Rokugan SRIU Episode 5 “Promises Made” (L5R Campaign Report)11 August, 2015
The characters have triumphantly return from their visit to Paper Street where upon they are dispatched North on an inspection tour through Lion and Phoenix lands, sans Otaku. With very little time to prepare, but the Bayushi finds a package from Kiau Taura in her room, containing a new frog mask of steel to replace the heavy iron one she had been wearing. Things are uneventful on the Lion side, though Akina does receive a letter . . . instructing her to assist Ikoma Masaji should she encounter him.
Crossing over into Phoenix lands, things are not uneventful. The border villages have suffered from Lion raids and the displaced villagers are currently living in a (fairly well ordered) shanty town around the shukueki (way station) of Mulberry Grove, that also hosts a temple to the Fortune of Paper. The honjin (Imperial inn) there is overseen by Miya Torako and her husband, Hoshi, a former Shiba, who has been trying to help the displaced peasants but suffers from a lack of resources. The yoriki make note of it all but they are not here to interfere with such a situation.
That all changes the next morning when a unit of Asako Inquisitors, led by the formidable Asako Mariko arrives, on the trail of the blood magic that was used to kill a Phoenix Magistrate, Shiba Hiro, and the Inquisitors mean to bring those responsible to justice. Their divinations have led them here and they demand the aid of all samurai in tracking down this threat to the Empire. The yoriki, of course, agree, and devise a plan. They go into the shanty town, bringing food and aid, both magical and spiritual, to scout out their section. They slowly narrow the possible suspects, finally cutting their pool of suspects down to people from one village.
When they return (sans the Lioness) to confront the peasants, an unnatural darkness descends upon them, isolating each of them. A ghostly woman approaches each in turn, offering them their desire (to remove the Crab’s fear, for example) but they all refuse. The Bayushi is able to perceive beyond the darkness to feel fire but calls on the kami to extinguish the flames, saving the huts and preventing a possible conflagration. Once they have all refused the spirit’s offer, it vanishes along with the darkness, revealing a set of partly burned and abandoned huts. The Inquisitors head off in pursuit of the peasants, while the characters return to the inn to rally additional samurai to join in the hunt. The Lioness is watching the inn and finds Ikoma Masaji closing an ornately carved wooden box and she could swear that she had hear him talking to someone but there is no one else in his room . . .
The Inquisitors catch most of the suspected blood sorcerers and let the yoriki continue on their way and their appointed tasks. Which next takes them to the Ki-rin Shrine.
Notes: The basic structure of the campaign here Rokugan SRIU and the previous episodes: Episode 1 “. . . and a monkey“, Episode 2 “Cherry blossoms fall . . .“, Episode 3 “Tigers, Temples and Trouble” and Episode 4 “Paper Street“. M has left town so no Doji (in fact the Doji becomes the murder victim in my GenCon mystery), while C2 had family obligations thus the missing Otaku this episode.