I was sick, but DMed anyway, since I was on the mend. Dalton didn't show up for the game because he had a death in the family. Lee Ann came and brought her two little girls, Amelia and Deanna, to play too, since they have been playing in a home D&D campaign where they get to be Mermaids. She quickly rolled up a pair of Fighter characters for them, SuGyong and MiGyong, and added them as Chaka's retainers, since she is pretty much a Steppe Barbarian princess. Ashli started her new character, the Korobokuru Barbarian Natsua of the Bearkiller Clan and retired her old character, the seriously unlucky Kensei Yuma Aiko. Em retired her Sohei Natsumi and started her new Samurai Kato Momoko. Since Dalton couldn't be here, and we had enough people, I had his character and retainers stay at the inn, having contracted a "swamp-fever" on the march home.John was here, but couldn't play because he had a pile of school work that needed attending to. John was here, but couldn't play because he had a pile of school work that needed attending to, so Katsuo the Wu Jen and his Bushi Henchman Kenshin also got the "Swamp-Fever". So, out of the original party, only Mona's character Misaki the Hengeyokai Shugenja was going out for another foray to the Moathouse.
Two noteworthy things to mention here. First, it's hard to pretty much start over in the same adventure with an (almost) entirely new party. Second, it's hard to tone down what had been a pretty PG-13* rated adventure, where the youngest player was my fourteen year old daughter, so I got to make the judgment calls, to a G rated adventure for the inclusion of a six year old and an eight year old. Remember the eerie horror elements I have been slowly adding and alluding to? I don't think that's going to work with a first grader and a third grader in the room. Ultimately the Temple of Elemental Evil focuses on a fight against Demons and their worshipers, having small children in the party will throw me off my proposed game.
Anyway, I am now in a position of having to either completely alter my game so I can accommodate Lee and her kids, and I am not sure if not accommodating her is a deal breaker or not as to whether or not she'll be able to make it at all; or telling her to not bring the kids again and maybe losing one of my players, and we all really like Lee. So that sucks.
Other than that we mostly just explored a little more of the top level of the Moathouse, I really wish my OA conversion notes hadn't disappeared, I just worked from my memory on that, but I am sure it would have been better with my actual Japanification of the Moathouse. They pretty much cleared the north side.
Here's what came in the mail today.
I bought this right after Lee Ann rolled up a Steppe Barbarian character, because I forgot that not everyone is a setting nazi like me and wants to know everything about the imaginary culture from which their D&D character has come. This is billed as an AD&D 2nd edition product, it was published in 1990, but it makes heavy use of 1st edition Oriental Adventures materials. I remember buying the Hordelands trilogy of novels when they came out, I was interested in the Mongols and how they would fit into a fantasy world then and I still am. My online persona as Jagatai, Khakhan of the Steppe Warriors comes directly from the continuity of the Forgotten Realms and AOL's Neverwinter Nights- we used the idea that Yamun Khahan's defeat by Azoun's crusade at the Battle of the Golden Way** was our origin story as a guild***. I probably should have owned this product before now, I had read it before and was unimpressed at the time, probably because I was expecting something meatier, like say, the Oriental Adventures book (also written by David "Zeb" Cook), but as a campaign boxed set goes it really isn't bad. Some better ideas on how to run a campaign set in the area would have been nice, or any at all really, and it makes the assumption that you really aren't going to play a character from the "Endless Waste", you're probably going to be a "regular" AD&D character passing through, which is too bad. It comes with a lot of cool bits, some pretty lame stuff thrown in to make it a whole boxed set, and a few ideas that a clever, enterprising DM might be able to mine out of there for running an actual campaign in this campaign setting, but really it's just an add-on for the Forgotten Realms, and it arbitrarily changes the scale of all of the Kara-Tur maps by 1/3 "to improve play" which kind of irritates me. It does make me kind of want to get Al-Qadim though and see how they did that, to see if they got around to doing exotic settings right, plus, as I understand it, doesn't Al-Qadim fit in there too somewhere?
*Hollywood would probably give me an R for violence, and maybe I deserve it for some of the creepy/disturbing stuff I throw in, but I try to keep my descriptions and plotlines from getting too graphic. I played in a Living Greyhawk game once where small humanoids were kidnapping human children to be sex slaves, that's pretty messed up; I wouldn't go there. It did make sure we killed every last one of them though.
**Yamun was robbed by Azoun's plot immunity. His failure to conquer Shou Lung and all of Faerun is total BS from any military standpoint, seriously, play it out using Battlesystem or Warmachine rules or pick a wargame. Yamun's forces should have won that battle, fighting it out using the tactics described in the Horde Campaign (FR 12) requires that Yamun and all of his generals receive frontal lobotomies prior to engaging the crusaders; they have literally never acted in a like manner in any previous battle in the book. Nor did they behave in such a manner in any book of the Hordelands trilogy, until it was required to keep the Realms at status quo ante bellum.
***I am the second Khakhan since Yamun, Ogotai (AKA Darryl C.) having been before me, reigning from our inception as a guild until 1997.