D&D5e "Vanished Lands" Session 41.1 — New flotsam and jetsam

Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 41.1 of our face-to-face D&D5e “Vanished Lands” game, which Drew & Divya S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 18 May 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 airship Zephyr 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” face-to-face 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. 1
  • “Nuriel” [Brian W.]-male Grey Elf acolyte of light (Cleric of Corellan Larethian); NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Cassy Keelnipper” [Sara F./absent]-female Otter-kin Rogue; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “Kaelen Northsea” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf scout (Sylvan/? Ranger), seeking his father; NG, Lvl. 1
  • “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. 1
  • “Barret” [Drew S.]-male Minotaur wrestler and gladiator (Fighter) with a crossbow; LG, Lvl. 1
  • “Puliarus” [Charles S.]-male Half-Elf sage (Thalassaquendi storm Sorcerer), seeking to befriend all; CN, Lvl. 1

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
  • “?” [Rich C.G.]-female human Wild Mage (Sorcerer); CG, Lvl. 1
  • “Vasco” [Drew S.]-male clockwork butler (Warforged), former member of the Zephyr’s crew, displaced in time and space; LN, Lvl. 1
  • “?” [Charles S.]-male Hill Dwarf Druid, healer curious about the sea; TN, Lvl. 1

“1 October 1227 B.C.E.:” Kamar arrives in the Saganim (proto-Celtic) human town of Drunstimlos, trying to forget his recent past. The wanderer goes straight to the “Sailor’s Climb” public house, where he warily watches newcomers.

He soon notices a large tattooed man staring at him. Eldamir comes over and introduces himself as the guard of Nuriel, a slight and well-dressed Elf behind him. They begin talking about finding jobs aboard one of the ships in the harbor.

This draws the attention of Kaelen, who promptly asks barkeep Geraint for a recommendation. The scout is directed to old salt Charas Thulba, who names the following vessels in return for a round of drinks:

  • The Unbroken Colt: A Saganim galley headed to distant Bokor Island, captained by the ruthless Shane Moriarty
  • Two Tuns of Fun: A merchantman headed to the (proto-Western European) kingdom of Hifalendor, captained by the unlucky Lewellyn Tergannon
  • The Dauntless: A Saganim navy cruiser, set to patrol near the port of Sileran, with Capt. Sheridan Driscoll in command

Friendly Puliarus joins the table and offers his services as a sage of the sea. Kaelen notices the shadow of someone lurking outside the pub’s door, so he goes out to investigate.

The Half-Elf finds himself face-to-chest with a Minotaur! Barret says that he is looking for a fighting ring, and Kaelen offers to help him if he’ll join the new group inside.

After some discussion, the motley crew agrees to seek employment aboard the H.M.S. Dauntless. Eldamir helps Nuriel pick an outfit before they head to the docks, where they see fishwives and the warship and the other vessels Thulba had described.

Miniature seaport

Medieval-style seaport

Two guards holding spears and shields stop the mercenaries at the end of the gangplank. Kamar and Kaelen introduce themselves and their companions and ask about employment.

Cmdr. Perry Maxwell, first officer of the Dauntless, studies Nuriel’s letter of introduction and says that the Saganim cruiser will set sail in a few days. In the meantime, he says, the band can prove itself by retrieving some maps that he has been unable to directly acquire.

Cmdr. Maxwell directs the would-be sailors to the local temple of Addoh, lord of the waters. The group sets off, climbing winding cobbled streets until it finds a decrepit church.

Ruined church

Abandoned church

 

Broken shutters creak in the breeze and paint peels from the walls. Ranger Kaelen knocks on the open door as the team enters. A layer of dust coats most surfaces, including rotten pews and a stone altar. Grey Elf Nuriel, a priest of Corellan Larethian, notices carvings of sea animals on pillars.

Suthern human Kamar is suspicious when he spots a pile of ragged clothing and beddings. Atlantean human Eldamir calls out, and Father Gwydion appears. The Saganim priest is sunburned and somewhat confused. He claims that he has been away for a few years, hence the neglected state of the temple.

Sly Sea Elf Puliarus gets behind Fr. Gwydion and casts Charm Person to get him to be more coherent and cooperative. The Cleric almost resists the storm Sorcerer, but his eyes betray compliance.

In return for some help cleaning and repairing the building, Fr. Gwydion agrees to give the maps, but he warns the visitors, as he did Cmdr. Maxwell, that “they lead to nothing but trouble.”

The men find brooms and begin cleaning. Nuriel casts Prestidigitation to wipe the altar and fix some rafters, and tall Barret happily clears cobwebs from the rafters. A cloud of dust obscures everyone’s vision, and Fr. Gwydion disappears for a moment, only to reappear with some scrolls in hand.

The as-yet-unnamed band looks at the faded parchments. One is an old map of Drunstimlos as it appeared decades ago, based on its smaller size. Another is of an uncharted island in the Sea of Nagendwa.

The third map is most curious: It shows a forest, a stream, a tower, and a large house on a hill and/or surrounded by a moat. Kamar wonders about the double doors on the building, as well as hills with an possible cave entrance that remind him of pyramids, ancient tombs far to the southwest.

There is a stylized wolf’s head on the right side, and an ornate, upside-down trident on the left, which Nuriel suspects is a compass indicating the bottom of the map as north. Kamar wonders if the maps are guides to hidden pirate treasure.

As the squad leaves Fr. Gwydion and the temple, Puliarus offers to compare the maps with others in town to see if he can learn more about their location….

I’m glad that we’re off to a strong start for our new campaign! Don’t forget to complete your Player Character (and backup) records and post them to Obsidian Portal or give me copies. I look forward to our adventures, as well as to Bruce’s cookout in June!

In the meantime, we also have the end of Dexter V.H.‘s D&D5e “Land of Lost Souls” and my D20/FATE “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” games, as well as the relaunch of Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Timesscenario! Stay in touch….

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Sessions 57, 58 — Astral raid and vanquishing Vappu Lahja

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Sessions 39.57 and 58, which Jason E.R. co-ran and Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on April 6 and 20, 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….

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 spring 2015:

  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, and sailor, with owl “Owlicious” and boyfriend “Capt. Niac”; NGl, Lvl. 12
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 12
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, diplomat, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 12
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer, shipwright, and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 12

Cameos, departed:

  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 10
  • Tempestade [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 10
  • Radius [Jason E.R.]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 9
  • Sir Torrel [Alex W.]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justice; LGn, Lvl. 7
  • Melchior Merryman [Byron V.O.]-male Saganim/Hifalendorin human Cleric of Ulandt, lady of rest/Defender of the Night, hunter of Undead; former member of the “Seekers of Lore”; NGl, Lvl. 8/3
  • Brendan Quinn [Brian W.]-male Saganim (proto-Celtic) human Rogue, explorer; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • “Brogar the Barbarian” [Brian S.]-male Skaevingol (Viking-style) human Barbarian, happy warrior; NGc, Lvl. 9
  • Tarwen Rinuendell [Dana S.]-female Avariel (winged Elf) Fighter, unflappable but secretive scout; LGn, Lvl. 12

A band of onetime circus performers had sought adventure on the northwestern Plains of Sathendo. They freed Goblin slaves, investigated intrigues in the Saganim human capital, and defended the port of Sileran from an attack by giants.

“Vistel’s Expedition” also sailed to the wondrous city of Falit and the Zarendo Islands, where it infiltrated a Temple of Elemental Evil. After journeying to the barbaric port of Gisar, the wanderers traveled through time and space to rescue Tempestade’s kin.

Back on the Plains of Sathendo, the command crew of the airship Zephyr confronted the mysterious Vappu Lahja in the occupied town of Kedetura. It neutralized several of her Centaur followers and magically imprisoned the pale sorceress.

After rescuing the founders of Vistel’s Circus from more Unseelie Fey, the groupTeleported but found itself not at the Zephyr, but in the Astral Plane! They joined some Githzerai in preparing to raid a floating Githyanki tower.

“23 May to 31 August 1227 B.C.E.:” Rek’elma explains that the Spelljammer  T’unarathi (“Dragon Rider”) is disguised as a Githyanki ship. The gray-skinned Githzerai says that he’ll be wrapped up as one of his hated foes, while most of his crew waits below decks to attack. The outlanders will have to take point, he says.

Giacomo casts Shield on himself as the T’unarathi approaches a spherical island with four towers and a docklike projection. Tarwen Teleports out uncontrollably and is replaced by Scully, who is initially confused.

Corwin demands time to recover his spells. The impetuous Bard then dons his hat of Disguise and casts Comprehend Languages and Displacement.

Elsa prays to patron deities Vulkan (Moradin) and Mekkil (Gaia) for guidance regarding how metaphysics works in the Outer Planes. The Druid then Wild Shapes into a mouse and jumps into one of Rhys’ pockets.

Rhys is excited to be on a Spelljammer, but the Tinker Gnome is worried when his Bag of Holding, which contained his automatons, is seemingly empty.

The T’unarathi floats next to two void cruisers. Four Githyanki, plus two more with red armor and strange pistols, watch the gangplanks behind Walls of Force. Corwin, disguised as a Githyanki, sings to Enthrall the guards.

The Half-Elf also asks about Vappu Lahja, for whom he claims he has a gift. Ranger Scully is intimidating in her true form, an albino Gnoll. Wizard Giacomo cackles happily with his homunculus familiar Gerald. Rhys hides, and Elsa casts Calm Emotions.

The red guards notify Capt. Perragroup, who was recently stationed at Sheldar and mentions something about a “mating run.” The gaunt Githyanki orders the sentries to take the newcomers to commander Vimhanock.

As they follow the Githyanki into the fortress, Corwin casts Web on two guards. Rhys holds his action, but Elsa helps create a diversion as a scurrying mouse. Giacomo casts Obscuring Mist. Scully quaffs a potion of Invisibility, and Rek’elma disembarks with 12 crewmates.

Hifalendorin human Giacomo casts Reverse Gravity, causing some of the Githyanki to float. Hill Dwarf Elsa Wild Shapes into a dire bear, and Rhys dodges plasma blasts from the pistols.

Saganim prince Corwin casts Wail of the Banshee, and Scully races down corridors looking for traces of Vappu Lahja. Rek’elma’s Githzerai engage the Githyanki guards in a running battle. Elsa is wounded in the crossfire.

Giacomo casts Ray of Enfeeblement on Capt. Perragroup, and Elsa casts Dominate Animal against a snarling Gith hound. Corwin’s Fireball incinerates the eight hounds, as the raiding party reaches the quarters of the void cruiser captains.

Scully uses Find the Path, while Giacomo casts Magic Missiles, killing the last Githyanki. Elsa drops Perragroup and mauls a guard. Rhys runs after Scully, and Corwin draws his sword and dagger.

They find a room with six exits and go down. A ball of coins floats at the center of a spherical chamber, and a large red dragon coils around it! She awakens, pinning Rhys to the wall and grabbing Invisible Scully with a clawed hand.

Meanwhile, Corwin grabs the following items from the Githyanki (to be divided later):

  • armor, splint
  • ring of Enlarge
  • ring of Protection, + 2
  • 2 shields, +1
  • 2 swords, long, +1, silvered

The Githzerai fight off Githyanki reinforcements while the Zephyr ’s away team looks for Scully and Rhys. The Gnome artificer tries to talk to the dragon, who pushes him out of her chamber. He then reports to his companions that Scully is held captive.

The wanderers warily approach Itolpakugon, who says in a smoky voice that her kind has an ancient pact with the Githyanki. Elsa claims to be a trader “cheated by Perragroup.” Giacomo readies a Contingency spell on winged Gerald.

The red dragon says that she wants freedom for her son, who is being used as a steed by Capt. Okemokik. In return for clearing the citadel of Githyanki, Itolpakugon will grant the group access to “the pale lady” (Vappu Lahja), who may be as much a prisoner of the Githyanki as a guest.

Itolpakugon teaches Corwin a song so that her son will recognize him as her ally. Scully is released, but she notices the scent of three dragons in total.

The group ascends to the officers’ quarters. Giacomo uses his robe of Blendingand casts Invisibility on Gerald. They sneak past the rooms of Gish (Wizards) Morkemo, Toroka, and Vlakith. In the last chamber, the group sees a statue of the Lich Queen on an altar.

Okemokik rests on cushions in another room, apparently spent after a “breeding session.” Itolpakugon’s son lies nearby. Elsa crawls to a corner of the room and tries to calm the dragon. Scully draws her bow and waits in the hallway with Rhys, who borrows a short sword and masterwork short bow.

Corwin sings Itolpakugon’s lullaby, but Okemokik jumps up and casts Magic Missile at the infiltrators. Giacomo sends Silenced Gerald into the room to limit the Githyanki’s spellcasting. Elsa’s Dimensional Anchor is unsuccessful.

Scully and Rhys fire at Okemokik but miss, and Corwin casts a Lightning Bolt at him. The enemy captain’s Touch of Corruption fails, and he jumps into a black tapestry! Corwin chases Okemokik through the magical portal.

Elsa binds wounds and manages to get the young dragon to go back to its mother, and the rest of the group follows Corwin. They find themselves in a throne room with a female Warlock, her honor guard, and a Shadow Knight, as well as Okemokik.

Thanks to his hat of Disguise, Corwin appears to be Mikanuck. The Bard joins the Githyanki in laughing at the injured Okemokik but refuses when the Shadow Knight orders him to kneel before the Warlock.

The Shadow Knight tries to strike Corwin, but his Armor of Retaliation reflects the blow. Corwin casts Wail of the Banshee, which kills four guards and the Warlock’s Mephit familiar, and the party wades back into battle.

Okemokik and the surviving guards miss, and the Warlock casts Lightning. Unfortunately, for Okemokik, he is fried when Corwin’s ring of Spell Battle redirects the bolt at him. Rhys jumps on a guard and pulls his former Bag of Holding over his head.

The Warlock casts Control Undead to direct her slain sentries and familiar, and Scully limits enemy spellcasting with Silenced arrows. Giacomo casts Magic Missile against the Warlock’s Shield and Ray of Enfeeblment against another guard.

Elsa Wild Shapes into bear form and charges. The Druid fights the resurrected Githyanki with a Positive Energy Burst and Invisibility to Undead. The Warlock Dispels the Silence from Scully’s arrows and casts Cone of Cold at Elsa.

Rhys suggests retreating, and Scully casts Heat Metal on the Shadow Knight’s armor. Giacomo manages to slay the Warlock with Mage Sword, and another Positive Energy Burst finishes the Shadow Knight.

Scully follows Vappu Lahja’s scent back past Itolpakugon and Akko’sutor. The voyagers prepare to fight the pale lady. Giacomo casts Silence on stealthy Rhys, who is also carrying a wand of Dispel Magic.

Corwin casts Eagle’s Splendor, Greater Heroism, and Displacement on himself, while ursine Elsa Enlarges herself. Giacomo also casts Mage Armor and Shield as scouts Scully and Rhys enter the room. They see another shrine to the Lich Queen and another tapestry. However, this one appears to be burned out.

Rhys and Corwin also find a concealed door. It leads to a narrow passage trapped with Teleport and Divide the Soul wards. The team backtracks to the throne room, where an undamaged tapestry could lead home.

Elsa and Rek’elma communicate via Message spells. The Githzerai says that he and his crew have what they came for and are leaving. Elsa wishes him good fortune, and Rek’elma responds with “Happy hunting!”

The travelers enter the tapestry and get a brief glimpse of a certain Pit Fiend who has been hunting them. They find themselves in tall wheat fields — apparently, spring has turned to summer back in the "Vanished Lands" while they were in the Astral Plane!

In the distance, Scully spots the walled town of Kedetura. The Zephyr is fighting a red dragon, no doubt Itolpakugon’s other child, who is being ridden by none other than Vappu Lahja.

Dragon vs. airship

Dragon vs. dirigible

Giacomo, Corwin, and Rhys Teleport to their airship. The Gnome engineer notices that the gas bag is filling with water, probably as a result of the Pale Lady’s spells. Scully and Elsa turn into horses and approach Kedetura. They are relieved to see that most of Vappu Lahja’s Unseelie followers are gone.

Rhys dumps his again-full Bag of Holdling at Vappu Lahja and her dragon steed, forcing them to make evasive maneuvers. Corwin tries to leap onto the dragon but misses. Fortunately, the acrobatic aristocrat manages to cast Web to swing back onto the Zephyr.

Giacomo wraps his Whip of Entangle around Vappu Lahja’s throat, pulling her out of the saddle. Elsa Wild Shapes into a falcon to fly up to the fight, just as the dragon breathes fire on Corwin and Giacomo.

Vappu Lahja manages to free herself from the Wizard’s whip, and she casts Fly to try to escape. Rhys uses his ring of Featherfall and dives after clockwork butler Vasco.

Corwin casts Ice Storm, and Giacomo casts Form of the Dragon so that his familiar Gerald is a match for the red dragon! Elsa climbs the dirigible and dumps Dust of Dryness into its gas bag to keep it from crashing.

The red dragon casts Summon Swarm, gathering wasps, and it claws at Gerald, who breathes fire at it. Vappu Lahja heads toward some woods outside of Kedetura. Rhys uses a wand of Silence on his clockwork dragon, which then flies after the sorceress.

The woman in white robes resists Giacomo’s Hold Person, and Elsa Summons Nature’s Ally, conjuring an air elemental she nicknames “Gusty.” Rhys watches as some of his automatons hit the ground, and he uses the wand of Dispel Magic on Vappu Lahja, forcing her to land.

Elsa uses a Positive Energy Burst to heal Giacomo, and Gusty uses a whirlwind to disperse the swarm that the dragon summoned. Vappu Lahja Heals herself and runs, but her former steed fumbles in its aerial attack on Gerald.

Elsa impales Vappu Lahja, who had incited racial hatred between Centaurs and other fey against human farmers, with javelins of Holy Ice. Corwin casts Storm Bolt, slaying the witch.

Giacomo restrains the red dragon with a Force Cage, and Corwin and Elsa help it return to its senses with the song from Itolpakugon. Gerald returns to homunculus form. After some discussion, a Plane Shift spell sends the dragon home to its mother.

The exhausted explorers are hailed as heroes by the Hifalendorin human residents of Kedetura. Wizard Giacomo plans to return with girlfriend “Dread” Maggie Oakleaf to Hesolin’s Magisterium (magic school/library).

Ranger Scully is happy to be reunited with Wolfen Paladin “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] aboard the Zephyr. Gnome engineer Rhys also decides to stay with “his” airship, and Elsa recommends using the city of Falit as the home base for her long-range communications network.

Corwin plans to track down his hated foe, the Tielfing mage Lord Dalek, and scheming half-brother, Prince Daven, in Undead-ruled Gisar with help from Melchior. The Bard then hopes to resume courting Princess Priscilla of Hifalendor.

The Zephyr sails off with its brave crew into the sunset….

Thanks again to guest Game Master Jason, and I hope that everybody enjoyed this D20/FATE campaign over the past two and a half years! I look forward to wrapping up the “New Dawntelecom team and continuing our adventures in the “Vanished Lands” with our first D&D5e parties!

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….

D&D5e "Land of Lost Souls" Session 8 — On the way to Vantal

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for Session 8 of our D&D5e game, which was held on Sunday, 22 March 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./absent]-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

The adventuring party delivered a long-lost grandson to Obould Many-Arrows, who gratefully held a feast in its honor. Maddie defeated a large guard drake in a trial by combat as her team persuaded the Orc king to withdraw his armies attacking human and Dwarven realms. However, some of the assembled warlords refused to cooperate, and the group fled south.

Cal asks Rowan about ruins of Vantal, where they are headed while waiting for owls from Thorbardin. The Skald tells the Paladin that the city was supposedly built by Ogres before most of them were cursed with barbarism.

Sam and Maddie scout ahead as the group hikes northwest through passes in the Khalkist Mountains before turning south. Santiddio watches spellcasters Redrik and Perogen, and Skilelo had left previously to warn the Dwarves of Thorbardin.

On the second day out of Bloten, the team notices a patrol of six Orcs and a Dark Elf. Sam guides the group to higher ground, while Maddie senses a pack of wargs on the trail. Cal asks Itchum for help, but the invisible faerie dragon is annoyed that he wasn’t called upon earlier in Orcish territory.

Uruk-hai

Orcs attack

 

Still, Itchum casts Hallucinatory Terrain so that his companions can hide and reverse the ambush. Three wargs approach, and Ranger Sam casts Hail of Thorns, injuring one. Wizard Perogen casts Chill Touch on the same canine, driving it away.

Cal hits another warg with a javelin and follows Maddie in closing to melee distance. Rowan also maneuvers to join the Barbarian. Cleric Redrik casts Scorching Ray on another beast, which howls.

Sam draws his long bow and drops the retreating wolf. Perogen’s Chill Touch kills a second one, and Maddie strikes the third with her great axe. Rowan hits with his long sword, and Redrik finishes the last one with another Scorching Ray.

Redrik, Maddie, and Perogen drag the carcasses off the path. Once the rest of the patrol gets within 100 feet, they spring out to attack. Two of the larger Orcs attack Maddie and Rowan.

Orc and Goblin

Humanoids

 

The other humanoids disbelieve Itchum’s Hallucinatory Terrain. Tired of such skirmishes, Maddie rages and charges at the female Drow, who tries to taunt her. The Dark Elf casts Faerie Fire on the shapeshifter and draws a hand crossbow.

Rowan casts Heroism on himself and Maddie, as Cal casts Wrathful Smite. Redrik casts Silence on Maddie to prevent the Drow from using spells. Perogen continues the focused attacks on the enemy leader with Chill Touch.

Sam casts Hunter’s Mark on the Drow, and four Orcs close in on white-robed Perogen, who hits them with Magic Missiles. The two larger Orcs try to step out of the area of Silence to cast Spiritual Weapon, but they are hit by Cal, Maddie, and Rowan.

Mighty Maddie swings with her great axe, but the Dark Elf evades with her innate Darkness ability and draws two poisoned short swords. Sly Half-Elf Rowan still finds his foe with his long sword, as does Sylvan Elf Cal.

Hill Dwarf Redrik invokes patron deity Paladine with Divine Radiance, dispelling the Darkness and burning the Orcs’ eyes. Perogen verifies that Silvari, the white moon of his patron, is in ascension. The human then successfully casts Sleep on four Orcs.

Sam hits the Drow with arrows and a successful Ensnaring Strike.She wriggles and touches a clan amulet, Teleporting away. Rowan tells the remaining Orcs that they can leave or die.

The Orcs are surprised at the Bard’s mention of King Obould and agree to depart. They say that the Dark Elves came from the south a few months ago and “promised a return to the old ways.” The nefarious Drow are growing in number, worrying Cal.

In addition, the Orcs offer some maps in exchange for their freedom. One parchment describes the top level of Vantal. Redrik and Rowan heal injured party members as they prepare to resume their march to the ruins….

Bruce, we missed you last Sunday night, although it was good to see you at Drew’s for your fun Dread: Beneath a Metal Sky one-shot! I also look forward to Jason’s “Channel 37” miniseries next Monday and returning to our “Vanished Landsgame.

In the meantime, remember to update our “Land of Lost Souls” characters to Level 4. Be seeing you….