Welcome to the 7th last (I believe) end of week writeup!. This week we followed the party along the road to the wall as they were attacked by creatures after the dragons tears items. Despite the ferocity and unrelenting creatures they came out on top and perhaps learned a thing or two about the items they carry.
Warriors and Wrath
As the party arrived at the wall the first thing that they noticed was the sheer lack of people. For such a crucial point in the defence of Ryokughan it was shockingly unmanned. A head appeared at the edge of the wall twenty feet above the ground before calling out. “Princess Kyoko is here! Reinforcements have arrived!” the voice was overcome with emotion before several others echoed with joyous cries of relief.
“Kyoko. I don’t think our message hawk arrived here safely. They believe we have more reinforcements for the wall” Takeo spoke in a hushed whisper to Kyoko and the party. “How did you want to handle this?” he added looking from Kyoko to the party who were in fact the reinforcements.
After a few moments a platform was lowered over the side and the party, the princess and the spy were lifted atop the wall. Despite the low numbers of people on the wall they all were veterans. Heavily armed, armoured and trained they carried themselves with a martial poise that was lacking in many. As they rushed towards Kyoko they greeted Takeo and the party, the exhaustion on their faces replaced by joy and relief.
“Before we continue the pleasantries I believe I need to have a word with you lady Kyoko” a particularly grizzled and hard man said from a nearby door to a small tower. “There is something that is of great urg…” he began as he held up a fist and listened to the quiet that his signal instilled. “It comes!” the wall captain roared as every single soldier drew their weapons and surrounded the party and princess.
In a moment of chaos clouds of shadow-smoke appeared around the wall in sporadic bursts. Soon the sound of steel clashing, grunts and combat rang out around the party as the unknown adversary launched itself at the walls defenders. After a few moments the creature disappeared and the shadow-smoke dissipated soon after.
“To your posts. Prepare for combat!” roared the captain who eyed his men and women closely, inspecting for wounds. Finding one he pulled them aside “to the infirmary,” he said with a sigh as the realisation set into the face of the woman in front of him. “you’ve been stung. You won’t be seeing battle again until you’ve recovered” he added as he clasped the soldiers shoulder.
“yes sir!” the soldier barked obediently as with a great deal of sadness she handed over her weapons in resignation to the captain before retreating down a nearby set of stairs. As she disappeared into the bowels of carved and fortified stone.
“We are hounded by a creature that does not kill, it barely wounds but what it touches quickly dies. Normally at the hands of the victims allies.” the captain said as he grabbed a helmet and moved to the wall. “Those unfortunately enough to get injured by it recover after some time. Normally after heavy sedation. Some don’t and they choose to live on the outside of the wall so that in their condition they can still benefit their brothers and sisters.”
“What do you mean wall captain Hou?” Kyoko asked as she moved over to the wall before clasping a hand to her mouth.
“They go mad. Their blood boils and they cant detect friend from foe. They will kill anything in sight. Lethally trained warriors who can’t tell friend from foe and who have a lust for blood that a demon would envy. I haven’t seen it before. Our healers can only sedate and hope that their spirit is strong enough to fight the affliction. If they can’t resist then they spend their final days ripping into our enemies and serving us in their death.” the captain said with great reverence as he saluted a human who stopped pacing by the base of the wall, bloody froth covering its mouth.
After a moment the human, one a warrior that defended the wall turned and charged away from the wall, picking up a crude looking sword as it charged headlong into a mass of charging Spirit folk. The brutality in which the warrior cleaved into the fey creatures was outstanding and hard to watch. But that wasn’t only sight on the other side of the wall. Dozens of injured and dying lay strewn about the battlefield on both sides. Humans, those afflicted as well as the minions of The Shadow, all of them calling for help or crying out in pain or fear.
“We have tried to recover our wounded or dead and we started to lose more men than we saved…” a wall guard said from next to the party. Nodding towards the captain who pulled on a helmet and drew a magnificent longbow as he climbed a nearby watch tower. “He lost his daughter. She was a fine warrior and led the last recovery mission. She was cut down by a Oni.” The guardsman nodded towards a banner that stood high amongst the bodies, rocks and toppled trees. “She lies somewhere over there. Some men swear they have seen her moving about the battlefield but I think they are just seeing things.” he sighed. After a moment he ran off down the wall to continue to guard as creatures started to reach the wall.
The edge of torchlight 241WeThEdOfTo
As the party stood atop the wall they thought of the day that they had witnessed. Twice more the shadow creature had struck but by luck, skill or divine grace they had not been inflicted with the affliction. The woman in the infirmary howled with rage and even while heavily sedated it only eased the peaks of her fury.
They also had to witness the dead rise from their broken and battered forms and assault the wall, beaten back and slain by either the warriors on the wall or those afflicted driven mad by rage who hunted the no-mans land between the wall and the rocky mountains where the attacks came from. Even while the party watched from the wall and aided in driving back the dead or the twisted spirit-folk there was little joy in the tasks they did.
It was at this point, at the edge of torchlight that the party saw movement. To precise and too careful for undead or afflicted. Too subtle and tactical to be spirit-folk or beast. As the party watched the shadow approached the edge of the light cast by the braziers and torches that lined the wall and it quickly darted forward and grabbed a pack from a fallen oni warrior. The distinct human colour skin flashed from under layers of tattered and ripped cloth as a sudden gust of wind caused the light cast by the fire to flash across the face of the creature and a human Ryokughan female looked up at the party startled.
The figure pressed a finger to her lips before skulking off towards a crest in the battlefield.
Bonus – Over the wall
“That’s her! That’s the captains daughter!” The wall guard from earlier that day announced. Gin Seng pointed at the captains daughter as she hurried across the battlefield towards a rocky outcrop. Moments later several shapes started to move towards her and the rock rise in the battlefield, she appeared unaware.
“we have to do something” Gin said as he hurried towards the crane. His voice causing a commotion amongst the other guards.
“What’s going on here?” barked Captain Hou.
“Kit is out there Sir. We saw her” Gin said, the party confirming with him.
“It’s probably a trick of the Shadow…” The captain said, his own voice betraying the hope he held deep inside. “Kit is gone…”
A scream erupted from the battlefield. The shadowy-Kit had been ambushed and the sound of combat could be heard. “KIT!” her father screamed as he threw the platform over the side of the wall. “Man the defences. Ballista and arrows trained on the battlefield. Nothing comes up whilst I go down.”
“Captain Hou, the plan can’t succeed without you. The adventurers are veterans at combat and have surprised me more than once. Besides it will be a test to see if the simple presence of the Dragons Tears artefacts can draw forth the shadows minions…” Kyoko said as she stepped out in full armour.
“I hate to ask this of you my friends. But are you willing to rescue the captains daughters and see what happens when the dragons light erupts forth from you?” she asked with a tinge of guilt and regret.
NPCs – 237TuWiotDa
Wall Captain Hou
Captain Hou is a rugged veteran commander of the wall guard for decades he has led the elite troops in defending the land from the Shadows Influence and was so honoured that his own daughter joined him. This was his biggest regret as his daughter was just as head strong as he was in his youth and led a foolish mission to retrieve the wounded from the battlefield only to be struck down herself.
Kyoko keeps herself hidden and defended by many guards. Captain Hou and Takeo spend most of their time talking tactics into how to lure the Ice queen towards the wall and a trap.
Captain Hou’s daughter…
Wall Guard Gin Seng
Gin Seng is one of the warriors in the Wall Guard. He is well trained and a natural in combat but perhaps a bit too emotional for the captains liking.
Leading with emotion rather than discipline Gin Seng is sure that the captains daughter still lives and swears that he has seen her at night.
Environment and running the adventure
Night time shouldn’t be a hassle for the party with their level, abilities and gear by now so it’s another night time encounter.
Map – Encounter over the wall (Surveying the Battlefield)
Encounter – Warriors and Wrath
Any creature from our vaults can be used here. I would suggest some Oni and perhaps an afflicted human warrior (see gladiator stat block with affliction template added). The Wrath Wraith also comes forth and attacks the party as they reach Kit Hou – she seems to be untargeted by the creature but the party are less fortunate.
As the party defeat the wrath Wraith the all too familiar haunting call of the Onikage echoes through the battlefield and Yukri Toshio – the Yuki-onna appears on the back of a huge Onikage. She points towards the party as the crest of the hill she is standing on erupts into dozens of shadowy shapes running toward the party. Kit pleads for the party to retreat as the guard on the wall start to call for them to run back as well.
Thanks for joining me again for another end of week writeup. The second last week and of the second last month see’s us drawing things to a close. Next week we go over the wall and further into enemy territory as we try and draw forth the Yuki-onna and her dreadful mount. Don’t forget to come back each day this coming week and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe