Tag Archives: legends of anglerre

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Session 39.44 — "Ride the lightning"

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.44, which Jason E.R. hosted in Reading, Mass., on Monday, 4 August 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 D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Pathfinder, and FATE3e Legends of Anglerre, as of summer 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. 9
  • Scully Strongbow [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 9
  • Tempestade [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 9
  • Elsa Fairbottom [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with Banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 9
  • Rhys Davies [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer; TNg, Lvl. 9
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K./absent]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 9

Guests:

  • Radius [Jason E.R.]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 5
  • 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

(See previous notes for “Hamfast” [Brian W.], “Melchior” [Byron V.O.], and “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.].)

“15 to 16 March 1884 A.D./C.E.:” The sometime circus performers had journeyed thousands of years to help Tempestade rescue fellow slaves from Pais Doce, his former plantation in Brazil. They met a priest and an imp and put on a magically enchanced show. The group also fought vampires and an Outsider while trying to avoid alerting mechanized guards….

Giacomo points out that the adventurers need to regroup before helping any of the human slaves escape. Scully returns from her fight with an assassin, and Tempestade leads the way to the workers’ huts.

Elsa wants to explore the manor’s cellar and possible tunnels for more Undead, but fleeing house servants have raised an alarm. Rhys is happy to have collected some clockwork, and Corwin translates and guards the rear.

Meanwhile, Radius senses another disturbance in the Multiverse. He stops by the kingdom of Saganim to pick up reinforcements to help his onetime traveling companions. Brendan and Brogar readily agree to join the good fight.

The trio travels through time and space aboard Radius’ chariot, Vector, drawn by his steed, Tangent. Upon arriving in a 19th century Brazil, the would-be heroes cross sugar fields and meet their first automaton.

Radius quickly introduces old and new friends. Rhys mistakes the Modron for an Atlantean, but Scully and Elsa realize that Brendan is a fellow member of the Royal Society for Cartography in Thadenis.

Rage against the machines
“Vistel’s Expedition” finds two overseer mechas and six automatons guarding the slave quarters. Brogar draws his great sword and charges. The ragingBarbarian badly damages one of the larger contraptions.

Ranger Scully fires arrows to support Brogar, and Druid Elsa casts Heat Metal , affecting five of the six drones! Wizard Giacomo, whose spells are spent, circles around. Martial artist Tempestade jumps onto the second overseer walker and cracks open its cockpit.

Rogue Brendan joins Tempestade but gets hit by bullets from an automaton. Artificer Rhys pulls out a wrench and gets to work on one of the metal walkers. Paladin Radius charges up the middle, destroying a drone with his flaming sword.

The slaves emerge from their huts but hang back and watch the battle. Bard Corwin magically explains that his group has come to free them. The driver of one overseer breaks out of Tempestade’s choke hold, but he gets thrown out of his vehicle.

Brogar and Radius lay waste to the remaining drones, and Scully finishes off one overseer. Elsa Wild Shapes into a dire bear and opens a path for the freed plantation workers. Corwin readies Disintegrate but doesn’t have a clear shot.

Giacomo recalls his alchemy and notes that Heat Metal may interact with the constructs’ power source and ammunition, and a few do explode, spreading shrapnel. Tempestade slays of the sentries with a punch, and Brendan uses his lockpicking skills to slow a walker.

Rhys takes control of one of the overseers and follows the 100 fugitives and their liberators across the fields. However, more sentry drones emerge from the perimeter, plus three more mechas and a huge clockwork dragon!

Pathfinder mini

clockwork dragon

Dragon duel
Hill Dwarf Elsa casts Call Lightning, which seems to damage the metal monstrosities more than weapons. Radius calls out the “interloper from Mechanus” and charges. Saganim human Brendan pole vaults onto the dragon’s back and covers its face with a bedroll, keeping it from taking flight.

Tinker Gnome Rhys operates the machine guns in his walker, firing at one of the late Yves d’Agneau’s other overseers. Local son Tempestade runs to the dragon to look for a hatch in case it has a pilot, but he doesn’t find one.

Skaevingol human Brogar charges, and with Half-Elf Corwin translating,summons the escapees as his horde. Hifalendorin human Giacomo cuts himself to cast Magic Missiles at the enemy mecha drivers. Flind Scully casts Heat Metalon one of the overseers.

The dragon slaps at Brendan on its back with its tail and claws at Radius and Tempestade. It also breathes fire through the bedroll, killing eight slaves. The overseers shoot two more and injure Scully. Corwin and the surviving freed slaves take down the smaller automatons.

Elsa invokes Mekkil (Gaia) for a Positive Energy Burst to heal her allies. Radius casts Blade Barrier to protect the Brazilian horde, and Rhys maneuvers against the other walkers. Tempestade sticks a dagger in some of the dragon’s gears, slowing it.

Brogar rages and hacks off one of the dragon’s wings with a mighty blow. Giacomo protects himself and sniper Scully with Shield as they move up one flank. The clockwork beasts and human slavers hesitate as Elsa and Radius Call Lightning, even as their spells affect some of their companions.

Brendan jams another dagger into the damaged dragon, which topples onto Brogar, who selflessly pushes Tempestade away. The group pulls them free before the clockwork construct blows up, but Radius is briefly knocked out. The remaining guards flee, and the former slaves cheer.

Giacomo casts Sleep on one mecha pilot, enabling Rhys to swap his nonfunctional walker for a less damaged one. Brogar and Corwin gather the survivors so Elsa can heal the wounded. Rhys tosses Elsa his Bag of Holding so she can gather up as many machine parts as possible.

Tempestade and Scully signal Armadeiras Fonseca, the leader of the Mocambos (rebel band) in the jungles of Mina Gerais. He and 20 capoeiristas take the growing group to the port of Rio de Cidade, where the sorcerous Rogerio Ribeiro waits with his steamboat.

Seizing the ship
However, Radius recognizes white-suited Ribeiro as an evil Outsider and draws his sword. Rhys and Brogar hold but are ready to follow the Paladin’s lead, even as the others are reluctant to break the deal they had made to return to their own time.

Scully and Tempestade move the escapees away from the duel on the docks, and Giacomo, Elsa, and Corwin prepare protective spells. Brendan realizes that this fight is out of his league.

Ribeiro casts Circle of Protection From Good, and Radius counters with Dispel Magic. The imp summons four Osyluths (bone devils), one of which hits Brogar, sending the Barbarian into another rage.

Radius casts Dispel Evil and charges. The diminuitive redhead shrugs off the spell and casts Finger of Death at Radius, who successfully resists. Brogar wades into the fight with his great sword, and Rhys uses his walker to shoot at the demon and devils.

Radius avoids Ribeiro’s Baleful Polymorph, and Brogar finishes the fight. The Osyluths disappear, and Giacomo verifies that the Outsiders are dead or at least banished back to their home planes.

A grateful Radius heals his allies, but Scully and Elsa worry that he has cut off their way back to the “Vanished Lands.” The Modron reassures them that he can use Vector and Tangent to evacuate everyone aboard the imp’s former ship.

Scully and Brendan check the steamboat and find several booby traps. Rhys is happy to claim the craft and confirms that the river vessel has enhancements that would allow it to become an airship, but Radius is needed to make it travel through time.

Tempestade and Armadeiras usher their friends aboard, and Elsa casts Find the Path to help Radius navigate. As the boat slips between worlds, arcanists Giacomo (whose cursed tattoo acts up) and Corwin become disoriented.

“Vistel’s Expedition” and the rescued slaves soon find themselves on the Sea of Nagendwa, with the green coast of Saganim in sight….

Thanks again, Jason, for hosting “JasonCon 2014 B!” I hope that you and Brian S. enjoyed sitting in on our fantasy session, and Brian W., we’ll miss you and “Hamfast.” Bruce, we missed “Corwin,” but as you see, all’s well that ends well!

Our groups decided to take next week (Aug. 11) off, but I look forward to continuing thePathfinderEberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries, eventually resuming the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom game, and starting the next chapter for “Vistel’s Expedition!”

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.26 — Separating the nobles

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.26, which was held on Sunday, 3 August 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 D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game andAdvanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rules,Skype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 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. 7
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 7
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 7
  • 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. 7
  • 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. 7
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K./absent]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7

“18 to 19 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers prepared to leave Sogewa, capital of Tong Sheng. Jung-Mo checked in with a countryman, Sonny kept an eye on Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong, and Toshi contacted arcanist colleagues. Ember warned a Samurai suitor, and Soske’ prayed for guidance.

Saigo was attacked in the House of the Red Lotus, but Toshi helped him escape, heal, and shop. Back out on the eastern Plains of Sathendo, the group escorted Lady Yun and Prince Zu Ji’s retinue and notified imperial troops of its itinerary.

Shengtese human Sonny says he doesn’t trust the crown prince or Lady Fu Hao, whose army is approaching Sogewa. By contrast, Toshi thinks that the general, who is the favorite of Emperor Zi Zhao’s 60 concubines, is more honorable, if somewhat bloodthirsty. The Shan Sao suggests waiting to see how any confrontation unfolds.

Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo recommends ditching Prince Zu Ji as soon as possible, regardless of Lady Yun’s offer of asylum on behalf of neighboring realm Gokuri. Hengeyokai Ember doesn’t want the prince to be murdered by his stepmother, who may have her own plans for succession.

Shengtese human Soske’ agrees with the idea of sending the prince back to his father in distant Yin for judgment. Spirit Folk Jung-Mo is more concerned about his companions’ survival than who might win in a battle — Prince Zu Ji and Lady Yun Aei-Yong on the one hand, or Lady Fu Hao and part of her army on the other.

While disguised as one of the prince’s 50 armored guards, Jung-Mo observes that the troops are nervous, even if they are not privy to the conversations among the Shang nobles. Sonny takes watch as the caravan camps for the night, about a day’s ride north of Sogewa.

Toshi studies spells in a tent, while Saigo sleeps heavily after some late nights. Ember also stands watch, and she is not surprised when Jung-Mo just happens to bump into her during his own patrol.

Meanwhile, Soske’ slips out and pointedly asks the prince why he is fleeing.Prince Zu Ji admits that he is afraid of the warrior queen but doesn’t reveal the details of any differences between him and the emperor.

Scout Jung-Mo notices that the prince’s soldiers are on alert, and Druid Ember communicates with their horses, who don’t like being saddled at night. Kensai Sonny notices activity around the tent of the court mages, and he notifies Toshi.

The Wu Jen recognizes that they are preparing a Mass Teleport ritual, which can quickly transport about a dozen people hundreds of miles. Soske’ rejoins the group, which heads toward Lady Yun’s tent.

The Wizards and the prince disappear in a flash of light. Lady Yun confirms that Zu Ji has escaped to Gokuri, and the Nannuattan notes that she has not yet had any direct communications with Lady Fu Hao, so as a foreign diplomat, she cannot be held responsible for any disputes within the Shang/Shengtese aristocracy.

Saigo is frustrated and storms off, but Toshi reassures his friends that even if the noblewomen fight, they’re now less likely to use scapegoats for a potential assassination. Jung-Mo and Ember are confused by human intrigues and bellicosity.

The next morning, the remainder of the prince’s guards head back to Sogewa, leaving Lady Yun and her escort to continue north toward Akilu Castle. Ember flies ahead in crane form. The shapeshifter spots three men dressed as Tsucharim (Mongol-style) riders.

They stop the carriage, and Lady Yun steps out to introduce herself. The scouts are suspicious, but one seems swayed to trust the manipulative Nannuattan. His cohorts try to knock some sense into him.

A larger group of Shang troops arrives and lowers spears at Lady Yun. Lieutenant Xiu Yu says the eastern Dark Elf should be killed on sight, but Sonny informs him that the latest war is over, and Lady Yun presents her credentials as a diplomat negotiating the truce between Gokuri, Tong Sheng, and the Zedu kingdom.

Lieut. Xiu is still reluctant to let the party pass, and he asks Soske’ to cast an Augury. The priest communes with abusive ancestral spirits, who confirm that Lady Yun’s mission is one of peace, “insofar as any Nannuattan says what they mean.”

Soske’ also reiterates that the army’s quarry — Prince Zu Ji — has fled beyond its reach and won’t be captured with magic. Lieut. Xiu is about to order his soldiers to leave when Toshi suggests that Lady Yun request an audience with Lady Fu.

Lieut. Xiu and his liang (unit of 25) bring Lady Yun’s caravan to a larger force of two zu (about 250 soldiers). All prostrate themselves before Lady Fu Hao. Lady Yun introduces herself, but Lady Fu cuts the pleasantries short and angrily accuses the Gokuri emissary of aiding the errant prince.

The fierce Fu dismisses Lady Yun and Samurai Saigo, but Sonny and Ember suggest that she can restore order in Sogewa without casualties by reinstating Duke Kou Fei Seng. They also remind Lady Fu to beware of the Dragon and Crane clans.

She says she’ll consider their advice. Since Ember’s true nature as an exiled dragon was revealed in a previous meeting with Lady Fu, Jung-Mo hangs back. Lady Yun shrugs off the loss of face, implying that the general has spent too long at war.

As one oracle to another, axe-wielding Lady Fu offers Soske’ any aid he may need in quelling the chaos in the countryside, as long as he finds its sources. He realizes that he is one step closer to his visions of the future and prophesied destiny.

Toshi offers his services to Lady Fu, who accepts and orders him to provide regular reports on the mission to escort Lady Yun to the capital of his homeland, the Zedu kingdom….

It was good to see most of you at Guardians of the Galaxy or “JasonCon 2014 B,”and Bruce, we’ll need to figure out the rest of August. We missed “Saigo” (and “Corwin”), but at least your team avoided getting caught in a bloody confrontation!

Note that the “Vanished Lands” campaign won’t be meeting for the next two weekends, but I hope to resume on Sunday, Aug. 24.

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.25 — Second Sogewa departure

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.25, which was held on Sunday, 27 July 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 D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game andAdvanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rules,Skype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 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. 7
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 7
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 7
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C./absent]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7
  • 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. 7

“16 to 17 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The band of adventurers had escorted Lady Yun Aei-Yong, an emissary from the kingdom of Gokuri, to the city of Silado. After the mysterious arrival of Prince Zu Ji, Duke Kou Fei Seng had asked the party to investigate an army approaching the provincial capital of Tong Sheng.

The wanderers returned and reported to the duke, who was now under house arrest. Lady Yun managed to persuade Prince Zu to leave Sogewa before Lady Fu Hao can lay siege with her forces. They also let the emperor’s favored concubine know that they and the crown prince planned to head north, toward Akilu Castle.

Jung-Mo meets with Tsuji Eizo, who is actually Park Chulsoon, a fellow Nannuattan Ninja. They agree that Lady Yun has positioned herself to be the winner no matter who rules the human principality.

If the duplicitous prince raises an army and “liberates” Sogewa, Gokuri gains an ally to whom it had extended asylum. If the warrior queen captures him and/or the city, Lady Yun can claim that she helped restore Shang honor.

At Silado Palace, Sonny stays with Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja. The Nannuattan diplomat writes letters to her new friends in various noble houses.

Toshi sends messages to fellow air elementalist Peng Arong and Yuen Yongyue, a priest of sea lord Ano Wasu, warning them about the potential dynastic conflict. Toshi also mentions the bulettes encountered out on the eastern Plains of Sathendo.

Ember visits a friend in the Lion Clan, followed by jealous Jung-Mo. Ember warns Kamachi Yushiro about Lady Fu’s army, and the young Samurai offers his services. Ember allows Kamachi to escort her back to her guest quarters and is bemused to notice Jung-Mo lurking in the shadows.

Saigo returns to the House of the Red Lotus, but the two geishas he had met previously are not available. Han Young-Nae brings him to a private room and serves tea. Toshi follows in bird form to try to keep his friend out of trouble.

Han Young-Nae plays some music, nearly enthralling Saigo and Toshi. Her neck stretches out to inhuman lengths, and her face twists into a frightful visage.Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo draws his katana and slices her neck, which heals instantly.

Toshi flies in and shifts back to Shan Sao form before sliding open the door. The scary woman tries to bite Saigo, who slashes at her with his sword. Toshi castsFire Shurikens, missing Han Young-Nae but setting the room ablaze.

The creature, which Toshi identifies as a Rokurokubi, draws a pair of sai and strikes Saigo. Wu Jen Toshi invokes the wind lords and uses his Storm Gauntletsto cast Lightning Bolts, wounding the long-necked monster.

Samurai Saigo dodges the Rokurokubi’s fangs, but Toshi is drained of some blood. The eastern Halfling kills the demonic creature with more lightning, casts Wizard Mark on her corpse, and takes the sai.

Saigo quickly searches the burning room and is entangled by living shrouds around the bed. The eastern Sylvan Elf manages to cut through the Ittan-momen and hastily leaves the House of the Red Lotus with Toshi.

Back at the palace, Kamachi-san asks Ember for a token, but she declines. The Hengeyokai Wu instead asks him to defend the innocent within the city, but she doesn’t tell him about Lady Liao Qianru, who she recently discovered is an old red dragon.

Jung-Mo doesn’t trust Lady Yun, but Sonny says that allowing her to talk Prince Zu Ji into leaving Sogewa should avoid unnecessary bloodshed. Soske’ prays to ancestral spirits for guidance in containing the growing chaos in the countryside.

Toshi and Saigo hop on a water taxi to the temple of Ano Wasu. They meet Shengtese Shukenja Chang Baio and Sea Spirit Folk Sohei Sun Min, two Clerics of the sea lord. Toshi offers 100 tael (50 gold pieces) and a Fireball scroll for healing and to remove any curses Saigo may have acquired.

Saigo then takes the lead to find a gift shop near the docks. Even though it is late in the evening, he bangs on a door, awakening the proprietor. Hong Feng is deferential to the knight and court mage, and he sells Saigo a silk origami bird and a jade amulet of the city for a total of 60 tael.

Hungry Sonny and Ember take advantage of the palace kitchens before they leave, and Soske’ continues to avoid his nosy extended family. The rest of the night passes uneventfully.

The next morning, Prince Zu Ji meets Lady Yun with 50 people. Shengtese human Sonny observes four courtiers and potential spellcasters in robes among the royal guards.

Secretive Jung-Mo incapacitates a soldier and takes his fine suit of armor to infiltrate the prince’s entourage. Druid Ember shifts into crane form to scoutahead for Lady Fu Hao’s forces.

Toshi walks with his new tiger companion Amaya and Soske’ near the caravan’s rear. He also reveals an Ioun stone, which hovers and produces light (and has no other remaining magic).

The Halfling Wizard privately warns his companions that they must carefully navigate between their vows to protect the Nannuattan diplomat, and now her Shang ally, with their desire to help Sogewa and Lady Fu Hao’s army.

Saigo rides near Lady Yu’s carriage and Prince Zu. He recognizes a few of the mercenaries who had arrived with the rogue royal now dressed in uniforms with the imperial seal. The prince seems unconcerned about the army pursuing him.

Ember spots two riders in Tsucharim (Mongol-style) dress, and she lands before them. She presents the foo creature battle standard of Lady Fu Hao, and the horsemen say that some of the queen’s troops have encountered resistance. Ember asks them to let Lady Fu know that the prince has left Sogewa.

Upon flying back to the caravan, Ember signals to Sonny to get their companions to discreetly regroup. They eventually agree to hold back in the hope that they can avoid being caught between Lady Yun Aei-Yong and Prince Zu Ji on the one side and Lady Fu Hao’s army on the other….

Geoff, we missed “Soske’” and I hope you’ll be able to rejoin us this coming weekend. I’ve posted separately regarding Bruce's “PathfinderEberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries, Guardians of the Galaxy, and “JasonCon 2014 B.”

Let me know if any of you need help updating your character records on Obsidian Portal to Level 7.

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.24 — Avoiding a civil war

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.24, which was held on Sunday, 20 July 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 D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rulesSkype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 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. 6
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O./absent]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 6
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 6
  • 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. 6
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 6
  • 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. 6

“13 to 15 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The explorers narrowly evaded bulettes while riding across the steppes to scout out a large army approaching the city of Sogewa. They met Lady Fu Hao, commander of the Shang forces, and obtained a few days to return to the city before the rogue Prince Zu Ji is besieged.

After some discussion about what to do next, the team goes to the manor of Duke Kou Fei Seng, the former ruler of Tong Sheng who assigned it to investigate the army. Toshi stays at Silado Palace to watch Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong.

The wanderers find the duke under house arrest. Soske’ recognizes a guard as one of the mercenaries who arrived with Prince Zu Ji, now clad in imperial livery. Saigo explains that they have already reported to the prince, who gave them permission to talk to the duke.

Jung-Mo and Ember flirt to distract eavesdroppers in the garden, and Saigo quietly tells Duke Kou Fei Seng about how the emperor’s favored concubine is approaching Sogewa with about 10,000 soldiers. Sonny adds that Lady Fu Hao is not afraid to sack the city if she deems it necessary.

The duke says that their “mutual friend is also resting comfortably,” referring toGen. Wang Tung, who had sought to prevent the group from reporting to him on growing unrest in the province but is in secret custody. Sonny says that the general might yet be useful.

Kou Fei Seng agrees to tell Saigo and Jung-Mo about hidden passages into the palace, but he does not want to know the details of their plans to deal with the prince and prevent a siege of Sogewa. The travelers thank the duke for his help and discuss their options on the way back to their guest quarters.

Jung-Mo observes that although Lady Fu Hao commands a large army, a provincial capital such as Sogewa still has the advantage of numbers and defense. The “Spirit Folk merchant” also says that it’s more important to avoid bloodshed than take sides.

Sonny concurs that, given the choice between the aggressive female general and Prince Zu Ji, he’d prefer to divert their conflict from harming common folk. The Shengtese human suggests spreading misinformation to distract the duplicitous prince.

Crane Hengeyokai (recently revealed as an exiled gold dragon) Ember wonders aloud if it would be possible to evacuate Sogewa, but the others say it would be too difficult without cooperation from various clan leaders in the prince’s court.

Saigo wants to infiltrate the palace and capture the crown prince to deliver to the queen, but Sonny notes that there is a high probablility of tripping an alarm and being trapped. The Bamboo Spirit Folk considers disguising himself to pose as Zu Ji, but his men would soon see through such a ruse.

Soske’ warns that further disruptions of the principality’s leadership would feed the growing chaos, and the Shengtese human urges his companions to avoid drawing weapons for as long as possible. The adventurers eventually agree to consult Lady Yun.

They find more imperial sentries and attendants surrounding the Gokuri delegate. Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja is pleased with her new scale armor. Sonny, Saigo, and Ember request a private audience, and Jung-Mo and Soske’ cautiously follow.

Ember sings to Jung-Mo to distract anyone listening in. Saigo tells Lady Yun about Prince Zu Ji’s defiance of his father, the distant Emperor Zi Zhao, and Lady Fu Hao’s army. The Nannuattan woman offers to give the prince asylum as way to get him to leave the city-state.

Sonny and Soske’ aren’t sure the prince will accept, and Jung-Mo and Ember don’t trust Lady Yun. Still, the party goes with her back to the prince. Jung-Mo and Toshi stealthily check out side passages.

Lady Yun tells Prince Zu Ji that it would be better if he visited his subjects in the countryside rather than fight in Sogewa. The sly Dark Elf says that Gokuri and Tong Sheng can both benefit from trade and closer association, and that the prince can return later as triumphant liberator. He agrees to travel with her north, toward Akilu Castle.

Prince Zu Ji says that he will be ready to leave with Lady Yun the next morning, before Lady Fu Hao’s arrival. Jung-Mo and Sonny later note that the Nannuattan now stand to gain, regardless of who takes control of the city.

Samurai Saigo writes a letter to Lady Fu Hao telling her where to intercept the prince. Ember and Toshi shift to owl form to go out to the army. Shukenja Soske’ avoids his nosy family and casts Wind Walk to accompany the Druid and Wu Jen.

Yakuza Jung-Mo watches Toshi’s tiger Amaya, and Kensai Sonny keeps a close watch on Lady Yun. Saigo heads to the House of the Red Lotus for a night’s entertainment.

As they fly over Sogewa’s tiled roofs, Ember, Toshi, and Soske’ see Wizards’ familiars, as well as Lady Liao Qianru, an ancient red-scaled dragon. They hastily change course to avoid her [Byron owes Beruk “candy”] and fly eastward over the Plains of Sathendo.

The trio sees a farmer’s cart being attacked by five large vampiric bats, but it does not pause in its task. Several li later, tents and Shang banners appear on the horizon. Soske’ signals to land inside the outer perimeter but before the bulk of the camp.

Ember presents a battle standard of a brass foo creature to gain admission to a portable pavilion. She notices a few simian Vanara among the armored humans, as well as recently captured bulettes. Soske’s True Seeing reveals a glamour and wards.

Lady Fu Hao studies maps of Sogewa with generals Zhi and Hou Gao. The scouts relay Saigo’s message and report on the unnatural bat swarms. Lady Fu orders Gen. Zhi to still go to the city but not to engage its militia.

Gen. Hou Gao takes a portion of the army to sweep north to look for Undead and potential ambushes. Axe-wielding Fu plans to apprehend Prince Zu Ji herself and bring him back to the city rather than execute him, as per the group’s recommendation.

Ember warns the emperor’s concubine about a chromatic dragon in the city, and Soske’ casts Find the Path to help Gen. Hou find the vampire nest. Meanwhile, back in Sogewa….

Byron, we missed you again at last night’s game, but I hope you’ll be able to rejoin us in the coming weeks! While the Boston-area, face-to-face group won’t meet tonight, I look forward to continuing the “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” campaign as well as Bruce’s “Eberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries.

In the meantime, remember to look at the latest character record template on Obsidian Portal as we prepare for Level 7.

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.23 — Bulettes, battle axe, and back to Silado Palace

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.23, which was held on Sunday, 14 July 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 D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Ed.) Oriental Adventures, plus house rulesSkype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 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. 6
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O./absent]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 6
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 6
  • 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. 6
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 6
  • Moon Jung-mo [Dexter V.H./absent]-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. 6

“9 to 12 May 1227 B.C.E.:” After accepting a mission to scout out an unidentified army approaching Sogewa, the capital of Tong Sheng, a band of explorers fought Ninjas and three creatures cursed for intemperate desires. The group continued across the wide Plains of Sathendo.

Sonny recommends approaching the army as a band of merchants and discreetly asking about its intentions. Saigo notes that he and Ember could pose as a Spirit Folk couple, with Shengtese humans Sonny and Soske’ as locals.

Ember wants to return to the skies to continue scouting; she had previously seen signs of large burrowing beasts. Soske’ points out that the adventuring party is too well armed and doesn’t have enough trade goods to pass as peasants.

Jung-Mo, who usually presents himself as a wealthy wanderer, stays out of sight to watch the band’s back for more foes. Toshi studies arcane spells and offers to accompany Ember in bird form.

Ember shifts into crane form and flies east over the steppes. The Hengeyokai again sees the upturned earth from bulettes, or land sharks, and she stays out of arrow range as she passes over numerous rows of armored soldiers. Ember observes a foo creature battle standard and heads back to her companions.

To cross the wilderness quickly, Saigo removes any extra gear and supplies from the horses and leaves Jung-Mo and Toshi to guard the cache. The Shan Sao Wu Jen casts Gaseous Form and Haste to help the others avoid the bulettes.

Even so, one of the land sharks leaps up and manages to take two bites out of Soske’ as he carries Sonny and Saigo across the grasslands via Wind Walk. Wu Ember leads the way to rocky ground.

Shukenja Soske’ heals himself while waiting for the army to approach. Samurai Saigo identifies the heraldry that Ember saw as that of the Shang Empire, based in distant Yin.

A high-ranking scout with a fierce steed and large bird of prey rides up to the group. Sonny warns the imperial officer about the bulettes and asks to be taken to his leader. Gen. Hou Gao personally escorts the explorers through the ranks of thousands of troops.

Most of the Shang soldiers wear banded bronze armor and carry spears and broad swords. Chariots and archers march alongside wagons of supplies. The elite troops wear scale and carry a variety of weapons. Sonny recognizes the chrysanthemum standard of the imperial house.

Shang army

Imperial army

Gen. Gao brings the newcomers before the august presence of Lady Fu Hao, who commands about 10,000 men and is a priestess as well as Emperor Zi Zhao’s favored concubine (out of 60). She wears fine armor and listens to the group’s formal introductions.

Kensai Sonny reports that Prince Zu Ji has assumed control over Sogewa, the provincial capital, and Lady Fu says that is not the will of his father, the emperor. Soske’ describes the Undead and other manifestations of growing chaos that he has encountered, and the oracle says that she has sensed similar problems.

The empress compliments Ember’s manners from the Celestial Court, and the exile uses a magical mirror to reveal her true nature as a dragon to her friends and Lady Fu. They are surprised but supportive.

Lady Fu recognizes the Saigo family name and asks about his grandfather Shinso, who the knight says is missing. Wu Ding’s concubine offers to help in any way she can, but she is determined to destroy any traitors first.

The diplomats ask the queen for time to avoid a bloody siege of Sogewa, in which many innocents would suffer. Lady Fu acknowledges that it may take her forces a few additional days to cross the lands of the bulettes, but she promises to inflict her full wrath against any who oppose the mandate of heaven.

Lady Fu leaps up, draws a battle axe from her back, and cuts the head off a standard before gracefully landing on her feet. She gives the brass piece to Ember as a token of her command.

Soske’ agrees to swear fealty to the empress, but the priest hesitates when he recognizes her axe, which he saw in a vision that indicated that the blade would change the course of history. Lady Fu offers a whistling long sword instead, and as Soske’ puts his hand on it to swear, he glimpses armies clashing on the way to his prophesied destiny.

Saigo and company depart and ride back to Sogewa, collecting Jung-Mo and Toshi on the way. Ember is upset about revealing herself as a draconic outcast, but the entire group is unwavering in respecting the Druid’s honor.

Soske’ casts Air Walk upon his horse to avoid the bulettes. Sonny, Saigo, and Jung-Mo follow at full gallop, and Ember and Toshi fly overhead. Saigo gets bitten but manages to keep running, and Sonny and Ember distract the monster with artillery.

The scouts and their exhausted horses eventually return to the rice paddies and wheat fields surrounding Sogewa. Six sentries stop them and ask for identification. Armored Saigo says that he was sent by Duke Kou Fei Seng to investigate the approaching army.

The guards decide to ride with the party into the city, and Soske’ recognizes akatar (punching dagger) of the Scorpion Clan. The travelers are wary as they are brought to the inner tiers and sprawling Silado Palace.

Flanked by aristocrats from numerous clans, Prince Zu Ji greets the team. Saigo reports on the bulettes but claims that he did not directly engage the approaching army. The crown prince orders the militia to muster more troops for the realm’s defense.

Sisters Bai Lei Qing and Dao Lei Qing again offer to bring the travelers to their quarters, but Sonny asks to speak with Lady Yun Aei-Yong first. Smiling Li Keng brings them to the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) emissary of Gokuri.

Soske’ asks Lady Yun, whom the group had been assigned to escort, how she has been for the past few days. The sly delegate says that she has met more potential allies in the Crab, Crane, and Dragon clans and that Prince Zu Ji has agreed to extend trade between Gokuri and Tong Sheng.

Sonny and Saigo think that Lady Yun might be useful in helping them get closer to the prince, but Soske’ and Jung-Mo don’t trust her. Ember and Toshi warn their friends to watch out for clan politics, which could complicate opening the city to Lady Fu’s army peacefully.

After a brief rest, Saigo says that the next thing to do is to visit Duke Kou Fei Seng, the prior ruler of Sogewa, who had taken rogue Gen. Wang Tung into custody before being placed under house arrest himself….

It was great to resume our adventures, and Dexter and Byron, we missed you! Note that I’ve added recent acquisitions to my bibliography, including the retro-clone Arrows of Indrathe BRP-based Celestial Empireand the FATE-based Tianxia: Blood, Silk & Jade.

Speaking of which, I’ve updated my D20/FATE house rules slightly; let me know what you think. I look forward to Bruce’s “PathfinderEberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries, starting tonight, and remember to watch the scheduling threads on our message boards.