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Rokugan SRIU Episode 8 “Jaded Desires” (L5R Campaign Report)

14 March, 2016

Having solved their spirit problem, they hope, the unit is introduced to their newest member:

Mirumoto Daremo, trained as a Kitsuki investigator and who made a terrible mistake in judgement, executing an innocent man and now has devoted himself fully to the cause of justice.  (Kitsuki Investigator 1, played by J3.)

And are given their next mission: The Imperial road near the Lion-Crane border along the Three-Sides River have been suffering from inexplicable attrition and wear this season, it is almost as if it were being sabotaged.

The next morning they set out, with assigned horses, winding their way down the Imperial Road to their destination.  As they approach the way-station the report originated from, Three-Side Post Station, they encounter road crews out repairing the roads.  Stopping to investigate, it looks the stones making up the upper surface of the roads were taken and then the summer rains caused more damage as all of the sites are near small streams.

Shortly before nightfall, they arrive at the way-station which in fact currently straddle the boarder between Crane and Lion lands, which the village around it divided between those two clans.  There they meet Miya Osaku, old hand at dealing with the Lion and Crane who is in her early 30s and heavily pregnant, her husband is off serving in the Imperial Legions, she apologizes for being unable to investigate the problems herself.   She presents the with a piece of jade with a sigil on it, taken off a drunken ronin, who is turn said that he won it gambling in a nearby village but he could not remember which one.  Sadly, the ronin has been pressed into service to the Lion and is not available for further questioning.  The Lioness learns from some of her clan’s member that a Lion patrol has gone missing across the border in Crane lands but does not seem to have been captured by the Crane.

Rural lifeThe team start their investigation, after a few days, they come to Watchful Owl Village, which is an unregarded barley and millet growing village among the low hills shows unexpected prosperity, the huts are well tended and a surprising number of them look to have been recently rebuilt in stone and wood.

Kenta notices a new trading post bearing the Yasuki mon, run by Yasuki Kumohime, a young merchant.  Investigating the post, Kenta speaks with his clanswoman while others see what is on offer, which seems like a wider and wealthier selection than such a small village should be able to support.  Some items are purchased and the investigation continues.

Bayushi Kaeru speaks with children, Daermo speaks to the eta, and they both go to listen to the local Oba-san’s stories including one about a Doji courtier who turned to blood magic to enhance her already considerable charms and who was sealed in a tomb when it was found that normal means could not kill her.  Akina and Kenta scout around the village and find a stream bed that has been used as a transit route.  On their return, they meet Daidoji Hohiro, the samurai assigned to this village, who bears the unmistakable marks of an opium addict.

As it is getting late, Ichi, the village headman, invite the yoriki to stay with him.  Ichi is old but strong and a former ashigaru is the Crane armies.  He seems to live a restrained lifestyle but his much younger wife, Petal, has many fine things and delights in entertaining the samurai.  That night, the characters’ dreams are filled with their secret desires and visions of fulfilling them.

The next day, our heroes leave the village only to double back along the stream bed following it well beyond the village and up into the hills.  They spot a mine head and workers, they quickly move to seize it, the miners surrender, they have no ability to fight samurai.  They are mining jade obviously illegally, the character investigate the mine and find a side passage where the missing piece of jade came from where it is obviously part of a greater set of wards.  They feel whispers at the back of their mind, their desires coming unbidden to mind.  Kauru replaces the missing piece of jade, as best she can, and adds more ofuda (paper charms) which mutes the whispers but do not entirely silence them.

They talk to the miners who explain that the jade seam was found when part of the hillside slide away following winter rains and then . . . well, mining and selling it for their own benefit just seemed the thing to do.  The subtle corruption of the trapped being obviously led to the turn of affairs.  They lock down the village and summon the Crane authorities to sort this out, the end result being that the villagers are stripped of much of their illegal wealth as “back taxes” but are otherwise unpunished, the Yasuki hands over her remaining stock to the Crane and the Asahina build additional wards.  The Crane are quite happy to simply cover up this whole unfortunate incident and thank the team for their discretion.

Notes: J3 is new to L5R, both world and system, but did just fine.  Still lacking Unicorn and Sparrow players.

The basic structure of the campaign here Rokugan SRIUNext episode “To the North and Winter, Part 1” here.

Photo by Evan Blaser and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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