This was the Thirteenth 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 Twelfth 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 DEMON AT THE GROTTO
Hei Ling, Wang Haoyang and Iron Tiger waited at Zikang grotto. They had sent a message to the leader of Long Ma Hall, King Archer, that they held his granddaughter. They were there with the Seven Demons and half of Long Ma Hall's former members (now serving the Celestial Plume Masters).
While they waited, Iron Tiger gathered his talented experts and sent them out, with instructions to find eleven masters to work with them, promising gold or whatever was required. He specified wanted a master specializing in every form of defense and masters specialized in external martial arts, Internal, survival, etc.*
After several hours, a guard informed Hei Ling that a white-haired woman and young man approached.
Hei Ling projected his voice and shouted "The Celestial Plume Masters are conducting business. Do not meddle in their affairs!"
The woman replied more strongly "I come to speak with your chief".
Hei Ling and Iron Tiger went out to investigate, while Wang Haoyang took to the shadows of the periphery.
They saw White-Haired Demoness Feiyan approach the cave, stop as the young man laid out a table and food. "Come and join me chief, I bring word from Lady 87"
Hei Ling and Iron Tiger approached. Hei Ling sat while Iron Tiger stood nearby.
"So I finally meet the One-Eyed Chief!"
They spoke and she told him that the 87 Killers could work out an arrangement. They were willing to work with his men. She proposed an offer that seemed to give him and his men control of the plume trade west of the canal. There would be other requirements but she was vague.
"I would need to speak with the other celestial plume masters" Hei Ling said.
"I said you and your men. We will work with you and your men. For your group is the most impressive among the Celestial Plume Masters. The other chiefs are not worthy of our time."
Iron Tiger was provoked by this and said "I will not stand by and listen to you talk that way about Master Night Thorn".
"Who is Master Nigh Thorn? I was a talking about that master of your organization, the one who lays in a celestial plume stupor south of river somewhere."
They conversed further and Hei Ling eventually said "If you can beat Iron Tiger, I will agree to your proposal. Otherwise go back with no deal."
White Browed Demoness faced off against Iron Tiger. She attempted to use her strangling brow but he avoided the grasping hairs and landed several strikes of his own digging deep into her flesh with his strike. She delivered a series of lightning strokes badly wounding Iron Tiger. He broke her hip and she signaled defeat, then saluted him and said his Kung Fu was admirable. That Lady 87 could use men like him.
"Go back to Lady 87 and tell her you failed in your task," said Hei Ling.
THE BATTLE OF ZIKANG GROTTO
A few hours later King Archer and his men approached. He brought with him over 100 heroes and they stood in a line behind him. He called out Hei Ling saying he wished to speak, but Hei Ling refused saying "Come and take your granddaughter back if you can!"
King Archer had his men fall back as he approached alone. "I wish to speak with you."
Hei Ling moved closer to King Archer. When they were face to face, King Archer said "I only want my granddaughter."
"Very well, join with me and you can have your granddaughter back."
"I cannot join with you."
"Then the only other thing I can offer is for you and your granddaughter to both agree to have your kung fu crippled, then retire from the martial world. If you do that I will let her go with you."
"You ask too much," King Archer said.
"I don't see many other options," Said Hei Ling.
"I can't work with you, and I can't submit to the other request, but I can agree to depart with my granddaughter and leave my men behind."
They talked further and agreed that King Archer would take his granddaughter with him, that the two would promise to never interfere with one another's affairs in the future, and that King Archer's men would stay behind. After King Archer left, Hei Ling offered riches, unrivaled kung fu and prestige to those who joined him among the remaining Long Ma Hall men. They all agreed.
MURDER IN TUNG-ON
They ventured back to Tung-On. There they settled into the quarters that Wang Haoyang's wife, Fan Zhen'er had obtained. They were cramped but could fit many of their men.
Iron Tiger went to Master An's school with Wang Haoyang and Hei Ling after learning about it from Iron God Meng. Master An had a mechanical arm and leg and what looked like a reputable sword school.
Iron Tiger said he wanted to form an alliance with Master An's school, one where he would be among several masters on a council, so they could all grow their reputation and influence. Master An was intrigued but asked for a demonstration of Iron Tiger's martial arts first. Iron Tiger warned him that it would not end well for whoever he fought, But Master An was insistent and had him square off with his top student, Ren.
Ren proved to be a challenging foe for Iron Tiger. At first he delivered a couple of solid attacks against the disciple, but Ren unleashed an unbridled attack, an almost unhinged stroke of the sword, that grievously wounded Iron Tiger. In the end Iron Tiger won by breaking Ren's sternum. Master An stopped the fight and ushered Iron Tiger and the others into his hall, where they sat as his wife provided food and drinks.
"So Master An," Said Iron Tiger, "How did you lose that arm and leg of yours?"
He laughed. "I lost them to a man named Master Chen Buwei. But I took his wife." Master An pointed to his wife and laughed again.
They talked for some time, and Master An was interested but wanted to make sure he and the other masters who joined this council would have full control over their own organizations. "It is the only way to keep so many egotistical masters together I am afraid."
Iron Tiger agreed but also proposed they become sworn brothers. Master An said he would agree if he could have one last demonstration of Iron Tiger's technique, a full demonstration, on his good friend Master Chen Buwei."
It was agreed upon. Iron Tiger would go with Wang Haoyang and Hei Ling to Daoxu and take care of Master Chen Buwei.
That night, Wang Haoyang had a thought. He had a thought of his own that led him into the streets of Tung-On.
Some time ago he had been insulted by Drunken Cricket, so he sent out men to find where she might be and to learn more about her. He was told that she was the wife of chief Qu Wanli, leader of the local Nature Loving Monks. Wang Haoyang went into the streets and found her roaming drunk from one of the many wine shops.
He checked to see if there were any witnesses and so none. As she walked, he snuck up using his Stealth of the Spider Demon, then attacked her with his Blade of the Dancing Fox Technique**
Wang Haoyang killed Drunken Cricket then chopped off her head.
Later that night as he lay sleeping, he heard howls of grief in the streets. The noice awakens Iron Tiger who went out to investigate and was informed by a Nature Loving monk that their Chief's wife had been murdered. He asked if the chief would reward information about the attack.
"We are grieving for our chief's wife, if you have information please go to Chief Qu Wanli and provide it."
Later Wang Haoyang explained to Iron Tiger and Hei Ling what he had done. Hei Ling said was not concerned.
Hei Ling spent time investigating possible sword techniques to learn before they set out. He learned of a technique possessed by Shen Guan of Stone Palace Sect in Li Fan. Iron Tiger had also been investigating a technique that was compatible with his more limited style. He discovered that the man who possessed, Tung Lu, had disappeared after losing a duel to Magnificent Scholar on a mountain in Southern Li Fan. He sent a letter to Magnificent Scholar asking for information.
*I assigned a 2d10 pool to his minions and then he rolled. For this result Failure, Success and Total Success would have specific outcomes. The player would roll once a week for his men sent out on this task
**I mention this because these two in combination can be quite powerful
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