Byron Tabletop

Murder in Otosan Uchi
In which a disturbed man takes a peek beneath the surface

Notable NPCs encountered:
Ide Tadaji

In this fairly short episode, the heroes gathered in Otosan Uchi to investigate their first case in the service of Bayushi Tetsumaru, Emerald Magistrate. A minor Crane diplomat had been found murdered and flayed, his flesh tattooed with dark markings telling of his having betrayed his duty for lust.

The investigation was arduous, but in the end the PCs were able to persuade Ide Tadaji to compel certain junior courtiers of the Unicorn clan to reveal the location of a troubled bushi. Descending on the bushi’s rented warehouse on the river, Daidoji Tawanaga sliced the villain in half. They were too late to save his latest victim, but the rest of the city need no longer fear the reaping of the wages of their sin.

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Hard Truths
In which a hero gets hitched

Major NPCs Encountered
Bayushi Dairu
Bayushi Tetsumaru

Possible Allies Gained
Doji Umasu
Doji Shihei
Hida Ryuden
Kaiu Kanbei

In this adventure, the heroes gathered to celebrate the wedding of one of their own. Shosuro Hitaki had decided to throw a grand party in the tradition of the Scorpion, and invited a number of significant guests, including the son and heir of the Scorpion Champion, governors of provinces in Phoenix, Lion, and Crane lands, and a particularly devious Emerald Magistrate.

The evening’s entertainment was provided by the Emerald Magistrate Bayushi Tetsumaru, who produced a little man who revealed one secret from each person in attendance. These varied widely in significance, but there were three of enormous importance.

1. Someone had lost the Fan of Onnotangu
2. Someone was planning to murder their lord
3. Someone was murdered Akodo Ikare, a character from a previous adventure.

A guest character, Asahina Zenko, also discovered that Bayushi Dairu was in fact not Bayushi Shoju’s son.

The characters were able to ferret out many of the mysteries through dogged investigation despite the interference of several guests and a rival investigation headed by Bayushi Tetsumaru, who proved himself an odd mix between absolute villain and honest detective.

It turned out that the karo of the Lion governor had lifted the Fan of Onnotangu from him in order to give it to Bayushi Tetsumaru. The players were unable to prove that he had it in his possession, so they were unable to save the governor or his aide. The murder plot involved the Phoenix governor, who planned to murder her father in order to have a free hand in the governance of her province. The Akodo Ikare murder was never solved because of the interference of Shosuro Hitaki, who had grown annoyed at the disruption of his party.

Resolution: The players came away from the party having laid the groundwork for recruiting several potential allies. Bayushi Tetsumaru was so proud of their achievements in their investigation (they had, after all, discovered his plot, even if they were unable to nail him for it), so he managed to secure them positions at the Office of the Emerald Magistrates.

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The Doom of the Hare
In which the PCs save the Hare...briefly.

Unfortunately, my adventure notes with this one are incomplete, so this will have to be a little more skeletal than the others:

Major Npcs encountered:
Usagi Ozaki
Bayushi Tomaru
Matsu Chukoku

Possible Allies gained:
Usagi Ozaki (everybody)

The adventure began when the PCs were approached by Matsu Chukoku, a prominent Lion Officer attending the Festival at Kenson Gakka in the previous adventure. It seems that Usagi Ozaki and Usagi Tomoe, the heirs of the Hare Clan, had stolen a scroll of some value from him during their stay in Ryoko Owari. He requested that the PCs find and return the scroll to him. Being heroes, they agreed.

Nearing Hare lands, they came across a young man fighting an ogre. They helped him dispatch the creature, only to discover that this was Usagi Ozaki. Ozaki discovered that the ogre was bearing a scabbard marked with Hare clan mon, and asked the PCs to come with him to report this to his father at Shiro Usagi. Pleased with this serendipitous circumstance, they agreed.

Long story short, it turned out that the Ancestral Sword of the Hare was in the Shadowlands. The greater part of the party accompanied Usagi Ozaki on an adventure to Shiro Hiruma to recover the sword in order to get into the Hare’s good graces. Meanwhile, Asahina Zenko and Shosuro Hitaki remained in the castle to try and find the scroll.

The adventure into the Shadowlands involved a few interesting moments. The PCs secured the help of a nezumi to distract the goblins so that they could slip into the castle. There was nearly an Indiana Jones moment as a troop of goblins tried to roll a massive stone down some stairs in order to crush the PCs, but Kitsu Ai rolled up her sleeves and stopped it through sheer brawn. She pushed the rock back up the stairs and the PCs wiped out the remaining greenskins and recovered the sword to bring back to the Hare.

Meanwhile, many adventures were had by Shosuro Hitaki and Asahina Zenko as they struggled to befriend Usagi Ozaki’s sister Tomoe while the castle prepared for an assault by the Scorpion. they were able to find the scroll inside one of her puzzle boxes. However, curiosity got the better of them and they opened it. Turns out that it was written in code. Much code-breaking ensued, until the PCs discovered that the scroll was a set of orders to murder a magistrate in Morikage Toshi.

Hitaki took the scroll and slipped out of the castle just as the Scorpion arrived. He used it as a bargaining chip to get the Scorpion to depart by negotiating with an Emerald Magistrate from his own family. The adventure resolved happily when Ozaki returned, and the PCs were able to slip away to try and find Chukoku, only to discover that he had disappeared.

Several weeks later, however, the Scorpion returned with testimony from four prominent samurai that Hare clan members had been practicing maho. The castle was burned to the ground, Ozaki escaped and went into hiding, and Tomoe disappeared.

Repercussions:
The PCs grew to hate the Scorpion just a little more, but I think that I failed to get them to care for the fate of the Hare. In any case, there is clearly a conspiracy at work in the Empire.

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The Battle of the Humble Turtle
Suspicion and Warfare Among the Lion

Major NPCs encountered:
Bayushi Sozui
Noshin

Possible Allies gained:
Matsu Ryoma

This adventure took place during the Festival of the Humble Turtle, a Lion event celebrating the recapture of the city of Kenson Gakka from the Scorpion and the happy massacre that took place there. Matsu Musashi received an invitation to compete in the tournament, and invited his friends along. Shosuro Hitaki was unable to attend, however, as his daimyo required his presence elsewhere.

A communal meal and court took place early in the morning. There they met Matsu Ryoma, the governor of the castle, who seemed friendly enough, as well as the somewhat reserved Akodo Ikare, the commander of the garrison, and a Dragonfly courtier who seemed perhaps a little too skilled to be attending such a provincial court. Finally, a Crane ambassador was present, quietly observing the gathering without seeming to engage too deeply.

The festival proper began with a procession of Lion soldiers, marching in ranks along the main thoroughfares before the crowds of heimin. They were dressed in the full regalia of war, complemented by all the finery of peacetime grace. This spectacle drew many to the festival, even some who had no interest in the other events. After making a full circuit, the soldiers ended their march at the parade grounds, where they took up watchful positions at the edge of its rough ground. Another group of soldiers—one for each century the Lion have held the castle—arrived with tall sashimono bearing the Lion mon. They placed the mon within a row of shafts cut into the earth at the far end of the parade grounds. This officially signaled the festival’s commencement, and Ryoma clapped once to signal that the festivities were to begin.

The tournament itself was decidedly martial in nature, with the contests based on the teachings of the Akodo War College. There was Yabusame, Inu o-mono, in which a piglet was released into a fenced field and a mounted samurai was tasked with subduing or killing it with as few arrows as possible, sumai wrestling, Oriru, sort of jousting but using one’s hands instead of a lance, Seikakusa, a test of accuracy with the sword, and finally a re-enactment of the original Battle of the Humble Turtle. The tournament was to take all morning, with champions receiving a ring of copper with dyed silks sewn around it. At the end of the re-enactment, the monks of Yarukki Jukko, a nearby monastery, joined the crowd carrying boxes from which hawks were meant to be released, symbolizing the triumph of the warrior spirit among the Lion. Instead, the monks opened the boxes and a flight of doves took off. This greatly upset the Lion samurai, Akodo Ikare in particular. Matsu Ryoma demands an explanation from Noshin, the local abbot, who apologizes profusely. The PCs got a sense that he was not entirely sure how this disturbance came about. Akodo Ikare ordered the monks to leave the castle and remain at their monastery.

For the rest of the day, the PCs noted strange incidents, like peasants disappearing around corridors, and sightings of monks where there should not have been any in the city. There was also a profound sense of being watched. The PCs were put on their guard. They noticed the Crane ambassador having lunch with Akodo Ikare’s wife, the two actually losing their on with their boisterous laughing. For his part, Akodo Ikare is seen loudly berating one of his men, to the point of screaming and nearly pushing him off the wall.

During the early afternoon, a throng of people gathered before the Temple to the Seven Fortunes. When the party investigated, they found several samurai standing about the double doors to the temple itself. Their stances were nervous and doubtful, turning away from the crowd whenever possible. All sorts of whispers moved through the crowd, describing a ‘demon’ hiding within the temple. The four samurai were a Crab, a Crane, and a pair of Lions. The Crab suggested to the party that they not investigate until a member of the Kuni witch-hunters arrived to investigate. Kuni Nashi insisted that he was Kuni enough for any demon, and led the group into the temple.

Inside, they found a zokujin, one of the copper goblins that the Lion enslaved and force to work in their copper mines. Calling itself Kakera, it informed the pcs that the local zokujin population was growing ill from the contamination of the bedrock in the area. She claimed that there was something wrong with the river. In fact, she felt that the spirit of the river was gone. She says that she was looking for the one that left the offerings currently on the temple’s altar, as he smelt like the river.

At about this time, Matsu Ryoma arrived and sternly demanded that the zokujin returned to its tunnels where it belonged. The PCs defended the creature, accepting responsibility for it while it remained on the surface. This seemed to assuage Ryoma’s anger, and he departed.

Soon after, word began to spread through the city that Akodo Ikare’s infant son had been kidnapped. Details are sketchy, but rumor maintains that the child was stolen from its crib within the General’s quarters of the castle. The festival slowed but did not stop, due mainly to the efforts of Matsu Ryoma to retain order and goodwill, especially in light of the city’s Crane visitors. By this time, small battle recreations were being staged throughout the city and the various merchants, craftsmen, and artisans were operating at full swing. The hetman’s mansions was the center of the largest crowd in the city, where a temporary two-sided kabuki stage had been set up and various Lion theatrical works were playing. The main streets of the city were clogged with people too immersed in celebration to be bothered, but the PCs were able to discover the following rumors:

*Akodo Ikare’s wife, Miko, is distraught, and unable to leave her chambers. Her endless crying can be heard from the front gates of the fortress.

  • The Crane Ambassador, Daidoji Handen, had a couple of his yojimbo steal Ikare’s child. “After all, they are never with him. How are we to know where they are or what they are doing?”

*Guards were stationed outside the General’s quarters when the baby was stolen. Their seppuku are expected to take place in the morning.

*The zokujin of the labyrinth were responsible for the theft of the child. They were going to use it to ransom their freedom.

*Akodo Ikare is beside himself with grief, consumed with a violent rage that threatens everyone around him. He stalks the castle halls with open fury, storming through the chambers in search of his son.

*"This is the vengeance of the Fortunes after the zokujin defiled their temple!"

*Many of Ikare’s soldiers are beginning to fear for his sanity.

*One of the castle guards was said to have seen Ikare sitting calmly within the garrison offices, his face expressionless, immediately after hearing the news of his son’s abduction.

*"This is kharma for the deaths of so many Scorpion six hundred years ago!"

Togashi Genji at this time began to strongly suspect Noshin’s involvement, particularly as his monks had been seen violating the ban on their presence within the city. However, he could not be located and confronted at this time.

The search for the infant was a source of considerable tension in the town, as Ikare became more and more desperate. The more desperate he became, the more belligerent he behaved, until it was clear that his own men were trying to avoid him. The PCs resolved to find the child, if possible, if only to stop Ikare’s descent into madness.

Fortunately, the search did not take long. The child was discovered hidden at the bottom of a well. Hiruma Ogami was able to scale down the well and retrieve it. He discovered an underground river that flowed through the town. The baby’s swaddling was coated with a white powder, though the PCs could not determine its origin. Ikare arrived shortly after, and was elated to find his child. His mood darkens when he recognizes the powder, and he storms off just as suddenly as he arrived. The PCs began to be more than a little suspicious of Ikare.

Ikare stormed up to the castle garrison, trailed by his men. When he arrived, he demanded his horse and gathered a posse of Lion to follow him. Daidoji Handen, the Crane Ambassador, arrived on the scene. Only then did Ikare announce that he was headed to Shinden Yaruki Jukko, the local temple. Handen immediately called for a horse to follow, and the sign of his concern was all the PCs needed to follow suit. It turns out, a group of monks from Crane lands is at the temple, studying with the monks there. It was at this time that the PCs noticed the strange mark on the back of Ikare’s neck.

When the posse arrived at the Temple, the general ordered his men to collect the monks. Ikare questioned the monks about the the abduction of his son, then ordered his men to execute them. Handen protested, but the Lion set to their grisly work. When the monks were dead, Handen vowed to bring Ikare to justice before turning and riding back to the town. Only then did the PCs see Ikare smile, hear the sound of horns, and see the Scorpion banners rising over the hills to the south.

The initial instinct of the PCs was to stay and wipe the smirk off of Ikare’s face, but the sheer number of Scorpion cresting the ridge to the south had them decide that it was nearer their Duty to warn the town of the impending battle than to sell their lives cheaply on the field of battle. So they legged it.

Matsu Ryoma took over defense of the city after Ikare’s apparent betrayal. He thanked the PCs for their assistance, but could not accept their participation, save that of Matsu Musashi and Kitsu Ai, in the battle to come. Fortunately, Hiruma Ogami recalled the river he had seen flowing beneath the town, and reasoned that the Scorpion might use that to infiltrate the town. The PCs went spelunking, saved Noshin from a clever trap into which he had fallen while investigating the suspicious circumstances plaguing the town, and confronted Bayushi Sozui, the evil mastermind behind the invasion.

While Sozui managed to escape, albeit wounded with an Otaku arrow, the PCs and the Lion were able to repel the Scorpion assault, though Akodo Ikare was never seen again.

Repercussions
On the face of it, this adventure ended in success. The Lion were victorious and the hated Scorpion were thwarted in their ambition for vengeance. The players were able to secure the gratitude of Matsu Ryoma, an important governor, as well as the abbot Noshin, who would be instrumental in one of their later adventures.

Unfortunately, hindsight shows that the Scorpion got almost all that they wanted from the engagement. The hope for detente between the Crane and the Lion died with the monks at Shinden Yaruki Jukko, and the easy victory the Lion had over the Scorpion only made them more confident that they would handily beat any force the Crane could muster. Clearly, dark times were ahead for the Empire.

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The Battle of Twilight Honor
In which the PCs meet the Dragon and the Great Bear, Stop a Madman, and Hold the Line

Major NPCs encountered:
Hida Kisada
Hida Yakamo
Kuni Yori
Togashi Yokuni
Mirumoto Sukune

Possible Allies made:
Hida Shiroi: (Crab PCs)
Daidoji Jinshi: (Crab PCs, Mirumoto Hiro)

In the course of an evening at a roadside teahouse outside of Ryoko Owari, the players were approached by Togashi Yokuni, the Champion of the Dragon. A known recluse, the Dragon’s appearance in Scorpion lands emphasized the importance of his request as much as his station or the aura of power that surrounded him. He informed the PCs that there was or soon would be a disturbance at Shiro Kuni, and that they were required to prevent disaster. He gave them his personal chop, and requested that they head to Kyuden Hida immediately.

Wisely, they complied.

After a somewhat uneventful journey featuring a poorly-scaled fight with some bandits [there may have been a learning curve for the gm], the players arrived at Kyuden Hida. Yokuni’s chop gave them access, but thy discovered that the intended recipient of their warning, Hida Kisada, was currently away and that his son was currently in charge. The players are invited to a feast in order to present their request to Yakamo, but, perhaps predictably, the feast breaks down into a brawl when one of the Hida House Guard makes a sexist remark. Yakamo puts an end to the fighting once it is clear to him that the PCs are bushi worthy of toleration, and the group gets down to business.

After some discussion, Yakamo gives permission for the PCs to travel to Shiro Kuni along with his cousin, Hida Shiroi. During the journey, Shiroi gives some perspective on what they will face. The PCs are confident, as they faced an oni in Ryoko Owari and survived without too much difficulty, but Shiroi seems pretty sure that they’re in for an awakening.

In due course, the PCs arrived at Shiro Hiruma and formally presented themselves as volunteers for service against the Shadowlands. They submitted themselves to a grueling round of questioning as to why they wished to do so as well as their level of skill and knowledge of the enemy. None of the PCs was found to be a subversive, and their skill was deemed satisfactory, at least as much as could be expected from koma.

It was then that they met Daidoji Jinshi, a more established member of the Iron Crane detachment of the Crane Army stationed on the Wall. Jinshi was interested in proving his skill in a duel with Mirumoto Hiro, a duel which Jinshi won, if only just. Hiro won Jinshi’s respect, and thus the PCs found a somewhat friendly face among the dour and suspicious Crab.

When the duel was concluded, Hida Shiroi sent word that their presence was requested at a meeting with Hiruma Makasu, who commanded the guard of the castle. Makasu turns out to be a man about four feet in height, with an intense stare and the total devotion of his staff. Shiroi, a cousin of the true line of Hida, uses honorifics to address him. Makasu ignores him, his coldness serving as a dismissal, and the PCs are left alone with Makasu. He asks each of them a single question, the only one of which I recall is “How will you defeat the Shadowlands,” to which Togashi Genji replied “I will bring the Tao to Fu Leng,” which was fairly awesome.

Makasu informed the PCs that he would personally be leading a patrol out into the Shadowlands the next day in order to ascertain why the Shadowlands had been so quiescent for the past month or so. He informed them that he suspected that the Shadowlands was marshaling for a significant assault. He invited the PCs along.

The first light of dawn had yet to break the sky when Makasu ordered the scouts to be lowered down the side of the Wall. The five samurai move quickly to the waiting boats and the troopers, then Makasu’s personal guard are lowered next. Makasu is the last to enter.

Rowing across the Last Stand river, the PCs were ordered to hide the boats in the tall reeds of the river’s edge. Led by the scouts, they moved toward the west. In the beginning the land was not that different from the green valleys on the other side of the Wall. However, with every step west the land withered and died. By the time they lost sight of the wall, the land was almost completely corrupted. At first even breathing in that region was difficult, but their lungs slowly became used to the filth and they began to regain their wind. Makasu demanded a swift pace which the Crab warriors fell into with ease, though his brusque attitude won him no friends among the PCs. By the end of the first day, the patrol was well out of sight of the Wall.

The second day of the patrol began much like the first. After a very brief meal, Makasu points to the west and instructs the scouts to fan out. Shadows seemed to crouch at the corners of their vision, but when they turned there was nothing there. Nerves began to fray under the constant tension, which was broken only when the group ventured into a narrow canyon. The PCs expected a trap, and were not disappointed. A pair of ogres blocked the ends of the canyon, while goblins undertook to roll stones down on the samurai. The fighting was intense, but the PCs managed to kill one of the ogres and the way was opened to retreat. However, Makasu refused to give the order until Shiroi stepped in and gave it for him. The PCs, by now having officially nicknamed Makasu “fathead” then cursed as Makasu led the retreat from the front, not participating in the rear-guard action in the slightest. Not even when the patrol was set upon by a Tsuburu no Oni—an demon of immense corpulence—did he turn to help. While the patrol did make it back to the Wall, it was not without significant loss, and the PCs had come to understand that Togashi Yokuni had wanted them to do something about Makasu, and that right soon.

The next day the castle was abuzz with talk of how awesome Makasu was when he slew that oni and single-handedly saved the patrol. There is a bunch of grumbling at his having stolen the glory of the PCs and in particular the scouts of the patrol who fought so hard during the long withdrawal. Shiroi tries to come up with excuses for his behavior, but finds it difficult. The PCs resolve to learn more about this commander. During the course of their inquiries, it comes to the PCs attention that one of the scouts on a previous patrol was found alive at the edge of the Black Finger River the night before, and was being debriefed as they spoke. Shosuro Hitaki and Hiruma Ogami decided to investigate, and, sneaking through the rafters of the castle, came upon Hiruma Makasu’s personal chambers, where the scout was being tortured for information by Makasu and a Kuni shugenja. Though they did not know it at the time, that Kuni was Kuni Yori himself.

Various other rumors came to light, all demonstrating that Makasu was at best unfit for command, and at worst actively subverting the defense of the castle. Shiroi departed to inform his uncle of the problems at Shiro Kuni, while the PCs stayed to try and mitigate the damage in the short term. Makasu, perhaps recognizing that the PCs were dangerous, sent them out to secure reconnaissance of the horde, following the same path as several previous missions. They did so, in do course discovering that the previous patrols had been slaughtered to a man, bushwhacking a goblin troop, discovering the horde’s marshaling area, slaying an ogre general and recovering a significant nemuranai of the Hiruma family (which Hiruma Ogami still bears), and returning to the castle.

A three-day siege ensued, during which Makasu attempted to open the gates to the horde. He managed to defeat Daidoji Tawanaga’s desperate attempt to stop him, but was killed by a thrown tanto from the hand of Shosuro Hitaki. The battle finally ended when Hida Kisada himself arrived and routed the horde. He conferred a battlefield promotion on both Hiruma Ogami and Kuni Nashi, and presented gifts to the other PCs.

The PCs returned to Dragon lands, but were not able to secure an audience with Togashi Yokuni. Instead, they were invited to tell their story to Mirumoto Sukune, who made sure that word of their deeds was disseminated in the Empire.

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Night of One Thousand Screams
In which a zombie apocaplypse is averted and the seeds of adventure are planted.

Hour of the Monkey: The night begins with the PCs meeting in the inn of the Orange Blossom in Ryoko Owari Toshi, the City of Lies, largest city in the Empire. It is the time of the Bon Festival, Rokugan’s Halloween. The party is just swell until a seven foot demon with three eyes and disgusting pods and pustules covering its body bursts through a wall and attacks a trio of Crane also sharing the inn. The PCs manage to hold off the oni until the Scorpion guards can arrive, but only a single Crane survives.

His name is Doji Juzo, but he has little idea why he and his companions, simple merchant patrons selling masks and other party supplies for the Bon festival, should be the target of an oni attack.

Hour of the Rooster: The PCs and Doji Juzo are saved from a night of rough questioning at the hands of the Scorpion by Doji Oruku, a Crane metsuke and duelist assigned to the city. Part of Oruku’s duties involve pursuing matters of the law as they apply to Crane vassals within Ryoko Owari, and the murder of two Doji at the hands of an oni certainly falls into his purview. The PCs reach an agreement with him to hunt down the oni.

Their meeting is interrupted by the arrival of a terrified eta child, who informs them that the city crematorium is under attack by bandits, who are trying to make off with the bodies. By the time the PCs arrive, the fighting is mostly over, and the remaining looters flee rather than be engaged by heavily armed samurai. Predictably, the PCs and Oruku give chase.

Hour of the Rooster: The Chase
The five bandits split up, and the PCs do likewise.

Hiruma Ogami pelts off after the first one, his years of training by racing horses serving him in good stead. He catches up to the bandit just as he graps an eta child and holds a knife to his throat. “Back off!” the bandit shouts. “I’ll do it!” Ogami’s response: “go ahead.” He charges, and the bandit, shocked at the callousness of the Crab, is killed before he has a chance to kill the eta.

The second bandit dashed off into a geisha house, causing quite a kerfuffle. When Kuni Nashi paused to assist/was knocked over by the young lady the bandit threw down the stairs to delay him, the bandit escaped. Nashi did manage to find the sale manifest and inventory of a local Scorpion-owned merchant shop that the bandit dropped on the roof.

The third chase found Kitsu Ai and Shosuro Hideki pursuing their bandit down the narrow alleyways of the eta quarter, dodging the bandit’s delaying attempts and cornering him in an alley, where he surrenders. Before his execution, the bandit admits to being hired to find the swords of the Crane. One of them was a nemuranai, an awakened sword.

The fourth was the quarry of Doji Oruku, who killed his bandit without much trouble.

The fifth bandit flees all the way back to the Inn of the Oragne Blossom. There, he engages the PCs with reckless abandon, and is killed in close combat. On his person, they discover a pouch with the Crab mon, in which is 5 koku.

Hour of the Rooster: The Crane Villa
Armed with the information that the bandits were after one of the swords of the slain Crane, Oruku recalls that one of them, Daidoji Anitano, had acquired a sword of which he was rather fond while doing battle with the Crab in the south. The belongings of Crane vassals are routinely taken to the Crane Consulate, the hatamoto of which is one Doji Tsumetsu. The PCs head there.

Upon reaching the grounds, the PCs and Oruku feel the symptoms of exhaustion. They discover the guard at the main entrance in a deep sleep just inside the building, and soon after entering they too fall asleep.

Twenty minutes later, the PCs awake to discover five terrible little creatures—little more than demonic heads mounted on eight legs—scuttling about and ransacking the place. The PCs kill these few, only to discover their master on the second floor—none other than the oni they battled at the inn. Though disgusted by its demeanor (“That ain’t right”-Hiruma Ogami), the PCs do battle with it, eventually driving it off, though in the course of the battle it wrenches off two more pustules from its back, which soon reveal themselves as its spawn.

The Crane now begin to awaken, and Doji Tsumetsu proves himself very grateful, giving the PCs a series of tsangusuri, one-use magial items made by the Asahina. Tsumetsu informs Oruku that he has heard that a Unicorn warehouse was attacked and their stock, all of it party favors for the Bon Festival, was destroyed. Nothing was stolen, but the place was thoroughly ransacked and the goods spoiled. The perpetrator appears to have large claws.

Hour of the Dog: The Unicorn Warehouse
At the warehouse, the PCs meet Shinjo Sanefusa, the Unicorn merchant patron whose clients own the building. Sanefusa shows them the damage, which has almost certainly been caused by the oni. A carton of masks bears the same mark as that on the manifest that the bandit dropped, it is the mark of the Shosuro family, and their warehouse is just around the corner…

Hour of the Dog: the Scorpion Warehouse
Finding the warehouse locked and under guard, Shosuro Hideki arranged an entrance. Inside, the PCs found themselves engaged with some serious guards who were spoiling for a fight. The battle nearly ended in the deaths of Hideki and Oruku, but, thanks primarily to the Hiruma Ogami’s lethal kyujutsu, the PCs carried the day.

As the Pcs fanned out to search the warehouse, they came across:
—a shipment of expensive unpainted porcelain masks, only some of which remain. The boxes are marked with a blurred Lion mon and a strange kabuki mask logo.
—an office with one terrified Scorpion with his back to a door.

He introduces himself as Shosuro Fujun. He explains that his little band bushwhacked a caravan heading for Unicorn lands in order to turn a quick profit. They picked the wrong caravan. He sold three boxes of masks to his three best buyers: a Crane, a Unicorn, and a Crab. Then some men came to visit him. They say they knew about the caravan, and that they wanted one of the boxes back. Just one of them, and it had to be that particular box. He didn’t know what they wanted it for, but they made it very clear to him and his brother, Chizaro, that they were willing to do some terrible things if they did not get the boxes back. They had black moons tatooed on the inside of their wrists. Chizaro got desperate, and…"

Fujun opened the door to reveal Shosuro Chizaro sitting in a circle of candles and bowls of blood. Sweat pours from his forehead. Time is running out. The oni has to retrieve the masks or be destroyed before Chizaro loses control of the ritual, or it will turn into an Oni Lord and destroy the city. Fujun tells them that the masks were sold to Doji Juzo, Shinjo Sanefusa, and a merchant named Whisper, who owns a shop downtown.

*Hour of the Dog: A Tatooed Friend"
En route to Whisper’s shop, the PCs are confronted by a tattoed figure leaping from a rooftop into their path. This is Togashi Ikyoto, an itinerant Dragon monk who has just done a favor for Whisper: stealing the Blade of Secrets, Daidoji Anitano’s sword. He informs them that the sword is vital for killing the oni stalking the city, and that Whisper is in way over his head. Ikyoto also has some suspicions about the sword, but his riddles make the exact nature of its drawbacks unclear.

*Hour of the Dog: The Merchant’s Secret"
Undaunted, the PCs press on to Whisper’s shop. The streets are starting to become more crowded as the Bon Festival celebrations begin to pick up. Whisper’s shop is a dive in downtown Ryoko Owari near the armorer’s district. It is abandoned. That is, abandoned except for the oni spawn scuttling about. The battle is mercifully short, with Kuni Nashi’s quick-draw Jade Strike standing the PCs in good stead.

After the fight, the shop is tossed, incovering the following items
—an Iron Box with 20 koku
—two ledgers of scrolls, on e containing Whisper’s accounts and the other detailing his daily activities
—One large, ornate porcelain mask

A flip through his journal reveals that Whisper knows the Oni is after him. He has fled with the sword to the place he feels safest—his mistress’ rooms on Teardrop Island, Ryoko Owari’s pleasure district.

Hour of the Boar: Teardrop Island
When Oruku informs them that weapons and spellscrolls are confiscated by the City before their owners are permitted to disembark on Teardrop Island, the PCs elect to sneak across the river. And by sneak I mean swim and then scale the rocky shores of the island. They make their way to the House of the Water Lillies, where they find Whisper. After a tense discussion with the Crab PCs, whisper confesses that he sold the remainder of the masks he bought to a Crab merchant patron. He is about to give up the patron’s name when the Oni bursts onto the scene and kills him. The ensuing battle is long and deadly, with Kuni Nashi nearly ripped to shreds by the oni’s claws. He is saved by the timely intervention of a passerby, giving Shosuro Hideki time to kill the beast with the Blade of Secrets.

Hour of the Boar
The passerby is [[:meishozo nisei]], a Witch-hunter and vassal of the Kuni family, whose pursuit of four ornate porcelain masks that could be used for maho rituals has led him to the city. He is hot on the trail of the cult of Onnotangu, Lord Moon, whom he believes has gained possession of the masks from Whisper. He joins the PCs and Oruku to hunt them down.

Hour of the Boar through the Hour of the Rat: Secrets and Threats
The PCs and their investigator allies put their heads together. They know that stolen porcelain masks that serve as conduits for maho rituals have been purchased by a Crab maerchant patron somewhere in the city. Doji Oruku names four Crab that could be involved; each is unscrupulous enough to buy stolen goods and stupid enough to not know maho when they see it.

The PCs meet with Hida Muchi and Kaiu Shinya, both of whom seem to have serious issues, but neither of which was involved. Their third stop is with Kuni Ryo, whose alibi is much less convincing, particularly when Shosuro Hideki, having proken into the second floor window, discovers a crate of masks. The ensuing fight is brief, and although Ryo manages to arrest Hiruma Ogami‘s rampage through his students with a well-placed maho spell locking the hero’s limbs in place, he is put down by Doji Oruku.

One of Ryo’s guards, a Hida Gyogi, is captured and brought in to the magistrate station for questioning. Preliminary interrogation revealed the Moon Cult tattoo on his inner right wrist. Gyogi is incredibly belligerant, freely insulting each and every member of the investigative team. In response to a particularly scathing insinutation regarding the fallen state of the Hiruma lands, Hiruma Ogami removed the young man’s left arm. When even that failed to shake Gyogi’s rabid hate, one of the PCs deployed one of Tsumetsu’s tsangusuri, a jade sun that gave Gyogi a moment’s lucidity. Just before bleeding out, he informed the PCs of the location of the Moon Cult’s base, their plans to raise a small army of zombies to lay waste to the bon festival and destroy the Temple of Amaterasu, and the name of their terrible leader, the dread Orimono.

Hour of the Ox: The Raid
The streets have become choked with masked revelers; the Bon Festival is well under way. The PCs struggle through the crowds to the Wharf District of Ryoko Owari, where Gyogi has informed them the Cult of Onnotangu’s Headquarters can be found. Somewhat leery of direct action after having been bushwhacked twice, Hiruma Ogami and Shosuro Hideki elect to sneak into the building before the shugenja and magistrates enter. They progress easily enough through the abandoned first floor, but on the second they discover the cult gathered around the grisly remains of a fresh murder victim. One of them raises his hands, and the corpse lurches to its feet.

The battle is fast and vicious. The cult is wiped out, but no one matching Hida Gyogi’s description of Orimono is present. The sickening realization that he is loose in the festival with his army of zombies dawns on the PCs. They have to get to the Temple of Amaterasu and stop this villain!

Hour of the Tiger: The End
The PCs reach the area around the Temple of the Sun with no time to spare. Former revelers are now desperate refugees screaming and fleeing from everyone wearing a mask. It is the Bon Festival. Everyone is wearing a mask.

Mercifully, the confusion makes it fairly easy to spot the villains. They are the ones standing still, hands outstretched toward the Dragon Globe sitting on its pedestal outside the Temple. The earth begins to shake and the pedestal teeters. Time is running short.

The fight to their position is lengthy and difficult. Still, the PCs do manage to stop Orimono before he gets his spell off. Victory is a pleasant sensation, and both Oruku and the priestess of Amaterasu thank the PCs strongly. Kuni Nashi gives Meishozo Nisei the large mask Orimono used to control the zombies, and so ended the evening.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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