Paito (Simon) and Karasu (Shaun) stayed in Kuan Loon with their three hobgoblin mercenaries. Choy Crabbreaker (Iris) wasn’t there, having been distracted in the Palace of the Red Glove. Weighing the relative benefits of going back to the shrine of law or investigating how to join the Society of Small Swords or do something else, they decided to look into the Society.
Nessie (Kristy), Yoya (Mark), and Kang (Michael) were recent arrivals in Kuan Loon, and they had an all-night dominoes game where they won and lost many strange things and ended up with no money and a sort of random assortment of gear. They too decided to look into membership with the Society of Small Swords.
Joining the Society of Small Swords
The Society was hosting a demonstration, where some of their members would do acrobatic shows and feats of derring do before a crowd in a courtyard of their compound. At the show, Yoya did some pickpocketing while the others watched the performance and then sought out the Master of Arms, Ruten.
Ruten told them that he had some work for those not associated with the Society, and gave instruction to meet him at a lean-to stable after the show. They did, and he led them by a back way to a tower where they could talk privately.
The Society’s treasurer, Jusa, has turned up missing. Ruten privately suspects the Transcendent Yack Philosophical Coven of abducting him somehow; the Coven’s focus of study is the 1001 Pagodas, and there is some paranoia between the Society and the Coven because of COURSE the Society does not share all secrets with them. The Coven has so much research and such that they have sprawling galleries that no one visits any more.
Ruten asked the monks to infiltrate the Coven by going into a shrine’s basement and finding the secret passage, then getting into the archives from there and finding their way to where the prisoner might be kept.
They agreed to look into it, and Ruten directed them to the shrine of one of the Nine Benevolent Gods, Death.
Into the Archives
They went into the shrine and searched it, eventually finding a secret passage revealed by touching the lotus carving so a door by the frieze opened. Two of the armored hobgoblins were too big to fit through the narrow opening, so they took one down. His name was Juju.
In the shadowed room below, they found some feral barbarian hobgoblins, and before a fight broke out Juju communicated with them in their own foul language. They took a shine to the intruders, once they realized the intruders weren’t here for them, and they led the monks through several galleries to the edge of their territories.
Along the way they saw whole libraries ruined by book slug nests, and rippling pools of standing water long undisturbed, and sagging architecture forgotten by time.
Eventually they reached the edge of the barbarian squatter territory. They thanked their guides, and squeezed under the half-down rusted portcullis, triggering a trap that Yoya neatly evaded. Careful, they continued on not knowing the way.
They felt a vibration through the stone, and found a large chamber where massive bees (bodies the size of a human torso) were building a comb. They decided the honey was not worth the risk, and they took the long way around.
They heard voices, and Yoya snuck ahead to find bandits planning a score. He returned to the others, and everyone approached, but they made enough noise to alert the bandits; all 8 of them charged the monks, who fell back into a hallway. Nessie had two long spears, so she loaned one out and two of the monks fought from the second rank as the bandits charged in.
Juju was in the front rank with Karasu, but he was hacked down in the battle. The rest of the monks survived the clash, leaving six bandits dead; the two leaders declined to fill in as others died in the gory hallway, and they retreated.
The monks examined the maps and papers, finding they were old maps of part of the archives, all imperfect. But the bandits had marked where they were, and where the back door to the Yak compound was, and where the treasure room was, though they needed a whistle to get there.
They treated wounds, then took the maps and headed for the back door to the Coven’s headquarters, pretty sure the Coven hired these bandits for muscle.
The Back Door
They found the heavy reinforced door, and debated how to get through. First they would take out the door keeper; Nessie poised one of her spears by the view slot, and they knocked on the door. The slot slid open, and Kang used his Shadow Bolt to kill the guard (the spear wasn’t needed.)
[Shadow Bolt. The monk fires magic into his or her shadow, and the bolt comes out of the shadow of a target within 30 feet who is touching his or her shadow, hitting automatically for 1d6 damage per level.]
The door was still locked. They took the lamp by the door and doused the oil on the heavy wood, but that burned off to no effect. Then they took drills and bored holes, hoping to get at the cross bar so they could lift it from the outside; after almost an hour of effort, nothing had yet succeeded.
Unfortunately a massive pack of short, cone-headed critters had come out of a nearby tunnel, and settled in, throwing weird curses and arrows at the hard-pressed monks.
Angry and desperate, Karasu led the others in an effort to just batter the door down, trusting to their might and powers of entropy to destroy the barrier. Hurling themselves at the barrier hard enough to bloody it, the monks took turns banging into it while the others traded shots with the vicious chittering mob lurking behind mounds of trash and rocks in the lower tunnel.
At the last moment, they broke through the door, and they piled in slamming it shut behind them.
The Treasure Room
Feeling vulnerable because of their injuries, they decided rather than trying to bluff or chop their way out through the Coven above, they’d take their chances with the treasure room; the dead door guard had a robe, a ring of keys, and a whistle! Paito put on the robe, and gripped the whistle in his teeth, and held up his shield, then they all went back out.
Sure enough, the whistle chased away the short and vicious trash-dwellers. They followed the map to the treasure room, and used a key to open it. They found Jusa there, surprised to see them but eager to leave.
They loaded themselves down with 400 copper pieces, 1,100 silver pieces, 400 gold pieces, a fantastical jade orb the size of a baby’s head, and a charm shaped like a fist.
They retraced their steps out past the trash-dweller territory, following the map towards where an exit should be. Sure enough, they climbed out to the street, and no one dared interfere with the battered but numerous group as they returned directly to the compound of the Small Swords Society. Delighted to see Jusa, the guards let them in immediately.
All’s Well That Ends Well
Ruten was so pleased with their work that he offered to fence their goods for free, and even do money changing to denominations they preferred without taking a cut. The jade orb was worth 2,400 gold pieces. A sleepy sage identified the lucky charm as a Lucky Charm of Never Letting Go (61). They split the loot, and broke the news of Juju’s death to Ko-gi, the leader of the hobgobins (who broke his sword to a shortsword and kept it.)
We left the carousing and shopping and so forth for next session. This game is a turducken of awesome, with Yoon-Suin as the frame, and Kwantoom as a walled city within the Yellow City on the God River, and Maze Rats as the rules and magic. This session, the 3 new characters hit second level, and one of the two second level characters hit third level (and the other one might through carousing.)
I generated the characters’ social circles and rumors and known associates and all as suggested by Yoon Suin, but instead of data-dumping that all on the players, I’m using that as my guideline for putting together adventures.
For example, the Small Swords Society has a missing treasurer, and is in a paranoid relationship with the Transcendent Yak Philosophical Coven; rather than just telling them that, their first mission is to rescue the missing treasurer from the Coven. I immediately use the sprawling unvisited archives as the adventure site, and introduce them to two of the three important characters in the Society while also laying the groundwork for pagoda visits.
This way, if they take an unexpected bounce I’ve got my club fighting groups and rumors and significant NPCs and so forth ready to improvise, but I can also present them paths forward that will reveal these elements of the setting and connect them to characters. That’s pretty cool.
Here is my updated setting document. Yoon-Suin Background 2