In the shadow of the great famine. (Inactive)

Game Master Havocprince

L5R campaign set during the great famine, all ronin.

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Struggling with nausea and trying to keep the food inside hos stomach, Inoue immediately turns away.

"This bear might have been more than just a beast - do not forget what happened with the temple. I feel this is not just an ordinary forest. Do you wish to examine the cave further, or to look for something else outside, Hikonaga-san?"

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

I don't really know if the cave appears to keep going on or not.

"It couldn't hurt to look. We don't have anything more pressing."

There is not much to see, the place where you are now with the pool and the bear corpses is the back most portion of the cave. Not that it is going to matter as I will now be pushing the story and giving you a missing piece that the other shugenja ran away with.

As the two of you contemplate what the corpses mean and how a man would react to such things if it were his family, the air in the cave changes. The smell is forced out and the feeling of illness is replaced by a strange calm. Cherry blossoms drift upon the sudden gentle wind and you hear the clop of hooves upon stone floor. A large white stag walks brazenly into the cave, its antlers entwined with green vines and pink blossoms, and it looks annoyed.


"Do you wish us to do something, o spirit?" asked Inoue, bowing to the stag.

The towering stag stares down at you with sadness in his eyes and snorts a foggy mist at you, seconds later the water droplets form into a still pool in the air. Shadowy Images of crops withering and animals starving fill the pool, as the water swirls and shifts you watch as the seasons change again and again, in perpetuity till the land is so sodden only fish still live upon it.


Inoue keeps silent for a moment, puzzled by the grim vision.

"Is the reason for this year's bad harvest unnatural? Or it is natural, but we can appease Kami?"

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

"The land is going to drown? What could cause such an imbalance in the order? Is there anything we can do to help keep order? Our duty is to protect the people, yes?"

The water in the pool swirls once more, becoming a wheel turning. The wheel cracks and breaks in two before the pool clouds over. Suddenly, the silhouette of a man walks out of the cloud, dressed in fancy kimono. He steps out on to stone balanced upon many others, he carries the sun and the moon upon his shoulders. As the stones begin to lean and collapse thousands of people throw themselves at the stones, propping up the pile.

As you watch the shadows build up without number the scene sharpens upon the top stone, it begins to tilt and a striking young woman begins to run out on to it before the image fades to black. You had the merest of seconds to see the woman's white hair and scarlet robe, the color's shocking against the muted backdrop.

Going to continue the conversation with the kami, and the figuring out of what you wish to do next. Just starting a post to get the others in to the game. We will decide what town it is in after you decide what direction you travel.

Two weeks after the kami in the cave.

The atmosphere of the little tea house was less than the normal joyful contentment you normally find in such a place. It was well known that it would be a hard year, and the constant rain did not help much. But, it still provides some respite from the normal malaise of day to day life.

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Hojo sipped the weak tea as he tried to dry off a bit by the fire. Realizing that he benefited far more from the steam and the warmth of the cup than from the taste of tea, he held the cup close to his body as he looked out the window at the downpour. "I don't want to delay our journey any further" he said to Nakadai "But I hate to travel in this rain. Do you think it'll clear up soon?

Nakadai is, as usual, drinking tea as if it were acid because even he doesn't drink sake from his 'waterskin' in someone else's home and looking stoically miserable. "You flatter me, thinking I'm some sort of confidant of the kami. Who else controls when it rains or stops?"

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Hojo shrugged. There is a difference between prediction and control, I suppose. I can’t stand this rain. Moist strings are slippery. Still, we have a job to do, and there’s no sense in delay if there’s no sign of stopping. We should consult our map while we have shelter. Do you know how much longer we have to journey?


Honestly - no idea what to do. But I hope my character can be smarter than me, so can I roll Theology or Shugenja lore for some clues?

Feel free to give me a theology roll. Kami can be very hard to understand.


Theology 3k2: 3d10 ⇒ (1, 9, 3) = 13 Total 12.

the wheel is the representation of the karmic cycle of rebirth. It might represent the destruction of the balance of life, or the breaking of the cycle of reincarnation. Either interpretation would be extremely bad.



Inoue frowns.
"Are we to prevent the balance of life from disrupting, o spirit? But where can we even begin to fulfill such a task?"

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

The young man shakes his head. "I don't understand. It looks like the spirit is talking about the end of the celestial order? That can't be remotely right. This doesn't make any sense to me."

In the cave:

The kami looks at you impassively, snorting once more and fading out with a last breeze of cherry blossom and damp grass. As the pool begins to drip down out of the air, a small tea house flashes and breaks apart. You recognize it as one that you had visited recently in the crane lands.

Tea house:

A young woman of moderate beauty sits at a yamatogoto and begins to pluck out a lilting tune. As the music picks up, a peel of thunder seems to join in as punctuation for the crescendo. Those few who are sitting and sipping tea begin to mutter and cast glares out to the weather outside.

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Hojo let out a long, low sigh. It's getting worse...and this music is so pleasant. Perhaps our journey can wait until tomorrow?


"We are honored that you chose us for this task. We will not fail you." Inoue bows to the spirit.

The shugenja turns he head at Hikonaga. "I guess we have to return there. It seems we will be entangled in the Clans' intrigues after all."

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

"As you say. I do not understand the kami's intent, and must trust to the shugenja for guidance. Let's head back, then." 'Naga looks at his cousin and shrugs as they go to follow their own trail backwards.

"Are you asking if I prefer waiting inside to walking through the rain? Yes of course I do." Nakadai shakes his head and sits back down near to their hostess., closing his eyes ad nodding along with the music.

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

That settles it, then. Hojo was glad that their mission was self-directed. Had he given his word that they'd accomplish this task, he'd walk through the ocean to accomplish it.

What are we doing here? What are we trying to accomplish. I keep stalling to figure out what our mission is, but I have no idea.

I was following you since you seemed to have an idea in mind.

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

No, no clue. I was just stalling...

I do apologize, I had not made it clear that the rest of the group should in fact be interacting with the tea house scene. I am giving you all a chance to RP your characters so everyone can get an idea how said characters are going to act. Once the rest of the party has entered the tea house and done a little bit of interaction I will be initiating an event in order to bring the party together.

Any time you have worries about the direction of the game please feel free to bring them up with me, I am sure there will be a few hiccups due to the sandboxing nature of this campaign.

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

Stepping into the tea house, the young man holds the door until his companions are inside before trying to shake the worst of the water off and placing his weapons in the cabinet. "Something warm would be marvelous right now, don't you think?"

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

That's fine, no worries. But a little direction on what Hojo and Nakadai's goals are would help give us some motivation, maybe?

Yeah, I made the cardinal mistake of not laying out the plan and assuming everyone can follow. Hojo and Nakadai are just trying to survive as best they can. They are about to be dragged into the plot kicking screaming.


Is the cave and Crane village still on? I'm a bit lost.

"Yes, the rain is awful. Reminds me the night at that temple." Inoue takes off his hat and looks for a spot to sit. "Hot tea would be nice."

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Hojo shivered and sipped his tea, a deep pain in his belly. He and his companion were trying to outrun the famine, trading their labor to anyone with even a slight surplus. Their plan was only marginally successful and they had tapped the resources of this little village. As tempting as it was to stay and shelter from the rain, it’d mean going to sleep with an empty belly and losing a whole day of travel to the next stop.

If they tarried too much longer, they might not have the strength to make it much further.

He continued to fill his belly with the warm water. It did little to cut the hunger, but it was better than nothing.

As the other ronin entered the tea house, Hojo regarded them suspiciously. Not all were as stalwart and honorable as he was. Still, they might have food, and traveling in a group was much safer.

Existing players: does it look like you’ve eaten in the last day or so?

The large man keeps nodding his head quietly, but takes obvious notice of the newcomers, and pats his pocket where he keeps his coin purse.

Lots of ronin in here. Doubt there'll be a fight, nobody wants to get thrown out into the rain, but three or four extra men might think they can just take what they want.

Due to the small size of the tea house, and the only other table being taken up by small group of Daidoji drinking sake, the newcomers only open space is seated at the table currently occupied by Nakadai and Hojo.

Inoue. The tea house is in the small crane village. You may continue any discussion you need in the cave, I have just started the tea house scene to give our new players the ability to interact as well. I do apologize for any confusion this has caused.

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

They aren't carrying a lot of fat on them at this point, but they don't have a desperate look in their eyes. Yet.

"Can't prove there was a temple at this point. This has been a very confusing time."

"Guess you two aren't enjoying this weather any more than we were.Don't suppose one of you is one of the shugenja ladies and can turn off the rain?"

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

The young man in dark blue laughs. "Were it that easy, do you suppose they would walk around in the rain?"

"I'm sure they'd have a reason. Some nancy nonsense about balance and humility, no doubt."

The samurai-ko that accompanies the two men (Seno, Naga's companion) remarks in a truly impressive deadpan. "He hasn't asked the Kami to stop yet. Though if someone doesn't soon we will all wish we had been born fish."


Not sure if there's anything more to ask or do in the cave. I guess we're returning back to the village after the spirit "conversation".

Inoue chuckles.
"I'm sure they have their reasons. Besides, I'm not nearly powerful enough to control weather. But I do hope that this will end soon."

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Hojo scoots is to allow the newcomers more space. When I was younger, I believed famine and drought went hand in hand. My hopes for this rain have been sadly unfulfilled. Whatever it is that’s slowing the growth of the fields, it’s not thirst. He regards the assembly as warmly as he can muster through his shivers.

Which way did you come from? We were hoping to leave tonight and travel east, but I’d hate to retrace your steps. We’re trading service for food, you see, and we’ve received all this village can spare. If you’re moving west doing the same, we can attest that there’s nothing for you behind us. We might both be better off traveling south.

As the samurai start to get to know each other and get a banter going, the Dadoji at the other table begin to get a bit belligerent with the house proprietor. It would seem they have gotten too far into their cups. The pretty girl stops playing music and politely offers you a private room upstairs to continue your tea, a momentary glance to the Dadoji is the only indication she gives that anything is amiss.

She is politely saving honour for the Dadoji as well as sparing you the dangers of drunk clan samurai interacting with wavemen.

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Help me out a little with the politics around this. Hojo reveres samurai, but has likely never met more than one in person. That said, he understands his place in society vs. theirs. The Dadoji are almost certainly about to start acting dishonorably, and allowing that to happen is in its own way dishonorable...but so is acting inappropriately toward your social betters. What's the lesser evil here? Would a strict adherent to the code of Bushido choose to accept the musician's offer to defuse the conflict (at the expense of the rest of the patrons and staff) or would he politely try to intercede? Is there a way for him to confront the Dadoji without automatically offending their honor?

Ignoring the dishonorable behavior of others is considered a more or less expected act and actually helps your honor if you are low on that scale, although if you are high it reduces your honor bringing you back to the mean. The musician and the proprietor are of lower station even compared to yourself, the Dadoji are higher in status of course. There are a few different ways you could handle this and still gain honor.

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Hojo thanked the musician graciously, but offered a suggestion. Your offer of a private room is kind, and the comfort would be appreciated...but perhaps our honored guests he indicated the Dadoji [b[Are more deserving of these amenities?[/b]

He hoped that moving the Dadoji would defuse the situation and shield the staff from their boorish behavior. With hopes, they may even sleep off their booze.

Nakadai had been passive mostly because he was listening to the music, but when it stops his face flashes annoyance for the briefest of moments.


He's not immediately looking to fight them as much as he'd like to, and is willing to follow Kosaku's lead on this.

"In their own minds they are anyway."

M Rokugani Hiruma Bushi 1

Hearing the refusal of the attempt to remove the ronin from the room, Hikonaga closes his eyes for a moment, looking down at the table. The young man listens for evidence of the Daidoji response . . ..

The young lady bows, not wishing to offend her patrons. As she starts to back away, the raucous laughter and unruly behavior at the other table begins to breach rules of etiquette.


Inoue sighs and it seems like he want to say something to the Daidoki samurais, but changes his mind. "I think maybe it might be time for us to leave. It won't be long before those drunks begin boasting their status. And what better target than some ronins? You know how it usually ends."

Hojo Kosaku: True Ronin Character Sheet

Hojo nods to Inoue. Back to the rain, then?

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