Kingmaker

Arrival at Oleg's

Petru, Nikolai, Alara, Featherbark, and Kaz arrived at Oleg’s to learn that he and his wife, Svetlana, have been under the thumb of a vicious bandit gang. Oleg had sent for a guard detachment from Restov, but it was at least a few more days away. The PCs quickly offered assistance and decided to ambush the bandits the next morning when they came for their monthly “taxes”.

The ambush went perfectly, and a bandit Sgt. named Happs Bydon was captured. In return for a fighting chance (heh), he revealed the location of the bandit camp, as well as the name of his superior – a cruel and wily woman named Kressle. Nikolai then made quick work of Happs in a boxing match, and Kaz executed the bandit on the spot.

The PCs found a message board at the trading post with a number of quests available; and took them all. Oleg also mentioned Kressle had taken Svetlana’s wedding ring and that he would extend them 1000 GP in store credit if they could find and return it.

Realizing that the other bandits would be expecting Happs to return soon, the PCs set out immediately to find and defeat Kressle and her gang. They elected to travel straight to the camp without exploring the intervening terrain, taking a little more than a day, and so found the camp with little effort. Kaz provoked their leader into charging him, killed her with one amazing bow-shot, and routed the rest of the gang. Kaz then tracked and captured one of the bandits who the PCs then interrogated. They learned that the bandits of the Greenbelt were being led by a huge man calling himself the “Stag Lord”, so named for the horned skull helm he always wears. The Stag lord apparently has a fort to the south at a river crossing. Petru suggested that the PC may be able to use the two amulets they’d recovered from bandit leaders to infiltrate the fort, a plan that may yet prove useful.

Oleg, pleased to hear his bandit troubles had abated, granted the PCs free room and board at the trading post for as long as they like, as well as a 15% discount on all goods when they agreed to turn over non-essential spoils from their adventures to his store.

The guards arrived form Restov in the form of a taciturn Nobleman named Kesten Garess (Male Human Ftr 3) and his three men. Nikolai learned that Kesten is dissatisfied with his posting, but also is seeking a fugitive and is willing to give the PCs masterwork weapons for their assistance.

A day later, a borderline defrocked priest of Erastil arrived and set up residence at the trading post.Johd (Male Human Cleric 4) told the PCs that he believed there to be an ancient temple to erastil somewhere in the wilderness guarded by a cursed bear. He wanted the PCs to defeat the bear and help him cleanse the temple. For doing this, he offered free spellcasting services for life.

For the next few weeks, the PCs explored the miles around Oleg’s Trading Post. They encountered a number of interesting wildlife, as well as some useful items and locations, completing a number of the quests obtained at Oleg’s. They met Bokken, the crazy potion-making hermit. Eventually, they discovered the Temple of the Elk and it’s crazed urisne guardian. Upon it’s defeat, the bear gave a sigh of relief and transformed into an aged human man before turning to dust and blowing away. The temple immediately became more vibrant and inviting, and once the PCs had Johd sanctify it, the Temple of the Elk was once again a holy site. Perhaps someday it can be the foundation of a community.

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Exploring the Greenbelt

Upon returning from the Temple of the Elk with Father Johd, the heroes took a few weeks of downtime. Trading, buying, and selling was taken care of, as well as a number of improvements to Oleg’s. Alara used the time to teach Featherbark a number of new tricks, and Petru ordered an Alchemist’s crafting station.

Once the team was content with their preparations, they supplied themselves and set forth once again into the Greenbelt. They met and befriended the two faeries that had been plaguing them. They discovered and slew two Tatzlwyrms and one very angry Tuskgutter (mmm Head Cheese). They found Nettle’s crossing and accepted the undead keeper’s request of the Stag Lord’s body. A number of other interesting things were discovered, among them another monument to Erastil.

A gnarled old sycamore standing sentinel among the hills of the Kamelands revealed itself to be atop the lair of a tribe of Mites; hateful little blue fey (essentially anti-gnomes) who are at war with the local Kobolds. The heroes went through the tribe like a hot sword through head cheese, only having difficulty with the chief — though in honesty it was the giant tick that posed the threat. Discovered within the lair was also a Kobold captive, from whom the heroes learned of the Sootscale Tribe’s location and current Shaman troubles.

The heroes agreed to meet with Chief Sootscale and see what aid they could render. In their meeting with the Kobold chieftain (all hail King Torg) they learned of a power struggle with the tribe’s Shaman, a mean purple Kobold named Tartuk. The PCs agreed to face Tartuk in return for a peace deal with the Sootscales, and their promise to lay off innocent travellers.

The confrontation with Tartuk was swift and brutal, but the heroes (mainly through the pummeling applied by Nikolai and Featherbark) slew the Kobold Sorcerer. In his possessions, they discovered Svetlana’s wedding ring, which they were excited to return to it’s rightful owners. They also discovered a journal with a scroll of Fly hidden in its pages, but it will require magic or study to read the contents.

Upon returning to Olegs, the heroes reported their myriad successes and received a great amount of accolades and rewards. Also awaiting was an official imperative from Restov to deal with the Stag Lord once and for all; the reward for which is to be exclusive rights to establish and administer an official settlement in the Greenbelt.

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Fall of the Stag Lord

The heroes set about exploring further south into the Kamelands, in order to be sure of the area surrounding the Stag Lord’s fort. They came across a Gnome caravan in trouble, and helped rescure their wagon of supplies from a river. The Northropple expedition hosted the heroes as guests that night, and traded information on locations throughout the greenbelt. A valuable new ally was likely gained for the future.

Eventually, (after a harrowing shared nightmare involving a Winter Wolf named “Howl of the North Wind”) The time had come to essay the Stag Lord’s fort. A short scouting mission revealed a secret entrance, but the heroes were discovered and forced to attempt to bluff their way inside. This failed spectacularly, and the heroes ended up having to set up a distraction and making their way back to the secret entrance.

Once inside, battle was joined almost at once. A number of bandits and their leaders set upon the heroes, and were dispatched without too much fuss. The Stag Lord himself made an appearance and attempted to assassinate Nikolai, but was incapacitated, knocked off a wall, and stabbed in the face. Shortly thereafter, an enraged Owlbear that had been kept captive in the fort attacked, and had to be put down. Toward the end of the fight, one of the bandit leaders, Akiros, switched sides and began to fight alongside the heroes.

After the battle Akiros told of a crazy old man who was kept in the cellar, and so the heroes descended to investigate. They were attacked by a lunatic Druid in the form of a wolverine, along with his summoned minions. After this battle, the fort was secured, looted, and inventoried. Akiros was offered the chance to atone for his life as a bandit, and was placed on a kind of probation under the care of Johd.

The Stag Lord’s body was thrown into the river and claimed by the spirit of Davik Nettles, who kept his word and left behind a magic ranseur as payment.

A few days after returning to Oleg’s, a missive arrived from Restov granting the heroes the right to establish a Kingdom in the Stolen Lands, and administer it as they saw fit. They were also granted a substantial amount of funds to jump start their endeavor.

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Shrikewall Rises

A year passes, filled with industry and striving. Thousands of settlers, craftspeople, and more throng to the fledgeling nation being created in the Greenbelt. The capitol of this new kingdom is the frontier city of Shrikewall, built around the old Stag Lord’s fort (now a mighty castle). The heroes of the Greenbelt are now the rulers of a Kingdom of hard-working and determined frontiersmen, and their first year was fraught with challenges as well as rewards.

The most notable event (or series of events) in Shrikewall’s early days was the reign of terror brought on by the bloody work of the Shrikewall Slasher (or Slayer, or Stalker, or any number of colorful epithets. Shrikewall lacks a dedicated news concern to label such things). The Slasher took a total of ten victims over the course of several months, making a mockery of the authorities and sewing fear throughout the populace.

When the culprit was finally apprehended, it turned out to have been a deranged innkeeper who cultivated and groomed his victims before ritualistically pinioning them to walls and floors where he could watch them suffer and die for hours. The man, who’s name has been struck from all records, was hanged from the city wall (of which there was one).

Once the terror of the Slasher was past, Shrikewall recovered quickly. The leadership began to explore their new territory, and returned to their adventuring ways.

They rescued a young lad from torture by Lizardfolk, in the process assuring a peaceful relationship with their cold-blooded neighbors.

They discovered and apprehended a hapless Kellid tribesman, who unbeknownst to him, was a ravening Werewolf. Upon curing him, the Heroes debated his fate and decided that it was in the nature of their nation to provide opportunities for redemption through service. The former lycanthrope was turned over to Akiros, who has taken the man’s rehabilitation to heart.

Now a new day dawns over the kingdom. Where will the Heroes turn their keen blades next?

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A Kingdom won with blood sweat and tears, though mostly blood...

Hard times descended upon Shrikewall and its environs. Its leader, the brash young noble Nikolai, was slain in battle. Petru took up the mantle of leadership, but the land was truly shaken by the event. An organized force of militant trolls began harrying the populace beyond the city’s protection, and the leaders of Erastland (with the help of a new Dwarven companion) set out to curb the threat. On the way, they encountered an Elven keep from before the time of Earthfall, haunted by a trio of evil Fae creatures. After a harrowing and drawn-out battle, the heroes emerged victorious; but at great cost. Petru was killed by the villainous fae and upon hearing the news the kingdom slipped into even more turmoil.

A reincarnation spell was acquired and Petru was returned to life, albeit in the body of a half orc. At about this time, Petru’s mother arrived with the remnants of their household from Ustalav and assumed the role of Regent.

Once again the heroes set forth to confront the trolls, this time encountering a Dryad in need of rescuing and a Nixie/Lumberjack standoff. These situations were settled and the kingdom obtained a few much-needed allies. In a rather surprising turn of events, the heroes encountered a fabled Hodag and managed to slay the beast. Somewhere in Shrikewall a much-maligned lumberjack is having the last laugh.

At last the heroes discovered the Troll lair, deep wthin an ancient dwarven outpost. The trolls proved formidable, however. The Dwarf Balgrif met his end at the claws of a horrific ettin/troll halfbreed. The heroes were forced to leave and regroup, hiring the assistance of the half-elven fighter Kyranos, and an Aasimar paladin of Erastil named Danya. At last the heroes defeated the troll leader Hurgalka, though at the cost of the paladin’s life, and the threat to shrikewall was ended… or so it seemed until their return home.

Upon returning, the leaders of Erastland found their capital in ruins, the apparent victim of a giant rampaging owlbear. With the future of the nascent kingdom hanging by a thread, the heroes reincarneted Danya as a half-elf and set forth immediately to find and slay the owlbear.

A swift and vicious fight followed, but the monster fell and the heroes survived – for once without casualty – to return victoriously home, though not before discovering the fact that the owlbear seemed to have been set against shrikewall intentionally…

With these threats eliminated and a new inspiring leader in charge (the Paladin Danya assumed command and reorganized Erastland into a Theocracy) the land saw a year of nearly uninterrupted prosperity and expansion. The town of Tazylford was founded and flourished. A bard, seemingly hired by some outside force intent on disrupting the heroes efforts, was discovered and routed. A cult of Gyronna was found and eradicated.

Now only a few more miles of countryside need exploring before the leaders of Erastland can truly focus on creating the kingdom they desire.

Troubling whispers have begun to reach their ears, however; all commerce and communication with the town of Varnhold (created by another group of Brevoy-backed adventureres in the east) has ceased, and people are becoming concerned…

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The Trouble With Worgs
How to succeed at dying without really trying

Kaz, Petru, Danya, and Elara finished exploring the entirety of the Greenbelt — at a terrible cost. A midnight attack by a massive pack of Worgs laid the leaders of Erastland low.

The kingdom’s coffers were tapped to reincarnate their fallen heroes, but only two – Petru and Kaz – heeded the call and returned to the land of the living. Elara and Danya journeyed on to Pharasma’s Spire and their final rewards.

As the kingdom mourned, an unexpected visit from a friend thought long dead brought new hope to the beleaguered leadership: Nikolai Surtova, dour-faced and bearing an enchanted Black Blade, returned to the lands of his demise to deliver a message from Restov.

The settlement of Varnhold has gone silent, and with Issia casting suspicious glances at southern Brevoy and the threat of civil war ever looming, the Swordlords cannot afford to be seen giving aid to Varnhold. As such, they’ve asked the Leaders of Erastland to discover the settlement’s fate.

A bit more than a year later, Erastland’s borders have expanded significantly, along with its prosperity. From this position of strength, Petru, Kaz, Nikolai, and their new friend (and General) Marta set forth to investigate the Varnhold Vanishing.

At Varnhold, they discovered the entire populace missing, their homes ransacked, livestock abandoned, and a single word carved on a door: “Nomen”. There is a centaur clan nearby that goes by this name, and their relationship with the humans of Varnhold was far from friendly.

In addition, a visiting scholar was studying an ancient jade bracelet that seemed to him to have some connection to the Centaurs and to some powerful being named Vordakai.

If that was not enough, it seems that Varnhold has recently become the home base of a clan of Spriggans; another group who have a feud with the Nomen Centaurs, and who may well have stolen a powerful magic bow from them.

The heroes stand at the gates of Varnhold’s fort, pondering the thin line of smoke that indicated this place is not as abandoned as they’d thought…

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