The House of Withered Blossoms

The dungeon was split into two sections – the pagoda itself and the dungeon below – Munasukaru’s Penance. I didn’t modify the pagoda except to add an Amrita Trap.  My PCs scouted the pagoda using conjured spiders, speak with animals and a wild shaped shaman and decided that up was not the right way to go so they put on invisibility and snuck down into the dungeon proper.

For Munasukaru’s Penance I used an abstract approach to navigation – something similar to what I did to the Garden of Vivid Decay.  The PCs had to explore at leas half the cards before they could go deeper – though my PCs explored all the cards as they were enjoying it.  I did this because my experience with Paizo adventure paths is that the 3rd book is invariably a giant dungeon crawl which was not very relevant to the overall story.  That is the payoff didn’t match the effort.  I rejigged it to make sure it was as not only did they get information about the Five Storms and their plans but they discovered the ritual to summon a giant mech.

 

THE PAGODA

Interception

Anyone attempting to approach the pagoda by air or traverse the garden by air are swarmed by these flying spirits that appear as yokai. Use a steam mephit as the base creature with the addition flying spirit are resistant to all non-crystal based attacks and when they hit the target must make a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or be knocked prone.

Pagoda Encounters

MUNASUKARU’S PENANCE

Munasukaru Fury

Munasukara’s subconscious pain manifests itself within the dungeon differently to outside. Each time the party rolls a critical failure on an attack roll it triggers Munasukaru “Tentacle Attack” lair action. Also keep track using a large die (or cards) each time it this happens so the PCs have some idea something is escalating – a growing dread. They can cancel a level of fury by expending a spirit emblem. During the final encounter with Munasukaru each pip/card on the die will trigger an effect:

  • Horrific Dread. Munasukara’s to-hit and damage with her nail attack action increases by 5 – this effect is cumulative.
  • At What Cost? While within Munasukara’s Penance and until they defeat her any PC reduced to 0 hit points losses 1 point of CON permanently.
  • Demonic Laughter. Munasukara’s wail action now recharges on 5~6).
  • Lurking Fear. A ravem tengu joins the final battle.
  • Shadows from the Deep. All allied creatures in the battle benefit from Munusakaru’s regeneration trait.

Hot Springs

This is a big dungeon, so I included a kodomo hot spring as an optional area so the PCs could have a safe long rest before fighting Munasukaru.  Having said that, my PCs used it well before fighting Munasukaru and “wasted” it.  Inspired by the Nioh hot springs with their relaxing kodomo in the spring to indicate its safe (the shaman, as a spirit sensitive character, could see the kodomo).

Clues

I sprinkled the clues through the dungeon which was also a reward for exploration. Some suggested locations and sources for this information are in areas C5, D4, D6, D9, or E5; questioning the prisoners in areas B1, E1, or E4; interrogating Buto Futotsu in area B12; or interrogating any of Munasukaru’s Chosen or Spawn.  Areas with this lore are marked by “info”:

The specific pieces of information the PCs can learn are detailed below (Initially roll randomly).

      1. To Do The Five Storms, while powerful, are disorganized and easily distracted, and the oni who make up the organization are constantly at odds with each other. Yet despite these internal conflicts and disruptions, the leader of the Five Storms has always been the same — a powerful void oni named Anamurumon, with power over storms and lightning.
      2. To Do The Five Storms, long trapped in their prison-palace at the heart of the Forest of Spirits, have always lusted over the lands of Caroa, intending to remake that nation into an empire of excess and horror in which to indulge their twisted pleasures and appetites.
      3. To Do The Five Storms can’t just simply conquer Caroa. Just like the kami, the gods set in place strict laws preventing the oni from taking direct action to seize worldly power. In order to create their private empire, the oni need to do so subtly, infiltrating all levels of society.
      4. To Do The linchpin to the Five Storms’ plan is the extinction of the five imperial families of Caroa. If no one can claim descent from the divine line of emperors, then no one can challenge the claim of the pretender the Five Storms place on the throne.
      5. To Do Munasukaru was one of the weakest oni of the Five Storms, known as Munasukaru the Least among her peers. To keep the kami in the forest outside from learning their plans, Anamurumon commanded her to stay in the House of Withered Blossoms while the other oni fled using the kimon, a magical demon gate powered by living souls.
      6. To Do While the oni of the Five Storms are powerful, Anamurumon also commands mortal agents. The oni often promise mortals great rewards for their service, and the Five Storms are well known to honour those promises.
      7. To Do Beyond relying on hired mortal agents, Anamurumon was also obsessed with siring half-human progeny. He needed the “perfect” grandchild—a tiefling who would not only be unquestioningly loyal to Anamurumon, but could also pass as human. Such a child would be the perfect agent to infiltrate the imperial families of Caroa, but all of Anamurumon’s descendants were deemed “unsuitable” and killed by the oni.
      8. To Do Despite his power, Anamurumon has an unusual weakness to weapons imbued with royal honour — such as the ancestral weapons of the five imperial families of Caro, including Suishen, Guardian of the Amatatsu.

The library of lost lore will contain anything missed by the PCs. The first time a clue is rolled twice the second time the PCs find the Mikkyō Ofuda (Occult Book) which they can use to open and close the Kimon Void Gate in Munsakura’s lair.  The library also has information on the Octopi (something one of my PCs was looking for with an eye to learning about the octopi so he could make an alliance with them).

Leomund’s Tiny Hut Exploitation

I was concerned my PCs would abuse this spell in the dungeon.  They didn’t but I did spring the ooze option when they decided to rest right before the Munasukara fight. Assuming the party use the spell sensibly use the following rules. These represent ramped up resistance the deeper the party penetrate the dungeon.

  • Roll 1d12, an encounter occurs on a 12.
  • Add +1 to the roll each time the party rests in the dungeon.

 

  1. Encounter 1: A swarm of blood red carnivorous beetles burrows into the hut and attacks them.  See Munasukaru’s area for details.
  2. Encounter 2: Munasukaru sends a lesser umi-bozu to engulf the hut, when the spell runs out the ooze catches the entire party with its body slam attack.
  3. Encounter 3: Bullette?
  4. Encounter 4: An ooze (bozu-umi) covers the dome and drops on the party when the hut expires or is dismissed.

Akira Kusatsu, The Soul of Unending Misery

This was a spirit in the dungeon that my PCs encounters and got possessed by.  Details.

  • NG male human spirit
  • Notice Perception DC 30 (to hear the sound of breaking bones)
  • Wisdom Save DC 20
  • Ongoing Effect Seek Vengeance.  Urges her host to slay her killer Munasukaru. If the possessed creature is good aligned they gain the benefit of the martial art feat with mastery in the gentle way. Akira has the Occult Book which he was going to use to deal with the Void Gate.
  • Boon. If Akira witnesses the death of Munasukaru, he offers her host her blessings and knowledge before he departs. The possessed creature permanently gains a tattoo from the tattooed monk’s list of tattoos.
  • Dismissal.  Killing Munasukaru dismisses Akira.
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Dungeon Encounters