Game Thread Chapter 2: The Village of the Crooked Rows - RPG Crossing
RPG Crossing Home Forums Create An Account! Site Rules & Help

RPG Crossing
Go Back   RPG Crossing > Games > Dungeons & Dragons: 5e > Uncaged
twitter facebook

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old May 29th, 2022, 12:41 PM
Wynamoinen's Avatar
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen is offline
Eternal Bard
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 35594
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen
Posts: 9,334
Chapter 2: The Village of the Crooked Rows

The path to town
right-aligned image
Absent hard climbing and some degree of secrecy, there is no path to the monastery, but through the town. For their own reasons, each of the companions agrees that they should walk openly to the town, along the path they have already walked for so long. As they descend down the path, they walk past a series of small homesteads. A few are peopled by folk they'd expect in 'civilized' lands: a dwarf here carrying water. A half-elf there, pulling a handcart. But there are many others. The spiny devil one watcher saw last light, picking its teeth on a porch with a straw of wheat. A gnoll, hoeing its flooded field of rice. The watchers do not welcome the companions, but but instead meet in the standard rural way, when travelers are seen on the road. They all give slight nods of acknowledgement and greeting. They watch the travelers with varying reactions: some of startled open surprise, some with a steady wary gaze, and some with a friendly smile. None bother the group.

As the path levels off, they approach the outskirts of the town - what Hella called the Village of Crooked Rows. The group stops and takes in the scene. The buildings are densely packed, mostly made of a dark wood with rustic clay shingles on the roofs. Very few of the structures appear to stand fully upright. The roads are all dirt, muddy and pitted, and there is no indication of regular cart traffic. No two paths in the town seem to meet at right angles, including the one they're on! Ahead of them, they can see that their path takes a jog and gets lost in the tangle after a block or two. Given its size, no more than a few hundred folk could live here.

The forms of monsters and oni, devils and beasts, can be seen walking the streets. They pass each other, giving greetings, calling out wares, reprimanding impolite behavior, and otherwise going about the usual business of a usual town. There is indication of a forge, an inn, multiple shops, street vendors, and perhaps a tavern. Were it not for its remarkable inhabitants, it would appear to be that most commonplace of all locations: a poor isolated village.

Here at the outskirts of the Village, no one yet has paid the companions any mind. They look amongst themselves: how should we manage our way through the Village?
OOCI wanted to move the narrative along, to resolve a few uncertainties that you guys mentioned, while presenting a few more. But I don't want to cut off any discussion time. If you all want to discuss matters privately in Hella's house last night, or on the road, or here at the outskirts of the village, please do, by all means! If you could just delineate where and when you're speaking by using a labeled fieldset box, I'd appreciate it.

You have essentially free rein in this village. It has basically anything amenities and locations you'd expect in your standard D&D village. If you're at all inspired to go somewhere or do something in town, please by all means, state your intent and take actions to head in that direction! I can provide more structure in my next update if necessary, but I'm happy to let you guys guide the path and decide what you'd like your interactions to be.
__________________
GM of Uncaged, a 5e campaign of one-shots inspired by folklore
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old May 30th, 2022, 11:15 AM
Unko Talok's Avatar
Unko Talok Unko Talok is offline
Victree-Belle
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 24477
Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok
Posts: 15,891
Parvati
right-aligned image
Copyright Jorge Ochoa
That morning, Parvati does her best to clean up any mess left behind. If Hella were to return, her kindness should not be abused. The rice and beans had been delicious, and given after such a rough introduction. Anything less would be the lowest behavior!

She finds Jinlong that morning and chats with him along the road. "Those little demon creatures-- they seem to have returned to their own world without us intervening. And all these along the road seem to be peaceful-- or perhaps cowed by us? Do you expect any violence?" As the town draws near, Parvati can't help but feel a bit nervous. They were a skilled and powerful group. But they would soon be greatly outnumbered. What if the docile nature of these demons was a ruse?...

"I would love to visit a local shop and resupply on some spices and a few other niceties that magic just can't provide..." She strains her neck, trying to see any signs or indicators of building types from far away as they approach.



 
__________________
Site Rules & Help | Become a Community Supporter
Black Lives Matter - Gay and Trans rights are human rights.
she / her / hers

Come play or watch Iron DM 2022

Last edited by Unko Talok; May 30th, 2022 at 11:17 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old Jun 5th, 2022, 11:39 PM
rhaiber's Avatar
rhaiber rhaiber is offline
not a fish
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 16908
rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber
Posts: 3,995
李 瑞赢 - Li Ruiying
right-aligned image
Li Ruiying nodded approvingly as they watched Parvati busy herself cleaning up the small abode they had used as temporary lodgings. The fox spirit agreed that it would be unseemly to leave a mess behind them, but stopped somewhat short of sullying themself with the menial work of house chores.

Once the business of cleaning was well taken care of and the little band of travelers returned to the road, Li Ruiying fell into step a short distance from where Parvati walked with Jinlong - and making certain to place themself solidly in between Yangchen and "The So-Called Great" Feng Wu.

"Those little demon creatures-- they seem to have returned to their own world without us intervening. And all these along the road seem to be peaceful-- or perhaps cowed by us? Do you expect any violence?"

The avatar's words may have been directed at Jinlong, but Li Ruiying could not help but overhear them. Parvati was certainly making no effort to hide her voice, and so the fox spirit took it upon themself to reply.

"'Those demon creatures,' you say?" Ruiying asked somewhat pointedly, "And who among us has never been looked upon as such? Jinlong, have you not been looked at as less than a man, treated as unworthy of enlightenment by virtue of your heritage? Feng Wu, have you not had your name cursed and scorned by men who blame their misfortune on you? I, myself have been called 'demon' more times than I care to remember, chased away from home and kith when my past has come to light."

It seemed for a moment as if the fox spirit had stopped short of saying something more on the subject. Their golden eyes briefly flashed in the direction of the Seeker, then cast themselves down at the trail before their feet. When they glanced upwards once more, there was a new resolve behind the pools of shimmering gold.

"In any event, I should like to join you on your shopping trip, Parrvati, if you will have me" the request came from a honeyed voice this time, "I should very much like to speak with these folk and learn more of them. I find myself with little reason to believe Hella's tale untrue, though I suspect it is incomplete. Perhaps if we use a more gentle approach with the townsfolk, we may uncover the truth about this Order of the Stone Foot and determine who is truly in the wrong here."

Stat Block
 
__________________
"He looked to the Kender for wisdom. If there was one thing she was good for, it was pearls of wisdom. Wisdom buried beneath twelve hours of stories about obscure relatives." -- Imveros
Help Me Find a Home for These Characters
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old Jun 6th, 2022, 11:26 AM
Unko Talok's Avatar
Unko Talok Unko Talok is offline
Victree-Belle
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 24477
Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok
Posts: 15,891
Parvati
right-aligned image
Copyright Jorge Ochoa
"Of course, Li Ruiying," Parvati says. They needn't have tried to sweeten their voice for her. The Fox-Spirit made good points, and ones that Parvati largely agreed with. Preconceived notions of what the other was, and how they should be treated and referred to, was a failure of sight-- a result of not seeing through the illusion to find the universe as it truly was. It both turns allies and friends into enemies... and obfuscates enemies. But Parvati decides not to voice that aloud. This was for the campfire. "I would like to get to know these people as well."



 
__________________
Site Rules & Help | Become a Community Supporter
Black Lives Matter - Gay and Trans rights are human rights.
she / her / hers

Come play or watch Iron DM 2022
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old Jun 8th, 2022, 10:30 AM
Osse's Avatar
Osse Osse is offline
Orange Pirate
Good People
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Aug 11th, 2022
RPXP: 9986
Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse
Posts: 1,447
Jinlong
right-aligned image
Jinlong matched Parvati's pace as she walked alongside him. Her strides were much shorter than his. This he suspected to be the reason why her gait was more dignified looking. "Do you expect any violence?" She asked.

This, the dragon answered with a simple shake of the head. The town felt off to him, sure, but he did not expect to be ambushed anytime soon. If it were to happen that morning, he believed it already would have far from the eyes of many.

Ruiying invited themself to the conversation a moment later and raised good points with questions that did not need to be answered. They then expressed interest in shopping with the goddess.

"Well," Jinlong piped up at last. "I'll stop here and set up shop. Use me as a landmark for when you're done walking about. How about we meet here at say. . . noon? Hear that you two?" He looked at the Seeker and Feng Wu.

Jinlong doffed the ornate chest that served as his pack, then took out a blanket from it and laid it on the ground in a shaded space between two street vendor stalls. He then sat cross-legged on the sheet of cloth and began placing his wooden statuettes on it one by one. He gave each of his vendor neighbors a nod and a smile, then faced the street and waited patiently for people to approach, carving something new as he did so.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old Jun 13th, 2022, 04:15 PM
Wynamoinen's Avatar
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen is offline
Eternal Bard
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 35594
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen
Posts: 9,334
Touring the TownAs the group delves further into the town, they are greeted with the standard mix of reactions that any town might provide, ranging from dipping hats matched by polite "g'mornin'"s to brusque "outta the way"s as overflowing baskets are shuttled down the street. For the most part, the odd assortment of folks and creatures accept the newcomers as any other type of travelers. At least a few times, though, the group is acknowledged as usual until the passer-by's gaze focuses on Yangchen. The viewer jumps and skuttles in another direction, or to the other side of the street.

Once the group nears what appears to be the main byway inside the town, they begin to scatter about. Li Ruiyang and Parvati set out to shop. Jinlong sets down, to BE a shop, between two other makeshift stands. The Great Feng Wu and Yangchen pause to take in the scene and ponder what to do first.

The shopping pair walk slowly among the stands on the street. Despite (or perhaps because of) being such a small isolated ramshackle town, entrepreneurship flourishes! All sorts of products are available, especially fresh foodstuffs, presumably brought in from the Valley's fields. Herbs, melon, hocks of meat and flowers all are vended. Some are familiar, a few types of herbs and spices are rarer, and at least one or two melons and herbs look unfamiliar entirely. The origins of the owners are as varied and rare as their goods! As Parvati and Li Ruiyang scan the street, two permanent shops look like they might also suit their needs. One, "The Box," appears to be a general store. Its doors are wide open, and inside a great variety of products await, some temping and some stomach-churning. The other likely option is called simply "Roughly, 'grandmother's'Ma Ma's". It appears to be a sort of curio store, and some of the items look ie, possibly actually-magicquite authentic. Such a place might very well contain rare ingredients for the arcane practitioner.

As Jinlong sits, potential customers walk by. They seem surprised to see him, but the curiosity seems focused less on the fact of a large dragon, and more on the fact that there is a new shop in town. A few look at the goods, consider them from all sides, and Osse, if you want to roll your tool skill (presumably Carpenter's tools?) to see if you get any interest in your wares, please do! You'll need to name a price as part of the transaction, of course. Higher prices would give a higher DC, lower prices lower DC.whisper among themselves.

As shoppers look, a large beast-like creature approaches. Its head has the aspect of a dog, and it looks like it could have been as tall and hulking as Jinlong in its day. Now, the creature is smaller, but no less menacing than in its physical prime. It is (or was) a You would know them also as Flind.battle-master of the gnolls, scarred and powerful with grants of dark abilities. It hovers in front of Jinlong's stall, and breathes heavily, looking the dragon in the eye. "Big man, dragon man. Come to our town. You bring a priestess? Do you mock us? Do you think you are mightier than us, to present trouble in this way? You are not mightier, you are not more manly than Krirr." He beats his chest with one hand - apparently Krirr is the speaker. "I will show you, we are mighty, if you bring challenge. I bring challenge!" There is no doubt that this sturdy warrior is earnestly bringing challenge - there is no joke in his eye. Yet as Jinlong sizes up the challenger, there are a few oddities. Krirr thankfully does not bear any weapons; the challenge is not mortal, which is unusal for gnoll-folk. And Krirr has clearly been shopping, too. In a light cheesecloth bundle held by his non-chest-pounding hand, he bears some pieces of fine pottery - it's obscured by the gauzy wrapping, but it might be a delicate tea set, or it might be a tidy sake set.
OOCIn the interest of moving things along, I'm often willing to push past small details and throw you directly into "action". But I'm slow-walking a little bit here to give more space for interaction, and to give folk who didn't post on the last pass to "catch up" a bit. The specific details of the current NPC interactions are not mission-critical to the adventure, and you have my blessing to take a little more rein than usual in describing settings or NPC reactions, if you're so inclined. Almost any intelligent social humanoid 'monster' of size large or smaller might plausibly be found here. And maybe a few others

Osse, if you want to roll your tool skill (presumably Carpenter's tools?) to see if you get any interest in your wares, please do! You'll need to name a price as part of the transaction, of course. Higher prices would give a higher DC, lower prices lower DC.

And to lay cards on the table, Krirr the Flind is challenging Jinlong to some sort of test of strength. Jinlong is under no obligation to accept; perhaps he'd like no challenges, perhaps he'd like a different challenge. I'd love to have a few such challenges in the next few posts. They might be drinking contests, herb appraisal contests, lore-spouting contests, whatever. I'd like to see you guys show off your chops and ingratiate yourselves to the locals by being good sports. As far as I'm concerned, you could pick (ie make up) your contestant, and make up the contest. It's not mandatory for all (or any) of you, but I think it's an opportunity to create a few fun little scenes. Think about what you might like to do with your character, in that vein, in the next few posts.
__________________
GM of Uncaged, a 5e campaign of one-shots inspired by folklore
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old Jun 17th, 2022, 09:31 AM
Osse's Avatar
Osse Osse is offline
Orange Pirate
Good People
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Aug 11th, 2022
RPXP: 9986
Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse Osse
Posts: 1,447
Jinlong
right-aligned image
The dragon sat quietly as he carved something upon a small plank the size of his hand. This he placed in front of the wooden statuettes. 5 silver a piece, it said. Roughly the price of a humble meal for two. A great bargain, considering the quality of his handiwork.

Soon enough, Jinlong attracted the attention of passersby. One, in particular, a dog-like creature, talked down at him of fears of what their group’s arrival meant for the village. Jinlong maintained a blank expression on his face as the creature, Krirr, talked of Yangchen, trouble, manliness, and challenges.

Once the spit-spraying blabber ended, the dragon responded, remaining seated as he did so. "Well met, Krirr," he greeted. "I am Jinlong. We have not come here to mock you, and we certainly do not mean to cause anyone trouble. My companions and I only intend to stop in this town for a few days before we continue our journey west. We’ll be out of your way soon enough."

"As for challenges, I sure could use some exercise. What do you have in mind? A footrace, perhaps? A climbing competition? Tossing boulders? Wrestling? Swimming? What is this town’s sport of choice?"

Last edited by Osse; Jun 17th, 2022 at 09:32 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old Jun 21st, 2022, 09:39 AM
Lazer's Avatar
Lazer Lazer is offline
Community Supporter
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 18160
Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer Lazer
Posts: 3,850
Yangchen had been even more quiet than usual following their encounter the previous evening. She had been troubled by the words of Hella, by the idea that a monastery of all things could hold a town in terror. When she had been little she had once had to flee a monastery as many of the monks had been baying for her blood, but that had been… unusual circumstances, possibly even unique. This monastery appeared to be oppressing the village simply as a matter of course. Yes, the village was peopled by a strange selection of beings, but all beings should be judged by their actions, no matter their form. How could a group of people ostensibly seeking enlightenment not grasp that concept?

She followed the others into town brooding on the ramifications. There had always been various interpretations of the teachings of the gods and the Buddha, but if somebody had found a way to justify such uncaring cruelty, how could anyone trust any of these teachings? If individual interpretations could differ by so much, how could anyone claim that they held any true meaning?

Parvati and Li Ruiying went off shopping and Jinlong set up his stall and Yangchen lingered behind him until she noticed that something about her seemed to be putting off his potential customers. She looked down at the simple robes which she had always been proud to wear and shook her head.

"I am going for a walk," she said to The Great Feng Wu, and she didn't wait long enough to hear her reply.

Sick of the accusing eyes, she chose whichever direction seemed to hold the fewest people, sometimes going so far as to double back when she encountered somebody unexpectedly. Eventually she found herself at the steep bank of a small stream and she sat on a clump of grass embraced by the roots of a small and wiry tree. She dug small stones out of the loose mud and tossed them into the stream, watching the ripples quickly disappear, engulfed by the current.

Was this an allegory for wisdom? Any communication between two souls was, of course, imperfect, and the more complex the concepts being conveyed, the more details were lost or garbled in the process. It only made sense, then, that if one were to attempt to pass on any wisdom gained through experience, any initial successes would eventually be overwhelmed by the banal.

Perhaps even trying to teach the Path was futile.

Suddenly Yangchen had to cover her face with her arm as a huge splash of water erupted in front of her. She gasped and looked around to find a gang of five children laughing and jeering at her. The biggest boy, whose brow was thick and and his skin had a grey sheen, was picking up another large rock,which he threw over her head towards the stream. Yangchen reached out and caught it, depositing it softly on the bank where it rolled and slid quietly into the water.

The children were quiet now, eyes wide in fear. The biggest boy backed away but was pushed forward again by a girl with tangled and unkempt hair. She hissed something at him and he looked at her as though she was insane. Shaking her head the girl stepped forward, hands on her hips and lip curled.

"YOU'RE NOT WANTED HERE!" she yelled, and the other children backed up a few more steps. Yangchen said nothing, she simply cocked her head sympathetically and waited for the girl to speak again.

"DO YOU HEAR? GO AWAY!"

[say]My ears are fine,[say] Yangchen said mildly. "I could hear you even without the shouting."

Perhaps the girl hadn't expected the Seeker to remain so calm, or perhaps she felt embarrassed about losing her composure. Whatever the reason she seemed take a moment to calm her breathing.

"That's better," Yangchen said with a smile. "It's because of my robes, isn't it? You don't like the people from the monastery."

The girl didn't say anything but one of her friends was trying fruitlessly to pull her away.

"I am not from the monastery," she said, "but after what I have seen I will be going there soon. Today. The abbot doesn't frighten me." She smiled and looked down as she spoke as she didn't want to give the impression that she was seeking retribution. How would that improve things?

"Would you like me to give him a message?"

 
__________________
Current status: Caught up and ready to roll.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old Jun 24th, 2022, 05:50 PM
Unko Talok's Avatar
Unko Talok Unko Talok is offline
Victree-Belle
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 24477
Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok
Posts: 15,891
Parvati
right-aligned image
Copyright Jorge Ochoa
Parvati walks along the street next to Li Ruiying. She tries to keep pace with the spirit, but finds that task difficult. Each of them is interested in different things as they pass by stalls and markets. But more than that, Parvati thinks the fox-spirit may be playing their own game of either propriety or mischief that keeps Parvati on her toes.

Whatever the case, the two see many wonders here, including strange objects glowing a bit with the aura of magic... but Parvati's eye is caught by a shop displaying dried plants and herbs. "Yes-- yes flavor!" she says aloud, perhaps a bit grateful that The Great Feng Wu was not here to see her overt excitement at food additives. "I crave spice-- I simply must--"

As though from thin air, the shopkeep appears-- in part because the shopkeep is thin air, to some extent. An air elemental, or perhaps a Djinn of some sort. Their appearance is ephemeral, sometimes there, but quickly shifting to elsewhere. They hold up a hand, cautioning Parvati, "Please, foreigner. These things are not for the feint of heart, or over-eager foreigners. These flowers, spices, and even fruits bear heat enough to burn the tongue from your mouth. Only the Oni of these lands have shown the fortitude to withstand them."

Parvati raises an eyebrow at the shopkeep, appraising them and their words. "Surely they can't be so dangerous. Why, I have eaten peppers from all over the world-- er--" Parvati pauses, and blushes for a moment, realizing that perhaps this body has limitations that others do not. "-- in a sense, at least..."

A few chuckles rise up from the passers by, overhearing the conversation. The Airy creature manning the shop shakes their head (or what looks like a head). "I am sorry, traveler. I cannot in good conscience sell you my wares if they might hurt you."

Now the woman's face scrunches up into a look of determination (and perhaps a bit of indignation). She was not used to being denied even the opportunity. "I propose a deal, then," she says, taking several pieces of gold and placing them on the stall. "Give me a series of your wares, and we will find where my tolerance falls. Whatever this will buy. What I can handle, I will buy some of. Things that are too expensive, I will donate to the folk around us-- they will have first a show and then something to add to their dinners. And, what's more, a tale to tell to bring people back to this shop."

The Djinn (if that's what they were) stares at Parvati, considering. They seem somewhat uncertain, but finally yield. They grab a series of flowers and herbs and fruits, placing them on the counter. Parvati smiles, and begins taking each one in turn, inspecting it, and eventually taking an appropriate amount, as the shopkeep instructs.

The first is a fresh pepper, bright red in appearance. Parvati guessed that it was something like a chili she had once eaten in the highlands of her home country. It smelled similar, anyway, with a refreshing note of springwater. She bit into the thing, chewing thoroughly, maintaining eye contact with the shopkeep. She breaks a slight sweat as the heat begins to set in, but does not falter. "Nothing I haven't had before," she says. Some of the surrounding townsfolk chuckle, and she could swear that she hears some off-hand comments about Bell Peppers.

The second item appears to be a flower of some sort-- Parvati could only guess at its original color, for the thing was now a dried brown. It smelled like leaves being burnt in the cold months. She puts it in her mouth, and the thing almost immediately dissolves, coating her tongue in an intense sensation that she first mistakes as cold, and which then burns her greatly. She begins to breathe more noticeably, now, and a single bead of sweat runs from her scalp to her neck. But after a few moments of sitting with the pain, she smiles once again. "Like a refreshing summer breeze," she bluffs. "Once you push through the heat, the world feels a bit cooler, more comfortable!" The surrounding demonic townfolk chuckle again, this time more respecting Parvati's bravado.

The third item looks more like a mango, some brightly-colored fruit that is fresh and juicy. This makes Parvati a bit nervous, and even as she picks it up, some of the juice gets on her hand. It burns her wrist to even touch the thing. "Only one bite..." says the Djinn. "And perhaps a small one." Clearly, the shopkeep could see through her strident attitude. Parvati frowns, not willing to show her mortal weaknesses. This body was merely a vessel after all. Yes. She wasn't striving against the universe and her place in it. No. NO! She was just seeing past the illusions around her! Yes. She could handle whatever mortal pain this shopkeep had to offer... She takes a large bite of the fruit, and it is like lava on her tongue. Her eyes grow red, and immediately begin producing tears, which she blinks through. Her mouth still full as she chews, she speaks through it. "Mixed... with... some coconut milk... this would... almost... be sweet,"" she says, through chews and breaths. She begins breathing with her mouth open, taking in air, and some of the fruit juice drips down her chin and into her bosom. Parvati swallows, beginning to regret her choices in life. The demonic onlookers appear to be a bit nervous at this point, worried that this newcomer might actually hurt herself to prove a point. A few, though, trickle away, saying something about "Those last two are too much for me, anyway..."

The onlookers are correct. The fourth item is a strange little pod. The Djinn starts to say something, a concerned warning, but Proud Parvati doesn't listen. She can handle this. She can get wonderful food additives for her companions! She grabs the thing with a quick swipe of her hand, and it immediately explodes, dousing her in sparks which set her clothes alight! "That one is quite volatile," the shopkeep says as Parvati's eyes grow wide and she begins a spell to produce some water. Clearly, he was more bemused at Parvati's behavior at this point than anything. The crowd bursts into some laughter, with a couple of concerned demons even throwing some sand on the embarrassed aspect of a goddess.

The very last item appeared to be a root vegetable of some sort. Parvati does not know what it is, and doesn't really think she wants to, unless its use is for combat.



 
__________________
Site Rules & Help | Become a Community Supporter
Black Lives Matter - Gay and Trans rights are human rights.
she / her / hers

Come play or watch Iron DM 2022

Last edited by Unko Talok; Jun 24th, 2022 at 05:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old Jun 26th, 2022, 07:36 PM
rhaiber's Avatar
rhaiber rhaiber is offline
not a fish
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 16908
rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber
Posts: 3,995
李 瑞赢 - Li Ruiying
right-aligned image

Li Ruiying fell into step alongside Parvati as the two made their way through the village market. At first, the courtesan made certain to match the other’s pace. To walk behind the avatar might make it appear as if they were of lesser status, perhaps even a servant; however, rushing ahead could appear impetuous or uncouth, and they could not have that either.

As soon as they had left sight of Yangchen, Li Ruiying raised the hands to the top of their head and ran their fingers through the length of the long raven locks that cascaded downwards. As the hands passed over their face, the guise of humanity seemed to slip away, revealing first two triangular, tufted ears, then a long pointed face - all of which was covered with a soft blanket of silken fur.

Li Ruiying breathed deeply, inhaling the myriad scents that flooded the airs of the marketplace. The air always smelled sweeter through this familiar nose than it did through the dull, clouded senses of their human form. A restless energy suffused their steps, resulting in a slightly longer and more graceful stride that gradually outdistanced Parvati’s. It wasn’t exactly Ruiying’s intention to separate from Parvati. The other woman was nice enough after all, and her efforts to ingratiate herself with the locals was quaint; but they had a purpose here, and that purpose was to gather information. Was this place truly a haven where those labeled as monsters and oni could find sanctuary from the world that shunned them? Was this the sort of place where a demon could settle with a mortal and live together in peace?

By the time Parvati settled in for her eating contest, Li Ruiying had just about made up their mind to seek answers elsewhere when a gruff voice called from behind.

“Hey, fox!” Li Ruiying turned to find a massive, grinning oni seated on the ground under the awning of a nearby building. Even seated and hunched, the creature’s eyes were nearly level with Ruiying’s own, and the fox-spirit could only imagine what the ogre would look like if he stood to his full height. “You think you can play?” He pointed at the pipa strapped across Ruiying’s back with a finger as large as one of the fox-spirit’s forearms.

”What I think is immaterial.” Li Ruiying responded matter-of-factly, ”I can play. It is what I do.”

”Ha!” the oni laughed with a voice like the rumbling of distant thunder, ”Think you play better than me? Then show.”

The fox-spirit sighed and shook their head slowly. ”I have neither the need to prove myself nor to humiliate you, my friend. I only seek knowledge. I would know more of this place and your people. Are all who live here demons and spirits? Are mortals welcome here as well, or do you shut them out? And what of the Stone Foot monastery?”

”Slow down, little one.” The oni raised a hand to cut off Ruiying’s questions. Then a wide grin spread across his face. ”A contest, then. I play a song, you play a song. If your song pleases the crowd more than mine, I answer one of your questions –”

”Very well.” Ruiying answered curtly, lowering themself to the ground like a swan’s feather settling on the surface of a placid lake.

”Don’t you want to hear about what I want if I win?”

”I see no need to concern myself with that which shall not be.”

Stat Block
 
__________________
"He looked to the Kender for wisdom. If there was one thing she was good for, it was pearls of wisdom. Wisdom buried beneath twelve hours of stories about obscure relatives." -- Imveros
Help Me Find a Home for These Characters
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old Jun 27th, 2022, 01:56 PM
Strangemund's Avatar
Strangemund Strangemund is offline
Your Local Cryptid
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 9317
Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund
Posts: 1,583
The Great Feng Wu
right-aligned image
The Great Feng Wu
Character Sheet

 

 

 

 




It was the first time in a long time The Great Feng Wu found herself alone. Standing in the busy street of the crooked rows, she could only watch as Yangchen slipped away with a sadness in her eyes that made the monkey’s heart weep. Any other day she would’ve followed after The Seeker. Been her second shadow as she worked hard to lift her spirits with bawdy jests and silly pranks. But The Great Feng Wu knew Yangchen long enough– well enough– to know when she needed time with her thoughts. It was a monk thing, The Great Feng Wu suspected, one she’d be foolish to interrupt. But that still left The Great Feng Wu wondering what to do with herself, as Parvati and Li Ruiying left to go, blech, shopping, and Jinlong was…

"Eh? Eh? Eh? Settin’ up shop? Really?" The Great Feng Wu grinned at the ridiculous sight of the mighty Jinlong turned simple merchant! It was enough to make her snort in laughter, and she waved the sight away with a flop of her hand. "An’ the gods think I am the odd one! Ke ke ke! Good luck, humble seller!" She bowed to Jinlong. "I am goin’ to go get myself a proper drink! Somethin’ that burns the hair right off my chest! Ke ke ke!" And who knows, maybe she could make a friend or two while slamming down a few bottles? It’d be good to earn some allies in this strange city. Especially after how things ended with Hella.


The Great Feng Wu took off down the street, and quickly found herself lost in the turns and twists of the roads. It was like the city was built by a babe. No rhyme or reason why the houses sat where they did. Just built up from where the stones and wood tumbled free from the carpenter’s cart. That said it had an odd sort of charm to it. Kinda like her in a way. A tangled mess that somehow still stood together as something powerful and united. As well as the… [i]’...the people here…’[i] The Great Feng Wu added after a thought, noting the hodge-podge of folks that littered the streets. Dwarves and elves. Oni and human. Humble as the town looked from afar, it was… strangely warming to know harmony could be found amongst all who graced the Jade Emperor’s realm.

“You there! In the gold! You look like you enjoy puzzles! Dare to play one not even the Emperor’s greatest advisors can best?”

The Great Feng Wu stopped in her tracks. A woman with four spindly arms beckoned her to her stall draped in dark velvet, shading the curious wares she laid out in display. She looked like an old woman at first glance. Hair white as snow, and thin as spider silk, her many hands wrinkled with age, and large spectacles sat on a large knobby nose. The Great Feng Wu couldn’t see her eyes. The lenses to her glasses were thick. The glass was foggy and impossible to penetrate, Which made it all the easier for The Great Feng Wu to imagine large bug eyes behind them. Dozens upon dozens blinking black eyes that glimmered with unseen mischief.

The Great Feng Wu raised a hand to her chin, eyes narrowed into slants. Suspicious, but not too suspicious to not answer the Old Woman in kind. "...I DO like puzzles, but~! Ke ke ke! I am too busy to play! I have important matters to attend to! Wine in desperate need o’ drinkin’!" The Great Feng Wu took one step before the Old Woman beckoned her again with a wizened smile.

“Of course, I understand, an intelligent, beautiful woman like yourself must find their plate often full with important tasks. But that is why I call upon you!” She gestured to The Great Feng Wu, emphasizing her grandness with a humble bow. “I feel as though you are destined to best The Finger Eater’s Trap.

The Great Feng Wu paused. Then like a fly lured to honey, she stepped towards the Old Woman’s stall. "What is The Finger Eater’s Trap…?"

The Old Woman smiled, and set a delicate ornate box in front of her. "I am pleased you asked..."
__________________
Status: (☞ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)☞ | Pronouns: She/Her
GMing Die Fabulous -- a Thirsty Sword Lesbian one-shot!
Characters: Harp Strum - Captain Tavosh - Kazimir - The Great Feng Wu - Krow Munday - Vinter Kheen
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old Jun 30th, 2022, 03:58 PM
Wynamoinen's Avatar
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen is offline
Eternal Bard
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 35594
Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen Wynamoinen
Posts: 9,334
Amidst the crowdsWith barely a wave good-bye, the companions part ways and scatter through the town. There is not much likelihood of becoming irreparably lost; the town is too small for that. And yet there are enough strange turns in the streets and shady overhangs from the buildings, that they soon lose track of each other.
OODMMost of you have your own fieldset below, and special instructions. Unless I say otherwise, DCs are 18. You are pretty much free to pick whatever skills you want to use (as long as they 'make sense') and there is time to buff yourself with abilities and spells, if you are so inclined. You're all making enough ruckus that you can reunite with any of the others at will - that is, with at most a few minutes of looking.
JinlongAs the gnoll looms over Jinlong, a few shoppers look at his carvings, impressed with either their high quality or low price. A pair wave a gold piece apiece in exchange for the figures. That's enough for Jinlong, and so he takes their coins and they leave with the trinkets. Krirr can't help betray an interested glance at Jinlong's wares before he answers the question of the sort of contest.

He wants full contact, here and now. "Wrestle." Krirr growls. He tidily sets down his ceramics on Jinlong's stand, and then backs up ten paces. He begins dragging a heel in the dirt of the road, drawing a broad circle. "Three falls, done. Pinned 10 counts, done. Leave ring three times, done." Having stated the simple rules, he stands in the center of the circle. He takes off his coarse shirt and flexes his substantial pectoral muscles. He takes a defensive stance and snarls in anticipation of the struggle.
OODMTime to wrestle! Please make 5 STR (Athletics) checks (unless you think another skill is more appropriate). 3 successes and you win (meaning Krirr either falls 3 times or is sent out of the ring 3 times, as you prefer to describe). 3 fails and you lose (again, describe as you please). If your rolls are especially dominating, you can manage you pin him.
YangchenYangchen walks to the stream that passes through the center of the valley. It lays a few hundred feet to one side of the main bustle of the town. The spot she finds is in a small ravine, and is surrounded on both sides by gnarled looming trees, creating a place of dark cool quiet. It is a wide pool at a bend in the stream, the water rippling at either end but smooth as glass in the middle. Some children are also there, and they berate the Seeker. But she takes the abuse with equanimity and engages them in conversation. Would you like me to give the abbot a message?

"Yes!" shouts the more talkative child. She picks up a small stone from the banks of the stream. "Tell him that if he shows his wrinkled nose in our Village, we'll dance over him like stones on the water." The girl skips a stone over the pool. It makes 4 hops! Another child, a larger boy, adds "and if you help him, well then..." the boy lifts the lifts a big rotten log at his feet. He hoists it up and hurls it at the water in a tall arc. It comes down, making a large splash! The boy crosses his arms, impressed by the size of the splash made by his Yangchen effigy.
OODMHere's your challenge! If you want to take this as a simple "rock skipping" or "splash-making" contest, that's great; they're kids, they'll be impressed (as would be your humble GM). But you might also make this a more philosophical 'contest', based on this prompt. (What could be learned from the water and the stones? How might a person of peace or wisdom or humor respond to these threats? etc., as you please.)
ParvatiMore than a few onlookers have gathered around by the time Parvati is neck-deep in capsaicin. The Djinn watches, skeptical but approving. He laughs in good spirits when the avatar taps out. "You tried. And you were honest." He points to the fifth option, the root-like product. "There are lands where that is classified as a poison." He gives another jolly laugh at the feeble constitution of meeker species. But that reminds him of Parvati's distress. He looks for something to offer her, but shrugs. "No milk. Water? Or perhaps some bread." He pulls out a round of some flatbread from beneath the countertop of his stand.

As she cools down, the djinn gives Parvati a more curious look. "You come from the Wilds, yes? We saw that Hella had guests. And Hella is no more. Was that you? What brings you here?" He makes that statement, Hella is no more, with a shocking mix of nonchalance and curiosity, given that it implies he thinks one of his neighbors was recently annihiliated, possibly by Parvati's own hands.
Li RuiyangLi Ruiyang slips away as others shop or tussle or themselves slip away. Soon an oni accosts the fox spirit, challenging them to a musical duel. The idea seems almost laughable, if it wasn't a challenge to Li's honor.

"I fancy having that instrument of yours, for when I win," the oni says with a certain sly grin of his own. The ogre takes Li Ruiyang's response as acceptance. It begins playing. The song starts simple, almost laughable; little more than the first chords a beginner learns. Then a tune forms, and the courtesan recognizes it as a bawdy tavern song. The oni begins to sing, and his voice is not trained to please either court, cafe, or cowshed. But as each stanza finishes, the tune played on the strings becomes more complex. His fingers hold a nimbleness belied by his voice and physique. A beat picks up and a few passers-by begin to stomp and jig. The song has an undeniable beat and rhythm. The urge to dance to the sprightly tune is hard to resist, and the townsfolk take up the beat with their feet and hands. The oni smirks wider, knowing that his song was well chosen to appeal to the jury of the crowd.
OODMPlease make a few performance rolls, DC 18, to see how you do! You should make at least three (perhaps trading verse-for-verse with your competitor), but most everyone is rolling 5, so that would make sense as well.

I don't know Chinese folk music at all, but I can't help picturing the oni singing a song that's culturally analogous to (a lewd version of) Little Birdie by Ralph Stanley. I love his creaky old voice!
The Great Feng WuThe Great Feng Wu suddenly finds herself alone in the busy little town. She drifts down the street. She isn't currently drinking with these people, so it's a natural choice to start up! It'd be a great way to both put them to shame and lift them up at the same time.

Yet distractions arise before TGFW can find a counter to elbow up to. A mysterious spider-like woman beckons. She produces an ornate box, little larger than a shoebox. It is filigreed delicately and painted by a master. Yet it has no lid, and no obvious seams or joints. It has one hole on a long side, revealing a dark opening. One would expect sunshine to occasionally pierce the interior, but the inside looks pitch black no matter how the box is held or viewed. The Great Feng Wu asks what it is.

"I am pleased you asked..." the woman says, though her face betrays no pleasure. "A special coin is inside. All you need to do is take it! Fail, and if you are lucky the Trap will take only one finger." As Feng Wu considers the dark hole more closely, a nearby watcher hisses in warning. A winged imp stands atop a barrel. The imp raises a hand, showing that it is missing two knuckles from its middle finger. It shakes its head balefully.

"If you have the cunning to take that coin from the Trap, so will the coin allow you to take knowledge. Give the coin to another person, and you will know one fact for certain - whatever you want to know - about that person." The strange woman continues to hold the box still, neither offering it towards The Great Feng Wu, nor taking it away. It simply waits for a hand to be offered, or not.
OODMThis is a contest of "cunning", with a DC 18 skill check. Cunning here can either mean dexterity (Sleight of Hand seems most obvious option, but other skills could be possible), or cleverness - a wisdom check to puzzle out how to avoid whatever danger is inside before it eats your finger. I am very open to letting TFGW "discover" what the danger inside is - ie, you, Strangemund, can define and describe it. Failing should definitely mean losing a finger though! Success grants a single-use magic item, as described above.
__________________
GM of Uncaged, a 5e campaign of one-shots inspired by folklore
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old Jul 3rd, 2022, 08:21 AM
Unko Talok's Avatar
Unko Talok Unko Talok is offline
Victree-Belle
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 24477
Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok Unko Talok
Posts: 15,891
Parvati
right-aligned image
Copyright Jorge Ochoa
Parvati graciously accepts the flatbread, and then ungraciously tears into it, eager to cool the burning in her mouth and body. It is merciful, if a bit dry for her tastes. In her desperation, she doesn't much care to be a chooser.

As she eats, the D'jinn mentions Hella, and her possible annihilation.

"Hella chose to go to another plane," Parvati says, trying to consider her words carefully, as she was alone and surrounded by people who were probably acquaintances of the party's... host. "after a small disagreement. But she left of her own accord, not forced by us. I had hoped to talk with her more..." Parvati realizes that she is becoming distracted. No need to pour out *too* much information to everyone around. "We are traveling together on a Journey to the West. Such sights we have seen on our journey. Did you know that there is a tree which grows taller than mountains, and it is said bears a fruit once every 10,000 years? The fruit it supposed to have several magical properties. But I couldn't convince my friends to wait for the next seven-hundred fifty-three years until the next fruit bearing. Ah, well."



 
__________________
Site Rules & Help | Become a Community Supporter
Black Lives Matter - Gay and Trans rights are human rights.
she / her / hers

Come play or watch Iron DM 2022
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old Jul 9th, 2022, 06:14 PM
Strangemund's Avatar
Strangemund Strangemund is offline
Your Local Cryptid
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 9317
Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund Strangemund
Posts: 1,583
The Great Feng Wu
right-aligned image
The Great Feng Wu
Character Sheet

 

 

 

 




"That is quite the price for such a lil’ token…" The Great Feng Wu said with a skeptical snort, but her eyes betrayed her, her interest piqued. "No matter what I ask– it will tell me the truth?" The monks always said there was power in knowledge. That an emperor could crumble underneath a single secret. She couldn’t deny that tempted her. Especially when she considered the possibility of using it on her companions. No longer would she have to wonder what they thought of her– what they felt about her– with that simple little coin, she’d have irrefutable proof. The Great Feng Wu swayed back and forth on her feet, before she grinned at the Old Woman, and slapped her hands on her stall.

"I’m in!"

The Old Woman bowed her head, smiling a wide, gentle smile, and stepped back for The Great Feng Wu to examine the box proper. The Great Feng Wu ignored the warning of the imp behind her. He’s scoffing, “You’ll do no better than me, monkey!”, all but fell on deaf ears as she slid her large, oafish hands over the impossibly black wood. Its shade was as foreboding as the pitch black hole that not even the sun could pierce on its side. No matter how she raised it to the sunlight, it showed no reflection. No shimmer of light. Just an impenetrable inky darkness. The Great Feng Wu tried to not show her nerves. Instead she raised the box to her ear, and listened.

Nothing.

She shook the box, and again, waited for any sound of a tumbling coin or a skitter of feet.

And again, she heard nothing.

The Great Feng Wu squinted at that. Skeptical that there was any real threat inside the box at all. ‘Bah! It is a trick! She’s just tryin’ to scare me!’ And yet The Great Feng Wu found herself hesitant to stick her hand in the veil of black. Setting it back down on the stall, she squatted down to eye level with it. Thumbing its edges this way and that, pretending that she was searching for clues to unravel its mysteries. Then finally she snorted, saying loudly for all who stopped to watch the mad spirit play the Old Woman’s game, "Child’s play! The Great Feng Wu’s outraced the wind an’ danced with lightning! This so-called Finger Eater will starve this day!"

It was a proud boast. One to raise her spirits just as much as earn the cheer from the crowd. And with a roll of her shoulders, The Great Feng Wu pushed her sleeve up, and stuck her hand in the hole.

It was cold. The sort of biting chill she expected from a winter day on the mountains. It prickled her skin. Needling her exposed flesh as though it were driving a thousand needles into her fingers and palm. She shivered. But then laughed, keeping a brave face as she reached in further. And found that the box, which sat easily in her palm, swallowed her hand up to her elbow.

The next thing The Great Feng Wu felt was a gentle trace of something moving along her hand. It startled her at first. The Great Feng Wu yanked her hand back out with a start, fur standing on end. But after she found her courage again, she searched for it. Found this thin spindly thread drifting down from…whatever you could call was above the box. She thought it a spiderweb at first. The way it tickled her skin so lightly, but there was just too much of it for it to be so. And it didn’t stick to her hand at all. It just moved around her. Drifting around her wrist and fingers as she pushed her arm further into the box until…

The face of The Finger Eater was pressed into The Great Feng Wu’s hand. It was a cold, clammy thing. Featureless in ways that made no sense to the mortal mind, let alone a spirit’s. It had no mouth. No eyes. Nothing but a blank slate of a face.

It made The Great Feng Wu’s skin crawl.

And truthfully, she thought she lost the moment she touched it. Bracing herself for the worst of its fury when she brushed its dead flesh– but nothing happened. It didn’t so much as stir, let alone notice her presence. And that upset The Great Feng Wu more.

“It will not move until you take its coin…” advised the Old Woman, reading The Great Feng Wu’s confusion and fear.

The Great Feng Wu bit her lip. Her other hand clenching shut as she swallowed back the tremble of panic that rose in her stomach. She couldn’t back down now! She was a warrior! A hero! The Seeker’s truest companion! What a mockery it’d be to her legacy if she were to fall prey to a common merchant’s game! Hear all, would-be listeners, The Seeker’s cowardly companion!

"Then this will be an easy feat indeed!" grunted The Great Feng Wu, her pride overpowering her sense as she felt for the coin next.

She didn’t have to search far. It was in the hands of the beast. Held up in mock offering to whoever dared enter its domain. The Great Feng Wu paused. Her heart a storm in her chest. Thundering louder than the cheers of the people around her. Her fingers flexed. Waiting. Waiting. Until finally–!

The Great Feng Wu snatched the coin out of The Finger Eater’s grip. "Hah!" She shouted with glee. Eyes wide as she moved as quick as a viper in reeds to pull her hand free. Victory sweet in the air, as she knew she could do it! She knew she couldn’t bested by any measly puzzle beast–

Something snagged The Great Feng Wu by the wrist.

A hand, cold as the dead, gripped her wrist.

The Great Feng Wu immediately panicked. She pulled as hard as she could. She dug her feet into the earth, and slammed her shoulder into the stall. Using everything she could to yank her hand free– but she could not best the Finger Eater’s strength. All she could do was wait and feel as it gripped her palm next with its other slender hand. Spreading her fingers out slowly. The coin forgotten. Dropped somewhere in the chaos. As it moved closer to her. And what The Great Feng Wu thought was a blank and seamless face was no more.

A thin line split across the beast’s face, and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth too big to fill a human mouth gently pressed itself against the first joint of two fingers. And slowly, so agonizingly slowly, it began to bite down.

And that was when The Great Feng Wu began to scream.



It was the wet washcloth that drew The Great Feng Wu from her stupor. Her vision blurry as she stared up at the Old Woman from what looked to be from behind her stall. "Wh-wha– what happened…I… " Pain shot up The Great Feng Wu’s right arm. Burning through her bones and flesh like she’d been struck by lightning. It wasn’t often The Great Feng Wu cried out in pain, but here, she did. Bowling over as she clutched her arm, flexing her fingers only to find…only to find…

...two were gone.

The Old Woman dabbed at the sweat on her forehead, while one of her many hands did its best to bind and wrap the bloody stumps that were once The Great Feng Wu’s middle and index finger. “Do not burden yourself with your loss. It was my own doing. I peered too far into your soul, and saw someone that was not yet here. Not yet wise enough to tackle such a fearsome task.”

The Great Feng Wu stared blankly down at her hand. Moving her fingers, trying to find feeling in the others– in the others that were– that were– "It took ‘em. It took my fingers…"

“I know, child. I know.” The Old Woman cooed, tying the bandage tight to stem the blood flow. The Great Feng Wu didn’t even notice her shirt was stained with it. Or that whatever warmth the summer air gave her was replaced with a dull, winter’s chill.

The Great Feng Wu shivered.

“We have a healer in town that can tend to the remains. A wise old Tengu who's seen his fair share of hardships. He’ll fix you up.” The Great Feng Wu nodded, although she didn’t hear a single word the Old Woman said. Her eyes glued to the fingers that were not there. Still thinking that if she just closed her eyes, if she just flexed her hand just enough, they'd be there.

The Old Woman sighed when The Great Feng Wu didn’t move. Her gaze drifted to the busy street. “Pitiful soul. Let us hope your companions are not far…”
__________________
Status: (☞ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)☞ | Pronouns: She/Her
GMing Die Fabulous -- a Thirsty Sword Lesbian one-shot!
Characters: Harp Strum - Captain Tavosh - Kazimir - The Great Feng Wu - Krow Munday - Vinter Kheen

Last edited by Strangemund; Jul 9th, 2022 at 06:18 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old Jul 14th, 2022, 04:07 PM
rhaiber's Avatar
rhaiber rhaiber is offline
not a fish
 
Tools
User Statistics
Last Visit: Sep 24th, 2022
RPXP: 16908
rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber rhaiber
Posts: 3,995
李 瑞赢 - Li Ruiying
right-aligned image

Li Ruiying simply smiled. With a flourish they twirled their skirts such that the fabric flared out perfectly as they effortlessly lowered themselves into a seated position and drew the pipa around to rest softly in their lap. The fox-spirit bowed their head respectfully toward the oni who had become their rival.

”Please, guests first” the great ogre extended their hand palm-upward in a sweeping gesture.

Li Ruiying was never one to refuse an offering. The fox cradled the neck of the instrument softly in one hand, while its mate glided slowly towards the wide, round body of the pipa. It hovered there for a moment, then plucked the strings so quickly the eye could hardly follow. Then it paused a moment before striking at the strings again. Each note shot outwards like an arrow, winding its way through the crowded marketplace, seeking a target, then striking deep. The staccato notes penetrated the soul of a passerby and pulled their attention, drawing them nearer. The music paused once again. Suspense flooded the market square. The audience felt themselves becoming light-headed. Were they holding their breath whenever the music stopped? Li Ruiying glanced around at the growing crowd. This would do. Yes, this would do nicely.

The oni raised an eyebrow. Perhaps this might be interesting after all. He struck the strings of his shamisen with the plectrum once his opponent had nodded to him to begin. He began crafting a simple jaunty beat. The crowd began murmuring amongst themselves as the nature of the contest became apparent. Many knew of the oni and had heard him play before. He was considered a great minstrel and entertainer. If he was accepting a challenger then they were surely in for a show. This brought a smile to the oni’s great tusked maw … that is, until he realized that many of them were actually talking over him. Frustration began to well up within the giant ogre, so much that he nearly missed the beat of his own tune. He glowered at his opponent as he drew his song to a close.

If Li Ruiying even noticed the demon’s glare, they made no sign of it. Instead they picked up on the lively rhythm he had set, matching it perfectly at first, and yet injecting even more energy into it. The pace of the song picked up, the fox-spirit’s fingers attacking the strings with unimaginable speed and ferocity. The notes took command of the listeners’ limbs. Soon the beat was being hammered out by a score of stamping feet and clapping hands. One small goblin-like creature began dancing with wild abandon in between the two musicians, while a gnoll on the periphery of the crowd threw his head back and howled his appreciation.

As Li Ruiying’s music drew to a crescendo, the audience erupted in applause, but the oni would not let it last. He gritted his teeth and launched immediately into a familiar and favorite folksong. Soon his booming voice chimed in with the music, delivering a rendition of “The Fox and the Crab.” He sang of the proud fox, boasting of his speed and cleverness, sneering at the slow and simple crab. The crab, before accepting the crab’s challenge noted that, being ten times as large, the fox ought to run ten times as fast. The fox laughed at this and promised to run a hundred times as fast. The crab pointed out his lack of a tail, and insisted the race would only be fair if he could attach some form of weight to the fox’s tail to hold it down. The fox laughed again and waved his tail at the crab, who immediately clamped onto the tail with his pincers. The fox yelped in pain and darted away as fast as his legs would carry him, the dangling crab still clamped tightly to his tail. When the fox finally arrived at the finish line, he found that crab standing next to him, having just released the tail.

“Well that wasn’t ten times as fast. Here I am right next to you, ho!” The oni finished his song with a raucous laugh. The intent was far from subtle, and brought a few giggles from listeners, but not the outpouring of applause. This time Li Ruiying did not continue the same rhythm. Instead, the fox-spirit shifted the tone, the soft tremulous melody serving to draw even more attention to the lack of enthusiasm in the audience’s response to the oni’s folksong. Moreover, any reaction they had shown was instantly silenced as all focussed to hear what the challenger would play next. They were not disappointed. The soft music slowly swelled and soon the courtesan’s voice rang out, singing a gentle lovesong. The song sunk itself into the listeners, the voice playing upon heartstrings as dexterously as the fingers that plucked at the pipa. All other sounds within the market seemed to stop and there was an unearthly hush as even the winds themselves seemed to listen to Li Ruiying’s melody with bated breath.

When the oni took his turn once more, he also shifted the tone, singing a song that parodied the tale of two lovers, turning it into a bawdy tavern song, the particulars of which would hardly be suitable to repeat in front of any civilized readers. Once again, the audience was laughing heartily, though they appeared far less invested than they had moments before. Just as the song was arriving at its most lewd and thinly veiled attempt at double entendre, Li Ruiying joined their own voice to the song, catching both the audience and the oni off guard. It was enough of a shock that the fox was able to quickly wrest control from the oni, shifting the song once more into a deeply tragic and mournful song. What had been at first a lovesong, and then a bawdy jest, metamorphosed into a dirge for love lost to cruel fate. It was a song whose sadness was only matched by its beauty. Every ear in the market was transfixed. Tears slowly welled in every eye. Catharsis worked its magic as feelings of pity and woe flowed freely.

The oni paused briefly to wipe a tear from his own eye, hopeful that this act would go unnoticed. In a desperate attempt to recapture his audience, he launched at once into a pounding battle song, an anthem of heroes. It was designed to drown out sorrow with a surging pride. While it stemmed the flow of tears, its effects were somewhat muted. Those in the audience that stomped their feet seemed to do so out of habit or obligation. They were with him, but their hearts were not in it.

Ready to bring this contest to a close, Li Ruiying began their final round with a simple, children’s melody. The intent was clear - to demonstrate that this entire contest was mere childsplay. But Ruiying could not resist infusing the simple song with elements of complex mastery. Extra notes were added, long trembling vibrattos. In the midst of all this, the intended effect fell somewhat flat. The audience appeared confused, wavering. The oni seized on this opportunity, and dove into a light-hearted, comedic song. It was a popular song, a local favorite, one that everyone knew the words to. It was, in fact, his ace in the hole. Li Ruiying realized their mistake immediately. They had underestimated the oni. This song was clearly better than the last verse the fox had played. They looked around as, one by one, onlookers took up the song and began singing along.

Li Ruiying had often heard humans speak of the honor in defeat. To be bested by a worthy opponent was apparently something deserving of respect. … But Li Ruiying was not a human. They were an immortal fox-spirit. And these notions about losing gracefully were foolish ideas espoused by foolish mortals. To be acknowledged for greatness was all that truly mattered. The Fox did not accept defeat gracefully, because the fox did not have to accept defeat.

The smile still plastered on their face, Li Ruiying leaned in close to the oni and whispered just loud enough to be heard, ”You must realize you have already lost. Perhaps you should stop now before you humiliate yourself any further.”]

Suddenly, the oni’s song halted. It was so sudden, in fact, that a few of the onlookers in the market continued singing along for a few more notes until they became uncomfortably aware of the lack of accompaniment.

”Maybe little fox is right.” the oni spoke somewhat dazedly, ”Maybe contest is over.”

Stat Block
 
 
__________________
"He looked to the Kender for wisdom. If there was one thing she was good for, it was pearls of wisdom. Wisdom buried beneath twelve hours of stories about obscure relatives." -- Imveros
Help Me Find a Home for These Characters
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:08 AM.
Skin by Birched, making use of original art by paiute.(© 2009-2012)


RPG Crossing, Copyright ©2003 - 2022, RPG Crossing Inc; powered by vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. Template-Modifications by TMB