Gotta say, I wasn’t a huge fan of the atmosphere. When we arrived, the attitude was really negative overall. I mean, I get that the Dragon League had just been incinerated because they knew some things about the commander of the South Tower, and that getting rid of them took out almost a third of our forces at once, but come on.
We were served by Kagame, who I will say did her best, even though she’s a paladin. And she had a lot of good ideas: attacking the North Tower, killing the dragon, and stuff like that. But she wanted to do it just to give us a victory, even though we totally didn’t have the manpower on the table to pull something off. We ordered a plate of “wait until the end of the week,” with a side of “spread rumors about Colonel Hoshi getting killed like a chump.” But we’re still waiting to see how those turn out. Three stars.
Prefacing this review: I’ve never been to the Ice Vaults of Hung La. Apparently, no one has in a really long time, because they’re underground and covered in glaciers of enchanted ice that stop most people from getting in. So yeah, knocking a star off for the inconvenient location.
Apparently, the only ways to get in are to learn a specific Lo Shen prayer that can melt the ice, or be a legendary kitsune ninja that can just bypass all that shit. I mean, I get wanting to be exclusive, especially since you’re a vault, but what kind of business model is that? Two stars. I’d give it zero, but apparently we need to go there at some point just to get a phoenix egg, because Dagato doesn’t think owing us his life is a fair trade for his cooperation. So, yeah. Two stars to the Vault, and zero stars for Dagato the Phoenix.
The Lotus Garden
The commute to this place was actually super easy. But of course, that was mostly because we have a magical snake portal in our back pocket. I definitely give a lot of points for atmosphere—both in terms of sheer botanical beauty, and because of the delicate balance of good and evil in the air. But I also have to take points off because Seijuro, resident good priest, didn’t know the prayer we needed to melt the ice. His husband was a high priest of Lo Shen. You’d think he’d have picked up something along the way, right? Three stars.
Boats are terrible. They’re made of wood, which you burn. So we’re supposed to trust this burnable stuff to carry us over water? Yeah, okay. Right. Zero stars.
Zaraki, the boat-sleeping psychic
This guy, right? This fucking guy. Five stars.
Southern Half of Seiryu
Gotta be honest: the southern half of Seiryu’s kind of a letdown from the northern half. It’s swamps as far as you can see, which in addition to being a downer was also murder on my kamadan-pelt boots. That said, the giant ominous rift in the sky provided some interesting lighting, especially at night. Not the decor I would’ve chosen, but it worked.
Where this thing gains back major points, though, is in having a red tohri that can turn into a magical gateway to anywhere. You can’t get that experience just anywhere. Three stars.
This guy sucks. He’s giant, he eats people, and he cheats when you try to go invisible and hit him. But he gets a lot better after you kill him, use unholy magics to resurrect him into unlife, and ride his corpse around like a giant, scary axebeak. Overall: zero stars alive, four stars undead.
Samsaran Murder Cults
So, we got off on a bad foot with the Samsaran murder cults. We mostly dealt with Fon, whose heart was definitely in the right place, but for one thing, she tried to take on a froghemoth with a throwing knife. I don’t wanna tell someone how to do their job, but some context clues could’ve told her that wasn’t the best approach.
The other thing that put a damper on it was the fact that these murder cults, in attempting to destroy the 108 soul blights that made up the liche lord Ogameku, had also slaughtered innocent Yamato crewmen, and also my buddy’s entire family. Overall, that revelation did not create a pleasant experience for us. When they saw we weren’t satisfied, they gave us a free trip to Lao Phuet. But that’s like almost choking to death on a chicken, and as a reward getting a lifetime supply of chicken to choke on. Two stars: one for the trip, one for the snazzy cat mask.
Okay, this got a little awkward. But in hindsight, I’m willing to admit we were part of the problem here.
Lifehack for you guys out there: when you come to a frozen city that’s been waging an endless war against a lord of the undead, you don’t set a good tone by rolling up on the back of a zombie froghemoth. So that put things off between us and Nawang the Blade. It only got worse after one of my buddies challenged the guy to an honor duel, still sore about the whole murdered-family thing. They called that off, which is great, because my friend’s got a gimpy leg and recently forgot everything he used to know about sword fighting.
But then that ended up not mattering, because then they dropped a drama bomb right in our lap.
So we’ve been hearing little bits about some vampire lord while we’ve been adventuring in Onmyodo. We’ve also been hearing our witch prattle on about her son who she needs to find because one of her past lives blah blah blah blah.
That vampire lord? That Samsaran kid? Same person.
I know, right?
Overall, I’m not sure what to think here. I didn’t like how they let drama intrude on our overall experience. Not very professional, you guys. That said, they told us if we helped bag the last four soul-blights and then help them kill Ogameku, we’d get a Samsaran death squad to play with come the weekend for our big raid. They even threw in Kinatok the giant for kicks. Overall: two and a half stars.
Having a coterie of angry assassins specifically out to kill all your friends, but not you
Generally, I don’t have a problem with this. But when a priestess of your own faith stops you in the street to let you know that your arch-nemesis has hired the champion of your own religion to kill all your friends, but leave you alive so he can kill you himself, it really bums me out. One star for the overall experience, and zero stars for Totori the Laughing Death.
Daring midnight raids to disable and summarily kill undead tyrants
Hard to put a rating on it, since we’re not done yet. We’ve got five sleeping druids here, and finding a murder-free solution seems pretty tricky here. I’ll give you a rating once I know how it all pans out.