Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kintani Valley Bandits

It took two more weeks (of gaming – two days in terms of the campaign) to solve the Murder of Kyotei Castle.

This week Rick and Dave were out partying – but they dropped off Jackson and Patrick… so we just played a little skirmish game and said Bayushi Gorou had to journey to Otosan Uchi to make a report ot the Emerald Champion about the murder of the Daimyo. The rest of the group had to stay in the Kintani Valley as Kitsuki Shin was still recovering from his nearly mortal wounds sustained in the action the previous week and could not be moved (other than to get across the river into Phoenix lands where they had better hearlers) . Isawa Minoru – who was also seriously injured – we said healed rather quickly because, let’s face it, he’s got the Kami on his side!

So while hanging about in the domain of Daimyo Shiba Katsuda they decided to make themselves useful and try and track down a group of bandits that had been plaguing the area and had thus far eluded Shiba’s warriors…

The group tracked the bandits to their hide out deep in a wooded mountain valley. At dawn they attacked!

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Isawa Minoru, and the two Phoenix Yojimbo sent to protect him, were the two heroes of the evening. The Yojimbos each cut down more of the bandits than the big talking lion (Phoenix Yojimbo extras fighting d8, Strength d8, Lion PC Wildcard fighting d12, strength d12…). Minoru himself saved the players from getting their asses kicked by tying up the one wildcard on the bandits side with the help of the kami – the one guy that really could have laid the hurt down on the PCs…

The Bandits leader was so nasty that the ONE TURN he was not ensorcelled he stabbed Okatsu with a knife… through her armour… giving her 3 wounds – while he himself was feeling the hurt of two wounds she had just slashed into him! The Phoenix yojimbo strode up and cut him down the next turn before he could do much more damage!

I hope that little spell doesn’t become a one-trick-pony that they always fall back on… or I might have to throw out some nasty shugenja as adversaries… or Oni that are immune to silly little spells like that… I’m already conisering raising the bar for badguy skillz just to deal with all the d10/d12 fighting in the group!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Murder at Kyotei Castle – Part One

This past Saturday our new Savage Worlds Campaign set in Rokugan (the setting for Alderac Entertainment Group’s Legend of the Five Rings) got underway! We are playing an adventure called Murder at Kyotei Castle which is one of two adventures included in Honours Veil).

It’s been a while since I played with such a large group (SEVEN players!) and a while since I’ve run some gen-u-ine role-playing adventures. Most of the games I’ve run on Savage Saturday for the last while have pretty much been straight up skirmish games – which is totally fun - but sometimes it’s a whole lot of fun to put the minis aside and do some good old role-playing!

In a Nutshell: the group was invited to attend the Bon Festival at Kyotei castle. They arrived, got settled in and chatted up some other samurai that were hanging about. Later in the evening was the Bon Festival. Gorou, due to his being an Imperial magistrate, got to sit at the “adult table” with the all the local bigwigs and a couple of visiting Daimyo. Much time was spent yakking with people at the party. In the morning there seemed to be a disturbance in the castle and with a bit of asking about they figured out the local Daimyo had been murdered in the night…

…and that’s about it…

Next week: the investigation begins!

Christian has made a character... but I'll post details about that a bit later with some more background details about the other players.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Welcome to Rokugan

This year we are starting a new Savage Worlds Campaign set in Rokugan (the setting for Alderac Entertainment Group’s Legend of the Five Rings). The CCG – which it is all based on – has been raging on continuously since the early ‘90’s and a great deal of high quality background fluff has been generated. On one hand it’s great having all that canned stuff ready to serve, but it's also a bit intimidating starting a whole new campaign in a setting with so much canon – much of which is available online (L5R Wiki) - there’s always that possibility that a ├╝berkeener player with too much time on their hands could end up knowing more about the world that the GM…

Over the last month I have picked up a LOT of the L5R RPG books from various different editions as well as a number of the Clan War series novels and some of the Clan War (a now out-of-print miniatures game) army books – these just came with some of the army expansion box sets which I really just picked up for the minis… oh, and I’ve bought a LOT of minis…! (you can follow all the mini painting and other related miniature wargames shenanigans over at Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog). I’ve been able to pick up most of it quite cheap – and mostly brand new/never opened – off of ebay and I’ve been spending the last few weeks sifting through some of the material.

With each edition of the L5R RPG (following the lead of the CCG) the story has advanced considerable. My plan is to set the campaign in the world of the first edition – in the lead up to the Clan Wars (before the Scorpion Coup – ssshhhh – don’t tell the players about that!!)

Session number one (last night) was devoted to making some new characters. Having a look at them, astute readers will notice that these are a little better than your average brand new novice character. That is because I generally like to give players a bit of a leg up. I like the high adventure – I’m not a GM that plays the game to kill PCs – I like the players having characters that don’t suck and can survive in the harsh “reality” of Savage Worlds. I’ve thought of giving extra skill points and extra attribute points but generally with that players just take MORE skills at d4 and have all their stats at d8. I’d rather a character have at least ONE THIGN that they’re REALLY GOOD at so I give them one attribute and one skill at d10 – in addition to the regular 5 Skill points and 5 Attribute points.

I gave them all a free edge (beyond the normal free edge for being human); Samurai - which is similar to the "Noble" - they will have +2 charisma when dealing with the lower classes and essentially could have any equipment within reason as all would be provided by their clan or the emperor... The motivation in this game is not to gather enough loot to buy that next better suit of armour or enough trail rations to make it through the next dungeon - it is to serve the emperor and do his bidding...

I also gave Rick's Character 20 experience points - and the level-ups that go with that - as he is the leader of the group and an Imperial magistrate... I just thought it just wouldn't do for an Imperial Magistrate to be a "novice".

In the past (because we, at best, only get in one game a week and campaigns rarely last more than a couple months – but hopefully that’s about to change with this one!) I often have given out 5XP per session until characters get to veteran – just so the players can actually see their characters advance and get sort of good… before we pack it in… I think with this game I’m only going to do that until Seasoned…


Anyway, here’s what everyone came up with…

Bayushi Garou - Rick
Seasoned – 20XP
Ag d6, Sm d10, Sp d6, St d8, Vg d8,
Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 7
Skills: Fighting d10, Notice d6, Stealth dX, Intimidate d6, Investigation d8, Streetwise d8, Persuasion d6, Knowledge (Law) d8, Knowledge (Heraldry) d6
Edges: Samurai, Connections, Brawny, Luck, Investigator, Magistrate, Imperial Magistrate
Hindrances: Code of Honour (Bushido), Loyal (to the Emperor!), Enemy (minor – powerful, but infrequent)
Kimono, Katana (Damage Str+d6+2), Wakasishi (Str+d6)
Bayushi Garou is and Imperial (Emerald) Magistrate.

Okatsu Setsuko – Amanda
Ag d10, Sm 6, Sp d6, St d6, Vg d8,
Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 7
Skills: Fighting d10, Shooting d4, Notice d6, Stealth d4, Intimidate d6, Streetwise d4, Tracking d4, Repair d4, Healing d4, Riding d10, Swimming d4
Edges: Samurai, Alertness, Brawny, Quick
Hindrances: Stubborn, Code of Honour (bushido), Loyal (to the Emperor)
Kimono, Katana (Damage Str+d6+2), Wakasishi (Str+d6)
Armour (+2), Horse, Tack, etc…

Kitsuki Hatiro – Darrin
Ag d6, Sm d10, Sp d8, St d6, Vg d6,
Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 5
Skills: Fighting d10, Notice d8, Stealth d4, Intimidate d4, Investigation d6, Persuasion d4, Streetwise d8, Knowledge (shadowlands) d4, Climbing d4, Healing d4, Tracking d4
Edges: Samurai, Unarmed Warrior, Heightened Senses, Alertness
Hindrances: Code of Honour (bushido), Quirk (mysterious), Loyal
Kimono, Tanto (Str+d4)

Isawa Minoru - Jackson
Ag d6, Sm d8, Sp d12, St d4, Vg d6,
Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 5, Charisma -2
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d4, Stealth d4, Knowledge (arcana) d10, healing d10, Spellcasting d12
Edges: Arcane Background (Shugenja), Healer, (Magic-related edge – to be determined)
Hindrances: Pacifist (minor), Ugly, Heroic
Gear: Kimono, Tanto (Str+d4), Bag of Magic Tricks.
(To Be Determined)
Isawa Minoru is of average height and skinny. His face is hideously scarred from a magical experiment gone awry. Minoru was sent from his family at the age of six to begin his shugenja training and thus feels little affinity towards them. He has six siblings – all of whom are shugenja.

Akodo Kenta - Patrick
Ag d8, Sm d4, Sp d6, St d12, Vg d8,
Pace 6, Parry 8, Toughness 7
Skills: Fighting d12, Shooting d4, Notice d8, Intimidate d8, Tracking d4, Riding d8
Edges: Samurai, Brawny, Quick
Hindrances: Clueless, Illiterate, Stubbourn
Gear: Kimono, Katana (Damage Str+d6+2), Wakasishi (Str+d6)
Armour (+2), Horse, Tack, etc…

Kitsuki Shin- Dave
Ag d8, Sm d10, Sp d8, St d4, Vg d6,
Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 5
Skills: Fighting d6, Notice d6, Streetwise d10, Investigation d10, Knowledge (Law) d8, Knowledge (Heraldry) d6, Healing d10
Edges: Samurai, Ambidextrous, Alertness, Luck
Hindrances: Code of Honour (Bushido), Loyal, Quirk (Mysterious Dragon, Speaks in riddles)
Gear: Kimono, Katana (Damage Str+d6+2), Wakasishi (Str+d6)

(I also happen to have miniatures to represent of most of their characters on the rare occasion that they'd be donning ARMOUR to go into battle... )

They all came up with quite detailed backgrounds for their characters – which I think I’ll let everyone refine a bit before I post the details here… Essentially Bayushi Garou (Rick’s Character) is an Imperial Magistrate and the rest are his hand-picked assistants. The two Kitsukis and Isawa Minuro are his “Yoriki” – assistants that help with investigation – while Akodo Kenta and Okatsu Setsuko are “doshin” - the muscle or, literally, “enforcers” of THE LAW.

Christian has also been working on a character. Now because of his job Christian will only be able to show up once in a while so we wanted to make a character that I could just sort of drop into (just about) any adventure with minimal notice… so… we shall see what we come up with there…