Monday, July 17, 2017

WEB OF DEATH DISCUSSION

Join me, Kenny, Lady Cao Feng and Adam for the latest Bedrock Talk podcast discussing Web of Death, a classic wuxia film directed by Chow Yuen. This one brings together all the best elements of Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber, throws in a dash of condor heroes and brings it all together with a lethal spider-based super weapon. It is a tale of intrigue, romance, betrayal and heroes blinded by their own righteousness.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

SCOUNDRELS OF DAOLU SESSION 3: THE KILLING BIXIES EXPAND

I started a campaign set in the city of Daolu. It is an every-other-week campaign with a competitive bent and evil characters (or at least characters who are bandits, assassins and thieves). I structured the XP a bit differently to reflect the competition and darker focus. All the players in this campaign understand that killing another PC is entirely fine. I may get into that in future blog posts but here I talk about the most recent session. 

There are four player characters in this campaign: 

CHARACTERSLimb Taker
Xiao Li
Li Xun
Feng Yao

GANGS AND SECTS SO FAR
The Divine Vipers: Control the Pleasure Quarter, led by Bamboo Viper
The Killing Bixie's: Specialize in forged documents and black market items, they are led by Sun Leng. 
Green Tigers: Control the area around the Embroidered Dragon fighting platform. Pretty big group. 
The Orphans: A small band of pick pockets and opportunists who are led by a woman named Jia and operate in the Pleasure Quarter and Slums. 

The party continued its criminal activities in the slums of Daolu. They spoke with Sun Leng, the leader of the Killing Bixie's, and she told them it would be a good idea to expand into Green Tiger Territory. She said she'd give them 10 Knife Men to see what they can do. 


Art by Jackie Musto
They decided to check out the area under Green Tiger control. First they went to Master Shan's apothecary and told him he'd have to pay protection. He explained he was already paying money to someone called Smiling Asura. They said they'd be back in two days to collect. 

In the meantime they went to the Golden Tael to find a woman named Hidden Scorpion. She was known to hire her information gathering services. They were brought into her private dining area, where she continued to eat and drink as they greeted her. 

Xiao Li bowed and said "Greetings senior, we would like to discuss making a business arrangement with you."

Hidden Scorpion looked Xiao Li up and down, then continued drinking her wine. "My prices are high."

"I just want some information on Smiling Asura, where he will be on a particular day," Said Xiao Li.

"My usual price for that is well over 2,000 spades and you don't look like you can afford it....but I can lower my rate if you provide some other service in exchange."

Feng Yao stepped in and said "I am a musician, I can write a song for you."

Hidden Scorpion thought for a moment, then said "What sort of song would you write about me?"

"I can write about your hidden talents," He said. 

"I don't want people to know about my hidden talents. Write about my beauty instead. No, wait, write about how magnificent I am, then sing it through the streets of the whole city and I will do the job for 2,000 spades."

They agreed to her terms, though Feng Yao talked her into limiting his performance to the Killing Bixie District and the Fortune Quarter (to avoid running into trouble with rival gangs). 

They departed after agreeing to meet Hidden Scorpion the next day at the Silk Thread Wine Shop. Feng Yao went to the pleasure quarter to speak with the Orphans. On his way he was trailed by someone. He looked back and saw golden cloth of a robe fluttering from an alleyway. He approached to find a sharply dressed man leaning against the alley wall and spying on him. 

The man stepped out confidently and said "I came to challenge you. You killed my friend Silver Immortal. In two days, you and all of the people present at the book shop, come to the edge of the city and we will settle this score."

"Who are you?"

"I am Eye-Gouging King," said the man. 

"Very well," said Feng Yao. "In two days we will meet."

He turned and walked away, then as Eye-Gouging King left for another part of the city, Feng Yao lobbed a rod filled with Divine Powder at him. Eye-Gouging King unfurled his golden robe and it swatted away the rod before it burst in flames. 

"That was a very bad idea," Said Eye-Gouging king. "Two days, outside the city, you and all who killed Silver Immortal, meet me then to die." 

Feng Yao left and tended to the matter he had come for (to no success). He then returned to the Pearl Dragon (Killing Bixie's Headquarters). 

Knowing they needed to prove they could earn money to gain Sun Leng's respect, Li Xun and Xiao Li decided to sell their services in the temple quarter. There they found work at the Temple of the Bold King. 

As they approached the temple an old woman came up to them and said "I notice you are going to the Temple of the Bold King, can you do a poor woman a favor?"

They nodded. 

"You two look like brave men, and my husband has been missing for days. I heard he was last seen going into the temple, can you see what you can find for me?"

"Why should we do that?" Said Li Xun. 

"Because you are righteous heroes."

They nodded and told her they would see what they could do, then continued on to the temple. 

The Abbot of the temple instructed them to guard the doors and let no one in from dusk to dawn, saying he would pay them 245 Spades and offer more work in the future. 

They stood guard. Eventually a pretty woman in colorful robes and an upper-class hairstyle approached the doors. They both stepped in her way. 

"No one may pass," Said Li Xun. 

"But I live here," Said the woman. "My name is Feng Guai, now let me through."

"The abbot said not to let anyone in and he didn't mention you, come back later," Said Xiao Li. 

Feng Guai produced a golden medallion with the image of the Bold King upon it. "Now let me through."

"Go to one of the inns," said Xiao Li. "Find some place to stay for the night and come back in the morning."

Visibly irritated Feng Gaui said "Then go in and talk to the Abbot, he knows me, I live here."

"The abbot said no one can go inside, that includes us, so we can't go in and ask him anything," Said Li Xun. 

"This is the last time I will ask, strike the gong and speak with someone at the temple. I am expected."

Li Xun and Xiao Li debated the matter and finally decided to hit the gong. A monk emerged and told them she was indeed allowed to come in. 

The next day the Abbot gave them a contract to guard the doors four days of the month for 265 spades each shift. The monks also explained who was allowed in and who was not. 

From there they went directly to the Silk Thread Wine Shop to get their monthly protection money and to meet Hidden Scorpion. When they arrived a man dressed all in black and covering his eyes with a conical hat, lounged at one of the tables. No one else appeared to be present.  

"This place is under my protection now, your little money making scheme ends today," Said the man. 

"Who are you?" Xiao Li asked. "I am Black Whip and more than anything else I hate those who bully the weak and extort hard working people. Leave here and never come back."

The party encircled Black Whip. 

Feng Yao arrived and pretended to act like a normal customer. He sat down and demanded wine. 

"Come back in an hour my friend, the wine shop is closed for now," said Black Whip. 

Feng Yao launched a surprise attack but Black Whip stood up and kicked a bench to intercept his weapon. 

Black Whip lashed with a whip to restrain with his right hand and sliced with a dagger with his left. He wrapped his whip around Xiao Li's wrist, but Xiao Li evaded the dagger slash. He also threw benches and tables at the party as they swarmed around him. It was a long fight, and Black Whip was tough to bring down, but they managed to overwhelm him with their strikes. 

They debated what to do with Black Whip. Xiao Li and Feng Yao fought over the issue. The result was Xiao Li stabbed Black Whip, killing him. 

Hidden Scorpion arrived soon after. She said down and told them that Smiling Asura would be staying at a room in the White Rat. She also explained that he was planning to ambush them when they arrived at Master Shan's apothecary for their protection money. 

"He has a brother you know," She said pointing at the body of Black Whip.

"Who?"

"White Whip," she said. "He lives in Nansun, about seven days from here."

They thanked her. Feng Yao spoke with Hidden Scorpion and persuaded her to go with him to fight Eye Gouging King. She agreed for a small fee. She also told him they would need others to help them and to watch out for his eye taking technique. 

That night they planned an assault on the White Rat Inn. Dressing as merchants, they took their knife men and got a room there. When Smiling Asura went out to the main hall alone, they surprised him, charging down the stairs. Smiling Asura whistled. The attack went well but Smiling Asura cracked Li Xun in the head, knocking him out completely. Feng Yao had given several of the Knife Men exploding rods. After a Xiao Li led the attack with several swift strikes, the Knife Men bombed Smiling Asura and he collapsed. At that moment, his men poured out from rooms on the second floor. Xiaoli threatened to kill Smiling Asura if the men approached and this gave them room to escape back to the Pearl Dragon. 

At the Pearl Dragon they interrogated Smiling Asura and were planning to kill him. But he offered to go quietly, even helped them, if they allowed him to retire comfortably. He promised useful information. So Xiaoli sealed the deal by becoming sworn siblings with him. She felt he wouldn't go back on the offer if they formed this bond. He then told them that the man they wanted to kill next was Saffron Physician (he managed most of Smiling Asura's protection rackets). He also said that Saffron Physician would have 25 men, but that they would soon be attending Saffron Physicians annual celebration and perform the Lion Dance in his honor. There would be a moment during the lion dance, when the 25 men were to be particularly vulnerable, balancing very high in the street. He suggested attack at that time. 

This is where the session ended. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

STORMS OF THE MARTIAL WORLD SESSIONS 19-20: THE TRANSFORMATION OF BLIND YAN

This log is for the nineteenth through twentieth sessions of a Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate campaign. See the EIGHTEENTH SESSION LOG to read about the previous session. 

Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate is our wuxia RPG. It is available HERE in PDF. 


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. 


Peng Biyu: Peng Pei's mother. 

Blind Yan: A blind hero and connoisseur of fine foods.  


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


Song Pei: A one-armed physician.


Sister Fox: Brother Wolf's Sister who is ailing from Life Ebbing Venom. 

Feiyan: A yen-li priestess who is acquainted with Sister Fox.

A lot has happened. The party left the Palace of the Southern Thunder Goddess, having left two of the Phoenix Talismans with her (they are on a mission to place the Phoenix Talismans into the hands of powerful entities to help protect the world). They decided to go to the Southern Sea Demon next but didn't know where to find him. This took them to the City of the Lion God. Here they found multiple temples and priesthoods dedicated to different deities: a snake goddess, the southern Sea God, etc. 


In the city, they found the people spoke Singh. They attended a banquet at the Temple of Phra Guo, the same goddess. There they befriended a priestess named Phung, who explained their religion to them. She spent a great deal of time with Shin Du. 

They also went to the Temple of the Southern Sea God, learning that the priesthood was about to send an annual barge of offerings to the deity. They negotiated with the temple and were offered a place on the barge. 

Song Pei went deep under the temple and was given an audience with the Snake Goddess, Phra Guo. He made an arrangement with her, promising to find her a worthy concubine from the north (a king or prince). To make sure he kept his end of the bargain, she placed a binding of energy around his heart, giving him two years before it would kill him. She also gave him a talisman that made him invisible to demons and spirits. 

The next day the Blind Yan, Sister Fox and Peng Pei inspected the barge, to find it contained 300 virgins who were clearly going to be sacrificed. Blind Yan could not abide this and immediately attacked the guards on the ship. A massive fight broke out, but with the help of Sister Fox and Peng Pei, he was able to clear a path for the women to flee and beat back a swarm of attacking priests. 

When Blind Yan and the rest of the group returned to their quarters, Phung told the party that they had to leave the city as the Temple of the Southern Sea God was after them. Shin Du asked her to come with them and she agreed.

They returned to their boat and decided to avoid the Southern Sea God entirely. Instead they would seek out either the Northern Sea Goddess or the Northern Thunder God. They headed to Daolu. There the captain of the ship told them he would go no further with them, and departed. They went to the Tea Palace Brothel, while Shindu and Phung stayed at the Heavenly Meat Palace. 

At the Tea Palace Brothel, they secured a meeting with a merchant named Guan. He agreed to take them north, into the Yan lands. He wanted 40,000 spades, but they talked him down to 30,000 with a mutual investment in some blue pearls for sale in the north. He agreed to their terms and said they would leave in two days. 

The intervening two days were routine. The only slightly out of the ordinary occurrence was as rat demon in Shin Du's inn room. But he and his wife managed to deal with it (though they were not able to secure recompense from the proprietor). 

They departed by ship, and then took to land travel once they reached a small village further down the river. Master Guan took fifteen men with him and was prepared to buy horses from the Yan. They made their way through the mountains and that is when they ran into trouble. 

Deep in the forest, they were attacked by five men in blue cloth. The men through blue pearls at them in scattered flinging motions and many in the party were wounded. As they fought, one of the trees began to attack. Song Pei noticed a human-lied face on its surface. 

This was a grueling battle, and 10 of the merchants fell to the pearls. Song Pei managed to save 3 who were dying. They captured one of the attackers and tried to get him to talk. All he said was they had taken their sacred pearls from the city and this was forbidden. He then bit his tongue off when Song Pei pressed him for more information by sealing his accupoints. 

The party decided to follower their attackers trail. This tool them to a place in the woods where more men (about fifteen) surrounded a vast maple tree with human-features growing like knots on its trunk. The thing had roots that moved. 

Blind Yan rushed forward to attack and Shin Du launched flaming arrows at it. This fight was also a difficult one. Blind Yan was struck by one of the trees roots and and started to change hue. Ke-Yen over-exerted herself and became imbalanced in the fight, behaving strangely afterwards. 

They did manage to kill all the men and the maple however. 

After the battle, they checked out Blind Yan. Song Pei placed his talisman on Song Pei and energy flowed from it into his body. Thinking this might buy him some time, he made Blind Yan wear it. Blind Yan was not happy with this arrangement and tried to hit Song Pei with a piece of the tree root. 

During the voyage north, Song Pei noticed that Blind Yan was no longer wearing the talisman. This forced him, Sister Fox and Peng Pei to head south and backtrack to find it. While they were gone, Shin Du discovered that Phung knew how to heal Blind Yan. He also noticed that Blind Yan's skin was changing color and texture. However when he tried to slip something in Blind Yan's food to make him sleep, this caused conflict and Blind Yan generated black Qi smoke, trying to flee. In the confusion, the other players returned. However they saw that someone had taken the opportunity to stab Master Guan (who was dying on the ground). 

Song Pei healed Master Guan, while Peng Pei ran after Blind Yan. The two dueled. Peng Pei initially hit him with several potent finger flicks, but he used his blinding smoke again and this made the fight challenging for Peng Pei. She also found at close range, Blind Yan was very tough. He used Stick of the Rebounding Dog to send her in the air and she flung a pearl from the distance, dropping him to the ground. Then she crashed to the ground herself. 

Phung performed her ritual on Blind Yan, and he was healed of his disease. He also returned to his normal friendly self. 

In the aftermath, Song Pei accused Ke-Yen of stabbing Master Guan. Song Pei had inspected Master Guan's wounds and deduced that the only blade capable was Ke-Yen's jian sword. She didn't admit to stabbing but did say she didn't trust him. 

The party continued north and made it to the Yan lands. They eventually reached the Summer City of Borgo. There Master Guan spoke with the Yan and secured a meeting with Tolokhan. 

They found his yurt to be palatial, filled with guards and luxuries. He offered to buy their pearls. They explained that they needed to see one of the gods to the north over an important matter. He told them they would have to speak to one of the Three Northern Sages to be permitted to pass. He said he would send twenty men with them to Yosk (one of the sages). 

Ke-Yen remained outside the yurt. 

Inside he gave them fermented mares milk. When Sister Fox had difficulty swallowing the drink, he accused Daolun women of being weak. This angered Peng Pei, who challenged him to a drinking contest. They drank through the night, both getting very drunk. Peng Pei was able to keep up with him, but the contest was interrupted by activity outside the tend. Men came rushing in and spoke words in a language they didn't understand. 

Tolokhan looked at the party and said, there is a fire, we must go. 

This is where the session ended. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

COMING SOON.....

This is coming soon...

Art by Jackie Musto