Tuesday, 17 April 2012

SamuraiVille Episode 2

  • 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.

Following on from Episode 1, some conflicts are already in progress: The Taro/Yuriko situation was set off by my Wedge the Tengu in Ep 1, but he didn't have a chance to confront her before the session ended. The foci for conflict in Episode 2 are as follows:
  • TARO wants to confront YURIKO about her role in Tetsu's possession last Episode (caused by excessive drinking at her tea-house). 
  • TARO doesn't trust OKITSU, so I'm planning to bring the two of them together. 
  • YUSHIN has a bad opinion of YURIKO and may confront her about leading the Daimyo astray. 
  • YUSHIN wants to find out OKITSU's true identity; he suspects that the dream may have been caused by his childhood friend, Akiko, who is actually one of Okitsu's forms. 
  • OKITSU has an axe to grind with YURIKO as well, as her mystical drinks have caused trouble for the town. 

All of the other PCs have Yuriko in their sights, which is good as she didn't get much of a look-in last episode. Mostly it's her dream-wine causing issues. I also want to get Yushin and Okitsu together so they can continue their game of identity hide-and-seek, and see if I can get Taro to react to Okitsu. The Wedges are as follows:

KUROICHI: The tengu has fled to the forest, where he broods angrily. He has cursed the town with a type of Gaki (hungry ghosts) that are invisible but which eat and spoil rice. Drinking Yuriko's dream-wine is one way to let the characters see them, allowing the ghosts to be fought physically. This allows everyone to see the useful side of the dream-wine, and gives Yuriko a chance to help save the rice supply (something of great importance to Okitsu).

TETSU: Upon learning of his possession, he will ask Taro to go find the Shrine Maiden Mariko (one of Okitsu's forms) to perform a cleansing ritual on the forge. He will go to the Buddhist temple where he will meditate and be cleansed, and then ask Yushin to come back to the forge to also perform a cleansing ritual. This will put Taro and Okitsu in conflict when Taro sees his master mooning over the shrine maiden. It also puts Okitsu and Yushin in the same room together, where their suspicions can grow and develop.

I haven't made a list of Revelations before, so here goes:
  • The tengu Kuroichi broods in the forest and calls down evil spirits upon the town. 
  • If told of his possession, Tetsu sends Taro to find Mariko to cleanse the forge. 
  • If told of his possession, Tetsu cleanses himself at the Buddhist temple and asks Yushin to also cleanse the forge. 
  • If told the details of his possession, Tetsu will bring news of the tengu to Yushin. 
  • Invisible rice-eating Gaki are chewing on rice wherever it can be found. A half-eaten rice cake tainted with a greenish tinge may be found at the tea-house. 
  • At the market a rice bag splits open of its own accord, spilling green-tinted rice across the ground. 
  • A few terrified patrons at the tea-house will report seeing a ghostly image eating their snacks, leading to rumours that it is haunted. 
  • Drinking the dream-wine allows the Gaki to be fought, but there are a lot of them - perhaps too many for one person to deal with successfully. 
  • When seriously threatened, the remaining Gaki will form together into a giant spirit-entity, allowing the haunting to be confronted and exorcised once and for all. 

Tonight's session involved an awful lot of people running around and throwing themselves into Contests to build up Stress so they could maybe get some Growth. While it was good to see people challenging each other, and we did see a couple of rewritten Relationships, I feel a bit like we're only just seeing the first half of the episode development. Trouble was brimming with d6, but I didn't get an opportunity to roll it at all - time got away from us, and we had to end the session just as a giant Hungry Ghost came rolling down the tea-house stairs!

Things went pretty much as I noted in the Revelations; Tetsu went off to get cleansed, but Mariko/Okitsu turned up uninvited to investigate the forge anyway. She managed to freak Taro out by asking him to trust her (he doesn't trust women easily), and he ran off through the market to the tea-house. Okitsu pulled the plug on her possession of Mariko just as Yushin arrived from the temple, making Yushin think Mariko was just some ditzy shrine maiden because she was acting disoriented. Taro confronted Yuriko about his drunken master, but she denied any wrongdoing and Taro just about had a nervous breakdown! At his request, Yuriko let him try some of the dream-tea, which led to him seeing a small Gaki eating a rice-cake. Just as that was happening, Yushin and Mariko/Okitsu showed up at the tea-house as well. Taro freaked out because he started being able to see Okitsu/Mariko's fox ears and tail. There was a major confrontation as the monk Yushin confronted Mariko/Okitsu about her true nature, giving her more Stress. Before the situation could be resolved one way or another, some upstairs patrons ran screaming and a large Gaki oozed down the stairs. We had to end the session there.

Taro has seen a couple of instances of tainted rice, and witnessed the Gaki thanks to the dream-tea. Next episode, the gaki will be a clear and present threat to the rice supply; I can also move large ones towards the rice fields outside of town to help motivate Okitsu. Hopefully they will cooperate enough to use the tea to be able to see and fight the ghosts, which should help develop relationships as they demonstrate their useful skills. Or not. I will need to draw up a new Episode Map and explore the current relationships and tensions to see if there's anything else I can throw into the mix.

It was a bit sad to see my Trouble Pool vaporise at the end of the episode, but in a way I can see that emulating a TV show two-parter anyway. At the end of one episode, a massive threat looms... only to be summarily dealt with in the first five minutes of the second episode.

Okitsu's player seems to want to keep her identity rather firmly hidden. I'll have to discuss this with her, as I don't know how long she can keep this up in Smallville... I mean, I guess Clark managed it for a pretty long time, and she seems happy to take the Stress. It just seems like Smallville is a system that's energised towards resolving this sort of thing. Yushin is pressing pretty hard to discover her true nature and identity, but I guess all Okitsu needs to do is fight back and take the Stress, and it can remain unresolved as long as she likes.

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