Rokugan SRIU Episode 11 “To the North and Winter, Part 3” (L5R Campaign Report)29 October, 2016
This episode opens with the arrival of the missing Tonbo and the aftermath of the attack by podlings on Asako Neko and Bayushi Kaeru as guards and samurai swarm into the room, which is stripped and ritually cleansed, and the Asako decides to stay with the other yoriki.
The Tonbo is informed of what is going on and their current plans. They suspect that Isawa Nobuhide is not the only member of the conspiracy here but they are not sure how to track down any of the other members, then they remember the creepy watchful peacock in his room. So they troupe en mass to Otomo Mariko, Imperial Nakodo, to see if she know who might have given such a distinctive gift. She spends some time sounding out the Tonbo but does manage to recall that the peacock was a gift from Doji Tatsuzo, a Crane courtier with interest in artifacts from Gaijin lands.
The following day, while their main suspect Isawa Nobuhide is off at the origami competition with Hida Kenta, the Bayushi and the Tonbo investigate the Isawa’s room, covering the watchful peacock with a cloth, they find a scroll recently coated in red dye that is drying in a case and a multitude of small knives but nothing firmly incriminating.
As both Nobuhide and Kenta washed out in the first round of the origami tournament, Kenta urges his friend to drown his sorrows in drink. The clever Crab lure Nobuhide back to his room where the other yoriki join in the party, plying the Phoenix with drink and playing on his hurt feeling . . . except for the Asako who cannot resist pointing out the Nobuhida’s flaws and that his problems are mostly self inflicted. She is exiled from the party and soon after, Nobuhida passes out and they take him back to his room, where several of the characters are unnerved by the watching peacock statue.
The team settle in to sleep off their overindulgence only to be awoken by Wuya, the ronin yoriki, who informs them that Nobuhide is in the stables saddling a horse. Kenta and the Bayushi rush off to Nobuhide’s room, which they find has been hastily abandoned. while everyone else gets their weapons and heads toward the stables. At the stables, Nobuhide has already left, but they spot him at the castle gates. The Tonbo sends up a humming bulb arrow and tries to signal the guards to close the gates. And gets attacked by the red paper demon, appearing out of nowhere it seemed, for his troubles. The Otaku pulls herself up on her unsaddled horse and pursues Nobuhide. While the Tonbo and Akodo engage the demon, soon joined by the Hida, and the Asako and Bayushi invoke the powers of the kami to strike it with fire and holy light. The demon slowly falls under the assault, strips of papers flying off until suddenly, there is nothing there.
The Otaku chases the fleeing Nobuhide out the gate and slams her -much larger horse- into that of the hapless Phoenix knocking both over into the snow. Nobuhide scrambles to his feet and draws a knife, only to have a fiery blast from the Asako blast it from his hand. The Otaku tries to tackle him by slips in the ice. Nobuhide draws his wakisashi and is attacked by the Lion who almost kills him, as he deliberately steps into the attack, but the Bayushi and the Asako keep him alive though the magic of the kami. Maho scrolls are found among his things on the horse.
By this time a crowd has gathered and Nobuhide is taken off for questioning (and by questioning, the Rokugani mean torture which ends in Nobuhide’s death). The Bayushi remembers that she had seen something fall when the demon was destroyed and finds a square impression in the snow, the Asako questions the kami which show a red square of paper falling into the snow followed by a finely manicured hand retrieving it from the snow.
While the character are convinced that Doji Tatsuzo is part of the conspiracy and puppet master to Nobuhide, they do not have the proof to confront him in court and spend the rest of Winter Court keeping an eye on him.
A montage of Winter Court events finish this episode.
Notes: We had six players for this session, making it one of the larger games I have run for this group in a while.
The basic structure of the campaign here Rokugan SRIU.