Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.48, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 29 September 2014:
In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….
“Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the Zephyr, Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of autumn 2014:
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) afflicted by a cursed tattoo; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 10
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F./absent]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 10
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 10
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 10
- “Rhys Davies” [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 10
“5 to 11 April 1227 B.C.E.:” The Zephyr made its shakedown cruise along the Saganim coast and easily defeated the pirate galley Cruel Cutlass. “Vistel’s Expedition” worked with its new crew and planned for future destinations.
At the village of Sanry, “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] gives part of the crew shore leave. The Wolfen Paladin stays aboard the ship with Scully, partly to avoid any xenophobic Saganim (proto-Celtic) humans.
Giacomo and girlfriend Maggie Oakleaf find a used book shop run by Liam Mulroney. The Wizard recognizes a tome on chromatic (evil) dragons once owned by his mentor, Teradin Calzor.
Corwin and apprentice Doyle Tunney go to the “Steed’s Stream” pub, where the Bards perform for a swooning audience. Elsa takes her banuq (winged cat) Penryn, fellow cook Audrey Driscoll, and recently wounded acolyte Kaitlin Ellis out for drinks.
Diminutive Rhys sits under a table with the “Nook & Cranny Council” — Giacomo’s homunculus familiar Gerald, clockwork butler Vasco, and cabin boy Tiernan Saunders (an exception to the height limit). They agree to acquire hammocks for the engine room in the Zephyr.
Giacomo and Maggie return to the ship to continue setting up its chart room. Corwin gets a room for the night from Mona Collins, the proprietor of the “Steed’s Stream,” to entertain two young ladies.
Elsa learns from Eileen O’Shea, the priestess at a chapel of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry, that the other large ship in port is the Northern Shark, likely a pirate galley and best avoided. The Clerics trade tales about Prince Berek.
Rhys offers Gerald food and drink, even though the winged familiar isn’t designed for digestion. The mischievous Tinker Gnome also invites Penryn to join the “Nook & Cranny Council.”
The next morning, Corwin pays his respects at the chapel and offers 50 crowns (gold pieces) for favorable gossip. Eileen describes the history of “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.] and the Undead pirates. Back at the inn, the Half-Elf talks with a mysterious armored warrior known as “the Traveler.”
“Dynar Al-Vyn Natar” [James A.W./N.P.C.] is a Myrmidon who has taken up the defense of Sanry as a personal mission. He recently fought Swamplight Lynxes and dealt with local headman Boss Desmond.
Rhys spots a swift vessel with outrigger pontoons and lanteen (triangular) sails approaching. The engineer notifies Niac and goes to the “Steed’s Stream” to announce the arrival of the Foamrunner, which Elsa had Messaged to meet.
Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Giacomo notes that an angry devil is the lesser evil compared with the dreaded Ghost Fleet. Capt. Scarlet confirms that the cult of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom, and the Scourge are connected.
Elsa describes her plans for a long-range magical communications network and asks if the Kelp Kingdom would be willing to join that and a naval alliance. Rhys provides a jeweled dagger he stole from a manor in Drunstimlos. The Thalassaquendi say they expect reparations for a robbery from the Coral Temple by Saganim pirates about 15 years ago.
Capt. Scarlet offers to go to the undersea city of Oceanis on behalf of “Vistel’s Expedition.” Rhys’ interest is piqued by the possibility of submarine travel. In return, a Limited Wish spell grants the Foamrunner temporary invisibility against fiends, giving it lead time against Schm*ckF*ck’s minions.
After the Sea Elves depart, Giacomo agrees to get his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra removed in the city of Hesolin. Corwin puts on another fine show at the “Steed’s Stream,” and Elsa teases him with a framed handbill from his time as a carnival performer.
Rhys works with carpenter Cyric Ahearn, sailmaker Emmet Banning, tinkerer Evelyn Morgwyl, and blacksmith Ronan Teague to hone their operations aboard the Zephyr. Capt. Niac gives the order to board and head northeast on the Sea of Nagendwa.
Wizard Giacomo works on a spotlight using Zorya Polunochnaya’s Moon (costing 1,500 g.p.) for Ranger Scully and gadgeteer Rhys. First mate Corwin moves about the ship to learn about each sailor’s duties.
Priestess Elsa reminds her companions that in addition to her communications network and an alliance against the Ghost Fleet, they should offer to help the kingdom of Hifalendor deal with a Centaur insurrection on the northern Plains of Sathendo provoked by a woman named Vappu Lahja.
About a day’s sail from the Hifalendorin capital, the crew of the Zephyr spots three groups of naval vessels on the horizon. Capt. Louise Jeffords, commander of the H.M.S. Sea Wolf, a well-armed cruiser, hails Capt. Niac. She signals for the refitted steamboat to follow her into port.
Giacomo, who has been reluctant to return home, says that he needs to visit the local Magisterium [magic school] and “Tondra” [Rob A.S./N.P.C.] regarding his tattoo removal. Niac suggests also checking with the temple of Otih.
Corwin plans to check in with the Saganim embassy and the temple of Brijitt. He has sent “Melchior” [Byron V.O.] ahead to the barbaric port of Gisar to track down the murderous Tiefling mage Lord Dalek and his half-brother Prince Daven.
Elsa recommends sticking together, especially for any royal audience. She also expresses interest in shopping and meeting up with old friends in Vistel’s Circus. Rhys hopes to find coal for the ship, as well as fellow craftsmen.
The team first walks to the center of town, passing by dens of vice around the Arena of Ariyas, odiferous smithies, and the theater district. Giacomo leads the way along the wide, cobbled streets, and Corwin is curious about who’s performing in the noisy taverns.
Elsa observes various columned temples and even Pegasi flying from the palace towers. Rhys begins asking around about Hesolin’s guilds. They climb a hill to the “Golden Horn” hotel and restaurant in quiet Castle Court.
Charismatic Corwin inquires about lodgings with Averain, who suggests renting a villa rather than a room or suite. For just 50 crowns, the group gets a townhouse for a fortnight. Despite wary Giacomo’s objections, outgoing Elsa hires local youth Justine as a guide.
Giacomo, Rhys, Maggie, and Evelyn go to the Gnomish quarter, between Embassy Row and the Magisterium. Rhys gleefully compares notes with the owner of “Otis’ Whirlygigs” on wind power, screw propellers, and clockwork. Giacomo and “Dread” Maggie are bored, but Half-Elf Eveyln tries to follow their technical conversation.
Meanwhile, Corwin and Elsa cross the street to the Saganim embassy. The prince demands to meet the ambassador for his homeland, saying it’s a matter of national security. However, officious Miss O’Leary [Drew/N.P.C.] requires visitors to fill out numerous forms first.
Elsa tries to be pleasant with the bureaucrat, who eventually brings them to Sir Culwych [Beruk/N.P.C.]. Prince Corwin and Elsa explain how they wish to strengthen the alliance between Saganim and Hifalendor, and the skeptical emissary eventually comes around. He agrees to request a royal audience within the next few days.
Giacomo and friends then go to the temple of Otih. They meet Sir Louis [Rich/N.P.C.], a Paladin of the god of sun and justice, and Sir Remy Hotspur [Bruce/N.P.C.], a member of the King’s Cavaliers. They ignore Rhys, Maggie, and Evelyn when a routine scan detects the presence of strong evil on Giacomo.
The unlucky Wizard explains his plight and how, when Hesolin’s Magisterium was sacked by the Ghost Fleet a few years ago, Teradin Calzor imparted the tattoo on his back. The knights manacle and shackle Giacomo, whose true name is “Gerald” (hence the name of his familiar, in an attempt to misdirect enemy spellcasters).
Sir Remy is less sympathetic than Sir Louis, accusing the Hifalendorin of being a traitor, like other arcanists who have gone missing since the attack. Rhys vouches for Giacomo and agrees to submit to Otih’s judgment.
The Rogue swears on Sir Louis’ shining lance, and all his misdemeanors flash before everyone’s eyes. Sir Remy is still reluctant to release the mage, but Sir Louis calls for Sir Akkon Wotarif, a Paladin from the cathedral of Urda, lord of the sky.
Sir Akkon arrives and agrees to help escort Giacomo as he moves about Hesolin. He says that a ritual to exorcise the Mad Mage will take a few days, but it’s necessary before the holy warriors would allow “Vistel’s Expedition” to meet the king.