Shadowlands Locations

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  • #4725

    What are some location ideas for points of interest found in or near the Shadowlands?
    Including a few short details for each, it could be a backdrop for a scene or an entire village or shiro.

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    • #4647
      Honor: 30
      Glory: 38

      Three possible locations:

      Goblin Mud Keeps

      Scattered throughout the territories of the Shadowlands, especially around areas where the Crab struck deep or ex Twenty Goblin Winter sites, there are rumoured to be small settlements called Mud Keeps by the Crab. These small collections of huts are the site of the closest thing the Goblins have to samurai clans, armed with whatever they can scavenge from the dead warriors who have braved the lands before them.
      While these creatures live in a crude approximation of samurai culture, their vernacular, behaviour and attitudes are all very much still Goblin.
      A famous example of a Goblin Mud Keep is Shiro Doji, a small port mud keep near the coastline of the Shadowlands. It is ruled by the so-called Cave Master, who lives in a small cliff cave overlooking the shore line. It has been said that some trading has gone one with the goblins there, who are said to be fluent in Rokugani and have fool’s gold in abundance.

      -The leaders of these mud keeps are known as Daimyo to the goblin, and rule through either terrible might or ruthless wit. In some cases, these “Daimyo” may understand Rokugani, and may be reasoned with. But how much can you trust a goblin?
      -Mud keeps which are near each other are always eyeing to destroy the other as a show of dominance, sometimes leading to mock rokugani battles within the Shadowlands themselves.
      -In some very rare cases, you might find a Goblin Artisan. They will be eager to try their craft, crude as it may be, with whatever they can get their hands on. Whether that’s something they should have their hands on, however, is another story.

      The Hanging Market

      The Hanging Market is a forest of bodies, hanging on a series of deeply cursed meat hooks. They rest over series of swamps and rivers which must be traversed by boat, and these bodies serve a nefarious purpose – they are a Bog Hag skin market. By following the lotus body trail to its centre you can find the patron and lord of the Hanging Market – Lady Sentsu, as she calls herself. She trades in a variety of objects, some given to her by lesser hags looking to buy their way into Rokugan while others were taken from the bodies themselves. Primarily, she trades with the bog hags, at an ever changing rate of goods for lives.

      -The bodies are, mostly, still alive. They may be tainted, but can their freedom be bought, or taken? Can they even survive off the hooks? Does something unnatural bind them to this place?
      -People from several generations of Rokugan can be found on the hooks. What secrets may be unturned, what lies be revealed, and what truths forgotten to time can be unburied?
      -Something must be organising the bog hags to run a market like this – who are they, and what is their purpose?

      Chuda Mura

      When the Five Nights of Shame destroyed most of the Chuda, those who were away on duty elsewhere or had otherwise been absent are said to have turned tail and made for the Shadowlands. Recruiting a small number of peasant disciples and ronin along the way, they made their way by boat to the Shadowlands. Though some spread out and tried to make their own way, a number of them formed their own village in the darkness, known as Chuda Mura. Though not the symbol of glory they were before they lost their name, the small village seems like a quaint if eerie town – but beneath its surface lies a haven of Bloodspeakers the like of which cannot be found in Rokugan.

      -Are they actually from the Snake minor clan? If not, why take their name?
      -If information of their existence could be found and verified back in Rokugan, how would the clans react?
      -If you are willing to pay the price, what dark secrets and evil sorcery can be learned here?

    • #4741
      Honor: 34
      Glory: 43

      Shadowlands Location – the 8th Tower

      Beginning with the First Tower near Earthquake Fish Bay and stretching along the length of the Seigo River to the Razor of the Dawn Castle, the Carpenter Wall is known throughout Rokugan as the bastion of the Crab clan against the dark forces of the Shadowlands. In the popular  imagination of kabuki actors, the Wall is one impregnable line, manned across its breadth by stoic, unyielding Crab. The Crab themselves are happy to maintain this perception.

      In reality, the natural contours of the Seigo River forces the Wall to weave back and forth with considerable variations. The hapless Third Tower, sitting astride one of the main invasion routes through a gap in the Twilight Mountains, is regularly assaulted with ferocious attacks. The Twelfth Tower, anchored into Plains Above Evil, must regularly send scouts to detect any dark forces attempting to bypass the Wall entirely.

      In contrast, the Eighth Tower sits in an enviable tactical position. Farther east than the Seventh or the Ninth Towers, the Eighth Tower also faces a long, gentle slope of Bleeding Ogre Mountain across from the Seigo River. The crest of the mountain sits just beyond ballistae range, making the slope an excellent spot for target practice against any horror that would dare to attack the tower head-on. The downward slope has also been a welcome relief for any returning patrols trying to escape pursuers, and only the most blood-thirsty or mindless beast would chase samurai into the tower’s clear fields of fire. The garrison jealously protects this feature, sending regular patrols to clear out any shrug or brush that might provide cover to goblins or other skulkers attempting to sneak up on them.

      The net effect is that the Eighth Tower is considered to be one of the safest positions on the wall, rarely facing serious attack from even the most determined beasts of the Shadowlands. The ever-resourceful Crab, never ones to pass up an opportunity, use this relative safety for two ends.

      The first, and undoubtedly the one that they want most widely known, is that the Eighth Tower hosts more non-Crab samurai than any other spot along the Wall. This is the result of a centuries-long public relations effort that even the most obstreperous Hida daimyo supports. Like the far more popular musho shugyo, the Crab invite samurai who have just finished their gempukku to participate in a kanidoshi, or “crab year”, to serve on the Wall and see the horrors of Fu Leng’s realm for themselves. The Crab know that few members of other Great Clans ever see the Shadowlands first hand, and they count on their crab year graduates to spread word of the horrors beyond the Wall, the martial prowess of the Crab, and the importance of supporting their sacred mission. Of course, few of the visiting samurai learn that they were assigned to the Eighth Tower specifically because it is the safest spot where they are most likely to survive without contracting the Taint.

      Because of the tower’s secure position, the Eighth Tower is also seen as a dumping ground for Crab samurai who need to be taught a lesson, as an additional training program for those who failed to impress during their gempukku, and a place to use misfits who would surely buckle under the weight of a more burdensome duty. Because of this, the Crab who are assigned to the Eighth Tower are derisively referred to as kōma or “soft shells” by their clanmates, and it is widely considered to be a mildly embarrassing post for even the senior-most positions.

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