Wednesday, June 29, 2016

CHOR YUEN, GU LONG AND CHARACTER-DRIVEN WUXIA CAMPAIGNS

I talk about how I found inspiration for my character driven campaigns from films directed by Chor Yuen that are based on the works of Gu Long. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

DEMONS OF CELESTIAL HEART SECT SESSION SIX: THE RISE OF ANCIENT GRAY DEMON

This is the sixth session of a new campaign for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate (the fifth session is HERE). It is intended to play through the rules we are working on for the the supplement Profound Masters of Ogre Gate (in which player characters advance to the higher levels of Kung Fu and into Immortality). The players have recently become initiates into the Celestial Heart Sect. 

CHARACTERS
Phiphek: A Kithiri (many-ego humanoid) who travels with a fox demon named Mei Yun. Former member of Sun Mai sect. 
Merciful Shade: A masked hero who seeks to reform demons. Disciple of Ancient Gray Demon. 
Sentimental Ogre: A Juren (four-armed, ogre-like creature). Former member of Hen-Shi Sect. 
Joyous Jian: A martial hero seeking to fight demons
Little Turtle: An initiate into the Celestial Heart Sect and disciple of Long-Winded Master.
Shengwen: A baby that is ether the progeny of Marauding Dragon or Magistrate Chengda. 

SECTS
Celestial Heart Sect: An Immortal sect devoted to Hen-Shi that captures and reforms demons. Led by Ox-Hearted Widow. There are three main divisions: The Green Swords (Ancient Gray Demon), The Divine Meteor Hammers (Abbess Tu Bao) and Celestial Mind Sect (Kong Xu). They are based on the peak of Mount Dao. 

Divine Horse Sect: The most prestigious leading Immortal Sect. They venerate the Red General and Dutiful Empress, and embrace the principle they believe they represent: Abeyant Love. Possess the Celestial Pillar of Northern Skies. 

The Seven Blood-stone Cave Alliance: This is united group of sects from the Hanging Valley of the Dead. It is made up of seven factions led by the chief of Marauding Plague Cavern Sect, Marauding Dragon. 

Emo Cheng Sect: A sect based in the underworld city of Emo Cheng, led by Five Ghost King and devoted to the principles of the five ghosts (murder, greed, etc). 

ANCIENT GRAY DEMON ASSUMES CONTROL
The party returned to Mount Dao to find Ancient Gray Demon in Green Sword Hall receiving Hen-Shi Sect (Sentimental Ogre's former sect) as guests. They also saw that he had another masked disciple at his side, who he introduced as Princess Sarnai**. He encouraged Sentimental Ogre to reconcile with his former Sifu, Abbess Shanhu. This made Sentimental Ogre visibly uncomfortable, and so Ancient Gray Demon dismissed the Abbess for the time being. 


Sentimental Ogre gave his report, revealing that they didn't capture Marauding Dragon and felt the situation was much more complicated. However they did obtain two potential antidotes for Abbess Tu Bao. Ancient Gray Demon was angry but when Little Turtle assumed responsibility, he decided against imprisoning Sentimental Ogre for disobeying sect orders. 

He then revealed that he needed Marauding Dragon's heart to cure Ox-Hearted Widow of her condition***. He had obtained the Empty Heart Manual and learned the information but kept the party ignorant so they would not be burdened by the sin of killing to save their sifu. This angered some members of the party, but not others. 

He also showed them a letter from Divine Horse Sect. It revealed that Supreme Judge Yu had decided to send the Northern Celestial Pillar to Celestial Heart Sect, as it had been found in Zhaoze Swamp. It was formerly under the protection of Divine Horse Sect but disappeared soon after Merciful Shade and Phiphek inspected it. While Celestial Master Ma Ziweng (leader of Divine Horse Sect), could not prove their guilt, he said all ties between their sects were at an end. Further he challenged Celestial Heart Sect to face his sect to the death on the fourteenth day of the Dog Moon. 

Ancient Gray Demon explained that the terms of the letter stated that only members of the respective sects could participate in the battle. As Divine Horse Sect greatly outnumbered them, he was working to bring allies into Celestial Heart Sect so they could stand a chance of survival. This was why he invited Hen-Shi Sect. 

Sentimental Ogre explained that he considered Hen-Shi sect evil. They embraced the teachings of the Vermilion Sandstone Sutra which advocated killing the unmerciful. Ancient Gray Demon said that Abbess Shanhu had come to apologize to him for not fully explaining the teachings, but also that she had agreed to take a more moderate position on the meaning of the sandstone text. By the same token, Celestial Heart Sect would adapt. Mercy had its limits and for too long the sect had allowed its enemies to use its softheartedness against it. Now Abbess Tu Bao was poisoned, Ox-Hearted Widow was immobile and many of their disciples were dead. 

The party sensed that the Green Sword Hall disciples were all behind Ancient Gray Demon's position. Sentimental Ogre and Little Turtle were wary of it. 

Ancient Gray Demon also informed them that there would be a meeting the evening to decide how to manage the hierarchy in Ox-Hearted Widow's absence. They would most likely make Ancient Gray Demon the official, but temporary, sect leader. 

This prompted another round of debate (largely from Little Turtle and Sentimental Ogre). He made no bones about his intentions, saying he planned to adjust some of the sect's positions on violence. Abbess Shanhu had gifted them the Vermillion Sandstone pillar (a replica of the original) and he had it placed near Supreme Celestial Hall. Just as Hen-Shi Sect promised to re-examine its beliefs, they too would re-examine their beliefs in light of the Vermillion Sandstone. 

Troubled, Sentimental Ogre and Little Turtle went to Divine Meteor Hall to bring the antidote to Abbess Tu Bao. Once they left, Merciful Shade turned to Princess Sarnai and demanded to know who she was. Ancient Gray Demon explained she was the princess they had met in Daoxu, whose face had been eaten by the Ricksha's. He nursed her back to health and trained her in more advanced techniques to give her life greater purpose. She was his new disciple. At first Merciful Shade was jealous, but he then went on to say he had taken on Princess Sarnai, because he intended to make Merciful Shade the head of Green Sword Hall when he became sect leader. 

Joyous Jian spent time talking to other Green Swords, asking their thoughts on the situation. Most supported Ancient Gray Demon enthusiastically. 

Back at Divine Meteor Hall, they found Wu Min, the acting Abbess of the hall. She directed them to Abbess Tu Bao's chambers where Li Ku (a nun of the sect) was administering herbs and medicine to the poisoned master. They gave her the antidote and she felt them in her palm, then said they needed to be washed and purified. They washed them and she began administering the pills. 

Little Turtle and Sentimental Ogre expressed their concerns about Ancient Gray Demon's intentions. Wu Min suggested that they make Ancient Gray Demon vow to take on Li Ku as an adviser so Divine Meteor Hall could still have some influence. But she didn't see any viable alternatives to voting Ancient Gray Demon the sect leader (there was simply no one who could match his abilities). Wu Min said they could attend the meeting the meeting and express any concerns. 

Sentimental went to find Abbess Shanhu, who was by the Vermillion Sandstone pillar. She explained the text to him, that it was bestowed to the disciples of Sunan and Bao after the Battle of Ogre Gate. Hen-Shi herself appeared and told them that righteous men and women had to take on the sin of bloodshed to stop the evils of the world. This was a controversial sutra, many thought it a fake. But Abbess Shanhu believed in it. However she said maybe her sect had been to adamant in its pursuit of righteousness. 

Unconvinced, but perhaps less hostile than before, Sentimental Ogre waited for the meeting. 

At the meeting, Ancient Gray Demon was made sect leader. He did agree to take on Li Ku as an official adviser. He then told the sect that they needed to expand and would send disciples to find recruits so they could face Divine Horse Sect. 

Little Turtle approached Ancient Gray Demon and asked if he could make one last attempt to speak with Divine Horse Sect to talk them out of their present course. Ancient Gray Demon was reluctant but ultimately allowed it and sent him with Sentimental Ogre on a sword to go speak (the sword was swift and brought them there in a few hours). 

They were received by Celestial Master Ma Ziweng who refused to budge on the issue. He was merely enraged that they would once again try to deceive him with the tactics of delay. He appeared in red robes with four disciples and vowed to shed their blood. 

Returning the party once again regrouped and talked about the situation. Little Turtle and Sentimental Ogre did not trust Ancient Gray Demon, and this angered Merciful Shade who felt he had been reasonable and accommodating to their concerns. More outrageous, they had blatantly disrespected his seniority and position by challenging his opinions. 

They ultimately decided to go along with the plan of recruitment to expand. They would first go to Iron Heart Sect to see if an alliance could be made. 

This is where the session ended. 

**Princess Sarnai met the party briefly in Daoxu where Yaksha's devoured her face (see SESSION THREE LOG). 

***Ox-Hearted Widow was turned to a jade statue the previous session. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016

GAMING VLOGS

Here are some recent Vlogs I did on gaming. 








Friday, June 24, 2016

HOLY FLAME OF THE MARTIAL WORLD

Here is my review of Holy Flame of the Martial World, an over-the-top wuxi-fantasy blend. 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

THE LADY HERMIT DISCUSSION

Today I talk about a wuxia classic featuring Cheng Pei-pei: The Lady Hermit. This is a wonderful movie and had an enormous influence on Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate: