Friday, June 28, 2024


This is a sandbox campaign for Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, operating in "Condor Heroes Mode". I used a lot of the procedures described in the wuxia sandbox posts. It is a campaign with three players. Before the campaign started we spent time establishing their family connections, rolling randomly for both their mothers and fathers (normally only one parent is randomly rolled, but in this case we wanted characters with potentially scandalous backgrounds). These characters each started play with just one Kung Fu Technique. 


XIANG GUIYING: The daughter of Jade Fist of Twin Fisted Eagle sect and Pale Fox, a notorious bandit. She is seeking pelts from Pearl Tigers. She is beautiful but wears a disguise to hide this from others. 

ZHENG BAO: Short and burly, he is the son of Zhang San of Bone Breaking Sect and of Reckless Storm. However San is married to Chen and has maintained the presence that Bao is Chen's son. Unfortunately due to crucial background information, Chen knows that Bao cannot be his son so is distant. Zheng Bao's uncle, Bone Breaker, is fond of him. He is seeking the Thousand Painful Deaths Flower to please his uncle. 

PAN JU (MOGHA): The son of the Witch of Zhaoze Zhou and Nergui Mogha, Pan Ju grew up in the Kushen Basin but has returned to the Banyan and Hai'an, where he knows his mother resides.   


The party headed towards Dee to meet Jade Swallow. On the way they noticed a bald man in robes following them. Zheng Bao shouted to him and he approached. As he got closer they could see he was a monk of Hen-Shi. 

He bowed to Pan Ju and said "You are Pan Ju?"

Art by Jackie Musto 

Pan Ju confirmed his identity. 

"My Master, Abbess Sun Ming, who resides on the peak of Mount Hai'an, would like to introduce herself to you in person if you accept her hospitality."

"We have an important matter to deal with in Dee," said Pan Ju. "But when I am done I shall like to meet her."

The monk handed Pan Ju a dowsing rod and said "A gift from my master."

He bowed and departed. 

Examining the dowsing rod, Feng Min informed them it was used to find spirited beasts. 

They continued towards Dee, taking a ship by river from Huisheng. As they travelled the party contemplated calling themselves the Young Tigers or the Tigers of Hen-Shi. 

In Dee they spoke with one of the local Bao Chiefs, Lu Anzhi, who said he could take them to Jade Swallow. He brought them to a small house and showed them a set of stairs. 

"She is up there," He said. 

They found her in the upper floors, meditating and wearing a head scarf. Strands of purple hair fell from the headdress and her hands appeared dark red. 

"Be seated." She said. 

She asked Zheng Bao about his travels and he explained everything, including their dealings with the Jade Maidens. He advised against her taking revenge on them. 

"I have no enmity with the Jade Maidens," She said. "My power has broken through to the next level, following my fight with Lady Yang. But now I am facing an obstruction. Soon I will elevate you as well. 

"We are heading to finish Lady Yang," Said Zheng Bao. "Shall you come with us master?"

"I must recuperate and overcome this hurdle," She said. "You can wait some months for me and we can go together, or if you feel strong enough to face her, you may strike at her on your own. I leave the choice to you."

"Is Lady Yang more powerful than you Master?"

"Yes but not by a great degree, and soon I will eclipse her."

The party discussed and leaned towards going to face her immediately. 

"I recommend you take out her guards first, then handle her alone," Said Jade Swallow. 

She showed them her red hands. "These stains are not from facing Lady Yang, they come from my past. I have no enmity with the Jade Maidens because when Abbess Zhuang Ba killed my husband, he and I had been robbing and murdering people with abandon. She showed me mercy by only killing him and letting me live. These stains are from my crimes, they appeared as I approached a greater level of mastery in the past few days."

They asked Feng Min if she knew a way to remove the stains from Jade Swallows hands, but she could offer no solution. 

"Master," Said Zheng Bao. "We will face Lady Yang. Should we show her mercy as you were shown mercy?"

"If she can be persuaded to stop her evil ways, to end her pursuit of this grudge, then yes. Otherwise do what you must."

As they left and were out of earshot from Jade Swallow, Feng Min quietly whispered to them "Karma is karma." 


They moved deep into the Whispering Swamp and trudged through the salt-soaked earth till they came upon a rock jutting from the mud. 

Zheng Bao approached and saw writing on its surface. 

"Hands stained like the red of this sandstone shall toil in the underworld...."

He beckoned over the rest of the group and asked Feng Min if she knew what it was. 

"That looks like the first line of the sandstone sutra."

They moved the stone and saw more lines that ended with "And the righteous should meet their cruelty with bloodshed."

Again Zheng Bao asked for Feng Min's thoughts on the sutra. 

"I believe it is highly unorthodox, not an authentic sutra. It contradicts Hen-Shi's teachings. We must be firm when dealing with belligerent evils but this goes too far."

After further conversation Zheng Bao took his spear tip and etched his own words into the stone: "Blood begets only more blood, Compassion is the way of peace"

"This seems likely to be related to the Sandstone Nun," Said Guiying. 

Blood began to seep from the lines Zheng Bao carved into the sandstone. 

"Why is it doing that?" Zheng Bao asked Feng Min. 

"I do not know how to interpret what I am seeing."

"The book of fortunes would not declare this a good omen," Said Guiying as she took a blade and etched her own words into the rock: "People study to talk reason, but the righteous should cultivate strength to make others talk reason."

Her words too began to bleed. 

Pan Ju began scouting the area as they were meddling with the stone and saw in the distance the rise of Yang Manor, however it was surrounded by a strange and dense forest of bamboo. 

Both Zheng Bao and Guiying started to feel faint. 

The stone continued to bleed.*

They used a pole for leverage and pulled the stone from the mud. The writing on the stone suggested that the words were spoken by Hen-Shi, but Feng Min maintained that it was deeply unorthodox and not widely regarded as true. 

Guiying and Zheng Bao were growing pale and weak. 

Cutting his hand, Zheng Bao drizzled his blood on the stone, and his words vanished. Guiying did the same and her's did as well. 

A long skiff approached and a man hailed them. 

"What are you doing on Lady Yang's land?"

"Who are you sir," Asked Zheng Bao.

"I am Xu Yitai. You are on Lady Yang's land my friend."

"We were just examining this sandstone with a sutra written upon it," Said Zheng Bao. 

"That is no stone, it is just a trunk of dead wood," Said Xu Yitai. "And you don't look well my friend. Please let me take you to Yang Manor so you can be tended to and recuperate."

"We must be on our way," Said Zheng Bao. "But if you don't object may we take this dead tree trunk?"

"I don't care, just don't take good wood from here or dally too long. Stay safe my friends." Xu Yitai moved swiftly away from them. 

Zheng Bao lifted the sandstone and found it surprisingly light. They headed south to leave the swamp and rest. 

An hour later the same skiff from before, and another, this one carrying 7 men, glided into view and blocked their path.**

"Say you friends, you still look unwell, please accept Yang Manor's hospitality and I will guide the way." It was Xu Yitai again. 

He and his men appeared armed. 

"Thank you for the offer," Said Guiying. "But we have important business and must move quickly."

"Please Ma'am," Said Xu Yitai. "Do not force me to be rude with you. I must insist you accept our offer of hospitality."

Pan Ju hurled his meteor hammer, smashing Xu Yitai in the chest and knocking him into the water. 

Zheng Bao then threw the sandstone into the boat with seven men. It landed with a strange explosion, breaking the boat in half and sending the men into the water with Xu Yitai in a large blast. 

The men's bodies floated lifelessly on the surface. 

Xu Yitai leapt back into his skiff. Guiying and Feng Min both struck at him but missed, all three fighting in the boat together. Pan Ju stood at the bow of the skiff and threw a hail of blades at Xu Yitai, eviscerating him. 

Xu Yitai dropped dead. 

They searched the bodies and found only chain whips on the men. But Xu Yitai had a whistle, a medallion with a fish etched into it, and papers with their faces drawn on them. He also had a large number of weapons and a small ballista in the skiff. 

They buried Xu Yitai and his men then went to land and put the sandstone sutra on a mound. Sleeping they hoped to recover from the day. 

That night Zheng Bao dreamt and saw a seated figure in the forest, like a giant silhouette. 

"Who are you?"

"I am the sandstone nun," Said a voice. 

"What do you want with us?"

"One of your companions has relics of Sunan and Bao that do not belong to him," She said. "And you have seek something wicked and nefarious that does not belong to you as well." 

Zheng Bao was cordial and explained that he was originally seeking the Thousand Painful Deaths flower for his Uncle Bone Breaker. But he abandoned that idea after visiting Iron Temple, instead promising to return the Thousand Painful Deaths flower to them in exchange for Raksha statues for his uncle. 

"The iron temple's hands are stained with blood, your uncle's hands are stained with blood, my hands are pure as jade," She said. 

"May I ask what the sandstone sutra is?"

"It is the deepest wisdom of Hen-Shi. Only those who understand it and act upon it can reach the Island of Xan."

"But what if it isn't true?"

"Hen-Shi's words cannot be manipulated or distorted by mortals."

"Why are you doing this to us?"

"I am taking these weapons from you to help you become enlightened before it is too late. This is the compassion of Hen-Shi. If you follow me and take my instructions, you will have a chance to reach Xan. For you that means the only path is to plunge a dagger into your uncle's wicked heart."

"I will do no such thing. I have listened to your words," said Zheng Bao. "I have heard you politely but I will not kill my own uncle or betray my master's teaching."

"You are not a righteous man and my pure jade hands will send you to hell to follow the likes of Dancing Corpse."

"We will defeat you," Said Zheng Bao.

"You will not defeat me," She said. "The compassion of Hen-Shi cannot be defeated."

"You will not defeat me," Zheng Bao repeated to her. "The compassion of Hen-Shi cannot be defeated." 

Awakening in his camp, Zheng Bao recounted what he dreamed to the party and asked what Feng Min thought about it.

"This nun seems ruthless," Said Feng Min. "Having to kill to reach Xan is also a strange idea. I believe she is either lying or deluded, many sutras have been known to be false."

Zheng Bao planned to bury the stone but Guiying suggested throwing it into the sea. They traveled to the coastal shore and he sent it into the water but it never broke the surface.

The stone hovered above the sea and spun. Then a light in the shape of a golden mercy enveloped the stone. It came floating back to them and when they read it the words upon it were changed:

"Hen-Shi's compassion is boundless and mighty as this stone."

*They were effectively loosing 1 point of Hardiness every ten minutes as if they were bleeding to death. 

**They were making survival rolls every hour to avoid encounters. 

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