Shadow over Rokugan

Return to Rokugan
Nipple Rings Make Excellent Trophies
  • Fifteen years after the emperor’s death, his killers prepare to journey back to Rokugan. As the years have gone by, most of Rokugan has fallen to shadowland monsters or barbarians from The Burning Sands. The Jade Champion has decided that the time is now for the so-called Dark Jade Order to return. The must travel to a stronghold in Mantis territory, and report to a Lord Hakana.
  • Nuro Byushi and Akodo Takeshi are joined by a monk, Togashi Uji. Byushi and Uji work on recruiting others to join their cause. Uji recruits several monks, and Byushi convinces several Scorpion samurai to join. Takeshi sits on the dock and mopes, but even that inspires some samurai to join the Dark Jade’s mission.
  • The ship sets out for Rokugan. On the way, it is ambushed by a large sea creature. Takeshi shoots arrows at various eyestalks that rise above the water. Everyone else watches helplessly. Then, a large mouth begins to engulf the ship. Byushi and Uji begin to hack at the monster. The other men cower in fear. Nothing seems to help. Takeshi yells at the other men, “At least die like samurai!” This shames a few people into helping. When the ship is almost entirely engulfed, the monster decides this meal bites back too much, and slinks off.
  • The ship lands, and the Dark Jade Order disembarks. They begin heading inland to the Mantis stronghold. On the way, they walk into a village. Fires are lit in the houses, but no one is around. Upon further investigation, it appears that the village is populated by invisible people. The Dark Jade Order decides to leave this haunted village well enough alone, but Uji is troubled by an invisible weight. As the Order moves further and further from the village, this weight grows heavier and heavier, and begins to affect the monk physically.
  • Finally, Togashi admits that he cannot go on. The party returns to the haunted village. After some investigation, they discover a secret underground passage. It leads to a cave underneath the town well. Looking up, the adventurers can see the well water. It is held in place by an invisible forcefield, except for a spot where it slowly drips into a cup. The cup is on a pedestal in the center of the room.
  • The party cautiously enters the room. While inspecting the cup, they accidentally knock it over. Black goo spills out of the cup, and forms a duplicate of Byushi. This shadow duplicate attacks the party. Soon, a duplicate of Takeshi spills from the cup, and deals Byushi a deadly wound. Takeshi reaches out and stands the cup back up. Without the threat of new duplicates, the party is able to defeat their shadow counterparts. Then, they destroy the goo inside the cup with fire. With this evil defeated, the invisible inhabitants of the town become visible. (Much like the dufflepuds in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.)
  • The now visible Mantis samurai join up with the party and they all head to Lord Hakana’s keep. Once there, The Dark Jade Order is given a new mission. Infiltrate a nearby enemy fortress, and slay the leader. The leader is a tactical genius, and without him, his army would pose little threat.
  • The four members of The Dark Jade arrive at the fortress. Takeshi and Uji make a fire. While they are doing this, Byushi sneaks inside. She is terrified at the sight of the monstrous oni, and sneaks back out to rejoin her companions. Takeshi and Uji set part of the fortress on fire, hoping to cause a distraction. Then, they enter the fortress to seek out the oni lord.
  • Conveniently, the oni lord is right by the front gate, with a woman standing next to him. After a bit of trash talking, the fight begins. Fortunately, the woman turns out to be an ally of The Dark Jade. She heals the warriors, especially Takeshi, who the oni lord throws around like a ragdoll. When the oni lord falls, the party cuts off his nipples (with rings!) as proof of their deed, since the oni lord’s head is much too large.
  • The oni lord’s army is enraged by their leader’s death, and pursues the heroes down the mountain. The heroes manage to outrun the enemy, and a great battle begins for the Mantis keep. In the end, the forces of good are triumphant.
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Death of an Emperor
Taboos were Meant to be Broken

Akodo Takeshi looks into the room. It is dark, so he holds a candle into the room. The light does not illuminate as much as it should, but everyone can still see a small child sitting with his back turned to the door. Akodo’s outstretched arm feel unnaturally cold. Over the protests of his companions, Akodo draws his sword, challenges the demon child, and attacks. The child turns, revealing a disturbing visage. However, with two cuts of Akodo’s blade, the child is dispatched.

The party heads downstairs, to investigate the scream they heard. The lower floor of the inn seems normal, except for faint noises coming from behind the bar. The mute innkeeper silently begs the party to stop searching. Akodo and Moto Hitaken go over to investigate, and notice a few floorboards that seem displaced. They lift up the floorboards and see a woman’s body at the bottom of a hole. Akodo climbs into the hole, and notices that the woman is surrounded by evil arcane symbols. So, he kicks them until they break. With the evil magic gone, the woman begins to stir. Akodo picks her up and begins to climb out of the hole.

Meanwhile, the party’s mute hostess speaks a single word, then goes upstairs. She returns, but is transformed into a hideous demon. Nuro Byushi battles the demon, while Hitaken and Umaba Takito help Akodo climb out of the pit. The three men then rush to battle the demon. The demon casts fire at the samurai, and eludes their sword strikes. Nuro and Takito cannot master their terror, and strike ineffectively. Several strikes from Akodo and Hitaken eventually destroy the demon.

The party looks outside and sees that the night has cleared. Strangely, a horse is tied up outside the inn; a horse that happens to belong to Hitaken. After a joyous reunion, and a decision not to investigate the mysterious tracks leading away from the horse, the party continues toward the imperial city. The mysterious woman from the bottom of the pit is left behind at the haunted inn.

The party travels into the lands of the Scorpion Clan. They arrive at a castle, and are invited inside. The castle turns out to be Nuro’s home. The visiting samurai are treated well, and Nuro is summoned to speak to her superiors. She is asked if she has completed her mission. When she says she doesn’t remember, she is informed that her mission is complete. The Scorpion apparently have predicted that the Shadowlands Wall would be breached, and they have a plan to combat this that involved Nuro leading several samurai from other clans into The Shadowlands.

The party regroups at a formal dinner held by their Scorpion hosts. At the dinner, the daimyo announces that tomorrow he will hold a tournament for the hand of his daughter, Nuro Byushi. Akodo and Hitaken decline to participate, since they are already married. Akodo says he must leave before the tournament, but is persuaded to stay with the promise of a horse. Hitkaen is informed that his wife is dead, and he agrees to participate in the tournament in order to settle an old debt. Akodo indirectly asks if there is anyone who knows about Shadowland Taint, and arranges a meeting with such a person. Everyone meets a Phoenix Shugenja named Isawa(?). This one-armed man will be competing for Byushi’s hand tomorrow.

For various reasons, everyone goes with Akodo to his meeting. The Scorpion Sage indirectly confirms that Akodo, and likely everyone else in the party has been infected with the Shadowland Taint. He tries to get the party to think about the strange events that have lead them here, but “a samurai obeys without asking why,” so the conversation goes nowhere.

At the tournament, Isawa and Hitaken compose lewd haikus, Isawa produces an impressive calligraphy scroll, and Takito and Hitaken make a mockery of the proud tradition of iaijutsu dueling. In the end, Isawa is awarded Byushi’s hand in marriage. She does not seem pleased about this outcome. With this resolved, the party leaves for the imperial city.

On their way, the party accosted by a man wielding two katanas. He tells the samurai to go back the way they came. The party tries to get the man to let them pass without a fight. When the man reaches for a musket, Isawa conjures a stone block around the muzzle. The man is then completely unprepared for the onslaught of four bushi, and is quickly cut to pieces. Isawa identifies the man’s katanas as belonging to the dragon clan. Neither he or Akodo is able to draw them from their scabbards, suggesting that the blades belonged to a legendary dragon hero. Akodo takes the blades, with the intention of turning them over a noble dragon.

The party arrives at the imperial city, and is greeted by the jade champions. The party is brought before the emperor, who asks them about their journey. Then, he has them place their hands into candle flames. The flames do not burn the samurai. Akodo admits that he fears he has been infected by the shadowland taint. The emperor commands all of the jade champions to leave, except for one.

The emperor explains that Rokugan is in great peril. The Crab Clan has been overrun by shadowland creatures, and the barbarians of the burning sands are invading from the west. The Scorpion Clan foresaw these events, and devised a plan for Rokugan to endure. “Kill me, and drink my blood,” commands the emperor. After some hand-wringing, and further explanation, Nuro cuts the emperor’s throat. One by one, the samurai drink the emperor’s blood. Akodo tells Nuro, “I swear by my ancestor, Akodo One-Eye, that if this is a Scorpion lie, I will take vengeance on the entire clan.” The jade champion reveals a secret passage out of the throne room, and leads the party out of the city. He takes them to a previously undiscovered island, and tells them that the mixture of shadowland taint and divine blood inside them will allow them or their children to save Rokugan from the dangers which beset it.

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Crabs in a Castle
Samurai: polite and rude at the same time
  • The party heads north towards the imperial city. They stop for the night, and make camp in the woods. Moto Hitaken and Akodo Takeshi find themselves in a creepy dream. Nuro Byushi and Umaba Takito unsuccessfully try to wake them up. Hitaken and takeshi fight a creepy demon baby, and confront the faceless bodies of their friends. Eventually, they take themselves up by pouring water on themselves. This dream makes Takeshi and Hitaken suspect they have been tainted by the Shadowlands. They examine their blood; it has flecks of black in it. Takeshi announces his suspicions about himself to the group. Hitkaen remains silent.
  • The party journeys on in a torrential downpour. They approach an inn at the top of a hill. An old woman looks at them from inside the inn. The samurai decide to go and warn the local daimyo about what has happened. The local Crab Lords receive the samurai politely enough. Everyone surrenders their weapons, as is customary.
  • After delivering their message, the samurai are anxious to leave, but the Crab Lord insists they stay for dinner the following night. Everyone reluctantly agrees. Takeshi tries to find a Shadowlands expert, and is strung along.
  • A crab samurai attempts to poison Takeshi. Hitaken convinces the Crab to give him his scimitar for a stroll outside the castle. he wanders into a creepy building, and encounters a creepy demon girl. His scimitar doesn’t harm the girl, and he returns to the castle.
  • The samurai keep tyring to leave, and the Crab keep refusing to let them go. The Crab daimyo orders Takito to perform seppuku. He refuses. Eventually the Crab relent, and the samurai are allowed to leave. The weather is still terrible, so the samurai stick to the longer path back to the inn, instead of cutting across the rice fields.
  • the party arrives at the inn. The old woman beckons them inside. Everyone quickly realizes she is muste. Through a long series of gestures, she reveals that she has a demon child that ate her husband’s face. It also draws creepy pictures. there’s one for each PC. The samurai go to investigate the child’s room.
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Escape from the Shadowlands
  • Akodo Takeshi, Nuro Byushi, Moto Hitaken, Umaba Takito, and Moshi Iva wake up in a swamp. When they get their bearings, they realize they are in The Shadowlands. They have no memory of how they got there. Two of the deathseekers in Takeshi’s charge are still alive. This group begins the journey back to the wall. Takeshi sees a scarf his wife knit for him wrapped around a spear and on fire. The group heads on from this ominous sign.
  • One of the deathseekers realizes she has been tainted by the shadowlands. Takeshi offers her the opportunity to perform seppuku. She does so. The group continues on. Byushi scouts ahead. She hears cries for help and steers the group away from them. The party comes to the edge of a vast morass. After poking it with sticks for a while, they decide to head in a different direction.
  • The party comes upon a group of dead goblins in the middle of a clearing. Takito begins examining the corpses, when the “dead” goblins jump up and attack. Takito is grievously wounded. The other party members kill the goblins, but before they can leave, they hear the telltale signs of an oni approaching. The samurai engage the oni in combat, but are unable to harm it until Takeshi notices a weakness in the oni’s armor. He cuts a strap holding the armor on, and the oni is defenseless. It falls soon afterward.
  • The party travels onward and finds the tunnels leading under the wall. They enter the tunnels and prepare to rest for the night. In the middle of the night, the remaining deathseeker tries to sneak away from the camp. When he is confronted, he claims fear as his reason for desertion. The samurai believe him. Once most of the party is asleep, however, he tries to run from the group. The samurai give chase, and eventually kill him. Upon dying, his true form is revealed. The second deathseeker was actually a changeling.
  • The party emerges from the tunnels on the northern side of the wall. A horrific sight greets them. The wall has been breached, and the Crab clan fights a desperate battle against the forces of shadow. The party is approached by Lord Hiyashi of the crab. He commands the party to deliver this dire news to the emperor.
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