Thursday, August 31, 2017


The other day I posted a Strange Tales entry on a story called The Magic Sword and the Magic Bag. In it I included an adventure with a map and mentioned that I would be following up with a city description and another related scenario. This entry provides details on the village of Daoxu but also gives you an adventure I ran in one of my campaigns. This adventure may need to be tweaked or altered to suit your needs, but it it is a fairly complete mystery adventure set in Daoxu and connected to the Yaksha-Demon scenario in the Magic Sword entry. In the coming days I should have another entry related to this region. The Blood of Daoxu is ripped from my campaign book with some minor modifications but is quite rough so feel free to ask any questions about unclear elements (or obvious mistakes) in the comments. 

In Blood of Daoxu, the players are invited or catch wind of a small tournament that has attracted many martial heroes but discover a series of murders when they arrive. The murders lead to a strange box possessed by Wei Chengsi and a number of Yaksha Demons. 

Scholar Han Jiayin: A ladies man and handsome reveler who has recently passed the Imperial Exams and is enjoying himself before being sent for his first appointment. The Han family owns much of the agricultural land in Daoxu. However owes much of his influence to a women named Ms. Liu who lives in a nearby city. The village’s innovative water system was designed by Jiayin’s great grandfather, Zhen’e.

Wei Chengsi: Scholar Han’s servant. An incredibly ugly man filled with jealousy for his master's good looks. He has been secretly learning rituals from a Yen-li priest of Plum Tree Temple to help improve his life.

Left Handed Dragon (Sun Yin): A student of Master Chen. He recently saw Scholar Han flirting with Master Chen's daughter in the market and has taken exception.

Master Chen: The head of Master Chen's Spinning Dragon School. He recently announced that he possessed the Wind Sabre of Sunan (this is not true) and would hand it to anyone who can beat his top student, Sun Yin. 

Pei E’hua: The wife of Tofu Merchant Pei Chisi and daughter in law of tofu maker Pei Bao. She is a spirit who used to devour human life essence but was helped by Chisi (who returned her bones to Daoxu) and has since begin to cultivate mercy and compassion. 

Martial Heroes Present:
Note: NPC entry in Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate page number in bold)

1: Reckless Storm (Ro-Fish Inn) WHOG 335
2: Headmaster Mu (Ro-Fish Inn) WHOG 317
3: Princess Sarnai (camped in Plum Blossom Orchard) WHOG 333
4: Firelance Brothers (Ro-Fish Inn) WHOG 311
5: Iron Clawed Lion (Headman Shan Residence) WHOG 319

My campaign folder map of Daoxu
(apologies for the shadow)
Wei Chengsi is the servant of Scholar Han, a man who recently passed the imperial exams. Ugly and discontent, Chengsi wants what his master has and learned two deadly rituals from a priest of Plum Tree Temple. He was also given a lacquered box filled with Yaksha Demons. The first ritual allows him to harvest Qi energy into a jade receptacle. The second enables him to use that Qi to exchange skin with another person. He intends to harvest enough Qi to perform the Skin Transference Ritual on Scholar Han. Then he will kill Scholar Han to make the exchange permanent, taking his place.

In order to drain the Qi, he needs martial heroes. Recenlty Master Chen invited martial heroes from across the land to participate in a tournament to win the Wind Sabre of Sunan (it is a fake). He has promised the sword to anyone who can beat his best disciple, Left-handed Dragon. Chengsi plans to use this opportunity to find victims for his Qi Harvesting Rituals. He sends out his Yaksha’s at night to take the Qi energy (they pierce veins in the foot and drain blood, then bring it to the Jade receptacle). This kills each hero and results in a series of murders for the PCs to investigate.

The players either pass through Daoxu or hear about the wind saber and investigate. When they arrive, there are many other martial heroes who have come for the prize. However, once they are in the village, murders begin.  Each night one or two are killed. The players may do nothing, they could investigate and learn that Wei Chengsi is behind the killings, or they could end up fighting for the Wind Sabre while fending off Yaksha attacks in the evening. This is meant to be played loose, with events unfolding but the players doing what they want. 

District Magistrate: Jixuan Sunan (Mai Cun)
Inspector: Iron Wan (Mai Cun)

Daoxu Village is set within An District, which is Governed by District Magistrate Jixuan Sunan. He is helped by Inspector Wan, who has two junior Inspectors under his authority (Ling and Unzi). Ling and Unzi do regular patrols of the settlements.

Leader: Headman Ruang Shan
Resources: Wheat, Sesame, Tea

This old village produces wheat, sesame and tea. There are five major clans here: Ban, Pei, Ruang, Chen and Han. The Han’s are the most recent arrivals but highly respected because, Han Zhen’e, a scholar-official, innovated the water system 60 years ago when he first arrived. An engineer, he re-organized sections of the community and built a system of water trenches from Ro-Fish Lake (an artificial body of water) that brings fresh water to every home and helps irrigate the fields. A master geomancer as well, he improved the flow of Qi energy to the village, bringing it good fortune (high yields, increase in traffic which benefited the local inns and restaurants). 

Dao River Academy: This is a small state run school managed by Headmaster Zhu. Many of the children and young men of the village study here.

Han Residence: This is the luxurious courtyard house of the Han family. Presently Han Li (the most senior member), Han Jiayin or Scholar Han (his son), Han Shanhu (Li’s wife and Jiayin’s mother), and Han Feiyan (Han Li’s mother) live on the grounds with their many servants (15 in all). Wei Chengsi lives here as well as Scholar Han’s personal servant (he is behind the killings and has a magic box that contains Yaksha Demons). His masters have no knowledge of his crimes. 

Master Chen’s Spinning Dragon School: This is a Kung Fu school and private residence. Master Chen Buwei has 13 students, called Spinning Dragons, who specialize in a kind of dancing blade style that utilizes rope darts and ox tail dao. Its principles are primarily Dehuan. His daughter, Xiannang, is also a student of the school. Spinning Dragons are a frequent source of frustration in the village as Master Chen likes to let his students test their skills in town against other martial heroes. Recently he put out a reward for anyone who can beat his number one student: Sun Yin (also known as Left-handed Dragon). The reward is a sword Master Chen claims to be the Wind Saber of Sunan, but anyone with passing knowledge on the subject can clearly see it is a forgery (any relevant knowledge Skill TN 7).

Pei Bao Tofu: This is a tofu shop run by the Pei merchant family. Bao is the family matriarch, a woman in her mid-60s who knows how to make excellent tofu (she claims her’s is ideal for frying). While she sells tofu at the shop (10 Spades a pound), most of their revenue comes from selling to larger cities like Tung-on. Her son, Chisi handles this side of the business. There is a golden mercy of Hen-shi placed at the entrance to the shop.

Recently, about four months ago, Chisi met a woman named E’hua while in Kongju. He discovered she was a spirit after she made several attempts to seduce him and drain his life energy. However he took pity on her and asked why she would do harm to anyone. She explained that her bones were scattered in the nearby swamps and this caused her great suffering because a Yaksha demon had control of her. He offered to find her bones and bury them in her homeland. As fate would have it, she was from Daoxu, so he brought the bones and buried them in a spot of her choosing. Since then, E’hua has refrained from killing or stealing life essence and devoted herself to Hen-Shi. They have since married and she works with his mother at the Tofu shop. However she still has demonic essence so any devices or rituals that detect demons would be triggered by her presence. She can also be useful to the party as she knows about Yaksha Demons and can easily identify their work in the killings. She can tell the PCs anything they need to know about the creatures. The Yaksha who controlled here is described HERE

Pig Iron An: A local smith who earned his nickname because people suspect he uses inferior iron out of cheapness. His sons, nephews and in-laws assist with the metal workshop. Actually Pig Iron An is quite skilled despite his cheapness. He cuts corners where he can on raw materials, but otherwise his wares are fine.

Qui’s Noodle Shop: Operated by Ban Qui and her husband, Fu, the Qui Noodle Shop offers an array of noodle dishes with rich broths and sauces. The flavor ingredients are secret but most agree the results are astounding (people come from all over the prefecture to enjoy Qui Noodles). Usually noodles are served with pork or fish.

Menu: Pork Noodle Bowl (22 Spades), Fish Noodle Bowl (20 Spades), Ban Duck (130 spades), Yellow Wine (13 Spades), Plum Blossom Wine (40 spades).

Ro-Fish Inn: This Inn is in the style of a courtyard house with a picture of a Ro-Fish on the door. It is operated by Ban Miaohui, a cousin of the Ban family who run the Noodle Shop. She is the best source of information in the village, knowing about most disputes, secrets, etc. Miaohui is kind to everyone and willing to talk to everyone. She is assisted by her niece Min.  

A room at the Ro-Fish Inn costs 40 Spades but is free for any members of the Ban clan. She also serves Dongpo Tofu (15 Spades) which is quite good. She refuses to serve wine or tea to guests (believing this makes them rowdy). She makes a point of serving no noodle dishes in order not to compete with the Qui Noodle Shop.

These happen each night. The first evening the Fight and the murder both occur as the players come into town. Each time the players may hear the howls of their victims. Following the sounds requires a Detect TN 8 Roll. The Yaksha’s are very quick, and it takes them approximately 5 minutes to finish their task each time. They might also follow the creatures back to the Han Residence.

Anyone with demon detection devices will find them behaving very wildly here. If they can they will always point toward Pei Bao’s tofu or residence. But they will spin periodically and point toward the Yakshas when they leave their lacquered boxes and commit murder. The Yaksha's are only detectable though when outside their box. 

This is an incident that occurs in the evening and the players may hear about it before hand or hear it while it is happening. It is up to them if they want to engage it. 

Scholar Han and Left-Handed Dragon have an ongoing dispute over an incident at the market two days ago. Scholar Han was flirting and teasing the daughter of Master Chen, Xiannang. Left-Handed Dragon was offended by the behavior and called Scholar Han a love-mad dog and questioned the accomplishments of his grandfather (Han Zhen’e). They started to fight but it was broken up by Master Chen and Headman Shan. Scholar Han and Left-handed Dragon agreed to meet late in the evening at Plum Tree Orchard.

When they fight in the orchard they are quite loud (giving anyone on the eastern side of the village a chance to hear it on a Detect TN 8 Roll). Villagers know about the dispute so leave them to their fight. Eventually the battle moves to Ro-Fish Lake and Left-handed Dragon defeats Scholar Han by kicking him into a wall (unless someone interferes and changes the outcome). When they reach Ro-Fish Lake, anyone in the village can hear the fight on a successful Detect TN 6 Roll. Victorious, Left-handed Dragon laughs and walks back to the Master Chen’s school. Scholar Han summons Chengsi and walks to Qui’s noodle shop where he berates them to open the door and sell him some wine (this is well past closing time). Again anyone in the area can hear the disruption at Qui’s noodle shop on a successful Detect roll TN 6.

The players may or may not hear and investigate this situation. If they do, it will serve as a good introduction to Scholar Han, and it might also result in them growing suspicious of him later. Despite being ragged from fighting, and nursing a hurt leg, should any strangers approach him, he does his best to appear dashing and speaks as charmingly as possible.

Note that the above fight is a pre-rolled outcome, you can always play it live and roll their attacks against each other to see who wins (it isn't essential for Left-Handed Dragon to be victorious). 

These are the murders that happen each night. Obviously all of these can play out very differently if players take specific actions (like staying at the Ro-Fish Inn and observing everyone all the time). In some instances, they may be present for the attacks themselves. Note that each time the Yaksha's kill they hold the blood in their mouths and run to Chengsi at the Han Residence (or Ruang Tea Fields in the final case) to spit it in the jade receptacle. 

Location: Ro-Fish Inn Room

A scream is heard late at night at the Ro-Fish Inn in when Min (niece of the inn’s proprietor) discovers Reckless Storm dead in his bed (he had asked them to bring him food during the night). 

He is drained of blood and there is a small puncture wound on his foot. This is what can be seen by inspecting the chamber:
  •       Medicine Roll (TN 6): He died unaware (probably while sleeping) of blood loss from the puncture wound on the top of his foot.
  •       There is a small hole in the paper window, looked to have been made by a creature the size of a small dog. 
  •       There is shaggy red hair in the screen as well.
  •       With Shaggy Red Hair, anyone with two ranks in Creatures (Demon) knows this to be that of a Yaksha (otherwise TN 8).
  •       Detect (TN 7): There is a blood trail leading from the Inn but it stops at Ro River.

If the players ask people at the inn for information the following can be learned:
  •       Reckless Storm was bragging to all the other martial heroes that he would win the Wind Saber of Sunan. He kept walking table to table, laughing and saying “Do you truly believe you have any hope against me?”
  •       He even went around town seeking the other martial heroes to tell them how he would win .
  •       Headmaster Mu and the Firelance Brothers are staying at the inn as well. The Firelance Bothers express relief that the 'loudmouth Reckless Storm" is dead. Headmaster Mu seems more concerned. He leaves the next day to stay at Pig Iron An's instead. 
  •       Min heard singing coming from Reckless Storm’s room earlier, so waited before bringing the food. It sounded gentle like the voice of a eunuch or woman.

What happened is a Yaksha snuck into his room, pierced his foot and killed him (using its singing to lull him). Then it fled out the window and ran for scholar Han's Residence. 

Location: Ro-Fish Inn Room

The next night, the firelance brothers are found in similar circumstances to Reckless Storm. They are drained of blood with holes in their feet. However the Yaksha in question burrows through the walls and floor boards to gain entrance and escape.  The Supreme Judge Yu Cart activates during this time, then fades when it returns to box.
The path of the fleeing Yaksha

The following evidence can be gathered at the scene:
  •       Medicine Roll (TN 6): They died unaware (probably while sleeping) of blood loss from the puncture wound on the top of their feet.
  •       Detect (TN 6): A blood trail leads to the floorboards. If they inspect this hole, a line of blood goes from it to Headmaster Mu’s room (this is a deliberate attempt by the Yaksha to frame Headmaster Mu—since it knows his voice would match theirs quite closely and has a poor reputation).
  •       If they inspect Headmaster Mu’s room, on a Detect TN 8 they find a further trail from the hole out the open window and into the street. This leads across the Zhen’e bridge to the Han Residence.

Iron Clawed Lion King is found dead at Headman Shan’s house. He was killed in a manner different to the previous victims. He is dead on the ground, but covered in blood, boils and burns. This time before Iron Clawed Lion King died, he woke up then cornered the creature and nearly killed it. It used its spiteful burst to kill him. 

Investigating can reveal the following: 

  • The room is covered in blood. 
  • Medicine (TN 6): Iron Clawed Lion King died from burns, but he also has a piercing wound on his foot similar to the other victims. 
  • Anyone with Creatures (Demons) Rank 3 knows this was a Yaksha trying to defend itself by exploding. Otherwise this knowledge requires a TN 10 roll. 

Head Master Mu does not trust the safety of the inn and sneaks out, quietly staying at Pig Iron An’s (who is an old friend). However Pig Iron An finds him dead in the morning. His body is completely shredded and was found by the outside the house in tatters. 

Investigating the are can yield the following information:

  •  Medicine (TN 5): Flesh was shredded from bone by claw and or teeth.
  •   Creature: Demon (rank 3 or more) it was clearly a Yaksha.
  •   Pig Master An’s son, Yun, heard singing then Headmaster Mu saying “get away from me”. He then heard sounds of someone or something in the courtyard but didn’t think anything of it.
  •   There is a trail of blood (Detect TN 6) leading to Pei Bao's Tofu. If they follow it, they find that the creature broke in and ate some wet tofu. However a fainter trail (TN 9) begins here and leads the Han Residence. 
  •   According to Pig Iron An, Headmaster Mu had just come from the Han Residence, having gone there earlier to look into a matter.
  •   If anyone investigates the Han Residence, they learn that Headmaster Mu did come, and that he accused Scholar Han of harvesting Qi through magic.

Princes Sarnai has her face eaten off and runs into town from the Plum Tree Orchard (where she and her men were camped), a trail of blood coming from her foot. 

There is a scream and a gathering of people (the PCs might even witness her death). She comes running toward Ro-Fish lake and collapses. Her face is eaten off and a trial of blood leads from her wound. She can be healed with the right Kung Fu technique. She can also be saved if someone makes a Medicine Roll to stop her bleeding before she dies. 

The following clues can be found:
  •       Detect TN 5 (Trail leads to the Plum Tree Orchard). From there, Detect TN 6, the trail leads to the ritual site where Chengsi is preparing for his ritual. 

THE HAN RESIDENCE AND THE MURDERSThis is the residence of the Han family. See Scholar Han's entry below for more information. The jade receptacle is in Scholar Han’s room (placed there by Chengsi). It is a blue cup and there are traces of blood on the rim. Anyone able to detect magic or Qi energy can see this object radiates it. 

In Chengsi’s room is a lacquered box containing the Yaksha demons. 

If all goes according to plan, Chengsi kills Sarnai in concert with his performance of the ritual in the Tea Fields. If the players arrive within ten minutes, then they find Chengsi performing the ritual, surrounded by Yaksha and Scholar Han bound in rope. They may even witness the transference.

If they arrive after ten minutes, they see Chengsi bound and gagged and Scholar Han holding a lacquered box. He explains that he gagged him to prevent him from performing his ritual. This is actually Chengsi after the transference has taken place. He will try to convince the party of Chengsi’s guilt and show the lacquered box as proof. He claims Chengsi was trying to destroy the village with a dark ritual, and he can point to the jade receptacle as well.

Things players can learn:
  •       The receptacle shows no sign of having any Qi energy, so the the ritual has been cast (they will need the means to detect this).
  •       Detect TN 10: something is not right with Chengsi and Scholar Han’s skin. Seems a little loose.
  •       Chengsi claims that Scholar Han stole his skin if he gets a chance to speak.

Chengsi (in the skin of Scholar Han) will try to kill Scholar Han within the next five hours to make the change permanent.


Scholar Han is a wealthy son of a line of Scholar-Officials who recently passed his Imperial Exams. He will soon be appointed to his first post, but in the months before then he intends to enjoy himself and find a good bride. A lover of music, drinking and beautiful women, Scholar Han is a notorious flirt and lover. He is a bit bold by the local standards but affectionate, witty and kind in his approach to courtship. His love however is ephemeral.

Unusually handsome, Scholar Han is vain and takes great care to keep his appearance. He frequently brushes aside stray hairs from his temple as an affectation, in a gesture and expression that appears arrogant to many.

Despite many of his shortcomings, and his tendency to look down on others, Scholar Han does care for other people and wouldn’t deliberately harm anyone. This is not at all apparent however on first impression.

He lives with his father and family at the Han Residence.

Defenses: Hardiness 4, Evade 6, Parry 7, Stealth 7, Wits 8, Resolve 8

Key Skills: Arm Strike: 2d10, Leg Strike: 2d10, Grapple: 2d10, Throw: 1d10, Light Melee: 3d10, Medium Melee: 2d10, Heavy Melee: 0d10, Athletics: 2d10, Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 1d10, Endurance: 2d10, Classics (All): 3d10, Institutions (Imperial Bureaucracy): 2d10, Rituals (Ancestor Veneration): 2d10, Talent (Poetry): 3d10, Talent (Guqin): 2d10, Talent (Caligraphy): 3d10, Talent (Painting): 3d10, Survival (Wilderness): 2d10, Persuade: 3d10, Empathy: 2d10, Deception: 2d10, Detect: 2d10

Qi: 4
Max Wounds: 9
Weapon: Fan or Jian
Flaw: Hedonism

Techniques (Waijia 2, Neigong 1, Qingong 1): Gust of the Fan Blade, Flight of the Hawk, Breath of Fury, Hands of the Hawk Beak, Drift of the Butterfly Fish, Blasting Blade, Ringing Strike of the Hand, Horizontal Sidestep

Left-handed Dragon is Master Chen’s top disciple at the Spinning Dragon School. He is devoted to his Master and highly protective of Xiannang, Master Chen’s daughter. He is stubborn and strictly abides by the Dehuan regulations of the school.

Defenses: Hardiness 5, Evade 7, Parry 7, Stealth 6, Wits 6, Resolve 7
Key Skills: Grapple: 1d10, Throw: 0d10, Arm Strike: 2d10, Leg Strike: 3d10, Light Melee: 2d10, Medium Melee: 3d10 (2d10 with Ox Tail Dao), Heavy Melee: 2d10, Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10, Detect: 1d10

Qi: 5
Max Wounds: 11
Weapon: Ox Tail Dao (5d10 Damage)

Techniques (Waijia 2, Qingong 2): Blasting Blade, Whirling Blade, Spinning Back Kick, Slicing Blade of the Swan Taming Strike, Sword Whipping Strike, Whirling Dodge (counter), Graceful Retreat (counter)

Wei Chengsi is a bitter and lonely man. Ugly and a mere servant in the Han household he is jealous of his master (Scholar Han). He wants to be adored like him and wants to be good looking like him. He also wants money, titles, etc. He started making visits to Plum Tree temple not long ago and a priest there instructed him in the Harvest Qi by Blood Ritual and Skin Transference Ritual. With these he intends to swap places with his master, kill him, then take his position. He doesn’t realize how poorly prepared he is for such responsibility. In order to achieve this goal he will need to Harvest 12 levels of Qi from local martial heroes. As Master Chen has recently called for a tournament, the time is ideal to strike.

Hardiness 3, Evade 3, Parry 3, Stealth 9, Wits 7, Resolve 6

Key Skills
Grapple: 0d10, Throw: 0d10, Arm Strike: 0d10, Leg Strike: 0d10, Light Melee: 0d10, Medium Melee: 0d10, Heavy Melee: 1d10, Small Ranged: 1d10, Speed: 0d10, Muscle: 2d10, Ritual (Harvest Qi by Blood): 3d10, Qi Ritual (Skin Transference): 2d10, Trade (Wood): 2d10, Trade (Metal): 2d10, Survival (Wilderness): 3d10, Talent (Brewing): 2d10, Talent (Cooking): 2d10

Max Wounds: 1
Equipment: Stick (0d10 Damage)

Skin Transference of Plum Tree Temple (TN 8)
This terrifying ritual is painful for both the caster and target. You utter a series of words long forgotten and a great wind arises. Immediately your skin peels off and the skin of one other person also peels off (provided they are within seeing distance). The flesh hovers in the air and swaps bodies, making you look exactly like the person and vice versa. This effect lasts for five hours, then painfully reverses when it is done. Each time skin swaps causes 1 wound. However if one of the individuals involved in the ritual dies, the exchange is permanent. Using this ability drains 12 Qi Ranks.


These are small demons Red, blood-colored hair and black skin. They feed on human blood and flesh.

Hardiness 8, Evade 5, Parry 4, Stealth 9, Wits 7, Resolve 6

Key Skills
Bite: 2d10 (5d10 Open), Claw: 2d10 (3d10 and special), Speed: 8d10 (110 feet), Detect: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10, Deception: 2d10, Language (Any): 3d10, Talent (Singing): 3d10

Max Wounds: 6


Devour: The teeth and mouths of Yaksha Demons are exceptionally large and lethal. They deliver 5d10 Open Damage on a successful bite.

Blood Nail: The finger nails of Yaksha are narrow and sharp, ideal for puncturing veins. When they hit with their claws, on a Total Success, they cause the target to bleed profusely (1 Extra Wound a round until the bleeding is stopped). They can also use this to help feed on sleeping victims at night.

Singing Whisper: The Yaksha can sing a gentle melody that lulls people to sleep. Roll their Talent (Singing) against Resolve. On a success the person falls asleep for an hour. On a Total Success they fall asleep for 8 hours.

Immunities: Yaksha are only harmed by energy attacks and cold. Peach Tree wood is particularly harmful to them (any weapon made of Peach Tree Wood will hurt them normally).

Spiteful Burst: Yaksha do not like being captured and would rather die than be forced to cultivate or reform. They can explode themselves in a blast of burning blood. Roll 4d10 against the Evade of everyone in the area. Those affected take 5d10 Fire Damage (no need for Total Success to function).


This box made from Plum Tree Wood originates from Plum Tree Temple. Inside are 15 Yaksha Demons who do the bidding of the owner. When the lid is opened, the owner states a number and this brings forth the amount of Yaksha’s he wishes to perform a task. They can remain out of the box for about an hour (each hour after that they take 1 wound). While in the box they are undetectable. One Yaksha escaped some time ago and now controls spirits and ghosts in the region (you can learn about him HERE). 

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