They began as prisoners in the Nine Towers prison. Stirge had been flying down among the prisoners and guards, causing deaths, including the death of a friend of theirs in the prison. His name was Win-Lur, and he was a sorcerer. They were gathered around him when he died, and the pinhole to the Chaos Realm breathed on them and they were changed into chaos monks.
- Hum Lae. (Max) A tough fighter who likes to tell anecdotes.
- Lightcrash the Silver Edge. (Patrick) A flamboyant monk performer.
- Tsung Lao. (Tyler) He could use a lute for a weapon.
Lightcrash and Tsung Lao swirled with spellcasting energy.
- Probability Nexus. After casting, for 10 minutes or 1 fight, can add advantage to 1 roll per level per encounter (after rolling.)
- Time Silencing. As a free action, stop time. Get 1 extra attack per level, or 1 minute of movement per level.
The Warden pulled them in (and some other hapless prisoners) and told them that they could earn their freedom by going into Tower Seven, which was where the stirge were coming from. After they agreed to do that (or be thrown down a long staircase back to the prison) they talked to the Captain, a tough woman who told them that Sook-Jit took his gang and was banished to that tower so he’d stop fomenting unrest in the prison.
First they got an assortment of gear, whatever recent prisoners had confiscated that wasn’t yet parceled out or thrown away. Then they were given a portable altar to the Purple Lady, goddess of luck and latrines, and told to burn incense for an hour under the stirge nest to clear out the infestation. They were sent across the wall to the tower.
They entered to find three gang members, who they put down with a brief fight. Then some tiny stirge swarmed them, and they managed to knock them down (Hum Lae resorted to using his shovel, gaining the nickname “Angry Shovel” which may or may not catch on.) They roasted and ate some of the little stirge in the small campfire before heading further up into the tower. (Better than prison food.)
They ran into some tougher foes who were lounging under the stirge nest, which was fleshy and leaking royal jelly as well as horrible stirges. After scouting the location, they were caught. They had a brutal fight where Hum Lae almost fell to a cleaver staff from the leader, who did actually kill Tsung Lao with hurled stirge-beak darts.
Fortunately, Huan (Tyler) was cowering on the stairs, and the touch of Chaos moved him to join in the fight. Clever use of time-stop, marbles, and bear traps carried the day along with violence, and they set up the altar and incense under the nest.
They heard a scout approach from below, and they ambushed him and wiped him out. Stirge flew down to investigate all the blood, and there was a short brutal fight where several of them lost more blood than they could easily spare. Woozy, they resolved it was time to move on. But there was something else downstairs.
They went down to find an open secret trapdoor, and a tough guy with a stirge head emerging. In a burst of heroism, Hum Lae charged him and knocked him down the stairs. Unable to leave his brave companion, Lightcrash followed with his spear. Huan slammed the door behind them and nailed it shut with shivs as best he could.
The monks tumbled down the stairs with the stirgeman, stabbing and clawing and biting. Just as the stirgeman pinned Hum Lae and prepared to kill him, Lightcrash finished the stirgeman off with the spear. They retreated back up the stairs, not wanting to investigate deeper. Huan reluctantly let them out, but hurried up as the buzz of stirge approached.
They raced out to the sunlight, catching their breath and binding wounds. An hour later, they went back in and retrieved the shrine, seeing dead stirge all over and the nest badly damaged by the divine outhouse stench.
They were released down Justice Way, and they rejoined the world as free men.
Hum Lae, Lightcrash, and Huan formed a rag-tag group of buskers to stretch the 10 silver they got from the Warden as far as possible. A week later, they managed to get enough coin from busking to carouse.
Lightcrash got a quest from the chaos-touched wife of a cockroach herder (Kim), who told him it was his destiny to save the leader of the Small Swords.
Hum Lae woke up to find he had a tile with an address; he remembered some low-level functionary plying him with alcohol the night before until he signed a contract of some kind, but he couldn’t remember what that was about.
Hum Lae sold the group on his contract as a good thing, and they agreed to back him up (after a retelling of the story of how he heroically led the charge against the stirgeman.) They went to the posh mansion pagoda of a slugman, Yon Dae-Ho.
They met with the aristocrat, who explained one of his favorite gardens was currently infested with a shell of snail people, and they were to get rid of the snail people either by luring them away or murdering them all and leaving no witnesses (as he did not want to start a feud with the snail tribes.) They were promised 50 silver each if they succeeded.
They talked with his functionary, Yun, who explained snail people were like gypsies who traveled in a shell per family. He sent them on a wagon to the garden, where they saw the slime trail over the wall.
They went into the curated garden, and saw how the snail people had already started eating the immaculate landscaping. (Snail people apparently love the plants slug people like to decorate with.) It pleased them some to see the order disrupted by hunger.
They found the shell, and the snail people around it. Snail people have only one eye stalk, and are slim and more eel-like than the slug people, bowed and spindly of limb and slick of body and mouth.
The chaos monks tried to persuade the snail people to join their traveling show, and put on a show for them; at first, they were losing the snail people’s interest, but then they used magic and talked about how the slug people were degenerate offshoot of snail people, and regained their attention.
- Maddening Pyramid. Grants 1 armor, and foes must pass a morale test to attack you while the pyramid spins over your head (optionally spewing conspiracy theories.) Lasts 1 minute per level.
The monks offered the snails tasty reeds, elsewhere, and the snail people agreed to join their show. The snail people all smooshed together into one massive foot body, and went up in the shell, righting it, and slithering out of the garden and over to a pond with the monks.
They talked about what their show would be like. The snails were led by Cho Juny. Others didn’t share names, only nicknames; Slick, Curves, Slider, Crispy, Eyebite, and Mr. Salt (who looked kind of eroded and pickled.)
Juny’s clan offered them a gift of a jade coin each (worth a piece of gold) and 7 doses of the Perfume of the Perfect Cure. They were officially business partners. (And was romance budding between Hum Lae and Slick?)
Next stop: the Yellow City.