“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Sessions 57, 58 — Astral raid and vanquishing Vappu Lahja

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Sessions 39.57 and 58, which Jason E.R. co-ran and Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on April 6 and 20, 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place 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….

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 GameDungeon Crawl Classics, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of spring 2015:

  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious” and boyfriend “Capt. Niac”; NGl, Lvl. 12
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 12
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, diplomat, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 12
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer, shipwright, and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 12

Cameos, departed:

  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 10
  • Tempestade [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 10
  • Radius [Jason E.R.]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 9
  • Sir Torrel [Alex W.]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justice; LGn, Lvl. 7
  • Melchior Merryman [Byron V.O.]-male Saganim/Hifalendorin human Cleric of Ulandt, lady of rest/Defender of the Night, hunter of Undead; former member of the “Seekers of Lore”; NGl, Lvl. 8/3
  • Brendan Quinn [Brian W.]-male Saganim (proto-Celtic) human Rogue, explorer; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • “Brogar the Barbarian” [Brian S.]-male Skaevingol (Viking-style) human Barbarian, happy warrior; NGc, Lvl. 9
  • Tarwen Rinuendell [Dana S.]-female Avariel (winged Elf) Fighter, unflappable but secretive scout; LGn, Lvl. 12

A band of onetime circus performers had sought adventure on the northwestern Plains of Sathendo. They freed Goblin slaves, investigated intrigues in the Saganim human capital, and defended the port of Sileran from an attack by giants.

“Vistel’s Expedition” also sailed to the wondrous city of Falit and the Zarendo Islands, where it infiltrated a Temple of Elemental Evil. After journeying to the barbaric port of Gisar, the wanderers traveled through time and space to rescue Tempestade’s kin.

Back on the Plains of Sathendo, the command crew of the airship Zephyr confronted the mysterious Vappu Lahja in the occupied town of Kedetura. It neutralized several of her Centaur followers and magically imprisoned the pale sorceress.

After rescuing the founders of Vistel’s Circus from more Unseelie Fey, the groupTeleported but found itself not at the Zephyr, but in the Astral Plane! They joined some Githzerai in preparing to raid a floating Githyanki tower.

“23 May to 31 August 1227 B.C.E.:” Rek’elma explains that the Spelljammer  T’unarathi (“Dragon Rider”) is disguised as a Githyanki ship. The gray-skinned Githzerai says that he’ll be wrapped up as one of his hated foes, while most of his crew waits below decks to attack. The outlanders will have to take point, he says.

Giacomo casts Shield on himself as the T’unarathi approaches a spherical island with four towers and a docklike projection. Tarwen Teleports out uncontrollably and is replaced by Scully, who is initially confused.

Corwin demands time to recover his spells. The impetuous Bard then dons his hat of Disguise and casts Comprehend Languages and Displacement.

Elsa prays to patron deities Vulkan (Moradin) and Mekkil (Gaia) for guidance regarding how metaphysics works in the Outer Planes. The Druid then Wild Shapes into a mouse and jumps into one of Rhys’ pockets.

Rhys is excited to be on a Spelljammer, but the Tinker Gnome is worried when his Bag of Holding, which contained his automatons, is seemingly empty.

The T’unarathi floats next to two void cruisers. Four Githyanki, plus two more with red armor and strange pistols, watch the gangplanks behind Walls of Force. Corwin, disguised as a Githyanki, sings to Enthrall the guards.

The Half-Elf also asks about Vappu Lahja, for whom he claims he has a gift. Ranger Scully is intimidating in her true form, an albino Gnoll. Wizard Giacomo cackles happily with his homunculus familiar Gerald. Rhys hides, and Elsa casts Calm Emotions.

The red guards notify Capt. Perragroup, who was recently stationed at Sheldar and mentions something about a “mating run.” The gaunt Githyanki orders the sentries to take the newcomers to commander Vimhanock.

As they follow the Githyanki into the fortress, Corwin casts Web on two guards. Rhys holds his action, but Elsa helps create a diversion as a scurrying mouse. Giacomo casts Obscuring Mist. Scully quaffs a potion of Invisibility, and Rek’elma disembarks with 12 crewmates.

Hifalendorin human Giacomo casts Reverse Gravity, causing some of the Githyanki to float. Hill Dwarf Elsa Wild Shapes into a dire bear, and Rhys dodges plasma blasts from the pistols.

Saganim prince Corwin casts Wail of the Banshee, and Scully races down corridors looking for traces of Vappu Lahja. Rek’elma’s Githzerai engage the Githyanki guards in a running battle. Elsa is wounded in the crossfire.

Giacomo casts Ray of Enfeeblement on Capt. Perragroup, and Elsa casts Dominate Animal against a snarling Gith hound. Corwin’s Fireball incinerates the eight hounds, as the raiding party reaches the quarters of the void cruiser captains.

Scully uses Find the Path, while Giacomo casts Magic Missiles, killing the last Githyanki. Elsa drops Perragroup and mauls a guard. Rhys runs after Scully, and Corwin draws his sword and dagger.

They find a room with six exits and go down. A ball of coins floats at the center of a spherical chamber, and a large red dragon coils around it! She awakens, pinning Rhys to the wall and grabbing Invisible Scully with a clawed hand.

Meanwhile, Corwin grabs the following items from the Githyanki (to be divided later):

  • armor, splint
  • ring of Enlarge
  • ring of Protection, + 2
  • 2 shields, +1
  • 2 swords, long, +1, silvered

The Githzerai fight off Githyanki reinforcements while the Zephyr ’s away team looks for Scully and Rhys. The Gnome artificer tries to talk to the dragon, who pushes him out of her chamber. He then reports to his companions that Scully is held captive.

The wanderers warily approach Itolpakugon, who says in a smoky voice that her kind has an ancient pact with the Githyanki. Elsa claims to be a trader “cheated by Perragroup.” Giacomo readies a Contingency spell on winged Gerald.

The red dragon says that she wants freedom for her son, who is being used as a steed by Capt. Okemokik. In return for clearing the citadel of Githyanki, Itolpakugon will grant the group access to “the pale lady” (Vappu Lahja), who may be as much a prisoner of the Githyanki as a guest.

Itolpakugon teaches Corwin a song so that her son will recognize him as her ally. Scully is released, but she notices the scent of three dragons in total.

The group ascends to the officers’ quarters. Giacomo uses his robe of Blendingand casts Invisibility on Gerald. They sneak past the rooms of Gish (Wizards) Morkemo, Toroka, and Vlakith. In the last chamber, the group sees a statue of the Lich Queen on an altar.

Okemokik rests on cushions in another room, apparently spent after a “breeding session.” Itolpakugon’s son lies nearby. Elsa crawls to a corner of the room and tries to calm the dragon. Scully draws her bow and waits in the hallway with Rhys, who borrows a short sword and masterwork short bow.

Corwin sings Itolpakugon’s lullaby, but Okemokik jumps up and casts Magic Missile at the infiltrators. Giacomo sends Silenced Gerald into the room to limit the Githyanki’s spellcasting. Elsa’s Dimensional Anchor is unsuccessful.

Scully and Rhys fire at Okemokik but miss, and Corwin casts a Lightning Bolt at him. The enemy captain’s Touch of Corruption fails, and he jumps into a black tapestry! Corwin chases Okemokik through the magical portal.

Elsa binds wounds and manages to get the young dragon to go back to its mother, and the rest of the group follows Corwin. They find themselves in a throne room with a female Warlock, her honor guard, and a Shadow Knight, as well as Okemokik.

Thanks to his hat of Disguise, Corwin appears to be Mikanuck. The Bard joins the Githyanki in laughing at the injured Okemokik but refuses when the Shadow Knight orders him to kneel before the Warlock.

The Shadow Knight tries to strike Corwin, but his Armor of Retaliation reflects the blow. Corwin casts Wail of the Banshee, which kills four guards and the Warlock’s Mephit familiar, and the party wades back into battle.

Okemokik and the surviving guards miss, and the Warlock casts Lightning. Unfortunately, for Okemokik, he is fried when Corwin’s ring of Spell Battle redirects the bolt at him. Rhys jumps on a guard and pulls his former Bag of Holding over his head.

The Warlock casts Control Undead to direct her slain sentries and familiar, and Scully limits enemy spellcasting with Silenced arrows. Giacomo casts Magic Missile against the Warlock’s Shield and Ray of Enfeeblment against another guard.

Elsa Wild Shapes into bear form and charges. The Druid fights the resurrected Githyanki with a Positive Energy Burst and Invisibility to Undead. The Warlock Dispels the Silence from Scully’s arrows and casts Cone of Cold at Elsa.

Rhys suggests retreating, and Scully casts Heat Metal on the Shadow Knight’s armor. Giacomo manages to slay the Warlock with Mage Sword, and another Positive Energy Burst finishes the Shadow Knight.

Scully follows Vappu Lahja’s scent back past Itolpakugon and Akko’sutor. The voyagers prepare to fight the pale lady. Giacomo casts Silence on stealthy Rhys, who is also carrying a wand of Dispel Magic.

Corwin casts Eagle’s Splendor, Greater Heroism, and Displacement on himself, while ursine Elsa Enlarges herself. Giacomo also casts Mage Armor and Shield as scouts Scully and Rhys enter the room. They see another shrine to the Lich Queen and another tapestry. However, this one appears to be burned out.

Rhys and Corwin also find a concealed door. It leads to a narrow passage trapped with Teleport and Divide the Soul wards. The team backtracks to the throne room, where an undamaged tapestry could lead home.

Elsa and Rek’elma communicate via Message spells. The Githzerai says that he and his crew have what they came for and are leaving. Elsa wishes him good fortune, and Rek’elma responds with “Happy hunting!”

The travelers enter the tapestry and get a brief glimpse of a certain Pit Fiend who has been hunting them. They find themselves in tall wheat fields — apparently, spring has turned to summer back in the “Vanished Lands” while they were in the Astral Plane!

In the distance, Scully spots the walled town of Kedetura. The Zephyr is fighting a red dragon, no doubt Itolpakugon’s other child, who is being ridden by none other than Vappu Lahja.

Dragon vs. airship
Dragon vs. dirigible

Giacomo, Corwin, and Rhys Teleport to their airship. The Gnome engineer notices that the gas bag is filling with water, probably as a result of the Pale Lady’s spells. Scully and Elsa turn into horses and approach Kedetura. They are relieved to see that most of Vappu Lahja’s Unseelie followers are gone.

Rhys dumps his again-full Bag of Holdling at Vappu Lahja and her dragon steed, forcing them to make evasive maneuvers. Corwin tries to leap onto the dragon but misses. Fortunately, the acrobatic aristocrat manages to cast Web to swing back onto the Zephyr.

Giacomo wraps his Whip of Entangle around Vappu Lahja’s throat, pulling her out of the saddle. Elsa Wild Shapes into a falcon to fly up to the fight, just as the dragon breathes fire on Corwin and Giacomo.

Vappu Lahja manages to free herself from the Wizard’s whip, and she casts Fly to try to escape. Rhys uses his ring of Featherfall and dives after clockwork butler Vasco.

Corwin casts Ice Storm, and Giacomo casts Form of the Dragon so that his familiar Gerald is a match for the red dragon! Elsa climbs the dirigible and dumps Dust of Dryness into its gas bag to keep it from crashing.

The red dragon casts Summon Swarm, gathering wasps, and it claws at Gerald, who breathes fire at it. Vappu Lahja heads toward some woods outside of Kedetura. Rhys uses a wand of Silence on his clockwork dragon, which then flies after the sorceress.

The woman in white robes resists Giacomo’s Hold Person, and Elsa Summons Nature’s Ally, conjuring an air elemental she nicknames “Gusty.” Rhys watches as some of his automatons hit the ground, and he uses the wand of Dispel Magic on Vappu Lahja, forcing her to land.

Elsa uses a Positive Energy Burst to heal Giacomo, and Gusty uses a whirlwind to disperse the swarm that the dragon summoned. Vappu Lahja Heals herself and runs, but her former steed fumbles in its aerial attack on Gerald.

Elsa impales Vappu Lahja, who had incited racial hatred between Centaurs and other fey against human farmers, with javelins of Holy Ice. Corwin casts Storm Bolt, slaying the witch.

Giacomo restrains the red dragon with a Force Cage, and Corwin and Elsa help it return to its senses with the song from Itolpakugon. Gerald returns to homunculus form. After some discussion, a Plane Shift spell sends the dragon home to its mother.

The exhausted explorers are hailed as heroes by the Hifalendorin human residents of Kedetura. Wizard Giacomo plans to return with girlfriend “Dread” Maggie Oakleaf to Hesolin’s Magisterium (magic school/library).

Ranger Scully is happy to be reunited with Wolfen Paladin “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] aboard the Zephyr. Gnome engineer Rhys also decides to stay with “his” airship, and Elsa recommends using the city of Falit as the home base for her long-range communications network.

Corwin plans to track down his hated foe, the Tielfing mage Lord Dalek, and scheming half-brother, Prince Daven, in Undead-ruled Gisar with help from Melchior. The Bard then hopes to resume courting Princess Priscilla of Hifalendor.

The Zephyr sails off with its brave crew into the sunset….

Thanks again to guest Game Master Jason, and I hope that everybody enjoyed this D20/FATE campaign over the past two and a half years! I look forward to wrapping up the “New Dawntelecom team and continuing our adventures in the “Vanished Lands” with our first D&D5e parties!