Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blade and Silk e01 : Blood and Honor


2/10/2013
Blade and Silk
Blood and Honor

After our long Adventure! - Aberrant - Aeon Trinity campaign, we decided to dip our toes into something different.  While the original idea was to play a World of Darkness game, one of our players was only available for games in the morning to early evening.  Even if I had come up with ideas on how to still run horror games during the day, I realized I felt like going for something a bit more exciting and narratively challenging.  Enter John Wick's Blood and Honor.

The three players mapped out their Clan and Daimyo and came up with this:

CLAN:  Kinitchi (One with the Sword)
Daimyo:  Kimagorena  (Mad)
It is Spring:  Daimyo is currently Cruel
Holdings:  Gambling Den, Geisha House, Dojo, Rice Farm and Garrison (Ashigaru)
Three Truths About the Province:   People are Loyal,  the Emperor himself based in Province, Daimyo is Emperor's Lover. (Distant relative of Emperor by blood)

The Samurai of Kinitchi Clan.

Urim portrayed Shinjin, the Clan's Takumi.
The name Shinjin means "Trust Me"
Beauty is his highest Virtue.  Strength is his Weakness.
Takumi (Courtier) Rank 3
Aspects:
None of Us...
Fan Cannot Dispel the Fog
The Best Sword Stays in the Scabbard
Clear-Headed
Advantage: Insight

Mahar portrayed Kuren, the Clan's Onmyoji.
The name Kuren means "Graceful"
Wisdom is her highest Virtue. Courage is her Weakness.
Onmyoji (Spiritual Advisor) Rank 2
Aspects:
None of Us..
Fan Cannot Dispel the Fog
Not all Women are Wives
Mysterious
Advantage: Visions

Rocky portrayed Shizukana, the Clan's Oniwaban.
The name Shizukana  means "Quiet"
Cunning is his highest Virtue. Beauty is his Weaknesss.
Oniwaban (Spymater) Rank 2
Aspects:
None of Us...
Fan Cannot Dispel the Fog
The Best Sword Stays in the Scabbard
Feared
Advantage: Archer's Eye


The Onmyoji makes a pronouncement:   "This Season will find the arrival of a most valuable ally."
With the coming of spring, the Samurai learn of some rumors that have been spreading in the Province.  The first rumor was  "There may be infiltrators in the land" and the Takumi investigates the matter.  He learns that the town elders have heard of this rumor and have noticed a new face in the area.  The man is the one who has been supplying farming tools and teaching the other people in the region how to use them.  The tools were gifts from another Daimyo, one known to be an Ambitious one.

The second rumor was that "People in other Daimyo are not happy that we have the Emperor's favor."  The rumor may relate to the knowledge the players have of the Daimyo being the Emperor's lover.  When the Omnyoji goes to check on the Daimyo, she finds herself intercepted by the Clan's Hatamoto  Roku.  Roku reminds her their master requires his privacy, and escorts her away.  But she is feeling unsettled by the rumor and what she has heard of a third one.

The third rumor was that "The Emperor is sick."  The Oniwaban watches as the Emperor's doctors are escorted out of the Clan's building.  Word reaches him as well that an attack transpires in the Dojo, with two swordsmen that bear the emblem of another Daimyo attack the Takumi.   The Takumi's investigations reveal the swordsmen (both of whom he dispatched quite easily with his katana) had their tongues sliced off, and wore the emblem of the Daimyo Ukita, the one who was supplying them farming implements.

With that, the Daimyo calls for his Samurai, and the four gather to discuss things.  It becomes clear that the someone is out to harm the Clan, but the Daimyo dismisses Ukita as the culprit believing such malevolence would not have had these swordmen bearing the emblem so boldly.  The Onmyoji was consulted for an oracle and her findings from the charts were as follows:


You will find what you most need.
You will return with it in time.
You will return with the most loyal of companions.
Your domain will be safe while you are gone.
Your enemies will reveal themselves.

The Daimyo announces that he and the Emperor are visiting Ukita Province by the next evening.  And so the Samurai are tasked to ensure the safety in the trip.  The Daimyo comes to a decision with Shizukana and Kuren to slip into the Ukita Province in secret.  And the Takumi is to remain behind to watch over the Daimyo.   While resting for the night, the Onmyoji has a vision, and from it she receives a warning:  "Beware secrets under your own nose."


Shizukana and Kuren to sneak into Ukita's Province.  They very quickly uncover truths from Kenji, the Seneschal of the Daimyo Ukita, who happens to be someone whom Shizukana knows.  The Daimyo Ukita it seems is preparing for war.  They had a poor harvest this Season.  The Daimyo Ukita's daughter has been missing.  The only daughter has been missing for 10 full years and was believed to have been kidnapped.  The Daimyo Ukita has no spymaster.  And his general is a woman.   Shizukana knows that the Seneschal is in love with the Daimyo Ukita's courtesan, and that he suspects treachery.  Kenji agrees to prepare an exit route of the Samurai (a raft in the river) and makes arrangements for Shizukana to meet with the Emiko, the Courtesan.  They realize however that there is no direct plot to kill the Daimyo.  And given there is no spymaster, it becomes clear that the former spymaster was dealt with due to the belief he was the one who kidnapped the Daimyo's daughter.

The Takumi, back at the Province, drafts a letter to formally announce that the Daimyo Kinitchi and the Emperor are to visit.  Horses were to be provided for the trip home.  Hospitality was to be extended towards all the Daimyo's vassals.

Unable to travel about without being noticed, Kuren is forced to stay in Kenji's home.  Shizukana meets with Emiko, who transforms into a strange monstrous thing and tries to kill him.   But he easily defeats her with his blade and finds a letter in her body that details the task of assassination by a Daimyo Roku.  Unfamiliar with the name, he attempts to make greater sense of things.

Kuren talks with the Seneschal and learns that Daimyo Utika's daughter, Mitsune, was always a bold figure.  The door slams open as the Hamamoto of Daiymo Utika steps into the room and remains the Senechal admit who he is sheltering without the Daimyo's knowledge.  When Kuren confronts the General, the stories she gains, when added to the facts Shizukana had uncovered paint an unexpected story of the daughter Mitsune having been captured by a monstrous thing in the bamboo forest under the urgings of a Daimyo Roku, who escapes and out of fear of not being able to protect her father, assumes the identity of a different person who eventually gains the role of Hatamoto.  General Omnitsu Matsuda is the daughter of Daimyo Utika.

An attack happens back in the Province however, and Shinjin finds himself dueling against the Hatamoto himself!  Frighteningly, the Samurai is not clearly human.   As they battle, with Shinjin on the losing end, he realizes the Hatamoto is the man who hopes to attack the Emperor.  Bleeding from injuries, Shinjin worries if he can win this fight, but thankfully, the other samurai arrive in time to help in the fight.  As Roku attempts to escape, Shizukana launches an arrow to try and kill the beast, but it the arrow fails to deliver a killing blow.

The story comes to a close with the Samurai accompanying the Emperor and their Daimyo to Ukita Province.  The reunion of Mitsune and Daimyo Utika is a heart-warming moment, one which solidifies the friendship between the two provinces.

At least for now.

*

Now will this be an ongoing story?  Or a one-shot?  My best is a one-shot, which I don't mind.  But definitely the experience was pretty fun and I foresee us playing this again soon.
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