You are on page 1of 21

Devoured by the

A One-Round Low-Rank Adventure for Heroes of
Rokugan (Champions of the Sapphire Throne)

by Rob Hobart

A visit to the port in Otosan Uchi leads to a seemingly simple task: deliver a letter to the Mantis Isles. What could
be more relaxing than a sea voyage?

LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS is a registered trademark of Alderac Entertainment Group.

Scenario detail copyright 2006 by the author and Alderac Entertainment Group. ALL RIGHTS
RESERVED. This scenario is intended for tournament use only and may not be reproduced without
A four-hour time block has been allocated for playing additional reward – or punishment. The following may
this game. The actual playing time should be about three be considered as guidelines:
and a half hours.
It is a good idea to ask each player to put a name tag • Performing an act of selfless, sacrificial loyalty to
in front of him or her. The tag should have the player's one’s daimyo or clan: +1 point of Honor.
name at the bottom, and the character's name, race, and • Abiding by the tenets of bushido when there is no
gender at the top. This makes it easier for the players to gain in doing so and one could gain an obvious
keep track of who is playing which character. advantage by breaking them: +1 point of Honor.
The players are free to use the game rules to learn • Betraying or disobeying your duty, Clan, or family:
about equipment and weapons their characters are lose 1-10 points of Honor and Glory, and possibly
carrying. Status, depending on the severity of the failure.
Some of the text in this scenario is written so that Gain the same amount of Infamy.
you may present it as written to the players, while other • Crying out in pain when injured: lose one point
text is for your eyes only. Text for the players will be in each of Honor and Glory.
bold italics. It is strongly recommended that you • Using sneaky, underhanded, or treacherous
paraphrase the player text, instead of reading it aloud, as methods when at an Honor rank higher than zero:
some of the text is general and must be adapted to the lose 1-5 points of Honor. If caught, also gain 1-5
specific situation or to actions of the player characters. points of Infamy.
• Using Low skills: lose a number of points of
GM's Information Honor equal to the Rank of the skill. Note that
there are exceptions to this rule, and the GM can
lower the penalty for members of inherently
dishonorable Clans such as Scorpions.
Please read the scenario thoroughly before attempting
to run it. • Performing a socially acceptable public act of
extreme courage and skill: +1 point of Glory.
This adventure is a Low-Rank adventure, and should • Drunk, insulting, or otherwise ill-mannered in
only be played by characters of Insight Rank 1 or 2. public: lose 1-5 points of Glory. For extreme
The challenges here were not designed for characters of abuses, also gain an equivalent amount of Infamy.
Rank 3 or higher, and they should not be allowed to • Playing entire adventure without doing anything of
play. note: lose 1 point of Glory. (This cannot reduce
the PC’s Glory Rank below the PC’s Insight
All bulleted information is just that, pure information. Rank.)
Feed it to the players through an NPC when • Made ronin: Status removed.
appropriate. Sometimes, reading it straight just doesn’t
sound right. Adjusting for Party Strength
This is a Low-Rank adventure, and thus can involve
Remember that family names come before personal parties of widely varying capabilities. The encounters
names. Akodo Toturi is from the Akodo family and his have been optimized for a party of average Rank One.
personal name is Toturi.
Although most of the challenges here are role-play
A note on commerce in Rokugan: Samurai are not oriented and thus not terribly dependent on party
supposed to care about worldly possessions, especially strength, a few changes can be made to adjust the
money. A samurai pays a commoner as if the money is adventure difficulty for high-end parties, as follows:
meaningless, a concession to the commoner’s silly
needs. Between samurai, the exchange of money and High End Party (at least half of the characters are
merchandise is an exchange of “gifts.” Rank Two):
• There are an additional two Mantis bushi on the
Glory and Honor Awards and Hungry Serpent.
Penalties • Yoritomo Mako has Earth 4 and the Strength of
This adventure contains suggested Glory and Honor Waves kata (L5R Rulebook page 201).
awards (and penalties) for dealing with the challenges
presented herein. However, at times the players may
take extra actions which the GM judges worthy of

Devoured by the Sea Page 2

Golden Sun, new wharves and docks have been built
Adventure Summary and on the same lands where their ancient predecessors
Background once stood. Here, in this blighted place, is the only
port where the barbarian Thrane are permitted to
Yogo Tanamasu is, ostensibly, a merchant prince, a trade with the Empire, and a thriving town has grown
major figure in the Scorpion Clan’s commercial up along the shore, an oasis of commerce and energy
operations in Otosan Uchi. Although this is true as far in a lifeless land.
as it goes, as with many Scorpions, the surface role is
only a small part of his identity. Tanamasu is actually a The port is crowded with dozens of kobunes flying the
spy and intelligence agent on behalf of Shosuro Hido, colors of the Mantis, Crane, Crab, and even the
“the Spider,” and his job in Otosan Uchi is to keep tabs Phoenix Clans, and out in the water the white sails of
on the activities of the Tiger and Tortoise Clans, as well fishing boats bob on the blue-green waters. But all of
as to track the trade and commerce of the all the Clans these ships are dwarfed by the huge pair of gaijin
who have interests in Otosan Uchi. vessels which are moored at specially-built long piers.
The alien ships seem to be as large as a great
Recently, Tanamasu has come across some very samurai’s mansion, and each sprouts no less than
interesting – and rather disturbing – information on the three huge masts, festooned with ropes and with the
activities of certain factions in the Mantis Clan. strange heavy cloth sails the gaijin use.
Although this is outside of his normal purview, he feels
it needs to be investigated more thoroughly. Visiting Clan PCs are in Otosan Uchi for two weeks,
Accordingly, he has prepared a letter for the Scorpion while the merchants they escorted negotiate with the
ambassador on the Mantis Isles, and is now actively Tiger and Tortoise for their share of the gaijin trade.
seeking someone to deliver it. Hopefully someone Imperial PCs are here for a different purpose – they
unsuspecting and expendable, since Tanamasu fears his accompanied a superior who is reviewing the gaijin
investigations may have drawn some unwanted trade with the Tortoise daimyo, ensuring that it
attention. continues to follow the Imperial laws and regulations.
But they too have a couple of weeks free before their
Enter the PCs. They are in Otosan Uchi as escorts for next assignment. PCs who are themselves of the Tiger
merchants who serve their daimyos (a suitable task for or Tortoise Clan are of course in their home territory,
low-ranking ji-samurai). Having escorted the and momentarily free from any pressing duties.
merchants here, the PCs are free for a couple of weeks
while the merchants negotiate purchases and trade Ronin PCs are probably looking for work. Caravan
agreements with the Tortoise Clan. That leaves them guards are frequently hired in Otosan Uchi, and the
with time on their hands… and Tanamasu considers Tiger Clan hires many ronin as well, so this is a good
them perfect for his task. place for a wave-man to seek employment.

Introduction Things to Do in Otosan Uchi

Once, centuries ago, Otosan Uchi was the capital of Close to the docks, the Tiger settlements and the
the Empire, the mightiest city in Rokugan, home to Tortoise Clan’s trade mission coalesce into a small but
the mighty palace of the Hantei. Today, only a gray, energetic port town, with a couple of dozen businesses
rubble-strewn wasteland remains. Even the mighty (inns, teahouses, gambling dens, etc). The Tortoise are
Enchanted Walls, which stood untouched for over a officially in charge of the port, and assign a magistrate
thousand years, are now little more than irregular to serve as Harbormaster. Tortoise and Tiger bushi
granite teeth straining up from a bleak, lifeless jointly police the port, patrolling regularly and using jo
landscape. The rituals of the Kuni cleansed the Taint staffs to beat troublemakers into submission. (Due to
from the city, but they also took the kami which the presence of so many uncouth gaijin, with the
support natural life, and the ruins of Otosan Uchi are corresponding possibility of a violent international
as lifeless as the Kuni Wastes. incident, the authorities try to avoid using lethal
violence – the patrols will only use blades if they are
The only energy and growth here comes from the given absolutely no other choice.)
works of men. Beautiful modern houses and small
two- or three-story donjons, the homes of the Tiger The Thrane barbarians are tall, pale-skinned, hairy men
Clan, are scattered haphazardly throughout the great who dress in bizarre, gaudy outfits. They do not wash
wasteland. And on the shores of the Bay of the regularly, and a rancid stink hangs around them. Under

Devoured by the Sea Page 3

the terms of their trading treaty, they must sleep
onboard their ships, but are allowed ashore in small In either case, the invitation will direct the PCs to the
groups so long as they do not leave the port. During Silken Rest, a large and elaborate Inn located on the
the day they are visible throughout the docks area, and north side of the port, adjacent to the large building
in the evenings they frequent the local inns, teahouses, which is the office of the Tortoise Harbormaster. The
brothels, and gambling dens. The Tiger and Tortoise Silken Rest is more of an apartment building than an
bushi keep a careful eye on the barbarians’ activities, Inn in the conventional sense, and is home to many
and intervene quickly if they make trouble – such visiting nobles and wealthy merchants from other
dishonorable visitors are beaten into unconsciousness Clans. Many of these people reside at the Silken Rest
and then returned to their ships with stern warnings not for months or even years at a time while representing
to come ashore again. their Clan’s interests in Otosan Uchi, and the proprietor
of the house (an elegant older lady named Ochiba) has
Unless the PCs are themselves Tiger or Tortoise, they grown wealthy by providing them with the comfort and
have almost certainly never seen a gaijin up close security of home. The Silken Rest has a large and well-
before, and this will offer them a chance to indulge trained crew of staff and servants, and a pair of well-
their curiosity. However, approaching a gaijin closely dressed and well-spoken ronin bushi guard the front
can be hazardous – they are prone to openly staring, door, politely asking all visitors to leave their weapons
pointing, making rude gestures, touching strangers, and at the entrance while they visit.
other activity which a Rokugani would find offensive.
For their part, the Thrane find Rokugani to be arrogant, Yogo Tanamasu inhabits a three-room apartment on the
bad-tempered, and snobbish, and tend to make fun of second floor of the Silken Rest, and has a personal staff
them, especially of their short stature, slanted eyes, of three servants, as well as a concubine (although for
speech, and manners. Few of them speak more than a propriety he keeps her out of sight when entertaining
handful of words in the Rokugani language. visitors).
Disagreements and altercations thus take place easily.
(Essentially, the GM should feel free to depict any Meeting With Clan/Imperial PCs
classic cliché of crude, insensitive Westerners in a
foreign society.) Polite and deferential Inn staff lead you upstairs to
the apartment of Yogo Tanamasu. There, servants
If a PC does get into an altercation with a gaijin, dressed in Scorpion colors welcome you inside and
Tortoise and Tiger bushi will quickly descend on the lead you to a table where dinner is already waiting.
scene, separating everyone with painful blows from Pleasant smells rise from the dishes, which offer a
their jo staffs. The PCs will lose at least 1 point of mixture of skillfully prepared seafood and vegetables,
Glory for such an incident, and possibly Honor as well along with fine tea and sake.
depending on their Clan’s view of bushido.
Yogo Tanamasu waits for you at the head of his table,
Besides looking at or speaking with the Thrane, the bowing politely. He is a thin, middle-aged man with a
PCs can also spend time by shopping for exotic gaijin pleasant smile. A ceramic mask rests on his forehead,
curiosities such as shoes, clothbound books, spectacles, framing his lean face without concealing his features.
He wears a kimono patterned in dark blue and gold,
jewelry, food, and clothing (with prices ranging from 1
embroidered with twining images of flowers and
to 10 koku). No firearms or other dangerous items are
scorpions. “Welcome, honored guests,” he says
available, of course.
smoothly. “I am Yogo Tanamasu, agent for the
Scorpion Clan here in Otosan Uchi. You do my
Part One: An Honorable humble residence great honor with your visit. Please,
enjoy this meal I offer, though I fear it cannot match
Request what you would be accustomed to in your own lands.”
Two days after their arrival in Otosan Uchi, the PCs
will receive an invitation to visit Yogo Tanamasu. Clan PCs who roll Perception/Lore (Heraldry) at TN 15
and Imperial PCs will be invited to come at sunset, and can identity the Yogo family mon on his right breast
told that Tanamasu would be honored to share an and the Shosuro Courtier School mon on his left breast
evening of food and entertainment with them. Ronin (closest to his heart).
will be invited to visit in the afternoon, and told that
Tanamasu has an offer of employment for them if they Tanamasu is a civilized man and will not be uncouth
are interested. enough to immediately broach his purpose. Instead,

Devoured by the Sea Page 4

during the meal he will make small talk (about current the letter and that it should be destroyed rather than let
events, the exotic Thrane gaijin, the weather, etc). The it fall into other hands.
meal, despite his deprecating words, is excellent, the
sake and tea especially fine. Eventually, once propriety Meeting with Ronin
has been established and everyone is feeling well-fed,
he will delicately approach his needs. “I wonder if I If a ronin PC comes to visit, Tanamasu will have them
might prevail on you for a modest favor, samurai- brought in to his quarters while he is busy reading a
samas.” series of documents, counting sums on an abacus, and
writing the results down on a another paper. He will
Assuming the PCs are at least willing to listen, he work for several minutes before putting down his quill,
proceeds: “I have a letter which must be delivered smiling politely at the ronin, and offering tea. (If a PC
promptly to the Scorpion ambassador on the Mantis is so uncouth as to interrupt him, he will frown and
Isles, Shosuro Kikate. Unfortunately, my own duties decline to offer them any work. “The position is
keep me here, and I cannot wait for the next visit of a already filled, I am afraid,” he says coldly. A roll of
Scorpion Clan courier, which might be a month away. Intelligence/Etiquette at TN 10 can avoid this blunder.)
Although it is inexcusably rude of me to suggest it,
perhaps you might be able to take the time to carry Assuming the PC has good manners, however,
this letter to Kyuden Gotei for me? I would be in your Tanamasu will make an offer of employment: “I may
debt.” have a task for you.” He will address the PC by name,
offering no explanations for how he knows their name.
Tanamasu will not, obviously, tell the PCs anything “You are in need of work, ____-san? Wave-men
about what is in the letter, and will subtly remind them usually are.”
that it is private and personal. Nor will he explain why
it is so urgent that the letter be delivered quickly, Assuming the PCs is interested, Tanamasu explains that
merely insisting “it is a matter of some importance to he needs a letter delivered to Shosuro Kikate, the
me” and again asking the PCs if they can assist him. If Scorpion ambassador on the Mantis Isles. “Such
they ask why he chose them to ask for help, he points journeys are hazardous, of course, and I am recruiting
out that they are not currently busy. “I simply inquired some other samurai to accompany it as well. I would
as to which samurai in Otosan Uchi were free of any not expect a mere wave-man to be able to purchase his
immediate duties.” He will add that he has heard some own passage on a ship, after all. Still, your skills may
rumors of piracy in Mantis waters and would not wish a be useful – the Mantis have been reporting piracy on
private message to fall into such dishonorable hands. the southern shipping routes.”

Tanamasu is not telling the whole truth, of course, but Assuming the PC is interested, Yogo Tanamasu will
most of what he has said is honest as far as it goes. A pay him 2 bu immediately, and promises eight more bu
PC who rolls Awareness/Investigation at TN 25 can (for a total payment of 2 koku) upon his return with the
tell that the letter has great importance, and that the real letter safely delivered.
reason he is recruiting the PCs is that he does not trust
normal communication channels. The Letter, and Breaking Trust
Once the PCs have secured transport to the Mantis Isles
It is up to the PCs whether or not to accept Tanamasu’s (see Part Two: Finding a Ship, below), Tanamasu
request, but if they refuse, the adventure is over. will present them with the letter. It is a precisely folded
Assuming they do accept, Tanamasu will supply them piece of crisp paper with a soft off-white hue. He will
with travel papers, authorizing them to journey to the entrust the letter to whichever PC strikes him as the
Mantis Isles and return. The papers specifically do not most trustworthy (he will avoid PCs who have
say why the PCs are undertaking the journey, and disadvantages or reputations that could compromise
Tanamasu will attempt to subtly (or not so subtly, them, such as Frail Mind, Lechery, or certain types of
depending on his audience) suggest that the PCs should Bad Reputations). He will choose a Scorpion over
keep the purpose of their journey secret. other PCs, all else being equal, but avoids those
Scorpions who have been trained in Mantis schools.
If any of the PCs are Scorpions, Tanamasu will meet
with them privately. “This letter contains a Secret,” he It is possible that a PC may decide to snoop into the
says quietly, “which must reach the eyes of Shosuro letter. Unfolding it without tearing the paper will
Kikate and no one else. You understand?” He will require a roll of Agility/Sleight-of-Hand at TN 20 (and
make it clear that the PCs themselves are not to look at another roll to fold it back up correctly afterward). The

Devoured by the Sea Page 5

letter itself is written in a Scorpion Clan cipher –
successfully deciphering it will require at least eight The PCs can learn which ships are going to the Mantis
hours of work and a roll of Intelligence/Calligraphy at Isles easily enough by going down to the docks and
TN 30. (If a PC actually has specialization in Scorpion asking around. (If nothing else, the Harbormaster,
Clan Cipher, the TN is only 20 in addition to the Kasuga Araki, can provide whatever information they
benefits of the Emphasis on the roll.) Each PC may need.) Unfortunately, there are no Mantis ships going
make only one attempt to decipher the letter, although to the Isles in the next week – they are all busy
they may choose to use their one attempt to assist conducting trade elsewhere, making money for their
another rather than going it alone. Clan. During the next eight days, in fact, there are only
two ships going to the Mantis Isles – one from the Crab
If a PC actually manages to decipher the letter, it is Clan (the Pit Viper), and one from the Crane (the
found on Handout #1. Note that if the PCs deliver the Shining Swan).
letter in such a way that Shosuro Kikate knows it has
been opened (folded improperly, torn), or admit they The Shining Swan is a sleek, elegant kobune of
read it, they will gain both him and Yogo Tanamasu as traditional construction, spotlessly clean. A PC who
3-point Sworn Enemies. rolls Perception/Lore: Heraldry or
Perception/Commerce at TN 15 will spot the mon of
Getting Other Information the Daidoji Trading Council inscribed on the hull
behind the ship’s name. The captain is Daidoji Bukare,
The PCs may wish to ask around and perform research, a smooth-mannered and elegant man with a quiet,
trying to get more information on Yogo Tanamasu, dignified manner. He is assisted by his first mate,
Shosuro Kikate, or the dangers of a trip to the Mantis Gosai, an ostensible pipe-smoking commoner who is
Isles. actually a member of the Hiramichi vassal family.
A PC seeking more information on the two Scorpions The Pit Viper is much less well-kept than its Crane
can roll Intelligence/Lore: Scorpion or another counterpart, with a slightly shoddy, over-used look to
suitable Lore skill (such as Lore: Commerce) at TN it. The captain is Yasuki Chirotoi, a short plump man
20. Such a roll recalls that Yogo Tanamasu is with a charming smile and an eye for the ladies. While
supposedly in charge of the Scorpion Clan’s his ship is in port, there is no visible first mate
commercial interests in Otosan Uchi, but is rumored to (although small shiny objects have a tendency to go
also be an agent for the Shosuro daimyo, Shosuro Hido. missing). In point of fact, Chirotoi’s assistant on the
Less is known about Shosuro Kikate, although he has ship is a ratling, Pep’chuk, of the Chipped Tooth Clan.
held the post of ambassador to the Mantis Clan for The ratling has learned to stay out of sight when
about six years. visiting ports outside of Crab and Mantis lands.
If the PCs do not have a suitable Lore skill, they can Both ships have crews of commoners, rugged men (and
learn the same information by asking around the city on the Shining Swan, a pair of women) with hands
and rolling Awareness/Courtier (Gossip) at TN 25. calloused by years of rowing, pulling ropes, and other
tasks. The crew will be reasonably polite to visiting
If the PCs ask about conditions or hazards on a trip to samurai (especially on the Shining Swan) but are
the Mantis Isles, they can easily learn that the Mantis unavoidably a bit crude and rough-mannered. See Part
are indeed having some troubles with piracy, and Three: The Voyage Begins for details of how they will
several ships have been lost in the last year. Of course, behave once they are at sea.
some hurtful gossipers claim the Mantis themselves are
the pirates, although such charges are never repeated in The captains will both bargain for passage on their
the hearing of the Mantis themselves. ships, although their manners and methods are different
– Daidoji Bukare will be indirect and diplomatic,
Part Two: Getting a Ship avoiding any direct discussion of trade, while Yasuki
Chirotoi will briskly negotiate and openly discusses his
Yogo Tanamasu will not specifically make any obligation to turn a profit for his lord.
arrangements for the PCs to find a ship – they will have
to handle that themselves. However, if they are clearly Since the ships are already going to the Mantis Isles,
short on money (e.g. most of them are ronin, poorer the PCs should ultimately be able to arrange one-way
Minor Clans, Ascetic, etc), he will offer them up to six passage for about 1 koku each (more if they fail to
koku to help pay for ship passage. negotiate at all, less if they bargain strongly, although

Devoured by the Sea Page 6

the latter behavior might cost them Glory or Honor). • Daidoji Bukare will host a meal in his personal
Servants, if the PCs have them, will be allowed on cabin each night, inviting all PCs with Status of 1.0
board for an additional 2 bu each. Neither ship can or better to join him. He is a pleasant host and a
take horses on board – the PCs will need to arrange skilled conversationalist. He will be especially
stabling until they return. friendly toward political or commercial rivals
(Lions, Crab Yasuki, Ide, etc). He will also try to
In either case, the PCs will know they have to find subtly fish for information on why the PCs are
another ship for the return journey – neither vessel will traveling to the Mantis Isles.
be returning directly to Otosan Uchi.
• Gosai, the supposed commoner first mate, will
Part Three: The Voyage hang out with ronin PCs and with PCs too low-
Status to be allowed to share Bukare’s table. He
Begins smokes his long wooden pipe constantly, and will
readily share his tobacco (or, when off-duty, sake)
The Shining Swan sails the next morning with the tide. with any PCs. He will try to win their friendship
The Pit Viper leaves the afternoon of the day after, after both by socializing and by claiming to be from a
loading some additional last-minute cargo (Thrane ronin family that lost its swords and has no way to
goods for sale to the Mantis). On both days the prove its lineage. Like the captain, Gosai’s goal is
weather is clear, only a few clouds riding the horizon. to learn something about why these strangers are
A stiff wind lets the ships speed their way, using their suddenly traveling to the Mantis Isles. He is a
square sail to supplement the efforts of the rowers. skilled liar (his Awareness/Deceit roll is 7k3) so it
is unlikely the PCs will be able to see through him.
The two captains take different approaches to their
journey to the Mantis Isles: Daidoji Bukare hugs the • If any of the PCs are themselves members of the
coast southward, planning to get within a day’s journey Daidoji family, Bukare and Gosai will try to
of the Mantis Isles before risking the open ocean. arrange a chance to speak with them privately and
Yasuki Chirotoi, bolder and more anxious for profit, learn more about their journey.
strikes out into the open ocean at once, trying for the
quickest voyage possible.
• The twenty-two-member crew of the Shining Swan
are clean and well-disciplined as commoners go,
Either way, the PCs enjoy a period of safe and serene
and are only allowed to drink sake when off duty.
travel. The Shining Swan, sticking close to the
There are twenty men and two women. When off-
shoreline, makes its way southward over the course of
duty they will gather to gamble, talk, drink, and
two days, pulling in close to shore and dropping anchor
unwind. The GM should feel free to improvise
each night. The Pit Viper sails until after dark, then
whatever interesting commoner personalities seem
drops anchor in deep water, with Rokugan only a black
line on the western horizon.
• One of the women crew, the thirty-something
Interacting with the Crew: The Kimo, is a sometime lover to Gosai, but only when
Shining Swan in port. The other, her younger sister Yuka, is
chaste, although a handsome samurai might change
If the PCs are on the Shining Swan, the following role-
her mind. Neither will discuss their past. The rest
play interactions will occur:
of the crew treats them with a basic respect, since
they have Gosai’s protection.
• The PCs are given two cabins belowdecks,
adjacent to the two officers’ cabins. If only one of
• The crew will generally stay away from samurai,
the PCs is female, first mate Gosai gives up his
toward whom they are polite and deferential. They
cabin to her and moves in with the PCs –
will readily welcome a ronin (or a Sparrow or
otherwise, the PCs are expected to segregate
Tortoise samurai) for an evening’s socializing.
themselves between their two cabins. Daidoji
Bukare apologizes for any crowding: “We are a
ship meant for carrying cargo, not passengers, Interacting with the Crew: The Pit
samurai-sans.” Viper
If the PCs are on the Pit Viper, the following role-play
interactions will occur:

Devoured by the Sea Page 7

slovenly and unwashed, but reasonably skilled at
• The PCs will be forced to crowd into a single cabin their jobs. They often drink sake when on duty
– the ship is smaller than the Shining Swan and (though not enough to impair their judgment), and
packed to the gills with cargo and trade goods. when off-duty engage in bouts of drunkenness,
Chirotoi will apologize for this but offers no gambling, and occasional fights. Chirotai and
solutions – his own cabin is small and crowded, Pep’chuk do not interfere so long as the ship runs
and Pep’chuk sleeps in one corner. smoothly, and in return the crew is loyal and hard-
• Yasuki Chirotoi is curious about why the PCs are
traveling to the Mantis Isles, but does not feel any • The crew are somewhat casual about etiquette, but
urgent need to find out. Instead, he will be much will not openly insult a Clan samurai. They treat
more interested in gossiping with any PCs who are ronin as “one of the boys” and will try to pick a
involved with commerce – members of the Daidoji fight with a ronin who behaves in a superior or
Trading Council, Ide diplomats, Yasuki from either arrogant fashion.
Clan, Tortoise, etc. He will try (in a friendly,
casual sort of way) to pump these PCs for
information on the current state of trade in the Part Four: The Wrath of
Empire. PCs who roll Raw Awareness at TN 20
get the sense that Chirotoi is hiding some personal
the Storm
worries – his finances may not be doing well. On the morning of the second day (for the Pit Viper) or
the third day (for the Shining Swan), the weather dawns
• Chirotoi is also a bit of a womanizer, and will flirt clear and crisp, with little wind, and the rowers set to
casually with any attractive female PC (and with a will. If the PCs are aboard the Shining Swan,
downright outrageously with a PC who seems to this morning is when the ship finally turns away from
respond to his attentions). He won’t try to actually the shoreline and strikes out for open water and the
seduce anyone on the ship, but may try to arrange Mantis Isles.
for a later assignation at Kyuden Gotei.
Toward midday, the weather takes an unpleasant turn.
• Pep’chuk the ratling speaks fairly fluent Rokugani, The wind shifts to the south, and dark, ominous clouds
succumbing to the classic ratling mannerisms only come boiling up. The crew mutters with alarm, and the
when angry or excited. He does much of the work ship’s captain orders the ship prepared for bad weather.
of actually running the ship, and the crew normally
accepts his orders readily (since he speaks for • If the PCs are on the Pit Viper, Pep’chuk the
Chirotoi). Pep’chuk is actually quite smart, knows ratling becomes quite agitated, twitching his
many of the rules of Rokugani etiquette and whiskers and chittering to himself. “Bad-bad, bad-
culture, and enjoys teasing or psychologically bad winds coming soon,” he chatters, scrambling
tripping up anyone who looks down on him or tries around the ship to direct the crew as they tie down
to insult him. If a PC actually resorts to violence, hatches and stow the single large square sail.
Pep’chuk will dodge and evade him while the crew
descends on the offender with a storm of fists and • As the storm looms closer, most of the oars are
clubs. pulled aboard as well, leaving only enough to help
guide the ship and keep it moving forward. By
• If a PC speaks with Pep’chuk in a friendly manner, then, the whole southern sky has turned black, and
the ratling is quite happy to share information the rumbles of thunder are continuous.
about himself. As a member of the Chipped Tooth
Tribe he is accustomed to living among the Yasuki • Sailors mutter prayers to Osano-Wo, the Fortune of
and journeying across the water on the tribe’s two Thunder, asking him to moderate his wrath.
boats to visit their brethren on the Mantis Isles. He Others, more pessimistic, pray to Jizo for mercy to
left the tribal vessels and joined this ship because them and their vessel.
he is curious about the nature of the human
Empire. “Home quiet, more fun-fun go out and The Storm Hits
visit other places,” he observes excitedly. The ship is tossed like a toy on churning, frothing
waves as wind and rain slash down. Most of the crew
• The twenty-man crew of the Pit Viper are a huddles below decks – which is where many of the PCs
thuggish and uncouth lot, all male and generally

Devoured by the Sea Page 8

may wish to be as well, especially if they are not
physically capable. All PCs who are not from the • A bold PC may decide to dive into the water to
Mantis Clan (or trained by the Mantis) must roll Raw save another PC who is drowning. The TN for
Stamina at TN 10 to avoid being hopelessly seasick, a swimming back to the ship while towing/helping
humiliating and disgusting experience that costs them 2 another PC is increased by 5 (by 10 if the helpless
Glory and 1 Honor. PC is Large).

The storm lasts a total of four Rokugani hours (eight The Crisis
gaijin hours), finally blowing itself out shortly after
sunset. At the end of the third Rokugani hour of the storm, a
crisis occurs: an especially fierce wave sweeps across
the ship, snapping the mast, and carrying three people
Hazards of the Storm overboard – two of the crew (on the Shining Swan, one
For each hour a PC spends on deck, s/he must make an of them will be the woman Kimo) and the captain
Agility/Athletics roll at TN 10 or be caught by a wave (Bukare or Chirotoi).
and swept overboard. PCs in this predicament can
catch the railing and save themselves by rolling Raw • The lost crewmembers are stunned and swept
Reflexes at TN 20. Otherwise they will have to try to under almost instantly (within two rounds),
stay afloat by rolling Stamina/Athletics (Swimming) vanishing from sight in the raging storm. PCs who
at TN 15. The roll must be made every minute. Every act within those two rounds may be able to save
ten minutes, the TN to tread water goes up by 5. one or more of them – otherwise, they are gone for
Failure means they sink and will probably begin to good.
drown (drowning causes 1k1 damage on the first round
and 2k2 each subsequent round until rescued). • All PCs who are on the main deck must roll
Reflexes/Defense at TN 15 to avoid being struck
• A PC in danger of drowning can try to hold his/her by wreckage from the falling mast, taking 2k1
breath. This requires a Raw Stamina roll each damage. PCs who are on the stern by the rudder
round, at TN 15 on the first round and 5 higher will be safe from this.
each subsequent round.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the ship will be
• A PC who has fallen overboard, but is not momentarily leaderless (the first mate is busy trying to
drowning, can try to swim back to the ship by get the wreckage cleared off the deck). No one is at the
making a total of three successful helm, and the ship is in danger of being swamped by
Strength/Athletics (Swimming) rolls at TN 20 the next wave.
before failing three times. Each attempt takes one
minute. If the PC fails three times before If none of the PCs are on deck, or none of them take
succeeding three times, the PC’s strength gives out. action, the ship is hit broadside by the next wave and
The PC can go back to treading water, but the TN nearly capsized. All passengers below decks are flung
to tread water increases by 5. around for 2k2 damage. PCs on deck must roll Raw
Agility at TN 20 to avoid being thrown overboard.
• PCs who have fallen into the water can be rescued Three more of the crew are lost overboard as well.
by throwing them a rope within four minutes. After this near-disaster, the first mate gets control of the
(Raw Agility at TN 10 to get the rope to them.) A helm and gets the ship back under control.
drowning PC can try to focus enough to grab a
rope by rolling Raw Willpower at TN 20. After If a PC does try to take the helm, that PC must roll
four minutes, a rope cannot reach them. either Strength/Athletics at TN 20, Strength/Craft:
Sailing at TN 15, or Strength/Navigation at TN 15 to
• Alternatively, the PCs can throw an oar or other turn the ship correctly and ride out the waves.
piece of wood for the swimming PC to cling to. Otherwise the ship suffers a near-capsizing as above.
This must be done within two minutes and the PC
throwing the wooden object must roll Raw Agility Magical Assistance?
at TN 20. A PC can cling to a piece of wood for
PCs with shugenja skills may try to help the ship
any length of time, but after ten minutes the storm
endure the storm with spells. None of the PCs will
will sweep the PC away and finding him/her will
have the magical talent to actually calm or divert the
be almost impossible.

Devoured by the Sea Page 9

storm (that would require the Rank 5 Air spell will not forget their deeds. The crew quickly goes to
Command the Clouds), but they may be able to use work on repairing the ship.
lesser spells to save or protect individuals or to protect
the ship. For example, a shugenja could use spells such
as Call Upon the Wind or Walking Upon the Waves to Part Five: “Pirate” Attack
go out and rescue a drowning PC (or crewmember). By the morning after the storm, the PCs’ ship has been
The GM must adjudicate any such efforts, since the repaired enough to resume its journey, albeit at a
flexibility of magic makes it impossible to predict all slower pace: the replacement mast can hold only a half-
possible options. size sail, and many of the oars (along with some of the
rowers) have been lost. Still, the weather is clear, the
After the Storm crew is happy to be clear of the storm, and by midday
the ship is threading its way between the small outer
As twilight fades into darkness, the ferocity of the islands of the archipelago known as the Isles of Spice
waves gradually fades, the rain and wind fade away, and Silk… where the Mantis Clan resides.
and the pale light of Lady Moon becomes visible
between occasional gaps in the clouds. The ship drops Unfortunately, someone is waiting for them: a Mantis
anchor and the crew tries to take stock of the situation. ship, the Hungry Serpent, masquerading as a pirate
vessel. The captain, Yoritomo Kogai, has been ordered
If the captain was lost in the storm, the crew will be to lie in wait, intercept the PCs’ vessel, kill all aboard,
grim and dispirited. and capture Yogo Tanamasu’s letter.
• On the Shining Swan, Gosai will authoritatively Have the PCs make Raw Perception rolls at TN 20.
take command (suppressing his grief if Kimo With a success, they spot the enemy vessel as it slips
drowned) and puts the men to work, ordering them out from a cove and heads toward them, oars flashing
to step a replacement mast and clean up the and its sail bulging from wind. If none of the PCs
damage. He asks the PCs to help as best they can, notice the ship, the senior member of the crew (first
apologizing for burdening them with physical mate or captain) will spot it, but only after it has
labor. “The sooner we are repaired, samurai- already begun closing the distance. (See “Escaping the
samas, the sooner we can reach the Mantis Isles in Pirates” below for the consequences of this.)
safety.” If any of the PCs are Crane, he will
privately reveal his true identity and ask them to
help him keep the ship functioning. What is this Ship?
A PC who rolls Perception/Lore (Heraldry) at TN 15
• Yuka will be heartbroken by the loss of her sister, can see that the approaching ship shows no mon or
and may seek comfort from a sympathetic PC symbol – its sail is blank, and the name on its bow has
(assuming any of the PCs are willing to “slum” by been painted over. However, if the PC has Craft:
romancing a commoner). Sailing or a suitable Lore skill (such as Lore: Mantis
or Lore: Sailing), a roll of Intelligence/skill at TN 20
• On the Pit Viper, Pep’chuk will find it difficult to notes that the ship is built in the sleeker, more effective
get the demoralized crew organized or motivated. style favored by the Mantis Clan. This means it would
With the captain dead, the crewmen suddenly seem be faster than the PCs’ ship (which uses traditional
reluctant to accept the authority of a ratling. One construction) even under normal conditions.
or more of the PCs will have to step up and support
Pep’chuk, or else take command themselves (if If the PCs try to get a better look at the enemy crew
they have sailing experience, both Pep’chuk and itself, they can roll Perception/Hunting at TN 25 (TN
the crew will listen to them). 15 if they have a gaijin spyglass, or wait until the
enemy ship is close at hand) to see that the crewmen
• Once the PCs either reinforce Pep’chuk’s are dressed in cheap brown and tan kimonos, and wear
authority, or take command themselves, the crew plain light armor without insignia.
will get organized, raise a replacement mast, and
repair the other damage. The first mate/captain and the crew of the PCs’ ship
will immediately surmise that the mystery ship must be
If the PCs somehow managed to rescue the captain, he a pirate vessel. If a PC seems doubtful, they shout
will be deeply grateful, and promises the PCs that he hurried and angry explanations. “They have no mon

Devoured by the Sea Page 10

and they’re coming straight for us! What else would to board.) The normal range penalties apply, and
they be?!” there is an additional +5 TN penalty for firing on
the rowers, since they are partially concealed by
Escaping the “Pirates” the ship itself. If a PC manages to disable a
crewman with archery, that will award a Free Raise
The initial distance between the ships is approximately on all subsequent rolls against Kogai.
300 yards. Presumably, the PCs’ ship will attempt to
outrun the pirates, but in its present condition it is
• Note that each minute of the chase (each Contested
unlikely to succeed.
roll between the ships) is ten melee rounds, so PCs
can easily use up their entire store of arrows during
Attempting to escape will involve a series of Contested
this pursuit.
rolls of Intelligence/Craft: Sailing between the
commander of the PCs’ ship (the captain, Gosai,
• If a PC targets the enemy captain (Kogai) or the
Pep’chuk, or a PC, depending on the situation) and
first mate (Mako), Kogai will cast Wall of Water to
Yoritomo Kogai. Kogai gets a total of four Free Raises
protect them.
on his roll (reflecting the current conditions of both
ships). If the PCs failed to make the Perception roll to
• A shugenja PC may wish to use ranged attack
spot his ship, he gets an additional Free Raise on his
spells, especially Fire spells, to try to take out the
first roll.
enemy ship or its crew. Yoritomo Kogai will be
watching for this threat and will attempt to
• Each roll represents about a minute of effort.
Counterspell any such spells. He will also try to
use Summon Water or Extinguish (his only Fire
• If the PCs’ ship succeeds in three Contested rolls spell) to put out any fires set on his ship. If the
in a row, it extends the range beyond 300 yards PCs do manage to set the ship on fire, they will
and escapes (Kogai gives up). gain two Free Raises for their efforts to outdistance
• If Kogai succeeds in one roll, the Hungry Serpent
closes the range to 200 yards. After a second If the PCs actually manage to outdistance the Hungry
consecutive roll, the distance is 100 yards. After Serpent, or successfully disable the captain or over half
three successful rolls in a row, the ships have of the eighteen-man crew, it will fall farther and farther
closed to melee range and a boarding action behind and finally break off the pursuit, the oars
begins. drooping into the water as the crew gives up.
• If the PCs’ ship makes a roll after one or two If (as is more likely) the PCs are unable to escape, their
successes by Kogai, the range opens back out to own captain/first mate will order the crew to arm
300 yards and Kogai must start over. themselves as best they can, with clubs, kama, knives,
and other peasant weapons. Within moments the
The PCs may be able to support an escape in a variety “pirates” swarm aboard, swinging on ropes or simply
of ways: leaping across from one ship to the next, and a general
melee ensues.
• Rowing. Strong PCs can pitch on in the oars to try
to outdistance the enemy ship. Each PC who can
roll Strength/Athletics at TN 20 will award a Free
Battle with the “Pirates”
Raise to their captain’s next roll. The crew of the Hungry Serpent normally comprises
eighteen bushi, the first mate Yoritomo Mako, and the
• A shugenja PC may be able to use Air or Water captain Yoritomo Kogai. However, this will be
spells (such as Tempest of Air) to speed their own modified based on the strength of the party, as follows:
ship or to impede the enemy vessel. Each such
magical effort should award 1 or 2 Free Raises, at • Reduce the number of Mantis bushi by one for
the GM’s discretion (depending on what the PC each PC who is either a courtier or a non-
does). combatant shugenja.

• PCs can try to use archery attacks to take out the • Reduce the number of Mantis bushi by one for
rowers in the enemy ship. (The “pirates” are all each PC less than six in the party.
rowing, since they are intent on closing the range

Devoured by the Sea Page 11

The surviving crew of the PCs’ ship will engage some • Yoritomo Kogai and at least half the attacking
of the attacking Mantis bushi. A total of twelve Mantis force is down/dead.
will be tied up fighting the crew. Each round, this fight
will take the lives of two Mantis and four crew. Thus, • Kogai is alive, but Mako and over half of the
at the end of five rounds (four rounds if the PCs failed attacking bushi are down/dead.
to prevent the ship from losing three extra crew during
the storm) the crew will be dead and the two (or four) • Kogai and Mako are both alive, but three-quarters
surviving Mantis will be able to join the fight against of the bushi are down/dead.
the PCs (or retreat if the fight seems to be lost).
The crew of the Hungry Serpent have been instructed
The first mate Yoritomo Mako and the rest of the not to be taken alive, and if in danger of capture they
Mantis bushi (six of them unless the PCs took out some will attempt to kill themselves, either by stabbing
of them with archery) will attack the PCs. Mako is a themselves in the neck or by crawling/hurling
massively overweight and thuggish man who habitually themselves overboard to drown. Kogai will try to use
wears only a pair of gi pants, and wields a his magic to escape, casting Way of Still Waters to
manrikikusari (weighted chain) with malicious escape under the water, but will likewise suicide if he
enjoyment. cannot get away. Given the chance, he will also try to
fire the ship to prevent the PCs from recovering any
• Mako will normally concentrate his attacks on the clues.
most threatening PCs. If the captain Kogai comes
under attack, Mako will move to protect him Clues and Evidence
(either directly or via a ranged attack).
If the PCs manage to capture the Hungry Serpent intact,
• A favored tactic for Mako is to use his chain to they can find a few clues on board (or on the bodies of
Grapple a PC and toss that PC overboard. The PC the crew, if the PCs have an eta or are willing to
must immediately hold his/her breath or begin to dishonor themselves by touching dead flesh).
drown (under the same rules and restrictions as
with the storm earlier). The PC cannot attempt to • The ship is in extremely good condition, clean and
swim unless free of the chain – struggling free of well-maintained. The supplies are fresh and
the chain will require an Agility/Athletics or plentiful, and all the gear is recent. All of this
Agility/Sleight-of-Hand roll at TN 20. suggests a Clan ship rather than a pirate vessel.

The captain, Yoritomo Kogai, will hang back on his • The crew are in excellent physical shape and their
ship, directing his underlings and using his magic to clothing and armor, while drab, is uniformly of
support the fight. He will have cast Heart of Mortality good quality. Some of them have tattoos on their
on the first mate Mako prior to the fight, and will use bodies, but a roll of Intelligence/Underworld at
this to remotely heal and otherwise support Mako TN 20 confirms that none of these are tattoos
during combat. If he is directly attacked he will defend characteristic of criminals or pirates.
himself as best he can while calling Mako back to
defend him. • If the PCs manage to retrieve Kogai’s body, they
can find a short note tucked into his obi. It
The first mate of the PCs’ ship (and the captain, if he is contains an accurate description of the PCs’ ship
still alive) will fight alongside the PCs, and should be and its occupants (including the PCs themselves).
rolled out rather than abstracted. The GM can
optionally allow players to roll for these NPCs in order • Some of the crew have money purses. Most of the
to keep things interesting. money they carry is Mantis minted.

Outcome of the Battle • PCs can try to scrape off the paint on the bow, to
read the name underneath. Doing this successfully
Although the Mantis attackers are brave and unafraid to will require a roll of Agility/Sleight-of-Hand at
die, they are also practical – if they see the fight is TN 20 (or Agility/Artisan: Painting at the same
clearly going against them, they will attempt to retreat. TN). With a successful roll, the kanji underneath
This will occur if the following criteria are met: can be identified as “Hungry Serpent.” Otherwise
the writing is obliterated.

Devoured by the Sea Page 12

• The name “Hungry Serpent” can be identified as a ships are in poor repair, with tattered sails and warped
Mantis ship with a roll of Intelligence/Lore hulls covered in barnacles. However, both also have
(Mantis Clan) at TN 25. very large crews (over fifty men on each ship),
allowing them to put forty or more oars into the water
If a shugenja PC looks for spirits to Commune with, and make formidable speed over a short distance.
there is a strong (if grumpy) Earth spirit in the ship’s
frame. If asked the right questions, it can report the The two ships are lurking in a small island inlet which
following: allows them to rush out behind an unsuspecting vessel
as it passes by. The PCs will be easy pickings. The
• The ship operates out of a huge bay with many sudden approach of the pirate ships is signaled by a
other ships and a great castle on a hill. It sails from roar of drums, beating time for the huge banks of oars.
there to many other places.
What Happens?
• The crew normally dresses in green, not brown. If the PCs actually managed to escape the Hungry
Serpent, they can try to escape the real pirates as well.
• Two days ago, the crew suddenly changed their As before, this involves a series of Contested rolls of
clothing, took a lot of things off the ship, and Intelligence/Craft (Sailing) against the captains of the
brought other things onboard. They also painted two pirate vessels. Due to the PCs’ crew being
over the writing on the ship’s bow. exhausted by the effort of escaping the Hungry Serpent,
the odds are even longer against them this time: The
• If the shugenja asks what was written on the bow, captain of the “normal” Kobune gets four Free Raises,
the Earth spirit will try to describe the image. A and the captain of the captured Mantis kobune gets
roll of Intelligence/Calligraphy at TN 15 will five. Needless to say, a successful escape is unlikely.
identify the kanji for “Hungry Serpent.”
If, as is more likely, the PCs fought the Hungry
Aftermath of Battle Serpent, their ship and crew are hardly in a position to
After the fight is over, the PCs may well find escape two more hostile vessels. Interception and
themselves adrift at sea with little or no remaining crew boarding are automatic, unless the PCs come up with
(and perhaps no captain or first mate to navigate). This some extraordinary idea or tactic.
will pose some obvious problems.
Fight for Your Lives!
• If the majority of the crew survived, or if enough Once the pirates have closed the range, they storm
PCs can chip in on the oars to put the total number aboard in massive numbers, with their captains in the
of rowers past the halfway mark, the ship will still lead (since this is a criminal gang, the captain must lead
be able to make decent speed. Otherwise, progress in order to retain the loyalty of his men). It is most
will be extremely slow. likely that both ships will intercept the PCs’ vessel
simultaneously, but even if only one pirate ship catches
• If neither the captain nor the first mate survived, a them, there are still fifty pirates plus their captain.
PC will have to make a roll of Although the pirates themselves are mere commoners,
Intelligence/Navigation or Intelligence/Craft: they are brave and battle-hardened, and the PCs will be
Sailing at TN 20 to guide the ship to Kyuden facing impossible odds.
Gotei. Otherwise, the ship is lost and drifting
aimlessly. The intention of this encounter is to create the feeling in
the PCs that they are doomed, even though help is
Part Six: The Real Pirates actually about to arrive. Accordingly, the GM should
run the combat for just long enough to convince the
There is, in fact, a real pirate gang (or wako) operating PCs that they are all about to die, but without actually
in the waters of the Isles of Silk and Spice. The gang’s killing them. The pirates will concentrate on opponents
fleet will ambush the PCs’ ship several hours after their who are up and fighting, so PCs reduced to Down or
encounter with the Hungry Serpent. Out will be more-or-less “safe.” The pirate captains,
filthy and gruesome fellows festooned with scars, will
There are two pirate vessels, one of them a attempt to challenge the toughest-looking PCs, while
conventional kobune and the other a superior Mantis their minions swarm everyone else.
kobune. They fly black pennants on their masts. Both

Devoured by the Sea Page 13

As soon as the fight is clearly lost and the PCs are identify himself and will try not to attract too much
considering how best to face their ends with courage attention (since he is not supposed to be engaged in
(or perhaps trying to come up with a way of escaping to such dangerous activity). If any of the PCs
deliver the letter), the Wave Riders arrive. acknowledge his identity in a way that does not draw
too much attention to it (such as by subtly bowing, or
The Orochi Strike making indirect comments), he will be delighted. If
they openly identify him or suggest he should not be
Suddenly you see something behind the crowd of here, he will be angry and insist they are making a
screaming pirates: a great green-blue reptilian head, mistake: “I am a Yoritomo, samurai-san, out hunting
whiskers streaming from its jowls, its eyes glowing pirates!”
with pale light, its massive ivory teeth bared in a snarl.
The small form of a man in a loincloth is visible If the PCs insist on taking offense at Koba’s behavior,
clinging to its back. With a roar the great head he will simply lead his Wave Riders away and allow
swoops down, its massive jaws slamming shut on a the PCs to finish their journey alone. Otherwise, he
half-dozen pirates. Their screams of triumph turn to and the other two Riders will do their best to assist the
shrieks of raw terror as a second and then a third wounded and to secure the (now empty) pirate vessels
Orochi appear, roaring and lunging to attack. Within for towing to Kyuden Gotei. They will listen with
moments, the decks are awash in blood and body parts interest to anything the PCs tell them about the
as the great beasts of Sakkaku devour their prey. previous pirate vessel, but have no opinions other than
Some pirates cower and hide, others fight desperately,
assuming it was another freebooter. None of them
while a few, maddened with terror, fling themselves
recognize the name “Hungry Serpent” or any members
into the very waters shared by the spirit-beasts.
of the crew (if the PCs saved heads or prisoners).
The combat is effectively over at this point, although
For themselves, the Wave Riders explain that they have
the GM can still roll out any dramatic confrontations
been hunting these pirates for some time and are happy
between individual PCs and pirates (especially the
to have finally tracked them down. “They’ve been
captains) if it seems appropriate.
raiding commerce here for months, it was becoming an
intolerable problem.”
Once the pirates are dead, the leader of the Wave
Riders brings his monstrous steed over to the PCs’ ship.
The huge scaled and whiskered head lowers over the A Moment of Communion?
deck (raising a chorus of fearful moans and cries from While the PCs are conversing with Yoritomo Koba, the
the surviving crew) and a lean, rugged-looking Mantis huge Orochi he is riding will move its head back and
bushi in his late twenties leans forward onto its head, forth, its long whiskers twitching, as it looks curiously
looking down at the PCs. Riding behind him is a at everyone on the ship. If any of the PCs are
young man, no more than fifteen, with a gleeful themselves members of the Mantis Clan (or samurai of
expression. The two bushi are dressed only in other Clans who have trained with the Mantis), the
loincloths, and carry kama tucked at their waists. The Orochi pauses and sniffs at them, its huge glowing eyes
Wave Rider also carries a kusarigama, whose chains staring directly into theirs.
rattle as he whirls it half idly. “Hello the ship!” he calls
with a cheerful grin. The GM should consider how these PCs role-play this
encounter, and then have them roll Void/Meditation.
The Wave Rider is named Yoritomo Koba, a healthy The TN of this roll is determined by how the PC role-
and cheerful rogue who openly flirts with attractive played the encounter:
women. The presence of his Orochi makes him fearless
– he knows he can simply swim away from anyone who • If the PC seemed indifferent or hostile, the TN is
takes offense at him, and the Mantis Isles are safe from 30.
the other Clans. However, he is basically good-natured
and will laugh off most insults or confrontations. If the • If the PC was curious or polite, the TN is 25.
PCs get angry with his behavior he will point out “We
just saved your lives, samurai, a little gratitude might • If the PC was openly friendly, clearly interested, or
be in order.” otherwise generally positive, the TN is 20.

The young man with him is none other than Toturi If the PC makes the TN, there is a brief moment of
Hizatoru, the Emperor’s fourth son, but he will not communion in which the PC seems to fall into the

Devoured by the Sea Page 14

Orochi’s eyes and to directly sense its humor, mischief,
hunger, and its base animal enjoyment of swimming Toward Mantis Clan PCs Kamenoru will be more
and fighting. Award that PC the cert “Touched by the polite, although he still questions them thoroughly and
Orochi.” in detail.

Once he is finally satisfied of the PCs’ honesty, and has

Conclusion: Arrival at a complete picture of the attacks, Kamenoru will
Kyuden Gotei grudgingly release them to pursue their business.

The evening sunset turns the water golden-orange, If the PCs mention the name “Hungry Serpent” to
and the clouds overhead are dyed purple-blue. Kamenoru, or show him heads, prisoners, or other
Ahead, the tall forested peaks of the main island of evidence, he will express interest but claims not to
the Mantis Isles rises out of the Umi Amaterasu. recognize them. (This is a lie, but the PCs will need to
Perched on the upper slope is the glittering tower of defeat his Awareness/Deceit of 8k4 with their
Kyuden Gotei, covered in gold and jewels, the glorious Perception/Investigation in order to realize he is
seat of the Mantis Clan. Below it, carpeting the lying). He will confiscate any prisoners or evidence, of
darkening slope with lights, is the port city itself, the course.
second-largest city in the Empire, a vast urban maze
that sprawls along the shore for over three miles. The
vast docks spread nearly as far, and are crowded with Delivering the Letter
hundreds of ships. The banners of Crab, Crane, The PCs are now free to seek out the Scorpion
Mantis, and even Phoenix and Unicorn can be seen. ambassador, Shosuro Kikate. He resides in a large,
You spot the hulking shape of one of the legendary fine-quality house high up the slopes, close to Kyuden
Crab turtle-ships tucked in among their vessels. Gotei itself. The servants are quiet and polite, serving
the PCs tea and rice while they wait.
A Mantis ship rows out to meet the PCs’ ship as it
approaches the harbor. If Yoritomo Koba and his Kikate will see the PCs after an hour’s delay. He is an
Wave Riders accompanied the PCs, they will shout older man, in his late thirties, with a narrow chin and
explanations to the Mantis crew before heading back hair graying at the temples. He wears a simple mask
out to sea to resume their patrols. across his eyes which leaves most of his face visible.
Kikate is very charming and personable, playing the
Tsuruchi Kamenoru role of a kindly, human, (mostly) honorable older man.
He will listen to the PCs’ story carefully and asks them
The PCs’ ship is escorted in to the docks, where they many perceptive questions. “Clearly, someone did not
are met by Tsuruchi Kamenoru, the Mantis Clan’s chief want me to get this letter,” he says, turning the paper
magistrate and the commander of the Storm Legion. over in his hands. “I commend you, samurai-sans, for
Kamenoru is a short, pock-faced man with bad teeth, a making sure it arrived here safely. The Scorpion Clan
long Fu Manchu moustache, and an abrupt, growling is in your debt… and unless I am much mistaken,
manner. He behaves rather like a world-weary, perhaps the Empire as well.” He invites the PCs to
disgruntled cop – which, in Rokugani terms, is more or spend the night in his house as his guests, and offers
less what he is. He will demand a detailed account of them the services of a shugenja if they are suffering
any and all pirate activity which the PCs encountered, from injuries.
and questions the PCs and the rest of the crew at length
to uncover any discrepancies in their story. He If Shosuro Kikate does realize the PCs opened the letter
expresses considerable suspicion regarding both (or tried to open it), he becomes much colder and more
attacks, especially the first one. abrupt, and quickly cuts off the meeting.
Kamenoru will also want to know why the PCs were on
board and what their business is in Mantis lands. If Getting Back
they answer falsely, they must defeat him in a Regardless of how the PCs’ meeting with Shosuro
Contested roll (Awareness/Deceit against his Kikate went, they will still need to arrange passage
Perception/ Investigation of 7k4). If they answer back to Otosan Uchi. Fortunately, a Mantis ship is
honestly, he demands to see the letter as proof of their going that way within two days. If the PCs had a good
words (but promises, honestly, that he will not actually meeting with Kikate, he will pay for their passage.
open it). The PCs must endure the insult of his Otherwise, the PCs will have to come up with 1 koku
questioning their honesty – his Status is 6.0. apiece to pay their way.

Devoured by the Sea Page 15

After the GM has awarded experience and made other
end-of-adventure awards, read out the following scene:

Shosuro Kikate sits in a dark room, carefully reading

the letter by the light of a single candle. He nods to
himself thoughtfully, then looks up as another man
enters: a short, muscular figure dressed in Mantis
green. “Ah, Kamenoru-san, welcome.” Kikate lifts
the paper. “I am sure you will find this most
informative.” He hands over the letter with a smile.

The End

Rewards for Completing

the Adventure
At the end of the scenario, any PCs with Shadowlands
Taint must make a Simple Earth roll with a TN of 5 +
(5 x Taint Rank). If the roll is failed, the PC acquires
one additional point of Taint.

Experience Points
Playing through the adventure: 2 XP
Good role-playing: +1 XP
PCs suffer no casualties: +1 XP
PCs deliver the letter: +1 XP

Total Possible Experience: 5 XP

Other Awards/Penalties
PCs who successfully defeat the attack of the Hungry
Serpent gain +1 Glory.
If the PCs manage to rescue the captain of their ship
from being washed overboard, and if the captain
survives the subsequent battles with the pirates, the PCs
gain that captain (Daidoji Bukare or Yasuki Chirotoi)
as an Ally.
If the PCs successfully delivered the letter to Shosuro
Kikate and did not open it (or concealed that they had
opened it), they gain a Favor with the Scorpion Clan.
However, if they were caught having opened the letter,
they instead gain Yogo Tanamasu and Shosuro Kikate
as 3-point Sworn Enemies.
Mantis and Mantis-trained PCs who successfully
achieve a moment of communion with the Orochi gain
the “Touched by an Orochi” cert.

Devoured by the Sea Page 16

Appendix #1: NPCs
Daidoji Bukare, Captain of the Agility 3 Reflexes 4
Shining Swan
Intelligence 4 Awareness 4 Strength 3

TN to be Hit: 24
Willpower 3 Perception 3
School/Rank: Daidoji Harrier 2
VOID 2 Rank One: When attacking a foe from
higher ground, flank position, or
TN to be Hit: 18
while they are unaware of his
School/Rank: Daidoji Trading Council/Doji Courtier
presence, may roll additional damage
dice equal to School Rank. Adds Fire
Daikoku’s Favor: Add Air Ring to total of
ring to TN to be Hit.
all rolls involving Awareness.
Rank Two: At beginning of combat,
Doji Courtier Rank One: Adds twice his
designate one opponent: TN to be Hit
Honor to all Courtier, Etiquette,
is increased by (5 x School Rank)
Heraldry, Oratory, and Sincerity rolls.
against that opponent only. Add Air
May call on Favor Table (L5R
ring to total of all Attack rolls.
Rulebook, page 123) 5 times a day.
Honor/Status/Glory: 1.0/0.5/0.8
Rank Two: Observe an opponent for one
Skills: Acting 2, Athletics 3, Battle 1, Commerce 3,
round, spend a Void point, and make
Craft (Sailing) 3, Defense 4, Deceit (Lying) 4,
an Opposed Awareness roll. If
Etiquette (Sincerity) 2, Hunting 3, Kenjutsu 3, Lore
successful, the opponent must reveal
(Commoners) 3, Navigation 1, Peasant Weapons 2,
one of their Advantages. Any time in
Stealth (Ambush) 3, Underworld 4.
the next day that the opponent uses
Mastery Abilities: Add ranks in Defense to TN to be
this Advantage in a social situation,
he gains 3 Free Raises on any
Advantages/Disadvantages: Bland, Quick/Dark
Contested Social rolls against him.
Secret (pretends to be a commoner)
(If he already knew the opponent
possessed the Advantage, he gets an Equipment: Commoner clothing, pipe, kama, ninja-
additional Free Raise.) to (concealed in back-sheath under clothing).
Honor/Status/Glory: 2.2/2.0/1.9
Skills: Athletics 2, Commerce (Merchant) 6, Courtier Yasuki Chirotoi, Captain of the Pit
4, Craft (Sailing) 4, Defense 3, Etiquette 4, Kenjutsu Viper
2, Knives 2, Lore (Commerce) 3, Lore (Sailing) 2, FIRE 2 AIR 2
Medicine 2, Navigation (Sea) 2, Theology 2. Intelligence 3 Awareness 3
Mastery Abilities: Add 5 to the TN of any Social
skill rolls made against him, add Defense skill to TN EARTH 3 WATER 3
to be Hit. Perception 4
Advantages/Disadvantages: Allies (many),
Benten’s Blessing, Clear Thinker, Social Position VOID 2
(Captain of the Shining Swan), Wealth/Dependents TN to be Hit: 10
(crew of the Shining Swan), Obligations (several), School/Rank: Yasuki Courtier 2
Sworn Enemies (several) Rank One: In a Contested Social skill roll,
Equipment: Kimono, traveling clothes, wakizashi, gain one Free Raise for every two
tanto, 15 koku. Raises the opponent makes. Lose no
Honor for conducting trade in public.
(Hiramachi) Gosai, First Mate of the Add Water ring to the total of any
Shining Swan Social skill rolls.
FIRE 2 AIR 3 Rank Two: If he fails a Contested Deceit or
Commerce roll, may spend a Void

Devoured by the Sea Page 17

point to make a second roll – if the School/Rank: Commoner (Insight Rank 1)
second roll succeeds, the effects of Honor/Status/Glory: 1.5/0/0
failure from the first roll are negated. Skills: Athletics 2, Craft (Sailing) 2, Defense 1,
Gains a number of Free Raises equal Games (Gambling) 2, Peasant Weapons 2, Staves 2
to School Rank on all uncontested Advantages/Disadvantages: Social Disadvantage
Commerce rolls. (heimin).
Honor/Status/Glory: 1.1/1.5/1.8 Equipment: Clothing, miscellaneous peasant
Skills: Athletics 1, Commerce (Merchant) 5, Courtier weapons (jo staff, kama, tonfa, etc), 1-5 zeni.
3, Craft (Sailing) 2, Deceit (Lying, Seduction) 3,
Etiquette (Bureaucracy, Sincerity) 3, Games Typical False Pirate (Mantis
(Gambling) 2, Knives 2, Lore (Commerce) 2,
Medicine 2, Navigation 2, Stealth 1, Underworld 3.
Mastery Abilities: Add 5 to the TN of any Social
skill rolls made against him Agility 3 Reflexes 3
Advantages/Disadvantages: Allies (several),
Daikoku’s Blessing, Language (Nezumi), Read Lips, EARTH 2 WATER 2
Social Position (captain of the Pit Viper)/Dark Secret Stamina 3 Strength 3
(massive debts), Dependents (crew of the Pit Viper),
Lechery, Obligation (Yasuki daimyo), Sworn VOID 2
Enemies (several). TN to be Hit: 15 (20 with light armor)
Equipment: Clothing, tanto, purse with 14 koku, School/Rank: Mantis Bushi 1
token of Daikoku. Rank One: No penalties for off-hand
fighting or two-weapon fighting
when using a peasant weapon in the
Pep’chuk, First Mate of the Pit Viper
off-hand. Uneven terrain penalties
less than (School Rank x 5) are
Reflexes 4
negated. Opponents gain no
advantage against them for flanking
EARTH 2 WATER 2 or higher ground. Add their Water
Stamina 3 Perception 4 Ring to damage roll totals.
Honor/Status/Glory: 0.5/1.0/1.0
TN to be Hit: 20 Skills: Athletics 2, Battle 1, Commerce 1, Craft
Attacks: 4k3 (Sailing) 2, Defense 2, Kenjutsu 1, Peasant Weapons
Damage: 4k2 (spiked club) (Kama) 1, Underworld 1.
Wounds: Normal human Wound Ranks, 6 Wounds Advantages/Disadvantages: None.
per rank. Equipment: Light armor, kimono, kama (two).
Skills: Athletics 4, Craft (Sailing) 3, Defense 2,
Etiquette 2, Navigation 2.
Advantages/Disadvantages: Ally (Yasuki Chirotoi), False Pirate Captain (Yoritomo Kogai)
Languages (Rokugani), Rokugani Culture (4)/Social FIRE 2 AIR 3
Disadvantage (ratling). Intelligence 4 Reflexes 4
Equipment: Short spiked club (2k2), hat, belt-pouch
full of small shiny objects (including 3 koku in EARTH 3 WATER 4
assorted coinage).

Typical Ship Crew (Shining Swan and
TN to be Hit: 20
Pit Viper) School/Rank: Yoritomo Shugenja 3
FIRE 2 AIR 2 Technique: Has Affinity for Water and
Deficiency for Fire. In addition,
gains an additional rank of Affinity
EARTH 2 WATER 2 for Water when on open sea, an
Strength 3 (Pit Viper island, or coastline.
only) Honor/Status/Glory: 0.7/1.5/1.6
TN to be Hit: 10

Devoured by the Sea Page 18

Skills: Athletics (Swimming) 3, Battle 2, Calligraphy
2, Commerce 3, Craft (Sailing) 3, Defense 2, Deceit Typical Real Pirate
2, Etiquette 2, Hunting 2, Kenjutsu 3, Lore (Sailing) FIRE 2 AIR 2
3, Navigation 3, Peasant Weapons 2, Spellcraft 3, Reflexes 3
Staves 3, Stealth 2, Theology 2, Underworld 3.
Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, Counterspell, EARTH 2 WATER 2
(Air 1) By the Light of Lady Moon, Tempest of Air,
Way of Deception, (Air 2) Call Upon the Wind, (Fire
1) Extinguish, (Water 1) Bo of Water, Castle of VOID 1
Water, Path to Inner Peace, Reversal of Fortunes,
TN to be Hit: 15
(Water 2) Heart of Mortality, Wave-Born Speed,
School/Rank: Commoner (Insight Rank 1)
(Water 3) Near to Ice, Way of Still Waters, (Water 4)
Honor/Status/Glory: 0.3/0/0.5
Wall of Water.
Skills: Athletics 2, Craft (Sailing) 2, Deceit 2,
Advantages/Disadvantages: Allies (many), Luck
Defense 1, Games (Gambling) 2, Kenjutsu 2, Peasant
(rank 1), Social Position (captain of the Hungry
Weapons 2, Staves 2, Stealth 2, Underworld 1.
Serpent), Strength of the Earth (rank 1)/Dark Secret
Advantages/Disadvantages: Social Disadvantage
(part of the conspiracy), Obligation (his superiors)
Equipment: Clothing, kama, scroll satchel.
Equipment: Clothing, miscellaneous weapons
(staffs, kama, tonfa, captured samurai swords, etc), 1-
False Pirate First Mate (Yoritomo 5 zeni.
FIRE 2 AIR 2 Real Pirate Captain
Agility 3 Reflexes 4 FIRE 3 AIR 3
Reflexes 4
Strength 3 EARTH 3 WATER 3
TN to be Hit: 24 VOID 2
School/Rank: Mantis Bushi 2 TN to be Hit: 20 (25 with light armor)
Rank One: No penalties for off-hand School/Rank: Ronin Warrior 2
fighting or two-weapon fighting Rank One: When the declared target of an
when using a peasant weapon in the attack, gains one additional rolled and
off-hand. Uneven terrain penalties kept die to attack or damage rolls
less than (School Rank x 5) are against that opponent each round.
negated. Opponents gain no (Must be declared at beginning of
advantage against him for flanking or round, and may be switched on
higher ground. Adds his Water Ring subsequent rounds.)
to damage roll totals. Rank Two: If wounded by an opponent,
Rank Two: May throw his weapon up to gain an Initiative bonus on the
20’ per Rank in Strength, gaining one following round equal to the Wounds
kept die for damage on the hit. In received. If attacking that specific
melee, may choose to sacrifice rolled opponent on that round, roll two extra
damage dice for kept damage dice dice.
(number of dice switched cannot Honor/Status/Glory: 0.3/0/2.0
exceed School Rank). Skills: Athletics (Swimming) 3, Craft (Sailing) 3,
Honor/Status/Glory: 0.5/1.0/1.0 Commerce 2, Deceit (Intimidation) 3, Defense 3,
Skills: Athletics 2, Battle 2, Chain Weapons 3, Etiquette 1, Games (Gambling) 3, Kenjutsu 3,
Commerce 1, Craft (Sailing) 3, Defense 4, Kenjutsu Navigation 2, Peasant Weapons 2, Sleight of Hand 2,
2, Peasant Weapons (Kama) 2, Underworld 2. Stealth 2, Storytelling (Oratory) 2, Underworld 3.
Mastery Abilities: Add Defense skill rank to TN to Mastery Abilities: Add ranks in Defense to TN to be
be Hit. Hit.
Advantages/Disadvantages: Large/Cruel.
Equipment: Hakama, kama (two), manrikikusari.

Devoured by the Sea Page 19

Advantages/Disadvantages: Allies (pirate gang),
Strength of the Earth (rank 1)/Social Disadvantage
Equipment: Light armor, clothing, katana, 1 koku in

Devoured by the Sea Page 20

Player Handout #1: Yogo Tanamasu’s Letter


Certain grave matters have come to my attention. I have already notified our lord Shosuro Hido, but it may be
some time until I receive word from him, and given the nature of this problem I felt it necessary to
communicate with you as soon as possible.

I have recently noticed a pattern of Mantis sailors, particularly ship captains, spending considerable amounts
of time visiting with the gaijin Thrane on their ships. Such behavior striking me as questionable, I arranged for
one of our agents – one who has learned the foul and barbarous tongue of the Thrane – to conduct surveillance.

Slipping unobserved aboard a Thrane vessel proved quite difficult, and our agent was only able to overheard
fragments of conversation. Even these fragments, however, revealed that the Mantis were conspiring with the
Thrane for some sort of military action. There was talk of expected opposition from other Mantis ships, and of
allies within Dojo Raiden, suggesting to me that the goal is most likely an attempt to overthrow the leadership
of the Mantis Clan.

Unfortunately, the conspirators were wise enough to speak no names. Nor could we determine whether this
plan’s fruition was imminent, or something still well in the future. Therefore I urgently suggest that you
investigate in the Mantis lands, and learn whatever you can. We may have years… or we may have no time
at all.

I need hardly point out that you must not share this information with anyone of the Mantis, even those you
trust. There is no telling who may be involved in this plot.

Yours in the service of the Scorpion Clan,

Yogo Tanamasu

Devoured by the Sea Page 21

Related Interests