Monday, September 12, 2016

Kingmaker Adventure Path


Introduction

Since December of 2012, our regular gaming group has been playing an ongoing campaign using the Pathfinder Adventure Path Kingmaker , a six-part Adventure Path that takes characters from 1st level to 15th or higher. Kingmaker is designed to make the player-characters rulers of their own new realm, along with letting them (hopefully) defeat a great evil that could eventually go on to threaten other kingdoms. Currently, as we’re about to resume this campaign, our characters are 12th level and are now the leaders of the new duchy of Galisat (the name is formed from parts of the names of the PCs). 

The vicissitudes of life mean that we’re taking longer to complete this Adventure Path than we would have if we had played steadily on a weekly basis. But despite several breaks of six months or more, we’ve played nearly 60 game sessions. During our initial sessions my notes were pretty sparse, just documenting names and loot acquired. For these reasons I’m not going to try to post all the sessions here on my blog. I’m just going to summarize what happened in the earlier stages of the campaign, and start off my posts with the last three or four sessions prior to our most recent hiatus.

The original five player-characters started out as individuals who weren’t acquainted with each other. Each had received a charter from the kingdom of Brevoy to explore part of the territory known as the Stolen Lands, a wilderness largely populated by monsters and a few settlers, though ruins showed evidence of long-ago civilization. After arriving at Oleg’s Trading Post, the PCs got acquainted and set off to slay monsters and make new friends. The original group consisted of the following characters:

Garrick – male, monk/inquisitor (human)
Landon – male, alchemist/ranger (dwarf)
San’Kari – male, fighter (elf)
Silverleaf – male, cleric (elf) – this is my character
Thim – male, ranger (halfling)

Not long after the campaign began, the group was joined by another player and a new party member: 

Tahjah – female, oracle (aasimar)

Here I’d like to add a few personality notes about the characters. 
Garrick is now the duke of Galisat. The character has the leadership feat, which has allowed him a cohort. The player chose to make this cohort his character’s wife. This is Amaya, a human bard. You’ll see her mentioned periodically below. Amaya also has a bodyguard, Kara, a dwarf warrior who frequently accompanies the PCs. Both Amaya and Kara are considered NPCs, but they’re run by Garrick’s player rather than by the GM.
Landon is focused primarily on alchemy. He has a penchant for dissecting monsters, and for tasting things that no one else would ever put in their mouths, which on more than one occasion has nearly killed him. He also has a reputation for horrible personal hygiene.
San’Kari suffers from amnesia about his early life as the result of a head injury. He spent many years living among dwarves and thinks of himself as a dwarf. The Pathfinder game setting describes elves as adapting themselves to their environment, so San’Kari is short and strong for an elf.
Silverleaf is a cleric, but one who seems more like a wizard sometimes than a priest. I chose his cleric domains so that he can scribe spell scrolls like a wizard. He’s also not dedicated to just one deity, but his devotion is focused on the gods Nethys and Sarenrae. Sarenrae is goddess of fire, and Silverleaf favors fire spells and effects.
Tahjah is an oracle, which is a cleric-like class but without domains and with a more limited spell list. Tahjah hates undead, and has developed her ability to channel positive energy to a very high level to combat them.
Thim specializes in archery. He has a bow that fires arrows with both electricity and frost damage. Thim’s player has had to step out of the group, and I’m not sure if this character will become an NPC or just disappear when we start again.

The six adventurers have carried out a huge variety of activities as they began to build up the territory that would eventually become the barony, then duchy, of Galisat. I"m not going to try to chronicle everything they've done since the campaign started. Their most recent adventures have included defeating an ancient cyclops vampire lich (yes, all three) who was in the process of rebuilding his power and probably plotting a massive takeover of all the neighboring territories. They even managed to acquire what is probably one of his phylacteries. Now they're engaged in trying to prevent a neighboring territory that has been taken over by some of the lich's confederates from invading Brevoy. It seems that the lich's bid for power was being backed - or possibly led - by the evil goddess Gyronna and a vampire necromancer named Nyrissa.

Just before we pick up the tale of our intrepid adventurers, they had found two portals leading to other planes. Curiously these two portals were located a very short distance apart, and they suspected their enemies were using the portals to get into their territory. After a long struggle with the defenders that kept emerging from the portals, they managed to block the portals by pushing them together so they were face-to-face and then encasing both in magically melded stone to prevent them being separated. Anyone exiting one portal would immediately be shunted through the other.

Session 53: August 2, 2015

Instead of returning to New Hope after their latest adventure, Landon borrowed the lyre of building and Garrick’s ring of teleportation to travel to Oleg’s Fort, Tatzlford, and Varnhold, where he established apartments and alchemical laboratories for himself. 

Meanwhile Tahjah went to visit the lizardfolk at Lake Candlemere to discuss the portals with them and seek their aid in combating the enemies threatening the new duchy. The lizardfolk reported that large poisonous frogs had been increasing in number south of the lake, and they had also heard of the appearance of a creature they called a froghemoth, a huge tentacled frog-like beast.

Garrick and San’Kari traveled to Restov to recruit soldiers for Galisat. Silverleaf went to the temple of Erastil to talk with Donak the priest, and also paid a visit to Tiressia the dryad druid, working to maintain their goodwill and confirm their willingness to come to the new duchy’s aid if needed.

Garrick, Tahjah, and San’Kari also met with the hill giants that Oleg had reported were living near Oleg’s Fort. The giants turned out to have been sent by Grizz*, to whom they owed a favor. He had asked them to look after the area, and any slaying of livestock by them had been due to a misunderstanding. Oleg later explained that his report of their presence had merely been meant to keep Garrick informed, and hadn’t been intended to indicate the giants were a problem.

The heroes learned that their friend Narthropple and his band of gnome explorers had encountered an area to the west in the Hooktongue Slough that they couldn’t enter because it caused them pain. The adventurers wondered if it might be similar to what had happened to their centaur friends in the area around the cyclops graveyard south of Varnhold. There the repelling effect had been designed to keep trespassers away from a magical portal. Two of the gnomes had also been lost through what was presumed to be another portal. 

The entire party then traveled to one of the portals, which proved to lead to Gyronna’s realm as had one of the previous pair that they had recently encountered. Nearby they found a symbol of evil carved into a tree, which was too powerful to dispel. San’Kari used an enchanted axe to cut it free, which seemed to eliminate an aura of gloom surrounding the area. Afterward the group buried the portal entrance and encased it in stone, similar to how they had blocked the paired portals they had found previously. Tahjah managed to spot something in a nearby tree and found a magical scroll tube containing a spell scroll of lightning bolt, which unlike an ordinary scroll was not consumed in the process of casting the spell. There was no evidence to suggest how the scroll had come to be in a tree.

After dealing with the portal, the heroes decided they should pay a visit to Bokken the alchemist near Oleg’s Fort, as they hadn’t seen him for some time. When they arrived, San’Kari gifted the eccentric alchemist with some brandy he’d acquired. Bokken responded by giving San’Kari a ruby that would summon a large fire elemental when crushed. 

As the group shared drinks together, Bokken reported on some evil fey he’d encountered west of the Narlmarches, where he had also found an unusual breastplate. Landon then showed him the magical cyclops femur the group had found a year or two earlier, which they believed to be part of some greater weapon. Bokken revealed that it was not actually a bone, but it was part of a staff called Quiema’s Branch, a powerful artifact. The staff was missing some holly wood and a purple gem. The discussion then turned to the Tiger Lord barbarians, who were seeking the tomb of Armag the Twice-Born somewhere in the marshes of the Hooktongue Slough.

Oleg’s partner Svetlana made a surprise appearance to congratulate the group on all the work they had done to eliminate the enemies of good. She presented them a gem that when applied to a wound could stop the uncontrollable bleeding inflicted by certain magical weapons such as the dagger of wounding that Landon frequently used. Silverleaf took charge of the gem.

The group also received a drawing made by Narthropple’s cartographers, showing an arena-like structure with a sand floor that appeared very old but was still mostly intact. Although they found it interesting, they decided that it was not worth investigating immediately. Instead they returned to New Hope to meet with Narthropple in person.

Loot:
Quiema’s Branch (one part)
Fire elemental ruby
Gem that stops bleed damage

*Grizz, when they met him first, was a talking dire worg. But they have recently discovered that he's actually an ancient brass dragon who was polymorphed nto a dire worg. 

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