“Star Trek: Restoration” Episode 4 — Tracking transmissions

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our fourth “Star Trek” session, which we played at Brian W.’s home in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 23 February 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise-E fought the Borg and Remans [Nemesis], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s ” Star Trek: Restoration” space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rulesObsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • Chief Ravi Chandler” [Brian W.]-male Altairian human, non-commissioned officer and transporter expert assigned to aid Lt. Kyerak’s mission
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone. Some junior officers then accepted a covert mission to investigate offworld interference in a former member of the United Federation of Planets.

“Stardate 95248.042 (11 April 2418):” At Alpha Tauri III in the Aldebaran system, the away team visited the science station of Nar Instel under the pretense of being Ferengi traders. It found a Romulan spy who planned to train unwitting students in the ruthless methods and beliefs of the Tal Shiar.

The explorers still have to find the remaining two sources of subspace transmissions in the former U.F.P. colony, which has regressed to a pre-warp level of technology. They had tracked the signals to the industrial city of Irdrant and the agricultural community of Folkhar.

Lt. Kyerak decides that the landing party should visit Irdrant next. Chief Ravi Chandler notes that his upbringing in the militaristic Altair system should be helpful in dealing with this nation-state of Aldebaran.

DaiMon Froot notes that the team will have to teleport from theLove’s Latinum Lost because defense forces would spot a landing starship. Kimbal Tegan scans the city and narrows the transmission site to a single neighborhood.

Industrial colony
Irdrant

Kyerak wants to negotiate with local authorities to find whoever is sending the subspace signals in violation of Starfleet’s non-interference Prime Directive, as he did in Nar Instel. Froot argues in favor of backup false identities as police officers.

Ravi changes out of his uniform, and Kimbal tunes into local radio stations. The other crew members from the U.S.S. Rotha stay with the Love’s Latinum Lost as the foursome beams down to an alley on the surface.

Vulcan Kyerak and human Ravi head toward “Nel’s Diner,” while Ferengi Froot and Trill Kimbal walk around the block and spot a military security post before entering the eatery.

Kyerak observes that most of the diner’s patrons are human, except for Illiana Drah’el, a Cardassian administrative assistant. Muscular Ravi impresses Bajoran waitress Kala Voshen and other women.

Froot watches as a well-dressed human executive arrives from the radio station across the street. Both Illiana and Kala defer to Sarlic Pramantha. Ravi listens to Sarlic confidently predict Irdrant’s inevitable victory over Folkhar.

Entrepreneur Froot offers some jewelry to Illiana, who asks for a gold and platinum earring. Half-human Kyerak doesn’t trust the Cardassian either, and he and wary Kimbal pose as potential advertisers to Pramantha, who agrees to meet the next day.

The four offworlders get rooms at the Sentinel Hotel. Kimbal examines local radio waves and finds that Irdrant’s armed forces are secretly sending messages encoded within commercial and propaganda broadcasts.

Kyerak uses a tricorder to search for Cardassian signals but finds that the subspace emissions match U.F.P. frequencies instead. Froot gives Ravi an item that Illiana touched, but her DNA isn’t in Starfleet’s records.

Froot beams up to the Love’s Latinum Lost to replicate the jewelry that the secretary requested and to plant a bug in it. Ravi confirms that the subspace transmitter must be hidden in Irdrant Tower, the same skyscraper that hosts the radio station.

Kyerak visits a library to research recent history and people who might be offworlders interfering with the former colony. Kimbal and Froot are skeptical that the Starfleet personnel will be able to uphold the Prime Directive between their mission and native Aldebaranian politics.

The next morning, the team visits Nel’s Diner for breakfast. Froot gives Illiana the earring she requested. Kyerak pretends to be clumsy and bumps into the secretary to briefly scan her telepathically.

The lieutenant learns that she plans to dismantle the jewelry for parts, presumably for the subspace transmitter. Kala avoids the Cardassian, even as the Bajoran waitress tries to flirt with Ravi.

The four explorers leave their weapons and ultra-tech tools at their hotel rooms before going to Irdrant Tower. They are patted down by strict Betazed officer Sgt. Anker Theophilus before taking an elevator to the radio station.

Illiana gives the visitors a brief tour, and Ravi sees no sign of the secret transmitter. Kimbal and Froot make a sponsorship pitch to Pramantha, who seems receptive. He invites them to dinner to close the deal. On the way out of the office, Kyerak asks Illiana to join them.

Pramantha sends a car to pick up the party. Kimbal finds that cabbie Maurice Thibaud is happy to share his opinions on numerous topics. He says that Sarlic is connected to many powerful people in Irdrant.

Lt. Kyerak, Mr. Chandler, Capt. Froot, and Mr. Tegan meet Mr. Pramantha and Ms. Drah’el at an old-fashioned steakhouse. Sarlic introduces them to Maj. Juanita Madeira, a human officer who is curious about the supposed investors.

Froot engages the major in conversation, while Kimbal finds that Illiana is fiercely loyal to Pramantha. Ravi notices that the wait staff is hovering suspiciously around their table, and Kyerak realizes that the Irdrantians mean to capture or kill them.

The impetuous Vulcan draws his phaser and stuns Pramanatha. Kimbal tries to warn Maj. Madeira, who admits that she gave the order for security forces to move in. Froot stealthily grabs Illiana’s purse to prevent her from finding the advanced bug in her jewelry.

Strong Ravi flips over a heavy table as the waiters open fire with slug throwers. Kyerak stuns Illiana, and Kimbal grabs unconscious Sarlic. The Trill tries to explain to Maj. Madeira that the radio executive is the threat to Irdrant, not him.

Froot scrambles over to Kimbal. As more troops arrive, Ravi initiates an emergency beam out to the Love’s Latinum Lost. Sarlic and Illiana are put in separate cabins as a makeshift brig, and Ravi takes blood samples.

When the prisoners come to, Lt. Kyerak and DaiMon Froot lead the interrogation. Kimbal moves the ship to a higher orbit to avoid detection by Irdrant, and Ravi and Tau find that Sarlic has antibodies consistent with interstellar travel.

Illiana says that Sarlic “is a great man who will lead Irdrant to dominance” of Alpha Tauri III. The media manipulator admits that he was a Federation sociologist assigned to covertly observe the colonists.

Sarlic also confesses that he was helping the military and sending out subspace signals in the hope of finding like-minded people willing to break the Prime Directive. He claims to be unaware of the Romulan spy in Nar Instel.

Froot is sympathetic to the need to reclaim systems before the Klingons, Romulans, or Cardassians, who are also recovering from disasters, can do so. Kyerak is unmoved and intends to turn over the rogue scientist to Starfleet Command.

Kimbal and Ravi beam down to Sarlic’s office to destroy histransmitter and any trace of advanced technology. They manage to avoid local security forces, and Kyerak begins planning to visit Folkhar, the origin point of the third and final set of subspace signals. To be continued….

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Nimoy, the actor best known for playing Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek TV series and movies. He lived long and prospered, and he will be missed.

I look forward to continuing our adventures, but in the meantime, we have Dexter’s D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls,” Jason E.R.’s FAEChannel 37,” and my own “Vanished Lands” campaigns to play!

“Star Trek: Restoration” Episode 3 — Offworld intruders

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for our third “Star Trek” session, which we played online on Monday, 16 February 2015:

“Space, the final frontier. Our starship’s mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life forms and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no one has gone before.”

Almost four decades after the Enterprise “E” fought the Borg and Remans Nemesis], among others, the United Federation of Planets (U.F.P.) and other interstellar states are slowly recovering from wars and ecological disasters. A refitted vessel takes a new crew on its first missions of defense, diplomacy, and exploration….

Player Characters for Gene D.’s ” Star Trek: Restoration” space opera scenario, using D20 Prime Directive, FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures, Bulldogs, and Mindjammer 2e, plus house rules, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • “Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Kyerak” [Bruce K.]-male half-Vulcan with a temper, in the U.S.S. Rotha ’s command division
  • “Kimbal Tegan” [Beruk A.]-male Trill (long-lived symbiont), operations specialist aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost
  • “Tau” [Drew S.]-male Ferengi, medic aboard the Love’s Latinum Lost

Absent:

  • “Lt. Jarric Jameson” [Dexter V.H.]-male genetically modified human colonist (former Maquis) communications and wilderness survival expert
  • “Lt. Orzzek Kalifa” [Byron V.O.]-male Andorian (blue-skinned humanoid with white hair and antennae), assertive science officer
  • “Lt. Mari Killu” [Sara F.]-female Caitian (felinoid) security/tactical officer
  • “Lt. Boran’ Gorir” [Josh C.]-male Jem’Hadar (Dominion soldier), aggressive envoy/engineer
  • “Froot” [Rich C.G.]-male Ferengi (short, large-eared extraterrestrial) merchant and negotiator, DaiMon and owner of the trade vessel Love’s Latinum Lost

Previously, in “Star Trek: Restoration,” the U.S.S. Rotha uncovered an Undine infiltrator during a diplomatic mission and faced off against Romulan and Klingon ships in the Neutral Zone.

“Stardate 95248.04 (9 April 2418):” After stopping at Starbase 24, some junior officers accepted a mission to investigate a onetime Federation colony. They joined the crew of the Love’s Latinum Lost, a Ferengi trade vessel.

Lt. Kyerak and Kimbal Tegan conduct research on the Aldebaran colony. Alpha Tauri III is the third out of four planets orbiting an orange giant and a red dwarf and is the only Class M (inhabitable) one in that solar system.

Alpha Tauri III is slightly larger than Earth, with a 1.2 Gs of gravity, a 27-hour day, and six small moons. Its 1 million sentient natives joined the United Federation of Planets in 2216, and thanks in part to the New Aberdeen Shipyards, its mostly human population grew to 7 billion over the next century.

However, in 2372 (about 50 Terran years ago), Starfleet was forced to abandon the colony as part of the settlement ending the Cardassian War. It has apparently regressed to a pre-warp level of technology, and interstellar trade has been sporadic and indirect.

DaiMon Froot sets a course for Aldebaran, bypassing Deep Space K-7 because of the covert nature of Lt. Kyerak’s mission. Tao, a Ferengi medic, introduces himself to the passengers.

Lt. Jarrick Jameson and Lt. Orzzek Kalifa express misgivings about the fact that Lt. Kyerak had accepted the mission to “terminate any offworld interference” in Aldebaran from Cmdr. Nasami Wahid, the Trill first officer of the Rotha.

Although Starfleet’s Prime Directive prohibits direct contact with pre-warp societies, Lt. Mari Killu and Lt. Boran’ Gorir are more concerned about threats to Aldebaran’s civilian population and potential U.F.P. membership.

Kimbal puts the Love’s Latinum Lost in a standard orbit around Alpha Tauri III and sees the remnants of orbital platforms. The Trill pilot also scans for subspace signals and finds three transmission sites: a science station at Nar Instel, the industrial city of Irdrant, and the agricultural community of Folkhar.

Alpha Tauri III
Aldebaran colony

Kyerak checks radio telecommunications and verifies that the colony has fragmented into rival nation-states. The half-Vulcan officer recommends visiting Nar Instel first.

Tau’s biological scans find nearly 6 billion inhabitants, most of whom are human. The decline in global population may be the result of emigration offworld, the decline in technology, epidemics, or wars, theorizes the Ferengi doctor.

Froot says that Aldebaran was once known for its ores (used in starship construction), native life forms, and whiskey. It was also once a venue for medical conferences. He suggests that the away team offer goods and non-critical scientific data in return for local products and information.

The Love’s Latinum Lost lands near Nar Instel. Kimbal hacks into local computer networks and identifies staffers to talk to. Kyerak changes into civilian garb, and Tao offers to handle trade negotiations as their cover story.

Federation science colony
Science station

Kimbal wanders around the science station until he finds a canteen. He meets “Two-Three” and “Three-Two,” two Binar engineers. They are not interested in carousing, but Kimbal uses their literal-mindedness to obtain a network schematic.

Meanwhile, Kyerak goes to the headquarters of the academy and introduces himself as a researcher to a pretty receptionist. He hears an argument and watches Yusuf Darwhish, a human climatologist, storm out of the director’s office.

Tau gets directions to the bursar and offers to trade exotic foodstuffs with a Vulcan scientist who initially dismisses him. However, Stuvek expresses interest in advanced tools, so he accepts Tau’s offer and arranges to meet again later.

Kyerak meets Huang Peipei, director of Nar Instel. He mentions Johann Strom, onetime head of the New Aberdeen Shipyards, and the physicist says that she would like her people to eventually reunite with other Aldebaranians and the Federation. Flirtatious Kyerak says that he can help.

Sly Kimbal eventually excuses himself from conversation with the Binars and sends Kyerak a signal to meet. Curious Tau follows Stuvek into a biology laboratory. He is horrified to see cruel animal testing and notices a decapod acting suspiciously.

The Ferengi ducks into the room and talks with the native Tauran. Gopal Thivar admits that he is trying to sabotage the tests and that he can telepathically tell that Stuvek is hiding something bad.

A three-headed, floating Aldebaranian serpent attacks Tau and Gopal, and they run down the hall. However, Stuvek corners them and says that it’s too bad that they will be the “victims of a lab accident.”

When the duo tries to run around Stuvek, he pulls out a Romulan disruptor and slowly disintegrates the unlucky decapod! Tau slides past Stuvek and makes a desperate dash for the door.

Kyerak and Kimball, who had been trying to reach Tau, burst into the hallway. Kyerak stuns the Romulan, and Kimbal misses the serpent. Tau keeps running until he finds local security forces outside.

The police take Stuvek into custody, and Kyerak privately tells Huang that he hopes to remove external disruptions so that she can help her world advance politically. Kimball takes the disruptor’s power cell, and Tau explains how he and Gopal had uncovered inhumane research.

Kyerak interrogates the supposed Vulcan, as Huang and guards watch. Stuvek admits that his true name is Vorlag. The spy boldly admits that he planned to train colonial doctors in the mind-set and methods of the Tal Shiar, the Romulan intelligence service.

Vorlag’s initial mission was to evaluate the system for conquest, but he says he felt free to pursue his own experiments. The Romulan then bites down on a poisoned capsule, and Tau is unable to save him without a modern medical bay.

Kimbal checks Vorlag’s quarters and finds a subspace transmitter. The landing party returns to the ship, ready to search for whoever is sending subspace signals from Irdrant and Folkhar. To be continued….

While we missed much of the group, I hope that those of you who were able to participate enjoyed our latest episode! I look forward to continuing our adventures, but we’ll also have to see when we’ll have time between Dexter’s D&D5e “Lands of Lost Souls,” Jason’s FAE Channel 37,” and my own D20/FATEVanished Lands” scenarios. Live long and prosper….

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.56 — Fighting frosty fey and Astral arrival

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.56, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 19 January 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….

Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the Zephyr, Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using D20 Pathfinder and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of spring 2015:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) with a checkered past and homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 12
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 12
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior/mage, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 12
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, diplomat, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 12
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer, ship’s engineer, and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 12
  • Tarwen Rinuendell [Dana S.]-female Avariel (winged Elf) Fighter, unflappable but secretive scout; LGn, Lvl. 12

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

“20 to 22 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The Zephyr’s command crew finished training and equipping in Alfhileno, capital of the Waletku kingdom of the Elves. It also met Avariel scout “Tarwen” [Dana S].

The adventurers then headed south to the Hifalendorin human town of Kedetura. They rejoined their airship and fought another nasty Grimm. Rhys and Tarwen snuck into Kedetura, where they found a tent city, many Centaur followers of Vappu Lahja, and Unseelie Fey running a twisted carnival based on Vistel’s Circus….

Giacomo uses a crystal ball to find the nexus of local ley lines, or currents of magical energy. The Wizard finds it near the center of Kedetura, where a statue of the pale lady siphons off mana. He recommends further investigation and possibly sabotage.

Scully says the group should sneak into the town to get as close as possible to the mysterious Vappu Lahja and identify her weaknesses. The Ranger reminds her companions that since troops from Nadwi or Alfhileno are far away, the crew of the Zephyr is their only backup.

Corwin urges his team to get close to the enemy leader, seize her, and thenTeleport away before her thralls can defend her. The Bard also begins preparingContingency spells to protect himself.

Elsa focuses on counterspells against Vappu Lahja. The Druid also Communes With Nature and learns that in addition to Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) humans, Centaurs, Satyrs, and Halflings, there are more extraplanar Grimms, Korred, and Redcaps in Kedetura.

Engineer Rhys says he would prefer to leave the occupied town rather than face Unseelie Fey again, but Fighter Tarwen is impatient for battle. Giacomo points out that the Gnome and Avariel (winged Elf) aren’t known as former members of Vistel’s Circus.

Giacomo casts a Contingency spell of Reverse Gravity on his homunculus familiar Gerald, and Corwin readies Resist Charm and Teleport. Elsa prays for Mass Hold Monster and Protection From Evil, and the group eventually agrees to walk into Kedetura.

Centaur sentries Nikodemus and Phyto escort the Zephyr ’s away team through the tent city and into the walled town. Giacomo, Corwin, and Elsa ask to meet with Vappu Lahja. Meanwhile, Tarwen uses her ring of Invisibility and flies behind them, carrying Rhys, upon whom Corwin has cast Improved Invisibility.

The Centaurs take the Hifalendorin human, Half-Elf, and Hill Dwarf to town hall, near the 10-foot tall alabaster statue. The Tinker Gnome has used a wand ofSilence to aid the Invisibility and defend against Charm. The winged Avariel narrowly avoids obstacles as she follows the others into a meeting room.

Meanwhile, aboard the Zephyr, Scully and boyfriend “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] ready ballista bolts that Rhys has coated with cold steel, a reddish antimagical alloy. The Flind and Wolfen Paladin prepare for Rhys and company to Teleport back to them with Vappu Lahja as prisoner.

The adventuring party meets the coldly beautiful Vappu Lahja, as well as her retinue, which includes Centaur chieftans, a Grugach (Wild Elf) shaman, and Gilean, a diminuitive and malevolent Redcap whom they had fought in the haunted hamlet of Alarn. He recognizes them, but no one draws weapons immediately.

Elsa steps forward and presents a mirror, and Corwin sings a ballad that puts the legendary Vappu Lahja in a more favorable light. The Saganim prince weaves a counterspell into his song in the hope of releasing some of the Centaurs from magical compulsion.

Invisible Tarwen keeps a hand on Silenced Rhys as they sneak up to Vappu Lahja. He touches the woman, and they become visible, but she resists the Teleport Contingency!

Elsa calls upon Vulkan (Moradin) and hits the evil Redcap with Holy Smite. Arcanists Corwin and Giacomo cast Mass Charm Monster, preventing five Centaurs and several hovering Faeries from attacking.

Vappu Lahja stands up, and her silk robes turn to bark and then flexible metal. She Bestows Curse on Rhys, weakening him, and Gilean turns Invisible to maneuver and stab Corwin.

Rhys manages to empty his Bag of Holding, so that his clockwork spider and dragon can hurl cold steel pellets at the Unseelie Fey. Vasco, an automaton butler, joins them, while Rhys’ clockwork scorpion tries to sting approaching reinforcements.

Tarwen fires Blinding bolts from her magical crossbow and puts her ring ofInvisibility back on. Elsa Wild Shapes into a bear and charges. Corwin casts Imprisonment, which successfully places Vappu Lahja in an underground cell that can be found only with Discern Location.

However, the would-be heroes still have to contend with her followers. Giacomo casts Shield and then See Invisible to locate the Redcap. Rhys throws a Tanglefoot Bag at Gilean but misses him.

The team hears rioting outside, as some Centaurs are freed from Vappu Lahja’s influence but other Fey folk fight them and Hifalendorin human townsfolk.

Tarwen flies up and sees numerous angry Sprites and five Grimms approaching the windows. She lands so that Giacomo and Corwin can Teleport the group out of the besieged town hall to Orlando Vistel, founder of Vistel’s Circus.

The adventuring party finds itself in a chilly tent, where “Papa” and “Mama” Vistel have been encased in ice! A “steward” greets them, as do several Ice Mephits. The Cold Rider hits Corwin with a frozen, shocking glaive and summons its steed, a large, unnatural elk.

Unseelie steward
Cold Rider

 

The Mephits brandish poisoned daggers, and Corwin defensively casts Displacement and Invisibility on himself. Elsa casts another Holy Smite, destroying half of the Mephits. The others climb into the rafters and begin chanting.

Giacomo casts Bungle on the Unseelie Fey, as Rhys sends most of his constructs to attack. The Tinker Gnome orders his clockwork dragon to thaw out the Vistels with its fiery breath, and Tarwen shoots more Blinding bolts.

The frost elk’s antlers nearly pin Tarwen, and the surviving Mephits swarm around Giacomo and Rhys. Bold Corwin casts Storm Bolts and Magic Missiles, and pious Elsa invokes Mekkil (Gaia) to Channel Positive Energy and heal her allies.

Giacomo the Mysterious destroys the Cold Rider and the Mephits with a Scorching Ray. Nimble Rhys and airborne Tarwen fire at the Unholy steed but miss. Still in bear form, Elsa finishes off the ice elk.

While they debate over whether to try to rescue other circus performers, Giacomo and Corwin thaw out the Vistels with Flaming Hands. Rhys helps find and retrieve the following items:

  • Antlers, from ice elk
  • Bead of Force
  • Daggers, Fey (1d4 + sleep, DC 15)
  • Glaive, frost (1d10 + 1d6 icy burst)
  • Witch’s Ice Shard (Trap the Soul) — to have Sir Niac destroy because it’s a Necromantic item

As the sounds of strife in Kedetura’s streets get closer, Giacomo and Corwin again cast Teleport. However, instead of taking the team back to Scully and the Zephyr, the travelers find themselves on an island floating in midair surrounded by a sea of stars.

The spellcasters quickly identify their new location as somewhere in the Astral Plane, which is better than in the Zarendo Islands or the Nine Hells, where a certain Pit Fiend has tried to trap them.

Elsa notes that since nobody has a silver cord, if anyone is killed on this plane of existence, they are truly dead, but they are also harder to track. The arcanists need some time to rest before safely casting higher-level spells again.

The scouts spot a vessel approaching. Rhys is excited to see a Spelljammer skiff, which lands on their island. Thin, robed, gray-skinned humanoids disembark, and one greets the newcomers with a smile.

Astral inhabitants
Githzerai

 

Rek’elma says that Modron Paladin “Radius” [Jason E.R.] told him to expect to find them. Giacomo and company ask how time flows in the Astral, and the Githzerai says, “Sideways.”

Rek’elma says that the “pale lady” has local allies and that she may try to head to a Githyanki fort to regain her powers. “Vistel’s Expedition” agrees to join Rek’elma in raiding the Githyanki tower….

Dana, I hope you enjoyed sitting in on our campaign, and Sara, I’m glad that you were able to Skype into our latest face-to-face session. Everybody should make sure that their characters and current item/spell lists are up to date.

I look forward to upcoming games of Dexter V.H.‘s D&D5eLand of Lost Souls” and Jason E.R.’s FAEChannel 37.” Let’s hope the weather cooperates for the latter!

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.55 — Thrown anchor and glass foot

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.55, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 12 January 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….

Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the Zephyr, Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using Pathfinder and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of spring 2015:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 12
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F./absent ]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 12
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 12
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 12
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 12
  • Tarwen Rinuendell [Dana S./guest ]-female Avariel (winged Elf) Fighter, unflappable but secretive scout; LGn, Lvl. 12

(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.].)

“16 to 19 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The Zephyr ‘s away team traveled to Alfhileno, capital of the Waletku kingdom of the Elves. The wanderers continued their research into the legends of Vappu Lahja, sought allies against her belligerent Centaurs and the Ghost Fleet, and compared notes on Gnomish airships. “King Ereval I” [Steve A.L./Non-Player Character] approved their missions and agreed to join Elsa’s long-range communications network.

Giacomo prepares another Contingency spell to Polymorph his homunculus familiar Gerald into a dragon. Corwin readies a similar Invisibility for himself. Elsa recommends parleying for a truce with Vappu Lahja.

At the Royal Air Corps, Rhys compares notes on airships with fellow Gnome Artificer Flap… and tactics with Quelanthi (High Elf) Paladin “Jiriki” [Jon W.P./N.P.C.]. Scully continues talking with refugees at the Ranger Guild headquarters.

As the adventurers head back to “Tabby’s Tavern,” a rare Avariel (winged Elf) steps out of the shadows and accosts Rhys. Tarwen says that she has heard Elsa and company debating tactics and asks to join their quest.

Hifalendorin human Giacomo is wary, but Elsa notes that King Ereval is mobilizing the Waletku kingdom’s troops to defend its southern border against rebel fey. Half-Elf Corwin gives Tarwen glass and magical arrows, as well as a healing potion.

Rhys gets Tanglefoot Bags and Thunderstones in addition to the party’s Wand of Silence. Elsa casts Message to tell the Zephyr to meet the group on the northwestern Plains of Sathendo. The Hill Dwarf then uses Transport via Plants to get the team near the town of Kedetura.

Flind Scully is happy to be reunited with “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./N.P.C.]. The Zephyr and crew spend the night about a day’s ride from Kedetura. During the third watch, a slick-skinned humanoid Teleports onto the airship’s deck.

The first quarrels from Rhys’ and Tarwen’s crossbows miss, and the foul assassinCalls Lightning against the Avariel. Corwin dons his armor, and Elsa identifies the Grimm as similar to a creature they fought recently at the haunted hamlet of Alarn.

Giacomo heads up from his cabin, and Rhys and some sailors head to a ballista. Corwin quaffs a potion of Improved Invisibility and casts Displacement on himself. Elsa Wild Shapes into a bear and charges at the Grimm, which rakes her with its claws.

After missing again, Ranger Tarwen runs to another siege engine, and Wizard Giacomo casts Chains of Light. Rhys runs down to the Zephyr’s boiler and melts an ingot of cold steel. He and his assistants coat some ballista bolts with the reddish antimagical alloy.

Meanwhile, Bard Corwin closes and casts Displacement on Elsa. The Druid’s Gust of Wind doesn’t affect the Grimm, whose talons dig into the wooden deck. Ursine Elsa casts Sunbeam and bites the Unseelie fey.

The Grimm Teleports back and counters with Darkness. Frustrated with the ineffectiveness of regular bolts, Tarwen picks up an anchor and flies up. She drops it, splintering the deck, but the Grimm dodges the anchor.

Scully supervises damage-control efforts, and Capt. Niac tries to keep the crew out of harm’s way and the ship from further notice. Giacomo casts Mage Swordand Dispels the Darkness. Rhys runs up and begins firing the bolts tipped withcold steel .

Prince Corwin tries to distract the Grimm from Elsa with sword and dagger, as Elsa falls back to heal her allies with a Positive Energy Burst. The monster swings at Corwin, but Tarwen inadvertently shoots herself.

Giacomo successfully casts Ray of Enfeeblement, and Rhys’ ammunition gets help from Corwin’s Magic Missiles and Storm Bolts. Tarwen manages to finish off the Grimm. Corwin finds and reluctantly turns over a Sickle of Disembowelment to Niac so that the Wolfen Paladin can destroy the evil weapon.

At Giacomo’s recommendation, Rhys forge cold steel manacles to deal with Vappu Lahja or her followers. Corwin tells Tarwen tales of the pale lady, whom three warlords supposedly courted while their men killed one another when she refused to pick one. Elsa is unsure of how to proceed into Kedetura.

The next morning, two Centaur scouts hail the Zephyr. The command crew slides to the ground. Nikodemus and Phyto invite them to see the “Carnival of Tears,” which is performing in the town. The travelers ask for a day’s delay (so the spellcasters can rest).

While Giacomo, Corwin, and Elsa argue about the best way to approach and defeat Vappu Lahja, Rhys and Tarwen decide to infiltrate Kedetura. Giacomo disguises Gerald as another Gnome to join them.

Despite being invisible thanks to a magical ring, Tarwen encounters a faerie dragon while flying after Rhys and Gerald. It asks her for apples and then departs. The trio then passes through wheat fields and a tent city outside Kedetura.

The Hifalendorin humans and Harfoot Halflings displaced from their farms are strangely unperturbed to be living alongside Centaur and Satyr raiders. Rhys and Gerald pretend to be would-be followers of Vappu Lahja as they enter the walled town.

Medieval Italian town
Walled town

 

Gerald recognizes some performers from Vistel’s Circus whom they hope to rescue. Rhys and Tarwen strangely disregard the potential peril as they see carnival tents around the market square.

Tinkerer Rhys is curious about the “Modern Engineering” tent and enters, followed by invisible Tarwen and “Gnome” Gerald. They are horrified to see human lumberjacks and carpenters being tortured and executed in a makeshift saw mill by malevolent Ice Brownies.

Evil circus
Scary carnival

 

Less apathetic than other spectators, Tarwen flies to Rhys and Gerald and picks them up. The Unseelie fey see the two lifted in midair and try to close the tent flaps. Tarwen makes a narrow escape and heads back to the Zephyr.

Giacomo says the infiltrators have gathered good information, but they were susceptible to whatever compulsion is fueled by a nearby ley line node. Corwin wants to take the offensive, and Elsa acknowledges that peace talks are unlikely.

Gerald reports that survivors from Vistel’s Circus are scattered around Kedetura, and Rhys works on his clockwork automatons. Scully believes the Zephyr and its crew will be needed for any rescue mission. Tarwen mentions a statue of the pale lady near the center of town.

“Vistel’s Expedition” considers a plan to get close to Vappu Lahja and thenTeleport her away from her growing horde of followers

Dana, I hope you enjoyed your first full session, and I look forward to having you sit in on our next game! Sara, we missed you, but I hope you’ll be able to rejoin the face-to-face group soon. Everyone should remember to update their P.C.s to Level 12.

In the meantime, I look forward to the next sessions of Dexter V.H.‘s D&D5eLand of Lost Souls” and Jason E.R.’s FAEChannel 37,” while we take a break from the “New Dawntelecom team.

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

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

Long ago in a distant land, spirits and men directly traded bamboo, silk, and steel. Wars to the west, twisted monsters, and power-hungry sorcerers threatened the eastern kingdoms, so the call went out for new heroes of honor and tact….

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using AD&D1/D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinderand FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • Moon Jung-Mo [Dexter V.H.]-male Nannuattan Ninja (Msamaki; eastern Dark Elf Assassin) who has left the Shadow’s Claw clan and is posing as a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) merchant; with a young wyvern Niruth; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Souji Nobuto ‘Sonny’ Yoshimitsu [Beruk A.]-male Shengtese Tian Kensai (eastern human weapon master) from a dishonored house in the Lion Clan, specializing in chain weapons; with talking horse Yip; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things but plagued by family and ancestor spirits; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aquatic monster
The Piscodaemon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neutral Evil aquatic outsider
Hydrodaemon attack!

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

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

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

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

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

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