Note, the campaign is currently playtesting a module, which is being play tested across my other two campaigns. So some elements are similar.
TIMELESS MASTER SECT
Sniffle Cheng (Zhen Yuancheng): Leader of the Timeless Master Sect. A scholar and physician, married to Jia, the Snake Goddess.
Shinda Hogong: A 10 foot tall Juren with a sadistic streak and fondness for gold. He is the son of a brewer and the head instructor of the Timeless Master Disciples.
Li Bai: Loyal servant of Jia the snake goddess. She has white hair and specializes in weapons like the iron thread.
Jia the Snake Goddess: A snake demon close to transforming fully into a human. She is married to Sniffle Cheng, and her worshippers, local Zun tribesmen, are disciples of the sect.
Sniffles Cheng and Shinda Hogong prepared for their journey to Hai'an, where they were to meet Twin-Fisted Eagle at the Bai-Chuan Inn. They took with them 10 Zun warriors and made their way to Zun City. They chartered a ship, the Dutiful Empress, and gave the Captain a considerable sum, instructing him to provide ample entertainment for the voyage. Shinda emphasized the point, explaining that he expected the best entertainments and that he had dismembered men for failing to do far less.
Visibly shaken, the captain set about town to find musicians and performers. While they waited, Shinda and Sniffles went to the Hen-Shi Tea House. There Sniffles proposed that his tea was better than the best the establishment had to offer and they made a 1 tael wager. The boss of the Tea House invited Scholar Shen to come and judge the teas.
Sniffles convinced the boss to use his tea vessel in both cases. His vessel had a switch which contained a hidden compartment of cheap tea. During the match he swapped their High Minded Phoenix Tea, a very expensive type of tea, with the much cheaper, Menglao's Black Tea. Scholar Shen not only declared Sniffle's Jade Flower Tea supreme, he accused the Tea House of cheating its customers by claiming their inferior tea was the much adored High Minded Phoenix Tea.
Sniffles and Shinda left as arguments broke out in the Tea House and returned to their ship. The ship set off and they were delighted to find musicians, sing-song girls and paper shadow plays entertaining them the entire way.
Midway through the voyage as they were watching a shadow play that involved four long screen panels, they heard the drone of a strange woodwind. Then the paper shadow puppets dropped and in their place, malicious shadow creatures appeared on the screens, attacking their shadows. One of them cut down Sniffles shadow arms, and he found his real arms were suddenly paralyzed.
|Art by Jackie Musto|
Copper Lobster shouted "Its the house of paper shadows! Get off the boat!"
Shinda grabbed their tea vessel, ripped a pillar holding up the hall and ran for the deck, tripping into the river and just barely making it to shore. Sniffles called his warriors. Nine responded. He commanded them to carry him off the ship and to the shore, which they did.
On the shore they found Copper Lobster and made their way east toward Bai-Chuan Inn. They arrived safely, but Shinda took the warriors to go hunting in the Southern Bamboo Forest for a tiger.
They searched for a couple of days and found the trail of a white tiger. As they approached, it purred and filled them with lethargy. Still Shinda managed to bash it on the skull a few times, dropping it to the ground. He commanded the men to secure the tiger and return it to the Inn.
Back at the Inn, Sniffles approached a group of scholars at a table and challenged them to find any piece of medical knowledge he did not know. Sniffles then bragged that he could diagnose any ailment. They spoke politely over tea. He gave them some of his nice tea and the scholar offered up a red frothy tea he claimed came from the Suk region. Sniffles inspected it for poison but it appeared safe so he drank.
Moments later he started to shake and realized he'd been poisoned.
The man said "If you can diagnose the poison, I will give you the antidote."
Sniffles thought about it, and realized his symptoms were those of Zhen Bird Venom, so he announced this, and the man provided a bottle of pills to cure him.
An argument ensued and the scholar grew angry at Sniffle's insults. He stood up and got into a stance, challenging Sniffles Cheng to a fight.
Acting like he was going to say something, Sniffles surprised the man with a quick tap of his fingers, striking his bladder accupoint, reducing his ability to concentrate, but more importantly, causing him to wet himself.
Embarrassed, the man pointed and shouted "You! This isn't over."
Sniffles used the moment to rally the crowd against the man. He pointed out that this great scholar challenged him to a fight, but wet his clothes before a single blow was struck. The people roared with laughter and the man fled from the scene.
An old woman (the same woman Shinda met in Zun city) leaned close to Sniffles and said "That was Nanda, you shouldn't anger Nanda".
They talked. She had skewers filled with candied fruit. She told him he looked like a great sect leader and offered to sell him information. She also offered to poison people for a fee. Eventually he hired her to kill Green Mantis. He also bought some information from her about the Tomb of the Red General.
THE PALE HILLS
Li Bai was brought before Pale Fox, leader of the Pale Fox Gang. She had an encampment around a hill-cave and inside the cave, was a reception hall.
Li Bai greeted Pale Fox, who was adorned in jewels and gold. She asked about the whereabouts of Hero Feng.
Pale Fox stood and shouted "Never speak that name again, or I will take your head."
Li Bai continued, offering an alliance between her people and the Pale Fox Gang. Pale Fox was reluctant but agreed to meet in secret at the Bai Chuan Inn.
Li Bai continued to press about Hero Feng, and Pale Fox commanded her men to grab her.
Li Bai fled, running from the caves as the bandits trailed her. She made a mad dash over the hills and escaped, but found herself lost. She wandered the hills for several days. First she came upon a group of four Perfect Heaven Lineage priests. They seemed concerned that she was traveling the hills alone, and the leader told one of his men to accompany her after she told them she was heading to He Dong. The man, Chen, went to escort her, but she unleashed a surprise attack with her fan, pelting them all with debris and wind. They struck at her a couple of times, but she dropped them all fairly quickly. She then killed three of them, bound Chen and took him away.
She had established in the course of the conversation with them that they were going to Southern Hill Fortress, so she knew they might be allies of Southern Hill Sect. Chen called her a demoness and a wicked woman. He claimed Yellow Mantis was a great and righteous man. She could not stand to hear such lies and slit his throat.
Li Bai continued her way through the hills, once again getting lost. Eventually she was ambushed by three more Perfect Heaven Lineage priests. They told her they were after the person who killed their sworn brothers (this was several days after her killing the priests). She lied that she was not part of a sect and claimed ignorance. They seemed to believe her, but had enough doubt that they requested she come with them to sort out the matter, as she was the only person they found near the site of the murder. They were going to take her to Southern Hill Fortress.
She challenged the man to a duel. And she killed him with her rope dart. The other two, shouted and fled to the west. She chased after them and used her Iron Thread to ensure them as they fled, killing each in turn.
This is where the session ended.