Eastern Steam

Go back! Go back, to wher you came from.
returning to the capitol

New Player
Argen
Returning Players
Ben Awn
Zerik
Fox
Bozu

The troupe having found some useful information about Leng and his dealings in the capitol. Check on the Lane of Spears. There are easily 100 lodges here with an ornate spear with a colorful banner attached planted in the ground in front. Hiring a band of at merc-con, involves taking the banner and presenting in to the mercenary groups leader.

The Crimson Phoenix lodge is easy to spot at the end of the street easily twice as large as the smallest mercenary long house. From the hall of Crimson Phoenix the group can hear bellowing.

“Can you smell what the Phoenix is cooking!” Followed by a loud thud from some unfortunate being slammed in floor with a mighty whump!

The leader of the Crimson Phoenix is an imposing muscled figure wearing pants with a flame pattern and a ornate set of chains crossed in an X over his chest. He wears his hair in a bun held in place by a stylized flame head piece. The group thinks of approaching The Roc and then thinks better of that idea as he picks up his dazed foe in a one armed head lock and waves at the crowd with his free arm while his foe turns purple.

Asking around no-one has seen Leng since this morning. And Leng often travels in a large palanquin held up by 8 men. An easy item to spot, given it’s not present probably means Leng is not here.

Finding Leng turns out not to be that hard. The characters see ubiquitous errand/messenger boys running up and down the street. A few silver and a quick scrum conversation between the messengers and a boy is off running to deliver their message to Leng that they want to meet in the Land of Spears. Fox realizes that he really doesn’t need to wait for Leng’s reply he can just follow the messenger and the boy will lead him to Leng.

The boy sets a brisk pace running for the better part of 30 minutes and Fox is glad he kept up with is calisthenics. (good endurance roll)

Fox ends up in the southern part of the Capitol in the foreign quarter. The area is a hot bed of military activity. There is a battalion of foreign troops camped out in the quarter. It’s not quite clear how such a large force would of been moved in here without notice but they are here now. Some 5000 strong with heavy cannon and Gatling guns. This is a well organized military force and not some band of foreign mercenaries.

There’s the markings of the East Dutchman company on all the supplies but the troops themselves Fox can’t quite place their accent or their uniforms. And he doesn’t quite have time to chat up some soldiers as the boy makes a bee line strait for the command center.

The one thing he does notice is the troops are all wearing the same arm bands with the blue flame. The soldiers uniform is a dark blue Napoleonic flock coat and all wear white helmet with a single spike on the top with a horse hair plume flowing back from the spike.

Fox by a stroke of luck happens to have one of these uniforms from a previous encounter with East Dutchman Trading’s troops before.

Fox catches a lucky break as he approaches a command center in a converted meeting hall in the center for the quarter. He can see a troop movement board laying out the city. There’s enough units to indicate 5000 or so mercenaries in small batches around town in the allied color.

The eastern Lion clan fortress is marked in an ally color marking 5000 men there. The western Lion clan fortress belonging to Commander Kang is marked in a ally color and marks 5000 troops there.

Markers for each of the major clans of Rokugan are marked just outside the city. 5000 strong each. Lion, Dragon, Unicorn, Crane, and Scorpion. Fox is scratching his head and wondering when that particular development happened. There were no armies out there 3 days ago when they entered the city.

… work in progress

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Capitol Punishment

We have a new player this week playing
Zerik
Old Guard:
Gershwin
Ben Awn

We time jump another year.

Disturbing news flows out of the capitol about how foreign armed militias have taken over the streets of the capitol of Rokugan. The Eunuch’s have rebelled against the Emperor with the assistance of the capitol’s Lion Clan Commander Kang.

A few more jobs like the one at Blue Frog village come the parties way. It’s surprising that there’s this type of activity so close to the capitol. They sort of expected it when they were stationed on the frontier next to the Deadlands but not here in the heart of Rokugan.

There are rumors swirling that the clans are marshaling up for an all out civil war at this point. The existing Shogun is old and may have already been deposed by the Eunuchs and Kang.

Ken approaches the team. This time he and his men take no particular measures to hide their identity as Scorpion clan members. They are dressed for war. Enameled and lacquered armor with the scorpion clan mon are openly displayed. Several individuals are dressed in full o-youroi (plate armor).

Ken: “The clan armies are gathering in the hills surrounding the city. Before all out fighting starts I’m hoping to send a team into the city and find out what is going on in there. Sneak into Leng’s house and find out what he knows about what is happening in the city.”

The team returns to the site where they left the city last through the underground waterways cutting under the capitol.

Without Pip to guide them however hit’s a much more risky proposition. Mainly by good fortune and good rolls they manage to avoid any of the sewers nastier inhabitants.

They find their way under the noble’s quarter bath house and after sending Ben Awn head to scout. The feel sneaking around in the bath house is going to be a problem so decide to use Dimension Door to teleport over to an ally way and proceed from there.

Roving bands of 8-10 mercenaries wearing black arm bands with a blue flame symbol patrol the streets. Most of these mercs are foreign so the team picks a random group of lesser equipped thugs, beats them up, and steals their arm bands. So with armbands on the party just walks the street up to Leng’s house a couple blocks over.

Scaling the wall the team sets off a fire trap and audible alarm. Gershwin is singed badly. Zerick not so much. Ben Awn avoids it completely with evasion.

Leng’s headman Quang comes rushing out of the building with 6 samurai in tow. The samurai all wear lion clan armor except it’s black with red trim instead of the normal gold and white of the lion clan.

The two sides battle each other for a bit but Quang and his men are defeated. The alarm is still sounding and the team only has short time to get to the small pavillion house in the guarden. They were not allowed back there the last time they visited Leng so the figure that must be Leng’s private quarters.

After opening up a screen to the pavilion another a fire trap bellows out from the doorway to the pavilion. Ben Awn is generally providing the trap avoidance by opening doors quickly and diving away with evasion while the rest of the team stands back. Gershwin and Zerick were standing a little to close this time and got roasted.

A 10 ft statue of Ching Dai (god of misfortune) sits in the pavilion and really nothing else. The statue radiated a powerful protection aura that prevented any of Gershwin’s summoned creatures from approaching.

This rendition of the god has multiple arms some hands palm up in a welcoming gesture and some palm out as if telling the adventures to stop.

Some fiddling with the statue determines the arms can be moved and folding all the arms that are palm out causes the whole statue to slide aside to reveal a spiral stair case down.

The passageways leading Leng’s chambers are guarded by magical combination locks that require answering a riddle.

8 Door Room
All eight doors start closed. When you open a door it opens two others. If there are only 2 doors left opening either one cause all the doors to close.

You must open all doors to proceed.

1st Riddle
A merchant sells eggs. He states he sold all his eggs one day to 3 customers but he did it in a very peculiar way. Each customer bought 1/2 his eggs plus 1/2 egg. How many eggs did the merchant start the day with.

2nd Riddle
In 60 days a pond is completely covered in lilies. Each day the lilies double in the area they cover. How long does it take to cover 1/2 the pond?

The group also ran into a dead end where there was no riddle and was instead a bit of text that was gibberish but had a symbol of confusion. The group ran into one of these and alternately drooled and beat each other up for 6 rounds.

The team eventually opens a door to a three seat council chamber with black lacquered table with a stylized blue flame painted in the center. 4 summoning circles sit a each corner each containing an invisible but powerful air elemental according to Gershwin.

Gershwin sends a new set of summoned monsters in first to trigger any traps and as expected the 4 magical circles release their invisible residents and the battle is joined.

The battle is short and all the damage is absorbed by the summoned monsters.

The 3 throne like chairs surrounding the table have distinctive markings.

One has the 4 elements carved in stylized woodwork. – This they figure is Leng’s chair since they have see him case powerful elemental magics.

One has a dragon motif inlaid in gold. – The Eunuch’s are know as the Eunuch sorcerers and sorcery’s supposedly is based on dragon magic. So this make some sense.

One chair is just very utilitarian – Well made but otherwise unadorned.

The team had been told at one point that there are 64 Eunuch sorcerers. So why have a meeting room only for 3?

A detailed search of the room reveals a hidden compartment in Leng’s chair. Containing a stack of paperwork and a ledger. A quick look over the paperwork reveals extended correspondence between the various Eunuchs. The team can find no other exits from this room. So decide to leave with what they have and teleport up to street level using dimension door.

The ledger details visits to various mercenary companies and amounts paid. The names are various fanciful animal names like Smoke Monkey, Jade Jaguar, and Crimson Phoenix. The notable entry however is Crimson Phoenix. The pay schedule indicates this troupe is due to be paid today at the Street of Spears.

After spending 30 minutes or so reading through Leng’s correspondence. One letter stands out.

“If Alakai has returned as you suggest we must move up our plans. The Jade Curse cannot be allowed to spread beyond the Imperial City.

Sochi."

The next session picks up with the team going to Street of Spears to find the Crimson Phoenix mercenaries and hopefully Leng.

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Sick as a Frog

Arriving at Blue Frog village.

A perpetual mist curls around the troops feet as they progress into the village. The buildings are in good repair. But the streets are empty. Wane and pale faces look back from open doorways as villagers come to see who the visitors are.

A village elder introduces himself to the group as Mako and invites the group in for tea at his dwelling. The house has a central hearth in the center of the floor and a pot rice porridge bubbles in a pot over the fire. Mako describes how the illness came with the fog not more than a month ago. Perfectly healthy individuals woke one morning feeling weak and tired as if they been deprived of sleep for days.

With Mako’s blessing team beings the process of interviewing all the villages. Elders in the village seem un-touched but adults and older children all see falling prey to the illness.

The only exception is the wood cutter and his wife on the far edge of town. They seem pale but otherwise in good health. This leads the troop to believe that somethings up with the family for 4. And this time they are right. They observe the husband and wife sneaking out during the evening into the mists and returning to their hut that evening.

They rush in the woodcutters hut to confront the couple and immediately catch on to what is going on. The couple has undergone a gruesome transformation during the evening.

Both husband and wife appear to to the severed halves of a human. Their left sides are just completely missing or invisible. Everyone passes fear based will checks as bisected brains and organs are clearly visible on the pair. Their children are likewise are perfect little monsters as their joints and head bend the wrong way and they skitter up into the ceiling like spiders.

A fight ensues and as the last blows land the spider goblin children are dispatched to the after world but the parent hopping vampires transform into mist and escape into the floor. Determined smashing of floor boards just reveals a crawl way under the hut but not caskets or graves that might serve as the couples home.

But Gowan remembers that one villager said in passing they saw the mist emanating from the burial mound in the center of the grave yard. So that is the next place the party checks.

The graveyard is about a mile out of town on the old road heading into the forest. As the group approaches decayed corpses of the dead are rising out of the misty ground and mill around aimlessly in the graveyard. The team counts about 50 of them. While a doable battle it would cost them spells and time they don’t want to waste. So they hatch a plan to blast a path through using lightning and run through the group to gap to get to the burrial mound in the center.

The group makes their move and make their mad dash to the entry way. A stout locked wooden door stands in the way but a quick knock spell later they are in and shut the door behind them.

The tunnel under the mound is surprisingly well maintained with what appears to be modern etherium based lighting interspersed between stout wooden beams holding back the black earth of the graveyard.

The steady thrum of heavy machinery can be hear in the distance.

Heading right on a T corridor. The team encounters a mechanical spike trap that Ben Awn easily dodges out of and Gowan and Gershwin having hung back a bit from Ben aren’t exposed to.

A heavy steel door terminates the hallway not too much further beyond the spike trap. Another knock spell to get it open. And the party rushes in on a group of dog faced goblin like creatures playing poker. Cards and goblin heads go flying as the group of goblins is reduced to one living goblin in the first round of combat. At which point the remaining goblin drops his cards and surrenders.

The goblin without much prodding states they work for the big boss and the vampires setup this ghost rock mining operation down here about a month ago. The vampires simply mesmerized anyone who got to nosy to stay away and not ask any questions.

The goblin helpfully offers up his key to the doors in the hopes he gets to live. Which he does as the group decides to let the goblin go.

Through a couple more sealed steel doors which the key opens the group enters an ore processing facility where piles of iridescent ore are piled beside what appear refined ingots of that ore. The ore and ingots have an intense magical glow under detect magic. And it’s easy to determine that ghost rock must be a solidified from of liquid etherium.

The sound of heavy machines is deafening in this room and is coming from a 20 ft wide passage way directly opposite the door. Another 20ft wide passageway also leads to the right that gently slopes upward. Up that passage the team can see fans steadily blowing fresh air into the mine.

A curious machine sits off to one side of the room with ore at one end and ingots at the other and dozen or so mine carts full of ore.

The group proceeds down the main mining tunnel directly ahead. It takes pretty trivial rolls at this point to sneak up to the main mining operation. A huge black skinned ogre with polished white horns and a shock of unrully white hair bellows orders at a team of the dog faced goblins who are operating a tunneling machine and as ore is extracted from the wall it’s being shoveled into carts.

A glowing line of magical staves forms some sort of barrier just in front of the ghost rock mining wall. And strange phantasmal forms dance just behind the barrier. The two vampires are here trying in vane to have a conversation with the ogre.

Empty mine carts are scattered around the room. About 20 goblins toil at the wall loading mining carts. It takes a good long time before the ogre and vampires spot the team summoning creatures and casting buff spells behind some mining carts.

After that however the battle is joined and the ogre proves to be a tough opponent. The death oni (ogre) draws the life force around him in a damaging aura and can vacuum up the life energies of those caught in his breath weapon. The vampires and oni are defeated but not before the magical barrier of staves is knocked down by the oni’s dying trashing.

The staves go flying to the corners of the room as the phantoms contained behind it burst forth possessing the oni’s dying form and the battle is joined again. As the fresh peals way from the oni’s corpse and a skeletal moster is left behind with cold glowing blue eyes.

After one round of fighting this undead monstrosity they realize cracks and damage to the bone fiend are being repaired by the flow of spirits coming out of the wall.

So they take the next few rounds putting staves back and re-establishing the barrier. Then without the influx of spirit energy the bone fiend quickly collapses.

Next session we time jump the team one year into the future at level 9 in the “Eunuch’s Rebellion”.

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In the service of the Scorpion Clan

The group wanders about the villages just outside the capitol. Staying in barns or an inn when it’s available. They are wondering what to do now that their benefactor Eunuch Leng has disowned them.

After a particularly rainy evening they arrive at a simple looking inn with no sign at the edge of the road.

After resting their feet by the fire for a bit the troop is approached a man dressed in simple travelers garb suitable for a merchant or wealthy farmer. The man introduces himself as Ken a representative of the Scorpion clan.

To which the group starts drawing weapons and preparing for a fight.

Ken: “Be calm! There is no need for a fight. I’m simply here to enlighten you on some of the goings on in the capitol and to enlist your aid if you choose to accept my offer.”

After a tense few moments with several inn patrons dressed in peasants clothing suddenly taking a keen interest in the interaction with Ken versus the party. The group decides to talk it out and sheath their weapons.

Ken, “Just as the Lion clan are the soldiers of the empire the scorpion clan are the spies. You’ve inadvertently been mixed in Shogunate internal politics since the moment you took your first commission from Leng. We have some limited information linking the Eunuchs to the Imperial Guard Commander Kang. But where not really sure of the nature of that arrangement. Ideally we would of liked you to check in on Leng for us but that didn’t come to be. So in the mean time you can make use of yourselves by serving the needs of the Empire. There’s a village not to far from here that has fallen prey to a unknown malady. Check out this village and root out the cause of the illness.”

“I will contact again when we have need of you.”

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To the Capitol
Everything is not as it appears

Ben Awn
Gowan
Gershwin

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.”

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Ninja showdown at East Dutchman Company

The team makes good time over to outpost 80 it’s only 3-4 days travel. There are dense stands of mangrove and marsh grass that surround the 4 building Etherium extraction facility.

Two bunkhouses, an Etherium refinement building, the foreman’s quarters, and a barn like structure. Crates, i-beams, and barrels of fuel are stacked neatly in piles around the facility. The camp is very well lit by Etherium flood lamps and never really seems to not be active. The etherium derrick operates 24/7 with workers coming and going in shifts.

The foreman, Botwin, often demonstrates his expertise with a pair of whips as he cracks them close to the heads of workers who are slacking off on the job. All 20 or so workers wear grease smeared clothing with the only notable thing about them being a etherium gear box strapped to their side. All the workers carry pistols and some machete like blades.

The team spends 2 weeks staking out the place. Hunkering down in the swamp to keep an eye on this place makes for an unpleasant sit in leech infested water with mosquitoes just adding to the misery. Several itchy days later and several cure diseases from Dim-See.

The ninjas finally arrive. They just appear in camp one evening out of thin air literally. The team saw no trace of them incoming but thank the gods and some planning to set up bush blinds on their part that the ninja’s didn’t spot them on the way in.

Green Viper is wearing some sort of active camouflage items that continually cause him to appear to fade in and out of view. Black Kirin is dressed in more traditional ninja garb but is a very stocky individual as if he is a brute of a man under that clothing.

There are are 3 other traditional looking ninjas accompanying the ninja brothers.

Botwin starts yelling and cursing the ninjas out for being a week late. Black Kirin holds out a glittering golden scroll tube and calmly states, “I don’t really care if I’m meeting you foreign devils schedule or not here is the information you requested on Lion Castle. Take it or throw it into the swamp for all I care but we are done.”

While this conversation is going on Gershwin is summoning a small army of minor earth elementals and the rest of the team preps for battle. The battle is joined just as the scroll tube is tossed to Botwin.

As stones and lighting rain from the sky from Dim See. The elementals swarm the foreman.

The workers unfortunately are still standing after this as they all reach of the device at their belts and undergo a jekyll and hyde transformation into hulking brutes. They then begin to grab for crates, i-beams, and barrels and start throwing them at the heroes.

Glitter Dust falls on the ninjas so they can’t stealth way.

Ben Awn engages Green Viper and unfortunately takes an almost max damage sneak attack jab from Viper and then gets blinded by blinding powder to the face from one of the sub-lieutenant ninjas which Viper to takes another stab to the throat that knocks Ben unconscious.

Botwin responds to being swarmed by elementals by yelling for someone named Duke to get out here. While flailing his whips in a wide pattern striking everything in a wide radius around him. The etherium gear properties of the whips are apparent now as one is surrounded by flame and the other an icy trail of frost. His etherium field generator is also of superior quality as well as it has quite a high AC.

Black Kirin engages the weasel and Dim See. Beyond iron hard fists Kirin has some blackened punch blades that he slams into Dim See and Weasel.

Gershwin is engaged by by the other sub-lieutenant ninjas and is entangled in chains.

Gowan tossed down the glitter dust and successfully manages to slumber 2 of the workmen.

There’s a significant amount of damage done to the team by flying crates and barrels from the workmen. Dim See counters by blowing up the drums of fuel with a call lightning strike and finishing off the majority of the workers. The etherium derrick starts swaying precariously after after the explosion.

Botwin retreats into the main ethirum processing shack and continues to yell for Duke. But eventually succumbs to the 10 or so elementals.

Duke who has been hiding in the shack the whole time is revealed to be this 12 ft orge of an individual with a gatling gun casually slung in one arm and plates of steel strapped to his body with a strong etherium field surrounding him.

Duke lights up the swarm of elementals which go down in a hail of lead. Not before the elementals get in a good pounding on Duke.

Duke falls after some concerted efforts of:
Dim See – Call lightning and weasel fury.
Gowan – Heal Ben, Arcane Missles, more acane missles
Ben – Flying side kick to the head
Gershwin – Conga line of more elementals a few at a time.

Duke in the end turns out to be some sort of construct underneath the armor maybe a flesh golem? Part man part machine.

To the victor goes the spoils:
A couple unique items.

DR5/- Advanced Etherium Field generator. Large equipment size (i.e. you can only wear on of these)
Gattling Gun – This really needs a carriage to cart around but it’s a cool souvenir.
Gi of Camouflage – As the spell camouflage +10 bonus to stealth for the individual. Can make stealth attempts “in plain sight”.
+1 Punch Knives – +1d4 damage to unarmed strike
Ninja Sword, Quick Strike +1 – User once per round can make an immediate attack against paralyzed, blinded, immobilized or otherwise “disabled” foes. Sneak attack applies to this attack if the opponent is vulnerable to precision damage.
5 poison shuriken – 1d6 con damage dc 18

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It's a Witch!
Ninjas in the Darklands

Ben Awn
Dim-See
Gershwin
Gowan

A year later the team have become trusted agents of the Imperial shogunate and report out of the Norther City of Kem. Beyond being a city Kem is one of the great dragon turtles that represent the spirits of the land. No one has talked to Kem in long time nor has he moved in an age so most of the residents take it on faith they live on top of one of the 4 mystic dragon turtles.

Imperial Eunuch Lim summons the adventures for a quick mission into the dark lands the Spider Clan have stolen an important scroll detailing the defenses to Lion Castle to the north. The scroll was taken by two ninja brothers. Black Kirin and Green Viper. They are sure to have fled to the hidden ninja village to the east.

Eunuch Lim: “Do I look like at atlas? Of course I don’t know exactly where the hidden village is, that’s why I hired you lot. Get back the scroll!”

After a year of working in the Darklands the team no longer pays much heed to the haunting dreams and the are fairly adept at navigating the dangers of the swampy terrain.

After a quick tour of the seeder sides of town looking for information on the brothers. They settle on talking to the assassins guild and after greasing some palms with gold. The guild leader a disreputable looking dwarf with one good eye says there’s one person in the swamps that might know the location of the Hidden Village. She is a hag that lives in the center of the marsh. Party: “You mean an old woman that lives in the swamp?”
Guild Leader Nobu: “No fools, I mean a dark witch that eats children. Mind that you don’t become her dinner.”

The team navigates a skiff into the Broken Marsh in search of the . They don’t encounter much on the way in. One evenings camp is broken up by a large cloud of giant mosquitos looking to feed on blood but the pests are quickly scared away by fire.

The center of the marsh is a overgrown maze of woven together foliage. The canopy of the trees has grown together forming a tight roof over about a 2 mile per side square.

The team is leery of wandering through the hedge row maze. So they decide on a quick flight over the top of the witches abode using summoned giant bats to the center of the roof. There they spend the next 2 hours boring a hole through the roof using acid slash at 3 table spoons of acid at a time. This takes them into an open pavilion area with some wicker furniture, a bubbling cauldron, a small hut, and a slow moving slime monster that doesn’t do a very good job of sneaking up on the team but is really poisonous and manages to do some damage to Gowan.

A previous test of the cauldron revealed it contain a super caustic soup of nastiness that dissolved the tip of Dim-see’s finger when he touched it. A little concerted effort and the cauldron gets dumped on the slime monster destroying it.

A spike pit trapped entrance to the hut leads to a passage into the hedge row maze. The party finds rooms full of refuse and decay.

  • A disgusting pantry full of poisonous mushrooms and tainted food stacked on shelves and hung from hooks. Gershwin wanders a little to close to a hanging side of meat and takes a puff of caustic spores to the face.
  • A room with strange humanoid mushrooms standing stock still.
  • A pool of filth with a large tentacle that snakes out every so often. The party gives this room a wide birth.
  • A sleeping chamber with rot grubs in the bed. The grubs jump off the bed and try to make a new home in Ben Awn. Quick action from Gowan shocking Ben Awn destroys the grubs.
  • A lab with poorly maintained equipment for brewing potions and half finished portions and lab jars full of pickled small animals.
  • The party eventually finds their way to a secondary glade area with wicker furniture. After defeating a pair of very strong wooden golems.
  • The witch Selene appears to be a beautiful elf maid and makes a proposition. If the party brings her the horn of a kirin (unicorn) that dwells not too far north of the swamp she’ll tell them what they want to know. Killing sentient good creatures doesn’t really sit well with the party so they ask of another deal instead.

The second offer is if Gowan (who is a warlock) apprentices to her and does as she commands she’ll tell them what they need to know to find the ninja brothers. But she cannot tell them where the hidden village is since she and the ninja clan have an arrangement.

Gowan accepts and is marked with a tatoo of the Jade Scorpion sealing the pact between the two witches. Selene states the Black Kirin and Green Viper will be meeting the East Dutch Trading company at the furthest eastern Etherium mining facility where the edge of marsh where the sea meets the swamp in 3 weeks from now.

Campaign Notes:
Gowan now has poison resistance. He takes no Con damage from poisons up to 2 points and cannot be sickened or weakened by poison. +2 to Fort save vs all other poisons.

Gowan is now also curse to serve Selene at this point.

View
Bakemono Compound
Shoot out on the sea.

Ben Awn
Dim-See
Gershwin
Gowan

A good listen check and Dim-See realizes there’s the sound of beating feet going away down the corridor. The team decides to give chase and trust to luck to avoid traps. This mainly involves putting the monk with the best saves up ahead of the party. A quick chase ensues down the corridor where the team runs down a corridor and passes by 5 locked rooms and triggers a poison gas trap (2 con damage) and a fire ward trap (party avoids it) before arriving at a small beach and an underground river.

Four motorized skiffs, 2 crates of grenades, and 3 crates of guns rest on the beach here. There’s a steady chug chug chug sound echoing down the walls of the underground river from the Wujen’s skiff heading down the underground river. The Wujen’s rather noisy craft can be heard but not seen.

A quick set of skill checks to operate the steam punk paddle wheel on the skiff and some boating skill later the party doesn’t close any distance but they don’t loose the Wujen either. The underground river eventually opens out the face of a sea side cliff. The ocean is well lit by the sun and it’s easy to see the the Wujen’s skiff heading for a larger ship anchored about a mile out to sea.

Given most foreign vessels have cannons. The group wisely decides not to cross the open sea in broad daylight to get to the ship. So they turn around to check out the underground compound. They find an iron portcullis that can be lowered to shut off access to the compound from the sea about 1/2 up the under ground river and shut it behind them.

3-5 hours of exploring the compound and searching ensues.

The Wujen’s quarters is covered in an artfully tailored silk canopy to look like a giant spider web hanging from the ceiling. The room contains a large bed and with a heavy chest at it’s foot. Good perception rolls reveals there’s all sorts of spiders hiding around the room staying in here for to search is just tempting a bite by a venomous spider. So they drag the big chest out and check the next room over.

An adjoining room contains 2 beds with 2 smaller footlockers there are two artfully painted wall scrolls here of geisha holding daggers behind their backs. There’s also what appears to be a set of climbing gear here. Indicating the Wujen’s henchmen are probably ninjas.

The 5 doors the group passed on the long corridor leading up to the compound are all locked and contain various trade goods.

Room:
1. Canvas, tools (nails, hammers, chisels, axes, shovels, crowbars), rope – with a brick of opium hidden among the cloth. And some blue and white uniforms.
2. Western food stuffs
3. 20 kegs of explosive powder
4. 5 crates of opium – Gershwin fails his trap disarm here badly and is knocked out by another poison needle.
5. Fine art, porcelain dishes, silverware, candle holders, fine textiles. – Another poison gas trap goes off here an catches the party. 2 con damage

The crates all have this Western house symbol that no-one recognizes but they do happen to remember the 5 foreign grenadiers in the last outpost they were at all had this same emblem on their clothing.

A lot of this is obviously valuable but unrealistic to carry with the party. Some really bad assessment rolls later they take the shinny stuff.

The party takes some time to load up their booty onto 3 of the skiffs and tie the skiffs together. About this time there’s the some very German accented shouts coming from the bakemono camp well entrance to the compound. “Fan out and find the intruders!” in a very Austrian accent. As the sound of several jack booted thugs start echoing down the halls. The whole group has low light vision so they easily see the soldiers light source before the soldiers spot them.

The party rushes to the boat and runs a line of explosive powder from the magazine room to the beach and lights it. Not really being all that experienced with explosives Dim-See grossly underestimates how fast the power burns as he lights the line of powder and in less than a second the powder has flashed all the way into the powder room. Causing a tremendous explosion that collapses the corridor and blasting Dim See who was standing at the entrance to the corridor lighting the powder into the boat. The rest of the team waiting at the boats voids the worst of it as they duck behind the edge of the boats.

A quick perception check later an ominous sizziling bacon sound coming from one of the crates of grenades is headed off at the pass by some quick action by Ben-awn dumping the crate of grenades into the water. There’s a few muffled wumps under water and everyone gets drenched but otherwise no harm done.

Dim See who was KO’d by the blast is revived by a cure spell from Gowan. At least the jack booted thugs aren’t following.

The team navigates their heavily laden skiffs out into the sea to get on the ship. Its early evening at this point and a thick mist has rolled into the harbor. Perfect for getting closer to the big ship.

They prep one boat with the remaining crate of grenades to ram the side of the ship and blow up. A failed attempt at trickery with Gowan using ventriloquism to make it sound like the boats coming from the other side gets the bomb boat shot up by 20 soldiers. The explosion while spectacular is partially underwater and not right up against the ship so the bomb boat doesn’t do as much damage as it could have to the clipper ship.

But this distraction does cause enough confusion to give the team a chance to maneuver up to the anchor lines and climb on board get on board as crew members and soldiers round around putting out fires and patching the leak in the hull.

There is the sound of shrill asian woman’s voice yelling bellow deck at a Captain Von Holt. “What sort of incompetent are you? You assured me that your men would have wiped out these intruders in the cave!” Captain Von Holt is calmly giving orders his men.

Now that the party is on board they quickly get the impression there are very few people on the ship. The greater portion of the soldiers were probably sent to sweep the compound and haven’t returned at this point.

Pressing their advantage Ben-awn dressed as a soldier heads into the fore cabin and convinces the 2 ninja their mistress needs their assistance. And at the same time Gowan using ventriloquism to sound like the captain directs all the top side crew to assist the bellow decks. The bluff works and the 2 ninja and 10 or so men top side go to help patch the hole bellow decks.

Less than a minute later more shrill yelling ensues as the ninjas are commanded topside again with a contingent of soldiers. This has given the team good time to get in ambush position however and the vanguard of 10 soldiers quickly goes down in a heap after a rain of stones on deck from Dim-See. Some straggling soldiers and the ninjas storm the deck next and engage the party. Some more team effort and the 2 ninjas and 8 more soldiers are down. Ben-awn takes some heavy damage from the combined assault from the ninjas and Dim-See is winged by a bullet.

Captain Von Holt and Shirin Shen (Wujen) have taken a secret way up to the captains quarters at the aft and jump out to engage the team. The same deadly flaming spider swarm spell lands on the party but most are able to escape it’s clutches on the open deck of the ship. Von Holt lets loose with a blunderbuss and hits all 3 of the heroes.

Von Holt is armed with very modern revolvers and a etherium shield belt which is deflecting most shots.

Shirin Shen is stunned by a stunning fist from Ben-Awn and Von-Holt futilely tries to shoot Dim-See’s weasel which in turn wins a grapple check runs up Von-holt’s pants and bites Von-Holt in the crotch and causes a point of Con damage.

Ben Awn’s next attacks knock out the Wujen.

Dim-See closes the distance on the distracted captain and stabs Von-Holt in the chest with his scimitar. Gowen tries to slumber the captain and it does not take hold. The captain takes 3 shots at Dim-See and only lands one. Then the captain takes a moment to throw the offending weasel in his pants into the ocean.

Ben-Awn engages and misses. Gowen shoots the captain with some arcane missiles for a good hit. The Dim-See misses his second attack. The captain misses the broad side of a barn with his next attacks and Ben-Awn closes the battle with multiple fists to Von-Holts face.

Prolog:
Shirin is turned over to the imperial shogunate as are any plans and documents the party acquired from the ship.

The team returns triumphantly to Lekoi and is rewarded handsomely for their retrieval of the Amethyst Crane statue by the Crane Clan and given a imperial commendation for their work in uncovering and foiling this an trade alliance between the Spider Clan and East Wind Trading company.

You have made enemies of the Spider and Scorpion Clans after foiling their plot to do secret trade with western powers.

Next time:
The story progresses. A few more adventures on the frontier of the Dark Lands gains the heroes some amount of fame and the respect of the district governor. They are asked to represent the interest of the Shogunate as imperial agents.

Characters are now 5th level. You get the incremental increase in money appropriate for a 5th level character. Acquire gear as you like with that money. As before the CR of the gear cannot exceed your level. 3.5 DnD stuff is ok with approval.

You are now all trusted agents of the imperial shogunate. You all have a perk at this point that gives you +1 to interaction roll with native Rokugan citizens.

Notable items should you wish to keep them:
Von Holts Gear:
Von Holts – Etherium Shield Belt AC 6 – 6 round charge
Single Action Revolvers (2) – Rapid Fire 3 shots per round -2 cumulative penalty per shot past the first 6 shot capacity 1d6 damage. Precision damage can only be applied to the first shot in a volley. 2 rounds to reload.

Blunderbuss – 1 shot, 5 rounds to reload, 2d6 damage to 30 ft cone.

Shirin’s Gear:
Slippers of Spider Climbing
Kimono of Iron Silk AC 4
2 scrolls summon swarm 2nd level spell
Spider spirit summoning charm – Summons a spirit named Spider Spirit named Kodan.

Ninja Gear:
Exotic weapon proficiency ninja weapons required:
Blinding Power Eggs – Touch attack DC20 fortitude or be blinded for 1d6 rounds, 1d6 nonlethal damage.
Kusari Gama – sickle and chain +2 to hit on entangle or disarm attemp
Nekode – climbing claws. +1 climb checks, +1 ac vs 1 target
Flash bombs – Daze target for a 1 round DC15 Fortitude

View
Frontier city of Lekoi

Dim-See Half Angel Druid – Native, Dragon Turtle Affiliation
Gershwin Deep Gnome Alchemist – Foreigner
Ben Awn Human Monk – Native, Crimson Lotus Affiliation
Gowan Easter Troll Witchdoctor (Witch class) – Native, Jade Scorpion Affiliation

The adventures meet at the Tricky Tapper in in the eastern city of Lekoi. An Imperial Eunuch sits calling for bounties on the local bakemono (bat goblins) that live the swamp and raid the local etherium crystal filling stations.

The party sees various factions of Rokugan Clans (lion, crane, dragon) looking to hire. The party decides to sign on with the Crane clan representative that recently had an amethyst statue of a crane stolen by the bakemono. 1000gp per adventurer if they can bring it back.

It’s roughly 2 days travel into the Dark Lands to reach the bakemono compound.

Day 1 brings the group to a mining outpost. The roads are a swampy bog criss-crossed by dozens of timber roadways driven into the swamp. Dim-See recalls the roads leading to the phlogiston collection are marked with red flags (good survival/navigation check).

The party arrives at what looks like an oil derrick that is the farthest out phlogiston mining operation and spend the night. There are the miners and an unusual troop of 5 hessian military men in uniform at the inn.

A badly wounded samurai colapses just at the entrance to the inn later that evening. This is the samurai Sakemoto. He is revived and tells a tale of a bakemono camp to the east where his companions were not so fortunate and are probably in a stew pot at this point.

Party members failing will checks during the evening are haunted by dark and horrible things invading their dreams in the Dark Lands. This roll is made at +5 after this adventure is over as characters know what to expect.

Heading deeper into the bog the water quickly becomes deep enough outside of the mining island to where a boat is necessary. The party aquires a skiff from the foreman at the mining camp.

Some amount of scouting later the group finds the bakemono camp with 40 some goblins scampering around the camp next to a large central hut.

After sneaking up and some judicious druidic raining of rocks down on the goblins there’s a handful of goblins left and the Wujen’s (magic user’s) pet giant crocodile to deal with.

The Croc proves to be a handful and a quick to regroup after the fight is in order. The team searches the big hut before they leave and finds Sakemoto’s family sword and an iron lock box. Some hijinx later with some failed trap checks against a poison needle trap the box is opened.

Loot:
200 gp worth in fine silk kimonos for a woman
Obsidian Spider Statue
Amethyst Crane Statue
Ring of Mage Armor AC 4
A sealed scroll tube

The party returns the next day to find a passage way under the cauldron (with the suspicious body parts in it) in the center of the camp. They begin to explore this underground area and set off an explosive trap which alerts the Wujen to their presence and the battle begins.

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