Raid on the Temple of the Shoulai Monks


The characters are tasked by the local magistrate with arresting a fugitive hiding within the Shoulai Temple. This Oriental Adventure, set within the Shou Lung Empire, is intended for a strong party of 5th level Player Characters.

Prologue:

Whilst in the town of Lianchong the characters observe a scuffle in a back ally. Four white robed monks have cornered a young lady who appears in distress. One monk pushes her violently against the side of a town house. If the PCs approach they overhear this monk demanding money. "You still owe us five ch'ien". The frightened lady timidly replies, "It's too much, I already paid you three ... Please give me more time".

If the characters try to intervene both the monks and lady tell them to "butt out", and "you will only get yourselves in trouble." If the PCs act aggressively, they are told that intervention will bring the wrath of the Shoulai. At all times the monks behave arrogantly and aggressively towards the party. If fighting does break out, the monks flee after two fall in combat. The lady in trouble flees once fighting begins. The characters can resolve this encounter peacefully if they pay the 5 ch'ien.

Liling Sun 0-level Human (dressmaker)
AC: 10 HD: 1 hp: 6 THACO: 20 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1 (Hand) Mv: 12 Alignment: N
Equipment: Blue cotton dress, silk sash, carved lacquered hairpin, cloth slippers, 5 fen/2 tael.

Shoulai Monk Chaoxiang (leader)
AC: 6 (Dex 16) HD: 3 hp: 20 THACO: 17 (unarmed) Attacks: 3/2 Damage: 1d3+3 (Fist) or 1d6+3 (Foot) Mv: 12 Alignment: N(E) xp: 150
*Special Benefits: Foot attack vs armed opponents suffers no penalties, Iron Skin martial arts ability.
*Minimum Stats: Str 14 Wis 12 Dex 14
Equipment: White Robes, slippers, money pouch 23 fen/12 yuan/13 tael.

Shoulai Monks (3)
AC: 7 (Dex 14) HD: 2 hp: 14 THACO: 18 (unarmed) Attacks: 3/2 Damage: 1d3+3 (Fist) or 1d6+3 (Foot) Mv: 12 Alignment: N(E) xp: 100
*Special Benefits: Foot attack vs armed opponents suffers no penalties, Iron Skin martial arts ability.
*Minimum Stats: Str 14 Wis 12 Dex 14
Equipment: White Robes, slippers.

If this incident is resolved without fighting, the lady quickly thanks the party, saying "you know of course, that I can never repay your generosity, I'm sorry you ended up in this mess" and runs off. If caught, and forced to explain what happened (Liling will never do so willingly), the lady tells the PCs that she promised to pay eight ch'ien to the Shoulai to discourage a bullying suitor (he was beaten unconscious). Whatever the outcome, this encounter is overheard by a resident (from inside a town house), who reports what happened to one of the town constables.


The Magistrate's Edict

A few hours after the incident in town, the party is approached by constable Chu Long. He politely interrupts, "Excuse me, but I am here to inform you that you have been summoned to see the Magistrate. Word has spread that you dealt well with those Shoulai ruffians. I am Chu Long, Senior Constable."

Chu Long explains to the characters that the Shoulai are fighting monks that commonly perform martial acts - dispensing 'true justice', in exchange for money. They often overstep their bounds, but little is done because of feared reprisals. It is rumoured that supernatural beings inhabit their Temple, and that these evil spirits will target the families of their enemies if anyone dares act against them. He does not explain further, asking that the characters wait until they see the Magistrate.

Chu Long Senior Constable
AC: 7 (Dex 15/M.Arts/Single wpn style) HD: 3 hp: 21 THACO: 17 Attacks: 3/2 (Jo specialised) Damage: 1d6+2 Alignment: LG
*Martial Arts proficiency of Weapon Use retains unarmed AC benefit.
Equipment: Black jacket, trousers, and shoes, Jo Stick (not currently equipped), leather ties.

The party is lead through town to a tall three-storey stone building featuring round red-framed windows and a faded orange-tiled roof. A stone stairway intersects the structure at its midpoint. The doorway at the top, flanked by red columns, is open. Half a dozen Imperial Soldiers (1HD), armed with Jian (Straight Swords) and dressed in black padded armour with red trim, whose sole duty is to protect the building, mill about lazily.

Entering through the doorway the characters immediately find themselves in a large room with a polished-wood floor that is interspaced with square polished-wood columns. Various couches, chairs and pedestals are set against the walls. One seat is centred in the middle of the room. Upon the pedestals lining the walls are various carved statuettes; a dragon, lion, tiger, a horse, a fish, a turtle, and an elephant. They are sculpted from ivory, jade, and black lacquered wood. Upon the walls hang various landscape paintings, of steep hills and bamboo forests.

As the PCs enter, the doors on the far side of the room swing open and an animated old man clutching a long handled fan, dressed in black robes and black winged (wushamao) hat shuffles forward. He speaks as he moves toward the chair situated in the room's centre, "I saw you approach, please help yourselves to some of the chairs." Chu Long, an awkward expression on his face, speaks, "I present, Magistrate Xiao Fang."

Once seated, the Magistrate tells the characters that he has had a long running problem with the Shoulai Monks. Although they have not killed anyone, many people have been severely beaten. The monks say these are 'personal disputes' and no one will talk. His Constables are too fearful to challenge them, and the Imperial Soldiers stationed here will do nothing because it is not within their range of duties - which is to protect Imperial property and defend territory from outsider attack. Issuing punishment for the Shoulai, such as imprisonment or fines, is pointless.

However recently, one transgression has occurred that cannot be ignored. An outsider, a known criminal, from Kozakura, arrived in town, and took refuge in the Shoulai Temple. This fugitive, a dangerous warrior who is wanted for a number of unjustified killings, escaped arrest after killing a Constable and wounding a number of others. The Shoulai allowed the fugitive shelter since they offer this to anyone who pays them large sums of money. Despite what happened none of the Constables are willing to challenge the Shoulai on this matter.

Magistrate Xiao is prepared to pay the party 100 Ch'ien if they will bring back the fugitive, known as Bakiro, to face punishment. If Bakiro is killed during the arrest then his body is to be delivered forthwith.

He issues an Edict (pre-written upon a scroll hidden within his robes) which says that; any obstruction of the characters in their official duties will be considered a crime that can legally be met with escalating levels of force; that the party is authorised to enter the Shoulai Temple to apprehend the fugitive Bakiro; and that the discovery of any evil spirits inside the Temple will be seen as proof the Shoulai are a danger to society and that they should be taken into custody to face punishment.

Magistrate Xiao Fang 0-level Human (scholar)
AC: 10 HD: 1+5 hp: 10 THACO: 19 Attacks: 1 (Stiletto Blade + poison) Damage: 1d4+Poison (0/20) Alignment: LN
Equipment: Black wushamao hat, Black robes, black slippers, Long Handled fan with hidden (poisoned) blade, rolled scroll (Edict for the arrest of the fugitive Bakiro).

After this meeting the PCs may take their time to prepare themselves. Constable Chu Long says that the Shoulai Temple is not more than half a day's journey from town and that there is no immediate rush to act. He regretfully tells the party that he will not be going since he has a very real fear of reprisal upon his family. He describes the route - starting from the little used East Gate, wherefrom the party will need to travel for about two hours along the main road, until encountering the first large man-sized boulder, and then turn northwards onto an intersecting path that runs through the bamboo forest.


The Temple of the Shoulai

After less than half a day's journey, the party finds that the bamboo forest they entered becomes sparse. A steep range of hills rises directly before them. Cut into the rocky, almost vertical face of the hillside is the Shoulai Temple. It appears as a dark rectangle right at the end of the path. An overhanging red-tiled awning extends over the recessed Temple's entrance (that is 20 feet wide, with the entrance extending 15 feet into the hillside). There are eight wood carved columns in two rows of four along the front, black in colour (depicting dragons), and also four large incense holding pots filled with sand against the far wall. A dark red lacquered door is featured in the middle of the wall.

A monk in white robes lounges in a large wicker chair directly underneath the mid-point of the awning, a conical straw hat covering his head. Next to him stands a small bronze coloured gong set within a dull green metal frame. If the PCs have taken no precautions to conceal their approach the monk notices the party at the same time they see him (at 300 yards). He moves to stretch himself and then relaxes back into his chair - an action in which he taps the Gong with an outstretched arm.

Shoulai Monk (1) Hu Kang
AC: 6 (Dex 16) HD: 4 hp: 21 THACO: 15 (unarmed) Attacks: 3/2 Damage: 1d3+4 (Fist/Str) or 1d6+4 (Foot/Str) Mv: 12 Alignment: N(E) xp: 200
*Special Benefits: Foot attack vs armed opponents suffers no penalties, Iron Skin, All Around Sight martial arts abilities.
*Minimum Stats: Str 14 Wis 12 Dex 14
Equipment: White Robes, slippers, door key, Silent Gong of Warning.

Tactics: Hu Kang, if he notices the party, taps the Silent Gong of Warning to warn the Bugbears stationed behind the front door (that is bolted from the inside). Another Gong inside the Temple magically rings alerting the monsters - the Gong outside remains quiet. The Bugbears then spy though an eye hole set into the front door. If fighting breaks out they rush outside and join the fight. The door has 50hp where edged weapons, other than axes, only do half damage.

Hu Kang expects the party to approach and make some sort of request or threat. If the PCs employ deceptive tactics and say they want shelter, Hu Kang, seeing they are a group of warriors, becomes suspicious and asks them to wait while he goes inside to find a survivor of the characters' initial town encounter (a survivor looks through the front door eye hole and recommends the characters should be turned away *or attacked* after recognising them). Hu Kang comes back out, but stays near the doorway. He rejects any requests for shelter no matter how much money is offered. If the party demands the fugitive Bakiro or reads the Magistrate's Edict the monk issues threats, saying that the characters are putting their families at risk. He tells the party to leave or there will be trouble. Hu Kang does not initiate the fight, but if player characters force their way forward and approach the Temple's door the three Bugbears spying on the other side rush out and attack. (This attacks reveals to the players that the Shoulai Monks are in league with evil monsters.)

Bugbears (3) Honghe, Gahko & Pengshu
AC: 7 (Studded Leather Armour) HD: 3+1 hp: 22 THACO: 17 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d8+2/1d10+2 (Guan Dao + Str) or 1d6+2 (Hand Axe + Str) Size: L 7' Mv: 9 Alignment: CE xp:120
Special Abilities: Infravision 60', Superior hearing.
Equipment: Guan Dao (3), Hand Axes (3), 24 fen/10 yuan total.

Entrance Hall: The first section inside of the temple (20' by 40') is clad with black lacquered wood panels, has four very large canvas cots against the walls, it is dark, and normally occupied by three Bugbears and their leader (who is not present). The Bugbears are armed with Guan Dao (a broad bladed naginata-type weapon). There is small gong, matching the one positioned outside, standing near one of the cots. A wide heavy locked double door (same hp stats as the front door) is situated in the far wall.

The Pool Room: Opening the door reveals a ten foot wide, brightly lit (via magic), white stone corridor that extends 100' from the entrance hall to a large round room (40' in diameter) with a clear shallow pool centred in the middle. The corridor then appears to continue past this room on the opposite side of the pool. However, the characters vision, beyond the pool room, is blocked by a brown hessian curtain. [For the DM:] The ankle deep pool is strongly Acidic. Any character stepping into it receives 1d3hp damage and is slowed to half speed, with a -1 penalty to the dexterity AC bonus, for each round in the pool. Magical healing will restore the movement rate.

If the party enters this pool room and moves to the halfway point the hessian curtain is drawn back, and the words, "Stop right where you are" are spoken. Eight monks move in to oppose the PCs, a tall heavy set one at the back, sporting a goatee, continues to talk. He appears to be the leader. He says  "you are trespassing and are not welcome." 

Monk Leader Shen Zhou
AC: 3/-1 (Dex 17/Invisible) HD: 8 hp: 55 THACO: 9 (unarmed) Attacks: 2 Damage: 1d4+6 (Fist) or 1d6+6 (Foot) Mv: 12 Alignment: NE xp: 750
*Special Benefits: Foot attack vs armed opponents suffers no penalties, Iron Skin, All Around Sight, Ch'i (able to hit +1) martial arts abilities, automatically stabilises when hit points drop below 0.
*MS 63% (Dex17) See THACO DRAGON non-weapon proficiency rules.
Str 18 Int 13 Wis 14 Dex 17 Con 16 Cha 15
Equipment: White Robes, slippers, door key, small box key, Amulet of Protection +2, Dust of Disappearance (2 packets).

Shoulai Monks (7)
AC: 7 (Dex 15) HD: 3 hp: 18 THACO: 17 (unarmed) Attacks: 3/2 Damage: 1d3+3 (Fist/Str) or 1d6+3 (Foot/Str) Mv: 12 Alignment: N(E) xp: 150
*Special Benefits: Foot attack vs armed opponents suffers no penalties, Iron Skin martial arts ability.
*Minimum Stats: Str 14 Wis 12 Dex 14
Equipment: White Robes, slippers.

Tactics: If the characters tell the leader they seek Bakiro, Shen Zhou reveals this 'guest' has paid enough to allow an indefinite stay at their temple and that they are not prepared to give him up - regardless of whatever acts he has committed. If the PCs at any stage point out that the Shoulai are in league with evil monsters, the Bugbears, and that this is criminal, then Shen Zhou responds by initiating combat. He simply says "Attack".  In the first round Shen Zhou applies Dust of Disappearance that confers Improved Invisibility for 2d10 turns. If the monks look to be losing the fight, with five of them falling, the leader calls for a truce (while invisible) and says he will not obstruct the PCs from continuing, but that that he will not submit to arrest nor help them in any way. If the PCs refuse this compromise he will Move Silently (63% plus add a +20 bonus due to the condition of the floor) and flee before his Dust of Disappearance expires. The other monks, when they realise their leader has taken flight make a run for it. If a truce is called the leader urges his monks to tend the wounded (if any), and then they leave, because they know the PCs will be walking into the fire elemental trap. After the PCs leave the Temple upon completing the adventure, Shen Zhou returns to collect whatever of value remains and then flees to a far off province.

The Fire Room: The corridor continues from the pool room for another 80' and into a square 40' room, also brightly lit, which has a copper brazier full of  hot coals standing in the centre (a hole in the ceiling acts as a chimney to draw the smoke up and away). Those that do not speak the word 'XiaHo' as they enter cause the fire to erupt into the form of a Lesser Fire Elemental. The elemental will fight for 7 rounds before returning to the brazier. The monster will pursue PCs but not move into  the pool room.

Lesser Fire Elemental (1)
AC: 4 HD: 6 hp: 60 THACO: 15 Attacks: 1 Damage: 2d10 (Flame Tongue, range 3 feet) Mv: 15 (Fl A) Size: M (6') xp: 950
*Requires +1 weapons to hit.
*Sets on fire objects hit (1d6 damage on subsequent round for struck PCs).

Barracks Area: There is a single unlocked door leading from the fire room that opens directly into a darkened barracks area featuring plain wood panelled walls, round tables, and bunk beds set against the walls. Hanging from the ceiling is a single shuttered lantern made of bronze. The room is 25' wide by 50' long. The contrast between the previous light filled area and this darkened room stops party members from identifying objects and dangers within until they enter. The lead character coming through entranceway to this area is immediately attacked via thrown hand axes. Those entering are engaged in melee by the surviving monks from the first town encounter and an especially large Bugbear. At the end of the battle, Bakiro, who is in the training hall, attacks the party (see details appearing below).

First Encounter survivors:
Shoulai Monk Chaoxiang (3HD) & up to three Shoulai Monks (2HD)

Bugbear Champion (1) Zhu Wa
AC: 5 (Studded Leather Armour/Dex) HD: 5+2 hp: 46 THACO: 14 Attacks: 3/2 or 2 Damage: 1d8+3/1d10+3 (Guan Dao/Str) or 1d6+3 (Hand Axe/Str) Size: L 7' Mv: 9 Alignment: CE xp: 420
Special Abilities: Infravision 60', Superior hearing.
Equipment: Guan Dao (1), Hand Axes (7), 10 fen/3 yuan/13 tael.

Three unlocked doors lead from this room that open into a latrine area, a kitchen-larder area, and a training hall. [The DM is left to make up features and dimensions for the latrine and kitchen.] A search for valuables in the Barracks reveals a total of 2 Hand Axes, 2 Light Crossbows and 17 bolts, 14 knives, 20' rope, 7 small jade animal figurines (worth 10 tael each), 260 fen/65 yuan/30 tael.
The shuttered lantern in the ceiling contains a magically burning light which is revealed if the characters open it.

The Training Hall: One of the doors opens up to reveal a large training hall with the same dimensions as the barracks (25' by 50'). Down one end of the hall is a wooden training dummy with stunted arms and long open box on the floor beside it (inside of which are twelve 8' poles). There is a narrow doorway near this equipment. If there have been no sounds of battle, meditating inside the hall, 20 feet from the door, is the Kensai, Bakiro.

Bakiro 5th level Kensai
AC: 2 (padded armour) HD: 5 hp: 34 (Con14) THACO: 12 or 14 Attacks: 2 (plus 1 shuriken) Damage: 1d12+5 (Katana Mastery/Str) or 1d3+1 (Shuriken/Str) Mv: 12 Alignment: NE xp: 750
*Deflect 2 attacks per round on a roll of 9 or less using Katana.
*All Around Sight martial arts ability.
*Optional Weapon Mastery damage rules.
Str 16 Int 11 Wis 15 Dex 18 Con 14 Cha 11
Equipment: Katana +1, Brown Padded Armour, Shuriken (16), Tanto+1, Gems: Opals (4) worth 1000 tael each, 11 Pearls worth 200 tael each, plus 5 fen/6 yuan/10 tael.

Tactics: If fighting occurs within the Barracks Area, Bakiro moves to the door and observes the battle. Seeing the danger, and understanding that there is no escape, the Kensai waits for an opportunity to attack the party when they have dropped their guard (when party members have their backs to the door or after the battle when they are preparing to heal injured PCs without keeping watch). He attempts to surprise the party, flinging the door open and rushing to attack the nearest PC in melee, while throwing one shuriken at a spellcaster (targeting Wu Jen first). He then performs a fighting retreat back to the training hall door so that only one (or two) characters may engage him in melee at a time.

If there are no sounds of battle, Bakiro is in mediation inside the hall. Anyone opening the door, that are not Shoulai, alert him. Initiative is triggered immediately. If he wins, the Kensai's first action is to draw his Katana and block the doorway to restrict the number of melee opponents. If PCs try to push past, treat the move as triggering an opportunity attack (a free attack) and, due to the close proximity, make this similar to an unarmed attack versus armed attack but with only +2 to hit and damage. If the intruding character specifically uses a large shield to block, and foregoes all other attacks, no bonuses to the opportunity attack should be given. The DM must warn any player wanting to push their way through. Note: Bakiro, if he has not yet attacked, could attack using the opportunity trigger and use some or all of his attacks on a PC trying to push past. During the fight in the doorway Bakiro, using his free hand, also throws shuriken 1d3+1 (Str16) at any PC spellcasters standing behind his melee opponent. Only one shuriken per round may be thrown in this situation. If characters close the door and prepare spells, or step back to use missile fire, Bakiro moves to the side of the entranceway and waits. If the fight goes badly for him and/or there is an opportunity to escape, he will attempt to flee. Otherwise he will not surrender, preferring combat over public execution.

Shen Zhou's Room: Attached to the training hall is Shen Zhou's private room which is 10' by 15'. Inside is a single bed, a side table, and a chair. Upon the table there is rice paper, a brush, an inkstone and inkstick, all of which look unused. There is also a paperweight jade-carved statuette of a dragon (worth 200 tael). Under the bed is a packed 2' long lacquered box, that is locked and trapped. If not disarmed upon unlocking (there is a safety switch trigger plate in the front), anyone opening the box triggers the trap that releases poison gas in a 10' diameter cloud. The gas causes 4d4 points of damage and reduces dexterity and constitution scores to half which return at one point per hour. Saving throws halve the damage and negate the other penalties. The box contains 30 fen/180 yuan/120 tael/ 7 ch'ien, a scroll with the Shukenja spells Cure Critical Wounds, Polymorph Self, Neutralise Poison, a black silk scarf with a gold dragon design worth 100 tael, an Opal worth 1000 tael and a Wand of Green Fireballs (only useable by Wu Jen/Wizards, that does 5d6 damage with 4 charges left).


Resolution

When the PCs return to town with Bakiro (or his body) they are met outside the Magistrate's building by Chu Long and 10 other (1HD) constables. They all carry wooden Jo Sticks and have rope. If Bakiro is alive Chu Long and 3 other constables move in with the rope and restrain him further (assuming the PCs have already done so). Chu Long then thanks the characters and says they will be paid in short order. A few moments later a wooden box with rope handles is carried forth by two attendants dressed in brown robes. Chu Long tells the party that there is a total of 100 ch'ien contained within, with 20 in silver ch'ien bars and the remainder in paper ch'ao form to the value of 800 tael (800 ch'ao). If the PCs have driven off the Shoulai Monks an extra 100 ch'ien (a 1000 ch'ao paper) is forthcoming. This will take two days to be officially confirmed after the constables visit the Temple themselves. The fate of Bakiro, if he survived battle and was captured alive, is left to the DM.

If Shen Zhou has escaped he moves to another province twice removed from the present one since he realises he is a wanted man.

Each player character should receive a bonus of 1000 experience points for the successful completion of this adventure.

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