The next two months were upon the party! It began with Elysia the Half-Elf Ranger receiving word from some of her guards that a local farmer had come across a stash of ancient tablets on his property. Though he did not wish to profit from them, he also claimed that he would not hand them over to the kingdom until they had a proper building for their storage, upkeep, and display– a museum for the people’s access. After Elysia brought the issue to the council, Eneko the Human Bard/Cavalier tossed out the idea of simply confiscating it– this idea was chewed over for a bit, before being shot down by most of the council.
Some more construction, the claiming and improvement of land, and Tolemac continued to grow at a lovely rate! With the reduction of consumption and a careful management of Promotion, Taxation, and Holidays, the economy was boosted to such great heights that over the course of two months, the kingdom actually *made* money! At the end of the year of 4712, the council’s meeting held a discussion on the creation and maintenance of an undead army. Ever since the discovery of the zombie hillside, Gavriil and Noruas had been heavily invested in the idea of taking the worst of the worst criminals in their kingdom, and making them a part of an undead army for the defense of the nation. Unfortunately, not everyone was on board with this, General Davik Azazeal and Councilor Eleo Masim being among the chief opponents. Magister Arkanus Taklo on the other hand sided heavily with the Spymaster and Grand Diplomat, wishing for the formation of such a force. Warden Jamandi Aldori fell on the same side of the argument, claiming that it would be an extra deterrent to criminals.
In the end, a compromise was reached– the undead would not be used in a defensive army, as they may prove too costly to maintain discipline over; however, they will make a fine workforce, giving productive afterlives to the criminals who squandered their first.
Things went well for the kingdom after that…up until the end of the month of Abadius. Reports began to come in from the latest plot of land that the kingdom had claimed, that a group of trolls had been attacking the loggers working in the area! The council again debated upon their best move– the two ideas being batted back and forth seemed to be if the party of Eneko, Elysia, Gavriil the Human Arcanist and Noruas the Human Gunslinger wished to go forth and do battle with these trolls to drive them out of their land; or if justice would be swifter should Elysia ride with the members of her minimally-trained border patrol to take on the monstrous menace.
Ultimately, it was determined that the majority of the party– Eneko, Gavriil, and Noruas– did not wish to return to the field quite yet, and so Elysia gathered members of her border patrol and rode the three day journey to the logging site in order to do battle. Mechanically, the group had decided to handle this on the kingdom level– instead of going out as a party to fight the trolls, they’d make the Stability check to attempt to resolve the Monster Attack event that they had rolled. The check was made by Elysia, who decided that in-character, she’d be riding with her patrol– after all, she used to be a member of the monster-hunting White Wolves (whose services the council declined to employ in this matter), and was particularly skilled in combating such Magical Beasts! This made it all the more disastrous when Elysia’s player rolled a natural one on the Stability check to resolve the event– resulting in the border patrol being torn apart by the trio of beasts, with just Elysia escaping back to the capital of Elbat Dnuor!
The failed Stability check resulted in a great disruption to the PC’s kingdom– suddenly, for the first time ever they had Unrest, and four of it at that! This failure of the border patrol was enough to spur the party into action– they would not wait another month for a different group of guards to try and oust the trolls from their land! Saddling up, the entire group rode out the following day, having supplied for their task with Alchemist’s Fire and flasks of Acid. When the group arrived in the forest, they tracked the trolls through the underbrush for a good deal of time. After resting a night in the woods, Elysia continued to lead the party towards the trolls, and about mid-day they began hearing the sounds of screaming! Approaching at a rapid pace, the group was met with the sight of three trolls surrounding a wounded man and a frightened lady, dressed in traveler’s garb and clearly no match for their foes. Without further delay, the party jumped into action!
Eneko began to inspire his party as Elysia fired off some magical fiery arrows into the nearest troll. Noruas unloaded both barrels of her double-barreled musket into the creature, reloading quickly and firing at the troll again while Gavriil finished the creature off with a Scorching Ray. With one down, the two travelers made haste in escaping out of the troll’s clutches, running past the party and shouting their thanks. The two trolls, now alerted to the presence of interlopers, roared and charged at the group! Elysia took a bite to the shoulder, while Eneko atop his horse barely avoided the swipe of a claw! Noruas backpedaled while reloading, Gavriil blasting more and more arcane fire at the creatures. Eneko spent his next turn granting the party the Escape Route Teamwork Feat, allowing them to back away from the trolls without provoking Attacks of Opportunity. Elysia tossed out a flask of Alchemist’s Fire to splash onto the two trolls, ceasing their regenerative properties, while Noruas let loose once more to fell the second troll– though not before it had a chance to flail some more at Eneko.
Though things had been going stiffly in the party’s favor, it just goes to show that even the best laid plans can go awry– the final troll began to close in upon the wounded Elysia, who was by now hurt badly. In a desperate attempt to save the Ranger, Gavriil fired out another Scorching Ray– missing the troll and setting a nearby bush on fire. Having not yet had his fill of heroics, Gavriil was determined to save his friend, and he rushed forward in an attempt to draw the troll’s attention away from Elysia!
Gavriil’s distraction was a huge success…in that it drew the troll’s attention completely away from Elysia, and wholly onto the Arcanist. This proved to be highly unfortunate however…as the troll was able to land a bite and both claw attacks upon the man– the first time that a troll had managed to make more than one attack land, and the final Claw attack was a critical too! When the damage had been tallied, from the bite and claw, the critical claw, and the rending damage from both claws connecting, Gavriil had taken forty damage– putting him at -13 hit points, three past his death threshold. With a final gasp of breath, Gavriil spoke to his friends…. “Patience, I love you….Elysia, forgive the Grigs!”
Tolemac, Month Nine:
Size: 9 Cities: 1 Control DC: 30
Loyalty: 23 Stability: 21 Economy: 24
Unrest: 4 BP: 46 Consumption: 0
The Silver Knight Inn; House Lodovka’s Noble Villa; House Medvyed’s Noble Villa; Maeryl Joris’s Noble Villa (wealthy merchant from previous kingdom event); Shrine to Nethys; Shrine to Erastil; Grove to the Green Faith (shrine); Shrine to Gorum; Shrine to Brigh; Observatory dedicated to Desna; Aldori Fencing School (Exotic Artisan’s Building); Library; two housing districts.
PLAYERS, DO NOT READ!
What excitement– another example of how a simple kingdom event can result in great story potential! I admit that I was really happy about the failed Stability roll for the kingdom to deal with the trolls– this marked the first time that they failed to do something on the kingdom level, and failure can make for some pretty awesome stories. The event itself was pretty cool– a Monster Attack event, roll a d4 and the creature would be of a CR equal to the average party level (four, but about to be five after the next session) plus the die. This got me a seven, and checking the random encounter tables for the Stolen Lands….1d4 trolls were equal to a CR7 challenge! Another d4 later, and they were faced with three trolls.
When Elysia’s border patrol catastrophically failed to take care of the threat, this threw the party’s kingdom plans into whack– since the formation of the kingdom, figuring out how many BP they would start with and what strings they had attached to it, the party has had a document laying out what hexes they would claim, terrain they would improve, and buildings they would construct, month by month, for the first year and a half. It seems to be working for them– they know what they want, and continued to build it each month– but for me, it would be horribly boring to simply read off the list to the GM for him to make the required changes to the map and kingdom sheet. But…different things for different people I suppose!
With unrest at four, the kingdom is now taking penalties to their checks– while Economy will be fine, their Stability and Loyalty are suffering a bit. If the group finishes off the last troll at the beginning of this next session, as I believe they will, that will resolve the event and stop the need for another Stability check to halt it at the next kingdom turn. This is fortunate– especially when considering that the Grand Diplomat, who adds to Stability, is currently dead!
Speaking of currently dead….this is the first PC that I have killed as a GM. I feel a little bad about it…but not too bad. Death is an interesting event, and because it doesn’t have to be permanent in the game, it takes a spot as ‘difficult side-bump in the plot.’ The current party plan is to have Elysia or Noruas to ride Gavriil’s body quickly to Elbat Dnuor, where they will have Arkanus cast Gentle Repose upon his corpse. From there, they will take the body north-east into Restov, where they will be able to pay a Cleric to Raise Gavriil back to life. If all goes well, he may be able to return in time to perform his end-of-month duties in the kingdom!
Which brings up another question for me– I looked briefly at the rules but nothing jumped out at me. Does anyone happen to know, if a character in a leadership role dies, does the position go vacant? If that character is Raised before the next kingdom turn, and is able to spend the required week of time performing their duties, will there be a vacancy penalty? For the moment, I’m going to work off the assumption that if the character is raised and still has enough time to fulfill duties, no vacancy penalty would be applied, but I’m also of the mind that there should be some kind of penalty for a leader’s death– if nothing else, perhaps unrest would increase by one? Any thoughts on the subject would be appreciated!