Category Archives: Games

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Session 39.37 — Hidden doors and dracosaurs

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.37, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 14 April 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.

Various groups of mercenaries and diplomats have fought humanoids in the northwestern borderlands, encountered pirates on the Sea of Nagendwa, and wandered the hostile Halmed Desert and the wide Plains of Sathendo….

“Vistel’s Circus,” Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s " Vanished Lands " heroic fantasy campaign, using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of spring 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, embittered by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 8
  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 8
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 8
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 8
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with Banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 8
  • Tempestade [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 8
  • Radius [Jason E.R./departed]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 5
  • Sir Torrel [Alex W./departed]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justice; LGn, Lvl. 7

“1 to 2 March 1227 B.C.E.:” The infiltrators continued exploring the tunnels of Mt. Tilefa on Salhonif Island. They chatted with Gargoyles and Troglodytes, evaded traps and Ogres, and fought a librarian/sorceress. They also defeated flesh golems before resting, deep in a Temple of Elemental Evil.

The adventuring party recuperates from recent skirmishes in a dark vestibule. One passage has doglike figurines on pedastals and Walls of Force, another leads to a hexagonal chamber with a black orb, and the last leads back through a purple-carpeted passage with statues in alcoves.

Giacomo manifests a third eye to peer around, and Hamfast looks at three levers behind a curtain on one wall. Scully looks for illusions with the Lens of True Sight, while Tempestade keeps watch. Corwin dismisses Herme, the Girallon (four-armed gorilla) he had charmed, and searches for traps. Elsa also tries to decipher the switches.

Despite his companions’ warnings, Hamfast pulls on the left lever. A stone column rises out of the floor near the door to the hexagonal room. The middle switch raises a second column next to the door. The Zeda human resets the first two levers and pulls just the third, and a horn sounds.

As Gnoll Scully predicts, when the three levers are pulled from left to right, a portal appears between them, obscuring the unholy shrine with the dark cyst. Giacomo and Corwin step through first and are attacked by three Wights.

Half-Elf Corwin casts Fireball, damaging the Undead, but he is weakened by their chill touch. Hill Dwarf Elsa Wild Shapes into a bird of prey, and Hifalendorin human Giacomo destroys all three Wights with Magic Missiles.

Elsa flies up with a rope, and the group climbs out of a volcanic crater. Unfortunately, two huge reptiles are waiting for them — strange crossbreeds of dinosaurs (found in Salhonif Isle’s jungles) and black dragons!

Dragon-dinosaur crossbreed

Dracosaur

One dracosaur breathes acid, burning Hamfast and Scully. Tempestade uses hisRing of Jumping and Boots of Spider Climb to get on the monster’s back. Pious Elsa invokes goddess Mekkil (Gaia) for a Healing Burst to aid her companions.

Giacomo shields the team with a Wall of Force, and Corwin’s Disintegrate injures one of the creatures. Scully uses the Lens of True Sight to discern that the larger dracosaur is more like a dragon and the other is less intelligent. Hamfast swings his maul at the leg of the winged beast.

The dinodrag grabs Hamfast in its mouth! The Fighter narrowly avoids being swallowed whole by keeping the haft of his hammer in its jaws. The dracosaur with Tempestade on its back yells at the martial artist and claws at Scully.

Tempestade chokes the creature with his chain, and Druid Elsa Wild Shapes into an elephant. Wizard Giacomo casts Ray of Enfeeblement on the reptile holding Hamfast, slowing it. Bard Corwin defensively casts Mirror Image, creating four duplicates of himself.

Ranger Scully looses a volley of arrows, and Hamfast pulls himself clear of the toothy maw and backs up with a spear. The dracosaur strikes Corwin’s duplicates, as the dinodrag swings at Elsa. Tempestade continues choking the latter lizard and jumps clear when elephantine Elsa charges and knocks it down.

Giacomo successfully casts Paralysis on the dinodrag and Magic Missile on the dracosaur. Corwin hits with his sword and dagger. Scully shoots more arrows, and Elsa tramples her foe. Hamfast cooly finishes off the two creatures and claims some teeth.

Gerald, Giacomo’s homunculus familiar, removes the dead dinosaurs’ eyes, and Scully takes some hides. She and Sir Torrel attend to the wounded. Elsa spots a concealed door, and Corwin finds a polished stone set in brass like a knob on the opposite wall.

Corwin puts the knob on the door. The Saganim prince barely dodges a spike trap. A man wearing a horned helmet and a loose robe floats toward the spelunkers. He says that they will soon serve his master, the Pit Fiend Schm*ckF*ck, or realize their worst nightmares.

Before the cultist can cast any deadly spells, Elsa restrains him with Hold Person. Corwin ties a rope around the hovering man and pulls him down. Hamfast, Scully, and Tempestade help disarm Tychon Doomdreamer, and Giacomo tries to blind him with Color Spray.

Further interrogation reveals that Tychon is insane and homicidal, and Corwin dispatches him. The devil worshipper’s possessions include a censor and three balls of odiferious incense, a potion of Haste (given to nimble Tempestade), and enchanted full plate (+2, claimed by mighty Hamfast).

Cautious Giacomo puts 30 crowns (gold pieces) in the party pool, and Elsa studies an unholy symbol of a crescent moon or horns with a bloody spike. Perceptive Scully notes that the party still needs to find the contract binding Lady Shadira, an Efreeti trapped in Shambling Mound form.

Tempestade had promised to help free the devil’s slave as part of his quest to return his distant homeland via a magical obelisk in the barbaric port of Gisar. Corwin turns the knob to the left, and the door opens into a well-furnished room, probably Tychon’s quarters.

Giacomo ignores the tattoo of “Mad Mage” Ezra on his back and claims the bed for a nap. The others search a dresser and chest. They find 450 crowns, an ornate bracelet worth 240 g.p., and a potion of Darkvision. Corwin uses a wand of Dispel Magic to circumvent wards on a case containing scrolls of Commune, Heroes’ Feast, and Raise Dead.

Under a false bottom in one drawer, Scully finds the insane Cleric’s journal and a partial map of the volcanic warrens. Hamfast recommends resting in the room, which is hidden and defensible.

The spellcasters recommend trying to turn the knob the other way and find a passage leading to other parts of the Temple of Elemental Evil….

Alex, we miss “Sir Torrel,” but we wish you luck with work and your Saturday group! While I won’t be running the “Vanished LandsA New Dawn” telecom game this coming Sunday, April 20, I look forward to seeing some of you next Monday night.

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.17 — Dinner and new dangers

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.17, which was held on Sunday, 13 April 2014:

Long ago in a distant land, spirits and men directly traded bamboo, silk, and steel. Wars to the west, twisted monsters, and power-hungry sorcerers threatened the eastern kingdoms, so the call went out for new heroes of honor and tact….

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rulesSkype, and anonline dice roller, as of spring 2014:

  • 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; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 5
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 5
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • 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 Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 5

“24 to 26 April 1227 B.C.E.:” In Sogewa, capital of Tong Sheng, Jung-Mo found a fellow Nannuattan in disguise, Ember received a moonlight canal tour from a young Samurai, and Saigo and Sonny visited geisha in Sogewa’s House of the Red Lotus. Toshi and Soske’ continued their studies.

Jung-Mo keeps a low profile in his guise as a merchant and watches for Tsuji Eizo, who is actually Nannuattan Ninja Park Chulsoon. Jung-Mo conceals his true identity and allegiances from both his traveling companions and his former compatriots.

At Kensai Sonny’s suggestion, Lady Yun Aei-Yong asks to meet with the leaders of several clans in the city. The Gokuri emissary receives replies from Isamu Yasuki of the Crab Clan and Lady Rekai of the Daidoji house in the Crane Clan, a rival to his own in the Lion Clan.

Wu-Jen Toshi and Samurai Saigo receive letters from home thanks to Saionji Yoshio, ambassador of the Zedu kingdom. Toshi learns from mentor Kida Kaiu that Bisan (Dryad) Suki misses him and that the Korobokuru (eastern Dwarves) are unwilling to stand down until they receive confirmation of a truce between Gokuri, Tong Sheng, and the Zeda kingdom.

Saigo reads a note from Nayoko, who says that she eagerly awaits his return and that she has not heard from her brother, Prince Mutsuhito, who was sent to Gisokuri. The Bamboo Spirit Folk also wishes her beloved success in his quest for his missing grandfather, Gen. Shinso Saigo.

Toshi and Saigo quickly compose replies and try to reassure their distant friends that they are safe and have made progress in their inquiries. Wu Ember joins Sonny and Lady Yun in visiting various aristocrats and watches for Kamachi Yoshiro, a Lion Clan Samurai who courted her.

Shukenja Soske’ isn’t happy to see his fellow diplomatic escorts at a family feast in his honor. Yao-Ren Hu, a Wu Jen in the court, had recognized his cousin and brings him to his parents’ home. Yao-Ren Shen, a Shukenja of the Phoenix Clan, invokes the Way of Harmony to bless the meal.

Fire benders

Phoenix Clan members

Hu’s mother, Yao-Ren Min, plies the guests with piles of home-cooked food. Shengtese human Sonny happily accepts all of the delicacies and enjoys listening to multiple conversations.

In his guise as a tradesman, Jung-Mo talks with craftsman Takumi Tiatoshe and Deng Wen Zhe, a Dragon Clan colleague of Hu. Takumi’s wife Ayumu chases their young daughter Natsuko around, entertaining the adults.

Shan Sao Toshi helps run interference for Soske’ by talking with curious kinsman Hu and his younger brother Yao-Ren Katsu, a student at the Isawa School who aspires to be a Sohei (Templar) of the Path of Order, against his pacifist father’s wishes.

Hengeyokai Ember and Spirit Folk Saigo talk with Shi Shu Kang, a Nekojin Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (feline shifter Ranger), about their travels. She is interested in the terrain and hazards they encountered on their way to Sogewa from the northwest.

Modest Soske’ hands nosy Hu scrolls recounting his adventures. He provides many details of the war-torn borderlands, as family members tells his friends about how they didn’t expect the wandering priest to amount to much, despite his prophesied destiny.

Jung-Mo is alarmed when Takumi mentions getting an order for unusual arrowheads. He suspects a possible assassination plot, but Soske’ reminds the visitors to keep their conversations away from violent matters.

Observant Sonny notices that lamps and candles flare up as toddler Natsuko passes. Soske’ later explains that such talent is not uncommon in the Phoenix Clan.

Toshi asks his fellow spellcasters about the Temple of Elemental Evil on Mt. Gruldar, which the Nannuattan seized control of about five years ago. The assembled Wu Jen and Shukenja agree that elemental magic is not inherently evil, but such sites can be turned to evil.

Soske’ and Saigo are surprised when Shen is briefly called away from the dinner by a messenger from Silado Palace. Apparently, Zu Ji, crown prince of the Middle Kingdom (Shang China), has arrived. Imperial assemblies are expected in the next few days.

Sonny and company thank Shen and Min for their hospitality and are happy to get some leftovers. Jung-Mo awkwardly presents Ember with a golden vase with dragon decorations. He is jealous of Kamachi, and she suspects that he is aware of her true nature.

The next day, part of the group goes with Lady Yun as she begins meeting with five noble houses. Ember, Sonny, and Jung-Mo take the carriage with Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum-Ja.

Toshi gets an invitation to meet with the Tiger Clan, which is similar to his own, and goes with Saigo back to the palace. Soske’ goes to the temple of Our Fathers’ Steps.

Lady Yun first visits Lady Liao Qianru of the Dragon Clan. As the two women politely talk about arcane matters, Ember is drawn into their verbal sparring match. In crane form, Ember had flown past the manor one night, only to be spotted by a dragon.

The Druid wants to know whether the dragon is chromatic or metallic, but she realizes that Lady Liao is somehow aware of her true nature as an exile of the Celestial Court. Sonny senses Ember’s discomfort and discreetly calls the meeting to an end.

Toshi looks in imperial records to see if there have been any assassinations at the highest levels of the Shang Dynasty. He learns that the empire has been stable for at least a century. Toshi then goes to the Happy Market, where he commissions crystal spheres for 400 tael (200 gold pieces) to send to Suki.

Saigo talks with palace guide Li Keng and retired Gen. Wang Tung, who once fought alongside his missing grandfather. They say that Zu Ji arrived with only 20 men instead of 2,000, as might be expected of a crown prince. Silado Palace has had to divert staff and a wing to accommodate Zu Ji.

Soske’ talks with Kiyoshi Takahashi, a priest referred to him by Brother Yang at the Way of Harmony monastery. The older Cleric listens to Soske’s tale of spreading chaos and says he will consult the ancestral spirits for guidance.

Lady Yun makes plans with Jung-Mo, Sonny, Ember, and Oh Kum-Ja to visit leaders of the Crab, Crane, Lion, and Phoenix clans before paying her respects to Prince Zu Ji. Each person has particular interest in different clans, and Jung-Mo hopes to track down the unusual arrows before any assassination.

Toshi also meets with Peng Arong, a Phoenix Clan earth bender referred to him by Yao-Ren Hu. The elementalist initially gives the air mage a hostile reception, hurling pebbles at him. Fortunately, Toshi proves himself by easily deflecting them. He presents Peng with jade from his school and asks about magic at Mt. Gruldar.

Saigo goes to the wing of the palace occupied by the prince and his men but is turned away by guards whose livery he can’t identify. Li Keng tells him that the heraldry is not that of the palace or the imperial family, but Zu Ji and Duke Kou Fei Seng are in a military council.

Kiyoshi tells Soske’ that his observations of emerging chaos are correct and more than result of an ending war. The Shukenja learns that his destiny will involve preventing greater suffering. Kiyoshi also says that he had a vision of an axe that would change the course of history….

It was good to see everyone online last night, and remember to stay in touch between now and our next virtual session, scheduled for Sunday, May 4.

In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at tonight’s “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” face-to-face game and at Jason E.R.’s final “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” (for now)…. 

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.16 — "He may be a Samurai, but he moves like a Ninja"

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.16, which was held on Sunday, 6 April 2014:

Long ago in a distant land, spirits and men directly traded bamboo, silk, and steel. Wars to the west, twisted monsters, and power-hungry sorcerers threatened the eastern kingdoms, so the call went out for new heroes of honor and tact….

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rulesSkype, and anonline dice roller, as of spring 2014:

  • 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; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 5
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 5
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • 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 Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 5

“23 April 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers visited Sogewa’s gardens and temples, talked with aristocrats and criminals, and sparred with fellow warriors. They also learned of an impending royal visit, border unrest, and clan rivalries.

Jung-Mo goes to a bar in a disreputable district of the city. The “River Spirit Folk merchant” buys a round of drinks for Tsuji Eizo, who appears to be a Shengtese human Yakuza. Jung-Mo makes small talk and covertly signals Eizo in Undercommon. The Rogue responds that they should meet in private.

After flying past the manor of Lady Liao Qianru and seeing a dragon, Ember flies back to Silado Palace, where she and the other escorts of Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong are staying. Waiting for her is Kamachi Yushiro, a young Samurai from the Lion Clan. The Shengtese human explains to the Crane Hengeyokai that he hopes to serve their mission.

Saigo and Sonny visit the House of the Red Lotus, a large and hospitable building surrounded by blooming trees and burbling fountains. A young woman nicknamed “Dogwood Blossom” greets the Bamboo Spirit Folk and Shengtese human and asks what entertainments they wish to receive.

Meanwhile, Toshi continues his arcane research and studies records in Tong Sheng’s archives regarding the sorcerers of Gokuri. Soske’ visits local temples and reluctantly prepares for a dinner with members of his extended family.

Jung-Mo walks across the capital with Eizo, who confirms that he is Park Chulsoon, a fellow Nannuattan from Gokuri. Park asks about Jung-Mo’s orders and commander, but the exiled Dark Elf says he doesn’t need to know that information.

Wu Ember casts Force Shapechange, but the confused Samurai is as he appears. Kamachi accepts her explanation that it was a test and invites Ember on a moonlight tour of Sogewa’s canals.

Handsome Kamachi shows Ember the capital’s many neighborhoods as they cruise waterways lit by paper lanterns. The Happy Market is relatively quiet, but floating food vendors and musicians offer their wares.

Lion Clan Samurai

Ember's suitor Kamachi Yushiro

At the House of the Red Lotus, Dogwood Blossom introduces geisha Ryon Kyng-Hwa. They serve Sonny and Saigo tea and snacks and play music on a harp and flute. Samurai Saigo pays 24 tael (12 gold pieces) — twice the asking price — for extra women for himself and Kensai Sonny for the night.

Sonny notices another woman talking to a man in red armor of the Crab Clan. He later recalls encountering Orc Samurai from that clan tracking human deserters on the eastern Plains of Sathendo.

Eizo/Park and Jung-Mo also go to the House of the Red Lotus to converse more discreetly. Neither Nannuattan wants to reveal too much, but they agree to stay in touch in case Gokuri’s matrons have espionage tasks for them.

Jung-Mo returns to the palace, just in time to see Kamachi and Ember disembark from their canal cruise. The knight gives the Druid a white rose, and she embraces him and kisses him, surprising both Kamachi and Jung-Mo!

Ember retires for the evening, but a distraught Jung-Mo stealthily follows Kamachi back to the Lion Clan compound. The infiltrator slips away before guards can spot him. Jung-Mo steals a gold vase from a merchant shop, and breakfast with the entire group the next morning is awkward….

Byron and Geoff, we missed you at this past weekend’s virtual session, and Dexter, I’m sorry that you had to deal with travel and connectivity challenges. Note that we’ll be meeting next Sunday, April 13, but probably not the next two weekends after that.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing some of you at Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario tonight or at our next “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” game.

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Session 39.36 — "Infernal and fabulous"

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished LandsVistel’s Circus” Session 39.36, which Rich C.G. hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 31 March 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.

Various groups of mercenaries and diplomats have fought humanoids in the northwestern borderlands, encountered pirates on the Sea of Nagendwa, and wandered the hostile Halmed Desert and the wide Plains of Sathendo….

“Vistel’s Expedition,” Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s " Vanished Lands" heroic fantasy campaign, using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, as of spring 2014:

  • Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, embittered by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 8
  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 8
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 8
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 8
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with Banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 8
  • Tempestade [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 8
  • Sir Torrel [Alex W.]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justice; LGn, Lvl. 8
  • Radius [Jason E.R./departed]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 8

“28 February 1227 B.C.E.:” In the Zarendo Islands, “Vistel’s Expedition” met with Queen Zapanga, who agreed to help them get into the Temple of Elemental Evil near the city-state of Selifa. The adventurers hope to retrieve a tablet binding the Efreeti Lady Shadira to Shambling Mound form.

After befriending a Girallon (four-armed gorilla), dealing with a green slime and an underground river, and sneaking through an evil shrine, the infiltrators climbed a large spiral staircaseThey passed a few levels inside the volcanic Mt. Tilefa, including an “arboreteum,” a “nursery,” and a “spa.” Two gargoyles directed them toward a library.

Elsa and the Girallon, nicknamed “Herme,” take the lead, followed by Hamfast and Sir Torrel. Giacomo and Tempestade stick toward the middle of the marching order, and Scully and Corwin bring up the rear.

The team finds a hallway with eight doors. Mage Giacomo uses Wizard Sense to see through each of them. The first leads to a guard post with gambling Ogres, and the second chamber is a storeroom. Monk Tempestade and Bard Corwin help check out the latter, which they find full of foodstuffs.

Through the third door, which has a demonic face carving, Giacomo sees a pit with an Illithid (Mind Flayer) at its bottom. The fourth door is made of glass, and the Shrine of Dark Communion contains a floating black sphere. The fifth door is made of corroded copper and leads to a chamber full of water.

The sixth door revolves and leads to a well-furnished room. Its beds are well-stuffed, and there are black clothes in the dressers. Two serpent folk lie coiled in the seventh cell, and the final door leads to a library.

Scully, Elsa, Hamfast, Sir Torrel, and Herme wait on the landing while their companions sneak down the hallway. Two Troglodytes, one of whom is wearing a giant millipede as a boa, stop to chat with Gnoll Elsa about fashion.

The Ranger surreptitiously uses the Lens of True Sight to perceive that the reptile kin are actually a Wakyambi (jungle Elf) and a Draconian whom the Pit Fiend ruling much of Salhonif Island has transformed.

In the storeroom, Giacomo Detects Magic inside a dragon-necked bottle. Tempestade and Corwin debate whether to take any more supplies but decide against it. They bypass the other doors, and the rest of Vistel’s Expedition catches up.

Corwin opens the door and barely jumps back in time to avoid a trapdoor. Rusty spikes await 30 feet below, and the Half-Elf disables the trap and begins searching for others. The library’s shelves are lined with books, and the group searches for Lady Shadira’s contract.

Humans Giacomo and Tempestade grab a tome on time travel, which could help the latter get home to Brazil. Scully studies notes on taxidermy, and Druid Elsa sees books on history but no tablet. Another door leads to a study with a comely Half-Elf librarian.

Prince Corwin introduces himself, much to Giacomo’s chagrin, and Naquent has heard of the Saganim exile. Corwin starts babbling even more than usual, and his companions realize that the librarian has afflicted him with some sort of madness.

Elsa steps forward with her mace “Grimtooth,” and Scully draws her long bow. Giacomo brings Corwin back to his senses with Dispel Magic, and Tempestade punches Naquent. The Sorceress summons three Xorn, rocky-skinned creatures with three arms. The rest of the expedition is back in the library.

Hill Dwarf Elsa Wild Shapes into a bear and presses her attacks, as Herme engages the Xorn. Scully casts Dispel Magic when Naquent tries to escape in Ethereal Form. Giacomo lobs Magic Missiles, and Tempestade kicks the librarian.

Giacomo is briefly affected by the Half-Elf’s Unholy Blight, and Corwin creates a Dimension Door to pursue her into another passage. Elsa rakes Naquent with her claws, and while Scully’s Silence spell isn’t effective, she is able to cast Remove Curse on Giacomo.

Corwin casts Web to slow the Xorn and finishes off the librarian with a Lightning Bolt. Giacomo casts Invisibility on the corpse, while Corwin takes his Hat of Disguise back from Sir Torrel. With Recall Words, he impersonates Naquent to dismiss some Ogre guards. Scully, Tempestade, Elsa, and the others hide in the hallway.

Once the Ogres leave, they search the Sorceress and study. Giacomo claims aRing of Armor (+2) and a scroll of Invisibility Purge. Scully takes a potion of Flight, and Corwin grabs a wand of Dispel Magic (Lvl. 10, 5 charges). Elsa takes a scroll of Summon Monster V.

From the next passage, the spelunkers enter a dark vestibule, where magical murk obscures their vision. Three flesh golems attack, reminding the would-be heroes of a previous encounter at the Fenor homestead near the village of Tensar.

Druid Elsa reads the scroll, summoning three Fire Elementals. Monk Tempestade punches one gray-skinned golem, which feels no pain. Bard Corwin maneuvers to cast Fireball, which singes one golem but also knocks out unlucky Tempestade.

Wizard Giacomo fires Magic Missiles, destroying the most damaged golem, and Ranger Scully looses arrows. The golems hit Giacomo and Corwin. Fighter Hamfast drags Tempestade to safety, while Paladin Sir Torrel watches for reinforcements.

Classic D&D art by the late Dave Trampier

Flesh golem attacks

Wise Elsa invokes Gaia (Mekkil) and Moradin (Vulkan) to channel a Positive Energy Burst, healing Tempestade. Corwin flashily slashes with a sword and dagger. Eccentric Giacomo hugs Sir Torrel in a “death cuddle,” an attempt to keep his self-control vs. the tattoo of “Mad Mage” Ezra on his back.

Four-armed Herme rends one construct limb from limb, and Giacomo finishes the last golem with another Magic Missile. The fire Elementals are about to turn on the adventuring party when Elsa dismisses them. Corwin uses the wand ofDispel Magic to negate the Darkness in the vault.

Three horns sit on sliders behind a purple curtain on one wall. Tempestade deduces that they activate traps or alarms, and the group decides to leave them alone.

Giacomo recommends resting before continuing any exploration of Mt. Tilefa. He uses Wizard Sense to peer through the two doors in addition to the one they entered. One leads to a hallway with Walls of Force and devil statues.

The other doorway leads to a hexagonal shrine with dog-like statues covered in frost. Elsa conducts a Hallow ritual to remove the unholy aspect of the room, and the expedition sets watch and prepares to catch some sleep….

Remember to note any treasure on your updated Obsidian Portal records. I look forward to continuing our “Vistel’s Expedition” and “A New Dawn” campaigns in the “Vanished Lands,” especially as both parties reach mid- to high levels!

In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at Brian W.‘s place next Monday for Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario. Bruce, remind us to roll up basic character stats for your upcoming “Pathfinder: Eberron” fantasy game.

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.15 — Parks and recreation

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.15, which was held on Sunday, 31 March 2014:

Long ago in a distant land, spirits and men directly traded bamboo, silk, and steel. Wars to the west, twisted monsters, and power-hungry sorcerers threatened the eastern kingdoms, so the call went out for new heroes of honor and tact….

Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rulesSkype, and an online dice roller, as of spring 2014:

  • 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; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 5
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 5
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 5
  • 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 Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 5

“22 to 23 April 1227 B.C.E.:” The retinue of Lady Yun Aei-Yong was unable to track the man who had spotted the Nannuattan emissary, so it departed from the town of Kuan Chou. The group traveled via canals to the magnificent city of Sogewa, where it met Duke Kou Fei Seng.

After its audience, the adventuring party splits up to explore the provincial capital of Tong Sheng. Jung-Mo slips away to the docks, where he recognizes members of the local Yakuza and Tong by their tattoos.

Sonny tarries at Silado Palace to check official records regarding the Daidoji house, which is part of the Crane Clan and a rival to his own in the Lion Clan. Toshi learns that Col. Zhan-Shi Hu Ho, who is occupying Kai Sou Xian Haknam (“the tower of Master Haknam”) near the village of Chin Mok, is not a member of the Crane Clan, which once ran that outpost.

Ember is reminded of home when she sees dragon statues at the temple of Shang-ti, lord of the heavens. Soske’ asks sisters Bai Le Qing and Dao Lei Qing for an introduction to the Dragon Clan so he can return gold recovered from accursed thief Ba Lang Liangde near the “Sandy Corner” tavern on the Balef River.

Jung-Mo decides to be more discreet in his underworld inquiries. The Spirit Folk Yakuza goes to a tea house by the docks in Sogewa’s outermost ring of canals. He hopes to find agents of the nefarious kingdom of Gokuri.

Capital of the Principality of Silado

The city of Sogewa

Meanwhile, Sonny suggests to Lady Yun that she visit the homes of various aristocrats to build goodwill for her diplomatic mission. The Shengtese human Kensai hopes to overhear some gossip.

Toshi goes to some of the local Magisteria (magic schools/libraries) for weather spells and visits the temple of Ano Wasu, the lord of storms. The Shan Sao Wu Jen also pays his respects to Ami Koshi, goddess of nature, and Tsu Komi, lord of craft and the moon.

Ember and Soske’ learn that Zu Ji, the heir apparent of Emperor Zi Zhao in distant Yin [capital of Shang China], is expected to visit Sogewa soon. Hengeyokai Wu Ember wonders if the prince is an immortal.

Saigo meets with Gen. Wang Tung, who once fought alongside his grandfather Shinso against Yamen-ren (Barbarians) and Mahotsukai (Sorcerers) from the red wastes far to the northeast. The aged general recommends the oracles of Yen Yuang, the slumbering god, to the young Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai.

Sonny goes to the Garden of Flashing Blades to practice, and Toshi collects leaves on which to write letters to his beloved Bisan (Dryad), Suki. Jung-Mo tries to avoid being noticed.

Ember and Soske’ pass lovely topiary gardens on their way to the manor of Lady Liao Qianru, an elder in the Dragon Clan. Ember recognizes a glint in the woman’s eye as she accepts the gold, but Lady Liao is grateful for the restoration of honor.

At the temple of Yen Yuang, Saigo meets a woman in a room whose walls are covered in symbols. The oracle releases a glowing stone, which orbits around Saigo’s head. The knight has a vision of his grandfather alive but on his knees before a frighteningly armored warrior somewhere in the mountains.

Ember and Soske’ stop for lunch in the bustling Happy Market before going to the quiet monastery of the Way of Harmony. Ember tries to restore her center by meditating, while Shengtese Shukenja Soske’ reports on the number of monsters and Undead they’ve encountered in their travels.

Brother Yang says that the principality is beset from all sides because its leaders aren’t setting a strong enough example of the pursuit of perfection in body and mind. Soske’ mostly agrees and is directed to Kiyoshi Takahashi, a priest of the ancestor worshippers at Our Fathers’ Steps.

At the Garden of Flashing Blades, Sonny finds flagstones arrayed in rings as martial artists take turns sparring. Saigo joins him. Jung-Mo and Toshi continue their research and plan to meet later at Yang Ying’s Mushroom House and the Sparkling Alchemists.

Tian Sambu [Byron/Non-Player Character], a young Bushi of the Crane Clan, challenges Saigo. They trade blows with bo kens (wooden swords), and the Samurai makes quick work of the warrior.

Aggressive and muscular Modaru [Geoff/N.P.C.] strikes Saigo with the butt of his naginata (halberd), but Saigo manages to prevail. They shake hands and take a break as chain master Sonny steps into the ring.

He is challenged by Li Jun [Byron/N.P.C.], a cocky Scorpion Clan Yakuza with two katars (punching daggers). Li Jun gets in some body shots, even though Sonny entangles one hand and a short sword with his chain. After a head butt, bruised Sonny yields.

The wanderers reunite for a dinner with Soske’s nosy family…. Sometime later, Ember sneaks out of the royal precincts to reconnoiter the home of Lady Yiao. The Druid shifts into crane form and flies toward the manor.

However, she is spotted by a large dragon coiled around wide pillars! Ember turns and hurriedly flies back to the palace. Saigo and Sonny go to the House of the Red Lotus in the theater district to lick their wounds….

I’m glad that we were able to level up your P.C.s quickly, and remember to also update your records for “Vistel’s Expedition,” “Holy Steel,” and the “Star Trek: Restorationcrew!

I look forward to seeing some of you at tonight’s face-to-face game, and let me know if you have any questions or ideas for Sogewa. Later, -Gene