2007-06-25 Immamura

still U-Tzuki, day 20 – Tsuchi-Youbi (Earth Day) – “A good day for beginnings.”

The party returned from the fatal bear hunt. Yusukami Yuushuu is dead. His father Lord Yusukami decides that he will send the corpse to Kurobano to be raised, for he does not trust the Tsukuyomi priests. They meddle with moon folk and disrupt the heavens, he says. How can there be order above if there is disorder below? Getting there and back will take several days. In the mean time, the marriage shall proceed without delay.

Takabe Hyougo, the commander of the left wing, has offered to resign. Yuushuu’s body remains whole and the chances for raising him from the dead are intact. Sepukku is not necessary – for now.

The shinobi the party managed to catch does not reveal much. It seems that he lived in a hidden village in the mountains to the east, not a day from Yusukami castle. When the party reports this news to Lord Yusukami, his two commanders are there as well. Immamura is a man of action and supports the idea of a punitive mission, where as Takaba is a man of caution having failed once already. He suggests to stay in the castle and make sure the wedding goes well.

Some in the party are starting to suspect that Immamura might be a traitor.

During the night, the party again summons the Onishi spy. The spy suspects that Takabe’s son Satonori is Fumiko’s secret lover.

The party is unsure. What to do? What to do? I guess I should have offered even more pointers. Then again the party never thought of monitoring the castle grounds. This would have revealed a connection between the Onishi spy and Immamura. On the last night, this is what they did, so all is well that ends well! :)

U-Tzuki, day 21 – Taiyou-Youbi (Sun Day)

Planned for today: “Ritual of the water dragon & an archery contest.”

The party decided to join the archery contest. Takabe Hyougo, Yusukami Nagoya, and Immamura Gennosuke entered the contest as well. The way it worked was this: First everybody had to hit a DC 10 mark, then a DC 15 mark, then a DC 20 mark, and finally a DC 25 mark. And Kyoshi won! As a reward, I allowed him to pick a masterwork daikyu STR +3 from the armory. This weapon is worth 700 gp!

I felt that this simplified format worked really well. Alternatively, I might have let them roll five times to hit a DC 20. The archer with the most hits wins. Extend the contest if there’s a tie.

Before dinner Tshin Bo approached Yusukami Naoya (the Lord’s second son) and Takabe Satanori (the son of the commander of the left wing) and asked them for support in escorting Fumiko. Satanori was very supportive, but Naoya wanted to meet in private, and once he was no longer in public accused the party of being traitors and actively trying to destabilize his father’s reign. The party felt cornered.

In the evening, Aurin decided to wear Onishi’s ring, such that the spy would come to her quarters. The others decided to watch the castle courtyard. Kyoshi was meditating on the veranda near Aurin’s room. When the spy came, Aurin apologized and cast Hold Person on him.

This plan caused a lot of controversy among the players as well! Was Aurin’s player forcing the issue without consulting her fellow players? I did not think so and offered some advice, saying that a spy would have to expect loyalty tests from his employer. If her suspicions turned out to be false, a pouch with 100 gp or more would probably be enough to placate the spy. After all, how would the spy know whether they acted on Lord Onishi’s behalf or of their own accord?

Anyway. Hold Person! But the spy resisted and pulled a dagger! Aurin has Quickdraw and had prepared for failure. She immediately drew her heavy mace. Seeing that, the spy fled, with Aurin in hot pursuit. Everybody wanted to help chase him!

Here’s how I resolved the chase: I looked at the map and decided that first Aurin, then Kyoshi, then Kubo, and finally Takeo would have a chance of catching him. I declared that everybody would have to do five opposed skill checks and win four of them. I called out Balance, Climb, and Jump at random, and did the checks. The spy’s only real skill was Climb; he specialized in social stuff like Bluff, Disguise, Gather Information, Move Silently, Search, and the like. Since none of the others were particularly specialized except for our rogue Takeo, it took them quite a while to catch the spy! I thought it was a great way of handling the chase without resorting to squares and maps and movement rules.

They quickly brought the spy into their room and cast Zone of Truth. Hm… Always a tricky one. In addition to that, they successfully intimidated him, so he was for intents and purposes “friendly”. I decided that he still did not want to name his employer, and that if he was being presented with a list of names, he’d be smart enough to know that he should not say No to any of them. He also tried to be a bit evasive when it came to his mission, but then I decided that it didn’t hurt to tell the party what they already suspected. So he admitted to being a double-agent, having tried to ruin their reputation in the castle, not working alone, and so on. One of my players was getting exasperated, threatening to break the prisoner’s knees and what not. Yuck!

Finally Kyoshi offered to release the spy, if he told them of his new master. Certainly, the spy had already betrayed one master. Betraying the second one should not be a problem. In addition to that, the spy was hardly likely to return to his second master and tell him that he blabbed it all out instead of killing himself. But he remained suspicious. Then Kyoshi stepped into the Zone of Truth and rolled his hidden saving throw without telling me! We had a long laugh. :)

Hearing the samurai in the Zone of Truth repeat his promise convinced the spy to talk. The traitor in Yusukami castle was – Immamura, the commander of the right wing!!

After some deliberation they let the spy go. Kubo kept his shinoby armor and followed him for a while to make sure he actually left.

With this information, they went to talk to Takabe, the commander of the left wing. Now everything made sense. Immamura was trying to weaken Yusukami’s position, trying to usurp his hold on the castle. That’s where the rumors of Fumiko’s unfaithfulness originated. That’s why Yusukami’s son was killed. And that’s why Immamura was trying to get rid of Takabe. Unfortunately, there was no evidence to convict Immamura. But Takabe says, he’ll try to make sure that Immamura will be sent on that punitive mission to the East. After all, did he not support such a mission wholeheartedly? That would certainly buy them more time here in Yusukami castle. In the mean time, getting Fumiko safely to Onishi castle in Hakone should be the top priority.

U-Tzuki, day 22 – Tsuki-Youbi (Moon Day) – “Avoid funerals.”

Last preparations are being made. Tomorrow the march back to Hakone begins.

XP

Challenges overcome:

Thus:

XPs gained:

See also Comments on 2007-06-25 Immamura