“Vanished Lands” Update T3.28 — Gifts and a gargoyle

A winged reptilian humanoid
Gargoyle assassin

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.28 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 29 May 2011, and has been using Pathfinder, Skype, and an online dice roller.

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. After “Holy Steel‘s” journey to the distant empire of Khemet, another motley group gathered in the northwestern “Vanished Lands” to explore a world full of perils and wonders….

After meeting in the Wisalef Forest, the adventurers encountered hostile Centaurs and a haunted hamlet on the Plains of Sathendo….

>>Telecom party Player Character roster, as of spring 2011:

-“Gawain Keary” [Paul J.]-male Saganim human Illusionist (proto-Celtic Wizard); NGc, Age 20, Lvl. 3

-“Kovar” [Beruk A.]-male Half-Orc/Saganim human Paladin of Mithras, god of contracts and brotherhood; LGn, Lvl. 3

-“Davven ‘Digger’ Hollysharp” [Robert A.S.]-male Faldine Halfling archaeologist (Tallfellow Rogue) from a pipeweed farm in Tarken; CGn, Age 45, Lvl. 3

-“Jovinda Halflight” [Sammy H.]-female Half-Elf (Grugach/Hifalendorin) Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature; owner of horse Wyth-Amoi, or “Wind Spirit”; NGl, Age 23, Lvl. 3

-“Kazuo Takenaga” [Taum D’A.]-male Nezumi (Rat-kin) Monk from the Zedu kingdom in the Therud Forest; LNg, Age 20, Lvl. 3

-“Asish Chen Ti” [Byron V.O./absent]-male Tsucharim human archer (Mongol-style Ranger), escaped from the kingdom of Gokuri; owner of Akita dog Genghis and horse Onimusha; NGl, Age 20, Lvl. 3

-“Favelhorn Riftbringer” [Dexter V.H./absent]-male Mountain Dwarf Summoner; CGn, Age 51, Lvl. 1

27 to 28 August 1229 B.C.E.:” After reporting to the authorities in the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human city of Nadwi, the adventuring party prepares to return north, to frontier villages threatened by Fey and Undead.

Most of the group compares notes over breakfast at the “Deer’s Heart” tavern in the Dagger District. Kovar expresses concern that the forces of evil are coordinating their attacks. To the east, the nefarious kingdom of Gokuri has dominated the barbaric Gusorin Confederation. To the south, the dreaded ghost fleet has sacked coastal cities, and to the west, the monsters of Zuromm have besieged the human kingdom of Saganim.

Digger and Jovinda agree that their immediate tasks are to the north — trying to find farmers who fled the haunted hamlet of Alarn and investigating the borderlands for mysterious mage Octavius Karstus. They and Kazuo also note that thwarting Vappu Lahja’s aggressive Centaur followers is a top priority.

In addition, Digger notes that different versions of the fairy tale regarding Vappu Lahja suggest that she might be the same person as the independent-minded woman once wooed by various princes two centuries ago. The tales aren’t clear on whether she was an outcast or a manipulator, and one suitor was from a family that’s still near the town of Kedetura.

Gawain continues his research into devils at the local Magisterium (magic school/library), and Asish practices archery and meets “Jade Xi” [Sammy/Non-Player Character] at the Arena of Arakkis. The two humans had expressed interest in heading southwest toward Saganim but are outvoted for now.

Their companions, meanwhile, go to the consulate of the Waletku kingdom of the Elves to meet with Lark Utbehule, a Sylvan Elf they had met during an audience with the city council. Green pennants flutter over the ivy-covered building.

Digger thanks Lark for taking his report of the threat posed by Vappu Lahja more seriously than some Hifalendorin aristocrats and soldiers on the council. She replies that King Ereval I in Alfhileno would be more concerned with Fey creatures turning to the Unseelie Court than with periodic raids on border communities.

Half-Elf Jovinda asks if there are trustworthy people to report to in the Wisalef Forest. Lark says that the Alfendi Rangers’ Guild, led by Gen. Aldarion Telcontar, will be most interested in what her team may find. As tokens of support, the Elves present each member with gifts [from the Pathfinder: Advanced Player’s Guide].

Lark gives scholarly Digger scrolls to help him learn Akkadian, Sanskrit, and Draconian. She gives Jovinda, a Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature, a Bottle of Messages. Kovar, a Paladin of Mithras, god of contracts, gets a Jurist enchantment for his shield, and Monk Kazuo receives a bar of Soul Soap to protect against mental control similar to that of Vappu Lahja.

The consul also gives a magical Catching Cape to Illusionist Gawain and a Campfire Bead to Ranger Asish. Somewhat reluctantly, Digger passes along Jade’s offer to help find highly placed agents of Vappu Lahja in Nadwi, for a price. Digger and company then go the art and antiques shop of Eligius near the market square.

Attentive clerk Lucian follows cheerful Jovinda and quiet Kazuo around the shop. When Digger mentions Octavius Karstus, Eligius tries to flee, but the nimble Rogue and burly Half-Orc corner the panicked merchant. He asks whether they’re assassins, but Digger and Kovar try to reassure him.

Eligius explains that Octavius Karstus had inquired about a parchment map drawn over an older chart. Both were of the area between the Plains of Sathendo, the Wisalef Forest, and the Ivory Mountains. Eligius initially declined, and his shop was broken into shortly thereafter. The tradesman hired an apprentice and tightened security rather than acquiesce to the mage’s demands.

Digger offers protection and analysis, and Eligius agrees, on the condition that the Paladin be the only one to stay with him until they meet again at midnight. After the others leave, Eligius takes Kovar through a trap door into a safe room hidden in Nadwi’s sewers. He has stashed the map and other artifacts but still fears discovery.

Stealthy Digger and Kazuo wait near the antiques store. Jovinda and Gawain go to a nearby pub for drinks. However, the Nezumi’s nose leads him and the Halfling to a grisly scene inside — Lucian is dead, with burns on his face!

Kazuo hears a falling roof tile and scrambles up a storm drain. Digger examines the scene, finding some signs of struggle but nothing removed. Gawain goes to notify Asish and the city watch, while Jovinda runs into the cobblestone streets to follow Kazuo and his quarry.

Leaping from rooftop to rooftop, Kazuo closes in on Lucian’s murderer. Jovinda sees them move around the market square, and Digger finds a hole in the ceiling and calls to Kovar through the trapdoor into the sewers. The wise holy warrior tells Eligius to stay put and promises to stay with him.

Kazuo grapples with his opponent, a reptilian humanoid. The assassin tries to butt heads and is struck by a Spiritual Weapon cast by Jovinda. Kazuo dodges the dragon-kin’s fiery breath and hits him with Stunning Fists.

Jovinda invokes Mekkil’s protection for Resistance from flames and climbs up a rough stone wall. Her staff-like Spiritual Weapon continues to hit the beast. Just as the Cleric gets to the roof, however, Kazuo and his foe roll off! The Monk acrobatically manages to evade being crushed, and the creature unfurls leathery wings.

Grugach Jovinda channels positive energy to heal Kazuo, who has been raked by the scaly folk’s claws. The Nezumi leaps up and grabs onto the assassin’s legs as he tries to fly away. They wobble into the night sky, and Jovinda contemplates firing at them after she safely slides off the roof.

Agile Kazuo climbs up the reptile-kin’s back and pummels him with his furry fists of fury. They drop again to the shadowy street, and Jovinda inspects the now-unconscious creature, which she and Kazuo recognize as being related to Gargoyles, Lizard Folk, Dragonborn, and Draconians. They drag their prisoner back toward Eligius’ antiques shop…

I hope that all of you had a good Memorial Day. Paul and Byron, thanks for checking in, and Paul and Beruk, it was good to see you at Monday night’s FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures: “Vortexspace opera. Thanks also to those who have updated their Player Character records and replied to the threads regarding tactics, multiclassing “Asish,” and party direction.

I look forward to seeing all of you online for our next virtual session on June 5. Also, note that June 19 is Father’s Day, so Rob and Byron, please let us know whether you’ll be available. Have a good week, -Gene