Kingmaker Adventure Path

15th of Abadius, 4713

While exploring, we stumbled upon a roaming manticore soaring above. Pete and Karigan shot the creature down and Godfrey removed its quills quite deftly. We will keep these quills and return them to a local, eccentric poet in Dhunmoor that had requested manticore quills so he could write some epic poem.

What could have possessed him to have such a thought?

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14th of Abadius, 4713

We rose up early in the morning and found Aecora already waiting for us outside our tent. She informed us of some dissension in the camp over our overnight stay and was here to see us promptly and safely from camp. As we walked, Aecora confided in us that a hunter had reported seeing a strange shape lurking near Olah-Kakanket. This hunter was Aecora’s only daughter and has gone missing since making that report. Aecora asked us to see her daughter safely home, if possible. We, of course, agreed.

We set out west, exploring a little further south of our route to the Nomen camp. We found a field full of giant mammoths. They seemed quite content to wander and we gave them a wide berth so as not to upset any of the bulls of the herds.

We also found the massive bones of some long-dead creature. Karigan identified the bones as having once belonged to a giant linnorm. As we drew nearer, we saw the site around the bones decorated with religious fetishes matching the icons of the moon goddess from the Nomen camp. This site must be considered holy by the Nomens. Maybe rangers come here to pray while they are out hunting. We marks it on our map and continue on, making camp in the feet of the nearby mountains.

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13th of Abadius, 4713

I was certain this morning would be my last. The disease had spread so much that I found it difficult to simply stay in my saddle. My joints were so stiff and every cough wracked my body.

It was not even noon when we saw a cloud of dust quickly approaching. Soon, a band of centaurs had surrounded us. It would seem we have found the Nomens or, rather, that they have found us. Initially, they seemed eager to be given an excuse to run us through, but I spoke to them in sylvan and explained our situation to them. The leader of the band took sympathy on me and decided to lead us into the Nomen camp.

The Nomen live in a primitive camp of hide tents and campfires. They were not eager to see us, in fact, some of them even drew out their weapons. Our escort led us quickly to a large tent at the center of camp. We found a female centaur kneeling at the foot of an idol to the moon goddess, Desna. If she noticed us, she didn’t show it and finished her prayer before addressing us.

She introduced herself as Aecora Silverfire, the leader of the Nomen. She was not happy to see us, even less than the other centaurs in camp. Apparently, years of conflict and war has caused a sizable rift between the centaurs and we “two-legs.” Just as she was about to run us out of camp, Abraham stepped forward and presented skybolt. My heart stopped in my chest and I feared we would have to fight our way out of the camp. However, Abraham used the bow as a gift and used his silver tongue to purchase Aecora’s friendship. I sometimes forget that he is our kingdom’s Grand Diplomat.

Aecora apologized for her unseated hatred and offered us stay for a night. She also escorted me to a local hot spring and allowed me to bathe in it. The heat felt good on my aching joints and it was a nice reprieve from the freezing cold. While I bathed, I spoke with Aecora more about what had happened in Varnhold. She knew nothing of what happened to the citizens and suspected the spriggans, but there is no way the spriggans could have emptied that entire town. They are scavengers, not fighters.

Shtor had mentioned a book excerpt he had found in the Varnhold inn and it came to mind as I spoke with Aecora. I recited the excerpt to her and her face grew deathly pale at the mention of the name “Vordekai.” According to ancient Nomen legend, Vordekai is an immortal, ancient evil that is unspeakable. Legend states that Vordekai resides in “Olah-Kakanket”, translated as Valley of the Dead in Common. All Aecora knows is that the valley lies somewhere to the west. Much of Nomen lore has been lost over the years.

After our meeting, I returned to the tent, Aecora had set aside for my party. I relayed all the information that Aecora had told me my allies and we decided we should make for Olah-Kakanket as soon as possible.

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12th of Abadius, 4713

The air is freezing. It hasn’t snowed since the day we left Varnhold, but the ground is still coated with ice. My sickness has not passed and I feel I am getting worse each day. Perhaps if I was able to rest for a full night in a comfortable, warm bed, things would be different.

As we pass by the foot of the Tors of Levenies, the spriggans inform us that this is as far as they will take us. We are halfway to the Nomen campground and the spriggan’s home is just in the mountains. They ask for their weapons and armor back, but we refuse them. They grumble as they leave and Pete makes to paint the snow with their blood, but I stop him. I may despise these creatures but we had a deal to let them leave us safely if they led us this far.

We continued east from there and found ourselves in a place with long, deep scars in the land. Sinkholes and mounds of dirt cluttered the horizon. Karigan recognized these marks as being left behind by a bullette, a horribly quick and vicious creature that burrows through the ground like swimming through water. Pete makes the joke that the creature sounds like a land shark, but the idea is quite terrifying to me. We decided to quickly leave that place and head south.

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10th of Abadius, 4713

We stayed the night in the stockade after clearing out the bunkroom of the spriggans’ belongings and stink. When I woke up, I noticed that my joints were stiff and my skin around the rat bites from two days ago was swollen. Apparently, the rats were diseased.

Outside, the world was coated in ice and snow. The winter weather has set upon us in full force. After rallying the spriggans from where we had kept them during the night, Shtor reported that one spriggan had died during the night due to his wounds and the frigid weather. Regardless, these spriggans have agreed (at swordpoint) to lead us half way to the Nomen campgrounds.

Making our way through the ice-covered plains will be difficult and my aching joins aren’t making things any easier, but we have to find those lost citizens.

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9th of Abadius 4713

We woke up this morning to find the town covered in snow. The snow and ice will make storming into the stockade that much more difficult. From inside the shelter of our stolen house, we made a plan of battle. Shtor stole a peek behind the wooden palisade last time we were there. The courtyard is protected by some spriggans and a pack of wolves. Pete offered the idea of scaling the wall and then clearing the courtyard before we moved into the stockade building.

Abraham and Godfrey, however, seemed quite intent on following their own plan. Godfrey was adamant in that he could not scale the palisade wall and even after Shtor offered to throw a rope over to help him climb, the dwarf was still quite stubborn. He was not going to climb the wall. So, Abraham instructed Godfrey to take up position at the front gate while Abraham himself went to the northside of the palisade to provide some sort of distraction for those of us in the courtyard. I asked Abraham for just what he wanted to do and why he could not come with us, and all he replied was “I have plans for the watchtower.” These two may be the death of me, yet.

None of us liked the idea of Godfrey storming the gate alone, so it was decided that Karigan should stick with him. The dwarf and the elf together. That doesn’t seem volatile at all.

So, we went out separate ways. Abraham sneaked along the bank of the river and the rest of us stayed at the base of the hill. We were told to wait for Abraham’s signal. As we waited, we saw a dark shape fly up the hill and towards the watchtower. Abraham had been spotted and the spriggans in the watchtower were shouting. I guess that was our signal. We split into two groups with Pete, Shtor, and myself making a straight line for the palisade wall, and Godfrey and Karigan heading south to break through the gate.

The snow made hiking up the hill slow, but Pete and I were the first to arrive. We were spotted by a spriggan at the gate and he raised the alarm. So much for Abraham’s distraction. Pete let off a shot and I could see the spriggan’s head turn to pink mist. From the howling of the wolves on the other side of the palisade, I knew our cover was blown. Pete and I climbed the palisade, but Pete slipped on the ice and fell square on his butt.

We were immediately surrounded by wolves and spriggans in their large form. One even threw an anvil at me. Nearly knocked me off my feet. Pete fired at the wolves where he lay and the spriggans enclosed around us. I turned the snow underneath their feet into a weapon, but it was just two of us against all of them. Just then, Shtor leaped from the top of the palisade to put himself directly between myself and my attackers. With one slice, he gutted the anvil-tossing spriggan and set into the others. I am glad we made friends with this gnome.

There was an explosion inside the stockade house and we saw brief spurts of flame. Abraham was inside. Someone was firing down on us from an arrowslit and Pete placed a well-aimed shot (threading the needle as it were) to send the sniper packing. The wolves and spriggans in the courtyard began to fall, but then more spriggans rushed from the house to join the fight and to escape whatever explosion had occurred inside.

Pete spotted one spriggan racing across the courtyard, making to escape, but a well placed shot between the shoulders made short work of him. That must have been the leader, because once he fell, the remaining spriggans surrendered.

Shtor spoke to the spriggans in Gnome and discovered that this group belonged to the Culchek Tribe that lived south in the mountains. They arrived a few days ago and took over Varnhold after finding it empty. They had made themselves busy looting the town and making themselves at home. They knew nothing of what happened to Varnhold’s citizens. We asked them about the Nomen centaurs and learned a pack of them lives to the east. We demanded them to take us there, but they seem more scared of the Nomens than they do of us. We came to an agreement that they would show us the way to go and then we would let them return to their mountain home unharmed.

About that time, Godfrey and Karigan broke through the front gate and joined us. They would have been more help to us in climbing the palisade, but what’s done is done and I won’t dwell on it.

Pete found a bag of holding on the spriggan leader full of belongings. Some seem to have belonged to the spriggans before they ever came to Varnhold, but others seemed to be possessions of Varnhold’s missing citizens. We shall return these possessions to them when we find them. We also found an exquisite bow that was so strong, even Karigan could not pull it back. The spriggans told us this was stolen from the Nomen centaurs and was named Skybolt. Apparently, it is of some value to the Nomens. Perhaps we can use it to broker a treaty between our people?

We elected Shtor to stay with our spriggan captives, while the rest of us explored the stockade house. We looted a few potions and found Abraham on the second floor along with a few dead spriggans and the evidence of an extinguished fire. Maybe his hasty plan was fruitful or maybe he’s just lucky.

We found the remains of a map that seemed to detail some of the area around Varnhold. I spent some time reconfiguring the map and found it did indeed yield quite a bit of information on the surrounding area. This will no doubt help us as we explore.

After securing the spriggans, we camped inside the stocakde for the night. We will set out in search of the Nomen centaurs tomorrow.

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8th of Abadius, 4713

It would seem the Spriggans are quite content to stay in their fort instead of coming out to fight us. The night passed uneventfully and we made plans to explore the rest of Varnhold together. Directly across the house we slept in was an inn, cheerily decorated, but just as abandoned as the other buildings in this city. We noticed a word carved on the door in Common: “Nomen.” We recall Varnhold’s conflict in the past with the Nomen centaurs that lived here before them. Perhaps the Nomen are responsible for the disappearance of Varnhold?

Inside, we found a lone Spriggan standing. Before any rational thought could be made, Abraham charged the creature and ran it through with his rapier. It would seem the creature was already dead before Abraham charged it. I inspected the creature and found a wound on the back of its head that seemed to have been made post-mortem. Shtor comments that someone had a similar idea to Abraham before we arrived. We could not fail to notice that a nimbus of glittering light floated around the Spriggan’s body. Abraham identified the nimbus as the aftereffects of a sepia snake sigil spell. Apparently, this Spriggan had become too curious for his own good and had activated a trap spell while looting this inn. Who caved in his skull is still unknown.

The Spriggan seemed to have been holding a book titled Secrets of the Rashalka Mounds by Ernst Gavinport. The table he is lying by is littered with similar books, scrolls, and an unfinished manuscript. As Abraham and I inspected the table, we found a letter addressed to one Maestro Pendrod from Maegar Varn, the mayor of Varnhold. I recall the name Pendrod, he is a well known scholar of Iobarian culture and a master playwright. According to this letter, Varn and his men had found a curious jade bracelet along the banks of a nearby river. Varn believed the bracelet to be of Iobarian make and asked that his old teacher come to inspect it closer. Abraham claimed the Maestro’s books as his own and is quite intent on reading them further.

Shtor appeared from upstairs, he had inspected the rooms and found the Maestro’s living quarters. He carries with him Maestro Pendrod’s legendary viola and a book. He does not say what is in the book, but keeps it for himself.

There is little more in this inn save for plates of untouched, molding food. The mystery of Varnhold’s vanishing deepens.

Our continued investigation into Varnhold reveals a church and graveyard. While Abraham and I inspected the 14 gravestones in the graveyard, Karigan managed to find a hidden compartment in the church’s altar containing precious, magic scrolls. We will definitely have use of these later. After that, we came upon an abandoned house full of wooden toys for absent children. We found a scrawny cat inside and Karigan managed to coax the cat into her arms. Then, Shtor used a bit of his gnomish magic to communicate with the cat. It told of its owners leaving in the “red sun time” after they heard the “new bird song.” This feline’s speech doesn’t make too much sense and that is really all we can get it to tell us, other than it is hungry for fish.

Next, we found a granary, full of rats. As soon as we opened the doors, the rats swarmed us. Disgusting creatures! A few managed to bite me before we killed them. I hope these rats weren’t diseased or anything like that. The granary was empty and so we moved on.

Our search revealed more empty houses and a gemcutter’s business. Being so near the stockade at the top this hill, the glass containers are shattered and were thoroughly looted by the Spriggans.

Last, we came to a curious, sod house built into the side of the hill. From what we could tell, this house belonged to a Willas Gundarson, an Ulfen trapper from up north who had come south with Maegar’s Varnling Host to establish this city. Shtor makes the connection that this man found a curious green bracelet mentioned in Varn’s letter to Maestro Pendrod, but a search of the house reveals no such bracelet.

Night was upon us again and we returned to the same house we slept in the night before. Abraham is eager to storm the palisade and is already hatching ideas. I just hope we can do so safely and learn what happened to Varnhold.

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7th of Abadius, 4713

We crossed the Shrike River this morning and came upon a city in the distance. A sign marks this city as Varnhold, our missing neighbor. It is a small place with houses spread out along a shallow river and with no walls to defend it from attack (maybe that is why we haven’t heard from them). A fort on a hill to the south seems to be the only sort of fortification this city has.

We came upon the first house and it wreaked of death. It would seem that this used to be some sort of pig farm, but a feral, wild boar had broken into the enclosure and eaten the tame pigs. We put the beast out of its starving misery. Abraham suggested we burn the building and the carcasses to the ground, but I forbade it saying “Let us not start fires, where water would suffice.” I am starting to sound more and more like my father.

We explored the other buildings north of the shallow river that divided the town. They were all empty, seemingly looted by… who know’s what. As we crossed the river, Abraham’s horse stepped in an unseen hole in the river’s bottom. The horse panicked and Abraham was thrown into the water. It would not have been of much concern had not a giant lobster/crab/squid monster crawled out of the hole and made to eat Abraham!

Shtor made to fight the creature and I cast a spell to help him move faster underwater. Pete managed to place his shot so expertly that the lobster was forced to drop Abraham. The three of us made short work of the beast after that.

The other side of the river proved no less perilous as the ground opened up and Shtor fell into a pit trap. We pulled him up and thankfully he was not badly hurt. This gnome is tougher than it would seem. We came upon an abandoned stable full of horse carcasses and a murder of crows feasting on their flesh. Abraham and his lackey stepped inside the building and made the murder quite angry. We were forced to slay them all. After inspecting the horses, it would seem that they died of natural causes.

At that time, Karigen rode up behind us. We had left her behind to govern Nicenia while we were gone, but she craves adventure and the outdoors. I cannot blame her for that and her skills will be of use as we continue to explore this town.

We had yet to find anybody and the day was growing late. Abraham convinced the others to march up the hill to inspect the fort. Shtor and I explored a final house and found it to be an abandoned potter’s house, full of clay pots. Shtor mumbled something about an urge to roll and break the pots, but then we heard the sound of fighting from the hill. Apparently, the fort was occupied and our approach had made them quite angry. Abraham was hurling angry words up at shadowy figures in a lookout on top of the fort’s stockade, that seemed quite intent on filling him with crossbow bolts. Pete was attempting the climb the wall via grappling hook and Karigen stood a distance away firing her arrows at our shadowy attackers.

I felt conflicted about attacking these people. We had no idea who they were and they certainly did not know who we were. Tempers were flaring and it would seem Diplomacy was out of the question. After Karigan managed to slay one of our attackers only to have another step forward and take its place, I called for a retreat. We scrambled down the hill and took refuge at its base, well out of range. Shtor and Pete were the last to arrive. Apparently, they had used the confusion to scale the wooden palisade and peek over. Shtor told us that the creatures defending the fort are creatures called Spriggans, sworn enemies of gnomes and very evil to boot. They are scavengers, taking armor, food, and housing from the dead. Meaning, these creatures may not be responsible for the disappearance of Varnhold, just happy beneficiaries from the owners’ absence. Still, I wonder if they know more of what happened here…

Night has fallen and we journeyed further into the city to take refuge in one of the buildings. As we passed a green area in the road, we inspected a well and found a bloated Spriggan floating inside. After hauling the body out and inspecting it, we determined that the Spriggan was a victim of a cruel prank gone too far. We all wished to bury it, but Shtor refused to help and stayed far away.

We have found an empty house and have taken up residence for the night inside. We should continue exploring Varnhold in the morning, and hopefully learn more about where her citizens are.

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6th of Abadius, 4713

The night passed uneventfully. (Thank Gozreh.)

We made our way to Nivatka’s Crossing, a village on the Shrike River. It is small and humble in appearance and the people seem none to friendly to outsiders. Still, they took our coin as we plied them for information about Varnhold.

We spent a short time there, learning little of Varnhold and hearing some rumors about how the land was once ruled by one-eyed giants. We cross the bridge leading south on our way to Varnhold. Soon, the mountains loom up ahead of us. They are called the Tors of Levenies, I am told, and I know Varnhold is situated at the foot of these mountains.

We journeyed south along the road as it followed the river and came to a bridge crossing the river. It is night time and we decided to rest here for the night. Abraham jokingly told Godfrey not to pee in the water. They had a laugh, but I will make sure to drink water from further upstream than them.

We must be nearing Varnhold now. I expect to arrive at the town tomorrow. We shall see just what has befallen our neighbors.

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5th of Abadius, 4713

The innkeeper of Svetlegton gave us a feast to honor our arrival last night (or as much of a feast as the small village could muster). We set off in the morning along the South Rostland Road. Nivatka’s Crossing is many miles east. Abraham suggests we force our march so we may rest there tonight.

On the road, we found a fort with no guards and gates standing wide open. Shtor, Pete, and I approached the fort carefully, but found no one inside. It would seem this fort was abandoned, but we do not know why. Regardless, it is night and this is as good a place as any to rest. We take shelter in the shop and Shtor rigs a bell on the doorjam to alert us of anyone entering. Pete and I agree to take most of the watch since our rings of sustenance will supplement a night’s rest.

I hope there are no creepy creatures lurking in the shadows of this fort.

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