Burning Castles

New Gods - Game 7
The fall of the Nezumi god changes a few things

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Our heroes stormed the caves at the mining camp, slew many warriors and summoners, rescued a demon of corruption and deceit, but before they could do much else a gigantic meteor slammed into the earth utterly destroying the Daoli kingdom.

That destruction heralded the death of the Nezumi god, whose powers then transferred to our heroes. Deciding it was better to get on with things than to lie in a burned out lake bed, they struck north into Wen.

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Brave Warriors, part 2
Now the shit gets real

(no downtime)

After interrogating their worker prisoners, they learn a bit more about the encampment: that it’s been here for a long time, that they’re mining for precious metals, but that there’s also some sort of plan to eliminate all the nezumi in this place for good. With the help of demon creatures and burning incense (which the nezumi choke on), the overseers of this mining operation are finding great success.

The heroes decide: this has got to stop! They plan and plan, and come up with something straight forward: Khang and Li Xian will infiltrate the camp, find the leaders, and signal an attack! Once they’ve killed the high priest, who seems to be running the whole show, they bolt and see what happens.

The plan is put into action, but in so doing it’s revealed that the high priest has a lot of otherworldly help in the form of some gnome raksasha and some sort of demon summoner. It’s a tough fight, with lots of biting and burning, but eventually they manage to get the job done and get the heck outta there!

Returning to their hidden camp, they encounter the nezumi in a prayer circle just finishing a paean to their gods. “Quickly”, the nezumi shaman says, “we must go into the caves!” – just as the thunderous hoofbeats of a Heavenly Messenger approaches the camp. The messenger makes a bee-line to Qinilan, and announces that the Heavenly Council has returned from their journey – only one of them survived, and is in grave health. It is not expected he will recover any time soon, and thus the priesthood has taken over leadership indefinitely. He has been sent to spread the news to the Kingdoms. Qinlin and the others give the messenger their report of demonic infestation in these hills, which the messenger swears to pass along to the temple. Then, after some discussion, the group head back into the hills following the shaman eagerly waving them on.

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Brave Warriors, part 1

(Downtime: upon discovering the involvement of the nezumi in these strange cult mining operations, Lizzie goes to find whatever information she can on these rat folk. After months of research, she reflects on what she learns – that the nezumi once existed in harmony, of a kind, outside of elven holdings. Their gods lived within the Heavenly domains of the elves, and shared status, albeit lesser, among them. Then, for unknown reasons, this changed. Now the nezumi are outcast, considered a bother and a pestilence, and who knows what has happened to their gods. Meanwhile, Lin Kai discovers that she’s been kicked out of the wizard academy much to her shock and dismay. However, upon her rising the next morning, she receives a vision from a silver dragon which – in a booming telepathic voice – tells all of his children to awaken, his return has begun! They must ready themselves.)

After discovering the secret behind the not-so-illicit activities within the capital, Khang successfully tracks down the hush-hush trades the cultists are making in the dead of night. Turns out they’re trading silver ore for mining supplies, and… incense? Alerting the other characters, the group go to follow the supply train back to its source.

In doing so, they stop the wagon train just short of entering a mining encampment in the far northern section of Yu. Killing a few mercenaries and capturing some of the workers, they make haste back to a hiding spot to assess what’s been going on. The mining camp is doing a number of horrible things:

  • They’re butchering any nezumi they find within the caves
  • They’re summoning demonic energies from the hills surrounding them
  • and who knows what else!

While discussing such matters, an injured nezumi finds the hero’s camp and frantically begs them to help him rescue his friends trapped in a tunnel collapse. After rescuing four more nezumi, they retire for the evening – under cover of storm – back at their hidden encampment.

Continued in part 2.

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Following the Trail

After spending some time investigating leads in the city, Magistrate Li had a few leads as to getting more information on the cult, but he couldn’t follow them himself. Meanwhile, Lin Kai’s acting career was taking off having discovered the joys of the theater, and Kang had tried his luck – and succeeded – getting into the garrison as the local commissary.

A plan was hatched to disguise the rest of the party as soldiers and venture outside of town to track down the cultists at their encampment just 10 days south east. Pretending to be soldiers on patrol, they hoped to avoid notice and get to the encampment before the cultists could catch wind of the plan and flee.

Along the way, they’d found an old narrow trail which lead them on a shortcut – away from the roads and villages and closer to their goal. Just their luck they showed up at an abandoned village and, sure enough, some nefarious people were doing strange things! Ah, but there was also a mine which sounded as if machinery was being employed to break up the rocks. Going back into the village square, they managed to subdue one of the priests (the other person, a shaman, had escaped) only to find the “machinery” working in the mine were skeletons inhabited by demonic energy! How terrible! One short fight later, the skeletons subdued and the priest tied up, they headed back to the capital to interrogate their prisoner and figure out what to do next!

Each attendee received 750 exp.

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Downtime - investigating the cult
Enter the fall season

The upcoming session, August 30th, will take place in the middle of the fall season – months after the Midsummer Fire Festival and the cult attack.

  • There is a task force to investigate this cult, and if it has a presence within the city. If so, how big of a presence and if it’s a danger to the people or the court.
  • There’s definitely talk about what the note left at the temple of P’an means, especially since…
  • The Council of Heaven has returned from the holy mountains! This much is known to be true, but there has not been any official word beyond their glorious return. Rumors, however are another matter – please let me know if you’re interested, and a relevant roll you’d make to learn them.
  • There’s been an upswing in violence to the western border (with Yu), as reports come in of bandits raiding villages in the night and kidnapping people. General Po has been given command to increase the number of militia in those regions and increase patrols along major roads to the West.
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Summer Heat and the Skull Cult

This session marked the start of the Summer Fire Festival, for which there were…

  • Amazing fireworks!
  • Tournaments of martial skills, such as archery, fencing, wrestling, and such.
  • Incredible performances at the theater and opera
  • Poetry out on the Moon Glade
  • Competitive cooking

While the magistrate had to stay on patrol, the other characters were able to wander about and enjoy all the festival had to offer – at least for the first two nights. Then the magistrate noted a disturbance in the crowd, two gentlemen who were definitely up to no good. However, at that time nothing technically “illegal” was going on – although they seemed to be waiting for someone to show up.

The third night revealed their plan, when a young, ragged-looking man slunk his way into the temple district looking to gain access into the temple. Briefly interrogated, the magistrate discovered he’d been a reluctant member of a cult from out in the countryside. In that cult, he’d seen and experienced terrible things – and although he thought he’d surely die if he ran away, staying any longer would be a fate worse than death, he’d lose his spirit. So, when no one was watching, he stole a sacred scroll and ran as fast as he could, knowing that he was likely being pursued.

Confessing his sins to the Inquisitor, he sought shelter and was relieved to be taken away under guard – ah, but surprise! – the two city guard escorting the party were impostors there to collect the run-away, while four other impostor guards sprung out to aid the kidnapper’s escape! There was a deadly fight in the alleyway, blades flashing, and arrows flying. In the end, the remaining impostor saw it was hopeless and killed himself rather than be taken alive; yet they were successful in delaying the characters long enough for the other two to escape.

Not giving up, Kai brought her tracking-trained dog with her and they relentlessly pursued the kidnappers! This lead to the inn the kidnappers were staying in, and the grim discovery of the real city guards who’d been murdered earlier in the evening. Ah, but they haven’t yet made their way out! From the rooftop, Chiko spots two horses galloping to the city gates and Kai gives chase! Noting their position, Chiko casts spells to terrify the horses – one of which bucks his rider while within the outer gate, the other which bolts south. A short pursuit later, Kai corners the fleeing swordsman into an alley and subdues him with blasts of numbing frost. The other, trapped in a no-escape situation, sets of all his alchemist fire and thunderstone cache sending him and the pursuing guards to a fiery death.

Later regrouped, the Chief takes our magistrate to the palace where the heads of city security have been summoned for debriefing and a strategy session. Kai, befriending the local acting troupe, gets invited to stay at the actor’s estate. Meanwhile Chiko and Lizzie go on patrol through the rest of the early morning – finding, at the last, a long scroll that had been left on Pa’an’s temple gate:

“Cut out the tongue to silence the demon, and the empire shall be no more. We see the corruption and tainting within the Council of Heaven – it cannot rule on a rotten throne! At the turning of the last Winter Moon, those Ministers shall choke on their demon blood and the new empire shall rise! Glory to the Dragon’s Call!”

  • The magistrate has the scroll, but has not identified it yet.
  • There is also a scroll with a cipher
  • Lin Kai has the “Blessing of the Red Dragon”
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The Healer and the Grandfater

This session introduced two new characters – Ruby Maganti and the drunken Monk (whom I can’t remember the name of).

As I was completely wiped out and not thinking straight, I don’t have much of the details of the game, but the general notes are:

  • Lin Kai, Ruby Maganti, and many of the other PCs travelled north to a village a short distance from the capital.
  • There, Lin Kai met with the grandfather of the imprisoned brigand and discussed the curse his family is under.
  • Meanwhile, Ruby left to meet with a reclusive healer out in the western hills to discover more about her condition.
  • Also, Lizzie has begun her training of Elvish in earnest while also training the troops assigned to her. Chiko has decided to further his education of the world by joining the archers.
  • Coming up in just a few days is the mid-summer festival!
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So we all meet in a tea shop
  • The Gnomes make their way to Daoli from Wa (the Gnome lands)…
  • Where they meet up with a local merchant, a newly arrived Magistrate, and a wandering Monk out to find worldly wisdom.
  • Through a clever scheme, a small gang of thieves tried stealing Lizzie’s gear off her war ram, but were thwarted by the PCs (without killing them!)
  • Here they discovered a bizarre skull-shaped drinking vessel dedicated to “the Destroyer” carried by one of the thieves
  • Afterwards, Lizzie decided to join the army of Daoli as an officer while Kai went to learn the arcane arts from the local wizard academy.
  • Kang is off to open a shop in the merchant district, and has discovered a local “friend” to help him out.
  • And last, but not least, Chiko is off to figure out what exactly there is to do in town.

- local places added:

  1. The capital city is “Feng Bei”
  2. The Tea Shop is called “Calm Oasis”
  3. An excellent inn in the nicer part of town is called “Slumbering Turtle”

For side quests and other small goings-on, see the Forum posts from today (7.19.15)

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Prelude: the fields of Daoli

It’s another hot month in the middle of summer, and the rains this year has been kinder – the wheat harvest looks as it should, for which the farmers are profoundly grateful.

The year of the Viper – signs of aggressive and speedy change, hostility, and cunning. The Council of Heaven has been away now for nearly a decade, and this year’s official portents are looking rather uneventful.

You have come from the many surrounding Kingdoms, or farther, and found yourself in humble Daoli for one reason or another. Seeking worldly wisdom, following the visions of a God, starting school, dispensing justice, or making a pilgrimage, here you are.

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Character creation - backgrounds

To make a game more interesting, colorful, and richer, it’s good to have some baseline motivations. Where does your character come from? Where do they want to be? What’s in their way? What thing do they want, or want badly to get rid of? It can be nebulous at this point, or maybe they seek something they can’t quite place their finger on. However, you’ll find more meat in the game if you have reasons to be out doing your thing as well as the plot(s) in play.

All that being said, if you’d like to add a bit of flavor to your character, you may take a few rolls on the Heritage Table. The first roll is free, the second and third costs a “trait” (which you may take 2 of).

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