“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.21 — Scouting the steppe

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.21, which was held on Sunday, 8 June 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 D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game andAdvanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rulesSkype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 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. 6
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 6
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 6
  • 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. 6
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 6
  • 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. 6

“5 to 7 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The travelers prepared to leave Sogewa but were ambushed by Ninjas. They defeated 14 assassins and captured one, whom Saigo interrogated and Ember turned into a turtle. The scouts rode east across the Plains of Sathendo….

As the adventuring party surveys the steppes, Sonny looks for high ground. Toshi casts Animal Companion, summoning a young female tiger he names “Amaya” (“Night Rain”).

Atruaghin clans
Tiger and caravan

Ember shifts to crane form and flies ahead, while Jung-Mo stealthily watches the rear. Saigo meditates to collect his thoughts about various clan and court intrigues, and Soske’ attends to the horses.

Shengtese human Soske’ asks his companions if they have a plan for the approaching army that Duke Kou Fei Seng asked them to investigate. Fellow human Sonny recommends posing as peasants, and Shan Sao Toshi says he can fly close as a baza (blackbird) or cast Invisibility.

Hengeyokai Ember and Spirit Folk Jung-Mo are too far away to participate in the conversation, but share Toshi’s abilities. Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo thinks the army’s intentions should be clear from a distance.

That night, the wanderers pitch camp far from any village. Toshi works with Amaya away from the horses, and Ember spots another fire a few miles ahead. She overhears an aged couple — Li Jo and Shi Ling — talking and presses onward for another hour.

Before turning back, Wu Ember sees long mounds of recently upturned soil and stone, but no direct sign yet of the army. Rogue Jung-Mo inspects the wyvern egg he’s covertly carrying for further signs of growth.

Soske’ notices two large bats flying close to the camp. The Shukenja’s True Sightreveals that they are vampiric. Wu Jen Toshi casts Steam Breath, and Samurai Saigo cleaves the creatures with his katana, badly injuring them.

Kensai Sonny readies his chain, and Ember sees the commotion as she returns. Saigo throws a dagger but misses, and Toshi casts Mass Snake’s Swiftness on his allies. Soske’ falls back to the horses and requests an Ancestral Weapon from mocking spirits.

Sonny entangles one vampiric bat with his chain, preventing it from turning to mist. Ember dives in, slashing at the remaining airborne rodent with her beak. The bats bite Ember and Saigo, draining their life force to heal themselves.

Wizard Toshi casts Dragon’s Breath, distracting Druid Ember. Weapon master Sonny chokes the bat in chains, enabling knight Saigo to finish it off. Cleric Soske’ fires arrows, as Jung-Mo keeps the other horses from bolting into the night.

Toshi’s Enchanted Blade fells the second bat, and Soske’ takes a fang from each beast before throwing the carcasses in the fire. He also casts Restoration on Ember and Saigo. The spellcasters determine that the bats weren’t Undead but were probably servitors of a true vampire.

Ember reports on what she has seen. Toshi says the mounds could have been made by large burrowing animals such as bullettes (“land sharks”). Saigo wonders if they and the bats could be connected to the army headed toward Sogewa.

The next morning, Soske’ surprises everyone by casting Heroes’ Feast, which creates more than enough good food and drink for everyone. Halfling Toshi and itinerant warrior Sonny work their way around the table and bicker over leftovers.

Toshi’s tiger jumps onto the table, amusing shapeshifter Ember but annoying Soske’ and Jung-Mo. Saigo is grateful for the blessings, especially since they protect him from vampirism.

Back on the trail, the caravan soon overtakes the two elderly hikers Ember had seen the night before. Li Jo introduces himself as “Happy Joe,” and his wife Shi Ling as “Celine.” Saigo identifies himself as “Reiko Takahara,” Toshi as “Master Roshin,” Ember as “Lady Kanara,” and Soske’ as “Disciple Greywind.”

Souji Nobuto Yoshimitsu uses his nickname “Sonny,” and Jung-Mo again slips away. “Reiko-san” claims to be heading south toward some hills, but Happy Joe says that he knows they are walking in the same direction and that he can’t allow that.

“Disciple Greywind” casts Detect Evil and senses that Joe has malicious intent, but Celine does not. “Lady Kanara” readies a Wall of Fire spell, and Soske’ again parleys with abusive spirits for an Ancestral Weapon. Saigo draws his katana and charges, but Joe has begun to change in size.

The old man’s clothing stays the same, but it now hangs on a horned, tailed Oni or giant. Celine’s skin turns to marble. Toshi prepares to cast Invisibility, and Sonny agrees with Saigo to focus on giant Joe….

Dexter, we missed you this past weekend! Note that we won’t be meeting virtually on Sunday, June 15 — Happy Father’s Day to Dex, Byron, and Bruce!

It was good to see some of you at Jason E.R.’s final “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero game for now, and I’m looking forward to Bruce’s “Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter.” I’ll see some of you at upcoming “Vanished LandsVistel’s Expedition” sessions.

In the meantime, remember to update your character records on Obsidian Portal, including spells and possessions, and let me know.