Waiting for Torot
|"Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It's awful."|| The run begins on the Day of the Early Bear in the Month of the Magpie in the eleventh Year of the Magpie since the Third Treaty of Houses.|
The run takes place mostly in the Harbor of Fortunate Arrival
The group noodles about.
- "Can I see your wife tree?" -Lijuan to Shen-Ji
- "It's a serious question! Why is there snickering?" -Lijuan
Noodle noodle noodle. Eventually, they start to wonder why the run isn't starting. Are they waiting for Li Merit? (No, he's not in the run). But they're waiting for someone, they think. Hmm. That seems odd. When is it again? It's... some time in Magpie, last Wei Han thought about it.
- "Who were we waiting for? Where are we?" -Takanata
- "Yeah, you talked about that for a while." -Mike
- "Wait, what?" -Takanata and Xiao Fa in unison
So... where are they? Just hanging out.
- "Which of my clothes am I wearing?" -Takanata
- "Do you need to know right now?" -Mike
Takanata looks around for his tin helmet, and remembers that someone is bringing that - he'll probably get it soon. He tries to read Shen-Ji's I Ching. Well, there's lots of stuff in his future, but nothing important right now. Lijuan draws some art, though it doesn't seem pressing.
Kasumi, who has the Monkey Talisman, leaves to go to the House of Quiet Concordance, because Master Tranh is the traditional person to pester about weird chi things (like Bobby Li). Kasumi introduces herself as carrying a question from Xiao Fa, and asks if Master Tranh would be available to consult. Having dropped the right name, they let her in, and Master Tranh looks at Kasumi's chi.
- "So, where is Xiao Fa? You have escaped a demonic influence, but the influences on you now are very Monkey. The original effect seems to be something temporal... it should clear up shortly." -Master Tranh
Meanwhile, elsewhere, Wei Han coughs a few times, like he's starting to get sick. That's no good. Xiao Fa has been meditating to see if he can tell anything, but Takanata shakes Xiao Fa out of his meditation. Xiao Fa notes some things about Wei Han, and puts them on a to-do list to get to eventually. Maybe he should restore the balance on Wei Han - but maybe doing that later would be better. Since he can do it once an action, he hits Wei Han with a restoration, but while it clears the effect away for a moment, it quickly returns.
Outside the weird effect, Kasumi finds the best inn in town, and searches the rooms. She finds her room, and evidence that she got up in the morning. In Takanata's room, she finds some art. She picks that up, as well as the tinfoil hat, and heads down to the lunch room with everyone else, which gets her back into the zone of procrastination, where Shen-Ji has determined that they're within the power aura of a fairly large demon.
Takanata puts the tinfoil hat on, and gets the choice between Sight and Urgency. He picks Sight, and notes that there is a demon on the table, though it doesn't seem worth doing anything about. He does argue with the demon about the virtues of letting Toro win for a while until the demon gets annoyed and knocks his hat off, which falls to the ground, and Takanata can't really be bothered to pick it up. There is some arguing about who should pick the hat up again, but he eventually puts it back on, and chooses Urgency this time.
- "Okay, Shen-Ji, you always want to do this. Fireball everything that's not us." -Takanata
Shen-Ji doesn't want to wait for Takanata to change his mind, so he sets the map on fire, which does in fact reveal the demon. Once everyone can see it (and the burning hotel dining room), the demon is reasonably quickly dispatched. When it dissipates back to the World Below, a number of "actions to be lost later" are left behind.
The inn's proprietor is aghast at the room being on fire, but Takanata pulls rank and complains about being attacked by a demon. He pays for damages, but the rooms are comped.
Since something is going on with Wei Han, the group starts heading north from the Harbor of Fortunate Arrival on the Imperial Highway. They start riding up the slope of a mountain, which... doesn't seem like the coastal highway. And the smoke coming from the top of the mountain suggests that this is the Shrouded Isle, and Pao agrees. Which is particularly not where they expect to be. After a while, the group checks for chi effects, but they've mostly faded at that point.
Heading back down the mountain, the group heads to the Shrouded Citadel, where Takanata burns his reputation to arrange for a meeting with the Firelord. Takanata lets the Firelord know that with respect to their most recent conversation (about moving the islands back), there are two things that Li Kao has called to his attention. First, the Seahorse Cavalry was a unique Isle-of-Beauty force, and was particularly specialized against the Southern naval invasion. If there is something equally unique to the Shrouded Isle, then that might work best. Second, there are demonic forces preventing the group from getting to the North, so can the Firelord help with that? The Firelord does not have a specialized anti-demon military unit up his sleeve, but offers to let someone look in the Smoked Glass (a unique Shrouded Isle resource) if that would help. Takanata decides that that won't necessarily provide more information than the party chi-bashers, and that it's not worth owing the Firelord another favor.
Wei Han thinks about using his shtick to get the group there in the nick of time. While they were under the effect of the procrastination demon, it was not time to go yet, but now it's not conceivable to get there in time. Lijuan looks for the fog ship, but there is no fog in the harbor, and no obvious fog ship.
Takanata goes to the shrine to the Bandits of the Double Caldera, to talk to Black about Toro. Black can confirm several of the things that were learned from the Alchemist, and also notes that they 1) were fighting the Demon of Procrastination 2) are fighting the Demon of the Endless Maze, and 3) will be fighting the Demon of Battlemaps.
Takanata doesn't see the demon where they originally arrived on the road. Shen-Ji thinks about it, and just hopping a "wall" of the labyrinth is probably not sufficient; if it's an endless maze, they will also need to make there be some sort of exit. The group heads to talk to the Firelord's water sorcerer, to see if he has any useful transportation spells. He doesn't do water gates, but he can cause them to rain out of the rainstorm nearest to the Wall. That will put them a hundred hexes up, though. He normally runs down the raindrops, but can they manage? The group contemplates their options. Shen-Ji has a flying disk, but can't carry anyone else. Takanata can auspiciously arrive later. Pao can make someone feather fall. Xiao Fa can copy the run-down-raindrops shtick. And both Xiao Fa and Okura Yosai (the water sorcerer) can carry someone light. That's enough to cover everyone, and Yosai takes a phoenix feather as compensation.
He brings them to his ritual room (it's part of five ritual rooms, one for each sorcerer, in the Shrouded Citadel). Xiao Fa pokes a hole in the chi of the maze just as the ritual to rain the group in the North finishes, and the maze demon enters to room to disrupt things. Those who can see it thwack it, which lets everyone else attack; Wei Han leaps in the way of its attack on Xiao Fa, and takes a lot of damage in his mysterious tokens.
The group rains out of the sky in the Roof of the World, except for Takanata, who uses a wall of fate to deflect the labyrinth demon's final dissolution.
Wei Han spends a Yin to have the group arrive at the Wall in time, though they are diverted at the last minute into an empty battlemap with four pillars. Takanata arrives there, with a very auspicious arrival.
Damaging/destroying the pillars on the map gives the people who attacked them bonuses for attacking party members. One destroyed pillar rebuilds itself each drift. (During this battle, mammoths are charging at the Wall, and Wei Han is losing tokens). Eventually, the group gets on track to destroy all four pillars at the same time, and escapes the map. Shen-Ji, who finishes destroying the last of the pillars, gets to choose where people end up on the three places on the North Wall being attacked.
The party is divided up:
- Shen-Ji and Kasumi are in the Steppes, where the Wall is being attacked by armored mammoths.
- Lijuan and Takanata are in the Roof of the World, where the Wall is being attacked by extra-giant mammoths.
- Wei Han and Xiao Fa are in the Arcade, where the Wall is being attacked by undead mammoths.
- In addition to the mammoths, there are demons (Comet, Blades, and Kool-Aid) in Imperial nexi on the far side of the Wall, watching the proceedings, and there are a handful of Northern Masters and barbarian soldiers accompanying the mammoths.
Takanata auspiciously summons Kar Fai, and Wei Han summons some Dragon Army reinforcements. The demons start cashing in their "no move for you" actions from the Procrastination demon to prevent people from doing particularly dangerous things.
On the armored mammoth map, Shen-Ji sets the map on fire and hides in a corner of the board, and Kasumi leaps down and grabs the mammoth handler's noses. The Northern soldiers "take" the wall, but with the mammoths uncontrolled, they are having trouble accomplishing their goal. Shen-Ji starts getting targetted, but summons some ripper demons for reinforcements.
On the undead mammoth map, Xiao Fa discovers that the undead mammoths are healed by "wounding" and wounded by "healing". Wei Han hands the Great Talisman of the Magpie to a Dragon Army mook, much to Xiao Fa's consternation, and leaps down to block mammoth strikes.
On the giant mammoth map, Kawaii takes swipes at the mammoths as they hit the Wall, and Lijuan pincushions mammoths, masters, and soldiers. The Northern soldiers start targeting Kawaii. Kar Fai arrives, with the Steward's younger son (Feremei), pointing out that things are not as peaceful in the Roof of the World as everyone thinks. Feremei gives Takanata an action to brief him (Imperial demons are trying to use the mammoths to break a hole in the wall, in order to cause some sort of sign bringing about the end of the Empire), but does not leap down to fight mammoths.
Mammoths begin to fall, as does Kawaii. Kar Fai shows off his arrow-catching abilities, and once the Northerners on his map are down, heads to fight the Blades demon.
- "There is no nobler sacrifice for a demon than to go out fighting Kar Fai."
Takanata curses the Comet demon to take corruption (and become a Northern abomination), and to go to the Life Master's pagoda next action. Takanata Wall-of-Fates the ensuing corruption to himself, and then Comet zips to Kasumi and the two of them vanish in a poof of escape smoke.
That leaves the demons unable to accomplish their plan, so they just wreak random havoc. Takanata spends the last of his Bear points to heal Lijuan, and then escape smokes himself.
Shen-Ji uses up the last of the "no move for you" tokens from the procrastination demon, and blows up everyone on his map, except for one last uncontrolled mammoth. Koolaid tries to get Lijuan to drink the kool-aid, but she spends enough karma to resist.
The guy with the Talisman does not die and fall off the wall into the North, though he comes within a round of it before being healed by Xiao Fa. The GMs are very disappointed, but declare that to be the end of the combat, as all significant bad guys are down at that point.
Kawaii is not dead, but is badly injured, and will be out for the next run while recovering, and, happily, neither Project Mammoth nor Project Toro succeeded (though it was a close thing for both!)
Loose Ends and Puttering
- Kasumi and the Comet demon show up at the Life Master's domain
- Wei Han takes the soldiers out for drinks