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Revision as of 13:38, 30 July 2016 by Anzelotte
This is a partial translation of the replay of Nuekagami: Night Tales of the Heian found in the core rulebook, done before I lost interest in the game. I make no guarantee of its readability.
LIST OF TERMS 因縁 Connection 業 Waza - literally "skill" 分限 Walk of Life - literally "social standing" Types of Walks of Life: 血脈 Lineage 生様 Profession 魂魄 Soul Stat-like things 命運 Meiun (basically HP in this game) 宿曜 Sukuyou (lets you add or subtract from a die roll) 天佑 Tenyuu (lets you reroll) Paths 我道 Gadou 鬼道 Kidou 苦道 Kudou 外道 Gaidou 悟道 Godou Walk of Life names: 孤高 Kokou - Loner 武士 Mononofu - Warrior 影司 Kage no Tsukasa - Shadow Agent 稀人 Marebito - Stranger 神 Kami 大妖 Daiyou - Greater Youkai 変化 Henge - Shapeshifter 人鬼 Hitooni - Fiend 惑師 Madowashi - Beguiler 屍 Shikabane - Corpse 孤児 Koji - Orphan 依童 Yoriwara - Vessel 娼妓 Shougi - Courtesan 異形 Igyou - Aberration 聖 Hijiri - Saint 貴族 Kizoku - Noble 野盗 Yatou - Bandit 畜生 Chikushou - Beast 呪験 Jugen - Sorcerer 式 Shiki - Servant REPLAY: SINGING TO THE RAIN GM: I had you choose your Signposts beforehand, so you've already made your characters, right? A Signpost is a handout the GM provides to the players before the game, giving them background information to build their characters off of. The GM should supply a number of Signposts equal to the number of players, which each of players can then choose from. Player C: Perfectly. Player B: More or less, I hope. Player A: Ah... I still don't have a character. GM: That's fine. Let's all help you make your character right now. Player A: Please do. GM: You picked Signpost A, right? Player A: Yes. SIGNPOST A Bond: Sugawara no Michizane (Obligation) Objective: Repulse Tamamo-no-Mae Loss: Family (生様 17) Suggested Walks of Life: Mononofu (Warrior), Koji (Orphan), Yoriwara (Vessel), Chikushou (Beast) When the capital became a Makai, you lost your family. On the verge of breathing your last, you were saved by the god who was once a man, Sugawara no Michizane. Though he has achieved divine grace, Michizane still has humanity, and he has bestowed his power and protection upon you. However, the great youkai Tamamo-no-Mae who resides within the Imperial Palace has sent her vassals after Michizane. Though he has not asked it of you, you are determined to repulse her attack. In doing so, you have chosen for yourself a most fearsome enemy... GM: First, you need to choose three of the twenty Walks of Life. These are your 血脈, your 生様, and your 魂魄. The Walks of Life are descriptions of the roles each character Nuekagami plays upon the stage of the Heian. They not only determine their powers and abilities, but are the foundations of the characters themselves. Though it may be possible to change a character's Walks of Life without substantially altering them mechanically, they cannot possibly remain the same narratively. Each Signpost contains a list of suggested Walks of Life, but players are free to choose their own at the time of character creation. Player A: Um, what exactly is a Walk of Life? GM: The background of your character. Player B: The background? GM: The circumstances in which they were born, how society sees them, what their personality and values are... any and all of those things. Though the external effects are limited to your 血脈 and 生様. Player B: Like when you choose Igyou (Aberration) as your 血脈. GM: If you choose Igyou as your 血脈 and Mononofu as your 生様, you will be a born warrior who is not immediately recognizable as an aberration, but nonetheless has inhuman blood flowing within their veins. Player B: Ooh, that's pretty cool! Player C: Can you look like an aberration but in truth be a warrior? GM: Yes. It's up to the player. Player C: A, what kind of character do you want to make? Player A: I'm thinking of... a cow. Everyone: A cow?! Player A: Ah, I mean, like, a cow who was turned into a woman. Player C: Haha, so, Sugawara no Michizane's sacred animal? Player B: Oh, that works. GM: If you're a cow, your 血脈 would be Chikushou. Player A: I see... Alright, I've decided! Player C: What will you do? Player A: My 血脈 is Chikushou, my 生様 is Shougi (Courtesan), and my 魂魄 is Yoriwara. Player B: That's a pretty sleazy combo... Player A: I'm pure! At heart! GM: And in body? Player A: Ufufu...? Player B: Creepy! (everyone laughs) GM: Alright, write down your attributes and Waza, and make your character according to the rules. Player A gradually finishes making her character. GM: Are you finished? Player A: Yes, thanks for waiting. Player C: Are we ready? GM: The only thing left is her starting Loss. In Nuekagami, every PC has lost something, and they are suffering because of it. The Signpost indicates one such Loss. The players themselves each choose a second Loss for their PCs at the beginning of the game. Player B: Her Signpost says she's lost her family. Player C: So she's a complete orphan, just like me. Player A: I've decided. I'll have lost Love, from the 魂魄 column. GM: Oh? Player A: I became unable to love something precious to me, and I desire to love someone once again. It's so romantic! Player C: Oh, how heroine-like. CHARACTER SHEET Io Age: 16 Sex: Female (Beast) (Courtesan) (Vessel) 血脈: Chikushou 生様: Shougi 魂魄: Yoriwara Losses: Family, Love Waza: A beautiful young lady in the service of Sugawara no Michizane. She possesses charm and allure that can cause even the most hardened heart to stir, but beneath her seductive actions lies a sinister shadow. Her true form is that of a cow. She was saved from death by Sugaware no Michizane and granted his protection. Since then, she has been fiercely dependant on him. Player A: How's this? Player B: Why's this kind of character even allowed?! (everyone laughs) GM: Then, everyone should make a final decision on their name and appearance and get ready to properly introduce their PCs. Let's go in the order of the Signposts. Player A (henceforth Io): I am known as Io. I am a handmaiden of Lord Michizane. Though I deserve not the honor, I shall be in your care. Player B: There's no way this babe is actually a cow! Io: You'll note that my bosom is more than sufficient. Player C: Why did we encourage her?! (everyone laughs) SIGNPOST B Bond: Sugawara no Michizane (Fear) Objective: Curry favor with Tamamo-no-Mae Loss: True Power (血脈 17) Suggested Walks of Life: Madowashi (Beguiler), Kizoku (Noble), Yatou (Bandit), Juken (Sorcerer) You life has been fueled by the desire for power. You trampled over all others in pursuit of it. But one day, as you struck down the weak in your usual fashion... you were assaulted from behind by a thunderclap. You had kindled the fury of the lord of thunder, Sugawara no Michizane, from his place in the heavens. You could do naught but grovel before him. Since then, fear has made you weak. You can no longer bring your true power to bear. However, you have heard that Tamamo-no-Mae, who rules this dark city, seeks to make Michizane her vassal. If she succeeds... you need not fear him any longer. CHARACTER SHEET Kuchinawa Age: 17 Sex: Male (Aberration) (Bandit) (Fiend) 血脈: Igyou 生様: Yatou 魂魄: Hitooni Losses: True Power, Family Waza: An aberration and a thief. He was born with a visible resemblance to a snake, and for that reason was shunned by his family and had a harsh childhood. At the age of 14, he turned his venomous fangs upon his family, and from that day forth made his living as a thief. Kuchinawa, meaning "snake," is a nickname he has among the underworld. His real name is "Shichirou." Player B (henceforth Kuchinawa): I'm Kuchinawa, one of the many thieves running wild in this capital... except not anymore. I was defeated by Sugawara no Michizane and lost my true power to him. Now I'm just a common weakling... though I can still show you what I've got. Io: I look forward to it. Kuchinawa: I'm gonna watch that master of yours writhing in pain someday. Anyway, my other Loss is my family. Though I killed them myself. SIGNPOST C Bond: Tamamo-no-Mae (Mortal Enemy) Objective: Defeat Tamamo-no-Mae Loss: Hometown (血脈 18) Suggested Walks of Life: Mononofu (Warrior), Hitooni (Fiend), Shikabane (Corpse), Hijiri (Saint) In this capital turned Makai, ruled by the great youkai Tamamo-no-Mae... She pursues all manner of dark designs. Your hometown, a peaceful village, laid outside the capital. But one day, in the guise of a traveler, she came and killed everyone there... except you. Laughing as she did. Your friends, your family, your home... all wiped away with such finality you could do little more than smile bitterly yourself. But to forgive her would be unthinkable. No matter where it leads you, you shall have your revenge. CHARACTER SHEET Shiroumaru Age: 25 Sex: Male (Orphan) (Warrior) (Corpse) 血脈: Koji 生様: Mononofu 魂魄: Shikabane Losses: Hometown, Pain Waza: A man who seeks revenge on Tamamo-no-Mae for destroying his hometown. With his short white hair and unpleasant glare, he looks little different from a common hoodlum. He wields a daitou. Though he looks human at first glance, he in fact commands the eldritch fire of the oni. There is nothing he will not do to achieve his revenge. Player C (henceforth Shiroumaru): My name is Shiroumaru. Tamamo-no-Mae destroyed my hometown, and I live only that I might slay her. Until that time, I have lost the ability to feel pain. My Losses are Hometown and Pain. Kuchinawa: Killing Tamano-no-Mae might be a wee bit of a challenge... Shiroumaru: If you intend to get in my way, I'll kill you too. Io: ...Aren't you gentlemen a serious bunch. GM: Let's decide on our Bonds now. Bonds describe how characters feel about each other. Though each PC will have one Bond to an NPC predetermined by their Signpost, they are free to choose their Bonds toward each other. Io: Then, towards Kuchinawa, I feel... "Disdain". Kuchinawa: Wow, harsh. I'll feel that Shiroumaru is an "Eyesore." Shiroumaru: I get Io, huh. How about I find her "Useful?" Kuchinawa: Hardly a friendly gang here... Nuekagami does not require the PCs to be working together. Thus, the current group of PCs has chosen rather antagonistic relationships towards each other. However, all the players should keep in mind that as even as their PCs squabble, the goal is to tell the story of the Act. Io: I wonder if we'll start getting along with each other during the game... Shiroumaru: You think we might? GM: Now that you've all decided on your Bonds, it's finally time to start playing! Everyone: Let's do it! PART I THE FIRST ROAD: KIDOU (The Oni's Path) (Appearing NPC: Tamamo-no-Mae) Upon that day, the rain was falling. The gate to the Imperial Palace opened, and a single ox-drawn carriage emerged. Within that carriage rode Empress Tamamo-no-Mae. On some kind of errand, it made a visit to a lonely mansion on Suzaku Road. With Kuchinawa desiring to enter Tamamo-no-Mae's good graces, and Shiroumaru in pursuit of his revenge, both have heard of this occasion and staked out the mansion in question. And within the Sugawara mansion itself resides a single girl, as of yet known to neither of them... GM: With this, we set off on the first Road. Tamamo-no-Mae is paying a visit to the Sugawara mansion, where Io is staying, and having heard of the planned visit Kuchinawa and Shiroumaru are both waiting nearby. That's the situation. Shiroumaru: I'm lurking in the shadows, my hand upon my sword. Kuchinawa: Me too. I'm hiding in the shadows too. Io: Can I wait a bit before doing anything? GM: Oh? Io: Well, I'm still inside the mansion, so it makes the most sense. GM: You're right. Okay, then. Kuchinawa: "If Tamamo-no-Mae takes a liking to me, I can say goodbye to this miserable life," I say to myself. Can I try and notice that Shiroumaru's there? Shiroumaru: Fine with me, but... should I make some kind of check to stay hidden, GM? In Nuekagami, whether an action succeeds or fails is first of all determined by the PCs themselves. Next in line is the GM, who can declare success or failure depending upon the situation, or upon whether it adds to the story. The dice are the last resort. GM: Sure, why don't we make a check here. Io: Should I do it too? GM: Yeah. In your case, you'll be making a check to see if Io notices that Tamamo-no-Mae's carriage has arrived. Shiroumaru: Which attribute should we use? GM: Use your 魂魄. First, all of you roll a number of 20-sided dice equal to your Kidou. Everyone rolls the dice. Each PC's Paths determine the number of dice they roll. For better or worse, they'll have to decide which Roads they favor. GM: Next, compare the results of the dice you rolled to your 魂魄. Specifically, the numbers on the right side of the Attributes section of your character sheet. Shiroumaru: 14, 9, 1... one Normal and one Divine Success. Kuchinawa: Nice. I got one Normal and one Master Success. Io: I also got a Normal and a Master. GM: And I rolled 11, 8 and 2. Now, if any of you want, you can exchange dice with the target of your Bond. Shiroumaru: Why'd you roll dice too, GM? GM: For the NPC. The NPC appearing in this scene... so if any of you have a Bond with Tamamo-no-Mae, you can exchange dice with her too. Shiroumaru: Then I'm trading my 14 for her 2. GM: Works for me. Now, if the NPC rolls above 11, she'll attack and do damage to your 命運. Though even though it's a 14, it only does one damage. Shiroumaru: So by exchanging dice with her I made her attack? Kuchinawa: Nice going! GM: Also, when you roll a failure, you take 1 damage to your 命運 for each failure. Shiroumaru: So it's either injure myself or get attacked... GM: It's not a given that the NPC will attack the person that exchanged dice with them. They might choose another target. Shiroumaru: In that case, I'll exchange dice with her as planned. GM: Then the next thing to consider is 天佑. By spending one 天佑, you can pick any number of dice and reroll them. Does anyone want to use one? Io: Nope, mister! GM: Are you still in elementary school? (Everyone laughs) Next is 宿曜. By spending one, you can reduce the result of your die roll by 1. Everyone decided to use 1 宿曜. By doing so, Shiroumaru and Io turned their Master Successes into Divine Successes, and Kuchinawa turned his Failure into a Normal Success. GM: Three Divine Successes, huh. An auspicious beginning. Kuchinawa: I see, so if your die roll is off by just 1, you can use 宿曜 to do something about it. GM: Now that 宿曜 are done with, the next thing to do is use Waza. Kuchinawa: Waza, huh. Io: What is it? Kuchinawa: Oh, I just realized that if I'd let that Failure stand, I could have used <Armored Scales> to prevent the damage, right? GM: Indeed. Kuchinawa: But it says the attack glances off you. How does that work when there's no attack... GM: As long as you don't cause any undue interference to what the other PCs and NPCs are doing, you can roleplay however you see fit. If you want to roleplay that you were targeted by some kind of attack, you're welcome to do so. Waza are the special abilities possessed by each Walk of Life. Igyou, for instance, possess the <Armored Scales> Waza that allows them to deflect an attack and reduce 命運 damage they would take by 1. They can use this when they take damage from a Failure. However, each Waza has 'Flavor' associated with it, which describes what the Waza entails doing in-character. When that Waza is used, the GM can decide whether the accompanying roleplay is in keeping with the Flavor, and if so the other players can react accordingly. Of course, one can roleplay freely without actually using the Waza under the game rules. Shiroumaru: I see. So even without a Waza that defends you from an attack, you can roleplay that you were attacked. GM: That's correct. Io: Since we're all having such fun here, why don't I try using a Waza as well? GM: What will you use? Io: I'll use <Cajole>, with a 魂魄 check. Everyone: What?! <Cajole> is a Waza belonging to the Courtesan Walk of Life. It's a powerful Waza that kindles the targets' adoration and lust towards you, allowing you to instantly form two Bonds with them. GM: I don't mind, but that Waza says 1/Act... that means you can only use it once per act, you know. Io: Have no fear. I also have this. (She indicates a Waza on her sheet.) Kuchinawa: Whoa, this lets you use a 1/Act Waza... three times?! Shiroumaru: That's crazy! Everyone laughs. Io: I figure I need someone on my side in order to repel Tamamo-no-Mae. GM: Got it. Um, why don't you roleplay it, then the target can react, and then we'll handle the Check. Kuchinawa: So, who's the target? Io: Shiroumaru. Shiroumaru: I thought so. GM: Then tell us how you're going to cajole him. Hidden within a patch of deep shadow upon the road, Shiroumaru exhales softly. Even as the cool drizzle beats upon his back, he is burning. Burning with the desire to kill, the deep-seated furnace of his rage heating his entire body. Consumed by his hatred, Shiroumaru awaits the moment in which he will take his revenge. "Might you..." Unexpectedly. A pleasant aroma tickles his nostrils, and an even more pleasant voice his ears. Io: "You there... might you have some business with the resident of this mansion?" I ask from behind him. Sweetly. Kuchinawa: Of course, that means her clothes are drenched by the rain! They're sticking to her! GM: You can see through them! Shirou: You lechers... (laughs) As you can see, everyone's in high spirits. Io: "Have you taken heed of the weather? Though at present I am the only one here, do come in and warm yourself up." Shiroumaru: Then in a flash, using my iai techniques, I draw my sword and hold it to Io's throat, a hair's breadth away from cutting her throat. "...Begone, maid," I reply coldly. Io: "Oh, my, how terrifying," I say with a smirk. Kuchinawa: "Hmm? What's that?" Shiroumaru's movements attract the attention of another figure lurking in the shadows. The thief whose appearance matches his name, Kuchinawa. Kuchinawa: "Sure is a lot of killing intent in the air. Heh, is that guy an assassin or something?" GM: Are you butting in? Kuchinawa: For now I just watch. "If he's a common robber, he's certainly got guts going after Tamamo-no-Mae..." Io: Meanwhile, I say, "You have a purpose in coming here, do you not?" Shiroumaru: "...I must kill that fox-woman. That is all." Io: "My... you intend to murder the Empress?" Kuchinawa: We all knew that already, didn't we? (everyone laughs) Io: Even as the sharp blade at my throat draws beads of blood, I listen attentively to Shiroumaru. "If that is what you seek, I shall do what I can to help you." "Make use of me as you wish." All her charms as a courtesan flow into Io's whisper. "...Help me, you say?" "The Empress intends to pay a call to this place. Let us ambush her... but do you not think such a thing would be better done inside?" In the woman's beauty lay magic. Shiroumaru felt his killing intent slowly melt away, leaving him with a sense of emptiness. "...Shall we?" Shiroumaru: "Hah... very well." I sheathe my sword and draw Io into my embrace. "Your name?" Io: "I am known as Io." Shiroumaru: "I am Shiroumaru. Io, you shall be my woman." GM: Alright. I'll recognize the Waza as having been used. Io: So he gets two Bonds with me now? GM: You can choose two of "Plaything", "Dependent", "Lust", "Pity" and "Yearning." Shiroumaru: Okay, I choose "Plaything" and "Lust". Io: Wow, what an awful relationship (everyone laughs.) Kuchinawa: GM, I've decided I'll have the NPC attack me so I can use <Armored Scales>. Can I decide that on my own? GM: Hmm... then, let's do this. A commotion suddenly arises upon the road. "The Empress is coming! Make way, make way!" Warriors in fox masks brandishing their swords threateningly at the onlookers, the entourage proceeds down the road. In the middle of it, an splendid ox-drawn carriage is visible. Kuchinawa: Oh, she's finally here! Io: "Shiroumaru-sama, quickly!" I tug his sleeve, trying to draw him into the mansion. Kuchinawa: I step out into the path of the carriage. GM: "You're in the Empress's way! Begone!" The guards swing their swords at Kuchinawa without hesitation. The swords artlessly aimed at Kuchinawa rebound from him with a fierce clang. "Wh, what is this guy?!" "Is he wearing armor?!" "No, look at that!" The bodyguards witness Kuchinawa's body through his clothes, sliced by their swords. Instead of skin, beneath the cloth lies scales. Scales from which their swords rebounded. "This guy's some kind of snake!" Kuchinawa: --That's what I had in mind. GM: Alright, I'll recognize that as use of the Waza. If nobody else has a Waza to use, please roll for your Result. A Result is calculated as follows: Normal Success +1, Master Success +2, Divine Success +4, Failure 0. Once this has been added up, the Act continues. Kuchinawa: Two Normal Successes and a Master Success, so 4. Io: One Normal Success and a Divine Success. 5 for me. Shiroumaru: One Normal Success and two Divine Successes. 9 total. GM: 18 for everyone, huh. Kuchinawa: Do we need to try harder? GM: On each Road, there are three checks like this. Kuchinawa: I see. Let's keep going, then! Shiroumaru: I think I understand the progression now. GM: Great. Now for the attack, then. Everyone: Aah! (they all forgot) In the end, the GM had two dice with 11 or over. Kuchinawa absorbed one attack with his <Armored Scales>. The GM chose Io to be the other target. She was made the target of Tamamo-no-Mae's overwhelming eldritch power and took 1 命運 damage. Kuchinawa: Hmm. Shiroumaru: Do they notice me as well? GM: That's up to you. Shiroumaru: Hmm, what should I do... mind if I roleplay a bit before the check? GM: Go for it. Nuekagami is a game in which the players can be proactive in telling the story. They're not limited to what they can do with their Waza, but can all elaborate upon the situation through roleplay to their heart's content. Unless time doesn't allow it, or the GM has some other reason to refuse, any amount of roleplay should be allowed prior to making checks. Io: After being attacked, I'm wobbling on my feet. Shiroumaru: I help support Io. "...Are you all right?" Io: They'll definitely spot you if you do that... Shiroumaru: ...That's fine. Io: "Shiroumaru-sama... I'm... sorry to hsve worried you." How touching! (everyone laughs) GM: It's obviously the priority with Tamamo-no-Mae right over there. Shiroumaru: Well, we do have two Bonds. (laughs) Kuchinawa: Hm, as for me... Ignoring the fact that everyone around it just tried to kill me, I prostrate myself before the carriage. GM: (roleplaying a guard) "Why's he bowing all of a sudden?" Io: (roleplaying a guard) "No doubt he has just realized he is in the presence of the Empress." Shiroumaru: (roleplaying a guard): "Oh, how astute." GM: That feels about right. (laughs) Kuchinawa: It frustrates me to do it, but I say, "I beg of you, my Empress! Please, allow me to enter your service!" GM: Then, from within the carriage, you hear Tamamo-no-Mae's voice. "My business here is with the one within this mansion, but..." Merely hearing that beautiful voice seems to melt one's very soul. It is the voice of the ruler of the Capital--Tamamo-no-Mae. "Your name. I, Tamamo-no-Mae, shall deign to inquire that." Kuchinawa: "They call me Kuchinawa! I am a common thief, that I confess! Since the day I was born, none have treated me as human... but I know that you, my lady, are different!" Tamamo-no-Mae: "It matters not to me whether you are human. It matters to me whether you have worth." Kuchinawa: "T, then...!" Tamamo-no-Mae: "Capture those two. They may have some kind of relation to Lord Sugawara, and thus be of use. We shall ascertain this." The shadow within the carriage drapes points in the direction of Io and Shiroumaru. Kuchinawa: "Heheh! At once!" I spin and glare in Shiroumaru's direction. Shiroumaru: So it's come to this. GM: Now then, everyone please make a 生様 check. The PCs rolled. Kuchinawa used two 天佑 and Io used a 宿曜. Even so, the NPC had three rolls of 11 or above. Io: Then, when we use Waza, I'll uaw <Midamaoroshi> on Kuchinawa. It raises his Master Success threshold by 2, so now he has 2 Master Successes. Shimoumaru: I'll use <Meboshi>. It changes a Failure into a Normal Success. GM: You remember you need to RP to activate the Waza, right? Shiroumaru: Just about to. I hold Io close... Io: Ah, how enchanting. Shiroumaru: With a grim smile, I say "Have no fear. I shall see you come to... harm!" I let go of Io and shove her towards the enemy. Everyone: What?! Shiroumaru: You were surprised, right? That's what I'll use to create an opening among the fox knights and activate <Meboshi>. Kuchinara: Awful! (laughs) But we'll see about that... Io: "Ah!" With a cry, I stumble into Kuchinawa's arms. Kuchinawa: Huh?! (everyone laughs) Io: When I touch him, Lord Michizane's power flows from my body into his. That's how I use <Midamaoroshi> to protect him! Kuchinawa: Wow, thanks, cow lady! (everyone laughs) Shiroumaru: At that very moment, grasping my sword in both hands, I charge forward through the bodyguards! It took only a moment. Thrown off guard by Io stumbling towards them, Tamamo-no-Mae's bodyguards were helpless as Shiroumaru struck at them. Swinging his daitou with both hands, his blade was like the wind itself. A blossom of blood bloomed upon the Suzaku Road. GM: Alright, what are your Success Values? Io: Two Normal Successes, so 2. Kuchinawa: Three Master Successes, so a total of 6. Shiroumaru: Two Normal Successes and one Master Success. 4 for me. GM: That's 12 for this check and 30 for the game so far. Shiroumaru: I cut a bloody path towards the ox carriage. "Do you remember me, fox-woman?!" Tamamo-no-Mae: "My, those eyes. How full of hatred they are." Shiroumaru: "Of course...!" Tamomo-no-Mae: "Like the eyes of an oni. I remember you. A dog who refused to die, back to bare its fangs once more." Shiroumaru: "That may be so...!" "My name is Shiroumaru! I will kill you and avenge my home!" With that as his war cry, Shiroumaru charged forward again, aiming for a killing strike. Tamamo-no-Mae: "Very well." As the figure inside speaks, an overwhelming burst of youkai power radiates from the carriage. Everyone except Kuchinawa takes one 命運 damage. Kuchinawa: Good thing I was bowing! Shiroumaru: "Ugh!" I'm forced to stop short, holding my sword at the ready. Io: "Ah..." I kling to Kuchinawa. So this is the power of the great youkai who rules Kyoto...! Tamamo-no-Mae: "Let us amuse ourselves. Come at me." Kuchinawa: "W, what pressure... how can any human hope to face this power?!" GM: Let's roll, since it'll be fun if you fail. (laughs) This roll will be 血脈. Everyone rolls. Kuchinawa: Ugh, a 20! GM: Oh, that's a Fumble! If you can't get rid of it, you take another Loss! (Delightedly.) Kuchinawa: A 血脈 loss... wait! That means I'll lose my arm! Shiroumaru: 天佑! Use a 天佑! If a PC rolls a 20 and can't deal with it in some way, that PC takes another Loss. Their options are forcing it upon an NPC, using a 天佑 or 宿曜, or perhaps using a Waza to avoid it. Io: Wait! Give me that 20, please! Kuchinawa: You sure! Io: Yes, I have an idea! (not sure what these two sentences are getting at) GM: Okay, it's time to use Waza. Io: I'll use <Animal Desire>. It can change that 20 into an 8! Everyone: Nice! Shiroumaru: I use <Body Mending>. It recovers 1 命運! My body heals itself as I advance towards Tamamo! Though he was forced to come to a stop by Tamamo's power, Shiroumaru resumes his charge, his daitou held high. He simply bats aside the bodyguards in fox masks as they attempt to defend their mistress. But... "Do you really think yourself able to kill me with that?!" Sprays of blood dance in the air from the slit throats of the bodyguards. By some eldritch means, any injury dealt to him healed within moments, Shiroumaru carves his way to the carriage. Kuchinawa: Pfft! I guess it'd be a bad idea to get in his way, huh? Io: Yes. "Though this body of mine is no more than a beast's... is it truly my fate to forever be used, then cast away?..." Weeping and unable to stand on my own, I drape upon Kuchinawa as if I were riding a horse. Kuchinawa: ...Come to think of it, you've been getting in my way too, haven't you? Io: Ufu. Call it puppy love... though, my real objective is to avoid Tamamo-no-Mae's attacks. Kuchinawa: Ugh, well then... I'll use <Sniff Out>. I smell in Io, too, the scent of one who is oppressed. I'll change her Normal Success into a Master Success! GM: Oh? Kuchinawa: "You're... a stray just like me, aren't you?" I pat Io's hair, hoping to calm her down. Io: "Ah, Kuchinawa-sama..." Like a lover, as if trying to warm his very core, I press against him... but I'm still cheering for Shiroumaru. I'm not going to turn against him. Kuchinawa: Well, shit! (everyone laughs) GM: Meanwhile, Shiroumaru finally draws near enough to the carriage to cut it open. Shiroumaru: "Prepare yourself, Tamamo-no-Mae!" I strike at the carriage! GM: Okay, what are your success values after using Waza? Kuchinawa: Two Master Successes, so 4! Io: Two Normal Successes, so I've got just 2. Shiroumaru: Three Master Successes. 6 for me. GM: A total of 12, then. From within the carriage, a number of Tamamo-no-Mae's tails surge forward, wrapping around Shiroumaru and Io and squeezing them like a snake! They both take 1 命運 damage. Shiroumaru: "Gaaaah!" I try and bite it! Io: "Aah... i, it hurts...." Tamamo-no-Mae: "Kufufu... this is a amusing diversion indeed." Kuchinawa: "M, my lady! Please wait!" I still have to prove my worth! Bit by bit, Shiroumaru and Io are wrapped further in the tails... Until suddenly, with a thunderclap, everything is blown away. GM: And with that, we end this Path! INTERMISSION 1 GM: Alright, it's time for the Intermission. You all get to recover and gain new Bonds. Shiroumaru: Huh? Didn't I just die? GM: I wonder. But anyway, you all gain an extra Bond to either Tamamo-no-Mae or another PC. You can choose any you like. Kuchinawa: I'll take "Plaything" towards Io, then. Shiroumaru: I'll take "Killing Intent" towards Tamamo-no-Mae. Io: And I'll take "Fear" towards Tamamo-no-Mae. GM: On my Part, Tamamo-no-Mae takes "Useful" towards Kuchinawa. Kuchinawa: I'm glad to have it. GM: Also, if you want to change one of your existing Bonds, you can do that now. Kuchinawa: I'll change my Bond with Shiroumaru to "Useful." If I kill him I can really get on Tamamo-no-Mae's good side. Io: I'll also change my "Disdain" towards Kuchinawa to "Useful." He seems easy to manipulate. Kuchinawa: Wow, mean! Shiroumaru: I'll... leave mine as they are. GM: Then, next up are 宿曜. Everyone recovers an amount equal to the number of Bonds they have towards others. Kuchinawa: So since I have one to Io and one to Tamamo, I recover 2. GM: Yes. Now, you all recover only one 命運 and one 天佑 apiece. Io: I recover two 宿曜 and one 命運. I had a lot of Bonds with Shiroumaru-sama, so I should have used more of my 宿曜. Shiroumaru: I recover one 宿曜 and one 命運. Kuchinawa: Just the 天佑 for me. GM: And that's it for the Intermission. Shiroumaru: Okay, I get how they work. Kuchinawa: Me too. Let's get back to normal play. GM: Then, the next Road is... THE SECOND ROAD: GADOU (The Selfish Path) (Appearing NPCs: Sugawara no Michizane, Tamamo-no-Mae) On that day, it had been raining. The day thunder surged forth from the dark sky and took everything from him. There was no way Kuchinawa would ever forget. And now, it was happening again. That which had made Kuchinawa wail... Just like on that day, the lightning reached down from the heavens and smote Tamamo-no-Mae's carriage. GM: Anyway, make a 血脈 check. Kuchinawa: Thunder... oi, don't tell me! Everyone rolls the dice. Once again, Kuchinawa rolled a 20, and Io used her <Animal Desire> to deal with it. When all was said and done, the NPCs were prepared to deal 2 命運 damage. GM: Then, a brilliant flash of light sears forth from the sky above. Between all of you and Tamamo-no-Mae's carriage stands Sugawara no Michizane. Kuchinawa: "Eeeek! L, Lord Suga!" Michizane: "...It seems there is a commotion occurring in front of my mansion." His eyes blazing with fury, Sugawara turns towards the carriage, paying no heed to Kuchinawa. Io: "Ah... you've come to play..." In keeping with my use of <Animal Desire>, I pounce at Michizane-sama. Like a cat, I twine my arms around him, while purring "I'm most sorry..." Michizane: "No matter. Though you are my servant, you are not my bodyguard. Danger is afoot, so please retreat to safety." Michizane pats Io's head, as if she were a child. Io: "Ah..." I murmur, realizing anew that Michizane is the one I am truly devoted to. GM: As the carriage, set aflame by the lightning strike, crumbles... it reveals nine tails, untouched by the flame or the lightning. They wave softly in the air, as if floating... In the wreck of the carriage, there stood a beautiful woman. Though the rain cast a gloom over the whole of the Capital, it could not reduce her radiance. Men and woman alike have ever been smitten with desire at the merest glimpse of her inhuman beauty. "How arrogant.. You, a mere court official, dare bare your fangs at I, the Empress?" Sugawara no Michizane did not have the look of a warrior; he appeared quite delicate. But the way the lightning crackled around him indicated quite otherwise. "Did you truly believe me loyal in the face of your misgovernance, fox-woman?" The stage was being set for a battle far beyond the level of mere humans. Shiroumaru: "Don't get in my way! She's my prey!" Kuchinawa: "That close to the lightning and he's still alive?!" Shiroumaru: I use <Fully Armored>. What that means is that Tamamo-no-Mae's tail shielded me from the lightning. I decrease any 命運 damage by 1. Kuchinawa: Damn, now that's a defense! Io: Can he roleplay it that way?! Tamamo-no-Mae: "You... you dare sully my tail so?..." Regrowing her tail that was singed to a crisp, genuine anger rises in Tamamo-no-Mae's eyes as she glares at Shiroumaru. Shiroumaru: "You just grew it right back. What's the problem?" Brushing the singed fur off myself, I glare back at her. Io: "Shiroumaru-sama... please watch your tongue. You are in the presence of Junior Second Rank Minister of the Left, Lord Sugawara no Michizane. He's also the current god of the sky." Shiroumaru: "Do I look like I care? Don't get in my way, small fry." I turn back towards Tamamo-no-Mae. GM: Hmm. Kuchinawa, are you doing anything? Kuchinawa: I'm scared of Lord Michizane, so I'm hiding under the courage. Shiroumaru: That certainly is something (laughs.) GM: Well, let me know your Success Values then. Shiroumaru: 3 Master Successes, so 6. Io: Two Normal Successes. so just 2. Kuchinawa: One Master Success and one Divine Success, so 6. GM: A total of 14. Alright, given the situation, Shiroumaru and Kuchinawa will both take 1 命運 damage. Shiroumaru: Which I absorb using <Fully Armored>. Kuchinawa: I guess I probably got hurt by the lightning a while back. Shiroumaru: "I don't care if you're the Minister of the Left or even the Emperor himself. If you come between me and revenge, you will die... for that is my purpose!" Believing Tamamo-no-Mae to be off guard, I charge at her. Tamamo-no-Mae: "You filthy mutt! Attend me, snake! My business here is with the Minister of the Left!" Kuchinawa: "T, that's right! If I'm to prove my worth to Tamamo-no-Mae, you'll have to..." Sugawara: "On account of the company I keep, did you think me the sort to trifle with foxes who know naught but trickery and debauchery?" Holding Io close, Michizane conjures a thundercloud to defend himself. Io: Is that my fault? GM: Now then, make a 魂魄 check. A full-scale battle is about to erupt. But despite witnessing this furor, everyone's dice rolls a failure. Shiroumaru: Jeez... Io: (leaving character) Can we talk about this as players for a moment? Kuchinawa: What should we do? After discussing the matter, the players decide to trade their failures to Shiroumaru, since he has the most dice during this Path. He then uses a 天佑 to reroll them all at once. And the result of that is... Shiroumaru: Sweet! 7, 9, and 2! Kuchinawa: Haha, that's more like it! GM: All in one shot, too! After using their 宿曜 as well, the players add up their Success Value. Kuchinawa: Is it Waza time? I use <Armored Scales>. I roll up in a ball like an armadillo to resist any attacks. Io: I'm not using any. Shiroumaru: I used <Fully Armored> already, so... none here either! I'll just go right at Tamamo-no-Mae! Michizane: "...You're that snake from back then, aren't you. You've chosen to serve this fox? No less a fool than before, I see." Kuchinawa: "E, eek!" Michizane: "I shall deliver you from the suffering of having been born." He shoots lightning at Kuchinawa, causing him to take his 命運 damage. "Aaaaagh! H, have mercy!" Lightning lashes the avenue, stirring up the mud, setting the carriage aflame, and shattering the earth in ordder to visit all of their wrath upon Kuchinawa. (Why am I the only one...) Despite having the will to carry out Tamamo-no-Mae's orders, Kuchinawa is soon broken. He lies collapsed, his body wracked with pain, calling back memories of a childhood filled with torment such as this. He was loathed by his family for his aberrations. He lived every day filled with pain, never once knowing the warmth of another's embrace. (Why am I the only one to suffer like this?!) Kuchinawa: "Damn it, damn it..." I roll in the mud, reduced to a pitiful state. Io: Then I offer my hand to help him up. "Here, Kuchinawa-sama." Kuhinawa: "A... ah?" I say, slowly returning to my senses. Io: "Enter into Lord Michizane's service. If you do that, he will have no cause to be angry. And since I belong to him... will I not belong to you as well?" Kuchinawa: "Th, that's got nothing to do with anything!" I try to squirm away from Io. Io: "Are you still frightened? There, there." I hug him to my chest comfortingly. Kuchinawa: ...... GM: Let's go to Shiroumaru for a bit. Tamamo-no-Mae lashes out at you viciously with the tail she just regrew. You take 1 命運 damage! Shiroumaru: "You impertinant wretch!" As she strikes, I try to get within sword reach of her. Michizane: "...It seems the fox is quite preoccupied with that wild dog over there." Io: ...Shiroumaru-sama. Michizane: "Very well, let us depart. Io, we've no further time for playing with this riffraff." Taking hold of Io's hand, Michizane nonchalantly strolls away from the battle with her in tow. Kuchinawa: (Shit. That Michizane bastard, he always puts on such airs...) GM: With that, the NPC attacks are over. What were your Success Values? Kuchinawa: 1 Normal Success and 1 Master Success, so 3. Shiroumaru: 2 Normal Successes and 1 Divine Success, so 6 for me. Io: 1 Divine Success and 1 Normal Success. 5 here. GM: 14 in total. With that added to your sum, you've passed the Gates of Hell, avoiding the worst possible outcome for the session. Gates are number that the players strive to surpass with their rotal Success Value over the course of the session. At the end of the session, the number of Gates the PCs pass will determine their ability to advance their characters and recover from losses. Everyone: Ooh! GM: Now we can finally roll on the "Gates of Hell Event Table"... let's see, a 12. "Amidst these days of being trod upon like mud, a faint hope of escaping them arises." Shiroumaru: That cheers things up a bit. Kuchinawa: Considering the situation, I think it's because Io soothed everyone. Io: I let go of Kuchinawa-sama and prepare to escape with Lord Michizane... but then, I turn my head, somehow finding it within me to pay heed to those other than my master. For a reason she understands not herself, Io turns to look back at the scene. Upon the hellish avenues still bearing the scars of lightning, Shiroumaru is engaged in fierce battle. No matter how many times he is lashed by Tamamo-no-Mae's tails, even with his bones shattered, Shiroumaru is driven by his rage to continue fighting. His eyes burn with the same fury they bore when Io saw him for the first time. "I wonder... why he suffers so..." GM: Okay, roll a 生様 check. This time, the outcome is relatively favorable. As he's out of 宿曜, Kuchinawa gives his 2 to Shiroumaru, while Io uses the last of her 天佑 and 宿曜 to maximize her success value. Shiroumaru: I have no Waza I'd like to use, but I want to roleplay. GM: Oh? Shiroumaru: I want to release to the souls of the dead of my village, which surround me as oni-fire, and have them free me from the tails binding me. Io: Oh, why don't I use <Spirit Descent>, then? GM: That will work. Kuchinawa, are you doing anything? Kuchinawa: I'd like to, but first I'll dodge. (laughs) GM: Hmm? Well, anyway. "Those of my village! Lend me your power!" As he raises his voice, oni-fire springs from Shiroumaru, singing the tails that hold him still. "You savage! Do you dare besmirch my majestic tails so?!" Though her ire has been stirred, Tamamo-no-Mae's tails soon bear no mark of injury. And by then the oni-fire is faint and on the verge of disappearing. At that time... "Hifumiimunayakokonotari." (The words of Furu no Koto, a Shinto rite used to resurrect the spirits of the dead.) Io: I've bitten my own finger, drawing blood. As a Yoriwara, I channel the power of that blood into the onibi. Michizane/GM: "How long do you intend to watch? Let us begone." Michizane obviously still intends to leave. Io: For some reason I can't tear my eyes from Shiroumaru-sama. I use <Spirit Descent> to help him. "Furube yurayura to furube!" Tamamo-no-Mae/GM: "Unbelievable! Why are my tails being assailed by souls?!" exclaims Tamamo as her tails are singed by the strengthened oni-fire. Shiroumaru: Thanks. I take the opportunity to free myself from the tails! Tamamo-no-Mae/GM: "Ah ha, it's that girl over there casting a spell!" As Shiroumaru turns towards Tamamo, and Io pulls herself away from Michizane to come to his aid... Kuchinawa has also chosen his path. Kuchinawa: ...Now's the time! GM: For what? Kuchinawa: I use <Robbery>! The Essential RP is "You must steal something," so... I'm going to steal Io from Michizane! Everyone: Ooh! "W, wait just a moment! That woman is mine!" Doubtless most in the vicinity had forgotten whose voice that was. But they are reminded soon enough as Kuchinawa strikes, as swiftly as a snake, grabbing Io away from Michizane. Michizane/GM: "Just what are you trying to do?" Kuchinawa: "Shut up! She's mine! I'm not letting anyone else have her!" Michizane/GM: "...Do you even know what you're saying?" Kuchinawa: "I won't settle for envy ever again! What I desire shall be mine, no matter what it takes!" It was a scream from the bottom of his heart. A scream as if he were spitting blood from his mouth. Kuchinawa, who had never received anything from anyone but humiliation, shouted out his lone conviction. Michizane/GM: "Not just the fox, now I have a thieving snake to contend with. There's no hope for this city, is there..." Michizane mutters with a despondent expression. Io: Ah... so I've been stolen away by this person, have I. GM: Alright, then. Can we add up our Success Values: Kuchinawa: <Robbery> allows me to recover 1 命運. Aside from that. I just have a Normal Success, so 1. Io: I have a Divine Success and a Normal Success, so 5. Shiroumaru: Thanks to you guys, I've got a Divine and two Masters, for a total of 8. GM: 14 Success Value among you, and no 命運 damage either. It's time to stir things up again, as we arrive at the end of Our Road.