Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 12 of the latest adventuring party in my "Vanished Lands" heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Sunday, 14 November 2010, and has been using Pathfinder, Skype, and Scriblink, plus an online dice roller.
In one ancient world, there was a region where strange majicks and demihuman races thrived. After "Holy Steel's" journey to the distant empire of Khemet, another motley group gathered in the "Vanished Lands" to explore a world full of perils and wonders....
>>Player Character roster, as of autumn 2010:
-"Davven 'Digger' Hollysharp" [Robert A.S.]-male Faldine Halfling archaeologist (Tallfellow Rogue) from a pipeweed farm in Tarken; contact of "Tunnel" [Stuart C.G.]; CGn, Age 45, Lvl. 1
-"Asish Chen Ti" [Byron V.O. ]-male Tsucharim human archer (Mongol-style Ranger), escaped from service to Nannuattan (eastern Dark Elf) Wizard Arbalas; contact of "Sukhov" [Beruk A.] and owner of Akita dog Genghis and horse Onimusha; NGl, Age 20, Lvl. 1
-"Kazuo Takenaga" [Taum D'A.]-male Nezumi (Rat-kin) Monk from the Zedu kingdom in the Therud Forest; LNg, Age 20, Lvl. 1
-"Gawain Keary" [Paul J./absent ]-male Saganim human Illusionist (proto-Celtic Wizard) and contact of "Kimo" [Beruk A.]; NGc, Age 20, Lvl. 1
-"Favelhorn Riftbringer" [Dexter V.H./absent]-male Mountain Dwarf Summoner; CGn, Age 51, Lvl. 1
-"Kovar" [Beruk A./absent ]-male Half-Orc/Saganim human Paladin of Mithras; raised as an orphan; contact of the Order of the Golden Lion; LGn, Lvl. 1
"8 August 1229 B.C.E.:" After encountering Centaurs raiding a human farm just outside the Wisalef Forest, the wanderers had arrived at the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human town of Kedetura. Their infiltration of a Centaur camp shortly before a harvest festival had uncovered followers of the mysterious Vappu Lahja, but they were discovered.
Digger had been pinned to the ground by a spear. Asish rode in from the farm of Giles de Hay and expertly dodged tents in the dark. However, hostile Centaurs soon surrounded the intruders.
Kazuo reluctantly dropped his sianghams as ordered. Jovinda pulled the spear from the unconscious Halfling and healed him. Just outside the perimeter, Favelhorn started an incantation, while Kovar and Genghis stood ready to clear a path for Asish. Gawain prepared illusions.
At Jovinda's prompting, agile Digger jumped toward Asish's steed Onimusha and pulled himself from the stirrup to the saddle. Asish held the Centaurs at bay and signaled to his Akita, Genghis, to wait.
The Centaurs threatened further violence for the Halfling and Nezumi sneaking into their camp, but Jovinda stated that the Plains of Sathendo belonged to no one group. Kazuo edged back to his companions, who were escorted to the bonfire.
Shaman Siobahn stood in judgment of the bipeds. Digger expressed curiosity in the ways of Vappu Lahja, while Asish defiantly rejected the Centaurs' claims of rightful dominance over the plains. The Tsucharim rider observed that their ideology reminded him of the nefarious Nannuattan of Gokuri.
Dismayed at how many of the proud beast-kin had become filled with hatred of other species, Jovinda begged the Centaurs in Mekkil's name to live in peace with their human neighbors. The Grugach Cleric also saw others she had befriended, such as trapper Philippus and woodcarver Leander, lurking at the edge of the campfire, but she didn't point them out.
Kazuo explained to Siobahn that he had vowed to follow Digger, and she replied that the Monk would share the Rogue's fate. Meanwhile, Kovar rode back to defend Giles' farm and sent Favelhorn to warn "Jebediah C.D. Alcara" [John Z.G./Non-Player Character] in Kedetura. Gawain covertly kept an eye on the party from the edge of camp.
Digger asked to meet Vappu Lahja, and Siobahn agreed -- with conditions. He could be taken as a prisoner immediately, undergo a three-part ordeal, or wait in the Centaur encampment until after the festival of Yondolla. Brave Digger and Kazuo chose the second option.
Burly Centaurs picked up Digger and Kazuo and threw them onto the bonfire! While the diminutive scouts felt pain, they weren't harmed by the flames. However, Digger's flasks of oil and alchemist's fire were consumed, and his clothes were singed. Siobahn told all in attendance that their bodies were now purified.
As the drumming and hoof beats picked up, wise Jovinda held Asish's face in her hands, determined to keep him from enthrallment. The second trial, "to break the selfish will," had no apparent effect on sooty Digger and Kazuo.
According to Siobahn, the third phase would "fill the vessels, emptied of false gods, with the light of Vappu Lahja." The Centaur drumming and chanting intensified still further, and Digger seemed swayed from his faith in Barandorbis and Yondolla. Kazuo's training as a Monk enabled him to resist.
Satisfied, the Centaur shaman directed that Digger, Kazuo, Asish, and Jovinda be taken to meet Vappu Lahja. Asish managed to signal Genghis to stay, informing Kovar, Favelhorn, and Gawain that they needed to remain in Kedetura to defend the human townsfolk against a possible attack around the festival. The foursome left with Centaur guards before dawn....
Rob and Taum, I look forward to seeing what your heroes do next! Byron, I've posted your "Asish Pix" document to the Files section of the "Holy Steel" Google group. Sammy, I hope you continue to recover from your recent dental work!
Unfortunately, I don't think that Dexter or Beruk will be able to rejoin us anytime soon. Paul, let us know your availability for the telecom game and next Monday's FATE 3e "Vortex" space opera session. This coming weekend, I plan to attend the annual Super MegaFest genre entertainment convention in Framingham, Mass., and screen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1! Have a good week, -Gene