Daimyo of the South – a ninja perspective (part one)

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Axiam
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Daimyo of the South – a ninja perspective (part one)

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

Bikou

Smoke bombs event

House of the Long Shadow theme

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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.

Axiam
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Daimyo of the South – a ninja perspective (part two: The Tengu Descend)

Kage Kaze Zoku

Ghost – Shurikens, Shizuka – Shurikens, Kouhei – Shurikens, Bikou, Smoke bombs event and House of the Long Shadow theme.

Tengu Descension

Naigubu, Sanjakubo, Tarobo, Nuniq, Zephyr Guard x2, Hotei’s Blessing and Ordered for battle theme.

Scenario: Ryodo at the village on the river

Draw - KKZ: 1 vs Tengu: 1

The below is a dramatization of a battle report and I’ve liberally applied artistic licence to make sense of the scenario as a continuation of the previous tournament battle. No Jwar Isles lore or Japanese folk tales have been researched in the making of this tale so apologies to James for demonising his multi-award winning, for being very well painted, bird things.

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Ghost and Kouhei took one of Bikou’s arms each and helped her back to her feet, the bleeding had stopped and the poultices were working their magic on the pain. Leaning heavily on her shadow brothers, Bikou and the squad made their way silently back towards their camp. Shizuka returned from scouting ahead:

“We should pick up food and medicine while we pass through the dock town, but silently, we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves and run into any rogue gangs with Bikou injured.

“The Silvermoon might be thankful that we’ve helped them recover the docks but this is their territory and some might not be well informed of our presence.”

Ghost handed Bikou over to Shizuka and donned the Geisha disguise  to freely move about the large town. Kouhei and Bikou set off ahead moving deliberately out of sight and using Kouhei’s preternatural foresight to know exactly when to take each alley to avoid being seen. Shizuka went high, swiftly making it to the rooves and out of sight of the unsuspecting townsfolk, to keep watch for dangers and an eye on Ghost as he glided through the crowds of people.

The roof tops thinned out as the ninjas approached the market square by the river, ghost started towards the smaller bridge to the right as Kouhei sneakily helped Bikou to a building near the centre of the market near the large main bridge. Shizuka slid down from the roof into the comfort of the shadows, moving up to a plant box and keeping an eye on the advancing squad.

Suddenly there was a hush, everyone seemed frozen. Panic washed over Shizuka as she realised she couldn’t move. Out of the corner of her eye she saw large bird shadows sweeping across the ground heading for the other side of the river. Ghost, seemingly unaffected by the paralysis, gave the warning signal by spinning his parasol while sliding through the paralysed crowds. Kouhei was only momentarily held, accustomed to mental attacks he quickly shook of the bonds of the Tengu Ki and moved around the side of the building to get sight of the threats lumbering up towards the large central bridge. Bikou, even injured, still managed to throw off the spell with ease. She leapt forward, and through the pain, ran to the house beside the central bridge to assess the new threat. Shizuka, taking heart from her squads ease at breaking the spell quietened her panic and calmed her heart beat, focussing on her breathing she gathered her Ki to herself moving the energy around the strands of magic and creating a wedge of Ki, pushing the bonds marginally away and giving her some room to wriggle her muscles free from constriction and finally freeing herself from the bonds.

Shizuka had heard stories of the Bird people from the Masters. Growing up in the enclave they would tell horror tales that always ended with the Master warning the young worms to keep expertly hidden around the bird monsters: “stay out of view of their incredible vision worms or they’ll snatch you up and take you to become part of their warped tribe!”

Shizuka was confused at the sudden attack, there was no way the Tengu could know the Kage Kaze Zoku were here so why were they attacking the village? Then she saw the obese form of the Tengu master shaman Naigubu and his master of ceremonies Sanjakubo dropping to the ground and her heart sunk. She remembered one detail of the horror stories in particular: the Tengu would steal young children from nearby villages for their body and mind warping ceremonies; sacrificing the children to become more warriors for their tribe. This explained the advanced landing of Tarobo and Nuniq, two of the Tengu’s finest hunters.

Scanning the stilled crowds Shizuka realised Ghost was making his way towards a group of three children on the far side of the river, moving swiftly but maintaining his Geisha disguise. The Tengu were shocked to see the running figure but paid him little mind. Ghost stopped between the children and the approaching fiends, hiding them behind his skirts and parasol, keeping them from Tarobo’s penetrating gaze. Ghost knew that the paralysis spell could not last forever and the longer the ninjas kept the children safe, the greater the chance the townsfolk would recover and drive the Tengu away, his quick action foiling the Tengu’s early plans for a quick abduction.

Shizuka saw a Zephyr guard moving towards a lone child to her left and another landing on the bridge in the centre where two young children were frozen in play. Bikou moved to distract the central guard, launching a wave of shuriken that caused some minor damage, but the guard was not deterred. Kouhei launched a single shuriken from range but narrowly missed.

Tarobo flew over towards Ghost eyeing him suspiciously but without comprehension of the threat he posed. Still seeking the children, Tarobo stalked around the area before spotting the fight on the bridge from a distance. He released his bow and shot a blunt headed arrow, designed to disorient and knock unconscious his targets taking Kouhei in the head with the long range shot. Feeling woozy and seeing Shizuka struggling with the paralysis spell, Kouhei moved from the danger in the central area to take aim at the guard going for the child to Shizuka’s left. Letting fly with his own hail of shuriken at the rear of the bird he was able to cause some serious wounds but not fell the creature. Shizuka, now free of the Tengu trap surged forward with her own shuriken attack; taking the guard in the wing and sending it reeling off the river’s edge to the water far down below. Tossing down a smoke bomb she moved through the nearby shadows to protect the lone child and put buildings between her and Sanjakubo.

Nuniq and Sanjakubo moved up towards the central children and the fight that was now ongoing between Bikou and the guard on the bridge. The master of ceremonies was flinging bolts of energy from his wings causing Bikou’s barely staunched wound to reopen and somehow deflecting it through to Kouhei who couldn’t handle the second blow to the head; falling unconscious. Shizuka moved over to assist Bikou with a shuriken throw against Sanjakubo dealing some damage that quickly seemed to heal. Naigubu, sitting in the back out of harm’s way was somehow healing Sanjakubo and controlling the strength of Ki around the market.

Ghost realised that his disguise wouldn’t keep Tarobo off the scent foreverand  launched himself at the bird man, phasing through his disguise, which fell to the floor behind him. Picking Tarobo up Ghost slammed him into the floor then leapt at him, kicking at his prone body, but neither attack did substantial damage with the bird man showing surprising agility to avoid the full impact.

Bikou was surrounded, her reopened wound causing her to be slow and despite her taking down the Zephyr guard and trying to put distance between her and the enemy, Nuniq was able to get a hold of her. Sanjakubo flew overhead and launched another bolt of energy at Bikou. This time it was too much. Stunned and exhausted, Bikou fell under Nuniq’s spear.

Shizuka rushed back to protect the lone child briefly, staying out of sight and keeping a low profile but with three opponents against two it was not looking good.

 Tarobo leapt to his feet with expert grace using borrowed Ki from the great shaman and launched a blunt dart at Ghost, smacking him in the head and sending him reeling. Tarobo then launched an attack, which Ghost weathered well; causing some minor damage in return.

Suddenly Naigubu gave a great cry and Tarobo disengaged flying rapidly over to Nuniq, who had grabbed the two frozen children playing on the bridge. The Tengu took flight with the hunter and the children quickly rising out of reach. Grabbing the fallen tribesman from the ground and river, the remaining Tengu took wing.

Ghost suddenly realising that his magical aura must have disrupted the paralysis spell as, shortly after the Tengu fled, the townsfolk started to lethargically move about. The parents of the saved children were so grateful that they offered beds and food for the night to aid the ninjas rest. The local healer came to thank them personally and saw to Bikou and Kouhei’s wounds. The Ninjas, no longer worried about the chance of attack from Silvermoon gangs decided to stay the night and would set out in the morning, taking the offer of a boat ride from a seemingly grateful Silvermoon father… To be continued.

Axiam