Monday, 14 May 2012

SamuraiVille Episode 5.1

  • 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.

Turns out "Yushin" was just coming down with the flu that's been going around, leading to tired crankiness, so it looks like we'll probably go another session or two.

I'm not sure which enemies in particular "Okitsu" wants to permanently knock off; possibly the tengu, although as GM I'd probably be inclined to Give In to having it die if they seriously trap or beat it into submission. I don't think anyone has a permanent relationship to it, and there are plenty more mischievous tengu out there if I ever needed another.

If I run Smallville again with this group, they'll have a better idea of what to expect, and have realised how important it is to tie the Leads together strongly from the start. One piece of advice for new players joining existing groups - if someone has to join later, I'd get them to make their character with everyone else present so the group can help work the character into the game world more comfortably, making suggestions and agreeing to any potentially controversial tie-ins. We made one Lead separately later on, and a few of the connections we came up with sort of chafed with how the established players saw the world and their characters working. Openness and collaboration is key in all aspects of Smallville.


Taro and Akira fight the Giant Gaki with the aid of Okitsu in fox form. The gaki pulls in all of the smaller ghosts to heal itself, but it is defeated anyway. Okitsu steals away the spirit-flame that drops from its remains. She realises it could be used to restore the valley's damaged fertility, or she could give it to Yuriko to trade for the new muskets.

Taro, Akira and Tetsu drop by the tea-house to wind down, while Okitsu and Yuriko go back to patrolling the mountain looking for the tengu. Akira excuses himself so he can return to the castle and report the gaki's defeat to the daimyo.

Taro and Tetsu are returning to the forge when Tetsu has to stop to relieve himself in an alleyway. Mariko appears in the street and talks to Taro - she tells him that Yuriko's spirit-tea WAS responsible for Tetsu's possession. She also tells him that she captured the tengu with the help of the townsfolk, but decided to show mercy and release it. Okitsu interrupts the conversation by running through town as an invisible fox, projecting an illusion of the tengu. Taro runs to the castle to find Akira.

The Okitsu-tengu stands on the roof of the tea-house squawking, but Yuriko shoos her onto the next building so she doesn't drive even more customers away. The townsfolk flee the streets. Mariko hops up onto the roof and confronts Okitsu, telling her not to try anything or she'll harm "the girl." Convinced that Mariko is possessed by the tengu, Okitsu leaps straight at her and attempts to re-possess the shrine maiden. The tengu resists, but gains stress. Before it can throw Mariko's body from the roof, Yuriko leaps from the tea-house next door and pins Mariko down. The tengu is stressed out and flees Mariko's body, and Yuriko captures it in a spirit-bottle.



Things went pretty well, although the confrontation with the tengu was a bit disappointing as it didn't manage to roll very well on either Contest. I could have presented it a bit better dramatically speaking, but mechanically the outcome would have been the same. I could have had tengu-possessed Mariko confronting the illusion tengu on the roof in view of townsfolk witnesses, or even better in front of Taro and Akira returning from the castle, but I only thought of that after the event. Maybe the opening scene of next episode will have Taro and Akira turning up just in time to witness the confrontation on the roof; that should sow a bit of confusion.

For the fifth session in a row, Yuriko has steadfastly failed to gain any Stress - she has come out on top of every Contest she's been directly involved in!

Since we are only getting two hour sessions at the moment, I decided to split Episode 5 in half. Episode 5.2 will be next week. The Trouble Pool and Plot Points are not re-setting, and I've allowed Growth Pools to carry over if people want. I'd been getting the feeling that things were just starting to ramp up and then the session would end, so I'm seeing if this will help the mechanical pacing. Of course, I was hoping the tengu would still be around, but I can move on to focus on other concerns.

>>> Episode 5.2