“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.27 — Skeletal sentinels and the Scarlet Order

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.27, which was held on Sunday, 24 August 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 andAdvanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rules,Skype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 2014:

  • 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. 7
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 7
  • 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 of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K./absent]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Moon Jung-mo [Dexter V.H./absent]-male Nannuattan Ninja (Msamaki, eastern Dark Elf Assassin) who has left the Shadow’s Claw clan and is posing as a River Spirit Folk Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 7

“20 to 22 May 1227 B.C.E.:” Zu Ji, the rogue Shang crown prince, Teleported to Gokuri with some court wizards and guards, leaving Lady Yun Aei-Yong and her retinue to face Lady Fu Hao and her army. The emperor’s favored concubine angrily dismissed the Nannuattan emissary.

The adventurers promised to report on their progress in finding the sources of chaos in the countryside in return for the peaceful restoration of Duke Kou Fei Seng in Sogewa. They continue riding north across the eastern Plains of Sathendo to the demihuman Zedu kingdom.

Jung-Mo continues courting Ember, while Sonny is vindicated in his distrust of Lady Yun. Toshi and Saigo are eager to return to Bazran Hai, capital of their homeland. Soske’ recommends heading northwest, skirting the Therud Forest, rather than following the more heavily traveled Hei Kang River north toward Akilu.

The diplomatic escorts take a road along the Chung Hsien Stream toward the village of Yao Shun. They pass farms, rolling grasslands, and occasional copses of wind-swept trees. The caravan enjoys the pleasant late-spring weather.

Shengtese human Soske’ and Hengeyokai Ember find a campsite for the night. Shengtese Giacomo and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo practice their weapons skills and start a fire. Shan Sao Toshi lets his new tiger steed Amaya go hunting.

Spirit Folk Jung-Mo keeps a close watch on the carriage with Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja. Sometime later, Sonny and Saigo hear something while on watch.

They creep into the tall grass and dimly spot by moonlight three skull-faced warriors in bronze scale armor riding large stags. The Kensai and Samurai rouse their companions. Jung-Mo and Saigo hang back to guard the camp, and the others saddle their horses to investigate.

Wu Ember Wild Shapes into an owl and flies ahead. She talks with one of the stags, which are not Undead but have glowing eyes. The beast says that the “power of the night compels them to roam.” Soske’ doesn’t Detect Evil.

Soske’ casts Light to get a better look, and the skeletal warriors ride around the camp. The travelers ready weapons and spells, but Soske’ hails the riders. The strange soldiers say they are guardians of a holy site looking for defilers. The Shukenja offers to help, and they ride out together.

Kensai Sonny and Samurai Saigo grumble about taking on every seemingly random mission, but the team comes upon a bowl-shaped hollow with a pool at its center reflecting the starry sky. Animals gather around its perimeter, and a shimmering nature spirit appears.

She greets the newcomers and temporarily confers abilities of the animals on each rider. Sonny gets the Alacrity of the Snake (2 actions per round), and Toshi receives the Might of the Caribou (+4 Str). The glowing woman grants Ember theCunning of the Fox (can reroll any skill check) and Soske’ the Fangs of the Wolf(melee attacks do double damage).

The explorers ride on with the Undead sentinels, and the vegetation beneath their horses’ and stags’ hooves becomes black and swampy. Toshi identifies the cause as a ritual draining life from the area to empower some villains.

Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon, and a summoned spirit gives him an ice bow and applies the Fangs of the Wolf in return for the promise of a shrine.

Four people appear atop a hill. They appear to be Shengtese humans, but they are dressed strangely. The skeletal warriors lower their lances and charge, followed by the adventuring party.

man wearing stone armor charges at two of the skeletal warriors. A naked Barbarian leaps into the air, grabbing Ember in flight and pulling at her wings. The woman wearing bark casts Warp Wood on Sonny’s items, but he manages to evade her spell.

woman in furs casts Charm Animal, wresting control of tiger Amaya from Toshi, who casts Invisibility on himself and runs. The skeletons attack the Sohei in stone but all miss.

Sonny swings a chain and entangles the Wu in bark. He drags Wei Lingjuan behind his horse, preventing the evil Druid from casting spells. Soske’ fires arrows at naked Fan Kien, injuring him.

Ember surprises everyone by reverting to her true form, that of a gold dragon! Fan Kien is thrown off and starts to flee. However, Xu Song’s stone plates protect him from the skeletons, and he smacks them with his club.

Qiu Ping first directs Amaya to find Toshi but then redirects the tiger toward Sonny, whose flying kicks miss the fur-clad woman. Toshi maneuvers so that Fan Kien is between him and the tiger and the young dragon, whose breath doesn’t affect anyone yet.

Sonny apologizes as he kicks Amaya away, and Soske’ shoots at Wei Lingjuan. Enlarged Ember pounces on the naked man, but the Yamen-ren briefly breaks free and keeps running. Ember pounces on Fan Kien and beheads him with a bite.

Wei Lingjuan casts Grease but is unable to wriggle out of Sonny’s chains. Toshi casts Lightning Bolt on Qiu Ping, who is slain by Sonny. The skeletal warriors eventually get through Xu Song’s stone armor.

Toshi calls to Amaya and gradually calms her. Ember briefly feels a pull to another plane and manages to revert from draconic to humanoid form without ill effect. Sonny whistles for his horse Yip, which drags the bark-clad woman toward him.

Soske’ stops it and asks Wei Lingjuan why she has summoned dark magic. The defiant Druid says that even if she is killed, the Scarlet Order will continue spreading chaos. The skeletons carry out their orders and execute the defiler of nature.

Sonny takes the hide, bark, and stone armor, and Toshi incinerates the corpses before returning to the nature spirit. She thanks them and offers blessings. Sonny interrupts and begs a boon — he says he would like to better communicate with his horse.

The spirit nods before disappearing, and Yip says, “Sonny?”

I hope that everyone enjoyed our latest virtual session, and let me know if you’ll be available next Sunday, Aug. 31. Bruce, I hope your fantasy football draft went well, and we missed you! Dexter, I’m sure you would have enjoyed the cinematic and comedic moments of our encounters.

I look forward to tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” game at Drew’s place, and we’ll play Memorial Day by ear….

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.45 — Return and partings

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.45, which Rich C.G. hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 18 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.

Various groups of mercenaries and diplomats have fought humanoids in the northwestern borderlands, encountered pirates on the Sea of Nagendwa, and wandered the hostile Halmed Desert and the wide Plains of Sathendo….

Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the Zephyr, Player Character Party 39, as of summer 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, burned by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; with homunculus familiar Gerald and cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra”; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; 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; TNg, 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.].)

“21 to 25 March 1227 B.C.E.:” In a future Brazil, “Vistel’s Expedition” welcomed reinfocements as it helped about 100 slaves escape from a plantation. The adventurers fought automatons, overseer mechs, and a huge clockwork dragon. After a confrontation with an imp, the group took his steamboat and returned home.

Riverboat
Steamboat

Scully spots the coast of the (proto-Celtic) human kingdom of Saganim. Giacomo and Corwin shake off their disorientation from time travel. Elsa hopes to return to Thadenis, the capital. Rhys is pleased to have taken possession of Rogerio Ribeiro’s riverboat.

Radius bids farewell and pulls the reins of his cubist steed Tangent. Rogue Brendan and Barbarian Brogar hop onto Vector, the Modron Paladin’s chariot, and they depart.

Corwin recommends heading to the port of Drunstimplos, and Scully plots a course. The Bard and Ranger then set up sails, and Druid Elsa controls winds to help the overcrowded vessel. Wizard Giacomo keeps watch for nautical hazards, and artificer Rhys rations coal for the steam engine.

Tempestade and fellow capoeirist Armadeiras Fonseca attend to their fellow refugees. Elsa also Creates Food and Water for the numerous passengers. Corwin recommends that they stay below decks when they arrive in port so that local peasants aren’t alarmed by an influx of escaped slaves.

Scully reminds her companions that they need to make sure the mocambo (rebel band) is properly resettled. Giacomo allows his homunculus familiar Gerald to play with curious Rhys. The former circus performers tentatively name their ship the Zephyr.

The next day, the Zephyr docks at Drunstimlos. Albino Flind Scully stays behind to guard the boat as the other adventurers disembark. They give some silver coins to children for directions to the local lord and find his manor on a hill overlooking the bustling town.

Hill Dwarf Elsa introduces Half-Elf Corwin as a prince of the realm, and housekeeper Agatha Kettleworth brings them to Lord Caerdon. They trade tales about the dreaded Ghost Fleet but are interrupted by armored Brenda O’Connor.

The striking redheaded sentry asks about the strange boat in the harbor and reports that Father Gwydion, a high priest of Ghanki, lord of the waters, has returned after being missing for several years.

According to O’Connor, the Saganim human apparently disappeared after the crew of another ship (see notes for the Dragon’s Bane ) inquired about a pirate named Reilly and his girlfriend Irene, who was supposedly killed in a flood.

Lord Caerdon asks O’Connor to bring Father Gwydion to him. The frail-looking priest seems confused and claims that he has been conducting a wandering ministry. He does recognize the names of Reilly and Irene, but a crowd of happy townsfolk take him to the shrine of Brijitt before he can be questioned further.

Hifalendorin human Giacomo excuses himself to return to the Zephyr. Meanwhile, Rhys grows bored, so he wanders the manor’s halls and notices Sea Elven weapons on the walls. He’s not sure if they are trade goods or tropies of war.

The Tinker Gnome climbs onto a table and grabs a finely worked dagger. As Corwin and Elsa finish their audience with Lord Caerdon, they send the Rogue a magical message to tell him they’re leaving the manor. He rejoins them at the docks.

Rhys gives the Elven blade to Giacomo for safekeeping and analysis and then heads to the “Sailor’s Climb,” the nearest pub. Scully sighs and follows him. Corwin and Elsa Teleport to the Gilded Keep in Thadenis.

Members of the Tartan Guard harshly question the prince before allowing them entry, but Corwin is not offended since he knows of recent threats to his homeland. His sister Karenna is overjoyed to see him, and King Edmund II and Queen Margaret invite Corwin and Elsa to join them for dinner.

Meanwhile, Giacomo discreetly pays fishwife Shannon 25 crowns (gold pieces) for food for the Brazilian refugees. Rhys dances a shanty, while Scully makes contact with Alcander, an Atlantean (Minoan/Theran) human with the Order of the Golden Lion. He says her boyfriend “Sir Niac” [Mike F./N.P.C.] has been inquiring on her whereabouts.

Unfortunately, Rhys runs afoul of drunken sailors Eavin and Charas Thulba. Eavin and the pugnacious Gnome trade blows before the larger man swings a bar stool. Alcander tells humanoid Scully to wait in the shadows while he grapples with the thugs, as bruised Rhys slips back to the boat.

Corwin and Elsa tell Saganim’s rulers about their many misadventures, fighting Undead giants in the port of Sileran, sailing the dangerous Sea of Nagendwa, and making friends in the sorcerous city of Falit. They also mention potential allies in the Zarendo Islands, if not new foes such as a certain Pit Fiend.

King Edmund grants Tempestade and his compatriots 10 square miles (worth as much as 100,000 g.p.) about a day’s ride south of Drunstimlos for farmsteading. Corwin and Elsa also receive 2,000 crowns and a promise that Paladins are on their way to investigate the return of Father Gwydion.

Queen Margaret and Princess Karenna are disappointed that Corwin can’t stay longer, but he and Elsa say that fighting the Ghost Fleet is a worthy long-term mission.

The explorers Teleport back to Drunstimlos. Corwin looks for O’Connor, but she is out on patrol. Elsa stops by the shrine of Brijitt but can’t detect Father Gwydion’s intent.

Back at the Zephyr, the party members compare notes and set watches for the night. Elsa attends to Rhys’ injuries, and Giacomo is relieved that his cursed tattoo of the Mad Mage Ezra seems dormant.

Late the next morning, four knights ride into the Saganim town. They are accompanied by 10 men at arms. Scully runs out to embrace Wolfen Niac, and Lady Igraine Tegan salutes Corwin and company.

Giacomo recognizes Sir Sigmund Adelbard as a fellow Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human, while Sir Amir Abdul-Rahim is a Suthern (proto-Arabic) human Ghaffir from the Ebir Shiekdom.

Corwin and Elsa give Tempestade and the refugees the deed to the land granted by the king, as well as 200 crowns. Giacomo gives the Monk Boots of Elvenkind to replace the Boots of Spider Climb he lost to a Gelatinous Cube beneath the barbaric port of Gisar.

Lady Igraine and Sir Amir agree to escort Tempestade and his people across the southwestern Plains of Sathendo. The grateful Brazilians leave Drunstimlos and set out for their new home.

Sir Sigmund agrees to help look into Father Gwydion’s mysterious return and potential ties to Sea Elves, pirates, and the Undead. Niac and Scully catch up and begin plans to make the Zephyr more seaworthy.

Elsa says that removing Giacomo’s tattoo should be the team’s next top priority. The Druid also sends a Message to Capt. Scarlet aboard the swift Foamrunner asking to meet at the nearby village of Sanry as she begins building her communications network.

Corwin hopes that onetime traveling companion Hamfast is doing well back in Gisar. The prince also reports to Lord Caerdon and considers Vaughn Rikkar, a Sylvan Elf flute player among the knights’ followers, as a potential apprentice.

Rhys helps buy supplies such as coal and considers arbalests and other modifications to the party’s vessel…. Meanwhile, far to the east, another band fights its way out of the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elven) outpost of Dulthor….

Congrats again to “Vistel’s Expedition” on making “name level” and acquiring a mobile base of operations! I hope our lean team will soon be ready for new seaborne adventures!

The “New Dawn” telecom game will also resume this coming Sunday, Aug. 24, before we take a break around Labor Day. I also look forward to continuing Bruce’sPathfinderEberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries in September and perusing D&D5e….

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.44 — “Ride the lightning”

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.44, which Jason E.R. hosted in Reading, Mass., on Monday, 4 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.

Various groups of mercenaries and diplomats have fought humanoids in the northwestern borderlands, encountered pirates on the Sea of Nagendwa, and wandered the hostile Halmed Desert and the wide Plains of Sathendo….

“Vistel’s Circus,” Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s ” Vanished Lands ” heroic fantasy campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Pathfinder, and FATE3e Legends of Anglerre, as of summer 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, embittered by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 9
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • Tempestade [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 9
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with Banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 9
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer; TNg, Lvl. 9
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K./absent]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 9

Guests:

  • Radius [Jason E.R.]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 5
  • Brendan Quinn [Brian W.]-male Saganim (proto-Celtic) human Rogue, explorer; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • “Brogar the Barbarian” [Brian S.]-male Skaevingol (Viking-style) human Barbarian, happy warrior; NGc, Lvl. 9

(See previous notes for “Hamfast” [Brian W.], “Melchior” [Byron V.O.], and “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.].)

“15 to 16 March 1884 A.D./C.E.:” The sometime circus performers had journeyed thousands of years to help Tempestade rescue fellow slaves from Pais Doce, his former plantation in Brazil. They met a priest and an imp and put on a magically enchanced show. The group also fought vampires and an Outsider while trying to avoid alerting mechanized guards….

Giacomo points out that the adventurers need to regroup before helping any of the human slaves escape. Scully returns from her fight with an assassin, and Tempestade leads the way to the workers’ huts.

Elsa wants to explore the manor’s cellar and possible tunnels for more Undead, but fleeing house servants have raised an alarm. Rhys is happy to have collected some clockwork, and Corwin translates and guards the rear.

Meanwhile, Radius senses another disturbance in the Multiverse. He stops by the kingdom of Saganim to pick up reinforcements to help his onetime traveling companions. Brendan and Brogar readily agree to join the good fight.

The trio travels through time and space aboard Radius’ chariot, Vector, drawn by his steed, Tangent. Upon arriving in a 19th century Brazil, the would-be heroes cross sugar fields and meet their first automaton.

Radius quickly introduces old and new friends. Rhys mistakes the Modron for an Atlantean, but Scully and Elsa realize that Brendan is a fellow member of the Royal Society for Cartography in Thadenis.

Rage against the machines
“Vistel’s Expedition” finds two overseer mechas and six automatons guarding the slave quarters. Brogar draws his great sword and charges. The ragingBarbarian badly damages one of the larger contraptions.

Ranger Scully fires arrows to support Brogar, and Druid Elsa casts Heat Metal , affecting five of the six drones! Wizard Giacomo, whose spells are spent, circles around. Martial artist Tempestade jumps onto the second overseer walker and cracks open its cockpit.

Rogue Brendan joins Tempestade but gets hit by bullets from an automaton. Artificer Rhys pulls out a wrench and gets to work on one of the metal walkers. Paladin Radius charges up the middle, destroying a drone with his flaming sword.

The slaves emerge from their huts but hang back and watch the battle. Bard Corwin magically explains that his group has come to free them. The driver of one overseer breaks out of Tempestade’s choke hold, but he gets thrown out of his vehicle.

Brogar and Radius lay waste to the remaining drones, and Scully finishes off one overseer. Elsa Wild Shapes into a dire bear and opens a path for the freed plantation workers. Corwin readies Disintegrate but doesn’t have a clear shot.

Giacomo recalls his alchemy and notes that Heat Metal may interact with the constructs’ power source and ammunition, and a few do explode, spreading shrapnel. Tempestade slays of the sentries with a punch, and Brendan uses his lockpicking skills to slow a walker.

Rhys takes control of one of the overseers and follows the 100 fugitives and their liberators across the fields. However, more sentry drones emerge from the perimeter, plus three more mechas and a huge clockwork dragon!

Pathfinder mini
clockwork dragon

Dragon duel
Hill Dwarf Elsa casts Call Lightning, which seems to damage the metal monstrosities more than weapons. Radius calls out the “interloper from Mechanus” and charges. Saganim human Brendan pole vaults onto the dragon’s back and covers its face with a bedroll, keeping it from taking flight.

Tinker Gnome Rhys operates the machine guns in his walker, firing at one of the late Yves d’Agneau’s other overseers. Local son Tempestade runs to the dragon to look for a hatch in case it has a pilot, but he doesn’t find one.

Skaevingol human Brogar charges, and with Half-Elf Corwin translating,summons the escapees as his horde. Hifalendorin human Giacomo cuts himself to cast Magic Missiles at the enemy mecha drivers. Flind Scully casts Heat Metalon one of the overseers.

The dragon slaps at Brendan on its back with its tail and claws at Radius and Tempestade. It also breathes fire through the bedroll, killing eight slaves. The overseers shoot two more and injure Scully. Corwin and the surviving freed slaves take down the smaller automatons.

Elsa invokes Mekkil (Gaia) for a Positive Energy Burst to heal her allies. Radius casts Blade Barrier to protect the Brazilian horde, and Rhys maneuvers against the other walkers. Tempestade sticks a dagger in some of the dragon’s gears, slowing it.

Brogar rages and hacks off one of the dragon’s wings with a mighty blow. Giacomo protects himself and sniper Scully with Shield as they move up one flank. The clockwork beasts and human slavers hesitate as Elsa and Radius Call Lightning, even as their spells affect some of their companions.

Brendan jams another dagger into the damaged dragon, which topples onto Brogar, who selflessly pushes Tempestade away. The group pulls them free before the clockwork construct blows up, but Radius is briefly knocked out. The remaining guards flee, and the former slaves cheer.

Giacomo casts Sleep on one mecha pilot, enabling Rhys to swap his nonfunctional walker for a less damaged one. Brogar and Corwin gather the survivors so Elsa can heal the wounded. Rhys tosses Elsa his Bag of Holding so she can gather up as many machine parts as possible.

Tempestade and Scully signal Armadeiras Fonseca, the leader of the Mocambos (rebel band) in the jungles of Mina Gerais. He and 20 capoeiristas take the growing group to the port of Rio de Cidade, where the sorcerous Rogerio Ribeiro waits with his steamboat.

Seizing the ship
However, Radius recognizes white-suited Ribeiro as an evil Outsider and draws his sword. Rhys and Brogar hold but are ready to follow the Paladin’s lead, even as the others are reluctant to break the deal they had made to return to their own time.

Scully and Tempestade move the escapees away from the duel on the docks, and Giacomo, Elsa, and Corwin prepare protective spells. Brendan realizes that this fight is out of his league.

Ribeiro casts Circle of Protection From Good, and Radius counters with Dispel Magic. The imp summons four Osyluths (bone devils), one of which hits Brogar, sending the Barbarian into another rage.

Radius casts Dispel Evil and charges. The diminuitive redhead shrugs off the spell and casts Finger of Death at Radius, who successfully resists. Brogar wades into the fight with his great sword, and Rhys uses his walker to shoot at the demon and devils.

Radius avoids Ribeiro’s Baleful Polymorph, and Brogar finishes the fight. The Osyluths disappear, and Giacomo verifies that the Outsiders are dead or at least banished back to their home planes.

A grateful Radius heals his allies, but Scully and Elsa worry that he has cut off their way back to the “Vanished Lands.” The Modron reassures them that he can use Vector and Tangent to evacuate everyone aboard the imp’s former ship.

Scully and Brendan check the steamboat and find several booby traps. Rhys is happy to claim the craft and confirms that the river vessel has enhancements that would allow it to become an airship, but Radius is needed to make it travel through time.

Tempestade and Armadeiras usher their friends aboard, and Elsa casts Find the Path to help Radius navigate. As the boat slips between worlds, arcanists Giacomo (whose cursed tattoo acts up) and Corwin become disoriented.

“Vistel’s Expedition” and the rescued slaves soon find themselves on the Sea of Nagendwa, with the green coast of Saganim in sight….

Thanks again, Jason, for hosting “JasonCon 2014 B!” I hope that you and Brian S. enjoyed sitting in on our fantasy session, and Brian W., we’ll miss you and “Hamfast.” Bruce, we missed “Corwin,” but as you see, all’s well that ends well!

Our groups decided to take next week (Aug. 11) off, but I look forward to continuing thePathfinderEberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries, eventually resuming the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom game, and starting the next chapter for “Vistel’s Expedition!”

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.26 — Separating the nobles

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.26, which was held on Sunday, 3 August 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 andAdvanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rules,Skype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 2014:

  • 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; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 7
  • 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 of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • 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 Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K./absent]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7

“18 to 19 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers prepared to leave Sogewa, capital of Tong Sheng. Jung-Mo checked in with a countryman, Sonny kept an eye on Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong, and Toshi contacted arcanist colleagues. Ember warned a Samurai suitor, and Soske’ prayed for guidance.

Saigo was attacked in the House of the Red Lotus, but Toshi helped him escape, heal, and shop. Back out on the eastern Plains of Sathendo, the group escorted Lady Yun and Prince Zu Ji’s retinue and notified imperial troops of its itinerary.

Shengtese human Sonny says he doesn’t trust the crown prince or Lady Fu Hao, whose army is approaching Sogewa. By contrast, Toshi thinks that the general, who is the favorite of Emperor Zi Zhao’s 60 concubines, is more honorable, if somewhat bloodthirsty. The Shan Sao suggests waiting to see how any confrontation unfolds.

Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo recommends ditching Prince Zu Ji as soon as possible, regardless of Lady Yun’s offer of asylum on behalf of neighboring realm Gokuri. Hengeyokai Ember doesn’t want the prince to be murdered by his stepmother, who may have her own plans for succession.

Shengtese human Soske’ agrees with the idea of sending the prince back to his father in distant Yin for judgment. Spirit Folk Jung-Mo is more concerned about his companions’ survival than who might win in a battle — Prince Zu Ji and Lady Yun Aei-Yong on the one hand, or Lady Fu Hao and part of her army on the other.

While disguised as one of the prince’s 50 armored guards, Jung-Mo observes that the troops are nervous, even if they are not privy to the conversations among the Shang nobles. Sonny takes watch as the caravan camps for the night, about a day’s ride north of Sogewa.

Toshi studies spells in a tent, while Saigo sleeps heavily after some late nights. Ember also stands watch, and she is not surprised when Jung-Mo just happens to bump into her during his own patrol.

Meanwhile, Soske’ slips out and pointedly asks the prince why he is fleeing.Prince Zu Ji admits that he is afraid of the warrior queen but doesn’t reveal the details of any differences between him and the emperor.

Scout Jung-Mo notices that the prince’s soldiers are on alert, and Druid Ember communicates with their horses, who don’t like being saddled at night. Kensai Sonny notices activity around the tent of the court mages, and he notifies Toshi.

The Wu Jen recognizes that they are preparing a Mass Teleport ritual, which can quickly transport about a dozen people hundreds of miles. Soske’ rejoins the group, which heads toward Lady Yun’s tent.

The Wizards and the prince disappear in a flash of light. Lady Yun confirms that Zu Ji has escaped to Gokuri, and the Nannuattan notes that she has not yet had any direct communications with Lady Fu Hao, so as a foreign diplomat, she cannot be held responsible for any disputes within the Shang/Shengtese aristocracy.

Saigo is frustrated and storms off, but Toshi reassures his friends that even if the noblewomen fight, they’re now less likely to use scapegoats for a potential assassination. Jung-Mo and Ember are confused by human intrigues and bellicosity.

The next morning, the remainder of the prince’s guards head back to Sogewa, leaving Lady Yun and her escort to continue north toward Akilu Castle. Ember flies ahead in crane form. The shapeshifter spots three men dressed as Tsucharim (Mongol-style) riders.

They stop the carriage, and Lady Yun steps out to introduce herself. The scouts are suspicious, but one seems swayed to trust the manipulative Nannuattan. His cohorts try to knock some sense into him.

A larger group of Shang troops arrives and lowers spears at Lady Yun. Lieutenant Xiu Yu says the eastern Dark Elf should be killed on sight, but Sonny informs him that the latest war is over, and Lady Yun presents her credentials as a diplomat negotiating the truce between Gokuri, Tong Sheng, and the Zedu kingdom.

Lieut. Xiu is still reluctant to let the party pass, and he asks Soske’ to cast an Augury. The priest communes with abusive ancestral spirits, who confirm that Lady Yun’s mission is one of peace, “insofar as any Nannuattan says what they mean.”

Soske’ also reiterates that the army’s quarry — Prince Zu Ji — has fled beyond its reach and won’t be captured with magic. Lieut. Xiu is about to order his soldiers to leave when Toshi suggests that Lady Yun request an audience with Lady Fu.

Lieut. Xiu and his liang (unit of 25) bring Lady Yun’s caravan to a larger force of two zu (about 250 soldiers). All prostrate themselves before Lady Fu Hao. Lady Yun introduces herself, but Lady Fu cuts the pleasantries short and angrily accuses the Gokuri emissary of aiding the errant prince.

The fierce Fu dismisses Lady Yun and Samurai Saigo, but Sonny and Ember suggest that she can restore order in Sogewa without casualties by reinstating Duke Kou Fei Seng. They also remind Lady Fu to beware of the Dragon and Crane clans.

She says she’ll consider their advice. Since Ember’s true nature as an exiled dragon was revealed in a previous meeting with Lady Fu, Jung-Mo hangs back. Lady Yun shrugs off the loss of face, implying that the general has spent too long at war.

As one oracle to another, axe-wielding Lady Fu offers Soske’ any aid he may need in quelling the chaos in the countryside, as long as he finds its sources. He realizes that he is one step closer to his visions of the future and prophesied destiny.

Toshi offers his services to Lady Fu, who accepts and orders him to provide regular reports on the mission to escort Lady Yun to the capital of his homeland, the Zedu kingdom….

It was good to see most of you at Guardians of the Galaxy or “JasonCon 2014 B,”and Bruce, we’ll need to figure out the rest of August. We missed “Saigo” (and “Corwin”), but at least your team avoided getting caught in a bloody confrontation!

Note that the “Vanished Lands” campaign won’t be meeting for the next two weekends, but I hope to resume on Sunday, Aug. 24.

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.25 — Second Sogewa departure

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.25, which was held on Sunday, 27 July 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 andAdvanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rules,Skype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 2014:

  • 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; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 7
  • 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./absent]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • 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 Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 7

“16 to 17 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The band of adventurers had escorted Lady Yun Aei-Yong, an emissary from the kingdom of Gokuri, to the city of Silado. After the mysterious arrival of Prince Zu Ji, Duke Kou Fei Seng had asked the party to investigate an army approaching the provincial capital of Tong Sheng.

The wanderers returned and reported to the duke, who was now under house arrest. Lady Yun managed to persuade Prince Zu to leave Sogewa before Lady Fu Hao can lay siege with her forces. They also let the emperor’s favored concubine know that they and the crown prince planned to head north, toward Akilu Castle.

Jung-Mo meets with Tsuji Eizo, who is actually Park Chulsoon, a fellow Nannuattan Ninja. They agree that Lady Yun has positioned herself to be the winner no matter who rules the human principality.

If the duplicitous prince raises an army and “liberates” Sogewa, Gokuri gains an ally to whom it had extended asylum. If the warrior queen captures him and/or the city, Lady Yun can claim that she helped restore Shang honor.

At Silado Palace, Sonny stays with Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja. The Nannuattan diplomat writes letters to her new friends in various noble houses.

Toshi sends messages to fellow air elementalist Peng Arong and Yuen Yongyue, a priest of sea lord Ano Wasu, warning them about the potential dynastic conflict. Toshi also mentions the bulettes encountered out on the eastern Plains of Sathendo.

Ember visits a friend in the Lion Clan, followed by jealous Jung-Mo. Ember warns Kamachi Yushiro about Lady Fu’s army, and the young Samurai offers his services. Ember allows Kamachi to escort her back to her guest quarters and is bemused to notice Jung-Mo lurking in the shadows.

Saigo returns to the House of the Red Lotus, but the two geishas he had met previously are not available. Han Young-Nae brings him to a private room and serves tea. Toshi follows in bird form to try to keep his friend out of trouble.

Han Young-Nae plays some music, nearly enthralling Saigo and Toshi. Her neck stretches out to inhuman lengths, and her face twists into a frightful visage.Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo draws his katana and slices her neck, which heals instantly.

Toshi flies in and shifts back to Shan Sao form before sliding open the door. The scary woman tries to bite Saigo, who slashes at her with his sword. Toshi castsFire Shurikens, missing Han Young-Nae but setting the room ablaze.

The creature, which Toshi identifies as a Rokurokubi, draws a pair of sai and strikes Saigo. Wu Jen Toshi invokes the wind lords and uses his Storm Gauntletsto cast Lightning Bolts, wounding the long-necked monster.

Samurai Saigo dodges the Rokurokubi’s fangs, but Toshi is drained of some blood. The eastern Halfling kills the demonic creature with more lightning, casts Wizard Mark on her corpse, and takes the sai.

Saigo quickly searches the burning room and is entangled by living shrouds around the bed. The eastern Sylvan Elf manages to cut through the Ittan-momen and hastily leaves the House of the Red Lotus with Toshi.

Back at the palace, Kamachi-san asks Ember for a token, but she declines. The Hengeyokai Wu instead asks him to defend the innocent within the city, but she doesn’t tell him about Lady Liao Qianru, who she recently discovered is an old red dragon.

Jung-Mo doesn’t trust Lady Yun, but Sonny says that allowing her to talk Prince Zu Ji into leaving Sogewa should avoid unnecessary bloodshed. Soske’ prays to ancestral spirits for guidance in containing the growing chaos in the countryside.

Toshi and Saigo hop on a water taxi to the temple of Ano Wasu. They meet Shengtese Shukenja Chang Baio and Sea Spirit Folk Sohei Sun Min, two Clerics of the sea lord. Toshi offers 100 tael (50 gold pieces) and a Fireball scroll for healing and to remove any curses Saigo may have acquired.

Saigo then takes the lead to find a gift shop near the docks. Even though it is late in the evening, he bangs on a door, awakening the proprietor. Hong Feng is deferential to the knight and court mage, and he sells Saigo a silk origami bird and a jade amulet of the city for a total of 60 tael.

Hungry Sonny and Ember take advantage of the palace kitchens before they leave, and Soske’ continues to avoid his nosy extended family. The rest of the night passes uneventfully.

The next morning, Prince Zu Ji meets Lady Yun with 50 people. Shengtese human Sonny observes four courtiers and potential spellcasters in robes among the royal guards.

Secretive Jung-Mo incapacitates a soldier and takes his fine suit of armor to infiltrate the prince’s entourage. Druid Ember shifts into crane form to scoutahead for Lady Fu Hao’s forces.

Toshi walks with his new tiger companion Amaya and Soske’ near the caravan’s rear. He also reveals an Ioun stone, which hovers and produces light (and has no other remaining magic).

The Halfling Wizard privately warns his companions that they must carefully navigate between their vows to protect the Nannuattan diplomat, and now her Shang ally, with their desire to help Sogewa and Lady Fu Hao’s army.

Saigo rides near Lady Yu’s carriage and Prince Zu. He recognizes a few of the mercenaries who had arrived with the rogue royal now dressed in uniforms with the imperial seal. The prince seems unconcerned about the army pursuing him.

Ember spots two riders in Tsucharim (Mongol-style) dress, and she lands before them. She presents the foo creature battle standard of Lady Fu Hao, and the horsemen say that some of the queen’s troops have encountered resistance. Ember asks them to let Lady Fu know that the prince has left Sogewa.

Upon flying back to the caravan, Ember signals to Sonny to get their companions to discreetly regroup. They eventually agree to hold back in the hope that they can avoid being caught between Lady Yun Aei-Yong and Prince Zu Ji on the one side and Lady Fu Hao’s army on the other….

Geoff, we missed “Soske’” and I hope you’ll be able to rejoin us this coming weekend. I’ve posted separately regarding Bruce’s “PathfinderEberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries, Guardians of the Galaxy, and “JasonCon 2014 B.”

Let me know if any of you need help updating your character records on Obsidian Portal to Level 7.