A long time ago I bought the Kitsunemori setting and started my Monday game in it. Here’s the setup I ended up with when characters were around level five. I’m proposing it for the next issue of Fight On! We were using the M20 rules at the time.
Nikko is where the players start. They are on a pilgrimage to the Gassan shrine. A few farmers and fishermen live up here. The Chuzenji lake is very peaceful. There’s a shabby tea-house that offers a room for rent. Every night there’s gambling and drinking at the tea-house. The only merchant in town belongs to the Kawa clan that runs business along the Kako river.
Hakone is ruled by the Onishi clan. There’s a castle standing on an island in the middle of the river, connected to the city itself by a bridge. They hardly ever leave the castle. In addition to the rice farmers that work the inundated fields around the city there are a lot of lumberjacks that work the western forest.
Tobu is another little village belonging to the Onishi fief. There’s supposed to be a tomb to the famous warrior king Ueshiba in a swamp near the village. It is said that Ueshiba fought the last battle against the swamp things using a magic sword he had received from a tengu prince.
Kurobano is the regional capital three days to the south of Hakone. The Fudo temple in Kurobano is well known for the wisdom and power of its head priestess Katsuko.
Small Inari shrines dot the landscape.
A tengu (bird man) has kidnapped the merchant’s daughter. Up in the mountains the party can find a path leading up to the tengu’s mansion high above the Yunoko lake. In order to defeat it in combat they might have to befriend one of the two kitsune (fox men) living in the area. They are called Umisachihiko and Yamasachihiko and despise each other. Umisachihiko is interested in killing either the tengu, his brother, or both, or the party. Yamasachihiko is interested in helping the party but opposed to treachery and violence.
There are rumors of kujo (hill giants) to the north, but nobody knows whether there’s any truth to that.
Caves: The area across the river to the east of Hakone consists of swamp wilderness. There are reports of a black dragon living in the caves to the west.
Ruin: There is a ruined castle in the swamps to the north west of Hakone. As nobody likes to cross the Kako river, nobody has ventured there in recent years.
Hakone: The Onishi household is under the sway of a kumo (spider woman) that has charmed all the men. As the women are unaffected it might be possible to contact them within the village if the guards are distracted. The youngest son Shigeru has also been unaffected by the kumo’s charms and has been tied up in the tea house behind the castle, away from prying eyes.
Nikko: The Chuzenji lake houses several kappa that will attack anybody on the lake or on the forest roads at night.
Old Bridge: There is a big guesthouse near the old bridge because it takes more than a single day’s journey to travel on foot between Hakone, Nikko, and Tobu. All pilgrims and merchants stop here.
Morioka: The other powerful wizard in the area is Morioka. He lives in his tower in the forest with two apprentices. His speciality is thunder and lightning. He is not interested in war and destruction.
Kappa Lake: The lake houses three kappa (turtle men) guarding some treasure and a magic cold iron weapon which they hate and avoid like the plague.
Bato is a small village by the last imperial bridge. They believe themselves to be the last civilized village this far north.
Gassan is a holy mountain. There’s a famous shrine at the top. A long and winding stair leads up to the shrine. The locals only come here in times of need. Apparently a hermit lives up here somewhere but it has been years since anybody has seen him.
Musashi: In the hills north of Bato is a hidden old ruin. Musashi has managed to attract about a dozen bandits and is robbing lonely merchants and pilgrims.
Logger Camp: To the east up along the small river you’ll find a camp of lumberjacks. They work for the Kawa merchants in Hakone. Their incursions into the forests aggravate the forest spirits and now they are being harassed day and night.
Owlbears: There are many owlbears north of Tobu, but they keep to the mountains.
Goblins: The goblins living in the hills separating Nikko and Tobu are a nuisance but a guard or two will scare them away so there has never been a need to actually clear them out.
Forest King: There is a powerful treant that rules the wild forests to the east. There are many kappa with naginatas (glaives) and kitsune archers with powerful yumi (composite longbows) under his command. Apparently the Onishi clan has appropriated a horn of animate trees – a unique magic item that belongs to the forest king.
Ueshiba’s Tomb: In the middle of the swamps to the west of Tobu is an old stone mausoleum. There are secret passages into the wet underground tunnels if searched for long enough, Ueshiba’s magic sword of air and light can be found down here.
Tengus: These winged master swordsmen live up in the mountains. They care little for the affairs of men. A long time ago tengus were allied with men and fought against kappas and kumos, and other swamp things. But that was a long time ago.
Imperial Road: The ruined road is still visible after all these years. It runs south up to the Niemon Gap (not shown) where a robber baron has taken up residence in an old imperial guard tower.
Hobgoblin Gap: Further to the north is hobgoblin country. They are supposed to be great armourers. The hobgoblins worship the minotaur god Mithras in underground labyrinthine temples. There used to be a big war in the past and legend says that the swamp near Tobu is full of dead humans and hobgoblins.
Manabu: He is one of the two powerful wizards in the area. He is a dreadful necromancer and is currently raising a small army of zombies and skeletons from the swamps of Tobu. The ones that escape his control are sometimes found in the area around his tower. He has recruited three evil clerics of Izanami to lead the attacks against Musashi’s castle, Tobu, and Nikko.
Old Bridge: There used to be an old bridge connecting the imperial road with the Temple of the Moon but much of it has crumbled and these days the bridge ends half-way across the river.
Tobu: Should any heroes serve Onishi well, they shall be rewarded with a yearly stipend. Effectively they gain ownership of a few peasant families around here.
Temple of the Moon: This is a remote haven of sylvan happiness. The priests have many contacts all over the country. They fear that the hobgoblins to the north might be trying an invasion sooner or later. Moonlight is also associated with graveyards and the undead, but nobody up here seems to harbor such dark secrets.
Yusukami: There’s another feudal lord living up here in the north. Lord Yusukami has a daughter called Fumiko that might make a fitting bride for Lord Onishi’s son Shigeru. There are agents at work that want to prevent this from happening, however.