This article originally appeared in Pyramid #14

Lady Mijiko's Holiday

A Multi-System Oriental Roleplaying Adventure

by Graeme Davis

"Lady Mijiko's Holiday" is designed for GURPS Japan, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons® Oriental Adventures, RuneQuest Land of Ninja, and Bushido. Game stats and notes for each system are given at the end of the adventure. Game-specific information elsewhere is prefaced GURPS, AD&D, RQ and Bushido as appropriate.

The PCs are in service with a daimyo at the start of the adventure. Two factions are vying for the favor of a strategic neutral province, and the leading daimyo of that province is using the birth of his first grandchild as an excuse to hold a tournament. Under cover of the various martial and sporting contests, the opposing factions will be doing some serious politicking, trying to sway him one way or the other.

The PCs are detailed to accompany their lord's younger sister on a visit to her cousin at the castle of an allied clan. They will no doubt be disappointed at the prospect of missing the tournament, but discover that they are part of a subterfuge. For on the return journey they will not be escorting a teenage noblewoman, but a Sumo Grand Champion, on loan for the tournament from a powerful secret ally. Treachery and enemy action are the least of their worries as they try to get the yokozuna safely to the contest.


In GURPS Japan and RuneQuest Land of Ninja, this adventure is best set during the Warring Provinces period. The GM should read through the adventure thoroughly before attempting to run it, and making changes where necessary to fit the campaign. A low to medium level of magic is assumed — at least enough to allow a few mythical creatures to exist. The supernatural encounters may be ignored in a no-magic campaign, or changed to encounters with bandits or similar mundane opponents.

In the Kozakura of AD&D Oriental Adventures, the PCs are in service with Ashigi Desukagi in the city of Chimotoge. The warring factions are the south-western and north-western Takenaka, both of whom are trying to gain the support of Dosaki province. The tournament is to take place on the plains outside Katsuhara Castle. The Kara-Tur boxed set contains full details on the political situation which underlies all this activity. Lady Mijiko visits Iwatanabe Castle, and the "wheelwright" is the castle of the Mashikune Clan.

In the Nihon of Bushido, the PCs are in service with Washima Fuhito, as they were in Valley of the Mists. The Ichiyama clan has been building support all around Hida province, trying to seal the Washima in behind a ring of allies. The Maebe and Sakawa have remained loyal, and the Mizobaru have maintained a neutral stance, but are under increasing pressure. Mizobaru Ebara has announced the tournament to allow the various factions to show their strength and make their offers. Lady Mijiko visits the Maebe Castle at Kanazawa, and the "wheelwright" is the castle of the Sakawa Clan.

Starting the Adventure

The adventure begins against the background of frantic preparations for the tournament. Everyone knows that it will be the diplomatic, martial and sporting event of the year, and everyone is training hard and hoping to be selected to represent the clan. The PCs' hearts should leap when they are summoned before the daimyo. They file in, bow respectfully, and wait for the good news.

"I have a job for you," he begins, "a matter which is very close to my heart. I want you to represent the clan and myself—-" a slight pause here, to heighten the players' anticipation, then a guard slides open a door in the room's paper wall. A young girl of about 14 enters, and kneels at the daimyo's side.

"My sister the Lady Mijiko has a cousin among our allies on the coast, and will visit her for a few days. You will escort her, and remain there until she decides to return."

The PCs' hearts sink. However, the daimyo's enemies would give much to have a hostage like Lady Mijiko in their power, and great honor — and the personal gratitude of the daimyo himself — could be gained if the PCs are called upon to save her from kidnapping on the road.

The daimyo dismisses the PCs with a gesture. They bow once more, and leave to prepare themselves for the journey.

A Trip to the Coast

On the face of it, this is a perfectly straightforward escort mission, and the players should be given no reason to believe anything to the contrary.

The full strength of the escort party will be 12, including the PCs. Numbers will be made up by NPC ashigaru who travel on foot. Lady Mijiko travels in a kaga — an enclosed, trunk-like wooden litter slung from a pole and carried by four bearers. To ensure a swift journey, two teams of bearers are provided, changing over at mid-day. Finally, there is a string of three pack-horses carrying Lady Mijiko's luggage. They are tended by a NPC muleteer. He has no trouble controlling all three animals under most circumstances, but in a crisis he will confine his attention to the lead horse. Any character may attempt to use relevant skills to regain control of one of the other two horses. If the muleteer has control of the lead horse, characters trying to control the other horses have a bonus to their roll (GURPS: +2, AD&D OA: +2, RQ: +10%, Bushido: BCS +2).

The three-day journey passes fairly uneventfully, with random encounters as normal for the terrain if desired. Accommodation can be found in villages and inns along the way, and the locals provide the very best for such a grand party.

Once at the castle of the allied clan, Lady Mijiko is greeted by her cousin, Lady Yukio, and the two retire to the court apartments. All the PCs have to do now is wait — or so they think.

The PCs should be allowed a couple of days of downtime. The allied retainers are training for the tournament, so there are opportunities for sparring and friendly duels in most combat forms. The PCs are entertained according to their status, and there are the usual opportunities for gaining and losing Honor, committing social faux pas, and getting into other kinds of trouble.

A Subterfuge

After a few days, the PCs are summoned before their host, ostensibly to receive certain letters that are to be taken back to their daimyo. When all are assembled, the leading PC is given a scroll, sealed with the mon of their daimyo, and told to read it for all to hear.

The scroll is a letter, addressed personally to the character to whom it was given. A successful check against Calligraphy or a similar skill reveals that it is in their master's own hand — a clue as to its importance. It reads as follows:

You return with a different passenger, but the world must see only the Lady Mijiko going home. Obey your host as you would obey me.

The PCs' host then briefs them on the situation:

"A subterfuge is afoot, concerning the tournament. It is important that our friends and your master's friends win many victories there. To this end I present your passenger — the yokozuna Tanako."

Their host motions to a guard, a panel is slid back, and an immense sumotori enters the room. Any character who makes a successful check against Intelligence (Bushido: Wit BCS) will have heard of Grand Champion Tanako. Sponsored by a great lord in the north of the island, he is being hailed as the greatest sumotori of recent generations.

The PCs will quickly realize Tanako's importance — he can hardly fail to win the sumo contest, and his presence will indicate that their clan has powerful friends. The need for secrecy is obvious; opposing interests could gain a great deal by preventing Tanako from appearing at the tournament, and the PCs' master would be severely embarrassed if anything should happen to the borrowed sumotori.

The PCs depart just before dawn the next day. Tanako travels in Lady Mijiko's kaga (much to the distress of the bearers — a Sumo Grand Champion weighs appreciably more than a 14-year-old girl!), and no one must find out about the ruse.


Tanako is used to being lionized and spoiled. He is proud to the point of arrogance, crude, crass, loud-mouthed, obstreperous and accustomed to being able to get away with almost anything because of his talent for sumo. He will not want to travel under cover, especially in a girl's kaga. He will demand to travel openly, receiving adulation and gifts all the way, as befits a Grand Champion. He neither knows nor cares about the political implications of the tournament. He will have sulks and tantrums, and may well amuse himself by playing practical jokes in unspeakably bad taste on any member of the group who crosses him.

The GM should play Tanako to the absolute limit. The PCs (and players!) should long to throttle the obnoxious sumotori, but they dare not let anything happen to him.

The Return Journey

The first day of the return journey passes uneventfully — or at least, the only events are those created by Tanako, and the grumbling of the kaga bearers.

Stopping for the night presents a dilemma. There is an inn within reach, where the party stopped several days ago on their outward journey. However, it might not be prudent to stop there again — a sumotori is difficult to hide, especially when he doesn't want to be hidden! The PCs could face real problems as they try to stop Tanako heading into the inn for a drink, or try not to arouse suspicion when they order a sumotori-sized meal for the "young lady" they are supposedly escorting, and so on. They may decide to make camp in the cover of some trees by the roadside instead.

Bandit Trouble

Bandits On the second day of the journey, as they enter the mountains, the party is attacked by a group of 1d6+12 bandits. They are more daring than the normal run of bandits — most would not tangle with an armed party this size — and are only beaten off if reduced to half-strength or if their ronin leader is killed. Strangely, they are not interested in the pack-horses, where the valuables are carried, but make straight for the kaga.

The "bandits" are really ashigaru from an enemy clan, led by a junior samurai. If the bodies of dead "bandits" are searched, some clue will be found, such as the mon of an enemy clan on a sword-fitting. Interpreting the clue correctly requires a successful check against Heraldry or some similar skill.

Once the "bandits" are beaten off, the party will have a (comparatively) peaceful journey for the rest of the day.

The Messenger

During the third day, the party comes upon a battle between a samurai bearing their master's mon and a gang of three bandits — survivors of the previous day's attack. A fourth bandit lies dead, and the samurai is giving a good account of himself despite several ugly-looking wounds.

The "bandits" scatter as the PCs approach, but not before one of them lays the samurai's chest open with a wicked slash. The samurai sinks to the ground, and with his dying breath he calls upon the leader of the escort party (by name, for more dramatic impact), saying:

"I have a letter for the Lady Mijiko from her lord. Do not let her see me like this."

He reaches inside his armor, and as he pulls out a roll of paper sealed with the daimyo's mon, he dies.

The letter, of course, is intended for the leader of the escort party. It is a coded message in the form of a haiku poem, again written in daimyo's own hand:

The cart creaks loud/And needs repair./The wheelwright is under/the mountain.

The message means that news of the party's mission has leaked out, and the plan must be changed. The "wheelwright" is an allied clan, whose mon is a stylized wheel — a successful Heraldry check is needed to realize this. Their castle is a few days away, across the mountains.

Dangerous Roads

Tanako If the party ignores the warning and stays on the road, they are in danger every step of the way. Enemy agents are looking for them at various points, and after a day or so (AD&D OA: as soon as they enter Fukudo province) they are surrounded by a large force of samurai and taken to the castle of their master's enemy by a series of little-known mountain tracks. As far as their daimyo and his allies know they have vanished, and nothing can be done to help them.

Eventually, after a series of embarrassing diplomatic exchanges, Tanako and the party are ransomed back — well after the tournament. The PCs have failed spectacularly in their mission, and characters who do not immediately offer to redeem themselves by suicide will have this course of action subtly suggested to them.

Over the Mountains

The trip over the mountains will take around 3 days, depending on the party's local knowledge and navigation skills. A check against Navigation or some similar skill should be made at the end of each day; each failed check adds half a day to the journey.< p> Optionally, characters with a skill like Local History will have enough local knowledge to add +2 (RQ: +10) to the check, and characters with a mountain Survival skill can read the terrain well enough to cut down on journey time, adding a further +2 (RQ: +10) to the roll. The roll is unnecessary if the party has the presence of mind to hire a local guide.

The GM should roll for random encounters as normal in the mountains. There are two scripted encounters, which may be ignored in a no-magic campaign. The first encounter is with a pair of kappa, and the second with a vengeful ghost.

The Causeway

The track leads across a broad, rock-strewn valley where a rushing mountain stream feeds a small lake. The track crosses the lake by a stone causeway, which seems to be the only way forward. There has been rain lately, and the lake is high, so that the causeway is under a couple of inches of water.

As the PCs approach the lake, the water bubbles briefly to one side of the causeway. A small, ugly figure rises from the water — a kappa. It bows politely while managing not to lose any water from the bowl-like depression on top of its head — an impressive sight! Just as the PCs are wondering how to respond, another kappa rises from the water on the other side of the causeway and does the same.

"Welcome, honored travellers." says one of the kappa.

"Most welcome," echoes the other. They show no signs of wanting to attack.

"It is long since we have received guests," continues the first kappa.

"Long, and lonely since our last visitors," agrees the other. They have a curious habit of talking in turns — having an assistant GM (if one is available) take the role of the second kappa will heighten the effect of this.

"You honor our humble home," says the first.

"And our humble selves." says the second. And so they go on, speaking alternately.

"We beg you to accept our hospitality,"
"Allow us to entertain you,"
"Noble warriors,"
"Honored guests,"
"A contest,"
"Worthy opponents,"
"A friendly bout,"
"Without malice,"
"For our hospitality,"
"For your passage,"
"A wrestling-match,"
"Without bloodshed,"

"Our champion," says the first kappa, pointing to the second, who bows again.

"Your champion?" asks the second kappa, moving onto the causeway.

If the party does not respond to their challenge, the kappa will stay where they are, exchanging hurt comments until the party is provoked or shamed into action. They will not let anyone onto the causeway until one of them has lost a wrestling bout. Attempts to move onto the causeway en masse, or the use of weapons or magic, will cause the kappa to sink out of sight. They will wait until the party is halfway across the causeway before mounting an ambush, grabbing legs and dragging victims into the water, which at this point is around 30 feet deep.

Provided their challenge to a friendly and honorable wrestling match is fairly met, the kappa will not drown any defeated character — instead, they will help him coughing and spluttering to the lake-shore, praising his attempt and helpfully pointing out his mistakes. They will then resume their positions on the causeway and wait for another challenger to come forward, happily exchanging comments on how delightful it is to entertain such illustrious company.

If the kappa "champion" is defeated fair and square, the two kappa will politely admit defeat and bid their guests farewell before sinking back into the waters of the lake. Whether or not they stick to their bargain and allow the party to cross the causeway unmolested is for the GM to decide. If the party has been weakened by previous encounters, it might be better to let them off lightly. About halfway across, the two kappa reach up from the water and drag the hindmost pack-horse into the lake. Quick-witted characters can avoid losing the whole string of horses by cutting the tether. The horse disappears into the water, and a few seconds later the kappa surface at a distance, thank the party for returning their hospitality with a meal, and then disappear.

The causeway is 1d4+6 feet wide at any point, and the GM should pay attention to the width when dealing with a wrestling bout or any other combat. The kappa will not use their claws in a friendly bout, but will try to force characters off the causeway and into deeper water. The lake-bed drops away from the shore gradually, becoming 1 foot deeper for every 5 feet away from shore.

If Tanako shows himself, the kappa will have eyes for no one else. Even if he loses, the kappa will still let the party cross the causeway, talking excitedly about the pleasure of meeting a true champion and begging the yokozuna to visit them again soon.< p> If the DM wants to complicate matters further, the kappa might insist that Tanako stays, luring him with promises of "kappa secrets" that will make him invincible in the ring. These promises are completely empty, and the kappa will try to drown the sumotori in their lake.

If the PCs wish to find the lair of the two kappa, they will need some means of breathing and moving underwater. The lair is on the lake-bed, in a hollow in the causeway's footing. It is empty except for a number of bones and a jade netsuke of a carp ( GURPS: $10; AD&D OA: 10 Ch'ien; RQ: 5 koku; Bushido: 1 gold piece).

The Proud Spirit

The Proud Spirit

The PCs continue along the rugged mountain roads. Around dusk, they pass by a place where a fight occurred a few days ago between Karamatsu, a proud wandering monk, and six bandits. Karamatsu was killed, and his body was dumped among the trees a little way from the road. His spirit cannot rest with the shame of defeat weighing upon it, and now haunts the area.

The PCs suddenly become aware of someone standing in the road, blocking their way. He didn't seem to appear from thin air — perhaps they only just noticed him in the bad light. The figure is a wandering monk, barefoot and clad only in a gi. He does not bow, or respond to any form of greeting. When he speaks, his tone is one of contempt, with no regard for whom he is addressing.

"You may consider yourselves challenged." he says, without preamble. "My name, if it is important to you, is Karamatsu. Tell me your names — there will be no use in asking you later."

The spirit prepares to attack, and will not answer questions or speak again unless magically compelled to do so.

The proud spirit will be laid to rest forever if Karamatsu's body can be found and an exorcism or other suitable spell is cast over it. More information for each game system is given at the end of the adventure.

A Restless Night

A Restless Night

The remainder of the journey is without incident. The party is expected at the allied castle; the head of the clan greets them personally, and briefs them on the latest developments:

"Our enemies are aroused. You shall set out with us tomorrow. Although there is greater safety in numbers, we must not relax our vigilance, for one traitor has already been discovered. He went onward (i.e., committed suicide), so we do not know the extent of our enemies' knowledge. They will certainly try to prevent your charge from competing. We leave at dawn; until then a guest-wing is at your disposal. A double watch will be posted tonight — you must take whatever additional measures you need."

It will be very useful to have a plan of the PCs' accommodation, so that the events of the night can be played out in detail. AD&D OA DMs can use the Reception Hall of Minor Daimyo map, Bushido GMs can use the Inn of Restful Sleep from the back cover of rulebook II (amending the map so that the kitchen becomes a broad passage leading to the rest of the castle, rather than ending at a wall), and GMs of the other systems can improvise a suitable plan quite easily. The important point is to have a plan to keep track of PC and NPC position and movement, rather than to set up a specific tactical situation.

As the PCs prepare for the night, the GM should encourage players to plan what additional security measures they will take. Rigorous GMs might like to enforce the point of etiquette which requires all visitors to leave their armor and weapons in the castle's spear-room, apart from a tanto and wakizashi each. Guards are posted in four two-man patrols, one at each corner of the wing and each in sight of at least one other patrol.

The night passes quietly until an hour before dawn, when two ninja infiltrate the guest-wing, acting on a contract to kill or disable Tanako.

The ninja start their attack by trying to knock out two of the guards — so the PCs may have some warning of the attack. Once the alarm is raised, the remaining guards will rush to assist, and reinforcements will arrive in another 1d10 rounds (GURPS: 2d x 10 seconds); these will consist of another 1d6 guards, with 1d3 more guards appearing each round (GURPS: 10 seconds) thereafter. The ninja should only succeed in killing or injuring Tanako if the PCs are slow or unwise.

The Tournament

The final stage of the journey takes three days. Tanako restricts himself to grumbling and the occasional flash of temper. The PCs can feel fairly safe in the large friendly contingent, and the journey is largely uneventful, though the GM may throw in ano ther ninja attack if desired.

On arriving at the tournament grounds, the PCs join their lord's contingent. All the participating clans are camped on the plain at the base of the castle, and the arrangement of the tents reflects the various alliances and oppositions. The open space in the center of this city of tents is where the tournament will be held.

Once the PCs arrive, their mission is complete, and they will be rewarded according to their achievements. Tanako will lose no opportunity to accuse them of all kinds of mistreatment and incompetence. He is still irritated at having to travel in such an uncomfortable and inglorious way.

The adventure could end here, but some GMs might like to play out the great tournament that has been the cause of so much effort. The following notes are intended to help in gaming the tournament.

The tournament runs over three days. A rough timetable is given below, and any PC who wishes to do so may enter the lists on behalf of his or her clan. GM's notes on gaming the contests are given in the sections of specific information for each game system.

The Tournament Schedule

Day 1:

Morning: Dedication and purification ceremonies.
Contests in archery and horse archery.
Afternoon: Contests in unarmed combat and exotic weaponry.
Evening: Contests in music, haiku and go.

Day 2:

Morning: All-comers championships, all categories.
Afternoon: Hunting, including falconry.
Evening: Magical duels.

Day 3:

Morning: Contests in swordsmanship and Iaijutsu.
Afternoon: All-comers champions challenge clan champions, all categories.
Evening: Grand banquet, followed by sumo championships. After the sumo, any vendettas and incidental challenges may be settled.

The tournament is covered by a general truce until the end of the sumo championships. Any brawls or grudge fights which take place in violation of the truce will bring disgrace upon those involved, and upon their clans. Characters who lose their self-cont rol — whatever the provocation — will be in deep trouble.

Behind the Scenes

While the tournament is in progress, there is plenty of activity outside the ring. A list of possible complications for the all-comers contest is given later, but the main problem, as always, is Tanako.

Since his presence has become known, vast sums of money have been pledged in side-bets on the sumo contest. One interested party is Nobuo, a local Oyabun who faces financial ruin if Tanako wins. At some time in the last day of the tournament, one or more attempts will be made to "fix" Tanako.

The first attempt will involve a gift of sweets and sake laced with a mild poison. Any character eating or drinking the poisoned goods must roll to resist the poison or suffer excruciating stomach cramps for 2-3 days (GURPS: HT roll, ST and DX halved and -4 to all dice rolls while poisoned. AD&D OA: save vs. poison, all attributes halved and -4 to all saves and other dice rolls while poisoned. RQ: POT 12, STR, CON and DEX halved and -20% penalty to all dice rolls while poisoned. Bushido: treat as level 5 narcotic poison with unusually long duration).

If this fails, a second attempt is made as Tanako prepares to enter the ring for the sumo contest. A yakuza in the crowd fires a blowpipe dart at Tanako, coated with a fast-acting poison which affects co-ordination. Tanako will appear to be drunk if he fails to resist the poison (dice rolls as above), and will be barred from the contest in disgrace.

The local yakuza are not the only ones interested in Tanako. The ninja clan who failed to assassinate him earlier may try to fulfill their contract at the tournament. Killing him would create an outcry and work against the interests of their clients, so, like the yakuza, they plan to put him out of action with a disabling poison or drug. The GM is free to improvise details as desired.

The Sumo Final

As a Grand Champion, Tanako is not required to go through the qualifying rounds at this tournament. By agreement (and some hard bargaining) between the competing clans, Tanako is given a walkover to the sumo final. All eyes are on this final, and the GM might like to play it out in full, perhaps even allowing one of the players to control Tanako's opponent.


The All-Comers Competition

The all-comers competition can add to the adventure in various ways. A character who has no clan affiliation can enter as a means of gaining patronage; a contestant who does well will usually receive offers of employment. Some contestants might be more than they seem, and lead on to further adventures. Here are a few ideas:

1. A famous duellist has entered the all-comers kendo contest. He has a fearsome reputation, and has sworn a powerful oath never to speak or listen to anyone who has not first fought him to first blood. One or more PCs may be given an urgent message for him; the message may be genuine, or it may be a practical joke set up by Tanako or by someone else who wants to make trouble for the PCs.

2. A kappa, magically disguised as a human, has been entered in the sumo event, possibly by the Oyabun already mentioned. The PCs must expose the fraud without violating the truce which covers the tournament.

3. The warlike atmosphere of the tournament raises a band of spirits — the ghosts of soldiers who died before the castle's walls centuries ago. They wreak havoc throughout the tournament grounds until destroyed.

4. The tournament is a place where many intense rivalries and jealousies are worked out. An Ikiryo may appear as a result of some long-standing rivalry between two contestants. It is even possible that one of the PCs might be involved. An Ikiryo is a kind of ghost, produced by strong emotions in a living person. The emotions take on a form of their own while the person sleeps, and may attack the object of the negative emotion. GURPS: the Ikiryo is best treated as a Shi-ryo; Bushido: the Ikiryo may be treated as a Shura, or as a Gaki with a hunger for vengeance.

After the Tournament

The adventure ends with the end of the tournament. If the GM wishes to use the adventure in an ongoing campaign, then it is necessary to decide which faction has come out on top.

Perhaps the easiest solution is to rule that the faction which won more contests made the stronger impression, and the undecided clan declares support for that faction. Contests not won by PCs (or by Tanako) are distributed equally between the two factions.

A more complex solution takes into account the more general impression made by each faction. Any breach of the truce covering the tournament, or any other disgrace (in the ring or out) on the part of any clan member — including Tanako, if the ninja or yakuza succeeded in drugging him — counts against the faction, and cancels out one victory. The faction with the higher final score wins.

Game-Specific Information

Space restrictions mean that game-specific information is necessarily sketchy in places — with four systems to cover, it already takes up almost half the space required for the adventure. The GM is encouraged to customize and expand on what is given here, to fit the level and tone of the individual campaign and the preferences of the gaming group.


The Escort Party

Ashigaru are ST 13, DX 12, IQ 9, HT 10; Basic Speed 5.5, Move 5, Dodge 5, Parry 8. They have full leather armor (PD/DR 2, all locations, wt 16), yari (spear)-16 and wakizashi-16.

Kaga-bearers have loincloths, daggers and very little else. They will run rather than fight; the GM can improvise stats for them if desired.

The Muleteer is identical to the kaga-bearers, but has Animal Handling-15 and Packing-12.


ST 20, DX 18, IQ 10, HT 15

Basic Speed 8.25, Move 6, Dodge 6.

Tanako carries a dagger (14) out of the ring, and has Sumo-22. Having taken the Fat disadvantage to increase his weight, he stands 6'0" tall and weighs 300 pounds. Even when carrying nothing, Tanako's 100 pounds of additional weight gives him medium encumbrance.

The GM should feel free to flesh out Tanako's character (pun intended). Tanako is a living legend, and can justifiably be built on 250 points — just the outline stats above cost 382.5 points!

Bandit Trouble

The "bandits" are identical to ashigaru above.

The "bandit" leader has ST 13, DX 13, IQ 12, HT 11; Basic Speed 6, Move 5, Dodge 5, Parry 7. PD/DR 2 on all locations except 3-4-5 and 9-10-11-17-18, where steel helmet and cuirass increase protection to PD 3, DR 4. Relevant skills are Riding-13, Bow-12, Katana-15.


The GM should generate the two kappa with reference to GURPS Japan, pp. 99-100, taking the strength of the party into account.

The Proud Spirit

Karamatsu is a gaki (GURPS Japan, p. 103). He has a hunger for fighting skill, and attacks using a variant of the Steal Strength spell which reduces DX. For every 3 points of DX stolen, he gains 1 point to both his Judo and Karate skills, until the next dawn or dusk. Rough game stats are given below, as always, the GM should feel free to elaborate upon them.

ST 15, DX 13, IQ 12, HT 12; Basic Speed 6.25, Move 6, Dodge 6; Judo-15, Karate-14.

A Restless Night

The guards are identical to the escort party guards above.

The GM can base the ninja on the sidebar in GURPS Japan, p. 55. Their equipment (which may be varied if the GM desires) includes the ninja-to, 6 spike shuriken with viper venom, 2 night nageteppo, 20 tetsubishi, blowpipe, 10 darts with viper venom and nekode.

The Tournament

Each round of a contest is played as a quick contest of the relevant skill (for horse archery, use the average of Ride and Bow). In the first round, the character faces an opponent with a skill of 10; in the second round, the opponent's score is 11, and so on. Any character who survives to defeat a skill 18 opponent wins the event. A critical success indicates a particularly noteworthy victory, and a critical failure an ignominious defeat.

AD&D Oriental Adventures

The Escort Party

Ashigaru are level 1 NPC Bushi with AC7, yari (spear) and wakizashi.

Kaga-bearers are level 0 characters, with loincloths, daggers and very little else.

The Muleteer is level 0 with Wisdom 15, Animal Handling proficiency (1 slot) and a dagger.


Tanako is a level 8 Sumotori.

St 18/00; Dex 15; Con 18; Int 12; Wis 9; Cha 8.

AL N; AC 7 (6); MV 12; hp 89; THAC0 16; #AT 2; Dmg see below; ML 14.

Sumotori ki powers: psychic duel +1; raise Str to 19 for 1 round, 2/day.


For more information on sumotori and sumo bouts, the DM is referred to Dragon magazine #157. DMs who do not have access to this issue can run sumo bouts as unarmed combats using the normal martial arts rules.

To define sumo for AD&D, it is necessary to ignore the rule limiting special maneuvers to 1d8 from the principal method and 1d3 from other methods. Sumo involves maneuvers from a wide range of styles, without favoring a particular style such as Push or Throw.

Sumo (hard)
Form #AT Damage AC Attack Special Maneuvers
Hard 3 1d6 7 Body Lock 1, 4
Movement 1, 3
Push 1
Strike 2
Throw 3
Mental 5

Bandit Trouble

The "bandits" are AL LN; AC 7; MV 12; Bushi 1; hp 6 each; THAC0 20; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon type; ML 12; spear and wakizashi.

Their leader is AL LN; AC 5; MV 12/24 mounted; Samurai 6; hp 42; THAC0 15; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon type, +2; SA raise Strength to 18/00 for 1 round 6/day, cause fear in creatures with 1HD or less; SD surprised only on roll of 1 on 1d6, immune to all types of fear; ML 14; katana, wakizashi, daikyu.


The two kappa are kappa-ti: INT average; AL CE; AC 3; MV 12/Sw 36; HD 8; hp 48, 58; THAC0 13; #AT 2; Dmg 10-20/10-20; SA martial arts; SD martial arts, regeneration, camouflage, immune to water-based magic; SZ M; ML 11; XP 1,400. 19 Strength (+4 to combat rolls). Note the effect of their martial arts style (below) on combat statistics.

Form #AT Damage AC Mod. Attack Maneuvers
Hard/soft 3 1d6 3 Body Lock 1, 2, 3, 4
Throw 3, 4
Push 1

The Proud Spirit

Kuei: INT very; AL LE; AC -4; MV 18; HD 4; hp 24; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1-8; SA possession, 3/day; SD +2 or better weapon to hit, become ethereal at will, immune to esp, charm, enchantment, illusion, and water-based spells, immune to normal fire and cold, half damage from magical fire and cold; SZ M; XP 2,000.

Karamatsu cannot rest until he has defeated six opponents in a single battle. He haunts the road ethereally, and manifests visibly when a likely group of opponents passes by. Karamatsu will try to possess the toughest-looking character, and attack the rest. The DM should not be afraid to have the kuei possess Tanako. The PCs must resolve the situation without harming the sumotori, while the monk-kuei in possession of his body is trying to kill six of the party!

Karamatsu was a level 7 monk in life, and a possessed victim has all the abilities of that class and level, with their own attribute scores. This is true even if the victim does not have the right scores to be a monk themselves. Karamatsu was trained in k arate and jujutsu.

A Restless Night

The guards are level 1 bushi with AC 7, spear and wakizashi.

Ninja: AL N; AC 7; MV 12; Bushi 5/Ninja 4; hp 38, 40; THAC0 16; #AT 1; Dmg as weapon type; HS 25%; MS 33%; F/R T 35%; CW 88%; Dis 32%; OL 37%; TW 35%; PV 10'; Fall 15'; Esc 22%; BS x 2; ML 14; XP 2,000; silenced ring mail, ninja-to, 6 spike shuriken with class D poison, 2 blinding eggs, 20 tetsu-bishi, blowgun, 10 darts with class D poison, nekode.

The Tournament

The Tournament

In the first round of any event, the character faces a level 1 opponent with no bonuses. The second round pits the character against a level 2 opponent, and so on. Any character who survives to defeat a level 10 opponent wins the event, gaining quadruple the normal Honor from the final combat.

Tanako's opponent in the sumo final is a level 6 sumotori with ST 18(50) and Dex 14, but otherwise is identical to Tanako.

For the contests in archery and horse archery, the target is AC4, range M. For horse archery, make a successful Horsemanship check or suffer -5 to hit.

RuneQuest Land of Ninja

The Escort Party

Ashigaru — see Land of Ninja, p. 14. Armed with yari and wakizashi.

Kaga-bearers are unskilled characters, with loincloths, daggers and very little else. They will run rather than fight.

The Muleteer is similar to the kaga-bearers, but has Horse Lore 50 and Animal Handling 75.


Tanako is a Sumotori, with the following game stats:

STR 18; CON 18; SIZ 18, INT 12; POW 11, DEX 15; APP 8.

Skills: Sumo wrestling 95, Dagger 25, Dodge 30


Strangely, sumo wrestling is not covered in Land of Ninja. The simplest way to handle a sumo bout in RuneQuest is to treat sumo as a combat skill with an initial score of 0%, using the rules for lifting, throwing and knockback to force an opponent out of the ring. The GM can devise more complex and realistic methods if desired. Optionally, the GM may rule that a sumo skill score may never be more than (STR + SIZ) x 2.5.

Bandit Trouble The bandits are equivalent to Ashigaru — see Land of Ninja, p. 14. Armed with yari and wakizashi.

Their leader is a samurai soldier — see Land of Ninja, p. 16. Mounted and armed with katana, wakizashi, daikyu.


See Land of Ninja, p. 97. The GM should set characteristic and skill scores according to the strength of the party.

The Proud Spirit

Karamatsu is a gaki, and cannot rest until he has defeated six opponents in a single battle. He will try to possess the toughest-looking warrior in sight, and attack the rest. The GM should not be afraid to have the gaki possess Tanako. The PCs must then resolve the situation without harming the sumotori, while the gaki in possession of his body is trying to kill six of the party!

Karamatsu was a skilled martial artist in life, and a possessed victim has his martial arts score of 90%, but keeps their own attribute scores.

A Restless Night

The guards are best treated as Ashigaru — see Land of Ninja, p. 14. Armed with yari and wakizashi.

The ninja attack should be arranged by the GM to suit the strength of the party. See Land of Ninja, p. 76 for typical skills. Suggested equipment comprises ninjato, 6 shuriken, 1 torinoko flash grenade, 1 fukidake blowgun with darts, poison at GM's option, 40 tetsu-bishi caltrops, and 1 blinding-powder egg.

The Tournament

In the first round of any event, the character faces an opponent with a score of 20 in the relevant skill. The second round pits the character against an opponent with a score of 25, and so on. Any character who survives to defeat an opponent with a score of 90 wins the event. Optionally, each round might be represented by a resistance roll matching the character's skill/5 to that of the opponent.



The Escort Party

Ashigaru are level 1 classic Bushi with AC4, yari and wakizashi.

Kaga-bearers are level 1 classic men, with loincloths, daggers and very little else.

The Muleteer is a level 1 classic man with a dagger. He has a BCS of 17 in controlling the pack horses — treat this as a dismounted version of Bajutsu.


Tanako is a level 6 Sumotori, with the following game stats:

STR 35 DFT 25 SPD 15
HLH 35 WT 5 WL 20
DAM +4 BAP 12 MNA 1
BMA 7 ZAN 3 HPT 33
Brawl 9 Climb 13
Leap 8 Swim 11

Skills: Sumai (19) plus Irresistible Charge okuden (5); Tantojutsu (16)

Armor: AC2 normal clothes, AC0 loincloth with champion's apron.

Weapons: Tanto

Irresistible Charge Okuden: this is one of the secrets of Tanako's success. It may only be used when charging, and allows a body strike to increase the force of impact, doubling the chance of a Bash effect in the same way as the Smashing Blow okuden. The sumotori may proceed with a grapple attack in the same Action Phase as the body strike.

Bandit Trouble

The bandits are level 1 classic bushi with yari and wakizashi. Their leader is a mounted level 2 classic bushi with dai-sho and daikyu.


If their wishes for a friendly and honorable bout are respected, the kappa will refrain from using their koppo bone-breaking technique. They have the following game stats:

BAP 20 MNA 2 ZAN 1 BMA 8 (4)
AC 3 HPT 17 Budo 2
Attacks BCS Damage
Weapon 12 +3
Sumai 15 1d6+3
Magic 16 -

Kappa #1: Mask of Deception, Muscles of Water.
Kappa #2: Bursting Bonds, Darts of Water.

The Proud Spirit

A proud budoka who died through losing his footing at a crucial moment, Karamatsu is now a gaki with a hunger for DFT. He has the following game stats:

STR 25 DFT 20 SPD 20 HLH 20
WT 10 WL 10 DAM 1d6+2 BAP 10
MNA 2 BMA 7 ZAN 2 HPT 24
AC 5 Spirit Rank 3
Attacks BCS
Atemi-waza 18 (Crushing Blow okuden 6)
Jujutsu 16
Magic 8

Shadow Cloak 3/day, as level 2 shugenja.

Decrease DFT, Invulnerable to average or lower quality weapons.

Karamatsu's curse is such that he must subdue an opponent before he can use his Decrease DFT power. He will disdain the use of Invulnerability until he is reduced to 12 HPT, and he will use Shadow Cloak to escape if he is reduced to 1 HPT.

Tanako A character who defeats Karamatsu will gain Budo as for defeating a level 3 budoka. If his body is found and a gakusho successfully performs the segaki rite over it, Karamatsu will be laid permanently to rest.

A Restless Night

The guards are level 1 classic bushi with AC 4, yari and wakizashi.

The ninja are level 1 classic ninja, in silenced partial ninja armor (AC4), each with ninjato, 6 shuriken, 1 torinoko flash grenade, 1 fukidake blowgun with darts, 2 units injected lightning level 3 lethal poison, 40 tetsu-bishi caltrops, and 1 blinding egg. The GM may vary this equipment if desired, adjusting ninja stats to provide the party with a reasonable challenge.

The Tournament

The tournament is a level 6 contest and all individual events are at level 5 as duels. In the first round of an event, the character faces a classic member of his or her profession, at level 1 and with a weapon BCS of 10. In successive rounds, the opponent's BCS is increased by 1 at each stage, and level is increased by 1 for every 3 rounds. Any character who survives to defeat a level 6 opponent with a BCS of 19 or more wins the event, gaining quadruple On from the final combat.

Where PCs are not involved in an event, or all have been eliminated, the GM may resolve championships by taking 10 x the status factor for each participating clan (Washima = 0.8, Iyename = 0.8, optionally, include others as in Valley of the Mists) and treating it as a BCS. An effect number is generated for each clan or faction, and the highest effect number wins the event. Any ties should be rerolled.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game rules used with the permission of TSR, Inc., Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, AD&D, Oriental Adventures and DM are trademarks owned by TSR, Inc. Bushido is a registered trademark of Fantasy Games Unlimited and RuneQuest and Land of Ninja are registered trademarks of The Avalon Hill Game Co.

All trademarks and game stats are used with the permission of their respective holders.

Article publication date: August 1, 1995

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