Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.17, which was held on Sunday, 13 April 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 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. 5
- “Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu” [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 5
- “Ember Talon” [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 5
- “Saigo Kasugi” [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 5
- “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. 5
- “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. 5
“24 to 26 April 1227 B.C.E.:” In Sogewa, capital of Tong Sheng, Jung-Mo found a fellow Nannuattan in disguise, Ember received a moonlight canal tour from a young Samurai, and Saigo and Sonny visited geisha in Sogewa’s House of the Red Lotus. Toshi and Soske’ continued their studies.
Jung-Mo keeps a low profile in his guise as a merchant and watches for Tsuji Eizo, who is actually Nannuattan Ninja Park Chulsoon. Jung-Mo conceals his true identity and allegiances from both his traveling companions and his former compatriots.
At Kensai Sonny’s suggestion, Lady Yun Aei-Yong asks to meet with the leaders of several clans in the city. The Gokuri emissary receives replies from Isamu Yasuki of the Crab Clan and Lady Rekai of the Daidoji house in the Crane Clan, a rival to his own in the Lion Clan.
Wu-Jen Toshi and Samurai Saigo receive letters from home thanks to Saionji Yoshio, ambassador of the Zedu kingdom. Toshi learns from mentor Kida Kaiu that Bisan (Dryad) Suki misses him and that the Korobokuru (eastern Dwarves) are unwilling to stand down until they receive confirmation of a truce between Gokuri, Tong Sheng, and the Zeda kingdom.
Saigo reads a note from Nayoko, who says that she eagerly awaits his return and that she has not heard from her brother, Prince Mutsuhito, who was sent to Gisokuri. The Bamboo Spirit Folk also wishes her beloved success in his quest for his missing grandfather, Gen. Shinso Saigo.
Toshi and Saigo quickly compose replies and try to reassure their distant friends that they are safe and have made progress in their inquiries. Wu Ember joins Sonny and Lady Yun in visiting various aristocrats and watches for Kamachi Yoshiro, a Lion Clan Samurai who courted her.
Shukenja Soske’ isn’t happy to see his fellow diplomatic escorts at a family feast in his honor. Yao-Ren Hu, a Wu Jen in the court, had recognized his cousin and brings him to his parents’ home. Yao-Ren Shen, a Shukenja of the Phoenix Clan, invokes the Way of Harmony to bless the meal.
Hu’s mother, Yao-Ren Min, plies the guests with piles of home-cooked food. Shengtese human Sonny happily accepts all of the delicacies and enjoys listening to multiple conversations.
In his guise as a tradesman, Jung-Mo talks with craftsman Takumi Tiatoshe and Deng Wen Zhe, a Dragon Clan colleague of Hu. Takumi’s wife Ayumu chases their young daughter Natsuko around, entertaining the adults.
Shan Sao Toshi helps run interference for Soske’ by talking with curious kinsman Hu and his younger brother Yao-Ren Katsu, a student at the Isawa School who aspires to be a Sohei (Templar) of the Path of Order, against his pacifist father’s wishes.
Hengeyokai Ember and Spirit Folk Saigo talk with Shi Shu Kang, a Nekojin Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (feline shifter Ranger), about their travels. She is interested in the terrain and hazards they encountered on their way to Sogewa from the northwest.
Modest Soske’ hands nosy Hu scrolls recounting his adventures. He provides many details of the war-torn borderlands, as family members tells his friends about how they didn’t expect the wandering priest to amount to much, despite his prophesied destiny.
Jung-Mo is alarmed when Takumi mentions getting an order for unusual arrowheads. He suspects a possible assassination plot, but Soske’ reminds the visitors to keep their conversations away from violent matters.
Observant Sonny notices that lamps and candles flare up as toddler Natsuko passes. Soske’ later explains that such talent is not uncommon in the Phoenix Clan.
Toshi asks his fellow spellcasters about the Temple of Elemental Evil on Mt. Gruldar, which the Nannuattan seized control of about five years ago. The assembled Wu Jen and Shukenja agree that elemental magic is not inherently evil, but such sites can be turned to evil.
Soske’ and Saigo are surprised when Shen is briefly called away from the dinner by a messenger from Silado Palace. Apparently, Zu Ji, crown prince of the Middle Kingdom (Shang China), has arrived. Imperial assemblies are expected in the next few days.
Sonny and company thank Shen and Min for their hospitality and are happy to get some leftovers. Jung-Mo awkwardly presents Ember with a golden vase with dragon decorations. He is jealous of Kamachi, and she suspects that he is aware of her true nature.
The next day, part of the group goes with Lady Yun as she begins meeting with five noble houses. Ember, Sonny, and Jung-Mo take the carriage with Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum-Ja.
Toshi gets an invitation to meet with the Tiger Clan, which is similar to his own, and goes with Saigo back to the palace. Soske’ goes to the temple of Our Fathers’ Steps.
Lady Yun first visits Lady Liao Qianru of the Dragon Clan. As the two women politely talk about arcane matters, Ember is drawn into their verbal sparring match. In crane form, Ember had flown past the manor one night, only to be spotted by a dragon.
The Druid wants to know whether the dragon is chromatic or metallic, but she realizes that Lady Liao is somehow aware of her true nature as an exile of the Celestial Court. Sonny senses Ember’s discomfort and discreetly calls the meeting to an end.
Toshi looks in imperial records to see if there have been any assassinations at the highest levels of the Shang Dynasty. He learns that the empire has been stable for at least a century. Toshi then goes to the Happy Market, where he commissions crystal spheres for 400 tael (200 gold pieces) to send to Suki.
Saigo talks with palace guide Li Keng and retired Gen. Wang Tung, who once fought alongside his missing grandfather. They say that Zu Ji arrived with only 20 men instead of 2,000, as might be expected of a crown prince. Silado Palace has had to divert staff and a wing to accommodate Zu Ji.
Soske’ talks with Kiyoshi Takahashi, a priest referred to him by Brother Yang at the Way of Harmony monastery. The older Cleric listens to Soske’s tale of spreading chaos and says he will consult the ancestral spirits for guidance.
Lady Yun makes plans with Jung-Mo, Sonny, Ember, and Oh Kum-Ja to visit leaders of the Crab, Crane, Lion, and Phoenix clans before paying her respects to Prince Zu Ji. Each person has particular interest in different clans, and Jung-Mo hopes to track down the unusual arrows before any assassination.
Toshi also meets with Peng Arong, a Phoenix Clan earth bender referred to him by Yao-Ren Hu. The elementalist initially gives the air mage a hostile reception, hurling pebbles at him. Fortunately, Toshi proves himself by easily deflecting them. He presents Peng with jade from his school and asks about magic at Mt. Gruldar.
Saigo goes to the wing of the palace occupied by the prince and his men but is turned away by guards whose livery he can’t identify. Li Keng tells him that the heraldry is not that of the palace or the imperial family, but Zu Ji and Duke Kou Fei Seng are in a military council.
Kiyoshi tells Soske’ that his observations of emerging chaos are correct and more than result of an ending war. The Shukenja learns that his destiny will involve preventing greater suffering. Kiyoshi also says that he had a vision of an axe that would change the course of history….
It was good to see everyone online last night, and remember to stay in touch between now and our next virtual session, scheduled for Sunday, May 4.