Fellow role-players, here are my notes for “Vanished Lands” Session 39.39, which Brian W. hosted in Newton, Mass., on Monday, 26 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
- “Tempestade” [Josh C.]-male Barbari human Monk (Battledancer/capoeirista from outside the “Vanished Lands”), former roustabout, now a follower of Otih; CGl, 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
- “Rhys Davies” [Drew S.]-male Tinker Gnome (Minoi) clockwork gadgeteer; TNg, Lvl. 8
“5 to 9 March 1227 B.C.E.:” After debating how to proceed through the Temple of Elemental Evil, the expedition distracted Ogres, defeated a Beholder, and destroyed the contact binding an Efreeti to the Pit Fiend ruling Mt. Tilefa. The group made a hasty retreat to Tarvulis Island.
Giacomo worries that the devil Schm*ckF*ck will send minions to pursue the onetime circus performers. He recommends entering the city of Gisar overland. Hamfast is eager to return to the barbaric port, which he briefly visited thanks to Tequila, the pseudodragon familiar of Drow archmage “Vasec” [Alex J./Non-Player Character].
Scully reminds her companions that they have agreed to help Tempestade get to an obelisk beneath Gisar so he can return to his own time and free slaves from his former plantation.
Corwin would prefer to visit the Gusorin Confederation as briefly as possible, and Elsa is curious about rumors of evil Druids, the cult of Krakas, and fighting the dreaded Ghost Fleet. She wishes that Paladins Radius and Sir Torrel could help deal with the scourge of Undead on the high seas.
After sending an urgent magical message to Capt. Scarlet on the Sea Elven schooner Foamrunner, the wanderers prepare to return to the mainland. Wizard Giacomo talks with “Tondra” [Rob A.S./N.P.C.], a Zarendo Islander human shaman (East African Cleric), about getting the accursed tattoo of the “Mad Mage” Ezra removed from his back.
Fighter Hamfast waits outside and pounds on a leech with his maul on behalf of recently departed Sir Torrel. Ranger Scully sends a love note to Wolfen Paladin “Niac” [Mike F./N.P.C.] and allows Vasec’s scribes to copy her maps of the temple on Salhonif Island.
Martial artist Tempestade explains that he wants to resettle fellow escapees and that he hopes to help clear Gisar of evil upon his return. Bard Corwin buys a potion of Water Breathing and scrolls of Invisibility to Undead and Restoration.
Elsa writes several letters. She asks Baskor Steadyhand, a roustabout in Vistel’s Circus, about how owlbear Oswald is doing. The Druid also sends soil samples to Barry the Gardener on Emein Island and warns the Royal Cartographer’s Society in Thadenis about Mt. Tilefa.
Tondra, who is packing for a seasonal visit to the Hifalendorin human capital of Hesolin, gives Giacomo a Periapt of Wisdom (+2) to help him fight Ezra’s control. Hamfast and Tempestade find her zombie gardeners unsettling.
Vasec and his students bid “Vistel’s Expedition” farewell as the team boards Capt. Scarlet’s sleek catamaran. About a day’s sail north, however, the Foamrunner ’s crew and passengers are tested by a storm.
Giacomo casts Rope Work, and Scully and Corwin help the Sea Elven sailors in the rigging. Hamfast and Tempestade stay with the oarsmen below decks, but Elsa comes up from the galley to cast Calm Winds. After being tossed around by huge waves, the Foamrunner manages to ride out the tempest.
Sometime later, a lifeboat with six storm survivors is spotted. Hifalendorin human Giacomo readies spells, and Zeda human Hamfast waits in reserve. Scully readies a grapple and casts Detect Evil, but the albino Gnoll senses no malicious intent from the castaways.
Brazilian human Tempestade helps cast lines to the dinghy, and Corwin casts Detect Magic and then Fly to help rescue the newcomers. The Half-Elf spots a Gnome clutching a wooden chest and slowly carries them to safety.
Elsa summons a water elemental, but it turns on the Hill Dwarf, saying, “We’ve been looking for you,” no doubt in reference to the Pit Fiend’s followers. Capt. Scarlet orders her crew to maneuver, while Vistel’s Expedition tries to get the six shipwreck survivors aboard and fights the Grue.
Elsa invokes Mekkil (Gaia), goddess of nature, to Call Lightning. Corwin drops off the Gnome and begins lifting the Suthern human corsairs. Hamfast comes up to the main deck, and the evil elemental slams Scully.
Giacomo casts Dispel Magic, to no effect, and Scully misses a rope, landing one of the Suthern sailors in the drink. Tempestade runs on the side of the ship with his Boots of Spider Climb and grabs the man. Rhys, the Tinker Gnome, opens his chest and readies a fancy crossbow.
Pious Elsa Wild Shapes into an orca (killer whale) and rams into the Varrdig. Flying Corwin and nimble Tempestade continue pulling castaways aboard the Foamrunner. Mighty Hamfast grazes the Grue with his maul but also gets slammed by a blast of water.
Clever Giacomo casts Scorching Ray, seriously wounding the elemental, which sniper Scully finishes off with a Flamestrike. Rhys is disappointed that he didn’t get to show off his repeating crossbow or clockwork creations.
Capt. Scarlet and the travelers welcome the gadgeteer and promise to drop off the Suthern sailors soon. Divine spellcasters Elsa and Scully attend to the wounded.
Sometime later, Rhys spots a second rowboat with his telescope, and Giacomo casts Wizard Sense to get a closer look. Scully dives into the Sea of Nagendwa and Wild Shapes into a dolphin. Elsa shifts into squid form and Channels Positive Energy to turn a large skeletal barracuda.
Giacomo reports that the people on this dinghy are contagious Undead, so Capt. Scarlet orders that it be set ablaze from a distance. Scully supervises the arbalests and ammunition, as Corwin watches for other ships from the crow’s nest with Araswe, one of his lovers.
The Foamrunner sets its passengers ashore about two days’ march from Gisar. Saganim Prince Corwin gives Capt. Scarlet several hundred crowns (gold pieces) in thanks. The rescued sailors scatter and head west, back toward the distant Halmed Desert. Vistel’s Expedition begins hiking east to the city.
On the wide central Plains of Sathendo, the adventuring party hears the thunder of approaching hooves. Ten Wolven in Tsucharim (Mongol-style) armor lower spears and surround the group. Mads, their leader, is not impressed by the outlanders but offers to trade for fellow canine humanoid Scully.
When she resists, the Wolven close in. Elsa casts Charm Animal on Mads’ horse, and Corwin incinerates three riders with a Fireball. One raider picks up Scully, and others stab at Hamfast and Tempestade.
Scully breaks free and draws her long bow, as Tempestade runs toward the Wolfen who had grabbed her. Giacomo slays two more foes with Magic Missiles, and Hamfast smites another. Rhys fires bolts with his crossbow.
Elsa Wild Shapes into a dire boar, causing the horse to throw Mads to the ground. Corwin kills two Barbarians with Ice Storm and dodges another. Scully angrily looses arrows, while Tempestade unhorses one Wolfen and kicks him.
The Wolven hit Hamfast and Tempestade and badly hurt Scully. Giacomo drops Tempestade’s opponent with a Lightning Bolt, and Corwin finishes off Mads. Scully claims a tooth and the tail of one Wolfen as trophies and a warning to other would-be slavers.
Hamfast says the corpses should be left for the carrion fowl as his friends search the steeds. Each one has a masterwork saddle, and the warriors had chain shirts, spears, hand axes, and long swords. The group also finds two short bows, 40 arrows, 140 silver coins, 200 crowns, and 10 platinum pieces.
Now with horses, the expedition continues toward Gisar. That night, Elsa casts Grove of Respite for shelter, food, and rest. Saddlesore Hamfast and inventive Rhys take the first watch as the moon comes out from behind light clouds.
Corwin and Scully, with her owl Owlicious, take an uneventful second watch. Elsa Wild Shapes into dire ape form to watch with her winged cat Penryn and Tempestade. Giacomo studies tattoo magic, aided by his homunculus familiar Gerald.
Elsa and Tempestade hear children’s voices in the tall grass around their camp. Elsa walks to the edge of the grove, while Tempestade wakes the others. Giacomo successfully Detects Evil and warns his companions.
Hamfast turns over in his bedroll, and Rhys readies his clockwork devices. Scully casts True Seeing and finds that the children are actually doglike reptilian Kobolds. The small humanoids turn down Elsa’s offer of food, as the fears of a trap are reversed. They disappear into the grasslands.
The next day, the party sees the ruined outer walls of Gisar, a long-suffering city plagued by Barbari tribes and the Undead. Rutted streets wind through crowded neighborhoods of narrow houses. The mostly human population wears drab clothing and avoids direct eye contact.
Giacomo reminds the Corwin that the locals don’t like arcane spellcasters. Hamfast recommends staying near the Mahadi Racetrack, where a restless crowd cheers on a polo match using someone’s head. As “Gareth Greywind,” Corwin pays 10 crowns to stable and feed the horses for a week.
Hamfast, Scully, and Elsa buy beets, cabbage, and turnips on their way into the port, but Tempestade tenses up as they pass a slave market. The group passes saloons, shrines, and vacant shops.
A map from the “Seekers of Lore” from Thadenis indicates that there is a way beneath the House of Xia to the ruins of the local Magisterium (magic school/library) and the magical obelisk.
Corwin, Elsa, and Rhys argue in favor of immediately entering the sewers. Giacomo, Hamfast, and Scully want to scout out the area, which includes a temple to Tiamat guarded by Draconians, but the others say that’s looking for trouble.
Tempestade ultimately decides to head straight to the obelisk. The spelunkers hide Rhys’ chest with a Stone Sphere, and he and Scully agree to travel with Tempestade through the portal, even as their companions prefer to stay behind.
Vistel’s Expedition makes its way to an alley between the House of Xia and the Angkir’s Oars bar, where a sewer spills into the Bedoni River…. Meanwhile, far to the northeast, a new band travels on the Balef River….
Drew, I hope that you and everybody else enjoyed your first regular session as “Rhys!” Don’t forget to keep your characters up to date on Obsidian Portal, especially as we approach “name level.”
I look forward to continuing our adventures next Monday, June 2, before we wrap up Jason E.R.’s “Glassworks: the Devil’s Den” superhero scenario and begin Bruce’s Pathfinder: “Eberron/Reign of Winter” miniseries. -Gene