Noir

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  1. Weeks ago... -Shiro Kitsuki, “Last Step Castle”- The old man looked down at the letter and spoke to Toshi without even looking at him, “So what brings a Scorpion to the door of my dojo wishing to study the ways of the Kitsuki?” “I have learned the value of evidence, Kitsuki-sama. Had it not been for a single bead and some disturbed dust, I might have not been able to properly carry out my duties given to me by the Son of Heaven himself the murder of a daimyo may have gone unsolved and a noble family of the Lion would have been lost..” Toshi replied. “Evidence does not lie, Little Scorpion. Men do. One would think that the Scorpion would find testimony more… agreeable… to their methods.” suggested the old man. “Perhaps, Kitsuki-sama, but that does not mean we do not desire to know the truth as well. As you said, men lie. But men can lie to anybody. Evidence, on the other hand, simply tells it’s tale to any who are willing to listen. It has no reason to lie." Toshi countered. “Hmm..." the old sensei said as he contemplated the kneeling Scorpion courtier for a moment before speaking once more, "Come inside then, Shusuro-kun. There may be hope for you yet, Little Scorpion.” “Domo arigato gozaimasu, Kitsuki-sensei.” Toshi said with a deep bow before stepping through the doors of the Dojo of the First Glance... Toshi found the Kitsuki sharp senses and a keen intellect. Under their tutelage he learned to focus his perceptions not only on his surroundings, but also those around him. He learned that the smallest bits of evidence could speak volumes and the most subtle and insignificant of reactions and gestures could reveal even more. He began to understand the Kitsuki and came to see why they posed such difficulties to even the best plans and manipulations of the Scorpion. The Kitsuki were masters at detecting deception and discerning motivations and as said in the beginning, evidence does not lie to those willing to listen. The Kitsuki were indeed worthy opponents for the Scorpion and certainly worthy of their respect. In a few weeks time he completed his lesson and learned the fundamentals of the Kitsuki school, completing the first stage of his training and then departing for Tsuma once more. -Iron Mountain Doji, less than a mile from Shiro Mirumoto, “Last Glance Castle”- "It is not often we are visited by the Kakita, much less a prized pupil of Kakita Toshimoko and the Topaz Champion, aside from those wishing to be taught a less, of course." the Dragon sensei said. "I have accompanied my friend, Rin-san, here to her dojo so that she may further train and had hoped that I might be able to improve my own skill and 'no mind' technique while I was here. The mountains are quite beautiful in their austerity, and the Dragon are well known for their wisdom and meditation " Zoyu explained. "Here? With the rivalry of our Family schools, one might think this would be the last place a Kakita might seek to learn." the Dragon suggested. "A rivalry, yes. But it is not a rivalry born from ill will. Merely a difference in philosophy. A good rivalry causes both sides to improve, which only benefits the Empire as a whole, and a rivalry does not mean there is a lack of respect for your rival. And Rin-san certainly did your dojo proud. I only narrowly defeated her in the iaijutsu tournament and the Topaz Championship itself." the Crane replied. The sensei bowed with a small smile and turned his attention to Rin, taking a moment to size her up and look her over. “Rin-kun,” Mirumoto-sensei said as he rested a hand on her shoulder, “I am not even sure why you return. It seems that each time I try to provide you with instruction, you are already lessons ahead.” “You are my sensei. I have never meant to be disrespectful to you or the dojo. Without your instruction I would not be where I am today.” Rin said. “You are the finest student I have ever had. Niten comes naturally to you as if you developed the style yourself. I can only imagine where your talent will lead you, but I suspect that one day you may be the sensei and I may be the student...” Rin's training was relatively short, as was common for her, but as her sensei reviewed the fundamentals of Niten the sensei stopped and questioned her. "What is it, Sensei?" Rin asked curiously with just a hint of fear that she made have made some fundamental mistake. "Your guard. It is subtly different. I do not think most would even see it. Why did you change it?" "You always said that holding your swords should be natural, like holding a teacup. Since graduation I have made sure to practice each day and sparred with others. This guard just felt natural to me." Rin explained. "It is not just natural, Rin-san, it is better." the Sensei pointed out, using the -san honorific for the first time when speaking to her. "The difference is small, but noticeable. I had seen you doing so since I began your training. Like you said, I thought it was just what felt natural to you or that you might grow out of it in time, but I can see now that as your skill and understanding has improved, so has that guard. And I suspect it will only continue to improve." he said. "Sensei.. I do not know what to say." Rin said, caught off guard. "What to say? That is simple. You will explain that guard to me. How and why it feels natural to you and how you use it so that I my record it for the Dojo and future students and sensei." he said before calling in a young students and sending him to fetch a writing kit and table. "It seems I may be prophetic, as here I am learning from you, Rin-san." he said with a faint smile peeking through his calm demeanor. Rin spent the next several days in seclusion with the sensei, demonstrating her guard. He recorded it on a scroll once he understood it fully and would practice it himself before returning to her training. In her study of the blade and though meditation she came to see and understand more of the elements around her. The rudimentary lessons in Spellcraft she had received in Tsuma had somewhat opened her eyes to elemental energies, at least on a basic level. She could see how they interacted fundamentally and how a shugenja managed to focus and direct those energies, even beyond what she had learned in her Spellcraft lessons. She came to understand that, with focus, she could aid or disrupt those energies around herself as well, a feat which astounded her Sensei. "I do not know why I am surprised by you any more, RIn-san. You already fight with no mind, and from that comes speed, for thinking is slow. You already understand this lesson before I have even began teaching it to you. So I review it with you and do my best to clean up any imperfections and here you are already intuitively understanding lessons that those who graduated years before you are only just now learning with the aid of the Agasha." the sensei said with a faint smile as he shook his head. "I do not know how much longer I will even be able to teach you anything, Rin-san." he mused. While Rin trained Zoyu was a guest of the Mirumoto. The austere and ascetic lands, homes, dojo and lifestyle of the Dragon was in stark contrast to the lush and opulent lands of the Crane, but it had a minimalist beauty and seemed to give the Dragon focus. In general they had a serenity about them and almost seemed to be more like warrior monks than your typical bushi. They fought with no mind, which gave them speed, but also fought with a casual confidence and placed no particular consideration on footwork or a 'special stepping technique' such as those employed by so many styles. Even beyond the use of both swords, the difference in the Mirumoto style, stance, philosophy and even teaching style was strikingly different from the Kakita. It seemed to work for them though, as Zoyu could attest to from facing Rin in both sparring matches and the iaijutsu tournament itself. "Do not look for the perfect moment strike your opponent. Searching for that moment is still thinking, and thought is slow to react. Instead just relax and let him come to you. Your body, your mind, your arm and your sword will simply know the right moment and you will find your cut without a thought." the Sensei explained to Zoyu when she asked about the Mirumoto approach to fighting with no mind. After a short time Rin completed her training and the pair traveled back to Tsuma and the Kakita Dueling Academy. -Kyuden Isawa- "So good to see you again, Akari-kun. We have all heard of your brave actions and personal appointment by the Emperor." the sensei greeted. "I only seek to bring honor to my family and dojo, Sensei." Akari offered. "And I see you have brought a friend with you." "Yes. This is Kuni Taka, a fellow Jade Magistrate. His knowledge was instrumental to our successful protection of the Lord Prince. He has come to see the Library and make use of it while I study so that we may better carry out the duties appointed to us by the Son of Heaven." "Ah. I see..." she said. "Welcome, Kuni-san." she said to the Crab in greeting with a smile that did not appear to be forced (though it was). "Our Library is, of course, at the disposal of the Jade Magistrates. May the knowledge contained within help Jade Magistrates." Taka bowed politely. "Then let us see to your studies so that you may be on your way and back to the business of the Jade Magistrates. I am sure two shugenja are sorely missed..." Akari's lessons continued under her sensei and with that new found ability came the chance to select several new spells, expanding her magical repertoire. Her greater skill and new spells would serve the Jade Magistrates well, while Taka took advantage of the magical knowledge stored within the Isawa Library to begin research on a new spell which he had been contemplating for some time. "As a jade Magistrate you are working with other shugenja, Akari-kun. So do not forget the benefit of working together with ritual magic. We Isawa are the most skilled shugenja in the Empire, but never underestimate the benefit of sharing strength and burden." her Sensei reminded. Soon enough though they found themselves on the road back to Tsuma as well to meet up with their fellow Magistrates. -Kakita Dueling Academy, across the Tengu River from Tsuma- "I have returned to continue my lessons, Sensei." Zoyu said with a bow. "You have returned already? It seems you just graduated and here you stand mere months later ready to continue. You are possibly the finest student I have every taught, Zoyu-chan. You make an old sensei proud." Toshimoko said with a smile and nod. "You flatter me, Sensei. I simply seek to be a worthy vessel to receive what you have to teach." Zoyu said with a shy smile. "And your fellow Magistrate?" he asked "She is a Jade Magistrates, yes, but also my friends and a student of the sword as I am sure you had seen during the Topaz Championship. I had traveled with her to the Iron Mountain Dojo for her to continue her training and studied more of the 'no mind' while I was there. When the next level of her instruction was complete, she journeyed with me here." Zoyu explained. "Really? Occasionally Zoyu-chan, you...hmmm... I am not sure if the right word is... 'surprise' or 'worry' me." Toshimoko said with a warm smile. "Then it is only fitting that we show the same courtesy to one of their finest students." "Welcome, Mirumoto Rin." he said to the Dragon with a polite bow. "Your swordsmanship during the tests of the Topaz Championship was impressive. You bested one my personal students in the Weapons test and showed quite well in the Iaijutsu tournament, only falling to a prized pupil of mine in the final duel. You brought much honor and glory to your dojo." the aging sensei explained. "Anybody of such skill and devotion to the blade at such an early age certainly has my respect." he added with a deep, respectful bow. "Thank you, Toshimoko-sama. You flatter me. I only seek to serve the Empire to the best of my ability." Rin replied. "I must see to my pupil's instruction, but afterwards perhaps we call all learn from one another. A student of the blade is never done learning, after all. And then afterwards I'll introduce you both to the okasan in town. Even the most diligent student needs a break now and then." Toshimoko said flashing a easy, roguish smile. Zoyu continued her studies under the tutelage of her sensei, Kakita Toshimoko. With his training she perfected the "Sudden Strike" of the Kakita, expanding her already considerable understanding of the iaijutsu duel. It was during one of these training sessions that Toshimoko spoke to Zoyu about her progression. "I can see some of myself in you, Zoyu-chan." Toshimoko said as he sat on a rock and looked out at the river they had been training beside. "I was full of confidence and swagger. I knew I was skilled and I used that skill to bully and intimidate. I was young and brash and thought I could not fail." he said thoughtfully. "It took several hard lessons for me to grow up and understand some things... things I wish to share with you." the old man explained as he pulled his arm out of the sleeve of his kimono and rested it inside, against his chest. "You have great skill and potential, but you must understand that with this skill and ability comes a responsibility, not just to your lord and the clan, but to the the Empire and honor itself. At times it can be as much of a burden as it is a boon. The taking of a life is never something to be done lightly, and should be done with dignity and respect. I have taken lives of those I respected and even loved, because honor demanded it. I did not wish their death. I would have given my life in order to have not taken their's, but we are samurai, and our lives are not our's to give, they belong to our Lord. So I dueled them, as honor required, knowing full well what the outcome would be, and I took those lives, That was when I truly understood regret and asked for permission to commit seppuku. My request was denied, so I vowed to live the rest of my life without regret, living each day to the fullest." "You are still so very young, Zoyu-chan. I know these are just words of an old man, but please try to learn from my mistakes while you are still young. I would not wish you to waste so much of your life as I did." "And as word of your skill spreads, people will wish to duel you just to test their skill and prove themselves your better. Don't let them. Overestimating one's skill is already dangerous enough and you do not want to be the one with their death on your hands just so they could learn that lesson. You have nothing to prove to anybody, especially not anymore. You graduated at the top of your class, your won the Topaz Championship and proved your Iaijutsu in front of the Emperor and daimyo. Duel if you must, and I sure there will be times that you must, but only when you must, because you do not want too much blood on those pretty hands..." In the meantime Rin gained a new insight into the Kakita and their style with the instruction from and sparring with Toshimoko. Whereas the Mirumoto let their opponent come to them, the Kakita would seek the perfect moment to strike. They placed a greater emphasis on the duel, in which they were unparalleled, but their philosophy translated into all forms of their swordplay, even in a kenjutsu skirmish the Kakita treated each strike like an iaijutsu duel, allowing them to strike with great speed and precision only to often return their katana to its saya where it awaited the next draw and strike. Despite his position and age, or maybe because of it, Toshimoko was a jovial and relaxed man. He was at least a couple of decades past retirement age, but continued to serve the Crane. He was a very fit and even good looking man, looking younger than his actual age in general, but he also had a relaxed demeanor about him (a stark contrast to his brother in-law, Lord Doji Satsume). He was not a stuffy or rigid man in the slightest and when not teaching at the dojo would often be found in the arms of a geisha or carousing at a sake house. It was a side of him that all the Empire knew about and many found distasteful, but it seemed he was too set in his ways and far too valuable as a sensei for anybody to try and do anything about it. Strangest of all to Rin is that she seemed to have a odd familiarity with the aging sensei. She had seen him before during the Topaz Championship, but had never really spoken with him though. Maybe it was simply his easy going nature and friendly demeanor, but Rin could not help but feel as if she knew him already...
  2. Tisuri's attention shifted from Kaze, then the Zoyu and back to Kaze. As he was about speak, Rin's outburst of laughter caught his attention. He watch Rin calmly, listening to her observations. "Not an inelegant analogy." Tisuri commented to Rin with a nod. Tisuri looked back to Zoyu and nodded. "You are dedicated and you do train, there is no doubt, but even you know that there is more to it. You do not realize it, but you have even, intuitively, nearly recreated one of the first techniques of the kenku swordsmanship." he said to Zoyu with a faint smile on his lips. "And you spar, toe to toe, with one favored by Mirumoto himself." he added. The kenku then turned his attention back to Kaze and shook his head, a gesture more to himself than anything else. "I doubt you would have heard of her. Your ancestor, Kakita Eji, was visiting the lands of the Phoenix Clan for winter court, and became lost in the woods during a sport hunting outing. Deep in the forest he came upon a beautiful woman who fed him rice, sheltered him and led him back out. He was so enraptured with the woman that he asked her to return with him, and she did, for she had become enraptured with him as well. Her clothing was a bit different and she spoke Rokugani with a strange accent at first, she was beautiful and elegant, Her smile and laughter warmed his heart and soon the pair was deeply in love. He asked her to marry him, and she agreed, which was something that was not well received by many in his family. She lacked noble heritage and seemed to be gaijin, or at least partly so, but Eji would hear none of it, so they were wed and in time she bared him many children. You see, Eji's family was at least partially right about Seiobo. She came from the north, well past the mountains, from a place called Qin. Her curiosity led her to Rokugan, where she met Eji and fell in love. But she was not exactly a gaijin. Seiobo was a Kitsune. She loved Eji so much that she remained in human form. I watched her grow old with Eji, their love never fading. Her love for Eji was so strong that she gave up her immortality for him. Time finally caught up with her though, and she passed on. Though she was a loving and dedicated wife and mother, you would not hear of her voluntarily though, for as far as the family was concerned, she was Eji's 'gaijin mistake'. The rest of the family, at the time, did their best to limit the spread of her blood, but it is clear that they were not entirely successful, for here you are today. She died in mortal form, but her spirit lives on, even if she was largely or possibly entirely forgotten, watching over her descendants. You see, we Kenku understand magic, but the Kitsune, they are magic. They know the primordial tongue of the Heavens... and The Words spoken at the Time of Creation. That is why you were able to do what you did. She showed you how, but in the end you still had to do it yourself." Tisuri explained to Kaze
  3. "I would have thought it was obvious by now." Tisuri commented as he rubbed his chin and the thin beard resting there. "As Kitsu-san said, her spelled was a plea for aid back through your blood. It was not maho, either. The blood was just the conduit used to find aid, not the source of power for the spell. You all received aid, but that was brought to you through your blood, in one form or another." he clarified. "For Rin-san, it was not the spirit of Mirumoto himself that aided her. He was generally more of a 'Do it yourself." kind of man. Not mean or cold, he just valued self-reliance. To be fair, he has shown his favor from time to time, but this dawn it was not the blood of Mirumoto that answered the call..." Tisuri said, pausing for a moment to look over each of the magistrates, "...it was the blood of a Dragon." "I do not mean the blood of a simple Dragon Clan samurai either." he clarified, "I mean the blood of an actual Dragon courses through her veins." "That Dragon may not have made itself known to the rest of you, but it sent aid to Rin-san, even though she could not fully understand or comprehend it. It was aid she put to good use as well, otherwise I doubt you could have found the moon cultists in time." Tisuri said as he looked at Rin, considering her for a moment. Tisuri sat back on his feet, his body relaxing a bit as he let the magistrates process that for a moment with a small, bemused smile. He picked up a bowl of rice and collected a pair of chopsticks, feeding himself a bite or two of rice before he continued. "I personally helped because of her spell, and the incessant pleading from it. I could hear it. I am not the spirit of some long-dead ancestor, but I am a living ancestor, even if not human." the kenku explained as various degrees of both realization and confusion set in on the various Magistrates. Tisuri look to Zoyu and reached out, lifting her lock of black hair. "Why do you think this lone lock of hair is black? Or why your eyes are mismatched? Or why the blade comes so naturally to you?" he asked Zoyu and released the lock of hair. "It is the blood of a shapeshifter making itself known after generations. The blood of a kenku, to be precise." he pointed out as he sat down the bowl of rice. "So, because of the spell asking for my aid, I helped. In the end though, success or failure was up to you all, as was the consequences of your decisions. I could have protected the actress easily, or flown the jade sun up to the Dragon Globe, or done any number of things, but what would that have done for you? The struggle is how you push yourself, how you grow and learn about yourself. And I think some of you surprised even yourselves with the decisions you made." "Some have asked, 'What would you do if you knew you could not fail?'. Though I do not know what one would do, I do know that the end result would be mediocre. It is the consequences of your decisions, of failure, that pushes you, motivates you. If you knew you could not fail, that your decisions held no consequences, then what inspiration and motivation would you have? Take kenjutsu for example. If you knew you could not fail, or that your choices in a fight or duel had no consequences, then you would get lazy and sloppy. It is the danger, the consequences of each choice you make that keeps you sharp and pushes you." Tisuri explained.
  4. The kenku nodded. "Ah. I am called Tisuri. I already know all of your names. I am sure that you all have many questions. I have many answers. Maybe some will match." the kenku said with a small bow... A short time later... Rin, Zoyu, Kaze and Kageko sat inside a side room of the Temple of Amaterasu along with Tisuri who, by this time, had taken the form of an old, wandering ronin. The rest of Tsukiko's Shosuro Acting Troupe and gathered together, collecting her and thanking Zoyu and the other magistrates when they could. The Priestesses brought in food, water and tea and did their best to see to the needs of the Magistrates. The food was simple, but of high quality and well prepared, which seemed to suit the very tired and hungry Magistrates well enough. "I had been watching you all night, and was beginning to wonder if you would figure out what was happening and make it here in time." Tisuri said calmly as he took a sip of tea. "You were watching us all night? If you know how dire things were, and the consequences if we failed, then why didn't you assist us earlier?" Kageko asked. "Because it was not my place to meddle in the affairs of man. What use is a consequence if there is no danger of it coming about? You lives your lives, make decisions and deal with consequences, for good or ill." the kenku in disguise said with a shrug. "Besides, you handled it well enough, in the end." he added. "Tisuri-sama," Kageko said, looking somewhat confused, "we are all grateful for your aid, but I am forced to wonder what prompted you finally give it then?" "I think you already know the answer, but the answer is raising even more questions." Tisuri replied. "My spell?" Kageko asked. "Is that a question or an answer?" the kenku responded. "It had to be my spell, but..." Kageko said, pausing for a moment, "...I pushed myself and my magic, and I sent a plea of aid to our ancestors." "That is not entirely accurate." Tisuri pointed out. "I sent out a plea for aid, but... instead of calling forth any specific ancestors... I sent it back through our blood... to our ancestors." Kageko slowly remembered. "Yes. And you all have some... unusual blood. You are each human, but also more than that. Such as yourself, Kitsu-san. You carry the blood of Tendo, the Kitsu, and to a greater degree than I have seen in many, many years. That is why he answered your call." Tisuri commented and took another sip of tea.
  5. "The one? I saw several of us. I did not get a very good look, but I believe that was was Seiobo helping you. I guess that explains why I have not seen her in some time. Same goes for Tendo. I had not seen him in a thousand years or so, but it was good to seem him again, and back to his old self though, even if only for a few minutes." the Kenku explained.
  6. Prince Satorii nodded to Rin. "Of course. Considering the events of this day, I think it only fitting that I begin it with prayers, here at the Temple, to Amaterasu myself, while my miharuassist the Order. Things here are well in hand. See to your friends." the Prince said, making it clear that he would be at the Temple for some time himself.
  7. Tsukiko stood up at her full height, which in full makeup and wardrobe as Amaterasu, made her quite the stunning vision. She looked around the courtyard from her place atop the float, her sad eyes drifted over the bodies, wounded and decaying zombies. She frowned slightly. "This is your world. One of battles, zombies, maho, kenku and magic. Though many great stories, and tragedies, are drawn from your world and into my own, I am afraid that I do not like visiting your world, Zoyu-san." Tsukiko said as she lightly caressed her bare, painted neck with her free hand. "I much prefer you visiting my world." she said with a faint smile on her painted lips trying to peek through. "Perhaps... once things are returned to normal, you can do so once again..." the Feathered Scorpion said, giving Zoyu a sideways glance with a small smile as she gave Zoyu's hand a subtle squeeze. The kenku looked at Kaze, and then Kageko, quietly for a moment, as birds are apt to do, before speaking. "I helped fight these pathetic puppets. Lighting the 'Dragon Globe' as you call it, was your doing." the kenku replied, "...even if you had a little help." he added, smiling with his eyes. The kenku looked down at the two decapitated moon cultists and shook his head for a moment before his head quirked to one side. With a flash of steel the kenku cut the satchel of the man open, revealing several spell scrolls and something wrapped in linen. A few flicks of the tip of his blade later, and the kenku had nimbly opened the linen wrappings to reveal an over-sized mask. The outer surface was simple, calm, serene, while the interior of the mask was carved with a twisted, maniacal face. "That is... bad." the kenku said, looking over the mask. "Do you feel it? The thing radiates maho... more than these trinket did." the kenku explained, motioning to a mask on one of the lifeless zombies. Then kenku pulled the saya from it's obi, holding the top of the saya at waist height behind it's back, it brought the katana over it's head and between it's wings, and dropped it blind from shoulder height, right into the saya behind his back, which it then slipped back into it's obi. "I do not know what that thing is, but be careful with it." the kenku cautioned.
  8. Brant reached up, toward the ceiling of the captain's cabin, and stretched his arms with a yawn. He shifted to his side, under the covers, and rested a hand on Zaylee's hip as she lay there, looking over some engine diagrams. "Already up, I see." Brant commented and shrugged, "It's not often I get to sleep in, so I enjoy it when I can." Brant nuzzled her ear, inhaling deeply and then sighed as the time, and schedule, came back to his thoughts. "Hey, I wanted to talk to you about something. Well.. ask you for a favor, really." "Oh? And what's that?" Zaylee asked semi-skeptically. "Well, there is this big Imperial mining operation. We haven;t been able to get too close to it, but for them to come all the way out here to dig something out of the ground means it must be pretty important. The Alliance has been harassing their shipping, at least making it even more costly for them to transport whatever it is they are mining. We cannot commit the resources to a full naval engagement though, unless we are sure it is worth it." "And what is it you want from me?" Zaylee asked. "Well, we've been effective enough that they have started using smaller transports, a mixture of their own transports and hired ones. We've acquired a transponder code for a transport that was hired and Seeing as you have a small transport with a code masker and a uniquely skilled and diverse crew, it would be a big help if you guys could infiltrate in there, see what the hell they are digging up and, if possible, deliver the shipment to the Alliance." "I mean, Gra and I would totally do it, but you know, there's just two of us and our faces are better known to the Empire than you guys." he finishes, flashing his usual roguish smile.
  9. The Prince bowed slowly and deeply to Rin, before he spoke, "Rise, Rin-san." Prince Satorii said to the kneeling Dragon. The Prince looked around at the dead, the wounded, the now lifeless zombies and those moving through the courtyard, led by the priestesses of Amaterasu, lending aid to the wounded. He looked to the Seppun and motioned with a hand, dispatching most of them to assist as well. "Though lives were list this morning, were it not for your courage and swift action, many more would have shared their fate, the city of Ryoko Owari would be doomed and a new Oni Lord would be rampaging t's way across the Empire." he recounted. "I, and the inhabitants of Ryoko Owari Toshi, owe you and your fellow Magistrates our thanks." the Lord Prince said with another bow of thanks.
  10. Now Available: Thousand Years of NightNow available as advance PDF from DriveThruRPG: Thousand Years of Night for Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition. We grow old, but we never grow older. That’s the problem you see. Timelessness is not stagnation, we continue to grow and change throughout the years. If we don’t, then the world changes without us and we die. You may think that with a multitude of people coming, going, dying and running away, we’d be tired, done, or ready to give up. Instead, I find myself restless, looking for the next thing. There’s always a next thing, and I for one am not yet ready to die. – Elder Kincaid, Daeva Crone This book includes: Detailed instructions on creating elder vampires, including how to base chronicles around them A look into the lives of elders, how they spend their nights, who they work with, and why including their roles in both their clans and covenants New Devotions, Merits, and Rituals for elder vampires The kinds of creatures that pose a threat to elder vampires, including Inamorata, Lamia, Sons of Phobos, a new elder conspiracy, and more Onyx Path
  11. All Kindsa Drakulas [Monday Meeting Notes] Justin Achilli used to stumble around the old WW office as a character mumbling and shouting about all the Drakulas. Might be two l’s and/or two k’s in there. Maybe a g. I honestly couldn’t tell you, but all I could hear is him yelling about them this week as I thought about our meeting today. Of course, as per the cover featured in the art above, we’re thrilled to be able to put the latest Vampire: The Requiem 2nd Edition supplement, Thousand Years of Night, on sale on DriveThru this Wednesday. First the Advance PDF, and after we get any notes back from purchasers, we’ll make an errata pass and get an updated final version of the PDF up, and get the physical copy PoD on sale too. If you’ve been following, this was one of the first ideas for a VtR supplement that Rollickin’ Rose pitched to me as VtR developer, and it felt the pressure exerted by her expanding duties here at Onyx Path. It just got bogged down as Rose stepped up to cover crisis after crisis as Development Producer. As much as Rose loves VtR, and boy does she, she didn’t hesitate long after realizing that she needed help in bringing this book to fruition. We were incredibly lucky that Dynamic Danielle Lauzon could take over as VtR2 developer, and we hope you are as thrilled by her work with this book as we all are! (You can find more details in the BLURBS! section, below)       Thousand Years of Night art by Mark Kelly     The other Vampire bit of news has been last week’s release of the V5 pre-Alpha playtest packet by White Wolf. To say that there are a lot of opinions about this very, very early look at a few systems and some suggestions of the setting they work within, would be like saying the sea sure has a lot of water in it. The reason I bring it up here, is that part of the “packet” is a survey for folks to let WW know what they think of the pre-Alpha playtest, and, for me, the survey is really the biggest point for releasing the whole thing at all. If you look at the specific questions, you can see the emphasis on how the Hunger and Compulsion rules both work and feel in play. Same thing for the scenario, drawn from the innovative End of the Line larp in Berlin during the recent convention there. And then there is the section for additional comments, which I know is where a lot of folks are going to shine. Or at least, you really could shine there, because this is your best chance to help the gang at White Wolf really understand your thoughts about this very first thing that they have produced to start the process – and it is a process – of creating the newest edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. Here’s the link to their blog: https://blog.white-wolf.com/2017/06/15/v5-pre-alpha-the-curtain-rises/ I’m telling you, it’s an amazing opportunity, and these surveys are going right to their very small team. If the Hunger mechanic sounds awesome, letting them know now gives it the best chance to survive the next iterations, and I believe there will be lots of those, and into the final published V5. If the writing style or subject matter works for your VtM, or doesn’t, then let them know that so they understand how their efforts are impacting you and the game and setting you love. Now, I’m not going to suggest the obvious: that you compose your comments with the idea that an obscenity-laced, all caps, message filled with invective might not be the most effective way to hold and keep the WW gang’s attention. I’m not going to speak for them, and I have no idea how they react to such things, but I always hear from all those consumer advice advocates that polite and to the point is what tends to work best. I’ve found that to be the case; your mileage may vary.     Beckett’s Jyhad Diary art by Ken Meyer, Jr.     A few followup bits of info garnered from today’s meeting that you might be interested in: We’re expecting to get the Prince’s Gambit card game KS BackerKit site up this week. We’re also expecting to close down the Pugmire KS BackerKit site this week or the next. LisaT tell me that she counted up the freelancers paid the first half of the month at she paid 42 excellent creators, which she tells me is average for a two-week period. For anyone wondering at the extent of that part of our business. Expect the third Dragon Blooded charms excerpt to go up this week from our new EX3 developers, Eric Minton and Robert Vance. And we’re looking at getting the next monthly releases for our two ongoing EX3 books out before the end of the month too – just need some WW approvals. We’ve received some ideas for Dark Eras 2 from our project developers, and Rose, Mighty Matt McElroy, and I, will be discussing those this week in terms of how we’re structuring the book and Kickstarter this time. I had earlier compiled and shared all the suggestions for Dark Eras from our DE1 backers, and BOY there were a lot of great ideas there. We want to do this Dark Eras 2 Kickstarter before much longer so that it doesn’t smash into Gen Con prep.   And I’ll leave you with this, the return of the brilliant and idiosyncratic artist John Cobb to Wraith: Wraith 20th art by John Cobb   BLURBS!   KICKSTARTER! Coming soon: Dark Eras 2…     ON SALE! ON AMAZON:   We’re delighted to announce the opening of our ebook store on Amazon! You can now read our fiction from the comfort and convenience of your Kindle. Our initial selection includes these fiction anthologies: Vampire: the Masquerade‘s Endless Ages, Werewolf: The Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition‘s Rites of Renown: When Will You Rage 2, Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition‘s Truth Beyond Paradox, Chronicles of Darkness‘ God Machine Chronicle, Mummy: The Curse‘s Curse of the Blue Nile, and Beast: The Primordial‘s The Primordial Feast! And now you can get these books in the Barnes and Noble Nook store too! Vampire: The Masquerade: The Endless Ages Anthology Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Rites of Renown: When Will You Rage II Mage: The Ascension: Truth Beyond Paradox Chronicles of Darkness: The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology Mummy: The Curse: Curse of the Blue Nile Beast: The Primordial: The Primordial Feast Anthology   And here are six more fiction books: Vampire: The Masquerade: Of Predators and Prey: The Hunters Hunted II Anthology Werewolf: The Apocalypse: The Poison Tree Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Songs of the Sun and Moon: Tales of the Changing Breeds Vampire: The Requiem: The Strix Chronicle Anthology Werewolf: The Forsaken: The Idigam Chronicle Anthology Mage: The Awakening: The Fallen World Chronicle Anthology       Looking for our Deluxe or Prestige Edition books? Here’s the link to the press release we put out about how Onyx Path is now selling through Indie Press Revolution: http://theonyxpath.com/press-release-onyx-path-limited-editions-now-available-through-indie-press-revolution/ You can now order wave 2 of our Deluxe and Prestige print overrun books, including Deluxe Mage 20th Anniversary, and Deluxe V20 Dark Ages! And Screens…so many Screens!     ON DRIVETHRURPG.COM: What dark secrets do the eldest vampires hold? Find out in Thousand Years of Night for Vampire: The Requiem! Advance PDF version available this Wednesday on DriveThruRPG.com. You may think that with a multitude of people coming, going, dying and running away, we’d be tired, done, or ready to give up. Instead, I find myself restless, looking for the next thing. There’s always a next thing, and I for one am not yet ready to die. – Elder Kincaid, Daeva Crone This book includes: • Detailed instructions on creating elder vampires, including how to base chronicles around them • A look into the lives of elders, how they spend their nights, who they work with, and why including their roles in both their clans and covenants • New Devotions, Merits, and Rituals for elder vampires • The kinds of creatures that pose a threat to elder vampires, including Inamorata, Lamia, Sons of Phobos, a new elder conspiracy, and more       From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: To The Strongest (Mage Death of Alexander 330-320 BCE). In the rise and fall of Alexander the Great’s Empire, armies marched and cultures clashed. In the birth pangs of Hellenistic civilization, Awakened sorcerers all over the ancient world met, fought, and joined together. In the chaos of Alexander’s assassination and the wars that followed, Cults became Orders amid conflicts still burning in the present day. http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/208162/Dark-Eras-To-the-Strongest-Mage-the-Awakening On sale in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG!   From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: Three Kingdoms of Darkness (Changeling and Geist China 220-280). Famine weakens the empire, and war splits it apart. It is an age of ambition and strife, where the hungry dead walk the earth in great numbers, and the Lost must rely on their own kingdoms. Warlords and commoners, ghost-speakers and orphans — who truly serves the Mandate of Heaven? On sale in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/211949/Dark-Eras-Three-Kingdoms-of-Darkness-Changeling-the-Lost-Geist-the-SinEaters     From the massive Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras main book, we have pulled this single chapter, Dark Eras: The Wolf and the Raven (Werewolf and Geist Vikings 700-1100). The Viking expansion across Europe comes at a pivotal time in history, as new faiths rose to challenge the old and new ways threatened to sweep ancient tradition aside. The Forsaken sail with raiders and explorers, seeking new lands to claim and new spirits to conquer, while Sin-Eaters walk the battlefields bringing the honored dead to their final rewards. The world grows larger and more dangerous by the day, but there are great rewards for those brave enough to fight for them. On sale in PDF and physical copy PoD versions on DTRPG! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/210621/Dark-Eras-The-Wolf-and-the-Raven-Werewolf-the-Forsaken-Geist-the-SinEaters       Curated by Matthew McFarland, developer of Changeling: the Dreaming Twentieth Anniversary Edition and featuring authors such as Myranda Kalis, Wren Handman, and Peter Woodworth, this C20 Anthology of Dreams is on sale in electronic/PDF and physical copy PoD formats on DTRPG.com! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/209390/C20-Anthology-of-Dreams We dream, and we tell stories. We dream of love and the sort of person who might complete us. We dream of horror and wake breathless. We dream of magic, of flying through the air, or breathing underwater. We dream of fantastic vistas and amazing monsters. We dream, and then we wake, and we tell stories. Our dreams create the Kithain, the changelings. Our stories are sustenance.     Now on DTRPG, the EX3 Tomb of Dreams Jumpstart PDF/PoD jumps up for sale! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/208891/Tomb-of-Dreams-an-Exalted-3rd-Edition-Jumpstart Once, in the time before the gods forgot their names, when the world was flat and floated on a sea of chaos, there was an age of gleaming cities, untamed wilderness, enlightened devils, greedy spirits, and mighty heroes. This was the age of the Exalted, champions empowered by the highest of gods. Tomb of Dreams will jumpstart your group’s Exalted game—all you need to start playing Exalted Third Edition is this book, pencils, and 10-sided dice. Included here are the game’s core rules, five pregenerated characters, and a self-contained scenario that can start a new campaign or that Storytellers can use in an ongoing chronicle. And for groups that already have the Exalted Third Edition main rulebook, Tomb of Dreams will serve as an introduction for new players and a quick reference during play—anyone intimidated by that prodigious volume need only read Part 1 of this book to get started. What legends will they tell of your deeds?         Sailing out of the dark, the V20 Dark Ages Companion Advance PDF is now on sale on DriveThruRPG.com! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/211504/V20-Dark-Ages-Companion Travel the long roads and deep seas in search of power and experience danger, or tackle the wilderness to hunt monsters and face death. Settlements large and small dot the black expanse with the promise of sanctuary, life, and community. These bastions of civilization present cold comfort, when playing host to vampire warlords and sadistic Cainite faiths. Whether led by a Prince, a coordinated belief, or hounded by monsters from without and within — no domain is truly the same as another. Dark Ages Companion includes: • Domains scattered across the world, from small fiefdoms to massive cities. Bath, Bjarkarey, Constantinople, Rome, Mogadishu, and Mangaluru each receive coverage. • Apocrypha including plot hooks, new Paths, and mysteries to explore in your games. • A how-to guide on building a domain within your chronicle, including events and servants necessary to make a domain as functional or dysfunctional as you wish. • A study on warfare in the Dark Ages period, so combat in your chronicles can gain authenticity and lethality.         Bill Bridge’s new W20 novel, The Song of Unmaking, is on sale in PDF/ePub/PoD versions on DriveThruRPG.com: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/208366/W20-The-Song-of-Unmaking and in ebook form on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071VM2S3D/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1494441226&sr=1-1 ! The fabric of reality is cracking. Fissures appear in thin air, glowing with balefire. Something is scratching on the other side, pressing, beginning to break through…. The Wyrm’s corruption finds its way into the hearts of humans and Garou alike. Even an ultra-rational techno-cratic scientist can fall sway to its lies. Channeling his hate and resentment through the most sophisticated machine ever created, Basil Czajka has turned a tool designed to peer deep into the heart of the quantum universe into a nursery for the hatching of a horror — a creature whose birth cry is destined to unmake Gaia’s Song of Creation. The only ones standing in his way are One-Song, a broken-down old Theurge, and Lord Albrecht, whose heed-less anger might be the very weapon the enemy needs to crack the egg and free the Unmaker.     The Chronicles of Darkness: Dark Eras Companion has arrived in PDF and PoD physical book versions at DriveThruRPG.com! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/207879/Chronicles-of-Darkness-Dark-Eras-Companion The Dark Eras Companion presents eleven new Eras for the Chronicles of Darkness. Stretching from Ancient Rome and Egypt through the Black Death, the Thirty Years War, the Reconstruction, and the Russian Revolution, the Companion showcases even more of the secret history of this eldritch world. Included in each era are “snapshots” of the various supernatural creatures, including vampires, changelings, mummies, and demons. Also included are lists of inspirational media to help you put these Eras in context for your troupe. Open the Dark Eras Companion and take another look back in time.     V20 Lore of the Bloodlines awaits in PDF and physical book PoD versions on DriveThruRPG.com! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/207392/V20-Lore-of-the-Bloodlines Lore of the Bloodlines is a single volume (created via Kickstarter) that revisits some of the bloodlines in Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, providing story hooks, character concepts, history, and bloodline-specific rules. The secrets of the Baali, Daughters of Cacophony, Gargoyles, Harbingers of Skulls, Kiasyd, Salubri, Samedi, and True Brujah are now yours. Lore of the Bloodlines includes: • The history, lore, and nightly practices of nine bloodlines, told from the perspective of the Kindred themselves. • New combo Disciplines, powers, Merits, Flaws, and other rules specific to each bloodline. • Revisions and updates of more classic Vampire: The Masquerade material to V20.             CONVENTIONS! Discussing GenCon plans. August 17th – 20th, Indianapolis. Every chance the booth will actually be 20? x 30? this year that we’ll be sharing with friends. We’re looking at new displays this year, like a back drop and magazine racks for the brochure(s). In November, we’ll be at Game Hole Con in Madison, WI. More news as we have it, and here’s their website: https://www.gameholecon.com/       And now, the new project status updates!     DEVELOPMENT STATUS FROM ROLLICKING ROSE (projects in bold have changed status since last week): First Draft (The first phase of a project that is about the work being done by writers, not dev prep) Exalted 3rd Novel by Matt Forbeck (Exalted 3rd Edition) Trinity Continuum: Aeon Rulebook (The Trinity Continuum) M20 Gods and Monsters (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) M20 Book of the Fallen (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) C20 Novel (Jackie Cassada) (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition) The Realm (Exalted 3rd Edition) Dragon-Blooded (Exalted 3rd Edition) C20 Ready Made Characters (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition)   Redlines Kithbook Boggans (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition) Ex Novel 2 (Aaron Rosenberg) (Exalted 3rd Edition) DtD Night Horrors: Enemy Action (Demon: the Descent) Hunter: the Vigil 2e core (Hunter: the Vigil 2nd Edition)   Second Draft GtS Geist 2e core (Geist: the Sin-Eaters Second Edition) WoD Ghost Hunters (World of Darkness) Pugmire Fiction Anthology (Pugmire)   Development Signs of Sorcery (Mage: the Awakening Second Edition) SL Ring of Spiragos (Pathfinder – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition) Ring of Spiragos (5e – Scarred Lands 2nd Edition) Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition, featuring the Huntsmen Chronicle (Changeling: the Lost 2nd Edition) M20 Cookbook (Mage: the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition) Pugmire Pan’s Guide for New Pioneers (Pugmire) Scion: Origins (Scion 2nd Edition) Scion: Hero (Scion 2nd Edition) Trinity Continuum Core Rulebook (The Trinity Continuum)   WW Manuscript Approval: V20 Dark Ages Jumpstart (Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition)     Editing: Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition Book of Freeholds (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition) BtP Beast Player’s Guide (Beast: the Primordial) W20 Changing Ways (Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition) VtR Half-Damned (Vampire: the Requiem 2nd Edition)   Post-Editing Development: Arms of the Chosen (Exalted 3rd Edition)     Indexing: Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition (Changeling: the Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition)     ART DIRECTION FROM MIRTHFUL MIKE: In Art Direction Beckett’s Jyhad Diary W20 Pentex Employee Indoctrination Handbook Cavaliers of Mars Wraith 20 W20Changing Ways Ex3 Monthly Stuff Storypath Brochure VDA Jumpstart Scion Origins C20 Jumpstart Ring of Spiragos Ex 3 Arms of the Chosen – Sketches coming in. Beast PG – Got some artists lined up… just need to bust up the notes.   Marketing Stuff   In Layout M20 Art Book – In progress… Prince’s Gambit – New Cards out for playtesting Gen Con Stuff   Proofing CtL Huntsmen Chronicle Anthology   At Press Beckett Screen – Shipped to shipper. Pugmire – Printing finished. Pugmire Screen – Printing finished. Pugmire Cards & Dice – Printing/manufacturing. Wise and the Wicked PF & 5e – Printing. Dagger of Spiragos (5e) – Out to backers. Dagger of Spiragos (PF) – Out to backers. V20 Dark Ages Companion – PoD files uploaded and processing. BtP Building a Legend – Awaiting errata. Monarchies of Mau Early Access – PoD proofs ordered. Dark Eras: Requiem for Regina – PoD proofs ordered. Dark Eras: Lily Sabre and Thorn – Wrapping up and getting files uploaded. M20 Book of Secrets – Out to backers and gathering errata. VTR: Thousand Years of Night – Advance PDF out this week on DTRPG.       TODAY’S REASON TO CELEBRATE: Today in 2017, our friend Eddy Webb made it to San Francisco after driving from Atlanta because SF has the only airport that will still allow dogs to fly out to Ireland. Or anywhere, as it’s the heat of the US summer that is too much for the doggie transports. And Murray Pug must get to Ireland. Greater love…. Onyx Path
  12. Tsukiko lay there in her full costume as Lady Sun, Amaterasu. Her face and neck a stark, pristine white, her hair black as night, long and straight with her eyebrows exaggerated and lips painted, She wore an ornate, old-style garment, a kind of multi-layered kimono of reds, oranges, yellows and white on the outermost layer, held in pace by a broad obi with a huge, elaborate bow. Slowly her eyes blinked up and she looked up to Zoyu, forgetting herself for a moment she hugged the Crane tightly, doing her best to try not to sob as the stress of the morning took it's toll on her. "What... what happened? Where did you go? You were right there.. and then you left. That thing was coming at me... and... you left. You left me alone.. with that thing." she asked, sobbing. Across the couryard Jotomon held out her hands toward Rin. "I did only what needed to be done, as do we all, Rin-san. And I am glad to see the lesson at my dojo was of asistance to you." Jotomon replies, accepting the return of her wakizashi and sheathing it in the obi of her ghost costume. "I am ashamed to admit that I failed to notice the foul things' infiltration of the parade. had it not been for you and your fellow Magistrates' alarm and swift action, I am afraid we would be looking at a very different dawn over Ryoko Owari. You are a credit to your office." Jotomo added with a deep, respectful bow. At the base of the Dragon Globe, the Priestess looked somewhat surprised at Kaze's thanks. "For my aid? Were it not for you all, the Dragon Globe would be shatered, the Temple would be in ruin and a dark day would be dawning over Ryoko Owari Toshi, and I would have been powerless to stop it." the Priestess replied, steadying herself with Yuzo's aid. "You are some of the most noble and courageous samurai I have ever met with peerless skill and access to tremendous magics and even the light of Last Sun herself. No, noble samurai. It is I, the Order of Amaterasu and Ryoko Owari itself that should be thanking you." she said with a deep bow. "Please honor our Temple by being our guests. We will see to your and your fellow's wounds and needs. It would be our honor." she asked. Kaze was somewhat taken aback by the offer, but returned her bow, just as deep. "We did nothing more than was expected of us. Any magistrate in our position would do likewise. But it would be our singular honor to accept your invitation. Our thanks." With that, Kaze turned his attention to Kageko, moving to her side and checking for life. "Did we do it? Did we win?" Kageko asked, blinking her eyes open very slowly, the Little Lion utterly exhausted.
  13. Furry Road - Road Dice Since I'm alway looking for neat ways to make the game exciting and unpredictable for myself as GM as much as the players I enjoy using certain random elements. I rarely pre-determine loot for instance. For Furry Road I knew that one of the things that HAD to happen was some vehicular combat, including (I hope) people jumping between moving vehicles and fighting atop them. I considered grabbing a roadway map for the geography that the game will be set in, but that's ... boring. Also this is a post-apocalypse game so I didn't want to have stuff too organized. I also wanted there to be an element of the unknown. I considered first making a deck of "cards" in the form of geomorphic road tiles with important information drawn in or written. I realized quickly that this would work, but that my artistic skills are a little too limited for such an endeavour for a one-shot. I also wanted something a little more exciting than some flimsy home made cards. Enter these... Plain white dice/cubes and a black sharpie marker. You can get 25 of these dice to be for cheap on Amazon, like $8 or so cheap. Add a sharpie and off you go making your own dice. I created three types of road representing normal roads (just two parallel lines), high quality/well maintained roads (two parallel lines with a dotted divider in the middle), and broken roads (parallel jagged lines). These will indicate the normal state, driver's advantage, and driver's disadvantage for piloting tests. I also drew in some turns and a few intersections. Lastly I added a couple of sides with "X"s in the roads to indicate a trap or other hazard (pothole, debris, etc.) that could damage a car. I pretty much drew 3 or 4 straits of various quality and then added turns or intersections for the other two sides. Five dice later and I can roll up a section of road at random during a highway combat for Furry Road. I'm thinking this will make running combat a little more exciting for both the players and myself.Inspiration Strikes
  14. The courtyard trembles under foot, making it take actual effort to run or even walk as earth begins to ripple and buckle. The white limestone pillar sways more and more, stacked stone seeming to flex like a reed, the Dragon Globe threatening to topple at any moment. The crowd had thinned somewhat, mostly due to people running past the globe and filling the other half of the courtyard in their attempts to escape the zombies, but the earthquake had made sure there was no shortage of people on the ground and scrambling back to their feet within reach of the zombies. The zombies shifted though, most continuing to cause chaos and panic, but a half dozen or more turned and moved toward the Dragon Globe, their slow, steady gait permitting them to move mostly unhindered by the trembling ground beneath their feet. Together they might lack the strength to topple the pillar of stone at it's base, it appeared that they had a different target.. the Sun Priestess. Her prayers were just as vital to the lighting of the Globe as the sunlight and it seemed the moon cultists were not taking any chances anymore. Though a reasonably competent swordsman for a non-bushi, Yuzo was doing his best to bring down the zombies, but precious time was slipping away. "If you have some plan, Kaze-san, then I suggest you enact it with haste!" Yuzo called out over his shoulder. Not pausing in her charge Rin placed her foot on the chest of the zombie felled by Jotomon, her hand closed on the hilt of the wakizashi sticking out of it's head, the force of her movement tore it free and once again armed with a daisho she attacked. Her swords flashed at the zombies blocking her from her true targets, the flying steel shattered masks and felled zombies, opening the way to the filthy sorcerers... Duty... Love... It was a conflict that all samurai risked confronting. But like her desired and respected Toshimoko-sensei, for a true servant of the Empire, there was only one real choice, no matter how much it may cost one in making it. Saving one might allow her to save the other, but it was a distant thought, as instinctively her Duty and her Heart decided her course of action. Zoyu's face was smooth, calm and serene, her voice cool and sure, while her eyes were bright and fathomless. "I have made it, Tisuri-sama," she said, dipping her head towards the Kenku, before sprinting towards Rin and calling over her shoulder. "If you would be so kind, this one would be in your debt if you could see to alleviating the Lady Sun's most imminent distress." The beautiful Crane did not allow herself to look back, to seek a response in the Kenku's dark eyes or to look upon her dear friend and first love. Thought and action were one, and they were directed towards one goal, the swift and sudden strike that would end the threat. With the long and graceful steps of a gazelle, Zoyu ran after Rin. And through the breach the Dragon Swordsmistress made in the zombies, Zoyu leaped, her starlight blade sweeping in a singular slash to bring the Moon Cultist down low to open the path for her and Rin to the Maho-Tsukai seeking to humble Lady Sun. To save Lady Sun... The Kenku, of it's part, shrugged as Zoyu departed to meet with Rin. "It's your decision, and we all must bare the weight of our decisions." the kenku said, even though it knew Zoyu could not hear. With a great flap of it's wings the kenku gave itself a push along the ground, easily catching Zoyu. The kenku spun, turning it's back to the large dragon puppet to contend with the zombies that had now turned and were moving to attack Rin and Zoyu from behind... Undead hands reached out for the terrified Bayushi Tsukiko. She was an actress, not a bushi. When she discovered she was given the honor of portraying Lady Sun in the Parade of the Dead in Ryoko Owari Toshi, she had been ecstatic. Now all she could feel was terror and dread. Out of the corner of her eye she could see motion in the crowd. Not the randomness of the celebrants in a panic, but movement with purpose. It was Zoyu! Dressed in her blue and white of the Crane, with the Topaz Haori over that. She was moving through the crowd, dispatching these foul things and coming to rescue her! And then the Kenku landed. A Kenku! It said something to Zoyu and Tsukiko's heart sank. Zoyu changed direction, moving away... abandoning her. What did that thing say? Why would Zoyu suddenly leave her? She was no bushi, and yet here she was, face to face with this undead thing as it grasped for her. Silent. Unwavering. Soulless. Catch the Shadow. Catch the Shadow. Catch the Shadow. Bayushi Tsukiko kept repeating it in her head, drawing on the lessons in stage fighting she had and the words of Kakita-sensei. As the zombie reaches for her she feinted, Catching the Shadow as Kakita-sensei called it, causing it to adjust and miss her in the process. A wave of relief washed over the actress, and then dread. She had avoided the zombie's grasp for now, but she was rapidly losing space to retreat and sooner or later it would have her trapped... The Satchel sailed cleanly through the air, landing square in his open palm. It was an impressive feat, from so far across the courtyard. He sketches a quick bow to the Kenku, offering his silent thanks to the guide. Abruptly turning and sheathing his sword, he withdraws the Jade Sun from the pouch, tucking the pouch into his own obi for safe keeping. Rolling the jade sphere over his hand, getting a feel for it. It was surprisingly light, all things considered. It felt like it should be much heavier, at least, with how much he was pinning onto it. Looking up at Orb at the top of the pole he couldn't help but realize once again just how far up the thing was. Tossing the orb twice, getting a feel for how it flew, he nodded to himself before being distracted by the slight giggle coming from his ghostly companion. Raising an eyebrow in her direction, she raises a sleeve to cover her mouth and conceal her apparent amusement. "Forgive me. You just reminded me of someone. They got that exact same look on their face when they were concentrating on something. But here, let me help you with that." She took both of his hands, enfolding them in her own, ghostly blue overlaying tanned. "I suppose I can aide you just a bit further yet. Just calm yourself. Listen for it. I know that you will be able to hear it, if you just listen" Closing his eyes, he did as she bid, despite his mounting confusion. It was difficult, with the fight raging around him, but long hours of practice helped him reach that zone of calm within his own being. "Good. Just like that. Now listen for it and when you Know it, speak. I'll be doing the heavy lifting, so don't concern yourself with that. Just move with the flow" there is a beat of silence as he focuses and his lips move, mouthing a single word, too quiet for anyone but his companion to hear. She looks on in fondness before, as he utters the word, closes her own eyes in concentration. In unison, their eyes blaze with Azure light and Kaze bursts into flame, the blazing tongues dancing around him. The Ancestor spirit withdraws in satisfaction. "There. That should help." He nods to her, pivoting on the spot to once more, that same feeling of calm control echoing through him as he winds back and hurls the orb with all his might, carried by the strength of his arm and a prayer to Amaterasu. Kaze finished his quick prayer as the small, jade sun coursed up through the air, the color of jade giving way to a pure light as it bathes the area around it in warm rays of sunlight. Up and up and the small sun flies, propelled with every ounce of muscular strength Kaze could muster until finally it nears to top of the column of limestone. The light from the jade sun strikes the golden surface of the Dragon Globe, sending a glint of light across it's mirror polished surface as Yuzo is overwhelmed, falling back to the ground with zombie piling atop him and grabbing the priestess by her hair and the back of her neck, her prayers continuing, possibly the last words she may ever speak. Suddenly the Globe blazes to life, as if lit by some inner light. A shockwave radiates out from the Globe and through the courtyard, causing hair, kimono and costume to flap, lifting small stones and bits of dirt and blowing the zombies off their feet and back from the Globe a good ten feet. The zombies are blow off of Yuzo and the priestess, knocked from the float and Bayushi Tsukiko and blown past the moon cultists hiding within the dragon puppet as the puppet itself is blow off of them, revealing a man and a woman, both dressed as ghosts, each in the process of casting a spell as the scrolls are blown from then hands. Even the storm cloud overhead are blown away for miles, allowing the first rays of Amateratsu to reach over the horizon. The lighting of the Globe, representing the dawn of a new and the end of the Bon Festival, bring Kageko's spell to an end, the passing of the shockwave causing the spirits to vanish as the Little Lion collapses to the ground, unconscious and totally spent. The moon cultists look up at Rin and Zoyu in surprise and both let out a scream as the crescent moon tattoos on their wrists begin to burn them. They both grimace, the woman reaching for a knife as she utters some dark prayer while the man points at the magistrates with a trembling hand as the tattoo burns. "Get them!" he yelled, which causes every zombie in the courtyard, in unison, to turn to face Rin and Zoyu and rise back to their feet. "You think you've won? You have no idea how many of us there are... how deep we go into the Empire! Our time WILL come and that BITCH will the pay the price for her treachery!" he snarls, pointing at the rising sun. Almost in unison their heads tumble to the ground as Rin lifts her blade and Zoyu flicks the blood from her own and re-sheaths it. The zombies begin to stagger and stumble, tripping over the bodies, each other and themselves, falling to the ground where begin to dissolve while by the Dragon Globe, Yuzo gets back to his feet and runs over to the Sun Priestess, helping her to her feet. All around the courtyard, standing among the bodies of the dead and wounded, the other samurai look around in confusion and amazement. The first rays of the new dawn wash over them... the zombies banished and the moon cultists defeated... As the jade sun falls back into Kaze's outstretched hands, a loud cheer of victory breaks out, echoing through the courtyard and off the walls as people bathe in the warmth and light of Amateratsu and the Dragon Globe.
  15. Post roll results and intended actions here.
  16. The world fell away. The Dragons blood burns , wasp wings flutter She heard the cry of the Kenku as he joined Zoyu. But Rin was alone...no not alone her ancestors were there unseen, guiding. The Dragons Blood burned Rin felt the ground quake, the movement rolling like waves rolling toward the shore, radiating outward from... She spun her wakizashi flying from her hand like an arrow and she launched herself after it. No thought, the Dragons blood burning. End over end the blade tumbled through the air with incredible force, the crowd seeming to nearly part for it as it made it's way to it's target, a target Rin had only visualized in the most abstract sense... the puppeteer of the undead... the source of the ripples in the ground... the spellcaster... right into the opened mouth of a huge, multi-person dragon puppet, causing a man to scream out. Instantly several zombies turned and began moving toward the big dragon puppet, forming a semi-circle around it before turning once more, forcing a protective line around it. A large man throws off the dragon's head and steps out from under it as one hand grasps Rin's wakizashi, pulling it from his shoulder and tossing it to the ground. He reaches up and tears open his shirt, revealing the large, crescent moon tattoo on his chest before drawing his sword and pointing the tip of the blade at Rin, over the shoulders of the zombies, as she swiftly moves through the crowd toward him, while the interior of the puppet still glows, though now Rin is certain it is not from lamplight, but from magical energies... Kaze inclined his head to the Ancestor. Something about what she had said was niggling in the back of his head. Like he was forgetting something important. "Forgive me not showing proper deference, Honored Ancestor, but slow they may be...." He takes a step back as a Zombie lunges at him, and ripostes cleanly, another mask sheared in two and a corpse falling, strings cut completely. "...they will punish you if you do not pay adequate attention." "Oh, they cannot even see me. The kansen animating them are simple, and easily tricked." the woman said with a smile. He begins to back towards the Sun-Priestess as the crowd continues to thrash in it's panic. There was a very real risk of the Crowd completely enfolding the Priestess and with the other Magistrates having run off, Yuzo was the only one left to keep a proper watch. And one man was easily blindsided. The spirit follows after him, stepping daintily around the fallen Zombies with a faint moue of distaste on her face. Weaving through the crowd with a surprising grace and care. She seemed strangely solid, for all her odd colouration and the ability to see through her somewhat. And still something about what she said was bothering him before it finally hit him. Of course, they'd need to get it within ten feet of the Orb. Risking a glance up at the orb.... 70 feet. That was one hell of a throw, either way, even standing as close to it as he was. Still. Turning to where Zoyu is running through the crowd he roars at her and hopes it will be enough to carry his voice... "My heart has always led me to trouble," the shapely Crane muttered, grinning crookedly as her mismatched eyes took in the sight of the descending Kenku before turning back to lock on the tall figure portraying Lady Sun with avid need. Her heart surged with exasperation and exultation at the appearance the Kenku, a girl's delight at the tales she listened to with wonder warring having faced its irritating and abrasive manner. "And it seems it is no different this night." She glanced over her shoulder for a moment at the Kenku, her smile growing wider and more assured. "But this one finds herself pleased to see you once more, Tisuri-sama." Zoyu chuckled low with rueful mirth despite standing in the midst of terrible chaos that stood to doom Ryoko Owari. "And yes, to hear your berating cackle. This one does hope she may have the chance to weather your scolding in less desperate circumstances, however. Shall we make them so?" So saying, Zoyu didn't wait for a response, but followed her heart to reach Tsukiko, to protect her, dancing through the press and chaos of bodies and zombies with fluid grace and adjusting instinctively to the heaving of the ground beneath her feet. She didn't no seek out the zombies now, but slipped by them, her blade flashing out to shatter a mask of one that impeded her way. As her green eye and blue eye looked about for the best route to reach the assailed float, a part of her looked for the source of the trouble, the center, so as to end the threat to the first person she had ever loved beyond her family in the most direct and efficient means possible. She could see the small group of zombies guarding the large, multi-person dragon puppet now, and spotted the moon cultists so brazenly showing off his tattoo. Then suddenly something caught Zoyu's attention. "Zoyu! Throw me the Jade Sun!" Kaze's voice rings out over the din of battle and panic. 'Jade Sun?' Zoyu thought to herself, confused for a moment. And then she remembered... one the tsangusuri that Doji Fuketsu had gifted them earlier in the evening. The very same ones that were now in the small sack, tucked into her obi. Zoyu reached for the sack, but her hand was too slow as the kenku's blade stabbed into the sack and then skillfully yanked it from her obi and up in a high arc with the tip of the blade, sending it sailing through the air toward Kaze. "You must make a decision and not question it. Her..." the kenku said, pointing at the terrified actress portraying Lady Sun who was backing away from an encroaching zombie, "..or him." the kenku finished, pointing toward the dragon puppet that Rin was charging towards, guarded by several zombies and the brazen moon cultist. "For the hunter that chases two rabbits will return with neither." the kenku added... "But my Lord Prince, you must not endanger yourself.. again... taking such risks." the miharu pleaded. "I will be Emperor one day. What good is being emperor if I have let my empire fall to ruin, and through my own inaction no less? Innocents are dying, and noble samurai are risking their lives against impossible odds. The Kami Akodo said about Jin (Compassion), "Through intense training the Samurai becomes quick and strong. He is not as other men. He develops a power that must be used for the good of all. He has compassion. He helps his fellow men at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one." Your duty is to protect me. Well, my duty is to my Empire and it's people. So if you wish to do your duty, then you will just have to go with me." the young Prince said as he turned and charged the remaining block toward the battle. A huge roar echoed from down the street, through the gates of the courtyard as the Lord Prince, accompanied by his twenty fully armored honor guard charged into the fray from the other side, letting out furious war cries. Yari stabbed through heads, shattering masks while the Prince demonstrated what he had learned under the tutelage of Toshimoko-sensei, drawing his golden blade to cleave heads from desiccated necks. Though the blades and skill of the Seppun and the Prince were a welcome addition, it would still take sometime to fully dispatch the many dozens of zombies, but they did have the unforeseen effect of trapping the zombie-guarded dragon puppet inside the courtyard, apparently cutting off any means of escape as the ground begins to shift more and more underfoot, the strength of the earthquake ever growing, causing the Globe to rattle atop it's perch...
  17. Round #3 Notes Dawn is any minute now, but there is no way to be sure if it will come in under one minute or over five. At the point it is clear that the zombies are a distraction, simply trying to cause as much panic and confusion as possible while the Earthquake spell is cast. The earthquake is now becoming significant, even causing some people to stumble and fall in their fleeing panic. +5 TN to most physical actions (including combat). If not stopped, the zombie will grapple the Lady Sun actress this round. Whoever is inside the dragon puppet (2-3 people) are casting spell(s). Rin and Zoyu both realize it is the source of the Earthquake spell. Storm clouds are beginning to rapidly form/roll in, as if to block out the sun. Clearly the result of magic. Jotomon's wakizashi is stuck in a zombie's head near Rin, if she wished to grab it. Actions Kageko is maintaining her spell. Yuzo is still guarding the Priestess, preparing to push her way from it if the globe begins to topple. The Priestess is still praying. The Kenku is fighting along Zoyu. The Lord Prince and his guards are trying to dispatch as many zombies as possible and move toward the courtyard.
  18. the concept of spacefold has been used in sci-fi well before macross/robotech. Due is an excellent example of it that predates Macross.
  19. Nuts & Bolts #123 - RPG Blog Carnival - Genre Smash This month's topic, Gonzo and Cross-Genre Gaming, comes from the Crossplanes blog. I don't know much about "gonzo" gaming a such, but I know a thing or three about mashing genres together. In fact, every one of the settings I showcased in my "Top Five RPG Settings" blog post is at least a little bit of a mash up. Nightbane is modern horror mixed with alien invasionDark Sun is high fantasy crossed with post eco-apocalypseDeadlands is a western crossed with both horror and fantasyShadowrun is cyberpunk mixed with urban fantasyNumenera is fantasy mixed with post-apocalypse and far futures, where the unknowable science replaces magicWhat is it about genre mash-ups that appeals? Well, for my money it's the ability to juxtapose different themes in ways that you cannot usually. Consider Shadowrun, you can take a street samurai who is holding onto their humanity by shreds in the face of continuous augmentation and put them across from a hermetic mage whose very source of power relies on staying as pure in body as they are in spirit.  Numenera juxtaposes a medieval human society amidst the ruins of not one by either prior civilizations with technology so far advanced that it is understood as hardly more than magic. A prime example of Clarke's Law.  Alternately, the combination of two genres can help support themes, building higher than either can alone. Deadlands mixes the wild west with supernatural horror. The western expansion was already a case of exploring the unknown, conflict with indigenous peoples, and the boom or bust nature of the gold rush. The injection of supernatural horror is able to deepen all of those themes by adding the supernatural unknown, expanding the conflicts with the indigenous people by adding layers of ideology between the hucksters (european magic) who take power from the Reckoners, and the native shamanistic magics that oppose the Reckoners; add in the power of God in the form of blessed for an entirely extra layer. Further the boom or bust of the gold rush is thematically echoed by the Ghost Rock boom/rush, which also enables a technology vs nature vs supernatural element in the form of the various steampunk super science inventions. Ditto how a post-eco-apocalypse adds new layers to the darker fantasy tones of Dark Sun by providing context for blood sacrifice, slavery, use of primitive gear, and the lesser prevalence of magic. Likewise for Nightbane where the paranoia of invasion and takeover of the government is deepened by the injection of magical doppelgangers, shape-changing creatures, and the questioning of self as a result of supernatural transformation. Add in third and fourth parties in the form of vampires (who have their own designs for us) and the Lightbringers (whose origins are purposefully difficult to pin down) and this supernatural spin on a traditionally science fiction genre is given new life. Then again, maybe it's just that mash ups speak to that primal gamer instinct to compare crap. Can a black dragon really take down a Veritech fighter? Well, thanks to Rifts we can find out. [The answer is yes BTW, easily.] Sometimes you just want to see odd combinations, and really the American pop cultural landscape has been filled to the brim with two massive settings that embrace all manner of genre in the form of the DC and Marvel comic book universes. Neither publisher has ever shied away from having aliens, magic, mutants, high tech super soldiers, and psychics all in the same setting (with plenty of other options to boot). Batman is "just a guy" and his arguable best friend is an alien god. They routinely hang out with a Goddess/Golem (Wonder Woman depending on her origin), a metahuman/mutant (the Flash), a space cop (Green Lantern), and more. The Avengers are similarly mashed up in the comics (less so in the movies where magic is just Clarke's Law tech). Me, I prefer a mash-up that adds something in terms of theme or tone. Whether that is in support of or juxtaposition of the genres at work doesn't matter, but I think that those mash ups are the ones that gain the most from the effort and tend to capture the imagination more. Your milage may vary, but I'll always see it that way. Inspiration Strikes
  20. Rin dashed into the crowd pushing them down as she went, all the while looking for the witch commanding the zombies. Spying a clump of the walking dead she whipped her swords out and charged them. A spinning whirlwind, her swords flashed left and right, masks shattered two of the dead fell to lie still. And then she caught the motion out of the corner of her eye, a glint of tumbling steel that flew right at her head... and past it, sending a spray of porcelain bits on Rin's back. She looked over her should in time to see the zombie she had missed, it's arms raised, clearly about to grab her from behind, with a wakizashi buried in it's face, having shattered the mask, terminating the zombie. Rin looked back in the direction of the wakizashi where she spotted Kitsuki Jotomon standing, armed with just her katana. She give Rin and nod and turned her attention back to the crowd, searching for more zombies... With Yuzo and Kaze flanking the Sun Priestess and Kageko to repel any encroaching Zombies, Zoyu glided forward to cut her way towards the float of the Scorpion Acting Troupe, seeking to make her way to the tall, slender figure of Bayushi Tsukiko, even as she aided Rin in preventing the zombies from forming up into a mob to rush the praying women below the Dragon Orb. Her blade flicked out from her saya like a sliver of starlight, sundering the porcelain mask at a touch. Her lips creased in a faint frown as she saw the other samurai attacking any in the courtyard with the slightest resemblance to zombies in their panic and fear. Raising and modulating her voice to be heard over the din of battle, Zoyu gestured with her katana to emphasize her comments or to point towards any other true Zombies she could see. "Fellow defenders of the Empire, seek out only the zombies with the most exquisite of porcelain masks, the ones that do not cower before you or cry out, for the dead know no fear. Strike at their masks to break the maho animating them." she called out, but over the noise from the chaotic scene, her voice did not carry far. And then one scream caught Zoyu's ear, standing out above all others. Her head snapped to look at the float, where now the actress portraying Lady Sun was backing away from an encroaching zombie, likely attacking her for no other reason than the part she played.... As the first of the screams echoed about the courtyard, Kaze lets out a sigh and nods to himself. He could feel the fatigue clawing at the edges of his focus. After more than 16 hours of continuous activity, he certainly hoped that this would be one of the, if not the last confrontation of the night. Leaving Yuzo several paces behind at the Sun Priestesses side, he draws his blade, naked steel whispering against the sheathe, the coloured tassels hanging from the pommel dancing in the slight breeze. Settling into his stance, blade horizontal to the floor at shoulder height. A second passes and he lunges forwards, the dull crack of breaking porcelain heralding a meatier sound as his blade pierces clear through the mask and the head behind it. Turning to a nearby Samurai, he bellows, "Destroy the Masks!" The samurai stared back at Kaze, apparently confused for a moment or just unsure of what he said until he noticed the shattered porcelain around the limp, former zombie laying on the ground. "Hai!" the samurai said with a nod, turning to search out more zombies... Despite having dispatched several zombies already, there was clearly at least several dozen more. The zombies here choking people to death, dismembering people by simply tearing limb from body, or even clawing at and through people's midsections with their unnatural strength. Some of the zombies were engaged by armed samurai, but it was clear that they did not know how best to defeat the undead horrors, often hacking at them over and over again, even slicing off limbs which slithered and crawled at the samurai, continuing to attack. Already the zombies had dispatched at least a couple of dozen people, with the other samurai dispatching even more, having mistaken celebrants in zombie costumes for the real thing. And how many people had been trampled was near impossible to judge at this time as people ran in ever direction, colliding with each other often, sometimes falling and scrambling to get back up, occasionally failing to do so fast enough to avoid being trampled under foot. With the exception of the those engaged by samurai, the majority of the zombies seemed to be focusing on the peasants, injuring and killing as many as possible, occasionally leaving one to lay on the ground, screaming in agony, which only added to the panic and confusion. At this rate, it would be well after dawn before the zombies were dealt with, claiming untold numbers of lives in the process. Also adding to the panic and general chaos of the scene was the rumbling of the ground beneath their feet. Over the last several seconds it had become more pronounced, making it unlikely that the panicked crowd was the source of it. Reflexively some of the Magistrates looked to the Dragon Globe and the could see small bits of dust beginning shake free near the top, from between the cylindrical blocks that composed the pillar... Bright blue-white light shown from Kageko's eyes and mouth as she spoke her prayer to her own ancestors and those of her fellow magistrates, piercing through the veil of death and time, reaching back through their blood to pull forth aid as she poured every last bit of spiritual energy she could muster into the spell. Around Kageko appeared a flaming lion, a true Kitsu, that bellowed out a might roar, causing Kageko to do the same. Her already fiery colored hair became literal flame as she roared. The flaming lion launched itself at a nearby zombie, clawing at it's masked face with both paws, shredding the mask right off of it's face... Rin could feel the ink on her back begin to burn, but not painfully so, almost swear she could feel something large crawling on her back, beneath her kimono. A warmth radiated over her and through her body, as if for just a fraction of a second she seemed to know and understand EVERYTHING. Though the unearthly clarity faded just as quickly as it had set in, it still left her with a glimpse of true enlightenment and a strange calmness, a clarity in her mind, as if she did not even have to think to act anymore... A blue-white form appeared around Kaze, where he stood, and stepped out from him, to stand beside him. It was a beautiful woman with long, flowing hair. She wore a kimono bearing a scene with cranes and foxes on a beach, and in her obi she carried no swords. "It is always darkest before the dawn." she said to Kaze with a soft smile, her tone somehow strangely reassuring... "Fine! Just cease your incessant pleading." said a vaguely familiar voice from high over Zoyu's shoulder. Zoyu turned to look at the source just a firework exploded overhead, illuminating the dark, winged form as flew down and landed beside Zoyu. Dressed in a fine kamishimo of blues and grays stood what could only be a mythical kenku, it's black feathers contrasting nicely with the silks, it's claw-like hands hovering near the daisho tucked into it's obi. "The brain is slow. The heart is fast. Let it lead you." the Kenku said to Zoyu as the steel flashed from it's obi, shattering 2 more zombies' masks.
  21. Round #2 Notes Zoyu and Kaze both regain a Void Point. Rin regains all of her spent Void Points, plus an additional one. In addition, for the next few rounds she may spend more than 1 Void Point at a time. The zombie are almost exclusively attacking peasants, almost as if they are trying to make as much chaos as possible. The shaking of the ground is clearly more than just the stampeding crowd could cause. It seems to be a minor earthquake that is growing more and more severe with every passing second. The odds of a natural earthquake just happening to hit right now is slim to none. Actions Kageko is maintaining her spell. Yuzo is still guarding the Priestess and looking at the pillar with the Dragon Globe atop it cautiously. The Priestess is still praying. The Kenku is fighting along Zoyu.
  22. From the album L5R: Blood and Jade

  23. From the album L5R: Blood and Jade

  24. Furry Road - The FeralImage Source: Palladium's After The Bomb, 2nd Edition Design Notes: Originally I was looking at Aggressive or Rugged as descriptors here, as I wanted this character to feel like a character who grew up outside of civilization. Thankfully Predation recently came out and features a new descriptor, perfect for my needs: Savage. As a mutant cat the focus Moves Like a Cat seemed a natural fit to catch many of the aspects of the character I wanted to see. Claws is as easy as the T1 warrior ability, Needs No Weapon. In this end this was a pretty easy build. Could I do it without the MLaC focus? Sure, I'd apply pretty much the same skills and pools, and the only thing I'd be missing was the Safe Fall ability.  Zhan the Cat is a Savage Warrior who Moves Like a Cat Tier 3 • Effort 3Might 18 • Edge 2 Speed 19 • Edge 3 Intellect 10 • Edge 0 Cypher Limit: 2 Armor: 0 (none) Skills: Inabilityall pleasant social interactionsTrainedall tasks involving intimidation and scare tacticssmashing and breaking thingsbalancingUnarmed AttacksSurvivalinitiativeperceptionSpecializedclimbingjumpingSpeed defenseAbilities: Safe FallPracticed With All WeaponsNo Need for WeaponsTrained Without ArmorSwipeMighty BlowFuryLungeEquipment: Appropriate clothing, plus one expensive item, two moderately priced items, and up to four inexpensive items. Weapons:knife (light weapon)crude pipe club (medium weapon)Initial Link to the Starting Adventure: You told everyone you were going to join, and no one said no to you, so here you are. Connections:  Jim the Raccoon saved your life and you now feel you owe him a debt that cannot be repaid.You love to tease and play practical jokes on Max the Dog but you also respect his ability to drive with such precision and graceInspiration Strikes