The Kingmaker

"Enter the Stolen Lands, a wilderness claimed by nobles, bandits, and beasts alike. Into this territory the fractious country of Brevoy sends its emissaries, tasking them with subduing the lawless folk and deadly creatures that have made it a realm of savagery and shame. Beyond the last rugged frontier stretches the home of voracious monsters, capricious fey, wily natives, and bandits who bow to the rule of a merciless lord none dare defy. Can the PCs survive the Stolen Lands, bring their dangers to heel, and lay the foundations of a new kingdom? Or will they just be one more fateful band, lost forever to the ravenous wilds?"

The Stolen Lands, a wild lawless place awaiting the hand of strong justice. A politically ambiguous place where many parties vie for control. Into this cauldron of woe walk five heroes-in-the-making to create their own nation. Patriots—but to what cause?

Kingmaker is a Pathfinder Adventure Path role playing game published by Paizo Publishing under the terms of the Open Game License. It provides a rich backdrop for a group of pioneers as they attempt to bring civilization to a wild, untrammeled land. This website is not published, endorsed, or specifically approved by Paizo Publishing.

This blog represents the letters of one of these characters, Marquand, a bitter, righteous man—an Inquisitor defending his faith in the deity Erastil against all the enemies of civilization.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Letter 25—What’s Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen

Dear Pino,
By this stage we were tired and spent but decided to push ahead. (To be honest it would have been impossible to get back to Satindar’s establishment unobserved by this point anyway.) I’ll remind you that we were on the second floor of the tower in the mage’s room.

There were trap doors, in the ceiling and the floor, but before we tried one we went out on the balcony to make sure no one was in the courtyard below.

Then we went into the ballroom where great faded tapestries hung on the wall. Dust coated everything except one large table where they were preparing for a party. We split up to enter the two doors leading into the next room, which turned out to be the art gallery we’d seen earlier. I wished you were with us, dear Pino, because there was much to be learned from historical paintings depicting the early days of our people.

We came to a door ajar where a spiral staircase connected to the other floors. There was also a secret door leading out from the hall. We listened at all of them but heard nothing stirring behind them.

One door led to a small bedroom with bare furnishings. A plain bed faced the room’s only window on the north wall. There was a bookshelf of histories and a small table and wooden chair by the entrance.

We kicked the privy door open. There was a secret trapdoor leading upstairs where we found a richly appointed bedroom with a decorative handmade bed, the carved headboard depicting satyrs and nymphs at play. Its lavender bedspread matched the curtains overlooking the courtyard below. In a narrow space there was another secret door.

Behind it was a bedroom with a large bed draped with rose-pink blankets. The hallway led to a bedroom with a large window overlooking a canopy bed with teak endtables. A small desk with cushioned stool stood next to a large fireplace. There sat a middle-aged woman holding a tiny yapping dog in her lap.

“Who are you?” she demanded. “How dare you come into my bedchambers unannounced?”

“I take it you are the Baroness?” Lev asked.

“I don’t speak to ruffians like you! Out! Out! Out!” The dog continued barking. “When my husband finds out about this you’ll be sorry.” She viciously threw her jewelry box at my head. “I’ve got deadly aim!” She announced as it split my head open.


“Jewel, calm down,” she cried as Sizzles entered the room. “Everything’s under control.”

Cane tried to subdue her. “Take your hands off me!” she cried. “Take your hands off me! Rape! Rape!” Cane hit her with the flat side of his great sword.

“You’re going to pay!” she cried. “My brother’s going to . . .”

Cane hit her again, knocking her senseless. Jewel hopped off her lap, nipping Sizzles on the heel. The great wolf eyed it momentarily, then bent and gobbled it up like a sweetmeat. Muffled yaps came faintly from her belly.

“But I could have commanded her to stop,” I said lamely, holding my head to staunch the bleeding.

“You’re a monster!” Trask also protested.

“Sizzles, you shouldn’t eat other people’s pets,” Cane shrugged. “I think demons are less an abomination than little dogs,” he added for the rest of us.

“Do you feel like a big man now?” Trask sneered, but Cane ignored him as he searched the room. We left her fancy outfits in the closet but kept a great deal of her jewelry. “We’ll leave her with the clothes on her back,” Cane smugly said.

“That’s very generous of you,” Trask grunted, unable to drop it.

I expected Cane to call him out but instead the hunter mildly agreed, “It is very generous of me. I’d like to thank my mom for raising me right—oh, that’s right, I’m a bastard!”

The next bedroom we found was the Baron’s. Hunting trophies were mounted on the walls, playing cards strewn on a nearby table, shelves of books looking oddly untouched, and a comfy bed. There was evidence that he was sharing that bed with the Lady Quintessa Maray—a secret door connected their chambers, across the hall from his wife. Great strength, dear Pino, can be derived from the union of man and woman. But this union must be without flaw or it fails under duress. At his core the Baron was flawed.

We returned to the great room on the first floor. Greeting us at the doors was a large man who blocked our way, gut hanging over his belt. “’Ey,” he growled. “I think it’s time you lot hit the road!”

Baron Drelev
I had been using one of the privies and was catching up to the group as I overheard this. Behind the fat man, who turned out to be Baron Drelev himself, I could see all the thugs he’d gathered since we’d entered his compound—mercenaries, hill giants, the mage, Imeckus Stroon, and the bard, Lady Quintessa, crowding behind. “Justice!” I cried as I lashed the group with holy smite (the same spell that wiped out part of the boggard village). Lev followed with a spell of fear and suddenly a large contingent, including Ameon Trask, rushed away screaming.

Cane immediately cut the mage across the brow, blinding him with his own blood. Desperately, Stroon stumbled away as the battle began in earnest. Lev and I held the doorway to keep them from flanking us as the others fanned out.

“Why are we fighting for Fort Drelev?” Trask suddenly asked to no one in particular. “I understand that there are Tiger Lord barbarians involved, but do we really want this place?”

It led me to thinking. We are righting some wrongs here but is this really our place? It’s true, Ameon Trask did try to plunder Tatzlford, but that was before the beleaguered town had joined P.U.R.K. Still, Drelev would have gotten around to us eventually, allied as he was with both Pitax and the rapacious Tiger Lords. Remember this Pino—always nip trouble in the bud!

Cane flung himself on Baron Drelev with a vengeance while a wobbly hill giant tore wildly at him. Fortunately, Vlad was able to lure the giant away to where Trask could riddle him with arrows. He fell with a thud.

The mercenary guards were mostly toughs without much training and easy to kill. Nevertheless, I saw Cane staggering from his injuries, blood gushing from several wounds. Then Trask fell down. “I was trying too hard,” he would explain later, sheepishly.

I heard the Baron squeal, “This is not right!” as Cane stabbed him deep in his bowel.

Watching him writhe and die at his feet, Stroon unexpectantly cackled, “I’ve been waiting for this moment!” paying Cane back for his wounded scalp.

At a word Sizzles leaped to cover Cane’s retreat, snapping and yipping. With an oath Stroon aimed a bolt of lightning at the valiant wolf causing her hair to burst into flame while she howled piteously and burned to death. (It’s okay to cry, sweet Pino, at the suffering of a friend. Only when death has taken them is it time to rejoice.)

“Ah, Sizzles,” Cane moaned as the bolt leaped to the rest of us. I staggered momentarily, every muscle of my body rigid in agony. Vlad somehow cast a healing spell.

Stoon gestured and a wall of force suddenly separated Trask, Lev, and myself from the others. Then the mage turned purposefully back to Cane while the three of us ran back through the building to rejoin them.

“Now you die,” Stoon rasped, blinding Cane who continued fighting him desperately. Avoiding his grasp, the mage became gaseous, disappearing through the floorboards as Trask arrived, unleashing a hasty barrage. Half in and half out of the room, Stroon was trapped within the floor, walls echoing with the sound of his bubbling death rattle.

“You killed my dog!” Cane screamed as several guards attacked him. “These guys don’t give up,” he marveled. Skewering one, a boy of about eighteen, he added, “I like to see a go-getter like that.”

“You’re all hired if you just stop killing us!” Trask yelled.

“We give you jobs and you will live,” Lev, taking him seriously, added in his most sonorous voice. Yet, in the back of my mind, I could hear Bert Askew growling, “You forget who these guys are—the scum of the earth!”

Like an echo I heard Trask say, “The scum of the scum.”

“Then why don’t they run away?” I asked

“Scum don’t run away,” Trask replied. “They float.”

Like a voice from the aether we heard Askew add, “Because they know you’ll kill them if they run away.”

“That’s true,” Trask answered.

“Not if they run,” I scoffed. Killing vermin is for an exterminator, not an Inquisitor.

“When have we ever let someone live who ran away?”

“Everybody so far,” Cane snorted.

“What about that entire village of boggards who tried to run?”

Again with the boggards, I'll never live it down. (Besides, it was only half of them.)

Lev then slapped himself on the ear as a spell went wrong. In the distance we heard a horn and Ameon Trask’s faint voice, “Save something for us!”

“We’ll save you some Justice,” I muttered while finishing off the last hill giant.
Hill giant

We healed, drank our potions, and cast our spells. Suddenly I felt like I was hearing the voice of Bert Askew again, grating, whining, “That portcullis,” he said, “are you just going to leave it up?”

“Any of you still alive you can come out and turn yourselves in,” the voice of Ameon Trask called from out front. “We’ll show you pity.”

In reply we showered him with arrows.

“That’s but a flesh wound!” he sneered, holding up his arm contemptuously as a second arrow sprouted from his flesh, a third, then more, many more as our Trask used him like your Mother uses her pincushion.

The guards and hill giants that had returned with him exchanged dumbfounded looks before quickly turning away. We watched them go with relief. Finally, Lev said to the air, “Come out, little lady, surrender yourself.”

The air shimmered for a moment and then a beautiful woman appeared, Lady Quintessa Maray. “Oh, my, I was so worried for a moment,” she gushed. “I swear I was held veritable hostage in this tower and did what I thought I needed to do to survive.” She looked at each of us in turn, an alluring smile on her face. “You’ll note that I stepped out of combat.”

“We know you were sleeping with the Baron!” Lev primly accused her.

Tears welled in her eyes. “I wasn’t given much choice,” she choked as the rest of us surrounded her protectively, and soon Lev was bossing the residents of Drelev instead.

Hearing a whimper we turned with surprise to Sizzles but the noise was not coming from her but inside her. There was movement inside her belly.

“Was she pregnant?” I asked Cane, who looked as shocked as the rest of us. “I don’t think so,” he puzzled. “How? . . .”

From out of Sizzles slack jaw came a sound, “Yapyapyapyap!” as the Baronesses’ little doggy crawled from the wolf's gut. Covered with gore it stopped just long enough to yap furiously at Cane before running to its master's room upstairs. Cane watched it go impassively before tenderly gathering Sizzles in his arms and carrying her into forest.

Satindar and her girls hosted a victory feast for us. Halfway through the first roundel Kisandra and her father arrived to much joy. The next day we signed an “Intent to Annex Hooktongue Slough,” sending it by the same coach that carried the Baroness and her now clean and perfumed doggie back to Restov.

“He was a pig anyway, darling,” she said cheerfully about the Baron before waving goodbye. “I’ll move back in with Daddy until I find another.”

We watched her leave before returning to our business here. We're planning to visit the Tiger Lords next.

Give your Mother a kiss for me,
Uncle Marquand

1 comment:

  1. What? Jewel got away? And here I was planning to match that little bag of yips and yaps with Cane. Jewel would have made a fantastic replacement for Sizzles.