“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Update 40.1 — Walking with spirits

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.1 on Sunday, 17 November 2013:

Long ago in a distant land, spirits and men directly traded bamboo, silk, and steel. Wars to the west, twisted monsters, and power-hungry sorcerers threatened the eastern kingdoms, so the call went out for new heroes of honor and tact….

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rulesSkype, and an online dice roller

  • Souji Nobuto ‘Sonny’ Yoshimitsu [Beruk A.]-male Shengtese Tian Kensai (eastern human weapon master) from a dishonored house in the Lion Clan, specializing in chain weapons; LNg, Lvl. 1
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 1
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 1
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 1
  • Moon Jung-mo [Dexter V.H.]-male Nannuattan Ninja (Msamaki, eastern Dark Elf Assassin) who has left the Shadow’s Claw clan and is posing as a River Spirit Folk Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 1

“Zhengyue, 1 to 2 March 1227 B.C.E.:” As winter snows start to melt in the Bamor Mountains, wanderers converge on the border village of Hazokuwi. Word of an impending truce between cruel Gokuri and the Zedu kingdom draws attention, not all of it friendly.

Sonny finds himself hiking northeast from the House of Xia monastery with Brother Jo, an overeager acolyte. The chain master is passing through the Balef River Valley when he observes military encampments around the village.

Meanwhile, Toshi rides his donkey Wako west and stops at the “Swimming Ki-Rin” in search of tea. The young Shan Sao notices that proprietress Dao Sun Lingjuan is a Nekojin (cat person). Toshi explains that he has been sent by his mentor, Kida Kaiu, a Wu Jen at the court of Bazran Hai.

Ember descends from the mountains with her horse and stops at the Swimming Ki-Rin for a meal. Toshi strikes up a conversation with the crane Hengeyokai. Ember says that she is a nature priestess far from her family.

Jung-Mo makes a grand entrance to Hazokuwi, arriving in a carriage with two young ladies. The Spirit Folk gentleman reserves the best room above the restaurant and notices Toshi’s tiger-print pants and Ember’s beauty. Jung-Mo offers the Wu tea and flowers, but she is wary of his friendliness.

Saigo rides west from Nanlung on warhorse Black Wind. His father, Gen. Hirokazu, tells the young Samurai to keep looking for his missing grandfather, Shinso, an agent for Zedu daimyo Hei Wan Ling. The Bamboo Spirit Folk arrive in Hazokuwi to meet with Gokuri representatives.

In search of his destiny, Soske’ arrives at the village with his well-meaning but nagging Uncle Manny. The old Bushi is determined to keep the Shukenja from harm, but they are both curious about the armies meeting under a flag of truce.

Toshi and Ember play a game of Pai Sho after dinner, attracting spectators including Vivek Ram, a Vanara (simian) soldier who roots for Toshi.

At the Zedu camp, Saigo and Gen. Hirokazu report to Gen. Shin Kyong-tsu. The Korobokuru (eastern Dwarf) is happy to see the Spirit Folk and shares his hopes for a lasting peace. Gen. Hirokazu isn’t sure it’s a good idea, but he gives Saigo leave for the night as the older officers catch up.

On his way into the village, Saigo watches as Prince Mutsuhito and his retinue arrive. The androgynous aristocrat recognizes his sister’s suitor and introduces Saigo to Baron Xin Pronunc Hu, a human delegate from Tong Sheng, and Zhou Li, a Samurai escorting them.

Saigo asks Baron Xin about the negotiations, but the noble declines to provide details other than that he plans to talk with the Spirit Folk generals and Lady Yun Aei-Yong, a Nannuattan from Gokuri, in the morning.

Baron Xin goes to talk with Gen. Hirokazu and Gen. Shin, leaving Saigo, Mutsuhito, and Zhou Li in search of drinks. At the Swimming Ki-Rin, Brother Jo and Uncle Manny are impressed by the newcomers.

Sonny suggests that Brother Jo and Uncle Manny go outside to compare fighting moves and war stories. Soske’ is grateful for a relatively quiet meal. Jung-Mo slips out during the carousing, giving Ember the impression that he’s up to something.

Toshi and Ember find that their tiles and skill are evenly matched in Pai Sho, and Zhou Li seems interested in the Hengeyokai. After the game, Toshi and Ember head to Soske’ and Sonny’s table to ask about a comment about destiny they had overheard.

Prince Mutsuhito gets drunk and abusive, so Saigo decides to take him back to camp. The night is cold and clear, and the village streets are empty. Sonny notices that it has been a while since he sent Brother Jo and Uncle Manny outside.

Saigo and Mutsuhito stumble out into the darkness, and Sonny, Ember, and Soske’ head out to look for the others. They find tracks leading to the stables and then back to the road. Toshi, Jung-Mo, and Zhou Li have apparently retired for the evening.

As Saigo helps Mutsuhito walk, he senses that they are being watched. The Samurai turns and sees Uncle Manny and Brother Jo following, but something isn’t right: They are floating, and their eyes are glowing!

Floating spirit

Saigo sheathes his sword and swings at Brother Jo. Drunken Mutsuhito is evenly matched with Uncle Manny, jerking like a marionette. Soske’ uses a Positive Energy Burst to free Uncle Manny, who drops to the ground.

Ember casts Detect Magic and sees a faint spirit trail leading from Uncle Manny down a steep slope to the river. Brother Jo stabs at Ember with a cold blade but is wrapped by nimble Sonny’s chain. Mutsuhito swings wide.

Brother Jo is knocked back by swift Saigo, but pious Soske’s Protection From Evilhas no effect. Ember gracefully shifts to crane form and follows the trail to a boat, which has no oars or sail. An old woman appears to be huddled beneath a blanket.

Still restrained by Sonny’s chain, Brother Jo manages to kick Saigo. Prince Mutsuhito knocks down the possessed Monk, and Soske’s second Positive Energy Burst drives out the screeching spirit. Uncle Manny struggles to get to his feet.

Ember grabs the blanket, revealing three Bakemono (Goblin) summoners. She flies back to her companions, who agree to go with Saigo to the army camp for the night….

I hope that everyone enjoyed our first game! Let me know if you have any further questions about the setting or your characters. Byron, I hope you feel better, and good luck to Dexter and Beruk with your job situations.

Sara and Bruce, it was good to join you (and Josh and Janice) for “Thor 2: the Dark World” this past weekend, and I look forward to seeing some of you at tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” or Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times” next Monday. Our adventures are just beginning! -Gene