The Century Before Thunder
Only a little larger and more active than most villages in Rokugan, Tsuma is a fishing town containing a few dozen small homes, barns, storehouses, and a few artisan shops. The town lies along the Tangu River a few miles from the coast (where a flourishing city lies as the main port-of-call for this area), and has only one small wharf. Most people make their living from fishing and farming (rice, tea, wul, silk, and cotton), though a small few are skilled artisans (weavers, builders, painters, and gardeners). However, Tsuma does hold several interests for the characters.
Locations in Tsuma:
Yasuki Jodeiga’s Shop
A small peddling shop just outside of Tsuma run by Yasuki Jodeiga, who has been making the trip to Tsuma for the Topaz Championship for years. He sells trinkets mostly, but his shop can also be used to buy a last-minute gift for young samurai.
Temple to the Seven Fortunes
Just inside the town’s fire ditch is a temple to the Seven Fortunes. The temple is a large, square, white stone building, with slightly angled walls that tower fifty feet into the air. Atop the walls, stacked like towers of a small pagoda, are two circular rooftops of brilliant blue-painted wood. Each is flanged eight times. Atop the entire structure is a large mirrored ball representing Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess. A long flight of white marble steps, arched by seven Torii, leads to the mammoth arched iron twin doors of the temple, each over thirty feet high. Beneath each of the Torii lie offerings to the gods.
The House of the Red Sting
The House of the Red Sting is a famous traveling teahouse, inn, and Geisha house, run by Shosuro Taishiko. The structure is only temporary, designed to come apart for easy travel and reconstruction. Usually, the inn goes to the province of whichever Governor has paid the most to sponsor them, but during this time of year, the House of the Red Sting always comes to Tsuma, out of respect for the new generation of Rokugani heroes.
The House of the Red Sting is made from bamboo rods, thin wood, and paper walls, and is two stories tall, containing a kitchen, an onsen, a tearoom, and many private rooms for patron’s use. It has a balcony and sliding windows and doors, and boasts a portible, but impressive, garden.
The castle of Tsuma Village sits across the Tangu River from the town itself, and all of the temporary shelter of the participants. It is rumored that the grounds upon which the castle was built are the very same where Hantei The First and his brothers and sister competed to decide who would rule. The Kyuden is an impressive display of Crane architecture, despite the fact that it is quite small compared to many other castles throughout the lands.
This castle boasts many features, including the grounds on which the Topaz Championship will be held. For the three days of the tournament, students will cross the bridge into the immediate property of Kyuden Tsuma, and will compete on the Training Grounds and the Dojo.
Kakita School of Kenjutsu
The school itself is a walled enclave of interconnected buildings. Its structures, like most in Rokugan, are made entirely of wood and plaster. The entire network of buildings is raised on stilts, two feet from the ground (to prevent damage from the Tangu River’s flooding: the Tangu is dry riverbed three months of the year, and floods after the snowmelt). The opulence of the school’s buildings, gardens, and training facilities testify to the wealth of the Crane Clan.
The rooms have few interior walls except those separating the interconnected buildings, and their ceiling tower fifteen and twenty feet into the air. The interior walls are painted with brilliant murals of rich color, depicting much of Rokugan’s history.
The school has many gardens. Its most famous, the Higashi Garden, is located within the Sensei quarter of the school. The gardens are cared for by students and sensei, under the watchful gaze of Shizuka, the head gardener, who is ceaseless in her work and has been for thirty years.
Sixty students and twelve sensei live, eat, work and train within the school. They are mostly from the Crane Clan, although others (those with money or influence) are not unheard of. The sensei who instruct the students are some of the best warriors of Rokugan. Each year, after twelve years of teaching, a sensei retires to the monastic life and the master of the school selects a new sensei.
The Ironworks of the Hiramichi
The Hiramichi family, vassal family to the Daidoji, hold a minor holding in this area, known as the Ironworks of the Hiramichi. The purpose of the ironworks is to create weapons, both for training and live blades, for the students and sensei to use. It is with the Hiramichi Ironworks that PCs (and all competitors) will entrust their blades, and the blade polishers will ensure that they are well cared for.
The current blacksmith is Daidoji Onimaru no Hiramichi, a stern man who is devoted to his work. Rumors say he disgraced himself and was made to work this unimportant ironworks to atone for his mistake