We time jump the story of our heroes 1 year into the future. They are all now 7th level adventurers.
The party has great success enforcing the dictates of the Empire over the next year through taking missions from Eunuch Leng. Leng and his ever present headman Quang are promoted to work at the Capitol of the Shogunate for their efforts on the frontier.
The capitol is an imposing edifice of white stone. A wall 200 ft high at it’s lowest and 300 ft height at it’s peaks surrounds the capitol. A perfect square with each face aligned to north, west, east, and south.
The team approaches with Leng’s entourage of 40 staff members and 50 cargo bears. An immense gate of reddish stone and bronze metal rises like a giant flame in the white wall facing the easter side of the city. The Fire Gate.
To the North the Gate of Earth. The South the Gate of Water. The West the Gate of Air.
The team is told to report to the foreign quarter immediately and check in and Leng will have an audience with them at 10 bells this evening.
There is a distinct lack of foreign prescience here in the capitol. The foreign quarter is large as one might expect for such a large city but it’s tucked back in a small corner of the Bazaar.
Imperial functionaries stamp travel visa marks on all visiting foreigners. The team are all marked with a magical sigil and told not be out after curfew at 13th bell (mid evening). As if on queue bells chime out the time across the city marking 8th bell.
The city is divided into 6 major sections.
- The Bazaar. The commerce and trade sector with the largest open market in the empire.
- The Star Gardens. The Dragon and Unicorn clans make their home here as scholars and practitioners of the magic arts.
- The Lion Plaza. A 5000 troop strong of Lion clansmen garrison here.
- The Cherry Blossom Grove. This is the nobles section. Eunuch Leng has a house here. Not the nicest nor the grandest but definitely very nice by noble standards.
- The Bamboo Grove. A euphemistic term for where everyone else lives and works in the city.
- The Shogunate’s Castle which itself is surrounded by a large wall. No buildings are allowed to be taller than this inner wall so there’s really no opportunity to see into the palace grounds.
The city has a grim looking slum surrounding the forbidden city in the center and the nicest areas are closest to the outer surrounding wall. A day or so and the reason for this becomes apparent the security is best next to the numerous wall garrisons next to the outer wall which leaves a no man’s land toward the inner city next to the Shogun’s palace where only the main thorough fairs are patrolled regularly.
Runners pulling rickshaws scurry back and forth on the main roads carrying passengers and goods.
As the heroes wonder how to spend their time for the next few hours, a shifty looking urchin girl approaches. “Come, come with me. My master has a promising opportunity for you.” The group with a round of shrugs, “why not?” They follow the girl down into a maze of back alleys and down into the slummier side of town. The place they end up is obviously a smoke house there are people sprawled out with black stained lips smoking the powerful narcotic black lotus.
At the back of the lotus den is an old man his legs have been amputated bellow the knee and his once fine clothing has seen better days. His stained beard is wild and unkempt and he leans on an old table leg like a cane in one hand. He stares off into the distance with the white pupils of someone who has had cataracts for years and is now completely blind.
GM: “Ah thank you Pip. You may go. I understand you in the employ of the Eunuch Leng? Is that correct?”.
Players: “Who are we addressing?”
GM: “Oh, who am I? I am the guild master of the beggars and thieves in the capitol.”
Players: “What do you want?”
“I would ask you to do a job for me. I need you to spy on Eunuch Leng and report to me his actions and plans. I am prepared to pay you well. Pip, show these individuals the money. "
Pip comes forward with a heavy tray of stacked silver ingots stamped with the imperial seal. These ingots are what passes for platinum pieces in the empire.
“See what the Leng is up to. You are well trusted by him.”
The team has a quick conversation and decides spying on their benefactor is not a good idea. They politely decline and the guild master tells Pip to guide them out.
“Unfortunate you did not take my offer but as wise individuals I’m sure you won’t discuss this offer with Eunuch Leng.”
The group returns to an inn to ponder this troubling visit with the Beggars Guild.
They are eventually are approached by an emissary raven with a note from Selene the the Witch of the Black Bog. Gowan is strongly encouraged to meet the witch this evening, in defiance of curfew just outside of the capitols northern wall.
The group first surveys the wall and decides only a very stealthy individual could scale the wall given the large 100’ gap up to the wall and the numerous guards stationed all up and down each stairwell leading up to the top of the wall. And not wanting to get into a fight with guards in the capitol city decide to find another way.
They return to the beggars quarter to enlist the aid of Pip go get them out the the city unseen. Pip with payment up front guides the team through the underground waterways in the city and to a drainage gate that silently slides open on rails, well greased and well maintained.
The group meets Selene in here attractive elven form in a dark grove of trees that seems completely out of place in the otherwise open rolling hills surrounding the capitol. Selene states Gowan is to retrieve a certain set of plans that are being held in Lion Clan’s main holding in the nobles district in a secret vault underneath the lion statue in the guarden. This compound belongs to a commander Kang of the imperial lion guard for the Emperor.
“Your recent actions in killing the two ninja brothers has caused some issues with my relationship with the Scorpion clan. You will retrieve these plans for me Gowan. You may go now.”
Ben Awn and Gershwin decide to help Gowan accomplish his task and a plot is hatched to distract the guards by assaulting the front of the compound with summoned creatures while Ben and Gowan sneak in the back and try to get into the secret vault where the plans are held.
Everything goes according to plan with some excellent rolls from the players allowing Ben and Gowan unobserved access to the garden at the center of the compound. Another great roll finds the switch to open the vault and the lion statue swings aside to reveal a great chest of purses of gold and a scroll tube with the plans. The gold is far to heavy to take way in the short time the team has so they grab a bag or two and the scroll. Then close the vault and escape into the night.
Ben and Gowan spend the rest of the evening evading guards in a cat and mouse chase around the capitol as they have to subdue some guards after some bad luck and bad rolls causes them to run directly into a patrol hunting for them. They eventually figure out they are being tracked by the magic markings they got when they entered the city. And dispel them and make good their escape.
Gershwin on the other hand goes back to the inn and goes to sleep and is rudely awakened by lion guards who beat him up then start asking him questions about where he was last evening. To which Gershwin replies, “I’m an old man. I can’t be expected to remember anything. I can’t even remember what I had for dinner last evening.” Which earns him some more beating but they guards seem satisfied with that answer for the moment.
A magic missive eventually finds Ben Awn and Gershwin in an ally. The magic whispers in their ears, “This is Eunuch Leng come to my house immediately and we will sort this out.” The two decide to check this out.
A mostly unconscious Gershwin is dragged by the guards also to Eunuch Leng’s house and dropped off. The three intrepid adventures are yelled at for the next hour by Eunuch Leng stating it’s only your years of faithful service that is keeping you from being beheaded right now.
Eunuch Leng: “This is a great embarrassment to me personally and the lot of you are to leave the city and not come back.”