Posted by: markfender | August 3, 2011

Legend of the Five Rings – Session 2

What?! Two posts about the game I’m running this week?! What’s going on?! (I’m out of town, that’s what’s going on. So you get the left-over posts this week.)

The PCs are preparing to take Doji Konatsu to Kyuden Shinjo to hide her advancing pregnancy from the eyes of court, and especially the Scorpion. The cover story that has been arranged for Doji Konatsu is that she is going to visit her cousin, Moto Sheshiru, whom she hasn’t seen since she married the Moto Family Daimyo, Moto Chagatai. What’s left unsaid is that Moto Seshiru was married off to the Moto Daimyo to hide her own shame – she had turned her acupunture arts to torture. The Crane quickly forced her “out of sight, out of mind” by sending her to Unicorn lands. Seppun Jinsei is hoping that, by aligning Doji Konatsu with this never-mentioned “problem child” of the Crane, everyone at court will neglect to talk about Konatsu as well. (My two Crane PCs were missing this session. So I guess they came down with the plague before the rest of the group left.)

Since the PCs are hostages, they’re not given free leave to wander around the Empire as they choose. Their chaperone is Akodo Shunori, a Lion Warden. Unfortunately, Kyuden Shinjo is almost the most north-eastern point in Rokugan, so the PCs have a long trip ahead of them, a trip made slower by Doji Konatsu’s traveling condition. This isn’t helped by Soshi Kazuno insisting on performing the Tea Ceremony every evening.

After MONTHS of travel, the PCs finally arrive at Kyuden Shinjo, only to find Moto Chagatai ruling the Clan in all but title. The PCs have personal letters of introduction to Shinjo Masafumi, but not Moto Chagatai. Can they trust him with their Imperial burden? Numerous requests to meet with Shinjo Masafumi are answered with “tomorrow,” a day that never comes. Meanwhile, Isawa Toshi, using his Void senses, has detected a great big ball of madness in the basement. After talking with Moto Seshiru (who is delighted to receive visitors from more civilized parts of the Empire), he discovers that the madness he detected is one of her pet projects, a heimin she has driven insane with her torturing techniques. And, in the manner of all fantasy fiction, the insane person spouts prophecy:

Four water-lilies
Drift past the waiting maidens
One takes to the air
It touches the cheek and cuts
The boy, exposing nothing

Meanwhile, Moshi Ryoko spotted a Moto that she saw dishonor a Mantis during one of the battles of the Mantis Rebellion. A Unicorn and a Mantis had challenged each other on the battlefield and were preparing to duel when this dishonorable Moto rode through and killed the Mantis. This, of course, is a great dishonor. Moshi Ryoko calls him out, he protests his innocence, and they arrange to duel the next day at noon with Moto Chagatai’s blessing. The following day, Moshi Ryoko and a great number of Unicorn gather in the courtyard for the duel, only to have the challenged Moto never show up. Moto Chagatai immediately mounts an expedition to find him, a large contingent of Unicorn (and Moshi Ryoko) riding out to find him.

Of course, this gives the other PCs ample time to track down Shinjo Masafumi and finally get the audience they’ve been looking for. As a Unicorn who can no longer ride, he has found his place as Clan Champion increasingly being taken over by Moto Chagatai. He has a private estate that he will shelter Doji Nokatsu at. All he asks in return is that the PCs take his son, Shinjo Yokatsu (Yes, I realize the name of Nokatsu and Yokatsu are eerily similar. Whoops.) back with them to get him away from Moto Chagatai. After all, his son would be the next Clan Champion and is currently standing in the way of Moto Chagatai’s takeover of the Clan.

The Unicorn hunting party finds the fleeing Moto and Moto Chagatai strikes him down. As a small recompense to Moshi Ryoko for this Moto’s shameful acts, his horse is given to her as a gift. Isawa Toshi, being a curious shugenja, uses his Void magic to eliminate the insane prophet’s madness for a limited time. This only leads to the heimin cursing him for making him realize what he’d lost. Somewhat cowed by this, Isawa Toshi smuggles a weapon into the insane prophet’s cell so that he can kill himself. Unfortunately, he miscalculated the range of his spells and wasn’t able to “sober” the heimin up before he left (That whole “Can’t Lie” thing would have exposed him if he’d done it in the heimin’s presence). The PCs leave the Unicorn lands with Shinjo Yokatsu and Akodo Shunori, their task completed. Isawa Toshi hopes that the heimin was able to summon up enough sanity to kill himself. (As a GM, the question now is: did he? Which I’ll answer with another question: What’s more fun – a dead heimin or an armed, insane prophet who escaped his jail cell? Exactly.)

Four months after their trip began, the PCs return to the village of Taiyo One Mura. In the meantime, Otomo Chisami, the young sister of Seppun Jinsei and the Emperor has returned from her training in the Phoenix lands. She is preparing to leave to be married to Mirumoto Toraizo, the Dragon Clan Champion and a man forty-years her senior. (An arrangement made during the Mantis Rebellion for aid from the Dragon.) The PCs prepare for their first trip to the Imperial Court…

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