The Fortress of Xie’e Wu Xing
Some legends tell that the fabled Fortress of Xie’e Wu Xing was originally built before the birth of the Great Kami, by demons of the ancient world who were driven from the land by the First Emperor and his warriors. Others hold that it was constructed in secret by the vengeful child of a forgotten Kami-Goddess, cousin to the divine Imperial bloodline, who coveted the Nipponese Throne. When it is mentioned at all in written records (it is seldom spoken of out loud), the name is rendered with characters in the language of the Dragon Empire to the west – characters meaning variously Five Wicked Elements, Five Principles of Evil, or the Movement of Five Demons. It’s unknown whether this rendering is an indication of the fortress’s origin, or of the superstition of scribes.
Whatever the case, the Fortress has existed in the darkest legends and rumors for as long as anyone can remember, a terrifying mountain edifice protecting a labyrinthine stronghold of evil, somewhere in the peaks and canyons of the Akato Mountains of the south. It doesn’t appear on any maps, and no known roads lead to it, but many who travel through the mountains tell of spotting its fearful visage when lost in the mist-shrouded passes. Such appearances often foretell misfortune for the traveler – those who tell these tales were often beset by trouble shortly after the sighting, whether suddenly spoiled food, unaccountably lost companions, or attacks by mountain creatures. On the whole, however, no armies of demons or goblins have issued forth from the Fortress in many generations, not since the defeat of the Shadow Prince at the Battle of Cherry Blossom Meadow. It remains a traveler’s tale, a curious legend of the Southern Provinces.
Until recently. Over the past months and years, the people of the small town of Homuretu at the base of the Akato Mountains have seen an increase in banditry, and have seen those bandits working alongside goblins and oni. Strange figures pass through town, and travelers disappear on the road. Something dark stirs in the mountains, and wary whispers speak in dreadful tones of the reawakening of evil within the Fortress of Xie’e Wu Xing.
The Fortress of Xie’e Wu Xing is a reskinning of the classic AD&D adventure, The Temple of Elemental Evil, in the trappings of Nipponese legend — as seen through the lenses of fantasy anime, gaijin role-playing games, Kurosawa movies, and the Rule of Cool™. The setting is the mythic Lands of Nippon, which share as much and as little with historical/legendary feudal Japan as is convenient. The ruleset is GURPS 4th Edition, using a customization of rules and templates presented in the Dungeon Fantasy series of supplements. All 4th edition GURPS books are available in PDF form on e23; the basics of the system are available for free in GURPS Lite and GURPS Combat Cards.