Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monsters Attack USA...

... but take an extra week to get here.

Come in Tokyo! Come in Tokyo!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

L5R Campaign : The Plot

Okay. We're one session away from the end. So, I think I can tell everyone what's going on.

Two years ago, Otomo Ryogo married a Crane woman (Doji Akore) in secret, despite the disapproval of both families. After the passage of time (irrelevant), the secrecy began to tear him apart and Ryogo-sama took his daisho and his name and traveled West, believing he could achieve glory in the Shadowlands by defeating a monster — any monster — and returning with some kind of trophy (yes, he is a confused little noble with no concept of what the Shadowlands truly is).

Some research uncovered tales of an oni that could shape itself into anything. Believing this to be a great threat to the Empire, Otomo Ryogo made the monster's defeat his mission. More research revealed a temple on the east edge of the Shinomen forest where wayward monks studied arcane lore. Visiting the monastery, he approached the leader of the order and asked for their help in

a. disguising his appearance
b. branding the otomo mon to his arm
c. securing the power he needed to defeat the oni

Not understanding the true nature of the temple (they were bloodspeakers afterall), Ryogo woke several days later, branded and disoriented. He also found that a large portion of his tongue was removed to satisfy some sick ritual of the temple monks. But in Ryogo-sama's addled thought-process, this was a small price to pay for the power he was "given."

Unbeknown to the Otomo, however, his soul was how inextricably linked to Jigoku and the taint of maho. Rather than give him the power to destroy the oni, they made him a vessel of unquenchable rage, unable to ascend into the celestial heavens alongside his most honorable ancestors. In a twisted joke, they also took enough of his tongue, so he could never speak of it to anyone.

Trudging into the Ox lands and finally into the blasted Kuni plains, Otomo Ryogo hunted the beast he sought... or whatever he would find…

Months later, disoriented and devoid of his noble bearing — he lost his daisho — Ryogo stumbled into a remote Unicorn village on the edge of the Empire. Believing himself possessed and tainted, he sought jade to cure himself (again, naive). Seeking the aid of two ronin, Otomo Ryogo offered what little wealth he still had.

This would be the final mistake Ryogo would make.

During the transaction, the ronin used a painful and exotic poison that would slowly erode his mind and eventually his nervous system. Otomo Ryogo would die a horrible death 12 hours later in the middle of a rice paddy on the edge of a Unicorn farm, while the two ronin made off with his armor, wakizashi, and scant remaining zeni.

Enter the PCs
On the edge of Rokugan, a noble's body is discovered, picked clean by the elements and discovered by an unmotivated and unsavory Unicorn Magistrate (Shinjo Hanri). Reporting the death at his convenience, it would be six weeks before the PCs would arrive to find the body and a few scant details about what brought this unknown Otomo was doing so far from the heart of the Empire.

How would five lowly Jade Legionnaires piece together the scattered details of this random and inexplicable murder? And why is it that the Crane already know of it?

The plot thickens…

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Board Game Geek Con

Brent Keith and I will be at the convention all weekend. BGG Con is in Irving or Dallas, at the Westin/Airport thing. Never been before. Directions on the site are pretty shoddy, unless the process of landing and finding the Westin is that easy.

Nonetheless, I'm excited to be showing off Thunderstone, the Adventurers, Infinite City, and a few other games Brent and I developed this year.

Look for me at the AEG booth if you're going.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

L5R CCG Art : Teaser

I really can't sleep and I don't feel like typing up too much, so here's some art for an upcoming L5R CCG set that I art directed (yes, I'm back). I assume that I can tease you with this and someone is just going to have to shut me down if they don't like it.

Art by Andy Hepworth. This is certainly one of the best looking pieces art and his work has skyrocketed since we started working together on a regular basis (we have a project coming, check your local news).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

L5R RPG Campaign : The Cast

Presently, I am running a Jade Magistrates campaign, where the five players are all "elite" samurai, working to subdue or otherwise cover-up nastiness that takes place in the empire. Shadowlands-related rumors, heinous murders, and superstitions all fall under their pervue. Presently, they are wrapped up in a couple of plots — the most important of them being a plot about a dead Otomo found on the edge of the Unicorn lands.

Because no one in the game has a good (or memorable) character name, I will merely list everyone by Player name and Clan/Family.

Aaron is the defacto leader, with a higher status that everyone else. His character is a Yoritomo courtier (weird, I know) and married to a Miya who objects heavily to their marriage. She openly detests his presence in her home and maintains her own wing of the estate.

Collin is playing an Akodo Strategist. He loves sake and is presently involved in a pretty dark story about his spirit being "fractured" after a horrible ritual.

James is playing a Moto Bushi completely devoid of tact. His viewpoint on bushido is always refreshing and eye-opening. He has taken a teenage peasant under his wing as a groom for his horse and armor. However, recently the young man (Juni) spoke up inappropriately and was sent home to his mother to learn his place.

Jason is playing a Bayushi Scout with limited political skill and a family struggling to reassert itself in court.

Weston is playing a Kitsuki Investigator with his own eta attendent. Although last session he was very tired, Weston's character is the only one asking important questions that typical samurai would never ask.

Story-wise, the characters are in a deep-deep pit of trouble. And when I can, I will post updates of their progress.