Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.30, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 6 January 2014:
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….
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, embittered by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 6
- “Hamfast Hammerfist” [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 6
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 6
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 6
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with Banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 6
- “Tempestade” [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 6
- “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justice; LGn, Lvl. 6
- “Radius” [Jason E.R./departed]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 5
“1 to 3 February 1227 B.C.E.:” In the city of Falit, Giacomo claimed a favor from Darius Gaspar, Scully joined the Order of the Golden Lion, and Tempestade prepared to return to his former plantation. Corwin and Elsa verified objectives in the Zarendo Islands.
Sir Torrel met the Mamluks, the caliph’s elite warriors. Later on the Sea of Nagendwa, Hamfast and the passengers and crew of the Sea Elven schooner “Foamrunner” fought an Undead shark, possibly part of the dreaded Ghost Fleet.
At Tarvulis Island, the former circus performers consult “Vasec” [Alex J./Non-Player Character], a Drow Archmage and Loremaster. The onetime circus performers need help rescuing Lady Shadira, an Efreet (fire spirit), from a greater Devil on Salhonif Island.
Spellcasters Giacomo, Corwin, and Elsa conduct research in Vasec’s library. Restless Hamfast decides to wander around the tropical island, and Tempestade and Sir Torrel join him. Scully talks with Nevada Sphereskimmer, a Giff (hippo-like) adept.
Wizard Giacomo reads about dimensional magic such as Banishment but is interrupted by Tequila, Vasec’s curious pseudodragon familiar. Half-Elf Bard Corwin also copies arcane spells while keeping an eye out for Serina, a Tiefling (demon-blooded) student.
Dwarf Druid Elsa finds letters describing studies done by Vasec and others on the Undead pirates commanded by “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.]. They describe attempts to find a contagion that could affect bearers of the Scourge.
Scully and Nevada go outside so that he can demonstrate his blunderbuss. The Giff’s primitive firearm fires only on the third attempt, but its recoil almost knocks down the Gnoll Ranger.
Hamfast, Tempestade, and Sir Torrel leave the former “Liberator’s” stronghold and cross the caldera of Tarvulis Island’s inactive volcano. They see two other peaks. A balloon floats near one, dropping experimental explosives. They decide to head to the third one.
Unfortunately, Torrel falls in some mud, and a giant leech attaches itself to his neck. The Paladin’s friends bring him back to the Vasec’s Magisterium (magic school/library) in the former dragon lair, where Elsa, Goblin scribe Durange, and Akkadian human Dornamu can attend to him.
Fighter Hamfast and Monk Tempestade again venture into the jungle. They find fresh graves and decide to head back to the beach to hail the Foamrunner. However, Tequila appears and asks for rum. Tempestade shares some, and he and Hamfast suddenly find themselves in the gray streets of Gisar!
Hamfast is happy to be back north and buys a turnip from a passing cart. Although Tempestade hopes to use an obelisk in the barbaric port to get back to his distant homeland and rescue fellow slaves, he isn’t pleased about the cold weather.
After buying drinks at the “Broken Lance” bar, Hamfast and Tempestade join the raucous crowd watching two Wolven fight a Minotaur in the Vistani Arena, far from the Zarendo Islands.
Meanwhile, on Tarvulis Island, Serina senses that something is awry and tells Corwin that two of his companions have left the island. The Saganim (proto-Celtic) prince gathers the rest of his adventuring party and goes to Vasec’s scrying chamber.
Gerald, Giacomo’s winged homunculus familiar, peeks under the cloth covering a crystal ball. The group glimpses hellish flames. Giacomo begins acting even more strangely than usual, prompting Sir Torrel to Detect Evil.
The Hifalendorin (proto-Northwestern European) human’s aura has changed, and Elsa tries to cast Hold Person but fails. Corwin’s Dispel Magic temporarily suppresses Giacomo’s alternate personality, and Torrel punches the Wizard in the face, knocking him out. Scully notices that Giacomo even smells different.
Durange [Brian/N.P.C.] and Nevada [Josh/N.P.C.] help tie him up. Vasec appears and is displeased at the intrusion, but Elsa’s apology seems to mollify the Dark Elf. The Mage eventually agrees to determine what’s wrong with Giacomo, find the missing party members, and help with their missions.
Vasec redirects the crystal ball from its “default setting” and finds Hamfast, Tempestade, and Tequila (disguised in human form) in Gisar. The adolescent pseudodragon realizes that he has been found and Teleports the trio back to Tarvulis Island. Vasec punishes his wayward familiar by “grounding” him. Elsa berates Tempestade for leaving.
Scully holds onto Gerald, and Serina suggests removing Giacomo’s shirt. A strange tattoo on his back tries to speak with those in the room, but Vasec orders it to be quickly covered. He recognizes the Mad Mage Ezra, who has apparently been imprisoned but still seeks to thwart death.
Through Vasec’s crystal ball, Tempestade sees Lady Shadira, who has been Polymorphed into a Shambling Mound near the devil’s temple. The time-displaced capoeirista also tries to find his homeland relative to Gisar.
In return for an enchanted rod from the hoard of the late dracolich Daneira in Gisar, Vasec agrees to create a Lens of True Sight to help the onetime members of Vistel’s Circus spot Lady Shadira and others transformed on Salhonif Island.
Giacomo gradually returns to his senses and trades for Arcanist’s Gloves. Hamfast is disappointed to be away from the arena, and Scully asks him for a turnip. Vasec tells Tempestade that there are ways to get back to the “Vanished Lands” besides finding the obelisk in his own time.
Corwin asks the Archmage for Counterstrike Bracers and a Vanishing Cloak, which he hopes to get the next time he visits the island. Sir Torrel doesn’t trust the Drow or his followers.
Elsa asks Vasec about the Ghost Fleet and gives Durange her notes on the cult of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom, to copy. The priestess also acquires 10 Daylight Pellets against the Undead and inquires about a Crystal Mask of Languages.
That night, the travelers sleep fitfully. Sir Torrel has a dream in which he is covered by leeches and talks with Pit Fiend Schm*ckF*ck. Scully sees herself covered by the moving tattoo of a sorcerous puppet.
The next morning, the weary wanderers follow Vasec’s recommendation to visit “Tondra Mokae” [Rob A.S., R.I.P.], a wise Cleric also on Tarvulis Island. The entire team proceeds more carefully through the jungle, even as it hears a large beast crashing toward it.
Elsa invokes Mekkil (Gaia), casts Friendly Forest, and shifts into bear form. Sir Torrel prays to Otih, god of the sun and justice, and casts Protection From Evil. Strongman Hamfast is not afraid of death and readies his maul. Scout Scully releases owl “Owlicious” and readies her longbow.
Nimble Tempestade climbs a tree to get an idea of where they are and sees a giant frog. Wary Giacomo and Gerald hang back. Prince Corwin prepares Lighting Bolt. A three-headed hydra comes charging out of the woods.
Elsa “Bearbottom” responds in kind, striking the hydra. Tempestade throws a javelin but misses, and Sir Torrel lops off a head with his sword. Corwin’s spell does some damage, and he moves to the creature’s rear.
Hamfist swings, but he hits Torrel by accident. Scully fires arrows, and Giacomo casts a maximized Magic Missile, which appears as a force arrow. The hydra breathes fire on Hamfast and Sir Torrel. Elsa’s winged cat Penryn flies out of range while she claws and bites at the monster.
Tempestade hurls another javelin and wishes that he could have ridden Elsa in bear form into battle. Sir Torrel and Corwin keep slashing at the hydra, and Hamfast finishes it off.
Giacomo harvests a fire gland. Scully claims some claws and tracks the beast back to a lair, where they find the following pirate booty:
- Coins: 100 copper pieces, 150 silver pieces (worth 15 gold pieces), 800 electrum (worth 400 g.p.), 700 g.p., 10 platinum (worth 100 g.p.), and 700 g.p. worth of gems and pearls
- A “+1” mace (claimed by Sir Torrel)
- A short bow +1, +2 vs. regenerating foes (given to Scully)
- A scroll of Protection vs. Elementals (held by the group)
Corwin divides the coins to about 350 g.p. per person, with a share going to the party fund. Giacomo tells Sir Torrel that there’s something wrong with his magical mace. The adventurers again pass the fresh graves and eventually come to Tondra’s garden, which is tended by Undead.
They enter the herbalist’s house and meet the Zarendo Islander human priestess of Buwalgo, the earth mother. Tondra explains that she splits her time between Tarvulis Island and Hesolin, the capital of the kingdom of Hifalendor. Tempestade recognizes Tondra as being similar to the shamans of Brazil.
Elsa asks Tondra about the Scourge and its connection to the followers of Krakas. Tondra explains that Capt. Kildare, while initially appearing only on Midsummer’s Eve, has somehow renegotiated his curse, enabling the Ghost Fleet to keep growing and sacking coastal communities.
The cultists of Krakas are chaotic, she continues, while Capt. Kildare and the followers of the devil on Salhonif Island are more orderly. Tondra suggests to Scully that, rather than trying to find and fight numerous Undead pirates at their headquarters, the would-be heroes pick a time and a place to lure Capt. Kildare into battle.
Corwin and Elsa thank Tondra for her advice. Giacomo and Hamfast bring Sir Torrel forward, and Tondra takes the cursed mace off the Paladin’s hands. She also gives him an Amulet of Hide Alignment.
The former performers head back to Vasec’s tower and the Foamrunner, which they plan to take next to the open port of Laguro on Bokor Island. There, Tempestade hopes to question Valoren, an experienced plane traveler….