By Dan Allard.
Over the last couple of days I've been brainstorming out some campaign ideas for the 69 AD juncture; I'd really appreciate any input you might have into them.
I start off by presenting some of the activities of all of the major secret war factions in the 69 juncture; these may differ in some points from what is described in the Feng Shui rulebook. Afterward, I do a brief overview of a few of the potential adventures that the player characters might get involved in as a result.
Anyways, here it is -- if you like this and you are interested, I can work on and post the more detailed adventure summaries I've been working on for this campaign.
John Tsang, an Architect SERU commander has stepped beyond his bounds in making a deal with a high-ranking Lotus sorceror in the 69 juncture; the result is a team of Architect and Lotus renegades who may end up being the next major faction in the Secret War. Player characters get dragged unwittingly into this mess by the interference of the Guiding Hand.
The higher-ups in the Lotus recently became aware of Architect intrusion into AD 69 when the two groups came into conflict over access to a high-magic Underworld gate a few months prior to the current date. The Lotus know little of Architect involvement in AD 69, though they understand some of the uses that the Architects put their captured demons. A Lotus Sorceror named Pak Chi-Hei was assigned to track Architect activity in the province of Mao-Mu (or some other province to be named when the Lotus book comes out...).
The Lotus does not yet know that Pak Chi-Hei has joined forces with the renegade Architect group, seeking to increase his own personal power base and take control of the Lotus (and thus the Empire) himself.
A monk named Wo Moo Tan is part of a Guiding Hand cadre of martial artists called the Purple Shroud; they are an AD 69 strike force who are assigned to keep an eye on (to possibly acquire) Feng Shui sites and monitor Architect activity in 69. A separate strike force called the Blue Veil is assigned to infiltrate the Lotus and study the nature of their control over the beauracracy; the Purple Shroud and the Blue Veil are kept in the dark about each other's activities. The Purple Shroud not only works to take control over Feng Shui sites where they can, but also encourage others to take sites and hold them against Lotus control.
The Hand is attempting to keep their activities as secret as possible, especially from the Lotus, and so recruit outsiders where possible to do much of their work for them. These outsiders are given absolutely no information about their employers, and so have nothing to reveal if they are caught by any of the other groups.
As of now, the Hand knows a good deal about the renegade faction, though they are still unsure if Tsang is still working with the Buro or if he has turned against them. Tsang has no idea his group has been infiltrated by the Hand, which he knows next to nothing of. The Hand is keeping a close eye on the one called the Defector.
As the Architects are focusing their main resources towards domination of the Modern era, their 69 involvement is centered largely around the capture of supernatural creatures. As a recent skirmish between Architects and the Lotus set back Architect plans for a major "demon collection" (the Buro refers to the skirmish as the "Black Water Incident"), the Buro have hit upon the idea to attempt to make a "deal" of some sort with a Lotus sorceror. An Architect named John Tsang is heading the SERU strike force which is attempting to cut the deal. The operation is known as Operation Plainclothes (named thus for reasons that are only clear to the Buro), and as far as they know, the operation is moving along as planned; no one yet suspects John Tsang's treachery.
Though the Ascended have spies in the 69 era, they have been left largely in the dark about the Lotus/Ascended conflict. There is a split in the Lodge heirarchy about what to do about AD 69; the majority opinion (and that of the Unspoken Name) is to ignore it and worry about buisness as usual in the Modern juncture, but a rogue group has planted a number of loyal Transformed Animals as spies in various 69 towns and cities. Their goal, apparently, is to enlist 69 Transformed Animals to their service and build up a network of contacts through the Empire. As travel in the 69 juncture is dangerous for modern-day transformed animals, only a few of the most daring are willing to risk this sort of involvement.
One 69 era transformed animal, a transformed tiger named Pan Tung, seeks to use the contact network for his own benefit; he seeks revenge against all of humanity for injustices against his family and people. As of now he is one of the Ascended's closest contacts, though they are as of yet unware of his personal plans. Unlike his Ascended collegues, Pan Tung is aware of the renegade faction (he heard about it first through another contact who had stumbled across the faction, who was quickly killed by Tung to hide the information).
BLAAMO!!! Um, sorry about that. Anyways, the Jammers aren't on to the Architect's 69 AD plans. Not yet, at least... Otherwise, the Jammers have only made a few scouting maneuvers into AD 69; they realize that unless they hit a large number of sites at once in 69, that new sites will regenerate by the modern era and make most of their work useless (thus they work primarily in the Modern and 2056 junctures). Preventing the Architects from building a power base in 69 is, of course, right on their agenda.
Although the Four Monarchs have a number of spies in the 69 era, they have been unable to learn much about the activities of the other factions in this juncture. Of course this is likely to change over the course of the campaign, especially as characters move into the Netherworld for periods of time, but at the start they have little influence over the events in 69.
The Prof has a small "recruitment team" (ok, it's down to one person) in AD 69 keeping an eye out for bright eyed young heros; they are not likely to take note of the party until they either cross the Lotus in a big way or get a little too close to the Hand. If they manage to cross the Lotus and are declared "enemies of the state" as is quite likely, the Dragons will offer the party refuge in the Netherworld; if the party becomes too involved with the Hand, the Dragons will attempt to reveal the true nature of the Hand to the player characters.
The Architects do not yet realize how far John Tsang has gone to complete his mission; if they did, they would certainly put a great deal of energy into terminating him. John Tsang has offered a deal to Lotus sorceror Pak Chi-Hei; in exchange for summoned supernatural creatures, Tsang provides Pak with arcanowave gear for his minions. Pak was present during the Black Water Incident, and knows the power of arcanowave science in action.
The bulk of John Tsang's renegade faction is made up of Abominations who follow Tsang's orders unquestionably (unless they go berzerk); most of the rest are members of his monster hunter company who have chosen to go along with him. Those who chose against him when they realized what was going on met rather unpleasant fates; however, one has managed to escape, and is referred to as the Defector.
Two members of Tsang's faction include a pair of Arcanotechnitians who Tsang kidnapped from a 2069 era laboratory; Tsang made the kidnapping look like a Jammer hit (and thus two blocks of laboratory were destroyed during the kidnapping). Tsang also made off with a fair amount of laboratory equipment and a power generator, and so has set up a jury-rigged laboratory hidden in the mountains somewhere in the 69 juncture. The scientists were put to work largely against their will; however, with Pak providing them a steady flow of "test cases" and Tsang letting them do practically whatever research they like, they are actually enjoying their new positions and are turning their loyalties toward Tsang.
Tsang has only just given thought to giving his group a Name.
The Defector, known only as Wan, was already having second thoughts about his career as a monster hunter when it became clear that John Tsang had stepped beyond his mission objectives completely. Wan kept his mouth shut for a number of days, and then managed his escape and is hiding in the cities and towns of the surrounding province; he could become connected to the party in a number of ways, either through a chance meeting, or perhaps at the suggestion of a Hand operative.
Of course, there's a lot more to each of these adventures; these are the shortest overviews I could come up with. So far, the only one that is pretty much fleshed out (without NPC stats, though) is the Petal's Edge. Each adventure is expected to have two or three "set pieces" for the main combat sequences, although it is possible that some may be avoided and new ones thrown in. The "interludes" aren't adventures per se, but short pieces where the player characters learn important pieces of information, are given leads to further adventures and meet important NPCs. Combat may occur during these, but it is very possible to get through the interludes without it. There's certainly room for further adventuring between each of these; these are just the adventures that further the Past and Future Joined plotline.
Our Heros defend the estate (a Feng Shui site, of course) of an aging Old Master from the usual Lotus demon summoning/extortion ploy. Over the course of the adventure, they come to the attention of an agent of the Guiding Hand. The player characters are also very likely to become fugitives from the law in this adventure.
A Hand agent asks for a minor favor; escort a fellow fugitive back to the Old Master's estate.
The party and fugitive (the Defector) is intercepted by John Tsang's Abominations; after some combat, a dying Defector alerts the party of a grave danger to the Empire, and points them to the estate of a local beauracrat. Upon arriving at the estate (a trade point between John Tsang's people and Pak's lackeys), butt kicking should commence with an accent on large scale propery damage. The party should learn some important information about the renegade faction's activities.
The 69 era Ascended spy loop learns of the Abomination attack from the Future Meets the Present adventure; the party is approached by a Transformed Rat attempting to "purchase" information about what happened. This may go whatever way the GM wishes, but it at least alerts the party to the fact that things are even more complicated than they might have guessed.
Transformed Tiger Pan Tung (tipped off from his Ascended connections) approaches the party and offers a trade of information and suggests a joint venture; to seek out this renegade faction and learn its weaknesses, possibly destroying it. Together, the party and Pan Tung (or just the party, followed by Pan Tung) seek out a Netherworld site now held by the renegade faction. Pan Tung's motives are of course quite different than those of the party...
The plot can go a lot of ways from this point, though I imagine that the culmination will be the party seeking out the renegade faction's secret base and attempting to destroy it. Other factions are likely to be involved by that point, including the Architects and the Lotus; a four way battle between BuroMil forces, Lotus lackeys, John Tsang's renegades and Our Heros is almost inevitable...
Last modified: May 31st, 1997; please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.