“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.44 — The Reaping

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.44, which was held on Sunday, 14 June 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./absent]-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./departed]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

“16 to 20 August 1227 B.C.E.:” The travelers hiked deeper into the Bamor Mountains while hunting a dangerous dragon. On the way, they passed poor Korobokuru (eastern Dwarven) hamlets, met honorable mercenaries, and fought aquatic daemons.

The former diplomatic escorts discuss their mission for Hou Keung, the Korobokuru daimyo and ruler of the Zedu kingdom. Jung-Mo recalls Nannuattan tales of rare shadow dragons lurking in the Underdark.

As they approach the village of Hei Kuan at the northern edge of the Therud Forest, Sonny wonders how to engage minions of the chaotic drake. Toshi recommends using previous cover identities and asking if anyone knows Zhu Xiaoping, an infernal inquisitor they defeated near the Chieng Hsien Stream on the eastern Plains of Sathendo.

Saigo recommends using previous cover identities, and Ember agrees to pose as bait if needed to draw out the dragon’s spies. Soske’ isn’t worried about finding enemies, only about how and when to fight them.

Disguised as merchant “Xiaoming Chida” and his daughter “Jinsong Chida,” Jung-Mo and Ember, respectively, enter Hei Kuan’s busy market. As guard “Nobuto,” Sonny watches River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elves) and Shengtese humans unload boats at the headwarters of the Hei Kang River.

Eastern river village
River trade

The trio meets Kaji Kiyoshi, a Korobokuru blacksmith who mentions the Karitori Matsuri, or “Reaping Festival.” He agrees to trade weapons with “Xiaoming.”

As herbalist “Tiye Akamoto,” Toshi finds the “House of the Glowing Carp.” Saigo accompanies him as Ronin “Shiraso Takadashi,” while Soske’ poses as soothsayer “Shishi” and guards the team’s animals.

At the tea house, “Tiye” and “Shiraso” talk with attractive geisha Miyamoto Narumi. She mentions Shiomi Romi, a priestess of the Path of Order who knows some alchemy.

The infiltrators later regroup at the Mastical Inn at the edge of town. They pay 40 tael (20 gold pieces) for one night because of demand around Karitori Matsuri.

Nannuattan Jung-Mo identifies some coins for Shan Sao Toshi as coming from the Empire of Gokuri. Shengtese human Sonny chats with his steed Yip on what they have observed so far.

Hengeyokai Ember checks with Shengtese Soske’ on the state of the horses, tiger, and wyvern. Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo plans to spend 3,000 tael (1,500 g.p.) on potions of Resist Acid and Fire.

Toshi and Ember volunteer to scout from overhead in bird form. The Wu Jen and Druid tell the others to rendezvous at the House of the Glowing Carp.

Jung-Mo and Saigo resume their disguises and stealthily approach the center of town as night falls. The Ninja and Samurai both have Invisibility as a backup. Kensai Sonny, however, walks directly to the reaping festivities.

Kenmotsu Masashi, Hei Kuan’s mayor, gives a brief speech. The Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) is joined on a dais by a man with a panther head. Jung-Mo asks a bystander what happens after the surprisingly raucous celebration and learns of a procession out into the woods.

In the crowd, Sonny recognizes Seng Ying Hu from the Daidoji House of the Crane Clan. The Shengtese (East Asian) human was involved with the disgrace of Sonny’s house in the Lion Clan. The Monk talks with other courtiers.

Toshi watches as fellow Shan Sao (eastern Halflings), including a Sohei with a large mace, carousing. Ember notices a strange-looking woman, so she and Toshi follow her. They eventually spot the tails of a Kitsune, a mischievous fox woman. Endo Mayumi makes sure that the townsfolk stay drunk, leading Toshi to conclude that she may be an agent of the chaos dragon.

Jung-Mo, Sonny, and Saigo follow the throng that parades out of the village, while Toshi, Saigo, and Soske’ watch those who remain. The Shan Sao, Spirit Folk, and human peasants carry torches and lanterns as they stagger along a northward trail.

Saigo spots reptilian humanoids shadowing the crowd in the fields on either side. Jung-Mo peers through the darkness at a pagoda ahead and sees a 12-foot-tall creature with three eyes, greenish scales, a bull’s horns, and four arms.

Swift Jung-Mo throws a flash pellet to briefly illuminate the Zokujin, and Saigo boldly draws his weapons and shouts for people to return to the village.

Still in bird form, Toshi spots Jung-Mo’s flare, and he signals fellow shapeshifter Ember that they have to leave the village to help their friends…

Ancient Osaka
Between the Bamor Mountains and the Therud Forest

After several months, it was good to get back to this adventuring party! I look forward to wrapping up this scenario in the next session or two, and I hope that we’ll be able to start on time next time.

Thanks again, Bruce, for hosting a fun cookout! Remember that we won’t be meeting virtually next weekend because of Father’s Day. We’ll try a Google+ hangout on Sunday, June 28.

In the meantime, remember to review your characters for this and the D&D5e groups. I look forward to seeing some of you at upcoming nautical and “Star Wars: Dark Timesgames.

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“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!

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Sessions 40.40 to 42 — Leaving Bazran Hai, Oni, and Ki-rin

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Sessions 40.40 to 42, which were held on 14, 21, and 28 December 2014:

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

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed./D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3eLegends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of autumn 2014:

  • 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

“1 to 10 August 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers interrogated a Yuan-ti spy who was disguised as a gardener, and they delivered him and Saigo’s grandfather to the rulers of the Zedu kingdom. The adventurers then agreed to pursue a dragon of corruption in the northeastern wilderness.

At the “Dragon’s Beard” hotel in Bazran Hai, the onetime diplomatic escorts discuss what they would do with the titles and land offered to them by Zedu’s rulers. Jung-Mo says he would like a private base of operations, far from prying eyes.

Sonny plans to recruit followers and start a dojo (martial arts school). Like Jung-Mo, he hopes to restore his clan’s honor. Toshi prefers a defensible location, preferably in a valley between the Bamor Mountains and the Therud Forest. He notes that a shared stronghold should be possible.

Ember puts in a request for a dragon-sized tower, while Soske’ intends to raise an army for the next war against the forces of chaos. Saigo hopes that becoming an aristocrat would help his chances of wooing Princess Nayoko.

Tokoro returns to the more immediate concern of fighting the evil Wu (Druids) of the Scarlet Order. Ember studies the report of Gen. Shinso, Saigo’s grandfather, about the reddish dragon. It is most likely chromatic, she says, but the exact typeis unclear.

Wu Jen Toshi and Shukenja Soske’ spend the next week in Bazran Hai enchanting items for their companions. Jung-Mo names his young wyvern Niruth (“Storm Bringer”) and trains it on the outskirts of the mountain city. The Ninja looks for other Nannuattan, but they have gone to ground.

Sonny reaches out to Lady Yun Aei-Yong before the ambassador’s return to the Empire of Gokuri. The Kensai also runs into Brother Jo, a Shengtese human Monk who once traveled with him.

Samurai Saigo spends time with his father, Gen. Hirokazu, and Princess Nayoko. The Samurai learns that Nayoko’s brother, Prince Mutsuhito, will be escorting Lady Yun home.

Hulinyuan Tokoro keeps watch with his otter Mala and explores the winding caverns and underground river beneath the Korobokuru (eastern Dwarven) capital.

Ember goes to the temple of Shang-ti, emperor of heaven, and kneels and prays to be restored to her true gold dragon form:

“I am sorry, father, for what I have done in the past. My time among the mortals has changed me significantly. I’ve learned about true love and the value of friendship. If not for myself, but for safety of my friends that I care greatly about and the innocent lives I can save. I am now in need of my powers. I fear this evil dragon we are about to face has fallen deeper into corruption, killing the innocent and befouling the earth, which has given him great power. Please grant me the strength I need and break the bond of this collar!”

As the crane Hengeyokai speaks, tears fall from her eyes and fall onto the holy ground before her. Ameratsu Mitemi, a Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) priest, sees Ember and tries to reassure her.

Soske’ stops by the temple and asks Ameratsu about Mi-Shao-Shur, the chthonic (Chaotic Evil) deity of the Yuan-ti who had infiltrated Bazran Hai. The Sohei says that if the followers of the dragon are similarly chaotic, their ranks could include aberrations, demons, and other shapeshifters.

Ameratsu warns Shengtese human Soske’ not to expect predictable tactics or chains of command as among Gokuri’s armies, where Bakemono (Goblins), Oni (Ogre Magi), Draconians, and Minotaurs serve the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elves).

Back at the local Magisterium (magic school/library), Jung-Mo asks for Toshi’s help in researching dragons and potential vulnerabilities. The Shan Sao and Nannuattan agree that stealthy scouting will be at least as important as weapons or spells when dealing with the dragon’s monstrous minions.

While roaming the city, Tokoro recognizes Hojo Etsuko, a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) who serves the same master as he does. She had been swayed against Shengtese human farmers by Desc Soo-Ann, a Nannuattan hunter from the Shadow’s Claw clan disguised as a courier.

Tokoro follows Hojo out to the main bridge leading into Bazran Hai. The carp Hengeyokai briefly loses her in traffic, but he hears sounds from the boards beneath his feet. The Ranger pries up a board and sees Hojo sliding down a rope, which is nowhere near long enough to take her to the bottom of the chasm.

A flying creature with the head of a dog, the body of a sheep, and the tail of a lion flies beneath her, and Hojo joins the rider and leaves. Tokoro returns to the Dragon’s Beard to tell his friends about the strange encounter.

Jung-Mo wonders if Ember knows of other friendly or metallic dragons in the area. Soske’ asks Saigo to contact fellow Samurai to join their fight against the chaos and dragon. As Toshi puts the finishing touches on magic items, the group gets provisions and prepares to head east to mountain outposts.

Rather than take Jung-Mo’s carriage (and Niruth’s magical cage) into rough terrain, the party buys some carts and sturdy ponies. The team rides out from Bazran Hai but makes slow progress in the Bamor Mountains.

That night, Sonny and Tokoro take the first watch, followed by Jung-Mo and Ember. Soske’ and Saigo are set to take the third and final watch. Toshi studies spells and writes letters to his betrothed, Suki Amarna, by the campfire.

During the second watch, alert Ember spots something large moving on the rocky slope beneath the campsite. Stealthy Jung-Mo and Tokoro go to investigate. They see a two-headed giant. One head is ugly and speaks crudely, and the other is well-groomed and more eloquent.

Tokoro sneaks back to wake the rest of the party, and Toshi and Ember shift into bird form. The Wizard identifies the creature as an Atamahuta Oni. Soske’ wants to take the fight to the unnatural enemy, but Saigo and Tokoro want to let it go.

Jung-Mo continues to follow the Atamahuta, and Ember casts Heat Metal on the Ogre’s double axe while flying as an owl. Toshi shifts back into Shan Sao form and readies Magic Missile. Tokoro rapidly fires a volley, hitting once.

Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon and asks for a bow vs. Chaos. Jung-Mo sneakily attacks the Oni, striking it with an arrow. Sonny slides down the slope toward the fight, followed by Saigo.

Toshi’s Magic Missiles injure his hated foe, and Tokoro hits again with arrows from his Thunderbow. Saigo slashes the Atamahuta with his katana, as Soske’ casts Divine Power on himself.

The Oni strikes Saigo with his Urgosh, chilling the Samurai with magical cold. Ember retaliates with Flame Strike, which unfortunately also affects Saigo. Sonny unleashes his Vorpal whip while Jung-Mo darts among the rocks.

Rather than bury his allies beneath an overhang or hit those in melee with Arc Lightning, Toshi casts Lightning Bolt. Tokoro and Saigo both miss, but Soske’ continues wounding the humanoid.

The Atamahuta Oni casts Wall of Fire, injuring Jung-Mo, Sonny, Soske’, Saigo, and Tokoro. Ember treats Saigo with Cure Serious Wounds, and Sonny’s whip decapitates the giant, removing its dumber head. Jung-Mo finishes off the Oni. The victorious band finds and divvies up the following items:

  • Armor, banded mail + 2 — to sell
  • Gems, assorted, worth 1,000 tael (2,000 gold pieces)
  • Mithril coins, worth 3,500 tael (7,000 g.p.)
  • Ring of Animal Friendship — claimed by Jung-Mo
  • Urgosh (Orcish double axe, 1d8 + 2) — to trade as part of cover
  • Wand of Desecrate (as per 3rd-lvl. caster) — Soske’ destroys

Toshi gives about 500 tael (1,000 g.p.) to each party member, plus a similar share to a party fund. Sonny, Ember, Saigo, and Toshi, who didn’t claim any magic this time, get 1,250 g.p. each.

Back on the trail, the travelers discuss their plans to infiltrate territory controlled by the Scarlet Order. As they cross the Rodyui Stream and enter the hamlet of Rodaki, the would-be heroes pose as a merchant caravan.

Jung-Mo is disguised as “Xiaoming Chida,” a River Spirit Folk trader of mundane and “special” items. As an arms dealer, he plans to check for Yakuza or Nannuattan connections. Jung-Mo keeps his wyvern in its magical cage, where it appears to be a simple songbird.

Sonny uses his middle name “Nobuto” as an alias and serves as a “marginally competent” sellsword and drunkard escorting the merchants. Toshi sends his tiger Amaya to discreetly trail the team and poses as “Tiye Akamoto,” an herbalist selling medicines, tobacco, and poison.

Ember takes on the identity of “Jinsong Chida,” the meek daughter of Xiaoming, leading to much teasing from her and Jung-Mo’s companions. Soske’ poses as “Shishi,” a soothsayer and fortuneteller.

Saigo joins Nobuto as a ronin (masterless Samurai) and guard. Tokoro isn’t worried about his otter Mala attracting any undue attention as he volunteers to be river trader and scout “Mu Kawa.” Toshi/Tiye helps the group to dress down for the part.

As Xiaoming and company set up stalls in Rodaki, they are accosted by a Korobokuru (eastern Dwarf) wearing leather scale armor. Oinuma Eiji welcomes the traders and buys a jeweled dagger from the Chidas.

Oinuma directs the newcomers to the “Sacred Ewe,” a combination town hall, temple, and inn. Mu Kawa notices a wok-like bowl atop the building. It contains the largest fish from the Rodyui Stream.

Usami Sakuko asks Shishi to read her fortune. She has a grandchild bring a sacrificial pig, and Soske’ casts Augury. The shaman sees the old woman choking on a bone and warns her. In return, Usami invites him to join her family for dinner.

Nobutu and Saigo watch the carts as the others disperse at dusk. They notice that the Korobokuru, who are normally at home in the dark, rushing indoors. A night watchman urges them to seek cover but doesn’t explain why.

Ziaoming and Jinsong dine at the Sacred Ewe, where they see shepherds and miners drinking heavily. They prepare to leave for a midnight stroll, but Oinuma recommends against it. He offers a bench in the common room as a bunk for the night.

Shishi and Tiye eat with Usami Sakuko, whose family tells the spellcasters of a “guardian spirit” watching over the hamlet. Their description is similar to that of aKi-rin.

Mu Kawa climbs onto a roof to get a better look at the bowl of fish. The Ranger waits until he sees it rattle. A creature with golden scales, a long neck, antlers, sparking hooves, and a flaming tail appears. As it hovers over the Sacred Ewe, Tokoro climbs over.

The brave scout asks the Ki-rin its purpose. The hovering creature says that it is protecting “its people” and that they may meet again if Mu Kawa continues traveling through its territory. It then disappears into the night, having eaten the fish.

The next morning, the dragon hunters compare notes. Jung-Mo checks on his wyvern. Sonny wonders if the “Ki-rin” might actually be the chaos dragon or one of its minions in disguise. Ember worries about other dragons, and Toshi notes that Ki-rin aren’t usually carnivorous.

Soske’ agrees that it’s strange for such a creature to ask villagers for tribute. Saigo points to a map and says that the Scarlet Order’s reach may extend from the Dragon Pass almost as far south and west as Bazran Hai. Tokoro prepares the pack animals to continue eastward….

Bruce, I’m sorry that we missed you last night, but I hope to see most of the gang at tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” session. I also hope that everyone can make our additional telecom game this coming Friday.

I hope that all of your holidays have been happy so far. I’m glad to be home after the past month or so of travel, and I look forward to continuing our adventures into 2015!

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.39 — The serpent society

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.39, which were held on Sunday, 30 November 2014:

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

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed./D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of autumn 2014:

  • 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; LNg, Lvl. 9
  • 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. 9
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • 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. 9
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 9
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 9

“8 to 31 July 1227 B.C.E.:” In Bazran Hai, capital of the Zedu kingdom, the onetime diplomatic escorts encountered Kobold and Nannuattan spies. Jung-Mo recognized a fellow Ninja as his former lover, and Soske’ communed with ancestor spirits and the god of judgment to learn the whereabouts of Saigo Kasugi’s grandfather.

A Limited Wish summoned Gen. Shinso Saigo from captivity beneath Bazran Hai’s citadel, but his memories were limited. The group followed a suspicious landscaper into the sewers, where it captured him after defeating two Yuan-ti Abominations.

Shengtese human Sonny asks Jung-Mo if he has encountered the serpent folk before, and Jung Mo answers in the negative before revealing his true form as a Nannuattan to interrogate the prisoner.

Shan Sao Toshi casts Message to help his companions covertly communicate. Crane Hengeyokai Ember waits outside the makeshift cell in the “Dragon’s Beard” inn and casts Control Wind to chill the room.

Soske’ recalls that the Yuan-ti worship chthonic deities, and the Shengtese human wonders if there is a connection to the chaos spreading across the countryside. Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo joins Jung-Mo in questioning the faux Shijo Joshifumi.

Tokoro keeps watch on the roof for more enemies. Via Toshi’s Message spell, the carp Hengeyokai observes that while the group recently encountered, captured, and released a Kobold and a Nannuattan Ninja, it probably won’t be so merciful to the Yuan-ti.

Jung-Mo politely asks Shijo about his mission, and the Yuan-ti says that it is likely the same as the eastern Dark Elves’ — watching and undermining the leaders of the Zedu kingdom and Tong Sheng. He is not afraid of torture but is surprisingly forthcoming. Sonny recommends more specific questions.

Saigo wants to know why his family’s home was being watched. Shijo admits that he was watching several influential households in his guise as a master gardener. Soske’ recognizes Shijo’s mention of evil deity Mi-Shao-Shur.

Toshi casts Mind Read and verifies that the Yuan-ti are connected to a dragon seen by Gen. Shinso before he was captured, as well as to the Red Wastes to the northeast. The adventuring party also learns of a backup plan involving a Yuan-ti Pureblood disguised as a Korobokuru (eastern Dwarf).

Shijo explains that his cell planned to infiltrate the citadel with knowledge from Gen. Shinso and was close to completing his likeness. Toshi sees images in the shapeshifter’s mind of a plot to get close to and replace the daimyo and shogun.

Jung-Mo learns that the scaly folk have infiltrated several cities and that they report to the dragon. Saigo asks whether the Korobokuru silversmith who met with Oh Ok-Sun, Jung-Mo’s former lover, is also working for the Yuan-ti.

Toshi asks about Lady Shiori Heikkaki, whose name was on a scroll of Summoningconfiscated from the Kobolds. Shijo says that the diminutive reptilian canines have been useful in keeping track of Gokuri’s agents in Bazran Hai.

On the roof, Tokoro notices some troop movements but nobody from the nefarious Gokuri Empire or the Scarlet Order. Jung-Mo finishes the questioning by knocking Shijo out with a poisoned dart before he can cast any rituals.

Sonny suggests checking out the Yoshifumi house, and Ember, Soske’, and Tokoro agree to go. Toshi writes a note to Lady Fu Hao, the favored concubine of the distant Shang emperor. Saigo sends a messenger to seek an audience with his superiors.

At the Yoshifumi house, Ember Wild Shapes into a ferret, briefly attracting the attention of Tokoro’s otter Mala. The Wu creates a diversion by running pastguard dogs and leading them through the living quarters.

Soske’ casts True Seeing to watch the comings and goings. The Shukenja spots a few disguised Yuan-ti among the groundskeepers. Tokoro sneaks into the workshop and finds tools with hidden weapons. Thanks to Ember distracting the dogs, the Hulinyuan manages to hide the questionable tools and slip out undetected.

Back at the Dragon’s Beard, Jung-Mo makes sure that Shijo has no suicide poison. Jung-Mo also watches the hotel, his young wyvern, and Toshi’s tiger Amaya while the others regroup and head to the palace.

Sonny tells Jung-Mo that he trusts him, even if the Kensai doesn’t always understand the Ninja. Wu-Jen Toshi casts Arcane Mark to help track the Yuan-ti if necessary.

Ember is torn between staying with Jung-Mo and going to the royal court, but her curiosity about other dragons is piqued. Saigo is relieved when guards arrive to escort the prisoner and Gen. Shinso in a covered carriage. Saigo arms his grandfather with the katana of Wounding confiscated from duplicitous Gen. Wang Tung back in Sogewa.

As they enter the citadel, the wanderers recognize previous acquaintances. Ember avoids Murakami “Murray” Ryozo, a court adept, but Soske’ isn’t so lucky. His Uncle Manny finds him and wants to hear all about his travels.

classic Oriental Adventures
Kara Tur

The young priest manages to get his kinsman to wait outside while he joins his companions. They bow before Ryoushi Manabu, the Bamboo Spirit Folk shogun (eastern Sylvan Elf general); Hei Wan Ling, the Korobokuru shogun; and Hou Keung, the Korobokuru daimyo (king).

Samurai Saigo explains that his team has rescued Gen. Shinso and discovered a nest of Yuan-ti in the capital. Wu Jen Toshi casts Dispel Magic, revealing Shijo’s true reptilian visage, and he warns about the silversmith in the lower tier. Hei Wan Ling orders soldiers to be sent to that tier and the tunnels beneath the citadel.

Sleestak
Reptile folk

Druid Ember is uncomfortable with the talk about hunting a dragon north of Hei Kuan but acknowledges her expertise on dragonkind. Outlanders Sonny, Soske’, and Tokoro keep quiet until asked to testify on the demihumans’ behalf.

Ryoushi Manabu reconsiders sending the group to escort emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong home to Gisokuri. Instead, he decides to send Prince Mutsuhito, brother of Saigo’s lover Nayoko, because he already knows the way to the capital of Gokuri.

Hou Keung offers to grant each of the adventurers a title and land if they will deal with the dragon of corruption in the wilderness. They accept the mission and head back to the hotel.

Jung-Mo thinks about his divided loyalties between defending the innocent and restoring the honor of the Shadow’s Claw clan. Sonny makes a rendezvous with the slippery Lady Yun and writes letters to fellow survivors of his own disgraced house in the Lion Clan.

Ember continues to help with training Jung-Mo’s young wyvern, and Toshi spends the next few weeks enchanting items for his friends. The air Wizard also proposes marriage to Suki Amarna, and the Bisan Wu (Dryad Druid) accepts.

While still avoiding nosy family members, Soske’ hopes to thwart the forces of chaos. Similarly, Tokoro wants to protect the headwaters of his home streams. Saigo studies maps and hopes to learn more about the dragon’s followers….

Welcome back, Sara! It was nice to see everyone online and at our latest “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” session. Remember that the “New Dawn” team will hit Level 10 as of our next session in two weeks, and you can update your characters on Obsidian Portal before then.

Remember that we won’t be meeting virtually on Dec. 7, but I look forward to continuing your quest!

“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Sessions 40.37, 38 — Prisoners’ dilemma

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Sessions 40.37 and 38, which were held on 9 and 16 November 2014:

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

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed./D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and anonline dice roller, as of autumn 2014:

  • 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; LNg, Lvl. 9
  • 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. 9
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • 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. 9
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 9
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 9

>>”27 June to 7 July 1227 B.C.E.:” In Bazran Hai, capital of the Zedu kingdom, Jung-Mo talked with Desc Soo-Ann, or Desan, a fellow Nannuattan Ninja from the Gokuri Empire. He also fought four Kobolds in an ambush alongside Ember and Tokoro.

Bazran Hai in the Bamor Mountains
Dwarven city

Meanwhile, Sonny, Toshi, and Soske’ secured the “Dragon’s Beard” inn and divided party treasure, while Saigo Kasugi had a romantic rendezvous with Princess Nayoko before resuming the search for his grandfather, Gen. Shinso Saigo.

Saigo asks Wu Jen Toshi and Shukenja Soske’ for help wording a Limited Wish that he would use from an enchanted ring. The Samurai hopes to retrieve Gen. Shinso unharmed from wherever he is being held. Sonny notes that evenTeleport spells can be traced or reversed.

Jung-Mo informs the rest of the group about his recent encounters and warns everyone to be on guard because two Kobolds got away and are presumably reporting to other Ninjas from the Shadow’s Claw clan.

Tokoro and Ember consider getting and improving magical bows or arrows. The Hengeyokai Hulinyuan and Wu also keep watch outside and check on Jung-Mo’syoung wyvern and Toshi’s tiger companion Amaya.

Jung-Mo and Saigo interrogate Wah-Ree (“Larry”), a Kobold captured in the alley ambush. At Saigo’s recommendation, the Nannuattan disguises himself as a female Spirit Folk. Sonny and Toshi listen from just outside the makeshift cell.

Saigo gives the doglike reptilian humanoid some food and water. He thanks Wah-Ree for “helping to rescue his sister from some Nezumi” [ratkin]. The Kobold explains that the Shadow’s Claw clan hopes to redeem itself with Queen Kagejusko by hunting down traitors to Gokuri.

Wah-Ree says that he himself is dishonored by being captured. The spy also says that wily troublemaker Desan has used his cover identity as a courier to get access to Zedu’s royal court.

In return for the information, Saigo agrees to pay for Wah-Ree to leave the city. Jung-Mo says that his fellow Ninjas are likely working to undermine the leadership of Bazran Hai, and Sonny speculates that Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong might be in danger from her compatriots because of her truce mission.

Meanwhile, Tokoro notices someone loitering outside the rented inn, and he quietly follows the cloaked figure as the adventuring party escorts Wah-Ree to the docks. Ember stays behind to watch the wyvern, and Toshi continues his arcane research on creating items for his companions.

Saigo and Jung-Mo book passage for Wah-Ree on a boat headed south toward Sogewa. Shengtese humans Sonny and Soske’ keep watch, and Tokoro follows the suspicious tinkerer, who releases a pigeon from a wicker basket at the docks.

The quick-thinking Ranger looses some arrows, dropping the bird. Sonny works his way through the crowd to retrieve it before a stray dog does. The Kensai finds that the dove’s talons have been sharpened and coated in poison.

Tokoro continues following the would-be assassin and sends Mala, his otter companion, to fetch the others as he heads toward a lower tier of Bazran Hai. The carp Hengeyokai realizes that his quarry has shrunk to blend in with the Korobokuru (eastern Dwarves) in the subterranean city.

Tokoro shadows the tinkerer to a silversmith’s shop, as Saigo, Soske, Sonny, and Jung-Mo catch up. Saigo and Jung-Mo enter the shop, while Sonny and Tokoro circle around to the back. Soske’ keeps an eye on the front door.

The tinkerer talks with a Korobokuru craftsman and heads to the back of the shop. She throws a smoke grenade in an attempt to evade Sonny and Tokoro. Sonny strikes her with his flail, and Tokoro casts Abundant Ammunition and readies his Merciful bow.

The others arrive and encircle the tinkerer. Jung-Mo misses with darts from his blowgun, but Soske’s Remorse spell causes the mysterious woman to confess that she didn’t want to harm the pigeon. Saigo ends the tinkerer’s flight by knocking her out with his sheathed katana.

The Ninja reverts to her true form as a Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf). Jung-Mo and Sonny strip her of her gear, including the following:

  • Armor, Elven chain
  • Battle cloak (adamantium-laced, silenced, +1 AC)
  • Bracers, crossbow
  • Poison, two vials (death or sleep, DC 15)
  • Katana (long sword, masterwork)
  • Whip, Vorpal (1d8 plus beheading on crit)
  • Whippets, three (incendiary boomerangs, 1d6+6 fire)

Back at the Dragon’s Beard, Jung-Mo recognizes the latest prisoner as Oh Ok-Sun, a former lover! He checks her for suicide capsules, and the Nannuattan says that he is a defector who left Gokuri with a wyvern egg and without their master’s permission. She apparently knows nothing about the Scarlet Order, which has been sowing chaos in Tong Sheng.

Jung-Mo promises to return to the Underdark once he has found a way to restore their clan’s name and defend his own. Oh Ok-Sun retorts that he’ll have to take his chances, and Jung-Mo offers to release her in return for noninterference.

Saigo objects, saying that while he trusts Jung-Mo, he’s the exception among Nannuattan Ninjas. The Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) would prefer to execute the latest prisoner, but Soske’s Sense Elements (psychometry) on her weapons says that she is efficient and ruthless but honorable.

Sonny and Toshi agree that the group should keep her weapons, with the exception of a nonmagical sword. Saigo and Ember still don’t trust Oh Ok-Sun, but Jung-Mo sends her away.

Toshi says that he’ll need about a month to prepare enchanted items for his companions, such as a stealth suit for Jung-Mo, Crimson Moth silk armor for Sonny, a Scout’s Headband for Soske’, and improved armor and sword for Saigo. Tokoro considers Lesser Bracers of Archery.

In the meantime, the Wu Jen meditates, and Soske’ prepares a divination to aid Saigo in finding his kidnapped grandfather. Scouts Jung-Mo and Tokoro make sure that Oh Ok-Sun leaves the area and resume watch over the inn.

Several days pass, and Toshi aids Saigo with the wording of his Limited Wish. Ember continues to help Jung-Mo care for the wyvern hatchling.

Soske’ contacts Zao Kasugi, a scribe and ancestor of Saigo. The Shukenja learns that Gen. Shinso’s location is magically hidden, but Zao may be able to locate him with help from sacrifices at the ancestral shrine and the temple of Yen Yuang, the sleeping god.

The travelers go to Saigo’s family compound in Bazran Hai. The Bamboo Spirit Folk offers prayers and incense at the shrine and then takes the group to the relatively unadorned temple of Yen Yuang, deity of judgment and death. He briefly considers sacrificing rogue Gen. Wang Tung’s (+2) katana of Wounding.

Hirohata Kotaro, a white-robed priest, leads the supplicants to a private area. Soske’ begins with prayers, and Saigo writes a vow that he won’t touch another woman besides Princess Nayoko for two years. The knight errant hopes to marry her but believes that she is above his station.

He puts the scroll on an altar. All present see themselves in the heavens surrounded by clouds, who answer in the voices of Saigo’s ancestors. They approve of his quest and courtship of the princess.

Meanwhile, Tokoro has a vision of the slumbering god, who holds scales and a quill. His finger twitches, and the Ranger sees the symbol for “citadel,” meaning that Gen. Shinso is likely being held somewhere beneath Bazran Hai’s palace!

Saigo and friends find themselves back in the temple chamber, and Tokoro tells them about the clue from Yen Yuang. The scroll with the Samurai vow has disappeared. Sonny says that it would be nice to know more about who is holding Gen. Shinso.

Sonny and Saigo help with the expenses for making permanent Soske’sForbiddance spell, which protects one large room in the family compound from planar travel and summoned monsters. Toshi readies Arcane Sight, Break Enchantment, Dimensional Anchor, and a scroll of Circle of Protection From Evil.

Druid Ember readies Neutralize Poison, and Jung-Mo and Tokoro take up sniper positions in case the general is followed upon his rescue. Finally, Saigo takes his magical ring and utters the following Limited Wish:

“I wish that my grandfather Shinso Kasugi, general of the armies of the Zedu Kingdom, born of Takiko Kasugi, were phyisically present now in front of me, alone being whole in body and mind, free of any restraint or compulsion — physical, magical, or spiritual — healthy of spirit and without any remaining physical harm, able to stay so long as he would desire here with his grandson Saigo in the clan Kasugi stronghold, with no requirement or compulsion to return to bondage, imprisonment or where he is now and of the same mind, temperament and moral code as he was prior to his capture — without the knowledge of his enemies or any enemies of Saigo Kasugi or his grandfather appearing with his grandfather.”

Saigo’s grandfather appears in armor but unarmed and unharmed! However, because of the phrase, “of the same mind, temperament and moral code as he was prior to his capture — without the knowledge of his enemies,” Gen. Shinso has no memories of his months-long imprisonment.

Saigo and Gen. Hirokazu Saigo are happy to be reunited with the general, who explains that he was on a covert mission for Daimyo Hei Wan Ling on the northern frontier. Shinso says that while looking for foes within the Zedu kingdom, he was ambushed in the woods north of Hei Kuan.

Unfortunately, Gen. Shinso is unable to identify his attackers, but he also mentions that while traveling through the Dragon Pass in the Bamor Mountains, he saw a huge reddish dragon whose very touch corrupted the landscape.

Soske’, Saigo, and Ember believe that the dragon could be a source of thegrowing chaos and a leader of the unnatural Scarlet Order. Sonny and Toshi agree that it would be good to take the fight to the enemy, who is possibly from the Red Wastes to the northeast, while Jung-Mo and Tokoro are more cautious. The wanderers debate on when to leave Bazran Hai.

Still concerned about more Ninjas, archers Jung-Mo and Tokoro take up watch around Saigo’s manor. Kensai Sonny asks them to pay close attention to comings and goings in the demihuman neighborhood. Wizard Toshi resumes his enchantments, and shaman Soske’ rests after the rituals.

Saigo catches up with his family and Princess Nayoko, and Ember returns to the wyvern at the Dragon’s Beard. After a few days, Jung-Mo and Tokoro notice that Shijo Yoshifumi, a master landscaper, doesn’t enter the family gardens but sends underlings while waiting out in the street. Saigo concurs that this is odd behavior.

Tokoro sends his river otter Mala to dig up Saigo’s garden. When a servant notifies Shijo, the landscaper angrily dismisses him and leaves to supposedly get more helpers. Saigo and company stealthily follow him.

Shijo pays little heed to other pedestrians, bumping into them as he heads to a lower tier of the city. Sonny asks Toshi to shift into baza (small blackbird) form and follow. Soske’ notices that Shijo is looking down at the street, and Tokoro recognizes his snakelike pattern of walking.

Shijo moves a heavy cover and jumps into the sewers. The party follows [see middle leftmost entry on map]. Hengeyokai Tokoro leads, followed by Shengtese human Soske, Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo, Shan Sao Toshi, and human Sonny.

Sewer map
Part of Bazran Hai’s sewers

Tokoro tracks Shijo around some corners, across bridges over raw sewage, and to a square chamber, where he is talking to two reptilian Yuan-ti Abominations! They see the hunters and draw weapons.

Halfling Toshi casts Arc Lightning, badly injuring one of the scaled humanoids. Shapeshifter Tokoro fires four arrows at the two Yuan-ti, and Soske’ petitions his ancestors for an Ice Bow. Saigo attacks Shijo with the No Dachi of the White Scorpion but misses.

Chain master Sonny steps into the middle of the melee and swings his flail, hitting the enemy combatants. One Yuan-ti harms Soske’ with a glass, poison-filled arrow, and the other hits Saigo. Fortunately, the Samurai is able to resist the faux gardener’s Baleful Polymorph spell.

Toshi casts Snake’s Swiftness, Mass, and Tokoro shoots more arrows at the serpent folk. Soske’ also shoots them, and Saigo hits Shijo and cleaves into the Yuan-ti. Sonny’s Whirlwind Attack fells the enemy archer, and the other one swings a dao (scimitar) at Saigo.

Shijo casts Darkness and tries to escape, but Toshi counters with Dispel Magic. Tokoro knocks out the fleeing spellcaster with his Merciful bow. Soske, Saigo, and Sonny concentrate on the last Yuan-ti, quickly slaying it. They search the bodies and find the following:

  • Arrows, 12 glass, with hollow points (2d8 plus poison) — claimed by Tokoro
  • Bow, long, +3 — Tokoro to trade to improve his existing bow
  • Dao (scimitar/falchion) +4 — party to sell for 32,000 tael (16,000 gold pieces)
  • Ring of Charm Person — Saigo
  • Scroll of Mind Read — Toshi

While tying up Shijo, Tokoro realizes that he is also reptilian. The spelunkers leave the sewers, and Toshi shifts back to bird form to get Jung-Mo and his carriage to transport their latest prisoner back to the Dragon’s Beard inn….

I hope that everybody enjoyed our latest “New Dawn” games. Sara and Josh, I hope that your honeymoon is going well, and we miss “Ember!” Let me know if you have any further questions about advancement and treasure.

Note that we won’t be meeting next Sunday, Nov. 23, because I’ll be traveling, but I expect to resume on Nov. 30. I also look forward to seeing some of you at upcoming “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expeditionface-to-face sessions and the conclusion of Rich C.G.’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernatural miniseries!