- Barb plays Okitsu, a fox-spirit who often possesses a shrine maiden.
- Matt plays Taro, an apprentice blacksmith under Master Tetsu.
- +Paul plays Yushin, a Buddhist monk recently returned to the town.
- Rohin plays Yuriko, the owner of a tea-house who is also a ninja.
First session went OK I think, although I kept forgetting things like adding opponent's Stress to your pool. The first Contest was a bit murky - Okitsu as a fox pursuing a possessed Tetsu through the streets. She ended up giving him d12 Angry Stress just by relentless pursuit; on reflection, I probably should have just Given In and let her follow him back to the forge where Taro was waiting. My head wasn't thinking about it the right way around at the time. I think I was reacting to what the possessing Tengu wanted, rather than what the story wanted.
There were a couple of good Contests in the second half, though - an epic swordfight between Taro and his possessed master, who insisted they fight to prove he could wield swords and not just make them. Taro fought his master down in an epic exchange, d10 Injuring him and Stressing him Out. The Tengu spirit fled in a flurry of shadowy black wings.
Okitsu witnessed the fight as a fox, but didn't reveal herself. She waited until the monk, Yushin, went to sleep, and tried to implant an image of the fight and the Tengu into his dreams using a Special Effect. However, Yushin used his Iron Will Special Effect to reflect the dream power back onto Okitsu. Since they'd both Plot Pointed each other, I figured a Contest was in order. Okitsu attempted to show him the dream-vision without revealing herself, but Yushin attempted to ignore the vision and reach out to whoever was manipulating the dream. Even without a firm Relationship to call on, Yushin called upon the Monastery and the power of the Buddha, forcing Okitsu to bring the power of Inari to bear, finally overwhelming Yushin's efforts to uncover her. The monk woke in a cold sweat, strangely Angered (d12) by the encounter. He decided to go sit under a waterfall until he calmed down.
By the end of the session Taro had Challenged his Duty d4 and Yushin had gained d12 Stress. All the other Stress was gained by my Features, so there wasn't much Growth. However, now everyone's seen what happens when you get in Contests and knows how Growth works, so hopefully they will happily succumb to Contests, Stress and Challenging Drives next time.
My first attempt at creating a Wedge (an NPC who exacerbates tensions between the PCs) was pretty slapdash. I came up with something that affected an existing Feature in a way that could provoke a lot of responses, and then sort of used the Episode Map to make note of what effect it might have - sort of a checklist and reminder note.
As it turned out, only two Leads were in the same place when the Tengu was dealt with, and one of them was hiding. I was also surprised at how easily my Wedge got beaten up, although it was a good fight. Unfortunately, since the focus was on dealing with a Feature, the Leads didn't really have to deal with each other directly and there was only one Lead vs Lead Contest. This has led to a deeper understanding of why it's important for Wedges to push the Leads into each other, rather than just provoking a reaction that causes the Lead to oppose the Wedge directly.
>>> Episode 2