The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff update- September 18th 2021

I thought I’d offer a brief update as to where I’m up to with OBaWs.

I am hoping to host the 4th Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff mini-con in Leamington on 18th September. This is a very difficult decision given that although the Covid-19 restrictions have been discontinued, there is ongoing concern as to the number of cases and the spread of the virus.

At present, I aim to have an in-person event at The Band Factory with some parallel on-line sessions. For those interested, I’ll arrange a curry the night before the con in a local restaurant. The con itself will open at 9am on 18th, with the first game slot 10am-1.30pm, a break for lunch and samosas, and then a second game slot 2.30pm-6pm. We can then retire to the pub.

To make the event as safe as possible, I’d like all attendees to have had the double vaccine, to be negative on lateral flow test, and to not be suffering any symptoms of the virus at the time of the event. I’ll try and maximise ventilation and provide hand sanitiser gel. I’d like all attendees to wear masks when moving around, but will not insist on people wearing them during games. Of course, people are very welcome to wear masks during the RPG sessions and I’ll support that decision.

There are a couple of other caveats. The most obvious is that if the pandemic situation worsens and/or the government re-introduces restrictions, then it may be the case that the whole con may revert to being wholly on-line. The second caveat is that a given GM may become unwell or need to isolate/quarantine – so may be some last minute re-arranging of players into other games. Of course, I’ll try and accommodate preferences where possible.

For those who are intending in-person I’ll ask for a voluntary donation of £10 (via Warhorn) to cover venue hire and refreshment.

I’ve asked GMs to check the entries of their games on Warhorn this week, and to have a think as to whether would like to run in-person or on-line, and then intend to open bookings more widely on Friday 30th July.

The OwlBear and Wizard’s Staff (#OBaWS) 2021: September 18th, Leamington Spa

Many thanks for all the interest and enthusiasm for the 4th OBaWS event. Last year we were wholly virtually, this year I am hoping to offer both face-to-face gaming as well as online, with the caveat that if restrictions do not lessen in July/August, and the delta variant causes more problems, the whole con may move to being a virtual event.

The plan is roughly the same as previous years. For those who would like to, I’ll book a restaurant for a curry for the evening before (Friday 17th) so we can meet up for beer and food. Saturday will be the main day of gaming and will be in The Band Factory again http://www.thebandfactory.org/contact . I’ll open the venue at 9am and we’ll have the first gaming slot 10am-1.30pm, break for lunch and samosas, and then second session 2.30pm-6pm. I’ll book a pub in the evening for us to gather after a day of RPGs.

We managed to get 13 tables running in 2019 (26 games in total) and perhaps was a little cramped so will cap at 11-12 tables this year and some great GMs have submitted games already. At the time of writing we have 21 games on offer (11 morning, 10 afternoon), and getting close to closing for submissions.

Current games on offer in the morning include: Liminal, Gamma World, Deadlands, Sentinel Comics, Vampire, Questworlds Nightbane, Zweihander, Vaesen, Traveller, Hellboy, and Barbarians of Lemuria.

In the afternoon we have: Genesys Harry Potter, Questworlds Glorantha, Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Swords of the Serpentine, Call of Cthulhu, Liminal, Smithy of Sacrilege, The King of Dungeons, The Dee Sanction, and Dungeon Crawl Classics Lankhmar.

I’ll probably charge £10 entry to cover venue hire and refreshments and won’t open the Warhorn site for at least another 2-3 weeks pending on developments with the pandemic and social restrictions.

A massive thanks to Paul @spookshow71 for the fab art (which we’ve dubbed ‘Owlbear Victorious’). If people are interested, I can add both of Paul’s #OBaWS designs to Redbubble if shirts would be popular.

I’ll keep everyone updated via the blog and Twitter and give good notice before ticket release. I’ll be keeping a close eye on all COVID-19 updates and the safety of the event.

Trying out L5R 5e character creation with The Grey Crane (Kakita Toshimoko/Greg Stafford)

I thought I’d experiment with the new rules for Legend of the Five Rings RPG this weekend, starting a twitter poll asking which Clan to create a PC.  However, the RPG community had the very sad news of the death of Greg Stafford, wonderful game designer and mystic.  John Wick discussed the role Greg had on him as a person and as a gamer, and in his warm and well-written blog mentions that a character in the L5R setting was Greg, namely the Grey Crane, Kakita Toshimoko, sensei of Doji Hoturi and master of the Kakita Duelling Academy.  Hence, for this first try out of the full character generation rules, and in honour of Greg. I’ll try to create the Grey Crane as a young man, perhaps with some more shamanic elements.

L5Rcore

The Game of Twenty Questions

Part 1: Core Identity (Clan and Family)

All characters begin with Rank 1 in all Rings, and 0 in all Skills

Q1: What Clan does your character belong to? 

Given the above, the Kakita are a family of the Crane Clan. This gives +1 Air Ring, +1 Culture Skill, and Status of 35.  Bushido for the Phoenix focuses on Courtesy.

Q2: What family does your character belong to? 

The Grey Crane is a member of the Kakita family, a family known for its skill in duelling.  This grants +1 Air or +1 Fire, and either +1 Aesthetics or +1 Meditation.  Fire is a creative ring so I think I’ll take a +1 there and a +1 Aesthetics to reflect Greg’s imagination and inspiration.  He has a starting Glory of 44 and 7 koku.

Dragon's_Claw_Katana_1

Part II: Role and School

Q3. What is your character’s role and school?

Kakita Toshimoko is going to train in the Kakita Duelist School (Artisan, Bushi).

This grants +1 to both Air and Earth Rings and I can choose five skill increases of +1 out of Courtesy, Design, Fitness, Martial Arts (Melee), Meditation, Sentiment, and Smithing.

I’ll take +1 Courtesy, +1 Martial Arts (Melee), +1 Sentiment, +1 Fitness, +1 Meditation

Available Techniques: Kata, Shuji, Rituals

Starting Techniques: he gains Iajitsu Cut: Rising Blade (something I noted on my reading – this is a rank 2 kata, but prerequisites are ignored for techniques gained during char gen), and can choose Shallow Waters or Weight of Duty as a beginning Shuji.  I’ll choose Shallow Waters (helps the Grey Crane detect people’s desires and ninjo).

He has a starting Honor of 50 and the following School Ability and Equipment:

Way of the Crane (School Ability)

Starting Outfit: Travelling and ceremonial clothes, daisho, yari, travelling pack, attendant (I could have swapped the spear for a bow, and the attendant for a pony).

Q4: How does your character stand out within their school?

This is a choice to increase one Ring.  I’m thinking the Greg in the Grey Crane will have made him stand out as being self-aware, insightful and mystical, so will take +1 Void

Part III: Honor & Glory

Q5.  Who is your character’s lord and what is their duty to them?

Reading up on Kakita Toshimoko, he served with the Imperial Guard initially as an impulsive young samurai, but after worked alongside his father, Kakita Toshimo in the academy.

So, we’ll say his lord is also his father, Kakita Toshimo, and his duty, or giri, at present is to serve is an assistant instructor at the Kakita dueling academy.

Toshimoko1

Q6.  What does your character long for?

Again, thinking of Greg, I’m going to say Toshimoko’s ninjo is spiritual enlightenment – this is more typically an aspiration for monks, shugenja, and those of the Dragon Clan so will certainly be a conflict for a Crane bushi, particularly one who is rather constrained by teaching in the dueling academy.

Q7. What is your character’s opinion of their Clan?

Despite his mystical side, Toshimoko thinks highly of his clan and wishes to serve them to the best of his ability. This grants him +5 Glory.

Q8.  What does your character think of Bushido?

Kakita Toshimoko  would endorse Bushido, and the Crane emphasis on Courtesy.  This grants him +10 Honor.

Part IV: Strengths and Weaknesses

Q9.  What is your character’s greatest accomplishment so far?

This steps aligns with the choice of a distinction advantage.

I’m thinking to combine his mystical side with his time with the Imperial forces – when a young samurai, patrolling near the wall, Toshimoko detected and defeated a Shadowlands infiltrator.

He gained the distinction Sixth Sense

Q10. What holds your character back the most in life?

Here I get to choose an adversity disadvantage. Hard to know for Toshimoko – in some of the literature of the setting, he enjoys his sake and the company of women but not to extent of being addicted or a compulsive flirt.  However, issues of paternity crop for him as a NPC in the beginner box adventure, so I am going to select Bitter Betrothal – perhaps his tour of duty, and now the hours he spends at the academy, has lead to him neglecting his wife and family.

Q11.  What activity makes your character feel at peace?

Here I get to pick a Passion linked to the Grey Crane’s hobbies and interests.  Looking over the list, Enlightenment is an option and I think will enhance the shamanistic side of Greg I want to reflect.

Enlightenment (Void) 


Type: Spiritual
 Description: You are devoted to the principles revealed in the Tao of Shinsei and are well on your way to transcending this existence. 
Effects: The following apply to a character with the Enlightenment passion: 


  • You feel no attachment to mundane items and earthly titles; you cannot be tempted with material wealth or the promise of power. 

  • After performing a check to detach yourself from material concerns (such as a Meditation [Void] check to contemplate your place in the universe or a Survival [Void] check to exist in harmony with your environment), you remove 3 strife. 


 

IMG_2325

Q12. What concern, fear, or foible troubles your character the most?

Here I get to choose a Specific Anxiety.  It mentions the younger Toshimoko as impulsive so I will select the Impatience anxiety.

Q13.  Who has your character learned the most from during their life?

I’m thinking the greatest influence on him will have been his father, Kakita Toshimo.

Here, I get to pick an advantage or a  disadvantage and one rank in the a skill linked to the relationship.

Despite wanting to take another disadvantage so I can get +1 Theology, I can’t think of another which fits the character concept.  So developing the impulsive bushi idea further, I’ll take Daredevil as an advantage.

Part V: Personality and Behavior

Q14. What do people notice first upon encountering your character?

He has a long plait down his back, he does not dye his hair as many Crane too, but even as a young man there are streaks of grey in his hair.  He walks nimbly on the balls of his feet, never at rest, and in a scroll case he carries a copy of the Tao of Shinsei.

Q15. How does your character react to stressful situations?

He becomes more jocular and less respectful – this can extend to insulting people with immature jibes.

Q16. What are your character’s preexisting relationships with other clans, families, organisations, and traditions?

He had a close relationship with the Imperial Forces, with the Kakita Dueling Academy and has developed a friendship with a visiting Togashi monk.

As a gift, he received a finger of jade from the Imperial Guard.

Part VI: Ancestry and Family

Q17.  How would your character’s parents describe them?

Toshimoko’s parents are proud of him – they would describe him as a promising young duelist and teacher, if slightly impulsive.  They are concerned about his spiritual side, but are glad their son honors the Kami, the Fortunes, and the teachings of Shinsei.

Here I get to increase a skill by +1, and will take Theology to reflect the above tension and again Greg’s shamanism

Q18.  Who was your character named to honor?

Slightly complex as Toshimoko is a diminutive version of Toshimo. However, like this step so perhaps can think where Toshimo comes from in family.  I get to roll 2d10 on a random table to find out facts about ancestor named after, and can pick one of these ancestors and then a further d10 to find out more if indicated.

I rolled a 9 and 5.  Looking at table 2-1, can pick Imperial Heritage or Discovery.  Former fits more I think.  Get +10 Status and the Blessed Lineage advantage.

Q19.  What is your character’s personal name?

Toshimoko, reflecting he is the son of Toshimo.

Q20.  How should your character die?

Toshimoko hopes leave behind the academy in the near future and die defending Crane lands against their enemies, or better, he wishes to re-join the Imperial Guard and defend the Emperor against the minions of Fu Leng, and die in this duty.

Toshimoko's_Death

To sum up, The Grey Crane

Clan: Crane

Family: Kakita

School: Kakita Duelist School

School Rank: 1

Air                   Earth               Fire                  Water              Void

3                       2                       2                       1                        2

Honor: 60

Glory: 49

Status: 45

Ninjo: spiritual enlightenment

Giri: Assistant instructor at Kakita dueling academy.

Distinctions: Sixth Sense; Blessed Lineage.

Adversities: Bitter Betrothal

Passions: Enlightenment; Daredevil.

Anxieties: Impulsive.

Personal Outburst: He becomes more jocular and less respectful – this can extend to insulting people with immature jibes.

Skills: Culture 1, Aesthetics 1, Courtesy 1, Martial Arts (Melee) 1, Sentiment 1, Fitness 1, Meditation 1, Theology 1.

School Ability: Way of the Crane.

Techniques:  Kata – Iajitsu Cut: Rising Blade; Shuji – Shallow Waters.

Endurance                  Composure                  Focus               Vigilance

8                                    6                                    5                        2

Void Points: 2

 

Please let me know if I’ve got anything wrong!  Vale The Grey Crane Greg Stafford,

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e – trying out character creation.

Unknown

Artur the Herb Gatherer

So, going to try out the preview PDF for WFRP4e and character creation – thought it would help me get to grips with new edition, plus see how the PC emulates those from 1e games.

Step 1 Species.

You have the option of picking a race, or rolling and getting an additional 20XP.  I’ll take the XP and roll d100.

39, Human.

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.25.27I’m good with and any roll from 01-90 will get you a human.

Character

Human

20 XP

 

 

Step 2. Class and Career

A few options here – random roll and get 50XP, roll three times and pick for 25 XP, or pick. I’ll go for middle option so can pick from a shortlist.

First roll, 71. Riverfolk Class, Smuggler Career

Second roll, 40. Peasant Class Herbalist Career

Third roll, 05. Academics Class, Nun Career

Interesting choices here…. My temptation is to go for Herbalist. Not sure how the careers link up, but may be an option to go from the this launch into wizard, witch or mystic career.

So, so far we have:

Human Peasant Herbalist, 45 XP. Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.25.54

Step 3. Attributes

Again, we have three choices here.  Roll in order, and take the result for 50XP.  Roll, and arrange as you like for 25 XP, or, roll again or allocate 100 points. I think I’ll go for middle option – roll and allocate.

For my ten 2d10 rolls I get: 12, 12, 10, 12, 16, 13, 11, 16, 16, 19.

A pretty impressive set of rolls – most lying around the average mark, but several rather above. Given the PC is a Herbalist, I’ll put the highest in Intelligence, and I think because he needs to get on with his other patients and aspires to more arcane pursuits, other high scores to Fellowship and Willpower and perhaps Toughness so can resist the diseases he comes into contact with.

 

Hence:

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Extra Points Move

30     32    31   36    32   33    32     39    36     36    12    2       1                   3                     4

I can spend the 3 extra points to improve Fate and Resilience – former representing luck, and latter grit and resolve.  I have a feel he may be more resilient than lucky, so will put two of the three points into resilience, and one point into fate.

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30     32    31   36    32   33    32     39    36     36    12    3       3                         4

Have to choose a motivation to impact on rolepaying and as a means to regain Fortune points (equal to Fate initially).  I see the young herbalist as someone curious, learning from his practical work and being an unschooled innovator.

Motivation: ‘curious and always learning’

Next, is advancing characteristics.  Can allocate 5 advances (each one equal to one point I think) to three attributes marked with a ‘+’ in the advance scheme.  These are, Toughness, Initiative and Agility.

Think I’ll add 4 to Toughness, increasing it to 40 and in turn my Toughness bonus, and +1 Agility. This will also help Wounds (increasing from 12 to 14).

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30     32    31   40    33   33    32     39    36     36    14    3       3                         4

Step 4.  Skills and Talents

First, species skills and talents.  As a Reiklander, I can pick, from a list, 3 skills to gain 5 Advances, and 3 skills to gain 3 Advances.

He’s a villager serving a local community so I think Animal Care, Gossip and Haggle fit well for the +5%; for the next three I’ll pick Charm, Cool, and Lore (Reikland) for the +3%.

He gets three random talents – I roll 52 (Noble Blood), 58 (Perfect Pitch), and 87 (Suave).

This is the fun of random rolls!  Something of a swerve ball in my character conception, but interesting elements to weave into his personality and backstory.

I can then pick one of Doomed, Savvy, or Suave. He’s got Suave from random roll.  Doomed seems to benefit next PC if this one dies, whereas Savvy increases Intelligence, so will go for that.

For Career Skills and Talents, I can add 40 Advances to eight skills (no more than 10 to one), and can choose a single talent.

Reviewing the first level of the Herbalist Career, Herb Gatherer, I think I’ll do the default of adding +5 to each career skill thus:

Charm Animal +5

Climb +5

Endurance +5

Lore (Herbs) +5

Outdoor Survival +5

Perception +5

Swim +5

Trade (Herbalist) +5

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.42.21

Talents – I can choose from Acute Sense (Taste), Orientation, Rover, Strider.

Of these, I like Rover, which helps sneaking around rural environments.

 

Step 5.  Trappings

These are based upon class, career and (for cash) status too.

Peasants get: Cloak, Clothing, Dagger, Pouch, Sling Bag containing Rations (1 day).

Herbalists get: Boots, Cloak, Sling Bag containing Assortment of Herbs.

Status is Brass 2 – so he gets 4d10 brass pennies, I rolled 24

 

Step 6. Adding details.

Here, get to choose name, some descriptive and psychological features.

I’ll call him Artur and will have to think about surname and how to integrate his noble blood with being a peasant herb gatherer!

Age for a human is 15+d10, I rolled a 2 so 17.

Rolling for eye colour and hair colour, I get pale grey eyes and golden brown hair for Artur.

Height is 4’9” +2d10” – I roll a 16, for 6’1”. Tall lad!

I can know choose short- and long-term ambitions.  This should be with GM input but for this practice character creation I’ll go with:

Short-term – earn the affection of the local Lord’s daughter

Long-term – become apprenticed at the College of Magic.

Step 7. Party

Probably can’t do this step at this stage.

Step 8. Bring your character to life.

10 helpful questions to generate a backstory – something to come back to when have read the setting chapter.

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.42.41

Step 9.  Advancement.

Artur has accrued 70 XP from character creation and using random tables in part.  He’s improved each of his career skills by 5 advantages and has a career talent.  To complete the herb gatherer career he also needs to increase his three career characteristics by +5 each.  He’s increased Toughness by +4, and Agility +1 so far.  70XP will get him two advances in characteristics (25 XP each) and leave 20XP.

I’ll use the two characteristic advances to increase Toughness by +1 (so he’s added a +5 in total and ‘completed’ that) and Initiative by +1.  To complete this career he needs to pick up a further four advances in Agility and in Initiative.  At that point I think Artur will consider switching to Hedge Witch…

So, finally we have:

Artur, a human herb-gatherer.  17 years of age, 6’1”.  Pale grey hair and golden brown eyes.

Status Brass 2

Characteristics (factoring in advances, savvy and suave traits)

WS    BS     S     T     Agi   Ini   Dex    Int   Wil   Fel     W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30      32    31   41    33     34     32      44    36      41    14      3          3                  4

 

Skills

Charm Animal +5

Climb +5

Endurance +5

Lore (Herbs) +5

Outdoor Survival +5

Perception +5

Swim +5

Trade (Herbalist) +5

Animal Care +5

Gossip +5

Haggle +5

Charm +3

Cool +3

Lore (Reikland) +3

 

Talents

Rover

Noble Blood

Suave

Savvy

Perfect Pitch

 

Trappings

Cloak x2, Clothing, Dagger, Pouch, Sling Bag containing Rations (1 day), Boots, Sling Bag containing Assortment of Herbs.

20 XP remaining

 

TBC: surname, background (how do I fit in noble blood? or roll again?), and party details.

 

 

 

The Owlbear and the Wizard’s Staff: Warwickshire RPG mini-con. 22nd September, 2018.

Together with Matt (@chimpy20), Lee (@leejneilson) and Griff (@doc_griffiths), we are arranging a one-day RPG event in Warwickshire on 22nd September.

The Bear and the Ragged Staff is the symbol of the Earls of Warwick and, subsequently, of the County, and we thought eminently suitable for a D&D makeover, and hence  the Con’s name became The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff.  Thanks to Mrs Griff for the stunning artwork.

We’re going to try and keep it simple.

RPG sessions morning and afternoon, with a lunch break.  Time for a trip to the pub at the end of the day.  We’ve hired the Band Factory in Leamington as our venue – lots of space to spread out tables, near the railway station, pubs, and places to eat.

We’ll open the doors at 9am and the first RPG sessions run from 10am-1.30pm, break for lunch, and second session run from 2.30pm-6pm.

So far, we have 6 tables confirmed for each session with very kind GMs offering their services.  Games on offer are likely to include Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Star Trek Adventures, Numenera, Shadowrun, RuneQuest Glorantha, HeroQuest Glorantha, Call of Cthulhu, Space 1889,  Monster of the Week, Feng Shui, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Hoping to have a 7th table with Star Wars (AM) and D&D 5e (PM).

I’m waiting to finalise the venue hire and will then set up tickets via Eventbrite, ideally to be available in the latter part of March.

Hoping to see you there!

@asako_soh

asakosoh@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Reflections on a 2016 of gaming

It does seem a little narcissistic to write anything about my own RPGing over the last 12 months and apologies in advance, but I hope it is of some interest.  However, at least it will serve as a record to me of my RPG  activity and of my impressions at the end of the year. I’ve thought of a few themes that have stood out for me: GMing at Cons, gaming on-line, and what the actual games are I’ve played most of over the year. Despite the geopolitical horrors of the year, it’s been a good one for gaming.

Conventions

So, I think over the year I’ve managed to get to four gaming conventions and I was registered for Dragonmeet but sadly couldn’t attend in in the end. One of my goals for 2016 was to run some games at conventions.  I’ve run RPGs for groups, both face to face and on-line, and with gamers I’d not met before at clubs I’ve been part of over the years, but until 2016, hadn’t offered a gaming slot at an organised convention.

My first experience came at the kind invitation of @paulbaalham to run a game at the UK D&D Tweetup, held at The Dice Cup in Nottingham in March.  I’ve not played an awful lot of either D&D or Pathfinder, and Paul kindly let me offer a game of 13th Age, and I ran the excellent Free RPG Day adventure Make Your Own Luck , by the great Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. I really enjoyed running this and was pleased that my players were people I’d met on Twitter. I should also thank Pelgrane, Wade Rockett and Cat Tobin for the stuff they sent to help me run the game. 13th Age remains my favourite level/class-based fantasy RPG.

So after my first experience, I was keen to do some more and offered up two games at the UK Games Expo in June.  I decided to go for a game I’d not had a lot of experience of and offer Shadow of the Demon Lord and an old favourite, Legend of the Five Rings.  For the former, I had a chance to playtest with some local gaming friends,  to try and figure out if it was practicable to run both a ‘starting’ and a ‘novice’ adventure, with levelling up in-between, in a 4-hour session.  This turned out to be do-able so I ran a double bill of  The Slaver’s Lash and The Demon’s Wet Nurse at the Expo.

For Legend of the Five Rings, I ran another Free RPG day release, this time Legacy of Disaster .  This latter session began a little badly – it was a Saturday morning and I’d dashed over to the Chaosium stand in the tradehall (7th edition CoC selling out!) and returned only five minutes before the start time, and two of my players gave me some grief for not being there at least 10 minutes before the start time (as specified in the instructions to GMs, apparently).  However, we recovered from this slightly rocky opening and had a great session – not least because a couple of the players knew the setting really well, and the others were new to it, and it was fun to see them getting into roleplaying honourable samurai with tough choices.

In addition to running, I was able to play in three excellent games too.  If my love of L5R doesn’t quite give it away, I very much enjoy Wuxia RPGs and was able to play in @gspearing ‘s game of Qin, and @boreders game of Symbaroum (of which, more later).  Finally, I was able to get a session in with players with whom I game on line with most weeks – we were all able to get tickets in on a 7th ed Call of Cthulhu game, run by Tim Evans. This was one of my best RPG experiences ever, not only because of the game, the players, and the GM, but due to the Twin Peaks elements of the story.

The next convention I attended was The Grand Tribunal in Cheltenham in August.  This originally was an Ars Magica convention but seems to have broadened to include other RPGs from Atlas Games too.  Here I didn’t run but managed to play in a couple of sessions – one of Ars Magica and one of Feng Shui, run by the excellent @dimbyd .  I didn’t really understand the freeform LARP which opened the day (I just wandered around aimlessly, being confused, until I decided to attack stuff – my tried and true RPG tactic), but it was a wonderfully friendly meeting, with a great raffle, and fish and chips.  Very grateful to @CJR23 for the warm welcome.  Here’s the link for the next Grand Tribunal 2017 .

cpl7gdcwiaa06gf

The final Con was the fabulous Grogmeet in Manchester in November, organised by Dirk the Dice from @theGrognardfile and the other Armchair Adventurers.  Dirk kindly let me run the old West End Games d6 Star Wars RPG and I used the adventure ‘Rebel Breakout’, from the 1987 1st edition of the game, and created an opening crawl.

The Revised Expanded Updated (‘REUP’) version of Star Wars RPG is free to download here and the free D6 Space rules are here

Here’s a fab video of the day from Dirk (Grogmeet 2016) showing some of the games happening at this very friendly event, and my own reflections on the game written for the Grogzine, which Patreons can download here .  I really enjoyed this day – it was great to meet the Adventurers in the flesh, enjoy a couple of pints afterwards, and a good chat on the train back with @doc_griffiths.  Looking forward to Grogmeet 2017 and thinking about Ars Magica, Marvel Super Heroes, FASA Star Trek RPG or 1st edition Legend of the Five Rings.

On-line gaming

Since meeting Tamsyn (@xtamsynx) and Craig (@craigpbrown) IRL at the 2014 UK Games Expo, we’ve been playing online most weeks – together with Col (@dampscot), Paul (spookshow71), Blakey (@Burekeii), and initially, Liam (@Evoroth).  This continued throughout 2016, despite busy lives, and we’ve played a wide variety of games including Call of Cthulhu, Far Trek, Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyberborea, Solomon Kane, Rippers, Dresden Files Accelerated Edition, The One Ring, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Dragon Age, City of Mists, Monsterhearts, and a Fate Accelerated version of Nights Black Agents.

Far Trek RPG is free to download here and gives a super experience of playing in the Star Trek TOS setting. I was pleased to get a game of City of Mists in and I ran the free starter. It seemed to go well and gave me the chance of running a ‘Powered by the Apocalypse’ game – looking forward to the full game being released.

I’ve also been playing a regular on-line game of Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG with @chimpy20 and @chrissyspill and others.  This took place most weeks, except for a bit of a gap when Matt was moving house during which I ran some of The One Ring.  Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPG has been the game I’ve played most of over the year – because of the weekly on-line game and that we’ve been playing it too in our face to face tabletop group. I’ve really liked the gradual character progression (with Xim Chamra now being a rather dangerous gunslinger and assassin), the flexible choices available, and, if you wish to get into it, the modifications the PCs can make to their ships and equipment.  The game’s mechanics keep every roll interesting and give the players a key role in generating narrative.  The game feels very dramatic with lots high action and I hope to play more in 2017.

In addition to these more regular games, I was very grateful to @dimbyd for inviting me to an ad hoc game of Feng Shui on roll20 and to @chimpy20, @rpgkitchen, @zos93, and Dave, from our tabletop group, for getting together at short notice to try the first playtest for Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures (sign up here) .

RuneQuest 2 (or ‘Classic’) has a rather special place in my heart.  Not only did I play it ‘back in the day’, but when I moved to Warwickshire, and joined a local gaming club, it was the first RPG I got invited to join after a hiatus of about 12-13 years.  Hence, I was delighted by Chaosium’s kickstarter to republish this edition  and to join a game of RQ2, ‘The Sea Caves’ (part of the Old School Resource Pack), run by Dirk the Dice (@theGrognardfiles). We played as Humakt Ducks, with me as Mal Hard.  The screenshot below shows Eddy checking the fumble rules as he lost his left leg – yet again. Dirk has kindly written up the session here and here’s a link to another RQ2 game that Dirk ran for the RPG Academy crew just the other night.

There’s a lot of Glorantha on the horizon, not only Heroquest Glorantha (which I picked up from the UK Games Expo) but also 13th Age Glorantha and a new edition of RuneQuest (with design notes found here at Chaosium’s blog).

Games I’ve Played Tabletop

In addition to games on-line and at Cons, there have been those I’ve played around a kitchen table.  The year started well with a one-shot Pathfinder session.  Sadly, I can’t get to the Gaming Club I mentioned above at present (due to week day commuting) but we got together for a RPG session of ‘We Be Goblins’.  This was rather a hoot, but the amount of prep did surprise me.  Here’s the infamous Goblin Song and the free PDF of the adventure.

pathfinder

My main tabletop group meets every 4-6 weeks and we’ve had a good year.  We began with Keltia, run by Stef, before moving into Star Wars Force and Destiny, run by Matt (@chimpy20), and then moved the same PCs into an Age of Rebellion game run by Jimbo (@jimbohawkins).  This has been a great contrast to the on-line Star Wars game – more moral challenges and my PC, Minerva Voight (a seer/Makashi duelist) is much less combat-focused than Xim, having spent XP on developing her more supportive and divinatory force powers.

 

Stef and I have also met up with our families on a couple of occasions and played Hero Kids with the children.  Hoping to get another date together soon to try No Thank You, Evil!

 

I’ve also become part of an occasional Sunday morning group – we first met to try the new Conan RPG quickstart (available here free), but it was also where I tested out my plans for Shadow of the Demon Lord in preparation for the UK Games Expo.  Since then, we’ve tried The Strange, playing the highly recommended Eschatology Code and are now working our way through The Copper Crown campaign for Symbaroum. I’ve been really impressed by Symbaroum – I had a great time playing it at the Expo, and found it smooth to run.  Easy rules, players roll all the dice, and a very rich and evocative setting, with magic in the game being inherently corrupting.

Finally, I was lucky to get to a session of Dungeon Crawl Classics, run by @leejneilson, at a FLGS in Rugby, together with @doc_griffiths.  We played through the surreal and dangerous funnel adventure,  The Hole in the Sky, getting to the end but with a rather reduced party of PCs.  Hoping to do more – for a fun, gonzo, dungeon crawling experience, DCC is hard to beat.

Final Thoughts and Looking Forward

Looking at the above, I’m rather amazed at the amount of gaming I have got in over the year, despite work, family commitments, the need for sleep etc.  What is clear is that in terms of hours it has been the Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight Games which I have played most of, being both a tabletop and on-line game for this year.  On-line gaming has really opened up opportunities – it is much easier to play on-line for a couple of hours  in the evening after work, than arrange a 4-hour session face to face.  Plus, you don’t need to go out, and can raid the fridge for beer.  It has also meant that people I have met on-line or at Cons are now people I can game with.

At the end of the year, it is playing Symbaroum and reading the beta of Coriolis that are at the forefront of my mind.  I think 2017 will be a year where I hope to play more Swedish RPGs, including Mutant Year Zero and Tales from the Loop.  I also think that the RPGs being put out by Modiphius, using the 2d20 system will feature highly – I’m a huge fan of Star Trek and hope to do more of the play-testing and pre-order Star Trek Adventures in January, in advance of release at GenCon.  Several of us backed Conan, so that too will feature.

I like games of occult and magic, so hope to play Unknown Armies and Kult, and am always happy to play or run the excellent The One Ring, and I want to run some more Cthulhu (whether Trail or Call). I hope to try HeroQuest Glorantha (still sad to have missed @dimbyd’s Dragonmeet game) and gain some more experience of ‘Powered by the Apocalypse’ games – perhaps try Monster of the Week.   Of course, if I can find players that are up for it, the Rokugan of Legend of the Five Rings or the Mythic Europe of Ars Magica are also always waiting, and still want to play in any of the Worlds of Darkness. I’ve just finished off character creation for a PBEM game of King Arthur Pendragon, to start in the new year.

 

Finally, and thinking of the next generation, I’ve recently met the dad of one of my son’s friends.  He is a gamer too, and he and his son have been playing some Dungeons and Dragons 5e.  We’re all meeting up for some boardgames soon, but we both hope that may develop into some RPG sessions with our boys.

This has become rather longer than planned.  Apologies for wittering on and, if nothing else, the links may be useful. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and best wishes for 2017.  I hope the dice land well for you and that we all get some good games in.

 

Legend of the Five Rings – #Session 8. A Plague of Crimes

Tsanuri's_Torii_Arch

We started the session with a heated discussion between Shiba Ujime and Susumu Zeshin as to the fate of Yuri. Zeshin counsels caution and arguing for greater proof for a legal case, and using what they know about Yuri’s use of Maho to find other possible cultists. However, Ujime, his affinity to the fire kami apparent in his demeanour, feels that it is incumbent on him to deliver punishment to the Maho-tsukai, before others are corrupted and tainted.

Despite Zeshin’s concerns, Ujime begins walking back towards Sencha and onwards to Jouzousho. Tamori Endo meditates, seeking to find clarity in the turbulence, but none comes. Moto Mongke Temur jumps on his horse, following the Phoenix Shugenja, catching him up quickly. Susumu Zeshin, troubled by his friend’s rashness, decides to travel on to Yasuragai Monastery, where the Inquisitor and her yojimbo could have been headed and where also the missing widow and daughter from Sencha had been travelling. Endo decides to follow him to the monastery. Askao Keiji, his fragile mind shattered by his intense contact with the Void, recuperates at the Inn of the Clever Frog.

Ujime and Temur arrive at Jouzousho in the middle of night – as they approach Yuri’s house, they see her young admirer, Ota, skulking about and Temur scares him off. They enter Yuri’s house – Ujime standing over her mother, and Temur draws his scimitar over the sleeping Yuri, ready to behead the witch.  As Temur’s sword flashes downwards, Yuri moves with surprising speed, a jagged knife slashing into her own arm as a ball of dark, oily, fire forms in her hand. The fire flies out to hit Temur squarely in the chest as his scimitar takes Yuri through the breastbone, ripping into her lung and windpipe, leaving her bleeding out on her bedroll. As the samurai catch their breath, Ujime begins speaking to Yuri’s mother, noticing her gaze focus behind her and her eyes widen. He turns, seeing Ota enter, knife in hand, ready to launch himself on Temur. Ujime shouts a warning and Temur, bloody scimitar still in hand, turns. His sword cuts deeply into Ota’s flank, taking his torso clean off his body, leaving his legs standing, blood pumping, until the corpse collapses. Yuri’s mother screams and Ujime tries to calm her, in the process finding out that Yuri has become cold and cruel of late. Shin and Matsei, the doshin, arrive and see what has happened and also report Bondo, the third of their number, has gone missing.   The doshin take the samurai to the Otomo Lord’s residence – as before, he us unable to take part in the discussion and is intoxicated, but his wife accepts Temir and Ujime’s account and thanks them for their help and asks them to look for the missing doshin. The samuria return thanks for the wise Otomo’s aid for the Phoenix and the Naishou governor in routing out cultists. Ujime and Temur leave the village and travel to Yasuragai.

maho

Meanwhile, Zeshin and Endo arrive at the monastery and a young novice, Ikki, takes them into meet the Abbot, Fukai. Fukai appears distracted and forgetful, seemingly unaware of the missing people and murders that have occurred in the villages nearby. However, he confirms that one of his own monks, Etoku, has gone missing whilst working in the gardens. The Abbot mentions that Etoku was friends with another monk, Asai. They visit Etoku’s room and Endo finds an enigmatic poem, where Etoku expresses suspicion of Asai, his motivations and his identity.   Zeshin meets Asai and finds him superficially to be a benign friendly monk but becomes aware that Asai is a highly trained individual – he feigns shock when Zeshin informs him of the Maho-tsukai Yuri, but the Spider is aware of his duplicity. Asai confirms what the samurai had been told by Ikki – namely, that Asai travels around the villages teaching but particularly attends to the people of Koujou.

Yasuragai Monastery

Yasuragai Monastery

Zeshin and Endo dine with the monks in their communal hall, Endo engages Asai in conversation regarding botany and gardening and is impressed by his wide knowledge of the practices of all Clans across Rokugan, clearly a very well-travelled man. As the conversation deepens, Asai turns the topic to Endo’s own life and recognizes him as a key combatant in the Destroyer war. He praises Endo for his audacity and valor in battle, despite Endo’s ongoing remorse for his actions. As the conversation progresses, Zeshin leaves and searches Asai’s room. He finds a hidden compartment in the ceiling; in it is a Scorpion kimono, spell scrolls, and a chop bearing the name ‘Yogo Aguchi’. Zeshin returns things to the box and rejoins his friend.

Ujime and Temur now arrive at the monastery and are talking with Abbot Fukai in his audience room. As with Zeshin and Endo, Ujime and Endo are struck by the Abbot’s vagueness and confusion. The Shugenja’s medical knowledge suggests that the Abbot was neither intoxicated nor subject to the senility which afflicts some ageing Rokuganis. Communing with the kami, Ujime is able to determine that the Abbot’s fire kami were constrained and repressed by dark kansen. Zeshin and Endo meet their friends in the Abbot’s audience chamber Recalling events in Nikesake, Endo and Ujime, with the Abbot’s consent, commence work on a ritual to strengthen the Abbot’s fire kami, freeing his intelligence. The ritual proves to be successful – the Abbot becomes definite and forthright in his manner. He confirms what the Shugenja remember of Yogo Aguchi – that he was a Scorpion Shugenja forced to retire from the Clan 15 years ago due to some embarrassment. The Abbot adds that the Scorpion Shugenja had lost a powerful magical artifact. The party learns that Asai has fled the monastery and, on checking his room, has taken his kimono and scrolls with him

After aiding the Abbot, the Samurai decide to travel to Koujou, the village that Asai commonly visited. Koujou is a modestly-sized village, probably at most 200 people, perched on the banks of a small stream. An elegant arched bridge crosses the stream, and to one side of the bridge is a large wooden building mounting a waterwheel. As it slowly turns, passersby can hear the heavy, laborious “thump, thump” of a giant mortar and pestle within. A medium-large samurai house is located on the edge of the village, with a large garden that overlaps the stream.  The Samurai present themselves to the local lord, Miya Kishin, an elderly man who excuses himself to his garden, asking the arrivals to speak with his son, Miya Kuboti, and the doshin, Koto. Kuboti and Koto confirm that Asai visited the village often, and spent time with family who ran the mill, Chio and her grandchildren. Kuboti adds that the disappearance from their village is Chio’s grandson, Higaisha. Kuboti kindly offers to take the samurai to the mill.

Miya Kuboti

Miya Kuboti

The Samurai enter the mill, the regular thump of the mortar and pestle beating alongside their hearts. As they enter, their eyes accommodating to the dull light inside, they see a fearful, beetle-like Oni in the center, claws snapping. Behind, shuffling into the darkness comes the blind mill-worker, Chio, accompanied by a young woman and the missing Doshin, Bondo, from Jouzousho.

Oni

Oni

Despite the fear the samurai feel, they draw on their honor and the Bushido virtue of Yu, courage. Kuboti turns to the samurai, grinning, his hand on his katana. Moving with speed, he draws, landing a powerful blow on Zeshin. The fight begins in earnest – Zeshin supporting Temur and Endo, defending them from attack, whilst the Unicorn attacks relentlessly with his no-dachi, seemingly oblivious to this wounds. Temur strikes – slaying Kuboti with one mighty blow. The shugenja call on the kami – Endo sending powerful jade blasts at the Oni, piercing his defenses, whilst Ujime breathes gouts of flame across the cultists and the Oni, moving across the mill. The leader of the cultists, Chio, seemingly resists Ujime’s flame, absorbing their force into her amulet, until the power of the kami overwhelms her, leaving her shrieking in flames. The battle is brutal: after Endo inflicting a mighty Jade-charged wound on the Oni, the kami fail to hear his call, perhaps due to his prayers being incoherent due to the beating he receives from the doshin Bondo. Ujime, after burning the cultists, is mortally wounded by the Oni. The Oni’s talons strike him full on the chest, rending him open and tossing him mercilessly across the mill, where he lies unmoving and bleeding out. Despite their wounds, Zeshin and Temur keep on fighting – with the Unicorn dispatching the Oni with a mighty swing of his sword. Zeshin finishes off the doshin as one cultist flees, Temur mounting on his horse, chasing and cutting her down. The session ends with Endo, broken and bloody, crawling across the floor, covered with burned and torn flesh, to the mutilated body of his friend, Ujime.


IMG_4752 IMG_4750

Star Wars Edge of the Empire game: introducing Xim Chamra, Falleen Gunslinger

SW_EotEI’m excited to be starting playing in a Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG game on Monday evening, run by @Chimpy20, with whom I regularly game at my place.

Here’s the background info we’ve been given:

The game will be Edge of the Empire based, but using content from the whole trilogy of books. You can use any source when creating your characters, but the only thing I ask if that someone playing owns a copy of the sourcebook you want to use. Let me know if you want to borrow any of my books.

You’ll be starting on the Inner Rim planet of Taanab, at the farming town of Arkridge. Arkridge rests on the rolling grasslands which cover most of Taanab. The planet is well known for it’s agricultural exports, and ships and planetary vehicles are coming and going all the time from Arkridge to the planet’s capital, Pandath, bringing in supplies such as clothing, machinery, and armaments, and departing with foodstuffs like meat, grain and vegetables. Arkridge has a population of about 2500, and is one of myriads of similar farming communities all over the planet. Taanab is on the Perlemian Trade Route, which runs from Coruscant all the way out to Wild Space.

The Galactic Empire has recently taken an interest in Taanab, having paid it little attention since the fall of the Old Republic. The Empire’s motivations in having a larger presence at the system are unclear. In recent months, Imperial dropships have been seen descending onto the grasslands and depositing mobile structures and leaving behind contingents of personnel and soldiers.

The timeline of the adventure is shortly after the Battle of Yavin and destruction of the first Death Star.

Your character should have a reason for being in Arkridge. This is likely to tie into your character’s Background, Motivation, and Obligation/Morality, but need not to. Feel free to make up an NPC/organisation or ask me to give you one, if you need to hook into a particular NPC/. Here are a few ideas:

– You’ve come to Arkridge to investigate the Imperial presence.

– You come from the area originally and are visiting friends or family

– You are a scientist or vet investigating some kind of problem with crops or animals.

– You fly a vessel transporting goods to and from settlements on Taanab.

– You are on the hunt of a criminal or wanted person and your trail has lead you to Arkridge.

– You are a member of the Rebel Alliance seeking support of locals

– You’re selling items of dubious legality to the farmers

– Or whatever you can imagine…

For simplicity’s sake I would prefer not to bring in the Duty system from AoR, but feel expressly free to use Morality from FaD if you are a force user, otherwise pick an Obligation. There are additional obligations in most of the EotE supplements.

@Chimpy20 has also mentioned that we would run Force and Destiny for our tabletop group, so despite the temptation, I thought I’d resist a Force-sensitive character and go for one from the Edge of the Empire books, given that is the main backdrop for the game.

Looking through the books, Smugglers appeal (either pilot or gunslinger), as do Explorers (scouts, or archaeologists) and Technicians (mechanic).  Other players have suggested that they may go for pilot and tech-types so I think a gunslinger may be fun.  I’m not one for playing combat-orientated PCs, but with this build I can perhaps diversify with some inter-personal and criminal skills.  The Falleen as a race seem to fit these ideas – links to the Black Sun, get Charm skill, and Beguiling Pheromones (upgrades Charm, Deception, and Negotiation at the price of some strain).

So here he is, Xim Chamra:

Falleen Smuggler Gunslinger, Xim Chamra

Concept: Xim was the son of a powerful Black Sun Vigo, related to Xizor. He grew up in luxury on Coruscant, conducting operations for his family and the organisation. However, his family recently fell out of favour in an inter-family conflict, many dying to Xizor’s faction. Xim managed to flee, the resources of Black Sun denied him and his details given to the Imperials. Both of these organizations are now hunting for him. Xim is hiding out in the quiet town of Arkridge, on Taanab, trying to set up independent criminal operations.

 Falleenn

Obligation 20, Bounty.

Brawn 2

Agility 3

Intellect 2

Cunning 3

Willpower 2

Presence 3

Beguiling Pheromones – 2 strain to upgrade charm, deception, negotiation.

Career Skills:

Charm 1

Coordination

Deception

Knowledge (Underworld) 1

Perception 1

Piloting (Space)

Skullduggery 1

Streetwise 1

Vigilance 1

Coercion

Cool 1

Knowledge (Outer Rim)

Ranged (Light) 2

Talents:

Rapid Reaction

Motivation: ambition (freedom).

 Wounds: 12

Strain: 14

Soak: 3

Gear:

Blaster pistol (damage 6, crit 3, stun setting)

Heavy clothing

Commlink

Stimpack

Legend of the Five Rings – #Sessions 6 & 7. A Plague of Crimes.

We restarted our L5R campaign with our PC’s in Kawa Forest, in the Naishou Province.

Our uncouth Unicorn Bushi, Moto Mongke Temur, was sparring with the Kenku Taro as Shiba Ujime and Tamori Endo meditated. Taro was pleased with their efforts in helping the Ningyo in the province and was willing for them to return to their primary mission: to investigate the missing Phoenix samurai as requested of them by Asako Kyoshi, an Inquisitor, back in Nikesake.

Before they return to Toshi no Naishou, Taro wishes to strengthen the group. The Champion of Void, Shiba Sakamoto, has left to explore the spirit realms with the Kitsune Soni, his wife. Two figures step into the grove, one, a Spider samurai who our heroes remember from the Blue Tiled Room – Susumu Zeshin. Accompanying him is a nervous looking young man in tattered Phoenix robes, Asako Keiji. Keiji brings a scroll, addressed to Shiba Ujime, and from the Master of Void. The letter renders Keiji into Ujime’s care – to be supported, watched and tested. He is a former peasant, adopted by the clan, due to his unusual ability to commune with the Void. Taro states that Susumu Zeshin will be his Champion of Air, and Asako Keiji his Champion of Void.   Taro informs the group that he may call on them again to support the Five Ancient Races and to protect Rokugan and the Celestial Order from threats from the Colonies.

The group departs, travelling by boat to the capital of the province, Toshi no Naishou. Whilst there, Temur spends time with the Governor’s daughter, Miya Iaimiko, and Zeshin learns of politics in the region and the goal of the Spider Clan in Naishou from Susumu Oiji, a scribe at the governor’s court. Meanwhile, Ujime attends to the spiritual and health needs of the heimin population and Endo enjoys a discussion of botany and gardening with a Crane artisan. The group learns that in addition to the missing Phoenix, several villagers and a Samurai child has also gone missing from a group of villages to the East of the province. Iaimiko accompanies the samurai part-way as they travel to investigate.

Miya Iaimiko

Miya Iaimiko

They stop first at the nearest village of the group, Jouzousho Village. They fail to gain an audience with the village’s Samurai, Otomo Susan, initially but with persistence see him and realize he has lost his honor to decadence: spending his time with his concubine and sake. The Samurai learn from the doshin of the village that there have been three disappearances and a murder over the last several weeks. One of the missing people is a geisha, Hana, whim the locals believe has run off with a lover. However, when the Shugenja find a note to Hana from her purported samurai lover, the calligraphy is of too poor quality to be that of a samurai, even a Crab or a Unicorn. The samurai also learn that the murder and one of the disappearances connect to a beautiful young sake-worker, Yuri, in that they were both her admirers. However, when questioned, Yuri baffles Zeshin with her ability to resist his questioning but Keiji, entering into an alarming trance-like state, confirms that there is more to her than meets the eye and that she hides a dark truth.

Isawa Taeko, Inquisitor

Isawa Taeko, Inquisitor

The samurai travel onto Sencha village, the last known location of the two Phoenix samurai, Isawa Taeko, an Inquisitor, and her yojimbo, Shiba Otembo. The samurai speak with the doshin and the innkeeper at the Inn of the Clever Frog. They find the missing Phoenix’s belongings, including Isawa Taeko’s journal, which Shiba Ujime takes into his safekeeping without reading. Communing with the kami, Ujime finds the road the missing Phoenix have taken, seemingly in haste given the belongings left in the room, and Temur tracks them along the road to Yasuragai monastery, until they leave the road to a clearing in the forest. Here, they spot a piece of Phoenix robe. Keji communes with the Void, taking his spirit back to events that occurred. He returns to his comrades shattered and disturbed – he witnesses the two Phoenix samurai being killed by a foul, flying beetle, an Oni, the yojimbo dismembered and eaten and the Inquisitor carried off in its maw. Ujime once agin asks the kami for guidance – seeking the oni and where he took the Inquisitor, however,  the air kami show him a brief image from before the arrival of the Oni, and Ujime sees a beautiful young woman, Yuri, slashes at her arm and invoking Maho….

Yuri, using Maho

Yuri, using Maho

LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS – A CLASH OF IDEOLOGIES SESSION #5

FullSizeRender

Last session we left the Samurai in Inari Seido, meeting Mareshi, the half-Naga husband of the former Dragon Clan champion. He confirms that his mind becomes filled with dark visions at night, of attacking his brother monks and destroying their fields, and pleads for the samurai to aid him, reiterating his wish to be locked in his room until he controls himself.   The Abbot asks the players for their advice – he tells the Samurai that a Crane delegation is on its way to the monastery, offering to protect the monks from the Ningyo, the leader, Kakita Matabei, has written to the Abbot saying that the wisdom of the monks will see that the Crane are best protectors of the Fortunes and the Province.  Shiba Sakomoto recognises the name of the Crane – the Kakita killed his brother in a duel several years ago.

The Samurai approach the bank of the Itochu River as dusk falls, Temur leading the way on his horse.  They are set upon by feral Ningyo and a fierce battle ensues.  The battle ends by a Ningyo from the rushes calling out to the samurai in Rokugani asking them to desist – Sakamoto and Temur kill the last resisting Ningyo and speak with the new arrival, who introduces himself as Nolus.  Nolus tells the players that his people had been told by Itochu no Kami that the samurai would be coming to their aid – he informs that his people are battling one another, and some of the Ningyo have changed in nature, becoming more bestial.  He fears what the Empire will do if the Rokugani remember the Ningyo and seek to destroy them.  The Shugenja know that there is a myth that eating the flesh of Ningyo grants the eater immortality.

Ningyo

Ningyo

The Samurai remove their armour and many of their weapons and accept Nolus’ invitation to follow him and meet his father.  The players find that the Lapis Lazuli amulets given to them by the Kenku Taro allow them breathe and communicate underwater.  Nolus’ father is Athon, ruler of this nest of Ningyo.  He tells the samurai that many of the feral Ningyo have left their home and are attacking his people, he keeps many of them imprisoned and is clearly saddened by the civil war wracking his people.  The Samurai return to the surface, remembering Taro’s promise that Soni would help them resolve the Ningyo’s problems.

250px-Tower_of_the_Ningyo

On returning to the bank, the players see the Crane delegation have arrived. Kakita Matabei and Shiba Sakamoto argue over the death of Sakamoto’s brother, Matabei insulting his honour.  A duel is called.  As the samurai prepare, Sakamoto feels a creature rub up against his leg and sees Soni, in fox form.  She speaks to him privately, offering to help him in the duel in return that he marries her and leaves Ningen-Do with her.  Soni has sensed his religious doubts and wishes to show him the reality of the spirit realms.  Soni imparts some knowledge of Kenku swordsmanship to Sakamoto.  The duel begins with Matebei being very skilled, however, Sakamoto draws deeply on his own Void and that of Soni and is victorious, Matabei committing seppuku with honour.

Kakita Matabei

Kakita Matabei

At the end of the duel, Soni hands over a clear, almost translucent, large pearl to the Samurai asking them to take it to Athon. Soni now calls in on the promise – asking Shiba Ujime to marry her to Shiba Sakamoto – and they leave the mortal realm together.  The samurai return to the Ningyo’s home, giving the pearl to Athon and, as they hand it to him, both Shugenja feel an intense wave of rage and hostility and get an impression of a dark presence, far away, in a tropical jungle.

20110804154743!Dark_Naga

We leave the Samurai with being thanked by Itochu no Kami and returning to Taro, where he begins to train them.