Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.9, which was held on Sunday, 26 January 2014:
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 rules, Skype, 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. 2
- “Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu” [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 2
- “Ember Talon” [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 2
- “Saigo Kasugi” [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 2
- “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. 2
- “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. 2
“1 to 5 April 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party had left Gokuri hunters and the Balef River behind. At the Shengtese human town of Shang Tao, the escorts of Lady Yun Aei-Yong rested, resupplied, and were brought before the local lord.
At Soske’s recommendation, the group turns south toward the village of Chin Mok rather than east to Chung Kwang Shui to avoid potential pursuers. Lady Yun’s ultimate destination is Sogewa, the provincial capital of Tong Sheng or Silado.
The spring thaw has arrived on the eastern Plains of Sathendo, bringing sunnier days but nights that are still cool and damp. Toshi and Ember shift to bird form to scout ahead. They fly over grasslands with occasional woods, hills, and streams.
Sonny keeps a wary eye out for more bandits or would-be assassins. In Jung-Mo’s carriage, Soske’ chats with Lady Yun about their difficult families. Saigo, Jung-Mo, and Oh Kum-Ja, Lady Yun’s Draconian guard, also keep watch.
As the rutted trail winds through some hills, the travelers see about a dozen men approaching on a parallel switchback. The Ronin (masterless Samurai) step aside to let the caravan pass, but Soske’ and Ember pause to ask some questions.
Ruyin Tso says that his squad is trying to return home and acknowledges that he is being chased. Shukenja Soske’ shares sake and casts Guidance to help the weary warriors on their way.
That evening, the team prepares to stop for the night when Wu Ember notices another fire ahead. Toshi stealthily flies ahead in baza (bird) form, and the Wu Jen sees six heavily armored humanoids roasting something — or someone — on a spit. Toshi and Ember quietly return to their camp.
Late at night, Toshi is on watch when he sees glowing canine eyes. He and Ember awaken their companions. Yoon Jeaki, an Orc Samurai and warg rider serving the Crab Clan, prefers to talk with Shengtese humans Sonny and Soske’ than with Zedu demihumans Saigo or Toshi.
Ember helps merchant Jung-Mo persuade Lady Yun and Oh Kum-Ja to stay in the carriage. The Nannuattan emissary believes that the green-skinned Orcs should defer to her, but Ember points out that they do not have Gokuri banners.
Yoon explains that he is searching for deserters. Kensai Sonny (who did not talk with Ruyin) promises to look out for traitors, and Soske’ offers his blessings on the Shengtese Samurai. The wanderers are relieved when they part ways with the Orcs in the morning.
Sometime later, the diplomatic party finds an old battlefield, where broken bones and weapons jut out from the thawing mud. Sonny and Saigo stay close to Lady Yun and Oh Kum-Ja. Toshi casts Detect Magic and learns that spells were cast in the fight and that some of the armor is cursed.
Ember checks tracks but finds no trace of the recent Ronin or warg-riding Orcs. The Druid also casts Grow to heal a bit of the plant growth destroyed by trampling troops. Jung-Mo conducts his own search and reports that the area has already been thoroughly scavenged.
Soske’ senses ghosts and numerous other Undead, so he casts Water to Wine and conducts last rites. The priests’ efforts send many of the spirits to their final rest. Sonny recommends sticking to open terrain to avoid ambush. Accustomed to forest, Shan Sao Toshi and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo reluctantly agree.
The next day, the delegates of three kingdoms arrive at Chin Mok. They pass peasants knee-deep in flooded fields, planting rice. The village is surrounded by a wooden palisade, but no uniformed militia is visible.
At the “Stork’s Gullet,” Soske’ and company pay 40 tael (20 gold pieces) for lodgings, food, and provisions for themselves and their steeds. Most of Chin Mok’s residents are human, but Ember is pleased to see some other crane Hengeyokai.
Toshi busies himself by building a next of blankets and straw in a hammock. Sonny is glad to have a roof over his head, and Jung-Mo slips out to pursue some shady business. Similarly, Saigo leaves to look for a geisha.
Soske’ does a divination, which reveals that the party will rest comfortably — at least until trouble arrives. Several hours later, the group is awakened by a commotion outside.
A huge flaming boar charges down the village’s streets, overturning carts and sending pedestrians scampering for shelter. Saigo, Jung-Mo, and Oh Kum-Ja stay with Lady Yun in the tavern, while Sonny, Toshi, Ember, and Soske’ go to investigate.
Druid Ember casts Entangle, slightly slowing the magical beast. Wizard Toshi casts Magic Missile, and Cleric Soske’ maneuvers to get ahead of the boar. Unfortunately, Ember’s Enthrall Animal and Soske’s Calm have no effect on the angry spirit.
Martial artist Sonny swings a chain, snaring one of the creature’s legs and keeping it from overrunning Soske’. Quick-thinking Ember casts Create Water into a trough, which she overturns toward the monster. The splashing liquid shrinks it slightly.
Toshi casts Elemental Burst on the earth and throws a bucket of water at the flaming boar. Soske’ draws his bow and yells, “Lead it out to the rice paddies!” Sonny leaps over the beast, wrapping his chain around its other hind leg and pulling it over.
The boar drags Sonny as Ember shifts to crane form. She swoops down to help lure it out of Chin Mok. Toshi slings stones at the porcine horror, while Soske’ stays a step ahead of it by pulling street carts into its path.
Sonny swipes the boar on its tusked snout and yells at the villagers to open the gate. He jumps into a rice paddy, dragging the chained creature behind him. It holds its ground. Toshi casts Shocking Grasp, and Soske’ fires more arrows to goad it forward.
Ember ends the battle by Wild Shaping into an ox and shoving the burning boar into the water. It emits a cloud of steam and shrinks into a squealing piglet, which Sonny and Soske’ grab.
Ember asks the nature spirit why it was rampaging in Chin Mok. Between protests about being manhandled, the piglet says that it sought revenge for hunters who violated its sacred grove. Ember releases the spirit, which runs away from the farming village….
Happy Birthday, Beruk, and Dexter and Bruce, we missed you at this past weekend’s game! At the moment, I’m leaning against running “A New Dawn” on Super Bowl Sunday, but let me know who of you would be available.
In the meantime, it was good to see some of you at the kickoff for Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario (using Icons). I look forward to continuing with the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” face-to-face group next Monday, 3 February 2014, weather permitting.