The End of the Beginning

Game 8: The End of the Beginning


Game 8

Downtime Experience and Rewards

  • 30 XP for Rings/Traits (excess becomes Any Xp)
  • 25 XP for Skills
  • 4 XP on Emphases
  • 10 XP for Other (Appropriate Adv/Disadv, Kata, and other)
  • Note: Do not go higher than Rank 4 and try not to set yourself up to be higher than Rank 4 for at least 5 sessions of Act II

Honor and Glory

  • Kinotu
  • Spectre

Out of Character Notes

  • Date: 26 JUL 2015
  • Year 1113, Month of the Doji/Goat (Aug), Day 14
    (Approximately two months since previous game)

Downtime Activities Not Listed Elsewhere

In Character Events

*Year 1113, Month of the Doji/Goat (Aug), Day 22
(Roughly 2 months Since Previous)
Under a Blood Moon

The Killer in Me is the Killer in You (Kinotu)

The Voice offered great power to Kinotu as well as the revelation of tremendous corrupted benefits. Kinotu was led to discover an old Maho cult haunt established by the Cult of Iuchiban during his first reign. All about the room were zombie masks and maho scrolls as well as a stone sacrifice table.

As Kinotu examined the masks, the Voice revealed that they have the power to raise the dead. One, in particular, has "the power to see the darkness for what it is, to see the light as well; it allows the zombies to focus friend from foe” and grants control over the rest.

The two discussed a deal to be made. First, the Voice offered Kinotu the ability to remove all of his corruption and Taint if he will complete the ritual and release the Voice from his trapped location. Kinotu, thinking that the Voice would betray him, refused. However, he did want to release the full power of the creature and followed through with the ritual.

The ritual required placing his old friend, the monk Osai, upon the sacrifice table. He used the ritual daggers to slice Osai’s throat and bind him. From the pooled blood rose the Oracle of Blood, a representation of Iuchiban himself. In this case, the Oracle was none other than Jama Suru, chief general of the Bloodspeaker. Kinotu used his own blood to rise up chains of mystical iron and bind the Oracle, now in the reformed body of Jama Suru, permanently to the altar. When he did so a tremendous power unleashed into him and out into the city.

The general of Iuchiban, Jama Suru, remains trapped in the hidden room with the zombie masks. A portion of his power went out and created a living Mist of Fear in the Lower Juramashi where the fighting and fires were taking place. Kinotu realized that he was partially responsible and discovered that he could travel through the pooled blood left behind by the Oracle of Blood. He leaped into it, gaining futher Taint, and appeared in the Lower Juramashi in the room in which he killed his shugenja ally (reference previous logs). Before he left, Kinotu slipped on the Master Mask that allowed him to see the corrupted spirit of the Mists of Fear.

Shadowlands Powers and Mechanics:

  • There are 50 Porcelain Masks (p31 EoE) originally created by the Voice (Oracle of Blood, Jama Suru).
  • There were maho spells: Rank 1: Blood Rite; Rank 3: Summon Oni; another Rank 2 Maho Spell (chosen by the player)

Signs of the Taint:
Level 1 – Kintou beginning to feel sickly and tired; specifically feels his insides writhing around like a massive worm (they are)

Level 2 – The nightmares begin

Mutation: Writhing Organs
Your organs have begun to fuse together into a single wormlike structure that slithers through your insides and causes you discomfort. If you are cut open, your inner organs are revealed to be connected into this pale, wormlike connection that will be instantly recognizable as a symptom of the Taint.

Minor Shadowlands Power:
Uncanny Speed – The Taint grants you speed greater than should be possible for someone of your size and strength. Your Water Ring is considered to be two Ranks higher for the purpose of how far you can move with a Simple or Complex Move Action. In return, you are fidgety and nervous, unable to sit still for more than a few minutes.

A Night Underground (Ejio)

Ide Tenseko arranged to have Doji Ejio brought down below the City of Otosan Uchi, back to her domain. This time he was not blindfolded and could see the way, could easily rediscover it if he wished. He was guided by the mysterious ronin known as Simple to an underground island in a lake surrounded by sharp rocks on all sides save one. As they crossed the water, Ejio felt the presence of a tremendous snake-like creature below the water and felt the well of terror rise. (Mechanical Note: Ejio had to and did succeed on a Fear 3 Roll).

As Ejio arrived in her meeting chambers he discovered dozens of his little boxes propped up around the manse. Tenseko had bought most of them and had a plan. The two discussed minor matters for a time, Ejio reminded yet again that Tenseko, the Master, has her eye on him in more ways than one.

Tenseko revealed the truth and brutality of her life, exposing herself to him as she has never before done with anyone. However, Ejio discovered quickly that she was not merely going to let him go. He must be tested and, if found wanting, Ejio needed only look at the dark waters in the underground chamber.

  • A Discussion of Life and Death
    The aim for Tenseko was to test Ejio to see how he would react to her in the full knowledge of what she is and wishes to be. Then give him a choice (a false one, but he didn’’t need to know that in advance; Tenseko would have killed him if he failed her tests and proved unworthy). Ejio (using Courtier/Perception) discovered the nature of her tests and was able to respond accordingly moving forward.

As they moved through the underground mansion, Doji Ejio was able to recognize some truly remarkable (and stolen) objects of art and history. This revealed to him that Tenseko’s love of art was not merely a hobby, but a true passion. Ejio also recognized the mon of Ichita’s Boys, the ronin otokodate that has begun working with the ronin Spectre.

In one room Ejio saw an old and secret Ikoma scroll taken from the Imperial Library that detailed the true actions of a battle more than 50 years prior. In another room, the Hall of the Twins (Phoenix and Scorpion), he discovered acting garb, masks of Scropion Champions and Daimyo, and scrolls from the Shosuro Library. There were secret spells and lore of the Phoenix as well. Finally, Ejio noted a special mask that Tenseko revealed to belong to Bayushi Atsuki, the traitor Scorpion Champion who helped lead the Gozoku.

They moved on further into the Secret Chamber of the Dragon (a Garden Maze in miniature bonsai) and discussed the Sentaku. “We will make them better and more pure.”

The next room was filled with Crab armor, a Kaiu blade, and Unicorn saddles and travel poetry. Here they discussed Ejio’s child and Ayami.

The next room was the Chamber of Three and in it were three objects of power, art, and glory. The Test of Artistic choice took place here.

Mechanical Note: On each test Ejio was given a chance to make a role. At minimum, if he succeeded, he would end up with Ide Teseko as a 4 Influence/1 Devotion Ally. However, each roll granted him an opportunity to make 3 Raises for no other purpose than to develop her further. Once past 4/4 Ally he could try to go further and develop a supernatural Kharmic Tie.

  • Discussion of the Sentaku Syndicate
    “That sanctioned criminal enterprise is to power in the Empire as I am to power in this city.”

The two discussed the merits and weaknesses of the Syndicate and laid out future methods of control and manipulation. Tenseko was happy with Ejio’s views on the group.

  • Ayami discussion (testing morality)
    “She will use it to shame you and yours. To weaken your father and your siblings and your own position.”

Back and forth to realize she is testing him to see if he is worthy – she obviously desires him. Maybe even love. But she is rational enough to destroy him if she must.

When asked why he did not want to assassinate Soshi Ayami, Ejio had this to say:
“I do not want this solved with a blade. There are solutions that can only be solved with violence and this is not one. Alternate solutions. Child is my own. I will not turn upon my blood.”

  • The Whisper of Temptation
    Tenseko attempted successfully to seduce Ejio further. On this test he (happily) failed.
  • The Test of Artistic Choice
    Three items were left in this room and Ejio had to choose between them. Tenseko had assigned each a value and would measure Ejio on his choice.

One item was of immeasurable value if given to his clan (Power). This was none other than the Shakuhachi of Air, an elemental artifact obtained long ago. This was worth the least to Tenseko.

One item was of Tradition stolen from the Crane (Heritage) – This was the original Biwa of Kakita stolen from the Crane years prior. It was given to one of her ancestors for protection and she took it from them and replaced with a copy. This was worth the second-most to her.

One item was of Unique quality unrivaled in its realm (Art) – This item held the most value to Tenseko, for it was the item with no power, no abilities. It was a stone, the first ever artwork crafted by the crude and childlike Hantei Genji, the Shining Prince and the patron of all culture and art. Ejio chose this and advanced himself greatly.

  • Test of Commerce
    Tenseko discussed a plot to turn Ejio’s novelty boxes into a true mercantile enterprise. She will hide criminal objects in many of the boxes and use them to smuggle and hide. He chose to agree to her terms and because of his success (Sincerity) she believed him thoroughly.
  • The Test of Art v. The Beast
    “How can I ally with you if I do not know that you are bold? That you are skilled beyond the others? That you will not collapse in the face of harsh choices or fear? A Young geisha in training, Miako, whispered secrets to an enemy and betrayed me. Her betrayal destroyed the lives of four of my men – men who were loyal where she was not. Should she die? You could let her. I give the choice to you. Prove to me you are ruthless or show me some other way. Or you could try to save her?"

How to save her? Tenseko offers him a strange Asahina tsangusuri.
“This chisel is one of a kind. The man who made it long dead. It has but one purpose.” (ability to allow a person to craft a sculpture in a single day/night)

“Sway the beast. Save her.”

The Beast is revealed to be Tenseko’s personal ally and servant, an albino abomination of the Naga named Kyaku. The beast coiled around the girl, terrifying her and Ejio as he worked through his fear. Over the course of a whole night Ejio crafted a remarkable statue that preyed upon teh Naga’s own emotions. In the end, the great beast moved away from the girl and to the statue, giving her freedom.

Miako became immediately loyal to Ejio at this time and possess the Rank 3 Geisha technique in Sword and Fan.

In the end, Ejio was able to make enough raises to increase Ide Tenseko to an Ally 4/4 AND gain 2 ranks of Kharmic Tie with her.

It All Comes Crashing Down (Koutetsu)
Ashidaka Koutetsu followed the trail left by Kakita Chi-Yomi to the Candle House. She sat holding the Twilight Blade, waiting for Koutetsu to find her. Before he left her home he ordered a trader to alert the Magistrates in a few hours, after he had collected the swords, boxed them up, and taken them to a secure location.

This is what happened at the murder scene:
“Seppun Kossori came again. She spoke in a tone that told me she understood my sorrow, but she did not care. I am a tool, to her. A thing to make other things to make her powerful. I have wanted to break free for so long.”

“I am weak. I could no longer serve.”

Chi-Yomi murdered Kossori and her guards with the Twilight Blade. She then broke her own Kakita Blade for she no longer felt worth, but she could not use it and disgrace it with murder.

“I regret that I cannot give you more for the final blade. You have my forge. You have my knowledge. And you have the pieces of my blade. I did not disgrace it with Kossori’s death…but I regret that I grabbed the nearest blade and it was one of yours.”

“They will implicate you in my dishonor. They will believe you helped me.”

“Cleanse yourself by facing me now. Kill me in your home and turn me over as the criminal I am. You will be victorious in your honor and saved from the shame. They were going to do the same thing to you if I left. They would have chained you to that forge your entire life."

Chi-Yomi offered him one final gift, a tsangusuri fetish, a vial of oil he can use to rub along a blade to make a blade better (grants 5 free raises for creation of an item). “It is the last thing I can give you.”

The two Kakita faced one another, Koutetsu unable to determine another course of action. Unfortunatley, in the last moment, he failed to win. Chi-Yomi refused to kill him and instead turned her blade upon herself, ending her own life in death and shame.

Koutetsu was left in the Candle House for a time, unable to consider the ramifications of what had occurred. He gained the Haunted (Gaki Chi-Yomi) disadvantage. Later, Kitsu Okura arrived having been called for by Chi-Yomi prior to the duel. The Lion healed Koutetsu and told him that he was needed at the Outer Wall as there “are fire kami in force there, and an explosion.”

Family Business (Koutetsu)
The fires in the Lower Juramashi drew Koutetsu out and as he walked the streets in a fugue, a messenger raced by on a horse calling out his name. Kaiu Metsumoto had an order for him to come to the Outer Wall and execute the daughter of the Dark Passage Village headman immediately.

Before he could make his decision, the messenger informed Koutetsu than Doji Kurotema, the karo of Governor Metsumoto, also wished to speak with him immediately. He met with Kurotema, understanding the driving need to do so, before going to the Outer Wall.

Kurotema revealed a message from Koutetsu’s father. The message revealed that Ashidaka Hijikei was removing Koutetsu as the heir to the Ashidaka family and instead placing him as a regent until he could find a proper husband for one of his sisters. It was obvious to Koutetsu that Bayushi Akedare, his nemesis in these matters, had a hand in the matter. Kurotema had this to say:

“You need to be near me. If not you, will never be able to seek your vengeance. If you come, I offer you aid in removing Akedare and restoring your honor and position.”

_ The Letter: Hijikei’s Forced Retirement to the Mountain of the Seven Thunders_
Koutetsu is now the Regent, but no longer the Heir, of the Ashidaka

The Mists of Fear
The spirit released from Jama Suru was chased to the Lower Juramashi by Kinotu. It wreaked havoc, spreading its fear across the district and causing the residents to riot. It incited the crowd and forced Kaiu Metsumoto to bring down the hammer. He waited for Koutetsu, his Blade of Execution.

We Could Be Heroes (All PCs)
The Mists of Fear circled the crowd as Kinotu hid, invisible, seeking it out.

Koutetsu spoke to Metsumoto and the Governor ordered him to slay Ogoso’s daughter. Prior to the act, the ronin Spectre arrived and threw down three heads from the Untethered Goat into the circle. The headman Ogoso revealed that was these men and not his innocent daughter who was the culprit. The ronin Spectre backed his word.

The Governor refused to listen and ordered Koutetsu again to kill the girl. In a moment of terrible decision backed by the previous events of the evening, Ashidaka Koutetsu turned on his current lord and broke the Blade of Execution in utter refusal to obey the dark man’s wishes. At the same time, Usagi Kinotu launched his surprise attack on the spirit of the Mists of Fear. Immediately, the dead spirit hurled itself into Kaiu Metsumoto and sent the man into a violent rage. All present felt the dark fear (Fear 5).

As the riots burned the city around them and everyone fled, Koutetsu and Spectre flanked the possessed governor. The ronin Spectre used the defense ability to guard Koutetsu and saved his life as he prepared his own attack. Usagi Kinotu fled the battlefield in order to get back to his own secret location.

Spectre and Koutetsu each slammed into Metsumoto, but the undying Kaiu refused to fall. Kintou leaped through the blood portal, gained Taint, and returned to the bound Jama Suru.

Finally, the twin strikes of the Kakita and the ronin ended the possessed Governor’s life. Spectre was hailed as a Hero of the People for standing up for Ogoso and against the Governor.

Later, Kinotu gave an account of how bloodspeakers had caused the riots and he had destroyed them. He staged a zombie using one of the masks and made it appear as if he had defeated a bloodspeaker enemy alone.

Additional notes: when Ejio returned to the Upper Juramashi the riots had begun to spread. He used his skillful rhetoric to sway the crowd and stop the spread of destruction. Also, the Emerald Champion rode in at the end to put down the riots in the Lower Juramashi.

The End of the Beginning

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