Ok, the other story, as promised.
There are three major families of the Scorpion clan that run the opium trade in the City of Lies, supplying medicinal opium to the Empire. The bulk of it is controlled by two of them, one of whom is the governing family.
Now, as the campaign has progressed, things have gone from bad to worse, and its getting close to all out war on the streets. In an effort to prevent this, the Magistrates has arranged a meeting in their residence for the heads of each of the three families. Given that they've so far dealt with notorious bandits, ninja, Oni (demons) and all sorts of other threats, they're got the power to ensure the three heads show.
Now, because of having to deal with about 3 different Oni, the Dragon shukenja had cast a spell around their house, that anything with the Shadowlands Taint (which Oni have) that crossed this line
would burst into flames. It had proven its worth previously when they had to fight an Ogre and a horde of bakemono (goblins).
So, the three family heads turn up, with an escort of about 50 heavily armed and fairly twitch samurai between them. The deputy to one of the magistrates (an NPC) meets them at the gate, and while the nobles can come in, the guards stay where they are, with the magistrates pledging their own honour to ensure things at the meeting go smoothly.
Another of the deputies (a PC this time) is waiting just at the entrance of the house for the three to arrive, them walking up in reverse order of importance. As the least important is about to reach the house, the PC bows politely to her. She returns his bow, and explodes.
My entire gaming group goes "WHAT?
She went boom. Pillar of flame. Nothing left but a grease spot on the ground.
So, you have the city Governor and the second most powerful noble in the city a few steps back, 50 heavily armed samurai at the gates dropping their hands to their swords, the poor little NPC on the gate in need of a new kimono and the players still going "WHAT?
The one on the door realises what has happened. The noble must have been tainted, and when she stepped over the line of the Evil Ward, she burst into flames. The dice mechanic on L5R is d10s, and if you roll a 10 on the dice, you roll again, add it to the total. If you keep rolling 10s, you keep adding them.
This was one of those occasions where the tens kept coming, and I rolled enough damage to kill the noble about 3 times over.
The PC on the door goes "Governor! There is an Evil Ward up around the house. She must have been Tainted, but we know you are not Tainted. Please, come in."
By putting that publically (so all the guards could hear) if she didn't cross the line, she'd lose a lot of face. It could still have gone horribly wrong, but they lucked out and swords were kept sheathed.
One of my players will still collapse in fits of the giggles if I use the line "She bows politely and explodes." :)