I tired a different format for this session, as I wanted to highlight the individual characters in the campaign. As such, after the Summer season arc, I pushed the timeline forward a few months into the Fall. Each of the player characters then got a chance to pursue individual goals and seek out ways to improve themselves and gain contacts.
I started off with Paulo’s Akodo Senji, the tactician, who began the game on the Kaiu Wall, in the distant southern lands of the Crab Clan as part of an cross-training exercise. He’d been on duty with the Crab, helping them fend off various assaults on the wall and gaining quite the reputation for being a sound tactician and fearsome combatant. As such, the Crab Clan Champion, Hida Kuon assigned him to work with two Crab Clan Scouts, Toritaka Ami and Hiruma Tajima, and their Nezumi ally Scratch in a reconnaissance mission to the Shadowlands in order to determine the movements of the Ogres whose increasing numbers had begun to worry the Crab.
Senji accepted, and over the course of two days in the Shadowlands, the team had managed to reach an encampment where they found a dozen Ogres feasting on the flesh of fallen Crab samurai pulled from the wall. Among them was a single Lost shugenja, and Tajima volunteered to sneak down to the shugenja’s tent in order to learn more of their enemy. Alas, Tajima failed to be stealthy enough, and the tainted shugenja proved to be more than a match for him. The shugenja emerged from the tent with Tajima’s katana stuck to his rotting ribcage, and hauling the injured samurai behind him.
Senji and Ami knew that they were no match to a dozen ogres, and opted to retreat, Ami firing two arrows in succession, one to insure that Tajima died honorably rather than be torn apart by the Ogres and the other to the shugenja, who still lived despite their valiant effort. The group fled, the Ogres trying to keep up with them, but thanks to their superior skills, and having Scratch lead them through the treacherous nature of the Shadowlands, they were able to make it back to deliver their report.
Kuon thanked them, and their report was crucial in allowing the Crab to reinforce their numbers in time for the assault that followed. Undaunted by his brush with the Ogres, Senji took to the wall once more, issuing commands that helped foil the Ogres. Enraged, one of the Ogre’s leaders scaled the wall and tried to attack Senji. Senji tipped over a large cauldron of boiling oil to douse the Ogre before setting it on fire with a torch. Senji also managed to stop a siege tower that had successfully assailed one of the sections of the wall, saving a Crab clan banner from falling, and decapitating the Lost shugenja that led them. Coincidentally, it was also the same shugenja that killed Tajima.
Once the assault ended, Senji was treated to a celebration, Crab Clan-Style. Plenty of sake, loud and boisterous singing, and a lot of back slapping. Senji was also pulled aside to speak with Hiruma Masagaro, who awarded Senji with a reward for his performance and for avenging the death of Hiruma Tajima… a Kaiu Blade. It’s an enormous sort of reward that bears much weight, and honor.
Silver Countess’ Kitsu Tetsumi on the other hand was far on the other end of the Empire, in the picturesque mountains of the Dragon Clan. Her intent was to meet up with the Tamori shugenja, in hopes of getting the weapon that she’d acquired from the Tsuno that she’d slain. She met with the Tamori, specifically with the Daimyo, Tamori Shaitung, who Tetsumi struck a deal with. The weapon would be donated to the Tamori for study, in exchange for some of the material to be used in a pair of hand weapons for Tetsumi to use in her Jiujitsu.
Much to her surprise, she was actually invited to the Togashi mountains by a Dragon Clan samurai named Mirumoto Shiryu, who was sent there specifically to bring her to the Dragon Clan Champion, Togashi Satsu. Tetsumi accepted, knowing better than to turn down an invitation from the Champion. They traveled there, with Shiryu leading her through the strange, labyrinthine trails up the Dragon mountains, eventually meeting with Togashi Satsu himself.
The Dragon Champion had a strange request for Tetsumi, asking her if she could use her “talents” to study a large crystal formation hidden deep below the castle. (I’m sure old hands at the setting know what this is.) Tetsumi obliged him, realizing that in her Kitsu senses, the crystal formation was present across all of the Spirit Realms, much to her surprise. She also saw glimpses of the story of Shosuro as well, coming to realize just how important this crystal is. Satsu has not been quite so forthcoming as to the reason why he asked her to examine it, but thanked her for taking the time to do so.
Tetsumi did ask for something in exchange, in the form of an opportunity to learn from the Togashi monks on how to perform the amazing feats known as Kiho. The Dragon Champion agreed, and with a (very short and brutal) sparring match to seal the deal as Tetsumi put away one of the monks in a bare fisted fight.
On Part Two, we’ll take a look at the adventures of Akodo Kenji and Matsu Broli, who had their own little adventures across the Empire during this period.