Tuesday, June 2, 2020

LONE WOLF FISTS KICKSTARTER

My Wuxia Workshop co-host, Joel Clark, has launched a really cool kickstarter. If you like martial arts and you enjoy post-apocalyptic settings this is something you should consider backing. You can check out the kickstarter HERE. 

Lone Wolf Fists


Post-apocalyptic martial arts mayhem


Fight gods and tanks with your searing kung-fu superpowers




Explore the ruins of a world both familiar and fantastic

Forge your own destiny; hero, conqueror, tyrant, saint







Save the world or burn it: the choice is yours



Sunday, May 3, 2020

LADY EIGHTY-SEVEN CAMPAIGN BOOK

As many of you know, I have been working on a game called Righteous Blood, Ruthless Blades, and that allowed me to set aside the Lady Eighty Seven campaign book and come back to it. And I also just released Strange Tales of Songling. This has been good. Sometimes having time away from a project gives me new ideas and insights when I return to it (and it allows me to look at what I have with fresh eyes). 

I am now moving back into regular work on the Lady Eighty Seven book. For those who don't know this is a setting supplement and campaign book inspired by Historical Figure, Lady Eighty Seven, who created a criminal shadow empire during the Song Dynasty. It is still set in the Ogre Gate setting, but I built a sect around Lady Eighty Seven and a campaign concept. Those who read my Sons of Lady Eighty Seven blog posts or listened to the play sessions on the podcast will be familiar with the concept. 

The Lady Eighty Seven campaign book will provide an overview of Fan Xu prefecture (a region in the south of the empire). It will also include a campaign seed centered around Lady Eighty Seven. While it will be similar to a book like Ogre Gate Inn (which provided information on Li Fan), it will be structured more like my own campaign books. So things will be organized, to my eyes, more conveniently. For example there will not be an NPC chapter. Instead NPCs will be placed in their sect entry or in the location where they are most likely to be found (i.e. The Four Uglies, will be found in the Southwind Manor Entry, which is where they reside). Personally I find this easier because it produces less flipping back and forth (which is important when you have multiple characters from the same sect fighting the party). Hopefully Gamemasters won't find the change too jarring. I will also include campaign notes and provide adventure ideas in the appendix. 

The Lady Eighty Seven book will have a very large number of NPCs in it. Also, because we released the Bedrock App which includes all published Kung Fu Technique descriptions, the NPCs in the book who have martial arts, will have techniques from all the Ogre Gate Books. In the past I have been reluctant to give NPCs in a new book, a technique or two from the Sects of the Martial World or one of our other supplements (because it seemed like an unfair way to pressure GMs to buy books they might not want). Now if you see a Kung Fu technique from Ogre Gate Inn and the Strange Land of Li Fan in the Lady Eighty Seven book, all you have to do is open the app to read the technique description (you do not need to buy Ogre Gate Inn). 

We started another campaign using the Lady Eighty Seven material, with Kenny as GM (Kenny people may know from Wuxia Weekend or the Lady Eighty Campaign Podcast). This is giving me a better perspective on the book as I work on it because I get to be a player (usually I am the GM when I make Ogre Gate games). I GM'd several Lady Eighty Seven Campaigns already and I am enjoying seeing things from the other side of the table.

I realized there was room to grow the book more. Initially I just wanted it to be 100 pages. Then I was planning on 190 pages. But now it is looking it will be longer. I am still deciding whether to have it as a 300 page book. 

I produce books more slowly now than in the past. Which is actually good in my opinion (the longer we take on books, the happier I am with the end result). I just started ordering the art, and intend to do a handful of pieces at a time (the maps I already have, though it is possible I will make more if I need them). 

Look for updates in the weeks and months ahead. 


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

THE BEDROCK APP IS NOW AVAILABLE

If you have ever wanted to have an easier time tracking your Kung Fu Techniques in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate or needed a simple way to generate characters and NPCs, the Bedrock App is now available. This not only allows you to make random characters for both Ogre Gate and Sertorius, it includes every Kung Fu Technique with a full description (spells too). It even includes the Kung Fu Techniques from supplements and adventures. So you can always have access to information on all the techniques. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

THE STARLIT INKSTONE: A STRANGE SANDBOX

TREASURES OF THE STARLIT INKSTONE
This adventure was originally going to be released as a small PDF-only module. I decided to release it on the blog due to the current circumstances. Obviously that is the reason for no art. Also the maps are my own (I apologize for my chicken scratch writing). 

This is all the material I had for it so far. I tried to keep entries short and open to interpretation so GM's can think on their feet and move things in a direction that works for what is happening at the table. Feel free to apply some flexibility in running a given area. 

INTRODUCTION 
I made this adventure to help illustrate a Strange Tales Sandbox. This isn’t the default style of play for Strange Tales but it is one of the adventure structures I used. I felt the concept worked with making sandboxes pretty well and wanted to give people an example by sharing the one I used. 

My method for making the sandbox was to come up a core concept that supported the idea. Basically I wanted a bunch of  supernatural islands and other locations for the players to explore that also had threats that reach out to the party from time to time (this concept is explained in the ISLANDS OF THE STARLIT INKSTONE section). For each location I read a story from Strange Tales of the Chinese Studio (Pu Songling), Censored by Confucius (Yuan Mei) or anomaly accounts and used that for inspiration. Sometimes I tried to model the idea directly, sometimes I just used it as a spark for something else. I list some of the stories that inspired locations in APPENDIX B. I chose this approach because the aim of the sandbox was to give players the experience of Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. 


I’ve mentioned this before but it is worth repeating here, Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio is particularly good as an RPG resource. While I do draw on Yuan Mei and other sources, there is something remarkable about Strange Tales that makes it a good gaming tool. A lot of movies are based on accounts from the Strange Tales. Writers and directors find it an especially useful starting point. I think this is because the stories tend to be short (though some can be longer than others) and also have a very strong central concept that is easy to expand into something more. The accounts often are just a brief description of a strange creature or phenomenon that someone claims to have encountered, others are much more involved romances. All of them are pretty gameable. I highly recommend it as a resource for game masters. 

Strange Tales isn’t just horror and supernatural. It is also filled with romance, sex and sensuality, humor and fantasy. I tried to capture that in both the Strange Tales core book and this adventure. For that reason, I didn’t shy away from sex or love in the monster and character entries. 

THANKS
Special thanks to Jeremy “Deathblade” Bai for answering my Chinese language and culture questions. Anything pertaining to names and language that is a mistake, is my own error, anything that is accurate is a product of his help. 

ISLANDS OF THE STARLIT INKSTONE
This is a small sand-box style campaign for Strange Tales. I chose to center it around an island-filled lake populated with hauntings and monsters, to retain some of the monster-of-the-week but giving players greater freedom to explore. The Starlit Inkstone is an object that originated in the Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate roleplaying game. 


Entries are short for ease of use. This is so the adventure would just require one map, with relatively simple and straightforward entries, giving the GM freedom to elaborate as much or little as needed. I include a list of the influences from Strange Tales of a Chinese Studio, Censored by Confucius and other sources at the end in APPENDIX B. 

The location of Moshui Lake is intended to fit into any campaign. You can use it as a fictional location in Ancient China, fit it to your own fantastical campaign world, or use it as a starting point for mapping a new setting. 

HISTORY 
The world was once filled with strange anomalies and supernatural beings. But the Jade Emperor tasked Scholar Wang, an official in the celestial bureaucracy, with purging all human records of such things. Each book he burned, every line he changed, every minor official he convinced, reduced the presence of such things bit by bit until they were no more. When he returned, the Jade Emperor was pleased, but Scholar Wang saw a world depleted of beauty and was sad. He stole the Jade Emperor’s Starlit Inkstone and fled to Turtle Island in Moshui Lake where he used the inkstone to write accounts of the strange. With the stone, each brushstroke dripped into the soil and into the waters of the lake, spreading and becoming real. The Jade Emperor’s daughter Zhi Nu, came to stop him, but Scholar Wang sealed her in a tomb (See GRANNY MA’S TOMB). Now the whole lake is filled with wonderous creatures and islands that occasionally threaten the shores. In time they will expand beyond the lake. The empire grows worried and has sent officials to offer rewards of titles, gold and land to any who help extinguish the creatures on the islands. 

THE STARLIT INKSTONE AND MOSHUI LAKE
The Starlit Inkstone functions like normal inkstones (you mix water with ground inkstick in the well to make ink for a brush). However, anything written in ink from the Starlit Inkstone becomes true. The ink leaks from the page and spreads where it turns into reality. In Moshui Lake this means monsters and other entities have begun to populate the place. But it also can fabricate histories, creating new villages or islands and giving them an extensive past that never before existed. Some places in the region look hundreds, even thousands of years old, but were formed only a day or two ago. 

STARTING LOCATION
The players are assumed to be residents of Xi Village (the last entry in this blog) who stayed behind to protect the widows and orphans. The players will be recruited as Anomaly Inspectors by Vice-Censor Hong Zhi to contend with the creatures in the area. If they refuse or just decide to go north, they may do so. But the threat will continue to expand and eventually spread to the furthest reaches. Delay will only increase the size of the sandbox. 

Note that the district magistrate of the area resides in Taotie Village. Hong Zhi does not intend, or wish, to go there, and is evasive if asked about it (he has heard rumors the place is corrupted). 

DYING IN THE MOSHUI LAKE REGION
Anyone who dies here is reborn on Wu Dao in 1d10 days* (See WU DAO entry). Those who a reborn in this way become like all other children of that island, being birthed by Granny Zhang and aging 1 year for each day. They retain their memories and can attempt to perform a final task or two before they die of old age if they wish. There may even be ways for them to return to their old body or slow the aging process. 

*This is flexible. The GM has ultimate say on the timeframe for rebirth. 

SUMMER PLAGUES IN THE MOSHUI LAKE REGION
During the Summer Months the god on the ISLE OF THE SUMMER SAGE has difficulty controlling himself and releases Malevolent Ooze that spreads pestilence. The GM should review that entry if it is summer and have players experience an encounter with the Ooze every 1d10 days. 

VICE-CENSOR HONG ZHI
Vice-Censor Hong Zhi is a high-ranking official in the Censorate, a supervisory department in the Imperial Bureaucracy. He was sent by the censor-in-chief, who despises him, to find investigate local anomalies and to punish corrupt officials who may be behind it. However, Hong Zhi is a coward, and he has heard rumors powerful forces are gathering here. He was sent to go to the District Magistrate and issue his orders there, but instead chooses to stop at Xi Village, to minimize his own risk. He hopes to find desperate but capable people in Xi and get them to handle the problem with the promise of riches and titles (he will be quite generous). 

He has a retinue of 6 servants, 2 clerks and 10 capable Soldiers to protect him. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 3, Wits 9
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10, Speed: 1d10, Muscle: 0d10, Persuade: 2d10, Empathy: 1d10, Reasoning: 3d10, Detect: 1d10, Institutions: 3d10, Places: 3d10, History: 3d10, Languages: 3d10, Read Script: 3d10, The Classics: 3d10, Religion: 3d10, Ritual: 2d10, Survival: 2d10

Level: 10
Max Wounds: 2

Abilities 
Ritual: Talking Beast 
Scholar Abilities: Character Observation, Frantic Research, Flee, Astute Observation, 1 Ritual

SOLDIERS  (10)
Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 5, Wits 7
Skills: Arm Strike: 1d10 (1d10 Damage), Melee: 1d10, Detect: 3d10, Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 2d10, Institutions: 2d10, Survival: 1d10

Max Wounds: 2

Equipment: Bows (1d10 Damage), Sword (2d10 Damage)

MOSHUI LAKE  
Lake Moshui now has waters that are inky black. It still teams with fish and local fisherman continue to harvest with their nets. It is even safe to drink. However, it is most certainly not natural. 

There are still villages around the shore, though many are abandoned or nearly so. The people of the area are often Buddhist, Daoist, or a mix of both. Confucian ethics are the norm here. 

One local deity of importance is King Yaoshi, the turtle god of the lake. He dwells on Turtle Island and there are many shrines and even a temple dedicated to him. 

ENCOUNTERS AND TRAVEL 
Keep in mind, even if the players do not set foot outside Xi Village, many of the threats from the islands will come to them eventually. It is quite common for monsters to travel to the shores to wreak havoc. Many eat children or those who cannot defend themselves easily. Everyday there is a potential to encounter any of the following creatures. These encounters always happen, but players who make their Survival Rolls (one roll for the whole group) can choose to avoid the encounters by navigating around them. 

MOSHUI LAKE ENCOUNTERS 
1-3                   Xu (Jade-Pearl Island)
4-5                   Leng Ying (Leng Homestead) 
6-7                   Leng Family Member (Leng Homestead)
8-10                 Sparrows of Reciprocity 
11-12               Hero Feng 
13-17               Monks of Bounded Wisdom 
18-20               Mushroom Beauties 
21-23               Elder Long 
24-28               Hua Temple Daoists 
29-30               The Rakshas of Hua Temple 
31-35               The Stone Lady 
36-38               Mad Daoist Bai (Stone Island)
39-40               Bone Minion (Bone River)
41-43               Granny Zhang or Grandpa Yuan (Wu Dao)
44-46               Physician Jixian 
47-51               Yu Village Fishermen (1d10) or Yu Fish Demon 
52-53               Mu Anzhi (Pipa Wood Manor)
54                    Mu Huarui (Pipa Wood Manor)
55                    Granny Mu (Pipa Wood Manor)
56                    Xin Linghui (Pipa Wood Manor)
57-59               Judge Lu (Temple of the Kings)
60-64               Malevolent Ooze (Isle of the Summer Sage)
65-69               Snail Woman (Bei Lei Island)
70-74               Hermit Crab Man (Bei Lei Island)
75-77               Mr. Du Haoran (Toatie Village, Green Leaf Inn)
78-81               1d10 Constables of Mochui Lake District (Taotie Village)
82-87               The Xu Children (CAVE OF XU FAMILY)
88-90               Yakshas (Yaksha Island)
91-93               A local man or woman in distress (i.e. drowning, sick, unconconcious, etc)
94-95               A local man or woman being chased by random threat from this table 
96-100             Pick a threat from the immediate area 




BEI LEI ISLAND
This island is ruled by a Snail Goddess Luo Mei, who resides in Hai Luo Palace, a shining spire in the center of the island. The island crawls with mystery snails and hermit crabs, who can all take the form of men and women respectively. In human form, they increase their own population by seducing the people who live on the shores and taking the child back to their island when it is fully grown. They are kind and courteous to guests but hostile to anyone who would take a member of their society (by local law, the snails and hermit crabs of Bei Lei Island may only leave to procreate when the Snail Goddess gives them permission). The Snail Women of Bei Lei Island make very high quality furniture which is prized elsewhere. 

Hai Luo Palace is a mother-of-pearl structure that has deep roots beneath the ground and rises high to a sharp peak. It is surrounded by shimmering gardens of pearl. The nursery of the island is deep inside Hai Luo Palace. There are also rumors of a vast treasure of Pink Pearls inside the palace as well. 

SNAIL GODDESS
The Snail Goddess rules the island of Bei Lei from Hai Luo Palace. She dresses in glittering gowns and appears human but can take the form of an enormous snail, capable of projecting mucus. 

Defenses: Hardiness 10 (in shell) or 3, Evade 5, Wits 9
Skills: Mucus Spray: 5d10 (Special Damage), Melee: 3d10, Muscle: 4d10, Speed: 4d10, Detect: 2d10; Trade: 3d10, Religion: 3d10, Medicine: 3d10, Alchemy: 3d10, Divination: 3d10

Max Wounds: 18

Powers 
Retreat into Shell: The Snail Goddess can retreat into her shell at will, increasing  Hardiness to 10. 

Mucus Spray: The Snail Goddess can spray mucus in a 60 foot radius. Roll 5d10 against Evade. On Success the target is coated in a burning substance that does 4d10 each round until removed. On a Total Success the mucus does 6d10 each round until removed. Removing the Mucus requires 2 rounds of thorough washing, using water.

Shapechange: Snail Goddess can take numerous forms, anything from a giant snail or giant woman to a snail-woman hybrid or a normal sized creature of either type.  

SNAIL WOMAN
Snail Woman can take the form of beautiful women or enormous snails with thick shells and the ability to project a flesh consuming mucus. They leave a viscous trail wherever they go in either form, but it is only discernable under direct moonlight. To procreate they must sleep with a human, but their gestation period is 39 days. 

Defenses: Hardiness 10 (in shell) or 3, Evade 4, Wits 7
Skills: Mucus Spray: 3d10 (Special Damage), Melee: 1d10, Muscle: 4d10, Speed: 2d10, Detect: 2d10; Trade: 3d10, Religion: 2d10, Alchemy: 2d10, Survival: 3d10, Medicine: 2d10

Max Wounds: 8

Powers 
Retreat into Shell: Snail Women can retreat into their shell at will, increasing their Hardiness to 10. In this state they must remain still. 

Mucus Spray: Snail Women can spray mucus at everyone in a 30 foot radius. Roll 3d10 against Evade. On Success the target is coated in a burning substance that does 2d10 each round until removed. On a Total Success the mucus does 4d10 each round until removed. Removing the Mucus requires 1 round of thorough washing, using water. 

Shapechange: They can take the form of a normal snail, a giant snail-woman, or snail-woman hybrid and a normal woman. 

HERMIT CRAB
These creatures can take the form of handsome men or large hermit crabs who move unusually fast. They are scavengers and thieves, stealing what they need from people who come to the island (and from people who live on the shores when the goddess allows them to depart).

Defenses: Hardiness 9 (in shell) or 5, Evade 7, Wits 7
Skills: Claw: 2d10 (4d10 Open Damage), Melee: 1d10, Muscle: 4d10, Speed: 2d10, Detect: 2d10; Trade: 3d10, Theft: 3d10, Religion: 2d10, Survival: 3d10, Talent: 1d10, Medicine: 1d10

Max Wounds: 7

Powers 
Retreat into Shell: A Hermit Crab can retreat into its shell, where it has 9 Hardiness. While in this state it cannot act.

Shapechange: Hermit crabs take the form of a handsome man or a large hermit crab. 

CENTIPEDE DEMONS
There are two enormous centipede demons that dwell beneath the island. They surface frequently to feed on the crabs and snails. Centipede Demons are over three hundred feet long. They have large, serrated maws that drip with venom.  They have thousands of razor sharp legs that slice foes as they pass. 

Defenses: Hardiness 9, Evade 6, Wits 4
Skills: Bite: 3d10 (6d10 Damage plus Venom), Speed: 5d10, Muscle: 6d10, Detect: 0d10

Powers
Slice: They can slice foes in a 300 foot area with their legs, doing 2d10 plus 1 Extra Wound. 

Bite: Their bite does 6d10 Damage. One a Success, roll 3d10 against the Hardiness of anyone damaged by their bite. If this roll exceeds their Hardiness, the target’s body begins to fill with fluid, swelling. They take 1d10 damage every hour, and burst when they take enough Wounds to exceed their Max Wounds. 

BONE RIVER
The waters of this river are dark and murky like the lake they flow from. However the waters are rough with white frothy waves. The river is 3 miles wide and requires a Survival TN 8 Roll to cross successfully. Anyone who fails will surely meet the hands of the Bone River Demon. 

Anyone walking in the area around the river has a 2 in 10 chance of encountering 1d10 Bone Minions each hour. 

BONE RIVER DEMON
The Bone River Demon is an enormous Bone Demon that spans much of the length of the river. She lies on its bed and clutches people who fail to cross, unraveling their flesh and turning them into her Bone Minions. She does not know where she came from, but awakened beneath the waters one day. She can take human form for up to ten minutes on the bank of the river. She longs to roam the world free like a human. 

Defenses: Hardiness 10 (5 against Blunt objects), Evade 5, Wits 9
Skills: Bite: 3d10 (5d10 Damage), Arm Strike: 3d10 (3d10 plus Unravel), Melee: 2d10, Muscle: 5d10, Speed: 3d10, Detect: 2d10

Max Wounds: 20

Powers
Unravel the Flesh: The clutch of the Bone River Demon causes flesh to unravel. Anyone hit by her Arm Strike takes 3d10 Damage plus their skin starts falling off. As a result all rounds are permanent unless healed by special magic. Anyone killed by this process becomes a Bone Minion. 

Immunities: Mundane attacks do no harm to the Bone River Demon. She is harmed by Magic and Kung Fu Techniques. 

Bound to River: She is bound to the waters of the river. She cannot leave. She can assume the form of a human along the banks of the river for 10 minutes, but no more. 

BONE MINIONS
Bone Minions are mindless skeletons that haunt the area around Bone River (they occasionally venture beyond this region). They search for victims to bring to the Bone River Demoness. They prefer not to kill, but rather incapacitate or drag targets to their mistress. 

Defenses: Hardiness 8 (3 against Blunt objects), Evade 5, Wits 1
Skills: Bite: 1d10 (1d10 Damage), Arm Strike: 1d10 (1d10), Melee: 2d10, Muscle: 2d10, Speed: 2d10, Detect: 1d10

Max Wounds: 1

Powers
Grab: If two or more Bone Minions attack the same target in a round, they can choose to grab them rather than do damage. Escaping their clutches takes a Muscle TN 8 roll (destroying them also works). 

CAVE OF XU FAMILY
This cave is home to a former merchant, named Xu and his wife, Mingzhu. His wife is a Yaksha Demon from Yaksha Island (see STRANGE TALES OF SONGLING rulebook CHAPTER SEVEN page 64 for Yaksha Demon Stats). They both lived there for years and have three children. The children all look human but are exceptionally strong. The boys are named Xu Biao and Xu Bao while the girl is named Xu Ye’er. 

Mingzhu is very sick and will die in in weeks without proper treatment from a Yaksha Physician. However, both are wanted on the Island and cannot freely go back. They will be thankful to anyone who can bring a Yaksha physician to them. 

Xu’s Wares: He has all kinds of lacquer, wood, cabinets and crafted goods that he can sell at affordable prices. However, his most lucrative items are illegally obtained explosive devices powered by Divine Fire (gun powder). He has Thunderbolt balls of various sizes, arrow rockets and more. To use the weapons, characters should make relevant Skill rolls for attacks. For damage, they do between 1d10 to 7d10 depending on their size. Against creatures that are particularly vulnerable to fire, they can do Open Damage. 

MERCHANT XU
Merchant Xu was trapped on Yaksha Island for many years, trying to obtain its precious pine. The Yaksha spared him when they tasted his cooking. He was at first a prisoner of the Yaksha but married Mingzhu. The two fled from the island soon after their children were born. 

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 3, Wits 7
Key Skills: Melee: 1d10, Speed: 1d10, Muscle: 1d10, Trade: 3d10, Survival: 3d10, Languages: 3d10, Places: 2d10

Wounds: 1

CONFUCIAN ISLAND 
This island is inhabited by a small village of extremely well-behaved people. They are kept in line by the trees, which regard themselves as strict Confucian magistrates. Their interpretation of Confucianism is rigid and literal. When the people misbehave they lash them appropriately, occasionally to death. There is a cave in the center of the island filled with 100 golden taels, but the trees do not take kindly to theft. 

Yi Village: This is a small village of 30 families people. They fish, farm and hunt, but never harm trees and always abide by the Confucian virtues. Their houses are all made of stone. Not a single piece of wood is used in the village. Everything is stone, metal or fabric. 

CONFUCIAN TREES
Confucian Trees look like broad-leafed deciduous trees and if one looks closely, stern faces can be seen in the folds of the bark. They enforce Confucian virtues, lashing people with their branches when they are violate the rules. 

Defenses: Hardiness 5, Evade 4, Wits 8
Key Skills: Lashing Branches: 2d10 (2d10 Damage), Speed: 0d10, Muscle: 2d10, Reasoning: 3d10, Detect: 3d10, Classics: 3d10, Institutions: 2d10, Religion: 3d10

Wounds: 3
Powers
Lashing Branches: Confucian Trees can lash out with their branches up to 40 feet away. These do 2d10 Damage.  

Sense Transgression: The trees can sense any violation of Confucian morality within 100 feet on a Detect TN 6 roll. 

FUSHA ISLAND
Fusha Island is home to the august Fusha Literary society, an organization of like-minded scholars who meet regularly to share poetry and stories. The Fusha Literary society has an extensive manor on the island. Those coming to the island meet with strange creatures and situations, that are direct result of the tales told at Fusha Literary Society. Visitors are absorbed into the stories told by the society. People who come are attacked by the monsters of the scholar’s tales, but literary features like a love interest and jealous rival often work their way into such encounters. There is a small fishing settlement called Pangxie Village here that is often the setting of the scholar’s stories. The people of the village subsist on crab and shellfish. 

ISLAND ENCOUNTERS
Anyone who comes to the island is beset by situations and encounters with the fantastic. To determine a given encounter, pick a random page in any edition of Strange Tales from the Chinese Studio by Pu Songling and use that as a starting point (if you know the story use as much as possible, otherwise you can skim or just base it off the title and a quick perusal). These encounters should feel like they are coming right out of a story.  

HERO FENG’S HOUSE
Hero Feng is resides in a well-constructed courtyard villa with delicious tangerine trees and friendly animal life. All know and respect Hero Feng. 

HERO FENG
Hero Feng is brave and ferocious. He helps those in need, gladly destroys the wicked creatures of the swamp and can be a great ally for the party. However, he is in love with the Yu Village Fish Demon and will defend her or kill anyone who brings her harm. In a previous incarnation, he was an exceptional coward. 

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 7, Wits 7
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 3d10 (2d10), Melee: 3d10, Speed: 2d10, Detect: 2d10, Muscle: 2d10, Survival: 3d10, Persuade: 2d10

Max Wounds: 5
Equipment: Sword (3d10 Damage)

Kung Fu: Death Stroke, Blaze of Death, Block 3d10, Dodge 2d10

Death Stroke: Roll Melee against Evade. On a Success, the target takes Normal Damage plus 1 Extra Wound

Blaze of Death: Hit everyone for normal damage in a circle. 

HUA TEMPLE
Hua Temple is a Daoist temple ostensibly dedicated to the local turtle god of the Lake, King Yaoshi. Lately the priests and priestesses of the temple have been making a good living by selling Fu Scrolls that purport to fend off monsters. In truth they’ve allied with four Rakshas and simply instruct the Rakshas to devour people in any household without one of their Fu Scrolls on the door. The Raksha now live at the temple and sometimes pretend to be statues, to easily kill unwanted visitors. 

THE RAKSHAS OF HUA TEMPLE (4)
These Rakshas are tall, with wide shoulders, and jagged teeth jutting from their lower lip. They are hairy but well groomed, and dress in fine robes. They love the taste of human meat and prefer to eat it well prepared. 

Defenses: Hardiness 8, Evade 6, Wits 5
Key Skills: Bite: 2d10 (5d10 Damage), Claw: 2d10 (4d10), Speed: 2d10, Detect: 2d10, Muscle: 4d10, Command: 3d10, Language: 3d10, Talent: 3d10, Survival: 2d10

Max Wounds: 4

Powers
Devour: Raksha consume human flesh because they find it delicious. 

Immunities: Raksha are only harmed by energy attacks and heat. Peach Blossom Swords are especially effective against them as well, doing +1 Extra Wound. 

ISLE OF BOUNDED WISDOM
This island is inhabited by monks with strange faces who compile tomes made from human flesh. They believe the flesh reveals truths when sutras are rendered upon them. They also seek the remaining flesh of the buddha in order to assemble a complete suit of it in their Book Pavilion. The monks occasionally venture out to obtain victims when they are low on pages. The island is sandy and rocky. Some rocks have barnacle like mounds with human eyes in the center that serve as sentinels for the monks. 

Book Pavilion: This is where people are tortured and skinned to make pages for the monk’s books. There is also a collection of old desiccated flesh on a stone slab. The monks believe this is the flesh of the buddha and that it can be used to achieve enlightenment when completed, if worn on the body. Presently it appears to be less than half of a full body of skin. The main book of note is the Lotus Flesh Sutra. It is similar to the Lotus sutra, except it says individuals can become Buddha through his flesh.  

MONKS OF BOUNDED WISDOM (16)
The Monks of Bounded Wisdom all have shaved heads and look like Buddhist monks. However, their faces are a little too narrow and long, and their fingernails are metallic and sharp. They grab onto peoples’ flesh, peeling and slicing it from the muscle in one motion like a master fishmonger making a fillet. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 4, Wits 8
Key Skills: Claw: 2d10 (Damage 2d10 Open Damage), Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 1d10, Detect: 3d10, Read Language: 3d10, Religion: 3d10, Trade: 3d10

Max Wounds: 1

Powers
Peel: On a Successful Claw attack, their nails do 2d10 Open Damage. They peel off section of skin about a foot long for every wound they do and wounds recover slowly (twice the normal rate). The marks left behind are permanent. 

ISLE OF THE SUMMER SAGE
This isle is oddly warm and filled with summer fruits and trees. There is a man called the Summer Sage who resides in a small hut at the center of the island. His body is riddled with fistulas from injuries sustained in an old battle. Now he meditates, staving off the malevolent ooze that leaks from these unhealed wounds and spreads out to cause pestilence and spirit plagues. In reality the Summer Sage is one of the five gods of disease and simply forgotten his origin.

If his oozes are encountered beyond the island it usually means the Summer Sage is unable to contain his oozes. Roll 1d10 when anyone arrives to determine his current state (Note: during summer even if he is able and willing to meditate, he releases ooze against his will):

SUMMER SAGE CONDITION TABLE
Roll 1d10         Result
1-3                   He is stable and meditating to contain the ooze
4-5                   He cannot contain it for 1d10 days (unless someone intervenes and helps)
6-8                   He is sleeping and the ooze will spread for 1d10 months unless he is awakened
9                      He is greatly weakened for some reason and needs assistance Meditating to stop it, or he needs to be healed 
10                    He is tired of staving off the ooze and must be convinced to resume meditation to stop it

MALEVOLENT OOZE
Malevolent Ooze is the pale white drainage from the Summer Sage’s wounds. It is molded in the form of his fistulas, and begins as a mass of spiky tendrils, before assuming a more humanoid, but still quite amorphous, shape. It lashes out at targets and afflicts them with Wasting Plague or Spirit Plague. 

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 9, Wits 2
Key Skills: Tendril: 2d10 (Special), Speed: 3d10, Detect: 0d10, Muscle: 0d10

Max Wounds: 2

Powers

Tendril Attack: Malevolent Ooze can hit up to two targets with its tendrils. On a Success the target is exposed to Wasting Plague (see below). On a Total Success the target is afflicted with Spirit Plague (see below). 

Wasting Plague: Roll 2d10 against the Hardiness of anyone hit by the Ooze. Those struck are afflicted with a wasting plague. This causes all of their skills and stats to lower by 1 each day as their body and mind sicken. When all their stats reach 0, they die. This can only be cured through magic. 

Spirit Plague: Roll 4d10 against the Hardiness of anyone hit by the Ooze. On a Success they transform into Spirited Beast or Demon of the GM’s choice every night until the plague is cured. On a Total Success, they transform into a Spirited Beast or Demon of the GM’s choice over the next 10 days (if it isn’t cured by then the change is permanent). This can only be cured through magic. 

SUMMER SAGE
The Summer Sage is actually the summer pestilence god, Liu Yuanda. He does not remember his true identity and he does not know the reason for his wounds (except he was involved in a great battle). All he knows is if he meditates, the ooze stays inside his body. He tries to contain it, but it gets harder as the summer approaches. 

Defenses: Hardiness 9, Evade 8, Wits 10
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 3d10 (5d10 plus Spirit Plague), Melee: 3d10 (7d10 plus Spirit Plague), Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 6d10, Meditation: 5d10, Talent: 5d10, Detect: 3d10

Max Wounds: 24
Powers
Deathless: The Summer Sage is a god and cannot die, but if his body is destroyed it unleashes 10,000 Malevolent Oozes. Within a month, he will grow from the scum of the local ponds. 

Release Ooze: When he looses control, the Summer Sage releases 1d10 Oozes every round which stay in the immediate area briefly before venturing out and spreading illness. 

Attacks: When the Summer Sage strikes someone with Arm Strike or Melee he does damage plus exposes the target to Spirit Plague (see MALEVOLENT OOZE entry above for details). 

Pestilent: Every day the Summer Sage must meditate. During regular seasons this is fairly easy, but during summer it gets harder and he inevitably releases ooze upon the population. 

JADE-PEARL ISLAND
This is an island of muck and moss. The whole place is swamp. A terrible creature named Xu dwells in its marshes. It despises the people on the shores, especially fisherman. There are false rumors that a vast treasury of jade and gold are here. In truth there is only the creature (it was he who spread the rumors). 

XU THE CREATURE OF JADE-PEARL ISLAND
Xu has a long, ape-like body and webbed feet. His teeth are large and made from jade, while his eyes resemble shimmering pearls with no pupils. He has terrible claws that shine like gold and he has a strange empathy with all the fish in the lake. He can feel their pain and their deaths. This fills him with anger and hate toward the people of the area. He spread rumors of treasures on his island to lure men to him. He ventures out occasionally to kill fishermen. 

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 8, Wits 5
Key Skills: Bite: 2d10 (Damage 2d10), Claw: 4d10 (Damage 4d10), Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 2d10, Detect: 3d10

Max Wounds: 5

Powers
Slicing Claws: Every wound inflicted by Xu’s claws also drains 1 point of Hardiness due to bleeding. This returns at 1 Hardiness a day. 

Jade, Pearl and Gold: While no treasure exist on the island, Xu himself is a sort of treasure. His teeth, eyes and claws are worth 10 Silver Taels. 

JIANGSHI ISLAND 
This is an island inhabited entirely by Blood Sucking Jiangshi (see page 60 of the Strange Tales of Songling rulebook). The island itself is forested with tall black trees that and the ground blanketed with a dense green moss. Amid the forest are the ruined remains of temples, homesteads, and the vague remnants of settlements. These have long since fallen into ruin as the islanders were a Jiangshi infection spread among them. 

LANZUN
Leadership: Elder Liu 

Lanzun is a small town recently attacked by a massive creature from the lake. Many of the homes are destroyed. There is a rich bed of blue pearls that the locals harvested, but it is now guarded by the creature of Lanzun. There are many shops and an unusual number of transportation services here. The Heavenly Canopy Inn is a place of note. 

The Heavenly Canopy Inn
This small inn is run by Qin Ren, a crazy Daoist sorcerer obsessed with the wind goddess Feng Po Po. He is trying to bring her to the world through a human vessel, so he can marry her. There is a common room, bedrooms upstairs and a backroom where he keeps his human vessel (a woman named Jun) on a canopied bed. Below the Inn, in a small underground chamber, he keeps victims tied with chains, and draws their blood onto a copper well with Feng Po Po’s name engraved. 

Anyone who comes to the inn, he tries to drug and lock in his downstairs chamber so he can draw their blood. 

Jun is effectively a bitten ghost. And will attack anyone who enters her room without Qin Ren’s permission.

QIN REN
Qin Ren is a disheveled man in his late 40s, with a long beard and patchwork robes. He is obsessed with the Goddess Feng Po Po and believes he can summon her into a human vessel for marriage. In truth, there is a dark presence on the island, the creature of Lanzun, which feeds off his obsession. The results of his unhinged efforrts are mainly a product of Lanzun’s magic, not Qin Ren’s own. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 4, Wits 8
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10, Speed: 2d10, Detect: 2d10, Muscle: 0d10, Command: 2d10, Reasoning: 1d10, Alchemy: 3d10, Trade: 1d10, Medicine: 3d10, Ritual: 3d10, Religion: 2d10

Level: 9
Max Wounds: 1

Abilities
Substances: Qin Ren can make Transformative Substance and Shrinking Substance 

Rituals: Crippling Illness, Create Talking and Walking Objects, Filial Coin Trick, Forgetting Fog, Find, Rotting Death, Spirited Object, Spiritual Defense and Talking Beast, 

THE CREATURE OF LANZUN
This massive creature is an inky black amorphous shape changing pool of dense liquid. It can take the shape of a large humanoid creature or simply form itself into a cloud. It can also take over the mind of anyone who comes into contact with it. It is a deeply magical being, capable of bending reality to its will. The creature of Lanzun’s magic is fueled by human emotion, particularly fear and obsession. 

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 10, Wits 7
Key Skills: Attack: 3d10 (4d10 Damage plus 1 Extra Wound), Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 6d10, Detect: 2d10

Max Wounds: 12

Powers
Magic: The creature of Lanzun can bend reality provided there is relevant emotion in the area to fuel the transformation. This works slowly and subtly over time. For example, if a man were mourning his dead daughter, the creature could use that grief to bring her back to life over the course of days, and likely she would return as something monstrous, not her former self.

Shape Change: The Creature of Lanzun can shape itself into a large humanoid, take the form of a massive inky black liquid or the form of a cloud. 

Amorphous Defense: The creature is very hard to strike because its body forms itself around attacks (which is what gives it an evade of 10). 

LENG HOMESTEAD
This is the home of Daoist master, and Jiangshi hunter extraordinaire, Leng Ying. He lives in a small stone homestead with 4 corpses of his family, who are all Jiangshi. He keeps them still with Paper Talismans of Jiangshi Command and is planning to lead them to their ancestral homeland far to the north. However, several members of his household are still roaming freely in the area and he needs to capture them before he can leave. 

His family lived her peacefully but were attacked by vampires from Jiangshi island and turned into stiff corpses. 

LENG YING
Leng Ying is an eccentric Daoist Priest whose family were turned into Jiangshi. He is intent on finding all remaining family members in the area and, when he has them all, taking them in procession to the north (using Bell of Jiangshi Procession). Leng Ying is stubborn and refuses to harm their bodies, wanting to lay them to rest. Despite being tough on the outside, he is softhearted and will help those who come to him if pressed, even adventuring. But wherever he goes he insists on taking his Jiangshi family with him. 
Defenses: Hardiness 5, Evade 5, Wits 7
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 2d10, Leg Strike: 1d10, Melee: 2d10, Talent: 2d10, Ritual: 2d10, Survival: 2d10, Muscle: 1d10, Speed: 2d10, Athletics: 1d10, Command: 2d10, Detect: 1d10, Creatures: 2d10

Level: 6
Max Wounds: 2
Equipment: Peach Tree Sword (2d10 Damage), Bell, Ba Gua Mirror, Yellow Robes 
Kung Fu Techniques: Fist of Iron, Life Eradicating Sword
Magic Techniques: Bell of Jiangshi Procession, Paper Talisman of Jiangshi Command

LENG FAMILY (7)
All the remaining Leng Family are Jiangshi but kept under control by Leng Ying’s magic. However, they can easily revert to their life draining ways if their talismans are removed. The family members include his wife, San, his nephew, Wu Tao, and his five children: Jia, Chang, Gao, Kang and Li. 

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 5, Wits 4
Key Skills: Bite and Claw: 1d10 (3d10 Damage), Speed: 0d10, Muscle: 3d10, Detect: 2d10

Max Wounds: 5

Powers
Hop: Jiangshi can hop twice each round to move, going 10 feet each round total. 

Drain Life: On a Successful bite or claw attack, a Jiangshi can opt to suck the breath of its victim. Roll 1d10 against Hardiness. On a Success the target is drained of 1 level. 

Immunities and Weaknesses: Jiangshi are immune to mundane and Kung Fu attacks. They can be harmed by Fire, Magic Techniques and Rituals. The following substances act like fire when they contact Jiangshi: sticky rice, dog blood, and peach wood.  Ba Gua Mirrors can keep them at bay. 



MOSS AND MUSHROOM ISLAND
This strange island is dense with a forest of tall mushrooms and mossy covered earth. Deep in the island is a manor called Orange Blossom Villa. This is home to the Mushroom Beauties, mold-creatures that look like beautiful people and turn their lovers into moldy masses. There is a dock here with small boats (which often go to Orange Blossom Island)

Orange Blossom Manor: This manor is a cave dwelling built into the side of a hill. It looks nice and has a central courtyard, but this is all just an illusion. The illusion is detectable with magic but not by normal means. The people of Orange Blossom Manor make a delicious Orange Blossom Wine  (they obtain the oranges from Orange Blossom Island and maintain friendly terms with the Lady of the place).

MUSHROOM BEAUTIES
Mushroom Beauties look like fair and attractive men or women. They fall in love easily and when they do, their love slowly turns people into creatures like them. While they look like beautiful humans, their true form is a mold-ridden mass that spews illusion weaving spores. 

Defenses: Hardiness 2, Evade 5, Wits 7
Key Skills: Speed: 2d10, Detect: 2d10, Persuade: 3d10, Empathy: 3d10, Muscle: 1d10, Talent: 1d10, Survival: 2d10

Max Wounds: 2

Powers
Spores of Splendor: The spores of the Mushroom Beauties cause people to see illusions. They perceive the Mushroom Beauties as handsome or beautiful people, they perceive their homes and dwellings as typical human houses, etc. Anyone in the presence of a Mushroom Beauty experiences this, and it can only be broken by magical abilities that see through such things. 

Mushroom Corruption: Anyone who spends time with a Mushroom Beauty, longs for a Mushroom Beauty or displays sincere affection towards a Mushroom Beauty starts turning into a Mushroom Beauty themselves. This takes a number of days equal to their Hardiness. The change is only visible by magical means. 

Sunlight Vulnerability: They take 1d10 Damage for every hour spend in direct sunlight. 

ORANGE BLOSSOM ISLAND 
This island is filled with orange orchards. They are the sweetest and most perfect oranges one might ever taste. However, the Orange Blossom Trees require human blood or their fruit taste bitter. The island is ruled by Lady Lu Yingning and it seems she has ruled here for hundreds of years. She treats her people like cattle, forcing them to live in confinement and breed so she has enough fresh blood for her trees. Harming plants or animals on the island is punishable by death. 

Ying Manor: This large estate is governed by Lu Yingying and inhabited by servants, guards and farmers. There is also a vast long series of halls, where people are raised and confined like chickens or pigs. There are thousands of people in these halls. They live to produce offspring then die in the fields. 

History: While it seems Lu Yingning has governed for hundreds of years, in truth she has only been here for sixty years. The people who were alive then, have now forgotten. But when they get drunk, they remember that the island was just a village and farms, before the Orange Blossoms showed up.  

LADY LU YINGNING 
Lady Lu Yingning is a tall and severe looking woman wo dresses in fine black robes and adorns herself in expensive jewelry. She is cruel towards people but kind towards plants and animals. She governs the island and has a deep connection to the Orange Blossom Trees. She views her subjects as means to sustain her trees (and therefore herself). 

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 6, Wits 6
Skills: Arm Strike: 2d10 (2d10 Damage), Leg Strike, 2d10 (3d10 Damage), Melee: 3d10, Detect: 2d10, Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10, Athletics: 2d10, Detect: 3d10, Command: 3d10, Reasoning: 1d10, Survival: 2d10, Poison: 2d10, Alchemy: 2d10, Medicine: 1d10

Max Wounds: 6

Powers
Command of the Orange Blossom: Anyone who eats an orange from the island (or beverages made from the oranges) is subject to her Command ability. On a Successful Command Roll,  the target must obey her instructions or take 1d10 Damage each hour they fail to do so as crippling pain wracks their body. 

Deathless: If she is reduced to 0 Wounds, Yingning dissipates into a citric mist and is reborn in an orange on the island in 1d10 hours. Lu Yingying can only be truly killed if the Orange Blossom Trees on the island are eradicated. Every tree destroyed causes a wound on her body. 

Slip (Counter): Lady Lu Yingning can evade a melee attack by gliding backwards. Roll Athletics against the Attack roll. On a Success she is not hit. 

PHYSICIAN JIXIAN
Surrounded by perpetually ripe fields of Buckwheat, this is the abode of Physician Jixian, an old man famed for his healing abilities and widely respected and feared by the local monsters. Not only can he cure most conditions, he can transform men into beasts and monsters, or change an individuals face. However, he asks a heavy price and uses his powers for revenge if anyone brings him harm. 

The house is protected by Xue Mei, a loyal Buckwheat Beast and wife to Physician Jixian. 

He has a number of herbal cures listed at the end of this entry. 

XUE MEI
Xue Mei is 10 feet tall with red hair that resembles ripe buckwheat. The hair covers her body and face as well. Her features monstrous and uneven, and she is somewhat cowardly, often fleeing when she takes damage (when it comes to defending Physician Jixian, she is fearless). Most impressive are her large, powerful teeth. 

Xue Mei was once a beautiful woman who despised the shallow love her appearance so often attracted. She came to Physician Jixian and asked him to make her hideous and powerful. He transformed her into a Buckwheat Beast, and shortly after the two fell in love then married. Xue Mei is very protective of Jixian and kills anyone who attempts to hurt him. 

For more information on Buckwheat Beasts see CHAPTER SEVEN: MONSTERS AND VILLAINS of SRANGE TALES. 

Defenses: Hardiness 9, Evade 6, Wits 7
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (4d10 and special), Arm Strike: 3d10, Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 4d10, Detect: 3d10, Talent: 2d10, Trade: 1d10, Classics: 1d10

Max Wounds: 7

Powers
Chomp: Xue Mei’s bite is strong, breaking bone easily. When she rolls Damage on a Bite attack, lower the target’s Hardiness by -3 to determine wounds. In addition, her bite does 1 Extra Wound. 

Blend: Xue Mei can blend in and hiding in fields (especially fields of ripe buckwheat). Detecting her in a field of ripe Buckwheat requires a Detect roll TN 10. 

Cowardly: Xue Mei is inclined toward cowardice. Anytime she takes damage, the attacker can make a Command roll. On a Success she flees for 1d10 minutes. On a Total Success she flees for 1d10 hours. She can overcome this when she is protecting Physician Jixian, but feels the need to vent by smashing objects and screaming once the threat has been defeated. 

PHYSICIAN JIXIAN
Physician JIxian is rude and speaks frankly. He likes to turn people into monsters. He is also a gifted healer and will help heal anyone who can bring him the carcass of a creature to study (he will also accept strange manuals, artifacts and live specimens). He can even restore the dead, but this costs 3 anomalous creatures. If someone crosses him, or goes back on their word, he turns them into a beast. 

Jixian is married to Xue Mei, one of his earliest patients. He transformed her into a Buckwheat Beast and fell instantly in love. His devotion is strong, but only skin deep. 

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 6, Wits 8
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10 (2d10 Damage), Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10, Alchemy: 2d10, Medicine: 3d10, Meditation: 1d10, Talent: 2d10, Persuade: 1d10, Detect: 3d10, History: 2d10, Languages: 3d10, Read Scripts: 3d10, The Classics: 3d10

Max Wounds: 1

Powers
Heal: On a Successful Medicine Roll, Physician Jixian can heal 1 wound through an hour of acupuncture. 

Transform: This is a supernatural ability. Physician Jixian can mold a person or creature into any form he wishes. In effect, on a Successful Medicine Roll TN 7, he can change the way a person looks or even transform them into any creature in the STRANGE TALES book (CHAPTER SEVEN: MONSTERS AND VILLAINS). This includes any supernatural abilities because he is able to alter meridians and even reshape a person’s spirit. 

Restore to Life: Physician Jixian can bring back the dead. He just needs the body, and he usually needs to replace some of the organs (for example if a person was stabbed in the heart, he will need to replace it with a healthy heart). The procedure takes three days. 

PHYSICIAN JIXIAN’S REMEDIES
Spirit Cure: This concoction contains 31 sweet herbs that taste like tea. If boiled and consumed it blocks the magical abilities of any demon/spirited beast for 1 hour. They are effectively reduced to 1 wound at this time and cannot use supernatural abilities. 

PIPA WOOD FOREST
This forest is filled with spruce and rosewood trees that are perfect for the construction of pipas and similar instruments. This is also where Pipa Wood Manor is. The forest is home to the intelligent bears who were enchanted by the music from Pipa Wood Manor. They adore the music, so protect the manor residents from natural and supernatural threats. 

There is a 4 in 10 chance of an encounter with any of the following every 2 hours. 

PIPA WOOD FOREST ENCOUNTERS
Roll 1d10         Result
1-4                   Bears of Intelligence
5                      Wang Zhongyan
6                      Xin Linghui
7                      Mu Anzhi (Pipa Wood Demon)
8                      Mu Huarui (Pipa Wood Demon)
9                      Granny Mu (Pipa Wood Demon)
10                    Roll on Moshui Lake Encounter Table

Note: Mu Anzhi, Mu Huarui, Granny Mu, Wang Zhongyan and Xin LInghui are all descriebd in PIPA WOOD MANOR entry below. 

KING ZHAO
King Zhao is a Bear of Intelligence and the leader of the Pipa Wood Bears. He brought his people here from the south, following the sweet melodies of Pipa Wood Manor. He made a vow to heaven to protect the manor and instructed his bears to attack anyone who threatens it. However, he does not realize that the Pipa Wood Demon has slipped through (and believes they are just the relatives of a talented pipa player). 

Defenses: Hardiness 8, Evade 6, Wits 9
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (Damage 5d10), Claw: 3d10 (Damage 4d10), Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 5d10, Detect: 3d10, Talent: 1d10, Survival: 3d10
Max Wounds: 7

PIPA WOOD BEARS (25)
These are bears of intelligence. They look like large black bears and have a leader named King  Zhao. They protect the people of Pipa Wood Manor because the like to listen to its Pipa Music. 

Defenses: Hardiness 8, Evade 6, Wits 7
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (Damage 4d10), Claw: 3d10 (Damage 3d10), Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 4d10, Detect: 3d10
Max Wounds: 5

PIPA WOOD MANOR
This is the Manor Wang Zhongyan, a wealthy scholar who is incredibly wealthy and unconcerned with the surrounding supernatural threats. He recently kicked out his wife, Xin Linghui and took in the family of a local pipa player who seduced him (see Pipa Wood Demon below). The manor is astounding, filled with servants and musicians. He has 25 pipa players in all who perform steadily the entire day and night. He also controls a workshop that makes and sells pipas and is located in the back of the manor. 

WANG ZHONGYAN
Wang Zhongyan is an arrogant scholar who amassed wealth through underhanded, often illegal, means. He adores music, particularly pipa players. He recently fell in love with Mu Huarui (see Pipa Wood Demon below) and took her whole family into his manor (not knowing they were one creature). His wife grew jealous so he kicked her out and now plans to marry Huarui and give her everything he owns when he dies. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 3, Wits 8
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 2d10, Speed: 2d10, Athletics: 1d10, Muscle: 0d10, Meditation: 1d10, Talent: 3d10, Trade: 2d10, Divination: 1d10, Command: 1d10, Detect: 0d10, Institutions: 1d10, Places: 1d10, History: 1d10, Languages: 3d10, Read Scripts: 3d10, The Classics: 2d10

Max Wounds: 1

XIN LINGHUI
Xin Linghui is the wife of Wang Zhongyan. She was kicked out of their manor when he fell in love with Mu Huarui. She has roamed on her own, filled with anger and wanting to get revenge. She is looking for capable people and will offer the wealth of the manor to anyone who kills Wang and his new lover. 

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 5, Wits 7
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10, Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 1d10, Talent: 1d10, Trade: 3d10, Theft: 2d10, Command: 2d10, Persuade: 2d10, Detect: 3d10

Max Wounds: 1

PIPA WOOD DEMON (MU ANZHI, MU HUARUI AND GRANNY MU)
The Pipa Wood Demon is a PAINTED MAIDEN, a creature who eats human hearts and paints a fake skin for itself to resemble humans. The Pipa Wood Demon is male and takes three forms: Mu Anzhi the talented male scholar, Mu Huarui the female pipa player and Granny Mu, their mother). He pretends to be a family of three. Presently he has seduced Wang Zhongyan as Mu Huarui and convinced him to banish Xin Linghui from the house. He plans to eat Wang Zhongyan’s heart once Wang transfers his titles and wealth to the Wang Family (ideally through a marriage arrangement).

Defenses: Hardiness 7, Evade 6, Wits 9
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 3d10, Bite: 3d10 (3d10 Damage), Claw: 2d10 (5d10 Damage), Speed: 4d10, Muscle: 3d10, Detect: 3d10, Persuade: 3d10, Talent: 5d10, Trade: 2d10, Divination: 1d10, Medicine: 2d10, Survival: 3d10

Max Wounds: 6

Powers
Painted Skin: The Pipa Demon has mastered three fake skins, which he paints for himself. They make him perfectly resemble an old woman (Granny Mu), a handsome scholar (Mu Anzhi) or a beautiful Pipa Player (Mu Huarui). It takes two consecutive successful Detect rolls to notice the disguise and characters must specifically be examining him closely.  

Immunities: He is only harmed by magic. 

Claw and Heart Taking Hand: The Pipa Wood Demons claws do 5d10 Damage on a Successful attack roll. On a Total Success they do 6d10 plus 1 Extra Wound (ripping out the heart if this is enough to kill). 

Substitution:  Like all Painted Maidens, if he finds a willing person, he can trade places with them by swapping skins. 

THE PURPLE BANDITS
The Purple Bandits rob from anyone who succumbs to the Snake Blossom Poison in the area of the PURPLE FOOTHILLS. They are aware of the properties of Snake Blossom and have all mastered advanced meditation techniques to protect themselves so they can freely steal from those who fall victim to the flowers. 

PURPLE BANDITS (24)
The Purple Bandits are a group of bandits who have mastered meditation so they can move with ease through the Purple Foothills and rob. They are led by a man named Yuan Shichang, the son of a wealthy merchant in Lanzun. He and his men fled Lanzun after the village was attacked by a creature from the lake and their house destroyed. Now they are determined to help Yuan gain a small fortune so they can travel north and find someplace safe to live in comfort. 

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 6, Wits 7
Skills: Arm Strike: 1d10 (0d10 Damage), Melee: 2d10, Detect: 1d10, Speed: 1d10, Muscle: 1d10, Meditation: 3d10

Max Wounds: 2

Equipment: Swords (2d10 Damage) and Bows (1d10 Damage)

PURPLE FOOTHILLS
These foothills are purple due to blankets of Snake Blossoms that carpet the hills. Snake Blossoms are long purple flowers that react to lust, spraying a fine poisonous mist on anyone who has sexual thoughts (however mild). Anyone passing through this area must make a Meditation TN 6 roll to avoid thinking about sex. On a Failure, a Snake Blossom Attacks. 

There is a 1 in 10 chance of encountering a priest of Hua Temple when passing through here. 

SNAKE BLOSSOM
These beautiful flowers have purple petals and purple stems. They grow in abundance in the Purple Foothills and spray a debilitating poison at anyone who has sexual thoughts. 
Defenses: Hardiness 1, Evade 1, Wits 2
Key Skills: Spray: 2d10 (2d10 plus poison), Speed: 1d10

Max Wounds: 1

Powers
Spray: Anyone hit with their spray is exposed to Snake Blossom Venom. Roll 2d10 Against Hardiness. On a Success the target’s body aches and their limbs become like a corpse. Their speed drops to 0d10 and they can only move 5 feet per round in combat. The only cure is to coat the victim in cinnabar powder for 1 hour. 

SPARROW ISLAND
This island is a dense forest filled with ruins and swarms of tree sparrows. There is a great palace in the center of the forest where the poet Su Qiji resides. He has lived here many years and his poetry awakened the sparrows, who were once just knots in the trees. He is now their master and they protect him. 

Celestial Phoenix Palace: This enormous spiral palace looks like it is sculpted from blue jade and is filled with halls and chambers. Musicians, servants, and guests live here with Su Qiji. None of them know where they came from but they love the splendor of the palace. People who sleep at the palace forget who they are (and can only remember on a Successful Reasoning roll TN 10, which they can make once a day). The people of Celestial Phoenix Palace never age while staying here. 

SU QIJI
Su Qiji is an eccentric poet who enjoys the isolation of his island and the opulence of his palace. He also loves the company of his guests and keeps them here for their own benefit. He is an amazing poet but can only seem to write about sparrows and trees. All other topics are a mystery to him. Su Qiji enjoys corresponding with Mad Daoist Bai of Stone Island. He hopes to cure him of his madness. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 4, Wits 9
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10, Speed: 1d10, Muscle: 0d10, Empathy: 2d10, Persuade: 2d10, Reasoning: 3d10, Detect: 3d10, Talent: 3d10, Read Script: 3d10, Language: 3d10, Creatures: 3d10

Max Wounds: 1

Powers
Sparrow Poetry: Su Qiji can create sparrows from wood with his words. What is more, he can create new types of birds should he choose (he has yet to realize this). 

SPARROWS OF RECIPROCITY
These look like small tree sparrows. In truth their bodies are made of wood and they were given life by the poems of Su Qiji. Now they live to protect him and strive to embody his ideals. They venture forth helping those who are kind and devouring those who are wicked. 

Defenses: Hardiness 7, Evade 7, Wits 3
Key Skills: Peck: 1d10 (1d10 Damage), Speed: 3d10, Fly: 3d10, Muscle: 0d10, Detect: 3d10

Max Wounds: 1

Powers 
Devouring Swarm: When Sparrows of Reciprocity attack together they add their damage rolls and treat them as Open Damage. 


SPIRIT RIVER
This enervating river gently flows into lake Moshui. Its waters are pure, calm and clear. It is 1 mile wide and any human who touches the waters is drained of 1 Level (returns at rate of 1 per hour). However, its waters heal ghosts and attracts them. There is a 2 in 10 chance of encountering ghosts here. If ghosts are encountered roll 1d10 to determine how many and roll once for each on the GHOST TABLE below to see what types are present. Ghosts are fully described in STRANGE TALES rulebook in CHAPTER SEVEN: MONSTERS AND VILLAINS 

GHOST TABLE
Roll 1d10         Result
1-2                   Bitten Ghost
3-4                   Hanged Ghost 
5-6                   Invisible Ghost 
7-8                   Loving Ghost 
9                      Peony Ghost 
10                    Tiger Minion Ghost

STONE ISLAND
This island is filled with statues that are the victims of the island’s resident, Mad Daoist Bai. He turns people to stone then uses them later as his mindless servants. The statues can attack intruders but cannot move without permission from Bai. There is a house on the island where Bai lives. This contains a wide array of books on lore, magic, Daoism and more. Perhaps most useful is the HEART OF STONE Ritual (see APPENDIX A). 

The island has many trees and tea orchards. 

MAD DAOIST BAI
Mad Daoist Bai is murderous and eccentric. He uses his magic to turn people into his stone minions, because he can’t stand the sound of people talking. He likes having total control of his environment. But he adores birds and keeps a regular correspondence with Su Qiji of Sparrow Island. He will gladly talk about birds for hours. He also will pay 10 Silver Taels for bark and roots of a Confucian Tree (CONFUCIAN ISLAND). 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 3, Wits 9
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10, Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 1d10, Persuade: 3d10, Detect: 2d10, Empathy: 0d10, Medicine: 2d10, Divination: 2d10, Alchemy: 2d10 Ritual: 3d10, Survival: 3d10, Religion: 1d10

Level: 9
Max Wounds: 1
Equipment:  Shrinking Substance, 100 Silver Taels

Powers
Command Stone: Bai can command any stone object or statue, causing it to animate and attack or perform a function in accordance with its form. If used to attack roll Persuade against the target’s Evade. On a Success the stone does, 1d10 to 6d10 Damage (depending on its size). 

Rituals: Crippling Illness, Create Talking and Watching Object, Filial Coin Trick, Heart of Stone (APPENDIX A), Rotting Death, Stone Minion (APPENDIX A), Talking Beast, Spirited Object, Virtue of Trees (APPENDIX A)

Substances: Longevity Substance, Shrinking Substance  

STONE MINION
These look like motionless stone statues littering the island. When a person passes by, they can attack, but they are rooted to the ground. Only when Mad Daoist Bai gives them permission can they move around. They often perform menial tasks for him. These were once people but were turned into stone by his Stone Minion ritual. 

Defenses: Hardiness 9, Evade 1 or 2 (when moving), Wits 3
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 2d10 (2d10 Damage), Speed: 0d10, Muscle: 3d10, Detect: 3d10, Trade: 2d10, Survival: 2d10, Talent: 2d10

Max Wounds: 4

Powers 
Heed Bai: Stone Minions must obey the commands of Bai and can only move freely with his permission. 

THE STONE LADY
This is a small cave, inhabited by a woman made of stone. She feeds on human breath, without which she grows rigid and cannot move. She has a small home inside the cave outfitted with the belongings of her victims. 

THE STONE LADY
The Stone Lady was once a statue of a forgotten goddess. She looks like grey stone, sculpted with ancient garments and wide observant eyes. A drop of ink from the shore awakened her mind and since she has been feeding on humans in the area by sucking the breath from their bodies. Each time she does so, it expands her mind, giving her their memories and desires. She doesn’t like killing, but has to in order to survive. Her personality is an accumulation of the victims she has killed. She keeps their belongings in her cave, finding they give her comfort. 

Defenses: Hardiness 10, Evade 2, Wits 5
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 1d10 (1d10 Damage plus Drain), Speed: 1d10, Muscle: 3d10, Detect: 3d10, Talent: 1d10, Trade: 1d10, Classics: 1d10, Ritual: 1d10

Max Wounds: 6

Powers 
Drain: One a Successful Arm Strike roll, she does 1d10 damage and sucks the life breath of the target draining 1 Hardiness. On a Total Success she does 2d10 Damage and drains 2 Hardiness. Every person she drains to the point of death, gives her 1 point of Wits. 

Necessary Feeding: Every day she goes without draining a victim, she slowly loses her ability to think and move. Each day this happens she loses 1 Wits. When she reaches 0, she becomes a normal statue (this can be reversed if someone gets close enough for her to suck their breath). 

TEMPLE OF THE KINGSThis temple is dedicated to the kings of Hell (Diyu). There are ten statues of the hell kings in a central hall and they about the place are scattered painted wooden statues of judges and officials from the underworld. These are the groundskeepers and priests of the temple. At night they turn into flesh and move freely. Each is strange in its own way but chief among them is the head of the temple, Magistrate Lu. He often wanders far from the temple grounds in pursuit of his unique brand of justice. 

MAGISTRATE LU
Magistrate Lu has a green face, thick red beard and strong bright eyes. He is a wooden statue during the day but transforms into a man at night. He often ventures out for days at a time seeking people to help. Magistrate Lu is keenly aware of peoples’ inner potential and can sense the flaws that are holding them back. He can fix this by swapping the organ or feature to blame with another person’s. He imposes his cures by performing surgery, taking body parts from people who don’t deserve them, and then violently making the switch. In most encounters with Magistrate Lu it is unclear if he has come to harvest a raw body part, or replace a flawed feature with a new one. In both cases he attacks and hacks the victim with an axe until his work is done. On any encounter with Magistrate Lu the chances are 50/50 that he is there to harm or heal. 

Magistrate Lu can project his mind across the land and learn about people. This is how he knows the strength’s and flaws of individuals. When he travels he is still subject to transformation. If he is encountered during the day, he is just a wooden statue. 

Defenses: Hardiness 7, Evade 7, Wits 10
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10, Melee: 3d10 (5d10), Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 4d10, Medicine: 3d10, Talent: 3d10, Trade: 3d10, Command: 3d10, Persuade: 1d10, Empathy: 3d10, Reasoning: 3d10, Detect: 3d10, Institutions: 3d10, Places: 3d10, History: 3d10, Languages: 3d10, Read Script: 3d10, The Classics: 3d10, Religion: 3d10

Max Wounds: 12
Equipment: Axe

Powers
Deathless: Magistrate Lu can only be destroyed if the Temple of Kings is burned to the ground. Otherwise, if his body is killed or ruined, he appears in the temple again in 1d10 days. 

Swap: Magistrate Lu can perform surgeries to swap peoples organs and features. He can change a person’s head, replace their heart, kidney or even mend intestines. Doing so confers significant benefit. A replaced heart for example might increase Talent by +2d10, or mended intestines might raise Hardiness by 2. Usually he must take the new organ or part from a source (unless he is simply mending). 

Transformation: During the day he is a wood statue, at night he is a man.

Project: He can project his mind with a Detect roll TN 8 to learn about people. 

TOMB OF GRANNY MA
This tomb is a prison erected by Scholar Wang that houses the goddess Zhi Nu. However, she forgot who she is, and resides inside the tomb as an old woman named Granny Ma. She has grown mad and believes herself to be various famed masters of the martial world. The tomb is inhabited by monkeys who she regards as her disciples and sees as human. 

GRANNY MA
Granny Ma is really the Goddess Zhi, but she went insane after she was sealed in the tomb by Scholar Wang. She originally came to Moshui Lake armed with the Celestial Loom to capture Scholar Wang and bring him back to her father’s (who promised to let her re-unite with her husband Niu Lang if she did so. She failed, was imprisoned inside the tomb, where she forgot her true personality and quickly aged. Now she believes she is one of the great masters, and this changes by her mood (sometimes Zhang Sanfeng, sometimes Ouyang Feng, etc). She believes the monkeys in the cave are her disciples and that they are human. 

Note: Granny Ma is really Zhi Nu. If she remembers, she gains her powers and youthful appearance. She remembers who she is if she sees a cow, if someone reminds her of her husband Niu Lang (the cowherd), or if the tale of the Weaving Maiden is spoken to her. If she succeeds in taking Scholar Wang to the Jade Emperor, it rains for a full month, regardless of season.  

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 9, Wits 9
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 4d10 (5d10), Melee: 4d10 (special), Speed: 5d10, Muscle: 4d10, Medicine: 3d10, Divination: 5d10, Trade: 4d10, Talent: 4d10, Survival: 4d10, Command: 4d10, Persuade: 4d10, Detect: 3d10, History: 3d10, Creatures: 3d10, Institutions: 4d10, Places: 4d10, Religion: 4d10

Max Wounds: 40

Powers as Zhi Nu 
In order to use these powers, she must realize that she is Zhi Nu. 

Celestial Loom: Zhi Nu is the only entity who can wield the Celestial Loom. 

Cause Rain: Whenever Zhi Nu weeps, it rains. 

CELESTIAL LOOM
This looks like a normal loom, but when used by Zhi Nu, it can be used to bind even the most powerful of deities. Make a Trade roll against Evade of the target, on a Success the loom weaves its strands tightly around him or her. These bonds can only be broken by the Jade Emperor himself. 

YAKSHA  ISLAND
This cave-ridden island looks like a paradise. It has thick forests filled with deer and leopards, fruit trees and a wide variety of pine wood that is highly prized in the empire. The island is inhabited by hundreds of Yaksha Demons (See STRANGE TALES rulebook CHAPTER SEVEN). They are led by King Fa. Like all Yakshas, those on the island enjoy human flesh, but they have cultivated a taste for human cooking methods. They keep many human cooks, servants, laborers and musicians as slaves on the island to cater to their needs. Any human who encounters the Yakshas of this island may be spared if they have sufficient skill. Saffron is illegal on the island because the king is allergic to it. The Xu Family (see CAVE OF XU FAMILY) is wanted on the island and the king offers a reward of 50 taels for their return.

Yaksha Island Pine: This variety of pine never rots and is ideal for furniture and roofing. 

KING FA
King Fa is larger than most Yaksha Demons and has an especial fondness for luxuries like gold. He also adores human woman, having taking many as his wives and doting on them endlessly. He is charming and kind to those he likes, but merciless to those who do not interest him. He was the one who came up with the idea of using humans as cooks and servants. Before his reign, the Yaksha of this island ate only raw and unseasoned meat. 

Defenses: Hardiness 8, Evade 7, Wits 8
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (6d10 Damage), Claw: 2d10 (2d10), Speed: 5d10, Detect: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10, Talent: 2d10,  Language: 3d10, Survival: 3d10, Trade: 1d10, Creatures: 1d10, Places: 1d10

Max Wounds: 5

Powers
Devour: The King’s bite does 6d10 Damage on a successful attack roll.

Immunities: The King is only harmed by energy and heat attacks. He is allergic to saffron and has made it illegal on the island.  

WANG HU INN
Menu: Sorghum Wine (10 Spades per cup), Plum Blossom Wine (20 Spades a cup), Roasted Phoenix (300 spades), Flower Noodle Stew (40 Spades), Glittering Cricket
Rooms: 25 spades a night (6 rooms)

This cozy roadside inn is well regarded for its fine food, drink and furnishings. The wine is delicious and expensive. There are rumors that Wang Hu, the proprietor, has many secret items on the menu he only serves to the most deserving, and this causes many to treat him exceptionally well. Wang Hu is a Fox Spirit who delights in punishing the rude and crude. To anyone who skimps on payment, haggles or treats him badly, he suggests Flower Noodle Stew (for their discriminating palate). 

Flower Noodle Stew: This is a poisonous stew which tastes delicious and is flavored with a variety of edible flowers. Anyone who eats it is afflicted with the Hungry Fox curse. Every night, roll 3d10 against the victim’s wits. On a Success the person turns into a Hungry Fox Spirit until dawn and feels compelled to devours the hearts of innocent people (they lose Hardiness if they don’t). On a Total Success the target permanently becomes a Hungry Fox Spirit (CHAPTER SEVEN: MONSTERS AND VILLAINS).  

Glittering Cricket: These are only suggested to Wang Hu’s kindest patrons. These are fried crickets with a crisp, golden coating. However they continue to move after being cooked, gratefully offering themselves to the worthy recipients of this dish. 

Roasted Phoenix: This is actually Duck transformed by the artistry of Hu Jing to resemble a phoenix. 

HU JING
Hu Jing is a Punishing Fox Spirit and the proprietor of Wang Hu Inn. He is kind to all his patrons and a gifted palm reader, however he despises those who try to trick him, bargain him to lower prices or behave rudely. To such people he punishes them by suggesting his Flower Noodle Stew, which turns them into Hungry Fox Spirits.

The thing Hu Jing want the most is to see the master of Pipa Wood Manor punished (he once talked his way out of a bill at the inn). Hu Jing knows a lot about people in the area (and in many cases he knows peoples fated futures due to his palmistry) and would be willing to trade information to obtain him. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 8, Wits 8
Key Skills: Bite: 1d10 (Damage 1d10), Speed: 4d10, Muscle: 1d10, Detect: 3d10, Athletics: 2d10, Persuade: 2d10, Divination: 3d10, Medicine: 2d10, Poison: 3d10, Alchemy: 2d10, Talent: 3d10

Max Wounds: 5

Powers
Track: Hu Jing can track scent with his Detect.  

Invisible: Hu Jing can become invisible when he wishes. When invisible it takes two consecutive Detect Rolls to see him. Striking him when he is invisible requires two successful consecutive attack rolls. 

Strange Brews: Hu Jing can concoct supernatural poisons and substances with ease. 

TAOTIE VILLAGE
Taotie Village is the seat of the district Magistrate, Lu Sidao. He has since been enchanted by a Fox Spirit named Ma Zhi. Ma Zhi has also enchanted his constables and used her influence to persuade Lu Sidao, to execute many innocent people and his ‘enemies’. She has them all burned in taotie ritual vessels, then feeds the meat by hand to Lu Sidao to change him into a large frog demon. 

The village is well known for its taotie ritual vessels. 

Green Leaf Inn: This inn is run by Du Haoran. He is a kindly man in his forties, but deeply sad because his wife and child left him to return to their home on Bei Lei Island. He is hoping to hire someone to find his son and bring him back to Taotie. 

CONSTABLES OF MOSHUI LAKE DISTRICT (25)
These are the constables who patrol the Mochui Lake District. Their eyes have been enchanted so that they perceive the innocent as guilty and the guilty as innocent. More than that, any crimes they accuse others of committing, materializes in the form of official documentation (wanted posters, arrest orders, etc) on their persons. Anyone they arrest, they bring back to Taotie Village to be burned in a hot ritual vessel.

They are led by a man named Sheriff Yin (same stats as constables). 

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 5, Wits 6
Skills: Arm Strike: 1d10 (0d10 Damage), Melee: 1d10 (1d10 Damage), Ranged: 1d10 (1d10 Damage), Detect: 3d10, Speed: 1d10, Muscle: 1d10, Institutions: 1d10, Command: 2d10, Survival: 2d10

Max Wounds: 2

Equipment: Bows (1d10 Damage), Sword (1d10 Damage)

Sense “Guilt”: With a successful Detect Roll, the constables can sense guilt in the innocent, and sense innocence in the guilty. They sincerely believe the innocent to have committed very specific crimes. 

Produce Documents: Whatever crimes they believe have been committed, creates official documents that they can present as evidence. 

LU SIDAO
Lu Sidao is the magistrate of Moshui Lake district, and becoming a Frog Demon. He looks human, but his eyes bulge and he is developing unsightly jowls. Each week he becomes more frog-like and gains one new power. Sidao was seduced and enchanted by Ma Zhi, who has become his concubine and caused him to perceive his friends as his enemies, sparking a wave of executions. He is regularly consuming the burnt flesh of the innocent at Ma Zhi’s suggestion. 

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 8, Wits 7
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (4d10 Damage plus special), Tongue: 2d10 (2d10 plus Special), Speed: 1d10, Swim: 3d10, Detect: 2d10, Muscle: 4d10, Command: 2d10, Language: 3d10, Institutions: 3d10, Classics: 3d10, History: 2d10

Max Wounds: 7+1 each week

Powers (does not have any yet)
Lucky God: Anyone who brings offerings to Lu Sidao that he accepts, receives a +1d10 bonus to a skill of his choice for a month. 

Lashing Tongue: Lu Sidao can strike up to 2 targets with his tongue at a range of 20 feet. Roll 2d10 against Evade. On a Success he does 2d10 Damage. On a Total Success, if he has the Swallow power, he can opt to swallow that person.

Bite: Lu Sidao can bite with razor sharp teeth. Roll 3d10 against a nearby target. On a Success he does 4d10 Damage. On a Total Success, if he has the Swallow Power, he can swallow that person. 

Swallow: On a Total Success with his Bite or Lashing Tongue ability, he can swallow a target. Swallowed targets lose 1 Hardiness each round they are inside him until they die. They can only be freed if they, or someone else, does enough damage to kill Lu Sidao. 

Master of Frogs: Frogs are his eyes and ears. He can see through the sensory organs of hundreds of frogs in the area that are his minions (and this can spread far and wide). 

Immunity: He is immune to Mundane Attacks and Kung Fu techniques. 

Weakness (after his powers grow): Lu Sidao is sensitive and fearful of any hard whip. These do normal damage to him. Any Hard Whip that was once possessed by Ma Zhi does 2 Extra wounds on a successful attack. 

MA ZHI
Ma Zhi used to be a maid in Lu Sidao’s household, but she was possessed by a 1,901-year old Hungry Fox spirit. The Fox Spirit made her beautiful and then seduced Sidao. She persuaded him to execute the innocent by burning them in ritual vessels with taotie motiff’s, so she can slowly change him into a Frog Demon. She hopes to grow his powers and then spread his powers far and wide until he can challenge the emperor himself. She wields a hard whip, which she uses occasionally to keep Lu Sidao in line. 

Note, Ma Zhi is considerably more powerful than a typical Hungry Fox Spirit. 

Defenses: Hardiness 5, Evade 7, Wits 8
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (Damage 3d10), Claw: 3d10 (4d10 Damage), Speed: 4d10, Muscle: 4d10, Detect: 3d10, Athletics: 2d10, Persuade: 4d10, Ritual: 3d10, Talent: 2d10, Survival: 2d10

Max Wounds: 10
Equipment: Hard Whip (5d10 Damage)

Powers
Change Form: Ma Zzhi can change her appearance to look more attractive or less attractive. She can also take the form of a nine-tailed fox.

Feed: She must consume a human heart each day or lose 1 Hardiness (this returns with each heart she eats). 

Claw: If she attacks with her Claw, and kills, she may rip out the heart of her victim to consume. 

Immunities: She is immune to Mundane attacks and Kung Fu Techniques.

Enchant Eyes: Ma Zhi can enchant peoples eyes so they see what she wants them to see. She can cause a person to see ugliness as beauty, innocence as guilt, hatred as love, etc. 

Enchant: With a word and look, Ma Zhi can enchant a person’s heart. Roll 4d10 against Wits. On a Success the person is smitten with lust and love for 1 week. On a Total Success the effect is permanent.  

Possess: Ma Zhi can take over a person’s body. Roll 3d10 against Wits. On a Success she possess that person for a week. On a Total Success she possesses them forever. She can only possess one body at a time. 

Bestow Gift: This is a ritual she knows. By feeding the heart of an innocent person to the target, she can gift them with a special ability (minor illusions, minor attacks, etc). 

Create Frog Demon: This is another Ritual She knows.  By burning innocent people in cages and feeding their flesh to a target, over time that person becomes a Frog Demon. 

Weakness: Ma Zhi is deathly allergic to flies. If she ingests a fly, she takes 1 wound each round until she dies or until a cure is found. 

TURTLE ISLAND 
This Island is the home of Scholar Wang, a celestial being from the court of the Jade Emperor who stole the Starlit Inkstone, which is the source of all the monsters and supernatural occurrences in the area. He writes from his studio at the center of the island, and the content of his brushstrokes flow into the shores and become reality. There is a river of inky blackness that courses like streams from his home to the shore. There is a forest surrounding the place, filled with dormant beasts. Anyone who tries to approach his home, encounters 1 Dormant Beast every ten minutes. 

In Scholar Wang’s studio is a library of books written perfectly by hand. These contain descriptions of all the creatures in Moshui Lake. There is also a full account of Scholar Wang’s history here (see start of the adventure). 

DORMANT BEAST ENCOUNTERS
Dormant Beasts are described in CHAPTER SEVEN of the STRANGE TALES rulebook. Use the DORMANT BEAST TABLE to determine 1 encounter every 10 minutes. 

SCHOLAR WANG 
Scholar Wang is incredibly powerful but kind. He does not desire to harm anyone directly around the island (however if one of his creations causes harm, that is just nature taking its course). He was once charged by the Jade Emperor with eradicating all supernatural beings from the world. The end result saddened him so he stole the Starlit Inkstone which caused whatever he wrote about to become reality. He used this to restore monsters and spirits to the world. 

If anyone should confront him, he will merely strive to prevent them from ending his mission. If he is truly pressed, he will transform attackers into supernatural creatures and send them away to a new island or he simply shrinks them and bottles them in a gourd before casting them adrift in the lake. 

Defenses: Hardiness 8, Evade 8, Wits 10
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 2d10 (4d10), Melee: 4d10 (special), Speed: 4d10, Muscle: 4d10, Medicine: 3d10, Divination: 2d10, Talent: 3d10, Survival: 3d10, Command: 2d10, Persuade: 3d10, Reasoning: 2d10, Detect: 2d10, History: 3d10, Creatures: 3d10, Institutions: 3d10, Places: 3d10, History: 3d10, Languages: 3d10, Read Script: 3d10, The Classics: 3d10, Religion: 3d10

Max Wounds: 20
Equipment: Calligraphy Brush

Powers
Deathless: If Scholar Wang is killed he returns to the court of the Jade Emperor where he will be punished for his misdeeds.  

Create: Scholar Wang can create anything he can imagine with his brush. This allows him to change a person with a stroke on a successful melee attack roll or do other things (like create binding chains around them or paint away their eyes). With the Starlit Inkstone he can create anything, even new islands or mountain ranges. He can also re-write history. 

Dismiss: With the wave of his hand, Scholar Wang can send anyone he wishes anywhere. Make a Command Roll against Wits. On Success the target is sent magically wherever he desires (he can only target one person each round). 

Shrink: With a wiggle of his nose, he can shrink people. This effect lasts until cured by some form of magic. Roll Command against Wits of 1 target. On a Success the target shrinks to a 10th his or her size. For stats, see THIMBLE-SIZED MAN entry in CHAPTER SEVEN of the STRANGE TALES OF SONGLING rulebook. 

Immunities: Scholar Wang is only harmed by magic. 

WU DAO
This island is home to an elderly couple, Granny Zhang and Grandpa Yuan. They live in a small homestead and near a small village populated by people Granny Zhang gives birth to. Granny Zhang is often pregnant and gives birth to a healthy baby every 1-10 days. These children are all the reborn spirits of people who die in the region. They age rapidly, maturing 1 year for each day they live. They are also born with an awareness of their past life and some venture out to complete what tasks they can. 

GRANNY ZHANG AND GRANDPA YUAN 
Granny Zhang and Grandpa Yuan are actually ghosts. They once were the patriarch and matriarch of a great family in the north, but all their children and grandchildren starved to death when a famine struck.  There was very little food and they saved the last of it for themselves, so they survived while the rest died. They’ve forgotten all about this, and are now motivated by a vague sense of guilt and desire to protect those born on the island. They often leave the island to find and bring back anyone who flees (and they will gladly kill those who stand in their way). 

They are both unusually large with wide features and huge bowl-shaped eyes. 

Defenses: Hardiness 7, Evade 5, Wits 6
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 2d10 (2d10 Damage), Detect: 2d10, Speed: 3d10, Fly: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10

Max Wounds: 5

Powers
Long Grasp: Their arms stretch up to 40 feet to strike targets from a distance. On a Successful Arm Strike,  they can forgo damage and grip targets. Escape is a TN 8 Muscle roll (one attempt allowed every ten minutes). 

Fly: Both Granny Zhang and Grandpa Yuan can fly.  

Immunities: They are immune Mundane attacks. They are harmed by magic. 

Detect Wu Dao Children: They can sense the physical location of anyone Granny Zhang has given birth to. Roll Detect TN 6. On a Success the know the general direction of the one they are looking for. 

CHILDREN OF WU DAO
These are the offspring of Granny Zhao. They are all the reborn dead of the region and are just like normal people except they age 1 year each day. From the moment of their birth, they remember their past life. Characters who die are reborn as Children of Wu Dao. When they reach age 16 (or 16 days old) they can take a Path and advance in level like other characters. If they want they can venture forth and tend to matters left undone. However Granny Zhang and Grandpa Yuan are sure to hunt them down if they do. 

XI VILLAGE
Leadership: Elder Long (left)
Population: 450

This once prosperous village was famed for its lacquer and lacquer wares. When the creatures from the lake came, heroes rose to the occasion but many were killed. The elder fled with his stalwart men (see ELDER LONG entry on map) and now the place is mostly widows and orphans just trying to survive. Every day 1d10 orphans are devoured by monsters unless one of the players intervenes. 

A mysterious official named Vice-Censor Hong Zhi has arrived and offered land, titles and money to those who eradicate the threats here. He seems personally unconcerned and seems to believe there is a natural explanation, but wants recruits to deal with the root causes. Should the players accept he bestows them with emblems making them Rank 6b officials and granting them special titles of Anomaly Inspectors. 

A few key shops and locations remain open: The Lacquer Tree Tea House, the Moshui Inn, and Miss Guo Ping’s Wine Shop. 

Miss Guo Ping’s Wine Shop: This is a wine shop and inn. However, it is becoming spirited. There was a murder here a few years ago, a nameless poet who was passing through, and the blood seeped into the wood, giving it a spark of intelligence. Now it hungers for more so it can grow. 

Xi Gao and Xi Yen
These are a local brother and sister known as the Xi siblings. Xi Gao is a local fisherman who recently made contact at Yaksha Island. Now he ferries people there to their doom, in exchange for riches. Xi Yen, is a local snake charmer who is extremely ambitious. Though pretty her hostile personality and her affection for her cobras (treat as Killer Snakes), has made it hard for her to land a husband. She is burning with resentment and jealousy and plans to start killing all the good looking unmarried women in the village with her snakes. 

YU VILLAGE
This was once an idyllic fishing village. However, a year ago, the Yu Village Fish Demon arrived and ate all the village elders and stalwart men. She proclaimed herself their new chief and forbade fishing in the waters, instead telling them to fish and hunt man. Now the villagers roam with nets and spears, seeking human meat for themselves and for their hungry chief. 

YU VILLAGERS (120)
The Yu Villagers used to subsist on fish, grain and vegetables. Now they serve the Yu Village Fish Demon and eat human meat, grain and vegetables. However, they are don’t eat like savages. They’ve learned to flavor and cook the meat properly. They roast, fry, and grill the meats, serving them with seasoned greens and buckwheat. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Evade 6, Wits 6
Skills: Arm Strike: 0d10 (0d10 Damage), Melee: 1d10, Ranged: 1d10, Detect: 1d10, Speed: 1d10, Muscle: 1d10, Survival: 2d10

Max Wounds: 1

Equipment: Nets, Spears (2d10 Damage)

YU VILLAGE FISH DEMON
The Yu Village Fish Demon is a spirited perch fish. She can take the form of a pretty woman or handsome man, small fish or a 70,000-pound monstrosity. She is over 300 years old and cultivated through anger over the slaughter of her brethren by all the local fishermen. She vowed to grow in power and get revenge on the humans who live by the lake. Taking control of Yu Village is just the first step in her plan. She hopes to take control of the other villages when her people are ready and enslave them so they suffer for hundreds of years under her rule. 

Unlike other Fish Demons, she does not have venomous spines or the drowning kiss ability, but instead has an enchanting, sing-song voice. 

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 7, Wits 8
Key Skills: Bite: 2d10 (4d10 Damage Plus 1 Extra Wound), Speed: 4d10, Swim: 5d10, Detect: 2d10, Muscle: 1d10, Persuade: 2d10, Language: 3d10, Survival: 3d10, Talent: 3d10

Max Wounds: 7

Powers
Immunities: She is immune to Mundane Attacks and harmed by fire. 

Inhaling Devour: The Yu Village Fish Demon can suck people into her wide jaws and devour them. As a free action, she can inhale the air fifteen feet around herself. Anyone in this area must make an Athletics Roll TN 7 or be sucked into her jaw and take bite damage.  

Enchanting Voice: The Yu Village Fish Demon can enchant people with her musical voice. Roll Talent against Wits. On a Success the Target fills a strong desire to protect and be near the Fish Demon. Every day they are away from her, they suffer -1 to Wits. Harming her or seeing her harmed causes them to lose 1 Wits as well. This returns immediately when they are in her presence and she is safe. 

Shape Change: The Yu Village Fish Demon can assume the form of a small perch, an enormous perch of 70,000 pounds, and beautiful woman or an attractive man. 

APPENDIX A: NEW RITUALS

HEART OF STONE 
You grant life to a stone object or statue, turning it into true flesh, by placing the heart of a willing person upon its surface. You must cut out the heart of someone willing to give it. It will be absorbed into the stone turning it into flesh and granting it life. Make a Ritual Roll TN 7. On a Success the transformation works. 

STONE MINION
You brew a special tea that turns peoples’ bodies into stone statues under your command (see STONE ISLAND for stats). Make a Ritual TN 8 roll. On a Success, anyone who drinks the tea you have made, turns into stone within 1 hour unless they tree bark. 

VIRTUE OF TREES
You grind up the bark and roots of a Confucian Tree (CONFUCIAN ISLAND), then boil it into a hot beverage that forces the drinker to abide by a chosen virtue for a day. Make a Ritual TN 6 roll. On a Success, the person who drinks the beverage cannot violate one Confucian Virtue of your choice for a day. If they violate the virtue, they die.  

APPENDIX B: SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
These are some of the sources that contributed inspiration to the adventure. Some, like Judge Lu, I tried to be faithful to and bring into the sandbox directly from the source material. In the case of Yaksha Kingdom, I tried to bring as many of the actual characters as possible. Others I took exceptional liberties with. 

Fox Thief from Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Pu Songling)

Judge Lu from Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Pu Songling)

The Sea Monster of Jiangxi from Censored by Confucius (Yuan Mei)

Tales from the Teahouse Retold: Investiture of the Gods (Katherine Chew)

Sparrows Repay a Debt of Kindness from Censored by Confucius (Yuan Mei)

The Wooden Guard from Censored by Confucius (Yuan Mei)

Painted Skin, the movies and story from Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Pu Songling)

Yaksha Kingdom from Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Pu Songling)