After a lengthy hiatus due to the Holiday Season, the group is back for the Legend of the Five Rings campaign. When we last left off the team had been busy trying to get the Town of Two Rivers back into shape. Years of neglect and general indolence by the original Daimyo have made the Town somewhat beligirent.
As such the team was busy setting things right. With word that the city would soon become a host to the visit of none other than the Jade Champion, Asahina Sekawa and the brother of the Emperor, Toturi Sezaru, Kitsu Tetsumi found her hands full both in maintaining the temple, aiding the general populace and preparing for the inevitable inquiry towards her bringing Matsu Nimuro back from the dead, however briefly in the War of the Rich Frog.
She’d sent a request for her adpotive father, Kitsu Juri, Daimyo of the Kitsu family and Ikoma Sume, the former Daimyo of the Ikoma family to come visit and perhaps help her out in this rather sensitive diplomatic climate. It was with great relief that she greeted them when they arrived not long after, well aware that having two imperial officers coming to visit the Lion wasn’t exactly something that could be ignored even if the Lion Clan was still recovering from the war.
Akodo Kenji on the other hand was still snooping around to find out which blacksmiths have been involved in the manufacture of Gaijin weapons. With a bit of auditing skill, Kenji managed to track a small operation by a blacksmith named Kintaro, who was ordering more raw material than he had the output for.
Kenji visited the blacksmith to ask around, but his investigation was presented with a rather interesting setback in the form of Yasuki Jin, a familiar (and perhaps unwelcome) face as Kenji recognized Jin as the courtier that he’d embarassed in Winter Court, and whose yojimbo was killed in a duel against Matsu Broli.
Not wanting to lose a potential investor, Kenji backed off for the time being, and decided to wait for a different opportunity where he could approach the blacksmith without running into the Yasuki.
Sadly things were not going to remain stuck in administration hell, however. A few days had passed, and Kitsu Tetsumi had gone outside the town proper to help with the planting of crops with the peasants with her temple miko when she saw a panicked man running towards them, calling her name.
The peasant told her that there had been murder in the shrine to Bishamon outside the town. Tetsumi immediately recognized that it was the same shrine that was where the Samurai-ko was defiled and murdered a year ago, and she took off, telling her miko to send word to the town.
She followed the peasant, entering the shrine to see that a Tsuno Soultwister was in the center of a circle of bodies, and a frightened child was cowering in the far end of the Temple. The Peasant apologized, saying that the Tsuno had threatened to kill his daughter if he didn’t bring Tetsumi to face the Tsuno.
Tetsumi was not about to get into an argument at the moment and used her new Kiho ability to leap all the way to the other side of the temple to secure the girl. The Soultwister scoffed at that as he cleaved the peasant’s head from his shoulders.
“Your altruism, is touching, though ultimately useless.” it growled, turning to face Tetsumi.
Tetsumi bade the child to run to the town and not look back, even as the shugenja took off outside the temple, luring the Soultwister to her. The Soultwister gave a guttural command even as two more Tsuno, Ravagers this time joined the battle.
Well aware that she was outnumbered, Tetsumi lured them to the forest, using her superior athletics and kiho to keep them at arm’s length. there was no way she could fight all three at the same time and survive. Instead, she cast Strike of the Tsunami, knocking the Tsuno back even as she saw Matsu Broli and his wife, Matsu Makoto running over to reinforce her position.
The Tsuno Ravagers found themselves beset by the two samurai, as Tetsumi launched herself straight towards the Soultwister, grabbing him in a headlock and calling on the strength of Bishamon’s Chosen to snap it’s neck.
Broli and Makoto dropped another Ravager, the combined damage of both the Matsu and Mirumoto Bushi Schools making short work of one of the beasts. Tetsumi took her chances and sprang towards the second Ravager and dispatched it again with horrendous damage from augmented strength rolls.
Tetsumi wasn’t the only one with Tsuno problems it turns, out as the Tsuno also manifested inside the Market District of the Two Rivers. Akodo Senji rallied his magistrates to engage the threat, with Akodo Kenji tagging along. They found themselves faced with three Tsuno Ravagers, who sighted the Akodo commander in his full armor and moved to engage.
Senji instructed one of his magistrates to fetch Matsu Hiroto, who was in the Two Rivers Temple, training his students to help them in the battle while he held the Tsuno off. The magistrate ran as Senji and his men prepared to repel the Ravager assault.
The lead Ravager let out a chilling howl, driving his other two companions into frenzy, while forcing the Samurai to struggle against the urge to flee or remain frozen in fear. Senji managed to overcome his fear, while Kenji was rooted to the spot.
The battle was brutal, as one of the Ravagers felled a Magistrate in one powerful stroke. Senji, realizing that fighting all three was suicide, tried to risk thinning their numbers with a ploy. He cried out a challenge to the lead Ravager. He wasn’t certain if it could understand his words, but he had to try. Thankfully, while the Ravager didn’t understand Rokugani language, it did sense his intent.
Amusingly both of them had the same thought. Crush the leader, and rout the followers. The lead Ravager called off his men and moved to engage Senji in a one-on-one melee.
The two fought a vicious battle, Senji receiving a terrible wound from the Ravager’s wicked blade. Thankfully Senji was able to recover somewhat, spending Void to reduce his wounds taken, and countered with his own strikes that reduced the Tsuno to near uselessness, before finishing the leader off.
It was then that Matsu Hiroto finally arrived, casting Strike of the Tsunami to delay and harm the other two Tsuno and passed on his own Reflexes to the commander. The Tsuno attacked Senji, who managed to dodge their strikes thanks to his augmented reflexes, and countered again, killing one and maiming the other.
It was at this point that Kenji recovered, as he ran around the battle, in an attempt to get into Kintaro’s store, which had been abandoned in the battle in an attempt to ransack it for clues. He may not be much of a fighter, but few can say that he wasn’t an opportunist. Sadly fleeing a battle also meant that he took an honor loss that he couldn’t avoid.
Senji managed to end the fight, killing all three Tsuno with help from his magistrates and Hiroto’s spells, and earning the somewhat mixed blessing of becoming known someone who could dispatch Tsuno in a one-on-one fight alongside Tetsumi. That kind of reputation could come back and do more harm than good.
Kenji’s honor loss was not a complete failure as he found that Kintaro had indeed been manufacturing components for Gaijin weapons, but not complete rifles as he had suspected. Still it was damning evidence, and Kenji pondered how to best take care of the issue. He could observe Kintaro longer, looking for a means to locate the rest of Kintaro’s co-conspirators, or he could let Senji round up those that he’d identified in one fell swoop.
In revisiting Kintaro’s shop later on in the week, he ran into Yasuki Jin once more, and the two courtiers ended up in a less lethal battle of wits. Jin leveraged his position as an investor to try and wrangle something out of Kenji, but Kenji was wily enough to avoid most of the pitfalls, instead offering something far more valuable. The weapons of the Tsuno were made of a material that dealt more harm to tainted creatures, as well as spirits… a characteristic that could be well prized by the Crab. Kenji offered some of thise metal, enough to make a few unique weapons for the Crab, in exchange for Jin’s cooperation.
Jin acknowledged the deal, taking on the burden of infiltrating the conspiracy of these manufacturers in exchange for the precious metal. They may have started off as hating each other, but both courtiers knew when to set aside petty emnity in exchange for greater gains for both their Clans.
Overall this session suffered from a little bit of pacing problems as I was shaking off cobwebs. Combat was a good way to get back in track however, and the presence of the Tsuno was certainly a good way to get the team back into the right mindset.
There’s been a bit of movement as well with regards to the team. The player of Matsu Broli will be on hiatus at the moment due to conflicting schedules, but I think his character will be relegated to NPC status for now in order to keep up with continuity.
This reduces the number of players I have to 4, which is still pretty good. Having a smaller number of players means that I’ll be able to focus on more personal plots. Things are getting pretty hectic, and I think that the Spring Arc will end with the team finally dealing with the threat of someone manufacturing Gaijin weapons.