Our newest session picks up the day after the mighty battle at our fortress. Many characters are still cleaning up the damage the fortress took, but all of us are grateful that we took no losses. Right now, our main characters plot together with Ameiko and Hirobashi Jiro in the Plotting Room of Plotting. Jiro relays that Hatsue has already set off for Kasai to lay the groundwork for the rebellion coming south. He believes the time has come for us to follow her, so we plan to set out for Kasai the next morning. Once there, our goal will be to find a contact who supported Ameiko’s grandfather, a man named Asakai.
December 3 – We set out on the road that leads south. After a short time, we are surprised by a couple of nasty-looking creatures that appear to be 17-feet-tall frogs with three eyes and tentacles. They decide they would like to eat us, managing to grapple both Jira and Skizzik. With help from Rika and Penelope, we manage to break free. Skizzik’s confusion bomb also works wonders in making one of the creatures attack the other halfway through the fight. In the end, Skizzik’s bomb takes one out while Shalelu’s arrows bring the other down. We continue southward.
January 3 – After an uneventful month of travel, we finally catch a glimpse of Kasai on the horizon. We can tell from a distance that Kasai is a river basin city, the Imperial Palace is visible within the city, and this city is humongous. One other thing that seems noteworthy to us as we approach is that the harbor doesn’t have very many ships. In particular, we see very few merchant ships.
Our first step is to find a way inside the city, figuring that the officials wouldn’t welcome us with hugs and kisses if we went through the gates. Skizzik spies a shady watch salesman who offers to sell us timepieces. Penelope actually buys a large one for Albert, while the rest of us talk with the guy and quietly infer that we’d like entrance to the city. He instructs us to double back five miles and find the Rusty Coin Inn. We should say Fat Ping sent us.
Armed with this new knowledge, we turn back and head up the road to the town of Busan. Set up beside the river, it functions as a suburb to Kasai. We pass up some classier inns on our way to the Rusty Coin, which appears to be a ramshackle dockside bar. We see the barkeep, and announce that we’ve been sent by Fat Ping. The barman doesn’t seem to recognize the name until we drop a few gold coins into his cup. He then leads us back to a staircase. Downstairs, we find an old corridor. We walk about a quarter mile to a room full of dumb-looking brutes and an older guy. He insists that we disarm before talking to the boss. Penelope and Thom volunteer to stay behind and keep an eye on our weapons while Rika, Skizzik, and Jira walk in to speak with the boss.
Within the office, we meet a tall red-tinted man with horns and expensive robes named Stagsy. Stagsy asks us a few questions, determining that we require covert entrance to Kasai. He announces that he’s willing to smuggle us in for 12,000 gold pieces. Jira uncomfortably attempts to barter with Stagsy, proposing payment of 8,000 gold. Stagsy isn’t willing to go down to this price, and Rika decides that this negotiation is unnecessary. She uses dominate mind on Stagsy, forcing him to order his men to help us.
With the negotiations out of the way, all 12 of us are disguised and piled within crates of rice aboard a boat that is to be taken into Kasai. It’s smooth sailing at first, but then the Typhoon Guard comes aboard to search the boat. We all try to stay quiet, but the guards find Thom within his crate. They demand to know who he is and why he’s there, prompting Penelope to pop up and claim that the crew kidnapped us. The Typhoon Guard Commander is suspicious and doesn’t seem to be buying Penelope’s story. Sensing that the bluff isn’t going to cut it, Skizzik stands up and attacks.
The fight starts off fairly normal, with Rika hitting the Typhoon Guard with chain lightning. But then, Skizzik does what he does best and sets the boat on fire with an explosive bomb. Freaking out at the sight of the flames, the Commander blows a hole in the side of the ship and flies out into the air. The boat begins to fill with water as the fight continues. Rika flies out the side of the ship as well while many of our NPCs flee up the staircase. Suddenly, however, the Commander comes back to attack Rika again. She nearly dissolves him while Penelope stabs one guard to death through the trachea. It looks like all will end well until the Commander essentially cuts Rika in half and kills her again!
Thom swims out to push Rika’s body to shore while the others wade through water to reach the staircase and head up to the deck. On the way off the boat, Skizzik turns and bombs the Commander to death to avenge Rika. We then decide to hightail it out of the area before the authorities show up. We try to move quickly, even with carrying Rika’s corpse, but the Typhoon Guard isn’t far behind us. Jira bellows to the others to enter a crowded bar, and everyone tries to get lost in the crowd. This seedy dockside bar features a performer on stage with red skin and fiery hair. Penelope recognizes this rap-artist as Hu-hu (another connection to the Evil One-shot Campaign!), and convinces her to send the guards away. Penelope and Hu-hu catch up for a few minutes before the performer returns to the stage. Without enemies actively chasing us, we’re able to orient ourselves and seek out Asakai.
We eventually arrive at a large compound with gates blocking our way. Sandru speaks a pass-phrase, and we are ushered in to see a very old man. Asakai greets Ameiko warmly, and after a short conversation he shows us to rooms for the night.
January 4 – A priest arrives early in the morning to cast resurrection on Rika. She is bothered by her death the day before and spends much of the morning brooding in her heartless way. In the meantime, we speak further with Asakai. He confirms that Imperial Succession involves attaining approval from all the royal families to set Ameiko on the throne. He also mentions more pressing news, in that Hatsue has been captured and is to be executed at noon.
To help us further in our quest, Asakai gives all of us special gifts. Penelope receive a large sapphire ring that will enable her to walk on water. Jira receive a blue gauntlet that will allow him to turn metal to rust. Skizzik receives a silver and copper Headband of Vast Intelligence. Rika receives a Staff of Obstacles to aid her further in her in her spell-casting. Finally, Thom receives a fine silver Holy Longsword.
Our first goal is to save Hatsue. We then want to rescue Asakai’s daughter, who has also been captured. We set out for the area of town where the execution is planned, mingling in the crowd while we wait. Finally, the four executioners lead a chained Hatsue up onto the platform and declare that she is to die for actions against the “honorable” Jade Regent. Ameiko takes this opportunity to win the award for worst strategy of the month, opting to stand up and call out the executioners. Aghast, all of us launch into the attack as an ogre mage shows up and blasts a portion of the crowd away in a cone of cold. Thom dashes to the platform to save Hatsue while most of the rest of us concentrate on dealing with the ogre mage.
Penelope lands her best arrow ever, nailing the ogre mage in the eye. The enemies concentrate as much as possible on Ameiko, Koya proving herself incredibly valuable in healing her. Shalelu finally brings the ogre mage down with arrows as we slowly take out the executioners. Once all the enemies have fallen and Hatsue has been freed, Ameiko quickly addresses the crowd. She announces that we are here to take out the Jade Regent and his Typhoon Guard, and that we will restore Tian Xia to its former glory. The crowd cheers as we bolt away for the compound. Our adventures in Kasai have only begun, but it’s safe to assume we’ve ticked some nasty folks off. Life likely won’t get any easier as our quest carries on, but that’s a tale for another day. One that hopefully won’t involve Skizzik going anywhere near a wooden boat…