- 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.
Last night's session was pretty interesting. We only played for two or three hours, so I didn't have to do any additional Wedging - it was just a matter of letting the PCs bounce around and interact with each other.
Taro and Okitsu (Mariko) left the tea-house as Yushin performed a cleansing ritual on it, exorcising the gaki from the premises. However, Taro discovered that the ghosts were all over the town as well. As he tried to avoid them in the marketplace, Okitsu persuaded many of the townsfolk that the rice-eating ghosts were haunting the town because people weren't worshipping Inari enough. She also turned them away from Buddhism, motivated by the rough treatment she had been dealt by Yushin. Taro tried to convince them that they should secure all their good rice and make a trail of spoiled rice leading out of town to lure the ghosts away, but the townsfolk decided to head up to the Inari shrine on the mountain instead. Taro started lugging rice bags out to the waterfall by himself.
Yushin returned to the temple, where he persuaded the abbott to have the monks abandon the temple and take up residence in the castle with the daimyo. His plan was that, when Inari alone failed to get rid of the ghosts, the townsfolk would cry out for Buddha's help once more. The abbott grudgingly agreed, on the proviso that Yushin not only remain in town to apprise them of the situation, but that he apologise to Inari and the shrine maiden for the rough treatment he handed out in his anger.
Yuriko shapechanged into her young male form, turned invisible, and followed Okitsu up to the shrine. Okitsu rallied the townsfolk, even going as far as to show an illusion of the scene where Yushin grabbed her roughly (and even slapped her!) when trying to find out her identity. Watching from the shrine gate, the invisible Yuriko spotted the tengu hiding in the trees. She tackled him, and they both crashed to the ground, stressing the tengu out. The crowd turned to see what was going on, allowing Yushin to join the mob and become visible. "He" even came forward when Okitsu called on people to seize the wicked creature that Inari had struck down! Okitsu told the townsfolk to go back to town, shutting herself inside the shrine with the bound tengu. However, after barring the door from the inside, she teleported to the tea-house.
Having stacked some rice, Taro sought out his master. Apparently the forge was free of ghosts. Taro was starting to feel remorseful about blaming Yuriko for the possession episode, so they both went to the tea-house to await Yuriko's return. Alas, Yuriko returned in her male form, and they didn't recognise her. Master and student drank the night away on tea and plum wine, while Yuriko and Okitsu talked and relaxed. However, the male Yuriko let slip something about it being "my tea-house" and Okitsu became suspicious.
Meanwhile, Yushin had climbed the mountain to the Inari shrine, only to find it deserted... mostly. He heard the tengu thumping inside, and managed to un-bar the door. The tengu bowed to him, throwing itself on the mercy of the Buddha.
At the Inari shrine, Yushin bows to ask Inari's forgiveness while contemplating what to do with the tengu.
Having waited in vain for Yuriko to get back, Taro and Tetsu help each-other drunkenly back to the forge. Meanwhile, a forgotten pile of rice-sacks out near the waterfall have been torn open by hungry ghosts, who devour their contents and grow larger...
Not too many rules problems this week. Most of the players seem to be getting used to the way the system works, and we started to get some cool shifting allegiances. Yushin was originally spellbound by Okitsu's magical nature, but now thinks she is a pain in the neck! Okitsu was initially annoyed by Yuriko's tea-house making life difficult, but now sees her as a potential ally. Yuriko once saw Okitsu as annoying but necessary, but now thinks she is a good lady. Taro intends to show his newfound trust for Yuriko the next time he sees her.
One roll-off I wasn't sure on. Okitsu barred the shrine door from the inside and left. Yushin turned up and tried to get inside. I was tossing up whether to make it a Test or to just take it as read (having him not be able to find the tengu inside wouldn't have been as interesting), when Okitsu's player asked if it could be a Contest since Okitsu had barred the door with the intent of preventing entry. I allowed it, thinking back to the tea-drugging in Episode 1. Yushin managed to get in, but I think we forgot to deal any Stress to Okitsu... and thinking back:
- it probably didn't make a lot of sense to stress Okitsu since she wasn't even there, and
- I can't see how a back-and-forth would have been possible to actually keep a Contest going.
>>> Episode 4