Round 1: The Idols at the Docks. Ninjas 3 vs Prefecture 0
Full write up below for anyone interested in a longer read but spoilers in the summary here.
The final score did not reflect how hard fought the points were and if the ninjas had not been able to turn all three idols in turn one, thanks to the House of the Long Shadow theme, the score would likely have been very different. Hail of steel was limited by my opponent not giving me opportunities for surprise attacks with Kouhei and with Bikou falling to Ryu Bikou early in the 2nd turn. Without surprise attack and good rolls hail of steel was not overly effective (three ranged attacks were required to take down my 5 hp Bikou, although the final shot did 5 damage alone so overall about 8 damage was achieved due to a final very strong success level and damage roll). The majority of the hail of steel was against ranged defence 1 or aware models so the target success levels never got as low as 2-3 limiting the effectiveness of the Ki feat after weapon strength adjustment. I also had some very run of the mill rolls, which highlights that hail of steel is only very strong when the success level is high on a couple of shots and preferably from a surprise position for the assassin enhanced damage rolls.
Kage Kaze Zoku
Ghost – Shurikens
Shizuka – Shurikens
Kouhei – Shurikens
Smoke bombs event
House of the Long Shadow theme
The Ninja’s first mission was to rescue the Jung Docks from an unusual all-female Prefecture gang that had taken control in the Jung absence. The local Silver-moon gangs, noticing disruption to their trade routes paid the Shadow Wind Council to take action.
Mission received: remove the Prefecture threat from the area and restore the Jung control.
The advanced scouts Shizuka, Ghost and Bikou identified the Ryu family and retainer threats as follows:
Lady Oka – threat level: high; Strong defensive, movement and seduction abilities; keep at a distance.
Bikou Jr – threat level high; strong defensive, movement and ranged abilities; neutralise asap.
Seishin Na Goei (The Grey Pilgrim) – threat level: moderate; quick motions and difficult to deceive; whilst using subterfuge tactics stay hidden.
Matsu Takashi (alt) – threat level: moderate; strong ranged defence and perception abilities, strong ranged attack; Ghost will need to get close and shut her down.
Takashi House guard – threat level: low; trained to be aware and long strike range in combat, capable of warning others nearby of attacks from the shadows so best to isolate and make prone.
The scouts identified the best approach would be to quickly establish control of the three gate systems, allowing the Silvermoon access to the docks and closing off access to any Ryu family reinforcements. Seeing Bachiko Takeshi leave with some retainers Ghost saw the opportunity to strike and with a motion of his disguise’s parasol silently led the way, quickly moving up to the gate console to bar access from the reserves that just left. Shizuka focussing her Ki into her silent moving skills was upon the other access gate almost immediately after Ghost and shut it down, removing all access from the Ryu reserves; locking the remaining Prefecture into the dock yard with the Ninjas. Bikou and Kouhei were to work together on opening the gate, Bikou edging forward with imperceptible movements then sprinting full out to reach the rear gate control and locking it open shortly after the other scouts. Kouhei, who had stayed behind to open the gate, rushed forward to defend the gate controls to the right.
The prefecture, realising the danger too late, made moves towards the gate controls. Bikou, following Kouhei’s direction, moved behind the enemy to lock down the most forward Ryu member and set up an assassination attempt on the Grey Pilgrim. Seeing that her target was her estranged daughter, Bikou faltered and the kusari shot narrowly missed her daughter’s legs. Bikou jr seeing the attempted attack spun and unleashed a hail of shuriken towards the assailant, not realising her target until after the third shot hit and the three shards of metal had seriously injured her mother. Bikou went into hiding to tend her wounds and the remaining ninjas realised they would need to strike back quickly to redress the balance.
Kouhei moved up to strike out at the Grey Pilgrim with his own wall of shuriken from close range but the speed of the Pilgrim’s dexterity meant that the attacks were partially deflected and the damage minor. Meanwhile, Matsu with her enhanced perception, moved in on Shizuka launching a bolt of energy that shocked but barely harmed the lightly armoured ninja; somehow bouncing the energy out of Shizuka to hit full force into Kouhei causing a slightly more significant injury.
Shizuka, knowing her position was compromised, leapt from hiding behind the gate control to take advantage of Bikou Jr’s surprise, at seeing her mother, and stabbed at her back engaging in hand to hand combat to restrict her powerful ability with shuriken. Ghost, seeing Shizuka taking the fight to the enemy, threw off his disguise to throw Matsu into the House Guard; leaving them in a tangled mess on the floor. Lady Oka, realising the threat the rear gate being locked open represented, quickly switched the gate to unlocked and set the automatic closing mechanism into action, relying on the rest of her family to deal with the other gates, she moved to surround Shizuka and assist Bikou with the hand to hand combat.
Recognising the significance of being surrounded by high threat targets, Shizuka tricked Bikou with a sidestep manoeuvre and disengaged quickly, throwing down a smoke bomb and disappearing into the shadows to gain an advantaged position behind nearby cover, well out of Lady Oka’s detection range. Shizuka then took the opportunity to strike at Bikou jr from the shadows with a shuriken throw felling her target. Bikou jr, a knife jutting from her exposed leg decided that, with her other injuries, enough was enough so she stayed down.
The right gate locking mechanism completed meaning the Prefecture of Ryu would not be able to unlock and open it in time before the Silvermoon gang arrived so the gate control was abandoned.
Ghost continued to lock down Matsu and the House guard by gabbing Matsu from the floor and launching her into her now standing guard’s legs, once again leaving both to untangle themselves.
The Grey Pilgrim moved to attack Kouhei, lightning crackling around her movements as she engaged with incredible speed to attack. Kouhei, understanding the need to protect the gate post took a balanced stance, weathering the attack and striking back with his own damage on the already injured warrior felling her with a lucky knock out strike.
Lady Oka moved up to try and find the remaining ninjas and Kouhei launched another hail of steel at her but again this was partially deflected by the lady’s fans and only minor damage was achieved. Ghost defended himself against the house guard and shimmered away to move up to the central gate post to help defend the locked gate and put cover between himself and Matsu.
Lady Oka moved on Shizuka, not falling for the mirage trick, and Shizuka side stepped away to move up to the now closing rear gate control on the left side of the dock. Kouhei, seeing Shizuka’s plan and Lady Oka very close to stopping her, moved up to strike at Lady Oka from behind but, even surprised, the hail of knives did almost nothing. Shizuka hid, ready to stop the mechanism and reopen the gate as Lady Oka, dancing through the flying knives, chased her down.
Kouhei, abandoning the ranged attacks threw himself at Lady Oka’s retreating form and attempted to sweep her feet from under her, but the superior jujitsu fighter deftly avoided the surprise attack and turned to engage Kouhei. Ghost understanding the Lady’s skills moved up to help fight her off, knowing that Matsu and the House Guard would be unable to get up and reach the central mechanism to stop it from locking in place allowing the silver moon to take control of the docks.
Shizuka, now free from Lady Oka’s attacks, re-opened the left gate and started the locking mechanism to force it to stay open for the Silvermoon gang as the central gate control finished its locking process, much to Matsu’s frustration. Shizuka then made a surprise attack on the surrounded Lady Oka chipping away at her health.
Ghost, realising that his assistance against Lady Oka was no longer required shimmered away to engage Matsu, knocking her unconscious and weathering the attacks from house guard. Shizuka and Kouhei exhausted Lady Oka with their attacks. Just then, much to the Ninjas relief, the Silvermoon gang arrived and Lady Oka expertly extricated herself from the combat, throwing both ninjas off balance and moved to help her fallen sisters escape from the docks. The ninjas having fulfilled their agreed service let the Takashi family retreat without further injury and tended to their own. The Silvermoon gang set about restoring the service to the dock and set up their own guards to protect the area, leaving the ninjas to vanish.