“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.

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“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.51 — Sky cruise to Nadwi

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.51, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 18 November 2014:

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….

Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the Zephyr, Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing GameDungeon Crawl Classics, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of autumn 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F./absent]-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.].)

“18 to 30 April 1227 B.C.E.:” With much help and planning, Giacomo finally rid himself of the “Mad Mage” Ezra through a complex and dangerous ritual. Corwin continued shopping, Elsa and Rhys met with the Zeda kingdom ambassador, and Scully and Niac recruited more crew members for the Zephyr in the city of Hesolin.

At the local Magisterium (magic school), Giacomo makes sure that no traces of his cursed tattoo remain. Lord Josiah Mearls offers the Hifalendorin human a faculty position and assigns excitable adept Vinod Fabrizio to be his assistant. Giacomo also celebrates his newfound freedom with droll girlfriend “Dread” Maggie Oakleaf.

Corwin finds Princess Priscilla practicing archery in the royal gardens. Under the watchful eye of guards and chaperones, the Half-Elf prince tells her a few stories of how their fathers, now King Edmund II of Saganim and King Akkon XII of Hifalendor, once adventured together on the Sea of Nagendwa.

Elsa and Rhys return to the embassy of their homeland, the Zeda kingdom. Elsa receives enchanted studded leather armor from fellow Hill Dwarf Wilhelm the Smiter. Lady Matilda, a Forest Gnome Paladin with a conical cap and a badger pelt cloak, asks Tinker Gnome Rhys if she can see his airship.

The Zeda emissary, Henrik Giantslayer, son of Boris, tells Elsa that he has received word from Zorch (King) Bertrand of Doru that their realm will join the alliance against the dreaded Ghost Fleet and participate in her nascent long-range communications network. Merchant Henrik also mentions an Orc attack on the remote Dwarven stronghold of Eagle’s Rest near Dosh Kar.

The wanderers regroup at their rented villa near the “Golden Horn” hotel in Castle Court. Flind Scully and Wolfen “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] supervise provisioning and training of the Zephyr ’s growing crew.

Giacomo agrees to look into legends about the mysterious Vappu Lahja at the Library of Memir. The Wizard finds some parallels between the fairy tales of a proud woman cursed to outlive her suitors and the Scourge of “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.], leader of the Ghost Fleet.

In between dates with Priscilla, Corwin checks in with fellow Bards at the temple of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry, in Hesolin’s theater district. He also helps Giacomo with his research and waits for letters from “Melchior” [Byron V.O.], who is shadowing his enemies in the barbaric port of Gisar.

Elsa loans her ring of Feather Fall to Rhys and casts Message to warn Orlando Vistel, founder of Vistel’s Circus, not to fight his captors. The Druid has learned that her former traveling companions are being held by the Centaur followers of Vappu Lahja who have been raiding human and Halfling villages across northern Hifalendor.

Rhys and Niac make the steamboat Zephyr airworthy by attaching a dirigible balloon to its masts and extending the wings retrieved from a clockwork dragon. Shipwright and Paladin Niac notes that hot air will provide lift, but more sails will still be needed for propulsion.

After about a week, “Vistel’s Expedition” leaves Hesolin and sails through the air northward, along the Aehonir River. To the west is the (proto-Celtic) human kingdom of Saganim, and Hifalendor and the broad Plains of Sathendo stretch to the east. Far to the north are the Wisalef Forest and the Ivory Mountains.

Giacomo serves as navigator, comparing the stars to charts and magically projected maps. As first mate, Corwin relays Capt. Niac’s orders to the crew in the rigging. Elsa helps the ship get under way by invoking Mekkil (Gaia) for a Gust of Wind. Rhys and his apprentices keep busy with the steam engine, and Ranger Scully watches for aerial foes.

From the ground, the wings of the floating Zephyr make the ship look like a dragon, scaring the occasional farmer. Niac asks Giacomo to plot a course from Hesolin to the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human city of Nadwi and then east, to the villages under attack by Centaurs.

Corwin and Rhys aren’t especially surprised when stowaways Priscilla and Matilda emerge, but Giacomo and Elsa are incensed at the potential international incident. Corwin argues that the young women should be free to pursue their own interests, but Elsa warns that King Akkon may send pursuers.

Mr. Bernardo Tancredo, a Halfling herbalist under Elsa’s command, attends to Maggie and other crew and passengers who get airsick in the first day of travel. Elsa and Scully talk with chatty and hungry birds confused by their vessel.

On the second day out of Hesolin, the Zephyr passes over Androth, where some performers from Vistel’s Circus began their misadventures more than a year ago (in “game time”). The airship avoids the village, and Niac agrees to sail at half speed rather than stop at night. Giacomo casts Nondetection and Scry. Matilda enjoys the view from the top of the dirigible.

On the third day, the experimental airship passes Grenville and marshes. The sailors on watch spot a tree waving at them. Elsa Wild Shapes into a bird, and Corwin casts Fly and carries curious Priscilla to investigate. The rest of the crew of the Zephyr watches from a distance. Giacomo uses a spyglass.

Elsa asks the Treant for permission to land in her branches, and the “Old Missus” is happy for the company. Corwin casts a translation spell to understand Sylvan and translate for Priscilla.

The sentient tree says that Cooter, a human guide from the village of Keyans, occasionally passes through the area. Corwin notices some bones at the Old Missus’ roots and flies down for a closer look, despite her protestations of “being too messy for guests.”

Corwin and Priscilla see several humanoid skeletons covered in yellow mold. Elsa shifts back to Hill Dwarf form and climbs down to join them. The Old Missus asks them not to disturb the corpses, since they feed her.

Prince Corwin tentatively identifies the bones as those of Troglodytes, slimy reptile folk. Elsa manages not to inhale any spores as she collects a sample of the fungus, over Corwin’s objections. They bid farewell to the Treant and fly back to the ship.

Giacomo lectures the away team on parleying with a potential monster, but Elsa gives the sample to Bernardo and writes a note to Barry the Gardener, a strange being she met on Emein Island in the Zarendo Archipelago.

The next day, lookouts spot two Pegasi with riders approaching from Nadwi. The Zephyr has crossed more than 200 miles in a fraction of the time it would have taken going upriver or on horseback.

Northern Roman city
Nadwi from the air

Corwin casts Invisibility on Princess Priscilla, and Capt. Niac hails the airborne cavalry. The knights order the ship to follow them, because King Akkon wants his daughter returned home safely. Corwin and Elsa reluctantly comply.

Rhys retracts the Zephyr ‘s keel, and Scully helps furl the sails. The boat lands in the Aspar River, and another set of watchmen escorts the crew to the provincial governor’s palace. The visitors notice that there are more demihumans in the northern Hifalendorin city than in the capital of Hesolin.

The team is brought before Nadwi’s ruling council, and Prince Andre de Giles, a kinsman of King Akkon, recognizes Prince Berek. Grizzled Gen. Sixtus Aurelias berates the young nobles for making light of the disappearance of Princess Priscilla, whose invisibility drops after she smacks Rhys for an impertinent comment.

Elsa explains that the Zephyr has come to seek allies and help with the Centaur uprising, and Lady Elaine Valis says that their leader may have taken on the identity of Vappu Lahja to enhance her reputation. Sir Roderigo Adelmo notes that the northwestern borderlands have otherwise been peaceful lately, with few raids from the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm.

The aged Sir Mador Basored advises Prince Andre, who complains that he has been waiting in vain for reinforcements from Hesolin for several months. The feudal lord suggests that he will take his time replying to the king about the princess if the Zephyr’s crew deals with the Centaur threat.

Lord Clobard Thudoric, the mayor of Nadwi, gives the explorers permission to stay in his city for a few days, but he warns them that they will be under guard. The party leaves the palace and walks out into the cobbled streets….

I hope that everybody enjoyed our latest “Vanished Lands” sessions, and remember to make sure that your characters are up to date on Obsidian Portal. Remember that the “New Dawntelecom team won’t be meeting on Sunday, Nov. 23.

I look forward to continuing our adventures in December, as well as to concluding Rich’s Hunter: the Reckoning miniseries and preparing for Jason E.R.’s “Channel 37” dimension-hopping scenario! Other likely one-shots around the holidays include myStar Trek: Restorationand D&D5e demos by Dexter V.H. and others.

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.48 — From Sanry to Hesolin

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.48, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 29 September 2014:

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….

Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the ZephyrPlayer Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing GameDungeon Crawl ClassicsPathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of autumn 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) afflicted by a cursed tattoo; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F./absent]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 10
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 10

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

“5 to 11 April 1227 B.C.E.:” The Zephyr made its shakedown cruise along the Saganim coast and easily defeated the pirate galley Cruel Cutlass. “Vistel’s Expedition” worked with its new crew and planned for future destinations.

At the village of Sanry, “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] gives part of the crew shore leave. The Wolfen Paladin stays aboard the ship with Scully, partly to avoid any xenophobic Saganim (proto-Celtic) humans.

Giacomo and girlfriend Maggie Oakleaf find a used book shop run by Liam Mulroney. The Wizard recognizes a tome on chromatic (evil) dragons once owned by his mentor, Teradin Calzor.

Corwin and apprentice Doyle Tunney go to the “Steed’s Stream” pub, where the Bards perform for a swooning audience. Elsa takes her banuq (winged cat) Penryn, fellow cook Audrey Driscoll, and recently wounded acolyte Kaitlin Ellis out for drinks.

Diminutive Rhys sits under a table with the “Nook & Cranny Council” — Giacomo’s homunculus familiar Gerald, clockwork butler Vasco, and cabin boy Tiernan Saunders (an exception to the height limit). They agree to acquire hammocks for the engine room in the Zephyr.

Giacomo and Maggie return to the ship to continue setting up its chart room. Corwin gets a room for the night from Mona Collins, the proprietor of the “Steed’s Stream,” to entertain two young ladies.

Elsa learns from Eileen O’Shea, the priestess at a chapel of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry, that the other large ship in port is the Northern Shark, likely a pirate galley and best avoided. The Clerics trade tales about Prince Berek.

Rhys offers Gerald food and drink, even though the winged familiar isn’t designed for digestion. The mischievous Tinker Gnome also invites Penryn to join the “Nook & Cranny Council.”

The next morning, Corwin pays his respects at the chapel and offers 50 crowns (gold pieces) for favorable gossip. Eileen describes the history of “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.] and the Undead pirates. Back at the inn, the Half-Elf talks with a mysterious armored warrior known as “the Traveler.”

“Dynar Al-Vyn Natar” [James A.W./N.P.C.] is a Myrmidon who has taken up the defense of Sanry as a personal mission. He recently fought Swamplight Lynxes and dealt with local headman Boss Desmond.

Rhys spots a swift vessel with outrigger pontoons and lanteen (triangular) sails approaching. The engineer notifies Niac and goes to the “Steed’s Stream” to announce the arrival of the Foamrunner, which Elsa had Messaged to meet.

The Hill Dwarf Druid greets Capt. Scarlet and her crew. The Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) tells her former passengers about pursuers sent by the Pit Fiend in the Zarendo Islands.

Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Giacomo notes that an angry devil is the lesser evil compared with the dreaded Ghost Fleet. Capt. Scarlet confirms that the cult of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom, and the Scourge are connected.

Elsa describes her plans for a long-range magical communications network and asks if the Kelp Kingdom would be willing to join that and a naval alliance. Rhys provides a jeweled dagger he stole from a manor in Drunstimlos. The Thalassaquendi say they expect reparations for a robbery from the Coral Temple by Saganim pirates about 15 years ago.

Capt. Scarlet offers to go to the undersea city of Oceanis on behalf of “Vistel’s Expedition.” Rhys’ interest is piqued by the possibility of submarine travel. In return, a Limited Wish spell grants the Foamrunner temporary invisibility against fiends, giving it lead time against Schm*ckF*ck’s minions.

After the Sea Elves depart, Giacomo agrees to get his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra removed in the city of Hesolin. Corwin puts on another fine show at the “Steed’s Stream,” and Elsa teases him with a framed handbill from his time as a carnival performer.

Rhys works with carpenter Cyric Ahearn, sailmaker Emmet Banning, tinkerer Evelyn Morgwyl, and blacksmith Ronan Teague to hone their operations aboard the Zephyr. Capt. Niac gives the order to board and head northeast on the Sea of Nagendwa.

Wizard Giacomo works on a spotlight using Zorya Polunochnaya’s Moon (costing 1,500 g.p.) for Ranger Scully and gadgeteer Rhys. First mate Corwin moves about the ship to learn about each sailor’s duties.

Priestess Elsa reminds her companions that in addition to her communications network and an alliance against the Ghost Fleet, they should offer to help the kingdom of Hifalendor deal with a Centaur insurrection on the northern Plains of Sathendo provoked by a woman named Vappu Lahja.

About a day’s sail from the Hifalendorin capital, the crew of the Zephyr spots three groups of naval vessels on the horizon. Capt. Louise Jeffords, commander of the H.M.S. Sea Wolf, a well-armed cruiser, hails Capt. Niac. She signals for the refitted steamboat to follow her into port.

The adventuring party is impressed to see Hesolin’s highwhite walls as they pull into the busy harbor. The naval escort departs, and Niac allows everyone to go ashore.

Giacomo, who has been reluctant to return home, says that he needs to visit the local Magisterium [magic school] and “Tondra” [Rob A.S./N.P.C.] regarding his tattoo removal. Niac suggests also checking with the temple of Otih.

Corwin plans to check in with the Saganim embassy and the temple of Brijitt. He has sent “Melchior” [Byron V.O.] ahead to the barbaric port of Gisar to track down the murderous Tiefling mage Lord Dalek and his half-brother Prince Daven.

Elsa recommends sticking together, especially for any royal audience. She also expresses interest in shopping and meeting up with old friends in Vistel’s Circus. Rhys hopes to find coal for the ship, as well as fellow craftsmen.

The team first walks to the center of town, passing by dens of vice around the Arena of Ariyas, odiferous smithies, and the theater district. Giacomo leads the way along the wide, cobbled streets, and Corwin is curious about who’s performing in the noisy taverns.

Elsa observes various columned temples and even Pegasi flying from the palace towers. Rhys begins asking around about Hesolin’s guilds. They climb a hill to the “Golden Horn” hotel and restaurant in quiet Castle Court.

Charismatic Corwin inquires about lodgings with Averain, who suggests renting a villa rather than a room or suite. For just 50 crowns, the group gets a townhouse for a fortnight. Despite wary Giacomo’s objections, outgoing Elsa hires local youth Justine as a guide.

Giacomo, Rhys, Maggie, and Evelyn go to the Gnomish quarter, between Embassy Row and the Magisterium. Rhys gleefully compares notes with the owner of “Otis’ Whirlygigs” on wind power, screw propellers, and clockwork. Giacomo and “Dread” Maggie are bored, but Half-Elf Eveyln tries to follow their technical conversation.

Meanwhile, Corwin and Elsa cross the street to the Saganim embassy. The prince demands to meet the ambassador for his homeland, saying it’s a matter of national security. However, officious Miss O’Leary [Drew/N.P.C.] requires visitors to fill out numerous forms first.

Elsa tries to be pleasant with the bureaucrat, who eventually brings them to Sir Culwych [Beruk/N.P.C.]. Prince Corwin and Elsa explain how they wish to strengthen the alliance between Saganim and Hifalendor, and the skeptical emissary eventually comes around. He agrees to request a royal audience within the next few days.

Giacomo and friends then go to the temple of Otih. They meet Sir Louis [Rich/N.P.C.], a Paladin of the god of sun and justice, and Sir Remy Hotspur [Bruce/N.P.C.], a member of the King’s Cavaliers. They ignore Rhys, Maggie, and Evelyn when a routine scan detects the presence of strong evil on Giacomo.

The unlucky Wizard explains his plight and how, when Hesolin’s Magisterium was sacked by the Ghost Fleet a few years ago, Teradin Calzor imparted the tattoo on his back. The knights manacle and shackle Giacomo, whose true name is “Gerald” (hence the name of his familiar, in an attempt to misdirect enemy spellcasters).

Sir Remy is less sympathetic than Sir Louis, accusing the Hifalendorin of being a traitor, like other arcanists who have gone missing since the attack. Rhys vouches for Giacomo and agrees to submit to Otih’s judgment.

The Rogue swears on Sir Louis’ shining lance, and all his misdemeanors flash before everyone’s eyes. Sir Remy is still reluctant to release the mage, but Sir Louis calls for Sir Akkon Wotarif, a Paladin from the cathedral of Urda, lord of the sky.

Sir Akkon arrives and agrees to help escort Giacomo as he moves about Hesolin. He says that a ritual to exorcise the Mad Mage will take a few days, but it’s necessary before the holy warriors would allow “Vistel’s Expedition” to meet the king.

The wanderers reconvene at the “Golden Horn,” and Corwin and Elsa are surprised to find Giacomo with an escort of knights. They rest before resuming their exploration of the walled city….

We missed you, Sara, and I hope that everybody enjoyed our latest “Vanished Lands” sessions. Remember to review your character records and wish lists for gear and magic while you’re in Hesolin.

I also look forward to continuing Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” (using Hunterthe Reckoning) next Monday. Remember to let me know your availability for Byron’s next visit on Wednesday, Oct. 8.

“Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” Session 39.47 — Black sails and the Nook & Cranny Council

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.47, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 15 September 2014:

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….

Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the ZephyrPlayer Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing GameDungeon Crawl ClassicsPathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of autumn 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) afflicted by a cursed tattoo; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 10
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 10

(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 4 April 1227 B.C.E.:” The commanders of the Zephyr oversaw the riverboat’s overhaul, recruited crew members, and bought supplies in the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human village of Drunstimlos.

They also Teleported to the capital of Thadenis to report to the king and queen. The adventurers learned of strife in neighboring realms, the whereabouts of Corwin’s enemies, and potential allies.

Giacomo visits the Harandrim Academy, the local Magisterium (magic school/library), and asks Maggie Oakleaf if she’ll join him aboard the Zephyr. The droll Sylvan Elf adept agrees.

Scully asks her companions to make her boyfriend, “Sir Niac Eden” [Mike F./Non-Player Character], the captain of their ship because of his nautical experience. Corwin is concerned that the Wolfen Paladin (and former “Dragonslayer”) might have divided loyalties, but Scully reassures him that his first duty will be to the ship.

Corwin meets with “Melchior Merryman” [Byron V.O.], a priest of Ulandt (and former “Seeker of Lore”) who offers to travel to Gisar to covertly find out what Corwin’s half-brother, Prince Daven, is doing in the barbaric port. They also hope to locate Lord Dalek, a Tiefling (demon-touched) Mage who once framed Corwin for murder.

Rhys decides against giving (former “Liberator”) “Ulrich Vandermoor” [Ted A.H./N.P.C.] at the Royal Society for Cartography full plans of his steamboat. He also purchases coal and carouses with new friend (and former “Lorewarden”) “Brother Cathal Duartbell” [Atilla C./N.P.C.].

Elsa excitedly shares a letter that she has received from Vistel’s Circus, which is performing in the nearby human kingdom of Hifalendor. The adventuring party agrees to sail east, first to meet Capt. Scarlet and the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) schooner Foamrunner at Sanry and then to the city of Hesolin.

Before returning to Drunstimlos, Giacomo obtains components for Bracers of Armor, and Scully looks for specialized ammunition. Corwin tallies up vehicle expenses at about 5,000 crowns (gold pieces) so far and returns 1,500 g.p. to each of his peers.

Elsa checks with Miss Crevan on the establishment of the first office in her long-range communications network, and Rhys is eager to get back to the Zephyr to supervise its refit. The group Teleports back to the windy coast.

Capt. Niac reviews the crew roster as the now-seaworthy ship prepares for its shakedown cruise:

  • Sir Niac Eden [Mike F./N.P.C.]-male Wolfen Paladin, captain
    • Tiernan Saunders: male Saganim cabin boy, sailor 1
  • Prince Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, first mate and morale officer
    • Doyle Tunney: male Saganim (proto-Celtic) human apprentice, Bard 1
    • Evan Bradford: male Saganim fisherman and sailor 1
    • Fiona Chadwick: female Saganim sailor 1/Rogue 1
    • Gordon Selwyn: male Saganim sailor 1/Rogue 1
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome, engineer
    • Vasco: male clockwork butler
    • Automatons: dragon, scorpion, and spider
    • Cyric Ahearn: male Saganim carpenter and sailor 1
    • Emmet Banning: male Saganim sailmaker and sailor 1
    • Evelyn Morgwyl: female Half-Elf tinkerer and sailor 1
    • Ronan Teague: male Saganim blacksmith and sailor 1
  • Giacomo Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Wizard, scholar and mage
    • Gerald: male homunculus familiar
    • “Dread” Maggie Oakleaf: female Sylvan Elf adept, apprentice
    • Almaric Dorimus: male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human navigator, Lvl. 2 sailor
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female Flind Ranger, animal handler, security/marine, scout, sniper
    • Owlicious: male owl companion
    • Glynnis Shannon: female Saganim sailor 1/Fighter 1
    • Holt Chapman: male Saganim farmer/stablehand and sailor 1
    • Reginald Seward: male Saganim pirate, served aboard the Mad Saber and theBloody Manta; sailor 1/Fighter 2
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid, cook, chaplain, and healer
    • Penryn: male Banuq (winged cat), animal companion
    • Audrey Driscoll: female Saganim (proto-Celtic) human cook and sailor 1/Fighter 1
    • Kaitlin Ellis: female Saganim acolyte of Ghanki/sailor 1

As the Zephyr gets under way, Corwin presents himself to the crew as the “good cop” to Niac’s “bad cop.” Rhys shows his team how to feed coal to the boiler as well as hoist the sails. Giacomo stays in the map room, both because he hasn’t yet gotten his sea legs and because he wants to create a crystal ball that can project images.

Elsa double-checks provisions in the galley and blesses the ship and its new crew. Scully checks on the horses in the cargo hold and borrows Rhys’ spyglass. After several hours out on the Sea of Nagendwa, she spots something from the crow’s nest.

A four-masted ship with black sails approaches from several miles away. It alters course to bear down on the Zephyr, and Capt. Niac calls for battlestations and sets the helm to intercept. Corwin relays commands and encourages the Saganim sailors with song.

Black Sails
The Cruel Cutlass

As the Zephyr and the pirate ship close, Niac gives the order for a warning shot. Scully loads the forward ballista and fires across the other vessel’s bow. It returns fire, skewering Kaitlin Ellis, an acolyte of sea lord Ghanki.

Corwin casts Fireball at the Cruel Cutlass’  forecastle, killing four Saganim pirates. Niac orders the crew to prepare for broadsides. Corwin defensively casts Mirror Image, creating seven illusory duplicates of himself.

Giacomo casts Magic Shield, and Rhys fires his crossbow but misses. Scully fires another ballista bolt, scattering enemy crewmen on the opposing deck. Shots from the Cruel Cutlass narrowly miss Corwin, thanks to his Mirror Image.

Cleric Elsa rushes to aid Kaitlin, and Capt. Niac exhorts the crew to stand firm. Bard Corwin Disintegrates part of the foe’s main mast, which falls and kills another pirate. Wizard Giacomo inflicts madness on some of the commanders of the Cruel Cutlass with Emrikol’s Entropic Maelstrom.

Engineer Rhys turns his attention to fire control and reloading ammunition. Ranger Scully casts Call Lightning, injuring another pirate. The Cruel Cutlass breaks off and flees. While some aboard the Zephyr want to pursue and loot the damaged craft, Capt. Niac Lays on Hands to help heal Kaitlin and congratulates his crew on a successful shakedown cruise.

The Wolfen Paladin of Otih, lord of the sun and justice, also sternly warns them not to get too confident, since the dreaded Ghost Fleet has numerous ships and has magical protections. “Vistel’s Expedition” sails north.

That night, those on watch hear and glimpse something with a feathered wingspan of more than 20 feet fly overhead. They theorize that it could be a gryphon, like the one ridden by Prince Daven.

During the second watch, Scully and Corwin notice Niac pacing about the captain’s quarters. On the third watch, Giacomo banters with his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra, resisting its attempts to take him over and confusing members of the crew with an apparently one-sided conversation.

In the engine room, Rhys convenes the first meeting of the “Nook and Cranny Council” with similarly diminutive Vasco, his clockwork butler, and Gerald, Giacomo’s homunculus familiar.

The Zephyr safely arrives at the Saganim village of Sanry. Giacomo and Maggie busy themselves in the ship’s map room, leaving others to go ashore. Scully and Niac go to the “Steed’s Stream” inn to see if there are any additional sailors worth recruiting.

Corwin wanders around, thinking of lost loves and the homeland he may not see again for a while. Elsa and Audrey Driscoll procure supplies for the galley and tend to the Druid’s banuq (winged cat) Penryn.

Rhys keeps Cyric, Emmet, Evelyn, and Ronan busy with repairs and training, as the explorers wait to rendezvous with the Foamrunner to ask about the Sea Elven history of conflict with Drunstimlos and participation in a naval alliance against the Ghost Fleet….

Thanks again, Drew, for hosting, and we missed you, Rich! I hope everybody enjoyed your shakedown cruise, and I look forward to continuing your seaborne adventures. As you can see, I’ve revised the crew roster on Obsidian Portal, and remember to make sure that your characters’ spells and possessions are up to date.

I look forward to our next “Vanished LandsA New Dawn” telecom session, as well as character generation for Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” miniseries (using StorytellerWorld of Darkness — Hunterthe Reckoningat Brian S.’s place next Monday.