Thursday, August 31, 2017


I have been making NPCs, monsters and scenarios inspired by Pu Songling's Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. For each entry I take two or more stories from the Penguin Edition translated by John Minford and make gameable material. You can see my previous entry HERE

This entry I do The Devoted Mouse (#42), An Earthquake (#43) and Snake Island (#44). These are all fairly small entries and after doing both The Laughing Girl and The Magic Sword and the Magic Bag, I wanted to take a more whimsical approach. I also decided to tie these stories together as well. 

The Devoted Mouse is a fun story about a mouse who tries to save another mice from being eaten by a snake. He manages to force the snake to spit out the body of his dead companion and begins to weep and squeak morosely in grief. I thought it would be interesting to make a spirited mouse with a personality based off this character. 

An Earthquake is literally about a massive earthquake and the chaos that ensues. It also focuses a bit on how people sometimes lose themselves in moments like that, forgetting propriety. I decided to make a character with earthquake like Kung Fu based on this. 

Snake Island is an easily gameable tale about an adventure seeker named Zhang of Dengzhou who goes to Guji Island, an uninhabited place in the eastern sea. There he meets a woman who claims to be a Sing-Song girl from Jiaozhou there with a man named the Sea Prince. They begin to make love, but she stops and tells him the prince is nearby. In moments a giant snake wraps around his body and bites him in the face, causing blood to pour from his nose. As the snake laps the blood off the ground, Zhang mixes some fox poison and blood in the palm of his hand. He entices the snake to lick his palm, and it dies. 

Yang Sunan, the mouse, and Zhang Qixia, the Swordswoman, are a martial duo who travel the land in search of the snakes who killed their families. They are bound together by a shared enemy but one is a mouse and the other a human. Despite their differences, they are close friends. They also share an interest in Sunan and Bao (and jokingly refer to themselves as the heroic couple). 

Yang Sunan is a delightful little mouse spirit who can speak and occasionally walks upright. He is very small, the size of a normal mouse, but bravely wields a Jian made from a Hairpin. He was born in a wall at the house of Yang Tianyi, a kindly old scholar who never harmed the family of mice residing there. Sunan was named after the great martial hero because his mother adored listening to Mr. Tianyi recite passages from historical accounts of the man. Sadly, Yang Sunan's entire clan was slaughtered by a snake named The Sea Prince. Yang Sunan vowed revenge and has been traveling the Banyan in search of the snake and its mistress. 

Yang Sunan has mastered some minor martial arts and travels with a roaming swordswoman named Zhang Qixia (whose family was also killed by Sea Prince and his lover). 

Yang Sunan does not cultivate by draining Qi, he cultivates by doing righteous deeds and emulating Sunan. The closer he lives up to his name, the more human he could become in time. 

Defenses: Hardiness 3, Stealth 10, Evade 6, Parry 4, Wits 2, Resolve 6
Key Skills: Bite: 1d10 (1d10 Damage), Claw: 0d10 (Damage 0d10), Medium Melee: 0d10 or Hairpin Jian 2d10, Speed: 1d10 (30 feet), Athletics: 2d10, Muscle: 0d10, Detect: 2d10, Language (Hai'anese): 3d10, Language (Daoyun): 3d10, History (Era of the Demon Emperor): 3d10

Qi: 1
Max Wounds: 3*
Equipment: Hairpin Jian (1d10 Damage, +2d10 Accuracy)

Bite and Qi Drain: Sunna's bite does 1d10 damage. He dislikes using this ability though. 

Key Kung Fu Techniques (Waijia 2, Qinggong 2): Fierce Strike, Whirling Dodge (Counter)

Zhang Qixia is from Hai'an and the daughter of a local farmer. She grew up as just another helping hand on the homestead, working the fields and occasionally repairing and helping to build the walls. Her father gave her tremendous freedom and used what little money he had to pay traveling scholars to give her a basic education. One day a passing couple asked to take shelter in their homes from a coming storm. Her father was impressed with the man's knowledge and generously let them stay and gave them food. But the couple turned out to be a pair of snakes and ate Qixia's entire family. She followed the creatures responsible, Sea Prince and Lady Gu, eventually meeting a spirited mouse named Sunan. She took this as a fated encounter as his family was also killed by the creatures. Since then they have traveled together to get their revenge. 
Defenses: Hardiness 5, Evade 3, Parry 6, Stealth 6, Wits 6, Resolve 8
Key Skills: Grapple: 1d10, Throw: 2d10, Arm Strike: 2d10, Leg Strike: 3d10, Light Melee: 2d10, Medium Melee: 3d10 or 2d10 with Ox Tail Dao, Heavy Melee: 2d10, Small Ranged: 1d10, Speed: 2d10, Muscle: 3d10, Endurance: 2d10, Detect: 1d10, Survival (Wilderness): 3d10, Trade (Stone): 2d10, Trade (Wood): 1d10, Classics (Sayings of Kong Zhi): 1d10, Classics (Book of Fortunes): 1d10, Classics (The Glorious Histories): 1d10, History (Era of the Demon Emperor): 2d10, History (Era of the Righteous Emperor): 2d10, Places (Hai'an): 3d10, Language (Hai'anese): 3d10, Language (Daoyun): 2d10, Read Script (Feishu): 2d10, Creatures: Animals

Qi: 3
Max Wounds: 7
Weapons: Ox Tail Dao (3d10 Damage, -1d10 Accuracy)
Expertise: Survival-Harvest

Key Kung Fu Techniques (Waijia 2, Neigong 2): Blasting Blade, Curing Palm, Eagle Descends Loudly, Slashing Blade, Earth Smashing Foot, Blade Pinch (Counter), Iron Body (Counter)
Earth Smashing Foot: You hit the ground with your heel causing it to quake. Make a Muscle Roll against TN 7. On a Success the entire ground around you trembles in a 50 yard radius, doing 3d10 Damage to physical structures in the area. Cathartic: This affects a 150 yard Radius and does 6d10 Damage to physical structures in the area. In additional anyone caught inside the effect takes 3d10 Damage from the falling debris and must make an Athletics roll TN 6 or suffer 2d10 Falling Damage as well. 

Sea Prince and Lady Gu are a pair of spirited snakes who roam the land claiming to be a royal heir and courtesan. They sometimes claim to be gods as well, but they are really just clever snakes who drink blood to cultivate their powers. In the old days they limited themselves to feasting on rats and mice, but as their powers have grown, their snake forms have also increased in size and they now must devour human blood to sustain themselves. They reside on a jasmine filled island in the Eastern Sea. 

Sea Prince is a cunning serpent. He travels with his lover, Lady Gu, in search of human blood to grow their powers. In his human form he appears and acts like a royal prince. He used to claim to be an imperial heir, now he claims to be the son of Mei Lien the Eastern Sea Goddess. In his serpent form is a 30 foot long constrictor snake. 
Defenses: Hardiness 7, Evade 4, Parry 7, Stealth 6 (8 trees or water), Wits 8, Resolve 7 
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (Damage 4d10 and poison), Grappling: 4d10, Speed: 3d10 (60 feet), Muscle: 5d10, Detect: 2d10, Deception: 3d10, Classics (Saying of Kong Zhi): 3d10, Classics (Book of Rites): 3d10, Classics (Era of the Glorious Emperor): 3d10, Talent (Calligraphy): 3d10, Language (Daoyun): 3d10, Language (Hai'anese): 2d10, Read Script (Feishu): 3d10, Survival (Wilderness): 3d10

Max Wounds: 14

Blood Drink: Sea Prince survives on Human Blood. Drinking enough to kill one person increases his Max Wounds by 1. Also when he has drunk the blood of 20 humans, he gains more powers. 
Beast Strength (x10)
Shape Change: Sea Prince can take snake or human form. 
Bite: The bite of a Sea Prince does 4d10 Damage plus 2 Extra Wounds. On a Total Success the target bleeds heavily, losing 1 point of Hardiness (returns in 1 day). Also when he bites he can start to constrict. 
Constrict: When Sea Prince bites someone he can begin to constrict, which causes suffocation to occur the following round. Targets can escape by making an Opposed Muscle Roll.

Lady Gu claims to be a courtesan but really is just a serpent and the lover of Sea Prince. In human form she looks the part she plays but can take virtually any appearance she wishes. Her role is usually to lull their victims into a sense of false security so Sea Prince can strike by surprise. In her serpent form, Lady Gu is a 15 foot long viper. 
Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 5, Parry 6, Stealth 6 (10 trees or water), Wits 7, Resolve 9
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (Damage 4d10 and poison), Grappling: 4d10, Speed: 4d10 (70 feet), Muscle: 4d10, Detect: 2d10, Persuade: 3d10, Deception: 2d10, Empathy: 2d10, Talent (Singing): 3d10, Talent (Poetry): 2d10, Talent (Dancing): 3d10, Survival (Wilderness): 3d10

Max Wounds: 7

Blood Drink: Lady Gu survives on Human Blood. Drinking enough to kill one person increases her Max Wounds by 1. Also when she has drunk the blood of 20 humans, she gains more powers. 
Beast Strength (x5)
Shape Change: Lady Gu can take snake or human form. 
Bite: Lady Gu's Bite does 4d10 Damage plus exposes targets to her poison. 
Poison: The poison of Lady Gu is particularly strong and causes horrible hallucinations. It is deadly but takes time. However it is quite difficult to cure and creating an antidote requires using her blood as an ingredient. When anyone is bit by Lady Gu roll 4d10 against the Hardiness of anyone exposed. Anyone affected begins experiencing hallucinations and -1d10 Skill Penalties to Combat Skills, Physical Skills and Mental Skills in 1d10 minutes. Death occurs in 1d10 weeks. The TN to treat her venom is TN 10. 

*Due to his small size, Yang Sunan only gains 1 Max Wound for each Qi rank he masters. His base 2 Max Wounds is simply for being spirited. From this point on, each Rank of Qi he acquires should increase his Max Wounds by 1. 

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