Adding other published adventures to Kingmaker


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As part of my Kingmaker campaign, I've stolen/borrowed from a LOT of sources to add NPCs and flavour to the hexploration. Mostly from my collection of Dungeon & Dragon magazines, as well as a few published adventures. In case it inspires anyone else, here's what I used & how I adapted it.

Throne of Iuz - Dungeon Magazine #118

There's a web enhancement for this issue of Dungeon with all the artwork from this adventure - I really recommend taking a look. The whole thing looks grotty and nasty, so perfect orcs!

In a pretty big departure from the Kingmaker books, I put a small kingdom of orcs into the southern part of the Narlmarches. There were a few reasons for this - I suspected that exploring hex by hex was going to get a bit tiring by this point, so it replaces a lot of the random encounters. It's been a while since I ran a game which had nasty, brutish orcs in it. I replaced the lizardfolk village where Tig Tannerson is held captive in the Greenbelt with an orc outpost. This was largely so the PCs could go all righteous fury on them without having to worry about there being kids, the elderly, etc. there.

Throne of Iuz is about an Awakened Giant Toad (the handiwork of Iuz the Old) named King Bog, who takes control of an orc tribe under the pretence of being divinely chosen by Gruumsh. The Hant tribe of orcs live around an ancient elven tomb called the Serpent Mound, and raid the surrounding lands using chimera mounts. King Bog has two disguised slaadi enchanters working on an iron throne for Iuz which will magnify his power, and the raids are escalating to generate the resources this requires.

In Kingmaker, Iuz becomes Nyrissa. King Bog is a fat toad swollen and woken by her magic as part of her plan to bottle the Stolen Lands. The throne is now wood, but will help bolster her 'claim' to the land, and the Hant are used to harry the PCs kingdom.

Instead of One-Eyed Gruumsh, the Hant tribe was now a cyclops cult revering a Great Cyclops, because I read the entry on them in Varnhold Vanishing and they're awesome. King Bog ate their patron, but then had their chief druid ritually put out one of his eyes and claimed that he now had the foresight of his forebearer.

Putting in the Elven tomb also fits with the ruined tower of the Dancing Lady in Book #2; once Elves tried to settle the Stolen Lands, and it didn't fare much better for them than anyone else.

The Slaadi became Redcap servants of Nyrissa, glamoured to look like Orcs. Redcaps aren't exactly known for being great crafters, but they're suitably brutal to fit in amongst orcs, and my PCs hate them since encountering them earlier in the campaign.

How it played out:

I was dropping references to the Hant from Book 2, when the PCs rescued Tig, but they didn't become that relevant until the early parts of Book 4. A few mentions of Orcs on the PCs borders in the Narlmarches, a few trappers or loggers complaining, enough to generate a little Unrest.

The PCs decided to see if they could shut this down personally before it became a serious problem, and wound up meeting a Hant hunting party who were after the Hodag from Book 1. Turns out that thing just keeps reincarnating - I went with the 'born from a sacrificed bull' origin story, with First World influence meaning that it's remains will self-immolate and discharge a new Hodag within a year if killed. The players made some awesome Diplomacy rolls and got the hunters to bring them back to the Serpent Mound, where they met the orc General, but not King Bog. A bit of tense negotiation made it clear that the orcish "might makes right" philosophy was going to bring them into conflict sooner or later, and they left knowing the sooner or later conflict was coming.

They decided to nip this in the bud. Courtesy of the party Wizard (Invisibility, Flight and Teleport) the whole party got inside the tomb without alerting the orcs, and killed King Bog. This was a very dynamic fight - Bog jumps around a lot and crushes/swallows people whole, and with a few levels in Horizon Walker he's quite tricky to lock down. He's backed up by a Wildshaping Orc druid who favours killer plant forms, the druid's Giant Boar animal companion, and two Elven Caryatid Columns that attack any humanoid not wearing the emblem of the Serpent Mound.

Since the boss room has some huge fungi growing around the edges, I added a few fungus leshi who were doing grunt work for the Redcaps. They joined in the fight but were far too low level to do any damage, and once their bosses were killed they just stopped fighting. They were able to provide a bit of exposition, and were fun to roleplay out with a "look mate, I just work here" ethos and total disinterest in either side of the conflict. The players also enjoyed the image of a two foot tall mushroom monster waddling up to their tank and futilely trying to smack her with tiny shovels.

Once the PCs had killed the toad, they just walked out of the tomb, told the orcs what they'd done and stared them down. This was brazen enough to work and to ensure a year or two in which the orcs wouldn't want to mess with them, which ultimatly led to the Hant being available as mercenaries during the war with Pitax.


This is a very cool addition to Kingmaker. Kudos for that.

Do you have a blog or something similar where you've written up your campaign? I'd like to read more of your game.


Canarr wrote:
This is a very cool addition to Kingmaker. Kudos for that.

You're welcome! Reading other people's suggestions on this forum has added massively to my campaign - I hope that even 10 years on someone might get some use out of my additions too.

Quote:
Do you have a blog or something similar where you've written up your campaign? I'd like to read more of your game.

I haven't, because I never assumed anyone would be interested in reading it in that kind of detail. I do have moderately comprehensive notes written to remind myself and my players what happened in previous game sessions. I could possibly get them a wee bit more outsider-friendly and start posting them on here if you're keen.


Wrath of the River King - Kobold Press

I don’t want to give away too much about this one, since it’s a product still being sold by Kobold Press. So apologies if I skimp on some details here.

Having said that - the core of the original adventure is a trip into the fairy land to clear the name of a miller accused of murder. Along the way there’s a lot of fae encounters, including a fair and culminating in the court of the wrathful River King.

For rulers of a kingdom the stakes and purpose become slighter different. When Froderick the miller comes under question of murder, it’s not a race against time before the local baron has him executed, it’s about the repercussions of his actions.

This is another one where the seeds being sown early helps. There was a recurring joke in my game where the PC who became Baron couldn’t stand his mother. Any time the player missed a session we declared he was in hiding, and the tiny settlement of Riverbend got namedropped as his hideyspot, where he got friendly with the miller and his wife. Add to this the occasional "random" kingdom building event where Riverbend occupies an exceptionally productive hex, and the PCs were aware of the place but didn't suspect anything of unusual importance about it.

Quick bit of background. Between books 2 & 3 I had the Brevic Civil War really begin to kick off, and King Noleski contacted Drelev, Varn & the PCs. The gist was that the Mayor of Restov had not been acting with the crowns permission when he issued the charters to claim the Stolen Land, and since Brevoy’s resources had been used to build the fledgling settlements in the Stolen Lands, they all owed fealty to the Ruby Throne.

The PCs response was a polite yet insulting letter that the Mayor was an agent of the crown & authorised to act on its behalf, so they’ll be sticking to the terms of their writ, thank you very much.

Anyway, the River King.

So when Froderick’s wife disappears and he’s accused of murder, the PCs talk to him in person and he swiftly cracks, revealing that he asked the river (the junction of the Thorn & the Shrike, in this case) for fortune and love. The river responded, giving him Ellessandra and an enchanted millstone, in exchange for a small, almost token, tithe of grain. When he got greedy and didn't pay the tithe, Ellessandra's love evaporated and she returned to the First World. Froderick panicked and threw the stone into the millpond, hoping she would come back, but no joy.

I toned down some of the disturbing undertones of this by having Ellessandra willingly agree to the love spell and her betrothal btw, because she's a First World Elf - what's thirty years of marriage to a mortal to a creature like that? It was a feather in her cap and a good drinking story in times to come.

Anyway, the main issue became incursions of First World fae along the river, since by the terms of the agreement struck between Froderick and the River King, the rivers in Golarion were forfeit to him. Of course, the PCs had to get involved.

A lot of the rest of the book panned out as written, only dropping the sub-plot about Froderick & Ellessandra's rapidly-aging child. The PCs entered the First World, and set about trying to find the River King.

The Birch Queen's fair got beefed up by adding the Witchmarket to it. After a small OOC conversation with the not unreasonably hesitant players that not every fairy deal was going to utterly screw them, they got into the spirit of things, buying magic items for promises, or gaining Feats for memories (skill points). This let me do a lot more seeding for later parts of Kingmaker. For example, one of the players bought an island in a bottle - this makes Nyrissa's plans to bottle the entire Stolen Land something that will fit into the established world a lot better.

Upon arriving at the River King's Castle, the game turns into a duel of manners and diplomacy, as well as a physical duel with the Green Hag Jenny Greenteeth, who will eventually be revealed to be an acolyte of the Gnurly Witch. The PCs attempted to argue that Froderick didn't have the authority to sign away a full river in their lands, but Jenny pointed out that - as a miller - he was an representative of the PC Baron, responsible for grain collection & distribution, etc. And as the PCs themselves had already established in their dealings with Brevoy, that was good enough for them. As a DM, there's nothing better than watching the PCs own words come back to haunt them ;-D

In the end, the PCs took the sensible route by massaging the ego of the River King, via roleplaying followed by Diplomacy rolls, and agreeing to pay tribute to him (1 BP per month). They left on decent terms, but aware that First World forces were actively watching & working against them.


Morrigan wrote:
Quote:
Do you have a blog or something similar where you've written up your campaign? I'd like to read more of your game.
I haven't, because I never assumed anyone would be interested in reading it in that kind of detail. I do have moderately comprehensive notes written to remind myself and my players what happened in previous game sessions. I could possibly get them a wee bit more outsider-friendly and start posting them on here if you're keen.

I'm keen, yeah. Unfortunately, I came a little late to the forum party - didn't read about the brillant Venture Capital idea before simply handing my players their startup BP - but I've been shamelessly plundering the threads here ever since.

That "Wrath of the River King" Plugin seems interesting, as well. May need to pick up a copy.


Canarr wrote:
I'm keen, yeah. Unfortunately, I came a little late to the forum party - didn't read about the brillant Venture Capital idea before simply handing my players their startup BP - but I've been shamelessly plundering the threads here ever since.

All right, I'll see what I can do.

Quote:
That "Wrath of the River King" Plugin seems interesting, as well. May need to pick up a copy.

https://koboldpress.com/kpstore/product/wrath-of-the-river-king-pathfi nder-rpg/

It's not exactly a plugin, but fits very well with the tone.


The Buzz in the Bridge - Dungeon Magazine #110

This is a fun, simple sidequest. Halflings village of Lindley has a covered bridge across a ravine. Giant bees build a hive in it. Heroes have a very short dungeon crawl through said hive.

How I used it: IMC the Kingdom's Diplomat is a Halfling Bard. With the Golarion history of halfling slaves, he wanted to get word out that anyone fleeing slavery would be welcome in the new Kingdom. Similar to Tatzlford, I gave the PCs a small, free settlement at the site of Nettle's Crossing - imaginatively renamed from Lindley to Nettles Crossing - founded by the halfling settlers. In the published adventure the settlement has a winery, I replaced this with apiaries and mead production.

This was a bit of a breather adventure mixed in between some serious bits of the campaign - a hack and slash romp with not much threat, and a decent amount of comedy. Mostly this came from the Druid's Animal Companion - a bear - winding up in a micro-dungeon filled with honey, and the Ranger's line of enquiry about farming the giant bees, despite a single bee being big enough to carry away a halfing.

But it also gave me a chance to do a bit of foreshadowing, since the origin of the bees never became clear. Hostile insects as a threat crops up a bit in my game, from the Mites all the way up to the Wriggling Man. There's also First World influence making things grow huge and weird, such as the Giant Owlbear - though in my game I've expanded this to explain a lot of weird or unique creatures in the setting. Nettle's Crossing also becomes the setting for the start of Realm of the Fellnight Queen.

The only serious problem I hit was the realisation two hours before the game kicked off that a single Repel Vermin spell would let the players bypass the entire night's planned adventure. Thankfully a text to the Druid player asking her to "forget" that this spell existed solved this, and she was perfectly happy to run with it.


Those are some cool resources - thanks for sharing!

I'm planning on adding Crucible of Chaos to my Kingmaker game, some time during VV. The hidden valley can easily be dropped somewhere in the Tors of the Levenies, and the incentives for the party are quite different when they're building a kingdom (who doesn't want a flying city? :)

As well as having the hidden valley waiting to be discovered if/when the PCs explore the Tors, I'm also going to:

  • Use Derhii instead of Gargoyles in Dudemeister's version of the Centaur Graveyard.
  • Have the Secret Chest at the Ghost Stone belong to a Shory, and contain documents hinting at the details of their life. If the PCs are well advanced in VV, I might have it also include an Unerring Compass, which will point right at Ulduvai (although if they do the Ghost Stone too early, I don't want to distract them from the Vanishing, since Crucible of Chaos is a substantial adventure).


  • That does sound good, makes me wish I'd had it when I was running Book 3. The Ghost Stone never did much for me as an encounter, that would have been a fun addition.

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