Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.33, which was held on Sunday, 5 October 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 3eLegends 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.]-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
“2 to 7 June 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party’s search for children kidnapped from the Shengtese village of Yao Shung led it to a dark Druid’s grove. They encountered monkey goblins, an Oni, and Tengu. Ye-sing Kien, the evil Wu, summoned a fiendish Decapus before both were slain by arrows and spells.
The team redistributes treasure and brings the three children back to their grateful parents in Yao Shung. Jung-Mo recommends more cautious tactics for future fights.
Sonny wonders how Desc Soo-Ann, or “Desan,” the courier who stirred up trouble between the human farmers and guardians of nature, found the group so easily. Toshi finishes enchanting a cage cloaked in illusions for Jung-Mo’s wyvern hatchling.
Ember attends to the steeds, while Soske’ heals the wounded. Saigo urges his companions to press on toward Bazran Hai, the distant capital of the Zedu kingdom. Tokoro checks on provisions, and the diplomatic escorts head northwest.
Hulinyuan Tokoro leads the way on his stag along the Chung Hsien Stream, and Wu Ember flies ahead in crane form. Kensai Sonny and Samurai Saigo follow on horseback.
Ninja Jung-Mo drives the carriage with Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja. Shukenja Soske’ and Wu-Jen Toshi (on his tiger Amaya) bring up the rear. The weather turns cool and damp as the caravan crosses the northeastern Plains of Sathendo.
That night, Saigo sets watches. Soske’ and Tokoro take the first one, followed by Jung-Mo and Saigo. Toshi studies his spellbooks while Sonny and Ember sit the third watch. They see two ox carts heading south on the trail, but they do not disturb them.
The next morning, the wanderers agree to ride around the Shan Sao hamlet of Tung Erchuan, despite Toshi’s curiosity. Sonny folds paper to create origami gifts for Lady Yun. Jung-Mo and Ember covertly check on the as-yet-unnamed wyvern, whom they are hiding from the Nannuattan diplomat.
Tokoro sees a cloud of dust ahead and hears the ring of metal and shouting in Bamoric, the language of the humanoids of the Gokuri Empire in the Bamor Mountains. Ember scouts overhead, and Saigo asks the others to wait while he sneaks ahead. Jung-Mo slips away to guard the team’s flanks.
Ember, Tokoro, and Saigo see about a dozen Nezumi (rat folk) fighting one another. They quietly back off and give the skirmish a wide berth, since Saigo argues that getting involved in internecine strife is not their mission.
The group sets a brief campfire that night, and carp Hengeyokai Tokoro politely declines an offer to partake in any fish for dinner. Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo is eager to be rid of the duplicitous Lady Yun.
Shengtese (East Asian) human Soske’ is surprised not to have encountered any misshapen monsters or Undead in a few days. Toshi sends his tiger out to hunt, and Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) Jung-Mo quietly lets his wyvern stretch its wings.
Shengtese Sonny and Hengeyokai Ember spot a herd of Saiga antelope during their watch but don’t disturb their sleeping companions. The next morning, the group approaches the southern edge of the Therud Forest.
Friendly Soske’ waves at a woodsman with an axe and a small cabin, but the caravan doesn’t stop to chat. The sun breaks through the clouds, and the wanderers warm and dry their clothing.
The next evening, Toshi and company follow the sounds of someone singing and sees a woman in the woods. Jung-Mo and Soske’ hang back to protect the camp. Padma Suravida appears to be a Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) similar to Saigo.
She warns Toshi to beware of Inohara Tomo, a “stealer of breath in sleep” sometimes disguised as a woodcutter. Sonny notices that the woman then focuses her attention on Saigo, who is the highest-ranking visitor present.
The Samurai resists Suravida’s attempt to probe his mind and demands that she show her true form. She agrees, on the condition that the party not attack her on sight. The Mahotsukai transforms into a snake-bodied Naga.
Sonny isn’t thrilled when Toshi asks if she knows Ye-sing Kien, the Druid they recently defeated. The Sorceress recognizes the name but says she doesn’t know him personally. Saigo honors his word and keeps his swords sheathed.
Ember, who is actually a young gold dragon trapped in demihuman form, is sympathetic to her fellow reptile. Cautious Tokoro remains silent as the snake woman bows and slithers away. Jung-Mo follows Suravida at a distance for a short time to make sure she leaves the area.
The next day, Tokoro notices that someone is keeping up with the party. Two Bamboo Spirit Folk scouts stumble out and introduce themselves. Suwa Taku is Bushi captain of the local Zedu militia, and Yamashina Miwako is a Hulinyuan (eastern Elf Ranger).
They recognize Saigo and invite him and his friends to join them for lunch in their camp. Sonny and Soske’ stay with the carriage to play cards with Lady Yun, and Jung-Mo watches outside.
Suwa tells Saigo and Toshi that they can expect to find armies of Gokuri and Zedu in a fragile truce on the way to Bazran Hai. He also passes along a rumor that Gen. Shinso Saigo, the Samurai’s grandfather, is being held captive by reptile folk in or near the capital.
Yamashina is interested in Ember and Tokoro’s tales of their travels, including eating the head-shaped fruit of the Jinmenju. She also mentions that a courier meeting Desan’s description recently passed through.
Jung-Mo spots a fox with an unusually fluffy tail. The Rogue writes a short note, attaches it to an arrow, and fires it near the creature. The Kitsune shifts to humanoid form, and Jung-Mo notices that Inohara Tomo refers to “we” when he replies to questions.
The vulpine fey whistles, and six Nezumi appear, as do four more Kitsune. Soske’ notices the odds shifting outside the carriage, and he and Sonny excuse themselves to go help Jung-Mo.
Wily Jung-Mo throws a poison grenade, causing two of the ratlings and two of the fox folk to retch. Three of the Kitsune climb into trees, and four of the Nezumi draw weapons and advance.
Sonny suspects that the duplicate Kitsune are an illusion, but he is unable todisbelieve them. Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon to call upon ever-cranky spirits, who grant the pious priest an Ice Bow.
In the Bamboo Spirit Folk camp, Tokoro notices that the woods have grown quiet — too quiet, so he heads back to the carriage. Ember Wild Shapes into eagle form, and Toshi shifts into a black baza (small bird). The scouts tell Saigo as he runs off that they will be nearby if needed.
Jung-Mo uses his robe of Alter Self to appear like another Kitsune, but Ember mistakenly attacks him! Jung-Mo returns to Spirit Folk guise and forgives the eagle, trusting that it is his beloved and not an actual foe.
Tomo casts Faerie Fire on Jung-Mo, Toshi, Saigo, Tokoro, and Amaya as the other Kitsune maneuver among the tall trees. The snarling Nezumi swing at the would-be heroes but miss, as does Sonny’s first Whirlwind Attack.
Soske’ is more successful with his icy arrows, and Jung-Mo falls back to defend Lady Yun’s carriage. Ember flies to the Kitsune in the branches and repeatedly rakes them with her talons. Tokoro shoots Nezumi and switches to Tanglefoot arrows, slowing two Kitsune.
Toshi transforms back to Halfling form and kills the injured humanoid with Magic Missiles. Saigo draws his bow and fires at the felonious foxes in the trees. Feline Amaya pounces on one hapless Nezumi.
The arboreal Kitsune Polymorph into snakes and shakily try to escape. Sonny slays two Nezumi with a successful Whirlwind Attack, and Soske’ drops the last of the rodents. Jung-Mo looses arrows to defend eagle Ember as she continues diving.
Tokoro has mercy on one Kitsune, but clever Toshi casts Arc Lightning at two on the ground. Stern Saigo strikes again, and Amaya kills another Kitsune before climbing a tree. Swift Sonny drops his chains for a double attack on a snake.
Soske’s next volley misses, but Toshi’s Lightning Bolt and Amaya’s claws destroy the last two. They search the fallen and find the following:
- Bow, Merciful (2d6 nonlethal damage) — Tokoro
- Potion of Water Breathing — Jung-Mo or Ember?
- Ring of 2 Wishes — Saigo
- Ring of Climbing (+ 5 to Athletics) — Tokoro
- Rod of Flailing (+ 3, sizing) — Sonny
- Scroll of Meld Into Stone — Jung-Mo or Ember?
- Vest of Sonic Resistance (absorbs 10 points of sonic damage) — Toshi
In addition, Soske’ takes Tokoro’s enchanted studded leather armor (+2) because the Ranger recently acquired armor of Resolve. Among the items the group plans to sell or trade in Bazran Hai are Sonny’s (+2) kau sin ke, (+2) dagger, and axe (+1, +2 vs. Giants), as well as Saigo’s (+3) great sword.
Toshi reminds his companions that he can also create or enhance magic items, given the proper components and time. The team returns to the trail northward….
Good luck to your team as it continues its journey to Bazran Hai! Dexter and Sara, we should touch base to make sure your characters are up to date. I also look forward to Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” session tonight and Byron’s visit to the Boston area later this week….