Dark Pacts

Welcome to Wednesday where we look at the twists and turns of this week. With the coming of night, dark pacts and darker motives are made to foolishly try and twist fate. With the beginning of the end of this campaign approaching so does the Shadows final pieces and moves. Tonight we look at an unexpected boon for the Shadow, and potential detriment for the party.


Dark Pacts

232WeDaPa

Mugrave licked her fingers clean of the blood that was dripping from them as the distant lights from fires and starts flickered through the alley. Even in her Oni form the alleys were large, big enough for a horse or two to fit down which was their purpose. Smiling she looked down at the pile of body parts and picked up a flabby arm. It wasn’t her favourite cut of meat, but it will sustain her for a little while yet.

She stopped her biting and slurping and looked towards the entrance to the alley as she sensed a presence there. After a few moments of sitting and waiting she looked down at the arm and the congealing fat around the muscle. Sighing she discarded it and added it to the pile of unappetising body parts. With an utterance of a dark phrase the pile of burst into a dark flame and she shed her Oni form returning to the human she had been wearing.

Stretching her now-cramped feeling bones she went to leave the alley and stopped when she felt a presence next to her. Shifting her glance she mocked surprise and restrained her violent response.

“You surprised me!” she said after giving a small shriek.

“Apologies, but may I be direct?” the man said to her.

“Depends on what you are asking I suppose” she replied coyly, panting and patting her chest as if trying to fan air into her lungs. “In fact, it also depends on who is asking also” she mused as she looked towards the man in shadow.

Stepping forward the sharp looking man looked at her with piercing eyes which she knew could see her Oni self. “Shall we cut the pretence Mugrave and talk business, or I can cut you down here.”

Interesting, she thought. It as not often that humans willingly reached out to her and even more infrequently those who knew her true form. “I guess we can” she replied as she revealed her palms – the signs of blood and gore removed from her skin with the transformation. A boon of being a skin walker.

They walked for some time through the streets discussing the battles they had been in and making somewhat pleasant talk. When they were far enough away from the refugees or polite company he turned to her and looked her in the eyes. “I want a truce. You are not to harm, curse or place dark pacts Kyoko or her family.” he said bluntly.

“What makes you think I am after them?” she replied as she sat down on a box in the street they found themselves in.

“The foreigners. I thought as much. If you leave the Harimasu and can swear and oath that they will not be harmed in any way by your or your masters power. Then you can have the foreigners and I nor my soldiers will stop you.” Kuang said.

Thinking about the possibility of having her mission handed to her on a platter she thought about the consequences. Not my masters or my power. Hard to move around as her masters powers were vast beyond compare. But he didn’t mention natural influence. Kuang extended a hand towards Mugrave, an unwelcome gesture to her as her kind had to be wary of pacts.

“I will agree to these terms if you answer me a question,” Mugrave said as she stood upright and allowed her form to half-shift, “How long have you known I was who I was and how.” she was curious. After all mortals generally were able to see her.

“I was cursed as a child. I see all spirits in their true form.” Kuang said, his eyes flashing in the fire light of a nearby torch as if to emphasise his point. Mugrave smiled and shook his hand.

Broken

Hana was preparing for bed. As she fluffed the pillow and rolled over to blow out the candle she smiled at her cousin. It was nice to be back with her family.

“Goodnight Hana” Kyoko said as she propped her sword up next to the head of the bed.

Hana smiled and mouthed her response. “Good night” the soft sound of her voice came out which cause Kyoko to start and nearly fall out of bed. “I spoke” was all Hana could say as Kyoko stared at her, a look of concentration and puzzlement crossing her features.


Thanks for joining me for a bit of a roleplay writeup. This obviously isn’t something that the party would be able to see that well – but the affects and certain aspects can be described to them such as Kuang late coming and going or the sudden noise from Kyoko’s room. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for more Brazen Wolfe Tabletop content and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Doorich cottage

Welcome to Tuesday where we look at the NPCs of this week. This week we look to Doorich cottage, a small establishment that serves as a home away from home for passing through dignitaries. In particular we will look at Yulve, the caretaker and her husband Peruve as they help Kyoko, the party and co.


Doorich cottage

232TuFoCo

“Make yourself comfortable. You seven have been through quite a lot” Yulve said in soft tones as she busily hurried around from person to person.

“There is no need to fuss Yulve. You have done more than enough” Kyoko said as she accepted the hot tea that was handed to her. Glancing towards Kuang she could see that the venerated general was regaling stories of past conquests and battles with Yulve’s husband, Peruve – one of the first foreigners who Kyoko had met all those years ago. Hana busily tried to help Yulve who just as quickly tried to shoo the young Harimasu family member back to her seat.

“Now we don’t have much,” she explained, “but we have some venison stew”. The stew itself may have been plain but it was delicious and hearty and the party could not refuse a warm meal. After explaining what they had encountered on the streets, the shape shifters, Peruve looked up at Yulve.

“Wasn’t there an old folk tale that your folks used to tell me about?” he asked. “You know, the one about the monk who refused any offers of help on the road or something.”

“Yes, you’re right. The Quaigin. A race of cheeky shape shifters who take the form of any they touch. They are immortal spirit folk who unfortunately serve the Shadow.” she continued to explain as she collected cups and plates. “I say unfortunately as the legends say that they once stood against the Shadow but because of their nature no one trusted them to keep their word. They dissolved all ties and retreated back into the mountains I think was the last we heard of them.”

Night fall

After supper and the last of the light had faded from the sky the party retired to the three rooms that were available with Kuang opting to sleep in the hallway outside of Kyokos room. As Peruve walked through the building he heard a scratching on the wood. Moving to the front door with a short blade in his hand he opened the door. Outside the nights sky was cold and contained no clouds whilst guards and refugees walked outside. Closing the door behind him and locking it he didn’t notice the glyph scratched into the door or how it glowed slightly.

Mugrave watched the Doorich cottage from across the road as she ate some bread. Transforming her finger down from its Oni sized to a form more fitting a humans she waited for her pets to visit the house.

“The plan is in motion. We have tested them and found that they are formidable but none have survived the four of them before.” She mumbled to the dark, a cold tendril of shadow touching her arm. “We will have our answers soon, from their living lips or driven out from their dead flesh.” she said after chewing through a chunk of bread and salted meat.

“You there. Miss.” a guard said as he approached Mugrave.

“what can I help you with guardsman?” Mugrave asked in a cheerful sweet one.

“I want to warn you that some refugees have been reported to be going missing. So I wanted let you know that we have placed extra guards around the refugee camp in case you need protection.”

She smiled – humans had the potential for great kindness and great malice. “That’s very kind of you. I shall send my thanks to the guards tonight.”

The guard smiled and shook his head, handing a flask of liquid to her. “No need to thank me, Lady Kyoko ordered it and we are happy to oblige.” he said before walking off down the street.

Closing thoughts

Well as Mugrave makes her second move we can only sit back want wait for the party to react to what lies in wait. As I mentioned last night in our Night prowlers post this week is about the next move. We see a bit more around the tactics, see different creatures and see a different side to Mugrave – well maybe.

Having an enclosed “safe spot” with confined rooms and areas help sets up for a interesting combat encounter later this week. It also gives some questions around how to get the creatures into the house, or the party out. Much more to work on in the last days of this week.


Thanks for once again joining me tonight to read through the happenings in Ryokughan. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for our mid week twist as we uncover more of Mugraves plans. Also, don’t forget that we have a new breed of creatures to look at, ones that may appear familiar from those encountered in Faerun. But finally, don’t forget to keep coming back, following along this journey and, 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

232MoNiPr

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

Form Shifters

Welcome to the first of the end of week writeup for August. This week saw the party moving through ruined villages and towns as they head towards Heavens Reach, Kyoko’s castle. While moving through the refugees of the ruined villages the party come under attack from form shifters.


Form Shifters

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.


“We won’t stay long in this village on our way to Heavens Reach.” Kyoko explained as she moved down the street, greeting villagers and guards like she was an old acquaintance of some. “I don’t like the idea of that spirit harming these innocent folk because we stayed a moment too long.”

“I agree. It’s best for your safety and the safety of others if we can return you home.” Kuang said as he uncharacteristically bent down and handed some food to a few small children who were begging for it.

Without warning one of the guards that had approached Kyoko drew their sword and lunged at the princess. The party sprang into action and within moments the guard lay at their feet. After a few moments of looking for other threats the body of the guard shuddered once and a gargling wheeze came forth from the body. As the shuddering stopped the body separated into finger length slugs that crawled into the ground leaving nothing behind.

Staring at the creature, the place where it was to be more exact, the party were unable to identify the creature. Kuang, Hana and Kyoko stared at some of the fleshy slug like creatures as they buried in the ground. Scooping one up and putting it in a glass bottle Kyoko examined the creature.

The skin of it appeared to take on the texture and colour of what body part, clothing or item it was imitating before it was reverted back to this fleshy slug form. After a few moments of it being captured in a bottle it slowed its twitching and writhing before stopping all together and appearing to be dead. “Gross little creature,” Kyoko muttered as she stared at it, “some of the studied men back home may know what it is.”

Walking down the road once more, this time more cautious they met with no difficulty or hostility for quite some time. The group even let their guard down as they approached a vendor selling breads and street food. As they went to hand over the bartered for coin a knife dashed out from behind the counter and after another intense fight another mass of fleshy slugs wormed their way into the ground.

“These attacks are not enough to get past us.” Kuang mused as he looked at one of the slugs he had impaled on his sword. “They die quickly, inflict little to no damage but its the same type of creature attacking us in different ways. There must be a plan or intent behind these attacks.”


Walking through the streets trailing the foreigners and the Harimasu princess was easy. Dressed as she was, with the skin she was wearing she could blend in any where. Mugrave moved through the streets, appearing hungry and confused, a look of fear and a touch of despair tugging at her voice helped to sell the act.

As she moves from door to door, vendor to vendor she asks for food, spare coin or clothes to keep her warm. Her comely appearance, soft voice and youthful skin draw more than one glance from the men but that doesn’t concern her. She watches as one of her agents moves closer to the party, glancing back knowingly towards the her and receiving a signal from Mugrave before lunging at Kyoko.

The panic that ensued was sheer bliss. Mugrave relished in watching the streets erupt into chaos as the adventurers and Kyokos guard erupted into action easily cutting down the would be assailant. As she pretended to scream and scramble to safety as the violent response came Mugrave studied them. She watched their moves and the assessing their capabilities as was her plan. She could not attack the group without knowing what she was up against and now she knew.

As the day went on more of her agents attacked the group and she learnt more about their strength. She would need to be careful with this lot.

Settling down in a refugee camp for the night she enjoyed the comforts of poverty. Free food, blankets and different faces, emotions and personalities to learn and perfect. For a skin walker such as herself having a supply of inspiration and a list of faces and voices to use was of most importance.


NPCs

Kyoko Harimasu

Kyoko is a bit of a celebrity in the villages as she moves through and helps those she can.

Captain Kuang Ping

Kuangs warmer now he moves amongst his people. Helping families and people and even sparring with some refugees to demonstrate his skill. As the captain of the Harimasu guard he is well celebrated. Once the attacks start he is in his element and not a single blow lands on kyoko as he intercepts them all.

Sasha (Hana Toshio-Harimasu)

Hana is much like Kyoko without the celebrity status. She helps where she can and people celebrate her passing along with Kyoko and Kuang. The three are well loved and despite the trauma the villagers and townsfolk have endured these past few weeks they try and protect and help the harimasu heir where they can.

Mugrave – Human form

Mugrave is a skin walker, a form shifter like none before her. She is here to find the light, the one they call Liz but she found something more. Kyoko and the adventures. Not wanting to let go of a chance to gain further Intel she launched into action using her Quaigin’s to test their strength.


Environment and running the adventure

Made with Inkarnate.com

Encounter

The panicked streets is an easy enough gimmick with people running around and looking for a place to hide. This means that for our party they now have to deal with this movement and shift of potential threats. As DMs we need to really sell this. Describe the moment that the panic sets in or just simply emphasise that these people, refugees or farmers are just trying to get away from the spark of violence.

These small details can help drive the narrative of the encounter and enrich it from just being “Combat” to being “roleplay”.

The actual encounter should be one or two Quaigin attacking at once. Trying a different approach or tactic each time as they test how the party react.

Lore: Skin Walker

Legend has it in Ryokughan that under the right circumstances one can become a skin walker. In fact the ability to shape shift and assume any form, voice and personality is not something that is unobtainable but in some cultures, it is something that is routine.
The Oni and those who are born tied to the shadow are frequently blessed with the ability to shift appearance, taking a new form and voice to help reach their goals. These Skin walkers form the strongest and most prized of The Shadows champions and are frequently the cornerstone of its plans.

Skin walkers – Quaigin

Made in Tetra-cub

As she moved forward across the wet grass her anticipation fluttered in her chest. It wasn’t because she liked these creatures, they were below here, far, far below her but they were loyal and obedient. She appreciated their skills, the abilities that made them formless, that gave them an edge when interacting with the real world. These spirit-folk, the fey as the foreigners had called them, were not evil or malicious by nature but they respected their place in the world and did as they were told. The squirming prisoner, a guard that had strayed too far away from their post, looked up at Mugrave with horror in her eyes as she tried to back away from the Oni.

“Hush child,” the Oni said through sharpened teeth, “I wont harm you”.

The faceless creatures near by moved backwards a few feet away from the huddles guard. “Thank you.” she stuttered as she looked around at the creatures around her. “What are you going to do with me?”

“I will release you once I get some information from you.” The Oni said as she squatted down in front of the human, the sheer difference in size enough to make the warrior pale.

“What do you want to know, I’ll tell you anything” the guard caved quickly.

“I don’t want you to tell me anything. I want you to show me everything” Mugrave said as her arms darted forwards. Wrapping her hands around the head of the smaller humanoid she began to extract the information from her memories. Orders for movement of guards from the wall, the size and strength of the battalions and a titbit about Kyoko being spotted coming through the Kunagi ranges. The final piece of the puzzle was the reports of a fair foreigner who could heal wounds and the earth having appeared at Heavens Reach castle.

“The light. She has arrived. Interesting” Mugrave said dropping the human like a dirty dish cloth. “You are free to go” Mugrave said as the quivering human rose to her hands and knees and began to run off towards her barracks.

“Get her.” Mugrave said as the faceless shapes ran after her and dragged her silently into the earth.


Well here we are, at the end of another week. Thanks for joining me as I continue this journey across the Ryokughan continent. Now don’t forget to come back for the next week of content where we watch Mugrave get more aggressive. Oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

30 Minute Challenge – Image edition

Hi all and welcome to a 30 Minute Challenge evening. Now it has been quite some time since I have done something like this. In fact I haven’t I dont believe I have done something like this as tonight I will be using a randomly created image.

That’s right tonight a single image will inspire and generate tonight’s adventure and, lets hope, that its good. So using a random image as the base I then cross-bred it with two more images and then tweaked it until it looked, somewhat real. The trouble with Art-breeder sometimes is that the noise from over-breeding can take away from details you want to keep or enhance. But tonight I am happy with what we have so if you want to look at the original, or tweak it, you can find it here.


The rules:

  1. 30 minute limit.
  2. The them must be inspirited by the “randomly generated” image.
  3. Grammatical and spelling checks are allowed outside of the 30 minutes but the content must be there.
  4. At the end of the challenge the produced adventure should be able to be used for a D&D one shot.
  5. Must have some form of NPC, a creature, and a goal.

I have kept it nice and simple for tonight, no forced weird things or restrictions but if you want to see something like that feel free to suggest it.

30 Minute Challenge – Image

30 Minute Adventure challenge - Image edition: Revealing a green jungle with a river running through the centre.
Green Jungle

Time started: 8:25pm

As the party moved out from their tent the thick heavy curtains of fabric brushed against them leaving damp on their skin. Apart from the the sheer humidity of this jungle the second thing that hit them after being in a muffled tent was the noise. In fact the noise of insects and creature calls was the predominant thing about this jungle so far and it kept the party on their toes.

“Ah, good morning! Right this way when you please.” said a cheerful voice the sponsor, guide and seemingly jungle enthusiast declared. “We have much ground to cover before we reach the ruins but if we leave now we should make it there by noon.”

The party moved onwards through the sticky ground, the clouds of insects and the hardy and thorny plants. The trip over was easy in comparison to the journey on foot. The island that they are exploring, or paid to be body guards for, is several months travel away from Faerun. In fact the only way that they made it here was the marvels of both science and arcane powers. An airship. The double storied vessel was big enough to transport them, supplies for a month and even materials to set up a base camp on the island. This man came prepared , he was foolish or both it seemed.

A rustle in the bushes to the left of the path had the party draw swords and create a protective circle around their benefactor. “Oh its probably nothing… It’s nothing right?” the man asked through a twitching white moustache.

Before the party could respond to him the bushes rustled and something head off away from the party. A few tense moments later and the party began to move on, all except the one who was at the front – he was staring into the eye of something and it wasn’t backing down. “Are you coming or not! If you dally we will miss the right time and it will all be for naught!” called the scholar. Looking back to give a reply the mercenary looked back to where the eye was to see nothing.

Sheathing their sword, but not taking their hand off the hilt they rejoined the group. “As I was saying,” the old man was saying as the party member caught up. “The sun at the right angle at the right day hits this ancient gem at the precipice of the temple and it shines a light on the way through the doors. Fascinating stuff it really is. And to think we will be the first people to report back what lies within the temple. Many have come before but they weren’t as prepared as me. No-sir-ee they didn’t come with hired muscle or having completed half as much homework before coming along. And look where they are now. The jungle took them and holds them under its roots.” the man was nearly incapable of being quiet.

Scaled feet

As the creature returned back to its master they exchanged a few short, sharp chirps and purrs before it shot back off into the bush. The broad and lean body of the hunter stood watching his companion dart off to regain his quarries trail.

“Sek’eth.” a voice said from behind him. Turning with a mixture of annoyance and respect Sek’eth knelt before the wiry, small lizard-folk that stood next to him on a Pterosaur. “Some would think your hesitation to engage in these invaders is cowardice. I spoke up for you I really did but the others of the counsel have concerns. They believe that you don’t have what it takes to complete the mission. That you alone will be the reason that our sacred sites are invaded.” the corner of the lips of this runty lizard spoke otherwise to his support.

“They are different from the others. They have warriors this time unlike those who were un-worthy combatants. The scaled ones tell us that patience is how they sculpted the land to their will, not haste. I am merely practicing what our sacred ones have preached.” the larger reptilian humanoid said before standing up taller. “I will need more troops. Another flight at minimum. These are no ordinary scholars or insignificant warm bloods.”

The smaller lizard man seemed to broil under its fine scales but before that anger and pressure could escape its lips a larger clawed hand appeared on its shoulder. “You will have your flight Sek’eth. But if you fail in your task you will face banishment. Do not fail us” the larger counsel member said as he stepped up into the saddle of his monolithic Pterosaur.

Bowing deeply he waited for the counsel and their handlers to leave before he sprinted off towards the temple. Quietly as he leaped over a log he hoped that his companion could reign in its wild fury and wait for support from the rest of the brood.


Plot

The party has been hired by an eccentric scholar who needs mercenaries to help him explore a lost temple on an ancient island. What they don’t know is that the temple is a sacred site to a ferocious lizard-folk who have tamed reptiles from a bygone age.

The scholar, Cedrek Peetee – who claims to be a half-gnome, is more or less unknown in Faerun but has inherited a lot of wealth from his late parents and his previous master – a fanatic for lost temples of old. In one of the handed down books it was revealed that this mysterious temple was seen in the island – but they didn’t go any closer to it a they were running short on supplies and needed to reach dock.

The lizard-folk come in a few shapes and sizes and any colours imaginable. Sek’eth is a large crocodilian like beast of muscle and cunning. His companion, Rep, is a bipedal therapod with elongated claws used for gripping, ripping and tearing.

The temple will only open if the right rune is pressed, which is revealed by a gem mounted in the roof. And, you guessed it, the sun only hits the gem just rightly once a year. The inside temple contains the bodies of deceased lizard-folk who died from a terrible disease. Its both a sacred site due to the reverence that they hold over the dead, but also because they fear the return of the disease.

If the party make it to the temple and open up the door they will find bodies within its halls and rooms. Each body looks like they were just dumped in there but the truth is that they were alive when they were sealed up and died some time after their entombment. However, some survived. These creatures are ghouls with a lizard-folk body and possess a hunger that is beyond the norm. The party must fight to survive and perhaps convince the lizard folk to help them fight the undead.

Time finished: 8:54pm


Well I think I did ok with that writing challenge. Heavily inspired Warhammer (Serephon/lizardmen) as well as the Chult island it goes without saying that there must be other islands like that one out there.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow night for the end of week writeup and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Formless

Welcome back to another Friday-fightnight where our party encounter the formless Quaigin. These shapeshifters are known as the scouts and minions of the dreaded skin walkers who serve the Shadow. In fact these shapeless beings take on the shape of others as a way of interacting with the world after all its not easy having no face. In fact its not that they don’t have a face that gives them a bad reputation its that they consist of thousands of finger-length slugs that does the trick.


Formless

231FrFo

Quaigin - the formless ones who use their inherent magical abilities to take the form of other creatures.
Made in tetra-cube

As she moved forward across the wet grass her anticipation fluttered in her chest. It wasn’t because she liked these creatures, they were below here, far, far below her but they were loyal and obedient. She appreciated their skills, the abilities that made them formless, that gave them an edge when interacting with the real world. These spirit-folk, the fey as the foreigners had called them, were not evil or malicious by nature but they respected their place in the world and did as they were told. The squirming prisoner, a guard that had strayed too far away from their post, looked up at Mugrave with horror in her eyes as she tried to back away from the Oni.

“Hush child,” the Oni said through sharpened teeth, “I wont harm you”.

The faceless creatures near by moved backwards a few feet away from the huddles guard. “Thank you.” she stuttered as she looked around at the creatures around her. “What are you going to do with me?”

“I will release you once I get some information from you.” The Oni said as she squatted down in front of the human, the sheer difference in size enough to make the warrior pale.

“What do you want to know, I’ll tell you anything” the guard caved quickly.

“I don’t want you to tell me anything. I want you to show me everything” Mugrave said as her arms darted forwards. Wrapping her hands around the head of the smaller humanoid she began to extract the information from her memories. Orders for movement of guards from the wall, the size and strength of the battalions and a titbit about Kyoko being spotted coming through the Kunagi ranges. The final piece of the puzzle was the reports of a fair foreigner who could heal wounds and the earth having appeared at Heavens Reach castle.

“The light. She has arrived. Interesting” Mugrave said dropping the human like a dirty dish cloth. “You are free to go” Mugrave said as the quivering human rose to her hands and knees and began to run off towards her barracks.

“Get her.” Mugrave said as the faceless shapes ran after her and dragged her silently into the earth.


Closing thoughts

Developing the Quaigin is an interesting one. Being formless by nature makes their description sway easily from useful (for a DM) and horrifying which can only enrich the stories we can tell.

These creatures being able to mimic, perfectly, those that they touch make them perfect spies and assassins and I look forward to using them in the future.


Thanks for joining me tonight. As always the stat blocks are created in Tetra-cube, a great little web application for us DMs to make life a bit easier. In fact this whole week is about making life easier by answering the simple question. How do I get an Oni inside a fortress. The ability for Mugrave and her Quaigin to shapeshift makes this process an easy one – but more on that next week. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for a creative writeup. I am excited to bring another one of these back to the table as I haven’t really timed myself in a while since I have been focusing on improving my writing. So, don’t forget to come back this weekend and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Panicked Streets

Welcome back to another Thursday night of maps! This week we are travelling through a village where the quiet country streets suddenly become panicked streets as violence erupts. The party is under attack from mysterious creatures and well, that means an encounter (or two) may need to be made.


Panicked Streets

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Rural village streets which go from passive to Panicked streets in the blink of an eye, or a flash of a dagger.
Made with Inkarnate.com

I decided that taking a look through the farm collection on incarnate, dirtying up the stone and even putting a sun-set like hue over the top was a good start.

The decision to have work out grass was pretty easy – no farm or village where they have live stock has perfectly green grass without spots of brown. This is due to people walking, animals laying (or eating) and even grubs in the ground destroying plant life. So I wanted to reflect that this is a rural sense, yes it has buildings and market tents (or at least fabric shades) but its still rural.


Closing thoughts

The panicked streets is an easy enough gimmick with people running around and looking for a place to hide. This means that for our party they now have to deal with this movement and shift of potential threats. As DMs we need to really sell this. Describe the moment that the panic sets in or just simply emphasise that these people, refugees or farmers are just trying to get away from the spark of violence.

These small details can help drive the narrative of the encounter and enrich it from just being “Combat” to being “roleplay”.


Thanks for dropping by to look at a little encounter in a sleepy village in Ryokughan. As I say every night don’t forget that we have more content to come as the week goes on and tomorrow we investigate the encounter! So don’t forget to drop by then and this weekend for more content. As such this weekend I want to do another writing challenge so please submit suggestions for a theme in the comments below! Oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Quaigin

Hello and welcome to the middle of the week, Wednesday, where we look at the twist of the week. Yesterday in Skin Walker we looked at the creature called Mugrave as she had her agents, The Quaigin, launch a series of attacks towards the party. Tonight we reveal some of those attacks from the point of view from the party and get a closer look at these creatures called the Quaigin.


The Quaigin

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“We won’t stay long in this village on our way to Heavens Reach.” Kyoko explained as she moved down the street, greeting villagers and guards like she was an old acquaintance of some. “I don’t like the idea of that spirit harming these innocent folk because we stayed a moment too long.”

“I agree. It’s best for your safety and the safety of others if we can return you home.” Kuang said as he uncharacteristically bent down and handed some food to a few small children who were begging for it.

Without warning one of the guards that had approached Kyoko drew their sword and lunged at the princess. The party sprang into action and within moments the guard lay at their feet. After a few moments of looking for other threats the body of the guard shuddered once and a gargling wheeze came forth from the body. As the shuddering stopped the body separated into finger length slugs that crawled into the ground leaving nothing behind.

Staring at the creature, the place where it was to be more exact, the party were unable to identify the creature. Kuang, Hana and Kyoko stared at some of the fleshy slug like creatures as they buried in the ground. Scooping one up and putting it in a glass bottle Kyoko examined the creature.

The skin of it appeared to take on the texture and colour of what body part, clothing or item it was imitating before it was reverted back to this fleshy slug form. After a few moments of it being captured in a bottle it slowed its twitching and writhing before stopping all together and appearing to be dead. “Gross little creature,” Kyoko muttered as she stared at it, “some of the studied men back home may know what it is.”

Walking down the road once more, this time more cautious they met with no difficulty or hostility for quite some time. The group even let their guard down as they approached a vendor selling breads and street food. As they went to hand over the bartered for coin a knife dashed out from behind the counter and after another intense fight another mass of fleshy slugs wormed their way into the ground.

“These attacks are not enough to get past us.” Kuang mused as he looked at one of the slugs he had impaled on his sword. “They die quickly, inflict little to no damage but its the same type of creature attacking us in different ways. There must be a plan or intent behind these attacks.”


Closing thoughts

Tonight is a relatively easy one as it was setup over the last few nights. Having inspiration from a D&D 5e creature, the Quaggoth, I hope the Quaigin will be interesting creatures to encounter. In fact I hope that they will be seen in a few adventures to come.

I am looking forward to the next few nights to see what else I can add to make this adventure feel.. more? So stay tuned for it.

The Quaigin are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to what Mugrave will use against the party. I will make sure that we can all be best prepared for the future to ensure that we have fun each week.


Thanks for joining me tonight. As normal Wednesday nights are for twists and turns and this week with slug-creatures I think I pulled it off again. Trying to blend the Asian influence, D&D and my limited exposure to the combination of these things is a challenge and its rewarding to see how many people read these daily posts. As usual don’t forget to come back the next few days for the last pieces of this weekly puzzle. And, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Skin Walker

Hello and welcome back to a Tuesday NPC post. This week we follow the party as they follow the trail of destruction and havoc left by the minions of The Shadow. In particular, we are following the plots and ploys of Mugrave the Skin Walker as she tries to complete her mission to prevent the party, and Liz, from stopping her masters plans.


Skin Walker

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Mugrave the Skin Walker
Created in Artbreeder

Walking through the streets trailing the foreigners and the Harimasu princess was easy. Dressed as she was, with the skin she was wearing she could blend in any where. Mugrave moved through the streets, appearing hungry and confused, a look of fear and a touch of despair tugging at her voice helped to sell the act.

As she moves from door to door, vendor to vendor she asks for food, spare coin or clothes to keep her warm. Her comely appearance, soft voice and youthful skin draw more than one glance from the men but that doesn’t concern her. She watches as one of her agents moves closer to the party, glancing back knowingly towards the her and receiving a signal from Mugrave before lunging at Kyoko.

The panic that ensued was sheer bliss. Mugrave relished in watching the streets erupt into chaos as the adventurers and Kyokos guard erupted into action easily cutting down the would be assailant. As she pretended to scream and scramble to safety as the violent response came Mugrave studied them. She watched their moves and the assessing their capabilities as was her plan. She could not attack the group without knowing what she was up against and now she knew.

As the day went on more of her agents attacked the group and she learnt more about their strength. She would need to be careful with this lot.

Settling down in a refugee camp for the night she enjoyed the comforts of poverty. Free food, blankets and different faces, emotions and personalities to learn and perfect. For a skin walker such as herself having a supply of inspiration and a list of faces and voices to use was of most importance.


Skin Walker

Legend has it in Ryokughan that under the right circumstances one can become a skin walker. In fact the ability to shape shift and assume any form, voice and personality is not something that is unobtainable but in some cultures, it is something that is routine.

The Oni and those who are born tied to the shadow are frequently blessed with the ability to shift appearance, taking a new form and voice to help reach their goals. These Skin walkers form the strongest and most prized of The Shadows champions and are frequently the cornerstone of its plans.


Closing thoughts

Tonight was more about setting up tomorrow and this weeks encounters. Having Mugrave reveal some of her pawns and test the party may become evident quite early on to the party, and I would hope it would be evident, and they would perhaps become more suspicious of their environment.

The use of these micro-encounters. These mini flashes of fire in the pan is to really make the party feel like they are being tested, each attack should be coming from a different angle or approach. But.. I probably reveal too much about tomorrows twist so I will leave it here.


Thanks for another night with you dropping in to read up on the happenings in Ryokughan. Don’t forget that we will be adding to this weeks adventure each night this week, as normal so you need to come back tomorrow night. And the night after on that note. But most importantly, 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