Party of Five Rings
|"Never give a party if you will be the most interesting person there."|| The run begins in late Crane|
The run takes place in the Shrouded Isle
The Firelord has asked Kuan-Xi to caretake a party at which he can announce his heir - the previous two times there have been Shenanigans, and if the announcement fails to happen a third time, then by the Rule of Threes it will have to be abandoned. The party needs to be a proper party, but there need to be No Shenanigans. If Kuan-Xi can do this for him, then he will grant permission for his mages to teach her, and also the arranged marriage plan will finally be put to rest.
Kuan-Xi looks for the best venue to have it in - it cannot be at the Shrouded Citadel itself, as the Firelord cannot be the official host, but it could be at the Suzuki estate, or elsewhere. Looking around for the best spot for a winter garden party, she is invited to use the estate and garden of the venerable Miyamoto Musashi. She tours the garden - it has paths winding their way through five interlocking circles, with a central pavilion, and seems well suited for a party. The Firelord will be bringing his own security forces, but Lord Miyamoto offers to provide further security. He asks after Kuan-Xi's greatest enemy, that he may provide proper guard. Kuan-Xi and Cai Wen dither about who that would be (and who that would be who would actually show up to cause shenanigans at the party), and settle on Ezokin. They can come up with seven successes of KS: Ezokin, so Lord Miyamoto provides them with seven use-on-anything successes.
Kuan-Xi gives Cai Wen a rundown on the people most likely to cause shenanigans, that being the other potential candidates for heir: Suzuki Jiro, Minoru Osamu, Suzuki Yori, in rough order of contendership. Jiro is known as a scholar; Osamu a brave leader; Yori a clever man. Though it is possible that a dark horse heir from neither family could be chosen.
Cai Wen, surprisingly, doesn't have any previous molls on the Shrouded Isle, so instead he spends three karma to be Kuan-Xi's moll for the party, which allows a lot of useful convenience abilities.
Guests begin to arrive, including the Firelord's sorcerers and a number of nobles and their guests - the Firelord is not first, but neither is he late. He bows very low to Lord Miyamoto, lower than would be expected for the lord of a minor house in decline. Lord Miyamoto gives a full low bow, as would be expected.
The Firelord briefs Kuan-Xi on the plan: he will begin the announcement at the third turn of the party mechanic, and will continue his speech for that turn. There should be no shenanigans sufficient to disrupt the party until the end of the third turn.
Round 1: Kuan-Xi surveys the room, matching it against the guest list. No obvious enemies are visible, nor is there anyone wearing a blue dragon mask. Cai Wen collects rumors and reports back, but there are no exciting rumors yet.
Round 2: Cai Wen checks the scoreboard. There is a party mechanic grid tracking favors, that the NPCs are starting up, but overlaid across that is a larger scoreboard: Disasters Overcome: 0 out of 9.
Round 3: Kuan-Xi mingles, trying to stay low key. Cai Wen looks for threats, but nothing appears until...
Drift: One of the servants reports finding a saucer outside with half a potion in it that smells like roses.
Round 4: Kuan-Xi runs a Detect Magic over the room, and notes that (among various items that people have) Minoru Katsu's drink appears to be magical. Cai Wen spots a young woman sidling over to Katsu purposefully.
Round 5: Kuan-Xi heads over to Katsu with a fresh drink, hoping to substitute it in, but is not graceful enough to do that without explanation. Cai Wen throws himself on the problem and bumps into Katsu, spilling his current drink (which Kuan-Xi can immediately replace). The Firelord looks over at the commotion, and frowns.
Round 6: (no action).
Drift: One of the two chains supporting the great hanging lantern above the central pavilion has come unfastened.
Round 7: Kuan-Xi notes that Lord Miyamoto is off in the corner speaking with a handful of old men and women, but is probably no immediate help. She finds the Firelord's metal sorcerer instead, and points out the broken chain. Cai Wen looks for people who might be behind the broken chain, and spots a guy who is gesturing with his walking stick, and seems to be coincidentally pointing in that direction more than chance would permit.
Round 8: (no action)
Round 9: The metal sorcerer sends the chain to grab the edge of the chandelier. Casting a spell so obviously causes the Firelord to frown, however. Cai Wen heads over to the gesturing guy, and both foists a drink on him and puts an arm around his shoulders, turning him away from the lantern. The wand discharges harmlessly into the garden.
Drift: The captain of the Firelord's guards notes that there is an extraordinarily dangerous gentleman over there - but it turns out to be the host, and this is not a problem.
Round 10: Kuan-Xi identifies the man the guy with the stick is talking to: the Firelord's eldest son. And the woman Cai Wen noticed as sidling up on Katsu is a Suzuki cousin. Cai Wen convinces the stick-wielder that the jig is up and that the Firelord is likely to notice this “assassination attempt shortly”, and persuades him to flee.
The score is "Three (minus .2) disasters out of 9 averted"
Round 1: Cai Wen ponders the .1 damages to the score - they probably can't be fixed, but it shouldn't be an issue unless it gets all the way to 1, and then it might be a disaster.
Round 2: (no action)
Round 3: Disasters under control, both Kuan-Xi and Cai Wen watch out for impending doom, and notice...
Drift: One of the guests is in a fairly high-quality disguise. She has an invitation, though. She's deep in conversation with some of the nobles.
Round 4: Observing the disguised guest, Cai Wen thinks that her status is mostly from her disguise. Impressive. Is that Merchant Siri? No, though there is something about her that reminds him of her.
Round 5: Both Cai Wen and Kuan-Xi head over to the guest to buttonhole her.
- "I'm so pleased to be able to be here."
- "Nice disguise."
- "Why... thank you."
Cai Wen's conversational impression is that she's trying to sell something - maybe a con artist or something else. What does he have to do to get her out of here without any further trouble? She admits that she had a longer plan in mind, but if they give her a tael now, she'll be gone. Cai Wen gives her a tael and she does, in fact, leave.
Round 6: Things are under control.
Drift: There is a lot of shouting from the kitchen. Something appears to be on fire.
Round 7: Kuan-Xi rushes into the kitchen, and puts out all the fires in the area, while Cai Wen provides an entertaining distraction. The Firelord looks over, frowning.
Round 8: Kuan-Xi does a hurried event planning roll to switch in cold appetizers, while the stoves and ovens get relit, and Cai Wen winds his story down.
Round 9: Kuan-Xi and Cai Wen regroup back in the garden.
Drift: A very drunk guy who has not been invited is attempting to enter. The servants are having a hard time turning him away because his status is very high.
Round 10: Kuan-Xi heads out to talk to him, and sends the servants away. Once it is just the two of them, she can easily “persuade” him that the best course of action is for him to go home and sleep it off.
Round 1: The Firelord stands up, and begins to make his speech. Kuan-Xi ponders who the drunk guy was. Not a Shrouded Isle noble, she thinks, as his status was higher than hers was and she knows all of those. Probably not Old Hop, who can hold his wine better. Maybe Ochi? That would be somewhat inexplicable, though.
Round 2: Kuan-Xi heads back to the garden. The Firelord talks some more.
Round 3: Talk talk talk.
Drift: The servants can’t find the wine cellar. It's just not in the basement where it is supposed to be.
Round 4: Kuan-Xi heads for the basement, and spends a karma. Cai Wen tries to play detective, but he isn't very skilled at it. After a bit of poking around, he concludes that Kuan-Xi has it all under control, and he can head back to the party.
Round 5: Cai Wen covers for Kuan-Xi's absence, and the Firelord keeps talking. The wine steward in the basement welcomes Kuan-Xi to Magpie's Vintages, and she requests something suitable for a special occasion, a toast for good news. She is presented with a suitable bottle, dating back to the fourteenth year of the Tiger after... well, a good vintage, in any event.
Round 6: Cai Wen vamps to cover the empty wine glasses, using half of Kuan-Xi's event planning skill. The Firelord looks over, but is still only puzzled. Kuan-Xi dashes in with the bottle, and the servants begin filling glasses. Oddly, the wine bottle lasts long enough to fill all the glasses.
Drift: There is a cow on the roof.
Round 7: (no action). Kuan-Xi and Cai Wen both boggle at that.
Round 8: Cai Wen brings Kuan-Xi's water flask around to behind the pavilion, and Kuan-Xi, having little time to deal, shoots a water blast onto the pavilion roof, drawing a frown from the Firelord, but he keeps speaking.
Round 9: Cai Wen pours out a puddle behind the pavilion, and Kuan-Xi puddle-gates onto the roof.
Drift: The cook has just been grievously insulted by the majordomo. Or the majordomo has just been grievously insulted by the cook. It depends on who you ask.
Round 10: Kuan-Xi spends three karma to puddle-jump the cow into Cai Wen's puddle. The Firelord reaches the part of his speech where he would declare his heir, but looks about to be interrupted by the majordomo. Spending three karma, Cai Wen uses House Rules and reverses the polarity on his Grievous Insult shtick, to de-insult the insult somehow.
The Firelord declares Minoru Katsu to be his heir, and everyone lifts a glass in toast. After a drink or two, the party guests are indeed very enthusiastic about Katsu, some going so far as to wish he could be Firelord right now.
Cai Wen finds a note attached to the cow:
- "My contribution to your most august event." -MK
What? Did Minoru Katsu put the cow on the roof? Why? Does he not want to be Firelord after all? What the heck? Or maybe MK is someone else. But who?
The final score is "Nine (minus .4) out of nine disasters thwarted".Lord Miyamoto's conversation with the other old men and women breaks up, and the five head in different directions. Lord Miyamoto tells Kuan-Xi that he is pleased that his preparations could be helpful, and Cai Wen begins to suspect that he has missed a gathering of the White Lotus.