Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.38, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 5 May 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.
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….
- “Giacomo ‘the Mysterious’ Du Vane” [Beruk A.]-male Hifalendorin human Mage (Gypsy Wizard) and stage seer, embittered by experiences in Hesolin’s Magisterium; with homunculus familiar Gerald; NGc, Lvl. 8
- “Hamfast Hammerfist” [Brian W.]-male Zeda (proto-Germanic) human Fighter, mountaineer, “barbarian” strongman, and laborer; TNg, Lvl. 8
- “Scully Strongbow” [Sara F.]-female albino Gnoll (Flind) Ranger, archer, knife thrower, and scout, with owl “Owlicious”; NGl, Lvl. 8
- “Corwin Windsong” [Bruce K.]-male Half-Elf Bard, runaway aristocrat, ladies’ man, and former ringmaster with a mandolin; CNg, Lvl. 8
- “Elsa Fairbottom” [Rich C.G.]-female Hill Dwarf Druid outcast, cook/brewer, and animal handler with Banuq (winged cat) Penryn; NGc, Lvl. 8
- “Tempestade” [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, Lvl. 8
- “Radius” [Jason E.R./departed ]-male Modron Paladin of Primus, lord of Nirvana; exiled to the Prime Material plane; LGn, Lvl. 5
- “Sir Torrel” [Alex W./Drew S.]-male Hifalendorin human Paladin of Otih, the lord of the sun and justice; LGn, Lvl. 7
“3 to 4 March 1227 B.C.E.:” “Vistel’s Expedition” ventured further beneath the volcanic Mt. Tilefa on Salhonif Island, encountering Wights, dracosaurs, and an insane cultist as it searched for safety and a diabolical contract.
The group rests in Tychon Doomdreamer’s hidden rooms. Giacomo studies spells, and his homunculus familiar Gerald offers to prepare meals. Hamfast keeps watch, and Scully attends to her owl Owlicious and Elsa’s winged cat Penryn.
Tempestade reminds Sir Torrel of his plan to free fellow slaves from his former plantation. The adventuring party had traveled to a Temple of Elemental Evil in the Zarendo Islands as a step in his quest.
In return for promising to liberate Efreeti (fire spirit) Lady Shadira from her bonds to a devil, the Djinni Tarzu in Falit told Tempestade how to use an obelisk in the port of Gisar to travel through time to Brazil.
Corwin tries to assess the team’s current capabilities, and Elsa argues in favor of heading to the temple at the top of Mt. Tilefa. Pit Fiend Schm*ckF*ck corrupted the portal of commerce between Elementals and people on the Prime Material plane of existence to build a cult around himself.
However, Ranger Scully points on a map to show that it’s possible that the would-be heroes have already passed the tablets used by the Baatezu to enslave various people. There are unexplored tunnels on the level with an arboreteum and a so-called nursery. Giacomo casts Wizard Eye to explore.
The mage follows the pit from the dracosaur lair back down to a level with unholy shrines and a library. A spiral staircase leads past two gargoyles and floating, spherical monsters to the garden level, which is above an underground river and a secret entrance from the besieged city-state of Selifa.
Giacomo perceives a room lined with tiles that could be the contract tablets. Fighter Hamfast and Paladin Torrel watch for other minions of Schm*ckF*ck. Monk Tempestade impatiently waits, and Druid Elsa Wild Shapes into a dire ape.
Meanwhile, Corwin experiments with a magical brass doorknob that he used to enter Doomdreamer’s chambers. The Bard exits, puts the knob on the concealed door, and twists it the other way. The door now leads to a fiery scene with flaming humanoids and lumpen slaves. The others pull him back.
Elsa and Sir Torrel are not afraid of directly confronting the Pit Fiend, but they are eventually outvoted. Scully finds a narrow passage leading down, and the onetime circus performers descend through volcanic tunnels.
Nimble Tempestade leads the way, followed by Sir Torrel with his large shield. Corwin and Elsa (now in dire badger form) crawl behind, followed by Giacomo, Hamfast, and stealthy Scully. They pass around a few cultists’ cloaks for disguise.
The passages widen, and Giacomo and Scully recognize the garden level. Corwin finds and disables oil and deadfall traps and recommends that the party take the left at each intersection. This eventually leads to rooms full of Ogre guards.
When one steps into the hallway to relieve himself, Corwin casts Charm to learn more. Earl says that he is stationed with Splitnose, Bone Tongue, Thunderbutt, and Pisslips. They recently dug into graves. Corwin tells Earl to get his friends and check for intruders. The burly but dumb Ogres leave their post.
The spelunkers quickly search the Ogres’ room. Giacomo casts Detect Magic, and Hamfast readies his hammer. Scully has to hold her snout from the smell, and Tempestade and Sir Torrel listen for returning sentries. Corwin and Elsa find a secret door and hasten their companions through to another corridor.
The wanderers pass through an old Zarendo crypt without incident. A few more winding passages and staircases later, they find a set of double doors. Scully looks through the Lens of True Sight and sees that two people have been magically imprisoned in the metal doors.
Tempestade wants to free them with a wand of Dispel Magic, but Giacomo notes that they may not be friendly and that unarmed civilians wouldn’t survive long this deep in the temple complex, at least as long as Schm*ckF*ck’s followers are around.
Beyond the doors is a ballroom with tapestries on the walls, ornate rugs on the floor, and a large chandelier. Scully again uses the magical monocle and instead sees mosaic tiles and a Beholder kin instead of the chandelier!
Half-Elf Corwin casts Disintegrate, but the Eye Tyrant shrugs it off. Zeda human Hamfast charges with his maul, and Hill Dwarf Elsa hurls a Spear of Purity. Hifalendorin human Sir Torrel draws his sword but misses.
Tempestade launches into a flying kick, and Hifalendorin Giacomo successfully casts a maximized Magic Missile, badly wounding the Beholder. Flind Scully shoots an arrow with Silence on it so the creature can’t cast spells.
The Beholder grazes Hamfast with an electrical blast and fires a Ray of Frost from one eyestalk at Tempestade. Corwin responds with Lightning Bolt, and Hamfast hits the gasbag again. In hummingbird form, Elsa partially blinds it with Color Spray.
Sir Torrel misses, but Tempestade uses his Ring of Jumping and Boots of Spider Climb to get on top of the globular monster. He disables one eyestalk, as Giacomo casts another Magic Missile, slaying the Beholder.
Giacomo sends Gerald to retrieve some of the smaller eyes for spell components. Scully explains what she saw, so Corwin uses the wand of Dispel Magic to remove the illusory tapestries. Elsa and Sir Torrel help heal Hamfast and Tempestade.
The investigators pull a few tiles of the wall and confirm that they are inscribed with the names of Schm*ckF*ck’s thralls in various languages. Tempestade and Sir Torrel hate slavery and want to destroy the tablets, but arcanists Giacomo and Corwin demand more time to study them and maybe use them as bargaining chips with the devil.
Giacomo casts a locator spell and tells Tempestade to retrieve Lady Shadira’s contract from high on one wall. Despite everyone’s objections, the Barbari human smashes the tile with a high kick, raising an alarm. Another Beholder arrives with fire Elementals, gargoyles, and Ogres!
As the Pit Fiend and other devils arrive, Giacomo and Elsa scramble to cast teleportation spells for a hasty retreat. Vistel’s Expedition finds itself back on Tarvulis Isle, about 300 miles from Salhonif Island.
Drow Wizard “Vasec” [Alex J./Non-Player Character] isn’t happy to learn that the travelers have stirred up trouble at the Temple of Elemental Evil and come directly to him. He warns the visitors that they have made a powerful enemy. Still, the archmage scrys to verify that Lady Shadira has been released from Shambling Mound form.
Giacomo, whose tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra was uncovered on Tarvulis Isle, warns his colleague to be ready for an attack. Hamfast looks forward to returning to Gisar, where Vasec’s pseudodragon familiar Tequila had given him a preview of the barbaric city. “It’s everything I ever wanted,” he says, even if it is ruled by Undead.
Scully returns the Lens of True Sight to Vasec and gives the handful of tiles that she was able to grab to Zarendo human shaman “Tondra” [Rob A.S./N.P.C.]. Despite his brush with death and being yelled at by Giacomo, Corwin, and Elsa, Tempestade is pleased to be one step closer to returning home.
Prince Corwin sends a message to Capt. Scarlet on the Foamrunner to ask the Sea Elven schooner to retrieve the team. Elsa considers setting up a long-distance communication network and says the group should get ready to fight the dreaded Ghost Fleet on the Sea of Nagendwa.
Sir Torrel announces that Otih, the god of the sun and justice, has other plans for him, so he bids farewell as Vistel’s Expedition prepares to sail to Gisar….
Welcome, Drew, to our group, and I look forward to helping you create your own P.C.! I hope our team returns to harmony as it begins the next phase of its journeys and begins looking ahead to “name level.” Let me know who of you will be available around Memorial Day.
In the meantime, I look forward to continuing the “Vanished Lands: A New Dawn” telecom campaign, wrapping up Jason E.R.’s “Glasworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario, and starting Bruce’s “Pathfinder: Eberron” miniseries! -Gene