“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.50 — Crouching tiger, hidden devil

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.50, which was held on Sunday, 16 August 2015:

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 AD&D1/D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 2015:

  • 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 Niruth; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • 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. 11
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • 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. 10
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 11
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S./departed]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

“30 to 31 August to 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party had escorted a slippery envoy for the Gokuri Empire and helped defend border communities against monsters and Undead. It also learned of clan intrigues in the capitals of Tong Sheng and the Zedu Kingdom.

The wanderers then tracked the source of growing disorder back to the northeastern Bamor Mountains. There, they fought a feline Bauh-Yin and a gruesome Gibbering Mouther before slaying the powerful chaos dragon. A summoned devil and a large army of Undead remain, however.

Sonny readies his whip and closes on the diabolical woman, and Toshi casts Animal Growth and Protection From Chaos on his tiger Amaya. The Shiko Me swings at Sonny with her naginata (glaive) and flies 40 feet up into the air.

Eastern devil
A Shiko Me

Meanwhile, the skeletal soldiers, which include hopping vampires as officers, marches into the pass. Soske’ Channels Positive Energy to heal his allies. Ember casts Rock to Mud to slow the horde.

Jung-Mo’s first volley misses the Baatezu, while Saigo drinks a potion of Flight to engage Lady Shiori of Vondur in midair. Sonny vaults off Amaya and uses a potion of Levitate to get closer to the devil. The Kensai wraps his whip around her legs to pull her down.

Wu Jen Toshi moves to direct Amaya’s attacks and casts a Sonic Blast. The Shiko Me claws at Sonny but is unable to blind or poison him. Shukenja Soske’ aims hisUndead Bane bow at the hopping vampires and destroys two of them.

Wu Ember Calls Lightning to thin out the front ranks of the enemy army. Ninja Jung-Mo maneuvers for a sneak attack on the devil. Samurai Saigo strikes with “Thundering Blade,” his Outsider Bane sword. Sonny is unable to get Lady Shiori all the way to the ground.

Toshi reads a scroll to summon three huge air Elementals to fight the Undead troops. Amaya bats at the floating but entangled Baatezu with her paws and bites her. The Shiko Me again hits Sonny but fails to drain him of life.

She also casts Ray of Enfeeblment, weakening Sonny, Saigo, and Amaya. The shambling soldiers fight the Elementals, but Soske’ slays two more vampires. Ember buries part of the enemy army with another Rock to Mud.

Shengtese human Sonny limits Lady Shiori’s movement, but she refuses to surrender or leave. Shan Sao Toshi summons three more Elementals, which wade into battle. Hengeyokai Ember again Calls Lightning, and Nannuattan Jung-Mo finishes off the Shiko Me.

Spellcasters Toshi, Ember, and Soske’ supervise the destruction of the remaining armored skeletons. Warriors Sonny and Saigo take dragon Kaosu Uirumu’s head for proof for their respective rulers and destroy his carcass.

Scout Jung-Mo goes to check on the eyestalk worms that the Chole Lung had sent down the trail toward the frontier village of Hei Kuan. The scout then leads his companions to the dragon’s lair, where they find the following:

  • armor, silken ceremonial (+ 2 AC) — claimed by Ember
  • bow, short, masterwork composite (+ 5 Str), with 20 arrows — Jung-Mo to sell to upgrade his existing bow
  • coins, 60,000 tael (10,000 gold pieces each, but 15,000 for those staying at Level 10)
  • miscellaneous magic (+ 4 enchantment each, but note item limits for upcoming Lvl. 10 D&D5e team)
  • naginata (+ 1) — Sonny
  • poison, black lotus extract (3 doses) — Jung-Mo
  • samisen, masterwork (+ 1 lute) — Toshi

The party also retrieves some gear from the fallen Undead to eventually equip its own followers. Sonny plans to inform local authorities about members of the Daidoji House in the Crane Clan who collaborated with the Reaping in Hei Kuan. The weapon master hopes to restore the Lion Clan’s honor.

Druid Ember announces her intention to journey south and west as she continues her quest to regain her true form as a gold dragon of the Celestial Court [see upcoming D&D5e party]. Jung-Mo expects to divide his time between Ember and training his wyvern, Niruth.

Soske’ plans to report to Lady Fu Hao in Sogewa and to establish a fort on the northern frontier to guard against agents of chaos. The Shengtese human Cleric also plans to return to the “Sandy Cornertavern on the Balef River to ensure that the people there have continued to honor dead guardians.

Toshi plans to establish a Wizard’s tower near Chin Mok and to ask for Dryad Suki’s hand in marriage. Once he has received a title and land, knight Saigo hopes to woo Princess Nayoko in Bazran Hai. Sonny offers to organize bachelor parties for both of them.

The victors prepare to part ways for a time but agree to remain in contact as they continue to defend the eastern “Vanished Lands”….

Congratulations to the “New Dawn” team on a successful telecom campaign! I hope that all of you enjoyed it! Remember that the characters advancing to D20/FATE Level 11 — Sonny, Toshi, and Saigo — get a new hit die and five skill points to spend. Ember, Jung-Mo, and Soske’ should be converted to Level 10 in D&D5e.

In the meantime, I look forward to more “Star Trek: Restoration,” the face-to-face D&D5e “Vanished Landsnautical crew, and Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times.”Our adventures will continue!

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“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.44 — The Reaping

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.44, which was held on Sunday, 14 June 2015:

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 AD&D1/D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinderand FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • 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 Niruth; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • 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. 10
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C./absent]-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. 10
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S./departed]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

“16 to 20 August 1227 B.C.E.:” The travelers hiked deeper into the Bamor Mountains while hunting a dangerous dragon. On the way, they passed poor Korobokuru (eastern Dwarven) hamlets, met honorable mercenaries, and fought aquatic daemons.

The former diplomatic escorts discuss their mission for Hou Keung, the Korobokuru daimyo and ruler of the Zedu kingdom. Jung-Mo recalls Nannuattan tales of rare shadow dragons lurking in the Underdark.

As they approach the village of Hei Kuan at the northern edge of the Therud Forest, Sonny wonders how to engage minions of the chaotic drake. Toshi recommends using previous cover identities and asking if anyone knows Zhu Xiaoping, an infernal inquisitor they defeated near the Chieng Hsien Stream on the eastern Plains of Sathendo.

Saigo recommends using previous cover identities, and Ember agrees to pose as bait if needed to draw out the dragon’s spies. Soske’ isn’t worried about finding enemies, only about how and when to fight them.

Disguised as merchant “Xiaoming Chida” and his daughter “Jinsong Chida,” Jung-Mo and Ember, respectively, enter Hei Kuan’s busy market. As guard “Nobuto,” Sonny watches River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elves) and Shengtese humans unload boats at the headwarters of the Hei Kang River.

Eastern river village
River trade

The trio meets Kaji Kiyoshi, a Korobokuru blacksmith who mentions the Karitori Matsuri, or “Reaping Festival.” He agrees to trade weapons with “Xiaoming.”

As herbalist “Tiye Akamoto,” Toshi finds the “House of the Glowing Carp.” Saigo accompanies him as Ronin “Shiraso Takadashi,” while Soske’ poses as soothsayer “Shishi” and guards the team’s animals.

At the tea house, “Tiye” and “Shiraso” talk with attractive geisha Miyamoto Narumi. She mentions Shiomi Romi, a priestess of the Path of Order who knows some alchemy.

The infiltrators later regroup at the Mastical Inn at the edge of town. They pay 40 tael (20 gold pieces) for one night because of demand around Karitori Matsuri.

Nannuattan Jung-Mo identifies some coins for Shan Sao Toshi as coming from the Empire of Gokuri. Shengtese human Sonny chats with his steed Yip on what they have observed so far.

Hengeyokai Ember checks with Shengtese Soske’ on the state of the horses, tiger, and wyvern. Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo plans to spend 3,000 tael (1,500 g.p.) on potions of Resist Acid and Fire.

Toshi and Ember volunteer to scout from overhead in bird form. The Wu Jen and Druid tell the others to rendezvous at the House of the Glowing Carp.

Jung-Mo and Saigo resume their disguises and stealthily approach the center of town as night falls. The Ninja and Samurai both have Invisibility as a backup. Kensai Sonny, however, walks directly to the reaping festivities.

Kenmotsu Masashi, Hei Kuan’s mayor, gives a brief speech. The Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) is joined on a dais by a man with a panther head. Jung-Mo asks a bystander what happens after the surprisingly raucous celebration and learns of a procession out into the woods.

In the crowd, Sonny recognizes Seng Ying Hu from the Daidoji House of the Crane Clan. The Shengtese (East Asian) human was involved with the disgrace of Sonny’s house in the Lion Clan. The Monk talks with other courtiers.

Toshi watches as fellow Shan Sao (eastern Halflings), including a Sohei with a large mace, carousing. Ember notices a strange-looking woman, so she and Toshi follow her. They eventually spot the tails of a Kitsune, a mischievous fox woman. Endo Mayumi makes sure that the townsfolk stay drunk, leading Toshi to conclude that she may be an agent of the chaos dragon.

Jung-Mo, Sonny, and Saigo follow the throng that parades out of the village, while Toshi, Saigo, and Soske’ watch those who remain. The Shan Sao, Spirit Folk, and human peasants carry torches and lanterns as they stagger along a northward trail.

Saigo spots reptilian humanoids shadowing the crowd in the fields on either side. Jung-Mo peers through the darkness at a pagoda ahead and sees a 12-foot-tall creature with three eyes, greenish scales, a bull’s horns, and four arms.

Swift Jung-Mo throws a flash pellet to briefly illuminate the Zokujin, and Saigo boldly draws his weapons and shouts for people to return to the village.

Still in bird form, Toshi spots Jung-Mo’s flare, and he signals fellow shapeshifter Ember that they have to leave the village to help their friends…

Ancient Osaka
Between the Bamor Mountains and the Therud Forest

After several months, it was good to get back to this adventuring party! I look forward to wrapping up this scenario in the next session or two, and I hope that we’ll be able to start on time next time.

Thanks again, Bruce, for hosting a fun cookout! Remember that we won’t be meeting virtually next weekend because of Father’s Day. We’ll try a Google+ hangout on Sunday, June 28.

In the meantime, remember to review your characters for this and the D&D5e groups. I look forward to seeing some of you at upcoming nautical and “Star Wars: Dark Timesgames.

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.43 — River monsters

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.43, which was held on Friday, 2 January 2015:

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 AD&D1/D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinderand FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • 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 Niruth; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • 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. 10
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • 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. 10
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

“11 to 15 August 1227 B.C.E.:” The onetime diplomatic escorts left the Zedu capital to hunt for a dragon spreading chaos and corruption. In the Bamor Mountains, they slayed a two-headed Oni. At Rodaki, they saw a strange Ki-rin said to be the “guardian spirit” of the Korobokuru (eastern Dwarven) hamlet, but they were suspicious of the Scarlet Order’s widening reach.

As merchant “Xiaoming Chida,” Jung-Mo spends 500 tael (250 gold pieces) in party funds on trade goods from Rodaki. He loads the metal ores and ingots onto a cart, being careful not to disturb young wyvern Niruth in its magical cage.

While posing as drunken bodyguard “Nobuto,” Sonny discreetly reminds his companions to maintain their cover identities. They hope to retain the element of surprise as they enter the dragon’s territory.

Soske’ is most successful in selling himself as soothsayer “Shishi.” Saigo hides his family crests as ronin (masterless Samurai) “Shiraso Takadashi.” He later composes a letter to his beloved, Princess Nayoko.

Tokoro has no trouble learning about local waterways as river trader “Mu Kawa.” Toshi finds few buyers for his wares as herbalist “Tiye Akamoto,” and he returns to studying spells on the trail. The Wizard writes notes to Suki Amarna and Lady Fu Hao.

Ember continues in her guise as “Jinsong Chida,” Xiaoming’s daughter, until the adventuring party is far from the hamlet. She then shifts into crane form to scout ahead in the rugged terrain.

During the third watch on the first night out from Rodaki, Jung-Mo and Saigo hear people approaching their camp and arguing in Therudic. Jung-Mo quietly climbs the rocky slope to get a better view, while Saigo puts a kettle of tea over the fire and carefully welcomes the newcomers.

A Korobokuru knight and his Shan Sao squire come around the bend and accept Shiraso’s offer of hospitality. Iwahara Yoshifumi appears to be another ronin, but Jung-Mo notices Tokudaiji Kiyoshi wearing the banner of the Spider Clan — not directly related to Dark Elf goddess Lolth.

At Iwahara’s request, Shishi pulls out bones for divining and casts Augury. The Shengtese human tells the Korobokuru that he will die in his next duel, but the warrior shrugs off the prophecy. Nobuto shares a drink with the Halfling.

Shiraso says he admires Iwahara’s weaponry and compares notes on the Orcs serving the Crab Clan. The Bamboo Spirit Folk sells the Dwarf an urgosh (double axe) taken from the Atamahuta Oni for 400 ch’ien (platinum pieces or 4,000 gold pieces).

Mu Kawa counts the unusual coins, which have a dragon stamped on one side and weblike tracings on the other, before handing them to Shiraso for safekeeping. The Korobokuru and Shan Sao claim they picked up the coins while traveling and avoiding money changers.

Jung-Mo stays hidden and keeps watch, while Tiye and Jinsong attend to the “bird cage” holding Niruth and keep Toshi’s tiger Amaya out of sight. In the morning, the two groups part ways.

After another hard ride, the team arrives at the mountain hamlet of Shangsan. It has one inn, the “Nuoti’s Tears,” with only one well-furnished room for visiting dignitaries. Soske’ casts True Sight and verifies that the other cells are filthy rather than haunted.

As the spellcasters try to clean the rooms, Tokoro finds fragments of orange silk in the fireplace, reminding some of the sashes worn by gang members back in Tong Sheng. Sonny says it’s likely just a coincidence.

During the first watch of the night, Sonny and Tokoro hear noise of carousing next door, but they resist the temptation to investigate. In the morning, the group hikes east through the Bamor Mountains before turning north through the edge of the Therud Forest.

Tokoro notices that there are fewer fish than usual in the mountain streams. The Hengeyokai shifts into carp form and swims to investigate. He sees a strange vine and shifts back to humanoid form, but the tendril wraps around his leg!

Saigo rushes to Tokoro’s side and hacks at vines from the bank. Ninja Jung-Mo readies his bow and watches for an ambush. Soske’ casts Spiritual Ally, while Sonny tosses his kawanaga (chain with hook) to help the Hulinyuan climb out of the water.

A carapaced, tentacled horror erupts from the reeds. Shukenja Soske’ and Wu Jen Toshi identify it as a Piscodaemon. The Outsider hits Samurai Saigo with its claws, but Tokoro cuts himself free.

Aquatic monster
The Piscodaemon

Samurai Saigo strikes the Neutral Evil creature with the no dachi (great sword) of the White Scorpion. After missing twice, Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon to ask for a Demon Bane bow. Kensai Sonny switches to his Vorpal whip.

The Piscodaemon slaps at Tokoro with its poisonous tentacles and spits acid at Saigo. They fall back as Shukenja Soske’ casts Divine Might on himself. After a few swings, Sonny manages to slow the water spirit.

Still keen on devouring Tokoro, the Piscodaemon takes flight and releases aStinking Cloud. Fortunately, Sonny, Saigo, and Tokoro are able to hold their breath in time. Hengeyokai Ember and Shan Sao Toshi move the horses away from the stream.

Saigo slashes at the unnatural beast, and Soske’s spells help him injure it, despite a Dispel Magic. Tokoro casts Abundant Ammunition and fires arrows with his Thunderbow.

Sonny does an acrobatic leap off a tree onto the monster’s back. The Piscodaemon tries to strangle the chain expert with a tentacle before falling to Soske’s arrows.

The group has little time to rest, however, when a taloned Hydrodaemon swims up. Saigo wheels around with his katana and avoids the water bender’s attempt to drown him. Sonny swings his whip, and Tokoro fires a volley of flaming arrows.

Neutral Evil aquatic outsider
Hydrodaemon attack!

Soske’ Channels Positive Energy to heal his friends, even as the Hydrodaemon claws at armored Saigo. The shaman follows up on Tokoro’s shots with his own arrows, killing the daemon.

Tokoro swims to check the underwater lair, and Sonny and Saigo help him bring up the goods of past unfortunate would-be heroes. They find the following items:

  • Coins: 14,000 tael (7,000 g.p., or 1,000 g.p. each)
  • Fan, Feather Token (worth 400 tael /200 g.p.) — claimed by Soske’
  • Katana, “Thundering Blade” (+ 3, Neutral Evil Outsider Bane) — claimed by Saigo
  • Potion of Heroism — claimed by Tokoro
  • Scroll of Ray of Exhaustion — claimed by Toshi
  • Scroll of Water Breathing — claimed by Soske’
  • Shield, + 2 (worth 4,000 tael /2,000 g.p.) — inventory/Jung-Mo to sell

About two days’ ride from Hei Kuan, the caravan notices trees planted in rows. They bear no fruit, and no farms are nearby. Saigo recommends giving them a wide berth. As they make a detour, the explorers notice grave stones behind each tree. The riders continue north, wary of landscape warped by a dragon….

Byron and Sara, we missed you this past Friday, and I’m sorry that I’m not able to run tonight (Sunday, 4 January 2015). We’ll see if I’m well enough to attend Jason E.R.‘s “Channel 37” dimension-hopping session tomorrow, and I look forward to starting Dexter’s D&D5e miniseries soon.

Don’t worry — we’ll definitely get back to the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” and “Vistel’s Expedition” parties!

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Sessions 40.40 to 42 — Leaving Bazran Hai, Oni, and Ki-rin

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Sessions 40.40 to 42, which were held on 14, 21, and 28 December 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 Niruth; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • 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. 10
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • 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. 10
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

“1 to 10 August 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers interrogated a Yuan-ti spy who was disguised as a gardener, and they delivered him and Saigo’s grandfather to the rulers of the Zedu kingdom. The adventurers then agreed to pursue a dragon of corruption in the northeastern wilderness.

At the “Dragon’s Beard” hotel in Bazran Hai, the onetime diplomatic escorts discuss what they would do with the titles and land offered to them by Zedu’s rulers. Jung-Mo says he would like a private base of operations, far from prying eyes.

Sonny plans to recruit followers and start a dojo (martial arts school). Like Jung-Mo, he hopes to restore his clan’s honor. Toshi prefers a defensible location, preferably in a valley between the Bamor Mountains and the Therud Forest. He notes that a shared stronghold should be possible.

Ember puts in a request for a dragon-sized tower, while Soske’ intends to raise an army for the next war against the forces of chaos. Saigo hopes that becoming an aristocrat would help his chances of wooing Princess Nayoko.

Tokoro returns to the more immediate concern of fighting the evil Wu (Druids) of the Scarlet Order. Ember studies the report of Gen. Shinso, Saigo’s grandfather, about the reddish dragon. It is most likely chromatic, she says, but the exact typeis unclear.

Wu Jen Toshi and Shukenja Soske’ spend the next week in Bazran Hai enchanting items for their companions. Jung-Mo names his young wyvern Niruth (“Storm Bringer”) and trains it on the outskirts of the mountain city. The Ninja looks for other Nannuattan, but they have gone to ground.

Sonny reaches out to Lady Yun Aei-Yong before the ambassador’s return to the Empire of Gokuri. The Kensai also runs into Brother Jo, a Shengtese human Monk who once traveled with him.

Samurai Saigo spends time with his father, Gen. Hirokazu, and Princess Nayoko. The Samurai learns that Nayoko’s brother, Prince Mutsuhito, will be escorting Lady Yun home.

Hulinyuan Tokoro keeps watch with his otter Mala and explores the winding caverns and underground river beneath the Korobokuru (eastern Dwarven) capital.

Ember goes to the temple of Shang-ti, emperor of heaven, and kneels and prays to be restored to her true gold dragon form:

“I am sorry, father, for what I have done in the past. My time among the mortals has changed me significantly. I’ve learned about true love and the value of friendship. If not for myself, but for safety of my friends that I care greatly about and the innocent lives I can save. I am now in need of my powers. I fear this evil dragon we are about to face has fallen deeper into corruption, killing the innocent and befouling the earth, which has given him great power. Please grant me the strength I need and break the bond of this collar!”

As the crane Hengeyokai speaks, tears fall from her eyes and fall onto the holy ground before her. Ameratsu Mitemi, a Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) priest, sees Ember and tries to reassure her.

Soske’ stops by the temple and asks Ameratsu about Mi-Shao-Shur, the chthonic (Chaotic Evil) deity of the Yuan-ti who had infiltrated Bazran Hai. The Sohei says that if the followers of the dragon are similarly chaotic, their ranks could include aberrations, demons, and other shapeshifters.

Ameratsu warns Shengtese human Soske’ not to expect predictable tactics or chains of command as among Gokuri’s armies, where Bakemono (Goblins), Oni (Ogre Magi), Draconians, and Minotaurs serve the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elves).

Back at the local Magisterium (magic school/library), Jung-Mo asks for Toshi’s help in researching dragons and potential vulnerabilities. The Shan Sao and Nannuattan agree that stealthy scouting will be at least as important as weapons or spells when dealing with the dragon’s monstrous minions.

While roaming the city, Tokoro recognizes Hojo Etsuko, a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) who serves the same master as he does. She had been swayed against Shengtese human farmers by Desc Soo-Ann, a Nannuattan hunter from the Shadow’s Claw clan disguised as a courier.

Tokoro follows Hojo out to the main bridge leading into Bazran Hai. The carp Hengeyokai briefly loses her in traffic, but he hears sounds from the boards beneath his feet. The Ranger pries up a board and sees Hojo sliding down a rope, which is nowhere near long enough to take her to the bottom of the chasm.

A flying creature with the head of a dog, the body of a sheep, and the tail of a lion flies beneath her, and Hojo joins the rider and leaves. Tokoro returns to the Dragon’s Beard to tell his friends about the strange encounter.

Jung-Mo wonders if Ember knows of other friendly or metallic dragons in the area. Soske’ asks Saigo to contact fellow Samurai to join their fight against the chaos and dragon. As Toshi puts the finishing touches on magic items, the group gets provisions and prepares to head east to mountain outposts.

Rather than take Jung-Mo’s carriage (and Niruth’s magical cage) into rough terrain, the party buys some carts and sturdy ponies. The team rides out from Bazran Hai but makes slow progress in the Bamor Mountains.

That night, Sonny and Tokoro take the first watch, followed by Jung-Mo and Ember. Soske’ and Saigo are set to take the third and final watch. Toshi studies spells and writes letters to his betrothed, Suki Amarna, by the campfire.

During the second watch, alert Ember spots something large moving on the rocky slope beneath the campsite. Stealthy Jung-Mo and Tokoro go to investigate. They see a two-headed giant. One head is ugly and speaks crudely, and the other is well-groomed and more eloquent.

Tokoro sneaks back to wake the rest of the party, and Toshi and Ember shift into bird form. The Wizard identifies the creature as an Atamahuta Oni. Soske’ wants to take the fight to the unnatural enemy, but Saigo and Tokoro want to let it go.

Jung-Mo continues to follow the Atamahuta, and Ember casts Heat Metal on the Ogre’s double axe while flying as an owl. Toshi shifts back into Shan Sao form and readies Magic Missile. Tokoro rapidly fires a volley, hitting once.

Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon and asks for a bow vs. Chaos. Jung-Mo sneakily attacks the Oni, striking it with an arrow. Sonny slides down the slope toward the fight, followed by Saigo.

Toshi’s Magic Missiles injure his hated foe, and Tokoro hits again with arrows from his Thunderbow. Saigo slashes the Atamahuta with his katana, as Soske’ casts Divine Power on himself.

The Oni strikes Saigo with his Urgosh, chilling the Samurai with magical cold. Ember retaliates with Flame Strike, which unfortunately also affects Saigo. Sonny unleashes his Vorpal whip while Jung-Mo darts among the rocks.

Rather than bury his allies beneath an overhang or hit those in melee with Arc Lightning, Toshi casts Lightning Bolt. Tokoro and Saigo both miss, but Soske’ continues wounding the humanoid.

The Atamahuta Oni casts Wall of Fire, injuring Jung-Mo, Sonny, Soske’, Saigo, and Tokoro. Ember treats Saigo with Cure Serious Wounds, and Sonny’s whip decapitates the giant, removing its dumber head. Jung-Mo finishes off the Oni. The victorious band finds and divvies up the following items:

  • Armor, banded mail + 2 — to sell
  • Gems, assorted, worth 1,000 tael (2,000 gold pieces)
  • Mithril coins, worth 3,500 tael (7,000 g.p.)
  • Ring of Animal Friendship — claimed by Jung-Mo
  • Urgosh (Orcish double axe, 1d8 + 2) — to trade as part of cover
  • Wand of Desecrate (as per 3rd-lvl. caster) — Soske’ destroys

Toshi gives about 500 tael (1,000 g.p.) to each party member, plus a similar share to a party fund. Sonny, Ember, Saigo, and Toshi, who didn’t claim any magic this time, get 1,250 g.p. each.

Back on the trail, the travelers discuss their plans to infiltrate territory controlled by the Scarlet Order. As they cross the Rodyui Stream and enter the hamlet of Rodaki, the would-be heroes pose as a merchant caravan.

Jung-Mo is disguised as “Xiaoming Chida,” a River Spirit Folk trader of mundane and “special” items. As an arms dealer, he plans to check for Yakuza or Nannuattan connections. Jung-Mo keeps his wyvern in its magical cage, where it appears to be a simple songbird.

Sonny uses his middle name “Nobuto” as an alias and serves as a “marginally competent” sellsword and drunkard escorting the merchants. Toshi sends his tiger Amaya to discreetly trail the team and poses as “Tiye Akamoto,” an herbalist selling medicines, tobacco, and poison.

Ember takes on the identity of “Jinsong Chida,” the meek daughter of Xiaoming, leading to much teasing from her and Jung-Mo’s companions. Soske’ poses as “Shishi,” a soothsayer and fortuneteller.

Saigo joins Nobuto as a ronin (masterless Samurai) and guard. Tokoro isn’t worried about his otter Mala attracting any undue attention as he volunteers to be river trader and scout “Mu Kawa.” Toshi/Tiye helps the group to dress down for the part.

As Xiaoming and company set up stalls in Rodaki, they are accosted by a Korobokuru (eastern Dwarf) wearing leather scale armor. Oinuma Eiji welcomes the traders and buys a jeweled dagger from the Chidas.

Oinuma directs the newcomers to the “Sacred Ewe,” a combination town hall, temple, and inn. Mu Kawa notices a wok-like bowl atop the building. It contains the largest fish from the Rodyui Stream.

Usami Sakuko asks Shishi to read her fortune. She has a grandchild bring a sacrificial pig, and Soske’ casts Augury. The shaman sees the old woman choking on a bone and warns her. In return, Usami invites him to join her family for dinner.

Nobutu and Saigo watch the carts as the others disperse at dusk. They notice that the Korobokuru, who are normally at home in the dark, rushing indoors. A night watchman urges them to seek cover but doesn’t explain why.

Ziaoming and Jinsong dine at the Sacred Ewe, where they see shepherds and miners drinking heavily. They prepare to leave for a midnight stroll, but Oinuma recommends against it. He offers a bench in the common room as a bunk for the night.

Shishi and Tiye eat with Usami Sakuko, whose family tells the spellcasters of a “guardian spirit” watching over the hamlet. Their description is similar to that of aKi-rin.

Mu Kawa climbs onto a roof to get a better look at the bowl of fish. The Ranger waits until he sees it rattle. A creature with golden scales, a long neck, antlers, sparking hooves, and a flaming tail appears. As it hovers over the Sacred Ewe, Tokoro climbs over.

The brave scout asks the Ki-rin its purpose. The hovering creature says that it is protecting “its people” and that they may meet again if Mu Kawa continues traveling through its territory. It then disappears into the night, having eaten the fish.

The next morning, the dragon hunters compare notes. Jung-Mo checks on his wyvern. Sonny wonders if the “Ki-rin” might actually be the chaos dragon or one of its minions in disguise. Ember worries about other dragons, and Toshi notes that Ki-rin aren’t usually carnivorous.

Soske’ agrees that it’s strange for such a creature to ask villagers for tribute. Saigo points to a map and says that the Scarlet Order’s reach may extend from the Dragon Pass almost as far south and west as Bazran Hai. Tokoro prepares the pack animals to continue eastward….

Bruce, I’m sorry that we missed you last night, but I hope to see most of the gang at tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” session. I also hope that everyone can make our additional telecom game this coming Friday.

I hope that all of your holidays have been happy so far. I’m glad to be home after the past month or so of travel, and I look forward to continuing our adventures into 2015!

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.39 — The serpent society

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.39, which were held on Sunday, 30 November 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 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. 9
  • 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. 9
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • 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. 9
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 9
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 9

“8 to 31 July 1227 B.C.E.:” In Bazran Hai, capital of the Zedu kingdom, the onetime diplomatic escorts encountered Kobold and Nannuattan spies. Jung-Mo recognized a fellow Ninja as his former lover, and Soske’ communed with ancestor spirits and the god of judgment to learn the whereabouts of Saigo Kasugi’s grandfather.

A Limited Wish summoned Gen. Shinso Saigo from captivity beneath Bazran Hai’s citadel, but his memories were limited. The group followed a suspicious landscaper into the sewers, where it captured him after defeating two Yuan-ti Abominations.

Shengtese human Sonny asks Jung-Mo if he has encountered the serpent folk before, and Jung Mo answers in the negative before revealing his true form as a Nannuattan to interrogate the prisoner.

Shan Sao Toshi casts Message to help his companions covertly communicate. Crane Hengeyokai Ember waits outside the makeshift cell in the “Dragon’s Beard” inn and casts Control Wind to chill the room.

Soske’ recalls that the Yuan-ti worship chthonic deities, and the Shengtese human wonders if there is a connection to the chaos spreading across the countryside. Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo joins Jung-Mo in questioning the faux Shijo Joshifumi.

Tokoro keeps watch on the roof for more enemies. Via Toshi’s Message spell, the carp Hengeyokai observes that while the group recently encountered, captured, and released a Kobold and a Nannuattan Ninja, it probably won’t be so merciful to the Yuan-ti.

Jung-Mo politely asks Shijo about his mission, and the Yuan-ti says that it is likely the same as the eastern Dark Elves’ — watching and undermining the leaders of the Zedu kingdom and Tong Sheng. He is not afraid of torture but is surprisingly forthcoming. Sonny recommends more specific questions.

Saigo wants to know why his family’s home was being watched. Shijo admits that he was watching several influential households in his guise as a master gardener. Soske’ recognizes Shijo’s mention of evil deity Mi-Shao-Shur.

Toshi casts Mind Read and verifies that the Yuan-ti are connected to a dragon seen by Gen. Shinso before he was captured, as well as to the Red Wastes to the northeast. The adventuring party also learns of a backup plan involving a Yuan-ti Pureblood disguised as a Korobokuru (eastern Dwarf).

Shijo explains that his cell planned to infiltrate the citadel with knowledge from Gen. Shinso and was close to completing his likeness. Toshi sees images in the shapeshifter’s mind of a plot to get close to and replace the daimyo and shogun.

Jung-Mo learns that the scaly folk have infiltrated several cities and that they report to the dragon. Saigo asks whether the Korobokuru silversmith who met with Oh Ok-Sun, Jung-Mo’s former lover, is also working for the Yuan-ti.

Toshi asks about Lady Shiori Heikkaki, whose name was on a scroll of Summoningconfiscated from the Kobolds. Shijo says that the diminutive reptilian canines have been useful in keeping track of Gokuri’s agents in Bazran Hai.

On the roof, Tokoro notices some troop movements but nobody from the nefarious Gokuri Empire or the Scarlet Order. Jung-Mo finishes the questioning by knocking Shijo out with a poisoned dart before he can cast any rituals.

Sonny suggests checking out the Yoshifumi house, and Ember, Soske’, and Tokoro agree to go. Toshi writes a note to Lady Fu Hao, the favored concubine of the distant Shang emperor. Saigo sends a messenger to seek an audience with his superiors.

At the Yoshifumi house, Ember Wild Shapes into a ferret, briefly attracting the attention of Tokoro’s otter Mala. The Wu creates a diversion by running pastguard dogs and leading them through the living quarters.

Soske’ casts True Seeing to watch the comings and goings. The Shukenja spots a few disguised Yuan-ti among the groundskeepers. Tokoro sneaks into the workshop and finds tools with hidden weapons. Thanks to Ember distracting the dogs, the Hulinyuan manages to hide the questionable tools and slip out undetected.

Back at the Dragon’s Beard, Jung-Mo makes sure that Shijo has no suicide poison. Jung-Mo also watches the hotel, his young wyvern, and Toshi’s tiger Amaya while the others regroup and head to the palace.

Sonny tells Jung-Mo that he trusts him, even if the Kensai doesn’t always understand the Ninja. Wu-Jen Toshi casts Arcane Mark to help track the Yuan-ti if necessary.

Ember is torn between staying with Jung-Mo and going to the royal court, but her curiosity about other dragons is piqued. Saigo is relieved when guards arrive to escort the prisoner and Gen. Shinso in a covered carriage. Saigo arms his grandfather with the katana of Wounding confiscated from duplicitous Gen. Wang Tung back in Sogewa.

As they enter the citadel, the wanderers recognize previous acquaintances. Ember avoids Murakami “Murray” Ryozo, a court adept, but Soske’ isn’t so lucky. His Uncle Manny finds him and wants to hear all about his travels.

classic Oriental Adventures
Kara Tur

The young priest manages to get his kinsman to wait outside while he joins his companions. They bow before Ryoushi Manabu, the Bamboo Spirit Folk shogun (eastern Sylvan Elf general); Hei Wan Ling, the Korobokuru shogun; and Hou Keung, the Korobokuru daimyo (king).

Samurai Saigo explains that his team has rescued Gen. Shinso and discovered a nest of Yuan-ti in the capital. Wu Jen Toshi casts Dispel Magic, revealing Shijo’s true reptilian visage, and he warns about the silversmith in the lower tier. Hei Wan Ling orders soldiers to be sent to that tier and the tunnels beneath the citadel.

Sleestak
Reptile folk

Druid Ember is uncomfortable with the talk about hunting a dragon north of Hei Kuan but acknowledges her expertise on dragonkind. Outlanders Sonny, Soske’, and Tokoro keep quiet until asked to testify on the demihumans’ behalf.

Ryoushi Manabu reconsiders sending the group to escort emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong home to Gisokuri. Instead, he decides to send Prince Mutsuhito, brother of Saigo’s lover Nayoko, because he already knows the way to the capital of Gokuri.

Hou Keung offers to grant each of the adventurers a title and land if they will deal with the dragon of corruption in the wilderness. They accept the mission and head back to the hotel.

Jung-Mo thinks about his divided loyalties between defending the innocent and restoring the honor of the Shadow’s Claw clan. Sonny makes a rendezvous with the slippery Lady Yun and writes letters to fellow survivors of his own disgraced house in the Lion Clan.

Ember continues to help with training Jung-Mo’s young wyvern, and Toshi spends the next few weeks enchanting items for his friends. The air Wizard also proposes marriage to Suki Amarna, and the Bisan Wu (Dryad Druid) accepts.

While still avoiding nosy family members, Soske’ hopes to thwart the forces of chaos. Similarly, Tokoro wants to protect the headwaters of his home streams. Saigo studies maps and hopes to learn more about the dragon’s followers….

Welcome back, Sara! It was nice to see everyone online and at our latest “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” session. Remember that the “New Dawn” team will hit Level 10 as of our next session in two weeks, and you can update your characters on Obsidian Portal before then.

Remember that we won’t be meeting virtually on Dec. 7, but I look forward to continuing your quest!