Kingmaker Book 1 Chapter 5
With the great Centipede Whiptail defeated, our battered and bruised heroes decided it was time to leave this den of terrible insects. Unfortunately there were more sounds coming from the hallway near Tarvis…it sounded like the pitter-patter of Mites but also the sound of something else. Something bigger.
With at least a moments reprieve the group hoped to get a headstart on fleeing the caverns under the Old Sycamore. Unfortunately with the poison coursing through Tarvis’ veins having done a great deal of damage already, his muscles were tightening up on him incredibly harshly (6 Dex damage total from the Centipede’s poison). While trying to climb down the crevice, deciding it would be easier to do that rather than attempt a leap across the chasm Tarvis quickly lost his grip, could not grab the ledge to catch himself, and quickly tumbled down 20 feet into the crevice landing bloody and dying next to Alanea, Korin, and Valerie.
Alanea quickly withdrew a healing potion, Korin drew his bow to try and fight off the reinforcements, and Valerie tossed a rope + grappling hook up the western side of the crevice so it would at least be easier when they finally made an attempt to escape – but all three agreed on one thing, they wouldn’t leave a man behind.
Meanwhile outside of the Old Sycamore Sidney was playing watcher for the unconscious Kobold they had rescued earlier. While it did not seem asleep anymore the Kobold was still blind and somewhat out of it, but that didn’t stop him from placing a hand on Sidney’s soldier and in a well-spoken voice that echoed in Sidney’s mind a voice declared that his friends were in trouble below – they needed him!
The voice assuring Sidney that it would be fine staying topside the artificer left the Kobold topside and began traveling down into the caverns…stumbling upon his companions in a fight for their lives!
Grabbles, the Lord of Mites had arrived along with the four members of his honor guard. Most terrifying however was the giant Tick the size of a horse that Grabbles was riding, who the mite affectionately referred to as Tickleback.
Defiant in the face of danger Alanea challenged Grabbles with a harsh rock to the side of his head from her sling that the Lord of Mites gleefully answeres, his giant Tick climbing down the side of the crevice easily to meet her in combat. While neither Grabbles nor Tickleback were terribly successful in vanquishing their hated foes much of the danger came from the Honor Guard and their dart attacks every round.
With Tarvis stablilized though not conscious and the rest of the group wounded – some worse than others – a mix of Korin and Valerie managed to kill the giant Tick. Distraught at the loss of his friend Grabbles attempted to feed a potion to his mount only to discover this was the worst choice he could have made. Weaponless, Korin took the opportunity to grab the Mite and keep him in a grapple. Alanea swiftly disarmed the Lord of Mites of his potion and Valerie gave the killing blow. With their Lord murdered the Honor Guard fled one direction, while the heroes quickly brought Tarvis conscious and got the hell out of there.
To the groups surprise they found the Kobold they had rescued asleep in the same place Sidney had left him, though he had his butt in the air and it had a smiley face drawn on it.
Alanea: “I don’t think it was the Mites that did this…”
Tarvis: “Yeah they seem more like the ‘slit your throat’ kind of pranksters…”
Regardless the heroes collected the kobold, traveled a good mile or so away from the tree and bedded down for the night.
(The party officially hit level two! Yay! And by god they earned it, things were looking grim against Grabbles and his entourage there for a little bit.)
The next morning the party sat down and talked things over with the kobold they had rescued. Introducing himself as Mikmek of the Sootscale Tribe, he was on a failed rescue mission of a sacred statue of their clan that the Mites had stolen from them in an ongoing war. After hearing that not only had the group of “scaleless big ones” defeated Grabbles the Lord of Mites but also the giant centipede Whiptail and caused the others to flee…this was a sign surely! The curse of the Sootscale Clan would soon be over!
Braving the Old Sycamore once more (and after being healed a bit in the morning – Alanea finally learned how to cast Cure Light Wounds! Magical healing in the party was finally achieved outside of potions and the Eternal Wand) the party discovered that it was in fact deserted. Apparently the death of their Lord caused the remaining population to grab what they could and get the hell out. (Fear goes both ways it seems)
Discovering the centipede birthing chamber Korin was surprisingly enticed by the eggs that were sitting on well maintined heaps of dung and dirt as well as being fed by disgusting yet nutrient rich water, and he gathered up the 12 centipede eggs that were left by the Mites.
Mikmek was also welcomed into the fold as they explored the remains of the Sycamore – they even let the young Kobold wear the armor, buckler, and longspear of the fallen Grabbles. Mikmek considered it an honor to wear the armor of their hated enemy.
The Kobold seemed both happy and hesitant at discovering the ivory statue being used as a paper weight by the Mites. The group saw this as a good opening move for the possibility of diplomacy with the Sootscales, but had their curiousity piqued at Mikmeks quiet exclamation of “Death to Tartuk” upon picking up the statue, eyeing it warily as he whispered it as if testing to see if a divine force would strike him down for such blasphemy.
With the treasures of the lair properly looted Mikmek hopped up on a horse with Valerie and they headed to the lair of the Sootscale Clan which was built into the side of a rocky hillock. Outside of the lair was a single Kobold guard along with a Mite that was kept in a man-made stick cage out in the glaring sunlight forcing the hateful fae to keep its eyes even squintier than normal.
Tarvis: “And not one of us feels bad for it.”
The Kobold guard introduced himself as Nakpik, fellow Sootscale and brother to Mikmek. Considering their arrival and recovery of the statue of Old Sharptooth to be fated they offered to lead the scaleless big ones through their lair triumphantly.
Valerie stopped their kobold guides when they reached their ‘religious chamber’. A stone slab was covered with blood, with the image of a giant angry winged kobold drawn upon the nearby wall in a mix of charcoal and blood that must surely be “Old Sharptooth” the angry deity that had cursed the Sootscale Clan. Mikmek explained that their clan had been cursed since the Mites had stolen their idol for the great and angry deity Old Sharptooth, and that Tartuk the clan Shaman had been attempting to find ways to abate his anger through…blood offerings.
The cavern areas that the Sootscale called home were much bigger than the current number of Kobolds would indicate. There had apparently been a lot of blood offerings. Finally the group passed by the commons area where upon a makeshift throne sat Sootscale himself the chief and leader of the clan, adorned with sharpened bone daggers and various tribal tattoos and bone decorations. In a voice much deeper than a normal kobolds, Sootscale addressed the scaleless tall ones and learned of their involvement with the Mites and the rescue of Mikmek and the idol.
Valerie and Tarvis earnestly discussed the desire for a peace treaty with the Sootscale clan and hoped that by returning the statue it would be accepted as the first step to an alliance. Sootscale nodded in agreement, declaring that if their desires were true then an earnest reward would be given for the scaleless ones service to the clan. (Not to mention that a letter at the Mite lair indicated a ‘shiny human ring’ was being held by the Kobolds which the group hoped to trade for by returning the statue.)
Sootscale analyzed the statue carefully, and then raised it above him with both hands for all the kobolds to see…and then smashed it upon the ground! “The curse is broken!” shouted Sootscale. “Death to the Usurper!” drawing his bonecarved daggers Sootscale charged from the room further into the caves…a challenge had been made and if Sootscale didn’t win it would be civil war.
Well that seemed fine by our group of heroes, no time to try and back anyone else! The group even handed out the stack of small sized spears they had confiscated from the Mite lair to the other Kobolds following after their leader.
Following shortly after Sootscale they came upon the shouting match occurring in the room of the “Shaman”. It was decorated terribly. Fake arcane symbols were drawn on patches of hide and placed all over the room. A cauldron was bubbling with some sort of red liquid. And there was Tartuk the purple kobold defending his actions from Sootscales accusations with the other Kobolds standing back waiting to see the outcome.
The party intervened on the side of Sootscale with Korin going so far as to march right on up to Tartuk and start poking him in the chest (it was also noted that Korin is the only one in the party that cannot speak Draconic so he was analyzing things from body language alone) with his greataxe resting against his shoulder.
“That explains it!” declared Tartuk “The idol was soiled by the touch of the scaleless ones! Old Sharptooth’s rage cannot be contained now!” and a human-sized bipedal Kobold with fearsome wings and glowing red eyes appeared next to Korin ready to deliver an angry deity smackdown.
Battle was joined! Sootscale looked for ways to flank with members of the party and even Mikmek (still garbed in his Grabbles outfit) made jabs with the longspear leant to him by the party. Old Sharptooth and Tartuk shared a glowing arcane symbol on their heads that Alanea immediately recognized marked him as a Summoner – a rare type of arcane spellcaster that formed a spiritual bond with an otherworldly entity that became shaped by the desires of the creator.
Old Sharptooth was no deity at all, it was a created outsider by this fake shaman! But man it really hurt when it started biting and clawing! Korin was the primary target of the Eidolon’s rage but the Dwarf Barbarian gave as good as he got, calling upon his new barbarian powers (re-flavored from the Beast Totem as claws made out of stone and metal) and carving pieces out of Old Sharptooth.
Tartuk had meanwhile made himself invisible, but thanks to Tarvis’ quick thinking of pouring over the contents of the cauldron onto the floor it was easy to discover where Tartuk was standing despite his invisibility! (I love quick thinking on the part of my players). With his space narrowed down Valerie managed a lucky blow with her rapier that spread his blood amongst the putrid red water from the cauldron. A combination of taking blows for his eidolon via their Life Link and a final strike from Tarvis who channeled a Shocking Grasp through his staff proved too much for the fake Shaman (initially Tartuk survived the blow from Tarvis, but Alanea’s player offered up the “Cause and Effect” Plot Twist Card! Settling on the idea that the water Tartuk was standing in caused the Shocking Grasp to deal extra damage which killed him)
With Tartuk killed and his Eidolon dispersed, the party will have to deal with the aftermath of the situation…next time on Kingmaker!
Quotes of the Session:
Tarvis: “We’re still in the hole!? I thought it was just a nightmare…” after waking up at the bottom of the crevice.
Korin: Sootscale! (shouting in a non-draconic language, being the only one in the party who doesn’t speak it)
Tarvis: You accented the wrong syllable. You don’t wanna know what you were saying.
XP Gained for the Session
9040 divided by 5 = 1808 XP each