Tonight we follow the parties quest to uncover the cure of the Shadow like bruises that have appeared on many of the passengers of the Dancing Drake. To uncover the cause of it will take much more time, perhaps, but to find a cure the answer may lie with the ancient order of monks known as the Shuimu’s tail who reside within the mountains that lay nearby Shuimu know as Shuimu’s ridge.
So I will continue using this format which I believe is easier for me to collate material and display it – but of you find that its not the easiest way to read it please do let me know!
As with last time Pages 1, 2 and 3 are content pages, the description, flow, random tables, etc. and such that you’ve previously seen.
Page 4 contains all NPCs and portraits to help the DM describe them and a bit about them to help play them out.
Page 5 will be stat blocks and map(s) – all that D&D encounter goodness that you want.
Now I will assume you have read the entire post (a shocking 9717 words long! I maybe could make a novel out of this by the end of it…) and say thanks in advance for reading this – I have expanded, added and adjusted a few things to make sure the adventure flow better.
All Maps were made in Inkarnate using their Pro license. Except the boat – thats hand drawn (may look to make that in Inkarnate one day)
Don’t forget to come back next week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe
Part 1 – The Touched – 218MoTT
As the ship sailed down the widening River the last signs of the marsh retreated into the wild under a chorus off toad-kin singing songs of praise, protection in and victories to be come.
“It’s nice isn’t it. To be nearly home and be with the first glimmer of hope we’ve had in quite some time” Kyoko began, breathing deeply and looking out across the water and slowly approaching fields be and farmland. “I bet you were be staying to worry weren’t you Takeo” she said turning to the tawny hawk next to her. After a ruffle of feathers Takeo Mei stood next to her.
“When my birds returned without delivering a message I worried, when Jade Point was under siege I also worried. But now I am glad to see that you have made some stalwart companions to usher you home, I knew that they were a good omen, but I don’t remember the Priestess being amongst them earlier.. ” he frowned looking towards the Lizbet as he could sense a strange energy about her.
“She is something else. Single handed turned the Toad-kin into allies. They call her a fallen Star” Kyoko said as she sipped from a cup and watched her. Takeo nodded to Kyoko before walking towards Lizbet and the party of adventurers he met weeks ago.
“I could sense something about you from across the ship. You have a light about you Miss Priestess, one that the darkness and shadow will try and snuff out” Takeo said, nodding to the party as he stopped to stand amongst them, tilting his head listening to a sound that only he could hear.
“Well they have tried already, luckily for me I have had these adventurers, heroes if you will, protect me and shepherd me from harm for now. Even Siu has taken to following a few feet behind me to ensure that I am safe.” she said as the golden scaled beast moved forward making Takeo startle if only for a moment.
“No, I can’t. I won’t. She is the light that will protect us.” he muttered under his breath as he shook his head – the whispers getting louder with each passing moment. His legs walked on their own carrying him next to the railing, around the back of the gathering where the adventurers stood with the person made entirely of blinding light. “No, don’t please. Its a price I cant afford” the man continued as he felt the change happen – suddenly people stopped moving aside, no one looked at him and even the astute and watchful gaze of the man talking to the priestess and the party frowned as if something was missing.
As more people bumped into him he cursed the card game that had won him the stone that was now in his possession, again, a pain on his neck forming as the stone took its mark on him. He couldn’t live like this again, not in the shadow, not without the warmth of others and so with a shuddering sob he drew his long knife, a memento from his father – a fisherman – and drove the point into his chest. He shuddered as the stone fell from his hand and clacked against the railing of the ship and then over the side as he felt his body go cold. All of a sudden people were screaming, the man who appeared to have been watching him before the shadow enacted its price was there in the space he drew his last breath. “The shadow…” he managed to whisper to the man as he felt his eyes close.
Takeo knelt next to the man he remembered seeing, hearing talking to himself as if a mad man then nothing – as if his existence had been wiped from the world. When the body hit the ground he remembered what had been witnessed and heard and as he heard the words “The Shadow” he searched the man for marks – a large, deep bruise had formed on his neck where it met his left shoulder as if a large round object had been forced onto him for some while.
“Kyoko, we need to restrict the priestess and her companions at once. There is darkness afloat these waters”
Areas and places of note
The Boat – Confined to the lower decks where there is the ability to limit the access to both the passengers and the crew the party are able to defend the location of choosing to keep those afflicted with the Shadow Bruise from killing Lizbet.
Environment and running the adventure
The Boat – See Map
Notable NPC interactions.
Koyko Harimasu – After the appearance of the first shadow bruised Kyoko assisted the party of adventurers in finding a place that could be secured and easily defensible before returning to the deck to work with the crew and Takeo in looking for more of the Bruised.
Elizabeth “Lizbet” Scaulder – Liz is worried about the attacks, especially the nature of them as they appear out of no where but generally only as they are killed.
Her concern is two fold, concern for her safety and the safety of those around her as well as the concern for those afflicted by the curse that gave them this shadow-like quality and if they would be able to be cured from the curse.
Siu – Siu spends his time defending and sticking as close to Liz and Kyoko as possible trying to defend them both – when Kyoko goes back above deck to talk to the crew and the other passengers Siu sticks close to Liz.
Takeo – Takeo, after uncovering the initial attacker and talking to the party about the next best steps goes to see his master, where upon finding his clan hall empty returns back to the ship just in time for it to dock.
Missing wisdom – Empty Halls – 218WeEH
The large tawny hawk flew into the open window in the plain looking barn before settling down on a crate as it ruffled its feathers and shifted its form, muscles bones and feathers shifting, growing, stretching and receding until Takeo sat on the crate – a few drops of water still hanging to his hair from the light shower of rain that had greeted him as he flew into the town.
“I hate it when it rains” he sighed shifting his cloak around. The transformation from hawk to man after flying in rain always left him with water under his clothes when they appeared again. Standing and treading down the hall, a familiar path from his training as a child which his feet remembered. Each floorboard was different, only a few of them weren’t floating on top of nails that would squeal when stepped on and for those who remembered the path you could pass through these halls silently.
Passing a door, one belonging to another lotus member who was initiated a month later than he, he saw it was empty, but the external facing window was left open which was expected – their order was given all kinds of orders and had to deal with all situations imaginable.
Approaching the archway at the end of the hall he took off his shoes and placed them next to his masters shoes, as he had since a boy, and slowly stepped past the threshold and into the chamber beneath. A shadowed figure knelt in front of a fire so the feature’s of the face and front of the body were cloaked by shadow and darkness. Coming to rest, standing twenty steps away he knelt down and waited for his master to acknowledge him.
Minutes seemed to go by and Takeo got tired of waiting for protocol “master, I bring tidings from lady Kyoko. Her ships passengers, crew and refugees from Jade Point, have become afflicted with Shadow Bruises. What’s more, they disappear from all sight and senses, well seemingly so at least. Occasionally a person who is acutely aware of their presence can detect them.”
“They have started to attack the guest of princess Kyoko, targeting her it seems but there is resistance in the host. I believe they are being cursed by a stone as black as shadow and directed, forced even to make attempts on the life of the guest.” Takeo looked at his master, unmoving and unyielding. “Master do you know of what I talk about” he said moving forward to get closer. Something wasn’t right, the figure wasn’t moving but seemed to be unnaturally still. “Forgive me master” he muttered before approaching the figure and pulling back the hood. As he did several stray feathers wafted down and what was a very convincing decoy was revealed to be feathers and fabric under the robes of his master.
Frowning his senses went on full alert, a creak from the hallway, the rattle of a window, something somewhere was not right. Pushing his body through the the mental preparation to transform into his raven he darted down the hall, his dirk drawn and ready as he seemed to hit every squealing floorboard on his flight down the hall. The transformation process was physically and mentally draining and normally the Lotus agents couldn’t transform so quickly again after reverting to their human form, and his mind was rejecting the ancient magic.
As he stopped near the crate where he came into the building by he looked around, willing his heart to be silent and his body to take the form of the Raven.
Silence. The building was silent, not a sign of life, or more important death anywhere. His mind settled and his body started the shift, looking around the room as his eyes shifted and changed he didn’t see a single thing out of order, like nothing had changed or been here. As he turned and flew out the window he started to piece together what his next steps would be. Without his masters seemingly endless Knowledge there may be no one but the monks who secluded themselves from the world of men long ago.
Boat – In this encounter lets assume that our party of 4 have all reached level 5, I think that would be fitting for being this far in the adventure-year (but after this part of the adventure I would expect a level up to bring them to level 6 in time for their arrival in Shuimu.
The first encounter, on deck should be like a script, if the party roll a successful Charisma Saving throw vs Stealth check OR Insight vs Stealth will reveal the creature to the one who made the check – but otherwise they don’t see the first shadow bruised until they hit the deck dead.
Takeo and Kyoko will take the party, Liz and Siu downstairs and into one of the sealed crews quarters to discuss the situation. The end goal here is that Takeo will reveal that he doesn’t have all the information and that he will need to talk to his masters further to get more information – he will then leave after that.
Kyoko will ask the Party to pick a place to defend Liz for now, a lockable or sealable space would be good. The closed off quarters are good options (one with two bed is where Liz would be staying currently), the crews quarters with hammocks may be also suitable or even the sealed in holding cell in the centre of the floor. On their way there they would get attacked by one of the Shadow Touched (see above encounter mechanics) who would try and attack Liz (depending on how the Party are moving) if they decide to stay in Liz’s chambers then the attack happens there.
If the Party move around, or change watch, or, every 6 hours another attack will happen until they have been attacked four times in total where the fifth has two shadow touched attacking at once – which is unusual for them