Game Time: 4 March 1175 (Early morning)
Location: Bridge encampment
While the bushi prepare for a nighttime attack, Masataro is invited to chat with Mizhime and Megumi. During the discussion, Megumi primarily sits and meditates, while her sister prattles on about the bridge project. Through his Doji courtier training, Masataro is able to glean the following interesting information:
-While the Otomo sisters are part of the imperial bureaucracy, and thus of higher than normal imperial standing, their position does not appear to be rock-solid. It seems that the change from the previous dynasty to the new Iweko dynasty (a former Dragon) has put the historical imperial families into a weaker position as Iweko’s former clan grows in prominence. As a result, the Otomos took up this bridge project as a way to prove their use in advancing the empire. They are desperate to have the project succeed.
-In addition to occasional whispered conversation with Tomus that sounds unintelligible, there are various notations on the bridge plans which appear not to be of Rokugani script.
After setting a number of traps (with the help of the Otomo sisters’ troop of peasants) and establishing a watch for the night, the party waits for any sign of disturbance. Hours pass uneventfully before Shoutaro and Masataro catch sight of movement from the direction of the hidden riverside cove hazily illuminated by the light of a waning gibbous moon. Gradually, a half dozen or so figures resolve out of the darkness, slowly approaching the camp, and eventually coming into view. Shoutaro maintains watch as the figures slowly approach, while Masataro rouses the rest of the party. Six of the figures appear to be of nominal height, while one appears to be literally head and shoulders above the rest.
As the figures eventually come close enough to make out details, the party at first thinks they are a group of injured sailors before eventually realizing that they are clearly animated corpses, bloated from long rests in the river. This realization is first made as the wind changes, causing Utamuro to nearly retch at the foul stench of rotten flesh. It is further cemented by Toshiro communing with a very angry earth spirit, who confirms that the approaching figures are “foul ones” who brother water has brought forth. One the corpses’ true nature is fully revealed, each party member steels his will against the supernatural horror. While all struggle to various degrees, Akiyama and Toshiro have the most difficulty, with Toshiro eventually overcoming his terror, while Akiyama (boosted by encouraging words from Masataro) fights on despite his fear.
The party fights bravely, as the waterlogged zombies trudge towards the camp, heedless of the traps prepared to fight them. Utamuro makes quick work of some of the zombies by repeatedly knocking them down onto Akiyama’s punji stick traps, while Byakuya fends some off and Shoutaro, Masataro and Akiyama finish off the rest. Toshiro also uses the powers of the kami to both hurt and slow one zombie which makes it around the melee line.
While no one is hurt, Byakuya is barely saved from some damage due to deft defenses andhis armor, which bears a few gruesome scratches. The party notes that regular blows seem to be less effective against the creatures while blows to the head and using jade weaponry seem particularly effective. Additionally, the creatures seem to fight on regardless of severe wounds until they are completely destroyed.
The last zombie slips past the party, and heads towards the earth shrine, but stumbles into a series of Akiyama’s traps, and is dispatched before it can complete its journey.
Otomo Mizhime – Architect
Otomo Megumi – Earth Shugenja
Hachi – Yojimbo
Tomus – Assistant
All Players receive 4 XP
All: +2 points Braving the terror of the undead and/or fighting through it
All: +2 points for dispatching supernatural evil