The Ruby Phoenix Tournament in "Forest of Spirits"


Jade Regent


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Hi all.

I just read The Ruby Phoenix Tournament, and it's a great adventure capturing the flavor of the martial arts tournaments in mangas such as Dragon Ball. I plan to incorporate it into my Jade Regent campaign, between Ordu-Aganhei and the Forest. The motivation for the PCs should be really easy, since the whole point of the module is to win a tournament to obtain a prize, so I just need the right prize for the PCs, and here is where I need your help.

I need some kind of minor artifact (such as the Amatatsu Seal) that the PCs need to obtain so they can achieve their final objective of restoring Ameiko to her rightful place. It would be a bit like looking for Suishen in NoFS - the PCs investigate the current location of the item and find that it went into the Ruby Phoenix collection, so they obtain a place in it and try to win. Then I can replace the final enemies with some Five Storm agents, and all is done. Since the last part of "Forest of..." is just a long dungeoncrawl, the XPs obtained in the module are easy to compensate by shortening the penance.

So I just need, as I said, the perfect item to integrate the module into the campaign. Can you help me? I'd love to hear some ideas from the developers, also, since they know how this is going to end (I still haven't read Tide of Honor, so if my answer is there in plain sight, sorry for the question...).


I love this idea!!! I wonder how I can convince my dm to do something like this. I hope it all works out for you!

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Well, Tide of Honor includes another weapon that, like Suishen, is one of the regalia of the five imperial families and bestows negative levels to the dishonorable. Considering that the end-boss of an AP is typically very powerful but weak to a specific McGuffin, I wouldn't be surprised at all if these imperial weapons did extra damage or gained plusses against the Jade Regent and his direct cronies. So a similar weapon might be useful; perhaps a bit of regalia more suitable for a caster, such as a rod or orb, so the less fighty PCs can feel more involved.


It doesn't even have to be an artifact necessarily. I haven't read Tide of Honor yet either (waiting for my dead tree copy as usual), but from the blurbs and the like it's all about recruiting the disaffected northerners (which I believe include a number of ronin samurai). What better way to impress them than to be able to wave around the championship of the Ruby Phoenix Tournament :) I too plan to integrate the tournament into my campaign at some point, just waiting for it to arrive (don't even have the pdf this time. Curse living in Australia!). Only half-way through Hungry Storm at this point anyway.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

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By the 5th book, you can get three of the Imperial Weapons (Suishen, a naginata, and a bow).

I would have the artifact/prize be something that can restore the Imperial SPIRIT to the latter weapons, who seem to have lost their intelligence since their lines are extinct. Suishen is still intelligent...the other Imperial weapons are not.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

By the 5th book, you can get three of the Imperial Weapons (Suishen, a naginata, and a bow).

I would have the artifact/prize be something that can restore the Imperial SPIRIT to the latter weapons, who seem to have lost their intelligence since their lines are extinct. Suishen is still intelligent...the other Imperial weapons are not.

==Aelryinth

Would it be in the best interest of the PCs to restore the Imperial Spirit to these weapons? As I said, I've just finished reading Ruby Phoenix and I'm beginning Tide of Honor, but these weapons would be associated with a different imperial line, wouldn't they? What I'd like to have is a motivation for the "quest", that is-The PCs will not be able to overcome the Jade Regent (or for that matter, to enter the pagoda in the Forest of Spirits, or whathever) unless they can secure a particular item. That's the insight I'd like to have from the devs, although if I have to go with your suggestion, I guess it would do.


Where would you situate the tournament? In Hongal, in the Forest, on the edge of Minkai?


Is your heart set on placing it during Forest of Spirits? Tide of Honor is all about gathering allies to fight the Jade Regent, and the Tournament seems like it would fit perfectly into that theme. You could either continue with the artifact idea, or have a faction (either replace a current one or add another) join you if you can win the tournament.

If you do go artifact, and don't like the idea of restoring spirits to the imperial weapons, how about controlling a terra cotta army? Maybe Lingshen gifted a unit of Terra Cotta Soldiers to Minkai long ago, and its control device is among the collections of the tournament? It is like a faction and artifact in one!


gang wrote:
Where would you situate the tournament? In Hongal, in the Forest, on the edge of Minkai?

Well, obviously not on Goka, since it's too far away.


gang wrote:
Where would you situate the tournament? In Hongal, in the Forest, on the edge of Minkai?

Well, obviously not on Goka, since it's too far away. Somewhere on the east coast of Hongal would do, yes. It would break with the real geographic distribution of the country, but hey, the PCs need not know about it. That would mean the caravan just needs to make an affordable detour on its way to the Forest.

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Is your heart set on placing it during Forest of Spirits? Tide of Honor is all about gathering allies to fight the Jade Regent, and the Tournament seems like it would fit perfectly into that theme. You could either continue with the artifact idea, or have a faction (either replace a current one or add another) join you if you can win the tournament.

Nope. Part of why I like the idea is the fact that my group dislikes long dungeoncrawls, so this is the perfect excuse to replace part of the Penance with a different approach.

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
If you do go artifact, and don't like the idea of restoring spirits to the imperial weapons, how about controlling a terra cotta army? Maybe Lingshen gifted a unit of Terra Cotta Soldiers to Minkai long ago, and its control device is among the collections of the tournament? It is like a faction and artifact in one!

That might be more a problem than help, since it might give the PCs an edge in the Forest of Spirits. I'm looking for something that is more a necessity for the players to proceed with their quest. Something like the Amatatsu seal, in that without it there's no quest, but it's not such a great artifact, if you get what I mean.

Shadow Lodge

What about a seal for one of the other five families?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Fox1212 wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

By the 5th book, you can get three of the Imperial Weapons (Suishen, a naginata, and a bow).

I would have the artifact/prize be something that can restore the Imperial SPIRIT to the latter weapons, who seem to have lost their intelligence since their lines are extinct. Suishen is still intelligent...the other Imperial weapons are not.

==Aelryinth

Would it be in the best interest of the PCs to restore the Imperial Spirit to these weapons? As I said, I've just finished reading Ruby Phoenix and I'm beginning Tide of Honor, but these weapons would be associated with a different imperial line, wouldn't they? What I'd like to have is a motivation for the "quest", that is-The PCs will not be able to overcome the Jade Regent (or for that matter, to enter the pagoda in the Forest of Spirits, or whathever) unless they can secure a particular item. That's the insight I'd like to have from the devs, although if I have to go with your suggestion, I guess it would do.

there's only one seal active, so the weapons would key off the one remaining Imperial Line...which would then branch off and become their own lines within the greater family. I'm not saying restore the original families...I'm saying restore a spirit to the weapons, and have those weapons be part of the remaining Scions' bloodlines, NOT the originals.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:


there's only one seal active, so the weapons would key off the one remaining Imperial Line...which would then branch off and become their own lines within the greater family. I'm not saying restore the original families...I'm saying restore a spirit to the weapons, and have those weapons be part of the remaining Scions' bloodlines, NOT the originals.

==Aelryinth

Now that idea I like. I would still rather have a classic McGuffin for the PCs rather than this one, but if nothing else pops out, this is an interesting idea.


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What I'm considering for my group is sending them a side mission from Lute Haggersly before they leave Kalsgard, he's wanting to set up his own guild in the wake of the Rimmerunners tanking (even if they aren't officially removed by the King they're name is ruined). However Lute has a little problem, he has the money, business partners and everything all lined up, but he can't get a caravan out fast enough to secure the trade contacts the Rimerunners had (in this instance, the Rimerunners were a perfectly legitimate business, but were the cover for the Frozen Shadows). So he makes a deal with Sandru, you deliver a few messages for me to these contacts and assure them that my guild is taking the Rimerunners place before the competition gets them and in return he invest in the caravan so they can make it over the Crown.

Here's where it gets interesting, they miss out on the big fish on the list. I'm not sure who, but someone they can run into before heading into the Forest of Spirits. Anyway, he's willing to give them the same chance he's giving the people who have already contacted him to set up trade over the Crown, they have to win the Ruby Phoenix Tournament and secure for him one of the artifacts in the vault. To make the deal sweater, because I know my PC's will just tell him to stuff it and move on, he'll mention that he recognizes the sword my Summoner is using as one of the five imperial weapons... and that two of them are also in the vault as potential prizes. I'm not sure what they'll be yet, but that's largely because we're just entering The Hungry Storm and I have no idea who will make it through to see this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I was planning to have the party be asked to participate after the third module. Colorful dude teleports in, says that they have observed/heard of the party and want them to participate. Of course the question is what to do with the rest of the caravan, but that can be arranged via hired mercenaries and the like. Maybe I'll wait until the beginning of the fifth module, I have to rebalance the whole AP anyway.


magnuskn wrote:
I was planning to have the party be asked to participate after the third module. Colorful dude teleports in, says that they have observed/heard of the party and want them to participate. Of course the question is what to do with the rest of the caravan, but that can be arranged via hired mercenaries and the like. Maybe I'll wait until the beginning of the fifth module, I have to rebalance the whole AP anyway.

We'll hopefully begin Ruby Phoenix today. My players saw, as part of the Jade Visions, how the Amatatsus had to sell the Daikiu of Commanding Presence (in my campaing it's a second Amatatsu ancestral weapon) in Ordu-Aganhei to pay for the travel to Kalsgard, and later it was stored in the Ruby Phoenix's vault. They know that to make a rightful claim to Minkai's throne they need both Suishen and the Daikiu, so they'll have to win the competition to get it.

They are now leaving the crown of the world, and will get to Ordu-Aganhei in this session, where they'll find that the tournamet is --no, really?, what a coincidence!!-- about to begin, and they might secure a place if they get there in under a week. After the nija attack, Miyaru will offer to guide the caravan to safety in the Forest of Spirits while the PCs teleport to Goka to retrieve the Daikiu.

So, the PCs will be level 10 by the beginning of Ruby Phoenix, and maybe level 11 and a half or 12 by the end, which allows me to cut the endless dungeoncrawl that is Munasukaru's Penance to just the more interesting encounters. My plan is to make Suishen or an NPC point out to the PCs that their fight is not with the araneas, but rather with the oni, so it's in their interest to ally with Akinosa and their kin --fortunately there's no paladin in the group--, and wipe out the hobgoblins in a background battle while the PCs take care of the hardest foes.

Liberty's Edge

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I ran RPT in-between Forest of Spirits and Tide of Honor. I ran it pretty much as written, and had the players design new characters and come up with a group backstory. The only things I changed were to make the "ettin" a gift to the tournament from the standing Regent of Minkai (wink wink), and to change Marthysan's motivation (and his race - to samsaran).

Mild spoilers!

Ten years ago, Marthysan was allowed to take one item from the vaults. Within the vault were both the seal and sacred weapon of one of the five families of Minkai, both long through lost to the Jade Regent. He received visions of heroes from the north, who would bring with them the last scion of house Amatatsu, and vowed to aid them in restoring honor to Minkai. As there were two items of importance in the vault, and only one could be taken by Marthysan, he would have to find and convince another group of heroes to retrieve the second (he chose the weapon, leaving the seal safe in the vault) during the next RPT.

During the adventure itself, Marthysan suggested to the heroes that their might be an unassuming item in the vault that would grant them "an entire kingdom" (sort of true!). When the PCs acquired the seal, they realized that it had made them a target of the Five Storms as well.

All in all, it worked very well, and gave the players a chance to experience a new PC after playing the same character for (relative to our group) a very long time. Some people chose to make stupifyingly broken builds, others made characters that could join the regular party should their character fall in battle (one player, who joined us during RPT, has now joined the regular party with his paladin).

Sovereign Court

I ran the tournament at the beginning of Forest of Spirits. My party took so long in getting across the crown that it was no longer the "off-season" when they arrived. Instead, they arrived in Hongal just in time for the qualifiers, and decided to take part after Suishen informed them that one of the other ancestral weapons was sold to the Phoenix to help finance the trip across the crown.

RPT and FoS Spoilers:

I tweaked the geography of Hongal a bit...I increased the size of the lake which separates the prince's palace from the rest of the city, and stuck a scaled down version of the island (no village, basically) on it. Vendors and lodging were all located in a makeshift community that sprang up on the banks outside of Ordu-Aganhai - the city was closed to the filth and rabble drawn to the tournament.

I switched up the gang's motivations; they were working for the Five Storms because they were after the weapon as well, and working with the twins was the easiest way to get to it.

The dragon was switched up a bit and moved to the mountains just north of the city, and between the PCs' victory and the slaying of the dragon, the prince (who was present with the other important officials throughout the tournament) welcomed them into the city as his honored guests afterward. I also used the tournament as an opportunity for the PCs to pick up on the prince's creepy behavior and for him to develop a fixation on Shalelu.

We had a friend join us during NoFS as a blade-bound magus. His blade was another one of the ancestral weapons, which had drawn him to Kalsgard in search of Suishen and the Amatatsu heir. Between what's in the books and those two additions, they'll have all five weapons by the time they take on the Jade Regent :).

Liberty's Edge

We got invited to the tournament and are doing thigns inr everse. After the tournament, i plan on ahving the characters escourt a princess over the world to the Linnorm Kingdoms. Jsut gotta up the level of critters


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, I am going forward with integrating this module into the AP, in lieu of running Munasukaru's Penance. Well, actually the NPC's will be doing that while the PC's are away at the tournament. ^^

I'll keep the location and just have the PC's win a qualifier during their stay in Ordu-Aganhei, with teleportation transport being arranged for them to get to the tournament.

But the reason why I am reviving this thread is, because I had an interesting idea: If the Ruby Phoenix Tournament is such a big deal, why not have rulers from all over Minkai ( and Avistan... nice occasion for some important people to show up randomly, like Abrogail II. and her pet pit fiend. :D ) teleport in?

Rulers like the Jade Regent and his entourage.

With the Jade Regent ( and Anamurumon ) yet not knowing who the PC's are, it will probably make for some interesting and funny moments. I'm pretty sure that my players will not try to whack him ( which would fail hilariously, anyway ), but if anybody else wants to take up this idea, take into account how your players usually react to such situations.

In any case, it might make for some interesting interactions and give the players a first glimpse at the final enemies they will be facing.


My group is just about to finish The Hungry Storm and I've been reading Forest of Spirits to get a heads up. And you guys are right. That dungeon crawl is enormous. And every book in this AP so far has ended with a dungeon crawl.

So I'm going with The Ruby Phoenix Tournament. I wasn't content with having them 'beam' into Goku, so the tournament this decade is actually being held in Hongal in the city of Muliwan. It's perfect. Right along the way, totally undeveloped by Paizo, and right on the coast.

I'm toying with the idea of having them coerced into entering the competition. As in, taken captive on the road, beaten and drugged, and then they wake up in Muliwan the first day of the competition, caravan nowhere in sight. Then they have to not only piece together why the mysteries of the tournament but who forced them into it.

I haven't quite figured all the details yet but I'm all ears.


I'm also thinking of replacing Marthysan with Ulf (in a very Cayden Cailean-way he won the tournament 10 years ago) and the Sisters Wu and Aspis Consortium ties with Five Storms agents who have infiltrated the tournament to ambush the PCs.


Having the PCs taken captive can be difficult. Your players may not co-operate. Especially if they have a lot of magic. "I teleport us away and then use divination to find the caravan."

There's also a risk that the players will be trying to murder the guards and escape rather than fight the tournament battles you planned for.

If you want the players to be forced into it, you could do it another way. For example, the Amatatsu Seal (or Suishen if that makes more sense) is stolen and is one of the tournament prizes. Or a caravan member is kidnapped to force the PCs to fight - there could be a powerful betting syndicate behind it? "We need you to throw the final battle - but make it last at least five rounds." Then, during the battle, the kidnapped NPC appears in the crowds waving to you, having been rescued by the other NPCs.


Matthew Downie wrote:
good advice

That's good insight, Matthew.

It makes me wonder if holding Suishen or a caravan member hostage wouldn't produce the same effect: Murder the guards and steal back their stuff rather than participate in the tournament.

What is Prince Batsaikhar becomes obsessed with Suishen and takes it when he can't convince the PCs to part with it? But then he grows bored with it (alignment difference, after all) and sells it all before the PCs can even figure out who took it. Then they have to track it down to Milwani and learn that it's been put into the Abadar vaults and only winning the tournament will get it back.

Eliminates the incentive to kill the tournament people because they didn't know they were purchasing stolen goods. Also, the PCs can't impress upon them their right to Suishen because it's their (foreigners') word against a prince's.

Or, maybe it could be the Amatatsu Seal and warding box. Ups the stakes for fear that people open it and unleash the Five Storms on them. In fact, that might be what attracts the Five Storms to the tournament in the first place.

EDIT: And Ulf is totally going to be like Haymitch from Hunger Games.


Well, with a hostage you can just have Koya (or whoever) say, "The betting syndicate gangsters will kill the hostage if you make a rash rescue attempt. We'll have to play along and wait for an opportunity."

You could have someone trying to force the PCs into the tournament for fairly justified reasons. For example, they have a personal grudge against some evil villains who are the favorites to win, and are hoping the PCs will kill them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Actually, my players jumped at the opportunity to enter the tournament. I mean, which players would not want to become the biggest bad-asses in the biggest martial arts tournament of the continent?


magnuskn wrote:
Actually, my players jumped at the opportunity to enter the tournament. I mean, which players would not want to become the biggest bad-asses in the biggest martial arts tournament of the continent?

Some of my players absolutely would. Others I think would shrug and say, "Great, but we have a mission." So I think catering to both motives will best serve my group.


Dustin Ashe wrote:
I'm toying with the idea of having them coerced into entering the competition...

Like you, I wanted to use the Ruby Phoenix Tournament to replace the dungeon crawl in the House of Withered Blossoms. I tried to coerce them into it by using Prince Batsaikhar of Ordu-Aganhai. He obsessed over the party as his latest plaything, giving them challenges as described in the Forest of Spirits module. His servants warned the party that if they did not go along with the prince, innocents, such as the caravan and the passengers on the caravan, would suffer. But when the ninja assassins sent by the Five Storms attacked, the prince panicked. He wanted the party gone immediately, but invented a way in which he could save face. He appointed them the official team of Ordu-Aganhai for the Ruby Phoenix Tournament.

Dustin Ashe wrote:
magnuskn wrote:
Actually, my players jumped at the opportunity to enter the tournament. I mean, which players would not want to become the biggest bad-asses in the biggest martial arts tournament of the continent?
Some of my players absolutely would. Others I think would shrug and say, "Great, but we have a mission." So I think catering to both motives will best serve my group.

Likewise, my players had already encountered Miyaro with the invitation from the kami of the Forest of Spirits. Mission came first. So they went to talk to the kami, and learned that the oni had probably escaped from the House of Withered Blossoms decades ago, and there was no rush to investigate. The party promised to return, turned around, and accepted the invitation to the Ruby Phoenix tournament.

I made some changes in the tournament. First, I set it in Zi Ha, a country bordering Hongal, high in an isolated mountain valley. Second, the contestants were issued masterwork replica weapons that dealt only non-lethal damage and amulets that turned energy damage non-lethal too. This tournament was meant to honor the best athletic combatants of Tian Xia, not kill them. Third, I added a lot more individual athletic events, such as footraces, kayaking races (the party had learned to kayak back in Night of Frozen Shadows), archery, throwing contests, and gymnastics. I pretended that the tournament had a complicated point-earning system, so the more events a contestant entered, the better. Fourth, teams were one to four contestants, with the top four winners--not necessarily all on the same team--getting a prize from the Ruby Phoenix collection and the next four getting cash prizes. Fifth, contestants had no access to healing except from their teammates, as an excuse to include the party healer on the team. Part of the cheating of the Wu twins was that one would swap out for healing while the other pretended to be the sole contestant.

The party had come out of The Hungry Storm cash poor, because the ice cap had more hazards than treasure. The Ruby Phoenix Tournament prizes were a way to correct that. I said the best of the collection had been claimed in past tournaments, so nothing in the collection was worth more than 25,000 gp, but I would take requests for custom magic items. One player wanted cash instead, so I said that their rival Gomwu wanted a particular historic magic item, a sword in a stone that would make him hobgoblin royalty, and was willing to buy it for 40,000 gp if a player character claimed it as a prize.

The party had five players, two NPCs Ameiko and her half-sister Amaya, and a Leadership cohort barbarian. The the fighter, the samurai, the magus, and Amaya (an oracle) became the team. I did not hold back on their opponents, but the party still won, with the magus declared first, the fighter second, the samurai third, and the oracle fourth. The ninja, the enchanter sorceress, Ameiko, and the barbarian sat out, and they ended up dealing with the skullduggery behind the scenes, and also made a lot of money betting.

Afterwards, the party went through the House of Withered Blossoms, but since they had gained an extra level and new equipment, the dungeon crawl became an information-gathering dungeon run that went by too quickly to become boring. The party learned enough to fool the oni repeatedly during the Tide of Honor.


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I plan to integrate Ruby Phoenix tournament into book 4 too.

In Hongal, the prince(I can't remember his name) celebrate the PC, and 3 days festival will open. and test pc.

I plan to replace this festival to tournament. If Pc win the tournament The prince will please and let them go. (also the book suggest the prince's test and it's reward. I think the reward will be replace Ruby Phoenix's reward)

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