“Vanished Lands: Holy Steel” update — the quest for Faelonia resumes!

Map from "Time Bandits"
The Chaos Wars -- "Time Bandits" map

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for the latest “Holy Steel” session, which was held on Tuesday, 5 July 2011. My long-running “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign currently uses Pathfinder, Skype, and an online dice roller.

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. In the “Vanished Lands,” travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders….

>>Player Character roster for “Holy Steel” miniseries, summer 2011:

-“Faelonia Telcontar” [Dexter V.H.]-female Drow Ranger (western Dark Elf Beastmaster), ambassador for the Waletku and Zeda kingdoms and champion of Mekkil and Vulkan, with wolf companion Facon and Heart Bow (artifact) Dalis; NGl, Lvl. 16

-“Rellim Dorathan” [Mark M./Non-Player Character]-male Quelanthi Fighter/Cleric of Aerdary (High Elf: Labelas), friend of Faelonia; CGn, Lvl. 6/6

-“Milos Valoren” [Beruk A.]-male Barbari human scout [Rogue/Fighter/Gatecrasher from Ted A.H.’s D&D3 “Solar Gods: the Ether Wars”], former “Liberator” and “Dragonslayer”; CGn, Lvl. 10/3/3

-“Nialla Burkin” [N.P.C.]-female Suthern human Qedeshot/Battle Dancer (proto-Arabic Bard/Monk), former crewmember of the Dragon’s Bane and follower of Milos; NGc, Lvl. 8/1

-“Ibrahim al-Sufaia” [Byron V.O.]-male Suthern human Ghazi/Khery-heb (Egyptian Paladin/Wizard) of Isis, former “Dragonslayer” and bearer of custos (enchanted khopesh) Akhu; LGn, Lvl. 13/3

-“Arianna Leafsplitter” [N.P.C.]-female Sylvan (Wood) Elf Druid, follower of Ibrahim; TNg, Lvl. 9

>>”1 April 1229 B.C.E.:” Faelonia and Rellim had followed emissaries of the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm from the court of Pharaoh Ramses II. Their pursuit into the desert west of Pi-Ramesses and the Nile Delta led to a confrontation with chromatic dragons and other foes….

After their successful mission to Khemet (New Kingdom Egypt), Ibrahim, Milos, and their followers had returned to Hesolin, capital of the (proto-Western European) human kingdom of Hifalendor. The (D&D4e) “Faith-Based Initiative” was retrieving relics for the barbaric Gusorin Confederation, and a new band of adventurers (“Pathfinder” telecom team) would soon meet in the northwestern borderlands.

Metallic dragons Quenamun and Thilgatha/Rhiannen told Ibrahim and Milos that they had called in favors in the Celestial Court to learn that Faelonia was trapped but otherwise unharmed on the Astral Plane. Ibrahim reassured Faelonia’s assassin husband, “Shea” [Peter D./N.P.C.], that he would find her.

Sometime later, Faelonia, Milos, and Ibrahim awaken. They don’t know where they are or how they got there. The Drow Ranger, Barbari Rogue, and Suthern Paladin are surprised to find themselves unarmed and unarmored. Faelonia is annoyed to again be without her weapons, and Milos peers from the rock they’re perched on at small lights around them.

Ibrahim casts Detect Evil and senses malicious intent in all directions. Faelonia tries to telepathically contact her wolf Facon and Heart Bow Dalis, but they reply as if from a great distance and are unable to help her. Milos realizes that they’re on a rock about 100 feet away from other floating rocks, many of which have campfires on them.

Akhu, Ibrahim’s custos, also seems far away. The holy warrior of Isis, goddess of magic, deduces that he and his allies are in the sea of Elemental Chaos. Milos is skeptical about his surroundings and jumps! The Gatecrasher doesn’t need his Ring of Featherfall and reawakens surrounded by giant webs.

After Milos leaps into the dark, Faelonia and Ibrahim see a rider charging at them from another floating rock. The flaming hooves and skull of the Nightmare illuminate the plate armor and terrible visage of a Death Knight. Faelonia casts Summon Nature’s Ally, and a giant eagle grabs her in midair.

Rather than face the Undead Blackguard alone, Ibrahim also jumps to find himself somewhere else, surrounded by webs. He greets Milos, but Faelonia is still asleep and twitching. Huge spiders close in on the trio, whose followers are also entangled.

Back in his armor, Ibrahim draws Akhu and casts Daylight, briefly blinding the arachnids. Milos uses acid and daggers to cut Faelonia, Rellim, Nialla, and Arianna free. The grateful Ranger casts Mass Invisibility with Dalis to buy more time. Faelonia also attends to Facon and Milos’ exalted cat, and she doesn’t Detect Undead in the area.

Unfortunately, groggy Rellim, Nialla, and Arianna can’t recall how they were reunited, either, so Faelonia prays to her patron deities, Mekkil and Vulkan. The Divination reveals that they are in the outer plane of Pandemonium, near the Abyss. Ibrahim believes that devils such as Asmorath Malvolus are responsible.

Before they can be bitten, Faelonia uses the Heart Bow to Plane Shift herself and her companions to the Beastlands. Ibrahim is relieved to see grass and trees rather than flames and gloom, but Milos would prefer to be back on the Prime Material plane of existence. He checks his gear and cat.

Large lions approach, alarming the humans and their animals. Faelonia communes with the beasts, who welcome them to the realm of Krigala, the first layer of the Happy Hunting Grounds. The lions begin to lead the visitors to their lord Nobanion, but Elf Rellim tries to disbelieve.

Wary Milos asks Nialla how they were brought together in the first place. She says the physical trap in Pandemonium and the mental trap in the Elemental Sea could have been set for them. Ibrahim Detects Scrying, and Druid Arianna is happy to pet the lions. As the wanderers stroll, they hear sounds of battle!

Milos stealthily scouts ahead. He sees leonines and centaur-like Wemics being attacked by Death Knights riding Nightmares, similar to the vision in the primordial chaos! Faelonia casts Magic Circles vs. Chaos and Evil through Dalis, and Ibrahim defends the followers and ignites his sword and shield. Milos is reluctant to get involved, but Faelonia and Ibrahim exchange glances and prepare to charge….

I’m glad that we were able to play, despite short notice and the usual scheduling snafus and delays. While the main teleconferencing game and the Boston-area FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures: “Vortexspace opera are on hiatus this month, there may be opportunities for other one-shots. For example, Dexter is willing to run a D20 Star Wars: Saga Edition scenario, for which I don’t need to be present (although I wouldn’t mind participating if I had the time).

In the meantime, I hope that everybody had a good Independence Day weekend, and stay in touch! -Gene