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L5R JYTB Campaign Report 18

28 August, 2010

Scorpion Surprise

This interlude took place the earliest of the three, shortly after Soshi Utami gets back to Scorpion lands in late Summer and finds her commission as a Gunso in the 7th Bayushi Legion activated and she is sent to the Yogo Towers.  Once there Soshi Utami is called before the Scorpion Magistrate Bayushi Minhzang who dispatches her to see what has happened to a small Unicorn caravan, lead by Ide Yat-Sen, that has gone missing in the hills.  The caravan headed up the Crescent Moon Pass to get from the Yogo Towers to Beiden Pass.  They never arrived.

Utami is given command on a newly formed patrol consisting of two Scorpion samurai, a pair of Bayushi cousins -Jojuri and Roiki- who loath each other, Yogo Toshiro, a Soshi-trained shugenja, and five newly recruited ashigaru.  Utami meets her peers over dinner and outlines their mission and schedule.

Utami’s patrol leaves early, well ahead of the main Yogo force which has been dispatched on the same task but is much larger and slower moving.  Driving themselves hard, the patrol is well into the pass by early afternoon.  They find a side path that has been cunningly concealed by well-cut brush.  The patrol follows the hidden path soon stumbling over a body, a few days dead and well picked over by carrion birds, his clothes and mask identify him as the Yogo guide attached to the Unicorn caravan.  His throat was cut and his weapons taken.

The characters continue only to run headlong into an annoyed boar that brutally kills two of the ashigaru before being slain.  Moving onward they found a path moving up further up into the mountains protected by a low dry stone wall which looked like the boar had run into and that the top had recently been replaced.  They surmise that the horses of the caravan were taken up over the wall.  They move forward and find a tripwire . . . by tripping over it, setting off an alarm.

The characters withdraw but notice that they are being tracked along the ridge line.  It is a sniper but Soshi Utami is faster and more accurate and the sniper perishes with an arrow buried in his throat.  A following force of eight lightly-armed bandits confronts the patrol, they inflict a few wounds and kill another of the ashigaru before being slaughtered.  Utami sends the two Bayushi to track the bandits back to their camp while the rest of the patrol goes back to get the Yogo main force.

The Bayushi managed to find the main bandit camp and observe it.  The majority of the bandits are equipped with straight swords and carrying shields.  The bandits are packing up their camp and tying the Unicorns to the caravan’s pack horses.  Jojuri takes word back while Roiki continues watching.  The bandits tie branches to the horses’ tails and set them on fire, sending the horses and riders on a wild change down the pass while the rest of the bandits withdraw deeper into the mountains.

Jojuri gets back to the rest just before the maddened horses.  By a combination of magic, acrobatics and well-placed arrows, the horses are ‘contained’ with only a few broken bones and injured Unicorn.  Ide Yat-Sun is recovered, he explains that the caravan was cut off by well-disciplined bandits with gaijin weapons who took their shipment and, he thinks, intended to hold them for ransom.

The bandits vanish, despite the efforts of the Yogo main force to track them but Scorpion honor is somewhat assuaged but the returns of most of the Unicorns alive.  Utami’s patrol is recognized for their bravery and duty.

Notes: While the third played of the character spotlight games, this one chronological takes place first, followed by Hida Yo‘s and Toku Kobo‘s falling last.  The two rival Bayushi were jealous of each other and kharmicly tied, one had a bitter betrothal to the other’s true love as well for additional conflict.

Boars are quite deadly in L5R.  If the character had not had the ashigaru to absorb attacks at least one of them would likely have perished to its vicious tusks.

The gaijin armed and trained bandits are part of a much earlier storyline with the first group I ran in my Rokugan.  A large group of these bandits was destroyed by Lion forces let by the Imperial Magistrate, Mirumoto Makoto, but some escaped.

Together again (Report 19).

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