Actual Play – The Lion’s Pride (8/30/2010)

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

Before the party, there’s the before-party

Usually in this campaign the “game” starts up when we all split off and go on our various quests to keep the empire from falling apart, to search for the emperor or to pursue our personal goals. This game however, has quite a few scenes before we split up that were just great.

Rei and Jo (aka Master Tiger).

Rei: “Jo, I see that after your month with Washichi you are acting much more like a samurai and that you appear to have an affinity to be a courtier. This is acceptable; you are a disappointment to me, but not a dishonor to our family. You will go to the Ikoma courtier school”
Jo: “But mother, I would be so much better suited… If you had real influence you could… I could do so much more at…”
Rei: “Quit flapping your lips kid. I don’t care what you want. You’re going to Ikoma school, if you want to go somewhere else prove your worth to your sensei.”

Rei is such a compassionate mother. Jo was a precocious brat BEFORE he was master tiger… now he’s and Epic [+6] pain in the ass. (Fate joke. Sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Sharing rice with the other Imperial Magistrates.

Rei spoke with Washichi, she had heard about the battle he won and his personal bravery (Fortunes know EVERYONE heard about it, he wouldn’t stop telling the stories). Also, after spending time with Washichi, her son Jo had made remarkable improvements. For this she was in his debt.

Washishi put himself in Miyo’s debt (Omar’s scorpion, I got her name this time) as well, to indentify the scorpion mask he took off the Yobanjin force’s general.

Then came the WHAMMY. The Hatmoto entered and asked where we would go this month. Rei proclaimed that she would march her legions south to aid the Great Bear in reclaiming Hiruma castle. When question why, she declared that the war was happening because of her efforts, she could not fail Kisada now. Besides Winter Court would be upon us in a month. It must be done now. Yet Tso-Lou could not let this pass. To appease his dead mother, he required that Rei travel to Matsu lands and resolve the military conflicts there.
Then things got fun. Rei couldn’t go to Matsu lands (even though it would mean betraying her own family) because she need to lead her armies south. Tso-Lou suggested another general and we had a great time jesting about Washichi leading the forces or Shiko taking them to hold fast against the Shadowlands by telling the Oni to stay their anger and refrain from violence. Finally it came to Tso-Lou, a capable leader himself, who offered to lead her armies.

Rei smiled, grabbed a tea cup and gestured to Tso-Lou to do the same so that they could play “Defend the Leader”. A ridiculous game that proves one’s skill in battle by smashing the cup attached to your opponents head. Tso-Lou shattered Rei’s cup and this proved himself to her, in more ways than one. In a breathy voice she picked herself up from the ground and told Tso-Lou he must attend her that night to review battle plans.

Cut to after the sex.

Naked in bed Tso-Lou informed Rei that she must not use violence to solve this problem, that the ancestors required it. As she was to travel to resolve a matter peacefully and Tso-Lou would be facing an army of Shadowlands creatures on the other side of the wall, she bestowed her sword upon him, that it might lead him to victory, and distant from her might not tempt her to cut down those she disagreed with.

The month at large.

Shinji, with the aid of a Naga stopped the volcano in Dragon Lands from erupting but unweaving the tainted magic that was agitating the fire kami below. She also recovered un-hatched naga eggs (which she entrusted with the Dragon) and used her influence as “emissary” to send Mirumoto Cavalry to reinforce the war in the south.

Washichi visited unicorn lands and found that to his great dismay bandits had captured his wife’s horse… and yeah, his wife as well. The passion that drove Washichi to find the horse (and the lack there of concerning his wife) was comical. She, as proscribed by his disadvantage, was a fairly heinous individual and we had a laugh watching Chris play the completely cowed husband.

Miyo and Shiko traveled to Yasuki lands and arranged jobless peasants to be hired by a ronin Siamese twin underworld power player. She freaked the out a lot, but eventually they agreed to kill a Mantis merchant for her. In the night Miyo snuck in and did just that. Travis called for a “murderate the fuck out of him” roll, which Miyo passed with flying colors.

Rei traveled to Matsu lands and found an encampment of Sohei and hemin led by a monk who was determined to prove the might of his warriors. Because of Rei’s past affairs with monks (killing one who was detracting followers from Bishamon) she is cast out and hated by this order. It took A LOT of work to earn the monk’s respect enough that he would listen to her and send his forces where they could be used, rather than mindlessly against the Crab or Scorpion.

Tso-Lou went south and met Kisada, the mountain of a man. The Great Bear was very displeased at first that Rei herself had not come in person, but Tso-Lou convinced him that he was a capable commander and was thus in charge of the reserves… or plugging the wholes opened by hordes of oni tearing through the lines of Hida soldiers. And boy did they! A giant Oni, at least 25’ tall and acid breathing ripped apart scores of samurai, tearing apart the line. Bravely (very bravely), Tso-Lou drew the blade of Rei’s ancestors and charged the horrendous beast. With skill, luck and heart he slew the creature, holding back the line and helping Kisada to win the day. Hiruma Castle is recovered once more!

What rocked

All the post scene player interaction was great. I really like Rei’s begrudging respect for Washichi, and her growing passion for Tso-Lou.

Sex between Rei and Tso-Lou is a major milestone in the character’s relationship. The seeds of it stared years ago when they had to bathe together after being covered in dye and the mutual attraction was obvious. This finally advanced that tension further, I’m sure our interactions in the future will be colored by this. And woot, for the first time ever I got to use my Dangerous Beauty advantage.

My son is such a little shit. It’s awesome. Not sure which is more annoying: Pre or Post Master Tiger Jo.

The fight with the shadowlands creature was epic. I know Travis is probably disappointed that it didn’t even scratch Tso-Lou but this is one of those creatures that if it hits you, you die, so it’s really the only way he could have possibly survived. It was very Legolas vs. the Oliphant or Luke vs. the AT-AT or even that chump kid David.

Watching the characters (and a little bit the players) freak out about a conjoined twin was hilarious. They wanted there to be some taint explanation and were losing their minds when it wasn’t.

Rei’s really horrible plan is working, and it’s killing her. Most of the clans are busy dealing with their own affairs, while Crab lands have no troubles (at least none significant enough to get pins on the board). Kisada has made a major win by reclaiming Hiruma castle and at this very moment commands a mighty army. The Emerald Legion (thanks to the new champion) is scattered all over Rokugan. All the Great Bear needs to do now is turn them around and start marching north to take Toshi Ranbo and claim the throne. Rei has rolled out the red carpet for him, and its burning her up inside. I love it.

What could have improved

Eh, nothing really. The game went too long because we were really chewing up the scenery, but this is a good thing.