“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.40 — Barbaric temples and taverns

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.40, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 2 June 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….

“Vistel’s Circus,” Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and FATE3e Legends of Anglerre, as of summer 2014:

  • 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. 9
  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 9
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • Tempestade [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 9
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 9
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with Banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 9
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer; TNg, Lvl. 9

(See previous notes for Paladins “Radius” [Jason E.R.] and “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.].)

“10 to 11 March 1227 B.C.E.:” After fleeing from the Temple of Elemental Evil to Tarvulis Isle, “Vistel’s Expedition” reboarded the Sea Elven schooner Foamrunnerand sailed north on the Sea of Nagendwa. On the way, it rescued Tinker Gnome “Rhys” [Drew S.] and five Suthern sailors, fought a pursuing elemental, and destroyed another boat with Undead.

Back on the mainland, the explorers defeated a Wolven raiding party and entered the haunted port of Gisar, where they planned to send Tempestade home via an obelisk beneath the House of Xia.

Corwin and Elsa reconsider going straight into the city’s sewers, and the adventurers instead visit the temple of Shebsen, lady luck. Impresario Duvro ushers them to numerous games of chance and skill.

Giacomo recommends caution, and Hamfast decides to go off on his own to look for a proper pub. Scully and Tempestade join a game of mah jong, as Corwin wins and then loses some gold. Elsa observes a Wolfen trader and a Minotaur bookie among the Skaevingol (Scandinavian-style) and Tsucharim (Mongol-style) humans.

Rhys plays a roulette-like game and notices that the wheel spins too smoothly and stops too suddenly to be without some covert interference. The Tinker Gnome generously tips the card dealers for a favorable reputation.

As Hamfast walks from Ivory Way onto Saddle Path, he notices the “Walking Yurt.” The Zeda (Germanic-style) human has a few rounds of drinks with Brega the Thirsty, a Vistani (Gypsy-like) human barfly.

The Witcher
Skaevingol bar

Back at Shebsen’s casino, Corwin, Elsa, and Giacomo obtain a private audience with high priestess Linda Lao. They ask about the ruined Magisterium (magic school/library) at the House of Xia, and the slinky Cleric says that people avoid it because of its proximity to the draconic temple of Tiamat and its connection to magic.

Most Barbari humans in the Gusorin Confederation distrust arcane spellcasters. The Tsucharim priestess also mentions that Lady Leafcutter, a Dark Elf, and Count Radescu, a member of the city’s vampiric aristocracy, are known to visit the library beneath the House of Xia.

Scully and Tempestade venture out into Gisar’s winding streets. Flind Scully discreetly looks for allies of the Order of the Golden Lion, while Brazilian human Tempestade sees fellow martial artists sparring for the first time.

Barovia
Streets of Gisar

Hill Dwarf Elsa asks Lao about other shrines, and she recommends the Grove of Ami Koshi and the theater of Brijitt. Half-Elf Corwin asks for her blessing for their mission, and Rhys and Hifalendorin human Giacomo send runners out to look for their companions.

At the Walking Yurt, Hamfast orders vodka, and bartender Irena Debrova introduces him to Orc gladiator Bloody Axe. They become fast drinking buddies. Scully spots Hamfast as she walks by, and the mighty Fighter joins her and Tempestade.

They stop at the “Drunken Yak,” where they are disgusted to see patrons getting milk straight from the udder. Despite their lack of a common language, Tempestade manages to persuade Monk Tsu Chao to bring him to the House of Smashing Blows.

Meanwhile, Corwin, Giacomo, Elsa, and Rhys cross the Mist Bridge to visit the priestesses of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry. Bard Corwin meets Gerta the Naughty, a scrawny shaman and reciter of filthy limericks. Elsa asks Yorvik the Blunt, a boisterious skald (Bard), about Gisar’s history.

Wizard Giacomo and gadgeteer Rhys listen to Ignaz the Mild, a meek peasant with a melodious and loud singing voice. The wanderers learn that Lord Narkil, the city’s current ruler at Barovic Castle, is allied with Capt. Vasily Banovich, commander of the Undead pirate ship Plague of Heaven.

Corwin casts a Message spell, and Hamfast and Scully rejoin the group, leaving Tempestade with his new training partners. Hamfast and Rhys stay to listen to Yorvik’s tales, while the others head to the Grove of Ami Koshi, goddess of nature.

Darkness falls as the outlanders make their way past the “Steaming Sausage” into the humanoid quarter. Ranger Scully is annoyed to sense Gnolls abusing a cat in an alley, but she avoids a fight. Three local toughs accost the group — Bugbear Orn [Brian/Non-Player Character], Ogre Squish [Drew/N.P.C.], and shady human Furnis [Josh/N.P.C.].

Clever Corwin offers to conjure treasure for the trio and covertly casts Charm Monster on Squish. The burly Ogre then argues with furred Orn to let his new “friends” go. Furnis quietly watches. Corwin then tosses the dimwitted creatures a pouch of 10 crowns (gold pieces), and they head toward the Steaming Sausage.

Giacomo notes that Orn and Squish might get stomped by a Hill Giant there, and Scully and Elsa are glad to continue on their way. Furnis goes to sell information about who and what he has seen to the highest bidder.

At the apparently unkempt Grove of Ami Koshi, Elsa asks fellow Druid Deerslicer about the sewers and evil cults, but the Grugach (Wild Elf) is initially uncooperative. Scully lets Owlicious fly freely and tries to chat with Tsucharim Ranger Mudface. The team warily makes its way back to the temple of Brijitt to spend the night there.

Giacomo keeps Gerald, his homunculus familiar, and his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra hidden. Saganim Prince Corwin looks for Gerta but finds that Hamfast has already claimed her attention to learn the Barbari tongue, among other things.

Wise Scully sets watches in the strange city. Elsa talks about entering the sewers to get Tempestade home, but most of the group doesn’t plan to accompany him beyond that. Acrobatic Tempestade asks Tsu Chao and the other Monks for aid in freeing fellow slaves.

Rhys has a nightmare of being chased by Goblinoids, as “Vistel’s Expedition” rests before further exploration of barbaric Gisar…. Far to the northeast, a group of diplomatic escorts fight Oni and human bandits near the village of Wai Shih [see notes for “A New Dawn”]….

Don’t forget to update your character records on Obsidian Portal! I look forward to seeing everyone at Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero session (for now) and Bruce’s upcoming “Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries.

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