Wednesday, May 24, 2017


The adventure of Flying Dagger and Red Mantis continues as they make their way to Stone Cutter Fortress to rescue Yu Guanyin in order to perform a righteous deed*. Last session they had come upon a boy riddled with arrows, and then found his family slaughtered in a nearby homestead. They followed the trail and were attacked by axe wielding bandits and archers. They learned that the bandits had taken the mother of the boy, Yu Guanyin, to Stone Cutter Fortress. 

As they made their way through the forest the party found itself surrounded by archers in the trees. The archers fired, striking Red Mantis, and missing most of the others. As the battle unfolded, Flying Dagger was able to deflect most of the incoming arrows with strands of cloth. They killed the archers fairly quickly and Flying Dagger scouted the area to see what was ahead of them. 

He found a long stone stairway leading up the hill to the fortress. At the top of the stairs were two axe men and two archers. He managed to pick off two and lured one of the axe men to chase him. Running back toward the rest of the party, Long Stinger fired a shot at the axe man and killed him. 

Then they heard the ringing sound of a gong emanating from the Fortress. Red Mantis strode up to the stairway and screamed a challenge to all inside. Around 35 men poured from the fortress gate and lined up at the top of the stairs. This provided a perfect opportunity for Long Stinger to launch a Rain of Arrows upon them, dropping most of them to the ground. 

As a mass melee unfolded, Flying Dagger made his way past the gate to inspect the area and positioned himself beyond its wall. 

A man strode out from the fortress (really just an elaborate courtyard house). He wore green robes with sleeves of golden thread and carried a long axe in his hand. 

"What is the meaning of this?" He shouted.

"Come down and fight me!" Red Mantis replied. "Just you and me."

The man, Cleaving Devil Yao Fu, motioned for his men to step aside and walked down the stairs toward Red Mantis. He crouched low and delivered a fierce, belly slicing attack that Red Mantis narrowly avoided. 

The two traded blows, but Red Mantis  dug his fingers into the Cleaving Devil's body and restrained him in the air. 

As this was occurring, Flying Dagger started picking off men at the wall (who were pre-occupied watching the duel). 

Cleaving Devil slipped from Red Mantis' grasp and crouched low for another belly slicing attack, this time cutting deep. Red Mantis bled profusely and the blood flow showed no sign of abating. He continued his attack and struck Cleaving Devil once again, but Cleaving Devil suggested they discuss the matter. He pointed out that Red Mantis was sure to die soon without medical attention. 

Yellow Mantis pondered and reluctantly agreed. They walked up the stairs. 

When they reached the landing, Flying Dagger stabbed Cleaving Devil with a dagger, killing him instantly. 

The men all backed off, their numbers already greatly depleted. The party ransacked the fortress, taking gold, jewels and and a letter from Dancing Bixie of Bixie Manor, thanking Cleaving Devil for his new bride. They also found a woman hiding in the main hall. She said that the bandits had kidnapped her. They told her they were here on a mission from the Tree Dwelling Nuns and that she was welcome to return with them. She agreed telling them her name was Yu Guanyin. 

As they walked out with the woman she saw the dead body of Cleaving Devil and her eyes filled with tears. 

They walked through the forest for a day and Red Mantis spotted Yu Guanyin reach for her hairpin. She jabbed it at his back, but he easily pulled her aside and restrained her. Flying Dagger demanded to know why she attacked them. She spit in his face and said it was revenge for her father, Cleaving Devil Yao Fu. Flying Dagger slit her throat and they continued on their way after she died. 

Talking about the matter they decided that she was clearly not the real Yu Guanyin (who was most likely at Dancing Bixie Manor). However they felt that they already had met the requirements of performing a righteous deed, so they would return to Tree Dwelling Nun sect. 

This is where the session ended. 

*Flying Dagger must perform a righteous deed so he can marry Ferocious Flower. 

Monday, May 22, 2017


This is a log for my ongoing Disposable Disciples of Bone Kingdom campaign. You can see the previous session HERE.  Note that I began recording sessions, so this has allowed me to do more detailed session logs.

Player Characters: 

Shen Chun/Crazed Raksha
Little Bai
Ong Lao
Min (Feiyan)

Disciples of the Sect: 

Red Eagle (Little Bai)
Mount Dao/Biggest Sister (Little Bai)
Filial Cricket (Little Bai)
Dim-Witted Chen (Shen Chun)


The Righteous Outlaws
Calamity Star
Ou Jinghzhu
Tea Master Houzhou

Stone Palace Sect (Also called Golden Way)

A gambling hall and criminal network in Yun Hu. Currently under control of party, with Weeping Lotus managing it. They've absorbed many other sects into this organization including Crocodile Sect, Blades of the Weeping Lotus, Temple of the Jade Mercies, Relentless Corpse Sect and more. Recently they joined with Relentless Corpse again when Shen Chun arranged a marriage with their leader Da Mei Mei. 


Shen Chun (King)
Da Mei Mei (Queen)
Weeping Lotus (Right Vanguard)
Silent Dagger
Feng (Accountant)
Gu (Head Chef)
Little Bai
Scholar Shen (a scholar who has been writing a story about Little Bai's life)

Dancing Scorpions
Criminal network in Yun Hu

Relentless Corpse Sect

Da Mei Mei

Temple of the Jade Mercies (see Stone Palace)

Abbot Wei Zhao
Abbess Bao-Yu
Yao Tu-On
Yao Chun
Yao Ba

Southern Hill Sect

Yellow Mantis
White Chysanthemum
Green Mantis (Dead but important)

Twin-Fisted Eagle Sect

Twin Fisted Eagle
Jade Fist

Bone Breaking Sect
Destroyed and taken over by Drunken Hero Kang

Glorious Death Cult

Led by Supreme Master Tung, who says he is a god of death

Recently the newly restored Empire was invaded and taken over by the Yan and the Chai Yun. The Empress Dowager and the young Emperor were both killed through the machinations of the Senior Grand Councilor. King Yegu of the Yan road into the capital and is to become the new emperor. In the last session, Shen Chun, leader of the martial world, was betrayed by Weeping Lotus (one of his most trusted men) and lead to face a false invasion from the west. It was during this time that the Yan invaded from the North. 

In cold halls of Stone Palace sect, Da Mei Mei* and Shen Chun discussed the threats they faced from the north. They contemplated moving their sect south to a safer area and also discussed the possibility of strengthening their alliance with Bone Breaking Sect. 

Da Mei Mei was also close to giving birth (she had conceived during the Demon Moon). This complicated matters and would require they be cautious on any journey south. 

Illustration by Jackie Musto
As they spoke about these matters, a servant announced that Abbess Shanhu of Hen-Shi sect was at the gate with a message. They allowed her in and she appeared before them wearing her purple veil. 

"I bring a message from the Emperor," she said removing the veil to reveal eyes glowing a bright blue. 

"What is the message?" Shen Chun asked. 

"He asks you to enter his service as he is accepting talented heroes among his ranks," She said. 

"And what does he want in exchange?" 

"Your loyalty."

"We cannot make such a decision at this time," Shen Chun said. 

"So you choose death?"

Shen Chun glanced at Da Mei Mei and saw she was ready to fight. 

"Give your heart to Emperor Yegu and and you will grow more powerful!" Abbess Shanhu screamed her eyes blazing. 

Shen Chun leapt forward and spun a thread of iron, ensnaring the Abbess as Da Mei Mei launched and impaled her with a sword blade. 

The Abbess groaned and lightning burst from her eyes, killing all of Shen Chun's guards and wounding Da Mei Mei. 

He managed to restrain her on the thread while Da Mei Mei struck at her freely, but she proved tough to harm. She was able to strike Shen Chun with her bolts of lightning and escape from the thread. But Da Mei Mei impaled her once again and they captured the abbess. 

Ong travelled south to Heaven Palace and made it in a matter of days. There he was given an audience with Qinwen Master of the Seven of the Talismans. He gave Qinwen the Sword of Bao and the first Spiraled Crown, asking him to make him an island off the coast of the empire where he could erect a temple to Gushan. 

Qinwen accepted his offer and used one of the talismans to create such an island. 

Ong then headed north again and rejoined the party at the Headquarters. 

At the Headquarters, Min asked white-Browed Tiger to give her a Shadow Tattoo of a monkey, and he agreed. However the process depleted his Qi greatly so he needed time to recover before leaving. The new Tattoo would create a spirited monkey on her body that she could summon to aid in travel and protect against demons. 

Shen Chun, Da Mei Mei, Min, Ong, Xiaomin and a few other heroes in the sect went south to speak with Bone Breaking Sect. They were allowed into Bone Fortress where Shen Chun spoke with Lingsu (who had taken over management of the sect as Kang prepared for his retirement). 

They spoke privately in a garden and Shen Chun asked Lingsu what he thought they should do about the recent invasion; if moving south was a good plan. Lingsu said it was a matter of when they wanted to fight. If they remained, they would fight the new Emperor very soon. If they moved south, they would fight him later. Talking about the matter, Shen Chun felt they should bide their time, move south and join their sects together. 

Lingsu thought about the matter briefly and agreed. He told Shen Chun he had 800 disciples the the could take with him. 

Shen Chun summoned everyone at Stone Palace Sect and prepared them for a journey south, where they planned to restore the former Crocodile Sect Headquarters.

On the way south, they passed by the Temple of the Jade Mercies and spoke with the Abbess. They asked her for helpful items (which they stored in their pagoda). She suggested Shen Chun wear one of the Guans of Sustained Recollection. 

They also spoke about the impending conflict with the Yan. He told the Abbess to take their monks and nuns and bring them south with him. She obeyed and prepared everyone for the journey. 

Da Mei Mei was placed under the care of the sect physician as she went into labor. Shen Chun received Lingsu and his men and they discussed the new sect hierarchy. Lingsu suggested that Shen Chun and Da Mei Mei remain as the heads of the organization, since they were the rightful leaders of the Martial World. Bone Breaking Sect would become a branch of their sect, with Lingsu as the Chief. Temple of the Jade Mercies would be another branch headed by Smiling Abbot. Xiaomin, Shen Chun's disciple, would be the chief of the Stone Palace Branch. 

Da Mei Mei gave birth to a girl and Shen Chun spoke with Smiling Abbot about names. Based on her time of birth, Smiling Abbot suggested a few possibilities and from them, Shen Chun chose Ying. 

Shen Chun observed that Da Mei Mei, who was afflicted with an empty heart, immediately placed the baby into the care of one of her servants. But she said they should make arrangements for the child's training so that they would have the most skilled masters to train her when she was ready to learn. 

Shen Chun announced the birth of his daughter to the newly reformed sect and this is where the session ended. 

*Using this name out of convenience but her name since marriage has become Shen Mei. 

Friday, May 19, 2017


In the latest podcast I talk about whole cloth Kung Fu Techniques in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate. This is just my way of referring to making techniques as needed for NPCs, or even on the fly as the game is unfolding. 

One of the things that can happen in Ogre Gate is you feel tethered to the existing Kung Fu Technique list or you are hampered by the need to design complete sets of Kung Fu Techniques for every unique Martial Hero/Villain NPC you make. This takes time but more importantly, it can sometimes distract focusing on the NPC's entry (because you have to switch back and forth between the stat block and the Kung Fu Technique). To get around this I often make my Kung Fu techniques as little notes in the NPC stat block itself. Part of this is to reduce the switching around, but mainly it is so I can focus on the technique fitting the character, without worrying about making a technique that needs to be able to apply across the board to everyone (all that matters here to me is the Qi rank and style of the NPC, not the Qi rank and other details of the technique entry. 

I talk about this on the podcast but wanted to address it here as well so I could illustrate my point. Here is the podcast discussion: 

Here is an example of what an NPC stat block looks like using this approach (this is a character from an upcoming book): 

This is Dancing Bixie’s mother. She is in her 70s but still very beautiful and has a commanding presence. She took up swordplay when her husband was killed by bandits and trained her son from an early age with the help of her brother (Jade-Faced Uncle) to protect himself and his family. Distrustful and strict, she has a soft spot for the naïve or foolish.

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 4, Parry 8, Stealth 6, Wits 7, Resolve 7
Key Skills: Grapple: 1d10, Throw: 2d10, Arm Strike: 2d10, Leg Strike: 0d10, Light Melee: 2d10, Medium Melee: 3d10 or 2d10 with Ox Tail Dao, Heavy Melee: 1d10, Small Ranged: 3d10, Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 1d10, Detect: 2d10

Qi: 4
Max Wounds: 9
Weapons: Ox Tail Dao (3d10 Damage, -1d10 Accuracy)

Key Kung Fu Techniques (Waijia 2, Qinggong 1, Neigong 1): Blasting Blade, Flight of the Hawk, Slashing Blade, Twirling Sabre, Whirling Dodge (Counter), Graceful Retreat (Counter)

Twirling Sabre: You leap in a tornado-like spin, striking several foes with force that is nearly impossible to stop. Make a Melee Attack roll against Parry of up to 4 Targets. On a Success you do Normal Damage plus 1 Extra Wound. Attempts to block or resist with Neigong are made at -2d10. Cathartic: Works as above except you do 2 Additional Wounds and if the Target tries to counter but fails they instead take 4 Additional Wounds.

Here is another Ox Tail Dao using character, taken from an previous session in my campaign: 

Guan Luli is Gambling Butcher's personal bodyguard. She doesn't say much but is intensely loyal and known for her Leg Maiming Strike. Though she always follows the rules set forward by Gambling Butcher, she recently let a man go because she pitied him. He returned and killed one of her fellow disciples. Gambling Butcher never punished her for this, and she is determined never to allow such a thing to occur again. 

Defenses: Hardiness 7, Evade 7, Parry 7, Stealth 6, Wits 6, Resolve 10

Key Skills: Grapple: 2d10, Throw: 2d10, Arm Strike: 2d10, Leg Strike: 2d10, Light Melee: 2d10, Medium Melee: 3d10, Heavy Melee: 2d10, Small Ranged: 2d10, Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 2d10, Meditation: 2d10, Command: 2d10, Athletics 2d10, Detect: 3d10, Read Script (Feishu): 3d10, Language (Daoyun): 3d10, Survival (Wilderness): 2d10, Survival (Mountain): 1d10, Survival (Desert): 2d10

Qi: 5
Max Wounds: 11
Weapon: Ox Tail Dao (4d10 Damage, -1d10 Accuracy Penalty)
Expertise: Medium Melee-Ox Tail Dao

Key Techniques (Waijia 2, Qinggong 2): Butchering Sword Strike, Leg Maiming Strike, Spearing Blade, Whirling Blade,  Horizontal Sidestep (Counter), Whirling Dodge (Counter)

Leg Maiming Strike: You drop into a spin on the ground, striking at the legs of all within your reach. Make a -1d10 Melee Attack against Parry of up to 6 targets. On Success you do Normal Damage. On  a Total Success you break their legs. Cathartic: On Success does 3 Extra Wounds. On a Total Success you cut off one leg from each target (if you get two 10's, you take both legs from each target). 

Butchering Sword Strike: You gracefully twirl your blade release carving slices at your foe from countless angles. Make a Medium Melee attack against the Parry of one Target. This must be used cathartically. On a Success you do Normal Damage plus 1 Extra Wounds. On a Total Success you do Normal Damage plus 2 Extra Wounds and you roll on the Critical Injury table on page 144 of the WHOG Rulebook.