Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” Session 39.26, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 18 November 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
“5 to 9 January 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventurers booked passage from Sileran to Falit on the Foamrunner, a Sea Elven schooner. On the way, they outran a Hobgoblin bireme and a pirate ship and played cards with humanoid pirates at the village of Naira on Emein Island.
While on watch one night, Elsa Fairbottom and Sir Torrel see a man pushing a wheelbarrow of soil across Naira’s docks. Barry invites Elsa to his garden, but Torrel is wary and wakens some of their companions.
While Hamfast Hammerfist and Tempestade stay asleep in their cabins, Giacomo du Vane, Scully Strongbow, and Corwin Windsong go to investigate and to protect Elsa and Sir Torrel. Barry happily leads the visitors along a narrow trail to the jungle island’s interior.
The away team meets “Alpa” [Brian/Non-Player Character], a strange Treant, and human cannibal nicknamed “Bob” [Josh/N.P.C.]. The animated catalpa mutters about a creature in his head. Scully offers to help, but Alpa swings tendrils at her.
Bob offers a severed human leg to Barry, who politely declines and says it should go to his plants instead. Despite her friends’ criticism, Elsa continues following Barry into his garden. As they had feared, it is full of giant carnivorous plants.
Barry and Elsa discuss fruits, vegetables, and herbs while surrounded by flora such as a hangman’s tree, yellow musk creepers, assassin vines, a giant Venus flytrap, blood roses, a huge pitcher plant, black lotus, and wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Giacomo makes notes of potential spell components, as Sir Torrel senses malevolent intent, and Corwin tries to stay on the path. Elsa agrees to search for fungi to add to Barry’s garden, and he escorts them back to the village.
The next morning, Capt. Scarlet orders the Foamrunner to set sail south. The Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) asks the onetime circus performers if they left their posts the previous night. Elsa and Torrel admit that they did, and they learn that a crewman came back ill.
Erasol’s stomach writhes, and Elsa diagnoses him as suffering from a parasitic infection. Scully suggests inducing vomiting, and Giacomo, Hamfast, and Sir Torrel help haul the hapless seaman to the rail of the catamaran.
As expected, Erasol spews seven large worms. Corwin quickly casts Sleep, affecting four of the creatures. Elsa invokes Gaia (Mekkil) to summon a water elemental. Sir Torrel slices a worm with his sword, but its pieces continue to wriggle on the deck.
Giacomo miscasts a Magic Missile, but Scully shoots an arrow through a worm. Sir Torrel soon finds himself grappling with another, which tries to get inside his armor. Hamfast simply smashes one parasite with his maul. Bard Corwin draws a blade and strikes another, and Monk Tempestade throws another overboard.
Druid Elsa directs “Puddle” the elemental to sweep the sleeping worms off the ship. Paladin Sir Torrel struggles, as Mage Giacomo and Ranger Scully try to grab the worm on him. Scully, Corwin, and Fighter Hamfast eventually finish up the flukes.
Capt. Scarlet is relieved to see Erasol weak but still alive. The Foamrunner arrives at Falit, which has magnificent minarets, shining domes, and multiple harbors and markets. Time-displaced Tempestade, who is eager to find a way to return to his homeland, disembarks as the others make plans.
Tempestade heads toward the Tower of Wind, one of three towers of sorcery in the capital of the Ebir Sheikdom. On the way, he stops in the slave market. Despite his hatred of slavery, Tempestade purchases sullen laborer Faroukh from Gozar for 20 dinars (gold pieces) in the hope of learning about the city.
Meanwhile, Elsa, Giacomo, Hamfast, Scully, and Sir Torrel get lodgings and stabling near the Camel Soukh. Corwin haggles the rate down to 20 dinars for three nights. The travelers agree to meet at Tower of Alchemy near the center of Falit if they get separated. At 3 dinars a day, they hire a guide, Salim, who takes them directly to the Tower of Wind.
The outlanders find Tempestade and Faroukh and come to a tall spire, honeycombed with entrances and exits up its entire height. Birds, flying carpets, and Djinn fly through the openings. Petitioners, familiars, and sages wander about the ramps inside the airy tower.
At a shrine to Vendrah, lord of the sky, the visitors meet Imam Ghurya. The Hakim (priest) listens to Tempestade’s questions about how to get home and says that he will consult with Tarzu, a wise Djinni. Imam Ghurya asks the adventuring party to return in a day for a possible audience.
In the bazaar, Gnoll Scully buys clothes for herself and Faroukh, whom Tempestade releases. The human Monk gives the fellow former slave 50 dinars and recommends that he seek passage out of the city. The wealthy wanderers give some coins in Beggars’ Alley.
Rather than follow winding streets to cross the city, Zeda human Hamfast suggests taking a ferry across Falit’s harbors to the Tower of Sight. At the docks, the warm northerners buy food from pushcart vendors and find that they like falafel and gelato.
The Tower of Sight is disconcertingly covered in blinking eyes. Curious Scully pokes one, only to incur harsh stares. After waiting in line, the group has an audience with blind seer Lydia.
In return for an as-yet-unspecified favor, Lydia tells Tempestade that there are a number of ways for him to return to Brazil. They include portals such as those in Emein Island (sealed), the lost city of Tel Silat, and the Zarendo Islands.
Lydia explains that some magical artifacts, Ley line nodes, and powerful beings can also aid with dimensional travel. The obelisk that Tempestade has learned of in the barbaric port of Gisar can send him home, Lydia says, but he’ll have to learn the proper combination of runes to operate it.
Giacomo tarries for a moment to ask Lydia about the “Mad Mage,” who is tied to the tattoo on his back. The blind librarian says that most of the evil Wizard’s peers are dead, but the Sorceress Zu and Lord Nemer at Mt. Gruldar know more about him.
Hamfast hopes to visit Falit’s drinking establishments, while Scully is still wary fellow canids such as Anpur and Wolven. Tempestade prepares to return to the Tower of Wind, and Elsa plans to inquire with the harbormaster about the dreaded ghost fleet and Gisar. Guide Salim asks for an order of places to go.
Although Lydia noted that the cult of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom, has not recruited in Falit as it has elsewhere, Corwin and company are cautious. Sir Torrel asks about the Pernicon (Thri-kreen), orders of holy warriors, and Falit’s three arenas.
Elsa writes a letter to Baskor Steadyhand in Vistel’s Circus telling him of her sightseeing and many deeds….
I hope that everybody enjoyed last night’s game, and thanks again, Rich, for “Elsa’s” notes. I look forward to seeing some of you at upcoming events, including this weekend’s Super MegaFest, the second “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” session, orJason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times” next Monday.