“Vanished Lands” Update T3.23 — Leaving Alarn, again/Twigjacks

A Twigjack

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.33 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 18 September 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 autumn 2011:

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

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

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

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

>>”4 to 6 September 1229 B.C.E.:” Upon returning to the haunted hamlet of Alarn, the wanderers found slain knights, Unseelie Fey among buildings damaged by a summoned tornado, and Assassin Vines in nearby woods. They then regrouped at an outlying barn.

Asish recommends comparing the map of the borderlands that Digger had obtained for mysterious mage Octavius Karstus, now that the Ley lines hidden on it have been enhanced. The scouts compare the intersections, or Ley line nodes, to the positions of villages and abandoned hill forts.

Gawain and Kovar note that the nefarious kingdoms of Zuromm or Gokuri could exploit the old forts to destabilize the frontier between the Waletku kingdom of the Elves and the (proto-Western European) human kingdom of Hifalendor. Jovinda and Kazuo agree that Vappu Lahja and the Unseelie Fey would also be attracted to such nodes.

The group focuses on one pair of mystical currents. One supernatural stream runs from northwest to southeast, roughly from Alfendi to Kedetura, while the other runs from northeast to southwest, from Alfhileno to Nadwi, parallel to the Aspar River. The Ley lines intersect a few miles north of Alarn, on the way to the Sandia family farm.

Rather than deal with the Redcap in Alarn’s ruined chapel, the rodent of unusual size, or whatever is lurking in the “Mellow Mule” inn, the adventuring party rides northeast. Ranger Asish helps his companions ford the Aspar River.

While hiking through high grass, Monk Kazuo hears the jingle of armor, and the group halts and quietly dismounts. A Halfling mercenary from Tarken, Digger’s hometown, breaks camp while chatting with a female Centaur. Wary of followers of Vappu Lahja, the team of six waits for them to leave before continuing its ride.

Rather than have everyone visit the Sandia homestead and potentially offend the peasants, Jovinda goes alone. The priestess of Mekkil recognizes the field hands from Alarn she had met previously and is greeted by Daisy, granddaughter of family matron Violet. Jovinda enters the main farmhouse as her allies watch from a safe distance.

Alyssa angrily calls down from an upstairs nursery to ask about Kazuo, “the only person who ever understood me.” Daisy says that childbirth has not improved her cousin’s disposition, although Violet is still more charitable toward her heir.

Other than the Centaur attack that Jovinda and her friends helped repel a month before, the farm has escaped Alarn’s fate. Violet explains that she “has an arrangement” that somehow keeps monsters away from her kin. The Half-Elf excuses herself to the outhouse, where she covertly casts Detect Evil.

The Cleric senses malicious intent coming from the nursery and politely declines Violet’s offer for her group to stay the night. Jovinda rides Wyth-Amoi back to her fellows, whom she informs of the strangeness at the Sandia homestead. Nezumi Kazuo is not surprised. As promised, Jovinda delivers some of the horses left behind in Alarn by the deceased Paladins of Urda and Otih before departing.

The setting sun casts long shadows as the travelers continue north toward the faerie rings that Jovinda had previously encountered. However, they find the edge of the Wisalef Forest difficult to pass through because of overgrown underbrush and brambles that they don’t remember. Kovar senses evil all around them.

Eight small stick figures emerge and surround the party! Asish whistles to his dog Genghis to guard Jovinda, as the tiny humanoids spray the Tsucharim rider with thorns. Kazuo hits one with a Stunning Fist, but Jovinda’s first arrow misses.

Digger readies his sling staff, and Illusionist Gawain identifies the Twigjacks as Unseelie Fey creatures. Kovar maneuvers, but the armored Half-Orc Paladin of Mithras finds the no easy trail for the horses to retreat.

Asish fires cold steel arrows, eventually destroying two of his foes. The Twigjacks press their attack, wounding the intruders with splinters. Kazuo unleashes Flurries of Blows, shattering another opponent, and Jovinda casts Shield of Faith on herself and Guidance on Kazuo.

Although Digger’s first sling stone goes wide, his Deadly Teamwork with Kazuo is successful, and the Halfling helps fell another rogue Fey. Gawain’s Color Spray spells stun some of the Twigjacks, and he casts Bull’s Strength on Kazuo.

Archer Asish badly damages the remaining ambushers, which badly injure his horse Onimusha. As martial artist Kazuo drops a fifth Twigjack, Jovinda invokes Mekkil for a Cure Light Wounds on Digger and to channel positive energy, healing all combatants.

Digger maneuvers to flank with Kazuo, and Gawain casts Aid Another and Bull’s Strength on the nimble Rogue. Jovinda casts Resistance on Asish, who refrains from using flames against the stick folk because he fears igniting the forest. The three remaining Twigjacks flee into the dense thorns.

Gawain and Digger pick up some branches left behind for later study. Perceptive Asish eventually deciphers them as a map of nearby caches of scavenged treasure. It includes a longspear and heavy wooden shield, probably taken from one of the knights’ men at arms; a bird Feather Token; and 250 crowns (gold pieces) in assorted coins and gems.

Jovinda notes that the Elves of the Seelie Court in Alfhileno and Alfendi had also offered money for scouting various threats in the borderlands. The group hastily finds a spot to camp for the night before venturing deeper into the forest…

Despite another slow start and a late and abrupt ending, I enjoyed seeing all of you online for the game. Since I’ll be traveling again this coming weekend, and Paul, Byron, Sammy, and Taum won’t be available on Sunday, 2 October 2011, our next session probably won’t be until Oct. 9. In the meantime, please take advantage of the Google Groups message board!

The FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Bulldogs: “Vortexspace opera teams will also continue in October. Take it easy, -Gene