[L5R – Never a Dull Blade] Actual Play 14 – Nobody Expects the Rokugani Inquisition! (Long)

Posted: January 22, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Actual Play, Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Roleplaying Games

This session was the last one of Year 2 Spring Arc for Never a Dull Blade, and from the way it looks, was thematically tied in to three major investigations across several mysteries.  After the mess caused by the Tsuno attacks in the last session, the team was busy trying to make sure that the Tsuno would not be able to bring in more of their numbers again within the city. 

Kitsu Tetsumi had discovered that the Tsuno were able to uses sites of murder or violent death in order to create portals to attack, and the team formulated a solution to that.  The plan was simple enough, given that Tetsumi was also one of the Keepers of the Temple.  She and Matsu Hiroto worked together to formulate a ritual that could be added onto the traditional Spring blessing of the various districts to purify the regions and dispel the taint of murder and slaughter.

To hasten the process, they created three mobile altars, each carrying a statue of one of the three patron Fortunes of Two Rivers Town: Bishamon, the Fortune of Strength, Ebisu, the Fortune of Hard Work, and Daikoku, The Fortune of Wealth.  Each of the altars were tended to by the Shugenja in the town, including several guests, including Isawa Kazuki, an Ishiken from the Phoenix, as well as the two investigators sent to study Tetsumi’s ability with the dead: Jade Champion Asahina Sekawa, and Toturi Sezaru, the Wolf, brother of the Emperor.

Having managed to formulate the plan against the Tsuno, Akodo Kenji, the Lion’s Shadow brought up a more pressing issue.  With the help of the Crab courtier Yasuki Jiro, he was able to determine the identities of the blacksmiths that were working for Miyata, the rebel that was commissioning gaijin weapons for a rebellion against the Samurai Caste.  In order to safely perform the ritual, they had to make sure that there weren’t any sort of wayward rebels hoping to kill Toturi Sezaru after all.

And so the team shifted gears, Akodo Senji, the tactician putting his knowledge of battle to the test as they got ready to make an arrest.  Yasuki Jiro’s information was troubling.  All of the blacksmith craftsmen that were recruited to craft the components of the rifles were to be gathered together to meet with Miyata himself.  Jiro managed to win the confidence of Kintaro, one of the blacksmiths, and was to be introduced to Miyata as a sympathizer to the cause.  Kenji was to go with him, disguised as a yojimbo.  They were to meet in the next evening in a boat on the river.  The team had their misgivings, but this was their best opportunity as getting the information they needed.

Kenji and Jiro infiltrated the boat, pretending to be smugglers as they were brought onto the ship with Kintaro.  Kenji noticed that the other people on the ship were all trained to fight, and were not the sailors that they were pretending to be.  They were introduced to a nondescript young man, who introduced himself as Miyata, and were then led below decks to discuss matters in further detail.  Hiroto, Senji and Tetsumi were on full alert, hiding and preparing, but despaired when they saw their comrade led deeper into the ship.

Kenji was alone save for Jiro’s assistance, and it was after some talk about thanking the Blacksmiths for their service to the cause, Kenji was growing steadily nervous.  The Blacksmiths were paid, and when they tried to leave the ship, the doors were apparently locked.  The “Miyata” thanked them again, assuring them that the rebellion would go on thanks to their assistance, and instructed someone named “Tsuke” to go and cast a spell.  Kenji and Jiro were caught in an explosion from the hold of the ship, which was carrying gunpowder.  Thankfully, both of them survived (albeit with severe burns) and more importantly, Kenji remembered the name of one of the conspirators.

The team wasn’t about to let these conspirators get away with their attempt to wipe their trail clean.  The team tried to rescue the surviving blacksmiths, subdued any rebels that tried to kill themselves, and cast the necessary spells to try and scry into the spell used to keep tabs on the inside of the bat.  Matsu Hiroto was surprisingly able to commune with the Water Kami to reverse engineer the scrying spell, getting a face of the shugenja that was working with “Miyata”

The discovery was chilling, as they recognized that the shugenja was none other than Shiba Tsuke, the current Master of Water, who had ascended to the position only due to the execution of Doji Akiko.

Thankfully with quick medical attention, the two samurai were able to recover from the explosion.  Well aware now that one of the Elemental Masters is involved in this, they decided to do the right thing… see if they could bring this information up to the Phoenix Clan before this becomes another major incident and the spark of a war between Clans.


The team went back to the procession first, as they were determined to not leave any loose ends anymore.  The procession happened without any further complications, but Kitsu Tetsumi was called in to speak with Asahina Sekawa and Toturi Sezaru with regards to her ability.  Alongside her adoptive father, Kitsu Juri, she was asked to demonstrate and explain her abilities.

It was during this demonstration that it became apparent that her ability to speak to the dead and convey their wishes was similar to the ancient practice of the Itako shamans from the days of the Dawn of the Empire.  The fact that this was an inborn ability of hers, and one that didn’t rely on the kami at all meant that it was a form of natural “magic.”  It also meant that she couldn’t convey it to anyone else but her own children.

This was a very big reveal, as it meant that when she marries, her children would be the heirs to this unique power, and any Clan that marries her could have access to an ability that could speak with the dead as well.  Sezaru and Sekawa documented their findings, apologizing in advance as this information would have to be entered to the Imperial libraries, and this would mean that the other clans could find out about her sooner or later.

Tetsumi was well aware of that fact, and so was her father.  Whoever her husband would be, should be very qualified indeed if he was to marry her.


With things finally settled in Two Rivers, the team set their sights towards two pressing matters.  Kitsu Tetsumi wanted to begin her training with the Dragon Clan to become a monk, as she was hoping to found a monk school for her own Clan.  Meanwhile, Akodo Kenji, now the Diplomat of the Lion was tasked to bring the bad news to the Phoenix.  Accompanied by Akodo Senji and Matsu Hiroto, Kenji trekked up north, making their way to speak with Shiba Mirabu, the Champion of the Phoenix Clan.

Mirabu listened to their case, and their accusations.  The fact that one of the Council was actually involved in what amounted to treason against the empire was a serious charge, but having three Lion delegates present meant that the Military Clan was certainly not kidding.  With the assistance of Isawa Yuri, the student of Shiba Ningen, the Master of the Void, they were able to set up a meeting with the Elemental Council.

The accusations were made and serious debating in the Elemental Council ensued, with Mirabu serving as a tie-breaker.  Isawa Yuri volunteered the use of the spell to see through lies, and Shiba Tsuke did not allow himself to submit to it, instead asking for the Lions to leave the chambers so that he could address his clansmen.  The Lions were not happy about it, but stepped outside the chamber.

Tsuke gave an impassioned plea, admitting to his working with Miyata in an attempt to find out the extent of the conspiracy, as well as to serve as a double agent.  He reasoned that his attempts to study them would make it easier for the Phoenix to end the rebellion in one fell swoop, and in a manner that could end the rebellion and any other insurgencies like it.  His honor was compromised, yes, but this was for the greater good.

Shiba Ningen refused to listen to this argument, saying that over and over again, the Phoenix have made compromises with evil in order to serve the greater good, and always with tragic results.  The cycle of compromise born from arrogance must end.  And that change must begin with the Elemental Council.  Mirabu sided with him and the rest of the Council came to the decision.

The Lions were allowed inside, to find that the Master of Water was bound and gagged, and presented to them by the Council to stand trial in Lion Lands that justice may be served.  Kenji realized the political repercussions of this, and how such a move could greatly improve the reputation of the Phoenix Clan while fostering closer ties to the Lion.

And so the Year 2 Spring arc ends with the conclusion of several ongoing investigations.  The Tsuno are still a problem, but now the Lion and the Phoenix are united to ending the threat of Miyata and his peasant rebellion.  Kitsu Tetsumi’s heritage has been revealed to the Imperial Records, and no doubt she’ll be struggling with a deluge of interested suitors, many of which will be after her for the benefit of their clan.

Next session will be the wrap up for Spring and the beginning of the Summer arc, where war lingers in the air in other places in Rokugan, and the Lion may be forced to pick a side in conflicts that don’t necessarily involve them directly, but could influence their standing in the Empire at large.

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