[L5R – Never a Dull Blade] Actual Play 15 – Summer Wars

Posted: January 30, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Actual Play, Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Roleplaying Games

After the events of the Spring season, the team find themselves in a peculiar situation for the Lion Clan.  Conflicts are brewing across the empire, and threats both domestic and foreign are starting to rear their heads and the Lion Clan are called on to start taking sides.

This session wasn’t very long, admittedly, as compared to my usual games, but I attribute that to the fact that none of us were feeling completely 100% at the time.  Most of us were tired, and I think that it was showing in how I was running the game.  Hopefully I’ll be able to rectify the matter by the next session.  In any case, the team were more or less split up at this point.  Kitsu Tetsumi had spent the past few weeks training in the Dragon Clan mountains to learn how to develop her own Monk School.  Meanwhile, Akodo Kenji (the Omoidasu / Lion’s Shadow) and Akodo Senji (the Tactician) received two very interesting letters, one from Hida Kuon, Champion of the Crab Clan, and the other from Bayushi Kaukatsu, Imperial Chancellor and courtier of the Scorpion Clan.

Kitsu Tetsumi had used her free time after the events of the Spring season to travel to the Dragon Lands, and ask for two favors.  The first was to have the salvaged Tsuno weaponry converted to katanas, and a tetsubo (as per Kenji’s request) while waiting for that to be done, she studied under Togashi Mitsu, one of the most revered and well-loved of the Dragon Clan Tattooed Men, who saw her fit to study the ways of becoming a monk.  For Tetsumi, the journey was a spiritual and mental transformation, a confirmation of her dedication to helping her Clan and those in need.  She found a greater goal as a teacher, and saw becoming a Monk (and forming a Monk School of her own for the Lion Clan) as a natural extension of her quest to protect people for as much as possible, even if she herself was not present due to the limitations of being just one person.

Her return from the Dragon Lands to the Lion was almost uneventful, until she ran into a peculiar sight.  While traversing the broad plains of her homeland she felt a spirit gate open, and a small figure running away from a Tsuno Ravager that was chasing after it.  As if on reflex, Tetsumi launched herself at the Ravager, resulting in a grueling battle that swung back and forth, Tetsumi’s superior jiujitsu tested by the Tsuno’s ability to instill great fear by use of a chilling howl and prodigious combat ability.  Thanks to some assistance from the fleeing figure, which turned out to be one of the Nezumi ratlings, Tetsumi was able to slay the Ravager with her bare hands, albeit after taking significant wounds herself.

Thankfully Tetsumi was also a shugenja with an affinity for Water and had the healing spells necessary for her to nurse herself and the Nezumi to health.  The Ratling introduced itself as Mimiru, and asked if Tetsumi was a Kitsu.  Once Tetsumi confirmed, Mimiru immediately took out a stick from her pack with Akodo’s name on it, saying that the Tsuno had found Akodo’s blades.  Alarmed, Tetsumi helped the Ratling and hurried home, hoping to bring word of this to her friends.

Her arrival at the temple was a harried event, as she asked for lodgings for the Nezumi.  She’d barely arrived, opening the door to her temple to find herself face to face with the regal figure of none other than Otomo Masote, the insistent courtier she’d met in Winter Court.  Apparently he’d been waiting for her…

Kenji and Senji on the other hand, had a different sort of problem.  It began with something as innocuous as a letter addressed to Akodo Senji from none other than Hida Kuon, Champion of the Crab Clan. In it, Kuon explains that due to several assassination attempts by the Scorpion on his grandfather, the returned Hida Kisada, the former Crab champion has taken the Tsuru’s Legion, the Crab Clan Heavy Cavalry, in order to extract punitive action against the offending Clan.  Kuons letter asked Senji to bring this case forward to his superiors, as Kuon would like to be able to count on the assistance of the Lion with regards to the matter, as the Crab are unable to devote more forces as they are tasked with defending the wall.

Kenji on the other hand, received a different letter, this time from Bayushi Kaukatsu, who wishes him well, and informs him that the Crab have posted an army of Cavalry on the borders of the Scorpion Clan.  The Scorpion disavow any and all claims by Kisada, and implore the Lion Clan to serve their role as the right hand of the Emperor and move in to quell this sort of hostility from the Crab Clan.  What wasn’t written, of course, was the fact that the next Winter Court was to be held in Ikoma Lands, and as such having the good graces of the Scorpion would mean that things would go very smoothly for the Lion’s rare attempt to house the Emperor, guaranteeing glory to his clan.

And so faced with what was essentially a request to ally with either clan in a conflict that didn’t directly concern them (but had very strong potential to make their lives easier in other ways) the two Lion Samurai began their preparations.  Kenji wrote a letter explaining the situation to each of his superiors (Otemi, Yasuko, Sume and Ginawa) while Senji prepared to visit the Crab.  The two took a seagoing route, taking a goodly amount of time for them to reach the Kaiu Wall, where they sought an audience with Hida Kuon.

Their talk with the Crab Champion revealed that Kuon is looking for the Lion’s assistance to hasten an end to the building hostilities.  Once the Lion engage troops against the Scorpion from the Scorpion’s Northern borders, they expect that the Scorpion’s armies will capitulate.  Kuon clearly has no interest in conquering the Scorpion, but would much rather have this entire assassination fiasco behind him.  The Crab are already enjoying the benefits with their trade with the Crane and are making good strides towards retaking ground from the Shadowlands, but this issue with the Scorpion could be devastating.  Hida Kisada, after all is a hero and a symbol of the Clan.  If he were to die due to an assassin far away from the wall morale would drop and the Crab as a whole would suffer.

Armed with this knowledge, the two set off to speak to Kisada, taking their retinue to speak with the Great Bear himself.  Upon entering the tent, the two were surprised by what they saw.  The Great Bear was without his helmet, his mein of invincibility and audacity built on his reputation in the Clan Wars was absent, revealing a tired, but determined old man.  He expressed his disappointment in his grandson’s decision to call on the Lion for help, declaring that this was a domestic issue.  The Scorpion mean to take his life, and he means to hurt them enough to make them stop and consider the error of their ways.  He does not need the Lion’s help to achieve that goal, and fears that in drawing the Lion here, the conflict has become something that could escalate further into war.

The two Lions remain unfazed however, stating that the fact that Kisada aims to attack another Clan is already a threat to the Empire.  It’s a bold statement, and Kisada decides to put them to task for it.  If the Lion feel that they can resolve the matter for the sake of the empire, then he is giving them a deadline.  If they fail to bring things to a satisfactory conclusion, then Kisada will march his troops over the border and extract his revenge on the Scorpion with his own tetsubo.

As I mentioned, this was actually quite a short game, but it does introduce the plot hooks for the Summer Arc.  The mention of the Blade of Akodo is something of an interior crisis for the Lion, as they never were able to find the sacred relics after Akodo’s passing, and knowing that it was in the hands of the Tsuno is potentially devastating to morale.  Tetsumi has to find a way to resolve this by herself, it seems, as Kenji and Senji are stuck with a ticking clock as they make their way to a castle that neither of them are happy with revisiting: Kyuden Bayushi.

  1. Hikkikomori says:

    Kill them all! For XP!

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