“Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Session 41.45 — Pagoda sombrero

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.45, which was held on Sunday, 28 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 summer 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./absent]-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

“21 August 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party arrived at Hei Kuan just in time for the Karitori Matsuri, or “Reaping Festival.” The group’s search for followers of a chaos dragon led to reptilian Zukojin and a three-eyed, four-armed creature outside the village.

Jung-Mo throws whippets (incendiary boomerangs) to start a fire to help screen the retreating peasants from the scaly folk. The civilians had been walking in an entranced procession toward a lit pagoda containing the large monster. Saigo shepherds the Spirit Folk and Shan Sao back to town.

Sonny, who had spotted a member of the rival Crane Clan, moves through the crowd after seeing Jung-Mo’s signal flare. Soske’ joins him. Toshi and Ember, who were following a Kitsune (fox woman), change into bird form and fly out to investigate.

Jung-Mo creeps through the nighttime darkness as the six Zukojin approach the path leading from Hei Kuan to the pagoda. Toshi and Ember land nearby and shift back to Halfling and Hengeyokai form, respectively, to cast spells.

Reptilian miner
Zukojin

Sonny and Soske’ run to catch up, passing Samurai Saigo and those returning to the walled village. Ninja Jung-Mo fires arrows at two of the humanoids, and one succumbs to his knockout poison.

Druid Ember casts Obscurement, creating more mist to help the stragglers escape the Zukojin. Wu Jen Toshi looses a volley of shuriken-shaped Magic Missiles at the lizard-kin, who attack him and Ember.

Shukenja Soske’ shoots arrows, and Kensai Sonny continues to close in. Jung-Mo knocks out another Zukojin and runs after two retreating toward the pagoda. Ember Wild Shapes into a black panther and pounces on one of her foes.

Asian gazebo
Pagoda

Toshi finishes off that opponent with more Magic Missiles, and he kills the three remaining Zukojin with Fiery Dragon. Jung-Mo reaches the shrine and gets a better look at the demon. He falls back to report to his companions.

Toshi recognizes the description of a Yau-Mor named Lung Jua, or “Claw of the Dragon,” no doubt a reference to the chaos dragon they’re hunting. The Shan Sao Wizard is eager to fulfill his destiny and slay a major Oni (Ogre Mage).

Soske’ suspects that the local authorities have been corrupted or misled into sending villagers as sacrifices to the pagoda under the pretense of a harvest festival.

Nannuattan Jung-Mo and Toshi (back in bird form as a black baza) stealthily maneuver to the rear of the pagoda. Ember casts Warp Wood on the roof, causing it to collapse. The Yao-Mor belches flame and casts Power Word: Blind, but the would-be heroes resist.

Soske’ casts Dispel Evil, as fellow Shengtese human Sonny hits the demon with his Vorpal whip. Jung-Mo looses magical arrows, a few of which hit, and Ember casts Heat Metal on the cruelly hooked blades in two of Lung Jua’s hands.

Toshi casts Cone of Cold and narrowly evades the demon’s Baleful Polymorph. The Yao-Mor swings its swords at Soske, who ducks beyond the monster after missing it. Sonny realizes that his whip isn’t enough to affect the massive beast, so he goes to get Saigo for backup.

Jung-Mo dodges burning debris, and Ember slows Lung Jua with Rock to Mud on the stone steps. Toshi’s Cold Ball helps, but the spell unfortunately catches Soske’ in its blast. The Yao-Mor can’t reach Soske’, but it does hit Toshi.

Soske’ backs up and casts Divine Power on himself, and Ember hits with Call Lightning. Toshi joins in with another Cone of Cold, as the team presses its fight with the demon….

Bruce, we missed “Saigo” this past week! I look forward to our last “New Dawn” sessions, as well as to more of the new D&D5e “Vanished Lands” face-to-face teamand Jason’s “Star Wars: Dark Timesgame. In the meantime, have a happy Independence Day!

“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.

D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls” Sessions 12, 13 — Dragon siege and defeating the Drow

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 12 and 13 of our D&D5e game, which were held on 17 and 31 May 2015:

Player Characters for the “Land of Lost Souls,” Dexter V.H.’stelecom fantasy miniseries, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth EditionAD&D2/D&D3.5 Dragonlance, the D&D4e Forgotten RealmsPalladium Fantasy, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • Kalidren ‘Cal’ Haraishur [Gene D.]-male Qualinesti (Sylvan Elf) Paladin of Kiri-Jolith, god of valor; folk hero and a potential member of the Legion of Steel; LGn, Lvl. 6
  • Sakan Agramon Majere/Sam [Beruk A.]-male Irda (High Ogre) Ranger, charlatan disguised as a human, with snow leopard Minerva; TNc, Lvl. 6
  • Redrik Stoneflow [Byron V.O./absent]-male Neidar (Hill Dwarf) Cleric of Paladine, god of justice; outcast, guild artisan, and silversmith; LGn, Lvl. 6
  • Maddie Moonfang [Sara F.C.]-female wolfing Barbarian, skin changer from the plains and former thrall of an evil wizard; TNc; Lvl. 6
  • Perogen Hawke [Josh C.]-male human Wizard of the White Robes, sage; NGc, Lvl. 6
  • Rowan Kar-Thon [Geoff C.]-male Half-Elf Skald (Bard), outlander and storyteller; NGc, Lvl. 6
  • Santiddio Sefrayn [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Rogue (thief), charlatan and professional treasure seeker; CNg, Lvl. 6
  • Enyilarur Skilelo [Drew S./departed]-male brass Draconian Eldritch Knight (Dragonborn Fighter), noble and arcanist, with three reptilian retainers; CGn, Lvl. 4

After persuading King Obould to withdraw some of the Orcish armies attacking the Dwarves of Thorbardin, the adventuring party had explored the ruined Irda (High Ogre) city of Vantal. It then defeated a Drider, an arachnoid servant of Lolth, before meeting with Dwarves on giant owls and Elves on great eagles.

The diplomats and scouts fly back toward the Kharolis Mountains. On the Plains of Dust, they see some of the hordes of Orcs returning to their homeland. However, Drow, giants, Driders, and even dragons have joined the siege.

Perogen and Rowan note that some of the chromatic and even metallic dragons are fighting among themselves, so they hang back as their companions head straight for Thorbardin.

The Wizard and Bard attend to a wounded gold dragon at the battle’s edge. The drake says that his “lord Paladine bade us to work with some of our chromatic kin to repel the newcomers to this world. Some of our youths — particularly red and green dragons — have been seduced by Lolth….”

Perogen and Rowan also see Clerics of Takhisis riding black, blue, and white dragons. The ancient gold thanks them by breathing a Blessing on them and then flies off to fight a young red dragon.

Meanwhile, Sam and Maddie maneuver to assess the tactics around the siege of Thorbardin. They see aerial cavalry consisting of Dwarves riding metallic dragons.

Cal, Redrik, and Santiddio land within the city’s battlements and are greeted by Shadowfox. They notice that the chief scout is acting strangely, so Cal casts Protection From Evil.

The others regroup, and Rowan joins with a Countersong.Shadowfox is angry to realize that Dark Elf prisoner Meandrea has tampered with his mind. Cal, Redrik, and Rowan go with him to report to King Ivor Stoneaxe as planned.

Sam, Maddie, Santiddio, and Perogen head with two elite Dwarven scouts to the dungeon. They find the guards there similarly ensorcelled and all the cell doors open. Meandrea says she has been waiting for them.

Perogen casts Fireball, but the Drow deflects his spell. Rogue Santiddio draws his rapier and dagger but swings wide, and Barbarian Maddie rages and strikes the Sorceress.

Meandrea casts, but Perogen counters. The infiltrator then poisons Maddie. Ranger Sam and his snow leopard Minerva both miss, as does Santiddio again. Maddie falls unconscious, and Meandrea summons a diabolical winged figure with a flaming whip. She taunts the would-be heroes, telling them to run.

The male Erinyes strikes Sam with a whip of Entanglement, and Perogen uses Expeditious Retreat to go warn the others. Santiddio drags Maddie out of the chamber, as Sam provides cover, leaving four explosive arrows wedged in the floor.

Santiddio slashes at the whip holding Sam. Rowan gives an Inspiring Word to the Ranger and casts Heroism on himself, Sam, and Cal. The infernal Erinyes uses his whip to burn Sam, who manages to break free.

Cleric Redrik revives Maddie, who swings her axe at the Erinyes, misses, and again rages. Meandrea chants and opens a portal to the nether planes. She also turns the prisoners slain by Perogen’s Fireball and the fallen guards into zombies.

Seven zombies fight the remaining Dwarven sentries, and five collapse, thanks to invisible faerie dragon Itchum. Perogen yells to the Dwarves to fall back, but his Frostbite fails to affect the Erinyes or the Drow.

Paladin Cal casts Sanctuary on Sam. Cleric Redrik attends to Sam’s wounds as the Dwarves draw Holy Avengers and close on the Erinyes. Half-Elf Santiddio hits the monster twice before disengaging to draw his bow.

Fellow Half-Elf Rowan draws his sword and casts Sound Burst, destroying eight zombies. Sam throws a net at the Erinyes, briefly entangling him. Feline Minerva pounces on the Dark Elf but misses her.

Canine plainswoman Maddie strikes the Erinyes but misses Meandrea, who heals the devil and wounds Cal. Perogen runs around the melee and takes control of some of the zombies. He commands the Undead to drag the Drow out of the room.

Sylvan Elf Cal invokes his patron Kiri-Jolith, god of valor, as he Channels Divinity and smites Meandrea. She cuts him with a poisoned blade. Santiddio shoots arrows, misses, and maneuvers.

Rowan gives Santiddio an Inspiring Word and aids Maddie against the Erinyes. The Erinyes gets free from Sam’s net and hits Rowan. Sam asks Redrik to borrow his crossbow and fires at the witch. Maddie also lands a heavy blow.

Meandrea uses Mass Suggest to get Redrik, Maddie, and Perogen to drop their weapons. She also hides behind three Mirror Images. Perogen lobs Magic Missiles to deal with them, plus Chill Touch, and Cal manages to hit his foe despite being weakened by poison.

Redrik hurls a vial of the Light of Paladine at the gate, ending Meandrea’s summoning. The Dwarven guards hit the Erinyes, as Santiddio notices glyphs and a circle etched into the walls and floor of the Drow’s cell.

Rowan casts Healing Word on himself and grabs Maddie’s dropped axe. The bleeding but lawful Erinyes yields to the Dwarves and complies with their order to leave the plane.

Meandrea swings her Mace of Contagion, but Perogen casts Blindness on her as he notes that her minions are dwindling since he controls the remaining zombies.

Cal Lay on Hands to keep himself in the fight, and Redrik heals Santiddio. Cal finishes off Meandrea with swift sword strikes, but she says, “Death is not the end.” Redrik pours the Tears of Paladine on her oozing wounds.

Perogen identifies the dead Drow’s explosive runes and summoning circle, and Rowan casts Dispel and Shatter to disable them. The Dark Elf and zombies dissolve, and the Dwarves take her mace and their wounded.

King Ivor later thanks the heroes for helping to stop an attack from within Thorbardin’s stout stone walls. However, Cal and company are worried when they learn that the Elves of Qualinost are also under attack….

Thanks, Dexter, for a mostly fun fantasy miniseries! I know it was a challenge to combine AD&D2 settings, a D&D4e/“Next” module, and numerous D&D5e characters. I look forward to helping you rebuild your world, as well as to our eventual return to the “Vanished Lands!” -Gene

D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls” Session 11 — Drider duel

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 11 of our D&D5e game, which was held on Sunday, 26 April 2015:

Player Characters for the “Land of Lost Souls,” Dexter V.H.’stelecom fantasy miniseries, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth EditionAD&D2/D&D3.5 Dragonlance, the D&D4e Forgotten RealmsPalladium Fantasy, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • Kalidren ‘Cal’ Haraishur [Gene D.]-male Qualinesti (Sylvan Elf) Paladin of Kiri-Jolith, god of valor; folk hero and a potential member of the Legion of Steel; LGn, Lvl. 5
  • Sakan Agramon Majere/Sam [Beruk A.]-male Irda (High Ogre) Ranger, charlatan disguised as a human, with snow leopard Minerva; TNc, Lvl. 5
  • Redrik Stoneflow [Byron V.O.]-male Neidar (Hill Dwarf) Cleric of Paladine, god of justice; outcast, guild artisan, and silversmith; LGn, Lvl. 5
  • Maddie Moonfang [Sara F.C.]-female wolfing Barbarian, skin changer from the plains and former thrall of an evil wizard; TNc; Lvl. 5
  • Perogen Hawke [Josh C.]-male human Wizard of the White Robes, sage; NGc, Lvl. 5
  • Rowan Kar-Thon [Geoff C.]-male Half-Elf Skald (Bard), outlander and storyteller; NGc, Lvl. 5
  • Santiddio Sefrayn [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Rogue (thief), charlatan and professional treasure seeker; CNg, Lvl. 5
  • Enyilarur Skilelo [Drew S./departed ]-male brass Draconian Eldritch Knight (Dragonborn Fighter), noble and arcanist, with three reptilian retainers; CGn, Lvl. 4

The adventurers had entered the ruined Irda city of Vantal, encountering demonic centipedes (Quasits), hell hounds, and a Helmed Horror. They also found an oracular statue, a pool of transformation, and a cursed crown.

The group debates whether to press on or leave the catacombs. Perogen and Rowan are curious about a possible dragon in the lower depths, but Sam, Maddie, and Santiddio are more cautious.

Cal and Redrik recall their original mission to parley with Orc King Obould on behalf of the besieged Dwarves of Thorbardin. They note that they need to return and report.

While camping at the perimeter of the dungeon, the explorers hear whispers in the wind, saying words such as “release,” “redemption,” and “beware the shadows.”

Rowan eventually locates the source as a hand-and-a-half sword carried by Cal. The Paladin doesn’t sense any evil, so the Bard castsIdentify. The sword actually contains the spirit of a man named Valenthius [LN, +2, +6 vs. Chaos, plus Protection From Chaos].

Back on the surface, the spelunkers aren’t happy to see that a magical darkness has spread over all lands. Ranger Sam and Barbarian Maddie help their companions evade yet another Orcish patrol.

However, the six humanoids are led by a servant of Lolth that Wizard Perogen recognizes. She has the upper body of a Dark Elf and the lower body of a large spider.

Female Drider
Servant of Lolth

The adventuring party decides to attack. Cal reaches for javelins, and Sam hits with Hail of Thorns. Cleric Redrik follows up with a Fireball, while Maddie closes for melee.

Perogen’s Chill Touch misses, and Rowan casts Heroism on himself and Maddie. Rogue Santiddio fires his magical bow. In response, the Drider casts Darkness, strikes Cal with an arrow, and taunts the “minions of the light; hear the voice of your new empress.”

Cal’s javelins miss, so the Sylvan Elf draws Valenthius, which glows. Human Perogen switches from Chill Touch to the more defensive Invisibility. Most of the Orcs swing wide, but one strikes Redrik.

Rowan and Maddie team up against one foe, with the Half-Elf inspiring the plains woman to hit with her axe. Half-Elf Santiddio joins in with sword and dagger, killing an Orc.

Hill Dwarf Redrik invokes his patron deity Paladine to place Silence on Cal, preventing the servant of Lolth from casting more spells. However, the Drider hits Maddie, Rowan, and Santiddio with poison gas.

Before the Darkness fell, Cal glimpsed a beautiful woman, but he manages to shake off the Drider’s ensorclement. The holy warrior of Kiri-Jolith, lord of valor, smites his opponent. White-robed Perogen casts Magic Missile before joining Cal in the Silence.

The burly Orcs step out of the area of Darkness to attack Maddie and Rowan. Rowan grants inspiration to Maddie and Santiddio and swings at an Orc. Sam hits with Hail of Thorns and arrows, as Maddie senses something approaching. The skin changer rages and beheads an Orc.

Swashbuckling Santiddio kills two more of the Ogre-kin, and Redrik casts Daylight near Cal and the Drider. Perogen falls under her Charm and ceases his attacks. The spider-woman slashes at armored Cal with swords, but the two surviving Orcs surrender to Sam, who moves them away from the battle.

Maddie hacks at the Drider with her axe, and Redrik’s Scorching Ray badly injures her. Cal and Valenthius slay the Outsider. Sam and Santiddio quickly search the body, finding the following items:

  • arrows, infected by plague — destroyed by Redrik
  • arrows, 5, of Slaying (Lawful and Good) — destroyed by Cal
  • bow, + 2 — claimed by Sam
  • poison, 4 vials — claimed by Santiddio
  • spellbook — claimed by Perogen
  • swords, 2, of unknown metal (adamantium, + 1) — claimed by Santiddio and Rowan

The team resumes its hike to the rendezvous point. However, instead of just Dwarves on giant owls to meet it, there are also Elves on great eagles. Cmdr. Ileria explains that Thorbardin has asked for help from Quelinasti, which is itself under attack from armies of the nefarious Drow.

Perogen casts Message to send Shadowfox, a master scout among the Dwarves, a report on the division among the Orcs that may help with the siege of Thorbardin. The wanderers saddle up and head back southwest….

I’m sorry that we didn’t have quorum this past weekend, and note that we won’t be meeting virtually on Sunday, May 10, because of Mother’s Day. Still, I look forward to wrapping up our “Land of Lost Souls” miniseries and the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” campaign! Stay in touch….

D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls” Sessions 9, 10 — Into the Irda ruins

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Sessions 9 and 10 of our D&D5e game, which were held on April 5 and 19, 2015:

Player Characters for the “Land of Lost Souls,” Dexter V.H.’s telecom fantasy miniseries, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth EditionAD&D2/D&D3.5 Dragonlance, the D&D4e Forgotten RealmsPalladium Fantasy, Obsidian Portal, Skype, and the Rolz.org dice roller, as of spring 2015:

  • Kalidren ‘Cal’ Haraishur [Gene D.]-male Qualinesti (Sylvan Elf) Paladin of Kiri-Jolith, god of valor; folk hero and a potential member of the Legion of Steel; LGn, Lvl. 4
  • Redrik Stoneflow [Byron V.O.]-male Neidar (Hill Dwarf) Cleric of Paladine, god of justice; outcast, guild artisan, and silversmith; LGn, Lvl. 4
  • Maddie Moonfang [Sara F.C.]-female wolfing Barbarian, skin changer from the plains and former thrall of an evil wizard; TNc; Lvl. 4
  • Perogen Hawke [Josh C.]-male human Wizard of the White Robes, sage; NGc, Lvl. 4
  • Rowan Kar-Thon [Geoff C.]-male Half-Elf Skald (Bard), outlander and storyteller; NGc, Lvl. 4
  • Santiddio Sefrayn [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Rogue (thief), charlatan and professional treasure seeker; CNg, Lvl. 4
  • Enyilarur Skilelo [Drew S./departed]-male brass Draconian Eldritch Knight (Dragonborn Fighter), noble and arcanist, with three reptilian retainers; CGn, Lvl. 4

After visiting King Obould in Bloten, the group encountered another Orcish patrol. It quickly slayed three wargs, but the Drow squad leader Teleported away. The Orcs surrendered and gave the adventuring party some maps before leaving.

The explorers enter the abandoned Irda (High Ogre) city of Vantal and descend into the ruins of an ancient temple. Stealthy Maddie and Santiddio scout ahead in the dusty catacombs.

Pious Cal and Redrik follow, with arcanists Perogen and Rowan behind them. Sam, who is hard to surprise, brings up the rear. The team finds smooth stones that are warm to the touch.

In one intersection, the party finds iron-bound doors to the north and wooden doors to the east and northwest. Two giant centipedes crawl into the tunnel and telepathically ask if anybody wants to play with them.

One of the arthropods turns into a small demon, frightening Sam. The Ranger casts Ensnaring Strike, keeping the creature from reaching him. A Magic Missile kills the centipede, and Paladin Cal slays the demon with his long sword.

Wizard Perogen identifies the demon as a Quasit, while Barbarian Maddie yanks open a door. Cleric Redrik and Skald Rowan follow.

The next chamber has a door to the west and stairs. On the east wall, someone has scrawled, “No, I said, it had Elven eyes.” Rogue Santiddio unlocks the door and sees a statue of a beautiful woman holding a brazier.

Sam and Perogen say the figure is a High Ogre. They light the brazier, and the statue’s eyes glow purple. She says they may ask one question.

Perogen asks about the “Spider Queen,” whom several of the Dark Elves they’ve encountered have mentioned. The entire squad suddenly sees itself in a shadowy place with sounds of skittering. A female Drow with the lower body of a spider sits on an ornate throne.

The statue says that Lolth’s followers are helping her gain entrance to this Prime Material plane of existence. Perogen is worried because he has heard the Spider Queen’s whispers before and might even be able to summon her. The vision disappears, and the statue’s eyes dim.

In the next room, the spelunkers sense magic. As their eyes are drawn to a glittering pool, Maddie hears something moving and growling. A hell hound steps into the light. Sam and Perogen try talking, but Cal and Redrik Sense Evil and charge.

Santiddio draws his rapier and a dagger and casts Comprehend Languages. Cal casts Protection From Evil on Santiddio. The hell hound breathes fire at the Half-Elf and Sylvan Elf.

Perogen casts Magic Missile, and Redrik heals Cal. Sam draws from the Waters of Destruction, and quick-thinking Maddie shoves the beast into the pool. Rowan makes sure that nobody is approaching from behind.

The hound emerges, radiant. The warriors keep their weapons drawn. Sam notices a carving of a dragon on the pool’s stone rim, and Redrik recognizes it as the seal of Sirrion, the god of alchemy.

In return for 400 out of his 800 steel pieces, Santiddio accepts a “gift of beauty” from the hound of Sirrion (+3 to Cha until transformation). The canine then vanishes.

At the north door, Santiddio hears more scurrying, and Sam senses something infernal. The party falls back to a room where it can lock the doors for a short rest. Cal invokes Kiri-Jolith, lord of valor, to heal Santiddio.

Later that night, Sam and Rowan take Minerva, one of two rescued snow leopard cubs, on watch for exercise. Unbeknownst to Sam, Minerva laps from the glowing pool and magically matures.

The adventurers resume exploring Vantal’s catacombs. To the southeast, Santiddio and Sam find a trap that would release a flail on a chain. They lead the group through a passage to the east to an archway.

Brave Cal and Maddie take up positions at the front of the marching order, followed by wary Santiddio and Redrik. Spellcasters Perogen and Rowan walk behind, with perceptive Sam again bringing up the rear.

Through the arch, they find a large room with a scaffold against one wall. A rickety ladder leads up to a platform. Curious Perogen and Santiddio climb up. The human and Half-Elf find four crates and one chest, as well as glyphs on the wall.

After some debate, Santiddio disables a needle trap and opens the chest. The Rogue finds coins, jewels, a crown of Irda make, and a note saying, “I told you to run.”

Perogen helps lower spelunking supplies, including rope, flasks of oil, and potions of Cure Wounds. The white-robed Wizard also finds a book titled The Art of Dragon Slaying.

In addition, Redrik claims a magical crossbow with Dwarven runes calling it “Dragon’s Bane.” The group passes around spare daggers and a hand crossbow.

Perogen, Santiddio, and Redrik all argue over who gets the crown. Rowan, realizing that it’s cursed, tries to close the case. A figure in red armor appears and says the artifact belongs to its master.

Rowan tries in vain to persuade it to help them find its master. Sam asks the armored apparition about its master, who was apparently on an expedition to find and study ancient texts. The red knight also alludes to a monster in a lower level. Redrik holds the crown and finds his essence being drained.

Perogen says the circlet should be destroyed, and the Helmed Horror draws its sword. Santiddio sneaks in, grabs the accursed crown from Redrik, and tosses it into a bag. He runs, leading the knight and his companions on a chase through the tunnels.

Maddie swings at the red knight but misses, and Cal senses that the being isn’t evil but the crown is. Rowan swings at the Helmed Horror as it passes him, then casts Enhance Ability (Con) on Redrik.

Sam grabs a journal from a crate and casts Ensnaring Strike, which slows the Helmed Horror. Redrik, still under the curse’s influence, chases after Santiddio. Perogen casts Magic Misssile and Shield.

Nimble Santiddio stays a step ahead, rounds a corner, and slams a door behind him. The crimson construct flies into the door, smashing it, and it summons two more hell hounds.

Maddie misses the infernal canines, and Cal casts Protection From Evil on Redrik. As he runs, Rowan chats with invisible faerie dragon Itchum, who is offended that he hasn’t been asked for help more often.

Minerva’s ferocity inspires Maddie, as Sam casts Hunter’s Mark, helping his arrows. Redrik readies Scorching Ray but is more effective in the narrow corridors with a crossbow. Perogen’s Sleep spell has no effect on one hell hound.

Santiddio manages to resist the crown’s allure long enough to throw it into the pool of Sirrion, lord of transformation. The hell hounds harry Rowan and breathe fire, which Cal steps in to take for him. The Paladin responds with a Divine Smite.

Rowan finishes off one hell hound, and Redrik invokes his patron deity Paladine to cast Radiance. Perogen casts Chill Touch, but Cal and Redrik are too busy to notice the necromantic spell. Maddie finishes off the last hell hound.

Thanks to Santiddio’s quick thinking, the crown’s hold over Redrik and the Helmed Horror is dispersed. Rowan takes the vanished red knight’s sword and also dips it into the pool. Cal takes the magical hand-and-a-half sword.

The wanderers prepare to resume their exploration of Vantal before meeting up with their giant owl steeds to return to the Dwarves of Thorbardin….