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  1. Eh, there's a lot of daimyo in L5R rokugan since it is a feudal system. Clan Champion is a title specifically for the ruler of the Clan, to whom all the other heads of all the other families of the Clan swear fealty. These 7 individuals give fealty to only one person - the Emperor himself. Traditionally, the Clan Champion is the family daimyo of the family founded by the Clan's founding Kami. This is true even in the case of the Phoenix Clan. The unique circumstance of the Phoenix Champion lies with the oath Shiba made to Isawa. While the Elemental Council holds sway over the affairs of the Phoenix and gives the Phoenix Champion his marching orders, the Clan Champion still has higher social status than the individual Masters and the Masters do not fall directly under the Emperor in the feudal system. Heck, the Isawa family didn't even have a family daimyo in Old5R. One interesting scenario that was never explored was what happens is the Elemental Council and the Emperor give conflicting marching orders to the Phoenix Clan Champion. According to the law the Emperor always wins and the Phoenix Clan Champion is obligated to bring the Council into line under the Emperor - up to and including arrest and execution of the Elemental Masters ...
  2. A game of Go or Shogi would've been appropriate, yes. Arasou's loss due to aggressive play and a remark about how play like Toturi's infuriates Tsuko-chan would've been perfect foreshadowing.
  3. "Arasou's older brother, Toturi, has been summoned form the monastery to answer that call for aid ..." unless Toturi has another brother that's pretty definitive, yeah. I'd heard otherwise before this story, which makes it a bit disappointing. I hope that's the last we see of any of Toturi's filial baggage. I don't want to revisit the story of his uncle being champion and his father being married off to a Matsu and the girls and boys agreement and yadda-yadda-yadda. It really made the Matsu out to be stupid, petty, and disloyal and the Lion of Toturi's parents' generation having a lack of respect for tradition, IMO.
  4. It's implied and even explicitly stated in the story. It's just jarring because Toturi was originally the older brother. In this time-line Arasou is the first-born. Hence why Arasou refers to him as "Toturi-kun," and Motso's proclamation: "As oldest living heir of Akodo One-Eye, you are now clan champion." Honestly, they may not dig as far down into Akodo/Matsu family dynastic politics and the original screwed-up parentage and childhood of the brothers in this universe. It's really not necessary for a compelling, character-driven drama. There's already enough there with Toturi's struggle with expectations, duty to family, bushido, and fealty on the one side and the elephant in the room between him and Tusko: Toturi advised Arasou correctly but Tusko's advise goaded Arasou to his death. Somewhere in his hind-brain Toturi would make this connection. Tsuko already knows the causality of her actions and has completely repressed it - instead projecting her sense of guilt into blaming Toturi for not avenging Arasou. Both of them have buried the idea of "blame" for Arasou's death in terms of "glorious death on the battlefield is the hope of all Lion bushi" Bushido-think externally, but emotionally I don't think it's that easy when your brother / fiance dies due to executing the wrong tactic someone advocated.
  5. Kunoichi romances always end well ... kind of hoping she turns out to be a raging Yandere this time around - for completion's sake.
  6. Matsu Tsun-ko. All her dere impulses died on the field with Arasou. Seriously, though, Toturi _is_ the harem anime protagonist in this show. Bookish kid thrust into a main-character role - stuck with Matsu Tsunko constantly, stalked by his kohai Tsanuri, angsty drama with childhood friend Hotaru, targeted for manipulation by a sultry older woman in Kachiko, and he's got an off-camera magical-girl Shugenja fiance in Isawa Kaede. O.o Well-written story, by the way. It had good flow.
  7. Eh, it's not like Atarasai was ever Crab Champion. He died his first death 170 years before Hida did and 20 years hefore Hida stepped aside as Champion. He had twin sons who were Lost during the Troll Wars lead by their uncle, Osano-wo. Whether they'd done their duty and left behind progeny is unclear. I'm not sure it's that odd for Osano-wo to become Champion, though. Even with the tradition of primogeniture, if the first-born son dies before he inherits a title whether that title passes to his next brother or his own first-born (or his first-born's first-born) depends on the culture or family's practice of substitution under the inheritance. It could also just be that Atarsai's sons died with no legitimate male issue.
  8. It makes the whole part about forcing Toturi to shave his head and live in a monastery to make way for Arasou unnecessary. Eh, I think it became a more significant thing when they actually told the story of Lady Matsu refusing to be Akodo's wife. Then it became less about vague internal politics and took on overtones about broken traditions / bad karma. At worst, they were descended from the immediate siblings of their Thunders - though the original Crane Thunder (who was assassinated) and Hida Atarasai all had surviving children. The one that actually throws the whole bloodlines idea out the window is Kachiko. Yes, she came from the line of Shosuro Kuge, but Shosuro didn't have any children in that guise - the family line was established by those who gave her fealty. Only in the guise of Soshi did Shosuro have any possible opportunity to have a bloodline - assuming that was ever physically possible. Personally, I'm hoping that the LCG storyline doesn't touch the idea of "The Lying Darkness" with a 11.5' pole and Shosuro is just a mortal follower of Bayushi in this timeline. True, but the way Rokugan handles birthright and destiny alongside the Path of Man makes it unlikely that the Thunders (assuming the LCG even does the Second Day of Thunder again, they don't have to) would come from outside their respective clans. Once within the Clans, the likelihood of coming from a different Family (a Unicorn thunder from the line of Shinjo instead of Otaku) or even the branch families or ji-samurai as opposed to the Kuge of the appropriate family seems less likely. Akodo Toturi always struck me as weird for carrying the Soul of Thunder from Lady Matsu since he was basically reviled and hated by Tsuko's side of the family for being as un-Matsu-like as possible.
  9. Man, that's actually a huge shift in Toturi's backstory - potentially a chain of huge changes. First of all, it doesn't look like Toturi's family was pressured into sending him off to the Brotherhood of Shinsei to make way for Arasou in this timeline. It could be that Arasou is the elder brother in L5R LCG instead of the younger one like in L5R CCG. Secondly, I wonder if there's a similar shift in gender-matches for the 7 Thunders like there were for the Clan Champions. Lady Matsu was the Lion Thunder, and Toturi was her direct descendant because Akodo Daio and Matsu Sodohime violated the traditional taboo prohibiting Kuge from the two lines from intermarrying. There were a lot of implication there: 1 - Toturi was originally shipped to the monastery at the behest of his family because his father married into the Matsu and Toturi was a quiet, contemplative child while his litle brother Arasou had all the makings of prototypical strong, brash Matsu. 2 - It could be said that violations of the Akodo/Matsu bloodline taboo created bad karma and was further compounded trying to marry Tusko to Arasou. That karma leads to the tragic events that ensued. 3 - Arasou and Tsuko were **first cousins** (potentially once removed) in the original storyline since Tsuko's mother was the Matsu Daimyo and Arasou's mother was the sister of the Matsu Daimyo (who was either Tsuko's aunt or Tsuko's mother's aunt). /yick 4 - If Toturi and Arasou aren't descendants of a taboo Akodo/Matsu royal family union, then either the Second Thunders aren't going to be of the direct bloodlines this time or Tsuko - not Toturi - is the Lion Thunder. /potato
  10. You can ask Mirumoto Kei and Ikoma Kyuso all about that one - it's exactly how the Lion kept the Dragon from ruining the War of the Rich Frog.
  11. Some things about L5R will never change - like feeding the trolls.
  12. Well, that part's just not true. The RPG had pages and pages, sometimes paperback novels, of pre-coup story and named lots of names. Untrue on both counts, I'm afraid. It was at the heart of Tsuko, Toturi, Tsanuri, and Ujiaki's conflicts for the very least. Just look at where Tsuko, Arasou, and Toturi's story comes from and why they are in the places they during original stories leading up to and through the Day of Thunder. The internal "damned if you do, damned if you don't" dilemma of bushido vs. feudal duty of the Lion's identity and role is exactly what culminates in Tsuko's seppuku - the event that marks the apex of the Clan War, IMO. The complication is that the Lion Clan itself are overt villains / antagonists during most of the Clan War arc - not protagonists. When John Wick is writing you see very little of Lion protagonists outside of the RPG until Tsuko's depiction evolves from increasingly sympathetic villain to tragic hero. The Lion Clan itself is broken and off-message during most of the Clan War arch because of the coup. The same thing goes for the Scorpion Clan (just vengeful criminals) and the Crab Clan (importing the Shadowlands rather than fighting them) during the Clan War. Specifically with the Lion Clan, the Akodo Family that lead the Lion had been destroyed and the conflicts and contrast between the Lion under Matsu Tsuko and what would become Toturi's Army - and later Tsanuri and Ujiaki - underpin the overall contradictions of the Traditional Lion (pre-coup). There wasn't even a Lion-aligned Thunder printed because the "soul of the Lion" was in the Toturi's Army faction. After the original story John was telling ends, things get wacky. Like I said, writers constantly wind up recycling the theme of a "legendary" existential threat to the Empire, widespread large-scale wars to control the throne, etc. That was never a sustainable model, IMO, making everything a new "exception" to the "rules" we never got to see on-camera because of the constantly-sustained theme of "exceptional" crisis. The LCG has wisely scoped back the premise of why players are having Clan conflicts and invoke mono no aware - which is very much in line with the impermanence the Traditional (pre-coup) Lion-Crane-Scorpion dynamic of the Inner Empire was designed to sustain. Except that is basically the status quo of the Lion. What they are capable of as a faction isn't really in dispute. On an open field they will murder your armies unless they are divided or you bring multiple Clans into the field allied against them. They are the best at that one thing, and in their opinion (focused almost entirely on Bushido) the other clans _do_ look like shmucks. There's just so much more going on in Rokugan than one Clan declaring total war on another Clan that the Lion engaging all their forces in a single-front conflict against another Clan simply isn't permitted to happen. They will often wind up being out-numbered or undermined in some way that forces them to do more with less or get less when they do more. Sometimes the Lion's reward is just getting to die in a glorious battle against overwhelming odds. Other times they make impermanent material gains that are bought back by glory or lost by tragedy. Counter-point: Fiction works best when the protagonists are _people_ rather than _armies_. The real struggles of the Lion written with protagonists were focused on the decisions of the individuals regarding their duty to a superior their duty to their family and their duty to the code of Bushdio - not whether or not their armies could win the field. When your Storyteller isn't spending all their time revolving slews of story prizes around armies taking land there's a lot more to focus on - which is why the original RPG was great for story-telling and driving the character of the Clans without the Empire being a state of bedlam.
  13. It's literally the Lion's entire back-plot for the First Edition L5R RPG and anything and everything set prior to the fall of the Hantei Dynasty. The fact that the original L5R CCG story got caught in a creative disaster brought on by making the premise of the game "The Emperor is dead / dying / missing - grab the throne while a once-in-1,000-years crisis hits Rokugan" over, and over, and over again is just a warning about not repeating mistakes, IMO. I'm heartened by the fact that no such premise exists at the start of the LCG. Eh, "Samurai chooses between duty and honor and dies so someone else might benefit or the status quo can be restored for just one more day," is a pretty tried-and-true plot of the genre, though.
  14. Actually, this isn't really true in the L5R setting itself. Since the Empire lacks both an autonomous bureaucracy and a standing army, the Emperor is a ruler constantly vulnerable to his vassals rebelling or making him into a puppet. The Lion's primary job during "peacetime" is to constantly stomp down on the other Clans in turn. This is so they can become neither strong enough to rebel nor so indolent they can no longer fight like Samurai. On the other hand, the Emperor can't afford to have the Lion present a threat to him either - hence their forces are constantly engaged on multiple fronts and the political machinations of the Imperial Court make sure that all material gains the Lion make in military conflicts are reversed within a generation. The Emperor primarily uses the Crane for this job. The Emperor keeps power by exploiting this cycle, and he uses the Otomo family and the Scorpion clan as proxies to cultivate these conflicts while keeping his hands clean. The actual archetype character conflict for Lion samurai is the conflict in values between the expectation to pursue personal virtue and familial glory pitted against their duty to obey orders. They get called to give 110% and win every time, but in the end the Emperor always jerks their leash and pulls them back into line. A Lion is simultaneously demanded to go all-in for glory, but just stand there and suffer humiliation and injustice whenever someone pulls rank on them. That's a Lion's personal conflict: constantly keep the faith and prop up the system while knowing full-well you're being played and cheated by that same system. The general response to this conflict is to hit the people you are allowed to beat up on even harder.
  15. I feel like I just read two stories. The first story I read involved a bandit ambush and a meeting between sisters afterwards that was littered with awkward cadence and a ton of "tell, don't show" writing choices that really made it feel unpolished and jerky. The second story I read involved two lovers from rival clans and the main character's struggle with internal conflicts through a well-executed flash-back and a series of well-crafted and well-paced dialogue points. I feel like the first part would've benefited from another editorial pass, and maybe reading it out-loud to find the rough edges to sand down. The second party shows more of what the author is truly capable of, so I hope to see continued improvement. Work on a more natural progression of "show, don't tell," through the perspective character and test the dialogue out to see if it feels natural or awkward.
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