Adventures In April continues with a fun wuxia adventure. This adventure works fine with Fate Core, but we highly recommend trying it in its full Tian Xia glory as you will have a lot more fun with the kung fu extras that they have designed for their setting.
The Waning of the New Moon is a one-shot adventure that can easily start a full RPG campaign. The party study together at the same monastery, though they probably have very different teachers, and must defend it against an attack while their masters are gone. A fellow student is captured, so the party has to go and rescue him.
This adventure is divided into 4 scenes: Sakura Falls, Wicked Soldiers, Finding Finfin, and Looming Darkness. Each scene is detailed below with an overview and broken down into possible skill challenges for the scene. An extra paragraph for Tian Xia is also included.
Scene 1: Sakura Falls
The monastery of Sakura Falls is so named for the waterfall that flows from a hill of cherry trees. Each year the waterfall appears to turn pink when the cherry blossoms fall and fill the water with sakura petals. A small village supports and surround the monastery, a point of pride for them all. Here many kung fu students come to train in hopes that the remote location will keep them from the distractions that hinder progress towards enlightenment.
The group gathers at this time to watch two of their masters as they spar. You can pick two random masters or two of the PC’s masters if you wish. Describe the sparing with amazing wuxia details: running up walls and across the ceiling, punching through a stone pillar, or even a blast of chi energy. This scene is all about setting up the story and getting the players invested in the world.
Finfin is younger than the other students and in charge of serving the food today. He gives pork buns to the player characters as they watch the sparing match, trying to be friendly with each of them. A Good (3) Rapport check will get him to give you a larger pork bun, and an Fair (2) Empathy will reveal how much he admires the PC students that have been there longer than him.
If you are playing Tian Xia, give the masters element/animal styles and play up how their fight uses their styles. A Good (3) Fight or Notice check will reveal technique names that they are using. A Superb (5) Investigate or Empathy will let a PC actually count all 37 blows that happen in an instant during one exchange, giving them a boost to try a rapid strike in the next scene.
Scene 2: Wicked Soldiers
The masters end the spar with no clear winner, and everyone bows. All of the masters then leave for their annual journey to meditate in the mountains. Of course this is when trouble happens. Bandits dressed as imperial soldiers attack the monastery and taking captives from the villagers. A Good (+3) Notice or Lore will show that the armor is outdated and not in good shape.
This is a combat scene against several solders, say 10 for each PC. They each have 1 point of stress and Average (+1) to all skill checks. Though they may be intimidating at first, the party should tear through them pretty easily. Hopefully with some descriptive details to make things fun. And yes, if a PC inflicts 4 stress on a soldier they can take out 4 soldiers instead, one for each point of stress.
Tian Xia has a special skill, Chi, in addition to the standard Fate Core skills. Players with any rank greater than Mediocre (0) in Chi can make a Create an Advantage check of Good (3+) at the start of this scene to give them Chi Armor with a free invoke. The bandit soldiers do not have a rank in Chi and therefore get no chance to do this.
Scene 3: Finding Finfin
Only after the fight is over to the players find out, possibly from a villager, that Finfin was captured by the few soldiers that escaped. Hopefully the party got attached enough to Finfin that they are willing to rescue the new student.
Tracking down the fleeing soldiers requires a Great (+4) Investigation check. If the players took captives or knocked anyone out, they can Provoke them with a contested check into confessing that they are bandits and the boy was taken to their leader in the mountains. This information grants a temporary boost (+2) for the tracking check.
If Tian Xia players want to get mystical with their Chi, a Superb (5+) can detect the path that the villains fled. They will also notice that Finfin’s trail pulses strongly with Yang energy.
The leader of the bandits is a surviving member of the Golden Vampire Cult. This kung fu school greatly increases power by overreaching inner Yin with Yang. In order to survive this unbalance, cultists drink the blood of people with strong inner Yin abilities. In other words, Finfin is on the menu to feed the cultist’s powers.
The bandit leader is a much more challenging fight with +3 attack and overcome, and a +4 to create advantages and defend. He is more skilled at combat that any of the player characters who will have to work together in order to defeat him. He will cut and drink Finfin’s blood if allowed. Otherwise he will take a consequence after his first turn that grants a free invoke to player characters against him.
The bandit leader has a Jianghu Rank of 2, meaning players trying to create Chi Armor have to overcome a Superb (+5) instead of the previous Good (+3). If he is allowed to drink any of Finfin’s blood before the fight starts, this increases to Fantastic (+6). If you want to make the battle more epic, feel free to give the bandit leader a name and the full Stone Serpent set of techniques.
If the group rescues Finfin and returns him to Sakura Falls, the masters will return and congratulated their pupils. If you want this to be the start of a campaign, the masters may wish for the party to go out and see more of the world to hone their skills as the next stage of their training. Clearly they are ready.
Just to clarify, the name of the adventure refers to the player characters as they take their first steps in this adventure to becoming glorious lights for a world filled with far too much darkness. And no, the bandit leader is not a real vampire that will transform Finfin if he is bitten. That is just the name of the cult because they drink blood.
We hope you get a chance to try out this adventure out with your group, or it at least inspires some fun ideas for your characters and story. If you do get a chance to play it, let us know how your adventure goes and what happened to poor Finfin.
We will have another adventure for you soon!