Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” Sessions 39.17 and 18, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on 15 July and 5 August 2013:
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 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, as of summer 2013:
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, embittered by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; NGc, Lvl. 4
- “Hamfast Hammerfist” [Brian W.]-male Zeda human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 4
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 4
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 4
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with owlbear cub “Oswald”; NGc, Lvl. 4
- “Tempestade” [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 4
- “Radius” [Jason E.R./departed ]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 1
“26 to 27 October 1228 B.C.E.:” The erstwhile performers had begun investigating rumors of a new cult in Thadenis, capital of the (proto-Celtic) human kingdom of Saganim. Many residents of the city, including King Edmund II and Scully Strongbow, were suffering from an unnatural fatigue.
Giacomo du Vane goes to the Royal Society for Cartography, where he finds girlfriend Maggie Oakleaf asleep. The mage asks “Ulrich Vandermoor” [Ted A.H./Non-Player Character] for any maps of the sewers.
Hamfast Hammerfist and Tempestade go to the Chalice of Pain, where they find wiry bouncers and throngs dancing to the beat of large drums. Scully joins them at the nightclub, which is between the temples of Nenashen, goddess of pain, and Libotoh, lady of death.
Corwin Windsong casts Change Self to appear as the scout “Black Raven” [Michael C./N.P.C.] to visit the embassy of the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm. The prince talks with Lady Dolista about signs of a rising cult. The seductive Drow (western Dark Elf) delegate denies any direct involvement.
Elsa Fairbottom traces the city’s malaise to the East Rush River, and the Druid talks with a turtle named Earl who notes that plant growth beneath various bridges has changed recently.
At the Chalice of Pain, strong Hamfast gets invited to a lounge by Seamus McGinty [Rich/N.P.C.]. Cloaked Scully watches a large man in a kilt arm-wrestling with scrawny fop Edard McMullen [Bruce/N.P.C.]. Tempestade eagerly joins in on beating the hide drums.
Lady Dolista tells cautious Corwin that a statue at the temple of Gherra, matron of the gods, was recently defaced. The statue’s gender was crudely changed to male. Giacomo isn’t happy to learn that spiral carvings found underneath piers match the holy symbol of Krakas, lord of the maelstrom.
Hamfast directly asks Seamus where cultists would gather in Thadenis. The gentleman suggests new tunnels connecting to the sewer system since the Zuromm sack of about a year ago (in “game time”).
The wanderers regroup at Ghanki’s Gin Pub to compare notes. Tempestade notes that with Samhain approaching, any unholy ritual should take place soon. The adventuring party agrees that the first step to stopping the Theft of Sleep, which is robbing the Saganim people of rest to rouse an Undead or sleeping god, is to unpoison the water supply.
Court wizard Giacomo looks for alchemical treatises, and Hamfast and Corwin ask crown prince Garamond, Corwin’s half-brother, for help from his Lizard Folk pirate crew. Scully acquires Sun Rods from her boyfriend “Sir Niac” [Mike F./N.P.C.], a Wolfen Paladin of Otih, god of the sun and law.
Elsa visits the temples of Gherra and Moradin. The Dwarf petitions the priests of the soul forger to share their brews with the populace until the river is made safe.
When some of Garamond’s Reptile Folk go missing, Ranger Scully follows a trail of blood to Hunter’s Bridge, across Cadebas Stream. Two slimy Troglodytes emerge from the murky water, upsetting the rowboat!
Prince Corwin strikes with his sword and dagger, but Elsa’s Charm Animal spell fails. Scully pulls Giacomo out of the water and sends a message to the Grove of Arbos via Owlicious. The Troglodytes rake at Corwin with their filthy claws.
Hamfast stabs at the creatures with a spear, as Tempestade’s knives fly. Giacomo casts Levitate Foe to isolate one of the Trogs, which Corwin slays. Elsa invokes Gaia to Entangle the other, and Giacomo’s Magic Missile has a delayed blast, inadvertently turning his irises white.
Corwin finishes off the second Troglodyte, and local Druids help Elsa and Scully remove the last of the Lethargy Weeds for burning. Garamond is sad to lose sailors but glad that his city is safer.
At the Gilded Keep, Corwin and Tempestade talk with “Melchior Merryman” [Byron V.O./N.P.C.], a Cleric of Ulandt, lady of rest, and counselor to Queen Margaret. Melchior says that the chaotic cult of Krakas is linked to the dreaded ghost fleet.
Giacomo and Scully go to the docks to ask sailors whether they have seen anything unusual. One named Bart is drowning his sorrows in rum and claims that the entire city is damned. Bart says he was serving on the Angry Angel to the Zarendo Islands, where three cultists among the crew committed mutiny against Capt. Hom.
Lady Dolista tells Corwin that a group as large as a cult would need a space such as a sewer node to gather in secret. Hamfast goes with Elsa to a sewer grate, where the Druid charms rat Benny. He agrees to show them the way through the sewers in return for food and reputation.
Scully and Elsa ask Pfenik, a Brownie at the Grove of Arbos, if there are any Druids who might know more about Krakas and the other sea lords. He mentions Sigmund, a Thallassaquendi (western Sea Elf).
The next morning, the brave band enters the sewers beneath the Temple Bridge. Benny leads the way to a large intersection beneath the Temple Tor before scampering off. As the party edges along a slippery walkway, two Troglodytes rise from the depths, followed by a four-armed Sahuagin/Yuan-ti mutant!
Bard Corwin casts Web, ensnaring one, and Fighter Hamfast takes Giacomo’s walking stick. Druid Elsa invokes Moradin to Heat Metal on the leader’s harness, as sniper Scully hits a Trog with an arrow. The monsters hurl spit and feces.
Giacomo shoots Magic Missiles, while Tempestade lobs sling stones. The Troglodytes struggle in the raw sewage, but the Yuan-ti casts Darkness for cover. Corwin casts Mirror Image and tries to restrain the four-armed monster.
Hamfast switches to his maul, hitting one opponent, as Elsa calls upon Gaia for Light to dispel the darkness. Scully misses, and Giacomo casts Magic Shield. One of the Troglodytes dives to escape the webbing, and the Yuan-ti grabs at Giacomo.
Corwin strikes the enemy leader with his sword, and Hamfast helps Tempestade by killing a Trog. Elsa readies her sling “Seeker” and asks Moradin to Bless her companions. Scully is glad that she has wax in her nostrils and fires at the webbed foe.
Giacomo’s next Levitate and Magic Missile spells fail, but he succeeds on his next tries. The mage is hit by the Yuan-ti’s Magic Missiles in return. Corwin and Giacomo finish the skirmish, and they retrieve a Harness of Buoyancy and curved daggers with pearl-inlaid handles.
Elsa heals Giacomo’s burns, as the group catches its breath. Corwin ties a rope around his waist and dives, finding a hidden hatch. He opens it, and the water starts to drains out, pulling in Hamfast, who was holding the rope.
The former members of Vistel’s Circus feel a blast of warm, dry air and prepare to face the cultists deep beneath Thadenis….
Our adventures will continue next Monday, 19 August 2013! Those of you playing spellcasters should probably check your character records on Obsidian Portal to make sure that their lists are up to date.
While I’m sorry that we’ve had to skip some “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” telecom space opera sessions, we’ll resume later this month. Josh, I hope your “Steam Wars” game wraps up well, and Jason, I look forward to your “Star Wars: Dark Times” miniseries (using Savage Worlds) this fall. Later, -Gene