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Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo




In the years after Bayushi Shoju became Shoju I, Emperor of Rokugan, many things changed, and many remained the same. The Clans were reordered and reorganized, and while there was peace between Great Clans, the commoners knew the depredations of bandits, ronin, and other, worse threats. Shoju I, with his Bloodsword, Ambition, by his side, became paranoid, and formed a force of secret informants and spies to monitor his Empire for traitors, conspirators, and malcontents. I, Miya Shouko, witnessed with my own eyes the suffering of the people during this period, for it was during this time that I came of age and travelled the land as one of the Miya Heralds.



While there were many who felt that, on a fundamental level, Shoju I had no right to sit the throne, the tenets of Bushido were clear that loyalty to the Emperor is required of all true samurai, and—difficult though it may have been to reconcile for some—there were many samurai who served him loyally, and even with great honor. In the year 1133, a group of these loyal servants of Shoju were assembled—samurai of little standing and minor fame at best, at least at the time—and sent on a tour of inspection, to ensure that the Empire was running as smoothly as reported. Their names would soon be known to all as examples of the finest and most loyal of samurai…

-Excerpts from the introduction of The Scorpion Emperor: A History, by Miya Shouko.


Late Summer, 1133 – Otosan Uchi, (One Month Ago)


It’s not lightly that one turns down an invitation from a figure so important as Bayushi Hirosato, and so, despite the distance from your homes, each of you has travelled to the Imperial City to meet with the man, an important figure in Shoju I’s government. The invitation was, like his exact position, notoriously nebulous, as are the positions of many in the current regime associated with ensuring the loyalty and smooth operation of the Empire. He is at least officially not directly associated with the Inquisition, being more of an open, friendly face. Well…

At least a masked one. But not one hidden in the shadows to snatch up those who have been disloyal. Though each of you knows you are not guilty of treason, it’s still not without some trepidation that you arrive in his office at the appointed hour, to see a group of other samurai of similar station to yourself, samurai who would soon become your travelling companions and allies.

Hirosato finally emerged from his small office to greet all of you in person. Your initial impression of him was that he was a tall man, but after a few moments you realized that he was actually of average height, no more—he simply projected himself well, making him seem more imposing. His hair was neatly trimmed, graying at the temples, and his mask, a richly embroidered cloth of deep red, hid the lower half of his face from view. His eyes betrayed nothing. In short, this was not a man to be trifled with.

“Thank you for accepting my invitation and arriving in such a timely fashion. I’m certain all of you are wondering why you’ve been summoned here today in such an enigmatic fashion. I assure you, you are in no trouble; the summons were worded so vaguely to ensure your own safety. One cannot be too careful, as I’m sure you know, in these…troubled times.” He paused, and his mask shifted slightly—was he smiling beneath it?

“Each of you has been selected for your loyalty and your history of service to the Empire. I hereby appoint each of you to the rank of magistrate, under my direct authority. It is, you will find, by no means as prestigious as being an Emerald Magistrate, but it does come with certain benefits. “ As he spoke, an attendant handed each of you a sheaf of documents. “These documents detail your first assignment, as well as your rights and duties as magistrates under my command. You will also find the details of your salary and other such trivial matters within. Please peruse them at your leisure. To make it clear to you now, however, I am sending the group of you south to the Kaiu Wall, where you will perform an inspection tour and see to it that the Crane and Lion clans are holding to their duties to the satisfaction of the Crab. You report directly to me, and only to me. Birds will be available to you for transmitting your reports upon your arrival. You will not be detained or in any way interfered with, but in all other respects you are to be respectful to the local daimyo and those of higher rank. Your orders include details on how to verify any changes to your instructions I may send—you are to memorize these and destroy them.”

Hirosato turned away from you all, a sign of supreme confidence. “I trust there are no questions?” From his tone, you knew you had been dismissed.

. . .

It has been a month since then, a month spent in preparation and travel. The documents you received indicated that you are to be given a modest salary, and are responsible for overseeing loyalty and morale within the Empire. Your actual magisterial powers are few—you may avail yourselves of the hospitality of any lord for lodgings and food, and other such minor things, but you may not call upon the services of the Imperial Legions or any other military force except in cases of open, armed rebellion. You can be assured of safe travel anywhere within the empire, unimpeded—at least by those who recognize the authority of Shoju I.

Thankfully, your journey was pleasant enough, and while the scenery has become progressively less pleasant as you’ve drawn nearer the wall, you have finally arrived at your destination, the first point on your inspection tour. It is a relatively small keep, at a watchtower along the Wall, known only by the prosaic and somewhat uninspiring name of Watchpoint Sixty-Three. Your briefing indicates that since the successful assaults of the combined forces now manning the Wall, Watchpoint Sixty Three has become less of a guard post and more of a staging area for forays into the Shadowlands. Your orders are to report to the commander of the Watchpoint, one Hiruma Koichi, at once upon arrival, with no delays.

It is evening when you reach the Watchpoint, and as you make your way through the camp, you see a group of samurai engaged in what seems at first to be a training exercise—a small Matsu woman seems to be sparring with a hulking woman bearing the Hida mon on her armor, surrounded by a group of other samurai of both clans. A flash of steel in the torchlight, however, tells you with no uncertainty whatsoever that this is no sparring match, but rather a duel, or worse—a brawl.

(Also, please post your character sheets in this thread to help keep me sane)

Zero Suit Ridley fucked around with this message at Jun 23, 2013 around 02:54

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unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die



Matsu Mayumi

Mayumi hops off her horse, stretching a bit to ease the aches caused from days of travel across the countryside. This fight, whatever it is, is clearly not a good sign. In the best case scenario this is a duel, an honorable way of settling a dispute. Worst case, a petty brawl, a shameful display by those who have forgotten the tenets of Bushido. Either way this is a serious event and does not bode well for the rest of the inspection.

Though, if it is a duel it would be rude to interrupt. Finding someone nearby who seems to be of some authority she approaches them and demands and explanation for this behavior.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Hayuma

Hayuma watches the duel with some interest. It's a bad sign. While the Shadowlands are quiet now, the forces of Fu Leng are always out there, waiting. That's why those assigned to the Wall must always be ready, committed to defending the wall rather than engaging in personal vendettas. So, to see the two dueling, or worse, brawling, is a bad sign indeed. He sees that one of his companions seems to be seeking out more information about the event, so he stays close ho her, hoping that she'll be able to uncover what is going on.

code:
Name: Otomo Hayuma           Rank:  1
Clan:   Imperial	     Experience: 79/100 
School: Otomo Courtier       Insight:  158

Earth: 3 	 Air: 3		Honor:   6
 Sta:  3	 Ref: 3		Glory:   2
 Wil:  3	 Awa: 3		Infamy:  0
Water: 2	Fire: 3		Status:  1
 Str:  2	 Agi: 3		Taint:   0
 Per:  2	 Int: 3
	Void: 2
Wounds
Healthy  (+ 0):  15
Nicked   (+ 3):   6
Grazed   (+ 5):   6
Hurt     (+10):   6
Injured  (+15):   6
Crippled (+20):   6
Down     (+40):   6
Out           :   6

Skill		Rank	Trait   	Emphasis

Etiquette        3      Awareness
Courtier         3      Awareness       Manipulation
Investigation    2      Perception
Intimidation     3      Awareness       Control
Defense          1      Reflexes
Sincerity        3      Awareness
Lore (Theology)  1      Intelligence
Kenjutsu         3      Agility
Caligraphy       1      Intelligence
Iajitsu          2      Reflexes

Advantage	              Points    Disadvantage	Points
            	      
Allies (Otomo Yoshiro 4,1)      4       Rumormonger           5
Techniques

The Voice of Heaven 

Equipment

Wakizashi
Knife
Calligraphy Set
10 Koku

Weapon		Attack	Damage	Notes
Wakizashi	6k3	4k2	

Epicurius fucked around with this message at Sep 21, 2013 around 14:54

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


Utaku Kaori

Kaori shakes her head at the brawl, but continues moving. Her orders are not to protect other samurai from their own stupidity or get involved in a situation she does not understand - they are to report to Hiruma Koichi at once, with no delays.
She does step out of her path just long enough to brush up against Matsu Mayumi, shoot her a look, and then pointedly continue walking along.

pre:
Name: Utaku Kaori		Rank: 1
Clan: Unicorn			Experience:	0
School:	Utaku Battle Maiden	Insight: 128	

Earth: 3	Air : 2		Honor: 	6.5  
				Glory: 	1  
Sta: 3		Ref: 3		Infamy:	0   		
Wil: 3		Awa: 2 		Status:	1  
				Taint: 	0  
Water: 2	Fire: 2

Str: 3		Agi: 2
Per: 2		Int: 2
	
	Void: 2
			Wounds
Initiative: 4k3		Healthy  (+ 0): 15
Armor: Riding		Nicked   (+ 3): 6
TN: 23/31		Grazed   (+ 5): 6
Reduction: 4		Hurt     (+10): 6
Healing Rate: 		Injured  (+15): 6
			Crippled (+20): 6
			Down     (+40): 6
			Out           :

Skill			Rank	Trait	Emphasis

Sincerity		2	Awa	
Artisan (Painting)	2	Awa
Etiquette		1	Awa
Investigation		1	Per
Lore: Shugenja          1       Int

Athletics		1	Str
Kyujutsu		2	Ref
Kenjutsu		2	Agi

Animal Handling 	1	Awa	
Battle			1	Per
Defense 		2	Ref
Horsemanship    	2	Agi
Performance (Dance)     1       Agi

Advantage				Points    
Hero of the People			2
Ebisu's Blessing			2

Disadvantage                            Points
Moto Curse                              +4
Idealistic                              +2


Techniques

Riding In Harmony
 - Bonus equal to Honor Rank to one attack roll per round; if mounted, can apply to damage instead
 - Horsemanship rolls gain bonus equal to Honor Rank


Weapon		Attack	Damage	Notes
Dai-kyu          5k3     5k2    Willow Leaf arrows
Katana           4k3     6k2
Wakizashi        4k3     5k2

Outfit:
Riding Armor, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho (katana + wakizashi), Dai-kyu, Utaku warhorse, 15 ya, 7 koku (minus cost of miscellaneous stuff)

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



Soshi Masami

Masami sniffs disdainfully as she takes note of the fight. Brawl or duel, this was not the place for such a thing. She had expected decorum would erode in such a place, but the immediate proof of that hardly boded well. It was not a thing that should distract from the task at hand, at any rate. She steps carefully so as to avoid the others.

pre:
Name: Soshi Masami		Rank: 2
Clan: Scorpion			Experience:	0/80
School:	Shosuro Infiltrator	Insight:	151

Earth: 2	Air : 3		Honor: 	2.0  (3.0)
				Glory: 	2  
Sta: 2		Ref: 3		Infamy:	0   		
Wil: 2		Awa: 4 		Status:	1  
				Taint: 	0  
Water: 2	Fire: 3

Str: 2		Agi: 3
Per: 2		Int: 3
	
	Void: 2
			Wounds
Initiative: 		Healthy  (+ 0):
Armor: 			Nicked   (+ 0):
TN: 20+3		Grazed   (+ 0):
Reduction: 1		Hurt     (+ 0):
Healing Rate: 		Injured  (+ 0):
			Crippled (+ 0):
			Down     (+ 0):
			Out           :

Skill			Rank	Trait	Emphasis

Acting			2	Awa	Profession
Sincerity		3	Awa	Deceit
Courtier		3	Awa	Gossip		+3 IR
Artisan (Ikebana)	1	Awa
Calligraphy		1	Int	Cipher
Etiquitte		1	Awa
Investigation		3	Per			Search twice with no increased TN
Tea Ceremony		1	Void

Athletics		1	Str
Kyujutsu		1	Ref
Ninjitsu		1	Agi/Ref

Stealth 		2	Agi	Sneak
Forgery			2	Agi
Temptation		2	Awa
Sleight of Hand 	1	Agi
Craft (poison)  	3	???

Advantage				Points    
Perceived Honour 1			2
Silent					2

Disadvantage				Points
Dark Secret (Poisoned her husband)	5
Small					3

Techniques

The Path of Shadows
 - No honour lost for using low skills/ninjitsu weapons in service of the Scorpion clan
 - +2k0 to all stealth skill rolls

 Strike from Darkness
 When an opponent is unaware of my presence:
  - Raises are not limited by my Void
  - Roll additional dice equal to school rank on the attack roll
 OR
 If an opponent suffers a condition:
  - Add half school rank to the attack roll


Weapon		Attack	Damage	Notes


Outfit:
Ashigaru , Sturdy Black Clothing, Daisho, Bow, Traveling Pack, 5 koku

neongrey fucked around with this message at Apr 19, 2013 around 04:13

TychoBrahesNose
May 24, 2011


Kaiu Ginzo

Ginzo frowns at the apparent lack of discipline among the unruly mob as he scans the crowd hoping to find an officer. However, the moment steel comes out, he hurries toward the knot of people, shouting in his most bellicose voice, "Matsu-san! Hida-san! Report! What is the meaning of this? It appears to this son of Kaiu that each of you has not yet seen enough blood shed from your fellows, and so you seek to do the vile work of Fu Leng for him!"

Takin' charge: Perception/Battle + Void = 7k5 to shame these two into breaking it up. Incidentally, do we have any kind of formal Status?

pre:
Kaiu Ginzo
Clan: Crab
Family: Kaiu
Kaiu Engineer
Insight: 120 (Abilities) + 33 (Skills) = 133
Honor: 5.0 / Glory 2.0 / Status 1.0

Air: 2
Earth: 2
Fire: 3 (Int 4)
Water: 3
Void: 2

Weapons: 
Daisho: Attack 6k3, Damage 6k2/5k2
No-Dachi: Attack 6k3 + Emphasis, Damage 5k3

Armor:
Heavy Armor (+10 TN, Reduction 5, -5 to Agility & Reflexes Rolls)

Wounds:
10 (+0), 14 (+3), 18 (+5) 22 (+10) 26 (+15) 30 (+20) 34 (+40*) 38 (Out)

Advantages:
Clear Thinker (+1k0 vs. Manipulation/Confusion)	3
Great Potential: Engineering (Raises not limited by Void)	5
Soul of Artistry: Craft (All Craft skills at Rank 1)	4

Disadvantages:
Cast Out (Monks of one temple treat Glory as Infamy)	1
Compulsion: Meticulously Groomed Appearance (Willpower TN 20)	3
Disbeliever (Social Skill TN +5 vs. shugenja, monks)	3
Driven: Live Comfortably	2
Fascination: Fortifications	1

Skills (* = School):	 Rank
* Battle	 3
* Craft: Armorsmithing	 2
* Craft: Weaponsmithing 1
* Defense	 3
* Engineering (Construction)	3
* Lore: Architecture	 3
* War Fans	 1
Acting	 1
Games: Go	 1
Intimidation     2
Investigation	 3
Lore: Heraldry	 3
Lore: Shadowlands	 1
Kenjutsu (No Dachi)	 3
Commerce	 1
Courtier       1

Techniques:
The Kaiu Method: +1k0 School Skills, or +2k2 with Void
The Path of Stone: Engineering TN25 to add 200 Wounds to large structures; Reroll siege engine Damage on any dice below 2

Equipment:
Heavy Armor, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho, No Dachi, Traveling Pack, 3 koku

XP Spent: 36 (Abilities) + 12 (Advantages) + 52 (Skills) -10 (Disadvantages) = 90

TychoBrahesNose fucked around with this message at Jun 28, 2013 around 13:34

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Loud yells of insults, bets, and jeers fill the air around the combatants, and between that and the lack of a visible judge it is quickly evident that this is no duel, but a brawl. Mayumi, you find it difficult to get any of the samurai present to pay attention to you over the pair of unruly samurai, but one brawny man in Lion colors pays attention to you long enough to notice that you're an armed bushi of his own Clan. Apparently assuming you're just late to the party, he leans over and starts to explain.

"The Hida cow made claims she couldn't back up about Sayako-kun's battle prowess, but Sayako-kun told her how things stood--the Crab may be big, but they didn't drive back the Shadowlands till they got our help! Well didn't that just piss in Hida's rice--"

It's then that Ginzo's shouted order cuts through the night air. Despite the clear disorder of moments before, all present are far too well trained in battlefield discipline to continue in the face of such a commanding tone, and even the two brawlers--Matsu Sayako and the Hida woman who insulted her--stand at attention, red-faced in shame. It does speak well of them that neither bothers to stammer excuses, though.

Well spotted about the formal status--I don't know how I missed mentioning it. Yes, you have all been elevated to a Status of 3. However, your promotions are so recent that you may find yourselves obligated to present your papers to people before they'll recognize your authority. In this case, military discipline has conditioned an immediate response to the tone of command, whether or not they recognize you.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die


Matsu Mayumi

"A..a brawl? You two are fighting like children, standing on the only thing keeping the empire safe from the evils of the shadowlands!? Untold number of warriors have given their lives here and you trample on their graves and on their memories! I am disgusted with both of your behavior, you have both clearly deviated from the path of righteousness." Taking the papers from her pouch she continues, "As magistrate I am ordering both of you to report to your superiors for immediate discipline. I can only hope the punishment will remind you of the importance of your task here. Please try to understand that everyone here is a vital part of society, and only by working together can we truly succeed in our endeavors."

With that she hurries to catch up with the rest of the group meeting up with command.

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Four hehs.


Utaku Natsumi

Natsumi dutifully follows Kaori. No delays means no delays.

She does watch events unfold as she passes, though. She's inspecting.

pre:


Name: Utaku Natsumi		Rank: 2
Clan: Unicorn			Experience:	99/100
School:	Iuchi Shugenja		Insight: 164

Earth: 3	Air : 2		Honor: 	6 
				Glory: 	2
Sta: 3		Ref: 2		Infamy:	0   		
Wil: 3		Awa: 2 		Status:	3 
				Taint: 	0  
Water: 3	Fire: 2

Str: 3		Agi: 2
Per: 3		Int: 2
	
	Void: 3
			Wounds
Initiative: 4k2		Healthy  (+ 0): 15
Armor: None		Nicked   (+ 3): 6
TN: 15/15		Grazed   (+ 5): 6
Reduction: 0		Hurt     (+10): 6
Healing Rate: 		Injured  (+15): 6
			Crippled (+20): 6
			Down     (+40): 6
			Out           :

Skill			Rank	Trait	Emphasis
Battle			1	Awa	
Calligraphy		1	Int	Cipher
Horsemanship		2	Agi
Investigation		3	Per
Lore: Theology          3       Int
Meditation  	        2       Voi
Spellcraft	        5       Int

Athletics		2	Str
Artisan (poetry)	3	Awa
Defense 		2	Ref
Etiquette		3	Awa
Games (shogi) 		1	Int	
Kenjutsu		1	Agi
Medicine    		1	Int
Sincerity	     	1       Awa

Mastery
Spellcraft		+1k0 Spell Casting Rolls
Investigation		2nd attempt to Search emphasis without TN increase
Etiquette		+3 Insight

Advantage				Points    
Irreproachable				2
Sage					3
Paragon (Duty)				7

Disadvantage                            Points
Contrary	                        +3
Idealistic                              +2


Techniques

Spirit of the Wind:
 - Can take Complex Action to sacrifice a spell slot and grant one target a Simple Move Action
 - Free raise on any spell with the Travel keyword

Spells: Affinity/Deficiency: Water/Fire

Universal: Commune, Sense, Summon
Air: Legacy of Kaze-no-Kami, Benten's Touch
Earth: Jade Strike, Jurojin's Balm, Embrace of Kenro-Ji-Jin
Water: Path To Inner Peace, Reversal of Fortunes, Spirit of the Water, Regrow the Wound

Outfit:
Extravagant clothing, wakizashi, katana (at home), calligraphy set, traveling pack, Unicorn riding horse, books and scrolls, medicine kit, 9 koku

Ettin fucked around with this message at Feb 4, 2014 around 04:32

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


It's not actually much further to reach Hiruma Koichi--apparently drawn by the commotion, he has emerged from his office in order to deal with the situation, and observed Ginzo and Mayumi dressing down the brawling pair. He is small for a Crab, though with a certain amount of command in his presence, and wears a greying beard and a weary expression.


Hiruma Koichi

"A very fine speech, Matsu-san. And Kaiu-san, as well. My own soldiers would do well to set aside their differences and learn from your examples to work together." He punctuates this with a tired glance at the brawlers, one that seems to have more effect on the pair than if they had been slapped. "The two of you will be sharing duties together for the next month; see to it that your duty officers are informed of this."

He turns his attention to the six of you, now. "You must be the magistrates I was told to expect. Please, come into my office. This is clearly not the place to discuss your business here." He gestures for you to enter a small, squat building nearby.

TychoBrahesNose
May 24, 2011


Kaiu Ginzo

Kaiu enters the office and lowers his voice before addressing the commander of Watchpoint Sixty-Three. "I trust such...outbursts are not commonplace among your soldiers, Hiruma-san? I fear that if we were compelled by the testimony gathered during our inspection to report such incidents to the bureaucrats in Otosan Uchi--especially those who do not understand the true situation here on the Wall--it would no doubt do little more than disrupt the continuity of command that is vital to the success of our efforts here. And that is an outcome that none of us here find appealing."

I guess that's sort of Intimidation to imply that his command is potentially in jeopardy, but I am not actually trying to coerce specific behavior out of him...yet. I'm more just calling it like I see it. Pick whatever sort of social skill is appropriate if you need a roll; they're all Untrained at 2k2 anyway.

Here you go, Courtiers, have fun trying to dig us out of this one!

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Hayuma

Hayuma, stepping into the office, hurries to clarify the Kaiu's words. It's not that he said anything incorrect, of course, but he said it in a coarse and unappealing manner that, while sometimes necessary, can offend. And it wouldn't do to offend the watchpoint commander without cause. Not yet. (Of course, he thinks to himself, as a Crab, the watchpoint commander might not even see the threat in Kaiu's words. They sometimes accept the most appalling rudeness.

"We realize, of course, the difficulty of your task, especially the difficulties that sometimes can occur when multiple clans are required to work together on a project. Indeed, one of the reasons we're here is to discover any problems that you might be facing due to these extraordinary circumstances and help fix them if possible. I know we are outsiders here, and not so familiar with the situations that you face down here on the Wall, so, I would consider it a kindness if you could tell us your impressions on the situation, and any concerns you might have."

6k3 Aware/Etiquette (or is that courtesy?) to smooth over any ruffled feathers and get info out of him

Epicurius fucked around with this message at Jan 28, 2013 around 11:47

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



Soshi Masami

Not for the first time, Masami finds herself grateful for the practicality of her selection of an opaque veil of dark brown silk as a traveling mask. The dust of the road has yet to enter her mouth, and now it well obscures the depth of her frown at the Kaiu's boorishness. Or was this how the Crab conducted themselves within their own clan? That was nearly as distasteful. Nor was it fit to conduct official Imperial business with the same flippancy as one would an internal clan matter, even if that last was the case.

Masami allows Hayuma to take the lead on this; better if she is not the one to be performing damage control, and better still to go as unremarked as possible. She grants the Otomo a glance of acknowledgement, then turns her attention to the commander to await the explanation.

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Koichi regards you silently for a long moment before responding with a weary sigh. "You've been away from the wall for some time, then, Kaiu-san? The days of this kind of behavior being a rare occurrence are long gone. If anything, we've been too successful--the Shadowlands forces have been driven back and are holed up in their warrens. If I didn't know better...well, they're not making the kind of incursion they used to, at any rate. Which leaves the three clans on the Wall plenty of time to step on each other's toes." As he speaks he takes out a small tobacco pipe and lights it. "I'm looking forward to retirement. Hah! Imagine, a good Crab soldier expecting to retire peacefully instead of dying in glorious battle. Things have changed, Kaiu-san, and the Wall isn't what it once was...but that's just one old soldier's grumbling."

He turns to regard Hayuma in particular now. "As I said just now, you'll find tensions high all along the Wall. We've not enough to do, and it's wearing on us. Boredom can be fatal, and these little brawls alleviate it, so standing orders from above are to turn a blind eye, within reason, at least unless they're actually going to kill each other. Had you not arrived when you did I'd have broken that one up shortly, of course. Still, the iron discipline of the Crab of ten years ago isn't vanished quite yet, but...well, again, if I didn't know better..."

He shakes his head, trailing off for a moment.

"At any rate, I'm to give you full run of the Watchpoint. We've shifted several officers into the regular barracks for the duration of your stay. You're free to inspect at your discretion, but in matters of security or orders to the forces here, you're to relay all orders through me, and I have discretion to refuse orders I feel will be detrimental, within reason, to security or morale, since I know the troops better than you will be able to within the duration of your stay here. Once your inspection of this Watchpoint is complete, I will assign you an escort to your next stop on the inspection tour. Are there any questions or clarifications on how this is going to work?"

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die


Matsu Mayumi

"Sir, with all due respect boredom is no excuse for a lack of discipline, and I must confess I am somewhat mortified at the situation here. Just because the creatures of the shadowlands are not on our doorstep does not mean they have ceased being a threat!" She stops for a bit collecting her thoughts. "I apologize for my forwardness, the Crab of all clans know the threat the shadowlands represents, I'd venture to say more than any other. I am just stunned that noble samurai would behave in such a manner. I feel there must be a way to alleviate their boredom without compromising their readiness, but unfortunately I do not have a solution on hand. Should I think of something I will let you know and appreciate your cooperation in all of this, you have been nothing if not helpful to us."

Ideally using etiquette (4k2) to keep things as civil as possible

Mikan
Sep 5, 2007


Utaku Kaori

Kaori nods. "No worries, Matsu Mayumi. I have already drafted a set of proper instructions for preparation and behavior during idle periods. I will present it after a chance to tailor the regimen to the situation. I may have to handle the instruction myself, depending, but there is much we can already prepare for handling bored samurai." She bows to their host, then continues. "Not to disparage the leadership or preparations already in place, of course. We are all servants of the Emperor, and must all do our part with no concern for praise or blame."

"I am eager to spend time among the troops and learn their ways."

TychoBrahesNose
May 24, 2011


Kaiu Ginzo

"Work is the answer, Mayumi-san, Kaori-san." Ginzo replies before turning once again to the commander. "Tell me, Hiruma-san, have you a Kaiu Engineer attached to your Watchtower? If so, I shall discuss with him ways that we might enhance the fortifications in this particular locale, and the labor requirements necessary. In my previous assignment I caused to be built a smaller wall behind the primary one, from one watchtower to the next, to contain and delay any enemies, especially sappers, who might cause a breach or somehow gain access to the tunnels..." Ginzo trails off for a moment as details of the auxiliary fortifications cohere in his mind.

And then he comes out of his reverie and provides a concluding thought. "The other method to alleviate soldiers' boredom that to my knowledge has been used with great effectiveness throughout history--especially by the Lion Clan--is to go on the offensive."

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


"Put your proposals in writing, and I'll look them over. As far as going on the offensive goes--that's more or less what we've done to get us into this issue as it stands. If there's nothing else you need from me right now, though, I'm afraid I've much to do. I can have someone show you to your quarters, if you'd like, or if you'd rather take a preliminary look around first, I can have someone accompany you until you're ready to retire."

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die


Matsu Mayumi

"I would like to take a look around, it would give me a chance to stretch out my legs. And I must once again thank you for your understanding and cooperativeness in all this. You are doing the Emperor and your clan a great service with your performance."

So has a few ideas of what might alleviate the boredom. Holding sanctioned competitions between clans would help relieve stress and build morale, though it might cause greater division between the clans. Running additional drills with rewards for the best squad, regardless of clan, might inspire them. Forcibly mixing up the groups might, in time, foster cohesion but the people would likely be dead against that. This will definitely require some thought.

unzealous fucked around with this message at Jan 28, 2013 around 03:54

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



Soshi Masami

"A brief inspection now has the sound of wisdom to me, Hiruma-san," says Masami quietly, making a delicate gesture with one hand. "I will gladly accept your generous offer of a guide. After that there should be no need to take you from your other duties. Your diligence is a worthy example."

In truth, she hopes the more impromptu nature of the inspection will prove most fruitful. Tomorrow, all would be more prepared to be scrutinized.

TychoBrahesNose
May 24, 2011


Kaiu Ginzo

"I concur. A brief tour now will allow us to more effectively plan the more intensive inspections to come."

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Koichi has an attendant summoned to act as your guide around the camp. The heimin attendant, Tarou, explains to you that each of the three clans maintains their own barracks, but the mess hall is communal and hosts meals in intervals of roughly three hours, night or day, to accommodate duty shifts. The stables, such as they are, are also communal, but each clan also maintains their own training grounds for drills and practice. The tower itself can be accessed both internally or externally, with the narrow internal stairway being made of stone and the much larger external stair being constructed of wooden scaffolding--sturdy but ready to be torn down on short notice should it become necessary. The Wall itself is still patrolled despite the lack of immediate Shadowlands presence, if only to prevent small groups of infiltrators from gaining entry to the Empire. The patrols have not been reduced in number, though with the large number of samurai now available it is viewed as a punishment duty by many.

Though the sun has set, there is still activity in the camp; samurai are coming and going to and from the barracks, the mess hall, and of course the wall is being patrolled. For the most part those who are off-duty are engaged in games of chance or skill near the barracks, though you are informed by your attendant (with some amount of pride) that even now, no Crab permits alcohol to be consumed while assigned to the Wall. Tarou mentions that there is also one squadron preparing to put on a draw-lot play, as Watchpoint tradition has that each squadron takes a turn in a rotation to produce these plays. Some of the Lion clan have been willing to join in, he tells you, but the Crane have to a man refused to participate, though they flock to the performances same as anyone else.

Tarou is willing (and indeed, under orders) to accompany you anywhere you wish to go within the camp. Your own quarters are in the Crab officers barracks, and he can direct you there as well when you choose to retire. He has a small group of eta he can send with anyone who wants to go off on their own, but--for tonight at least--he suggests, as humbly and in as roundabout way as he can--that it might be best for the group of you to be seen together, 'so as the men can get to see what all of yous look like at the same time, and can know who you are for later on if you decides to go a-wandering.'

Ettin
Oct 2, 2010

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Four hehs.


Utaku Natsumi

"We have time to look at everything, if we are swift. Then we can prepare for a more thorough inspection tomorrow. We should not need the eta.

"Who knows we are here?"

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



Soshi Masami

Masami nods in brief agreement with Natsumi then returns her attention to Tarou. "The performances go well, I trust? When will the next be performed? I should enjoy taking it in, if we have the opportunity. Do you know what they are planning to perform?" Their choice of performance material would provide a keen insight as to the attitudes running through the camp. To one properly observant, such as herself, she could use such to observe and assess the loyalty of the camp as a whole in one fell swoop.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Hayuma

Hayuma doesn't say anything, but quietly is in agreement with the Soshi. It would do good to see these performances and their effects. Then he thinks for a minute as something Tarou said stands out. "You've said that the patrols now are the same as they've always been? But there are so many more people. What do the rest do all day?"

TychoBrahesNose
May 24, 2011


Kaiu Ginzo

"A connoisseur of the arts, are you, Soshi-san?" Ginzo says with a laugh. "If you have never seen one, the draw-lot plays are...an experience. We must, of course, see to the state of the fortifications at some point, but the condition of the soldiers is perhaps even more important for a proper defense of this place. I can think of no better way to gauge morale than to be amongst the men and women when they are not focused on the immediate task of guarding."

That said, are there any glaringly obvious deficiencies in the buildings or defenses that we've seen so far? Engineering/Int = 8k4, with Construction emphasis.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die


Matsu Mayumi

"I agree with Utaku, speed will give us the best approximation of the readiness here. They won't have time to shine their armor, hide the contraband and make themselves appear to be disciplined. The situation is far more dire than I'd thought. It's shameful to see samurai behaving like ruffians."

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Ginzu

The Wall and other defensive structures seem to be extremely well kept--it's not like they're hurting for labor. Previously there'd be a certain number of peasant soldiers reinforcing the Wall, but with the large number of samurai, they've been reassigned to less dangerous duties, like labor, and everything is as a result well maintained.

(This is also going to be the main argument against using construction projects to keep people busy--manual labor is for peasants, not samurai, unless there's something very, very desperate about the situation.

Everyone

Tarou leads the lot of you through the camp to an open area currently not being used for training purposes. A small number of samurai are present, apparently rehearsing, though many are just watching the proceedings. The most noticeable group are a trio--a Lion woman wearing an Ikoma mon, a Hida bushi, and--of all things--a ratling in a feminine pink kimono.

A male ratling.

"O Teiki, my brother, my rival!" declaims the Ikoma woman, melodramatically and with obvious pleasure--she's apparently loving this. "I cannot allow this continue! Himeko is and always has been the woman I love, and I can stand by idly no more while you pursue her hand!"

The Hida coughs, clearing his throat. "Uh, O Hiro, my rival, my brother...what was it...oh! Your love is unworthy of...uh...such a beautiful samurai-ko as Himeko! Behold, for she loves...uh..." He looks at the nezumi.

"Ch'krikri not-not going to kiss you." The ratling appears utterly nonplussed by the whole situation.

The Ikoma throws up her hands. "It's just a play, Ch'krikri. You don't actually kiss him, just, pretend. Act."

"Stupid-stupid play..."

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die


Matsu Mayumi

Mayumi seems a bit confused with everything going on, obviously out of her depth. "I...must admit I am not totally familiar with draw lot plays. I serve the Emperor in other ways you see. I don't suppose one of you would be willing to explain their purpose and functionality? And why is that Nezumi in a pink dress, that question is currently plaguing me."

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Mayumi

At your question, the trio stop their conversation and look over at you. Upon seeing that you are of her clan, the Ikoma's face breaks into a broad, genuine smile. "Ah, Matsu-san, are you freshly arrived here on the Wall? Allow me to introduce myself and my companions. I am Ikoma Serika, and this is Hida Gonzaemon and Ch'krikri No-Tribe. Of course we don't have such things back home, so it doesn't surprise me that you've never heard of the draw-lot play. Let me explain."

"Ch'krikri not understand play-play either, nobody explains to him," complains the nezumi. Serika ignores him. Gonzaemon sighs in a long-suffering fashion, and quietly begins to speak to the ratling with the practiced patience of one who has in fact explained several times already a concept to a particularly thick child.

Serika continues, unabashed. "The basic idea of the draw-lot play is that the roles are selected at random from a kabuto. You--well, the commander of the squad, really--writes the names of the roles on scraps of paper, then mixes them with enough blanks to make up for everyone in the squad, and everyone draws one scrap. If it has a role on it, that's the role they have to play. Doesn't matter if you don't look anything like the role, or are even the wrong sex--that's all part of the fun."

"Ch'krikri not-not think this is fun," protests the ratling. Serika continues as if he hadn't spoken.

"There's only two other rules, aside from the roles being pulled from a kabuto. One, there has to be at least one scripted fight. Two, there can't be any Shadowlands characters in the play. We face that filth every day here, we don't want to think about it while we're relaxing. Other than that, anything goes. It's something truly wonderful, and when my duties here are concluded I fully intend to bring the art form back home, at least, if not to the Empire at large!"

Hida Gonzaemon speaks up. "What Ikoma-san has said is largely accurate. Not everyone is as enthusiastic about it as she is, though. It's good fun, but sometimes, well..." He looks pointedly at the ratling, who is trying without success to adjust the pink kimono to a more comfortable position. "Not all the participants are thrilled about their roles. Honestly, I'm not sure if including Ch'krikri in the drawing is going to end up working for us, but he's part of the squad, and it makes him feel like part of a tribe again."

The ratling nods eagerly at that last. "Yes-yes! Ch'krikri had no tribe, was sad-sad, but Crab-crab and other samurai-sans have taken Ch'krikri into their tribe! Strong-strong! But sometimes," he adds, thoughtfully picking at the pink kimono again, "strange-strange."

Zero Suit Ridley fucked around with this message at Jan 29, 2013 around 04:52

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Hayuma

"Strange, strange, indeed", Hayuma mutters to himself as he takes in the spectacle. "Why did you have no tribe, Ch'kriri? What happened to it?" Hayuma realizes he knows little of the nezumi, the strange rat devils who dwell in the Shadowlands and fight the corruption there.

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



Soshi Masami

A smile crosses Masami's lips behind the veil. "Ah, I see," she says, not allowing the amusement into her voice. It was not terribly different from games of her own childhood; here in this place, it would have much the same result in fostering internal loyalty. If things were as they should be here, that could be very good. On the other hand, if there were seeds of dissent being sown here, that would only give it fertile ground to grow. The nezumi is a curiosity as well, but the Otomo had that matter in hand, and so Masami leaves off of that.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die


Matsu Mayumi

"If it's alright could those who want to keep an eye on the play could stay while we continue the investigation? They would get far more out of inspecting the production than I would I'm sure. This way we can hopefully complete our task in good time. Ikoma Serika it was a pleasure meeting you, I hope your play goes well."

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Hayuma

Ch'krikri shrugs. "Say Ch'krikri is crazy-crazy, think he care more for Crab than for tribe. Say, Ch'krikri, you crazy-crazy, you go join Crab if you like-like them so much."

Mayumi

Serika and Gonzaemon both begin to protest simultaneously. "Oh, the play isn't ready yet--you shouldn't spoil it by watching us practice like this."

Tarou interjects. "If I may, samurai-sama, the rehearsal of the play is likely to go on for some time--far be it from me to presume, of course. Whatever you decide, I can have these eta guide anyone who wishes to remain with the performers."

TychoBrahesNose
May 24, 2011


Kaiu Ginzo

"On the contrary, Ikoma-san, Hida-san, what could be more of a boon to the outcome of your rehearsal than the fortuitous presence of a noted patron of the arts and a Kaiu officer who has performed in not a few draw-lot plays of his own? If you will only indulge us, your accommodating spirit shall not be forgotten...

"As for you Ch'krikri," he says, turning to the nezumi, "surely your own kind have strange rituals of one variety or another, especially to mark the occasion when a pup comes of age and becomes a full member of his tribe? Think of this as no more than the rite of passage that some among us are required to undergo to ensure our place within the tribe of men."

With that, Ginzo steps back and listens attentively as (hopefully) the performance commences again. During any breaks in the action, he also attempts to take in whatever other performances are being practiced throughout the nearby training grounds.

Acting/Awareness = 3k2 to actually offer substantive advice to the actors.

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Too Anime To Live
Too Shonen To Die


Matsu Mayumi

"An excellent plan Tarou, those who wish can stay with the performers, helping them and no doubt learning from each other in the process. I must admit I did not figure you for the acting sort Kaiu. The rest can continue with the inspection. We can meet up later to discuss our findings and possible courses of action. Though I'm sure we will learn more during the official inspection tomorrow." She is still a bit transfixed by the nezumi, they are rare enough to be an oddity but to see one in a dress is something she'll likely never forget.

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007



Soshi Masami

"I will trust you are in good hands with Kaiu-san," says Masami with a fluid nod in his direction. "I have an interest in the theatre myself, but I suspect that Kaiu-san's experience is a bit more relevant in these circumstances. For the rest of us, I think it will be better to keep moving, while spontenaiety remains on our side."

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Hayuma

"I've heard it said that it's bad luck to watch rehearsals. I'm sure if we're still here when they perform, we'll be able to watch the performance. But I agree with Tarou-san and Masami-san. We should continue our inspection, I think." He looks at the Nezumi in the kimono again. "Yes, we should continue the inspection."

Epicurius fucked around with this message at Jan 30, 2013 around 03:39

Zero Suit Ridley
Jan 20, 2004

Trout Clan Daimyo


Ginzo

You're actually familiar with the specific play they're performing, having seen it before. It's pretentiously entitled simply Love, and tells the tale of Hiro and Teiki, a pair of bushi who begin as sworn brothers and end up bitter rivals for the affections of Himeko, a beautiful geisha. The play was written in such a way to allow for the characters to bear the family names appropriate to whichever clan's province it was being performed in, since, in the words of the Doji playwright who penned it, "Love is universal." An amusing anecdote, since the playwright himself was murdered by a group of no fewer than four of his mistresses who'd each discovered the others and united in their anger at the man.

Ikoma Serika is clearly quite familiar with the material, but neither Ch'krikri nor Gonzaemon seem to know much about it, and are eager to hear your advice. Several of the samurai playing minor roles gather round to listen as well. Ch'krikri in particular seems less resistant, seemingly accepting your explanation to him of the ritual nature of the event.

Tarou instructs an eta to remain with you to attend to your guidance and continues on with the others.

Roll came out well, have at it with some advice for them on your own recognizance. There's just this one play being rehearsed at the moment, though the bit actors are practicing their scenes separately.

Hayuma, Masami, Mayumi, and anyone else not staying with the performers

Tarou, anticipating your desire to visit the areas where people are likely to be congregating, leads you next to the mess hall. You're somewhat surprised to find that, instead of the spartan and utilitarian furnishings one would expect from the Crab, the mess hall feels more like a teahouse.

"The Crane didn't especially care for the starkness of the old mess hall," Tarou explains, "so they had their artisans come down and make it more comfortable. There was originally some rumbling from the Crab samurai about it making them soft, but they stopped once they had some of the Crane chef's cooking." He smiles.

There are groups of samurai from all three of the Great Clans who are assigned to the wall here. Mostly, each Clan seems to be keeping themselves to themselves, but you do see a few tables with smaller mixed groups as well.

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Ettin
Oct 2, 2010

Heh. Heh. Heh.
Four hehs.


Utaku Natsumi

Natsumi stops gawking at the nezumi in the kimono and follows the others to the mess hall.

"So, they are satisfied? Good news," she says idly, casting her gaze across the tables...


Investigation/Perception = 4k3 to see if anyone is reacting to our arrival in a way we might care about.

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