Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.29, which was held on Sunday, 7 September 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 and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.)/D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of autumn 2014:
- “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. 7
- “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.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7
- “Tokoro Gawa” [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 7
“25 to 26 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers met a defender of the waterways, as well as two litter-borne imperial bureaucrats. A conversation with Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong revealed the diabolical duo’s true nature. The group learned that devils planned to take advantage of the growing chaos in the countryside, and it slayed the shapeshifters.
The diplomatic escorts continue following the Chieng Hsien stream northeast, toward Bazran Hai, the distant capital of the Zedu kingdom. They approach Yao Shun and see a recently erected bamboo barricade around a bridge into the village.
Sonny recommends riding straight in. Jung-Mo offers to comfort Ember, who is still shaken after the infernal inquisitors recognized her as an exile from the Celestial Court.
Toshi dons blue silk robes and avoids the gaze of curious farmers because his tiger steed Amaya is shorter than the fields of grain. Soske’ keeps an eye on the villagers as the group enters Yao Shun’s market.
Saigo wonders why defenses have been raised. An angry farmer recognizes Tokoro and yells at him for disrupting his irrigation dams. The Hulinyuan is unrepentant, and when Saigo steps in, Tah Sze backs down before the Samurai.
A woman leads several wary villagers bearing pitchforks and flails. Dian Chen Yong tells the visitors that Yao Shun has already given most of its men and harvest to Tong Sheng’s army or to bandits.
Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo tries to reassure the Shengtese (East Asian) humans that he means no harm. Dian Chen Yong tells him that she will fetch the village elders. She also points out local shrines and eating establishments.
Jung-Mo brings the carriage with Lady Yun, her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja, Amaya, and Sonny’s talking horse Yip to the stables. The rest of the group goes to the Wonton Café for a late lunch. Shy adolescent Ye-Seng Szu ducks behind the counter, while her boyfriend Sun Yifu wishes that he could go off to war.
Shan Sao Toshi orders multiple dishes, and Shengtese priest Soske’ is concerned when he hears about children gone missing in nearby woods. Hengeyokai Tokoro makes a friend when young Dao Hu Yu, or “Hughie” for short, plays with his otter.
When there is a commotion at the stables, Sonny, Ember, and Saigo go to investigate. They find Jung-Mo sitting on a lacquered box, trying in vain to keep it from shaking. Lady Yun seems amused, and Oh Kum Ja is confused but doesn’t perceive any threat to her Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) mistress.
Jung-Mo takes the box and leaps from the carriage. The merchant begins to climb to a hayloft but realizes that there isn’t enough space. Ember and company pull him aside behind the barn and ask what’s going on. Jung-Mo reveals a large egg that has started to crack.
Back at the Wonton Café, Dian Chen Yong arrives with Yao-Ren Qeiqian, the village elder. Soske’ and Toshi begin asking about the missing children when Ember asks them to come to the stables. They excuse themselves, and Tokoro and his otter keep Hughie’s attention.
Jung-Mo explains to the group that he has a wyvern egg because the winged reptiles are the traditional companions of his clan. He also reveals his true visage as a Nannuattan shinobi (shadow warrior), or Ninja.
Shengtese human Sonny had been suspicious about the “River Spirit Folk’s” covert activities, and Toshi points out the logistical challenges of traveling with a growing wyvern.
Druid Ember and Shukenja Soske focus on helping the hatchling to emerge, and Tokoro fetches fresh water. Saigo is unhappy about traveling with another Nannuattan in addition to the duplicitious Lady Yun.
Jung-Mo says that he seeks adventure and justice for his clan, even though he is an exile from the empire of Gokuri. He swears on loved ones Ember and the wyvern that he won’t betray the party, mollifying Saigo somewhat.
Sonny asks Yip to help calm the other horses in the stable. The Kensai also distracts some of the local militia by asking the guards to help him get meat for hungry Amaya. Toshi offers to create a magical cage to conceal Jung-Mo’s hatchling.
Since the Wu Jen needs two days to enchant an enclosure, Soske’ wants to take that time to investigate the missing children. Sonny agrees, noting that helping the villagers should be enough to distract the villagers and Lady Yun from the young wyvern. Saigo says he is tired of pussyfooting around the emissary.
Hughie finds Tokoro and says that Dian Cheng Yong is ready to take the visitors to the local shaman. Jung-Mo, Ember, and Toshi go into the woods to tend to the wyvern. Sonny, Soske’, Saigo, and Tokoro go to a hermit’s hut outside Yao Shung.
There, they meet masked Han Yumei, who seems to know about their mission and individual destinies. She also tells the humans, Bamboo Spirit Folk, and Hengeyokai about evildoers deep in the woods.
The shaman says they are responsible for twisting nature, creating monsters, and probably abducting the children. Soske’ believes they are likely another cell of the Scarlet Order, which has been spreading chaos across the countryside.
The team regroups at the Red Reed Inn. Jung-Mo and Ember, relieved at sharing their true natures to their companions, feed and watch over the wyvern. Sonny brings a bottle of sake to Lady Yun to try to stay on her good side.
Toshi studies his scrolls and prepares Charm Monster, Speak With Dead, and Suggest for fellow spellcaster Soske’. The priest muses about the opportunity to strike at the Scarlet Order but worries that the would-be heroes will be walking into a trap.
Saigo notices Vineet Divarsi, a Vanara (monkey folk) pilgrim, but he joins Tokoro and a River Spirit Folk woman. It turns out that Hojo Etsuko is from the Bamboo Harbor and serves the same master as Ranger Tokoro. She gets very drunk, and Tokoro and Saigo have to help her to her room.
As the wanderers prepare to scout out the nearby woods, a breathless River Spirit Folk courier arrives from the north. Desc Soo-Ann, or “Desan” for short, says he has been looking for Toshi and Saigo for weeks and was redirected from Sogewa.
Desan brings letters from Suki, Toshi’s Bisan (Dryad) girlfriend, and Princess Nayoko, Saigo’s lover in the royal court. Suki writes that she misses Toshi but believes in his mission of peace. Nayoko wishes success to both Saigo and her brother Mutsuhito — who is currently in Gisokuri.
The Wu Jen and Samurai procure room and board for Desan and begin composing replies. The next morning, the adventurers prepare to head out….
I expect to be back from Vermont in time for our next “New Dawn” session. Remember to make sure that your Obsidian Portal records are up to date, and be ready to switch to a Google+ “hangout” if Skype acts up again.