“Vanished Lands” Update T3.36 — Into the woods, again

Devilish monster
A nasty barghest

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.36 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 4 December 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:

-“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 horses Onimusha and Gashmu; NGl, Age 20, Lvl. 4

-“Jovinda Halflight” [Sammy H.]-female Half-Elf (Grugach/Hifalendorin) Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature; owner of horses Wyth-Amoi and Meth-Fenna; NGl, Age 23, Lvl. 4

-“Kazuo Takenaga” [Taum D’A.]-male Nezumi (Rat-kin) Monk from the Zedu kingdom in the Therud Forest; LNg, Age 20, Lvl. 4

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

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

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

>>”6 to 9 November 1229 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party lost nearly two months [of “game time”] and its steeds while enjoying baked goods in a Fey barrow. After resupplying at the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human border village of Tarken, the group rode north in search of its missing animals and companions. However, it found Onimusha and Genghis under attack by a strange monster.

The creature has the hindquarters of a wolf, long forelimbs ending in talons, and a steaming skull that resembles that of a rabbit. Asish whistles to his dog Genghis, while Jovinda sends horses Wyth-Amoi (“Wind Spirit”) and Meth-Fenna (“Silver Mane”) away. Kazuo circles around, between the scattered trees.

Jovinda draws her bow but misses, and Asish hits the attacker with a leaf-headed arrow. Kazuo runs up and unleashes a Flurry of Blows. Genghis is unable to pierce the monster’s hide, and horse Onimusha (“Demon Warrior”) backs away.

The beast, later identified as a Barghest, turns its red, glowing eyes at the Grugach and Nezumi, but they shrug off its Crushing Despair. Jovinda yells to divert its attention from Onimusha, and Asish fires more arrows. The diabolical Goblinoid grabs Kazuo and threatens to rip his throat out, but the Monk is defiant.

Jovinda casts Spiritual Weapon and backs up, as Asish snipes from the saddle of new warshorse Gashmu (“Noble Servant”). The Half-Elf Cleric and Tsucharim Ranger injure the Barghest enough that it drops Kazuo, who hits it with another Flurry of Blows.

Surrounded, the Barghest tries to blink to evade more blows, but the trio finishes it off. Although Asish wants to decapitate and burn the devilish beast, Jovinda notes that its pelt may be valuable for trade. Kazuo agrees with Asish, so the scout uses his katana and Bead of Campfire to incinerate the remains. They then scatter the Barghest’s ashes while wondering who summoned it.

Priestess Jovinda invokes her patron Mekkil, goddess of nature, to consecrate the area. Scout Asish is happy to be reunited with his animals and follows the Barghest’s tracks deeper into the Wisalef Forest. Martial artist Kazuo quietly sniffs for other predators.

Kazuo‘s keen nose leads the trio to a rocky hilltop clearing. Asish spots a lean-to shelter and creeps ahead. He hears pots and pans and sees an old woman who is apparently packing to leave. The Tsucharim rider returns to his companions and formulates a plan.

Jovinda noisily walks straight into the campsite and greets the short woman, whose greenish skin, toothy maw, and long, pointed ears mark her as a Goblin. Kolija Ventramin invites the young Grugach to sit with her as they trade tales and gifts.

Stealthy Asish and Kazuo creep forward, bow and siangham drawn. They look at each other and eavesdrop while trying not to be seen by the Goblin. The Ranger left the steeds behind at the edge of the clearing. Jovinda declines Kolija’s offer of food, and Kazuo smells something foul in the overstuffed cauldron.

Jovinda Detects Evil, but the witch is unperturbed, openly casting her own protection spells. Kolija knows the fairy tales of Vappu Lahja, a beautiful woman who rejected three princes and bargained her soul for unspecified abilities. Jovinda and company wonder if this is the same unaging woman gathering Centaurs near the town of Kedetura and inciting Fey folk against humans on the Plains of Sathendo.

Kolija also hints that Vappu Lahja may have “renegotiated” the terms of her power arrangement. The crone calls out to Asish and Kazuo, who reply that they are not afraid of her even as they back away. Jovinda decides that although the Goblin is evil, she isn’t an immediate threat and can be left alone for now.

As a former slave to Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) sorcerers, horseman Asish is reluctant to let Kolija live, but wise Jovinda and Kazuo agree to move on. The trio continues northwest, following maps of Ley lines and abandoned border forts. Asish hopes for time to bond with Genghis, and Jovinda considers sharing her abilities with Wyth-Amoi or summoning an animal companion.

That night, the adventuring party keeps watch as fog and frost roll in. Jovinda hears a merry hunting party and sees four Alvari (Sylvan Elves), more rustic than their urban Quelanthi (High Elf/Eladrin) cousins but less nomadic than the Grugach (Wild Elves). They ride slender Elven horses and are followed by Cooshee — swift Fey hunting dogs.

After waking Asish and Kazuo, Jovinda and Genghis hail the hunters. Dark-haired Delvalatar Juteriel is courteous but reserved, and fair Caliran Gelos handles the mounts. Green-clad Aelwyn Kisto looks suspiciously at “barbarian” Asish, but spear-carrying Feldostram Owedoc surprises Kazuo by addressing the rat-kin as an equal.

Noble Delvalatar explains that he and his band are hunting a dire boar and goat-horned stags in the woods. He and rugged Caliran say they have heard how Vappu Lahja’s sway has spread from Kedetura, and haughty Aelwyn expresses concern about human corruptibility.

Asish defends his honor, describing how he escaped from the armies of Gokuri after the destruction of the dreaded Flying Citadel (two years ago in “game time,” six years ago in real time!). Feldostram respects the Ranger’s story, and the Elves agree to accompany the human, Grugach, and Nezumi for a little while as they head toward the city of Alfendi…

Since we probably won’t have quorum in the next few weekends leading up to Christmas, the next “Vanished Landstelecom game is tentatively scheduled for Friday, 30 December 2011. Let me know as your travel plans firm up.

In the meantime, Team 1 (the crew of the “Blackbird“) for the FATE 3e “Vortexspace opera meets next on Monday, Dec. 12, and Team 2 (the crew of the “Appomattox“) will play again on Dec. 19. Please remember to let me know when each of you will be available, weather permitting, in January 2012. May all your holidays be happy! -Gene

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