Saturday, January 21, 2006

Blog Status stat...

Ok, thanks for your patience, and please extend it a bit more. I have news. I just recently finished moving out of my parents basement (i know, it's so lame) and I don't have internet access in my new place yet. Everything has been very busy. Also, to stick a wrench in the gears, the first playtest session for FF RPG is in less than a week and I still have a few things to hammer out before then. Another wrench, the last L5R session went by without a hitch, but combined with the previous one it constitutes one big story, I've decided to cut it into two chapters and that will take a bit of time, but the next chapter will be posted sooner that way I guess. Anyway have a lovely day!


Thursday, January 12, 2006

11th Legion Assemble!

I have just realized that I have not mentioned the cast of players for this story, I had in my previous Blog, but I didn't here. So without further ado may I present to you the 11th Imperial Legion of Rokugan!

Pat (GM) plays the part of Isawa Mino, a hot Phoenix Clan fire shugenga.
Braun plays the part of Yoee'rik'tch , a Tattered Ear Tribe Nezumi scout.
Greg plays the part of Matsu Yuudai, a brash Lion Clan bushi.
Mitch plays the part of Hida Shinzo, a polite Crab Clan bushi.
Lance plays the part of Bayushi Kyoji, a mysterious Scorpion Clan bushi.
I play the part of Kitsune Sasuke, a quiet Fox Clan water shugenga.

**We bow**
***Lance bows lower than all of us making us look like dorks***


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Chapter 4 delayed

Yesterday we played a bit of RPG, but we were introduced to a new character, Yoee'rik'tch, a Ratling scout, and since Ratlings are not in the L5R RPG 3rd Edition book it took a while for the player to get used to how the new rules work. This means that we didn't get through an entire session as was planned, we did lots of stuff, but we will pick it up next week again to finish it off.

We are at six people now and I can see how that is the limit for a good game. It takes some time for everyone to decide on what to do, and surprisingly combat is the fastest part of the game. I will take this into account for when I start to GM my game. So far this L5R RPG (d10) has been a great learning experience, I'd only ever played d20 system RPGs before (WARS, Star Wars, D&D), and even then not very much. There has been some talk of changing over to a WarHammer RPG (%+d10) once this campaign is over as the GM will need some time to relax and think of a new one. But once my game is complete and we start to play I am unsure how much time I will be able to devote to two different game nights in one week. We'll see.


Monday, January 09, 2006

RPG Session Today!

Well I am looking forward to tonights RPG session, it looks like most of the players will be there. I can't wait to see what is in store for us next. I think that so far we have just been tested, I do recall Pat(GM) saying something about having to play in character soon. I don't think I'm quite ready for that yet, but it does sound like fun. Anyway, depending on how it goes and what my priorities are this week I'll start writing up Chapter 4.


Friday, January 06, 2006

FFRPG Update.

Well today I had a number of things left over from the previous night’s to-do list. I thought I had to go to work, but I was mistaken. It took me a while to get into the groove though, there was a very dear distraction, but I managed to crack the list. This was my list:

1- Refine Sta + Con idea.
2- Determine chainable ability mechanic.
3- Determine and refine encumber rules/mechanic.
4- Define armor effects both positive and negative.
5- Create a template for a ‘GM character maintenance’ sheet.

The first, there are/were 2 character attributes that seemed not to be getting as much attention as the rest of the attributes. These were Stamina and Concentration, one physical and one mental. Stamina was so far only used in rolls for the endurance skill, which is used for things like prolonged running, swimming or climbing. Concentration was used in a few more skills as well as a commonly used raw concentration roll to avoid things like distractions. Originally when I was plotting out the character attributes I would need for this RPG, and there are 17, it was my intention that these two attributes would determine how long into a battle a characters actions would stay at full power, both physical and magical (respectively). I have now implemented an idea that would do this. It is required that the GM keeps track of all the characters actions and enforce these rules as they are needed, but that’s where #5 comes in.

The third, I’ve never played an RPG with any specific rules involving carrying capacity, or at least never played with a GM that enforced those rules, it always seemed kinda common sense to me. But I do realize the need for it, a player who picks up and keeps every stray weapon he comes across in hopes that a warlock will tell him it’s enchanted needs to suffer some sort of penalty for carrying around all that junk. So I have come up with a semi-race-based/Str-based method of determining a characters carrying capacity as well as a costing system that places ‘E’ values on all items. It is optimal to include some reference to a characters strength as a limiter for carrying capacity firstly, because it makes perfect sense and secondly, because it provides a natural buffer against out-classing equipment. To clarify, I don’t want all characters running around in the best heavy armor they can find without in-game repercussions, especially the magical types, but I also didn’t want some hokey rule that prevents some classes from using whatever items they see fit to use. This RPG has a free equip system that allows anybody to use anything (to a certain degree) and I didn’t want to wreck that. Sure some characters would become gimps, but this is P&P, not online, nobody is going to yell at a player for playing a gimp, at least not while I’m the GM.

The fourth, this has really been a large task, but I am starting to finish it up, the encumber rules help me out a lot with this, because now I don’t have to build a lot of negative effects directly into the armor, that will come from being encumbered.

The fifth, this is a huge thing, it will require a lot of time and dedication from the GM but I feel that it will present the players with a more dynamic character development process. With proper tracking the GM will be able to easily increase a characters resistance to status effects based on their recovery from those effects, or keep track of a characters elemental compatibility based on the spells they cast, or keep track of their increase in skill with whatever weapons they happen to use. This is something a computer really would have a much easier time handling than a regular human, but it must be done. I’ve only actually really seen something like this in FFII and that was just with spell levels and weapon proficiency.

I still have to work out the kinks in the chainable abilities category. As it stands a well played warrior (the class with the most chainable abilities) would currently be able to kill anything in one turn with a bit of planning and some luck. It is a bit broken, and I must revamp the system rather than toning down the abilities. Wish me luck!


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Intermission Part 2

This was written as an email by the player who plays Bayushi Kyoji, in response to the previous story written by the GM.

Bayushi Kyoji rises. Bows to Anashi (very low) and then to the Gunso (low) then to the other samurai (not as low).

"Samurai sama, I stand before you today, honoured. Honoured to serve our great Emperor. (Bows once again to Anashi) Honoured to protect the empire here, in this rugged yet beautiful land. (Kyoji's eyes meet the prominent Crab Samurai in the room) Honoured to serve among the brave and couragous from other clans (Kyoji pauses and looks at each samurai from the clans in the 11th legion) Honoured, to recount this portion of the 11th Legion and their fullfillment of Duty."

It was early afternoon as we arrived at the village near to the Ogre's lair. The sun was at its peak as we found our way through the brush. We observed our enemy from afar, as he groteskly devoured his most recent prey.

With Courage, Hida Shinzo and Matsu Yuudai pushed forward, battle cries echoing throughout the valley. Charging headlong into battle the two samurai relentlessly attacked. While occupying the Ogre, Isawa Mino, Kitsune and Bayushi Kyoji unleashed magic and missle to weaken the beast. Suddenly through a seemingly terrible twist of fate the Orge lashed out at Yuudai. A crushing blow sending any mortal samurai to the grave connected with the Matsu, shattering his armor and helm. Hida Shinzo pushed further at the Ogre with an almost wild abandon. The Ogre, though wounded, once again wielded his cruel club toward the Hida Samurai this time connecting with brutal force. With our two battle-hardened veterens indisposed, Bayushi Kyoji leaped forward to distract the hideous beast. Given the oppurtunity Isawa Mino plunged her Katana into the Ogre finishing what the Legion began. Presenting the Ogres head to the Peasent village we have brought back a trophy for our emperor.

(Kyoji motions to a servent who brings forth the club of the Ogre and presents it to Kyoji. Kyoji takes the club, bows and presents it to Anashi.)

"For our most esteemed Emperor" (Bows very low)


Intermission Part 1

This was written as an email by the GM, who plays the character Isawa Mino, as a means to update the story without spending much game time on it.

The hall is crowded as you leave your quarters and head to the main hall of Razor of Dawn Castle. Servants move silently, but purposefully, down the narrow hallways. There are a couple of Crab samurai ahead of you and the voices of others behind you. The large oak doors are already flung open as you round the last corner and enter the hall.
The hall is just as austere as you remember. The kami watch you from their places along the south wall and the thunders along the north. The pillars align along the central aisle drawing your attention to the raised dias ahead of you.

"Enter honourable members of the 11th legion," Seppun Anishi's voice intones, "and take the places assigned to you as we read the annnals of the 11th legion's valiant deeds. I place this ceremony in the hands of our loremaster." He nods ever so slighly to Seppun Sinko, seated below him on a strange carpet of brilliant woven cloth.

Sinko rises, unecessarily straightening the folds in her flawless kimono, hanging perfectly on her slim features. You steal a glance to those seated beside you, your comrades from the jouney to the village today and a number of other legion samurai, mostly Crab. You then see the legion's three gunso, in places of honour closer to the dias, Hida Tosa, captain of the gate, Isawa Mino, whose hair is moving ever so slightly even though there seems to be no breeze in the room, and a strange creature that must be the ratling you have heard spoken of.

Sinko's quiet voice brings your focus back to the proceedings, "I am honoured today to read the annals of the 11th legion, however, it has come to my attention that there are new deeds to be included, and that Bayushi Kyoji has been chosen to tell the tale for the first time."
She nods to the new Bayushi legionnaire and takes her seat on the strange carpet.................

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Chapter 3: A Big Stick

The sun had not yet risen when Sasuke awoke, he stretched and looked around. He noted that Kyoji’s bedroll was neatly put away by the wall and the scorpion was not present in the room. The Lion and Crab most definitely were, the aroma of long travel wafted from the Matsu’s direction, and across the doorway where the Hida slept came the sounds of uncomfortable bowels. From outside came the raucous laughter of a flock of crows and at that both samurai stirred from their sleep. Seeing that the sun was not yet up Hida Shinzo turned over to go back to sleep.

While Sasuke and Yuudai were getting ready for the day there came a slight knock on the shoji screen entrance to the room. A young servant boy stood outside and informed them that the morning meal was being served now and that Hida Tosa awaited them when they were finished. They were to bring any weapons they were confident enough to test themselves with. As Yuudai and Sasuke closed the screen and turned back into the room they saw Shinzo hurriedly dressing and washing himself almost simultaneously. He was in such a hurry that he left without donning his armor.

After his morning meal was completed Sasuke met the group at a large open area outside the castle obviously used as a training ground for Hida warriors. The ground was packed down and hard in an area that resembled a dueling arena, and a little further on was a small archery range most likely used by resident Hiruma scouts to keep their skills honed. There were a few samurai sparring closer to the back of the grounds but Sasuke’s eyes were drawn to a Hida veteran that he had met the previous day. As the group lined up for a visual inspection Sasuke wondered what he had gotten into, it was his duty and that was beyond question, but what purpose would he serve compared to such warriors? Matsu Yuudai, focused and intimidating even without his golden armor; Bayushi Kyoji, possessed of such instinct and so graceful that his blade seemed a mere extension of himself; Hida Shinzo, he was big, forearms the size of Sasuke’s thighs, even without Kyoji’s finesse he would make for a spectacular show. Then Kitsune Sasuke, a slight young man, trained in the healing arts for service to the Empire, but that was who he was. Strength of arm or no he would give his life for the good of the Empire.

Tosa’s rough voice stirred Sasuke from his thoughts, he watched the other samurai step forward to be tested on their grasp of kenjustu. He had been trained in the use of a katana also but it was not expected of a shugenga to participate in tests like this unless they desired. Watching Shinzo take up a boken and square off versus Tosa, he noticed another figure had joined the group, Isawa Mino. She wore a katana proudly displayed on her slender waist; she was shugenga as well, but a fire shugenga, given to battle more than the average pacifistic Phoenix, would she be tested or had she already proven herself worthy of the 11th Legion? Shinzo roared as he charged and was soundly beaten as he swung wildly, but he seemed unfazed by the hits he took. Next was Yuudai, his face was a mask of calm fury as he faced Tosa, the engagement lasted longer than Shinzo’s had and hits were both given and received, in the end Tosa stepped back and motioned Yuudai back into line. He made no expression as he handed his boken to Kyoji who then stepped up to take his stance before Tosa. This duel was close, neither combatant seeming able to land a blow, at times it seemed Kyoji was caught, but his practice sword always managed to deflect the blows. Finally one of Kyoji’s strikes slipped though an opening and Tosa grunted in surprise, he stepped back and bowed to Kyoji who returned a deeper bow and stepped back into line.

Next they moved to the archery range and to everyone’s surprise Shinzo stepped forward alongside Kyoji to be tested, making three fairly centered hits to the target. Tosa nodded in approval and Kyoji stepped up. All his hits were quite close to the center, but not a hint of emotion showed above the scorpions mask, though it was obvious to Sasuke from Yuudai’s expression that he had underestimated his companion. It was then that Hida Tosa stood in front of Sasuke calmly staring down at the young shugenga.

“And what is it that you might bring to the 11th Imperial Legion Kitsune Sasuke?” he asked.

Sasuke replied that he had been trained in the healing ways of the water kami and there were few spells he knew that would turn the tides of battle, but that if his ability to help those unable to continue the battle so that they would soon rejoin the fray would be sufficient he would give his life for the emperor in that way. Tosa didn’t seem impressed by this statement, but let the matter go anyway. He turned to address the group as a whole,

“Welcome honorable samurai, to the 11th Imperial Legion. Tonight we gather in the great hall to participate in the retelling of the exploits of the Legion for the glory of the Holy Emperor, we expect you to attend. But before then you are given this task; a village to the north has reported a recent ogre disturbance, you are to end this disturbance and report back in time for the ceremony. I have briefed Isawa Mino on all the particulars of this assignment, she will lead you. For the Emperor! You are dismissed.”

As the other new legionnaires quickly went to retrieve all that they thought they would need for facing an ogre Sasuke followed Isawa Mino to the stables. Yukimura, his horse, greeted him with a playful whinny and after some expectant nudging Sasuke gave him a small handful of dried apricots and led him out into the courtyard. There Mino was preparing her own horse and some servants were saddling three other ponies. Kyoji appeared first, bowing to Mino who returned the bow, before mounting and adjusting his saya. Mino was eager to be off so as soon as the other two arrived she kicked her horse to a quick trot and headed for the north gate.

The journey was estimated to take about 2 hours and the group remained uncommonly quiet for the most part except for whenever they came to an incline Shinzo would whisper an apology to his pony. Being the one directly in front of the crab rearguard Sasuke took a bit of interest in this strange Hida. At about an hour and a half into their journey Sasuke broke the silence; he asked Shinzo if he knew, being a crab and all, what an ogre looked like. At this question Sasuke noticed Yuudai sit up a bit and slightly turn back as if to better hear, and Mino completely turned in her saddle to regard Shinzo as he answered. Shinzo furrowed his brow for a moment and then looked up toward Sasuke.

“They are large, 7-9 feet tall with pale sometimes green or bluish skin, they have coarse black hair on their heads, backs and arms. Their lower jaw juts out further than their top and when they grin their two long curved teeth stick out over their top lip. They also have two horns of varying length on their foreheads. They are very strong and sometimes have been found to be organized, they are not stupid like the undead, and some have even mastered the arcane arts of blood magic. He said. “They are not a foe to be taken lightly.”

Sasuke simply blinked, and turned around in his saddle.

“My thanks Hida-sama, I will be prepared.”

Shortly after, the group arrived at the outskirts of the small village. The villagers moved back out of the road bowing with each step as the samurai headed toward the center of their little community. Kyoji reigned in his pony and looked around at the villagers before addressing them in a loud voice.

“We are Legionnaires from the Razor of Dawn Castle, we represent His most Holy Majesty the Emperor, we are here to deal with the threat of ogres. Who is the elder of this village?”

A silence fell over the villagers and they started to part allowing for a stooped old man to make his way to where the samurai were waiting. It took quite a while for the elder to make his way to Kyoji, but when he did he bowed low to each of the samurai in turn.

“What can you tell us of the disturbances you have had?” Kyoji asked. “Has anyone seen this menace we will face?”

“Nay my Lord, I have not seen it, only one lives that can testify that. We have lost five children and one woman to this fiend, but young Ichiro has seen and survived.” The elder said.

“Bring him forth.” Kyoji commanded.

The crowd of villagers parted again and a young boy came forward to stand by the elder and bowed low to the samurai, eyes never leaving the ground.

“You will guide us to where you saw this beast so that we may investigate further, you will tell us what you saw and how it was that you survived.” Kyoji said.

“Hai sama.” The boy said, his eyes still on the ground.

“Go.” Kyoji commanded.

The boy looked at the samurai, still mounted and hurried off toward the edge of the village and the forest beyond. Sasuke saw great fear in the child’s eyes, but was it caused by this ogre or by their own presence there, he wondered. Ichiro led them onward into the forest following a small footpath that forced the samurai to ride single file once again. After about fifteen minutes of traveling at a slight trot the boy stopped and gestured over a rise in the terrain. Kyoji nodded and dismounted, tying the reigns of his animal to a large bush nearby as the others did the same. Sasuke didn’t notice any tension in his horse and wondered if there truly was an ogre in the area. He was studying the faces of his fellow samurai when Mino turned from where she was talking with Ichiro.

“We will leave the horses here and continue on foot, it shouldn’t be too much farther.” She said.

They soon arrived at a small rise overlooking a large clearing surrounded by dry brush. In the center of the clearing, sitting on a log between a tree and a large cave in a rock face was an ogre, just as Shinzo had described. It was clad in a dirty rag of a loincloth and armored only on its shoulders with what appeared to be battle-mangled samurai chest plates.

They were crouched down behind the brush perimeter watching as the ogre gnawed on a medium sized bone, even from this distance Sasuke could identify it as human. It must have been all that remained of one of Ichiro’s friends, one that hadn’t run as fast as Ichiro. Sasuke looked over at the boy, who was farther back and trembling uncontrollably, he was a liability; they should probably send him back to the village. As he turned to mention it to someone he noticed his fellow samurai readying their weapons and looking to Mino for instruction. She talked in a whisper, instructing Shinzo to take the left flank and Yuudai the right while she burned the foul creature with her magic. She assigned Kyoji to guard Sasuke because they would most likely need his healing at the end of all this. With surprise and organization the fight could be won fairly quickly. Then Shinzo shifted his weight and a loud crack resounded across the clearing as a stick broke underneath him, the ogre stood up and looked around grabbing a large club that had been resting against a nearby tree. All thoughts of the village boy left Sasuke's mind as he quickly reached into his case for a scroll that might have some effect on this giant creature, he just hoped it was tainted. The ogre continued warily scanning the edge of the clearing, its gaze lingering on the spot of brush that held the large Crab warrior. The samurai were tense, breathing as quietly as possible and staying low to the ground; they had lost the element of surprise.

Shinzo could apparently stand idle no longer, with a cry he burst from the brush swinging his tetsubo in arcs over his head as he moved up the right flank. Kyoji quickly pulled out his bow and started to string it intending to stick to the plan and guard the shugenga. Sasuke spared one last glance at Mino, seeing that her lips were already working out a spell he started one of his own. Not about to let Shinzo have all the glory Yuudai also burst from concealment and charged straight at the bewildered ogre. Its bewilderment lasted only seconds as it hefted its makeshift club, grinned and charged toward the Lion. After only a few steps the air around the ogre suddenly burst into flame as dozens of small balls of fire rained down from above, burning its skin and singeing its hair. Still moving forward it looked around in anger then grunted heavily as a bolt of green flame pounded into its chest and spread across its body. A black streak from Kyoji’s bow found its mark in the ogre’s shoulder, putting it slightly off balance.

Yuudai had just closed with the beast, its six foot long club raised for a massive blow when Shinzo barreled into it from the right, savagely striking its knee with his tetsubo. Just then an orange ball of flame arced over Yuudai's head pummeling the ogre back with great force.
Off balance but not out the ogre still managed to swing at the little yelling target in front of it. The massive club connected solidly with Yuudai’s side producing a sickening crunching sound. The Lion crumpled in a heap a few feet back, unmoving. Another crackling bolt of green fire lit the space between the shugenga and the ogre as it moved its club back for another strike. The ogre was visibly pained as the green fire struck its chest and once again spread over its body. It growled and looked past the fallen samurai toward its assailant. Roaring loudly as an arrow grazed its neck it started forward once again. Its roar was immediately answered by a third bolt of the green fire, this time the ogre tried to dodge, but the bolt swerved and caught it in the chest just the same. It stumbled back, looking around dazed as the flames enveloped its head. It tried to move but its leg buckled and it sprawled forward onto the ground narrowly avoiding a sizzling ball of fire that whistled through the air where its head had been. The ogre straightened, even on its knees it was as tall as a man, but Shinzo boldly strode forward raising his weapon to deliver the finishing blow to the creatures head. The ogre was still wobbling when he brought his tetsubo down with tremendous power, on its shabbily armored shoulder. The strike seemed to bring the ogre back around, for it immediately steadied itself and lashed out at the Crab warrior. Shinzo jumped back out of the way with a laugh as the club whizzed by his chest.

Kyoji loosed another arrow and Mino put away her scrolls and took out her katana just as Sasuke finished conjuring Jade Strike for the fourth time. It was a spell he had not practiced often and he felt his connection with the earth kami falter as the final kanji was off his tongue. The bolt of green fire went wide to left of the ogre and Kyoji's arrow nicked the ogres right arm as it drew back to make another strike at the Crab. The attack was coming from an odd angle and Shinzo barely had time to deflect the massive club down toward the ground, but it wasn’t enough. The bloody log skipped off the earth and into his leg, sweeping his feet from underneath him and loosening his grip on his tetsubo, sending it rolling out of reach.

Dropping his bow and glancing over at Sasuke, Kyoji gave him a stern look as he charged with his katana drawn toward the hobbled ogre. The ogre reacted to his approach with a frantic fury, abandoning the wounded Crab to wildly flail at its new foe. Kyoji deftly parried the savage blow and slowly started to circle the beast in a crouched defensive stance. As the beast turned to follow the quiet Scorpion, Sasuke retrieved his naga-maki and rushed to aid the unconscious and bleeding Yuudai. Mino had circled the ogre as well and now with its back to the healing shugenga she proceeded to attack its flank, tracing a red line in the pale green skin of its belly with her blade. Still focused on Kyoji the ogre gave a great cry of pain and swung feebly at the Scorpion who again deflected the blow. To the side Shinzo was propped up on his elbow, one leg twisted at a weird angle, trying to string his bow so he would have another means of attacking the creature.

Attempting to keep the ogre’s attention fixed on him Kyoji moved within the range of the ogre’s swing, tempting it to strike. The ogre took the bait and raised its club high in the air over its head with both hands, preparing to flatten the annoying samurai. But as its arms raised and its skin became taught over its ribcage Mino thrust her katana deeply between two ribs, plunging straight through into the creatures black heart. It gurgled and dropped its club, holding its hands by its face to somehow try and stop the blood that gushed out of its mouth. The foul blackish liquid spilled past its fingers, forming a widening pool on the ground. It looked over at Mino, who had just finished flicking the blood from her blade, and then fell onto its face unmoving.

“Well thrust and true.” Kyoji said to Mino.

She bowed her head slightly to him and then moved over to where Sasuke was casting another healing spell on Yuudai. Yuudai was awake now and was testing his limbs even while Sasuke tried to keep him still. He had lost a lot of blood, but the healing the water kami performed had restored his strength and vitality. Shinzo hobbled over using his tetsubo as a makeshift crutch, Kyoji offered to take a look at his wound but he gruffly declined and moved away. After casting three healing spells on Yuudai, Sasuke moved over to where Shinzo was resting.

“You will not be able to keep up to us in that condition, let me take a look at your wound.” He said.

Reluctantly Shinzo agreed and Sasuke set the bone and wrapped the leg in bandages and healing salve. They turned just to see Mino sever the ogres head. Kyoji emerged from the ogres cave shortly after carrying a large pike with which he skewered the head. The young village boy had returned from wherever he had run to after seeing the ogre and Kyoji handed him the pike.

They made their way slowly back to the village with young Ichiro and the dead head in the lead. The villagers all gathered around in awe as the samurai emerged from the wood victorious, a token of their courage on a pike for all to see.

Mino addressed the village.

“You no longer have anything to fear from this vile creature. Put this beasts head up by your gateway as a sign to all of the shadowlands spawn that may venture this far into Rokugan that this village is protected by the 11th Imperial Legion, and incursions will not be tolerated.”

With that Mino sent Kyoji back to the site of the battle to retrieve the monsters weapon. They would need a trophy of their own when they told this tale before the gathered legionnaires at the reading of the histories tonight. When Kyoji returned awkwardly bearing the six foot club while astride his pony the rest of the samurai mounted up and started the journey back to Razor of Dawn Castle.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Chapter 2: Bandits

The next day Kyoji met Sasuke who was grooming his riding horse outside of the small stables at the side of the inn. As they prepared to depart Yuudai emerged from the stables with his pony and proceeded to take the lead as if he was in charge, Sasuke smirked at Kyoji and mounted up to follow the silent Lion. About midday the trio was skirting the western edge of a large forest when they suddenly heard a shrill woman’s shriek coming from the wood. Quickly discerning the direction of the distressful cry Yuudai and Kyoji dismounted and readied their weapons, the Scorpion fully unsheathing his katana. Sasuke remained mounted with a scroll unfurled in his hand while leaning over and apparently whispering to his horse. A few moments later another scream pierced the silence followed by a crashing of underbrush and then a peasant woman emerged a few feet from them collapsing on the ground. Kyoji attempted to ask her what the problem was but she was in such an emotional state that all she could get out was,” My son...there......huge!" and she collapsed further into a useless sobbing heap. Being honorable samurai both, Kyoji and Yuudai immediately set off on foot into the woods following the path of broken underbrush the woman had left. Seeing his companions disappearing into the forest Sasuke slid from his saddle grabbed his nagamaki and told his horse in a respectful tone to stay and wait, he then turned and ran off into the forest after the other samurai.

After a few minutes of stalking stealthily through the woods the group arrived at the edges of a clearing, across the way was a cave in the side of a gradually sloping hill. All was silent as they decided what to do, it didn't appear that there was anything large in this area, but the cave was the best bet. Just as Kyoji stepped into the clearing an arrow whistled where he had just been standing, striking a tree in front of Sasuke. Sasuke noticed the shooter as well as at least 4 other lurking shapes hidden on each side of the cave, but before he could shout out proper warning his fellow samurai instinctively charged the clearing, Yuudai going for the archer on the left of the cave and Kyoji attempting to take cover in the cave. As Yuudai started ascending toward the fumbling archer, two rough looking men jumped from the bushes to his left brandishing spears and yelling curses. Quickly dodging the first attack he allowed the second to glance off his armor leaving the attacker open for a vicious slash with his Kusari-gami, a sickening ‘shunk’ let him know that that bandit would not rise again. Meanwhile Kyoji rushed from the cover of the cave up the hill toward the archer, drawing his katana with such fury that he sliced the bow in half before cleaving the bandits shoulder.

Two bandits had emerged from the cave to help their friends and another had started up the hill after Kyoji. Sasuke was still standing outside the clearing attempting to cast another spell without much effect, though he was eagerly calling out warnings to his two comrades. Yuudai was locked in combat with the second of his assailants, the chain of his Kusari-gami wrapped around the bandits spear. Kyoji turned from the fallen archer to face his next opponent easily dodging his swing and countering with deadly force that resulted with blood spurting from the bandit’s chest. The bandits that had come from the cave paused as they watched the Lion finish his second target, while they stood there dumbfounded Kyoji dropped from above the cave right on top of them, cutting one down as he rose from his landing crouch. The final shadowy figure Sasuke had noticed started creeping from his hiding place toward Kyoji’s back. Seeing this Sasuke finally put away his scroll, grabbed up his nagamaki and charged in to protect the Scorpion. Kyoji quickly and violently dispatched the second last bandit separating his head from his body with a single stroke. The last bandit saw this, dropped his weapon and ran, Sasuke was about to give chase but thought better of it and instead turned to his friends and surveyed the carnage. Yuudai had just wrenched his weapon free of his last foes body and was making his way down the hill. Nobody seemed to notice that the last bandit had escaped, and Sasuke was secretly pleased, he didn’t like the shedding of human blood, even bandits. They weren’t always like this, he thought, something had driven them to this kind of depravity.

The clearing apparently secure Kyoji entered the cave, cautiously moving forward until he became accustomed to the dim lighting. Nothing but stinking, lice ridden bedding and a few pieces of dirty clothing littered the floor by a small flickering cooking fire. On a shelf carved from the rock Kyoji noticed a few women’s items seemingly placed with care. That was it then, a set up, the woman would not be by their mounts when they returned, they had been fooled. He kicked he bedding and clothing into the fire and left the cave. As he emerged Sasuke returned leading his own horse and Yuudai’s pony, apparently the woman had taken Kyoji’s pony for herself.

As they surveyed the area once again Yuudai noticed that one of the stricken bandits was missing. They moved up the hill toward a broken bow and a pool of blood, leading off into the woods was a crimson trail. Yuudai urged his allies to the chase, but Kyoji stopped him flatly by declaring that his stroke had been true, and the bandit was dead even as he fled. Leaving the issue at that to avoid insulting Kyoji’s honor Yuudai suggested that they should make for the Razor of Dawn Castle, for it would be a long walk. Kyoji agreed, and then made his way to the center of the clearing where the head of one of the bandits had rolled. Picking up a discarded spear he skewered the head and set the spear solidly in the ground as a warning to any bandits who might return. After that they gathered their things and resumed their travel along the road.

As they drew nearer their destination they suddenly heard the sound of heavy hoof beats and laborious breathing from behind them. They edged to the side of the road and made ready for a possible confrontation. But then, from around the last bend in the road, came a small yet sturdy pony bearing the most unusual load. A massive Crab Samurai in full armor, knuckles nearly dragging along the road, reined in his poor mount and dismounted, much to the pony’s relief. He introduced himself to the travelers as Hida Shinzo and asked if they were traveling to the Razor of Dawn Castle. When they confirmed that they were there on their way to join the Eleventh Imperial Legion a large smile spread across the Crabs face. “I am a member of the Eleventh Legion!” he said excitedly, “Here, I will escort you to the Castle.”

As they continued to travel Matsu Yuudai somewhat condescendingly asked the Hida why there were bandits plaguing such a road as this, subliminally suggesting that the Crab could not protect visitors to their lands. Shinzo ignored the remark and answered the question directly by stating that the Rain of Blood had hit particularly hard in this sparsely populated region of crab lands, and that there were not many samurai readily available to search out the fallen from the smallest of villages. This, he suggested, might be one of the tasks the Legion would assist in once it grew in size, as long as its members would be up to the challenge. With that topic covered the group remained silent until they reached the Razor of Dawn Castle.

It was near dusk when they arrived at their destination. They were quickly escorted into the main reception area past the gates and were introduced to Seppun Anashi, Master of the Legion, his beautiful daughter, Seppun Sinko, the Legions Loremaster, Hida Tosa Captain of the Gate, and Isawa Mino their fellow Legionnaire and Unit Commander. As it was late they were shown to their rooms and informed that they were to meet in the training grounds the following morning to test their skills. With that they went to sleep.

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Chapter 1: Meetings

It was nearing dusk as the lone Bayushi crested a small rise and spied the glow of a small town. Though his mission was not of the utmost importance he decided to make for the comfort of an inn rather than risk a solitary camp this close to the Kaiu Wall. Urging his sturdy pony forward at a greater pace he wound his way down the moonlit dirt road toward the town. Soft light spilled from the windows of the buildings closest to the entrance to the town as the Bayushi arrived. He had a choice, this town boasted two inns one seemingly more boisterous than the other. A quick decision it was and then the traveler entered the Copper Monkey Inn.

A wave of scents and sounds assailed him as he entered a combination of spiced rice, sake and sweaty bodies, loud jests and drunken laughs. As his eyes adjusted to the bright interior of the inn he made note that it was filled with Crab samurai, the source of most of the scents and all of the sounds. Scanning the room he took note that every table was occupied, and only two did not contain and Crab. Near the center was a table with a lone warrior, in full armor and the colors of the Lion, gold and brown, he sat hunched over his cup and appeared on edge. The other table not occupied by Crab held another lone Lion, or so it appeared at first, he was in brown robes but as the Bayushi moved toward him he noticed that he wore two Mons, one of the Fox clan over his left breast and the other seemingly a Unicorn family Mon on his right shoulder. This table appearing to be the most hospitable the Bayushi introduced himself as Bayushi Kyoji and asked for permission to sit. The Fox was slightly taken aback but politely returned the introduction giving the name Kitsune Sasuke and said he would be honored to share his table. Looking around the crowded room Bayushi Kyoji signaled to a serving girl who made her way over to them and took their orders, after she left Kyoji turned to Sasuke and inquired as to why a Fox would be all the way out in the Crab lands to far from home. Glancing away nervously Sasuke curtly muttered something about a mission given him by his Daimyo. Kyoji discerned that the young Fox had most likely never met a member of the Scorpion clan before and was merely acting to preserve what he thought may be a secret known only to his clan.

A little while later the serving girl came with their meals, she was cute, only about 14 though and merely a peasant, she smiled and bowed as she gave them their food and then wove her way back to the kitchen through the sea of tables. Halfway there a burly Crab samurai grabbed at her pulling her backward towards him, she wriggled out of his grasp and hurried out of the room while he boomed out obscene suggestions as to her sleeping accommodations for the night. Both Kyoji and Sasuke were disappointed with the samurai’s actions though it was only visible on the Foxes face. There was a level of vulgarity that could be blamed on sake and this Crab had nearly passed it. A few moments later the serving girl returned with a tray of steaming noodles weaving her way once again through the tables, this time going out of her way to avoid the clutches of the drunken Crab. This he apparently would not tolerate and he lunged for her catching her skirt and pulling her to the floor, the bowl of noodles went flying and landed squarely in the lap of the lone Lion warrior. He sat there for a moment and a silence came over the room, the serving girl rushed to clean up the mess apologizing repeatedly, the Lion looked at her and then stood up to face the large Crab that was sneering his way. At his full height the Lion looked more imposing than even the Scorpion had first thought, but there were many more Crab and they had all started to shift in their seats getting ready for the coming conflict. Obviously suppressing an underlying rage the Lion growled at the Crab that he required an apology for this disgrace. Shrugging off the request the Crab stated in slurred speech that it was the serving girls fault and he should take it up with the owner. The Lion would not back down, and right when it looked that bloodshed was inevitable Bayushi Kyoji stepped between the potential combatants and offered a round of sake to calm everyone’s nerves, after a few moments the Crab accepted and the Lion could turn away in victory, even if it was due to a drunkards vice.

Conflict narrowly averted, Kyoji invited the Lion to sit at his table and the Lion agreed. Introducing himself to the Scorpion and Fox as Matsu Yuudai, he responded more openly to Kyoji's inquiries about his destination and reason for travel than Sasuke had. Apparently the Emperor was forming an Eleventh Imperial Legion, and Yuudai had been selected as one of the warriors to represent the Lion clan. It was then that Kyoji revealed that this too was his mission, and there was no other reason that he would be this far into Crab lands. At these new revelations Sasuke's face brightened and he also confirmed what the Scorpion had thought all along, that he was also to join the Eleventh Imperial Legion at Kamisori Sano Yoake Shiro, or Razor of Dawn Castle. With the meal nearly finished and future companions found Kyoji suggested that they would all travel together the next day since their destination was the same, Sasuke quickly agreed and Yuudai merely grunted and left for his room.

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Status of my RPG.

Well, my RPG is coming along nicely. I would be much farther ahead than I am if I had stayed to my schedule during the summer, but things don't always work out. I am into a rythm now, I stay up until 4:00 am most mornings, when I don't work, working on my RPG. Let me tell you, designing an entirely new RPG system by yourself is a lot of work. Thankfully my friend Aaron suggested basing it on the Final Fantasy video game series which has put some direction into my ideas. Now onto the status:

-There are 6 playable Races, with another one in the works for the first expansion.
-There are 29 playable Classes, with another 4 in the works for the second and third expansions.
-There is an interchangable class system that allows players to completely customize their characters.
-There are currently 907 different Class Abilities, with a total of over 1000 expected after the first expansion.
-There are currently 34 various Advantages and Disadvantages to aid in creating a characters personality, some of these are Race specific increasing the posibility for unique gameplay experiences.
-There is a unique leveling up system that uses AP, CP, and Exp, as well as a total of 2 levels per character to provide a rounded approach to leveling up for various play styles.
-There are 120 Weapon Classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
-There is a Weapon Proficiency Table that charts each players skill with weapons and the relationship between weapon classes.
-There is an easy to learn "drop and play" combat system for use with common miniatures to provide a strategical insight for more visual players.
-It meshes perfectly with the already popular % system for Skill checks and opposed rolls providing a level of accuracy not often found in other systems.

So that, in a nutshell, is my RPG. I am still looking for a few good players, preferably with some experience in Role Playing, but I am confident this game will be easy and involving enought to attract new players as well.



Ok, I have been away for a long while, over a month in fact. When I began I wasn't sure if I could get this to work, and I don't think I really ever did. But I am going to try again, this time I wil post more regularily on my RPG and not just chapeters of Kitsune Sasuke. I will however republish the first three chapters of that story and continue to post up more as we role play. But I have to say that we rarely get to role play these days so there might be long pauses. But I am hopeful that everything will work out better this time. Oh, and please comment, I am very lonely.