Welcome to Wednesday where I reserve this most hallowed of mid-week days to embrace plot changes, hooks and expansions into the weeks madness. This week we follow our party as they chase a mysterious man through Shuimu, one of Ryokughan’s larger cities, after he attacked Takeo in the stables with, a fluffy barb of some kind – sounds like a weird game of Cluedo but not quite – and then after witnessing what the party was investigating, and Liz’s powers, he fled.
Just moments after the door closed behind the party tore off behind them, Takeo coming through and attempting to mention something but his words “Locust clan” were lost to the wind that the party left as they dashed out the door in pursuit of the man in red and grey.
It took a moment to see where the man had gone and only the flash of coloured cloth and the wide birth as if a beast had just punched past them into the road behind. It didn’t take them long to cross the distance to where they saw the man disappear and their experience of tracking beasts through the snow in Bracken hollow or being on the look out for shadow stitched in Daye came through where a boot print could be seen in a small path of wet soil on the side of the road led them further down the streets of Shuimu.
The chase, the quarry moving deeper into the streets whilst the party seemed to be gaining, footsteps, a wisp of cloth, or people helping them by pointing in a direction led them to a plaza where several merchants were bickering over some oxen-like beasts had stopped in the middle of the street and their cart had effectively blocked off the road – standing there looking for a way around the beasts and shouting at the merchant and beast alike was the man in Red and Grey.
Noticing the party had appeared behind him, or hearing their approach one may never know, the man whirled around and movement appeared from the sleeves of his robe as three miniscule darts flung forth – clattering harmlessly off the parties weapons and armour.
“I see you are much more aware and prepared now, but I fear that my patron will be disappointed if I do not return to their side again.” The man smiled, a genuine smile that lacked any malice that one may expect from someone who uses poisoned darts so easily.
“I will say that it has been some time that I have been corned like this but I do not believe that it will end favourably for you. I will grant you the opportunity to retreat now and grant you a boon. You may know my name and the name of my patron and you get to keep your memories and life. Or you can attack me and find out how far our power levels differ.” the man smiled, pausing for but a moment as the party looked amongst themselves. “To make it easier for you I will throw in one for free – I go by Sai Tsugen, my real name was lost many years ago when I was taken in by my clan. Now that was easy enough, I suggest you back off before things get serious.”
A few moments later, words being spoken in hushed tones amongst the party he smiled. “It looks like you need some persuading – then let me open up the dialogue”. A flurry of hand gestured combined with martial arts and the man in front of them started to emit a strong buzzing noise and in heart beats insects flew to him from the plants, beasts of burden and buildings around him. Jumping forward, covering ten feet in an instant he landed in a crouching stance – his arms spreading out wide as the insects followed his lead and spread out as if a wave had crashed upon the ground. The insect crashed against the party, those not swift enough to avoid them were covered in biting and stinging insects – wasps, bees, flies and locusts climbed on the party as they flew through the air while a tide of spiders, centipedes and crawling insects rushed across the ground at frantic pace to do the bidding of Sai. Another snap motion and his hand extended towards the ground where the crawling insects gathered and as if by an telepathy command they crawled over his body, and gathered into a shifting crawling mass before four heaving masses of insects stepped forward from the centralised blob – the man appeared to have disappeared into mass of insects himself.
A the attacks flew forth from the party their blades, bolts and magic sent hundreds of crawling, biting, stinging insects to the ground from their allies and from the four identical masses in front of them but as they swung, stabbed, shot and spelled their way through the bugs they would suffer a brutal biting counter attack and even the stoutest of them could start to feel the affect of one if not many of the insects poison affecting their coordination and concentration. Attacking more frantically, or targeted – who is to say, suddenly one of the shifting blobs stumbled backwards, a splattering of blood lining the ground as Sai’s form was briefly revealed.
“You found me it seems, well done. It seems out power levels are not as different as I was first to assume. But there is something you need to remember about the clans in Ryokughan – we always have another trick up our sleeve as our mission is our reason for being.” As the man finished talking the remaining insectoid body doubles mirrored the movement of the first and suddenly insects burst outwards, biting the people and animals alike in the plaza sending them running through the clearing. “I will keep my word and give you the name of my patron, there may not be many of my kind that keep their word and show honour but I am a man of my word.” a voice said from amongst the blinding haze of insects. “My patrons name is Karyn. You will meet her soon I am sure but whether you remember my generosity or not depends on your fortitude to my clans poisons.” and with that the insects slowly faded from the plaza – some still insisting to bite and sting the party as their heads throbbed painfully from the poisons that had been injected into them through mandible, fang or stinger. Looking around for Sai the party were unable to see him any where, a robe, red and grey was discarded at their feat with a small dagger that was a single main blade with two offshoots that came out to the sides to form a bladed guard, each mirroring the insectoid handle and pommel giving the blade the look of locust with a blade coming from where its wings would unfurl from.
Now a disclaimer and a note. Tonight’s writeup assumes a single path of confrontation or indecisiveness and the alternative is no-combat where they take the offer and the same result is had. I dislike combats where the party can not win – when its designed to be that way as a principle of setting up the notion of “Us vs the DM” where the Players and their characters are unable to influence or change the course of a story. When the stat-block and encounter comes out Friday I will cover the alternative where the party defeat Sai – as it is likely that they will, but the idea behind this encounter is simple.
- Give them the name of the aggressor for this months adventure.
- Give them an insight into the world that they have stepped into – Ryokoghan is different to Faerun in many ways and the animalistic clans in this contintent are just one of them.
- Set the scene for the weeks ahead.
The note is really simple. Karyn (Ka-rin) we have a glimpse of that name already in a previous writeup, and we should also know who that name belongs to as well if we go back a two months.
Lastly, thank you for following me through this write-up tonight, combat encounters are hard to write for me and I endeavour to get better at them! Don’t for get to come back the last few nights to wrap up this weeks adventure and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe