“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!

Advertisements

“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: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.54 — Encountering “Ereval”

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.54, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 29 December 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, became defenders of the kingdom of Saganim, and voyaged aboard the Zephyr….

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) afflicted by a cursed tattoo; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 11
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 11
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 11

(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.].)

“12 to 15 May 1227 B.C.E.:” “Vistel’s Expedition” slayed a gruesome Grimm and fought a band of Grugach (Wild Elves) while crossing the northwestern Plains of Sathendo. Both Unseelie Fey were apparently in league with Vappu Lahja, the mysterious woman stirring up strife among nearby Centaurs.

Druid Elsa prays to Mekkil (Gaia) for extra help with Transport via Plants, and the adventuring party arrives at the heart of the Wisalef Forest. The white walls and tall spires of Alfhileno, capital of the Waletku kingdom of the Elves, are visible through the trees.

Giacomo senses strong magical energies nearby. Scully sniffs and smells late-spring flowers before sending Owlicious off to hunt. Rhys secures his clockwork automatons in his Bag of Holding. Corwin leads the way to the nearest gate.

Unlike most human cities they have visited, the wanderers see relatively little traffic as they enter Alfhileno. Elsa Wild Shapes into a bird, and Corwin introduces himself to sentries as “Prince Berek, son of Lyrilian Moonshadow.”

Half-Elf Corwin points out the flets or talans, the arboreal platforms where most Quelanthi (High Elves) live. In the shadow of the lofty palace, the group scatters across broad, tree-lined lanes.

Arboreal residences
Talans or flets in Alfhileno

Giacomo visits the embassy of his homeland, the (proto-Western European) human kingdom of Hifalendor. The Wizard talks with Sir Nigel, who explains that the Centaurs have served as a buffer between Hifalendor and the barbaric tribes of the Gusorin Confederation.

Scully searches in vain for fellow members of the Order of the Golden Lion. She then goes to the headquarters of the Ranger Guild. At a large lodge, the Flind finds refugees from the villages that Vappu Lahja’s followers have raided.

Corwin checks in at the embassy of the (proto-Celtic) human kingdom of Saganim to get help obtaining a royal audience. He meets Lady Kaitlin Ashley, who turns out to be his aunt! They catch up, and she refers him to Arlas, a Sylvan Elf Bard at the temple of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry.

Back in Hill Dwarf form, Elsa walks to the Grove of Mekkil, where she meets other priestesses of the goddess of nature. Quelanthi Inrawel says that any who would follow Vappu Lahja rather than the Seelie Court should be dealt with severely, and Sylvan Elf Valine believes that as many as a third of Druids have been corrupted.

Rhys finds the bustling Gnomish guildhouse on Faerie Lane. The Minoi (Tinker Gnome) asks “Koja…” [Mark D.L./Non-Player Character] about experimental airships. The Rock Gnome metalsmith refers him to “Pruts…” [Patrik D’H./N.P.C.].

At the local Magisterium (magic school/library), Giacomo asks “Charon Galacticus” [Carlos C./N.P.C.], a onetime member of the “Children of the Elder Gods,” about the tales of Vappu Lahja and scrying her current whereabouts. They speculate that the Drow of Zuromm could be manipulating the Unseelie Court.

Scully accepts Soval’s offer to join Alfhileno’s Ranger Guild. The Grey Elf introduces her to “Rory” [Beruk/N.P.C.] and “Ewan” [Rich/N.P.C.], an angry Hifalendorin human and a Harfoot Halfling farmer, respectively, who lost their lands to militant Centaurs.

Scully also meets “Dionysus” [Bruce/N.P.C.], an older Centaur still loyal to the Waletku kingdom but sympathetic to his kin, and “Malekith” [Drew/N.P.C.], an armored Sylvan Elf.

Lord Galion Luincolla” arrives and wonders why nobody is alarmed at a Gnoll in their midst. Soval reassures his superior that Scully is a defender of the wilds and the innocent.

Arlas agrees with Corwin and Giacomo that there are similarities between the legends of Vappu Lahja and “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.], leader of the Ghost Fleet. Both were cursed decades ago but somehow found a way to gain followers despite their long exiles. Corwin thinks about visiting the consulate of the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm.

Meanwhile, Elsa talks with some exalted animals at the Grove of Mekkil. Badger “Tucker” [Drew/N.P.C.] reports that some forest animals have moved to follow the “White Lady” (Vappu Lahja).

Rabbit “Cracker” [Bruce/N.P.C.] says that the territory now controlled by Centaurs and Satyrs is strangely peaceful, which he doesn’t like. Elsa suspects witchcraft in addition to clever political appeals.

Wolf “Wynona” [Sara/N.P.C.] hates the rogue Fey who slaughtered her pack, but “Bob” the bear [Beruk/N.P.C.] smokes a pipe and tries to keep a mellow attitude.

Prince Corwin eventually receives a summons to palace. Lady Cynthia Acheson, a Quelanthi Paladin of Corellan Larethian in mithril armor, brings him and Giacomo through glittering halls. Soft music fills the air.

Beneath a scion of the Tree of Life are courtiers including Wizard “Xander Sunspot” [Rich/N.P.C.], representatives of various Elven tribes such as the winged Avariel, and proud Centaur tutor “Lord Naresh” [Drew/N.P.C.]. Most petitioners are surprised when a scruffy Half-Elf scout sits on the throne.

“Giacomo, king of jesters and jester to the king” [John Z.G./Beruk/N.P.C.; apologies to The Court Jester ] announces “Ereval I” [Steve A.L./N.P.C.], bearer of sword Black Razor and high king of the Waletku kingdom and the Seelie Court. The wise Ranger once known as “Mouse” tells Corwin that their fathers, Halikos Kelannir and Edmund the Strong, once traveled together.

Corwin asks the Elves to join the naval alliance against the Ghost Fleet. King Ereval notes that the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elves) do not acknowledge him as ruler, but he agrees to provide materiel to neighboring realms.

Giacomo asks on Elsa’s behalf if the Waletku kingdom would participate in her nascent long-range communications network. Xander says the Quelanthi already have access to powerful magic, but Ereval grants “Vistel’s Expedition” access to Alfhileno. The king also orders the immediate mustering of troops to the border to contain Vappu Lahja’s followers.

Alchemist and former “Dragonslayer” Pruts… tells Rhys that his brother Flap… works for the Royal Air Corps. But first, the Tinker Gnome regroups with his companions at “Tabby’s Tavern” among the restaurants of the Halfling Quarter.

The command crew of the Zephyr compares notes on what it has learned in Alfhileno and how to help Hifalendor with the Centaur uprising as part of its strategy against the Ghost Fleet. Giacomo and Corwin prepare a Contingency spell of Greater Teleport for whenever they meet Vappu Lahja.

Scully, who is now a member of Saganim’s Royal Society for Cartography, the Order of the Golden Lion in the Ebir Sheikdom, and now the Waletku Ranger Guild, is eager to get back to “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./N.P.C.].

Elsa recommends trying to parley with Vappu Lahja, since her forces are numerous, and the Elves don’t want to fight fellow Fey folk. The diplomatic Dwarf considers commissioning a portrait of the pale lady or buying a magic mirror. Skeptical Corwin agrees to find or compose a favorable version of Vappu Lahja’s fairy tale.

Rhys invites Elsa to join him at the Royal Air Corps. They are awed by the pegasi, gryphons, and other steeds ridden by Quelanthi cavalry. Gilda Swanmay says that the Elves once had more contact with metallic dragons, but many were slain in past wars. The officer takes Rhys and Elsa into a large hangar.

“Sir Elandor Lightblade” [Mark B./N.P.C.] greets the visitors and offers curious Elsa a Pegasus ride. She quickly accepts and gets an aerial tour of leafy Alfhileno.

Rhys is happy to compare notes with Pruts’ brother Flap, who says other experimental vessels patrol the Waletku kingdom’s northern frontier. Rhys also shows off his clockwork butler Vasco, which attracts much Gnomish attention.

Mischievous Rhys also jokingly trades insults with “Jiriki i-Sansorei” [Jon W.P./N.P.C.] about how the wooden H.M.A.S. Longshot II is inferior to the Zephyr, which has a metal hull. The Paladin retorts that his vessel has been battle-tested and has a crew of Elven knights.

The Zephyr’s away team prepares to head back to the Plains of Sathendo to rescue their former traveling companions in Vistel’s Circus from Vappu Lahja and deal with her minions’ growing raids on Hifalendorin farming communities….

This session is dedicated to the memory of Steve A.L. I look forward to seeing most of you at tonight’s “Vanished Lands: A New Dawntelecom game, Jason E.R.’s “Channel 37” dimension-hopping scenario tomorrow, or upcoming “Vistel’s Expedition” sessions.

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.53 — “I’m done being Ms. Nice Elephant”

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.53, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 8 December 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 Pathfinder and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of autumn 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 11
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 11
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 11

(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.].)

“8 to 11 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventurering party left the Zephyr in the city of Nadwi and ventured across the Plains of Sathendo. They spotted an Orcish camp and entered the haunted hamlet of Alarn, where they found a Redcap who had murdered five of their former companions in Vistel’s Circus.

The Redcap escaped, but the onetime carnival performers were able to resurrect their friends, if not restore their severed hands. “Vistel’s Expedition” sent them to the relative safety of Nadwi and called for its airship to evacuate the remaining traumatized peasants.

Giacomo prepares another Contingency spell for his familiar Gerald. Scully scouts ahead, while Corwin and Rhys ride in a reclaimed circus wagon. Elsa Wild Shapesinto an eagle, joining her winged cat Penryn and Scully’s owl Owlicious in the air.

After about a day’s ride southeast, the travelers spot a large humanoid loping from the direction of Kedetura toward their caravan. Wizard Giacomo castsShield on himself and identifies the creature as a fierce Grimm, another Unseelie Fey.

Ranger Scully readies her long bow, and Bard Corwin casts Comprehend Languages and Displacement on himself. Druid Elsa shifts into a dire bear and casts Enlarge Animal on herself. Gadgeteer Rhys checks his clockwork automatons and loads his crossbow.

The Grimm and Elsa charge and rend each other with claws and teeth. Scully looses a volley of arrows as Corwin casts Greater Heroism on Elsa. Giacomo hits the beast with Magic Missiles, but Rhys’ first quarrels miss.

Flind Scully casts Protection From Evil on Elsa to protect the Hill Dwarf from the Grimm’s fell aura. The muscular monster Calls Lightning, but the dire bear avoids the blast. Elsa continues wrestling with the Grimm, and Half-Elf Corwin casts Displacement on her.

Hifalendorin human Giacomo’s Phantasmal Killer has no effect on the gruesome Grimm. Tinker Gnome Rhys tries hurling bars of “cold steel,” a reddish antimagical metal alloy, but they fall short.

In between firing more arrows, Scully attends to Elsa’s wounds. The slavering Grimm Ethereal Jaunts from Elsa to Corwin but is slowed by his Stun Bolts. Giacomo casts Acid Arrow and more Magic Missiles.

Elsa finishes off the tough Grimm and shifts back to demihuman form to make sure its carcass is incinerated. Rhys claims an enchanted katar (punching dagger, 1d8+2), and Giacomo detects an evil sickle.

Elsa casts Lesser Restoration to help Corwin regain his strength, and the Zephyr crew members resume their journey to rescue the rest of Vistel’s Circus from the Centaur followers of the mysterious Vappu Lahja.

Sometime later, Scully and Elsa see five Elves riding stags. Giacomo and Corwin recommend caution, while Elsa argues that they need allies against the forces of evil. Scully says that learning more about the area is worth some risk, and Rhys plans to make puppets resembling argumentative Corwin and Elsa.

Corwin uses his Hat of Disguise to appear as a full Elf, and Elsa hails the riders wearing fringed buckskins and feathers. The Grugach (Wild Elves) treat the team as intruders in their territory, even though they’re all in the human kingdom of Hifalendor.

Giacomo and Corwin are annoyed when Elsa mentions that she’s looking for former traveling companions, as Scully and Rhys hang back and watch the Grugach. Uller Tolvo says that his patrol has been hunting for exotic animals for a circus.

Antero Korkonen doesn’t seem surprised when Elsa warns of an Orcish warband from Zuromm nearby. Asser Rantasila notes that creatures such as the Grimm have been seen in the borderlands, and Heikki Makinen doesn’t respond when the Druid offers the blessings of Mekkil (Gaia). Scully sniffs for clues.

Pasi Vanhala doesn’t mention Vappu Lahja by name, but the explorers suspect that the Grugach are in league with the woman claiming to be a figure from a fairy tale. They continue riding their separate ways.

Elsa casts Pass Without Trace as Scully finds a defensible position. Elsa then casts Grove of Respite to create a restful (and alarmed) campsite. Giacomo and Corwin take the first watch for the night and notice that fewer animals than expected are moving on the grasslands. Scully and Rhys don’t set a fire during their watch.

On the third watch, Elsa and Rhys sense people sneaking up on them from all directions. Elsa again Wild Shapes into a burly bear, wakes the others, and dispels the grove. Diminutive Rhys climbs up on the bear for a better vantage point.

Stealthy Corwin casts Displacement on himself, and Rhys whistles to send his constructs to beat the bushes. Wary Giacomo casts Mage Armor, and Scully says, “I’m done being Ms. Nice Elephant” as she Wild Shapes into an animal she saw in the Zarendo Islands.

The Grugach shoot flaming arrows, injuring Corwin and Scully. Elsa casts Entangle, slowing the Wild Elves, and Corwin retaliates with a Fireball. Rhys again misses with his crossbow, and Giacomo casts Magic Missiles at Heikki and Pasi.

Singed Antero and Pasi shoot Scully, Antero and Uller hit Elsa with arrows, and Heikki targets Giacomo. Corwin runs to Pasi and hits the injured Elf twice. Elsa casts Greater Dispel Magic in case the Grugach are somehow ensorcled by Vappu Lahja, but she notices no immediate effect.

Rhys recalls his automatons, while Giacomo activates his Contingency spell, again causing homunculus Gerald to take on the Form of the Dragon. Heikki runs but is caught by the gold dragon.

Scully charges, and the Grugach fire at her and Gerald. Elsa casts Wind Wall to deflect further arrows and orders the Elves to stand down. They lower their bows. Giacomo has Gerald release Heikki.

Corwin angrily asks the hunters why they attacked. Asser says that Vappu Lahja will eradicate all “civilized” interlopers on the plains. Scully and Rhys keep an eye on Antero, Pasi, and Uller.

Elsa prays to Mekkil for a Positive Energy Burst, healing her allies, and she covertly casts Remove Curse in another attempt to disrupt Vappu Lahja’s sway. With Gerald still overhead, the Grugach back off.

Giacomo reiterates the need to keep a low profile while searching for the captive Vistel’s Circus. Scully keeps watch for the Grugach, and Corwin wants to confront Vappu Lahja.

Elsa, however, notes that the sorceress may have many followers and that they need to find out more about the situation in the borderlands. Rhys points out that Giacomo and Corwin’s Teleport spells could be dangerous because of a certain Pit Fiend looking for them.

The wanderers discuss visiting the Waletku kingdom of the Elves in the Wisalef Forest, which is just north of Hifalendor. Corwin states that his mother was once respected in Alfhileno, the distant capital.

Giacomo is reluctant to stay anywhere for long, and Scully worries about Elven prejudice against humanoids like herself. Rhys is curious about rumors of other Gnomish airships.

Elsa is interested in expanding the alliance against the dreaded Ghost Fleet and her nascent long-range communications network, so she begins preparing a fewTransport via Plants invocations….

Happy Birthday, Rich! I hope that everyone enjoyed our latest face-to-face “Vistel’s Expedition” sessions, and I look forward to continuing this fantasy campaign early next year! The “New Dawntelecom team should resume this coming weekend.

I also look forward to concluding Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernaturalminiseries next Monday and to starting Jason E.R.’s “Channel 37” speculative fiction anthology. In the meantime, make sure your character records are up to date on Obsidian Portal, and stay in touch….

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.52 — Revealing the Redcap

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.52, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 1 December 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 Pathfinder and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of autumn 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 11
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 11
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 11

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

“1 to 7 May 1227 B.C.E.:” After a week’s refitting, the Zephyr was airworthy and left Hesolin, capital of the human kingdom of Hifalendor, but Princess Priscilla and Lady Matilda stowed aboard.

The airship’s shakedown cruise northward went relatively smoothly, and Elsa befriended a Treant. In the city of Nadwi, the crew reassured the ruling council that it meant no harm to the princess and offered to help deal with a Centaur uprising.

Freed from his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra, Giacomo goes to the local Magisterium (magic school) and the Library of Memir to research Vappu Lahja, the mysterious woman named in an old fairy tale who is now stirring up conflict between the Centaurs and humans [see notes for the “Uncommon Companions”].

Scully stretches her legs outside Nadwi’s walls, but she keeps an jealous eye on Svetlana Taildunker, a Wolfen sailor who has recently come under her boyfriend “Capt. Niac’s” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] command.

Corwin visits the temple of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry, and talks with priestesses Anastasia and Claudia of the Harp. They relay messages from “Melchior” [Byron V.O.], who is watching Corwin’s enemies in the barbaric port of Gisar. The Bard also learns some Centaur songs.

Elsa still hopes to negotiate between the Centaur raiders and the Hifalendorin peasants, so she brews beer and bakes bread as gifts. Rhys spends all his money on provisions for the airship and takes fellow Gnome Mathilda sightseeing.

After learning at the Grove of Mekkil (Gaia) that some fey are nearby, Druid Elsa and Ranger Scully take their fellowship to meet them. They find a traders’ camp outside the city gates, including some Skaevingol (Viking-style) and Tsucharim (Mongol-style) humans, Wolven, and a few Centaurs.

“Rakhnar Longtail” [Rob A.S./N.P.C.] tells them that much of his tribe has left to follow “the white lady.” The shaman believes that Vappu Lahja is using a combination of ensorclement and clever political arguments to sway so many of his people, as well as Satyrs/Fauns and some Grugach (Wild Elves).

The Centaur asks the commanders of the Zephyr to look for and rescue Antiochus, a kinsman of his. In return, he warns about Theocles, a warlord following Vappu Lahja who could be a dangerous and cunning foe.

The next day, “Vistel’s Expedition” rides northeast, along the Aspar River. The wide Plains of Sathendo stretch to the south and east, and the caravan sees scattered hills to the north. Beyond them are the dense Wisalef Forest and the tall Ivory Mountains. To the west is the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm.

Wizard Giacomo brings Gerald, his homunculus familiar, leaving adept and girlfriend “Dread” Maggie Oakleaf back with the rest of the Zephyr’s crew in Nadwi.

Corwin argues with Elsa about whether to allow Princess Priscilla to join the expedition, but he is outvoted. Scully wants to bring Svetlana to keep her away from Niac, but she reluctantly agrees to have her watch the princess.

Rhys notes that Mathilda isn’t as much of a potential liability and stuffs his three automatons and clockwork butler Vasco into his Bag of Holding. The Tinker Gnome also builds a platform for himself on the saddle of his pony.

Elsa casts Locate Object to find the ring of Baskor Steadyhand, a roustabout in Vistel’s Circus, which has been captured by Vappu Lahja’s followers. It leads the Hill Dwarf toward the hamlet of Alarn, about four days’ ride away.

Flind Scully hunts with her owl “Owlicious” to supplement the team’s rations with small game. Hifalendorin human and city slicker Giacomo recommends that the Ranger or Druid cast Speak With Animals to see if the circus has passed recently.

Half-Elf Corwin sings as a thunderstorm passes over the plains, and Tinker Gnome Rhys is careful to keep his contraptions dry. Scully spots tracks of three quadrupeds with cloven hooves. She scouts ahead and sees three unicorns with Elven riders, but the group decides against a detour to meet them.

Sometime later, the scouts see something more worrisome: tents not in the Hifalendorin or Saganim style. Giacomo, Corwin, and Rhys stay back with the horses, while Scully Wild Shapes into a sparrow, and Elsa transforms into an auroch (ancient bovine).

They observe humans wearing patchwork armor and a ragged black pennant with angular red and silver symbols — the flag of Zuromm. Scully shifts into rat form to get a closer look, while Elsa realizes that she might be mistaken for livestock or prey and heads back to the party.

Scully crawls into one tent, which is more crowded and orderly than its exterior might suggest. She sees components for shamanic rituals and a muscular, green-skinned humanoid in black armor. The Ranger dodges hobnailed boots and runs out of the Orc encampment.

Giacomo recommends pressing on toward Alarn through the night, avoiding the Zuromm troops. Scully points out that a proper detour will take hours. Corwin wants to fight, but Elsa wants to stay on mission. Rhys notices that the enemy forces are headed toward the town of Kedetura, which is where Vappu Lahja is believed to be.

Stealthy Scully takes the lead as the group rides on. Rhys follows, protected by aSilence spell from Giacomo. The wary mage also casts Invisibility on winged Gerald. Corwin sulks in his saddle, while Elsa and her banuq (winged cat) Penryn take rearguard. She also casts Message to warn Prince Andre de Giles in Nadwi about the Orcs.

The tired travelers eventually reach Alarn, which they find mostly abandoned. Farmers huddle in their houses, and the lone thoroughfare is empty. The adventuring party passes a boarded-up chapel and stops at the “Mellow Mule” tavern.

They meet a toothless old man playing a battered harmonium and a young girl with lank hair and a tattered dress. The visitors quickly realize that they are ghosts and hastily leave. Elsa again casts Locate Object, which indicates that members of Vistel’s Circus are in a vine-shrouded barn.

The dark leaves shudder as if from an imperceptible breeze, and roots break out of the dry soil toward the group. Giacomo casts Detect Magic and Shield, and Scully draws her long bow and maneuvers. Elsa looks for cover and Wild Shapes into a vulture.

Corwin casts Displacement and Fly on himself, while Rhys readies his clockwork scorpion, which spits acid, and his dragon construct, which can produce fire. Elsa casts Control Plants and has the vines tear the barn doors off their hinges before parting.

The explorers enter the barn and see the wagons of their former traveling companions in the carnival. They hear a high-pitched voice welcoming them, and flying Elsa, Corwin, and Giacomo see small figures made out of twigs moving in the rafters.

Corwin casts Light and reveals a short, bearded man dressed all in red, from his floppy cap to his pointed boots. Despite some similarities, Rhys knows he is not a Gnome. The fellow introduces himself as Gilean and shows off a necklace of hands, one of which has Baskor’s ring!

Prince Corwin casts Lightning Bolt at the evil fey, and Elsa has the vines entangle the Twigjacks. Giacomo activates a Contingency spell on Gerald, and Rhys sends his devices to the carriages to search for survivors. Scully fires arrows.

Gilean shrugs off his electrical burns, and Elsa has the vines rip the roof off the barn. The Dwarf Druid then casts Lightning Strike. Wizard Giacomo casts Mage’s Sword while his familiar turns red as he takes on the Form of the Dragon.

The Redcap refuses to admit defeat. He stomps on the ground three times, causing it to tremble. Gilean then phases into the earth, escaping further spells and arrows. Giacomo sends enlarged Gerald to fly over Alarn to see if there’s any further sign of him.

From Books of Faerie
Redcap

Scully searches the hamlet and tries to reassure the remaining peasants, who tell her of previous attacks. Rhys finds five bodies in the wagons: Dwarf rigger Baskor Steadyhand, Saganim drover Cerdwyn mab Ardain, Suthern fire breather Amur ibn Wayat, Hifalendorin acrobat Simona Perhuten, and Halfling caricaturist Alberto Barrowright.

Elsa mourns her friends, who likely put up a fight, and Corwin vows vengeance and begins preparing spells to Raise the Dead. The onetime performers deduce from the looted carriages that the rest of the circus has probably been sent on to Kedetura.

The wanderers rest in Alarn for two days, resurrecting the carnival folk, but the spellcasters aren’t able to restore their severed hands. The five people are put on Phantom Steeds, which can run down the Aspar River toward Nadwi, away from hostile fey.

Elsa sends for the Zephyr to warn Prince Andre and evacuate the remaining farmers. With grim determination, the away team prepares to head to Kedetura to confront Vappu Lahja and her Unseelie Court followers….

We’ll be picking up next Monday, Dec. 8, right where we left off. That’ll probably be the last regular “Vanished Lands” face-to-face game of 2014!