Arc 1, Session 4: Crocodiles and Scorpions.   Posted by GMLian.Group: 0
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 30 posts
Wed 22 Jul 2015
at 20:23
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"I appreciate that," Zhaimie replies somberly, "but allowing the fear of failure to convince me to not even attempt an endeavor would be far worse than actually failing to accomplish it."

After a moment to let that sink in, she continues.  "As for the supplies you require for your march, I can likely help you acquire them.  It will help to know what you need, and it may take some time to get them here, but it is certainly doable as long as you have some way to purchase or at least trade for them."
GMLian
 GM, 564 posts
Thu 23 Jul 2015
at 14:57
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"Rebels always claim that, don't they?"  Fox Eyes answers Fearsome Stone Jin, "History ensures whether or not they're correct.  I'm sorry, miss Fire Doctrine, but I am well informed.  It's my duty to be."

"... Not a problem,"  Szu tries to wave it off.

"I know some of the errand you're on but not all of it exactly.  The price to tangle with the Spider Judges... high.  I was hoping this rebel would see me himself.  But we're willing to help within reason, so long as the Black Lotus Society is remembered a friend when everything settles."

---

As Zhaimie and Tien Fong talk, they hear someone come down the stairs.  It's one of the big burly guards from the Devil Dark Crocodile's house.  He bows to each of them.

"The Devil asked me to check on you," He says in a gravelly voice, "He is ending court soon, if you still have business with him."
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 31 posts
Sat 25 Jul 2015
at 02:11
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
Zhaimie nods to the guard.  "I do need to follow up with the Devil on what we discussed earlier," she says.
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 20 posts
Sat 25 Jul 2015
at 16:31
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"It's also the claim of righteous monarchs," Jin replied with a nod, "What aid could be provided now and what in a month?"
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 310 posts
Mon 27 Jul 2015
at 23:32
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
Tien Fong simply nods, letting the guard lead them to the Devil.
GMLian
 GM, 567 posts
Mon 3 Aug 2015
at 19:04
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"Depends.  I'm thinking of loaning you Lady Jade Scorpion.  Both because I know how much you enjoy deadly women and also because you'll need an official liaison.  Besides that, I'm not entirely well informed, Jin.  I don't know quite what the good rebel needs.  Later, well, we do have our special teams, you're well aware of our spying skills, and we have sizable military forces in the far east."

Fox Eyes looks at Jin seriously, losing that omnipresent smile.

"The Black Storm Buddha is paying very close attention to all of this.  We have our orders and I'm empowered to speak for him right now."

---

The guard leads Zhaimie and Tien Fong back to the Devil Dark Crocodile.  Court has apparently adjourned.  He's sitting on a seat near his throne, drinking his wine and wincing as he picks at one of the big slab-like scabs on his body. "Welcome back,"  He growls at them, "Any luck finding anything?  If not, the leeches in this place will be thrilled.  There are five or six that are just itching for the chance to suck up to me."

He looks at them with bloodshot eyes,

"You should look out for those."
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 22 posts
Tue 4 Aug 2015
at 16:07
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"You seem determined to make my wife angry with me," Jin noted, "But of the immediate help they seem to need information is at a premium. A thousand pieces serve no purpose if one can't grasp the board."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 313 posts
Fri 7 Aug 2015
at 17:11
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"Sadly, we have found only a trail that leads out the city," the commander responds dourly. "I am grateful for Jin and Lady Zhaimie to take their place in my company."

"I come before you, Crocodile, to finish the task my captured colleagues were sent to accomplish. I seek food and supplies, sufficient to feed a growing army."
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 34 posts
Sat 8 Aug 2015
at 17:18
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
Zhaimie stays silent for the moment, letting Tien Fong speak his piece.  Although she does suspect that Crocodile won't be able to offer much help with the food or supplies, seeing as he just negotiated receiving a lot of supplies from the Square Hole Circle through her.
GMLian
 GM, 568 posts
Tue 11 Aug 2015
at 15:36
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"You don't need my help to make Lady Dancing Cloud Lightning angry at you."  Fox Eyes points out, "Spying it is.  I have nothing much of note to tell you for now; you've stolen a march on the Imperials though the countryside already talks of the growing rebellion.  We can give you more pertinent information once we've gathered some ourselves.  Our agent will do so openly and her missives will have to meet with your commander's approval before she can send them to you.  Is that satisfactory?"

Fox Eyes puts a hand on his desk, "And I think you should also know something else.  The Blade Dogs were stirring in the capital weeks ago, after the general drafting of xia for the invasion.  Of course they dodged it.  There were a few murders in the streets- no, not murders, assassinations, rigorously planned and executed with prejudice.  I'm unsure what exactly is going on but I suspect the murdered men and women were Liquid Metal Delegates."

---

Devil Dark Crocodile nods, "Yeah, I can provide it, but couldn't you just make your troops forage across the land?" He looks at Tien Fong then shakes his head, "No.  No... you want public opinion on your side.  I can provide it, from my numerous stores and deals.  They'll have to pass through here first, you understand.  It'll come as a trickle rather than as a flood.  This is the way of armies.  In exchange..."

He stares at Tien Fong.

"I have something in mind.  But I'd rather you make me an offer first."
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 23 posts
Fri 14 Aug 2015
at 04:13
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"She's back to using the Lakes and Rivers name," Jin mused with a sigh as he nodded, "And so many at once means a Spider Judge must have named names. Curious. Well, I think my erstwhile employer will survive for a bit. Up for a game?"
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 37 posts
Wed 19 Aug 2015
at 16:12
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
9, 8, 7, 7, 6, 5 & 4

Zhaimie is attempting to discover a Wood Inspiration in Dark Crocodile, probably greed-based.  Given that this is intended to assist Tien Fong, who she's now contracted to work for, I'm claiming her Action bonus as well.  If there are other applicable bonuses, please add them in, Sage; I'm not very familiar with how Courtier stuff works.

27 + 10 + 10 = 47


----

It's becoming obvious to Zhaimie that Dark Crocodile knew about Zheng Tien Fong and his need for supplies before he ever started negotiating with her.  Small wonder he was so insistent on the amount of food.  But he must know that revolutions are bad for business; while they provide opportunities, they provide danger in equal measure.  So, seeing that Tien Fong is contemplating what he could offer for this, she speaks up.

"It seems to me that if Zheng Tien Fong succeeds in his endeavor, those who aided him will be rewarded in equal or greater measure to what they gave in his time of need."
GMLian
 GM, 571 posts
Wed 19 Aug 2015
at 18:26
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"You know that I'm at best a terrible player," Fox Eyes chides Fearsome Stone Jin and points at his closed eyes, "I can't see the pieces.  Atop this, I've got a lodge to manage and a badly wounded underling to care for if I hope her to meet with the rest of you tonight.  I suggest taking a walk back to the Crocodile's court."

He gives Jin a sinister little smile.

"Expect an ambush."

---

Very obvious; an easy grab.  He has a Wood Inspiration:  Greed; please state the effects.  It automatically fades if he ever thinks he has enough.

"Well, isn't that obvious?  But it's a poor merchant who takes vague promises as coin."  He puts the tip of his spear on the floor and starts spinning it over and over; the spearpoint is dull and skitters over the stone tile.  "Revolutions are dangerous business, Commander Zheng Tien Fong.  Many of your people are doomed to die, especially the civilians.  Don't you think some should be spared?"

The implication is clear.  He's asking for slaves.
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 24 posts
Fri 21 Aug 2015
at 02:36
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"One day you're not going to have such a convenient excuse," Jin said as he walked towards the door, he stopped for a moment, "And if either of them arrive do let me know. We can settle up afterwards. Would you like a closer look at the ambush later?"
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 317 posts
Mon 24 Aug 2015
at 15:48
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
The commander is taken aback for a moment by the Crocodile's demand, but he regains his composure when he remembers that this is a Devil he is dealing with.

"I have not come to liberate my people from one despot only to have them come under the thumb of another," he asserts firmly. "Surely there is some other way you profit from my endeavor? I am marching against the Jin Empire, after all, and it is only a matter of time before the Spider Judges set their sights upon Only Six Devils."

"As you have said, the march to Jiankang will be long and treacherous. And any enemies you want disposed of without revealing your involvement can be conveniently swept up in our path of revolution."

Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 38 posts
Mon 24 Aug 2015
at 23:37
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
(Let's call it an Entanglement bonus based on acquiring the spoils of war from Tien Fong's rebellion, whatever they may be)

"I was not speaking merely of vague promises of future reward, Devil Dark Crocodile," Zhaimie says, after Tien Fong finishes his counter-offer.  "Armies fight battles, and claim spoils from their victories.  Perhaps you and he could come to an arrangement of some kind regarding the disposition of these spoils."
GMLian
 GM, 573 posts
Wed 26 Aug 2015
at 15:43
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"I expect that I will, one way or another." Fox Eyes tells Jin, "The xia are out in force intent on winning the Crocodile's favor.  If they can't make a good enough deal with him they'll fall on you like jackals."

He gives Jin a bow.

"It was wonderful to see you again.  Please take care."

---

"Spoils?  In this?"  He shakes his head at Zhaimie, "He's going to be fighting the Imperial Armies.  If he knows what's good for him he won't engage in direct battle."

He glances at Tien FOng and gives him a grim nod.

"No, you can't afford to do that.  You'll need to move fast and hard.  Hit at specific points.  Loot just enough to survive and then move on.  Hope that things will snowball.  Right?  Right.  But your idea has merit, Tien Fong.  Tell me, do you know General Total Victory?"

Oh yes, Tien Fong knows him- Total Victory, true name Tsui Ziyang, a fat bastard of a general who should never have been promoted to his current station.  He's been occupying it for 20 years, likely because he's a Eunuch's adopted son.  He's been seen as a symbol of corruption in the empire even before the current events.  He's called Total Victory because he's never lost a battle... likely because he's never even tried to fight one.

"I'd very much like his son Great Victory's head, but I'd like to take it myself.  I request you kidnap the little bastard and bring him to me in chains.  Then we'll finally have a proper duel.  Then I'd like you to deliver his fingers to his father.  Think you can do that?"
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 318 posts
Fri 28 Aug 2015
at 22:24
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
Tien Fong nods, finding this demand much more palatable than the last. "Tsui Ziyang. He will be yours to do as you will."
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 39 posts
Sun 30 Aug 2015
at 22:26
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
Zhaimie stays quiet, now that Tien Fong has accepted that offer.
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 25 posts
Mon 31 Aug 2015
at 04:45
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
Jin bows and withdraws from the building. He waits until they're three buildings away before he sighs.

"If they've placed him here they expect one of the Devils to need to be removed soon," he said, running a hand through his hair, "Politics, politics. Do you play weiqi, Szu?"

He guides them back to the entrance from the tunnel where the missing rebels had been lead through.
GMLian
 GM, 574 posts
Mon 31 Aug 2015
at 16:56
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"I did a few times with my teacher.  He's... much better than I."  She remarks, following alongside Jin.  She glances back over her shoulder.  "Well, smart money would be Dark Crocodile then.  But- what's this about an ambush?  Should we be prepared?"

---

"The son.  Not the father."  He reiterates, "The worst thing you can do to a father, after all, is make them bury their son."

Dark Crocodile hops up and stretches, his back popping a few times. "Alright.  Our business is concluded.  The first shipments will find their way to you so long as you don't go pure stealthy, you understand?  I'd also suggest watching your supply lines."

He looks to Zhaimie, "You can start sending some of your rice his way too.  Get in touch with your people."

The two are shooed out.  There they come across Jin and Szu talking, and they meet in a wide cobble street.
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 40 posts
Mon 31 Aug 2015
at 19:35
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
Once they're outside, Zhaimie looks at Tien Fong.  "I'll need to make arrangements for that rice, but I may as well see if there's anything else you need."
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 26 posts
Tue 1 Sep 2015
at 03:24
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"Oh, always. Just we're rather the ideal candidates for information gathering," Jin replied, "Well, and I tend to draw certain kinds of people to me like a slaughter house draws flies. Such is the way of things."

He stepped into the tunnel and started retracing their steps.

"Would you like to play a few rounds while we wait for whoever has decided to move early?"
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 320 posts
Wed 2 Sep 2015
at 00:08
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
"Your service has been commendable, Zhaimie," the commander replies. "But no, we are done with this city. I hope for good."
GMLian
 GM, 576 posts
Wed 2 Sep 2015
at 21:28
Re: Arc 1, Session 4:  Crocodiles and Scorpions
The group meet together in the alleyway.  The next day they spend organizing things with the Dark Crocodile's men; none of them are ambushed.  They certainly don't find any more information on their missing allies.

With his supply lines taken care of, Tien Fong must return to Vigilant Fist to collect his army.  They hitch a ride with the first caravan of food from Devil Dark Crocodile...