Captains courageous

Funny, I would have thought Picard…

Your results:
You are James T. Kirk (Captain)

James T. Kirk (Captain)
60%
Will Riker
60%
Geordi LaForge
60%
Worf
55%
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
55%
Deanna Troi
55%
Jean-Luc Picard
55%
Chekov
50%
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
45%
Mr. Sulu
40%
Uhura
40%
Mr. Scott
40%
Spock
39%
Beverly Crusher
30%
Data
29%
You are often exaggerated and over-the-top
in your speech and expressions.
You are a romantic at heart and a natural leader.

Click here to take the “Which Star Trek character am I?” quiz…

Capt. Tzu Tien Lung
One to beam up!

“Star Wars: Dark Times” Session 3 — Dead in space

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 3 of Jason E.R.’s face-to-face “Star Wars” game, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 7 October 2013:

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away — the Galactic Republic has been replaced by a ruthless empire, and the Jedi, once guardians of peace, are now hunted fugitives. In the Unknown Regions, at the edge of explored space, a few Jedi and their allies hope to survive and continue the fight for justice….

>>Player Character roster for Jason E.R.’s Star Wars: Dark Times” space opera miniseries, using Savage Worlds, autumn 2013:

  • Ekafti Acomar [Gene D.]-female human Jedi consular, older diplomat with many contacts but few remaining friends 
  • “Garolos Banku Nuruolos — Garos [Beruk A.]-male Chiss (blue-skinned humanoid) ex-Jedi, gambler and owner of the light freighter “Lucky Strike” 
  • Oong Bak [Brian W.]-male Duros (gray-skinned humanoid) honorable and talented mechanic
  • Ari Sundar [Sara F.]-female Ssi-ruu (raptor-like reptile) military medic, outcast from a species intruding upon the galaxy
  • Thayne Highlander [Bruce K.]-male human Jedi padawan close to knighthood, 19 years old; saw master killed by Order 66
  • Max Power (MX-PR) [Rich C.G.]-male protocol droid with secret combat subroutine, ordered to protect Jedi (overrode Order 66)
  • Tark Agros [Brian S.]-male Bakuran human pilot and noble, mildly delusional hotshot

“From the journals of Ekafti Acomar, 19 B.B.Y. (before the Battle of Yavin):” We seem to be more adept at getting into and out of trouble than agreeing on or getting to a destination. After encountering clones of me in the Grand Pelgar Hotel, we had gone to the Zanazi religious retreat on Cattamascar.

Two imperial cruisers that had been pursuing the clones floated in orbit, unresponsive. Adaha Tila made claims for the right to salvage, but the Zeltron woman got no response from the cruisers or Bakuran authorities, as far as we could tell.

Star Wars: Dark Times imperial cruiser
An early Imperial cruiser

At my recommendation, Garolos Banku Naruolos hailed Tila’s ship, which was docked with one of the disabled warships. Tark Agros piloted the Lucky Strike close enough to the Folly so that we could scan the sleek Hwk 290-class freighter for life signs.

Meanwhile, Oong Bak continued to make repairs on the Lucky Strike, and Thayne Highlander and MX-PR prepared to join Garos and me in going aboard the cruiser. Ari Sundar received a royal signal from her people, the reptilian Ssi-ruuk.

After some negotiation, Tila granted us permission to come aboard after an hour, during which she was apparently looking for something of value. I resisted recommendations that we shoot at the Folly before then, in the hope we could avoid a fight.

Garos contacted Jarik Tai, a Bakuran recruiter for “The Brotherhood” he had met at the Terminus restaurant, to see if he knew anything about Tila. Unfortunately, Tai had little useful to say about the attractive Zeltron.

We detected small-arms fire at the Folly, so Thayne, Garos, and I donned vacc suits and jumped to the cruiser. Droid “Max” easily followed. Oong, Ari, and Tark stayed with the Lucky Strike.

We interrupted a three-way shootout, with Adaha Tila drawing her blaster pistol on two groups. One included four tentacle-faced Krevaaki, similar to sage Moross Sapan, whom we had met at the retreat. They yelled something about “heretics.”

The last party to the standoff was a yellow Ssi-ruu guarding several blue-scaled younglings. Ari later explained that her red hide denotes the warrior caste, with the yellow representing scientists and blue the aristocracy. I told Ari what we found via comlink, and she rushed to join us.

I asked Tila how she was doing, and onetime Jedi Garos asked everyone to hold their fire. Ari and I wanted to protect the innocent younglings, so Max fired a grenade at the Krevaaki. One of the zealots managed to catch the explosive and throw it back at us!

I narrowly escaped serious injury, and recent padawan Thayne ignited his light saber and attacked the Krevaaki. Garos and Max shot them, and Ssi-ruuk Ari and Idiian wanted to get the royal younglings to safety.

Meanwhile, Oong and Tark were amused by our attempts to figure out what to do. They were forced to make evasive maneuvers as another Krevaaki ship fired on the Lucky Strike.

Tila slipped away, and Thayne and I headed to the main bridge, passing numerous stormtrooper corpses on the way. This could have been the work of my clones.

We found Tila blocked by a hazy green force field that blocked only organic matter. Over the comlink, I called for Max to join us, even as we glimpsed a dim shape moving on the bridge.

Adaha admitted that she was looking for confirmation of the Sanctuary Route, a rumored hyperspace lane. Garos seemed to recognize it. As the Krevaaki riddled the Folly with holes, I called for Ari and the other Ssi-ruuk to join us, away from the docking bay.

Max entered the cruiser’s bridge and saw an anomalous life form that he described as a mass of muscle and sinew, similar to Durge, the Gen’Dai bounty hunter. It had ripped the command crew to bloody shreds, and we decided to leave the force field containing it alone. With Krevaaki still around, we decided to leave via Idiian’s ship.

The Ssi-ruu scientist said (although not in so many words) that his people had made a deal with the Galactic Empire for clones in exchange for technology that converted vitality into energy usable by starships.

As Ari translated, I discovered through Mind Read that Idiian planned to take us all back to his homeworld, where we would be strapped to gurneys and tortured for our life force. I used the Jedi Mind Trick to get him to drop out of hyperspace near Gymelo, and I granted Max permission to take him down.

The belligerent droid immediately resorted to lethal force, which I should have predicted. Garos and Ari were confused, and worse still, Max wasn’t able to immediately incapacitate the pilot. To add to our difficulties, the younglings reacted by trying to protect their fellow Ssi-ruu.

The small but vicious raptors scarred Ari, tore circuits from Max, and attacked Thayne and me as we tried to gain control of the ship. Adaha cowered in terror. Fortunately, Thayne was able to land the ship, and I depressurized the cabin on the way to knock out everyone not in space suits.

We sent a signal to the Lucky Strike, which soon joined us in Gymelo’s jungles. Oong attended to the injured, and Thayne tied up Idiian and helped me move the insensate younglings to a locked compartment.

Oong found that the Ssi-ruuk ship was powered by P’w’eck, a reptilian subject race, wired into its systems. We released the weak slaves, who staggered off into the forest. Garos was disappointed that we couldn’t obtain any data or useful salvage.

Tark, Garos, and Max wanted to kill the younglings, but I knew that unconscious Ari wouldn’t. Even though they were bred or cloned to be killing machines, I couldn’t take their lives in good conscience, even if they had tried to kill us.

After another heated debate, I told Idiian that we would leave him and the younglings on Gymelo and that they should remember our mercy. As we left, the Lucky Strike got a Clone Wars-era distress signal, CC-648.

We followed the signal to a small clearing, where clone Cmdr. “Thorn” and the remains of his platoon greeted us. Over Garos’ objections, I revealed my identity as a Jedi. He greeted us as officers, but I had to explain how the old Republic had fallen to Palpatine’s schemes.

Naturally, “Thorn” had difficulty understanding why the Republic would have fallen from within rather than as a result of Separatist or Ssi-ruuvi attacks. Somehow, his group hadn’t heard about Order 66, which outlawed all Jedi, so Thayne and I were safe for the moment.

We shared what supplies we could, and I promised the loyal troopers that I would try to return. Thayne and I viewed these men as potential assets and their base, far from imperial orders, as a rare safe landing site. Garos and Tark would have preferred to kill them in cold blood.

Tark detected the source of the signal jamming these clones’ transmissions, which we traced to a Separatist emplacement. We left the clone troopers behind, as well as recuperating Ari. She agreed to watch the Lucky Strike and reluctant passengers Adaha, Princess Tethys (one of my clones), and suspicious protocol droid B-1E4.

We found nine commando droids circling the clone trooper camp, plus lumbering Viper droids with transmitters. We decided to leave them alone and head back into space, since destroying them might expose the troopers to Order 66.

Since Cattamascar was on the Shirotoku Way between Gymelo and Bakura, where I still hoped to thwart the empire, we stopped back at that desert world. Tark and Garos wanted to examine the second disabled cruiser.

On the way, Thayne had another dream of a dark tower and a banner with a centipede symbol. He again saw Endolana, the young daughter of Ataru, a Jedi master who lived 25,000 years ago. This time, Endolana was joined by friends including mute Aliza, Dal-Vha, Khatyen, Tomi and the adolescent Miru.

From the holocron of Sai Agorn, I recognized these girls as the daughters of masters Djem So, Makashi, Shien, Shii-cho, and Soresu, respectively. All had light saber forms named after them, and the children’s kidnapping was a major cause of the Jedi vow of celibacy.

The girls sung a morbid nursery rhyme, according to Thayne’s later recollection. Endolana told Thayne that he was close to reaching them in “sanctuary,” possibly a reference to Adaha’s hyperspace route.

We arrived at Cattamascar to find more Krevaaki ships attached to the hull of the second imperial cruiser. As Tark flew us by the bridge, its window blew out, and the Krevaaki blasted another fleshy anomaly into space and restored power. An emergency force field replaced the window.

Oong found a way to get a landing bay to open, and we hurried to the bridge, stepping over yet more slain stormtroopers. Tark put on his jet pack and flew ahead, despite my warning. Garos ran after him. Both were shot and wounded by fanatical Krevaaki.

Thayne, Max, and I then rushed in, followed by Garos and Tark. Oong worked to regain attitude control, since the cruiser had been set on a collision course with the Zanazi retreat. This was the third time in as many days that I was on a falling vehicle — first the Grand Pelgar out of control through Cattamascar’s heart, then the Ssi-ruuk vessel, and now the cruiser.

At least we’ve been able to limp away from those events so far. Oong managed to get us back into orbit, but the Black Sun virus re-emerged, threatening to take us to Nar Shaddaa, the Hutt homeworld. We had to leave.

Thayne and I grabbed a few medkits, and Garos hoped to get more useful data. Max and the others grabbed more blasters — we’ll have to see if that protocol droid can be reprogrammed. The Lucky Strike again set forth for Bakura, which we still hoped to defend from imperial grasp….

Gravity film review

On Tuesday, 8 October 2013, I went to the Embassy Cinema in Waltham, Mass., to screen Gravity. The space-based drama is the best movie I’ve seen in theaters so far this year.

Gravity film wallpaper
Drama in space

Gravity‘s plot is fairly straightforward — after a major accident, astronaut Ryan Stone is stranded in orbit and must find a safe way back to Earth’s surface. As a well-executed character study and survival thriller, Gravity stands out after a summer of sequels, reboots, apocalypses, and gratuitous urban destruction.

Co-writer and director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men) keeps the pacing taut at a lean 90-minute runtime. He successfully balances the wonders of seeing Earth from space (worth a 3-D or IMAX ticket) with a focus on Stone’s emotions. The visual effects around the orbital disaster are excellent, with a convincing mix of live action and computer-generated imagery.

Star Sandra Bullock, who has been better known for physical comedy than for her range, conveys Stone’s reactions to her predicament, from joy to horror to sadness and determination. George Clooney is his usual affable self as Matt Kowalski, an astronaut who initially guides Stone. These actors have enough charisma to fill the screen as needed.

Despite some scientific liberties taken for the sake of storytelling, such as with orbital mechanics and physiological degradation from time spent in microgravity, Gravity feels realistic, if not as much as The Right Stuff or Apollo 13. I’d put this movie with 2001: A Space Odyssey and Moon as good speculative fiction. As an SF thriller, it’s also not far from Alien or Outland.

Overall, I’d give Gravity, which is rated PG-13 for violence and language, a 9 out of 10, four and a half out of five stars, or an A-. I recommend it for any fans of serious science fiction and the aforementioned actors.

Of the previews I saw, the remake of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller looked decent, and I’m of course looking forward to The Hobbit [2 of 3]: the Desolation of Smaug. I was also pleased to see a strong Godzilla trailer recently, but I’m less certain about literary adaptation Ender’s Game and superhero sequel Thor 2: the Dark World.

“Vortex: Terra’s Pride” Update 5c.48 — Rescue at the rendezvous

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.48 of the Vortex telecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 6 October 2013. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures /MindjammerBulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has started to overcome ecological challenges at the time of open and official First Contact with galactic societies. However, internecine war and the Zarkonian Armada devastate Earth and its colonies. A few million refugees, aided by some aliens, flee into deep space. Will heroes arise among them?

FATE 3e “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” (Team 3/5c) telecom Player Characters, as of autumn 2013:

Acting crew of the experimental scout ship Blackbird:

  • Capt. Kevin Reese” [Bruce K.]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg), former Interplanetary Patrol officer and commander of a Terran Ranger Corps task force, including the corvette Dauntless
  • Cmdr. Tela” [Sara F.]-female Tharian (gargoyle-like alien), escapee from the Encegulans (slug-like slavers), fond of humans; engineer with boyfriend Kedar and robot Dr. Bucket
  • Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus” [Josh C.]-male Terran human, former assassin for the eugenicists at Black Box Security Co., sniper and seeker
  • Tariq Asrad Saladin” [Beruk A.]-male Terran “near-human” (mutant) wanderer with a past, investigator
  • Enkidu Aristheon” [Dexter V.H.]-male Seranen (pale empathic humanoid alien) exile, wilderness survival expert curious about Terrans and the Zarkonian threat; with sphinx-like companion Glaucon

Crew of the refitted space yacht Pina Colada and other ships:

  • Capt. Jasmine” [Sara F.]-female Martian Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” tiger), former pit fighter and crewmember of the Appomattox, searching for a homeworld for her people; with boyfriend Darcy
  • Hector Chavez” [Beruk A.]-male Terran human, former spy and crewmember on the Appomattox, cautious engineer and communications expert
  • Lord Wallace Tubbington III” [Josh C.]-male Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) swashbuckler and diplomat for the Kharvamid Alliance
  • Chiron” [Dexter V.H.]-male (secretly android) pilot, assigned to assess and protect humanity
  • Orion Starchaser” [Geoff C.]-male Pomuyan (blue telepathic humanoid alien), irrepressible mystic and thrill-seeking galactic hitchhiker; departed for deep space
  • Lt.Cmdr. Sebastian Growlick” [Bruce K.]-male Felinoid “Synth” (“Uplifted” lion), elite soldier, killed attacking the Zarkonian Armada with the frigate Crazy Horse
  • Cmdr. (Dr.) Srinu Pahul” [Byron V.O.]-male Terran “near-human” (genetically modified) xenobiologist, curious and planetary patriot; with robot PEPE and nurse Kala Sunitha Ciela on the frigate Sovereign
  • Lt.Cmdr. (Dr.) Billy ‘Hawkeye’ James [Bruce K.]-male Terran “near-human” (cyborg technopsi) frontier medic and gambler; traveling with Sovereign as part of the Ilokar battle group escorting a fleet of Terran refugees

See other records for the previous crews of the Blackbird, Appomattox, and Gryphon.

“21 September to 5 October 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The acting crew members of thePina Colada had met representatives of Aquarian colonists and moved Ruhema, a Precursor satellite, closer to Van Maanen’s Star to recharge. They also debated whether to stay to study the Precursor device or continue exploring.

The rest of the “Terra’s Pride” task force arrives, and the command crews of the ships meet to discuss their plans. Capt. Jasmine, Hector Chavez, and Lord Wallace Tubbington III agree to stay with the refitted yacht Pina Colada to study the ancient device and aid resistance to the Zarkonian Imperium.

Dr. Srinu Pahul and Billy “Hawkeye” James say their medical expertise is most needed among the refugees fleeing the Sol system. They prepare to go with the frigate Sovereign and patrol ship Tigress.

Capt. Kevin Reese expresses his desire to continue exploring the galaxy with the Blackbird and corvette Dauntless. Lt.Cmdr. Tela and Lt.Cmdr. Brun Bearhammer want to stay with their scout ship, and Lt. Nathan A. “Jellybean” Jessup hopes to retain his Raptor II-class aerospace fighter.

Kevin orders that the drop ship Dragonfly and ground-effect vehicle Tiger Hawk Sandstorm be kept in the Blackbird’s landing bay, if room can be found for Nate’s craft. Chris McKee and Tariq Asrad Saladin note that the Blackbird also offers opportunities for diplomacy and trade.

Orion Starchaser announces his intention to continue wandering, away from the Zarkonian Armada and the Terran fleets. The Aquarians (amphibious humanoids) or other aliens should be able to help the Pomuyan, responds Capt. Reese.

The Blackbird, Dauntless, Sovereign, and Tigress head to Delta Pavonis to rendezvous with the Ilokar battle group. As they emerge from Transit (faster-than-light travel), the ships receive a distress call. Apparently, pursuers have caught up with the human and “Synths” fleeing the Sol system.

U.S.N.V. Roger Young
The Terran heavy destroyer Ilokar

Capt. Reese calls battle stations and has the Blackbird lead a counterattack. Lt.Cmdr. Tela activates the experimental Olvar (arboreal, mammal-like alien) vessel’s cloaking device. The Tharian engineer isn’t happy to see an Encegulan (slug-like slaver) destroyer.

Lt.Cmdr. Bearhammer deftly pilots the Blackbird into the fray, as a Zarkonian carrier disgorges numerous fighters and Zurmiz Krott (biomechanical probes). Mr. McKee aims beam weapons from his gunner’s nest. “Jellybean” climbs into his “Raptor” to join the Ilokar’s squadrons defending about 1,000 civilian vehicles.

Mr. Saladin raises telepathic defenses, as enemy swarms attack the heavy destroyer Ilokar and other military escorts. Kevin boldly orders that a zero-point device be loaded on a torpedo. Chris swiftly destroys one of the gun emplacements guarding a Zarkonian launch bay.

Despite ursine Brun’s maneuvering, Tela’s EMP (electromagnetic pulse) weapon fails to affect the carrier, which inflicts heavy damage on the Ilokar. The Encegulans fire on the Babieca, and Nate is luckier than one Raptor pilot, who meets a fiery end thanks to Zarkonian lasers.

Former Interplanetary Patrol officer Kevin radios Lt. Clark Faddil aboard the Pinkerton to warn the Terran fleet to move away. Tela resets controls on the Dauntless to enable Blackbird gunner Chris to guide the modified missile.

Space marine Nate leads a Raptor squadron to clear a path for the missile, destroying several fighters. Brun spins the Blackbird around to retreat, as Chris sends the zero-point torpedo at the Zarkonian carrier, annihilating it and most of the enemy ships in a massive blast.

After the remaining foes are mopped up, the Ilokar command crew welcomes members of “Terra’s Pride” aboard. Adm. Jacques Pons and his first officer Capt. Jamie Jeppsen thank Capt. Reese and company for coming to their rescue.

Tela recognizes Lt. Hedy, a “Synth” (gynoid) engineer whom she helped in making Ceres Station Transit-capable. Dr. Pahul compares scientific notes with Dr. Brett Carson, who took custody of stolen Vatican relics.

Chris catches up with Sgt. Jane Walthrop, a fellow sniper with whom “Agent Prometheus” once served at Fort Olympus Mons in the Mars Confederacy. Brun shares astrogation data with Delphine (“Uplifted” dolphin) Lt.Cmdr. Kanuha.

Capt. Evander Scofield, commander of the Korelev, explains to Kevin that Capt. Karzan Laseme was the leader of the Zarkonians attacking the Ilokar. En. Chewitel Elba, a Felinoid (“Uplifted” panther), tells Tariq that the colony ships FirebrandNova Aquarius, and Faithful Starlight should join the refugee fleet soon.

Capt. Reese briefs Adm. Pons on the findings of the expedition to Van Maanen’s Star. The admiral approves use of the factory moon to create Transit drives for Aquarian and Terran refugees, as well as to emit an energy-draining field to block the Zarkonian Armada. The Union of Solar Nations officers agree to send the Blackbird back to the Pina Colada with personnel and supplies.

Adm. Pons also promotes members of Kevin’s crew, including Jasmine to captain, Tela and Brun to commander, and Nate and Billy to lieutenant commander. Kevin, Srinu, and Wallace retain their existing commissions, and Chris, Orion, Hector, and Tariq remain as civilians.

Capt. Reese requests that the Dauntless join the Blackbird in forward scouting, but Cmdr. Bearhammer and Mr. McKee argue in favor of fewer ships. Adm. Pons initially denies Kevin’s request but asks him to stay in charge of the Ranger Corps task force.

Cmdr. Tela helps Cmdr. Samantha Astin with repairs to the Ilokar and other ships. She also requests that boyfriend Kedar be transferred to join her and robot Dr. Bucket on the Blackbird. Cautious Tariq checks security records of the refugee fleet to see if he recognizes anyone.

Chris notes that it has been just over a year since he first met extraterrestrials under attack from Terra Prime terrorists at the Rio de Janeiro “beanstalk” (space elevator). He warns Cmdr. Alfonso Balaz of the Steel Sanguinis to beware of Ru’ulok (heavy gravity reptilian pirates) such as those at Beta Canum Venaticorum.

Dr. Pahul sends robot PEPE to get supplies and takes nurse Kala Sunitha Ciela for a romantic walk in an arboretum on one of the colony vessels. Lt.Cmdr. Jessup informs signal officer Sgt. Amarna Morales that her former assignment, theManitou, is among the surviving ships.

Nate later joins Brun, Kevin, Chris, and Hawkeye in search of a bar and a card game among the humans fleeing the Zarkonian devastation of Earth….

I hope that everyone enjoyed the “Vortex” space opera, which we’ve been playing since 2010 (and I’ve been running on and off for 30 years)! I look forward to someday continuing our adventures, but in the meantime, we’ll be working on characters for the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style fantasy telecom game next Sunday.

Geoff now plans to run his street-level superhero scenario (using FATE Accelerated Edition ) on Oct. 20. I also look forward to seeing some of you at upcoming “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” and Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times” face-to-face sessions.

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” Update 39.22 — November rain and necromancy

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished LandsVistel’s Circus” Session 39.22, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 30 September 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 the Basic 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

“21 to 25 November 1228 B.C.E.:” After meeting Sir Torrel, the former circus performers left Thadenis and traveled down the Warenthol River on their way to the distant ports of Falit and Gisar. They freed a group of Pernicon (Thri-kreen) from Dubwana (Hobgoblin) slavers.

The adventuring party arrives at the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human city of Sileran. Scully Strongbow asks her boyfriend “Sir Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] to show her around and stay for one night. They are happy to get out of the rain at the midrange Moonbeam Inn, where each traveler pays proprietor Graham Edowald 5 silver pieces per cozy room per night.

Skyrim wallpaper
Sileran in late autumn

After inquiring about the “Cone of Caloric Intake,” Hamfast Hammerfist retires for the evening. He surprises his companions by abstaining from alcohol before a planned visit to the temple of Nersago (a.k.a. Tvorst/Vulkan/Moradin).

Phelir, a Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human singer, entertains patrons in the inn’s common room. Time-displaced Tempestade is amazed when she plays a Barbari (Brazilian) song at his request!

Giacomo du Vane asks Phelir for “In Praise of Starlight,” a Quelanthi (High Elven) tune. Corwin Windsong also chats up the raven-tressed Bard and is impressed to learn that she also speaks Zuromm (Undercommon).

Rather than listen to Scully and Niac next door, Elsa Fairbottom buys some plum wine and heads to the Grove of Arbos. On the way, she sees a River Dwarf working on Sileran’s fortifications. Burdag enlists Elsa’s aid in setting up siege engines.

Sir Torrel goes to the temple of Otih, lord of the sun and justice, where he reports on the Pernicon slaves and Dubwana threat to Fr. Bran. The Paladin then returns to the inn to get to sleep early.

After Phelir sings “Mancatcher,” Tempestade asks her how she knew music from his homeland, and the skald replies that she looked into his heart. This doesn’t satisfy the Monk. By contrast, Zuromm lyrics make Giacomo’s skin crawl.

The next morning, Giacomo and Tempestade go to the local Magisterium (magic school/library). They meet Saganim archivist Bethany Drumgoule, who helps them with research into Falit, capital of the Ebir Sheikdom and their next destination. When the Mage’s divination into Tempestade’s origin fails, Bethany notes that Djinn in Falit could help them.

Gnoll Scully bids Niac a tearful farewell as the Wolfen heads back north to his duties in Thadenis, capital of the kingdom of Saganim. The Ranger and Paladin hope to travel together again soon.

Corwin and Elsa go to the Bardic College to inquire about Gisar. The Bard flirts with Fellona, Garweth, and Nydarelle, three worshippers of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry, while the Druid talks with an old sage. Witheril invokes Brijitt before explaining how that city has been plagued by Undead rulers, from vampires and a dracolich to the dreaded ghost fleet.

Hamfast and Elsa visit local breweries near Watcher’s Torr. The Zeda human Fighter buys a tankard, which he brings to Nersago’s forge. Hamfast is welcomed with open arms, and Dwarf Elsa later attends a midday service.

Torrel goes to the agora (market square), where he finds a Pernicon to talk to. Tch’tt (“Tochit”) uses a Gem of Translation to listen to the knight of Otih’s tale of slavers from the Garku Nasit. Tch’tt is surprised and tells Torrel to find him again to get an enchanted gem of his own in return for his service.

Witheril also tells Elsa about how the ghost fleet impresses sailors who are wounded in fights. Any so injured become Undead themselves in three nights, and curative spells can harm the victims, he says. Only powdered silver and holy water can delay the effect, and only Remove Curse can expunge the mystical ailment known as the Scourge.

Over at the Magisterium, Giacomo finds ancient tomes in Draconic. He then goes to Tobin’s Emporium, where “NimbleBlinkerQucikFingerBrassWorkerHodlingParty….” a Tinker Gnome is getting supplies for his shop on Lighthouse Lane.

Muriel Tekla, a Hifalendorin alchemist, recognizes Giacomo from their time together as students in the city of Hesolin. She agrees to extend credit in return for a Necromancer’s cart that the Wizard left in Thadenis, after verifying its provenance with a scry spell.

At the Garden of Nidonn, goddess of fertility, Tempestade asks a Sylvan Elf Druid for help returning to his former plantation. Shandra hands the Monk an apple. Tempestade bites into the fruit, which grants him a vision of his people, still enslaved and watched by an overseer in a conveyance with four metal legs.

The group reconvenes at the Moonbeam Inn for a late lunch. While Tempestade is eager to return to his home time to rescue fellow slaves, the team agrees to stay in Thadenis until the winter solstice to help repel a potential attack by the ghost fleet.

Giacomo suggests traveling over land, and Hamfast is interested in finding “glogg,” or mulled wine. Scully and Torrel are interested in fighting evil. Corwin wants to check with local authorities at the Eorl’s Torr, and Elsa plans to return to various temples.

The group goes to the temple of Gheket, mistress of magic. After his dealings with Lady Dolista, a Drow ambassador in Thadenis, Corwin stays outside. Hamfast and Scully wait in a vestibule, while charming Megara Anteia welcomes the others into her gargoyle-encrusted tower.

Sir Torrel is alarmed when he sees a visage of evil as he looks at the Achaean (Mycenaean Greek) priestess. The rest of the wanderers manage to convince curvaceous Megara to aid in the defense of the city against the forces of chaos as represented by the ghost fleet and the cult of Krakas.

Giacomo and Tempestade return to the Magisterium to continue their research on the Scourge. The “Dragonslayers” learned that “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.] was cursed about 30 years ago to sail with his Undead crew every Midsummer’s Eve. More recently, the Saganim captain apparently found a way to alter the terms of his curse and has built up a fleet on the Sea of Nagendwa.

Corwin visits Cormac ap Morgan, third earl of Saranir, at the Halls of Haranur. Prince Berek offers aid to his “uncle” and sword maiden Bronwyn, Brigadier Liam Muldoon, and Bard Uther ap Denis. Corwin and strong Hamfast then go to help Burdag with the city’s defenses.

Elsa has a scribe get notes from Witheril, then talks with a Sylvan Elf Druid at the Grove of Arbos. Caranthir observes that the heavy rains have been unnatural, with little break for sunlight. Malcolm Wickham, a hirsute herbalist, offers Tempestade three “happy” berries.

Scully brings her bird Owlicious and Elsa’s owlbear cub Oswald to the grove for exercise. Hamfast later recalls that the Ranger had smelled people in the swamps on the way to Sileran, which could have been a sign of renegade Druids affecting the weather.

The onetime members of “Vistel’s Circus” splash through sodden streets and watch the harbor as they compare notes on Hobgoblin slavers, evil cultists and Druids, Undead pirates, and ways to travel to Tempestade’s time….

Bruce and Rich, I hope I’ve covered all the current plot threads, which I’ve also posted to the Obsidian Portal wiki. Note that our next “Vanished Lands” sessions are scheduled for Oct. 14 and 21, and the “New Dawn” telecom group will also be starting soon.

In the meantime, I look forward to wrapping up the “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” telecom space opera and playing in Geoff C.‘s superhero one-shot in the next few Sundays! I’ll see most of you at Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars : Dark Timesgame next Monday….