Evil Kingmaker Campaign. Advice please


Kingmaker

Liberty's Edge

OK as the header says. Starting a kingmaker campaign ( I have run it once before with a LG Cavalier in in charge)but this time the players wanted to go with an evil Magocracy. I thought what the hell.

So far:

Spoilers:

They have slaughtered the bandit camp to a man.

Made allies with the kobolds.

and started setting up their kingdom.

They have a Necromancer (Arcane) for a ruler, a half vampire Ranger, a blood thirsty Barbarian as the General and an Evil Monk.

Kingdom rolls have had a few interesting results that definitely added some flavour.

Of note: They had squatters appear. They were given the choice of building a house for them or not building the house which would gain them 1 point of infamy and a few turns of unrest.

As a roleplaying option the ruler decided to murder them all and grind their bones up to use as a construction material for a section of housing that he will give to hard working residents of his city as opposed to squatters. This section of housing now has an eerie howl that echoes down it on some nights. It is now known as "Howling Alley"

Also they had a roll of vandalism destroying one of the Inns. He had the ringleader killed and reanimated his skeleton which now sits in a cage at the front door of the new Inn he built. Called "The Dancing Bones Inn"

As a result the citizens are scared of the ruler but also kinda respect him. He upholds the law very strictly and protects the lives and interests of his citizens provided of course they tow the line.

The group want to build a nation that is very high in magic. But has no rules against dark magic. They want a nation where undead such as skeleton and zombies etc are used as a slave labour force and evil clerics and wizards are welcome and free from persecution as long as they provide something for the community.

Any ideas on how I can help accomplish this?
Ideas both positive and negative as to how the kingdom would function etc.
Ideas as to how this will affect the Kingmaker storyline.

Cheers


Ultimate Rulership addresses using undead as a workforce for construction purposes - it has both positive and negative benefits to doing so.

Some of the issues (in my mind) with running a society that welcomes evil members include how to enforce your laws, how to deter evil members from choosing to become competition for the crown, and managing evil organizations so that they don't wield more influence than you. Like any other society, you will have to contend with factions - the only difference is that the factions in this case are far more likely to just kill you if they have more power than you.

Another problem with running an evil society is getting people to live there. What you described shows that the Ruler fully intends to protect and reward loyal and productive "citizens," which is a good reason to go live there. The bad news is having to live with neighbours who may not necessarily be willing to tolerate you for living there (for whatever reason).

So to help determine, ultimately, what kind of citizenry they will attract, it helps (for the players and you) to come up in writing the major laws - the ones that impact daily living (in regards to keeping the people safe and ensuring "peace" ), rules about the use of magic, which faiths are accepted and which are not, and the level of control the Crown will have over businesses/organizations.

The players should invest strongly in having sufficient watchmen/soldiers to put down any uprising/threats to the citizenry.

For suggestions on how such evil communities are run, I heartily recommend reading up on established fantasy locations such as Skullport (Forgotten Realms settings Zhentil Keep (also Forgotten Realms), the Kingdom of Iuz (I think that is the right name; from Greyhawk), Richard Pett's The Blight, and Scuttlecove (from Greyhawk, described in great details in two Dungeon magazine issues). In Golarion, similar locations include Nidal and Geb.

I personally used two older gaming supplements for ideas about running a city, Waterdeep, City of Splendors, and Ravens Bluff (both are from Forgotten Realms). The fluff that they have is insightful in regards to crimes and punishment.

As for how it changes Kingmaker as a whole - it really does not change much beyond you having to change the reasons why the players will want to form alliances (with the ones established in the adventure path) and why would they want to go check out Varnhold (when its citizens disappear), and so forth.

That's all the advice I can give for now.

Cheers!

CB


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An evil magocracy, with an emphasis on necromancy. And from this description, your PCs are not merely evil, but are EEEEEEEVIL.

What if you reskin some of the adversaries and their motivations?

NECROMANTIC KINGMAKER

In the long-abandoned territory between Brevoy and the River Kingdoms, a place where monsters and hopelessness have long ruled, a new regime has taken root. A band of blackguards has founded a new kingdom, quite literally, on the bones of bandits and other ne'er-do-wells.

This intrusion has aroused multiple forces. In the River Kingdoms, there is fear that the necromancers of the Stolen Lands may reach their shadowy grasp beyond their borders, into Mivon or Pitax. Meanwhile, Nyrissa, a powerful fey queen, has sworn that if this malignant blight is not removed from the Stolen Lands, she will remove it herself.

Rivers Run Red. As the players establish their kingdom, they have not yet attracted attention; they are not yet kingdom-shaking threats. But there are stirrings at their borders. Hulka, a dwarven leader, has begun exploring an ancient dwarven ruin in the Stolen Lands, hoping to settle his clan there. But a Tumai, a paladin serving Torag, has brought his attention to the necromancers to the north. Under the influence of Tumai, Hulka declares war on these foul humans, hoping to bring them to heel and make the land save for dwarfkind.

Meanwhile, the necromancers also come into conflict with the Dancing Lady, an ancient, beautiful fey who preys on humanoids, and the Talonquake, a great owlbear with a mystic tie to the land. He is awakened by the necormancers' defilement.

The Varnhold Vanishing. The necromancers receive word that a town at their borders is completely abandoned and ripe for claim and conquest!! But an ancient cyclops has set his eyes on the same prize ... and he will brook no competition.

Blood for Blood. Castruccio Irovetti, the inquisitor of Abadar who rules Pitax, is troubled by the necromancers rising not far from his border. Wishing to test the strength of this threat to civilized folk, he sets a plan into motion. Playing on the insecurities of Lord Hannis Drelev and the ambition and bloodlust of the Tiger Lord Barbarians, the Pitaxian monarch sets plans in motion. Perhaps Drelev and the Tiger Lords can squash the fledgling necormantic kingdom before it threatens all.

Meanwhile, he is contacted by agents of the nymph Nyrissa. She has love for Irovetti, and he has no love for her. But (for diverse reasons), the recognize the threat to their interests. Still, Irovetti makes plans, should Nyrissa betray him.

War of the River Kings. Irovetti has done his best to hide his hand in the trouble the necromancers have faced, but the time for secrecy has ended. He invites the necromancers and their entourage to the Rushlight Tournament, with an eye toward measuring their mettle. As their evil deeds ripple through the tournament, Irovetti is resolved. He must stop this threat to his kingdom, indeed to all the river kingdoms. In an uneasy alliance with the Stag's Antlers, an order of paladins who serve Erastil, Irovetti wages war on the necromancers, hoping to root them out.

Sound of a Thousand Screams. Nyrissa, tired of the necromancers' threat to nature, takes a personal interest in the matter. Will darkness prevail? Or will the Stolen Lands be once again returned to nature?


Also, I would reskin some of the random kingdom events. In lieu of bandits, your players could be dealing with paladins and adventurers who are trying to strike a blow against the evil kingdom.


*slow clapping* Nicely done, pennywit. Kudos on linking the adventures together. Vordakai can still be the one behind as the Vanishing as he sacrifices the citizens to the Four Horsemen. Naturally the evil pcs' attempt to forge a nation is another opportunity for him to make an even greater sacrifice to his daemonic patrons, and possibly get some new powerful undead servants in the process!

Perhaps a powerful cabal of druids may be interested in stopping them and they could work towards making it easier for the fey to bloom in the region?

CB


Canadian Bakka wrote:
*slow clapping* Nicely done, pennywit. Kudos on linking the adventures together. Vordakai can still be the one behind as the Vanishing as he sacrifices the citizens to the Four Horsemen. Naturally the evil pcs' attempt to forge a nation is another opportunity for him to make an even greater sacrifice to his daemonic patrons, and possibly get some new powerful undead servants in the process!

Given that Big V is an ancient insane necromancer, he might also have some interesting necromantic McGuffins.

Quote:

Perhaps a powerful cabal of druids may be interested in stopping them and they could work towards making it easier for the fey to bloom in the region?

CB

Not bad as a series "villain." Personally, I like the idea of paladins and such giving the players trouble.


Oh, I just thought of something. I know that at least one DM on these boards is running a Kingmaker campaign where the players are running a second set of characters who are some of the Sootscale Kobolds the main characters rescued. It might make for an interesting game play experience if your players also played as minor characters from the good guys trying to stop the evil pcs (I got this idea from the Ironfang Invasion AP where the pcs are trying to stop a legion of hobgoblins (I think) from completely taking over an entire region).

You could use the adventure dealing with Tiger Lords barbarians for the bloodthirsty barbarian in the group by making it a place that the barbarian himself wants because the prophecy states that if he survives the Tests, he gains greater power - in that case, the good guys want to prevent him (and others) from finding the place.

It might help to know a bit more about the evil pcs' motivations/goals for themselves.

CB


My campaign was definitely infamous. It is a decidedly chaotic neutral campaign but definitely involved a darker side as the PCs kingdom encouraged extra-planar magic (something that the crusaders of the world wound did not enjoy). I would offer the following advise with some of the plot elements.

In an evil campaign, loyalties are not necessarily simple things. Prior to Book 3, I had Lord Varn rescue the PC lord along with his wife from bandits. This engendered a sense of obligation when Varnhold goes quite. Furthermore, Vordakai has awaken from a "sleep" wherein his race was preeminent. Vordakai is a cyclopean supremacist and was a lord over his own kind. There is no place for the PCs in his world except as deathless slaves. Keep this in mind. The PCs may reach out to it but Vordakai will never see them as anything better than pets. Evil can still fight evil. Additionally, your necromancer PC will likely lust after the knowledge and artifacts that Vordakai has, particularly the eye.

Other than the resources listed above, I would look to Firemountain Games evil adventure path (an evil pc party taking over a nation), the Forgotten Realms Red Wizards of Thay (a magocracy based on a ruling council that eventually turned into an arcane, necromantic dictatorship), and the infernal realm of Cheliax (devilish tyranny). The only problem with most evil empires are that they allow slavery which is a violation of the river kingdom rules. Violating that rule would draw the rest of the kingdoms down on your pcs. Turning all the serfs into undead servants...maybe an exception but not one everyone would believe, i.e. Pitax and Fort Drelev.


Snow Crash wrote:
OK as the header says. Starting a kingmaker campaign but this time the players wanted to go with an evil Magocracy. I thought what the hell.

**shrug** My Kingmaker game was made up of PCs from Korvosa - MY Korvosa, where Queen Ileosa rules and the two most popular religions are Asmodeus and Zon-Kuthon (Laori branch). My PCs established their nation as a LE theocracy dedicated to their LE deities.

Since most of the enemies in Kingmaker are Chaotic, I made it a Chaos vs Law campaign. The PCs were bring Law, Order, and Religion to the River Kingdoms and destorying the forces of Chaos who intended to unravel reality itself.

That church to Cayden Cailean in adventure 5? I switched it to a ruined temple of Zon Kuthon, and the water Nymph to an imprisoned Kyton.

But yeah, just because your PCs are evil doesn't necessarily mean you need to alignment swap the whole game. If your PCs lean Lawful, then make the bad-guys chaotic. Enjoy Hellknights smighting Chaos.

On the other hand, if the PCs are CE (or short-sighted NE), then yeah, you might want to switch the alignments of the enemies. It depends on whether or not your players can play "cooperative Evil" as well as mine can.

Liberty's Edge

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Wonderful advice from all. Thank you.
A special note of thank you and going out to pennywit. Wow. I will definitely be using a bunch of that.

So far campaign going quite well. Only one death so far and that as the monk in the fight against the owl bear.

Thank you all for your advice.


So far I've been toying around with the idea of having the main groupuscule of ennemies be CG, with the fey of course staying their lovable excentric C/N.

I had the idea of the opposing mass being LG holier than thou at first, but quickly realised that preemptive strikes, rabble rousers, decetiful invites and such didnt really sit well with a LG agenda. With a CG King Ioretti however... i can see it. He's concerned for the wellfare of his people that he loves deeply, and he doesn't want to see that warmongering brutal kingdom (or kingdom of evil rulers passing off as benevolent) encroaching on his people so he maneuvers agaisnt them. He convinces the righteous pally drelev to launch an attack, even going so far as to lend him some of his elite bloodrager bralani that he bound into happy and willing service (instead of the giants).

Drelev is also a much more credible threat as a paladin solo boss, although i'll have to revisit the whole mistress and wife cheating thing. Or maybe its just THAT scandalous.

Big V is obviously staying evil, so is the stag lord.

What I'm having trouble with is the troll incursion and the owlbear boss, I'm kinda wondering how to tie them in the whole thing...


AlastarOG wrote:
What I'm having trouble with is the troll incursion and the owlbear boss, I'm kinda wondering how to tie them in the whole thing...

What if the trolls are LG dwarves instead?


pennywit wrote:
AlastarOG wrote:
What I'm having trouble with is the troll incursion and the owlbear boss, I'm kinda wondering how to tie them in the whole thing...
What if the trolls are LG dwarves instead?

I find my campaigns never have enough giants, so I'm loathe to take out the trolls from it. Also trolls are fun.

Right now my line of thinking is that this is a clan of celestial trolls, born and bread in the lands of the Azata. Usually, being celestial does very little to curb the troll's natural bloodlust, but this particular clan moved to the prime and are trying their own brand of righteousness.

So i'd have troll warpriests, and even troll paladins, harassing the kingdom.

That does seem weeksauce though...

Another thing I had in mind, while not giants, is another foe i seldom used: the Azata themselves.

Bralani being in everyway comparable to trolls in power level, this could actually be an Azata hunting party that came into the lands to tackle on the new despots of the area, harassing slavers, disrupting brothels, and laying waste to evil cult places.

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