DM Brainiac's Season of Ghosts Table 1

Game Master Brainiac

Maps on Google Slides
Exploration Activities: Avoiding Notice: Jing-De; Investigating: Pagma; Scouting: Sakura; Searching: Kamo
Reputation: Northridge 18, Southbank 19
The 43rd Day of Fall, 7108
Hope Points: 13; Food Points: 8; Security Points: 9
Research Points: 10

Loot List


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Season of Ghosts

The Season of Ghosts is a period in Shenmen that takes place in the first few weeks of summer, when the woodlands see an increase in hauntings, spirits, and undead. While the cause of this increased haunting is uncertain, these ghosts often lure people to their deaths.

In Willowshore, a massive feast and festival takes place on the last day of spring. Called the “Reenactment Festival,” this gala is meant not only to celebrate the end of spring, but to trick the evil spirits and ghosts believed to come out of the woods during the first few weeks of summer. As the festival’s feast concludes, the town reenacts victims being snatched away by “ghosts” (played by townsfolk in paper masks). Those not involved in the faux abduction pretend to plunge into collective panic as designated wailers mourn loudly while others play out a search and rescue effort. This farce is believed to trick real ghosts into thinking that someone has already haunted the settlement, and thus trick them into seeking a happier village to inflict misery upon once the season of ghosts begins the next day on the first day of summer.

You have been chosen this year to play the role of the town's abductees. Your "captors" rolled you up in straw mats and carried you off into a forest clearing on the town's outskirts, where you were expected to stay the night. While it often rains during the summer, you lucked out and spent a relatively comfortable night out under the stars.

Now, as morning draws near, you wonder just what this coming summer season has in store for you...


Act 1: The Summer That Never Was

Part 1: To Light the Night

You awaken in the woods, memories of the previous night returning as you shake off the last vestiges of sleep. You recall being dragged from town by townsfolk during the height of the Reenactment Festival, yet as you gather yourselves, things seem off. The straw mats and red blindfolds you were ceremoniously trussed up in the night before seem to be cruder, filthier, and less comfortable today.

Even more curious is the fact that while you remember settling down to sleep for the night and await your "rescue" in the morning, you are certain you'd been left behind in an entirely different part of the woods then where you have awoken.

Survival or Willowshore Lore DC 10:
The clearing that you find yourselves in lies to the east of Willowshore. There is a nearby game trail that leads west back toward town.

There is something else amiss. The main organizer of the ritual this year, the miller Choe Chung-hu, said he would arrive by sunrise with food to “ransom” you and lead you back home. This step isn’t essential; it’s more of a breakfast delivery to thank those who helped with the reenactment. However, Choe’s absence is strange since the miller seldom goes back on his word.

At least the weather is nice. It's a typical early summer morning in Shenmens—partially overcast with a crisp early morning chill to the air that, by noon, will likely give way to a more pleasant but not overbearing heat.


CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10

Kamo rolls over and sits up with a groaning stretch. There's (slightly) more straw in his hair than usual.

"I thought we'd be woken up with the smell of hot tea. And where's breakfast? Being kidnapped is hungry work."


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Sakura's footsteps crunch on the forest floor as she approaches Kamo. Her expression is stern, the lines of her face pulled tight in a mix of concern and irritation. Despite having spent the night in the same straw mats, there is not a single strand of straw on her. Her armor is impeccably clean, and her katana and wakizashi are sheathed but within easy reach.

Her keen eyes survey Kamo as he stirs, her skepticism and protective instincts at the forefront. "I've already done a perimeter check," she says, curt but not unkind. "Something isn't right. We're not where they left us, and Choe Chung-hu hasn't shown up with our 'ransom.'"

She folds her arms, gripping them tightly, almost as if she were holding her weapons. Her knuckles don't go white, but the tension is palpable. "If you're done contemplating breakfast and the luxuries of town life, perhaps we should figure out what's really going on. We may not be the only ones who find themselves misplaced in these woods, and I'd rather not find out what happens if we don't act swiftly."

Sakura glances back at Kamo, her eyes narrowing at the sight of the straw still tangled in his hair. "You might want to remove the straw from your hair unless you're auditioning for the role of a scarecrow in our next festival," she says, her voice laced with both irritation and the subtlest hint of amusement. "It's not exactly fitting for someone who is supposed to be my older brother."

She waits for a moment to see if he'll take the hint, her foot tapping impatiently. Her expression is as clear as day: they have more pressing concerns, but if he's going to accompany her, he should at least look presentable.


CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

Kamo straightens his hair and outfit and uses one of the straws to point toward the small path that runs out of the west side of the clearing.

"Well town is that way. Did they say they were leaving us east of town? I'm afraid I wasn't listening very closely."

His ministrations have made him slightly more presentable. "There. Tidy enough for you, little sister?" He asks Sakura. "I'm more worried about the spirits than my outfit. What if they're displeased that we weren't brought breakfast? My stomach sounds like a kami with a toothache!"


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Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Sakura's posture and tone convey her impatience and urgency, reflecting her determination to get everyone moving. Her actions are unapologetically brusque as she empties her waterskin over Pagma's face. "Pagma-chan, wake up already!" she exclaims, exasperated but also a little concerned.

There's a practicality to her behavior, an underlying need to be resourceful and efficient. The game trail Kamo pointed out is a viable route back, and Sakura wants to get everyone home as soon as possible. Her readiness and resilience stand out, her demeanor indicative of someone who is always geared up for the challenges ahead. But underlying it all is her overprotective nature; she wouldn't be so insistent if she weren't worried about the well-being of the group, especially given the circumstances of their odd morning.

Sakura steps back and surveys the sleepy scene with her arms folded, her eyes a mix of scrutiny and expectation. "We have no time to dawdle. We were supposed to be part of a festival joke, but this," she motions around at the changed surroundings, "doesn't feel like any joke I'm in on." She taps her foot rhythmically, her quirk when she's deep in thought or growing impatient. "So let's get a move on. The sooner we figure out what's going on, the sooner we can put this odd chapter behind us."


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

With a strangled EEEP, Pagma shoots up, with sparking green eyes wide with panic. "Water, Bea-" she stops her speaking, sleep grabbing her for a moment of wet fur and teeth. There were no bears, otherwise, there would be considerably more Screaming.

But she is wet, Why? Sakura hasn't even bothered putting her empty waterskin away, so she glares at the young woman as she stands up, Dripping as she starts to roll up the bedroll Mother Otis lent her. "You know, Dearest Kindest Yuzuki Sakura" she says with full cheerful sarcasm "Before drenching all my stuff, you could at least try nudging me a little first." she didn't know if Sakura had or hadn't, but knowing her, she Hadn't. "Then we wouldn't be wasting time dealing with sodden-" the soaked alchemist sodden stops mid-complaint and drops to her knees to riffle through her pack. A sickeningly white spider with bulbous black dots all over it and too many legs crawls out and up her arm. "Hi Tik" she says softly and with some distraction.

Then Pagma sighs in relief "Good it didn't get wet, meaning none of us will be slowly melting from the inside out." She then finally grins at her 'friend' and sees her brother as well "Good morning, Kamo, you have a bit of straw there over your ear."

She doesn't seem to have caught on to the reason for the hurry.


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CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

"What? Where?" The final piece of straw continues to elude Kamo."Sakura, are you done with your water fight? We have to get back to town."


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CG Male Human Monk 1 | HP 20/20| AC: 17 | Fort: +7; Ref: +7; Will: +6 | Init: +2 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Hero Points: 1 | ◆ ↺ ◇

Cloud wakes with a start, possibly engendered by Pagma’s scream. Watching the scene in front of him, Cloud reaches around for his warrior’s helm, before placing it reverently on his head.

There. Safe. And sound.

Cloud makes a silent prayer to the…spirits…that he prays…to, and then closes his eyes as the other folk continue their conversation. Cloud listens to the soughing of what wind there is, smells the air, feels the heat of the sun on his face. But it tells him little other than that he is still here, near Willowshore. And that something is clearly amiss. Sakura says so, and she seems…smart.

Cloud opens his eyes and stands up, adjusting his gear appropriately. He moves over by the others. He idly wonders if he too has straw in his hair and fidgets a little, also wondering if said appearance of straw might make him more presenatable socially. Like Kamo.

”Nice spider…thing.” he says to Pagma. ”Hi Tik!” he says conversationally. To Tik.

DM, do you mean the stuff we were wrapped in is the same stuff, now degraded, or is different stuff entirely, but of less quality? If Cloud could notice by looking at it…


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Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Sakura's demeanor tightens as she notices Tik, the spider crawling over Pagma. Her eyes betray a fleeting flicker of unease, which she quickly suppresses. Spiders might be a common fear, but the unease she feels about this one has a unique touch of the unnatural. She would never openly admit her discomfort, of course, but internally, she wishes the creature were far away from her and her friends. Or maybe that it had drowned in the water...

Yuzuki Kamo wrote:
"What? Where?" The final piece of straw continues to elude Kamo."Sakura, are you done with your water fight? We have to get back to town."

When Kamo quips about the water fight, Sakura retorts, "Not a fight. If it was a fight, I won. She was sleeping and stinky. I solved two problems at once." The statement, delivered with her typical straightforwardness, leaves no room for debate.

Realizing one person is still not up, Sakura marches toward the last sleepy companion, Jing-de, her footsteps resonating with a no-nonsense cadence. Her voice rises in volume as she approaches him, filling the morning air with authority. "JING-DE. WE ARE READY TO DEPART NOW. EVERYONE IS WAITING ON YOU."

Hands-on hips, she pivots to Cloud and looks like she's ready to yell at him too, but instead, she offers him a pleasant smile and a slight bow as she says "Good morning, Cloud,", her voice unexpectedly warm. "I hope you slept well and are prepared for whatever challenges we may face today."

Sakura's greeting to Cloud stands in stark contrast to her tone with the others. It's a rare moment of congeniality, a brief but meaningful acknowledgment that she values his readiness and attention to detail—traits she respects and seeks in others. Or at least, that's what she tells herself. Yet her face hardens again almost as quickly as it softened, snapping back into the stern mask that seems to be her default expression.

Her gaze finally lands on Kamo, still struggling with the straw in his hair. "Kamo, forget the straw," she says, exasperated but also somewhat amused. "It's not a crown, and we're not in a beauty contest. We need to focus."


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

Pagma smiles as Cloud says hello to her little ugly creation/misfit. And was about to say hello before she was insulted. "stinky???" she sniffed. Sulfur, yes, but not Stinky.

With an almost pained sigh, she moves to Kamo as his sister bulls into him "she is all sorts of pleasant in the morning, isn't she? Now I understand why all the other girls wanted nothing to do with a sleepover with her." there was only a couple other girls there age in the first place, and no one ever invited Pagma to any either, but that wasn't the point. The odd girl rose on her toes in front of Kamo and reached behind his ear for that elusive straw bit. "There now" she presented the piece to the man and smiled

"Now why in the blazing turnips are you yelling?!?" she turns to Sakura with a bewildered frown.


NG | Male Human Sorcerer 5 | HP: 48/48| AC: 20 | F: +11; R: +12; W: +12 | Perception +12 | Initiative +12 | Spells: 1 (4/4) 2 (4/4) 3 (3/3)| Hero Points: 1/1 | Exploration: Avoid Notice (+2)

Last night's dream had been especially vivid. Ghosts stood behind every tree, their faces distorted by anguish. The transparent mockeries of life did not make a sound, but their mouths did move. Some whispered, others screamed. It didn't take a genius to understand they were trying to warn Jing-De, yet they couldn't find their voice. Or, Jing-De simply lacked the right ears to hear them. Going by their garb, they must have lived in Willowshore once, but Jing-De didn't recognize a single face.

While the scene took maybe a few minutes to play out, Jing-De wakes up feeling like he didn't get any sleep at all. This feeling is amplified by the manner in which Sakura wakes him. The man's hair is a hot mess after last night's abduction and it is further compounded by his twisting and turning during his sleep. Lazily, he scratches the back of his head and attempts to blink away the sleep from his eyes. Unsuccessfully.

"Where's the food? I'm starving."

They might be re-enacting a terrifying tale of horror and death, but the man's earthly needs come first.


CG Male Human Monk 1 | HP 20/20| AC: 17 | Fort: +7; Ref: +7; Will: +6 | Init: +2 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Hero Points: 1 | ◆ ↺ ◇

“No food this morning.” Cloud murmurs. ”Something’s up. Look at our ritual wrappings. Different. Like many seasons have passed. In one night.”

Cloud is unable to guess at what any of this might mean, and now that he has uttered the words, he wished he hadn’t.


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Sakura observes with growing frustration as Cloud and Jing-De continue their conversation, diverting their attention toward food and blindfolds instead of focusing on the immediate situation. With an exasperated sigh, she rolls her eyes and shifts her gaze to her own discarded blindfold for a moment. Her lips press into a thin line as she walks deliberately toward Pagma.

Once she's close to her friend, Sakura addresses Pagma's earlier question. "My shouting was an attempt to get everyone mobilized," she explains, her voice tinged with annoyance. "We need to head back to Willowshore and determine exactly what's happened to us."

Lowering her voice to a near-whisper, she leans in closer to Pagma, careful to glance over her shoulder to ensure the unsettling spider is far enough away. "Honestly, why do boys seem to have a one-track mind fixated on food?" Her eyes meet Pagma's, searching for some shred of mutual understanding.

With that, she shifts her focus back to the group at large, her patience visibly waning. She's determined to get everyone back home, but the distractions are becoming increasingly irksome.


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

Sakura's deliberate walk toward her sets her a little on the defensive. She trusts the other girl in anything that is them against others, but as the sodden state of her tunic states, well... it is good to be on the defensive around her.

Not that it would help, Sakura could wrestle into the other girl into helplessness with humbling ease. Cause she was as strong as an ox, maybe two.

At the whisper, though Pagma's eyes go from weariness to mutual understanding. "they need it to fuel their masculine egos" not that she has seen anything like that out of the other three, so it was a shared tease, nothing else.

Straightening she announces "If something odd happened here, it could have back home. So hurry up, stop dawdling, yip yip" she said shrugging on her leathers (meant more for protecting her from her own chemical experiments than battle) and slung her bag of 'stable' concochions. "Lead the way, sword mistress Yuzuki" a little bit of worry creeping into her voice, thinking of her Papa and Mother Otis.


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Though drawing her katana for a mere walk back to town might seem like an excessive precaution, something in the air sets Sakura on edge. It's as if an unseen weight hangs around them, pressing on her instincts. When Pagma calls her 'sword mistress,' it feels like an unspoken permission to trust her gut, and she unhesitatingly unsheathes her weapon. The katana's blade gleams in the dappled sunlight filtering through the canopy of leaves above, lending a sense of gravity to the situation.

Casting a glance over her shoulder, she meets the eyes of the others, her gaze unwavering and full of quiet resolve. With a subtle hand gesture, she beckons for the boys—Kamo, Jing-De, and Cloud—to follow. No words are needed; her posture and the drawn blade speak volumes.

Turning back toward the path that leads to Willowshore, Sakura takes the first steps, her senses heightened and alert. Her sword held in a loose but ready grip, she proceeds to lead the group with a mix of urgency and caution. The journey back to town may be simple in theory, but the heavy air and her own intuition suggest that they should be prepared for anything.


Sakura begins leading the way along the trail back to Willowshore. You haven't gone very far, however, when the sound of something rustling in the nearby undergrowth attracts your attention.

A few moments later, two giant centipedes scuttle out from the undergrowth. The bright orange creatures make unnerving hissing sounds as they scurry forth to attack.

Initiative:
Cloud: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Jing-De: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Kamo: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Pagma: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Sakura: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Enemies: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13

The centipedes swiftly approach Sakura. As they draw near, their hisses begin forming words: “meat... flesh... bones... fingers... hair... skin... eyes...”

They attack! Sakura dodges, but one manages to close its mandibles painfully around her arm, injecting venom into her body!

Mandibles: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 71d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 151d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 141d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Damage: 1d4 - 1 ⇒ (2) - 1 = 1

1 piercing damage to Sakura. She must attempt a DC 14 Fortitude save against Giant Centipede Venom. Everybody may act!


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Fort DC14: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22

"Agh!" Sakura exclaims, her voice tinged with both surprise and agony as the centipede's mandibles sink into her arm. The sharp pain from the bite sends a jolt up her arm, but it's quickly overshadowed by the surreal and unsettling realization that she just heard these monstrosities speak.

"Am I the only one who heard that? Did this... this thing just articulate words? Someone please confirm I'm not losing my mind. This isn't a usual centipede behavior, right?" She poses the question to her companions but doesn't dare take her eyes off the creatures in front of her. The situation is beyond bizarre, escalating from the realm of the unusual into the inexplicable. But there's no time to ponder the strangeness now.

Fury flashing in her eyes, she grips the hilt of her katana and wakizashi tightly. Her movements are swift and decisive as she unleashes a two-fold assault on the offending centipede. The first slash aims to sever the creature near its head, and the second follows in a horizontal sweep aimed at its midsection. Each stroke is empowered by a blend of anger, fear, and a burning desire to protect herself and her friends from these abnormal threats.

Demoralize: Intimidating Glare: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Attack: Katana: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23 Damage P/S: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 Deadly: 1d8 ⇒ 4
Attack: Wakizashi: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23 Damage P/S: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6 Deadly: 1d8 ⇒ 2


CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

"Sakura!"

Kamo rushes to his sister's aid, circling behind the centipede. He looks for the best spot to smack it.

Devise Stratagem: 1d20 ⇒ 19
Recall Knowledge: Nature? (Known Weakness): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15

Stike: 25 to hit for bludgeoning: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8 and precision: 1d6 ⇒ 2


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

Pagma stops dead in her tracks, her eyes growing wide with fear. "Y-Yes!" her voice cracks "I head them." her mind, always the oddity, wonders about 'hair' being on the list. Not so odd, her mind is just trying to reject what she is seeing.

Disbelief does not stop her fingers from fumbling into her bomb sack, grasping a small jar of flammable liquid. "Incoming!" she shouts.

But stops in mid-throw...


Sakura strikes with both her weapons, slicing the first centipede into three sections. Its eerie hissing ceases as it dies. Kamo quickly moves behind the other centipede and crushes it to the ground with his whipstaff. It twitches feebly before lying still.

Kamo realizes it is quite unusual for creatures like giant centipedes to be so quickly aggressive and to avoid fleeing upon facing superior foes, especially during daylight hours. The addition of their disturbing ability to speak makes it clear that something supernatural is afoot. It is quite likely that the insects had been influenced in some way by an evil spirit...


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

Pagma rushes up to her friends. "That was... impressive." she pants out, though whether she is talking about their expert weapon work or the fact the insects managed to sound like there were speaking.


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Pagma's words are lost on Sakura as she stares down at the bodies of the centipedes, her blades dripping with their blood.

Fighting a human opponent in a controlled sparring match is one thing. They follow rules, they yield when beaten, and they don't hiss about eating flesh and bone. But these abominations of nature are different; they're guided by base instincts and malice, and the realization hits her like a ton of bricks.

When the last of the centipedes lies still, its segmented body twitching in the throes of death, Sakura feels both relief and an unfamiliar vulnerability. She slides her katana and wakizashi back into their sheaths with a solemnity that reflects the gravity of what has just transpired. Then, with a grace that contrasts sharply with the chaotic ferocity of the fight, she drops to her knees. Her eyes remain wide, staring at the ground but not really seeing it, as she takes a moment to gather herself.

meat... flesh... bones... fingers... hair... skin... eyes...

Breaths come in quick, shallow gasps as her heart beats like a war drum, her fingers turning white from clenching her fists so tightly.


CG Male Human Monk 1 | HP 20/20| AC: 17 | Fort: +7; Ref: +7; Will: +6 | Init: +2 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Hero Points: 1 | ◆ ↺ ◇

Cloud blinks. Once before the attack. Many times after.


NG | Male Human Sorcerer 5 | HP: 48/48| AC: 20 | F: +11; R: +12; W: +12 | Perception +12 | Initiative +12 | Spells: 1 (4/4) 2 (4/4) 3 (3/3)| Hero Points: 1/1 | Exploration: Avoid Notice (+2)

The brief encounter has left Jing reeling. Did they sense their hunger and pounce on the emotion? Or did some evil spirit awaken and is it, just like them, very hungry? Jing knows that no matter what the answer is, he won't like it. "Are you ok, Sakura? Those things, their wicked mandibles ... am I still dreaming?!"

As he speaks, a revelation hits Jing. His dream! Had it been a warning? Could it be his awakened blood?! "I know this sounds crazy, but last night I dreamt of spectral villagers hiding behind trees, and they screamed at me yet didn't make a sound. Like they were trying to warn me of something. M-maybe it was a sign, of danger to come."

Jing really rather it wasn't a sign, but just a figment of his imagination.


CG Male Human Monk 1 | HP 20/20| AC: 17 | Fort: +7; Ref: +7; Will: +6 | Init: +2 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Hero Points: 1 | ◆ ↺ ◇

Taking a little time to finish blinking, Cloud nods.

”There is danger to come…” he says with his characteristic murmur.

He bends down, taking care to look at Sakura, but says nothing, either out of respect, deference or simply not knowing what to say. He examines the remains of the centipedes.

Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21 [to see if anything is out of the ordinary in a…natural/physiological sense]


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female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

Pagma pulls her eyes away from the insect corpses (and catches her breath, she REALLY should have taken to heart Sakura's frequent suggestions she should exercise more). Looks up and sees her friend. The white fist, the stress in her eyes, is that panic???

A firmness settles in her heart right then. She's never needed to be the protective one, cause Sakura covered all those bases. But when Sakura herself needs protecting?

Pagma decides that could be her.

"Jing-De, didn't you have those peppers Treesparrows was handing out at the festivals. The ones that were so hot they stung the skin. Those in a belly would give anyone nightmares."

The alchemist then laid her hand gently on the warrior with the blood-stained sword. Softly, but still covering. "And yes we all heard something weird for these things, but this world of ours if filled with magic that does weird things to, well, things. Dragons should not be able to fly, their wingspan and weight don't add up. Oh, and there are books that talk about snake ladies with snakes for hair that turn people to butter. That simply makes no sense" she thinks she got that correct, but her mind is bouncing about since FACTS are not the reason she is talking. She is talking cause she really hates the look in her friend's eyes.

And with this Pagma claims the position of skeptic :)

"Anyway, while this is interesting and all, shouldn't we be hurrying on" a focused direction is what is needed, she hopes.


Cloud does not see anything wrong with the centipedes in a physiological sense. They appear to be normal specimens. The wrongness of them is definitely due to supernatural influences.

As you continue traveling west down the game trail, the weather grows stranger. Mist rolls in through the trees, growing into a full-fledged fog by the time you step out of the forest and onto a familiar riverside road, a mere 10 minutes after you left the clearing you awoke in.

Up ahead, the sight of the Duyue River bridge through the unusual fog is a welcome sight, for this bridge confirms that you have arrived at the easternmost edge of Willowshore. As you cross the bridge, though, the fog persists...

Recall Knowledge: Society or Willowshore Lore DC 13:
The strange fog reminds you of a nursery rhyme popular among the children of Willowshore:

Lazy Adou took a break, and
did not light the lamp that day.
This proved to be a big mistake, for
then the ghosts came out to play!
Hazy mist and moon of blood,
all because he just gave up.

The eerie fog is thick enough to obscure visibility beyond a range of 500 feet. Creatures viewed from more than 100 feet away are concealed. In addition, the mist distorts peripheral vision, causing one to periodically notice strange shapes moving and shifting about at the limits of their vision. All Perception checks attempted within the fog suffer a –1 status penalty as a result, and all DCs for Survival checks to Sense Direction are increased by 5.


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

willowshore lore: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

"Weather patterns are always... um... unpredictable." she tries. Memory slips in and in the mist, she whispers in a low singsong voice, loud enough for the others to hear.

'Lazy Adou took a break, and
did not light the lamp that day.
This proved to be a big mistake, for
then the ghosts came out to play!
Hazy mist and moon of blood,
all because he just gave up.
"

Pagma blinked. Realizing that doesn't sound like the best rhyme to calm people's nerves, but her mouth has always been on its own thread from her brain. "Just a silly nursery rhyme." but she is still whispering. The mist just makes her want to.


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Feeling the reassuring weight of Pagma's hand on her shoulder, Sakura finds the anchor she needs to pull herself back to the present moment. She drops her gaze, closes her eyes, and takes a centering breath—inhaling deeply, holding it for a beat, and exhaling slowly.

When she reopens her eyes, the world comes back into focus, sharper and clearer than before. She offers Pagma a silent nod of gratitude, the simple gesture conveying a world of thanks.

Swiftly, she wipes her blades clean with a practiced motion before sheathing them. She then reclaims her position at the head of the group, setting off once more down the game trail and toward the bridge that marks their return to Willowshore.

Though Pagma's poorly timed nursery rhyme lingers in her mind, she pushes it aside. The fog around them thickens like a cloak, limiting visibility and lending an eerie quality to the air. "Fog is quite thick today. Stay close," she calls over her shoulder, her voice tinged with caution. It's a simple instruction, but one that seems increasingly vital as they move through the haze, each step taking them closer to whatever awaits.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 - 1 ⇒ (7) + 6 - 1 = 12


CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

"Nursery rhymes often contain a hidden truth, especially if it's important for children to know or dangerous to say aloud. Did you know that 'The Dull Donkey's Dinner's is about the 5th Lung Wa Emperor?"

Kamo considers Pagma's rhyme.

"We have mist, though it's too early for the moon. Those bugs were certainly influenced by a spirit. Can you see if the town lanterns are lit?"

The young man peers off into the murk.


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

The others using their normal voices, not whispered worry, makes Pagma feel foolish. "We should be able to see the fishers soon, they'll be up even after the festival. Everyone's got to keep on eating." Pagma listens for the familiar sloshing and clacking of their tack and tools. "This mist is probably why Choe got delayed, I'd bet." she adds to counter all the spirit talk, a little. Not that she is trying to be argumentative, but she does realize she is, so she flashes Kamo a apologetic look.

perception: 1d20 + 3 - 1 ⇒ (6) + 3 - 1 = 8 listening though so don't know if the -1 counts, not that is matters with that roll.


CG Male Human Monk 1 | HP 20/20| AC: 17 | Fort: +7; Ref: +7; Will: +6 | Init: +2 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Hero Points: 1 | ◆ ↺ ◇

Feeling less worried by fog than spirit…ed centipedes, Cloud resumes a more strut like saunter. Besides, he finds the fog comforting, preferring the embrace of texture to the stark blankness of a clear bright day. He even smiles a little. The smile fades as the general sense of unease in the group touches him.

”Are there yet more rituals held on this morning after the night of spirits?” he asks the group generally, trying to bring some small sense of normalcy to proceedings.. ”I have…chores to do.” he finishes uncertainly.


There are no more rituals expected to occur this day. The first day of summer is usually just devoted to celebration. Usually.

After crossing the bridge over the Duyue River, you arrive at the eastern entrance to Willowshore. Here, a stone statue of a guardian spider once stood in a shrine next to the road, but as you approach, something looks off in the mist—the spider statue is missing, with only an empty shrine left behind. Willowshore’s eastern entrance lantern, once held in the stone spider’s fangs, now lies extinguished on its side in the grass below.

Recall Knowledge: Society or Willowshore Lore DC 15:
After the Thrice-Blessed Brothel was established (but before it became an inn), Willowshore’s population had grown enough in size to be considered a town by Shenmen standards, meaning that a lit lantern must be maintained at all times within the town near the entrance, at a major crossroads, or at a bridge. The lack of a lit lantern at one of these locations suggests that the town is abandoned, which is believed to invite the likes of vermin, ghosts, beasts, and worse. In Willowshore, a minor artifact known as the Eternal Lantern serves this purpose—a treasured heirloom from Master Zhi Hui herself.

The lantern originally was here at the east entrance but was moved to Dawnstep Bridge. However, after the slaughter caused by an attempt to harvest the Tan Sugi at the nearby monastery, Willowshore’s governor caved to the demand for a new lantern for the entrance of the village. While the original plan was for the carpenters of Willowshore to build a tori gate or Tian-shu gateway on which lanterns could be hung, a Lung Wa aristocrat offered a free stone guardian spider from his garden instead, since it no longer fit in with the garden’s decorations.

Most Willowshorers thought the giant statue was the ugliest thing they’d ever seen when it arrived. Nevertheless, they assumed the statue housed a guardian spirit and respected it accordingly. In time, villagers accepted their unique entrance guardian, even calling it their “ugly but cute” mascot, or Ugly Cute for short.

The lantern Ugly Cute holds in its fangs is a regular lantern, unlike the Eternal Lantern found at Dawnstep Bridge, but the people of Willowshore value it just as much and strive to keep it lit at all times.


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

willowshore lore: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

Unfortunately, the shire never interested her much, so all she could say is "That's odd..." the confusion in her voice, twisting at the end to concern. A heart-thumping one. "We should find someone quick." she wants to hurry, but her thudding heart tells her NO, Stay with the others. Even in a town, she has wandered all her life, she suddenly no longer feels safe.

Her spider crawls to her shoulder making a very soft munching noise, making the woman raise and hand to scratch one of its black bumps.


CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

Society: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25

"The lantern that our Ugly Cute mascot usually carries is on the ground!" Kamo gestures at the spider guardian and the fallen lantern. "That won't do at all. Especially on the first day of summer. Let's fix it up."

Kamo rushes over to pick up the lantern and hang it back on the spider's fangs.

"Wait. Where's the spider? Can you light this, PAgma? I can't see a thing in this fog."


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Sakura's eyes scan the area, searching for any clue that could explain the vanishing of the guardian spider statue. A growing knot of unease settles in her stomach; she knows statues don't simply disappear overnight, especially not those that are local landmarks or hold symbolic importance.

Turning back to Pagma, she says, "I was thinking the exact same thing, Pagma-chan. Except, this is worse than odd. Something is very wrong. We need to be very careful. Maybe something happened and we were asleep for a long time."

The words come out measured but laden with concern, mirroring the tension she sees in her friend's face. She then glances back at the boys, adding, "Which is why they are so hungry, perhaps." She tries to make sense of the unsettling situation, grappling with the possibility that their disorientation might be a side effect of some unknown lapse in time.

The weight of her blades at her side offers little comfort; they're tools ill-suited for combating the unknowns lurking in the misty streets of their town. Nevertheless, the warning in her voice underscores the need for vigilance: for themselves and for whatever remains of Willowshore.

Stop that. Willowshore is fine. This is all just something you don't understand for the Festival is all. she lies to herself.

Kamo wrote:
"Wait. Where's the spider? Can you light this, PAgma? I can't see a thing in this fog."

Sakura releases a long, dramatic sigh and swivels to face her brother, her eyes narrowing playfully. "Kamo, are your eyes open or are you practicing some form of advanced meditation while walking? How can you not notice that the gigantic spider statue—our town's creepy yet oddly comforting guardian—is now conspicuously absent?"

Perception: 1d20 + 6 - 1 ⇒ (6) + 6 - 1 = 11

Willowshore Lore is looking like the skill to have!


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

Pagma nods to Kamo's request, reaching into her bag for one of her alchemist fires... but then realizes that is NOT what she needs to use to light a lantern. "Sorry... just a little off." she then goes into a pouch for her flint and steel, leaning into the lantern as Kamo holds it to light the wick.

She tries at least. But it is empty.

"Wait a second.." she says, distracted by the problem of an empty lantern. Grabbing the jar of alchemist's fire she almost tried to light the thing with, AND her waterskin (full unlike Sakura's). Carefully, she pours a slow steady stream of water into the latern, looking up at Kamo. "Don't. Move!" she orders. She works the edge of her bomb off just a peck under the water, then mixes the fire's liquid with the water. "This stuff ignites in the air, so this would be the only way... maybe..."

craft: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14

Sakura's whispers about sleeping for a long time worries her to her core, distracting her from her explosive work.


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Sakura cautiously distances herself from the lantern-related shenanigans, her eyes narrowing as she observes Pagma fiddling with the alchemical ingredients. "You've got this under control, r-right Pagma-chan? That lantern's supposed to be significant, you know. We're not about to witness an explosion... Are we?"

A rapid-fire montage of past incidents flits through her mind—moments when Pagma's experiments had gone unexpectedly, and explosively, awry.


CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

Crafting: 1d20 + 7 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 7 + 4 = 20
That should give a +1. The +4 in my roll is from Cooperative Nature.

"Uh, Pagma. Maybe a bit less spirits? That looks volatile."


female Tian-Sing alchemist bomber 5 | her image | HP: 53/53 AC: 22; F: +10, R: +13, W: +8 | Perc: +8 | Speed 25ft | Weapon +12, d4+1 | 6 fire | 3 lightning | crystal 3 | ghost 6 | frost 2 | infused 3 | hero 1 | Active Conditions:

"OH!" she says, a little sheepishly. She's never actually tried to make something less volatile before. Her green eyes dart up and she gives a quick "thanks, kamo" and then finishes pouring.

Standing back up straight, she stores the empty fire container in her pouch. "Okay, set it down, and everyone, step back..." she instructs as she pulls out her tinder, and carefully lights the lantern.


CG Male Human Monk 1 | HP 20/20| AC: 17 | Fort: +7; Ref: +7; Will: +6 | Init: +2 | Per +4 | Spd 25 ft. | Hero Points: 1 | ◆ ↺ ◇

Recall Knowledge: Society: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9

Cloud watches with interest. He understands the lanterns are important to the local folk, but hasn’t heard what for or why. At any rate, he’s more interested in where a giant stone spider might have rustled off to…


NG | Male Human Sorcerer 5 | HP: 48/48| AC: 20 | F: +11; R: +12; W: +12 | Perception +12 | Initiative +12 | Spells: 1 (4/4) 2 (4/4) 3 (3/3)| Hero Points: 1/1 | Exploration: Avoid Notice (+2)

Jing watches Pagma do 'her' thing, but as the seconds crawl by, he can't help but give in to his nerves and bring a clenched hand to his lips. The urge to chew on his nails is there, but Jing resists the temptation. Now is not the time to give in to fear, no matter how tempting it is to do so.

Then, finally, Pagma seems to have completed whatever she was doing, and Jing gladly heeds her words. He steps back and whispers a short prayer to Tsukiyo and Shiruzu for protection. "Guide your children who are lost in the vast dark space that separates you."

I'll try to get Jing's profile done today, but I've already worked out all his stuff on a physical piece of paper. He doesn't have any fire spells but does have the light cantrip.


With Kamo's help, Pagma is able to improvise some lantern oil and reignite the lantern. The light does little to repel the fog surrounding you, but you do feel a bit better ensuring the ceremonial light burns once more.

The stone spider somewhat affectionately known by the locals as “Ugly Cute” is the size of a horse and made of solid stone, which makes it unlikely that someone simply made off with it. No sign of chiseling or damage to the rock on which it once perched upon is evident, but large furrows scar the ground surrounding it.

Survival to Track DC 15:
These marks are consistent with tracks thestatue would’ve left if it
animated and headed east down the road. The tracks then enter the river and become impossible to follow.


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

As soon as she feels confident that the light isn't going to explode, Sakyura tenatively walks back towards the group. As she gets closer, the scars on the ground become evident. She crouches down to study them, but can't make anything of it. "No signs of chipping or damage on the pedestal," she observes aloud. "But look at these marks on the ground. Something powerful moved it." Looking to the ground she asks, "Can any of you make sense of this?" Not trained in survival :(

She turns to face her companions, her eyes imbued with a gravitas that underscores the weight of their current situation. "We need to alert the village. Whatever's behind this isn't something we want to meet without being prepared."


CG male human investigator 5 HP 53/53 | AC 22 | F +8 R +10 W +1 | Perc +10 (+12 to Ini.) | speed 25 ft | focus 1/1| Hero 3 | Active Conditions:

I'll Pursue a Lead on Ugly Cute.

Survival: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 4 + 1 = 23

Kamo bends down close to the ground and examines the furrows. "Looks like our spider decided to take a walk! I knew that there was a guardian spirit inside."

He follows the tracks for a few steps. "Oh! They went into the river. Well, I can't track underwater. Looks like he's gone now." Kamo purses his lips. "Oh, I guess spirits are just walking around town now."


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Sakura's eyes widen at Kamo's casual explanation, visibly disturbed by the idea of a life-sized stone spider moving about. "You can't be serious," she says, her voice tinged with disbelief and maybe a little fear. "That statue, up and walking away? It's a hunk of stone!"

She shakes her head, clearly finding the idea implausible, if not downright alarming. "No, there has to be another explanation. It's just a statue, not a living thing."

Her hand instinctively hovers over her katana as she eyes the area warily. "Let's keep moving towards town, but perhaps we should steer clear of the river for now... just in case my brother's wild theories hold any water."


After traveling about a mile further west from the missing spider statue, you reach Willowshore’s eastern watchtower. The tang of blood fills the air, and four bodies lie sprawled on the ground. Two belong to town guards, their legs swollen and expressions of pain frozen on their faces. The other two bodies appear to be tiny blue-gray humanoids with sharp teeth and giant ears, seemingly slain by sword blows.

Recall Knowledge: Nature DC 15:
The tiny bodies are those of jinkin gremlins.

Medicine DC 13:
The guards seem to have perished from poison delivered by snakebites to the leg.

A lone guard stands at the top of the watchtower. She lets out a gasp when she seed you and levels her crossbow at you with shaking hands. "Halt! Don't come any closer unless you can recite four of the eight practices of the season of ghosts!" she shouts.


Female Human Fighter 5 | HP: 78 | AC: 21 (23) | F: +12 R: +9 W: +11* | Speed: 30'| Perception: +11 | ↻: AoO

Nature DC15: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Medicine DC13: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8

"No,no!"

Sakura's eyes go wide as she spots the lifeless bodies strewn on the ground. She starts to rush forward, only to halt abruptly at the guard's shout. Lifting her hands in a non-threatening gesture, she exclaims, "It's Yuzuki Sakura! I'm here with my brother and our companions—the volunteers!"

Collecting herself, she loudly recites the practices as demanded: "Do not refer to a ghost as a ghost. Steer clear of bodies of water if a ghost is near. Whistling at night is forbidden. Should someone call your name from behind you at night, never turn to look."

Satisfied she's answered correctly, her voice strains with urgency as she calls out, "What's happened here?!"


The guard sighs with relief. She lowers her weapon and clambers down the watchtower. "Thank Pharasma! I had to be sure you were not monsters in disguise. I am Hai-er Ha. I remember seeing you five yesterday evening, when Uncle Choe and his crew in their ghostly paper masks carried you out to the woods at the culmination of the Reenactment Festival. They returned from the woods without you a short time later, just at the beginning of my watch.

"It was well after midnight that those horrible little blue monsters came out of the woods to the south with their trained serpents. The other two guards on duty managed to defeat the creatures but then perished to snake bites. I have remained here in the watchtower, ever since, plagued by fear and guilt. And now this dense fog has descended on Willowshore, frightening me all the more!

"What did you see out there, in the woods?"

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