Monday, September 26, 2016

DISPOSABLE DISCIPLES OF BONE KINGDOM SESSION 16: DEATH

This is a log for my ongoing Disposable Disciples of Bone Kingdom campaign. You can see the previous session HERE. 

Player Characters: 
Shen Chun
Hidden Arrow
Bao Yang
Chao Feng
Wei Ruomei 


Sects: 


The Righteous Outlaws
Calamity Star
Ou Jinghzhu
Tea Master Houzhou

Crocodile Sect*
Player Characters (See above)
King Iron Beard
Li Sou Chao (Witch of Zhaoze Zhou)

The Roaming Avengers
A group of five brothers who swore loyalty to Hidden Arrow.

The Golden Way
Iron God Meng

Dancing Scorpions
Criminal network in Yun Hu

Relentless Corpse Sect
Relentless Corpse Queen
Da Mei Mei

Temple of the Jade Mercies
Abbot Wei Zhao
Abbess Bao-Yu
Weeping Lotus

Bone Breaking Sect
Destroyed and taken over by Drunken Hero Kang

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

Stone Palace Sect
A gambling hall and criminal network in Yun Hu
Currently under control of party, with Weeping Lotus managing it
Feng is an important member (the accountant)

The Golden Corpse Alliance
This is a unified group: Relentless Corpse Sect and the Golden Way combined their interests. Relentless Corpse Queen and Iron God Meng are joint chiefs of the sect, and below them are the player characters via Crocodile Sect. 


In Hai'an
Shen Chun awoke to find another lover's bao, this one with the words "The Next Life" embroidered upon it. 

Bao Yang intended to go south to the River of Swarming Beggars to find some monkeys. He tried to gather people to go with him but in the process learned that Li Sou Chao and Golden Roc were both missing. Instead he took his disciples and physician with him, then headed down the mountains. As they approached the bottom he saw a dead body impaled upon a spear. He summoned the whole sect and they approached. 

It was Golden Roc's body. He appeared to have fallen from the mountain side and landed on the spear (which was placed into the earth). It seemed he had tried to slow his fall using Qinggong or internal energy, so his body never hit the ground itself. But he was most certainly dead. 

They learned that some guards had seen Golden Roc meandering around the sect headquarters in his evening clothes. Bao Yang decided it was related to the haunting of Shen Chun and told him to take care of things. He then departed with his men to the south in search of monkeys. 

Shen Chun summoned Yusheng, a priest they hired to assist in such matters. He asked what could be done about the haunting. Yusheng said he needed more information but if they could obtain a book called the Geography of the Spirit World, he believed he could get to the bottom of things. Chun immediately sent for the book. 

In Li Fan
Recently arrived in Yu Hu, Chao, disguised as Bao Yang, spoke with Master Zhao at Stone Palace Gambling Hall. Zhao explained that he wanted to partner with the Golden Corpse Alliance, saying he could offer them a great many resources. As a gift he gave Chao a large fire pearl from the Eastern Archipelagos. 

After the meeting, Blue Handed Snake appeared before Chao and groveled on the ground. "Master please forgive me," he said "I have lost the Immortal-Killing Sword". 

Chao was displeased and and asked for details. Blue Handed Snake told him that it had actually gone missing back at sect Headquarters before they left to go kill Meng. This displeased Chao even more who commanded Blue Handed Snake to go and find the sword at all costs. Blue Handed Snake left quickly for the mission. 

Later Chao's sifu, Supreme Master Tung, arrived at Stone Palace. He took Chao aside and instructed him in a new technique called Thundering Blue Reply. He informed Chao that this was a very specific maneuver, meant to counter-act and attack called Thundering Foot. Chao practiced but did not master it. 

Supreme Master Tung told him to gather 2-3 more martial heroes and master the technique within five days. He planned to send him on a crucial mission to kill a terrible foe. 

Chao asked for more details and Supreme Master Tung explained that he wanted him to kill his brother, Tung Lu. He told Chao that Tung Lu was a mere farmer and that he would also send two of his other disciples to go under Chao's command. 

Chao agreed, and told Supreme Master Tung that he had lost an object called the Immortal-Killing Sword, which he hoped to give to his sifu as a gift. 

Supreme Master Tung nodded and said if Chao were to recover the sword and give it to him, he would make Chao his First Chief. 

Chao sent a message to Crocodile Sect by pigeon, asking Hidden Arrow, Bao Yang, Shen Chun and Ruomei to join him at Stone Palace Sect for something important. 

Hai'an
At Crocodile Sect, Hidden Arrow consolidated his information network. His agents were well positioned in Hai'an (where his reach was strongest), fairly well-placed in Hu Qin, and had marginal reach in Li Fan. In the Empire and the Banyan, he didn't have much of a presence. 

Hidden Arrow also spent time researching information on the Ghostly Emperor and discovered a ritual called The Pearl Burning Ritual, that could summon him. However it required a pearl at least a pound in weight. He looked into the matter further and learned that Silken Robe Society was rumored to have such a pearl. He dispatched agents to acquire information on Silken Robes and report back to him. 

Meanwhile, Shen Chun instructed five of his sub chiefs to master Biting Grasp of the Invisible Master. 

Chun found another Bao, this one saying "Marry me". Yusheng reported back to Chun, saying the ghost in question was a love spirit of some kind and by his account seemed rather powerful. He believed it couldn't be destroyed but it could be contained and surpassed. He would need to work with King Iron Beard to construct a chamber then have the body of Kwan brought back to sect headquarters. He then planned to seal the spirit in the chamber. It might escape but was better than having it run amok and kill people. 

Chao's message arrived and the group, sans Bao Yang, left for Li Fan. 

Bao Yang continued on his way south. As he walked through the Skinless Forest, he was surrounded by nuns and priests of Perfect Heaven Lineage sect. Two strode forward and said "Bao Yang, we will kill you for our sect brother's today."

It took a moment for Bao Yang to realize what they were talking about, but he recalled killing some members of Perfect Heaven Lineage outside Xuanlu some time ago. He tried to reason with them, and said he didn't want to fight. He appealed to honor, saying he would drop his weapon and surely they wouldn't kill an unarmed man. The nun, looked sternly at the priest and motioned for him to attack anyways. 

Bao Yang tried to negotiate a duel, but they refused. However they didn't want to dishonor themselves, so they attacked in groups of two instead of all at once. 

The lead priest and nun struck at him with their swords and a melee ensued. Bao Yang eventually incapacitated the nun and then grappled the priest, holding him as a hostage and threatening to kill if the rest of the sect didn't allow him to leave peacefully. 

The lower ranked priests and nuns backed away and he fled to Lu Hai. There he stayed at the Golden Duck. In the morning, on his way out, something didn't seem right with the proprietor. He pressed him, and saw a man dressed in green outside. The proprietor told him that he had no choice but to tell the man that Bao Yang was staying at his inn. He said if Bao Yang didn't exit through the front door soon, the man would punish him harshly. 

Bao Yang threatened him and demanded to know if there was a back entrance. The proprietor revealed that an underground tunnel existed beneath the inn. Bao Yang smashed his face and knocked him out. Then knocked out the Perfect Heaven Lineage Priest and left through the underground exit. 

He reached the River of Swarming Beggars and came upon a group of monkeys. A skilled Monkey Handler he attempted to befriend them. He managed to lure one to the side and it took a liking to him. The others seemed to resent both him and the departing monkey. They kept getting up on their toes and imitating a praying mantis. He combed through the river and found several more groups, eventually acquiring about 6 monkeys. However they were increasingly hostile to him. 

He sent his disciples to go find people in the area who knew about the monkeys. Hours later they came back and one of them, Master Ban, was missing an arm. He collapsed and explained that the man in green had attacked and severed his arm with a stick. 

Bao Yang decided not to press his luck any further and headed back toward Xuanlu to speak with Temple of the Jade Mercies. There he learned that they had continued difficulty breaking into Hai'an's criminal underground. Apparently the Queen kept having their men arrested despite his agreement with her. He decided to move the temple to Li Fan and found a boat to take him there. 

Li Fan
On the last day before his mission, Chao mastered Thundering Blue Reply. 

When the party reached Li Fan (all except Bao Yang who was some days behind), they spoke with Chao. He told them that they were going to kill someone for his master. They agreed to help. The two Death Disciples (both with noses missing and faces burned like Chao) arrived as well and they all departed. The Death Disciples knew the way and took them to a homestead several miles northeast of the city. 

There they saw Supreme Master Tung painting the homestead from a hill. A farmed plowed fields at the homestead. 

Chao strode to the farmer and spoke with him. He told him he was here to kill him and the farmed laughed saying he was tired of killing his brothers disciples. 

Combat broke out quickly. The party managed to land some attacks but the man slammed his foot into the ground causing arcs of lightning blue energy to streak toward them along the ground. Chao was able to use his new counter to avoid it, then gripped the energy and tried to hurl it back at the man (which didn't work). 

Hidden Arrow unleashed poisoned needles from his fan on the farmer and the farmer once again stomped the ground. By this point, Shen Chun was harmed the most by the blue energy. He hit him with a phoenix spirit disruption technique that filled the farmer's heart with sorrow. 

Chao used Storm of Arrows and fired a volley a the farmer. The clearly could have dodged, but nodded toward his brother in the distance and seemed to accept the attack. They lodged into his chest and stumbled back but was still very much in the fight. Ruomei pounced forward with her Swan Taming Strike and delivered several deadly stabs. He was heavily wounded but reveled in the bloodshed. Two small toddlers rushed from the homestead screaming "Daaaa!" and came to the farmer's side. However Shen Chun struck the man with Strike of the Raging Tiger. This filled him with a potent anger and he used Kick of the Golden Elephant on one of the children, causing the child to land somewhere in the distant fields. The other child stomped the ground unleashing a blue energy like lightning against the party. By this point Shen Chun was desperate to avoid such attacks and fled out of range. 

With another series of strikes from Ruomei and arrows from Chao, they brought down the farmer. 

The other child screamed "You killed my Daaa!" and attacked by exhaling a furious cloud of Qi energy. He missed and Ruomei leapt toward him with another Swan Taming Strike. She succeeded and killed the child. 

The fields filled with Supreme Master Tung's laughter and he was beaming with delight. He told Chao to check the homestead for the wife. Searching they could not find her. 

Pleased, Supreme Master Tung told Chao to rest for a month. They would meet around that time and discuss many things. Shen Chun approached and asked if he could learn one of Supreme Master Tung's claw techniques without becoming a disciple like Chao. Supreme Master Tung agreed to make an exception and allow him to do so if he killed Kang Xi, the current chief of Bone Breaking Sect. Shen Chun agreed. 

Back in town Chao then went and spoke with someone at a local Dak station (a kind of post office). He once again made arrangements with the boss to hold any messages sent to or from Bone Breaking Sect and Qinwen.

This is where the session ended. 




Thursday, September 22, 2016

STORMS OF THE MARTIAL WORLD SESSION FOUR: BENEATH THE DEMON MOON

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

Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is our wuxia RPG. It is available HERE in PDF. It should be out in print in about a month. 


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

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

Zhendao: A former slave of a man named Zhao. 

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

Song Pei: A one-armed physician. 


The party was still in Nansun at the start of the session. It was also the Demon Moon and the Ghost Festival was underway. 

In the morning the party made preparations at the Lover's Bao. Shin Du went to the festivities along the canal and made arrangements for his performance. Song Pei, Peng Pei and Peng Ke-Yen went to enjoy the foods and sites of the Ghost Festival on their own. 

Ke-Yen went looking for a fortune teller, one who seemed more reliable than the many who plied their trade on the canal. She spotted a blind man with a small tent, banging a stick upon a table, named Ang Chao. For a fee he read her palm and told her that he saw a wolf and a fox in her life. 

Ke-Yen was not very impressed with his reading, but he defied her, saying she should be quite impressed as he knew the information to be true. While Ke-Yen had her fortune read, Peng Pei wandered around to find some sweets. Song Pei remained outside and didn't notice as a horde of men in white masks surrounded him. 

Ke-Yen continued to banter with the fortune teller, but left his tent largely unconvinced of his talents. As she exited, it she saw that there were numerous men surrounding them in a circle. They immediately attacked: two with katanas and the rest with shurikens**. With Peng Pei off eating candy, Ke-Yen and Song Pei had to fend them off on their own. They managed for a time. Song Pei was brought down by shrurikens, when Ke-Yen saw her old friend, Brother Wolf running toward the melee from a distance. He leapt into the fray and used Ruinous Array of the Armillary Sphere to drain the life from many of the attackers. 

As their foes fell to the ground, Brother Wolf healed Song Pei and told them to follow him. They followed and he brought them to a small inn, where Sister Fox (Brother Wolf's twin and another old friend of Ke-Yen was laying with her eyes closed in a bed. Her flesh had jagged wounds all over, and she appeared pale. 

"She was wounded badly, and has long been sick" Brother Wolf said. 

He talked with Ke-Yen and asked who the scholar was (referring to Song Pei). Ke-Yen said he was cowardly, and liked to fake dead during battles. 

Brother Wolf grasped Song Pei's wrists and felt his muscles. "He is tougher than he looks," he said. "We will make a man out of him soon enough." 

Ke-Yen shot Brother Wolf a skeptical look. They continued to talk and Song Pei expressed interest in Brother Wolf's healing technique. He agreed to teach him if Pei kowtowed three times to him and became his disciple (which he did). 

Then Brother Wolf taught them some of his claw techniques. Afterwards he explained to Ke-Yen that he had been following her for some time to make sure she was okay. When she told him they were on their way to kill Master Zhao Yi, Brother Wolf told them to retreat a book called Strange Accounts of Hu Qin, which was rumored to contain the location of The Thousand Deaths Flower. 

He pointed to Sister Fox and said "The Plum Tree Monk did this to her. I may be able to destroy him if I have the Thousand Deaths Flower." 

Song Pei inquired about her condition and Brother Wolf explained she was already sick, poisoned  long ago by Life Ebbing Venom (something Song Pei had already deduced on his own). Brother Wolf used special herbs to keep the venom at bay but there was little he could do. The slightest emotional stress could kill her. Already in a sickened state they were hounded and attacked by the Plum Tree Monk, who wounded her terribly. She was recovering and would be okay. But her feared that unless he killed the monk, she was doomed. 

Ke-Yen and Song Pei bid Brother Wold farewell and agreed to meet him near Dashen after retrieving the Thousand Painful Deaths Flower. 

Meanwhile, Shin Du's performance exceeded all expectations. His audience gave him over 500 spades. A local official took note and arrived with a small group of soldiers. He asked why Shin Du had failed to register with the local performance office. Shin Du pleaded ignorance and the magistrate said he would look the other way for a small tax of 200 spades. 

Shin Du expressed outrage at his treatment and challenged the legality of the request, but ultimately paid the fee. 

Soon after these events the party headed south to Yun Hu. On the road they spotted a woman being attacked by two men. They asked the men to stop, but were rebuked. 

The men were both wearing Golden Raksha talismans (similar to the ones the party found on a group of bandits some days earlier). "Mind your own business," said one of the men. "This doesn't concern you." 

The party immediately attacked. The battle was over swiftly with both men dead. They rescued the woman, who was particularly grateful toward Zhendao. He was inexperienced but noticed she resembled the sing-song girls at the Lover's Bao in her dress and attire. Her name was Yi Hui. 

Ke-Yen dragged the bodies to the trees and offered them to the spirits. She performed a ritual and did so incorrectly, which filled her with a profound rage. Song Pei heard something whisper in the trees. They chucked the bodies toward it and heard the snapping of bone and ripping of flesh. There was nearly a fight among the party as she insisted on lingering but eventually they moved on. 

As they continued, the thing from the trees apparently followed. A giant spirited peacock flew from the forest and attacked, trying to peck out the heart of Zhendao. They were able to dispatch it, gathering its feathers and beak after it was dead. 

The Demon Moon is a strange time, and as they approached the city a magistrate came forth. He said "You must come with me" but Song Pei noticed something unusual about his voice. It seemed to be the magistrate they dealt with earlier inside Yun Hu. 

The magistrate's head separated from his body and flew toward the party trying to bite them. They eventually destroyed the head as the body tried to flee to the hills (which they detained and destroyed as well). 

When they reached the city, the stayed with Master Qian Bei and told him about their plans to attack Master Zhao. He would not be involved himself but offered to train them and give them shelter. 

Zhendao went to Master Zhao's and watched from a rooftop. He estimated there were dozens of men inside and spotted people who resembled the ninja they had faced earlier. As he flew from the roof, a man leapt up and attacked with a spear. It was a tough fight, but Zhendao cut the man down and he fell from the roof. Three men in white sprung up on the roof as Zhendao fled and three shurikens at him, but he was able to escape to Master Qien Bei's. 

Once there Qian Bei explained that the man was likely Hai Shaonan, the head of Master Zhao's security. They went to bed, intending to attack Master Zhao in the morning (they had determined that the next dawn was the most auspicious time to strike). 

That night, Yu Hui tried to climb into Zhendao's bed, but he fled from her and locked himself in a cabinet. She pulled open the door and it revealed she was a painted death (a creature that assumes fake, painted human skin but is really skeletal beast beneath). Her rib cage opened wide and tried to devour him, wounding his body badly. The rest of the party heard the sounds and came to his aid. They were able to destroy Yi Hui, but Zhendao was nearly killed. 

This is where the session ended.


**Last session the party made enemies with a group of Ninja from a distant island. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

THE ASSASSIN, BAT WITHOUT WINGS AND THE BLADE (WUXIA FILM REVIEWS)

I've been doing most of my blogging these days over on youtube (but stay-tuned for some upcoming adventures and articles for Wandering Heroes). This month I reviewed the Assassin, a Chang Cheh classic starring Jimmy Wang Yu; Bat Without Wings, a Chor Yuen film starring Derek Yee, and The Blade, Tsui Hark's remake of the One-Armed Swordsman.

The Assassin




The Blade




Bat Without Wings


Monday, September 19, 2016

DISPOSABLE DISCIPLES OF BONE KINGDOM SESSION 15: A GOD WITHOUT A HEAD

This is a log for my ongoing Disposable Disciples of Bone Kingdom campaign. You can see the previous session HERE. 

Player Characters: 
Shen Chun
Hidden Arrow
Bao Yang
Chao Feng
Wei Ruomei 


Sects: 


The Righteous Outlaws
Calamity Star
Ou Jinghzhu
Tea Master Houzhou

Crocodile Sect*
Player Characters (See above)
King Iron Beard
Li Sou Chao (Witch of Zhaoze Zhou)

The Roaming Avengers
A group of five brothers who swore loyalty to Hidden Arrow.

The Golden Way
Iron God Meng

Dancing Scorpions
Criminal network in Yun Hu

Relentless Corpse Sect
Relentless Corpse Queen
Da Mei Mei

Temple of the Jade Mercies
Abbot Wei Zhao
Abbess Bao-Yu
Weeping Lotus

Bone Breaking Sect
Destroyed and taken over by Drunken Hero Kang

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

Stone Palace Sect
A gambling hall and criminal network in Yun Hu
Currently under control of party, with Weeping Lotus managing it
Feng is an important member (the accountant)

The Golden Corpse Alliance
This is a unified group: Relentless Corpse Sect and the Golden Way combined their interests. Relentless Corpse Queen and Iron God Meng are joint chiefs of the sect, and below them are the player characters via Crocodile Sect. 


Session
The party met with Relentless Corpse Queen, who had come for an audience with them at Crocodile Sect. They had all decided to go and kill Iron God Meng, however Relentless Corpse Queen asked to speak with Bao Yang along and was granted a moment of privacy in the hall. 


She told Bao Yang that she would help him kill Iron God Meng but didn't feel she could trust his loyalty, that he might try to kill her as well. 

Bao Yang suggested that rather than being her subordinate, he be considered her partner in an alliance. 

Relentless Corpse Queen was displeased with this suggestion and told him frankly that she didn't trust him and needed assurance that he would not betray her. 

Bao Yang promised he would never think of doing such a thing, but this was not enough. She wanted him to take her Tea of the Boiling Seas, poison that would require a monthly antidote. 

Bao Yang flatly refused. There was tension. Then Relentless Corpse Queen left, but without promising to stay out of the affairs of Crocodile Sect. This concerned Bao Yang greatly. And he spoke with the rest of the party about his worries. They agreed to ambush Relentless Corpse Queen on her way down the mountain. 

The party waited, along with the Roaming Avengers, Golden Roc, and Li Sou Chao. As Relentless Corpse Queen made her way down the narrow steps leading from the sect headquarters, Shen Chun used the Biting Thread of the Timeless Master to ensnare her. She attempted to counter but was unable to stop the thread. It wrapped around her body and prevented her from moving.

The party unleashed its full arsenal upon her. Restrained by the thread, she was only able to release her Breath of the Hot Wind on a few of her attackers, which merely slowed them down, but did not real damage. Ruomei used her swan strike to deliver the fatal stab. 

Relentless Corpse Queen slumped and died. They then picked up her Golden Corpse Staff, but a black and white snake sprung from the mouth and bit Shen Chun. They found the antidote on her body and administered it to him just as his flesh was turning blue. 

The party convened and discussed their next move. They decided that Hidden Arrow would use Shift of the Chameleon to assume Relentless Corpse Queen's form. They would go to the Relentless Corpse Sect Headquarters and gather enough men to attack Iron God Meng. Then they would place Relentless Corpse Queen's body amid the carnage and claim she died during the battle. 

The plan went smoothly. They traveled to Hu Qin and Hidden Arrows convinced Da Mei Mei, Relentless Corpse Queen's sister, that he was Relentless Corpse Queen. When they arrived, a messenger from Qinwen, Master of the Seven Talismans, was waiting for Relentless Corpse Queen. Hidden Arrow spoke with the messenger. 

"Qinwen wants to know why he has not heard from you and requests an update on your condition," The messenger said. 

"Must I give him constant updates on my whereabouts and health?" Hidden Arrow replied.

"Qinwen wants to be informed, and you promised him the child when it is born. He wants to make sure you haven't changed your mind." 

"I haven't forgotten our agreement. I will contact him when I am ready, you are dismissed," Hidden Arrow said and the servant left. 

Later they learned from Da Mei Mei that Relentless Corpse Queen had received the Golden Corpse Staff from Qinwen on the promise that she would give him her first born son. 

The party left the headquarters and took eight Corpse Kings with them to the Golden Way in Tung-on. There Hidden Arrow, still in the form of Relentless Corpse Queen, waited in a nearby tea house and sent the Corpse Kings to The Ox Tail to take on Meng. 

The rest of the party scattered on the Golden Way, waiting to see how things unfolded. 

The Corpse Kings went in and there was some time before anything happened. Then they noticed people teaming out from the doorway and looks of confusion on peoples' faces. A lone Corpse King exited the Inn with gripping a severed head by the topknot. He carried it to the Tea House and threw it on the table to Hidden Arrow. People all around fled in terror. 

The part went into the Ox Tail to find total chaos and everything in ruin. Bodies were all over the ground and strewn about the upper floors. All of Meng's soldiers and lieutenants were dead. His wives were weeping neat the remains of his body. The only remaining person with any authority was Chef Guo. 

Bao Yang went to the kitchen and spoke with Chef Guo. 

He entered and the chef had his hands upon a large table where he had been butchering meat. Bao Yang tried to convince Chef Guo to take on the mantle of leadership, but he refused, saying the sect had been destroyed. All of Meng's men were dead and there was nothing left. The chef's head was lowered in shame and sadness. 

"Surely someone remains who knows about the inner workings of Meng's organization and it can be revived," said Bao Yang. "Where is his accountant."

"The accountant was killed as well," said Chef Guo. "It is best for us all to depart."

The party looted what remained in the building. They found roughly 1 million spades. Bao Yang took the Diamond Sword and a jade mirror from Iron God Meng's room. Bao Yang also found Meng's Kung Fu Manual on his person and took it. 

The party then went to Magistrate Chengda and asked for an audience. Bao Yang said that he was a friend of Chengdu's son and had made an earlier promise to rid the town of Iron God Meng for a fee. He wanted to know if Magistrate Chengda could honor his son's promise. 

Chengda was irritated by this request and asked if Bao Yang was not in fact a righteous hero who would simply rid the world of Meng because it was the right thing to do. 

Bao Yang said he needed payment for the task. Reluctantly, Chengda agreed to pay a small fee. 

When he did, Bao Yang revealed the head. 

"You are a deceptive man," said Chengda. He then motioned his servants to give Bao Yang the money. 

While all this was happening Chao went to a dak, a kind of postal station, to make an arrangement with the local boss. He promised to pay 1,000 spades a month if they intercepted any messages intended for people on a list that he provided and updated regularly. He promised it wouldn't be too extensive, just a handful of names. The boss agreed and the arrangement was made. 

Before the party left, Hidden Arrow poisoned and killed the remaining Corpse King. Then they returned to Relentless Corpse Sect headquarters and told Da Mei Mei that her sister was dead. 

"I suppose I am now in charge of the Golden Corpse Alliance," She said. 

When the party told her that Corpse Queen had been betrayed by agents from Li Fan belonging to Master Zhao, she instructed them to take fifty Corpse Disciples to deal with the matter and get revenge. She also told them that they needed to watch out for Qinwen, who had an arrangement with her sister that could no longer be honored. 

Chao went to Yun Hu alone. The rest of the party went to Crocodile Sect (with the understanding they would return and take the Corpse Disciples to Li Fan). 

They had heard word that Sun Mai monks arrived and were waiting at Crocodile Sect. Earlier Hidden Arrow had sent a message to Sun Mai temple and this was clearly the reply. 

At the headquarters, Hidden Arrow found an abbot with missing hands* and two young monks. 

Abbot Firebrand asked what the letter was all about and told him that Bonebreaker's Son, Zhang Yong ,had insisted on coming in reply despite his protests. 

Hidden Arrow said he wanted to protect Zhang Yong and knew of a casino in Li Fan that was the perfect place for hiding. He pointed out that Zhang Yong's whereabouts were widely known (otherwise he wouldn't have been able to send the letter in the first place) and so it was wise to seek emergency accommodations. Persuaded, Abbot Firebrand agreed to travel to the casino. 

Bao Yang had earlier sent out word for all of the local guides to come and meet him at the sect headquarters. Eight men replied and arrived. He told them to form a guild. That the guild would set the prices three times higher than they normally have been for guiding people through Hai'an. He promised that if they gave him a cut, he bash the heads of anyone who refused to participate in the new system. Three objected and tried to leave, but he made clear doing so would be unwise. They remained and the group of men formed an informal guild (the Queen of Hai'an had specifically forbidden the guides from organizing into a guild). One of the men pointed out that there were many other guides in the kingdom and it would be difficult to get all to go along with the arrangement. Bao Yang made clear that those who refused would die. 

Chao reached Yun Hu and went to the Casino. He was told that Master Zhao had been trying to reach them for days and was asking for an audience with Bao Yang. Chao said he would meet with Zhao. 

This is where the session ended. 


*This he knew to be Abbot Firebrand. 




Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DISPOSABLE DISCIPLES OF BONE KINGDOM SESSION 14: FACE IN THE FIRE

This is a log for my ongoing Disposable Disciples of Bone Kingdom campaign. You can see the previous session HERE

Player Characters: 
Shen Chun
Hidden Arrow
Bao Yang
Chao Feng
Wei Ruomei 


Sects: 


The Righteous Outlaws
Calamity Star
Ou Jinghzhu
Tea Master Houzhou

Crocodile Sect*
Player Characters (See above)
King Iron Beard
Li Sou Chao (Witch of Zhaoze Zhou)

The Roaming Avengers
A group of five brothers who swore loyalty to Hidden Arrow.

The Golden Way
Iron God Meng

Dancing Scorpions
Criminal network in Yun Hu

Relentless Corpse Sect
Relentless Corpse Queen
Da Mei Mei

Temple of the Jade Mercies
Abbot Wei Zhao
Abbess Bao-Yu
Weeping Lotus

Bone Breaking Sect
Destroyed and taken over by Drunken Hero Kang

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

Stone Palace Sect
A gambling hall and criminal network in Yun Hu
Currently under control of party, with Weeping Lotus managing it
Feng is an important member (the accountant)

The Golden Corpse Alliance
This is a unified group: Relentless Corpse Sect and the Golden Way combined their interests. Relentless Corpse Queen and Iron God Meng are joint chiefs of the sect, and below them are the player characters via Crocodile Sect. 


Session 


Early in the session the party split in different directions. Ruomei and Hidden Arrow went south with Li Sou Chao and Golden Roc to oversee Crocodile Sect. Chao and Shen Chun stayed at Stone Palace sect. Boa Yang placed Weeping Lotus and his bandits in charge of Stone Palace then went north by ship to Tung-on to see Iron God Meng. 

Stone Palace 
An ornate box worth a small fortune arrived at Stone Palace. It appeared to be a gift. Chao and Shen Chun had it brought outside by a canal. Soon they heard screams and went out to find a horde of Stone Spiders pouring from the box and attacking locals. In all, 18 were killed, but the party was safe because it had been moved a fair distance away from them. 

Chao put out word that he would pay a small fee for any dead Stone Spiders brought to him, and even more for living ones. Over the next four days dozens were delivered by the brave and the greedy. 

Chao then went to meet his new sifu, Supreme Master Tung, just outside of the city. His sifu placed painting supplies on the ground and pointed to the horizon. "Make it beautiful," he said. 

Chao spent the next several hours painting until he impressed Supreme Master Tung with his results. His sifu told him to continue mastering the skill and then return in two days for another lesson. As he left Supreme Master Tung said "Death is beautiful."

When he returned to the city, Chao decided to fake his own death and spread rumors that he had died. He then wore a hood to conceal his face and adopted a new name: Seven-Faced Owl. 

Chao went to a painter's stall in the center of the city, where he met Mr. Ko*. Ko painted portraits for a fee and agreed to teach him the basics of painting. Chao insisted that he needed to master the art quickly. Ko expressed skepticism that this was possible but promised to do his best. 

While he was at the stall, Chao noticed a woman watching him from across the way. He chased after her, and tackled her on the outer edge of town. When they crashed to the ground, a mask fell from her face, revealing hideously burned and scared features, as well as a missing nose. Sensing that she might be a student of Supreme Master Tung, he apologized. The woman said he didn't know how to tell friends from enemies and that she was protecting him for Glorious Death. 

Two days later Chao returned to Supreme Master Tung. There was a burned body by the tree. Supreme Master Tung gave him a cloth and told him to give it a beautiful face. Chao succeeded and his sifu told him to learn the art of disguise while he mastered painting. As Chao departed, Supreme Master Tung said "Some deaths are more beautiful than others." 

Shen Chun woke in the morning to discover a lover's bao with his name upon it, on a nearby table. He asked all the servants in Stone Palace if anyone entered his room at night, but they said no one had. That evening, he asked Chao to watch over him while he slept. As the night went on, a heavy air hung over Chao and he struggled to breath. He felt his life leaving his body and had to flee the room but not before he saw a lover's bao materialize on the table near the bed. 

Chao went to the Spinning Ox Tail Theater and learned the art of disguise from a man named Gao. He wanted 50 spades a day and thought him over the course of the month. 

Chao met his master once again outside town, this time finding a large camp fire and some painting utensils. "Paint the flames," said Supreme Master Tung. Chao made many attempts but each failed to impress his master. Finally late into the evening, as the fire burned to embers, he succeeded. Supreme Master Tung told him to approach and thrust Chao's face into the embers. His skin blistered and burned, but he managed to remain calm. When he returned to Stone Palace, the skin was swollen and red. By morning he was unrecognizable.

Tung-on
Bao Yang reached Tung-on and met Iron God Meng at a teahouse in his Golden Way Pleasure Quarter. There he presented 50,000 spades as tribute and said it was Meng's cut. He announced that he had expanded and taken over Stone Palace Sect. Iron God Meng was pleased but then looked a bit puzzled. 

"Why has my tribute not increased?" he asked. 

Bao Yang tried to explain that he needed to spend much of the earnings in order to continue to expand. 

Iron God Meng persisted with his questions and demanded greater tribute each month. Eventually he was persuaded to wait two months so Bao Yang could put some things into place with the influx of money, then the tribute would be raised. This seemed to please Iron God Meng who invited Bao Yang and his disciples to drink with him. 

Bao Yang politely refused but Iron God Meng pounded the table and insisted that he drink with him. 

When the drinking was done, and Iron God Meng quite drunk, Bao Yang left to return to Stone Palace. 

Stone Palace
When Bao Yang returned to Stone Palace, he gathered Chao and Shen Chun and they headed for Crocodile Sect. But before they left, he received two people looking to become his new disciples. The first was a man with a large sword and the stench of wine on his breath named Master Ban. The second was a woman named Zheng Min. He accepted both of them. Then the group headed south. 

Crocodile Sect Headquarters 
At Crocodile Sect Headquarters Hidden Arrow received word on important matters from his informant in Bone Kingdom. He then wrote a message to Sun Mai Temple making a request specific to the news. 

Ruomei spoke with King Iron Beard about the different animals at the headquarters (crocodiles, tigers, birds, etc). She started training under him to learn how to handle them. 

Hidden Arrow continued to study his book on the Ghostly Emperor. He learned that the Ghostly Emperor was a kind of celestial criminal one could call upon for favors, but that it was unwise to cross him. How much was legend, how much was truth, he didn't know. 

A eunuch from The House of Paper Shadows arrived and received an audience with Hidden Arrow. He said he was sent by Fearless Cat who wanted to know about their progress finding her son. He suggested she might be displeased by the speed of their investigation and remained as a guest for the next several days. Hidden Arrow had his men watch the eunuch who clearly was spending considerable time snooping the grounds. Eventually he returned to the House of Paper Shadows. 

Word reached Hidden Arrow that the rest of the party was on their way. He prepared a proper reception and banquet for them. After the banquet he and Bao Yang traded news. They decided to restructure the sect to make it more manageable. This took a considerable amount of deliberation but ultimately it was decided that Shen Chun would be made the southern vanguard of the Golden Corpse Alliance, and Bao Yang would be made the northern vanguard. They would effectively control all the sects and organizations in the north and south under the Golden Corpse Alliance. Hidden Arrow would placed in charge of the information network. King Iron Beard was elevated to chief of Crocodile Sect, and Ruomei was made the groundskeeper. Li Sou Chao was made 3rd chief of Crocodile Sect, while Golden Roc was made 2nd chief of Crocodile Sect. Chao decided not to take any formal titles. 

Stipends were to be issued monthly. 

Shen Chun continued to find lovers baos near his bed in the morning. He started collecting them. 

A couple of days later, word reached Hidden Arrow that Relentless Corpse Queen was approaching. They made preparations to receive her. 

She demanded to know why Iron God Meng received tribute, when she did not. She refused to split tribute with Meng when it was proposed. 

"Why don't we just kill Iron God Meng?" Bao Yang said. 

"How do I know you won't just kill me after we kill him?" She asked. 

Bao Yang persuaded her he had no such intentions, that their relationship was entirely different from the one between him and Iron God Meng. 

She thought about it, and they decided to head north together and kill Iron God Meng. 

*This character is clearly inspired by Gu from A Touch of Zen.