Kingmaker

Can't See the Tree Through the Forest

The following morning, the survey of the Narlmarches began anew. There were still many dangers lurking in the woods that threatened Zeltennia and impeded her expansion. The morning drew on and turned into afternoon. One tree started to look like all the rest, and soon they all blended together. The stagnant air was stifling.

Sometime during the afternoon, probably the afternoon anyway (the forest was so thick it was hard to tell what time of day it was), finally some relief. Syrio heard the rustling of the breeze making its way through the leaves. Then suddenly the rustling turned into a whoosh followed by the tearing of fabric and the agonizing scream of Anera.

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"Ghosts" of an Age Past

The kingdom of Zeltennia prospered. For once the heroes had time to work on developing their kingdom into the bastion of light and learning they had envisioned. The external threats to peace had all but disappeared, or at least had taken a holiday. And with the erection of the final wall surrounding the city, the residents felt a sense of security not often found in the River Kingdoms.

An academy and library of learning sprung up, overseen by the brilliant, if erratic, Walter White. Students from all around, both rich and poor for everyone is welcome, enrolled to learn the secrets of the arcane. Many of the pupils would never amount to more than household mages, but that was okay by Ilieo. He had seen the effects of even the smallest amount of magic can have on a society. That is not to say the academy would not generate a great mage or two. Jericho Firestorm (a self-serving name if ever there was one) and Brevyre Shortcloak (as short as the name implies) come to mind.

Not only was this institution a glorious achievement towards a greater Zeltennia, it was a boon to the local economy. Having such a ready supply of spells to be used in the creation of wondrous items and magical wares led to the establishment of Anorelda’s Arcane Artifacts, a simple if pretentiously named, magic shop. Run by the shrewd Anorelda MacCalbert. The only thing more shrewd than her business savvy was the shrewdish look of her face. People came from miles around to view and purchase her goods. Swords, wands, staves, items of an even stranger nature the likes of which had not been seen in these parts for centuries.

While certainly not overwhelming in number, the travelers needed someplace to stay, and thus, the Crimson Palace and adjoining tavern the Crimson Valant were built. Established and run by a remarkably attractive half-orc bard named Galvan Harthak the Crimson Valant (yes, he named the tavern after himself), the Crimson Palace become an attraction in its own right. Modeled after the desert palaces of the far east and adorned with gaudy decor and furniture, Galvan made everyone feel like royalty without charging them a year’s wage. The Crimson Valant become a popular place to end a hard day’s work for both visitors and locals. Galvan’s ability to tell a tale of grand adventures, exciting intrigue and horrific dangers that were supposedly all true tales was preposterous but exciting to listen to nonetheless.

Some months passed, and the city grew and prospered. The magi rulers were not content to sit by and merely run a kingdom. Not when there was more world to discover, more power to gain. And so, the heroes set out once again in search of fame and glory. The Narlmarches were still largely unexplored, and given the forest’s proximity to Zeltennia, that became the first priority.

Several uneventful days into the forest, the group made a wondrous discovery. There, in the middle of the forest, was an ancient elven keep from an age long past. A simple, yet effective structure consisting of four towers surrounding a taller central tower, the keep was likely a simple outpost for a larger kingdom. A tribute to elven craftsmanship, the structure remained largely intact though not immune to the ravages of nature and her never ending quest for dominance. Vines snaked their way over the walls and up the towers creating the illusion that the keep had grown out of nature herself. Oddly, there were no sounds of local wildlife. It seemed as though they still feared the incursion of man on their home.

A quick pass of the perimeter revealed a couple crumbling sections of wall that would allow passage into the keep. A cursory look inside revealed an empty courtyard filled with rubble and overgrowth around a center, windowless tower. The group decided to enter through the front gate, a sort of reclamation if you will. Led by Kaifang, Ilieo’s trusted eidolon, it was not long before the dangers of a ancient keep presented themselves. Almost immediately upon crossing the threshold, the iron portcullis gave out and came crashing down, pinning Kaifang beneath it. The creature let out a terrible sounding yelp and vigorously began trying to free itself, but the gate was too heavy. After several failed attempts, the less than physically imposing group of wizards and sorcerers managed to lift the gate enough for Kaifang to wriggle free before it slammed back down. So much for reclamation.

The party made their way around the perimeter to one of the breaks in the wall. They entered the courtyard, albeit more cautiously this time, and headed towards one of the towers. The first tower they visited had a single door entering into it, but the door seemed to be much newer than the rest of the keep. Ilieo knocked and called out. No one answered. After listening at the door and hearing nothing, the group entered. What they found was surprising. It appeared to be the abode of some kind of small humanoid creature. The rubble from the collapsed ceiling had been cleared out and small furniture put in its place. No sooner than the group had taken this all in, Syrio cried out.

He had been stabbed! But no one was there beside him holding the bloody knife. They rushed out into the courtyard to confront the assailant but there was no one to be seen. Ze and Syrio scanned the area for any signatures of magic while Ileio muttered a quick incantation allowing him to see through magical invisitbility. Ze and Syrio got a hit, and Syrio quickly conjured a sticky web between one of the outer towers and the central tower in order to ensnare the hidden foe or at the least corral him into a smaller area. It worked and the next time Ze detected traces of magic it was inside the central tower. Ze rushed in.

A trap! Upon entering the tower, a noxious gas erupted from the walls. Fortunately, it did not seem to have any ill effect on the surprisingly stout oracle. Still no trace of the assailant. Ze ran up the stairs in search of him. Syrio made his way through the tower and out the other side while Ilieo and Kaifang made their way around opposite the web, and there! Finally some luck. Out of the corner of his eye, Ilieo saw it, a quickling. Quick as lightning, Ilieo fired two arrows that found their mark and Syrio covered the area in glitterdust thus rendering the fey’s innate invisibility useless. The quickling turned to flea. Kaifang pursued while Syrio, Anari and Ilieo attacked from afar, but the fey was too quick. Before long, it had escaped through a break in the wall and fled into the woods.

Meanwhile, Ze was in the fight of his life. Expecting a small agile foe he could stand toe-to-toe with, he encountered something much worse. The Dancing Lady as she will forever be known was waiting to lure a fresh meal into her writhing tentacles. Ze stopped in his tracks. Something about her movements, so alluring, so hypnotic made Ze hesitate. Until the creature lashed out with her tentacles seeking to entwine Ze in her clutches that is. Ze snapped from his haze, called upon a hidden power known only to him and battled back. Blows were traded back and forth, the creature unable to ensnare the elven combatant, Ze unable to cut through the Lady’s innate magical defenses. Things looked grim for Ze until he thought he heard footsteps ascending the stone stairs.

Up the steps bounded Syrio and Anari, but there they stopped, ensnared by the Dancing Lady’s hypnotic movements. Even in battle her grace and elegance were captivating. Ze called out to his friends, yelling for their attention, warning them of the Lady’s hold but to no avail. Ze cried out in rage and frustration at the vile temptress’s hold on his friends and began his attack anew. Moments later, Ilieo and Kaifang joined the fray or rather presented the Lady with yet another meal.

Unable to take down the stout elf (“He must have some dwarven in him,” she thought), she moved towards an easier target. Anari, completely entranced by her movements, was an easy target. Her tentacles writhed along the floor, up one leg and around the other, wrapping both arms tight against his body. Anari could feel each breath becoming shorter and gasped in futility for more air that would not come. With her prey firmly in grasp, her carnal instincts took over, and she began to feast, draining the strength from the helpless elf within her clutches. Her hunger would be her undoing. Unable to focus on maintaining the mesmerizing grace she used to lure her prey in, the rest of the group snapped free from their trance and made short work of the Lady’s last meal.

The room in which the group now stood was remarkably well preserved, opulent even. An elegant four-post bed topped by a bearskin throw stood at one wall along with an exquisitely made elven water clock opposite. Clearly someone of great importance once dwelt here. More incredible was the view. Windowless from the outside, high arching windows ringed the upper tier of the forty foot tall tower affording a view of the surrounding environs from every direction. Illusionary magic at its finest.

Not in any shape to continue their exploration, the group began making preparations to spend the night. They investigated the southwestern tower for any more unwanted guests and found only the rubble and detriment of the long collapsed ceiling. A quick once over of the rubble yielded nothing of worth. As he turned to leave, something caught Anari’s eye. There underneath a fallen support beam of now rotten oak, a metallic shine. Further examination revealed a mithral statue of exceptional craftmanship. A beautiful elven woman adorned in simple garments standing beneath an arch of leaves. How she avoided discovery for so long was anyone’s guess.

The northwest tower proved more difficult to get into. Seemingly barred from the other side, Ilieo attacked the door with ill-advised abandon using his cold iron sword. Once destroyed, the door opened into a more or less intact tower. Vines had overtaken the inside walls and had grown all the way into the highest reaches of the tower. A cursory glance revealed nothing of value or danger. Ilieo turned to leave and found his foot wrapped up in one of the vines. He knelt to remove it only to notice all the vines seemed to be moving. These were no ordinary vines. A maniacal laughter rang out from up above, but before he could even look up to see anything, Ilieo found himself entangled and yanked off his feet by the assassin’s vines.

The fey creature howled with laughter. Ilieo found no such amusement. He had dealt with enough fey to last the rest of his laugh. Gods help him if ever he comes across another. Syrio, Anari and Ze exchanged spells with the fey who had nowhere to run while Kaifang worked to free his master. After a short struggle, the vines hung limp against the wall and the fey lay dead on the ground. Good riddance.

Thankfully, the rest of the keep was abandoned. The party rested for the night, spent the remainder of their healing magics and slept.

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A Return to "Normalcy"

After an exhausting two months of dealing with unrest and evil cults, the heroes were looking to get back to the business of running their kingdom and exploring the wilds surrounding it. But alas, it was not meant to be. No sooner than they had recovered from their battle with the cult leader trouble in the kingdom arose again.

A report was brought before the heroes of a missing boy. The boy liked to explore the forest along the river just outside of town. It was not unusual for the boy to spend entire days out and about, but it had been a couple of days since he had been home. And this in and of itself was not so worrisome. He was, after all, a growing boy, so spending a couple days out in the woods was not wholly unexpected. The problem was that a forest drake had recently moved into the area and was terrorizing the citizenry. A search party needed to be formed immediately. Ilieo and the group set out at once.

Not far from town, the group stumbled across a group of wayward gnomes led by Jubilost Narthropple. A band of kobolds had attacked their caravan and spooked their ponies who found themselves stuck in the raging river. Thanks to the heroics of Ze, the caravan wagons and their ponies were saved. At dinner that night, Jubilost shared the tale of his company. They were wanderers, explorers. They spent their days mapping the unknown regions of the River Kingdoms. After a lovely evening and an uneventful night, Ilieo and his group set back out in search of the lost boy.

Once into the Narlmarches, it did not take long for the group to stumble upon more trouble, though nothing near as exciting as a caravan stuck in a raging river about to be swept away. The group found a lumber camp run by a man who went by Korlax, a man who had been having kind of a rough day. Korlax and his crew were in search of coachwood trees and they had recently found a glade with an abundant number of the trees. The problem was that this particular glade was filled with a number of ancient coachwoods and was inhabited by a group of fey who were very protective of their trees. The fey had spent the whole morning harassing the lumberjacks. Nothing serious. Tricks, illusions, a couple of lumberjacks ended up charmed and defending the fey. The group came upon the kerfuffle as it came to a head. The lumberjacks were ready to start attacking the fey and the fey were ready to start taking more drastic measures. Thanks to the silver tongue of Ze, and the help of the others, the group was able to learn of another copse of coachwoods and convinced Korlax to move his camp there instead despite it being further off the river. In exchange, Ilieo promised Korlax that the kingdom owed him a favor. After the lumber situation was resolved, the fey were asked if they knew anything about the lost boy, but unfortunately they had not seen him.

Onward the company of adventurers went. A couple of days passed and things were beginning to look bleak for the young boy until the group stumbled across the grove of a timid dryad. They found her near the edge of a beautiful, serene pond. She was seemingly distraught and did not even notice the group’s arrival. They approached her and asked her why she was upset. The dryad told them of an evil entity located in another part of the woods. It had taken the form of a large tree and was killing her kind all throughout the forest. Ilieo assured her that they would deal with the menace and asked her if she had seen the boy. She said that she had not seen him, but knew he was being held by a group of lizardfolk camped along the Nurque River to the south. Finally! A spark of hope in the search.

The group set out at once. It was a day’s journey to reach the lizard encampment – a small, walled village set upon an island in the middle of the river. After much discussion, it was decided that there was no reason they could not be civilized about the matter and diplomatic routes would be exhausted before force would be used. Ilieo called out to the gate. Two lizardmen appeared asking what we wanted. Ze and Anera stated that we were looking for a lost boy and were told we could find him here. At first the lizardmen denied it, but as their case was pleaded, it was apparent the lizardmen were growing more and more hesitant to keep up the charade. Finally, they relented and opened the gates for the group and allowed entrance.

Once inside the lizardmen told the group they had to keep quiet and stay hidden. The reptilian conspirators explained that they did in fact have the boy, but the chief insisted on keeping the boy alive for the sole purpose of scaring and frightening him as much as possible. They went on to explain some of the cruel forms of torture and tactics used to accomplish this. The lizardmen did not know what had gotten into their chief and were tired of this nonsense, so they asked to group to free the boy so it would stop. They led the now boxed in adventurers around the outskirts of the village to where the boy was being kept. The time for rescue had come.

Anera crept out, quiet as the darkest night, but the area must have been warded. No sooner than she reached the pillar the boy was tied to a loud roar was heard from within the largest hut in the village. The chief knew the group was there. Out bounded the chief flanked by two vicious looking alligators smiling at the part with blood-stained teeth. Anera freed the boy and pulled him to safety while Ze and Sirio engaged the alligators. The chief, somehow aware of his superior martial prowess, singled out Ilieo. A game of cat and mouse and auroch had begun.

Knowing full well he would be unable to stand toe-to-toe with the formidable chief, Ilieo used his quickness and a host of summoned aurochs to deftly avoid melee with the chief.

The battle seemed to be quickly swinging in the heroes’ favor until a dim light began shimmering over the village. The source of the chief’s strange behavior, a will o’ wisp, revealed itself. Things were starting to make more sense. Will o’ wisps are notorious for feeding off the fear of others. For some reason, the chief felt compelled to serve the creature by feeding it fear. As quickly as the battle swung in favor of the heroes of Zeltennia, it began to swing the other way.

The will o’ wisp quickly singled out Anera, the one responsible for taking the source of its fear. Sadly, Anera was no match for the creature and died a noble death protecting the young boy. How quickly the momentum changed.

All throughout the village battle raged. The lizardmen fought amongst themselves split between supporting their depraved chief and being tired of abusing an innocent boy in this manner. The alligators had been laid low, and Ze and Sirio were doing their best to contend with the empowered will o’ wisp which was quickly gaining strength from the fallen Anera. But sadly their might was not enough. It was only a matter of time before they, too, would be subdued.

Ilieo looked around him and time seemed to slow. How could he have led his friends into such a terrible situation. So much death. So much loss. A loud cry of victory snapped Ilieo from his reflection. His last summoned beast had been slain and the chief finally had a path to victory opened in front of him. As the chief set his trident and sprung forth in his death charge, Ilieo withdrew from his quiver his final arrow, nocked it in his trusty bow and pulled back.

The flight of the arrow was straight and true. It pierced the chief’s armor and buried itself deep in the reptilian abomination’s heart. The chief gasped, a surprised look taking hold on his face. He grabbed the arrow to pull it out, but it was too late. Death had come for the wicked chief. Eyes already glazed over, he feel to his knees and slumped over.

The lizardmen ceased their fighting, shocked at the sight of their once invincible, now fallen, chief. A darkness fell over the village as the light of the will o’ wisp faded as it used its innate ability to turn invisible to flee. Ilieo, who earlier had cast a spell that had given him the ability to see invisible creatures, could the see creature fleeing. The day was won.

The group set about to searching the village for some answers. Inside the hut of the will o’ wisp, they found a sizable hoard of treasure. It all made sense now. The chief must have thought it was a god or messenger from one of the lizard gods and was paying homage to it. Nonetheless, it does not excuse the actions of the chief and his people. The heroes gathered up what was inside and left the hut.

Many of the villagers stood in a circle around their fallen chief, confusion and concern easily read on their faces. Ze parted the group and began retrieving the magical trident and ornaments of his stature from the body. Some might say it was unfair of them to take from the lizardfolk, but they had sat by idly while a young boy was tortured. The right to these treasures was lost.

As the party headed back to Zeltennia, lost boy in tow, Ilieo could not help but wonder how the lizardfolk would fare. Disappointed that the situation had escalated into violence, Ilieo had been hoping an alliance of sorts could be made. It would be nice to have finally found a friend out here in these wild lands. Perhaps he would check back on the village in a couple weeks, after they had time to regroup and proclaim a new leader. He would have to have one of his finest armorsmiths fashion a new symbol of position for the new chief. “So much for normalcy,” thought Ilieo, and he guided his horse northward along the Tuskwater. In the distance he could just make out the pennants of Zeltennia Castle rippling in the crisp spring breeze and he smiled. What would a normal day look like tomorrow?

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Stardate 722
7/22

We tracked the cult of Gyronna to a barn on the outskirts of town. We attempted to infiltrate the barn but set off a sophisticated trap that rang a bell below us. Once inside the barn, we discovered a trap door that led to a hidden area beneath the barn. Inside we found 7 members of the cult who were ready for us. The cult leader put up a bit of a fight but the rest of the cultists went down pretty easily.

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A New World
The beginning of a Dynasty

The group of adventurers have explored and cleared the northern portion of the stolen lands. Having accomplished this task they were given a charter to establish a new kingdom. They carefully selected the Stag Lord Fort as the site for Zeltenia, the new capitol. Illio has begun his reign as Baron of Zeltenia.

The city grew quickly as they wasted no time in building a Castle (to be named).

A flood Claimed the several lives and destroyed the town hall.

The leaders began exploring the southern Stolen Lands to clear it of threats to the capitol. Illio was nearly killed in an encounter with a powerful wight in burial chamber to East of Zeltennia. The leaders nearly dodged death as they burned their way through a hoard of skeletons to escape the wight.

Upon their return they found that the town had been attacked by a werewolf. Two citizens were killed before their arrival. Even in their weakened state they were able to quickly discover the culprit and kill him before any more citizens were killed.

On another outing the leaders encountered in a swampy area by the river. They chose talked to her but decided to leave her be.

They discovered Candlemere Tower on an island. There is a powerful magic aura surrounding it. The adventurers defeated a Willow-Wisp that was in the tower.

Our leaders also found a hill giant that seemed to be depressed as he was out of wolf berry wine. They agreed to find him something to drink but have not returned to him.

Upon their return Gregory, a bard, was attempting to insight rebellion. After arresting, torturing and finally bribing, they were able to get Gregory to agree to leave the city forever.

Anera was later killed in combat by Tendriculos but was reincarnated as a Goblin.

Upon their return Zeltenia, rumors of the presence of a cult of Gyronna have surfaced. What will the leaders do?

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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