Pathfinder Kingmaker

Toward January, 4714
Months have passed

Pitax and its armies had been completely vanquished late in the fall of 4713. By October, the city was occupied by a joint force of troops from the Mistmarches and locals who’d sworn fealty to the new banner. Civil order had been reestablished, trade had started up again – albeit haltingly, due to an unusually harsh winter – and a few critical building projects had been initiated, also stymied by the weather.

The outer wall and main gate were repaired, and with the presence of troops the city was deemed secure for the time being. Considering that wars were rarely prosecuted, let along started, in winter, the repairs were adequate for now. Since most of the damage within the city had been to the palace and assets belonging to or directly associated with Irovetti, people were able to get back to their normal lives without too much trouble. Rubble was cleared and plans were made to repairs the palace, main barracks, and some other public buildings, and that was enough for now.

Still, the main square, of which the palace made up one side and the art museum another, looked quite grim throughout the snowy winter.

The members of the Upper Council split up for most of the season, attending to the necessary duties of leadership across an ever-widening kingdom.

Anton stayed on in Pitax into early December, overseeing the reorganization of the government and civil defense forces. It was decided that he, as the most recognizable face of the Mistmarches, should show the banner as much as possible in and around the city in order to demonstrate to the new subjects and surrounding governments that things were well in hand. To this end he and Pik received the kings of both Mivon and Daggermark on official visits to Pitax, signing trade and mutual friendship pacts with both. Emissaries from Numeria and Loric Fells also called on the kings in Pitax to plan for formal meetings some time in the new year. Pik spent these first few months shuttling between the surrounding governments, and in early January headed back to Misthaven.

Tessara served as the eyes and ears of the Upper Council during these first months, traveling across the expanse of the kingdom to check in on all the cities, towns, and other settlements, as well as the wildlands of the Narlmarches, Slough, and Glenebon Uplands.

Zion brought Kincaid back to Misthaven, where it was hoped that the scholars, mages, and healers there could do something to repair his shattered body and mind. Round-the-clock care was provided in a room at the main barracks of the Mistborn Rangers, where it was hoped that familiar surroundings might shake him out of his coma-like state.

Following this, Zion traveled to the eastern cities of Varnhold and Silverstep – the smallest and most remote in the realm – to ensure their development and security.


Meta
This covers through the end of 4713. I figure that Anton would return to Misthaven by the end of the year, after having been gone since August, and the kings would be then able to make big decisions for the direction of the kingdom for the next year. Discuss that as comments on this post and I’ll write another post based off those to bring the timeline forward a few months. I’ll also work out the crunchy kingdom-building stuff, too, to reflect actual building projects and revenues and expenditures. And remember, you’re all 12th level now.

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The Spoils of Pitax
to whom do they belong?

By mid-November, almost two months after the war ended, the city of Pitax is completely under the control of the Mistmarches, with law enforcement established, elements of local government back on the job, and food and trade goods flowing. A sense of normalcy has returned to the city, despite the fact that a number of buildings are still damaged and the outer wall is still breached in several places. Forces of the Mistmarches successfully cleared out the few dead-enders hiding in and around the city, and dispersed a company of barbarians and a team of giants in the hills, as well.

The following items and other treasure are recovered from the palace itself:

  • +5 Mithral breastplate
  • Rod of Razors
  • Amulet of Natural Armor +2
  • Boots of Speed
  • Cloak of Resistance +4
  • Ring of Protection +3
  • 8000GP worth of good wine, as well as a lot of plonk
  • +4 Studded Leather armor
  • Amulet of Natural Armor +1
  • Ring of Protection +2
  • Various objects of art worth 9000GP
  • +4 Bastard Sword with numerous additional layers of magic on it that you can’t figure out

And that’s it. There is no vast treasury of gold or bonds or other liquid loot. In fact, when the offices of his Exchequer are found and ledgers studied, you learn that Irovetti was deep in debt, from both his public spending and his seemingly sudden desire to wage war. He owed money to Daggermark, Mivon (not too much there), some of the families in Brevoy, and some powerful merchant houses, as well.

What will the kings do with that debt – honor it or ignore it? This debt is fully understood when, in the months after the war ends, representatives of the various lenders start inquiring as to the status of the debt and as to when payments will resume. Much like the mercenary company, their contracts were with the city and overall holdings of the realm, and not just Irovetti the person.

Nice lands, tacky architecture in the city, some decent items, and a mountain of debt. How’s that for victory?

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Kincaid and an open city
...the Mooner flies!

Kincaid survived, but just barely. There are some wounds that magic simply cannot heal – not in the immediate sense, and not without scars inside and out of the man. Such were the ranger’s injuries, of both the physical and psychological sort, him having endured torture that would have made the most fervent Hellknight inquisitor blush. Zion found him, lying next to Irovetti’s corpse, and carried him directly to Pik in search of healing.

The gnome did what he could, and then handed Kincaid over to the lead cleric from the Helping Hands company. It was clear that he would be out of action for a long time and would need a great deal of time to recuperate after the physical wounds healed.

The city descended into chaos in some places where Irovetti supporters sought to escape, looters tried to capitalize on the sudden lack of control, random citizens looked to exact revenge on others, and what was left of the army collapsed, surrendered, and in a few instances tried to hold out or continue the fight.

How would the kings handle this?

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Anton Steps In
...and regulates

Anton rode forward as Zion and the enemy’s representative spoke, arriving just as the latter donned his helm and made for Zion with his axe. Placing himself, astride his warhorse, between the king and would-be attacker, he spoke.

“What if such honor were maintained? What if we, as the new rulers of Pitax, retained your honorable services for the continued protection of Pitax? Would then your honor remain intact? I doubt not your honor, nor your courage – rare in these times – consider this offer, for the sake of your men who, if they have half the courage of their sgt. major, are worthy of greater honor…" he spoke, loud enough that those on the wall were likely to hear it.

The soldier stopped in a martial stance – Anton recognized it as one from a style he’d seen from warriors from the south.

“My contract is clear. I believe the king was deliberate in this, and so either I fight, or spread dirt on the reputation of my men and me. I’m not going to do that. Do you intend to fight for your kingdom, or am I going to dance with the dandy?” Anton could almost hear the smile Alcorn sounded like he was wearing as he spoke.

“I am the General of the Armies of the Mistmarches. You will face me, and on foot. An honorable fight can’t take place with me on horseback,” Anton stated as he dismounted, not waiting for confirmation of the other’s intentions, but rather trusting that Alcorn was a man of honor, and would not attempt a cheap attack while he was climbing down.

Anton

Walking around the front of his horse, Anton drew his flaming greatsword and motioned for the other to advance. “Let’s put an end to this, then.”

Alcorn stepped forward, then feinted quickly to his left before swinging hard and down from the right, landing a ringing blow on Anton’s shield. The two began circling each other, with Alcorn landing multiple blows, most of which Anton blocked with his shield or parried with his sword. A few struck home, sending sparks flying from Anton’s armor.

The king, for the most part, stayed on the defensive, using his superior skill and size to force the other to move often and quickly, constantly repositioning himself to avoid the flames from the king’s massive blade. The melee went on like this for some time, with little to show from the effort of either man save for scratched armor and Anton’s dented shield. As time went on, however, Alcorn, several inches shorter than Anton and years older, began to tire. Anton noticed the slowing of his steps and occasional missteps, and the slight weakening of his blows.

Anton continued to draw Alcorn’s attacks for a few moments longer, and then, sensing the moment, struck, slamming into the other man with his shield while locking up his axe overhead with his sword. Alcorn, unprepared for the move and already fatigued, stumbled back and was slow in recovering control of his axe.

Anton, exploiting the momentary opening, moved into Alcorn’s space, preventing either man from properly using his weapon. Alcorn attempted to strike, and missed. Quickly switching his grip Anton willed the flames out and spun around Alcorn while swatting him hard with the flat of his blade.

Dropping his sword, the king bear-hugged his stumbling opponent from behind and took him down.

“Yield! You are beaten! Yield and swear your blade to our banner! You are beaten!”

The two men struggled briefly until Alcorn realized the truth of the king’s words: he was beaten. The larger man was also younger and relatively fresh after their fight, and Alcorn was unable to break his grip.

Breathing heavily and with a grim sense of relief evident in his voice, Alcorn spoke.

“I yield to you, King Anton of the Mistmarches, and surrender my men and city.”

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Zion's Gambit
or, "he looks really small out there by himself..."

“I am Zion, one King of five of the Mistmarches. I will see who is running this army, and I do not mean the cur Irovetti who seems to be hiding in his palace, rather than join his fine soldiers on the field of battle!” the silver-haired Magister of the Mistmarches boomed as he approached what was left of the main gate of Pitax. Movement along the walls made clear that the enemy was watching him, and shifting troops around for some reason or another.

The king stopped about 100 feet from the wall, holding his long spear with two banners streaming from it: on top, the battle standard of the Mistmarches, a dark green streamer with a stylized light grey citadel wreathed in mist at its center; and a swatch of white cloth below it, the widely-recognized symbol of good-faith truce negotiations.

The sound of the slight breeze could not mask the tension of the silence. Fires crackled here and there within the city, and tell-tale sounds of the movement of men in armor echoed here and there.

Zion wondered what they’d do: would they speak? Attack? Do something unexpected? The moments dragged on.

“I grow tired of standing here, and I am thinking that another volley of my magic would be a better use of my time,” the king shouted haughtily, waving his left hand in a broad sweeping motion toward the city, emphasizing the word ‘magic’ as he did.

A lone soldier on the wall stood up behind the parapet, exposing himself above the waist. He waved a white streamer in his hand back and forth while waving his other arm around in the air, clearly seeking the attention of all around him and beyond the wall. They wished, it seemed, to negotiate.

Moments later a solitary figure, wearing full plate armor and wielding a great axe, resting on one shoulder, strode forward from within the blasted gate. Approaching to within 20 feet of Zion, he stopped and removed his helmet, showing his grizzled, bearded face and bald head, both showing several scars.

“I am Sergeant Major Jaeris Alcorn, leader of Rainken’s Company. We are are bonded by contract to defend this city, and I am the highest-ranking member still alive. It seems that the officers of Pitax have either died or fled, and so it also seems that it is my responsibility to negotiate on behalf of the city. Will you accept me as the representative of Pitax for the sake of this parlay?” he asked, strongly yet with a hint of fatigue in his voice.

Zion listened as he spoke, stone-faced, and replied. “We will speak with the king himself, and only.”

“Then you’re going to have to wait until after you go to the Bone Yard, since King Irovetti is dead, killed by the hand of a prisoner, I’m told. So it’s me or a corpse; take your pick.”

Trying to hide his surprise, Zion answered. “You may speak for the city,” he said, sounding a little less stalwart than he’d hoped.

“Since you initiated these negotiations, you must state your terms,” the soldier stated.

“No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted,” the king replied, deadpan.

“I figured as much. The city is surrounded; the walls are breached; and you well know that our internal defenses are not up to offering anything but token resistance to an attack. Many of your men would fall in taking the gate and walls, but the outcome is already set, right?” the plate-clad soldier answered.

“Spare us all the pointless bloodshed and yield. There is no dishonor in falling to a superior opponent.”

“True; there is not. There is, however, the manner of the honor of my company. Our officers are dead. Thus it is now my company, what few of us remain. I’ve given my life to our work and our reputation, and we have a sworn, signed contract to defend the city of Pitax. I cannot walk away from that, regardless of my sense of the situation. The city may be yours in the end, but you must first take it…from me,” stated the soldier stoically as he donned his helm, brought his axe off his shoulder into both hands, and began walking swiftly toward Zion.

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"Prepare to hold 'em, boys!"

Sergeant Major Alcorn’s heart raced, although his men would never know it. Standing straight and strong as one of the pillars that held up the walkway behind the main palisade, he was a picture of martial resolve: tall, broad, resplendent in his armor, a banner waving from a nearby spear, his great axe in his hands.

“They’re going to rush the walls soon enough, men – and that’s when they’ll get out from behind their shield wall. We’ll show ’em what Pitax can give back then!” he roared, looking side to side, making eye contact with the men around him. They needed his assurance and his confidence, given the size of the army that stood against them, and the decided advantage the enemy held in magic. Alcorn had fought many battles in his many years, ending on both winning and losing sides. Not too deep inside, he felt that this would be a loss, and likely his last, given the treacherous actions taken by the king of Pitax in initiating the war.

That, however, mattered for a heap of horse dung at this point. Alcorn and his men had been hired, paid well, and were under contract. They’d trained the levies of Pitax, provided leadership for some of the monster and barbarian cohorts, and trained Irovetti’s personal guard. He and his men were invested in this one, and under siege just like everyone else.

The palisade was suddenly rocked by a massive explosion to his right, knocking him to his knees – the main gate had been blown into cinders and splinters by a ball of fire – the city was now open to the assault be both feared and expected.

Taking a moment to rally his men and attempt to reassure them before the final onslaught, the Sergeant Major didn’t see the runner sprinting from the palace toward his position, screaming and waving his arms hysterically…

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Our Move

The gates stood open – blasted open, that is. Arrows and ballista and catapult fire rained down on the besieging army’s positions, with some impact. Tension clogged the air as one could almost feel the commanders on each side looking, waiting, deciding when and how to act so as to not expose his force to the enemy.

What to do?

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"They can take our lives, but they'll never take...."

“Bring him here! Now!” roared Irovetti as he looked out the window on his city, and saw beyond the walls the besieging army. They’d invested the town over a week ago, and had flung fireballs and other arcane attacks at the walls and some key buildings for days. His beautiful edifice to his beautiful self was cracking. There seemed to be no way out. His supposed allies in Mivon had betrayed him, and those in Daggermark had ignored him. His family connections, tenuous though they may be, in Numeria also provided no contacts, no intelligence, and no help. His Oni general – faithful to the last – was dead, along with his Master of the Arcane, Torvald. The end truly seemed upon him.

But Irovetti was not interested in going out with a whimper, or being taken alive or something like that. These low-lives hadn’t ever deserved his leadership, and so history would remember and revere the name Irovetti as it gasped at the totality of destruction that he brought down upon his own city, Pitax, rather than have it be captured.

His thoughts were interrupted as a pair of guards brought the filthy, beaten Kincaid into the chamber. The king grabbed his riding crop and began thrashing the ranger about the head and shoulders, screaming incoherently as he worked himself into a lather. Moments later, the ranger hanging limp in the arms of the guards, Irovetti drew his own sword and ordered his men to hold the unconscious prisoner down, flat on the ground.

“Besiege my city? I’ll christen the boards with you!” he howled as he walked around the prostrate form, spitting on and kicking him as he went. Kneeling down beside the man, he drew close to his left ear – the right had been cut off days ago – and whispered: “they’ll all die – you just get to go first….”

Kincaid’s left eye – the only one intact – opened slightly and a grin played across his broken lips, revealing shattered teeth and bloody gums. In a sudden move his left arm shot up and grabbed the king’s lower jaw, digging his fingers into the man’s mouth. Rolling from his stomach to his right side he stabbed with his right hand, its fingers twisted and broken, yet holding a small, sharpened piece of bone, driving the object into Irovetti’s neck, piercing an artery.

Blood showered both men as the king fell back, screaming, gurgling, and thrashing. His men, shocked by the suddenness and ferocity of the attack, jumped back, forgetting their duty. The king’s thrashing quickly changed to writhing, then twitching as he swiftly bled out. His chamberlain, an assistant or two, and the two guards stood and stared at one another dumbly, numbed by the sudden death of their king, and clearly uncertain as to what they ought to do. Kincaid laid still – dead or alive, they could not tell.

The silence after Irovetti breathed out his last was brief, as sounds of explosions and battle erupted outside the palace, and the defenders of Pitax raised the alarm: the outer wall of the city had been breached.

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The Siege of Pitax
from the outside, looking in

The armies of Pitax had either fallen, surrendered, or had retreated back into the city itself, leaving the wide tracts of land east of the mountains and forest open to the invaders. Irovetti’s arcane protections were significant: scrying into the palace no longer worked at all, teleportation didn’t work into the building, either. It seemed, in fact, that the palace was inside a great, arcane bubble that protected it from outside influence, entry, or sight. Whether the front doors would fall before a strong foot or ram was another question, but by arcane means from afar, it seemed shielded.

Many of the people of the city had fled in the face of the approaching forces, and those that remained were either too poor, sick, or stupid to leave. Many were supporters of the king, and had taken up arms as if some spontaneous home guard, ready to fight to the last.

By late August the forces of the Mistmarches were in place. The kingdom had the funds to support this great army for a time – but only just so long. The last gasp of summer could be felt in the air, and within a week or two the weather would change, and swiftly. Winter crops needed to be harvested, work was required across the kingdom in preparing for what most believed would be a harsh winter; and it was the strong backs of the men and women in that army that were so badly needed to do this work. Although the kingdom’s treasury could support an army in the field for another month or two, the needs of the kingdom were imminent and could not be denied for much longer.

A decisive move was necessary.

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Counterattack
tit for tat, and a raise

Irovetti’s celebration over MacLeesh’s attack on Misthaven was short-lived. That same evening he was paid a visit by kings Anton and Zion, who directly attacked his palace and killed both Torvald MacLeesh, his newest arcane contractor, and General Jurrg, his devoted Oni ally. The loss of a number of troll shock troopers and elite guards was bad, but nothing compared to the virtual gutting of his top-tier muscle. As the dust and smoke settled, Irovetti knew he was in trouble, and began sending for most of his forces in the field to return to his city to protect it and him.

Within days most of the remaining units of Irovetti’s army were on the march, preparing to create the perimeter of Pitax as a massive defensive barrier against the siege he was convinced was coming. Digging into his most valuable stores of arcane items he worked to prepare the palace and parts of the city against the teleportation and other magical attacks he knew would come. He also sent emissaries north, south, and west, to seek new alliances and activate old ones.

Over the next few weeks Irovetti received word of Mistmarcher raids and attacks here and there, spread across his lands. Lacking a large enough army to address each, he ignored most. His focus was the protection of himself and his city.

Numerian friends were interested, but coy. Daggermark was uninterested. And Mivon demonstrated horribly bad form by arresting his ambassador and marching on his southern border! He was alone.

By mid-August the evidence of Mistmarcher incursions into eastern Pitax was certain. Forces had marched from Freeton, and those dreadful Mistmooks were using their magic to drop in wherever they pleased. In his darkest moments Irovetti considered parlay, but his irrational ego could not stomach the thought. Certainly he would prevail in the end, in a dramatic schlag worthy of song, remembered for all time. On top of the rubble of the old city he’d fight those upstart commoners, slicing and hacking them down each in turn as his people looked on, and the enemy army changed sides as they realized who their true king was! Hours he would spend working over his maps, planning for future expansions. He even began planning the layout of the new city – New Pitax – which would rise on the ashes of the old, a shining exemplar of art, song, and culture for the world.


Meta
I’d like input – let’s shape the end of this war, and Irovetti’s defeat, together. What’s written above will take us to mid-August, and is obviously broad and vague. I think Selline of Mivon would move early – not so early as to disrupt the alliance, but early enough to ensure that he’d be able to capture at least some of the lands he’d been promised. You guys could raise another regiment and beef it up with siege weapons, and have it on the move with the Misthaven Regiment and two spellcasting companies and the resurrected Dragoons (why not! make it big!) by late August. This would then give you two regiments of heavy foot, one with siege abilities, one company of arcane casters, one of divine healers, and the Dragoons. So let’s build a story over a few posts and however many comments come of the end of this war.

And remember that, somewhere in this, you’d either rescue Kincaid or find him dead. Chris was okay with him dying, and if so heroically or at least in a big way.

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