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So I had a campaign idea that I was hoping to start up at some point involving the players being the second highest ranked people in an isolated Dragon Clan village. They were not assigned there, but happened to be passing through when winter struck really hard pinning them to the village for the time being.

The campaign would begin with the local lord, a minor dragon or dragonfly dignitary being assassinated and the players finding themselves stuck in a village that needs leadership and looks to them for it since they are suddenly the highest ranking samurai caste in the area and it's too far or risky to reach the nearest fort or palace.

So, even if the party does manage to manage the village and it's problems well and honorably, would they face possible repercussions for allowing their host to die once the passes clear?

Edit: This question really relates to the responsibility of a guest to protect their host and what kind of repercussions could face guests who fail to fulfill that responsibility.

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It's not just "Is a guest responsible for the safety of their host under the code of Bushido," but "how far does that responsibility extend" and "under what conditions is it honourable to fail?" Plus there's the other side of the question, "to what extent is a host entitled to impose their own concerns upon guests?" This is an interesting question, indeed. – GMJoe Apr 16 '13 at 4:14
As a side point, the assumption of this hook is that the players are the highest ranking nobles remaining in the area and it would be difficult, though not impossible to reach a nearby palace. Is it honorable to assume responsibility? – Bigeshu Apr 16 '13 at 15:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think the issue is about expectations and setting.

I'm not a setting expert but I think I can prompt you with some questions you need to answer by yourself or wit the help of someone else who know the game or the historic era better than I do.

  • Are they expected to protect the host?
  • If so, is it because of kindness or is it something that's in a standard honor code?
  • Is it dishonorable failing at protecting the host despite trying really hard?
  • Is it dishonorable not accepting to protect the village?
  • Who would know it's their fault? How would they know?

If you answer in a way that will lead to someone willing to punish the PCs, the actual punishment should be asked, IMHO, in a Japanese history Q&A site. (unless the manual says something about it, and you hopefully can look for the right answer in other Answers.)

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You have a stray * with no footnote to match it (or corresponding * for markup?) – doppelgreener Apr 14 '13 at 14:02

Like most any role-playing scenario, you should determine the answer to this question by asking yourself, "What would the characters do in this situation?" Regarding the NPCs involved, determine how they would react to such a failure. Would they be upset? Do they have the power to punish the players? It wouldn't be implausible for the villagers to be outraged and to attack the players or run them out of town, but neither would it be for them to be reasonable and forgiving. It's really all about the characters as people, and you need to get into their minds.

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