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DM advice wanted - Assault on Thorn River Camp went wrong (Spoilers)


Hi Guys,

I could use some DM advice please. On our second Kingmaker session my PC's assaulted the Thorn River Camp but it went a bit wrong... I'll explain (bear with me, I ramble)

Usually I run a 6 player group but two were absent, so we said they have stayed behind while ill in the forrest guarding a camp. The other 4 assaulted the camp during which they were all dropped below 0 and are now uncounsous and in the hands of Kressel. They managed to drop 2 of the bandits in the process (though not dead).

To let them off a bit I have let the party ranger return to the other two PC's (His horse carried him unconcious and seriously wounded) Unfortunately the other two PC's have no way to heal him to find out what happened...

So now I'm wondering what to do with them, I don't want to be mean but I do want to keep to the spirit and character of the Bandits

So what would you have Kressel do?

The Ranger can heal naturally, or you could Deus Ex Machina a few things.

For Kressel,
reading about her, she'll likely keep them alive for questioning, then either recruit them or kill them.

I'm thinking the two remaining PC's will have to try to rescue them. They should do ok, one of them is a gnome sorcerer who casts sleep all time (DC19) so they should cake walk the rest of the adventure

Just wondering when her other bandits will arrive, or if she would take them to the stag lord?

odds are the guarding from outside the camp will slacken, but guarding the prisoners will be one or two bandits.

and sleep is a good KO spell, works better if a bard casts lullaby on them first.

Just make sure the remaining PCs have an escape plan.

and for fun (talk to the captured each PC privately and see if one breaks a deal with Kressel.)

Kressle is independent. Her write up specifically calls out how she likes to the mix of freedom and responsibility as an officer under the Stag Lord. However, she -is- faithful to him, so I would consider how long the party has been causing issues in the Greenbelt. Since you said it is the second session, I am assuming they haven't done a lot. Because of this, Kressle probably doesn't think it's necessary to take them to the Stag Lord. After all, it is quite a ways away, and she doubtfully thinks they are important.

This is what I would do:

Kressle would keep them at her camp, remove any and all weapons on their persons, and tie and maybe gag them. What they do specifically after that? Not sure. Possibly a humiliation route - they string the party up to branches by their hands, letting them hang a foot or two off of the ground, and yell insults at them, smear rotten food on their clothes, maybe actually strip them of their clothes. Given that most of the bandits are male (in my KM game, only Kressle has been a female bandit [and she was actually a party member's sister]), you might want to incorporate that if there are any females. I don't mean rape (people do it, and if you and/or your group is into it, that's fine, but that's really not my thing), but maybe some specific insults and whatnot.

This would give the party a good chance to do some serious AoE stuff - Sleep, alchemist's fires, any other stuff your party has - as it lets the bandits be grouped by the hanging party members when Team Rescue shows up.

Sounds like a great opportunity to make the players really hate the bandits.

You could have the escaped members encounter Jhod - the NPC cleric that is supposed to be hanging around - to get the ranger conscious.

Do the bandits know the ranger escaped? Might they think the ranger was dead and the horse wandered off? If so, Kressle could question the captured PCs and learn that they came from Oleg's. She steals the PCs gear, leaves the PCs in some death trap (left tied to trees for some animal to eat), and then heads for Oleg's to take her revenge.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Tales Subscriber

Oh hey!

I actually ran a scenario almost exactly like this when I did the Thorn River Camp.

Open with the PCs who are captured by Kessle, they are in a makeshift cage beneath one of the two wooden archer's towers. Kressle uses Heal to heal them just enough to question them about who they are, where they came from, how many in their party and what happened to Haps. If the PCs are troublesome or uncooperative (failing any Bluff checks vs Kressle's Sense Motive, or failing Diplomacy checks to calm her down, or Intimidate checks to keep her back) then she cuts off a finger to promote better cooperation. (PC permanently loses 1 from their max hp, it's cruel but don't worry it'll make a good story).

Now you cut to the other PCs, they've ridden back to Oleg's Fort. They can ask around and perhaps recruit Kesten Garess and/or Jhod Kavken to help them go rescue their friends. (Let your captured PCs play Jhod or Kesten during this session). With the information that the Ranger has regarding numbers, and an accurate map the PCs can now plan either an assault or a rescue. They might also want to stock up on useful items like alchemist's fire, tanglefoot bags etc while they're at Oleg's.

Then they can ride on back to Thorn River Camp and rescue their PCs. With a bit of magic, a few items and some allies they should be able to get the job done.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Think I'm going to have her torture the PC's a bit. Hopefully the rescue party will interupt her. If they decide not to rescue them I'll have her go to Olegs with the captives in tow intending to make an example of them only to find the kasteen and his guards have arrived

Same thing happened with my group had a tpk all characters unconscious but not dead but they took out all the bandits but kressek and one other so I had my kressel CN use her potion to get the cleric up and made a deal their lives for her men.

She robbed the party blind but left those saveable alive and her men were brought back up as well.

I will say my group thought ahead and most of their wealth they stored at omega so they returned there restocked and moved on.

In my campaign kressel was a destitute orphan who couldn't get work. She tried making an honest living but laws of the land wouldn't allow her honest work.

(I had to rewrite her because my players started out kill everything that moves so I used her as the party's mortality test showed not all who do bad things are inherintly bad.)

Also, if you don't want to introduce Jhod or Kesten just yet, you could
have either Oleg or Svetlana hand over a potion of CLW to bring the
Ranger back up...but for a price - e.g. maybe instead of one of their
quest rewards...?

Silver Crusade

As mentioned in the previous posts, there are a number of ways you can handle this...and these ways allow for a lot of personalization on your part based on your and your players make-up, personalities, preferences and experience. Like has been pointed out, remember these factors.

1. Escape opportunities actually give many back-up and support PCs, such as rogues, oracles, clerics, etc...a chance to shine.

2. Encouraging the silver-lining aspect...a good PC with some diplomacy can actually use the situation to acquire more information on the Stag Lord (think Catwoman in the Avenger's opening scene).

3. The module provide back-up NPCs in the form of Kesten and his 4 soldiers, Jhod...and even Oleg if you're so inclined. Plus remember, these NPCs might actually have the opportunity to hold major positions....putting them into play briefly can help cement this.

4. There's more than 1 way to skin a other words....they can do an ambush while transporting them to the Stag Lord...they can learn about the alcohol by overhearing the soldiers....or even using it to get the current bandits drunk.

5. One thing my group thought to do when I was GM'ing was work at taking out Kressel and then turning the bandits against the Stag Lord. A capture scenario could be the perfect opportunity for this. This actually added in a whole new element of play and kingdom building that expanded out throughout the entire campaign.

MOST OF ALL...Don't despair, or write it off. This could easily become your party's most memorable and funnest incidences in the campaign. Be creative, let your party be creative (they may come up with a better idea than you) and use ALL your resources.

I completely agree with the don't despair part. Make it your own and make it feel real to the party. My players see Kressel as a good leader who trusts her men. They got good insight into how the stag lord operates. (When they eventually took the camp Kressel escaped and they found her weeks later beaten to a bloody mess by the stag lord for losing his camp.) And most of all my players even at 6th level are terrified of the woman. They made her royal assassin so that if any of them got mad with power she could take them out. (Knowing shes a good leader who cares about the little guy and isn't afraid to question authority.)

Hi guys, Thanks for the advice. Ran the rescue last night they were unlucky and TPK'd this is how it played out.

The Ranger made it back to the other two party members (Dwarf fighter and Gnome Sorcerer), and told them what happened.

The Gnome and dwarf battled and sneaked forward where the gnome managed to sleep all of the bandits in the watch towers. Kressel managed to kill the dwarf as she saved the first sleep (DC19!) but failed on the second attempt.

So this left the Gnome on his own with his party members all unconscious and the clock ticking on the Bandits and Kressel waking up, so he tries to coup-de-grais Kressel with one of her own axes as he doesn't carry a weapon (!) unfortunately he has dump stated str to 5 and fails to do enough damage to kill her out right and she makes her fort save. This wakes her up, she gets up (Gnome misses AOO) and cuts the Gnome down in one hit. TPK...

Almost. I let them off by having the ranger return to Olegs and meet up with Kesteen Garress and his Cavalry Patrol who ride to the rescue. They find the camp and the PC's and their equipment as well as the furs and alcohol.

I figured kressell and the bandits cleared out quick after being attacked twice in two hours and legged it with the stuff they could carry. Maybe Kressell should have Coup-de-grais the Gnome since he tried it on her but that would have been cruel.

Anyway Kressell will be making a return next time they roll a Bandit encounter, should be fun they really don't like her now

Kressel is one tough b?@!? That and hit dice make her very fun to run.

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