Kingmaker

The first casualty

Dear pa ma Maggie Pete and Michael

I hope everything is well at home. How was the harvest? How are the cows pigs and horses? I am terribly sorry that I left without saying good bye. I know I should not have done that and I should have written you earlier. I and my friends are in the stolen lands. The major has given us a charter to take the land and to kill bandits and monsters. We even founded a kingdom. My friends made me the warden. I travel around the land and find criminals and monsters that kill farmers and other people. I hope that I can visit you soon. I have lots to tell you.

In the last few weeks many things have happened. We traveled south from our town lakefort. It was really cold and during the night three groups of wolves attacked us. One of them was really big and made the air ice cold. Derrick Valeria one of my friends almost froze to death in his saddle when the wolves attacked. But we killed them all and saved Derrick before he died. Next to our town there is a lake that was frozen. On the lake we met an old man. He asked us to kill a large turtle that was in his favorite fishing hole. We went there and didn’t see the turtle. Devon found a cave next to the river. He and Derrick and Lyrice went inside the cave which was very small. They found the turtle and tried to kill it but it had a very thick shell. I tried to attack it too but I couldn’t get near it because Devon was standing in the way. The turtle bit him several times and he was bleeding a lot. Then I could get next to the turtle and I tried to kill it using the stroke that pa taught me two summers ago. But I missed because of the shell. I tried several times and then I hit it. Devon and Derrick also hit it. Venrickagorn also came to help with his pet Petitschka. It looks very strange. It has purple hair and a large mouth but it seems to like him. He is a strange gnome but he is very nice to me. After we killed the turtle we found several eggs that we kept warm. Maybe we will have little turtles soon. We took the head of the turtle back to the old man and he gave us a gold ring. Devon was very excited about it.

We walked around for several days. One night I was standing guard and I saw a big cat coming to our tents. I tried to make sounds that would make it my friend but it didn’t listen. I am much better now with making animals my friend. Do you remember how I tried to make our old cow Hilde my friend and it hit me with its butt? The cat suddenly jumped on me and Derrick was screaming in his tent. I used my dagger to get the cat off me. Devon helped me and killed the cat. I ran to the tent and there was an old man stabbing Derrick in the face. Lyrice was taking care of his wounds he is very good with wounds but the crazy old man stabbed him again and again. I was sure that Derrick was dead. Venrickagorn called a hyena that attacked the old man. He always calls all kinds of animals and other things that fight for him. I don’t think he knows how to fight himself. Petitschka hit him too. I also hit him with my greatsword this time using the overhand swing that Peter showed me but he was still standing. Lyrice hit him with his sword and killed him. The others told me that he was the brother of Bakken, the potion maker in our town. I don’t know why he tried to kill Derrick.

We went into the forest and found a nixie and 9 loggers. The nixie looked like a small girl with green skin and silver eyes. I think she normally lives in the water. The loggers had cut down some of the trees and the nixie was upset with them because they had cut down her tree too. Venrickagorn was very upset with the loggers and threatened to kill them if they did not leave the forest alone. Devon and Derrick were nicer to them and paid them 100 gold to go somewhere else.

The nixie asked us to help plant new trees and to get magic seedlings from one of her friends. We agreed and went to see her friend a dryad. She agreed to help us and the nixie if we helped her to kill an evil tree that was walking around and killing all the dryads in the forest. We agreed and looked for it. It was huge! It was almost as tall as the old oak tree in front of the house but it was walking around and waving its branches with large thorns trying to hit us. The dryad had told us that arrows would not work against the tree and so I ran towards it to swing at it with my greatsword. It hit me twice. Venrickagorn later told me that I hit it really good with my sword but I don’t remember it because the tree killed me. Because I was dead I don’t know what happened to the tree. I think my friends killed it somehow. They took me back to the dryad and she called another dryad who asked my friends to swear a holy oath that they would protect the forest. Then she did something to me and I woke up. I don’t really understand what she did but I look different now. I am much taller than before. I have blond hair and a long blond beard. Do you remember the northerners from Ulfen that came through Sweetwater three summers ago? I look like one of them now. But don’t worry I’m still your son sam.

I miss you all a lot. But I have learned a lot since leaving home. I’m really good with my sword now. I am also much better with my bow. I have learned a lot about the forest and animals and nature. A couple of weeks ago I found another friend. Maya is a large black wolf. She follows me everywhere I go. I even teached her to do some things like attack someone and sit guard. But I don’t think she will like Petitschka because she looks strange not like other animals. I will write again soon.

love your son sam

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Of Bandits and Kings

On this day, 1 Desnus 4710, we have founded the first city of our fledgling country, Lakefort, on the site of the former base of the Stag Lord. From henceforth, on this day each year shall be celebrated the anniversary of our founding. It is a good location for a city: by the lake and with easy access to the rivers, and with plenty of fertile farmland around. And it is an auspicious day for our country’s birth; the first warm months of Spring, the season of new beginnings.

The first group of settlers are just coming in, as I write these words, a long line of carriages stretching across the path back to Brevoy. They come for myriad reasons, but at heart I think they are here for the same reasons I am here: to leave behind their old life so they may find a better one in the Greenbelt. They have come a long way, these men and women. It is many leagues to Brevoy. Perhaps it is better so. We have come here to found a new kingdom, not a mere barony that Brevoy may snap up at a moments’ leisure. Whatever be the intentions of those who gave us our charters.

It has been a strange time, these past few weeks. This wilderness is so unfamiliar to a child of the city like me. And we were sent here to tame it. And tame it we have, or at least the northern half, the part we were originally chartered to keep.

The last stage of exploration began with us mapping the Shrike river. There we found an undead spirit who called himself Nettles, who demanded we slay the Stag Lord, lest he haunt us eternally. We assured him we would but, like many of the restless dead, he was most unreasonable. The time given to us was much to small, and it lent a certain urgency to our quest.

As we made our way further into unexplored territory, we found a great Sycamore, surrounded my mite tracks. We had finally found the nest of the little vermin. Cleansing it, however, was an arduous task indeed. It was a great system of tunnels, under the earth, and navigating them was difficult for many of us. Their leader seemed to be using kobold blood and flesh to create explosive alchemical concoctions which were used on us liberally and with glee. We barely managed to succeed at defeating him and freeing a kobold prisoner. Deep in that tunnel I caught a glimpse of a strange tentacled creature, but we wisely decided to leave rather than fight it. The Kobold insisted we return to their camp as soon as possible, and return their ‘god’, a strange winged statue.

The chief of the kobolds told us that their tribe had a new shaman, who apparently used great magic to summon their god, and had taken control over the tribe, we agreed to rid them of him if they would agree to peace between us. The gnome, thankfully, acquiesced to this. Truthfully, I had been worried that he would have been harder to persuade. Venrick is a good man gnome, but his hatred of kobolds borders on the extreme.

After fighting the shaman, however, I believe we have learned the reason why. The shaman’s summon was of course not a god, but an eidolon like our diminutive friend’s. More worryingly, it was disturbingly similar in form. Venrick believes that the shaman was not a kobold at all (and I am inclined to agree, given that kobolds of a purple coloration are nowhere found to my knowledge), but a member of his family, cursed by a great Fey queen. I must admit, the story sounds ridiculous when written plainly like that. But I believe him. Fey have been known to do stranger things, and if Venrick believed kobolds to have been responsible for his kin’s death prior to this, it would explain his opinion of them.

We succeeded in driving the shaman away, though he yet lives, and agreed to a treaty of non-aggression with the kobolds. It was wise to not make them our enemies. I think we shall have enemies aplenty soon enough.

When we returned to Oleg’s, we discovered a message for us. The swordlords of Rostland, troubled by increased bandit activity, offered us a reward for the Stag Lord’s head. They also issued us a new charter, fully doubling the lands assigned to us. Fortunately we had learned the location of the bandit fortress from the kobold we rescued. We rode at last to confront this bandit king, and rid the land of his menace once and for all.

What we found was a fortress. An imposing wooden palisade on a lake that seemed impossible for us to breach. Clearly a frontal assault was out of the question. We spent some time discussing ways to get it. It was the tiefling who suggested that we pretend to be envoys of a great crime lord from Brevoy.

I must make a confession here. I had been mistrustful of our sorcerer for some time. It had not been because of his demonic heritage. After all, I of all people have no right to judge another by the contents of his blood. But the mark on his horse, and the knowledge he displayed of New Stetven’s underworld, soured me to him. His plan only made me more suspicious,, but it was the best one we had.

Sadly it did not work. A man from Nisroch, who called himself Dovan, agreed to let us in, but only if we brought the head of the cleric of Desna. Obviously this was out of the question.Derrick is a good companion who has humored my strange requests many times, and I would never raise a hand against him. I write this here as I wish to make it very clear that I was only jesting when I suggested we cut his head of. Truly.

In order to keep up the pretense, however, we set north as though we were making for Oleg’s. In the night we were visited by another of the Stag Lord’s follower’s, indeed his second in command, who called himself Akiros. Yet strangely, he seemed to me a man of integrity, and most unsuited to his current employ. I have learned, over the years I have practiced my… profession, to read a man’s character. It seems to me he was once a devout and upright follower of Erastil (from the pendant he wears around his neck), but time has changed him greatly. Still, he followed the Stag Lord not out of loyalty, but because he saw him as the only stabilizing influence in such a wild land.

He demanded to know our true reasons for being there. Much to my astonishment, the sorcerer not only told him the truth, but confessed things even the rest of us had not known: His past as a bandit, and how he got his hands on a charter. My mistrust in him, it seems, was ill founded.

That, and a good word in from Woody, convinced him to trust us. He let us into the fortress, and after a great battle we slew the Stag Lord. Not only that, but Akiros agreed to aid us in the future. So we have not one but two former bandit helping to rule our little kingdom. Such irony! Yet strangely, I find I do not worry. Perhaps it is a reminder: that I of all people also do not have the right to judge another by the contents of his past.

In the bowels of the fortress, I learned what it takes, to make a man like the Stag Lord. It is a memory I shall keep with me, distasteful as it may be. I shall say no more here.

And so we founded our kingdom at the site of our victory. We have divided the administrative duties among ourselves: the sorcerer handles magical affairs, while Derrick is in charge of keeping the lands safe. Akiros has agreed to help keep the peace, while Oleg helps handle our treasury. Sam shall patrol the wilderness, while Lyras is now our high priest. At his insistence, we have begun construction on a tavern. I must confess myself pleased. I have sorely felt it lack, unable to ply my craft or pay homage to my god.

Perlivash is now our councilor, and TygTuggerTut is our Spymaster. Surprisingly, it is Venrick who has been at the forefront of our efforts. While we make decisions as a group, he seems a most adept administrator. As for myself, I am now “Grand Diplomat”, though that term has little meaning. Humph. I had thought to leave New Stetven to get away from politics.

But then that had always been a foolish notion. Where there are people, after all, there is politics. Even here, far from the capital of Brevoy and the Dragonscale throne.

Such a motley crew! It is almost a farce, a miniature kingdom led by a council of bandits, gnomes, tieflings and fairies. But one day, the nobles of Brevoy shall have to treat with us – with me – as an equal. I swear it. I must admit, the thought of the consternation on their faces when that day comes is not unpleasant.

Yet at that I cannot help but wonder: what does our dear ‘Regent’ of the Dragonscale Throne think of these tiny kingdoms being formed out here in the Stolen Lands? Is he content to just let them be, as he considers the subtle threat they pose beneath him? I cannot believe that. Noleski is no fool, and one underestimates House Surtova only at their peril. I know that better than most. I fear we shall have many dangers attending us until that day comes…

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Burning Men and Fairy Queens

 

Dear Brother Uvnar,

I hope this missive finds you in fine health and I hope your studies are progressing smashingly.  As promised, I am continuing to write to you with updates regarding my recent appointment to the Greenbelt charter expedition.  Below you will find some notes regarding the last several days exploring "our" land.

...The other night, while at Svetlana's Outpost, we heard the arrival of a rider.  We were all stirred from our slumber to discover an apparent co-charterer.  Imagine our surprise to see his alarming appearance.  As he pulled his heavy winter cloak's hood back, he revealed an almost obscenely ordinary NOSE!  I simply had to touch it!  The others at the outpost seemed genuinely disturbed by his appearance, especially his horns, tails and claws but they seemed glamoured or enchanted because they failed to notice his ridiculously quotidian nose!  Well, this sorcerer apparently holds a charter as well.  Excellent, I say!  The more the merrier.  And now no one glowers at poor little Ptička as they are too busy loathing the sorcerer.  His ancestors apparently fraternized with a devil or some other evil outsider.  Foolish humans!

In the morning we travelled to see an alchemist.  This man, Bokken, is clearly a man of considerable knowledge and wisdom.  Indeed, had he not been so disgustingly tall, I would swear he was Gnomish!  His clever uses of all things alchemical made me want to converse with him regarding possible future training, but that must wait.  He all but pledged fealty at the promise of a stone laboratory.  His thatched shack was rather ramshackle.  Silly human, doesn't he know the old child's tale of the "three wolves and the big bad chipmunk"?  I digress.  He offered a magic wand of healing for a fair price if we fetched some berries for him.  We accepted.

We explored the area of his home and found evidence of "mite" activity.  We returned to Svetlana's to discover exciting news…news I cannot share, but here is a hint: remember the tale of the badger that fed the mare?!  Also, we met a most agreeable fellow who was the last of our charter.  He is some sort of follower of the god of drunkards…why other races need alcohol to free them of their inhibitions I will never know.  Whatever works I guess.

Lyrace, I believe the name was, was accompanied by a dour priest of Eyrastil.  The codger seemed dull but in a scheming sort of way.  He asked us to check out the "temple of the elk".  And so we set off on a major exploration expedition.  As we travelled we saw a most regal animal, a "red dog" (thylacine) whose wit matched his beautiful back stripes.  I conversed with him at length and he deemed me most capable and the natural leader the group.  Had the others been able to understand the creature I am sure they would have humored him and agreed.  Hierarchal leadership is too rigid for my liking!  I suppose things could be worse though!  We could be in Galt!  Well, he gave us the lay of the land and we set off and discovered a small "mite" mine of some delightfully sparkly metal…gold perhaps.

We eventually found the berries which were in a terrible bush of delightful gooseberries!  I remember the gooseberry tarts that Veema used to make!  Ah, most toothsome!  So, there was a horde of nasty little spiders that harassed us.  Filthy vermin!  Yuck!  That follower of Desna I told you about, well he doused himself in alchemical fire to get rid of the swarms of spiders.  What bravado, what…silliness!  Desna must truly bless this man, if he dreams up these sorts of astounding feats!

Afterwards we explored more and found a few places to cross the river.  The Thorn River has its banks encased in thorny brambles.  Why they do not grow on the other rivers is a mystery.  We came across the Skunk River as well.  But unlike the charmingly playful aroma of skunk, this river actually stank (I discovered later that humans think that skunks stink!  Who knew?!)...

There at the Skunk River we encountered a boggard of dubious moral character.  I mean, he doesn't even have protruding ears!  Hello!?  Alas, my compatriots wished to deal with him in a manner I found frustrating.  But I am not their leader, so let them trade with the foul thing.  The equestrian and fellow follower of Desna in our group seemed to have a special fondness of the creature.  Perhaps I should ask if he had a dream that foreshadowed his dealings with the boggard. 

We discovered the Temple of the Elk and killed some, man-bear inside a cave.  Rather uneventful, really.  You see, Uvnar, we have a man-boy of prodigious martial skill and strength.  Few foes can stand for long before him without crumpling.  Add to that the talented pantomiming and bladework of the bard and the weapons of the others and we are quite a formidable crowd!

We encountered a trapped and terrified (and thus dangerous) red dog later (or was it earlier?) and Lyrace deftly brought it down.  The bard's compassionate side became evident and he insisted that we save the beast.  I couldn't have agreed more!  I think this bard has more going on than meets the eye.

We returned to Svetlana's and told that old Eyrastilite about the temple and he was grateful.  He apparently knew about the man-bear in the temple.  Humans are such amateur lairs!  How farcical! 

We headed West and encountered Breig's field of traps and Lyrace was mauled rather horribly by the traps.  Ptička tried to help but the man squirmed around to much and the trap went off again!  Ouch!  I have several bear traps now.  We should return to this area and collect the rest since Breig is dead (we found him murdered later).

We also encountered two delightful fairies who played some clever pranks on us.  The others seemed annoyed.  They requested some entertainment or other pleasures and I penned a limerick for them:

There once was a Fairie Queen

Whose behind was a sight to be seen

The King was quite glad

As she wasn't half-bad

And he liked to do things most obscene

 The fairy dragon and grigg were delightful friends and we quickly made alliances to bring civilization to the region in a sane manner.  Because the others were there I didn't go into my plans for the Greenbelt, but I will converse with them alone sometime soon.

We finally slew a Tassilwyrm thing.  We brought it back to Svetlana's husband who had fixated upon having one and we were rewarded well. 

On one of our forays into the forest we encountered that foul troll again!  We nearly killed it, but it escaped.  I feel that this troll should be dispatched before we are caught off guard.

Let's see…what else happened?  We ran into some foolish nobles running in the woods for a cheap thrill.  Their guides seemed like sensible folk and they said they will look for us at Svetlana's Outpost once they deliver their nobles to town.

About the bandits:  They seem to be harassing Brevoy more and we will need to get rid of them before we can recruit settlers. 

We've travelled over most of the charter territory and rode well over 300 miles in the last several days.  I am tired and want to rest for a day or two, but I suspect we will be off again soon.  Take care!

-Venrickagorn

 

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First Foray
greenbelt, session 1,

After meeting Master Varn and his entourage, a fellow named Willis who rides a wolf and gave Derrick a magic necromantic bone dagger of unknown function and a mage of some sort, we set off to Oleg’s fort/trading post. After we arrived, we were mistaken for the guard the mayor had promised Oleg some time ago. In addition, Oleg described his life long dream of having a tasselwhatsit head on his mantle. His wife, Svetlana, related to Vrenick that the bandits had stolen her wedding ring, and also that she was trying to get pregnant and could use a certain ind of radish. Apparently she had been sneaking out at night to collect them. The radishes were delivered, however we could not locate the wedding ring, it may have been stolen by some weird creature. We also met Breig, the unsavory trapper.

Oleg informed us that once a month he is cleaned out by bandits, and we agreed to deal with them. There was a short fight at the gates with a small band, Haps and 2 henchmen were killed, [[: Woody | Woodard]] (Woody) and another less cooperative bandit were captured. Woody surrendered, and agreed to provide us intel. The other bandit promised us gold for his life, and instead lead us to a spiders den where he was killed. We found a map on a dead bandit in the den that we could not make sense of, it referenced a particular tree and river.

In the assault on the bandit camp, half the party was taken down, while woody cam to the rescue and shot Vrenle? the female bandit leader twice enabling us to be victorious.

Next we hunted tuskgutter, the boar on behalf of Veckle who lost his leg to it. The boar was no challenge, however a troll attacked our camp, destroying our tents, looting our things, and killing 2 horses and a pony.

We also received a letter from Master Varn asking after us and requesting a reply.

In the process of the above, we explored several areas of the greenbelt.

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