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Rokugan SRIU Episode 1 “. . . and a monkey.” (L5R Campaign Report)

19 April, 2015

Well, my Campaign Pitch for Rokugan SRIU was accepted and we played out first game.

The characters are:

Akodo Akina, subtle Lioness trained by the Ikoma . . . who is caught in a love triangle.  (Lion’s Shadow 2.  Played by T.)

Bayushi Kaeru, a Soshi trained Scorpion shugenja . . . who is both truthful and unpretty.  She wears a frog mask and is very withdrawn. (Soshi shugenja 2, Played by L.)

Hida Kenta, a large Hida-trained Crab warrior . . . who is a coward.  Presents himself as a traditional Crab, full of bluster and ready for combat.  (Hida bushi 1, Played by J2.)

and Wuya, a pipe-smoking older ronin woman assigned by the Magistrate, as there are certain tasks that only a ronin can do.  (NPC, as there are certain things that only a ronin can do . . .)

The episode starts in Otosan Utchi, the capital with the newly appointing yoriki receiving their jitte of office and first mission.  It then flashes back to Yesterday, with each of the characters (except the ronin) meeting with their new boss, the Imperial Magistrate Doji Akira.  To each, he explains that their problems are known to him but do not need to be known and that he expects them to do their very best as his yoriki and for the Empire.  He gives them each a chance to ask questions, but few are made.

The task they are sent on takes them three days north to the Northern Way Shukueki (post station) where small items have been disappearing from the guests of the Honjin (Imperial sponsored inn) and the overseer, Yasuki Nabukiko, has had to execute four valuable servants to deal with the complaints of guests.  The Hida is placed in charge of the mission.

and aThe travel is uneventful and they arrive at Northern Way Shukueki in late afternoon.  The first thing they encounter is a peddler selling pet monkeys who they decline to buy from.  Wuya sees to the horses while the others go in are met by the host, who is Yasuki Nabukiko, who takes them to his office to inform them of the details of the situation.  They ask questions but can find no common theme among the thefts, always of small objects of varying value, except that no shugenja had ever mentioned loosing anything, but that may just be a coincidence as there are so few of them.

They interact with the other guests, playing Go with two Matsu Imperial Legionaries, briefly observing a debate between a Mirumoto and an Otomo about Taoism in government, and generally observing until the puppet show starts.  There is a troupe that performs here and has for years, they specialize in telling the story of a brave -but not too bright- Monkey samurai who travels the Empire righting wrongs and solving crimes, mostly by accident and luck, it is a comic tale and well received by the guests.

PuppetsScouting around the inn turns up no clues, so they decide to keep watch throughout the night, with Wuya watching from the stables (a ronin’s life is a rough one).   The Bayushi is alerted to something going on by her friendly air kami.  She peers out and sees something small moving around.  She whispers to the air kami who is turn whisper to the Hida and the Akodo waking them.  They stumble out into the hall and the small creature, now resolved as human or monkeyish , escapes up into beams supporting the roof.  The Hida climbs up to try and catch it, but is only able to make out that it is fleeing towards the main hall.  They follow it, finally getting a good view of it and identifying it as one of the puppets.  They try to track it from below, but soon enough, the Hida has to climb up after it.  Only to find that it has escaped back down!  The Crab only just sees its foot slipping back into a basket.  Getting the Yasuki, they open the basket and find the Monkey samurai puppet there.  The Yasuki insists that the puppeteer and their stages was searched and, indeed, the yoriki find nothing there either.  But they remember that they heard the puppet run to the far end of the central beam, so the Hida again climbs back up and finds a treasure trove of small items, on the top of which is a risque ivory netsuke belonging to the Otomo.

The Bayushi speaks to the kami of the puppet and finds that the Monkey King had visited the honjin and did not like how the monkey was portrayed and so summoned a monkey spirit to inhabit it and cause trouble for those who laughed too much at the monkey.  Its purpose revealed, the monkey spirit left to return back to its king and the puppet became less lifelike.  The Yasuki thanked them all and set about trying to figure out how to return all of the bits and bob back to their owners.  The Bayushi convinces the Yasuki that the honjin needs a monkey mascot to appease the Monkey King and goes, with the Yasuki’s son, to buy one from the monkey seller.

The next day, they head back to report a successful mission to their Magistrate.

Notes: Very much pulled out of my hat at the last moment but it ended up running quite well.  Next time we play we may have two more player which should be interesting.  Episode 2 can be found here.

Monkey photo by Dick Thomas Johnson and puppet photo by brickski both used a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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