These are my notes for a profound masters location in one of my recent sessions, with some additional advice and material to make them more useful for general campaigns. The maps are my attempts to copy my own maps from my notebook (there were too many scribbles and turn order notes in them to use for the blog). The party was seeking a man named Tung Lu, a powerful master who had gone missing and was last known to have dueled with a mysterious hermit, Magnificent Scholar. One of the players decided to seek him out, and ended up trapped in the scholar's miniature kingdom of Xia.The adventure itself was partly inspired by The Eleventh Son (and the movie Swordsman and the Enchantress) and the thriller The Vanishing. Because I wasn't expecting the players to drink the shrining substance, I only loosely planned out Xia Kingdom. I could see going into much greater depth on this one. I considered starting a campaign here as well (decided not to do it, but it is still an interesting possibility, especially if you have player characters who were born in Xia Kingdom).
Again this was written with my campaign in mind. So the things like the hook are rather specific to it. But I do try to advise GMs running their own campaign as well in these sections.
One thing to note as well: Magnificent Scholar was generated randomly with the Bedrock App. I modified him slightly once the character became clear from the results, but his techniques are pretty wide ranging as a result of the random generation.
XIA KINGDOM AND THE MAGNIFICENT SCHOLAR
This Miniature world is found inside the home of Magnificent Scholar. He resides on a peak in Southern Li Fan, protected by a long rope bridge over a chasm that leads to hidden emerald deposits and a mountain god named Xuan.
|My crude depiction of
Magnificent Scholar's abode
Xia Kingdom is populated by people shrunk down to the size of a thimble. Therefore while he has models of cities such as Daolu, the models themselves, even on this smaller scale, are simplified and usually populated by tens of people rather than hundreds or thousands, or tens of thousands. He also has trouble casting, for example the Ogre Demon he placed to be the Love General, refuses to fall in love with Sunan (Tung Lu), and the man he shrunk to play the role of Sun Mai spends most of his time in a drunken stupor. For characters simply pick actual heroes from the books randomly to play the different people from that period. For an elaborate campaign set in the underground world, using Legends of Ogre Gate as a guide can be useful. But information from the history section in the WHOG rulebook and in the Yao Gong Palace entry of Ogre Gate Inn (page 63) should supply plenty of material.
HOOK AND ADVENTURE
|My very crude depiction of
For other campaigns a reasonable hook would be for the heroes to be seeking anyone imprisoned in Xia Kingdom. Most likely the whereabouts of such individuals would be a mystery and there may be an investigative adventure that eventually leads the party to Magnificent Scholar’s residence.
Magnificent Scholar is sullen and arrogant hermit who resides in a small hut on a peak in southern Li Fan. He became obsessed with the era of Demon Emperor and with creating a model replica of the empire during the Demon Emperor’s reign called Xia Kingdom. As his obsession deepened he devised a way to transform people to thimble size, and imprison them in his model. He spends his time researching and seeking out heroes to trap. Occasionally he duels them, but mostly he tries to trick them into drinking his shrinking substance (use SHRINKING SUBSTANCE in STRANGE TALES OF SONGLING, page 27).
Magnificent Scholar is a prisoner of his own record book (see The Scholar of Xia Kingdom below). This has intensified his resentment. He has a natural dislike of other people, which is why he lives as a hermit, but being imprisoned makes him appreciate good conversation with the people of Xia Kingdom. He views these prisoners as his friends. However he is incredibly frustrated by them and most of his exchanges with them end him threatening to tear off their limbs or deprive them of food if they don’t play the roles he has assigned to them.
Defenses: Hardiness 4, Parry 8, Evade 9, Stealth 6, Wits 8, Resolve 7
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 3d10, Light Melee: 4d10, Small Ranged: 4d10, Muscle: 2d10, Speed: 4d10, Athletics: 3d10, Reasoning: 4d10, Detect: 3d10, Medicine: 3d10, Talent (Calligraphy): 3d10, Talent (Poetry): 2d10, Talent (Poisoning): 4d10, Trade (Stone): 3d10, Trade (Alchemy): 4d10, Trade (Architecture): 2d10, Survival (Mountain/Hill): 4d10, Ritual (Activation): 3d10, Ritual (Create Seal of Jiangnu): 3d10, Ritual (Draw out the Demons): 2d10, Ritual (Profound Binding of the Demon): 4d10, Ritual (Supreme Activation): 3d10, History (Era of 100 Pieces): 2d10, History (Era of the Demon Emperor): 4d10, History (Era of the Glorious Emperor): 2d10, Places/Cultures (Hu Qin): 3d10, Institutions (Sects): 4d10, Religions/Gods (Dehua): 3d10, Classics (Rites of Wan Mei): 3d10, Classics (Sayings of Kong Zhi): 4d10, Classics (Scripture of Sun Mai): 3d10
Max Wounds: 19
Weapon: Iron Thread (5d10 Attack, 2d10 Damage)
Combat Techniques: Arm Strike - Outside Fighter, Light Melee - From the Shadows, Arm Strike - Inside Fighter, Light Melee – Deflect
Kung Fu Techniques (Dianxue 3, Qinggong 1): Plum Blossom Palm, Four-Point Touch, Distracting Crane Rake, Gallbladder Strike, Sealing the Winds of Gushan, Web of Lies, Tree Bounding Strike, Tree Bounding Stride, Crippling Strike of Bing, The Gentle Footsteps of Timeless Perennial, Crawling Tiger, White Flower Palm, Strike of the Raging Tiger, Bladder Strike, Sealing the Phoenix, Leap of the Swan, Bounding Spider, Stealth of the Spider Demon, Gushan's Gambit, Lurking Spider Stance, Nine Divine Snakes, Trembling Strike, Arc of the Spine Flick of the Wrist (Counter), Whirling Dodge (Counter), Onyx Backflip (Counter), Philosophical Crane's Pull (Counter)
Profound Techniques: Jade Ribbon Burst, Robes of Steel, King Viper's Fiery Greeting, Iron Strike, Lily of the Poisoned Mind, Swift Punch of Thundering Crane, Tortoise Holds Up the Sky, Devastating Strike of Thundering Crane, Throttling Web (Counter), Hands of the Fireshield (Counter)
THE SCHOLAR OF XIA KINGDOM
This began as a record book of Magnificent Scholar’s own accomplishments, but slowly his style was taken over by a voice not his own, and then the book began to write itself. This book records all the great deeds of the Magnificent Scholar and does so with the flair of the most fashionable literary works. The writer has a clear voice and often anticipates outcomes. The tomb towers at 20 feet in height and is so heavy that Magnificent Scholar cannot move it around and has become a prisoner to it.
When the person who it is written for dies, the next person to handle it becomes the new owner. It is cursed and cannot be eliminated. If thrown into the sea, it returns the moment the person turns around. If given to someone else it returns to the owner. The owner of the book can venture away from it temporarily but must ask the book’s permission (which it doesn’t always grant, and usually only allows small distance travel for essential things like sleep and food). Anyone who tries to escape the book, must make a Muscle roll against 7d10 every minute or get pulled back towards it.
MOUNTAIN GOD XUAN
This towering but weak mountain god looks like a large yak with emerald colored hairs and two great tusks. He stands on two legs and his eight hands are like a man’s. He can speak with a terrifying face that is vaguely human. Slow witted he adores music and is always kind to gentle and/or polite people. He was defeated by Magnificent Scholar and now serves him. He protects both the scholar and the emerald deposits below.
Mountain God Xuan is friendly and will gladly talk with anyone. He never attempts to deceive people, always telling them clearly the consequences of any actions they may take. Though he has vowed to protect the area, he tries not to kill anyone.
Defenses: Hardiness 9, Evade 4, Parry 8, Stealth 3, Wits 4, Resolve 10
Key Skills: Arm Strike: 4d10 (Damage 8d10), Gore: 2d10 (5d10 Open), Medium Melee: 2d10, Speed: 1d10 (40 feet), Muscle: 5d10, Detect: 2d10, Meditation: 3d10, Institutions (Bureaucracy of Heaven): 0d10
Max Wounds: 18
Key Kung Fu Techniques (Waijia 2, Qinggong 1, Neigong 2, Dianxue 1):
Hands of the Hawk Beak, Ringing Strike of the Divine Ram, Roar of the Lion, Iron Body (Counter), Whirling Dodge (Counter)
Multiple Attack: Can attack up to eight people a round by throwing stones or striking with his hands for 8d10 damage.
Deathless: Destroying Xuan’s body is only a temporary measure. Forms as an emerald crystal in the pit and slowly returns over 1d10 days when this occurs.
Immunities: Immune to Mundane Attacks and to Waijia and Qinggong attacks (from opponents lower Qi rank than him).
Beast Strength (x5)