So we've recently had a Kingmaker session where a few party members killed the Stag Lord and drove off the rest of the bandits while the other half of the group was away. At any rate, I feel as though they've cut the campaign a bit short and shafted the rest of the group so to speak, as they are only level two. They've basically bypassed the thorn river camp so I figure the other bandits would head off there to regroup and rebuild, while the druid in the basement would use a scroll of reincarnate to resurrect the Stag Lord. I guess what I'm asking is if you have any advice for what the bandits should do when they regroup at the camp, fortification tactics or even articles I could use to get ideas about a little guerrilla war that I could run as I think I've been giving them too easy a time.
***Spoilers to Kingmaker players!***
Have they discovered the druid in the basement yet? If not, him sneaking in and reincarnating the Stag Lord then ambushing them might be enough. I know when I played through this area of kingmaker, the druid actually ended up being the hardest part of the encounter for us. But it may have been how my DM handled the fight.
That said, Kingmaker's normal encounters are sort of easy and it may not just be you. However, its the random encounters that make it difficult. One shambling mound or troll that catches them by surprise and they're in for a major fight. My group killed the stag lord before we even entered the fortress (ala poison) and the fight after wasn't all that hard. We didn't even have to fight the owlbear due to how we handled things.
Some tactics though. Since the fence around the fort is wood, maybe have a bunch try to sneak in and oil it down before setting it aflame. Maybe some could try to lure the PCs down where the undead are through some means. Perhaps pull a DM and have one kidnap Oleg's wife Svetlana. You could say there was a tunnel leading down through the basement into the wilderness, an emergency exit, and your bandits could use that. If / when your party wins though, they'll have access to that if they need it. Another could be an assault on a foggy dark knight.
Yeah, if you hit them with the whole thorn river camp and the druid and the stag lord, it will of course be a tpk. If you divide it into two differnt encounters, they will each still be pretty tough for a second level group.
Perhaps have them meet the thorn River crew in the open field if they head north to Oleg's, and get ambushed by stag lord and his daddy the next time they head out?
If the Stag Lord gets a reincarnate and regroups with the Thorn River bandits, I would have him be very, very aggressive. I'd have him do the following:
He'll start laying traps throughout the Greenbelt. He doesn't care about collateral damage, he's a despot, and despots have to react with overwhelming force to any slight, so he'll trap the woods, lay ambushes for anyone moving along the South Rostland Road, and generally become a nuisance.
Eventually, the PCs are going to leave Oleg's. If he's a smart Staggy, he'll have someone watching, and when they leave, he'll attack the trading post. I wouldn't imagine that Garess and his guards could handle 8 bandits, Staggy, and the druid, but if you want to run the combat to see what happens, go for it. I imagine Garess, Oleg, and the guards die, as well as probably Jhod, but maimings might send a better message. Svetlana would make a better prisoner.
From this point, he might leave Kressle and, say, six bandits at Oleg's to do what the PCs did to Happs. With the druid, the two bandits, and himself, he'll go on a recruitment drive; after all, he's got to get his numbers back up. I doubt he'll return to the Stag Fort until the PCs are dealt with, since they'll know he's there.
If, instead, he runs a guerrilla campaign against the PCs, I imagine that would be even more effective. He's got a high stealth score and a bonus sneak attack. I would use diversions like decoys to confuse the PCs about where attacks are coming from, pit traps to clutter battlefields, and hidden hideaways so that Staggy vanishes like the Vietcong.
If your PCs are level 2 now, I would have the traps start appearing now, have the bandits raid Oleg's early in level 3, and have Staggy start his personal war just before level 4. This way, they're more likely to survive his sneak attacks from stealth. I think your Stag Lord has potential to be a much more interesting villain than the default book version, and I'm curious to see how it turns out for your PCs. Good luck.
Very nice guys, you've given me some good ideas to work with although I'm starting to think it might seem like a punishment if I reincarnated the stag lord after they so skillfully removed him. The situation right now is this: the owlbear was prevented from escaping the whole fight and the druid is still in the basement, Falgrim sneeg and Jex the snitch are on the run. I was thinking maybe have the druid run up from the basement (he heard the noise) and release the owlbear before wildshaping. The owlbear would maybe only fight a little bit, as the party is very heavily wounded and I don't want a tpk, so he might head off into the woods, possibly to become the giant owlbear in RRR. The druid would meanwhile release the entire party's horses and give them to the Falgrim and Jex before wildshaping and retreating with the two to the bandit camp. From there they would start an ambush campaign. Setting traps throughout the land and sending out spies to track the party (maybe the druid or some bandits, or both), launching ambushes until they gather the strength to attack the trading post while the party is away. Thoughts? Also, how would you handle recruitment, if any - or do you think 10 bandits + Kressel + druid is enough?
*Edit, what do you think of the zombies in the hills? They haven't been used so should they just remain there as a trap?
Yeah, I would allow your PCs to have this win, really. Most of what I said can still apply with Falgrim and Kressle running the show, and possibly with the druid as well.
In terms of getting the PCs out, it's easy enough to not give the druid a big role. I imagine him as hateful, spiteful, socially fearful, abused, jumpy, and paranoid. He wouldn't show his face until the PCs either go into the basement or he thinks they've left. Once he figures out what's happened, it's very possible that he'll want vengeance on the PCs without having any desire to see his son live again. I would have him reincarnate Auchs instead, since he's easy to manipulate, even for someone with little skill at manipulation, and then I'd have the druid start looking for Kressle and Falgrim.
I would advance Kressle by a couple of levels (to 4 or 5), take Falgrim to 3 or 4 in a PC class (especially if he hasn't actually fought the PCs himself yet), and use the druid as support and advice. They'll decide they can't take the PCs on directly, especially if Akiros is on their side, so they'll go with the previously-mentioned guerrilla warfare.
If you need reinforcements, I actually would look toward Pitax. Irovetti may be running the country with an iron fist, but there's plenty of former bandits who'd be interested in making a change. Plus, you could use them to foreshadow book five a bit, and to explain what happened to the Iron Wraiths adventurers. Mivon is also an option, though they'd likely be less "bandit" and more "mercenary", especially if the recruiters know Restov's involved. I wouldn't pick up more than half a dozen more bandits. Basically, enough so that the druid (now with gear) can operate independently, Falgrim can have a band working the roads over (Falgrim+7) and Kressle can wage an effective guerrilla campaign (Kressle+9+sometimes druid).
That's how I'd do it, at least. Oh, leave the zombies in the hill as a surprise. It'll be something "fun" for the PCs to deal with later.