- Barb plays Daigo, an Oni Mercenary Assassin.
- Rohin plays Kobe Takeshi, a Half-Oni Playboy Swordsman Aristocrat.
Death of a Lord
The evening after the communal dinner, Takeshi and Daigo were alone in Takeshi's private apartments. They heard a hue and cry from the castle proper; an alarm was raised, along with a ruckus. Shortly, the apartment door was flung open by Takeshi's brother Seijurou, accompanied by Hyouma the Seeker and a cohort of soldiers. Seijurou informed them that Lord Kobe had been assassinated, and he was arresting them both - Daigo for performing the assassination, and Takeshi for conspiracy. The two went along quietly, and were soon secured in the cells beneath the keep.
Around morning, they were visited by a Buddhist monk to see to their last rites, as their execution was planned for noon. Winter Sutra informed them that he had been observing Seijurou and Hyouma, and it was apparent that they had been expecting Lord Kobe's death; other priests were watching them still. He bade them not to worry too much; by noon, he expected to have more evidence.
Under the bright noonday sun, the two were led from the cells to the open space in front of the castle gates. With bound hands, Daigo was pushed to his knees to await beheading by daikatana. Takeshi was presented with a small lacquer table with the accoutrements of ritual suicide; his brother Seijurou stood by as his second to behead him when the time came. But first, the charges were made public. Daigo was to be executed first, but as the executioner raised the blade, a voice from within the castle called for a halt!
Lord Kobe stepped into view, accompanied by Winter Sutra and a small group of guards! He accused Seijurou of having plotted with Hyouma to assassinate him; the faked assassination had caused the conspirators to reveal themselves. Winter Sutra tossed a bag of gold to the ground - the intercepted payment meant for the assassin, evidence of the pair's involvement.
Seijurou stood frozen, realising that this meant the end for him. Rather than surrendering meekly, he began to draw his sword. Takeshi used the seppuku shortsword to sever Daigo's bonds, and Winter Sutra tossed their weapons to them just in time for Takeshi to parry his brother's blade! Daigo fired on Hyouma, winging him as general chaos broke out. Daigo moved in to engage Seijurou in melee, allowing Takeshi to break off and pursue the hated Hyouma. The onmyoji conjured a combat shikigami in the shape of an oni warrior, but Takeshi's blade shredded it into evaporating strips of paper.
Meanwhile, Daigo unleashed his full fury, cutting down Seijurou in a flurry of blinding blows. Takeshi pursued Hyouma, pushing him against the castle wall and forcing him to drop and surrender. Takeshi dearly wanted to end the life of the evil sorcerer, but in the end his vow to not kill won over. Daigo had rallied the soldiers to open fire on White Cloud, Hyouma's permanent shikigami which was flying in, but to no avail. Once Hyouma surrendered, they forced him to call off White Cloud under threat of immediate execution.
The day was won; Seijurou lay dead, and Hyouma was taken into custody, with execution likely in his near future. With the true conspirators revealed, their attempt to stir up the people agains the oni died with them. If anything, tales of Daigo's cunning and loyalty will do much for the acceptance of oni in Yamaguchi.
Daigo decided to serve the Kobe household, and become an ambassador between the humans and the oni. Having regained his home and found a worthy companion,
Takeshi decided it was time to shape up and work towards becoming a good lord, for when he eventually inherits the province.
We had a bit of difficulty at the start of the final session. I tried to get a sense of how the players wanted to approach things, but they had some problems figuring out the right plan; Takeshi wanted to just charge in and start hacking, but his player wanted him to be talked out of that approach I think, and they had some difficulty figuring out how they could ensure finding actual proof of the conspiracy. I could have taken the reins on this one, but I didn't want to seem like I was railroading or pushing my own ideas on the players too much.
Once they sorted out the plan, though, it went very smoothly, just as recorded in the session log. With Winter Sutra's help, they set it up so Lord Kobe would appear to be assassinated, but he actually went into hiding. Thinking their plan had worked, the conspirators moved quickly to secure their hold on power, take the "assassin" into custody, and send off the final payment... Actually, thinking back now, arresting the assassin and sending the payment doesn't make a lot of sense, but there ya go! ^_^; Maybe they were paying off the fixer, so they didn't get a reputation in the underworld of stiffing those they did business with. Or something. Or they weren't sure that Daigo was the actual assassin, so they arrested him as a scapegoat and sent the payment to cover their bases.
Anyway, it worked, and the final conflict was pretty good too. I could probably have upped the bad guys' stats a little given the amount of Kiai they were facing, but I didn't want to overpower the PCs. Having gone through it once, I now have a better idea for next time!