Mu-Pan Eastern Encounter VI

4415. Cloud Giant: A lanky giantess has made her home here atop a cloud that covers the entire hex and appears each day at sunset. The sunbeams shining through the cloud crystalize and allow one to climb to the top of the cloud, where the giantess, Dalun, has her castle. Dalun has skin like a desert sunset during a sandstorm and eyes as blue as the sky. She dwells with her seven children in her castle, which is filled with her sculptures, many of which can be animated by her voice. She does not seek the company of others, and has a cruel streak when dealing with unwanted visitors.

4440. Master of Constellations: There is a tall tower of golden bricks that dominates the landscape here. The tower seems to be the sources of a thick, clammy mist that fills the hex. Folk walking through the mist feel as though they are being watched and sometimes touched.

The tower belongs to Tagab, a tall, studious shugenja who goes by the moniker “Master of Constellations”. Tagab is an astrologer and diviner who lures the distraught and desperate to his tower to read their fortunes. Those he finds pleasing or fascinating (he’s quite eccentric and often takes a strange fancy to people) he makes his prisoner, holding them in one of the many rooms of his tower.

Tagab has as a staff of (nearly) unseen servants that appear as floating star sapphires. His tower is guarded by the mist – actually a monster that congeals from the mist and appears as a great, blubbery shape with dozens of beady eyes. The creature is covered in wriggling, hair-like tendrils and a luminous gray slime.

| Mist Monster: HD 12 (46 hp); AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 bite (1d8); Move 18; Save 3; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Surprised on roll of 1 on 1d8, immune to cold, slime (save vs. charm monster).

Mu-Pan Eastern Encounter V

Two more entries on our whirlwind tour of eastern Mu-Pan …

4330. Abbey of the Bodhisattva Joodoj: An abbey dedicated to Joodoj, the bodhisattva of vegetation and fertility, has been constructed here at the head of a wooded valley cultivated by the fourteen nuns of the abbey and their abbess, Baatai. The valley’s has terraced fields growing the five sacred grains and rutabagas.

Baatai is the abbess of the monastery. She is a plump woman of sixty winters with high cheekbones and vibrant green eyes. Cynical and taciturn, she does not welcome strangers to the monastery, though she will provide hungry strangers with boxes of steamed rice and vegetables and skins of water and then send them on their way.

She and her priestesses wear green robes and wear their hair in thick braids that they pile atop their heads like coiled snakes.

| Baatai, Wushen Lvl 9: HP 38; AC 9 [10]; Save 6; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Spells (5th), turn undead, special move, special move, elemental spirits. Equipment, prayer beads.

4348. Weasel Shrine: In a gaudy shrine of brass and pine painted bright red there lives a giant weasel. The weasel commands a flight of twenty flying monkeys to forces travelers to visit his shrine and pay a tribute of foodstuffs and gold. The weasel is actually a disguised dragon, Yardoc, a huge, young wyrm that looks like a 20 ft long, one ton serpentine toad colored a brilliant scarlet. A massive boulder located about 90 yards north of the shrine in a hollow hides the dragon’s treasure in a pit. It consists of 290 pp, 4,530 gp, 440 sp and a coat of fox skins worth 100 gp that makes on immune to illusions.

| Yardoc: HD 11 (11 hp); AC -2 [21]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (1d6) and tail whip (1d6); Move 10 (F10); Save 4; CL/XP 15/2900; Special: Breathes a giant wad of goo that hardens on the skin and reduces movement by 3 and AC by 1 with each hit, the goo is dissolved by alcohol, surrounded by a thick fog (as fog cloud) that forces those who breath it to save vs. disease.

| Flying Monkey: HD 2+1; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d3) and bite (1d4); Move 9 (F18); Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: If both claw attacks, the monkey can grasp and lift the person, rising 10 feet in altitude per round.

NOD 9 PDF On Sale Now!

Five days into July, and the June issue of NOD is finally on sale. Currently, I have only the PDF up for sale – when I have a print copy in my hands for review I’ll put the print version up for sale as well. PDF price is $3.50. For this princely sum, you get:

Yun-Bai-Du – Fantasy city for the Mu-Pan setting introduced in NOD 8. Features some keen art by Jon Kaufman.

Altered States of America – Campaign Sketchbook article describing a Napoleonic fantasy campaign set in a North America of warring states.

The Titans’ Door – A Pars Fortuna adventure for low level characters that takes place in a massive stone door and challenges the party to enter through the keyhole and unlock the door. Features an illustration by Kelvin Green.

Washed Out in Washoe – A Mystery Men! adventure for super human heroes; The Black Dragon is holding Silverado City ransom – can the heroes stop him from wiping it off the face of the Earth?

Plus magic coins and portals, the Jack-of-All-Trades class and another installment of Phantastes. 60 pages. Click HERE to purchase.

Mu-Pan – Eastern Encounter IV (or IIII if you prefer)

4219. Dragon’s Gorge: Dragon’s Gorge is deep and wide, with walls of granite covered with knotty pines that grow on precarious ledges, some at odd angles. A small stream now flows through the gorge, spilling into an area of geysers and hot springs that themselves feed into a long, deep lake. The lake is inhabited by a gold dragon called Mongiyn, an ancient wyrm that enjoys the medicinal qualities of the lake.

Caves in the sides of the gorge are home to a tribe of 60 lizard men and their 70 mates, 20 hatchlings and 40 eggs. The lizardmen look like geckos and are incredibly adept climbers. Their cave homes are shallow and small, consisting mostly of a fire pit and nest. The lizardmen arm themselves with throwing clubs and stone knives. They serve the dragon loyally as guardians of the valley. The chief, a being called Karn, acts a warrior and shaman, having learned magic spells from Mongiyn. He carries a large wicker shield and staff and decorates himself with hawk feathers.

4242. Didi Lair: The wooded hills here are resplendent with waterfalls and towering pines. One of these small waterfalls hides the entrance to a wondrous community of strange subterranean dwellers. Behind the waterfall there is a cavern with a large, green pool. The pool flows into a subterranean system of canals and burrows inhabited by many houses of didi, an underground race skilled in the medicinal arts. In their burrows, they keep large archives of medical knowledge, dried and fresh herbs and other powders and extracts useful in the medical arts. The quest of every didi is the elixir of life.

A didi is a small humanoid that looks like a skeleton with pale skin stretched over the bones. Their skin is covered with velvety, platinum blond hair. Didi have over-large heads with long, pointed ears. Despite their hideousness, they are a kind people, assuming you can win their trust.

| Didi: HD 1d4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 dagger (1d4); Move 9 (S12); Save 18; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Magic resistance (30%), spells (confusion, continual flame, dimension door, mirror image, ventriloquism, protection from evil 10-ft radius).

Mu-Pan – Eastern Encounter III

4109. Three Nymphs: A patch of hot springs bubbles from the ground here, coating the ground in translucent, poisonous salts and causing nearby vegetation to twist and wither. The hot springs are home to three nymphs, Yemun, Chuka and Manai, who have serpentine tongues and a taste for plum wine.

4147. Azer Lair: Through a stone arch in the side of a mountain one can enter the blazing hot lair of a band of seven azer, black-skinned and bulbous-nosed and occupied in the manufacture of weapons for Lei Gong, the Duke of Thunder. Beyond the arch one enters a cavern of glassy basalt, empty and dry, though there is a sheen of moisture at the back of the cavern where a natural slide grants access to lower caverns. The slide spirals down into the earth about 300 feet and presents a significant obstacle to climbing back up, as it is as smooth as glass.

At the bottom of the slide there is a collection of caverns, all starting out as great bubbles of poisonous gas in a massive flow of lava, and now inhabited by the azer. The largest has a deep pit, maybe miles deep, in which bubbles magma that is used by the azer for their fire. Their anvils surround the magma pit. A few feet away there is a trough dug into the stone in which water flows from another cavern, a cavern of steam blocked by an iron gate traced with silver glyphs and sealed with a complex lock. Steam rises into this chamber from below and condenses to form the stream that feeds the azers’ trough. A mihstu inhabits this cavern, and it is the mihstu that the magic gate is designed to thwart.

Other caverns contain the living quarters of the azer, decorated with basalt couches and bronze sculptures that are geometric and abstract, and storage chambers containing their tools, their iron, bronze and adamant ignots and armories with their armor and weapons. The living quarters of the seven brothers holds a gilded cage inhabited by a nightingale, a polymorphed sylph that displeased the Duke of Thunder and now wiles away in the acrid, choking air of the azers’ lair until Lei Gong has decided she has suffered enough.

Image of azer by Sam Wood and owned by Wizards of the Coast.

Mu-Pan – Natural Bridges and Soot Fairies

A couple more Mu-Pan encounters.

4043. Natural Bridge: The mountains give way to a deep gorge here. Terrible, ghostly cries emanate from the bottom of the gorge – actually just wind drafts – which lies 300 feet below. A natural bridge crosses the 80-ft wide gorge, but lies 60 feet below the lip. One can get to the bridge (without the use of the rope – watch those crosswinds) by locating the entrance to a cave about 30 feet behind the lip of the gorge.

The cave entrance is really just a hole in the ground, but the hole can easily be climbed and leads to a small tunnel decorated with friezes of dancing saints. The tunnel leads to the bridge, which is about 4-ft wide with slightly rounded sides. The other side of the bridge has a similar tunnel arrangement.

The bridge is meant only for the righteous (i.e. Lawful). The friezes come alive and attack chaotics and neutrals that enter the tunnels. The friezes from the other side of the bridge join in on this attack.

4101. Soot Fairies: An ancient foundry rests here, surrounded by crumbling black walls with tall smokestacks still reaching for the sky. The old building is surrounded by piles of slag and overgrown with sunflowers. The foundry is inhabited by thirty tiny fairy creatures that look as though they were made of blackened, shriveled matchsticks, with bulbous heads and ugly faces. The mere touch of these creatures causes flammables to ignite and skin to blister. The creatures hide a treasure of thirty large jaspers (worth a total of 500 gp) hidden beneath a pile of ash, along with 100 gp worth of iron ingots (weighs about 1,000 pounds).

| Soot Fairies: HD 1d4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 touch (1d6); Move 6 (F15); Save 18 (15 vs. magic); CL/XP 2/30; Special: Touch ignites flammables, cough clouds of burning ash (per spell incendiary cloud) once per day.

Image from HERE.

Mu-Pan – Eastern Encounter I

And so we move into the eastern portion of the Mu-Pan map. Started working on this a couple days ago – here are a couple samples of what I have so far.

4003. Kappa Lair: Two rocky promontories rise here, home to peregrine falcons. The promontories hide a stony hollow that contains a slightly brackish pond. Small caves in the sides of the rocks hold the bodies of tall humans with oblong skulls covered in platinum leaf and wearing robes of platinum scales. Each such mummy is easily worth 500 gp due to all of this platinum. The brackish water is home to a gaggle of seven kappa who lounge beneath the water’s surface during the day and emerge at night to hunt and cause mischief, for many foreigners believe the promontories to be an excellent campsite and make the mistake of staying the night. The kappa know well enough to leave the platinum-clad bodies alone. Those who disturb the bodies find themselves attacked that night by a luminescent, silvery orb that descends from the sky, attempts to destroy any burglars and then disappears.

4038. Teming: This small village of farmers is situated in a deep valley flanked by steep granite walls. The village consists of thatched cottages and a tea house of reddish bricks. The people collect their water from natural cisterns atop the granite cliffs, piping it down through a series of clay pipes into a central reservoir. The villagers grow rice, horseradish, peppermint and red mulberry trees.

Teming is ostensibly ruled by Qutli, a heavyset man with a face like a sated pig and misty green eyes that show his romantic side. Qutli lives with his sage uncle Nizanq, and both men are terrified of outsiders entering the village. Teming is defended by a squadron of shashu no ashigaru and three apparently tamed tigers that have the run of the village. The tigers are actually villagers that were polymorphed by the yawahu bugbear Bekta [4039], who truly rules the village.

Yun-Bai-Du Sideview

Finally got a moment to draw the sideview of Yun-Bai-Du. (1) corresponds to a royal palace and (2) to the upper fortress of the sohei of the Splendiferous Tiger King. The other divine mountains are similar in profile. A great wall connects these eight mini-cities to one another, with the interior flat land serving as grazing land for the King of the Yun.

And, just for fun, a couple more locales.

44. Barge Captain: This single-story brick house with the overly ornate roof belongs to Muhisim, a youthful barge captain who operates primarily between Yun-Bai-Du and Artuk. A shameless womanizer, he has a family in each city, his local family consisting of wife Anaima and six children (four rugged boys, two equally rugged girls). In Artuk he is married to the wealthy (and old) Jarengi. Muhisim is built like a panda bear and always maintains a neat appearance, even when plying the filthy canals of Mu-Pan. He considers the gods to be a sham and makes sure to mock priests constantly behind their backs. Besides his collection of wives, Muhisim also owns a collection of exotic monkeys from the southern jungles.

48. Apartment: This single-story brick building with a bowed roof is divided into four apartments. It is owned by Noyorbelu, a young woman with vibrant skin and eyes as bold as a stormy sky. Short and pretty, she owns several buildings in this area, making her money renting them out. Though one would hardly suspect from the looks of her, Noyorbelu was once a queen among the wako of the eastern coasts. Deposed in a mutiny, she managed to find her way back to civilization after seducing first a shark man called Kidaki and then his lord, the gold dragon called Chaachingh. Noyorbelu has a magical trident hidden beneath the floor boards of one of the apartments. It is still sought by the dragon, so she does not wish to have it too close to her own domicile.

Naming Yun-Bai-Du’s Streets

Time to name some streets. I noted them on the map using letters, since writing the names on the streets can be a pain and sometimes the darn things obscure the buildings.

In Yun-Bai-Du, you have the long, circular streets that wind around the divine mountain and then the smaller streets that slope down from the mountain to the outer wall.

A – Street of the Earthbound
B – Way of the Dragon
C – Sublime Path of the Tiger King
D – Street of the Ninefold Virtues
E – Nine Dragon Road
F – Street of the Eastern Wall
G – Street of the Most Low
H – Splendid Abundance Street
I – Street of the Western Wall
J – Tiger King Road
K – Street of the Yellow Swordsman
L – Street of Jubilant Spirits
M – Street of the Black Tortoise
N – Street of the Golden Rabbit
O – Peaceful Flower Road
P – Road of the Five Manifold Thunders
Q – Street of the Unflinching Stone
R – Street of the Slumbering Warriors
S – Filial Piety Street
T – Northern Gate Street
U – Golden Promise Street
V – Street of 10,000 Monkeys
W – Street of the Blessed Peach
X – Calligrapher Street
Y – Street of the Wondrous Maiden
Z – Street of Elemental Truth
# – Street of the Burning Red Star
@ – Street of the Prosperous Phoenix
$ – Street of the Jade Tiger
& – Silk Merchant Road

Yun-Bai-Du: City of the Clouds Part IV

The map is finished except for the street names. By the next posting, I should have the street names in and a side view of this chunk of the city, which is constructed on the slopes of one of eight divine mountains. Here’s a few more locales …

29. Shanties: This low-lying, mucky area of the city-state is covered by a many shanties, the people living as beggars, thieves, fishermen and collectors of refuse. Many have benefited from aid by the Silent Hand, and the children of the shanties are a good source of information for those do-gooders. Notable among them is Juchidug, a recent arrival who claims to have been a captain of the Tiger Empress’ guard in Khatan. This is, in fact, an exaggeration, but he was a member of the royal guard and a favorite concubine of the empress. His indiscretions about his time in the palace and his stories of the empress have reached the ears of Buga [63], and his eventual death at the hands of an assassin is assured.

33. Armorer: The doors of this 2-story brick building have been closed and locked for over a month now, opening only to admit stores of food and fresh water. Smoke billows from the chimney night and day, and people wonder at the presence of a strangely beautiful man in robes of the deepest dye and fringed with the feathers of a white crane. The building belongs to Oorchin, a master armorer of Yun extraction who is very tall and quite fat, with hard eyes and a square jaw. Fearless and haughty, Oorchin has never been shy in bragging of his skills, and the shugenja Kuzhaidan has taken him up on his boasts and has ordered him to complete an enchanted wakizashi. The finished weapon is intended to be a +1 weapon capable of launching arcs of flame when swung. A piece of jet has been shaped into the form of a skull and will be implanted in the hilt of the weapon, while an essence of efreet blood is to be injected into the length of the blade. Kuzhaidan does not permit visitors, other than the aforementioned deliverers, and he allows Oorchin only brief naps – the armorer now regrets his bragging.

40. Healer: This three-story building has lovely wooden accents, carved in the shape of raccoon dogs and cobras. The bottom floor is a parlor of sorts, with a small pantry and kitchen attached. Here, the resident of the house, Temyshid the Healer, entertains prospective patients and friends on red velvet couches around a teak table, also richly carved. Stairs hidden behind a tapestry give access to the second floor, Temyshid’s operating chamber, where she provides such services as acupuncture and minor surgery. She is assisted by her husband, Kaik, a pleasant little man who uses too much cologne. The third floor contains the family living quarters, a chamber for Temyshid and Kaik and another for their four children, as well as a short hallway lined with shelves of glass jars and bottles containing medicinal compounds, herbs and a few odds and ends taken from former patients. Temyshid is younger than her husband, and entirely too bright for her own good. She has golden skin, black hair and blue eyes, with a neat, scholarly appearance. Although a healer, she is unfeeling and immoral.