Kingmaker in Eberron

Chapter 10 - The Empty Bottle

“Well, what are you waiting for?” Shouted one of the bandits. Everyone had followed Korin and Tarvis inside at their declaration that Korin could touch the captured owlbear on the nose before it could take his hand off. Korin paused. Dovan egged him on.

“I was just trying to get a closer look, to see if it reminded me of your mom.” Replied the surly dwarf.

“I never really knew my mother actually.” Countered the S&M fan/bandit. Before Korin could try to draw the sicko into a battle of fisticuffs however, Dovan pressed a hidden switch that suddenly released the bars keeping the owlbear in its cage. Apparently insulting the lieutenant bandit was unacceptable to the sadist! The battle was on!

The owlbear quickly latched onto Korin though it only managed to lay into him once, but it did begin to lovingly almost creepily grapple him. (Korin’s player warned he might play the Plot Twist Card – Lust which prompted a particular song to play…)

Akiros Ismort stood off to one side to watch how this scene would unfold. A gesture of humility and minor punishment might appease Dovan but that didn’t seem like the style of these newcomers that had already professed their desire to kill the Stag Lord. But he would wait for them to make the first move.

Dovan stepped forward and tried to throw a dagger into Korin’s side but after it harmlessly bounced off his armor…hmm…this might actually get dangerous. Korin wrestled with the Owlbear while calling on the bandits to help him defeat this monster before it gets loose! Unfortunately the combination of the creature being liked by the Stag Lord, and that it seemed the owlbear most likely killed bandits at some point in the past…help seemed unlikely…but that was the signal Akiros was waiting for.

“That’s enough Dovan! Is this what you want!? Killing more of our men due to your sadistic whims? It’s madness! Well fine…you wanna get crazy? LETS GET CRAZY!” drawing his longsword the normally calm Akiros gained a crazy look in his eyes as he began stabbing the hell out of the owlbear. That declaration was the match that started the fire! The remaining bandits quickly took sides with the young boy “Silent” and Topper Red drawing their shortswords on the side of Akiros while Jex the Snitch and Ayles Megeros were determined to help Dovan kill the outsiders.

What followed was a brawl that lasted the rest of the session!

‘Kressle’ managed a sucker punch on Dovan with her metallic arm though it revealed that she was in fact not kressle at all. Ayles and Dovan tried to bring down the ‘witch’ that laid the curse on their bandits despite Valerie’s protests and honest lamentation about Ayles’ brother dying of the plague…she’s a strange girl that one…

Auchs the warforged guard of Dovan turned to Alanea who had moved next to him. “Auchs, kill the outsiders!” yelled Dovan, and a large club was suddenly bonking the poor librarian on the head. (Alanea’s player countered the heavy blow – of which she would unlikely survive a second one – with the Plot Twist Card – Warm Fuzzy) Alanea remembered that Auchs apparently loved collecting little toys, and so she offered one to the warforged while declaring she didn’t wish any harm on Dovan or Auchs and in fact wanted to be friends. Enraptured by the kind offering the warforged nodded and accepted the toy, placing it carefully in an empty compartment in his breastplate. “Auchs, you should help stop the owlbear, it might hurt Dovan!” Alanea was quickly discovering a talent at manipulation as the warforged lumbered over to the magical abomination and clocked it over the head, crushing its skull.

Sidney, despite being hammered, began drawing multiple scrolls and using infusions to help turn the tide of battle. Dovan attempted to flee elsewhere in the fortress to take a moment to recover and perform some hit and run tactics…(but all that was for naught thanks to Tarvis’ player using the Plot Twist Card – Unseen Obstacle to make all terrain difficult terrain for 1 round) only to run into a misplaced rake around the corner of the fortress that halted him in his tracks.

Dovan fell victim to a heat metal on his own armor (which proceeded to roast his corpse after being brought down later) while Ayles was clubbed by Tarvis’ quarterstaff. Akiros and Auchs traded blows for a while before Auchs wandered outside to find out where Dovan went (and discovering his corpse)

After multiple rounds of harrowing battle including going out of their way to save the lives of some of the friendly bandits they had encountered (including the young boy “Silent” who had already had his tongue cut out by Dovan and was run through by the same sadist this fight) the noise finally brought out the inebriated Stag Lord who, upon seeing Akiros and the dead bodies of the other bandits shot an arrow through the soldier’s chest before turning and leaping out the nearby window to get a better idea of what the hell was going on in his own fortress.

Akiros luckily managed to stabilize thanks to Valerie’s player using the Plot Twist Card – Cliffhanger though he was down for the count for the rest of the fight.

The Stag Lord dodged and weaved through the constant strikes of Korin, Tarvis, Valerie and even Auchs after Alanea convinced the warforged that Dovan was killed by the bandit leader. But nothing seemed to land a solid blow (aside from magic missiles) but slowly eventually the bandit lord was being beaten down. Finally deciding a strategic retreat was necessary the Stag Lord swiftly climbed over the palisade to take cover outside the fortress and recover some strength. That was short lived unfortunately as Korin burst through thick wooden logs of the palisade wall that was not nearly as reinforced as they seemed (this was accomplished through the Plot Twist Card – Path Least Traveled)

The final downfall of the Stag Lord came from a clever bit of inebriated thinking from Sidney, who used a scroll of Warp Wood to transform the bandit’s prized bow into a simple club. With the hunter’s skills greatly reduced it became an all-or-nothing desperate struggle as the bandit decided to stop running and beat his foes to death with his club. Alas the crazed look of hatred on the Stag Lords face was ended by Valerie’s rapier and Tarvis’ magic missile.

With the party sorely beaten but victorious…they decided to secure themselves in the fortress with their other captives and rest for the night before heading down to the basement to take care of this ‘slimy person’ in the basement. Removing the Stag Lord’s famous helmet revealed a face deeply scarred and deformed. Similar scars and old wounds marked the entirety of the dead bandit’s body…who was this man truly? And how did he become…this?

A quick look at the Stag Lords room by Alanea and his personal affects gave hint to some greater history that perhaps the group will never know…a small collection of leather hoods littered the room alongside a group of precious looking jewels that Alanea recognized as being set in a pattern to gain the attention of some kind of Fae just like the kinds they had been leaving out for their own pranksters Tyg-Titter-Tut and Perlivash.

Whether through manipulation or genuine empathy Alanea convinced Auchs to let them strip and bury the corpse of Dovan while Korin offered to let the warforged choose a different kind of life – to which Auchs could only respond with a blank stare. (Sidney’s player then added the Plot Twist Card – Quick Wits to the mix to help Auchs inadvertently as the genius inventor recognized a large dent in the skull of the warforged…it might be fixable given some time to work on it…)

The creepy thing in the basement and the founding of a nation…next time on Kingmaker Book Two – Rivers Run Red!

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