Tag Archives: legends of anglerre

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.34 — Tension on the borderlands

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.34, which was held on Sunday, 12 October 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, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed./D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3eLegends of Anglerre, plus house rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of autumn 2014:

  • Moon Jung-Mo [Dexter V.H.]-male Nannuattan Ninja (Msamaki; eastern Dark Elf Assassin) who has left the Shadow’s Claw clan and is posing as a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) merchant; with a young wyvern; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Souji Nobuto ‘Sonny’ Yoshimitsu [Beruk A.]-male Shengtese Tian Kensai (eastern human weapon master) from a dishonored house in the Lion Clan, specializing in chain weapons; with talking horse Yip; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 8
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things but plagued by family and ancestor spirits; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 8

“8 to 13 June 1227 B.C.E.:” The diplomatic escorts resumed riding north toward Bazran Hai, capital of the Zedu kingdom. On the way, they encountered a reptilian Naga and Bamboo Spirit Folk, who warned them of perils ahead. The team also fought Nezumi bandits and shape-shifting Kitsune.

The caravan skirts the edge of the dense Therud Forest and follows a trail across the edge of the Plains of Sathendo. The adventuring party decides to skip the hamlet of Yanui and instead heads toward Hsia Ling, near Hazokuwi, where it formed.

The trail climbs into the foothills of the Bamor Mountains, and the team pitches camp at the edge of the woods. Jung-Mo stealthily removes his wyvern hatchling from his cage for exercise while Sonny engages Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong in conversation.

Toshi reminds his companions that he can help enchant items for them, and Soske’ guarantees masterwork-quality craftsmanship. Ember checks on Toshi’s hungry tiger Amaya and Sonny’s talking horse Yip.

Saigo is eager to get home to Bazran Hai, but Tokoro is mildly uncomfortable so far from his home stream. Shukenja Soske’ and Hulinyuan Tokoro sit the first watch that night, followed by Wu Jen Toshi and Samurai Saigo. Ninja Jung-Mo and Wu Ember plan to take the last watch.

Soske and Tokoro hear movement outside their camp. They eventually perceive about 20 Bakemono (eastern Goblins) foraging, so they wake their companions. Jung-Mo slips into the shadows to get behind the humanoids.

Shengtese humans Sonny and Soske’, who can’t see in the dark, ask the demihumans if the Bakemono are heading for their camp. Crane Hengeyokai Ember and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo recommend letting them pass.

Carp Hengeyokai Tokoro says some of the raiders might enter it, so Shan Sao Toshi casts Freezing Fog to discourage them. The Goblinoids fall to bickering among themselves, but Jung-Mo and friends notice six larger shadows behind them — Oni (Ogre Magi).

Sonny and Saigo signal Jung-Mo, who creeps back to his carriage to fetch Lady Yun. Ember Wild Shapes into a wolf. Tosh casts Invisibility and shifts into baza (small blackbird) form. Soske’ and Tokoro draw their bows and wait for the Goblins to come through the mist.

Lady Yun agrees to help, and she and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja step out of the camp, along with the rest of the group. The Goblins grovel and scatter before their Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) superior.

Up in the trees, Toshi sees a winged Draconian and hears something else observing the parley. The six Oni stomp forward, and Jung-Mo recognizes the sashimonos (banners) of the Gokuri Empire’s Typhoon Unit. Two of the misshapen Ogre Mages shape change into human form.

Matsudaira Masayoshi and Byon Yong-Jo taunt Lady Yun, saying that they could easily kill her escorts and that her authority is weak so far from Gisokuri. The diplomat reminds the Oni that even though she is not part of the military chain of command, she still outranks them.

The Oni squint at Lady Yun’s guards and then grudgingly wave their squad to move on. Toshi, who has shifted back into Halfling form, still doesn’t see the second flying scout. Jung-Mo and Ember quietly follow the Oni and Bakemono to make sure they leave the area.

Eastern Ogres and Goblins

Oni and Bakemono

The next morning, Lady Yun asks Jung-Mo if she can ride atop the carriage as it bounces along the increasingly rocky road. Saigo still doesn’t trust the Nannuattan, and Oh Kum Ja walks alongside the carriage and notices a large birdcage (actually the wyvern under Toshi’s illusion).

Ember and Tokoro sense that they’re being watched, so Ember and Toshi take to the sky. The Druid and Wizard don’t find anything as the Hsia Ling’s walls comes into sight. Saigo asks Lady Yun and Oh Kum Ja to get back into the carriage as they enter the border town.

Hsia Ling

Walled town

In addition to Shengtese (East Asian) humans, the wanderers notice some Spirit Folk (eastern Elves), Shan Sao (eastern Halflings), Korobokuru (eastern Dwarves), and a band of Minotaur mercenaries. Saigo pays Tah Zhiqang 10 tael (5 gold pieces) for rooms at the “Crystal Dragon” inn.

Jung-Mo is surprised when Ember asks to share a room with him, and Toshi orders a pig for Amaya. Sonny makes sure that Lady Yun and Oh Kum Ja are discreetly situated. Druid Ember attends to the horses, while Ranger Tokoro leaves for a while to swim up the Roduyoi Stream.

Cleric Soske’ is happy to rest in a comfortable bed with a carafe of sake, but he is distressed when the maid drawing his bath recognizes him. Jin Ling is a distant cousin, and he begs her not to tell her mother that he is in town for at least one night.

Jin Ling then goes to entertain Saigo. Jung-Mo prepares a tea ceremony for Ember, and Soske’ asks Tah Zhiqang for a quieter room away from his amorous cohorts. Toshi casts spells on Jung-Mo’s window for a sparkling sunrise.

On his way back to the Crystal Dragon, Tokoro is accosted by Fan Shao-feh, who tries to entice him into games of chance. Despite the possibility of gaining favor with Shebsen, lady luck, Tokoro declines. He also notices that Lo Sheng, a Korobokuru sergeant in the local guards, is warily watching visitors.

The next morning, Toshi orders a feast for his friends. Jung-Mo and Ember are late to breakfast, and Kensai Sonny struggles to get his group to keep a low profile. Only Tokoro complies with his suggestion.

Toshi and Saigo write letters to Bisan (Dryad) Suki and Princess Nayoko, respectively, to tell them that they’ll be home soon. Soske’ reluctantly meets with his nosy family members, who treat him as a visiting dignitary.

Jung-Mo and Ember go hand in hand for a walk outside the town with the as-yet-unnamed wyvern. Sonny brings Lady Yun breakfast and practices his Bamoric. Toshi studies spells, and Soske’ tells Jin Ling’s kin, who are worried about events in Sogewa, only a little about his travels.

Saigo plans to use a Ring of Wishes to find his grandfather, Gen. Shinso Saigo, who is apparently being held captive in or near the capital….

Note that your characters will attain Level 9 as they reach Bazran Hai next session! Think about what each of them will want in terms of training and equipment, as well as other goals.

I look forward to Drew’s “Cumberland County” Southern fantasy scenario (using Roll for Shoes) tonight. Rich C.G.’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernatural miniseries (using Hunter: the Reckoning) will be next Monday, and my “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Expedition” campaign will probably resume on Oct. 27.

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition," Session 39.49 — Shopping and plotting in Hesolin

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.49, which Rich C.G. hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Wednesday, 8 October 2014:

In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. The “Vanished Lands” were blessed by the gods and cursed by prophecy. Travelers became adventurers, and adventurers strove to be heroes in the face of many perils and wonders. One such band began as circus performers, became defenders of the kingdom of Saganim, and voyaged aboard the Zephyr….

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

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

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

“12 to 14 April 1227 B.C.E.:” In the Saganim village of Sanry, “Vistel’s Expedition”worked with its new crew and met with Capt. Scarlet of the Sea Elven schoonerFoamrunner. The Zephyr then went to Hesolin, capital of the (proto-Western European) human kingdom of Hifalendor.

Giacomo and Rhys visited a whirlygig shop and the temple of Otih, while Corwin and Elsa checked in at the Saganim embassy. Scully and her boyfriend, Wolfen Paladin “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character], go ashore to practice their archery and recruit additional sailors.

Corwin plans to buy or trade weapons and armor at the Istari Bazaar, while Elsa acquires a Bag of Holding, Heward’s Handy Haversack, a ring of Protection (+ 2), a Rope of Climbing, a Wand of Silence, and magical studded leather armor (+2). She looks forward to reuniting with Vistel’s Circus.

With help from fellow Tinker Gnome Otis… and Hill Dwarf metalsmith Werner Dogspittle, Rhys successfully attaches clockwork dragon wings to the Zephyr, one key step in making the unusual vessel airworthy.

Giacomo is escorted by Paladins of Otih and Urda to the local Magisterium (magic school), where he conducts research on ridding himself of his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra. The holy warriors also prepare an exorcism ritual for the Hifalendorin Wizard, who plans to consult Zarendo (East African) human herbalist “Tondra” [Rob A.S./N.P.C.].

Each evening, the adventurers gather for dinner at their rented villa near the “Golden Horn” hotel and restaurant. They are pleasantly surprised when Melchior [guest Byron V.O.] briefly rejoins them. He uses Mage Hand to shutter the windows and extinguish most lamps.

The Saganim (proto-Celtic) human Cleric of Ulandt, goddess of the night, reports on his investigations in the barbaric port of Gisar. Corwin’s half-brother PrinceDaven and Sean Sable (whose family is suspected of necromancy) have been recruiting mercenaries.

In addition, Lord Dalek, the Tiefling (demon-touched) Sorcerer who once framed Corwin for murder, may be working with the vampires who rule Gisar, says Melchior. Corwin wants to pursue Dalek, but Melchior points out that it will take him several weeks to set up a safehouse in the city, where former teammate Hamfast remains.

The former “Seeker of Lore” also warns that relying too heavily on Teleport is a bad idea as long as the Pit Fiend on Salhonif Island is looking for the group. The group had infiltrated a Temple of Elemental Evil and freed an Efreeti from her bondage to Schm*ckF*ck.

Melchior detects that someone has scryed upon Prince Corwin and Rhys, who has worked most closely on the time-displaced steamboat. Elsa adds anti-scrying measures to her list of potential enchantments for the Zephyr, such as protections against fire, rust and noise.

The next day, Scully and Elsa lead the way to the Grove of Mekkil outside Hesolin’s walls. They find a dimunitive Forest Gnome Druid singing to a sleepy badger. Gaffy Barkeater tells the Ranger and Druid about where to find exotic animals such as pegasi and griffons.

Elsa asks about recent strife between centaurs and Hifalendorin humans on the northern Plains of Sathendo. Gaffy says that a centaur named Zenos may know more and that he can often be found at the “Quiet Deer” tavern.

In Hesolin’s theater district, Corwin and Melchior meet Yvonne Valetta, a priestess of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry. She recognizes the Half-Elf’s reference to Maeve Gallagher, a Cleric at the Bardic College in Thadenis, capital of the kingdom of Saganim. Corwin gives her a generous donation of 250 crowns (gold pieces).

Yvonne recounts the fairy tale of Vappu Lahja, a woman woed about a century ago by three lords. She was proud and rejected them and was forced to live out her days alone as the lords fought among themselves, bringing much death to the land [see “Uncommon Companions” notes].

Melchior and Rhys note the similarities between the mysterious woman said to be stirring up conflict between the centaurs and Hifalendorin peasants and “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.], the Saganim pirate who has somehow “hacked” his curse to become leader of the dreaded Ghost Fleet.

In addition, Yvonne mentions “Westly the Wondrous” [Alex J./N.P.C.], a Saganim Bard (and former “Dragonslayer”) in residence at the “Bright Battlement” tavern. Elsa plans to visit the Library of Memir to see if she can uncover more information.

Sometime later, “Vistel’s Expedition” and Melchior go to the palace for a royal audience, thanks to Saganim ambassador Sir Culwych. They admire its high towers, thick stone walls, and well-armored guards. Magical scans sweep over the visitors as they pass by iron-bound gates, parade grounds, and colorful gardens.

Royal citadel

Palace in Hesolin

Elsa brings her banuq (winged cat) Penryn, and Rhys dismounts from Vasco, his clockwork butler. Despite being an agent of her majesty’s (Queen Margaret of Saganim) secret service, Melchior introduces himself without an alias.

Heralds announce the heroes as they enter a great hall with massive pillars with inscriptions in multiple languages, a vaulted ceiling, and a red and white checkerboard marble floor. They briefly wait in a receiving line before bowing before the throne. Counselors sit on curved benches nearby.

Prince Corwin introduces himself, and King Akkon XII sends greetings to his “brother king,” Edmund II of Saganim (and Corwin’s father). Hill Dwarf Elsa asks for support for her long-range communications network, and Queen Belinda offers a room in the palace.

However, Adm. Clothard Leontis is skeptical about proposals for widening the naval alliance between Hifalendor and Saganim against the Ghost Fleet to include the Ebir Sheikdom, the Kelp Kingdom, and the Principality of Silado (Tong Sheng).

Elsa and Corwin assure King Akkon that they have the approval of King Edmund and hope to visit more capitals. Adm. Leontis notes that existing allied forces are outnumbered by Undead pirates by about 10 to 1, but he grudgingly grants permission to inspect the naval base at the Gargoyle Headlands, about two days’ sail east of Hesolin.

Flind Scully and Gnome Rhys ask about the evil cult of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom, and additional defenses for the Zephyr. The admiral recommends checking with Hesolin’s harbormaster and the temple of Addoh, lord of the sea.

As a gesture of goodwill, the onetime circus performers offer to investigate the centaur attacks on northern farms. Lord Taneli Ellarthen, a Quelithan (High Elf) court mage, observes that Hifalendor would prefer to avoid bloodshed among its citizens and neighboring fey folk such as satyrs and centaurs.

King Akkon notes that his son, Prince Decius, was held hostage in the frontier until he was rescued by the King’s Cavaliers [see “Faith-Based Initiative” notes]. The petitioners notice an athletic young woman, later identified as Princess Priscilla, and Corwin and Melchior (who is married) can’t help but flirt with her.

Gen. Naresh du Goray says that troops in the city of Nadwi stand ready to help, but the adventuring party may be able to deal with threats that he cannot. The king approves of the party’s missions on behalf of Hifalendor.

The happy wanderers return to the “Golden Horn” and begin plotting a course to the Gargoyle Headlands, Nadwi, Falit, and more ports….

While we missed Beruk and Josh, it was good to see everyone, plus Thomas & Kai-Yin, for Byron’s latest visit to the Boston area! I hope that those of you with colds recover soon. Also, remember to update your character records on Obsidian Portal and let me know of any changes regarding equipment or spells.

I look forward to Drew’s “Cumberland County” Southern fantasy one-shot (using Roll for Shoes) tomorrow and continuing Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernatural miniseries! My “Vanished Lands: A New Dawntelecom game will continue tonight.

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.31 — Shamed Spirit Folk and enlarged vermin

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.31, which was held on Sunday, 21 September 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, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed./D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, plus house rulesSkype, and an online dice roller, as of autumn 2014:

  • Moon Jung-Mo [Dexter V.H.]-male Nannuattan Ninja (Msamaki; eastern Dark Elf Assassin) who has left the Shadow’s Claw clan and is posing as a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) merchant; with a young wyvern; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Souji Nobuto ‘Sonny’ Yoshimitsu [Beruk A.]-male Shengtese Tian Kensai (eastern human weapon master) from a dishonored house in the Lion Clan, specializing in chain weapons; with talking horse Yip; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu [Byron V.O./absent]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) from the Tiger Clan with a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 8
  • Ember Talon [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 8
  • Soske’ Tiatoshe [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things but plagued by family and ancestor spirits; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 8

“30 May to 1 June 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers investigated recent kidnappings, fought a Jinmenju (a tree with head-shaped fruit), and learned of a scheme to drive Shengtese peasants from their land and enslave them.

Jung-Mo makes sure that his wyvern hatchling is secure and checks on Lady Yun Aei-Yong, the Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) emissary of the Gokuri Empire. Toshi continues his arcane research into a proper cage for the young wyvern.

In nearby stables, Sonny and Saigo continue the interrogation of Hojo Etsuko, a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) who serves the same master as newcomer Tokoro. She defiantly admits that courier Desc Soo-Ann had tempted her with an offer, supposedly from Gokuri, to drive the Shengtese (East Asian) human peasants from their farms.

Ember and Soske’ bring Tokoro, who expresses sympathy with Hojo’s staunch defense of the wilderness. Tokoro draws a kunai (small knife), but Ember tries to calm him. Saigo asks the woman if she had anything to do with the children missing from Yao Shung.

Hojo says that she knows nothing of the woods to the north of the village and is shamed when Saigo angrily points out that Desc Soo-Ann, or “Desan” for short, could be a child killer as well as a slaver and a spy.

Sonny and Saigo pull Tokoro out behind the barn, and the Hulinyuan vouches for Hojo. Tokoro explains that their river spirit master is a few days’ ride to the southeast across the Plains of Sathendo. The Kensai and Samurai ask if he would approve of Hojo’s shift in mission from negotiating with the farmers to attacking them.

Ember and Soske’ talk with Hojo, who promises to plead with her master on behalf of the village if the true threat is from the woods or Gokuri rather than ignorant peasants. Nannuattan Jung-Mo and Shengtese human Soske’ play cards and stay with the prisoner, while the others look for Desan.

Hengeyokai Ember shifts into crane form to search outside Yao Shung. Shengtese human Sonny and Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo go to the “Red Reed” inn to search the messenger’s room. The sleepy innkeeper tells them that Desan checked out before dawn.

Ember spots Desan’s clothing hanging from a branch. The Wu Wild Shapes into a wolf and follows footprints northeast until they end in high grass. She concludes that Desan may have magically transformed into a flying form.

The diplomatic escorts regroup at the stables. Tokoro’s otter darts over to Hojo, who is still tied up. Curious Shukenja Soske’ briefly picks up the squirmy otter. Ember reports on Desan’s trail, and her companions agree that he poses a bigger threat to Yao Shung than Hojo, who has abandoned his horse.

Saigo releases the River Spirit Folk with a stern warning to report to her master and not to attack the villagers. Tokoro gives some supplies to his colleague. Hojo wishes him well with his new adventuring party.

The group rests for a day before heading back into the woods. Druid Ember scouts ahead in crane form [not “airwolf”]. Warriors Sonny and Saigo eagerly follow on horseback. Stealthy Jung-Mo guards spellcasters Soske’ and Toshi, and Ranger Tokoro brings up the rear.

dark forest

Ensorceled woods near Yao Shung

The copse of gnarled tree grows dense with vines and underbrush, slowing the team’s progress. A giant moth hits Ember, and the rest of the group stumbles through the tangle to help her. Saigo takes time to aim his daikyu (long bow).

Soske’ calls upon quarrelsome spirits for an Ancestral Weapon, and Tokoro casts Abundant Ammunition. Sonny tells Yip, his talking steed, to advance, and he leaps onto a tree. The Crimson Moth buffets Ember with its wings and extends its proboscis to such her blood.

The injured crane misses with her talons and turns to lead the giant insect toward the party. Jung-Mo fires a volley of arrows but misses. Toshi explains to Tokoro that he and his friends have encountered many unnatural creatures in their travels.

Saigo and Jung-Mo hit with their next shots, but Soske’s flaming arrows miss the moth. Tokoro rapidly fires Tanglefoot arrows, slowing the monster. Sonny jumps onto it and hacks a wing with his axe, which is enchanted against giants.

The Crimson Moth is unable to shake Sonny from its back, and another sticky arrow from Tokoro drops it from the sky. Ember pecks at it with her beak, and Jung-Mo hits it with an arrow. Sonny notices sparks shooting from the dying creature’s razor-sharp wing tips, and he jumps off just before it explodes!

Ember is not so lucky, and Soske’ Channels Positive Energy to heal her and Sonny. The weapons master hacks off the moth’s wings so that priest Soske’ can sacrifice them to his ancestor spirits.

Wu Jen Toshi recommends looking for a nest or cocoons, and the wanderers find five. Wise Ember reminds them to check for the missing children, but each cocoon contains only a large larva, which are quickly dispatched. The travelers save the cocoons, because their silk can be turned into clothing as strong as steel armor.

Sometime later, the horsemen ride into a swampy area of the woods. As they back out, a giant crustacean springs from the water and fixes its pincers on Tokoro. He hacks away at it, but his blade bounces off the creature’s carapace.

Saigo draws his no dachi (great sword), and Sonny wraps a kusarigama (weighted chain) around the enlarged hellgrammite. Soske’ fires more flaming arrows, but Ember’s Hold Animal spell is unsuccessful. The jaws of the dobsonfly larva continue to constrict on Tokoro.

Armored Saigo sheathes his sword and helps nimble Sonny use his chain to pull the hellgrammite off of unlucky Tokoro. Ember slays it with Flame Strike, and Soske’ dismounts for closer investigation.

Soske’ uses Sense Elements (psychometry) on the water bug. The Shukenja has a vision of a human shaman in stone armor wandering the woods, warping the local flora and fauna. He is accompanied by crows, an Oni (Ogre Mage) in chains, and monkeys. Soske’ also sees something moving under a sandy pit and neatly folded children’s clothing.

Soske’ tells the party that the evil Druid and captive children are nearby. The would-be heroes leave their horses and ready for the next round of magical beasts as they approach the center of the grove….

Byron, we missed you, and Geoff, we’ll miss you next weekend! I’m glad that your team has gotten through various revelations and sticky situations, but more challenges are ahead! I’ll double-check each of your character records on Obsidian Portal to make sure they’re leveled up properly.

I also look forward to tonight’s start of Rich C.G.’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernatural miniseries (using Hunterthe Reckoning).

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Session 39.47 — Black sails and the Nook & Cranny Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black Sails

The Cruel Cutlass

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Vanished Lands: A New Dawn" Session 40.20 — Head fruit and bishonen Drow

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.30, which was held on Sunday, 14 September 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, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed./D&D3.0 Oriental Adventures, Pathfinder, and FATE 3eLegends of Anglerre, plus house rulesSkype, and an online dice roller, as of autumn 2014:

  • Moon Jung-Mo [Dexter V.H.]-male Nannuattan Ninja (Msamaki; eastern Dark Elf Assassin) who has left the Shadow’s Claw clan and is posing as a River Spirit Folk (eastern Grey Elf) merchant; with a young wyvern; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Souji Nobuto ‘Sonny’ Yoshimitsu [Beruk A.]-male Shengtese Tian Kensai (eastern human weapon master) from a dishonored house in the Lion Clan, specializing in chain weapons; with talking horse Yip; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • 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 and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things but plagued by family and ancestor spirits; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Saigo Kasugi [Bruce K.]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 8
  • Tokoro Gawa [Drew S.]-male carp Hengeyokai Hulinyuan (amphibious shapeshifting Ranger) seeking to protect streams; with otter companion; CGn, Lvl. 8

“27 to 29 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The team escorting Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong stopped in Yao Shung and encountered wary villagers. Jung-Mo’s wyvern egg hatched, and the Nannuattan Ninja was forced to reveal his true identity to his companions. The group also learned of missing children and a possible cell of the Scarlet Order in nearby woods.

Jung-Mo and Toshi work on an enchanted cage for the wyvern hatchling. Sonny tells Lady Yun and her Draconian bodyguard Oh Kum Ja that the caravan is staying in the village for a few days to help find the children.

Ember suggests sending Jung-Mo and Toshi into the woods disguised as children. Soske’ suspects that a trap awaits them but is not worried. Saigo agrees to bypass the village elders and contact the families of the missing, while Tokoro follows Sonny’s suggestion and dons the guise of a local hunter.

The adventuring party decides to wait until nightfall for its initial scouting of the woods near Yao Shung. The entire group plans to enter the next day, with Nannuattan Jung-Mo and Shan Sao Toshi as bait.

In the meantime, crane Hengeyokai Ember helps attend to Jung-Mo’s wyvern. Toshi’s tiger Amaya guards Lady Yun, and Sonny reminds his companions of the value of discretion. The Shengtese (East Asian) human also asks his talking horseYip to covertly watch Lady Yun.

Saigo talks to the distraught families of Zhan-Shi Shude, Jik Zeng Meizhu, and Dao Xu Tan. The Bamboo Spirit Folk reassures them that he will help find the children and bring them home.

Shengtese human Soske’ prays to quarrelsome ancestor spirits for guidance. Tokoro and his otter companion go to the “Red Reed” inn to find Hojo Etsuko, who serves the same river spirit he does. The carp Hengeyokai finds the River Spirit Folk recovering from a hangover.

However, when Tokoro asks Hojo for help with the missing children, she excuses herself and staggers to her room. Tokoro and Saigo follow but find that the drunkard has climbed out a window and run away!

As night falls, Sonny, Ember, Soske’, and Tokoro walk to Yao Shung’s outskirts. Ember Wild Shapes into deer form, so that the others can pretend to be pursuing hunters in case members of the Scarlet Order are watching. They enter a small but dense copse of trees.

Jung-Mo, Toshi, and Saigo stay back at the village. Ninja Jung-Mo keeps his wyvern separate from Lady Yun, and Wu Jen Toshi continues his arcane preparations.

Saigo writes a reply to Princess Nayoko in the Zedu kingdom. The Samurai searches for Desc Soo-Ann, or “Desan” for short, the River Spirit Folk courier who brought letters to the party. Saigo spots him behind the inn talking with Hojo Etsuko.

Meanwhile, the people in the woods notice that the trees have grown gnarled, and the air is still. Fruits resembling human heads hang from one tree, and Sonny is compelled to taste one, which addles his senses. Wu Ember notices what the Kensai is eating and doubles back.

Head-shaped fruit

Jinmenju

Shukenja Soske’ prepares to cast Wall of Stone, but Hulinyuan Tokoro also falls prey to the strange fruit. Ember and Soske’ resist the plant’s sweet fragrance. The shapeshifting Druid casts Insect Plague, summoning termites to attack the tree.

Tokoro draws his wakizashi (short sword) and begins cutting down more fruit. Soske’ repeatedly casts Flame Strike, damaging the tree. Branches smack at Tokoro, and a toothy maw opens among the roots. It screams at Soske’ in vain, while Sonny draws his axe, which is enchanted against Giants.

Ember casts Warp Wood, but it doesn’t affect the monster, which she identifies as a Jinmenju. Ensorcelled Tokoro gathers up armloads of the head fruit and gorges himself on it. Soske’ casts Ancestral Weapon and, after some haggling, obtains a magical bow that shoots flaming arrows.

The Jinmenju slams Soske’ and grabs Sonny, dragging the weapon master to its gaping mouth. Sonny wedges his axe in it and manages to crawl away. EmberWild Shapes into an elephant, but Tokoro is too busy eating to notice the fight.

Back in Yao Shung, Saigo overhears Desan and Hojo talking about “being rid of them soon.” He interrupts the courier and the scout, and the River Spirit Folk both look at him with guilty expressions. They say they’ll meet him back at the inn in a little while.

Saigo quietly follows Hojo, knocks her out, and drags her to the carriage in the stables. He binds and gags the woman and then fetches Jung-Mo and Toshi to help with interrogation.

Elephantine Ember charges at the Jinmenju, but its branches deflect her tusks from its trunk. Tokoro continues devouring the fruit, becoming less perceptive as he does so. Soske’ fires flaming arrows and casts more Flame Strikes.

The evil tree bites Sonny and shouts at Ember. The weapon master slashes at the Jinmenju with his kama (sickle and chain). Soske’ notices that his teammates are injured, so the priest Channels Positive Energy. Sonny finishes off the burning tree, and Ember stomps on it to make sure it’s dead.

Sonny reclaims his axe, and Soske’ attends to dazed Tokoro. Ember records a carving on the charred tree trunk before the exhausted team heads back to the village.

To question Hojo, Jung-Mo uses his robe of Alter Self to appear as a Nannuattan, but as an eastern Dark Elf who doesn’t resemble his true form. Unfortunately, Jung-Mo’s comely appearance [“Bieber Drow”] doesn’t frighten the recalcitrant River Spirt Folk.

Toshi Polymorphs into a demon to scare answers out of Hojo, who admits to Saigo that she wants to drive the humans out of the northeastern Plains of Sathendo. She says that Desan offered her a deal on behalf of the empire of Gokuri.

That nefarious realm would take human refugees as slaves, and Hojo’s riverine masters would be able to reclaim the farmlands. Jung-Mo confirms, however, that Hojo knows nothing about Lady Yun. Toshi wonders if Gokuri and the Scarlet Order are connected.

Saigo points out that they need to track down Desan immediately to learn more about the scheme to drive the Shengtese peasants off their land. Bedraggled Sonny, Ember, Soske’, and Tokoro return and compare notes.

Tokoro surprises his fellow wanderers by agreeing with Hojo’s distaste for humans. He wants to free the River Spirit Folk, but Toshi doesn’t trust her. Saigo readies a hunting party, but Soske’ needs to rest before another foray into the forest.

Jung-Mo is reluctant to leave his wyvern unattended, while Ember says there’s no time to waste in rescuing the kidnapped children….

Remember to update your character records on Obsidian Portal to Level 8. I’ll also try to post the latest update for “Vistel’s Expedition” (a.k.a. the crew of the Zephyrthis week.

In the meantime, don’t forget to vote in the poll regarding Rich and Jason’s next games for the Boston-area groups!