Arc 1, Session 4.5: Rainstorm Over the Plain.   Posted by GMLian.Group: 0
GMLian
 GM, 614 posts
Tue 24 Nov 2015
at 17:55
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Does Nothing has an immediate and visceral reaction to Fearsome Stone Jin's question- a look of wincing distaste.  The mere question is painful.

"If the Southern Dragon Pirate King doesn't know yet, I'd be very surprised.  Getting him to work in our favor is... a challenge.  He no doubt smells weakness in the water like blood and will be far more likely to march from the opposite direction on Jian Kang and seize the throne for himself."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 348 posts
Tue 24 Nov 2015
at 23:09
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"Indeed. The Southern Dragon Pirate may be a player in this game we'd want to stay off the board," Tien Fong concurs, joining in the conversation..

"We have procured supplies for the march and recruited new allies to our side," the commander begins, proceeding to fill the Delegate in on the events of the last few weeks. "But we have also lost much to the machinations of the Spider Judges."

He pauses for a moment, remembering his lost friends Wude and Cai Lu. His thoughts wander to Peizhi, another friend he could now likewise consider lost.

Gathering himself, he declares, "I would know three things from you, Hears Everything. First, we have heard of a schism within the Delegates. I would know who we can and cannot trust among your number. Second, what news do you bring of the Empire's preparations against us? And lastly, tell me of the young Emperor himself. How aware is he of anything that is transpiring beneath his very nose?"
GMLian
 GM, 615 posts
Wed 25 Nov 2015
at 15:53
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"I can answer it instead of Hears Everything."  Does Nothing responds, "There has been a schism since day one.  We are members of the Dogs of the Emperor, Delegates trained since birth to be the Young Yellow Emperor's closest friends and confidantes."

"Xiantian here," Hears Everything pats his dog's head, "Has been specially trained.  Every member of the Dogs of the Emperor has one.  That's how you can tell us apart."

"The rest of the Delegates follow their leader's orders to the letter, and he's part of the problem.  The Liquid Metal Delegates will view you all as unrepentant rebels.  Only the Dogs of the Emperor stand between them and you.  We've had to kill several Delegates now, and have lost some of our own."

"Which reminds me, Brother Does Nothing, we lost Sees Little two nights ago."

Does Nothing hangs his head.  "... Commander Tien Fong, the Empire has begun drumming up two armies to defeat you, each about 15,000 men.  One is commanded by General Total Victory, so I imagine you'll carve him to pieces like a suckling pig.  The other... well, General Chao suggested that he meet you one on one to reason with you first, so the Spider Judges bound him to a hollow iron pillar and filled it with coals.  There's talk of looking for the 'proper general', so you will at least not have two of them attacking you at once.  The latter army is likely going to be held in reserve in Jian Kang to make sure you can't skirt around General Total Victory and take the city by surprise."


"And as far as the Young Yellow Emperor goes... I answer to him directly.  Anything I know, he will know.  So he is aware of everything."
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 46 posts
Thu 26 Nov 2015
at 23:07
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"As you would have it, but when two wolves quarrel the deer lives to grow horns," Jin said at the decision on the Southern Dragon King.

He listened to the news of the two armies.

"So, if we were to get a small force around General Total Victory and reach the other force, their command structure is still tied directly to the Imperial Bureaucracy?"
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 68 posts
Mon 30 Nov 2015
at 16:21
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Zhaimie listens quietly, not desiring to interrupt or distract from the proceedings.  Besides, this is all information she knows little about, so she's better off listening rather than speaking, at least for now.
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 349 posts
Thu 3 Dec 2015
at 00:24
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"This encourages us to move quickly, while they scramble to assemble a proper defense," Tien Fong replies. "We mobilized first, and can act more decisively and quickly than the bloated bureaucracy can."

"But first, there is something my father told Peizhi to tell me that bears investigating. Something about the fifth stone in the basement here in Vigilant Fist."

This message was last edited by the player at 00:48, Fri 04 Dec 2015.

GMLian
 GM, 616 posts
Thu 3 Dec 2015
at 23:07
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"If we struck today, right now?  Yes, Fearsome Stone Jin- they'd be directly tied to the Spider Judges.  The closer we get the more desperate they'll be.  I'm sure that if we reach the walls they'll have chosen a general already.  Right now they're being picky, hoping General Total Victory will do the heavy lifting.  So we must pressure them to keep them from choosing the proper general."

Does Nothing nods at Tien Fong, "I have an idea of what it is.  I approve.  Your father kept that secret for a long, long time, and we've never seen any reason to push him for it.  Very well."  He stands up, "Does anyone have anything more you wish to know?  Any requests to make?"
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 47 posts
Sun 6 Dec 2015
at 16:01
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"Nothing pertinent to the coming battle. I assume that none of the Pillars have been approached outside of single individuals," Jin answered, scratching a scruffy beard, "Our cultivated ranks seem a bit thin for war. Any gathering or tournament in reach?"
GMLian
 GM, 618 posts
Sat 12 Dec 2015
at 17:52
Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"None so far, officially.  We've decided to leave the official overtures to Tien Fong.  We'd rather not speak for him to the Pillar heads." Does Nothing responds to Jin, "There is a tournament some distance away, in Shambala..." 

Hears Everything tilts his head to the side.

"... You have a point, Hears Everything.  They're not quite members of the Jin Empire.  They're effectively neutral.  It may be an excellent opportunity.  Especially with all the riches Tien Fong will be digging up within the hour.  It may be worth your while to go there to drum up fame, fortune, and fellow fighters.  Or else Tien Fong may consider marching for Gathering Clouds and crushing the Yun there before Snow Leopard returns."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 352 posts
Tue 15 Dec 2015
at 16:46
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
GMLian:
"...Especially with all the riches Tien Fong will be digging up within the hour."


Tien Fong listens intently to the Delegates, his curiosity regarding his father's "inheritance" piqued more profoundly by their comments.

"I will decide on our next course of action after we have uncovered these riches that you seem to think my father has left behind." The commander turns to descend down the stairs, still remembering his way around the citadel from summers spent here during his father's military campaigns.
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 70 posts
Tue 15 Dec 2015
at 18:52
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Zhaimie bows to the Delegates and proceeds to follow Tien Fong.
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 48 posts
Tue 15 Dec 2015
at 19:50
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"Ah, priests," Jin says with distaste, "Well, at least they're usually easier to buy than mercenaries. I need to speak with the barbarian leaders, how they move may become rather important."
GMLian
 GM, 620 posts
Tue 15 Dec 2015
at 21:43
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Zheng Tien Fong descends to the basement with Zhaimie following him and nobody else.  The basement has been dug out of solid stone and is no bigger than a minor nobleman's bedroom.

To make matters worse, the floor is solid too.  No fifth stone there- but-  Tien Fong has his kung fu, taught to him by his father...

---

"Go ahead,"  Does Nothing says to Fearsome Stone Jin, "Though I doubt they'll move without Tien Fong's say-so."

Jin has a devil of a time finding the barbarians- he finds more of them than Han, but eventually he's pointed in the right direction.  They're busily holding some sort of meeting that pauses once Jin arrives.  The largest, a heroic slab of muscle and blond hair, bows to Jin in the Chinese fashion and speaks in a halting, barbarous tongue.

"My name is Buliwyf,"  He remarks, "I was told- Tien Fong may send others?"
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 71 posts
Wed 16 Dec 2015
at 01:42
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
(9, 8, 8, 8, 8, 5 & 2

awareness with 48 + 5 + 10 = 63

Can't resist.  "Zhaimie uses Awareness.  It's super-effective!")


Zhaimie carefully scrutinizes the floor once they arrive in the basement.  While she's no stonemason, she is pretty familiar with all the cagey ways in which merchants keep their own treasures hidden; hollowed out spaces under the floor, hidden panels, and other such things.
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 49 posts
Wed 16 Dec 2015
at 04:53
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"I am Jin, my title is Fearsome Stone, and there are some slight flaws in my character," Jin replies with a bow, "It is my task to see that Tien Fong triumphs and you are important to that. First I seek to understand what you and yours are capable of."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 353 posts
Fri 18 Dec 2015
at 21:01
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Tien Fong's eyes likewise dart about the the basement, pondering what his father's mysterious clue could have meant.

"'The fifth stone,'" he considers the reference carefully, closing his eyes. Desperation — or was it merely curiosity? — certainly drives one to do the strangest things. It was not lost to the commander that his father — the man he detested, the man he sought to distance himself the most from all of his adult life — he now step into his head and emulate...in order to acquire his riches. Perhaps no matter how hard this apple tried, it simply could not fall far from its tree.

He casts aside these thoughts, focusing on the task at hand. He channels his earth chi downward and outward, searching and scouring the masonry, feeling the cracks, tracing the contours, seeking out any remnants of his father's chi.
GMLian
 GM, 621 posts
Sat 19 Dec 2015
at 19:14
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Zhaimie sees it at about the same time as Zheng Tien Fong, but she can only see the faint outlines of where the stone is stressed.  Tien Fong can FEEL it from his feet to his beard.  As he finds the cracks he can't help the earth chi that pours out of him.  This is stone, yes, solid stone, but it's just waiting to be cracked and his earth chi strains to do so.  Almost immediately the ground fractures under them into stones of varying size.  The fifth largest seems promising, it's big enough to cover a decently sized strongbox and small enough to lift.

---

One of the barbarians says something in his gibberish, translating; then he adds something else.  This gets nods of approval.

"A man without flaws in his character has a serious flaw in his character,"  Buliwyf points out to Jin, "We find it important to have them.  Good." He frowns, "We thought ourselves excellent fighters but we are... limited compared to you.  We can still cut, but it takes many of us to take one of you down, if it is at all possible.  Perhaps this is why Tien Fong keeps us from the fights."

So he points out the remaining barbarians:
Arnulf, the Eagle Wolf:  One-handed genius protege of Xin Wude, young and flexible.  Quite possibly the second best fighter of the group.  He once used axes but Wude was starting to teach him the Jade Sword Way.

Chlodovech:  An old war horse and a seasoned scout, skilled with a short blade.

Ida:  Beautiful, icy white-jade statue of a woman with a blade almost as large as Jin.  She's strong and her kung fu meshes very well with Tien Fong's.  They... might?... be courting.  Buliwyf isn't quite telling.

Sigdag:  Ida's brother, a man who uses a sword and shield to good effect.  He's dextrous and fights well with his sister.

Roza:  A teen scout, once taught by Chlodovech and now taught by another barbarian.  She's also a skilled horsewoman and archer.

Wigbrand:  A particularly stupid, brawny-looking barbarian that looks more like an ox than a man.  He's missing his right hand but is a hand-to-hand combatant, go figure.

Levonhard:  Another one of the old crows of the barbarians, he was once Arnulf's teacher.  He carries a staff heavy enough to smash stone.

̃eodoar:  Buliwyf's oldest friend and counselor.  He's the doctor of the barbarians, such as it passes with them, and tries not to fight but can in a pinch.

Thankrad:  Buliwyf doesn't say much about him besides that he uses throwing knives.  Jin doesn't need to ask.  This is the barbarian version of Fox Eyes, through and through.

Frida:  A woman who could be mistaken for a man if one doesn't look closely; she's the most distrustful of the barbarians but works with a heavy spear.  Jin is warned that she doesn't like to be touched.

and himself, Buliwyf:  skilled with long hammers, the best fighter, fought Tien Fong to a standstill until his magic hammer was broken.
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 354 posts
Tue 22 Dec 2015
at 17:12
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"Stand back," Tien Fong warns Zhaimie as he strides calmly to the stone. "My father may have laced this with some other traps to discourage looters."

Fingers gripping the edges, the commander applies his formidable strength to uncover the General's treasure.
Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 50 posts
Tue 22 Dec 2015
at 20:17
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"How many of you are there in total? Not just warriors and scouts," Jin asked as he sat on the ground and started drawing a grid in the dirt, "Tell me more about this magic hammer, and have they shown you how to play weiqi?"
Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 72 posts
Wed 23 Dec 2015
at 09:06
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Zhaimie nods and steps back into the doorway of the basement.
GMLian
 GM, 623 posts
Wed 23 Dec 2015
at 18:20
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Tien Fong is correct.  As soon as the stone is lifted a stone slips around him.  Whether it be luck or instinct he finds he's stood on just the right spot to avoid tumbling down a bottomless pit!  And there it is; a strongbox right on the edge of the pit.  Pulling it out safely is a hazard but he manages to drag it out of the basement, skirting along the edge of the trap.  Inside?  Gems and jade, beautifully crafted, and... Oh.  A very well constructed forgery of the Imperial Seal.  There's enough riches in here to fund any reasonable attempt at starting a small kingdom.

---

"Ten thousand souls, from every part of our society.  Farmers, soldiers, smiths, carpenters.  No priests.  They're all dead.". Buliwyf answers Jin, "The hammer was an artifact of our god the Thunderer.  It struck like a song and swung like the wind.  It could throw lightning.  What s this weiqi you speak of?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:23, Wed 23 Dec 2015.

Fearsome Stone Jin
 player, 51 posts
Thu 24 Dec 2015
at 01:54
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"The best way I've found to understand how someone thinks," Jin said as he emptied the pouch of white and black stones beside the grid he'd scratched in the ground, "Sit and we will go through the rules. Once I understand you and your people better then it becomes possible for us to make real plans."
Zheng Tien Fong
 player, 357 posts
Thu 7 Jan 2016
at 19:51
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Tien Fong carries the strongbox back upstairs to present to the Delegates.

"My father has amassed quite the hoard. With funding secured for a push to the capital, our only deficiency remains manpower. Perhaps with these riches we can recruit some of our more mercenary xia brethren to our side."

He bows to Hears Everything and Does Nothing before turning back to his other colleagues.

"Zhaimie, we travel to Shambala."

Fleet-Footed Zhaimie
 player, 74 posts
Sat 9 Jan 2016
at 15:13
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
Zhaimie salutes.  "When do we leave?"
GMLian
 GM, 626 posts
Mon 11 Jan 2016
at 02:39
Re: Arc 1, Session 4.5:  Rainstorm Over the Plain
"It is a sound course of action,"  Does Nothing replies to Tien Fong.  "I would, however, advise you to choose very carefully how you allocate these riches... and to whom.  Don't waste it on people who don't deserve it.  Those riches come from the blood of very many innocent men and women.  Their souls will only rest peacefully if you use it for virtuous means and for virtuous men."

Hears Everything bows.  "With your permission, commander, I will travel to Shambala to announce your attendance!"

---

Weiqi roll:  Buliwyf tactics, 48 + Tactics 15 - Foreigner 10 = 53


Buliwyf squats down and listens to Jin carefully.  He has Jin repeat things a few times.  One of his men, ̃eodoar, has been picking up civilized language and reexplains things.

Then they play.

Buliwyf is untutored and barbaric and awful for the very first few parts of the game.  Then there's some sort of... animal brilliance that comes out in his play, aggressive and fearless, willing to take gambles that more civilized men wouldn't.  Just from this Jin can see he is a talented general, easily the match of any uncultivated officer; his line of play isn't totally alien, but it's not something Jin would ever really see amongst standard weiqi players.