Lost in Kingmaker: War of the River Kings (spoilers)


Kingmaker


One of the three campaigns our group runs is Kingmaker, and our group has finally made it to book 5, and I have to say the whole thing seems really strange and the opening left us with one of the least satisfying game nights we have had in a while.

We really only have one martial character in our group (we have a fighter, a druid, a priest and a sorcerer), so the Tournament consisted of a mind-numbing hour plus of the fighter rolling against inanimate objects and then losing to all the magically buffed opponents while the rest of us listened.

Then Fort Drelev gets sacked! Which is a cool turnaround, backstabbery makes for interesting storyline. Then the GM points out to us that we have 1 build point, and can't afford to maintain an army for even a few weeks.

At this point we kind of get baited by NPCs to just start exploring hexes like a normal Kingmaker module. In what universe would a kingdom that gets attacked openly by a neighbor ignore it and just send the ruler and his buddies out to go exploring?

Did anyone else have this type of experience or is this group just botching Book 5? Or are we stuck doing hexploration until we hoard enough build points?


Sounds like your GM dropped the ball on the tournament. If the majority of your PCs couldn't participate in the tournament, he should have either let you step into the role of your kingdom's champions or turned the events as background to the intrigue of the regions most powerful rulers coming together in one place.

Shadow Lodge

I'm kind of curious why your casters didn't buff up your fighter in turn. Otherwise I agree with Pennywit, the GM should probably have done some adjusting to make things more interesting for the rest of the party.

As for your army, that sounds like your enemy taking advantage of poor preparation. Have you guys not been maintaining your military resources after the events of Book 4? Also how much downtime was between books 4 and 5?

You definitely should be focused more on defending your kingdom as best you can rather than going exploring. If you can't fight back against the opposing army, since you said you're unable to maintain your own, you might want to think of alternate combat methods. At your level, you have options - teleport, wind walk, etc. - that allow for long-range travel that doesn't risk your party getting overrun by the enemy army; locating and removing the opposition's leadership should probably be pretty high priority. Once you've managed a way to stop the incoming assault, and made sure your kingdom won't get overrun, then you can turn your focus toward whoever's behind the attack and dealing with them, and hopefully in the meantime your kingdom council can deal with building up resources again.

Also it's kind of useless to go hexploring if you don't have any BP to claim new hexes with. You're better off using what spare resources you can scrape up to build new farms or other things that actually produce BP, so you can make back some of what you've apparently lost.

Seriously though, I have to ask - between the magic item economy and building up farms and such, you should be able to build up more than enough stock BP, unless you've been building yourself down to zero every month. How'd you get your treasury so dry?


Another thought: Are they using the vanilla Kingmaker rules, UCam, or Ultimate Rulership? Those all have different implications for the army.

You're right that sending out the rulers as explorers during a time of crisis makes no sense ... but you do have other levers for cranking up your BP? Where is your taxation edict? Can you increase taxes? What kind of trade edicts do you have with your neighbors? Have you thought about having the PCs chip some of their personal funds into the kingdom treasury? These are all rules-oriented things you can take a look at.

As far as non-crunch things, has your group worked much with diplomacy? If your GM rewards such creative thinking, there's something to be said for dispatching your Grand Diplomat (or the PC ruler!) to neighboring countries with hat in hand, asking for money and/or troops.


I finished Kingmaker last saturday (we skipped the 6th book because some players are not found of high level play).

The tournament felt a little unexploited but have some great opportunities. The different contests require to weight reward vs risk to maximize your score and between them you can prepare some cheats or try to prevent others to do this kind of things. Our paladin king won the lumberjack, my character (elven rogue/fighter) did the archery test (finished 3rd), the boasting contest (finished 2nd, too bad our bard was absent) and won the drunken joust. He also took opportunities to talk to other contestants in ordre to recruit NPCs for our little kingdom.

But as I said, the tournament feels unexploited because it lacks minor events and if you run it basically it's just a succession of contests.

The Fort Drelev attack was not a surprise, we considered ourselves already in war against Pitax and our defenses were ready. The battle was harshed but ended with our victory. The problem is that we didn't really like the mass combat rules. They are not bad but the PCs have very little influence on their units and in the battle and 2 of our players didn't like that.

So we completely skipped the exploration and battles. We just went to the Abbey before ending the war in a good old time D&D fashion => commando attack against the leader. We precautiously planned our attack, sneaked into the palace directly to Ivoretti's bedroom and defeated him.

The next morning, we announced the death of Irovetti to the people and that now my character was the new ruler of Pitax when some Ivoretti's companions (the oni and the gargoyle) tried to avenge their friend, without success of course.


Our GM for this campaign is a very hands-off guy, he is perfectly willing to let us screw ourselves if thats what we decide to do. (In fact after the tournament the druid realized he could have wild shaped into a treant and probably won the log chopping competition).

We didn't actually take any downtime between book 4 and book 5 to do any kingdom building. We aren't running a deficit and if we just stood pat we would eventually build up enough build points.

we have had a habit of spending almost all of our BP making new things every time, I guess we were a bit dense and didn't realize that the game was building towards something military-wise.

Shadow Lodge

murphybrain wrote:
we have had a habit of spending almost all of our BP making new things every time, I guess we were a bit dense and didn't realize that the game was building towards something military-wise.

Yeah, the attack at the beginning of Book 4 was supposed to be your wake-up call of "not all your neighbors are friendly, if you don't have an army you should start working on one".


pennywit wrote:

Another thought: Are they using the vanilla Kingmaker rules, UCam, or Ultimate Rulership? Those all have different implications for the army.

As far as non-crunch things, has your group worked much with diplomacy? If your GM rewards such creative thinking, there's something to be said for dispatching your Grand Diplomat (or the PC ruler!) to neighboring countries with hat in hand, asking for money and/or troops.

We started out using Vanilla rules, but we just swapped to UCam. (The game has been going for a long time- we rotate campaigns week to week.)

I think diplomacy is something we might have to try, the Duke (My priest) has leadership and a Cohort that is a Court Bard with crazy diplomacy bonuses.


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Quote:
I think diplomacy is something we might have to try, the Duke (My priest) has leadership and a Cohort that is a Court Bard with crazy diplomacy bonuses.

I hear the Iron Bank of Braavos offers favorable interest rates ....


Orthos wrote:


Yeah, the attack at the beginning of Book 4 was supposed to be your wake-up call of "not all your neighbors are friendly, if you don't have an army you should start working on one".

I think the problem was that everything up to this point has been small groups, bandits, barbarians, what-have-you that we just took care of ourselves- i think we assumed that was the pattern for the adventure path.

At least we are allied with the centaurs and kobolds, so possibly this will help when it comes time to make an army?


You'll basically be able to form armies of them as well. You might even get a discount on BP for having so many followers.


Murph, here's a thought. Since you have the Leadership feat, that means you have followers. You might see if the GM will give you a discount of some sort for turning those followers into an army.


pennywit wrote:
Murph, here's a thought. Since you have the Leadership feat, that means you have followers. You might see if the GM will give you a discount of some sort for turning those followers into an army.

Not only do I have Leadership, I have a Ring of the Ecclesiarch. I have 146 followers not counting my cohort! I hope that counts for something in determining army cost.

Second Seekers (Luwazi Elsbo)

Starfinder Superscriber

Asking around for money is a great idea. My PCs do it constantly, and it gives me lots of opportunities to make them do stuff for the guys they're getting money from.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Perhaps you can work with what you have got.

"There are alternatives to fighting."

I would consider going after 'the source'. Do some investigating and some divinations. Call in some favors from your allies and work to set things right on a personal level. Being that your kingdom seems to be a peaceful one, perhaps you should turn to your neighbors as well. If this King betrayed you and your kingdom I'm sure yours isn't the only one he has done it to.


The problem we ran into is that our DM didn't handle the "military attack" in Module four like everyone else is describing, so we didn't see any real large scale threat to our kingdom; just the usual sniping from Pitax. consequently, we were kinda caught with our pants down when Ft. Drelev went down. We regrouped, but interest in the campaign kinda fell apart after that because the players felt the DM really short-sheeted them knowledge wise. Heck, we've got an actual prestige class Master Spy as our kingdom spymaster, with the leadership feat, a high leadership score, and lots of contacts throughout the river kingdoms who routinely travels in her off time (rather than crafting or building) gathering info (you don't want to know her Charisma or Diplomacy scores, they're obscene). Yet the DM gave her no indication of armies amassing or problems on the horizon.

a suggestion to all the DM's reading this thread: Intrigue is cool, but keeping your players too far in the dark will kill your game. You (should) know your players; if they need a nudge, give it to them. I'm not saying spoon feed them, but don't starve them either.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

No offense, but what kind of nation gets attacked and then never thinks to plan to thwart such events in the future?
A group of people go from surveyors and explorers to nation founders. If these people never think to protect what the have they don't deserve to have it.

"You have what you hold" is one of the laws of the River Kingdoms.

Perhaps your group is a bit used to being led by the nose. Sorry to hear your campaign fell apart because of this. I'd like to think the heroes you were playing might still care about their kingdom. They might even donate some of their belongings to fund an army charged with pushing back the invasion.

As far as your spy.... Do you think that Russia had spies in 1941?


While I kinda agree about the GM not at least dropping some hints about what's coming (and a few more problems as well), that's still only him compensating for your own failure to read the very obvious message that was the entirety of the previous module and forgetting that the point of Kingmaker is that you are more than just a group of random Adventurers this time around. Even if you thought it was just background fluff, the idea of raising an army in the face of the guy next door getting invaded is just common sense. That is NOT "sniping," that's an act of war.


I'm going to let all the hate flow here:
It's everyone's fault!!

**dodges the rotten tomatoes**

The DM should have made some knowledge available indeed, and should have worked to give some clues about impending danger!

The players should have started thinking as rulers instead of adventurers, and prepared their country and cities properly. Hell, even invested their own money into hiring a company of mercenaries to protect their kingdom?

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