Fellow role-players, here is my update for Session 17 of the latest adventuring party in my "Vanished Lands" heroic fantasy campaign setting. The teleconferencing team met on Saturday, 19 February 2011, and has been using Pathfinder, Skype, and 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 northwestern "Vanished Lands" to explore a world full of perils and wonders....
>>Telecom party Player Character roster, as of spring 2011:
-"Kovar" [Beruk A.]-male Half-Orc/Saganim human Paladin of Mithras; raised as an orphan; contact of the Order of the Golden Lion; LGn, Lvl. 2
-"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. 2
-"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. 2
-"Jovinda Halflight" [Sammy H.]-female Half-Elf (Grugach/Hifalendorin) Cleric of Mekkil, goddess of nature; owner of horse Wyth-Amoi, or "Wind Spirit"; NGl, Age 23, Lvl. 2
-"Kazuo Takenaga" [Taum D'A.; firstname.lastname@example.org]-male Nezumi (Rat-kin) Monk from the Zedu kingdom in the Therud Forest; LNg, Age 20, Lvl. 2
-"Favelhorn Riftbringer" [Dexter V.H./absent]-male Mountain Dwarf Summoner; CGn, Age 51, 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
"14 to 15 August 1229 B.C.E.:" The unlikely band of adventurers had tracked hostile Centaurs from the edge of the Wisalef Forest to a mysterious woman named Vappu Lahja. Returning northwest across the Plains of Sathendo, the party had found the Hifalendorin (proto-Western European) human hamlet of Alarn deserted, except for two mischievous Korred and their prisoner.
Digger and Jovinda question hairy duo Connacht and Maldrod in the cellar of the "Mellow Mule" inn. The Korred claim that the Halfling and Hifalendorin peasants had been driven away by a surly giant who recently stomped through the area. He had been followed by a fearsome storm and a huge serpent in the Aspar River, further scattering the local inhabitants, according to the Fey.
In the inn's common room, Asish and Kazuo talk with "Sir Bonner of Runnymeade" [Jon B./Non-Player Characer], whom the Korred had released from a Stone-Shaped cell. The tired knight explains that he had stayed in Alarn for some time while searching for a worthy quest.
Sir Bonner notes that some people had abandoned Alarn after the hamlet was visited by Centaurs and Satyrs, possibly followers of Vappu Lahja. He went on patrol into the surrounding wilderness, only to be ambushed by the devious Korred.
Kovar rides in to provide backup, leaving Gawain with the other steeds. The Half-Orc sharpens his weapons, strengthening Connacht and Maldrod's desire to leave. Digger and Jovinda eventually allow the Korred to return to the Wisalef Forest, on the condition that they find or release other refugees and send them home.
The party reunites to compare notes. Digger thinks that the Korreds' tall tale is nothing more, but Kazuo observes that they could be speaking in metaphor or riddles. Jovinda reminds her companions that the Fey don't adhere to the same moral codes as humans do and that their sense of priorities is skewed by their long lives and chaotic nature.
Digger, Kazuo, and Gawain point out that the giant, storm, and serpent could have been illusions cast by mischievous Fey folk. Alarn is empty but otherwise undamaged. The wanderers agree to look for more tracks in the morning.
Archer Asish stokes a fire in the hearth and sets watches for the night. Kovar is still wary of Digger and Kazuo, whose judgment has been compromised since they underwent Centaur rituals and met Vappu Lajha. Nimble Kazuo and arcanist Gawain have an uneventful first watch.
During the second watch, armored Kovar leaves wary Digger in the common room to check upstairs. He climbs the creaky stairs and finds a long hallway with four doors on either side [cue spooky music]. In the first room on the right, the Paladin of Mithras, lord of oaths, sees undisturbed beddings and a crow sitting in the open window.
In the next guest room, Kovar finds a broken mirror on the floor. He looks at the shards and is surprised to see eyes that are not his own looking back! Quickly moving on, the brave holy warrior enters a room whose furniture seems to have been thrown out the window. As he examines the damaged sill, a splinter leaps out and penetrates his gauntlet!
At the last room on the right, Kovar is unable to open the door all the way because of a weight behind it, possibly a corpse. The wise Paladin returns to Davven, and they agree to tell the others later about the strange findings. Asish and Jovinda's watch is quiet, and they let Sir Bonner rest.
Digger keeps track of the remaining provisions at breakfast the next morning. Kovar and Jovinda lead Asish, Digger, and Kazuo upstairs, while Gawain stays with Sir Bonner. The crow left a feather on the straw-stuffed mattress of the first room. Rogue Digger grabs a sheet, which Kovar uses to gather up the pieces of the enchanted mirror in the next chamber for later study.
On the left side, the first room's furniture is all suspended from the ceiling! Digger tosses in a copper coin, which floats in midair. Everything in the second room is covered in ice, and Kovar upends the bed to reveal a frozen chamber pot.
The Paladin's Detect Evil and the Cleric's Detect Undead reveal that the building is definitely haunted, but the malicious intent or presence is diffuse. It gets stronger down the hallway, however. Ranger Asish readies weapons, and Monk Kazuo clenches his fists.
Jovinda uses her quarterstaff to test the damaged window where Kovar got the splinter. Like a maw, more toothy pieces of wood fly at the Grugach's staff, forcing all to withdraw! The last room on the right does indeed contain a corpse -- the unlucky innkeeper, hung upside down.
Digger notes that his position is reminiscent of the Hanged Man card in the Tarot deck, as well as certain aspects of Skaevingol [Norse] beliefs. Barbari raider Asish recommends burning down the "Mellow Mule" as a precaution, but Jovinda observes that even though evil may have been gathering before Alarn was abandoned, destroying the inn won't necessarily dispel it.
In the last room on the left, the group is horrified to see the remains of Sir Bonner's horse strewn about like some unholy decoration. Jovinda suspects the Unseelie Court, or malevolent faerie folk, rather than followers of Vappu Lahja. This comes as small relief to Digger and Kazuo, as they agree to press on toward the city of Nadwi....
I hope that all of you enjoyed our latest game as much as I did! Dexter and Paul, let us know when and if you'll be able to rejoin us -- both "Favelhorn" and "Gawain" could be helpful as your party continues its adventures. Rob will be out next weekend.
Paul and Beruk, I look forward to seeing you and the rest of Team 2 for tonight's FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures: "Vortex" space opera! Erik B.L. and family's visit to the Boston area from New York went well this past weekend. Note that we'll be moving back to Sundays as of the next "Vanished Lands" session, on 27 February 2011. Take it easy, -Gene