Actual Play – Oh No! Bakemono! (9/14/2009)

GM: Travis Lindquist
Players: Sean, Eric, Steve, Erik, Omar, and Alec
System: L5R 3rd Edition (with plenty of game hacks)

There are three accounts of this already done. Definitely check them out at:
http://the-viscount.livejournal.com/47500.html
http://buffaloraven.livejournal.com/212206.html
http://ramtoast.livejournal.com/88308.html

Mechanical Changes

Several new cards were introduced. Some were updated. And new categories of personality cards were created: Rivals and Enemies. Because Flickr is the bomb and I can, here are the new cards for your reading pleasure:

Yoritomo Miyazaki

Allies:

Enemies:

Sodano Shiko
Allies:

Rivals:

Kakita Shimzu
Enemies:

Mirumoto Al-Saleen
Allies:

Rivals:

Enemies:

Isawa Yoshi:
Allies/Equipment:

Rivals:

Ikoma Tso-Lau
Rivals:

Our Story

Round 1 (continued)

We had to play a little catch up for Omar who had missed last session, so we started off with Isawa Yoshi in the Sumai competition. Punt! 5 Points. Banzai!

Round 2

With no mandated events, the sapphire magistrates mingled with the various clans, competing or trying to win favor.

Sodano Shiko started the day off with a bang. Supported by Isawa Yoshi who was cheering him on and drawing a crowd, Shiko entered the Sedane competition. The art of sublet insults. Ending lines: “You’re as stupid as the peasant you look like.” – “Your mother is a whore” Bam! Take that Tortoise. 5 Points Banzai!

Mirumoto Al-Saleen had a discussion with the Toku. In the last round he had struck the monkey with a mighty blow, so he offered to stand in for him during the next bout. Although they could not accept that offer, the Toku appreciated his interest and gave Al-Saleen a route to gain their favor. The Monkey believe that ronin should not be treated so low, but given a chance to redeem themselves. They offer status in their clan to any who wish it. They would appreciate seeing Al-Saleen respect ronin as much. The ronin they considered worthwhile, Akimoto, had denied their offer to join the Toku. They asked Mirumoto-san to see that she gained membership into a major clan, specifically accepting her as is, no questions or tests of her asked.

Kakita Shimzu mediated for the Bat clan. He meditated in peace, meditated when asked questions and meditated when a hammer was banging against an anvil. 5 Points. Banzai!

As the Toku strapped back on his armor, Yoritomo Miyazaki stepped into the stalls to compete. He showed both form and skill. However, as a water shugenja he nearly broke the Toku’s ribs. As he limped off the field the Monkey muttered about not doing any more matches for the Sapphire Magistrates. 5 Points. Banzai!

Ikoma Tso-Lou stayed after the sumai match. Apparently the Badger have a lot of fun after the major clans have competed, but they’re an isolated bunch and stiffen up as soon as other clans are present. The sensei had a somewhat awkward conversation with Tso-Lou, recognizing him as yet another member of the major clans that promised something to the Badger but conveniently forgot it.

Large gifts however, go pretty far when it comes to impressing clans. Tso-Lou invited emissaries from the clans to Winter Court at Sapphires Honor, promised to send them a portion of his “rewards” and offered the support of his Shiro. Looks like the Badger have a new friend.

Isawa Yoshi headed over the Fox clan. They were impressed that an Isawa would take interest in herbalism and were even more impressed that he completed the test. His answer was great. “I am Isawa, it is our duty to be wise in all things.” Boom. Proud much? 5 Points. Banzai!

Lunch break!

After the second round there was a break for bathing and lunch. This was a time was a good time for the magistrates to tend to some of their personal affairs.

Shimzu met with both the Kamori sensei regarding his visions of Kakita and the Sparrow Daimyo’s daughter. He is still undecided, a position that vexes the Sparrow Daimyo and the Tamori monk that guards her.

Al-Saleen presented the Toku’s request to the group. Akimoto will be invited into a major clan, that she might serve the Sapphire Magistrate in a more complete capacity.

Sodano Shiko spoke with the Hare and told them that the forest held many evils. They looked at him like he was a child telling them fire was hot. He did get their attention however, and they will be watching him… which is probably a good thing.

Yoritomo Miyazaki reprimanded his ronin Jo, who was enjoying all the luxuries of being a samurai and making and oaf out of himself. I enjoy how Jo is really the other side of the coin from Miyazaki. In his heart Jo wants to be good but on the surface he has the refinement of a heimin. His master however puts on a good show, but beneath it is a scoundrel.

Round 3

Kakita Shimzu attempted to befriend Tsi Zutaka. That is something like attempting to befriend a mountain. Maybe a mountain with rock slides. He had a good line though “You are the best craftsmen in all of Rokuan. You make the finest blades. It is fitting that I, who am one of the finest swordsmen should wield it.” It’s totally ballsy and I loved it. Of course all that earned him was a grunt from Zutaka, but not an outright dismissal. “My son in law is a fool. Reveal that to the tournament and you shall have my favor Shimizu.” Nice. Shimizu gets a great sword if he can sufficiently embarrass Al-Saleen. This should be good.

While there Kakita also met a Yogo who loved crafting was therefore doomed to betray her work. He commissioned a Kimono of gold cloth from her as a gift for Number Two. I’m sure this will go swimmingly.

Sodano Shiko meditated for the Bat Clan as well. We have some very focused Samurai. 5 Points. Banzai!

Isawa Yoshi returned to the Fox clan, promising a gift from the Isawa but was mysterious as to what it would be. He will gain their favor if he presents a worthy gift.

Mirumoto Al-Saleen entered the crafting competition hosted by his father in law. He took cherry tree limb and began carving a boken from it. A gift he will eventually bestow upon his wife to be. Remember this is from the cherry tree that is supposedly the “greatest tragedy of Rokugan”. Yeah, no ill could come of this either. Despite his distraction thinking of his lost loves, he performed admirably. 5 points. Banzai!

Yoritomo Miyazaki approached the Fox as well and although he did not compete, he did make an amazing gesture of a gift, or at least a trade. He offered them admittance to Winter Court at Sapphire’s Honor (which would cost him nothing) and samples of seaweed for study of medicinal values (were talking the kind of crap that gets stuck in fishing net here people, again, no cost) in exchange for their favor and training in their healing ways. Nice job Mantis Scoundrel! Isawa is going to have to work hard to top that.

Ikoma Tso-Lou entered the tent of the dragonfly and divined that the Lion would crush them again. Rough! But accurate! 5 Points. Banzai!

Round 4

Al-Saleen was the only magistrate who did not participate in the athletics competition. He was more interested in discussing Theology with the Sparrow. He was surprised and delighted to find and entire minor clan that praised theology and swordsmanship as two sides of the same coin. However in his discussion he found that the sparrow only wanted to talk about the delightful things in life and none of the horrors. He was disappointed that they had no interest in the Lords of Death.

They did however tell him something of the Daimyo’s daughter. She had apparently never spoken or been seen by a man. The Daimyo was told that she had a curse on her. Should she marry the wrong suitor, the entire clan would be doomed. There was a monk who arrived the day she was born to deliver the message and had been watching over her ever since. He apparently was a Togashi who championed the virtue of impetuous action.

Intrigued and curious, Al-Saleen requested access to the room where she meditated, guarded by a swordsman, courtier and the Togashi monk. He bowed to the girl, despite that she could not see him, and to her guards. However, the monk (who was meditating) he approached and without saying anything pushed him over.

“What are you doing?” The monk protested. “That was very rude.”

“You are Togashi, no?” Al-Saleen asked. “The Togashi I have studied with would thank me for such a challenge to their meditation.”

It seems however, that this monk did not appreciate Al-Saleen’s “aid”. Instead he chastised Al-Saleen, who apologized, and then he chastised him again “impetuous men don’t apologize”. The monk was not overly disturbed however, and was happy to talk to Al-Saleen about the Daimyo’s daughter. My favorite line was when he told Al-Saleen “You are not the one.” Yeah, Al-Saleen needs another love like he needs a whole in the head. The monk expressed his frustration with Shimzu “What is this whole business of Kakita? ‘One strike’ is it not? Your friend needs to decide.”

The athletics competition!

The Sapphire magistrates (except Al-Saleen) lined outside the Usagi (Hare) event for the race. A lap through the woods in six man heats. The five magistrates were put together along with the beautiful Utaka Nikku.

The race began and the Sapphire Magistrate flew through the woods like a gale wind over the ocean. They had easily passed up Nikku and were now having a friendly competition amongst themselves. After two sprints followed by a twisting path through the woods, however, suddenly their mood became dark.

Barring their path were two “creatures”. Green skinned, half-height brutes, with knobby clubs and clawed hand. In a voice made of gravel the ordered the magistrates to stop, but were strangely courteous. “You, you can’t pass. Go over there… have some tea.” The Sapphire magistrates talked with the creatures, and it appeared their orders can directly from Kokujin. After a time Utaka Nikku caught up and when they saw her the Bakemono jumped into the bushes to hide. She ran past and looked quizzically ate the samuira stopping for tea. As the magistrates saw her run by unmolested they attempted to go as well, but the Bakemono leaped back out of the bushes and engaged them. One was cut down by a single blow of Kakita’s blade. The other was blasted up into the trees by a blessing from the air kami, summoned from Yoritomo Miyazaki.

After that the race was back on. Sapphire Magistrates hounding Utaka Nikku as they ran. They nearly caught her as well, Sodano Shiko would have passed her in fact were it not for holding back to stay at Isawa Yoshi’s side.

When the contestants crossed the finish line, Utaka Nikku was granted 5 points for winning but immediately challenged by both Yoritomo Miyazaki and Kakita Shimzu. They call her a coward for fleeing the battle. Immediately, her champion stepped up and challenged the Sapphire Magistrates to a duel. He did not care what happened in the forest, an accusation had been made against one of his clan and he would duel to defend her.

Both Miyazaki and Shimzu accepted his challenge and agreed to duel. This created a great commotion as messages were being passed from courtier to courtier to advisors and finally to the emperor. As word came back through the same channel the challenge was approved but would take place in one hour rather than the next morning. In honor of the Sparrow, who abhorred dueling out of anger, the duel would take place that night, in a separate ground from the Sparrow’s dueling square.

Because he had challenged her first, Miyazaki was the first to duel the Ide. They each took their stace and observed the other’s form. Miyazaki bowed his head formally and surrendered that the Ide had won.

Next was Kakita Shimzu who took a distinctive stance. Knees on the ground with his katana resting on the ground at his side. The Ide observed him and both duelists knew the other was a great swordsmans. The duel formally began and each warrior focused, appraising the other, watching their breathing, their rhythm. At last the Ide duelist launched forward with his blade and in a blur of motion Kakita had lost.

The moment was ripe with tension. The duel had declared Nikku innocent and the Sapphire Magistrates were honor bound to accept this. (3 Points for all the Sapphire Magistrates)

What rocked

“Hey Tonbo sensei… I spy with my little eye, Lion are going to splatter the Dragonfly.” Rough. But true. That was awesome.

The new cards were great. Travis was a bit rushed in making them because we’re now gaming every week instead of every other, which meant there were a few typos and such, but they were really fun to have in the game. I want a Toku!

I’m interested in the Sparrow a lot more now. I want to see what is going to happen with the Daimyo’s daughter. If Al-Saleen can help be a match maker with Shimzu, that would be cool. Even if not, I want to see how this turns out.

I was happy that a lot of the major elements in last game faded to the background in this game to make room for other stuff. We really didn’t see any of Number Two or Kokujin. Not that I mind them, but it was fun to do different things.

I think it is great that Al-Saleen had gotten the reputation of someone who loses their sword and that the Toku have responded by changing their reward to include a sword chain if needed. Ouch.

Not included in the above, but the Bat clan gave Shimzu opium to help him have visions of Kakita. This should be awesome.

Tso-Lou is great. During lunch (notably after he had already offered the Badger clan an invite to Sapphire’s honor) he was like “oh, yeah, sure, I guess it would be fine for us to invite people to Winter court. Yeah, that would be fine.” Sly devil.

I enjoyed the confrontation with the Bakemono that lead up to the duel. I thought it was an instance of Rokugan justice escaping the way we view things. Testimony is king, and the sword decides the truth. It was brutal, we lost, but it will create some really cool tension between the Unicorn delegation and the Sapphire Magistrates. I may be less invested in our side because I wasn’t in the race, but for me it was fun.

On that note, I really appreciated that both Miyazaki and Shimzu challenged Nikku on a matter of honor, not squabbling over some points in a competition. Both of them told the judge to please award them points based on the order he observed, rather than contesting who won the race. I don’t know if there is a place for it, but they should get some honor there.

I look forward to talking with Utaka Nikku. That should be fun!

This is a meta-meta comment, but I’m really happy that other people are writing AP reports. It gets me excited to see other people’s thoughts about a game.

What could have been improved

I totally misunderstood when I was talking with the Toku what they wanted. It ended up with an “in character” conversation that I wish I hadn’t started. I took something that was really simple and made in complicated. Before if I had asked the ronin to join my clan, nobody would have thought anything of it. Now, if I do it, Al-Saleen with be acting rash and break his agreement to discuss where she would fit best with the group. I don’t know how to pull this one off without either pissing off the Sapphire Magistrates or pissing off the Toku. And don’t get me wrong, I’m down with people getting mad at Al-Saleen, but I want it to happen over things that matter in game, not player misunderstandings.

Some of the scenes dragged a bit. Steve is having a really hard time figuring out what to do in game to follow the path of Kakita reborn. While I understand that should be a hard thing to do in the game, it makes for a lot of time spent trying to figure out what the “right” solution is rather than doing stuff.

4 thoughts on “Actual Play – Oh No! Bakemono! (9/14/2009)”

  1. Unfortunately we remembered wrong about Woodbury. The Yogo enemy will have to go back into the stack as a potential character. I like her, so she’ll be back.

      1. Well, that actually wasn’t the yogo in question. 😉 I liked the Yogo enemy who is like, “My grandwhatever didn’t MEAN to bone your grandwhatever, it was LOVE!”

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