This session did not start with a bang. One player, John S., cancelled at the last minute, and another, Lance W, just no-showed.
The players that did show up were Paul K., Dalton C., Lee Ann H. and the normal crew of people that live here, my family, my lovely wife Mona, My daughters Ashli and Ember and my son John.
Paul K. took me up on my challenge to come in OA costume for a 10% XP bonus, which was actually kind of cool. Lee Ann H. brought stuff to make sushi, although she has a different Korean name for it. Character creation took most of the session time we had for the day. 1st edition AD&D Oriental Adventures character creation can be somewhat time consuming and complex and I was the only one there that was truly well versed in it's magnificent detail. Fortunately, only four of the seven characters created needed or opted to use the Birth Table and only those require to created Families; that sped things up somewhat. I am going to keep looking for more copies of the OA book on EBay though, only having two at the table was a pain when it came time for everyone to buy equipment and take proficiencies. Ultimately, we ended up with the following party composition 2 Samurai (oddly enough both 5th rank nobility, played by Paul K. and Dalton C.), a Kensei (That's right, I spelled it correctly; specializing in the Naginata, played by my daughter Ashli), a Wu Jen (My son John), A Sohei (My daughter Ember), A Yakuza (Lee Ann, a foreigner from Koryo too) and a Cat Hengeyokai Shukenja (My wife Mona).
The 2 Samurai are funny as they have developed a rivalry over which one is the more important, higher status noble. Random tables are fun! Paul's Samurai, Karasu, has an imperial bloodline and an advantageous marriage in his ancestry rolls; Dalton's Samurai, Masaru, has two large castles, and two hereditary titles, plus some farm land, he's also quite wealthy from his birthright rolls, he got two sets of O-Yoroi of quality, which I would have rerolled honestly, but he was delighted with the result. Karasu, is a pauper by comparison. Aiko, the Kensei, is merely upper class, but got some decent ancestry rolls too and came out a wee bit wealthier than Karasu too, and the oldest child of an only child of an only child, so when inheritance time comes that'll pay off pretty well. Ami the Yakuza got really hosed by the random rolls and got to be an outcast, she got nothing for ancestry or birthrights. Natsumi the Sohei, Katsuo the Wu Jen and Misaki the Shukenja were not required to have families or use the birth table and chose not to; while I was happy to save the time, I was a little disappointed for them not being able to get in on the fun of the random ancestry and birth rights.
On to the game itself-
Since we ran so late making characters I gave them the set up, that they were all retainers of the Tsu clan or owed them favors or were working with them towards a common goal, to investigate the possible resurgence of the Black Temple, which had been defeated at great cost by the forces of Good in a great battle about a decade ago. I had them meeting, after randomly rolling on the "Random Ruins & Ronin Scenario Starts Generator", at a bathhouse. I didn't use the whole table, just enough to get me started, since Dalton had spotted it, my original plan had been a Ramen shop, but a Bathhouse actually worked out better for how I wanted to start. I started them in a pretty bad part of town, getting information from an old Yakuza, Ami's Oyabun, as a matter of fact, an old guy missing part of one pinkie that, given the locale, I kept wanting to call "Ice-pick" after the shady mafia guy that was a friend of Rick's on Magnum PI and they always met in a steam room. After he assigned Ami to the group as his liaison for "favors" owed to the Tsu, he left and the group started planning just what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. I let them talk for a while and then gave them an encounter to kick off the campaign with a combat before we had to call it a night.
Five scruffy looking Ronin and a pretty tough, well dressed leader type walked in, the leader pointed towards the Samurai in the group and said "That's them!", I had them roll party initiative with the giant six sider then, and I rolled for my guys. They beat me by a mile. Katsuo, played by my son John, who has never played a spell caster of any sort, cast Elemental Burst on the air while they were bunched together in the entrance, kudos to him, they all failed their saves and were stunned. Ami jumped out of the bath and attacked with Tae Kwon Do, killing one of the stunned Ronin. Everyone else ran to grab a weapon that round. All my guys got to do nothing.
Next round, I win initiative and my Leader type is unstunned- he charges the highest status Samurai, Karasu, hitting him with his Katana, but barely scratching him. The party goes, Ami kills another Ronin with Tae Kwon Do. Masaru kills a Ronin with his Wakizashi (we assumed that Samurai would have kept their Wakizashi nearby even if they politely left their Katana near the entrance). Karasu attacks the leader and wounds him slightly in return for the wound he received. Aiko attacks a Ronin with her Naginata (we assumed that a Kensei would be OCD enough about their weapon to never really leave it behind)but misses. Misaki throws a stone slightly wounding a Ronin. Katsuo then kills him with a dart. Natsumi returns and attacks a Ronin with her Tetsubo, killing him.
Round three, things are looking grim for the party of fully armed men that attacked a party of naked bathers. The Ronin win initiative again. The leader is fully engaged and surrounded, the hireling is near the exit with just Natsumi near him, he turns to flee, I give her a free shot, but she misses. The leader Attacks Karasu again hitting him pretty hard this time, then the party got to go and it was all over for him. They were left with the mystery of why this obviously upper class Samurai had removed all signs of his clan and hired scruffy Ronin to kill them, which they began to pursue, but we had to call it a night. They haven't looked at all of the clues I gave them though, there is a pretty big one that they kept as treasure...
I'd love to give more details, but I know at least three of the players are at least casual readers of this blog. I was also pleased that we played with out miniatures this time, it was a small encounter, and it was easy to visualize because Lee pulled up a Google image of the inside of a Korean bathhouse. I have lots of minis and we won't always be playing without them, but it is nice to know that the game can still be played that way.
Oh, and this came in the mail today-
This is purely a D20/3e OA game supplement, that just happens to be set in the L5R RPG world, that said, it is actually more useful to me right now than all of the other L5R RPG stuff I have been grabbing off of EBay because I could convert the spells for use with 1st edition AD&D probably. This is most likely the last L5R book I'll be buying for a while (unless I see a REALLY sweet deal) because they are no longer relevant to the game I am running and I have enough that I can mine for ideas already.