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Rokugan SRIU Episode 12 “Northern Spirits” (L5R Campaign Report)

28 February, 2017

Having survived the Phoenix Winter Court, making only one (known) enemy, things are looking good for the unit as spring begins to arrive as does Mirumoto Daremo, having traveled up the coast in terrible weather to bring news to the unit and a promotion for Hida Kenta, who is now a nikutai (lowest ranked officer) in the Imperial Magistrate’s Office and officially in command of the unit.

Looking forward to a swift return to the capital, their hopes are dashed as Togashi Shisõ sends them  into the new lands to the North, when an Imperial road has gone missing, except for the Otoku and the Tonbo who are dispatched to deliver some vital messages to the Dragon lands.

Rough terrainThey travel north with the spring thaw, the the edge of Pheonix lands, and the old Empire, and then beyond.  The shugenja notice it almost physically, as if the quality of light shifted, it does not seem dangerous just . . . different.  As they travel further, first through Phoenix managed lands, the lands become less like Rokugan and less Rokuganized.  The older buildings are of a distinctly different architectural style, the peasants do not converse in a proper language and this are just not right, not entirely unfamilair but not proper either.

After some weeks of travel, they cross into Iron Mine Valley, a Lion holding ruled by Matsu Terumoto, where they are met by Ikoma Koji and his patrol who route the unit to the work camp, which is comprised primarily of impressed local peasantry, near to the road way.  They investigate and talk to people about the missing road, a mile stretch of which just vanished one night, was replaced and then -even though it was guarded- vanished again!  No one can explain it and the peasant and none to keen on doing the work again and the local quarry has been exhausted so a new source of stone must be found.

Investigation follows and they acquire a local peasant as a guide/interpreter, whom the Dragon become quite fond of.   They learn that the stones were ferried away by magic, unseen.  That the now exhausted  quarry was once used to provide stone for the local nobility, and that some oni-ni-kanabō (oni with iron clubs) have been seen.

Hanging CoffinsThey visit the capital of the valley, where a new Rokugani castle has been built on the ruins of the former castle which was destroyed when the area was conquered, and meet with Matsu Masatake, the ruler of the valley who treats them politely but is obviously not pleased to have to call upon outside aid.  And then investigate the old Royal burial site (which the Lion, who respect all ancestor, even gaijin ones, have left intact) which is a set of hanging coffins.  On the plateau above they see strange lights.  The Lion is sent up to investigate and finds a large unroofed oval building made of field stones (such as you would find in a road) and inside are three large oni and a smaller person practicing the Rokugani language.  Akina dutifully reported this and Hida Kenta decided that they should confront these beings when dawn came.

This they then did.  Bursting in upon the oni and confronting them, only to be invited to join them for a meal.  The three large oni, while dressed in the traditional tiger skins and having iron clubs close to hand, were wearing headbands that provided them with horns (which the Bayushi politely complimented them on).  They learn that the leader, who goes by the name of Park, is trying to appease the spirit of one of the slain princesses by building a memorial place for her and her family.  Kenta offer to help them complete the building in exchange for them not harassing travelers, they ask for a definition and agree.  Kenta asks them to wait three days and he will be back.

Kenta rushes to the capital, collects workmen and returns on the appointed date.  Park uses his wand to “summon” wood (in fact taken from the castle’s marshaling yard) to reconstruct the roof.  At the end the spirit is satisfied and moves on and the oni-ni-kanabō move on.  Now that the road can be rebuilt without fear of the stone being stolen, the Unit heads back to the heartland of Empire.

The oni-ni-kanabō were in fact Go Dokkaebi, a type of Korean monster who fulfill much the same role as oni do in Japanese myth (or ogres do in European), who were trying to adjust to the new spiritual regime in their homeland.

Notes: We were short one Otaku and one Tonbo this session, thus them being sent to deliver messages to the Dragon Clan.  The basic structure of the campaign here Rokugan SRIU and learn more about the New Lands to the North.

The oni-ni-kanabō were in fact Go Dokkaebi, a type of Korean monster who fulfill much the same role as oni do in Japanese myth (or ogres do in European), who were trying to adjust to the new spiritual regime in their homeland.

Valley photo by catiemagee and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  Hanging Coffins photo by Michael Gunther found on Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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