Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Untold: Rokugan 2037 Season 1, Episode 1

[Episode Guide]
Series Name: Rokugan 2037
Season 1 Episode 1
Episode Name: Trail of Blood

When does this take place?
2037, near-future.

Where does this take place?
Ryoko Owari, The City of Lies

What do we know about the setting?
It's first edition Legend of the Five Rings in 2037, roughly around the events of 1165. Iuchiban and Daigotsu are struggling for power, and Emperor Toturi Naseru is in control.

What is the tone of the setting?
Action adventure meets investigative noir. Dark. Bloody. A bit of horror.

Setting Synopsis
The City of Lies. An underworld brought to the surface by the Scorpion clan. You can find just about anything here for the right price. And the Bloodspeakers demand a very high price…

[Episode Open: Wadaiko Matsuriza, Kabuki Gomen-jyo]


Location Merchant Quarter, The Two Gates
Threat Goblins
Action are accusing
Subject someone or something.

Random Name Generator returns Ritsuko

Shosuro Ritsuko
Role Investigative Shosuro Assassin
Motivation Contain the Bloodspeaker Threat
Special The Shadow Has No Mask Technique
Special Steel Chokuto
Stress [1] [1] [1]


The Merchant Quarter. A noisy, bustling market filled with sake and criminals. It's shared by three Clans: Scorpions, who run Ryoko Owari, Mantis, who own the shipping lanes, and the Unicorn, who ride through the mountains and trade with The Burning Sands. Fights, like breathing, is a fact of life down here.

How do you identify a Mantis? They're the ones with rolling swagger dressed in emerald and obsidian. A  Clan with a lot of wealth. Their fleet rivals anything any Great Clan could ever make.

And the Unicorn? Ivory and purple. They're the ones with the bikes. Nomads. Free roaming. Influenced by the gaijin they trade with. They were horsemen once but traded up to machines designed for speed and battle. The Otaku shiotome, the Battle Maidens, are the strongest cavalry available.

How do you identify a Scorpion? You don't. We look like you or anyone near you. Sometimes, like today, I wear my clan colors: shadow trimmed in blood. Linen trousers with matching thigh length yukata and a jingasa against my black hair. Dark hazel eyes suggest gaijin blood somewhere, but no one would mention it. A dangerous beauty attributed to the Scorpion, not the soft beauty of the Crane. The lower part of my face is a mirrored featureless mempo, leaving my expressions unreadable.

To complete the ensemble, a chokuto rests against my hip and a .44 magnum Bayushi Tech Sasayaki under my arm. The Bayushi make good weapons; the Shosuro perfect it. The integral suppressor with subsonic ammunition makes it a Scorpion's weapon of choice in spite of the ten inch barrel.

The streets are coated in fluid, water mostly, and packed with people shopping or stopping for a drink on the way home. It's late in the day, the sun setting behind grey clouds. A pack of Unicorn riders sit on their bikes in front of a convenience store and vending machines, barking in their coarse pidgin of Rokugan and Northerner.

A commotion grabs Ritsuko’s attention. Something common yet disruptive. A series of heavy thumps followed by high pitched giggling. The alley bordered by a pharmacy and clothing store; a street vendor studiously ignoring the sounds as he serves ramen to waiting patrons.

Ritsuko brushes by the vendor, walking with quiet confidence into the dim location and tries to keep her approach hidden.


“Can Ritsuko approach the scene unnoticed?”

Ritsuko adds two bonus dice from “Investigative Shosuro Assassin” and “The Shadow Has No Mask.”

Result: 5+, Yes, and… adds a Surprised Condition.


The dim alley grows a little brighter with the overhead lighting of the side exits. Two misshapen forms, orange skinned, fanged and waist high, stand over a woman dressed in an ivory kimono. Dirty having been dragged across asphalt and rainwater.

Ritsuko sticks to the shadows to hear what the goblins want.

“You lied,” says one of the creatures in high pitched Rokugani.

“You say Iuchiban not hunt Lord Daigotsu,” the other chimed in.

The woman pulls away and cowers against the wall, “Tell Daigo-”

“Lord,” corrects the first.

“Yes,” agrees the second, “Lord.”

“Tell Lord Daigotsu I only know what I find. I relay everything. Immediately.”

Ritsuko’s eyes narrow at the exchange. Bad enough goblins somehow made it through the gates but this Unicorn… who was she?


Ritsuko rolls seven Story Cubes and chooses: DNA, ghost and siren


“Great. Powerful. Maho-tsukai. Bloodspeaker. Dumb,” grumbles the first goblin. “Your magic. Dumb. We think you lie again.”

Ritsuko eases the Sasayaki from its holster and ejects the magazine, replacing it with one that holds six Yogo crafted Raptor bullets, each one a mix of copper and jade. More effective against the denizens of the Shadowlands. She takes a breath and pulls the trigger, a quiet exhalation as the subsonic round shoots from the barrel.


“Does Ritsuko take down both goblins?”

Ritsuko adds three bonus dice from “Investigative Shosuro Assassin, “Contain the Bloodspeaker Threat,” and “Surprised.”

Result: 4++, Yes, and… adds an Intimidated Condition to the Bloodspeaker.


The Sasayaki only holds six bullets. Two for each victim. Ritsuko fires four, one to the back and head of the first goblin. The second sees his companion fall and turns toward her direction. Two bullets erupt from the shadows and drive through its chest and face. Ritsuko steps into the light, pistol aimed at the Bloodspeaker.

“Anyone going to miss you?”she asks, head nodding back to the mouth of the alley.


Ritsuko rolls seven Story Cubes and chooses: DNA, chalk outline and ghost


The Bloodspeaker laughs and betrays her nervousness. “Miss a maho-tsukai? Iuchiban and my brothers and sisters will.”

“If you were that important, you wouldn't be bargaining with Daigotsu.”

She swallows. Thinking. Maybe considering pleading. Trapped. “Take me to the Yogo, then, and I will share what I know.”

Ritsuko glances from the Bloodspeaker to the goblins and back. “You lied to them, and, a traitor once...”

She fires twice. Chest. Head. Then silence as the pools of blood mingle with asphalt and water.


Twist Spiderweb, perhaps Spider Clan / Daigotsu
Connected to the Bloodspeaker


Ritsuko steps lightly to the corpse, leather jika-tabi making almost no sound. She pulls the ivory kimono open, looking among the folds for a purse or identification.


Ritsuko rolls six Story Cubes and chooses: DNA, chess pawn and cloaked figure


The kimono falls away and reveals broken skin. A lattice of knife scars cover her arms and the side of her torso. Rolling her over, tracing the path of old and new wounds, a tattoo of a spider inked into the small of her back. Marked by Daigotsu and a Bloodspeaker.

Ritsuko considers this revelation. A double agent, then. Playing both sides to see who would win. In either case, she lost. She mentioned passing information to Daigotsu, meaning there were others like her, here, in Ryoko Owari.


Ritsuko rolls six Story Cubes and chooses: sheep, splotch and dice.


A coin purse falls from the inner folds of the kimono. A small amount of koku, maybe enough for a day’s food, lies inside. A creased receipt with a pair of names: Iron Petals on the Bay and Iuchi Toreru.

The Iron Petal. She knows that place. Among the Iron Wharf in the seediest district in Ryoko Owari. Illicit goods. Underground fights. Drugs. Alcohol. Gambling. All under the Scorpion's nose. Hidden, so they thought.

Ritsuko folds the receipt and pockets it. The wharf was just south of the Merchant Quarter. With night approaching, business would be picking up.


Location Bridge, to the wharf
Threat Goblins return
Action Attacking
Subject Ritsuko


Ritsuko passes the gates to the wharf, the wooden bridge spanning a small river of water to the docks. The evening street is empty. All legitimate business ended, leaving the less than legal business to the shadows.

Nearing one of the piers, someone jumps on Ritsuko’s back, wrapping thin arms around her neck. Two diminutive figures step out of shadowed corners.

“We see what you did,” one whispers gruffly. “We take you back. Make Lord happy. Trophy. Used.”


Goblin Mob
Stress [1] [1]

“Can Ritsuko escape the grapple?”

Ritsuko adds one bonus dice from “Investigative Shosuro Assassin.”

Result: 2+, No, but…


Ritsuko wrestles with the surprisingly strong grip of the goblin on her back. Her arms can't reach her assailant or break the hold it has on her. She sees the other two closing on her and pulls the carbon chokuto from its lacquered saya.


“Does Ritsuko overcome some of her attackers?”

Ritsuko adds two bonus dice for “Investigative Shosuro Assassin” and “Steel Chokuto” but reduces one bonus dice for “Grappled.”

Result: 6, Yes, and… removes Grappled.


The two goblins rush forward with what could best be called small knives. A trained assassin, her martial instinct makes her roll forward, pinning the goblin on her back against the ground. The breath escapes loudly as he loosens his grip. Her momentum carries her forward, dropping to a knee beneath one goblin's slash while a foot kicks out and knocks him to the ground. The chokuto spins and skewers the fallen goblin through the neck.


“Does Ritsuko defeat the remaining goblins?”

Ritsuko adds two bonus dice from “Investigative Shosuro Assassin” and “Steel Chokuto.”

Result: 3-, No.


Pulling her blade free, the other goblin on the ground regains its composure and leaps at Ritsuko again. Prying her sword arm back, she is left open to the slash of the third goblin which tears through the yukata and leaves a bleeding scratch along her ribs.


“Does Ritsuko break herself free?”

Ritsuko adds no bonus dice for “Investigative Shosuro Assassin” as she is also “Grappled.”

Result: 1. No, and…


Ritsuko struggles against her attackers but to no avail. The one has a strong grip on her sword arm. The other strides confidently forward. The goblin strikes Ritsuko with the bottom of the hilt, rendering her unconscious.

As things turn dark, she hears, “Told you we take her. Easy. One dead. More reward for us…”


Threat Bloodspeakers
Connected to the Goblins.


Ritsuko wakes abruptly as her head strikes a wooden floor. The room is filled with acrid smoke mixed mingling with the smell of the sea. Dim light reveals shadowed forms standing beside her prone body. Another figure paces slowly across the planks of the floor. Human sized. Heavy boots. Ivory and purple kimono dragging across the floor. Her weapons tossed casually on a table.

“Unicorn,” she sneers, glancing around the room. She needed her weapons. Something. “What do you want?”


Ritsuko rolls five Story Cubes and chooses: ghost, tragedy and comedy mask and handcuffs


He stops and sneers in return, “Scorpion. You need to be removed, and what better way than to offer you to Lord Daigotsu?”


Location Cargo hold
Threats Iuchi Toreru and goblins
Action Captured
Subject Ritsuko

Goblin Bodyguards
Stress [1]

Iuchi Toreru
Stress [1] [1]

“Does Ritsuko disable her goblin bodyguards?”

Ritsuko adds one bonus dice for “Investigative Shosuro Assassin.”

Result: 5-, Yes, but… Ritsuko receives an Agony condition.


Ritsuko springs into action, throwing an elbow into the side of a goblin's head. She kicks out with a foot and trips the second goblin to the floor then smashes her fist into his head. As she leaps toward The table to grab a weapon, Iuchi Toreru raises a hand, fingers spread like a claw. Blood spirals up from the wooden floor and drive burrowing filaments into her skin.


“Does Ritsuko recover her chokuto?”

Ritsuko adds no bonus dice due to the “Agony.”

Result: 1, No, and… Ritsuko takes 1 Stress.


She tries to reach for her weapons, but the streams of blood anchor her to the floor, burrowing deeper into her skin. Toreru watches on, his will focused on the enchanted blood.


“Can Ritsuko pull herself free?”

Ritsuko adds no bonus dice for this action.

Result: 2, No… and receives 1 Stress.


Ritsuko fights against the thickening tendrils, but Toreru’s focus continues to enhance the bloody web. They expand, grow thicker and drive further into her flesh.


“Can Ritsuko strangle Toreru?”

Ritsuko adds no bonus dice for this roll.

Result: 4, Yes, but… and gains the “Choking” Condition as well.


Desperate, Ritsuko launches herself at the Bloodspeaker, the vines of blood falling away. Her hands wrap around Toreru’s throat, the choking disrupting his concentration. The blood falls back into the wood, and his hands reach up and grab Ritsuko’s neck. The two locked in their final struggle.


“Does Ritsuko defeat Toreru?”

Ritsuko adds two bonus dice for “Investigative Shosuro Assassin” and “Choking” from Toreru but loses one from being strangled.

Result: 4, Yes, but… and gains “Exhausted.”


Ritsuko’s grip tightens, Toreru mimicking her movement. The two grapple and strangle each other, both realizing that only one would survive. Toreru’s strength fades beneath the stronger assassin's until, finally, he lets go.

Exhausted, Ritsuko has little energy for answers. Instead, she lies back and breathes.

A day in the life in Ryoko Owari...

[Episode Close: Derek & Brandon Fiechter, Shuriken]

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