Role Playing Campaigns - The Company of Strangers Role Playing Group  

Our Role Playing Campaigns:

The L5R Campaign - GM: Gord Rose
Campaign World: Rokugun
Location: All over
Legend of the 5 Rings
Status: Active


This campaign started purely as a test play. During holidays awhile ago, a couple of us thought it would be interesting to try the Legend of the Five Rings setting as a change from our regular D&D campaigns. The idea snowballed a little and soon the entire group was having a go at it.

The Party

At this point, the campaign seems to be heading toward a more-or-less “traditional” magistrate campaign plan. The following are the current members of the group:

Isawa Hito (Dave Graham) – Phoenix shugenja and cousin (through their mothers) to Kakita Kioko. Isawa-sama is aiming towards the Jade Magistrate prestige class. He is also (more or less) the master of the servant Ichito. Of course, this must mean he will abandon his plan of becoming a Void Disciple, and begin looking into the dangerous ways of the Shadowlands and maho much more.

Kakita Kioko (Jodi Krangle) – Crane samurai and cousin (through their mothers) to Isawa Hito. Originally it was she that was tasked with delivering a simple letter to the Seppun in charge of the Village of the First Step. Kioko-chan is aiming towards the Iaijutsu Master prestige class. She encountered some difficulties in her first duel, killing a lion samurai who foolishly provoked her to show off in front of the Lion’s fiancé. Now she is serving as a replacement for the dead Lion, being called by some “Matsu Kakita”. Life as a Crane in the Lion army is not pleasant. Only Kioko’s honour and sense of duty gets her through the dirty jobs and terrible ribbing the Lion samurai heap upon her. However some, like the sister of the Matsu she killed, have gained a certain amount of respect for the samurai-ko and her strange situation.

Yotsu Matsumoto (Alex Kettle) – Ronin samurai of the Yotsu family, with a love of sake (he can rarely be found without at least one jug of the liquor handy) and of cleaving enemies of the Empire in two with his great no-dachi. Matsumoto-san is aiming towards the Kensai prestige class, becoming the master of the huge two-handed sword. In the meantime, he accompanies the Isawa shugenja after he feels he owes the priest some loyalty, the latest after the Isawa paying the fine for busting up a teahouse in conjunction with the Crab samurai, Hida Honzu.

Hida Honzu (Rob Cheung) – Crab samurai who was once a ronin and earned his right to enter the clan by meeting the criteria in a Twenty Goblin Winter, slaying twenty bakemono and offering their heads to the Hida daimyo. Hida-san is, and has always been, a Crab to his very soul. He wields the large tetsubo with flair and grace unexpected from one as large and muscular as he. Honzu’s plans? So far, it seems he plans on slaying every last Shadowlands creature that exists. Perhaps the Shadowlands Veteran prestige class? Perhaps. But right now, “Give me something to hit!”

Daidoji Katsuro (AJ) – Crane samurai originally tasked to accompany Kakita Kioko on her journey into the Fox lands, what with the Crane and the Crab fighting again. Aiming at entering the Shadowlands Veteran prestige class, he has accompanied her and the others throughout their adventures while wielding his trusty naginata, only being recalled to his lord’s side a few months ago for more tasks. The wily Crane may yet return to aid his friends in their adventures.

Ichito (Ian Redditt) – a lowly servant (built as a 3.5 D&D Factotum). Originally a farmer who took service with a Sparrow Clan samurai, Ichito joined the group when they came upon him as he was just finished burying his master who had been killed by bandits. Since then, Ichito has served the group faithfully, yet with a small amount of resentment due to his desire to make something more of himself and raise his station in the Celestial Order. Ichito is always striving to elevate himself beyond his station, yet struggles constantly with the tenets of bushido, as well as frustrating his master, Isawa Hito, from time to time. Intrigued by the framework of the new Monkey Clan, he is aiming at entering the Emerald Magistrate prestige class … if he can only get someone to take him seriously and give him the acknowledgement he so rightly deserves (in his eyes).

Our Story So Far:

The initial story arc (played over 5 or 6 sessions) had them working in a small village, Mura sano Daiippo (the Village of the First Step), near the Fox Clan lands whose lord (a Seppun samurai appointed to oversee the area) they discovered was suffering from being slowly poisoned to death. They also encountered evidence of the practice of maho, overcoming both a porcelain mask zombie and a low-level maho-tsukai, but never catching the assassin who tried to kill Seppun Sezuhoji.

Restarting the campaign as a regular part of our playing “rotation”, two of the original players and two new players found themselves defending Mura Shippou Beikoku (the Village of Silver Rice) first from bandits, then from an oni working in cahoots with the bandit leader (who has lived to fight another day).

The day after, Kitsuki Wanjuee appeared. She is the Emerald Magistrate that they had sent one of the peasants to contact for help. She arrived with her yojimbo, a strong and silent Unicorn, her two attendants, and an umber of ashigaru under her command. She investigated the site of the battle, and then questioned each of the party involved … including the servant Ichito (much to his consternation). The Kitsuki then recruited Isawa Hito into the magistrates, under her tutelage, and the party set off towards Kaeru Toshi (Captured City).

On the way, they met a bedraggled ronin samurai that turned out to be Kioko, the iaijutsu expert and Hito’s cousin. (For more background on this, and to find out what happened to Kioko in the interim, read: Honour's Failing.)

After a fight with a group of bandits that seemed to be in league with a Daidoji spy (whom Kioko slew in a proper iaijutsu duel), the party reported their findings to the Magistrate of a large sum of money and clothes in the colours of the Lion, along with make-up and dies in the Crane’s possession. There was also a map to some building but with no legend, the group has no idea where it is.

After returning to the Teahouse of the Flying Boar, Ichito was roused in the night by a small trip alarm he had laid and the samurai discovered a man all garbed in black rifling through the magistrate’s records. A lengthy battle followed, around the Teahouse and up onto the roofs of the neighbouring buildings. The villain managed to just barely lose their pursuit and they returned to the Magistrate to discuss all that had happened.

The Kitsuki Magistrate reported the incident to the Governor of Kaeru Toshi and was advised of some incidents of civil unrest amongst the populace. Kitsuki Wanjuee offered to lend her abilities to the Lion Governor in order to help keep the peace, even though that was out of the purview of the Emerald Magistrates (this being more a matter of local affairs), in light of the discovery of the ninja searching through her papers.

She dispatched the party, her deputies, who had now be re-joined by Hida Honzu, to investigate some trouble at a local monastery (rumours of a bandit toll along the road, and nobody seeing any of the monks for over a week). The party was assigned a local guide, who turned out to be Daidoji Katsuro in disguise as a local heimin. The group set out for the monastery. They encountered and overcame the roadblock, just in time to rescue Toku, daimyo of the Monkey Clan, and his daughter, Miyako, whose party had been ambushed on the way to Kaeru Toshi. In fact, the resourceful Ichito, having been the one to first tend the wounds of the Monkey daimyo and his daughter, was granted a boon by the samurai lord. The resourceful servant asked if he could take service with the lord … and Toku granted that he would be trained as a samurai and have his gempukku during the winter at the Vigilant Keep of the Monkey. The daimyo even granted him his very own wakizashi to bear until his katana could be presented to him properly.

Continuing on to the monastery, the party arrived too late, discovering that a powerful maho-tsukai, a Bloodspeaker to be exact, had raided the place and slain all the monks, turning them into terrible plague zombies. While delaying the party with a dire fight against skeletons raised from the local graves of long dead monks, and a giant scorpion conjured up from the very earth, the maho-tsukai vanished into thin air with the Golden Bowl of Lady Doji … returning after the party had defeated their foes and the dreaded zombies to set a large tsuno at them in hopes of slaying the shugenja.

A desperate fight ensued and the tsuno was finally destroyed, leaving the party to return to Kitsuki Wanjuee with the news of what had transpired at the monastery.

Next Instalment:

The Bloodspeakers are on the rise again? Their foul evil will pervert the glory of the Empire. Are they seeking to once again raise their dread lord, Ichiuban? They must be dealt with. But will the Kitsuki Magistrate have enough time to investigate both the appearance of the maho-tsukai AND the promise she made to the Lion daimyo to assist with the civil unrest?

What is Daidoji Katsuro doing here in Kaeru Toshi in disguise? Is he here to help his magistrate friends? Or is he up to no good in the Captured City? What will the new samurai, electing to be named Toturi Ichito, do if there is strife in the party? Will he also become a deputy of the Kitsuki?

Hida Honzu has decided to seek out jade studs for his tetsubo. And now Yostu Matsumoto has to seek out a weaponsmith to repair his no-dachi, badly damaged in the fight at the monastery. Or will he seek out a new weapon of better quality?

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