“Vanished Lands” Update T3.32 — Redcap and vines

A 3-D landscape
Enchanted woods

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.32 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 21 August 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, an unlikely band of adventurers encountered the hostile Centaur followers of Vappu Lahja on the Plains of Sathendo….

>>Telecom party Player Character roster, as of late 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

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

-“Gawain Keary” [Paul J./absent]-male Saganim human Illusionist (proto-Celtic Wizard); NGc, Age 20, Lvl. 2

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

3 to 4 September 1229 B.C.E.:” After finding Paladins of Otih and Urda slain near Alarn, the adventuring party regrouped at a barn on the outskirts of the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human hamlet. The holy warriors had been sent ahead from the city of Nadwi.

Rather than disturb the scarecrow-like corpse constructs, Kovar, Jovinda, and Kazuo boldly decide to explore the abandoned community for clues to the whereabouts of the missing knights and peasants.

Scouts Digger and Asish ride out to check the perimeter and outlying farms for the spellcaster who recently summoned a tornado against them. Favelhorn and Gawain quietly study their arcane tomes and watch the steeds.

Armored Kovar notices relatively recent tracks in Alarn’s muddy streets, and Nezumi Kazuo keeps a wary eye (and nose) out for trouble. Jovinda spots a small demihuman running toward the ruined chapel, and the Grugach and her companions give chase.

As sunset lengthens shadows on the northern Plains of Sathendo, Jovinda casts Light on an acorn and tosses it into the temple. A wizened, bearded man about two and a half feet tall with a long, pointed cap growls in response. “Go away!” he says. “This is mine now.”

Undeterred, the Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature, enters the defiled shrine as Kovar dismounts and enters from the rear. Jovinda recognizes the creature as a Redcap, a murderous Unseelie Fae. He doesn’t give his name, but he sees Half-Orc Kovar and assumes that he’s in charge of the Half-Elf. Kovar wonders whether the fellow is something between a Gnome and a Goblin.

“Are you part of reinforcements?” the unnamed Redcap asks. Monk Kazuo notices that the Gnome-like man wears metal-tipped boots and has joined two sickles with a chain, like a kusari-gama. Wily Kovar plays along with the Redcap, trying to get more information, while priestess Jovinda notices smashed holy symbols on the dusty floor.

The trio manages to depart the desecrated chapel without a fight and continues walking through the village. The “Mellow Mule” inn is among the buildings left untouched by the tornado, but Jovinda resists the temptation to confront whoever she sees moving inside.

Kovar, a Paladin of Otih, lord of the sun and justice, believes that the inn may be the headquarters of an invading force. Kazuo notes, however, that no links have yet been found to secretive mage Octavius Karstus, the nefarious kingdoms of Zuromm and Gokuri, or the mysterious Vappu Lahja.

At the edge of nearby woods, Kazuo spots movement. A rodent of unusual size (no relation to the Nezumi) lopes away from abandoned Alarn. In an attempt to reconstruct where farmers or knights would have fled from the haunted inn, the Paladin, Cleric, and Monk enter the darkling woods.

Jovinda finds broken branches, and a little farther north, Kazuo sniffs human sweat of fear on shreds of clothing. The trees loom over the winding path, blocking out the emerging stars, and roots and rocks jut out from the damp earth.

Digger goes to check on those at the barn, while Asish follows his friends’ footprints into the edge of the Wisalef Forest. The Tsucharim Ranger whistles to his dog Genghis as he cautiously guides horse Onimusha through the scratchy branches.

Asish rejoins Kovar, Jovinda, and Kazuo just as they find another sign of refugees from Alarn — a shiny sliver of silver that turns out to be a bracelet around a wrist bone wrapped in roots. Jovinda is unable to explain how thick plants could have grown around a corpse in only a few weeks.

Her question is soon answered when grasping branches and vicious vines reach out in attack! Asish hops back into the saddle, recognizing the Assassin Vines from his servitude to the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elves). Jovinda casts Shield of Faith on Kazuo and is given a hand up to Onimusha.

Kazuo launches a Flurry of Blows, and Kovar draws his masterwork longsword and also backs up from the writhing roots. Leafy tendrils and clod-covered roots whip at the group. One woody tentacle grabs Jovinda’s ankle and pulls her from Onimusha!

Asish turns his horse around to grab Jovinda, but Onimusha is slowed by the entanglement. Kazuo leaps in to help his fallen ally before she is strangled, and Kovar slices the vine with his sword but is smacked in return.

Jovinda clears a path with Wood Shape, and Kazuo and Kovar follow. The Paladin lays on hands, but the fleeing foursome is unable to escape injury from the carnivorous plants. As they bind their wounds by torchlight, Asish recommends returning to the barn rather than spend the night in wilderness full of feral monsters…

After last month’s hiatus because of summer travel, it was great to see most of you! Dexter, Paul, and Rob, we still missed you, and note that Paul and Sammy & Taum won’t be able to attend some upcoming sessions. How does Sunday, 28 August 2011, look for each of you? Byron, I’m glad that you were eventually able to join us, but please try to let us know in advance of any future delays.

We still need to discuss alternate times and games, but in the meantime, to keep the current campaign going, I’ll be lowering the bar to three players for quorum, exploring Google+, and working on backup scenarios. Like the FATE 3e “Vortexspace opera, we should be able to overcome future scheduling disruptions with a little forethought and communication. Take it easy, -Gene