Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Powder Blue Shogun

One of the more interesting turning points for the L5R story was when the Crane clan champion Doji Domotai was told about the infamous Daidoji Harriers. For those who weren't around back in the day, the Daidoji Harriers went around and sacrificed their honor for the good of the Crane clan by using gaijin pepper and sabotage to gain battlefield advantages.  The were the Crane clans dirty little secret since they did something that was fundamentally against the Emperor's wishes. So in a nutshell .... powder blue ninja's.

Now Domotai had been trained as a Matsu when she was young. So she had the unyielding honor of a Lion. When the lord of the Daidoji, one Daidoji Kikaze, informed her of the use of the Harriers Domotai was outraged and demanded they be disbanded. This was one of many hard life choices for Kikaze. The Harriers caused no small amount of trouble for the Crane, being the source of war between the Crane and the Dragon and .... well .... their explosives going off during Moto Chagatai's invasion of Toshi Ranbo.

So what would it take to bring them back and why? Well the why is easy, I liked them and I think they make a nice counter point. In the same fashion that I think the Lion Shadows make a nice counter point. Not a big group mind you but just enough to make a difference every once in awhile. I've recently undertaken introducing L5R to some new players and so I wanted to bring them into a shadow war and who better to use than Harriers vs Shinobi.

The year is 1171 and Iweko has just ascended to the throne. For over a year now Shosuro Jimen, the Emerald Champion, and Kakita Noritoshi, best duelist in the empire and Kakita daimyo, have been engaging in a shadow war over the fact that the Crane had Harriers. This is yet another cost that the Harriers have wrought against the Crane. Enter the new Shogun, Daidoji Kikaze. Iweko instates him as her new Shogun to garner favor with the Crane and to gain their support as she begins her reign. And it is shortly after becoming the new Shogun that Kikaze is approached by one Kakita Noritoshi. Noritoshi has been "off the grid" as he engaged in a smear campaign against Jimen. Meanwhile Jimen has been sending shadowy agents against the Kakita in general and Noritoshi in particular. This feud is Kikaze's fault as far as Noritoshi is concerned and it is time that the Daidoji bring something to the table to make up for all the trouble that has been caused.

Noritoshi is, by this point, a deeply broken man. He has become an ends justifies the means and while he can not ask Domotai to go back on her decree he can ask Kikaze to do something about it. Kikaze meanwhile has always struck me as a character who would carry a large amount of guilt over his families actions and thus would be willing to do anything to make up for it. This includes reinstating the Harriers not as Crane, but as a special forces unit for the use of the Shogun. Transferring what few Harriers remained after the purge into the Shogun's army, Kikaze enters a shadowy war between two colossal figures.

So into this war of red vs blue I will toss a new group of players fresh to L5R. Charged with having to balance the honor of the Crane verus battling a man who corrupts the lands most important political office and willing to hold nothing back.

For Noritoshi this is a chance at vengeance. For Kikaze this is a chance at redemption.

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