Jul 7, 2010

Canonical Tekumel

Pale, whitish-scaled, Ruby-red eyed, subterranean reptiles with 4-arms, 4-legs, a serated beak and bone blow-guns who serve one of the Pariah Gods.  These creatures were discovered in Professor Barker's own game way back during Chiine ba Kal's hey-day.  This is about as 'Canonical' as you can get, and yet the creatures have not been collected into any Tekumel-oriented bestiary that I'm aware of. (If I've overlooked something, please do let me know)

Likewise with those unpleasant-looking folks around Purdimal who seem just a tad bit 'off' from typical full-blooded humans.  Yeah, those guys.  The ones who are hybridized with the N'yagga...and possibly other aquatic things.  The Tekumel equivalent of the Innsmouth Look.  Again, straight out of Professor Barker's personal game...about as Canonical as you could hope to ever get...and also overlooked or 'lost,' whatever euphenism you care to apply to the situation.

A certain Empress of ill-repute once forced the creation of unspeakable human-Pe Choi hybrids...of course the Pe Choi rose up and did much delicate violence to this particular Empress who suddenly fell out of favor and power.  All those unspeakable blasphemous hybrids were destroyed.  That's what the priests said.  That's what the OAL said.  That's what the Pe Choi said.  But is it the truth?  Did some of them survive somewhere?  With all the competing factions, super-science and sorcery running around on Tekumel--especially within the Imperial Court of a truly decadent empress...surely someone was motivated to sequester a few of tehse things out in some undisclosed location, possibly beyond a Nexus Point and on some adjacent plane...it would just make sense.  Again, this is Canonical stuff, if not exactly in wide circulation or talked about a great deal.

I won't even raise the stinky spectre of the 'Green Ssu' that were foisted upon Tekumel by an artist who was unfamiliar with the setting.  The cover to Flamesong is still a great book cover.  And as Prof. Barker has said innumerable times in the past there are countless Sub-Species of most of the Races, Animals, Beasts and other Creatures scattered all across Tekumel.  The humble Ru'un have dozens of variants and sub-types alone.  Look at the original edition Empire of the Petal Throne; the Pachi Lei illustration is labelled as being 'a Sub species of Pachi Lei'  It's right in there.  Whether it was because of sub-standard artwork, Prof. Barker being unsatisfied in some way, or whatever, the thing was done, the piece was printed and right out of the chute Tekumel was gifted with the Canonical Doctrine of the Oodles and Myriads of Sub-Types.

To the left is a pencil-sketch of a Sagun from back in the Eighties.  This is a Sagun (Sah-Goon), not a Hokun.  This is a nasty sac of fungus that can do all sorts of unpleasantness with micro-fine tendrils, spores and so forth.  It is soft, squishy, and well a virulent form of mushroom gone terribly, horribly bad.

It is NOT a Hokun.

As per Prof. Barker, the Hokun are angular, mantis-like and semi-transparent, similar to the Pe Choi is certain respects, yet completely other.  They are not smooth, rounded or flabby, nor do they have heads like bags of moldy clay.  Yet they have been mis-depicted as such, and frankly, even using the loosest and most generous interpretation of the Canonical Doctrine of Sub-Types mentioned above won't cover the creatures mis-identified as Hokun.

But does having been published on the cover of a box-set make something Canonical even if it is just flat-out wrong?  Huh.  One Paperback book-cover gave us Green Ssu.  Maybe an out-of-print box has given us a flabby, squishy, degenerate form of pseudo-Hokun?

I've been going over all my old notes from back when I was talking to Prof. Barker about the creatures, ecology and races of Tekumel.  At some point, after copying them and filing them, I plan on turning them all over to the nice folks at Aethervox for posterity's sake.  Maybe one of these days we'll get the chance to see more of the Canonical versions of these creatures that have been 'over looked,' 'missed,' or 'creatively re-interpreted.'  Maybe.  But if people can't get a Hokun straight from a Sagun, they have no business handling Prof. Barker's monsters.  But that's an opinion, and admittedly a fairly biased one.  I would have hoped that it would be a Canonical one as well...

Jun 17, 2010

Monkeys Go Bye

An Excerpt from a Double-Secret Letter to Hekellu-bound White Stone Monkeys (Plus Team Vriddi) from Noble Shen they leave hanging in Butrus

---
(Typical platitudes deleted for brevity's sake.  Also shen no pay for extra words.  Punch scribe not write what shen tell them.  You can no add that.)

Dear Monkeys,

Sorry you leave good-place Butrus. Not know much about Hekellu. No shen there, or so say the Major Domo. Maybe it too cold. Much-many Ssu though, so you get lots practice smacking them with sharp objects and boom-thingys. That always good fun.

Shen staying in Butrus, for now. Many new monkey-friends here. Shenyu sending more helper-shen soon. Need to have new villa up and running for them when they get here. Red Hats not so bad. Everyone handing shen monies. Much profit make for happy shen.

War coming. Big war. Pe Choi unhappy. Livyani unhappy. Tsolyani always nervous. Red Hats killing Pachi Lei treehuggers. Yan Koryani tourists out in the woods. Shen coming to town. Maybe we have big party? Shen like that.

Shen want permission to use Vriddi Hunting Lodge for discrete business-like dealings and some errends. No make mess. Clean-up afterwards. Shen promise.

If you meet any Hlaka on road, send some to Shen. That be muchly appreciated. Could use some Hlaka couriers for the next few months. Many-much things to get said to peoples all over. Much talkings. Many businesses. Also, kick any ahoggya you meet for me. Stinky things. Pfah!

Let Shen know if you require a shen or two to help you break down doors or go exploring cellars and tubeway cars in Hekellu. More shen coming soon. Me share some with you, if you like-want. Shen good at breaking things. Good fighters. Good in middle of war like we having soon.

Vriddi pay very good, White Stone monkeys very nice to shen--you all have place to stay after clanhouse destroyed and Butrus put to sword and torches. Shen help you people rebuild after big to-do. Yes. Shen very good friend to monkeys. Put in good word for you clan with new monkey-rulers. You see.

Ask one last question --very busies right now -- Tubeway Car go to Hekellu?

Good travel and much lootings!

The Shen

Jun 10, 2010

Shen Notes: Gaming Session Notes for 6/5/10

Finally, the Shen (and Kaiya hi Targumma) had come back to Butrus If you could smell what he'd been cooking.  It was good to be back.  There were some new faces and we'd transitioned from the Evens to the Odds group.  We moved groups because our schedule shifted.  Summer does that.  Thankfully it was a mild transition, hardly hurt at all.  Good thing we kept our hands inside the ride while in motion.  First this group went on a mission, then they returned from that mission.

So, we showed-up and had planned to spend a little while getting up to speed on what all this other group had been doing while we had been looting the Tubeway Car Stations and what-not.  We started out back at the White Stone Clanhouse and the major domo wanted to know what we'd like to do with the dead Pachi Lei on the front step.  The major domo politely inquired if it was the Shen's dead Pachi Lei.  Shen ask how many pieces it is in.  He says "one."  Obviously it is not my dead Pachi Lei.  But out of the kindness of my heart, I go to take a look at the dead thing on our doorstep.  The poor dead bastard Pachi Lei has nine red-fletched arrows sticking out of his back.  I think that was his back.  With Pachi Lei no can tell.  Usually only Imperial stormtroopers Legions are that precise.  Whomever killed this creature, they used him as target practice for longbows.  Military-trained longbows that'd seen some action in their time.  Seasoned, veteran longbow troops who used distinctive red-fletched arrows.  Being as we were in the Chakas, surrounded by several varieties of flame-worshippers who liked a nice splash of red with their typical ensembles, if only to liven thnigs up, the Shen had no idea of whom they were dealing with, nor why anyone would bother killing a four-legged hippy-freak Pachi Lei, or why the thing was bleeding over the doorstep of the White Stone Clanhouse.  It was baffling.  Qolari wasn't available, nor any of the other spell-casters except for Kaiya, so we were left to figure things out for ourselves.  It was our first real case together.  There was sure to be more bodies soon.

In short order, as the Pe Choi and his companion-monkey told us about their recent encounter in the forest with troops carrying red-fletched arrows, and the subsequent meetings and goings-on at the Abbey of Vimuhla, including an episode of Zooic Domination gone terribly wrong for the local brigandage.  The City Guards assigned to keep a watch over our compound sidled up to the dead body and someone sent for the Guard Captain and a Pachi Lei elder.

The Guards identifed the arrows as belonging to Mu'uglavyani long-bowmen, most likely members of the Eighth Legion: The Long-Arrows.  So we know that it was very likely Mu'uglavyani long-bowmen who dry-gulched the Pachi Lei.  Funny enough, those were Mu'uglavyani long-bowmen that the group had encountered out in the woods earlier.  Very likely the same Legion.  Oh, and that's when we learn that there was a second group of troops out there, discrete tourists possibly, but more likely camouflaged troops from some as-yet-to-be-determined Yan Koryani unit.  A non-Shen unit.  The plot thickened.

Kaiya consulted her manuals and such-like and decided to attempt a spell to revivify the dead Pachi Lei.  The spell goes reasonably well, but the Pachi Lei spits out a silvery capsule and proceeds to disintegrate, making a real mess on the floor.  The major domo is not pleased by this at all.  The capsule contains a small scroll.  The priest of Vimuhla reads it and then shares it with the rest of us.  It's fairly straight-forwards:

"Beware the woman in purple and gold."

There was mention of a Priestess of h'rsh previously, so that'd be the most likely 'woman in purple and gold.'  Why anyone would warn us about her, or try to get us to mistrust her, remains a mystery to Shen.

Analysis of the scroll revealed that the ink was peculiar to that used by Mu'uglavyani diplomats and some spell-use helped narrow it down to the legation in Butrus.  Someone over there was trying to warn us or steer us into not trusting the Priestess of H'rsh.  Politics.  Monkeys love politics.  Makes Shen lonely for homeland where things are more sensible.

The Pachi Lei elder assisted us in getting rid of the ashen remains and the Shen makes sure to get their name, etc. (calling card).  Just in case.  Talking with the Guards a bit, buying them a round of beers, the Shen learns that there are twenty Mu'uglavyani Longbowmen that have just recently been admitted to the Mu'uglavyani legation as personal bodyguards to the Priestess of H'rsh.  Most people do not use Longbow-men as personal bodyguards.  Yet another thing that smells funny about this whole business.  The guards confide in the Shen that the Mu'uglavyani Red Hats like to spend their off-duty hours at a particular disreputable establishment in the Foreigner's Quarter.  Miropu's Happy Kiosk.

Enough is enough, so say the Shen.  Entanglements and politics are dangerous.  Shen decides that it is time to use some of monies gained over last few looting-trips to set-up a discrete villa on the river.  Shen contacts the local real estate people and rather quickly and painlessly a suitable location is pointed-out, visited and scouted.  A nice sandy beach with a few rocks, making a jabbing-out spit into a bend in the river, perfect for a small, discrete harbor or dock set-up.  The platts are looked-over, the surveys examined, the history of the place inquired into only to have the local Count of the Ito Clan show up fortuitously to discuss all the fine-points of such matter personally.  The Ito Clan never developed the site, as they had no real need to do so, controlling plenty of shipping back in the city precincts.  The Shen and the Ito Clan Count come to a mutually advantageous understanding and the deal is sealed.  The Shen invites the Ito Clan to attend the house-warming party he's planning, once the villa is completed.  Plans are drawn up by the local architect, the same one currently overseeing work on the Ksarul-priestesses new laboratories and the Thumis-priest's laboratories.  It turns out that the new villa, complete with discrete and small-scale commercial shipping facilities will be abutting their land and the Vriddi Hunting Lodge estate as well.  We're all neighbors.  This might get us somethingof a discount.

There is a wonderful little lagoon on the Shen's property that only requires a modest amount of work to establish a channel and sluice-gates and a rammed-earth and stonework dock ideal for discrete loading/unloading of small vessels, some lovely raised-bed ornamental gardens including a melon patch, an ornamental fish tank, and a few other must-have features any self-respecting Shen would want in their personal villa, including thicker walls with interior passages for Fluffy the wonder-zrne to romp and play, as well as the usual (but Shen-sized) secret passages, boltholes, murderholes, trapdoors, etc.  All with plenty of room to expand, and to house the collections that the Shen is planning on bringing in from Shenyu.  There's also suitable quarters for Kaiya and her many, many books (a small library on the second floor, out of any danger of flooding).  There's also a special room just for the strange egg recovered from the nearby tomb complex.  (When will we ever find time to ascertain just what this egg really is, and what we might want to do about it?)

Papers are signed.  Money changes hands.  The Title is amended and verified.  Workers get brought-in and the Shen starts making other preparations.  Messages need to be sent to contacts in the North and South.  Word needs to get back to certain ears in Shenyu, and things must be ready to receive the next group of Shen soldiery travelling North to a certain undislosed location.

Ahem.

So the group enjoyed their picnic out at the Shen's new building site and everyone seemed to approve of the location, agreeing that it would be ideal for raising melons, a bit of fishing, and the ocassional jaunt in a boat.  Everything in order, on schedule and officially bought and paid-for, the group headed back into town.  It was time to take the N'lyss and the Livyani Princess drinking.

We went down to the Foreigner's Quarter and made ourselves known to the proprietor of Miropu's Happy Kiosk.  Upon setting eyes upon Thioleb, he threw himself down into the mud and begged for mercy.  It turns out that they had some history between them.  When Thioleb first arrived in Butrus from Livyanu, she had no money and was forced to stay in a horrible room filled with bats.  To say that she had been mistreated would be an understatement.  It was good to see an imbalance readjusted.  There was pandemonium and panic amongst the entire staff of the place.  People were presented to be kicked or beaten as the lady wished.  Shamtla was due and everyone of them knew it.  It was Thioleb's pay-back time.  Thioleb put the proprietor through a fair amount of punshment and degradation for his past misdeeds.  The Shen drank bad monkey wine and watched for Red Hats.  The others found a secret entrance and forced the proprietor to accompany them down into what he loudly declared was jsut his wine cellar.  The Pe Choi knew better.  They could sense that there was something not right about the huge casks down there, and it wasn't just the lousy wine either.  There turned-out to be a secret compartment.  Several secret compartments.  They found spices, hling seeds, and sacks of Chakan Fire-opals.  Thousands of kaitars of goods and spices that were being transported without the payment of taxes, customs fees, or the like.  Unlicensed wholesalers.

The Shen spoke with some of the staff in back, Blazing Sail Clan-members all, and made sure that they understood that they were to let the Shen know if his 'associates' from a certain ship  arrived back in town, as there was mutually-beneficial business to discuss.  There would also be a need for a few good and discrete sailor-types to help out with the new small-scale luxury-goods import/export business going into operation soon.  As long as they could work with Shen and knew how to avoid Imperial entanglements.  The Blazing Sail clan-members seemed to be very confident that they knew of such people and no doubt there would be an opportunity for further discussion along these lines another day.

The Shen was walking back to the party's table when some Red Hats came into the place.  Acting quickly, the Shen made it clear that the Red Hats drank for free.  They were friends.  After a few drinks the Shen proffered the warning note to the drinking longbowmen.  They apologized for leaving the dead body at the Eye of Flame Clanhouse.  But orders were orders.  They didn't know that the Shen or his friends were staying at the Eye of Flame clanhouse.  The Shen made sure that they understood that there were no hard feelings, this time, but things might have been handled in a less messy fashion next time.  The Shen also verified that the orders and the note came from the Military legate.  It was good to have something more to go on than just somebody over there wanted to send them a message.  Now we had some idea of who it was that had sent the message, and that would help in sorting out the why.

Both the Pe Choi and the Vimuhla priest who'd encountered the Red Hats out in the woods recounted more of their meeting with the Abbot, H'rsh-Priestess, and others.  This was where the Nlyss and Vimuhla priest were inducted into the Incandescent Blaze Society.  The Shen listened and put pieces together in a  very disturbing picture that made him very glad to have been setting up shop outside the walls of Butrus.  Expansionists, fanatics and militarists were conspiring all too close to the city, and mysterious troop movements of both Red Hats and what were suspected to be Yan Koryani units on Tsolyani soil all combined to paint a graphic and grim picture of a future where it would be a good idea to be both discrete and in the right place at the right time.  Anything else would leave everyone exposed to what looked very much like a prelude to a major incursion, invasion, siege or full-out war.  The Shen only hoped that he'd have time to adequately prepare for what was clearly on the horizon.

It was about then that a large, ponderous woman, the Clanmother of the Green Pyramid Clan herself, had arrived with a bodyguard of four crossbowmen.  They showed-up and interrupted the Shen's cogitations.  She demanded to know why the group was dealing with her clan cousin so sternly.  It was too bad he'd fallen up the stairs.  Accidents had a way of just happening.  The Shen discussed the situation with her, in regards to the former mistreatment of the Livyani Princess.  Shamtla was far cheaper, and much less intrusive, when handled outside the courts.  The Clanmother heartily agreed.  She made sure that Thioleb was completely satisfied with her shamtla and that no lingering ill-will existed.  Then the Shen took her aside and discussed some matters of business.  She and the Shen became fast friends and the Shen invited the Clanmother out to his new villa for the house-warming party, once it was completed.  There was a lot of mutual assistance that they could lend one another, and the Shen wanted her advice on certain matters.  A place for discrete shipping outside the prying eyes of the city officials was of great interest to the Clanmother.  The Green Pyramid Clan lacked the resources to pursue such a thing on their own, at this time, but they were more than happy to lend a hand and work cooperatively with the Shen, seeing as they were on such friendly terms with on another and the Blazing Sails clan-members vouched for the Shen. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.  One that would lead to much loot for all parties concerned in due time.

Jun 9, 2010

Shen Notes: Tubeway Car Raiding

The honorable and generous Qolari hiChashyani, the fearless leader of the tombraiders adventurers based-out of the White Stone Clanhouse in Butrus took our stalwart group of mostly monkeys down to one of the local Tubeway Car Stations.  At first, when Shen arrive in Butrus, not know what Tubeway Cars, I humble Shen traveler, not know about such things.  Really.  Monkeys have many strange ideas and make-up far too many big words for little things.  I not worried about Ssu or Shunned Ones coming after us from Tubeway Car, but carrying best sword-axe and special pouch of zrne-teeth from Fluffy, just in case.

Good thing I do this.

Tube Way Cars are big, big balls of shiny metal-of-the-ancients.  Qolari say that they can be even bigger than one we call and go riding in.  The Station is a large cavern that once was a airy, spacious building where many, many peoples could come and go from all over the world.  These old, old things.  Much ancient-ness.  One needs to be careful not to open one of the Cars up without being ready for Ssu or worse to come jumping out.  Everyone having done this sort of thing previously say that those stink-monger bad-things often do this to unsuspecting looters.  Bad thing to run into large band of roving Ssu when you lounging on butt or already wounded and trying to escape from ancient traps, undead or prowling underworld creatures.

We lucky this time out.

We only find dried-out skeletons of ancient dumb monkeys.  But Tube Way Car works and someone makes it go other place.  It like a Chlen-cart only one that moves very, very fast along a smooth-walled tunnel.  I wonder if these tunnels go under Shenyu.  Much good use for such things amongst our armies, I mean merchants.  Save expensive and time-sucking marching up-river to Yan Kor for my egg-group.  I might have to pay more attention to this group and see what I can learn about these Tube Way Cars.  Good thing I pick-up a back-up copy of Qolari's Tubeway Car Disks.  The Empire of Shenyu could make much good and peaceful use of such a thing.  We Shenmanitarian peoples.  Merchants and sailors.  All these lies about war-like Shen just propaganda spread by scared monkeys afraid to fight Shen without all their spells and devices of ancients.  They not know we got devices too. Nyaah! We get spells someday.  I working on this personally.  Me be sorcerer someday.  Get help from new friends.  Even if they are monkeys.

The new translator marble feels funny, but it helps Shen understand more of what monkeys say around me.  I still learn how to read and write other languages despite it though.  No substitute for being able to translate carvings, etchings, or tomb reliefs on the spot.  Marble not do that so well.  Maybe one of Globes of Instruction we got last time help with such things.  I ask Kaiya later.  We busy raiding now.  Much loot awaits us--I can almost smell it.

Our first destination brought us out in a place with a door.  Stale air.  No one come this way in many, many years.  Qolari ask Shen to open door.  I use new Eye.  Door go boom.  Way is clear.  Nothing bad waiting behind where door isn't any more either.  Very handy thing this Eye.

We enter into a large room, all colonnaded and carved -- flame demons dancing, capering and eviscerating sacrificial victims all over the walls.  The carvings are vaguely familiar, definitely look fiery.  Large not-Pe Choi-things, also carved into the walls.  Qolari say they are Hokun.  Shen hear of Hokun, but nothing good.  Shen sometimes have to fight with hokun.  They not good to eat.

Another door leads out into a rural, rustic, mountainous area.  All cold, thin air and horrible snow.  Smells like rendered hmelu fat.  Rancid hmelu fat.  We in N'lyssa.  A group of oily monkeys gather around the door.  They excited, or upset about us coming out of their temple, shrine, or whatever they've been using the place for--just to get them confused I pay the leader of the mob that's milling about some kaitars and start asking them questions.  Most Nlyss not much interested in strangers, except maybe to rob them, when it looks easy.  You live in empty, cold place like they do, you get strange in the head too.  Shen feel sorry for them all shoved out there in the cold and forced to wear smelly rancid oil.  Poor monkeys.

Eventually, Qolari and the others get the Tubeway Car operational again -- somethng about the safety interlocks getting engaged.  I not know they to be wed, but I not judge inanimate objects.  Monkeys get things working as we leave before a riot breaks out.  That could have been bad.  Nlyss good fighters.  Bad merchants, but good fighters.

The next destination is a sunny, warm island.  The Tubeway Station is just about the same size as the island.  A small dock has been built on the side facing inland and we can see a city of some sort off in the distance across the warm, azure waters.  Lots of sea shells on the small beach going all around us.  A wooden row-boat with 8 slave-monkeys slumped over their oars are sitting there watching us with funny expressions.  Some local official, a monkey with sea shell hat is burning big fish on an altar.  We go to see what is who and suchness.

Official-guy gets all nervous, even for a monkey.  Someone asks him what he is doing and he says that he was summoning a demon.  Shen smile roadly at this.

"You summoned a demon.  You got a demon.  A demon-warrior.  What you want, monkey?"

Well, only a broken finger and some boring back and forth and we find out that we're in the Nyemessal Islands.  Shen never heard of them before.  Others have.  Seems like nice place.  Warm.  The official, some sort of priest, arranges for ferry-boats to take us across the bay into the city.  Ru'sa, is what I think they called it.  Capital city.  Lots of sea shells.  Much sea grass.  Some driftwood.  Not much else.  They do have Shen delicacies, so not all bad.  Lots of sea-food.  Thankfully no akho.  Shen no like akho.   Leave bad taste in mouth ever since getting marooned by Harcharr.  Am so going to stomp him if Shen ever get chance.

In harbor we see something unbelievable.  Harcharr's ship is at anchor there.  Shen see opportunity for revenge on bad monkey.

Our group go along with the official--he is a High Priest we find out.  Some monkey sea god-thing.  It no matter to Shen.  One monkey god smell muchly like any other monkey god.  Only interested in those ones that might help Shen.  Rest no interest.

Guesthouse nice.  We talk business with High Priest.  Quickly Kaiya and Shen see good way to stick sharp zrne-tooth into Harcharr's buttocks--we start dealing for all sea shells we can get, all our group become shrewd businesscreatures instantly.  Seashells much used for purple dye-making Hruu-priests pay very good money for them.  Hard to get--long way to travel to get them and need to be fresh to be at best.  Tubeway Car makes this a very good opportunity for our group.  We make much dealings.  Also run into Harcharr.  He recognize us.  Good thing he make arrangements to satisfy lady of Sea Blue clan and Shen for stranding us on small island surrounded by akho.  We make very much monies from all these dealings.  Shen have idea of what to do with monies.  We get help from High Priest and his functionaries to draft-up documents, trade agreements, contracts, all those things necessary for us to make much monies.  Everyone in party seems to be doing business or involved in the process.  Group making much money without having to fight nasty Hra or battle hordes of Ssu.  This very different than what Shen used to doing to make loot.  Shen like very much.  Paying much attentions.  These monkeys know many good things that will come in handy some day.  Shen like making much monies with Tubeway Car.  Much potential in this approach.  Just need to defend against the Ssu and others who use these things.  Maybe set-up a Shen protection franchise for the better Tubeway Car stations?  Must think this through.  We could charge a toll to use the Stations.  Might be something to this idea...

Qolari talk with other guests.  One guest Vimuhla-priest or warrior or something.  We to be taking messages back home for this one later.  Very serious monkey.  Got lots on mind.  I learn he riding with Harcharr, all become clear.  Now that Shen knows how things go on that ship, he nervous riding with Harcharr, too.  No ride boat with him ever again.  Not even with sword-axe under his chin.  Just not worth it.  Akho not so good to fight.  Too big.  Eat Shen.  No.  Shen not let that happen.  No ride with Harcharr.  Poor monkey.  He still part of Harcharr's crew.  Hope it work out better for him than it did for us.  Of course, things did get better afterwards.  Maybe he go to South Sphincter of World one day, too.  Much good loot there, but Shen stay quiet about that.  No spoil a good thing.

Shen also find rest of crew of Harcharr's ship.  One carry stick, other knife--buy them much drinkings.  We talk dealings of our own.  Shen going into business in monkey-lands, needs documents, certificates, much many official things.  They have complete set of papers for inspections, import licenses, customs documetns, tariff exceptions, exemptions, quaratines, all sorts of things.  One set for all seven or eight empires, including Yan Kor which is much good.  One set in Engsvangyalli, very ornate.  One set might be for some Mihallu-place.  Not sure.  Shen not know that writing bestest yet.  But aim to learn.  Shen make deal for whole set.  Comes in nice bag, but Shen no need bag, carry them in own bag.  No good idea to walk around Butrus with used Imperial Courier satchel.  Might be bad fashion faux pas.  Monkeys get worked-up over such a gaff.  Shen no do this.

Group buy many art objects.  Crafts objects.  Tourist trinkets.  Eat much fish.  Ask questions.  They no have much metal, mostly driftwood and sea-grass.  Poor monkeys.  We talk about trading them dna grain, stinky cheese and maybe some metal to make life easier for them.  Shen consider starting a melon-ranch here, especially if sea routes bring Shen-ships this way, but unclear on that point.  Shen get idea that islanders no like idea of Shen coming to island regular basis.  Like most monkeys, they afraid we eat them.  Pfah.  They too stringy.  Smell all wrong to be eating, anyhow.  Taste too much like hmelu in all wrong ways.

Later on, we learn it Winter Solstice.  Big festival.  Much drinkings and feastings.  Conchshell trumpets, ornate masks, processions.  Very lively, colorful.  Pageant.  Groups of dancers form a living human orrery, portray the planets.  Very astrological stuff.  Shen not know much astrology yet.  Locals point out symbols and meanings.  Monkey in big mask brought out--smells familiar.  Shen realize it the friend of Qolari.  He drafted into ritual.  Makes miracle at solstice for isalnder priests.  Light in the darkness.  Very impressive.  Nice show.  He go off with female.  Everyone know they married now except him.  Even Shen know he married. 

Hah.

Very nice visit to islands.  Lovely warm place.  Ate too much seafood.  We have good sleep, nice morning, gather up our things and get rowed back out to the little island and our waiting Tubeway Car.  We load things into the Car and then we leave the place.  Harcharr on some sort of secret mission.  We got other things to do.  Kaiya and Shen examine gold given to us by Harcharr as recompense for troubles.  Coins are perfect.  Too perfect.  Too high a gold content--they are counterfeit, but the best possible counterfeits--they were cast in the Jakallan mint.  We be careful where we spend them.

Monkeys insert Disk into Tubeway Car, it take us to another place.  Lights.  Fresh air.  Tinge of ozone.  Very tidy and clean.  A corridor runs past the Tubeway Car platform.  A strange flat Ru'un is cleaning the floors.  Thumis priest likes Ru'uns.  Wants to make a pet of it like Shen do with zrne.  He spreads a spiral of dirt so that the Ru'un is kept busy.  I think he means to steal it.

We follow the hallway into a vast indoor plaza with skylights.  It is another location of the ancients.  It is also very active, awake, alive.  There are shops here.  The Tinaliya discovers a hardware shop and begins to negotiate for a tool that can do just about anything from the sounds of the yeleth-clerk's litany of features.  But tinaliya has no payment cube.  We all ask about payment cubes.  Yeleth are very helpful if you ask them nicely, and not try to hit them.  They are ancient things and probably are lonely.  Qolari locates a jeweller's shop and manages to exchange a few of his gems for a payment cube.  As we each learn about this, we each exchange gems or anything else of vlaue for our own payment cubes.  Shen help Thumis priest get his own payment cube.  Monkeys all help Shen, he no mind helping them in turn.  Just good business.

Yeleth say something about being entered into planetary database, but Shen not know what that mean.  Maybe someday, later on, we find out what that mean, but too much to see and to buy right now to worry about it.  Kaiya goes and buys tourist guides, children's books, all sorts of things.  Shen pick up Shen comic books, erotic-novels and Shen-lingerie for re-sale when we get back.  Things no other Shen has for sale.  Bring much monies.  Shen no dummies.

Khamra find a Yeleth-seller place.  They make a yeleth to serve you if you pay enough money.  She gets some kind of demon-pet.  Shen buys a Shen-yeleth.  It a good investment.  Shen has yeleth-shen carry stuff.  The yeleth-shen will be good for guarding things later-on.  Like the entrance to the Tubeway Car Station under the Vriddi Estate, or if Shen does well and settles down, yeleth-shen can guard Shen's own villa.  A good investment.  Too bad yeleth are all white with black eyes, like a reverse shen, almost.  It will have to be kept out of sight and away from prying eyes.  Monkeys get all overwrought and upset over little things like a yeleth-shen in the basement.  Bah.  Shen buy it fair and square.  Kept receipt too.  Registered in planetary database.  Hah.  Monkeys not all registered.  Whatever that means.

Group is able to get bunches of equipment for Thumis priest's laboratories, we try to buy things for Ksarul priestess' laboratories too so she not get left-out, pick-up lots of seeds (inclduing melons!), gardening books and cookbooks (all in Sunuz...), and a few sample casks of Shen liquor.  Very potent stuff of vintages and sorts that haven't been available in millennia, some of it legendary.  Definitely worth bringing back for later.  Might share with the flammable Vriddi.  He appreciate real liquor.  Give him Shen liquor.  Might be funny.

We find sporting goods place, buy 'pop tents', fire extinguishers, power supplies--whatever those are, and many other things.  Shen careful not to run out of credit.  Need to get more gems and come back in order to exchange for more credits.  We buy more good things another time.  Very nice place to shop.  Friendly yeleth are helpful, offer good customer service.  Shen muchly satisfied customer.  No tell anyone else about this place though.  This our private shopping place.

Thumis priest buys a ru'un of his own so no have to steal one.  Asked for tools, too.  Not sure what he planning, but might get loud or dangerous.  Shen think it time to move to safer, more discrete quarters.  Everyone buys much interesting things.  Most of these things not to be found anywhere else.

Eventually the group makes our way back to the Tubeway Car station and we head back to Butrus.  This was a very good trip.  Much loot.  Made Harcharr pay for stranding us, got papers to set up import/export business, made new friends, made much business dealings, found a wonderful new place to acquire amazing things from shops of the ancients and Shen now have own yeleth-shen to act as bodyguard, loot-carrier and door-opener.  Plus spent wonderful time in islands, getting warm and eating much fish.  Too bad we go back to cold place like Butrus, but it is where things are happening, and it is where orders say Shen is to set-up operations.  Maybe it time for Shen to get own place.

Jun 8, 2010

Shen Notes: A Tubeway-Car Ride Downbelow

Valiant heroes of White Stone Clan (and assorted hangers-on) in Butrus decided to go explore Vriddi Hunting Lodge basements one more time.  Map is incomplete.  They pay good, so I go along.  A share in the loot sounds good.  Might find some Ssu to smack around with sword-axe.  I need to maintain my Shenly abilities.  Must not let the Empire down.  (Real empire, Empire of Shenyu, not monkey empire. ptui.)

Maybe it'll be warmer wherever we go.  It cold here.  Not so nice as when Kaiya and I sailing much Souther of here.  Too bad we run afoul of fart-muncher pirates and kidnappers.  One day I find Harcharr and make him pay for stranding us on a tiny island surrounded with hungry seathings.  Tentacles bad-tasting.  Too stringy.  Almost put me off seafood.  Almost.

Shen learn to get patient real quick, or die slowly.  Shen need to know when to jump, when to hunker down and when to just stand their and scratch onesself while feigning ignorance.  Monkeys think we all stupid.  They forget why their grandfathers soil their kilts in fear at mention of demon warriors.  Me remind them someday.

We get group together, major domo arranges the marching order of all the bearers -- no eat bearer-slaves, I remember the rule.  Now.  Not like it, think it stupid, but me do it.  For now.  Retinue gets all assembled and we head off like big parade of palanquins, and all sorts of monkeys I not even know who they are or what they do.  But this is how monkeys go about things up here in the cold swaps around Butrus.  Maybe they under influence from those Pachi Lei out in the woods.  I not like how they look--too much like ahoggya for my liking.  Ugly ahoggya with goofy heads and yeasty-smelling bulby-bits--very unappetizing.  They hug trees for all Shen know.  Pfah!

Finally we reach the Hunting Lodge.  Nice sign points it out to passersby.  Very considerate.  Nice.  Shen much appreciate.  Monkeys not know Shen read Tsolyani gooder than some slaves.  Me speak bestest Tsolyani thanks to tutoring from Kaiya hiTarguma.  She help me learn other languages too.  But I rather read than talk-- monkey languages not made for Shen beaks, also they not use whistles or clicks much.  Very boring way to talk.  All monotone.  No inflections.  They just raise/lower volume and make silly gestures, that passes for inflection amongst them.  Poor monkeys.  No wonder they not very happy -- live in cold places and can't express themselves very well.  Maybe they all frustrated.  That my theory.

We enter the Vriddi Hunting Lodge.  Very odd thing; they no charge a fee for us entering the place.  I feel odd, but stifle the urge to make payment.  I here to make money after all, not spend it.  I no see how Vriddi make any money off of letting people wander around in their basement for free, but it probably a monkey-minded thing, beyond comprehension of Shen.  Too close a contemplation of such things drive a Shen mad.  I let it go.  Better things to deal with anyhow.

Qolari ask Shen to move up front.  Me open doors.  Ah.  This more my sort of thing.  I prepare my Eye.  The good one.  It opens doors very goodest of all.  But not need the Eye of Burning-Boom-Makery.  These doors all rotten, worm-eaten and fall apart with a gentle tap of my tail.  Sad.  But me make most of situation.

I hope fluffy behaving back in its pen.  Me miss my new pet.  Much training needed, but we be best of friends.  Or I eat it.  Haven't decided yet.  Maybe I train zrne good enough to bring along on leash sometime.

We find section of place that is collapsing.  Passage down.  We clear away large stones.  By that I mean I carry large bits and monkeys watch.  Nlyss help some.  He not bad for a monkey, more Shen-like that he know.  We go drinking sometime.  Wreck a few places.  That be fun.

We find burned section.  Bones.  Ksarul-priestess examines bones for a while.  She sneaky and take something from bones, but what do Shen care?  Nope.  I see nothing unless paid to see things.  So Shen just keep quiet.  All monkeys do this sort of thing.  Shen learning.

Group moves past the bones, down passage to a shiny metal door.  They know how it opens.  Shen watches.  Much to learn from these monkeys--they know many secrets about the Ancients.  Very useful things.  Shen walk along, protect Qolari, open doors, and do what told, all the while watching, learning.  Very interesting things down below the Vriddi Hunting Lodge.

We discover strange cylinder-chamber.  Group examine sthings, find control panels, use some spells, figure out that the two chambers are somehow connected and they push buttons.  Powerful forces are set into motion.  Lightnings crash and bright lights shimmer and sizzle.  We not die after all.

Qolari calls place a "Power Station," whatever that mean.  Maybe some special form of monkey-style temple.  They build lots temples.

Power Station has Tubeway Car Station.  Shen know much about Tubeway Cars yet.  Livyani sometimes use these (and nexus points) much and often, usually to run away from Shen.  Pfui.  Tubeway Cars lead other places.  Like how Nexus Points cross over to Planes Beyond, only not.  I read this in book on things that eat monkeys called the black covered book or somethig like that.  It was old book.  Badly translated into Shen, but with risque pictures of lusty reptilian egg-layers in scanty costumes.  I just read it for the interviews, however.  Shen very interested in Nexus Points, but Tubeway Cars look very useful as well.  They both seem muchly important to both sorcery and devices of the ancients.  More know about them, the better for all the world.  Shen here to learn such things.

Qolari leads group into Tubeway Car.  We come out somewhere we think on Southern Continent, Haida Pakala.  Nice.  Warm.  We observe a tribe of dirty-looking and smelly monkeys not far down the path from where the nexus point let us out.  I aske dot not wipte them out, even though that just sound operating procedure.  Wipe them out we establish a base.  If this village not too far from coast, maybe arrange a beacon for Shen ships.  It be good for Shen to have access to this Nexus Point.  I see what I can do later.  No one miss a few monkeys anyhow.

(Some notes missing)

Another Tubewar Car ride takes us to a strange place under a big dome of not-glass.  Qolari seems convinced it is South Pole of world.  It notlook like sphincter, but maybe Shen mistranslate.  Nice, clean, very pleasant place.  A little cool, but very, very clean.  No stink of dead-monkey dust.  We explore the place.  Many, many air-cars, but not ones we can fit into Nexus Point, and most are bad type that don't work when removed anyhow.  Shen see this type of thing before.  Not worth trouble.  Metal too hard to work, and not really metal anyhow.  Too bad.  A flying aircar can be handy.  When and where they work.

We meet something called a yeleth.  Qolari know all about these things.  All white.  Black eyes.  Funny uniforms.  We get a tour.  Yeleth guide takes us to a place where we are instructed to remove our belongings and step onto a moving walkway and so we do as told and we step onto it as told.  I guess we not fight yet.  Okay with Shen.  Yeleth look dangerous in a strange way.  They ancient things.  Need more than just sword-axe to make them stay dead.  So Shen do what everyone else do.  Step on moving walkway.  All go one way except Ksarul priestess.  She go other way.  We get poked, prodded, and sprayed with things.  But it go quickly.  Feel much better afterwards adn we gather in front of big window and watch priestess get drowned in pink fizzy stuff.  Not sure what going on, but she get brought back to us and her face all better.  The room we pass through seemed to have fixed up all our medical issues.  No more parasites.  A good feeling.  Shen like these yeleth.  A good place to visit.

Tour guide leads us to an administration building, a hospital and a workshop building.  We get many utensils and things from cafeteria, gather up stacks of medical things, gloves that fix/repair wounds.  Gloves fit Shen hands.  This good.  Much useful.  I slip one into my personal pouch for just-in-case.  Ksarul priestess finds place with much biology-things and she seems very pleased.  I ask for some things like what she take, just to keep up in looting.  Can't let a monkey out-loot a Shen.  No good that.  Best place of all is Workshop.  Yeleth at the Workshop very helpful and made a large luggage-cart for Shen so I carry all the things we allowed to gather from cafeteria, medical lockers, labs, and some very special items that the workshop yeleth made to order for us.  They very helpful.  We gather much and many good things from our new best friends the yeleth.  Bearer-slaves can keep quiet around Shen.

I get armor made form metal-of-the-ancients, and something called Ser-am-ick, both in a mesh and a plate-style configuration, all of it custom-fitted to me.  Also get a couple of shields (metal and cermic), and a selection of weapons (metal-of-ancients and ceramic).  Big wrench.  Set of self-powered hand-tools in size for Shen.  Far-seer-thingys.  Sandals that never wear out.  A complete ward-drobe of monkey-appropriate Shen-wear.  A set of Globes of Instruction and some Translator marbles.  Kaiya very busy arranging type sof Globes of Instruction.  Many different types in box.  Someone ask about Eyes and we get many fresh, new Eyes of various sorts.  Some I never heard about before.  I get replacements for my usual two and a few others ones as well.  This very good looting.  Like these monkeys.  No so much fighting, no so much getting blown-up, much good loot--almost like spending day in a bazaar of the ancients.  But Shen know this only because monkeys use brains after all and we come in through a back way.  We come at this from other direction we be in big troubles.  Mostly dead kind of troubles.  Qolari not dumb monkey, he figure out much of this and help explain it to rest.  He also get a set of what he called Disks for the Tubeway cars.  We go places now.  If they half good as here at South Pole, Shen very interested in coming along.

I ask nice yeleth for a set of tubeway disks like Qolari gets.  I slide them onto my cart and continue on my way like nothing happened.  These might be useful for egg-group down the road.  A spare set could come in handy later, just in case, as well.

We gather-up much good lootings then go back to wide, flat area with all the sleeping air cars lined-up in it.  Qolari uses a spell to carry all our carts -- monkeys all have workshop yeleth make monkey-sized carts in imitation of Shen once they see my cart -- and it all safely hidden-away and we can get it later.  Not sure how this works, but will learn more later.  Maybe that a spell Shen can learn.  It looks very useful.

We go other place.  Qolari call it 'Egg of World,' but Shen no not know what that mean.  No touch.  Globe-thing make much badness happen if poked, so Shen no poke it.  This time.  Others get muchly excited.  Kaiya help translate Sunuz inscriptions.  Shen only read them.  Monkeys not need ot know Shen read Sunuz.  They get all stuffy and overwrought.  Kill people over this sort of thing.  Shen no want impaled.  Keeps beak shut when has to.

Eventually we make way back to Tubeway Station, go back to Power Station and Vriddi Hunting Lodge.  Our procession reformed and we returned to town and the White Stone Calnhouse.  We haul our loot out of sorcery-place where Qolari hide it and start making plans for next trip.  I trade one of Globes of Instruction for Sunuz to Thumis-priest so that he help figure out what to do about 'egg' we recovered from tomb last time.  Shen not sorcerer yet, and not know best practices in such situation, so get Thumis-priest to help him and Kaiya, maybe we can ask for help from Ksarul-priestess too.  Shen want to know more about this egg.  It smells like right egg-group, but why it here?  Why it left in ancient shen-hero tomb under swampland in Butrus?  Shen want to know.

Must get to work on dispatches .  Report-in to Legion as well.  Have found exactly right spot half-way between Legion and Empire to implement plans as discussed.  Confidence is high.  All is proceeding as planned.

May 5, 2010

Game Session Reports, etc. for the Evens Group

Deliver To: Tsura hiTarguma, High Scholar, Temple of Ketengku, Isle of Vra

Dearest Cousin Tsura,
I am happy to report that my time here in Butrus is proving to be both educational and very enlightening. My companions have been wonderfully helpful in introducing me to the city and its environs and I have been well-protected by my Shen bodyguard. Thank you for engaging his services on my behalf. I've only been blown up once in my time here, and that was the unintended result of my own curiosity. I have also made some small progress in my linguistic survey, which, on a personal level, pleases me immensely.


Most recently a few of us went for a stroll and wandered into some underground territory. I shan't bore you with the details, however we did manage to find a few small trinkets of passing interest. I have entrusted this courier with a bauble for the temple to be delivered to you. It may not look like much, at first glance, but I suspect that you will find a good use for this item in your own studies. I have kept the only other one like it that we found here with me, where it will be safe and be of great help in my own studies.
I hope this message finds you well. I will send a detailed report on my time here as time permits.
Kaiya hiTarguma

From the Personal Journal of Kaiya hiTarguma

Butrus becomes more and more interesting every day. This particular branch of the White Stone Clan does seem to have a knack for finding good old stuff. Just as well, since they tend to do an inordinate amount of damage to their neighbors and can use the extra funding. The shen actually made a considerable sum of kaitars mollifying the locals in the House's most recent neighborhood interaction. He's worth watching.

I've debated recording this at all, but have decided that it's best to have a record for posterity, should anyone figure out how to decode it. We recently found what I would consider to be one of the best forms of transportation to date, a mechanism of the ancients that provides a form of mass instantaneous relocation. A mechanical form of translocation. In theory we might be able to use this system to visit almost any location in the world, although further testing on the return aspect will be needed. A small group of us did make a couple of visits in a few short hours, including a spot on the Southern Continent that I shall have to re-visit for a thorough ethnographic and linguistic survey, especially with some of the tools we recovered, which included boxes of translation devices and educational spheres which I have good reason to believe hold much of the knowledge lost to us across the ages.
We also recovered "healing touch" gloves (an appropriately descriptive if unimaginative name) that repair trauma almost immediately. I shall have to research their use in healing disease and contagion. I am unclear if they will be of use with poison or how they will handle some of the more sorcerously derived pestilences.

Everyone also acquired fresh armor of various sorts that would be entirely unproduceable anywhere else. I now have a new solid breast and back plate with matching skullcap as well as a separate set of custom-fitted mesh armor, neither of which seems to impair my magic in the least. This will most assuredly come in handy as we continue to explore things in more detail.
I made sure to follow the lead of my companions and retrieved many smaller items that can be sold or given without raising undue curiosity from eyes that do not need to see, only to be seen. The shen was good enough to let everyone copy his wheeled cart so that we could each drag back a sizable share of loot from this last venue. A priest of Qon is also a very handy person to have on hand.

All in all I'm very pleased with my current place in the world. There's so much more to discover, and this seems to be my best chance at doing it.

Game Session Reports, etc. for the Evens Group

Deliver To: Tsura hiTarguma, High Scholar, Temple of Ketengku, Isle of Vra

Dearest Cousin Tsura,
I am happy to report that my time here in Butrus is proving to be both educational and very enlightening. My companions have been wonderfully helpful in introducing me to the city and its environs and I have been well-protected by my Shen bodyguard. Thank you for engaging his services on my behalf. I've only been blown up once in my time here, and that was the unintended result of my own curiosity. I have also made some small progress in my linguistic survey, which, on a personal level, pleases me immensely.


Most recently a few of us went for a stroll and wandered into some underground territory. I shan't bore you with the details, however we did manage to find a few small trinkets of passing interest. I have entrusted this courier with a bauble for the temple to be delivered to you. It may not look like much, at first glance, but I suspect that you will find a good use for this item in your own studies. I have kept the only other one like it that we found here with me, where it will be safe and be of great help in my own studies.
I hope this message finds you well. I will send a detailed report on my time here as time permits.
Kaiya hiTarguma

From the Personal Journal of Kaiya hiTarguma

Butrus becomes more and more interesting every day. This particular branch of the White Stone Clan does seem to have a knack for finding good old stuff. Just as well, since they tend to do an inordinate amount of damage to their neighbors and can use the extra funding. The shen actually made a considerable sum of kaitars mollifying the locals in the House's most recent neighborhood interaction. He's worth watching.

I've debated recording this at all, but have decided that it's best to have a record for posterity, should anyone figure out how to decode it. We recently found what I would consider to be one of the best forms of transportation to date, a mechanism of the ancients that provides a form of mass instantaneous relocation. A mechanical form of translocation. In theory we might be able to use this system to visit almost any location in the world, although further testing on the return aspect will be needed. A small group of us did make a couple of visits in a few short hours, including a spot on the Southern Continent that I shall have to re-visit for a thorough ethnographic and linguistic survey, especially with some of the tools we recovered, which included boxes of translation devices and educational spheres which I have good reason to believe hold much of the knowledge lost to us across the ages.
We also recovered "healing touch" gloves (an appropriately descriptive if unimaginative name) that repair trauma almost immediately. I shall have to research their use in healing disease and contagion. I am unclear if they will be of use with poison or how they will handle some of the more sorcerously derived pestilences.

Everyone also acquired fresh armor of various sorts that would be entirely unproduceable anywhere else. I now have a new solid breast and back plate with matching skullcap as well as a separate set of custom-fitted mesh armor, neither of which seems to impair my magic in the least. This will most assuredly come in handy as we continue to explore things in more detail.
I made sure to follow the lead of my companions and retrieved many smaller items that can be sold or given without raising undue curiosity from eyes that do not need to see, only to be seen. The shen was good enough to let everyone copy his wheeled cart so that we could each drag back a sizable share of loot from this last venue. A priest of Qon is also a very handy person to have on hand.

All in all I'm very pleased with my current place in the world. There's so much more to discover, and this seems to be my best chance at doing it.

Mar 29, 2010

The Good, The Bad and the Undead

Saturday we were able to return to the world of Tekumel after a bit of a (schedule-necessitated) hiatus.  It was very nice to see everyone and Team Vriddi appeared to have survived their attempt to annex Hawaii with few complaints.  Chirene, our intrepid and most patient of GMs (and a very gracious host), has already given a brief account of some of what transpired at his blog which you can read here.  I particularly liked the "I toss a rock at it to see if it's undead." bit.  Priceless.  The resulting exlosion from the combination Radiant Gaze and all the alchemical ordnance was spectacular, if a bit warmer than necessary for a typical shen's more refined tastes in such matters.  But it did the job, and as the shen lost no money as part of the incident, no serious harm was done.  It pays to remain practical in such matters.

I play a shen, my wife plays a priestess of Ketengku.  The shen is technically her bodyguard, but he does some freelancing on the side, especially when bored.  Ot if there are kaitars to be made.

The last session was well rewarding for the shen in particular.  What follows is my game report as recorded by the shen.


From Journal of the Shen:
After receiving 5,000 Kaitars from the aggrieved landlords and neighbors to express their collective and quite understandable desire that our resident alchemist cease and desist from infringing upon their homes with further caustic and foul fumigations from other planes or worse, the shen was then able to extract a tidy sum of 6,000k from said alchemist for the service of not removing his head on behalf of the afore-mentioned landlords.  Their case stated clearly, the shen paid handsomely, all was well with the world.  (Of course it was nothing personal, it was just business.  The priest of Thumis might want to consider taking out one of our shen personal protection plans in the future.  We give him special Vriddi discount.)

As the toxic smog cleared from the doorway to the Thumis-priest's alchemical lab, and the shen made some kaitars, two 'soul stealing demons' wandered out to get a breath of fresh air.  There was much confusion and many silly monkeys running about trying to avert their eyes from the demons (to avoid losing their souls).  They did manage to capture one of the sleek, furry bite-sized morsels, but when the other one of the 'soul-stealing demons' escaped from the compound, a priest of Belkhanu and another of the very generous Vriddi hired the shen to capture the demon for 200k.  Capturing said demon, the shen proceeded to auction it off to the highest bidder, in this case the nice Vriddi who drinks like a shen for 2,000k.  A very reasonable price for him to complete the set of matching 'soul-stealing demons,' and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if ever there was one.  All in all it was a very pleasant diversion and a fairly entertaining floor-show as well.  It is good to be shen amongst so many funny monkeys.  Even despite the smell.

Later, we all go for little stroll together.  It either because they all afraid of swamps, or maybe the other monkeys ask them to leave.  I not care.  Me shen.  I tag along to keep an eye on priestess, like good bodyguard.  At first I think it might be a picnic, possibly a religious procession -- there were many people from one of the temples out in the steeets, some very reverential, others very close to rioting.  Such things make little sense to shen.  Humans have too many gods, get too confused.  Not sensible like shen.  But they pay well, so it hokey-dokey with me.

Out in the nice swamps the Vriddi keep a hunting lodge, a small place but comfortable and with good views of the swamps.  Many tasty things to eat in these swamps, not so many predators to eat shen like back home, and best of all only a few ahoggya that no one miss if they some-how disappear.  Very nice.

The other Belkhanu priest, the one who actually knows spells and appreciates value of a shen in the group, tells us that we are to go down into underworld.  Much good loot there.  This is most wonderful news.  Make shen happy.  We go down into underworld, some old human temple or tomb that they not need any more, not want very much, so it okay for us to visit it and maybe find souvenirs.  They waste much time making map of place.  Pah!  If you loot it thoroughly the first time, no need to ever go back.  That's why we bring bearer-slaves, especially since shen not allowed to eat bearer-slaves --a silly rule.

We see many dead things, most packed away in urns and things.  Not very comfortable looking.  Meet undead warrior with mace.  Thumis priest tosses rock at the warrior.  Apparently temple of Thumis teach you how to tell if undead or not by throwing a rock at things.  Wonder how much that cost to learn?  Might be handy someday.  The warrior definitely was undead.  Mace a cheap replica, not much market value.  I let others have it after party nearly incinerated by temple-lady in back of party.  Undead warrior much worse-off than party.  It mostly a scorch-mark that obliterates the once-glowing glyph that used to be on the floor where it used to be standing.  She very good at the blowing-up of things.  I try to keep an eye on where she standing from now on.  Just in case.  Most of party complaining loudly, not appreciate temple-lady's spell.  Shen no complain; for a little while things were cozy and warm like back home.  But we put out flames, several monkeys require medical assistance.  They very fragile creatures.

Priestess of Ketengku try to pick-up mace.  Glowing replica explodes.  We survive.  Another very useful trick worth learning sometime.  It very good for selling things to ahoggya or maybe get a second fee for making things not go boom after leaving shop--there is some money to be made in this somehow, I can almost smell it.

We go farther on into the place.  Very dusty.  Lots of dead people crammed into walls, urns, niches, whatever.  Seems like waste of perfectly good meat, but humans funny about such things.  Oh well.  Might consider bringing slaves back another time, cart-loads of old cadavers can be sold, discretely, to temple of Sarku, but they tend to want to buy in bulk and not very generous with their coins.  Need several carts to do a good job, and even then it very low retrun on investment and lot of effort for not much money.  Maybe just keep the idea in back of head for a time when things get a bit slow.  One never knows when a little pocket change could come in handy.

I break many doors.  They mostly have good sense to snap into kindling at one good slap of the tail.  A fun game.  One door we find has scuttling noises behind it.  I think it maybe something good to eat.  Break door and leap in only to get mauled by a zrne.  Zrne not so good tasting; I bit the thing.  Too much fur.  I wrestle with zrne as it is in playful mood.  Between tail-bashing, choking and some stomps I get the zrne to pass out.  No kill it.  Make a leash from last bit of rope not entirely burned by previous fireworks.  I make a pet of zrne.  Collect-up broken teeth, very poisonous to monkeys, and offer some to the tinaliya to make weapons with, and to priestess who knows about poisons, she a Ksarul-priestess.  It seems to cheer her up after losing most of her other things in big fire.  Other helpful Vriddi ruby-eye's the zrne so it much easier to drag behind.  Zrne much more quiet and easy to manage that way.  When we get back, I ask for a cellar maybe, or maybe dig a pit or they have empty room in which to house-train the zrne.  I name it 'fluffy.'  A good name for hairy zrne.  I think it will be my friend.

We go farther into the place, see a few places with underground streams or canals, find a few more rooms with dead people in them, then just when shen getting hungry and thinking about heading back or maybe paying shamtla for a slave to nibble, we find a tomb of old dead shen.  No stink!  For real.  Big placard in front reads 'Monkeys Stay Out.'  I know because I read shen.  Me no monkey, I go inside.  Many murals of mighty shen general smiting all manner of bad-wicked-evil non-shen beings, being very victorious in great battles.  Briefly discuss how to remove murals, but we not have tools to do so with us, probably need to hire some craftsfolk or artisans to either remove murals or make copies.  But that for later.  In middle of room is a Jade Egg.  It smells just like my own egg-group.  A good omen.  I take the egg, being the only shen in the room, and stuff it into my handy Vriddi gift-sack, the one that I used to capture the 'soul-stealing demon' with earlier.  The pillar that the Jade Egg was sitting upon begins to slowly sink into the floor.  Not being a stupid-monkey, shen gets out of room fast as possible.  No like traps.  Most tombs have traps.  They poor sports about getting looted.  No want to get looted, hide better or eat instead of bury the dead.  Duh.

Not longer after it time to go back.
Shen Treasure Tally for this session:
  • 13,201 Kaitars (some odd Yan Koryani coins mixed in with the rest somehow; shen no ask questions, gold is gold)
  • 1 New Pet Zrne (Fluffy)
  • 5-6 left-over Zrne-teeth, soon to be auctioned off for ahem 'medical uses.'
  • 1 very nice, slightly singed 'demon-catching' bag only used once, of Vriddi manufacture
  • 1 Jade Egg, smell like very good shen egg-group: egg-eaters of Ss-Ku

All in all, a very good day's work.  Shen not see why so many people say bad things about Vriddi--they make shen rich, give him pets, let him have door-prizes.  Shen like Vriddi.

We do this again sometime.