Narrative Battle Report: Week 3, Misaki vs. Shenlong

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Narrative Battle Report: Week 3, Misaki vs. Shenlong

Postby afeinman » Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:43 am

Took a little while to get around to this. Narrative first (from Misaki's perspective, since I still haven't read about Shenlong's backstory), then a more descriptive report.

* * *

"One wonders about the motivations of a dragon," Misaki mused, her hand delicately cradling a cup of white tea.

"One should," Yamaziko said gently; her own hands were occupied with restoring balance to her hair. It was itself a force to be reckoned with, fully as long as the old lady was tall, and prone to whipping about during martial activities. "That dragon has found itself a most valuable host, and you would do well to keep tabs on his activities."

Misaki put her cup down. "A suspicion arises that Yamaziko could share tidings of the wind."

The older woman smiled; Katanaka's daughter had a most oblique way of speaking English, but her meaning was clear. She didn't mind; it was good to see a delicate touch used, so at contrast to her father's blunt dealings. "Shenlong has been seen with a new figure; a shadowy emissary from the far reaches of the wilderness, whose very voice rings with dragonfire. Accompanying him, too, is a twisted form, one that engenders most unwholesome feelings in man and woman alike."

"Ichiro has told tales of such," Misaki said.

"Perhaps a closer look is warranted," Yamaziko said. "Take your torakage, and three of my archers; and Little Brother, for support. There is a pickup tonight of whiskey for Lynch's tavern, six tall barrels. You shall guard this stash, and dare Shenlong to take it from you, and we shall learn something."

* * *

The night was clear and cold as Misaki got into position; she had paired archers and ninjas, each with their own mission. It was essential for word to get out about Shenlong's activities, and so she instructed her crew to break through at all costs; secondarily, she gave the most important information about Shenlong's crew to Ichiro, and asked the torakage to bodyguard his person so that it might reach Yamaziko. Ahead of them, in a tangle of trees, the barrels of whisky stood as tall as three men, thin pillars of booze and, Misaki knew, stashes of Brilliance.

Across the clearing they came, a mixed crew that the Dragon had assembled: monks, brothers she'd thought were loyal to her, and the shadowy emissary Yamaziko had spoken of. Beside Shenlong was an unassuming young woman, her face pleasant and open; Misaki felt an immediate pang of longing, of the sort she'd sworn to ignore for many years.

She sent Ichiro forward with his archer, and crept cautiously forward behind Ototo; his comforting bulk loomed over an equally large figure in the distance, Lynch's creepy bouncer. Shirt buttons straining, Mr. Graves laughed a cruel laugh. "Looks like we have some competition, boys!" he shouted.

Behind, too late, Misaki noticed the subtle form of her own oiran, Takoko, on a hill above Graves; it was then she realized this was a test set by Yamaziko, not only of Shenlong, but of herself. Anger flashed through her like lightning down a waterfall; she tugged the sleeve of an archer and pointed, and together they sprinted behind a hillock toward the enemy. As Misaki came around the corner, she saw Ichiro, his blades flashing, rush forward--heedless of the tactical consequences, the Torakage pushed ahead and into the open. From behind a forest the shadowy emissary charged, long spear flashing in the torchlight; its smoky blade sliced into the ninja's body again and again, leaving no marks but doing obvious damage, until the ninja lay panting on the ground.

With anger still in her veins Misaki leapt forward, bisento stabbing and twisting all around the emissary; but though she landed a few solid blows, the smoky figure remained standing under her onslaught. The thin figure behind the emissary, smiled, and gestured with her elegant hands; and Misaki turned, and saw her true love, his bare chest strengthened by long hours practicing with the Yumi. She rushed to him, her feet seeming to float along the ground, and together they shared a passionate kiss. Then both shook their heads in astonishment as the sorcery faded; for this was the selfsame archer Misaki had picked at random, no more a love than her gate guardsmen. Disgusted, she spun around to watch the disaster continue.

Behind her, the shadowy emissary fell prey to Lust's machinations, willingly, for Shenlong had tasked it with bodyguarding itself as well; and so the figure fled across the board. Ahead, it saw Takoko lure another Torakage forward, even as Shenlong blew Graves toward the ninja; a loud smacking noise, and the torakage lay prone in the mud. Shenlong murmurred appreciatively; the bouncer was most useful, it seemed.

Meanwhile, the fight through the forest was brutal; monks of all stripes pushed forward through the thick cover, only to find their stealth ineffective against the sharp eyes of focused archers. Misaki's final torakage pushed forward, attempting to claim one of the stash stacks, but Takoko was again able to lure the familiar figure forward. Monks and Brother Knife fell upon the ninja, but none were able to do more than inconvenience her; instead she took leaf-steps under the cover of shuriken fire to keep her enemies at bay. Arrows continued to rain in from all sides, felling Brother Knife with blade and poison; and despite the best efforts of a Low River monk, himself severely wounded, the Ten Thunders Brother fell gasping in the forest.

Misaki saw an opening, and charged forward, slicing down the Low River monk as he stood, and urging her archers forward. They complied, becoming increasingly effective as they approached; then all paused, as a tremendous noise was heard from across the clearing. Two enormous men stood toe to toe: Mr. Graves, swinging a large fencepost, and Ototo, his metal-sheathed kanabo whistling through the air, were trading blows. Back and forth the large men went, landing blows that would have shattered the spines of lesser beings, both laughing; but with every blow Little Brother landed on Graves, a little bit of damage came back to him; and as the injuries mounted, Little Brother found himself angrier and stronger.

Finally both slumped, barely alive, ready to resume--until Brother Hammer intervened. The Ten Thunders brother, hiding behind the stack of barrels, assessed the situation--and with a deft tap, felled the teetering Graves; the big bouncer fell right atop Ototo, and the corpulent mass slammed to the soil with a shattering crash. Brother Hammer congratulated himself on freeing up the stash--but the comfort was short-lived as Misaki came diving in. Her bisento made short work of the brother, and nearly felled Takoko--for the traitorous oiran had crept forward to help with the barrels.

"Distract them," Shenlong said sharply, and his minions complied, tying up a torakage and Misaki momentarily, while others filled their pouches from the stash of Brilliance. Misaki cursed; this was no simple pick-up; this was Lynch skimming off the top, again. Yamaziko must have suspected; hence why she sent Misaki. But why was Shenlong doing the gambler's bidding?

It was left to Shenlong, standing nearby, to defend; but he could not delay the speedy MIstress of the Ten Thunders, as she fled and broke through the enemy lines.

"No matter!" Shenlong said, as monks fell to fighting and arrows all around him. "Retreat; the day is ours."

Across the clearing, the emissary licked its wounds and pushed onward, its own mysterious quest underway.

* * *

"One must, of course, entertain a curiosity regarding Yamaziko's foreknowledge."

The old lady sighed. "One must, of course, learn to live with uncertainty. A lady does not reveal her sources."

"Of course," Misaki said.

"I'm sorry Takoko ended up on the wrong side of your blade."

"She is not overly injured; and she has learned an important lesson about the place of warriors and showgirls."

"I think you'd be surprised at the effectiveness of our showgirls as warriors," Yamaziko said, but not harshly; for Misaki had been shamed in the tussle, and the old lady had no need to cause more heartbreak.

* * *

Behind the scenes

Alex and I played week three of the league; the mission was Guard The Stash, with a scheme pool containing Breakthrough, Bodyguard, Cursed Object, and Distract.

NewAlex's crew:

* Misaki (no upgrades); Ototo; 3 Thunder Archers; 3 Torakage

My crew:

* Shenlong (2ss, Wandering River Style)
* Shadow Emissary (Conflux of Dawn)
*Lust
* Mr. Graves (Recalled Training)
* 2 Ten Thunders Brothers
* Oiran
* Monk of the Low River

My thought was to put a lot of pushes and lures in there, to get people off the stash markers. This mostly worked, but was honestly more useful to get my own models out of danger or through the woods.

Schemes
He chooses and reveals Breakthrough, and does not reveal Bodyguard.

I choose Distract and Bodyguard (on the Emissary), neither revealed.

Deployment:
Woodsy board with some 2" hills. Three patches of woods around the stash markers made for tight sightlines, plus a big crater spanning the space from one marker to the other. 2" hills around the perimeter made moving harder, but didn't really impact the game.

Close deployment favored his archers, so I hung back behind the woods. Oiran went on a hill on the left side of my zone with good sight to one Stash and okay sight to the other.

He sets up in a long line, pairs of Torakage and Archers front-left-and-right. Misaki slightly right, Ototo left. (from my perspective)

Turn 1:
Solid hand! And great top-decking.

Close deploy means we are killing each other early. Torakage walks up right flank; Shenlong shoves Emissary, who charges and kills it (4 attacks!) This was his bodyguarded model (as I later found out).

Misaki and Archer sneak behind right hill. Torakage 2 bounces up left flank, drops a marker. Damn close deployment!

Brother Knife and MLR push into forest to play target. Shenlong fasts my modesl and pushes them into position.

Lust punches Shenlong so I can rearrange my deck. Not a big impact (cards were 8-9-J or something). Just wanted to try it out.

Turn 2:
Awesome hand. Stoned for cards, discarded an ace and 2 from top of the deck.

Oiran lures left Torakage 2 toward us; fast Graves charges and kills it then comes back to center.

Misaki charges Emissary, puts hurt on it but it survives.

MLR and TTB hold firm under withering fire. Lots of defensive stance, and some high Tomes in my hand to get the trigger on TTB.

Lust pushes Emissary away from Misaki, then Kisses Misaki to rear Archer; both slow!

Em flees and flees. Shenlong heals everyone. TTB both up to markers.

Oiran lures his Torakage off the right stash marker: stash for me, not for him. Totally effective Oiran!!!

Ototo walks forward to claim Stash marker. Big target!

Graves decides to take matters into his own large hands and charges Ototo, popping Recalled Training for plus flips. Slam bam down to 6 wounds.

Turn 3:

I lose initiative, but he flipped a 7, so I stone and get it. The Emissary runs away from Misaki; I try to sell it like I wanted the bubble of Defensive Armor (which ended up having no effect).

Things start turning for Misaki's crew anyway. Misaki charges the Monk of Low River, but the defensive fool manages to survive.

Ototo swings back, dropping Graves to 1 wound--but bringing himself to 4 wounds due to Black Blood. Graves returns the fire, gets Ototo to 1 wound. HTK makes both hang in!

Archers eye a shot on Graves until I point out Black Blood would take Ototo with him. Shoulda kept my mouth shut!

Archer fire plus ninja shooting nukes a TTB. MLR hangs on after healing.

Oiran, robbed of lure targets, moves forward to help with Stash and generally disrupt stuff. She wasn't quite close enough to charge Ototo, or that'd have been fun.

Seeing the Ototo/Graves mess, Brother Hammer decides it's easier to kill Ototo by shanking Graves. That works, but in retrospect I *probably* could have landed a wound on Ototo and made the enemy waste an activation killing Graves. Also, poor placement on the Oiran meant she took a wound.

Torakage cleverly leaf-steps to claim left-marker (easier than running through crater), coincidentally putting some wounds on a monk.

Turn 4:

Crap hand. Should have saved that stone from turn two.

I remember to distract people, and get two on folks.

MLR tries to run around Torakage to remove poison from TTB, but falls 1/4" short. Instead heals self.

Shenlong switches back to Wind style, shoves Emissary sideways, fails 2 attempts to speed up Lust.

Misaki charges the clump around the Ototo/Graves carnage, but targets the TTB instead of the Oiran. He manages to dodge most of her attacks, though one Thunder shot puts some wounds on him and the Oiran.

Fast Emissary runs left and removes scheme marker left by Torakage 2.

Turn 5:

Emissary runs up left, declares Bodyguard. 2VP!

Archers melt the remaining TTB and the Oiran. Oops. Don't stand 12" away from Archers.

Misaki gets out of dodge, waltzing past Shenlong and dropping a scheme marker deep behind a forest. This secures max Breakthrough for him.

With Misaki still distracted, Shenlong opts to distract Torakage to net another VP. Then he tried to push him away from marker twice--but bones the second 6-flip (hand was BJ-2-3-3-3 at this point). This results in the slowed ninja simply walking back to within 2". Stash for him, not me.

The game dies.

Wrap-up and Scoring:

He reveals Bodyguard on the Torakage--and I have to break him the bad news that that's not legal. It didn't matter, since I killed it turn one, but in the future it'd have to go on Ototo in this list.

I got Stash on turns 2-3-4; he got it on 3-4-5.

I got 2 points for Distract and 2 for Bodyguard on the Emissary (Turn 5 only; nearly full wounds).

He got 3 points for revealed Breakthrough, and 0 for Bodyguard.

Final score: 7-6, win for Shenlong!
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Re: Narrative Battle Report: Week 3, Misaki vs. Shenlong

Postby tinfoil » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:51 am

Great report! Particularly the narrative aspect: Very characterful, and it felt entirely authentic.

I am inspired. This is the kind of battle report I should be trying to write!

Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Narrative Battle Report: Week 3, Misaki vs. Shenlong

Postby afeinman » Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:59 pm

Thanks! Write em!

This story builds on the events in my writeups for the previous narrative league, which are archived here:
viewtopic.php?f=36&t=9893
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