Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands: Vistel’s Circus” Session 39.21, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 16 September 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 autumn 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. 5
- “Hamfast Hammerfist” [Brian W.]-male Zeda human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 5
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 5
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 5
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with owlbear cub “Oswald”; NGc, Lvl. 5
- “Tempestade” [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 5
- “Sir Torrel” [Alex W.]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justic; LGn, Lvl. 5
- “Radius” [Jason E.R./departed ]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 5
“31 October to 20 November 1228 B.C.E.:” After clearing Prince Corwin’s name and defeating cultists of Krakas in Thadenis, the former circus performers prepared to leave the capital of the (proto-Celtic) human kingdom of Saganim.
At the tower of Otih, Scully Strongbow and Tempestade meet with priests of the god of the sun and justice. Father Alaistair introduces the Ranger and Monk to Sir Torrel, a relatively recent arrival from Hesolin.
The Paladin is surprised to find a Gnoll, a Barbari human, and Wolfen “Niac” [Mike F./Non-Player Character] among Otih’s followers. Still, Torrel is pleased when Father Alaistair orders him to accompany Scully and Tempestade and smite evil.
At the agora (market square), Corwin Windsong, Elsa Fairbottom, and Hamfast Hammerfist observe the Samhain festivities. Some of the revelers recognize the prince, and the Dwarf brewer and Zeda human are interested in pumpkin ales.
Time-displaced Tempestade continues his research into a way home, so he, Scully, and Sir Torrel look for Giacomo du Vane. They find the Wizard with the tinker’s cart confiscated from a serial killer and flesh crafter back in the village of Tensar.
At the Hall of Thanes, the Royal Society for Cartography, and the Harandrim Academy, Giacomo and Tempestade piece together mentions of an obelisk in the port of Gisar that once allegedly sent the “Seekers of Lore” through time.
The adventurers reunite at the Happy Brownie Inn. Giacomo recommends consulting the three towers of sorcery in Falit, capital of the Ebir Sheikdom, rather than heading directly east to Gisar. Fighter Hamfast refuses to have anything to do with temporal magic.
Ranger Scully notes that the group was originally thinking of traveling north, to infiltrate the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm. Tempestade is emphatic in his desire to free slaves from his former plantation, but he is unable to describe exactly when and where he is from, other than the distant future.
Corwin is reluctant to start an international incident between Saganim and Zuromm, and Druid Elsa is curious about exploring the larger world. Sir Torrel says he is ready to fight evil no matter where it lurks. After some debate, the onetime members of Vistel’s Circus agree to first head south, to Falit.
Back in the agora, the voyagers meet the foppishly dressed “Melchior” [Byron V.O./N.P.C.] and his youthful ward Esteban. The priest of Ulandt, lady of rest, brings them to a building that looks like nobleman’s brownstone on the outside but is actually a safe house for agents of Queen Margaret.
As a former “Seeker of Lore,” Melchior is reluctant to talk about the world of 400 years in a potential future. He acknowledges that meddling in one’s past is dangerous and notes that his party had help getting home. Tempestade does learn that the sides of the obelisk in Gisar have inscriptions in different languages that must be read aloud.
Giacomo goes to the Harandrim Academy, which was founded by a deceased “Lorewarden” [“Heron,” Brian]. The mage gets his staff enchanted and asks his girlfriend, Maggie Oakleaf, to look after his wagon.
That night, Hamfast goes carousing around the city and gives Torrel the tulwar he got from an Undead Minotaur. The next morning, a hungover Hamfast drags himself to Moradin’s Forge, where he vows to give up drink for a while and gets spare leather armor for sailing.
Scully asks boyfriend Niac if he’ll come with her, and the Wolfen shipwright agrees to come as far as Sileran on the way to Falit. The Gnoll also acquires a magical long bow and studded leather armor in addition to her Ring of Water Breathing.
Prince Corwin and Melchior help the group obtain some magic items. Tempestade tries to pray to his deities, but his companions refuse to join him. The Monk familiarizes himself with the manriki-gusari, or spiked and weighted chain, and inquires into a Ring of Jumping to with his Boots of Spider Climb.
Bard Corwin visits the Zuromm embassy, where he asks Lady Dolista if she has a badge that would help him get past humanoid troops. The alluring Drow diplomat says she has no such token, and Corwin declines her offer of a transformation ritual.
The prince later informs his family at the Gilded Keep of his plan to leave and sends a note to Orlando Vistel. Corwin also warns them to beware of Lord Stefan Sable, who may be related to the Necromancer slain in Tensar.
Elsa asks “Ulrich” [Ted A.H./N.P.C.] at the Royal Cartography Society for maps of Sileran, Falit, and Gisar. Ulrich recounts tales of Gisar, from its settlement by Skaevingol raiders to the coming of vampiric rulers, the dracolich Daneira, and the dreaded ghost fleet.
The Druid ask Brownie Pfenik at the Grove of Arbos to look after things such as Scully’s pony, but Elsa decides to keep growing Owlbear cub Oswald with her. She also acquires magical studded leather.
Sir Torrel asks Father Alaistair for guidance regarding travel to a time or place where Otih is not known. His superior tells him to bring the light of justice to the dark and gives him vials of holy water. Giacomo holds a potion of Cure Light Wounds.
The Vistel’s Circus alumni and friends take a riverboat from Thadenis down the Warenthol River. The wide Plains of Sathendo stretch from port to the horizon, and the boat passes the Blackhorse Woods to starboard. The passengers and crew spend the night at the village of Peristhon.
Giacomo studies his spellbook, and Hamfast abstains from alcohol. Scully and Niac stay with the boat rather than deal with prejudiced human peasants. Tempestade meditates.
At the “Laden Bough” pub, Corwin flirts with the barmaids, and Elsa notices a few Grugach (Wild Elven) traders from the nearby forest. Corwin buys a bottle of fey wine for Elsa. Torrel talks with some sailors, who warn of corsairs on the Bay of Ethalgo and pirates on the western Sea of Nagendwa.
The next day, the team notices some activity on the western shore as it continues south. Eighteen armored Dubwana (Hobgoblins) lead 11 strange prisoners from a beached boat. The defenders of Saganim decide to attack.
Bard Corwin strides forth with Tempestade and Sir Torrel to talk to the red-skinned leader of the turbaned troops. Kithurk, the Hobgoblin sergeant, says in Undercommon that his unit serves the Third Legion of Sultan Chud Knightslayer, a Rakshasa in Hontisso.
Scully and Niac hang back with their vessel, while Giacomo identifies the insectoid slaves as Pernicon, or Thri-kreen. Elsa watches Hamfast, who doesn’t mince words and smashes the Hobgoblins’ craft with blows from his maul.
Druid Elsa ensnares four of the Dubwana with Entangle, and the Goblinoids respond with scimitars, spears, and arrows. Corwin casts Sleep on three more, and Paladin Torrel slashes one with his new tulwar. Monk Tempestade runs toward the archers.
Ranger Scully fires her longbow against the soldiers holding chains, and Fighter Hamfast advances to bash. Mage Giacomo casts Force Manipulation to create a shield for himself and Hamfast. Elsa incapacitates two more Hobgoblins with a Hold Person spell.
The Dubwana injure Giacomo, Scully, Hamfast, and Torrel. Corwin strikes the sergeant with his sword and goes to aid Giacomo. Tempestade rains blows and kicks on the slavers, quickly killing two more. Scully finishes off Kithurk with a well-aimed arrow.
Hamfast swings his maul, while Giacomo slays four snipers with Magic Missiles. Elsa runs over to free the prisoners and heal the Wizard. However, the power of her gods is only partly effective on Giacomo. Despite the casualties, the disciplined Hobgoblins hold their ranks together.
Giacomo unleashes a Scorching Ray, and Torrel slays the last unhindered Goblinoid. Corwin dispatches the others and begins searching their bodies. He finds 40 silver pieces, 12 electrum, 80 gold, and 240 g.p. in pearls, as well as a map of an unknown oasis and a magical Garku Nasit battle standard.
The group gives the Pernicon the electrum and silver. Elsa casts Speak With Animals but is still unable to communicate with the Thri-kreen, who seem grateful for their freedom. Hamfast gives them extra weapons and food from the boat, and they wander off into the Halmed Desert.
The carnival folk reboard their riverboat and continue on toward the port of Sileran….
Welcome again, Alex, to our group! I hope that everyone enjoyed our latest session, and I look forward to continuing our fantasy adventures on Sept. 30. Don’t forget to make sure that your P.C. records are up to date on Obsidian Portal, and remember to respond regarding “Vanished Lands” house rules for saving throws and skills.
In the meantime, I’ll see some of you at this coming Sunday’s “Vortex: Terra’s Pride” telecom space opera and the rest at Jason E.R.’s “Star Wars: Dark Times” session at Rich’s place next Monday.