Three for Breakfast
It is the morning after the Dragon Boat Festival, in Brick’s small room in Chunking Mansions. Julie Li is there, wearing one of Brick’s T-shirts—a Rush concert shirt—brushing her shoulder-length black hair til it is straight and shiny.
There is a knock on the door. Akiko stands, dripping in a puddle in front of the door. She is wearing a pretty yellow Summer dress with flowers on it, but she is soaking wet. Her hair is bedraggled and her makeup has run.
In her hands she holds a bag which is steaming hot and smells delicious—it is from a local bakery in the neighborhood.
Akiko tells Brick she woke up early thinking of how brave you were at the Dragon Boat Festival and she wanted to make you a big breakfast. Her room is small though and doesn’t have a kitchen so she went out this morning to the bakery and got caught in a surprise rain on the way back.
Akiko shivers a bit as she holds out the bag of food and coffee for Brick to take. From inside, Julie Li peers out at her and watches to see what Brick does.
Julie gets dressed and slips out the door, almost bumping into Akiko. She gives Brick a big, demonstrative kiss and leaves.
Akiko comes in Brick’s apartment and asks him if he’s ever experienced that feeling of first love.
Guiding Hand in the Netherworld
Later, the heroes head into the Netherworld to seek information from the Guiding Hand at their Temple of Boundless Meditation.
Exorcist Monk Madam Ko guides them part of the way to the Temple through the Netherworld’s tunnels. Along the way she gives them advice about the Guiding Hand:
- You have to give them face!
- They’re very proud and strict.
- Treat them with respect, kowtow and don’t make jokes.
- Only then might they grant your request for information.
- Oh, and you might have to fight them.
“You know what martial artists are like, they think everything can be settled by having a punching contest.”
Madam Ko shushes the heroes as they encounter Huan Ken, King of the Thunder Pagoda, and his massive retinue of soldiers.
She explains he is one of the Four Monarchs of the Netherworld, not to be trifled with. The heroes watch as he throws a disloyal minion into a Pop-Up Juncture which closes behind him, trapping the poor soldier somewhere random in time.
They reach an area which has been shaped into a dense, thick jungle. Barely any light passes through it and it echoes with the calls of wild animals. Madam Ko says they should find the Temple on the other side bids them good luck!
She also advises they move carefully through this jungle so as not to disturb its residents.
The heroes sneak carefully and pass through the jungle undisturbed.
The Guiding Hand
The heroes reach the Temple of Boundless Meditation, an area of the Netherworld which has been shaped into a place of meditation and kung fu practice in the style of the Shaolin Temple.
Bald Chinese monks in simple tan canvas tunics are using straw brooms to sweep up outside the temple. They drop their brooms and adopt kung fu stances when the heroes when they approach.
They say nobody’s allowed to enter here without belonging to the Guiding Hand. This is a holy place!
Fletcher greets the monks and uses his knowledge of Chinese Philosophy and culture to convince them to allow the heroes to make a request of the Abbot of this temple.
The monk leads them into the front hall of the Temple, where calligraphied sutras adorn the walls and sculptures and paintings show monks training in kung fu. They pass through into the practice courtyard. Rows of weapons stand along the edges as dozens of monks perform kung fu exercises in unison.
They meet Shi Yongchan, an Abbot in red and yellow robes, with a long moustache, inside the temple.
Abbot Shi says to earn access to the Guiding Hand’s Temple, they must face the Guiding Hand’s 18 Diagram Buddha formation.
18 Diagram Buddha Formation
When he says this, 18 monks in bright red uniforms leap up into a formation. Each monk has a weapon which is a large brass ring on a long robe. In their formation they have the ropes wrapped around their bodies. As soon as they start to fight, they’ll unwrap the rope and fling the weapon.
18 lower-level monks in tan uniforms form up in front of the 18-Diagram Buddha Formation.
The heroes fight the 18 Diagram Buddha Formation successfully and with honor, earning the Abbot’s respect.
The Traitor Monk
A Guiding Hand acolyte tells the heroes that Master Gan Nuwang disappeared around 2 years ago, and the monks haven’t heard from him since.
Around the same time as Master Gan’s disappearance, another monk named Li Shuang betrayed the Guiding Hand and stole a powerful kung fu manual which includes their secret amnesia pressure point technique.
The Guiding Hand believe this can’t be a coincidence, but the reasons are unclear. Master Gan could be dead, he could have been kidnapped, he could be working together with Li Shuang.
There have been reports from the Past Juncture of a drunken monk carousing and getting into fights. The most recent stories are from Jizhou, in northern China. This would be the heroes’ best lead.
The heroes travel through a portal from the Netherworld to the Past Juncture.
They’re on the road travelling toward Jizhou when they’re jumped by bandits. They fight the bandits when a dashing young martial artist wielding a large white fan interrupts and helps the heroes to beat the bandits.
He introduces himself as White Fan and says he has business with Li Shuang. The heroes tell him what they’ve heard and together they travel to Jizhou.
At a teahouse in Jizhou they learn that a couple of months ago a rowdy monk was drinking and eating meat and causing trouble. He would say “Meat and wine don’t matter if Buddha is in your heart!”
He fought with three local masters—the waiter points out that the 3 Masters are at a nearby table.
Brick tries to talk to the three burly martial arts masters but they get him drunk on powerful wine and he accidentally insults them. A fight breaks out, with the heroes and White Fan beating the three masters.
The Three Masters give the heroes face and tell them that this monk used pressure point kung fu to immobilize one of them, requiring an acupuncturist to cure him. The monk bragged about leaving town with his entourage of young fighters, saying he was heading toward Raoyang.
The heroes failed their third Advancement roll, giving them a +1 to the target on their next roll.
Sites Attuned: 1
Sites Burned: 0
Failed Advancement Rolls: 3
+1 to next Advancement roll target