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New L5R Campaign – Episode 2 – Incedent at Sweet Rice Village

29 September, 2011

Our primary group of four hopeful heroes continued south from the Inn of the Willow Branchcrossing into the lands of the Monkey Clan and soon arriving at Sweet Rice Village, whose existence far predates that of the Monkey Clan.  They find the town pack with farmers, traveling peddlers, entertainers, and a small compliment of Monkey samurai for they have arrived the annual Moon Festival.  They make their way to the inn where they

Lord Moon Watches

Lord Moon Watches

meet another Lion, Matsu Tsuruchi, who is here showing off his archery skill on his way to the Vigilant Keep of the Monkey to report to Toku Kobo and are shortly there after joined by Gunso Akodo Katsu and Shiba Kyo of the 4th Imperial Legion who have been seconded to the Imperial Magistrates as well.

Sweet Rice Village is usually as actually maintaining a temple to Onnotangu, Lord Moon, for according to the legend:

Back in ages past, in the dawning days of the Empire, a vast and powerful oni stalked the land and threatening to tear apart the land and let the sea flood the inner Empire.  But Onnotangu came down, cloaked by night and confronted the oni.  Lord Moon demanding that it leave the Empire and return to whence it came, when it did not, he slew the oni with one mighty blow, driving his body deep into the Earth.  The only marker of this is a small salt water spring bubbles out through the shrine and is used for ceremonial blessings.

The highlight of the festival is at midnight with a staging of the defeat of the oni with the local priest of the Moon Cult standing in for Lord Moon and a team of villagers playing the oni.  Afterward some of the character retire to the inn, others visit the temple.  Money, considerable money (4+ koku) are donated and the Priest offers to divine the group’s fortune.  He is taken up on the offer, taking a ceremonial bowl and filling it with water from the sacred spring, he dropped a handful of obsidian shapes into the water . . . only to have it freeze solid.  He tells the character that he will try to learn what that means if they will come back in the morning.

The weather had turned cold.  A late frost was on the ground the next morning as Shiba Kyo practiced his kata in the predawn light.  The word came from the priest of the Moon Cult to “dress warmly”, a warning repeated by Akodo Arihito’s ancestor to him as he awoke.   As the Phoenix practiced, he noted a small boy running towards the town.  The Shiba and the Isawa go to meet him where he collapses, out of breath and gestures back to where he came from.

Out of the tree emerged a huge, one eyes creature with pale, blue-veined skin moving slowly towards the town.  As is passes along the rice paddies, ice begins to form on their edges.  Our heroes rush to engage, except for the Phoenix and the archer who hold back.  Combat ensues with the Toucanome (“Frost-Eye”) unleashing its freezing gaze and then flailing around with an uprooted tree.  While a few of the characters are wounded no one is killed before the monster is put down by a katana of fire wielded by Arihito.  He is almost flash-frozen when it falls, releasing a blast of brutal cold.

The Isawa burns the body, and himself, using fires of purity almost incinerating Arihito while he was trying to take the creatures head for a trophy.  Both survive though burned and Arihito ends up with the creature’s hair as proof of his kill.  The characters decide to rest for the rest of the day and continue their journey next day.

Notes: For a variety of reasons, a late start and influx of new players chief among them, this game ended up being a bit more rushed than I would have liked.

Moon photo from Wikimedia commons and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic.

To Monkey Lands and Episode 3.

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