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eScoub

[spoilers] Starting a new campaign

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Hi guys,

I thought it would be nice to write this topic over here as I am planning a campaign for my players.

Everyone is welcome to give feedback, ideas or critics.

This topic will include many, many spoilers about the universe, and is something I build according to my very personnal point of view about many things in L5R universe.

We played L5R for a long time, we had many characters on the table, and always played around the SCC period (didn’t like the background after the 2nd day of the Thunders).

For this campaign, I wanted to get the players on high stakes, explore some deep secrets and be confronted to something big. If you think about the Kolat, you might be wrong as I really dislike the Kolat as a very big, untouchable organisation. I like their ideas, but for me they are just a bunch of people with an ideal, keeping low profile and waiting for « their » moment, with each faction trying to overcome the others. So not really the killing machine they are usually depicted as. They might be the origin of some adventures, but I intend to confront the PC to something way more dangerous.

Right now, I’ve read the Topaz Championship, Palace of the Emerald Champion, Dark Tides and Kyotei Castle scenarios. All present a solid base for nice adventures so the players can get into their characters, meet a few NPCs and roll some dices.

Talking about players, here is my table :

-        - A Togashi Monk (I tried to say no, player insisted, let’s see where it goes). Pretty usefull for me to have this character, we’ll see what he’ll become once the campaign really start and he discovers the true nature of his daimyo.

-         - An Asahina shugenja, really peacefull, player printed a list of all kami and fortunes, so we’ll get into religious small-talk and stuff. I might link him to Asahina Yajinden and make a few scenarios around the Bloodswords (would be nice). And add a really grim side to the character.

-          - A Bayushi courtier who enjoy gossips. He serves the Empire, so I really want to know what he’ll do when the SCC comes by. The PCs should be into so much trouble by then that they will surely spare him as they’ll need him. Also, I might want to give him some Shosuro blood to make things a bit more scary. Maybe.

-         - A Moto bushi, who wants to ride across all Rokugan. Its player is no a big fan of courtesy and and all ceremonial, but he’s willing to give it a try.

-         - A Shiba bushi. I still have to find things to do to him but I’m confident.

Right now, we are running the Topaz Championship. They met Satsume’s ghost, get the hint about Hitoshi being the son of someone (but they still don’t know if it’s Satsume or Toshimoko) and they think one of the competitors (an honest Akodo bushi) tries to sabotage their gempukku. Right now I find Hitoshi’s story quite good, but I feel I can launch the campaign with him. How so ? Well. Basically, the players are here to assure he lives because he might be the next Crane Thunder (I insist on might).

I really wonder whar FFG is gonna do with the storyline, but right now I feel I have elements to make a good one.

So here’s the plot : the SCC will occur as Bayushi Shoju is sure it’s the only way to ensure the safety of the Empire (as he knows Fu Leng will return and possess the last Hantei Emperor). But Fu Leng is not the real threat here. The real « bad guy » in my campaign would be the Lying Darkness. The fragment of Nothing that subsists from the early days of the world. The one that helped Shosuro getting back from the Shadowlands and consumed her.

What does it want ? It wants the world (aka the Empire here) to get back no the Great Nothing. For centuries, it has watched the humanity, afraid and curious. Now, it seems the Empire is on the verge of chaos. Fu Leng will return thanks to these feeble humans, and this is the perfect way for the Nothing ro reach the the gate between the mortal realms and Heaven : Otosan Uchi. Once there, it will be able to absorb the Heavens.

Ok, that is an awesome plan, but how can I involve my players ? They are not able to defeat Nothing out of the blue, right ? Of course. They won’t. Even when they reach rank 6, they won’t. Because we’re speaking about deities. But they can fight Nothing’s minions. They can assure Fu Leng is defeated by the Thunder. How so ?

Well, the « second » Thunder are the reincarnation of the souls of the first. If a « thunder » dies, then the soul would reincarnate in another body.

But what if the soul is stuck somewhere ? Right now, as my players will get their gempukku, a few thunder souls are in trouble :

-         -  Shosuro (Bayushi) Kachiko is called day after day by this little voice… Shosuro has been consumed by the Nothing, and her (his ?) offspring is an easy target for the Lying Darkness.

-          - Doji Hotaru is in danger, as her lover will slowly spread the Darkness into her too. Hotaru seems a nice character, lots of trouble, the need to prove herself… so an easy target but potentially a great Thunder. If she was to die, Hitoshi would be a good Thunder too.

-          - Hida Atarasi : the Thunder from the Crab fell to Jigoku and became an Akutenshi, a lieutenant of Fu Leng. He is still fighting his father in the Shadowlands (Crab legends are true !) but when the Dark Scrolls will be opened, he will finally be able to kill Hida-kami and launch a terrible attack on the Empire. Worst, the Crab will have to face the son of its founder. Troubles are coming.

On the other hand, many people are likely to help the PC. The most powerfull one would certainly be Togashi « Yokuni ». Not directly helping, but sending the PC where needed. He knows a lot about everything (the Nothing, the Kolat, the Scorpion), but as « our time has come and now should mankind prevail » he will mostly watch over the PC while they try to save the Empire.

So my PC will be « on their own » trying to unmask an enemy without any form for a « quest » no one would truly believe. Yummy !

Right now, they have no clue I’m preparing this, and they (well, some of them) already want to solve Satsume’s death. I plan to run the scenario almost as it is written, except Bayushi Sugai would certainly not « run to be caught » but be a bit more subtle in his approach to ruin the Championship and they might get their hands on the ronin he recruited. But then, who would trust a ronin when an honest samurai said he didn’t do it ? They will have to be convincing ! Or Sugai could become a recurrent sworn enemy. Or we could test the rules for duel. Every option is fine by me !

Also, I don’t like the idea of all PC becoming Emerald magistrates. This is a high-status fonction with a lot of responsabilities and power. So they might get an offer to become yoriki (assistants to a magistrate) for some time, in  order to train for a couple years (and not getting a 3 days-training in some castle). Said Magistrate would send them to work anyway, and is a perfect reason to travel across the Empire on various cases.

To be continued.

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17 hours ago, eScoub said:

Also, I don’t like the idea of all PC becoming Emerald magistrates. This is a high-status fonction with a lot of responsabilities and power. So they might get an offer to become yoriki (assistants to a magistrate) for some time, in  order to train for a couple years (and not getting a 3 days-training in some castle). Said Magistrate would send them to work anyway, and is a perfect reason to travel across the Empire on various cases.

Remember that Akodo Toturi was made supreme legal authority of the Empire on the grounds of successfully slicing some paper streamers off a scorpion's armbands. Things really do work that way.

However, if you want a slightly more sensible or defensible idea; assuming one of your PCs wins the Topaz Championship, Sumiko offers that samurai the chance to become an Emerald Magistrate, and the other PCs to become their yoriki. They'd still be junior, and still be sent out either under direct supervision or on cases Sumiko feels they can be trusted on (depending on how they comport themselves in the Emerald Fortress), but that makes a degree more sense than them all becoming magistrates straight out of their Gempukku.

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I agree with you. But Toturi or even Aramoro are high-ranking, educated people coming from major families. They can totally pretend to the Emarald Champion's post.

We are here speaking about 16-yo samurai enforcing the law on behalf of the Emperor. The title is a bit too important (my point of view) to assume for them.

I'm thinking about promoting the "best PC"to something like "first yoriki".

But Topaz Champion is a title he would be honored to wear.

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