Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.20, which was held on Sunday, 1 June 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 rules, Skype, and an online dice roller, as of summer 2014:
- “Souji Nobuto ‘Sonny’ Yoshimitsu” [Beruk A.]-male Shengtese Tian Kensai (eastern human weapon master) from a dishonored house in the Lion Clan, specializing in chain weapons; LNg, Lvl. 6
- “Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu” [Byron V.O.]-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
“1 to 4 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The investigators reported their findings on court intrigues and growing chaos in Tong Sheng to Gen. Wang Tung, but the onetime ally of Saigo’s grandfather betrayed them and tried to keep them from talking to Duke Kou Fei Seng. After Soske’ summoned an avatar of Hotse Mar, god of war, the duke asked the group to scout an approaching army.
The diplomatic escorts prepare to leave for their new mission. Sonny learns that a kaishakun, or seppuku second, in the retinue of Lady Rekai of the Crane Clan is connected with House Daidoji’s dishonor of his own family in the Lion Clan.
Toshi reviews spells and copies a scroll of Fireball. He also asks whether anyone would have an objection to him summoning a tiger, which is his clan’s totem. Nobody does. Saigo acquires a scroll of Haste and takes Gen. Wang’s sword, which Sonny is disappointed to see identifies him as a member of the Lion Clan.
The duke tells Ember and company that he will allow them access to the imperial armory if they successfully return to him. Soske’ gets Cure Moderate Wounds potions from various temples and creates masterwork bracers (+1) for Sonny and Jung-Mo.
Jung-Mo asks underworld contact Tsuji Eizo (actually a fellow Nannuattan Ninja named Park Chulsoon) for supplies. He obtains smoke bombs, knockout grenades, and poison. The onetime spy also decides to leave his mysterious egg in Ember’s quarters in Silado Palace.
The adventuring party saddles up and leaves the palace grounds by midmorning. Some of the bridges over Sogewa’s canals are apparently closed for construction, so the caravan is forced to take side streets.
A broken-down cart blocks the way ahead, and the group finds that it can not back up because of new obstructions. The five remaining people in the alley wear orange sashes, which Sonny recognizes as similar to the one worn by the man who attacked Lady Yun Aei-Yong upon their arrival in the city.
Toshi moves to the side, while Saigo rides up to cart and its occupant. Soske’ sighs and casts Ancestral Weapon, which produces a spirit who reluctantly gives him an enchanted bow. Jung-Mo and Ember hope to disappear as the ambush unfolds.
Shukenja Soske’ fires a Lightning arrow, and Wu Jen Toshi casts Invisibility on himself. Jung-Mo tries to duck into a window, but it is closed. Samurai Saigo swings his katana at the enemy leader, who is wearing an embroidered orange vest and says that the group can not leave the provincial capital.
The would-be assassins hit Toshi, and nine more appear on the roofs on either side of the alley. Kensai Sonny strikes two Ninjas with his chains, and Wu Ember pleases Toshi by Wild Shaping into a tiger.
The first ambusher falls to Soske’s lightning arrows, as Toshi summons an air elemental and sends it to attack Saigo’s foe. Jung-Mo draws his bow as Saigo strikes down the leader on the ground. The Ninjas wound Toshi, and Sonny identifies the leader of the squad on the rooftops.
Ember pounces on an orange-clad assassin but misses, while Soske’ hits three assailants on one roof with Blade Barrier. Toshi casts Mass Snake’s Swiftness on his companions, and the elemental slams a Ninja.
Jung-Mo tosses an alchemical grenade, blasting two Shengtese humans off the roof. Saigo cleaves through two of the people on the ground, but the Ninjas fire arrows at Jung-Mo, Soske’, and Sonny, who acrobatically dodges.
Shengtese human Sonny punches one opponent and climbs to the tiled roof. Shengtese Soske’ shoots another man on the roof, and Shan Sao Toshi summons bats as his elemental misses the Ninjas. Spirit Folk Jung-Mo’s gas grenade incapacitates five more.
Of the more than a dozen ambushers, only a handful remain. Jung-Mo shoots the roof squad leader identified by Sonny with sleep poison as the enemy starts to retreat. Soske’ recommends letting them run away, but Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo slays another, and Sonny trips one more before he can leave.
Sonny ties up the lieutenant, as Jung-Mo and Hengeyokai Ember search the others. They find the following items, but no identifying papers or money:
- Amulet of Protection From Law (claimed by Toshi)
- Dust of Tracelessness (claimed by Toshi and Ember?)
- Eggshell grenades — one powder, one smoke (claimed by Jung-Mo and Saigo)
- Kau sin ke (chain whip, +2, claimed by Sonny)
- Ninja-tos, eight (short swords; one at +2, claimed by Jung-Mo)
- Shurikens, 24 (throwing stars; four for each party member)
The wanderers ride past farms encircling Sogewa. They continue east as settlements get sparser on the Plains of Sathendo, and they begin to cross a high steppe. Toshi and Ember scout ahead in bird form.
Miles away from the urban trap, Saigo ties the Ninja prisoner to a tree and begins roughly interrogating him. Soske’ tends to the horses, and Toshi advises against unreliable and dishonorable torture. Clever Ember turns the spy into a turtle and leaves him out in the grasslands, far from civilization.
That night, Halfling Wizard Toshi casts Know History on the Ninja’s orange garb. The Halfling Wizard has a vision of people meeting Lady Liao Qianru in a shrine. Shapeshifter Ember recognized the aristocrat as a dragon, but she has no idea why the Dragon Clan would hire Ninjas to prevent their departure.
The squad leader’s ninja-to has a symbol of a crescent moon, probably a family crest. The amulet yields a vision of worshippers of Tiamat, the evil serpent queen. Cleric Soske’ isn’t sure how the clans, cultists, and growing chaos around Tong Sheng are related, but Rogue Jung-Mo tells knight Saigo that he knows the Nannuattan of Gokuri are always up to no good.
Dexter and Sara, please again accept our condolences on your recent losses. It was good to chat with both of you, and I hope you enjoy our ongoing campaign.
Now that your characters have leveled up, remember to update their records on Obsidian Portal. I’ll see some of you at upcoming games, including Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario and Bruce’s “Pathfinder: Eberrron/Reign of Winter.” -Gene