Shangapore: The Eye of the Lotus

Session 2
- A Day At 'The Lodge'

Present: Mike (Oddjob Jones), Lee (Sir Charles Lytton AKA the Phantom), Jim (Old Man Wang) and Ben (GM).

Since The Last Session
The website has had a real flurry of activity thanks to Lee, Mike and Jamie for their contributions. All NPC’s have been given a profile and picture, as have the locations and we even have a map on which to overlay all of the worldbuilding locations.

Overview
The second session saw the players take decisive action in the mystery surrounding the enigmatic Chun Li, opening up all kind of whup-ass on the Wu Shen Triads and recovering vital clues to the secret of the Eye of the Lotus.

Character Creation
This session we had Jimmy joining us playing ‘Old Man Wang’ an incredibly old back alley Chinese alchemist, master of the esoteric and the hardest octagenarian in the city.

World Building
After the success of the first session of World Building, I decided to pull back on the amount we did this session. Simply because I didn’t want the city to become too overwhelming for me or the players as several locations from the first session remain unused. I settled on one card each for the following categories;
- Location
- Location – Large Detail
- Location – Small Detail
- NPC
- NPC – Detail / Quirk
- Event*

*This session I introduced the idea of both a timeline and growth to the city by introducing Events – something that has happened, rather than a person, place, item or rumour. An Event can be laid on either a location/NPC etc in which case it has just happened or will shortly happen – hopefully keeping the city moving forward, or it can be laid on a timeline track above the map to gradually build the past of the city.

Game Events
Oddjob Jones questioned Chun Li and Charlie the Bartender a bit further about what she wanted, and what was really going on prior to delivering Chun Li’s ‘message’ to the Triads. In fact, Oddjob discovered just who owns Joe’s Bar – Chun Li’s father – ‘Cho’ Li (which he Anglicised to Joe for the sake of the bar), who was brutally murdered about 5 years ago and about which Chun Li has been obsessing over.

Rising early with help from his trusted butler Argyle, Sir Charles kept his meeting in the early morning mist of the abandoned Wharf 13 with Chun Li. She requested he steal a map from Tony Wu, leader of the Wu Shen Triads, using the ruckus caused by Oddjob taking the fight to them in their Opium den, called ‘the Lodge’, as a distraction. Sir Charles agreed in exchange for everything else he finds at Tony’s place – and because he’s a sucker for the ladies (and because he’d already copied her secret key and wants the ‘prize’ the map and key undoubtedly lead to). Before they could conclude their business though a ghostly shape in the fog resolved itself into a trilby wearing figure – Detective Eddy Edison.

Detective Edison tells Sir Charles that he’s on to him and that it’s only a matter of time before he can prove that Sir Charles is the Phantom. And with a parting threat that he’ll do whatever it takes to bring Sir Charles down, he disappears back into the fog.

Meanwhile in his back street alchemists shop, Old Man Wang was worried by rumours that Chun Li, daughter of Cho Li (a murdered Taoist Sorcerer and acquaintance of Wang’s) was searching for the Eye of the Lotus, a powerful artefact of unknown origin. Chun Li had apparently already hired a group of toughs to help her in finding the artefact as part of her plan for vengeance on her father’s killers. Wang knew what such an artefact could do in the hands of someone who didn’t understand it and knew he had to act to keep her, or anyone else, from getting it. Luckily for Wang, the description of one of the toughs matched Oddjob Jones a well known local fighter. Wang put out a call to Oddjob’s network that he needed to speak to him and a few hours later Oddjob arrived.

As two well respected Chinese locals Wang and Oddjob had encountered each other before. Wang confronted Oddjob about Chun Li’s plans. Oddjob was taken aback and didn’t know how to handle Old Man Wang – tee hee! ;)
Oddjob told Wang she had said nothing to him about finding any items, only about the ‘message’ he was supposed to deliver to Tony Wu and showed Wang the Queen of Diamonds card on which Chun Li had drawn the =X= symbol. Wang recognised it as an amalgamation of two characters from an old and obscure form of Cantonese. The two characters being ‘hell’ and ‘eye’, though whether the symbol was a curse, a warning or something else was unclear.

Wang felt he needed to know more about Chun Li’s plans and what part Tony Wu played in the puzzle and so agreed to go with Oddjob to the Lodge to ‘talk’ to the Wu Shen.

But first, they needed some special Old Man Wang tea… As they drank, Oddjob told Wang that the Lodge had a reputation that some of the Opium there was contaminated, and that only the truly depraved and desperate went there. Oddjob also picked up that morning’s Shangapore Whisperer from Wang’s desk and read that 5 men had been found with their throats cut… The very men Oddjob and D’Souza had beaten as they tried to ransack Chun Li’s dressing room only the night before.

Meanwhile, Sir Charles began to scout the area of the Lodge and planned an audacious entry to the dilapidated tenement over the nearby rooftops. Correctly assessing that Tony Wu would keep his private office at the top and that security would be lighter up there.

Oddjob and Wang chose a more direct route and walked through the beaded curtain covering the low arched doorway and into the ground floor den. The Lodge was dim and dingy with dozens of tables, cots and booths in which were slumped half concious patrons. The place stank of rancid sweat and piss, covered by the sweet cloying smell of opium smoke.

The pair approached the only man concious in the whole ground floor, a bored lackey lazily carving on the counter with a knife. “Take a seat and we’ll bring you a pipe.” He growled without looking up. Ignoring the man they said, “We’re here to see Tony Wu.” The man looked up for the first time and assessed them, “He’s busy. What do you want to see him for?” Things escalated and resulted in the thug being quickly dispatched. However a shout from above signalled the start of further hostilities, despite some attempts at deception by Wang and Oddjob.

The first floor was also quickly cleared of thugs by the pair – it being a den for slightly more affluent customers, though the smell remained largely the same. As they went, Oddjob bent, broke and otherwise rendered useless every weapon the Wu Shen tried to use on him with his boundless strength.

By the time they hit the second floor the place was in turmoil as the gang began to respond to the threat. Here they were shot at by one of Tony’s Lieutenants and the going got a bit rougher as Oddjob took a bullet, but the big man just kept coming.

Soon they moved to the third floor where the Opium was stored and prepared and the hangout for the rank and file lackeys was. Here a vicious brawl broke out as two more of the Wu Shen’s ‘made men’ waded into the fight – a vicious Martial Artist and a great Bear of a man, along with nearly a dozen thugs. The floor was a flurry of moves as Wang’s minimalist chi-do and Oddjob’s bone-pounding might made short work of the lackeys. Facing off against their opposites proved tougher though until they pulled ‘the old switcheroo’ trick. By the end Oddjob was winded, but they stood unchallenged and prepared to ascend to Tony’s personal office.

Meanwhile, the Phantom, seeing them enter took his chance to get in. With true cat-like finesse he leapt from rooftop to rooftop, until he finally stood on the roof of the Lodge. He skillfully disarmed a lethal trap on the only hatch and silently dropped into a small storage room. Looking through a small grill in the door he could see Tony and 2 of his ‘made men’ looking at a copy of the Shangapore Whisperer and laughing about the deaths of the 5 men whose throats had been slit.

Suddenly, they were distracted as the sounds of fighting became clearer. Tony reached for a pistol and a silvered cleaver and the others too prepared and faced the door leading down to the sounds. Taking advantage of the distraction, the Phantom threw a smoke bomb into the room and crept through the smoke as the Wu Shen shouted and swiped at the air. He reached Tony’s safe and after a couple of false starts opened it by listening to and feeling the tumblers. He cleaned out the safe into a bag without looking at the contents and as the smoke began to clear he was heading back out of the hatch with gunshots whistling past his ears.

Old Man Wang and Oddjob Jones burst into the offices at the sound of gunshots and took the three occupants, all clustered by a storage cupboard shooting guns up, by surprise. Tony Wu turned, raised a pistol in one hand and a cleaver in the other and said “You just messed with the wrong guy”. Unfortunately, Tony and his men were about to discover that it was they who were messing with the wrong guys as Wang and Oddjob tore into them.

Fighting was fierce but eventually Tony Wu lay on the floor with his blood all over his white suit as Oddjob told him to leave Chun Li alone. Tony was still not convinced and told them “When the boss finds out about this, that little whore is dead! You’re dead! You’re all dead! You have no idea what you’re dealing with!” Oddjob did a little more ‘convincing’ and finally Tony whimpered that he understood he had to leave Chun Li alone. Finally Oddjob threw the playing card on his chest in disgust.

Wang meantime, had been searching the room, realised the safe had been ransacked and found, hanging in a window, an occult charm which appears to be some form of mystic compass, though it appears to need something to work in conjunction with. He also made sure Tony wasn’t about to die of his wounds.

Finally the pair slowly picked their way back down the building past groaning and comatose bodies, Wang taking a large amount of opium with him and Oddjob taking or destroying every remaining weapon. While Sir Charles slipped quietly away to find a Cartographer or forger to copy the map before he takes it to Chun Li…

Fade to black…

BOOTY – here’s what the characters have…

Phantom
- Cash and Jewels worth +3 to Resources (this can be split up and used in +1 increments if desired)

- Banking bond (+3 to Resources – single roll only) this is signed to ‘the bearer’ and is as good as cash, however it was initially drawn up for David Lo Pan, the transport magnate.
- A key with the same =X= fob design and 4 piece spokes (it appears like the one that Chun Li possesses).

- A bamboo tube containing a very odd map, it is circlular, made of painted stitched reeds and contains several concentric circles which can freely twist. They also contain a lot of symbols you are unfamiliar with.

- An envelope containing photographs of a man in a suit canoodling with a pretty young flapper girl.

ODDJOB + WANG
- Cash and Jewellery worth +2 Resources (can be split)

- Weapons, if sold on black market give +2 Resources (can be split).

- Tony Wu’s nickel plated Pistol (has the Aspect ‘Well Crafted’) and his silvered Cleaver (which has the Aspect ‘Slice it like Butter’).

- Several large bags of Opium with a street value of +5 to Resources (all in one go). However, there are the rumours of contamination.

- the Mystic Compass ‘a Mandala of Spiritual Resonance’ – the exactly what it’s set to resonate to is unknown (certainly not magnetic north).

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Session 1

Location: Lee’s GF’s (Sam) house aka ‘the games room’
Present: Mike (Oddjob Jones), Lee (Sir Charles Lytton AKA the Phantom), Jamie (Jean-Jacques D’Souza) and Ben (GM).

Overview
This first session was about new beginnings – new year (2012), new location (the games room), new game system (FATE – Spirit of the Centuty), new style of play (sandbox style, 1920’s pulp), new setting building technique (1KBWC – 1,000 Blank White Cards). All in all, I think everyone was surprised by how well it went.

We built the basics of our setting together, did character creation (not entirely correctly), got a handle on the rules (again… not entirely correctly), kicked off the game and got stuck into our first mystery.

World Building
We built this city on… well, 40 blank white cards actually. And so, Shangapore – our generic oriental city with european influence was born (with thanks to Lee for the name). Every person had 10 cards and had to come up with the following items – a Big Location, a Small Location, a Location Detail, an NPC, an NPC detail, A Group or Organisation, a Large Item, a Small Item, an Item Detail and a Rumour.

Once we had created these, the cards were shuffled and we took it in turns to draw a card and play it on the imaginary ‘map’ of the city. The results were a pretty fantastic mash-up of ideas that no one person was responsible for or could possibly have created on their own. It was photographed and jotted down and has been assembled again – as far as possible, in this site.

Character Creation
Our new city was then terrorised by 3 ne’er do wells in the form of the PC’s;

Mike created “Oddjob Jones”, an Adventurer and Hero in the classic mold, freelancing mercenary sensibilites masking noble intentions and a good heart. Mike’s inspiration for the character’s style was Indianna Jones and Oddjob from the Bond films – and the names just stuck.

Jamie created “Jean-Jacque D’Souza AKA Whispering Jack”, Editor in Chief of the Shangapore Whisperer and a disgraced former spy with a nose for getting to other people’s secrets. Jamie took inspiration from Anime characters in an adventure called Baccona for the character.

Lee created “Sir Charles Lytton AKA The Phantom”, a gentleman catburglar, peer of the realm, ladies man and an all round cad, and I dare say a bounder as well. Lee’s inspiration for the character was David Niven as the Pink Panther and in fact anything with David Niven in it ever…

Game Events
The game began with Sir Charles sitting in one of his favourite gambling dens in the city, a Speak Easy with no name, known only to those with connections, it is identified primarily by the ivory door handles shaped like rearing cobras – and so when it is called anything at all, it is the White Snake. All was good fun until a slick looking crook with a pock marked face took offence at Sir Charles winning and a bored Moll turned her attentions to him, and earned Sir Charles the husband’s ire. Things went from bad to worse when a lie about owning the den was revealed and chips flew everywhere as Sir Charles evaded the 2 men deftly and danced his way across the tables, leaving, Martini in hand with a flourish and a nod to the doorman.

Meanwhile, across town Oddjob Jones had come to see an old aquaintance, the bar tender at Joe’s Bar, ‘Charlie’, as one of his regular contacts for those seeking his services for ‘odd-jobs’. Joe’s is in a reasonably good part of town but has a reputation as a down rent bar, consequently you get quite a varied clientelle.

Charlie tipped Oddjob the nod about some new gang of triads hiring muscle – the Wu Shen, and also of a regular patron of Joe’s who might have a call for an ‘odd-job-man’ – the paper editor D’Souza who’d just knocked off for the day after putting the paper to bed. Both men began to chat and struck something of an accord – with D’Souza setting himself as a fixer for a theft of the priceless Black Mamba necklace if Oddjob could deliver… However, before a deal was brokered, Charlie and the 2 men were distracted by some thugs in the corner who’d been coming the last couple of nights to bother Chun Li, the club singer and hostess at Joe’s (and de facto manager, as no-one can remember ever seeing Joe).

Soon after, Chun Li herself came on stage to do her first set of the evening, her performance was enchanting and one song in particular, seemed very poignant, but all the characters can remember of it is that it mentions ‘the eye of the lotus’ several times. However, it’s hardly surprising they can’t remember anything else given what happened next – as the thugs, an odd mix of Chinese, European and African took advantage of the distraction to force their way into the bar’s backroom.

Oddjob and D’Souza sprang into action, with Oddjob alerting Charlie, whilst D’Souza listened to sounds of a vigourous search on the other side of the door. The muck-raker’s curiosity got the better of him and he stumbled through the door pretending to be drunk and looking for the toilets and as the men tried to bundle him back out, Oddjob began laying about him with his ham-sized fists and put the first man down with a haymaker.

Just then Sir Charles, slumming it for the evening, arrived at a quaint little club called Joe’s Bar and walked straight into a frightful cafuffle, and after freshening his martini in the bartenders absence, eyed up the room with the fight and saw that the backroom was used partly to store crates and bottles, and partly as Chun Li’s dressing room, slipped in and quickly identified what the thugs had not, the most likely place for Chun Li to hide something worth 5 men searching for, though because of the fight he had no chance to get near it.

Meanwhile, Oddjob had charged into the room, clotheslined a pair of thugs and was throwing the remainder around like rag dolls, with D’Souza showing occasional flashes of his Martial Arts training as well. The last thug, gun in hand shot at the husky man who had just taken out his friends and tried to flee. The shot broke the reveree at Chun Li’s performance, sent patron’s scattering and bought Chun Li running.

Chun Li and the fleeing thug collided in the doorway and the desperate man tried to take her hostage. He was bodily flung away from her by Oddjob, deftly disarmed and the gun made safe by D’Souza, who spun him away again and finally taken down with a neat little jab Marquis of Queensbury style by Sir Charles.

Chun Li went to her dressing table and sat down in shock, thanking them all for their help. Sir Charles still had no chance to get to the place he suspected held whatever it was the thugs had been after – taped behind the dressing table, but he comforted Chun Li whilst Oddjob and D’Souza went to work on the thugs, trying to get from them why they had come to Joe’s Bar. Just as one of them started to crack, Chun Li slapped him unconcious again and ordered everyone out.

Realising something was very wrong, the group tried to convince Chun Li that unless she trusted them, the thugs would just come back again. What they got from her was a request, that they pay the thug’s boss a visit and ‘make sure he got the message’ to leave her alone. She also asked that once he understood the message – to give him something – and she handed them a playing card – the Queen of Diamonds on which she drew a symbol in lipstick that looked like this =X= .

The thug’s boss was Tony Wu, leader of the Wu Shen, the newest triads group to appear, as if from nowhere, in the slums. Oddjob agreed to do the job without pay out of a sense of protecting the weak, but refused to kill anyone. D’Souza too, agreed to do as she’d asked, he took her money but did it more because of his insatiable curiousity – he could smell a story. Sir Charles was not interested in fighting thugs and was about to leave, when Chun Li said something that made him think she knew his secret – and she told him Tony Wu had something of hers that she wanted him to retrieve and agreed to meet him by the abandoned Wharf 13 in the docklands the next morning to discuss.

Sir Charles visited the restroom (and surreptitiously left a tiny window ajar)and then left whilst Oddjob and D’Souza threw the thugs out into the gutter without their money, weapons and shoes, fairly confident they wouldn’t return to Tony Wu after such abject failure.

Returning later that night as The Phantom, when the bar was shut, Sir Charles used his skills at contortionism to squeeze through the tiny window in the restroom, drugged the 2 guard dogs left in the bar and carefully find the item the thugs had been looking for. It was inside an envelope taped to the bac of the dresser and was a large ornate golden key set with rubies. It had an odd 4 crosspiece arrangement of spokes and a symbol on the other end that looked like this; =X= . The Phantom quickly copied the key design by pressing it in putty and returned it to its original location before slipping out as easily as he slipped in.

DUN. DUN. DUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.

What does the key unlock? What does the symbol mean? Why is Chun Li so secretive? What will happen when the group meet Tony Wu and the Wu Shen? What is the Eye of the Lotus? Some or more of these questions will be replaced by more exciting questions in the next thrilling installment of Shangapore – Eye of the Lotus.

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