Divination Driven Plotting and a lesser Divinity

In the warped Wuxia based mini campaign set within my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game Northport, I had introduced a Wu-Jen Character named Yoshimura Furawa, who had just arrived by boat to replace a recently murdered sage and oracle in the court of Sakemoko. Sakemoko is a past master of the Adventurer’s Guild, known primarily for instituting a system of moveable shoji-like walls to allow the basements of the guild to be reconfigured as different mazes and mock dungeons for proficiency runs. These events were heavily bet upon, as there were usually three areas set up simultaneously, with random teams being assembled out of the characters of whatever players I had at the time, and made the guild quite flush during his tenure.  The current guild also garners a significant amount of its income from gambling, which is why the current unrest amongst the Jugga teams and the raid on Vilgar’s pit fighting den have hurt them. This led to mini adventures where adventurers scouted out and secured a new venue for Vilgar, and just managed to steal a jugga trophy from the orcish Televodnica (Gym or dojo) to barter with Pallido, a hobgoblin  Qwik who is on the spectrum (Single minded, Stubborn, Shy, Eidetic memory, hard to kill, hard to subdue), but is the only person who knows where the missing Goblin Qwik and Orcish Cheerer are hiding out.

Part of an earlier story arc dealt with Chaos cultists of Saturnos killing all of the oracles in town,and stealing their divination tools in order to conceal their larger plans (still a mystery to players, although they know that there is a lot of demon summoning going on).  Theis led to the death of Sakemoko’s sage, and the theft of his copy of the Classic of Changes.

I have used Tarot to plot the motivations of some npc’s in a few previous games, although by no means as well as Pantheon Press does it with Fortune’s Fool, so it was tone appropriate to use the I Ching to richen the flavor of my cultural appropriation. After fighting off Ninja and one petty demon, the characters, consisting of Jin, a ridiculously strong Yakuza (built as a Veteran  Brute);  Ales Konstantin, a spellsword (Squire Adept); Airis Moonshadow (a Catfolk Ninja); Chou-Zen Mou (an elder thing infused, wildly talented  wizard), Iskander the mundane martial artist (Skirmisher plus knight lens and bits of magery zero and extra skills but no Chi Abilities) managed to escort Furawa from his ship to Sakemoko, but not before the ninjas had stolen a magical Sake set from his cabin.

The Sahudese employ weather wizards like Fuwara (Who is built like a wizard Priest (druid)) to navigate and assist in regulating the weather in their trans oceanic voyages.  He holds a divine office as a lesser functionary in the Celestial Bureaucracy (Power investiture/ social regard, rank, duty) and part of his job is to oversee the imprisonment of a particular Oni. (Known to the players as a Terrible, Fire Breathing Ogre From Hell), who currently resides inside of a silver and jade sake service, serving as the heating element.

One thing I have learned from looking over wikipedia and game systems other than AD&D that attempt treatments of Eastern mythologies, is that all of the monsters have jobs and responsibilities within the hierarchy of spirits; Oni have responsibilities and duties, and are not mere random encounters.  So this Oni had a job, and was punished for being overzealous in its execution, which I think might have been to light Joss sticks and instead he burned all of the furniture.  Sakemoko’s enemies include the Horde ninjas of the Kusarimashita clan, who are aligned with Akira No Aku, a magically endowed gangster whose organization was loosely based on that of Lo Pan, with servitors of all manner of multi-lens abilites, including someone who is a demonologist. I rule that conjuring a demon or other entity from an area of entrapment can bypass the safeguards that hold them in place. In this case, it is with a magical jade amulet that Furawa may lend them, if the Oni is in fact released, a violation of his sentence.

I have had a lot of fun using Google translate to put words in the mouths of my NPC’s and otherwise make those who spend points on languages feel like they got their money’s worth. (For example, my trolls speak in Estonian, partly because it has the right frequency of j’s and i’s together) In this case, it lead to a ruling that demons can always speak the language of their summoner, along with that of any previous summoners, and they can speak it backward as well.  This resulted to some recent activity for the cult busting 125 point characters being applauded for spilling so much blood in inverted Armenian (If Google Translate would do it with Aramaic I would have used that), and the petty demon that the Wuxia crew ran into saying “You’re not the boss of me” in arabic before turning to spirit form.

So they asked Furawa to divine how their mission to retrieve the Sake service would go, and I electronically tossed some coins using the link above, and got Hexagram 11, Tai, or peace, which in the abbreviated version I read, implied a peaceful and prosperous marriage of heaven and hell.  Well then. I had Hell, in the form of the Oni, but what to do for heaven?

I immediately had Furawa cast Detect Life(Celestial) and he got two results; One was the Celestial Cleric of Helios, Melchizidek, currently on an expedition deep underground to fight the elder thingy People of the Pit on behalf of the trolls, and the other about a mile off in the temple district.  Northport was originally a downward built goblin settlement (and then some) and was recolonized by the Romans, and most of the temples date back to them, so there are a few miles of overgrown, marbleized concrete domed and pillared shrines. Some are very active, like the Hadereum, where the bureaucratic plutocrats, priests and acolytes of Dis Pater collect taxes, and others are abandoned and some, while still popular, are minimally populated.

One of these was the temple of Priapus, managed by a faun Initiate, Harro, who was in distress, partly at being laughed at by the plutocrats for allowing his temple to be defiled, as he said, by a four armed invisible blue woman.As the plutocrats left, the party, or most of it arrived.  Chou-Zen Mou was delayed, having chosen to spend some CP on new spells. [My method for learning involves paying the guild magic shop owner, Speilgud, to cast the spell, and he has to make a teaching roll, and the student has to learn  by making a Thaumatology roll. Spielgud critically failed a teaching roll, causing Chou-zen to learn a version of counterspell that was +2 vs the spell he was trying to learn and -1 vs other spells.]

Harro the Faun was lying, saying that his temple had been desecrated, and then suddenly, as he was touched by the invisible being, he was forced to tell only truth; the sanctity in his shrine had actually increased, and he was jealous of her interaction with the marble statue.

Now, no one in my group is under thirty, most closer to fifty, (Really, we use a text only BBS system on RPOL.net), but make one dick joke and it was like they were all in middle school again.

In any case, the divine being Furawa had detected manifested herself.

Kho Khilana
Descendent of Divine Servitor of Fertility [460]
ST 13 [20] DX 13 [40] IQ 13 [40] HT 15 [40]
HP 13 Will 14 Per 13 FP 16
Basic Speed 7.5, Move 7, Dodge 7 
Advantages:
Celestial [75] (ST+1, dx+1,iq+1, ht+1, will+1, fp+1, bs +.5, 
           attractive , fit, spirit empathy, celestal nimbus,divine gifts,
            Divine curse (preferred enemy of demons) weakness to evil areas)
 2 extra arms [20]
 extra eye, blue skin 
invisible (switchable) [50], Immune to met hazards [30] 
beautiful [5], power Investiture 2 [20] Temp tol 10 [10]
DR vs fire 10 [30] unaging [15]
Languages: Hindi [native/native] [0]
           Sahudese [Accented/Accented] [4]
           Aralaise [accented/Accented] [4]
 Charms:[7]
 Aura
 See secrets
 Magesight
 Essential Food (creates small octogonal cakes with random flavors)
 Fertility (Reverse of strike barren)
 Truthsayer
 Relieve sickness

Disadvantages:
impulsive[-10], truthfulness[-5], Lecherousness[-15] gigantism [0]
oph:nudist [-5],cannot harm innocents [-10], Oblivious[-5]
unnatural features:Blue skin, third eye, extra arms, 7 feet tall [-5]

Aura, Magesight and see secrets are functions of the third eye,
 Each hand can perform one of the other effects. 
4 in languages St 13 DX 13 IQ 13 HT 15 
Spell skills are all 15 [4pts each], Dancing[2] 13, sex appeal [1] 17
 Sexual Art [4] 13 stealth [2] 12, Wrestling [2] 13(+4), karate [8] 14, 
judo[8] 14, singing [1]15, Breath control [8]15, Theology! [8] 13 

Kho Kilana is the descendant of a servitor of a fertility god, 
and has some of her father's aspects. She has a good working knowledge of divine
genealogies, so as to avoid having relations with the high percentage of the 
nine million gods who are blood relatives. She visits the shrines of other
fertility gods with regularity but has no interest in revisiting the temple
of Priapus on the southern Isle of Telemankas, as the statue of the god there
 is made of Sandstone.

Speaking only the truth, she answered some basic questions about herself, and upon hearing that they were referring to the being trapped in the Sake Service as an Efreet, she demanded to be brought to Furawa to have it explained to her how the Celestial Bureaucracy would have dominion over such a foreign entity. It will be up to the diplomacy of Sakemoko to determine if she agrees to assist, and up to a bunch of die rolls as to how.

 

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the GURPS system from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

As an unrelated note, I won a copy of the Borderland Provinces as part of Swords and Wizardry Appreciation Day. and it is amazingly dense. I intend to post a full review of that once I finish reading it. It was also laid out by Chuck Wright, who is currently in need of help. I donated to that, and also put up a set of my stock art pdf’s as incentive for others to give over in Tenkar’s Tavern. My patreon support of Erik Tenkar has brought me a lot of traffic so I am thankful of that.I originally made an offer of just the three pdf’s I had at the time, Characters, Wizards and Dungeon Scenes, but since I have added a new one, I am adding that too. This work may seem familiar, I originally agreed to do some free art for exposure, and I am wise enough now to cash in. It’s only $1.49.cover.png

 

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One thought on “Divination Driven Plotting and a lesser Divinity

  1. For a while I was running a game based on a groundhog’s day styled time loop, basically a powerful artifact that kept resurrecting people at a “save Point”. The players were introduced to the story when a disturbed vetran friend vanished, leaving behind thousands of sketches of events that had not happened yet. I knew there were several key scenes I was going to put in the game so as the leafed through the pictures I would give vague descriptions of locations and NPCs that they were inevitably going to encounter. When I wanted to stress the plot importance of something that was happening I would give the players a roll against IQ to remember that they had seen a location or person in the sketches if they rolled exceptionally well they would remember enough to get an idea of what was happening in the picture.

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