Location: Chilleth, Fugo Kingdoms
Characters: Feng Hu, Bi Huan, Meng Hu, Huan Bo
Since the War of the Undead, the Fugo Kingdoms had suffered through a decade of poverty, famine, misery, and pestilence. The power of their priests was greatly reduced by the war, because the souls of all the ancestors flowed through each priest – souls that were stolen from them by the necromancers. The wisdom, guidance, and knowledge of the ancestors was greatly diminished by that dark time.
Once minor struggles between the 25 kingdoms of the Fugo'Ir became major struggles for survival. Annual wars to decide trade concessions became even more important, as did the powers of the remaining priests.
A neighboring kingdom's priestess had been kidnapped several days past. Their own trackers and army had failed to find the senior priestess, and so they put out a notice that they would make considerable trade and food concessions, if only their priestess were returned to them.
The king decided that the concessions were incentive enough for his own priest to be risked – and so sent his priest, a guardian samurai, and an assassin. The tiny force had spare mounts, and might be able to find the priestess before any other kingdom because of how fast they could move. There were kinfolk enough among the spirits and the two kingdoms that the king's priest, Bi Huan, could actually feel the direction of the neighboring priest.
With time of the essence, Bi Huan, his guardian Meng Fu, and the assassin Huan Bo set out at a break-neck pace. They were joined by Bi Huan's poor brother, a refuse-surviving, half-starved, pathetic man named Feng Hu. (Bi Huan had attained a new name when he attained the status of priest, and severed his connections to his brother. His brother, on the other hand, never severed his connections with him.)
Within a handful of days, the four of them had moved up into the mountains, tracking the other priest. Because they could move so fast, they had outdistanced the armies of several kingdoms. However, they could not outpace an ambush, set in place by a dozen bandits in the mountain passes. The bandits were cut down mercilessly, Feng Hu proving himself a strong student of the Fugo martial arts despite his less-than-peasant status. The bodies of the bandits were left arrayed along the road, where someone would find them and be able to bury them or return them to their kin, so that their spirits could join the ancestors.
Meng Hu was mildly wounded in the fighting, but recovered quickly with the aid of the spirits and Bi Huan.
The next day, the spirits led them over a small, bridged chasm – to a bandit camp. The leader of the bandits was a renegade samurai, whose right-hand man used a repeating crossbow with deadly accuracy.
Feng Hu had to spend time gathering food from the first wave of bandits, and nearly got himself killed by his team mates because of it. The second wave of bandits included the renegade samurai, whose massive naginata blade could cleave a man's skull in half.
Bi Huan dominated the renegade samurai easily, and then went on to dominate several others. Meng Fu, wounded by the first wave of bandits, used the brush of the mountains for cover – stepping forward, firing her arrows, and then stepping back into the brush. She managed to kill and wound several bandits before the rogue samurai could recover. Before the evil samurai could recover from his domination by priest, Huan Bo's stealthy work did him and the crossbowman considerable damage, making the final kill relatively easy.
The kidnapped priestess was in the bandit camp, along with considerable trade and treasure the bandits had managed to steal. How the bandits had managed to operate for so long without the local kingdom quashing them was something of a mystery, but the presence of a rogue samurai raised questions all on its own.
DM's Notes: Dinner was more pot pies than you could shake a stick at. They were only sixty-seven cents a piece, and there were dessert pies, too. I think we each had three apiece! It was good to have Sommer and Caileb at the table, again. Caileb really enjoyed playing a controller / leader, and Sommer probably would have had more fun if her samurai could do more than attack once and then move back. I've learned that it's important to give 'monster' characters played by people recharge abilities (they love to roll!), and also one action per activity – in 4th Edition, this means a standard, a move, and a minor (preferably two of each), each round. Add in some recharge abilities, and you have the makings of quick and entertaining fun. Bill, for instance, decided that he hated everyone (in character), was starving and always looking for food, and jealous of everyone else's rank. Ross decided his ninja was obese, and always eating from a seemingly endless bowl of noodles.