Year 1 of Hantei the 39th/First Year of the Shogunate, Spring
And the third arc of the campaign begins. My current plan is to make
it a five-act campaign, but it might end up being seven acts long. Or just
fizzle out. Hell, it's taken years to get this far. Anyway, I wanted to
run a series of low-level, bushido-heavy sessions to contrast with the
demi-gods intriguing against each other that was parts one and two of the
Chrysanthemum Road Campaign.
The Scorpion begin gathering an army at Shiro no Mori Amimono, under the
command of Bayushi Yorinaga. Samurai travelling to the castle encounter
a strange blind swordsman called Zatoichi.
Zatoichi was my nod to the famous series of films...and will return....
A cookie to whoever works out who Abashimori is. :-) Hint: he's related
to one of the old PCs.
A unit from the Kawayo Thunder Legion is ordered to hunt down Crane scouts
hiding in Wonderful Ocean View Village. During the skirmish, the Scorpion
gunso, Bayushi Fakuro, is maimed by a flying saw-blade. The Crane spies
are killed by the Scorpion. In the forests, two of the Scorpion encounter
a mysterious Tainted shugenja or demon who called himself Abashimori.
In the earlier campaign, Ed (Henshu) had taken in and trained a ratling.
With the Daidoji in retreat, the ratling had joined up with a feral tribe
and started harassing the Scorpion armies. Sadly, I rolled badly, and he
got taken out with one hit...
Scouts are sent out into the forest to find Abashimori. They find Zatoichi
living in the forest, and encounter a tribe of ratlings lead by a Crane-trained
And there goes uber-bad-guy #1. Nice teamwork from the players.
The Crane ratling is captured. The Scorpion manage to trick Abashimori,
baiting their trap with the Kawayo Thunder Legion standard. Abashimori
is cut down by Masaru's naginata while trapped by Ito's Tomb of Jade.
This bit went *perfectly*. It was sooo cool describing the sky turning
dark and green lighting flashing over Beiden Pass.
Lion and Crab forces clash at Beiden Pass. Toturi defeats the Crab commander,
Hida Sukune, and the Crab defences are breached. Yogo Junzo opens a Black
Scroll, unleashing a terrible power upon the Lion army. The Akodo are utterly
vanquished by Junzo's dark magic.
There are two ways to run big battles. One, let the players determine
their army's tactics. Two, let the players make a moral decision which
affects the battle. This was #2.
The Scorpion and Crane fight a battle at the shores by Sunda Mizu Mura.
A sea-fog covers the battlefield. The Scorpion commander, Bayushi Hamanari,
becomes convinced that a Crab unit has fled the battlefield, and moves
the Kawayo Thunder Legion through the mist to replace the Crab. The Legion
discover the Crab were holding their position. Meanwhile, the Crane exploit
the weakness in the Scorpion defenses, and the battle is lost.
This session included the classic "heal us or die, priests" scene.
The characters retreat to Sunda Mizu Mura, and hold out until help arrives.
Later, Hamanari is removed from his position. A new commander, Kyobe, arrives.
My original plan for the campaign involved having the old characters
being played every other session. It's been more like every tenth session.
Not necessarily a bad thing - Tsuyite's story is pretty much finished,
as is Emishiko's for the time being...
Bayushi Tsuyite becomes daimyo of Tochu province.
The Oracle of Water takes up residence in a small castle in Tochu province.
Isawa Shinzui consults with Yuki no Onna and the Elemental Council.
Daidoji Henshu becomes Minister of the Exchequer.
Year 1 of Hantei the 39th/First Year of the Shogunate, Summer
Dungeon crawl, L5R style.
The Legion is brought up to half strength - three companies. Fakuro and
Kiri are both promoted to Chui. Masaru becomes a Gunso.
While scouting Kawayo Province, the Legion uncovers a second Black Scroll.
This was quite a funky political scene, and one I was worried about
beforehand. Any time when the GM has to play multiple sides is risky.
The Scroll is returned to Shiro no Mori Amimono. Ichiro reveals that the
Kawayo Thunder Legion were appointed as guardians of the scroll centuries
ago. Various factions - the Legion, the Political Office, the Yogo, and
others - lay claim to the Scroll. Yorinaga rules that the Scroll will remain
in the castle until it can be safely given into the custody of First Minister
"We can't use gunpower 'cos the emperor said so, yeah?" "Yep. After
the Battle of White Shore Plain, the Emperor - " "we're rebelling against
the Emperor." "Oh ****".
A great offensive against the Crane begins. Ninja assassins kill many key
Crane commanders, and the Daidoji crumble before the Scorpion advance.
New and secret weapons are issued to the second company of the Legion.
I never quite figured out why my players hated Tamari so much...
Under the command of Kyobe, the Legion defeats a Crane army on the shores
sound of Shiro no Kaze. A flotilla of ships carrying Lion reinforcements
is driven back from the shore. The Lion land at Shiro no Kaze.
The Scorpion army under the command of Bayushi Kyobe besieges Shiro no
Kaze. A mysterious messenger attempts to poison Bayushi Fakuro. The poisoning
is discovered, and the messenger is revealed to be Shosuro Tamari. He is
forced to commit seppuku.
He stabbed Hotasu as he was getting off his horse. Bit unfair really.
I liked Hotasu. Still, the death of a player character is a tragedy. The
death of a million NPCs is a plot point.
In a massive land battle, the Lion army is defeated by the Kawayo Thunders.
The Lion commander escapes. The commander of the Scorpion army, Bayushi
Kyobe, is revealed to be Bayushi Hotasu, and is slain by Fakuro.
Discover being a synonym for make deal with.
Tsuyite discovers Oni no Akasha in Shinomen Forest.
For purely altruistic and heroic reasons, of course.
Shinzui joins the White Lotus Society.
Yoritomo threw him off a balcony. Ed rolled Agility + Athletics to try
to grab onto some part of Kyuden Yoritomo to avoid falling to his death.
He throws a few million 10s, and vaults back up onto the balcony.
"You are a forceful negociator, Yoritomo-sama."
Henshu is sent to the Islands of Silk to win the support of the Mantis
Year 1 of Hantei the 39th/First Year of the Shogunate, Summer
The Master of Earth wandered in, turned the castle into a tomb, prevented
both armies from fighting, and wandered off again. I suspect I was influenced
by the dominance of Phoenix in the ccg...
The Kawayo Thunders take possession of Shiro No Kaze. However, the combined
forces of a second Lion army, under the command of Matsu Ketsui, and the
Master of Earth force the Scorpion into retreat.
"I attack him." "Ok, you're in melee combat with Togashi Hoshi." "Who?"
"Him" *shows picture*. "Uh-oh".
Bayushi Masaru is wounded by a mysterious dragon-spirit.
Which he kept to. He hasn't directly killed a Crane yet. Maimed, blown
up, and condemned to death, yes, but not killed.
To placate the spirits of the castle, Yogo Ito swears never to kill a Crane.
The DARK JESTER OF FU LENG! I got surreal.
The retreating Thunder Legion encounter a mysterious village, ruled by
a demon who attempts to trick them into revealing the location of the Scroll.
"You are samurai. Do the impossible. Now."
The Thunder Legion returns to Cobweb Castle, where they report to their
lord, Bayushi Yorinaga. He commands them to take Kyuden Daidoji - before
It was all very dramatic and blowy-upy.
They march to Kyuden Daidoji, and encounter a spy who offers to help them
infiltrate the castle. Shosuro Te, Bayushi Kimi and Yogo Ito follow the
spy into the castle, while Fakuro remains with the Thunder Legion. The
infiltrators are captured.
In the castle, the infiltrators are brought before an elderly Asahina shugenja.
He takes the Black Scroll from them - and is suddenly posessed by Asahina
Yajinden. The maho-tsukai attempts to use the scroll to destroy
the Scorpion army, but the scroll is a spell-trap! Yajinden flees, and
the old shugenja's soul is consumed in the making of a great gash in the
world. Hordes of shadow-warriors attack Kyuden Daidoji from the inside,
while Fakuro's troops use gunpowder to blow up the walls.
Burning with Kyuden Daidoji were Daidoji Uji and Doji Kuwanan. Hoturi
got captured in the same session. With Satsume poisoned, I'm pretty much
out of Crane Champions.
Kyuden Daidoji burns a week before midsummer. The Crane front collapses.
In revenge, Crane armies burn the abandoned Yasuki estates.
This bit deserves a little explanation. The ceremony was performed by
the Dark Thunders, seven servants of Fu Leng who are engaged in corrupting
the Clans. The seven are Junzo, Karasu, Yajinden, some Phoenix guy whose
name escapes me as of this writing, Kitsu Okura, Hitomi, and the ghost
of Kuni Yori. The ritual was an attempt to resurrect Yori in some form.
The Dark Jester, who'd been tracking the pcs, was also involved. Anyway,
the three PCs wandered down to the glowy green light, scaring the Jester
A mysterious ritual is performed near Sunda Mizu Mura. Te, Masaruk and
They then jumped into the light. Gah. I rolled
a d8. On a 1 to 7, they got teleported to the appropriate Thunder. On an
8, they arrived at the source of the Thunder's power. I rolled. A 6. They
teleported to the Lion lands. Masaruk (the Lion spy) killed Kitsu Okura,
thus saving the Lion from corruption. Rather than hang around the Kitsu
Halls and explain why they'd just murdered a priest, they jumped back into
the green light.
I roll again.
Fu Leng's throne room.
Te kills himself on the spot.
Masaruk charges Fu Leng, hits him once, and is
then obliterated completely.
Kimi falls to her knees and shouts "oh I worship
you my mighty master Fu Leng"...
Products of Oni no Akasha.
The Thunder Legion returns to Cobweb Castle in triumph.
Strange snake-men are sighted wandering the Shinomen.
The Kuni was played by a new player, Francois, and caused an amount
of chaos and death out of proportion to his time in the game. The bloodbath
of the final session was partly caused by his attempts to control Oni no
The Unicorn Clan joins the war on the side of the Loyalists - but the first
Unicorn army sent to strike at the Scorpion are killed by the snake-men.
After a time of rest and respite, the Legion march north to reinforce Ryoko
Owari Toshi.They are reinforced by a Kuni shugenja.
There was lots of stuff to do with Emishiko and the earlier campaigns.
In the end, they messed up.
The Legion command staff fail to uncover the mystery of the House of Ide
He was trying to persuade Kachiko to end the war. Awww.
The Unicorn armies attack the Scorpion borders.
The Lion are pushed back by the Crab.
Mirumoto Fai Suk consults with Togashi Yokuni. The Demon Who Cannot Be
Seen destroys the High House of Light.
Doji Hoturi is captured by the Scorpion, and imprisoned in Bayushi Castle.
Year 2 of Hantei the 39th/Second Year of the Shogunate, Autumn
"You're an idiot" was said a lot, on both sides.
The commander of the Kawayo Thunder Legion argues with the lord of Ryoko
Owari Toshi, the cripple Shosuro Jocho.
Another three PCs killed. Muppets. I warned 'em, didn't I warn 'em...
The Kawayo Thunders attempt to retake the Magistrate's House from Matsu
Shien. She kills a dozen Scorpion, and collapses the House on the rest.
The letters are reproduced elsewhere.
The Kawayo Thunders leave the city. They discover the Bloodspeakers have
rebuilt their fortress in the Yogo lands, and that Yogo Tenkazu was captured
and murdered there by Junzo.
Rumours begin to spread of a massive Shadowlands Incursion in the south.
The Unicorn armies attack the Scorpion. While most of the Unicorn are stopped
by the Bayushi legions, and many more are devoured by Oni no Akasha, a
small elite force of Otaku Battle Maidens strike at Ryoko Owari. At the
same time, the Kawayo Thunder Legion receive letters from Bayushi Yorinaga,
ordering them to march on Kyuden Bayushi.
Having lost their characters twice in two sessions, I let the players
play their big characters.
The Kawayos are joined by a mysterious girl, and also encounter the Demon
Oni no Fai Suk.
One big chaotic final session, as always. Notable for actual bushido
and loyalty to their lord and clan, and a funky magical bomb disposal scene
where Ito tries using the seal from one scroll to contain the dark power
of a second.
The Thunder Legion arrives at Kyuden Bayushi through mysterious magics,
and finds itself between the castle and the Bayushi House Guards.
At Kyuden Bayushi, Doji Hoturi, the Crane prince captured two months ago,
is to be put to death. Dark magics are unleashed during the execution,
as the Hoturi is revealed to be a false duplicate created by the Egg of
Pan Ku. During the confusion, the Great Traitor Yogo Junzo attacks the
Junzo attempts to unleash the magic of the Black Scrolls upon the castle.
His first attempt is thwarted by Oni no Fai Suk and the Oracle of Water,
his second by Yogo Ito.
Bayushi Shoju vanishes. Kachiko and Hoturi flee to the hidden lake beneath
the castle. Ito seals the second black scroll shut.
Yorinaga declares himself Champion of the Scorpion.
Word comes from the south that the Kaui Wall has been destroyed by Black
Scroll magics. Hida Kisada is dead, slain by Fu Leng himself. His sons
are missing. His daughter has been rescued by her betrothed husband, Yoritomo.
The Demon of the Maw has returned to Rokugan, animated Kyuden Hida as its
body. The Shadowlands are pointed to overrun the southlands.
The second step on the Chrysanthemum Road has been taken...
Henshu is still Minister of the Exchequer, and is having fun with certain
Tsuyite is ruling his domain, although how long he can stand against
the Shadowlands is open to question.
Emishiko has retreated to her underwater castle.
Oni no Fai Suk is somewhere near Beiden Pass with a scroll.
Shinzui is in Otosan Uchi.
Abashita's still a ronin.
Fakuro's a warlord in the Scorpion.
Kimi's a demon.
Ito's running the Yogo.
And the Empire's in flames...