Legend of the Five Rings: Storm Front

Topaz Championship Part 4

The second evening of the Topaz Championship featured a feast for the contestants and notable guests , put on by the Kakita Dueling Academy. During the feast, each Topaz contestant was permitted to personally present themselves before the Emperor.

During the feast, several plots were unfolding.

*Tsuruchi Nobohide noticed that the ronin Kenji was acting strangely. He was focused on the Lion Clan Champion, Matsu Hoketsatu, and did not touch his food.

*Shosuro Maru approached Matsu Chigitsu to learn about why he had attempted to sabotage the Championship in numerous ways. She was met with cold hostility and threats.

*Isawa Mitsuko had seen that Doji Keitomaru had become a nervous wreck since the appearance of a Crane courtier. She correctly assumed this to be his father. She decided to continue to watch him in case he made any reckless moves.

*Doji Kenji spent most of the dinner chatting with Bayushi Kachiko, until she was pulled away by Doji Keitoaru who wanted to speak with her privately.

After this point, the feast came to an end and the guests were allowed to mingle in the gardens surrounding the Academy.

*Nobohide attempted to talk to Kenji to get a read on his intentions, but didn’t get very far before the ronin excused himself and talked to the Emerald Champion, leading him into the gardens. The Mantis resolved to follow the ronin.

*Shosuro Maru was approached by the Emperor’s eldest sons, Hatsu and Kobashi, who wanted to continue the contest of frivolous flattery. They presented her with gifts which the Scorpion used to garner notoriety among the other samurai present. Ultimately, she chose to spend the evening with Kobashi.

Nobohide watched as Kenji drew Hoketsatu into the most secluded part of the Kakita gardens. He also noticed that he was being followed by Akodo Gintaku, the Akodo daimyo. When they stopped moving, the ronin produced a dagger and fatally stabbed the Lion Clan Champion, causing chaos to erupt throughout the Academy.

*Tsuruchi Nobohide rushed to get help for the fatally wounded Matsu Hoketsatu, but he was beyond the help of healers.

*Shosuro Maru correctly identified that Hoketsatu had been poisoned by jellyfish toxin.

*In the aftermath, the Lion and Crane seemed to be on the verge of coming to blows over the identity of the ronin: a member of the now defunct Tsume family. Doji Kenji realized that each contestant had a Great Clan sponsor and he approached the Imperial Herald, Miya Shikan, with this knowledge. The records were quickly checked and it was discovered that Tsume Kenji had in fact been sponsored by a minor Akodo daimyo. This quickly removed the teeth of the Lion Clan’s fury, and Matsu Nimoro was pulled from the Championship to prepare himself for training to replace his father.

*Isawa Mitsuko drew Keitomaru aside from the crowd and asked to show him some shugenja abilities. She conjured a flame kami and let him ask it a question. Once he had left, she asked the kami what his conversation with Kachiko had been about. It was revealed to her that Doji Keitomaru had approached the Scorpion bushi to ensure that he win the following day’s Iaijutsu Tournament, by any means necessary. Armed with this knowledge, Mitsuko tried to stop that from happening.

*Later that evening, Bayushi Kachiko seduced Doji Kenji. The next morning, she revealed to Kenji that she was a married woman, and planned on using their night of passion as blackmail unless he agreed to throw the tournament.

The tournament went as predicted, with few upsets. Doji Kenji defeated every opponent he encountered, including Bayushi Kachiko, despite her threat of blackmail. Ultimately, it came between Doji Kenji and Kakita Amiko, with Kenji emerging victorious and earning the enmity of the other Crane.

The end of the tournament concluded the Emerald Championship with Doji Kenji being awarded the coveted position. Doji Kenji and Tsuruchi Nobohide both changed their names to Domotai and Sho respectively. Before the PCs packed up to return home, however, they were summoned to the Imperial Herald’s tent. Inside, they found both Miya Shikan and the Joyous Prince himself, Toturi XII. There they were given a secret task: to travel throughout Rokugan, promoting the generations long peace of the Toturi Dynasty. With this new pilgrimage, they were sent to the Lion town of Chugo Seido to reflect on their duty.

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Topaz Championship Part 3

The second day of the Topaz Championship began with the Weapons contest. This was a poor showing from the PCs, as Isawa Katsuhito, Isawa Mitsuko, and Shosuro Maru were all relatively unskilled in combat and Tsuruchi Nobohide was primarily an archer. Doji Kenji stood the best chance of besting his combatant, the militant Phoenix shugenja Isawa Tsutakito, but the match was fouled through sabotage. Tsutakito’s yari was modified to be lethal, dealing serious damage to the Crane bushi. Despite this, Kenji survived the encounter and was awarded the point for his trouble. Tsutakito offered seppuku for the accident, but was denied by the Emperor, for he sensed no guilt in the young Phoenix. This event cast a pall over the rest of the Championship. Somebody attempted to kill contestants. And he was still at large.

The next competition was Poetry, where the contestants were given a topic and expected to craft a superior haiku. Each of the player characters performed well here, earning a point over their opponents.

The third competition of the day was Go, and again, the majority of the players performed well. Only Tsuruchi Nobohide played a poor game and was publicly criticized by O-Doji Koneko, one of the judges for the event.

The fourth test was the Courtier event. Contestants were given a topic to debate, with the point going to the samurai with the most convincing argument. The players each earned a point here.

The final competition of the day was Hunting, where the contestants were divided into teams and tasked with collecting Tsu fish eggs. The players found themselves on the same team. During the hunt, Tsuruchi Nobohide discovered an alarming scene: Matsu Chigitsu, sword drawn, confronting a defenseless Isawa Tsutakito. The players intervened before anything could happen, however, and Chigitsu stalked off, swearing revenge. Tsutakito did not know the reason for the attack, although he seemed unwilling to approach authorities about it. Ultimately, in a strange turn of events, each of the four hunting teams returned at the same time. Hida Chorotaku, secured his team the victory in the final footrace, earning the players only a single point.

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Topaz Championship Part 2

The first day of the Championship continued after some exciting Sumai matches. The next competition was Heraldry. Many of the more “traditional” bushi and shugenja did well here, with the Lion, Crane, and Scorpion contestants scoring well. Surprisingly, the two ronin succeed here as well. Of the players, Tsuruchi Nobohide and Doji Kenji managed to identify the first three mons, but their inexperience with the exercise led to failure. Isawa Mitsuko and Shosuro Maru, despite their training, failed as well. Only Isawa Katsuhito managed to identify four of the five mons.

Player Wins: Isawa Katsuhito

The third competition of the day was Athletics. An endurance race containing various obstacles, the more athletic samurai carried the day here. The NPC match winners included Kenji, Doji Keitomaru, Yoritomo Kagetora, Matsu Nimuro, and Kakita Amiko. Of the players, Shosuro Maru drew an unlucky bid versus the burly Crab bushi, Hida Chorotaku. Despite her unusual athleticism, she could not keep up with her competitor and withdrew from the race. Isawa Katsuhito managed to keep up with the ronin Maeda Oroko until the final leg of the race saw her pull ahead. Tsuruchi Nobohide easily outran the Phoenix shugenja, Isawa Mitsuko. Finally, in the only upset of the event, Isawa Tsutakito managed to outrace Doji Kenji.

Player Wins: Tsuruchi Nobohide

The fourth competition of the day was Horsemanship. The objectives of the match were to lead your horse to targets where competitors needed to display a measure of competency with kenjutsu and kyujutsu from horseback. This test proved to be exceptionally difficult for the samurai without training, as attacking proved nearly impossible, providing matches where the winner was simply the least incompetent. NPCs that truly impressed were Kakita Toru and Doji Keitomaru. Moto Tsuto and Matsu Nimuro were matched up and provided an extremely close contest where both contestants impressed onlookers, with the Unicorn eventually proving victorious. The other winners were Bayushi Kachiko and Tonbo Kenshiro. The players all acquitted themselves well in this event, either through their skill on horse or luck.

Player Wins: All

The fifth and final test of the day was a trial of the mind. Contestants were required to answer questions of etiquette, law, and Bushido: all important aspects of a samurai’s knowledge. Once again, every player passed easily. In fact, the only samurai to fail were Hida Chorotaku and Yoritomo Kagetora (who simply didn’t care), Moto Tsuto (too many gaijin influences), and Maeda Oroko and Matsu Chigitsu (whose ronin pasts tripped them up).

At the end of the first day, these were the point totals:

4 points: Matsu Nimuro, Tsuruchi Nobohide, Kakita Amiko, Bayushi Kachiko, Kenji, Doji Keitomaru
3 points: Isawa Katsuhito, Maeda Oroko
2 points: Shosuro Maru, Doji Kenji, Isawa Mitsuko, Yoritomo Kagetora, Hida Chorotaku, Tamori Ryuko, Moto Tsuto, Tonbo Kenshiro, Isawa Tsutakito, Kakita Toru
1 point: Matsu Chigitsu, Shosuro Morito

After the days events, the contestants moved on to celebrate or relax.

*Tsuruchi Nobohide was roped into a drinking contest by Hida Chorotaku and Yoritomo Kagetora at the Poisoned Water Sake Den. He quickly became drunk and submitted to the advances of Maeda Oroko, who was quite open in her attraction. He spent the night with Oroko.

*Isawa Mitsuko and Isawa Katsuhito retired to the House of the Laughing Carp and spent time chatting with Isawa Tsutakito. They found him to be an intelligent, if somewhat boring, conversationalist. The evening became more interesting, however, when Tamori Ryuko, a Dragon shugenja, began challenging the Phoenix contestants. This heckling eventually irked Isawa Tsutakito into accepting an illegal duel challenge, which only the timely intervention of Katsuhito stopped.

*Shosuro Maru was content to spend the evening making light conversation and observing the other contestants at the inn, but she soon found herself besieged. The Emperor’s sons, Hatsu and Kobashi, had fallen for the Scorpion maiden and were competing for her attention. Maru decided to play neutral and continue stringing them a long, hopefully into the next day.

*Doji Kenji began the evening with his fellow Crane competitors, but was soon pulled away by an intrigued Bayushi Kachiko. The Scorpion bushi confessed to being amazed by Kenji’s abilities and had to meet him. They spent the rest of the evening wandering Tsuma and talking.

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