Saturday, October 31, 2015


I have been working on material for different regions of our Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate campaign setting to release in small PDFs (we may put them together into one print edition book as well). The core book comes with a broad overview of the setting and a complete gazetteer of the frontier where there are lots of martial heroes, sects and bandits. However there are other kingdoms, an empire and client states, to explore. Each of these have their own character and flavor due to their unique history. There is a place called Li Fan which is a land of the bizarre and strange, largely because it was the epicenter of the arrival of the Demon Emperor. For inspiration here I turned to Pu Songling's Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio is an interesting book. It was written during the Qing Dynasty and is a collection of small stories or accounts of supernatural and weird occurrences written by Pu Songling (but he no doubt gathered the source material from oral and written accounts). The original book is written in classical Chinese and Songling is highly regarded for his writing style. Because I don't know the language, I am working off of an English Translation. I imagine that a lot the style is lost in that process but it is still a fascinating read. It has everything from Fox Demons to transforming monks and magical wall scrolls. 

One thing I love about the book is the stories get right to the heart of the weirdness. So they read less like stories and more like accounts of the unusual, as if Songling is compelling files on strange cases. 

Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio has inspired cinema and television as well. If you've ever seen the Painted Skin movies, these are loosely based on one of the tales in the book. A Chinese Ghost Story is also inspired by Songling. 

Li Fan is meant to be one of the stranger locations in the setting, so I made a point of reading this book while working on it. It certainly had an impact and the compactness of the tales work well here because it is just one cool idea after another.

Definitely recommend Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio for Halloween reading this year. 

Friday, October 30, 2015


This is the campaign log for the eighth session of a google+run Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate campaign. The previous session is described HERE. This session featured a single character: Zhang Wan.

Note: I am running two campaigns in the same setting and treating them as occurring in different realities with some vague similarities. 

Player Characters
Zhang Wan (Bone Breaker): An unpredictable and violent martial expert who is the brother of Zhang San

Bone Breaker set to building up the Ogre Gate Inn to his liking and trying to establish their own sect in the region of Southern Li Fan. He found he needed more funds to achieve his lofty vision (which included an elaborate arena). His aim was to host a tournament in six months. The estimate was three million spades so he travelled to Hu Qin to speak with General Dee (an official he'd developed a working relationship with). 
Art by Jackie Musto

General Dee considered three million a large amount of money to give for the construction of a building. He finally agreed to give 2 million up front based on their past success if Bone Breaker obtained the wall scroll of Hua. On his way back to Li Fan, he spoke with Hai (the still-speaking head of an old lady he found in The Emerald Empire) after she chortled every time he called himself Bone Breaker. He asked what was so funny and she said it was amusing he called himself The Bone Breaker when he didn't even possess the Bone Breaking Stick. 

He asked her about the stick, and she said she was unsure where it might be, since she's been underground for centuries but that last she heard it was in the village of Zhainan. 

Bone Breaker returned and instructed Iron Cub to send men to find the the Bone Breaking Stick. He decided to personally find the Wall Scroll of Hua on his own but first he went to the Banyan in hopes of recruiting Lady White Blade's Flying Phantoms for a task. 

It took some time but he eventually reached Mystic Sword Temple. When he finally secured an audience with Lady White Blade she refused to grant him use of her Flying Phantoms. Bone Breaker then contacted Bronze Master to recruit men, and also spoke with Lady Plum Blossom to form an alliance and attack Mystic Sword Sect. 

Working with an intermediary, Bone Breaker then made contact with the head of the Flying Phantoms after learning that they were poorly treated by Lady White Blade. He offered them a much better arrangement with good living conditions and pay if they agreed to betray Lady White Blade during the battle. The leader seemed to agree but suggested they needed more allies. 

To enhance their chances of success, Bone Breaker wrote to his allies in Li Fan for back-up and went to Demon Moon headquarters and spoke with Reckless Storm. At first Reckless Storm was enraged that Bone Breaker did not have the Face of Vaagu, but was convinced that it would arrive soon enough and was just being transported (Bone Breaker ordered men to commission a fake in Zun City). 

The session ended with him awaiting the arrival of his friends from Li Fan and preparing with Reckless Storm for the attack on Mystic Sword Temple. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Forgive me if I ramble today. Working on a few different things and my mind is a bit cloudy this afternoon. 

I was listening to a great podcast interview of James Raggi (the publisher of Lamentations of the Flame Princess) and what he said about settings reminded me of something that I've noticed with Chinese dramas and movies: sometimes it makes sense to cut out the middle man and just set things in real world history rather than an analog. In Chinese series and films they make liberal use of elements we would label fantasy, but they are almost always set in a particular historical period. These periods provide rich backdrops to the adventures of the protagonists. The wall between fantasy and history is more malleable in such genres.

In the Raggi interview he made an interesting observation that most fantasy worlds as we tend to run them in RPGs present themselves as medieval but are really closer to the early modern period. This matches my experiences as well. The technologies and political institutions one tends to encounter in a standard fantasy campaign really are closer to the early modern than the medieval period. The early modern is roughly late 15th century to about mid-18th century, and follows the middle ages. It is also incidentally a period explored in great detail in one of my favorite historical series: Civilization and Capitalism by Fernand Braudel. It is a three volume social and economic history of the early modern period with each book dedicated to a particular subject. It is dense and filled with lots of tidbits that GMs would find useful. I think Raggi makes a good point that it might be more sensible to just make a setting that is early modern rather than try to cram early modern concepts into the middle ages. 

I think this is relevant to Chinese wuxia and drama series because they do something similar to what Raggi is talking about in the interview. Rather than make settings whole cloth, they draw on specific periods and have an understanding of what each period can offer. There is a difference between a wuxia series set in the Tang Dynasty versus the Ming or the Qing. What they don't tend to do is create settings whole cloth, they just dip into the most relevant historical period and use that. There are definitely exceptions. Smiling Proud Wanderer (The Swordsman) is somewhat deliberately made to be timeless (though my understanding is folks have "triangulated" it to the Ming. But it is still real world China. I think what this may allow for is greater mixing of history and fantasy without thinking of it as alternate history. In short they have fun with their own history. 

I definitely experienced this myself when we made Servants of Gaius. That was alternate history, but it could have just as easily been historical fantasy. Over time, that is how I started to view it and run it. The fantastic and mythic elements started to overshadow my initial premise (which was kind of a strict alt. history concept). Had we released more Servants of Gaius material it would probably be a much different game at this pint. I think in some ways we have an easier time doing that with something like Rome and Greece, because we are so accustomed to the mythic aspects of the period. 

While I am not intending to release another historical setting for a while, it is an idea that interests me. With Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate we originally thought of using real-world China but we decided the game Qin had already done an excellent job with that setting material and we wanted to connect our setting to Sertorius so went with an analog. I think one of the strengths of analogs is they free you up to just use your imagination. You don't have to look up each little fact before putting something cool down on paper. But I think you can also free yourself up with real world history as well. There is a sliding scale of accuracy of course. You see this in a lot of wuxia dramas where accuracy often appears to be a concern but you can also deviate from the history and offer an alternate explanation of events. 

That said, I would like to encourage people who buy Wandering Heroes to consider running it as historical fantasy in real world China during a period to their taste. I like our setting but I see no reason for people to feel chained to it. As said before, Qin already has some great information here but really the best way to run a historically based wuxia campaign in my view is to read history books about the period in question. For China I would find a couple of good general survey histories covering the early history to roughly the Qing Dynasty,then picking a period that appeals to you and getting more specific books. I tend to prefer periods from the Tang to the Ming (and that is reflected in Wandering Heroes). Also there are countless sources on the exams, religion, bestiaries, every day life, etc. Right now, for example, I am reading a lot about historical architecture in China, which is helping me make maps. 

At some point I would really like to sit down and work on something historical once again, as I read more history books than novels and feel more comfortable with historical material. I think people being more comfortable with using history as a backdrop for fantasy is a good thing.  

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Yesterday TheRPGPundit reviewed Sertorius (HERE). There are things he likes about the game and things he isn't so fond of. Some of his critiques, I agree with. In particular I think he could have done a better job giving a quick overview of the major cultures in the setting early on. We also could have provided a more handy crib sheet explaining what real world cultures were sources of inspiration for each group. With that in mind, I've decided to offer up a breakdown of some of the important Gamandrian cultures. I will start with languages then Races and move to places. 
Sertorius cover art by Michael Prescott

Gamandrian Languages
Agarian: This is a human language. It has no real world equivalent though it takes bits and pieces from existing languages. Spoken mainly by humans living in the north. 

Gruskel: This is a made up language loosely inspired by dead English words. It is also vaguely Germanic. It is spoken by Humans living in our Viking and Dark Age Europe regions. Also spoken by Gru. 

Khubsi: This is a hodgepodge of semitic languages like Arabic, Hebrew and Phoenician. Most of the cultures that speak Khusbi (with a few exceptions due to the specific history of the world) are inspired by Middle Eastern societies from the ancient world. Khubsi is mainly spoken by Halflings, Dwarves, Hasri and a substantial number of human groups. 

Klerskel: This is the Gru Language. It is again vaguely Germanic and spoken almost exclusively by the Gru. 

Latar: Latar is Latin and mainly spoken by Orcs. 

Ronian: This is Greek. Ronian is primarily a language spoken by Humans. 

Singh: This is basically Thai and is the language of the Elves and Ogres. 

While the races are not entirely monocultural they can be generalized. Because each race has an origin point, this means most of them do share common cultures. However there are exceptions. The orcs of Caelum are like Romans but the Orcs of Atroxis (which is to the North) are more like the peoples living on the periphery of Rome with a dash of viking thrown in. 

Dwarves: Dwarves are pretty much anything biblical ranging from the Kingdom of Judah to the early Christians. 

Elves: Elves are divided into three basic groups but the most important are the Mandaru who are pretty much a hodgepodge of Eurasian Steppe nomad cultures (ranging from Scythians to the Mongols). What sets the elves apart from the other races is their immortality, they simply don't die from old age, and in their ancient history they were created as slaves for the Ogres. So there is some carry over from the Thai-inspired Ogre culture too. The elves in the south are very much Thai, with a bit of Indian and Chinese culture here and there. 

Gru: These are pretty much a race of Neanderthals who are modeled on different northern European groups like the Vikings. There is also a Klingon influence with the Gru. The are almost implausibly warlike and arrogant, considering it an honor for other races to die at their hand.  

Halflings: Halflings are mainly Phoenician, with a bit of focus on Carthaginian culture. Shahr (their coastal empire) is based on Carthage. 

Hasri: They are a bit all over the map but their main region, Asharun, is a fusion of the Ottoman Empire and Imperial China. They still have more of an Ancient flavor but a lot of their institutions are modeled directly on these influences. 

Humans: Humans have some amount of diversity, but are primarily taken from Mediterranean cultures and the Middle East. The Humans of Ronia are Greek (specifically Byzantine). The Humans in our Dark Age Europe area are a blend of Latin, Greek and Arabic. I'll explain that in the Vaaran kingdoms section below. Most other human groups are middle eastern. 

Kobolds: Kobolds are a bit odd. They are sort of like Greek slaves within Orc society, but that is a product of their time with the orcs. Their original homeland is more meant to be Etruscan in nature or any of the different tribes in Italy before Rome. 

Ogres: The Ogres are Thai. They are also where the originally idea for the setting comes from. Really this was inspired from when I worked at a Thai restaurant and noticed a bunch of rubbings on the wall of scenes from the Ramakien (the Thai version of Ramayana). In the Thai version, Ravana is called Thotsakan and he was described to me as an "Ogre" (I think he is really a Rakshasa, though I am unclear if the Thai version differs here as I usually find it translated as Ogre or Demon in the Thai version). In the rubbings Thotsakan pretty much resembles the ogres as they are depicted in the Sertorius rulebook. However the Ogres in Gamandria are a displaced people, so they tend to live everywhere in pockets of other cultures. 

Orcs: These are basically Roman and hill tribes from various places. It depends on where you encounter them. Some of the orcs in the setting are standard fantasy orcs. Those ones will usually be found in the hills and mountains. The orcs of Caelum are clearly Rome. The Orcs of Atroxis are my heavy metal orcs. The Orcs further north are a plains people. I like to say our orcs are clean and sexy. They have a heightened sense of smell so hygiene is really important to them. Still they are somewhat warlike and aggressive, which is why I chose Rome as their model, because they felt like an imperial race. I think the main source of inspiration here were the Minotaurs of Taladas. This is definitely a shout out to that. 

These are the approximate analogs for some key locations. Keep in mind, a lot of these are tenuously related to the source that inspired them, or they are a blend of multiple places. Also the specific history of the world and its people always had a hand in shaping the culture, which will make it different from its real-world counterpart. 

Asharun: As stated above this is largely inspired by the Ottomans and ancient China. 

Belvar: This is an important Gru region. It is a little hard to pin down because so much of it is a product of the specific setting elements, but basically this is a sort of Viking/Klingon kingdom. 

Caelum: This is Rome on the eve of Augustus. We basically combined the figures of Caesar and Octavian into General Brogustu who is about to take control of the Republic. 

Chambar: This is mostly based on some of the early Thai kingdoms. It has some unique elements that are a product of the elves history in the setting. 

The Eastern Trade Road: This is an important route, obviously inspired by the Silk Road. Cultures here span a lot of near eastern and middle eastern ones, but we also gave ourselves plenty of freedom to just do what we wanted. So places like Donyra or Qam'ua are hard to pin down. 

Khata: This is vaguely Indian, South East Asian with bits of China thrown in. 

Marite Kingdoms, Rashua, and Bukra-Shar: These are a bunch of city states, kingdoms and small empires in the South East. They are loosely inspired by a wide variety of biblical places and early history of the Levant region. 

Matruk: This is kind of a blend of places like Ancient Egypt and Ancient Mesopotamia. 

The Mandaru Empire: This is an elven region based on Eurasian Steppe nomads, everything from the Scythians to the Mongols. 

Phra Goa: This is very specifically inspired by the Chinese story Madame White Snake. It doesn't feature a snake demon or anything like that, but the monks and their leader are based on Fahai. 

Phu Kao: Vaguely Tibetan area. 

Ronia: This is pretty much the Eastern Roman Empire, or if you prefer, Byzantium. If you look at the map of Rostanba, its capital, you can see it is visibly modeled after Constantinople. 

Sardona: These are pretty much an Abrahamic fanatical group. They believe God promised them the Varian Sea and they are trying to take it from the Ronians and Vaaran Kingdom. They are also a kind of displaced people who spent time in exile. I took bits of Christian, Muslim and Jewish history to make Sardonan history and religion. The language and institutions are primarily Arabic. 

Shahr Republic: This is a Halfling coastal empire modeled after Carthage. 

Tajem: This is a weird blend of Rome and the Middle East. The ruler is inspired by RoboCop, but is an ancient fantasy version of that sort of concept. 

Traya: This is basically Petra. 

The Tribes of Pendeo: Really just fantasy style orc tribes from the North. Vaguely viking at times. 

Vaaran Kingdoms: This is as close as the setting gets to dark age Europe. However it really is a blend of Greek, Latin, Germanic and Arabic cultures. Along the coasts you tend to have more civilized cities, and these will usually speak Khusbsi, Ronian or Latar. The further inland you go, the more you find Gruskel and Klerskel speaking humans and Gru. You can see an example of this with Palus, which I describe in the Blog HERE

Friday, October 23, 2015


I am working on three region books a the moment for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, which will each become PDFs. They will cover the areas of Hai'an, the Kushen Basin and Li fan. Once I finish those I intend to do 1 for the Zhan Dao Empire. 

These PDFs will be released incrementally based on material I develop for my own campaign. The reason for this is I really want to run through all the locations as much as possible prior to releasing it. That means I will need to create the material for my table first. 

The Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate rulebook will contain a rough overview of the major areas on the map, with a focused gazetteer for the Banyan Region, which is a kind of frontier inhabited by martial sects, bandits, etc. The Gazetteers for other areas will appear in the PDF releases. 

The PDFs will have plenty of gameable content, but we are not treating that content as canon. This is partly because we expect many GMs will flesh out many of these areas on their own, and also because we don't want to create headaches for people. The PDF Gazetteers should be viewed more as suggestions that the GM can incorporate into his or her campaign but doesn't have to. They can ignore any content they want, make changes, etc. While this is always an unstated assumption in RPG books, we are just trying to make clear that there is no such thing as official canon with any Bedrock book, particularly with anything released for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. The GM is the final authority on what content makes it into their personal version of the setting. 

The PDFs will include a gazetteer, NPCs, new Kung Fu techniques, new rituals, new monsters and general cultural information. 

Here are the tentative titles for each one: 

Batuud: Heroic Tribesmen of the Kushen Basin
Songs of the Southern Lands: Guidebook to Hai'an
Strange Wonders of Li Fan

We will also be releasing the following full books:

Ogre Gate Inn (Adventure)
Profound Masters of Ogre Gate (Rules for higher level play)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


We've been going over the rules for The Meddlers and made a small but interesting tweak by adding in The Stroke of Luck Optional Core Mechanic II (through playtest we expect this might become the official method used at our table but we will still treat it as an option). 

The core mechanic of The Meddlers is quite simple, you roll a pool of four sided dice* against an opposing pool of four sided dice. Both sides take the single highest result and compare them. If the aggressor meets or exceeds the result of the opposing pool she succeeds. Sometimes this will be rolled against another character’s pool, sometimes the GM will roll a pool to reflect the difficulty of a task when it isn’t against a foe. The Aggressor is always the person taking action, attacking, etc.

Damage rolls work differently. While Damage Rolls also sometimes involve multiple dice, these are added together.

*For some creatures that are bigger than brownies they will roll larger dice for certain actions.

This option is for people who dislike the short scale of the d4 dice pool. Instead of rolling a pool and taking the single highest result, roll your d4s and add the totals together.

This operates by the rules of the normal Core Mechanic except it adds Strokes of Luck. If you roll more than one 4 on a single d4-based skill roll, you gain the benefit of a Stroke of Luck. When this happens a single D4 “explodes”. Roll a single additional d4 and add it the result of the 4 that you've already achieved. You may continue to re-roll any additional 4s that you roll and add it to the result.

For example, Dan rolls 6d4 and rolls a 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1. Only one 4 was rolled, so the result of the roll is 4. Alexa also rolls 6d4, but is luckier and rolls 4, 4, 3, 3, 2. This is a Stroke of Luck. Alexa rolls an additional d4 and it rolls a 3, bringing her total to 7. Due to the Stroke of Luck, she managed to roll a 7 on a d4 roll. If Alexa had rolled another 4 on the additional d4, she would have continued rolling until the moment that she rolled anything other than a 4, adding the result of the new roll to the running total each time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


An important aspect of Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is the characters. Because it is a game of feuding sects, the personalities of the martial world will often intersect with the player characters, becoming allies and enemies. Both the rulebook and the introductory module, Ogre Gate Inn, feature a number of NPCs. These are my personal favorites to play at the table. I want to give brief excerpts from their entries (some background information is excluded here as that needs context to be understood). I also want to talk about what characters from wuxia series, movies and books inspired them. 

This has become an important character in my Blood of the Demon Moon Cult campaign. This wasn't by design, as she began as a random encounter (described HERE). Now she is a vital ally of the party and the Sifu of one of the PCs. She was inspired by Shao Qianmo from the show Journey of Flower, one of the more compelling characters from that series. 
Sha Qianmo from Journey of Flower (2015)

Jade Priest Description from book: 
Jade Priestess is a ranking member of the Demon Moon Cult, being the High Priestess and just below Lord Moon in rank. She was born a man but identifies a woman. She is tall but otherwise it is difficult to detect her birth gender. She dresses in fine silk waist skirts and robes, keeps her hair in a tall double bun adorned with Jade and gold. She also wears a shawl embroidered with swans that she uses for her Arms of Silk and Deflecting Canopy Techniques. Among the members of the Demon Moon Cult she is well respected and even among the orthodox sects she is perceived as the reasonable actor within the cult. Jade Priestess is kind by nature and abides by the Xia code though many of her fellow sect members do not. She is particularly disdainful of martial experts who use their powers to harm or bully the weak. However she can be lethal and cunning when she needs to and when it serves the interests of the cult. Though she is a poisoner, Jade Priestess has been careful to conceal this from others, preserving her reputation.

Zuo Lengshan from the
2013 adaptation of
Smiling Proud Wanderer
I love playing Bronze Master. He is so deceitful and charming, the kind of villain players know they shouldn't trust but they still end up liking him because he is so darn smooth. Some villains are super easy to become at the table and Bronze Master is such a villain. Bronze Master was inspired by the character Zuo Lengshan from Smiling Proud Wanderer. 

Bronze Master Description from book:
The Bronze Master is the most influential member of the Golden Dragon’s council of Six Masters. Throughout the martial world he is respected and held in high esteem for his profound Kung Fu and impeccable character. The Bronze Master values his reputation and works hard to maintain it. He is not above stooping to murder to stamp out gossip and rumor.While he projects this image of himself to the world, inside he is selfish and (to an extent) self loathing. This is perhaps most clearly seen in the role he played when Lady Sapphire (now Lady Plum Blossom) was removed from the sect due to his own schemes. He fell in love with her but she fell in love with another, so he forced her lover, Master Emerald, to testify against her before the council. Worst of all, he disguised himself as Master Emerald and told her his position in the sect meant more to him than their love.

Cheng Pei-Pei as
Lady Hermit (1971)
I love Lady White Blade. She has been hounding parties since I first started running Ogre Gate where she's been one of the more ruthless adversaries for PCs to encounter. Interestingly enough I modeled her after the heroic character Lady Hermit, played by Cheng Pei-Pei. In that movie she is righteous but there is a key scene where she hacks the limbs off of thugs who killed one of her friends. I basically took that moment and built a character around it. 

Lady White Blade description from book: 
Lady White Blade earned her nickname because her temper and sword are said to strike with the ferocity of white lightning and because she is fond of white clothing (she almost always dresses in pure white robes because of their association with death). Famously severe as a Sifu and sect leader, she’s been known to maim students who displease her (particularly favorites who fall short of her expectations). On the other hand she can be quite maternal with her disciples and even with her enemies when they show the proper amount of respect. She has a soft spot for the young and innocent, being unusually forgiving of their mistakes. Such softness quickly gives way to her fierce temper when provoked.

There are perhaps none in the martial world as vengeful as Lady White Blade. She acquires new grudges with ease and devotes considerable energy to satisfying existing ones. Some say she slit a waiter’s throat in Chen for serving her cold tea. When she was informed that the tea was meant to be served cold by the proprietor, she cut out his tongue for failing to speak and allowing her to act in ignorance against the waiter.

Monday, October 19, 2015


This is the campaign log for the seventh session of a google+run Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate campaign. The previous session is described HERE

Note: I am running two campaigns in the same setting and treating them as occurring in different realities with some vague similarities. Characters in one may appear in the other, but there are no direct causal effects from one campaign to the next. Partly this is to playtest, but this is also partly due to the multi-dimensional aspect of the universe I run all my games in. It would theoretically be possible for the party from the Blood of the Demon Moon cult campaign to dimension travel to the Secret of Je Valley Campaign, in which case direct interactions could occur (and they could even meet their counterparts in the alternate dimension). I point this out because a character, Long Shu, from the Secret of Je Valley campaign makes an appearance in this session but his circumstances are quite different from what they are in the regular campaign. 

Player Characters
Mofeng: A young wandering Hero who is frequently at odds with his traveling companion Zhang Wan
Zhang Wan (Bone Breaker): An unpredictable and violent martial expert who is the brother of Zhang San
Zhang San: A wandering hero and sister of Zhang Wan, more calm than her brother
Chen: A poisoner and healer known for his lazy ways.

This session the party began a campaign of establishing alliances and building a network. But first they had to return to the Ogre Gate Inn to restore some semblance of order and rescue Jade Priestess. 

After recruiting Abbot Firebrand and Niang the Demon Hunter, they returned to the Ogre Gate Inn where Bone Breaker used Pei Hai's flute to summon the Sand Demon and formed an agreement with the creature. He promised to give him "accommodations" at the inn and 
to provide him with fresh victims to feed upon in exchange for the Sand Demon's services.

They went back into the Emerald Empire, where Bone Breaker asked to speak to Zhang Kang. He wanted to form an agreement with the bandit king as well but it proved challenging. He had to promise to give back the White Jade Horse and to serve Zhang Kang on the surface. In exchange, Zhang Kang would share knowledge and magic. He gave Bone Breaker his giant ritual vessel and he also brought Bone Breaker into room with a number of withered heads that could speak. He gave Bone Breaker the head of Hai, an old woman knowledgeable about demons and spirits. Zhang Kang agreed to release Jade Priestess as well, but said the only way to do it was to have another person lose to her at a game of Go (they restored her later by convincing a scholar at Ogre Gate Inn to play Go against Jade Priestess). 

Going to the inn itself they found the customers were furiously waiting to be served. Bone Breaker explained that he was now the proprietor of the inn. Abbot Firebrand assisted by managing the kitchen and taking orders. They decided to go back to the salt deposits and recruit builders there to repair and expand the inn. 

When they got to the salt deposits there was a woman leading the men who said she was Xun, second Chief of the Qui Pan Bandits. In exchange for calling off the Sand Demon, she agreed to send some of her men to help them build a new section of the inn. However she also said that Qui Pan would want to speak with them. 

They returned to the inn again and spoke with Niang about her husband (they had previously agreed to help her find and restore her husband, a hero who had been turned into a Yao). She had learned that the leader of Zhaoze Sect, Shan Lushan, had once been a Yao but figured a way to reverse the process. However last she heard he had died in Yu Zhing. 

Before leaving, they sent word to a nearby city that they were hiring cooks and staff. 

The group traveled to Yu Zhing and went to the Laughing Mountain Tea House at the Towering Chrysanthemum (a kind of giant pagoda-like market place built over the center of Yu Zhing). From one of the scholars there they learned that Lushan had last been seen at the residence of General Dee. They went there and secured an audience, making a favorable impression. They basically formed an agreement with the general where they would go to the Banyan and kidnap or murder some key martial heroes, if he gave them information about Lushan and what he knew. The general revealed that Lushan had perished along with some companions attacking his home and that he had one of the companions, Long Shu, imprisoned on Turtle Island. He brought them Long Shu and said they could extract whatever information they needed from him provided they killed him when done. They learned that Long Shu had been taught a melody by Lushan and this melody could reverse the process that afflicted Niang's husband. He showed her the song and then the party killed Long Shu. 

They travelled to the Banyan with the aim of kidnapping Bronze Master. In the village of Ro, they learned that Bronze Master was in love with Lady Plum Blossom and would often spy on her. So they hosted a banquet in honor of Lady Plum Blossom under the pretext of seeking her forgiveness for a prior offense. She came and accepted their apology but Bronze Master also fell for their trap, appearing in disguise as a waiter. 

With the help of the Sand Demon they surrounded Bronze Master and were prepared to kill him, but he talked his way out of it. He admitted he may have been rash with his past actions and that he had underestimated the party. He admired their cunning and thought they might be able to work together. Bone Breaker demanded 100,000 Spades and an alliance with terms favorable to the party, otherwise they'd send him to Yu Zhing. Bronze Master not only agreed, he suggested that he and Bone Breaker become sworn brothers. 

After becoming sworn Brothers, Bronze Master offered to assist the party by helping to ambush and kidnap the leaders of Hai'an Sect and Heiping Sect. A week later a caravan with 50,000 spades and the two masters arrived. The party went back to Yu Zhing and presented them to General Dee. 

Impressed General Dee felt they could have a strong working relationship going forward. When the party requested 10,000 spades, he was more than happy to supply it. 

They went back to Ogre Gate Inn, discovering that Abbot Firebrand had impaled the new cook with a cleaver and generally caused a mess. They decided to fulfill their end of the bargain with him and went to the Qui Pan fortress to help him join. It turned out that the bandits had never intended to let him become a member and had just sent him to find 1,000 goji berries knowing that none were in the area. Still they spoke with the Bandit Leader and he agreed to take Abbot Firebrand if they beaches 3rd, 4th and 5th chiefs. They would also have to agree to give him 15% of their revenue from the Inn and other profits as well. He also made them promise to give 50% of their wealth to the local population on a regular basis and to refrain from cruel methods against the innocent. 

This is where the session ended.