Musha Shugyo

The Jade bell

• Ryuki and Genma read the mind of Fumiko’s sister to find out more about what happened
• Takashi went to take a look at the entrance to the temple picking up some pomegranates on the way
• We enter the temple, Takashi – Shun – Genma – Ryuki – Satoru, into a very large room
• Takashi thinks the room is built in a doughnut/ring shape
• Genma picks up a pearl type sphere, the size of someone’s head, then puts it back.
• The sphere is the Mist
• There are void symbols on the walls
• Moving to the next ring we find statues of the ancestors and air symbols on the walls
• In the next ring we find the Jade Bell
• We blackout temporally and have visions
• We decide to summon Hotei with a hot soup, but are attacked by zombies while Genma and Ryuki are preparing the soup
• Shun, Takashi and Satoru deal with zombies while Ryuki and Genma finish the summoning
• Hotei’s spirit enters Ryuki’s body, we all know we must ring the Jade bell twice while chanting to defeat the evil
• The zombies fall to the ground and a monstrous evil thing appears near the bell
• Attacks on the thing seem to do little so Ryuki makes a run for the bell
• His first attempt to ring it fails but not on the second and the evil is defeated
• Yay \o/

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Chapter of the Dragon
Part 1

Tamine, a quaint small village in Dragon lands. This is where the heroes, now a rag tag bunch of Ronin, are to meet Miya Cho. It has been two years since the battle, however they have been in contact via missives, dropoffs and secret code.

Cho is 3 days late.

Takeshi notices a samurai couple having a domestic and he senses the warrior is ready to murder anyone who even deigns to look at him since he feels so far above the bourgeoisie that it makes him sick. He is a Sakura clan member and is rumoured to serve his female counterpart, Maio.

Monks walk in asking for help. The heroes do the heroic thing and accept their request to meet with their leader at the temple.

Their leader is a decrepit old man, Master Kamu, and claims that bandits in the north broke in to the temple and stole Togashi’s tea set. He wants it retrieved.

The party head to the northern cave where they are told the bandits hide, led by a young monk. Genma is made sort-of invisible and heads out to explore. He spots a cave entrance well hidden as a crack in the wall and peeks in. The are many fires, potentially 30 bandits in all. Jubilant.

Takeshi comes up with the plan to walk into the cave and threaten the cave load of bandits while the others position themselves outside. Takeshi enters and the alarms are raised, and Orochi the head of the bandits steps forward. Takeshi promises them a swift death and Ryuki casts a fog spell to make them believe the cursed fog was falling rapidly upon them.

The bandits panic and they give Takeshi the box and reveal that they were commissioned by a merchant named Gaboten who would kill them if they didn’t turn up with the goods.

Genma makes a plea to Master Kamu to return the teapot to the bandits for their need for reward is far greater than the monks’ want for it. And he convinced him.

It’s been a weird session.

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The Battle of Shun Hill

The four Samurai, hands raw and bodies blooded and tired after the battle, stood on the makeshift shrine where their brother Shun had fallen. His heroic death contributed to victory against an overwhelming number of enemy samurai and Shugenja, which included the Fallen Star, the Unicorn Clan’s notorious magic wielder. The four incense sticks burned away as the wind picked up, trailing their smoke towards the village of Kanigasaki. Genma, Ryuki and Satoru stood on the shrine to their brother Shun while Takeshi was kneeling, his legs folded beneath him as he held back tears while drinking the strongest Shocu he was carrying; a small filled up saucer lay in front of the shrine while the empty one was in his trembling hands. One by one, after saying their final farewells, the samurai left the place where their brother had fallen until Takeshi was the only one left. He raised his saucer to his friend’s resting place and gulped down the hard liquor. He stayed for a while longer then stood up and noticed a small sapling that had managed to survive the battle unscathed right next to the shrine. He had no idea but that sapling would outlive him and all of his friends and be a testament to one of the most visited shrines in the area. It was known as the Topaz shrine on Shun Hill.
The battle itself was short and bloody. The ambush worked like clockwork but as all battles go, seconds seem like hours as these protract to a confused melee where every fighter’s world shrinks to a few feet around him and where time seems to slow to a snail’s pace. The enemy’s numbers slowly but inexorably told on the few samurai who attacked the Star’s contingent from their flank helped by a few samurai from the Daidoji clan and a few ashigaru, who fought like lions and most of which gave their life for their Emperor and died deaths worthy of a samurai.
The fight took its toll on both sides as well organized defenders faced a determined enemy. Losses started to tell but a late flurry from the attackers and constant spell casting, arrow shooting and melee combat almost exclusively concentrated on the Fallen Star forced her to surrender along with two of her Bushi. All the Unicorn Shugenja managed to flee the hill before all this happened. It was only then that the horrific scene unfolded and Shun’s battered corpse was discovered. The battle of Shun hill was over.

shrine.jpg

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And so it continues
The first days of War

The first night at camp, there are murders committed by Unicorn ninja. A few shugenja die but the heroes are able to kill every enemy before they can claim any more lives and take the entir sick bay out with explosive satchels.

The next morning, they are faced with two options. Aid the dragon volunteers (that includes Nariuki) to face a superior force, or help the Daidoji who are being crushed by two flanking sides.

They opt to help the Daidoji, saving Junji but alas, his father Lord Daidoji was not as fortunate. The heroes took out a considerable number of cavalry in the process and emerge victorious, but shrouded in sadness.

The next problem instantly arises. Trebuchets are being set up across the river to barrage the town. Should they be stopped immediately? Or should the heroes face the oncoming force?

Led by the Falling Star herself?

Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay the price.

Cheque please.

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War begins

• A few days later we reach Fort Akodo
• It is a very old place with very few, if any, signs of comfort
• We are led up to Lord Akodo, the Emerald Champion, overlooking a huge courtyard of soldiers
• We give him his scroll
• We retire to our rooms and open our scroll

1. You must destroy the remaining scrolls completely and utterly
2. You are requested to be at Kanigasaki by start of Spring
3. You should get there safely and without pompous
4. DON’T tell anyone

• We rest for a few days
• One year on, from our Topaz Contest, we arrive back at Kanigasaki
• Miya Cho greets us
• Kanigasaki has changed a lot
• We meet the ‘Dragon’ guys we met outside the ruined Temple/prison/slave mine
• We meet the Emperor in the street where we first met him one year ago
• We go with him up to his rooms and he brings us up to speed on the battle plans
• We as a group are to remain autonomous, going to wherever we feel our talents can be used best
• The Battle Begins, we have to hold the Unicorn back for 3 days until Akodo forces arrive
• We hear of two problems on the first morning
1. Archers are attacking in the hills
2. A logistical problem of getting men to the field
• We decide to help on the logistical problem
• In the afternoon, Unicorn cavalry are attacking the right flank, we intervene
• We defeat the 6 Elite Horsewomen

Quote; Kris to Johan “You can’t pump his ring”

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The charge of the 13

• Travelling to Shiro Kakita and the roads are in excellent condition;
• Workers rebuilding a bridge and working along the road in freezing conditions;
• A village called Haru no Hana seems too perfect to be true. Stay the night. Genma and raoki choose the company of a Geisha and everyone has the best evening in ages;
• Day after. All villages are similar to Haru no Hana but slightly less grand and no one can be seen on the streets, like a ghostown;
• Crossing a stream peasants are forced to work in the freezing water and forced to bow very low in it, heroes hurry along;
• The third day sees many travellers use the road. A gaijin who is doing some sort of surveying work does not move aside as protocol should dictate. He has two companions with him, one of them is huge and the other is a Rokugani, probably the translator;
• We send Deo ahead to ask him to move to the side. Turns out the gaijin is a painter. The meeting turns out peacefully as proper protocol is explained to the gaijin through the interpreter. Shun tells the latter to meet him at court…the interpreter loses a few shades of his color;
• We arrive at Shiro Kakita which has many individual dojos;
• Shun notices there have been renewals in town and things are being improved;
• The huge hall is full of people, courtiers, musicians and all the works. Shun sees that the room is now about six times bigger than it was before;
• We are given a heroe’s welcome, especially Shun, the son of the Daimyo;
• Shun’s parents treat us with utmost respect and they actually give their place at a higher level on the dais;
• Shun’s father is drunk and offers Shocu to Takeshi. His mother is fuming to the sides as she takes the message scroll from her consort;
• Shun asks about the gaijin who is described as a very important person from abroad;
• Everyone gets SHIT DRUNK!! And the hangover the following morning is atrocious;
• Shun meets with his parents in the morning. They agree to disagree on renewing the land;
• On the second day we leave Shiro Kakita and arrive at Shiro no Shojin, a Lion city. The land here is very flat;
• We spot a flame arrow and then some more shooting from behind a hill. Everyone dons their armor;
• A few minutes later we spot two thick plumes of smoke. There is a palisaded villagewhere the smoke is coming from;
• We decide to ride behind a plateau and Raoki to cast a ‘flying’ spell on Satoru to observe;
• An arrow is then shot from the top of the plateau and soon after that we are charged by thirteen Unicorn riders and at their helm is
• We ride through tem towards the village and the Unicors at our tail.

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The Swamps and the Matsu

• We reach Ni-Hi tower, the tallest tower in Rokugan
• We go to stay at the small tap-house
• Shun asks for a Lady Miduri, who gives guidance of travel through the swamps/marshes to Fort Yogo
• We pay her 440 koku to leave the next morning
• The going is hard and we don’t have the ponies
• By evening we reach the hunting lodge we were aiming for
• Takeshi chops wood for the fire, Miduri seems to mutter a prayer or some such around the outside of the lodge
• During Satoru’s watch a crunching noise is heard outside and he wakes everyone
• Miduri says we should just close the door and relax
• The Monster destroys the cart and its contents then moves on
• The Yogo family is cursed, ‘Their loved ones will always betray them’
• The road in the fort up to the keep is full of twists and turns
• Lord Yogo offers a deal – if we want him to send extra forces, we must show him trust and divulge the secrets of our ‘birth’ clans
• Takeshi flatly refuses, Satoru is on the fence, while Shun, Ryuki and Genma agree, but the decision had to be unanimous
• Lord Yogo offers to show us a ‘Short-cut’ the next morning but again we will be without ponies
• Ryuki and Genma go to the main hall and Ryuki communes with local fire spirit
• Ryuki feeds the kami the flute of Iko the monk to reveal that the Unicorn had visited recently
• Shun wants to offer to know what the Unicorn came for, but is refused
• Ryuki gives them Unicorn ‘secrets’
• Lord Yogo leads us to a town gate with no town
• He casts a spell and tells us to be prepared and not to wander off the path
• We pass through a strange tropical jungle-like forest, with animals and a faceless female with a katana
• The weather gets cold again and we reach another gate
• Lord Yogo does not appear with us
• We jog down to the Kitsu Tombs temple
• We ring the ‘door-bell’ and monk arrives to receive us
• The temple is large and old
• There is a funeral for the head monk who had died the previous day
• We change clothes and eat while our gear dries
• Approx 1 hour after we arrive the door-bell rings again
• A monk who has taken a vow of silence runs to the gate and returns very agitated
• Genma reads his mind, it is the Matsu and they are angry
• We change back into our normal gear and go to the gate
• The Matsu have a warrant for our execution by order of the emperor
• Shun believes the warrant to be a fake
• In charge, Matsu Genturo wants to know why the head monk has not appeared
• ‘Miya Kinkako’ comes to check we are truthful
• It seems the ‘Miya’ may not have been entirely truthful as after her report back to Matsu Genturo, he declares we will all die

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The Scorpion

- Road to Shosuro castle was fraught with bad weather and no shelter to speak of until Satoru found an abandoned shrine just off the road side;
- Shrine was just a simple room with thick wooden beams, a small garden and overgrown with weeds and littered with dead leaves, dust and bugs;
- Takeshi and Raoki clean up the place as best they could while Raoki wants to reconsecrate the shrine;
- The two Shugenja, Raoki and Genma try to commune with an Earth spirit and summon 2 new statues to replace the old, broken ones. Genma and Shun repaint the statues. In the morning all are surprised when they find a warm breakfast laid down on front of them;
- The weather turns even worse when the party reaches Castle Shosuro. Proper welcomes are observed and many people turn up in the hall near the fire in individual palanquins as are the heroes. Everything seems to make noise in here and the villages are inside the keep not outside as is the norm;
- The inner keep is very small. The heroes are led to a spa. There is music and all bathe and drink and then are escorted to dinner;
- The lord of the castle herself, Norio Shosuro, is presented with the imperial missive. She does not give an answer but commences the dinner;
- Everyone is given a different meal, which is a meal typical of their region;
- An attendant drops some sake on Takeshi and he recognizes her as Shinobu, the one they met at the Topaz championship and also at the Moto castle. She apologizes but immediately stands up, shifts clothing and starts a dance accompanied by many other servants;
- After the meal the heroes are asked their opinion about the production by the Daimyo. General Jubei joins in the discussion as they and the heroes engage in a ‘hypothetical’ discussion on the merits of the production’s imaginary characters;
- The Daimyo informs the heroes that the Scorpions will commit to the Emperor’s war by providing 200 samurai, 500 Ashigaru, Jubei himself to lead them and also a number of seasoned actors and courtiers;
- Genma communes with Water spirits to try and make the rain stop. He succeeds, but at a cost; he cannot cast water spells for the duration of the journey to Nihai Tower;
- The Heroes head east from Castle Shosuro, cross the river and end up in wetlands;
- They come to an encampment blocked by a lake. The only road goes through the lake and carts are stuck on it;
- Two people are duelling in the encampment. One is big and looks overconfident while the other is small and looks uncertain. The small one floors the big guy with a deft move. The win gets him some food and coin. The winner is in rags;
- Shun duels the small guy and the latter surrenders. Shun offers him employment but he is refused. Instead Shun gifts him a small book about swordsmanship;
- Meanwhile Genma and Takeshi help out with the carts and Raoki uses magic to help raise the caravans to a manageable level of water;
- The carts are moved and the heroes make good time by riding hard to arrive to Nihai Tower before sundown.

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The 'Bomb' and the Ferry

• We reach the Miya Palace where the Emperor is wintering approx. 10 days later.
• After a lot of insisting and showing of papers, we are eventually greeted by Miya Cho, the Emperors right –hand.
• Shun tells him of the Unicorn treachery and evil deeds and Cho immediately takes us to the Emperor. The Shugenga prisoner is taken away for interrogation.
• The Emperor is relaxing and playing with his 3 year old son and other family members.
• Seeing us and the grave look upon Cho’s face he clears the room and Shun, Genma and Takeshi recount our story again.
• The Emperor is outraged but not overly surprised.
• We are told to leave until he needs us again.
• 5 days later we are summoned back to the Emperor and Cho, where they lay out their war plans to us.
• He also drops the ‘Bomb’…the ‘Heiwa bomb’.
• The Emperor wants his son to grow up with brothers like us and has so adopted us into his own family. As a group we are no longer just comrades, we are brothers.
• Our task for the war effort is to deliver rallying scrolls to leading faction members but most importantly to the Akodo Clan leaders in no more than 30 days from now.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

• Crossing on the ferry we are attacked by a large Pirate vessel.
• The pirates are under the influence of a Unicorn samurai.
• Ryuki uses a new spell, to devastating effect.
• Satoru is his usual awesome self.
• Takeshi boards the pirate vessel and is confronted by the Unicorn and defeats him.
• We are then attacked by Ninja who were aboard the ferry and had killed our horses.
• The Ninja attempted to steal the scrolls, they all died and the pirates made their escape.

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The Prison

• The heroes scout the fort when Raoki makes eagle eye Tsuruchi levitate over the walls;
• Raoki and Genma dream of the spirit Ikko who tells them that there is a temple of Ibisu nearby and that the spirits can be swayed to the heroes’ side by uplifting the last undefaced statue leading to the temple;
• All the heroes except Shun and Saitama go to the statue;
• The statue turns out to be enormous. There are also 3 Ashigaru aqnd a bushi on patrol but they are evaded;
• The heroes find an opening in the hole left by the statue that leads to a small tunnel in which Raoki crawls in;
• Inside Raoki finds the remains of a dead monk and an iron chest that contains three scroll cases. The scrolls are in Dragon cypher;
• As soon as the Unicorn patrol leaves the area the statue is laboriously propped up;
• Back at the fort, the infiltration begins. Tsuruchi kills a guard on the wall with a well-placed arrow and climbs up killing another guard at a door. He is then spotted but kills the guard before he can raise any alarm. All the heroes make it to the landing;
• Shun tries to fool a guard but is discovered but Tsuruchi soon ends his life;
• Another guard approaches to relieve himself and is subdued without raising the alarm with great difficulty;
• A door reveals an empty bedroll and some caged falcons. In this room there is another door that leads to a room with guards, a barracks of some sort;
• A guard surprises the party and all hell breaks loose. Kakita Shun is severely wounded and the huge bushi leader attacks Hida Takeshi…and killed…as are most of his men. The rest of the guards are trapped in their room as their doors are barricaded;
• Further exploration and the heroes find and engage the Shugenja >>>> but he escapes by jumping off the ledge. The heroes think he is dead but his body is never found;
• All the bushi in the complex are finally killed and the prisoners freed, there are hundreds of them, mostly Dragon people. Mirumoto Masashi, a famous archer, is among the prisoners, his eyes have been gouged out;
• Meanwhile, as the Shugenja tries to flee the fort, he is captured by the scouts that were left in the forest;
• The free prisoners and the scouts decide to travel to Dragon lands and urge the heroes to ride hard towards the Emperor’s winter palace ‘nearby’ and take the Shugenja with them. The heroes, reluctant to leave the free prisoners without help, agree with the plan and ride away.

Memorable Quotes:

Nathan: Can we get an undead army like Aragorn?
GM: That was tried before, Fu Leng
Gawain: Stop Fu Leng around.

Kris: What’s happening to him?
Ian: (Contemplation) He’s gonna die.

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