Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.54, which Drew S. hosted in Needham, Mass., on Monday, 29 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, became defenders of the kingdom of Saganim, and voyaged aboard the Zephyr….
“Vistel’s Expedition,” crew of the Zephyr, Player Character Party 39 in Gene D.’s “Vanished Lands” campaign, using the D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Pathfinder, and FATE 3e Legends of Anglerre, as of spring 2015:
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) afflicted by a cursed tattoo; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 11
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Flind (Gnoll) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, 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
“12 to 15 May 1227 B.C.E.:” “Vistel’s Expedition” slayed a gruesome Grimm and fought a band of Grugach (Wild Elves) while crossing the northwestern Plains of Sathendo. Both Unseelie Fey were apparently in league with Vappu Lahja, the mysterious woman stirring up strife among nearby Centaurs.
Druid Elsa prays to Mekkil (Gaia) for extra help with Transport via Plants, and the adventuring party arrives at the heart of the Wisalef Forest. The white walls and tall spires of Alfhileno, capital of the Waletku kingdom of the Elves, are visible through the trees.
Giacomo senses strong magical energies nearby. Scully sniffs and smells late-spring flowers before sending Owlicious off to hunt. Rhys secures his clockwork automatons in his Bag of Holding. Corwin leads the way to the nearest gate.
Unlike most human cities they have visited, the wanderers see relatively little traffic as they enter Alfhileno. Elsa Wild Shapes into a bird, and Corwin introduces himself to sentries as “Prince Berek, son of Lyrilian Moonshadow.”
Half-Elf Corwin points out the flets or talans, the arboreal platforms where most Quelanthi (High Elves) live. In the shadow of the lofty palace, the group scatters across broad, tree-lined lanes.
Giacomo visits the embassy of his homeland, the (proto-Western European) human kingdom of Hifalendor. The Wizard talks with Sir Nigel, who explains that the Centaurs have served as a buffer between Hifalendor and the barbaric tribes of the Gusorin Confederation.
Scully searches in vain for fellow members of the Order of the Golden Lion. She then goes to the headquarters of the Ranger Guild. At a large lodge, the Flind finds refugees from the villages that Vappu Lahja’s followers have raided.
Corwin checks in at the embassy of the (proto-Celtic) human kingdom of Saganim to get help obtaining a royal audience. He meets Lady Kaitlin Ashley, who turns out to be his aunt! They catch up, and she refers him to Arlas, a Sylvan Elf Bard at the temple of Brijitt, goddess of fire and poetry.
Back in Hill Dwarf form, Elsa walks to the Grove of Mekkil, where she meets other priestesses of the goddess of nature. Quelanthi Inrawel says that any who would follow Vappu Lahja rather than the Seelie Court should be dealt with severely, and Sylvan Elf Valine believes that as many as a third of Druids have been corrupted.
Rhys finds the bustling Gnomish guildhouse on Faerie Lane. The Minoi (Tinker Gnome) asks “Koja…” [Mark D.L./Non-Player Character] about experimental airships. The Rock Gnome metalsmith refers him to “Pruts…” [Patrik D’H./N.P.C.].
At the local Magisterium (magic school/library), Giacomo asks “Charon Galacticus” [Carlos C./N.P.C.], a onetime member of the “Children of the Elder Gods,” about the tales of Vappu Lahja and scrying her current whereabouts. They speculate that the Drow of Zuromm could be manipulating the Unseelie Court.
Scully accepts Soval’s offer to join Alfhileno’s Ranger Guild. The Grey Elf introduces her to “Rory” [Beruk/N.P.C.] and “Ewan” [Rich/N.P.C.], an angry Hifalendorin human and a Harfoot Halfling farmer, respectively, who lost their lands to militant Centaurs.
Scully also meets “Dionysus” [Bruce/N.P.C.], an older Centaur still loyal to the Waletku kingdom but sympathetic to his kin, and “Malekith” [Drew/N.P.C.], an armored Sylvan Elf.
“Lord Galion Luincolla” arrives and wonders why nobody is alarmed at a Gnoll in their midst. Soval reassures his superior that Scully is a defender of the wilds and the innocent.
Arlas agrees with Corwin and Giacomo that there are similarities between the legends of Vappu Lahja and “Capt. Jack Kildare” [Randy K.M./N.P.C.], leader of the Ghost Fleet. Both were cursed decades ago but somehow found a way to gain followers despite their long exiles. Corwin thinks about visiting the consulate of the nefarious kingdom of Zuromm.
Meanwhile, Elsa talks with some exalted animals at the Grove of Mekkil. Badger “Tucker” [Drew/N.P.C.] reports that some forest animals have moved to follow the “White Lady” (Vappu Lahja).
Rabbit “Cracker” [Bruce/N.P.C.] says that the territory now controlled by Centaurs and Satyrs is strangely peaceful, which he doesn’t like. Elsa suspects witchcraft in addition to clever political appeals.
Wolf “Wynona” [Sara/N.P.C.] hates the rogue Fey who slaughtered her pack, but “Bob” the bear [Beruk/N.P.C.] smokes a pipe and tries to keep a mellow attitude.
Prince Corwin eventually receives a summons to palace. Lady Cynthia Acheson, a Quelanthi Paladin of Corellan Larethian in mithril armor, brings him and Giacomo through glittering halls. Soft music fills the air.
Beneath a scion of the Tree of Life are courtiers including Wizard “Xander Sunspot” [Rich/N.P.C.], representatives of various Elven tribes such as the winged Avariel, and proud Centaur tutor “Lord Naresh” [Drew/N.P.C.]. Most petitioners are surprised when a scruffy Half-Elf scout sits on the throne.
“Giacomo, king of jesters and jester to the king” [John Z.G./Beruk/N.P.C.; apologies to The Court Jester ] announces “Ereval I” [Steve A.L./N.P.C.], bearer of sword Black Razor and high king of the Waletku kingdom and the Seelie Court. The wise Ranger once known as “Mouse” tells Corwin that their fathers, Halikos Kelannir and Edmund the Strong, once traveled together.
Corwin asks the Elves to join the naval alliance against the Ghost Fleet. King Ereval notes that the Thalassaquendi (western Sea Elves) do not acknowledge him as ruler, but he agrees to provide materiel to neighboring realms.
Giacomo asks on Elsa’s behalf if the Waletku kingdom would participate in her nascent long-range communications network. Xander says the Quelanthi already have access to powerful magic, but Ereval grants “Vistel’s Expedition” access to Alfhileno. The king also orders the immediate mustering of troops to the border to contain Vappu Lahja’s followers.
Alchemist and former “Dragonslayer” Pruts… tells Rhys that his brother Flap… works for the Royal Air Corps. But first, the Tinker Gnome regroups with his companions at “Tabby’s Tavern” among the restaurants of the Halfling Quarter.
The command crew of the Zephyr compares notes on what it has learned in Alfhileno and how to help Hifalendor with the Centaur uprising as part of its strategy against the Ghost Fleet. Giacomo and Corwin prepare a Contingency spell of Greater Teleport for whenever they meet Vappu Lahja.
Scully, who is now a member of Saganim’s Royal Society for Cartography, the Order of the Golden Lion in the Ebir Sheikdom, and now the Waletku Ranger Guild, is eager to get back to “Capt. Niac” [Mike F./N.P.C.].
Elsa recommends trying to parley with Vappu Lahja, since her forces are numerous, and the Elves don’t want to fight fellow Fey folk. The diplomatic Dwarf considers commissioning a portrait of the pale lady or buying a magic mirror. Skeptical Corwin agrees to find or compose a favorable version of Vappu Lahja’s fairy tale.
Rhys invites Elsa to join him at the Royal Air Corps. They are awed by the pegasi, gryphons, and other steeds ridden by Quelanthi cavalry. Gilda Swanmay says that the Elves once had more contact with metallic dragons, but many were slain in past wars. The officer takes Rhys and Elsa into a large hangar.
“Sir Elandor Lightblade” [Mark B./N.P.C.] greets the visitors and offers curious Elsa a Pegasus ride. She quickly accepts and gets an aerial tour of leafy Alfhileno.
Rhys is happy to compare notes with Pruts’ brother Flap, who says other experimental vessels patrol the Waletku kingdom’s northern frontier. Rhys also shows off his clockwork butler Vasco, which attracts much Gnomish attention.
Mischievous Rhys also jokingly trades insults with “Jiriki i-Sansorei” [Jon W.P./N.P.C.] about how the wooden H.M.A.S. Longshot II is inferior to the Zephyr, which has a metal hull. The Paladin retorts that his vessel has been battle-tested and has a crew of Elven knights.
The Zephyr ‘s away team prepares to head back to the Plains of Sathendo to rescue their former traveling companions in Vistel ’s Circus from Vappu Lahja and deal with her minions’ growing raids on Hifalendorin farming communities….
This session is dedicated to the memory of Steve A.L. I look forward to seeing most of you at tonight’s “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom game, Jason E.R.’s “Channel 37” dimension-hopping scenario tomorrow, or upcoming “Vistel ’s Expedition” sessions, -Gene