Jubei's Char Sheet, but don't take it too seriously, because I won't.
>"Winter Court hasn't been as bad as I thought; I met at least one new friend; Ikoma Sakon, a Bard from the Lion Clan who's relatively reasonable and non-judgmental, and Miya Hiroaki, a herald who's familiar with my Clan. I also got to meet up with Shiba Hikaru, my friend from my dojo days and have a friendly (well, comparatively friendly) duel with Matsu Akane of the Lion's Pride. I wasn't able to meet Uesugi Seijuro of the Mirumoto when the Dragon arrived though. I wonder why....
>From the Journal of Toku Jubei, 1406 Isawa Calender
"You are....different from how I expected, Jubei-san," Akane admits quietly.
"How so?" you ask, untying the sleeves of your kimono back to how they were before the fight preparation.
"You are skilled, perhaps more so then any other warrior I've fought, but you do not carry yourself as other warriors of your caliber I've fought at all," she admits as the clacking of the bokuto that the next two demonstrators begin their match. "I don't know what to make of you."
You shrug as you place your hands back on your lap.
"Kakujinkakusetsu," you say dismissively.
Basically the Japanese version of "different strokes for different folks".
"A...ara?" she asks, sounding perplexed, quirking her head to one side in confusion.
Before you an answer a runner scoots up to you form behind and interrupts.
"Pardon Jubei-sama, but a letter has arrived for you."
>[Excuse yourself politely and read the letter.]
>[Wait until the demonstrations are over.]
Jubei's Char Sheet, but don't take it too seriously, because I won't.
Is it ok if I give a run down of what the advantages and disadvantages mean in L5R 4e?
I'm guessing that you actually mean
Great Potential(Kenjutsu)rather than Prodigy (kenjutsu)on the sheet.
"Gomenasai Akane-san, something has come up," you say with a bow and follow the Miya runner outside. As soon as you get well enough away from the dojo you take the letter he offers and wait for him to scurry off before looking at it.
It's emblazoned with the Mirumoto family mon in wax.
"Senpai?" you mumble questioningly, guessing at it's sender before you open it and begin trading the clear but still obviously hastily-written letter.
>"I know it has been some time since we spoke and that I haven't seen you for years, but I hope I can still trust you. I know you were invited to Winter Court, as I was invited as well. I thought at first to politely decline, but recent disturbing events have changed my mind on the subject. I know you to be a moral and upright man, thus I turn to you; a plot seems to be underway that I daren't put words to on paper lest this message be intercepted, but has consequences for Winter Court that could lead to the deaths of many innocent lives. I am inexperienced in court matters and only know of you. I beg you to meet with me at the village of Shinuki about 5 Ri outside Toshi Ranbo, away from prying eyes, tonight if possible. Come alone; I trust no one but you with this information.
>Uesugi Seijuro no Miruomoto
>PS: I look forward to seeing your swordwork and to introducing you to my wife, who will be with me.
Half an hour later you are galloping through the (blessedly light) snowfall on the ground on the horse you rode into the city on as the sun sets behind you.
Seijuro-senpai wouldn't joke about something so serious; aside from being your senpai and being an excellent fencer, he is trained in the Kitsuki Method of investigations and showed you how to think that way back when you were in the dojo together, pointing out the various ways in which the theories can be applied to combat.
It also helps explain why those random tsujigiri attacked you last night; they might have been trying to silence you in case you received Seijuro's letter so they could read it themselves and find out where he was trying to meet you.
You just hope you can meet up with him before they figure out you JUST got the letter and try to intercept you again.
Whoever "they" are, anyway. You hate conspiracies.
You arrive at Shinukki just as the sun sets, a small fishing village in the river that is currently inside and sleeping off the cold winter early evenings, even if it is a relatively warm night tonight.
As I said; don't bother taking it too seriously as I'm it going to either and I'm going to be breaking all the rules of L5R during this quest just so I can tell a good story rather then have one NPC hit you with 2 randomly exploding dice on a regular katana swing that sends you instantly into a Wickian Death Spiral that anti-climatically kills you in a meaningless battle.
You pull up on Nanashi's reigns and dismount as you get outside the village, not wanting to wake the villagers and any prying eyes who might still be watching even at this late hour.
>[Head for the tea house]
>[Head for the post office]
Oh, I understand that. I just figured that a non-mechanical explanation of what the advantages, disadvantages and, now that I think about it, kata mean and do.
>[Head for the tea house]
You begin walking through the town, your wooden geta sandles crunching in the light snowfall as you move forward, a bit of steamy breath escaping your lips.
You reflexively grip your saya just below the tsuba of your sword as you walk, your eyes narrowing as you look back and forth.
Something isn't right.
Even for winter it's too quiet. No lights on in buildings (even the nearby post office), no sounds despite the still winter air letting sounds carry for much farther and much clearer when everything is covered in a blanket of snow, and no movement you can feel or see at all.
The village is deserted.
You keep moving forwards wary but confused; a village this close to Toshi Ranbo and a stone's throw away from the river being abandoned only makes sense in case of war...or plague. And you'd have heard of a plague this close to the Shogun's city, certainly. They likely ferry people across the river here who want to reach Toshi Ranbo even.
Your confusion grows as you walk before a sudden loud noise some half a Ri distant makes you turn your head southwards and look into the sky.
A Ri is about 2.5 miles BTW.
Crows. A large number of them.
All of them flying above one place distant from the village over a copse of trees.
You grit your teeth as hairs rise up on the back of your neck, hoping your first assumption isn't completely wrong.
You take a breath and shout into the darkening village, the snow painted a bloody orange by the sunset; "WHOEVER'S OUT THERE CAN COME OUT NOW!"
Daredevil means when the chips are down and we're pulling a lunatic athletic stunt, we'll probably make it out the other side. Hero of the People means everyone who isn't a Samurai will have an easier time recognizing us, Prodigy (Kenjutsu) means we're really good at stabbing people, Strength of the Earth lets us ignore some of the penalties for being wounded, Hands of Stone means that we hit pretty hard unarmed, and Sacred Weapon means we have a really nice katana.
Our bad Fortunes are someone who loves us and wants to take us for themselves while fucking with our relationship with Ryoko, and an unknown. We're Idealistic so losing Honor is worse to us, since not even we can quite live up to our own expectations. Sworn Enemy means that there is someone out there, around our same rank/strength, who has serious beef with us. True Love means we're actually in love which means that one day we'll have to choose between Love and Duty and that will not be a fun day. And Fascination means we're easily distracted by excellent Swordsmanship and will go to great, possibly even dishonorable lengths, to learn more.
There's a brief pause before a man in the same type of kasa hat and cloak as attacked you and Shinzo in Toshi Ranbo walks out into the middle of the street well away from you, his blade still sheathed at his side.
Immediately following him are more men in the same outfit, both in front and behind you, coming out from hiding on rooftops and from behind alleys and inside houses.
You count 10 that you can see. Shit.
"Nice work hiding yourselves," you shout at the leader, complimenting him while trying to control your rising anger. "But you should have buried the bodies deeper."
The leader looks back at the rising cloud of corvids and back to you, as he answers.
"I know," he said in a measured voice. "We were pressed for time. I wanted at first to throw them in the river, but I was worried about them floating downstream, alerting the authorities."
"Shikakunin?" you ask.
"Ia. Shinobi-da," he answers with a shake of his head.
"How many?" you ask, gripping your saya tighter.
"Think I'll reveal our numbers, samurai?" he asks, sounding amused.
"How many VILLAGERS?" you suddenly shout, correcting him, making the ninja around you start a bit.
He pauses before answering.
"Twenty-four. A small post town like this in winter when post slows to a crawl wouldn't be noticed at first, but we had to be sure. We've been here for hours," he answers honestly.
"You've made some connected enemies, Toku Jubei of the Monkey Clan. The Hateru Ninja do not come cheap, and we do not destroy entire villages without being paid a great deal indeed. Someone must want you dead quite badly."
"Is that all?" you say, getting calm again, loosing your blade in it's scabbard with your thumb. You query seems to surprise him.
"What?" he asks.
"Is that all you have to say?" you ask again, taking a stance, ready to draw.
He raises his head so his eyes meet your beneath the hat, clearly still confused.
"They're last words, you know," you clarify with an icy chill in your voice, your eyes hardening to steel as you feel fury rising up beneath you so hot you struggle to contain it.
There's a brief pause as a gentle snowfall starts.
Then everyone moves at once.
>[Charge the leader before he can react!]
>[Go for one of the alleys to limit their numbers!]
>[Head inside one of the buildings to prevent from getting surrounded too easily!]
>[Go for one of the alleys to limit their numbers!]
IMO the other options mean being attacked from all sides, this one may not
However, we could throw something towards this leader guy on the run, we do use shuriken.
Is it possible to make our own answers?
>[Go for one of the alleys to limit their numbers!]
to ambush any of the eager ones before retreating before they adapt to the tactics and
>[Head inside one of the buildings to prevent from getting surrounded too easily!]
Your Senpai isn't your master; it basically means "upper-classman", or "senior student". Senior students are supposed to take leadership positions and guide and help students younger then they are.
This continues in Japanese schooling today to some degree.
You start rushing headlong at the leader without drawing your sword just as one of the shinobi leaps up to your left off the roof of one of the buildings.
Without even looking you draw your sword so fast and cut through his neck in a flash that can barely even be seen, the ninja dying so quickly he's unable to cry out and takes two more steps before his head falls aside on a loose flap of skin as you step past his instantly lifeless corpse, already four steps past him by the time his body paints the snow crimson!
With another approaching ahead and another closing behind you draw your wakizashi in your off-hand and THROW it one-armed into the approaching ninja, the blade spearing through his chest and and causing him to stagger as blood blossoms across his kimono!
You keep running and as you reach him he falls to his knees, whereupon you yank the wakizashi free of his torso with a spray of blood and slide in the snow without slowing, turning and using a reverse-grip off-hand parry that causes the sword of the ninja behind you to ring upon contact! You keep turning and with your katana aim low, taking his leg off just below the knee and sending him screaming onto the snow as you turn again and rush for the alley, never slowing for even an instant!
"Three," you say under your breath as you duck into an alley with a roofing scaffold above it you picked out just as the fight started.
You sheathe your wakizashi and duck beneath the construction scaffold, leaping over the wooden obstructions without pausing, the scaffold holding a bunch wood and roofing tiles in front of the alley before suddenly cut off by a shinobi in front!
He swings his sword but you parry and throw your weight and every ounce of your considerably strength into a shoulder check that knocks him off his feet into the snow just as another killer arrives behind you!
You turn and in a single move slice Amatsubaki through a wooden support beam as thick as your forearm as the ninja passes under it, dropping hundreds of pounds of clay and wood onto him!
You keep turning with the cut just as the other shinobi kips-up to his feet and with your left foot kick up a wooden washing basin on the ground into your left hand and BLOCK the blade with a THUNK, sticking the slashing edge into the wood and twisting it out of his grasp even as you thrust into his gut, parrying and felling him in one move!
You look up as you hear a rapid thumping on the roof and then spin to the right, bringing your katana up in a spiraling upward arc just as a ninja falls towards you, leaping from the roof with his sword pointed down to stab!
The momentum of his fall and your rotating sword hits his forearms and you hold on as the cut sheers through the bones of them as he passes right into the arc of the upward swing, dismembering him just as his neck reaches the arcing slash, landing a headless corpse missing it's arms!
You turn to face the ninjas staring at the sudden carnage, flicking your blade and letting the blood hit the snow.
"Six," you say to yourself.
>[Keep moving! Duck into a building to keep the terrain changing on them!]
You keep running ahead of them, hearing them land off rooftops behind you and hearing shiruiken thunk into the corner of the alley as you cut around it, your eyes glancing at the post office as you duck inside!
In front of you another ninja cuts you off, and as he charged with a low thrust you grab the sliding door leading into the next room and SLAM it on him just as he reached it, hearing him hit it on the other side!
You thrust your blade through the paper and into his guts, pulling free with a spray of blood that stains the opposite side as you turn just in time to push aside a manrikusari weight with your forearm, knocking it past you and driving it into a wooden support beam but leaving your arm numb!
With a dexterous jerk the shinobi wraps the flying chain around your arm, and he has just enough time to cry "GOTCHA!" as you yank the chain taught, and swing with your sword-arm at an ANGLE and sever the find chain links like they were paper!
"That's...impossib-!" he says as you twist your chain-wrapped arm, loosening the kusari weight into a double-spin and THROWING the weight at the ninja, the heavy blunt head driving directly into his forehead before he even had time to dodge and killing him instantly upon impact!
You turn to see another fore readying a thrust and this time you simply charge at him while bellowing a loud "CHESTOOOOOUUU!" and swinging a heavy overhead chop, his kasa hat falling apart just before his head follows, splattering his brains across the floor!
You turn and rush up the stairs to the second floor as the others begins to catch up, and you feel a heavy thud into your left shoulder from behind and feel a dull pain, but make no sound.
You reach upstairs just as another shinobi jumps through a window at the top of the stairs and you deal a straight kick right into his diaphragm that sends him right back out again head over heels to land with a sickening THUD on the alley below!
Without pausing to check if he died you leap out onto the snowy roof and just barely maintain balance as another shinobi rushes at you across the spine of the roof with incredible agility!
You reach behind you with your left hand and yank the knife shiruiken out of your back, tossing it right into the charging shoulder of the shinobi in front of you, making him gasp and slip up slightly, just long enough to move up and disembowel him with a single swing before you keep moving yet again across the rooftops, jumping the gap between this house and the next!
The Chūnin walked quickly over the corpses of the fallen in the post office, following his men, his grip still on his saya.
"Unbelievable," he muttered under his breath as his men charged upstairs.
Nine men dead in less then two minutes.
He would have said before today that such a thing was impossible, that only the heroes of old during the Clan Wars and the War against the Darkness could accomplish such a thing, and even then that their feats were surely exaggerated.
And his men were not half-trained bushi who had not fought a real battle in years; each was a practiced killer, and though none were the match for him alone he'd strongly hesitate fighting them en-masse.
And here was one Minor Clan samurai tearing through them like they were a paper tiger, barely even slowing to catch his breath!
He heard the other shinobi fall and saw him through the back door land in his neck and break it upon impact, and heard another's scream mere moments later on the adjacent rooftop.
Eleven. Eleven dead in two and half minutes.
Too many for this task to ever be called a success by the Jonin. Far too many.
He heard another cry from a further rooftop.
"Is he even human?" he muttered under his breath as he gave chase with the dwindling ranks of his brothers.
You leap from the rooftop while stepping over the body of another dead shinobi, bringing Amatsubaki down with another bellowing "CHESTOOOOOUUU!"
The blade hits the crown of the ninja, splitting his hat, his head, his NECK, his RIBS, his PELVIS, before you yank it out with all your might with a spray of blood as his entire body falls into two hideously mismatched pieces and you stand there covered in his blood staring at the last shinobi, panting hard.
"Ittouryoudan!" you shout as you take up an offensive stance.
"One blade cuts in half."
You take a step forward and the shinobi takes a step BACK, his courage failing.
"Wai-" he begins, but you answer before he can finish.
"No," you say while swinging, Amatsubaki's edge taking his head off just above the lower jaw, exposing his teeth she tounge to the air!
As his body falls the leader stands in the street in front of you, drawing his sword and removing his kasa, his face a mixture of awe and disbelief.
>"Who hired you? Last chance."
>Just got done at the lab
>Sweet Rokugan Quest
>Reads the thread
"Last chance to talk," you say, taking up a Chuudan stance.
His eyebrows go up into his neatly trimmed hairline in disbelief.
"Are saying that after all THAT you'll spare me if I talk?" he asks, taking up a stance of his own.
"No," you answer coldly, not bothering to sugar-coat it for him. "Nothing you can do or say will allow you to leave here alive. But you can do one decent thing and perhaps karma won't be so unkind to you on your next incarnation."
He gives a wry chuckle.
"It....seems I made a grave error in judgement," he says, his eyes steeling, resigning himself.
"Yes," you respond coolly.
"Fourteen men...I should have brought more, but I thought..."
"That," you begin, cutting him off, "was not the error in judgment you made."
His face jerks back at your words.
His eyes steel and his grip tightens in his sword.
"You pretend otherwise, but killing so many in such a short amount of time has left you tired," he points out. "Your left arm is moving slower then your right, as one of my men hit it with a kusari. Your shoulder is injured from the knife thrown into it. I am not the same caliber of warrior as my Genin. That slight advantage may put us on more even footing then you realize," he says analytically.
You wonder if he's trying to convince you or himself? Not that it matters.
He pauses as he draws breath.
"If you kill me, I will tell you what I know. Hateru Kouchirou, Chūnin of the Hateru Ninja, challenges you, Toku Jubei."
You merely nod and set your feet
You take the Waki stance and concentrate, and Kouchirou leaps into action, his katana flashing down at you!
You have time to parry, but he swiftly backs off and slices at your side, forcing you to retreat a bit as he recovers with another side slash you deflect!
He's right; you ARE slowing down.
Perhaps in the old stories a man can kill fourteen others while running at full tilt across a snowy village, but in life such intense physical effort is exhausting. Combined with your bruised shoulder and a creeping sense of nausea that makes you think the shiruiken was poisoned, you know that prolonging this fight is on the ninja's favor, especially since you've never seen his style before and you can't predict his moves, only trust judgement and pure reflexes to parry or dodge them!
So you focus, keeping back as he attacks with the furious intensity of a man fighting for his own life.
Kochirou's sword flashed like cruel lighting and rang against the samurai's, steel against steel as the Monkey swordsman fought off his assault, growing more tired with each slash! He knew that the longer he waiting the sooner this genius fencer would find a flaw in his style, so offende and his deceptive movements was his best tactic.
Jubei blocked and parried, slower each time, before a high feint towards his face left his lower body open enough for a short range, blindingly fast double-handed thrust towards his abdomen!
He felt his sword impact against something solid and for a brief moment exalted in victory.
Then he felt a sharp pain in his chest.
You stand there, Amatsubaki in one hand and your saya in the other.
You couldn't predict or penetrate his defenses without taking time you didn't have, so he had to take an insane risk.
The shinobi stares at his own sword in shock, caught in your saya as you pulled it out and met his thrust at the moment he performed it, sheathing his blade in your scabbard and rendering his thrust armless and making him vulnerable to a return thrust done with your sword-arm, a maneuver that would have been effectively suicide if you had missed; you HAD to leap into his thrust as you made yours for it to work.
"Impossible....," he says, blood welling up from his mouth as he speaks.
You draw forth Amatsubaki from his guts and he coughs again, falling to his knees, letting go of your his sword while it still rests in your saya.
"I...am bested. I can hardly believe HOW I was bested. I am....," he speaks, coughing a bit, "blessed to have witnessed such skill! Ask of me anything!"
Damn. Jubei is one badass motherfucker.
It looks like his shugeyosha really paid off, probably especially with dealing with large numbers of enemies, using the terrain, using the enemy weapons, and trying something as ballsy as trapping an enemy blade in his saya.
"Who hired you?" you ask, flicking your left wrist so that his katana flies out of the scabbard at his feet before flicking the blood off your own blade and sheathing it.
"The...An...Ankoku Shogun," he says, choking on the words and his own ichor.
Shogun of the Dark.
"Who?" you ask in confusion, your turbulent emotions returning to normal as your stomach still turns.
"I.....know not," he admits. "Only...that he is a man with great resources and power. He has...employed other ninja clans, and has killers of his own. We...were paid three hundred ryo to kill you and ensure you could not meet your friend."
"How did you forge the letter?" you ask.
"We...did not. Mirumoto Seijuro DID wish to meet with you, but not here. We intercepted his letter and altered it's contents slightly, changing the location. With...any luck, he and his wife are dead as well, as I sent the remainder of my men to intercept them."
"I think you'll find my senpai is even harder to kill then I am," you say dryly.
"P...perhaps," he admits.
He's dying fast now; you only have time for one more questions.
>[Ask of the Ankoku Shogun]
>[Ask of the other killers in his employ]
>[Ask of his plans, if the ninja knows them]
>[Ask of the other killers in his employ]
he already said he knows not for the shogun, and i doubt a hired killer knows the plans to any great detail.
Better we know who to watch out for.
"Who else is employed by this....Shogun of the Dark?" you ask, frowning.
"Many. Ronin, Clan samurai, Imperial officials....the current political climate has left many discontent...and the Ankoku Shogun knows how to prey on such weakness. Aside from we, the Hateru Ninja, he has skilled killers of his own....and lieutenants of skill who...might even surpass your own....the Rokki-Dan."
The Six Demons
"Each is....said to be...a master of his weapon, their skill at death reaching savant-like hights, though...their identities only remain hidden and they are known only by false names."
Think samurai FOXHOUND.
You've never heard of ANY of this.
"What are the names?" you ask, but he shakes his head.
"I don't know. Never asked," he admits.
You sigh, seeing the blood flowing down his chin. You bring up your sword in an overhead stance.
"Ready?" you ask, and he nods.
A simple downward stroke ends it.
You sigh and sheathe your blade again.
You are dead tired and just want to get some sleep, but you have to get back to the palace and report what you've learned.
Scratch that; you need to find Seijuro-senpai and see if he's okay, maybe discuss what he knows-
You suddenly keel over into the snow and throw up, landing on your knees.
"Shit...," you mutter as you wipe your vomit away with a sleeve. "Must be...more poisonous then I thought."
Your cramps get worse before you pass out in the cold snow, your whole body feeling painfully warm.....
Your dreams are troubled, indistinct things where you chase armed shadows that mock and torment you as you writhe in burning agony, but eventually they fade, replaced by warm darkness.
You briefly wonder if you have died and this is you passing through Lord Enma's gates, but you discover that you can open your eyes...and they see a familiar face.
"Seijuro....senpai?" you grunt.
"Ah, Kohai. You're awake, good. Truth be told it was getting fairly boring here sitting by myself," he says dryly, like you had just walked in on him reading an exceptionally boring pillow-book or something.
>[Try to sit up]
>[Look around the area]
>"Yeah, sorry it took me so long." [Sarcastic]
"You're right, Senpai," you say through a throat that feels cracked. "Next time I'll be more considerate of your time and try not to remain unconscious for so long."
"Don't be a wiseass Kohai, there's already enough wisdom in this hut with me here," he responds smoothly.
You choke out a laugh at his response while looking around.
You're wrapped in a heavy straw blanket and inside a single-room hut. A fireplace crackles in the middle of a simple stone pit in the center of the room. A peasant's abode, surely. You feel weak, though your nausea has left you now.
"I...feel like so haven't eaten and like I've been lying here for a day," you say. "What happened?"
"You haven't eaten and you've been lying there for most of a day," he immediately responds.
>"Did the ninja find you?"
>"How did you find me?"
>"I thought your wife was traveling with you?"
And they usually pretend to be Dragon samurai because it's easier than anything else.
So yeah, his wife secretly being a ninja would be theoretically possible, if not very likely.
Post is supposed to be longer, fucking Internet kept deleting it.
"Did the shinobi find you?" you ask.
"Hai," he answers, pouring himself some tea. You wait for an answer as he blows on the teacup, though it seems nonforthcoming.
"And?" you finally ask.
"And I wish them well in their reincarnations and hope their next lives are more harmonious and productive. Tea?" he offers.
Seijuro-senpai is kinda scary sometimes.
>"Isn't your wife supposed to be here?"
>"Why do I feel so weak?"
>"How did you find me?"
I like where this is going
"Wait a minute, what happened to your wife?" you ask.
"Kiyoko-san is alright. She's out getting food right now. She helped me fight them off."
"Is she a kenkyaku too?" you ask.
"Hai, and an onmyoji of the Tamori as well, a yamabushi. The Hateru ninja were quite outmatched," he says.
Huh. One of the Tamori warrior-onmyoji? You're definitely looking forward to meeting this woman.
>"Do you know about the Hateru Ninja?"
>"Did they tell you whom they served?"
>"Have you heard of the Rokki-Dan?"
In this particular setting yamabushi refers to a specific sort of warrior-focused onmyoji used by the Dragon Clan.
The original setting calls spellcasters shugenja even though they clearly fulfill the societal toll of onmyoji, probably because of this particular book does so.
"Did the ninja tell you who hired them?" you inquire.
"No, but I can guess; the Shogun of the Dark," he confirms, repeating what the deceased shinobi leader told you. It surprises you; he could have lied with his last breath but choose to honor his word.
"Huh. That's what I heard too," you say.
"That surprises me. I only heard of the individual a few months ago," he admits.
"Oh, the shinobi leader told me before he died."
He blinks at that.
"I dunno. Because I asked I guess?"
There's an awkward pause after that.
You're guessing he just killed them without asking any questions.
We know Wick and some if the AEG staff played D&D once upon a day (like most 90's RPG developers), and while I think "shugenja as spellcaster" comes from an even older RPG called Bushido, I can't find ANYWHERE except D&D and L5R where tengu are called "kenku".
"So who is this Ankoku Shogun?" you ask.
"I honestly have no idea," he admits. "A moniker for some shadowy power-broker, such as an influential clan samurai or yakuza boss, though I suspect the latter and not the former. In my prior duties as an Emeral Magistrate I frequently ran afoul of his schemes, though I didn't realize they were interconnected until much later. His organization seems almost impossibly widespread, I can't imagine how he manages it all efficiently."
>"But you have some ideas, right?"
>"What kind of plots?"
Mmmmm were you looking for another cable provider in your area mmmmm oh wait were the only one
"You have some ideas, right? A Scorpion daimyo or something?" you ask.
"Quick to point the finger at the group you're marrying into if I recall correctly, aren't you?" he asks, raising an eyebrow and sipping his tea.
"If the shoe fits, why not?" you say with a shrug.
"Well, in any case I think not. Not that the Scorpion are aware of anyway. Some of what the Shogun of the Dark has done has politically damaged the Scorpion in some way."
"So you DO have an idea then?"
He pauses in thought before answering, turning the teacup in his hand.
"Have you ever heard of the Kolat?" he asks eventually.
You have to think on it before your history lessons help you recall the name.
"It was some kind of 12th century conspiracy, wasn't it? Like the Gozoku, only different political aims? I remember reading when Lady Shinjo returned from the Burning Sands she exposed them which hurt them really bad."
"It's more complex then that and the Kolat was much earlier then the 12th century, but yes. They were not completely destroyed then, but their organization was damaged severely by it's exposure. After that the combined efforts of the Unicorn, the Scorpion, and my own Clan dismantled much of it over the next century or so now that it's existence was known and could be proven when before it was little more then a rumor."
"Okay, so what's the relevance?" you ask.
"I believe, though my suspicions are nearly impossible to confirm, that whatever remains of the Kolat's organization has been co-opted by this Shogun of the Dark for his personal agenda. Some of his operating methods resemble the known Kolat tricks, and the widespread nature of his organization seems similar took, though smaller in scale then the original Kolat. I hope."
>"So he's the new head of an ancient conspiracy with unlimited resources spread all across Rokugan then? Fun."
>"If you know what to look for why haven't you been able to prove it then?"
"Great. So I've somehow made an enemy of the head of a conspiracy centuries old with nearly unlimited resources and widespread influence. Somehow," you say with a mildly annoyed tone.
"It's better then the alternative," he points out.
"You could have made an enemy of a man who was clever enough and powerful enough to TAKE OVER a centuries old conspiracy with night-unlimited power and wealth," he adds helpfully.
"Wow. Thanks Senpai. I feel better now," you say sarcastically.
"Glad to help."
There's a brief pause as something else occurrs to you.
"I just realized I've been gone for a whole day and I never even told Ryoko where I was going!"
>To Be Continued
Apologies for the abrupt ending.
I sometimes feel bad about leaving them before even hitting 200 posts, but then I remember I've been posting or trying to post for 8 hours and it's just that there's way fewer replies then in WHQ.
Ah well; at least I got that fight scene done.
Same way the Matsu family of the Lion manage to marry mostly within the Matsu family; each clan family consists of hundreds of seperate bloodline and families with thousands of samurai in each one. The Matsu alone have over 100k samurai in the family, though they're by far the largest family in the empire and thus an extreme example.
The "families" of L5R actually more strongly resemble Japanese Clans then the Great Clans and Minor Clans do, as they are more groupings of political alliances that link up to make some easily sellable archetype for a CCG.
Sage said earlier that the stats are not really important, but I guess I can explain things.
L5R uses a system called Roll and Keep. You roll Xd10 and then select Y of those dice and compare the total to the Target Number (TN). This is usually notated as XkY
Love the quest so far Sage and as always thanks for running
hopefully the number of participants will increase in future threads but at least us die hard fans will show up every time
I think there are a lot more lurking. Problem is, there isn't a lot of rolls to be made. I myself and on mobile, and unless there's a roll needed I don't really think the effort to post is worth the return.
Each character has 5 Elemental Rings (Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Void). 4 of these (Air, Earth, Fire and Water) are split into 2 Traits each. One Mental and One Physical. Air is made up of Awareness and Reflexes, Earth Stamina and Willpower, Fire Agility and Intelligence, and Water Strength and Perception.
Void the final stat is a bit special. It determines how many Void points a character has. These are the equivalent of Fate/Action points in other games. Standard VP uses are +1k1 to a roll and -10 damage taken.
These Rings and Traits along with the character's Skill ranks are used to determine what is rolled. The standard is X = Trait + Skill and Y = Trait.
For example, when making an attack with a Katana, Jubei would roll 9k4. (4 Agility + 5 Kenjutsu dice rolled and 4 dice kept from 4 Agility)
Techniques, advantages, Kata and skill masteries can all effect what is rolled, but this covers the baseline.
He is good at sword fighting (Kenjutsu 5, Agility 4), defending himself (Defense 5, Reflexes 4), pretty good at dueling (Iaijutsu 5, Awareness 4, Void 3, Reflexes 4), pretty good at investigating things (Investigation 3, Perception 4) and shooting the bow (Kyujutsu 3, Reflexes 4), unlikely to make a faux pas (Etiquette 2, Awareness 4), good tactical and strategic understanding (Battle 4, Perception 4), and various other things.
One flaw I see is he can't really do Meditation nor Tea Ceremony well (unskilled and Void 3).
He has an Awareness 4. He may not be trained as a Courtier, but he is not a social or political risk to his clan.
Great: Stabbing things, not getting stabbed, directing a battle, winning a duel.
Good: Sneaking about, investigating crime stuff, punching dudes in the face, shooting things with arrows, feats of athleticism (running, throwing, jumping, climbing), living alone in the wilderness, riding a horse. Being famous with poor people.
Bad: Social-Fu, knowing things, anything artistic, crafting.
He's not terrible in Social situations, he's good at telling the truth and reading people so he can generally avoid causing offense. But the courtier stuff of actually manipulating people or advancing a sneaky agenda isn't in the cards, nor is showing enough artistic talent to show off.
So, because of Prodigy he's happily slinging 10k4 on his Kenjutsu, the man isn't to be fucked with.
hooo boy. The spider originally was the edgy darkside clan that was really only meant for an evil party campaign, but due to writer favoritism ended up in a position of being legitimized as an "okay" clan.
The Spider Clan is a bit of a mess. Even as a fan of the group, I thinks it is a kludged together group of older defeated villain factions.
The first group is "The Lost" (i.e. Tainted/Corrupted/Cursed Samurai).
The second group is descended from Kokujin's darkly enlightened monks.
The third group is faceless Shadow Ninjas descended from the Nothing.
The last group is the oldest and they are the monstrous Shadowlands Horde.
I wouldn't say writer favoritism and more victim of the CCG meta-game imbalances and poorly designed Mega-game results.
Spider "won" the Race for the Throne megagame storyline for coming in last in Spirituality after the Dragon won. If the results had been slightly different Mantis or Dragon would have "won" the storyline.
The Spider won the right to raise the Imperial Heir during celestial after being given the final few points needed to beat the Crane by a Phoenix player.
Problems occurred the Kotei season after they won the Heir. Players were getting psyched up for a decisive United Rokugan vs Kali-Ma's horde final battle at the Wasp Castle. The story team pretty much said no to that and relocated the battle to an unnamed Scorpion temple where the Spider and Shogunate forces defeated the Destroyers in an unpopular story called Goddesses.
>So, because of Prodigy he's happily slinging 10k4 on his Kenjutsu, the man isn't to be fucked with
Technically it's 10k5.
And due to the Monkey Clan techniques when facing difficulties of 25 or higher he gets another +1k0, and when facing enemies who are tougher then him or outnumber him it's another +1k1.
So during that entire fight, by the rules he would be rolling 10k7 (as you can't go over ten rolled dice and every two past 10 turns into another kept dice).
>nor is showing enough artistic talent to show off.
Jubei's solitary rank of Calligraphy comes from his frequent writings in his journal, as shown at the opening of every thread since the first; he's not artistically skilled but he basically has very fine handwriting, so to speak.
The journal thing is something most Monkey Clan samurai do, and frequently journals are passed from father to son as a cherished possession so a family's inner thoughts can be known across generations.
No, it was writer favoritism. The Spider have repeatedly been protected from CCG results. Early on, it was because they "weren't a legitimate target" due to not being a great clan (Even though they were in the running for the same rewards as the other clans). There was a Mantis victory in particular that should have fucked them good, but instead backfired on the Mantis because the Spider were protected. The most recent tournament reward could be summed up as "Decide how the Spider fuck your clan in particular as they beat everyone in general".
It was mostly marketing executives who did it though. For some reason, they thought that the Spider were a major selling point and wouldn't allow them to be hurt. This may have been self-fulfilling as the only group that wasn't at least a bit alienated were Spider players. Old horde players were alienated by being forced to change to a "proper" clan and other clan players were alienated by being ignored when they won in favor of the spider.
A starting character that isn't particularly minmaxed is probably throwing 6 or 7 k3 for things they're good at (Along with some miscellaneous bonuses in certain situations, and maybe some better action economy), 4 or 5 k3 for things they're okay at, and 2 to 3 k2 for everything else.
A minmaxed character that really, really sucks at everything outside of their schtick could start with about 9k4.
It is considering a 10k7 roll has a 95% chance of beating a TN of 40 and most opponents have Armor TNs of 20 to 30. That means hitting for 10k4 (38.9 on average) damage regularly versus opponents whom normally have 30 wounds.
Especially since kept dice are way, waaaay more powerful than rolled ones.
The difference between 4k2 and 5k2 is an average result of 17.4 to 19.
The difference between 4k2 and 4k3 is an average result of 17.4 to 21.9.
And most things that give you an extra kept dice also give you an extra rolled one, so the functional difference would be 4k2 to 5k3, which is 17.4 to 24.5.
If you roll a 10, it explodes, so you roll it again, add them together, and treat them as a single roll.
So let's say 4k2 guy rolls 10, 7, 5, 4. He would roll the 10 again (Let's say he gets a 5), giving him a pool of 15, 7, 5, 4. So he keeps the 15 and 7 for a total of 22. If he had rolled another 10 on the reroll, it would have exploded again. If two of his original dice had rolled 10s, they both would have exploded. There is no limit to how many times a die could explode, although more than once is obviously rare.
Also, a nuance of the system that a lot of people miss is that you actually choose which dice to keep. Most of the time, they're your highest ones, because you have no reason not to, but sometimes you want to hold back (Especially for damage), which you are capable of doing by choosing lower numbers.
>There was a Mantis victory in particular that should have fucked them good, but instead backfired on the Mantis because the Spider were protected.
Which one was this? The uncovering the infiltration of the Sparrow (A tourney prize given out after Goddesses)? Or was it something older? I'm genuinely curious because I had been actively following the stories, tournaments results and choices since the later half of Samurai edition and I can't think of any occasion where a tourney result backfired onto the Mantis.
>The most recent tournament reward could be summed up as "Decide how the Spider fuck your clan in particular as they beat everyone in general"
No, the choices for the Spring 2015 Kotei season was "Choose a Clan Icon. Save it if it is yours. If it is another Clan's, do you save it or steal it? Spider may instead corrupt the Icon if they win." The Winter 2015 Kotei season choice was "Choose one of the characters on this list. Do they live, die or end up tainted?"
The Clan Path votes are likely the "Decide how the Spider fuck your clan in particular as they beat everyone in general" choice you are referring to, but in actuality they were a pick your side votes. Every clan had an opportunity to be on the "winning" team. It might at first looked like it was favoring Spider, but in actuality it was setting up a "wipe out the Spider/return of the Horde" story arc. Very few of the "side with the Spider choices" were palatable for the other Clans and the Spider were initially given a go Horde or betray your Champion choice.
When you roll a 10 (or sometimes even a 9) you reroll the die and add the result to the previous total.