Saturday, April 22, 2023


This was the Eighteenth 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 seventeenth 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). 


As leather shadow puppets danced upon the walls the people in the hall were a swirl of spinning steel. 

Upon the dais from which Lady 87 renounced the House of Paper Shadows offer, her men got into formation. Among them her daughter, Guan Nuan, Big Sister Hong Na, White Browed Demoness, Yuhuan, Li Pu, and Wei Ziying. 

Boorish Drunken Sword could not be called one of her men. He was a useless drunk soaked in wine. Boorish Drunken Sword staggered Silver Haired Beauty with his deep biting blade.

Li Pu was one of Lady 87s men. He was the cherished Brother Seventy-Seven. Li Pu eviscerated Lady 87 with his Blade of the Dancing Fox. 

Art by Jackie Musto 

Lady 87 collapsed as Wei Ziying sent his needles flying towards Silver-Haired Beauty. The moment their poison entered his blood, Silver Haired Beauty's delicate features exploded and an enormous wasp crawled from his skull as his body slid into the ground and clung to the blade held by Boorish Drunken Sword. 

Yuhuan slaughtered the wasp with a hail of daggers, leaving a spray of chitin on the floor. 

From the roof, Fan Heng, a shadow hero, materialized and leapt down upon Wei Ziying, using a most extraordinary attack design to rip his limbs from his body. But Wei Ziying used his turn of the Zhen Bird to employ a ruse. 

Taking a fresh body that resembled him, and that was dressed to look exactly as he did, Wei Ziying, in an incredible act of dexterity and cunning* he swapped positions with the corpse, allowing Fan Heng to pull out its arm as it dropped 'dead' to the floor. 

Fan Heng believed she had killed Wei Ziying. 

Yuhuan tried to stop Li Pu as he fled with Lady 87's head out the hall but her rope dart failed to land sufficiently to restrain him and he got away. 

The agents of the House of Paper Shadows dissipated, believing they killed the man they came for. 


Word had reached Chief Hei Ling of Lady 87's death. He also heard news that Iron God Meng and his men were in the city, patrolling the alleys and streets leading to Guan Manor. The Jade Owl Bandits were there as well. Perhaps most troubling, Nature Loving Monks were very active in the area too. 

On his side were Long Ma Hall (or what remained of it). The Seven Demons (what remained of them), and the Vermillion Bird Teahouse. And he had all of the Celestial Plume Masters save one on his side as well as his own personal forces. 

A messenger arrived with a carrier pigeon and a box. 

"Greetings Chief Hei Ling. The 87th Lady of the Guan Family is dead. The new Lady 87 sends you this token. 

The box was presented to Chief Hei Ling and inside were two slips of 'paper'. One read peace. The other read 'war'.

Insulted and sensing Hua Yin's unrelenting grief for her son Night Thorn, he cut off the messengers fingers and tied them to the messenger pigeon before releasing it back towards Guan Manor. 

He sent his forces into Mai Cun under the command of his inner circle. And the battle raged in the streets as Wang Haoyang and Fan Zhen'er snuck into Guan Manor to assassinate the new leader**. 

Guan Nuan, granddaughter of Lady 87, was now in command of the 87 killers. 

Neither she nor her men saw Wang Haoyang or Fan Zhen'er creep into the reception hall. 

They did not see the blaze of steel fall from the sky, leaving Yuhuan and Guan Nuan lifeless on the ground. 

As the battle raged in the streets of Mai Cun, the forces of the Celestial Plume Masters left bodies in their wake and took captives along the way. 

In the chaos, Iron Tiger and White Browed Demoness found one another and faced off. She attempted her strangling brow but he countered and ripped her eyebrows from her forehead, then broke her leg. She attempted a hail of daggers but was in an inconvenient position, so she missed. He kicked her in the ribs and broke them then smashed her head with his heel. 

Several leaders on both sides perished in the battle***: Big Sister Hong Na, Butterfly King Yan Shimin, and Iron Beggar Sun Kang all died. Lady 87's Grandson, Guan Duan also was killed by mistake. 

The defeat of the 87 Killers was conclusive and thorough. The characters took over Guan Manor and the Vermillion Birds captured Iron God Meng. Hua Yin presented Iron God Meng to Chief Hei Ling who was deliberating how to treat his sworn brother. As his men encouraged him to kill the man, Iron God Meng bled. Some noticed, but Hei Ling did not. He finally said that Iron God Meng could leave, but as the former master of the Golden Way stepped from the hall he fell and died****

Over the next several days Chief Hei Ling consolidated his base of power in Mai Cun and distributed a fair share to those who had helped him rise. He gave Iron Tiger the Lucky Mountain Gambling Hall and their martial school in Tung-On. Hua Yin remained in Mai Cun to discuss arrangements with Hei Ling. 

Qian Xiao, leader of the sect in name only quietly retired to his plume. 

While Hei Ling was holding an audience, a person came bearing a box of nine emeralds as a gift. The person who gifted the emeralds was a woman in flexible armor that resembled snake scales and seemed uniquely designed. 

"Greetings Chief Hei Ling of the Celestial Plume Masters, I am Black Cobra of the Cobra Clan, and bring these gifts on behalf of my master, King Cobra."

"Why should I accept gifts from a man who imprisons my daughter and extorts me for the privilege of seeing her"

"He wishes for you to come to our headquarters, to bring Iron Tiger, and then you can see your daughter. He has not imprisoned her. She is his disciple and focused on her training."

"He and I will meet in due time, when I see fit."

Black Cobra turned to Iron Tiger and said "King Cobra wishes to duel with you, but a fair duel. He proposes a game of chess using a decide of his own design, which will be as lethal as any duel but account for your inferior martial abilities."

"I would prefer a straight forward duel if he does not mind," Said Iron Tiger. 

"He only makes the offer out of a sense of fairness. You can face him directly if you wish, but I promise you will be utterly destroyed. You would at least have a chance if you faced him for a more civilized match of chess."

"Tell him I am not suited to such games, that if he wants a more fair arrangement, a breaking competition would be more fitting."

"I will tell him of your request Iron Tiger," she said. 

After the meeting, Iron Tiger made arrangements through his network to contact Bronze Master and ask him to arrange a private meeting with the leader of Bone Breaking Sect. 

^Though we played the game in a very straight forward manner, I am employing a slightly dramatic session log style through these both for my own amusement and to make them more entertaining. 

*This involved a roll for the Counter as well as Eluding Viper and a Deception roll against Fan Heng. It is also something that I allowed because it felt genre appropriate, but in another setting it might be too incredible to work 

**The mass combat was determined by a dice pool roll off between Celestial Plume Masters (9d10) and the 87 Killers 6d10 due to the assassination of Lady 87 prior to the battle). Each time player characters broke from the mass combat as leaders and important heroes, they lowered the Celestial Plume Dice Pool by 1. So when Wang Haoyang went to assassinate Guan Nuan, it lowered the dice pool to 8d10, and when Iron Tiger faced off with White Browed Demoness, this lowered it to 7d10. However as soon as they finished their individual combat this once again raised the dice pool up. 

***Any result of 10 on the dice pool roll off indicated a leader had been killed. The leader was chosen randomly

****Iron God Meng had developed a new Kung Fu Technique with King Cobra Venom that caused his blood to thin so that on any Total Success he began bleeding to death. 

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