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The Race to the Throne

The Empire's Glory

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

Gencon SoCal 2004: Chosen by the Sun
Gencon Socal Challenge Booth: Heart of Winter
The Mad Ronin
The Perfect Gift
A Legion Reborn
European Championship: Fate of the Grand Master
European Championship Challenge Booth: Jade & Steel
Master of Destiny
The Broken Tiger
Blind Fury
Flee the Darkness
Gencon UK 2004: Destiny of the Dragon
A Samurai's Redemption
The Path of Enlightenment: The Trial of Fire
The Emerald Edict
The Jade Edict
Legacy of Darkness
Wrath of the Emperor Boxtopper Tourney: Temple of the General
Gencon Indy 2004: The Resurrection
Gencon Indy Challenge Booth: The Minor Clans
The Path of Enlightenment: The Trial of Earth
Gencon Barcelona: The Hidden Heart of Iuchiban
The Test of the Amethyst Champion
Magecon Koku Auction
Koteis 2004: Legion of the Dead
Origins 2004: The Fate of Rezan
Origins Challenge Booth: One Last Chance
Kotei Fantasy League 2004: The Shamesword
The Path of Enlightenment: The Trial of Air
Hunter of the Wolf
Clan Rivals: Ratling vs Shadowlands
Hidden City Boxtopper Tourney: Battle at Gisei Toshi
Imperial Herald Vote: Bloodlust
Champions of Bushido
The Empress' Guard
Test of the Tiger
Forgotten Lore
Allies & Enemies
Clan Rivals: Scorpion vs Unicorn
Mutual Hatred

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

1998

1997

1996

Gencon SoCal 2004: Chosen by the Sun
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:

2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Top of Clan:





























Shadowlands

Scorpion
Mantis [Corrupt]
Phoenix
Crab:


Crane:


Dragon:


Lion:


Mantis:


Phoenix:


Ratling:


Scorpion:


Shadowlands:


Unicorn:


Jared Devlin
-Scherer
Stephen Fazio
Chris Yau
Craig Hopkins
Ron Carlson


Brian Yoon


Dave Smith


Dan Tibbles


Chris Yau


Craig Hopkins


Sam Sadle


Stephen Fazio


Jared Devlin
-Scherer

John Seals


Story Point: The Golden Obi will be
given to Isawa Sezaru by a member
of the Shadowlands Horde.
Fiction: A Moment of Regret
Card: The Golden Obi of the Sun Goddess [Experienced]
Story Point: The Crab will bestow a favor upon the
Unicorn, loaning them seige engines for use against the Lion.
Fiction: War of the Rich Frog, Part 6
Story Point: The Crane will bestow a favor upon
the Dragon, transporting rice to their provinces.
Card: Favor to the Dragon
Story Point: The Dragon will bestow
a favor upon the Scorpion
Card: Favor to the Scorpion
Story Point: The Lion will bestow
a favor upon the Shadowlands
Card: Favor to the Horde
Story Point: The Mantis will discover
a secret from the Lion
Fiction: Deception
Story Point: The Phoenix will discover
a secret from the Ratlings
Fiction: The Last Rememberer, Part I
Story Point: The Ratlings will discover
a secret from the Mantis
Fiction: Threat from Tomorrow
Story Point: The Scorpion will bestow
a favor upon the Crane

Story Point: The Shadowlands will bestow
a favor upon the Phoenix
Card: Blood and Steel
Story Point: The Unicorn will bestow
a favor upon the Crab



Toturi Tsudao is hailed among the Empire's noblest heroes. Said to be the reincarnation of Lady Sun, her courage and honor shone as brilliantly as Amaterasu. Though she perished in the depths of the Shadowlands, her sacrifice ensured the future of the Empire. In life, Tsudao wore a Golden Obi that had been possessed by Amaterasu herself. When she died, the obi was believed to have been destroyed.

But such things are not so easily destroyed. Lady Sun's obi still remains intact, lost deep in the Shadowlands but uncorrupted and still holds a bit of Tsudao's spirit. Discovering this truth, the new Sun God, Yakamo, has demanded that the Obi be retrieved. A new character from the faction played by the winner of this tournament will receive a vision of this lost artifact and venture deep into the Shadowlands to win it back. If the winner's deck is tainted or corrupted, the hero will become Tainted during his journey, but the Obi will remain pure.

Once retrieved, the winner may decide to whom the Obi will be given, and that individual will inherit a portion of Lady Sun's wisdom and strength. The winner need not choose someone from the clan he is playing, but the Obi will be given by a member of his faction - and thus the recipient will owe a powerful favor in return.


Top of Clan Prizes:

Enmities and alliances shift by the moment in Rokugan, and one must always be prepared to shift with them. The top ranking player of each faction in this tournament will make a decision that will determine the course of future events. Beginning with the highest ranking top-of clan player, each of these players may choose one faction other than their own. They may then decide whether they wish to bestow a favor upon that clan (a favor which of course must be repaid) or learn a secret that might be used to gain a political or military against them. Each faction, once chosen, may not be chosen by another. Choose carefully, as these choices will pave the way for future conflicts, as well as future peace.


Date: December 2nd - 5th
Place: Anaheim, California
Website: http://www.gencon.com/
Gencon Socal Challenge Booth: Heart of Winter
Top 2: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
Crab
Ratling
Jared Devlin-Scherer
Dan Cramer
Story Point: A member of the Tortoise clan will marry into the Crab.
Fiction: Duty, Like A Mountain


Many alliances are made at the Winter Court, and though most are brokered between Great Clans, the Minor Clans are not without their influence there. The winner of this Challenge Booth will select one of the currently existing Minor Clans (Badger Clan, Bat Clan, Dragonfly Clan, Fox Clan, Hare Clan, Monkey Clan, Ox Clan, Sparrow Clan, or Tortoise Clan) and select an unmarried, unbetrothed member of their own faction (consult the Story Team at the event to determine if a character is eligible for marriage). A member of this Minor Clan will marry this individual and take their family name.


Date: December 2nd - 5th
Place: Anaheim, California
Website: http://www.gencon.com/
The Mad Ronin
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Ratling
Scorpion
Ratling
Scorpion
Jon Meertens
Thomas Delbosc
Andrew Bennett
Martin Friedrich
Story Point: The Nezumi will help to restore the Mad Ronin's sanity.
Story Point: The Mad Ronin will rejoin the Scorpion Clan.
Fiction: Brink of Madness
Card: Bayushi Kageki


The peasants of Rokugan sometimes whisper of a strange samurai, a bizarre individual that they know only as the Mad Ronin. He wanders alone, eyes tormented by the things he has seen, walking in a daze and mumbling tales of men long dead, of places long forgotten. He seems to have little connection to the present, except when the innocent are threatened. When the need arises for a hero, the Mad Ronin's vision becomes focused, his sword arm strong and swift. Those who owe their lives to the Mad Ronin honor him above all others, but also pity him, for his madness inevitably returns.

The faction played by the winner of this tournament shall discover the truth behind this strange hero's madness, and help restore his sanity. They will discover the Mad Ronin's clan of origin (the highest placing player using the Mad Ronin in their deck). He will return to that clan and be numbered among that clan's greatest heroes.

Note: If the highest placing player using the Mad Ronin is a Nezumi player, he will instead be revealed to have been an ally of the Nezumi.


Date: November 27th
Place: Sydney, Australia
The Perfect Gift
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Phoenix
Dragon
Crane
Phoenix
Nik Vincent
Jenny Langley
Scott Pagliaroni

Story Point: The Phoenix will bestow a favored gift upon the Emperor
Fiction: The Gift


With the Emperor's wedding at hand, samurai from across the Empire have flocked to the capital to bestow their gifts upon this union. Each of the Clan Champions have offered their gifts to the Righteous Emperor, but the greatest gift shall come from a most unexpected source.

A hero from the faction played by the winner of this tournament shall bestow a gift upon Toturi Naseru that he favors above all others. He will in turn be granted the favors and rewards of Toturi III. The winner of this story prize is also invited to consult with the Story Team on the exact nature of this gift, and help them determine the ultimate result.


Date: November 20th
Place: Evanston, Illinois
Website: http://l5r.docangst.com/storyline/2/
A Legion Reborn
Story Effects:
Story Point: A member of the Unicorn clan will lead the Legion.
Story Point: The Legion will serve the Emperor, Toturi III
Fiction: A Legion Reborn


"Sensei?"

Ikoma Ryushi looked up from the scroll he was writing. It was unusual for his students to interrupt during the midst of an exercise. In fact, it was almost unheard of. Still, he had been blessed with students who appreciated the gravity of their training, and who worked tirelessly to recopy old works, preserving their wisdom for a new generation. "What is it, Hisaki?"

The student placed a scroll before Ryushi. "I was working on this account of the aftermath of the Clan War," he explained, "and I found an incomplete reference to something called the Legion of Two Thousand." He looked embarressed. "I want to enter an annotation, but..."

Ryushi smiled. "You have never heard of the Legion of Two Thousand?" The boy denied it, and the sensei continued. "The Legion was created after Toturi I took the throne." He rose and stood before the class. "It allowed him to honor those ronin followers who were inappropriate for duty in Otosan Uchi, and it provided a means for Toturi to protect his Empire from unforseen threats."

Another student raised her hand. "Sensei, did Toturi not consider the Great Clans adequate protection?"

"Toturi knew all too well that men are flawed creatures," Ryushi answered. "When the last Hantei fell ill upon the throne, the clans went to war with one another, and failed to notice the Shadowlands' predations until it was almost too late. Toturi created the Legion to travel the Empire and find threats that others missed."

"Such a small unit," Hisaki observed. "It almost seems ineffective."

"Never question the Emperor's wisdom," Ryushi cautioned the students. "And never question the power of even a single samurai who acts with conviction. Seven samurai destroyed Fu Leng. Four defeated Daigotsu." He smiled. "Imagine the power of two thousand."



Decades ago, Toturi created the Legion of Two Thousand to patrol his Empire. For years, the Legion did exactly that, combating bandits, Yobanjin raiders, pirates, smugglers, and all who would undermine the Emperor's law. When the Clans marched on Volturnum, the Legion aided the Crab in defending the Wall. When the Yobanjin tribes attacked the Phoenix, the Legion held their ground until Toturi Tsudao and the First Legion could arrive to assume command. With Toturi's death, however, the Legion fragmented, scattering to the four winds to pursue their individual goals.

Now, the Emperor finds his rule challenged by usurpurs known as the Gozoku. Each day he can call fewer samurai his allies, and the Shogun's power increases, while the Empire suffers. It is time for the Legion of Two Thousand to make themselves known in the Empire once more.

A samurai from the faction with the most wins in this tournament will assume command of the Legion of Two Thousand, reuniting them from every corner of Rokugan. In addition, each winner may vote whether the new commander serves the Emperor, leading his men in a desparate attempt to free their one true lord despite the Shogun's occupation of Toshi Ranbo, or if the Legion serves the Gozoku, offering false promises to an Empire that longs to know if their Emperor still watches over them.


Date: November 15 - January 31
European Championship: Fate of the Grand Master
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Top of Clan:








































Crane
Scorpion
Crab
Crane
Crab:



Crane:



Dragon:



Lion:



Mantis:



Nezumi:



Phoenix:



Scorpion:




Shadowlands:



Unicorn:



Dimas Miura
Angel Barado
David Defranoux
Keith Owens
David Defranoux



Dimas Miura



Joe Weston



Dan Tibbles



Hans De Moel



Simon Slater



Sandor Marosfalvi



Angel Barado




Jonathan Durst



Pablo Rojo



Story Point: Naka Tokei will remain pure.
Fiction: Fate of the Grand Master
[Imperial Herald v2 #17]

Story Point: Hida Ichiro will train with the Unicorn.
Fiction: Duty, Like A Mountain
Card: Hida Students

Story Point: Doji Domotai will marry a Lion.
Fiction: Seeds of Revolution
Fiction: Dawn of Lotus: The Crane

Story Point: Akodo Ieshige will study with the Dragon.
Fiction: Seeds of Revolution
Card: Togashi Ieshige (Experienced)

Story Point: The Lion will claim a city from the Crane.
Fiction: Seeds of Revolution


Story Point: The Mantis will discover a Crane artifact.
Fiction: Test of the Topaz Champion
Card: Masahigi's Blade

Story Point: The Dragon will come to respect the Nezumi.
Fiction: Broken Shinbone
Card: Broken Shinbone Warren
Card: Ratling Truthseeker
Story Point: The Elemental Masters will train a Lion shugenja.
Fiction: Immortal
Fiction: Finding the Balance
Card: Kitsu Ineko
Story Point: Ide Tang and Shinjo Nakaga
will be revealed to be Shosuro actors.
Fiction: Brink of Madness
Card: Shosuro Nakaga (Experienced Shinjo Nakaga)

Story Point: A Lion city will be corrupted by the Lost.
Fiction: Seeds of Revolution


Story Point: The khan's bride is a
former member of the Lion Clan.
Card: Moto Rumiko



Naka Tokei, Grand Master of the Elements, has seen both the darkest pits of Jigoku and the shining plains of the Celestial Heavens. These experiences have affected Tokei deeply, both granting him powerful wisdom and planting the seeds of madness deep in his soul. When he returned to the mortal realm, another came with him - the boy now known as Asahina Nizomi. One of these two, Nizomi and Tokei, is destined to become the embodiment of all the evil Tokei has seen. The other is destined to embody all that is good in the Celestial Order.

But even Tokei does not know whose destiny is whose. The faction played by the winner of this tournament shall play an instrumental role in Tokei's fate, but will not necessarily decide that fate. The highest placing player who uses the Naka Tokei card in their deck will determine what course Tokei's destiny will take. If their deck is pure, then Tokei will also remain pure. If their deck is corrupted, then Tokei will fall to corruption.

Naturally if the winner has Tokei in his deck, then it will fall to them to determine both portions of this prize.

Top of Clan Prizes:

For the Crab: Select any Great Clan other than the Crab. Hida Kuon's son, Ichiro, will be sent to learn the fighting techniques of this clan to complement his Crab bushi training.

For the Crane: Select any Great Clan other than the Crane. Doji Kurohito's daughter, Domotai, will marry a member of this clan.

For the Dragon: Select any Great Clan other than the Dragon. Togashi Satsu will invite a member of this clan to study at the High House of Light.

For the Lion: Select any Great Clan other than the Lion. The Lion will claim a city in the lands of this clan.

For the Mantis: Select any clan other than the Mantis. Yoritomo Kumiko will discover a priceless and renowned artifact once owned by this clan, long ago lost at sea.

For the Phoenix: Select any clan other than the Phoenix. A member of this clan will be trained by one of the Elemental Masters.

For the Ratling: Traditionally, only the Crab have accepted the Nezumi as equals. Select any Great Clan other than the Crab. This clan will also come to accept and respect the Nezumi.

For the Scorpion: Select any Great Clan other than the Scorpion. An existing character from that clan will be revealed (to the fans, not to Rokugan) to have been a Shosuro actor for the last several years.

For the Shadowlands: Select any Great Clan. A city within the lands of this Great Clan will be revealed to have been corrupted by Daigotsu's disciples.

For the Unicorn: Select any clan other than the Unicorn. The Khan's bride will be revealed to be a former member of that clan.


Date: November 12th-14th
Place: Frankfurt, Germany
Website: http://l5r-ec.momb.net/
European Championship Challenge Booth: Jade & Steel
Top 2: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
Shadowlands
Scorpion
Ryan Carter
Ole Krieger
Story Point: The jade vein will be destroyed.
Fiction: Duty, Like A Mountain


Ichiro Jinzaburo sat his pack down heavily on the low table and slumped down onto the cushions with an exhausted sigh. He took the offered cup of sake with a grateful nod and downed it in one gulp. He slammed the cup down and seemed to glance around for the first time since walking in the door. "Forgive my poor manners, Kihongo-sama," he said apologetically. "I fear the repeated trips to and from Toshi Ranbo are somewhat taxing."

The elderly Ichiro Kihongo waved the comment away absently. "We should count our blessings that the Lion's position on the eastern border remains unthreatened," he said bitterly. "If they should lose ground on that front, we will be unable to move in and out of the city."

"At least I would be able to rest then," Jinzaburo mused. Seeing Kihongo's fierce stare, he bowed his head apologetically and changed the subject. "The Tortoise have secured allies in all the minor clans. It seems Taigen's plan to form a new alliance will bear fruit." He paused for a moment. "His clan's alliance with the Dragon seems to be serving them well," he added cautiously.

"I know what you would suggest," Kihongo returned. "You know we cannot."

"I know the vow you made to Tashime-sama," Jinazburo said quietly. "And I believe you know as I do that if he could have foreseen what would happen, he never would have requested such a vow."

"But he did," Kihongo insisted. "I will not dishonor the greatest sensei the Badger Clan has ever known by betraying my word."

Jinzaburo glanced around, then leaned forward. "In our homeland in the mountains there is a deposit of jade larger than any that has been found in Rokugan in over thirty years," he said quietly. "We have kept it secret so that it might fund the Badger Clan when we return to our rightful place among the clans. Only we cannot return, because we have nothing to bring new blood into our failing ranks. We have nothing to offer those who might be our allies. We have nothing. Nothing at all." He sat back for a moment. "I know the burden this secret has caused you, old friend. Your daughter will take your place as our Champion one day soon. Would you wish that burden upon her?"

Kihongo's lips were pursed. "Tashime-sama."

"What will become of our sensei's spirit when there are no Badger left to honor his memory?" Jinzaburo pressed. "What will become of all our ancestors?"

And to that, Kihongo had no answer.



The Badger Clan has rested on the brink of extinction since the days before the Clan War. Their lands were ravaged by the same murderous oni that slaughtered their daimyo and the majority of their subjects. In the time since then, the surviving Badger have desperately struggled to marshal the resources they need to return home and exploit their greatest secret: a rich vein of jade deep within the northern mountains. With their current numbers, however, they are incapable of either protecting such a resource or mining it. And so they have waited for a chance.

Now that time has come. The new alliance of minor clans have turned the eyes of many among the Great Clans to their smaller cousins, and the Badger have finally decided to reveal their secret in hopes of securing both allies and the means to restore their lands. The two players with the most victories in the Challenge Booth will face one another in a final duel, and the victor's faction will forge an alliance with the Badger, gaining precious jade in return for their support. If the Nezumi are victorious in this challenge, then a tribe of the Ratlings will join with the Badger and aid them in their struggle to rebuild. Should the Shadowlands emerge victorious, however, the jade will be destroyed forever, extinguishing yet one more light in the ever-dimmer Empire of Rokugan.


Date: November 12th-14th
Place: Frankfurt, Germany
Website: http://l5r-ec.momb.net/
Master of Destiny
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crane [Tainted]
Crab
Crab
Dragon
Kevin Walsh
Eoin Burke
Fergal Fanning
Richard Mascarenas
Story Point: The new passage will be discovered in Crane lands.
Fiction: Flight From Darkness


"The Legion of the Dead and the Legion of Blood have come to realize the true purpose behind their battle - to determine the shape of a new Spirit Realm. None can say what final form this realm will truly take - it will be decided by the actions of those souls who battle within it.

Yet all Spirit Realms inevitably form connections to the mortal realm, and now that the power of Oblivion's Gate is once more exhausted, a new passage must exist somewhere. A member of the faction played by the winner of this tournament will discover a passage to the Realm of Thwarted destiny within his clan's homelands. This hero will be the first mortal to enter this realm and discover the mysteries that lay in wait there."


Date: October 23rd-25th
Place: Gaelcon, Dublin, Ireland
The Broken Tiger
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Dragon
Mantis
Scorpion
Crane
Greg Wong
Leif Steiestol
Garret Dashney
Jerred Moore
Story Point: A Kolat agent will defect to the Dragon
and they will gain important information.
Fiction: Broken Tiger
Card: Hoshi Kaelung (Experienced Kaelung)


Almost since the Empire was founded, the secret conspiracy known as the Kolat has plotted its downfall. Their power is not often seen, but their influence is everywhere. For those who serve the Kolat, there is one rule above all - none may escape the Kolat and survive.

Until today.

A high ranking Tiger Sect agent of the Kolat, calling himself Broken Tiger, has become disenchanted with the edicts of his masters and seeks to escape their command. The faction played by a winner of this tournament will determine Broken Tiger's fate. The hero may choose to save this agent, granting him fealty within their clan and gaining important information on Kolat objectives. Alternately, the winner may choose to punish this rogue agent. A Kolat agent within the winner's faction will then discover this rogue agent's activity, and he will be killed.

If the Shadowlands win, the rogue agent will join either Daigotsu or Iuchiban (winner's choice) if the winner does not decide Broken Tiger must die. If the Ratlings win, the Nezumi will still either harbor or slay Broken Tiger, but in the latter case it will be due to Kolat manipulation of the Nezumi rather than by an actual Ratling Kolat agent.

Due to a previous Unicorn story prize, the Unicorn Clan is protected from further infiltration by the Kolat for this story arc. Thus if the winner chooses to kill the Kolat agent, this action will be performed by an agent within the Unicorn whose affiliation with the Kolat predates the previous prize (though he may not have yet been revealed as a Kolat).


Date: October 16th
Place: Saskatoon, SK
Blind Fury
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crane
Dragon
Unicorn [Corrupt]
Scorpion [Tainted]
James Lippens
Lee Masheter
Andy Tate
Chris D'Agostino
Note: James Lippens conceded the story prize
to 2nd place Lee Masheter.
Story Point: Sanzo will get a shrine in the Dragon lands.
Fiction: Fury
Card: Seiden Sanzo


Not all heroes meet glorious ends.

Once, long ago, there was a hero named Sanzo. After losing his village and family to the Shadowlands, he began a path of hatred and revenge. Along the way, he helped those he came across, never asking for any reward or recognition. His only reward was that others might not suffer as he did, and when he was gone few remembered his name.

Few facts are known about Sanzo's end, only that he took up the Bloodsword, Ambition, and under its influence he mortally wounded Emperor Toturi I. Regaining some measure of control, Sanzo fled the scene and wandered Rokugan as a madman until his death.

Though his cursed remains were put on display in Gisei Toshi, little is known about Sanzo's death.

The faction played by the winner of this tournament shall learn the truth. A tale will be told (in a weekly fiction) about Sanzo's final exploits in the lands ruled by the winner. The truth shall be known at last, and a shrine to Sanzo's memory will be placed within the winner's territory.


Date: November 4th
Place: Detroit, MI
Flee the Darkness
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crane
Dragon
Crab
Ratling [Corrupt]
James Lippens
Zhi Liao
Chris Batson
Dave Lenok
Story Point: Daidoji Uji from
A Thousand Years of Darkness will enter
mainstream Rokugan.
Fiction: Flight From Darkness
Card: Daidoji Uji (Experienced 3)


On the Day of Thunder, seven samurai faced an evil of limitless power and, against all odds, triumphed. The safety of Rokugan was insured for another thousand years, and these heroes were hailed as the Seven Thunders. Things happened this way in the Rokugan we know, but through the hazy shadows of dream other reflections of Rokugan can be found. In one, the Seven Thunders failed and Fu Leng came to dominate the Empire for one thousand years of darkness. Many great heroes died, and darkness fell across the land.

Now, one soul from this twisted reflection of Rokugan has found a way to step forward into the Empire we know. A personality from the One Thousand Years of Darkness promo set (chosen by the Story Team) will become Experienced and appear in canon Rokugan. This personality will hail from the faction played by the winner of this tournament. If the winner's deck is Tainted or corrupt, the soul who comes through will have dark designs on Rokugan. If the winner's deck is pure, the soul who arrives will become a hero in this strange and unfamiliar Empire where heroes did not fail.

Date: October 30th
Place: Feeding Hills, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.koteis.com/
Gencon UK 2004: Destiny of the Dragon
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crab [Tainted]
Scorpion
Crane
Crab
Salman Barakat
Richie McAlley
Gary Whittle
Eoin Burke
Story Point: Yozo and Musaboru will destroy each other.
Story Point: The Crab will recieve the dragon Yozo's power.
Fiction: Destiny of the Dragon
Card: Hiruma Hitaken


Once there was a bold shugenja named Yozo, a hero of the Clan Wars.

At the end of his career he retired to a life of contemplation and took a new name, Musaboru. After years of service, he was made the abbot of a small monastery in the Crane lands. His life was idyllic, and he was content. His happiness was short-lived, however, for during the War of Spirits his order became rife with corruption and self-serving wickedness, using honest donations of the peasants to fund the Steel Chrysanthemum's mercenary legions. Struggling against this worldliness for years, Musaboru's mind finally snapped, and in a fit of rage he summoned an oni to share his name. The demon gleefully embodied Musaboru's righteous anger, destroying many corrupt temples in its fury. Musaboru came to his senses when the oni destroyed an entire monastery merely for allowing a copy of the Tao to become smeared with mud. Overcome with grief, he banished the oni to Jigoku and took his own life.

When Fu Leng warred with the heavens, Musaboru no Oni was among his forces. The ravenous creature consumed a number of minor Fortunes, its power growing with each kill. Unfortunately for the demon, the spirit of Musaboru never quite succumbed to the darkness.

The monk's grief combined with the unquiet essence of the gods he had slain and acted to fill the void left behind in the Celestial Heavens. From the oni's power was born a new creature: the Fortune, Yozo.

Both Yozo and Musaboru no Oni are unique among their kinds.

The demon embodies Musaboru's rage, but carries a tiny spark of righteousness within it. The dragon embodies Musaboru's piety, but still carries a hint of cynical bitterness. The two cannot continue to co-exist, for the presence of the other is an unbearable agony.

The two entities have arrived in Ningen-do, and will face one another for the first and last time in the realm of mortals. But the mortal world is an unpredictable place, and their destinies are not yet written. A mortal samurai shall stand in the midst of their struggle and tip the scales in favor of one or the other. In doing so, the samurai shall gain some measure of power and wisdom, and one or the other shall be forever destroyed.


The top-placing player of each individual faction in this tournament shall cast one vote to determine who shall emerge victorious: the Fortune Yozo or the demon Musaboru. The faction played by the winner shall provide the hero who becomes embroiled within the tale. If the winning deck is corrupt or Tainted, and the demon is victorious, it shall become a True Oni Lord. If a pure deck wins and the dragon is victorious, Yozo shall become a true dragon.

In any other event, the dragon and demon shall destroy one another, though the winner (as determined by the vote) shall still grant its powers to this mortal hero.



Date: October 14th-17th
Place: Somerset, UK
Website: http://www.horsemenevents.com/
A Samurai's Redemption
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Dragon
Crab
Scorpion
Phoenix
David Fairbanks
Scott Rixson
Ian Cameron
Jeremy Bloyd
Story Point: Hitomi Kobai will be purified.
Fiction: Redemption
Card: Hitomi Kobai (Experienced)



There is no clan in Rokugan that has not been touched by the foul seduction of the Shadowlands Taint. Each clan can name heroes that have fallen to its foul caress, once shining examples that fell to the power of darkness. The faction that wins this tournament will redeem the soul of a fallen hero of their clan, as noted on the following list. This hero will forever turn his or her back on the Shadowlands and return to his clan at full strength, a beacon of light against the darkness. Such redemption, however, does not come easily. This reward is offered only if the winner's deck is pure. Should the winner's deck be tainted (any Shadowlands or maho cards) or corrupt (four or more Shadowlands or maho cards or the Dark Heart of the Empire Wind), their success will instead damn this hero forever, granting them the powers of an akutenshi, an unstoppable engine of corruption.

Should the Shadowlands win, they are free to choose any of the following heroes from this list to become an akutenshi.

Crab - Hida Amoro
Crane - Daidoji Megumi
Dragon - Hitomi Kobai
Lion - Matsu Satomi
Mantis - Tsuruchi Hiro
Phoenix - Isawa Nodotai
Ratling - Mat'chek (will not become an akutenshi, but will instead gain a corrupt artifact of incredible power)
Scorpion - Soshi Bantaro
Unicorn - Moto Sada


Date: October 9th
Place: Des Moines, Iowa
The Path of Enlightenment: The Trial of Fire
Story Effects:
Fiction: Blue Skies
Story Point: Kakita Tsuken has gained
ownership of the Book of Fire
Card: Kakita Tsuken (Experienced Keeper of Fire)


The books are hidden, the die cast. The Emperor presents to his subjects a new challenge, a new engagement to help them forget the pain and suffering Iuchiban has unleashed upon them. Who will find the hidden Books of the Elements? Who will learn their secrets? Who will overcome the challenges that protect them and keep them safe?

But the Emperor and Shinsei's descendant know the truth: there are no secrets within the book that a properly prepared soul cannot discover through simple contemplation. The secrets of the Books are gained through the quest, not the reward. Only those who truly possess an enlightened soul can discover them, and in that soul the Empire will find guidance and protection.

The clan that receives the most wins in this global storyline tournament will produce a member who possesses the proper philosophy necessary to recover the Book of Fire, third of the Books of the Elements. This noble soul will already have taken the first steps along the path towards enlightenment and will bear the title Keeper of Fire.

The Trial of Fire is simple: the warrior who can defeat a thousand enemies in a single stroke shall keep the Book of Fire.

Will you accept this challenge?


Dates: October - November
The Emerald Edict
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Crab
Dragon [Tainted]
Crab [Corrupt]
Scorpion
David Defranoux
Gael Schmidt-Cleach
Maxence Muller
Laurent Lepvrier
Note: The top placing Crab conceded the story prize to the second place Dragon.
Story Point: Mirumoto Narumi will learn the identity and location
of two Bloodspeakers and will join the Emerald magistrates.
Fiction: Emerald and Jade


The Edict of the Emperor has been issued - Rokugan will no longer suffer Bloodspeakers to live even within its darkest shadows. Agents of Toturi III scour the cities of the Empire, while the Wolf and some of the most powerful shugenja in Rokugan deliver the judgement of the Celestial Heavens whenever the traitors are found. But with the might of the Clans diverted to their own interests, even these powerful forces cannot carry out the wishes of the Steel Throne. It will fall to two heroes to renew the courage of the Emperor's agents and make an example of a Bloodspeaker who thought themselves hidden safely.

The winner of the Valence tournament will have a samurai from his faction learn the identities and location of two Bloodspeakers. The winner of the Kansas City tournament will have a shugenja from his faction strike down the Bloodspeakers in the name of the Empire and for the will of the Celestial Heavens. Both heroes will be sponsored to the Emerald and Jade magistrates, respectively, and become a focal point for the crusade against blood magic in the Empire. If the Nezumi win either prize, they will not be named a Magistrate but instead become a special aide to either Yasuki Hachi or Asahina Sekawa for the same purpose. The identities of the two hunted Bloodspeakers will be determined by the faction of the second place finisher at each tournament (should a Nezumi take second place, a ratling who has pledged to aid Daigotsu or the Shadowlands will instead be destroyed).

If the Shadowlands win either prize, the would-be hero will be chosen from the faction finishing second and instead killed in the battle by a Bloodspeaker from his own faction, should the victory be dedicated to Iuchiban. A Shadowlands winner that supports Daigotsu will instead lead a hero from the second place winner's faction to a Bloodspeaker and ensure they are both destroyed in the conflict. Should the Shadowlands take both victories, the Emperor's campaign against the Bloodspeakers will suffer a terrible setback just as it is beginning.



Date: September 25th
Place: Valence, France
The Jade Edict
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crab [Corrupt]
Crab
Crab
Dragon
Ben Standefer
Kit Falbo
Scott Rickson
Lucas Twyman
Story Point: Kuni Yaruko will strike down the Bloodspeakers
and be appointed to the Jade Magistrates.
Fiction: Emerald and Jade



The Edict of the Emperor has been issued - Rokugan will no longer suffer Bloodspeakers to live even within its darkest shadows. Agents of Toturi III scour the cities of the Empire, while the Wolf and some of the most powerful shugenja in Rokugan deliver the judgement of the Celestial Heavens whenever the traitors are found. But with the might of the Clans diverted to their own interests, even these powerful forces cannot carry out the wishes of the Steel Throne. It will fall to two heroes to renew the courage of the Emperor's agents and make an example of a Bloodspeaker who thought themselves hidden safely.

The winner of the Valence tournament will have a samurai from his faction learn the identities and location of two Bloodspeakers. The winner of the Kansas City tournament will have a shugenja from his faction strike down the Bloodspeakers in the name of the Empire and for the will of the Celestial Heavens. Both heroes will be sponsored to the Emerald and Jade magistrates, respectively, and become a focal point for the crusade against blood magic in the Empire. If the Nezumi win either prize, they will not be named a Magistrate but instead become a special aide to either Yasuki Hachi or Asahina Sekawa for the same purpose. The identities of the two hunted Bloodspeakers will be determined by the faction of the second place finisher at each tournament (should a Nezumi take second place, a ratling who has pledged to aid Daigotsu or the Shadowlands will instead be destroyed).

If the Shadowlands win either prize, the would-be hero will be chosen from the faction finishing second and instead killed in the battle by a Bloodspeaker from his own faction, should the victory be dedicated to Iuchiban. A Shadowlands winner that supports Daigotsu will instead lead a hero from the second place winner's faction to a Bloodspeaker and ensure they are both destroyed in the conflict. Should the Shadowlands take both victories, the Emperor's campaign against the Bloodspeakers will suffer a terrible setback just as it is beginning.



Date: September 25th
Place: Kansas City, MO
Legacy of Darkness
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
Lion
Dragon
Unicorn [Corrupt]
Crab [Corrupt]
Dan Tibbles
Hayes Hunter
Andy Tate
Josh Kolb
Story Point: The Lion shall hear the
story of this hero.
Fiction: Legacy of the Kami



Decades ago, the Empire faced a threat the likes of which it had never seen. The Lying Darkness, a malevolent entity wielding the power of nothingness, began a quest that would culminate with nothing less than unmaking the universe. The Lying Darkness' power was insidious, seeping into the hearts of Rokugan's most loyal samurai and turning them against their kin. Even those sworn to fight against it sometimes succumbed to its power, and the names of many great heroes were wiped away by shadow.

This is the tale of one of those heroes. In a remote castle well hidden from the rest of the Empire, there dwelled a noble samurai. He was neither a powerful shugenja nor a mighty general, merely a minor lord whose duty it was to oversee a local crystal mine. As the silent war began, he watched his friends and family fall to the Lying Darkness' influence, intent on destroying all those that protected the mine. The samurai knew that something must be done. All his life, he had found peace crafting works of beauty from fine crystal, and in crystal he found some measure of protection against the Darkness. As the enemy came for him, he fashioned a powerful weapon.

Though the Darkness destroyed him, the grief, love, and memory he had poured into the crystal remained. His last creation lies in his empty castle, waiting to be found. It echoes with memory, with the tale of his lost friends and comrades. Whoever finds it shall learn this tale, and come into possession of the lost hero's finest creation.



And what better time to find something such as this, when the Bloodspeakers prey upon human weakness to turn friends against each other even as the Darkness once did? The faction played by the winner of this tournament shall learn this lost hero's name and hear his story. His final creation shall become a powerful tool in their hands. Should the Shadowlands or Ratling win, the item will be crafted by a member of the highest ranking Great Clan, but shall fall into the winning faction's hands. In the case of a Shadowlands winner, the victor may determine whether Iuchiban or Daigotsu recovers this prize.


Date: September 3-6
Place: Dragon*Con, Atlanta, GA
Website: http://www.dragoncon.org/
Wrath of the Emperor Boxtopper Tourney: Temple of the General
Story Effects:
Story Point: The Temple to Toku will be built in Scorpion lands.
Fiction: The Underhand


Doji Tanitsu hesitated for a moment. He knew in his heart that this must be done, but he had never committed an act so presumptuous, so foolish, or so blasphemous. And yet his intentions were honorable, if that even mattered. The Seppun guardsmen understood his intent, else they would never have permitted him entrance despite his station in the Emperor s court. Tanitsu's hand strayed to the simple netsuke adorning his obi, a radiant sun forged in purest gold. The Emperor had given it to him as a reminder of a woman they had both loved. Tanitsu let it give him strength, then lifted his hand and rapped softly on the wooden frame surrounding the door to the Emperor s private chambers

There was a moment of silence, then "Enter."

Tanitsu hesitated again for the briefest of moments. No one was ever invited into the Emperor s private chambers. It was unprecedented. But to disobey would be unthinkable, and far more blasphemous than even what he had done thus far. With a silent prayer to his ancestors, Tanitsu slid the door open and obeyed his Emperor s command.

Toturi III sat at his writing desk, pen and paper lying undisturbed before him. His normally resplendent garments were nowhere to be seen, as the Emperor was clad in far simpler clothes than Tanitsu had ever seen. His hair was not gathered in the traditional topknot, but flowed openly down his back. His eyes had a distant, thoughtful quality. "Tanitsu," he said calmly. "Why have you disturbed me?"

Tanitsu knelt in an instant. "I beg your forgiveness, Son of Heaven. My motives are foolish. I have no right to intrude upon your private meditations."

"I would be spared the customary self-deprecating behavior so many seem eager to indulge in my presence, at least for today," the Emperor said flatly. "I know full well you would never have approached my chambers unless the matter were grave."

Tanitsu nodded. "It has been seven days, my lord. There are many urgent matters that require your attention. Matters that may affect the entire Empire."

"And are there no others to attend these matters?" Naseru asked.

"I do not believe there are," Tanitsu said honestly. "You have always insisted that I serve to remind you what is best for the Empire in the event that you should forget . I do not believe you ever shall, but I must obey your commands. Even at a time such as this."

A wry smile appeared on the Emperor's face. "Ever the diplomat, Tanitsu. You are right, of course." He rose from where he sat at the desk. "I had intended to return to matters of state, but I have had much to ponder these past seven days. My life has been an eventful one& many things have changed. Yet some things I had always assumed would not. Some things I assumed would be forever. I suppose I am a fool for believing so."

Tanitsu looked down, "The death of Toku-sama is a great loss to us all," he offered, "but more so to you, my lord."

Naseru nodded. "My father once told me that there was no person in Rokugan more honest and more true than the General. As a young man, I could not fathom why a peasant was permitted to survive after assuming the station of a samurai." He smiled again. "That was before I met him, of course. He was the truest hero I have known. Those who call him samurai should presume themselves lucky to share that title with the General, who deserved it most."

"He would be honored by your grief. "

"No," the Emperor corrected with sudden intensity. "He would be shamed that I have forsaken other matters to mourn his loss. And I shall do so no longer. Summon my servants to attend me, Tanitsu, and prepare the most pressing matters for me to deal with within the hour."

"At once, my Emperor."

"And summon my scribes," the Emperor added as Tanitsu turned to leave. "I would pen a letter to my Champions, that we might all remember our heroes."



Toku, lord of the Monkey Clan, is dead. The great hero of a thousand battles gave his life that the Black Scrolls might be kept out of the hands of Iuchiban the Bloodspeaker. His loss was mourned by many, including the Emperor, whose father Toku served loyally for years.

The Emperor has decreed that a grand temple will be constructed to honor Toku s memory. It shall be among the most splendid in all of Rokugan, recognizing the general s glorious life and virtuous example. Even those who looked with disdain upon Toku s lineage cannot deny the enormity of his contribution to history. Anyone whose lands hosted such a grand temple would be visited by thousands of loyal devotees each year.

The winning faction of this tournament shall have Shinden Toku constructed within their clan s lands, bringing honor and glory both to the general and the clan in the process. If the Shadowlands is victorious, then the temple shall be constructed in the lands of the second place winner, but will be infiltrated by the Bloodspeakers even as it is built. If the Nezumi win, the temple will be constructed in unaligned lands and guarded over by a tribe of Nezumi who wish to honor Toku's kindness to them over the years.


Gencon Indy 2004: The Resurrection
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:

4th:
Top of Clan:
































Crab [Corrupt]
Crab
Scorpion

Dragon
Crab:


Crane:



Dragon:


Lion:


Mantis:



Phoenix:


Ratling:


Scorpion:


Shadowlands:



Unicorn:


Salman Barakat
Jason Aken
Eugene Earnshaw
-Whyte
Lucas Twyman
Salman Barakat


Heraclio Sanchez



Lucas Twyman


Alex Jones


Josh Gaydos



Randy Slavin


Peter Leiher


Eugene Earnshaw
-Whyte

Paul Ashman



Markus Horton


Story Point: Hida Kisada will be resurrected
Fiction: The Resurrection
Fiction: Persistance

Card: Hida Kisada (Experienced)
Story Point: The Crab will aid Daigotsu.
Fiction: Guile

Story Point: Doji Reju will lead the Empress' Guard.
Fiction: Guardians
Card: Doji Reju (Experienced 3)

Story Point: A member of the Lion clan will join the Hitomi.
Card: Togashi Ieshige (Experienced Akodo Ieshige)

Story Point: The Lion will seek allies among the Crane.
Fiction: Violence Behind Courtliness

Story Point: The Mantis will attempt to free Rama Singh.
Fiction: Fires of Toshi Ranbo II
Card: Rama Singh

Story Point: Doji Akiko will lead the Elemental Council.
Card: Doji Akiko (Experienced)

Story Point: A member of the Naga will assist the Ratlings.
Card: Zamalash

Story Point: The Scorpion will attempt to blackmail Moto Chagatai.
Fiction: War of the Rich Frog: Epilogue

Story Point: Daigotsu will find the tomb of Fu Leng first.
Fiction: A Demon's Coin
Card: Fu Leng's Tomb (Experienced)

Story Point: The Unicorn will seek allies among the Crab.




The winner of this tournament will select a character from either the Legion of the Dead or the Legion of Blood. This character will return to life by a means yet to be revealed in the story. This hero will return during a critical point in Iuchiban's campaign of conquest. If this character is a member of the Legion of the Dead, his appearance will turn the tide against the Bloodspeaker, forcing Iuchiban to retreat in the face of Rokugan's might. If this character is a member of the Legion of Blood, his appearance will bolster and strengthen his master, spelling even darker times for the Empire.


Participation Vote

At Gencon Indy 2004, every player present will be allowed to vote. Just as the main story prize of the event will give players a chance to decide which character to bring back from the dead, this event will give players a chance to mark a character for death. A list of important characters from every faction will be presented at the tournament. Players will be allowed to choose one character from this list whom they want to save from Iuchiban's wrath. The character with the least amount of votes will die in the fiction read at the end of the tournament.


Top of Clan Prizes

For the Crab: The Crab are currently under an uneasy truce with the former Dark Lord, and thus far Daigotsu has been a man of his word in not attacking the Crab's interests. Should the Crab build upon this truce and form a cautious alliance with Daigotsu against Iuchiban?
A) Yes. Iuchiban must be destroyed at any cost. We will use Daigotsu's strength to aid us and when Iuchiban is defeated the Dark Lord will be dealt with as well.
B) No. The Crab keep their vows so we will maintain our truce, but we will not aid the Dark Lord directly.
C) No. WE will neither aid the Dark Lord nor maintain our truce. Let all the enemies of the Crab challenge us if they dare.

For the Crane: The Crane Clan has already won the right to stand as the Empress' Guard. Which of the following individuals will serve as the leader of that Guard?
A) Kakita Korihime
B) Doji Jotaro
C) Doji Reju
D) Daidoji Kikaze

For the Dragon: Those who take the Hitomi name are not always of the Dragon Clan, and on occasion a samurai of another clan will be chosen by Lady Moon and awaken with the tattoos and power of a kikage zumi. Select a Great or Minor Clan; an existing personality (selected by the Story Team) will awaken to this new power and take the Hitomi name.
Lion

For the Lion: In the City of the Rich Frog, the Lion Clan fight for their honor and their land. Surrounded by the armies of the Unicorn and Dragon, uncertain on which side the Scorpion Clan stands, they must seek allies elsewhere. Where should the Lion seek their allies?
A) From the Crab
B) From the Mantis
C) From the Crane
D) From the Phoenix
E) The Lion need no allies.

For the Mantis: Rama Singh, ambassador of the Ivory Kingdoms, languishes under house arrest after the fires in Toshi Ranbo though he was clearly not involved. The Mantis Clan is outraged at the treatment of such a distinguished ambassador merely because he is gaijin, and are eager to rebuild their clan's once strong relations with the Ivory Kingdoms. The Mantis have determined that they must aid Singh, but how will they do so?
A) Send agents to rescue Singh from the IMperial City and smuggle him out of the Empire to his homelands.
B) Dispatch their own ambassador to Singh's homelands to inform the Maharaja of what has happened to his servant.

For the Phoenix: With Iwasa Taeruko dead, another must now step forward to lead the Elemental Council of Masters. Who should this new leader be?
A. Isawa Nakamuro
B. Shiba Ningen
C. Isawa Ochiai
D. Doji Akiko

For the Nezumi: The Nezumi hail from a time before the Empire, when civilizations of strange and ancient creatures ruled the land that would be Rokugan. A member of one of those ancient races will soon appear, aiding the Nezumi in their struggle against the Tomorrow Chieftan, and gain the Name and status of a true Nezumi. From what race will this hero hail?
A) The kenku
B) The kitsu
C) The free ogres
D) The Naga

For the Scorpion: The Scorpion Champion should obtain blackmail information on the following individual:
A) Matsu Nimuro
B) Doji Kurohito
C) Moto Chagatai
D) Kaneka

For the Shadowlands: The Forgotten Tomb of Fu Leng lies deep in the Shadowlands. Within, it holds untold power, the corrupt essence of the Dark God itself. Such would be a great prize for the one who found it, and already the competing factions of the Shadowlands seek to claim this tomb. Who should find it?
A. The BLoodspeakers
B. The Daigotsu Family

For the Unicorn: In the City of the Rich Frog, the Unicorn fight to regain what was once theirs. Surrounded by the armies of the Lion and the Dragon, uncertain on which side the Scorpion Clan stands, they must seek allies elsewhere. Where should the Unicorn seek their allies?
A) From the Crab
B) From the Mantis
C) From the Crane
D) From the Phoenix
E) The Unicorn need no allies.


Date: August 19th-20th
Place: Indianapolis, Indiana
Website: http://www.gencon.com/indyhome.aspx?file=indy
Gencon Indy Challenge Booth: The Minor Clans
Top 2: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
Dragon
Crab
Alec Nickalls
Salman Barakat
Fiction: Rise of the Tortoise
Card: Tortoise Ambassador


The winner of this event gains a dual prize - the chance to name which Minor Clan will represent the assembled Minor Clans in the Imperial Courts, and a chance to forge a potent alliance between that clan and the faction he is playing. (In the case of a Ratlin or Shadowlands win, the Minor Clan that wins will join the court not because of that faction's political influence, but due to more subtle aid from that faction. An alliance between that faction and the Minor Clan will still result.)
The following Minor Clans are legal choices for this event: Badger, Dragonfly, Fox, Hare, Monkey, Ox, Sparrow, Tortoise, or Bat.


Date: August 19th-20th
Place: Indianapolis, Indiana
Website: http://www.gencon.com/indyhome.aspx?file=indy
The Path of Enlightenment: The Trial of Earth
Story Effects:
Story Point: Kaiu Sugimoto of the Crab is the Keeper of Earth
Fiction: Duty, Like A Mountain
Card: Kaiu Sugimoto (Experienced Keeper of Earth)


Over ten centuries ago, a simple mortal - Shinsei - defeated the most powerful evil Rokugan had ever known. Since that time, Shinsei's Tao has guided generations of noble samurai on the path to enlightenment. Now, Shinsei's descendant offers the heroes of Rokugan the chance to prove their wisdom equal to his honorable ancestor's. The Book of Earth is the second of these trials, granting its Keeper an unbreakable spirit and incredible strength of will; the Keeper of Earth shall never bow in defeat.

The Trial of Earth is simple: the smith who can craft a helmet strong enough to shatter one thousand blades shall keep the Book.

Will you accept this challenge?


Dates: August - September
Gencon Barcelona: The Hidden Heart of Iuchiban
Top 4: Story Effects:
1
2
3
4
Lion
Crane
Crab
Phoenix [Tainted]
Julio Alfonso Pinero
Dimas Miura
Arturo Lin
Frank Lopez
Story Point: Lion will discover the Hidden Heart of Iuchiban
Card: The Hidden Heart of Iuchiban (Experienced)


All who dwell in Rokugan now know the name Iuchiban. The Rain of Blood, the attack on Gisei Toshi, and countless other atrocities have been attributed to the name of the First Bloodspeaker. It is said that he is immortal, that through a mix of gaijin magic and Rokugani blood sorcery he has made himself impossible to kill, able to move from body to body like a formless spirit, and incomparably powerful. None before have been able to destroy Iuchiban, only contain him.

Since his most recent escape, the First Bloodspeaker has sworn he will not be imprisoned again. Iuchi Katamari, the Doomseeker, knows more about Iuchiban's past than most. He knows that Iuchiban draws most of his power from the ancient rituals of the khadi magicians. Removing his heart and magically sealing it in an iron box at the time of his death, Iuchiban has rendered himself impossible to be killed, yet via further use of blood magic he has gained power and immunities unlike any other khadi. Though most khadi can be destroyed if their heart is discovered and destroyed, it is unknown if even this would truly stop Iuchiban. And yet one must start somewhere, and the hunt for Iuchiban's heart begins. The truth has been hidden well, and yet the clues remain.

The winner of this tournament will discover the location of Iuchiban's heart.

Whether they will be able to use this information to eventually defeat the Bloodspeaker or secure his immortality remains to be seen...


Date: July 3rd-4th
Place: Barcelona, Spain
Website: http://www.inet2u.com/barnalliance/Gencon/GcDefaulting.html
The Test of the Amethyst Champion
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Scorpion [Corrupt]
Dragon
Shadowlands
Phoenix
Bryan Reese
Lucas Twyman
Scott Pagliaroni
Brandon Flores
Story Point: The Scorpion refused the crown,
the Dragon accepted it.
Card: Crown of the Amethyst Champion


Otomo Taneji had come to despise rain. In his travels as an official representative of the Imperial Court, he spent much of his time traveling. At times, his business was most urgent, demanding that he arrive in distant provinces on a schedule that the swiftest traveler would be hard pressed to meet even under the best of circumstances. When the summer rains came, they ravaged the roads, transforming them into impassable rivers of mud. Taneji sat in the shabby roadside tavern, scowling out the window with an impatient expression. There was little he could do but wait.

"Otomo-sama, you seem distressed," came from a whispery voice beside him.

Taneji looked toward the source of the voice sharply. A weedy little old man wearing the tattered brown kimono and many jingling satchels of a peddler stood beside his table, a faint smile painted on his wrinkled features. He carried a small package under one arm, wrapped in plain brown paper. The old man bowed deeply and gestured to the empty seat, asking if he might sit. Normally, Taneji would have ignored the demands of such an uncouth peasant but he had no one else to talk to and something about the man's manner intrigued him. Taneji bowed his head to the peddler and gestured at the empty seat. The old man seated himself gingerly, placing his package on the table between them.

"You would be distressed if you were in my position," Taneji said. My business is most urgent."

"I sympathize," the peddler replied. "Yet I would not worry overmuch. There will be plenty of new crises to deal with tomorrow, I think. Is that not always the way?"

"You mock my duties?" Taneji asked sharply.

"I speak from experience," the peddler said with a sigh. "You are a servant of the Emperor. It is your duty to mend relations between clans who would eagerly destroy one another, given the chance. I, too, have spent my life working to mend that which inevitably destroys itself again. Look at this." The peddler gingerly opened the parcel that lay before him. Within, resting on a bed of silk, he revealed a silver crown, obviously of gaijin design. A gem of brilliant purple rested upon its crest.

"Beautiful," Taneji said, taken aback by the way the gem caught the inn's poor light.

"Dangerous," the old peddler said. "This crown carries a powerful blessing and a powerful curse. He who carries it shall be granted wealth, glory, and prosperity, so long as it is kept safe. Should it be stolen, a powerful curse follows in its wake. I have seen this crown save lives I have seen it destroy them."

"Where did it come from?" Taneji asked.
"Difficult to say," the peddler replied. "The first man I know who bore it called himself the Amethyst Champion, so much did he love this treasure."

Taneji looked at the old peddler sharply. "This belonged to a samurai?" he asked. "How, then, did it come to be in your possession?"

"You wish to hear the tale?" the peddler asked, a mad gleam in his eye.

Taneji hesitated for the briefest instant, uncertain if he wished to know the truth.

"Tell me," he said.


The Crown of the Amethyst Champion is an artifact with a curious and twisted past. It always brings great glory, but also great tragedy. A member of the faction played by the winner of this tournament shall find itself at the center of this story. In an upcoming Weekly Fiction, a tale of the past shall be revealed, and the Crown's involvement in that story shall also be revealed. At the end of this tale, the Crown shall be returned to the faction that once lost it. The winner may decide to keep the crown and its unpredictable blessings, or give it freely to the next highest placing faction, bestowing its blessings and curses upon them. This player, in turn, may pass the crown on to the next highest placing faction, until one has accepted. Once a player of a specific faction has turned down the crown, no other member of that faction may accept it. In any case the original story of the crown's history will still involve the faction played by the winning player.


Date: June 23rd
Place: Columbus, OH
Website: http://www.comictown.net/tournament/
Magecon Koku Auction
Results Story Effects:
Winners:
Nate Summerside
Card: Kaiu Natsukiwa

Attendees of MageCon South will be able to bid koku in order to name a personality to be printed in an upcoming set.


Place: MageCon South, South Sioux City, Nebraska
Koteis 2004: Legion of the Dead
Story Effects:
Fiction: Legions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11


# Region Date Person Chosen 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
1 Bellevue, WA [152 Players] 5/16/2004 Yoritomo to the Legion of the Dead Ian Ryan (Lion) Conrad Jackson (Dragon - C) Josh Gaydos (Mantis) Joey Franz (Lion)
2 Burlingame, CA [204 Players] 5/30/2004 The First Oni to the Legion of Blood Brian Reese (Shadowlands) Aien Elmi (Scorpion) Aaron Wolk (Phoenix) Andrew Ornatov (Shadowlands)
3 Las Vegas, NV [138 Players] 5/2/2004 Isawa Tsuke to the Legion of the Dead Lucas Twyman (Dragon) Art Reid (Phoenix) Bill O'Brien (Lion) Lee Masheter (Crane - C)
4 Arlington, TX [171 Players] 6/13/2004 Yakamo no Oni to the Legion of the Dead Matt Kreedweis (Crab - C) Kit Falbo (Unicorn - C) Scott Rickson (Crab - T) Eric Kroier (Scorpion)
5 South Sioux City, NE [97 Players] 4/24/2004 Isawa Norikazu to the Legion of the Dead Ian Cameron (Phoenix) Rick Cline (Scorpion) Paul Roberts (Phoenix) Eric Swanson (Phoenix)
6 Collinsville, IL [159 Players] 6/6/2004 Iuchi Karasu to the Legion of the Dead Scott Hadsall (Scorpion) Tom Kirchgesner (Unicorn) Conrad Jackson (Dragon - C) Eric Kroier (Scorpion)
7 Somerset, NJ [99 Players] 4/24/2004 Daidoji Uji to the Legion of the Dead Dan Tibbles (Lion) James Lippens (Crane) Alexander Wood (Phoenix - C) Conrad Jackson (Lion)
8 Griffith, IN [194 Players] 5/22/2004 Isawa Tadaka to the Legion of the Dead Matt Loomis (Dragon) Nick Vincent (Phoenix) James Lippens (Crane) Jason Aken (Crab)
9 Feeding Hills, MA [203 Players] 4/17/2004 Oni no Okura to the Legion of the Dead Dan Tibbles (Lion) Pete O'Conner (Lion) David La (Unicorn) Robin Low (Dragon)
10 Thunder Bay, ON [43 Players] 6/5/2004 Togashi Yoshi to the Legion of the Dead Eric Gardiner (Dragon) James Cawlishaw (Scorpion) Steve Simionitis (Shadowlands) Ben Benson (Ratling)
11 Antioch, TN [119 Players] 6/19/2004 Ryosei to the Legion of the Dead Jason Aken (Crab - C) Conrad Jackson (Mantis - C) Justin Monbarren (Shadowlands) Mike Gibbons (Dragon)
11.5 Pinellas Park, FL [67 Players] 5/30/2004 Asahina Dorai to the Legion of the Dead Randy Slaven (Lion) Brian Poole (Dragon) Kyle Wolfson (Crane) Jimmy Repine (Dragon)
12 Charlotte, NC [107 Players] 6/6/2004 Togashi Yokuni to the Legion of the Dead Barry Kunz (Dragon) Cody Smallwood (Phoenix - T) Hayes Hunter (Shadowlands) Chris Russel (Crane)
13 Eagle River, AK [23 Players] 5/30/2004 Hida Kisada to the Legion of the Dead William Czyzewski (Crab - C) Josh Bliss (Dragon) Rick Moeller (Crab) Hjal Nelson (Unicorn)
14 Calgary, AB [50 Players] 6/12/2004 Mirumoto Satsu to the Legion of the Dead Greg Wong (Dragon) Monty Lewis (Unicorn) Jeremy Holcomb (Crab) Thomas Yasman (Crab)
15 Saskatoon, SK [44 Players] 5/23/2004 Matsu Imura to the Legion of the Dead Jim O'Neil (Lion) Greg Wong (Dragon) Blaine Dobson (Shadowlands) Matt Cragg (Crane)
16 Paris, France [263 Players] 6/13/2004 Shiba Tsukune to the Legion of the Dead Alexandre Preau (Phoenix) Franck de Albuquerque (Shadowlands) Aymeric Guys (Crane - C) Guenael Dantin (Dragon)
17 Toulouse, France [174 Players] 5/16/2004 Otaku Kamoko to the Legion of the Dead Benjamin Pattou (Unicorn) Guerric Fritzen (Phoenix) Philippe Duchon (Lion) Chrostphe Cinq (Crane)
18 Nottingham, UK [111 Players] 6/6/2004 Hida Sukune to the Legion of the Dead Mark Wootton (Crane) Jin Tew (Crab) Angelos Triantafyllou (Unicorn - C) Keith Owens (Lion)
19 Madrid, Spain [235 Players] 6/27/2004 Doji Kuwanan to the Legion of the Dead Hector Arenas (Crane - T) Daniel Sales (Crab - C) Inaki Puigdollers (Phoenix) Alberto Romeralo (Mantis - T)
20 Nurenberg, Germany [182 Players] 6/27/2004 Hitomi Kazaq to the Legion of the Dead Faber van Kraanan (Dragon) Samuel Maury (Mantis) Maximilian Gehr (Shadowlands) Christian Endres (Dragon)
21 Bologna, Italy [60 Players] 5/9/2004 Hida Kuroda to the Legion of the Dead Damian Klopfer (Crab - C) Achim Kinsky (Phoenix) Robin Pailer (Dragon) Dominik Jastrzebski (Lion)
22 Athens, Greece[72 Players] 6/27/2004 Hida O-Ushi to the Legion of the Dead Alex Aggelou (Crab - C) George Chrysomallidis (Unicorn - C) Chris Oldgeorge (Scorpion - T) Michael Iakovides (Dragon)
23 Muntinlupa City, Phillipines [47 Players] 6/27/2004 Hida Yasamura to the Legion of the Dead Mike Rabanal (Crab) Conci de Ocampo (Lion) Allan Dee (Crane) Angelo Eusebio, Jr (Unicorn)
24 Newmarket, Queensland [44 Players] 6/20/2004 Tchickchuk to the Legion of the Dead Andrew Bennett (Dragon) Jon Meertens (Ratling - T) Charlotte Ashley (Crab - C) Matt Hasting (Shadowlands)
25 South Caufield, Victoria [71 Players] 5/2/2004 Ikoma Ujiaki to the Legion of the Dead Thomas Delbosc (Lion - C) Chris Heywood (Phoenix) Andrew Bennett (Lion) Morgan Elliot (Crane)
26 Cork, Ireland [63 Players] 6/19/2004 Kuni Utagu to the Legion of the Dead Salman Barakat (Crab - C) Mike Brown (Mantis) Rob Curtin (Scorpion) Colin Eager (Mantis)
27 Ter Aar, Netherlands [91 Players] 5/30/2004 Bayushi Shoju to the Legion of the Dead Thomas Scheer (Scorpion - C) David Defranoux (Unicorn) Alexandre Preau (Phoenix) Joe MacDonnell (Unicorn - C)
28 Krakow, Poland [75 Players] 5/2/2004 Doji Satsume to the Legion of the Dead Tomasz Kowalewski (Crane) Sebastian Galezka (Crane) Marek Ustymenko (Unicorn) Robin Pailer (Dragon)
29 Guatemala City, Guatemala [42 Players] 6/27/2004 Hida Yakamo to the Legion of the Dead I-ting Huang (Crab - C) Alvaro Prieto (Unicorn - C) Ching-Chuan Huang (Crane) Rene Cum (Crab - C)
30 Sao Paulo, Brazil [71 Players] 5/29/2004 Doji Yosai to the Legion of the Dead Adrien Vesperini (Crane) Carlos Eduardo Gralha (Crane) Gabriel Toledo (Phoenix) Francisco de Assis (Phoenix)
34 Los Angeles, CA [86 Players] 5/9/2004 Matsu Daoquan to the Legion of the Dead Tristan Muntsinger (Lion) Chad Ferrell (Lion) Brian Reese (Dragon) David Metz (Crane)
35 Santiago, Chile [42 Players] 5/30/2004 Hitomi to the Legion of the Dead Felipe Araneda (Dragon) Luciano Suarez (Shadowlands) Francisco Araneda (Crane) Vitor Bosshard (Phoenix)
36 Singapore [43 Players] 6/20/2004 Oni no Akuma to the Legion of Blood Lim Seng Huat (Shadowlands) Lee Yi Rong (Crane) See Yong Ren (Phoenix) Christopher Chiu (Lion)
37 Toronto, ON [113 Players] 5/30/2004 Bayushi Dairu to the Legion of the Dead Eugene Earnshaw-Whyte (Scorpion - C) Chris D'Agostino (Mantis) Kraig Theriault (Dragon - C) Chris Yau (Mantis)
- Origins 6/27/2004 Kyojin to the Legion of Blood Conner Alexander (Shadowlands) Nik Vincent (Phoenix) Crane Crab
- Origins: Open 6/27/2004 The False Hoturi to the Legion of the Dead Art Reid (Phoenix - C) Bryan Reese (Monk) Ian Black (Toturi's Army) Simon Lai (Dragon)


Clan 1st Place (Pure/Tainted/Corrupt) 2nd Place 3rd Place 4th Place Total Points
Dragon 7 (7/0/0) 4 (3/0/1) 4 (2/0/2) 5 (5/0/0) 53 (46/0/7)
Lion 7 (6/0/1) 2 (2/0/0) 3 (3/0/0) 4 (4/0/0) 44 (40/0/4)
Phoenix 2 (2/0/0) 6 (5/1/0) 5 (4/0/1) 3 (3/0/0) 39 (34/3/2)
Crane 3 (3/0/0) 3 (3/0/0) 4 (3/0/1) 6 (5/0/1) 35 (32/0/3)
Crab 5 (0/0/5) 1 (1/0/0) 4 (2/1/1) 2 (2/0/0) 33 (9/2/22)
Scorpion 3 (1/0/2) 3 (3/0/0) 1 (1/0/0) 2 (2/0/0) 25 (17/0/8)
Unicorn 1 (1/0/0) 4 (3/0/1) 3 (2/0/1) 2 (1/0/1) 24 (18/0/6)
Shadowlands 1 (0/0/1) 2 (0/0/2) 4 (0/0/4) 2 (0/0/2) 20 (0/0/20)
Mantis - 3 (2/0/1) 1 (1/0/0) 2 (2/0/0) 13 (10/0/3)
Ratling - 1 (0/1/0) - 1 (1/0/0) 4 (1/3/0)
Corrupt 9 5 10 4 75
Tainted 0 2 1 0 8
Pure 20 22 18 25 207
Note: Koteis with dates that are bold or italicized have not yet been added to the points totals.


Of all the Spirit Realms, few are so highly honored as Yomi. It is the Realm of the Blessed Ancestors, the place where great heroes pass after a life well lived. It is this place where the great heroes dwell. It is here that they continue their battle against evil and dishonor as members of the Blessed Guard.

Once before, the Blessed Guard rode forth into the mortal realm. At Ryoshun's call they passed through Oblivion's Gate and became mortal. With Toturi himself at their head, they struck down the minions of the Lying Darkness and helped restore the Empire to order. Sadly, the return of so many caused great chaos and strife in the Empire, as the Spirit Wars shook Rokugan to its core.

Now the return of Iuchiban has thrown the Spirit Realms into disharmony. The soldiers of the Blessed Guard know that they cannot stand idle, but neither do they wish to harm the Empire as they once did. Even if they had the desire to return, Oblivion's Gate is broken - the dead can no longer walk as the living.

But the spirits of heroes are not without power. The Blessed Guard have selected the greatest among their number to form the Legion of the Dead. These mighty heroes will return to Rokugan to guide their descendants, to help them find the courage and strength to fight the Bloodspeakers.

Each player who wins a Kotei during the 2004 Kotei season will gain the opportunity to select a hero to join the Legion of the Dead. Each winner can select any personality who died as a member of their faction. This person will become a member of the Legion of the Dead.

Any winning Shadowlands player will be given the right to choose a dead member of their faction to join the Legion of Blood, an army of wicked spirits set to prevent the Legion of the Dead from coming to Rokugan's aid. These two forces will confront one another across the fields of the Spirit Realms, vying for the souls of the Rokugani people.

At the end of the Kotei season a series of fictions will describe the battle between these chosen souls, and detail their fates.

If the number of corrupted and Shadowlands Kotei wins is greater than the number of pure and Tainted Kotei wins, the Legion of the Dead will be forced back into Yomi, and Iuchiban's power will increase dramatically. If the number of pure wins are greater, the Legion of the Dead's guidance will help the Great Clans in rooting out many hidden Bloodspeaker agents and strike a powerful blow against the Heartless.


Notes on characters who are legal choices
Origins 2004: The Fate of Rezan
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Shadowlands
Phoenix
Crane
Crab
Conner Alexander
Nik Vincent


Story Point: Rezan will be corrupted.
Story Point: Kyojin will join the Legion of Blood
Fiction: The Path of the Dead
Fiction: Legions, Part X
Card: Rezan (Experienced)


The winner of this tournament, as in every Kotei, will be given the chance to select a deceased character to join the Legion of the Dead. In addition to this prize, the winner of Origins will also get an additional prize. Though the Legion of the Dead prepares to dispatch the greatest of their number to the land of the living, this is not the first time the ancestors have returned to life. The ronin warrior-poet Rezan, legendary hero of the Empire, entered Rokugan decades ago through Oblivion's Gate and remains in the mortal world. Unknown even to himself, Rezan still bears a connection to the realms of the dead that will factor heavily into the events of this year's Gencon results. The winner of Origins will claim Rezan's fealty. Should the Shadowlands win, this great hero will be lost to darkness.


Date: June 24th-27th
Place: Colombus, Ohio
Website: http://www.originsgames.com/
Origins Challenge Booth: One Last Chance
Winner: Story Effects:
Dragon
Lucas Twyman
Story Point: Sanzo will join the Legion of the Dead
Fiction: Legions, Part X


The winner of this event will get the chance to nominate a final hero to join the Legion of the Dead - a hero who would otherwise not be a legal choice. These heroes either died outside the clan, were allied with but never officially a member of the clan, never had a card before, or were corrupted by the Shadowlands but never killed - their selection will allow them to take their place among the blessed ancestors (or the Legion of Blood, as the case may be). The hero selected will depend upon the clan that player represents, as follows:

Crab - Yasuki Nokatsu

Crane - Kakita Toshimoko

Dragon - Sanzo

Lion - Akodo Kage

Mantis - Kaimetsu-Uo

Phoenix - Asako Sagoten

Ratling - Hiruma Kazuma

Scorpion - Shosuro Nishiko

Shadowlands - Basher

Unicorn - Moto Kara


Date: June 24th-27th
Place: Colombus, Ohio
Website: http://www.originsgames.com/
Kotei Fantasy League 2004: The Shamesword
Winner: Story Effects:
James Lippens
Story Point: Doji Jotaro will be the bearer of the Blade of Hubris.
Card: Blade of Hubris


Years ago, the tattooed madman Kokujin forged the Shameswords, successors to the Bloodswords, on the Anvil of Despair. Ten of these swords were crafted, and distributed throughout the Empire. Two of these have shown up, in the hands of Hiruma Todori and Asako Tsuruko. The winner of the 2004 Kotei Fantasy League will get to choose the clan (and Personality, pending Story Team approval) of the bearer of a third blade - the Blade of Hubris.

About The Kotei Fantasy League:

Each week of Kotei season, people pick 4 people for each of that week's Koteis. If one or more of their picks makes top 4 at that kotei, they receive points based on the placement and number of participants:

1st Place - 3 times the number of participants
2nd Place - 2 times the number of participants
3rd/4th Place - 1 times the number of participants

The person with the most points scored over the entire Kotei season gets a Storyline result.


Website: http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Fantasyl5r/
The Path of Enlightenment: The Trial of Air
Story Effects:
Fiction: Legacy of Fire
Story Point: Mirumoto Masae has gained
ownership of the Book of Air.
Card: Mirumoto Masae (Experienced Keeper of Air)


Over ten centuries ago, a simple mortal - Shinsei - defeated the most powerful evil Rokugan had ever known. Since that time, Shinsei's Tao has guided generations of noble samurai on the path to enlightenment. Now, Shinsei's descendant offers the heroes of Rokugan the chance to prove their wisdom equal to his honorable ancestor's. The Book of Air is the first of these trials, containing a wealth of mystical and arcane knowledge. To the Keeper of Air, no secret is buried too deep.

The Trial of Air is simple: the scholar who can contain one thousand years of learning on a single parchment shall keep the Book.

Will you accept this challenge?


Dates: June - July
Hunter of the Wolf
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crab [Corrupt]
Crab [Corrupt]
Lion
Unicorn
Eoin Burke
Salman Barakat


Card: Kuni Okichi


Toturi III rested one hand on the windowsill, a troubled look in his eye as he gazed out over the Imperial City. Though the eta laborers had worked diligently to restore Toshi Ranbo's former glory, many of the buildings still showed a faint tinge of red.

"How long must I wait?" the Emperor said in a low voice. "How long will it be until my Empire is clean again?"

"Soon, Naseru," the Wolf replied. Isawa Sezaru, the Emperor's brother, was among the few men in Rokugan who called the Emperor by his true name. He was said to be the strongest shugenja in the Empire, unrivaled in the domain of magic as his brother's political power was unquestioned.

"My hunters have already destroyed four Bloodspeaker cells and have discovered one more."

Naseru looked at his brother curiously. "Discovered, but not destroyed?" he replied.

"Not yet," Sezaru answered. "The Bloodspeakers are a curious organization. Their cells are only loosely networked. The leader of each group knows very little about the larger organization, and they are notoriously resistant to interrogation. Yet a cunning and patient observer can stand to learn a great deal."

"Spies?" Naseru replied.
Sezaru nodded. "One."
"How?" Naseru asked. "Does your agent practice maho?"

Sezaru shook his head. "Not all Bloodspeakers are tsukai, only the leaders. My agent has found it extraordinarily easy to join the cult. Their requirements are quite lax, until one reaches the middle ranks. It is there that the true nature of the cult is revealed, and things become more dangerous."

"Perhaps too dangerous," Naseru replied. "The Empire asks much of its servants, but I cannot ask my samurai to risk their souls."

"We risk more if we do nothing," Sezaru said, holding his hands out helplessly.

"If we can find out how the cells communicate with one another, how they are organized, we can destroy Iuchiban's network at its heart."

"If you believe in this plan, I will allow it, Sezaru-san," the Emperor replied. "I only hope that your spy is exceptionally skilled."


Scattered throughout the Empire, hidden cells of Bloodspeaker cultists work to build the power of their heartless master. Isawa Sezaru and his shugenja hunt these traitorous individuals with ruthless precision, but many secrets cannot be discovered even in the light of the Wolf's burning flames. Sometimes, subtlety is required.

A new character from the faction played by the winner of this tournament will become Isawa Sezaru's spymaster, a daring and clever agent hiding in the heart of Iuchiban's cult. This character will appear as a personality card as well as have a starring role in a weekly fiction.

If the winner is a Shadowlands player, then the character will hail from the highest ranking non-Shadowlands faction, but will be a Shadowlands double-agent. In this case, the winner will be allowed to decide whether this agent owes his allegiance to Iuchiban (ferreting the Wolf false information), or secretly serves Daigotsu (supplying information to both the Wolf and the Fallen Dark Lord)

Date: April 24th
Place: Nottingham, UK
Clan Rivals: Ratling vs Shadowlands
Story Effects:
Fiction: No Tomorrow
Card: Suiteiru no Oni (Experienced)


Tr-ch'da crouched in the tangled weeds at the edge of the plateau, squinting in the greasy half-light. The Nezumi warrior's whiskers twitched with anticipation. He could hardly believe what he was seeing - a mighty city, like the cities of the humans, dominated the broken landscape. Even from this distance, Tr-ch'da could see that the walls and towers were engraved with the Nezumi language.

This was a Ratling city.

"You were right," whispered Dak-rik with some amazement. The little scout huddled close to the earth, brown eyes wide with wonder. "You think anyone still live-live there?" He looked up at his pack-chief hopefully.

"No," Tr-ch'da replied with certainty. "If fellow Nezumi were there, Tr-ch'da would smell them. Smell-smell nothing there but death and magic."

Dak-rik blinked nervously. "Maybe should run-run away, leave this place," he suggested. "Not tell tribe what we see?"

"No," Tr-ch'da said. "My dream led me here for a reason. There is power here. There is memory here. We must go there and see what we can find."

Dak-rik glanced up quickly, looking to the east. The smaller Nezumi's hackles rose softly. After several seconds, Tr-ch'da could see what his companion saw - a band of Obsidian Magistrates, galloping toward the ruins.

"Tainted samurai," Dak-rik squeaked pitifully. "Now I think we should run-run more than ever."

"No," Tr-ch'da said, his paws tightening on his spear. "We Nezumi are done running. All that we have left is memory. Shadowlands cannot have that too. Gather the tribe. Now is the time to fight."


***


Daigotsu Manobu ran the obsidian knife's glossy edge along the tip of his finger, bringing a drop of bright red to the surface. He smiled. "Perfect." He turned to where the battered, half-shredded Nezumi corpse lay stretched out on his red-stained table. "This one will make a perfect rug for my private study."

Just as the knife was about to touch the bloodied fur, Manobu sensed someone in the doorway. He scowled. How could he create art if he must tolerate interruption? "I said I was not to be disturbed," he growled.

"Forgive me, Manobu-sama," the Obsidian Magistrate said, "but I felt sure you would wish to see this."

"You did, did you?" Manobu asked menacingly. "Pray you were right."

The magistrate nodded. "The western patrol has reported finding a city three days ride from here. It seems to have risen from the barren earth, as the patrol in that same region last week found nothing."

Manobu's face twisted into a cruel grimace. "You interrupted me over another stinking troll ruin? You fool." He stepped forward, brandishing his obsidian blade.

The guard seemed unconcerned, and dropped something at Manobu's feet. Manobu glanced down to kick the object away, then froze. "Where did you find this?" he asked breathlessly after several moments.

"The patrols found it in the city, Manobu-sama."

Manobu picked up the ancient, twisted Nezumi skull. "This is hundreds of years old," he said, smelling it. "Do you mean to say..."

"The ruin appears to be an ancient Nezumi city, Manobu-sama."

Manobu's smile was genuine this time. "You did well to bring this to me," he marveled. "Prepare a scouting party," he ordered. "I will be investigating this matter personally."

"As you wish."



Before the Empire existed, the Nezumi ruled a vast kingdom. When Fu Leng fell, the kingdom was destroyed and the Shadowlands were born. Since that time, the scattered survivors of the Nezumi race have hidden between the cracks with only vague memories of their grand past.

Now, a vast city has been discovered in the Shadowlands. Scouts from the City of the Lost and the Crippled Bone Tribe have both discovered that this is a Nezumi city, a remnant of their dead kingdom. While the Obsidian Magistrates ride forth to conquer the city and take it for their own, the Nezumi prepare to fight fiercely for what is theirs.

Who will triumph?

You will decide.


Dates: April - May
Hidden City Boxtopper Tourney: Battle at Gisei Toshi
Story Effects:
Story Point: The Crab will safeguard artifacts from Gisei Toshi.
Fiction: Of Blood and Secrets


Isawa Nakamuro stood upon the walls of Gisei Toshi, looking out into the mountains with a patient frown. There was no fear in the Master of Air's eyes. There was no anger. There was no regret. There was only the sad certainty that he would not live to see another day. The Council had made their decision, and he had been outvoted. Better that Gisei Toshi be forgotten forever than the truth of its existence be revealed to the Empire. He looked down at the men and women who lived here, who had lived their entire lives here, never once glimpsing the Empire without so that the city would remain safe. The City of Sacrifice was an appropriate name for this place. The citizens here had given up everything for the Phoenix Clan& and would soon give up much more.

The Council had decided, and the decision had not been easy. One Master would stand upon the walls and hold the city against Iuchiban. One Master would do what must be done should the city fall. Nakamuro had volunteered. If the city's defenders where not strong enough, it would fall to Nakamuro to give his life to keep Gisei Toshi hidden.

Nakamuro closed his eyes and extended his senses outward, drawing upon his magic. His soul flew free, soaring on the mountain winds. He looked up at the stone walls surrounding the valley where Gisei Toshi was nested. One well placed spell would bring centuries of snow and ice tumbling down upon the City of Sacrifice. Perhaps even Iuchiban could not survive such a catastrophe. He only hoped it would not come to that.

He extended his senses further outward, until he could see the line of black dots that trudged their way through the mountains toward the Hidden City. An army of twisted undead, maniacal lost samurai, and ravening Bloodspeaker tsukai. An army of death. They outnumbered the defenders of Gisei Toshi six to one. They would show no mercy. Nakamuro's sadness deepened.

Then, his senses still spread across the mountains, the Master of Air noticed something else - a second army, marching just two days behind the first. Could it be? They rode forward with as great speed as they could muster. Even from here he could sense the honor and courage in their hearts. An army of heroes, riding forth to save Gisei Toshi. Phoenix and Dragon, riding side by side for the first time in generations. Imperial Legionnaires, bearing the proud standard of Toturi III. Eager Witch Hunters, their jade medallions shining in the sun. His concentration broken by the image, Nakamuro returned to his body with a start.

But how? How did they learn of the city? The Council did not tell them, of that he was certain. The others were to proud to surrender their secrets, even at such great cots.

The how was not important. These men and women had offered the City of Sacrifice a thread of hope. Nakamuro grasped it. Whispering words of magic he summoned a single white dove, sending it forth with a message for the army of heroes.

He only prayed that it would be enough.



The City of Sacrifice has fallen under siege by the Bloodspeaker Legions. The Phoenix muster their defenses, but the battle will be difficult. Against Iuchiban himself, even the great heroes may fall.

In the shadowed halls of Gisei Toshi, many magical artifacts lay hidden. Though Yajinden and Iuchiban intend to loot as many as they can, some may yet be denied them. A samurai from the faction that wins this tournament shall aid the Phoenix in defending many of the most heavily guarded vaults of the Gisei Toshi. As thanks, the Phoenix will grant the artifacts within that vault to that clan for safe keeping until Gisei Toshi can be restored a task that may take years.

If the Shadowlands win this tournament, they shall be given a choice whether to give their victory to Iuchiban or Daigotsu. Should Daigotsu triumph, a number of his spies will infiltrate the Hidden City while Iuchiban an the Phoenix fight, stealing several powerful artifacts to fuel the Dark Lord's quest for revenge.

Should Iuchiban triumph, the Bloodspeakers will level a curse upon Gisei Toshi, forcing the Phoenix Clan to fall and war among themselves over its remaining secrets.


Imperial Herald Vote: Bloodlust
Story Effects:
Story Point: The murderer will strike next in Ryoko Owari, the City of Lies.
Story Point: The murderer hails from the Great Clans.
Story Point: The murderer will be driven to murder by Madness.
Fiction: Blood Hunt

Bloodlust [Imperial Herald v2 #11]

1. Where will the murderer strike next?
A. Toshi Ranbo, the Imperial City
B. Ryoko Owari, the City of Lies
C. City of the Rich Frog, the City of War
D. Friendly Traveller Village

2. Where did this murderer come from?
A. A member of the Great Clans.
B. A ronin, driven mad by experiences on the wall.
C. A peasant, unhappy with his life under the samurai's rule.
D. A member of the Imperial Families, indulging in madness and using wealth and power to conceal his activities.
E. A gaijin, lost in the Empire and taking out his mad rage on its people.

3. What is the terrible secret behind the murderer's identity?
A. Madness. Sometimes, mankind needs no assistance to commit great evil. The murderer is an existing personality from one of the Great Clans, driven to commit these hideous crimes by a burning insanity that he struggles to conceal deep within the innermost regions of his soul.
B. Possession. Something utterly beyond the murderer's control drives him to sate dark, sinister urges. An item or being that the individual cannot control consumes him with its dark power, driving him to kill again and again, no matter the toll it takes on his honor.
C. Corruption. The murderer is lost to the Taint, though he may not yet realize it. The dark powers deep inside the Shadowlands reach out through their pawn, paralyzing entire villages with fear and weakening the Empire's precious unity.


Champions of Bushido
Top 4: Story Effects:
Gi (Honesty and Justice):
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Yu (Heroic Courage):
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Ji (Compassion):
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Meyo (Honor):
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Rei (Polite Courtesy):
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Makoto (Sincerity):
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Chugo (Duty):
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:

Lion
Phoenix
Crane
Crane

Lion
Phoenix
Dragon
Unicorn

Phoenix
Crane
Phoenix
Dragon

Phoenix
Phoenix [Corrupt]
Dragon [Tainted]
Lion

Scorpion
Crane
Shadowlands
Crab [Corrupt]

Scorpion
Phoenix
Unicorn
Scorpion

Shadowlands
Crab [Corrupt]
Crane
Phoenix

Miguel Angel Aja
Gustavo Caperan
Hector Arenas
David Campos

Dan Tibbles
Casey Bennett
Matt Lumas
Ken Yeung

Jean-Baptiste Laroche
Tomas Vittek
Alexandre Inard
Rob Bowman

Alexandre Preau
Alexandre Kill
Gael Schmidt-Cleach
Benjamin Kernel

Thomas Scheer
Alexandre Preau
Wolfram Sack
Ludovic Dargent

David Slater
James Donnithorne-Tait
Aaron Boyhan
Des Brennan

Dan Tibbles
Jason Kang
Brian Yoon
Peter Cossaboom
Fiction: Champions of Bushido 1 2 3
Story Point: Ikoma Fujimaro
will be the Champion of Gi
Card: Ikoma Fujimaro (Experienced)


Story Point: Matsu Masutaro
will be the Champion of Yu



Story Point: Shiba Danjuro
will be the Champion of Ji
Card: Shiba Danjuro (Experienced)


Story Point: Asako Katsuhito
will be the Champion of Meyo



Story Point: Bayushi Muhito
will be the Champion of Rei
Card: Bayushi Muhito (Experienced)


Story Point: Shosuro Maru
will be the Champion of Makoto
Card: Shosuro Maru (Experienced)


Story Point: Kakita Korihime
will be the Champion of Chugo
Card: Kakita Korihime (Experienced)



A plume of ominous black smoke rose over the craggy mountains. This was a quiet place, many days' from any cities of note. On any other day, the warning might have gone unseen. Today, a band of samurai in the green armor of Emerald Magistrates, led by the Emperor's herald, followed this lonely road back to Toshi Ranbo. With a swift gesture and a simple command, the samurai galloped toward the smoke. When they arrived, they found a tiny village. The temple at its center was crackling with flame.

"Bandits," Shoin shouted to his men, and they charged toward the city at a gallop.

When they arrived, there was no fighting in the village. Monks and farmers hurried from the temple to the nearby stream, carrying buckets of water. Corpses lay strewn about the roads, the battle obviously too recent for them to receive a proper burial. Miya Shoin shouted quick commands to his troops, turning their strength toward dousing the burning buildings. As he approached the temple he saw seven familiar kanji inscribed above its gates.

Honesty. Courage. Compassion. Courtesy. Honor. Sincerity. Duty. The seven virtues of bushido.

"What has happened here?" Shoin asked a passing monk.

"The village was attacked by bandits, sama," the monk said, keeping his head bowed respectfully as he spoke to the Imperial Herald.

"But you have dealt with them?" Shoin asked.

"No, sama," the monk replied. "The villagers here are not warriors, and my sect has taken strict vows against violence."

"Then how did you protect your village?" Shoin asked.

"Seven heroes," the monk said. "Each embodying one of the virtues that protect this temple." The monk studied Shoin carefully. "You are a shisha, a collector of legends and teller of tales. This is a tale worth hearing, sama."

"Then tell me this tale," Shoin replied, "and I shall make certain all the Empire remembers it."



Bushido is the code that governs the life of every samurai. Those who embody the seven virtues are remembered among the Empire's greatest heroes. This will be the tale of seven of those heroes.

The identities of these seven heroes will be determined by a series of seven tournaments. The faction played by each winner will determine a hero's identity. This will result in an Experienced version of an existing personality, naming them as one of the seven champions of bushido. Further, these seven characters will appear in a multi-part weekly fiction, telling the tale of their heroism.


Yu (Heroic Courage):
Date: March 27th
Place: Columbus, Ohio
Website: http://www.comictown.net/tournament/

Ji (Compassion):
Date: April 3rd
Place: Luxembourg
Website: http://webplaza.pt.lu/mulheims/torc04/default.htm

Meyo (Honor):
Date: April 17th
Place: Northern France
Website: http://www.rocambole.fr/HG/

Gi (Honesty and Justice):
Date: March 20th
Place: L5R Spanish Championships, Madrid, Spain

Rei (Polite Courtesy):
Date: September 2004
Place: Karlsruhe, Germany

Makoto (Sincerity):
Date: L-Con: September 11th, 2004
Place: Liverpool, UK

Chugo (Duty):
Date: September 11th, 2004
Place: Los Angeles, California
The Empress' Guard
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crane [Corrupt]
Crane
Crab
Unicorn
Mark Wooton
Ben Davies
Ian O'Brian
Bill Wycherley
Fiction: Guardians
Card: Doji Reju (Experienced 3)
Card: Hohiro


The new Empress is Lion, but now she needs a guard. The Empress' Guard will be made up of members of the winning clan. If the winner is corrupt, then a member of the winning clan will defect and become Shahai's yojimbo.
Date: March 13th
Place: Conpulsion, Edinburgh
Test of the Tiger
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Unicorn
Crab
Unicorn
Mantis
Kit Falbo
Matt Kreidweis
Molly Kilby
James Balthis
Fiction: Black Chrysanthemum
Story Point: The Unicorn refused Kolat assistance.
Story Point: Ray Nerpel, playing Shadowlands, accepted Kolat assistance


"In times of trouble, choose your allies wisely." - Akodo Kage

An army of Bloodspeakers gathers as has not been seen in centuries, composed of hidden blood sorcerers, former heroes who fell during the Rain of Blood, and the unburied dead. The clans turn against one another in civil war, each suspecting the motives and allegiances of the others. Servants of the Gozoku spread through the Imperial City, seeking to make the Emperor its pawn. In times such as these, some might say that no ally can be turned aside. Yet in these times, the Empire now finds itself with a rather curious ally.
The Kolat - shadow conspirators, spies, assassins, sinister masterminds.
For centuries they have waited, biding their time until their hidden goals might be accomplished. Yet many among the Ten Sects believe these goals have already been achieved, and that the status quo must be maintained. Others among the Kolat believe that the Toturi Dynasty is as much their enemy as the Hantei once was, but there are a few things upon which all Kolat agree - the Bloodspeakers represent everything they stand against, and whoever these Gozoku may be, they cannot be allowed to succeed where the Kolat have so often failed.
Of course, being the Kolat, they seek to aid Rokugan in their own unique way. Their agents have begun infiltrating the highest ranks of each of the Empire's strongest factions, seeking to use their influence to plant one of their Masters at it's heart.


The Story Prize

This story prize is unlike any other we've done before in L5R. The Kolat seek to gain advantage on each of the clans, searching for opportunity to place a new Master beside the Clan Champion. If you win this tournament, your clan will be the Kolat's first target. While this may sound like a rather dubious prize, in the end that is for you to decide, as to win this prize means you have discovered the Kolat's plot. You may choose to accept the Kolat's manipulations, gaining a powerful if unscrupulous ally, or you may retain your honor and stand against them as an enemy.
If you do choose to accept the Kolat's aid, a new Kolat Master will take his place beside the Champion of your clan.
If you choose to act against the Kolat, their attempts to infiltrate your faction will be halted, and your faction will remain free of further Kolat infiltration for the rest of the Diamond story arc, but they will also focus upon your clan as an enemy.
The prize will then pass to the next highest-placing player. They may choose to accept the new Kolat Master as one of their own, or pass the prize on again (though only the first place winner will receive the guarantee against all further Kolat infiltration if he tells the Kolat 'no'). Once a player has said 'no' in his faction's name, no other player of the same faction may say 'yes.' Once a player from a specific faction says 'no' the prize skips all other players of that faction until either a clan accepts the new Kolat Master or all ten factions have denied the Kolat's aid.
If a Shadowlands player accepts the Kolat's offer, then the Kolat will form a tenuous alliance with Daigotsu against Iuchiban, knowingly allowing a Tainted Master into their ranks for the first time in history. If a Shadowlands winner denies the Kolat's aid, then Iuchiban's spies discover the Kolat agents before they can safely contact the former Dark Lord.
If a Nezumi player accepts the Kolat's offer, then the Kolat will recognize the cunning intellect of the Ratlings - and a Nezumi will indeed become a Kolat Master.

Date: March 6th
Place: Overload-A-Con, Austin, Texas
Forgotten Lore
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Unicorn
Lion
Lion
Dragon
Francisco Briano
Gonzalo Rojas
Miguel Angel Ullivarri
Francisco Sepulveda
Fiction: Forgotten Lore
Story Point:Moto Chagatai and Daigotsu will both receive copies of Nakanu's Journals.
Card: Kuni Nakanu's Journals


Miya Shoin coughed as he stepped into the cavernous library, waving away the dust with one hand as he squinted into the shadows. Row upon row of tall wooden racks receded into the shadows, each stacked high with dust-covered scrolls. Though he knew many hours of painstaking work lay ahead, recording and restoring the scrolls, he could not help the giddy excitement that filled him at the discovery.
"How long has this been here, Yozo?" he asked, turning to the shaven-headed monk carried a torch beside him.
"Decades, sama," Yozo said softly.
"Why such sadness, my friend, this is a fantastic discovery," Shoin replied. "Think of the wisdom that a place such as this has locked away!"
Yozo bowed his head slightly. "This place was hidden for a reason," he said. "Decades ago, Yogo Junzo hunted the Brotherhood in a mad quest to destroy the descendant of Shinsei. He burned our libraries as he went, destroying our lore as he slaughtered our brothers. Many of our brothers valued their wisdom more than their life. This library survived the Clan War. The monks who once tended it were not so fortunate. Their entire sect perished. To you, this is a library, Shoin-sama. To my order, it is a tomb."
"I see," Shoin said solemnly. "I intended no disrespect."
Yozo nodded. "They Miya have ever been close friends with the Brotherhood. This is why we chose to reveal this to you. We hope that you might take what you find here, present it to the Imperial Libraries. Hopefully the sacrifice our brothers made may yet benefit the Empire."
"I will do my best," Shoin said. "The Clan Wars and War Against the Darkness wiped out many of our greatest archives. This is a rare and precious gift."
"Some of my brethren have already begun to search these scrolls," Yozo replied. "Already we have found this." The monk reached into the satchel at his side, offering the scroll to Shoin.
The Imperial Herald's eyes widened when he saw the title upon the scroll. "This cannot be," he said. "This book cannot exist."
"It can," the monk said, "and it does. Take it, please."
Shoin reached for the scroll with a trembling hand.

***

Rokugan is a land with a great tradition of written lore. Each clan has certain volumes of history and wisdom it holds dear, and each of these has been dutifully copied throughout the ages. As these volumes are copied, occasionally they change, until some copies hardly resemble the original. Even upon finding a familiar title, one never knows what new information it may contain.
As seekers of wisdom, the Brotherhood of Shinsei eagerly collects and archives such works. In one case, a great library was hidden away so that it would not be destroyed during the Clan War. Now that library has been found.
This library will be found in the territory of the highest placing Great Clan at this tournament. A lost edition of one of the following great literary works will be found in this library, and given to that clan's Champion. The specific volume that will be found depends on the faction of the winner. If the winner chooses the volume associated with the clan he is playing, his Champion alone receives a copy. The winner may choose one of the other books if he prefers, but if he does so then two copies will be found - one for his own Champion and one for the Champion of the clan that originally wrote it.
The book chosen will appear in a future set as a holding card that offers special abilities for the faction played by the winner (and the faction that wrote the book, if the winner chooses outside of his own faction).

Crab Clan - Kuni Mokuna's Journals, detailing the discoveries of the Empire's most prominent researcher in Shadowlands lore.

Crane -The Sword, a volume on the Crane style of iajutsu dueling written by Kakita himself.

Dragon -Niten, a treatise on swordsmanship and philosophy written by the Dragon Clan Thunder.

Lion -Leadership, a copy of the Empire's most treasured book of strategy and tactics, written by the clan's founder and greatest Champions.

Mantis - The Book of Osano-Wo, the untold story of the Thunderer's life, primarily his war against the trolls, written by his son Kaimetsu-uo.

Phoenix - The Tao of Shinsei, a lost volume of the Empire's philosophical foundation, copied from the work written by Shiba's own hand.

Ratling - Kazuma's Tale, a history of Hiruma Kazuma, the first Crab to establish bonds of friendship between human and Nezumi.

Scorpion -Lies, a treatise on manipulation, deceit, and treachery written by one of the most famous of all Scorpion samurai.

Shadowlands -Nakanu's Journals, volumes of maho and blood magic that Iuchiban himself used to begin his path to power. (A winner who receives this book may choose to give it to Iuchiban or Daigotsu.)

Unicorn - The Book of Sun Tao, a lost copy of the ronin general's finest work, written after he finally found the clan of the Ki-Rin in gaijin lands.


Date: February 28
Place: Santiago, Chile
Allies & Enemies
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Lion
Crane
Lion
Crane - JH
Stathis Antoniou
Fiz Farina
Tolis Koutsikos
Andreas Stavropoulos
Fiction: Daughter of Doji
Story Point:Matsu Atasuke and Doji Nagori will become close friends.
Fiction: Simple Economics

During war or peace, a samurai's soul is that of a warrior. Death is never far from their mind, for it is their duty to lay down their life in service to their lord at a moment's notice and without hesitation. Stress from the constant threat of combat affects all men differently, and only other samurai can truly understand such pressure.
Some find kindred spirits among the warriors of other clans. In the spirit of past heroes such as Akodo Toturi and Doji Hoturi, even those who stand against one another can find respect and camaraderie in the ranks of others. Mutual respect and admiration between samurai has formed the basis for many epic plays and tales of heroism.
Others find the stress overbearing, and lash out at all who might stand against their lord. Irrational hatred and enmity fill their soul, driving them to crush all that oppose them. History is filled with such infamous rivalries, even as the Splendid Emperor and his Shogun once stood at odds with one another.
Respect and hatred are the materials from which history's greatest tales are built. What new epics shall rise in this time of strife, to provide tomorrow's historians and playwrights with the stuff of legends?

The winner of the Allies & Enemies tournament shall name one currently living, non-unique, non-experienced personality from their faction. The second place player shall likewise name such a personality from his faction. The tournament winner shall then declare these two personalities to be either the staunchest of allies, or the most hated of enemies. This relationship and the causes thereof shall be explored in upcoming fiction and flavor text, and it may change the shape of the relationship between the two factions. If the first and second place players share the same faction, the first place winner may choose to name another faction from which the second place player may select a character.

Date: Feb 20-22
Place: Test of the Mouzaka Champion, Athens, Greece
Clan Rivals: Scorpion vs Unicorn
Story Effects:
Fiction: Guile
Card: Moto Hanzhi (Experienced)


Shosuro Omezo waited silently to be admitted to his lord's chamber. His anticipation was difficult to control. If what he suspected was true, then Tsimaru-sama would give him an assignment beyond the borders of Scorpion lands. It was the chance he had worked toward for almost two years now. Every mission he received, he had excelled at. He completed every objective. His loyalty and service were unquestionable. And now, after all this time, it was his chance for greatness.

"Enter, Omezo," came a voice from the next chamber. The young Scorpion rose and moved swiftly through the door to kneel at the base of Bayushi Tsimaru's dais. The Scorpion lord placed an empty teacup on a tray beside him and waved for the servant to take it away. "You are exactly on time, Omezo." He stared at the young ninja through his ornate porcelain mask. It was as if Omezo were conversing with the face of the moon. "The last few vassals I have summoned arrived early. They were eager to serve."

"As am I, Tsimaru-sama," Omezo said, "but your orders indicated a specific time, It is not my place to question them."

The older man smiled. "Well said. What do you know of the negotiations taking place at Shiro Moto in two weeks time?"

Omezo raised his eyebrows slightly, surprised by the sudden change in topic. "They are meeting with the Crane. A trade negotiation of some sort, I believe."

"Correct. If they are successful, and the Unicorn begin sending caravans to the Crane lands regularly, what do you imagine will be the result?"

The ninja furrowed his brow. "Initially, the Crane will be much more defensive. Even if the Unicorn are ostensibly allies, they will not fully trust the Moto until they have proven themselves. I suspect their border will be fortified for at least... two months."

"Correct again." Tsimaru seemed pleased. "For reasons that are not your concern, it is imperative that the Crane border remain exactly as it is for at least a few more weeks. And for that matter, it is not in our best interest for our enemies among the Unicorn to become allies with our enemies among the Crane, wouldn't you think?"

"Yes, my lord," Omezo said. "I agree completely."

***

The dust from the road felt invigorating as it settled around Hanzhi and her comrades. Truthfully, she knew she should be offended by the very notion of being dirtied so, but it reminded her too much of the games she had played racing her brother when they were children. She could not help but enjoy it.

"The road is clear, Hanzhi. We've searched the entire length. Again. And there is no sign of anything out of the ordinary. Still."

"Stop your whining, Zhiang," she admonished her partner. "You sound like a woman." Seeing her friends confused look, Hanzhi laughed and clapped him on the shoulder so roughly he almost fell off his horse. "Besides, you know that the Crane will be coming through here in a few days. We must patrol it regularly to ensure there are no problems. The Khan would be very upset otherwise."

"I know, I know," Zhiang said, his voice resigned. "But it's still a boring task. What does the Khan expect?".

"Difficulty," Hanzhi said, the humor gone from her voice. "There are too many who wish to see the Unicorn fail. We must do everything we can to rebuff their plans." She turned and smiled. "But it looks as though there are no plans afoot here. Race you back to the stable?"

"Do I have a choice?," Zhiang asked glumly as Hanzhi's horse broke into a run.



***


For the Scorpion, war and politics are one and the same. As the Crane and Unicorn prepare to exchange ambassadors and negotiate an alliance, the Scorpion make plans. A Scorpion saboteur intends to embarrass the Unicorn in the courts, preventing all possibility of an alliance.

But the Unicorn are no fools, and are ready to defend themselves against Scorpion trickery. The warriors of the Khan stand vigilant in preparation for any attack, any assault to their honor that could endanger their standing and harm the alliance they wish to make.

Will the Scorpion succeed in humiliating the Unicorn and furthering their secret agenda, or will the Unicorn expose the agents of the Clan of Secrets?

You will decide.


Dates: February - March
Mutual Hatred
Top 4: Story Effects:
1st:
2nd:
3rd:
4th:
Crane
Unicorn
Crane
Phoenix
Dave Ryle

Ger Norton
Justin Walsh
Story Point:The Crane will be allying with the Yobanjin.
Fiction: Guardians
Card: Yobanjin Alliance


In the lands north of Rokugan live tribes of savage warriors known as the Yobanjin. Since the dawn of the Empire they have stood apart - bandits, savages, outcasts, willfully ignorant of Rokugan's culture and the ways of the kami. Some of the clans consider the Yobanjin an enemy, others an opportunity for careful trade and negotiation. Some don't care even care that they exist - those that do not acknowledge the Emperor, after all, are not worthy of a samurai's attention.

At least one tribe of Yobanjin has realized that they can stand apart from the Empire no more. Iuchiban's Rain of Blood has caused many of their number to fall to corruption, just as many Rokugani have fallen. Now that these Yobanjin have dealt with the corrupt and mad among their number, they have turned to Rokugan for aid. There is much about Iuchiban's magic that these Yobanjin find familiar, and they have offered an exchange of knowledge for protection from the mightiest of the Great Clans. If the Great Clans will not listen, perhaps the Nezumi will be a willing ally's or even the renegade Dark Lord, Daigotsu.

The faction that wins this tournament will be the group that is approached by this Yobanjin tribe. The winner of the tournament will be given the choice - whether to ally with these Yobanjin, granting them fealty and protection in return for their knowledge of gaijin magic, or whether to exterminate these untrustworthy barbarians once and for all.

Date: Jan 30th
Place: Warpcon, Cork, Ireland