[L5R – Never a Dull Blade] Actual Play 10 & 11 – Spring Cleaning

Posted: December 11, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Actual Play, Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Roleplaying Games

It’s been a bit since the last Actual Play sessions I’ve written, but December is proving to be a busy sort of season so progress has been rather slow for the Never a Dull Blade campaign.  Now then, just to update everything so far, there’s been a few movements with regards to the Way of the Daimyo positions taken by the players.  Just to go over the final list:

  • Akodo Kenji – Merchant Patron
  • Akodo Senji – Warlord
  • Matsu Broli – Master Sensei
  • Matsu Hiroto – Keeper of the Temple
  • Kitsu Tetsumi – Keeper of the Temple

The Governor of Two Rivers (The name of the town we settled on as a group) is the high ranking and idealistic Matsu Tsukiko, the eldest sibling of Matsu Hiroto.  Tsukiko is possessed with a drive to make sure that Two Rivers becomes the finest that it can be, though there are issues.  For one thing, the rule of the weak-willed Akodo Isamu has left much of the city’s denizens to their own devices, and majority of the city has been under the control of three very large Merchant Houses (now that the Three Leaves is out of business.)

The Merchant Houses in question are:

  • Mishima Industries, a business involved in copper mining and the manufacturing of weaponry for the Lion Clan.
  • Seburo Merchant House is a group that specializes in lumber and hardware, and maintains close ties with the Scorpion and the Crane Clans.
  • Tokura Trading, a strong business involved in trading goods and services, and is run by a member of the vassal families of the Lion Clan.

These are of course, in addition to other businesses that belong to the Scorpion, the Crane, the Mantis and the Crab respectively.  The Two Rivers is a large and wealthy riverside port town, thus leading to a large number of transients and other people who could cause some trouble and be long gone before they’re caught.

That said, the game picks up a few months after the Winter Court, and the players have been generally busy with things this Spring Season:

Kitsu Tetsumi has been setting up the local temple, renovating in and preparing the Two Rivers in an attempt to get the various inhabitants to trust them.  Tetsumi was well aware that the team’s exploits in solving the murder of the Matsu Samurai-ko outside this town was well known, and unfortunately, so was the fact that they were able to take down one of the most influential merchant houses in the city.  Still, her efforts have been rewarded with the trust of the citizens, and already the temple was showing signs of becoming more and more favorable to the kami.

What wasn’t exactly planned was her seeing a rather… “intense” Komori shugenja named Dan who challenged her to a duel of magic in the very courtyard of the temple.  The resulting battle was amusing at least, with Dan putting up a surprisingly strong fight (better than the two prior Tsuno that she’d fought before) but being bested finally with a punch in the nose that knocked him unconscious.  He begged to be her first student then, having mistaken her for Matsu Hiroto who was putting up a Matsu Shugenja school.  Tetsumi informed him of this mistake, but he was determined to learn from HER instead.

Akodo Kenji on the other hand has already put up his own business, a tea house near the edge of town.  Sadly, his status wasn’t enough just yet for him to gain a better spot, but being a business being personally handled by a Samurai, his tea house was starting to earn quite a reputation.  That reputation also earned him a visit from the owner of Mishima Industries, a mountain of a man named Jinpachi.  Jinpachi initially appeared to be quite friendly, until he gave his offer for Kenji to join his business.  He clearly did not want a Samurai as a competitor, and Kenji turned him down, stating that his business was for his lord, and not for profit.  Jinpachi, disgusted, left, but not before informing Kenji that this was technically a declaration of sides.  Jinpachi would take great pleasure in running the samurai out of business.

It didn’t take long then for several of Kenji’s suppliers began to refuse him business, forcing the young Merchant Patron to source elsewhere.  This led him to the offices of Yoritomo Yoyonagi, the courtier / merchant who operated off her ship on the docks.  Kenji struck a deal with her, and found enough supplies through her contacts to keep in business, albeit at a slightly lower profit since her prices were slightly more inflated due to being from outside of Lion Lands.  Still he wasn’t about to have a collusion of merchants stop him from running his business.

Yoyonagi also produced another item of interest, telling him that she’d heard some interesting things from another person that was looking to source certain goods. She took out a scroll and showed it to Kenji, revealing that it was a schematic for rifles.  Kenji realized what they were, and Yoyonagi confirmed it, saying that there were some factions working for the infamous Rebel Leader named Miyata from the Phoenix Lands, and that they were hoping to source weapons from here.  Kenji took the schematics and thanked for for the information, before heading back to speak with the others… if there were people manufacturing these things then they had to be stopped.

The meeting with the others happened in the Governor’s estate, where Kenji joined Tetsumi and Senji to speak with Tsukiko, who brought up a few more complications.  Mainly that there were to be some very important guests visiting the city very soon.  Among them were Otomo Masote, the rather insistent (and perhaps deluded) suitor that approached Tetsumi over Winter Court, and Asahina Sekawa, the Jade Champion.  And to make matters worse, Toturi Sezaru himself will be joining Sekawa in his inquiry to Tetsumi’s abilities.

This left the group in quite a pickle as the security of the city had to be bumped up drastically.  The last thing they needed was the emperor’s brother getting hurt, necessitating in their having to commit seppuku over any harm that may come to him.  Senji in particular was not about to let any shame before his clan, and roped Kenji to accompany him to make a declaration in the docks that there was a new group of administrators in this city and that crime would not be tolerated.  Together the two set off on their way to the Docks where Senji gave a rather intimidating speech against crime, while Kenji went over the books and records, finding some inconsistencies that could just be neglect or crime, but without other records to compare it to, it was not enough to convict anyone.

Tetsumi on the other hand received a second visitor, this time a Phoenix Ishiken by the name of Kazuki, who was here on a journey of learning from the Phoenix lands.  He was an Ishiken, a rare shugenja who could harness the powers of the Void without succumbing into madness.  The two spoke at length, with Tetsumi and Kazuki finding much in terms of common ground in their interest in traveling the empire and magic in general.  Tetsumi was quite surprised and happy to have met a shugenja that seemed to be genuinely friendly and didn’t seem to be after her for her ability to speak with the dead.

Kenji decided to spend some time snooping around after hours, and donned his old Kasuga Ronin disguise.  Calling himself “Kenshin” he ventured into the sake houses, looking for work in the forges, in hopes of being able to see how the local forges operated (and if they held any special projects that resembled the rifle parts in the schematics)  His asking around led him to a recruiter for Mishima Industries and he was brought in to try out, as it were.  Thankfully Kenji was a supremely skilled individual who knew a thing or two about forging, and managed to create a spearhead as was required.

He was still undergoing his test when Jinpachi entered, and the foreman pointed out their latest recruit.  Surprisingly Jinpachi was actually able to see through the said disguise and asked to meet the new employee in his office.  Upon entering the two conversed at length, and Jinpachi revealed that he knew Kenji’s identity.  This sparked off a rather tense discussion as both tried to leverage their knowledge against the other.  Unfortunately Jinpachi had already dispatched a runner to find Senji, threatening Kenji that he was going to reveal Kenji’s rather dishonorable habits to a fellow Akodo if Kenji continued his snooping into his business.  Kenji threatened back that he had proof of some inconsistencies with the Mishima, and he would divulge those to Senji if he arrived.

And so it was a game of social chicken that resulted with Jinpachi backing down and sending the young Lion’s Shadow out through the back door.  Senji arrived and found that he was the recipient of a gift of a no-dachi from the Mishima, something that he considered to be rather strange.  He knew that something was going on, but he wasn’t certain as to what… and that made him very ill at ease.

It was at this point that we ended the 11th session, and I decided to wrap things up with an old trick from TV shows, as outside of the Two Rivers, in the temple where the Matsu Samurai-ko was slain in Spring last year, a spirit gate opened, and a Tsuno Soultwister stepped out, followed by the massive form of the demon known as Oni no Kenji…

Next week will probably be the last session of Never a Dull Blade for the year, and I have to admit that this is turning out to be one of the longest-running campaigns I’ve had.  I tend to favor short campaigns, with only Mage: the Awakening and HERO being campaigns of a comparable length.  I think that the fact that I’m typing out actual play reports helps immensely as it allows me to keep track of the little details in the game and bring them back at appropriate moments.  Likewise, I’d like to thank my players whose enthusiasm and hard work really push this game to be as good as it is now.  I may be GM but their efforts make the game so much more enjoyable for me as well.


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