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.
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).
PART ONE: THE ROAD BACK TO SIYU
The party had just left the Hanging Valley of the Dead where they'd returned Marauding Dragon's child. On their way out, through Zhaoze Swamp, they were intercepted by his wife, Shanhu. She had recently been resurrected from the dead by Marauding Dragon. The party originally encountered her in Tung-On where she was a phoenix ghost. Part of her spirit (her Dragon Spirit) had been placed in a Dragon Talisman so she could later be resurrected but the party destroyed the talisman. Later Marauding Dragon secured her body and continued with he resurrection but because her Dragon Spirit was missing, she basically went crazy.
|Map of Qi Xien by Rob Conley|
Before they had left, Merciful Shade had informed Marauding Dragon that Lord Frog (the keeper of his gate) had plotted against him to take the baby from the party. Marauding Dragon sent men to kill Lord Frog. But when the party arrived in Zhoaze Swamp, they saw dozens of Marauding Dragon's men dead in the water and no sign of Lord Frog. Instead they were confronted by Shanhu who was flanked by ten Emo Chung sect disciples.
She told them she was going to kill them for destroying her talisman. They tried to calm her, but she flew into the air and attacked with a shimmering Hard Whip (or bian). A massive melee ensued but Phiphek captured Shanhu in an all-encompassing emerald of Sun Mai. Eventually the disciples of Emo Cheng disappeared when it was clear they had lost. They bound Shanhu and interrogated her learning that she was working with Lord Frog and Emo Chung, that she still despised Marauding Dragon (she was originally in Tung-On so her child could be born safely away from him). She blamed the party for destroying her talisman and for returning the child to Marauding Dragon. They contemplated retrieving the child for her, and she offered to end her grudge against them if they did so, but Sentimental Ogre pointed out that that her disrupted Phoenix Spirit made her violent and unpredictable. This would not be safe for the baby, plus their sect had ordered them to return the child to Marauding Dragon. They decided instead to release Shanhu and let her go back to the Hanging Valley of the Dead. She agreed to stay her grudge for thirty days.
They headed north and reached Fan. There some of the party went to the Tower of Fortune where they met a man named Golden Han. He was badly beaten up, with a broken nose and cut face, but he seemed in excellent spirits and was winning a lot of money at the cricket matches. When Phiphek asked him about the reports of ghosts coming from Siyu, he told them that two Zun heroes had passed by recently asking similar questions. He confirmed the reports but said the Zun heroes probably already dealt with the issue in his opinion.
While watching from the corner, Merciful Shade suddenly found one of the sect leaders from Celestial heart sitting next to her. The sect leader asked her to come outside and gave her sect instructions for the party. They were to find Lord Frog and deal with him then go to Divine Horse Sect to investigate why Supreme Judge Yu had been there recently. The sect leader didn't tell her why, but it seemed like it was related to the events in Siyu and Heiping.
Sentimental Ogre tried sleeping in the street that night and local guards attempted to stop him, telling him it violated city ordinances. To resolve the issue, he flew into the air and slept above, rather than on the street so he could abide by the letter of the law. This frustrated the guards who left him in peace after that.
The party then traveled to Siyu, east of Fan. There they found a city filled with ghosts, people recently risen from the dead or turned into gui while still alive. But one section of the city was warded with talismans and contained some living people. Sentimental Ogre Confronted some guards outside the city, who turned out to be Toad Demons, but they fled back to the main temple. Using rooftops, the party investigated, then to their surprise the people in the streets who were various forms of undead, all started turning back into normal humans. This was clearly not due to he party's efforts at all. Something else was causing it. However it created chaos in the city and Toad Demons started killing many of them as they got out of control. They party left, flew and ran over rooftops to the temple, attacking Toad Demons as they did so (which caused them to leave the people alone and run back to the temple).
There they found Brother Toad, an enormous creature who occupied an entire hall. There he was eating platters of human flesh. He and his Toad Demons fought the party. Phiphek was sucked into a toad's belly but in the end the party managed to defeat him. They cut down three toad demons and left seven alive. After the battle, they learned that Lord Frog was hiding at Whispering Swamp in Hai'an.
Merciful Shade bound Brother Toad, then sucked him into one of her orbs. This terrified the remaining seven toad demons. She told them to live according to Hen-Shi and to stop eating humans. Phiphek then created an illusion of glowing dust falling upon them and said that Hen-Shi commanded them to stop eating human flesh or they would suffer horribly.
They cowered and promised to start a temple dedicated to Hen-Shi, then left the city.
The party went to the protected ward and spoke with the Headman, Yu Chen. He thanked them for saving the town and offered them any assistance or gifts they may need. They asked for a boat that was river and sea worthy as well as a crew. He provided it, giving them the Emerald Medallion captained by a man from his own clan. He also stocked the boat with Divine Phoenix Tea and other luxury items.
PART TWO: LORD FROG AND PALE FOREST PEAK
They took the boat to Hai'an, where they traveled on foot from Xuanlu to a cave in Whispering Swamp. There they fought against Lord Frog, who was so big that Merciful Shade's Blazing Net barely clung to his body. He summoned more of his Demon Toads to protect him and a battle ensued. The party was able to capture him in an orb as well and dispatch his demons.
Taking the orb they headed to Rong Shan, where Pale Forest Peak and Divine Horse Sect was located. On their way, Merciful Shade scouted around for anything unusual and found they are being followed. She went and inspected their pursuers who were led by an extremely muscular woman (whom they later learned was Divine Murderess of Emo Chung Sect). She saw Merciful Shade approach, but didn't do anything as she was quite surprised. Merciful Shade returned to the party and informed them.
They continued on, with some caution. They reached Divine Horse Gate and met the mountain god, Bearded Sabre, who reluctantly let them through. They went to the palace of Abeyant Love and met Celestial Master Ma Ziweng. When they asked about Supreme Judge Yu, Celestial Master told them that he had come to the sect about two weeks ago, perhaps a little more, to inform them that he was going to duel with Yao Yun Demon of the Southern Sea. This was merely a precaution since Divine Horse Sect controlled the Celestial Pillar of Northern Skies, and were Supreme Judge Yu to meet disaster, this might affect travel between the upper realms. Satisfied with this explanation, Merciful Shade also asked if she could inspect the pillar. Her and Phiphek were permitted and both went into the Jade Hall of Meditation. There they found an octagonal chamber with eight doors. They meditated and decided to take the eastern door which led them to the Pillar. It seemed okay. Merciful Shade touched it and felt substantial power coursing through it.
They returned, thanked Celestial Master and asked to remain for the night. Sentimental Ogre decided to sleep outside in the cold but he gate. There he was berated by Bearded Sabre who said he would surely freeze to death. Surprisingly he slept in comfort the entire evening (due to three consecutive Endurance Rolls with a couple of Total Successes). The next day they headed down the peak but were confronted by the woman who had been trailing them. Phiphek recognized her as Divine Murderess of Emo Chung Sect. She had a spear and demanded they return Lord Frog.
This is where the session ended.