“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: Vistel’s Expedition,” Session 39.49 — Shopping and plotting in Hesolin

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.49, which Rich C.G. hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Wednesday, 8 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, became defenders of the kingdom of Saganim, and voyaged aboard the Zephyr….

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 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. 10
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 10
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 10

(See previous notes for “Hamfast” and “Brendan” [Brian W.], “Tempestade” [Josh C.], “Radius” [Jason E.R.], “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.], and “Brogar” [Brian S.].)

“12 to 14 April 1227 B.C.E.:” In the Saganim village of Sanry, “Vistel’s Expedition”worked with its new crew and met with Capt. Scarlet of the Sea Elven schoonerFoamrunner. The Zephyr then went to Hesolin, capital of the (proto-Western European) human kingdom of Hifalendor.

Giacomo and Rhys visited a whirlygig shop and the temple of Otih, while Corwin and Elsa checked in at the Saganim embassy. Scully and her boyfriend, Wolfen Paladin “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character], go ashore to practice their archery and recruit additional sailors.

Corwin plans to buy or trade weapons and armor at the Istari Bazaar, while Elsa acquires a Bag of Holding, Heward’s Handy Haversack, a ring of Protection (+ 2), a Rope of Climbing, a Wand of Silence, and magical studded leather armor (+2). She looks forward to reuniting with Vistel’s Circus.

With help from fellow Tinker Gnome Otis… and Hill Dwarf metalsmith Werner Dogspittle, Rhys successfully attaches clockwork dragon wings to the Zephyr, one key step in making the unusual vessel airworthy.

Giacomo is escorted by Paladins of Otih and Urda to the local Magisterium (magic school), where he conducts research on ridding himself of his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra. The holy warriors also prepare an exorcism ritual for the Hifalendorin Wizard, who plans to consult Zarendo (East African) human herbalist “Tondra” [Rob A.S./N.P.C.].

Each evening, the adventurers gather for dinner at their rented villa near the “Golden Horn” hotel and restaurant. They are pleasantly surprised when Melchior [guest Byron V.O.] briefly rejoins them. He uses Mage Hand to shutter the windows and extinguish most lamps.

The Saganim (proto-Celtic) human Cleric of Ulandt, goddess of the night, reports on his investigations in the barbaric port of Gisar. Corwin’s half-brother PrinceDaven and Sean Sable (whose family is suspected of necromancy) have been recruiting mercenaries.

In addition, Lord Dalek, the Tiefling (demon-touched) Sorcerer who once framed Corwin for murder, may be working with the vampires who rule Gisar, says Melchior. Corwin wants to pursue Dalek, but Melchior points out that it will take him several weeks to set up a safehouse in the city, where former teammate Hamfast remains.

The former “Seeker of Lore” also warns that relying too heavily on Teleport is a bad idea as long as the Pit Fiend on Salhonif Island is looking for the group. The group had infiltrated a Temple of Elemental Evil and freed an Efreeti from her bondage to Schm*ckF*ck.

Melchior detects that someone has scryed upon Prince Corwin and Rhys, who has worked most closely on the time-displaced steamboat. Elsa adds anti-scrying measures to her list of potential enchantments for the Zephyr, such as protections against fire, rust and noise.

The next day, Scully and Elsa lead the way to the Grove of Mekkil outside Hesolin’s walls. They find a dimunitive Forest Gnome Druid singing to a sleepy badger. Gaffy Barkeater tells the Ranger and Druid about where to find exotic animals such as pegasi and griffons.

Elsa asks about recent strife between centaurs and Hifalendorin humans on the northern Plains of Sathendo. Gaffy says that a centaur named Zenos may know more and that he can often be found at the “Quiet Deer” tavern.

In Hesolin’s theater district, Corwin and Melchior meet Yvonne Valetta, a priestess of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry. She recognizes the Half-Elf’s reference to Maeve Gallagher, a Cleric at the Bardic College in Thadenis, capital of the kingdom of Saganim. Corwin gives her a generous donation of 250 crowns (gold pieces).

Yvonne recounts the fairy tale of Vappu Lahja, a woman woed about a century ago by three lords. She was proud and rejected them and was forced to live out her days alone as the lords fought among themselves, bringing much death to the land [see “Uncommon Companions” notes].

Melchior and Rhys note the similarities between the mysterious woman said to be stirring up conflict between the centaurs and Hifalendorin peasants and “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.], the Saganim pirate who has somehow “hacked” his curse to become leader of the dreaded Ghost Fleet.

In addition, Yvonne mentions “Westly the Wondrous” [Alex J./N.P.C.], a Saganim Bard (and former “Dragonslayer”) in residence at the “Bright Battlement” tavern. Elsa plans to visit the Library of Memir to see if she can uncover more information.

Sometime later, “Vistel’s Expedition” and Melchior go to the palace for a royal audience, thanks to Saganim ambassador Sir Culwych. They admire its high towers, thick stone walls, and well-armored guards. Magical scans sweep over the visitors as they pass by iron-bound gates, parade grounds, and colorful gardens.

Royal citadel
Palace in Hesolin

Elsa brings her banuq (winged cat) Penryn, and Rhys dismounts from Vasco, his clockwork butler. Despite being an agent of her majesty’s (Queen Margaret of Saganim) secret service, Melchior introduces himself without an alias.

Heralds announce the heroes as they enter a great hall with massive pillars with inscriptions in multiple languages, a vaulted ceiling, and a red and white checkerboard marble floor. They briefly wait in a receiving line before bowing before the throne. Counselors sit on curved benches nearby.

Prince Corwin introduces himself, and King Akkon XII sends greetings to his “brother king,” Edmund II of Saganim (and Corwin’s father). Hill Dwarf Elsa asks for support for her long-range communications network, and Queen Belinda offers a room in the palace.

However, Adm. Clothard Leontis is skeptical about proposals for widening the naval alliance between Hifalendor and Saganim against the Ghost Fleet to include the Ebir Sheikdom, the Kelp Kingdom, and the Principality of Silado (Tong Sheng).

Elsa and Corwin assure King Akkon that they have the approval of King Edmund and hope to visit more capitals. Adm. Leontis notes that existing allied forces are outnumbered by Undead pirates by about 10 to 1, but he grudgingly grants permission to inspect the naval base at the Gargoyle Headlands, about two days’ sail east of Hesolin.

Flind Scully and Gnome Rhys ask about the evil cult of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom, and additional defenses for the Zephyr. The admiral recommends checking with Hesolin’s harbormaster and the temple of Addoh, lord of the sea.

As a gesture of goodwill, the onetime circus performers offer to investigate the centaur attacks on northern farms. Lord Taneli Ellarthen, a Quelithan (High Elf) court mage, observes that Hifalendor would prefer to avoid bloodshed among its citizens and neighboring fey folk such as satyrs and centaurs.

King Akkon notes that his son, Prince Decius, was held hostage in the frontier until he was rescued by the King’s Cavaliers [see “Faith-Based Initiative” notes]. The petitioners notice an athletic young woman, later identified as Princess Priscilla, and Corwin and Melchior (who is married) can’t help but flirt with her.

Gen. Naresh du Goray says that troops in the city of Nadwi stand ready to help, but the adventuring party may be able to deal with threats that he cannot. The king approves of the party’s missions on behalf of Hifalendor.

The happy wanderers return to the “Golden Horn” and begin plotting a course to the Gargoyle Headlands, Nadwi, Falit, and more ports….

While we missed Beruk and Josh, it was good to see everyone, plus Thomas & Kai-Yin, for Byron’s latest visit to the Boston area! I hope that those of you with colds recover soon. Also, remember to update your character records on Obsidian Portal and let me know of any changes regarding equipment or spells.

I look forward to Drew’s “Cumberland County” Southern fantasy one-shot (using Roll for Shoes) tomorrow and continuing Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernatural miniseries! My “Vanished Lands: A New Dawntelecom game will continue tonight.

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.47 — Black sails and the Nook & Cranny Council

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.47, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 15 September 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 ZephyrPlayer Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing GameDungeon Crawl ClassicsPathfinder, 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. 10
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 10
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 10

(See previous notes for “Hamfast” and “Brendan” [Brian W.], “Tempestade” [Josh C.], “Radius” [Jason E.R.], “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.], and “Brogar” [Brian S.].)

“1 to 4 April 1227 B.C.E.:” The commanders of the Zephyr oversaw the riverboat’s overhaul, recruited crew members, and bought supplies in the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human village of Drunstimlos.

They also Teleported to the capital of Thadenis to report to the king and queen. The adventurers learned of strife in neighboring realms, the whereabouts of Corwin’s enemies, and potential allies.

Giacomo visits the Harandrim Academy, the local Magisterium (magic school/library), and asks Maggie Oakleaf if she’ll join him aboard the Zephyr. The droll Sylvan Elf adept agrees.

Scully asks her companions to make her boyfriend, “Sir Niac Eden” [Mike F./Non-Player Character], the captain of their ship because of his nautical experience. Corwin is concerned that the Wolfen Paladin (and former “Dragonslayer”) might have divided loyalties, but Scully reassures him that his first duty will be to the ship.

Corwin meets with “Melchior Merryman” [Byron V.O.], a priest of Ulandt (and former “Seeker of Lore”) who offers to travel to Gisar to covertly find out what Corwin’s half-brother, Prince Daven, is doing in the barbaric port. They also hope to locate Lord Dalek, a Tiefling (demon-touched) Mage who once framed Corwin for murder.

Rhys decides against giving (former “Liberator”) “Ulrich Vandermoor” [Ted A.H./N.P.C.] at the Royal Society for Cartography full plans of his steamboat. He also purchases coal and carouses with new friend (and former “Lorewarden”) “Brother Cathal Duartbell” [Atilla C./N.P.C.].

Elsa excitedly shares a letter that she has received from Vistel’s Circus, which is performing in the nearby human kingdom of Hifalendor. The adventuring party agrees to sail east, first to meet Capt. Scarlet and the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) schooner Foamrunner at Sanry and then to the city of Hesolin.

Before returning to Drunstimlos, Giacomo obtains components for Bracers of Armor, and Scully looks for specialized ammunition. Corwin tallies up vehicle expenses at about 5,000 crowns (gold pieces) so far and returns 1,500 g.p. to each of his peers.

Elsa checks with Miss Crevan on the establishment of the first office in her long-range communications network, and Rhys is eager to get back to the Zephyr to supervise its refit. The group Teleports back to the windy coast.

Capt. Niac reviews the crew roster as the now-seaworthy ship prepares for its shakedown cruise:

  • Sir Niac Eden [Mike F./N.P.C.]-male Wolfen Paladin, captain
    • Tiernan Saunders: male Saganim cabin boy, sailor 1
  • Prince Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, first mate and morale officer
    • Doyle Tunney: male Saganim (proto-Celtic) human apprentice, Bard 1
    • Evan Bradford: male Saganim fisherman and sailor 1
    • Fiona Chadwick: female Saganim sailor 1/Rogue 1
    • Gordon Selwyn: male Saganim sailor 1/Rogue 1
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome, engineer
    • Vasco: male clockwork butler
    • Automatons: dragon, scorpion, and spider
    • Cyric Ahearn: male Saganim carpenter and sailor 1
    • Emmet Banning: male Saganim sailmaker and sailor 1
    • Evelyn Morgwyl: female Half-Elf tinkerer and sailor 1
    • Ronan Teague: male Saganim blacksmith and sailor 1
  • Giacomo Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Wizard, scholar and mage
    • Gerald: male homunculus familiar
    • “Dread” Maggie Oakleaf: female Sylvan Elf adept, apprentice
    • Almaric Dorimus: male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human navigator, Lvl. 2 sailor
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female Flind Ranger, animal handler, security/marine, scout, sniper
    • Owlicious: male owl companion
    • Glynnis Shannon: female Saganim sailor 1/Fighter 1
    • Holt Chapman: male Saganim farmer/stablehand and sailor 1
    • Reginald Seward: male Saganim pirate, served aboard the Mad Saber and theBloody Manta; sailor 1/Fighter 2
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid, cook, chaplain, and healer
    • Penryn: male Banuq (winged cat), animal companion
    • Audrey Driscoll: female Saganim (proto-Celtic) human cook and sailor 1/Fighter 1
    • Kaitlin Ellis: female Saganim acolyte of Ghanki/sailor 1

As the Zephyr gets under way, Corwin presents himself to the crew as the “good cop” to Niac’s “bad cop.” Rhys shows his team how to feed coal to the boiler as well as hoist the sails. Giacomo stays in the map room, both because he hasn’t yet gotten his sea legs and because he wants to create a crystal ball that can project images.

Elsa double-checks provisions in the galley and blesses the ship and its new crew. Scully checks on the horses in the cargo hold and borrows Rhys’ spyglass. After several hours out on the Sea of Nagendwa, she spots something from the crow’s nest.

A four-masted ship with black sails approaches from several miles away. It alters course to bear down on the Zephyr, and Capt. Niac calls for battlestations and sets the helm to intercept. Corwin relays commands and encourages the Saganim sailors with song.

Black Sails
The Cruel Cutlass

As the Zephyr and the pirate ship close, Niac gives the order for a warning shot. Scully loads the forward ballista and fires across the other vessel’s bow. It returns fire, skewering Kaitlin Ellis, an acolyte of sea lord Ghanki.

Corwin casts Fireball at the Cruel Cutlass’  forecastle, killing four Saganim pirates. Niac orders the crew to prepare for broadsides. Corwin defensively casts Mirror Image, creating seven illusory duplicates of himself.

Giacomo casts Magic Shield, and Rhys fires his crossbow but misses. Scully fires another ballista bolt, scattering enemy crewmen on the opposing deck. Shots from the Cruel Cutlass narrowly miss Corwin, thanks to his Mirror Image.

Cleric Elsa rushes to aid Kaitlin, and Capt. Niac exhorts the crew to stand firm. Bard Corwin Disintegrates part of the foe’s main mast, which falls and kills another pirate. Wizard Giacomo inflicts madness on some of the commanders of the Cruel Cutlass with Emrikol’s Entropic Maelstrom.

Engineer Rhys turns his attention to fire control and reloading ammunition. Ranger Scully casts Call Lightning, injuring another pirate. The Cruel Cutlass breaks off and flees. While some aboard the Zephyr want to pursue and loot the damaged craft, Capt. Niac Lays on Hands to help heal Kaitlin and congratulates his crew on a successful shakedown cruise.

The Wolfen Paladin of Otih, lord of the sun and justice, also sternly warns them not to get too confident, since the dreaded Ghost Fleet has numerous ships and has magical protections. “Vistel’s Expedition” sails north.

That night, those on watch hear and glimpse something with a feathered wingspan of more than 20 feet fly overhead. They theorize that it could be a gryphon, like the one ridden by Prince Daven.

During the second watch, Scully and Corwin notice Niac pacing about the captain’s quarters. On the third watch, Giacomo banters with his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra, resisting its attempts to take him over and confusing members of the crew with an apparently one-sided conversation.

In the engine room, Rhys convenes the first meeting of the “Nook and Cranny Council” with similarly diminutive Vasco, his clockwork butler, and Gerald, Giacomo’s homunculus familiar.

The Zephyr safely arrives at the Saganim village of Sanry. Giacomo and Maggie busy themselves in the ship’s map room, leaving others to go ashore. Scully and Niac go to the “Steed’s Stream” inn to see if there are any additional sailors worth recruiting.

Corwin wanders around, thinking of lost loves and the homeland he may not see again for a while. Elsa and Audrey Driscoll procure supplies for the galley and tend to the Druid’s banuq (winged cat) Penryn.

Rhys keeps Cyric, Emmet, Evelyn, and Ronan busy with repairs and training, as the explorers wait to rendezvous with the Foamrunner to ask about the Sea Elven history of conflict with Drunstimlos and participation in a naval alliance against the Ghost Fleet….

Thanks again, Drew, for hosting, and we missed you, Rich! I hope everybody enjoyed your shakedown cruise, and I look forward to continuing your seaborne adventures. As you can see, I’ve revised the crew roster on Obsidian Portal, and remember to make sure that your characters’ spells and possessions are up to date.

I look forward to our next “Vanished LandsA New Dawn” telecom session, as well as character generation for Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” miniseries (using StorytellerWorld of Darkness — Hunterthe Reckoningat Brian S.’s place next Monday.

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.20 — Head fruit and bishonen Drow

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.30, which was held on Sunday, 14 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 3eLegends of Anglerre, plus house rulesSkype, 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
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 7
  • 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

“27 to 29 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The team escorting Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong stopped in Yao Shung and encountered wary villagers. Jung-Mo’s wyvern egg hatched, and the Nannuattan Ninja was forced to reveal his true identity to his companions. The group also learned of missing children and a possible cell of the Scarlet Order in nearby woods.

Jung-Mo and Toshi work on an enchanted cage for the wyvern hatchling. Sonny tells Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja that the caravan is staying in the village for a few days to help find the children.

Ember suggests sending Jung-Mo and Toshi into the woods disguised as children. Soske’ suspects that a trap awaits them but is not worried. Saigo agrees to bypass the village elders and contact the families of the missing, while Tokoro follows Sonny’s suggestion and dons the guise of a local hunter.

The adventuring party decides to wait until nightfall for its initial scouting of the woods near Yao Shung. The entire group plans to enter the next day, with Nannuattan Jung-Mo and Shan Sao Toshi as bait.

In the meantime, crane Hengeyokai Ember helps attend to Jung-Mo’s wyvern. Toshi’s tiger Amaya guards Lady Yun, and Sonny reminds his companions of the value of discretion. The Shengtese (East Asian) human also asks his talking horseYip to covertly watch Lady Yun.

Saigo talks to the distraught families of Zhan-Shi Shude, Jik Zeng Meizhu, and Dao Xu Tan. The Bamboo Spirit Folk reassures them that he will help find the children and bring them home.

Shengtese human Soske’ prays to quarrelsome ancestor spirits for guidance. Tokoro and his otter companion go to the “Red Reed” inn to find Hojo Etsuko, who serves the same river spirit he does. The carp Hengeyokai finds the River Spirit Folk recovering from a hangover.

However, when Tokoro asks Hojo for help with the missing children, she excuses herself and staggers to her room. Tokoro and Saigo follow but find that the drunkard has climbed out a window and run away!

As night falls, Sonny, Ember, Soske’, and Tokoro walk to Yao Shung’s outskirts. Ember Wild Shapes into deer form, so that the others can pretend to be pursuing hunters in case members of the Scarlet Order are watching. They enter a small but dense copse of trees.

Jung-Mo, Toshi, and Saigo stay back at the village. Ninja Jung-Mo keeps his wyvern separate from Lady Yun, and Wu Jen Toshi continues his arcane preparations.

Saigo writes a reply to Princess Nayoko in the Zedu kingdom. The Samurai searches for Desc Soo-Ann, or “Desan” for short, the River Spirit Folk courier who brought letters to the party. Saigo spots him behind the inn talking with Hojo Etsuko.

Meanwhile, the people in the woods notice that the trees have grown gnarled, and the air is still. Fruits resembling human heads hang from one tree, and Sonny is compelled to taste one, which addles his senses. Wu Ember notices what the Kensai is eating and doubles back.

Head-shaped fruit
Jinmenju

Shukenja Soske’ prepares to cast Wall of Stone, but Hulinyuan Tokoro also falls prey to the strange fruit. Ember and Soske’ resist the plant’s sweet fragrance. The shapeshifting Druid casts Insect Plague, summoning termites to attack the tree.

Tokoro draws his wakizashi (short sword) and begins cutting down more fruit. Soske’ repeatedly casts Flame Strike, damaging the tree. Branches smack at Tokoro, and a toothy maw opens among the roots. It screams at Soske’ in vain, while Sonny draws his axe, which is enchanted against Giants.

Ember casts Warp Wood, but it doesn’t affect the monster, which she identifies as a Jinmenju. Ensorcelled Tokoro gathers up armloads of the head fruit and gorges himself on it. Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon and, after some haggling, obtains a magical bow that shoots flaming arrows.

The Jinmenju slams Soske’ and grabs Sonny, dragging the weapon master to its gaping mouth. Sonny wedges his axe in it and manages to crawl away. EmberWild Shapes into an elephant, but Tokoro is too busy eating to notice the fight.

Back in Yao Shung, Saigo overhears Desan and Hojo talking about “being rid of them soon.” He interrupts the courier and the scout, and the River Spirit Folk both look at him with guilty expressions. They say they’ll meet him back at the inn in a little while.

Saigo quietly follows Hojo, knocks her out, and drags her to the carriage in the stables. He binds and gags the woman and then fetches Jung-Mo and Toshi to help with interrogation.

Elephantine Ember charges at the Jinmenju, but its branches deflect her tusks from its trunk. Tokoro continues devouring the fruit, becoming less perceptive as he does so. Soske’ fires flaming arrows and casts more Flame Strikes.

The evil tree bites Sonny and shouts at Ember. The weapon master slashes at the Jinmenju with his kama (sickle and chain). Soske’ notices that his teammates are injured, so the priest Channels Positive Energy. Sonny finishes off the burning tree, and Ember stomps on it to make sure it’s dead.

Sonny reclaims his axe, and Soske’ attends to dazed Tokoro. Ember records a carving on the charred tree trunk before the exhausted team heads back to the village.

To question Hojo, Jung-Mo uses his robe of Alter Self to appear as a Nannuattan, but as an eastern Dark Elf who doesn’t resemble his true form. Unfortunately, Jung-Mo’s comely appearance [“Bieber Drow”] doesn’t frighten the recalcitrant River Spirt Folk.

Toshi Polymorphs into a demon to scare answers out of Hojo, who admits to Saigo that she wants to drive the humans out of the northeastern Plains of Sathendo. She says that Desan offered her a deal on behalf of the empire of Gokuri.

That nefarious realm would take human refugees as slaves, and Hojo’s riverine masters would be able to reclaim the farmlands. Jung-Mo confirms, however, that Hojo knows nothing about Lady Yun. Toshi wonders if Gokuri and the Scarlet Order are connected.

Saigo points out that they need to track down Desan immediately to learn more about the scheme to drive the Shengtese peasants off their land. Bedraggled Sonny, Ember, Soske’, and Tokoro return and compare notes.

Tokoro surprises his fellow wanderers by agreeing with Hojo’s distaste for humans. He wants to free the River Spirit Folk, but Toshi doesn’t trust her. Saigo readies a hunting party, but Soske’ needs to rest before another foray into the forest.

Jung-Mo is reluctant to leave his wyvern unattended, while Ember says there’s no time to waste in rescuing the kidnapped children….

Remember to update your character records on Obsidian Portal to Level 8. I’ll also try to post the latest update for “Vistel’s Expedition” (a.k.a. the crew of the Zephyrthis week.

In the meantime, don’t forget to vote in the poll regarding Rich and Jason’s next games for the Boston-area groups!

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.46 — Shore leave

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.46, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 25 August 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 ZephyrPlayer Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing GameDungeon Crawl ClassicsPathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of summer 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. 10
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 10
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 10

(See previous notes for “Hamfast” and “Brendan” [Brian W.], “Tempestade” [Josh C.], “Radius” [Jason E.R.], “Melchior” [Byron V.O.], “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.], and “Brogar” [Brian S.].)

“26 to 31 March 1227 B.C.E.:” The newly dubbed Zephyr arrived in the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human port of Drunstimlos. Corwin and Elsa Teleported for a quick visit to Thadenis and reported on their plans. Scully was happy to meet an Atlantean contact, as well as Sir Niac and other knights.

Giacomo worried about his accursed tattoo and the suspicious return of a long-missing priest. Rhys worked on the steamboat, filched a Sea Elven knife, and got into a bar brawl. Tempestade and his fellow Brazilian freedmen left for their new homeland.

Over the next week or so, “Vistel’s Expedition” continues working to make its steam-powered riverboat seaworthy. Ship’s mage Giacomo decorates the Zephyr ’s square mainsail with an avian coat of arms but recommends against flying any one nation’s flag.

Sailor and scout Scully helps boyfriend Niac [Mike F./Non-Player Character], who is also a shipwright. Bard Corwin, who has some experience as a seaman, performs in the “Sailor’s Climb” inn and recruits the following crew members (at a total of 150 g.p. per month):

  • Almaric Dorimus: male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human navigator, Lvl. 2 sailor; LNg
  • Audrey Driscoll: female Saganim (proto-Celtic) human cook and sailor 1/Fighter 1; TNl
  • Cyric Ahearn: male Saganim carpenter and sailor 1; LNg
  • Emmet Banning: male Saganim sailmaker and sailor 1; NGl
  • Evan Bradford: male Saganim fisherman and sailor 1; TNg
  • Evelyn Morgwyl: female Half-Elf tinkerer and sailor 1; CGn
  • Fiona Chadwick: female Saganim sailor 1/Rogue 1; CNg
  • Glynnis Shannon: female Saganim sailor 1/Fighter 1; NGl
  • Gordon Selwyn: male Saganim sailor 1/Rogue 1; CNg
  • Holt Chapman: male Saganim farmer/stablehand and sailor 1; CNg
  • Kaitlin Ellis: female Saganim acolyte of Ghanki/sailor 1; LGn
  • Reginald Seward: male Saganim pirate, served aboard the Mad Saber and theBloody Manta; sailor 1/Fighter 2; CNe
  • Ronan Teague: male Saganim blacksmith and sailor 1; LNg
  • Tiernan Saunders: male Saganim cabin boy, sailor 1; NGc

Cook and healer Elsa ignores the case of the recently returned Father Gwydion, a priest of Ghanki, lord of the waters, who may be associated with pirates. Instead, she pays provisioner Lorne Alwinson about 200 crowns (gold pieces) for ship supplies and Halfling grocer Anika Hendriks 50 g.p. for a month’s worth of rations.

Engineer Rhys is most busy refitting the Zephyr, making the following enhancements with Niac’s guidance [see Classic Play: Book of the Sea and other D20/OGL nautical sourcebooks]:

  • ballistae, 4 (large crossbows, -4 to hit, 3d8 damage, 120 ft. range, 500 g.p. each, plus 50 g.p. for ammunition)
  • battlements (+2 to cover, 100 g.p. total)
  • dinghys/lifeboats/rowboats, 4 total (50 g.p. each, AC9, Hardness 5; 4 passengers each)
  • keel fin, retractable (1,000 g.p.)
  • masts and lanteen sails (triangular, under ship supplies)
  • wings, clockwork dragon’s (for future airship stabilizers)

The adventuring party reconvenes at the inn. Giacomo wonders about hostile relations between the kingdom of Saganim and the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elves) of the Kelp Kingdom.

Scully offers Niac as a potential captain for the Zephyr . Elsa says another visit to Thadenis, the capital of Saganim, is in order before meeting with Capt. Scarlet of the Foamrunner, and Corwin agrees. They and Giacomo prepare Teleport spells.

In his quarters, Rhys pulls a robotic waiter that he had taken from Pais Doce, a plantation in future Brazil, out of his Bag of Holding. He is surprised when the boxy construct speaks. The Tinker Gnome asks Corwin for help translating Portuguese, and the Half-Elf casts Know the Words.

They learn that the clockwork automaton can learn simple commands. Rhys’ latest mechanical aide joins Giacomo’s leather-winged homunculus familiar Gerald among the team’s growing number of companions and followers.

The wanderers Teleport from Drunstimlos back to Thadenis. Elsa leads the way to the Royal Society for Cartography, where apparently indolent student Ilnadu Magevictor sleepily greets them. He fetches “Ulrich Vandermoor” [Ted A.H./N.P.C.], who is delighted to share travel notes.

medieval docks
Saganim seaport

Rhys, a first-time visitor to the large city, is pleased to find someone else interested in the Zephyr ’s plans. Ulrich pays 500 g.p. for a copy, as well as 100 g.p. apiece for recent maps of the Ebir Sheikdom, the Zarendo Archipelago, and the Gusorin Confederation from Flind Scully and Hill Dwarf Elsa.

Ulrich also mentions “Pruts…” [Patrick D./N.P.C.], another Tinker Gnome who once traveled with the “Dragonslayers” through the Ivory Mountains and Wisalef Forest. Scully studies maps of ports around the Sea of Nagendwa.

Rhys inquires about sources for coal to power the steamship. Ulrich replies that there are mines in the Zeda kingdom of the Dwarves and Gnomes, some of the Zarendo Islands, and the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm. Corwin expresses interest in buying a mine that’s readily accessible from the sea.

Corwin and company go to the Bardic College, where they meet Maeve Gallagher, a priestess of Brijitt. Corwin and Elsa donate hundreds of crowns to the temple of the goddess of fire and poetry. Giacomo excuses himself to visit Maggie Oakleaf, a droll Sylvan Elf adept he befriended at the Harandrim Academy.

Corwin gives an additional grant so that Daven’s Theatre, for which his exiled half-brother was a patron, is renamed after him. The prince also auditions Doyle Tunney as an apprentice. The young man performs on the harmonica, tambor, and harp and shows potential.

Maeve refers Elsa to Miss Crevan for setting up the first office in the Druid’s planned long-range communications network. Rhys shares tales he heard from the skalds in Gisar and gives the flame-haired priestess a copy of his notes.

The onetime circus performers are disturbed to learn that centaurs are allegedly fighting with Hifalendorin humans on the Plains of Sathendo. Maeve repeats rumors that Vappu Lahja, a pale woman from a fairy tale, has appeared and may be the cause of the unusual strife.

Sometime later, a chariot pulls up to the Bardic College, and Miss Crevan steps off. Elsa gives her 500 g.p. to set up the rental office and explains her ambitions for a stronger alliance against the dreaded Ghost Fleet.

Rhys asks “Brother Cathal Duartbell” [Atilla C./N.P.C.], the armored driver of the chariot, about enhancements that he notices. The Paladin of Edillon, lord of the sky, is happy to recount his heroic deeds with the “Lorewardens” and offers to give Rhys a ride. The curious Gnome agrees, and Ranger Scully sends owl “Owlicious” to keep an eye on them.

Duartbell and Rhys go careening through Thadenis’ busy streets, scattering scared pedestrians. As the two horses and the chariot charge through the mainAgora (market), Rhys presses a brass button, and scythe-like blades pop out of the wheels, obliterating several fruit stands!

Two members of the city watch stop the fancy chariot, and Sir Duartbell tells the “little man” to stay hidden while he offers apologies and recompense. The guards aren’t surprised to see the boisterous knight, and they warn him not to drive so recklessly again.

As soon as they’re out of the Agora, the Saganim human gives the reins to his new Gnome friend, and they speed back to the Bardic College. Bro. Duartbell names Hanuf Wazir in Falit and Guillaume Sixtus in Hesolin as craftsmen who supply him. Scully winks at Rhys, signaling that she knows about his latest mischief.

Corwin brings the party to the Hall of Thanes, where King Edmund II and Queen Margaret greet them while dealing with counselors asking for more security on the streets. The artist formerly known as Prince Berek asks for a more private audience, and they retire to a smaller hall for dinner.

Edmund the Strong is pleased with the party’s defense of Sileran against Undead giants and its escalating fight against evil. He gives each member an item from the royal armory:

  • Giacomo: Marvelous Pigments
  • Scully: Ring of Protection (+2 Armor Class)
  • Corwin: enchantment on his shark hide (+2 AC)
  • Elsa: helmet, horned (+2 AC)
  • Rhys: Gem of Tongues

Giacomo recommends against overuse of Teleportation because it could be tracked by a certain Pit Fiend in the Temple of Elemental Evil on Salhonif Island. Scully notes that removing Giacomo’s tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra is another top priority.

Corwin warns the king about Lord Caerdon, who may be involved with an unauthorized feud with the Sea Elves in Drunstimlos. He also catches up with his younger sister Karenna, who has matured from being a spoiled aristocrat.

Elsa gets approval from the king for her communications mission. Rhys plans to use his magical gem to enable Vasco, his robot butler, to communicate with the party.

The team stays at the Gilded Keep for the night. Corwin broods in his childhood chamber, recalling how he was falsely accused of murder. The prince casts Limited Wish to learn the whereabouts of Lord Dalek, the court mage who framed him for the disappearance of his wife (and Berek’s tutor and lover) Katarina.

Corwin has a vision of the Tiefling (demon-touched) Wizard in a room with Sean Sable, the son of Lord Stefan Sable (whose family is suspected of necromancy) and a friend of exiled Prince Daven. They are in the barbaric port of Gisar, no doubt scheming.

Angry Corwin awakens his fellowship. Giacomo is wary, having heard at the Bardic College that Daven is gaining followers in the east. Scully points out that there are many evildoers worth fighting, and Elsa suggests notifying former colleague “Hamfast” [Brian W./N.P.C.], who is still in Gisar.

The priestess of Mekkil (Gaia) and Vulkan (Moradin) also prefers to travel to Falitfirst. Rhys reminds the group that the Zephyr isn’t yet ready and of the need for paying missions. Corwin still swears vengeance and goes to look for “Melchior” [Byron V.O./N.P.C.], a sympathetic Cleric of Ulandt, goddess of the night….

Thanks again, Drew, to you and your wife for hosting and feeding us! I hope everybody enjoyed our latest session. The face-to-face groups will be taking a week off for Labor Day, but I look forward to resuming Bruce’s “PathfinderEberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries.