Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” Session 39.24, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 21 October 2013:
In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders.
Various groups of mercenaries and diplomats have fought humanoids in the northwestern borderlands, encountered pirates on the Sea of Nagendwa, and wandered the hostile Halmed Desert and the wide Plains of Sathendo….
“Vistel’s Circus,” Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s ” Vanished Lands ” heroic fantasy campaign, using theBasic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, as of autumn 2013:
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, embittered by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; NGc, Lvl. 5
- “Hamfast Hammerfist” [Brian W.]-male Zeda human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 5
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 5
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 5
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with owlbear cub “Oswald”; NGc, Lvl. 5
- “Tempestade” [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 5
- “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justic; LGn, Lvl. 5
- “Radius” [Jason E.R./departed]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 5
“20 to 24 December 1228 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party had helped the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human port of Sileran strengthen its defenses in response to unnatural weather. Scouting expeditions to nearby swamps and the Bay of Ethalgo revealed more cult activity, amphibious humanoids, and potential for attack at the winter solstice.
In the wet weeks leading up to the holiday, the onetime circus performers had also conducted research at various temples and participated in bouts at the “Silver Stirrup” pub.
At the local Magisterium (magic school/library), Giacomo du Vane continues his inquiries into the so-called Mad Mage, who is connected to his tattoos, according to Megara Anteia, a dark priestess of Gheket. He reviews his credit with colleague Muriel Tekla at Tobin’s Emporium.
Giacomo also mentions to his friends “cold steel,” a reddish antimagical alloy, as a potential defense against the dreaded ghost fleet. In addition, the Wizard plans to ask about getting passage to Falit, capital of the Ebir Sheikdom, on the Sea Elven schooner Foamrunner [see “Dragonslayers” notes].
Hamfast Hammerfist evaluates and enlists mercenaries at the Silver Stirrup to help with Sileran’s defense. Scully Strongbow asks Caranthir, a Sylvan Elf Druid at the Grove of Arbos, about the giant footprint she found in the swamps.
Corwin Windsong, Elsa Fairbottom, and Sir Torrel help train Sileran’s militia at the Caerling Circus. Corwin spends his spare time with Nydarelle, a Sylvan Elf whom he met at the Bardic College/temple of Brijitt.
Elsa also helps River Dwarf Burdag with siege engines and obtains holy water from priest Henry Ironfist at Nersago’s Forge [temple of Vulkan/Moradin]. Tempestade makes sacrifices at various temples and still hopes to rescue people from his distant homeland.
Sir Torrel reports to Father Bran at the tower of Otih. The Paladin then goes to the agora (market square) to ask Tch’tt (“Tochit”), a Pernicon (Thri-kreen), to watch out for cultists of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom.
The wanderers have reconvened for dinner at the Moonbeam Inn when they hear shouting out in the sodden streets. They run to the harbormaster’s tower on the Watcher’s Tor, where they see a blue-skinned giant scaling the city walls!
Corwin casts Mirror Image and draws his enchanted long sword, while Elsa enflames Sir Torrel’s sword and Hamfast’s maul. Scully climbs the tower to get a better vantage point and sends owl “Owlicious” to see what else is going on.
Giacomo maims himself in an effort to cast Scorching Ray, and Hamfast ponders whether the attack is a diversion. The huge monster sweeps Saganim sentries and catapults over the parapets with blasts of water from the Bay of Ethalgo.
Paladin Torrel steps forward and draws first blood in the battle. Monk Tempestade kicks at the giant but is thwarted by the icy steps. Bard Corwin hits the creature, as Druid Elsa’s Light and Bane spells fails to harm it.
Ranger Scully fires silver-tipped arrows and quickly searches for holy water or oil. Mage Giacomo casts Force Manipulation but has better luck with Magic Missiles. Fighter Hamfast first swings at the giant’s knees and feet before hitting higher up.
The azure aggressor, whom Giacomo identifies as a Marid or type of Djinn, slams Hamfast and Torrel. Bashir also grows from 10 to 15 feet in height. Sir Torrel casts Protection From Evil, and Tempestade tries to climb onto the giant, who repeatedly swats him away.
Corwin keeps swinging at the Marid, while Elsa invokes Moradin to Bless her allies. Scully smacks herself with her bow before properly landing arrows. Giacomo casts more Magic Missiles, and Hamfast turns their opponent into a puddle.
There’s no time to rest as Tempestade leads the rush to the next sounds of battle. The squad finds the Crab Shanty crushed by a female Sea Giant. Swashbuckler Corwin has difficulty hitting Fothri, and pious Elsa’s Hold Person is unsuccessful.
Sniper Scully runs to the Eorl’s Tor, and Giacomo switches from Web back to Magic Missiles. Hamfast grabs a few items from fallen Bashir and swings mightily.
The Sea Giant hurls a rock at Elsa but misses. Torrel swears in frustration, possibly offending Otih, as his magical tulwar fails to find its mark. Swift Tempestade runs toward Fothri, as Saganim humans hurl spears.
Corwin and Hamfast hit their foe. Elsa fumbles an attack before going to heal Tempestade and Hamfast. Giacomo’s Color Spray has no effect, and the giantess swings a Riptide Whip at Corwin.
Tempestade grabs at the whip but is smashed into the ground. Torrel prays to Otih and casts Light. Elsa trades blows, while Scully almost loses her bow because of frostbitten fingers. Tempestade cuts himself free and reaches for his sling.
Giacomo maximizes a Magic Missile, and Dwarf Elsa claims victory as Corwin beheads the Sea Giant. Exhausted but exhilarated, the adventurers run farther down the waterfront, past the agora. Owlicious tells Scully that more giants are fighting spellcasters in the southeastern part of Sileran.
They see another Sea Giant and an even taller Storm Giant in the rubble of the Magisterium. Tempestade joins members of the town guard in fighting the Sea Giant as his companions go after the Storm Giant, who is approaching the Halls of Haranur.
Giacomo casts Invisibility and tries to see if any of the items from the Marid or first Sea Giant might be useful. Corwin casts Mirror Image to create illusory copies of himself to distract the Storm Giant. Gaprekisu has killed several sorcerers and soldiers with electrified javelins.
Elsa Heals Self and grabs Fothri’s whip. She also casts Guidance on Sir Torrel, whose Detect Evil finds that the giants are more chaotic. Scully finds a repeating hand crossbow in the ruins of Tobin’s Emporium.
Corwin and Hamfast strike at Gaprekisu, whose tough hide turns half of their blows. Elsa digs through the debris and finds a Wand of Frost. Scully’s crossbow bolts fire wide, and Tempestade tries to climb Cormu, the second Sea Giant.
Sir Torrel casts Spiritual Hammer, and Giacomo cuts himself to cast Force Manipulation to provide shields. The Storm Giant dispels one of Corwin’s images and stabs Giacomo with a javelin.
Cormu drops a rock on Tempestade, knocking him unconscious. Saganim sentries scatter, and the surviving adepts rush to contain the damage. Megara is wounded in front of her temple. Corwin manages to cast Web against Gaprekisu but stuns himself.
Elsa casts Cure Minor Wounds to stabilize Tempestade and reads a scroll of Protection From Electricity. Fighter Hamfast and Sir Torrel circle the Storm Giant, landing a few solid blows but taking wounds in the process.
Unlucky Giacomo harms his own visage, burns a hole beneath himself to catacombs, and makes his hands translucent. The Wizard recovers by casting Levitation and maximizing more Magic Missiles. Gaprekisu eventually gets unstuck from Corwin’s Web and destroys the rest of his Mirror Images.
Cormu kills another guard and another spellcaster. Tempestade manages to get out from under the rock and limps toward the temple of Otih. On the way, he finds a shortbow, so he heads to the Eorl’s Torr to join Scully on higher ground.
After casting Cure Light Wounds on Torrel and pulling Corwin to safety, Elsa fires the Wand of Frost at the Storm Giant, to little effect. Hamfast has better luck with his hammer. Giacomo quaffs a healing potion before a miscastMagic Missile forces him to shout out his true name.
The Storm Giant hits Sir Torrel and shrugs off arrows from Scully, Tempestade, and Sileran’s archers. Giacomo’s last maximized Magic Missile manages to slay Gaprekisu, but Cormu runs over Corwin on his way back to the bay. The sole surviving giant jumps into the water and swims away.
Scully sees only one sail on the horizon, so Brig. Liam Muldoon concludes that the giant attack isn’t an immediate precursor to an attack by Undead pirates. The clouds above Sileran begin to disperse for the first time in weeks.
The Saganim people bury their dead and begin repairs to the harbor. Cormac ap Morgan, the local earl, thanks Prince Corwin for limiting the potential casualties.
Giacomo asks Bethany Drumgoule if the Magisterium needs investors to rebuild. He also gets a Ring of Water Breathing from Scully, who claims Goggles of Underwater Vision, a Ring of Water Adaptation, and a Torc of Shark Repellent from the fallen giants.
Hamfast takes Gaprekisu’s masterwork great sword, and Tempestade grabs his +1 electrified javelins. Corwin finds shark hide armor (+1) among Bashir’s possessions, and Elsa has Fothri’s platinum amulet of Krakas melted down.
Elsa and Sir Torrel also make sure that some of the 4,000 crowns (gold pieces) in recovered pearls goes to help the city. Each of the defenders gets about 600 g.p., and Giacomo asks the knights of Otih for Restoration spells to recover from his magical mishaps in battle.
After helping to slay three out of four giants attacking Sileran, the onetime circus performers rest, re-equip, and prepare to set sail for Falit….
I hope that everyone enjoyed our back-to-back sessions and big battle! Your characters probably won’t level up until they reach Falit, but gear and magic will be available. I look forward to seeing some of you at Josh & Sara’s Halloween potluck this coming Saturday!
In the meantime, I also look forward to concluding Geoff C.’s “Strange Tales From Chicago” scenario and starting up the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom team. Remember that Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times” game will meet at Rich’s place next Monday, Oct. 28.