First of all, here's Mako's description in Alex's own words:
Mako Miyasuzu is the last remaining member of the Miyasuzu family of the noble Akugiri clan. Seven years ago, on the fall equinox, the day that the walls between the worlds of the oni and akuma are closest to the world of man, the day that every family responsible for a Shrine of the Silver Bell must perform the ceremony to keep the walls strong for another year, Mako lost her family.Mako's stats are a bit out of date - a few things were modified in the final published book, but here's her character sheet:
Mako does not know exactly what happened. She heard screams of warning, and her grandfather bundled her up and hid her under the floorboards. From her hiding place, she saw figures, perhaps humans in black, perhaps oni or akuma for some seemed to be wreathed in fire, others in unnatural blackness. Mako hates herself for cowering, listening to the beasts slaughter her family, the screams of her sister, the defiant cursing of my grandfather, the splintering crash as the bell her family was pledged to tend and defend was stolen.
For weeks Mako stayed at the shrine, trying to rebuild it, training herself in the manner her family had, torn between rage and sadness. Eventually, she was found by some pilgrims who took her to her great uncle, Lord Suzaku Akugiri. Mako was raised in the military manner of the Akugiri, but never forsook or forgot the pledge she made to herself every minute of every day she stood on that mountain in the ruins of her family's shrine. She would find whoever murdered her family. She would return the bell to the shrine. She would deliver the curses of her grandfather, to drive home into the bellies of those beasts the swords of her father and mother.
Basics Name:Mako Miyasuzu Class: Bushi (Warrior) Profile: Sohei (Warrior Monk) Background: Buke (Warrior-Aristocracy) Allegiances: Azuma Shinobi, Akugiri Clan, The Order of the Silver Bell Ability Scores Str 14 (+1) Int 10 Wis 17 (+2) Dex 17 (+2) Con 11 Cha 9 AC: 17 TD: 17 HP: 10 Current: 10 Attack Bonus: +2 Encumbrance: 11 allowed Current Total: 5.75 Bonus Dice: 5 Type: combat Background Skills Religion Art (High) Craft (Weaponry) Investigation WP: Basic, Samurai, Classical Armor: All Class Abilities Frenzied Attack – By spending a combat die, the sohei may make
additional attacks equal to the result of the combat die, but
all attacks that round take a penalty to hit equal to the combat
die result instead of a bonus. They gain no bonus or penalty to
damage. Spells Spells Per Day: / / / / L1: L2: L3: L4: L5: Ninpo Money and Treasure - bag of coins - 1EU Zeni: 10 Mon: 53 Ryo: Trade Bars: Other: Gear Wakizashi - .25EU - d6+1 - +1 to hit Katana - .5EU - 2d4/d10+1 - +1 to hit Long Bow - 1EU - d8 - rate: 2 - S: 70 (+2 to hit), M: 140, L: 210 (-3 to hit) arrows (40) - 1 EU Backpack - 2EU Contents: Clothes(1 set plain, 1 set fine), flint and steel, flute, tent,
weaponry tool set, silk rope-50', wineskin, preserved food (10), torch (5)
Her allegiances developed through conversation between Alex and myself. He came up with the background above in a more skeletal form. I added in a few details to tie it to my Enzan Province setting. I had pulled some (very derivative in most cases) organizations from a setting I developed back in the 3E OA days (which I ran with my old Yamanashi Group). One of them was the Azuma Shinobi, based on the 'good guy' ninja from the Tenchu video games.
I'd listed some of these organizations as ideas for the players. They could join one if they liked, and help me flesh it out more, or create their own using the ideas for inspiration. Alex and two other players liked the description of Azuma Shinobi, and we negotiated how his demon-hunting shrine protectress could also be part of a ninja clan. We must have emailed or Skyped the details, because they're not on the RPOL game and I don't remember exactly how we discussed it working out that way, but it made sense at the time.The mission the Azuma gave Mako at the start was to serve as bodyguard to the two dedicated Shinobi characters.
Since two other characters were tied to the biggest local shrine (the Mahotsukai/soryo daughter of the shrine-keeper, and the Mahotsukai/onmyoji protege of the shrine-keeper's old friend), we worked Mako's quest to retrieve the family's Silver Bell as an angle to tie her in as well. The shrine-keeper had some limited information about the bell, and was helping Mako piece together clues to its whereabouts. (Conveniently, the clues led to the adventure location...)
The shrine-keeper's daughter (I'll post her eventually) and another of the Azuma Shinobi characters both also had allegiance to the daimyo, so I was able to bring in a third set of characters. In that way, I brought them all together despite varied allegiances and varied purposes into a party that was prepared to explore the Ghost Castle Hasegawa.
While we never ended up completing Ghost Castle Hasegawa before my dissertation killed the game, I did work up plans for the next adventure to be about hunting down the oni/akuma who stole the bell. Alas, it never got past the idea stage.
Fun fact: Alex had Mako only speak in haiku form. He'd told me he would do that, but not any of the other players. The first time he introduced himself, several other players also decided to answer his poetry with their own. It was a lot of fun for me to read the threads they were creating.
If reading about this character made you think "That sounds like fun!" then check out Chanbara. You can make your own crazy poetry-spouting ninja/warrior monk, or a drunken calligraphy-obsessed samurai, or a hermit master of the war-fan (always underestimated in combat until the war-fan clocks you upside the head), or a scholarly spy who uses brains and guile to infiltrate enemy camps, or hundreds...probably thousands...of other character types.
Chanbara is for sale in pdf for $10, print (softcover, full color) for $20, or print/pdf combo also for $20. Exclusively through DrivethruRPG.com.