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Monday, March 3, 2014

Spear of Akai

Locals had stopped travelling the Mountain Road because some had been found cut down near the ruins of the old castle. Eleven bodies had been found in three weeks. The harvest was approaching, and the road would be needed to get rice to the merchants on the coast, so a request for help was sent to the magistrate, and he sent one samurai: Akai, spear fighter.

After a brief investigation, Akai focused on two local troublemakers, Date, a ronin and gambler, and his hanger-on, Nenji, the son of a merchant. Akai could easily take them in single combat, but the pair were rarely apart, so he would have to fight them together.

Akai confronted the pair near the castle ruins. "I am Akai Natsumoto, first student of the Tenshin Shoden School. Ready yourselves."
Date and Nenji did not oblige proper introductions and simply drew their katanas.

Akai quickly moved to one side of a rocky area that would only allow one fighter at a time to pass, effectively dividing Akai's foes. Nenji began to move around the rocks. If he could move fast enough, he would be able to flank Akai. As Nenji made his way, Date moved to attack Akai, but Date couldn't find an opening and was forced back.

Date moved back in and was able to attack, but Akai parried and counter-attacked with his spear, leaving Date knocked down with a serious wound to his chest. Date was down, but not yet out of the fight. Akai turned and shifted to meet Nenji's advance. Akai attacked, but Nenji, despite his lack of skill, was able to parry and counter. The two exchanged another round of blows before Akai was able to land a well aimed spear thrust that opened Nenji's belly, spilling his insides all over the Mountain Road.

With Nenji dead, Akai could focus his attention back against Date. The wounded Date was able to get up from the ground, but with his strength greatly reduced, he was no match for Akai who quickly dispatched the gambler.

After the deaths of Date and Nenji, bodies stopped appearing on the Mountain Road. The harvest came, and the road again became a peaceful thoroughfare.

Game notes: I played this duel using "Red Sand Black Moon" by Two Hour Wargames, along with some homebrew Japanese weapon stats. When the fighters are all unarmored, these fights tend to go quite fast. This duel lasted only a couple turns. I think without armor slowing down the bloodletting, quite a few more fighters could be added to the mix. Though, at some point, it would be better to switch to a more suitable skirmish system (I would use Chain Reaction: Swordplay, also by Two Hour Wargames.)