“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!”

Dungeon Crawl Classics Game 1: the Goblin keep

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for the first part of Brian W.‘s Dungeon Crawl Classics demonstration, which he hosted and ran at his home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 30 July 2012.

In one world, there was a region where magic and nonhuman races thrived. At the edge of the human kingdom of Hifalendor, the town of Plegmsad (once known as Pledwilt) suffers from raids by barbarians and humanoids.

In the new barony of “Kurick Stormborn” [Dave S.C./Non-Player Character], a call goes out for brave adventurers to help the frontier farmers. The following [zero-level] people meet in the market square:

>>[Gene D.:]

  • Nails“-male Hifalendorin human armorer; Alignment: Neutral
  • Burdik“-male Hill Dwarf herder; Align.: Lawful
  • Lem“-male Barbari human former slave; Align.: Chaotic
  • Sal“-male Hifalendorin human grave digger; Neutral

>>[Josh C.:]

  • Rayang“-male human gong farmer; Lawful
  • Cerban“-male Halfling mariner; Lawful
  • Ingsay“-male human guild beggar; Neutral
  • Nyhit“-male Halfling glovemaker; Lawful

>>[Bruce K.:]

  • Random Happenings“-male human cutpurse; Chaotic
  • Dykwyk“-male Elf sage; Neutral
  • Joe Jonas“-male human, singing turnip farmer; Neutral
  • Oscar the Grouch“-male Halfling vagrant; Chaotic

>>[Rich C.G.:]

  • Asura Questinar“-female human astrologer; Neutral
  • Axebeard Beardaxe II“-male Dwarf mushroom farmer; Chaotic
  • Elijah Rumbletummy“-male Halfling dyer; Lawful
  • Hobnar Grudgebearer“-male Dwarf herder and heir to the “Book of Grudges,” with sow “Maisy Dukes”; Neutral

Kurick’s accountant, a strange gentleman named “Val Shriboe” [Brian/N.P.C.], explains that local peasants have been paying a tribute of goats to a nearby band of Goblins. As his Halfling assistant collects the names of those assembled, Val notes that Elmer, the son of innkeeper Hamfast Rabbit, has been kidnapped.

Val offers a bounty of 15 crowns (gold pieces) total for Elmer’s safe return. In addition, he says he won’t levy taxes on any booty found in a raid on the Goblin camp, which is in an abandoned temple about a day’s march to the east of Phlegmsad.

Lem just wants to leave his life of bondage, and Dwarves Burdik, Axebeard, and Hobnar have no love of sneaky Goblins. Rayang’s odor keeps others at arm’s length, and Ingsay and Oscar are eager for any coin.

Dykwyk and Asura are less certain about getting dirty in the wilderness, but Nails and Random are confident that they can rescue the child. Sal expects business no matter what happens.

The large and motley crew hikes across the borderlands until it sees the stone walls around a onetime temple to Urda, lord of the sky. Smoke from the central tower and outbuildings proves that the Goblins have taken up residence.

Goblin fort
Goblins occupy ruined temple of Urda

As the afternoon sun begins to set, the would-be heroes discuss tactics in the absence of heavy weapons or armor. A stealthy squad, including Rayang, Ingsay, Random, Oscar, Asura, and Elijah, will sneak up to the ruined front doors.

Meanwhile, a larger group — Nails, Burdik, Lem, Sal, Cerban, Nyhit, Dykwyk, Joe, Axbeard, and Hobnar — enters through a breach in the outer wall. The brave band circles the central keep, and Joe opens a back door to the chapel. A wooden pew crashes down, but nobody is hurt by the boobytrap. A dozen Goblins emerge!

Nyhit squeezes past the bench and kills a Goblin with his awl. Cerban charges in and smashes another. Axebeard swings a bag of rocks (which normally holding mushrooms) into one humanoid, as Hobnar throws a flask of oil.

Lem pulls out a blackjack and Burdik wields his shepherd’s crook as a staff. Joe and Dykwyk wait for a chance to follow. Axebeard and Hobnar fight back to back until they are joined by fellow Dwarf Burdik.

Axebeard wounds another needle-toothed Goblin, and Hobnar finishes him off. The nasty critters miss Axebeard and Burdik, but they impale Cerban, killing the Halfling. Enraged, Joe spikes and throws a foe with his pitchfork, as Dykwyk’s dagger misses.

Lem almost hits himself with his makeshift club, and Burdik smites a Goblin with his staff. However, more Goblins arrive and start throwing stones from the rafters and balcony. Joe dodges the rocks, and Axebeard is slightly injured. Burdik is less fortunate and is also slain. Nyhit responds by also hurling stones.

The Goblins miss the surviving Dwarves and Halflings, but Dkywyk is also hurt. Axebeard ducks behind a bench for cover, and Hobnar charges the far wall, behind which wait the stealthy reinforcements.

Joe kills a Goblin facing Hobnar while Dykwyk throws rocks. Lem smashes his opponent in the knee, but Sal misses with his shovel. Nails hits another with his hammer. Nyhit and Cerban chase the last Goblins into the stealthy squad, which finishes them off.

The reunited explorers quickly search the chapel. They collect goat hides for armor, clubs, pointy sticks, and a sack of colorful pebbles. Asura retrieves a tarnished brass holy symbol of Urda from the neglected altar.

Axebeard and Hobnar swear vengeance on behalf of fallen comrade Burdick, but Sal and Asura note that there’s no time to properly bury him or Cerban as long as other Goblins — and captive Elmer — can be found in the temple complex.

The 14 infiltrators descend and find a row of monks’ cells. They also find an ossuary and an astrological symbol that Asura recognizes. Rayang urges his companions to leave immediately rather than disturb the graves. They agree.

At a building in one corner of the palisade, Nyhit opens a door and is nearly overcome by the smell of rotting carcasses. He runs, and Random quickly closes it. Rayang, Joe, and Nyhit lead the way to one of the front towers, but the wooden stairs and walkway are rotten and rickety.

In the other tower, the group finds a Goblin that has been dead for a while. Apparently, the squatters weren’t expecting to need to keep watch for attack from Phlegmsad. Rayang is swarmed by fist-sized spiders, and Oscar nearly closes the door on him.

The others brush some spiders off manure spreader. At the main tower, Hobnar finds that the door is trapped with a magical rune. Sal tries to open it from a distance with a chain, but he gets a nasty shock.

While the wounded party members wait outside, the others go up to the second story. They find a workshop and laboratory. Elmer calls from a cage, which Ingsay unlocks. Lem eyes beakers and books but has no idea what they are for.

An evil Wizard named Otto descends from the third floor, carrying a crystal globe. Asura wears a robe with similar stars embroidered on it. The spellcaster smashes the sphere, which emits a green smoke. The gas begins to coalesce into a bestial form, forcing the group back.

Random grabs Elmer, and Sal tries to torch the lab. Nails throws a beaker at the cloud, and Rumbletummy throws a cloth over it. Outside, hordes of skeletal goats and Goblins emerge from the building with the bad odor.

Hobnar calls for a retreat rather than fighting through Otto’s charnel house. Joe stabs the cloud with his pitchfork and sees snake heads and eyes that glitter with dying stars. Otto retreats as his skeletal constructs advance.

Rayang and Asura observe that the constructs have some sort of sack in their ribcages and aren’t “true” Undead. The rescuers head back to the town, avoiding Otto’s automata on the way. Nails, Rayang, Random, and Asura use their reward money to buy equipment and training as a Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, and Cleric of Urda, respectively….

Brian, I enjoyed our first oldschool Renaissance session, and I look forward to our Level 1 adventure in just over a week. In the meantime, I also look forward to the next FATE 3e “Vortex” telecom space opera and Jason’s final “Glassworks” superhero game.

Also, don’t forget to reply to the discussions on the Yahoo/eGroups message board about which retroclone to use for my upcoming “Vanished Lands” fantasy campaign and about Josh and Jason’s proposals. Later, -Gene