Background: Fall is a very important time in Rokugan. Most warfare ceases at the end of summer and the Empire focuses on harvesting the crops. The Scorpion Clan has been dealing with large numbers of bandits on their western border, near The Shinomen Mori. Last year they had many of their farm’s harvests stolen or sabotaged. The Scorpion Clan has been trying to instigate an imperial law that would effectively let them control all but the most distant roadways into the great forest. Anyone not willing to take the extensive detour into the forest would have to have travel papers approved by the Scorpion, and any lumber (and other) harvest from the forest would also be taxed by the Scorpion. The Scorpion say that with this greater measure of control they can reduce the bandit threat emanating from the forest (by monitoring and limiting travel from there). Though access to the Shinomen Mori is not very important to most clans, and lumber (and other) harvest is very minimal, a number of merchants do harvest lumber and sell it to the other clans as well as a few of the other great clans dislike the Scorpion always needling for more political power. So those clans spoke out in court to prevent this maneuvering. With that, the Scorpion said that interfering with the annual harvest (and it’s portion of imperial taxes collected from it) is a direct affront to the Emperor. The other clans countered with saying it was the Scorpion’s defenses of their own lands that was cause for the affront to the emperor, and that a handful of their proud samurai could easily protect villages from the “bandit” threat. Instead of taking offense the Scorpion said that honorable men’s words must be put into action or they mean nothing. So, for this annual harvest, the other great clans have assigned several of their own samurai with tactical knowledge to defend the village outskirts of the Scorpion clan. If those samurai fail, the Scorpion will likely get new legal domain of the borders of the Shinomen Mori, and yet if those samurai DO succeed then the Scorpion have their crops protected at minimal cost to them and with any luck the bandits will be dealt with.
The player characters are assigned to one of many sections along the Scorpion’s western border. They are given full leave to order the peasants of the village to do whatever they see fit to protect the harvest from bandits. Each player character will also be given a small group of trained Ashigaru soldiers (roughly 5 soldiers each). There is a total of 3 villages that the player characters must protect. The three villages are about equally spread apart, with a good road between them that takes about 30 minutes to walk between or about 10 minutes running (or 15 minutes on horseback if going at a normal gait, and 5 minutes of galloping). These villages are named Kofu, Daiku and Gunma. Kofu grows wheat, barley and various vegetables, it is the largest of the three, it has an Inn and tavern and has a small market for the farmers to trade goods. Daiku is close to a perfect patch of woods for silk worms, and has a very carefully tended farm of silkworms that is their pride and joy. It is not as large of a village as Kofu but it is comprised mostly of new structures (because it was nearly decimated last year). The third village is near the top of the highest hill (but placed more on the valley side of the hill), and has a reasonable vantage point for observing the other two villages. It’s name is Gunma. This village is completely comprised of new structures. It is an example of the Scorpion’s attempt to further cultivate more land close to the Shinomen Mori. Just on the other side of the hill the Shinomen Mori is in sight. There are many trees between the top of hill and the great forest in the distance, but there is an obvious line of trees when the true forest begins. It ld take about an hour to walk from Gunma to the Shinomen Mori or Kofu. Gunma has the only Tea House, it also boosts the only true samurai homes for as far as the eye can see. (Two samurai homes were constructed in the past couple months in preparation for the player’s characters.) The current Samurai overlooking these villages lives there. His name is Bayushi Dozan, the characters are expected to speak with him and show him their papers and then take over. (Also, when visiting a host for the first time [which kind of counts in this situation], it is good manners to bring a gift, depending on your disposition towards the Scorpion Clan you can choose not to, but might offend him.)
(Side Note: Rokugani consider gift-giving to be an arena where it is truly the thought that
counts. A lord already provides his samurai retainers with food, shelter, clothing, armor, and any other reasonable need, so giving a samurai something useful implies his lord is unable to take care of him, a potentially deadly insult. The things that are given as gifts fall into certain broad categories. Some examples include: giving someone the first fan you ever painted, a sword guard that belonged to an ancestor, the first cherry blossom you came across on your journey to their home, a blessed amulet from an important shrine, chopsticks that were used by a lord for his first meal inside a newly built palace.)
Character Creation: You can be from any clan except Scorpion (sorry, I changed my mind on this, hopefully no one was planning on being Scorpion). You can be Samurai or Shugenja but not a Courtier. You both will be in charge of protecting the same three villages. I am going to require that your characters have at least 2 ranks in the Battle Skill (to logically be chosen by your clan to protect the Scorpion lands). Keep in mind that this campaign will take place over longer period of story time. As in, you guys will set up what you want to do and we will be skipping days at a time with various results depending on what you do.