Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 40.26, which was held on Sunday, 3 August 2014:
Long ago in a distant land, spirits and men directly traded bamboo, silk, and steel. Wars to the west, twisted monsters, and power-hungry sorcerers threatened the eastern kingdoms, so the call went out for new heroes of honor and tact….
Player Character Party 40 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” Asian-style telecom campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game 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. 7
- “Toshiharu ‘Toshi’ Sembutsu” [Byron V.O.]-male Shan Sao Wu Jen (eastern Halfling Wizard) with tiger companion Amaya and a destiny; NGc, Lvl. 7
- “Ember Talon” [Sara F.]-female Crane Hengeyokai Wu (shapeshifting Druid), actually a young gold dragon banished from the Celestial Court; NGl, Lvl. 7
- “Soske’ Tiatoshe” [Geoff C.]-male Shengtese Tian Shukenja (eastern human Cleric), priest of Shang-ti and animist from the Phoenix Clan, prophesied to do great things; LNg, Lvl. 7
- “Moon Jung-mo” [Dexter V.H.]-male Nannuattan Ninja (Msamaki, eastern Dark Elf Assassin) who has left the Shadow’s Claw clan and is posing as a River Spirit Folk Yakuza (eastern Grey Elf Rogue); LNg, Lvl. 7
- “Saigo Kasugi” [Bruce K./absent ]-male Bamboo Spirit Folk Samurai (eastern Sylvan Elf Cavalier) discreetly serving his daimyo; LNg, Lvl. 7
“18 to 19 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The wanderers prepared to leave Sogewa, capital of Tong Sheng. Jung-Mo checked in with a countryman, Sonny kept an eye on Gokuri emissary Lady Yun Aei-Yong, and Toshi contacted arcanist colleagues. Ember warned a Samurai suitor, and Soske’ prayed for guidance.
Saigo was attacked in the House of the Red Lotus, but Toshi helped him escape, heal, and shop. Back out on the eastern Plains of Sathendo, the group escorted Lady Yun and Prince Zu Ji’s retinue and notified imperial troops of its itinerary.
Shengtese human Sonny says he doesn’t trust the crown prince or Lady Fu Hao, whose army is approaching Sogewa. By contrast, Toshi thinks that the general, who is the favorite of Emperor Zi Zhao’s 60 concubines, is more honorable, if somewhat bloodthirsty. The Shan Sao suggests waiting to see how any confrontation unfolds.
Bamboo Spirit Folk Saigo recommends ditching Prince Zu Ji as soon as possible, regardless of Lady Yun’s offer of asylum on behalf of neighboring realm Gokuri. Hengeyokai Ember doesn’t want the prince to be murdered by his stepmother, who may have her own plans for succession.
Shengtese human Soske’ agrees with the idea of sending the prince back to his father in distant Yin for judgment. Spirit Folk Jung-Mo is more concerned about his companions’ survival than who might win in a battle — Prince Zu Ji and Lady Yun Aei-Yong on the one hand, or Lady Fu Hao and part of her army on the other.
While disguised as one of the prince’s 50 armored guards, Jung-Mo observes that the troops are nervous, even if they are not privy to the conversations among the Shang nobles. Sonny takes watch as the caravan camps for the night, about a day’s ride north of Sogewa.
Toshi studies spells in a tent, while Saigo sleeps heavily after some late nights. Ember also stands watch, and she is not surprised when Jung-Mo just happens to bump into her during his own patrol.
Meanwhile, Soske’ slips out and pointedly asks the prince why he is fleeing. Prince Zu Ji admits that he is afraid of the warrior queen but doesn’t reveal the details of any differences between him and the emperor.
Scout Jung-Mo notices that the prince’s soldiers are on alert, and Druid Ember communicates with their horses, who don’t like being saddled at night. Kensai Sonny notices activity around the tent of the court mages, and he notifies Toshi.
The Wu Jen recognizes that they are preparing a Mass Teleport ritual, which can quickly transport about a dozen people hundreds of miles. Soske’ rejoins the group, which heads toward Lady Yun’s tent.
The Wizards and the prince disappear in a flash of light. Lady Yun confirms that Zu Ji has escaped to Gokuri, and the Nannuattan notes that she has not yet had any direct communications with Lady Fu Hao, so as a foreign diplomat, she cannot be held responsible for any disputes within the Shang/Shengtese aristocracy.
Saigo is frustrated and storms off, but Toshi reassures his friends that even if the noblewomen fight, they’re now less likely to use scapegoats for a potential assassination. Jung-Mo and Ember are confused by human intrigues and bellicosity.
The next morning, the remainder of the prince’s guards head back to Sogewa, leaving Lady Yun and her escort to continue north toward Akilu Castle. Ember flies ahead in crane form. The shapeshifter spots three men dressed as Tsucharim (Mongol-style) riders.
They stop the carriage, and Lady Yun steps out to introduce herself. The scouts are suspicious, but one seems swayed to trust the manipulative Nannuattan. His cohorts try to knock some sense into him.
A larger group of Shang troops arrives and lowers spears at Lady Yun. Lieutenant Xiu Yu says the eastern Dark Elf should be killed on sight, but Sonny informs him that the latest war is over, and Lady Yun presents her credentials as a diplomat negotiating the truce between Gokuri, Tong Sheng, and the Zedu kingdom.
Lieut. Xiu is still reluctant to let the party pass, and he asks Soske’ to cast an Augury. The priest communes with abusive ancestral spirits, who confirm that Lady Yun’s mission is one of peace, “insofar as any Nannuattan says what they mean.”
Soske’ also reiterates that the army’s quarry — Prince Zu Ji — has fled beyond its reach and won’t be captured with magic. Lieut. Xiu is about to order his soldiers to leave when Toshi suggests that Lady Yun request an audience with Lady Fu.
Lieut. Xiu and his liang (unit of 25) bring Lady Yun’s caravan to a larger force of two zu (about 250 soldiers). All prostrate themselves before the Lady Fu Hao. Lady Yun introduces herself, but Lady Fu cuts the pleasantries short and angrily accuses the Gokuri emissary of aiding the errant prince.
The fierce Fu dismisses Lady Yun and Samurai Saigo, but Sonny and Ember suggest that she can restore order in Sogewa without casualties by reinstating Duke Kou Fei Seng. They also remind Lady Fu to beware of the Dragon and Crane clans.
She says she’ll consider their advice. Since Ember’s true nature as an exiled dragon was revealed in a previous meeting with Lady Fu, Jung-Mo hangs back. Lady Yun shrugs off the loss of face, implying that the general has spent too long at war.
As one oracle to another, axe-wielding Lady Fu offers Soske’ any aid he may need in quelling the chaos in the countryside, as long as he finds its sources. He realizes that he is one step closer to his visions of the future and prophesied destiny.
Toshi offers his services to Lady Fu, who accepts and orders him to provide regular reports on the mission to escort Lady Yun to the capital of his homeland, the Zedu kingdom….
It was good to see most of you at Guardians of the Galaxy or “JasonCon 2014 B,” and Bruce, we’ll need to figure out the rest of August. We missed “Saigo” (and “Corwin”), but at least your team avoided getting caught in a bloody confrontation!
Note that the “Vanished Lands” campaign won’t be meeting for the next two weekends, but I hope to resume on Sunday, Aug. 24. Be seeing you, -Gene