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Unless stated otherwise, as I understand it, the changes are permanent.
Yes, you need to watch the Unrest spiral, that can get nasty really quickly! My group's Counselor has been death on unrest, there are Houses galore in their towns.
After about a year of kingdom building and random events, things are bubbling to the north.
First, the Councilor PC, whose player is single-handedly running all of the realm-level things, began claiming hexes into the forest, hoping to head off any new encroachment by the Marstenkas. This was new, since she had been expanding very slowly before, but was possible, since they had just crossed the Size-11 threshold. Since they were up against Tatzylford, I allowed them to swallow his lands as well by tightening the vassalage agreement.
Second, the Bandits event was followed 2 months later by a Slavers event, then a Matter of Justice. All of these I ruled affected the unstable forest border, except that the first two were the boggards (bugbears IMC) and the last was the discovery by the NPC Spymaster of some humans who were aiding the slavers (secret: who were taking their prey to the naga).
Third, the Matter of Justice was followed by a Feud. I ruled this to be between the General (Akiros) and the Spymaster, whose recent success had given him the courage to start wooing Lily Teskertin, in essence cutting in on Akiros' moves.
Menawhile, the Warden PC is chomping at the bit to lead an expedition to chase down the bog-goblins-- I have my next session partly planned now. That the group is all 8th level, heading into Book 4 territory, should be interesting. I may move the naga, or some other nasty boss fey, into the Forgotten Keep.
It's a common hope of failing governments that a foreign war can salvage things by uniting the populace. Or a desperate last throw of the dice to go out in a blaze of glory, YMMV.
Maybe (if they have the levels), you can use the Troll War in Dudemeister's RRR variation. If they win, the BP captured could be a big help, and you could slip in a positive modifier to some die rolls for a few months, such as when they complete some of the quests.
Some of the other quests might be reskinned as offers by outsiders to help them out of trouble.
the David wrote:
I want to run Kingmaker in the Birthright setting. It kinda fits if you substitute the fey with shadow.
I *am* running Kingmaker in the Birthright setting. It's working out very well. I swapped Stolen Lands into the Mistmoor, and Brevoy = Rovninodensk, and away we go!
The Shadow incursions have been low-key so far, but at least one PC has bit heavily into the "must defeat the Shadow folk" idea.
That said, I endorse the Wild West idea, too, and may do that someday.
In addition to the above anti-bandit sweep (there was going to be a Bandit random event next month anyway, so I just moved it up), which sorta implicates the neighboring Marstenkos, the more violent PCs sneaked off to go slay the kobolds. Without telling the rest of the players.
I ruled that 1 8th level PC, a 6th level PC and a 6th level NPC should stomp the little critters out, without breaking much of a sweat. It's when the other players find out what's going on, that's going to be the fun part.
Coming late to the thread...
I started in 1980 or 81 (I really can't remember which, I do know it was winter), which would have been 6th or 7th grade for me. One kid down the street had Top Secret, the guy across the street had Basic D&D (I think red book). I was much more enamored of TS, I quickly became a hex & counter wargamer-- RPGs were just a side thing that could include more people.
We (my brother and I, the kid across the street, soon guys from high school) picked up AD&D pretty quickly, but I never really ran that. I let the others run AD&D, I just played. I only really took up GMing with Twilight:2000.
I've really learned AD&D rules by DMing 2e, and have played & run 3e/3.5, PF, but only sampled 4e. Some other RPGs, too, but I still consider myself a wargamer at heart, even if I enjoy hours more of campaign prep.
Anyway, 3 nostalgia moments from the last few years that I want to share:
- I found my player's notebook from my wife's 1993-96 Temple of Elemental Evil campaign, and noted that we ran through 4-7 fights per session. I knew that we could do 2 (maybe 3) fights per session in 3.5/PF, and far less than that in 4e. I've started running 2e as my introductory game for my son and his friends, much less to explain.
- Mad Irishman's website has PDFs of the old AD&D gold character sheets, the ones that covered 2-3 classes per different sheet. I could actually feel my heart skip a beat when I saw those. Guess what I printed off for the kids' 2e game, despite the differences?
Space:1889 and Birthright settings FTW!
I may be back to my earlier conflict: in planning for kingdom expansion, the Warden and Enforcer PCs, allied to the General (Warden's brother), another PC, and a representative from the Gorum-like church, are urging an "anti-bandit" sweep of their borders, right where the Marstenkos have been quietly expanding.
Mostly, this is just the more-violent players looking for something to slay, but I am going to seize upon it.
The breakdown rolls on the gates were poor, so the gnolls had just enough time to gather around the inside of the gates and ready to fight. As the party broke through, Vesket successfully intimidated the barbarian. And that was the last thing he did right.
One of the rangers hit him with an arrow, 1 hp.
One of these 2 gnolls (wounded a little) is able to right himself and pick up Vesket's cure potion, but that's all. The oracle casts murderous something-or-other spell, so he gulps V's potion for himself, and attacks his buddy. Vesket's stabilized, and there's no healing left anywhere, but the cavalier reaches over the barbarian and ranger with his lance, and drives Vesket well past negative Con. Twice.
In the rest of the fight, the rest of the gnolls were able to grind the barbarian down to single-digit hp twice, and the melee ranger was KO'd, but no PC deaths today.
You could improve the suspicion by letting the players know that an army has left Restov, but they stole out in the middle of the night, and no one knows where they went. THEN let them lose contact with Varnhold.
Seed it a little, with Varn complaining of centaur harassment beforehand, though.
I'm in pretty much the same boat, so I will be watching here, and thinking about it, too.
I like the undead army idea, as well as inflating the spriggans and/or centaurs to army status. Especially the one with the spriggans invading.
Allying with the centaurs against the spriggans and/or the undead would be a Good Thing.
OTOH, IMC, the nobles at Restov and N's Crossing are pretty friendly to the PCs. Maybe Grigori should stir up some stuff over here, and see if he can start a fight over the empty land?
Actually, in place of "slavers", I am tempted to have one (or more) lonely fey charm some logger or hunter into staying with her, and the PCs can negotiate or fight through that.
Back to the original question, it might also depend on how often you play and how interested your group is in the running of the kingdom. Right now, I have 1 player who loves to run the spreadsheet and plan out buildings and hexes, 1 who is willing to contribute and roll dice (but plays the actual ruler), and 4 who could care less about anything not bashing monsters. So, nearly all of the kingdom things are handled away from the table or around food breaks during game sessions. Thus, if I don't turn an event into at least an encounter, it's going to get handled as some emails and die-rolls during the inter-game period.
I'm hoping for years (we're in Year 3 now), I plan to take breaks of 1-2 years here and there, between wars and plots. Most of my players are content to wait for the "plot train" (ptui-- I hate that phrase), so it's almost all in my lap.
I try and turn them into encounters or adventures, but some of them will turn into, "roll a Loyalty check, that you'll only fail on a 2, and it's OK."
For me, it depends on the event-- can I make something out of it?-- and the timing-- are we in a time when we can work on this, or am I just putting the game on fast-forward because it's winter and I want to get to the next big event?
I suggest rolling events out in advance, putting them on a calendar for you to think about between game sessions. I printed off a blank spreadsheet with a half-dozen columns:
Date/weather Random Events PC actions local NPC actions faraway NPC actions Other
and 12 lines, so I can do a whole year, 1 month at a time. I can pencil in what I think will happen, what I plan to happen, and what actually does happen. I use the same blank to plan out what should happen during adventures, too.
Right now, I'm looking at a few REs, like slavers and bandits, that I think could be linked to point a hostile finger to the noble family that lives around the Wyvernstone Bridge (added by me).
Shackled city , as a player; we quit after saving the city. Levels were too high for us, a lot of powers/abilities/spells were being forgotten & confused. At the end of that adventure, my PC wanted to stay in town and help rebuild, another was dead and a third needed to mourn him, and the players were kind of tired of another player.
Savage Tide, as a player; again, I wanted to quit after saving the town, but we pushed into the interior of the island some more to go after black eggs. Featured 5 of the 6 players from above, the DM was a player in SC.
Kingmaker me as DM, same group (+1) as Savage Tide. Just finishing Book 2.
We play monthly, so it takes a while to get through an AP. I suspect (fear) we may get tired of it around level 14, like the two games above, so I am crafting plans and alterations to speed things along, that it might finish before we burn out.
I am going for a wrinkle in the Armag tale: the black sisters seen in book 4, will be only one faction of the local church, another faction has another candidate for "their" Armag descendant: one of the PCs. I think I had that in the back of my mind a while ago, but when that PC was killed (by Hargulka's trolls) and then raised, well, it just fell together. At the same time that she was brought back from the temple in question, a warpriest came along with her (by fantastic coincidence, the cavalier picked up a cohort at the same time). He's supposedly assisting the cavalier (general), but he's going to be helping out this barbarian (enforcer) just as often.
FWIW, the other faction will be aligned with the Irrovetti-equivalent in my campaign, and pre-Armag (V. Koth) will be met earlier, when I run Rushlight Tournament out of order.
So, I think I should start introducing his tale pretty soon, as this warpriest educates her on "her" legend.
I need to go read A's tomb again: where to put her?
Any opinions on re-skinning Evindra as Lost Mother?
Lost Mother, I am envisioning as something of a half-elven superspy, who settled down for a while among the Brevic humans. If the player wants to, we can play with the whole, "Did she really love Dad? Why was I born?" IMC, elves and humans don't play well together, so an agent manipulating short-lived humans as tools wouldn't be so far-fetched. Thus, I am wondering if Mom may just be leaving the clues, setting it up so that Daughter will finish this quest for her.
How early would want to start dropping hints about Nyrissa coming to call? Or that she's looking for something?
My big fear (based on what I've seen my group do in the past, including in this AP) is that once I lay a crumb, they will want to follow it exclusively. They're not ready for Book 6, and neither am I-- we're at the boundaries of Books 2 and 3, FWIW.
What I have done, is bait a hook given me by one of the players. Our Baroness' mother mysteriously disappeared when the character was about age 7. I've run with that: both her parents were adventurers here in the past. After the PC was born, human father stayed at home, while half-elven mother took off on her own-- father says he doesn't know where she went, and everyone at home says she just disappeared one night. The PC now has her mother's earlier adventuring journals, which talk (in code) about seeking something, and notes about some places to be checked out someday.
What she doesn't know is that while father & mother were quietly seeking Ovinrbaane for the previous king, mother was secretly looking for Briar, too, on behalf of some nebulous elven group. I intend for them to find mother's second journal, which will have more details, as well as a copy of "Zuddiger's Picnic."
So, my questions center on when to reveal:
And just where is mother, anyway? It would be extremely convenient for Evindra to be the missing mother, but I worry that it would be too neat, too trite? (It would solve a long-running mystery, and be a logical source for the infodump about Briar, Nyrissa, and her return.) I might have someone at the Rushlight Tournament (former companion, from a foreign country?) give Baroness a quiet briefing, but still with incomplete information. Should they find her bones somewhere, with the updated notebook? In Drelev's or Irrovetti's collections? In Armag's tomb?
I did let them know that adventuring was done around here, and that Bokken, his brother, and a nutty older nobleman were also adventurers here about the same time. That last guy (touched by dreams of Nyrissa, like Stag Lord and his father) was the one who went adventuring again, and triggered Talonquake. The Swamp Witch has said that she knew mother and father as well, but they did not confide in her, so she doesn't know anything significant. I think some of the centaurs might remember her, too, but they haven't met yet.
So far, the group has found rings of green hair on the bodies of several of their foes (thanks for those on this board who proposed that one), and suspect that the ancient elven towers (in the forest, in the mountains, etc.) are all linked, and I've added traces of interplanar gates in them.
So, anyway, suggestions?
Thank you, I will probably use this, as my players want to learn more about this "Faerie Invasion" that the Dancing Lady, among others, is leading.
At least, that's what they think is happening.
Indirectly, yes. As GM, I tried running both Tatzylford and the kobold hex as kingdoms, mostly so I could get a good grasp of the kingdom rules. Both of them collapsed from the Unrest spiral (not enough council members is a killer, I should have assumed there were +0 deputies available) within 3 months.
As for my players' realm, the one player who has been running the numbers has been fanatic about crushing Unrest, even before I told her about the above experiments. They've built a LOT of houses. Grigori really scared her, as did the troll threat, with their rolling Unrest. As it happened, they stomped out both problems before either lasted more than two months.
I think I played just under a year before Grigori popped up, but then the trolls were right after that, so it was a busy spring.
As a GM, I tried to learn the spreadsheets and kingdom-building at the same time as my players. I started Tatzylgrad and the kobold land off as NPC realms. Both crashed and burned on Unrest within 3 months, likely a result of not having enough NPC council members.
I have one monthly group that will ONLY play PF. Sometimes, two of those players and I play more PF-- they're heavily into PFS at conventions.
I have another monthly group, and a group that is irregular. Everyone in those groups has played PF, but these are my "anything but D&D" groups. We come back to Savage Worlds (various settings) as our main games, but we've played with Dungeon World, Traveller, Barbarians of Lemuria, and Serenity (Cortex). We've done some boardgaming on occasion, too.
I run sometimes for my 15-year-old and his pals, mostly in the summer. I've introduced them to AD&D 2e, Space:1889, Star Frontiers, and Twilight:2000 so far.
And then there's my monthly Star Fleet Battles group and weekly big WW2 wargame in the basement.
Philip Knowsley wrote:
How about some politicking between the players' realm, based in Varnhold, Drelev farther away, and the Stag Lord, the kobolds, and Hargulka's troll kingdom, each with a few hexes under their belts, too? Dancing Lady may be moving on the forest fey for control, and any of these could be looking for allies.
It could be a combination of Cold War and conquest-race between the PCs and Drelev/Armag, who are fronting for Irovetti.
Wow, I think I may do this, when/if ever I run KM again.
I think starting with #3 could work just fine.
When(If) they finish Big V's dungeon, the powers that be can grant them the rulership of Varnhold and the surrounding hexes, and you can pick up from there. One of the PCs could be a relative or designated heir to Varn, if you like.
You'd need the map from books 1 & 2, insert your own favorite monsters appropriate for their level, before starting book 4.
Yes, you will miss the fun of starting a realm from scratch, but your starting point won't be too far from that start-point.
I'm looking for a place to introduce her to my players in a different way. IMC, she's a cousin of their NPC spymaster, and should soon offer to be one of his informants. But, she's also working for Pitax, and Grigori was working for her.
So far, they haven't nibbled at potential rivalry with Lady Marstenka; oh, well.
However, another juicy (future) plot thread has dropped into my lap.
I propose that the temple in Restov (or a faction, or just one priest) is either a pro-Drelev secret supporter, or has his own goals regarding the legend of Ovinrbaane and Armag. If the Black Sisters can have their candidate for the Twice-Born, why can't he? AND if she had been nudged into going on this expedition because Armag is claimed as an ancestor of hers, so much the better!
SO, the high priest in Restov (Gorum-equivalent for my world) raises the barbarian, gets her promise of lasting gratitude and a promise to pay back the favor at some future date, and attaches one of his priests to the group to assist them in their quest for glory (read: keep an eye on them). If they happen to come across any tombs, he will encourage them to go delving into them.
When it will come time for them to find Armag's tomb and dive into it, he will be strongly encouraging them to get in there and get that (greataxe) away from the imposter, er, bad guy! And, since the barbarian has been killed and raised, why can't she claim the title of Twice-Born!?
Ran the finale Friday night, and it was properly tense for us all. Sadly, I was a bit rushed to try and get it all into a shorter session, but it still went past midnight.
The battle part took longer to explain that I expected, and was executed a lot quicker than I expected. I passed out cards for the 6 armies involved (2 troll, 1 gnoll, 3 human) to each player, so they could pick "strategy" and roll the dice. 4 out of 6 players rolled 17+, so 2 armies on each side evaporated at the first blow.
Moving on to the main event, the dungeon-crawl. The party, spearheaded by the barbarian able to hit for 20+ per swing, chewed through the outer layers of the trolls with little trouble. It was the next-to-last group that killed a PC. (see the Obituary thread for details).
I had a lot of fun working on the trolls, it was the most tension this group has had for a long time. Thanks again, Dudemeister.
Name: Vriska Arachnisdottir
Per Dudemeister's wonderful addition, the night began with a short mass battle, in which 2 of 3 human armies and 2 of 3 troll armies wiped each other out with high Offense rolls (n.b. Medium, Small, and Tiny armies are vulnerable to one-shot kills) in one round. The troll leadership and bodyguards fled into the tower, and the fight was on.
The combat-leaders in my party are a cavalier and this barbarian, and they proceeded to chop things up all over. The two rangers, rogue, and oracle played clean-up squad, holding the torches until the trolls and trollhounds got knocked into negative hit points. Note no arcane caster, no magical fire, limited amounts of alchemical fire or acid. Vriska was averaging 20+ points of damage per swing, using rage powers and the late Kundal's greateaxe.
When they got to the T-intersection between R7 and R8, the cavalier and barbarian went right, the rest stayed in the center to watch. That's when Hargulka dumped the Fog Cloud on the intersection, which meant the archers couldn't support anyone, and were quickly at melee range with Nagrundi.
In hindsight, this is when the PCs should have pulled back, so that they only had to face one troll at a time, but the blood was up, and it was a slugfest. Vriska survived being flanked by two of the trolls in the main hall, taking one of them down while taking some hits, and the cavalier whittled down the third. But, the one in the middle recovered enough hp to gnaw on Vriska's ankle while the first troll connected with multiple blows, and down she went, all the way past negative Con,* wiping out the first troll at the same time. Meanwhile, Nagrundi had done the same to the rogue (who was using a lightning bolt wand, while the rangers were eating big chunks of damage), until we ran a more careful count of her hit points. Bad math can cost lives.*
At this point, everyone started a withdrawal, but not before finishing off the 3rd troll in the main hall, and Nagrundi finally bought it, too. Fire was quickly dispensed*, and then they beat feet. A night's spells and rest put them back at full spells** and hit points, and they went back in for whoever was left.
Aftermath: The Oracle will go and pray for another winter wolf companion, which will be granted by Karesha. Vriska's body is being rushed to a cleric in Restov (the player tells me she really wants her back, so I say there will be a properly-leveled one there), where she will be Raised as a 4th level barbarian among a now-7th level party. There was agreement that some more money should also be set aside to get her armor magicked up by swamp witch Olga. So far, she had been wearing only Dovan's MW studded leather.
* these are points at which I could easily have sent in Hargulka, a fireball, and/or the rock troll, but I refrained.*** A TPK at this point could have killed the campaign, and I'd really like to get to Book 6.
** One ranger ignored her spell list all night, and the oracle had left the papers with her spell list at home. She could only cast the spells anyone could remember that she had done before.
*** I actually had the thought, "Wow, this is going badly, I could wipe them out," immediately followed by, "Yeah, do it!" But I resisted temptation.
"Are you tired? Tired of working for The Man? I say, Boom, baby, BOOM!!"
FWIW, I made Bokken and his even-nuttier brother and the Stag Lord's dad all part of a druid group that participated in the last time that N. tried to shake things up in the Stolen Lands, to see if her sword would turn up.
It didn't work, as the plot was broken up by another group of adventurers (which included my group's Baroness' parents, and Olga the Swamp Witch).
A minor lord from Brevoy (old and also kind of nutty) was also part of this plot. Very recently, he started having dreams of the Green Lady and suited up to go exploring again. Except he became the tool that N. used to stir up the owlbear against the PCs' castle.
Armag II and Drelev and Irovetti are just going to be pieces in her go-around this generation.
So far, my party (or at least the Baroness) is aware that her parents adventured here, and that some of the above are mentioned. I want to dribble pieces out here and there as we progress.
My 2 coppers:
I will cogitate upon these NPCs, and see if some pop up in my game eventually. Someone like Count Arnovski has already appeared, and is about to marry the Baroness. His goal is a river-based trade route to off the southern edge of the map. Once the trolls are defeated (2+ sessions away), it's a possibility.
I think mine did the first book in about a month of game time. They established their barony in the 2nd month of my calendar.
BUT,they didn't explore the forest at all, they saved that until after they'd taken down the Stag Lord.
I'm only in book 2, but IIRC, there are darn few traps in the rest of Kingmaker. My group has a rogue, but she's almost entirely focused on Diplomacy and the like. So far, she hasn't detected or disabled a single trap.
AS the above says, that's their worry, you just need to make sure there's nothing that they can't get through at all.
My group of 6 PCs is running without a wizard and only an oracle fodivine stuff, and so far, they are doing just fine.
Apparently, Irovetti is a bigger threat than the PCs, as far as Drelev can tell.
IMC, I will be weaving them more tightly together, and including that once Drelev joins Irovetti, he's a traitor to Brevoy, and there's no going back.
How should I handle XP?
How can I better foreshadow the events of the later books, major enemies, and the sinister First World influence? I'm considering starting early, with the Stag Lord's green herbal liquor - that sounds a lot like absinthe, AKA the 'green fairy'... For extra points, perhaps it was even made at Whiterose Abbey... or would that not work with the timeline?
-- I'd be concerned that it would pop up way too early, it could be years before "Whiterose Abbey" reappears.
How can I keep the kingdom-building fresh and interesting? From what I hear, entire sessions can go by of micromanagement. Not a single one of my players wants to run the "kingdom in the background" option, and they're all enthusiastic about the nitty-gritty at this stage. How can I keep that interest high?
-- I don't know that you can keep it high yourself, that will depend on them. I suggest staying flexible, that you could fade it out if you need to.
-- Always look for opportunities to make NPCs into interesting people.
-- Let time be fast or slow, as needed. Don't be afraid to pass seasons or years between adventures, especially once the new kingdom is established and item crafting begins.
-- Let there be at least a little political-diplomatic contact between the players', Varn's, and Drelev's realms. An earlier Rushlight Tournament would be a great place for this.
No name for the Barony still, but Levetgrad has been adopted for the village at Oleg's trading post.
The Inn of the Sleeping Owl in Tuskwater Keep, rebuilt after the Owlbear Attack, is now Bear Hooters. (Bare Hooters might be the brothel, *if* one is built.)
I, too, like it.
I think a detail that may be overlooked: why is it broken? Did Talonquake do that?
I will muse on this some more. IMC, the group recovered the map from the previous adventuring band who died in the owlbear's lair, but did not seek out the tomb.
I'd think you also want to play up that fey incursions are a regular occurrence around here? (N. sending minions to recover her sword?) Maybe the Warrior should mention that he's turned back fey treasure hunters, too. "Your ears aren't pointy, but you're still thieves!"
More recent thinking...
IMC, there's another ruling house in the plains hexes west-northwest of Oleg's and north of Drelev, already established a generation or two before the current expansion. The dice are leading me to set up some tension between this house and the PCs.
I'd agreed with the idea to move the centaurs into Book 4's map, but now I think I'll move things around a bit more. Let's put the centaurs, bulette, etc., and V's tomb up in the hills NW of Drelev and west of Marstenka's house. Thus, when Drelev and the Tiger Lords start delving into tombs up in centaur territory, it hacks off the centaurs and wakes up Vordakai, and it's the Marstenka village that goes missing, instead of Varn.
Unfortunately, the Baroness player's been failing about 1 in 3 Stability rolls over the past year, and racking up lots of Unrest when she does. "At least my d4 works." Once they beat the trolls, the might be able to get Unrest zeroed out. That should be a good time for me to fold in Tatzylford, too-- I should make it push them over the 11-hex threshold, when they can build/annex more things per turn.
No one has ANY interest in the downtime rules, so that source of extra buildings hasn't come about. I did have one NPC build 2 or 3 buildings on his own money.
They are working their way towards making things work together, like the farms and stockyards.
I need to go back and look at the Diplomatic Edicts. I could stick in an Embassy from the Tsar, which should be worth something.