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Archon's Curse [Pathfinder Kingmaker]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Imperator Pax, Oct 19, 2021.

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  1. Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Archon Malison
    The Curse of the Lantern King
    A Pathfinder Kingmaker Story
    Prologue
    The Church of Our Lady of Valor, Brevoy, Avistan
    4th month of the year 4710AR


    Exiting to desktop, and heading to bed in the middle of a growing storm, and then waking up somewhere else entirely. An inability to say his own name, and face that wasn't his. A body that wasn't his own... and one he wasn't even sure was entirely human. In Another world. The world of Galorian, and in the land called Astivan... this was 'Pathfinder' at least so far as he knew it... which wasn't to say much. The truth was he had barely given Pathfinder tabletop the time of day.

    It wasn't the first time he had had that thought. At least it wasn't Faerun, he mused his consciousness expanding such that he recognized the weight of the pistol on his hip.

    A weapon that he had not indulged the use of. It worked... but he only had so much ammunition for it... that he had it at all had only engendered more confusion to his arrival in this world. It had been a long time since he had gone to bed, sleeping in a plate carrier, never mind the full battle rattle he had woken up on the stream a year ago.

    A year and a day, his mind amended... and that prep suggested one thing, but the presence of other weapons suggested others. The load out suggested some degree of thought had gone into it. He had no memory of having the time to assemble the equipment. He only remembered rain sheeting off eaves, and the sound of a thunderous storm building in the sky above.

    There was a quick wrap at the door to his small second story chamber overlooking the courtyard, “Brother Eire, news of interest.” The young voice of a novice called from beyond the wooden portal. He stood up and moved to the door, and opened it. The human novice was average in basically all respects, only Isaac's tunic, and the badge of the church of the lady of valor distinguished the brown haired youth. Eire's willowy form all but towered over him. Brown eyes met silver ones, eyes that seemed to be pools of quicksilver.

    “News?” He asked, a crime to investigate perhaps.

    “From Restov, one of the sword lords there wants to organize an expedition into the stolen lands. Their messenger alights in the hall.” He meant the communal hall where the church of the lady of valor gathered to have their meals. Iomedae was the sun goddess, and her faithful had given him shelter, and a place to live despite not being a member of their faith. He still wasn't, truthfully out of time and space he had no idea why he could cast divine magic but Avistan was a dangerous continent. A land of wilderness, and filled with a varied multitude of threats ranging from common bandits to the ambitions of great houses... from kobolds to dragons.

    He followed the young initiate careful to keep his steps from overtaking the younger man. Isaac was not the only red chasuble clad teenage boy fretting too and fro going to fetch residents, and guests to hear the news from messenger...

    He was certainly dressed the part of a Restov dandy. Not an Aldori personally but one of their hangers on. He had the look though of one who at least aspired to swear the sword oath and the demeanor of a young man who had fought plenty of duels for honor, or pride. The dandy had little dueling scars on his cheeks to show for that, which could have easily been healed with magic... the noble had chosen to keep them. He too was about average human height being perhaps just more than five six. Despite he and the novice being shorter than many of the taller broad shouldered men around them they still stood tall as the presiding priest of Iomedae, Ser Adino stood at the high table. He was a proud tall man much closer to Eire's height, and much broader, he had bronze skin, and dark chin strap beard. The badge of his office a finely crafted long sword. The long sword was the most common weapon in the hall.

    “Brothers, harken hear our guests words. Sir Viginn.”

    The young noble nodded, and thankfully did not bless the assembled in the name of Abadar or any other deity from the step just below the great stained glass window which displayed the Inheritor as a plate clad woman with black hair cut short wielding a long sword. Eire shook his head and listened to the Rostlander speak of his mistress's search for heroes and that any bold enough should come to her mansion in Restov.

    It was clear that this... Jamandi, and her lackey thought the church would have an abundance predisposed to bring civilization to the barbarous frontier that was the expanse of the Stolen Lands. If the Aldori swordlord had been banking on such, she had been correct, many clamored at the prospect of going to the swordlord's invitation to come to her manner.

    There was of course a small problem, one only to be broached after Ser Viginn had departed along the river road. “This swordlord's entreatment smells of political maneuvering.” Adino remarked steeping his hands in front of him from where he sat behind the table. “I will not forbade any who feel the calling to go forth, and of course wish you the blessing of the light of the sword on your path, but keep mindful of such machinations as lurk in the hearts of men.”

    Iomedae's concern of course entailed rulership, and she was a young goddess. Her faithful in Rostland and throughout Brevoy could use the foothold to expand the faith's influence. That was the prospect many of the adventurer's proclaimed as an advantage to going to answer Jamandi's request.

    “I too will take my leave, then.”

    “Your talents have been of great service to the faith Brother,” Adino replied nodding, “This past year has been made easier with your aid. I am grateful for that,” and then with slightly less solemn formality, “you are the closest thing we have to an inquisitor, and certainly a skilled investigator.”

    They broke bread, and all ate dinner in the hall that night, with nearly half of the resident's hall going to pack for the journey to the Free City of Restov. Eire washed his hands in the basin, grateful for Iomedae's insistence on cleanliness as a tenant and stared down at the face in the ever clean water in the enchanted basin. The quicksilver eyes and the face they were set in were framed by hair the red of autumn leaves. He dried his hands, and turned away from the ripples distorting the image in the bowl, and to his small bed and to his worldly possessions. Both those he had accrued in a year of living as apart of the Church, and those he had woken in this world with.

    It had not escaped that the firearms he might have understood, but that he had awoken with no electronics. No cell phone... no computer. Not that, he recognized, the batteries would have lasted all that long here. All the same it seemed unlike him to have not brought anything electronic at all. The lack of a camera could have been explained away... but the lack of a flashlight? That would have been supremely unlike him. Still the batteries in his streamlight wouldn't have lasted all that long, but it still even a year later struck him as strange.

    Most of the food he had packed had since been eaten, not all of it, but most. He had to eat the junk food, the cookies would have gone stale otherwise the chocolate would have melted, and so on. Not that Brevoy didn't have surprisingly diverse and varied foodstuffs for a largely medieval world. Iomedae's church provided fish for friday's... rather Fireday... meals, and the church garden, which was communal that he helped tend provided seasonal fruits and vegetables. A wide range from asparagus and strawberries, to potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and cabbage, and more. The church grounds had an apiary, and an apple orchard as well. It was not quite self sufficient in food production but Our Lady of Valor was not utterly dependent on trade either. He had spent the last year eating quite well really.

    Perhaps he would return though, but Jamandi's request though had caught his attention.


    Commentary: Minor revisions, but to go over, this is partially inspired by both replaying Kingmaker, but also Bear Ribs ' Drow CYOA, and this would have stayed in the Misc thread for a couple more updates but like the story based on Cimbri's battletech Isekai this has kind of started to get a bit long. Indeed like both of those stories, this is also accumulating something of a playlist of sons...

    One thing I should make clear. That comment up at the top at the start of the prologue, I am not nearly as familiar with pathfinder as I am with most mainline DnD settings. So this story is going hand in hand with reading through source books. So If I get something wrong lore wise, let me know, I may not necessarily change it, but I will read up on it.

    So directly from the misc thread:

    Regarding that, Pathfinder Kingmaker works of First Edition Pathfinder, Eire, like Arjun (the protag for my story based off of the Drow CYOA) is working off gestalt rules (for 3.5, I have no idea if Pathfinder has or utilizes those rules). We'll get more in-depth in terms of that, and exactly how closely I'll be sticking to Pathfinder PnP rules... down the road, since most likely as with the Drow CYOA and 3.5 some gameplay segregation will occur. The matter of firearms will take something of an inspiration from Star Ocean 2 in this respect as guns actually work in Galorian, and in particular there are classes for that but the principle limitation is rather realistically the matter of ammo in medieval setting. I.E. bullets used up with out a way to replenish them are going to quickly be used up... and we won't be going to Numeria anytime soon.

    AR Days of the week... brace yourselves... moonday toilday wealday oathday fireday starday sunday. Don't get me wrong linguistically pretty much all indo european languages + going back to like ancient babylon have a bunch of days that mean fundamentally the same damn thing or are equivalents. Though honestly I'd have toilday be thursday and oathday be tuesday but its fine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
  2. ProfessorP.Hardraad

    ProfessorP.Hardraad Thread Necromancer

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    Interesting. Will you be saying screw Paizo and romancing Amiri? Or will you be following the story the game made?
     
    CelestialJade and Lotor like this.
  3. Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    While I don't really get why Amiri wasn't an option, I mean yes she's a canonical iconic hero but doesnt really justify it for me. I don't think she'll be a romance option here. In part because I haven't gone down that rabbit yet, but I'm probably going to hedge no.

    [Spoiler Pax is a basic bitch I really like the tiefling twins, I'm not going to say that that happens, because its not written yet, but it also probably won't.]

    So to answer the second question particularly as it relates to the above... this is an isekai.

    THe protag's last thing action before coming to Golarion was beating the game and killing the laughing lie, and is now basically at the beginning of the game this will thus largely follow the game's story line. I don't have the AP (I can borrow it from a friend and probably will to read up) but as it sits right now the canonical events to an extent will continue well at least through Act 1, Act 2 will in particular start to change in particular, and that will effect things. But I have basically not touched the Romance planning for this right now, though Amiri will be sticking around
     
  4. Lordotic32

    Lordotic32 Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Pathfinder 2e has gestalt rules, but I think you should be fine applying 3.5e gestalt rules to the Pathfinder 1e ruleset.
     
  5. Threadmarks: The First Step Part 1
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    The First Step
    Part 1
    The Free City of Restov
    River Kingdoms, Avistan


    Jamandi Aldori's Mansion was every bit as opulent as he expected. Though mansion was probably... technically the wrong word. It was a fortified manor estate. Jamandi was an influential figure, the half elf had summoned them here to hold court of her political machinations of those lands to the south.

    Mansion or manor though it didn't matter it was opulently furnished with stoked hearths and great tables of carefully hewn foreign hardwoods, and rugs from distant lands. The whole affair was designed to impress visitors with the splendor and wealth of a sword lord.

    ... and she seemed intent on making everyone soak it up. That or there was some screw up in the kitchen. The gathering had promised food, which was a relatively sure way of getting adventurers to show up and at least hear you out in Brevoy. He supposed there were other possibilities, but at the same time adventurers weren't known to be a patient lot, and the crowd gathered in the hall were beginning to do more than fidget, and some more than others. Even in a room full of adventurers Eire recognized he stood out. Most were human, and most were dressed in the costumes common to those of Brevoy, but it wasn't as if he were the only oddity among the crowd. There were non native, to Brevoy, human adventurers. There were half elves, dwarves, and a fewer number of half orcs. It was the diversity so much that both made him almost want to laugh, or just be uncomfortable... because he had expected this. Particularly the boisterous outburst of impatience from the northern barbarian woman with the giant's bastard sword. "Where are they? This is taking forever!" Amiri complained, and any smiling Eire might have engaged in was stilled as a the annoying Gnome sorcerer spoke up.

    Tartuccio looked ridiculous, and he was a Pitaxian spy... and also that he'd be reincarnated into Tartuk.... and Eire would have been lying at least in relation to the idea of having a kingdom with Trolls and Kobolds didn't at some level appeal to him... though maybe less so facing the issue of having to live in the world. That was a collection was a collection of details that would have been... hard to explain to anyone else.

    Linzi spoke up to shush them as the half elf sword lord approached.


    Jamandi Aldori by comparison to trappings of wealth on the walls and floor was as she made her way to before the high table was dressed in imminently practical fashions of a Brevoy noble of the martial classes. That wasn't to say she was under dressed but that she had not draped herself in the fineries of the lord mayor of Restov. Ioseph Sellemius was a bald man in a burgundy doublet that probably cost equal to that of a good horse. The rest of his attire was equally fine. The human mayor had likely risen to his rank for brains rather than brawn since he wore no sword, and lacked the patchwork dueling scares one often saw on the dueling prone nobility of the kingdom.

    ... and maybe he wasn't brains behind this but he was almost certainly involved. Because this was an attempt to win independence from the Surotov overlordship after the disappearance of the Royal House of the kingdom roughly a decade earlier. Not that Jamandi was going to just come out and say that this early, instead simply welcoming them to her mansion. "... now to the point, south of here just beyond Brevoy's border lies a region known as the stolen lands. This is disputed territory, and while its long been claimed by nearby states, its never been truly taken." The sword lord paused in her prepared speech, and then sweepingly declared that she wouldn't bore the assembled 'heroes' of the legal technicalities, but that suffice to say if someone, anyone could seize the lands would be able to take for themselves the title of Baron. Naturally of course such a figure would be recognized by Restov first.

    The only obstacle in the way of such a would be ruler would be the matter of the bandits brought together under the 'Stag Lord' of course. He would need to be taken care of.

    Naturally, once that was all done surely it would be easy. It wouldn't be, but he doubted the half elf sword lord knew anything about the greater metaphysical plot... and it she likely wanted fait accompli to any barony that did develop from the Stolen Lands. He found though that he really had nothing to say to ask about questions. No one else seemed prepared to pose any questions to the quest set before, how much of that was a matter of 'Kill bandit become noble' seeming too good to be true, or a dream come true was up in the air. Jamandi dissolved the conversation by inviting them to speak among each other, and take advantage of the food promised to those gathered who had come to heed her summons.

    Eire shifted his weight. That was the uncomfortable thing really, not that he was the only adventurer in the hall still carrying most of his personal belongings. He had allowed the groom at the estate's entrance to take his horse and tack for the animal to the manor's stable, but he and several others had chosen to retain their equipment. Lady Jamandi didn't seem to have taken offense. As he turned he felt a sharp almost child like tug at his sleeve, and looked down. The truth was since awakening in Avistan he had found it some what difficult to mentally separate Gnomes and Halflings... he really shouldn't have but it was something of a quirk in dealing with the two small folk. Not a problem he had with dwarves, but just a problem of living here a year now

    "Hi," The halflings voice squeaked, "My name's Linzi! I'm a bard, though this my first real adventure. So, shall we go teach this Stag Lord a lesson?"

    He felt a flash of phantom pain, and stopped himself from speaking of the great feats that surely awaited them. It wouldn't do to jinx it even as he spied the magic ring she wore, and Shelyn's divine magic present within it. "I am called Eire, I am pleased to meet you." He enunciated.

    She beamed in response, "Likewise, actually also wanted to ask you something..." Tartuccio, even with such limited exposure to the gnome the sorcerer had already rubbed the bard the wrong way with his arrogance. Linzi endorsement that he should be team leader spoke of fate shaping what lay ahead... but at the very least he supposed anyone would have been better than the Pitaxian spy.

    Word for word he answered with the game's line, because it was natural, "I'm not hero, just a mercenary." And it occurred to him that while that might well be true it would not just be the Pitaxian schemes, or the Suratovan schemes or the schemes of those who wanted an independent Rostland... even setting aside the games plot... how likely was it that the year he had spent in service to the Church of Iomedae might well be taken as indication of political affiliation?

    Those ruminations were lost on the exited halfing. To busy, was she rushing to explain the problems of books, and stories of heroes being written years after events had occurred. Which was a fair enough complaint, though one that was somewhat problematic at the same time... he wondered how much 'freedom of the press' existed in Golarion. The halfling elected to retire early to write, and left the hall her plate nearly comically clean of all but a few breadcrumbs.

    He looked around the great hall. He had no interest in listening to Tartuccio talk, and Linzi had already said that Harrim in typical groteus devotee fashion was predicting impending doom. One of the tiefling twins lurked in the corner, there Jaethal, and Amiri of course... Valerie seemed to have been missing... or had she even been in the hall during the game in the first place, and Garess had just mentioned double the guards as a precaution.

    Eire wondered frankly if that had happened in canon, had it? If so, then... well there wasn't much to do here, but to wait and see if the attack came in the night.

    --
    The rooms that Jamandi had furnished for her guests were not quite as extravagant as the trappings of the hall, but were still spacious and well furnished dominated by the four poster bed in the center of the room. More so than what he had been used to this past year, but nothing that compared to modern conveniences of the earth he had left behind. The truth was he didn't look forward to the day eventually when his otherworld possessions finally wore out.

    Boots, socks, underwear, baselayer, undershirt, shirts, gloves... and that was just the clothing... and technically the jacket, but even as he ran a contemplative hand over the digital camouflage pattern of the bag he reiterated to himself some would last longer than others. The wool socks were holding up surprisingly well... socks like them had gotten through Afghanistan well enough. The boots too. It had been stupid to pack morale shirts and only that he wasn't wearing them very often was why they were still in good condition. Maybe there was a mend spell for underwear.

    With something of resigned sigh he sorted through the rucksack. He had accumulated a share full of local goods, and items... no bag of holding. He had heard that they existed, but they were expensive, and he'd yet to even see one in person. He put aside a flask had at one point held eighteen year single malt, but now held mead. No drinking tonight, if an attack game he needed to be ready. If an attack did come he was going to leave most of his possessions here... but what he was digging out was the question.

    He pushed the pins down into the receiver mating upper and lower together and pulled the protective padding from its low power optic. Would he use it tonight? He thought of the orcs that had died. Guns weren't unknown to this world, but he was pretty sure there was only black powder... besides out right magic guns. He didn't have a lot of ammo left... and besides those orcs most of the work he had done in the church's service this past year had been in urban environs. In places where fighting hadn't really been the primary calling. For almost the whole of the last year the rifle had remained in his accommodations at the church.

    Eire frowned and placed the weapon carefully on the camouflage poncho liner he had stretched out over the provided bed. No. He couldn't be sure of what was going to happen tonight, and while it might be risky it would probably be best to conserve what rifle ammo he had left. After all he had magic now, but even that thought was somewhat moderated by the recognition that over time his plate carrier, and its armor would have to eventually be replaced by more local protections. Magical or otherwise. As it had been at least in the hall full of adventurers they had only been wearing chainmail at most. That had been true of much of his experience large amounts of metal armor were uncommon it seemed, maybe it was an expense thing, maybe it was the encumbrance. Eire suspected it was also probably a money thing.

    He doubted this was going to be like the game where he could kill massive hordes of bandits and just loot them of apparently decent quality armor... yet not then deposit that armor in an armory for the baronial guard... or later kingdom. Eire turned as the candle lighting the room flickered... it was a simple beeswax candle not really any different than the one used at the Church, but the fixture was a more ornate bronze lamp housing. Glass was expensive, and well Jamandi probably didn't want her guests accidentally starting a fire. It flickered again, which it shouldn't be doing.

    Eire was used to his image in the mirror now. It had been strange, but most people just nodded along when he said he was human... he wasn't sure what he was. He'd played the campaign through always as human, so the new body had been strange. The quicksilver eyes in the mirror were beginning to bleed into a red that was like, reminded him of a lava lamp.

    He didn't have time to ruminate on it. It was gone in a moment and ... the attack had begun. Linzi came screeching through the door.
    --
    Commentary: and this is a two parter and borrows heavily from the first half hour of the game or however long it takes to murder all the attacking goons. Lot of goons. I can't imagine how long running that in tabletop would take. That would be a whole session, which is fine.

    Anyway, red eyes take warning, etc etc we will pick up with Linzi's dialogue regarding oh everything on fire and we're under attack...
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2021
  6. Threadmarks: The First Step Part 2
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    The First Step
    Part 2
    The scared halfling had rushed through the doorway wrenching it open hard enough that it banged into the wall with an authoritative clang, "Help, help." She cried clutching her crossbow, her face stained with sweat and streaked with soot. Before he could ask... not that he really needed to, she panting-ly continued, "The mansion is under attack. We need to help." Villains had broken into the manor and begun attacking everyone, and of course the heroic thing to do was to assist Jamandi's guards in repelling this malicious breach of the peace.

    A scream tore through the corridors reverberating off fancy marble floors of this wing of the manor as she finished her account of what was going on. To interrupt anything further a villain appeared in the doorway sprinting into the room, "You're not going anywhere!" He declared in what was presumably the young man's most authoritative or menacing tone... menacing he had probably been going for menacing.

    Linzi must have thought so as she scampered to one side, which took her neatly out of the line of fire, literally, as the man drew his dagger from his belt. Eire raised a long arm and splayed out slender digits and fire boiled from his finger tips. The rogue howled as his menacing advance cut short his hands rushing to clutch at his burning face as skin melted. Eire's other hand had pulled his long sword from his belt stepped forward and swung an unpitying strike that dropped the mortally wounded killer into a bloody heap, his throat and neck opened in an almost six inch gash.

    The reprieve was short lived as from the still open door came the sounds of more fighting, more death. He stepped over the still warm corpse, as Linzi sprinted through the door rushing to join the wider fight... which was of course the need to 'save' Tartuccio. He paid no mind to the bravado of the two at the end of the hall, and charged. He never really questioned the supernatural speed, or the ability to cast haste on himself as what he assumed was an SLA or whatever the equivalent was called in Pathfinder, but it might as well have been a free action to move the sixty feet and strike with the flaming long sword in his right hand. The other would be assassin crumpled forward gripping the bolt of a crossbow that had punched into his chest, and from the sound he was making must have have punctured his lung.

    Tartuccio clambered hastily to his feet snatching up a wand and finishing the downed assassin with a magic missile that put the man out of his misery, "Ah well excellent timing I dread to think what might have happened if you had been any later in coming along. Ugh," Eire paid no attention to the prima donna's gnome's carrying on about how great a loss his death would have been. No doubt the second assassin had been dispatched just in case his might have talked... or maybe he was just being paranoid.

    He decided not to question how Tartuccio knew that Lady Jamandi was holding the line in the banquet hall... that was oddly specific information. Even so he accepted the ring the gnome offered him, but pocketed into one of the pouches of his plate carrier once Tartuccio turned away still carrying on now loud enough that Linzi could actually hear his self centered basically a monologue.

    They took a right through an open archway without bothering to try the door in front of them. Another trio of assassins were grunting from the other side apparently working to barricade the door for whatever reason and Tartuccio wasted no time firing his crossbow at the nearest one, and Linzi followed suit. The two in the far back actually produced short bows and attempted to string them with arrows... despite how fast Linzi and Tartuccio could both apparently reload their crossbows.

    The third of their number despite only having a knife decided to just rush forward heedless of arrows flying and well that worked out as well s it had for his other friends with knives, Eire mused as he didn't let the man get close. Had all the success of these hired knifemen been the surprise, but Garess has said he was posting extra guards. It shouldn't have... he stopped overthinking it. Tartuccio was a Pitaxian spy... maybe he wasn't the only one, but it didn't matter. "We need to check the bodies, look for healing potions." There was no sense in taking anything else... much as they might need the gold later on, now wasn't the time, and they couldn't afford the weight of carrying off anything more than that.

    Tartuccio bristled somewhat at not being the one giving the orders, but with some grumbling admitted that it was sensible. Linzi was a little more squeamish about picking over the bodies but rifled through their pockets. Tartuccio went ahead and pocketed the gold, "What they're not going to need it anymore." Linzi objected to it not being heroic...

    "Tartuccio isn't wrong, but," There was a crash, a shout... and he could guess, "That must be Amiri."

    "Barbarians." Tartuccio agreed as they walked past the dead adventurers and assassins in the hallway towards yet another corridor. Jamandi Aldori's estate was immense and its sprawling nature made navigating it a pain the ass, especially when trying to get anywhere quickly. Amiri had already hacked down one, was one on her second and Eire nearly considered simply letting the raging barb work her way through there was no way he could see a ranged attack making to an enemy without risking hitting Amiri, and so he charged forward again as he did against those that had been 'threatening' the gnome sorcerer earlier.

    Amiri wasn't impressed, and dismissed any talk of strategy or togetherness rushing off to the next battle. Linzi approved at least at her initiative.
    --
    He glanced around at the burned forms of those caught by surprise as their armors had begun to heat up, cooking in their armor in the middle of a battle against Jamandi's guards. It had raised no questions, whether people had considered it or not he didn't know, but they had not asked. The only deity of Galorian he could think of that met the criteria was Sarenrae or however but he lacked the proficiency with the scimitar he enjoyed with the longsword. It seemed unlikely he had been granted access to both fire and sun domains from her without that proficiency.

    Iomedae might have been goddess of the sun but she was not goddess of fire... at least not in doctrine, and there wasn't exactly much of an overlap between the two domains. Not as much as one might have thought. Tartuccio's antics had continued much s he had expected them, and the party had been divided... Valerie would be going with Tartuccio, and Jaethal as well. He had to admit he was a little disappointed that the Inquisitor would be going with Tartuccio, but hopefully this would be like the game... it certainly seemed like... hopefully he'd be able to convince her to come along at the Tomb.

    He looked at his gathered belonging. The attack had included... annoyingly an attack on the stables, where the assassins had killed all of the horses apparently. The noise had drawn off some of the guards who had been ambushed from behind... or so they had been told. He did not fancy a long march south without draft animals. A replacement horse wouldn't have been especially expensive the problem was getting one quickly enough... they didn't have time because... well the Aldori house hold had to replace all of their own horses.

    If were being honest given the incompetence and chauvinism on display from Jamandi in spite of that incompetence he wasn't surprised by the lack of support. The woman really wasn't doing much to inspire loyalty to a potential ally... ugh he wasn't sure he fully understood the geopolitics of the situation. "Well," They had no choice but to set out, and it was probably for the best that they hadn't wasted any time trying to loot any of the attackers. "As Jamandi set we will set out immediately." Much as the loss of a horse annoyed him... he grit his teeth, but the irritation departed at Linzi's exuberance as she worked her book out of the leather pouch at her hip to try and brainstorm ideas on how to describe the adventure so far.

    Then it was Amiri's turn to huff and groan. Still that left her, Linzi, and Harrim the perpetually complaining dwarf to depart the somewhat worse off than when they had arrived 'mansion' of the half elf sword lord for the Stolen Lands.
    --
    Commentary: As someone pointed out to me Clerics get mending as a cantrip... orison whatever.. so thats one less logistical problem. I mean I think that exists in 3.5 but I don't believe I've used it as a cleric, which should say something. So yeah just to reiterate while I am pretty familiar with Faerun as a setting and 3.5, not all knowing, and I know very little about Galorian and Pathfinder though I am reading the books, when I can borrow them.


    As it happens I have some of the Pathfinder books from a humble bundle apparently a couple years ago... but I think I only used like the maps from them. May have to read those even though I don't think they're set in Galorian.

    In any event I didn't want to just rehash the Aldori Mansion, that bugs the use of mansion instead of manor especially in a medieval context, opening so I chose not to do so more than necessary. We will go to Oleg's next and through adding Jaethal through the party.

    As I said the current party is Amiri,Harrim, and Linzi

    We will get Jaethal, and then rescue Valerie from the goblin stockade under Scyamore as we mediate the dispute between Kobolds and the mites, and collecting the other party members along the way. The Sycamore is important not just so I can make Rimiru / that time I got reincarnated as a slime, and maybe for that matter some overlord jokes but for other reasons.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2021
  7. Threadmarks: Road to Glory Part 1
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Road to Glory
    Part 1
    The Stolen Lands (South of Brevy)
    15th Gozran 4710

    It was mid morning by the time they had finally reached Oleg's trading post... just in time for a collection of the Stag Lord's bandits to declare they were here to collect the Stag Lord's weekly taxes. Never mind that 'weekly taxes' was a frankly ludicrous notion for a frontier trade post or really probably any pre modern country store in Eire's approximation.

    Oleg's trading post was ... more a motte and bailey that he didn't understand how it had been allowed to exist without someone deciding to actually use it as such. The pallisade wall might not have been the same robust defense as a high stone curtain wall, but it was the basic level of a castle defense throughout history. Oleg had a basic castle for all intents and purposes built. IT was in many aspects something Eire considered another absurdity. If he managed to make it to baron this place was going to be fortified and expanded, and have guards stationed here.

    "Oi!" The bandit in the middle.

    "Oh, I'm sorry are you insects still here?" He glanced for where Kressle had recalled from, "It seems your friend is the only on with any brains." Eire stretched to his full height tall enough that he could look down his nose at the half orc, the green skinned warrior puffed and then stupidly allowed himself to be grabbed flexing as if expecting some strength challenge. Fire boiled from Eire's hands as he clamped down on the warrior who started to buck and struggle. "I am an inquisitor of Iomedae," Well maybe not really, but close enough, apparently for church work... given he still had the badge of office. A glorified lapel pin of a sword that he was admittedly wearing. "and I will have no bandits in these lands." He threw the charred corpse forward into his fellows freeing his hands, "To arms!" He bellowed and drew his long sword.

    Amiri didn't need telling twice lifting the monstrous sword and charged into the fray with a shout of "For GORRUM!"

    "The end is nigh!" Harrim added gripping his flail and wading forward.

    "Wait for me!" Linzi shouted raising her crossbow and adding a twang to the noise from her weapon. A second crossbow joined them from behind as Oleg backpedalled to shoot one of the two remaining bandits in his literal behind. IT didn't kill him but it proved a suitable distraction for a charging Amiri to finish closing. The dwarf cleric skidded to a halt half a step from the nearly bisected human, and complained about his foe already being dead.

    Eire stepped forward and swung at the last bandit's unarmored head. The man was even less equipped than the Pitaxian thugs who had attacked Jamandi's 'mansion' with only little more than a leather jerkin for protection of his chest, and only a dagger for his weapon. The broad sharply tapered blade, what oakshott would have categorized as a XX, swung and cleaved opening the man's skull from the occipital bone to the bridge of his nose.

    With that, just as quickly as the fighting had started it was over... the raw simple brutality of battle on the medieval field coupled with one side having magic, and one not. Kressle had been smart to flee when she had. After Oleg had introduced his wife he explained the lack of a gate on the palisade walls, which at least went some distance to explaining his situation. He had not actually constructed this it had been a border fort that had been left abandoned. "I've ah never met a cleric of Iomedae before," Oleg remarked extending his hand to shake. "Not from around here are you?"

    He wasn't sure if that was a comment to his appearance, "I am not," He wasn't really sure when The Church had begun building churches, but he also knew that Iomedae was a relatively young goddess and the most common faith seemed to be that of Abadar with whom Oleg was probably more familiar with. Abadar was patron god of merchants and such.

    That was not the reason he was reluctant to permit Oleg a place in the battle line, or his idea of alchemist's fire. "Thank you, no. I will look around, but the best option will be for you to remain up there in the second storey window." He had half a mind to stick Linzi up there as well... hell if he hadn't been so miserly about the prospect of ammo that might well have been the best place for him. "Allow us to unload our gear there, and we will prepare for the attack unburdened."

    After he hopefully stole Jaethal back from Tartuccio they could come back here and fix the damned gate before they sortied out again. Amiri grunted looking around as he returned from the upstairs where he had basically dumped his backs. "These bandits sure are taking their sweet time, ha and they call themselves raiders, what a bunch of worthless layabouts.

    "They would only be treading to their doom." Harrim opined.

    "Linzi,"

    "Yes?"

    "There is a raised platform to the right of the gate," He gestured to his left, his back to the gate now, "I want you up there and firing down onto the bandit." Linzi likely prepared to protest this use of her crossbow, because she was a bard, and she did have magic but slowly nodded after she climbed up to see the view it afforded , or would afford her of the action.

    A view that was somewhat likely diminished as the rain moved in a few hours later. He had been hoping he had actually been misremembering when they had arrived that morning about the rain, but apparently the front just hadn't moved in by the time they had arrived.
    --
    All the same though these bandits were as poorly equipped as the first lot, though they had come with more bodies. Oleg looked at the bodies, having come out to check the damage once all was clear, "Something for tomorrow now though you should go and rest." The broad shouldered man, and the wiry form of the herbalist Bokken began the labor of dragging the dead bodies to one side of the wall while Amiri and Harrim both took flagons of the local brew. Eire shook his head, and decline a flagon trudging up to the second story.

    Not that he was truly tired... the truth was he didn't get post combat shakes or fatigue anymore, a perk he supposed of the new body. He didn't feel tired, but he knew he needed to sleep, there was a double edged sword to not feeling it if when he did start feeling it it would catch him by surprise. The one time fort's second level had clearly been intended as a fortified barracks with enough space for the common soldiers of the garrison. He doubted though that the four post beds had been standard Oleg had likely replaced the cots or whatever with the beds to serve as an inn for his trading post... not that Oleg was charging them for staying.

    Eire moved to sit on the edge of the farthest bed where he'd deposited his belongings before preparing for the fight. He wasn't surprised that there were no 'goodies' in the chest... or was he? He wasn't sure... He was pretty sure he'd have been surprised if special edition goodies had been there... but they weren't. So that was a difference from the game at least, but one he should have expected... he just wanted to fall back into a deep dreamless sleep... but could feel the fog at the edge of his mind as he laid back on the feather bed.

    A feeling unlike any he had asleep or awake in his time here in Galorian passed through him. The heavy fog outside loomed at the walls of the fort from the window... a nymph's voice called. Eire felt his limbs creak as he moved. Something was wrong... it was being in two places at once and threatening to come apart at the seams. Whatever this was it only seemed to effect him, and him alone. Amiri, Harrim, and Linzi all remained fast asleep, unheeding of the Nymph or the fog in the distance.

    His mouth was dry, and he swallowed, and decided as his senses slowly sharpened that he would play along, "Who are you?" A question that bore a true statement, but not the truth, in response. The nymph dubbed herself the guardian of the bloom, and one with a common foe.

    The Stag Lord.
    --
    Commentary: Officially in the Stolen Lands. November notifications. Ghost who Walks will probably be transitioning to a every other weekend update. Sunday will be a battletech update with Elidere opening on the ground. There will be other battletech stories like being posted this month probably going to try and start painting some of hte loot from wave 2 merch finally arriving. There are a couple of other things I will be posting. Emberverse and Weber's out of the dark will probably start alternating weeks they update on, again right now November's update schedule is still being finalized. The previously established pattern of updates though will continue through Sunday. This will pick up with Part 2 on Monday, with Part 3 on the following Sunday.

    Apparently It goes something like this Galorian (Planet) Avistan (continent) Broken Lands, I think thats best described as the 'over' region, then River Kingdoms and Stolen Lands for where we are now. The region on the map make the River Kingdoms look pretty big. I think they're the largest area of the Broken Lands region. The Kingmaker video game doesn't really give you a good reference point for comparison compared to PnP. Anyway, I'll e attempting to keep track of the date, and location, and this will be a little more week to week day to day than BattleTech is.
     
  8. Threadmarks: The Road to Glory Part 2
    Imperator Pax

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    The Road to Glory
    Part 2
    The Stolen Lands, Northern River Kingdoms
    15th Gozran 4710

    He had only begun to feel better and less haggard after the fog and Nyrissa had departed. He had never felt that way in the course of being here before, and he didn't like it. Nyrissa though had made no comment to his appearance. She had made all the same entreatments he had expected her to make of the PC regardless of whatever was going on.

    He doubted she'd been telling the truth about the fog... he wasn't sure if the game had ever said definitively one way or another if that was true. If somehow the ritual the stag lord had carried out had that kind of power. Nyrissa was supposedly powerful enough that she was potentially able to be counted among the ranks of the Endless... the Eldest rather... the most powerful of the Fey of the First World.

    "You alright?" Amiri's approach was something he had missed entirely. He shifted, and her body posture changed. "I saw some of the elders of my tribe with that look sometimes after battles. I didn't think you were that old."

    "I'm old enough." He replied straightening, "I'll be fine." he almost expected her to press the issue of his age, but the barbarian grunted and dropped the matter before the others could come to investigate. "There is ancient tomb," He remarked, "We're going to go find it." He outlined to the others as he spread out a map... a probably artistic license map, or otherwise inaccurate out of date map of the stolen lands, "Tartuccio should be there." No one questioned how he knew this, and he decided not to mention the Thorn ford at all... not yet. They'd go there when they had Jaethal along... hopefully.

    It was what April... or the equivalent of it now, so they had until mid July if the three months Jamandi had given them as a deadline held true. What would happen in three months? He had no idea, but given Pitaxia was already involved vis a vis Tartuccio well they needed to set out. Eire glanced at the map, and then around to his companions. Now that he thought about it there was another reason right there to go recruit Jaethal... she had some actual experience in government affairs, but that would be down the road.

    He had seen Anoriel getting drunk... or at least drinking already this morning in the inn... and mercenaries weren't a bad idea. They needed some kind of protection in place for Oleg's trading post, on top of getting the gates fixed. A thought occurred to him... the absurdity of Jamandi's plan. Adventurers as barons of a new fledgling kingdom... it was a gamble given how unsuitable the party was, parties were, to administering... but he supposed they'd have to give it a shot once they got there.

    They'd have to deal with the Stag Lord before all of that. Of course in order to do that they were going to have to clear away the fog. One thing at a time though. Once they found the Tomb they'd see about the bandit camp on Thorn River, and then maybe go see about the Kobolds and the other inhabitants of Old Sycamore. The game had never allowed players to create a tempest like kingdom of course, though you could have a kobold district, and presumably recruit the trolls of Trobold after that had been destroyed to add another mote of ash to the chalice... which was good enough he supposed... but again getting ahead of themselves.

    Amiri's impatient declaration of getting on with it spurred him to go ahead and set out. "I didn't realize you were from Galt Linzi," Eire remarked as they made their way down the river road, which was a stupid name since they were in 'River Kingdoms, and thus all the roads not given proper local names invariably seemed to have been called river roads after the Sellen river and its tributaries. Her attendance, and subsequent dismissal, from, "Didn't you attend Pitax's," Grandiosely titled for an institution that only been in operation for a handful years, "Academy of the Grand arts?"

    "I did but I was taught letters, and how to read," Amiri scoffed about needing to read, "By a priest who travelled through the village my family is from." Still that made Linzi a valuable font of knowledge about the river kingdoms in general as subject was one he found he was eager to ask about, and Amiri was listening in as well as Linzi tried her best to make her 'book learning' sound interesting.

    It was interesting enough that Harrim was on the one who pointed the shift in the landscape that gave away the mound. Though it had probably been built by 'medium' creatures the tomb had been built for the ancient cyclop's empire of Koloran. More telling than the remains of ruins that predated the legendary 'Starfall' that had been the doom of many of Galorian's ancient empires were the tell tale indication of recent foot traffic in the area, and if one listened the echoing complaints of a certain obnoxious gnome sorcerer.

    Tartuccio.

    They descended the stair case while largely being able to make out the sorcerer's complaining even from the entrance of the mound. At the end of the hallway... or effective end as a cave in at some point in the distant past had collapsed barring any further travel in that direction. The collapse of that passage made the only option a leftwards ninety degree passage. The Gnome standing on an empty sarcophagus. It had long ago been looted, and being twenty feet long and on a pedestal gave the gnome plenty of space to pace as he complained.

    Valerie objected to the lost as the work of slaves, but Tartuccio had already finished his pacing, and caught sight of them entering the aclove, "You fools." He cursed again and gesticulated aggressively for his guards to draw their weapons. "You see-"

    Eire ignored whatever the gnome was going to say, "Jaethal would not it be a better use of your talents as an inquisitor, of your prowess to join my cause?" He asked, electing to ignore the tower shield fighter entirely.

    "I see my magnificent rival will stop at nothing, even stealing the servants of his enemy. Let us see if your fools are even more useless than mine!" Leaving aside the promotion to magnificent rival, his following challenge of Draw your Swords! was somewhat diminished by Tartuccio ordering them, "And cover my retreat!" The gnome finished hopping off the massive sarcophagi and sprinting for the left hallway of the complex... and presumably another exit. Valerie followed suit after him leaving them to face the mercenaries... no doubt supplied with Pitax's coins, but he had to wonder really when the sorcerer had found the time ...or he had hired them before Jamandi's meeting and no one had noticed.

    It didn't matter, they were dead men. He bid Amiri to the far corner to help Jaethal, not that he actually said it like that. The kellish barbarian charged forward. Harrim was directed to the right most corner to introduce that fellow to the business end of a flail... and for the mage in the corner. Eire skipped and skidded across the ancient floor longsword igniting into a haze of flame as he charged the diminutive mercenary mage before he could bring the crossbow up, and to bare.

    That still left one, but Linzi hopefully could keep him suppressed long enough for the far most corner to be cleared.
    --
    Jaethal joining them really underscored the religious affiliation of most the party's backgrounds... even Linzi had been educated by a priest... probably not really all that strange. Of course the same would have been true with Valerie changing sides as she was a former paladin trainee or whatever. Admittedly on reflection Valerie would have likely been a better option to have someone garrison Oleg's trading post if the Stag Lord decided to do something about their 'treason'. He didn't have the gold for normal mercenaries never mind for paying anoriel to recruit pathfinder hires. He just didn't have that kind of gold. Unlike the goons who had attacked the Aldori Mansion though these ones, and the bandits back at Olegs were stripped of their goods and dumped into a simple mass grave outside the ancient tomb. Unlike those bandits at Oleg the mercenaries in Tartuccio's employ had actually been relatively well provisioned. Hell even the Kobolds they had found following Tartuccio's tracks had been better equipped if only just barely than the bandits who'd come to hassle Oleg.

    "I'm going to go ahead and outline something of a basic matter. Tartuccio is a Pitaxian spy... well lackey is probably a better word of Irovetti who has somehow caught word of Jamandi's ambitions." The Stolen Lands was the Brevoy name of the northern east western stretch of the River Kingdoms that the descendants of ancient Rostland claiming included beyond the Narlmarches all the way to Pitax proper. That was without even touching on the on the issue of Minvon. "Obviously he has funds from pitax enough to hire mercenaries," Probably limited funds, but enough for at least a headache, "And now he's masquerading as a Kobold Shaman... that complicates the issue with the Stag Lord and his bandits." And Oleg's trading post still being a vulnerability. "Linzi you wanted a groundside view of a campaign. This is realpolitik." He wondered if that word existed in Galorian's lexicon before now, "We're going to have to secure troops and make agreements, the Stag Lords forces need to be depleted." They needed to kill or turn some of his lieutenants, "We cannot get bogged down fighting all the Kobolds or whatever else are in the Stolen Lands. This is a matter of practicality."

    --
    Commentary: Amiri's canonical (?) I think build for level 7 was found here http://www.pathfindercommunity.net/...i---iconic-barbarian/amiri-iconic-barbarian-7. I've paged through the River Kingdoms codex... whatever its called, as well. As I said this is loosely based off of my Drow CYOA's 'organizational schema', I'm taking ideas and similar from that story, and the protagonist Eire here, and Arjun are both gestalt characters as I've mentioned though both have other factors as PCs that will come into play but in particular I'm not working off the party being at level one.

    Tartuccio, or rather Tartuk if you recruit him after his resurection is a level twenty, which Tartuccio obviously isn't but that is worth considering... and if not for paging through the source book for the river kingdoms in General I'd have probably used Amiri's build for her Iconic Barb @ lvl 12 rather than seven as the example. We'll touch on later how much levels are an abstraction, but suffice to say Linzi is the lowest level character in the party. Favor of Shellyn aside. [For comparison Iorvetti, like most of the leaders in the Stolen Lands is only level 9., Atalia Gitaren (the Headmistress of the Academy is 4/2 bard ranger]
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
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  9. Extras: The Drow CYOA [Partial inspiration for this fic]
    Imperator Pax

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    The Drow CYOA: (Original)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The current version of the CYOA is not abundantly different though it does have some revisions. The link here can be referenced for comparison's sake. Obviously as it relates to this, the pathfinder Kingmaker fic, things don't necessarily translate one to one. While Drow to exist in Golarion they are almost totally unknown outside of the elves themselves as I understand it. Obviously Eire isn't a Drow, and frankly even if this version has only limitted inspiration from the CYOA it still has some, which will become more apparent than just the gestalt class and great stats later on.

    Also I think this is a good CYOA and that it should be shared.

    So as I've mentioned previously this is partially inspired by Bear Ribs, and I'll expand upon that some. If you have read out of the Dark (Drow CYOA Story) you're probably already aware that Arjun is a gestalt multiclass character, paragon, undead friend among other boons. Indeed Eire in the original version in many respects had most of Arjun's advantages, swapping color vision for Draconic Ally, and excellent kit for having gear brought from earth.

    Obviously in this version he doesn't yet have a dragon egg hence why this is spoilered.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
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  10. Threadmarks: The Road to Glory Part 3
    Imperator Pax

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    The Road to Glory
    Part 3
    For the time being their area was going to confine itself for the most part to an area that would have the Thorn River as its western boundary. At least for the most part, the river would serve as a rough guide as to how far west they were going to... at least for now.

    The problem was that while it was easy enough to remember the basics of the early campaign in terms of what to do... and it shouldn't have been an issue to kill the Stag Lord in even just a month if talking about just killing him... but how much trouble would that leave unaddressed, Eire had to wonder as they wandered down the river banks. They would eventually have to cross the River to reach the Temple of the Elk, as well as for that matter dealing with the Technic League.... liberating the slaves would probably be a good thing to do sooner though.. but before or after they made contact with the feuding kingdoms beneath Old Scyamore was the question.

    The party slowed to a halt. The bandit camp wasn't nearly as expansive as the Stag Lord's fort, but was still something that would be worth repurposing given where it sat near an easy crossing of the river. First thing though was to take it from the bandits though. That meant Svetlana's sister, Akiros was no where to be seen but that tracked with the game play version of his usual... they had followed after Tartuccio after all.

    The party slowly spread out, but then the fog returned roiling in on the edges. It was entirely the wrong time... well it was very late in the morning for fog but it was the fog itself that uncentered him... or whatever magic animated it. It would be later that he'd even consider if the Stag Lord even understood the Fog, because it was self evident that his lackeys didn't.

    Was the fog getting worse then? He had to wonder, the Stag Lord had been using it to shield his fortress... but Nyrissa... 'the guardian of the bloom' .... serious about it effecting her powers or her well being or was that just her playing the damsel in distress card. On the other hand she could have been telling the truth wasn't the Stolen Lands... maybe the whole River Kingdoms prone to interacting with the first world... the Fey Realms or whatever... was the fog making that worse somehow?

    ... something they could try and research after they had a barony or a kingdom. He heard one of Kressle's goons start demanding answers from someone... the wizened voice of a tired old priest answered. Something something powers you couldn't understand, something something Erastil. By that point though heedless of the fog Jaethal and Amiri had both slipped up the simple set of stands built up along the trees and dealt with the bandit sentry who had turned inward to the argument in camp.

    A cold wind blew through the camp and rustled the leaves in an eerie twist more like fall than spring as one of the bandits cuffed Jhod Kavken for his moralizing. By by that point though had slipped from the shadow of tree, and into the glade... and to be frank in another world this would have been where the rifles would have scythed down the bandits from the tree shadows... but he wasn't here to kill all of them if he could avoid it. Svetlana's sister Kressel... or whatever her real name was... didn't seem comfortable with the fog, was distracted by her men's squabbling.

    Someone squawked about the Erlking but Kressel herself never saw the attack coming, and was at heap at his feet unconscious before she could resist the choke from behind. Men scrambled to their feet and to place hands and weapons even as Linzi began to pick at an eerie tunw from the platform above. "Hold," If needed he was fully prepared to catch everyone in front of him with metal armor under the heat metal spell but that wouldn't deal with all of them. When the bandits paused he decided to hold off drawing his sword. "I give to you three options. Your leader's sister, Kressel's sister has begged for her sister's life." There were some nods at this, a few looked unsteady at the pronouncement and one even chewed his lip. The cleric remained silent. "I will in the coming days take the one who has declared himself Stag Lord, Nugragh's son spends much of his time in his cups these days does he not? Is that wine there not meant to sate his thirst?" He asked. More nods, more uneasy looks between the men waiting for the other shoe to drop. "His death need not be tied to your own. So offers three, I make before I return Kressel to her sister." Keep playing the Fey monster that just came out of the glen, now. He extended his thumb, "You may choose to die in the stag lord's service." He raised a long finger, "You may quit you banditry and accept a pardon to serve a role in the barony that will be." A second finger, "Or you may take the river road and depart the narlmarches and seek your fortunes beyond my realm."

    "We can... we can just go?"

    "You'll let us leave?"

    Different voices spoke up at the same time, but he nodded as if it didn't matter.

    A third man shifted, "What about Kressel?"

    "What about her?" One bandit responded. They looked prepared to argue about that now that they were convinced he wasn't about to sprout wings and hew them all down. Of course if they turned to attack they would be focused on him, and presumably unknowing of Jaethal and Amiri... Linzi's bardic magic probably hadn't even really registered as someone's doing.

    Half the bandits decided departing for parts unknown was the best option. The one who had first asked about Kressel wavered, with another archer after the others had fled for the road to Brevoy... or at least in the direction there of.

    --
    "Irenna," Svetlana's half sister looked less comfortable at dealing with the fussing. The trio of bandits were more uncomfortable with the prospect of Oleg, or perhaps Jaethal and Amiri. Linzi had somewhat spoiled any chance of being taken seriously by working hard at being a chronicler by brain storming out loud all the ways to record things as they had happened at thorn ford. The cleric of Erastil wasn't exactly imposing, and he and Harrim were both standing between Oleg and Bokken within the trading force.

    Kressel returned Svetlanna's wedding ring, and turned to them. "What now?"

    Eire raised an eyebrow, and Jaethal looked down imperiously at the dual axe wielding bandit. The inquisitor's hand resting comfortably on the haft of her scythe. "Now?" He exhaled in 'ah', gestured sweeping a hand at the bandits. "You may take responsibility for these ones." Eire replied. "You may together stay as apart of my domain, or you may depart the land."

    "What about fighting the Stag Lord?"

    Svetlanna began to protest her sister's question. Kressel, that was to say Irenna, and her would be commitatus, had talked on the road about the Stag Lord' alcoholism, and his general ... let down in terms of leadership. "If you remain here, you will obey my commands. And you will remain protecting the trading post until the stag lord is dead." He doubted the hellebore he had dosed the wine with while the others weren't looking would be enough to induce cardiac arrest it would likely sicken the stag lord. If not, well, they weren't going to go head on, "There is work around this old fort that needs doing, and I think it best you repair that gate."

    He wasn't actually sure that Kressel was actually directly responsible for the broken gate, but it was something for her to do. It was something of a gamble. He knew that letting her stay here... if she did choose to stay here might attract more unwanted attention, but they needed the manpower... even if most likely their next venture was to be going to the temple of the Elk to get Tristan who be parking his butt her at Oleg's to garrison it as well. There were technic league duo as well, they needed to be liberated from slavery and that would greatly expand how safe he felt Oleg's would be... and that would let him delve into Old Sycamore in peace... and hopefully make peace between Mites and Kobolds.

    He almost expected Kressel to argue the point... or for Jhod to speak up and want to talk about the Temple of the Elk that he had been sent on a mission to find. Kressel instead of arguing the point glanced at her men, "What happens after you're baron then?"

    "Then we begin the process of rebuilding." He doubted Kressel was really interested in his proposed reforms and what not... though calling them reforms might be a stretch given the general lawlessness of the area. "Realistically the barony will need taxes. Land will need to be cleared, animals purchased, farms made secure, that means bringing an end to banditry. Those who wish to make amends and accept the new order will be permitted and encouraged to do so, those who do not will be granted the opportunity to depart. Those who do not depart, may in some cases be granted exile as a penalty, but barring that."

    Jaethal touched her scythe for emphasis, and talked about her time in Kyonin without any prompting at all.
    --
    Commentary: Vis a Vis Spacebattles discussion on Kingmaker more generally supposedly the Stolen Lands (and I keep wanting to put Storm lands here) is the size of roughly speaking Portugal this is something of news to me as thats a larger than I was expecting, I'm not sure how large that would make Pitax and Mivon given that they should be together roughly the same geographical size as the Stolen Lands if not actually larger. As I said this is larger than I was expecting and actually makes my existing issue with overland travel worse, even really right now we're talking just the narlmarches, and specifically the northern narlmarches.

    Hence draft animals are absolutely going to be required, and why I've said this in story, and frankly IRL this is generally what happens with my usual play group where animals are a big part of getting from place to place (or vehicles in more modern settings). There is also for that matter not just the river freedoms as well, but also the fact that the whole River Kingdoms not just the Stolen Lands are apparently closer to the first world due to maybe elf shenanigans? We might get to that eventually, we might similarly get to the point of addressing the fact that the present time on Golarion corresponds with Earth going through the first world war. [Though I would have to actually double check the official pathfinder timeline to see if ww1 has actually started on Earth yet.]
     
  11. ProfessorP.Hardraad

    ProfessorP.Hardraad Thread Necromancer

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    " 'Say what you will, I live free', doesn't mean you won't get your teeth knocked in for saying it."
    I just started up a new play through. I'm going as a Muse-touched Aasimar Celestial blood Sorcerer. It's an interesting experience thus far.
     
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  12. Threadmarks: Expedition over the Thorn River Part 1
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Expedition over the Thorn River
    Part 1

    The first night with Kressel and her commitatus went peacefully, and without incident. They were given a ration of beer and bread... that admittedly Eire paid for and some further ground rules were laid down. By the time morning game around Oleg had other things on his mind since by about ten... and half way through nailing the planks of oak for one side of the new gate the news of Tuskgutter came around. He had totally forgotten about the dire boar... but it wasn't precisely a priority at the moment.

    They would need to kill the pig of course... but its lair was on the other side of the Thorn river, which was only part of the issue. No they'd need to deal with the technic league first, and for that matter the Temple of the Elk before that... but maybe before they delved into the depths of Old Scyamore.

    Eire glanced at his camping goods. He had humped in everything his departed horse had carried and then stored most of the goods at Oleg's since they had arrived in the stolen lands. Soon though they were going to have to move further and further away from Oleg's repurposed border fort... and that meant some of this was going to need to come along.

    The tent would have to stay here though. It was something of a luxury even though it could have been brought overland. They would have to make do with tarps, and parachord. They wouldn't be encamping long enough to warrant anything that couldn't be broken down the following morning certainly not this trip.

    Oleg looked at the list. "I can try at least."

    "I need draft animals oleg. If not horses then donkeys." At this point he would have been willing to take oxen, or try camels... and this really was about draft animals. He dreaded the idea of trying to put Linzi or Harrim up on a horse, and that was just riding forget taking them into battle mounted. "We're going to have to cross the ford sooner rather than later." Thus the sooner Oleg could get them a donkey or a pack horse the less they would be dependent on personal carry.

    "I'll see what I can do."

    Svetlanna at least was happy. Eire was relatively confident that Kressel ... or Elena or whatever would be able to keep her now hopefully on the road to reform bandits in line. Once the Stag Lord was dead he was already considering settling her to rebuild Nettle's crossing... but they needed to kill the Stag Lord first anything beyond that was getting ahead of themselves. They'd probably run into the slavers when they crossed the river and almost certainly before they reached the Temple of the Elk.

    He glanced at the work still being done on the gate, and looked at the other members of the party... prices for Bokken's goods were steep but Jhod's services were patently ridiculous. "Well, this shores up Oleg's, its a start in any event. We'll be crossing the river." Kressel had mentioned the hut the stag lord wanted torched... which was something they probably should take the time to investigate. "Truthfully while we need to whittle away the Stag Lords forces I'd prefer to banish most of the bandits that aren't killed out of hand."

    Jaethal nodded. "If not at our hand they'll reoffend and meet their end at those of another," Harrim agreed in his usual morose tone.

    He gestured to the map, "We're going to cross via the Ford, we're not going to north of the Thorn River, and we're going to hold off visiting Tuskgutter's lair just yet." He assured Amiri that yes that they would get to it soon. "But its still something of a journey from here to the ford, and this our first outing over the river." And among many many other things he was going to have to have done as baron was going to be new maps, and surveying of the domain, didn't that sound fun. Oleg had indicated on the map where the monstrous pig had made its lair... den? Whatever wild pigs had. "So we'll avoid moving south of there unless something presents itself." He doubted it, but maybe.
    --
    Linzi was working on yet another page of notes. She had known that most heroic epics had to have left things out, and were outright fabrications at worst, but she hadn't considered the extent of what went on during an adventurer. She couldn't wait until the barony had been established though.. or they confront that villainous Stag Lord and put an end to his reign of terror.

    She wanted to objective and report the facts, but... how to include Kressel in her book was ... aggravating her. At least Jaethal wasn't a bandit... even if the undead elven lady was scary, and uncaring. Jaethal said she was just being logical about things, of course. Harrim just kept being so mopey constantly. Doom and Gloom all the time.

    "... the second chance? No, that's not grand enough for our heroic lead," She muttered, "How about the path of redemption."

    Breaking from his monotonous droning on about the end, and how they were going to die, Harrim shook his head, "I believe our leader is a member of the Church of Iomedae not Saeranae." He stated matter of factly... then stroked his bearded chin, "Admittedly given his powers one might make that mistake how he wields both fire and sun domain."

    "Who?" Amiri grunted

    "Not surprised you haven't heard of her," Jaethal responded to the barbarian with a snort, "Iomedae has only been a major goddess for the last century. "

    Linzi scribbled hastily away, then stopped, "But Jaethal if Iomedae became a goddess by taking the star stone test a thousand years ago, why didn't you try? You said you were always looking for new experiences?" That and Jaethal was stupidly strong.

    "Besides the fact its certain death?" Harrim interrupted for the elf. "Only three people have ever taken it and passed. You might of heard the other two names though, Norgorber, Cayden Cailen?"

    She had heard of the last one, Norgorber was a god of assassins who wore a mask, Jaethal had apparently tried some of his followers when she had still been a living judge. Now that she was an inquisitor of the pallid princess though Jaethal claimed to have little idea what her goddess actually wanted her to do.

    Linzi idly chewed on the end of her quill in thought. What to write? She had to stop as their leader returned, "Svetlanna has vouched," Again went unsaid, but he had that look, "For her sister's good conduct, and she in turn has vouched for those of her men. I expect we will be gone a day or two at most three." Bread and cheese for the road were distributed by the grateful Svetlanna along with cured meats and they prepared to set out for the road heading west.
    --
    Commentary: Yes according to the AP 1 the Stolen Lands are approximately 35000 square miles of area. Of course there are apparently inconsistencies with the AP books and the general canon timeline, Irovetti comes to power in 4702, but doesn't hold the first Rushlight tournament until 4705 and its supposed to be annual which would make the fifth one 4710 which is when kingmaker opens... again not very familiar with Pathfinder so I will be winging some of the details.

    Also apparently 4710 corresponds to 1915 on Earth. Also, apparently, there is in Ultimate Magic there is a 'separatist' archetype for clerics, which lets be a little schismatic shit kidding, it allows you to take your second domain even if your deity of choice doesn't have that domain, because you are a heretic. I think there is actually a heretic priest ... I wouldn't be surprised anyway... but yeah it has penalties that I don't necessarily think should be there but its cool Pathfinder thought of that.

    ANyway this would have been sunday's update, but surprise travelling for me. Safe travels everyone.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Expedition over the Thorn River Part 2
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Expedition over the Thorn River
    Part 2
    Northern Narlmarches
    21st Gozran 4710 AR


    They had crossed the Thorn ford without incident only to hay off into another spat of thick fog that gave him a near murderous headache. Not murderous enough to threaten to feed them their own entrails, but hardly enough to tolerate their posturing either, Kalannah their leader though was unfortunately too far in the back for his usual charge forward and introduce to fire magic point blank.

    Jaethal glanced at him only a moment before he began to twist his fingers in invoking gesture and white embers snapped and hissed from his finger tips. Rain began to boil into steam at the sudden expansion of heat and mass of snarling flame exploded through the rain soaked marsh. He didn't wait for Kalanah's bluster to finish, for the explosion cut that short.

    "That was incendiary cloud." Jaethal wasn't asking a question, and he merely nodded, and turned back to where Kalannah's recall spell had pulled her from the battlefield. Jaethal hefted her scythe and advanced on the half charred form of a mage and snuffed his life. "What of these slaver vermin though, they must have a nest near by? That one couldn't have gone far." The undead inquisitor remarked.

    No more than six hundred feet a part of his mind informed him, a part of him he had grown used to. He wasn't sure how much of 3.5's esque magic truly translated to Pathfinder in terms of pen and paper... certainly some degree of abstraction seemed to occurring. Eire knew he had arrived on Golarion, awoken here with an array of powers that he was passingly familiar with their 3.5 equivalents. Indeed he was relatively certain the combination of arcane and divine casting would have been the equivalent of a high level gestalt character. Jaethal as he had come to recognize the centuries old undead inquisitor was probably the closest of his companions in level... assuming that levels were actually real rather than just an abstraction of some kind.

    If he, and her, were probably in the upper teens of levels Amiri was probably half that. Harrim was probably a couple levels behind Amiri and ... Linzi probably should have been level three four maybe. Tartuccio was probably at Amiri's level, he knew the gnome had bragged about being able to cast fifth level magic and talking about the might of his fireball. Which was third level magic? It was always possible that the gnome was lying about his ability to cast Fifth level, but he was probably at least equivalent to level six.

    The technic league goons had gone down easily. Maybe they had been close to Linzi's level? Eire shook his head, and looked around. "This rain doesn't look like its going to let up anytime soon," He remarked, "we should find somewhere to set up camp, and wait it out, we will follow after them once it clears."

    "And what then?" Jaethal asked as they started look for somewhere to pitch camp, preferably not in swamp mud. That meant moving to higher ground and further into the forest away from the probably subterranean flow of the Thorn river... or whatever...

    "How do you feel about flanking the camp and converging on them from two sides?" He asked as they marched through the rain.
    --
    There was another crack of lightning as he finished tying down the tarp. Amiri had already started, and was carefully tending a fire, and Linzi was currently drying her face with the towel he had produced from the top pouch of his erbelstock ruck.

    They were out of the rain at least. That was an immense improvement as far as he was concerned. They were in the north narlmarches to nominally look for the Temple of the Elk, but they were going to take a brief detour to kill some slavers.

    "Fire's done." Amiri grunted leaning back again the fallen tree that served basically as the back wall of the lean to shelter. The biggest hurdle had been finding a downed tree in the forest in the rain that had neighbors that he could tie off on. Now that she was done, Amiri reached over the grab for the towel. "Huh never seen a cloth like this."

    It was just cotton. It wasn't even microfiber, and he had to ask, "What do you mean? Its just cotton."

    "What's cotton?"

    "A white staple fiber that grows in Osirion, you provincial blockhead." Jaethal grumbled, which thankfully resolved his sudden concern that Golarion might not have actually had cotton. The barbarian bristled at the rejoinder. The bantering adopted a more good natured tone as the cookware was dug out.

    Harrim actually complained that it wasn't actually a flood. Eire watched a fox scurry from somewhere into the under brush, "I almost think this planar," He muttered. There was too much lighting and not enough rain, and sense magic was going haywire every time he looked at the piano black sky.

    "The plane of air?" Jaethal glanced around, "Perhaps, clearly magical, and the whole of the River Kingdoms are filled with faerie rings leading to who knows where."

    But the rain was finally breaking, and they broke camp once the storm was definitely spent heading due north of the swamp road and into a holler, leading back up into a set of hills with only partial tree cover, and exposed stone. A set of tents sat on one exposed stretech completely contemptuous of any observers. There were no obvious posted sentries, or indication that the Technic League even felt the need to do so, which made sense given how haughty Kalannah had acted with them. "Fancy looking tents." Amiri remarked even as they prepared to divide into a flanking and frontal assault group. The latter obviously the Kellid barbarian would be a part of with Jaethal, while he took Linzi, and Harrim up the embankment and around.

    Amiri's observation about the tents being fancy while succinct had been on point, and while Eire had found himself generally less inclined to loot this was going to certainly be one of those exceptions. The Kellid warrior woman bellowed her usual warcry and charged at the bald wizard before she could stand up from where she had been sitting at the mouth of her fancy tent. Eire frowned, and he was sure Jaethal was cursing the barbarian's impetuousness, "Harrim, Linzi that archer there." Then he paused, "Once Harrim has him in melee Linzi move up and see if you can free those other slaves."

    "Right." The halfling agreed, not questioning his observation as she hefted her crossbow and took aim.

    The other worlder regarded his own chosen prey's exposed back as he drew his long sword. The man was well equipped, wearing brigandine, but his attention had been pulled away from them, to the commotion, and the spell was merely icing as he caught him from behind shoring his head from his shoulders. The body dropped its severed parts, eyes and mouth glowing with an intense flare of sunlight.

    Jaethal hissed in irritation at the Gorrumite battle cry, but none the less followed the younger woman into battle dogging the human's heels as best as she was able while not exposing herself to the enemy unduly. It was clear that arrogant whelp of a wizard hadn't expected to see them, no doubt the technic league had retired to the dryness of her opulently furnished pavilion and its desk and chairs and feather bed to wait out the storm that had delayed them.

    Her scythe hungered for the criminal's blood. There was the mechanical release of a bowstring as the little chronicler fired, and Jaethal's black eyes shifted across the battlefield just in time to watch the head slip from the shoulders as sunlight wracked the dead human's body. The inquisitor of Urgoatha frowned and crossed to Amiri's other side, the barbarian had left the mages uncontested in her furious advance, and that just wouldn't do. Profane power rolled visibly from her pallid limbs as she gripped her scythe. These humans were not worth respect, but it would have been stupid to ignore them magic users left alone had a tendency to make nuisances of themselves. She felt no need to threaten them, or profess the simple inevitability of their demise as Amiri or Harrim did... nor for that matter given the halfling's sudden declaration as she sprinted forward as fast as she could to exclaim,

    "We're here to help!" To the bound prisoners or at least the half breeds by the fire.
    --
    Commentary: Started paging through the Iron Gods Adventure Path, which as a prompt idea is interesting, I've been playing Colony Ship through Steam Early Access, and I enjoyed the movie Pandorum. Whether or not that is relevant at all to this story in the long run? We will see, but at the moment I have a nagging plot bunny of wanting to go underground into a buried colony ship where the inhabitants still think they're on their way to the 'new world' when they've been there for a while type thing.

    It'll probably end up in the scrap thread if nothing else.
     
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  14. Threadmarks: Expedition over the Thorn River Part 3
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Expedition over the Thorn River
    Part 3
    Northern Narlmarches
    21st Gozran 4710 AR
    Kalannah seemed to have realized that she had dramatically overestimated herself, and gotten in over her head, and as the last of the technic league toughs fell began begging for mercy. A mercy that the half orc clearly didn't feel she deserved..

    He was probably right.

    He considered the various legal matters... and practical reasons, weighing the bald wizard's life and considering if she might pose some trouble in the future... she hadn't given any indication of his equipment... but it wasn't impossible she had taken note of it, but had written it off as a purview of a powerful wizard. He wasn't sure exactly where the Technic League drew the line at technology, but presumably it started somewhere between guns and energy weapons... and possibly even at gunpowder weapons in general but he wasn't going to ask Kalannah.

    The issue of Slavery being against the River Freedoms actually didn't enter into it.In truth the prospect of what those would mean he hadn't been quite sure, but he wasn't baron yet either.

    The half elf moved to her long time companion and lover, "Regongar... Come now let her go It's one thing to kill her in battle, but executing her unarmed... why spoil the joy of being free?"

    Octavia's intercession with the half orc was a perfect excuse... or at least as good of one as he expected to get, even if the half orc did buck at the notion. It did segue nicely into asking for details about the technic league, and that permitted him other options. "This is not Numeria." He declared, "You may depart with your life," His eyes burned red, "It would be unwise to return again. Your League is unwelcome in my lands, and this offense is not forgotten." Sparks and embers from the nearby campfires left untended during the fighting flashed rippling into snarling flames, and the sun's light sheered through the gray morning clouds bathing the hillside enough to dazzle most. "It is merely set aside." His voice had taken an almost sibilant consonant edge, more akin to draconic than Taldane, the common tongue of Avistan.

    Kalannah took the hint, and took the road to high tail it hopefully out of the stolen lands, and hopefully out of the River Kingdoms entirely... but that did as his sky slowly returned on grey did bear the question what had brought them here in the first place. Regongar shrugged and accepted the choice, "She will probably come back with another gang though."


    "Then they will die in fire." He reported with a simple even tone to the prospect.

    "Eh, let them come," Amiri agreed, as Harrim nodded, and added that, "All men must die." Linzi made vaguely affirmative noises, bobbing her head and scratching away with her quill in her manuscript. It seemed sufficient to satisfy the half orc, and elicited no protests from the half elf. That was the resolution though of the matter that brought the two half bloods into the group, and apart of the campaign that was already underway.

    He looked at the other two technic league slaves, "We will need to return to Oleg's," It would make more sense to escort Octavia, and Regongar back to Oleg's than to drag them, never mind the other two emancipated slaves, off to look for the Temple of the Elk... especially given what that was likely to entail. It would take time though, they would have to recross the Thorn River find the temple destroy the creatures there and then save Tristan... he was pretty sure Tristan would be there, "You are free now, and Oleg can tell you more about the locals and current events..."I would like to know what it is that brought the Technic League here, but that can wait until we get to Oleg's trading post." He spared a long hard look at the fancy tents, and cursed again their lack of draft animals.
    --
    The forest was quiet on the road back. The mist kept its distance as they walked. They crossed the thorn ford without issue. No sign of Tuskgutter, or even of any boggards. They trudged, and trundled the several hours overland march that returned them to the Ancient Tomb, which made the best place to encamp in terms of being halfways to where they were going.

    The Technic League, and thus by extension Regongar and Octavia, knew nothing of the Temple of the Elk, and probably didn't care about some lost temple of Erastil. They knew nothing about the stag lord, and the Technic League were the sort of conceited arcanists who would have written off a petty bandit king in the frontier lands unless there was a reason to deal with such a rascal.

    They didn't know anything about the mist other than it was some kind of magical effect, but the ancient tomb was certainly the sort of thing made by or constructed for ancient arcane magic users of the east. Its cyclopean origins again reiterated after they had prepared their camp. The technic league made no sense... it might have been one thing still supremely odd if they were talking about some kind of Ghazi warrior concept or elite slave soldiers to an established kingdom, but having wizard slaves didn't seem to fit the Technic league's organizational model... or maybe he was just missing something.

    Of course he didn't know enough about Numeria, or political strictures, but he didn't have enough information to make sense of it. "What's to understand, we should just clobber them." Amiri's simplistic response was in its own way gratifying. Perhaps though just to be contrary Jaethal disagreed, though not severe enough to start an argument.

    The undead elf sat on the bench as rigid as a statue and maintained an even, if somewhat lecturing tone as she spoke, "If the half blood is correct, and they come back then we should better understand them, better understand an enemy better way to kill them." She finished a hint of amusement, "And better understanding prevents them from causing more trouble. We don't want such criminals in the future barony, so whatever underhanded affairs they're into we should put a stop to before they can take root. Preventive pruning saves us time and effort from having to root them out after they've taken hold." Harrim interceded to condemn any presumptive planning of such business as laws until after there was a barony to make laws for. Jaethal just shrugged at this, to which Harrim pointed out that while they had encountered Kressel she was just a 'misguided girl' and the other bandit lackeys weren't the same as the Stag Lord. "We will deal with the drunk thug soon I expect." Jaethal replied a dangerous edge lacing her voice.

    "Bandits are a concern," He said regaining the conversation, "Kressel is Svetlana's sister and while I should hope that that may be enough to ensure her behavior," He glanced to the two emancipated arcanists, "The fact that no aid to Oleg's entreatments to Restov have taken place is a concern." And if they had had Valerie he likely would have encamped her to guard the old fort... and to think Jamandi presumed she still had the right to tax Oleg's trade post... that annoyed him especially... but that would be something to deal with once he was baron. Jaethal was right they were going to have to do that, and soon, "We will have to locate Jhod's temple of the Elk, and dispel whatever this fog is..."
    --
    Commentary: This is the main 'canonical' take in universe, I have a couple side stories, as I've reiterated a couple of times, this idea has gotten somewhat out of control on content generation so there are side stories that may or may not end up reflecting how things happen 'in canon' for this fic.

    Those will be going up in the extras section of my main misc thread. Of perhaps particular note will be the Brevic Campaign, the other one that will be going up 'Colony Ship' set in Numeria... or under Numeria is more compartmentalized and takes place over the course of about a month because I enjoy the video game of the same name that is currently in early access.

    Another matter is the opening of the AP, which suggests that Jamandi Aldori backed Four, not Three new puppet kingdoms. Obvious these are in the game the PC, Drelev and Varnhold, but I don't think the fourth is ever mentioned in the game. The AP does provide some useful geographical information just above that about the Stolen lands as well, however the article does reiterate four not three, and of course it seems as if from other sources that Restov wasn't the only one engaging in this sort of scheme. The Suratov monarchy had authorized an earlier expedition, that presumably failed.

    Now in the AP the four expeditions are Iron Wraiths in the west who run into the Tiger Lords, and apparently eventually make contact with Pitax, Varn in the nomen heights (here Megar is stated to be a sword lord which I assume is a lore snarl) and the slough which I assume is Drelev, though I'd have to check the later APs. [What annoys me is that in the AP Jhod after you get the Temple of the Elk cleared is he freely provides services only requiring you to supply materials for the expensive stuff]
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2021
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  15. Threadmarks: Northern Narlmarches Part 4
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Northern Narlmarches Part 4
    23rd Gozran 4710
    Oleg's trading post had originally been a fort... that obvious from even the barest understanding or recognition of architecture. It was a true fortification in a way that the bandit camp on the thorn ford was not, even if that camp was still relatively useful as a place to rest. "I mean it Oleg I need draft animals." Travelling by foot was completely impractical.

    "I know you've asked, ordinarily the coin you've given me would be enough, but Restov has none for sale. The sword lords have bought them all up it seems." Oleg protested. "I... I wouldn't normally suggest this, but Kressel had the idea you could just take some from the bandits."

    Stealing from thieves wasn't the worst idea. "Kressel?"

    "If you're willing to let me, I'll go and steal the horses myself." The axe woman remarked, "Give me the chance?" Jaethal raised a delicate eyebrow, and of course the elf was right to be skeptical it could be a chance to rejoin the stag lord, and if not her then some of her companions to switch sides.

    ... on the other hand, "Very well... anything else Oleg?"

    "Breeg Orlivanch has been gon' for a while now, people are saying he might have joined the Stag Lord." Breeg was a local trapper with something of a temper, "Man has a nasty streak a mile wide." That wasn't a good sign, if the Stag Lord was indeed starting to recruit locals, but wasn't necessarily a surprise. People with existing grudges, or looking for easy wealth would likely be the easiest for the bandits to recruit, and if not that they could always just pressgang people into their criminal activities.

    "Is there going to be an issue?" He gestured expansively to the emancipated slaves, they were all of them a little odd. He wasn't sure how Oleg would respond to the two half breed arcanists' and their behaviors, but really it wasn't just Regongar and Octavia.

    "I can't say I'm in a position to refuse. Extra hands will help, and well having the other two," Regongar and Octavia, "is reassuring, be more useful for security than that priest." Oleg didn't make an issue of it, likely on his wife's behalf, but it was clear that he was not entirely convinced of Kressel's reformation. Eire wasn't sure himself.

    They would have to see, "We're cross the river again, and see about finding this temple of Jhod's," The temple of the elk, "Beyond that however I intend to go after Tartuccio, he's stirring up trouble with the kobolds and we need to head that off before it becomes an issue." He sighed, then stopped himself from reiterating his need for draft animals again, surely Oleg had gotten the message, "Barring any other issue that will take priority, it will be at that point I hope to move against the Stag Lord."
    --
    By the 27th day of the fourth month of the year 4710 Kressel had demonstrated her horse theiving talents beyond a shadow of a doubt. Indeed, Eire hoped that she was telling the truth that they had come from the bandits, but it would be the sort of thing he would have to reward. Harrim and Linzi had even been found smaller mounts more fitting for their side, and a placid enough mount for Amiri who wasn't entirely convinced of the sensible nature of riding a horse. Only Jaethal seemed truly comfortable, or regal in bearing to ride a horse, but centuries of experience probably contributed to that.

    So they road back across the Thorn River, "Do you know much about Brevoy, specifically about its unification?"

    She regarded him a moment, "Painfully little I am afraid. Kyonin is so terribly staid and roll the affairs of mortals so far north warranted scarce mention." The inquisitor shrugged, "I know nothing first hand, and really everything I have learned," Her hands tightened on the reins, "Was after my death."

    He wondered if Jamandi's scheme was known to Jaethal. Planning to rise in revolt against the Issian who had crowned himself king. It had been more than a decade... it was strange Noleski had not wed, nor sired heirs. It hadn't escaped Eire of course the king could simply be gay... but he was an unpopular monarch and once he was baron, once the stag lord was dead Jamandi would want their support in her inevitable attempt to rise. It was such a small part in the game he couldn't really fathom what it was to do about that. .. and it was something he was going to have to deal with because it wasn't just going to be throwaway text in the game's epilogue.

    Jaethal was the only member of the party with any kind of governmental experience to call upon, but readily admitted of course that Kyonin's governance wasn't the sort of thing to imitate. She was probably right.

    --
    The Temple of the Elk had been an artifact of Taldan colonization from what he understood. Not that that meant anything to the modern River folk. The era of the Taldan Empire was barely understood in their collective consciousness... too many kingdoms rose and fell every generation or so in the River Lands to care what had happened thousands of years ago. The foul magic that clung to the desecrated temple was pervasive, but the path up to the temple was not one crowded by the mist even though it hung low crowding the ground on either side.

    The horses did not appreciate the matter. "We need to find somewhere to tie them off," There would be monsters up ahead. They dismounted and skirted the ruins looking around. And after a few minutes found a place to secure the horses and their extra gear in preparation to explore the shrouded temple of Old deadeye.

    Nyrissa's flickering appearance and weak force certainly seemed to suggest that whatever it was Nugrah had done was actually weakening the nymph... and Eire suspected, or at least that it occurred to him, "The Stag Lord's mist, well I wouldn't be surprised if he's trying to capture one of the local nymphs."

    "The fiend." Linzi declared, delighted at the ability to scribble away in her journal with this new information.

    Looking around he wondered if the original Taldan structure had not been largely constructed of wood beams set up on the surrounding stone walls. Some of those had fallen in, and while he didn't see any rotted remains it didn't make sense for what he understood of Erastil's cult to make what were obviously walls, and there were clearly the remains of hypostyle pattern pillars that likely had supported a roof at some point. He wouldn't have described this as a shrine, and temple was certainly more accurate with the fifty foot long oval pool in the middle of the clearing.

    "Pst, pst." Came from the brambles. They paused, and a cat sized fae, a grig, shook her head, joined by a tiny faerie dragon. The latter's name was Perlivash, and the Grig's name was Tyg Titter Tut... apparently they had been following Linzi's performances of music along the road since before they had crossed the Thorn river. Linzi appreciated the praise, and proceeded to immediately write the Grig's warning about the 'mean bigginses' at the temple. In this case 'mean bigginses' was the fey's way of referring to the corrupted creatures, but the grig used the same term to refer to the bandits who served the Stag Lord as well.

    The pair of small fey urged them to be careful, and waited with the horses, not that the frogs, and boars, and wolves were little more than a distraction... it was the bear like Treant that the white cowled form, that he knew to be Tristan, was struggling against that was the real threat.

    "What a beast." Harrim grunted.

    "What a beast." Amiri declared more enthusiastically hefting her sword. He would have preferred that she not charge the beast, and relieve Sarenrae's hapless priest from an apparent doom.

    "Oh no," The grig had returned, even as Amiri attacked the treant, as a creature of the first world the treant was resistant, protected against weapons not of cold iron that somewhat blunted Amiri's attack though it did draw the angered guardian of the corrupted shrine's attention. Tut tried to elucidate the warning in her own vernacular about cold iron, 'the hated metal'.

    Tristan already looked pretty battered even before he was covered in a handful of twigs, and then the ash of the destroyed treant creature as it succumbed to the onslaught of the party. He coughed slightly and dusted his white vestments off nodded, "Ah thank merciful Sarenrae, thank you strangers for your aid." He glanced at them.

    "Most of us can heal, if you're needing it." Harrim grunted eying the other priests' sorry state.

    "Oh, I am a priest of Sarenrae, thank you though."

    Harrim harrumphed and told him to suit himself. Amiri turned the conversation to Tristan's deity. "Shouldn't you be burning stuff, I thought being all sun and fire there would be a lot more burning."

    "Amiri." Linzi protested the Kellid woman's bluntness. "Can't you see poor Tristan is injured."

    Eire in the interest of getting matters back on track cleared his throat, "The beasts are destroyed I don't know if we'll need to bring Jhod here to cleanse the temple or not but their destruction should at least make the fog weaker. We should return to Oleg's and tell the druid," And of course Tristan was welcome to accompany them to that place of respite. Unfortunately that didn't stop the probing discourse or the bantering, merely delayed it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021
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  16. Threadmarks: Interlude 1 Dragon
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Interlude 1
    Dragon
    Desnus 4710
    The month of Gozran had passed before they had been ready to depart Oleg's trading post for the Old Scyamore... and Eire could only imagine what trouble Tartuccio had gotten up to in his guise as the purple kobold shaman Tartuk... but they had one more pressing problem at the moment.

    Something he definitely would have remembered from the game.

    Staring imperiously down at them was a young adult dragoness. The simple palisade around Oleg's trading post, and its general, typical Rostlandic, wooden timber beam construction would have been easy for the dragon to call and take them down.

    ... to Tristan's credit even still fatigued and probably needing rest... and being a squishy human and not a daeva he brandished his scimitar alongside the others...and was being ignored like all the others.

    Even Jaethal was being ignored. Given the age of the dragon in question he would have givenAmiri good odds on being to fight it to a stand still, and certainly with help from Linzi, Harrim, Regongar, Octavia and Tristan plus the other being able to drive off if not slay. Ignoring Jaethal did seem quite unwise.

    Apparently having experienced the process of natural childbirth the dragoness had decided against it. Why she had chosen to foist off responsibility of the egg onto him was... beyond him. That had consumed several days of work, and lead him to having to improvise a magical incubator using a combination of divine and arcane magic.

    ... never mind that Oleg wasn't all that keen on dragon egg and incubator being at his inn. He was going to deal with it for the time being though. The sudden boon had delayed them from delving into the depths of old Scyamore.

    Jaethal examined it. Then Tristan. Surprisingly the two didn't seem to have any overt issues ... or maybe they just hadn't been given enough time around each other. Jaethal certainly no qualms of indulging her acerbic wit with Amiri, and Linzi. Or maybe just for the moment the two of them were both on the same page about whether or not this was a good idea.

    Tristan paused, "Well certainly you were entrusted with the egg in good faith."

    "Its a dragon egg." Jaethal snapped, and like that the peaceful moment was over. "If we break it we'll have to fight the mother. That is an experience I can do with out."

    The former daeva frowned, but then acquiesced to the pragmatic reasoning. He might not agreed with the reasoning but the conclusion was fine. That brought them to the technical matter. In this case of referring to the craft. Jaethal could add painfully little to the subject of sun and flame... they were not the Pallid Princess's domains.

    "It radiates Lawful ordinance."

    Eire frowned, but then shrugged. That not been the observation that he had expected the daeva to make, but he had need a way to structure the domains in a constant and steady manner. "Dragon eggs are resilient like the creatures that hatch from them, I should think that with the heat the egg will be fine."


    "I think the temperature is right." Tristan agreed. Then a moment, "its warm enough at least."

    "I should hope so. Its like an oven."

    The comment from Kressel drew her sister's curious attention to the box. In perhaps somewhere like distant Absalom, the gem of the world, or deep in the heart of Katepesh it might be possible to find purposefully built magical conveniences but he suspected that the cost would certainly have exorbitant. At least the cost relative to the income of a country trader... or at least that was his estimation. The truth was the last year had stripped him really of grasp of most modern amenities... warm water was easy enough, hot water even for bathing was, for bathing. Such was the same for clean water... local clothes weren't something he looked forward to, and while not as clear as LED lighting magic lights put off comparable light and not as harsh to electric lighting. Communications were really where he was sure magical methods either lagged behind or that he had yet to be shown more comparable methods during the last thirteen months.

    Golarion was a diverse place... Avistan alone was a diverse place. He hadn't even seen half of Brevoy so who knew what all was in that country in the north, never mind in neighboring Numeria so who could really say, but the truth was that over the last year he had become inured to the lack of modern amenities.

    He regarded the dragon egg in silence. "This I concede is a complication."

    "A complication he says." Harrim shook his head then rubbed his bald pate. "If we're going to see about the kobolds, who's going to watch the egg?"

    "Tristan is."

    "I am."

    "You're recuperating." He gestured to the two half bloods, "You can assist them on their watches. Once we've dealt with Tartuccio's scheme with the kobolds we're going to see about sending Valerie back here," Since he assumed she would see sense, "And then we'll deal with the stag lord." Eire silently contemplated the rifle in pack... then glanced at Kressel. "We'll see what Akiros intends to do, but I mean to have this business with Nugreh's son resolved before Remembrance day." The major holiday of Iomedae in the month of Desna. "That's the full moon." He said for clarification, then he turned to Oleg, "Once the Stag Lord has been dispatched we will move the egg, and its incubator to his fort and you won't have to worry about it, agreed?"

    "Oh that's fine." Oleg nodded in acceptance of the plan laid out.

    It did seem like a good idea to address his discomfort to playing host to an egg that would host a probably violent fire breathing dragon. "That little wretch," Jaethal seemed intentionally refusing to use Tartuccio, "Wowed the pests," The kobolds, "What was it... a huge sparkling dragon."

    "Something about a relic." And huge for kobolds was probably just large for everyone else... but that assumed that Tartuccio had actually even seen a dragon which was doubtful. "The kobolds seemed to think the mites had the treasure, or a treasure. We will see when we get there." Truthfully if not for the damned fog and how its roiling gave him a migraine that he couldn't explain he'd have preferred to assemble the rifle in his pack and remove a substantive portion of the Stag Lord's head from a few hundred meters out... he wasn't sure he would have the shot though and he wasn't comfortable waiting either.
    --
    Commentary this is the start of roughly three chapters currently that push forward to the stag lord business. Then we get the stag lord chapter... and I'm not presently sure how I'm going to handle the 'baronation'. Ugh... I very dislike that word. I half have fear that they honestly didn't know that a baron is still given a coronation, and admittedly I might concede that a baron wears a coronet could be missed.... but even so.

    This is a direct call back to the Drow CYOA by Bear Ribs much like Eire's gestalt and other boons are. Its a good dnd CYOA, if you haven't seen it you should give it a look. Speaking of its somewhat silly that we got to this part before we got to its equivalent in out of the dark. Oh well, aforementioned Drow CYOA based story will update Thursday
     
  17. Threadmarks: The Old Scyamore
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    The Old Scyamore
    He was unsurprised at least from an academic, a detached logical, standpoint by Garess's appearance, or the news he carried or his limping back to Oleg's trading post to wait for them to bring word. Admittedly the latter might be an issue, Garess and his guardsmen weren't in the best of shape, and Garess seemed especially morose. He'd totally forgotten that that the guard would show up to confirm that Restov now knew for sure that Tartuccio was the Pitaxian agent... the vindication did not actually improve how he felt about the whole affair.

    Dead or alive. He had had half a mine to just tell the party as soon as Garess had limped off and was surely out of earshot to forget that and that Tartuccio needed to be put down. He hadn't... not just for Linzi's sake, but also because well it really wouldn't matter... the lantern king was just going to revive tartuccio anyway and that would be fine...

    ... well not fine because of course Trobold was going to likely be a mess... but they could start preparing for that as soon as the Stag Lord was dead. The meeting between the Mites and Kobolds had also gone much as he had expected it to. They had volunteered to find the truth, and had pointedly avoided mentioning anything dragon related to the Kobolds... really the only distraction aside from navigating the feuding denizens was Amiri haying off to kill the worg probably because they hadn't gone after Tuskgutter... she had been somewhat disappointed at not being permitted to keep the ugly beast's severed head.

    ... and she wasn't happy about going underground either.

    He agreed. Old Scyamore was a massive tree. Massive wasn't even sufficient to describe it Given the Taldor mine dated to the fifth army, or after it, of exploration. The tree was probably younger than two thousand years old but who knew how much younger. He had no idea how long Nyrissa's scheme had been going on but Brevoy was only two hundred or so years old. He didn't like being in the warped mine or seeing the giant roots working their way through... or the centipedes and other beasts.

    He was grateful that his solar fire burned vermin, hostile vermin, just as well as it burned hostile undead. He wasn't sure why Jaethal wasn't harmed by it, but he was glad the undead inquisitor wasn't harmed. He was glad that they had had a kobold guide, and a mite guide in the form of the hunting party that Amiri had satisfied by killing the ugly old worg... he would have despised having to fumble around in the dim light of the old mine, and the depths beneath the colossal tree... and eventually after freeing Valerie from the stockade and being lead to the door into the sanctum.

    He watched what he knew to be briar disappear through the portal, and heard Tartuccio speak. "Oh, my impromptu rival. You are late! As always. A little advice: never join any races. Speed is just not for you." It wasn't the words. He'd been feeling off even as they approached the sanctum, and entered it... and seeing Briar slip away had begun to make his eyes already start to bleed red.

    Linzi hadn't noticed, instead asking him about his assumed identity.

    "Do you mean the performance I put up for the kobolds? Wasn't this an excellent idea? The poor folks did everything I wanted, even started a brawl with their beloved neighbor mites. I did not even need to make any effort to complete my mission. That is why I will always be a step ahead of you and the like."

    He boasting seemed to only accelerate the snarling fury in his gut, and Tartuccio really didn't know when he had bitten off more than he could chew. The strange hall like sanctum in the depths of old scyamore flooded with draconic malice "Kill us?" He cracked his head to the side and then the other and flew forward in a charge that scattered, and buffeted the kobolds aside. Tartuccio's fire ball exploded harmlessly against his chest, roasting kobold's around him. His dual tone voice echoed, and Eire guffawed as the maximized spell did nothing to him, "Fire, you think to burn us? We can not be harmed by flame." The sun mantle around him wreathed his longsword from its handspan width at its point of balance to where it narrowed to the two finger wide triangular point.

    In table top terms it was a touch attack Flame strike as the column of divine fire came down.

    Jaethal was the first to move advancing and raising her scythe preparing to deal with dispatching the remaining kobolds but they had thrown aside their weapons and begun to beg. "You know this sort of thing is probably why a dragoness wants you to watch their eggs." The undead inquisitor did declare somewhat annoyed as she lowered her goddess's favored weapon. The abrupt cacophony of dragon being chanted by the kobolds made her shift irritably towards the begging reptiles.

    "And so was dispatched the vile spy and false hero Tartuccio," Linzi declared hoping up onto a long bench with her book out, "Smote by divine flame his corrupt fire could not compare..." She carried on as she walked through the mess and then collected the two 'relics', "and thus so were recovered the price possessions of the two tribes. The sacred branches that symbolized the long friendship of the two small," She stopped and stumbled over the words, "the two kingdoms of small folk under the depths of the great tree." She waved the two branches marveling at their magical aura.

    Harrim harrumphed, "Long friendship. Sure didn't take much from that wretch," He kicked Tartuccio's charred bones, "Much work, you heard that smug bastard." The cacophony of chanting still carried on even as they departed the sanctum to contend the two royals of kobolds and mites. He would have preferred not to have the chittering kobolds around him especially when Bdaah asked whether he had found the truth.

    To answer the question he took the two branches and held them up like signal flags, and comically the kobolds finally shut up, and all eyes of the small folk as Linzi had called them in her narration followed the branches, "Tartuccio," He almost started to explain about Pitax, but stopped himself. "The purple shaman, deceived you." Was the simple statement. Best to keep it simple. "He brought war to the two of you, and he been dealt with."... until the Lantern King resurrected him... but keep it simple. "And peace return." He extended the branches towards the two monarchs.

    Linzi hastily scribbled away the making of peace between the small folk delighted at her storybook ending to the war in the pocket as it were. He was glad. He needed a bath. A long hot bath. Unfortunately that was the sort of indulgence he would be denied until after they returned to Oleg's trading post.

    --
    Commentary: I'm not going to lie, I'm not super happy with this but I also knew forcing myself to write the whole Scyamore exploration of wandering under the big tree, and indeed while there was lore material there I wanted to cover regarding well it being Nyrissa's tree the Scyamore mission chain was grief inducing to try and translate to a chapter for me. I'm sure someone could do it, but I was striking out.

    With out of the dark, the drow cyoa story, Drow politics are a little easier to write, among other factors, but I hope you enjoy it, and we're going to move on rather than sit in a rut over the Scyamore.
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Evening
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Evening
    There was a palpable tension now. The business in the Old Scyamore meant nothing to either Oleg, Kressel and her men, or for that matter the second half of the party. Second party. It meant something to Garess and his limping guards but Eire wasn't much inclined to ask them. He had not planned to involve them in what was to come, but in truth... actually it was pretty good they were here. "Let me clear something with you Garess. Keep the trading post safe, and don't mess with the egg." He added. He withheld threats he felt they were unnecessary but Harrim insisted that if any harm fell to the egg that of course everyone would be doomed. DOOMED. So much doom. To mediate that, "Things will be fine, we will be back, just watch the fort."

    Kressel had described the Stag Lord's fort, and how it compared to Olegs. The comparison was a mixed bag.. Not in per se favorable terms to her brother in law's establishment either. The stag lord had attempted to refurnish the presumably Taldoran fortification since he had moved into it It was located on good ground, and had two surrounding walls and gates. Those could be bypassed she was sure but Kressel favored a direct assault.

    "No." He declared. "Even given our increased numbers, a frontal assault against the numbers you have described, even assuming that Akiros Insmort does come over will still out number us sufficiently that you will probably die in the struggle." Eire shook his head. He waved his hand at the diagram, "We will divide into teams." Levitating a shiny counter he had taken from his bag, "I will speak with Akiros if he is were you believe him to be, if he is amenable then that is that. Once it is done we will move on."

    They were going to try and bypass through the unrepaired sections of the wall to get everyone over there... though he was tempted to try and have Kressel take and hold the gate house where she could camp there.

    That still left Dovan, who creeped Kressel out, and Auchs.

    As well as the matter of the Owl bear.

    Turning Akiros would hopefully give them more manpower... but that would mean expecting more bandits to turn over new leaves ... well he supposed they would see. Turning Akiros would be good. Any sort support of disturbance would likely result in the alarm being triggered... and even bringing along Valerie, Tristan, Regongar, and Octavia.

    He reached down and picked up the four tokens he had arranged, "Regongar," The Half Orc grumbled or hmmed or made some other indeterminable noise in the back of his throat, "You're going to screen your group, with Valerie. Tristan stay in the back and provide support." Be a heal bot, in less polite terms, but as a polymorphed human he just wasn't suited especially with his class to being in the frontline, "Octavia you'll stay on the flank to provide support fire if engaged. This is general advice if the situation requires changing the tactics do so." But they were ultimately a secondary force. He, Jaethal and Amiri would if this came to a general conflict would be the brunt of the offensive action... and Harrim was supposed to insure that he and Linzi were on hand to supply a supporting force to it.

    They didn't have time for Anoriel's mercenaries... no they were going to resolve this as quickly as possible.

    With planning established... as best as could be done they turned to other matters, helped along by Svetlana distributing rations of beer to all seated in the hall. Jaethal leaned against the bannister adjoining the staircase, "Are you sure we can trust the guards?"

    "Garess."

    Jaethal shook her head, "The moping boy has a death wish, its plain as day." She shook her head, "its a wonder that he didn't volunteer to join us," Truthfully he had been a little surprised Kesten Garess hadn't volunteered, "What if he'd gone off to fight some brigands on the road and gotten themselves killed?"

    He hmmed, Valerie was fine the only thing hurt was her pride. Both at being stuck in a cage, and probably more so for being duped and having to put up with Tartuccio for the trip into the Stolen Lands in the first place. "I think we would still do best to commit to the attack all the same." Eire glanced out of the last remnants of the fog. It had been diminishing noticeably since they had entered the Old Scyamore, and now almost looked normal. It was no longer so staunchly imperviously opaque that the waxing moon's light could not penetrate to the ground. The druid who had cast the spell though, the ritual still lived. "Presumably the bandit king has realized his mist is faltering," And he would have gambled that their enemy wouldn't commit to an attack.

    He didn't consider it likely that the stag lord would commit to an attack, much less an attack sallying forth personally. That left the fog though... where had the fog come from, who's idea had that been, because Jaethal had had a point that was a bit beyond the thinking demonstrated by the bandits otherwise. The fog bothered him... he half wondered if Nyrissa had actually duped Tristan into trying to dispel the fog because it was some elaborate method to try and trap the nymph... but he didn't know... and he doubted he'd get a sober or straight answer out of the Stag Lord. Or the bastard's father, especially since he doubted the man knew that motive, if that was his motive in the first place.

    "So we attack."

    "We attack," He glanced skyward to the nearly full moon. Waxing Gibbous.

    Amiri who had heard the affirmation looked delighted. There hadn't been near enough fighting for her taste when they had plumped the depths of old Scyamore. The resolution with the technic league before the business at old dead eye's temple too had probably been too tame as well. He wondered how well she would really take the civilized life of being a part of a barony. Much of the duties of a feudal court would likely be staid fare for the warrior woman... ah well there was still a boar hunt to conduct.

    "Once we deal with the stag lord, what say that we go hunt that pig Oleg was complaining about. Tuskgutter?" the barbarian was delighted of course at the prospect.
    --
    Regongar had mixed feelings about it. Letting a member of the technic league go still struck him as a probably really bad idea. Octavia might have been right about not spoiling the victory... but after thinking about escaping for so long the prospect of having finally gotten there was proving surreal. Oleg had told them about the river freedoms the night they had arrived of course. Seemed a fair enough set of rules to him, but beyond that he'd hardly given it any though, just shrugged and gone back to his soup and bread. The dragon showing up the next day had driven all thought of laws and government out of his head entirely.

    He had never known his family, but he'd been told on more than one occasion that part of his value to the Technic league was the draconic bloodline he belonged to. Octavia probably could have expounded on at length from one of the books she had read about the different sorts and colors of dragons but neither of them had ever seen a dragon egg before.

    They, the slaver bastards, had said he had a dragon's blood.

    "Its so pretty Reg." Octavia declared, "When do you think it will hatch?"

    "Dunno." He replied.

    "Not till after we have defeated the stag lord I imagine." The halfling declared. "Eire wants a stone keep built as a precaution. Since most of us aren't fire proof." Such chewed on the back of her eagle feather quill, "Say Tristan if Saerenrae is the goddess of fire and sun how come you're not?"

    "Well," Regongar felt his attention start to close off, the pretty boy priest meant well, but he was possibly only slightly less bad than the priest of Erastil, the undead elf was some kind of priest too but seemed as likely as their leader to preach the word... which was good because Tristan seemed inclined to do enough of that for everyone by himself. It was always well... "Saerenrae is a goddess of light, but of healing and goodness."

    "So its not because he has dragon blood?" Regongar wasn't sure if he was disappointed or not, but he did feel like interrupting what was probably going to be a long rambling sermon about they should forgive those, and help them on the path of redemption or whatever.

    Numeria was not a country of much religion, and Regongar had spent most of his life under the Technic league who was rather near to atheist in character when it came to the gods, and the distaste had been mutual at least with the clerics of Erastil in that country. Not here though. Jhod didn't seem inclined to the technic league, and abhorred slavery, but he didn't specifically hate the league or their technology.

    "HMMM?" The drawn out sound turned questioning, "Don't know." Linzi replied... "actually of our grand cast of heroes I've only just begun to chronicle, but we prepare for the great battle ahead of us, portraits anyone?"
    --
    Commentary: Stupid weather. Didn't have power for like twelve hours yesterday.

    I don't know if Pathfinder actually as an equivalent to 3.5 bloodline rules, I know its a magic user special feature, sorc main class feature, and a couple archetypes from other things get it it as I understand. In the original draft of this as it is more closely tied to Bear Rib's Drow CYOA advantages Eire had 3.5's major bloodline per that CYOA
     
  19. FractiousDay

    FractiousDay Getting sticky.

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    or me!

    I did play kingmaker, I eventually got bored sometime after you get the goblin companion, so I was a decent way through, but I find it quite difficult to follow your story. It definitely feels more like a campaign report than an actual story. There’s a lot of ‘then I went here then something else happened’ and there’s a distinct lack of communication. I don’t even have a clear idea of what the characters look like.

    if you’re writing this solely for kingmaker experts, cool, but I don’t think most of the readers are so I’d encourage you to actually write rather than just relay events
     
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  20. Threadmarks: The Stag Lord's Fort
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    The Stag Lord's Fort
    12 Desna 4710

    If this had been Faerun the words might have carried to the norse gods, but this was Golarion and he doubted his Danish reached across the veil of worlds, and he had seen no evidence of the germanic pantheon despite stories of the Linnorm Kings and vikings being a facet in the northern lands of Avistan.

    He wondered if he might ever explore those lands, but turned aside to the matter at hand and surveyed the wall, and its vulnerabilities. "He should have had sentries posted." He spat with disgust.

    "Bandits not soldiers."

    "Probably drunk, or insensate."

    Among other comments. Most probably accurate.

    He especially disliked the notion that the Stag Lord might have prisoners, or hostages in his holds. He looked into the midmorning sky as it shined across the great lake to the south of the plateau. "Hold on."

    "What is it Harrim?" He asked the dwarf.

    "Thought you should know," He stuck out his arm and pointed a finger at the ruined tower, "Not Taldor, I'm sure. That isn't." He waved around, "See how the architecture shifts."

    "He's right," Jaethal agreed. "The tower is older. Iobarian I think." She shifted around her black eyes glazing slightly, "In more illustrious times the original fortress likely covered the entire plateau, or at least most of it.

    Kressel obviously wasn't an architectural expert, and really the old tower changed nothing, but he was glad all the same that Harrim had pointed it out to him. He thanked the dwarf priest, "Best get started."

    "We take the gate house and then what?"

    "Be ready to open it of course." Jaethal snapped. "Do you expect the horses, never mind the donkeys to clamber of the walls."

    Kressel nodded chastised. He nodded at Jaethal's bad cop, "You will understand this in time Kressel, the matter of tactics is something you will need to consider when you hold a manor of your own." ... and because assuming she could remain at ease with his laws he needed someone, someones, to manage military affairs. "So yes, the gate. We will deal with thinning the herd, and move from there." He eyed the western wall.

    They were in a sorry state, and it was ridiculous that they hadn't been patched, and now the Stag Lord was about to pay for his sloth. He should have fixed the walls rather than relying on his father's mist ritual. He should have had sentries posted. He should have done a lot of things, but frankly Eire suspected that the Stag Lord was drunk. Discipline was lax, but these were bandits he had to remind himself.

    It was obvious that the Stag Lord had not built this, just as Kressel had said. It was built similar in style to the buildings that he had seen in Restov. Old Taldoran style architecture. Lots of wood construction. He preferred the notion of stone... or brick he supposed. Brick would be nice.

    "You have the impossibly far away look in your eyes again." Jaethal laughed, "Thinking of some other battle are you? Best not loose sight of this one."

    He thought of the rifle in his pack, but even if the brigands didn't know what the sound they would know to raise the alarm. "Over the top lads." He replied. The phrase meant nothing of course. This was Golarion.

    --
    The palisade should have been a uniform fifteen feet. Obviously time had worn away at it. The gaps and repair work meant there were spaces that were probably wide enough for a man to squeeze through, but there were a few places in the wall where it was sunken and such that could have been clambered over. They got the party through easy enough, and once they were on the other side they moved the rest along easier with two hands helping. "See foundations of older buildings, buried." Harrim declared gesturing to the ruins of ancient civilization... there had been skeletal structures along the plateau elsewhere, but they hadn't' taken the time to look. The bandits did have a few watchtower.

    Akiros was waiting near the stables... brooding. The former Paladin of Erastil was staring out over the big lake like some byronic hero. He seemed totally engrossed in his morose musings. His men around were a little more cognizant of their surroundings.

    Eire glanced at Kressel, and then bid the others to stay back.

    Akiros must have finished mental wandering and stood up. The former paladin of Erastil glanced at them a little surprised perhaps at the size of the group. He nodded. "Kressel tells me your a reasonable man." He glanced at the party, "Not someone to cross either."

    "I consider myself a fair man, and the offer I extended to her is extended to you. You were once sworn to Erastil, and it is still possible to return there, if you so wish. It will be a long road, if you wish to walk it. Even if you never return to his service as a paladin, I still offer you the chance to be a part of bringing law to these lands."

    Akiros Insmort paused, glancing again to Kressel. "Its a pretty long list of sins to my name. He's probably drunk off his ass right now." He looked to his men, the hand full of soon to be former bandits. "I'll vouch for these men, where do you need us?"

    "Kressel is going to secure the gate, please deal with the watch towers. I am told there is an owlbear?"

    "Yeah that big paddock in the old square,"

    One of his men added, "It must be sleeping right now since we're not hearing it." Then silenced himself as eyes turned towards him.

    "can the creature calmed, rendered docile?"

    "I think can do that." Akiros replied. "I don't know if Beaky will fight the stag lord though. We've been feeding it pretty regularly."

    "Calm the beast, and lock the gate." He replied, "If the stag lord is as you say drunk I wish to deal with the remaining gallery of rogues first "

    "If you kill the stag lord and the rest will flee, rather than fight." Akiros commented,

    "Yeah, and then you'd spend time as king having to ferret out more bandits."

    He decided not to correct Kressel, because that was fundamentally correct. The stag lord likely had enough villains out in the hills as it was and even if most were here there would still be other bandits. Hidden behind or in the throng of Akiros and Kressel and their respective supporters the bandits near the base of the first, or westernmost, watchtower and the well suspected nothing. The four men were dead in moments and were dragged off behind the stable near where Akiros had been brooding moments before.

    The group on the other side of the gate faired little better. In fact Eire considered the decapitated orc, or half orc, bandit's slumped form to have been over kill. Akiros's bastard sword had taken the head clean off. Not heroic at all, but effective. "Sloppy." The former paladin snarled. It was true. There was no one in the watch tower. There was no one on lookout at the gate just men dithering about as you please. "There should be another group at the next watchtower," He commented as Kressel and friends scampered up to the gate. That group though might be equally screwing off. There were clear stone ruins, the outlines where masonry blockhouses had once been along that might have been Taldor, or perhaps even iobarian towers that had long since had most of their material torn down for reuse.

    Akiros face twisted, and Eire turned to ask him, "What?"

    "That damned snitch is over there." He gestured to a man who clearly looked up to no good.

    Jex the Snitch was a scrawny man and looming ratlike facing the eastern section of the palisade, so consumed with his scheming he didn't notice their approach. That made sense a moment later when the ground opened up from a stone passage way underneath and Jex shrieked in delight as more bandits appeared, "Ha I knew you were skimming," He laughed and pointed at the red handed thieves. "Working on the side, I'm." Jex trailed off, because while angry at him the bandits were no longer looking at the snitch.

    "Akiros. We can explain" The hideously filthy man declared. "The boss ain't feeling well, so we went to get him some more drink, See?" He held up a cask for what was labelled port. "We ain't up to nothing, just didn't want to have to fend it off from no one. Its for the boss we swear, don't we?" He turned around to his obviously guilty accomplices for support. They all nodded dumbly, and quite unconvincingly.

    "Liar." Jex spat. "Lies, lies, lies." The snitch hissed. "That's more than port you've got. Open the rest up then if its just drink then that'd be fine, but it aint." The rat like man hissed.

    The filthy man bucked around, "You callin' me a liar snitch?" Jex the snitch backpedalled, "I won't have some snitch say I'm a liar." Dirty Jeb Megesen kicked the other bandit in between his legs causing him to double over. That turned quickly into a boot party for the snitch. That stopped, "Ah, uhm Akiros."

    "We're just looking for Sneeg Jeb, you can carry on, make sure that drink gets to the stag lord," He added a little forcefully.

    Jeb nodded glancing down at the moaning snitch. "Ah, Falgrim, I ain't seen him this morning sorry. Might ask Topper, he always wants to ask Falgrim about his life."

    He was loath to put the bandits behind them, but they moved on. Jeb for his part asked no questions about the group with Akiros making no explanation. "Did you know there was a passageway there?"

    "I didn't. I wonder how long they've been using it to smuggle stuff in." Akiros shook his graying hair, "Falgrim Sneeg is a former mercenary. Varisian by birth, I think he'll switch sides, but there are a couple of others I'm not sure about. I certainly wouldn't want Dovan or his lackey auchs around." He knew little of the men beyond what Kressel had told him, and of Oleg's complaints, but they had been inconsequential in the game. Kressel should have secured the gate by now. "If you mind my asking, how will you do it?"

    He meant killing the stag lord. The thought occured to his preference to do so, "Sword,"

    "That's fair." The stag lord was apparently a decent enough swordsman, if Akiros was not, had not been in a funk over his own religious positions for so long he'd probably have objected to the Stag Lord's own quasi veneration of Erastil. Not that the bandit king was per se religious. He had adopted the magical helm that gave him his name, he was a crack archer with Erastil's favored weapon, and apparently used the longsword in close. "Kressel says your sword is magic?"

    "No," He replied.

    "No?"

    "I am a cleric. My sword," Which he did not draw, for the attention it would bring as they walked, "My magic flows through the favored weapon,"

    "Ah." Akiros nodded, "That makes sense." They made small talk as they circled the rest of the camp looking for the Varisian mercenary. "I don't know much about the church of Iomedae, what did you do?"

    "I served as an inquisitor." That stopped Akiros cold, but he mad a small shrug to reassure the former paladin, "The church in Brevoy is small, I hunted orc bandits, and investigated other crimes. The only reason there is a church in Brevoy to speak of I suspect is due to the Mendevian crusades." He had a growing suspicion that the greater faith had hoped that Brevoy's nobles might convert to the faith of Iomedae if shown she was a goddess of glory and battle, but that was beyond his concern. "There was a great deal of leeway to my work admittedly."

    Jaethal snorted, "Yes, because someone can't burn." The inquisitor of Urgoatha remarked, "I expect that most of the lesser priests were jealous, and those that weren't were too awed by your power." They had discussed it before... and in a sense she had if not the same problem then a similar one.

    One Akiros shared... "I was a paladin of Erastil... I don't know if he ever spoke to me... maybe I should have tried to find redemption in Mendev fighting for the crusades, but I ran here after making it through Numeria." He shook his head, he marvelled at the two divine casters before him.

    "Is that where you learned to rage?"

    "I stayed with a tribe called the Gars." He replied, "They taught me much about the barbarian way..." A moment passed, "I suppose I could have stayed with them." Akiros continued wistfully.
     
  21. Threadmarks: The Stag Lord's Fort Part 2
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    The Stag Lord's Fort
    Part 2

    They had secured the standalone watch towers that had been thrown up by the bandits. Akiros stepped away from Beaky's enclosure, nodded once. "he's calm."

    And just to be sure, "And I've locked it so the big boy doesn't get out." Linzi declared as she did the same.

    Then of course things took a turn. "I didn't realize we had guests." A voice remarked. "Must be why Kressel is so surly up at the gates, said I needed your permission to leave, Akiros." He was a tall tattooed man. "I need your permission?" He snorted.

    "Do you want to leave Dovan?"

    "Do I want to leave?" was the sarcastic response.

    Akiros Insmort straightened to his full height even as Dovan put his hand on his rapier. Akiros reached for his bastard sword just as the angered rogue lunged. The two clashed in a sparking display of steel, which was then made worse when a club swung from the great lummox that was Auchs hoping to help 'friend dovan'. "I've got this." Akiros grunted dodging out of the way, "Give me a minute and I'll have them both whipped."

    "Whipped?" The comment seemed to enrage Dovan further. That might have been the point as it provoked the tattooed man to charge forward. Two on one still made it something of an unfair fight, but maybe it was really more one and a half to one. Auchs was a simpleton, and Dovan was too furious now to fight smart. The grunting and snarled invectives though was noisier than anything they'd done so far.

    ... and eventually that noise attracted attention that they didn't want. So the Stag Lord staggered out of his keep.


    Bluntly, there was no getting around it, the stag lord looked like shit... though given the age of the acid burns and other effects of rough living his hung over snarling and the bloodshot eyes and out of breath might have ordinarily just been par for the course of his appearance.

    "Who in the nine hells are you?"

    "Eire."

    "IRE?" The Stag Lord hocked and spat, "I'll show you IRE!" He raised his bow but the flying charge had already started and Eire dropped from down on the platform as a general free melee started down below. At least Amiri and Regongar sounded happy about the sudden chaos erupting in the center square.

    His long sword swung wreathed in flames forcing the stag lord to backpedal as the arrow went low and off the raised walkway probably not hitting anyone.

    "Oh yes this is a proper fight." Amiri shouted, and Jaethal shook her head. The inquisitor admitted the plan had been going better than she had expected. To tell the truth she had expected the barbarian to go haying off at the first sign of resistance and get them embroiled in something like this hours ago. She swept her scythe through a man's neck sending it off, and rolling towards a stack of drying thick timbers likely meant to expand the fortifications.

    Harrim's lamentations that all men were doomed came just as he brought his heavy flail down upon a bandit who strayed too close to their little bard. They were out of position of course. No one had wanted to interfere with the two fools attacking the former paladin. It would have given up the whole charade even soon. The former paladin did however seem to have been correct about his men's loyalty when the chaos started. Unfortunately it had left a gap in their lines and spread them out when they had moved to fight with 'Dovan's men.

    She heard the pig like grunt of the half breed swinging his scimitar and shook her head. The sudden melodious tones shocked her as they echoed through the camp. Not for long ,and it wasn't as if she were the only one.

    "Pretty." The big bandit Auchs burbled for a moment.

    "Lantern Archons. The Choir of Heaven." Erastil's former paladin declared at the two sparkling forms as they fired rays of light at the bandits. The help was appreciated, she supposed, as one of the orbs surged towards her as another joined at the paladin's side.

    "Be not afraid," The archon greeted here in a melodious tone, "My brother goes now to summon the one who refers to herself as Kressel to join the host in battle. We must close ranks however. The Emperor's Peace shall end the brute born of Nugreah."

    She coughed in a gesture of acknowledgement and annoyance but she could see that the last few minutes had seen the stag lord backpedal and that must have given Eire the chance to summon the lantern archons before preparing to bring an end to this. Sheltered though Linzi could play her songs in peace, and that made things easier. The melodies, and their magic, washing over.

    "No!" The Stag Lord shouted sword clanging into a parried short edge of Eire's own blade, "NO!" He screamed angrily again trying to batter the flaming weapon and failing. There was something like mix between a pop and a snap and the haft of his sword gave in the attack Eire stepped as the Stag Lord charged and hamstrung the disarmed bandit as he passed floating light across the platform. "I cant I can't fall." The bandit went down the stairs all the same. Jaethal didn't hear the rest of the mumbling grumbling and whatever other protests the the action on the platform had attracted the attention of most of those still fighting.

    Eire advanced down the way from the platform sword at the low ready, and while she couldn't see it she feel the heat beginning to radiate and build. Divine flame licked in motes of gold white sparks and from the noise those closer made she could guess it was done.

    The inquisitor smiled darkly and scythed through a few more of the resisting bandits. Once it was done she turned. She looked to see a handful to be corralled by the barmaid's sister who had arrived with her lackeys. The tattooed fool finally recognized he'd been beat apparently in the push he and Auch's had been separated and the big man knocked unconscious by Amiri.

    Dovan had thrown aside his sword, "Wait wait I surrender." The rest of his still conscious men followed suit.

    She expected him to beg for his life, perhaps offer a ransom... or a bribe she supposed... to be allowed to go, but seeing the men must have decided to hold the option in reserve. No doubt the devious wheels in the man's head turned to conspire regarding Akiros and Kressel's change in allegiance.

    Eire moved through the throng the archons sweeping to circle and then flitter towards him, he glanced up to them.

    He sheathed the sword. "Dovan, is it?"

    "Yes. Yes, I don't know what you've heard but I'm a reasonable man. I-" He stopped talking as the fire fly motes of the archons flickered a bit hotly in Jaethal's opinion at his outburst. "I-"

    "You may collect your companions, and your belongings and depart my lands." He declared magnanimously. Stupidly merciful, if Jaethal was willing to admit, but it was policy she supposed, "I will tolerate no further predations upon any of the folk who pay fealty to me, and that shall be this domain in these Narlmarches."

    She couldn't make up her mind if the lanterns were buzzing or crackling like candlewicks or a kindling flame. Neither were an omen of peaceful intent she expected, they waited for the command to attack, or hostilities to resume.

    Dovan looked at the bandits... and nodded slowly. He glanced at her, and then almost jumped suddenly flinching.

    Jaethal rolled her eyes at the sudden mass of positive energy swept through.

    "We'll be gone with in the hour. Thank you thank you." He grabbed the big guy, "Come on Auchs, we're hitting the road." There was some bowing and scraping from the other bandits but that was it. Jaethal passed through the crowd and glanced at the fallen bandit lord. One hand clutched some kind of shamnistic fetish or charm, a lock of hair from the looks of it. Jaethal snorted and turned away from the corpse.
    --
    Hours later still as the sun sat on the tuskwater, and the last of the bandits had fled south for other pastures and the archons departed for their home plane they were gathered in the hall. "Its kind of a mess."

    'Kind of' was an understatement.

    Linzi bit down on the tip of her quill, "Its a real fix'er upper." She agreed wondering how to describe it for her chronicle.

    "It is however an excellent location." Prime defensible real estate. They would need to return to Oleg's, and then pass word to Restove, but they would be spending the night. Nobility in this case was a matter of acclamation, the recognition of another more established noble or really other figure of authority. It was a slightly more reputable thing than simply declaring himself baron... but then that wouldn't have been unheard of in the riverlands either. Self proclaimed 'Kingdoms' rose and fell all the time in these parts. "We're going to kill tuskgutter on the way back to Olegs. If the pig is as large as Oleg claims it should make for enough helping for all." The stag lord's stables were probably the cleanest best kept area here, and the animals would need to be looked after. "Kressel you will take the body to Nettle's crossing and throw it in." It was a strange command and she seemed a little bewildered by it, but agreed. "You will then safe guard the seat of the barony with Akiros until we return, unless of course Jamandi withdraws her guards... if such is the case you will protect Oleg's."

    "But once she acknowledges your right to rule these lands, what then?" Valerie asked.

    He thought of the term nation building, but this wasn't the same thing. There would be no insurgency. He considered the question, "There will be other bandits to disperse. There is matter of the commons. The whole enterprise of state building is a tremendous labor," Eire thought about the letters he had penned before they had arrived at the fortress to Our Lady of Valor across the border in Brevoy. He might have written to the church in New Stetven at well, but the thought had not occurred to him at the time. "As for the coronation,"

    "Coronation? But you're becoming a baron."

    "Barons are subject to a coronation the same as the rest, a baron's crown is called a coronet." He replied to the bard. Quick scribbling from the quill followed. "As for the coronation," he began again, "does anyone wish to remain here for its duration?"

    "He means to assist in guard duty." Jaethal grunted as if it was obvious. The way she phrased it was like thumping them all over the head, if Octavia hadn't been looking forward to the presumptive feast Regongar might have remained. Octavia wanting to journey to Restov though sealed that off.

    "No one needs to remain here, we should have time before word of the stag lord's defeat encourages any ruffians to try and replace him."

    "I could stay." Harrim grumbled. "Really."

    "Nonsense, we will go." It had been a mistake to seek remainders. He looked up the waxing moon that was not quite full yet.
    --
    Notes: Alright that is the conclusion of part 1 now let us move on to the Empire Building. Tomorrow I will also probably put up the February schedule in the misc thread, along with Essence Wielding Social General that will be going over there for the time being. I don't believe I'll give it its own thread just yet, but we will see.
     
  22. Threadmarks: The New Kingdom Part 1
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    The New Kingdom
    Part 1
    Jamandi's personal office was a sprawling testament to her wealth. The room felt gargantuan with only three in attendance. He had to question how old the half elf was, but he didn't suppose it mattered She self aggrandized her own ego while schmoozing over the successful dispatch of the Stag Lord.

    She hadn't asked many questions at all about the Stolen Lands. Jamandi didn't seem to care about the Stag Lord or his depredations now that he was gone. He certainly wasn't going to tell her about Old Scyamore, or the arrival of members of Iomedae's church to the site of his future capital, or for that matter the maimed boggard they had found who was learning common. No, Jamandi had grander ambitions to scheme about. So he'd leave her to those... and hopefully she wouldn't ask him about the letter he had dispatched to New Stetven... even if that was specifically to the Church of Iomedae there. Truthfully he wasn't expecting a response from the prelate particularly quickly, but he had no one better to write to.

    Jamandi's scheming seemed only focused on the threat of the north... and even then. Eire touched the sunburst icon on the crimson sash he wore, "Speaking of grander ambitions," Her heir shuffled at the comment, the half orc seemed uncomfortable on the realm of politics, which might explain his presence and indeed sending him to a newly established domain, but that wasn't the issue per se, "I suppose that's why Natala Suratova," The King's sister, "And lord to be of House Lander are in your hall this night." Whether they were here wholly independent of the other's presence was irrelevant. "The boy here in disguise is perhaps a fig leaf to avoid his mother's scrutiny, a bit odd even all the same."

    Her lips quirked as she thought about it, which turned into a long oratory about the northern dynasty, and how it had ascended the throne after the disappearance of house Rogavaria. "Lebeda has always had his quirks, it is probably just one of his games to deflect attention."

    ... Eire shifted, "So you want me to take Kassil as envoy, if your entrusting me your heir, your apprentice who did you send with the other three? And speaking of the others, I understand that the Suratov expedition last year failed to carve out a domain."

    "Oh yes, well as I said I like think my instincts on people are still on the money." Jamandi declared a bit smugly. Jamandi Aldori could have been completely innocent regarding the fate of the Suratov expedition, and any accusations could have been deflected by her own experiences in the river kingdoms and thus her knowledge of their dangers. "I suppose our success might be a good reason for Lady Natala's presence. Even Lord Lebedas,"

    "And Tartuccio, or his paymaster in Pitax?" Pitax had been, was depending on how one asked, or framed the historical context of the Stolen Lands not but also kind of sort of... it had been founded like the swordlord Aldori colony in the River Kingdoms by those who had left Brevoy. Irovetti's rise to power was something else.

    "Irovetti is a sly fox, but from Kesten's report you handled everything splendidly." She shook her head, "Its just something you'll have to deal with, and not just Pitax, or if you're right Lander, neighbors tend to be nosy, always peaking over the hedges and snooping around to find out whats going on. There is Mivon to consider as well, if you can erect a stable domain, the Aldori can be great friends."

    "Of course."

    As she had said, a thread was all that kept Brevoy together now that the Royal House of Rogarvia was gone. If there was any single problem with her summary it was the simple single-minded focus on Suratov dynasty and ther regional distaste of the Issian culture. It was as if she considered there to be only two sides in this that mattered and the others sitting on the side line were watching a black and white issue... or it had felt like that at times. Suratov was a single house, even presuming the support of the other Issian house of Orlovsky that wasn't anywhere near enough to make them the equal of the disappeared royal house.

    Jamandi's hope to balance kingdom politics against developments in the border were... it was one thing to just see that kind of comment background in a screen. Eire looked the crackling hearth of the great hall. Hannis Drelev and Maegar Varn were already seated. The neighbors.

    Linzi tugged on his sleeve, "So what happens now?"

    "This is a recognition." He replied, "Nobility, or recognition to rule at its most ancient tradition is the recognition, and acknowledgement of one's peers. Chieftans would select kings from among their clansmen, those kings would jockey to be high kings. For thousands of years, and in times before iron weapons, when bronze dominated." He replied... though he wasn't really thinking of how Golarion might have developed, but rather Earth, and in Eurasia's specific context as steppe communities, and tribal confederacies had developed across the northern expanse. "This tradition predates but coexists alongside the traditions of more centralized, civilizations."

    Scribble. Scribble. Scribble. Linzi had her book writing away. The halfling almost jumped when the inquisitor place a hand on her head. The undead chuckled. "Recognition, elves use to have high kings, before my time of course, before the sky fall." She added, "Its the traps you don't see that get you, remember that."

    "Traps?" Linzi asked.

    "This whole dinner is awash with them," The undead elf declared. "At least a half dozen pitfalls with just the brevoy. Put us into a weaker position, leverage us for favors down the road, not everything is fatal, but anything to gain an advantage. Then there is those two," Drelev and Varn, "And there is the absence of the other. Four expeditions, and maybe the half elf has already lost one of her would be pawns."

    He had wondered about that. "This is the best place to meet the neighbors. Its as close to neutral ground as we're going to get," which did make it a pity not to have the fourth here. That was something that was going to have to bear looking into. He wondered if that had been cut out from the game... maybe in the game it had originally been planned to be another DLC that got sidelined... or just cut to simplify. It didn't matter this was real now. "I'll make introductions with the two that are here, how are the others doing?"

    "You should know how our barbarian feels about rich people in fancy clothes," Amiri likely felt out of place, "And the others, well most are just excitable."

    He nodded, sure Octavia was probably enamored by the whole surrounding as much as Lindsey was to scribble notes for her chronicle. "You can tell Amiri, and Regongar too," If he needed to be, "That it wont all be like this. That we will have a," He paused, "well, you can tell them both that are going to be plenty of heads in need of knocking together." Eire glanced back at the table from, Drelev was a snake... and poor Maegar was probably already doomed... he thought about the iobarian ruins on the tuskwater. The ancient cyclops coins, the tomb he had confronted Tartucio in more than a month ago now... and that just forced the consideration not just from Maegar's potential fate but also the matter of Irovetti in Pitax. "There is going to be a lot of work to be done."

    ... and beyond Nyrissa and the game's plotline there was a dragon egg to consider.
    --
    Commentary: This was a little harder to get out than I expected. As I've mentioned there will be something of a time skip after the end of either this chapter or in the following one to allocate time for the new town to spring up and have things built before we move forward. This will incoporate content from the game, and from the original Adventure Pack, though I will be rereading that, but in Part 2 of the new Kingdom we will be seeing the introduction of Drelev and Maegar Varn and so on.
     
  23. Threadmarks: The New Kingdom Part 2
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    The New Kingdom
    Part 2
    They would be able to leave, to return to the stolen lands tomorrow. Not that they would be able to return there tomorrow, not to the seat of the barony. "How do you think your mother takes my intention to expand Oleg's trading post?"

    "I don't know."

    "Really." Kassil furrowed his brow, pronouncing the ridge, "Its not a trick question. Oleg's trading post is built on an old border fort. Its ideal ground for a town, and obviously there a defensive fortification there. Now, admittedly I may be speaking from Iomedaen notions of chivalry, but the purpose of government, taxes if you will is defense collective. A man pays his taxes to his liege in reasonable expectation that he will shielded from predation. Do you agree?"

    "I do."

    "Oleg is one of my subjects, he'll pay taxes to me, and I'll insure that that goes to protecting the northern narlmarches and keeping the way clear of bandits."

    "That's how it should be." Kassil Aldori agreed.

    "Yes, yes it is."

    "Begging your pardon, but didn't Oleg leave Restov ... for a more rustic environment?"

    Kassil's question caught him off guard, and Eire thought about it. "I think he might have said something to that effect, you ever wanted to live somewhere away from a town?" He asked the half orc, "Its not unusual, and I don't fault Oleg for that wish, but I need to make decisions that effect the barony as a whole, and the trading post won't turn into a town overnight."

    No one wanted a civil war, but Eire suspected that some of the colonists looking to move into the stolen lands were looking to avoid a war between Brevoy's noble houses. Whether or not they considered the Surtova ascension legitimate or not was irrelevant. Some were probably more interested in the prospects of financial advancement, moving into a new domain to settle land. There were likely other reason... likely some mundane boring, and others even less savory... but they would see.

    That wasn't why they were here though. The colonists hoping to carve out new lives weren't the focus of this gathering. If Natala Suratova and Lander Lebeda hadn't been here the clear political bent would have been of the Free City. As it was with them here their presence threatened to overshadow his place in this whole gathering. He couldn't be sure, but he wondered if Lander was the reason Suratov was here... he doubted it was the reverse... but it could be they had both to see what it was Jamandi was up to.

    There had been three other groups charted by the sword lords. Two were present the one missing had been sent into the Glenebon uplands and were no where to be seen. Maegar Varn was dressed well. He didn't look out of place, per se, but his bearing and stance suggested regardless of where he had been born, and into what station he was more comfortable on the battlefield or in a military camp. By comparison, Hannis Drelev was potentially over dressed for the affair... for a baron of a frontier realm he had certainly spent a lot, certainly more than Maegar Varn had, on his clothes. The sword at his side was the opposite of Varn's showing off an impressive amount of, and painful looking, gold filigree and inlay. It looked more like the sort of sort used for the purpose of ceremonial coronation of a monarch than a practical weapon. Drelev's sneer didn't imply he'd be offering Jamandi the jewel encrusted hilt for the task.

    Amiri had suggested that they truss Tuskgutter up and... that the monstrous boar be cooked and served at the feast, but they obviously hadn't done that. It wasn't that it was a bad idea, but they really had neither the time, and it probably would have been something of an imposition on Jamandi's hospitality as well.

    Even though he hadn't thought to bring it up as... his eyes flickered from Lander seated at the very foot of the table to standing and chatting in a small gaggle of people the form of Natala Surtova... there was the matter of the charter of exploration that had been somewhat hastily given to them after the attack on the manor.

    '...by the swordlords of Restov, acting upon the greater good and authority vested within them by the office of the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne, has granted the right of exploration and travel within the wilderness region known as the Greenbelt. Exploration should be limited to an area no further than thirty six miles east and west and sixty miles south of Oleg's trading post.... So witnessed on this 24th day of Calistril, under the watchful eye of hte Lordship of Restov and authority granted by Lord Noleski Surtova, current regent of the Dragonscale Throne.'

    Leaving aside the fact that obviously Jamandi had had to have everything drawn up before holding things, it would obviously have taken months to prepare. The east west boundaries probably reflected the borders with the other expedition... and the southern one was well obviously being practical. Those things could be ignored... but the charter reiterated that Noleski regent not acknowledged king.

    "I hate these sorts of things," Maegar said by way of greeting, offering a firm handshake to go with his smile. "I'm Maegar Varn, the freshly minted baron of Dunsward, and your neighbor to the east." He declared, before explaining his own origins. The House of Varn were themselves a noble family of Brevoy but Maegar was the youngest son and with few prospects of land or position in his father's estate, and so had been born Varnling's host. The mercenary company had earned a reputation, and so when Jamandi Aldori had needed someone to place in the nomen heights it had been their reliability she had turned to. That meant that both Maegar and Drelev were both brevoy of noble birth.

    Presumably the recognition of their status would prove the same. '... The nature and laws of rule are theirs to define, and the wellbeing of this new nation is theirs to protect. In accordance to providing a stable nation to the south of central Rostland, let there be a generous stipend of funds, support, and advice provided to this fledgling nation as a token of Restov and Brevoy's goodwill, such that future relations between kingdoms might be mutually beneficial. So Witnessed under the watchful eye of hte Lordship of Restov and by the authority granted by Lord Noleski Surtova, current Regent of the Dragonscale Throne.'

    He wondered if the 'regent of the Dragonscale throne's' sister would objecto the use of that specific emphasis on her brother's position, or the clear emphasis on Restov.

    "Your father must regard this as pleasing news, to have succeeded where so many others failed to secure the dream of a patrimony."

    Maegar shrugged, and snagged a drink from a passing footman, "He might, my brothers on the other hand are unlikely to be as receptive to my success." He observed sanguinely, before taking a sip, and glancing to their host, "Jamandi always throws a good party, it was actually my father," The Baron Androth Varn, who was himself of Issian descent, "who introduced us. She's aged like fine wine." The benefit of being a half elf, of course. "I'm not in line to inherit," He reiterated returning to the matter.

    "But your brothers may feel threatened by your good fortune."

    "What about you?"

    "I've invited members from the Church of Iomedae here, and will probably work to turn the temporary respite from banditry by the stag lord's defeat into a more permanent peace," By the investment into infrastructure, and thus laws. The truth was he had been planning that... really since had stepped foot into the Stolen Lands and certainly with plans to establish a body of written laws, and a legal system as soon as the barony was established. "Not long after we arrived we found an iobarian, ancient Cyclops, tomb complex," He said, the place where they had confronted Tartuccio, "and we've found other indications of their settlement. The place where we'll settle the barony's capital has a tower that dates originally to their rule."

    "Thats interesting. Since setting up we've had our share of treasure hunters coming through now that we've cleared most of the monsters out its a lot safer to go delving." Thankfully Maegar spared him trying to broach further on the warning, "Are they dangerous?"

    "Potentially," Yes very, "The ancient wizards ruled and empire that conquered much of Casmaron, if they managed to get this far west I'd say that anything left behind should be treated with caution, and respect."

    "I've got a pretty good, smart wizard with me. I'll make sure he takes a look at anything we find." Eire wasn't sure if that would be enough, "But I appreciate the advice," For the first time the jolly mercenary's eyes hardened turning to glance where Drelev sat, "He didn't even shake my hand, maybe afraid he'd get dirty,, but that's old blue bloods for you." He probably had a point as he focused on Hannis Drelev, though Eire caught sight of the Tiefling.

    --
    Commentary: Regretably this segment needs to be this exposition bits, as we are moving into the empire building.
     
  24. Threadmarks: The New Kingdom Part 3
    Imperator Pax

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    The New Kingdom Part 3
    Maegar had concluded their talk with an invitation that they should talk more once he was settled in, and no sooner had the ruler of Dunsward taken his leave than one of the Tiefling twins made their approach... he had seen Kaesi lurking, so wasn't surprised at the offered replacement drink.

    "To beauty,"

    They clinked goblets. "I would like to apologize for what was said in our last meeting." The accusation of who was the spy for Pitax, but given the Tiefling twins' situation she had less reason to apologize in truth than some other people who hadn't apologized... but of course Kaesi was ignorant he was aware of the switching phenomenon and was at least making attempt, "What I said might have offended you but this was not my intention, my life has taught me to err on the side of caution," She paused took a second sip of the wine, "And as a result I've learned to be wary of new acquaintances, which is why I refused to join your party at the time."

    He emulated her gesture, and took a sip of his own, "And what is it you wanted to tell me?" He nodded, though he wasn't entirely sure by the explanation that he was being told the whole story... beyond simply sidestepping telling him in public about the twins issue, "Ancient ruins? There do seem to be a lot of those. We should speak more about the details after I return. There will be things I will need to do in the barony but it has to start somewhere."

    When she had slipped away he felt the crackling that had begun to buzz around him in the brazier start to subside. Eire glanced at the goblet in his hand... contemplating more so what he could remember from the game's sidequests, and companion quests... and what differences might bear out when not confined to fixed set of paths. He turned his gaze around the room. Ducking Lander, and Natala Surtova was tempting but seemed unwise... then there was Drelev, the mayor, and stepping around he nodded to the high priest of Erastil... glad to have not brought, or rather not having had to bring along Jhod.

    Erastil was an ancient divinity, and set in his ways. His portfolio, and the tenants of his faith were not in lockstep with the green faith but was a view closer to it than many others in the human pantheon. Of the clergy present Ezvanki Keeg stood out the most... which said something in his approximation. Iomedae was fundamentally a goddess of civilization, the sword, the martial aristocracy. Abadar's priests made implicit sense in a free city like Restov, and the faith in iron of Gorrum was the common faith among Brevoy's landed nobility as well as in the clans. Keeg's primacy in an urban settlement should have been contested by one of the latter two either from the merchant quarter, or by conflict with the martial one.

    That made him interesting.

    "Well met," Keeg declared with a handshake as firm as Maegar Varn's had been. "And congratulations on your quest."

    "You fought well in the attack Pitax's agents mounted that night," He remarked, cutting to the chase, "Erastil clearly favors you."

    The weatherworn face broke into a smile, "Thank you. I once bore the sword, and took the field, far more than I do these days. I thought those days were behind me until those rogues arrived." His grin didn't abate as he continued, "I don't miss it, but someone has to bear arms in the community to keep the predators away. Our people have long farmed, and raised animals hear, and my father likened our role as being the sheepdog guarding the flock. Restov, even though its a free city is largely inhabited the congregation of Erastil"

    "I admit I had expected a larger following of Abadar. Or the lord of iron."

    "There are some, and other faiths Pharasma," He enumerated, "Restov is a free city, with all the merchants that entails and while many wealthy merchants worship the lord of scales, more of the common people keep to her."

    "And Gorrum?"

    "I think that should be obvious, mostly confined to the sword lords, the city had no shortage of bravos, or noble scions, mercenaries visiting but Gorrums church is transitory and isn't tied to the salt of the earth that makes up that larger whole of the community," It was true what Keeg said made sense. "What will you do? To bring order to the Stolen Lands?"

    "Establish a capital to rule from, and other fortified posts to prevent a resurgence of banditry, Publicize a law code to settlements, and secure the roads."

    After a moment the city's high priest of erastil nodded, "That's a fine answer."
    --
    Once the ceremony was concluded, a thought occurred to him... the possibility that just like last time he'd been here the mansion might come under attack. It wasn't as if Natala Surtova hadn't managed to be a snide bitch... they had been lucky that her witty charms hadn't been overheard by Amiri, or for that matter Regongar.

    Kassil had retired to his own quarters, and that left them in the library in the guest's wing. They were seated around the table, which was dominated by a map... not a particularly recent one given it had been penned by ancient Taldan but the geography was close enough for their needs. "The politics here are not our only concern." He remarked stepping around the Surtova and Restov dispute for the time being, "I don't trust Drelev and I certainly don't trust him on our western border... and then to compound that the expedition which didn't make an appearance tonight was supposed to be west of us as well. We'll have to ride across the four corners of the domain, before we leave tomorrow I plan to avail of the church of Erastil's market faire, buy livestock and horses." He wasn't expecting much in the way of herds, but better to see what was available. Horses really were the greater priority. "I want to scour the barony's ruins, we're looking at much more, well the kobolds and mites live in an ancient Taldan mine, and there are probably others that the empire abandoned due to being too distance to make them productive... and Tartuccio sent something from Old Scyamore's depths. I think we can expect a future confrontation with Pitax at some point."

    He traced a long finger across the Taldan map.

    "I expect this is where you expound upon a plan, preferably one a bit more clever than we simply killing a large number of idiots." Amiri gave Jaethal's comment a flat look.

    Eire blinked slowly at them both, metallic eyes glittering, "An expansion of existing ideas really. I have written to the church of Iomedae, and we can expect some aid there." Legally he would be enshrining freedom of religion... within reason into the law code of the new barony, but that was unlikely to draw any real complaints from the faith, "And I suspect we can maintain support from the Erastil faith by rebuilding the Temple of the Elk." He'd already told Kressel that she'd be responsible for Nettle's crossing, which somewhat handled their south eastern frontier and Oleg's trading post would cement the far north. "I had already planned to enfeef those gathered here, but we will need to know what exists in the domain... and my original plan had been to start with that tomb we confronted Tartuccio in first." Not the least reason was because the cyclopian tomb was roughly half way between Oleg's and their nascent capital. If not there then Thorn Ford... "We'll speak with Jhod about restoring the Temple of the Elk though when return and be better suited to taking stock of our position."

    What he had hadn't expected was the number of people who hadn't precisely been prepared to be ennobled. Valerie was perhaps the most prepared after Jaethal, even though the latter mostly looked at it like more of a chore but Jaethal had largely accepted that she would be a fair arbiter of legal disputes. Harrim was uncomfortable taking a place of nobilty, and wanted to be high priest if only to ensure all faiths were treated fairly for their due. Linzi's chronicle similarly took priority over her own position, after all what could compare to be a hero's bard. Valerie might one day hope to rule her own domain, but ... well she needed, or felt the need to redeem herself after the Tartuccio debacle. It went on like that...

    So they retired to their chambers, and Eire drifted to sleep. Dreams of war, dreams of liars, dreams of dragon's fire ... of what was to come.
     
  25. Threadmarks: The New Kingdom Part 4
    Imperator Pax

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    The New Kingdom
    Part 4
    It was painfully apparent, and very quickly, Regongar and Kessil had little in common. That didn't necessarily mean they'd fight, but it was very clear that they had readily different views, but there were certain matters they could come to an agreement with. To Jaethal's annoyance at Chivalry's tenants to aid the imperiled. "Are they bandits?" Linzi asked.

    "Cultists I think." Jaethal replied surveying the mess left behind. A handful of bloodied peasants that were being looked after and some strange shrouded knife wielding women who'd been killed. "Should I go after them?" Them in this case were the members of the party who had rushed to a disturbance they had only barely been able to see.

    Eire looked at the fading shapes as they rushed towards the chaos around of the river crossing, "I'll follow, Valerie, Harrim, Tristan organize a rear guard," Just in case bandits did show up, but this close to the south rostland road he would have expected that the Restov authorities might still have had enough presence to deter highwaymen. "Linzi if I need to join the battle you're to take stock of any wounded." He left the guards with the caravan of goods and people with Valerie in nominal command.

    The South Rostlandic Road should have been safe from bandits, but it was also emblematic of other problems that Brevoy had. This was an ancient, if well maintained road, that dated back to the Taldan empire of old. It made an excellent boundary, especially as it was built along the Shrike River... A River that maybe might be one day made navigable straight down to the capital of the now recognized barony... for today though the road was the site of some disturbance that would waylay them from returning to Oleg's trading post quickly. So here he was running to catch up after Jaethal who rushing to catch up to the others who had rushed ahead.

    The scene was a mess and Jaethal's estimation of cultists seemed to have been accurate, if the lack of bandit accoutrements and the uniform smocks and icons instead were any indication. They just didn't have the right bearing or feel of bandits. The symbol of a bloodshot eye... not a cult he was immediately familiar with, but he could feel the stain of the abyss upon the icon and the malevolence of a chaotic evil deity.

    "Gyronna, the angry hag." The undead elf remarked providing him the answer he sought. The inquisitor of the pallid princess gestured down to the smoke rising from a burning riverside hut, probably somewhere the locals had built to fish from the Shrike, smoke the fish, or store it before taking it across bridge that had certainly seen better days.

    A bridge that the torch wielding peasant mob lead by what looked like a knight in full plate were fighting towards the hunched eight foot figure holding the bridge for the other cultists. Hag. The bridge gave an ominous crack as the two sides met. The peasants had no real weapons to speak of, woodsman axes, and cudgels, and daggers drawn from belts, pitchforks and torches . The knight's halberd struck out as rays of baleful magic fired from the cultists who had turned to hold the chokepoint.

    "The bridge is breaking." Linzi shouted at the same time Eire glanced to the bloodied half orc's massing surge of power. Too late, "Regongar, hold." The bridge probably had already been compromised but the lighting bolt was too much. It impacted mostly centered on the cultist side of the bridge, but the scoring line of lighting breath still finished the bridge for sure.

    "Oops." Octavia murmured.

    Eire moved up the bank, "Amiri, go with Jaethal, cut off the cultists retreat," He ordered the barbarian, "Take Regongar and Octavia, and linzi with you."

    "What about you?" To answer the question he spread his hands and rendered the invocation of summoning into draconic. A giant octopus appeared from a standing portal of water and lept into the spray of the Shrike river. "Egh." Amiri muttered backing away from the Octopus as it began grabbing stray villagers and depositing them back to their side of the crossing. In their simple clothing it was no trouble for a single tentacle of eight to fetch and carry them to safety. Amiri had waded through the river as Jaethal followed a few meters down stream. Eire eyed the cultists as they tried to get over to the other side, but he had lost sight of the knight leading the charge, though the hag was angrily splashing as she tried to ford to a shallower part pushing debris down river with angry invectives in giant as she did so.

    The octopus splashed in the water as it pushed forward, and off debris waving to the last, the knight floundering in the water. Unconcious. The telepathic command to the giant octopus sent it shooting forward in a jet of water to focus on pulling the armored warrior from river, and Eire to splash nosily to one side avoiding a thrown bridge stone.

    The octopus returned the thrown rock by hurling a piece of timber in the hag's direction from the bank of the river, before making another loud churling call from its beak. Eire pulled back at the insistent call as the extraplanar, but still aquatic creature plunged back into the river. That left him to deal with resuscitating the downed knight while the octopus tried to drown a hag.

    --
    "I reckon something must have broken finally." Harrim replied tersely to the question about what the crash must have been, "Something big, lot of people probably met their end." He declared.

    Valerie reproved his grim pronouncement.

    "We should have faith," Tristan declared, and then paused, straightening "Hark an archon," he declared.

    Valerie uncrossed her arms and looked at the surging forward little celestial messenger, "Be not afraid," The spindling whirling bulb of light greeted, "Gyraonna's bale filled subjects have been put to flight this day," It... he reported, the archon had a masculine voice at least, "The people of the land rescued, though not uninjured from their clash are now being looked after."

    Tristan gave a shaky bow to the heavenly messenger, but Valerie beat him to it, "What can we do to help?" She asked jumping straight to the point, without any unnecessary flowery language.

    "If you would gather a small party of volunteers from among the colonists, a work party is being assembled to assist those followers of Erastil in making a temporary river crossing."

    Eight hours later and well after dark, Valerie sat hunched beside the fire in an expansive camp tent as the local priest of Erastil praised their valor. The shaggy haired man had explained that some children had been abducted by the cult of the angry hag.... presumably to be eaten and that their only hope had been a young knight who had been passing through. Of course they hadn't quite been prepared to fight the cult but they had been able to save the children from being eaten, and with help they'd driven the cult off. Saeya Mouri was an auburn haired knight, her blue armor set off beside her.

    Eire pushed through the tent having shed his water logged clothes for a change of dry clothes, and a loose blue shirt with thirteen white stars on the front. He stopped her rising to stand with a raised hand, shaking his hand, "We've circled the wagons as a precaution all the same, but we will leave for Oleg's in the morning. I've thanked all of the volunteers, once we've reached home I think a feast might be in order."

    "Home?" Mouri asked.

    "The seat of our new barony, its capital," Linzi took a breath, and then declared, "Shrikewall." The small bard shifted, "Even though there is a lot of work to be done it'll be worth it."

    "Ah you're the one who defeated the Stag Lord." the young knight declared. "I commend you on your victory."

    Eire nodded, "Thank you." The baron sat down at a free chair. "In any event the local priest is going to ask Keeg to send them some help in rebuilding. I don't know if that will include inquisitors or clerics to find any more of Gyroana's followers. Jaethal has first watch if they do try and attack us so I don't expect anything tonight." The evening continued, and small talk began as the cooks finished their labors and brought meals for the evening. A few hours of journeying tomorrow, and they would be off the south rostlandic road, and along the spurt that would take them to Oleg's.
     
  26. Threadmarks: The new kingdom part 5
    Imperator Pax

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    The new kingdom
    Part 5
    Kressel blinked and glanced at them all. "I heard you were on the way back..." Svetlana's sister shook her head, "So I threw the stag lord's body into the crossing, like you said.... and this undead guy followed me to the capital."

    A figure shuffled forward and roughly curtsied stiffly underneath a heavy robe, "Davik Nettle my lord, I built nettle's crossing before the stag lord's thugs burned it down." The undead bowed again. "Miss Kressel says you mean to rebuild it."

    "I had intended that, I did not think it had a still... had an unliving claimant to the domain." Kressel clearly was less than enthused about holding a domain, vital choke point or no.

    "Begging your pardon my lord, that's not what I meant." He shook his head, "I was an engineer in life, built the bridge as my retirement. I'd like to rebuild it, but I'm no noble. Never meant to rule over anyone."

    He nodded, "Very well. We should speak more of this later, the specifics I mean..." Having an undead engineer could be... useful.

    "Thank you your grace," The undead bowed and shuffled back.

    Eire nodded, and looked around to the fort's interior, "I apologize Oleg, have you had any other news in our absence."

    "NO, no your grace." He amended, "its been quiet I think with stag lord dead, and miss Amiri killing that big pig, I don't think there has been time for anything to happen."

    Eire nodded, "I do not plan to official open," To declare the capital's found, "Shrikewall for a few more months." Part of that was being purely practical in wanting more time to construct and raise the city, even with magical assistance they couldn't establish a city over night... but there was also a political and social aspect of it. Eire reached to his side and produced a rolled scroll, "As among my first acts as ruler this charter grants you leave to establish a town here, with the responsibility, within reason the responsibilities, rights, and criteria of town citizens."

    "Thank you your grace," Then somewhat less formally after having browsed the document, Oleg broke into a broad grin, "Olegton I like that its like a combination of Oleg and Leveton. So its named after me twice." Svetlana elbowed her husband in the ribs slightly, "Begging your pardon your grace, thank you." He curtsied and stepped back.

    He glanced at Kressel, "I will issue your letters patent in the capital, there are other matters which need to be discussed." That addressed he looked around to the assemblage of people, "I expect that we will have to contend with other bandits in time." He couldn't just name drop Pitax... but he was sorely tempted. "This border fort will be refurbished and expanded to secure trade with Restov and the other places in Rostland, and larger Brevoy," He told his new subjects. "Lady Jamandi says she dispatched the Iron Wraiths into the Glenebon upplands, I fear that they have failed to make good their charge. I do not know what befell them, but it will be an answer that we will ascertain later. We will rest here and then travel south." With the convoy in tow there was no way he was going to survey Nettle's crossing right now anyway.
    --

    Being constrained by the overland speed of oxen, more so than horses, limited the speed by which they could travel south. The sixty something miles really underscored the need to invest in infrastructure like roads, but that would require both taxes, and experts. The wandering forest road might not have been ideal but it was good enough for the time being to see them from Oleg's trading post to the sight of the capital to be.

    They were not the first to arrive to what had been the Stag Lord's fort only just a month prior. That was honestly a good thing.

    Eire nodded as they finished up the last matter of the day, he inclined slightly with his hand on his chest "For the faith, and the way of the sword," He returned to the cleric of Iomedae who had been arrived from New Stetven. Even Keeg's messenger had almost managed to beat them to the shores of the Tuskwater.... the messenger from Restov's high priest of Erastil had made both Jhod and Akiros uncomfortable. At least until the latter had been drawn into discussions, by Jhod, about the temple of the elk. What if anything would come of that remained to be seen.

    That conversation was somewhat related to their own. The simple truth was that the Church of the Inheritor was having less success in New Stetven than was desirable. There were a handful, including the church of our lady of valor, of churches to Iomedae in Brevoy. Even that influence was largely a result of the seemingly forever lasting mendivian crusades against the world wound. With influence in Iomedae's homeland of Cheliax waning due to the influence of Asmodeus, even if the prince of darkness had not prohibited the faith but there were understandable concerns. As a result of that, and the world wound not looking to resolved any time soon the Faith of the Inheritor hoped to establish strong ties with the aristocracy of other lands... and Brevoy would have been preferable, but getting in on the ground floor was too good an opportunity to let slip away.

    Building a cathedral first... well concurrently with a largely wood hall was a significant symbol. That and strictly speaking there was no reason to build a major stone fortification on the plateau overlooking the tuskwater. The wooden hall would suffice, until they had time to examine the ancient underground structures... both those left behind by Taldan as well as the even older iobarian cyclops remnants.

    Eire looked over the great lake, then turned as Valerie and Jaethal both approached, "I was under the impression that that was the last matter of the day." He remarked. "Is it Tristian, I know that Sarenites have a festival in the coming month?"

    "No," Jaethal's lip curled. "We have some other petitioners. The faerie dragon brought them." Perlivash the faerie dragon fluttered forward ahead of a pair of Kobolds... and Eire wasn't going to lie he didn't recognize the two kobolds, or recognize their names. Mikmek was a young kobold warrior who'd apparently been held prisoner by the mites during the war and had been saved as a result of piece... and was very grateful, both for not having died in captitivy and also for peace being back to the lands of the old sycamore. The other sootscale kobold was probably around the same age, and was named Nakpik, and neither of the kobolds had ever seen a 'big person' kingdom before.. never mind one under way as this one was.

    Even more awing than that though to the scales was the near reverence they showed to the enclosure holding the red dragon egg. It would not be long now before it hatched... and of course the sootscales had heard from jaethal's own mouth that there was a dragon egg, which had required its own wagon to move from Oleg's to the site of where the Stag Lord had had his base.

    Eire regarded the two marveling kobolds and their frequent repeated exclamations of things like 'Egg warm' 'egg big', and so on. Bokken's sudden appearance was a surprise, "They brought some moon raddishes as a gift."

    "As well as some other things," Harrim declared. "Debris from the Taldan time. There was a silver mine there at one point, they abandoned it because it was too far from any of their settlements."

    "Silver not gold?" Bokken stroked his chin, "everyone talks about there being gold up in them hills."

    "We can contend with mineral resources later." He commented, gold or silver mines and mining rights would be an issue only if he didn't have some kind of strong legal code in place first, but right now there was the matter of manpower, "Mikmek," He demanded to the first kobold, "Why did no mites come? What's going on under old scyamore?"

    "Mites friends."

    "Still?"

    "Always friends."

    "No fight." Nakpik agreed with the other kobold. "Come to see dragon egg." He said in slightly less stilted common.
    --
    The week had passed with a steady progress as they worked to expand upon the stag lord's fort, and dig out the old taldan and iobarian foundations to repair and reuse them. It would take time, and patience but they wouldn't be constructing a city in a day.

    A hall, a long house, and a log cabin were ultimately speaking not that different. The knocking one together could be done quickly as long as you had the manpower. The difference was largely one of scale for a log cabin housing a single family three men could put one up quickly over the span of a few days. A long house needed more people but a single extended family might have the manpower to throw a new one up, and surely they and their neighbors would. A village with financial support could easily put a hall up. It was the hall that was the most basic site of noble power and influence, it was the hall from which petitions made, court held, and military power hosted.

    He wasn't sure if the Twins absence was a facet of their switching, or if it was just a matter that they were waiting until something a little more permanent than tents were established that meant that despite his expressed inter in pursuing it there were other matters to deal with since they had no leads. "I'd have liked it if Falgrim had stuck around," Akiros Insmort declared. Though Falgrim Sneeg had switched sides turning against the Stag lord before the fighting had broken out he had decided to move on rather than stick around to see what happened with the barony, and the former paladin was right it would have probably been better to have had the mercenary along.


    Eire continued to lean over the map of the greenbelt. They needed a reliable crossing to the east and Nettle's crossing suited that the best. The rivers though formed ideal natural boundaries. "That might be but settling you at the thorn river camp has other reasons besides just guarding the river crossing." it was roughly half way to Olegs, and thus a vital supply link, "And besides Oleg's its proximity to the temple of the elk is another matter." He said sparing a glance to Jhod for emphasis, "We will have to find somewhere to cross the Skunk river as well, but I'd rather you take command of the Thorn crossing." And besides Akiros, well Akiros would have Beaky the Owlbear along with his men so they shouldn't have any trouble guarding both the ford and the Temple of the elk.

    "What about Kressel?"

    "If things works out with dead dave, and the undead is amenable to it, I'll want him to build another bridge south of where the Thorn and Shrike river's meet and flow into the Tuskwater, but that isn't an immediate priority, and truthfully he was glad that their kobold visitors visiting didn't mean that war between mites and kobolds hadn't resumed. "Garess will be taking command of the Guard," such that it was, "But his responsibility is going to be the capital, and maintaining civil order. "For the time being we'll remain north of the southern shores of the Skunk river, Valerie, Octavia, Regongar, and Tristan will serve as a southern force in the event something happens." That would leave him to take Amiri, Jaethal, Linzi and Harrim to lead a ranging of the lands south of the temple of the elk to the banks of the Skunk river and then swing south. "Should we expect anyone from Restov over the next month?" He asked turning to Kessil.

    "I wouldn't expect anyone, save perhaps the Church of Erastil, especially if this Temple of the Elk is as important as its been described to me." Jhod's obsession with the place was perhaps exaggerating it but there was also the Gyroana cultists they had encountered as well, which was the thing Regongar, the other half orc, in the room wanted to address.

    "We could have problems with those cultists showing up and causing more trouble." The magus grunted to the assembled, treading dangerously close to the portfolios of either Jaethal or Harrim as he did so.

    Harrim didn't seem to object though, the surly dwarf rubbed his bald head, "There is a difference between religious freedom and feeding younguns to hags for dinner," He agreed. "but we're going to have to be careful about accusing anyone Gyroana's followers include all sorts of scorned women and I can't think they'd all be evil." It was a moderate response. Not that Jaethal was interested in starting up an inquisition immediately 'something had to be done' if they were going to go around eating children.

    They were undoubtedly going to have to take some kind of measure. This was not the sort of thing his books, packed inside his ruck that he had brought with him from another world were going to have an answer for. It was all well and good to talk about religious liberty up until you hit the wall of iron hags who thought thought thirteen years old were a scrumptious dinner.
     
  27. Extras: River Kingdoms Map
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Lets see if this works
    The Northern River kingdoms map, each hex measures approximately twelve miles point to point (opposite).
    0[​IMG]
    *Source below, but the Stolen lands (probably discounting Pitax) is approximately the size of Portugal and it has been mentioned that the scaling on this map might be slightly off, but the more important thing is it gives an idea of the topography [I may try and find a good map of the River Kingdoms, or just use the sort of crappy one from Guide to the River Kingdoms to give a general shape of the Stolen Lands over all]
    https://www.deviantart.com/catmonkey1992/art/Pathfinder-Kingmaker-Map-Full-Version-756639514
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2022
  28. Threadmarks: Saraenith 4710
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Saraenith 4710
    Eire examined his pack. He had last had the free time to unpack everything in Our Lady of Valor, and while it would take longer to raise a masonry structure built by the church of Iomedae brought experts and labor that would applicable to a stone keep, and to curtain walls when it came time to raise those.

    He looked at his belongings, particularly those that had come with him from another world. The books he had brought with him made sense. He hadn't packed anything electronic, which to this day still stumped him... and the book selection was limited. In a world where he had awoken to... the powers of... not just an endgame character but a fully leveled gestalt character for as far as he could tell, the books had been less useful. With a kingdom to rule though well, they might actually see some use... in some limited capacity. Gig, blast furnace early steam engines... they would have to see given time.

    He wasn't sure that the specifics of roman concrete was going to be actually that useful... but he didn't know one way or another. More likely to be of use... were the sections on economics, and the diagrams of water powered machines, and furnaces. If this had been Faerun he'd have completely discarded the idea of manufacturing new bullets... but it seemed as if that might actually be possible, if not necessarily practical here... but it wouldn't be any time soon.

    Eire turned away from his possessions at the sudden rush of footsteps. Jaethal rarely ran anywhere, barring battle, to which there were no other signs of. The elf inquisitor forced the door causing it to bang open against the chamber wall's exposed wood posts, "Come quickly. The egg, its hatching."

    Hatching was ultimately something of an exaggeration... but it was close. A red dragon's egg was not a small thing, and it burned his magical sight soaked in the heat of the arcane incubator... and while it wasn't hatching yet, it would be soon.

    That at the minimum warranted delaying the departure of anyone else. Kassil looked at the egg with concern as it gave another shuddering flare of magical heat. He noted Regongar had an odd expression as well, but Jamandi's adopted son first. "Kessil, is something bothering you?"

    "Sorry," He replied, "Choral the conqueror managed to win his crown with the red dragons by his side. Brevoy has been called dragon touched ever since."

    Eire nodded, "Well while Red Dragons are quite large, even from birth, it will be quite some time before this one gets to the size described in Choral's legend." and that had just been a pair of adult reds.

    "Aye, and those were just small fry. The Sixth King of the Mountains is an even greater beast than those of Choral." Harrim grunted to make the same point.

    Perlivash buzzed up and away, a few times, from the egg his shiny sparkling wings awwing the kobolds for a moment as the faerie dragon zipped around the egg, and then flew to Eire's other side. The faerie dragon wasn't the only one of his kind in the Stolen lands, not that Perlivash called it that, but beyond faerie creatures he knew that there were several silvers living in the east... with occasional whites from farther east still.

    Jaethal made an exasperated snort, "Of course, we're surrounded by dragons on all sides," She muttered at news of a Black and numerous wyverns to the west, and other dragons to the south as well." It would be something for another time though.

    "So its not hatching today?" Linzi asked sounding a bit put out.

    There was an exchange of looks, "No. I'd say that while it would be soon, it could be the end of the month." Eire paused returning his magically augmented sight to the egg's 'incubator', "The solstice would be my guess."

    "Praise Sarenrae," Tristan declared with rigid pious conviction.
    --
    The egg situation however had forced a change in plans, and a general consensus had emerged by the twelfth that while they needed to undertake the census there was enough baronial business at hand to warrant staying here, and thus not leaving the egg unattended... in the off chance it did hatch early. "I want you to be careful. Perlivash, and Tyger can show you around, stay north of the river, and if you do cross I would prefer you keep your ranging within a days hard ride." They would have horses that had been one of the first things he had seen to.

    The plan per se had not changed much. Valerie would lead a party of Octavia, Regongar, and Tristan to explore to the west, or more correctly the south west. The east sellen river ran through a series of marches and swamps known locally as the Hooktongue slough, and given its potential trade value meant it had been the area Drelev had been settled in. The objective was to find any fordable southern passages of the river, but it was a ranging mission, which was why he wasn't particularly concerned about the relative lack of magical oomph ... that and there were other matters.

    Valerie bowed somewhat more dramatically than necessary, "We will not fail." SHe declared solemnly.

    ... among them the allowance presented... to accord opportunity to them all to distinguish themselves. Their departure from the hall left the others, and he nodded. "Without an accurate accounting of the borders and natural resources it will be difficult to administer the realm. I will not formally declare the barony and the capital for another few months," Part of that was political maneuvering and symbolism "but there will need to be a number of institutions established here," and in the immediate attendant lands around the capital. The truth was that the 'Stolen Lands' had small local communities , but there had been a larger regional government... just villages, and hamlets, no tribal associations just small farmsteads and scatterings. That was going to change with the influx of people from Restov... already was changing. "Brevoy has not mapped the land in living memory, that will need to be corrected." He rested his hands on the table, "We will spread south of the tuskwater, perhaps next year, but for the time being our priority are the lands north of the Gudrin's banks, and those north of the Skunk river," which made their western frontier seventy miles at least north to south, and their immediate southern frontier not much different, "Once we have settled we can focus on the entierty of the charter, but I want the natural barriers known." He unfolded the map, and looked from Linzi, to Harrim, and Jaethal each in term, cognizant of Kessil's absence from this assembly. "Drelev is to the west of us, and beyond him is Pitax. We have time to settle in, but inevitably I expect that we will be at war."

    "War is inevitable." Harrim lamented with a shrug, "it cant be helped," to Amiri's more cheerful response at the prospect of battle.

    "Thank you Amiri, which brings us to the other concern besides whatever scheme Tartuccio was involved in. Jamandi dispatched four groups. I hope to ally with Maegar Varn, and hopefully through him cement ties with Brevoy by trade with his father and others," Which was at best still an optimistic plan, "But Jamandi dispatched fourth expedition, one into the glennborn highlands, we've heard nothing from the Iron Wraiths, and that concerns me. Once we've secured the western frontier we'll start exploring over the west, and into the north, into the Glenebon uplands, and the Greenbelt... if we can find some answer that might help us. To that extent while Kesten will be captain of the guard, I would like you to take up a somewhat more proactive position, as Marshal." General. Appointing Jaethal to spy master was something of a concession so that she wasn't Chief Justice in a fledgling domain instituting a jury based trial system for non felonious offenses. Even that was a compromise from his original plan to have trial by jury in general. "Harrim I would like to serve as High Priest."

    The dwarf straightened, and then rubbed the top of his head, "Really?" At confirmation that settled that. The beginning of a council. Steward and Chancellor would have to remain vacant for now... but it was a start.

    He unfolded a calendar. It was drawn up by the Iomedaen Church with the holidays to the Inheritor marked. "We have a few months until Shrikewall is formally opened. In that time the infrastructure, and institutions to rule need to be established, or at least their foundations laid. Much of those institutions were modelled on England, but he had been planning them for some time to emulate that to some degree. Baron was such an awkward title, Count would have been much more accurate given the territorial expanse recognized by the charter... and that would probably be what he moved to Narhold, or Narland. Not all the colonists were from Brevoy though, and for the time being baron would suffice until they had secured a real presence... rather than an ephemeral one.

    It would have been so much easier to be able to use terms like royal prerogative. One of the areas he did not intend to emulate medieval England was the introduction of much later, early modern, ideas regarding economics and agriculture. That outlined was what to be ...even though he couldn't call it such, a royal factory on the river, and a royal estate for farming outside the town. Wool, and linen were the cloth materials common, cotton would have as he had learned have to be imported from among other possible countries katapesh... and that wasn't feasible. The factory would be geared towards providing cheap easily available clothes to citizens by among other 18th century inventions from earth the shuttle fly, water frame, and jenny, while tool makers would also be aimed at manufacturing horse pulled seeders, and other advances for the royal farm to supply royal granaries. It was vaguely monopolistic certainly capitalist but but he was hoping that it would provide both a security cushion, incomes perhaps even encourage diversification of agriculture for more market oriented pursuits as landed gentry hopefully emerged... that would take years.
    --
    Commentary: Ok so in regards to my usual updates , I'm probably not going to be following my usual update schedule for the rest of the month. And, so without making statements that I might have to change suffice to say that some of the regular days will be updated like normal, others I'll just post whatever, and that will probably effect at the very least this week, and next.

    So on to Archon's Curse, which is the translated title. The following few chapters will be a mix of 'side quests' and preparing for empire building before we contend with the matter of Troll Trouble, however I do want to make clear that I will be largely hedging towards (despite the presence of the game characters and their stories) events and backstory of the Adventure Pack. Not entirely as there will be some things, and I will use other PNP sources. The reason I'm updating this today, is because I've ten thousand words / two chapters backed up and it'll be easy for me to post this. If there is any weakness its because in the original draft I was going to time skip forward until Baronation, and I decided not to do that.
     
  29. NPC

    NPC Getting sticky.

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    Can't believe I missed this. Happy to see someone take up a Kingmaker project, tailor made setting for kingdom building.
     
  30. Threadmarks: Saraenith 4710
    Imperator Pax

    Imperator Pax Talon Master

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    Saraenith 4710
    Work continued apace on the avaricious projects in what was to be the Barony. Linzi wanted a printing press, which fit nicely into his own desires. He hadn't immediately considered it immediately useful, and thus it hadn't been a priority item, but there was little point in refusing the idea once suggested.... but they were hardly going to just stumble across one.

    He had spent most of the morning prodding Kessil about his neighbors. The half orc had no knowledge of the Iron Wraiths, developments on their situation, but he had been able to speak about the Tiger tribe of the kellids in the area to a limited capacity. He'd filled in some details about Drelev, and some of the nobility that formed Drelevs court which was certainly more useful. Kessil had been able to speak about Varn at length, "Once we have things settled I hope to open more regular trade and connections to the east." He replied as Jamandi's heir finished. "Of course," and it was roughly seventy something miles from shores of the Tuskwater to Olegs, "Oleg's is another matter as well. Holding the Narlands will mean building roads." If admittedly not necessarily this year, then in the future.

    He had been preparing to continue when an excitable faerie dragon, the recognizable form of Perlivash, and Tyg flew through the open all door ahead of presumably the returning others. They were early... very early it had only been a few days and he had expected them to need at least a week or more before they returned with their news even with horses.

    Regongar was manhandling a big man away from his half dozen friends all of whom seemed surly but not quite violent. The most likely explanation was that the other party whom Valerie and Octavia were both attempting to keep away. He heard a small voice shout something about two hundred years and 'prime of their lives.

    "Explain yourselves." Jaethal demanded looming from the left side of the not quite a throne, but the order and her impressive trick of coming out of the shadows silenced the ranting nixie.

    "My lord baron." Valerie greeted.

    The big man Regongar was wrestling with stopped resisting, and the half orc let him go as soon as he stopped trying to get loose. One of his companions was introduced as Corax, a ranger, and local lumberjack... all seven men were lumberjacks... but Corax ran the show for their not quite a guild. Perlivash grimaced, and Tyg whispered something about the hated metal obviously referring to the man's cold iron hand axe...

    If he had been a king this would have been easy. The woods could easily have been declared royal property. .. but that wasn't a useful solution to this problem. The Nixie, Melianse had entreated Perlivash , and Tristan while not happy she had charmed two loggers already was more inclined to her side... if not to the extent of the faeries or to Octavia's extent.

    To another outburst about the trees Corax had cut down.

    "They're trees. Coachwood doesn't live much longer than two hundred years you drowned rat!" The ranger snapped back.

    "Enough." Eire snarled rising from the chair in a wave of oppressive heat. "You cut down some trees,"

    "Just to earn a living. Its not a crime."

    It would have been if they'd been under a royal warrant. He waved the man silent. "Mature trees. You," He turned to the Nixie "beguiled two of his loggers." The two loggers were fine. Melianse had been attempting to get Corax and the other loggers to leave the glade. That still wasn't acceptable. "Valerie, are there any other details I'm missing?"

    "No your grace, the course of events began a few days before we set out, but the faerie attempted to prevent the loggers by magic from harvesting in the glade, and when that failed, and the trees were felled restored to more direct means. When we arrived, Corax insulted Perlivash, and Tyg on the assumption that they were friends of Melianse, before they laid eyes on the rest of the party."

    "While I do recognize you should be left to ply your trade in peace, Corax, you have very certainly broken the peace." Melianse the Nixie stuck out her tongue at the man. "As have you." He added. "It takes two to dance after all."

    "Ooh I'm writing that down." Linzi muttered in a low voice.

    "I have a need for your quill Linzi." He declared, "Melianse claims the grievance of having her home despoiled, but has bewitched two of Corax's employees, who has in addition to logging given insult to friends of the court." He waved to the grig, and Faerie dragon. The two tiny faerie nodded in comical seriousness. "Corax you're a lumberjack by profession, trying to earn a living, your two employees will need to be ransomed."

    ... while hardly a conventional ransom Melianse the nixie would exchange the two loggers for replacement treets. She didn't care what kind of trees, just so long as they were replaced. 'For balance'. They could agree to those terms.

    "Linzi will record the extend of the Nixie Melianse's glade, and have it marked in the baronial records." He continued. "Corax once your men return to you I will have appropriate measures to contend with."

    "Whats that mean?"

    "You're a lumberjack, you and your men will be provided lodgings, I need lumber for the buildings here. There is a bridge that needs to be repaired as well." He stepped down from the dais, "so long as you can avoid breaching the peace, I think you will find no shortage of potential gainful employment. For the time being though until your men are returned and work found you will stay here. And once a new source of coachwood has been found for you you are not to enter Melianse glade again." The implied or else didn't need to actually be voiced. "Regongar if you wouldn't mind showing them to tap for beer and a meal."

    "Yeah sure thing." The half orc left with his new seven humans friends.

    "Is there anything else Valerie? Any other developments?"

    "We spotted what looked like an abandoned, or ruined village in the distance from the watchtower on the bluff."

    "The stag lords work?"

    "No, I don't think so," She replied, with a shake of her head, "I'd guess it'd been abandoned for years, "There looked to be a single remaining cottage, or farm a ways a way but we road on rather than cross the river. We saw some signs of Kobolds," And at this she grimaced, " as well, the skunk river has a southern ford with tall hills on either side of it. It would say its eight ten miles perhaps from here."

    "Excellent." That was good news... the kobold news not so much, but the crossing was the entire point of the expedition. "Did you locate one in the west?"

    Her face fell, "No, we were distracted by the dispute before we could find one."

    "We returned to seek arbitration for the dispute before it could turn to bloodshed," Tristan declared.

    The nixie's glade was an excellent example of the sort of reason, why it was probably hard to forge a kingdom out of the stolen lands, "I think we can expect o have to moderate more of these disputes in the future." and with high summer's approach he had been considering having to contend with holidays, and the likelihood of greater interaction with Erastil among the peasants as villages and later towns developed... and that would require arbitration such as this. "This more than anything, this is an exemplary reason for riding the core of the domain. A census is necessary."
    --
    As high summer approached things continued to take shape. It was 'Friday' now and they had gathered for a communal luncheon of fish, but even the meal did not stop, or even really slow down the business of raising a kingdom to be. Among the items that the two kobolds had brought... besides the moon radishes which had been given to Bokken who had promised to share them with Oleg... had been a litany... well largely junk dating back to the Taldan era when the mine had been active.

    The silver mine was interesting, as at some point they were going to have to start minting their own currency. He'd carefully weighed coins, and the typical silver piece was about a third of ounce, he hadn't found a way of counting the exact purity... but that admittedly wasn't a priority. What he had planned for was a sketch of a copper penny that could be stamped out by a water powered hammer with a hole in the center so it could be strung. The gap in the middle make it slightly larger than a copper 'bit' piece minted in Brevoy but it would be distinct and could be possible to make cash bundles of ten and a hundred piece easily. A different stamping would be used to mint silver and gold pieces but those sketches were solid coins without the loop.

    "The Taldan records will need to be copied, but they do confirm sources of gold found in the north east," In this case relative to Old Scyamore's mine. "No more than twelve miles," and most likely there were other mines that could be found. Bokken had mentioned gold in the hills, and people occasionally finding nuggets suggesting mining by pan was possible. "What is of further interest is the ruins in general of Taldan settlement throughout the lands." Eire paused and looked around the table, "We need a steward, someone to handle financial policy, but that will be separate from any exploration of what came before."

    Harrim shuffled his feet under his own chair, and gripped his beard, "I'd like to be present for any dwarven ruins left."

    "Of course," Eire replied reflexively. "I had heard that there was a trade road built by the Five Kings Mountain that goes through here."

    The dwarf coughed a couple times, "I had heard that as well." He replied, trailing off for a couple minutes talking about the flow of time, and the disappearance of those dwarves. "Thank you."
    --
    Notes: I am to an extent utilizing pen and paper (pathfinder 1E) Kingdom making rules, but with some modifications, and some of that is historical, while some of it, is well 'fuck it its convenient' to use use CK2 and CK3 terms and systems, but we will get into that more towards the end of the year (4710AR). I know I've mentioned that in the misc thread, but reiterating it here.

    Most of the rest of the year is written out, and as far as outline sketches go the timeline is plotted out in terms of major events for the next decade. So to that extent, much like AoE, in the Alt History thread I can be reasonably sure to have this as a standard update for the next couple months with what I have finished so far. There will be a time skip to Spring, the planting season, 4711 but that was always planned.
     
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