Back in Rokugan and another month passes while our samurai try to maintain the peace in the empire.
Not really mechanics per se, but something of significance, Travis made tokens for our allies to which I printed and cut out. At the start of the game the player whose ally it was placed their token in the appropriate provinces. At the end of the game we rolled on a chart to see if they moved, and if so where too.
Month of the Goat
Shinji traveled to the Ikoma lands to unravel the heresy there. She found that Kokujin had rallied the peasants to revolt but with the power of the earth kami at her side scattered his forces and sent the Mad Prophet fleeing the lands with a vow to return. She also learned that the Swift Water daimyo is on his death bed and that the shugenja that serves his daughter has a personal grudge against Tso-Lou, but he refuses to explain why.
Tso-Lou went in search of the Emperor in Watanabe lands. In exchange for a simple favor (delivering some hammers) and some earnest investigation he determined that the emperor had in fact been on the island recently and departed to the north, for the island of Yoshi’s Enlightenment. According to sources the “ronin” spoke of a tea house he would visit when he arrived.
Rei traveled to the imperial legions to snuff out the bandit in the area. She did so employing scorpion tactics, inflating her forces to look so great that the bandits simply surrendered, many of whom then joined the legion. While there she had two very important encounters. The first with an ambitious commander of the first legion, Kitsu Dejiko. Kitsu-sama clearly wished to add the military side of the Sapphire Magistrates to the Imperial Legions; a notion that Rei was very well disposed to. Also, she hinted that those she took under her command often did very well for themselves. Rei may very well have a future in the imperial legions. A picture attached as we didn’t know what Kitsu looked like when we were playing. Rei’s second meeting was much more grave. She met with the Shogun himself, told him of his brother’s absence and implored him to take the throne himself. While at first quite jaded to the notion of grabbing power, her persistence and passion at least made him think on the idea. When Rei returned from dispelling the bandits to hear his final answer she was instead met with a Hatamoto that handed her a letter from Kaneka himself. He was going to go on a journey to think about Rei’s advice. He also noted that if he did indeed make a grab for the throne he would need loyal servants, servants like Rei herself.
Shimizu traveled to Unicorn lands to get rice for the Yogo. A savvy Utaka trader robbed by Shimizu and the Yogo in the process, but at least the Yogo wouldn’t starve, and Shimizu got a shiny scimitar out of the deal.
Kaiu Ryo traveled to scorpion lands as well, to the Shosuro. While they were at first suspicions, quickly the locals became fascinated if not enamored with Ryo. He told the magistrate he would build her clan an aqueduct, when she asked what that was he told her it would make water. The story spread that that a Kaiu had come to make water! He spend the time drafting up plans, hiring workers and training them to build this massive project to carry water from the mountains to the north down to the fields.
Shimba Shiko traveled to the Sodano lands and found that the daimyo still held that there was a blood feud between the Mantis and the Shiba. They had tarnished the soul of Shiba and the blood debt must be paid. The Clan Champion himself supported him in this endeavor and told Shiko to speak as his voice to the Sodano Daimyo, stating that the Matis have been forgiven for the attacks made years ago by the dark fleet, that the soul of Shiba’s honor is satisfied and that there would be no blood feud. The Sodano Daimyo took this command with some suspicion but accepted it just the same. Good that he had suspicion as Shiko inadvertently found in his discussion with the champion that he did NOT have the Soul of Shiba. Damn… and we thought Nasaru was a good liar; Murabu has been faking it for YEARS.
Map of Rokugan
Despite some of my own pessimism we got through an entire month in one session and got Tracy out of the house by 10:57. Woot for timing.
The ally tokens looked and worked great. It was awesome to see the map populated with people. We didn’t get to any of them this turn, but in the future we’ll probably be able to bump into them.
I knew it would fail but I loved my interaction with Kaneka. At first he was totally dismissive; he’d heard it all before. Then he saw how bad thing could be if he didn’t take action by way of a staged game of Go. So he thought on it, and at least to Rei’s words to heart. That’s enough for me as a player to be happy and enough to make Rei miserable in believing she sent him away. See below however for the thing I forgot that is just killing me.
The post game wrap up. A few people hung around after the game and we just talked how the game went, the things that rocked, etc. It’s kind of nuts with all that we’re trying to squeeze into a game session to expect a de-brief at the end, but its fun when we do it. Talking about a game after the fact is like putting it inside shrink wrap in my brain. It captures the awesome moments and makes them discrete so that I can remember them easier in the future, rather than just as one long blur of gaming. It also helps me check in with people to make sure they are digging the game in the same way I am.
Some cool things have come back into play, like the Kitsu shugenja that Tso-Lou intimidated into silence. He’s going to be trouble for Tso-Lou one way or the other… in fact I was surprised he held out as well as he did.
Shinji as an avatar of earth crushing her opposition under earth and stone was killer.
The Utaku merchant was a laugh. He kept playing Shimizu but didn’t manage to make him embarrass himself too much. Constantly calling Shimizu Shogun was fun as well.
What could have improved
I’ve been kicking myself for this since I remembered just after people went home. I had a final ultimatum to give the shogun, which was going to go a little something like this “If you don’t take the throne I won’t sit idly by and let the empire crumble. There is another great warrior, who, like your father, passed through Oblivion’s Gate to once again serve the Empire. Though most of the spirits have returned, the Great Bear has remained. If you will not seize the throne, I will encourage him to.” Will Rei actually go through with that even GREATER act of treason? I’m not sure yet, but in the heat of the moment, I meant to have her use that to push him and forgot about it.