Kingmaker in Eberron

Book 3 Chapter 08 - Diplomatic Elections

With their slowly expanding kingdom the ruling council decided they would need a better voice for the people – someone local in each of their cities to be their representative. Basically, they needed Mayors. (While the official title for each of these elected representatives would be ‘Viceroys’ in the mechanics of Kingdom Building within the game itself they are elected Mayors)

Then there was the issue of Pax Tera…whatever he is, it’s clearly not human. After some back and forth discussion (without Dox) between Pax’s demands and their counter offers, an agreement was finally reached. A Caster’s Tower would be built in the capital of Waterview specifically for Pax where he could live and study on his own. As a caveat, Alanea would be the only one granted unlimited access to these books, everyone else would be required to have Pax’s permission. Offically Pax would be held “on retainer” for assistance at the University, being granted Tenured pay and free room and board at his tower. The university would also offer Grad Student credit for assisting Pax with any of his research. The poor bastards.
There was one last caveat of the negotiations. Pax agreed to move into the tower, but also declared that if he were ever to leave…he’d get to take the tower with him. The council agreed, under the stipulation that Pax stayed in the kingdom for at least two and a half years.

Year 2 Turn 7 (November / Aryth)
Hexes Claimed:
1. Bandit Camp,
2. Pax’s Cave,
3. Cavern of the Glaive

Improvements:
1. Farm built at Oleg’s
2. Road built South East of Oleg’s
3. Finished road from Waterview to Oleg’s
4. Sawmill
5. Sawmill

Buildings:
1. Caster’s Tower
2. Town Hall (Tatzlford)

Event: None

Both Waterview and Tatzlford were officially scheduled to have public elections in the month of Vult (December). There were few restrictions as to who could vote, as long as you were a registered citizen of the country and you only voted once.
And within the month the results of the election came in!

The official Mayor of Waterview, to no one’s surprise became Grigori Tulsa whose way with words blew the competition away.

The official Mayor of Tatzlford is the head of the lumberjacks, Corax who the group had met over a year ago dealing with a troublesome fae having charmed halted his progress. The man was gruff, but he knew the locals and would look out for their interests.

Year 2 Turn 8 (December / Vult)
Hexes Claimed
1. Plains
2. Plains
3. Plains (all three near Oleg’s Trading Post)

Improvements
1. Farm
2. Sawmill
3. Sawmill
4. Fishery
5. Farm

Buildings:
1. Observatory
2. Smithy (Tatzlford)
3. Watchtower (converted Oleg’s Trading post as the new building of their new city – Svetlanta)

Event: None

In addition to expanding their kingdom, they finally created their third city. Converting the old trading post at Oleg’s into an official Watchtower, the group officially named the new town “Svetlanta”

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Book 3 Chapter 07 - Stake Out

Halfway through their second year of running their kingdom, the ruling council was getting ready for the events of Wild Night – a celebratory evening dedicated to the Dark Six deity The Fury, where the faithful and nonfaithful alike give vent to their passions in a raucous festival. (A close allegory for this celebration would be Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras) despite its association with The Fury it’s seen as a dedicated time to vent and release a lot of tension.

The guards and soldiers under Ogg were informed they could have some fun, as long as when it was time to be on duty they were fit for it. Keeping with the spirit of the holiday, the guards gambled and bet their shifts against one another to see who would be stuck with duty that night.

Everyone enjoyed the holiday in their own fashion. Alanea in particular spent the evening in the library of the University, finally able to surround herself with books and no distractions.

…the following morning Auchs sought an audience with Alanea. After going over the inventory of the library last night he thought he found some of the special collections books missing…but after going back through them this morning, nothing appeared to be missing.

Alanea and the rest of the council looked over the books that had been noted as ‘missing’ – all of which were indeed from the special collections and all focused around the philosophical “Dark Tapestry”, a strange interwoven method of planar travel through literally traversing across the universe…pretty technical stuff. Definitely not for the casual reader.

Dox and Tarvis spoke up at the news as well…there had been sightings of a giant metal Orrery appearing at random times across the capital over the past few months according to stories from townsfolk and guards. It always appeared between midnight and 6am and always in a different place than where it had been seen before. It seemed like just a rumor but…all this evidence at least deserved a cursory investigation. Based on where the Orrery had been sighted (using a giant map of the capital) Alanea was easily able to deduce (damn Bards and their knowing stuff) the next place that the Orrery should appear based on which section of the night sky it appeared to be focusing on.

Tarvis, Dox, Alanea, Sidney, and Boudreaux simultaneously: STAKE OUT!

That evening…

“Stealth” was not really this groups specialty…with Tarvis, Boudreaux and Sidney largely sitting out at night having a picnic as opposed to actually hiding anywhere. Luckily for our heroes the one they were waiting for was not the greatest at stealth either. Walking down the middle of the road some 60 feet away was the librarian’s assistant they had rescued out in the forest – Pax Tera. Turning in a “I’m totally not walking away after seeing you guys over there” kind of way, Pax starting hittin the old dusty trail…

Tarvis slapped a Fly spell on Sidney and Dox as Boudreaux calmly informed Eleanor to play “fetch”.
Finding himself suddenly shoved back towards the group by the large dinosaur of high society, Dox began walking him back towards the others, arm around his shoulder. Noticing something suspicious, Dox spotted a simple bag attached to Pax’s belt…and with a convenient shove by Eleanor and the Plot Twist Card – Secret (played by Alanea’s player) a number of large books came tumbling out of the bag as Pax was sent rolling forward…much bigger than should actually be able to fit in the pouch. Quickly scrambling to gather up his books and put them back in his pouch, trying to play it off as “oh these were just in my cloak” moment.

Dox, still feeling rather mischievous after Wild Night took it upon herself to Sleight of Hand Pax’s pouch as they arrived back at the others, opening it up and finding…a simple pouch inside. Huh. That’s not what she wanted. As Tarvis began questioning Pax about some of the mysterious happenings with the appearance and disappearance of this Orrery, Dox passed the bag over to Sidney who similarly attempted to figure out what was going on with the bag…with similarly no luck.

As Pax continued to try and play it cool he finally noticed that his bag had been stolen as it was handed over to Tarvis, who reached inside with a “Activate Wildly” check on Use Magic Device…a rolodex style inventory suddenly rolled across Tarvis’ mind. Book. Book. Book. Book. Orrery. Book. Book. Book. Book.

Choosing “Orrery” Tarvis suddenly clutched something metal from within the bag and pulled the massive machine out until it landed with a great THUD!

The color drained from Pax’s face as he stood there speechless for a moment. Taking a moment to compose himself, Pax’s demeanor changed.

“Yeah alright it was me. What of it?”
Technically what he was doing wasn’t really…illegal just odd. So what were you doing with your Orrery?

“Researching. It’s my job. I figured since some asshats had killed my guardian, raided my house, and stolen my prized possessions this was the least I was entitled to do.”

Wait a minute…he couldn’t be…
Pax reached into a pocked and pulled out a familiar letter, tossing it into Tarvis’ hands.

We flashed back momentarily to the end of Book 2 Chapter 17 – A Cave of Wonders
“Everything was taken, except for the Orrery which the group determined was too unwieldy to carry back to the kingdom. Not one to be terrible explorers since it seemed this area had been abandoned the group left a letter for anyone that would come back to this cave…indicating who they are and where their kingdom of Valdrik could be found.
Surely, this will not come back to haunt them.”
“That’s right, you stole my stuff. I’m just here to take it back.”
Tarvis pondered for a moment…well…they had left that letter. You totally have a point, we should let you have your things back.

Somewhere Korin tossed and turned in his sleep, a nightmare of some terrible financial loss rearing it’s ugly head.

Pax seemed rather surprised by this admission. “So…you’ll give me my things back? All of it?”

Not only that, Tarvis went on, we’d like to offer you a position at the University teaching Grad Students. Tenured of course.

Pax scoffed. “Having ‘students’ from your University no mater how learned would be like surrounding me with yapping noisy children and dogs…or…dog children…either way you get my point”. It was quickly apparent that not only was Pax not entirely human but also much older than he appeared. “But perhaps we can work something out. After you give me back my things. I would prefer to do my research in peace after all.”

Right…what exactly are you looking for up there anyway? The group remembered the giant painting on the stone wall back at Pax’s old home depicting a great red star trailing across the sky. That’s it isn’t it? So…what is it? When is it going to land? And are we talking big explosion kind of landing or…like soft landing?

Pax shrugged. “That’s what I’m researching.”
Things had been smoothed over…for the time being at least. Just who was this guy really? And what was he going to want in exchange for access to his knowledge?

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Book 3 Chapter 06 - Modern Comforts

Kingdom of Val’drik: Year 2, Turn 5 (Rhaan/September)
The kingdom officially reaches a size of 26+ Hexes.
The kingdom claimed the hexes containing the old trapdoor spider lair, and the forest hex that Gorum the Boggard lives in.
Improvements: Farm, Sawmill.
Buildings: Academy – Arcana Specialization (upgraded from the library)
Event: None

Year 2, Turn 6 (Sypheros/October)
The kingdom claimed the hexes containing Oleg’s Trading Post, the Lizardfolk Fort, and the forest hex North West of Candlemere.
Improvements: Farm, Fishery, Fishery, Road, Sawmill.
Buildings: Waterview – Bank.
Buildings: Tatzlford – Trade Shop, House
Event: Boomtown – The city of Waterview has had an economic boom! (Possibly due to the fact that it now has a bank). The Economy score increases by the number of buildings in that settlement that grant an economy bonus until the next Event Phase (end of turn 7). Corruption also increased by 2 (rolled by Korin).
Economy Bonus: +13

Mirasandra ir’ Thavar remained as the Viceroy for Val’drik until Valerie managed to return from the successful trial of Akiros Ismort. Respectfully stepping down after Valerie’s return, the council decided they wanted to have the Viceroy position officially filled as a regular position – and they had been wanting to grant Chief Sootscale some measure of autonomy within the Kobold caves for a long time so he was officially given a place on the council.

There was a lengthy discussion of a means for Akiros to pay back the council for their coverage of his trial expenses…based on most calculations it would take almost 30 to 40 years to pay back that amount on the standard salary of a soldier…and that was being generous. There was nothing settled upon just yet, though Tarvis had been discussing the possibility of drafting Akiros from time to time for some dangerous missions alongside some of the Scaleri Brothers (possibly putting together their own version of The Suicide Squad).

Much of the two months were spent exploring the majority of the northern and southern portions of their initial map to be able to claim them as part of their kingdom as they expand. The biggest spot of note as they explored was the “Burial Cairn” noted to them by the Narthropple Expedition sometime ago in the northwestern part of the map, just outside the Narlmarches forest. Mixed in with a thriving a large section of blackberry bushes, our heroes discovered a number of these cairns that had already been disturbed.

There was one cairn however that had been undisturbed thus far. Still a little uneasy with grave robbing, Boudreaux did take note of the remains of the skeletons from some of the other cairns that these are the bones of Giants. Most likely some ancient clan or tribe.

After completing the latest additions to their kingdom, it was finally time to celebrate another holiday in Val’drik – Wild Night, a holiday dedicated to The Fury, one of the Dark Six. Celebrated by the faithful and non-faithful alike, it takes place from sunset of the 18th of Sypheros until the morning of the 19th usually accompanied by a raucous festival atmosphere where folks vent their passions.

Next time on Kingmaker! Things get Wild…

XP Gained!
Hexes Explored – 21 – 4200xp
The Peluda – CR 10, 9600xp
Kingdom Size 26+ – 4000xp
Total – 17,800 / 5 = 3560 each

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Book 3 Chapter 05 - Trials of Faith

Kingdom of Val’drik: Year 2, Turn 3 (Lharvion/July)
The kingdom claimed the hexes containing the Statue of Balinor and the Frog Pond.
Improvements: +1 Road, Sawmill built on the hex with the stable Fae Circle.
No buildings created this month.

Year 2, Turn 3 (Barrakas/August)
The kingdom claimed the hexes containing the Abandoned Ferry Station and a Plains Hex.
Improvements: +1 Road, Sawmill, Fishery
Buildings: Waterview – University with an Arcana specialization. Stockyard.
Events: Discovery: Scholars working under Alanea unearth new lore regarding the standing statue of Balinor within the kingdom’s lands. Fame increases by +1, and Lore increased by +4 (rolled by Alanea)

Over the course of two months a number of important events occurred. Pax was safely returned to town and was making impressive progress, especially as the library he was working at was renovated and added to the brand new University.

Alanea and Boudreaux were alerted by their respective departments that there was something they should see at the Statue of Balinor…

Traveling with a small retinue of scholars and woodsmen, Alanea and Boudreaux headed into the Narlmarches forest. The statue was discovered back in their early exploration of the area before they had taken out the Stag Lord and established their kingdom. It seemed to give evidence that some previous culture had also worshipped some aspect of the Sovereign Host, a fascinating bit of theological theory. While cleaning up the statue some scholars had discovered runes lying underneath the dirt and grime of the statue…but they had also discovered a camp site nearby that contained a recently missing person.

Approaching the clearing, the voice of an intoxicated man seemed to be having an angry conversation with the stone statue. Wearing dirty clothes and a scraggly beard was the ex-bandit and recent vigilante from justice Akiros Ismort. The man was on the verge of tears angrily shouting at the statue…”Where were you when I needed you huh? You turned your back on me damn you!” A bottle of alcohol was smashed against the statue as Boudreaux and Alanea approached.

Akiros turned in surprise at being caught in such a vulnerable moment…even after ‘fleeing’ from Tatzlford he hadn’t gone too far. On the run again, after his past had caught up with him. Akiros had no fight left in him, but he couldn’t stop himself from running what he had done. Akiros was raised in the church, a follower of Balinor from a small city in the country of Aundair and he had fallen in love with a beautiful noblewoman who had loved him in return. On the day he was to be ordained as a paladin of the church he proposed to the woman. What he did not know at the time however…was that the noblewoman was already married. Faced with the choice of accepting his offer or being outed as an adulterer the noblewoman called Akiros a rapist and denied loving him in any way after spitting in his face.

Akiros’ vision went red. He could not face the sudden change in his own reality…and before he knew it the woman and her husband lay dead at his feet. Blood stained the floors of the church of Balinor. Akiros fled his old life that day, and has been running ever since – coming so far as to the ends of civilization in another continent. Having been found, he could run no longer.

Alanea and Boudreaux considered his story…and offered to act as his representative in his trial. They would do the best they could for his crimes, and wanted Akiros to return to his home in Tatzlford with them.

Akrios teared up as he accepted clean clothes and a shaving kit from Boudreaux. “You are the first people in a long time that have always been kind to me. Accepted me as I am, rather than who I was. Thank you.” With Akiros taken back to the kingdom and the preparations for travel back to Aundair underway, it was finally time to take a closer look at the statue of Balinor.

After some proper cleaning and analysis of a new set of runes on the statue, some magical properties were discovered about it. Firstly, the statue would forever be a haven for travelers in the wilderness. An aura of peace and balance would keep angry and hostile beasts from coming close. Not only that, but if a prayer to Balinor is performed by one of the faithful it would grant a hunter’s blessing on all Piercing and Slashing weapons within 60 feet – a blessing that will last for an entire week.

At the next meeting of the ruling council it was decided that both Valerie and Grigori Tulsa would head to Aundair with Akiros to act as his representation during his trial. The goal was to change the sentence of “death” to “exile” in the land of Xen’drik…tricky, but not impossible. But it would also take a significant amount of time. At least a month to travel to Aundair, and at least a month for the trial and then another month to return to the kingdom. If Valerie was going to go, someone would need to take over her seat on the Council at least temporarily. After careful consideration, Mirasandra ir’Thavar the leader of the local group of Flamers was chosen as the Viceroy of the kingdom at least for now.

Between Grigori’s counsel and Valerie’s natural charisma with people (a power she has yet to truly understand herself, though the Plot Twist Card – Pride to give the opposing council a -10 on their Diplomacy check helped as well) combined with some Medani Investigators to dig up evidence about the events of that day all tied in together to make an incredibly passionate and compelling case for declaring the tragic events as a crime of passion.

(The comparison made regarding the opposing council’s lawyer was to go from looking like Miles Edgeworth from Phoenix Wright, to Gil the salesman from the Simpsons)

The verdict was made in Akiros’ favor. The punishment was set to Exile from Aundair, as well as the payment to the family of the noblewoman for damages made to the noble family in the total cost of 8,000 gold. Realizing that Akiros himself couldn’t pay that much, and that it would be unethical to withdraw that amount from the kingdom’s reserves, the ruling council came to the decision (after some correspondence between Valerie and the others via a House Sivis Message Station at their brand new University) to have everyone chip in 800 gold.

Next time on Kingmaker! Waterview continues its growth and holidays loom ever closer…

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Book 3 Chapter 4 - The Peluda

The hapless teen, Pax Tera had been rescued from a death trap of shark-wielding Shambling Mounds with centipede swarms inside them. After calming him down from the chaotic scene he just witnessed and getting him some food and water, the group questioned Pax as to just what the heck had happened.

Pax admitted he had moved to Waterview fairly recently, gotten a room at one of the local Inns and after looking for a job managed to get one as a part time librarian. Auchs had been the one to hire him. After being on the job for a couple days he went home, went to sleep, and woke up chained to this tiny little spit of land in the middle of the lake.
Boudreaux convened with the local birds to discover if there were any suspicious goings on in the local area recently…while the birds couldn’t describe what had happened they did confirm that this ‘lake’ wasn’t here a few days ago. All the birds in the local area decided it would be a good idea to GTFO a few days back…and ever since coming back to the area found this new thing here.

Pax himself admitted to being a refugee from Cyre, didn’t really have a whole lot going on with his life and was trying to find something new in this…well the new kingdom. He didn’t have many skills, but during the time he was a POW he was put to use as a scribe so he learned how to organize stacks of books and keep records of communications, so he was hoping to use those skills to be a librarian-in-training.

Determining that Pax was safe now that he was with them, the group decided to continue exploring the southern border of their map, intending to add these hexes to their kingdom eventually. Continuing east out of the forest and into the plains of the Kamelands travel was relatively easy for a number of days until finally in a mix rolling plains with scattered hills our group ran into a strange creature…

It was the size of an elephant with legs to match, a long tail and long neck with a vicious looking set of teeth. The most noticeable bit about it however was the innumerable spikes sticking out of its body. The creature was celebrating the spoils of a recent kill – some other large creature that that had been slightly burnt and torn mostly to pieces. The creature raised its head, locked eyes with our group and bellowed a challenge.

Well that challenge was met! Ogg immediately rushed forth on his trusty steed, delivering a deadly blow (mounted combat with a lance for crazy damage) to the four legged creature, riding past it to what Ogg believed was a safe distance of 50 feet. Unfortunately, the creature turned and rushed to its attacker, whipped its tail around and knocked Ogg straight out of his saddle with an awesome blow…not just that but some of those spines from its tail had embedded themselves in the half-orc general and to his dismay felt like his blood was on fire as a deadly poison began coursing through his veins.

Eleanor and Aurum rushed into the battle biting and scratching at the terror, each becoming poisoned from its quills as they attacked. The creature was impaled by Ogg’s lance but even a normally mortal blow was not enough to drop this creature…as it began forcing itself deeper onto the lance its mouth opened up as Ogg saw a glowing red light making its way up the creature’s throat…that wasn’t going to be good.

The rest of the group engaged as best they could with spells, arrows, and healing until finally the creature was felled…even so the ticking time could prove fatal if no one acted quickly as Ogg, Eleanor, and Aurum were still poisoned. Without the ability to neutralize poison and provide lesser restoration from Cassie it was very likely that not only Ogg but Aurum and Eleanor may have died on that field despite the creature that caused the effect having been killed. Xen’drik is a strange place, and the fact that it should never be underestimated was reinforced that day.

On a more positive note though, Boudreaux was able to track down this creature’s lair which held a very impressive hoard of treasure.

After finally returning to the capital, Alanea was able to quickly identify the creature from descriptions and drawings as a previously-believed-to-be-myth creature known as a “Peluda”. The creature is a type of dragon despite not sharing the standard image of the flying intelligent color/metal based ones. Still not very intelligent, but definitely an apex predator. Legend has it that the creature sought out chivalrous knights to challenge, and that it had a fatal flaw – if it’s tail was ever severed the creature would immediately die.

Treasure Obtained
Scroll of Quench
Scroll of Waves of Fatigue
Wand of Invisibility (23 charges)
Dragonhide Plate (Brass)
Volatile Vaporizer
Potion of Nondetection
Potion of Rage
And various cash monies.

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Book 3 Chapter 03 - Pax

Heading back home from there the leaders of the Council had another kingdom turn and quickly added the sunken spire to their lands. Sidney would be placed in charge of exploring this ancient creation and the repercussions of this would be dealt with in the future. After all, if this thing could be repaired and brought back up to capacity…does it really have the ability to create warforged? And if so should they collectively allow the warforged to use it?

The Treaty of Thronehold, which ended the Last War required the destruction of all Creation Forges by House Cannith so that no more Warforged would be created. This act, while intended to help end the war, also pushed many warforged to the banner of the enigmatic figure known as the Lord of Blades who lives somewhere in the Mournland – all due to the fact that he claims to have a working Creation Forge. This could be a great boon, but also a great disaster if not handled carefully.

Regardless of all this, there was the important game of “The Floor is Lava” going on in the main room with Delia d’Cannith and the other members of the ruling council. They were determined to make her an adventurer though Sidney’s views on this possibility were unknown at this point.

There were still a couple of loose threads hanging about, requests from the citizens of Valdrik to take care of. The sap from some Shambling Mounds were sought by an herbalist for cultivating medicinal herbs for healing purposes. There was also more land to explore and claim all along the southern portion of the Narlmarches and the Kamelands (down near where Hargulka’s lair was) so the group set out to do just that.

Heading further south than the Troll King’s Lair they discovered a curious setup in the forest. It looked like someone had created an artificial lake about 120 feet across in the middle of the forest with a tiny spit of land in the very center of it. To the trained eyes of both Lucius and Boudreaux they could see that there were floating bits of moss and plant life floating underneath the surface…not only that but fins glided above the water indicating that there were sharks in the water, though really sharks living in non-salt water was a rather minor bit of weirdness where Xen’drik was concerned.

On the tiny spit of land a soft but hoarse voice called out for help. A lone humanoid figure dressed in some dirty clothes appeared to be trapped on the island. Time to spring into action! …but first to make sure things are safe.
Boudreaux Wild Shaped into a humongous lizard and slid into the water along with Eleanor to try and communicate with the sharks. Unfortunately as far as he managed to get was a rather terrified “HREMLKMDLKFNENRD” from the sharks.

It was about that time that the floating bits of plant life began shambling forward towards the new prey that had entered the water – giving only a moments notice before bursting onto land. Two large Shambling Mounds each carrying terrified flailing sharks at the end of their tendrils! With a collective “What the hell” the battle was joined! Despite their impressive size their slow slow speed proved to be their downfall. One of the Shambling Mounds was quickly dispatched – one of the sharks flying off into the distance while the other began flopping on the ground as the plant membrane dissolved into nothing…this however released the horde of thousands of centipedes from the corpse of the creature that covered both the remaining shark on the ground and the nearby heroes.

At this point Valerie hopped onto Aurum to inspect the prisoner on the island. The man looked as if he was in his late teens, maybe barely twenty years old with slightly green tips at the end of his hair. His hands were in iron chains that were trapped under an iron spike into the ground. Breaking the lock was pretty easy for Valerie at this point. The boy introduced himself as Pax, a part time worker at the library in Waterview. He’d started a couple of days ago…went to bed, woke up here. No idea what happened.

Meanwhile it was becoming increasingly evident that the group was going to need to learn additional tactics to take out swarms. Boudreaux was the only one capable of dealing damage to them with his lightning balls.

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Book 3 Chapter 02 - What lies in dust

As two red and blue lights began spinning atop the metallic scorpion’s body accompanied by a siren, multiple steel doors opened up at the ground level of the mysterious spire. Four medium sized humanoids stepped forward covered in rusting metal, patchwork wood and an assortment of other materials. Their movements were not graceful by any means with their feet stepping forward through the use of pistons rather than any attempt at realistic humanoid legs. Their fists however were quite capable of crushing skulls.

At the top of the faintly glowing pillar, Dox had been waiting for the others and staying away from the thick of things. This unfortunately worked against her as three of the construct humanoids rose up around her and proceeded to surround her in a hurt locker.

The battle had our heroes outnumbered and spread apart – with Boudreaux, Eleanor, Tarvis and Lucius on the ground level of the area dealing with the constructs and the scorpion itself, while Alanea, Aurum (who recently had a growth spurt) and Dox dealt with the constructs atop the pillar. In the end our heroes were victorious while showing off some new tactical advantages from spells and coordinated maneuvers. Alanea tried her best to piece together what this place was and came to a few conclusions.

First, this place is actually buried. The front entrance to this place is over 300 feet below the surface. A proper excavation would be necessary to return this place to its former glory, a process that could take years if not decades.

Second, the strange runes that cover the blue pillar seem to be part of some sort of power source…or a system of inputting commands to do something. It’s still unclear at this point.

Third, based on the look and actions of the metallic humanoids that attacked them they appear to be ancient prototypes of the modern warforged. How they were created, why they were created, and what the differences are between this discovery and the modern warforged are still gigantic questions that don’t have immediate answers.

Satisfied with the few more bits of information that they gathered our heroes decided to explore a few more areas around their kingdom before heading back to Waterview. They still had a note from the Narthropple Expedition about some “dead horse” found in a location to the north east of where they were…so hey why not finally check that out?

Exploring the forested area as described by the Narthropples it was easy to discover what they were referring to. In a section of the forest our heroes discovered a sinkhole covered in thousands upon thousands of insects swarming and crawling across one another…and at the center of it, the alabaster corpse of a dead horse completely untouched by the bugs. Using some of their rope and an Unseen Servant our heroes removed the body to get a better look at it. Milky white eyes suggest that it was blind at the time of its death. A use of Detect Magic and Blood Biography revealed a few more clues…first off, this wasn’t a horse. It was a Unicorn. And one that had its horn removed…probably why the Narthropples figured it was a horse. It was apparently the guardian of the forest but it was unclear at what point it died though a cause of death was discovered at least. A Death effect killed this creature. Its soul was ripped out of its body killing it instantly. The insects were drawn to this area but the corpse had refused to decompose causing an unnatural situation.

Our heroes buried the Unicorn but decided they may come back in the near future to use some Speak with Dead on the creature.

With this grim discovery, our heroes returned to Waterview to discuss their findings.

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Book 3 Chapter 01 - Remnants

A new year had started for the Kingdom of Valdrik. After all the adventuring, exploration, and political wheeling and dealing the group wanted to relax for a bit. Slowly the visitors left the fledgling nation and the tallies came in, with the number of people that arrived to see the performance by Basilia Baxton combined with the advertising, construction, ticket sales, and other bits of revenue the kingdom had an unexpected economic boom. (This was the Kingdom Event: Visiting Celebrity with the added bonus of any PC being able to spend 3 Action Points to add 1d6 to the roll, which could also Ace. An expensive cost for a possible big payoff. As a result the group made over 40 BP from the event!)

A month soon went by and a few decisions were made for Valdrik. No longer would there be only 1 recognized Holiday for the year, but a total of 6 Holidays to recognize the different equinoxes and harvest times of the years as well as the yearly founding day. Next was the issue of Akiros Ismort. The Sentinel Marshal was still in town waiting on any official declarations from the rulers…the subject was hotly debated. Akiros hadn’t done anything bad since he had moved to Valdrik but that didn’t change the fact he was wanted for murder in another country. The leaders penned a letter to be sent to Akiros in the small town of Tatzlford explaining that there was a Sentinel Marshal here in the country for him. While they would not outright protect him, they would vouch for him in his defense and seek the verdict of exile to the country of Valdrik. The letter also recommended turning himself in as the best option.

It soon became apparent that Akiros had received the letter, but left the town and has not been seen since.

Next was the two possible contracts they had with House Orien and House Lyrandar. House Orien would reduce the cost of building roads through hazardous terrain, with the requirement that a road built as often as possible (in mechanics terms, that a Road must be part of the Kingdom Building turns as long as it was possible for a Road to be built. House Orien would reduce the cost of different terrains by -2 BP to a minimum of 1). This also required a no-competition clause that would not allow the Kingdom to have business with House Lyrandar for a total of Five Years.

House Lyrandar’s offer, made by Catherine Evered d’Lyrandar (the step-sister of Valorie) was a 25% discount on the building of a House Lyrandar Airship Tower within their capital city. This with the requirement that House Lyrandar would be paid for services rendered over the course of two years (mechanically this would be a payment of 4BP each month for two years – an immediate benefit for longer payments over time).

Korin wasn’t particularly impressed by either offer, and after speaking with the rest of the council agreed to decline the offers and see if either of them came back with another in the future.

With almost a month until it would be necessary to make another kingdom, the council decided to send another investigation team to explore the sunken spire to the west of Waterview. Boudreaux, Tarvis, Lucius, Dox, and Alanea headed out with a healthy dose of rope this time. One use of Resist Fire and a few attempts at unlocking the lid on top once more and the group were on their way down.

As before when Boudreaux had seen the shadowy image of a metallic scorpion our heroes once again ran into the creature. The creature’s eyes bleeped and blooped while flashing multiple colors…it was a language that no one in the group had heard before. However, thanks to Alanea’s Helm of Comprehend Languages the noises signaled a warning – “Leave now. You are trespassing upon this area. Purification will begin in 3…2…1…” and then the tip of the scorpion’s tail sprayed acid at the wild shaped Boudreaux and Eleanor.

Next Time on Kingmaker! What lies in dust

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Book 2 Chapter 27 - One Year Anniversary

A myriad of visiting officials and dignitaries arrived for the celebration of the one year anniversary of the founding of Valdrik.

Representatives from multiple countries had arrived, as well as many of the dragonmarked houses.

“The Who’s Who list of guests”
1. Maegar Varn, a jolly man with a body to match. The official representative of Cyre as well as from the neighboring village to the east – Varnhold. Interested in the many historical relics that could be unearthed regarding the ancient giant empire he became fast friends with Alanea.
2. Karklos Ir’Ilsir the famed playwright from Stormreach and trainer of Dox
3. Prince Jurian ir’Wynarn the ‘Prince in Exile’ from Aundair, with a love of wine, wits, and dueling.
4. Lord Kor ir’Wynard from Breland, the younger brother of King Boranel.
5. Lady Haydith ir’Wynarn, the 15 year old sister of King Kaius III of Karrnath, living under the care of the Brelish royal family she was here with Kor.
6. Alarich Barthus the VI was listed as a visiting noble from Karrnath and his apparent preference for dark rooms and privacy seemed to point to being an undead of some kind.
7. Cardinal Nystrum Shadar, representing Thrane and the Silver Flame.

From the Dragonmarked Houses…
1. Merrix d’Cannith
2. Delia d’Cannith – Sidney’s absolutely adorable seven year old daughter.
3. Marron d’Cannith – mother of Delia and longtime significant other of Sidney despite not being married much to the chagrin of their families.
4. Sentinel Marshal Endira d’Deneith – a tall short-haired woman with a muscular build, Endira was the only representative of House Deneith to arrive and even that was a formality – as a member of the Sentinel Marshals she was here on official business as well. She was tasked by the government of Aundair to track down a wanted criminal that was believed to have taken refuge in Xen’drik – a man named Akiros Ismort. He was wanted for the murder of two nobles in public in broad daylight…some rather damning circumstances. In a church of Balinor no less.
5. Ryla d’Ghallanda – the only representative of her House, Ryla was here primarily to offer the services of the House of Hospitality to the various natives that were also at the party.
6. Baron Ulara d’Jorasco, the matron of House Jorasco herself visited the fledgling country. The aging matron mostly kept to herself for the evening.
7. Korbek Gedin d’Kundarak, father of Korin d’Kundarak and famous for forging a longstanding alliance with one of the Coin Lords of Xen’drik – Yorrick Amanatu. He was famous amongst other members of House Kundarak for purchasing the land to the eastern part of Stormreach, establishing the area of “Coasthold” where House Kundarak had independent laws there.
8. David Mathieu Evered d’Lyrandar – the stepfather of Valerie, a serious naval officer with a proper attitude at all times.
9. Phagin d’Lyrandar – an older member of the Lyrandar house he has a habit of seeking out ‘lost eggs’ – half-elves outside of the house proper that manifest Dragonmarks and bringing them into the fold. He was the one who discovered Tarvis d’Lyrandar and trained him to be a proper member of the house.
10. Roberta Catherine Evered d’Lyrandar – the stepsister of Valerie and a socialite of privilege, Roberta has been making political waves lately for her savvy business sense especially for one so young.
11. Rikard d’Orien is a rather pragmatic man with no time or interest in the political intrigues of the houses. The representative came only with one question – where are the roads!?
12. Viceroy Morian Shol d’Phiarlan, a veteran elf of the house and organizer of all registered entertainment in Stormreach also attended – which of course meant that House Thuranni did not.
13. The First Stonespeaker Amilene Santor d’Sivis, a middle aged gnome from Stormreach is an approachable fellow with friendly ties to House Kundarak. Initial negotiations were had between him and Tarvis about the establishment of more accurate and faster communication between here and Stormreach/the rest of the world.
14. Durgran ‘Torrn a humorous orc from House Tharashk made sure to meet up with Boudreaux to pass on a letter from the Gatekeepers back in Khorvaire. While not a gatekeeper himself, Durgran is a supporter of their group. The letter discussed the nature of the Big Bad Wolf, more specifically its aspect as an outsider along with tips of how to banish said creatures from Eberron. It also recommended contacting the Greensinger group of Druids since dealing with fae is their specialty.
15. Tyris d’Vadalis the young heir in charge of the Blackbriar estate also attended.
16. To the surprise of many, there was an additional RSCP for the event from the Riedran colony of Dar Qat, the only other colony on the shores of Xen’drik. A Lord Ralastar attended as a representative who had an air about him that screamed “enigmatic foreigner”.

There was entertainment for all, with many back room political conversations taking place amongst the various guests and our rulers. Among the highlights were awkward moments between Valerie and her stepfather and stepsister, Dox dragging Lucius onstage to sing and dance, Korin and his wingman Mikmek playing House Orien and House Lyrandar against one another to try and get the best deal, Tarvis spending time with his mentor Phagin and discussing politics of the house, the news from Marron d’Cannith that Delia will possibly be staying with Sidney for the near future and finally ending the evening with a special concert hosted by the musical celebrity Basilia Baxton. The members of the ruling council were even invited onstage to participate in a dance!

Thus ends our second book as a new year dawns for the country of Valdrik. But what will happen in the future? As new alliances are formed, friendships will be tested, enemies will strike from the shadows, old foes reappear and an ancient evil returns…

(For my players – this is one of the songs played by Basilia during the concert. It was written specifically for this event.)

XP Gained!
Hexes Claimed x4 – 800xp
Kingdom Building – Three Full City Squares with buildings – 6000xp
Wrath of the Scythe Tree – 2000xp
I Swear I’m Sober! – 2000xp
2160xp for Each Character

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Book 2 Chapter 26 - Candlemere Parts 1 and 2

Candlemere Part 1

With the Kingdom having recovered from the assault of the Talonquake it was time to give Candlemere the proper attention it deserved…after Sidney and Lissa got to work making magic items for the party.

This included creating a Folding Boat as the primary means of getting to Candlemere. After a few weeks of Sidney’s magic it was time to explore the creepy Will-O-Wisp full island. Travel to the island was uneventful, and as they disembarked our group of Boudreaux, Grauk, Eleanor, Dox, Tarvis, Lucius, and Alanea took up defensive positions. The island itself was covered in thick spiny brambles that were waist high…this could be trouble. Both Boudreaux and Lucius recognized this as a normal kind of plant that carried a sickening poison on its thorns…and based on how much of it there was that would cause issues moving through it.

None of this however was a concern to a giant Allosaurus thanks to Boudreaux’s wild shaping abilities. Simply crushing the brambles under giant foot, a path was slowly forged through through miles of flat land. Hours into their slow trek towards the tower as the sun was beginning to set they finally reached the remains of Candlemere Tower.

The tower was much taller in some long forgotten age, with the crumbling remains reaching barely forty feet in height now. Bits of stone and refuse littered the island as the only evidence of what transgressed here. It was within sight of the tower that a growing sense of unease spread amongst the group…a sense that something was watching them…that they were unwelcome here…and that something was moments away from sneaking up on them. Something terrible had happened here, and that anger and rage and fear had seeped into the land itself.

Strange runes covered the outside of the tower in addition to the bits and pieces scattered across the island…indecipherable for the time being but Alanea made sure to get a few rubbings of the symbols they could reach. With time and research all would be made clear…

It was at this point that a group of three Will-O-Wisps had made themselves known by suddenly appearing near the party. Boudreaux and Eleanor became aware of their disgusting scent moments before they flew close enough to attack!

Unfortunately for the aberrations, our heroes had already learned to deal with a powerful Will-O-Wisp and a single Communal Resist Energy Electricity made all of their damage a moot point. Slowly realizing that they could not kill these limb-bearing outsiders the Wisps pulled back at first and then into a full on retreat as Boudreaux’s Echolocation spell made even their natural invisibility useless against this giant dinosaur.

Periodically Will-O-Wisps would slowly move back into Boudreaux’s Echolocation field testing to see if it was still possible for the druid to see them. Once or twice a single Will-O-Wisp would rush the group and manage to zap one with electricity to see if their magical resistance had faded and on occasion would be lucky enough for it to be true. Deciding that fighting these outsiders just wasn’t worth it the Wisps eventually left the group alone for good – flying high above the tower creating the fabled “Lights of Candlemere” that people have seen from across the lake.

There was one other important feature that our heroes discovered on their first foray into Candlemere Tower…and that was what appeared to be an giant stone mirror in the center of the tower ruins. Not only that, but it was completely invisible to the naked eye…it was only through Boudreaux’s Echolocation that he could detect something was there. A Glitterdust from Tarvis revealed the great stone mirror – standing a good eight feet tall the reflective surface was completely black on both sides. The edges of the mirror were decoratively covered in a design of tree branches covered with small leaves. The confetti cannon that is Glitterdust lasted only briefly before it was absorbed into the mirror.

Dox placed her hands upon the mirror and pressed her ear against it to try and see if she could figure out anything about this…but…more on that later. For the time being it was time to head back to their kingdom, analyze the information they found and come back soon.

As the heroes left the island unmolested the remaining Wisps watched from a distance…
“We need help for dealing with these outsiders.” One spoke in their profane language.
“I agree. Call everyone we know.”
“Everyone?”
The lead Wisp turned to face the skull as its firey aura flared in anger.
EEEVVVEERRRRYYYOONNNEEEE!!!!”

Candlemere Part 2.

It took Alanea multiple days to analyze the runes they had gathered from the ruins of Candlemere Tower and with no small help from the books they had obtained for their Library. According to her research the runes were created with a mix of three separate languages. Giant (which made sense), Sylvan (they had been running into a lot of Fae…), and Mabaran (what?) which is a language spoken by the creatures of the plane of shadow – Mabar. While this was a hurdle Alanea could not overcome on her own, this was nothing in the face of modern magical innovation! Within a day Sidney had whipped up a Helmet of Comprehend Languages for Alanea. It was still hard to figure out what the runes meant but now with some time and effort back at Candlemere they could decipher what message had been left there.

Gathering up the party once more (with Sidney tagging along instead of Lucius this time) our heroes returned to Candlemere with their Folding Boat. A voice called out to the group as they landed on the island – giving our heroes one last chance to leave this place and never return. Undeterred and unimpressed from their last encounter with the Wisps they continued inland. Everything seemed quiet as they assumed their previous formation – wild shaped druid at the front with Eleanor guarding the back. It wasn’t until halfway between the island and the tower that a sudden shockwave of brain-melting sound ripped through the group. Standing up from its hiding spot in the thorny brush a good 80 feet away was a large sized abomination that walked like a raptor without any facial features save for a spinning maw of razor teeth.

From above them, a bolt of negative energy shot through the sky and into Boudreaux draining some of his strength. A large crab monster with an extending lamprey mouth materialized in the sky as a devious laughing voice echoed through the minds of our heroes… “I know some of you are capable of casting magic…I look forward to discovering who that is.”

Will-O-Wisps rushed into the battlefield with their electricity crackling about them as the battle commenced! The new tactics of these aberrations threw the party for a loop as Boudreaux had to cast multiple Communal Resist Energies to provide protection against both Sonic and Electricity. The newcomers were quickly identified as a Destrachan (on the ground with the sonic scream) and a Neh-Thalggu (the telepathic crab monster).

With the Neh-Thalggu raining down spells from above while the Destrachan went on the hunt from the ground it nearly spelled doom for our heroes. With a bit of teamwork and providing buff spells for one another (Bardic Music and Haste in particular) the two newcomers were finally put down. At this point the Wisps had reached the end of their rope.

“Burn it! Burn it all!” Came the cry in their strange language. All across the island stacks of smoke could be seen rising into the sky. The Wisps still near the party sparked the brittle thorns that covered the island quickly giving rise to a deadly and rapidly spreading fire.

What had been a triumphant battle turned into a running obstacle course to get back to the shoreline, fighting off the heat, the choking smoke, and the various Will-O-Wisps that had become absolutely desperate in trying to kill this outsiders – attempting to trip the heroes, bull rush them into the fire, suicidal attempts to take them out with them.

Tarvis collapsed as he made it to the shoreline with Dox and Alanea not looking much better. It took hours for the fire to finish burning out, and the haunting screams of the Wisps that chose to burn to death in the fire carried across the lake the entire time…

As evening came upon the land the group headed inland once more unimpeded by any resistance – everything was quiet now. Analyzing the runes across the tower our heroes discovered a distrubing message.

“By the Order of the Council of the First the sentence carried out here is to punish a creature for the unforgivable crime of existence. It shall be bound and punished here for all eternity.”

The message, with the proper cipher they now had, was meant to be understood to creatures of all three planes – the Giants of the ancient empire, the Fae of the first world, and the creatures from Mabar the plane of shadow. The Council of the First were the leaders of the First World – Thelanis, plane of the Fae. The creatures that ruled the entire race passed judgment here. These answers led only to more questions…

What happened here? Who or what is the thing bound in this strange black mirror? Should they attempt to free the thing and offer it asylum? Would it be a political blow against the rulers of the First World if they did?

Regardless, the haunted island of Candlemere was now officially cleared out and ripe for the taking.

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