents assigned to give us support. One of them was the Stone Face Killer (with a hat of disguise on but still recognizable for his thousand yard stare and utter disinterest in everything) and the other was a sole agent that has to be a jack of all trades for us. Watching out that others weren’t cheating, cheating on our behalf, and making sure nobody killed Miquela in her sleep. That dude was awesome. I don’t think we got his name, but fucker deserves a raise!

Villamor Koth, and breaking his bow three times due to frustration. Once when teased by Navarathna, once when Elara/Arvin got her second bullseye, and once when he scored third place! He’s a jerk, I know, but I love characters who throw temper tantrums.

I got to do more crazy acrobatics in the feet of strength. Running up one log that was just broken, flying through the air 40′ and landing on another log to straddle it, and make cuts to my left and right. It as ridiculous, and awesome. Also, +10 Divine Strength bonus at the end to crack the log with my bare hands was lovely. Thanks Dennis/Gorum!

I think we cheated on nearly every contest, and just about everyone else did as well. In archer Elara posted as Arvin. In woodcutting, Kobb’s lowly agent hauled up three softer logs [Hardness: 3] for for Merrowyn to chop…but they had also given her the hardest logs filled with knots to start with [Hardness: 6]. In the jousting competition Miquela was given all sorts of alchemical concoctions from Tad to prevent her from being affected by the alcohol, and the spells of Heroes Fortune and True Strike. As far as we know only Domingo won purely on merit, but I hope he cheated too!

I love the conspiracies to keep things from Merrowyn. Miquela didn’t tell her that Savia isn’t Franco’s brother, something a general really should know. I kind of can’t wait for this to explode in someone’s face.

Other thoughts

I think its tough when you’ve got an idea that you want to try out but the consensus from NPCs is that the idea isn’t a good one, and they’re pushing a different idea. I know for Karen, one of the things she likes about Miquela’s direction is that she’s become quite knowledgeable about history and nobility (+21 on both skills, +27 if they have to do with Swordlords) and wanted to give a gift to Xanthia that reflected that. The argument that the Nomen have an oral tradition so a book wouldn’t be well received makes sense in the fiction, but Miquela had already taken this into account with her plan to recite it (again, because of her research into the Nomen history). It can be rough as player to have your choices dictated to you by NPCs and to feel like your ideas aren’t being encouraged.

I’m eager to give Merrowyn a chance to earn respect (or disdain) for more than just being a brute. I don’t really know how to roleplay being a good general because we have no military activity yet. So far it’s just been bolstering our armies. I’m sure wartime will come soon enough but when it does, the success of our armies will have more to do with how much we’ve built them up, and I’m still not sure as a player, how we’re doing on that track. According to ultimate campaign you can raise an army in a week, which seems a bit ridiculous, but if the civil war breaks out, or if the hobgoblins attack, or if we have some major blunder at the end of the Rushlight and we go to war with Pitax, I’ll be recruiting all hands for sure!

I’m a little disappointed the module didn’t have any challenges for non-martial characters. I know we haven’t always been deep in the arcane caster department, but it would have been cool if there was something that Olivetta or Imogen could have competed in. Part of this come down to magic being either too diverse (everyone has different spell lists and special abilities) or too similar (dispel magic, detect magic, etc. look and act the same no matter who is casting it). But I think they could have done something that involved casting spells on targets that either had spell pesistance (Caster Level check, but there are feats, abilities and magic items that can tweak that), are hard to hit and require ranged touch attacks, had lots of hit points (who could do the most damage the fastest), had different array of strong saving throws (do you have something that can still effect targets with high will, fort, or reflex saves?), or just left simple tasks up to the caster to complete and awarded ingenuity and pleasing the crowd. For this we could have seen something like “get the gem out of the trapped chest” and someone might have burst the chest open with telekinetic force, someone might have buffed themselves to withstand the trap, someone might have charmed someone else to open it for them, someone might have summoned a monster to do it, etc. Or it could have been a mash up of Knowledge and Spellcraft skills. Something like Nature, Arcana, Spellcraft, Religion, Planes.  Heck, maybe even trivia show style! So yeah, I’ve got half a dozen ideas, I wish Jason Nelson could have had one.


Actual Play – Mark Twain (2/13/2015)

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

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

The Swordlord’s PRIVATE Chambers

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

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

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

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

The River Kingdoms

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

River Kingdoms

After Mivon, and the river Kraken lie ahead:


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


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


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


A wealth trading city along the Chalkstone River.


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

Kallas Lake

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


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

Named for its seven stone arches scattered across the settlement.


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

The War Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There we learned:

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

Olivetta returns with notes

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

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

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

Back on the River

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

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

Dinner and a Ball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slumming it

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

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

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

Insert Romantic Comedy Hi-Jinks

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

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

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

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

Voluse, as small port town in Touvette

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

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

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

Aven III

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

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

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

Ovinrbaane also likes the way Olivetta thinks!

New NPCs this session:

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

NPCs who changed this session:

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

What Rocked

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

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

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

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

We hit 13th level. Yay!

What could have improved

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

Actual Play – Rebirth, Rushlight, and River Krakens! (1/30/2016)

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

200 years ago

200 years ago, under the leadership of Estruan Aldori, in an attempt to catch Choral Rogarvia’s forces in the woods before they were mobilized, 114, 552 swordlords of every family entered the Valley of Fire (pretty sure it wasn’t called it back then), and were subsequently trapped by Choral’s soldiers inside the valley and then burned alive by two ancient wyrm red dragons who made pass after pass bathing the valley in fire.

Today the ghosts of the soldiers who died in the valley still haunt it, preying on the living who dare travel to the accursed place. Some of the dead, however, went onto different places. Some couldn’t move on to their outer plane but didn’t stay here. Imogen Chaira Aldori, chief arcanist of Estruan Aldori, and sibling to Savia and Sandro Aldori, was on that battlefield. Her soul did not find peace in the afterlife, nor was it trapped on our plane, but it went somewhere else…

Her family lived on though. Lazzaro Aldori, her son, should have been at the battle, but could not make it. Instead he went on to fight a shadow war against Choral and became the leader of the Night Blades, and order which has died off and sprung up again several times since the fall of Rostland. His soul also never made it to the afterlife. Her daughter Batista, a child during the war was smuggled south to Mivon, where she and her family lived for many generations.

A new discovery in Mivon

During one of his visits to council Lady Miquela on the Rushlight Tournament, our friend Antonio Ribissi delivered the effects of an Aldori family whose entire line had died out in mivon. They included some deeds, letters, the signet ring of Batista Aldori, and an ancient lock of hair, that of Batista’s mother, given to her before she went into battle for the last time.

Upon obtaining this, Olivetta realized that she had seen a woman with such raven black hair in the hall of of her ancestors, and one with a lock that was missing. Consulting the history books with Leccio, the believed that this belonged to Imogen Aldori…and that with it we could bring her back.

By Erastil’s broken horn! By Abadar’s golden coin! By Gorum’s iron spike! By Ph – wait, let’s not say that name here. She might notice.

A cunning plan

Plan A: By the book. Ask Pharasma and pay through the nose, maybe a cathedral in every city.

Plan B: Forget about talking to Pharasma, ask for forgiveness if we need to. Go to Jahad and ask him to do it… for a follower of Erastil! (Oh, wait, turns out we were wrong about that one, oh well, no turning back now, we’ve already committed to plan B). Yep, plan B all the way.

Jahad was… dubious about this idea. Pharasma should be consulted but even though he was willing to forgo this formality, 200 hundred years is a long time for someone to be dead. He was going to need help. Several clerics and paladins attended him. Elera held the tray of ground diamond dust and was instructed to let no one enter the milky white pool.

As Jahad began casting the spell he raises his hands to Erastil and tossed pinches of diamond dust into the pool.

And in another realm Imogen began to feel a tug on her like she had never experienced. There was some force calling to her, pulling her back to the land of the living, but there was also something holding her back, and elemental presence that she first noticed when the priestesses of Pharasma arrived in the Tusk, but was now more present and it held her like a vice.

All the Aldori in the demi-plane noticed something was happening and Sandro, Imogen’s younger brother took her by the shoulders and asked her what she would do if she came back. “I will find my son who has not passed beyond death’s gates, and I will destroyed all of the Rogarvians.” Sandro shook his head dismayed “I destroyed our house, you must rebuild it.” Imogen looked at him gravely and accepted his charge.

Above we saw the pool begin swirling, and then open into a bottomless vortex. Olivetta however, saw something else. Around the edges there were stairs, which led down, and below she could see the glimmer of her ancestors home. She was unsure what she should do; she could see the ancestors but Jahad had expressly told Elara not let anyone in the pool. She stood over the pool gripped by uncertainty – and then Merrowyn shoved her in.

Olivetta descended into the steps and moments later there was a sudden appearance of someone else. There was no pop, or zorch, or another other noise to accompany this sudden new presence. He was just there. Jonah, inquisitory of Pharasma was there, and he did not look happy. There was some brief dialog about what exactly we were up to and then he rather casually dove in after her.

Arcanist_RectBelow Olivetta appeared in the Hall of Aldori, once again saw all her ancestor and then asked Imogen, very politely, if she would come with her. Their ascent however was blocked. To Olivetta, it was Jonah who appeared in their path, to Imogen though it was a primal force incarnate. Jonah told them that he had know about this pocket dimension for sometime now and had been allowing the Aldori to live here, but that had to come to an end. He would allow Imogen back into our world on one condition. When she completed her purpose and she was done here, he would evict all the rest of the ancestors as well. When she was done, they all were done.

“Even I must occasionally bow to the bureaucracy of death.” – Jonah, inquisitor (possibly high inquisitor) of Pharasma.

Imogen accepted. And then she stepped out of the pool into the world!

Welcome Imogen

First there was a lot of fawning. “You died in the Valley of Fire?” “You were in a demi-plane for 200 years?” “Savia Aldori was your twin sister?” “You wore your hair like that back then?”

Merrowyn in particular wanted to know about the army of swordlords. She thought it had to be a legend, exaggerated over the ages. “You didn’t really have 100,000 soldiers in the Valley did you?” “No, we had One hundred and fourteen thousand. Five hundred and fifty two.” Merrowyn’s mind was blow. Our largest armies are 1,000 strong. We thought we needed to bolster our strength ten-fold, but Estruan Aldori had a hundred times the number…and still all died in the Valey of Fire. How would Aldoria compare? How would Merrowyn compare?

After that there were so many firsts. She saw her daughter Batista in the face of Lady Miquela. She missed her first sunrise, but traded it for her first sleeping in. When we returned to The Tusk Imogen met many of her descendants (by family name if not by blood) including the young Rudolpho, full of Bravado. He showed up unannounced and was surprised she did not know who he was (“You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?”). He first bristled when Imogen commented on his Issian short sword, but deflated quickly when she pointed out that he had appeared, unannounced and uninvited into a lady’s private chambers. At witch point the young man became a boy again, and skittered off red faced.

Our updated Family Tree


Moments on the side – Plots B, C, D, E, F, ….

Meanwhile, and interspersed between the portentous return of Imogen from the beyond, each of us had our own moments.

Peitro’s Redemption?

As we rode to the Temple of the Elk, Merrowyn took Elara aside to speak of Pietro. First she chided “No, I don’t think you can marry Pietro now,” laughed and rode back to the group. Merrowyn persisted however, and entreated Elara to consider his family, and the harm we’re doing to it separating them and that Pietro could yet be of some use to his family. Maybe not with his own name, but under some other identity. Merrowyn and Elara agreed to review Pietro, find out where his natural talents lie, and find a trainer that could mold him into something useful. Please, please, please let his favored class not be bard.

Miquela’s training for the drunken joust

We don’t know the details of the tournament but we do expect there to be a midnight drunken joust. So at least one of us needs to be able to ride a horse! Merrowyn and Miquela joked about Tad training her, which would be awkward, but in the end our Legion Marshall Savia Sordello found one of our cavalry men to train the Swordlord. Additionally we purchased her an Equestrian Belt to help keep her in the saddle!

Ovinrbaane, unsheathed

Merrowyn returned to the Tusk in a fugue. Her thoughts wandered. “One hundred and fourteen thousand…

– Cut to Merrowyn consulting with Sootscale about how to fight the hobgloblins and being told it was impossible, then walking out defeated.

– Cut to the small council meeting, where Merrowyn spoke of Sirian challenging all foes and never losing a battle, only to be corrected by Edward and Giovanni who told her his strength was from surrounding himself with allies who advised and aided him. Her concerns of impending war discounted.

– Cut to Legion Marshall Savia telling Merrowyn she doesn’t need to meet Kasten (at the Rushlight Tournament) to understand him. She was leading soldiers when Merrwyn was in swaddling cloths. She already knows how to fight him. Merrowyn’s tactical advice discarded.

– Cut to Leccio speaking to Merrowyn about how Choral the Conqueror could have controlled his dragons, and if he was powerful enough to do so, why he would even need them. When Merrowyn asked how they might control the Lundwyrm that had harried them, he only frowned telling her how those who try to master dragons, usually have bad ends. Merrowyn dripped her head dismayed.

… five hundred and fifty two.

She knew a war was upon her. Scratch that, she knew at least two, if not three wars would be upon her, and she had no idea how to prepare for them. Every idea she had was worthless and every person she turned to said nothing could be done.

Sitting alone in the sally port she so often shared with Marcus, the general turned to her sparking hand and summoned Ovinrbaane into existence. “What took you so long”  the sword asked her impatiently.

Merrowyn told the sword she needed aid, and wondered what to do. It’s advice was simple “Just don’t lose”.

“Can you help me with that.”

If the sword had eyes, it would have rolled them. “I’m a weapon of war. This is my purpose. Of course I can help you!”

Merrwoyn hung up her Issian Greatsword and replaced it with Ovinrbaane, Enemy of all Enemies. Crackling with electricity.

Elara trying to bond with Rudolpho…

…but he’d have none of it. Rudolpho was no longer a boy. He didn’t want to play. He was a man and wanted to train and learn to fight. And COLOR SPRAY!

Dinner in the Swamp

Leccio, who occasionally wears shoes now, came out to Olivetta’s shack to have dinner with her. The two of them are slowly (very slowly) becoming a couple as adorable as Tad and Xanthia. Over dinner Leccio shared less than ideal news. Based on their ages, and her military history, he didn’t think it was possible that Savia Sordello was Fraco’s older sister.

Information that hasn’t been shared yet with anyone else. I’m sure it won’t cause any problems in the future…

A favor for Kobb

Shortly after we returned, Miquela found Kobb waiting for her in her personal chambers. After making a point that he shouldn’t be lurking around in her private areas, she got around to asking why he was there. “Domingo want’s my head! Well, not my head, but the head of someone I cant give up.”

The story went that one of Domingo’s agents was captured by someone, Kobb isn’t sure, but he’s willing to bet it was one of King Noleski agents that took the diplomat. His own man, who was running counter-espionage saw it happen and decided that he couldn’t save the diplomat, so instead of letting her go, he put an arrow in her head. Preventing her from giving away secrets. Domingo was furious with him and wanted Kobb’s agent at the end of his blade.

Miquela agreed but told Kobb that he owed her one. And it was going to be a big one one.

Reformed Rudolpho

The next day, Rudolpho returned to Imogen’s room in the noble villa and knocked politely on the door. When she greeted him, he apologized for his behavior before and offered to give her a tour of the city, as well as to attend to any other needs she had. Perhaps as a valet. She graciously accepted his apology and then set him to menial tasks; drawing open her curtains, airing her mattress, fetching her other needed objects, and then finally she consented to a tour of the city.

A leader for our Shadow Army

Merrowyn entered the barracks to see the legion marshal and tell her that she needed a commander for the newly formed army that would fight beside house Amato. Merrowyn intended to assign Lieutenant Solia to the task and met no resistance from Savia. In fact she thought Solia was good choice as she had a cool head and would likely buy the the resistance more time than a more impulsive leader.

They were interrupted by Savia’s second, who reminded her that she had to attend a flogging. Apparently one of the privates was insubordinate and needed to be disciplined. General Merrowyn was not to be present as it would be bad for morale.

Solia took the news of her new assignment with a stoic dignity. They both knew Merrowyn was sending her to die so that others might, might, live.

AnomanderAnaomander, a gift from Jonah

Curtains to her second story room drawn, Imogen stood at the window overlooking the city, and then a noticed a bird, who flew on four wings then landed, perched on her windowsill and looked at her behind a plague mask.  The nosoi greeted her and said that The Balancer (Jonah) had send him.

Nosois eagerly fill the roles of clerks, scribes, and messengers in the bureaucracy of the hereafter. They record the circumstances of each mortal’s death, any judgments for and against its soul, and its final destination along the Outer Planes. But unlike more tireless, mechanical outsiders, nosois are also prone to powerful whims, boasting contests, and petty theft.

Mortals recognize nosois in their roles as messengers, counselors of troubled or disbelieving dead, and guides along the River of Souls, and some ancient texts refer to them as scribe psychopomps, death’s messengers, and yanakeion.

Many large and well-tended graveyards or catacombs play host to a nosoi who tends to the newly passed and keeps a watchful eye out for the looming taint of undeath. Nosois’ bodies take the form of mortal songbirds—usually crows, sparrows, and especially whippoorwills—though like all other psychopomps they wear graceful, elegant funerary masks that accentuate their sharp beaks and empty eyes. Many also craft decorative artificial tails from small bric-a-brac that trail behind them as they soar through the Boneyard.

Nosois serve within libraries and scriptoriums, tirelessly scribbling away without rest. Being social creatures, however, they frequently chatter with one another—boasting of past deeds, arguing over notation, and exchanging gossip from the far corners of creation. The immortal creatures toil for centuries before ascending to become higher psychopomps or, more likely, reincarnating on the mortal world.

Though outsiders have no need to eat, nosois consider doing so a rare treat. Their frequent sojourns to the Material Plane and many Outer Planes involve frequent snacks and tastings. Being dutiful but not unwavering, nosois sometimes succumb to bribes and share the information they possess, and mortal treats loosen their secrets far faster than gold or magic.

Welcome another animal (?) companion [familiar] to our motley party.

An honorable envoy sent

While the rest of the envoy boarded the Water Dancer to travel south, Olivetta teleported the rest of us to Sellen’s gate to explore some of the plains to the west of it in preparation for expansion. After the land was pacified we met back up the with boat and made our way down to Mivon.

Included on the envoy to the Rushlight Tournament were:

  • Domingo, our diplomat
  • Arvin, general of our rangers, the twins, and a contingent of his rangers.
  • Tad and Xanthia, sight seeing.
  • Kobb and a retinue of agents, sent to infiltrate Pitax.
  • Members of the Swordlords’ Own honor guard.
  • Rudolpho, watching out for his sister.

Greetings from Mivon

On our way to the tournament we passed through Mivon and spend a few days with our closest allies. Some highlights of the trip:

  • We were greeted by the Lord Mayor himself, and his second Oromano Adimiri (Ribissi’s brother in law)
  • A banquet was held for both teams where we met Mivon’s competitors:
    • Navarathania, an elven archer hired by Mivon as their ringer for the archery contest. She’s going to be tough to beat.
    • Dizon Marmada, a local dwarf competing as their strong woman.
    • Silia Ravenbrow – a martial bard competing in the boasting contest. Very nimble and wields an Aldori dueling blade.
  • Domingo also met us in Mivon. He was nothing but a gentleman in the presence of Imogen, but moments later could be heard yelling at Miquela in her quarters on the boat (“What were you thinking?”. To keep up appearances he made sure he had the final word and stormed off.
  • In Mivon Imogen was taken to a small graveyard, the Aldori quarter where she found the grave of her daughter Batista along with many other Aldori and friends in her line. Her feels were a mix of gratitude for saving her daughter, at the time to young to fight, and disappointment that they fled instead of fought. Many of the names on the gravestones, though faded, were familiar to her.
  • Merrowyn set about making illicit contacts to extend her smuggling ring. She met Theodin, a purveyor of weapons and the hands to wield them.
  • Miquela met with Ribissi and Adimiri, making plans for the Rushlight and beyond. In subtle tones they spoke of the day when Adimiri was lord mayor and what would happen then.

krakenRelease the Kraken!

After a week on the river out of Mivon, with relatively little to do on the boat, our otherwise pleasant river journey was interrupted by a titanic tentacle that wrapped completely around the aft of our ship.

That’s when the trip went from pleasant to exhilarating!

Ready for action we all set to the beast with sword and spell. Olivetta trying to cast a debelitating portent on the monstrosity but could not get through the miasma of it’s mind. Miquela and Elara brought the edge of their dueling blades down upon it’s hard rubbery skin, splitting it open to and exposing the ship to the fetid smells of it’s ancient innards. Imogen teleported to the crow’s nest used black ectoplasm that came from her mouth to summon forth a huge celestial dire tiger that pounced and rended the beast. Merrowyn scaled the beast and began making huge cleaving blows at it’s joints slashing open tentacle and throat.  Ovinrbaane roared with glee in her mind “Now THIS is what I was made for!”

SahauginAs we fought a score of sahuagin warriors clambered up from the water firing crossbows or slashing with curved blades. Thankfully the Swordlords Own was present to rebuff their attacks. A barbarian chief of the sahuagin also burst forth, riding on the back of the Kraken and bit his mighty great axe into Merrowyn’s side, splitting flesh and ribs. Olivetta turned her attention to her allies, granting Merrowyn and Miquela the fortune or our ancestors, and tried to encase the barbarian in ice, but he broke free.

She also noticed that the Kraken’s wounds were healing at an incredible rate, too fast for regeneration or any kind of natural healing.  Shortly after Imogen detected the source. Flying above was a sea hag witch that tried to dominate her. She resisted the enchantment and with the aid of Anomander to direct her, she cast a necromantic spell of enervation to drain the life force from the witch. Hit by the black bolt of negative energy the hag shrieked and dropped like a rock into the water. Not because she had fallen, but because she wasn’t going to be anywhere near someone who could see her and target her with with such deadly magics.

Bite and blade, sword and spell finally brought the mighty Kraken low and as it fell both Merrowyn and the barbarian ran down the side as it tipped backward into the river. On their way down Merrowyn cut Olivetta free of a small tentacle that still held her fast and the barbarian cut Merrowyn free of some unneeded flesh and bone.  Then all three tumbled on the boat to continue their battle.

Meanwhile Elara, still trapped by the colossal tentacle was pulled under water and began wondering if giving up her druidic ways was such a good idea. As she struggled in vain, she remembered that once upon a time she could simply shapechange into a fish and swim away. Domingo flew into the water after her swimming down to get her and hacking her free with his sword. Then with his celestial armor he literally flew the both out of the water and back onto the ship.

Meanwhile Miquela and Merrowyn fought as they they did best, dodging and rolling, pinning their foe between them, raining blow after blow upon him. Olivetta noticed that Merrowyn was bleeding badly from several wound and had been thrashed about mighty by the the Kraken itself. She reach out a healing hand to mend the wounds but Merrowyn snarled at her to save useless healing spells for after the fight! Ovinrbaane had gotten into her head taunting her “Why do you save the witch, if she can’t help her self maybe she doesn’t deserve saving? Now look she ministers your wounds. Does she think you are weak?” Though she tried to ignore it she snapped and Olivetta when she shouldn’t.

Speaking with the Dead

The barbarian lord fell, the sea hag fled, the sahuagin were killed or driven back, and the kraken, bleeding black ichor rested once again at the bottom of the river. Elara cast a spell of Tongues on her so she could converse in any language, and then she cast Speak with the Dead to interrogate the fallen sahuagin. We learned that the was commanded by the “Dark Mistress” (surely the sea hag who had dominated him) and the directions underwater to their lair, though we did not pursue it. We looked this body though to find a:

  • Greataxe +3
  • Large Breastplate +3

Merrowyn apologized to Olivetta for yelling at her during the fight, though she held fast that healing during a fight was a waste of time.

Final Scenes

Miquela found Merrowyn on by the masthead and chastised her for yelling at Olivetta. She also gave her some rules to follow:

  • Don’t yell at our allies
  • Don’t turn into a monster

Merrowyn heard her but it didn’t sink in. If I become a monster and you have to put me down, I’ll understand, but let me win this war first. Then I don’t care what happens.

Elara was below decks drinking with Domingo, thankful for the guy who saved her life!

Olivetta found then and asked Elara about her conversion to Erastil, why she changed her ways. Erastil gave her purpose and direction, which the druids did not. Though she had returned the lock of hair to Imogen, when she got back to her cabin she found a single strand of it on her bed with a note “for a rainy day”.

Imogen stared at herself in the mirror noticed her dress and hairstyle, a stark contrast from those of her descendants. She started pulling the pins from her hair to let it down.

Merrowyn sat on the bow with Ovinrbaane and told the sword her peace. “I don’t care if you’re going to turn me into a monster–” “Who cares if I turn you a monster, I’ll turn you into a champion.” Merrowyn agreed “That’s right you will.” and changed her alignment from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Neutral.

New NPCs from this session:

  • Hanus Sordello – Father of Imogen’s children, ex-lover, died in the Valley of Fire.
  • Batista Aldori – Imogen’s daughter, smuggled to Mivon for safety, continued her family line for generations before dying out.
  • Lazzero Aldori – Imogen’s son, never made it to the afterlife, the first of the Night Blades.
  • Theodin – Smuggler in Mivon.
  • Navarathania, an elven archer hired by Mivon as their ringer for the archery contest.
  • Dizon Marmada, a local Mivon dwarf competing as their strong woman.
  • Silia Ravenbrow – Mivon sword dancer (Martial Bard)

NPCs changed this session:

  • Jonah, previously thought the hen pecked and marginalized inquisitor turns out to be The Balancer, a primal force in the underworld.
  • Our host of ancestors will all lose their home once Imogen completes her task.
  • Savia is Imogen’s twin sister. Sandro her young brother.
  • We learned Athon is stuck in the demi-plane as well.
  • Kobb owes Miquela a favor for taking care of Domingo, who is quite peeved.
  • Estruan Aldori, remembered as a coward and fool, was actually a fantastic general and leader of men. He just got trapped in a no win situation.
  • Savia Sordello probably isn’t Franco’s sister. But the only reason she is working for us to for Franco. So…..
  • Pietro Sellemus is getting a second change. We’re finding a trainer to turn him into something.
  • Ovinrbaane is now carried proudly on Merrowyn’s back.
  • Lt. Solia is now Captain Solia, leading the Shadow Army that fights beside the Amato Family.

What rocked

The return of Imogen was so awesome. Not only was Dennis great about integrating Imogen into our existing story and making her an important member of the family that was tied to others we care about, but Adrienne was also awesome working with the history we’ve already forged and building off of it.

Imogen’s connection with death, between her nosio familiar, her necromantic spells, and her knowledge of those long gone is creepy and awesome.

Some scenes that I didn’t account for in the retelling but were just wonderful:

  • Olivetta and Imogen comparing notes, where Olivetta’s were a mad array of loose sheaf of papers, strange material components, and a witches brew. Imogen on the other hand was neatly organized. Even her familiar Anomander had a precise stroke with the pen and kept all his accounts in order.
  • Telling Imogen about Lazzaro and the Night Blades and watching her heart swell with pride.
  • Olivetta and Rudolpho making up on the ship. All hugs and feels.

“Even I must occasionally bow to the bureaucracy of death.” – Johan, The Balancer.

Oh my, oh my that combat was fun. I know we took some liberties but leaping up the side of the kraken and then battling the barbarian chief on it’s shoulder, only to charge back down it as it died… that was so awesome. Imogen’s black ectoplasm tiger. Olivetta’s frozen sphere. So. Damn. Cool.

Rudolpho’s awkward adolescence is great. I’m going to be really sad if Merrowyn lets him fight in the army and he dies. It will be sad and awesome all at once.

Merrowyn finally converting to Chaotic Neutral is huge for me. She’s held back many times in the past and she’s just not going to anymore. I think she’s going down a dark path, I’m excited to she where that ends up.

Imogen schooling Rudolpho was a thing of wonder. She was so proper (which we never are) that it completely caught him off guard. I’d love it if he continues to defer to her, he’d make a great apprentice!

What could have improved

I’m kicking myself for not remember things things during the fight. I’m sorry Regina and Adrienne.

  • Elara has a ring of Freedom of Movement on. She cannot be grappled.
  • Imogen has a caster’s tatoo, once per day she can use it to cast a spell still and silent, meaning she could have cast another spell while she was entangled by the Kraken.

I wish we had the chance to start Pietro’s training before we left. We’ll probably be gone a month and it would be awesome to get him in training while we’re gone. Perhaps if we’re less than 1,200 miles away, a teleport spell or two will allow us to rectify this.

Plans for next game

Miquela meeting with Kobb about her “favor” and to keep and eye on Merrowyn… and that he shouldn’t be showing up in her room uninvited in the future.

Selling the new gear we have in some river kingdom in the area… and getting Imogen the spell components to cast permanency. Tongues for herself… and maybe enlarge person for Merrowyn. Muahahahahahaha.


Actual Play – Natal and Savia, the Play! (1/2/2015)

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

I wrote my notes for this session by category, rather than by chronology because we did a lot of hopping back and forth, Microscope style during play.

Creation of the Play

Milosh and Esmerelda Zingarosh, our chief playwrights had been hounding Oliveta for weeks, nigh, months to get the source material from her, and the intended audience and reaction of the play. Finally she broke down and shared it all with them, and they had their “aha” moment.

From then on the three of them worked together, the twins making their contributions and Olivetta running ideas by the ancestors, who more often than not just said “stop embarrassing us!” which wasn’t particularly helpful, but she nevertheless is the definitive source of Aldori history, and so her contributions to the play had extra gravitas.

In order to properly present the play, and to work against the Pitax smear campaign that we don’t like bards (not entirely untrue) we elected to build a bardic college and theater in The Tusk. Hah, who is a backwater brute now? Oh yeah, we still are. This was a point of contention with Merrowyn who wanted first to focus more on our military efforts and second, didn’t care what Pitax thought of us. She went on a long rant about how Sirian the First kicked everyone’s ass and didn’t care about making narcissistic bards happy and was then corrected by both Edward and Giovanni, who said that no, he surrounded himself with allies.

War with Issia

We learned that we have six months (probably more like four) to prepare for war with Issia. Damn, that puts some pressure on us. Taking stock, this is what we’ve got:

The Swordlord’s Own led by Savia Sordello (a ruthless, no bullshit legion marshal who has won most of her battles and is known to have killed several of her own subordinates on the field of battle). Their size was increased to Huge (500 soldiers) and they have been trained up to 6th level. Still not on part with the Slashers, but we’re getting them there.

Arvin’s Rangers (led by Arvin) has been bolsters as well. They are now a Large Army of 6th level rangers (leveled up based on the all the experience they’ve had).

The Shadow Army was formed in response to finding out that House Amato (see below) is going to war. They are fighting under the Amato banners but we’re paying for them (A Small army of 4th level Ranger/Rogues).

War with Pitax

It’s inevitable, and Merrowyn’s guess is that they are going to wait until we send our forces north to fight Issia to attack. It’s a good strategy and besides bolstering our allegiance with Mivon and increasing the size of our own armies, there isn’t much we can do about it.

In the meantime however, they have invited us to the 5th annual Rushlight Tournament, ostensibly to embarrass us in front of the other River Kingdoms. We have to go (we’d lose face not to) but we also have to do well (we’ll look like fools if we don’t). Considering that other nations are sending their best and brightest, we’ve got to send our best as well.

War with the Hobgoblins

This is apparently a non-starter. They are too entrenched in the mountains to ever ferret out and fighting them in their home is suicide. Savia’s advice is to make sure we don’t look like the softest targets so they go for easier pickings. Unfortunately that most likely means Mivon or the Nomen, both of which are our allies.

This is a problem for another day.

The Outlaw Council

Antonio Ribissi, our friend in Mivon, has arranged for us to be recognized as a River Kingdom and be invited to the Outlaw Council. There we can meet with the leaders of Daggermark, Pitax, and many other nations.

The challenge is that unless we do something really spectacular to stand out, we’ll be relegated to the little kid’s table until we can prove ourselves. His suggestion was that we do something to stand out in advance, but what that would be, he couldn’t say. Current possibilities:

  • Claim 20 or so hexes in the Hooktongue Slough so that we can secure safe passage to ships and improve trade on the Sellen River (which goes all the way down to the Inner Sea so it’s kind of a big deal). This would consume all of our Kingdom development for the next six months, which would leave us in a poor condition to do war.
  • Win, or at least place very well in the Rushlight Tournament. This, while possible is unlikely. Unless the competitions are right up our alley, we’re going to be at a disadvantage competing against more specialized and more experienced contestants.

Floriana’s Wet Nurse

Reports came from Kobb over a game of Murder-Chess (Miquela’s new past time that she started playing with Kobb during her transition from Fighter to Cavalier) that Floriana’s wet nurse was a local in Skywatch. That might mean she was a Surtov retainer or a Mevoy woman from the area. If the former, Kobb’s people should be able to find her given the time. If the latter, it could take forever. He continues to investigate.

IMG_0028Elara the Inquisitor

We have new art for Elara!

Rudolfo Aldori…

…went as a hostage boy and returned a man. He had escaped captivity in the Skywatch and giving his captors a run for their money. He returned with a flaming short sword that he now wields instead of an Aldori blade.  When Giovanni told him it was unsuitable for him to do so, he refused to put it down. When Giovanni demanded it of him, he still stood defiant, he had paid the blood price for for the sword (killed the man and took it from him) and that was the end of that.

Until he and Olivetta had it out after the play. She was a bit drunk. He was a lot drunk, and soon shouting (and several ineffectual castings of “COLOR SPRAY”) turned into sword fighting. Eventually blood started being drawn and where there was no sign that either intended to stop, Leccio cast deep slumber and put them all to sleep, along with a few other members of the the after-party who happened to be standing too close.

When they woke, the next day, in a jail cell, Olivetta said she didn’t know what Rudolfo did, but he must have knocked her out, and well, since a a duel is a duel, he must be alright. Begrudgingly he accepted her peace offering… and then they both wondered “wait, how did we end up in jail?”

Later, Rudolfo told Merrowyn that he wanted to be an officer and lead our Shadow Army that we were sending to house Amato. Merrowyn put a gash in a door frame right at her own nose level and said “you’ve gotta be this tall” before you can lead an army. She prayed that she put the gash tall enough.

Rudolpo was latter seen hanging with weights on his feet. Hah! He’s not a boy but he’s not quite a man. A freaking hard time in life.

Miquela’s Ward

Ugo Ribissi (age 5) has moved into live with Miquela’s children (who just turned 1) and be raised along side them. Still a few years too young to join the dueling school, he still stands to be a great bond between our two houses.

Merrowyn’s Identity Crisis

She’s a great general of what? She’s won no battles, she’s led no troops. The Horde tolerates her because she can still beat them down (and has). The Swordlord’s own loves lady Miquela, and if they don’t love her, the certainly are scared shitless of the Legion Marshall Savia Sordello. She keeps playing the same tired saw that Kasten used to “we need more troops” which everyone agrees with, but when she says “we need to use them” suddenly everyone’s shoes become more interesting to them.

We’re too small to attack Pitax. We’re not ready to fight Issia. It’s a fools errand to attack the hobgoblins. So, she’s got nobody to lead, nothing to kill, nothing to do, and as usual when she speaks directly to people she gets a poor result. She talked to Pietro to try and find out what he was all about, that just depressed her more. He’s even more of a disappointment that she is. She talked to his father at the after party, tried to give him some much needed information, but it was the wrong time, too public, to many people that could overhear.

And what is up with Akiros. He asked her out to attend the play but clearly does so out of some strange duty to Marcus. Like he’s a stand in for her lost love. She used too idolize Akiros, he seemed so certain of himself, but that just seemed sad. She took him up to the cheap seats to watch the play with her people “the gorum-ites” and though he was perfectly capable of holding his own (and keeping the peace), when she took his had at the moment Natal killed Savia, he flinched like it pained him to touch her.

She made up with her father, asked him to stop being disappointed in her for suggesting that we throw a duel over Pietro. He gave her a hug and assured her that she wasn’t the only one he was routinely disappointed with. For Edward, that was a lot.

So, she’s fine. Her dad is okay with her. She hasn’t offended anyone critical to the success of their house or nation. She hasn’t broken any thing important or caused any major problems. But what is she doing?

Santiago asked if Merrowyn wanted to go kill some things, come back with buckets of blood and drink from buckets of ale. She had turn turn him down because she had important state work to be done with the play. “I don’t even know who you are any more.”  He’s not wrong.

House Amato

Word came in that Lady Simereldia Amado divorced her husband Bruno (Divorce court his held with short swords, she slit is throat open) for failing to protect the Amato family.

A week later we received a missive that Lady Amato wished to have a secret meeting with Miqulea and her trusted retainers. We took a small entourage of rangers and Kobb’s agents and met her in unclaimed territory north of Varnhold.  There she told us her intentions, to go and fight beside the Strozzi. She knew it was a hopeless cause, knew that she was going to die as would all her people, but she couldn’t stand by and watch the Strozzi be cut down. She also knew this was bad for Sellemus’ plan to wait until all the houses were united, but she didn’t care about that either.

Lady Amato believes she’s got six months (we think she has four) before her house is destroyed as well. She let us know this as a courtesy so that we could prepare ourselves, but the effect was much more powerful than that. For some time we have been smuggling weapons, food, and supplies to house Strozzi through hidden trade routes set up by Luca and Merrowyn. We offer to do the same for her. Additionally we offered to assemble a new army that we would send to her to fight under the Aldori banner. We would find the soldiers and field their expenses, but they would be under her command.

Staggio and the Night Blades

After their meeting Lady Amato retreated and a man dressed all in black with a fresh scar on his face stepped out of the woods. For a moment Miequela’s heart was in her throat, believing that it might be Staggio, but it was only one of his men. He delivered a letter to Miquela.  The contents were simple. First a short account of their progress and challenges and then it ended with “I miss you and the children.”

Miquela asked the man to wait, she would write a letter for him to take back but he said he couldn’t return. Once a Night Blade left a company he was cut off from them to keep them safe. He would have to recruit another band of nationalists to go fight with him and do what they could on their own. Miquela called out to our rangers in the trees, offered 10 of them up to him. After hearing their assignment, 8 agreed to go. Of the three men from Kobb’s contingent, one of them volunteered as well. Finally, one of the privates asked Merrowyn if he could go as well. She reached into her breast pocket, handed him her Silver Raven figurine and told him his new assignment was to fight with the Night Blades, and that if Aldoria could ever aid them, to send the raven back to her. It killed Merrowyn not to go with him.

The Night Blade indoctrinated all of them “I cannot promise you wealth or a warm bed, or even a handsome grave. I can only promise you battle and death. So for those who fight injustice in their hearts and not just with their lips, come with me.” Merrowyn took and involuntary step forward before Elara put her hand on her shoulder and reminded her that they had to go.

As we were departing the Night Blade offered Miqeuela one last thing, the faintest hint of a peck on the cheek and a necklace made of hair, with 50 signet rings of Issian nobles on it. The hair was identifiable as one of the King’s cousins. who vainly wore his very long, and the rings were from the Surtov elite soldiers sent to exterminate the night blades. There was still blood on some of them. Taking the necklace sent shivers down Miquela’s spine. She loved Staggio so much. “I am never taking this off.”

Leccio adapting

Leccio seems to be handling his new body just a little bit better. He’s wearing shoes on occasion, he smokes like a chimney (helps him stay calm) and he rather likes Olivetta’s new shack out in the woods. In fact, it seems like they are now a thing! Or at least they went to the play together!

History of Dragons

Merrowyn approached Leccio at one point about Choral and just how did he get those three (no, two, okay, only two) ancient wyrm red dragons. And Leccio’s follow up question. If he was powerful enough to control them, why did he even need them? Best guess, a god or a titan had the reins on them. Maybe Choral was a god, but possibly more likely, maybe he was serving some God’s interest.

Merrowyn’s been thinking about that Lundwyrm First World Proto Green Dragon that lives on some demi-plane… and how we could control it.

Leccio also mentioned that usually the stories about people who try to control dragons don’t end well. What does that hedgehog know, maybe she should talk to Ovvirbaane and see if it’s got any thoughts on the subject (next session!).

The Performance

We marketed the play as heavily as we could to both the local Rostlandic families and our other neighbors Mivon and the other River Kingdoms. In attendance we saw:

  • Antoni Ribissi and his family, including his brother-in-law, the Lord Mayor apparent Oromano Adimiri.
  • An entourage from Pitax
  • An entourage from the Usurper King Noleski.
  • Many Rostlandic families with notable exceptions of Strozzi and Amato (who were all in the field) and Sordello.
  • Lord Mayor Iospeph Sellemus, his wife, and his own entourage, which did include three Sordello nobles.

Miquela sat front an center with the rest of the Aldori family around her and the the Ribissi’s next to her as well. Merrowyn and Akiros on the most awkward date ever, stood in the cheap seats with the Gorumites, cracking skulls as needed (but then laying on hands to restore them). When she grabbed his hand at the climactic scene, it was clear though he was just with her because he thought he needed to be.

The first act ended with Natal killing Savia and nary an eye was dry in the audience, except one particularly perturbed Sordello who was whispering into the ear of Lord Sellemus and the kings entourage who had sour faces all. They figured out what we were up to at least!

During intermission, Christoph the dwarf carted something onto the stage, unceremoniously yanked he tarp off of it, and then walked away. By the time the audience could appreciate the splendor of it, he was gone.

The “bauble” as Chrstoph called it was an amazing statue depicting Savia laying in her bed, her head in Natal’s lap as he was reading to her. The entire statue gilded in mithral. If our hearts were not already swollen, they were now. It was beautiful.

The play finished and the hall was full with applause!

The Afterpaty

The after party is where Olivetta and Rudolfo had their fracas, where Merrowyn spoke too plainly in front of the lord mayor. It’s where Antonio Ribissi realized that Miquela (and the rest of us) were wearing the actual jewels of Savia Aldori.

Miquela approached the Sordello contingent. Two of them were clearly enamored with the play, the third, who had whispered disgruntlement into the ear of lord Sellemus was still unimpressed. Miquela tried to socialize with him, but he seemed aloof.

Miquela: “Shouldn’t we entertain the possibility that it’s true?”

Unhappy Sordello: “Why, when we’re the ones who won?”

Miquela: “Won what, exactly?”

And though he did not relent, it was clear she made him stop to think. What are the Sordellos winning these days?

Kingdom Turn

  • Upkeep – Kingdom is stable (+1BP).
  • Consumption (-3 BP)
  • Exploration Edict – Adventurers sent to explore the Marsh beneath Sellen’s Gate. They got two hexes in and encountered a hydra, which decimated them (-1BP, +1 Unrest). Upon getting the news we teleported to Sellen’s Gate, followed their path and discovered not one but two 12 headed hydra, which were an awesome opportunity to try out all of our new class abilities (Elara as an Inquisitor and and Miquela as a Cavalier). We killed the hell out of those hydras!
  • Expansion Edict – We claimed the two explored hexes, but realized, damn, we’ve got 19 more to go in order to pacify the slough. It’s going to be a long haul to clear that slough. We also claimed a plains hexes by Sellen’s Gate (-3BP)
  • Terrain improvement. We put fisheries and farms everywhere we could! (-10 BP).
  • Building – Bardic College and Theater (-51 BP)
  • Extra expenses for Christop’s statue (-5 BP)
  • Army created: The Shadow Army to fight with house Amato.
  • Armies upgraded: Swordlord’s Own and Arvin’s Rangers both leveled up to 6th level. The first on account of Savia’s training, the second on account of all the action they’ve seen.
  • Income (+71 BP)
  • Event Phase: Festive Invitation from King Irovetti to attend the 5th annual Rushlight Tournament which we’re preparing a gift to bring (-4 BP)

Domingo thinks we’re just set up to look bad, which is probably true, but who knows, if we do well this might be our chance to impress the other River Kingdoms… and I’m finally going to get a chance to see Kasten!

What Rocked

The fight between Oliveta and Rudolfo was amazing. Comical yes, but real. And it was great that they finally got a chance to both duke it out.

I loved it when Antonio realized the emeralds were real. Such a nice little moment when he froze and she said “The are very impressive replicas aren’t they?” “Yes, very!

I’m a little thick sometimes but I liked it when I finally drew a parallel between Merrowyn and Pietro. Call it rooting for the underdog, but I hope we can give him a 2nd chance.

Um, Elara and Miquela are fucking bad ass. Go inquisitor, Go cavalier. It’s your birthday!

The pressure cooker we’re in is great. In the next four months we want to be ready for war with Issia. In the next six months we want to have made a big enough impression on the River Kingdoms that we attend the Outlaw Council as a peer rather than a pittance. And in the next eleven months we need to build a Cathedral to Pharasma in Sellen’s Gate.  All the while, paying through our nose for a whole lot of standing armies (and one active one)! I’ve spend now many hours making plans as to how we can make this all happen, and some contingency plans if it doesn’t.

I’m also excited to see Olivetta and Leccio. It’s still a bit strange for both of them, but hey, if Tad and Xanthia can make it work…

Lots and lots of threads were tied or up addressed this session, which was great. I know Miquela had really wanted to see Staggio and even though she didn’t, the meeting with the Night Blade was great. As was the play, and the meeting with Lady Amato.

Also, Merrowyn got into Jerome’s poker game. She wondered why the hadn’t asked her before. After all, she’s only got the treasury at her discretion!

What could have improved

This is just a personal thing. As I alluded to above I’m a bit unsure of what Merrowyn is all about right now. She’s kind of listing between states and I don’t like it. I’ve got a few ideas, namely working on Project Pietro and talking to the sword to see if there is are an Gorum solutions to the “how to you win a war on two (possibly three) fronts?” problem.