Actual Play – Hard Choices (6/14/2010)

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

We were back to saving the empire… though I’m not sure we did.

Shiko, for his part did well. He used the Sapphire Fleet to save a bunch of Tsuruchi from the impending flood.

Tso-Lou went to Fox lands and found some bandits claiming the Fox were keeping Rokugan’s greatest diviner to themselves. As it turned out these bandits were actually lead by some shape shifting monster that NEARLY killed Tso-Lou in a duel. He emerged victorious though and cast away it’s mortal shell. The shadow fled and the Fox were safe… for now.

Ryo had fun times in the Miya lands. There was a dispute about where the Emperor’s blessing should go since the Emperor himself hadn’t made a decree. The Miya Daimyo asserted that in absence of another order, he was authorized to choose. Ryo supported him on this and held a debate in a tea house to settle matter. In the end it was settled… with a punch to the face! Go Crab Diplomacy!

Rei was horrible. She believes what she’s doing is good but… Well she did figure out that the Emperor was going to Kakita lands to get a new sword. That much is good. She also lied to Kisada and told him that the Emperor was dead in order to get him to take the throne. This cannot end well.

Shimizu intended to visit Yasuki lands to end the border skirmish but instead focused on killing the man that dishonored him and thereby regaining face… and letting the third Yasuki was start! Man, things are bad in that area.

What rocked

A lot of hard choices this game. Rei and Shimizu were both really torn.

Tso-Lou’s duel was crazy tense. It was sooooo close.

Shimizu got to duel as the unknown ronin. Something right out of Ninja Scroll

What could have improved

Dude… Rei beheaded a peasant, took out his eye and disguised him to look like the emperor to fool Kisada into taking the throne. I feel horrible.

Actual Play – Harvest Festival (6/7/2010)

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

A brief reprieve from the constant toils, the Harvest Festival offered our samurai a chance to reap the rewards of their work. The Lion were holding a great festival to welcome the new harvest and ensure prosperity in all of Rokugan.

Our affairs were of course, not as simple and pleasant as that…

Gaijin Magic

Ikoma Tso-Lou, destined to be a great diplomat, served his Clan Champion at this festival by making a great offering of gold to the mysterious Gaijin (Senpet) in exchange for knowledge of their magic, the same magic that Iuchiban used to become the monster that he is. Seems like a great plan. The rest of us had a great time interacting with “Utaka Forak”, a gaijin who didn’t speak our name but looked like he could have been a unicorn and when he pulled out a fork, and pronounced it “Forak” we all deiced that was his name. Good times.

Druken revelry

Washichi and Rei finally found something they could agree on. Good sake. This same good sake also led Rei and Shimizu into the same bed that night, but both were too drunk to consummate the affair. Sadly, that didn’t help Shimizu much with his…

Wife troubles

“You come to the harvest festival and spend all night drinking with your friends instead of seeing me?” Add that to sleeping with Rei and being found in a rather passionate conversation with Doji Domotai, and it didn’t look like Sezume Junko could be more angry at him. Then he ask what she thought about the Sparrow rejoining the Crane? Boy howdy!

Doji Motamasa and Yasuki One-Leg

Both Emerald Magistrates were present and happy to see us (Doji mostly because it meant a vantage of our backs that he could plunge a tanto into, but happy just the same). It seems that One-Leg has done rather well for himself despite his injuries. Still he laments the loss greatly.

Fourth Legion Funny Business

Looks like the leader of the forth legion, a Hida, was making some deals during the festival for additional funding, no doubt to support the Emperor’s efforts, sadly though at the cost of the other magistrate orders.

Ancestors Be Gone

Rei, during the festival found one Kitsu who was making offerings to try and counter the harvest festival, you know, so that if they empire starved, they would all figure out that the problem was because of the Lords of Death? Yeah. Perfect logic. Time to get stabby! But to his aid came Rei’s ancestor Gaki! Suddenly her blade was in her hand as she was shouting war cries to Akodo One-Eye and Lady Matsu. She vanquished the ghost of her ancestors, finally ending their haunting, but not before one could touch her and weaken her void. The coward got away of course. She will see more of him no doubt.

Go Go Gadget Horsey

Washichi, hearing the call of battle rode his great stead up and on top of the Kitsu’s offering and the kitsu himself, so that he could be captured and punished accordingly.

What rocked

It was nice to take a break from the monthly format and have some scenes with all of the samurai together.

It was great finally getting to lay the smack down on Aunt Sue. She’s been harping on me for years.

Drinking with friends. What’s not to like.

Happy to clean up one the pins on the board as well. Kitsu threat neutralized (for now at least).

Magic swords for the win. Mine leapt right into my hand when in need. Cool!

What could have improved

Not really sure. It was a fun game.

Actual Play – Vacant Throne – Month 4 (5/17/2010)

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

We had some strange events happen this game, some of them borrowed from similarly themed settings (like Avatar, the Last Air-Bender) and some pulled right out of Training Day (you know the movie with Denzel)

We’re also experiencing the effect; I believe the desired effect, of the act two mechanics. The Empire is falling apart. At the start of month 4 there were nine provinces in trouble, by the end there were 12 and that was because he had help from the Emerald Magistrates. As the unrest rate (the number of new incidents that pop up each month) has risen to six, and there are only six of us, and we need to continue looking for the Emperor, I think that number will only grow.

Here’s the skinny inside the fiction

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

Actual Play – Another Wind Lost (4/26/2010)

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

Back in Rokugan and another month passes while our samurai try to maintain the peace in the empire.

New Mechanics

Not really mechanics per se, but something of significance, Travis made tokens for our allies to which I printed and cut out. At the start of the game the player whose ally it was placed their token in the appropriate provinces. At the end of the game we rolled on a chart to see if they moved, and if so where too.

Month of the Goat

Actual Play – The Duel of Wills (4/19/2010)

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

We wrapped up the first month and handled the interstitial group gathering to report on our missions.

New Mechanics: Duel of Wills

Steeling very liberally from Burning Empires and Burning Wheel, Travis and I worked out a Duel of Wills. I’m REALLY in love with this system. Enough so that I’m not putting it behind a LJ Cut! Here’s the skinny. We took the BE DOW scripting sheet and made several changes.

Flavor: All the moves have been renamed to be L5R appropriate. Feint is now Boast. Rebuttal is Denial. The three volleys are called: Challenge, Focus, Strike. Body of Argument is now On (Face).

Maneuver Mechanics. We made several mechanical adaptations to incorporate the roll and keep system, as well as to utilize honor, glory and status. Because of the way Roll and Keep works it now means the results are now more all or nothing. If you hit a TN you’ve made your move. Each move has a way raises can be spent to make it better. So instead of just trying to roll high, you’re trying to set a TN high enough to get the effect you want but low enough that you can hit. It’s more dangerous in a way than the BE/BW rules.

New Maneuvers. We left all of the existing moves (although renamed) but added two more (this was inspired by the maneuver and firefight scripting): Make Gift and Give Gift. The latter requiring the former to succeed before attempting.

Overall mechanical changes. On is the sum of Awareness and your dueling skill, rather than based on a roll. Currently we are not requiring the players to script each move in advance. Pull Rank (the name for Dismiss) does not make you lose your next action if it fails, instead it grants the opponent four free raises on their next maneuver.
Class techniques. We reviewed all of the courtier schools in the core book and looked at each rank’s techniques, then wrote up errata on how each of them works in the Duel of Wills, assuming it wasn’t immediately obvious.

Week 4

Actual Play – Innocence Does Not Buy Freedom (3/29/2010)

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

One part of me says this game was made of pure awesome. The other part thinks I’m biased. We used something that in general I hate. Secrets…. And yet I think they worked out; if only because they lasted two sessions before being revealed. I still think long term secrets are lonely-wrong-fun but that’s a discussion to have on a podcast or 30.

Dirty Secrets