Pathfinder Kingmaker

Here comes the boom!
...there goes the waterfront

The man appeared over the small whitecaps of the Tuskwater, less than a mile south of Misthaven. It was a windy day, as was normal in late July, and fishing boats dotted the surface of the massive lake, bobbing about as their crews went about their work, unaware of the danger that flew above them.

‘No matter – these pawns will be safe for now,’ the man thought as he turned toward the city and flew, scanning as he moved, in search of…there it was. The cranes and hoists of the waterfront, and masts of a number of ships stood high above lower rooftops, marking the large collection of docks, piers, and adjoining warehouses along the southeastern side of Misthaven. It was one of the commercial anchors of the city, and thus made an attractive target. The fact that there were a great many people about on this work day made it even more attractive.

‘Invisibility against mundane peoples was almost too easy,’ he thought, as he made his way under the largest pier and affixed several alchemical charges on key pilings and supports. ‘No matter – they picked the wrong side of the argument.’ Within a few minutes he was finished, and the pier and a particularly large warehouse at its base were both rigged with several large explosive charges, their chemical fuses already steadily melting. They would not ignite in the perfect order, he was sure, but they would work. And if a few didn’t, well, the fire would get to them eventually.

The first blast was midway down the pier, and was magnificent, throwing boards, barrels, and stevedores into the air in a massive fireball. A moment later another, at pier’s end, detonated, followed by one on the roof of the warehouse, and then the pair on either side of where the pier connected to the land. The flames were massive and hot; the carnage immediate; and even a ship was aflame. This is when the man began hurling his own fire and lightning at the buildings, crowds, and anything else in range. True, his aim was sloppy – his adrenaline was surging and he could hardly contain himself. It was so rare that he could really unleash it all, leaving nothing but his return spell in reserve.

Thirty seconds or so later, the entire waterfront was pure chaos, flame, and death. Irovetti had wanted a fitting response to the attack from the day before, and the man figured that this would do well. He was sure his bonus would be significant. Only one small task remained before he was to return. Looking over his shoulder at his work, he flew swiftly south and toward the nearest fishing boat, landing with a heavy thud on its deck, scattering the small crew in fear.

“Here. Give this to your petty lords, courtesy of his magnificence, dread King Irovetti of Pitax,” he stated as he handed a small pouch to the nearest sailor. The line was rehearsed, and had been written by the king himself. With that, the man disappeared in a flash of light and wind.

Meanwhile, in Pitax
pieces in play

“Shee him in the shilvery mishts, my lord…” the old wizard hissed as specks of spittle stippled the surface of the scrying pool. “He plansh another attack!”

Irovetti, with his Oni general at his side, looked into the pool and watched as ‘Thing Zion’ discussed another raid into Pitax with the other Mistmooks, as he had taken to calling them.

“They burned our art, and killed my men. My people suffered. Clever, I must give them that…but it shall not…not!…be repeated!” Irovetti blurted out, his upper lip quivering with rage.

“General! Proceed with our response as planned!” he shouted as he pointed at the massive Oni, who grunted and nodded. “Thuvish! I think it’s time we let them know about our….guest…”

Another man, clad in fine, light armor, nodded curtly and motioned for a junior officer to his side. A few whispered words later and the younger man walked briskly from the room. The king returned to his ravings, issuing orders, consulting his maps, and receiving reports from his military and civilian leaders.

Later in the meeting the doors opened to admit the junior officer, who brought with him three other men: two burly guards and one disheveled, beaten prisoner. The prisoner, mostly dragged by his jailers, was a mess: missing teeth, split lips and a swollen-shut left eye, and torn, filthy clothing. Dragged to the large map table, he fixed his one good eye on the king defiantly.

“Give me his hand! What good is a famed archer with no fingers? King for a day, fool for a lifetime…you chose your allies and cause poorly, Kincaid…” The Oni’s kukri knife shined briefly in the firelight before descending quickly on the man’s hand.

This takes place within a day or so of Zion’s attack on Pitax. Note that, obviously, the kings know nothing of this – yet. By about 10 days after the Myralanna attack, however, the kings are confident enough that there are no more Pitaxian forces wandering around the realm. Scouting within the Narlmarches turned up stragglers from the battle with the Dragoons, and other than that nothing there or in other areas.

Scouts from the Myralanna Regiment, still in Freeton, report seeing enemy scouts in the distance, and some evidence of possible distant troop movements (dust clouds, smoke trails), but nothing definitive, and no enemy contact. All’s quiet on the western front, it would seem.

Log Raid!
that's a field artillery reference, people

Zion spent the better part of two days scrying, studying maps, consulting Pik, planning, and arranging and rearranging his personal kit. In the end, he settled on two locations within Pitax: the first, near the center of the city and adjacent to a town common where trees and brush could help hide his arrival and movement; and the second near the main gate, where a district of hovels and twisting alleys, he hoped, would facilitate the same.

In consultation with the other kings it was decided that a late afternoon attack would make most sense, since it would be near the end of the day’s work, would only give the enemy a few hours before sunset to react, and would also enable Zion, upon his return to Misthaven, to rest easily to regain his power.

And so he went, in a muted flash of light and swirl of wind, teleporting hundreds of miles away, already invisible. A light breeze concealed the displacement of air, and quickly dispersed the smells of Tuskwater Castle that Zion brought with him. No one was around in the common to see the slight, momentary glow. Zion took a few moments to look around, identifying the Academy of Eternal Song and the Irovettirium, a massive art museum. Going off of what he’d learned from Pik and the sworn testimony of a few bards and artisans in Misthaven, Zion was confident that the art museum was filled with little more than trash, anyway, and so a fire and some explosions there would serve their cause well without destroying anything of real value. Dropping his invisibility he walked casually toward the front of the museum, the facade of which was shaped, in part, into a base-relief of Irovetti’s profile, with cherubs and enchanted creatures flying about him in adoration. ‘That,’ he thought, ‘will have to go first.’

Moments later the front of the building was engulfed in flame, with black smoke pouring from the windows and roof. Screams of pain and agony wracked the silent air; amid the dying bodies, blood [ran] everywhere. Zion shifted his targeting to the first responders, a small group of soldiers and guards who tried to get civilians away from the carnage and organize a bucket brigade. Lightning and more fire compounded the destruction and added their misery to the chorus of the dying. In another instant, the king was invisible and teleporting himself to the vicinity of the main gate, where a barracks stood.

Zion’s rage at Irovetti took similar form at his next stop, seeing him expend all of his fireballs, lightning bolts, and anything else that could ignite, explode, shock, or otherwise harm structures or people. Moments later, he was back in the great hall of Tuskwater Castle, bringing with him a faint haze of smoke.

“Done. I think he knows we’re not happy with his attacks by now,” the silver-haired king stated flatly as he reached for a glass of wine.

King Anton slammed his fist down on the map table and smashed his goblet into the nearby fireplace, whooping a mighty “huzzah!” at the news.

This takes place a little over a week after the battle at Myralanna.

Planning for Phase 2
assuming that phase 1 is over

Use this post as a place to put comments to plan in specific terms for the units you want to build, if any; where and how you’d like to deploy existing units; and how you’re going to prosecute the war.

In order to help with this, here are a few tidbits of information:

  1. Pik is able to reach his contact in Pitax once, and he states that the king’s weapon is in development, and the king has disappeared from daily affairs after the return of the oni. All other attempts to reach the spy are unsuccessful.
  2. The POWs from the enemy army outside Myralanna are of one of two general types: potentially cooperative and low-ranking know-nothings; or somewhat less cooperative NCOs and junior officers who know little. It seems that Irovetti runs his army a lot like that Josef Stalin’s Red Army, which was made up of a vast quantity of cannon fodder, a cadre of yes-men, and maybe one guy here or there who actually knew something of value. In this instance, that guy disappeared over the battlefield in a puff of smoke and light.
  3. Tessara has the Mistborn Rangers out and aggressively on patrol within a week – information about their findings should start coming back within days, depending on where each patrol is.
  4. The Myralanna Regiment reaches Tatzylford, and separates into three reinforced companies. One each heads to Burmovton and Myralanna, leaving one in Tatzylford. This entire redeployment will take about 10 days.
  5. Further attempts to scry on Irovetti fail…all of them. And on the general, too, if he’s tried. They seem to have dropped off the map, or gone to ground or….who knows?
The Kings' Defense of Myralanna
Yes, we took on a whole regiment

The kings, and Kincaid, arrived in Myralanna to the sounds and sights of battle preparations. Upon being taken to the command tower, where the Lord-Mayor and Captain of the Watch were trying to organized the small force left to defend the city, they saw the enemy force stretched out to the west, preparing catapults, shielded formations of archers, and lighting fire to the buildings outside the city walls. A wall of smoke would obscure the enemy before long, and evidence of farms and homesteads burning farther to the west, along the road to Burmovton, stretched into sky like black snakes.

Surveying the scene, Anton recognized what looked like a command tent, some 1/2 mile from the city walls, with forces arrayed and organizing around it, some starting to move forward for an assault. The quick thinking and decisiveness of the kings, along with Kincaid, determined their course of action: attack!

Teleported as a group to a relatively open position on the far side of the command element, the Mistmarchers immediately began attacking any and all enemies within reach of sword, spell, and bow. The command element was Zion’s first target, and burst into flame when a massive fireball exploded at its center. Kincaid loosed arrow after arrow, dropping enemy soldiers with virtually every shot. Pik used his spells to both support his fellows and to create havoc and confusion among the enemy, while Anton savagely attacked the crew of a nearby catapult, bellowing the name of his great uncle, a hero to his family.

Long moments passed before the enemy realized the threat within its midst and reacted accordingly, and even longer before it could act deliberately. Initially heavy infantry soldiers rushed the kings, only to be cut down, wave after wave. Learning that to face the kings in melee was to invite dismemberment, the enemy formed into schiltrons to both protect archers and to attempt a concentrated charge attack.

Neither had the effect the Pitaxian troops sought. More fireballs, crashes of lightning, and spells that warped the minds of the men followed, breaking any small momentum the enemy had gathered.

And then the general appeared, shimmering out of a veil of invisibility as he swung a massive bat’leth down on Zion. Both combatants were 20 more more feet in the air, and the ensuing exchange of blade & spell could be seen by everyone of both armies. From the wall of Myralanna, men and women of the Watch wondered if they would see one of their kings struck down; and among the Pitaxian troops, all of whom were afraid of the raw power and temper of their commander, an expectation came of a quick death for the silver-haired Mistmarcher.

Zion backed away, realizing that there was no way he could stand up against the blows of the oni, and the general saw in Anton another viable target. More spells, more crashing of blades on armor, and flights of arrows filling the air. The town continued to burn. And yet the Pitaxian army was by this point paralyzed. Some were transfixed on the melee in their midst, while others we seeking cover from the kings’ ferocious attacks. Many others were dead or wounded, and so the forces marching on Myralanna were quickly becoming disorganized and scattering, losing cohesion and focus.

Myralanna’s Lord-Mayor, Berrywyn Markeltrough Po’Turbin, ordered the Captain of the Watch to ready a charge – the city would seize the opportunity and defend itself! The men would come to the sides of the kings and smite the enemy! Beside himself with a desire to do…something!…Po’Turbin hounded the Captain into action, just a shout went up among the men along the wall that the kings has disappeared in a whirl of light and wind.

Reappearing several hundred feet to the north, the kings began again their ranged attacks against the Pitaxian formations, to the same deadly effect. Zion blunted an attempt at a shield-wall charge with a massive wall of flame, which he then extended and shaped such that the enemy was prevented from easily approaching the kings. Many Pitaxian troops were caught up in the blazing conjurations, and the screams of the dying and burning mixed with the crackle of fire from the town and the after-effects of the kings’ work in the middle of the camp, resulting in a dissonant chorus of destruction.

The oni general, flying high above the battlefield, hurled mind-altering spells at the kings, turning Pik and Kincaid into, from one moment to the next, babbling idiots and hostiles, attacking Anton, each other, and themselves. Anton attempted to subdue Kincaid, who then gained control of himself, then attacked Anton again, and, bare-handed, injured himself repeatedly on Anton’s spiked armor. The oni attacked again, this time close by, and was blasted with spell and bow again.

The general, some 100 feet above the kings, glanced to the south and saw a large…rock monster?…bashing a company of heavy foot into a pulp. Below him another company was mostly smoldering. And from where he came, devastation and confusion. Seeing the imminent disintegration of his army, and feeling the sting of his many wounds, the one used a teleportation spell, from some source, to leave his defeated army behind and head for parts unknown.

Meanwhile the Watch, under orders from Po’Turbin, sallied forth on what horses could be found and on foot, seeking to sweep the remaining enemy from the town, and start to organize bucket brigades of citizens to douse the flames. The Lord-Mayor was overjoyed at and proud of the bravery of his men and citizens; surely the kings would appreciate his initiative.

"Make the map bigger"

(Begin Transmission)

Irovetti and several men, some in uniform, stood around a large table on which laid a map of the region, marked as ‘The Immortal Kingdom of Pitax, Patron of Culture.’ In addition to lands already accepted by neighboring countries as part of Pitax, the realm reached all the way to the Dunsward, encompassing the entire Slough, Narlmarches, Kamelands, and Tors of Levenies. Existing cities were all renamed. The men talked about where new bases and roads would be constructed, but Irovetti seemed far more interested in where grand gardens, theaters, and academies of the arts would be built.

“Conquest is nothing if it does not enable the spread and flourishing of a superior culture. Remember that,” he said emphatically, interrupting the discussion of the others. Their conversation stopped immediately when he spoke, and they all nodded.

“We’ll need to decide how to go about affecting the repairs to what will no longer be called Misthaven, and I think for now we can simply ignore that forest town – it’s not going to be worth rebuilding at this point…do you agree, my lord?” stated and asked one of the men, the same older man who’d sat at the lunch table.

Irovetti furrowed his brow as if in deep thought, and circled the table in silence. All others backed up to make room for his circuit.

“Indeed, Grohmere. Indeed. Let the forest reclaim its own – we shall concentrate on rebranding the capital city. But in the meantime, get the royal cartographer in here – this map is too small…the details are too slight…ours is grand, bold move, is it not?” Irovetti asked to everyone and no one, spreading his hands wide as if to present his realm-to-be to the others in the room. The men nodded and murmured in agreement.

Waiting only an instant, he continued. “It is.” He stepped to his right. “It is bold.” Another step to his right, moving around the table. “It is swift.” Another step, this time around one corner, his voice rising. “It is clever!,” thrusting a finger in the air as if to punctuate his comment. Another step. “And grand in its beauty! When the masses move as one, under the guidance of a firm hand of inspired leadership, it is a thing of beauty to behold, only comparable to the work it produces.” The other men nodded and murmured in agreement.

“As for the day’s reports, I think we can all agree that General Jurrg’s forces are likely well-positioned at this point and making progress toward their next target. Nothing’s come in to the contrary, and so while we will maintain our reserves as they are, we should assume that our plan is working.”

(transmission ends here)

A Victory
with a high cost

Zion & Pik teleport to the location of the Tustwater Dragoons by about noon, and learn the following. This post, by implication, ends with the two kings with the Dragoons in the forest, while Anton, Tessara, and Kincaid are in Burmovton.

The battle began when the battalion of heavy foot saw their few mounted scouts riding back toward them at a gallop, with Mistmarcher horsemen in close pursuit. Apparently the scouts had bumped into each other along a forest road, a mile or two away from the main body. The Tuskwater Dragoons had been headed west toward the borderland between the Narlmarches and Hooktongue Slough, and the Tatzylford Pike, a newly-constructed road that ran north toward Burmovton.

The enemy force was on that very road, headed into the forest and toward the interior of the kingdom.

The Dragoons’ charge was initially blunted by the quick-to-reorganize foot, which repulsed a first attack. Squads of flankers spread out to probe for weak points in the infantry schitrons while Jeyo organized another charge.

The next attack by the Dragoons was also blunted, with numerous horses and riders brought down. The enemy pressed forward, squeezing the cavalry troopers closer to the edge of the forest, where their ability to concentrate their charges would be eliminated. A team of archers from within the enemy force laid out some of the flankers as things looked increasingly grim for the riders.

Seeing the chance of defeat, if not a full rout, Jeyo organized yet another brutal assault, while sending teams of riders to opposite sides of the enemy force, which was split into four main bodies and arranged in a triangular fashion, with each angle defined by a schiltron of troops some 100 strong. In the middle was a smaller unit, from which the commander seemed to be issuing orders using signal flags, enabling his men to coordinate their attacks and defensive shifts.

Braving the overlapping defenses of pikes and archers, Jeyo and some 20 riders rode headlong for the central unit while the rest of the Dragoons attacked the outer formations. A bloody 10 minutes later and the enemy’s command element had been smashed, and with it the coordination of forces had enjoyed. With the collapse of the hub, the Dragoons could attack the outer units from all angles. Although sustaining nearly ruinous casualties in men and horses, the Dragoons were successful in dispersing the enemy into the swamp, forest, and in running many down.

By late morning what was left of the Tuskwater Dragoons – only about 1/2 of its number were still combat effective, with many wounded and dead – moved back within the safer confines of the Narlmarches, sending a pair of riders back to Tatzylford to bring news and seek help, and using the rest of the unit to form a defensive perimeter inside of which to care for the wounded and from which to send out patrols to seek out any other enemy force that might still linger or come into the area.

Lieutenant T’Shea had taken command during the melee within the inner schiltron when Jeyo fell to an enemy pike. Found soon after the battle, with a clump of bloody scalp still in her clutched hand, she barely clung to life, having used all her healing power to aide others before the final assault.

News from the Dragoons

Just before noon, the sending stone paired with the one carried by the Tuskwater Dragoons begins to glow, indicating that it holds a message.

Fought foot battalion west of Tatzylford; dispersed enemy; hundreds linger over miles of forest and swamp; sustained heavy casualties; commander incapacitated; holding position; awaiting orders.

SOP holds that the Executive Officer would take command if the CO is unable to continue the job. The XO of the Tuskwater Dragoons is Devon T’Shea, a former Mistborn Ranger and aggressive, reliable soldier. Depending on exactly where they are, they could be several hours’ ride from Burmovton. If they are near the edge of the forest they’re about half way, in terms of distance, between Tatzylford and Burmovton.

This takes place just before noon, so it would plug in right after the last item on the sequence of events just posted.

The first full day of war
a sequence of events

For the sake of clarity, I am writing this post entirely in meta terms so that everyone is clear on the sequence of events and timing of things. Knowing this will enable you to make decisions that make sense given what you’d know at a given point in time, and thus enable you to plan accordingly. All the events are in the sequence presented.

  1. The battles north and south of Freeton are fought. The kings were notified of the attacks early in the evening of the night they returned from the Rushlight Tournament. This uses the sending stone ability of those two regiments for that day.
  2. Burmovton contacts Misthaven with news of an impending attack by enemy forces. Burmovton uses its sending stone for the day.
  3. The kings order the Tuskwater Dragoons to sortie from Tatzylford to Burmovton with all haste. Jeyo uses her sending stone for that day.
  4. The kings teleport and plantsport (ha!) to Burmovton in order to help defend the city, which has been left virtually naked before the enemy due to the kings’ operational and deployment decisions. A battle is fought there, and the enemy is repulsed.
  5. The kings spend at least part of the night helping, bolstering, motivating, and waiting until the next day so they can use the sending stones again. Zion sleeps enough that night to get all his spells back for the next day. I would assume that Pik does the same.
  6. Troops from Burmovton go out to survey the battlefield right before sunrise, looking for any evidence of use. They find some bodies, but nothing of value.
  7. The next morning, Zion attempts to scry on the commander of the force that attacked Burmovton; this attempt fails. He also uses scry on King Irovetti, and finds him.
  8. Scouts are dispatched just before dawn from Burmovton to try and find the enemy force that attacked the city.
  9. Reg contacts the kings using his sending stone for the day. He got in contact with Akiros by rider, and reports that both regiments were victorious, but that the Misthaven Regiment is a little battered, and will not be able to move anywhere for a few days. Reg’s stone is used for the day.
  10. The kings, holding a planning session, meet with the scouts who discovered the enemy force.
  11. Lord Numesti uses his sending stone to let the kings know that Freeton is safe and that the Healers Company has left the town to help the two nearby regiments.
  12. Zion uses scry on King Irovetti again, dropping in on the king while he’s eating lunch.
  13. It is just about noon by the time all this has taken place.

Zion had mentioned another scry attempt on Irovetti, and you’ve all batted around ideas about more scouting, the disposition of the Tuskwater Dragoons, dropping in on Irovetti, and so on. The sending stones for the Misthaven Regiment and Freeton are already spent for the day. That leaves the stones from the Myralanna Regiment, Tuskwater Dragoons, Burmovton, and Misthaven unused. The Healers Company and Wands Company do not have their own stones, since they are typically assigned along with another, larger unit or to a city. The’re combat support or service support – they don’t get all the goodies.

Anyway, take that sequence and think about next steps. It’s noon.

"This is a fine lunch!"
...tell me my chef is great

(Begin Transmission)

King Irovetti chewed daintily on another morsel of veal, his pinky slightly extended. He seemed to be enjoying his lunch tremendously, smiling at his guests often as they each took bites.

“He really is a genius – an artist, in fact.” Heads nodded as the king continued to eat, punctuating each bite with a glowing comment on the quality of the food and expertise of his personal chef.

The others at the table were two young, attractive women, both dressed in fine gowns and wearing considerable amounts of jewelry; a young man in equally rich clothing; and an older man, the most subdued of the lot. Two servants hovered almost out of sight, watching and ready to provide whatever service was requested.

The dining area was on a balcony on at least the 2nd or 3rd story and looked out on to a large, well-manicured garden, complete with fountains, statues spitting water, and sculpted shrubs resembling various animals and enchanted creatures. It was a fine, sunny day.

“I will meet with my councils this afternoon – war, architecture, and of course the academy board, possibly others. So much is afoot that I hardly have time in my day to oversee the many details. Expansion is taxing, isn’t it?” the king asked with a wry smile and slight chortle. His guests toasted his wit and laughed. The women seemed especially interested in him, and the young man interested in the women. The old man paid attention to all of them, and said little outside of murmurs of agreement. Irovetti, it seemed, paid most attention to himself and his clever comments.

(end transmission)


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