“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 40.34 — Tension on the borderlands

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.34, which was held on Sunday, 12 October 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; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • 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. 8
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 8
  • 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. 8
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 8

“8 to 13 June 1227 B.C.E.:” The diplomatic escorts resumed riding north toward Bazran Hai, capital of the Zedu kingdom. On the way, they encountered a reptilian Naga and Bamboo Spirit Folk, who warned them of perils ahead. The team also fought Nezumi bandits and shape-shifting Kitsune.

The caravan skirts the edge of the dense Therud Forest and follows a trail across the edge of the Plains of Sathendo. The adventuring party decides to skip the hamlet of Yanui and instead heads toward Hsia Ling, near Hazokuwi, where it formed.

The trail climbs into the foothills of the Bamor Mountains, and the team pitches camp at the edge of the woods. Jung-Mo stealthily removes his wyvern hatchling from his cage for exercise while Sonny engages Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong in conversation.

Toshi reminds his companions that he can help enchant items for them, and Soske’ guarantees masterwork-quality craftsmanship. Ember checks on Toshi’s hungry tiger Amaya and Sonny’s talking horse Yip.

Saigo is eager to get home to Bazran Hai, but Tokoro is mildly uncomfortable so far from his home stream. Shukenja Soske’ and Hulinyuan Tokoro sit the first watch that night, followed by Wu Jen Toshi and Samurai Saigo. Ninja Jung-Mo and Wu Ember plan to take the last watch.

Soske and Tokoro hear movement outside their camp. They eventually perceive about 20 Bakemono (eastern Goblins) foraging, so they wake their companions. Jung-Mo slips into the shadows to get behind the humanoids.

Shengtese humans Sonny and Soske’, who can’t see in the dark, ask the demihumans if the Bakemono are heading for their camp. Crane Hengeyokai Ember and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo recommend letting them pass.

Carp Hengeyokai Tokoro says some of the raiders might enter it, so Shan Sao Toshi casts Freezing Fog to discourage them. The Goblinoids fall to bickering among themselves, but Jung-Mo and friends notice six larger shadows behind them — Oni (Ogre Magi).

Sonny and Saigo signal Jung-Mo, who creeps back to his carriage to fetch Lady Yun. Ember Wild Shapes into a wolf. Tosh casts Invisibility and shifts into baza (small blackbird) form. Soske’ and Tokoro draw their bows and wait for the Goblins to come through the mist.

Lady Yun agrees to help, and she and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja step out of the camp, along with the rest of the group. The Goblins grovel and scatter before their Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) superior.

Up in the trees, Toshi sees a winged Draconian and hears something else observing the parley. The six Oni stomp forward, and Jung-Mo recognizes the sashimonos (banners) of the Gokuri Empire’s Typhoon Unit. Two of the misshapen Ogre Mages shape change into human form.

Matsudaira Masayoshi and Byon Yong-Jo taunt Lady Yun, saying that they could easily kill her escorts and that her authority is weak so far from Gisokuri. The diplomat reminds the Oni that even though she is not part of the military chain of command, she still outranks them.

The Oni squint at Lady Yun’s guards and then grudgingly wave their squad to move on. Toshi, who has shifted back into Halfling form, still doesn’t see the second flying scout. Jung-Mo and Ember quietly follow the Oni and Bakemono to make sure they leave the area.

Eastern Ogres and Goblins
Oni and Bakemono

The next morning, Lady Yun asks Jung-Mo if she can ride atop the carriage as it bounces along the increasingly rocky road. Saigo still doesn’t trust the Nannuattan, and Oh Kum Ja walks alongside the carriage and notices a large birdcage (actually the wyvern under Toshi’s illusion).

Ember and Tokoro sense that they’re being watched, so Ember and Toshi take to the sky. The Druid and Wizard don’t find anything as the Hsia Ling’s walls comes into sight. Saigo asks Lady Yun and Oh Kum Ja to get back into the carriage as they enter the border town.

Hsia Ling
Walled town

In addition to Shengtese (East Asian) humans, the wanderers notice some Spirit Folk (eastern Elves), Shan Sao (eastern Halflings), Korobokuru (eastern Dwarves), and a band of Minotaur mercenaries. Saigo pays Tah Zhiqang 10 tael (5 gold pieces) for rooms at the “Crystal Dragon” inn.

Jung-Mo is surprised when Ember asks to share a room with him, and Toshi orders a pig for Amaya. Sonny makes sure that Lady Yun and Oh Kum Ja are discreetly situated. Druid Ember attends to the horses, while Ranger Tokoro leaves for a while to swim up the Roduyoi Stream.

Cleric Soske’ is happy to rest in a comfortable bed with a carafe of sake, but he is distressed when the maid drawing his bath recognizes him. Jin Ling is a distant cousin, and he begs her not to tell her mother that he is in town for at least one night.

Jin Ling then goes to entertain Saigo. Jung-Mo prepares a tea ceremony for Ember, and Soske’ asks Tah Zhiqang for a quieter room away from his amorous cohorts. Toshi casts spells on Jung-Mo’s window for a sparkling sunrise.

On his way back to the Crystal Dragon, Tokoro is accosted by Fan Shao-feh, who tries to entice him into games of chance. Despite the possibility of gaining favor with Shebsen, lady luck, Tokoro declines. He also notices that Lo Sheng, a Korobokuru sergeant in the local guards, is warily watching visitors.

The next morning, Toshi orders a feast for his friends. Jung-Mo and Ember are late to breakfast, and Kensai Sonny struggles to get his group to keep a low profile. Only Tokoro complies with his suggestion.

Toshi and Saigo write letters to Bisan (Dryad) Suki and Princess Nayoko, respectively, to tell them that they’ll be home soon. Soske’ reluctantly meets with his nosy family members, who treat him as a visiting dignitary.

Jung-Mo and Ember go hand in hand for a walk outside the town with the as-yet-unnamed wyvern. Sonny brings Lady Yun breakfast and practices his Bamoric. Toshi studies spells, and Soske’ tells Jin Ling’s kin, who are worried about events in Sogewa, only a little about his travels.

Saigo plans to use a Ring of Wishes to find his grandfather, Gen. Shinso Saigo, who is apparently being held captive in or near the capital….

Note that your characters will attain Level 9 as they reach Bazran Hai next session! Think about what each of them will want in terms of training and equipment, as well as other goals.

I look forward to Drew’s “Cumberland County” Southern fantasy scenario (using Roll for Shoes) tonight. Rich C.G.’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernatural miniseries (using Hunter: the Reckoning) will be next Monday, and my “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” campaign will probably resume on Oct. 27.

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“Vortex: the Gryphon” Update 5c.13 — Black Box bites back

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 5c.13 of the “Vortex: the Gryphontelecom space opera campaign, which met via Skype on Sunday, 21 October 2012. We’ve been using FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer, Bulldogs, and an online dice roller.

In one future, humanity has begun to colonize the Sol system, but environmental degradation, population pressures, and internecine conflict persist. The rediscovery of mystical abilities and open and official First Contact with galactic societies, themselves at war, threaten Terra’s very survival. Can heroes rise to the challenges?

>>FATE 3e “Vortex” Team 3 (5c) telecom Player Characters, crew of the Gryphon, as of autumn 2012:

  • Hector Chavez [Beruk A.]-male Latin American Terran human, former spy and communications expert/engineer of the Appomattox and Gryphon 
  • Jasmine [Sara F.]-female Martian Felinoid (Synth, “Uplifted” tiger), former professional pit fighter and onetime crewmember of the Appomattox, now apart from the grifters in “MarSoupAiL” with boyfriend Darcy
  • Chris McKee/Agent Prometheus” [Josh C.]-male Terran human cyborg, former sniper for the North American Aerospace Marine Corps. and eugenicists at Black Box Security Co.; onetime crewmember of the scout ship Blackbird 
  • Jax [Robin H.]-male human from the Asteroid Belt, vain space pirate and pilot of the Slipstream and Gryphon 
  • -“Dr. Srinu Pahul [Byron V.O.]-male Indian Terran “near-human” (bioengineered) xenobiologist, shadowed by scandal and confident in survival skills
  • Orion Starchaser [Geoff C./absent]-male [blue humanoid alien] outcast, irrepressible mystic and adrenaline junkie

>>”5 to 7 April 2195 A.D./C.E. or 1 Terran Galactic Era:” The Gryphon has traveled from habitats orbiting Earth and the dangerous Martian outback to Jupiter. After fighting pirates in Europa’s chilly oceans, the yacht’s intrepid crew prepares to meet other contacts.

Jovian torus colony
Elysium Station, capital of the Jovian Commonwealth in “Vortex”

Hector Chavez arranges a rendezvous with onetime rival Annamaria Balzana at Club Hedonism, a touristy nightclub in Elysium Station, capital of the Jovian Commonwealth.

Jasmine thanks pilot Jax for helping to rescue their crewmates from the Encegulan (slug-like alien) submarine. The tiger woman and Darcy plan to meet Shortwave and Quickfin, two Delphines (“Uplifted” cetaceans) in the Synth Liberation Front, at a clock tower at midnight.

Dr. Srinu Pahul asks engineer Hector to work on a gun that can emit both an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and stun. The scientist agrees to go with Hector to Club Hedonism and makes plans for a farewell party as the Gryphon leaves the Sol system.

Chris McKee asks Jasmine to accompany him to “Tazer’s Tavern” in Port Edillon. The sniper is wary of his reunion with Lt. Brock Ellis, a colleague among the secretive eugenicists at Black Box Security Co. Meanwhile, Orion Starchaser wanders off for more sightseeing.

At Elysium, Hector parties with other high-society types while Hector chats with the attractive Annamaria. She agrees to discreetly inquire into the whereabouts of Hector and Jasmine’s former cohorts aboard the Appomattox, which hid its smuggled cargo of Vatican artifacts in deep space.

“Agent Prometheus,” Jasmine, and Jax find armored Lt. Ellis at the soldier bar. As they exchange pleasantries, Jasmine notices people moving away from them. Chris realizes that he has been poisoned and draws his pistol on Brock, wounding him.

More of “Tazer’s Tavern’s” patrons draw guns, and furred Jasmine knocks over a table as a shield. One Black Box agent [Byron/Non-Player Character] circles around and shoots, but Jasmine dodges a few bullets.

Another “near-human” [Josh/N.P.C.] fires a needler but misses at first. A third [Beruk/N.P.C.] also misses with a net gun. Chris slumps to the floor, as Jasmine picks up the table and slams into Brock. The burly wrestler grabs Chris and heads for the door.

Jax emerges from the toilets and shoots at a chandelier, briefly pinning one of the goons. Jasmine gets hit by hollow needles containing an anesthetic and is slowed. One of the gunmen [Byron/N.P.C.] runs after her.

Another would-be kidnapper [Josh/N.P.C.] ignores Jax, who radios Hector and Chris for backup. They commandeer a ground-effect vehicle and race to “Tazer’s Tavern.” The Black Box agents close in on Jasmine and Chris, with Jax close behind.

Srinu weaves through the colony’s traffic and slides the speeder between the snipers and his companions. Hector shoots one gunman, and Chris regains consciousness in time to finish off the man with the needler.

Jasmine recommends avoiding the tavern, but Chris runs back to confront Brock. Unfortunately, he is gone. Hector uses his microcomputer to block local surveillance. He also finds that the Black Box agents carried police IDs.

Jax takes the wheel, and the crew of the Gryphon makes a swift retreat to the space dock, losing one of the gunmen [Beruk /N.P.C.] who had tried to cut them off on foot.

Back at the ship, Dr. Pahul and robot nurse MEGAN attend to Chris and Jasmine’s injuries. Jax recommends heading to the Asteroid Belt as soon as possible, noting that the group should be able to find other contacts there.

Hector puts the speeder in the cargo hold near Jasmine’s hoverbike for future tinkering. The former spy also tells Annamaria that he hopes to reconnect with her another time. Jax doesn’t mind leaving lady friend Bonnie Kawagura behind.

Disappointed Jasmine cancels her meeting with the Delphines but still hopes to find friendly fellow “Synths” (bioengineered humanoids) before leaving the Sol system. Mystic Orion returns from his rambles in time to head out.

No longer just a cold-blooded killer, Chris is angry with himself for allowing Black Box Security forces to get the drop on him, months after he fought Terra Prime on the Blackbird. Orion points out that he has probably also gotten the attention of higher-ranking people who might be more interested in talking.

The Gryphon leaves the Jovian system. Jasmine, Chris, and Jax rest, while Srinu cancels his party and finishes his report for the Union of Solar Nations on the Zarkonian threat. Hector checks his aliases and monitors scanners.

Darcy and PEPE, Srinu’s valet robot, continue to make repairs as the Gryphon heads to Ceres, the largest colony in the Asteroid Belt….

Please note that the “Vortex” telecom game won’t be meeting on Oct. 28 because I’ll be meeting former co-worker Ken G. for a Raiders of the Lost Ark screening in Cambridge, Mass. I expect to resume on Nov. 4 after attending the Rhode Island Comic Con.

In the meantime, I hope that Monday’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” fantasy session won’t be affected by Hurricane Sandy. Take it easy, -Gene

 

“Vanished Lands” Update T3.40 — Uncommon Companions: the Night of 1,000 Echoes

Hunter Elf And Falcon - Elven Girls - Magical Pictures
Elf falconer

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.40 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 29 January 2012, and has been using Pathfinder, Skype, and an online dice roller.

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. After “Holy Steel‘s” journey to the distant empire of Khemet, another group of adventurers gathered in the northwestern “Vanished Lands” to explore a world full of perils and wonders.

After meeting in the Wisalef Forest, the “Uncommon Companions” encountered the Centaur followers of the mysterious Vappu Lahja and Unseelie Fey in the increasingly dangerous borderlands….

>>Telecom party Player Character roster, as of spring 2012:

-“Asish Chen Ti” [Byron V.O.]-male Tsucharim human archer (Mongol-style Ranger), escaped from Gokuri; owner of Akita dog Genghis and horses Onimusha and Gashmu; NGl, Age 20, Lvl. 4

-“Jovinda Halflight” [Sammy H.]-female Half-Elf (Grugach/Saganim) Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature; has horses Wyth-Amoi and Meth-Fenna and falcon Sun Wing; NGl, Age 23, Lvl. 4

-“Kazuo Takenaga” [Taum D’A.]-male Nezumi (Rat-kin) Monk from the Zedu kingdom in the Therud Forest; LNg, Age 20, Lvl. 4

-“Hateem Shisakli” [Josh C.]-male Suthern human Dervish (proto-Arabic Bard/Battledancer); Lvl. 4

-“Favelhorn Riftbringer” [Dexter V.H./absent]-male Mountain Dwarf Summoner; CGn, Age 51, Lvl. 1

-“Gawain Keary” [Paul J./absent]-male Saganim human Illusionist (proto-Celtic Wizard); NGc, Age 20, Lvl. 3

-“Kovar” [Beruk A./absent]-male Half-Orc/Saganim human Paladin of Mithras, god of contracts and brotherhood; LGn, Lvl. 3

-“Davven ‘Digger’ Hollysharp” [Robert A.S./absent]-male Faldine Halfling archaeologist (Tallfellow Rogue) from a pipeweed farm in Tarken; CGn, Age 45, Lvl. 3

>>”15 to 16 November 1229 B.C.E.:” After recovering from their long journey across the Plains of Sathendo, the travelers continued exploring the city of Alfendi in the Waletku kingdom of the Elves.

Early one morning, Asish and Jovinda pass archers practicing outside Alfendi’s high walls and walk into the surrounding woods. They find a clearing, mark the four cardinal directions, and burn incense.

The Tsucharim Ranger bonds with his dog Genghis, as the Half-Elf Cleric invokes nature goddesses Mekkil and Ami-Koshi. Jovinda cuts Asish and nervous Genghis with a ritual dagger and mingles their blood, smears their foreheads with ash, and declares them brothers.

Meanwhile, Kazuo and Hateem stretch and do morning katas in Lake Park, near the “Unicorn Moon” inn. Neither expects to find trainers for their exotic fighting styles at the local arenas. The Nezumi Monk and Suthern Dervish then go to the main market square to find warmer clothes and a small drum for Hateem.

Asish goes for a run with Genghis to hone their communications, and Jovinda wanders alone to search for an animal companion. Hiking to a rocky ledge over a fast, cold stream, the priestess sees a large falcon preening in the the sun. The bird of prey has glossy feathers and an unflinching gaze.

In a moment of communion with nature, Jovinda asks the falcon its name. The formidable bird replies that he is known as the “Claw of Heaven,” but that is too grand to be used by his newfound “sister,” whom he had been searching for his whole life. Jovinda introduces herself as “Halflight or twilight” and dubs the falcon “Sun Wing.”

Kazuo and Hateem meet up with Asish, Jovinda, and their animal companions. Genghis has little use for Sun Wing, who doesn’t mind the bustle of the city because it offers much prey. Jovinda allows the falcon to hunt after warning him to avoid carrier pigeons, whose masters might get upset.

At the “Pixie’s Pint” tavern, the adventuring party listens to a Dwarf skald’s bawdy songs while waiting to meet Aldarion, a Grey Elf Ranger whom Asish had contacted. The group sits at a back table and orders food and drink. Hateem joins in playing music with Durgin Blackbrow.

Aldarion arrives and explains that he has sent word to King Ereval I [Steve A.L./Non-Player Character] about the threat of Vappu Lahja’s followers. The onetime general also says that the Elven Rangers are monitoring the troop movements of the Drow of Zuromm and the Nannuattan of Gokuri. Jovinda and Asish are concerned about rumors that the Grugach tribes have been swayed by Gokuri guile or infiltrated by disgused Ninjas.

A woman wearing a hooded cloak enters the tavern and quietly approaches the “Uncommon Companions.” Asish recognizes her white hair, pointed ears and teeth, and violet eyes as that of a Dark Elf, and he draws his katana. Kazuo and Hateem ready for a fight but hold and wait.

Jovinda‘s suspicion that the newcomer is “Thalissa” [John Z.G./N.P.C.], Aldarion’s wife, is confirmed when the Ranger greets her warmly. Asish and Kazuo relax only slightly, and Hateem observes that the ebon-skinned Elf reminds him of certain desert spirits.

Thalissa confirms that the jade chop that Asish retrieved from his former overlords is an order for Gokuri troops to mass. The alluring “Jade ‘Xi’ Aschent” [Sammy/N.P.C.] had translated it previously. Thalissa also notes that there is a coded message hidden in the pictograph indicating an order of assassination, not uncommon among the Nannuattan.

Jovinda asks how imminent the danger is to the Waletku kingdom, and Thalissa responds that since Asish took the chop when he escaped the Calastrial clan, the orders probably weren’t received or implemented for months. The Tsucharim rider reluctantly asks the Nannuattan exile for training so that he can eventually free his family.

Thalissa agrees to help, showing him “whippets” (incendiary boomerangs) and mentioning her son in law, “Shea” [Peter D./N.P.C.] in the Ivory Mountains to the northwest. Aldarion says that Alfendi’s Rangers would pay for any new maps, especially of areas beyond the Wisalef Forest.

Back in the main market square, Asish goes to Sylvan Elf tanner Gadrelas on River Street to arrange for leather bracers for new falconer Jovinda. The scouts also buy arrows from bowyer/fletcher Hasariel near the North Park and visit Mountain Dwarf armorer Ygnis Miklovitch.

At the smithy of Glosin, who silvered Asish’s katana, Hateem asks about weapons that might be useful against Unseelie Fey. The Hill Dwarf replies that a reddish alloy known as “cold steel” is effective against all magical creatures. In addition, they plan to visit the shop of Gnome alchemist Rapalikvarbingisparrow… (“Rapalik” for short) for some potions.

Jovinda buys food from Faldine Halfling Miranda Northshire, who recalls meeting Digger several weeks ago [in “game time”]. Jovinda and Kazuo follow tea merchant Bodhi Chandarev’s directions to the tea house of Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) Seng Shiu Jun. Asish has a date with Jade, but the rest of the “Uncommon Companions” don’t want him to go alone….

Thanks again for your patience as we deal with balky technology and another upcoming interruption to our schedule as Josh & Sara and Janice and I move. Note that our next telecom fantasy game will be on Saturday, 4 February 2012, to accommodate the Super Bowl.

In the meantime, keep discussing your characters and what you’d like to do next on the Google Groups message board. We can still do a lot of role-playing in this forum, even if we don’t have sessions, but we need more than just Byron to post…. ;)

After this coming Monday’s meeting for Team 1 in the FATE 3e “Vortexspace opera, my face-to-face groups will also take a break. Take it easy, -Gene

“Vanished Lands” Update T3.38 — Arrival in Alfendi

Entering Alfendi
Arrival in Alfendi

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.38 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 8 January 2012, using Pathfinder, Google+, and an online dice roller.

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. After “Holy Steel‘s” journey to the distant empire of Khemet, another motley group gathered in the northwestern “Vanished Lands” to explore a world full of perils and wonders….

After meeting in the Wisalef Forest, an unlikely band of adventurers encountered the hostile Centaur followers of Vappu Lahja and the haunted hamlet of Alarn on the Plains of Sathendo….

>>Telecom party Player Character roster, as of spring 2012:

-“Asish Chen Ti” [Byron V.O.]-male Tsucharim human archer (Mongol-style Ranger), escaped from the kingdom of Gokuri; owner of Akita dog Genghis and horses Onimusha and Gashmu; NGl, Age 20, Lvl. 4

-“Jovinda Halflight” [Sammy H.]-female Half-Elf (Grugach/Hifalendorin) Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature; owner of horses Wyth-Amoi and Meth-Fenna; NGl, Age 23, Lvl. 4

-“Kazuo Takenaga” [Taum D’A.]-male Nezumi (Rat-kin) Monk from the Zedu kingdom in the Therud Forest; LNg, Age 20, Lvl. 4

-“Favelhorn Riftbringer” [Dexter V.H./absent]-male Mountain Dwarf Summoner; CGn, Age 51, Lvl. 1

-“Gawain Keary” [Paul J./absent]-male Saganim human Illusionist (proto-Celtic Wizard); NGc, Age 20, Lvl. 3

-“Kovar” [Beruk A./absent]-male Half-Orc/Saganim human Paladin of Mithras, god of contracts and brotherhood; LGn, Lvl. 3

-“Davven ‘Digger’ Hollysharp” [Robert A.S./absent]-male Faldine Halfling archaeologist (Tallfellow Rogue) from a pipeweed farm in Tarken; CGn, Age 45, Lvl. 3

>>”13 to 14 August 1229 B.C.E.:” After a long ride from Alarn, the would-be heroes arrive at the city of Alfendi. As the trio passes through the Thelloc Gate, Jovinda is surprised to find so many buildings of brick and stone, betraying Dwarven influence. Most of Alfendi’s inhabitants are Alvari, or Sylvan Elves, but there are also some Quelanthi (High Elves/Eladrin), Faldine Halflings, Forest Gnomes, and humans.

Asish is more disturbed to see the local Magisterium (magic school/library) on Sparrow Lane and shops such as “Malgwyn’s Rods” and “Scroll Lust.” As a former slave of the sorcerous kingdom of Gokuri, the barbarian has no love of arcane spellcasters.

Kazuo notices sporting activities at the Arena of Enduril, the parade grounds next to the governor’s palace, and the People’s Arena, as well as tree-lined cobblestone streets. He is not impressed at the prancing steeds of Elven equestrians. Despite his unusual appearance, the Nezumi isn’t accosted by curious children or potentially racist peasants.

The travelers dismount and enter the Temple District, where the shining spires of Corellan’s cathedral overlook shrines to the rest of the Waletku pantheon. Jovinda asks for directions to the Grove of Mekkil, the goddess of nature. Sister Elizabeth greets her fellow priestess and her companions, and she directs Kordar, a Hill Dwarf Druid, to help guide them around the city.

Jovinda warns Elizabeth and Kordar of the spread of Vappu Lahja’s influence and unnatural creatures in the southern Wisalef Forest. The Druids are concerned about these and the possible fouling of Ley lines.

At Elizabeth’s recommendation, Asish, Jovinda, and Kazuo go to the “Unicorn Moon” inn, where they obtain room, board, and stabling for 6 crowns (gold pieces) for two nights. Sylvan Elf concierge Galdor summons Frik, a Halfling porter, to take the trio’s luggage to their small but well-furnished and seemingly secure rooms on the second floor.

Asish tends to the horses, mule, and dog, while Jovinda and Kazuo go to the public baths across Well Square. The Grugach (Wild Elf) enjoys a hot soak and chats with other women, but the ratkin Monk keeps to himself and quickly cleans. They return to the hotel relaxed, so inquisitive Asish then goes to wash away the dust and strains of the road.

In the main market square, Asish sells various pelts and weapons that his portion of the party has acquired to Tigen Sanar for a total of more than 600 crowns. Finally flush with cash, Asish, Jovinda, and Kazuo go to the Rangers’ Guild, a log structure on the Wainway in Alfendi‘s northeastern quadrant.

They find scruffy scouts wearing green cloaks lounging around the main hall. Kazuo sees relatively few beast-kin like himself, unlike back in Alfhileno, capital of the Waletku kingdom of the Elves. Jovinda recognizes one Ranger as a blond Saganim human, like her missing father.

Asish admires the assortment of bows on one wall and approaches another Ranger, a Grey Elf wearing chain armor with his boots up on a desk. Silver-haired Aldarion turns out to be friendly and receptive to the Tsucharim rider’s warnings about the Unseelie Fey in Alarn.

Aldarion leads his three fellow explorers up a ladder to a room with no windows but numerous oil lamps and maps of the entire region. He offers to immediately take six gryphons to raze Alarn, pleasing Jovinda and Kovar, who recall the reluctance of some council members in the Hifalendorin human city of Nadwi to intervene. Two groups of knights were lost in ill-advised forays.

Asish asks for a brief delay, noting that Aldarion should probably check with Alfendi’s authorities and that he has other questions to address. Asish, Jovinda, and Kazuo show the Ranger the map of old border forts and Ley lines, as well as a jade chop taken from the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elves).

While he knows little about the markings on the chop, Aldarion says his wife might be able to help. He notes that Delvalatar Juteriel, with whom the travelers had also shared the map, is known to the guild as a bounty hunter. Jovinda suspects that Halfling Rogue Digger or Saganim/Shengtese scholar Jade could be Delvalatar’s true quarry.

Aldarion agrees to meet the trio for lunch the next day at Zed’s pub, and Asish, Jovinda, and Kazuo leave the lodge to explore more of the city….

Thanks again for your patience as we dealt with Skype problems this past weekend. Since Google+ hangouts worked fine, we’ll try that again for our next regular Sunday game. Sammy, I may be at Arisia, a genre entertainment convention near Boston, but I’ll try to log in early this coming weekend to dscuss “Jade.”

By now, you may have seen Josh C.’s Suthern human Dervish and Sara F.’s Tengu Sorcerer, as well as my blog posts about D&D5e. Josh and I will also eventually post notes for the latest Team 1 session of the FATE 3e “Vortexspace opera, and Team 2 meets next on Monday, Jan. 16. In the meantime, have a good week, -Gene

“Vanished Lands” Update T3.37 — Elves and Ettin

Fighting an Ettin
Fighting an Ettin

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session T3.37 of the latest adventuring party in my “Vanished Lands” heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 1 January 2012, and has been using Pathfinder, Skype, and an online dice roller.

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. After “Holy Steel‘s” journey to the distant empire of Khemet, another motley group gathered in the northwestern “Vanished Lands” to explore a world full of perils and wonders….

After meeting in the Wisalef Forest, an unlikely band of adventurers encountered the hostile Centaur followers of Vappu Lahja on the Plains of Sathendo….

>>Telecom party Player Character roster, as of spring 2012:

-“Asish Chen Ti” [Byron V.O.]-male Tsucharim human archer (Mongol-style Ranger), escaped from the kingdom of Gokuri; owner of Akita dog Genghis and horses Onimusha and Gashmu; NGl, Age 20, Lvl. 4

-“Jovinda Halflight” [Sammy H.]-female Half-Elf (Grugach/Hifalendorin) Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature; owner of horses Wyth-Amoi and Meth-Fenna; NGl, Age 23, Lvl. 4

-“Kazuo Takenaga” [Taum D’A.]-male Nezumi (Rat-kin) Monk from the Zedu kingdom in the Therud Forest; LNg, Age 20, Lvl. 4

-“Favelhorn Riftbringer” [Dexter V.H./absent]-male Mountain Dwarf Summoner; CGn, Age 51, Lvl. 1

-“Gawain Keary” [Paul J./absent]-male Saganim human Illusionist (proto-Celtic Wizard); NGc, Age 20, Lvl. 3

-“Kovar” [Beruk A./absent]-male Half-Orc/Saganim human Paladin of Mithras, god of contracts and brotherhood; LGn, Lvl. 3

-“Davven ‘Digger’ Hollysharp” [Robert A.S./absent]-male Faldine Halfling archaeologist (Tallfellow Rogue) from a pipeweed farm in Tarken; CGn, Age 45, Lvl. 3

>>”10 to 13 August 1229 B.C.E.:” On the way northwest from the haunted hamlet of Alarn to the city of Alfendi, the party met a band of Elven hunters deep in the Wisalef Forest. They rode together for a time and traded news of threats in the borderlands.

Asish tells Caliran Gelos that he is a fellow scout and asks for contacts at the Rangers’ Guild. They also tend to the horses and dogs, including Cooshee, an Elven breed. The rugged woodsfolk refrain from commenting as Asish and Jovinda discuss rituals for their animal companions.

Jovinda explains to Delvalatar Juteriel that she is looking for onetime traveling companions Digger and Kovar, as well as the retinue of “Jade” [Sammy/Non-Player Character]. The haughty Alvari (Sylvan Elf) says that the Waletku kingdom is unlikely to rush to aid displaced farmers in the (proto-Western European) human kingdom of Hifalendor.

Feldostram Owedoc and Aelwyn Kisto admit to Kazuo that they’d rather be hunting a dire boar and goat-horned stag than worrying about Goblin witches or Unseelie Fey followers of the mysterious Vappu Lahja. Feldostram challenges Kazuo to a spear-throwing contest, and the nimble Nezumi acquits himself well.

Asish, Jovinda, and Kazuo show their old map of border communities and Ley lines. Delvalatar notes that any abandoned fortresses should be approached from the northeast, in the direction of capital Alfhileno, rather than from the direction of the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm. He also says it’s possible that some Ley line nodes have been contaminated in much the same way one would poison a well.

Cleric Jovinda warns Feldostram to beware of unnatural beasts. Monk Kazuo describes how Vappu Lahja can turn even the chaotic Fey into her intolerant followers, worrying Caliran and Aelwyn. That night, the Elves share watches with the Tsucharim human, Grugach, and Nezumi.

Shortly before dawn, something crashes through the frosted woods. Kazuo quietly wakes up his companions, then creeps forward to see the source of the noise. The rat-kin sees a pair of giant legs swathed in hides, followed by a grizzly bear. He also soon hears two voices in conversation and realizes that the giant is a two-headed Ettin!

Brave Kazuo yells at the brute to divert it from the camp, and Delvalatar moves the steeds away. Priestess Jovinda is disgusted by the ugly giant, and Ranger Asish shoots arrows into the dark (the campfire was extinguished).

Feldostram hurls spears, and Caliran and Aelwyn draw their longbows. The Ettin debates with itself whether to smash the demihumans and swings huge clubs at Kazuo, hitting him painfully. The bear charges into camp and hugs and bites Asish.

Kazuo is surprised to be caught off balance and misses the Ettin. Jovinda casts Light on an acorn, throws it, and hides behind a tree. Asish struggles to break free from the bear‘s clawed embrace, as the Elven hunters continue to rain spears and arrows on the leather-armored giant.

The enraged Ettin again clubs furred Kazuo, who hits him back with a Flurry of Blows. Jovinda slides past the bear and invokes Mekkil, goddess of nature, to cast Sanctuary on Asish [see also Sammy’s prayer lyrics]. The Tsucharim archer does a backspring and draws his bow as his dog Genghis harries the grizzly.

Wise Jovinda tells the bear to leave and tags Kazuo with Aid and Shield of Faith. The martial artist also uses Ki to avoid further blows, and acrobatic Asish rolls to flank the Ettin. The wounded giant staggers on, swinging his clubs wildly. Asish finishes off the Ettin with his katana, and the bear ambles away, unhindered by the Elves.

Asish takes the giant’s leather and hide armor. The Tsucharim horseman also finds an idol of a pale woman carved in sandstone. The Elves are unable to identify it, but they say it could represent Sherma, lady of the night, or even Vappu Lahja.

Jovinda reclaims her acorn and uses Wood Shape to turn the Ettin’s clubs into a chair and a statue of her patron deity to leave behind. Kazuo and Asish are grateful for her healing. Now that they have fought side by side, Delvalatar tells the three wanderers about Cullen O’Shea, a former member of his household in Alfendi.

The hunters eventually leave Asish, Jovinda, and Kazuo to continue on their own on the trail to the Elven city. The trio soon beholds orchards around Alfendi‘s white stone walls….

I hope you enjoyed our first regular game of 2012. This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the “Vanished Lands!” I look forward to getting back to a regular campaign — we meet next on Sunday, Jan. 8 — as well as to occasionally continuing the adventures of other parties, such as “Holy Steel” or the “Broken Chains.”

In the coming months, I also hope to try out Google+, Lorefinder (Gumshoe for Pathfinder), and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre. Boston-area role-players Sara F. & Josh C. may sit in on upcoming virtual sessions. The FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures: “Vortexspace opera game will resume next Monday, Jan. 9. Be seeing you, -Gene