D&D5e "Vanished Lands" F2F nautical Session 41.8, 9 — Heist and aftermath

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Sessions 41.8 and 9 of our face-to-face D&D5e game, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on 17 and 24 August 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place 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.

Sometime after a group of former circus performers wandered aboard the airshipZephyr and a team of diplomatic escorts fought chaos in Tong Sheng, past heroes reunited, and another band gathered on the Sea of Nagendwa….

Initial Player Character roster for Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” nautical campaign, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, as of summer 2015:

  • Kamar Alazar [Beruk A.]-male Suthern human swashbuckler (proto-Arabic Bard) and former member of the “Liberators” and “Dragonslayers”; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Nuriel Earendil [Brian W.]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 2
  • Cassy Keelnipper [Sara F./absent]-female Otter-kin Rogue, street urchin, and sailor; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Kaelen Northsea [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/Saganim Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Eldamir Tempestborn [Rich C.G.]-male Atlantean human soldier (Theran/Minoan Barbarian), tattooed member of the Order of the Kingfisher, specialist in the net and trident; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Barret [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 2
  • Puliarus Aearion [Charles S.]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 2

Backup characters:

  • “Ludovico ‘Ludo’ Rosso” [Beruk A.]-male human ex-gladiator (Monk; see Bruce K.’s Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter); LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Brian W.]-male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Fighter, pragmatist; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Sara F.]-female ?; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Drogan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Orc (Saganim) Barbarian, with a great sword; CN, Lvl. 1
  • Sebastian Leafsworn [Rich C.G.]-male Sylvan Elf Monk and sage, with forbidden lore; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of theZephyr ’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • Antoun Miner [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“14 to 18 October 1227 B.C.E.:” In close combat off the Saganim coast, the crew and mercenaries of the H.M.S. Dauntless defeated the pirates aboard the Bronze Storm. The naval vessel seized weapons and booty from the schooner and headed back to port.

The adventuring party is dismissed from the Dauntless as it arrives in the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human town of Drunstimlos. Kamar invites Alitasse Vorwende, the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) purser, to dinner at a clam shack.

Nuriel, Kaelen, and Barret plan to visit the local church of Ghanki, lord of the sea. Cassy reminds her companions of a rumored shipment of slaver gold on the Lazy Goat before she disappears into various alleys.

Eldamir warily follows Nuriel, while Puliarus heads straight for the “Sailor’s Climb” public house. He meets scrimshaw artist Helen O’Leary in addition to the usual fishermen and farmers. Kamar and Alitasse go for a long walk on the beach.

Nuriel and company walk to the temple of Ghanki and look for Fr. Gwydion. Eldamir is disgusted when he sees the drunken priest cavorting with a parishioner in the graveyard. After chasing away some street urchins leaving graffiti, Kaelen and Barret continue cleaning the decrepit church.

Puliarus and notices a young man wearing a tabard sitting alone in a corner of the pub. A group of women tell the Half-Elf that he is Sir Sigmund Adelbard’s squire.

The servants also say that their master, Lord Caerdon, has been in a bad mood lately and that he sent them out for the evening while he entertains the visiting knight.

At the temple of Ghanki, Nuriel offers tithe of 25 sovereigns (gold pieces) to Fr. Gwydion and asks for help with an “afflicted friend,” meaning Eldamir, whose eyes glowed with an unholy rage during the recent battle with the Bronze Storm.

Fr. Gwydion is interested in the prospect of an exorcism, and the Atlantean human reluctantly submits to examination at Grey Elf Nuriel’s request. Barret returns to the tavern to look for a pit fight, and Kaelen searches for a shrine to Ano Wasu, the lady moon.

Nuriel goes to fetch a bucket of water for Fr. Gwydion, who conducts a divination. The Cleric states that Eldamir will have to fight an earth elemental to atone for his sins. Nuriel takes just enough holy water for his own purposes.

Outside the Sailor’s Climb, Barret becomes “the Masked Minotaur” and enters a brawl with burly human Eavin. Half-Elf Kaelen watches bets change hands and learns that the Lazy Goat has a Hobgoblin captain.

Puliarus flirts with one of Lord Caerdon’s maids, but the Half-Elf is unsuccessful. The next morning, the group visits Brenda O’Connor at the guard tower. Puliarus practices archery and buys arrows.

Brenda pays the adventurers 10 talents (1,000 silver pieces or 100 gold pieces, about 16 g.p. each) for capturing a Necromancer. However, the Saganim militia captain explains that Morgwyn has been released to his family, because the O’Bannons own a lot of land and are influential.

It’s also possible that Fr. Gwydion interceded on his behalf when Lord Caerdon visited town about a week ago, Brenda says. Kaelen observes that’s when the maids said his mood changed, but Brenda says she didn’t notice anything amiss.

Eldamir buys another map of the area around Drunstimlos from Vaughn Rikkar, a Half-Elf Bard. The team returns to the tavern to debate its options. The gold shipment aboard the Lazy Goat is the most time-sensitive, argue roguish Kamar and Cassy.

Restless Kaelen wants to sign onto another ship, but cautious Eldamir and Puliarus wonder why Lord Caerdon has been acting strangely.

Righteous Nuriel and Barret want to investigate the Necromancer’s family manor, which is about a day’s hike from Drunstimlos, according to a map from Fr. Gwydion. The group decides to check out the rumored shipment of slaver gold first.

Kaelen finds two Goblins from the Lazy Goat and asks them to arrange a meeting with its commander. He and Barret wait for Capt. Kurath “the Cruel” at the edge of town, with Nuriel a discreet distance away.

Kamar, Eldamir, and Puliarus go to check out the cog while most of its crew is ashore. As night falls, they sneak down to the docks and swim out to the ship.

Medieval cog

Cargo vessel

Capt. Kurath arrives with two Orcs in addition to the two Goblins. The armored Hobgoblin explains that he asked to meet away from the inn because humanoids are generally unwelcome in Saganim territory.

Kaelen poses as a “contractor” looking for slaves for a Dark Elven mine. Kurath responds that he might be able to help. Nuriel notices that both Kurath and Kaelen are taking their time haggling. Barret talks with the Orcs and learns that Nosepicker likes to wrestle and Groinbiter is a boxer.

Meanwhile, Kamar swims to the prow of the Lazy Goat and peers into a porthole. He sees hammocks of the crew in a forward section. Amidships, Eldamir sees a weapons rack, while Puliarus finds a chapel aft. They quietly climb onto the ship and try to avoid three human sentries.

Kamar casts Sleep on one guard, and Eldamir leads the way downstairs. Puliarus casts a Light spell on a coin. As the trio passes the middle deck, it bluffs its way past two sailors playing dice. The Bard, Barbarian, and Sorcerer find no signs of slave quarters in the hold, but they do find a vault with a locked door.

In town, Ranger Kaelen gives Kurath a pearl worth 10 sovereigns as an advance on 150 g.p. for a set of slaves. Kurath says that he’ll need several days to procure and transport them. Cleric Nuriel follows the Goblins before returning to the temple of Ghanki. Gladiator Barret arranges to meet the Orcs later.

Nasty aberration

Mimic

On the Lazy Goat, Kamar picks the lock and disables a trap that would drop an iron bar. He, Eldamir, and Puliarus enter the vault and find several chests of coins. However, one turns out to be a Mimic!

Eldamir throws a net onto the purple-tongued aberration, but it dissolves in its saliva. Kamar casts Sleep, which has no effect on the Mimic. Puliarus casts Fire Bolt and backs up.

Enraged, Eldamir makes a reckless attack with his trident, and Kamar switches from his rapier to a crowbar. Puliarus casts Magic Missile, and Eldamir finishes off the Mimic.

Kamar grabs 30 gold coins as Eldamir pulls him out of the vault. Back on the top deck, three men aim crossbows at the infiltrators. Puliarus casts Fog Cloud to cover their retreat.

Shortly thereafter, a sailor calls Capt. Kurath away from his meeting with Kaelen and company. Kamar, Eldamir, and Puliarus find Barret in a field outside Drunstimlos wrestling with the two Orcs. They send Nosepicker and Groinbiter away as they regroup.

Kamar recommends finishing the job and robbing the apparent slavers. Kaelen wants to get away before Kurath can alert his crew or the watch to hunt the would-be thieves.

Nuriel and Barret want to use Fr. Gwydion’s maps to inquire into the manor of the Necromancer. They also point out that Lord Caerdon’s mysterious behavior might be worth investigating.

Ultimately, Eldamir and Kaelen persuade their friends to find another ship and leave town. The travelers stop by the Sailor’s Climb to retrieve some possessions and then camp outside of town as autumn winds and rain sweep across the coast.

Kamar and Nuriel take the first watch and try to stay warm without a campfire. During the second watch, Barret and Puliarus sit still as plaid-clad horsemen pass nearby. On the third watch, Kaelen and Eldamir stay put even as they hear a scream out on the moors.

In the morning, the bedraggled band walks back to the docks and sees guards posted on every pier. Kamar and Puliarus notice two ships — the Floating Eel and the Wandering Eye, which has a Beholder skeleton as its figurehead.

Nuriel is surprised by Itharides, his grandmother and a famous adventurer. Unlike most Grey Elves, Itharides has sought to help humans for centuries. Nuriel tells the others that he’ll be at the pub catching up with his kin.

Kaelen talks his way past the guards, and Eldamir spreads the rumor of a small being such as a Halfling or an Otter-kin being among the thieves. Barret is surrounded by a throng of young fans of the “Masked Minotaur.”

Sometime later, Kamar, Kaelen, Eldamir, and Puliarus row out to the Floating Eel.They are surprised to be greeted by Henry “the Ghost” Grayson, former captainof the Bronze Storm! After the Dauntless set his ship adrift, it foundered, and its crew was rescued by the Floating Eel, he explains.

Puliarus befriend the mercenaries and pirates on the Floating Eel, but Eldamir is more wary of the Ghost. Kamar and Kaelen ask Capt. Kassem al-Zaweh for passage from Drunstimlos. The Suthern (proto-Arabic) human notes that the ship is already pretty full and has been hired by Itharides to go to the kingdom of Hifalendor.

Kaelen says that the great Grey Elf would want Nuriel and his associates to come along. Capt. Kassem replies that he’ll allow them to share bunks (in double shifts) with his sailors, but on the condition that there are no problems with the former crew of the Bronze Storm.

The foursome returns to town and splits up. Kamar begins drinking heavily at the Sailor’s Climb, where Nuriel is talking with his grandmother. Cassy is nowhere to be seen.

Brenda O’Connor invites Kaelen to a council she has called with the captains of the ships in the harbor to discuss the recent theft. The Bard brings Barret along.

Since he is a suspect in the break-in, Eldamir decides to camp outside Drunstimlos. The Barbarian climbs a tree to spend the night. Puliarus goes back to the temple of Ghanki to check on shady Fr. Gwydion.

At the pub, Kamar sings loudly about recent misadventures [to the tune of “Smooth Criminal”], and Nuriel plans to meet with Rowan Thorne, the local mage.

Kaelen and Barret follow Brenda to the watchtower, where they meet Capt. Sheridan Driscoll of the H.M.S. Dauntless, Capt. Kurath of the Lazy Goat, Capt. Kassem al-Zaweh of the Floating Eel, and Capt. Massimo Vittorio of the Wandering Eye, a Hifalendorin [proto-Western European] merchant ship.

Capt. Driscoll [Rich C.G./Non-Player Character] nods in recognition to Kaelen and Barret. The Saganim naval officer assigns royal marines to help patrol the docks while the Dauntless is repaired.

Kurath the Cruel [Brian W./N.P.C.] demands justice and sets a bounty of 30 sovereigns for each thief. The Hobgoblin declines to say what was stolen and glares suspiciously at helpful Kaelen and bored Barret.

Capt. Kassem [Charles S./N.P.C.] says that poor security could hurt Drunstimlos’ reputation as a free port and that he plans to leave soon. Capt. Vittorio [Beruk A./N.P.C.], whose ship had the Beholder figurehead, eventually agrees to support the manhunt.

Outside town, Eldamir hears a strange clacking in the branches above him. He peers up and sees several skeletons swaying in the wind. The Hangman Tree sends snaking branches to impale the Atlantean human, who jumps down and runs away.

Friendly Puliarus Mends the church’s leaky roof and manages to swallow some of Fr. Gwydion’s strong alcohol. The storm Sorcerer gets permission to stay the night.

The troublemakers manage to cast blame on Sea Elves for the fragments of Eldamir’s net and a Halfling for the burglary on the Lazy Goat. Ranger Kaelen places misleading tracks outside of town and finds Eldamir.

The Lazy Goat departs, and the travelers leave Drunstimlos on the Floating Eel. Capt. Kassem orders first mate Grayson to set course northeast. Kamar rummages among his musical instruments to entertain the merged crew.

Nuriel escorts Itharides aboard and keeps an eye on his wayward bodyguard. The Cleric of Corellan Larethian also talks with the Ghost, who says he bears no ill will, since nobody was hung for piracy.

Kaelen gets comfortable in the rigging and watches how Capt. Kassem manages his mercenaries. Eldamir keeps lookout in the prow and avoids Grayson.

Barret busies himself peeling vegetables in the galley or pulling oars. The Minotaur soon earns the respect of his peers and looks for wrestling partners.

Puliarus observes that the ship has magical protections even though it lacks a regular mage. The Half-Elf also helps with lore and mending, as well as with nightly underwater patrols. The warship sails across the northwestern Sea of Nagendwa toward the village of Sanry….

Good luck at next week’s “Star Wars: Dark Timessession, and let me know who of you will be available around Labor Day for “Star Trek: Restorationand/or more “Vanished Lands!”

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.50 — Crouching tiger, hidden devil

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.50, which was held on Sunday, 16 August 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, Pathfinder, and 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. 11
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 11
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things but plagued by family and ancestor spirits; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 11
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S./departed]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

“30 to 31 August to 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party had escorted a slippery envoy for the Gokuri Empire and helped defend border communities against monsters and Undead. It also learned of clan intrigues in the capitals of Tong Sheng and the Zedu Kingdom.

The wanderers then tracked the source of growing disorder back to the northeastern Bamor Mountains. There, they fought a feline Bauh-Yin and a gruesome Gibbering Mouther before slaying the powerful chaos dragon. A summoned devil and a large army of Undead remain, however.

Sonny readies his whip and closes on the diabolical woman, and Toshi casts Animal Growth and Protection From Chaos on his tiger Amaya. The Shiko Me swings at Sonny with her naginata (glaive) and flies 40 feet up into the air.

Eastern devil

A Shiko Me

Meanwhile, the skeletal soldiers, which include hopping vampires as officers, marches into the pass. Soske’ Channels Positive Energy to heal his allies. Ember casts Rock to Mud to slow the horde.

Jung-Mo’s first volley misses the Baatezu, while Saigo drinks a potion of Flight to engage Lady Shiori of Vondur in midair. Sonny vaults off Amaya and uses a potion of Levitate to get closer to the devil. The Kensai wraps his whip around her legs to pull her down.

Wu Jen Toshi moves to direct Amaya’s attacks and casts a Sonic Blast. The Shiko Me claws at Sonny but is unable to blind or poison him. Shukenja Soske’ aims hisUndead Bane bow at the hopping vampires and destroys two of them.

Wu Ember Calls Lightning to thin out the front ranks of the enemy army. Ninja Jung-Mo maneuvers for a sneak attack on the devil. Samurai Saigo strikes with “Thundering Blade,” his Outsider Bane sword. Sonny is unable to get Lady Shiori all the way to the ground.

Toshi reads a scroll to summon three huge air Elementals to fight the Undead troops. Amaya bats at the floating but entangled Baatezu with her paws and bites her. The Shiko Me again hits Sonny but fails to drain him of life.

She also casts Ray of Enfeeblment, weakening Sonny, Saigo, and Amaya. The shambling soldiers fight the Elementals, but Soske’ slays two more vampires. Ember buries part of the enemy army with another Rock to Mud.

Shengtese human Sonny limits Lady Shiori’s movement, but she refuses to surrender or leave. Shan Sao Toshi summons three more Elementals, which wade into battle. Hengeyokai Ember again Calls Lightning, and Nannuattan Jung-Mo finishes off the Shiko Me.

Spellcasters Toshi, Ember, and Soske’ supervise the destruction of the remaining armored skeletons. Warriors Sonny and Saigo take dragon Kaosu Uirumu’s head for proof for their respective rulers and destroy his carcass.

Scout Jung-Mo goes to check on the eyestalk worms that the Chole Lung had sent down the trail toward the frontier village of Hei Kuan. The scout then leads his companions to the dragon’s lair, where they find the following:

  • armor, silken ceremonial (+ 2 AC) — claimed by Ember
  • bow, short, masterwork composite (+ 5 Str), with 20 arrows — Jung-Mo to sell to upgrade his existing bow
  • coins, 60,000 tael (10,000 gold pieces each, but 15,000 for those staying at Level 10)
  • miscellaneous magic (+ 4 enchantment each, but note item limits for upcoming Lvl. 10 D&D5e team)
  • naginata (+ 1) — Sonny
  • poison, black lotus extract (3 doses) — Jung-Mo
  • samisen, masterwork (+ 1 lute) — Toshi

The party also retrieves some gear from the fallen Undead to eventually equip its own followers. Sonny plans to inform local authorities about members of the Daidoji House in the Crane Clan who collaborated with the Reaping in Hei Kuan. The weapon master hopes to restore the Lion Clan’s honor.

Druid Ember announces her intention to journey south and west as she continues her quest to regain her true form as a gold dragon of the Celestial Court [see upcoming D&D5e party]. Jung-Mo expects to divide his time between Ember and training his wyvern, Niruth.

Soske’ plans to report to Lady Fu Hao in Sogewa and to establish a fort on the northern frontier to guard against agents of chaos. The Shengtese human Cleric also plans to return to the “Sandy Cornertavern on the Balef River to ensure that the people there have continued to honor dead guardians.

Toshi plans to establish a Wizard’s tower near Chin Mok and to ask for Dryad Suki’s hand in marriage. Once he has received a title and land, knight Saigo hopes to woo Princess Nayoko in Bazran Hai. Sonny offers to organize bachelor parties for both of them.

The victors prepare to part ways for a time but agree to remain in contact as they continue to defend the eastern “Vanished Lands”….

Congratulations to the “New Dawn” team on a successful telecom campaign! I hope that all of you enjoyed it! Remember that the characters advancing to D20/FATE Level 11 — Sonny, Toshi, and Saigo — get a new hit die and five skill points to spend. Ember, Jung-Mo, and Soske’ should be converted to Level 10 in D&D5e.

In the meantime, I look forward to more “Star Trek: Restoration,” the face-to-face D&D5e “Vanished Landsnautical crew, and Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times.”Our adventures will continue!

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.49 — The coming of chaos

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.49, which was held on Sunday, 9 August 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./absent ]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 10
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 10
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things but plagued by family and ancestor spirits; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 10
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S./departed ]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion Mala; CGn, Lvl. 10

“29 to 30 August 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventuring party was attacked in camp by cute Keukegen, and disguised scout Jung-Mo set an ambush for the chaos dragon by sending a cowardly mayor and his mysterious aide ahead.

At Toshi’s recommendation, Jung-Mo uses his ring of Stone Shape to create a rocky overhang to provide partial cover for some of the team in the Dragon Pass. Jung-Mo then moves to higher ground. Ember shifts into crane form and flies up the mountainside.

Sonny moves from one switchback to another on the narrow road. Soske’ casts Heroes’ Feast for his friends and later takes a position lower on the trail. Saigo hides between two boulders. Toshi hangs back to guard the horses and Niruth, Jung-Mo’s young wyvern.

Kenmotsu Masashi, the onetime mayor of Hei Kuan, and Nadisu Rajendra, his jaguar-headed aide, reappear at the northern stretch of the path, even though Jung-Mo had sent them to report to the dragon several hours ago and miles away.

Peering from a hideout, Sonny sees something other than the Bamboo Spirit Folk (eastern Sylvan Elf) mayor shambling down path. Toshi also disbelieves the illusion and identifies Masashi’s true form as that of a horrific Gibbering Mouther.

Gibbering Mouther

Henchman/victim of the chaos dragon

Samurai Saigo steps out and tries to Charm Rajendra, but the cat-headed Bauh-Yin resists. He says that Masashi’s state is the result of failing the Chole Lung (chaos dragon). The mayor had been involved in a scheme to sacrifice villagers to a demon in a pagoda.

Ninja Jung-Mo sneaks around and shoots poisoned arrows at mushy Masashi. Kensai Sunny charges up the hill toward Kaosu Uirumu’s spies.

Druid Ember lands, Wild Shapes into an elephant, and charges. Shukenja Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon to get a Dragonbane composite short bow. Wu Jen Toshi begins preparing spells.

Soske’ casts extended Divine Power on himself, and elephantine Ember slams into Rajendra. The Bauh-Yin misses Ember with his claws, and the Gibbering Mouther misses her with multiple toothy maws.

Jung-Mo looses poisoned arrows at the dastardly duo, killing the Gibbering Mouther. Sonny strikes the Bauh-Yin with a flurry of blows from his Dire flail. Saigo slashes at Rajendra with his sword.

Shengtese human Soske’ hits the feline foe and ducks behind cover. Hengeyokai Ember then gores the Bauh-Yin, who leaps onto her back, digs one paw into her elephant hide, and Enlarges himself. Nannuattan Jung-Mo fires more poisoned arrows.

Shengtese human Sonny bats at the cat man, and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo eventually kills Rajendra with a thrown dagger. Jung-Mo and Saigo pour oil on Masashi’s remains and burn them.

Soske’ spots a cloud of dust and something huge and winged approaching. He soon realizes that the dust is being created by a skeletal army marching south. Jung-Mo had noticed an old battlefield in his scouting, and Shan Sao Toshi points out that the dragon had probably set Animate Undead as a Contingency spell.

Behind the dust cloud is the chaos dragon, source of many monsters and intrigues that the diplomatic escorts have encountered in the course of their travels. Jung-Mo uses his ring of Stone Shape to dig trenches to slow the army. The Underdark exile also prays to the Lords of Order.

Sonny drinks a potion of Levitation and climbs into position, while Ember shifts back to crane form. Soske’ casts another Ancestral Weapon, this time to obtain an Undead Bane bow. Saigo quaffs a potion of Heroism.

The chaos dragon passes overhead, but the wanderers bravely hold their ground. The beast flies on huge, ragged wings. Kaosu Uirumu has tentacles instead of forelegs, and his irregular black scales are inscribed with red, glowing runes.

The Chole Lung

Kaosu Uirumu

The Chole Lung breathes noxious gas at Sonny and Saigo, who manage to cling to their sanity. The Undead army begins filling in Jung-Mo’s first ditch with bodies of skeletal warriors. Ember Wild Shapes into a swift hawk and outmaneuvers the dragon.

Soske’ draws his magical bow and releases a volley, as Sonny uses his Levitationto jump closer. Saigo drinks a potion of Flight, while Jung-Mo hides in shadows. The dragon tries to crush Soske’ with its tentacles.

Ember casts Holy Smite and flies toward the chaos drake, who is the antithesis of her true form. Soske’ heals himself and quickly casts Divine Wind, which slows the soldiers and forces the dragon to land.

Sonny misses Kaosu Uirumu with his whip, but Saigo strikes with his Outsider Bane sword. Jung-Mo’s arrows get caught up in Soske’s wind, so he uses the ring of Stone Shape to briefly trap one of the dragon’s hind legs.

The nightmarish Chole Lung breaks free and knocks Ember out of the air with a wing buffet. It also swings its massive tail at Soske’ and claws at Saigo. Shapechanger Ember readies Call Lightning, as pious Soske’ shoots arrows at short range.

Wary Sonny downs a potion of Haste, and armored Saigo draws blood with hisnodachi (great sword). Stealthy Jung-Mo moves through shadows, while Toshi and tiger Amaya face the first wave of Undead.

The chaos dragon breathes at Jung-Mo and Saigo and flaps its wings at Soske’ and Ember, but he misses all of them. Kaosu Uirumu then slaps Sonny with his tail, bites Saigo, and summons an imposing-looking woman.

Lady Shiori Heikkaki changes her appearance and cuts Jung-Mo with a naginata (glaive). Ember tries to cast Baleful Polymorph, but the dragon resists. Soske’ and Toshi identify the woman as a diabolical Shiko Me.

Sonny switches to his Vorpal whip, and Saigo switches blades. Jung-Mo swings hisninja-to (short sword) at Lady Shiori but misses.

The Chole Lung slams Saigo with his tentacles, bites Soske’, and tries to buffet Sonny away. The cocky dragon also slaps Ember with his tail and Dispels Soske’s Divine Wind.

The Undead soldiers begin filling in Jung-Mo’s second trench. Ember says a quick prayer beseeching the Celestial Court to allow her to return to her true draconic form. Sonny swings his enchanted whip and beheads the chaos dragon!

I look forward to concluding the “New Dawntelecom campaign, but because of absences, we’ll be revisiting the “Star Trek: Restorationscenario in the next few weekends.

I enjoyed “Star Wars: Dark Timesat “JasonCon 2015,” and I look forward to seeing some of you at face-to-face D&D5e nautical sessions, not to mention our upcoming higher-level party….

D&D5e "Vanished Lands" F2F nautical Session 41.7 — First aboard

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 41.7 of our face-to-face D&D5e game, which Drew & Divya S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 3 August 2015:

In one ancient world, there was a place 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.

Sometime after a group of former circus performers wandered aboard the airshipZephyr and a team of diplomatic escorts fought chaos in Tong Sheng, past heroes reunited, and another band gathered on the Sea of Nagendwa….

Initial Player Character roster for Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” nautical campaign, using Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, as of summer 2015:

  • Kamar Alazar [Beruk A.]-male Suthern human swashbuckler (proto-Arabic Bard) and former member of the “Liberators” and “Dragonslayers”; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Nuriel Earendil [Brian W.]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 2
  • Cassy Keelnipper [Sara F.]-female Otter-kin Rogue, street urchin, and sailor; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Kaelen Northsea [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/Saganim Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 2
  • Eldamir Tempestborn [Rich C.G.]-male Atlantean human soldier (Theran/Minoan Barbarian), tattooed member of the Order of the Kingfisher, specialist in the net and trident; CG, Lvl. 2
  • Barret [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 2
  • Puliarus Aearion [Charles S.]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 2

Backup characters:

  • “Ludovico ‘Ludo’ Rosso” [Beruk A.]-male human ex-gladiator (Monk; see Bruce K.’s Pathfinder: Eberron/Reign of Winter); LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Brian W.]-male Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human Fighter, pragmatist; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Sara F.]-female ?; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Drogan” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Orc (Saganim) Barbarian, with a great sword; CN, Lvl. 1
  • Sebastian Leafsworn [Rich C.G.]-male Sylvan Elf Monk and sage, with forbidden lore; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of theZephyr ’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • Antoun Miner [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“12 to 13 October 1227 B.C.E.:” The Saganim naval cruiser Dauntless braved a storm on the northwestern Sea of Nagendwa and reported on recent coastal threats to the H.M.S. Brave Duchess near Sileran. On the way back to the port of Drunstimlos, the patrol engaged the pirate ship Bronze Storm.

After several tense moments as the ships closed, exchanging artillery fire, the crews ready for boarding and melee. Otter-kin Cassy dives into the water, and Half-Elf Kaelen casts Cure Light Wounds on himself.

Half-Sea Elf Puliarus grabs Rista Facebiter, the Bugbear whom Eldamir pulled overboard, and deals him a Shocking Grasp. Eldamir is unable to retrieve the shaggy humanoid’s sword, so the Atlantean human swims back to the surface.

A volley of arrows from the Bronze Storm hits Nuriel, Kaelen, and Barret, but the pirates’ first attempt to grapple the Dauntless with chains and hooked boarding planks fails. Kamar grabs a rope and swings across, knocking over a barrel of pitch on the enemy deck.

Nuriel drops his bow and uses Thaumaturgy to amplify the commands of Lt.Cmdr. Brock ap Corgan, leader of the Royal Marines. Minotaur Barret also swings over and smashes one of the brigands.

Cassy climbs out of Puliarus’ Fog Cloud around the Bronze Storm ‘s helm and duels with a cutthroat in the rigging. Kaelen swings over from the warship and stabs another pirate, as Puliarus’ Shield reaction protects him from the struggling Bugbear.

Eldamir climbs past Puliarus to the helm and swings wildly through the fog. Enemy archers hit Kamar and Barret, but the sailors aboard the Dauntless strike their marks in return.

Kamar ignites the spilled pitch near the trebuchet and casts Sleep on one of the men surrounding him. Nuriel holds his position on the Dauntless to repel boarders, while Barret gets into a shoving match with a mass of pirates.

Pirates fight

Boarding action

Rogue Cassy stabs her foe with her rapier and climbs up to another. Ranger Kaelen finds himself facing a female pirate and switches to the flat of his two short swords. Sorcerer Puliarus disengages from the drowning Bugbear and climbs onto the Bronze Storm.

Barbarian Eldamir grabs a random sailor in the fog and jumps overboard with him. The pirates slash at Kamar, Nuriel, and Barret, while some members of both ships’ crews are busy putting out fires.

Bard Kamar quaffs a potion of Healing, and Cleric Nuriel kills four would-be boarders with Burning Hands. Fighter Barret slams two pirates and gores a third. Cassy trades blows in the rigging, as Kaelen knocks the woman unconscious and kills another pirate.

Puliarus returns to the sea when he sees the fracas on deck and then Flame Boltsone of the raiders who has gone overboard. Back on deck, Eldamir grabs a cutlass and heads below.

Kamar slays one seaman as Nuriel comes to his side. Barret, Cassy, and Kaelen miss their opponents, even as the Dauntless and Bronze Storm are locked in combat. Puliarus retrieves “Tempest,” Eldamir’s trident, from the pirates’ rudder.

Below deck on the Bronze Storm, Eldamir finds himself surrounded by two pirates and face to face with Capt. Henry “the Ghost” Grayson. The brave Barbarian notes that much of the crew is dead, and he recommends ceasing hostilities.

Capt. Grayson reluctantly agrees and escorts Eldamir back to the main deck to surrender. Capt. Sheridan Driscoll of the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human navy accepts his sword.

Out of a crew of about 30 people, the H.M.S. Dauntless has lost five, while theBronze Storm has lost more than a dozen out of 40 and suffered more damage. Brother Egil and Halfling chef Bungo Longtoes help Nuriel attend to the wounded on both ships.

Cmdr. Perry Maxwell and Barret, nicknamed “Stompy” by Eldamir, supervise the disarming of the pirates. Nuriel, Kaelen, and Eldamir accompany the captains as they discuss terms, while Cassy and Kamar join Lt.Cmdr. Brock in looking at the hold of the enemy vessel.

Puliarus stays with fellow mage and navigator Lt. Vitalis Durand, who notes that the ships should disengage as soon as possible, in case the corsairs have reinforcements in the area. Capt. Driscoll offers Capt. Grayson the following options:

  • Have the Bronze Storm follow the Dauntless to the nearest Saganim port, where its crew will all be hung.
  • Set the pirate commanders adrift in a rowboat or maroon them, leaving the rest of the crew to its own devices.
  • Release the Bronze Storm and its disarmed crew, with the vow that they never again trouble Saganim ships or be destroyed in a future encounter.

Atlantean human Eldamir successfully intimidates “the Ghost” and asks Capt. Driscoll to consider allowing the pirates to become privateers in service of the kingdom of Saganim. He agrees to consider it but adds that the laws of the sea are clear.

Suthern human Kamar sings a sea shanty [to the tune of “The Man Down Under”] in an attempt to distract the Dauntless officers from Otter-kin Cassy. They find two chests full of coins, as well as some jewelry and a book of spells.

Cassy filches a silver bracelet worth 25 sovereigns (gold pieces) and an embroidered handkerchief worth 20 g.p. Cmdr. Maxwell supervises distribution of the rest of the pirate booty:

  • 2,000 pence (copper pieces) — to the Dauntless crew
  • 700 shillings (silver pieces) — to the Dauntless crew
  • 100 sovereigns — plus payment = 30 g.p. to each party member
  • potion of Water Breathing — to the Dauntless officers
  • spellbook, Wizard’s — to Lt. Vitalis Durand (to share with Puliarus)
    • Level 1: Illusory Script (D&D5e Player’s Handbook p. 252), Unseen Servant (PHB284), Feather Fall (PHB 239), Protection from Evil/Good (PHB 270), Catapult (EE 15), Ray of Sickness (PHB 271), Tenser’s Floating Disk (PHB 282), False Life (PHB239)
    • Level 2: Ray of Enfeeblement (PHB 271), See Invisible (PHB 274)

Capt. Grayson accepts the sentence of stripping the Bronze Storm of all weapons and releasing it with its full crew under oath. Barret breaks the last gangplank, and the Dauntless sails away before any more pirate ships can arrive.

Kamar invites Alitasse Vorwende, the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elf) purser, to a candlelit dinner. Nuriel and Puliarus discuss tactics with the dromond’s officers, while Cassy and Barret celebrate their recent victory with the crew in the hold.

Kaelen and Eldamir argue over who did more to defeat the pirates, drawing a rebuke from Cmdr. Maxwell, who notes that excessive boasting from sellswords can hurt crew morale. He recommends that they seek other employment while the Dauntless is in port for repairs.

As the naval vessel returns to Drunstimlos, Cassy tells her companions about a ship from the Zarendo Islands supposedly laden with slaver gold….

It was good to see some of you at our latest “Vanished Lands: A New Dawnvirtual session and “Star Wars: Dark Timesat “JasonCon 2015!” Note that I’ll be running “Star Trek: Restorationand this D&D5e crew for the next two weeks.

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.48 — Eyes in the Dragon Pass

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.48, which was held on Sunday, 2 August 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.]-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

“26 to 28 August 1227 B.C.E.:” While hiking in the Bamor Mountains and hunting a chaos dragon, the onetime diplomatic escorts were attacked by a wyvern-riding Oni. They defeated the Earth Yai and learned more about their quarry.

The adventuring party rests in a winding canyon. Jung-Mo prepares to scout ahead in disguise as the Oni Gu Hyong-Kim, with Niruth enlarged by an Animal Growth spell to appear as adult wyvern Gwang Mi-Ja.

However, Soske’ points out that Wind Walk would enable him or Saigo to travel more easily. Jung-Mo and Ember are glad to not endanger the young wyvern, and the Nannuattan Ninja flies off.

Sonny and Saigo take first watch, while Toshi, Ember, and Soske’ recuperate from recent battles in camp. Jung-Mo flies north over an old battlefield, with bits of armor poking out of the snow.

Wu Jen Toshi swaps out Fireball and Mass Snake’s Swiftness for Suspended Silenceon some shurikens (throwing stars). As night falls, Saigo and Sonny spot six furry creatures popping up from the rocks.

Jung-Mo recognizes the panther-headed aide to Kenmotsu Masashi, the mayor of Hei Kuan who fled after a plot to sacrifice villagers to a demonic Yao-Mor was revealed. Still in disguise as the Oni, Jung-Mo lands and asks the Bauh-Yin about Masashi’s whereabouts.

Bauh-Yin

Jaguar-headed agent of chaos

Nadisu Rajendra says that he is tired of babysitting the Bamboo Spirit Folk, but he challenges “Gu Hyong-Kim’s” tale of a close encounter with outlanders (Jung-Mo’s team). Feline Rajendra eventually agrees to report to Kaosu Uirumu. Jung-Mo hopes to lure the chaos dragon into an ambush away from its lair.

Back at camp, the cute critters begin attacking the horses, plunging hollow, needle-like tongues into the animals. Saigo initially plays dead while Sonny wakes the rest of the party.

Soul sucking monster

Deceptively cute Keukegen

Kensai Sonny smashes the one attacking his horse Yip, and Samurai Saigo saves his own steed. Toshi kills another with a shuriken, but Soske’ only grazes one with an arrow. The Shukenja identifies the attackers as Keukegen.

Ember keeps the panicked mounts from running away, while one Keukegen latches onto Saigo’s face, draining him of blood and spirit. Sonny fails to rip the furry facehugger off the Bamboo Spirit Folk.

Soske’ dodges a soul sucker, and Saigo manages to slice the Keukegen off with his sword. Toshi finishes off the remaining vermin with shurikens. Soske’ also casts Cure Disease on Saigo to keep him from turning into an Undead, and Druid Ember heals the horses.

Out in the Dragon Pass, Jung-Mo stealthily follows Rajendra as he acrobatically moves through the rough mountainous terrain. The flying Ninja’s attention is diverted by a swarm of snakes or worms headed toward the camp. He descends for a better view and is disgusted by a writhing mass of eyes on crawling stalks.

One-eyed worm

Eyestalk monster

Jung-Mo backtracks to where Najendra told him that Masashi was hiding. Again posing as the Oni, he interrogates the cowardly mayor and tosses a poison dart at him as a warning. Jung-Mo then sends Masashi after the panther man and toward the eye stalks before returning to his companions.

Sonny recommends that those camped under an outcropping off the main trail stay out of sight. The eyes pass the camp, and Toshi and Soske’ believe that they are some sort of spell cast by the Chole Lung (chaos dragon) rather than a particular type of monster. The group readies for its final confrontation….

We’ll see whether we’ll have quorum in the next few weekends. If not, I can continue the “Star Trek: Restorationscenario, and we should wrap up the “New Dawn” campaign in early September.

In the meantime, don’t forget to work on your higher-level D&D5e characters, and I’ll see some of you at “JasonCon 2015” or upcoming face-to-face nautical games!