L5R Children of Destiny – Episode 5 “Hunting Shadows”

16 January, 2014

Shrine and DojoAfter having defeated the spirit centipede, the characters returned to the Capital and spend three months in minor tasks and training.  Much to his annoyance, the Otomo finds himself pulled into the orbit of Doji Akira and again forced to travel with the yoriki.

As mid-Summer passes, the samurai are again called before Doji Akira and again dispatched to the Lion lands, having done so well with the spirit centipede, they are sent much further north to the Valley of the Two Generals, the site of one of the most famous battles in Rokugan, where there is a spiritual imbalance.  Again, the Lion lack shugenja to investigate, the majority of them having gone with the Lion armies to fight the yobanjin to the North.

The Soshi is again placed in charge of the yoriki squad and they travel uneventfully North.  Arriving in the valley after several weeks of travel they are met by Ikoma Kei and a squad of ashigaru who escort them to the Two General Shrine located on a hill which also has an attached Lion Dojo.  There they meet with the ancient keeper of the shrine Kitsu Un, who senses increasing spiritual disharmony in the valley but does not have the strength or skills to investigate.  He is the only shugenja at the shrine, the rest of it being maintained by a small cadre of monks and nuns.  It is noted that the dojo student are all younger (13 years old or younger) and find that the older students were put through their gempukku early so that they could participate in the war in the North (“a unique opportunity”).

They move to investigate the the villages arranged around the shrine: Shadow of Bushido, Honorable Vow and New Village (established a generation after the other two).  They make the circuit visiting all three villages. the information they discovered:

  • The villages are short on food, the Lion Clan squeeze this area hard for supplies for the war.  Almost all of the peasant are hungry.
  • Grey robed figures (“ghosts”) have been seen at night.
  • Some of the peasants have disappeared, though it looks more like they left rather than were taken.

They decide to spend the night at New Village before returning to the shrine.  The Seppun and Toku are patrolling at night when they see a figure heading out of the village.  The Seppun nocks an arrow and prepares to shoot, but recognizes something familiar about the figure and fires the arrow at the ground in front of the figure, who breaks into a shambling run, ending face down in the nearest rice paddy.  They run to investigate and find that it is the Hare!  Who is slowly drowning.  They pull him out and clear his lungs (by the Boar punching him in the stomach) but he remains insensible from drink.

Investigation (and speaking to the water kami) reveals that blood magic was used to control the Hare and was performed in the stable by someoneShadows upon Shadows using a lantern and a shadow puppet.  They assemble the villagers the next morning and find that the woodcarver is missing, they investigate his hut and find that his box of shadow puppets is missing along with the man.

Next episode, the hunt continues.

Notes: The players had a chance to tell me what their characters were doing over the three months to advance their own agenda and everyone got a few experience points.

Shadow puppet photo by Abulic Monkey and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.


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