Tag Archives: legends of anglerre

"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.

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Session 39.43 — Guitar heroes

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.43, which Rich C.G. hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Friday, 27 June 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 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
  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, 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
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, 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

(See previous notes for Paladins “Radius” [Jason E.R.] and “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.].)

“14 to 15 March 1884 A.D./C.E.:” The would-be heroes rested in the chambers of a vampire and a banshee beneath Gisar’s ruined Magisterium (magic school/library). They fought cultists of Krakas, a spectre, and a gargoyle. The group also encountered four golems, a gelatinous cube, and Draconian priests of Tiamat before activating an obelisk and traveling to Tempestade’s time….

Giacomo checks to make sure that he is in control rather than his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra. Scully notices that someone other than Gregor Kratakis, a fellow member of the Order of the Golden Lion, has traveled with “Vistel’s Expedition.”

The man falls into the Brazilian jungle and defensively casts Darkness and Detect Curse before talking. “Melchior” [guest Byron V.O.] has been summoned from Thadenis, capital of the (proto-Celtic) human kingdom of Saganim. Corwin explains the situation to his countryman.

Tempestade climbs a tree to get his bearings and recognizes the trading post of Rio de Cidade. Elsa Wild Shapes into a toucan, while Rhys verifies that his clockwork devices still work. Back in barbaric Gisar, Hamfast continues carousing.

“Vistel’s Expedition” debates on how to rescue slaves from Tempestade’s former plantation and get them back to the “Vanished Lands.” Capoeirista Tempestade recommends talking to people in the village before going to Pais Doce.

Cleric Melchior, who has traveled through time before, warns Wizard Giacomo and Bard Corwin that their arcane spells may not work reliably. Ranger Scully and Druid Elsa sense their patron Mekkil (Gaia), but not as strongly as they expect.

Tinker Gnome Rhys, however, is excited at the prospect of encountering more technology. Hifalendorin human Giacomo Polymorphs his homunculus familiar Gerald into a monkey. Gnoll Scully dons a Hat of Disguise to appear as an attractive woman, since Tempestade says most of the locals are human.

Saganim human Melchior notes that the team should have a plan and that it would be better to bring the escapees somewhere other than vampire-ruled Gisar. Half-Elf Corwin wants to spend as little time in the future as possible.

Scully suggests entering Rio de Cidade as “Vistel’s Circus,” since most of the group has experience as performers. Hill Dwarf Elsa, whose winged cat Penryn is back in Gisar with Hamfast, agrees. Tempestade leads the way toward the river port.

Giacomo casts Comprehend Languages, and Corwin casts Know the Words. Melchior uses a scroll of Tongues to speak Portuguese. They buy clothing to blend in. Tempestade, Scully, and Corwin go to the local church, where they talk with Padre Franco, a Jesuit sympathetic to the peasants’ plight.

The Roman Catholic priest says that Armadeiras Fonseca, the leader of Tempestade’s mocambo (rebel band), recently visited Rio de Cidade for supplies. Taciturn Tempestade is glad to learn that his onetime allies are still alive, because he remembers them being slaughtered as he was sent thousands of years back in time to find help.

Meanwhile, the rest of the company goes to the town hall. On the way, wary Giacomo and burly Scully restrain curious Rhys from running to a steamboat at the docks. They promise to let him look at it later. Foppishly disguised Melchior and intrepid Elsa Detect Undead and ask a clerk about maps and records.

They see Lord Yves d’Agneau, owner of the Pais Doce estate, giving orders to servant Brizida Magalhaes. After some introductions, Lord d’Agneau insists that the carnival folk come for dinner and stay the night before arranging a performance for his restive slaves. Giacomo proffers a lace handkerchief gift (so he can magically track the man later).

Nimble Tempestade runs out into the jungle to find Armadeiras, followed by Scully, who Wild Shapes into a falcon, and her owl “Owlicious.” Prince Corwin rejoins the others with a planned rendezvous at the church.

But first, they follow a red-headed man matching Tempestade’s description of the nature spirit who sent him through time. The short sorcerer boards the steamboat, much to Rhys’ delight.

Rogerio Ribeiro says he knows why they have come and proves his power by emptying the cargo hold of sugarcane and lumber with the snap of his fingers. He and Lord d’Agneau have already been in the state of Mina Gerais for centuries and are longtime trading partners.

Still, Corwin and Elsa ask for help evacuating about 100 slaves, and the imp says he can take them “upriver,” meaning back to their home time, if not necessarily back to Gisar.

In return, Ribeiro wants them to take a message — “I sacrifice a rook” — back to the Pit Fiend they encountered in the Zarendo Islands. Giacomo and Melchior are reluctant to make such a deal, but they agree that securing the slaves’ freedom is a top priority. Rhys is just happy to examine the boat’s steam engine.

Tempestade and Scully find Armadeiras at a mocambo camp deep in the Amazon rain forest. They warn him that a planned rebellion is doomed without their help. Armadeiras agrees to accompany them back to the village and to tell his forces to wait.

The voyagers regroup at the church before going to Pais Doce for dinner. Giacomo once again presents himself as “the Mysterious,” and Melchior casts Heroes’ Feast to refresh his friends. Scully poses as a “warrior princess” circus act, and Tempestade gets help dressing as a Suthern/Arabian prince.

Corwin regains lost spells through Restoration and wears a white linen suit, while Elsa remains in bird form and perches on his shoulder. Rhys studies the steamboat, which he learns can turn into an airship!

The adventuring party goes to Tempestade’s former plantation, passing guards in mechanized walkers. Lord d’Agneau is a gracious host, offering many delicacies and suspicious red beverages. Giacomo covertly casts Detect Magic and finds wards above the windows and doors.

Melchior senses Undead and declines the wine. Scully smells blood, and Tempestade silently swears vengeance against his former master. Corwin recognizes servant Brizida, and Elsa nudges him to keep the conversation light by talking about art.

Diminuitive Rhys jumps onto the table to eat, and he later excuses himself to find out how the servants are bringing food so quickly from the distant kitchen. The Tinker Gnome finds a wheeled robot with metal arms and a hotplate, and he quickly stuffs it into his Bag of Holding. Pleased with himself, Rhys returns to dinner.

After the meal, Melchior and Corwin create a diversion by offering to entertain Lord d’Agneau and his household. Melchior plays his mandolin “Jolene” and casts Charm and Obscuring Mist.

Scully follows Brizida to a lavatory, where the woman draws daggers from her corset! Giacomo, Elsa, and Rhys go to aid Scully, while Tempestade prepares to fight in the foggy hall. Lord d’Agneau reveals his true form, with no hair, sharp teeth and claws, and a long, tentacle-like tongue.

Melchior cast Web, slowing the slave owner. In return, Lord d’Agneau tries to drain his memories but can’t because of the Cleric’s ring of Mind Shield. Corwin’s Symbol of Death has no effect on the Outsider. Tempestade lights the drapes with a candle.

Brizida slashes at Scully, who draws her sword in close quarters. Elsa casts Silence and heads back to the lounge, while Rhys shoots his repeating crossbow. Giacomo smacks the would-be assassin with his staff.

In the misty main hall, Melchior casts Sound Lance and Shadow Bolt, and Lord d’Agneau summons two vampires. Corwin casts Storm Bolts and Ice Storm, and quick-thinking Tempestade throws the burning curtains on d’Agneau. Elsa joins that battle by Wild Shaping into a dire bear.

Brizida cuts Scully with a poisoned dagger, but the Ranger and Rhys hit her as well. Giacomo finishes her, and Rhys goes to prepare the steamboat for passengers.

The vampires claw at Melchior and Corwin, who casts Magic Missiles. Melchior calls upon Ulandt, lady of the night, and Channels Positive Energy. Violet light heals his allies and harms the Undead.

Similarly, Elsa invokes Mekkil, goddess of nature, for a green glow. Tempestade calls upon Otih, lord of the sun and justice (similar to the Christ), for a yellow burst, which destroys Lord d’Agneau. Corwin finishes off the vampires, and Melchior casts Consecrate.

Elsa recommends that Tempestade hold off on burning down the manor house until all the slaves have left, and Melchior and Corwin search the area. They find the following items:

  • Alaria’s Saddle Blanket (3 preset steed forms, up to CR4; claimed by Scully)
  • Deck of Illusions (claimed by Melchior, who gave masterwork mandolin “Jolene” to Corwin)
  • Ring of Resistance (+ 2; claimed by Elsa)
  • Ring of Water Walking (claimed by Tempestade)
  • Vial of poison (from Brizida; claimed by Scully)

Tempestade readies to rally the slaves to escape from Pais Doce, as Giacomo readies his Robe of Blending to impersonate the late Lord d’Agneau and delay raising an alarm….

Boston-area face-to-face groups

"Vistel's Expedition," summer 2014

I hope that everyone enjoyed our extra games and Byron’s visit! I’ll try to post my notes for our second “Star TrekRestoration” session later this week.

Congrats again to Drew on your wedding, and good luck to Thomas & Kai-Yin and Sara & Josh with your upcoming nuptials! Our thoughts are also with ailing Stuart in New York. I look forward to seeing most of you at our next one-shot. 

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Session 39.42 — Ghost, gargoyle, golems, and gelatinous cube

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.42, which Rich C.G. hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 23 June 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 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
  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, 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
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, 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

(See previous notes for Paladins “Radius” [Jason E.R.] and “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.].)

“12 to 13 March 1227 B.C.E.:” After resting at a temple of Brijitt, the explorers met an Atlantean agent and entered barbaric Gisar’s sewers. They avoided a Draconian patrol and scouted the ruins beneath the House of Xia. The group magically jumped to a room with a vampire and a banshee and narrowly defeated them before debating what to do next in Tempestade’s quest.

Giacomo, Tempestade, and Rhys recommend pressing on while they still have the element of surprise and while Gregor Kratakis, the Atlantean member of the Order of the Golden Lion, creates a diversion on the surface.

Scully, Corwin, and Elsa, however, prefer to rest to recover arcane and divine spells. They argue that since they have defeated Count Radescu and Lady Leafcutter, at least one chamber is relatively secure.

Two humans wearing spiral amulets of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom, knock on the door. Giacomo dons a Robe of Blending to pose as the count, and Corwin puts on a Hat of Disguise to appear as the Undead Dark Elf. The Wizard casts Comprehend Languages, and the Bard casts Know the Words.

They crack open the door and haughtily tell the patrol to go away and leave them alone. Ranger Scully blends in with the dungeon’s humanoid denizens, but martial artist Tempestade uses his Boots of Spider Climb to stay out of sight near the ceiling.

Similarly, Druid Elsa Wild Shapes into insect form, and Tinker Gnome Rhys hides beneath a bed. The cultists leave, and the group sets watches so the spellcasters can sleep. Rhys studies Scully’s hollow-point arrows to adapt for his crossbow bolts.

On the second watch, Tempestade sees a ghostly figure pass through a wall. He talks with Elleron, who was once a scribe in Gisar’s Magisterium (magic school/library). Tempestade knocks a book out of the ghostly librarian’s hands, and Elleron casts Detect Good and notices the Barbari human’s companions.

The Spectre reaches out to Tempestade, who fights defensively and ripostes. The Monk wakes up Neutral Rhys, who doesn’t see the spirit and is fascinated by the open tome on the floor. Owlicious, Scully’s owl companion, is nervous and rouses the Gnoll.

Rhys tries to share the book with Hill Dwarf Elsa, who Channels Positive Energy, healing Tempestade and briefly warding off Elleron. The Undead scribe touches Elsa with icy fingers, and Half-Elf Corwin is annoyed at being awakened.

Scully ends the fracas with an arrow filled with holy water, and Giacomo and Elsa carefully wrap up the book, returning Rhys to his senses. Tempestade resumes watch with Gerald, Giacomo’s homunculus familiar.

A little while later, Gus the Gargoyle knocks on the door to invite Count Radescu and Lady Leafcutter to a special meal. He explains that a rare Atlantean human has been captured. Scully and Tempestade realize that Gregor needs rescuing.

Still disguised, Corwin and Giacomo tell the stone-skinned monster to bring the prisoner to them. Shortly thereafter, two acolytes of Krakas bring the trussed-up Rogue to the subterranean room.

Priestess Elsa casts Silence on a coin to limit enemy spellcasting. Sniper Scully shoots an arrow at the Gargoyle, and Giacomo smacks a cultist with his staff. The arcanist sends Gerald to untie the battered Atlantean.

Swashbuckler Corwin draws his sword and dagger, and gadgeteer Rhys fires his crossbow at Gus. One cultist runs away, and Tempestade chases after him. The Gargoyle strikes Giacomo, who slays the other cultist with Magic Missiles.

Elsa Wild Shapes into dire bear form and smashes the Gargoyle, and the rest of the group quickly searches the bodies. They find banded armor, restorative ointment, and a Folding Boat.

Meanwhile, Tempestade runs after one acolyte into an intersection of tunnels. He sees four statues and runs past them to lead them away from his friends. Unfortunately, a heavy door at the end of one hallway is locked, and a clockwork golem turns and grabs the time-displaced capoeirista!

The rest of “Vistel’s Expedition” catches up and sees the four constructs. A stone golem reaches for Corwin, and another slips when trying to grab Giacomo. One of the two clockwork humanoids continues trying to choke Tempestade.

Wily Giacomo casts Ray of Enfeeblement on a stone golem, and clever Rhys aims for the symbol on the forehead of one of the animated statues but hits himself instead. Determined Scully casts Rock to Mud on one of Giacomo’s foes, weakening it.

Prince Corwin uses a wand of Dispel Magic, but it has no effect on the tough golems. Nimble Tempestade invokes Otih, god of the sun and justice, to heal himself and break free. Pious Elsa calls upon Vulkan (Moradin) and summons a stone giant.

Six more followers of Krakas arrive from side passages and begin casting. Rhys is briefly lost in a vision of being in an icy hell. Giacomo uses Force Manipulationto create a barrier, slowing some of the clergy of chaos.

The stone golems trade mighty blows with the giant, and the clockwork creature weakened by Giacomo hits itself. Corwin blasts Tempestade’s opponent, which explodes, wounding both of them and Giacomo.

Elsa calls for the adventurers to head to the “Joining of the Ways,” the obelisk they plan to use to help Tempestade get back to his distant homeland. Rhys eventually breaks free of the illusion and falls back, ordering his own constructs to help hold off the cultists.

Giacomo drops two of the robed men with more Magic Missiles, as Scully looses volleys of arrows. Tempestade takes the lead toward the obelisk, and around a corner, he runs into a Gelatinous Cube!

Tempestade is paralyzed and burned by the aberration’s digestive acids, which also destroy his Boots of Spider Climb. Elsa casts Wall of Fire, and Scully casts Resist Elements — Fire on Tempestade.

The giant summoned by Elsa manages to hold off the three remaining golems, as the surviving cultists advance. An evil priest reanimates the dead worshippers of Krakas. Giacomo fells two more with Magic Missiles, while Rhys shoots wide.

Corwin takes the lead, following a map from the “Seekers of Lore,” a previous band of would-be heroes. Elsa casts River of Wind, forcing the Gelatinuous Cube through the Wall of Fire to free Tempestade, who is still paralyzed.

Scully grabs Tempestade and Gregor and runs toward the Joining of the Ways. Elsa again Channels Positive Energy to heal her companions. The spelunkers meet four Draconians from the temple of Tiamat.

Dulac the Denier, a gold-scaled Aurak, asks “Lady Leafcutter” and “Count Radescu” what took them so long. He says they should sacrifice the Atlantean so the feast can begin.

Scully ties Gregor loosely to the obelisk while the others pretend to go along with the ritual. Instead, Giacomo, Tempestade, Corwin, and Elsa read aloud from each side of the monolith. The carvings are in Celestial, Draconic, Infernal, and Quelanthi (High Elven).

Before more followers of Krakas can arrive or the Draconians realize what’s really happening, the obelisk glows brightly. Gregor begins to tell Scully, “You have regards from…” and the chamber disappears. The adventuring party is briefly disoriented and nauseated.

The onetime circus performers land in a jungle, which reminds them of the Zarendo Islands but smells and sounds different. The oppressive heat and humidity weigh upon them. Giacomo hears distant bells and verifies that his cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra hasn’t taken control of him again.

Scully notices that someone familiar has joined them in traveling through time and space [see Byron V.O.’s upcoming cameo]. Corwin would have preferred a different way to leave Gisar, where Hamfast is still carousing.

Elsa casts Speak With Animals and learns from a toucan that they are in the Brazilian state of Mina Gerais. Rhys is curious about sounds of machinery. Tempestade hopes to free fellow slaves from his former plantation and return with them to the “Vanished Lands”….

I hope that everyone has enjoyed our old-school scenarios, and we’ll keep on refining our house rules. I also look forward to seeing you during Byron V.O.’s visit to the Boston area this coming weekend!

"Vanished Lands: Vistel's Expedition" Session 39.41 — Finding the path into darkness

Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.41, which Rich C.G. hosted in Waltham, Mass., on Monday, 16 June 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 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
  • Hamfast Hammerfist [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, 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
  • Corwin Windsong [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, 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

(See previous notes for Paladins “Radius” [Jason E.R.] and “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.].)

“11 to 12 March 1227 B.C.E.:” “Vistel’s Expedition” decided to explore the barbaric port of Gisar before heading into its sewers to help Tempestade get to a magical obelisk and his distant homeland. They met many colorful and strange people at local temples and taverns and learned about potential hazards.

Most of the onetime circus perfomers spend the night at the temple of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry. Hamfast is out carousing, but skalds (Bards) report that the Zeda human Fighter doesn’t appear to be in any immediate danger.

Giacomo recommends approaching the obelisk beneath the House of Xia during daytime so that the city’s vampiric rulers need more time to react to any incursion. Scully casts a Message spell to ask “Kemosh” [Byron V.O./Non-Player Character] in distant Falit for a local contact in the Order of the Golden Lion.

Tempestade is eager to free fellow slaves and suggests sending a few people to scout ahead rather than have the entire group explore the sewers and be detected. By contrast, Corwin wants to enter the ruined Magisterium (magic school/library) immediately rather than spend any more time in Gisar.

Elsa prepares wax and Daylight pellets as precautions against a Banshee said to be lurking in the House of Xia. Newcomer Rhys studies the map from the “Seekers of Lore,” a previous adventuring party that took serious casualties in the same dungeon.

Hifalendorin human Giacomo casts Wizard Eye, and with help from Hill Dwarf Elsa’s Find the Path, he peeks at the most direct route to the time/dimension travel-enabling obelisk, or “Joining of the Ways.” Giacomo sees rubble, a partially restored library, and winding passages beneath the House of Xia and the bar “Angkir’s Oars.”

Flind Scully communicates with Kemosh, who says that he thinks of her often. The Anpur Kahin (Jackal-Man Druid) says that she should look for an Atlantean (Theran/Minoan) human named Gregor Kratakis at the docks. Brazilian human Tempestade is reluctant to discuss any plans for resettling slaves from his former plantation.

Half-Elf Corwin casts Message to inform Saganim (proto-Celtic) human Cleric “Melchior” [Byron/N.P.C.] in Thadenis about the plan to get to the Joining of the Ways. Tinker Gnome Rhys readies his clockwork devices.

Giacomo also perceives necromancy and what appear to be a Vistani human aristocrat and a Dark Elf woman in a room on the way to the obelisk. He sees that the monolith itself seems undisturbed.

After sleep and more discussion, the would-be heroes visit the docks. At Angkir’s Oars, Scully finds Gregor and discreetly shows him her medallion from the Order of the Golden Lion. The Rogue knows little about the Magisterium ruins, but in return for information about the obelisk, he offers to create a diversion at Otto’s Ferry in case the vampires in Barovic Castle send forces againt the group.

Tempestade offers to Speak With Animals, and Elsa readies Commune With Natureas the adventurers approach a sewer outlet into the Bedoni River. Corwin says it’s better to attack the couple Giacomo spied upon than to fight through several tunnels.

Ancient temples

Ruined library

Rhys sends his scorpion device ahead and enters the sewers with Scully. Corwin, Elsa, and Giacomo follow, with Tempestade bringing up the rear. They have not gone far when a door to the east opens, and a squad of six Draconians exits from the nearby temple of Tiamat!

Druid Elsa Wild Shapes into a dragonfly, and Bard Corwin quickly casts Mass Invisibility. Diminutive Rhys presses himself against the damp wall, while Wizard Giacomo quietly backs up. The copper-scaled Kapak patrol marches past, and one Draconian spits acid in Elsa’s general direction.

Martial artist Tempestade uses his Boots of Spider Climb to hide by the curved ceiling, and Ranger Scully readies Protection From Evil. The squad is followed by a bronze-armored Bozak officer, but he doesn’t notice the invisible interlopers either.

Vistel’s Expedition breathes a sigh of relief and falls to arguing over how to proceed. Rhys points out alternate routes to the Joining of the Ways. The spelunkers eventually decide to attack the people in the room close to the obelisk.

Corwin casts Dimension Door and takes Scully, Elsa, and Rhys, while Giacomo casts Planar Step and takes Tempestade. They find themselves in a misty chamber. The fog coalesces into humanoid forms.

The alluring Lady Leafcutter is a Banshee, or undead Dark Elf, and the well-dressed but gray-skinned Count Radescu is a vampire and member of Gisar’s ruling class. Corwin boldly attacks, and Elsa shifts into dire wolf form.

Rhys hurls a Daylight pellet and scrambles to swap out the poison in his scorpion construct for holy water. Tempestade puts wax in his ears and confirms the enemies’ nature with Detect Undead. Scully dips her hollow-point arrows in holy water, and Giacomo casts Shield.

Unfortunately, Giacomo’s spell and wax don’t fully protect him against the Banshee’s wail, which nearly kills him. The Nosferatu leaps onto Rhys and begins drinking his blood. Corwin casts Storm Bolts, briefly stunning Lady Leafcutter.

Elsa invokes Mekkil (Gaia), goddess of nature, to Channel Positive Energy, healing her allies and harming the Undead. Tempestade calls upon Otih, god of the sun and justice, to do the same, thanks to a divine favor from Sir Torrel.

Rhys struggles to escape the vampire’s embrace, as his clockwork scorpion shoots holy water and his dragon device breathes fire. Scully’s Hold Person fails to affect Count Radescu. Worse still, Giacomo’s cursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra takes control of the injured arcanist and uses Planar Step to take his body to Hesolin, hundreds of miles away!

Lady Leafcutter’s touch causes Corwin to cower in fear, and Count Radescu continues to drain Rhys of life force. Elsa calls upon Vulkan (Moradin) as she summons a stone giant, which fills the room and tosses the vampire and unlucky Rhys.

Nimble Tempestade fights defensively, and righteous Scully casts Dispel Evil. Possessed Giacomo orders a tea in a Hesolin café while his homunculus familiar Gerald cries out for him beneath Gisar.

The tide of battle turns when Corwin regains his senses and manages toDisintegrate the vampire. Elsa’s Holy Burst destroys the Banshee. Giacomo eventually subdues Ezra’s consciousness and expends magical energy to rejoin his companions.

Elsa treats the injured Giacomo, Corwin, and Rhys. Unscathed, Scully and Tempestade search the room. They find the following items:

  • Bag of Holding (Type 2, up to 500 lbs./70 cu. ft.; claimed by Rhys)
  • Dust of Tracelessness (DC 20 to track; claimed by Tempestade)
  • Efficient Quiver (store up to 60 arrows, desired one always at hand; claimed by Scully)
  • Leather armor, + 2 (claimed by Scully)
  • Ring of Protection, + 2 (claimed by Corwin)
  • Robe of Blending (Alter Self, claimed by Giacomo)

Elsa thanks the giant before returning it to its home plane, and she claims no treasure this time. Corwin, Elsa, and Scully recommend retreating to rest and recover spells, but Giacomo, Tempestade, and Rhys argue in favor of pressing on toward the obelisk….

Brian and Jason, we missed you! Remember to update your characters’ spells and possessions on Obsidian Portal. Also, try harder to arrive at a consensus on what to do next before we continue our adventures next week.

See my other posts on the Yahoo/eGroups and Google Groups message boards regarding upcoming events, including Free RPG Day, the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom game, and Byron’s upcoming visit!