The Green Faith

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"You are certainly in luck, then," Lissel says with a smile. "More and more shops in town are catering to adventurers and explorers these days, so I am sure you will have no trouble finding such an item. Although, I would recommend caution. Be sure not to go burning down whole swathes of the forest."

Lissel further recommends a particular shop: Boils and Bubbles, located nearby on Silver Street. There, you find an apothecary and alchemy shop that offers many common concoctions and creations at typical market price.


Orlog BrightShield wrote:

This is what I have so far. I put Vera as Magister since it is the one position tied to magic and all.

Kingdom Sheet

I will add more to it later, let me know if there is anything to change.

It looks very good to start. Thank you, Orlog. As we go along, if we notice something missing, we can add it on.

I've added a link to the top of the page, as promised.

Did we begin discussing names for the settlement and kingdom?

...

Regarding your current roster of NPCs:
Captain Garess' best stat is Strength, so he might make a good Warden.
Oleg's best stat is Wisdom, so he would work best as Treasurer or Councilor.
Svetlana's best stat is Charisma, so she would work best as Grand Diplomat or Councilor.


Ash fails to suppress the smile that grows upon her face when the Vixen brings her the good news. When Ahto speaks with Captain Garess, with a bow he defers to the esteemed Abadaran's will and offers no objection to transferring Asham's command. Thus, she joins your caravan - alongside Teuni-Hexa, Barris, Akiros, and the other remaining indentures - as you march south, across the rivers and the Kamelands to the now reclaimed fort.

With Akiros' stern reminder, you keep alert of the undead buried along the hillside - a grim memento of the terrible defenses the former bandits used to safeguard their stronghold. This proves to be the most unusual of chores when securing your new home.

"Allow me to bring the Light of the First Vault against these abominations," Barris pleads with Ahto. He clutches his icon of the golden key in his tight knuckles. Beads of sweat roll down his shaved pate, remnants of the march beneath the open sun. "I need to confirm whether the Judge of the Gods has truly given me a second chance."

If given the chance, Barris marches up the hillside. As the moldering corpses claw their way out of their shallow graves, he holds his holy symbol aloft. A golden light flares, and the zombies that do not fall apart immediately are held at bay and become easy targets for Akiros' sword, Asham's bow, and Hexa's axe.

Soon enough, tents are raised and bedrolls are laid out.
Over the following days, the laborers at your command begin to clear brush, dig latrines, and clear rubble within the fort itself.

As the most rudimentary infrastructure is laid out, you have a month of downtime at your disposal. You can use this to make rolls for crafting projects, delegate leadership roles, and otherwise interact with each other and the NPCs. If you so choose, you can also begin exploring the regions to the south, which will officially introduce encounters from the second book of the AP.


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Although Thorek remains apprehensive, Undari feels that this Esperanza poses no threat to them.
Her story is sincere, and she is as much an opponent of the Legion as you are.

Esperanza:
Your band of refugees waits nearby, twelve in all. They hail from Redburrow, a productive little hamlet that survived by mining iron in the Hollow Hills west of the forest.

Your caravan had approached the town at dusk, hoping to rest for the night, when you were beset by Ironfang patrols roving the hills. Eurydicia and you led your own survivors into the hamlet, seeking shelter and warning the locals about the hobgoblins' approach. Eurydicia stayed behind to help Redburrow prepare defenses, digging trenches and erecting a palisade. She bade you to lead those who could not fight into the forest, to find shelter with the rangers.


The sight of Sasha elicits a wide, excited smile from the girl scribbling in the dirt, but her nearby mother wraps arms around her and reflexively holds her close for protection. The other vagabonds react like the frightened woman, but their anxiety diminishes with Valeska's reassurance - although it does not disappear entirely just yet.

"Did them council folks ask you to make us leave?" one of the card-playing men asks in a gravelly voice, wiping his broad, flat nose with his forearm. "We ain't going nowhere 'cause we ain't got nowhere to go."

The other two adults playing cards nod in agreement, while the boy at their improvised table continues to stare mutely at Sasha. The scratches in the dirt at the feet of the mother and daughter, when viewed closer, are roughly drawn Taldane letters, suggesting a simple spelling lesson.


Orlog BrightShield wrote:
From my understading, the "house" building is an upgrade of a "Tenement". Are we allowed to build the house directly or do we need to do the Tenement first?"

Yes, houses can be directly built on their own. Tenements serve the same purpose as houses, but cost less at the expense of increasing the kingdom's Unrest. They can then later be upgraded to houses to mitigate the Unrest.


Orlog BrightShield wrote:

While we are a big group, there are more position to fill then PCs. So we will need to recruit NPCs for sure. I'll start setting the Kingdom sheet in a moment with the position that people mention they preferred to have. From there we can start having a picture of our future country.

Also, is Vera still with us? She didn't post in a month.

I sent Vera a message last Wednesday, but unfortunately, I have not heard a reply.

Also, thank you for putting together a kingdom sheet. When it's ready, I can create a link for it on the campaign page.


The half-orc squints warily at Dugan, helping himself to the Oldlaw, before slowly turning his eyes to the rest of the party, taking a moment to appraise each of you. A wry, confident grin peeks out upon his pale, gray flesh.

"You know, I always used to tell Kreed that he and I were like two falcons in an aerie. I did that because I knew it both irritated him and surprised him, since he never expected me to know a word like 'aerie.' In truth, keeping my position and power requires just as much cunning as Kreed used to keep his."

Bloodeye pours another shot of Oldlaw for himself, pauses a moment, then signals Barney to pour another for Dugan. The proprietor picks up his cup but does not drink it yet. Instead, he continues talking as long as he's able.

"I feel like I'm eulogizing the son of a b@@&@," he says, idly examining the wood grain of his cup. "Kreed prided himself on two things. One was raising his boy, same way as his daddy raised him. The other was never leaving himself vulnerable. He made sure that there wasn't a body alive in town that didn't either respect or fear him. In most cases, it were both. He kept dirt on everyone, set up 'contingencies' as he called them. All sorts of measures to keep anyone from toppling him from his place as king of the town.

"'Course, he never imagined that he'd take an axe in broad daylight from some...logger," Bloodeye corrects himself before he can say anything to Ulark that he will regret. He downs his second shot before continuing.

"I'm fixing to learn from his mistake," he declares, slapping his palms on the countertop. The sharp sound makes Barney wince. "If it came to a fight, every man in the place would draw steel for me. They know that if they didn't, I'd kill them myself. Maybe we'd win, maybe we wouldn't. I'm not looking to find out."

He stands and gestures for his men, henchmen and customers alike, to stand down.

"So, where we going?"


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DM Screen:

Amandine Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
Amandine Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19
Amandine Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 11 + 4 = 35

Olivia:
Sepsinia listens to your tales with a deaf ear. She sits with her chin propped in her palm, her eyes unfocused. She closes her eyes and scrunches her lips just as you reach the part where you deflected a bandit's arrow with your sword, but her reaction seems utterly disconnected from your exploits.

"Please just leave me alone," she sighs.

In stark contrast to the younger Crabbe's melancholy, your other neighbors at the table seem enrapt by your tales.

Photinè:
"It is such a relief to speak with someone who can appreciate the highest art," Bartelby says, hazarding a rare smile. "Magic is the true mark of distinction. Put a paintbrush, a sword, or a lute in any simpleton's hands, and with time, he may eventually learn to at least feign a talent. The same cannot be said about magic.

"Consider your bodyguard there," the Count says, surreptitiously aiming a finger towards Greenly. "She proved her physical might in the tournament, and with some grooming she could even pass for a courtly beauty. However, give her a wand or spellbook and a century, and she would never produce even a spark of magic."

The Count leans back in his chair, luxuriating in his self assurance.

"In Taldor as a whole, but especially here in Meratt, magic finds appreciation because it singles out the truly exceptional. Those born and bred to be sharper, more cunning than the common rabble. Surely you've felt it, too? How your own talent sets you not apart but above those who would call themselves your peers?"
Influence check successful!

Greenly:
Baroness Voinum drains the last drops of red from her own wine glass before accepting the one you offer. The ghost of a smile creeps across her face before her stern jaw quashes the expression.

"Of course my advice helped. Unlike every lordling and mercenary who manages to swing their leg over a saddle, I know to appreciate the several thousand years of equestrian tradition seemingly buried beneath 'modern' Taldor. I saw it out on the jousting list. I knew not to bother asking where any of you learned to ride because it's clear the answer is 'nowhere.' Let me tell you something."

The baroness pauses to trace a finger sharply along the scar that runs across the bridge of her nose, from above her right eyebrow and to the opposite cheek.

"I took this from some Andoren whelp's spear during a border skirmish outside the Verduran. If he knew how to properly hold that weapon, he might've unseated me. Instead, he only took my lance to his chest. Those eagle-decked liberals are a hair's breadth from the anarchy consuming Galt. They threw away centuries of tradition and security for an 'experiment' just because it made them feel all warm and fuzzy. No ideals about freedom can teach you how to hold a spear or how to hold your boot against the stirrup."

Despite the judgmental, condescending words that fall from her lips, the fact that Baroness Voinum speaks so freely and at length with you is a sign that you have made something of a connection with the imposing old noblewoman. Either that, or she's simply enjoying the count's wine.

Nevertheless, she launches into a lecture about the proper boots to wear when riding, the right way to grip different polearms, and other "time-tested" battlefield techniques to enlighten you and pass along her wisdom.
Both influence checks are successful!

Chana:

”Thank you for your support,” Onora sighs. ”Also, you have my apologies for treating you rather coldly when first we met. You seem to be a rare exception among the rest of these nobles. I’m beginning to suspect that you may actually care about Stachys. I just hope you can preserve that care once you’re confronted by the problems that need tackling.”

”It’s funny that you should compare working these nobles to working a fish. Unlike any of these highborn folks, a fish can feed a farmer’s family. I wouldn’t mind seeing one of these ‘sportsman-like’ nobles row out onto the lake at Pensaris to go fishing, only to get gobbled up by the General.”

Both influence checks are actually successful!

Amandine continues to chat with Baron Okerra, both consoling him while also praising his performance in the joust. The talk turns to the Exaltation Massacre, and the baron confides in Amandine how the event has left him far more affected than he dares let on to most of his peers.

"In my life, it's always seemed to be a constant: obedience and service is rewarded with goodness. But," he says in a hushed tone, "To hear that Stavian himself may have orchestrated such bloodshed against his own people...I just don't know anymore."

I've updated the Jubilee tracker with your influence successes.
Olivia and Photine can each take two more social rounds, and Chana can take one more, before the next event - the Great Halfling Chariot Race.

.....

Once the feast is finished, the servants clear away the tables and chairs, opening up the ballroom for the next spectacle of the evening. A fanfare of trumpets announces the arrival of six halflings dressed like Taldan heroes of yore. They ride atop miniature, gaudily painted chariots pulled by dogs. The charioteers pause to caper and cavort for the noble audience as the servants lay out a racetrack within the ballroom, marked by pennants and whitewashed arches.


Faun:
Despite the scorching that plagues the grass in irregular places, you discover evidence that this steep hill has actually been recovering over time. The soil shows evidence of having been previously deprived of nutrients, and you are certain that the hillside was barren until more recent seasons.

As for Harrowstone itself, the stark, sagging roof of its central structure is visible through a large gap in the surrounding wall. A partially overgrown track leads from the southern edge of town, winding around the base of the hill and then back up along its southern slope to the prison itself. A sagging wood and metal gate set between a pair of stone guard towers once barred entrance into Harrowstone, but the gates now hang negligently open, creaking softly in what wind touches the ruined bars.

The old prison's grounds are contained within a crumbling stone wall, the eastern portion of which has fallen away into a huge sinkhole, within which a murky pool has formed. A small brick manor house sits in the yard, overshadowed by the prison and overgrown with thick sheets of gray-green ivy. The roof sags ominously, and the front door hangs askew. As best as you can tell, this smaller outbuilding was likely once the warden's house.

Sibe can also read the spoiler if she accompanies Faun.


My understanding is that Faunlara is scouting the prison grounds while the other party members visit the Old Hephenus Place, which I've now marked on the town map, to talk to the people displaced from the southern moors.


"Whatever you build, I'd recommend cutting fresh timbers for it," Cavan suggests, rapping his knuckles on one of the logs that form the palisade. "This wood's no good. Splintering, badly cut. Most of these logs are probably rotting from the inside. You say bandits were squatting here? Feh, not surprising."

You can build a house alongside your first building. In fact, if you build an inn, a house is required to be adjacent. During the Improvement Phase of each Kingdom Turn, you can build a house or tenement in addition to your main construction project.


The same tracks lead to the campsite as away, indicating that a single patrol of booted, heavily encumbered troopers paused their march here. This is also borne out by the small size of the camp, the trampling of the ground, and the amount of waste left behind.

Based upon the evidence, you can safely conclude that only the patrol you ambushed passed through here, ranging independently of any larger force.


Francoix's words prove just as appealing to the Haven-folk as his cooking. However, talk of hiring cooks and servers elicits nervous glances and awkward shuffling. The first wave of settlers came with specific trades necessary to founding the village: farmers, fishers, woodcutters, and artisans.

"My beloved grandchildren will soon arrive," Fergus d'Beranza muses while inhaling the aroma of the ingredients as he passes the kitchen. "Perhaps I could convince one or two of them to learn such a noble vocation."

The suggestion sends a jolt through his son, Melgus, and the younger d'Beranza pulls his father aside. A muted though clearly bitter conversation ensues as Melgus is quite aghast at the thought of his noble kin working as "servants" or barkeeps.

Harkan arrives with a pair of orc children in tow. One boy and one girl, they help him carry cuts of meat wrapped in fronds of long grass.

"An offering for this feast," Harkan announces, ushering forth the two children to present their parcels. "We caught some game over night. Some fresh meat will help make a proper meal.

"I'd also like to introduce you to Fan and Jorman," he says to Francoix in a more subdued voice, gesturing to the children. "They were barely weaned when we were driven from our tribe, so they know nothing of war. Perhaps you could teach them a skill that would be useful for this new home of ours."

.....

In Aristide's personal pavilion - in which he still dwells, as he insists his retainers focus on building homes for the other settlers first - you meet with the Viscount, his steward and bodyguard, and Lady Brightshield, accompanied by her feline familiar.

"As I'm sure Lord Aristide has told you, Taldor now wages war against Galt," the dwarven wizardess speaks, soft and somber. "What little news we have out of the empire suggests that the Grand Prince has adopted a general as heir, and he aims to start building a legacy by conquering Galt while it is still gripped in anarchy. Our hold has sealed its western gates, lest either side rediscover our presence and draw us into the conflict."

She sighs heavily, sinking into her seat.

"The elders' council decreed that the rest of your people had to leave immediately. I assure you, my brother plead their case strenuously, but the council could not be dissuaded. They feared one of the settlers might leak information to outside forces."


Orlog BrightShield wrote:
Forgot to ask also, GM, what NPCs do we have that could fill some of those positions?

You currently have three NPCs who can readily fill leadership roles: Oleg and Svetlana Leveton, and Lord Garess, the captain of the soldiers assigned to serve your expedition.

Cavan and Lira might also be convinced to serve roles. Since they're not from the AP, I'd have to codify their stats to determine what they'd be best at.

Additionally, there are other NPCs in the region whom you may meet and recruit.


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Having ventured out from Hidden Hope, beginning a new phase in your resistance against the Ironfang Legion, you have faced terrible beasts and thinned out the hobgoblin's presence in the Chernasardo.

This accomplishment milestone calls for a level up. Welcome to level 5!
As a reminder, for HP, you take the HD's average, rounded up.

...

Since I have not heard a reply from Boudra's player, I am going to retire her to NPC status.
Thorek, did you still want to reach out to Cellion about joining the game?

...

Esperanza, I think we'll make your in-game introduction now. As the party traces this patrol's tracks, you happen upon them while leading your own group of refugees. I will send you a PM with information you have gleaned from your travels that the party has not yet learned.


Ironfang Forest Soldier loot:

x4 Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
x4 MWK Breastplates
x2 MWK Light Steel Shield
x2 Composite Longbow
x32 Arrows
x2 MWK Glaive
x2 MWK Battleaxe
x4 Cloak of Resistances +1
x4 Backpacks
x4 Bedrolls
x4 Signal Whistles
x4 Waterskins
x16 Trail Rations

The formerly heavily equipped Ironfang soldiers leave a trail that is child's play for Thorek and Undari to follow. Retracing their cautious march, which leads you in a northeasterly direction, after a couple hours' travel you find remnants of a small camp.

Rather than a full-size forward base, such as the one you previously sacked, this is merely a trail camp the patrol used to pause its march. The blackened remnants of a campfire sit within the lee of a rocky, root-curtained overhang. Crumpled cheesecloth, the kind used to wrap trail rations, are littered about the site.

A slightly older set of tracks continue away from the camp, leading onward - deeper into the forest to the northeast.


Wonky Prong, Jr wrote:
"Oh, one more item of note, my good trader!" Wonky calls out, chasing after one of the merchants with a hurriedly-scribbled missive. "This book - Nyzam's Remedies - is a formulae book. It is well-known enough that a copy of it might be available for purchase in a larger city. If you were to procure one for me, then I would be happy to purchase it from you for up to 110% of the actual cost of the book!"

"Can't say I've heard of such a specific book myself," the merchant replies as he opens a case to inspect the cartography tools within. "But if it exists in all of Brevoy, my bookseller contact back in New Stetven should be able to track it down. To show my appreciation for your generous offer, I'll see to it that the request is expedited."


Wonky Prong, Jr wrote:

Yes, I was looking at the Muster and Quartermaster sheet. It would seem that we have a good deal of jewellery and gemstones that might be worthwhile selling to the merchants. I also see that Oleg has offered us either 600gp or 1000gp in credit for the tatzylwyrm head - I'd go with the credit if that's good by everyone.

I also have no cash on my person, so it would be good to know what our totals are so that we can divvy things up.

Also, GM, I see that I've purchased weapon-smithing tools before; could I purchase map-making tools instead?

Cheers.

-Magister Wonky Prong, Jr.

The caravan does carry cartography tools, since one of the merchants heard that the adventurers in the Greenbelt were mapping the region, so you can purchase them instead of the weaponmaking tools.

Also, credit with Oleg can be used to purchase items from these merchants as he's willing to negotiate with them on your behalf. After all, these merchants usually visit the region just to do business with him.


A confused scowl crosses Bloodeye's face.

"I told you where to find the cleaning girl. When did I say I would take you there? I have a business to run."

He snatches the bottle of whiskey and wooden tumbler from the injured, terrified Barney. He pours a shot for himself before he continues talking.

"Now, if you want to send those soldiers over to question me, that'll be just fine. If I'm lucky, they'll have some coin to spend while I'm giving my statement to their commander," he says with a wink and sharp smile, hoisting up his drink to you before downing the shot.


Undari's scimitar swing lops off the arm of his foe, leaving him bleeding out on the forest floor. Likewise, Bree's arrow and Thorek's dorn-dergar bring down the last member of the Ironfang patrol. The dying sounds of battle echo into nothing among the trees lining the clearing, and the rangers have been avenged.

Witnessing another bloody battle leaves Vardalel looking a bit green and all the more eager to fall back to shelter, seeking a chance to rest properly before trying to contact his vanished comrades. Boudra volunteers to escort him back to Hidden Hope, confident that the way back will be safe, especially with this patrol no longer roving the Chernasardo.


Whether on cantering horseback or on foot, you stroll south down the town's main road. Beyond the well-kept cottages that line the cobbled road, you espy the "old Hephenus place." It is a tottering, ramshackle building whose roof bows inward and its walls seem on the verge of buckling.

A quartet - two men, a boy, and a woman - sit around an overturned box, playing a game of cards. Another woman kneels on the ground beside a young girl, overseeing as the child scratches in the dirt with a stick.

Upon your approach, all six stop what they're doing and look up in your direction. Most wear plain expressions of anxiety, worried about what your arrival portends. One of the men grimaces instead, and his hand nervously slides down to something in his boot.


Vixen:
Asham sighs.

"I'm no grizzled veteran or old salt, but even I can see that Captain Garess leaves much to be desired," she quietly confides. "He has improved, perhaps owing to the influence of you and your companions. Nevertheless, I will have no regrets about surpassing him."

Ash punctuates this sentiment with a brief, mischievous smile.

"I don't share your confidence in my abilities. Again, I'm a farm girl who grew to find a sword in her hand. All the same, I know enough not to second guess your judgment. I'm also too stubborn not to try and live up to your expectations."

Her smile fades into a more sober, serious expression - yet the hint of confidence remains.

"I'll need plenty of advice learning the ropes of this business, but I'll do my best - for you, especially."
.....

The messengers accept your letters, charging 2gp to Ahto and Harmond to carry them back into Brevoy and 3gp and 2sp to Eunomia for the longer, more uncertain path back to Liberthane.

The provided supplies include the basic tools of carpentry needed to construct shelters and other simple structures, as well as some brickwork tools to complement this. Preserved food is the other half of the shipment, assuring that your starting cadre of followers will not go hungry for two months. Specialized tools for particular crafts - such as smithing, coopering, and masonry - are not among the wagons' cargo. Similarly, there is a dearth of plows, extra yokes, and the other tools that would be needed to begin raising food. Presumably these will be included in a second shipment, once the settlement site is secured.

Having heard of the adventurers plying the Greenbelt, the merchants among the caravan have brought along wares that are of more interest to such intrepid souls, rather than simple hunters and trappers.

Wonky finds her writing supplies and a set of metal weapon-crafting tools available for sale. (These are available at market price.) The reagents and animal barding can be ordered and delivered. (These are offered at a 10% price increase for delivery costs.)

.....

The caravaneers prove eager to return to the trail, deposit you and your supplies at the agreed upon destination, and return to Brevoy. Such a wagon train slows your travel, even more so than your own personal wagon - laden with your gear and personal effects. Four days' travel brings your coterie across the southern Rostland Plains and the hills of the northern Kamelands. The ford where the Shrike and Thorn Rivers meet serves as the easiest crossing.

Finally, the wagons park around the hill that cradles the conquered fort, which will be the foundations for your town.


"One last idea that crossed my mind was to simply start a fight with him and his entourage," Bora offers. "Thus, the town guard would delay Gol for us by keeping him locked up for a day or two. I could call upon favors with my local contacts to keep you out of permanent trouble. However, I daresay that your own ideas might be more effective, but we will need to get started quickly.

"Which will it be?" she asks pointedly. "Shall we slip him a special drink, attempt to steal his documents, or try a yet different approach?"


Kalig:
The cat abruptly pauses its frantic grooming and looks up at you in confusion when you address him. After a moment, his ears lift up, signalling that he is less on edge.

"I hate that table," the cat declares, referring to the barge. "It moves up and down too much. There are too many other people standing on it. There are no good places to hide. There were no mice to catch."

The cat pauses both his grooming and tirade to look around the broad hillside. His yellow eyes fixate upon the dwarven noblewoman.

"The worst is that mama is upset. Bumping my head against her chin helped a little, but she always started to worry again."

Lady Brightshield offers a polite, quiet greeting to the party that belies the time and distance that has separated you.

"My brother sends his regards and regrets," she says in a voice as soft as the wind. "He works on behalf of the thane to calm the worries of our kin. He also suggested that I not share news of politics and upheaval until we were in a more private setting."


"The injuries have occurred north of here, exclusively befalling loggers and hunters who ply the arms of the forest upon the plains," Lissel says with a sigh. "It is a particularly dangerous stretch of forest, being especially wild and closer to the Moon Silver Pool. I'd hoped they would leave it alone."

The high priestess provides directions that should help you easily begin your investigation.


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Chana:
Lady Marthane offers a frightened, confused expression. She again dons the mask of the ingenue and drops no visible hint that she understands your meaning.

Lidia's chastisement leaves Lord Titus tight-lipped and stone-faced. However, Greenly's more pointed rejoinder causes a sneer to cut across Lord Titus' face, which would be handsome if not for the pickled brain hidden behind it.

"A thick arm and being able to treat your body like a pincushion does not make you the hero of the county," Lord Titus declares, raising his arms to the side. "Dinner would be served and grow cold before I finished recounting my exploits. Meanwhile, you could scribble your merits on a ripped handkerchief - assuming you know how to write more than your name."

Count Lotheed rises from his chair. He remains wordless, but the groan of his chair leg dragging across the floor punctuates his mood loudly enough. He is visibly displeased by this spectacle, but his free-loading cousin knows well enough to close his mouth and retreat to his own seat.

Despite the host's displeasure, Tribune Onora offers an open, beaming smile as she watches the petulant Lord Titus snatch a glass of wine from a passing servant's tray and stomp away to his chair. She even stifles a chuckle seeing him taken down a peg as Chiara Betony offers one last polite jibe to send him on his way.

"About time someone delivered his foot back to his mouth and spared our ears any more of his trite," Baroness Voinum mutters quietly, within earshot of Greenly.

One influence success is lost with Count Lotheed, but one success each is gained with Tribune Onora and Baroness Voinum.

"Now that the libations have replaced the animals," Baroness Voinum's eyes dart both to the door through which the livestock were led and over to Lord Titus as she replies to Greenly, "The evening grows more tolerable."

Another influence success on Baroness Voinum.
Greenly can still take 2 more social round actions during dinner. The rest of the party can take their 3 social round actions.


Bloodeye leads the way back down the earthen hallway, evidently unafraid to turn his back to you. Then again, as you pass the side passage, a trio of his henchmen join the procession. Their knives are not drawn, but they keep an eye on you as you keep an eye on their master.

"Grab Ralla! Tell her to be on stage in ten minutes!" Bloodeye bellows as he rounds the corner and strides into his gambling hall. He marches to the bar, letting patrons and employees alike frantically part aside lest they risk his wrath by brushing against him. As one of his flunkies runs off to fetch the girl he called for, another slides a chair with actual upholstery into place just in time for Bloodeye to park himself at the bar counter.

"Oldlaw," he demands, staring the bartender dead in the eye. "Oh, and Barney?" he adds, stopping the bartender in his tracks. Bloodeye seizes the man by the ear and slams his face into the counter. "I've told you. No one goes downstairs without my permission. Now get me that Oldlaw."

As Barney scurries away, one hand staunching the flow of blood from his nose while the other retrieves a bottle from a cupboard, Bloodeye turns in his chair to face you. The deadly serious expression upon his face again brightens with a knife-sharp grin.

"Now, as for that girl, Jillia. Your best bet is over at Crimmy's place. That overfed ginger oaf has a soft spot for the girl. He lets her sleep by the fire from time to time. If she's not there already, Crimmy can take you to her."


When the wyrm's head is produced, Oleg immediate strides over and picks up the trophy, heedless of smell or gore. A rare whistle escapes his lips, clearly impressed by the prize.

"The way Vekkel and some of the other boys tell it, you'd think the forests were swarming with these beasts," Oleg says without removing his eyes from the head as he turns it around to examine. "I always knew that these wyrms were much rarer than that. Rarer and dangerous. If you're planning on eventually building a town around my walls, I almost regret not asking for the whole wyrm to stuff and mount like a statue."

Oleg sets the head down and wipes his hands on his apron.

"Make no mistake, I don't intend to go back on my offer," he says, pointing to the now largely bare bulletin board. "I can offer you 600 crowns' worth in cash, or 1000 in credit."

.....

Less than two days later, the next merchant caravan arrives.

"I've never seen so many wagons," Svetlana gasps. "There's more than a dozen. We never get more than one third that many. And there's so many people, too. I suspect most of them may be here on your behalf, though."

Sure enough, this caravan encompasses the first shipment of supplies and laborers from Restov. Wagons full of bricks, logs, nails, sacks of flour, barrels of salted pork, and many other supplies and tools are parked outside the trading post. The mules nicker and stamp at the grass in boredom.

In addition to porters and laborers, a half dozen soldiers clad in mail and carrying spears also accompany the wagon train. These new recruits report to Lord Garess, who himself answers to you.

Before you set out, you can buy and sell with the merchants that accompanied the wagon train.
There are also messengers who can carry letters to Restov or Liberthane.


Thorek Ironspark wrote:
My Shield of Faith puts me at AC24

Yeah, I didn't think even a mere 22 could hit you.

DM Screen:

Yellow Reflex Save vs Flaming Sphere: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Blue CM vs Web: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Yellow MWK Battleaxe vs Undari: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16

Lily Arrow vs Blue: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Damage: 1d8 + 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (4) + (2) + 2 = 8

Bree Arrow 1 vs Blue: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
Damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Bree Arrow 2 vs Blue: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15

Lily's first arrow badly wounds the hobgoblin standing before Thorek, and the dwarf's swing puts the foe out of his misery. Lily's second arrow sinks into the next hobgoblin as he struggles, in vain, to escape from the webbing again.
Meanwhile, despite the haste, Gaius slips down the tree trunk with a minimum of scratches from bark and branches.

Bree continues to pepper the webbed hobgoblin with arrows, delivering a sturdy wound.

On the other side of the clearing, Undari delivers a telling blow against his opponent while deflecting the retaliatory swing of the hobgoblin's battleaxe.

The Ironfang soldiers will fight to the death, but the party clearly has the upper hand.
Let's have at least one more full round. If it goes well, we can assume that you will slay the patrol.


DM Screen:

Yellow Hobgoblin Reflex vs Flaming Sphere: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23

Red Combat Maneuver vs Web: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Blue Combat Maneuver vs Web: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

Red MWK Battleaxe vs Thorek: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5

The southernmost hobgoblin evades the latest roll of the flaming sphere. In response, he dashes forward and vaults over a felled log to accost Undari.

The other two move forward, with the one carrying a glaive getting caught anew in the magic webbing. His axe-wielding fellow, however, delivers a well-aimed strike at Thorek, whose own dorn-dergar swing is deflected by his foe's shield. Nevertheless, another bolt of magical force from Gaius soon strikes the hobgoblin soldier.

Unless Thorek currently has an AC buff that puts him above 22, he takes 5 damage.
Lily and Bree can still post this round's actions. Everyone can post their next round's actions, too.


The Vermilion Vixen wrote:
Oh, cool! This is where VV gets her Royal Enforcer status, right? When do the positions become official? Really curious about how Ahto's ruler status will be introduced in-game...!

Yes, once the first settlement is constructed, you determine the kingdom's alignment, assign kingdom roles, and determine your kingdom's starting attributes and remaining treasury.

I wrote the letter addressed to Ahto with the plan that it may tie into how he becomes ruler. The church of Abadar may coronate him, after a fashion. I didn't want to shoehorn you into starting a theocracy, but I did want to leave that possibility open.


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DM Screen:

??? Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18

"Yes, yes, we're all quite impressed, dear," Baroness Voinum says, as though speaking to an attention-seeking child, "Now go get yourself patched up before you bleed all over me."

Despite treating the incident the most casually of all present, perhaps owing to seeing far worse during her career in the Phalanx, Baroness Voinum's voice carries more respect than criticism for Greenly. She would never admit it, but she is doubly impressed by both the coarse woman's skill at arms and ability to take a shot for someone else.

1 more influence success on Baroness Voinum.

Count Lotheed directs his servants to hustle the guests inside the ballroom for dinner, then he commands his guards to investigate "the scene of the crime." He also sternly instructs them not to let anyone interfere with their examination.

Chana:
Your eyes easily pierce the lengthening shadows of the waning sunlight, revealing a sea of shocked faces. Among most of the crowd, horror gives way to rampant speculation. You can see many whispering lips, likely gossiping about who or what they think is responsible.

Dame Parthena hoists her fainted daughter up. Her face registers a sense of conflict, likely torn between sincere worry for her daughter's well-being and worry about whether dainty damsels are currently in fashion among courtly men.

Baron Okerra is clearly frightened. This attempted assassination has presumably rekindled painful memories of the Exaltation Massacre, leaving him very agitated.

Even before Greenly stumbles over and thrusts the bouquet of hyacinth’s into her hands, Lady Marthane wears a look of surprise that differs from all those around her. She attempts to conceal it, but you see through her ruse. She is frustrated that Count Lotheed remains standing. However, you also recognize the look of someone about to bolt before they can be pinched by the authorities.

"Let us put aside the latest failure of that damnable Night Swan," Count Lotheed declares as he welcomes his guests into the ballroom. "The palace dining room, resplendent though it may be, is simply too small to contain all the noble, deserving friends of the Lotheed family. Thus, you are privileged to enjoy the finest meal in the most lavish hall in all of Meratt."

Purple Finch guides you to your seats along one of the long tables, just as the other guests' jesters lead them. As the forty or so guests are seated, a veritable parade marches through the ballroom. A levy of servants, dressed as sheep, lead a procession of steers and lambs around the table - introducing the guests to their meat before it is taken aside to be slaughtered, sliced, and seared.

Sense Motive DC 20:
Baroness Voinum bears a well-disguised revulsion for this spectacle. Perhaps subtly supporting her disapproval when chatting with her could earn some respect from the iron maiden?

"What a sorry failure of a servant," Lord Titus loudly declares, delivering a stinging slap upon the back of Purple Finch. "Could you not provide a wash room or even clean clothes for your masters?" His eyes sharply dart towards your party, making it abundantly clear whom he really criticizes.

You have 3 social rounds during dinner. Also, how you respond to Lord Titus' obvious jibe may affect particular NPCs' perceptions of you.


Apologies for the delay

Sweet Pea's rather...sheltered upbringing does not acquaint her with any forest phenomena that could cause such injuries. However, Randu has an inkling of what might be responsible.

Randu:
Around the cutyards and cook fires, the loggers call them Sawdust Sloughs. They look like clouds of wood shavings and sawdust but move and attack like they're alive. The popular folk tale is that spilled fey blood mixes with the detritus left behind by loggers and creates these vengeful blights. Your knowledge of arcane mysteries suggests that this may not be far from the truth.

They are drawn to loud noises and vibrations, especially metallic sounds such as chopping and sawing, which fuels superstitions about them seeking revenge against loggers and sawmills. As befitting something made of wood particles, these Sloughs are quite flammable.

"It is hardly a blessing, but the loggers seeking our help have at least described where these incidents have occurred," Lissel adds sadly. "If you would be good enough to investigate, I can easily direct you where to start your search."


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We've now reached the kingdom building portion of the game. Congrats!
I've added a link to the kingdom building rules at the top of the page, beneath the other resources.

The supplies, tools, and laborers that Brevoy will provide you amounts to an initial treasury of 50 Build Points.

Since the site you have chosen for your first settlement, the bandit fort, sits within hill terrain, it will take 1 month to prepare for construction.
Furthermore, it will cost 3 BP to prepare the site - 1 BP to "Claim the hex as yours," which represents setting up very basic infrastructure such as clearing paths, hiring patrols, setting up a tent city; 2 BP to "Prepare the site for construction," which represents clearing trees, moving boulders, digging sanitation trenches, and so on.

After that, your next step is to build your settlement's first building. The rules recommend an inn, shrine, or watchtower.
There should be a list of buildings in the linked rules.


"Thank you, friend," Milon breathes with relief at Ulark's healing touch. The other man, whom Ulark does not recognize as one of the regular loggers, also nods his head, his throat too parched to voice his thanks.

"Hah! She never got to 'reside' in the manor," Bloodeye laughs. "Even when she came to town to do the Gavel's cleanin', I think he made her sleep outside. Best I remember, she lives down in Olfden. Of course, she might've been here in town already to do the cleanin' when you went and cleaned old Kreed himself."

The half-orc strokes his chin, likely giving more thought to how to milk this information than whether he actually remembers it.

"I'm feeling a mite parched," he says. "Walk with me upstairs as I get a drink from Barney, and I'll tell you where that Jillia girl likes to hang around when she's in town."


Bloodeye scratches his scalp, searching for the answer. Then, with a newly creeping smile, he remembers.

"Ah, yes. Her name was Jillia. Can't say that she has the same...charm as my Miss Ralla, but she's pleasant enough to look at. I know a lot of my customers would enjoy her simple beauty."


Mr. Pink:
You find the letter stiff and unimaginative. What's more, the subtext is utterly plain to see. The Taldan party clearly hopes that whatever lurks within this "labyrinth" beneath the fort will be the death of you, sparing them the trouble of having to do the dirty work themselves.

A thorough exploration of the fort turns up a few old, deactivated traps likely left behind by the bandits who formerly occupied this stronghold. They amount to little more than bells on strings to warn of infiltrators and the odd arrow launcher, crude and spent. If the Taldan party had the inclination and skill to leave behind any traps, they clearly did not have the time.

No locks adorn any of the containers or doors - not even the three chests in the bandit king's bed chambers or the mysterious door in the cellar.


Brand Oluffson wrote:
so -3 for prepping and claiming the hex = 47

Correct!

Mister Haane Pinkjaw wrote:
On that note, should we also be looking at filling the kingdom roles at this time (Ruler, Councilor, High Priest etc)? Or should we wait until we have a more established settlement first?

Although the settlement needs to be founded first (at least mechanically), you can settle those roles now. It could also provide inspiration for RP as your characters discuss who would be best for what role while preparing the site.


"You'll find most of them squatting around the old Hephenus place, not far from the memorial statue," Muricar explains.

"I've also seen them loitering around the lovely Miss Straelock's home. Truly an earthy beauty, I suspect she has a soft heart for those hard-luck cases. She probably feeds them like stray animals, and in turn they probably linger by her door waiting for scraps."

He gives you clear directions to locate these two sites.


Also, the stipend of supplies, tools, and laborers that Brevoy provides amounts to a starting treasury of 50 BP.


Thank you for posting that link, Bydar. I forgot to include one with my previous post. I will also add a link or two for settlement rules to the top of the page.

Also, when it comes to book keeping - keeping track of the city grid, creating a spreadsheet for the kingdom - did one of you like to handle that, or would you prefer if I kept track for you?


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Asham's shoulders lurch back as she is caught off guard by Eunomia's question.

"Surely you don't want input from a farm girl turned soldier," she objects, plaintively raising her calloused palm. "I never had to name anything bigger than a barn cat, and even then I only called the rascal Gingerbread because of his fur."

Despite her reluctance, Ash seems to actually give the idea consideration.

"I do like the name Tamlyn, and the way you explain its meaning was right sweet, ma'am," she tells Eunomia. "You could call the place New Restov. I bet that'd flatter those swordlords, although it would be a right ugly name to keep. Anything else I could come up with would be rather plain, like Greenfield, or Meadowdowne, or something like that."

Feeling self-conscious about her suggestions, Ash scrunches her shoulders to reduce her silhouette. She leans over so her arm brushes the Vixen's.

"But I believe you're right," she says, looking to the Vixen, seeking reassurance in the company of heroes. "It should be a name that attracts people. With no offense intended to Miss Wonky, I think a lot of folks might be spooked by the fey, so it might not be wise to call attention to them. If you wanted to one up Silverhall, you could always name the town Goldvale," she says with a hesitant smile, hoping at least the Vixen would be amused by her jest.


Faun:
The grass which covers the hill upon which Harrowstone sits is not healthy. Its yellowing, although not entirely pervasive, is indicative that the grass and withering wildflowers have been exposed to some kind of localized foulness.

When you investigate closer, you discover many signs of scorching on the hillside. In addition to broad, oblong shapes, there are smaller tracks burned into the grass. Whiffs of brimstone still haunt the air. Ornmeil'lon shudders like a tree caught in a strong wind, clearly unnerved by whatever lingers near or within the ruined, fortress-like prison.

Councilman Muricar cautions that the superstitious locals, slow to even warm up to local heroes, will require adroit convincing to work on such an "accursed" place. Of course, he admits with a shrug that it is not impossible.

"The vagrants from the southern moors may be your best lead," he says, briefly letting his eyes wander to Faun and Valeska's legs. "They possess nothing but time, lacking work and regular roofs over their heads. Can't say that I'd rightly trust them. Keep an eye on your purse, and don't pay them a copper until the work is done."


Cavan, Lira, and the rest of your new followers file into the reclaimed fort. Some rush in, eager for the safety afforded by the walls. Others enter more cautiously, eyeing every corner and crevice warily. Soon enough, though, they all settle in and begin claiming empty crates for chairs to rest their feet or working to salvage hammocks to rest a spell.

Vera examines the trade goods abandoned in the cellar. Although she is not a merchant, she knows Oleg well enough to judge that he would readily offer credit, at full value, at his trading post in exchange for these goods.

The first steps towards building your kingdom are to clear and prepare this hex for construction. This will take approximately 1 month in-game and cost 3 of your 50 starting Build Points (1 BP for claiming the hex, which represents setting up very basic infrastructure such as clearing paths, hiring patrols, setting up a tent city, and so on; the other 2 BP is for preparing for construction, which represents involve clearing trees, moving boulders, digging sanitation trenches, and so on.)

You should also decide what your first building will be.


"Kreed kept a rather limited inner circle," Bloodeye replies. "Besides me, there was Pay Day and that slip of a barrister. Old Vade used to be included, too, 'fore he and Kreed had their...falling out.

"There was that cleaning girl, too," he adds, stroking his sharp chin. "I was always a bit suspicious of her. She'd come up from Olfden two or three times a year to tidy up both Kreed's manor and the 'official' offices, usually ahead of an inspection.

"She certainly had...I guess I'd call it a fragile hint of masked elegance," Bloodeye muses with a wolfish smile cutting across his face. "I was sure she'd be quite popular. I tried to recruit her myself but was always rebuffed. Even Kreed opposed the idea. I guess he worried I'd pry too many of his secrets from her."


The week of 22 Desnus rolls around, and the dwarven riverboats are spotted on the western horizon. As the flat-bottomed vessels roll downriver, Connetlie finds reason pause his work at the bulette to grumble.

"If the dwarves had ships, why did we have to march east on blistering feet, alongside the oxen and their dust?"

"Because," Hovant explains, staring down his nose at the tanner, "The barges would not have been large enough to carry all the supplies, tools, lumber, and stone we needed to build our homes while still having room for our people."

Although the morning finds the finishing touches put upon Dorick's bunkhouse and Francoix's kitchen, joining the recent completion of Kalig's stall for Matilda and the workshops of Mia and Seraphina, the rest of the day sees little work getting done. The settlers are far too excited to welcome their kin and receive news from Avistan.

Practically every human settler descends the hillside to the river's edge to greet the two barges groan to a halt below Haven. Cheers and joyous hollers ring out from both sides, and planks are laid down for passengers to disembark. The first to come ashore is an irritated brown cat, followed closely by the familiar dwarven matriarch, Freya Brightshield.


Oleg offers only a harrumph and turns to refocus upon his work, shielding his nose and mouth with a rag as he brushes boiling pitch upon his rain barrel.

"I think my Oleg's a bit overwhelmed by the prospect," Svetlana says with a coy smile and a sidelong glance at her husband. "I'd wager, silvers to sausage, that he'd suggest something named for himself, like Levetown."


Teasel:

Teasel Knowledge (Nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26

As befitting the role you have been groomed for, serving as a fey diplomat to the human communities, you have some insight into the political structure of the fey in the region.

The Nymph Queen Syntira, one of the eleven Eternal Monarchs of the First World and emissary of the Eldest, is the fey ruler of Darkmoon Vale - however, her rule is far from unquestioned. Her continued inability to resolve the conflict with the human settlements has led to discontent among her subjects in the Vale. Her own sister, Ambrosia, serves as an opposition leader, representing the fey who crave more direct, violent action to settle their grievances.

While Syntira's influence is strongest in the older, more primeval Darkmoon Wood, the nearby and larger Arthfell Forest has seen increased support for Ambrosia.

Thus, the fey of the Arthfell would likely be willing to help you, but their means might be far too excessive for your human peers.
...

"It would take an impressive bit of skulduggery to slip the documents away from him," Bora replies, "but slipping something into his drink would be far easier. The only thing Gol likes to sample more than women is wine. Enlisting fey aid could be effective but dangerous. We'd run the risk of lionizing the Consortium's image as protectors against the fey."


While walking along the white stone pathway leading towards the veranda gardens, Onora offers a jittery start as "Lidia" makes unexpected contact. Nevertheless, the noblewoman's words seem to calm and comfort the tribune. She nods along, catching her apparent patron's intent.

"I must say, I'm right surprised for any noble to have my back," Onora says quietly to Lidia. "Hope you won't regret taking my side. It might put off some of your noble neighbors."

The tone she heaps upon the last two words, and the sharp way she aims her thumb towards the well-dressed crowd moving around you, makes it clear that she thinks little of putting them off.

.....

Greenly is quick, but not quick enough. Although her adrenaline grants celerity to her lean muscles as always, she only has time enough to interpose herself between the Count and the pending shot.

Poisoned Crossbow Trap vs Greenly: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (6) + 15 = 21

With a sharp twang that seems to silence the songbirds, the crossbow bolt flies forth and pierces Greenly's dust-coated armor, plunging into her back.

DM Screen:

Greenly Fortitude Save, Initial: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Con Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 2
Greenly Fortitude Save: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24

Greenly:
You feel a head rush shortly after receiving the wound. This is quite different from the normal sensation of pain and anger you feel during battle. The skin around the embedded bolt burns terribly, and you can feel a knot form in your stomach - but after a few moments, your tough gut unkinks itself.

You (surprisingly) failed the initial save against poison and take 2 Con damage, but you make the next save and avoid further damage.
...

A chorus of gasps and cries rises from the crowd of nobles. Faces run pale in the afternoon light. Sepsinia Crabbe faints into her mother's strong arms. Baron Okerra claps a hand to the stout sword at his hip, and his eyes dart around looking for signs of attack.

A complex whirl of emotions crosses Count Lotheed's face as he sees the Ulfen champion stumble, taking the shot meant for him. Anger and surprise are paramount, tinged with hints of fear. He makes no move to catch or support Greenly, but he barks a command to Sir Gusairne at his right hand.

"Fetch some anti-toxin at once! And dispatch the guards to find our would-be assassin!" his stern voice carries across the veranda.

Because you saved his life, Bartelby's attitude towards the party immediately improves by one step.

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