Winter Court started with an announcement, something my character has been working towards for most of this campaign. Kisada is marching north to take Toshi Ranbo. He’s claiming regency over the throne until a suitable emperor can be found.
As ranking magistrates, generals, champions and dignitaries of our families, it was up to our heroes to determine who would side with Kisada, who would oppose him and who would remain neutral.
At the end of the session we had a perfectly even distribution of families (7 supporting, 7 opposing and 7 neutral). There were still many families unaccounted for, which we will tackle next time.
The player division on this one was fun. We have two players strongly for Kisada (Rei and Shinji), two strongly for staying out of the fight (Washichi and Shimizu), one that opposes him (Tso-Lou), one that acts to oppose by following her personal desires (Miho) and one that just wants as much strife as possible and will support the underdog (Shiko).
This division caused some fun and tense role-playing moments between the PCs.
Jo, Rei’s son, aka Master Tiger caused some real ruckus, including going through these ridiculous efforts to rip apart this War leader (Bayushi Soh) and then blame it on everyone (at least five groups implicated) because with all the knowledge bestowed upon him, he still has the childlike mentality that if implicating one group is good, implicating five is better! He was a pest, as usual, but fun and lead us to some new discoveries.
What could have been improved
I got frustrated because my character has a lot of personal interest in seeing this happen and it felt like her months and months (read: many sessions) of effort were worth less than what others were able to accomplish during the single session. Part of this was a miscommunication. Steve thought he wasn’t going to make the next session so he jockeyed to have one scene with a lot of impact. It makes sense in that light, but as it stands he will be there next session, so I ended up frustrated.
Net result excluding our own families (which we all had jurisdiction over): Rei convinced the Isawa to side with Kisada on the condition that he defer to them in religious matters. Shimizu got the Akodo, Asahina and Doji to remain neutral in the affair with no strings attached. Three-to-one was rough, especially given how much time I had put into this and that I have no idea whether or not I’ll be able to sell Kisada on the whole “defer to the Isawa” business. I got the feeling at the end of the game that if I was Woodbury (a previous player) I would have had the odds stacked much further in Kisada’s favor.