I need clarification on the rules for double barreled firearms.
Pistol, Double-Barreled: This pistol has two parallel barrels; each barrel can be fired independently as a separate action, or both can be shot at once with the same action. If both barrels are shot at once, they must both target the same creature or object, and the pistol becomes wildly inaccurate, imparting a –4 penalty on each shot.
Take an example 11th level gunslinger, who's full attack routine is: +11/+6/+1.
If this gunslinger uses a double barreled pistol with Rapid Reload and alchemical cartridges for a free action reload, does the full attack routine become:
my reading would indicate the former, but it seems a tad too powerful to be able to double your attacks for a mere -4 penalty. This becomes important because one of my PCs has decided to pick a fight with a gunslinger NPC, and I want my stats for the NPC to be 110% legal for fairness.
As addictions are diseases, they can be cured as such, through the use of spells like remove disease or by succeeding at Fortitude saves over time. Unlike with other diseases, an addicted character can only make a Fortitude save to overcome his addiction after a day of not taking the drug he is addicted to. The DC of this Fortitude save is equal to the highest addiction DC his drug use has reached (not necessarily the DC that addicted him if he has continued to make use of the drug while addicted). This DC decreases by –2 for everyday the character does not make use of the drug, to a minimum of the drug's base addiction DC. Depending on the severity of the character's addiction, it might take two or three consecutive successful Fortitude saves to overcome the disease. Should a character take a dose of the drug he's addicted to, he immediately relapses, causing the addiction DC to instantly return to its highest DC and negating any successful past saves.
Oh man I laughed
I'm pretty good with the mechanics, having run a kingmaker game for almost two years now that's got scads of... interesting characters that make me look up all kinds of rules. Mounted archer ranger with roc that can grapple, mounted combat cavalier, conjurer wizard, spellslinger wizard, half-celestial switch hitter, improved familiar fairy dragon, three leadership feat cohorts (magus, silver dragon, life oracle)... we get some odd situations. When we don't know how something works we just pause to look it up. At the table with limited playtime sometimes I just make a temporary ruling and we look it up later. With pbp we have time to look at the rules.
I like dramatic combat! It's more fun to craft cinematics (backed by dice rolls) than an endless stream of "I attack... I miss... He attacks... he hits for 10 damage... I attack... I hit for 12 damage..." The number one rule of all roleplaying is Have Fun and the number two rule is Cool Things Work Better. Imo.
@Red - Seems fine, though possibly a bit OP starting out - I think the AP generally makes life difficult for casters to begin with, though ... so it should work out.
If I understand correctly, we start bereft of any equipment. Makes spellcasting difficult when you don't have your spellbook :)
That's correct. Full disclosure of my plans: Claw/Claw/Bite attack routine, spellstrike for claw/claw/claw/bite (all attacks at -2). Dragon style fighting for charges across difficult terrain (and flavor). Working up to Dragon Ferocity, combo'd with Feral Combat Training to ultimately do 1.5 x str damage with claw attacks. He'll advance magus spellcasting through Dragon Disciple, essentially trading all the neat magus abilities past spellstrike for the DD abilities. Ends up with 3/4 BAB progression and 8 levels of magus spellcasting at level 14, so 3/4 spellcasting too.
Lexi! You welcomed me in my intro post. Wish I could have made that runelords campaign but oh wells. Thanks for running this, I'll toss my hat in the ring. rolls to see what I play.
4d6 ⇒ (5, 6, 4, 1) = 16
I am new to the PBP scene, so please humor a newbie. I see you asking for 4-6 players, with a submission deadline of the 31st.
In your characters document, I count 12 characters, but four unique players in this thread.
Is the process for selection to create characters and submit them, and on the 31st you pick the ones you like and those players get to be the group, or is it first 6 accepted characters.
I ask this because I have no clue to the process and etiquette involved. I'd be interested in playing, but don't want to try and muscle in if you've got a group formed already.
Well met on the road, fellow play by posters.
I'm a very experienced PFRPG player who's been stuck as perma-gm for a long time. I'm currently running a kingmaker game that's well into its second year of weekly meetings. I've also been pretty active as a GM for our local Society group. I'm looking to join a pbp campaign to get some play time in on the other side of the screen.
I'm looking to play in any adventure path save Kingmaker (I know way too much plot to make that plausible). I would be extra interested in a skull and shackles campaign, but will eagerly join others as well. My only request is that the group be dedicated to going the distance in the campaign.
I delight in making characters that are mechanically well put together, and can tailor power level to match the rest of the group. I also love in-depth roleplay and being a part of a group that grows characters together. Some of the character concepts I've wanted to play: pistol-slinging paladin of Erastil who travels the world bringing Ol' Deadeye's support to needy communities; bumbling halfling summoner who flunked mage college by accidentally summoning an eilodon instead of summon monster 1; tiefling magus/dd who was bred and built by a cult of demon and dragon worshipping heretics then turned loose upon the world; creepy voodoo half-orc hexcrafter shaman with bad manners and inscrutable purpose... And on and on. I have a rather large store of ideas that I would love to weave into your game.
I am available to post multiple times per day, and am located in US Eastern time.
Thank you for your consideration.
Altus Lucrim wrote:
RAW it's not a trait bonus. A trait bonus would be "gain a +1 trait bonus to fort saves", for example. This is a spell level adjustment, and isn't phrased like "subtract a -1 trait bonus from the final spell level. I can certainly see a GM disallowing the stacking, though. In that case, I would take Wayang Spellhunter and Magical Knack to keep the magus caster level up. You lose 2 levels of caster levels when going 8 levels deep in DD.
If the orc flavor doesn't work for you, you could try the elemental bloodline of your choice to make your shocking grasp do whatever energy type matches the color of dragon you want to be.
Well, as a magus you're going to be using shocking grasp as your bread-and-butter spell. With that in mind I'd say magus 4/ sorc 1 wouldn't be bad at all. I'd take the crossblooded archetype and select Draconic (blue or bronze)/Orc as your bloodlines to get +2 damage per die on your shocking grasp. I'd also take the traits Magical Lineage and Wayang Spellhunter for shocking grasp. This lets you apply the Empower metamagic without raising the spell level. You'll work up to a (10d6+20)*1.5 shocking grasp (82 damage average) out of a second level spell slot.
Maximized, empowered Cure spells:
Light: (8+5)*1.5 = 19hp (5th level caster)
Not very impressive. I'm not seeing any other metamagic feats that enhance cure spells. You can always quicken a spell, but that's an expensive way to heal.
Good evening, Advice.
I'm looking for ways to maximize the in-combat healing effectiveness of any of the heal-capable classes. I'm well aware that in-combat healing is considered inefficient, and doesn't keep up with incoming damage. The same was said of blaster casting, but you can roll out a Tattooed Crossblooded (orc, draconic) sorcerer 1/Evoker (admixture) wizard x that does mad damage or a crossblood sorc dipped magus that drops (10d6+20)*1.5 shocking grasps out of a second level spell slot.
I'm looking for similar ways to maximize healing, just for giggles. I'm only seeing a few candidates for optimizing.
1) The Healing domain makes all your Cure spells empowered for free starting at 6th level.
2) Phylactery of positive energy or the armbands that boost Lay on Hands dice (both wickedly expensive and increase healing done by 2d6, average 7).
I know there are some wicked optimizers that lurk around these parts. Any suggestions? I'm interested in solutions for all classes and multiclass combos.
Name: Jolene Barrett
The Gory Details:
Our intrepid heroes have begun their delve into Armag's tomb. In the very first chamber they encountered the Three Sisters of Gyronna (6-player power up). The Sisters got the drop on the party, and as their first action all summoned Babau Demons around Jolene, the party wizard and coinmaster of the kingdom. They were able to hit her with ease and did massive sneak attack damage to her.
The party's inquisitor/cleric/rogue of Erastil, Otho, dropped a silence on himself and rode Rocky, his animal companion Roc into the midst of the Sisters to prevent further spellcasting. Unfortunately, Jolene was caught in the silence as well. Not fretting, she used a Lesser Rod of Silence to defensively cast a Protection from Evil spell to ward herself against the summoned monsters... and didn't beat the spell resistance of 2/3 of them.
The next round, the Sisters start using their Aura of Madness and selective Negative Energy Channels, remaining combat effective in the silenced area. The two demons who passed the SR check to attack Jolene get her in a flanking claw/claw/claw/claw/bite/bite combo with 2d6 sneak attacks on all of them, and reduce her to less than ten HP. She tries to defensively cast a Dimension Door with her Silence rod, and botches the concentration check.
The rest of the party is ineffective at rescuing the wizard due to the Aura of Madness, doing as much damage to each other as the enemies, and on the third round the Babau demons drop Jolene to negative Con and knock out Perlivash, whom she has taken as a familiar.
One Reincarnation spell later, she's back as a half-elf.
That's pretty far to go. Had they considered Brevoy?
Unless I misread things, none of the Brevic cities is large enough to have 9th level spells available for purchase. In addition, in my game the civil war between Issia and Rostland is still underway, making it pretty dangerous for nobility to be traveling around. A low-profile trip to Absalom was judged to be a better option. This plays into my designs nicely. I get to run my own river adventure, playtesting the skulls and shackles rules. The absense of the leadership sets up a great transition to Blood For Blood. Their transport is the pirate captain I introduced in my "brevoy attacks the locks" event, and she demanded a letter of marque for her services. Her post-adventure actions are going to raise tensions between Mivon, Rostland, and the PC kingdom, setting up the aldori civil war/reunification events that I plan on running before sound if a thousand screams. All of which is forthcoming in a thread here, soon.
Turin the Mad wrote:
What?! Eat her brains!! EAT HER BRAINS!! ^__^
The party returned, stronger and better prepared, and downed the big v-litch. Only two of the six characters were mobile by then, one who had died and got a breath of life spell, the rest were paralyzed. Pressing on to the soul jar room, they found the Dutchess' body, sans grey matter.
Now they're traveling by ship to Absalom to get a True Resurrection for her.
Name: Duke Vangrin Torsas and Duchess Jiselle Torsas
The Gory Details:
My brave party found their way to Vordakai's throne room. Unprepared, they got smacked around pretty good and retreated with haste and Vangrin's tactics abilities to make a quick getaway with Vordakai's taunts burning in their ears. They rested, prepared their buff spell routine ("Yes little heroes, take all the time to prepare you need. I await you at your convenience" said he), and charged in again.
Vangrin ate the Phantasmal Killer and rolled a 2 and 3 on his saves, instantly dropping dead on the first round of combat. After Vordakai's Champion (playing the 6-player version) beat Ylijah the Xeph Psion to single digit hitpoints several times and reduced everyone else to low hp with fire blasts, the party decides to retreat again...
... Leaving the Duchess (Vangrin's cohort), an oracle with the lame curse, far in their wake. Vordakai quickly paralyzed her and captured her. I haven't decided yet if she's going to get her brains eaten or tossed into the soul jar storage. Vangrin's player gets whupped pretty regularly and was shook up over tonight's events, so I'm leaning towards survival. I still count it as a kill, however!
My intrepid band of heroes investigated the Vanishing, finding all the false clues pointing them at the centaurs. They took Skybolt from the spriggan leader, and the Duke (cavalier) loves to use it while he's dismounted, as he has sufficient strength to use it properly. They went to the centaurs, and were met with a war patrol. Negotiations were not successful, and the party was turned away. Nobody thought to give them Skybolt.
Finding the centaurs uncooperative, they wandered briefly before heading off into the mountains to find an unexplained mark on the map that Varn had in his castle (the silver dragon lair, which I will be souping up to allow the Duke a chance to gain a young dragon mount). On their way, they wandered into the valley of the dead and found Vordekai's tomb, powered up for six players, at level 7. Needless to say, they got their butts kicked around pretty good.
They made it to the Piscodaemon, and got trounced properly, doing a whopping four points of damage to it (SR, DR, stinking cloud) before being forced to retreat. They rested and prepped for the fight, everybody aligning their weapon and buffing up. They piled into the room and did a good bit of damage to the demon, but the stinking cloud proved too much to handle and half the party was basically out of the whole fight. Poor Ylijah got pinned by pincher claws and constricted to death while his party helplessly puked their guts out nearby, but they avenged his death.
Ylijah was revived with the scroll of raise dead from the Varnhold Church, and continues on with a negative level.
side note: the party found the Occulus focus room, and with no spells/abilities left and low on hit points, debated breaking the carving. I poker faced like a champ, but inside I was like NO NO NO NO NO. Fortunately they decided not to, and spared themselves a TPK.
hey STR ranger, like the guide.
What do you think of taking 4 levels of Dragon Disciple for a hexcrafter? This would only apply to the melee blaster build you mentioned that dips 1 level of crossblooded sorcerer. Looking at it, it seems to have a lot of goodies - continues your magus CL, +4 str, some natural armor, couple bonus feats. I'm not sure it's worth delaying stuff in magus though, which is where I'd love your opinion.
Hey rules forum, couple questions.
Take a sorcerer who has a bloodline that grants bonus damage, IE Orc (+1 point of damage per dice rolled on hit point damaging spells).
If this sorcerer casts a spell from a wand, does this bonus apply? I lean towards no, because the wand is the one casting the spell and has its own caster level. The sorcerer is merely activating it, as with all spell trigger items.
If this sorcerer casts a spell from a scroll, does this bonus apply? I'm on the fence for this one. Activating a scroll is something that only somebody who can actually cast the spell can do (barring UMD for the purpose of this discussion), so it's more like actually casting. I still lean towards no.
If this sorcerer acquires a spell-storing weapon and stores a spell in it, does this bonus apply? I say yes, because the sorcerer actually cast that spell, all relevant bonuses should work just fine.
Now, what if the sorcerer casts his spell into the spell-storing weapon and hands it to someone else? Do they get the benefits of the bloodline damage bonus? I say yes again, because the sorcerer actually cast the spell.
More troublesome for me is item creation. Say this sorcerer crafts a wand or scroll of a damaging spell. Does his bloodline damage bonus apply to spells cast from those items when he uses it? When somebody else uses it?
Well, lets look at the USS Constitution: A fearsome ship to be sure, but hardly the most weight of cannon carried in the age of sail. Wikipedia says that its armament was 30x 24 lb cannon and 20x 32 lb carronade. Modeling that as a broadside of 15 cannons and 10 fiend's mouths cannons (from ultimate combat), the average damage of a broadside is 595, reduced to 470 from hardness 5 - easily capable of wiping out several thousand hp worth of ship in a minute (10 rounds) of side-to-side combat.
The S&S frigate, a man-of-war sailing ship, can mount 10 Large direct fire engines on a broadside, with two Huge engines on the deck. Selecting 10 light ballistae and 2 heavy ballistae for the broadside, we have an average damage of 85 after hardness.
I would house rule that siege weapons cannot be targeted precisely enough to target specific individuals, up their damage, and allow ships to carry more siege engines. Otherwise, you may as well run an unarmed ship and have flying mages blast opponents ala aircraft carrier combat.
Most recent session was this tuesday, work has been keeping me unbelievably busy and I didn't get a chance to post till now.
Following the battle of the Cascade Locks, the spotlight shifted to Olegton, where battle was joined the following day. As all the PCs were tied up at the Locks (or in one's case, in the hold of a pirate ship), I ran it as a straight mass combat encounter. Oleg had repaired his four catapults and had his compound counted as a guard tower. The PCs had deployed their unit of Sootscale sappers to fortify the rest of the village and set traps. I had given their kobold troops the abilities Rapid Fortification (if given one day to prepare, give all allied troops in the battle +2 DV) and Trapsetting (straight d20 roll vs enemy DV as bonus damage every melee phase), as well as Sneaky (kobolds may not attack unless they are the only allied unit left, and enemies may not attack the kobolds unless they are the only allied unit left). With their 100 kobolds, 300 level 2 warriors, and 50 level three fighters (knights raised from estates), Olegton was attacked by 1000 level 2 fighters from the Surtovas' armies. My players rolled extremely well, and I poorly, with the result that Olegton was victorious, with the PC kingdom suffering only the loss of the knights.
Encouraged by this victory, the PCs assembled their forces at the Locks. Left behind to guard their capital was a skeleton force of wood-cutters. These had been provided by Axemaster Armanci, a midlevel manager in the Brevoy Lumber Consortium who was sent to expand that company's operations into the new kingdom, and who has been steadily creating a monopoly on the lumber trade. He has been a thorn in the side of my PCs, obeying the letter of their decrees while completely ignoring their intent to keep him from getting his monopoly. In return for ennoblement and an estate on the shores of Candlemere Lake, Armanci levied some rough and tumble lumberjacks to form a militia at the disposal of the PCs. These men were the sole forces left behind as my players marched to relieve Restov, which was besieged by forces loyal to the Surtovas.
It was at this point where my PCs received a ransom note from the Dread Captain Lirianne (the hastily re-purposed level 7 PFS pregen for an unexpected fight last session). In return for the safe return of the kingdom's captured Marshal, she demanded 10,000 GP, with an additional 1000 to cover her ship's repairs. She also demanded that pirates of the River Kingdoms be allowed to use the Locks and pass through the PC kingdom without harassment. With much reluctance, the PCs decided to agree to her terms. They met her at her anchorage and loaded 11,000 gp worth of mithril into her ship's boat. They waited apprehensively (and covered by the ship's weaponry) as the boat was rowed back, but the pirate captain did not double-cross them - Oathbreakers Die, as she reminded them. After the Marshal was returned, the PCs decided to pay Captain Lirianne off and get her on their side. For the sum of 20,000 GP they enlisted her services as gunboat for the upcoming battle of Restov. I played her up as extremely mercenary and dangerously unhinged, without any trigger discipline. She was always twirling her loaded pistols around, and gesticulated wildly with them, pointing one at whomever or whatever she was talking about. After making their battle plans, they split company to assault Restov on the appointed day.
As they neared Restov, the PCs encountered an army 2000 strong of Mivonese swordsmen sent to aid the city. As they attacked the besieging troops, Restov's defenders sallied forth and joined the fray. The Surtovas had 8,000 fighters arranged in four armies. The PCs had their 1500-strong motley force, 2000 Mivonese, and 2000 Restovians, with Lirianne's ship, the River Rebel providing artillery bombardment.
The battle started with a fierce artillery duel between the Surtova encampment and the River Rebel. The ship suffered significant damage, but silenced the Surtova's artillery and was free to bombard unopposed. After about 15 minutes of dice rolling, the PCs were victorious! The Swordlords had suffered about 45% casualties but had nearly wiped out the Surtovas' armies.
When news of these defeats reached house Orlovsky, they decided the time was right for their move on the throne. Surtova fights Orlovsky in the Issian Civil War, leaving the southern territories at peace - for now. Brevoy splinters back into Rostland and Issia. The swordlords move on House Rogarvia and defeat them, solidifying Rostland under Aldori control with Restov as their capital.
Rostland, Mivon, and the PC kingdom celebrate, and re-forge the Swordpact. I had tensions flare between the leaders of Restov and Mivon, defused by the charismatic PC priest. They will flare up again, and I plan on having significant plot drama regarding the re-unification of the Aldori legacy. It will involve the deaths of both the leader of Restov and Mivon, and the PC King left to pick up the pieces and carry on the traditions of the swordlords - if he can survive the many duels he will certainly be challenged to!
Meanwhile, Captain Lirianne has sailed to Tuskwater Lake, where she is building a fortified mansion/dock to be her new base of operations. She won't commit piracy in the PC kingdom, but there will be delicious drama as victimized members of the River Kingdoms and Rostland pressure the PCs to go after her. Meanwhile, she's busy spending her extra 30,000 gp...
But for now, the PCs are taking a break from the (real-life) months of mass combat and politics. Maegar Varn failed to show up for war talks, and messengers sent reported his colony completely abandoned - including Maegar's wife, the King PC's cousin. After all this war stuff, the players and their characters welcome the chance for a good adventure like in old times.
This was actually a problem for real life pirates. I don't have Defoe's General History of the Most Notorious Pyrates with me right this moment, but he relates several tales where pirate ships were run aground or captured because the crew was too plastered to do anything. When I get home I'll pull the specific incidents.
Kain Gallant wrote:
Wow! That was an awesome turn of events, Red Rampage. I'm envying you and your group. I always wondered what would happen if the players pushed Brevoy into a war, and it's great to see it play out in your campaign. Looking forward to the outcome of the next battle!
It's a ton of fun to DM this. I like how the story is playing out, and the tension at the table is real and palpable. I have the most fun at the DM seat when I'm adjudicating results of PC actions on the fly.
Yeah, I'm stealing alla this. Gives me a nice subplot between books 3 + 4.
Wow, that means a lot coming from you!
The second session saw the Battle of Cascade Locks.
The PCs split their troops between the two domestic locations they must defend - Olegton and the locks. The Spymaster's minions managed to recover a battle plan from the Surtova army that shows 6,000 infantry detailed to attack the locks. I drew the locks and their fortifications on the battlemap and let them deploy the troops at their disposal: 300 level 2 fighters, 1000 level 2 commoners, and 4 heavy ballistae. I really feel for my players, they have zero tactical acumen. The wizard didn't think of using scry or other divination magic to gather information on the troops coming their way, nor of sending Perlivash (her familiar now) to scout. The PCs sent the spymaster north to see how the troops would be transported to battle... but he doesn't have a mount or fast movement and didn't beat the troops to the battle and so was useless. The only recon the players managed was to send one of their own with fly and invisibility to get an aerial view, which let them see the enemy right before the battle.
The Surtova troops were transported to the locks in six unarmed merchant sailing vessels, escorted by a heavily armed pirate frigate who's captain has ties to the Surtovas. Their attack plan: Two of the ships would land troops north of the locks, landing a Gargantuan army of 2nd level fighters. These troops would assault the northern walls to tie up defenders, under the cover of bombardment from the pirate frigate. One of the emptied ships would then become a fire-ship, loaded with combustibles and gunpowder, set on fire, and sent unmanned down the river to smash into the river gate protecting the locks. Following this, the remaining four troopships would row into the fortifications and land their 4,000 soldiers.
The defender's cunning plan: Station their infantry on the northern walls of the fortifications, along with the four ballistae, and hold a reserve inside the walls to reinforce any breakthroughs.
It would have been a massacre.
So, to help out, I told the PCs who had Profession: Soldier to roll to gain tactical insight to the situation. I then told them that the fight ahead of them was impossible with conventional tactics, that the Surtova force had clearly brought enough manpower and firepower to wipe them up easily. Told that they needed to get creative, they did.
As the Surtova force arrived too late in the day to stage their assault, the ships anchored a few miles upstream, in a defensive formation with the frigate and a screen of pickets and light infantry providing security. I had made sure to tell the players that the transports were unarmed and the frigate armed to the teeth: Six heavy ballistae and two light cannons. I had figured upon them sneaking onto the frigate, capturing it, and turning its weapons on the troopships; instead they had the wizard cast invisibility and fly on three PCs who were carrying barrels of mixed gunpowder/alchemist fire that the Spellslinger PC cooked up. This outright sunk two ships, burned two to the waterline with the loss of all hands, and fatally damaged two troopships who were then able to land their troops. The Psychic warrior PC customized his psy-armor to let him breathe water and walked underneath the frigate. He carved a hole in the bottom, climbed in through it, and murdered the repair parties sent to fix the hole. He then went to the powder magazine of the ship in an attempt to fire it. However, he encountered the pirate captain (a hastily-re-purposed level 7 gunslinger PFS pregen) and her two lieutenants (Highwayman from the NPC gallery). He killed the lieutenants, but the captain shot him down without taking a scratch herself. Seeing the shambles that the attack was in, she decided to cauterize his wounds and bind him. After the hole was patched, the frigate rowed north carrying the PC (their Marshal) captive with them. She intends to ransom him back to the PCs, and her demands might include free use of the locks for pirate ships.
Meanwhile, at dawn, the tattered remnants of the Surtova army staged an assault on the locks, which was brutally thrown back with great loss of life. A few survivors in ships' boats head north carrying news of this defeat to Brevoy.
Next week: The Battle of Olegton! followed by the relief of Restov.
First session of this arc was last night, went well.
Hargulka finally ran out of BP and maxed his unrest, and was forced to attack the PC capital of Silverado (their group was called the Argent Wardens, they named their nation Argentina... big silver theme combined with terrible naming ability :) ). With some well-placed divination magic, the PCs learned of the troll attack plan and defended their city. I rubbed it in to them that they hadn't done any hexploration/monster clearing from RRR, and had lizardfolk, trolls, the huge owlbear, and the lake turtle all attack the city in a two-pronged land and amphibious assault. The PC armies were victorious, though not without losses, and the PCs themselves handily defeated the troll commanders in individual level combat. I did this to give them a taste of the mass combat rules and to get their troops some combat experience.
Following that, there was a council of war with the leader of the Aldori Council in Restov, where the PCs (more accurately, their players) were informed of the political machinations in Brevoy. I don't think any of my PCs had thought the logistics of the upcoming war through. The Aldori mentioned that they could muster 1000 swordsmen guerrillas and 2000 infantry, and House Rogarvia had 4000 infantry and 1000 cavalry, but they would be severely outnumbered by the armies from the rest of Brevoy. This elicited winces and concern from my players as they realized how outmatched they are. Good for the sense of tension! They laid plans for war, and decided that the best places to dig in and fortify are the locks and Olegton. They know that the Aldori suspect decisive victories at Olegton, the Shrike river locks, and Restov will bring Orlevsky into the war on their side.
Irovitti of Pitax sent a messenger informing the players that he would be helping them by attacking south west Brevoy on a land grab. The players were rightfully distrustful of this news (I have built Irovitti up as a significant badass). Concerned with the possibility of Pitaxian troops using the South Rostland Road to move troops against their kingdom, the PCs staged a raid on the massive stone bridge that spans the East Sellen at the Rostland Road and destroyed it, chasing away the force of pickets set to guard the bridge. They now feel more secure to their west, allowing them to focus their defenses north.
Mivon's Swordlord council met with the Duke PC as the rest of the group was destroying Brevic Bridges. The Duke PC hit it off well with them, and their shared Aldori heritage made for a friendly meeting. The Duke agreed to enter into a free trade and mutual defense pact with Mivon, who welcome the opening of the Shrike River for trade, which doubles the amount of river traffic that flows past Mivon. The Mivonese mentioned they were always eager to stick it to Choral's legacy and will be sending troops north by boat to help defend the locks. I will set up that battle so that the PCs will be losing, perhaps badly, when Mivonese reinforcements arrive and turn the tide of battle. The Mivonese swordlords also mentioned using the PC nation as a neutral ground for reconciliation with the Rostlandic swordlords, and proposed opening a college of swordsmanship to aid the effort. After this war, conflict between the two branches of Aldori will flare as centuries-old honor demands play out. PC intervention and roleplaying can put an end to the fighting and re-unify the swordlords.
As the session closed, I montaged the early days of the war, describing House Rogarvia suffering several major defeats and being pushed back almost to the Brevic border. Surtovian troops sweep through Rostland, and although the swordlord guerrillas slow them down, stage several assaults on Restov. Unable to carry the city by force, they settle down for a siege and send troops to attack the locks.
Next week will be the battles of Olegton and the Shrike Locks.
Slight correction and explanation, prompted by a PM I got. The East Sellen river flows from Bevoy's Lake Reykal, through the Hooktongue Slough, past Mivon, then to Lake Kallas in the River Kingdoms. There, united with the other two branches of the Sellen, it flows southward through Galt, between Taldor and Andoran, into the Inner Sea.
The East Sellen is the primary trade route to Brevoy, despite the dangers of the Slough. It is currently closed due to monster activity, weakening Brevoy.
The Shrike river flows from Iobaria, past Restov, along the South Rostland Road, and dips south through the Stolen Lands, feeding Tuskwater and Candlemere lakes. The Shrike flows into the Little Sellen river, which joins the East Sellen river near Mivon. Removing the obstacles to navigation along the Shrike allows direct river trade between Brevoy, the River Kingdoms, and the Inner Sea nations to flow again. It's a much safer route than through the Slough, and it greatly increases the economic power of Restov. This shifts the balance of power significantly south in Brevoy. Rostland has been chafing under Brevic rule, and in my game Rostland, Restov, and the Swordlords were fomenting rebellion with the slogan "Rostland Rises!".
Surtova saw the new trade route as a threat to his rule and moved to bring the locks under his control. Diplomacy having failed, he now moves militarily. This sparks the Rostland Revolution, which the PCs join.
Pitax will see an opportunity to annex some Brevic territory, although Irovitti won't risk too much.
Mivon will enter the war on the side of Rostland, seeing the chance to redeem themselves of their ancestors' flight from Rostland. If the PCs agree to join the Swordpact and allow the Aldori legacy to blossom in their land, they'll send mercenary help. The re-unification of the Aldori legacy would make a good sub-plot. The Duke player is from a minor swordlord family, so I can parlay this into the rise of his family. I can even see the PC kingdom annexing Rostland and Mivon into a swordlord nation, which would be a satisfying plot arc and good note to end the campaign on.
Surtova quickly moves to attack Restov. Unable to storm the city by force, he settles in for a siege. Meanwhile he sends troops to capture or destroy the lock system. He also sends an army to Olegton, and intends to sack the town and fight southward to punish the PC kingdom.
Success for the PCs hinges on defending the locks, defending Olegton, and breaking the siege of Restov. With those three conditions met, House Orlovsky makes its move for the throne, sensing that Surtova is weak. Lobodka fights on the Surtova side, and Rogarvia fights with the Rostlanders. This is enough of a dust-up that the PCs can emerge with kingdom intact. Orlovsky will defeat Surtova, and Regent Surtova himself will be killed. Brevoy will splinter back into Rostland and Issia. Issia will be tied up in Orlovsky vs. Lobodka fighting and be a political non-player from that point on.
I think I've got the war charted out pretty thoroughly now. Thanks for all your help, everybody. I'll let you know how it goes.