|"A ship will go to the mountain if there are too many captains."|| The run begins in the late Month of the Dog in the Tenth Year of the Dog since the Third Treaty of Houses.|
The run takes place in the Port of Auspicious Voyage and in the northern Arcade
The Sea Lord's Request
Our heroes have gathered in Tahiti, as usual, and Cai Wen announces that his plan is to specifically get the mission from the Prince that Chiyo is on. Having found her trail leaving the carnage of the battle at Xiulon Field last run, he wants to find out what has become of her and the survivors of the battle.
Lijuan's art suggests that whatever is going on may be kind of scary.
Forcing the die roll of 11 into a 4 burns out Cai Wen's cheat-at-minigames shtick for three runs, but the party is given the mission "Fulfill the Sea Lord's Request". That's a little puzzling, as it doesn't say anything about Chiyo or even the infantry, but everyone retreats into the map room to discuss and analyze.
Wei Han notes that roll 4 last time was Saving Spear Carrier Ri, and wonders if there are any clues in that.
Searching the Prince's documents for requests that the Sea Lord has sent doesn't turn up anything - Sea Lord Miyora has actually been pretty quiet. The battle with the Northerners has been a land war, and the Sea Lord has been in the naval headquarters in the Port of Auspicious Voyage.
With no immediate evidence from analyzing the Prince's documents, the group heads to the southern port to the Dragon Army headquarters. The Sea Lord's banner is not flying, indicating that he is not present - nor is his banner flying over any of the naval vessels in the port.
Lijuan checks in with the local urchins, and hears that the Sea Lord gathered up a bunch of
houseboats cabin boys, and they all went off somewhere.
- "Just boys?" -Lijuan
- "That's what he thinks, ha ha ha."
Cai Wen repeats an old wives tale he has heard - if you go to sea without a cabin boy, you have to flip a coin every hour to see if you sink. But wouldn't the navy have cabin boys if they needed them?
The group heads into the Dragon Army headquarters, and asks after the Sea Lord. They are directed to the naval area - down the hall and fourth left - but the place seems to be deserted. When they reach the Sea Lord's office, the only person in the antechamber is a secretary who seems to have been expecting a food delivery, who says the Sea Lord isn't there.
Wei Han badgers the secretary about where the Sea Lord is (the secretary says he's not permitted to say), while Kasumi sneaks into the office behind (using True Stealth, she sneaks past the lock). She hears a scratching/tapping coming from a desk drawer, and steals the communicating paper before leaving again.
As they exit the office, the delivery guy with lunch arrives. Kasumi tips him.
The group examines the communicating paper - Cai Wen recognizes it as in Chiyo's handwriting.
Those with a familiarity with the northern coast identify Donkiruku as on the coast due east of Xiulon Field, and think that a large ship such as the Moon's First Daughter could probably fit five squads. So a lot of boats will be needed.
Cai Wen writes a reply on the paper, and more follow.
Wei Han suggests that people train with him to learn about parrying. Kuan-Xi is baffled - what is this talk of "training" when Master Zhou isn't around to teach them kung fu? Wei Han begins to learn what Master Zhou learned a long time ago, that the party is not full of enthusiastic combat students.
A Small Fleet
Once training is done, the group returns to Tahiti to pass through the water gate to the Suzuki estates on the Shrouded Isle, and from there, proceed to the Irori docks. (The Port of Propitious Voyage is closer to Donkiruku, but the Arcade city has its own troubles and a lot of the trading ships have gone south.)
People begin to ask about boats which can be rented for several days, and crews, and captains. Kuan-Xi learns of two well-regarded captains: the Captain of the Masashi, and the Captain of the Sea Swift. Shen-Ji finds some crews to sail into death and danger, and hires enough crew for the entire rescue mission at combat pay, for 50 li a day. Cai Wen learns about a larger ship, the Kobayashi Maru, whose captain has a ... definite ... reputation. Wei Han finds the Kiji, a smaller craft, with a decent captain. Shen-Ji hears that the captain of the Twilight Echo is unworthy of his grand ship, and Kasumi hears that the Flying Whale is the biggest boat in the harbor.
Cai Wen negotiates with the captain of the Sea Swift - given that the extraction may be under arrow fire, or possibly worse, the captain's combat rates are triple a normal charter. The Sea Swift captain also notes that while the captain of the Kobayashi Maru is very skilled, he is prone to roguishness if he is bored. The captain of the Twilight Echo, on the other hand, can hit rocks that aren't even there.
The mechanic proves to be that ships come with dice, and the rates paid to the captains determine how much skill they will use. First rate captains can be hired with an arbitrary amount of skill, while the skill of lesser captains is capped. The first captain hired is the Sea Swift's - the boat has 11 dice, so Cai Wen pays for 20 skill at 3 li per skill (triple rates).
- The Masashi has eight dice, and the captain is first rate.
- The fastest ship is the Water Blossom (12 dice) but the captain is second rate
- The Kiji is a standard small boat (10 dice) with a second rate captain.
- The Yamato is at the bottom of the harbor - it was a stellar ship, but is now sunken, and the captain went down with it.
- Volcano Chan is a captain without a ship. He is "hunted by volcanoes" after offending the Great Phoenix Spirit.
- The Moon's First Daughter is not here, and is rumored to be off on a mission with the navy.
- Minoro Asamu is an unemployed captain.
Kuan-Xi is intrigued by the idea of raising the Yamato, though. Could walls of ice raise it? The city would also be pleased to get it out of the harbor, and because of the time compression currently in place, it would be possible to get it refitted ASAP by throwing sufficient money at it.
Kuan-Xi and Shen-Ji put their heads together to come up with a plan to raise the boat. Shen-Ji uses his ring of water breathing and his earth-destroying magic to free the boat from the bottom of the harbor, and Kuan-Xi uses True Water Sorcery to shape careful ice walls to raise the boat from the bottom. Then for 12 tael (10 for dice and 2 for a luxury refit), the Yamato is rebuilt as a 25-die boat, now owned by Kuan-Xi (who now owes Shen-Ji four tael and Wei Han one). .
The captain of the Masashi is recruited to pilot the Yamato instead of the Masashi for the extraction operation, and in the end, six boats head for Donkiruku.
|Yamato||25 dice||12 skill||Large|
|Twilight Echo||15 dice||5 skill||Medium|
|Flying Whale||10 dice||12 skill||Large|
|Kiji||10 dice||12 skill||Small|
|Sea Swift||11 dice||20 skill||Small|
|Water Blossom||12 dice||12 skill||Small|
Each party member rides in on a different boat, and they begin to arrive off the shore of Donkiruku. There is only one pier, and the larger boats can only dock at the end of the pier. The small boats can go all the way to the beach, but can only hold one squad (or two, if they roll for 9s).
On land, the remainder of the Dragon Army infantry are struggling towards shore, being pursued and harried by a larger force of Northerners.
Kuan-Xi summons rain, and leaps immediately to the shoreline. The two sorcerers and Lijuan as well as a Northern battlemaster, start putting up barriers (walls of ice, metal, thornbushes, and blades) to shape the retreat.
The three big boats get in a traffic jam at the end of the dock, while the small boats rush for the shore.
One of the necromancer units finishes a ritual and summons the Ravener, which appears as a giant monster-figure at the end of the board, bringing Lijuan's art to pass.
Wei Han, Cai Wen, and Kasumi join Dragon Army units, allowing them to move faster. That, plus some lucky speed rolls and the carefully placed walls, keeps the Dragon Army mostly ahead of the Northern pursuers. The terrain is mixed between hexes and squares, causing a little trouble for those with Talismans.
The Ravener starts setting portions of the map on fire, but it is targeting map sections at random, and initially hits some areas that only have Northerners. Shen-Ji summons some ripper demons to cover the retreat, and Lijuan manages to keep Kawaii out of range of the Northern beastmasters.
One fireblast from the Ravener hits the offshore boats, causing some dice lossage, but then the first of the small boats escapes the map! After that, the blasts hit more Northerners than Empire soldiers.
In the end, all of the remaining 11 units are saved, and the boats retreat to the Port of Propitious Voyage to unload the soldiers.Cai Wen confirms that the Winter Scoreboard has earned 5 out of 5 for the Arcade, and 4 Magpie to 1 Wolf.