Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.53, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 8 December 2014:
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. One such band began as circus performers, rescued slaves, and seeks to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet….
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 11
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer and sailor, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 11
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, wandering noble, warrior, and mandolin player; CNg, Lvl. 11
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 11
- “Rhys Davies” [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer and impetuous Rogue; TNcg, Lvl. 11
“8 to 11 May 1227 B.C.E.:” The adventurering party left the Zephyr in the city of Nadwi and ventured across the Plains of Sathendo. They spotted an Orcish camp and entered the haunted hamlet of Alarn, where they found a Redcap who had murdered five of their former companions in Vistel’s Circus.
The Redcap escaped, but the onetime carnival performers were able to resurrect their friends, if not restore their severed hands. “Vistel’s Expedition” sent them to the relative safety of Nadwi and called for its airship to evacuate the remaining traumatized peasants.
Giacomo prepares another Contingency spell for his familiar Gerald. Scully scouts ahead, while Corwin and Rhys ride in a reclaimed circus wagon. Elsa Wild Shapes into an eagle, joining her winged cat Penryn and Scully’s owl Owlicious in the air.
After about a day’s ride southeast, the travelers spot a large humanoid loping from the direction of Kedetura toward their caravan. Wizard Giacomo casts Shield on himself and identifies the creature as a fierce Grimm, another Unseelie Fey.
Ranger Scully readies her long bow, and Bard Corwin casts Comprehend Languages and Displacement on himself. Druid Elsa shifts into a dire bear and casts Enlarge Animal on herself. Gadgeteer Rhys checks his clockwork automatons and loads his crossbow.
The Grimm and Elsa charge and rend each other with claws and teeth. Scully looses a volley of arrows as Corwin casts Greater Heroism on Elsa. Giacomo hits the beast with Magic Missiles, but Rhys’ first quarrels miss.
Flind Scully casts Protection From Evil on Elsa to protect the Hill Dwarf from the Grimm’s fell aura. The muscular monster Calls Lightning, but the dire bear avoids the blast. Elsa continues wrestling with the Grimm, and Half-Elf Corwin casts Displacement on her.
Hifalendorin human Giacomo’s Phantasmal Killer has no effect on the gruesome Grimm. Tinker Gnome Rhys tries hurling bars of “cold steel,” a reddish antimagical metal alloy, but they fall short.
In between firing more arrows, Scully attends to Elsa’s wounds. The slavering Grimm Ethereal Jaunts from Elsa to Corwin but is slowed by his Stun Bolts. Giacomo casts Acid Arrow and more Magic Missiles.
Elsa finishes off the tough Grimm and shifts back to demihuman form to make sure its carcass is incinerated. Rhys claims an enchanted katar (punching dagger, 1d8+2), and Giacomo detects an evil sickle.
Elsa casts Lesser Restoration to help Corwin regain his strength, and the Zephyr crew members resume their journey to rescue the rest of Vistel’s Circus from the Centaur followers of the mysterious Vappu Lahja.
Sometime later, Scully and Elsa see five Elves riding stags. Giacomo and Corwin recommend caution, while Elsa argues that they need allies against the forces of evil. Scully says that learning more about the area is worth some risk, and Rhys plans to make puppets resembling argumentative Corwin and Elsa.
Corwin uses his Hat of Disguise to appear as a full Elf, and Elsa hails the riders wearing fringed buckskins and feathers. The Grugach (Wild Elves) treat the team as intruders in their territory, even though they’re all in the human kingdom of Hifalendor.
Giacomo and Corwin are annoyed when Elsa mentions that she’s looking for former traveling companions, as Scully and Rhys hang back and watch the Grugach. Uller Tolvo says that his patrol has been hunting for exotic animals for a circus.
Antero Korkonen doesn’t seem surprised when Elsa warns of an Orcish warband from Zuromm nearby. Asser Rantasila notes that creatures such as the Grimm have been seen in the borderlands, and Heikki Makinen doesn’t respond when the Druid offers the blessings of Mekkil (Gaia). Scully sniffs for clues.
Pasi Vanhala doesn’t mention Vappu Lahja by name, but the explorers suspect that the Grugach are in league with the woman claiming to be a figure from a fairy tale. They continue riding their separate ways.
Elsa casts Pass Without Trace as Scully finds a defensible position. Elsa then casts Grove of Respite to create a restful (and alarmed) campsite. Giacomo and Corwin take the first watch for the night and notice that fewer animals than expected are moving on the grasslands. Scully and Rhys don’t set a fire during their watch.
On the third watch, Elsa and Rhys sense people sneaking up on them from all directions. Elsa again Wild Shapes into a burly bear, wakes the others, and dispels the grove. Diminutive Rhys climbs up on the bear for a better vantage point.
Stealthy Corwin casts Displacement on himself, and Rhys whistles to send his constructs to beat the bushes. Wary Giacomo casts Mage Armor, and Scully says, “I’m done being Ms. Nice Elephant” as she Wild Shapes into an animal she saw in the Zarendo Islands.
The Grugach shoot flaming arrows, injuring Corwin and Scully. Elsa casts Entangle , slowing the Wild Elves , and Corwin retaliates with a Fireball. Rhys again misses with his crossbow, and Giacomo casts Magic Missiles at Heikki and Pasi.
Singed Antero and Pasi shoot Scully, Antero and Uller hit Elsa with arrows, and Heikki targets Giacomo. Corwin runs to Pasi and hits the injured Elf twice. Elsa casts Greater Dispel Magic in case the Grugach are somehow ensorcled by Vappu Lahja, but she notices no immediate effect.
Rhys recalls his automatons, while Giacomo activates his Contingency spell, again causing homunculus Gerald to take on the Form of the Dragon. Heikki runs but is caught by the gold dragon.
Scully charges, and the Grugach fire at her and Gerald. Elsa casts Wind Wall to deflect further arrows and orders the Elves to stand down. They lower their bows. Giacomo has Gerald release Heikki.
Corwin angrily asks the hunters why they attacked. Asser says that Vappu Lahja will eradicate all “civilized” interlopers on the plains. Scully and Rhys keep an eye on Antero, Pasi, and Uller.
Elsa prays to Mekkil for a Positive Energy Burst, healing her allies, and she covertly casts Remove Curse in another attempt to disrupt Vappu Lahja’s sway. With Gerald still overhead, the Grugach back off.
Giacomo reiterates the need to keep a low profile while searching for the captive Vistel’s Circus. Scully keeps watch for the Grugach, and Corwin wants to confront Vappu Lahja.
Elsa, however, notes that the sorceress may have many followers and that they need to find out more about the situation in the borderlands. Rhys points out that Giacomo and Corwin’s Teleport spells could be dangerous because of a certain Pit Fiend looking for them.
The wanderers discuss visiting the Waletku kingdom of the Elves in the Wisalef Forest, which is just north of Hifalendor. Corwin states that his mother was once respected in Alfhileno, the distant capital.
Giacomo is reluctant to stay anywhere for long, and Scully worries about Elven prejudice against humanoids like herself. Rhys is curious about rumors of other Gnomish airships.
Elsa is interested in expanding the alliance against the dreaded Ghost Fleet and her nascent long-range communications network, so she begins preparing a few Transport via Plants invocations….
Happy Birthday, Rich! I hope that everyone enjoyed our latest face-to-face “Vistel’s Expedition” sessions, and I look forward to continuing this fantasy campaign early next year! The “New Dawn” telecom team should resume this coming weekend.
I also look forward to concluding Rich’s “Tunnel Vision” modern supernatural miniseries next Monday and to starting Jason E.R.’s “Channel 37” speculative fiction anthology. In the meantime, make sure your character records are up to date on Obsidian Portal, and stay in touch, -Gene