Dragon's Song

Baptism of Fire - Episode 1
The introductory adventure from the Feng Shui rulebook

Warning: Contains spoilers for Baptism of Fire

It was a quiet lunchtime in the Eating Counter noodle house on Temple Street in Kowloon. The restaurant was fairly busy, and the food from Shen Kar-Wai and service from Carina Shen were both excellent. Shamus, Olaf Mikkelson and Dai Nanhai were all quietly minding their own business and eating their food.

There was a ruckus as Happy Cheung and the Poison Thorns burst into the restaurant and started causing trouble. Carina went over, looking very nervous and offers them cash, but the big guy just smashed it out of her hand, as the rest of the Thorns spread out around the restaurant. Kar-Wai comes out from the kitchen and started yelling at them, but Cheung just pushed him to the floor.

Incensed by the poor treatment of the restaurant staff, our heroes jump to their feet and stand up to the bullies.

At this point, chaos ensues. Fists and kicks go flying, plates are smashed, feet are nailed to the floor with chopsticks and in the end, the Thorns beat a speedy retreat, with Happy Cheug vowing vengeance.

Once things calm down, the heroes help clean up the place. Kar-Wei is livid, saying that he already pays protection money to Fast Eddie Lo, but the Poisons Thorns have been around twice already demanding protection money paid to them instead. Other local businesses have been threatened as well, but this is the first time that the Thorns have actually taken action.

Carina is worried about her uncle’s health: he has a heart condition and she is a afraid the stress will kill him.

The heroes offer to help and after learning more about Fast Eddie, they decide to go visit him.

The head to The Bun Festival, a nasty topless strip club two blocks south of the Eating Counter. Shamus feels right at home, and enjoys the floor show, while Dai is entranced by the near naked women just walking around.

After asking about a bit, the heroes talk to the bartender, Bri Davis, about a meeting with Fast Eddie. After a bit of negotiation, the characters are shown into an opulent backroom, after first surrendering all their weapons.

Fast Eddie comes in a few minutes later, surrounded by burly enforcers. After offering the heroes drinks and cigars, he asks them what they are here for.

They explain about the Thorns attack on the Eating Counter, and ask if Fast Eddie knows any more. Fast Eddie explains that the Thorns have started muscling in on his turf recently, but until now, haven’t done any more than make threats. Their leader is a little guy named Sneezy Teng, and that the Poison Thorns have been hanging around a construction site in the Mongkok district. Fast Eddie also says that if someone was willing and able to deal with the Thorns, he’s be very grateful.

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Baptism of Fire - Episode 2
The introductory adventure from the Feng Shui rulebook

Warning: Contains spoilers for Baptism of Fire

After dark, Lightning Su is checking out a construction site on Canton Street in the Mongkok District. She’s heard that a new skyscraper is being built there, and is looking to get ahead of the security and find both ways to circumvent the alarm system as it’s installed, as well as potential hiding places for stolen loot.

Coincidentally, this happens to be the same construction site where our other heroes are coming to look for the Poison Thorns, having been directed here by Fast Eddie Lo.

As Lightning Su looks on from the girders above, Shamus rips a whole panel out of the wooden fence surrounding the construction site, causing the Thorn thugs to come spilling out of the two shacks besides the construction zone.

At this point, everyone was kung fu fighting, as the song goes.

Before long, the heroes have subdued the thorns, but not before Dai Nanhai climbs up to the construction crane, and uses the hooks to smash mooks to and fro.

After the fight, the heroes start to question one of the incapacitated Thorns. He’s initially unwilling to talk, as he believes that he’s under some kind of spell that will kill him if he spills the beans.

The interrogation continues and the heroes trick the guy into talking, at which point, the mook’s literally explodes. Very messy.

Dai searches the huts at the site, and finds two things.

The first is a guy cowering in the corner. It’s turns out it’s a lawyer, Paul Chang (who’s a lot more dishevelled than his photo), who was here with some contract documentation, transferring ownership of the Eating Counter to one Ta Yu. Chang is not part of the Thorns gang, but was told to meet Sneezy Teng here tonight, but Teng had not yet shown up.

The other is a locked metal box, which is ably opened by Lightning Su, which contains a variety of maps of Temple Street, with several locations, including the Eating Counter, circled in red. Additionally, there’s a detail map of the Eating Counter, which is surrounded by strange mystical symbols and calculations.

Taking the contract and maps, the heroes – now including Lightning Su – head back to the Eating Counter, where they discover a distraught Shen Kar-Wai. After initially thinking it was the Thorns coming back and preparing to defend his restaurant, the heroes learn that Carina Shen has been kidnapped and is being held for ransom.

He shows the heroes a ransom note telling him to come to a tenement building in Kowloon, and not to bring the cops, Fast Eddie Lo‘s men or anyone else, or Carina will be killed. The note has a lock of (presumably) Carina’s hair taped to it as confirmation.

The heroes vow to rescue Carina and head over to the tenement. Spotting some of the Poison Thorn members lurking in the lobby, Lightning Su and Dai pose as a sister and brother pair looking to recover a lost kite. They talk their way past the thugs and head to the floor above where Carina is being held.

Carina knocks on the door of the apartment above, and is met by an elderly Chinese lady. They repeat their story about looking for a lost kite, and the grandmother is so enamored with them that she lets them do anything they want.

Su dangles Dai by the ankles from the apartment’s back window, and Dai can see Carina laying bound and gagged on a bed in the back room of the apartment below. He also spots Happy Cheung having a cigarette on a little balcony at the back.

Su and Dai meet up with the others and report their findings. The heroes decide that rather than a frontal assault on the apartment, they’ll try and sneak in from the apartment across the alleyway.

Using Olaf Mikkelson’s police badge as cover, they convince a family to give them access to their apartment so they can go out the back window and across the alley to the apartment where Carina is being held. They manage to string a line across between the two buildings, and move across the alley, with the family looking on with baited breath.

Olaf manages to get the window to Carina’s room open without making a noise, and sneaks inside to get Carina out. Just as he’s doing so, Shamus – who is outside on the balcony – hears a noise coming from the apartment’s other window and sneaks a look. He see’s a strangely dressed Ta Yu, who reacts to the intrusion by launching a fireball.

Shamus, taken aback, steps into the window and blasts the sorcerer several times with his shotgun, killing him.

Meanwhile, Olaf manages to get Carina out the window to safety with Su and Dai before Happy Cheung bursts into the room and starts a fight. By using some clever tactics involving the window’s blind and the occasional boot to the head, Olaf manages to stop Cheung and everyone makes their escape.

The heroes reunite the traumatised Carina with her Uncle, and the pair are eternally grateful. Kar-Wei, as a token of gratitude, allows the heroes to attune to the Eating Counter, which, as it turns out, is a Feng Shui site.

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The Song Box - Episode 1
Glimpses of a bigger picture

After spending a couple of weeks helping the Shens repair the damage to the Eating Counter, Lightning Su, Olaf Mikkelson, and Shamus take a break to attend a festival at the Taoist monastery where Shamus had recovered from his ordeal with the people smugglers.

The monastery’s main courtyard was decked out in all manner of bright decorations, and there were tables laden with food and drink around the edges.

The head monk, Brother Tan Kiu-Wai was entertaining several distinguished guests, among them Chief Inspector Norman Lung of the Hong Kong Police Force and Colonel Huang Chi-Wai of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, who is in Hong Kong to oversee the handing over of the colony to Chinese rule the following year.

Because of the dignataries’ presence, a journalist – Raymond Johnson – is also there covering the story.

Everything is going along fine, with everyone having a good time, when suddenly, a large group of martial artists burst through the front door and disrupt the proceedings.

The heroes leap to the defence of the monastry, and a huge kung fu battle ensues.

Towards the end of the fight, Raymond notices a figure leaping across the rooftops of the monastry and then sneaking into the upper floor while everyone is distracted. Leaving the battle, he races inside and bounds up the stairs.

There, he finds a man in long white robes, his hair braided in long ponytail down his back and a sword strapped to his back. Initially, the man has his back to Raymond and appears to be examining the contents of a shrine set up to revere one of the monastery’s previous head monks.

Raymond shouts out to the others and, having taken care of the mooks downstairs (with many of the survivors having fled), they all race up to find out what’s going on.

In no time, combat has broken out upstairs, with the four heroes quickly overpowering the lone swordsman. Knowing when he is defeated, he runs back out onto the balcony and makes an incredible leap across the entire length of the courtyard, but not before Olaf Mikkelson can shoot him in the back.

Despite being badly wounded, the swordsman makes another leap across the street and vanishes from view.

Heading back downstairs, the heroes help the monks clean up the mess as the Hong Kong Police Force arrives to start arresting the unconscious combatants. As it turns out, the Chief Inspector and Colonel are both unhurt but are shaken by the ruckus. They both thank the heroes for their assistance.

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The Song Box - Episode 2
Glimpses of a bigger picture

Dai Nanhai hadn’t been at the “festivities” at the monastery and had missed all the excitement. But some of the other street kids in the area had told him about the fight and he’d shown up to check out what had happened. As he arrived, the mooks were being led off by the police. He headed inside and found the rest of the heroes there, starting to clean up the mess they had helped create.

After the dust had settled in the monastery, the heroes head back upstairs to see what it was that the mystery swordsman had been after. The swordsman had been standing in front of a small shrine. Apart from the usual bowls of sand holding incense sticks, and a picture of the departed, it also head a carved stone bowl and a carved box. It was the box that the swordsman had been interested in.

The head monk, Brother Tan Kiu-Wai, explained that the shrine was dedicated to the previous head monk, who had passed away a couple of years earlier. The items in the shrine were special to him, and the monastery had kept them in place as solid links to the departed.

After discussing the actions of the swordsman and trying to figure out where he had leapt to from the front of the monastery, Lightning Su took advantage of the confusion to sneak back up the shrine. While no one was looking, she quickly pocketed the box before anyone was any the wiser.

With things at the monastery calming down, the heroes decided to return to the Eating Counter to unwind. They discussed the events and compared notes on the swordsman.

While they were there, two men came into the restaurant and walked over to the heroes. They introduced themselves as Charles Tam and Danny Pieu, two members of the HK Police’s Terrorism Response Group. They had a few questions to ask about the fight at the monastery, and when the heroes mentioned they thought the swordsman had been interested in the carved box, the two police said that the box had been subsequently stolen.

After they ask a few more questions, the two cops hand out business cards and say they’ll be in touch. With that, they leave.

With not much else to do, the heroes go their own separate ways for the evening. A few of them look into a few things.

Raymond

Raymond Johnson, using his journalistic skills, hits the library. Intrigued by the strange attire and look of the swordsman, he hits the books looking for information about the distinctive blue sword his opponent used.

After a while, he finds a picture of it, and discovers it was called Blue Lightning. It was the signature weapon of a master swordsman from the 1850s, a man named Yuen Chung,

Digging a little further, Raymond finds a picture of Yuen Chung, who looks suspiciously like the swordsman they encountered earlier that day at the monastery. He was one of three master swordsman, the other two being Han Kuang and Lei Wai-Tak, who collectively went by the name of the Three Brothers. The brothers fought hard against the British rule in China, and disappeared in the mid-1860s.

But if swordsman is in fact Yuen Chung, that would make the him over 150 years old, and he didn’t look much past thirty…

Lightning Su and Dai

Lightning Su and Dai Nanhai decide to do some research into the box she stole from the monastery. After some hunting, Su discovers the box is made from rare imperial semi-fossilised Phoebe Zhennan wood. Highly prized by the Chinese dynasties, she guesses that the box is from the Southern Song Dynasty.

She gets in touch with her fence, Buddy Ha, to see if there are have been any inquiries about such items. He said that he had been approached by someone who was interested in such things, but when she asked who, Buddy refused to divulge the name of his clients, reminding her that that was how the business ran for security reasons.

Shortly afterwards, she gets a phone call from another of Buddy’s “finders”, a fellow thief named Markie Wei. Markie is a bit shaken, telling Su that he wanted to meet up.

Su and Dai meet up with Markie at at an all-night diner, and he tells them that he’d been doing a job acquiring a rare wooden and jade abacus, from a high-rise apartment. But he was beaten to the punch by a guy in long white robes, who had a long ponytail at the back and the front of his head shaved, just like the swordsman from the monastery. He tried to catch the guy, but the guy took the abacus and jumped from the apartment’s balcony. But instead of falling, he seemed to fly off into the night.

Thinking that it might be same swordsman as the group had encountered earlier, Su asks if the mystery thief was about 5’6", the height of the swordsman earlier. Markie says that the thief he saw was much taller, around 5’10" or 5’11".

After learning that the box is from the Song Dynasty, Dai offers to show Su something. Taking her to his secret hiding place, he shows her the box that his father had given him when they were separated. Both of them are amazed by the similarities between the two boxes.

Afterwards, because it’s late, Su takes Dai back to crash at her apartment, and he’s amazed at how opulent it is, because he’s used to living on the streets.

Olaf

After taking an early night at home, Olaf Mikkelson is awoken by his mobile phone going off in the middle of the night. There’s been a break-in at an estate on Hong Kong island, and as he’s on call, he’s asked to attend.

Shortly afterwards, he arrives at the home of Sylvia Yun, a rich Chinese widow. She explains that she was awoken by a strange noise coming from her late husband’s study. When she went to investigate, in the moonlight she saw a strange man with a long ponytail making off with a Jade Bell, an expensive artefact that had been her husband’s prized possession.

While he’s taking her statement, he’s surprised by the arrival of Charles Tam and Danny Pieu from the TRG. They’re not saying a whole lot about why they’re there, and demand to be given copies of Olaf’s paperwork on the case in the morning. Olaf, in returns, politely asks for copies of the TRG’s casefiles, and is told he’s not cleared for that.

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The Song Box - Episode 3
Glimpses of a bigger picture

The heroes decide to meet back at the Eating Counter, as it’s a central location for all of them. As Raymond Johnson is arriving, he sees a jet black SUV parked outside, and sees one of the occupants pointing a camera with a telephoto lens at the restaurant – a tell-tale sign of a stake out.

He finds a local fruit vendor and buys a banana, before sneaking back to the SUV and sliding it up into the vehicle’s exhaust pipe, before heading up into the restaurant himself. Once inside, he informs the rest of the group that they’re being watched. Olaf Mikkelson takes a look, and then calls in the licence plate and learns that the SUV is registered to the Terrorism Response Group, which makes him somewhat suspicious.

Shamus is feeling mischievous, so he orders some noodles from Shen Kar-Wai and then sends Dai Nanhai down to deliver it to the vehicle. The occupants are surprised, and realising they were made, drive off shortly afterwards. But because of the banana in the tailpipe, the SUV breaks down only a little ways down the road, causing traffic chaos on busy Temple Street.

After the heroes meet up again this next morning, Lightning Su decides to find a way to “recover” the stolen box, as though she is taking a phone call from a contact. She pretends to be talking on the phone, although the veracity of the call leaves at least Olaf suspicious.

Shortly after she pretends to hang up, her phone rings for real: it’s Buddy Ha, saying that he has a “customer” who is interested in the box. Although there’s nothing in his tone of voice, Su figures out quickly that he’s talking under duress, as he never refers to “customers”, only “clients”.

She passes the message on to the rest of the heroes, and asks if they will accompany her to retrieve the box, following her tip off. What she doesn’t tell them is that she wants them along as muscle, because she wants to go visit Majestic Imports, Buddy Ha’s exclusive gallery, which is where she thinks he is being held.

The group agrees, and they set off through the cross-harbour tunnel to Hong Kong island.

Shortly afterwards, they arrive at Majestic Imports, and find the front door unlocked. This surprises Su, as she knows that Buddy always leaves the door locked, as the gallery is by appointment only (helping to maintain its “exclusive” status).

Inside, on the ground floor, everything appears normal, although the gallery is currently unattended. The decor is modern, made up of white walls, stainless steel and glass shelving and a variety of expensive art pieces. Olaf takes a close look and realises that some of the pieces at least may have been stolen in Europe or North America, so he begins carefully taking photos of the items for later cross-checking.

Meanwhile, the others follow Su up the back steps to the office. There they find the place in utter disarray, as though the place has been torn apart. There’s some blood near the desk, but there’s no sign of Buddy.

Looking around, the heroes realise that the office area is under video surveillance, so they search around some more and find a panic room at the back of the office area. Once inside, they find the surveillance gear, and can review the video footage.

Expecting to find Buddy here when he made his call to Su, they find the gallery owner had already been abducted by that time. They rewind the security footage even further, and find that four hours earlier, two men in robes – with partly shaved heads and long ponytails – had arrived in the office and asked about a box. When Buddy refused to talk, they began threatening him. As a result, Buddy pulled a Colt .45 from under the desk and then everything went pear shaped: the two robed men proceeded to kick the living snot out of Buddy, before dragging him out of the office.

Shamus, looking for an advantage, rewinds the surveillance tape several times and studies the assailants’ fu moves in slow motion. After a few watches, he realises that both of them are using a kung fu form that’s very strong on offence, but comparatively weak on defence, perhaps showing a chink in their otherwise formidable armour.

Olaf calls the Hong Kong Police Force and reports the break in, and waits downstairs for the police force to arrive. Meanwhile, the rest of the group scout about, following Buddy’s blood trail out the back of the building into the alleyway. Olaf also makes a call to an Interpol colleque, Eddie Schickelgr├╝ber, and requests a phone trace on the number that called Su’s phone earlier. Eddie says he’ll see what he can do.

They discover that the blood trail goes up the wall to the roof, so they scout around looking for access. After a while, they find a way out, and follow the trail down the roofline, where they again lose it, as though Buddy was flown off the roof somehow.

Meanwhile, in the gallery, the police have arrived, and the forensic unit spreads out and begins to catalogue the crime scene. Shortly afterwards, Charles Tam and Danny Pieu from the TRG arrive and start asking Olaf questions. They tell him that they’re still waiting on his report from the break in at Sylvia Yun’s estate, and he explains that all they need to do is officially request the paperwork using the correct requisition form and they can have it. Danny makes a quick call and has it organised.

After leaving the gallery, Su and the others actually do retrieve the stolen box. Just after they do so, she gets another call from Buddy Ha. When he asks if Su had recovered the box, he explains the customers are quite anxious to have it delivered, and he gives her an address on the docks in Kowloon, telling her to arrive one hour after dark.

Olaf, meanwhile, contacts Eddie again, and realising that the number is a mobile phone, requests a rough triangulation of the phone’s signal. Eddie is able to confirm that the call is coming from somewhere on the Kowloon docks, indicating that Buddy is already at the meet location.

Dai, with his knowledge of the Hong Kong gangland situation, explains that the docks in that area are under control of the Green Serpent Triad. He doesn’t know if the triad is involved in the thefts or Buddy’s kidnapping though.

Hoping to get the jump on the meet, the heroes locate the security company that provides surveillance for the dock area. Using some trickery to distract the staff there, Dai is able to sneak onto one of the monitoring station computers and starts looking for footage. After a while, he finds a couple of seconds worth of video showing two men in robes dragging what appears to be a badly beaten man. From the angle of the camera, it’s more or less in the area where the meet is scheduled to go down after dark.

With not much time left, the heroes decide to prepare for the upcoming battle…

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