Arc 1, Session 3: Lightning Flash.   Posted by GMLian.Group: 0
Xin Wude
 player, 241 posts
Wed 21 Jan 2015
at 17:26
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"A fair exchange; I will see that it's done." Wude gives a short bow and turns to depart back to the fort so that the prisoner exchange might be brokered, but stops before leaving.

"I do not begrudge you your mistrust, 108 Beads. My actions in the mayor's house more than justify it. I only pray that I might make amends somehow---not for the sake of my reputation, but so that the devils Commander Zheng opposes do not profit by my sin." The Sword Eccentric bows once more, and more deeply, before speeding back to the ramparts of the town.
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 223 posts
Wed 21 Jan 2015
at 23:44
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
GMLian:
Haolong stands up, wincing.  "That was quite a hit, Tien Fong.  Your barbarians are more useful than I thought.  Not the most honorable fight I've ever fought, either!"  He shoots the commander a glowering look, "If I gave you this much trouble, how will you handle my uncle?"


Tien Fong returns Haolong's glare with an inscrutable silence, calmly watching him being escorted to 108 Beads. Even without his foe's final taunt the commander was well aware of the parade of Yuns he would have to overcome in this grand endeavor, each more formidable than the last. They possessed the advantage of surprise this time and barely survived. The next time they would no doubt be ready for them.

"Sergean-- Soldier Bingwen. I commend you for your loyalty to your superiors. I hope that now that you are on this side your dedication to me will likewise prove unswerving."
Cai Lu
 player, 212 posts
Fri 23 Jan 2015
at 00:10
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"You speak of battles and war, and there I can not gainsay you. All I know is the turning of time and power through their forms," Cai Lu tells Bingwen, "Would that the current of these times be like a barge atop the canals instead of the mountain's waterfall."
GMLian
 GM, 415 posts
Fri 23 Jan 2015
at 04:48
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
108 Stone Beads bows to Wude, already beginning to at least bandage up Noisy End.  He doesn't leave the cliffside, no doubt so that he can make an easier escape if need be.

"We both know that isn't the case," Soldier Bingwen says glumly to Cai Lu.  "Commander Tien Fong, please- I've promised to serve you.  My order prides itself on its loyalty.  I would rather strangle my firstborn son than break that promise."

"Hmph.  You said the same to me,"  Haolong grunts at his former sergeant.

"And I've done my duty by saving your life, Yun Haolong.  My death wouldn't have saved you, only my service.  Don't let my sacrifice go to waste by getting yourself killed."

Wude arrives in time to see the garrison finally getting wrapped up.  Casualties are light, more men wounded than killed, though the garrison gave more than it took.  Brilliant Cheng finds himself slapped in irons.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:53, Fri 23 Jan 2015.

GMLian
 GM, 418 posts
Sat 24 Jan 2015
at 16:24
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
End of Battle Rippling Roll against Cai Lu:  7 ripples
*25 - 17 = 8, a Trivial.  We'll make this an Earth Inspiration, "Through Adversity Strength", Recovery 30, Duration 1, Interval 1 Session.  It's a Cultivation Bonus that triggers any session Cai Lu pushes himself to his limits by seeking tough opponents.

End of Battle Rippling Roll against Xin Wude:  3 ripples
*16 - 19 = Nothing!

End of Battle Rippling Roll against Zheng Tien Fong:  10 ripples
*29 - 28 (o_O) = 1, a Trivial.  Haolong was going to hurt Tien Fong further but that's impossible now!  Tien Fong suffers Associated Aches and Bruises which are about to get healed by 108 Stone Beads.

End of Battle Rippling Roll against Haolong:  5 ripples
*29 - 18 = 11, a Trivial of Tien Fong's choice.

End of Battle Rippling Roll against Brilliant Cheng: 13 ripples
*54 - 18 = 36, a Major of Wude's choice!  Yow.

Bingwen escapes with nothing.

End of Scene 4

Scene 5
Lao Tzu's Pass, Mayor's House

Any wounds anyone has are reduced by one step.  This leaves Tien Fong with his Broken Arm set at Trivial and his Aches and Bruises reduced to nothing, Brilliant Cheng's Nicked Leg reduced to Trivial and Sliced Arm to nothing, and Noisy End has a Minor wound:  Broken Left Shoulder.  Nobody cares about Haolong!


108 Stone Beads is an accomplished doctor, and true to his word.  He keeps himself remarkably transparent, explaining every step of the way to avoid casting any doubt on his sincerity.  The Buddhist monk first begins mending the victorious xia's wounds, then works on the wounded men of both sides.  Haolong and Brilliant Cheng are left for last.

The Buddhist promises that Haolong will be taken to a nearby Buddhist monastery and kept in seclusion for two weeks.  Before they leave Haolong tells Tien Fong "I may not be able to say anything.  But don't think anyone else will be kept off guard.  We will meet again!"

The garrison soldiers, left hanging, are quick to sign up under the rebel's banner, provided Soldier Bingwen commands them.  The Soldier takes it in stride, directing them to report to Tien Fong's own men before requesting they meet at the mayor's house.

Noisy End is still unconscious and resting on a nearby bench, her shattered shoulder expertly bandaged up.  Soldier Bingwen unrolls a map of Shen Zhou, then sits in front of it.

"You have a week before the next reprisal,"  He tells Tien Fong with a quiet confidence, tracing the route on the map. "A week before they figure out what went on here.  I have reason to suspect 108 Stone Beads is a contact with the Liquid Metal Delegates.  That means you need to begin marching into the plainslands and quickly.  Sticking to the mountains and passes will just leave you easy prey for the Yun and the Imperial Army.  They can bottle you up and grind you apart, even if you fortify.  How many skilled warriors do you have?"

Buliwyf moves up to the map, grunting in thought as he looks at it.  He's beginning to learn proper script- at least when it comes to maps.  He understands the gist of the former sergeant's plans. "If we head to the plains in a solid group we're vulnerable to getting flanked by cavalry or other fast troops."

Thankrad, in the meantime, has settled next to Cai Lu and is nonchalantly sharpening his knives.  "Cai Lu.  You know my thoughts on religion."  He starts to blacken the knife with soot, "I thought it odd your people are so similar to ours- friends from enemies, the code of honor- and I'd hear your thoughts on it."
Cai Lu
 player, 213 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 00:02
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"People are like ice, trees, and the sky. They may change in type and appearance from time to time but the essence is the same," Cai Lu answers, looking up from his meditations, "There are those who say Heaven has created a perfect plan, like an architect designing a palace, and only Shen Zhou has reached the pinnacle of that plan."
Xin Wude
 player, 243 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 00:58
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
For Cheng's condition, let's say he's Plagued by Doubts (a Major Water Passion) about his allegiances, and suffers a cultivation penalty whenever he tries to ignore them.
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 225 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 16:52
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
GMLian:
Scene 5
Lao Tzu's Pass, Mayor's House
"You have a week before the next reprisal,"  He tells Tien Fong with a quiet confidence, tracing the route on the map. "A week before they figure out what went on here.  I have reason to suspect 108 Stone Beads is a contact with the Liquid Metal Delegates.  That means you need to begin marching into the plainslands and quickly.  Sticking to the mountains and passes will just leave you easy prey for the Yun and the Imperial Army.  They can bottle you up and grind you apart, even if you fortify.  How many skilled warriors do you have?"

Buliwyf moves up to the map, grunting in thought as he looks at it.  He's beginning to learn proper script- at least when it comes to maps.  He understands the gist of the former sergeant's plans. "If we head to the plains in a solid group we're vulnerable to getting flanked by cavalry or other fast troops."


Tien Fong ponders the counsel from Buliwyf and Bingwen.

"We will take to the plains. Their cavalry, fast as it may be, is less numerous and more surmountable if we are prepared to counter their flank."

Rolling Tactics to determine the best way to do so given the topography and troops: 10, 9, 5, 4, 4, 2 & 1
2x4 + 15 Tactics (Military Action) + 5 AB = 44

GMLian
 GM, 420 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 17:51
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
Bingwen continues to trace his fingers across the map and Buliwyf tries to keep up, casting a critical eye over what Bingwen and Tien Fong are planning.

"We can head towards Only Six Devils,"  Bingwen suggests, "Our army's not big enough to easily deflect a flanking attack.  If we can hire some mercenaries from there, we can fill in some gaps in our skillset.  After that I would suggest two armies, slightly spread out, one main and a smaller one.  That means they'll have to move further to achieve a successful flank, and if a main body comes close we can merge the armies into one again."

Bingwen's tactics are sound, and Tien Fong can see that the area is open enough for them to pull this off.  More importantly while his idea is good, Tien Fong can actually figure out the practicality of it- it's not hard to see where to position the armies, how to approach Only Six Devils, and how to do so without getting smashed to pieces by a rearguard cavalry attack.  In fact, Bingwen's idea can be expanded:  with mercenary help it might even be better to make three armies:  a main and then one to cover each of his flanks.

There's a few little towns in the way but he knows for a fact they won't put up much of a fight, if at all.  Most don't even have a token garrison.  Shen Zhou has always preferred to heavily defend the border and ignore the soft, creamy center.  Two stand out as major landmarks, Hero's Crossing and the Iron Hill.  If there are any major defenses to overcome, they'll be there; the approach to Only Six Devils necessitates passing one or the other.



"So you turn to religion,"  Thankrad verbally jabs at Cai Lu, though there's no real malice behind it.  "I think the truth is closer to Levonhard and Arnwulf's story; some visitors from long ago.  If people are the same the world over, how do we get the Death Marchers?  I don't think all men's essence is the same.  Better question, the thing in the mine."  He frowns.  "Cai Lu, I'm a seasoned murderer.  That thing in the mine haunts me like nothing else."




Meanwhile, Wude- who likely has little tolerance or interest in tactical talk- has been overseeing the garrison's rebuilding.  The Bad Star Bandit Coal Eye has decided to take apart the eastern wall and use it to reinforce the northern, to make the pass almost entirely impassable from any northern force. "The reasoning is that the Yun forces are going to want to catch up at some point.  Some of the passes in the area are just too long and winding to retreat, whereas Lao Tzu's Pass is nice and easy.  It's why we chose the valley here,"  He explains.  "So they could come up the north, smash through here, catch us in the back.  Really though I'm worried about the people of Hanging White Paper.  They'll have to come with us.  Hell."

He spits and watches the garrison pry down another huge log.

"Rebellions are a nasty business, Wude, and the people suffer the most out of it and people like me prosper the most.  People like you and Noisy End, though... you either end up emperors or gods.  How is Noisy End doing?  Did the Buddhist pull any funny tricks?"
Xin Wude
 player, 244 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 18:14
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"I only saw the monk's fight from a distance, but it looked to me like he prefers a much more ... straightforward approach to battle---and so much the worse for Noisy End," he ruefully adds. "But he's shown both skill and care in treating her injuries and others'; it is a great pity that we have given him cause to think us villains."

The Sword Eccentric shakes his head, looking at the re-fortification work without really seeing it. "We achieved a victory here, but the cost to our honor, and to the righteousness of the Commander's cause, may prove heavy indeed. Any more such victories, and we may be done for."
Cai Lu
 player, 214 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 18:22
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"I said some would. Attaching a point to why the world works as it does is somewhat missing the point. Still, some things are the same. Sharp objects cut, groups of men and women try to make more men and women, rain is made of water rather than wine," Cai Lu tells him, stretching his arms and back with a loud crack, "True, the Death Marchers use different tools and techniques but nothing they have done is outside what we might do with the same lands."

He nods at the more pressing question.

"The Corrupted are disturbing in a way that normal death, even painful and prolonged death, is not. Just because you have killed many does not mean that your soul has taken on putrefaction. They are unsettling the way watching rain fall upwards would be. The one we met was created, and no purpose needing such a tool is good for the world or men dwelling in it."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 228 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 19:20
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"We already consort with bandits, and so I see no dishonor in bolstering our numbers with mercenaries. Your plan is sound, Soldier Bingwen."

So, Hero's Crossing or Iron Hill. Tactics roll from previous post apply to this, or do I need to make Survival instead to know the lay of the land?

And do we even have resources to procure the services of mercenaries?

GMLian
 GM, 421 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 19:35
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
Tactics roll already applied; this is just a coin toss deciding what you do next session.  There's no right or wrong choice here.  Alternatively you can split the difference, sending someone to the one you don't choose.  Whichever the case there'll be some interesting story hooks.

You're very low on resources.  This means you'll either need to get cash, make with the fancy talk, or broker some deals.


"It's the logical course.  We're that close already,"  Bingwen points out, "We'll also have to worry about the evacuation of your city, too, but Only Six Devils is very defensible and you might be able to broker safety for your civilians there with one of the Six Devils."



"I don't think for a moment my soul is rotten, only calloused."  Thankrad explains to Cai Lu, "I thought I'd seen the worst of things in the warm lands near the great sea.  Their method of execution- it made my blood run cold the first time I saw it, and I've carved the Blood Eagle on men's backs.  If your lands are closest to this supposed plan of Heaven, then somehow they're also the farthest away."



"Things have a way of burying themselves," Coal Eye observes to Wude, "He's no doubt bought the eternal hatred of the Yun Clan but I'm not so sure about everything else.  If we're lucky this will all just fall through the cracks.  If nothing else, the Bad Star Bandits will vouch for your bruised honor.  Just keep an eye on the commander, eh?  If things start to get bad, Heaven can withdraw favor as easily as give it." 

Crunch.  A log falls and Coal Eye winces as it takes off the corner of a nearby building.  "See, I'm not worried about what the Buddhist did to the Boss during the battle.  I'm just worried about after.  I don't like doctors, you know?  You think the building's fine but they've made the foundation rotten.  Eh, what do I know."
Cai Lu
 player, 215 posts
Tue 27 Jan 2015
at 19:45
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"I didn't say that your soul was but was explaining the difference. A soul might kill or be ruthless but, so long as the acts serve a purpose, emerge little different from before. To become Corrupt is to chase power for power and to deliberately cast aside part of your humanity to do it. It is a choice, even if they don't realize they're making it or are compelled to do so," Cai Lu tells him, laughing, "Heaven does not plan for the benefit of man, even the most strident of sects ultimately acknowledges that. We are like the leaves on a canal, carried by the current around us and battered by the oars above us."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 229 posts
Wed 28 Jan 2015
at 19:19
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"Soldier Bingwen. Give me an inventory of supplies. Anything valuable we can use to procure the services of mercenaries will be taken. In the meantime, I will have Sergeant Xi execute the evacuation protocol for Hanging White Paper while I make other arrangements."

Specifically, a pulse of earth chi to summon Hears Everything and inform him of their plans.
Xin Wude
 player, 245 posts
Wed 28 Jan 2015
at 20:13
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"I should hope a monk of the Little Forest wouldn't stoop to such dirty tricks ... though we may not be in the best position to complain if he did." Wude strokes his chin thoughtfully. "I don't think there's anything to be done about it but to watch her carefully, I'm afraid, until we can find someone whose skill in the medical arts matches or surpasses 108 Beads' own."
GMLian
 GM, 422 posts
Thu 29 Jan 2015
at 16:09
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
Soldier Bingwen nods and salutes, "I'll see to it, Commander."

Buliwyf waits until the man leaves before he walks up and talks to Tien Fong in a low voice.  "We seem to be of one mind.  I would have my men raid and scout but I saw how well that worked in Hanging White Paper.  My people are tired but we're experienced at moving large numbers, so they will help with your civilians."  He frowns, "We can do it in, hm, six days, I would say.  Where do you intend to go?"

Hears Everything must've already been on his way.  He staggers into the building, covered with cuts and blood.  His dog Xiaotian trots past him and immediately makes for Cai Lu, whimpering and pawing at his knee.

"Commander,"  The Delegate says wearily, "Congratulations on your success.  The secret war is heating up but so far it's been nothing more than far-away skirmishes, feeling each other out for threats.  The Judges are starting to investigate personally but they're coming up against other Delegates.  There's widespread confusion, mostly spread by our faction.  What are your next plans?"




"Ah.  I like dogs," Thankrad tries to pet Xiaotian but the dog growls at him.  He withdraws his hand quickly.  "Hn.  There's a marked difference between us, then.  In our Old Religion, there's no greater duty than to fight against the... current, and make it work for us.  Then again, we've already cast that aside."



"Hah, well, Little Forest Sect... and where did the Black Storm Buddha come from?  My asshole?" Coal Eye asks, scoffing.  "Good, honest doctors are hard to find and worth more than their weight in gold."

Wude, you see Hears Everything rush through the garrison with that big dog of his.  As he goes by you're sure you hear... something... like words in the wind.

Awareness check, difficulty 50, to make out the words.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:47, Thu 29 Jan 2015.

Xin Wude
 player, 246 posts
Thu 29 Jan 2015
at 16:39
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
Wude can't help but laugh; proper Confucian manners are all well and good, but the rustic ways of folk like Coal Eye will always be those of his heart. "You're a better counsel than most I've come across, friend; Noisy End's lucky to have you at her side."

He's about to continue, when the strange noise that accompanies Hears Everything's arrival catches his attention. He holds up a hand to Coal Eye to signal silence, and strains the limits of his perceptive capacities to wrest some signal from the noise, but any sense it carries is just outside his reach.

Awareness Check: 31 + 10 = 41. Rats; just outside the range of 'let's try haggling for a Laughs At bonus'.
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 232 posts
Fri 30 Jan 2015
at 20:23
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
GMLian:
"We can do it in, hm, six days, I would say.  Where do you intend to go?"

Hears Everything must've already been on his way.  He staggers into the building, covered with cuts and blood.  His dog Xiaotian trots past him and immediately makes for Cai Lu, whimpering and pawing at his knee.

"Commander,"  The Delegate says wearily, "Congratulations on your success.  The secret war is heating up but so far it's been nothing more than far-away skirmishes, feeling each other out for threats.  The Judges are starting to investigate personally but they're coming up against other Delegates.  There's widespread confusion, mostly spread by our faction.  What are your next plans?"


Tien Fong nods to acknowledge Hears Everything's arrival before turning his attention back to Buliwyf. He points to the map to what appears to be a blank section of the map in the desert surrounding Only Six Devils.

"You will take them here. The ruins of an old fort my father occupied for a while...before his disgraceful fall. Vigilant Fist Fortress. Most of it still stands, albeit half-buried by sand. The barracks and some of the structures should be sufficient to house and protect the denizens of Hanging White Paper." 

To the Delegate he reports, "We need troops before we can press on towards Jiankang. To that end we will seek mercenaries from Only Six Devils. Paying for them, however, is another matter."

Spending 1 chiv Joss BTW, to make Vigilant Fist a thing.

This message was last edited by the player at 21:04, Fri 30 Jan 2015.

Cai Lu
 player, 216 posts
Fri 30 Jan 2015
at 20:39
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"Apparently our gods are as argumentative as our religions," Cai Lu says, scratching the massive dog behind his ears, "Taoism is probably closest to your old religion in goal. We want out of the canal so that we can enter the stream of this world from wherever we like without all the trouble."
GMLian
 GM, 425 posts
Sat 31 Jan 2015
at 16:05
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"It'll be a tight fit,"  Hears Everything observes, "They'll also probably end up with some shantytowns around the edges.  Remember we have the barbarian civilians as well."

Then he frowns, "We're running out of resources ourselves.  We already paid off the Bad Star Bandits, we'll have a hard time getting more cash out of the Emperor's private, untracked stash.  For now you'll need to find alternative ways than cold, hard currency to hire them."



"No, the idea is to tell the stream to go to hell," Thankrad tells him blithely, "To win the unwinnable battle at the end of the world.  Sorry if I'm missing the point of your particular inscrutable religion, I'm no priest."

  Xiaotian whimpers and paws at Cai Lu's leg again. 



"Everything alright?" Coal Eye asks after a few respectful moments of silence, which unfortunately is right before Wude can hear the last word of the whisper on the wind.  He's been utterly distracted from their previous conversation.  "What just happened?"
Xin Wude
 player, 248 posts
Mon 2 Feb 2015
at 19:24
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
Wude exhales in disappointment as he can't make out the strange message in the wind.

"I have no idea, Coal Eye. When it comes to these Delegates, I fear I simply have no idea." The Sword Eccentric smiles faintly. "But I should probably go see what that's about. I'll see what I can do about arranging a 'second opinion' for Noisy End; in the meantime, we'll simply have to keep an eye on her."

With that, and a slight bow, he's off to see what tidings Hears Everything brings with him.
Cai Lu
 player, 218 posts
Wed 4 Feb 2015
at 23:03
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"Last battle? That's a nonsense concept to Shen Zhou. Even if every living thing achieved enlightenment new forces would come into being and conflict over time," Cai Lu replies, reaching down and patting the distressed dog. "The doors to hell have been opened. It has been a very long time since true demons roamed the world at large. We seem doomed to interesting times."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 233 posts
Fri 6 Feb 2015
at 22:34
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
Tien Fong nods, acknowledging the scarcity of funds and the arrival of the Sword Eccentric.

"What we lack we will take from the coffers of the Yun. With news of our rebellion reaching their ears shortly, their martial strength will be routed to the front lines, leaving their merchant caravans less defended."

He turns to Wude.

"How would our bandit friends like to do some raiding? In the meantime we scour Haolong's chambers and their war room. See if there are any bits of intelligence we can salvage and use to our advantage."
GMLian
 GM, 428 posts
Sat 7 Feb 2015
at 21:46
Re: Arc 1, Session 3:  Lightning Flash
"There probably isn't much, not here.  Not enough for a significant force of mercenaries."  Hears Everything replies, "But I'll look through his things.  I'm sure I can glean something."

Xiaotian whimpers and moves away from Cai Lu, running to Hears Everything's side.

"I have a few experienced raiders.  We're good at that.  I can send off some of my bodyguards with my best."  Buliwyf suggests.

Thankrad stands up, putting a hand on Cai Lu's shoulder companionably.  "Let them come.  Commander Tien Fong, Chief Buliwyf, if you'll excuse me, I'll start the evacuation of Hanging White Paper."

((New thread soon; we can handle a bit in time skip.  We'll be splitting you into two groups, one for the Iron Hill and the other for Hero's Crossing for the start of the next session.  Pick who goes where!))