Actual Play – “Neither will I”(2/9/2009)

GM: Travis Lindquist
System: L5R

– Quote on the Iron Mountain Dojo wall.

We started the Sapphire Magistrate game on Monday. The storyteller set it off with an AWESOME introduction. He made a PowerPoint presentation of all the Major clans, including their families, schools, vassal families, and bits of their tradition (details about marriage, death, food and chopsticks). Then we started making characters, which was actually kind of tough. Besides a few notable exceptions like the Asahina, we had a ton of options. Also, because our characters were coming to the Topaz Championship at the start of the game to meet we really couldn’t create many interlocking relationships. In general I prefer having more constraints, but in a world like Rokugan, really anything can show up, so the format we used makes sense.

My character is Mirumoto Jo, a traditional Bushi who believes that the Dragon has been isolated too long in the mountains. He believes the Clan Wars were the will of the Kami. Many years ago Togashi and his followers went up the mountain, now it is time for them to come back down. While very proud and loyal to the Mirumoto, Jo, in his very idealistic youth, would like others to embrace Dragon Culture and in turn learn of other clans. He has a particular fascination with the Unicorn, as they have traveled the farthest out of Rokugan and brought back gaijin artifacts and cultural ideas.

Mirumoto rolled what I find to be a somewhat cliché ancestry. His grandfather used Maho and has put a stain on his family. This would be cool if I hadn’t played characters with dark secrets in the last few games I’ve played, but as is, it just felt like more of the same. Since it is a dark secret shared by the entire family, I’m actually going to play it up that Jo doesn’t know about it yet. His family has hid it from him until he completes his Gempuku. After that, they can lay it on him and he’ll probably have the responsibility of dying really, really honorably to purge the taint from their family name. I think this will be much more fun to discover in game while my character is still idealistic and optimistic (he’s only 16 after all) than to know in advance.

I’m still going to fiddle a bit with the character points as I’d like to have poetry and maybe Lore (Unicorn), but right now I’m pretty happy with his abilities. He’s hell on wheels with a Daisho (8k4+3) and very passable at lore skills (mostly 4k3). I always make characters with good to very good charisma (in this case Awareness) so I’ve intentionally made someone who is just mediocre in court. Most of his court skills are 3k2, which is only going to be passable if I get lucky.

I’ve got some connections with the other characters based on an interest in Theology, Lore, and a Karmic Tie with the Pheonix clan Bushi Sodano.

What rocked

The presentation was excellent; it covered a lot of ground in a short time. He had some background music rolling as well, which was also very cool. The storyteller also passed out some L5R cards for us to gain inspiration from. Also very cool.

The characters in L5R are naturally tragic and we saw some seeds of that already. There is a good chance that one of the Crane may have to commit seppuku simply because they are expected to be so bloody perfect all the time, it’s impossible to live up to that. My character of course has his dark history, but he also has a rivalry with the Crane, one of his ancestors (another one) killed a Crane DaiDoji in Toshi Ranbo and now he has a sworn enemy. Good times.

We started the game with some introductions. I’m very eager to play now!

What could have been improved

One of the players had to cancel at the last minute due to a work emergency. It’s understandable but it sucks and it meant he’s got a few less choices in character creation. For this particular player though, I know he’s going to play a Shugenja anyway, and there is plenty of room for those in the group.

I don’t know how we would have done it but I would have liked to see more connections between the characters. The storyteller made a rule that the characters all needed to have hobbies that they shared with at least one other character. In practice though I don’t feel like that happened. There were several skills announced (poetry, storytelling, etc) that nobody said “Okay, I’ll take that” or “Sweet, I’ve got that too.” I’m excited about the game but fear the “My Guy” syndrome where everybody cares only about their own character. I know I’m really bad about doing that myself and for me it is useful when I have things that remind me to shine the spotlight on other characters.

5 thoughts on “Actual Play – “Neither will I”(2/9/2009)”

  1. Very cool. Reminds me that I should poke at said GM (Buffaloraven, no?). I always kind of want to do music for L5R…but I suck at actually hunting down or collecting any. And being rather non-aurally inclined means that I don’t hear things and go “ooo, must find out what that is, it would be neat to use!”

    C and I have just begun knocking ideas around for running one together (always a challenge given our style differences, but usually a worthwhile one.)

    1. Yep, Buffaloraven is running the game. He had about 15 mintues of background music and could have used about twice that. All of it was from a youtube playlist so the price was right.

      1. I’ve been told Final Fantasy soundtracks are a goldmine. I’ve just never picked any up. Hadn’t thought about the youtube option for those. They’re everywhere, and I could certainly cue up “fight scene x” to hit as needed. :p

    2. I’m considering myself notified of future pokings. 😉

      I just wikied traditional japanese music, then input some names from that back into youtube, and got about 5 nice songs.

      My post will go up in a second, but the powerpoint ended up working differently than I had intended, or I’d have had more songs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *