“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.27 — Skeletal sentinels and the Scarlet Order

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.27, which was held on Sunday, 24 August 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 rules,Skype, 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; with talking horse Yip; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 7
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 7
  • 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. 7
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K./absent]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Moon Jung-mo [Dexter V.H./absent]-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. 7

“20 to 22 May 1227 B.C.E.:” Zu Ji, the rogue Shang crown prince, Teleported to Gokuri with some court wizards and guards, leaving Lady Yun Aei-Yong and her retinue to face Lady Fu Hao and her army. The emperor’s favored concubine angrily dismissed the Nannuattan emissary.

The adventurers promised to report on their progress in finding the sources of chaos in the countryside in return for the peaceful restoration of Duke Kou Fei Seng in Sogewa. They continue riding north across the eastern Plains of Sathendo to the demihuman Zedu kingdom.

Jung-Mo continues courting Ember, while Sonny is vindicated in his distrust of Lady Yun. Toshi and Saigo are eager to return to Bazran Hai, capital of their homeland. Soske’ recommends heading northwest, skirting the Therud Forest, rather than following the more heavily traveled Hei Kang River north toward Akilu.

The diplomatic escorts take a road along the Chung Hsien Stream toward the village of Yao Shun. They pass farms, rolling grasslands, and occasional copses of wind-swept trees. The caravan enjoys the pleasant late-spring weather.

Shengtese human Soske’ and Hengeyokai Ember find a campsite for the night. Shengtese Giacomo and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo practice their weapons skills and start a fire. Shan Sao Toshi lets his new tiger steed Amaya go hunting.

Spirit Folk Jung-Mo keeps a close watch on the carriage with Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja. Sometime later, Sonny and Saigo hear something while on watch.

They creep into the tall grass and dimly spot by moonlight three skull-faced warriors in bronze scale armor riding large stags. The Kensai and Samurai rouse their companions. Jung-Mo and Saigo hang back to guard the camp, and the others saddle their horses to investigate.

Wu Ember Wild Shapes into an owl and flies ahead. She talks with one of the stags, which are not Undead but have glowing eyes. The beast says that the “power of the night compels them to roam.” Soske’ doesn’t Detect Evil.

Soske’ casts Light to get a better look, and the skeletal warriors ride around the camp. The travelers ready weapons and spells, but Soske’ hails the riders. The strange soldiers say they are guardians of a holy site looking for defilers. The Shukenja offers to help, and they ride out together.

Kensai Sonny and Samurai Saigo grumble about taking on every seemingly random mission, but the team comes upon a bowl-shaped hollow with a pool at its center reflecting the starry sky. Animals gather around its perimeter, and a shimmering nature spirit appears.

She greets the newcomers and temporarily confers abilities of the animals on each rider. Sonny gets the Alacrity of the Snake (2 actions per round), and Toshi receives the Might of the Caribou (+4 Str). The glowing woman grants Ember theCunning of the Fox (can reroll any skill check) and Soske’ the Fangs of the Wolf(melee attacks do double damage).

The explorers ride on with the Undead sentinels, and the vegetation beneath their horses’ and stags’ hooves becomes black and swampy. Toshi identifies the cause as a ritual draining life from the area to empower some villains.

Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon, and a summoned spirit gives him an ice bow and applies the Fangs of the Wolf in return for the promise of a shrine.

Four people appear atop a hill. They appear to be Shengtese humans, but they are dressed strangely. The skeletal warriors lower their lances and charge, followed by the adventuring party.

man wearing stone armor charges at two of the skeletal warriors. A naked Barbarian leaps into the air, grabbing Ember in flight and pulling at her wings. The woman wearing bark casts Warp Wood on Sonny’s items, but he manages to evade her spell.

woman in furs casts Charm Animal, wresting control of tiger Amaya from Toshi, who casts Invisibility on himself and runs. The skeletons attack the Sohei in stone but all miss.

Sonny swings a chain and entangles the Wu in bark. He drags Wei Lingjuan behind his horse, preventing the evil Druid from casting spells. Soske’ fires arrows at naked Fan Kien, injuring him.

Ember surprises everyone by reverting to her true form, that of a gold dragon! Fan Kien is thrown off and starts to flee. However, Xu Song’s stone plates protect him from the skeletons, and he smacks them with his club.

Qiu Ping first directs Amaya to find Toshi but then redirects the tiger toward Sonny, whose flying kicks miss the fur-clad woman. Toshi maneuvers so that Fan Kien is between him and the tiger and the young dragon, whose breath doesn’t affect anyone yet.

Sonny apologizes as he kicks Amaya away, and Soske’ shoots at Wei Lingjuan. Enlarged Ember pounces on the naked man, but the Yamen-ren briefly breaks free and keeps running. Ember pounces on Fan Kien and beheads him with a bite.

Wei Lingjuan casts Grease but is unable to wriggle out of Sonny’s chains. Toshi casts Lightning Bolt on Qiu Ping, who is slain by Sonny. The skeletal warriors eventually get through Xu Song’s stone armor.

Toshi calls to Amaya and gradually calms her. Ember briefly feels a pull to another plane and manages to revert from draconic to humanoid form without ill effect. Sonny whistles for his horse Yip, which drags the bark-clad woman toward him.

Soske’ stops it and asks Wei Lingjuan why she has summoned dark magic. The defiant Druid says that even if she is killed, the Scarlet Order will continue spreading chaos. The skeletons carry out their orders and execute the defiler of nature.

Sonny takes the hide, bark, and stone armor, and Toshi incinerates the corpses before returning to the nature spirit. She thanks them and offers blessings. Sonny interrupts and begs a boon — he says he would like to better communicate with his horse.

The spirit nods before disappearing, and Yip says, “Sonny?”

I hope that everyone enjoyed our latest virtual session, and let me know if you’ll be available next Sunday, Aug. 31. Bruce, I hope your fantasy football draft went well, and we missed you! Dexter, I’m sure you would have enjoyed the cinematic and comedic moments of our encounters.

I look forward to tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” game at Drew’s place, and we’ll play Memorial Day by ear….