The old man speaks, Chaos reigns in the Middle Kingdom and uncertainty guides the future. The Three Heavenly Opals, most powerful magic items in the Ming Dynasty, have been stolen. The Emperor is disgraced and humiliated. The people have begun to openly rebel, but no leader steps forward from the crowded throng to unite them all. So the Heavenly Bureaucracy has stepped in and is to make a profound announcement in Tianamin Square this afternoon. You have been summoned by our family to guide us to power in this troubled time. The old man totters into a back room with his servants, leaving you on your own.
Tianamin Square holds more people than you had ever seen in one place before, more than one million. The crowd is agitated and angry. Some call for the Emperor's head, others say he should resume control and return the Middle Kingdom to normality. Tempers flare but no fighting starts. Imperial troops stand guarding all exits. It looks as though the entire Ming Army is here. You make your way into the crowd. As you near the gates to the Imperial Palace as the noise from the crowd rises quickly. Looking up, you see that the Emperor has walked out onto the rostrum. He waits for the noise to subside, his hunched posture nothing like that of the proud arrogant man who ruled the Middle Kingdom under a strong hand until only a few weeks ago. As he raises his hand to speak you notice a dragon in the rear of the courtyard behind him. It appears to be controlling his actions.
The Emperor speaks: People of the Middle Kingdom, servants of the Heavenly Hosts, supporters of the Three Religions. You are all aware of the events of the past month. Wu Tze Lee is DEAD!!!! (Astonished silence from the crowd.) The location of the Three Heavenly Opals is not known. So I am announcing that I will give the hand of my daughter in marriage to the person who returns all three of the Heavenly Opals in forty days. (You know that the Emperor has only one daughter and no sons.)
He then turns and retreats into the sanctuary of his palace. The stunned, silent disbelief of the crowd quickly turns into a violent rush in all directions as all people seem intent to go and find the Three Heavenly Opals. The old man who spoke to you earlier is now standing in front of you and beckons for you to follow. He leads you into a house and up seven flights of stairs. He points to a table and says That is all we have been able to gather in the time available. Your transport is on the roof. He vanishes into thin air.
Chang Chiang( ). A sizeable town which is famous for its jade mines. This town is mostly inhabited by dwarfs and is closely allied with Wu Tze Lee.
Hao Jiao( ). A large village which survives as a supply port of the local fish catch. It is allied with Wing Ting Mai and Wu Tze Lee.
Hel Churl( ). The largest town on the upper reaches of the Niao Jiang. It is closely allied with the Ming Emperor and gains most of its wealth from selling slaves to the Mings. At this time it is not known if they plan to stay allied with the Mings or whether they have made other arrangements.
Nu Gong Zao( ). This is the largest and most splendid of all the cities. Is is inhabited by approximately ten million people and considers itself the centre of the civilised world. A very large trade port, the Imperial Palace and the centre of all the bureaucracy are the main support for this town.
Shan Peninsula( ). The peninsula is mountainous. Around its edges are small coastal plains on which cling various towns from a few houses 'm size to the largest town, Wu Tze Lee (500,000 people). The Niao Jiang runs down the arm of the peninsula and has along it many small villages. The only town on the river is Hel Churl. In the mountainous regions there are many small valleys with small villages in them. They are all connected with steep mountain trails so that it is possible to completely cross the peninsula at any point. There are no major roads in the area.
Wing Ting Mai( ). A small village on the island of Hai Zao. Most of the goods produced are sold through Wu Tze Lee. It is famous for its seaweed products with special medicinal properties. It is closely allied with Wu Tze Lee.
Wu Tze Lee( ). A large trading city, it thrives on supplying the passing merchant junks. It has also developed a significant market for trading goods. Wu Tze Lee has never been on good terms with the Ming Empire except for a short period over the last ten years. Since Wu Tze Lee stole the opals the Emperor has legislated the city out of existence. It is rumoured that the Imperial Fleet has been gathered in Nu Gong Zao to destroy Wu Tze Lee.
A feudal society which is governed by the Ming family. Above the Mings is the Celestial Bureaucracy. The bureaucracy is ruled by the Jade Emperor who lives in Heaven. Below the Jade emperor. are the Eight Immortals. Then there are planets, gods and other heavenly entities. Ruling the lower functions of Heaven are the dragons and members of the heavenly hosts. One such dragon is associated with each of the major families. Dragons also have the responsibility for things like the weather in a certain region, the state of the seas and other things associated with nature. At the human level the Middle Kingdom is a very bureaucratic monarchy. There are forms and departments for everything.
Blips are animals that float in the car. They have spherical or ellipsoid bodies which are filled with many small gas sacks. These sacks are used to regulate their height. The most common form are small wingless blips which float harmlessly on the wind. Larger blips (up to twenty feet in diameter) are kept by intelligent races to help moving goods. They are trained to perform simple tasks on command. (They have a low animal intelligence.) The rarest and most prized variety of blip has wings which it can use to propel itself forward. They are usually described by the number of wings: either two, four or six.
Blips have two eyes and a mouth. They breath through their wings.
The Hei ( ) family is generally acknowledged as being the second most powerful and most likely to form the next dynasty. They have effective control over most of the bureaucracy.
The Ming ( ) family became rulers of the Middle Kingdom four hundred years ago. Theirs is acknowledge as the most advanced of all the dynasties. Recently the dynasty has been in decline and several border states have successfully rebelled.
The Tang ( ) family have been slowly losing power. They have now been reduced to being one of the second players in the dynastic power struggle.
The Wu ( ) family have always been powerful outsiders. Recently they have been increasing their power by clever manoeuvring.
Tsung. Follow the beliefs of Confucius. They strictly obey his sayings, applying them to every part of life. There are several other great personalities who have lived since confucius and have added their sayings to the religion. These people form the backbone of the society. The bureaucracy which runs the country is based on Confusion teachings.
Taoist. This religion is based on the powers of magicians. Typically they use elaborate ceremonies and spells to control or predict future events, from things like the weather to the outcome of a war.
In general society they are greeted with caution and suspicion. Even so, people will turn to them for aid if required. Occasionally they will rise to positions of power and influence. There are several gods and the Eight Immortals who lead this religion.
Buddhist. Believe in the balance of nature and the use of holy Scriptures from the lands of Undara. Individuals seek inner peace with themselves and the world. Buddhists usually live in remote locations. Some of them live in towns trying to convert the general population. In this they are tolerated but generally unsuccessful.
Players who continually argue with the DM after the final decision has been made may be disqualified.
All dice rolls must be made in front of the DM, or they are invalid. Dice which accidentally slip out of a player's hand or fall off the table must be re-rolled.
Players who have their character killed may still listen in and contribute to the party's decisions. All characters will be at full hit points, spell ability and alive at the start of each session.
All items found or bought in one session are kept for the next. Likewise all magic item charges and consumables used in one session are not replaced at the start of the next.
Evaluation of teams will be on a mixture of objectives and role playing. A team will reed to do well in both to win the tournament.
The tournament is played in three sessions of two and a half hours each. Stalemated disputes or DM's enquiries should be directed to Bradley Bush or Brian Yap.
The hit point rule has been changed in the following ways for this module.
Special Magic Items
Eight Diagram Coins
Gong of Ironwood
Horn of Summoning
Portable Collapsible Wardrobe
Wondrous Writing Set
Character Sheets/ Spells
The character sheets have all the information required on them except some spell information. The character sheets are made from a mixture of First Edition Oriental Adventures and Second Edition Player's Handbook rules. If something is not written on the character sheet then that character does not have that missing ability. Similarly if you feel that some of the numbers on the character sheet are wrong then assume that we have deliberately changed that score to make the module balanced. No correspondence will be entered into.
Because we do not expect that all people will have Oriental Adventures, the DM's will have any information you require for spells available for you to borrow for the session. If your group does not have a Second Edition Players Handbook we suggest you purchase one. If you do not you will still be able to get the spell definitions from your DM before the module begins.
The tables provided as part of the character sheets include all modifiers except where noted or where there is a temporary effect unique to the situation you face. (e.g. If you were fighting in pitch darkness you would get a minus four penalty. This penalty must be added to the hit roll before consulting the table.)
Honour as it is described in Oriental Adventures is a Japanese concept and does not apply to this module. Any honour that may apply is included as part of the character's background.
(c) 1990, 2000, 2001 Brian Yap and Bradley Bush
02 January 2001