D&D5e “Vanished Lands” F2F nautical Session 41.6 — The Bronze Storm

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 41.6 of our face-to-face D&D5e game, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 27 July 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place where strange majicks and demihuman racesthrived. 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.

Sometime after a group of former circus performers wandered aboard the airship Zephyr and a team of diplomatic escorts fought chaos in Tong Sheng, past heroes reunited, and another band gathered on the Sea of Nagendwa….

Initial Player Character roster for Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” nautical campaign, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, as of summer 2015:

  • Kamar Alazar [Beruk A.]-male Suthern human swashbuckler (proto-Arabic Bard) and former member of the “Liberators” and “Dragonslayers”; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Nuriel Earendil [Brian W.]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 2
  • Cassy Keelnipper [Sara F./absent]-female Otter-kin Rogue, street urchin, and sailor; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Kaelen Northsea [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/Saganim Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Eldamir Tempestborn [Rich C.G.]-male Atlantean human soldier (Theran/Minoan Barbarian), tattooed member of the Order of the Kingfisher, specialist in the net and trident; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Barret [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 2
  • Puliarus Aearion [Charles S.]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 2

Backup characters:

  • “Ludovico ‘Ludo’ Rosso” [Beruk A.]-male human ex-gladiator (Monk; see Bruce K.’s Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter); LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Brian W.]-male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Fighter, pragmatist; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Sara F.]-female ?; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Drogan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Orc (Saganim) Barbarian, with a great sword; CN, Lvl. 1
  • Sebastian Leafsworn [Rich C.G.]-male Sylvan Elf Monk and sage, with forbidden lore; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of the Zephyr ’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • Antoun Miner [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“9 to 12 October 1227 B.C.E.:” An away team from the H.M.S. Dauntless got reinforcements and defeated 10 Merrow raiders. The explorers talked with the former refugees in Novo Cidade and continued patrolling the Saganim coast. They then saw a woman riding alone. Esmeralda invited a few of the men to her cottage and turned out to be a Sea Hag who was quickly defeated.

Back aboard the Dauntless, Kamar gets a light crossbow from Barret, which gives him an excuse to chat with Alitasse Vorwende, the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) purser, to ask for bolts.

Nuriel takes his leave from Brother Egil and visits Halfling chef Bungo Longtoes in the galley. Cassy also stays below decks as the dromond is tossed on the Sea of Nagendwa.

Kaelen sees a storm approaching and helps Cmdr. Perry Maxwell and the rest of the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human crew batten down the hatches. Eldamir and Puliarus welcome the wild weather, while Barret removes his armor for safekeeping.

Autumn winds and rain lash the deck, but Atlantean human Eldamir and storm Sorcerer Puliarus view it as an expression of the Sea Lords. Kamar checks on Cassy and Nuriel, who has quaffed a strong cordial.

Kaelen checks with Lt. Vitalis Durand, the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human navigator. Barret helps the sailors on the oars. After several tense hours, the warship manages to ride out the storm.

Capt. Sheridan Driscoll learns that they have been blown off-course eastward, and he orders Lt. Durand to correct it in the morning. The captain also gives his crew extra time to rest.

As the Dauntless approaches the Saganim port of Sileran, another naval vessel moves to intercept it. It unfurls a flag with a stylized white horse on a green field beneath a blue sky. The H.M.S. Brave Duchess sails alongside, and Capt. Magnus Johnson asks to come aboard. Capt. Driscoll welcomes his peer.

The adventurers squeeze into the map room to listen to the captains’ discussion. They report on the shores between Drunstimlos and Sileran, including the settlement at Novo Cidade.

Capt. Johnson isn’t overly surprised to learn about the Merrows (aquatic Ogres) and Sea Hag from the Blood Current, and he agrees to relay the villagers’ resettlement request to Thadenis, the capital. The blond officer also warns of humanoid corsairs from the Bay of Ethalgo.

In addition, Capt. Johnson mentions the status of the kingdom of Saganim’s neighbors, from the Halmed Desert to the Plains of Sathendo. In return, Capt. Driscoll agrees to continue patrolling and to return to the town of Drunstimlos.

The Saganim ships part ways before curious Kaelen and Barret have a chance to explore the cog Brave Duchess. Capt. Driscoll orders Lt. Durand and his crew to set course back north.

Medieval cog
Warship

Sometime later, Puliarus and Cassy are out for their regular swim when Puliarus notices someone else in the water with them. The Half-Elf and Otter-kin discreetly return to the Dauntless, and Kaelen borrows a spyglass to look. He spots a shark man, also known as a Sahuagin or Samebito.

From the crow’s nest, Nuriel sees another ship approaching. A fast four-masted schooner unfurls a red flag with a white cutlass. Kamar recognizes the colors as those of the Bronze Storm, a pirate ship captained by one Henry “the Ghost” Grayson.

Capt. Driscoll waits as the ships close the distance between them, even as the crew and mercenaries grow anxious. When Capt. Grayson demands surrender, Capt. Driscoll orders battle stations before potential reinforcements arrive.

Kaelen readies his bow in the forecastle, and Puliarus gets ready to dive. Nuriel stays behind Barret port side amidships, while Eldamir prepares to dive from the stern. Kamar waits by the tiller, and Cassy serves with damage control below deck.

Puliarus and Eldamir take to the water as the ships continue closing. The Sahuagin swims toward Eldamir. Kaelen aims at the man at the Bronze Storm ’s wheel, presumably “the Ghost.”

Puliarus stealthily swims toward the pirate ship, while Barret helps Saganim sailors load ballistae. Kamar casts True Strike as he watches people loading a trebuchet on the Bronze Storm. Nuriel waits for his light crossbow to come into range.

The Sahuagin stabs a spear at Eldamir, who makes a reckless attack with his net. A Gnome artillerist orders the trebuchet to fire, and balls of flaming pitch kill two men, Vargas and Reilly. The Dauntless’ forecastle also catches fire.

Ranger Kaelen fires arrows at Capt. Grayson, as do other Saganim archers. Puliarus casts Fire Bolt at the enemy’s mainsail, and Fighter Barret hits the Gnome, Neil Bruton. Bard Kamar offers Eldamir an Inspiring Word [to the tune of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”].

Rogue Cassy and others fight the fire, and a few of Cleric Nuriel’s quarrels find their mark. Cmdr. Maxwell notices that the Dauntless has drifted dangerously close to being broken in half by the Bronze Storm, and he orders Lt. Durand and the oarsmen to make a quick course correction.

Beneath the waves, the Sahuagin breaks free of Eldamir’s net and claws at the Barbarian. Pirate snipers hit Barret, Kamar, and Kaelen with arrows, but some of them are distracted extinguishing Puliarus’ flames.

Eldamir eventually skewers the Sahuagin with his trident, and Half-Elf Kaelen sets his Hunter’s Mark on “the Ghost.” After a few misses, the Dauntless’ archers and ballistae begin hitting their targets.

Sorcerer Puliarus creates a Fog Cloud on the enemy tiller, making it harder for theBronze Storm to steer, even if it also provides cover to Capt. Grayson.

Barret kills one of the people loading the trebuchet with a heavy bolt, as Suthern (proto-Arabic) human Kamar casts another True Strike. Sharks swim toward the slain Sahuagin.

Arrows from the Bronze Storm strike Barret and Kaelen, but the next volleys from its Bruton’s trebuchet miss the Dauntless. Eldamir swims toward the pirate ship and jams his trident into its rudder. Kaelen shoots the Gnome, killing him, as Puliarus casts more Fire Bolts and Magic Missiles at the sails.

As the ships get closer to each other, Barret tries to swing out on a rope, but the swashbuckling Minotaur is still too far to board. Still, Lt.Cmdr. Brock ap Corgan orders his Royal Marines to be ready for boarding.

Barret fights ship to ship
Minotaur swashbuckler

Persistent Kamar gives Kaelen an Inspiring Word and disables the trebuchet by casting Sleep on one of its remaining tenders. Nuriel and the other archers continue raining arrows on the enemy’s deck.

Bold Eldamir climbs onto the fog-shrouded Bronze Storm and pulls a Bugbear overboard. Puliarus cheerfully swims over to help. The Dauntless draws up alongside the pirate ship, as their crews draw blades and ready for melee combat….

Sara, I hope you’re feeling better, and I look forward to seeing most of the gang at our next “New Dawn” and face-to-face sessions!

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D&D5e “Vanished Lands” Session 41.5 — Otter in the mist, or rabbit carnivale

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 41.5 of our face-to-face D&D5e game, which Drew & Divya S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 6 July 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders.

Sometime after a group of former circus performers wandered aboard the airshipZephyr and a team of diplomatic escorts fought chaos in Tong Sheng, past heroes reunited, and another band gathered on the Sea of Nagendwa….

Initial Player Character roster for Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” nautical campaign, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, as of summer 2015:

  • Kamar Alazar [Beruk A.]-male Suthern human swashbuckler (proto-Arabic Bard) and former member of the “Liberators” and “Dragonslayers”; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Nuriel Earendil [Brian W./absent]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 2
  • Cassy Keelnipper [Sara F.]-female Otter-kin Rogue, street urchin, and sailor; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Kaelen Northsea [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/Saganim Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Eldamir Tempestborn [Rich C.G.]-male Atlantean human soldier (Theran/Minoan Barbarian), tattooed member of the Order of the Kingfisher, specialist in the net and trident; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Barret [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 2
  • Puliarus Aearion [Charles S.]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 2

Backup characters:

  • “Ludovico ‘Ludo’ Rosso” [Beruk A.]-male human ex-gladiator (Monk; see Bruce K.’s Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter); LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Brian W.]-male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Fighter, pragmatist; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Sara F.]-female ?; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Drogan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Orc (Saganim) Barbarian, with a great sword; CN, Lvl. 1
  • Sebastian Leafsworn [Rich C.G.]-male Sylvan Elf Monk and sage, with forbidden lore; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of the Zephyr ’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • Antoun Miner [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“6 to 8 October 1227 B.C.E.:” The team returned to the town of Drunstimlos, turned Necromancer Morgwyn over to militia chief Brenda O’Connor, and gave maps to Cmdr. Perry Maxwell. It then boarded the Saganim naval cruiser H.M.S. Dauntless, got to know its crew, and fought Merrows attacking a human coastal settlement.

Under the cover of Puliarus’ Fog Cloud, the landing party retreats to the dinghy. He and Nuriel help wounded Cassy, and Barret carries unconscious Kamar. A second boat arrives from the Dauntless with Kaelen, Eldamir, Brother Egil, and a few royal marines.

Brother Egil, a Saganim (proto-Celtic) human chaplain, heals Kamar and Cassy. Nuriel has exhausted his spells for the day, so he stays with a few guards at the boats. Horned Barret charges back into battle, as Puliarus cautiously maneuvers to cast Fire Bolt.

Newcomer Kaelen recognizes the 10 Merrows as a favored enemy and looses arrows from the rowboat. Cassy follows Puliarus’ lead and sneaks to the edge of the magical fog. Intimidating Eldamir rages against one aquatic Ogre outlined in Faerie Fire.

Bard Kamar aids Eldamir with vicious mockery, but two of the Merrows hit him rather than the Atlantean human Barbarian. Fighter Barret tries to toss one foe aside and join Eldamir.

Sorcerer Puliarus misses with one Fire Bolt but hits with another. Ranger Kaelen wades ashore, as Rogue Cassy drops an enemy with her rapier. Eldamir stabs at a Merrow with his trident, while Kamar offers an Inspiring Word to Kaelen.

The Merrows injure Cassy and Eldamir with harpoons and claws, and the Saganim sailors shoot arrows. Barret shoves two opponents, and Kaelen slays two more Ogres. Brother Egil attends to Cassy, and Eldamir also kills two Merrows.

The tough Merrows briefly knock out Kamar, Barret, and Puliarus, even as the marines continue releasing volleys of arrows at them. Half-Elves Puliarus and Kaelen manage to finish off three more foes between them.

Brother Egil stabilizes Minotaur Barret, and Otter-kin Cassy picks up two harpoons. Suthern human Kamar regains consciousness, and Kaelen asks the last Merrow who sent them to attack the human hamlet.

The sea Orc snarls and says that an old woman, possibly a Scrag or sea Troll, told him about easy pickings. Kaelen executes the prisoner. The group retrieves the following weapons from the fallen:

  • Five cutlasses (1d6 damage)
  • Three daggers (1d4)
  • Nine harpoons (2d6)
  • Pearls, worth 150 sovereigns (gold pieces)

It then enters “Novo Cidade,” whose dark-skinned inhabitants turn out to be former slaves whom the Saganim king granted land to resettle [see notes for “Tempestade” and “Vistel’s Expedition”]. Padre Franco says that his people have had difficulty with farming in the relatively cold climate and with some intolerant neighbors.

The Cleric asks the away team to see if it would be possible for them to relocate somewhere warmer. Kamar agrees to help, and Kaelen gives 50 g.p. in pearls and the extra weapons to help the people defend themselves.

The two dinghys then return to the H.M.S. Dauntless, and the mercenaries report to Capt. Sheridan Driscoll. He recommends greater caution in future missions ashore.

That night, Kamar finds fellow musicians among the crew and continues courting Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) bursar Alitasse Vorwende. Cassy talks about naval strategy with Capt. Driscoll, while Kaelen asks first officer Cmdr. Perry Maxwell about ship duties.

Manowar deck plan
Cruiser decks

Eldamir and Barret debate tactics and practice speaking Bamoric, the language of the humanoids of the Bamor Mountains. Both burly brawlers chafe at the discipline of a navy vessel, even as Kaelen puts in a good word with the captain for Barret.

At dinner, Puliarus talks with fellow arcanist Lieut. Vitalis Durand, the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human navigator. Pious Brother Egil keeps Nuriel busy with religious rites.

Amphibious Cassy and Puliarus also go for a moonlight swim in the Sea of Nagendwa and practice sneaking around. By contrast, Barret challenges some sailors to wrestling matches. The sometime gladiator surprises Kamar and others by defeating Lt.Cmdr. Brock ap Corgan, leader of the contingent of marines.

Eldamir cheers him on, but Barret is beaten by Bran MacDougal. After shaking hands, sharing drinks, and collecting winning wagers, all are fast mates.

The next day, Cassy spots someone walking along the shore southward from Novo Cidade. A young woman rides a mule without escort, despite the danger of brigands. Capt. Driscoll authorizes a change in course to a cove ahead of the woman so that another away team can question her about Merrow attacks.

Puliarus, Kaelen, and Kamar go ashore to meet the dark-haired woman, while Cassy, Eldamir, and Barret try to follow at a discreet distance. Esmeralda Cordina greets the wanderers and invites them to her cottage.

Sly Kaelen introduces himself as “Galen Moonglow,” a follower of Gheket, goddess of the moon. Wary Kamar uses the pseudonym “Carnivale,” but friendly Puliarus uses his own name.

Esmeralda prepares rabbit stew and explains that she is out of the way, so she has little to fear from pirates or bandits. The alluring woman claims to have bought supplies from the humans in Novo Cidade but hasn’t seen any Merrows.

Sensing danger, Barret bursts in through the door, confusing Esmeralda and her guests. Kamar is Polymorphed into a rabbit, but only Kaelen notices right away. The Half-Elf Ranger moves to subdue the enchantress with his sheathed sword.

Barret tries to grab Esmeralda, but the Minotaur Fighter has difficulty moving in the cramped cottage. Atlantean Barbarian Eldamir rages and stabs Esmeralda with his trident. The woman unleashes a glare at Barret, briefly stunning him.

Otter-kin Rogue Cassy catches lagomorph Kamar and puts the Suthern Bard out of harm’s way. Puliarus doesn’t understand why his companions are attacking Esmeralda, and the Half-Elf Sorcerer tries to interject on her behalf. They suspect that he has fallen under a Charm.

Kaelen draws his two swords, unaffected by Esmeralda’s Frightful Gaze. The woman claws at Eldamir, but Cassy is unable to trip her. Kamar returns to human form, just as Kalen kills the Sea Hag.

Relieved, the group searches her cottage and finds the following:

  • 20 pence (copper pieces)
  • 15 shillings (silver pieces)
  • 10 sovereigns (gold pieces)
  • 60 g.p. in gems
  • bowl, copper and silver, worth 25 g.p.
  • potion of Healing (6 doses, 2d4 + 2)
  • scroll of Mage Armor (Abjuration 1, AC 13 + Dex bonus)
  • scroll of Thaumaturgy (Transmutation 0)

The landing party returns to the H.M.S. Dauntless as it continues to patrol the Saganim coast….

Remember to update your characters to Level 2 on Obsidian Portal. I look forward to continuing this crew and the “New Dawn” telecom team in the next two weeks!

D&D5e “Vanished Lands” Session 41.4 — The “Downeaster Alitasse”

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 41.4 of our face-to-face D&D5e game, which Drew & Divya S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 29 June 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders.

Sometime after a group of former circus performers wandered aboard the airshipZephyr and a team of diplomatic escorts fought chaos in Tong Sheng, past heroes reunited, and another band gathered on the Sea of Nagendwa….

Initial Player Character roster for Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” nautical campaign, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, as of summer 2015:

  • Kamar Alazar [Beruk A.]-male Suthern human swashbuckler (proto-Arabic Bard) and former member of the “Liberators” and “Dragonslayers”; CG, Lvl. 1
  • Nuriel Earendil [Brian W.]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 1
  • Kaelen Northsea [Bruce K./absent ]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/Saganim Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 1
  • Eldamir Tempestborn [Rich C.G./absent ]-male Atlantean human soldier (Theran/Minoan Barbarian), tattooed member of the Order of the Kingfisher, specialist in the net and trident; CG, Lvl. 1
  • Barret [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 1
  • Puliarus Aearion [Charles S.]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 1

Backup characters:

  • “Ludovico ‘Ludo’ Rosso” [Beruk A.]-male human ex-gladiator (Monk; see Bruce K.’s Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter); LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Brian W.]-male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Fighter, pragmatist; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Sara F.]-female ?; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Drogan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Orc (Saganim) Barbarian, with a great sword; CN, Lvl. 1
  • Sebastian Leafsworn [Rich C.G.]-male Sylvan Elf Monk and sage, with forbidden lore; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of theZephyr ’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • Antoun Miner [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“4 to 6 October 1227 B.C.E.:” Cassy joined the new team, which traveled to Tir na nOg and managed to return to the barrows near the town of Drunstimlos. The group evaded traps in the old tombs and defeated a Necromancer and his skeletal minions.

Nuriel notes that time flows differently in the fey Otherworld than on the Prime Material plane of existence, so it’s possible that they have been away for days or years rather than hours.

Barret and Kaelen lead the way across the wide Plains of Sathendo back to the camp where they had encountered a roaring bunyip.

Kamar points out that the bunyip’s blood is still damp on the heath, and Cassy sniffs the smoldering campfire. They conclude that not only have they returned somehow before they entered the barrows, but they also have time to catch a ship out of town!

Eldamir helps guard prisoner Morgwyn, who is bound and gagged. Puliarus recommends turning the Necromancer over to the proper authorities in Drunstimlos. Kamar and Cassy are tired as they hike back.

Geraint, the innkeeper at the “Sailor’s Climb,” directs them to a guard tower at the eastern side of the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human town. They see a sturdy woman training bored adolescents in the use of staff and spear. Brenda O’Connor dismisses her students and questions the motley crusaders.

The adventuring party testifies that it caught Morgwyn practicing Necromancy in the barrows, and O’Connor agrees to take him into custody and to notify Lord Caerdon. She also pays the group a silver talent (50 silver pieces) as bounty for the criminal.

The militia leader says that she’ll pay two more (100 s.p. or 10 gold pieces) once she gets approval from Lord Caerdon. O’Connor is also interested in learning more about bandits and witches threatening travelers around Drunstimlos.

Barret picks up the butted metal horn caps he had commissioned, and the group heads to the docks to catch the H.M.S. Dauntless, a Saganim naval cruiser. Cmdr. Perry Maxwell is pleased to get two maps retrieved from Fr. Gwydion, an erratic priest of Ghanki.

Kamar and Puliarus keep copies of the old maps of the town and a desert island, as well as one detailing the area around the barrows. First officer Maxwell gives the newcomers a tour of the dromond and introduces them to Capt. Sheridan Driscoll and his crew.

Warship plan
Saganim naval vessel

Suthern human Kamar flirts with Alitasse Vorwende, a Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) and the ship’s bursar. Grey Elf Nuriel is more pleased than Half-Elf Puliarus to meet her. The spellcasters also compare notes with Lt. Vitalis Durand, a Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Wizard and navigator.

Otter-kin Cassy agrees to take shifts on lookout in the crow’s nest. Half-Elf Kaelen and Atlantean human Eldamir join some of the crew in the rigging and take shifts in the nightly watches. They see four ballistae mounted on the main deck and hammocks in the crew deck.

Barret notices Lt.Cmdr. Brock ap Corgan berating the sailors as the ship gets under way. The Minotaur happily tries the oars and later peels vegetables forHarfoot Halfling cook Bungo Longtoes.

Nuriel sings in Quelithan (High Elven) to bid the shore farewell and welcome the Sea of Nagendwa. He also receives some implements and an invitation to services from Brother Egil, a Cleric of sea lord Ghanki. The priest of Corellan Larethian enjoys gazing up at the stars before clouds move in.

Kamar joins the crew in sea shanties and composes a song in Alitasse’s honor. Cassy and Puliarus are glad to be able to take an evening swim. Barret is determined to become the best at each role aboard the Dauntless.

The next morning, Cassy spots a plume of smoke rising from a coastal village. Capt. Driscoll sends an away team to investigate, accompanied by two rowers. Amphibious Cassy and Puliarus swim ahead of the dinghy to the beach.

They see 10 Merrows (aquatic Ogres) attacking brown-skinned humans. Bold Puliarus yells at them to stop in the name of the kingdom of Saganim, and the Merrows turn their attention to him. Cassy tries to hide in the sand.

Kamar, Nuriel, and Barret come ashore and leave the two guards with the rowboat. The Bard readies True Strike, the Cleric draws his bow, and the Barbarian loads his crossbow. Cassy throws daggers at the Merrows, but they fall short.

Aquatic Ogre
Merrow

The sea Orcs thrust harpoons at Puliarus, wounding the storm Sorcerer. Swashbucking Kamar borrows a spear from Nuriel and joins the skirmish. Puliarus casts Fire Bolt, but the Merrows are tough and agile.

Burly Barret hits one foe with a bolt, and Nuriel’s Warding Flash protects him. Unfortunately, the elegant Elf’s bowstring breaks because it was dampened by salt water. Rogue Cassy switches to her rapier.

The Merrows injure Barret, but five are pushed back by Kamar’s Thunderwave.Puliarus joins him and advances with wind magic. Barret gets his second windand shoves two of the monstrous humanoids.

Nuriel pulls out a crystal, mutters, and outlines one of his opponents with Faerie Fire. Cassy strikes a blow before she and Puliarus are knocked unconscious by the Merrows. Kamar draws his rapier and casts another Thunderwave spell.

Nuriel hits some of the Merrows with a white flare from his crystal (Burning Hands). Kamar gives Barret Bardic Inspiration but is also knocked out by the Ogre-kin. Barret stabilizes Kamar, and Nuriel heals Puliarus, who wisely casts Fog Cloudso the team can fall back to the boat.

Nuriel and Puliarus grab Cassy, and Barret carries Kamar, as Kaelen and Eldamir arrive with Brother Egil and a few royal marines on a second dinghy from the Dauntless….

Two nights, two tough battles in a row! I look forward to continuing our D&D5e game, but note that I’ll be out of town later this month.

In the meantime, I also look forward to upcoming “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” and “Star Wars: Dark Timessessions. Have a great Independence Day!

D&D5e “Vanished Lands” F2F nautical Session 41.3

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 41.3 of our face-to-face D&D5e game, which Drew & Divya S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 15 June 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place where strange majicks and demihuman racesthrived. 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.

Sometime after a group of former circus performers wandered aboard the airshipZephyr and a team of diplomatic escorts fought chaos in Tong Sheng, past heroes reunited, and another band gathered on the Sea of Nagendwa….

Initial Player Character roster for Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” nautical campaign, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, as of summer 2015:

  • Kamar Alazar [Beruk A.]-male Suthern human swashbuckler (proto-Arabic Bard) and former member of the “Liberators” and “Dragonslayers”; CG, Lvl. 1
  • Nuriel Earendil [Brian W.]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Kaelen Northsea” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/? Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 1
  • Eldamir Tempestborn [Rich C.G.]-male Atlantean human soldier (Theran/Minoan Barbarian), tattooed member of the Order of the Kingfisher, specialist in the net and trident; CG, Lvl. 1
  • “Barret” [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 1
  • Puliarus Aearion [Charles S./absent]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 1

Backup characters:

  • “Ludovico ‘Ludo’ Rosso” [Beruk A.]-male human ex-gladiator (Monk; see Bruce K.’s Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter); LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Brian W.]-male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Fighter, pragmatist; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Sara F.]-female ?; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Drogan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Orc (Saganim) Barbarian, with a great sword; CN, Lvl. 1
  • Sebastian Leafsworn [Rich C.G.]-male Sylvan Elf Monk and sage, with forbidden lore; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of theZephyr ’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • Antoun Miner [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“3 October 1227 B.C.E.:” The would-be adventurers consulted with the grieving parents of a young pirate, as well as with a local wizard before following an old map to some barrow mounds. They encountered a loud Bunyip on the way and found a strange portal in the tombs.

Meanwhile, back in the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human town of Drunstimlos, Nuriel ends his reverie and searches for his newfound companions at the “Sailor’s Climb” pub. Instead, the Grey Elf meets Cassy, an Otter-kin who says she saw them hiking north. The duo sets out after the motley crusaders.

Kaelen and Eldamir are worried when Kamar, Barret, and Puliarus step through the magical doorway into what appears to be a pleasant glade. They shrug in resignation and pursue them, just as Nuriel and Cassy catch up.

Nuriel is also entranced by the flowers, trees, and butterflies, which Kaelen, Eldamir, and Cassy perceive as more sinister. They spot a pirate’s bones. A small figure with a large nose peers out at the newcomers from behind a gnarled branch, and Cassy circles around to surprise him.

Small fey
Kilmoulis

The Kilmoulis welcomes the visitors to Tir na nOg, or the “Otherworld.” He whistles, and more diminutive Fey appear. They offer to take the team to meet their “larger cousins,” whom Nuriel identifies as Sidhe, kin of the Elves.

Cassy, Kaelen, and Eldamir politely decline and manage to get the group back to the portal and the tunnels beneath the barrows. Minotaur Barret takes the lead, followed by Cassy and Kaelen.

Kamar and Nuriel follow, with Eldamir and Puliarus bringing up the rear. HumansKamar and Eldamir light torches, and Nuriel coaxes his enchanted crystal into glowing. The spelunkers pass stairs and backtrack to an intersection near where they entered.

They then enter a long passage with three pairs of alcoves. Barret notices that the metal torch sconces aren’t rusted, despite being centuries old. Cassy scampers onto his shoulder for a closer look.

The Rogue suggests that they could open a hidden door, so the burly gladiator grabs one on each side of the hallway. The floor drops out, revealing a pit with spikes! Cassy hangs onto Barret, who hangs onto the sconces.

Kamar and Kaelen look 15 feet down into the pit, whose spikes are coated with grease or poison. The Bard and Ranger also see the skeleton of an unlucky grave robber. Cleric Nuriel uses Thaumaturgy to detect magic but senses none.

Barbarian Eldamir and Sorcerer Puliarus throw a rope, which Cassy uses to secure Barret and herself. Barret then jumps to the far side of the pit, while Cassy lowers herself into it. Kamar carefully joins her, and they retrieve an antique sword and a few intact arrows.

They then spike the trapdoor shut and follow Barret. The Fighter points out a pair of statues, and Cassy checks for more traps but finds none. At the third set of alcoves, the explorers decide to leave the (empty) suits of old armor alone.

The tunnels fork again. To the right (south) is some rubble, and the north passage leads to stairs down into a burial chamber. Three limestone sarcophagiare in the center, and each wall has more doors.

Nuriel and Barret are uncomfortable when Kamar and Kaelen use crowbars to look inside one sarcophagus. They find the remains of a blond chieftain clutching a long sword and wearing many rings. Cassy and Puliarus watch the doorways.

One exit leads to a corridor choked with webs, and another leads to more stairs down. The party descends and finds another crypt. Six skeletons attack with bronze blades!

Undead tomb guardians
Skeletal warriors

Quick-thinking Cassy rolls marbles down the stairs in an effort to slow the Undead. Bodyguard Eldamir steps in front of Nuriel, who readies his light crystal. Kaelen and Barret replace the lid of the sarcophagus and draw weapons.

Kamar readies True Strike but doesn’t have a clear line of sight in the staircase. Puliarus holds a lantern and stays on rearguard. Cassy slips into the shadows, while Eldamir rages and charges with his trident.

Kaelen destroys one skeleton, and Nuriel falls back with Puliarus. Kamar grabs a crowbar and maneuvers, as Barret moves to aid Kaelen. The skeletons hit Kaelen and knock Kamar unconscious. The group glimpses a man in black robes laughing in the crypt beyond.

Cassy switches to her rapier, and enraged Eldamir destroys two skeletons. Kaelen finishes two more, while Nuriel revives unlucky Kamar. Barret advances to reinforce Eldamir, but one skeleton injures Kaelen.

The Necromancer summons six more skeletons. Eldamir charges through them to the enemy spellcaster. Kaelen and Barret hold the stairs, as Kamar heals the Half-Elf. Nuriel tosses his crystal into the room.

One skeleton hits its ally rather than Eldamir, but another strikes the Atlantean. The Saganim human Necromancer casts at Eldamir, but he successfully resists. Barret gores and bashes the monsters in his way, and Cassy scores some hits at the top of the stairs.

Eldamir drops his rage and casts a net over the Necromancer, immobilizing him. Kaelen destroys another Undead with his swords, and Kamar gives Barret anInspiring Word. Nuriel casts Prestidigitation and steps forward, hitting two foes.

The unquiet dead wound Eldamir and Cassy, but the Necromancer is unable to get free from the net. Barret gets his Second Wind and smashes two more skeletons.

After a few tries, Eldamir manages to knock down the Necromancer, whom he then pummels. Kamar destroys a skeleton, and Nuriel finishes Kaelen’s two opponents. Cassy and Barret take care of the last skeletons.

Eldamir, Kaelen, and Kamar search and interrogate the Necromancer. Morgwyn says that he was conducting research and that he has friends in a manor outside of Drunstimlos.

Nuriel recognizes the holy symbol of Gheket, mistress of dark magic, and Barret recalls that one of the maps they got from Fr. Gwydion at a decrepit temple of Addoh showed a house on a hill surrounded by water. It also showed signs of bandits and sorcery.

The party plans to pass on some of those maps to Cmdr. Perry Maxwell as a condition of employment aboard the H.M.S. Dauntless. Barret mentions that he has memorized them.

The wanderers debate over whether to continue exploring the barrows or to return to town in time to catch the Dauntless. They eventually decide to leave the tombs for later and to bring Morgwyn to the local authorities….

Welcome back, Sara, to our face-to-face games! Charles, we missed you this past Monday, but I’m glad that you were able to meet more people at Bruce’s fun cookout last weekend.

Don’t forget to upload your new (and backup) characters to Obsidian Portal if you haven’t already. Also, reemember that the D20/FATE “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom team won’t be meeting this coming Sunday because of Father’s Day.

I look forward to continuing our adventures, as well as to seeing some of you at Brian S.‘s place for next Monday’s session of Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times!”

D&D5e “Vanished Lands” Session 41.2 — Motley crusaders

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 41.2 of our face-to-face D&D5e “Vanished Lands” game, which Drew and Divya S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 1 June 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders.

Sometime after a group of former circus performers wandered aboard the airship Zephyr and a team of diplomatic escorts fought chaos in Tong Sheng, past heroes reunited, and another band gathered on the Sea of Nagendwa….

Initial Player Character roster for Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” face-to-face nautical campaign, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, as of summer 2015:

  • Kamar Alazar [Beruk A.]-male Suthern human swashbuckler (proto-Arabic Bard) and former member of the “Liberators” and “Dragonslayers”; CG, Lvl. 1
  • Nuriel Earendil [Brian W.]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Cassy Keelnipper” [Sara F./absent]-female Otter-kin Rogue; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Kaelen Northsea” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/? Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 1
  • Eldamir Tempestborn [Rich C.G.]-male Atlantean human soldier (Theran/Minoan Barbarian), tattooed member of the Order of the Kingfisher, specialist in the net and trident; CG, Lvl. 1
  • “Barret” [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 1
  • Puliarus Aearion [Charles S.]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 1

Backup characters:

  • “Ludovico ‘Ludo’ Rosso” [Beruk A.]-male human ex-gladiator (Monk; see Bruce K.’s Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter); LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Brian W.]-male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Fighter, pragmatist; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Sara F.]-female ?; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Drogan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Orc (Saganim) Barbarian, with a great sword; CN, Lvl. 1
  • Sebastian Leafsworn [Rich C.G.]-male Sylvan Elf Monk and sage, with forbidden lore; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of the Zephyr’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • Antoun Miner [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“2 October 1227 B.C.E.:” A new band of mercenaries met in the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human port of Drunstimlos and decided to sign onto the naval cruiser H.M.S. Dauntless. Before coming aboard, however, they had to acquire some maps from a neglected temple in town.

Eldamir is curious about Father Gwydion, whom they met at the temple of Addoh, but Kamar is wary of the priest. Puliarus wants to ask around about the maps, and Kaelen and Barret agree to accompany him.

As the two teams leave the “Sailor’s Climb” pub, they see Nuriel walking on the beach contemplating the vastness of time and space. They also spot an Otter-kin darting about on the busy docks.

Kamar and Eldamir return to the temple of the sea lord and wait outside. They eventually see an elderly couple slowly climb the hill to the church and hesitate outside its decrepit doors. The two people then turn and start to walk away.

Cunmor and Elise tell the Bard and Barbarian that they blame Fr. Gwydion for the loss of their son, Gareth. Several years ago, Gareth ran away to join a pirate named “Lord Lucius,” and the priest didn’t try to talk him out of it, they say. He was later killed at sea.

The Saganim townsfolk are surprised to learn that Fr. Gwydion has returned, and they say that the sorry state of the temple is a sign that Addoh has abandoned the people of Drunstimlos.

Innkeeper Geraint directs Puliarus to Rowan Thorne, a local mage. He, Kaelen, and Barret find a thatched cottage at the edge of town. A woman emerges, clutching packets of herbs. Puliarus knocks, and a voice lazily invites him in.

The visitors meet a thin, pale human with lank blond hair and a loosely tied robe. When Thorne notices that Minotaur Barret is having trouble entering the crowded cottage, he Shrinks him from 7 feet in height to 3 feet!

Ranger Kaelen observes the well-stocked alchemical supplies and components drying in the rafters and concludes that Thorne isn’t as dissolute as he appears. “Minitaur” Barret befriends Nelly, the Wizard’s large wolfhound.

Sorcerer Puliarus shows Thorne symbols that he has copied from Fr. Gwydion’s maps, which Cmdr. Maxwell expects as a condition for coming aboard the H.M.S.Dauntless. The magic user easily identifies nearby barrows (tombs) and says that the wolf’s head image likely refers to outlaws accused of witchcraft.

Thorne says that he’s thirsty, which Barret understands as a request for payment before he’ll share more information. The Fighter runs off to a nearby pub to fetch a bottle of wine and a sausage for Nelly. The bartender is so bemused that he doesn’t haggle.

Kamar and Eldamir, among others, spot shrunken Barret on his way back to the Wizard’s cottage. Thorne then associates the tower symbol with the manor of Lord Caerdon. A house with a moat could refer to a heretic’s holdout with a monster-stocked pool, he says.

He also says the symbol of trees could refer to the Tulvey Woods, which are good for occasional hunting of small game, or the Bonerattle Woods, which are to the east and said to be haunted. Puliarus and company thank the Wizard and leave.

Barret is interested in checking out the woods, but he outvoted by those who favor checking out the barrow mounds. The group gathers its gear and hikes north, onto the wide Plains of Sathendo.

Kaelen leads the way as would-be adventurers carefully ford a stream. Eldamir, Kamar, Puliarus, and Barret follow through fields and moors. They decide to camp for the night a few miles away from the tombs.

On the first watch, unshrunk Barret and Half-Sea Elf Puliarus sit near the fire to avoid mosquitos. During the second watch, Kamar and Kaelen hear something large splashing in the stream. The Suthern human goes to wake the others, while the Half-Sylvan Elf scout creeps closer, spotting a seal-like creature.

Mythical seal-like creature
Bunyip

As the motley crusaders arrive, the strange animal panics, roars, and lurches toward the people on land. Atlantean human Eldamir’s tattoos begin to glow blue as he rages. Kaelen draws two short swords and attacks. Barret is briefly scared by the bellowing beast, which lunges at Puliarus but misses him.

Puliarus casts Magic Missile and maneuvers, while Kamar also hesitates because of the animal’s noises. Eldamir charges and throws his net, slowing his opponent. Kaelen scores two hits, but Barret misses.

The beast, which sage Puliarus identifies as a Bunyip, frees itself from Eldamir’s net. Kamar provides Bardic Inspiration to Kaelen, and raging Eldamir cries out “For Atlantis!” Horned Barret ends the fight with a goring rush.

Barbaric Eldamir and Barret butcher the carcass and claim razor-sharp teeth for future arrowheads. Each party member gets two Bunyip teeth. Eldamir spends an uneventful third watch before breaking camp in the morning.

The wanderers reach the barrows and see three large tombs, as on the old map, surrounded by many lesser mounds. Kaelen and Kamar search the tumbled-down entrance to the largest barrow. Eldamir, Barret, and Puliarus check the perimeter and find a few tracks in the high grass.

After some trial and error amid trapped or blocked doorways, Kaelen and Kamar find a door into the ancient catacombs. A stone lintel includes a carving of a symbol of a cloud blowing wind. Barret, who has a good sense of direction, leads the way, followed by Kaelen, Kamar, Puliarus, and Eldamir.

Celtic tomb mound
Barrow entrance

The explorers traverse narrow tunnels and follow three left forks. They come to a closed door and an oaken archway that hasn’t rotted despite the passage of time. Barret senses a fleeting breeze at his back and glimpses a white gown disappearing around a corner.

The Minotaur mapper wants to pursue it, but Kamar recommends staying together as he, Eldamir, and Puliarus try to decipher the door mechanism. When they do, they are surprised to see a large tree in a flowery meadow, despite the fact that they are many feet underground.

Kaelen and Eldamir notice that the tree is rather gnarled, and the butterflies actually look more like moths, but they shrug and follow the others through the enchanted portal….

Don’t worry — we’ll get to the agreed-upon nautical adventures soon enough! I think starting out with a classic dungeon crawl has worked out well so far, and I look forward to new party’s (mis)adventures!

In the meantime, remember to finish equipping and uploading your characters (and their backups), and I look forward to seeing most of you at upcoming “Star Wars: Dark Timesor “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” sessions.