This was the tenth session of my Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate wuxia sandbox campaign, the Celestial Plume Masters using the Sons of Lady 87 book, which was just released in print. You can see the first session HERE. You can see the Ninth session HERE.
Wei Ziying: A skilled poisoner and physician, with ties to the Relentless Corpse Sect, Wei Ziying is a disciple of the Celestial Plume Masters. He also has a longstanding friendship with Kuo Qingzhao, who wishes to know more about the poisons that killed his wife (poisons Wei Ziying knows the secrets of). Grudge: Ravenous Nun Xuanji (for the murder of Red Eagle)
Wang Haoyang: A master of stealth, Wang Haoyang is one of the Celestial Plume Master disciples. He has a lifelong friendship with Pei Ye of the Vermillion Bird Teahouse, but has attracted the affection of another member of that organization, Fan Zhen'er (he does not return the affection but wishes to avoid creating friction within the Vermillion Bird Teahouse, and possibly creating enemies). Grudge: Guan Nuan (for a duel he escaped, she feels she lost face because he was weaker than her and should have been an easy victory)
Hei Ling: A one-eyed chief in the Celestial Plume Masters, Hei Ling is the father of Li Liang, whom he wishes to cease practicing her Toad Style kung fu because of the physical toll on her body. He had Li Liang with Qixia the candied fruit in his youth and since then Qixia has grown hostile. He has a working relationship with the Wu Sisters. Grudge: Qixia the Candied Fruit Vendor (of Hai'an). Grudge: Qixia (many reasons related to their pre-existing relationship)
Iron Tiger: The newest member of the party, sent by Night Thorn to help them expand. He has a longstanding friendship with Iron Beggar Sun Kang, whom he wants to leave his lap of luxury in the House of Flying Lanterns so he can train with the Nature Loving Monks and improve his Kung Fu. Iron Beggar in turn wants Iron Tiger to leave the Celestial Plume Masters. Grudge: Pei Ye (he murdered her favorite client, Golden Cobra).
A DEAD MAN MAKES WEI ZIYING A RICH MAN
Upon arrival in Tung-On they found Iron God Meng still training with venomous snakes and someone named Duo Na waiting for Wei Ziying in a partitioned area of the gambling hall.
Duo Na was dressed in expensive robes and said he worked for Wei Ziying's friend Kuo Qingzhao of the Red Owl Society. He brought news that Kuo Qingzhao died in his sleep* and had bequeathed his wealth and his title of Chief of the Red Owl Society to Wei Ziying.
Wei Ziying explained the situation and headed to the Red Owl headquarters to see the body and people in mourning (and to inspect his new residence). There he saw only hired mourners, and was himself the closest thing to a friend or loved one. While he observed the mourners, a strange woman surprised him and introduced herself as Fan Heng. She had a black sword and was dressed in Hai'anese fashion. As he led her to an audience chamber to speak privately he noticed an unnerving black mist emanating from beneath her robes.
|Fan Heng by Jackie Musto|
She asked "You are the new chief of the Red Owl Society?"
"I am," Wei Ziying replied.
Fan Heng asked "And you have inherited all the powers, responsibilities and obligations of the Red Owl Society, and all the promises it has made?"
"I have," he replied.
"I represent an organization that he promised something very precious to: The Sword of Time. We gave him so much for this promise and have grown tired of waiting for him to make good. Now that he is dead, it is your responsibility."
"I will look into this matter and see what I can do for you," He said.
"Kuo Qingzhao made a deal with us, and the price for breaking that deal is not small. You will obtain the Sword of Time."
"What is your organization?"
"I speak for Feng Yin of the House of Paper Shadows."***
Not knowing who the House of Paper Shadows were he thanked her and promised to do his best, then went to find out more about the situation.
HEI LING TENDS TO BUSINESS
Hei Ling tended to his treasury to inspect the money from Rong E'hua, then he sent a message to Jinsa asking Iron Tiger to procure the body of Qixia (Hei Ling's daughter Li Liang wanted to use the bones to make a handle for her weapon).
He then decided to place Fan Zhen'er in charge of managing the Red Owl Society information network in their absence.
WEI ZIYING FINDS THE SWORD OF TIME
Going to Iron God Meng's he conveyed what he learned to Hei Ling, who then spoke with Iron God Meng and learned that the House of Paper Shadows was powerful, used dark magic, and not a force Wei Ziying could contend with. But he also was told that Yao Chaoyun of the Yao Family Pawn Broker Shop might have information on the sword.
They went to the shop and found Yao Changyun, his wife, some hired muscle and a crying baby. They spoke with him about the sword of time and explained that Wei Ziying was the new chief of Red Owl Society.
"Well I happen to have the Sword of Time, I had procured it for Mr. Kuo and was looking for another buyer when I heard he died but it seems I can sell it to you."
They asked how much and he told them 20,000 spades. They decided to make the purchase, as it would still be valuable as an antique even if it was fake.
Wei Ziying brought it to Fan Heng, who inspected it and said it was a forgery.
"How can I tell if it is a forgery or not?" He asked
"It is like looking at a sword through an opaque stone. You have two months to bring me the real Sword of Time."
WORDS OF THE VERMILLION BIRD
Hei Ling went to the Vermillion Bird Teahouse to pay Hua Yin her four hundred thousand spades and to see if she knew anything about the Sword of Time. Hua Yin accepted the payment graciously and agreed to the new terms (he would owe no more money or service, except the promise of finding her son). He asked about the Sword of Time and she told him she knew a thing or two about it.
He asked if she knew where it was.
"This information is valuable, more costly than your payment for Fan Zhen'er. At least twice as valuable as Fan Zhen'er," she said.
Hei Ling agreed to pay her 800,000 spades for the information and she informed him that the Sword of Time was in the possession of Master Zhan at the Temple of Supreme Righteousness. She also warned him that Master Zhan was extremely powerful, beyond anything either of them had contended with, nearly an immortal.
Hei Ling thanked her but left with grave concerns. On his way out Hua Yin said "As this is the sword of time, it is possible that the sword exists in two places, perhaps more, at once."
They decided to travel to Celestial Plume headquarters in River Village to pay tribute. On the way they discussed their options. They agreed things were grim that contending with either the House of Paper Shadows or Master Zhan seemed quite beyond their abilities. They hatched a plan to have Wei Ziying feign betrayal of the Celestial Plume Masters, so that he could worm his way into the 87 Killers. The goal would be to rise as quickly as possible and hope that when the House of Paper Shadows came for him, he could bend their wrath towards the entire 87 Killer sect.
When they reached River Village they were greeted by Night Thorn but did not see their other master. He accepted their tribute and then listened to their plan. At first he was cautious saying that he worried the House of Paper Shadows might simply kill Wei Ziying in his sleep and do nothing to Lady 87 or her men. But they explained that just as Wei Ziying had inherited the promises made by Kuo Qingzhao, if he were to die Lady 87 would also inherit this responsibility**. Night Thorn decided that it was worth the risk once they explained, as it only seemed to sacrifice one person for the possibility of taking out the 87 killers entirely. He agreed to their plan.
They also suggested they could ambush the 87 Killers by having Wei Ziying feed information about the school in Jinsa, but have Iron Tiger and Emerald Cobra ambush them when they attack. He supported this idea as well.
He then told Hei Ling to recruit more men and to form more alliances so they could bring a greater force against the 87 Killers.
*Last session Wei Ziying performed the Wealth Attainment ritual and this is the fruit of that magic
**This was just speculation on their part.
***The proper name of the organization is the Society of Leather Shadows but she employed the colloquial term to get maximal intimidating effect: which didn't work initially because he did not know who they were. She also invoked Feng Yin, rather than the House of Paper Shadows nominal director, which I opted for because she was trying to be as intimidating as possible and Kuo Qingzhao was a member of the organization who would have known about Feng Yin.