“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.10 — Into the woods, again

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.10, which was held on Sunday, 16 February 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 rulesSkype, and anonline dice roller, as of spring 2014

  • 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. 4
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 4
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 4
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 3
  • 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. 4
  • 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. 3

“6 to 7 April 1227 B.C.E.:” On its way southeast to the city of Sogewa, the adventuring party met a dozen ronin and the six Orc samurai pursuing them. It also passed a thawing battlefield and rested in Chin Mok until a huge flaming boar rampaged down the village’s streets. The group lured the beast out into a rice paddy and learned that the nature spirit’s sacred grove had been violated by hunters.

Sonny recommends that Saigo stay at the “Pelican’s Chin” inn and help keep watch for the remainder of the night. Toshi notes that Shengtese human farmers should know better than to desecrate such a grove.

Ember, who spoke with the piglet before it ran back to the woods, hopes to learn more from other local wildlife. Soske’ is outraged at the sacrilege, while Jung-Mo stealthily guards Lady Yun Aei-Yong, the kingdom of Gokuri’s emissary.

In the morning, Saigo practices with his new katana. Sonny asks innkeeper Tan Tse about her village. She directs the visitors to a round house with a thatched roof at the end of the street. Soske’ and company find Chin Mok’s head men talking with a Wolfen bounty hunter.

Robed Fong Kien is grateful for the group’s help in repelling the flaming boar, and militia leader Yang Kuang says that most people avoid the nearby woods. Ivor Bloodpelt says that he is hunting Shiskikura Eiji, a Tsucharim human Yamen-Ren (Barbarian) bandit.

Soske’ asks for proper burial rites for those in the battlefield, and Fong says that he’ll send a request for priests. Sonny and Saigo notice that Ivor is nervous, so they and Soske’ take the Wolfen out for drinks to loosen his tongue. Jung-Mo continues courting Ember.

Ivor admits knocking over some standing stones in the grove and gives Soske’ 40 yuan (20 silver pieces, or 2 tael/gold pieces) to help restore them. The shaggy humanoid also says that he smelled smoke and heard strange laughter in the area.

The group leaves Lady Yun in the care of Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum-Ja at the “Pelican’s Chin” and heads through rice paddies to the tangled woods. Saigo is tempted to go off the trail to pursue strange sounds, but his friends follow a stream to the sacred grove.

Watch out for hidden dangers
A sacred grove

As expected, they find toppled carvings, but Wu Ember is surprised to notice that the mossy turf has been torn up in a struggle. Apparently, Ivor didn’t tell them everything.

Kensai Sonny and Samurai Saigo warily watch the woods as Soske’, Ember, and Saigo work to reset the stones. Wu-Jen Toshi casts Detect Magic and senses a trace of summoning. Shukenja Soske’ uses Sense Elements: Psychometry and glimpses claws vs. paws — presumably the Wolfen’s.

Toshi casts Know History and has a vision of a gold mane and nature spirits fleeing the area. Soske’s Detect Evil picks up a strong trace. Sonny climbs a tree and finds a hammock-like nest with cigar butts.

Jung-Mo finds a hoof print like that of a horse or pony. Ember shifts to crane form and flies to talk with some songbirds. They are initially reluctant to communicate with a stranger, but they say a hunter fought with their friend Tiki.

A small bird approaches and turns into a little girl in a white dress. She asks for gifts, but Soske’ senses malicious intent. Ember cries out Tiki’s name, to which the strange child laughs.

Hengeyokai Ember flies down, raking Tiki with her claws. Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo draws his katana and plunges it into the eerie girl. Spirit Folk Jung-Mo sneaks around and hurls a whippet (incendiary boomerang).

Shengtese Soske’ casts Protection From Evil on Saigo. Tiki shrugs off the whippet and gathers shadows, revealing her true form as a monster with a horse’s head and rear legs and long arms ending in black talons. Sonny swings his kusari-gama but misses.

Shan Sao Toshi and Jung-Mo are temporarily incapacitated by Tiki’s hideous laughter. Ember reverts to humanoid form and casts Entangle, but the equine horror is unaffected. Saigo again slashes at his foe, as Soske’ falls back to the sacred grove and changes water into holy rice wine for his arrows.

Tiki taunts each of the would-be heroes and tries to trample Saigo. Sonny switches to his kama and makes a double attack. Ember Wild Shapes into bear form.

Jung-Mo rejoins the fight with his wakizashi [ninja-to] and more whippets. Toshi casts Elemental Burst on a rock, exploding it, followed by Magic Missile.

Sonny briefly trips Tiki, but she stands up and shrinks out of his chains. Soske’ fires arrows, and Ember finishes off their foe with an ursine growl. Saigo beheads the unnatural beast.

Toshi flies up to the creature’s nest and retrieves a sacrificial knife, pipe weed, and the following coinage:

  • 200 yuan (100 silver pieces, or 10 gold pieces)
  • 40 tael (electrum pieces or 20 g.p.)
  • 150 tael (75 g.p.)

Toshi casts Detect Curse and determines that the knife is of Goblinoid or extraplanar origin. Each party member gets about 30 tael (15 g.p.). Sonny plucks six gold threads from the monster’s mane.

Soske’ works to purify the area around the sacred grove, aided by Ember. Jung-Mo wonders who would have summoned the horse-headed girl, and Saigo agrees that they should question Ivor and Shiskikura.

The adventurers return to Chin Mok by nightfall. Fong Kien is grateful, and Yang Kuang says that the Wolfen hunter has left the village. Lady Yun identifies Tiki’s head as that of a Tikbalang, a dangerous shapeshifter.

Soske’ hopes to track down the summoner behind the Tikbalang, but Saigo hopes to avoid local entanglements while bringing Lady Yun to Sogewa, capital of Tong Sheng. The wanderers rest another night in Chin Mok….

It was great to see everyone virtually! Thanks again for your patience and feedback as we try out my latest D20/FATE house rules for both “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” and “Vistel’s Circus” teams. I hope to see all of you online tomorrow night.

I also look forward to continuing Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, and let Byron and me know about the proposed crossover with his Middle Earth Role-Playing game with his sons.