L5R New Lands to the North – Summer7 July, 2012
Having completed the first season (Spring) and the linking actions, we move on to the first Summer of the new Daimyo. Lady Natsumi was visiting the daimyo to the South, Shiba Kiyotaka, to get more fish to stock her ponds with when word came in that the two ashigaru were killed in the east.
The Kitsuki gathers most of the heroes, with Isawa Katai staying behind to watch the castle and the Akodo out mapping, and heads out to investigate before his bride arrives for their wedding (he figures he has ten days and it is two days hard ride each way to get there, so easily doable). The attack took place outside of Apple Blossom Village and the two ashigaru were cut down by accurate arrow fire while following up on reports of wolves in the area. The locals deny any knowledge of the attack and the samurai in charge of the patrol, Shiba Ippi, does not have then number of soldiers needed to sweep the area safely.
The Kitsuki aggressively questions the town headman, Ken, and Shiba Ippi, before calling an assembly the next morning. The ronin tries to integrate himself into the lower levels of society and makes some ‘friends’ among the day laborers and transient workers. Mostly, the populace is frightened but polite around the Rokugani. The monk Shigeru visits the local shrine and attempts to bridge the spiritual gap with the locals, not with any great success but not causing any trouble either.
The next morning the Kitsuki announces that crimes were committed against the daimyo and Imperial law and that the guilty will be punished before he leaves.
The ishken-do used a prayer that revealed that a couple of the crowd were armed and another was hiding a pouch. The Kitsuki had them all rounded up:
- The pouch contained hashish and the owner is let free .
- The first armed man is from one of the notable families in town and he claims the knife is for pruning and agrees not to carry it in the future except when he is working in the orchard, He, too, is set free.
- The second armed man throws himself on the mercy of the Kitsuki. He is a transient worker and carries the knife for self-defense. The Kitsuki hope to get him to identify some of the other people who may be working with local bandits.
The ronin watched the laborers to see if anything obvious came up but totally missed the gathering of the first families of the village who swooped in, grabbed two of the transient workers, beat them and dragged them off to the main square. They arrived just as the magistrate dragged out his prisoner. He identified the two men being dragged forward as bandit and the Kitsuki ordered his prisoner killed for lying, which Shiba Shyuan promptly does, and dragged the other two in for interrogation. The first one admits to knowing some information and the Kitsuki leaves for further questioning, while the second prisoner has worked his hands free and tries to kill the Kitsuki but is killed before he can achieve that goal. Having shown that justice is swift and brutal, the Kitsuki gathers his people and the remaining prisoner and heads back to the castle.
Meanwhile, Akodo Raion on his task of mapping the valley, finds his survey interrupted by a young boy running up and shouting, “Flee, flee the Bu Meng Qin! They come!” Hot on his heels are three Bu Meng Qin, nearly nearly ten-foot tall terror birds. The Akodo sends one of his samurai back to warn the castle while he pulls the boy up onto the back of his horse and tries to lure the Bu Meng Qin away. They follow the Akodo by are distracted by an unfortunate deer that they butcher and consumed, letting the Lion retreat safely.
Back at the castle, the Kitsuki and his entourage have returned just ahead of the Akodo. Gathering most of the characters (except the Kitsuki), two goats and the best archers among the ashigaru, Isawa Katai leads out a hunting party to try and kill the Bu Meng Qin. Tracking the terror birds to their general location, the goats are staked out and an ambush is laid. A lone bird charges up to slaughter the hapless goats and is in turn cut down by flights of arrows. Unfortunately, a trio of Bu Meng Qin decided the people looked like better eating and charge in, killing two ashigaru. A brutal swirling melee follows, the Akodo’s chestplate is shattered and his ribs crushed, but he does not fall. The ronin manages to kill one with his pipe, but as its falls, its claw lashes out and opens up the ronin’s leg in a spray of arterial blood. The monk calls upon the protective might of the earth and grabs one so that it can be killed. The last one falls to a concerted effort. The heads and claws are gathered as trophies.
Thus there are impressive, if slightly grisly, trophies on display when Otomo Sata, betrothed to the Kitsuki, arrives with her entourage a few days later and all efforts are bent towards finishing the preparation for the wedding. Accompanying the Otomo are:her servants, fifteen Seppun guards with their Captain Seppun Endo, three Phoenix guards commanded by Shiba Genko (a classmate of Shiba Shyuan), Seppun Chuhei the officiating (and officious) priest, Kitsuki Sanetome (Nenzo’s uncle) and Ennin, a monk of the Four Temples Order. Much to everyone’s surprise, the wedding goes off with almost no trouble. Though Nenzo awakens to see, he thinks, Asako Taysuke looking down through his bedroom window . . . which is located at the top of the castle. Tatsuke is found the next morning among the rafters of the new temple which is under construction.
Thus ended Summer, soon there will be Summer to Autumn actions and then the Autumn game.
Notes: This game did not run as smoothly as I would have liked due to H and L both being late due to needing to oversee repairs to various things. Also, still challenging to run a game for eight people, what was I thinking?