Romance of the Jade Kingdom

The Ancient Rock Circle
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 8

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The next morning the heroes head back to Senxia Gu with the plan to meet with the Council of Elders, with an injured bandit in tow and an ancient Jade short sword. It is now four days and three nights until the night of the full moon and they have yet to find the peculiar rock formation. As they travel through Ren Jing forest, they realize that the damage to the forest has escalated. Trees have become blighted and the atmosphere takes on a thick heavy air.

Back at Senxia Gu, the party splits up to reconvene later. Taka heads off to gain an audience with the council, telling the others that he will meet them at the market. Helga and Yuriko decide to take the injured bandit to the Healer’s Hut while Fox, Jevin, and Randuil head to the market. At the Healer’s Hut, Helga and Yuriko find that Lo is still recuperating. Seeing his badly injured comrade, he asks about the other bandits and feigns disinterest when Helga tells him that The Shadow Rebellion bandits were practically wiped out. The head healer, Gong, tells them that the guards await for Lo to recover and then he will stand trial for his crimes. Lo refuses to talk any further to Helga and Yuriko, so they next head to the Silver Monkey Tavern.

At the marketplace, Fox, Jevin, and Randuil go shopping. Fox, ever the party healer, looks for potions of healing and rations for the group. Jevin and Randuil find a familiar face in the market – O Lin, the ginger merchant who tasked the group to collect wild white ginger, is nonchalantly selling his wares to visitors from his stall. With pockets full of white ginger, Jevin and Randuil approach O Lin. At first he does not recognize them, but after some reminders, he asks if they found the wild ginger field. Randuil says they have, but feeling guilty for taking his share of illegal white ginger, he quickly sells his share to the merchant. Jevin, however, has a different plan in mind. Surmising that O Lin may be more than just a merchant, likely a poacher, he attempts to get a greater share of profits for his ginger. O Lin strikes a deal with Jevin – he will give Jevin the name of his contact in Pyanping, a city buyer of ginger (and white ginger in particular), in exchange for the location of the wild ginger field. O Lin explains that white ginger has become a popular trend among city folk, especially with the noble elite. Rumor even has it that Lord An Ping, the Ailing Lord drinks white ginger tea multiples times a day to ease the symptoms of his sickness. Jevin agrees to the deal and becomes a partner with O Lin in the illegal white ginger market. O Lin says that his contact is named Quan who has a shop in Mongmin Neighborhood along Yan Yan street.

Taka then appears to tell the heroes that the council is ready to see them. At the Elder’s Mound, the PC’s relay their encounter with the bandits and the Yuan-Ti at the Shadow Rebellion hideout. They also explain the water cavern below and show the council the jade weapon they found, Sword of the Tempest Elemental . The council rewards them for routing the local Shadow Rebellion bandits. They are very concerned about the audacity of the Yuan-Ti, particularly their alliance and betrayal of the Shadow Rebellion. The elders are at a loss as to what to do with the weapon. They are just as surprised as the heroes to find that such a weapon was found in Ren Jing forest. They recommend they go to Pyanping and speak to the Wu Jen of The Academy of Scholars Arcana. Lady Wen lived in Pyanping, they recommend they speak to her about a possible contact.

Before the heroes leave to speak to Lady Wen, one of the elders by the name of Pema stops the group and explains that she was particularly grateful for the justice served to the Shadow Rebellion. She hands the PC’s a weapon, the Woodcutter’s Axe, which belonged to her son, to aid them on their adventures.

They head to the Silver Monkey Tavern to talk to Lady Wen upon the recommendation of the council of elders. Lady Wen reluctantly speaks to them. When they speak to Lady Wen, she obliquely and fondly recalls her travels, stating that for decades she was a resident of Pyanping, but left years ago to the small forest village of Senxia Gu, where she much prefers the retiring life. She tells them about a Shenyuen man she was once in love with, an ambitious and talented man who deeply loved her as well. But because he was human and she elven, she felt that her race and age was a deterrent to truly have a real and lasting relationship with this man. In addition, he was just embarking in the ranks of a powerful organization, and she refused to get in the way of that. She broke it off with him and fled to the forest. This man was Lu Jian, Master Lu, Grand Wu Shi_ of the Academy of Scholars Arcana in Pyanping. To this day, he does not know where she fled to and she deeply regrets breaking his heart, but deems it was necessary. Since the PC’s are going to Pyanping, Lady Wen agrees to allow them to use her name to request an audience with Master Lu. She also decides to write him a letter which she asks the PC’s deliver.

The heroes also talk to the hermit druid Yin Shi Shang to find out if he has any leads about the The Ancient Rock Circle. The druid mentions that perhaps they should talk to worshipers of Chang’e, the Maiden of the Moon. They often utilize the rock circles in the forest as locations for their rituals and in fact, they are performing a ritual tonight at the shrine to Chang’e just outside of town in preparation of the full moon coming in a few days. He tells them to speak to the head priestess Yue, ‘Moonbeam’.

Under the moonlight and amidst the shrine to Chang’e, Moonbeam welcomes the heroes to participate in the ritual to re-enact the story of The Moon Maiden and the Hare. After listening to the story, Yuriko, a druid herself of the Circle of the Moon and believing that perhaps Chang’e will reveal some truth to their cause decides to volunteers, and her friends also agree to run beside her. Moonbeam says that perhaps the chosen spirit will guide them if they catch it.

The ritual begins in the circle with the acolytes and initiates dressed down in preparation for the hunt. During the prayer, they call forth the spirits of the hunt, but instead, angry dark spirits appear. After the spirits are dealt with, the pure forest spirits appear and agree to the hunt. Yuriko’s spirit is a doe.

The heroes follow the doe through the forest. Several hours into the hunt, the spirit animal leads them to a severely blighted area, in the center of which is a fawn spirit on a rock. The dark blight is closing in on the spirit. Upon closer inspection, they find that the cause of the blight is a dead stag killed by yuan-ti arrows. The PC’s quickly rescue the fawn from the blight. Jevin takes a sample.

As dawn approaches, Yuriko shoots an arrow at the doe, finishing the ritual. The spirit thanks the heroes for rescuing the fawn by leading them to an large open grove in a remote part of the forest. Within the grove lies the ancient stone circle, the rock formation they were looking for.

The heroes enter the circle and suddenly they hear a loud noise – one of the large rock plinths has turned into an earth elemental and has now attacked them! The guardian proves to be quite the challenge for the heroes, but Jevin brandishes the Sword of the Tempest Elemental and the moment before it crushes Jevin to the ground, the elemental freezes. Speaking in the elemental language, which to Jevin’s surprise he can understand, the guardian tells him it will stave off his attack.

Success! The heroes have managed to find a way to protect themselves from the guardian of the grove and more importantly, they have found the ancient rock circle, which may eventually lead them to Hamaterasu.

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The Shadow Rebellion Hideout, Part 3
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 7

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In this session, the heroes continue and conclude their side quest deep in the cave of the Shadow Rebellion Hideout.

They reached a stone-cut room in the heart of the underwater cavern. Upon first viewing, the small room only contained a bubbling pool at the opposite end. A statue of a young woman with her head turned up, mouth agape, lies in the middle of the pool. While carefully searching the room, the PC’s find that the statue is the same figure they found in the previous rooms, a depiction of Matsu, Serpentess of the Sea, except she seems to be in the prime of adulthood. As hot steaming water bubbles from the pool, Yuriko the party druid discerns that the water itself originates from a hot springs deep in the earth.

It does not take the party long to realize that they need to pour the water down the statue’s mouth and down her throat. Pulling out the silver ewer, Devin carefully gathers the hot bubbling water into the jug and pours the water in the statue’s mouth. Immediately, the PC’s here the sound of scraping iron against stone, presumably a gate in another part of the dungeon opening. Then, suddenly, two flying creatures take form from the steam of the pool on each side of the statue – devilish steam mephits summoned from the disturbance of the pool. A battle quickly ensues, with the steam mephits attacking and then exploding into a ball of scalding steam upon death.

After the fight and while on a short rest, Randuil spots something peculiar along the cut stone wall – an outline of a door appears to him. Searching for a means to open it, he notices that a sconce on the wall is slightly askew. Turning it completely upside down opens the secret door. Heading into the short hallway through the door, they find a door at the other end. Without skipping a beat, Devin gets to work at unlocking the door. He is able to open the door, but unfortunately miscalculates and triggers a small needle trap that pricks his hand and poisons him.

Nursing his wound, he opens the door to a small bedroom. Sparsely decorated, filled with stale air, and clearly undisturbed for quite a long time, the PC’s find a handful of interesting items in the room. A bookshelf along one of the walls hold mostly moldy books and deteriorated parchments of paper. Fox does find a couple of clerical spell scrolls, including a scroll for Create/Destroy Water. The only other pieces of furniture in the room is a table and a chair. On the table, they find a few notable items including some potions, a copper Wand of Secrets, and a blue glowing globule set in a glass jar of water.

Inspecting the globule, the PC’s quickly realize it could possibly fit in the hands of the underwater statue. Sure enough, they place it in the statue Matsu in a previous room and open a gate further south.

Once again exploring the underwater tunnels, the heroes swim into a room diverging from the main path. The room opens into a pool and lair with sunlight breaking through an oculus on the ceiling. The lair was filled with a mass of large spider webs and the heroes immediately find themselves confronted with a handful of giant spiders. The spiders act quickly and attempt to capture the heroes to make a meal of them. However, Yuriko, as half drider herself, intervenes for her friends and implores the spiders to spare the fighting. The spiders allow the PC’s to leave.

Following the main path, the underwater tunnel leads the heroes into a water-logged cavern, with a foot deep of water covering the entirety of the floor and stalactites lining the ceiling. The room contains the last statue of Matsu, this time in the form of a nude elderly woman, in the midst of dancing with a joyous expression on her face. A stone door lies at the other end of the room. As the PC’s approach, they are shocked when suddenly the ceiling itself begins to fall in on them – the stalactites violently crashing down, lodged to the cavern floor. Then, as they realize that the rocks are actually Piercers, misformed creatures of the underdark disguised as stalactites and falling on prey for consuming. The piercers don a large toothy maw and tentacles to drag the victims. The heroes are able to kill the creatures with a few scrapes, but no one impaled.

They turn to the statue and surmise that in order to get through the stone door, which Randuil detects can only be magically opened, they must find the trigger key via the statue of Matsu. Trying all manner of tests upon the statue and issuing every piece of evidence they may have picked up along the way, the heroes nearly run out of options, banging their heads in frustration. Fox prays to his divine god, Pelor, who delivers to him a revelation that he himself holds the answer – the scroll of Create Water and Destroy Water. Making the connection to dancing, he casts the spell and the cave is filled with falling rain, the statue of Matsu once again dancing in the rain. The magical stone door opens.

Through the door was a grand stone-cut square room eerily lit in blue. What first looks like another pool chamber, the PC’s see a 50 foot long and 10 foot wide walkway cutting down the center of the room and leads to the other end. On either side of the walkway, the room empties into pools of still clear blue water of indeterminate depth. At the end of the walkway is a roughly hewn pedestal and a chest located next to it. On top of the pedestal they see something emanating radiant green and as they focus their eyes, they see the light coming from the blade of an ancient sword.

As they approach the pedestal, the heroes are suddenly interrupted by a booming foreign voice. “Who dares desecrate this sacred space?!” the voice demands. “You are not sacred to Matsu, so you shall find your end in her watery depths!”

A large serpentine water weird elemental rises from the pools and attacks the heroes! A difficult battle ensues as the snake-like elemental strikes and attempts to drown the PC’s. Taking several hard hits, the PC’s nevertheless fiercely work together in the fight – Taka letting loose a quick succession of arrows from the back, Helga leading the charge with her mighty axe, Randuil and Yuriko slinging spells, Fox shielding and healing, and Devin finding an opening with his sharp sword as he flanks the engaged creature. Upon the killing blow, the elemental disperses in an explosion of water.

After the battle, the heroes inspect the ancient jade weapon, a slender shuangdao or short sword with a jade blade. Along with its delicate craftsmanship, it has ancient Shenyuen runes along one side of the blade in which it’s name is carved, Sword of the Tempest Elemental. Taka recognizes the weapon immediately, at least based on legends of ancient Jade Weapons in Shenyuen history. Taka states he knows little of what the weapon may represent, as the legendary jade weapons are extremely rare and often only donned by nobles, who may have inherited the weapon, or owned by master swordsmen, legendary heroes, or powerful mystics who collected the weapons in grand stories.

Helga wisely proclaims that they should seek the advice of the village elders of Senxia Gu and her party mates agree. Devin’s eyes glint with mischief as the short sword is his weapon of choice, and because he was the first to wield it, he implores Taka’s aid in convincing the elders to allow him to use the weapon as his own. Taka does not promise anything, stating he will go with whatever the elders decide.

The heroes slog their way out of the hidden cavern of Matsu and back to the entrance of the cave where they immediately make camp to dry off by the bonfire, swearing off any and all water for years to come, and resting to the next early morning light.

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The Shadow Rebellion Hideout, Part 2
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 6

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We last left the PC’s in a part of the rebellion’s hideout previously unexplored for many years. They found a potion of water breathing and heard the sound of rushing water nearby. But first, they decide to explore the large chamber where they killed the ankheg. They find a small room which holds dozens of gelatinous pulsating eggs. It’s not long before they realize they’ve stumbled into the ankheg’s nest! After some discussion on whether they should burn the eggs or leave them alone, Yuriko, the party druid, sternly convinces the group to leave the eggs be.

The PC’s head back to the main cavern where they discover an underground pool and hear the sound of rushing water. They also spot a faint bluish glow in the pool, along the Eastern wall of the cavern, discerning that this is the direction that the current is heading. The three strongest swimmers, Helga, Taka, and Yuriko, agree to scout ahead. Remembering the potion, the group decides to split the potion of water breathing (by drinking the potion, the user gains 1 hour of Water Breathing), giving 1/6 or approximately 10 min. of water breathing to each member of the scouts (and keeping the rest for the other members if they need it). Before entering the pool, Fox casts Light on a rock, ties a rope to it, and gives it to Taka. Upon going into the water, the three PC’s are immediately attacked by rabid swarms of quippers, flesh eating fish with razor sharp teeth. Alas, Yuriko makes quick work of them by casting Fear from her wooden Ring of Animal Influence given to her by the elven druid Yin Shi Shang. The quippers scatter.

Yuriko, Helga, and Taka enter the underwater tunnel where the water rushes them through to the other end. They exit into an old part of the cavern where they find a rocky island, and on the island, a weirdly twisted column made from a stalagmite and stalactite merged as one, and connecting floor to ceiling. Encircling the column are etched runes which glow an azure blue and pulse with ancient primordial magic. The first three heroes are unable to discern the meaning of the runes. They do, however, find another underwater tunnel which leads further into the cave.

Through the next tunnel, they make their way deeper into the ancient part of the cave. They step out from the water into an entrance room with walls covered with the same yellow fungi as in previous parts of the cavern. They tie their long rope, now a couple hundred feet, to a stalagmite. Walking towards the entrance way, Yuriko unknowingly springs a trap, and a spring door opens beneath her feet! The trap door snaps shut and Yuriko finds herself in a pit filled with water, slowly filling to the top.

Meanwhile, after waiting longer than expected for their comrades, Randuil, Fox, and Jevin decide to follow suit, drinking the rest of the potion of water breathing. They make it to the first room with the magical column. Randuil is clearly fascinated by the azure runes, but is unable to discern their meaning. Before leaving, he cleverly copies a few lines of rune text onto some parchment. The second group continues, following the rope that the others left behind.

In the meantime, Helga and Taka attempt to get Yuriko out from the trap. Helga is able to discern where the trap doors open and jams a spear in between, using it as a lever to force the doors open. As she focuses at the task at hand, both of them are unaware of a slithering ochre jelly on the ceiling, drawn by the noise of Yuriko setting off the trap.

At the moment that the jelly strikes, Randuil, Fox, and Jevin emerge from the water, witnessing a surprise attack on their friends. Taka and Helga spring into action, going immediately from defense to offense, as the ochre jelly swings at Helga to no avail. Helga attacks with her mighty axe and connects, a powerful hit that cleaves the jelly in two. However, to her surprise, rather than killing the jelly, it multiplies into two separate creatures! But before anyone can react and without missing a beat, Randuil casts Scorching Ray to consume both oozes.

Having killed the ooze, the PC’s free Yuriko from the trap and move on. They enter a dark dank oddly shaped large room. A bubbling pool of water lies in the center. The pool itself is covered by a film of slime, what Yuriko believes is the breeding pool for the ochre ooze. At the far end of the room, in a dark corner, they also find a statue of an innocuous Shenyuen teenage girl, nude if not for strategically placed whorls of water along her body, holding an empty bowl. Taka says the statue depicts Matsu, Serpentess of the Sea, the goddess of the sea, identifiable by the sea serpent on her arm with its tail morphing into a wave.

With no other visible exits in the room, the heroes quickly realize that they need to put something in the statue’s empty bowl. They turn to the bubbling pool and burned off the layer of slime on the surface to find water beneath. Fox pours the water from the pool into the empty bowl and immediately the heroes hear a loud noise echo somewhere in the dungeon underground. The PC’s then dive into the pool and find another water tunnel. This time, the effects of the potion of water breathing have worn off, so the PC’s have to navigate the underwater tunnels the old-fashioned way – by holding their breath and braving the dark waters.

The tunnel leads them into the middle of a pool encompassing a cavernous room. Three other underwater tunnels lead out form this room, to the South, East, and West, in addition to the North where they came from. At the bottom of the room, they also spot another statue of Matsu, this time a woman in her prime of adulthood with her hands creating an open circle. They attempt to place gems in her hands, but nothing seems to happen. Keeping this statue in mind, they move on.

Finally, they make their way to the East, some nearly drowning as they hold their breath, and find themselves in a stone-cut room, as if they’ve been transported from the water-logged cavern to the basement of a castle of some sort. At the far end of the room is a pool hissing with steam and in a corner stands a statue…to be continued in Part 3!

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Roundtable Discussion: Questions, Observations, and Secrets

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Hello Readers!

I wanted to try something new this session regarding character and story development. I’ve been listening to a few podcasts on indie tabletop rpg’s (if you are interested, I actually highly recommend the Gauntlet podcast, which is a dedicated group that plays role playing games from different indie systems, but mainly of the kind interested in character development and narration; their website can be found here), so I wanted to incorporate a few ideas meant to foster character interaction and player buy-in. This is done in two primary ways – by asking each PC a unique question regarding their interaction (or perceived interaction) with another character and by assigning a “secret” to each PC based on their character’s own background and observation they may have had in the adventure.

We had a few sessions under our belt, so they weren’t completely new to the world I had crafted, and I had previously spoken to each player about their character background within the campaign setting. I also crafted the questions based on each character’s personality traits, flaws, and bonds. I actually think these are wonderful additions to the 5E rules. Unlike any other D&D edition, this mechanic is meant to encourage role playing. This was the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into each character, I was also very curious to hear the answers to their questions, and finally I also thought this would be a fun way to start the session! As far as in game terms, I justified this roundtable discussion as flashbacks or observations they may have had during downtime on the adventure.

So going around the table, the questions went like this -

Yuriko: Even though you are slow to trust people of other races, who among the other characters do you trust most and why? Who do you trust least?
Answer: Yuriko trusts Helga the most because they bonded over Yuriko’s first ale in the Silver Monkey Tavern. Yuriko trusts Randuil least because he heedlessly wields magical fire with little regard to nature.

Jevin: You’ve learned something interesting about one of your fellow companions. Who is that companion and what did you learn?
Answer: Jevin found something interesting about Fox’s past, namely that he was being investigated by the thieves guild regarding his questionable means of converting people to his faith.

Helga: Who in your group do you worry about most and thus would never leave behind? Why?
Answer: Helga worries about Yuriko the most because Yuriko is an outsider who looks different. She feels the need to protect her from those who may find her odd half-drider features or anti-social personality offensive.

Fox: Someone in your group has very little faith in the gods. Who is that and how do they feel about this possible forest deity, Hamaterasu?
Answer: Fox believes that Jevin has very little faith in the gods and works not for the greater good, but for his own greed.

Randuil: You sense one of your fellow companions has information regarding your secret. You haven’t spoken about it aloud, but based on your interactions, who might that be and how do you know they may know something about your secret?
Answer: Randuil thinks that Taka may know something about his secret because of his contacts within the Shadow Rebellion, who already seem like a dangerous clandestine organization.

Finally, I spoke to each player separately about a secret their characters hold. I asked them to not reveal their secret to the group until the proper time (so I won’t reveal them here). The only exception was Randuil, as his flaw is that he can not keep a secret. If you’re interested, here is Randuil’s Secret.

Stay tuned for the next adventure log!

Thanks for reading,
Reoryn

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The Shadow Rebellion Hideout, Part 1 (6/19/16)
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 5

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While the rest of the PC’s hide, Helga awaits the oncoming soldiers and finds a patrol of Ping soldiers, men of Lord An Ping, the Ailing Lord, holding banners of a tall tree circled by three glowing orbs against a grey field. The soldiers warn the PC’s of the Shadow Rebellion and the Yuan-Ti, along with odd occurrences with the spirits of the forest (details the PC’s are already aware of). They let the PC’s know that they should report anything suspicious at the capitol city of Pyanping.

The party travels on and stumble upon a vast field of wild white ginger on top of a hill. They get to gathering a few white ginger, Jevin and Randuil greedily filling their pockets, with forest sprites watching them. While picking ginger, they notice something peculiar further in the field – tufts of dirt and ginger uprooting itself from the earth! Upon investigating closer, a giant corrupted boar spirit appears. The boar immediately set to charge the PC’s, but Yuriko was able to friend the raging boar by druidic means. With limited conversation skills, the boar states that it is simply protecting Hamaterasu by killing anything and everything in sight. Afterwards, it runs away.

The PC’s finally make their way to the bandit hideout, a small encampment set against a cave. Within the cave, they find a small party of yuan-ti and bullywugs waiting for them. They escape and set out to form a plan. Helga crafts a plan to smoke them out. Before they do so, Yuriko shape changes into a bat to scout the situation. She finds a back room where the bodies of the bandits have been laid out and a possible secret entrance along a rock wall in the corner.

Working together, the party efficiently makes quick work of the enemies. They make their way into the cave to search the area and find a curious note on the table. In the back Jevin searches the bodies only to find that one person is not quite dead. The badly injured bandit states that they were betrayed by the yuan-ti when they made a deal to exchange gold for a totem they stole in the forest. Instead, the yuan-ti surprised them by wiping them out.

Investigating the back wall, they indeed find a secret entrance to an older part of the cave. Undisturbed for countless years, the PC’s make their way deeper into the cave, eventually venturing into a large cavern. As they carefully explore the moss-lined cavern, a rumbling sound emanates from the earthen floor and suddenly a large insectoid creature bursts forth, ready to attack. It’s an Ankheg!

After a challenging fight, they kill the ankheg. The PC’s then find a decomposed skeleton resting against a stalagmite. On the skeleton’s person is a potion of water-breathing and not far off, they hear the sound of rushing water…to be continued in part 2!

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Secrets of Ren Jing Forest (4/17/16)
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 4

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The PC’s head to the Elder’s Mound with Taka in the center of the village to gain audience with the Council of Elders. The elder’s are anxious to meet with the foreign adventurers.

Before they begin, Taka reveals his dream to the PC’s and also confesses to have followed them after the shipwreck.

During the meeting, the elders divulge the town’s greatest secret to them: A nature deity named Hamaterasu resides in Ren Jing forest and they believe that the tiger they ran into was one of its chosen. No one has ever seen the deity, but they all have felt its presence. Indeed, rumors of its existence have now circulated beyond the forest, beyond even Pyanping. Lord An Ping, the Ailing Lord as he is called, even has his own troops looking for this creature. And he is not the only one. Reports of the Shadow Rebellion having a stronghold in independent Pyanping are true, and some say that they hide in Ren Jing. Furthermore, other darker creatures from the Si Shi Jungle, the Yuan-Ti, have begun to invade the forest more so than in the past. The elders suspect something foul is afoot and nature’s delicate balance has been disturbed. Based on Taka’s dreams, the elders believe that the PC’s have been sent to them to protect the deity and to find out why the yuan-ti are suddenly more interested in invading the forest. They believe that they must find the great forest deity and where it is hiding, before anyone else gets to it.

The PC’s accept the elders’ plea for help and in turn Taka decides to join the PC’s on their journey. First they must speak to the hermit Yin Shi Shang who resides just outside of town and is the only living person to have ever encountered Hamaterasu.

That night, as most of them slept in their rooms in the Silver Monkey Tavern, Yuriko slept on a large branch in the gigantic tree. She discovers a gang of apes have infiltrated the tavern and were destroying things. Shortly after a battle ensues. During the fight, the PC’s find that the same darkness that had overcome the swan spirit Tian’e, also corrupted the ape spirits.

The old hermit Yin Shi Shang retells a story to the PC’s of his encounter with the great forest deity after he stumbles upon a peculiar rock formation. He believes the stone circle is approximately 20 miles SW of Senxia Gu. After the helpful information, the PC’s eaves drop on a conversation the hermit has with Taka. He tells Taka that his mother, Yue, stopped by his abode two years ago before she departed and disappeared. She claimed she was heading south to investigate a growing danger.

Upon returning to Senxia Gu, the PC’s come upon a crowd gathered around the body of none other than Lo, the Shadow Rebellion bandit who had escaped. They take Lo to the healer’s hut where they learn that the Shadow Rebellion hideout was ambushed by the yuan-ti and their minions. The PC’s decide to head to the hideout, but first they endeavor to get some help from the two mercenaries they met earlier -

Back at the tavern, they find out that the mercenaries have left, heading first to the burial mounds before leaving north. At the burial mounds, the PC’s find that one of the mounds has been disturbed, possibly by the mercenaries. The party then exits the village via the postern gate, heading north to follow the mercenaries and towards the hideout.

On the path to the hideout the PC’s spot a ghostwood tree where they find an empty altar set within a part of the tree. A dryad appears and explains that there was once a totem in the tree, but people came by and stole the totem. Then, the dryad disappears when she hears the oncoming noise of approaching horses.

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Senxia Gu (3/26/16)
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 3

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The party makes it to Senxia Gu. Fan thanks the PC’s for their help and says they should visit him if they are ever in Pyanping. Taka asks the PC’s to explore the village while he requests an audience with the Council of Elders. In the marketplace, the PC’s speak to O Lin, a ginger poacher who has set up a stall with various ginger products including dried ginger, ground ginger, ginger tea, and the exotic white ginger. He asks the PC’s to help him collect wild white ginger.

The PC’s make their way to the Healer’s Hut of Wu Tao, the Compassionate Healer, where the head priest, Gong, tells them that he is in desperate need of a special ingredient for healing potions. This ingredient, a plant called a Whisper Tail, can be found in Moon Fairy Pond which is located outside of the village. The pond itself is the home of a local swan named Tian’e, but has not been seen for awhile.

After exploring the Moon Fairy Pond, the PC’s check into the Silver Monkey Tavern. Yuriko and Helga meet Yu Shu Lien and Zurgo who warn them of a person of interest described as a Shenyuen woman with long black hair. Taka then appears and gathers the PC’s to meet with the Council Elders.

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The Spirits of Ren Jing Forest (10/4/15)
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 2

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Taka explains to the PC’s that the tiger is a spirit animal of Ren Jing forest and that the forest, the spirits, and its denizens, are in peril. The PC’s ask Taka where have they landed and Taka says that they are in the province of Pyanping, in the kingdom of Ping along the east coast within the Shenyue Empire. The PC’s agree to help if they can also get guidance to the capital city of the province, also called Pyanping. Taka says they should first head to his home village of Senxia Gu within Ren Jing forest.

The PC’s and Taka travel along the edge of Ren Jing forest, come upon a statue of Hou Yi, the Hunter, god of wilderness and hunting, and follow a friendly forest sprite who leads them to a dead blackened tree. Surrounded by forest sprites, the tiger reappears perched on a rock and begins to talk to the PC’s. She introduces herself as Anyanka, and explains to the PC’s that Ren Jing forest is home to a great forest deity named Hamaterasu. Anyanka says that the forest and deity are one, and both are in danger, as witnessed by the blackened tree. She believes that the yuan-ti have infiltrated her forest and have systematically begun capturing and killing the spirits of Ren Jing, as they tried with her. Before she can explain further, the party is attacked by bullywugs and Anyanka disappears.

The PC’s manage to kill the bullywugs and travel onwards. They come upon a rotund merchant screaming for help as he is sinking in quicksand. After a skirmish with more bullywugs and a giant toad, they PC’s help the merchant. He introduces himself as Fan, a silk merchant who was heading to the capital city of Pyanping with his donkey and cart full of goods. He entreats the PC’s to escort him at least to Senxia Gu, the PC’s agree to help him.

After a night’s rest, the party travels deeper into Ren Jing forest. On the trail to Senxia Gu, they are suddenly ambushed by band of bandits who proclaim themselves as members of The Shadow Rebellion. They demand a donation, eyeing the silk goods on Fan’s cart. Although masked, one of the bandits recognizes Taka. His name is Lo, a childhood friend of Taka’s also from Senxia Gu. Lo tells Taka that he can still leave safely, but Taka refuses. Despite a clever attempt to parlay utilizing a “magical” crowbar, the party routes the bandits, with Lo escaping.

Finally, the small adventuring party find what looks like a wall of very densely packed tall trees. They realize it is actually the wall enclosure of the village of Senxia Gu and they enter in.

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Shipwrecked on a Foreign Land (6/28/15)
Romance of the Jade Kingdom: Session 1

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Traveling on the ship, Great Beauty, from the Lyr Republic in the west, the PC’s were headed east to the capital city of Tianyu in the Shenyue Empire to find adventure and start a new life. Before they were able to reach their destination, their ship came upon a powerful storm along the Ocean of Matsu and capsized. Suddenly they were shipwrecked on an unknown shore, the only survivors. Traveling inland, they encountered a yuan-ti hunting party surrounding an unusual tiger with two tails. The PC’s decided to intervene, killing the yuan-ti and rescuing the tiger before it fled towards the Ren-Jing forest. Little to their knowledge they were being watched. After the battle, a wood elf scout named Taka of the Senxia Tribe introduces himself to the PC’s and asks them, “Are you here to help the spirits of the forest?”.

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