Question: Should Nyrissa help a fledgling kingdom?
If anyone is still out there, kingdom Unrest is a death spiral for a fledgling kingdom. My players through some unlucky rolls are trapped in this spiral. RAW, not many great options to get out of it, even with housing, as we used a "Capital Venture" and promises to build certain things that are no longer affordable.
I've gone with the BBEG option similar to what the CRPG ended up with:
In doing so, it's a complex dance. Our BBEG needs the kingdoms to rise, then fall, and fall in a particular way. Thus far, she has her hands in:
* Stag Lord (KIA before his kingdom got going)
* Irrovetti (who is trying to find a way to thwart her)
* Sootscales (through Tartuk, plan failed mostly because he's so crazy his revenge overwhelmed her plots)
So, in a twisted way, Nyrissa needs kingdoms to succeed (to a predetermined point), then boom. Should I introduce her in an "offer they can't refuse" scenario? I also play a fey-heavy campaign, and one big theme for my fey is that every deal has an "undeal" (a way to get out of it that may not be obviously known, think Rumplestiltskin, etc.) If so, thoughts on how this all might play out?
Look at what Nyrissa was doing with Irovetti in canon -- she can provide the PCs assistance "for seven years", or something like that (typical duration-limited Fey bargain), and then come calling for her favor (the entire kingdom neatly trapped into a bottle, just like many another kingdom before them...)
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Oh, so many things.
What you want to think about is what happens if the PCs break the deal - what's the punishment? - and how leery they're likely to be of open ended deals. I think open ended 'riddling' deals are better, giving the GM a lot more to play with. But if the players are sufficiently paranoid, they simply won't deal because they know the narrative consequence is that the price is always higher than you think it'll be.
1) The 'Fey Bride' scenario. The King needs to marry a fey woman (either Nyrissa openly, or more likely Nyrissa in a guise), who gets a full vote on the council and her opinion heard to make the Stolen Lands a better place for the fey. The 'undeal' is to have her divorce ("Banish her, and the fruit of her union") in exchange for taking the first-born child... whom she promptly infuses with First World energy to make them grow up mighty fast so 'The Lost Prince' can begin causing trouble for the kingdom.
2) "Just One Spell" - one spell, openly cast at a time of her choosing, at a target of her choosing. There's several different ways you could use this. The first that springs to my mind is forcing a PC to cast Dominate Person on Irrovetti or the like at the Rushlight Tournament - such a massive diplomatic foe par that war is inevitable as a result. Softer versions of this are "one punch" (in another ruler's groin, at their wedding), or a spell that won't harm the target (like Dominate Person, which doesn't in itself harm them).
3) "My Choice of Treasure" - any single piece of treasure taken from a foe of her choice. This is pretty open ended one. The Eye of Abaddon and Briar in particular are loot they'll be coming across that will raise havoc.
4) "Your Shadows" - the PCs lose their shadows, a bizarre oddity that provides a -1 to Charisma based skills. Of course, those shadows still are the PCs and are now Nyrissas... effectively, add a late game encounter that's a Mirror of Opposition style Bloom where the party have to face themselves.
Nice ideas! You're right on PC paranoia as they've grown up with local peasants voicing peasant wisdom about never making a deal with the fey. However, they've had some favorable encounters with fey. I think if presented with a Rumplestiltskin scenario, they'd just pass and hope for the best. But if something else...
This one intrigues me. In our "Capital Venture" dealing, the PCs made a deal with the church that their ruler would marry within 5 years. Nyrissa already knows the PCs have had dealings with the fey, so there's some they trust. She can play on this - masquerade as a "queen of the Summer Court" and marry the PC to some minion - so the PCs believe they're uniting the First and Second World. Very "Excalibur" (movie) like tones. A "Lost Prince/ess" would open up a whole new storyline!
My other brainstorm was a private visit with our Paladin of Vengeance to offer up a dragon (Choral the Conqueror tones) to quell unrest (Ilthuliak?) Of course, the dragon does what's in the best interest of the kingdom, which is whatever Nyrissa wants (and that's to raise this one up, then dash it down in a unique way to entertain the Eldest).
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Ran our session and had Nyrissa through a painting offer the services of a dragon (Ilthuliak) to the barony, playing on her religious creed (and some unique shops, with the affirmation some had an interest in seeing their land thrive). Player immediately accepted.
Next morning, Grigori was doing his thing, riling up the crowds, yet again. The PCs had just settled down to counter his growing influence by plying the crowd with free beer and not being goaded by his words. Then, Ilthuliak came, landed in the town commons, announced there would be no traitors, and sprayed Grigori's front row admirers with acid.
When the dust settled, the dragon circled the town for hours, then the countryside, attacking no more. Many were dead, Grigori had a leg burned off (saved by the PCs, who sent him back to whatever master they believed sent him), and over the next few days, fear settled upon the fledgling barony. Yet, not all were upset. Settlers from Brevoy clashed with River Kingdom folk in the belief you respect your lords, not draw obscene graffiti of them. Others praised the safety on the roads now that word was a dragon was patrolling.
Of course, not all will be well. Once word spreads a dragon is around, dragon hunters of the worst type may come as well as every idiot with a sword hoping to make a name.
Plus, the "shop" ended up being a First World bazaar where the fey offer special "deals" that appear fantastic at first, but always have hidden catches. Our PCs accepted many of these...including the Ruler who took a 24 year aging hit and up to 1 minute per day may be summoned away (like a summon monster spell) to serve the fey lord he made a deal with. Of course, the people went in too, and it's not good.
Probably the craziest session I've had in the last decade or more. I love Kingmaker.
And, I've still got the wedding offer in my pocket for another day!