Monday, 28 May 2012

SamuraiVille Episode 5.2

  • 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.

Well, SamuraiVille has come to a close. Yushin's player has been off sick for the last three weeks, and Taro's player had an unfortunate personal emergency to deal with, but I wanted to push on and get it done rather than leave the end trailing for yet another week. Unfortunately, that made things a little lacklustre.

Yuriko got a coded message to meet her clan master at the waterfall at sunset. He warned her to stay away from the untrustworthy fox-spirit, but more importantly, told her that a rival Lord, Kageshima, was poised to invade the province. Although the clan worked for Lord Morinaga, they realised that the battle would be lost, even with the gain of a new musket design, so are planning to change sides. He instructed her to acquire the new muskets, but to pass them on to the ninja clan rather than letting them fall into the hands of the local Lord Morinaga.

Okitsu was at the tea-house, and started impersonating Yuriko. Akira turned up for a drink, and mentioned that he had been sent to seek out his brother, the pirate Kenji (whom Yuriko was to get the muskets off). Okitsu tried to drug him, but he refused alcohol and managed to brush off her attempts to feed him random herbal teas. He left just as Yuriko returned; Okitsu filled her in, and Yuriko followed him invisibly in her young male form.

Being followed made Akira a bit twitchy, but he didn't manage to find out who it was. He began patrolling the coast, towards the smuggler's bay. Yuriko intercepted him, claiming to be a messenger from the castle come to tell him that the daimyo was in danger. Although he resisted the explanation at first, he eventually gave in and returned to the town.

Yuriko arrived at the smuggler's cove, where she met up with the pirate Kenji. She traded the bottled tengu for several sample muskets. Kenji gave the trapped spirit to a black daoist, who seemed satisfied with it. Yuriko headed back to town to hand over the muskets to her ninja contacts.

And... yeah. I ran out of conflicts, and that's how the game ended. I should have done some more exposition at the end (the back-story between Kenji and Akira, the reason the daoist wanted the spirit), but I'd forgotten some of my notes, and I was trying to figure out how to wrap the story. Also, Kenji was showing some Japanese reserve in front of his crew.

All up, my first attempt at Smallville was a mixed success. I made plenty of bad calls, and I still have to stop and think over whether I should contest something or give in. Even so, I'm quite bad at predicting what will happen to the dramatic flow, and I'm still somewhat resistant to tweaking events just for the story. For example, at the end I thought it would make a good climax to have Akira confront his brother while Yuriko was making the deal - we could have had acrimonious exposition, and she could have picked sides. I was hoping Okitsu would be there as well (although my original plan was to have Akira drag Taro along). However, since I got Akira talking to Okitsu, she knew what he was up to and Yuriko turned him away from the path which would have led to that final confrontation. It kind of dramatically deflated the situation, so I probably should have just had him take stress and keep looking for Kenji. Problem is, I'm pretty sure Yuriko's next move would have been to take him out - which meant I shouldn't have tipped them off that he was looking for the pirates in the first place. I was just trying to keep Okitsu involved, but it made things go flat.

It's a little depressing, but I did learn things too. I'm priming to run a political game set in a fantasy renaissance Venice with a slightly different group, so hopefully I can apply what I've learned.

Note: I did a bit of work setting up a new Smallville game called PiccoLaguna, but when I tried to organise a new group not enough people showed up. I still haven't had an opportunity to run it.

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