I am currently running an Oriental Adventures (OA) campaign called The Divine Heir and the Jade Regent loosely based around the Pathfinder Adventure Path the Jade Regent with strong influences from Sekiro and Nioh. The first adventure is called The Ashina Legacy and is essentially The Brinewall Legacy set in and completely converted to an OA setting.
I had to rewrite the adventure intro and re-theme the monsters but it worked well. Here is the flowchart of the campaign:
Book 1: Ashina (Brinwell) Legacy
- PCs track bakeomono (goblins) to Omikura Swamp.
- They either kill the goblins and track the fallen samurai back to their cave or find out from the goblins about it. If required the kami of the Amatatsu Seal will appear and lead the players to the cave where the seal is (Lord Kuro is from the Dragon Clan so his seal kami appears as a small silver-black dragon).
- The PCs find the warded seal in the cave protected by Dragon Clan armoured skeletal undead and learn that their prince is not dead but held in Ashina Castle – a former crane castle which fell to monsters about 50 years ago.
- The seal gives them a flashback to what happened with the previous and last emperor and I actually had my PCs play the dream sequence out and they got a taste of Anumaramon’s power.
- They then travel to Ashina Castle, find the prince, liberate him and are granted the castle by the prince as a reward. He can do this as he is the rightful heir of Caroa (Japan analogue).
- Guarding the prince is Kikonu a raven themed oni.
- The prince suggests they compete in the Ruby Phoenix Tournament held in Bruul (China analogue) to win the mortal blade which is the only weapon that can permanently kill an oni.
- They also raid the treasure vault and recover powerful tsukumogami to help in their cause.
All related conversions here.
Book 2: The Hungry Storm
On their way to the Ruby Phoenix Tournament, the PCs stop at Miyakori Monastery where they are assaulted by one of the Five Storms – Rimiko the Wind Ya. I converted and ran the Pathfinder adventure the Frozen Wind replacing the Yakka Ono with the wind ya. The monastery falls under the demesne of Ashina Castle after its cleared out and becomes a potential site for another order of monks loyal to the Emperor. This is also where the party gained the services of Kochiyama.
All related conversions here.
Book 3: The Ruby Phoenix Tournament
I converted and ran the excellent Pathfinder adventure the Ruby Phoenix Tournament. I did have to modify it a bit because many of the computations are just straight-up fights that are not so interesting in a theatre of the mind combat (which is my default combat mode). Here is the new flow for the Tournament:
- Day 0: Friendly bar fight with Chung Po the Monk of Time.
- Day 1: 64 teams.
- Day 2: 32 teams.
- Day 3: 16 teams.
- Day 4: 8 teams.
- Match 4: Blood and Mud
- Exhibition 4: Slay Huyanwo! (my PCs skipped this, will update post when they finally fight him).
- My PCs came back at level 14 to take on Huyanwo. This was the first time since they had left the low levels (1 to 3) where they came very close to a TPK and pulled out all the stops to beat the dragon – which they initially took it lightly.
- Test 4: Iron Body.
- Night: Kidnapped! (My PCs focused on saving Lord Kuro who I had as the real target the kidnapping. Mathieson was just collateral damage as he was acting as a bodyguard to Kuro. My party could not take on 4 oni and a dragon so they used stealth, surprise and speed to retrieve Kuro and Mathieson).
- Day 5: 4 teams.
- Match 5: Semi-Finals – they fought a true ninja inspired by Madara.
- Exhibition 5: They of Two Heads (handwaved this battle as this session was already combat heavy).
- Test 5: Mind Trap.
- Match 6: Finals with Gomwai who I described as a Jojo bad guy, though more Pretty Pretty Prisoner than outright evil.
- Ambush! As the group defeat Gomwai, Kikonu and Rimiko (with two phases!) reveal themselves and trigger another fight without any kind of rest. I love the oni discorporation trait as it allows me to reuse bad-guys with an in game explanation.
- +1 honour
- +1 level
- +5 Spirit Emblems
- They take the Mortal Blade as their prize.
To integrate the adventure into the campaign I made the Aspis Corporation the Five Storms and the team a bunch of Oni. I also replaced the twins with Rimiko and Kikonu. I also had the tournament held in the analogue of China in my world so I made the Golden League a triad gang.
They also had some interesting encounters to and from the Tournament. On the last day, they received word that an army was amassing to attack Ashina Castle – a local daimyo was challenging their control of the castle (right before it was finished of course). The PCs rush back to help with the defense of the castle.
All related conversions here.
Interlude: Siege of Ashina Castle
I played out a battle here using the Stronghold and Followers rules. I essentially rethemed the armies from Siege of Castle Rend for the battle. The PCs also had some unique units previously linked – the ogre twins (who are now neutral and intelligent after being away from the corrupting forces of the oni) and the raging bull. They decided to not use the kami. The battle took way longer then I anticipated and actually dragged a bit but I had the enemy daimyo army (which included a unit of human-oni) cut and run when the enemy general was killed by the PCs. A unit of Dragon Clan Phalanxes also turned up as the Dragon Clan threw in their support with Lord Kuro who is the Clan’s heir anyway. With the castle secure and Mathesion acting as Lord Kuro’s Yojimbo as well as a small army the PCs no longer have to take the 12-year-old Kuro with them everywhere.
I am finding the castle a good “anchor” for the party as I can use it to push the story forward in a logical way.
Shortly after the battle the major town in their demesne – Kudoko – that had committed peasant-levies to the battle sent their headman. He requested the lord and ladies help with the a band of evil ninjas who had brought down a curse on the town and killed the magistrate sent to bring them to justice. Which leads into the next adventure.
Book 4: The Five Deadly Shadows
This adventure is from Dungeon #195. A 4e adventure which I converted to 5e. I used this to show the players two things – the larger spiritual battle happening between Amaterasu and Tsuki-Yomi vs the oni god Fumeiyoshi. As well as the cultural difference between East and West in particular for a Japanese-analogue culture.
Apart from emphasising these powers through the adventure and making it explicit that the Five Deadly Shadows worshiped Fumeiyoshi I played the adventure as written.
Book 5: The Forest of Spirits
This was a big one – long overland journey followed by a big dungeon crawl. Broke this up into a few different parts – skill challenge to navigate the forest, the pagoda outskirts and the pagoda dungeon itself.
Book 6: Tide of Honour
This section was a sandbox style adventure with multiple optional quests but only one would lead to the actual adventure. I broke them up like so:
- The Dead Wedding. One of my PCs married the Smiling Prince which triggered this quest. Optional quest since the events of the Forest of Spirits. My PCs took this on at level 16.
- Huyanwo the Void Dragon. Optional side quest since the Ruby Phoenix Tournament. My PCs took this on at level 14.
- Guardian of the East Sea. The seed for this quest was planted at level 1 but the final piece was discovered at the end of Forest of Spirits. My PCs took this on at level 15.
- The Raising of Storui. The highest level quest of the lot which my PCs took on at level 12.
- The Field of Nettles. Oni are breaching the veil and enslaving the local populace – the PCs will need to stop this.
- Goodlund and Hylo. Two nopon (korobokuru) kingdoms the PCs want to sway to their cause against the usurper Jade Regent. Diplomatic quest lines.
- The Ronin and the Bandits. The actual Tide of Honour adventure which, after completion, splits up into three options:
- The Pearls of Sakakabe.
- The Shadows of Enganoka.
- The Daimyo.
Book 7: The Empty Throne