“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” Update 39.27 — Eye on the prize, or Hump Day

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished LandsVistel’s Circus” Session 39.27, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 2 December 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

“10 to 11 January 1227 B.C.E.:” The travelers had visited a strange garden on Emein Island, saved a sailor on the Foamrunner from a worm infestation, and arrived in Falit, capital of the Ebir Sheikdom. There, they freed a slave and visited towers of sorcery to ask about how to get Tempestade home.

Young Suthern (proto-Arabic) human guide Salim takes the onetime circus performers to Falit’s Harbormaster’s Tower. They see a Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elven) delegation and chat with Karnak Schroyar, a proud Assyrian merchant captain.

Hamfast Hammerfist inquires about the cult of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom. Adm. Nofret says that, unlike other ports, Falit has managed to minimize the threat from followers of the evil deity. However, he does suspect that foreign suppliers to the royal navy could compromise some sailors.

The admiral confirms stories about the barbaric port of Gisar, which has been ruled by vampires and the Undead dragon Daneira. The Skaevingol (proto-Scandinavian) and Vistani (proto-Slavic) inhabitants have also suffered the city’s sack by the dreaded Ghost Fleet. Tempestade hopes to find an obelisk in Gisar that the “Seekers of Lore” used to travel through time.

Corwin Windsong asks Adm. Kawab Nofret about the Zarendo Islands, where the Foamrunner may stop to find a man named “Valoren” with dimensional travel experience. The admiral explains that the port of Laguro on Bokor Island is a haven for corsairs and pirates. Each island is very different from the next, he says. Another dimensional portal is said to be on Salhonif Island.

Adm. Nofret responds to Elsa Fairbottom’s query on the Ghost Fleet by noting that “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./Non-Player Character] was a Saganim (proto-Celtic) human pirate said to have offended the Thalassaquendi by desecrating a temple about 30 years ago.

Capt. Kildare and his crew were cursed to appear on the Sea of Nagendwa only on Midsummer’s Eve, but he allegedly made a deal with Krakas to be able to sail anytime. In return for this ability, the pirates became Undead and the source of the mystical contagion known as the Scourge.

Giacomo du Vane wonders if the original curse re-emerges on Midsummer’s Eve, making Capt. Kildare mortal, but Adm. Nofret says that is a matter for arcane or divine experts. He also tells Sir Torrel that priests are now standard members of Ebir naval crews as a protection against the Scourge.

The adventuring party thanks the admiral and says that it will try to keep him informed of its inquiries. The group then returns to the Tower of Sight, one of three spires of sorcery in Falit. A gruff Beholder disintegrates trash around the tower and trades insults.

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder….

Elsa and friends banter with Darius Gaspar, a nervous Rangsten Sha’ir (Gnome Wizard). He invites them to perform at the caliph’s palace that night, and they accept. In the eyeball-covered tower, blind seer Lydia answers more questions.

Tempestade learns that the Djinni who cast him through time and space does not live in Falit and that Capt. Kildare’s base of operations is hidden from Lydia. Elsa promises to share maps with the library.

Giacomo, Scully, Corwin, Elsa, and Sir Torrel then go to the Tower of Alchemy in the center of town, while Hamfast and Tempestade go to bars in the Dhao Soukh. “Joolnar” [Jon W.P./N.P.C.], a Suthern Saher (Sorceress) greets those at the normal-looking but odiferous tower.

Joolnar takes the visitors downstairs, where they see Salima, an Ifrit (flame spirit) and Ragnekar Neidim, an alchemist who sells them Holy Water/silver grenades. Albino Gnoll Scully also buys sunblock.

Meanwhile, Hamfast and Tempestade leave the Wolven at the “Drunken Dragon” and try the “Frisky Unicorn,” which has more familiar Saganim (proto-Celtic) human sailors. They share drinks with Dorf Sandblaster. The Vanaka (Dune Dwarf) recommends Antar the Black, captain of the Ghul’s Breath.

The team regroups at an inn to prepare for the performance at the caliph’s palace. Ringmaster Corwin supervises the lineup of novelty acts, while Hamfast wonders what Darius had done to need to earn back favor in the court.

Logrun, an intimidating Lamassu (winged leonine), escorts the Vistel’s Circus members into the lavish palace. He introduces them to Sir Theudric, the Hifalendorin human ambassador; Djer Khemtope, the Khemti Pesedjer (Egyptian human) emissary from the court of Pharaoh Ramses II; and Firouz Kassem, a Vanaka member of the council of chiefs.

Heralds announce the arrivals to military commander Sultan Omar bin Khalil; Vizier Govar al Sarseh; and Caliph Hassan al Umid, son of Rashid, grandson of Gamal, and ruler of the Ebir Sheikdom in the Halmed Desert.

Corwin introduces each act and begins by juggling. The Half-Elf Bard casts Transfiguration and Mirror Image to make the balls appear to change into multiple chicks and then swords.

Hamfast is ready to perform feats of strength, but the Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter can find nothing to lift. A burly Mul (Half-Giant/Goliath) harem guard steps forward, and “barbarian” Hamfast manages to pick him up.

Ranger Scully throws knives at “volunteer” Giacomo, grazing him only once. Fortunately, the Hifalendorin Wizard had cast Shield, as well as Transfigure for rainbow trails for the knives. Monk Tempestade serves as a roustabout and guard.

Giacomo, who had spent 25 dinars (gold pieces) on custom puppets, entertains the caliph’s children. Elsa’s Owlbear Oswald causes a brief scare, however, when he lurches toward the children before being restrained.

Dwarf Druid Elsa summons Water Elementals, whose jets Hifalendorin Paladin Sir Torrel changes to wine. Although the vizier leaves the performance early, the caliph and most of the people in his court are pleased by the carnival show.

Giacomo flirts with Sister Selma, a Suthern human Ghazi of Ishmas (Cleric of Isis) but remembers Maggie, a girl he left behind at the Harandrim Academy in Thadenis. The Mul, Hamfast, and Scully are the center of attention of the caliph’s children.

Tempestade has deep conversations with Ladan Taleghani, a priestess of Kardikea, lord of battle. Prince Corwin learns that while the kingdom of Saganim doesn’t have a full embassy in Falit, Dermot Chadwick has a consulate at the Court of Sighs.

Elsa thinks about relasing Oswald to the wild, and Sir Torrel starts to ask Sister Jamilah, an Amarati Ghaffir (Elf Paladin) of Ishmas, about various orders of holy warriors in the city. One is the Mamluks, former slaves turned soldier/bureaucrats.

Corwin obtains a suite at the palace, but Elsa takes Salim, one of Giacomo’s puppets, and Oswald back to the inn. Hamfast and Scully warily watch the palace guards. The group plans to meet Djinni Tarzu at the Tower of Wind the next day.

An attractive woman invites Corwin back to her room, and the ladies’ man follows her. Unfortunately, his drink is poisoned, and Corwin manages to stagger back to the others at their suite….

I hope everyone enjoyed our latest (mis)adventures, and feel free to update the open plot threads page on Obsidian Portal. We should keep an eye on the weather for JasonE.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times” miniseries next Monday.

In the meantime, I look forward to Sunday’s “Vanished LandsA New Dawn” fantasy telecom session, as well as to upcoming movies and sorting out next year’s games.