Final stand

Welcome to the last Monday night of August. Yeah its a bit of a weird month this one with a smidge more than half of the last week given to September. So I’m calling it early!

This week Mugrave makes her final stand. The last attempt to complete her masters wishes before her prey escapes her grasp forever.


Final Stand

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The irritation was felt from across the darkened copse and even the diluted moonlight did nothing to pierce the mass of shadow that gathered by the roots and trunks. “You have failed in one of your ploys yet again. Revealed your presence to a mortal, lost your night prowlers and the majority of your quaigin. Yet you still think you are able to deliver what you have promised?” The Shadow asked through a mixture of telepathy, images and pain.

Mugrave stood within the shadow, a darkened mass that quivered and shook. Even in her Oni form prolonged exposure to the Shadow was detrimental and she knew that she needed to think of a way out of this predicament and fast. “I tested them. The foreigners. I know what their strengths and skills are. The quaigin and night prowlers were not wasted. I know what they are capable now and just need more time to gather the right strength and I can deal with them myself.”

A chuckle resonated forth. A sound that brought the cold and dark to such a mirth filled expression. “So you think that power is what you need? More power and you can beat these warriors that are touched by the light hmm?” the Shadow mocked. “I can give you more power if that’s what you ask”.

Mugrave hesitated. She had considered asking the shadow for more power yet she had ruled against it as it wasn’t as fair trade. In fact the price that the Shadow demanded from such barters were never fair. She had watched countless mortals waist away at the promise of power form a pact with the Shadow.

“Have faith in me master. I can do it with my own power and my own cunning.” Mugrave said, unable to contain the quiver in her voice. “The power you offer must be conserved for the fight at the wall.” she added. She knew that the Shadow would hesitate on that as the fight at the wall was not going well. However the shadow merely drifted away from her and melded amongst the trees.

“I have given up too much for your plans already Mugrave and each one has resulted in failure. For instance, your meddling with Yukri’s house almost had her killed. In addition the Laelóng of Lanidaye was also killed because of your ambition. I don’t think you have a choice but to accept my gift of power.” The Shadow spat, tendrils of black mist whipping across the distance between them to inflict bleeding wounds across her skin. “With this last blessing you can make your final stand and either return triumphant of dead.”

The tendrils continued to lash out but more violently carving runes into her skin and into the flesh beneath. Mugrave bit down on her tongue to hold back the howls of pain as the shadow stuff that broke her skin. As the shadow tendrils began seep into her wounds her muscles to expanded and her connection with the arcane powers fluctuated like the waves in a sea. The process was excruciating and after the process was done Mugrave knelt on the ground amongst the copse of trees with tendrils of shadow whipping about her form.

“Now go and fulfil your oath to me” the shadow commanded and disappeared.

Mugrave stood slowly. Her body slowly adjusting to the changes she could feel beneath her skin. The power, the raw manifestation of chaos and malice that swirled through her form was killing her. But she could feel that it was far beyond what she could have imagined. Power enough to command respect amongst her kind. Power enough to instil fear in the enemy and power enough to make her final stand.


Closing thoughts

Tonight, and this week by extension, sets the scene for the final confrontation between Mugrave and the Party. Mugraves power isn’t as great as the parties and while they have levelled up a few times she hasn’t… as she is a creature… But we can get around that and still prepare for a engaging fight by boosting her powers if not at least temporarily. The “empowered by a deity” card doesn’t always work out and I hesitate to use it. But in this context and situation it makes sense and can help drive the plot a bit as well.

We know that there is turmoil near a place called the wall, I believe the party is aware of it as well and it should be evident that its where we are slowly driving the story. In fact that is what I plan to do with the extra week between August and September – drive story.


Thanks for coming to read the blog today. This week marks another small spike in the plot and as we roll slowly towards the 9th month of the year we are almost at 75% of the year gone. Now that doesn’t give me much time to wrap up the campaign so I am moving things forward quite quickly. So don’t forget to come back for the rest of this week and continue on this journey with me. Also don’t forget to let me know if you do end up bringing this campaign to your table and how they are going with it! Feedback is always appreciated and welcome. And lastly, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Night Prowlers

Welcome to Monday night where we look at the plot and drivers that push our adventure onwards. This week we will be experiencing the terror of night prowlers. What is that I hear you ask? Well you will have to come back each night to find out.


Night Prowlers

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Mugrave passed the guards at the gate and smiled at them, giving a little wave as she walked with a bucket in hand towards the stream. The guards waved back and cautioned her to be careful of the stream as it wasn’t safe at night. Little did they know.

As she approached the stream she placed the bucket down at the edge of the water and continued past the edge. Striding through the waist deep stream was effortless for her being an Oni in the skin of a human and soon she was standing at the edge of a small orchard.

Growling echoed forth from the trees as four feline like shapes stalked forth from the trees.

“Hello my pets,” Mugrave cooed as she patted the first large scaled head that nuzzled her. “Yes you are hungry things aren’t you?” she asked as she patted a second.

A third and fourth waited their turn and she approached them and patted them affectionately, all four creatures reached out with tentacle like appendages and caressed her in return.

“I have a job for you four. There are some people that pose a threat to us. They don’t want us around and master has ordered their deaths. You four are going to give that to them aren’t you?” she cooed as she patted the first two creatures again. The feelings of hunger, acceptance and thrill of the hunt resonated from the creatures like pulse.

“Tonight you will find a mark on the door to where they stay. Find it and kill all who reside within. Leave before daybreak” she said as she stood to leave. The creatures patted her as she left them, their hissing snarls greeting the heels of her feet as she strode back to the village.


Closing thoughts

A nice short one tonight to set the scene. The next few nights content will be going over the scenes that play out as the night prowlers come out to play. Mugrave’s making her next move and only time will tell if it will be successful.


Thanks for dropping by tonight. Don’t forget that this is just the beginning of the weeks adventure and I will have more coming. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for NPCs and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Wake of Violence

Hello and welcome to another Monday that starts off the month. This month I need to get a move on and progress the story towards the finale of the adventure. So as the party move northward through Ryokughan they now have to witness the wake of violence the Shadows minions have left. But are they recovered enough after their terrifying combat with the Laelóng? Only time can tell.


Wake of Violence

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Wake of Violence - ruined towns on the way to
Created in Artbreeder

After the party had found some horses that were in need of some new, living owners they continued north. The hope of a warm bed and hot meals quickly fades when they passed another village that was in the wake of violence left by the Shadows minions. As they passed through the village they noted that only some of the houses were destroyed whilst others looked like they had sustained minimal damage. But regardless of which of the villages along the northern road they travelled there were always bodies in some stage of mutilation or being devoured.

About three days travel from the Kunagi Ranges the party came across a village that was untouched. In fact as they asked around they quickly became aware that many of the people in this village were refugees from the previous village or some to the East.

“What’s east?” asked one of the players.

“The wall, our last defence from the shadow and the hordes of creatures that it commands in the mountains” Kyoko replied.

“We best make haste to your home Lady Kyoko, I fear that we spend too much time on these roads” Kuang said as he analyses the buildings and faces nearby.


Begging

As the party left the Village and headed north she watched from the side of the road. Posing as one of the refugees from an earlier village she had made it to this small town without any real issue. Now that she was seen as one of those who drifted, one of those in need it was easy to move from place to place without questions being asked which suited her purposes.

“Soon we will be rid of that princess. Once she leads me to the light.” Mugrave muttered quietly to herself as she moved to get some food. “Once I have taken care of the light then our plan wont fail” she said to the voice in her head. The Shadow was pleased with his servant and retreated back from the busy street.


Closing thoughts

This week was another easy one. The deadline for moving the party northward to Heavens Reach Castle, Kyoko’s home, is fast approaching and I need to move the plot along. Bringing Mugrave back in at this time allows me to bring in an earlier story hook as well – remember the guards that were attacked in the field? No? Well I do and its time for some reinforcements to Kyoko’s retinue.

As we get closer to the end of this years adventure I cant help but looking backwards at the journey we have undertaken. Starting with strange happenings in a small marker port town, sailing over the seas and then trekking inland towards certain danger sounds like something you would get in a novel. This certainly makes it easier to write for.

But bringing in these obscure but already thought out plot hooks helps tie things together and can help cement in the grand scale of the adventure for us DMs.


Thanks for dropping by tonight for the kick-off of another month of travelling, actually that’s a joke. This month promises to be filled with opportunity to have combat, cloak and dagger as well as all out assault style combat. There will be some intrigue and a little bit of drama, I hope. But in order for you to keep up to date on the plot as it unfolds don’t forget to come back each night and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Surfacing

Welcome to the end of Month Monday where tonight I want to explore the mutli-phased adventure. This month we had the party face off against a creature in multiple stages where they are fighting an uphill battle where as next month they are moving eastward once more.


Under ice

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As the snow and debris from the mountain settled down upon the wagon Jason and Ester dug heir way into the wagon. After digging and finding that the bindings on the horse had broken some time during the avalanche and the muffled sound of combat ringing out from somewhere above the snow.

The snap of jaws, clash of blade on ice and crash and pop of magic could be heard and even felt metres below the surface. As the people huddling in the wagon listened and waited, shifting some snow around the wagon they were thankful that there were pockets where there was no snow where the branches of a pine held back some of the powder.

After sometime the sounds from outside stopped after a final chorus of battle the silence permeated through the cocoon of ice. “Do you think the creature or the adventures remain?” Asked Ester as she looked out of the hatch where herself and Jason crawled through from the front.

“If I was a betting man I’d wager the creature. I’ve served a long time on these lands and never seen something like it” Jason said as he moved around the wagon. “But those adventures know how to handle themselves so I dare say that they stand victorious”.

The sound of digging came from above, the scrape and scoop of ice and snow from on top of the wagon. After several moments ice started to shift and fall into the pockets as a flickering torch shone light through the snow.

As the shape above created a hole big enough for people to crawl through the unmistakable whinny of Jason’s horse could be heard from above.

“well the old thing lived” Jason remarked as he squeezed his way out of the icy tomb to help dig the wagon out.


Not content to just throw the party out on foot keeping the wagon gives more opportunities for encounters on the road without slowing down the adventure.

Tomorrow night I’ll be going over a few NPC interactions that happen outside of the “current scene” to give more context for us, the DMs.


Thanks for dropping in to read tonight and for continuing to read this blog. Don’t forget to come back this week for more content as we shape and wrap up the month and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Watcher

Welcome to another Monday night in our lead up to the end of the month and the reveal of the mysterious ice creature. This week I’ll shift our perspective a bit and tonight I will focus on a different point of view as tie the last few components together into what I hope will be a fun end of week adventure.


Vassal

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As the rabbit with horns erupted from the bush and ran off across the edge of the road, darting behind bushes and around trees, branches and rocks in its escape from the humanoids that had discovered it in its hiding place the party watched it with weapons at the ready lest it was another beast ready to attack them, or worse. As the parties tension eased in the following silence they moved about the snow covered road they put their weapons away and started to move across the road to check for anything else that was nearby. No matter how far and thoroughly they looked they were unable to shake the feeling of being watched, or a predator being nearby – the cold and fatigue of the last days travel taking its toll on the adventurers making shapes in the snow look like beasts and spirits getting ready to lash out at the party and strike them down where they stood.

After they were certain nothing was near by the party and the wagon rolled onwards down the road, returning to being alert and keeping an watchful eye on the walls of the valley, the trees and the snow.


She watched from a nearby wall of ice and rock through the sporadic leaves and branches between her keen eyes and the humans that were travelling through her lands – the one that had been marked by the shadow and the queen. Twisting her neck around she moved away from the rock, her strong neck moving away from the wall of rock and ice as her claws and broad axe-like graft of everfrost that adorned her forelimbs dug into the rock, dirt and ice to secure herself and support her weight. As she moved her body upwards to a crouching position she compressed her body until it was like a coiled spring and released, spreading her forelimbs wide as the framed membranes spread wide and her weight was caught by the wind and she soared higher into the sky as the wind tunnel help carry her higher into the sky quickly – her eyes never leaving the humans and their wagon as they moved onwards.

Creatures scattered in the forest as she revealed herself from her hiding spot, she loved this feeling, the fear, the reverence. She was the mountain itself and those who lived in these rocky outcrops were her subjects, only fit to live her by her good grace. As she soared higher she saw the sun setting on the end of the valley causing the spikes of ice she had created sparkle like jewels through the rift between her rock and snow. Latching onto the tallest rocky peak, digging the ice blade in deep to secure purchase, she watched the humans, they not being aware that they would be dead with the coming sun. A smile formed on her lips, rare for her species but she was an oddity for her kind any way and as long as she was still ruler of these rocky lands she cared not for the wars that happened to the east and west of her, for here she was queen.

Content to watch and plan she climbed to the peak, using her four limbs and he thick and wide tail to give her balance as she gripped into the cold earth. Reaching the peak she sat there and preened her feathers, the yellow sunlight causing her white and blue feathers and scales to glow like the snow that surrounded her as she made sure that she looked her best for the guests she had in her hunting grounds – for the hunt was about to be on and she did not want to disappoint.


So finally revealed, a large feathered creature with wings that tends to blend in well with the environment. Summoning everfrost is not the only trick this creature will have up its sleeve and the encounter that will go with it will be something new, but inspired by a few scenes from movies and tv shows.


Thanks for joining me tonight for another glimpse at what runs through my mind and what is driving the adventure for this month. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more content, exploring a bit more about one of the NPCs that we have with us – or maybe all of them at once so best not miss it in case I plan on doing something pretty fancy, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Frosty Reception

Welcome to Monday night for another week in the Kunagi ranges. Last week we encountered some of the creatures that call the plains home and in their desperate flight they had found wounded, dying or aggressive creatures in their return to the village that calls this area home.


Ice Shard

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As the party walk back into the village they are see many of the people that call this place home are busy repairing doors, windows and shutters that look as if they were torn open or broken into forcefully but despite the party offering help they receive a brief, fake, smile and their help is refused.

As the party move through the village they see that the inn seems to have received the worst of the attacks that happened the night before as the owner, Hugh, and a few other villagers were busy rebuilding a wall. Upon seeing the party he moved towards them looking nervous.

“You cant be here, the spirit-folk somehow knew that I had spoken to you and I woke up to one of the inns walls being ripped down.” He paused as he nodded to Jason “when this is over please do come back, but I can’t lose the inn, not after all it has cost me.” As clasped Jason on his should and nodded a sorrowful nod to the party, Kyoko, Hana and Kuang he looked at the wall as it was put back into place and stood there with his hands on his hips.

Following his gaze the party noticed that the wood itself looked like something large, wide and sharp had bit into the wood on one corner of the wall and ripped it out with very little effort – no evidence of blade, club or other known weapon seems to have caused the damage. Moving up towards the wall while Jason took the princess, her cousin and the general to get more supplies for crossing through the ranges the party noticed that large shards of extremely hard ice were imbedded into the wood along the mark where the wall had suffered the blow that tore it from its housing. Taking a shard of it the shard of ice seemed to permeate cold through the holders hands and only several layers of cloth, or two bags could stop the chill from numbing the flesh. Whilst holding and examining the ice Ester appeared behind them “It wont melt. We tried everything the first time we found it -in our well – we call it forever frost, or permafrost for those who found that the name sounded too much like an attempt at poetry. Don’t hold it for too long as it will bond to your flesh and start to freeze your insides. Shen found that out when we had to cut off his frozen finger before it spread to his hand.”

Jason arrived not too long after and after Ester did and after some some quick goodbyes they jumped into the back of the wagon and were heading off – towards the Kunagi ranges whilst the weather was still on their favour.


This week is about preparation, the party should be warned about how dangerous the ranges are, the trials and trepidations that they will be expected to face. It is also a time for us to be preparing for the other pieces in play to be moving and the cause of the hardships of the village to make another play. Sound aloof? Well it has to be as that’s next weeks reveal but this week we should try and build up and weave some mystery in it for the party.


Not a big one tonight but I found that when I was planning this week that Wednesday and even tomorrow would be larger days. Thanks for dropping in and looking at the setup, a small mysterious shard of ice that doesn’t seem to melt so don’t forget to join me for the rest of the week to uncover more of the mysteries of the ranges, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Desecration

Welcome to Monday night for a week where I want to change the pace a little bit. Last few weeks we have seen the party crossing the country to get places and hopping from one adventure to the next. This month I want to have a single bigger adventure broken into three sections for our weekly sessions.

Let’s see if I can resist throwing were-polar bears at the party as we start our frosted trek through the Kugani Ranges.


The Wake of Royalty

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Moving forward was slower going since the attack from the Onikage and undead wolves but they were finally seeing less and less snow settling on the ground as they progressed further east and towards the Kugani Ranges.

“About half a day ahead we should reach a village, they are not part of any family but they usually have an Inn to stay at and are normally friendly to strangers and those who need help” Kuang announced as he finished drinking from his water skin. “And I hope they have some supplies for us as that river was a quite some distance back”.

The ground descended slowly which made the the walk some what easier and soon they found a well worn path that head off towards two peaks at either side of the ranges that created a valley between them, a highway for travel that was frequented by merchants and the like so finding a ride through should be easy. Not more than a mile after joining the road they heard the sound of approaching horses and a wagon approached them heading towards the ranges.

After some discussion the party and Kyoko, Kuang and Hana jumped on and for the first time in what felt like days they were able to rest up and relax as they marvelled at the views of nature. Still descending towards the valley the grass was green and littered with specs of snow with infrequent trees dotting the landscape. Strange elk-like creatures walked through the lands here but the long fox-like tail that trailed behind them spoke of something more mystical than the mundane elks that the party would encounter back in Faerun. Pointing out something odd one of the parties noticed a few deep furrows in the land, like something had dug up a large patch of grass, earth and dirt in a straight line heading in the direction that they were going. Kuang nor the merchant Jason Keening, who happened to also be from Faerun, knew what had caused them or could even make a wild guess.

As the sun began its descent and the afternoon was well on its way the horses of the wagon slowed down as Jason urged them to slow with repeated ‘woo’s’. “You, uh, lot. You better see this.” he called back towards the party and as they climbed out of the comfortable wagon – much to the protest of their bodies – The village up ahead looked as if it had been through a war, or an attack of some sort. Continuing on their way but having the party ready for combat they saw that the people were not lost and were walking around fine but they shied away from the visitors and even the children did not run out to greet them.

“Normally this village is happy to see my wagon, excited even. I don’t understand what could be the cause of this but these are good people.” Jason said as he moved his wagon over to the inn. A few houses either side of the road looked like they were in the midst of repair and there was a chill to the town that was unlike the meadows a few hours before.

Walking into the inn a nervous and skittish man stood up abruptly from behind a desk “Welcome to the Will’o’wisp inn” he said before a long pause, “We don’t have much room at the moment so I would suggest travelling until the next Village on the other side of the valley” the man said to the party, his posture and demeanour changing as Jason walked in.

After a few moments of talking to Jason quietly and the exchange between Jason and the inn-keep ‘yeah, not good Jason, were’ empty here but I cant take you. I cant risk it‘ were overheard Jason clasped him on the shoulder and walked to the party.

“Well we can get some supplies here but that’s about all we can do unfortunately. As you heard the man, they don’t have rooms for us” Jason smiled but his heart wasn’t in it before he walked back to his wagon to fetch a few supplies to go about his business.


It’s been a while since I have done this format, and I am not quite sure when I stopped doing it, but the party can press the point here and make promises to fix what ever the inn and town is being plagued with – which the end result is the same – or they can continue on after picking up some supplies.

If the party ask around town they would eventually find someone who would explain that the Yuki-onna betrothed to the Toshio family visited a few weeks back and after commanding them to swear allegiance to them and allow passage to spirts and fey-folk, which was refused, one night they woke up to the sound of their homes and businesses being torn apart by a roaring wind, the cold set in freezing their well and stopping the hot spring that kept the town warm and well supplied with water. The day after the queen returned and this time made the same request, noting that freak storms were seen on the horizon but she may be able to spare the village from another visitation. This time they accepted and removed the wards that kept out malicious spirits and fey-folk. From that night onwards, about a week ago, each night they would wake up to find their doors open and food stuffs, or items, missing and two nights ago some visitors to the inn were taken in the middle of the night – their screams woke up the town as they were dragged into the dark. The villagers are terrified at what the Toshio Yuki-onna will do to them next time and, more importantly, don’t want the violence to escalate. So in order to make sure it doesn’t happen they are stopping all visitors from staying in the village for their own safety.

The villagers don’t know where they go, or what they are doing but every night they are visited and each morning something else is missing with tracks covered in the snow.

If the party investigate the houses or buildings that were damaged during the storm they will find one house who is much less repaired than the others which appears to have deep cuts or abrasions in the side of the house like swords or daggers or axes cut in perfectly straight lines to damage part of the roof and wall.


Well that’s what we have for us tonight and more to go this week as we continue on this part of the journey. Thanks for dropping by and thanks to my new readers for taking your time the last few days to come and read the musings that I lay bare for everyone to read, it honestly means a lot. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night to learn a bit more about Jason and maybe a few of the villagers, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

On Stolen Horses.

Welcome to the whatever Monday where tonight I look to add bits to the story to enrich the players experience in their Ryokughan adventure.

This week I’ll look at following on from last weeks end of June finale and what to means for our party.


Eastbound Retreat

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After riding for the good majority of the night, the fleeing dinner guests finally slowed their stolen mounts down to a trot as they came across a stream that was fighting back against the encroaching cold from the surrounding lands.

Kuang quickly moved around the area searching for tracks, the moonlight and his cursed vision enabling him to search for signs of spirits and other foul creatures that could have been sent by the Yuki-onna. The party watched him for a few moments before setting up camp near the stream, tying up the horses to a nearby tree securely so that they didn’t have to worry about them running off when the party was resting. “I found some tracks” Kuang said as he walked back through the thin snow, the sound of crunching snow underfoot the only sound that the seasoned veteran made. “looks like one to two days ahead of us, maybe, it all depends on how much or little snow has fallen as it could have been mere hours if we are behind a flurry of snow.” he said as he sat down and produced a flint and steel that he used to light a small fire to push back some of the darkness encroaching past the trees. “Regardless this area is safe for now, good to eat, get some water from the stream and feed the horses before we continue.”

Kyoko was sitting down the girl form the palace as she wrote in the thin snow with a twig in the flickering ember-light. As time went on it she revealed her name to be Hana Harimasu, and to Kyoko’s surprise it finally dawned on her that she was sitting with both her saviour and her baby cousin. As they communicated the party hunted some game, a young deer nearby and gathered what they thought was edible herbs and vegetables from under the snow nearby. As they washed the vegetables and fed some to the horses and ate the others the strips of venison to cook over the fire and once cooked the party began to eat the freshly cooked meat. Kyoko looked up form the flames and looked back towards the way they came.

“That horse, it was an Onikage. A creature that aligns itself with the Shadow but born to the shadowlands to the far north. A horse that dies whilst cursed by the shadowlands taint will likely rise as one but for that to be true then it was intentionally given to us as one and its transformation occurred as we travelled to the Toshio’s fort.” Kyoko explained with some observations interjected by Kuang where she got portions of it wrong. As she stoked the fire a familiar hissing screech came from the way they came sending shivers down their spines.

“They say that the Onikage are inhumanly cunning and will serve a master where they recognise the benefit to their partnership. I doubt that we have seen the last of it and we may find some benefit in travelling either up or down stream for a bit to have it loose our trail if it does follow us.” Kuang mused as he stood abruptly and began to start packing up their hastily made camp. “If we don’t want to be hunted all night I suggest we get moving, the sooner the better.”


The last week of the month where the next month is linked in, content is clarified or added too and I have a short break from the schedule I have placed upon myself gives me time to reflect and look over my notes created at the start of the month. For those who have joined me since the start, where I documented my process (post-its or sticky notes and mapping out adventures with the five key aspects of an adventure), I still follow this process but don’t document it as the month, three or four weeks of content, is normally spun up over the course of the weekend before the month begins. Going over my notes I remembered last week what the purpose of the horse was again and this week we will explore a bit more behind it, the machinations, symbolism and ties to the dark. So don’t forget to come back tomorrow for closure on Kyoko’s defenders and Wednesday for a change in perspective as we move away from June and look towards the collision of two forces months in the making, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Unexpected Dinner guests.

Welcome to the last Monday night in this months Ryokughan adventure where, as promised, we reveal what I think is the biggest twist of the year. This week we find the party joining Kyoko, Kuang and a few cursed guests hiding at the edges of the room just in case they are called upon as Teng Toshio, lord of the Toshio families sacred halls welcomes the party to dinner, and awaits his wife to descend into the dinner hall to join him and his guests.


Party Crashers

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Following the stragglers down the carpeted hallways towards the dinner hall the party became ever so faintly aware of a few of the Shadow Curses refugees, Sailors and even Siu who floated through the halls whilst people moved around them oblivious to the presence of those afflicted.

Entering the dinner hall was a grand affair, people were announced as they entered the room with their weapons (obvious ones at least) taken and placed to the side of the room in a storage rack after which the party were eventually shown to their seats. Looking around the Large room with a crescent cut into the roof above them which revealed a second floor that was connected to the dining room by mirrored winding stairs that ended just at the end of the table, where an empty large throne-like seat sat next to a smaller but equally grand seat.

Judging by their previous scouting and the layout of the room their backs were to the kitchens and they sat opposite Kyoko and Kuang who looks worried but smiled when they realised that people were looking at them. A few moments later and Teng Toshio entered the room descending from stairways that were built in such a way that you could only see him when he was twenty feet from the dinner table, flanked by Lucian and Ruben who wore ceremonial armour and weapons that were polished but still looked functional.

The presence of the cursed and occasional flicker of Siu, who had all but disappeared since entering the walled fort could be felt from the back of the room, where the party had entered but the party caught Kyokos eyes wandering the faces at the table and along the walls as if searching for someone. When the Party caught her eye she smiled and whispered across the 5ft table. “I was hoping my cousin would be here by now, I haven’t seen her in quite some time and we get along well. She was a lot younger last time I saw her so I might just be misremembering her face and looking for a younger woman when she has blossomed into something more.” She said with a nervous smile.

After personally greeting his guests Tend eventually moved to stand between the two large seats “Lords, Ladies, Men and women and guests,” Teng said as he reached his seat after personally greeting his many guests, “It’s not often we get visitors let alone the Daughter of Harimasu family and it gladdens me that we are given this opportunity to give them our hospitality.” A few cheers and scattered claps came forth from the crowd of proud Toshio family servants and soldiers. “But, there is a arrow of sorrow in my side as my wife has been away from the family halls for a few weeks now as she extends the hand of aid and friendship to nearby towns. Let us rejoice now as my wife has returned and will be joining us tonight!” With this the room cheered loudly, but the party noticed that several servants and soldiers looked uneasy if they did or didn’t celebrate the lords wife returning.

A figure moved through the crowd, her head tipped forward as she carried a glass of water and a small scrap of parchment as she presented it to Kyoko before retreating to the back of the room, near where the party entered.

Kyoko sipped from her water as she looked confused and uneasy at the reaction and the party and her guardian, Kuang, felt it too. As the noise died down the click-clack of shoes on the stone steps from the second floor leading into the dining hall could be heard. Kyoko looked down from the stairs to the parchment the lay in front of her, unfurling it and reading it for a moment she was slow to mask her expression of alarm as she looked up at the party before whispering to Kuang who nodded and moved to the back of the room, excusing himself as moved through some guests and servants who stood transfixed as they looked towards the stairway as a glistening white pair of shoes and a robe appeared as Tengs’ wife descended the steps into the dining hall.


Thanks for dropping by tonight as we look to move towards the closure of June as we continue on our journey through Ryokughan and onwards. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for NPCs of this week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Brittle Ties

Hello and welcome to another Monday night in Ryokughan and this week we find our parties carrying onwards to Toshio family lands. After a night full of fire, snow and spirits the party is weary and in need of shelter and respite but will the welcome of Kyokos’ cousins husband be what she is hoping for?


Cold Reception

224MoCR

The remaining of the cursed and members of Kyoko’s caravan and escort moved along much slower than they had yesterday after spending the night fighting off the attackers and then repairing one of the caravans from using salvageable parts from the other ruined ones. Those that remained were sore and tired and looking forward to getting out of the chill that was now sitting in great clumps of snow on the ground where they walked.

“It’s not far now,” called out Kyoko as she could see the dark shape through the snow, looming ahead even above the next ridge of the mountains “they say that the Toshio family built this estate in such as place as its soo easily defended and the area’s below that ridge are frequently populated with unfriendly creatures and spirits that only the mad or foolish would dare lay siege to their family home. It’s also the only place for days around that has hot springs that give hot water and make the land somewhat fertile so that the Toshio family can actually live there.” Kyoko sighed as he pulled up the cloak around her coat she continued to march through the cold.

Kuang, the Party and the remaining cursed walked more sullenly having watched the soldiers and those inflicted by the shadow bruise curse be cut down, or smashed in most instances, by the Spirit folk named the Nat and none felt it as keenly as Siu who seemed to seethe with both anger and regret as he disappeared from the parties, and Kyoko’s, senses more frequently than not.

Luckily Liz and Takeo had moved a more secretive route earlier to reach Kyoko’s families house before they were ambushed, and to reduce the chance of the Toshio family head from learning about the divine energies that Liz brought from across the sea to Ryokughan. But despite them not being involved in this conflict and being safe, to the best knowledge of the party and princess, it was little comfort.

The thundering hooves of a horse or several nearby broke the party out of their trance as they soon found wild looking mounted warriors riding towards them bearing the colours of the Toshio family. Stepping forward Kuang and Kyoko addressed the warriors and a few brief exchanges were spoken they returned to the group. “We are in luck, Lady Toshio had visited my Cousin and her husband a few days ago and had presumed we would return the horses to here, so we are expected. However I would not expect a warm greeting as during the attack we have but one of the three horses remaining, the other, the once-dead mare, has not yet shown itself and we believe has become tainted by the shadow somehow. Watch what you say, the Toshio family’s honour only goes so far when they feel slighted but we will have a roof over our heads and warm water to soothe our injuries and fatigue. I am told the Princes’ wife, my cousin, is currently out visiting a nearby village and according to the escort group should return in a few days time giving us time to work out how to navigate the situation with the scroll and horses.” Kyoko said as she lead the remaining half-dozen horses, including the Toshio horse, towards the building as the warriors formed a defensive barrier.

“Heard you guys ran into some problem with the locals,” one of the soldiers, a gruff man with a scar running down his face from his right eye, “I hope you got them back for what they did to you, these creatures get more and more bold the further The Shadows influence spreads and they have started to attack villagers and even make the occasional appearance near our fort.” he said, the dislike for these creatures obvious in his eyes.

“Ruben, that’s enough” barked a massive man who was clad in steel plates as well as thick, hairy hide. “I want silence from all until we get to the building – especially from those who know how dangerous these lands can be for the ill prepared or untrained” the man said, shooting a brief mocking smirk towards the Captain and Kyoko who just nodded in return, not worth creating a dispute or drama between the family houses.

Within the hour Kyoko’s party were at the gates to the fort, and family compound, large thirty foot walls met a large gatehouse and surrounded the building, one side backed up to a tall mountainous peak where a flight of steps lead upwards into the cloud and out of view – but even so often large braziers burned on either side of the steps and their glow could be seen through the snow flurries and into the first part of the clouds.

“Welcome Kyoko” a man said as the gates opened, a few heavily armoured and masked guards stood around the man dressed in a large robe, “It’s been too long. Please come in before you catch a cold” the man said but the smile he wore held no warmth. “We will see that the horses are taken to the stable, and that we have room for your small party”

“We will require more space and impeach upon your hospitality more I am afraid.” Kyoko said with a bow. “We have some refugees from the coast where their town was attacked and it has left them afflicted with a peculiar mark which causes them to simply not appear. They can stay in the Caravan if it pleases you but will require some food and form or warmth so don’t be alarmed if something seems off.” Kyoko said, trying her best to not reveal the full truth.

“Ah, I had heard rumours but I can see, well I can’t really!” the man said after a pause those men and women that served him laughed heartily before he continued and the laughter died down a moment after “We will make sure that there is food provided to the Caravan but until the nature of the affliction is revealed I can’t risk it spreading through the family house now, that would be ill advised.”

Kyoko bowed deeply and nodded to the men moving the caravan which, with the other horses, headed towards the stables. “Now let’s get you warm and dry then hmm?” said the man in the robes as he moved off.

“That’s Lord Toshio, Teng Toshio, my cousins husband and the lord that lives here. He is our host and has some influence with the Toshio family so we best tread respectfully around him” Kyoko said in a hushed whisper to the Party. “Now, I need to be rid of these cold damp clothes and to get some real food into me” she declared loudly as she followed the lordling into the buildings.


Thanks for joining me for the beginning of another week and how fitting it is that our party is moving through the snow and cold as a cold wave has hit the southern parts of Australia at the same time. Make sure to come back each day this week as we uncover what I have planned for our adventurers and Kyoko’s people and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe