Water Music

Bringing a setting well to life is a difficult task, especially in the Emerald Empire, with its exoticism and rich background. Additionally, the Master finds that verbal descriptions alone can do well, but one can go further to bring the game setting to life and stage rich, enjoyable atmospheres for role playing. There are many tool available, but for now, let us talk of music. Read the rest of this entry »


The Heroes receive word that their services are required: their families have loaned them to the Ko family of the Mantis Clan in return for the clearing of some debt or another. The Ko, having seen their capabilities and friendly ties, approach the group with word of a problem they have. A dangerous problem.

The samurai journey to Ikari Isle, nearly a week’s journey over harsh seas to the southeastern most of the Mantis’ Islands of Spice. They learn of disappearances, ghostly warriors, flying spectral nightmares, blighted crops and slain livestock.

The Heroes explore the lush jungle island, tracking down clues and fending off dangerous panthers, snakes, quicksand and other jungle dangers. A strange, speaking serpent crosses their path after several frustrating attempts by the shugenja to contact the spirits for aid. The serpent goes to great, hissing lengths to explain that the Kami of the Island, and all the lesser kami, could not possibly be enslaved into silence by the newly returned Opawang…the Dead Spirit King. Appraised of their enemy’s name and power by the serpent’s tongue, the heroes continue.

Eventually, they make their way to the hidden heart of evil within the jungle: a corrupted, ancient city within a stinking, twisted swamp. A Garegosu No Bakemono strikes at them, nearly killing the entire group. Within the three walls of the tainted Opawangchicheng, the heroes face dark attackers, eventually penetrating to the lair of the four Ochimo – the Spirit Warriors. The heroes engage them, defeating them, but losing Soshi Anaga and Kuni Bukijo in the process.

With the dawn, aid comes in the form of Shuzento and Mariko, delayed from an earlier meeting. Their ranks refreshed, the group spearheads its way straight to Opawang’s lair, engages him. Shuzento-san, having been meditating on an earlier clue, receives sudden enlightenment: Opawang has hidden his black Shadowlands heart in one of the thirty lanterns about his haven. He shoots out two, to no avail. Closing his eyes and letting the shot happen, his luck holds true – the arrow strikes and destroys the foul heart and Opawang fades as his city begins to crumble.

(Ochimo was based on elements of Ochimo: Spirit Warrior by TSR, Inc.)

Mirumoto Shuzento

The honorable Dragon Bushi comes from humble beginnings, but finds his luck and fortune rise and fall like the those of heroes. As an Imperial Magistrate, Shuzento discovered that his quick tongue earned him the outright scorn of his family, the Mirumoto dynasty.  Only quicker thinking by the Dragon Court – and the life of the first to speak against Mirumoto Hitomi, Daimyo, when she initially calls for Shuzento’s seppuku – saves Shuzento from death and his Clan from the dishonor of such a loss of an Imperial Magistrate. 

Shuzento emerged from the situation as a Mirumoto no more, his name haven been given to the ronin he spoke so highly of (Kunto, now Mirumoto Kunto, Emerald Magistrate).  Bearing the name of the Kitsuke family, where several Dragons hoped he would learn wisely of their skills and courtly ways, Shuzento found himself in possession of some small lands, a gift from the Phoenix.  That they produce fine apricot, peach, and plum brandy is surely a gift of the Fortunes, no?

Shuzento-san emerged from the Assassin’s War with his Mirumoto name and honor restored (although that noble family name is in need of much polishing after the shameful accounts of the Dragon Betrayal) and his wartorn lands tripled in size (although still tiny by comparison). With the restoration of peace in Rokugan, Mirumoto Shuzento is rewarded with the continued responsibility of overseeing his lands in the name of his Kitsuke Daimyo. While hardly a Daimyo, Shuzento-san finds that his word carries more weight than that of a simple landed samurai, and with two small villages under his protection, his worries have increased as well. He has accordingly (and reluctantly) given up the “adventuring” lifestyle to tend to his lands and the House of the Plum Gardens.

The Words of Mirumoto Shuzento

“You ask who I am, I will tell you. I am the the youngest brother of the Dragon family who watched his older brothers slain in a war over an insult to a Scorpion who was vain. Who am I? A dragon that helped an old man struggling by the river – not for money or personal gain but because he needed help! Who am I? The master of the megumi katana, and a former servant to the Emerald champion. Who am I? I am the arrow that found the heart of the dread Dead Spirit King, Opawang. Who am I? I was the failure in Ryoko Owari, the City of Lies. Still you ask who am I? I am the finder of truth in the lands of the Lion and in matters of love and duty. I am the husband to Kitsuke Kinmaru, my departed wife who left me two beautiful children: Kuntoki and Mariko. I am friend to the Hare and Centipede, and Mantis. Still you do not know who I am ? I am brother to the Emerald Magistrate Mirumoto kunto – may he serve the Emperor forever. I am the Diamiyo of the Plum Gardens . Still you ask who I am … I will tell you then – I am Mirumoto Shuzento of Clan Dragon and I AM Samurai and I serve the Emperor!”

Mirumoto Shuzento and his Words by and Copyright 2000, 1999 – 1997 by John Polack

Gempukku Ceremony

The Heroes gather, some meeting the kindly old man, Megumi, along the way. The fledgling Heroes make good in the competition, overcoming events to hinder their progress and passing into adulthood.

The samurai pick up a sharp distaste for Bayushi Sugai. When Otaku Shiko is cut down by Sugai in a duel, Shinjo Mariko, the brash Samurai-ko, silently commits to revenge, especially since Mariko-san was about to make the same accusation: murder.

The samurai play quietly, and achieve adulthood. A small fortune is revealed.

(based on the Gempukku Ceremony, by AEG, Inc.)