Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.50, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 27 October 2014:
In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….
“Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the Zephyr, Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of autumn 2014:
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) afflicted by a cursed tattoo; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 11
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 11
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 11
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 11
- “Rhys Davies” [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 11
King Akkon XII approved the team’s missions to establish a long-range communications network, investigate a centaur uprising near Nadwi, and inspect naval forces at the Gargoyle Headlands toward its goal of building up the alliance against the Ghost Fleet.
Still escorted by Paladins, Giacomo visits the local Magisterium (magic academy), the Library of Memir, and various temples while researching ways to remove his accursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra. The Wizard also consults with Zarendo Islander shaman “Tondra” [Rob A.S./Non-Player Character] at her herbalism school.
After reporting to the Saganim embassy and studying at the Magisterium, Corwin spends most of his time browsing for enchanted weapons in the Istari Bazaar. He hopes to hunt down Tiefling (demon-touched) court mage Lord Dalek and his half-brother Prince Daven with help from Cleric “Melchior” [Byron V.O.].
Sea dogs Scully and “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./N.P.C.] recruit seven more sailors for the Zephyr:
- Mr. Bernardo Tancredo: male Harfoot Halfling (Hobbit) herbalist — under Elsa’s command
- Chloe Talar: female Phoenician (Iberian) human merchant — Rhys
- Sir Manoj Andronicus: male Hifalendorin human explorer — Niac
- Sacha Skegisson: male Skaevingol (Viking-style) human skald — Corwin
- Siobahn Dearden: female Saganim human shield maiden — Scully
- Svetlana Taildunker: female Wolfen marine — Niac
- Trevor ap Carnech: male Saganim (proto-Celtic) human scout — Scully
Elsa and Rhys go to the embassy of their homeland, the Zeda kingdom in the distant Ivory Mountains. They meet Lady Mathilda, a Forest Gnome Paladin wearing a traditional conical hat and a badger pelt, and Wilhelm the Smiter, a Hill Dwarf Cleric of Vulkan (Moradin).
Lady Matilda flirts with Tinker Gnome Rhys, while Wilhelm samples Elsa’s brew and agrees to prepare some armor for the Druid. Elsa and Rhys then meet with Henrik Giantslayer, son of Boris, son of Bolag, a Mountain Dwarf merchant and representative of Zorch (King) Bertrand of Doru.
Meanwhile, Sir Louis and Sir Remy Hotspur recommend that Giacomo endure trials at the temple of Otih, god of the sun and justice. They remind him that both the Magisterium and their order have lost battles against the Undead “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.]. Sir Wotarif, a holy warrior of Urda, lord of the heavens, says that the priestesses of Ishmas (Isis) might be able to conduct a less invasive exorcism.
Tondra tells Corwin about necromantic items and tells Giacomo that his tattoo could be overwritten. “Dread” Maggie Oakleaf, Giacomo’s Sylvan Elf girlfriend, learns from Leon the Blasphemer at the Magisterium that containing the Mad Mage is just as important as separating his spirit from his Hifalendorin human host.
At the Zeda embassy, Henrik listens to Elsa’s plea for help with her communications network and for supplies for the burgeoning naval alliance against the dreaded Ghost Fleet.
The gruff Dwarf is not happy to learn that Elsa is from the rare matriarchal Fairbottom clan, but Rhys piques his curiosity by describing planned enhancements to the steel-hulled Zephyr, including alternate propulsion and submersibility. Henrik agrees to help.
“Vistel’s Expedition” regroups at its rented townhouse near the “Golden Horn” hotel and restaurant in Castle Court. The sometime circus performers agree that tackling Giacomo’s tattoo is their most urgent task, although Rhys notes that it saved his life in the barbaric port of Gisar.
Maggie reserves a large lecture hall at the Magisterium for the ritual. Scully and Niac agree to watch the ship and the adventuring party’s possessions. Tondra arranges for the dishonorable discharge of Giacomo’s mentor, who was implicated in the sack of the city by Undead pirates, to no longer apply to him, assuming the tattoo removal is successful.
Paladins surround the lecture hall, and Elsa and Rhys take up positions in Circles of Protection From Evil. Rhys uses his wand of Silence on his four automatons — a spider, a scorpion, and a dragon, plus clockwork butler Vasco.
The quieted constructs take positions just outside the hall, which is about 80 feet in diameter. Giacomo removes his gear and steps into the center. Corwin walks up to him and reads a scroll of maximized Mordenkainen’s Disjunction, which disrupts all magic in the area.
Ezra’s invisible spirit is driven from Giacomo, and the Half-Elf Bard runs for another magic circle of protection. Rhys uses Scully’s enchanted goggles to spot the Mad Mage and directs his clockwork devices toward him.
Elsa calls on Vulkan and keeps Ezra from teleporting away with a Dimensional Anchor. Rhys throws Silenced coins, eventually blocking the Mad Mage from spellcasting. Giacomo runs to a Circle of Protection From Evil and drinks a potion of Cure Moderate Wounds, which removes the base tattoo.
Ezra manages to compel a hapless Paladin to shoot at Elsa, but he misses. Corwin casts Summon Monster V, calling two hound Archons. Hill Dwarf Elsa invokes Mekkil (Gaia) for Banishment, but the Mad Mage (who isn’t a typical Undead foe) resists.
Rhys readies more Silenced coins, and his devices encircle the evil mage. Giacomo grabs a dagger made of “cold steel,” a reddish antimagical alloy. Incorporeal Ezra floats above the jaws of the hound Archons and unsuccessfully casts Baleful Polymorph on Elsa.
Corwin casts Faerie Fire so that everyone can see Ezra’s ghostly outline. The Mad Mage shrugs off Elsa’s Ghostbane Dirge but succumbs to Prince Corwin’s Hold Person spell, dropping to the stone floor. Nature priestess Elsa casts Holy Smite, blinding Ezra.
Gadgeteer Rhys switches to his customized crossbow. Angry Giacomo forces his longtime nemesis back into corporeal form with Ghost Trap. Ezra grapples with knife-wielding Giacomo.
Corwin’s Finger of Death injures the Mad Mage, as do the hound Archons. ElsaWild Shapes into a bear and casts Spirit Sense to make sure that Ezra doesn’t call any invisible allies. She instead sees that the Paladins have summoned celestials outside the Magisterium.
Rhys hits the Mad Mage with quarrels, and Giacomo finishes Ezra with his cold-steel blade. Corwin Disintegrates the Transmuter’s body, and Clerics of IsmiltarConsecrate the chamber.
Giacomo accepts the congratulations of his friends and allies, and Maggie brings Gerald, his winged homunculus familiar, who now looks less disconcerting. They return to the Golden Horn to recuperate.
Elsa worries about her former traveling companions in Vistel’s Circus, which is late to the Hifalendorin capital. Corwin casts Discern Location and learns that the caravan has been intercepted on the Plains of Sathendo by Centaur followers of the mysterious Vappu Lahja.
Capt. Niac notes that if the group spends thousands more crowns (gold pieces) and waits another several days for Rhys’ refits, the Zephyr could be turned into an airship and travel north even faster….