Somber Reunions

The Heroes come together again with the end of the Assassin’s War. The years of war have delivered some measure of fortune upon several of the group.

Gathered together at the Plum Gardens, the home of Mirumoto Shuzento, the Heroes compare notes and celebrate the war’s end. Shuzento, now a minor lord of sorts in the Dragon Courts, is assisted by his adopted younger brother and loyal companion, Jito – who serves as his Shugenja and advisor. The colorful and insightful Akiraka Tomiyori, a Mongoose Courtier and Shugenja attends the Plum Gardens as a representative of his Clan and the general support of many of the minor Clans, whom Heroes have represented in the past. The honorable Daidoji Yosai continues to aid Shuzento as Karo, at the will of the Daidoji Daimyo. Isawa Ikahashi takes the opportunity to visit from his own Phoenix lands, having reached a similar position within his Clan to Shuzento’s.

The Heroes receive a visitor: Grandfather Greeneyes, who relates prophecies and dark omens to the group. The wisened figure proclaims: “This calmness is but a lull in the storm. It will resume, and its fury the greater. It is a reflection ~ as below, so to above. The Court of Heaven is in disarray, and dark tidings lay ahead for all…”.

Grandfather Greeneyes further provides frightening hints that an old enemy may have returned. Shortly after the old man leaves for the road once again, the Heroes bear witness to the arrival of an Imperial Messenger bearing the Mon of the Emerald Champion. The Champion, Kakita Toshimoko, bids the players investigate claims of a volcanon at the southern edge of Mantis lands.

It seems the volcano is where the island of Ikari once lay.

…and the home of Opawang, the Dead Spirit King…

Islands of Silk and Spice

The Heroes journey to the distant Mantis Islands, meeting briefly with Ko Mein Ko aboard Chung Szu Ao (“Loyal Silk Tortoise”), his pleasure junk. There, arrangements are made for the Samurai to journey south about a Mantis ship to Ikari Isle.

The Samurai arrive at Ikari Isle, now an enormous, dark volcano shrouded in storm clouds at its peak. Tomoyori attempts to commune with the kami of the volcano, but fails to make a sacrifice, and awakens some of its ire: in the form of magma serpent which slips into the water and steams towards the boat. The Heroes disembark, making for the volcano to dispell the dark spirit. The serpent strike the junk, destroying in. The Samurai watch the boiled corpses of the soliders bob on a steaming bay before turning to head into the thick, lush jungle at the beachslopes of the volcano. Read the rest of this entry »

Cold Winter Snow

5th Year in the Reign of Hantei 39th, 12th Day of the Tiger

The Heroes make landfall along the northern edge of the Crane coast in the dead of winter. Arriving only a hours before a snow storm, they find shelter in a teahouse by a small mura (“village”) in Yushikishi (“Snow Beach”) province. There, they are joined by two Phoenix holy men who have come on foot, bearing the storm at their backs. Isawa Sodan, a Phoenix Shugenja, and Lao Jen Sha (“Old Man Shark”) greet their cousin, Isawa Ikahashi in the teahouse. They have been sent to aid him, and doubly Sodan-san was entrusted to protect his sensei, Lao Jen Sha – who is not a priest at all. He is a fisherman of many years, a quiet master at his craft, and he is greatly revered by several Phoenix. Unfortunately, he does not know how he is to aid the Heroes.

As the fury of the storm unfolds about them, battering the simple teahouse, the Heroes begin to feel a nearby dread. They learn that peasants have been dying of the cold as of late; and later that evening, the encounter a Crane bushi at the beachside shrine.

The unknown bushi is frozen solid in prayer at the shrine. The Heroes become hard pressed to travel, even about the small village, by the increasingly violent snow. The “murders” seem to increase, with the villagers remaining ignorant. Investigation only reveals that “…it is winter…it is cold…people die” as a matter of fact.

Even communing with the kami proves pointless, for the kami’s warning falls on deaf ears. It is only when the hidden blood sorcerer, a maho-tsukai, assaults the ancient Lao Jen Sha that their enemy is revealed.

The Heroes destroy the vile sorcerer too late to save Lao Jen Sha, but the Fortunes smile upon them still: the Old Man Shark saves his last breath to relay one elusive fact to Isawa Ikahashi and Isawa Sodan: there is a great pain far to the east, in the great sea.

And then, with a cold last breath, the Master Fisherman joined his ancestors, leaving the Heroes alone in the night storm.


The Emerald Magistrates return to Ryoko Owari and find themselves in grave circumstances. They have been charged with numerous violations of their Imperial Charter – including job abandonment – and find the Scorpion families arrayed against them, down to the Imperial Governor of the city.

It began, it seems, when one of the Bayushi opium warehouses (legal opium warehouses) was destroyed by the bandit, Fade. The Bayushi requested the assistance for the Emerald Magistrates, as the charter to grow and harvest opium was one granted by the Emperor himself. The Magistrates, of course, could not be found. “Off at a haiku contest,” replied a servant. From there, it got worse. The Master shall, in a rare display, skip past the detailed list incidents. As a side note to all players of Emerald Magistrates in Ryoko Owari Toshi and everywhere in between: read, learn, and live your Charter… Read the rest of this entry »

The Temple of Blood

The Magistrates attend an invitation to a haiku contest in the Centipede Lands, hosted by the reclusive Mofume family. Once arrived, the Magistrates learn that they have been mislead somewhat. While the family Daimyo is indeed holding the contest, the Magistrates were invited at the last minute to offset the other primary attendees: a small delegation of Scorpion, led by Bayushi Sugai. The contest, explains the Centipede General and son of the Daimyo, is to be held at a newly discovered temple complex, reclaimed from the deep, over grown forest. The Centipede have fears that the Scorpion will use it as reason to annex the Centipede’s land – or worse.

The Heroes and guests of the Centipede compose haiku in the lushness of the forest, at the strange temple. Investigating, the Heroes apparently actovate ancient dark magics – likely maho, as evidenced by the rain of blood which mystically washes the temple complex in the vile “Shadowland Jungles”.

The Heroes protect their own with the aid of Bayushi Sugai and several Centipede Bushi, but it is Isawa Jito who manages a great ritual to return the Temple and guests to Shinomen Mori. The Temple is reduced to individual stones, which are carried to the Kaiu Wall and hurled beyond.

(based in the City of Lies, by AEG, Inc.)

Kobayashi Maru

Newly arrived in Ryoko Owari, the Magistrates begin to discover the city’s uniqueness. No sooner than a few days pass than the Thunder Guards of Oni’s Teeth Gate request the Magistrates inspect some suspicious papers. The Crab possessor claims that they were signed by an Emerald Magistrate

The Magistrates declare the papers a fraud and arrest the man. Turning him over to the local Thunder Guard for imprisonment, they attend to other matters

The Magistrates are met the following morning by an unannounced visitor – Shosuro Rei, a senior Emerald Magistrate and their former sponsor. Shosuro Rei engages the group in an odd turn of conversation and veiled criticism. When asked to explain herself, she shrugs and merely notes that for an example, they should retrieve their prisoner. Read the rest of this entry »

Lion and Crane

At the request of the Emerald Champion, Doji Satsume, two of the Magistrates detour from their plans toward Lion lands to investigate the disappearance of a Shosuro diplomat and a Crane samurai.

The samurai arrived promptly at the lands of Matsu Inyo and meet with his lead magistrate, or karo. The karo explains that the Lion will be having a feast that evening, and they look forward to the Magistrates presence. In the meantime, the Magistrates decline the kind offer to look around and begin their investigation. Instead, they choose to pass the hours at the nearby monastery and shrine in contemplation.

In doing so, the honorable samurai spend time with Dogan, the head monk. Impressed by their sincerity and true honor, they eventually gain his confidence and, with that and their own sharp wits, solve the matter of honor which the Emerald Champion had requested they investigate.

The Magistrates gain further scorn from the Lion but, strangely enough, the admiration of the Shosuro Governor of Ryoko Owari, who’s distant cousin was involved and missing.

(based on the Veil of Honor, by AEG, Inc.)

Echoes of Osano-Wo

Over a month and a half have passed since the new Magistrates convened.  They have spent the time in pursuit of training or relaxing and enjoying their rewards.

It is heading towards mid-summer when three of the gathered Magistrates learn of the death of an Imperial Tax Collector.   The body was found in the distant lands of the Tortoise Clan, along Rokugan’s Southern Coast.  Concerned with this serious breach of the Emperor’s Law, they set off to investigate.

Arriving in Tortoise lands, the magistrates meet with the Daimyo of the small Clan, who explains that it was likely their aggressive neighbor, the younger brother of the Sparrow Daimyo, who has done this thing. The Dragon’s yojimbo is, strangely enough, blamed with murder of a Tortoise samurai. While he is proven innocent, his katana has mysteriously disappeared. The matter of the Tax Collector forces the Magistrates to press on.

Introduced to Tento Rengenjo, the young son of the Tortoise Daimyo who currently guards the mines from a small holding, the Magistrates find him to be an honorable, if naive lord. They are told that the Sparrow should be questioned, as the nearby lord, Suzume Kaishu, is an aggressive warmonger. The young Heroes note that there are only fifteen or so samurai in the holding; the rest of Rengenjo-sama’s forces are local heimin ashingaru. Some of the spearmen practice with boken. Kaishu-sama explains that he does not have enough samurai, thanks to the bandit and Sparrow attacks. In this way, he can quickly name new samurai who have some knowledge of the katana for bravery and service in battle. “After all,” he notes, “they are but boken, not katana.” The Emperor’s Law has not, technically, been broken.

The Magistrates head out quickly, determined to avoid being caught in the Tortoise Castle during an assault as well as to solve the weird case of the Tax Collector. On the advice of Rengenjo-sama, they head directly for the Sparrow Clan Palace, seeking audience with the Clan Daimyo rather than his hot-headed younger brother. They head north through the mid-summer mountain passes, detouring to the holy site of Suzu Sano Shinda (Bells of the Dead) to light some incense. There, they encounter a wandering monk. They are also waylaid and ambushed by twice their number of bandits. The black armored bandits are slain to the last, but Mirumoto Kunto takes two grievous spear wounds to his abdomen and shoulder. Unable to heal him properly, the Magistrates are forced to detour from their intended destination of Kyuden Suzume to the closer Shiro No Sansharro. Read the rest of this entry »

Secrets of the Mists

The heroes journey to Seioku-Sanmyaku on courtly duties. There, they learn that the daimyo of this historic province has taken ill. The Phoenix suspect sorcery and foul play, perhaps on the orders of Umai, the Bakemono “daimyo”. Who better to look into this dangerous yet discrete matter than the Heroes of Opawangchichang? The only additional clue they gain is the daimyo’s nighttime blurting of “…the eyes….the eyes…”

The heroes adventures in the pursuit of the unknown assailant take them from the province to the mountains lairs of the Bakemono; to the Valley of the Hidden Twilight and the Winter Temple of the Seven Fortunes.

A full month passes, along with the life of Ashina Fujiko – and other lives, nearly – before the new special Imperial Magistrates (so named on their last report at the castle by an Imperial Courtier direct from the Emerald Champion) finally learn of and confront the master enemy:

The newly ascended Kumo-kunshi of these lands. Capable of spirit walking, the evil creature is attacked and slain outside it’s lair before it may inflict any more damage upon the daimyo or the sacred pale oak of the 17th Hantei. Nearly defeated to the last man, the Magistrates commit all in the conflict, and are rewarded with victory.

The rewards of the Phoenix follow naturally, along with Imperial confirmation of their positions as special Imperial Magistrates to the Emerald Champion.

(Secrets of the Mist was based on elements of Valley of the Mists, by FGU, Inc.)

Blood in the Valley

Shosuro Rei presses the heroes into carrying out a small courtier mission on her behalf: journey to the Kintani Valley and attend the Bon Festival at Shiro No Kyotei. Once there, keep an eye on its belligerent lord, Tsume Retsu, a Crane warlord in a Clan of courtiers.

Everything goes fine until the target of their watchful eyes is murdered in his own bed. As representatives of an Imperial Magistrate, the heroes are quickly pressed to investigate this matter, one of the biggest breaches of Imperial Law.

Through much investigation and wary conversation, the heroes uncover two romances and suspicions they keep to themselves.

In the end, the murder escapes undiscovered. The heroes were involved too late, and the assassins have vanished like the wind.

At least, that’s what the heroes say.

(Based on Murder in Kyotei Castle, by AEG, Inc.)

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