Sunday, February 26, 2017

DISPOSABLE DISCIPLES SESSION 36: THE VERMILLION CONSPIRACY

This is a log for my ongoing Disposable Disciples of Bone Kingdom campaign. You can see the previous session HERE.  Note that I began recording sessions, so this has allowed me to do more detailed session logs.

Player Characters: 

Shen Chun/Crazed Raksha
Little Bai
Silent Dagger
Ong Lao
Min (Feiyan)

Disciples of the Sect: 

Red Eagle (Little Bai)
Mount Dao/Biggest Sister (Little Bai)
Filial Cricket (Little Bai)
Dim-Witted Chen (Shen Chun)

Sects: 

The Righteous Outlaws
Calamity Star
Ou Jinghzhu
Tea Master Houzhou

Stone Palace Sect (Also called Golden Way)

A gambling hall and criminal network in Yun Hu. Currently under control of party, with Weeping Lotus managing it. They've absorbed many other sects into this organization including Crocodile Sect, Blades of the Weeping Lotus, Temple of the Jade Mercies, Relentless Corpse Sect and more. Recently they joined with Relentless Corpse again when Shen Chun arranged a marriage with their leader Da Mei Mei. 

Members:

Shen Chun (King)
Da Mei Mei (Queen)
Weeping Lotus (Right Vanguard)
Silent Dagger
Feng (Accountant)
Gu (Head Chef)
Little Bai
Min
Scholar Shen (a scholar who has been writing a story about Little Bai's life)

Dancing Scorpions
Criminal network in Yun Hu

Relentless Corpse Sect

Da Mei Mei

Temple of the Jade Mercies (see Stone Palace)

Abbot Wei Zhao
Abbess Bao-Yu
Yao Tu-On
Yao Chun
Yao Ba

Southern Hill Sect

Yellow Mantis
White Chysanthemum
Green Mantis (Dead but important)

Twin-Fisted Eagle Sect

Twin Fisted Eagle
Jade Fist

Bone Breaking Sect
Destroyed and taken over by Drunken Hero Kang

Glorious Death Cult

Led by Supreme Master Tung, who says he is a god of death

Silent Dagger learned about the massacre of the Bao men and sought an immediate audience with Crazed Raksha (Shen Chun) and the rest of the Golden Way. He sent out a message summoning everyone to a meeting. 


Min continued her negotiations with the craftsmen for her Cherry infused hook swords. She questioned the 6,000 spade price and closely examined his existing wares. She was pleased with the make and accepted the price once she realized degree of quality*.

Everyone returned to the Hall of Golden Heroes. Crazed Raksha explained recent events to Silent Dagger. After they discussed matters, Silent Dagger, sensing some were troubled by the dangers of Dee, asked if there were any concerns. He also explained that they had made a deal with the Hua Pi and the purpose of being in Dee was to give them an area to control in Hai'an. 

One said "The sooner we leave Dee the better, but I will stay until we complete our task".

Silent Dagger sensed that Xiaomin, his disciple, rolled her eyes and pressed her on the matter. 

Reluctantly Xiaomin, Silent Dagger's disciple, explained that she still hadn't found her father's identity (though most of the group had a good idea who the man was) and felt the matter hadn't been given enough priority. 

Silent Dagger said he would make it his priority once they finished their efforts in Dee. But he said he wanted to present when she met him, and that she wasn't to act without his orders. 

The party then went to the Gambling District to feel out the Vermillion Sword Sect (as Thundering Guan had given them permission to war with them). Silent Dagger managed to secure a meeting at Vermillion Hall to meet with Vermillion Sword. It was explained to him that all men were equal inside Vermillion Hall, that no formalities would be observed, and that the shedding of blood was strictly forbidden. 

The men of Vermillion Hall were dressed in red and never bowed. They asked for his weapons and led him into a central reception hall. Inside Silent Dagger met Vermillion Sword. 

Vermillion Sword stood before him on a dais, dressed in red robes. His face was tattooed and terribly scarred. His body was hefty and skin appeared to have been burned in a fire. 

"I don't want to waste a lot of your time," Said Silent Dagger. "I represent the Golden Way; are you familiar with our organization?"

"Is your leader's name Shen Chun?"

"Yes"

"I understand we have had a bad interaction with your allies the Golden Heroes," said Silent Dagger. 

"Yes, I predicted this would happen the moment you entered the city."

"How?"

"I foresaw it."

"You have the power to see the future?" Silent Dagger asked. 

"In a manner of speaking, yes."

"Well, we are trying to get a slice of the action here, hopefully work something out with you guys. Thundering Guan actually suggested we take your territory, but we are tired of bloodshed. This isn't the way of the world. I think we can work something out."

"I have been pondering this a long time and think this can be resolved without bloodshed," said Vermillion Sword. 

They continued to talk and worked to arrange a meeting with Crazed Raksha at Vermillion Hall but Silent Dagger was reluctant, thinking it might be a trap. 

"If it would re-assure him, tell Shen Chun that we have a mutual benefactor," Said Vermillion Sword. 

"Who would that be?"

"I will be happy to explain in more detail to Shen Chun personally."

It was finally agreed that Silent Dagger would bring his retinue, but Vermillion Sword stated anyone who spilled blood in the hall would be cursed by Heaven. 

The group returned to Vermillion Hall. Crazed Raksha asked one of the disciples why no one bowed or observed formalities in Vermillion Hall. 

"Our leader does not believe in bowing. He thinks all men are equals."

They went to the reception hall and Vermillion Sword said he had been expecting Shen Chun for some time. 

"I suggest we unite the entire city, so Thundering Guan has no choice but to do what we wish."

"Who is the mutual benefactor," asked Silent Dagger.

"The same person who saved you at Stone Throne Bridge."

"Hidden Arrow?"

Vermillion Sword nodded. 

Silent Dagger whispered to Crazed Raksha "But didn't Hidden Arrow's men deliver the fatal blow to Bao Yang?"

Crazed Raksha spoke "So Hidden Arrow has his sights set on Dee?"

"Hidden Arrow has been laying the foundations here for some time," said Vermillion Sword.

"How much of the city would we need to unite?"

"I think if we can get everyone united, that Thundering Guan would feel threaten, and we'd be free to do as we please."

"Even the Fire Stick gang?"

"Yes, we'd need them as well," said Vermillion Sword. 

"You do know we killed their Fire Crow King?" Said Silent Dagger. 

"Crazy as they are, they are still losing men," Said Vermillion Sword. "But even without them I think we can form an alliance that will pressure Thundering Guan to allow us to configure the city to our liking. Perhaps we will unite the sects, destroy the Fire Stick Gang, then divide the territory between us."

"I like that plan," Said Ong. 

They discussed the details of how the city might be divided. They decided to make it about the Kushen district to unite the gangs. Once Thundering Guan stopped interfering, they would begin waging war against one another again and the city would reach a different balance. 

They nearly agreed but asked Vermillion Sword's relationship with Hidden Arrow. He said he had once pledged loyalty to him. And that he would be liberated from the agreement by coming to Dee at the appointed time. 

Silent Dagger pressed aggressively for more information. 

"I can tell you that Hidden Arrow has had his eye on Dee for some time, and sent me here to take this district and await the arrival of Shen Chun," said Vermillion Sword. 

"What does Hidden Arrow ultimately want?"

"He wants me to rebalance the powers of the city. And he wants something that is under the city."

"A'zhu?"

"No, he doesn't want A'zhu."

They agreed that they would work to formalize the alliances and then make their move. The Golden Heroes would work to smooth over the relationship between Five Ghost Society and Vermillion Sword Sect. 

Silent Dagger decided to go meet with Thundering Guan, while Crazed Raksha, Min and Ong would work out things with speak with Murder of the Five Ghost Society. 

Crazed Raksha met with Murder in his reception hall. 

"Crazed Raksha, what do you have to say?" Murder asked. 

"We are looking to unite everyone, except for the Fire Stick Gang," Said Crazed Raksha. "I understand you have grievances with Vermillion Sword. Can we smooth that over?"

"Yes, I still have a grudge with them."

"What are they willing to give me?"

"There is much to be gained from an alliance."

"What will I have that I don't have now if I agree?" Murder asked. 

"You won't have Thundering Guan preventing you from attacking people," Said Ong. 

"Who should I attack first Crazed Raksha?"

"We will attack the Fire Stick Gang," Said Crazed Raksha.

"I have no desire for their territory.....but very well I will agree to this provided you do not interfere when I make use of my new found freedom," said Murder. 

"The alliance will give us freedom, but we should consider how badly we weaken others, because the only reason Thundering Guan will stay her hand is because there are so many of us."

"But Shen Chun, there is so much opportunity here, we can expand both of our territories well beyond our current state," Said Murder. 

"I feel there would be nothing but bloodshed," Said Crazed Raksha.

"Someone would rise supreme....if you and I have a firm enough alliance, then we can become the masters of Dee," said Murder. 

"So you will join?"

"Yes I will join, but we must remain firm sworn brothers" said Murder. 

They then talked about the Iron Kings and smoothing over any issues they may have with Vermillion Sword. 

"You speak to the Iron Kings, and I will speak to the Holy Killers," Said Crazed Raksha. 

"Good, and we must speak soon to make our plans" Said Murder. 

As this was occurring, Silent Dagger tried to secure a meeting with Thundering Guan. First he went to Ghashir Manor and a meeting that started friendly turned violent, when Ghashir Al-Anmar refused to take Silent Dagger directly to Thundering Guan. 

Silent Dagger leapt across the room and put a blade to Ghashir's throat.

"Please, I meant no offense, I only worry for your well being, Thundering Guan is enormously powerful," Said Ghashir with a smile. "You merely need to go to the Government Palace and tell them I sent you. But you are courting death."

Silent Dagger spoke with two women dressed as scholars who refused him entry unless he left his weapons outside. 

Silent Dagger demanded entrance and said he was too powerful for them. That he would kill them all if they didn't let him in. 

"Give us a moment."

"One of you stay outside," Said Silent Dagger.

One of the women stayed behind, while the other went in. 

"So, what is your name," He asked her. 

As he asked the question hails of arrows darkened the sky and enveloped him. He used Iron Body and withstood the attack. Then thirty women dressed in scholarly robes leapt over the wall and attacked. 

Silent Dagger flashed a smile and tried to charm them with a few sweet words but they descended into the street. 

It was a chaotic battle. Silent Dagger evaded many and replied with strikes of his own. He wounded some of them, dropping one, but was struck with a jian. The blade sunk deeply into his flesh. 

Things began to look pretty dire for Silent Dagger as they circled around him. 

"Wait, I will surrender if you stop attacking me."

They agreed if he put his weapons down. 

The women told him to leave. 

"No, I want to talk to Thundering Guan."

"Only if we can bind you," they said. 

Silent Dagger objected, and said he could kill them all if he really wanted to. 

He let them tie his hands. They took all his weapons and vials. 

"Sorry about that women I killed," he said. 

They brought him into a hall before Thundering Guan. She was flanked by 60 people. 

He bowed and said "I came here to bring you an offer, can you cut me loose first though."

"No."

"I am here to make a deal; are you interested?"

"Are you familiar with Hidden Arrow?"

"No."

"He is the leader of the Hidden Rakshas" said Silent Dagger. "He has his sights set on Dee and wants to remove you to achieve that. I am willing to help you out if we can reach some kind of arrangement. As you can see I am very powerful and could have killed your women scholars had I wanted to."

"I don't think you could have and there is no reason to point this out to me if you are trying to build an alliance," She said. 

He then boasted that he would be destroying the House of Paper Shadows and suggested she should show him some gratitude. 

"Look I will make it simple," Said Silent Dagger. "Let us take over the Fire Stick territory and in return I'll bring a big army here to help take care of any invasion. We'll back any moves you want to make."

"I could just kill you right here"

"Then cut my ties and let's fight," he said. 

"I already spoke with your leader and thought we had an agreement," Said Thundering Guan. 

"Now we can have a better agreement," Said Silent Dagger.

"You will remain here and I will negotiate with your leader," She said. 

"I won't go along with that, so you'll have to kill me," he said. "Plus if anyone kills me here, I made arrangements so you will be cursed."

"Don't threaten me with curses," Said Thundering Guan. 

"How many of these ladies do I have to kill before you start talking some sense," He said. 

She motioned for her people to attack him. He was surrounded. He managed to deflect several attacks but the numbers were overwhelming. He punched one of them in the throat, but she seemed tougher than the women he faced outside. 

Once again he surrendered and was bound. He tried to sweet talk the scholars but they led him to a cell below the halls. 

*The swords do Muscle + 1d10 Damage (instead of Muscle + 0d10). 




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

PODCAST: JOURNEY OF FLOWER

I talk about the novel, Journey of Flower: 

STORMS OF THE MARTIAL WORLD THIRTEEN: PATHS TO YUN HU

This was the Thirteenth session of a new Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate campaign. See the TWELFTH SESSION LOG to read about the previous session. 

Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is our wuxia RPG. It is available HERE in PDF. 


Characters
Peng Ke-Yen: Eccentric daughter of a merchant who goes against conventions and is notable for her white and black streaked hair. From Dashen village. 

Peng Pei: Daughter of two low Yen-Li priests. Also from Dashen village. 


Peng Biyu: Peng Pei's mother. 

Zhendao: A former slave of a man named Zhao. 


Shin Du: A performer and actor who is a perfect shot with the bow. 


Song Pei: A one-armed physician.


Sister Fox: Brother Wolf's Sister who is ailing from Life Ebbing Venom. 

Feiyan: A yen-li priestess who is acquainted with Sister Fox. 

In the Jade Temple, people recovered and healed with the help of the Abbess. Sister Fox remembered the pouch of tea-like ingredients she had found at the Temple of Jade Mercies and asked Song Pei to prepare it. They used it to make a warm drink, which Peng Pei, Shin Du and Sister Fox all consumed. They found it filled them with euphoria and vigor, but dulled their minds. When the sensations passed, they wanted more, and made another preparation of the stuff. 


Zhendao asked the Abbess and Biyu if there was a way to kill gods. The Abbess wouldn't comment but Biyu mentioned that there was something called the God-Killing Blade. 

The party left the Jade Temple and asked the abbess to join them. She felt it was better, in the wake of recent events, that their paths should diverge. Shin Du, who had been growing increasingly wary of the group's methods and actions, decided he would go north with the Abbess to Daolu. 

The rest of the party decided to try and intercept Brother Wolf as he travelled to meet them at the Jade Temple (fearing he would run into one of their enemies in his weakened state). 

They travelled through the foot hills and were briefly followed by wolves before they found him. He appeared haggard and pale, and half the group rushed to greet him. Feiyan and Zhendao refused, both being extremely wary of Brother Wolf. 

They explained the situation to Brother Wolf, telling him about the talisman agreement that Ke-Yen had made. He told her that Dawa of the Ten Talismans never let people out of agreements. He would accompany them to the House of Paper Shadows to find this Hero Feng, but didn't think he was strong enough yet to assist them. Sister Wolf offered him some of her 'tea' which he took. This gave him more energy and awakened him. He asked her and Song Pei to find more of the tea-like ingredients. 

They decided to take different paths to Yun Hu. Zhendao and Feiyan would travel together, while the rest of the group travelled with Brother Wolf. During the journey, Ke-Yen seemed to be having doubts. 

On the way, Feiyun and Zhendao passed by a man carrying a square wooden box. Zhendao called after him when he realized he was dressed like a merchant. "Want to buy some wolf pelts?"

He tried to negotiate a price, but the man, who said his name was fox, told him the pelts looked terrible and obviously hadn't been cleaned. The man explained that he was an antique merchants anyways, so had little use for wolf pelts. 

Zhendao asked him about the God-Killing Blade. He said he had heard of it, that it was referenced in an old poem. 

Zhendao asked him what was in the box. He said that wasn't for him to know. Both Zhendao and Feiyun were curious about the contents of the box. But they said nothing more as the man left on his way. 

They arrived in Yun Hu and Song Pei went to the Banyan Sage Apothecary to obtain information on their tea-like ingredients. Hong Mai was rude to Zhendao, who left and went to speak with Xiaomin at the nearby cave. 

Zhendao spoke with Xiaomin and asked her about a blade someone had mentioned to him, the God-Killing Blade. He had previously learned the weapon was mentioned briefly by the Demon Emperor in a poem and wanted to discover more. Xiaomin knew little, only telling him that the Holy Killers in Dee were known to be interested in the weapon. 

Hong Mai told Song Pei that his pouch contained Celestial Plume, which ought to be burned like an incense, otherwise the potency would be wrong. Song Pei thanked him and they purchased some more Celestial Plume at the Singing Reed for thousands of spades. The price they were told, would be cheaper if they bought it in Dee. 

The party spent a great deal of time talking about their next course of action. They would go to the House of Paper Shadows to rescue Hero Feng, but Zhendao wanted to go to Dee as well. Since both were in close proximity, they could reach both. Song Pei made preparations to procure passage on a ship. 

In the mean time, Ke-Yen retreated to her room to meditate. She remained there for almost a day and when the party found her, her hair was pinned up, and she had a gecko-cinnabar dot on her forehead. While Brother Wolf slept, she placed her talons on his bed. 

As Brother Wolf recovered he spoke with Song Pei, explaining the importance of filial piety to him. He taught Song Pei the basics of Plum Blossom Palm*. 

The party then discussed Brother Wolf. They were very divided on him. Sister Fox wanted to protect her brother, Song Pei appeared to still be loyal to Brother Wolf as his master, but Feiyan, Zhendao and even Ke-Yen were concerned about remaining with him. They decided to encourage him to stay at the Sword and Wine Inn. Peng Biyu and Peng Pei did not weigh in strongly one way or the other. They would travel to the House of Paper Shadows and deal with the matter after they returned. 

Incidentally, Song Pei had learned that Celestial Plume produced a strong dependency, which would kick in after ten days without the substance. He began to divide the doses so that this would not negatively impact their venture into the House of Paper Shadows. 

The party traveled to Xuanlu by boat the next day. Then they walked to the House of Paper Shadows. As the party talked tactics, Zhendao grew bored and began climbing the wall. Feiyan, who had been inside the House many years before, joined him and helped lead him toward an area she felt Hero Feng might be held in. 

The party did go into the house, but since the House of Paper Shadows is an upcoming module, I will resume the session logs when they leave the house (to avoid spoiling things for people who might play the module). 


*Note that this is not a technique Brother Wolf knows in the official materials of the game. In my original campaign he has ranks in Dianxue and knows pressure point techniques. This was changed for the Maidens of the Jade Blue Sky book. 





Monday, February 20, 2017

BEDROCK TALK EPISODE 5: MONDAY DISCUSSION

I talk about an upcoming module, the podcast and some observations about running Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. 


Friday, February 17, 2017

PAINTED SKIN: THE RESURRECTION PODCAST REVIEW

I review Painted Skin: The Resurrection. Directed by Wu Ershan, this 2012 film stars Zhao Wei, Chen Kun and Zhou Xun. 




You can view the trailer here: 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

CORPSE MANIA REVIEW


Here is my Corpse Mania Review. Going to try doing some of these as podcasts.

CORPSE MANIA REVIEW


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WANDERING HEROES OF OGRE GATE WEB NOVEL

Just wanted to let everyone know that Legends of Ogre Gate, the web novel of the story of Sunan and Bao, has been released on wuxia world. This past week the writer, Deathblade, released the prologue and the first three chapters (It will follow a two-chapter-per-week release schedule). Deathblade is a translator at wuxia world. He has translated several wuxia novels by Gu Long and translates many of their xian xia web novels there as well (including I Shall Seal the Heavens and A Will Eternal). 

Check out the main page HERE


LEGENDS OF OGRE GATE
In some tales, Sunan and Bao are heroes. In other tales they are martyrs. In some songs they become gods. In other songs they die horrible deaths. In all stories, they are heroes, lovers, legends. After a thousand years, it can be difficult to separate the myth from the reality, to extract the fact from the fantasy. This is the true story of Sunan and Bao, who became the legends of the Ogre Gate.