Kento’s Story – Session 3 – Raid on the Black Onis [End]

I was sick two weeks ago, and Blaine had some important business last week so there was a gap in our games.  While we managed to meet this week, shifting schedules meant that this would be the last of Kento and Maxim’s games, at least for the foreseeable future.  We started late, and we wanted to make this a good session to end on, so we didn’t really go into beliefs and such, because there was only one goal that mattered.

Rescue Yabe Nana.

We start off right where we left off 4 weeks ago, Kento had just gotten a letter from Sone Baba, his pirate friend, that his boat had been attacked, and the girl had disappeared in the struggle.   Now, at one point I think I had a plan of exactly where she was and why, but at the time I only recalled the vague outline, but I ran with it.

The first thing Kento does is prostate himself before his uncle, confessing to his negligence and promising to make it right.  The Yabe clan chief tells him to go deal with it.  If he returns with his Granddaughter safe and sound, all will be forgiven, but “otherwise, don’t come back at all”.

Kento wants to circle up a pirate who can help him figure out who took Nana.  I set the ob at 3 (1 base +1 lower station, +1 specific knowledge).  Failure.  My go to with failed circles is having them find the guy, but they’re gonna sell the PC out at the first opportunity.   It’s not a bad failure condition for circles in my opinion, but since I knew it was the last session, I should have brought it to the front quicker.

Anyway, Kento meets this pirate captain, Shun.  A bit of back and forth and Kento reveals that this group attacked Sone Baba’s ship, took a VIP, and is probably working with the Hirafune.  Shun thinks he knows who Kento is talking about, and where they might be found, but he wants something for it.  Kento tries to intimidate him into talking, but fails.  Shun offers to take him there with his crew, but says if they don’t  get enough loot out of the bargain, they’ll get it out of a ransom for him and Nana.

Kento reluctantly agrees, and sails downriver with Shun and his crew.  They land where the river cuts through a swamp and begin a trek inland.  I pause a bit to describe the stench and the sensation of shoes getting stuck in the muck, but eventually they see a wooden fortress in the distance.  Kento tells Shun’s crew to wait for the signal and that he’ll go in first.

He scouts around looking for a good point of entry, but has to make do with a difficult one that involves trekking through chest high swamp water and still climbing the wall between two sentries.  He manages to make the stealthy roll and gets inside and manages to kill one of the sentries and throw his body over the side.  He takes the guy’s mask and tries to light the wall on fire, but only manages to get a small part of it.

Still it causes a commotion, but unfortunately he gets himself caught up in a bucket line with some of the bandits trying to put things out.  Through a bit of luck he manages to sneak into one of the buildings and finds himself in the mess/meeting hall of the bandits, a few men are using the tables to play dice but he convinces them to go help with the fire.   He then barricades the door with a table, and checks out the building.  The main floor has the mess, kitchen and pantry, while upstairs has the barracks.  He decides he wants into the pantry but it turns out it is locked.  He fails the roll to bust down the door, and so I decide that he DOES manage to get it open, but it takes him multiple attempts and made enough noise to wake up some of the bandits upstairs.

He very quickly grabs what alcohol he can find and smashes it on the floor to start another fire.  He then tries to run out the door, but finds it blocked by a table.   He’s not quick enough to remove it before the bandits catch up to him and pull their knives.

We do a quick Bloody Vs.  Him with brawling, and the Bandits with their knives skills and bonuses for numbers.  The dice favor Kento and we say it went down like one of those scenes in a kung-fu movie where the group of thugs just attack one or two at a time and get owned, with one of those moves being him using that bucket from the bucket line he still had and getting right over someone’s head.  He tosses those guys into the fire and then moves quickly to another building.

This one is a small number of prison cells, mostly empty.  Inside there only seems to be one of the Black Onis sleeping off a bit too much to drink, and the captain of the boat Nana was on.  Kento asks him where Nana is, and he said he is in their leader’s lodgings, but wants Kento to help get him out of here.  Kento agrees, but can’t find the keys, it seems the jailer took them when he went to go help fight the fires.  Kento promises to help, but he has to get Nana first, and the captain agrees to that, although reluctantly.

Kento makes it to the leader’s buildings, and finds some guards inside.  These ones don’t seem too keen on leaving their post for some pesky fire, and so Kento cuts them down.

He comes face to face with the Bandit leader, who is annoyed, but ready for a good scrap.  I knew what sort of weapon I wanted for this guy, one of those really huge spiked club things.  I think the Kanabo was the correct choice, but in the heat of the moment looking things up I got the impression that it was a listing for a smaller, one handed club.  I ended up using the SQ Hammer stats from BWG.  For his stats, I ended up using the Lizard Man stat block.  In retrospect, the leader of the Black Onis should have been an actual Oni!  However, I didn’t think of it in the moment, and I think things worked out anyway.

We do a full Fight!  The first exchange has this neat thing where they exchange blocks and strikes.  I only put the bandit leader in 1d armor, but it works out for him, netting him only a superficial.  The second round Kento’s armor deflects a powerful blow from his club, and Kento gets int he second superficial on the guy, but no major blows yet.

In the third exchange, I have him shift into an aggressive stance, and prepare a great strike, Kento sneaks in a strike during his wind up for the great strike, and manages to roll 5 successes!  It’s a superb hit but Kento’s weapon has no VA and I have 2 armor dice., both of them come up traitors and that superb hit is a mortal wound.  I describe the bandit leader raising his mighty club above his head ready for a mighty strike and Kento using that opportunity to drive his sword through the Bandit’s heart!  He takes the leader’s head and finds Nana in the next room.

Nana is fine, (since these bandits were working for Kento’s uncle) but not entirely grateful to the person who, in her mind, got her into this mess in the first place!  Still, she’s rather go with him than stay here so the two try to sneak out the same way Kento got in.  Unfortunately, the whole camp is now active, both fighting the fire, and fighting off Shun’s crew who took the fire as their cue.  I give Kento some advantage dice but they don’t help.

His route takes him by the windows of the jail, and its captive calls out to Kento expecting him to honor his promise to rescue him.  Kento tries to pry the wood from the walls and let him out that way, but without proper tools it proves too difficult for him.  The pirate captain suggests he get the keys from the jailer.  Kento agrees, but, not wanting to fight all these bandits, decides to use the head of their leader and claim leadership of the Black Onis.

Burning Wheel conveniently lists the Conspicuous obstacle forgetting everyone’s attention in the middle of a battle, it’s 5.  Kento does NOT roll 5 successes, and so he only gets a few people’s attention, and while they WILL grab their friend’s attention, they are not about to do so to declare Kento their new leader!

Unfortunately, it had gotten late, and as much as we would have liked to get to a better wrap up point, that cliffhanger will have to do.  We even skipped artha, which we’ll have to do if we ever meet again to continue Kento’s story because he is OUT.  For now at least, this is where Kento (and Maxim’s) story ends.  It was a fun series of games, and I might do another blog post sometime in a bit about my impressions of 1 on 1 Burning Wheel overall, but I will say I would totally do it again!

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Kento’s Story – Session 2 – The Kidnapping of Yabe Nana

Session 2 of Kento’s story and our first full-length one! We do a quick recap of what happened in our last session and dive back into it.  Kento wants to determine if he knows something he can use against Koji Kohaku.  I called for a Beginner’s Luck Koji-wise test, and he managed to make it.  I kind of had a picture in my head about what Kohaku was like, so I laid it out for Blaine.  Kohaku is an honorable man, perhaps to his own determent, Kento might be able to leverage that.

He goes into the Magistrate’s office and demands that Ichiro be turned into his custody, claiming he is wanted for several serious offenses in Yabe territory and that the Yabe Clan-chief has the greatest claim to him.  He completely botches the falsehood check, and can tell that Kohaku does not believe him in the slightest.  Kohaku will not publicly question a fellow Samurai’s honor, yet, with all that he knows, the pieces of the puzzle are sliding into place.

He releases Ichiro into Kento’s custody, and “generously” offers some of his men to escort Kento and Ichiro to the edge of Koji lands.  Ichiro asks about his wares, but Kento can’t secure too much more than his cart for a “wanted criminal”.  On the way back he tries to question Ichiro and Kasumi, but Ichiro knows nothing and Kasumi doesn’t really want to talk business in front of her husband.  Still, she assures him that his uncle will get what he paid for.

Kento’s uncle eventually sends for him, and asks him for his accounting of the events.  He’s not entirely pleased with how things turned out, but he seems to have gotten at least some useful information.  Kento asks him what was in that ledger, and Tengan Tennak simply tells him he can go.

We take a look at Kento’s beliefs at this point.  He honestly has some decent ones about killing his uncle and taking power for himself, but they were lacking in immediate action, unless he wanted to ride out and assault his uncle’s holding then and there (which would have been sweet, but probably futile). It wasn’t a huge deal, because I had another task in mind from Tengan Tennak for us to cut to, but it was something that was worth calling attention to.

A week goes by, and we are once again in Tengan Tennak’s tea room.  As I had been describing it every time these two men met in there, only once the tea had been served and the maids had left does Tengan Tennak get down to business.  He says it has been decided (and the tone implies not by him), that one of his granddaughters, Yabe Nana will be getting married.  The Groom being Hirafune Yuuki, Kento’s cousin and Koan’s son and heir.  Tradition mandates that the head of the Hirafune be married to a Yabe, and Nana’s marriage to Yuuki would further legitimize Koan’s line of succession.

Tengan Tennak asks nothing of Kento during this meeting, merely saying he wanted him to be one of the first to know.  He happens to point out that if something were to happen to the bridal procession, say, in Hirafune territory, he knows Nana has friends in the Imperial City.  If she were to flee there for her safety, she would be out of Koan’s reach.  He then spends the rest of the meeting talking about how they grow up so fast, and things of that nature.

Kento wants to circle up a mercenary, a disgraced Bushi.  I set the obstacle at 3 (1 base, +1 lower station, +1 time requirement, having to be ready to go before the Bridal Procession), unfortunately, his circles is only B2.  He manages a linked test and throws a point of Persona into the roll, and all come up successes!  He names this guy Iha Yasuro, a bushi from a family that sided against Koan during the coup.  He greets Kento as a friend and they drink together as they discuss business.

He can get 5 guys ready to go, and he’ll cut Kento a deal.  He’ll do it for 50 (we realize we aren’t really sure of the proper units of currency, but we call it an ob 3 resources test).  Kento wants to work carefully, taking time to try and get all the money together… And still fails.  I tax him down to a B1 resources, but I do give him the gift of kindness.  Still it doesn’t give Iha much time to get the group together, and they are rushing to catch up to the procession as they leave.

I rule that they manage to get ahead of them, barely, but don’t have enough time to find a particularly good spot for an ambush.  Kento tests Warcraft to try to make the best of it, and manages to succeed, using himself as a decoy while the mercenaries get into position.  He stands in the middle of the road and acts as a bandit, while the honor guards draw their bows.  He rushes them and we come to a Bloody Vs.  I give him advantage dice for the ambush but I give the enemy a few as well (Numbers, longer weapons, horses).  The guards manage to win, and so while I say Kento manages to get a few of them, the rest, including Nana’s carriage, manage to speed through and take off down the road.

It turns out Blaine forgot to factor in Kento’s armor into his defensive roll for the BV, so I let him roll it to negate the arrow that hit him, which he manages to pass, although his armor is damaged as a result.  He rolls a wise to try and discover where that procession will stop next, success leads him to a small village.  The town is on alert and so he has the mercenaries pull some of the local militia away and use the distraction to sneak in.  Success gets him to the window to the room where Nana is staying.

He is wearing a mask, so Nana is frightened by him at first, but he pulls it off and convinces her to tell the guards it was nothing.  He says he is here to rescue her, and she is rather confused by that.  Apparently she was not in on this whole plan.  He tries to convince her that Yuuki is basically the devil, and can not make that untrained persuasion check.  She says she doesn’t really get all that political stuff between Kento and her Grandfather, but she knows she could do a lot worse than the wife of the next clan chief.  Kento then tells her she can come willingly or he will take her anyway and give her to bandits, geez!  He’s actually trained in intimidation so he manages to scare her into silence.

I decide that now having a hostage in tow that would betray him at the first opportunity she thought would be successful is enough of a change in the situation that his first stealth test to get into the village no longer rode.  He weighs his options, but he is mostly looking at a hefty obstacle penalty either way.  When that penalty is factored into the guard’s observation he ends up looking at obstacle 5.  Though some miracle and I think the last of his artha he manages to make it and meets up with his mercenaries outside of the village.  I roll a die of fate for them to see if they took losses, and they didn’t.

Kento takes Nana down river and they meet with an underling of Sone Baba, Kento’s relationship among the river pirates.  He pens a letter to his relative in the capital asking them to ensure Nana got to Tengan Tennak’s friends and called it good.  Now, I had assumed that Kento would be going along on this boat trip and knew that they would encounter trouble along the way.  So when the pirates asked for payment and he failed to properly assure them they would be paid later, I knew exactly what would be the result of that low morale.

Kento returns to the Yabe estate to rest up and determine his next act of sabotage against his uncle.  A little while later, a letter from Sone Baba arrives, informing him that, as far as Sone Baba can tell, a rival group of pirates attacked the ship.  Several of his men have been slain, and Nana is no where to be found.

We call it there and do Artha, this time a few persona and a few fate are handed around and it is a somewhat decent haul.  We forgot to do situational Honor and Shame tests, (and I think Kento may have earned a few of the latter), but we’ll pick them up next time.  We’re still finding our rhythm with these two games, but I honestly think they’ve been going pretty well and we are on track to get even better!  It’s back to Maxim next week, and then after that we will deal with the fallout of Nana’s abduction.

Kento’s Story – Session 01

War, now memory
Shed blood shared turns to shared blood

Three swear brotherhood
How quickly children forget

A peace can not last
Brothers betray their brother

Son against uncle
Sworn cousin against cousin
Now, Nihon is Burning

The other half of of our pair of one on one Burning Wheel games is a game of the Blossoms are Falling. Neither of us has done Blossoms before, so it should be an interesting experience!

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