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 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./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 to Gen. 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.