I started running Rokugan 1600 (by running a session set in about 1504). There are certain things I continue to find odd when I run stuff, but I don’t know if this the time to beat that expired pony.
Instead, let me cover a few things and then post my recap of what happened back when I was having lots of fun playing a bushi with an Awareness of 5.
In our Conan play, Brad would reward session writeups, fictions, bringing food, etc. This group agrees that this sort of encouragement to write about the campaign or otherwise contribute should be done. My current idea is to give people Destiny Marks (TM) [uh, sure, the game is out of print …]. These Destiny act as Void Points that can only be spent when a PC is out of Void. They are one-use in case that wasn’t obvious. I’m already thinking that I should clarify that they can be used as VPs for any character, including other PCs and NPCs.
Why this mechanic and not, say, a Destiny Mark is worth a Free Raise on a roll or a reroll?
Success versus survival. L5R is not strong on ways to save your character when the explosions go off. Typically, it’s the GM who saves you by just not keeping high damage dice. VPs are a temporary defense through ATN increase or damage reduction that doesn’t break the game like having a 51 ATN in 4e breaks the game. Meanwhile, FRs on rolls do jack on defense, being “offensive” in nature. And, I’m pretty tired of rerolls luck and right.
Of course, I could do both, rewarding different contributions in different ways.
Of some possible interest to GMs is that I started this campaign off with a prologue session. Rokugan 1600 is a sequel of sorts to all sorts of stuff but most directly to Heroes of Rokugan 2. The first session was March Unto Death, one of the last mods in HoR2 and one that fed into the final battle interactive. Not only am I a fan of MUD for some interesting mechanics and for incentivizing things I like doing (and, yet, things that my players don’t like doing for some reason that escapes me … let it go, dude … let it go), but it fits the theme of Rokugan 1600 really well with the Crab being screwed, Tattooed Folks getting in the action, et al.
Obviously, the players would not be playing the same characters in the prologue and the main campaign. The intent was that their PCs in the past would through their actions or inaction or whatever inform some aspect of their real PCs. For instance, a simple way to go would be that the past PC would be the ancestor to the 1600 PC. But, all sorts of things could have been possible. I thought it went okay, where a group more comfortable with the idea could get more out of such narrative tricks.
More to come on 1600, but let’s get to why this is a classic post. I was trying to find a description of a Bayushi NPC from the Princess Police when I came across this session recap:
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Players: Michele, Jackie, Ian
Because we had only the three players, it was a question whether to do some personal social stuff or reconvene 4/12. With Michele/Izumi enthusiastic about helping Shosuro Nanami get ball-and-chained, we were off.
According to Izumi, Nanami wanted Isawa Masusuke to breed with Hiruma Masami (rather than her), and Izumi thought Nanami and Seppun Nana would make a cute couple. To promote Nanami for tying the knot with the Emperor’s youngest son, Izumi went to the Lion Champion and called him out for ducking the far superior go player, Nanami. Kidai was hanging around some imperial types and marketed the match, which got the ole Compassionate One to witness this friendly between the Lion and the Scorpion. Nanami beat Akodo Kurojin 32 to 29 and Mirumoto Tomo backed up the carrot gallery’s comment about wondering what other hidden talents Nanami possessed.
Next up was showing off Nanami’s samisen skill. No, the rock duet with Bengi didn’t happen, but there was a tea party to reflect upon the ending of Winter and more Amaterasuish days ahead. Hantei got invited and knowing that it was the place to be for all of the cool folks, they showed up. Daniwa did the tea thing with a bunch of Hantei, the Master of Fire, and some other folks watching. Nanami nailed the muzak. End result? Nanami has some momentum for locking up Nana.
To get the two swimsuit models to notice each other, Kidai made a call out for models to help him work on painting humanoids. In a shocking coincidence, Masusuke and Masami happened to be at the same session and it was noted by someone how smoking hot their kids would end up being. A bit of work on the Crab and Phoenix followed up on the “pretty people deserve the pain that comes with being together” concept. End result? Progress but unknown how much.
Crab and Phoenix were kind of inclined to be helpful as the EC got this Hare-raising idea to create a special maho-hating taskforce within the Emerald Magistrates. The idea to call them Diamond Magistrates (PR move to make Unicorn happy) went over less well. Well, whether they get called Pearl Magistrates, Opal Magistrates, Crystal Magistrates, or whatever, who cares? The important thing was opening up some positions well-suited to Crab and Phoenix (also, maybe it gets Yasumi and Izumi and maybe even us nobodies a promotion). Now, the Phoenix were already right-thinking, but the Crab were persuaded to think about how suitable Bayushi Saya would be as 1st Imperial Legion Commander, seeing as how so many Crab would be busy being imperial magistrates. If someone could have come up with a good angle for getting the Unicorn to abandon Yoshi and go with Saya, that would have locked things up for Team Floppy Arthropods. But, Kidai needed some “nap” time.
We were done in a bit less than 3 hours.