This is the fifth session of a new campaign for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate (the fourth 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.
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: AN EYE FOR A HEART
Last session the party had gone to Divine Horse Sect headquarters on Mount Wuxing to inspect the Northern Celestial Pillar. They were confronted by Divine Murderess and disciples of Emo Cheng as they left the mountain. A battle ensued and the party was heavily wounded by Divine Murderesses spiraled spear. Her counters were particularly deadly, throwing the party's weapons back at them. However when she was driven back by Sentimental Ogre, her men lost their nerve and vanished. Sentimental Ogre leapt upon an outcropping of stone and used the Third Fist of Yansha to drop a boulder upon Divine Murderess. She continued to fight, but was knocked down by Joyous Jian.
After the fight, Sentimental Ogre tied her to the boulder. Merciful Shade tried to interrogate her for information but the party objected saying that they needed to be merciful. Divine Murderess wore a golden medallion with the Five Ghosts upon it, so Merciful Shade took this from her. Sentimental Ogre carried her up the mountain back to Divine Horse Sect. At the gate of the peak, Bearded Sabre prevented them from entering and Celestial Master Ma Ziweng soon appeared with a look of disapproval on his face. He asked them how they dared to show their faces after deceiving him and taking the Celestial Pillar device.
Confused the party protested and asked for more information. He revealed that the Northern Celestial Pillar disappeared soon after they left. He intended to investigate the matter and then issue a declaration to the other sects.
Merciful Shade took a blade and gauged out the eye of Divine Murderess demanding to know where the Celestial Pillar Device was. Celestial Master Ma Ziweng expressed his disgust at their behavior and returned to Divine Horse Sect, the gate disappearing behind him.
Divine Murderess said she had not stolen the pillar, that they were just attacking as a distraction so her other sect members could steal something called the Empty Heart Stone from Golden Dragon Sect without interference.
Merciful Shade told kept pressing her for more information and she explained that Ox Hearted Widow (the PC's Sifu) suffered from a deadly condition due to having her heart replaced with that of a spirited beast. Eventually she would die and this heart stone could cure her. They intended to use the Heart Stone as a way of controlling Ox Hearted Widow. Presently the stone was at the East Pagoda in Emo Chung with Smiling Ogre.
Under tacit threat of losing her other eye, Divine Murderess told them the location of Emo Cheng (there was a gate in the Whispering Swamp of Hai'an). They dragged her across Hai'an, stopping briefly in Huisheng to send a message to their sect. Reaching a banyan tree in the swamp, Divine Murderess performed a ritual that caused it to yawn open and reveal a portal of light. They walked through and after about thirty minutes reached the misty wall of a great city: Emo Chung.
Merciful Shade forced Divine Murderess to write a letter to Smiling Ogre, telling him to give her the Empty Heart Stone. She asked for a brush and paper, then wrote to Smiling Ogre saying that Merciful Shade was her new disciple and that he was to give her the stone.
Going alone into the city, Merciful Shade saw a place inhabited by hungry ghosts and spirited beasts. She found the Pagoda and approached its guards, saying she wanted to speak with Smiling Ogre.
Smiling Ogre soon appeared. He was a juren with a dour expression, and seemed unimpressed with Divine Murderess' choice of disciple. He asked her why she wore a mask and she said to prevent terrible things from happening. His men retrieved the stone and have it to her. She left the city with no problem.
They returned to Whispering Swamp and headed to Xuanlu, where the Captain Chen was still waiting for them with their ship, the Emerald Medallion. They took Divine Murderess with them the whole trip home, only letting her go as they approached Mount Dao.
PART TWO: OPENING THE EMPTY HEART
At the entrance of Mount Dao, they found three of their sect brothers slaughtered. On the peak itself they discovered bodies strewn all about. Little Turtle and Sentimental Ogre ran to Divine Meteor Hall, where they learned that Abbess Tu Bao had been poisoned with Seven Demon Venom by Marauding Dragon. Asking for details they were told that Marauding Dragon led his disciples onto the peak and killed most of the members of Divine Meteor Hall. He fled when Ancient Gray Demon and Ox Hearted Widow arrived with reinforcements from Green Sword Hall and Supreme Celestial Hall. Abbess Tu Bao was comatose in her bed.
Merciful Shade and Joyous Jian went to Green Sword Hall, where they found Ancient Gray Demon and Ox Hearted Widow speaking with disciples. Merciful Shade knelt and presented the Empty Heart Stone. As she did so, it levitated into the air and flew into Ox Hearted Widow's chest. Her body rapidly hardened and turned to jade. When it was over she looked like a statue and nothing they did could retrieve her. In the distance a disciple dropped his sword and Ancient Gray Demon glared at Merciful Shade.
Confused, Merciful Shade explained that they were informed Ox Hearted Widow was ill and that this would cure her. "You were misinformed" said Ancient Gray Demon. "Go to my chamber immediately!"
The others heard Ancient Gray Demon reprimand Merciful Shade, but ultimately he seemed to acknowledge she had been used by more powerful forces. He told her to venerate Ox Hearted Widow each day until they cured her.
Ancient Gray Demon told Merciful Shade and Joyous Jian to inform the rest of the sect to prepare for battle. Over the next several hours, the party examined the massacre site (clearly seeing that Divine Meteor Hall was hit hard and hit first---most of the Divine Meteors were now dead). Merciful Shade appeared before Ox Hearted Widow's son, Cai Jianyu, and apologized. He was forgiving and didn't blame her, knowing she had been used. She then took off her masked and revealed her features to a stunned Cai.
The group assembled before Ancient Gray Demon who instructed the party to go to Sveen Blood Cave alliance and kill Marauding Dragon. "Mercy has its limits" he said. Then told them to retrieve the Seven Demon antidote so they could save Abbess Tu Bao, and to secure the southern celestial pillar (which was controlled presently by Seven Blood Cave Alliance). He feared they intended to unite the pillars.
Sentimental Ogre objected to killing Marauding Dragon. After considerable debate, Ancient Gray Demon relented and said they could just capture Marauding Dragon so the sect could deal with him.
He then opened a gate in the air that lead the party, along with Cai Jianyu and ten disciples, to Zhaoze swamp. They walked through the swamp to the gate leading to Hanging Valley of the Dead and passed through.
PART THREE: RETURN TO HANGING VALLEY OF THE DEAD
They made there way through the valley for three days and eventually reached Marauding Plague cavern. Merciful Shade used the Celestial Shadow technique to blend with the darkness and enter the caverns unseen. The rest of the party walked to the entrance and told the guards they wanted to speak with Marauding Dragon about the antidote.
They were led inside. There they found Marauding Dragon on his throne, which seemed piled even higher than before. His wife, Shanhu, stood next to him, but was clearly not in better frame of mind from the last time they encountered her. She laughed with loud amusement as they approached the throne. Beside the throne was an enormous stone statue of a frog, which they understood to be Lord Frog himself.
Sentimental Ogre and Little Turtle asked why he attacked their sect and he expressed surprise. He told them he knew nothing of any attack. In the course of the conversation, they asked for an antidote to the Seven Demon Venom. He informed them that the symptoms of his poison were withering and death. And suggested that Abbess Tu Bao was suffering from another poison: Five Phoenix Poison, a specialty of Emo Cheng.
Most of the party came to believe Marauding Dragon and thought that he might have been framed by someone seeking to sow division in Celestial Heart Sect. Sentimental Ogre suggested they work together against this common enemy. Marauding Dragon reluctantly agreed, saying he still had many grievances with their sect.
He game them the Seven Demon Venom as a sign of good faith. Merciful Shade threw down the orb containing Brother Toad and shouted "Brother Toad attack, he turned your sibling to stone!". At the same time, Cai Jianyu screamed that Marauding Dragon still must answer for his crimes.
Shanhu, laughed again at the display.
Brother Toad materialized and ran at Marauding Dragon in a rage. His attack missed and Marauding Dragon cut his belly open with a single slice of his billowing-black Ox Tail blade. Disciples descended upon Brother Toad and took him away.
Filled with anger Marauding Dragon (who still could not see Merciful Shade because she was a shadow) shouted "Who threw that?"
When no answer came he said "Show yourself or I'll kill your friends".
Merciful Shade ended the technique and appeared. Immediately, Marauding Dragon grabbed her by the throat and threw her down his dais. She landed on the stone and was hurt, but not badly. He told the rest of the party that he would honor their agreement if they could keep her and Cai under control.
Sentimental Ogre and Little Turtle dragged them both out of the cavern. In their conversation with Marauding Dragon they learned that Five Phoenix Poison dissolved a person's Phoenix Spirits over time, so they had to quickly find the antidote. However the antipode itself contained 64 ingredients known only to Five Ghost King of Emo Cheng sect (and 20 of those ingredients were poison so it had to be precisely prepared). They would go to Emo Cheng and recover the antidote.
Cia Jianyu was angry and demanded they go back and complete their mission. Sentimental Ogre refused, saying they must get the antidote. Eventually they convinced him to leave. On the way out, Merciful Shade revealed that she had wanted them to take the Southern Celestial Pillar in the confusion.
There was considerable discussion as they travelled (mostly about loyalty and who to trust). On the third day, Cai Jianyu tried to stab Sentimental Ogre in the back. He missed and Sentimental Ogre easily grabbed him and swung the angry man onto his back. Cai called him a beast and accused him of defying sect orders. Calmly, Sentimental Ogre carried him and explained his reasons.
Little Turtle observed something unusual about Cai's outburst. It seemed greatly out of character.
This is where the session ended.