“Vanished Lands” Update T3.31 — Horseflesh and twister

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Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.31 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 26 June 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 the hostile Centaur followers of Vappu Lahja and a haunted hamlet on the Plains of Sathendo….

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

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

-“Asish Chen Ti” [Byron V.O.]-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

-“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

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

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

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

1 to 3 September 1229 B.C.E.:” While riding north from the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human city of Nadwi, the adventuring party defeated a band of werewolves. The group agreed to ride on for a few more hours before looking for a defensible campsite.

Cautious Kovar casts Detect Evil but finds none nearby. Sniper Asish forages for wolfsbane, and distracted Jovinda prays to Mekkil for guidance and sleeps in a tree. Kazuo’s keen Nezumi nose notices a stench from someplace nearby. Gawain and Digger happily curl up under their blankets after another night’s study.

During their watch, Kazuo and Kovar go to investigate the smell. They find the dismembered corpses of humans and horses piled up. The nonhumans wake their companions, who decide take a closer look in the morning.

Kovar recognizes some of the surcoats as belonging to knights of Otih, god of the sun and justice, who had set out a few days ahead of the party after being warned of the haunted hamlet of Alarn. Asish finds tracks of werewolves and demihumans, possibly Elves, at the skirmish site.

Jovinda verifies that the men were killed a few days before in battle, and Kazuo keeps a lookout for whomever or whatever murdered them. Illusionist Gawain detects no magic, and scholarly Digger finds little of value among the slaughtered.

Paladin Kovar recalls seeing similar horrors at the “Mellow Mule” inn in Alarn, and Kazuo believes that the rending of the victims limb from limb is meant to be another message. Grugach Jovinda notes that members of the Unseelie Court could be responsible. Asish helps bury the dead.

After another day’s ride across the wide Plains of Sathendo, the travelers pitch another cold camp (without a fire). Asish and Jovinda hear Elven music, but their fellows hear only birdsong. The Tsucharim Ranger and the Cleric of the nature goddess manage to resist temptation rather than wander off. Jovinda asks Kazuo for help with mental focus, but the Monk explains that his disciplines take years to master.

The next morning, the skies darken with thunderclouds as the team approaches Alarn. Asish finds an outlying barn and proposes making it a base of operations. Apparently, others had a similar idea, because he and Kazuo find restless horses. They are the steeds of Paladins of Urda, lord of the sky, dispatched from Nadwi after their audience with the city council.

Jovinda assesses the animals and find that they have been left for a few days without fresh water or grooming. Kovar recommends setting the horses free, but fellow equestrian Asish prefers leaving all the steeds in the barn for safekeeping. However, wind and hail soon herald a new threat — a descending funnel cloud!

Kovar watches the tornado approach Alarn’s abandoned houses as Asish leads the skittish steeds away from the barn. Jovinda and Gawain say that there are spells that could affect the weather, and Kazuo joins the scramble to safety. Digger and company are relieved when the twister misses them and heads into the hamlet.

After the storm passes, the explorers survey the damage. Armored Kovar observes that the inn is among the buildings still standing. Asish places the party’s animals with those of the missing knights of Urda back in the undamaged barn. The scout then helps search for tracks of a potential spellcaster.

As they circle Alarn, the team spots scarecrows between the road and the Aspar River. Wise Jovinda and perceptive Kazuo are the first to realize that they’re the missing Paladins, strung up like the scarecrows that attacked them previously. The group backs away, toward the barn….

Paul and Rob, we missed you again! Rob, I hope that you and your entire household feel better soon, and Sammy, I hope that you and Taum have a great time together in the coming week! Beruk, it was good to see you at last night’s FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures: “Vortexspace opera, and Byron, I’ll try to telephone you soon.

In the meantime, feel free to post to the Google Groups message board during our hiatus if you have any ideas for the Pathfinder: “Vanished Lands” campaign, one-shots, or just want to chat! -Gene