Jade Regent (Online)

Session 43
Winner Take All for the Jade Throne

After breaking into the Imperial Palace and laying waste to some mooks, all that remains is the Throne Room itself. Should be a breeze, right? Not so much.

We enter the room, all 11 of us (including Chilly the Ice Elemental, who is still chilling with us) coming through the door to take in the sight of six jade columns and three mean-looking individuals. The Jade Regent sits atop a dais with the Jade Throne, while a woman sits at the foot of the dais. Another guy is in front of them, though he reveals himself to be Anamuramon, the 15-foot oni.

The Jade Regent tells us that if we surrender, he’ll spare all of us except for Ameiko. We politely decline, deciding to battle him to the finish in spite of his warnings that he will give us “swift and brutal” deaths. With that, our final battle begins.

Alban quickly notices that a Tengu is hiding behind one of the pillars before lighting up Anamuramon a few times with his powerful boom-stick. After Penelope adds a few arrows, Anamuramon appears to fall defeated to the ground in agony. We have no time to celebrate, however, as Sandru attacks the Raven Prince before said prince vanishes. Meanwhile, the Jade Regent stands up and challenges Titus to a one-on-one duel. Only by smiting him is Titus able to stand up to this mighty enemy, and they duel as the others battle around them.

Four oni guard commanders show up to aid our enemies, though Caiatus is able to protect Faragel from them by blocking the door with spinning blades. Alban unloads on one of the guards, but isn’t able to completely finish them off without acid or fire. He keeps knocking them down while Koya frantically channels to heal the group.

Part of the way into the fight, Anamuramon wakes back up and transforms into a sort of cloud. Not liking the looks of this, Koya attempts to teleport across the room to stand beside Ameiko. Her attempt is thwarted by the invisible Raven Prince, who deals her a harsh blow. Meanwhile, the opponent we kindly refer to as Bitch McCuntface continues to heal the Jade Regent and dispels Chilly.

Things truly take a turn for the worse when one of the guards attacks Sandru with a human bane. Landing a critical blow, he decapitates poor Sandru. Ameiko had been singing her bardic performance to inspire us to greatness, but her song turns melancholy as she cries about Sandru’s death. Alban continues shooting guards while Penelope decides that McCuntface has been left alone too long. She peppers the woman with arrows, thoroughly irritating her.

Faragel started the fight with some necromantic spells that would probably have greatly disturbed us if we had had ample time to think about them. He continues to impress, creatively deciding to dominate the Raven Prince’s mind. In theory, controlling this masterful ninja assassin seems like a solid plan. In practice, the Prince had already been wounded and walks right into a brutal attack of opportunity from the guards. Koya heals him with her channeling, but just standing up proves too much for him as he is killed before he regains his bearings.

Penelope by this time has irritated Bitchy to the point where the woman makes her vanish and appear in a cherry blossom maze. Penelope is lost and confused for a time, while our battle continues. Another of the guards kills Koya in dramatic fashion, nearly bringing Ameiko to her knees in horror and despair. As some consolation, Caiatus brings down Bitchy McCuntface. Interestingly, she also kills the fetus within said McCuntface. Bitchy calls out to the Jade Regent to avenge her and the baby before she drops dead. This brings down the wrath on Caiatus, who finds herself targeted by almost all of our enemies. Anamuramon even changes back to normal form and attacks. Caiatus stands up to the onslaught for a time, temporarily snaring Anamuramon in an ice storm.

Penelope finally figures out the maze and manages to fight her way back to the battle, where she reappears within the ice storm. She staggers out of the ice in time to see Anamuramon closing in on Caiatus. Titus and the Jade Regent have been battling this whole time, the Jade Regent backing Titus closer and closer to the spinning blades. Seeing that the false ruler is on his last legs, however, Titus power-attacks and drives his glaive into the mask of the Jade Regent, ending his tyranny once and for all. Faragel also possesses the body of the one of the remaining guards.

All of us now converge on Anamuramon, who continues to press the attack. He temporarily traps Shalelu in a tornado before the elf is able to acrobatically extricate herself. In a particularly brutal turn, Anamuramon kills Penelope and snares Faragel’s body in his tornado before smashing him into the wall outside the throne room. He even manages to knock Caiatus unconscious (though luckily doesn’t kill her) in spite of us ganging up on him.

In the end, Alban proves to be the finisher with his musket. He fires once, twice, and thrice at the giant oni and finally brings Anamuramon back down. With the combat complete, we exhaustedly coup-de-grace Anamuramon and the remaining guard bodies. Faragel survives the tornado, and Penelope is given the option of exiting that long line beyond this life and chooses to return to us. Sadly, Sandru and Koya are past the point of return, and it is with a heavy heart that Ameiko strides to the Jade Throne and takes her rightful seat.

Ameiko’s eyes glow the color of jade, and we hear the screams of all the oni in the castle as they are thrown into the sky. When Ameiko comes out of the sort of trance she seemed to be in, she informs us that the hostages are safe and that Hirobashi Jiro has triumphed over the Typhoon Guard. We paid a steep price in the fact that only Ameiko and Shalelu survived the entire journey from Sandpoint to the Jade Throne, but we have triumphed.

Ameiko offers to reward us for our service to her cause. While none of us are particularly sure what to ask for, Caiatus and Titus agree to take on roles within her new empire. Penelope simply wants some land and a house to settle peacefully with Albert. Still feeling out of his comfort zone here, Alban wishes to return to his home land and finish the mission he had been on before all of this. Ameiko agrees to all of this, and we move on to helping the prisoners (including Asakai’s daughter) return to their homes.

The next day, we hold funerals in Kasai for Koya and Sandru. Dressed in royal attire, Ameiko addresses her people for the first time as the Empress, promising that we will rebuild and recognizing our fallen friends. The rest of us say a few words on this solemn occasion, and the hard work continues. It takes a great deal of time for Minkai to return to its powerful state. Ameiko’s rule is a good one, but that kind of damage is hard to recover from. The good news, however, is that our campaign has been a success. Where our journey continues from here is a story that is as of yet unknown. At least for now, however, the forces of good have triumphed.

The End

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Session 42
Holy Crap, Almost to the End

Our day opens with another trip into the Well of Demons. Hopefully we can finish this bitch off once and for all.

Faragel grants us all the ability to fly and we descend into the depths once again. As we make it into the lower level, we spy the boat that sits almost directly below us and decide that a pleasant ride across the water is in order. However, the moment the boat begins to carry us across, a group of frog-like beings emerge from the surrounding water to attack (cause no one saw that coming).

Alban begins the battle by shooting one in the face as they launch acidic spit in his direction. Caiatis surrounds one in an electric trap as another fiend flies up to attack her, because apparently these frog-creatures can also fly. Faragel gets into the fray by attempting to crush one of the creature’s bones as Alban continue to fight off the effects of the sleep-inducing spit.

Caiatis throws a cone of cold at four of the froggies. Meanwhile, Alban kills three of them with some fancy shooting (like shooting frogs in a barrel!). One of the remaining few grabs Titus and they begin to wrestle. Seeing his friend in trouble, Faragel flies over to support Titus with some magic.

On a roll, Alban blasts another one to smithereens while the one under the effects of the electric trap is turned into crispy, crispy frog legs. Upset by his friend’s demise and perhaps scared out of his mind, the remaining creature flips the boat that still holds Alban, but the gunslinger manages to gracefully catch himself instead of being dunked in the water. We then take turns whittling down the last frog-fiend before letting Alban finish him off with relish.

Satisfied that someone down here is going to enjoy a feast of frog legs tonight, we venture off and explore some surprisingly empty caverns nearby. Not stopping to take in the sites, we wander into an occupied cavern and are greeted by a lobster, octopus, human being. He beckons us further in to meet his master: a red-eyed, most definitely evil skeleton dude. He immediately launches into one of the tiresome spiels we’ve heard all too often from the evil-doers in this place and reveals that he represents the Shigamatu family. If one of us would only grant him a potion of our soul, he will happily give us his family’s blessing for Ameiko. Per usual, our answer is a resounding “nope” and we launch into attack.

Alban kills the lobster, octopus, human being before he can even react to what’s happening to show that we mean business. We then take a second to determine that the red-eyed guy is a Thanadae Deamon with the capability to suck souls which he immediately tries to unsuccessfully do on Titus. Not appreciating someone trying to suck out his soul, Titus brings Caiatis along and the two Aasimar’s strike at the fiend with their weapons. Alban then finishes off the weakened ne-er-do-well with his boom stick. Well, that was uneventful, but, hey, no one’s soul got sucked out!

We then move on to explore the last unoccupied cavern in the Well and temporarily rejoice at the fact that we’ve dealt with all the evil in this place. However, as we head back to the main tunnel to fly out, a column of unholy fire juts out from a nearby wall and harms Faragel, Titus and Caiatis. The rejoicing was apparently a bit premature.

Unsure of the source but suspecting that Alban’s ghost-friend is behind this, we fly around the area and buff ourselves up with some magic. Not pleased that his unfriendly ghost pal is still alive, Alban fires blindly in the direction that the fire column originated from and discovers that the rock wall in that area is, in fact, fake. Titus decides to fly over to the wall and begins inspecting it by poking it with the butt of his glaive (there’s a Pathfinder sexual innuendo for you). Faragel attempts to dispel the magic in that general area, but after two failed attempts, suggests that we all just retreat instead.

As we attempt to flee, Alban is hit once more by another death ray and is killed! This guy has it out for the gunslinger and his stick of boomness.

Faragel urges Titus to flee, grabs Alban’s body and teleports it to the edge of the Well; as far as his magic will allow under the Well’s enchantments. We all then manage to make it completely out of the Well, toting Alban’s corpse.

Back at the shrine, Ameiko’s ancestor is able to raise Alban from the dead and puts him back in order. Meanwhile, Faragel and Caiatis have a conversation about the ghost and recall that, in life, he had managed to turn himself into a Lich; however, this does not explain how he is still “alive” in the Well. When Ameiko tries to convene with the spirit’s of her ancestors to secure the remaining blessings needed, she discovers that she is still unable to properly communicate and suggests that this last foe is still thwarting our efforts. Alban, back in the land of the living once more, suggests that this Lich has made two phylacteries for his soul and that is how he has been able to cause us so much trouble. Faragel concedes that this is a plausible theory and we turn to Koya in hopes of discovering one of these items.

After a moment’s preparation, Koya uses her crazy juju magic to determine that there is a phylactery at the bottom of the lake that’s on the way to the Well of Demons. With haste, we head over to the lake and determine that it is about 70 feet deep. Unable to think of a retrieval method at the present time, Faragel suggests that he can prepare something tomorrow that might help and so we decide to rest for the night.

The next morning, Faragel spends the necessary time to prepare for a lake-dive and, once ready, impressively transforms himself into a golden dragon. He then dives into the water and begins his search for the phylactery. However, after two unsuccessful attempts at locating the object, it is Caiatis’ turn to take a crack at it. She turns her body into living ice which negates any worry of drowning and uses a rock as ballast to take her to the lake’s depths. Walking along the lake bottom, she spends some time searching for the object until she locates it at last. Releasing the rock, she floats to the surface, prize in hand.

Supposing that a direct approach might be best here, we allow Alban to shoot at the phylactery until he is able to shatter it, destroying the piece of soul within and lifting the barrier that Ameiko had been facing. (Who had the last laugh now ya ghost bastard?)

Heading back into the shrine, Ameiko spends a few hours in solitude communing with her ancestors and secures the remaining blessings. Having finally accomplished this feat and spending what felt like years on this island, we turn our attention to a task that should surely be much easier to accomplish, right? Over-throwing the Jade Regent and all.

Not wanting to waste any more time, we journey back to the dock and find the boatsman still awaiting our return. As he paddles us back to the city, we notice a plethora of smoke on the horizon and a sense of emptiness pervading the town. Sure that much has happened in our absence, Titus quickly leads us back to Asakai’s house.

After curt introductions are made on behalf of the newest party members, Asakai fills us in on all that has occurred. He tells us that the rebels are poised at the Northern edge of the city to fight the Imperial Army and are attempting to stall a direct confrontation until they receive word that we a making a move for the palace. The Typhoon Guard has also kidnapped some of the townsfolk in a last ditch ransom ploy and are holding them at the palace.

Ameiko then attempts to prepare our group for what is about to quickly unfold. She warns the unfamiliar about the capabilities of Oni and we have Koya imbue Titus’ glaive with acid to help make sure the fiends stay dead. Ameiko then reveals that, every day at dawn, the front gates to the palace grounds open to allow a small market to set up and conduct business. This can perhaps be an entry point for our attack. The palace itself, however, has been under lock down for a few weeks. Up to speed, we take some time to ponder, plan and prepare.

Asakai is able to sneak some merchants in so that we are able to purchase some items we may need for a battle of this proportion. As we prep, a plan formulates and then dies around the idea of dropping a dinosaur onto the palace through a dimension door. Fun as this may sound (and it sounds really damn fun), we worry for the safety of the kidnapped townsfolk if we pursue this course of action. Instead, we opt for a direct approach and decide to simply fly in one of the palace’s windows. Seeing this as the best option, we turn in for the night knowing that it may very well be our last and knowing that tomorrow’s actions will either liberate or doom this nation. No pressure.

While on watch that night, Alban is alerted to the feeling of something moving around in his haversack. The sack opens seemingly of its own accord and the crazy Grave Knight we encountered in the Well of Demons pops out. Apparently, he was attached to some of his treasure we looted from the Well and was able to use his connection to that to come back for some more bloodshed. At this point in time, Alban, Ameiko and some of Asakai’s men are the only ones awake.

Alban immediately shoots this creature that just crawled out of his haversack in the leg, rendering it prone. Seeing this unfold, Ameiko sends a whisper on the wind to try and alert Titus to this startling development. Being roused by the gunshot and the whisper, Titus begins running for the courtyard still in his sleeping trunks.

Back outside, Alban attempts to keep the Grave Knight’s attention diverted from Ameiko and, sensing this, she begins to head for the nearest door away from the attacker. Alban shoots the Grave Knight prone again but the evil being quickly rises and attempts to spray Alban with acid. Deftly dodging the spray, Alban replies to the attack by blasting the Grave Knight into oblivion.

In the immediate aftermath of this ordeal, Asakai quickly tells us the location of a warehouse we can use to avoid the incoming Typhoon Guard (it’s called a “boom” stick for a reason). We quickly assemble and then dash off through the city streets and make it to the warehouse unscathed. As it is still the middle of the night, we resume our rest and await the dawn.

As sunlight spills over the quiet city, we rise and prepare ourselves for the biggest challenge we have yet faced. Steeling our resolve with some really good tea, we leave the warehouse and proceed around the southern edge of the wall surrounding the palace grounds. As we get closer to our destination, Faragel grants us all the ability to fly and we are about to rise over the wall when some guards on top of the palace detect us and launch a volley of arrows. It’s do or die time.

Ignoring the alerted guards, we fly up over the wall and through the nearest window on the top floor of the palace (well that was easier than we thought). We take the next few moments to prepare for the chaos that is following us and use our magical abilities to enhance ourselves (Pathfinder viagra). After a mere breath, eight golden Oni fly through the same window we did and the fight is on!

Six of the attackers are immediately shaken by Caiatis’ Aura of Doom and Alban wastes no time, shooting the two unshaken pursuers, dropping one of them. Faragel then does his thing and blinds a few of them. Already in a rough state, they begin to stumble around to try and attack us. Landing minimal hits, they don’t pose a real threat just yet but Caiatis makes sure by forbidding some of them from attacking.

Sandru steps in to the battle and actually jabs one of them with his scimitar as Alban drops another nearby baddie. Faragel shoots one fiend with an acid orb to prevent his natural regenerative abilities but then pays for it with some hefty blows that bypass his stoneskin. Not to be left out, Titus then uses his glaive to kill two of the Oni with some impressive strikes.

Seeing his partners get mauled by our group, one of the Oni flees out the window he just entered, leaving the rest to our devices. Wanting to make sure no more escape, Alban drops another enemy with his gun before stepping up to drop yet another; only one Oni is left standing. Faragel mops up the dying Oni with acid as Shalelu drops the one still on his feet. We then join our wizard in the great mop fest of whatever the hell year it is.

With haste, we rush down the staircase to our immediate North in our attempt to get to the Jade Regent before all the guards are upon us, and find eight more members of the Typhoon Guard waiting.

Alban launches the attack by injuring one Oni with his boom stick as Sandru steps up to take the creature down. Titus then wails on the nearest one until Alban drops it. Getting creative, Faragel trips up three of them with some slippery grease.

So far, our foes have been rendered useless by our shenanigans and their own inability to hit us (typical action movie bad guy aim). Taking advantage of it, Shalelu drops one with some on-point bow shots just as Caitis’ giant ice elemental summon pops into existence. The Elemental, affectionately named Chilly, goes to town on the Onis.

Alban drops one of the guys Chilly was working on and then sets his sights on one that’s hanging around in the back and brings him to the ground as well. Caiatis coup de gras one of the Oni on the ground to ensure he won’t regenerate and allows her ice elemental to pound the remaining two into near pulp. We then polish off the ones still clinging to life and rid ourselves of eight more guards.

At this point, we can sense we are nearing our target and our hearts collectively pound in our chests as we gather our wits for a charge into the Jade Throne Room….

Next time on Jade Regent: Blood Bath Before Bed…will our heroes succeed in finally liberating the land? Will Alban destroy the Jade Regent in one turn and leave us with an anticlimactic sour taste in our mouths? Do the Jade Regent and his goons have some tricks left up their sleeves? Find out next time as the final battle reaches its’ climax!

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Session 41
Jade Regent - Reloaded

Things had never been worse. The adventure lay in shambles, the forces of evil seemed triumphant, the quest to bring Amatatsu Ameiko to the Jade Throne seemingly ruined. That was where our latest session picked up…

With the intrepid heroes (and Skizzik) not returning from the Well of Demons, the rest of party begins to grow nervous. Titus and Penelope have never seen the rest of the group this uptight, but manage to keep night watches until morning when Koya discovers that all four are dead. Desperate for help to save the mission, Titus agrees to allow a mysterious man calling himself Rodrick to depart the island if he brings back talented adventurers to help them. Rodrick reveals himself to be a skeleton as he tears a rift in reality and disappears into thin air. The entire group wonders if hiring Rodrick will turn out to be a terrible mistake.

Meanwhile, a really tall human by the name of Alban Athansius wakes up in a forest. His last memory is of doing battle with a fierce adversary of his back in his home land of Alcanstar. He’s wearing a cowboy outfit and carrying a musket. He’s incredibly confused, especially when he sees all the trees around him and hears birds chirping. He makes his way to a stream, coming across a dude in a boat carrying a staff. Alban introduces himself to the guy, noting that he is a protector of the Duchy of Alcanstar. The dude reveals that they are currently in the Abyss and invites him to come aboard his boat. Alban hesitates until he hears that pursuers are following him from behind. He jumps aboard, still confused, and becomes even more so as the boatman rips through reality again and transports them away.

The story shifts to the Crown of the World, where a tall human-like woman with pearlescent hair and blue topaz eyes is patrolling the forests that border her nation. She and her friends are exploring the area, a Ranger friend of hers up ahead of the group. When the woman bends down for a moment and then stands back up, she finds that her friends are gone and she is quite alone. She casts an icy spell and starts to explore the area. Like Alban, she eventually comes to a stream and encounters the two in the boat. She introduces herself as Caiatus Harroway before the boatman explains further that he has been sent to bring three heroes “touched by destiny” (though hopefully not inappropriately) to help a would-be queen down in Minkai. Caiatus is initially concerned about her friends, but the boatman assures her that none of them were harmed. She then is willing to come aboard the boat. Alban fires his musket when she asks about it, making her jump and regard Alban with suspicion for as long as they are on the boat together. Nonetheless, the boatman tears another rift and transports them to a pond far south of the Crown of the World.

Here, they are approached by a bleary-eyed half-elf wearing a wizard’s hat. This interesting fellow insists that he is not an adventurer, but rather a scholar. This third name on the boatman’s list is Faragel the Prim, and he has a fondness for soap that he regrets Alban does not share. He’s as confused as the other two, but is still willing to jump on the boat. With another tear in reality, the boatman transports them to the koi pond on the island where our group awaits.

Rodrick quickly drops the three new adventurers off and disappears. Slightly dumbfounded, Titus tries to quickly explain why he summoned the three of them and what sort of trouble everyone is in. When Alban again demonstrates the use of his “boom stick”, the noise draws Ameiko. Titus introduces her so that she may continue to explain who she is, what the mission is for, and why we needed help. None of the new adventurers is too keen on the fact that they are now stuck on the island with us until we further investigate the Well of Demons. Ameiko admits that she feels bad for bringing these new adventurers here, but promises them vast compensation if they prove instrumental in fulfilling our quest.

Once introductions are out of the way (Titus meeting his first fellow aasimar in Caiatus) the group decides to head to the Well of Demons. Like the other four before us, we must contend with the climb down. Faragel would have fallen down the waterfall, but luckily was in flight at the time. Down on the next cliff, we start to explore the area. In the southern-most room, we encounter three figures menacing us from the shadows. Alban’s gun takes them by surprise, ripping through two of them with ease while Titus smites the third with his glaive.

Moving on, we encounter no one else in the western area, returning to the cliff. Faragel casts a spell and makes a sturdy bridge for us to descend to the area across the water. We continue north, seeing signs of battle with bloodstains and scorch marks galore. Rounding the corner, we see a monstrous creature in the distance. This abomination is essentially Franken-party, with re-animated parts and pieces of our old friends pieced together to attack us. Unnaturally angry, Titus leads the attack on the monstrosity. However, Alban’s gun again proves invaluable and eventually brings down the beast with an explosion after Faragel slows it down by turning the ground beneath it to mud. In fact, the beast is dead quickly enough that the celestial t-rex Caiatus summons doesn’t even time to attack.

Instead, the t-rex proves useful in helping us dig graves in the softer mud for the dead heroes. As we bury our fallen comrades, Faragel educates us on celestial t-rexes and where they go when they vanish. He wraps up in time for Titus to tearfully say a few words in honor of Rika, Skizzik, Thom, and Jira. From there, the group climbs up a cliff to find a treasure pile. The ancestral weapons and much of the gold the fallen heroes left behind is here, along with a couple of other artifacts. Unfortunately, the Seal isn’t here. Titus picks up the flaming katana Suishen, which speaks to him about the fight that killed the others, and how they died valiantly.

With nowhere else to go but down, Faragel enables us to fly down the waterfall into an even lower level of the Well. Passing forward, we find an evil knight with a katana and piercing red eyes. Caiatus beats him until Alban disarms him of his katana. Titus wrestles the knight to the ground, but doesn’t have much time to subdue him before Alban blows his head off with his gun. Pressing forward, we find ourselves in a large dark room. We hear a nasty screeching sound, and Caiatus manages to spot a giant dragon-like bat. Thinking quickly, Penelope illuminates the room with a well-placed arrow from the Daikyu of Commanding Presence. The bat doesn’t care much for the light, and angrily swoops down to grab Caiatus. After a round of attacks, Penelope brings the bat down with a skillful array of arrow shots.

We continue onward, suddenly finding a nasty and smelly room with a black throne. A dead body lies to our south. As we move forward to investigate, a ghost with tattered robes pops out of the floor. At first angry, the ghost reveals itself as Shojinawa Ito and offers to make a deal with us. In exchange for giving us his family blessing, he wants to possess one of our bodies in order to leave this place. Titus informs the ghost that we are disinclined to help him, and the ghost regrettably doesn’t take the rejection well. His very gaze causes Alban pain and anguish as we set up to attack. Alban proves he means business by firing back with his musket.

After a very short skirmish, the ghost disappears into the ground. We step forward cautiously, Faragel warning us that the ghost isn’t gone for good and could return at any moment. Growing close to the dead body, Caiatus finds a fancy box containing the Seal. Our trimph is extremely short-lived, as the ghost pops his head out of the ground and shoots a purple blast that kills Alban on the spot. Faragel teleports Alban’s body back out of the ghost’s room. Caiatus retreats while Titus and Penelope hold the ghost off. Caiatus restores Alban’s life with a spell, but he’s still unconscious and clinging to life.

The fight continues, Penelope managing to stave off some of the ghost’s nastier attacks. Even his attempt to disintegrate the archer narrowly misses. Titus tries to tactically keep up the fire on the ghost while moving into range to channel and heal Alban. Just as the others revive Alban to the point where he wakes up, however, Penelope’s arrows finally defeat the ghost. He, of course, promises to return for us. In his absence, we find the body of the Emperor that the others died looking for. With both the body and the Seal in our possession, we decide to call it a day and retreat back up. It takes us some time to climb out of the Well of Demons, but eventually do so.

Back up at Camp, we set up a funeral pyre and lay Emperor Shigure to rest. Koya conducts the service, placing his ashes in an urn. The Emperor’s specter manifests and thanks us for putting his body to rest. He gives us the blessing of the Higashiyama family (only four blessings left to go!) and hands a gift to Koya. He also instructs us to “look behind the Dragon in the palace for something cool.” Our time here is not finished, as many blessings still remain. However, after hitting rock bottom with the deaths of our beloved heroes, we still have the faintest glimmer of hope that these new adventurers will be able to finish what the old crew started. This close to the Jade Throne, we still have a long way to go…

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Session 40
Well Shit, Everyone Died

7 Jan. The dawn blossoms revealing Skizzik to still have a nasty case of demonic flu. However, Ameiko’s ancestor Onoko is able to cure him with a wee bit of magic and, now all up to snuff, we decide to head into the dreaded Well of Demons once more.

On our toes this time, we get down the walkway and into the well without incident. Ignoring the pool of water where the slime demons almost killed Jira, we take a tunnel to the south and find a Tien man in a decorative room. He introduces himself as Shogun Sokai and Skizzik flips through his historical knowledge and remembers hearing about him as a former brutal Shogun of Min Kai.

Curious as ever, Skizzik asks the man what he is doing down in the well. The Shogun tells him that his body and therefore his spirit is not at rest and so he is trapped down here. He suggests that his entrapment is due to a gate up top on the island and asks us to do him the favor of destroying the structure so that he may find rest. He also promises to give Ameiko the blessing of the Takoku family if we comply.

We take some time to confer back out in the hallway and decide to seek a second opinion. Skizzik and Rika fly up and out of the well to talk to Onoko about the gate and she reveals that it is most likely keeping many of the spirits trapped in the well from bursting forth and reeking havoc on the land. While their friends are topside, Jira and Thom strike up a loud conversation to try to compensate for their absence so that Sokai doesn’t become suspicious.

After obtaining the expected news, Rika and Skizzik fly back into the well and reconvene with Thom and Jira to share the unfortunate information. Proposing to try compromise, we enter the Shogun’s chambers once more and bring up his “difficult” neighbors. Although he admits it would be nice if we could dispose of them, he reveals that his neighbors are other spirit-members of the other royal families. Not really seeing a compromise at this point, we break the bad news to the Shogun and he immediately drops his guise. He reveals himself to be a demon in the form of a boar with bat wings protruding from his back. As he exposes himself, the slime demon we failed to kill the day before oozes into existence next to him.

Talking over, Rika whiffs an Enervation ray at the Shogun and he replies by slowing Rika and Thom with a spell. The slime takes heed from his master and slides up to Skizzik so that he can smack him, but Jira maneuvers into position in order to flank the ooze. Not distracted by the slime, Skizzik gives the boar-demon a once-over and determines that he is immune to poison and electricity and resistant to all other elements; a party for sure. With some cold breath, our gnome alchemist hits the slime and the boar.

Not the slightest bit amused, the Shogun dazes Thom, Skizzik and Rika and then completely incapacitates the sorceress by rendering her basically stupid. Simultaneously, Jira is grabbed by the slime and it begins to ooze itself down his throat; an unfortunate taste Jira is all too familiar with.

Pleased by the results of stupefying the girl, the boar-demon then turns and stupefies Skizzik, also rendering him useless. A few feet away, Jira is able to wriggle around enough to loosen the oozes grip on him and, in a purely divine moment, Jira’s deity, Cayden Cailean, speaks to his ward and tells him to smite these fiends. Without hesitation, Jira responds to the directive and bathes his weapons in a holy light that allows him to better injure these demon menaces. Seeing this development, the boar-demon bitch slaps Jira in the face and sends him flying into a wall. While down, the slime demon grabs him once more. No longer dazed, Thom gets into the fight and starts wailing on the slime that is trying to suffocate his friend. Not helping one bit, a stupefied Skizzik begins barking at Thom as Rika proceeds to whack the slime repeatedly with her magical staff. The boar-demon’s laugh echoes around the cavern as we fumble around like idiots.

Thom quickly crushes the beast’s amusement by finishing off the slime demon; much to the relief of Jira’s taste buds. Seizing the moment, Jira turns and charges the Shogun to hit him with his katana. Likewise, Thom tries a charge but is deflected as the demon bitch slaps him into the wall. Jira retaliates with some hits but the boar dazes Thom once more before bitch slapping Jira into unconsciousness. Seeing everyone incapacitated, the demon decides to attend to other matters and “poofs” out of the room very convenient-like.

Thom eventually gets a grip on himself and revives Jira with a potion. They then both carry/escort Rika and Skizzik back up and out of the well and to Onoko and the others. Skizzik and Rika are restored to normal and we all heal up and prepare better before heading back in for more.

Round 2

Back down in the well, Skizzik barges into the Shogun’s lair and starts flinging bombs at him to reduce his will. Rika steps in and zips an enervation at him to reduce his level as well. Thom charges right up to his face as Skizzik’s will-sapping bombs are flying all around. The boar recovers long enough to daze Rika and Thom once again, but Jira compensates by stepping up and striking him with a few blows. As Jira pounds, Skizzik continues to wail on his wisdom while Thom and Rika try to recover their senses. When she clears up, Rika immediately encases the demon in ice and promptly shatters him into pieces with a magic missile bombardment. Second time’s the charm?

As the Shogun dies, the imaginary scenery of the room fades to reveal nothing more than a bare stone cavern. We loot the corpse, heal our smashers and crack on. To the next cavern!

Directly to the west, we see stalactites and mist but not much else. Tired of this crap however, Skizzik yells into the cavern to any lurkers in Abyssal about doing unfortunate things to their mothers and three large smelly creatures come out to play, enraged by the taunt.

Thom and Jira step forward to battle and Skizzik takes a moment to determine that these are Hezrou Demons who are known for enjoying a good brawl. One of the demons immediately summons a copy of himself and so we’re on equal footing. Rika quickly traps one in an icy prison, rendering it helpless. Skizzik confuses one with bombs as Jira and Thom whiff a few times.

In a bizarre twist, the summoned demon sense weakness from its’ summoner, whom is now trapped in ice. Without hesitation, it coup de gras the helpless Hezrou and sends him straight back from whence he came. Bonus to us! Distracted only for a moment by this, Rika uses some magic missiles to finish off a second one as Thom cuts another one in half. He then joins Jira by getting into the last demon’s face and watches as the half-orc polishes off the last member of the quartet.

We take a moment to heal up our halfling and then venture to the north. Flying or swimming, we traverse the pool with no incident this time and make it to the opposite beach. Ahead is a pathway that slopes upward.

As we make our way, Thom trips, and as he does so, a blade flies out of nowhere, clearly aimed at his neck and chops off a few of the hairs on his head. A lady in a blood-stained kimono with a white mask, claws and horns appears ahead and flies into the air. What follows next is one of the most unfortunate encounters this group has ever been a party to.

Skizzik starts off swinging and temporarily blinds the woman with a bomb and Thom launches a javelin up at her. Unable to see, the woman lands and lashes out at us with a wave of fatigue. Undaunted and feeling particularly vengeful today, Skizzik vomits a swarm of army ants on her to further screw her over. After sticking her to the floor with a tangle foot bag, we watch with mixed feelings of horror and, in Thom’s case, amusement, as the army ants slowly eat at her despite her best efforts to burn them away. Jira shoots some arrows into her to try to speed up the process and Skizzik eventually concedes and finishes her off with an explosive bomb. That poor, poor demon whore.

Not stopping to consider the morality of what we just let transpire, lest Jira be made queasy, we continue on around the corner and come to a tiled courtyard cavern draped with tapestries. As we enter, many winged, fallen-angel looking creatures hover over head clutching flaming bows. To more battle!

Jira opens with a volley of arrows at one of the creatures and Skizzik determines that they are furies, or winged devils. Not appreciating the appraising eye, one of the furies flies over to Skizzik and entangles him in a rope. Rika retaliates by shocking four of them with some lightning. Still not feeling the love, one of the devils shoots some arrows at Rika as two others entangle Jira and Rika with their ropes. Unfazed, Rika fries two of them with some more lightning as they launch into a new and decidedly stupid tactic. They begin to put away their bows and pull out swords as they land on the ground in front of the boys, which puts them into melee range for Thom and Jira. After we make quick work of a few, the remainder teleport away before they’re slain.

Proceeding through the courtyard, we come across a small cliff that houses a cavern on the other side. While Thom must scale it himself, Skizzik, Jira and Rika fly up the face and find the furies that had just fled with a lady in ornate robes. The lady calmly greets us and asks about our presence here in the well. When she hears of Ameiko, she reveals that she is also an Amatatsu and requests to meet our liege to which we promptly reply, “Aw hellz no!” Blundering in to the fight blindly, we commence in yet another battle.

The lady quickly drops some black tentacles on the ground which grab Skizzik, Rika and Jira. The winged furies take the opportunity to pepper us all with arrows as we struggle with our slimy restraints. Free to move because he had to scale the wall, Thom does the best he can though he is outnumbered. The lady wastes no time in grappling Rika further with her head tentacles and then goes so far as to pull Rika under her skirt with some crazy ass leg tentacles! Trapped in a land down under, Rika tries to punch her way out through the bitch’s ovaries but soon finds herself in danger. Skizzik tries to help bomb Rika out but the tentacles do their worst and wring the life out of Rika!

The lady then offers a deal but, too blind with rage, the others refuse and keep on fighting. The furies continuously pepper Thom with arrows and whack him into near unconsciousness. Mustering his remaining strength, Jira manages to land a massive hit on the devil-lady and kills her. However, her tentacles remain to grapple us. In retaliation for their master’s murder, Thom is killed by taking one too many arrows to the face! The situation grim, Skizzik and Jira still struggle but all of the furies remain to do battle until the end. The lights begin to dim on our four heroes as all hope seems to truly be lost once and for all and darkness closes in…

Next time on Jade Regent: Total Party Kerfluffle! Is the resistance truly over? Is all hope for Min Kai lost? Or does one of our more quiet members have it within him to gather more heroes to continue the quest? Find out next time!

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Session 39
And the Emperor was the Easy Fight

Our last session left off with our group being rudely attacked by a pernicious female monk in the Temple of Shurizo. We pick up the action freshly after the battle. The most obvious problem lingering from the fight is that Shalelu is indicating that she can’t speak. Skizzik inspects her with an on-the-fly physical and determines that her throat is slowly closing. This would seem to be a serious problem, but Koya seems confident that Shalelu has several days yet before the curse should prove fatal. She puts Remove Curse on her spell to-do list, but there’s not much else we can do for Shalelu in the Temple.

We decide to move on to the north, finding ourselves in a large cemetery. This area seems quiet, though we identify the graves as likely belonging mostly to nobility. Jira finds a block of incense with Shizuru’s symbol, but it looks at first like this is the most interesting thing we’ll find in the cemetery. Rika flies up to identify a quick route through the cemetery without marching across someone’s grave. Alas, the quiet can only last so long and we are ambushed suddenly in the middle by a group of shadows. All of us (other than Penelope) recognize these incorporeal creepers as the same sort of shadows we fought before. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can prevent them from inflicting strength damage on Thom, Jira, and Penelope. Rika’s chain lightning and Skizzik’s bombs manage to cut them down before they can kill any of us.

As we move into the northern half of the cemetery, there seems to be strange dust in the air. We continue moving on until suddenly a 20-foot tall figure with red eyes that seems to be made out of gravestones stands up. Unfortunately, he isn’t here to take our pizza order, so we have to fight again. Rika weakens it mightily before Thom can finish it off his lance.

At last, we reach the end of the cemetery and are ready to the cross the bridge and move on to the next area. Thom and Porthos lead the way, and wind up being knocked backward while doubling over in pain. Porthos in particular looks incredibly bad. After a quick inspection, we notice the greater glyph of warding on the bridge. We suspect that it is designed to weaken anyone wanting to commune with the spirits. Rika isn’t having any of that nonsense and casts dispel magic on the glyph. After that, we are free to pass the bridge to an area that seems noticeably warmer.

Bypassing what looks like an elaborate stage for ceremonies, Jira opens the door to the building directly to the north, Inside, he finds himself face-to-grate with an anthropomorphic furnace. Yet again, the creature isn’t here to cook for us. Instead, the furance golum roars to life and smashes Jira in the face before eating him. Quickly, the group launches into attack against the living furnace. Shalelu and Penelope eventually pepper it to death with arrows and Thom is able to pull Jira’s crispier-than-usual form from the furnace.

While investigating the nearby storeroom, we decide to perform some healing before continuing on this not-so-friendly island. On the south side of this area of the island, we find a couple of crypts. Ameiko prays in the first one with Jira and Skizzik acting as guards. Nothing much happens, and nobody is particularly eager to enter the tomb itself. We move on to the other crypt, noticing that this one belongs to the Amatatsu family. When Ameiko prays here, a flash of light and a loud sound beckon the coming of a beautiful angelic ancestor of Ameiko’s.

After fighting tombstones and furnaces, we’re a bit on edge at first until the Tian spirit introduces itself as Amatatsu Onako and seems relatively friendly. We ask her how to go about gaining the blessings of the five families now that we’re here. She notes that this will likely prove impossible unless we can calm the spirit of Emperor Shigure (the last Emperor of Minkai) which is raging at the nearby mausoleum. She also mentions that to speak to the less benevolent spirits, we will likely have to confront the Well of Demons. As this seems particularly ominous, we decide to start with the mausoleum.

Thom leads the way across a zig-zagging bridge. Beneath us is some nasty-smelling water full of dead fish. On the other side is a garden that would probably seem more beautiful if Penelope weren’t able to sense great anger in the environment. On the other side of the garden, the mausoleum awaits. Somewhat nervously, we lay down our weapons and slowly enter the place. In the center, the specter of the Emperor awaits. To say he looks pissed off would be the understatement of the campaign to this point. We look to Thom as the most diplomatic member of our group, and he tries to speak respectfully with the specter. The Emperor mentions that his friends (including Soto Takahiro who has now become the Jade Regent) betrayed and lied to him. They desecrated his body, leaving his spirit too angry to pass on. Thom meekly attempts to appease the Emperor and asks how we might find his body so that we can properly bury him, but the Emperor is too ticked off and decides to attack us. The Emperor is such an intimidating force that he manages to intimidate the majority of the group into running pell-mell in all directions. Even Rika and Thom flee in supernatural fear. This leaves only Koya, Sandru, Jira, Penelope, and Skizzik to duel with the specter. After a surprisingly heroic display from Sandru, Skizzik finishes off the incensed Emperor with a fire bomb.

We know that the Emperor’s ghost won’t stay truly vanquished for long, however, and that we will need to find his body if we want any shot at securing his family’s blessing. Our next step (after the scared members of the group return) is to figure out where to find the body. Koya performs a divination ritual, asking that exact question. We learn that, unfortunately, the body lies at the Bottom of the Well of Demons (because who could’ve seen that coming, right?). We opt to leave Ameiko and the rest of the NPCs behind at the Amatatsu crypt, as it seems safer than anywhere else on this dangerous island. The five of us venture on to the Well of Demons.

Looking down into the pit gives everyone the most curious falling sensations. We start to walk down the spiral pathway that leads slowly into the pit. The sensation keeps messing with us. While Rika and Thom are able to maintain their bearings, the others eventually fall over the edge. Thom’s feather fall slows his descent. Penelope’s ability to walk on water makes it so she falls prone on the water’s surface at the bottom, and Jira splashes into the drink in such a way that would win him no Olympic Diving Golds.

While Rika and Thom hurry to continue their descent, the rest of us only have time to catch our breath before three rancid-smelling ooze creatures rise up in the water and attack us. We had no way of knowing before the battle started how much we would grow to hate these things, but this would prove a vicious fight. It takes us a few moments to realize that being in water heals these creatures almost as quickly as we can damage them. A couple manage to grab Jira and start to drown him in nasty ooze. Skizzik initially has trouble flying out of the water because one is pulling him back with his brain. Rika finally flies down the pit to assist us.

Penelope has perhaps the least luck with her arrow shooting that she’s ever had, and one of the oozes envelops Jira in a dense and painful acid cloud that makes it impossible to see. The fight continues, Skizzik chucking bomb after bomb while Rika uses up her spells and Thom finds himself unable to help from 70 feet up on a cliff. Skizzik manages to confuse the oozes, but unintentionally prompts them to start threatening to sodomize his grandparents in Abyssal (among other such heinous acts). Rika finally pulls out the big guns, using a Hungry Darkness Spell to envelop them in darkness while Skizzik finally spots Jira nearing the edge of the acid cloud. Jira falls unconscious just before he can escape, but Skizzik pours a cure critical down his throat so that he is able to wake up and swim to shore. The darkness finally rips the remaining oozes apart and our beaten and broken group decides to retreat. Those of us with the ability to fly up the cliff do so. Thom then throws down a rope to Penelope so she can follow us. We make our way back to the rest of the group, overcome by exhaustion and ready to sleep for the night.

The next morning, our bad luck continues. Skizzik has somehow developed a horrendous fever. Koya diagnoses him a particularly nasty case of greater demon fever. She manages to remove Shalelu’s throat curse, but can’t seem to figure out Skizzik’s fever yet. For now, she’s able to use restoration on him and relieve his symptoms for the day. However, our gnome pyromaniac is in trouble if this fever continues. Our group could surely benefit from some R&R far away from angry emperors, murderous furnaces, and god-forsaken oozes, but evil does not rest. And while it’s hard to say how our heroes will fare in our next session against the horrors of the Well of Demons, that’s exactly what we’ll find out next time.

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Session 38
Stirring up some Rebellion

5 Jan. That morning our band of intrepid adventurers awakes to find three tasks before them: the Jade Regent holed up in his palace with kidnapped daughters of Kasai, famine in the city and securing the blessing for Ameiko. Deciding that helping the townspeople is the most noble of priorities, we check into the granary. Reports on the structure indicate that there are a disturbing lack of guards patrolling the area; however, rumors suggest that it is really guarded by some sort of monster. Undeterred, we head out to liberate some grain. FOR THE PEOPLE!!!

As we approach the structure, we notice four lion statues sitting atop the gate. These statues exude a magical aura and Penelope spots animal-like footprints on the ground behind the main gate. We don’t wait for the statues to reveal themselves and launch into attack.

Rika partially encases one in ice and Jira starts praying as Skizzik drinks a potion to go invisible in an “oh shit!” moment when he realizes that these creatures are resistant to almost all elements. One of the stone beasts pounces down upon Thom, the partially frozen one hops down in front of Jira and another one gets in Albert’s face. The statue wrestling with Thom opens his mouth and swallows Thom whole, sending him to another plane!

The one in Albert’s face strikes the poor puppy repeatedly for massive damage while grappling him. The remaining statue joins the fray and jumps on Porthos.

Noticing that Thom has been devoured, Rika explodes the statue in a spectacular rain of stone. As it bursts, Thom, gasping for breath, pops out of the extradimensional space next to where the creature had just been. “You can’t breathe in there!” Thom warns us all.

Meanwhile, Skizzik bombs the one that had been harming Albert as Jira is swallowed by his attacker. Rika turns to the next devourer and dusts him to bring Jira back from the alternate plane. The last remaining statue then manages to swallow Porthos as Thom and Jira rush it. The creature begins wrestling with Jira as arrows, spells and strikes pound it. Finally, Skizzik polishes it off with an acid bomb to bring Porthos back to us much to Thom’s elation.

We mop ourselves up inside the granary’s gates before opening the door to the grain silo. Inside, with find approximately 40 tons of rice. Skizzik and Rika fly back to Asakai’s house to report the score and Asakai sends his workers back with them to collect the food.

While we stand guard, the workers load wagons with the rice and depart. As the last wagon winds out of sight, we spot the Typhoon Guard approaching in the distance. Ready for another scrap, we take a few seconds to prepare as they continue to boldly approach us.

When in range, the ogre mage with the group charges at Thom. He replies with a charged power attack of his own. Penelope and Albert join Thom and quickly tear down the mage.

In over their heads, the four mooks that accompanied the mage stick around to fight. Rika bounces a burning arc off three of the them as they bum-rush Thom. Having none of it, Thom promptly cuts off one of their heads and Penelope blasts a hole of arrows into another’s face. Turning to the next threat, Thom, joined by Skizzik, finishes the third goon and Penelope pin cushions the final fool.

When we return to Asakai’s house, we ask him how else we can sow discord in the city. He mentions that the Jade Regent has secrets he does not wish to come to light, such as frequenting geisha. We could also attempt to secure the Raven Prince’s neutrality so that the Jade Regent doesn’t use his master assassin against us.

We promptly head out to find some geisha. The head of the establishment we find indicates that the Jade Regent “certainly doesn’t” consort with her girls and that hypothetically he may have relations with his personal seer as well. She hypothetically knows of some people who can spread rumors of the Jade Regent’s illicit relations in order to help discredit him. We then hypothetically pay for these hypothetical rumors to be spread and continue on our hypothetical way.

That night, we meet with a representative of a ninja clan in order to find a way to deal with the Raven Prince problem. They tell us they have a means to get a message to him if we can ever think of anything to say and give us a drop off point to use when we concoct something. Not able to come up with anything at the moment, we head back to Asakai’s house to turn in for the night.

6 Jan. That morning, we go sell our loot first thing. Afterward, we convene to discuss our journey to the island in order to secure a blessing for Ameiko. The island sits in Kasai Harbor and we must meet a boatman whom will paddle us across the water. Sounding like a smashing idea, we traipse on down to the harbor and find the boatman. He loads us in his craft and has Ameiko hold her family seal as he paddles us around the island through five black gates in the water. We are then dropped off at the dock and we proceed to the shrine.

Statues of the goddess of death and the moon greet us at the entrance and we discern that this is the resting place of many of the royal family members. As we stand in the entryway, we sense that someone is in the chamber down the hall from us and we call out to them. An old priestess woman greets us and leads us into the chamber.

In the room sits a large golden dragon statue, the symbol of Shizuru (goddess of death). We introduce the priestess to Ameiko and as the woman bows, many of us notice that green, scaly skin covers her arms. Dropping all pretense, the old woman’s features elongate and her neck stretches out as she tells us she must stop our passage.

She immediately douses us in darkness and takes a bite out of Ameiko. Rika flies up out of the magical blackness and quickly dispels it. With her elongated neck, the creature has great reach and is able to bite at Ameiko again. Now that we can all see, we launch into attack. Shalelu fires arrows, Koys prays, Skizzik bombs, Penelope blasts arrows, Jira strikes with his katana, Thom pokes with his lance, Albert bites and Ameiko whiffs. Not appreciating our efforts, the woman dumps us all in darkness once more and manages to confuse Sandru, Shalelu, Koya and Skizzik.

In her confusion, Shalelu strikes Thom as Skizzik runs himself into a wall. Ignoring his friend’s actions for a moment, Jira finishes off the creature with a mighty swing.

Now that she is dead, all of us turn our attention to our confused allies. Skizzik bombs frail Koya and enough is enough. Thom pins our cleric, Penelope latches on to Skizzik and Jira wrestles with Sandru. Rika dispels this nonsense and everyone comes to their senses. Though wounded more from each other than the creature, we prepare to head further into the shrine…

Next time on Jade Regent: Keep Ameiko Safe… will Koya get her revenge on Skizzik? Will it really take us two weeks to get these darn blessings? Will we ever hypothetically sow enough discord to make a hypothetical difference? Find out next time!

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Session 37
Skizzik's on a boat. (Sigh)

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…

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Session 36
Spicy Secret Shenanigans

As we join this episode already in progress… our intrepid adventurers are on their way back to Enganoka in order to make their super secret meeting with the ninja clans.

Nearby, a petite ranger with a rather large wolf companion are strolling along when the ranger spots two giants wrestling in the middle of the road (because that’s what giants do in the middle of the road right? Right.) This stranger stops to curiously ponder at the action but the gigantic beasts notice her. One immediately gets up in the wolf’s business but the ranger replies with a smattering of arrows.

Off in the distance, Thom, Rika, Jira, Skizzik and Porthos catch wind of the commotion and spring into action like the good little adventurers they are. While getting knocked on our asses, we discover that these creatures are called Earth Yai; a type of Oni with a predilection for shooting rocks out of their eyes.

Jira, Thom and Porthos tackle one of the giants while Skizzik, Rika, the ranger and her wolf companion take on the other one. With combined effort the first giant falls.

Enraged by his fellow’s demise, the remaining Earth Yai starts an earthquake. As we’re shaking, rattling and rolling, Rika manages to dish out some negative levels and, without hesitation, Skizzik takes advantage of the situation and blows the beast straight to the Plane of Eternal Damnation or somesuch.

Standing around the mountainous corpses, introductions are made. The ranger perkily tells us her name is Penelope Spice (or Pepper Spice for short) and Rika has a good eye roll. Porthos is happy to make the acquaintance of her wolf companion Albert and the two quickly become fast friends. After this farcical non-aquatic ceremony of an introduction, we allow Penelope to accompany us to Enganoka as she has nothing better to do and separating Porthos and Albert would be too cruel.

24 Nov. Arriving back in Enganoka, we seek out the Onyx Dragon once more and procure sleeping arrangements. Skizzik promptly heads off to the local wizard’s school to learn some new tricks as Jira, Thom and Rika hit the bar (Rika needing a strong drink after enduring all of Penelope’s friendship advances). After she enjoys the spa a bit, Penelope joins the trio in the bar and promptly annoys Rika enough that the sorceress gets tanked (who needs to concentrate to cast spells?)

After Skizzik has learned all that there is to learn, he joins up with the rest of us in the bar just in time to witness a running boy tell Adolphous (the Inn Keeper/Hair Stylist/Greedy Bastard) of the dimeyo’s demise. The dimeyo’s brother has made an appointment to address the town tomorrow and, after the boy leaves, Adolphous turns to us and has us promise him that we’ll relay the brother’s message.

25 Nov. Prior to the address, we head to the market to sell our wares (FOR THE HORDE)! Pockets feeling much heavier, we head, at the appointed time, to the town courtyard to hear the speech. Almost the entire town has turned out for the affair and the citizens are quickly roused by the dimeyo’s brother as he issues a call to arms in the name of the true heir to the Jade throne (Ameiko). He tells the people that the Jade Regent will be overthrown to much adulation.

Thereafter, Adolphous’s eyes glaze over and a little drip of drool slides out of his mouth as we tell him that war is on the horizon (war profiteering apparently gets him all hot and bothered).

26 Nov. Although the day passes rather uneventfully, the night is filled by a super secret meeting with the ninja clans. As we are ushered into a local restaurant near the stroke of midnight, we find three representatives sitting before us: one from the Emerald Branch clan, one from the Black Lotus Clan and the last from the Dragon Shadow clan.

We open communications and they assure us that the Jade Regent has not been good for their business and they are willing to help us in our cause for the right price. We give a piece of ninjatsu history to the Black Lotus clan to buy their aid and ante up some funds to buy the other two off as well. After we have procured their assistance, they reveal the Jade Regent’s set up and main forces down south, suggest that Ameiko must secure the blessing of the other royal families before assuming the throne and that a deadly envoy sent by the Jade Regent is on its’ way to cause shenanigans back at our fortress.

Having garnered the aid of the three main ninja clans we high tail it back to fortress in order to prevent certain disaster.

1 Dec. Still dragging Penelope along (since Rika hasn’t been driven to boneshatter her yet), we arrive at a still intact fortress. Renovations have been completed since we departed and everyone on the campus cheerily greets us. We meet up with the rest of our party and regale them with our adventures, tell them the good news of the ninja’s aid and then crush their spirits by telling them of the invading force on its way. Seeing nothing more to do than add more security (because that’s a crack idea), we feast like there’s no tomorrow (which there may not be).

2 Dec. That day, as a large group of us are conferring about our next plan of attack, we notice that the once bright day shifts instantly to dark. A horrendous smashing noise rings out sounding as if the very mountains are being rend in twain! At this point, the warning gong sounds from the front gate (way to be on top of things guys), and a deep voice challenges us, demanding Ameiko’s life. We all rush outside to bravely meet our foes and find giants and Oni wrecking up the place.

As the big nasties lumber nearer, we quickly prepare ourselves for the incoming onslaught and launch a few ranged attacks. Fireballs and arrows are soon flying back and forth between the two sides, but our group is quickly separated by a searing wall of fire! (Divided we fall?)

Skizzik manages to deal the first real blow by bombing one of the giants to death but quickly receives a reply from a Fire Yai. The beast, the one that demanded Ameiko’s life, drops a fire cloud on some of our members. Singed, Titus quickly rebounds by chopping off another giant’s head as Thom, riding Porthos, charges the big nasty (The Fire Yai).

Two dual-headed Oni have been hanging in the background but begin to complicate things further as they spawn some black tentacles to grapple people. Able to deftly dodge the slimy arms, Hiroko wades through them so that she can end another giant with some well-placed arrows.

Annoyed at seeing some of his forces fall, the Fire Yai uses a magical ring to summon a ring-shaped wall of fire, trapping Thom, Jira and himself within. Meanwhile, one of the other two-headed Oni drops another fireball onto a handful of us who are grouped close together.

Having none of this, Skizzik is able to get one of the giants to attack himself through his confusion bombs and the beast doesn’t last long through his discombobulation and the abuse he’s taking from the team.

Corralled with the Fire Yai, Thom takes some painful blows to the face, but Jira comes to the rescue in the nick of time and kills the Fire Yai with an impressive strike. Now only the two di-headed Oni remain.

Not to be outdone, Shalelu lands some bitchin bow hits on one of the fiends and Rika polishes it off with a disintegrate ray. Hatsue (Hirabashi Jiro’s right hand lady) completely owns the remaining Oni with her trusty Naginata and and we stand victorious in a partially wrecked fortress. (No one died, YAY!)

After we mop up the bodies, put the fires out and clean up a smidge, we hold a war council to determine our next steps. It is decided that Hatsue will scout ahead to the south, shortly followed by our main party which is to head to Ka Sai in order to help stir more rebellion. At some point, we must also seek out the blessings of the five royal families for Ameiko, but, firm plan in mind, we prepare for the next stage of our journey.

Next time on Jade Regent: Regent-Overthrowing Fools… quick march to the South?! Will Penelope Spice become a permanent member of our elite fighting unit or will Rika’s contempt get the better of her? Will Albert and Porthos become the best bros ever? Will Thom stop falling asleep naked in hot tubs? Tune in next time!

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Session 35
Brother against Brother (indirectly)

With Sakakabe returned to normal with the rescue of O-Sayumi, our adventure carries on as we try to recruit more aid to our budding revolution. Our session begins quietly in meetings.

November 9: We attend our meetings with various merchants (set up by the Geishas). Many of them are receptive to the idea of financing our cause, and we have earned 35,000 gold in a letter of credit from the nobles by the end of the afternoon. Our last meeting of the day at the Teahouse is with Sikutsu Senakka, the younger and gentler brother of the corrupt daimyo that is on our hit list. Sikutsu admits that his elder brother is doing the people a disservice by serving the Jade Regent. He would support us if he were in control, but he doesn’t care for the idea of becoming a kinslayer by killing his own brother. Instead, he lets us know that the daimyo is spending a few weeks at a hunting lodge not too far from here. Sikutsu also informs us that the daimyo recently released nine samurai from his service that are called the Nine Pawns. These nine are staying near the hunting lodge, too, and they plan to attempt an assassination on the daimyo.

We thank the younger brother for his advice, and prepare to head out for Enganoka in the meantime to meet with the ninjas clans. The four of us depart for the port city, entrusting Titus and Hiroko with escorting Ameiko safely back to the Ronin Fortress.

November 12: After three days, we arrive in Enganoka, finding it to be much bigger than Sakakabe. The city seems clean, though there are many poor people around. Having heard that the three representatives of the ninja clans (also reluctantly called the Three Monkeys) often hold court in a restaurant within the markets, we head straight there.

We work our way through the crowds, seeing hagglers bargaining over prices in the merchant tents. Along the way, we come across six aggressive police officers. One accuses a commoner of lying about where he’s from and prepares to execute him. While the other commoners back away, Jira leads the group in protesting. One such police officer (clearly working for the daimyo) steps up and actually manages to intimidate Jira. From there, the fight is on as Skizzik throws a bomb. The fight quickly turns vicious, one of the police officers decapitating the commoner as he tries to go after Thom. Rika freezes one of the oni officers solid in ice. Skizzik, meanwhile, misfires badly on a bomb that singes Jira and sets two merchant tents on fire. Eventually, we gain the upper hand and the fight ends when the last surviving oni flees from the scene.

We’re left with some distressed peasants and the local authorities as we help extinguish the flames. The two merchants rip Skizzik a new one, demanding compensation for their demolished businesses. Skizzik pays them both what he thinks their tents are worth, but one is not satisfied with his payment and starts to involve the police. They are on the verge of arresting our gnome friend before he caves in and pays the merchant extra.

With the market going mostly back to normal, we continue on our way to the restaurant. Thom cheerfully asks around the restaurant for someone who could help us with some illicit activities, and we are pointed to a nondescript man in grey and black garb. This man who introduces himself as Ishi Basho of the Black Lotus clan seems to know an alarming amount of information about us already. We are able to conduct our meeting very quickly with him since he already knows who we are. He agrees to set up a meeting for us with representatives of the other two ninja clans, but we have 12 days to kill beforehand.

We decide to stay one night in Enganoka. Skizzik opts for the most extravagant inn in all of Enganoka. Given that the police are watching him after the fiery market incident, he changes his appearance to that of a pirate halfling with a long black beard that mightily embarrasses Thom. We rent the Penthouse Suite, a place almost as splendid as a palace. Each of us has a girl servant, our own rooms, and access to all sorts of services. Skizzik “enjoys” an accupuncture session while Rika gets funny looks from the servants in the ladies steam room. Thom watches with rapt attention as Jira has his hair cut in the latest Imperial fashion by a barber named Adolphis.

After we reach enjoy our own services, we reunite down in the bar. We sit down with an old woman who claims to be a fortune-teller. We pay her to tell us the future, drinking the green tea she provides us. A moment or two later, Thom’s head suddenly slumps down onto the table. In alarm, we stand up as the fortune-teller surprise-attacks us with throwing stars. She seems to target Rika, but has less than ten seconds before she is obliterated by a massive Disintegrate spell from the heartless Rika. By the time the others in the bar realize what is happening and call for the police, we are wearing dust particles that used to be the fortune-teller.

Upon closer inspection, we realize that our “fortune-teller” was actually a ninja that has been stalking us for some time and attacked us in a different disguise back in Sakakabe. Adolphis vouches for us with the police and the servants help Thom up to the Penthouse so he can promptly fall asleep in the hot tub.

November 13: Jira wakes up first the next morning, a servant handing him a note from Sikutsu with a map to the worker’s camp where we can expect to find the Nine Pawns. Rika emerges from her room just in time for Thom to awaken, stand up out of the hot tub, and display his birthday suit for everyone. Rika retreats to her room to allow our favorite halfling time to dress and we head off into the wilderness.

November 18: It takes us five days to arrive at the area between the hunting lodge and the workers camp. We camp out near the road, hoping to snatch a worker and find the Pawns. We barely escape notice from the guards when Jira snaps a tree branch, but are able to sneak up behind a group of 40 workers walking past. Skizzik coats a dart in poisonous oil of Taggett and Jira shoots the last worker in line in the neck with a blowgun. We drag him off the road and wait for him to awake.

The worker is terrified when he comes to, but Thom manages to assure him that we don’t mean to kill him. He is scared to death of Jira, but he answers Rika’s questions about the Nine Pawns so that we know how to find them. We all sneak together to the north side of the nearby camp, and Rika turns herself invisible to accompany Skizzik sneaking into the northernmost tent.

Inside, she stays silent as Skizzik addresses the nine samurai. They think he’s joking at first about overthrowing the Jade Throne, but begin to take him seriously when he reveals the Amatatsu Seal. After a short discussion, the samurai agree to stage a roadblock and hold off the daimyo’s 100 other samurai the next day while we sneak into the hunting lodge and assassinate the corrupt leader ourselves. Skizzik and Rika return to the camp and we set up watches overnight.

Not far into the night, Skizzik notices a strange raccoon-man approaching. He manages to warn the others just in time before the Tenuki wanders into camp. He is initially alarmed at the sight of us with weapons. But once it becomes clear we would prefer not to hurt him, he sits down on one of the logs and starts drinking. Jira decides that he seems like a fine drinking companion and the two start to get drunk. The Tenuki asks us if we have any hallucinogenic substances, and Skizzik amusedly starts to make some. The evening turns very interesting very quickly as the Tenuki consumes everything that Skizzik makes. He trips out, thinking that Jira is growing horns, before falling into a coma-like state. None of us are sure what to do about him, and eventually just drift off to sleep ourselves.

November 19: When we wake up, the Tenuki has departed to continue his wandering somewhere else. In his place, we find he’s left a potion of rage for us. We scout out the area of the hunting lodge for a bit before Thom prepares a pre-game session for us with the tea set the Geishas gave us. Once we’re primed and ready, we make our way to the front gate. Jira and Skizzik fly over the gate to unbar it. Unfortunately, Sennaka the daimyo sees us from the window and calls for his guards as we open the door for Thom and Rika. It quickly becomes apparent that he has a blue ogre mage helping him, along with some tengus and mooks. Between Thom and Skizzik, the ogre mage goes down relatively quickly.

Jira and Rika manage to battle their way into the hunting lodge, Jira and Sennaka challenging each other. Outside, Thom unleashes the most massive lance charge attack any of us has ever seen on a poor mook whose face explodes in a shower of bone and gore from the force. Rika continues to throw spells at Sennaka while he and Jira trade kitana blows. Skizzik joins the fight after he flies through the window and hits the daimyo with a madness bomb. It’s unclear for awhile which of us is going to bring him down, but Skizzik lands the final blow with another bomb.

The other mooks commit mass suicide after their commander falls, but the tengus continue working to bring us down. They temporarily surround Jira but find themselves outmatched by our attacks. The battle ends when the few remaining tengu fly away in fear. We quickly collect loot before running for the hills before the cavalry can ride in and overwhelm us.

The daimyo has fallen, and the younger brother promises to support our cause. However, there’s still the ninjas to think about. Plus, what about that vision Rika had of the fortress coming under siege? The answers to some of these questions likely await in our next session of Jade Regent…

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Session 34
Geishas, Mazes and Soul Stealing

2 Nov. Ameiko, Hiroko, Titus, Rika, Skizzik, Thom and Jira arrive at the coastal town of Sakakabe in hopes of speaking with the geishas and gaining their favor in our quest to overthrow the Jade Regent. Before we hit up the whore house, we sell our wares at nearby shops. Cha-ching! With our new found wealth we stock up and improve our weaponry and armor.

Afterwards, we overhear the townsfolk buzzing about a missing geisha named O-Sayumi. Sensing a connection, we decide to attempt to make contact with a local geisha named O-Kahaiku; the contact Hirabashi Jiro mentioned to us.

On the way, we notice a flute player nearby and realize we also saw him on our trek to the city. Thom decides to approach and attempts to start conversing but receives nothing in return. Believing he could perhaps be one of the wandering beggar monks of Min-Kai, we leave him to play his flute.

Finally turning to our mission, we head off in pursuit of a Tea Shop where O-Kahaiku is supposed to be. Along the way, we run into some town guards. Skizzik slips him some money so that he’ll let us pass and the guard eagerly bows us through the gates. We now find ourselves in the wealthy entertainment district. The Tea House is relatively easy to locate and we enter and request an audience with O-Kahaiku. We are able to set up a meeting with her for the following day.

The rest of the day still before us, Skizzik and Thom head off to find Skizzik a fancy smoking pipe. The rest of us find an inn called the Burnt Pig to stay in and we procure three rooms for three nights. That evening, Skizzik, Thom, Jira and Rika head back to the entertainment district to check out the night’s festivities. We all watch one of the local plays and are fairly entertained despite the entire cast being under the weather.

When we head back to the inn for some sleep, Jira stops and has some tea while Skizzik hangs out. The rest of us all turn in for the evening. After the drink, Jira feels a bit sleepy and Skizzik’s alchemical senses are aroused. Jira stumbles up to bed as Skizzik requests a cup of tea so he can examine its’ properties. The innkeeper’s son notices that Skizzik detects something off about the drink and, before Skizzik can react, he launches a shiruken at him and slits his trachea. Sizzik drops dead in a pool of his own blood instantly!

A few hours later, Jira wakes long enough to realize that Skizzik hasn’t come to bed. He shuffles to Thom and Titus’ room and a groggy Thom tells him they haven’t seen Skizzik either. Jira lets Thom get back to his dreams and heads to the girl’s room. Rika hears the knock, and flies back in the room from the roof, where she had been meditating. As the two are conversing, Jira and Rika hear a yell from below and dash downstairs to find the inn keeper crying over his son’s dead body as well as seeing Skizzik’s body left where it fell in the main dining room.

Jira and Rika investigate the back room where the inn keeper’s son was killed. The city guard shows up shortly thereafter and begins questioning the group. After they gather some information, they leave and we find a priest to cast “gentle repose” on Skizzik. Knowing that the Amatatsu Seal will be recharged in order to resurrect Skizzik in a mere day’s time, we decide to basically wait it out.

However, at eight or so that evening, we head back to the Tea Shop in order to keep our meeting with O-Kahaiku. We inform her of our quest and although she seems mildly interested, she asks us to find her missing geisha, O-Sayumi, first. O-Kahaiku reveals that O-Sayumi left the Tea Shop a month ago to spend a week on a private island with a wealthy merchant. We agree to find O-Sayumi in order to garner more goodwill from O-Kahaiku.

As we’re leaving, the servant-girl at the Tea House pleads with us to find O-Sayumi (her sister). She hands Jira two items her sister had left her: a poem and an ivory container with intricate designs called an Inro. The poem reads:
Here I must discover
what lies inside myself
to enter your place
through dark and shadowed gate, but
the reflection is not me

We head back to the inn and keep watch overnight. The next morning, we revive Skizzik with the Seal and he regales us with the short story of his demise. At that moment, Jira gets the feeling that he’s being watched but the rest of us detect nothing.

Continuing on, we rent a boat to head up river to find the island where O-Sayumi went missing. Let the trek begin.

6 Nov. We finally arrive at our destination and head to dock. As we approach, the dock hands reveal themselves to be Oni. Skizzik immediately drops a plague bomb on the group and causes chaos. Brave Oni step forward and jab at us from the dock. Everyone fights back with arrows, swords and magic. One of the Oni; however, manage to land a hit on Ameiko with a javelin…my liege! We fire back with everything we have and we kill all but one who runs away.

As we’re all recuperating, Rika falls to her knees and experiences some visions:
- The team ambushing samuari
- A room full of golden treasure with a giant red dragon
- A wizard guy tipping over a vase of pearls
- Two-headed giants and fiery Oni attacking the fortress

Before we can move on, we see two giant sea turtles swimming towards our boat; they clearly mean business.

Hiroko steps up in front of Ameiko and shoots one of the beasts. Angered, it immediately rams the boats and capsizes it, dropping everyone in the drink. Thom quickly grabs Ameiko and drags her to shore. The rest of us swim to the dock and pull ourselves up. As we’re grouped on the platform, one of the turtles breathes a cloud of steam on everyone but Jira, burning us a bit. Titus manages to kill one with his glaive. The other one steams all of us again in retaliation and backhands Titus with its’ fin. Thom then replies by hammering the beast to death.

Afterward, Thom, Jira, Hiroko and Rika swim to a nearby island and find the turtle’s horde where 10,000gp worth of loot lies.

Done with all those shenanigans, we head up to the eerie, abandoned-looking mansion. We barge into the courtyard and quickly find a cowering servant woman. She tells us our target is most likely in his study in the cellar.

When we find the stairs downward, we leave Hiroko, Titus and Ameiko upstairs and the rest of us descend into the maze below. As we venture forward, Skizzik quickly comes to believe that we have actually entered the Plane of Shadows. Here, shadow spells are strengthened and light and fire spells are weakened. We also suspect the object O-Sayumi’s sister gave us is some kind of key to the maze. Inspecting each gate and bead curtain in our way and comparing what it’s made out of with the ivory container and poem clues, we deftly make our way through the maze with little harm.

Eventually, we see a dim light up ahead emenating from a room. As we approach, we see a geisha and elderly lady sitting very still in the middle of the room. Also there, a creature with the body of a monkey, limbs of a tiger and tail of a viper referred to as a Nue. The creature shouts down the corridor at us and manages to deafen Rika with it’s cry. He then deals Thom two negative levels causing Thom to withdraw from battle, a rare sight. Jira then gets pounced upon by the beast and takes some hits. Skizzik and Rika go invisible and leave Jira standing alone before the Nue. Jira and the beast trade blows as Skizzik whittles down his wisdom. Eventually, Skizzik manages to confuse the creature but Jira doesn’t wait around and cuts its’ head off.

We then check out the statuesque ladies and find that their souls have been stolen, but perhaps if we locate their them we can restore the women to their regular selves. In the next room, we find a small study. While investigating the bookshelf, one of the shelves is oddly empty. When Rika pokes the shelf, the bookshelf swings open. Beyond, we discover an alchemical laboratory.

After routing around, we head to the room to the east and find a wizard within. He mentions that he has souls trapped in his jar of pearls just before he spills them all over the floor. Some shadows then pop out of the wall to begin a throw down.

Rika immediately strikes the wizard with some negative levels. He retaliates by hitting a lined up Thom, Skizzik and Jira with a lightning bolt. One of the shadows then saps Jira of some of his strength. As payback, Jira uses his spirit spear to kill him. The other spirit then drops Jira with so much strength damage that he can’t move. Meanwhile, Skizzik confuses the wizard while the remaining shadow drops Rika from strength damage. From the ground, Rika manages to blind him and Skizzik finally bombs the wizard to death and follows up with another bomb to finish the spirit.

Lesser restoration potions give Rika and Jira enough strength to be able to stand back up. Off Yugureda (the wizard), we find an Inro with a pearl containing O-Sayumi’s soul. Thom smashes the pearl and the soul is returned to the young woman’s body we found in the previous room. O-Sayumi then joins us and reveals that Yugureda was her legitimate father. Her mother managed to escape with her from her father before being killed herself. When Yugureda discovered that his daughter was at the Tea Shop serving as a geisha, he kidnapped her.

Now rescued, we take O-Sayumi and the group on a boat ride back to Sakakabe.

8 Nov. We arrive back at town and everyone is excited to see O-Sayumi. At the Tea Shop, O-Kahaiku thanks us for returning her best geisha and gives us a magical tea set. Once per day, if we drink from it, we can gain certain bonuses based on a diplomacy check. She also agrees to set up meetings for us with leading nobles and the dimeyo’s honorable brother. It is here that we conclude our party with the geishas.

Next time on Jade Regent: Will the ninjas be as easy to convince as the geishas? Will they kill us in our sleep? Can we figure out what’s up with that mute musical monk?

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