“No-one had heard from the villagers of Korōnamura for weeks. They appeared to have gone into some kind of self-isolation, socially distancing themselves from the officers sent by their nominal landlord. A small group of men is sent to Korōnamura to find out what is going on.”
The player commands a group of men sent by a provincial kokujin (minor landholding samurai) to find out why one of his villages hasn’t paid their taxes. When the player’s force arrives, the discussion with the village leaders quickly becomes heated, and weapons are drawn……
^ The villagers state their case for tax exemption
Set the table up as a village. You want a fair bit of clutter terrain, trees etc about as well to break up long lines of sight and make it harder to move around too easily. The player’s force should be around 15-20 points. For the villagers, make up a force of about 1.5 to 2 times the size of the player’s force, you can have some characters in there, but probably no heroes. Personally, I normally use any and all cards, and just ignore the name and type in order to get a good mix of characters. Otherwise use whatever you want, but try not to have everyone with low honour scores, as this may make things too easy…. All villagers are armed with spears or swords (it’s the Sengoku Jidai, no-one needs to resort to improvised weapons). You can simplify things by disregarding weapon special effects for the villagers.
Place the player’s force anywhere within 6″ of the centre of the table. Then draw as many cards at random as the player has figures on the table from the villager force. Place these randomly on the table 15″ from the centre. You can use an arrow dice, and place figures in the direction shown. If the line from the centre of the table crosses a building or piece of terrain first, place the figure here instead (i.e. closer to the player figures). The player always has the first move every turn. The player’s objective is to get as many figures off the table as possible.
Draw the villager activations as if they were a player. Where possible, the closest villager with activations left to any player’s figure will act. They will either charge or move directly towards the player’s figure. If there is a choice of villager that can be activated, decide randomly between them.
When a fate token is drawn, draw a new villager card and add the appropriate tokens to the activation pot. Ascertain which player figure is closest to a table edge, and place a villager figure corresponding to this card halfway between the player’s figure and the table edge. If there would be terrain between the villager and the player’s figure, move the villager toward the player’s figure until it has line of sight (the villager has appeared from cover). Don’t worry if villagers spring out of thin air, assume there are groups of non-combatant villagers around, and the armed villager has emerged form one of these. In Easy Mode, place a new villager when the first token is drawn. On Normal Mode, place one on each of the first two fate tokens. On Hard Mode, place a villager on all 3 fate tokens. If a villager would flee off-table, remove them from play instead, along with their counters. Villagers cannot be placed within 1″ of player figures.
If you run short of villager figures, just take off the ones furthest away from the player figures and ‘recycle’ them.
You could play the scenario with any other factions as well. It’d work with temple troops collecting taxes, or bandits extorting villagers etc.
Historical note: This scenario represents one of the social dynamics of the 16th century in Japan. With the breakdown in central authority, both at national and provincial level, villages had nowhere to seek redress against ineffectual or rapacious landlords. In may cases, villages would expel their samurai and either band together in ikki or mutual defence, or seek the protection of more powerful landlords such as the emerging Sengoku daimyō. These leagues could be quite effective, one such league held Yamashiro province against two warlords who were fighting over it. The most famous would be in Iga province, where the resistance against warrior rule gave rise to the ninja legends. Ultimately, both the village leagues and the independent land-holders would be brought under the control of the Sengoku daimyō as the century closed.
^The villagers seem determined to take a fairly direct approach to appealing their tax assessment.
^”Let’s go down this alley, it looks clear…… Oh.”
^This archer may have dispatched several villagers, but if he had, they were innocent bystanders and never anyone he was aiming at.
^No way out down here either.
^Definitely no way out down there…..
^”You keep them busy laughing at your useless archery while we escape”
^”Tono! I’ve cleared the alleyway! Tono! Tono?…..”
“Phew, we escaped”
“You only escaped because you happened to flee in terror the right way”
“You won’t tell the lord will you?”