Actual Play – Reclaiming the…. Islands…? (3/30/2009)

GM: Travis Lindquist
System: L5R

Last L5R session was a blast, we learned more about our characters, killed pirates, and discovered something very, very big.

The session started out with our captive. A ronin who had joined with these pirates but now caught wanted to repent for his wayward life. He confessed that seven generations ago his family were Asahina, but were cast out for committing violence. Even though it was self defense they were made ronin and over the years forgot their vows to pacifism and took on the life of a pirate. He was born to this but wanted to be more. Imperial law mandated that he either died or became part of our retinue. Bushido called for compassion and it was given. He was taken on by Yoritomo and is being instructed in the ways of a Samurai.

When we arrived at the island the plan was to capture the boats so the pirates couldn’t escape and then to hunt them down on land. As we pulled up to shore however we found a hemin woman who was about to be raped by one of the pirates. Swift as the wind our blades were drawn and the offender was cut down. The woman, panicked was detained by the earth kami, while Sodano calmed her with his centered meditation. The woman, Sata seemed to have a religious transformation after being touched by the kami and for sometime was very distant. She did however tell the Sapphire magistrates where their village was and that they had taken over by force.

Sata lead us to the village where we found the pirates were still sleeping in their huts. Boldly we entered, and cut ourselves down some pirates. Most were ronin, featureless besides their artful decapitations. In the headman’s hut however was the leader, a Shugenja who we found with correspondence to a member of the Yasuki family. Apparntly one of the Yasuki was funding this pirate operation and had an agenda against a Doji courtier… our Doji’s father! Also the shugneja had been feeding the water spirits to keeps something at bad… that something turned out be a giant sea serpent whose back humps were forming islands… the islands we were on!

As the game ended we felt a rumbling and the gigantic beast began to stir!

What rocked

Character ties. We now have a new interesting NPC, the Ronin Jo who seems like he will be an interesting counterpart to the rest of us. More intimate though is the threat on Doji’s father. This one creates some immediate tension.

Intent, task mechanics. We had a fair bit of “I want to achieve this and I’d like to use this skill/ability to do it.” I love that because it puts power (and responsibility when there are consequences) in the hands of the player. Many of the characters go to show off their killer abilities, in my case amazing precision with a blade, for others though it was protecting their charge, or bringing down the wrath of the kami. I think everyone had fun.

We are heroes because we’re special. The Storyteller has done a really good job of making out characters feel special. We’re Topaz Champions, favored of the Emerald Magistrate, Chosen by the Master of Earth, Gathering loyal crew members, having our families threatened, etc. It’s clear that by virtue of being PC’s we’re important, we’re the stars. That rocks.

Freaking titanic sea serpents? Awesome!

What could have been improved

In the skirmish fight it wasn’t clear from the get go what our options were… possibly it seemed that many options opened up at different times and we had a player who was feeling that ended up disconnected with what was going on vs. what his options were.

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