Actual Play – Smallville (5/3/2010)

GM: Travis Lindquist
Players: Chris, Tracy, Steve, Alec, Omar and Sean
System: L5R

We were missing Fattig last night, which apparently was scheduled but I didn’t realize he’d still be gone. Alec showed up just as we were starting and Chris didn’t make it till after his gig (around 10 PM). Also, I was dead to the world tired. If Tracy hadn’t been sitting on the couch with me I probably would have been laying down. All of that added up to pretty low key game for me, at least until my scenes came up. Playing always gives me a bit more energy, and the scenes Rei were challenging. She needed to be biased (strongly biased) without being a total irrational bitch. The moment a character becomes that they stop being fun for me to play. Anyway… onto the show.

The imperial magistrates met back up at Toshi Ranbo, submitted their reports, were given new missions, and were seen in small montages passing the time:

  • Ryo was working away with hammer and tongs.
  • Rei was furiously writing letters. One to Kisada informing him of the erosion of the empire but not revealing that the emperor is missing. Another to her lion commander Matsu Aoiko reporting her continued service to the Otomo and a third to the Topaz Champion, to continue their ongoing discussion on the practice of courtesy in the courts and in battle.
  • Shiko buys trinkets for his children instructing his heimin who were actually purchasing them to tell the vendor they were “slitting their own throats” Many strange looks ensue.

Solving the Empire’s woes one cut at a time

Shiko went to the Asako lands to stamp out the bandit attacks. There he met a courtier strangely obsessed with him. The courtier asked about the investigation method the taught the Sapphire Magistrates and was most curious when Shiko told him it was a blend of the Kitsuki and the Tsuruchi methods. The courtier, impressed and excited, begged that Shiko spend some time with him explaining his training so that the courtier could write it down and create a new school… the Shiba magistrate method!

After humoring the courtier Shiko set to the task at hand… finding the bandits. Instead he finds Ikoma Tamoi, who offers her assistance. Shiko gains the Asako Daimyo’s aid (or that of her son as she is senile) to send out false information of where grain will be and when the bandits attack it is instead them who are ambushed by Tamoi’s Lion forces.

Shimizu travels to Sparrow lands to root out the bandit uprising. He visits the docks expecting a respectable contingent of Sapphire Magistrates but instead finds a single Ox, perpetually high on opium. When Chris arrived Washichi showed up with his peasant forces and between those and the real Sapphire Magistrate bushi that eventually arrive they kill most of the bandits and send the rest of them fleeing into the hills. Sadly the Ox is accidentally stabbed by a hundred kama.

Ryo seeks to help the scorpion by playing their own games of trickery against them. He pretends to work for his enemy in creating a gift that will explode but when the enemy leader inspects the “giant horse” Ryo triggers the explosives and kills the Bayushi, nearly ending his own life in the process.

Rei and Shinji head out to Unicorn lands to see what kind of religious heresies they might be committing, but are surprised to find out that the Unicorn are actually revering legitimate fortunes (the Lords of Death, confirmed by the Topaz Champion as fortunes acknowledged by the Emperor himself) and their temples were being attacked by Lion (specifically Kitsu traditionalist) who swore that their belief was heresy. To preserve the honor of the clan, all of the Lion attacking them gave up their names and made themselves ronin, but it was impossible to hide their nature. Rei and Shinji discovered these unlawful attacks and reported them to the Seppun to stop. Cut and dry, except that Rei accidentally killed one of her kin defending the Topaz Champion and then had an attack from her ancestors, plaguing her with doubts. The Iuchi performed a strange ritual which held them at bay and offered to silence the permanently, should Rei wish him to.

Rokugan – Month 4

What rocked

I’m very stoked that Shiko’s skill in instruction is coming to the forefront. It’s one of those skills that are very hard and he’s invested a lot into it (raised to 6) so I’m really glad it’s being acknowledged in game.

Both Travis and I love the Unicorn. They are such a quirky clan in so many ways. Rei had this painfully funny scene where she was about to put on one of their cloaks and then realized it was made with animal fur and swore very loudly that “these gaijin barbarians wear their own steeds”, which besides being wrong also pissed off the very intelligent horse next to her, enough so that he bit her shoulder (hard) and she responded immediately by punching it in the face with a mailed fist. I’ve enjoyed playing a character fascinated with the Unicorn (Al-Saleen) and one disgusted by them (Rei).

As before the pairing up, while not as efficient is fun. I had a great time with Shinji as we were both taken WAY aback by the Moth Deathpriests and other Unicorn oddities. Jade Strike for the win.

The Ox on opium was a fun figure, and also a good reflection of Shinji’s EXTREMELY lax standards for entry into the Sapphire Magistrates. Too bad he died.

Ryo… is just nuts.

I think it was tough for Shimizu to see the Sapphire Magistrates (ostensibly Nadu’s men) aid and gain favor with the Sparrow. I think it was good test of his dedication to his family that he put their needs before his personal misgivings.

What could have been improved

I really, really, really need to flesh out my ancestors. Give them names and specific dishonorable acts. We talked about it some, but nothing has clicked for sure. I’d like to have specific names to curse, especially if I’m going to put them to an end.

I missed Fattig. And playing when tired sucks. And people arriving late is tough. For all those challenges I think we still pulled off a pretty awesome game.

5 thoughts on “Actual Play – Smallville (5/3/2010)”

  1. Time was shortish, or I rather wanted to confront the Kitsu with something along the lines of proving that Tsuko was talking to him. In fiction they can take someone along with them and help them talk to the ancestors (though it seems to be very rarely done, unsurprisingly). Whether just Shinji, or her and Rei, wandering into spirit realms holds a lot of entertaining possibilities for either of them.

    Mind you, she’d still have bitched out Tsuko for thinking she knew better than the Emperor just because she’s an honored ancestor. Contrary is amusing that way.

    In the interests of time though, going magistrate legalistic was an efficient route.

    1. Wow, going to the spirit realms to talk to our ancestors would have been AWESOME. Considering that the Kitsu religious upheaval is still present it may still be possible. Let’s do this!

        1. Well, the took care of that area, but the next month a civil dispute broke out in Kitsu lands which Travis indicated was related. That province still hasn’t been visited and by doing so we could a) clean up the empire, b) do some spirit ass whooping and c) you could meet the Kitsu who will duel you.

          Good times all around.

Leave a Reply

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