This was the eleventh 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 Tenth 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).
THE TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN DRAGONS
In Jinsa, Iron Tiger received a message and followed the order. He had Qixia's corpse exhumed and preserved so Li Liang could craft a mace handle from her bones.
Then Iron Tiger went to the Banyan to meet with the Golden Dragons. He offered to train their men in exchange for the temple's Kung Fu. They were uncomfortable with his offer and Bronze Master said they could not freely trade their marital arts with a person like himself.
Iron Tiger threatened to destroy them all if they didn't consider his offer.
"But we have thousands of men, what hope do you have?" Asked Bronze Master.
"I have never been defeated. My kung fu is exceptional and unrivaled. I can take you all."
Seeing Iron Tiger was serious he offered to meet with him privately.
Iron Tiger persuaded Bronze Master to allow him a match with one of the Golden Dragon masters. He called in Master Emerald who faced off with Iron Tiger.
Initially Master Emerald countered Iron Tiger's first attack with a spinning back kick. Shortly after Iron Tiger broke Master Emerald's arm and Bronze Master ended the match, accusing Iron Tiger of being an animal.
"You should leave" He told Iron Tiger.
Iron Tiger refused, demanding that Bronze Master allow his men to spar with the disciples of the Golden Dragons. At first Bronze Master said their sect was too righteous, that he found Iron Tiger's methods appalling. But after he made Iron Tiger promise to not break any more bones, to not kill or seriously injure, he agreed on the condition that he would leave after the matches.
The Golden Dragons selected some of their better men to go up against Iron Tiger's. In the end, the Golden Dragons outperformed them. Before Iron Tiger left, Bronze Master asked to speak with him privately.
"Your Kung Fu is very impressive, and I believe we can come to an arrangement if you are open minded my friend," said Bronze Master. "I have men here, well trained men, who are not worthy to remain. They have misbehaved and I must expel them anyways. Perhaps I can assign them to train with you, to help them reform."
Iron Tiger was pleased by the offer and said he could accept.
"I just need you to do some things for me, if I give you these men," said Bronze Master.
Iron Tiger once again said this was acceptable.
"You will need to kill from time to time; you can accept this term?"
"Yes," Said Iron Tiger.
"Good, I will expel them after you leave and tell them to go to your headquarters in?"
"Very well, I will send them to Tung-On to meet you."
TURN OF THE ZHEN BIRD
Iron Tiger left and set out for Tung-On. The journey was mostly uneventful save for passing some Kushen Soldiers as they crossed the Banyan Mountains. However they spotted two birds circling down to them in the Southern Desert. They both tried to peck Iron Tiger so he grabbed their throats and snapped their necks, killing them. Emerald Cobra was concerned they were an omen.
WEI ZIYING BETRAYS HIS SECT
It was decided that Wei Ziying would go to Mai Cun and pretend to join The 87 Killers, providing them with select information about the Celestial Plume Masters. He and Wang Haoyang coordinated a time and place to stage an ambush by leading them to believe Haoyang would be alone and vulnerable when his wife left their residence on a journey. With Hei Ling's blessing he made the journey. Along the way he was accosted by a monk named Li Yaochen. The monk demanded he come with him to see an old friend. Wei Ziying played along but used his elusive viper technique to slip away when it became clear the monk was taking him to Gao Cun.
When he reached Mai Cun he made his way to the Guan quarter and asked for an audience with Lady 87, explaining that he hide vital information about the Celestial Plume Masters.
He was given an audience.
"Greetings 87th Lady of the Guan House," he said before her.
Lady 87 continuously called him "Wei Ziling" throughout the meeting as he explained he wished to join their organization because he felt his chief, Hei Ling did not treat him well, rewarding others who did not deserve it, while passing him by. He also offered to provide Lady 87 with information on the whereabouts of Wang Haoyang.
"Wang Haoyang and Hei Ling are not important people, and why am I to trust this man who betrays his own sect then grovels in my hall?"
"I have more information Lady."
"Can you tell me where the Celestial Plume Masters are headquartered?"
"I cannot Lady, they are very secretive and do not inform me of such things."
"The Celestial Plume Masters ranks are filled with deceptions and secrets," She complained.
"I do know the location of a secret martial school they are using to build a force to send against you Lady. And I am skilled in the use of poison and stealth."
Lady 87 thought and said she would take him into her organization as a prospect. He would be given quarters and uniform, then assigned a task the next day.
WEI ZIYING FACES CERTAIN DEATH
The next morning Yuhuan, Lady 87's right hand, came to Wei Ziying with a pitiful black uniform and told him he would be paired with Big Sister Hong Na and sent to kill the leader of the Heavenly Wind Cult. He was to leave that day.
He travelled for six days with Big Sister Hong Na leading the way. He observed that she got a lot of very basic facts of the world wrong as they talked, and while she was initially very distrustful he managed to persuade her of his sincerity.
On the way they were approached by a Sheriff and 10 constables demanding passports. As Wei Ziying was focused on providing the information, they encircled the pair and announced both were under arrest as Big Sister Hong Na was wanted.
They leapt into action, Wei Ziying spraying them with poison and Big Sister Hong Na slicing most of them down with her cleaver. The remaining constables pleaded for their life, so they departed and let them die from the effects of the poison.
When they reached the entrance to the Heavenly Wind Cult's cave, they realized it was well guarded, so Wei Ziying decided to take a direct approach.
He had a copy of a page of a manual that turned Yao into normal humans. Knowing that the Heavenly Wind Cult was led by Palm Mistress Qin Ying, who opposed the empire, he coated it with contact poison and spoke with the guards saying he came on behalf of Lady 87 offering a peace gift to end the conflict between them. He explained that he had something their leader would find helpful.
He and Hong Na were given an audience, in a cavern where Mistress Qin Ying held court over a jade pool filled with blood. Her son and daughter flanked her as did her men.
Wei Ziying said that he had a manual which could restore the Yao, making them mortal men again. She had one of her acolytes take it and bring it to her. The contact poison worked quickly and she sensed the trembling it caused her acolyte.
Wei Ziying felt that Palm Mistress Qin Ying was extremely powerfulness he stood in her presence.
She rose into the air and called into existence fifteen swords which surrounded and struck at Wei Ziying. He whirled away and avoided the attack then used his Eluding Viper to deliver a surprising Blade of the Dancing Fox and landed devastating blows against her.
Her children sprung into action, her son sending a spinning axe at Wei Ziying and Big Sister Hong Na. Wei Ziying used Arc of the Spine, Flick of the Wrist to escape the blade and poison him with needles. The daughter then used a palm strike against Wei Ziying but he evaded that as well.
The battle raged, but was quickly brought to an end when Wei Ziying once again used Blade of the Dancing Fox to kill Palm Mistress Qin Ying. The Daughter and Son were badly hurt. The daughter's name was Fan Wenrou and she offered peace saying "Let us take our mother and bury her in the south, and I promise to cause no further trouble with the 87 Killers."
Wei Ziying agreed, but he knew his poison would soon kill the son, Fan Jing, so he and Big Sister Hong Na quickly made their way back to Mai Cun. On the way Big Sister Hong Na expressed her admiration for Wei Ziying's incredible martial abilities. She was very impressed that he had killed the Palm Mistress in a direct fight.
ALLIANCES IN TUNG-ON
In Tung-on Hei Ling and Wang Haoyang spoke with Chief Wanli who wanted a special arrangement to buy celestial plume. Hei Ling offered him a rate of 2,000 a pound and Wanli agreed.
Iron God Meng continued to focus on snake handling, now working with King Cobras and showing signs of having been bitten many times. He told Hei Ling it made him stronger and more resilient.
When Hei Ling explained the request of Chief Wanli, Iron God Meng was furious. He despised the Nature Loving Monks and resented their encroachment. It would be best to go to war with them he said.
"Is it wise to fight them brother?" Asked Hei Ling
"They have what? Twenty men in this prefecture? We will crush them swiftly!"
Hei Ling paused and said "Brother we should crush them and we will, but why not sell them some plume for a while, let them expand the market and then destroy them so we can swoop in?"
Iron God Meng expressed admiration for Hei Ling's strategic mind and said this was a good idea.
Hei Ling then arranged a meeting with the Seven Demons, and met them just outside Zha. He offered an alliance. They would work together to defeat Long Ma Hall, as he had information that their men were largely in Mai Cun. He agreed to give them Long Ma hall territory after if they would join with them in an attack on the 87 Killers.
The Seven Demons agreed and they began planning their assault on Long Ma Hall.