Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.31, which was held on Sunday, 21 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, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed./D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, 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 (eastern Grey Elf) merchant; with a young wyvern; LNg, Lvl. 8
- “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. 8
- “Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu” [Byron V.O./absent]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 8
- “Ember Talon” [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 8
- “Soske’ Tiatoshe” [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things but plagued by family and ancestor spirits; LNg, Lvl. 8
- “Saigo Kasugi” [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 8
- “Tokoro Gawa” [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 8
“30 May to 1 June 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers investigated recent kidnappings, fought a Jinmenju (a tree with head-shaped fruit), and learned of a scheme to drive Shengtese peasants from their land and enslave them.
Jung-Mo makes sure that his wyvern hatchling is secure and checks on Lady Yun Aei-Yong, the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) emissary of the Gokuri Empire. Toshi continues his arcane research into a proper cage for the young wyvern.
In nearby stables, Sonny and Saigo continue the interrogation of Hojo Etsuko, a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) who serves the same master as newcomer Tokoro. She defiantly admits that courier Desc Soo-Ann had tempted her with an offer, supposedly from Gokuri, to drive the Shengtese (East Asian) human peasants from their farms.
Ember and Soske’ bring Tokoro, who expresses sympathy with Hojo’s staunch defense of the wilderness. Tokoro draws a kunai (small knife), but Ember tries to calm him. Saigo asks the woman if she had anything to do with the children missing from Yao Shung.
Hojo says that she knows nothing of the woods to the north of the village and is shamed when Saigo angrily points out that Desc Soo-Ann, or “Desan” for short, could be a child killer as well as a slaver and a spy.
Sonny and Saigo pull Tokoro out behind the barn, and the Hulinyuan vouches for Hojo. Tokoro explains that their river spirit master is a few days’ ride to the southeast across the Plains of Sathendo. The Kensai and Samurai ask if he would approve of Hojo’s shift in mission from negotiating with the farmers to attacking them.
Ember and Soske’ talk with Hojo, who promises to plead with her master on behalf of the village if the true threat is from the woods or Gokuri rather than ignorant peasants. Nannuattan Jung-Mo and Shengtese human Soske’ play cards and stay with the prisoner, while the others look for Desan.
Hengeyokai Ember shifts into crane form to search outside Yao Shung. Shengtese human Sonny and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo go to the “Red Reed” inn to search the messenger’s room. The sleepy innkeeper tells them that Desan checked out before dawn.
Ember spots Desan’s clothing hanging from a branch. The Wu Wild Shapes into a wolf and follows footprints northeast until they end in high grass. She concludes that Desan may have magically transformed into a flying form.
The diplomatic escorts regroup at the stables. Tokoro’s otter darts over to Hojo, who is still tied up. Curious Shukenja Soske’ briefly picks up the squirmy otter. Ember reports on Desan’s trail, and her companions agree that he poses a bigger threat to Yao Shung than Hojo, who has abandoned his horse.
Saigo releases the River Spirit Folk with a stern warning to report to her master and not to attack the villagers. Tokoro gives some supplies to his colleague. Hojo wishes him well with his new adventuring party.
The group rests for a day before heading back into the woods. Druid Ember scouts ahead in crane form [not “airwolf”]. Warriors Sonny and Saigo eagerly follow on horseback. Stealthy Jung-Mo guards spellcasters Soske’ and Toshi, and Ranger Tokoro brings up the rear.
The copse of gnarled tree grows dense with vines and underbrush, slowing the team’s progress. A giant moth hits Ember, and the rest of the group stumbles through the tangle to help her. Saigo takes time to aim his daikyu (long bow).
Soske’ calls upon quarrelsome spirits for an Ancestral Weapon, and Tokoro casts Abundant Ammunition. Sonny tells Yip, his talking steed, to advance, and he leaps onto a tree. The Crimson Moth buffets Ember with its wings and extends its proboscis to such her blood.
The injured crane misses with her talons and turns to lead the giant insect toward the party. Jung-Mo fires a volley of arrows but misses. Toshi explains to Tokoro that he and his friends have encountered many unnatural creatures in their travels.
Saigo and Jung-Mo hit with their next shots, but Soske’s flaming arrows miss the moth. Tokoro rapidly fires Tanglefoot arrows, slowing the monster. Sonny jumps onto it and hacks a wing with his axe, which is enchanted against giants.
The Crimson Moth is unable to shake Sonny from its back, and another sticky arrow from Tokoro drops it from the sky. Ember pecks at it with her beak, and Jung-Mo hits it with an arrow. Sonny notices sparks shooting from the dying creature’s razor-sharp wing tips, and he jumps off just before it explodes!
Ember is not so lucky, and Soske’ Channels Positive Energy to heal her and Sonny. The weapons master hacks off the moth’s wings so that priest Soske’ can sacrifice them to his ancestor spirits.
Wu Jen Toshi recommends looking for a nest or cocoons, and the wanderers find five. Wise Ember reminds them to check for the missing children, but each cocoon contains only a large larva, which are quickly dispatched. The travelers save the cocoons, because their silk can be turned into clothing as strong as steel armor.
Sometime later, the horsemen ride into a swampy area of the woods. As they back out, a giant crustacean springs from the water and fixes its pincers on Tokoro. He hacks away at it, but his blade bounces off the creature’s carapace.
Saigo draws his no dachi (great sword), and Sonny wraps a kusarigama (weighted chain) around the enlarged hellgrammite. Soske’ fires more flaming arrows, but Ember’s Hold Animal spell is unsuccessful. The jaws of the dobsonfly larva continue to constrict on Tokoro.
Armored Saigo sheathes his sword and helps nimble Sonny use his chain to pull the hellgrammite off of unlucky Tokoro. Ember slays it with Flame Strike, and Soske’ dismounts for closer investigation.
Soske’ uses Sense Elements (psychometry) on the water bug. The Shukenja has a vision of a human shaman in stone armor wandering the woods, warping the local flora and fauna. He is accompanied by crows, an Oni (Ogre Mage) in chains, and monkeys. Soske’ also sees something moving under a sandy pit and neatly folded children’s clothing.
Soske’ tells the party that the evil Druid and captive children are nearby. The would-be heroes leave their horses and ready for the next round of magical beasts as they approach the center of the grove….
Byron, we missed you, and Geoff, we’ll miss you next weekend! I’m glad that your team has gotten through various revelations and sticky situations, but more challenges are ahead! I’ll double-check each of your character records on Obsidian Portal to make sure they’re leveled up properly.