Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Night-Dimmed Day – Part II – Game Session 2



July 3rd 2000, Monday

1:35 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

After a few hours of rest the PCs (along with the SEAL team) begin repacking their equipment, replacing broken pieces and reloading ammo.  Angelique ends up assembling the two pieces of the crystal skull and helping the technicians adjust the machine. After mere moments they managed to open a portal, the first test run to see how long the aperture remains stable. Hachiko, still distraught at the visions he was ‘gifted’ with by the Eyeless is ordered to stay out of this mission to give him some time to recoup. This brings the expeditionary team down by one (Angelique, Gelar, Jonathan, Alex, Marie, and Sergei plus the SEAL team) to a total of 11. Both Dr. Halusko and Commander Covington deem the team large enough and send them through the portal.

(The following is the chronological date)

August 8th 1614, Monday

2:10 pm

(The following is the subjective date – to the players it appears to have stopped)

July 3rd 2000, Monday

1:35 pm

Unnamed Mountain Pass, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

Getting ejected from the portal somewhat violently the team quickly survey the current area, a open field with few trees and tall (but dying grass). In the distance the grey sky shows promise of a upcoming wintery storm. Alex checks his pocket watch and realizes (along with Angelique and Jonathan) that they are not in the Dreamlands somewhere. They have in fact travelled back in time itself! Before they can more fully think through what happened they are interrupted. The sound of a large number of horses heading their way is heard and while they try to hide in the tall grass and trees Alex and Gelar are spotted anyways. A group of about thirty armed and armored samurai surround them and begin to speak in a ancient dialect of Japanese. Firing another warning shot at their feet the leader begins to get angry. Despite Angelique, Gelar, and Sergei’s mastery of the Japanese language it is Alex (who is a closet otaku and japanophile) who understands what the samurai is telling them and with deference explains to them that they are ‘from far off’ and looking for a something special. Then Alex summons Minninnewah and Angelique (who had managed to remain hidden along with Jonathan and Sergei) dropped down from the tree she was in, quickly dressed in a (modern bath) kimono hasty removed from Jonathan’s haversack. She quickly makes a impression stopping a potential combat as she demands to be taken their lord. The leader introduces himself as Reizen Nobu and explains that if they are seeking the O-ekishohahen (literally ‘great shard’) they should follow him. Several of his samurai dismount and give their horses to the travelers while they ride double with another. It takes several hours to get to the unnamed (and hastily constructed) village under Mt. Daisetsu and they are forced to stop many times to hide from enemy patrols who are combing the area. Once up in the mountains though they the enemy patrols stop and they get to their destination in no time.

(The following is the chronological date)

August 8th 1614, Monday

4:10 pm

Village at Unnamed Mountain Pass, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

Once inside the protection of the village, which is itself nestled against the back of a glacial stream with several natural barriers protecting it. While several structures do dot the landscape the largest is a house made deep black wood. Reizan leads the travelers inside to where a white-haired older man sits by the fire. Turning around he speaks to Angelique in a soft voice asking her if she is there to kill him. When she replies no their eyes meet and that is when she sees his eyes irises are white (a unlucky color in Japanese culture as it symbolizes death). Unlike most others she is able to maintain her gaze and eventually he invites her to sit down and speak with him about the O-ekishohahen. He introduces himself as Lord Yuki-me, a warlord and hatamoto (literally ‘banner man’) of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The rest of the team is taken outside and the SEALs build up a small campfire and begin to make food for the rest of their companions. Jonathan meanwhile borrows or barters for clothing for everyone else so they draw less attention. Alex takes Minninnewah to the nearest pasture to graze and Gelar finds the local preist (whose shrine the village was essentially built around) and asks for help in the form of local gossip, clothing, and a prayer. While the priest is a Shinto (Gelar is a Zen Buddhist) the two get along quite while and the priest, Madoka Kou, tells him about the war going on. How the Tokugawa and Toyotomi clans are fighting a battle for control of the country itself. He explains that a shipment of gold was passing through his home, Korinoshiro, on its way to Lord Tokugawa when his home and vassals were attacked by a powerful mahotsukai (the Japanese word for sorcerers and magic users in general), the sorcerer’s oni, and the various ronin and sanzoku (bandits) he had gathered under him. Lord Yuki-me had barely escaped with his life and many of his samurai were killed helping the villagers and others escape. They escaped to the temple on the mountain because the mahotsukai didn’t seem to be able to go near it. They had been in the mountains ever since and that had been over a year before. Sergei, having disappeared into the background scouted the area making sure they were safe quickly discovered two shinobi who were posing as peasants. Following them he waited for them to make their move. When they tried to sneak into Lord Yuki-me’s chambers he killed one and tied up the other for questioning. Angelique, Gelar, Sergei, Jonathan, and Marie go outside to the porch where they see the snow falling heavily. Getting a flash of danger Angelique and Gelar draw weapons, suddenly to their right where what’s left of Yuki-me’s samurai are practicing they see something bright and red fill the otherwise dull white landscape. Soon after the gathered samurai are all turned to icy replicas of themselves. And that’s when the attack came, a dozen men dressed in deep crimson and five red-armored samurai attack trying to kill Yuki-me. The remaining uncursed samurai, the PCs, and the SEAL team end up fending the first attack but when the mahotsukai summon a small band of oni1, things begin to quickly look bleak until Gelar kills two oni with arrows through the eye, while Alex, Marie, and Sergei (who uses his mask to become invisible) work on taking out the sorcerers. The mahotsukai quickly cast a spell revealing all hiden foes and marking them so they are easier to see. They then begin unleashing scarlet lightening at the PCs. Sergei is hit by a bolt of this scarlet electricity in his groin/lower torso though he continues fighting otherwise unhindered. While they are able to deal with the lesser mahotsukai, the leader proves difficult as every time he is damaged the trauma is passed onto one of his subordinates mystically leaving him completely unharmed2. Jonathan is shot through the throat by a sanzoku crossbow bolt and crawls his way into the shrine. Despite the seemingly death-dealing blow he manages to continue helping the rest of his allies, using his probability altering abilities to bend circumstance to them. Alex runs down several of the sanzoku with Minninnewah who (surprisingly) manifests four additional legs. When the mahotsukai send a final wave of men Angelique somehow manages to summon Suzaku3 herself and causes the mahotsukai to flee through a hastily constructed gate. Before Suzaku disappears she heals all the wounded and restores the cursed samurai to their previous condition. While there are no wounded thanks to Suzaku’s mercy, there are two dead (they died fighting the summoned oni while protecting Lord Yuki-me). Three enemy warriors were captured and placed in chains, stripped of their armor and weaponry. Angelique puts herself into a trance and contacts Jestinius and tries to tell him what’s going on though the connection is faint. He realizes what has happened and tells her to remove all evidence of any modern weapons that cannot otherwise be concealed (the SEALS ended up using their M4’s against the oni when they were attacked) and promises to be there soon. Since the shard is not where they currently are, they have to go find it first in order for the gateway to be able to be opened again.

(The following is the chronological date)

August 8th 1614, Monday

6:23 pm

Village at Unnamed Mountain Pass, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

1 Oni are the Japanese equivalent of ogres or trolls, taller than a man and welding a huge tetsubo they love to dine on the flesh of all those who enter their terrority. These particular ones had been ‘summoned’ by the mahotsukai.

2 The mahotsukai used a spell to transfer all the damage he took from a given attack to one of his subordinates instead of taking it himself.

3 Suzaku is one of the four sacred beasts of Japan and appear in Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Taoist philosophies as well. It is the equivalent of a god and can do pretty much anything it wants too. Oddly enough Suzaku is closely aligned with summer but was somehow able to manifest in autumn (something she would have normally found difficult).

(GM's Note: One of players couldn't make the game and I'm not sure when if he will be able to make the following ones so I've involved my players on a sort of 'side quest' to set up a story arc later on in the campaign. While it was probably not needed I felt the urge to explain myself a bit.)

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