- 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.
Tonight's session was a bit of a bust. I had a cold or flu over the weekend which I'm still trying to throw off, although my energy levels were fairly reasonable. However, Yushin's player might be trying to fight off the same illness - he flaked out and had to call it a night only an hour in. It sort of petered out after that; there were no Contests, and only one Test. No Challenging, no Stress, no Recovery, no Growth.
Yushin let the tengu go, and persuaded the actual shrine maiden Mariko to accompany him back to the castle to talk to the abbott.
Okitsu stayed at the tea-house overnight. Yuriko received a midnight visit from her contact the pirate captain. He offered to trade her a new model of foreign musket in exchange for the soul of a yokai, but he needed an answer within 24 hours.
Yushin wanted to point out to the abbott that Mariko was being controlled by an outside force such as an evil spirit, since she couldn't remember what happened for most of the previous day while she was possessed. She claimed to be under the influence of Inari. Yushin's player was flaking a bit by this stage, and I found it hard to discern what the aim of the scene was.
In the morning, Tetsu and Taro were visited at the forge by a young samurai, Akira, who'd been sent by the daimyo to investigate the tales of spoiled rice and ghosts. Taro took him to the tea-house to drink the special spirit tea, allowing him to see the spirits.
Yuriko and Okitsu headed up to the shrine to get the tengu and trade it for the muskets, only for Mariko to tell them that it had been released by Yushin. Okitsu assumed the form of a tengu and, followed by an invisible Yuriko, they began searching the mountain for it.
Akira managed to slice a little ghost in half when he and Taro were on their way back through the town, to Taro's surprise. Taro then led Akira and Tetsu to the waterfall, where they discovered that the bags of rice he'd left out there had been completely consumed, and a trail of green ooze pointed towards the valley's rice fields. Okitsu and Yuriko also reached the waterfall, and secretly followed the three men to the edge of the rice fields - where an enormous gaki has started eating the rice harvest.
I think illness and lack of energy took their toll. There were some pacing problems, and Yushin's player was lacking focus before deciding to leave early. He'd displayed some general grumpiness towards Okitsu's player, as their characters have become antagonists; I'm not certain if weariness led to grumpiness or if grumpiness led to leaving early. I'm hoping that people aren't taking things personally, but those two do have a tendency to bump heads a little IRL.
I think the game might possibly go another session or two, or we might call it a wrap there depending on how Yushin's player's feeling. The rest of us discussed how the game was going, and it had a mixed response. "Okitsu" doesn't like that it's all but impossible to permanently defeat something, and that decisive results aren't always forthcoming. "Taro" has some issues with pacing, which was admittedly a bit too lumpy this episode, but otherwise enjoys the system He also lacks much knowledge of feudal Japan, so there can be a bit of a cultural divide in this current game. I don't remember any strong opinions from "Yuriko" (who was starting to pass out on the couch), and I'll talk to "Yushin" later. There was also a general feeling that Growth is too slow, although I think that's a combination of short sessions and not enough familiarity yet to "game" the system for Growth dice.
>>> Episode 5.1