My L5R game is going to be getting into some high stakes action over the next few sessions. It's not that the players have done anything wrong. In fact, the players have done quite a lot right, but as the Empire gains the tools needed to make a push and reclaim her land the Shadowland Forces have no choice but to make a push of their own in an attempt to secure their hold. Today I want to talk about how this conflict is going to escalate, and what I am hoping to get out of it. Come game time, we'll see how close to the mark I manage to get.
Clouds On The Horizon
Even living in New England there is usually some warning before a storm, especially the big ones. Clouds roll in. The sky darkens. The air gets a strange energy to it. Sometimes it happens fast, other times it takes its sweet time to get moving, but either way you can see the signs of a storm brewing.
This has been going on in my game already. The PCs are part of one of the most forward camps and they've been getting love taps from the Shadowlands in various forms, most recently with a Blood Speaker attacking their camp. These threats need to go up in value without going too far. The enemy wants the camp gone if possible, weakened if not, but not ready for the war that is about to come.
An Army Of Darkness
Whether the PCs like it or not there is an army coming down on top of them. I'm not sure if they'll be there when it hits, but something is coming. This is where things start to get dynamic and very dangerous. Mass Battles will crop up when this army hits the lines of the Legion stationed in the area. Who wins those battles will have a huge say in the shape of things to come after. Can the PCs turn the tide? Or will Rokugan face one of its darkest hours?
A Chance To Push Back
Whether they know it or not, the PCs already have one of the keys to push back against the darkness. The questions is do they have the opportunity to? Does the potential cost of going for it out weigh the potential gain? This is, in many ways, the candle of hope that has been handed to them. A chance to take things and put them back on the Empire's turf so to speak. The question for the PCs will be when to use it, and when to share it.
Personal Plots Abound
Above all this there are still personal plots. Old injustices still linger in the empire and some have sought out, or found purchase, on one PC or another. How the PCs react to these personal challenges could very well determine the fate of everything.
Personally, I can't wait. We'll see how the PCs fare as we go forward.