When the three players arrived, we talked about the intended switch from M20 to D&D 3.5. Two of them were enthusiastic about it, where as one of them was sceptical. His argument was that a. he did not have the time to read the Player’s Handbook, and b. M20 just worked for him. All had a good laugh when they heard I had searched for simple rules such as Grofzg With Fudge Dice for all these years only to admit defeat now in my early thirties and return to D&D…
Enthusiastically, we spent the first hour converting the three player characters present over to D&D. And with that out of the way, we got started.
(Notice this diary entry is in English; one of the players grew up in New Zealand and his English is much better than his German, so I might as well write some of the stuff in English… This is a continuation of 2007-02-21 Morioka.)
Tsutomu, Myung, Kyoshi, and Kubo San settled down to talk to Morioka in his forest stronghold. Tea was being served, the birds sang in the trees, and the party told him of the suspicion they had regarding that Kumo Oni controlling Onishi castle in Hakone, showed him the letter of the sennin they had found in the mountain refuge of the Tengu they had betrayed in a little valley high above Nikko. The letter is calling for a rebellion against the corrupt provincial government.
The group is curious, and a lengthy discussion evolves, where the players try to understand why the Sohei monks want an uprising (protection of the people against the cruel Guardians against Sin), why Morioka wants to bring the current government down (they are expelling magicians from all the cities), and why he is unwilling to risk much in order to help the party (since he is not immediately threatened by events in Hakone, and doesn’t like the official government anyway).
When they told Morioka of the Izanami temple, the summoned naginata wielding devil, and the subsequent discovery of Manabu’s plans – the raising of an undead army in the Tobu valley not far from here – he grew more concerned and offered a deal: In exchange for a scouting mission, he’d prepare some scrolls for the party to use in their battle, and Tsutomu would be allowed to do more research in the library. Morioka was also looking forward to some scholarly discussions with Tsutomu regarding necromancy, a school of magic that Morioka does not know. This is soon agreed upon, and the next day, the party leaves. On their way to the Tobu valley, they decide to pay yet another visit to Musashi’s castle.
And to everybody’s amazement, there is movement amongst the ruins. They party has been here three times, and every single time, the castle has been resettled. What is so important about it? They wait until nightfall to explore. Myung and Kubo San sneak up to the ruins as soon as it is dark and discover a group of maybe a dozen people, with maybe half of them skeletons.
Undead are Kubo San’s favorite enemy! There’s no question: They need to be eliminated. So they tell Kyoshi to come rushing up when he hears their shouting. Until then, they plan to climb on to the roof of one of the buildings and launch a volley of surprise shots at the cleric. As they prepare for their last move, unfortunately, they were noticed: “There are two on the roof, go get them!” he shouted.
Then things started to move fast: At least five skeletons were helped up on to the roof by other skeletons and zombies. Another group ran out of the courtyard to encircle the suspected enemy, and the cleric cast Darkness to protect himself. Myung and Kubo San fired into the darkness.
The next round, Myung and Kubo San and start their retreat, circle around the outer walls, and climbed them again. This time, however, the cleric casts Summon Monster III and calls forth a hell hound. The hound spots the two humans on the wall by the tower, jumps up there, and breathes fire.
Both humans jump down from the walls and met Kyoshi who had been circling the stronghold in search of his friends. The hell hound followed, and soon enough the five skeletons that had climbed the roof Myung and Kubo San were on appeared. It went bad. The hell hound was strong, and in the end, two Myung and Kubo San were lying on the ground, bleeding to death.
Now, in the very first adventure (2006-12-08 Die Suche nach dem Tengu) the party had befriended a kitsune called Umisachihiko, and it had been robbed by Umisachihiko’s brother Yamasachihiko. So what I did was keep these two character sheets in a little plastic folder with other interesting non-player characters such as Musashi, biding their time. I had decided that Umisachihiko would step in if the players got themselves into more trouble than they could handle in the wilderness (not in the city, obviously), because Umisachihiko had told them that he had been granted the shrine realm at Yunoko lake in recognition of his services to keep the peace in this corner of the province. I also kept Umisachihiko around in case the party found too much treasure and started to be foolish; plus I had another side-quest planned where these two brothers played a role.
With Kubo San reaching -9 and Myung at -4, now was as good a moment as any to have Umisachihiko turn from a fox into a human and help them out.
Continued on 2007-03-15 Killing Tatsuki.
Stuff to remember: