Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Idanthyrsus

  • Rank

Recent Profile Visitors

398 profile views
  1. It's not primarily the founding of a new Clan that's at issue, here- it's the founding of a new Clan by an eta (who is also an Ainu, who have no equivalent in L5R... except maybe the Nezumi/Trolls/Ogres, inasmuch as they represent fallen members of a race shattered by the new arrivals? But that's clearly not what Whitehead is looking for). The other major difference between this situation and the Monkey is that Toku did his level best to hide the fact that he was not of the samurai caste, until he was well and truly established as a hero of the Empire and a personal friend of the Emperor; the White Tiger, in my reading of Whitehead's scenario, does nothing to conceal his caste and origins, and if anything revels in them. Finally, there seems to be an expectation that it could/will become canon... which is very, very, very, unlikely. Though L5R has traditionally had a player-driven story (and I hope it continues to do so, at least to some extent, under FFG), that is a categorically different thing from 'this one player's idea becomes canon'. Because I've said it enough times already, I might as well say it again- I have nothing at all against people making these kinds of changes, and playing these kinds of games, in their own group. The more people there are enjoying L5R, the better, and there's no reason their enjoyment should detract from mine or vice versa. That just shouldn't be interpreted as meaning that what one player or group does is appropriate for others, or the setting as a whole.
  2. The chances of this are approximately zero. You can do what you want with the setting in your own group, but you should be aware that this is about as likely to happen in the official setting as Achilles appearing and giving everyone laser guns and zeppelins.
  3. Well, this isn't true at all. While peaceful reintroduction would be difficult, the not!Europeans can pull a Commodore Perry vs Japan scenario just fine. ... Are you saying that Japanese society did not change dramatically as a result of Commodore Perry and the black ships? I certainly agree with you that it could be done, and it could potentially be quite interesting (it isn't my thing, but I can see the attraction), but it would still count as changing the setting quite radically, I think.
  4. You can do what you want in your own setting. Reintroducing quasi-Europeans into Rokugan proper would be difficult to impossible, though- Rokugani society in general is incredibly xenophobic, and that goes double for the people who introduced gunpowder and fought them at White Stag. Trade might be just about possible with the Mantis and/or Tortoise Clans, but it would have to be on a very small scale, and outside Rokugan proper. For quasi-Europeans to be an accepted part of the main setting, the society itself would have to change dramatically. At least, that's the case in the canon setting. Again, you can do what you want with it in your own games!
  5. There are quasi-Europeans in the L5R setting- Thrane and Merenae, somewhere across the sea, are rough parallels for C16-C17 Portuguese/Dutch adventurers. In the canon timeline, they showed up, caused significant damage (and prompted a social aversion to gunpowder), but were eventually driven off with heavy losses, then their homelands were hit by a devastating plague for no good reason other than to ensure they wouldn't interfere with the setting again. The vast majority of games of L5R will ignore them entirely, because they're a distraction from the main focus of the setting, but there are people who like that kind of thing. Either way, they do exist, though you should feel free to make up your own version if you want, as long as you can get your group to agree to it. I'm not entirely sure what you mean by asking about the timeline?
  6. As a person who doesn't play any game except L5R, I may not be the best person to explain this, but the very basic outline is as follows: You have two decks: Dynasty (mostly Holdings (which allow you to buy things, and sometimes have special abilities) and Personalities (which are necessary to do anything, though 'faceless' decks have on occasion been viable) and Fate (Attachments and action cards). Some personalities and attachments have abilities, some only contribute Force (and/or Chi- Chi doesn't do anything on its own, but several action types key off it). The Dynasty deck is cycled through four Provinces, from which Dynasty cards are bought with gold from Holdings (everyone starts with one Clan-specific special holding, called the Stronghold). There are four ways of winning: 1) Honour- reach 40 Honour before your opponent. This generally means playing as many uncontested honour-gaining actions as possible, though some Honour decks depend to greater or lesser extents on in-battle gains, and preventing the other player from reaching their victory condition first. Several Clans have had access to Honour decks of one kind or another throughout the game's history. 2) Dishonour- push your opponent to -20 Honour. These decks are generally slower (though there is usually some degree of choice to focus on explosive but combo-dependent honour-losses, or smaller but more reliable losses), and often play markedly differently depending on their opponent's deck or Clan of choice. Only a few Clans have access to dishonour deck-types at any one time- it used to be pretty much only the Scorpion, but AEG made efforts to allow other Clans to play with it towards the end of their tenure of the IP. 3) Enlightenment- put all five Rings into play. Rings are special action cards, which can be played and discarded like any other for a one-off effect, or put into play if certain conditions (which change from edition to edition) are met, allowing their effect to be repeated. Enlightenment decks rely extremely heavily on Fate deck manipulation and card draw, to the point of being more or less completely unworkable without it. Traditionally, Enlightenment has been the hardest, and least-played, deck-type- only the Dragon Clan have ever really specialised in it, though it has been more or less possible for other Clan and deck-types at various times. 4) Military- destroy all 4 of your opponent's Provinces. Every Clan has always had more or less viable military options, and it has always been the core of the game. The Battle phase is quite complicated - probably too much so for this kind of brief overview - but the idea is basically to have more Force left unbowed (untapped?) at the end of the battle than your opponent. Since destroying Provinces reduces the opponent's ability to cycle through their Dynasty deck, as well as getting the Military player closer to their victory condition, it has usually been the most effective, and by far the most played, of all deck types, though other victory conditions have always been viable in one form or another. I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for, and going into more detail risks getting quite complex quite quickly (it's not an excessively difficult game, just very difficult to explain without playing simultaneously), so I'll leave it there for now. Ask away if you have any other questions, and/or if I've completely missed the mark!
  7. Funnily enough, since the matter of Clan affiliation and views on the setting has come up - as I have said elsewhere, I was drawn to the Lion through the Tsuno (I loved the Tsuno, but then they got thrown under the bus with the rest of the Horde, and I had come to appreciate the Lion through their interactions with the Tsuno, so Lion it was). So, if the supernatural elements had not been present, I would quite possibly not be a Lion fan... In fact, as it was the Shadowlands that initially got me into the game when I was small, I would very probably not be an L5R fan at all if they had not been present. To that extent, it would be hypocritical of me to deny that the supernatural elements of the setting can be compelling, or to call for their complete disappearance. With that said, however- when I was first getting into the game, I barely knew anything about the setting, nor did I know anyone who really did (I had a couple of friends who were into it, but being children, we didn't really understand... our standard playstyle in the CCG was to run through our entire Dynasty decks until every single personality was bought, then throw them at each other). The primary motivation for my interest in the Shadowlands was pure aesthetic appreciation (Gold and Diamond Edition Oni were super-cool), rather than sensitivity to their importance for narrative coherency within the setting or anything like that. One of the reasons I gravitated towards the Tsuno as I got deeper into the setting was that they echoed (albeit in highly distorted forms) some of the core values of the Clans, and thus posed a philosophical as well as purely physically existential challenge; another was that, thanks to their Realm-hopping abilities, they could appear and disappear as necessary- unlike the Shadowlands writ large, the Tsuno don't have to be present if the narrative doesn't require them, but they can arbitrarily appear at any point if it's useful for the story, without breaking any aspect of the setting (another reason was, again, aesthetics). By the time the Tsuno and the Horde were actually done away with, I was deep enough into the setting that, most of the time, I would rather let the samurai do their thing without being constantly interrupted by external forces that forced them to put aside their (interesting) internal conflicts in favour of (boring) unification against a superior foe. From my own experience, then, I think that the Tsuno are a useful model for the supernatural in L5R: it is - or can be - immensely powerful, and can intrude into the lives of the samurai in dramatic and unforeseeable ways. It also provides a point of sharp aesthetic difference, which can, potentially, attract people to the setting. But it doesn't have to, it normally doesn't, and the vast majority of the time, samurai can live their lives and engage with each other without ever being forced to acknowledge its presence or even existence. To borrow the simile of quantum physics- yes, it's mind-breaking if you think about it, and yes, it defines material existence at fundamental levels. But on the level of human existence and interaction, classical physics prevails pretty much 100% of the time, so there's not really any reason to consider quantum mechanics unless you really want to. I could say more, but this post is already too long, and dangerously close to going too far off topic, so I will leave it there for now. To reiterate, once again- I have nothing against the supernatural elements of the setting. They brought me into the setting, and to the Clan that I now strongly identify with (well... I don't, because I like to think I'm not an insufferably arrogant psychopathic thin-skinned genocidal emotionally-amputated lunatic... but within the setting, I do). If people want to make them more prominent in their play, all power to them. Personally, I find interactions between samurai inhabitants of the setting more compelling, therefore I am not in favour of making it a canon fact that you can't go a day without running into a mujina or zokujin.
  8. Yes, the canon storylines are often deeply flawed, for a variety of reasons (influence of often-nonsensical tournament prizes, having multiple writers, changing writers before storylines are neatly closed off, lack of payment of said volunteer writers, etc. etc.). But that problem itself is not at all fixed by increasing the prevalence of the supernatural in the canon stories, whereas it is easily enough addressed in role-playing, just by doing a better job of telling those stories (whether with supernatural elements, or without). Ideally, what makes human interactions in L5R compelling is not their familiarity from everyday life (or cheap soap operas, if you prefer); what makes them compelling is that their culture, society, and entire worldview is utterly different from our own... and yet they are still human, and so have no choice but to respond to those circumstances as such. I'm not going to claim to unironically like the way the canon story of L5R has handled human-centred storytelling, but I will say that I absolutely love the potential that it has, and pretty much every memorable moment from my experience of the RPG has been about human interactions, not dealing with weirdo spirits and other supernatural creatures. I don't really want to argue this, because fundamentally it comes down to personal preference, and, as I said in the previous post, one of the beautiful things about the RPG is that everyone involved in this discussion can get what they want from it (as long as they have a similarly-inclined group). But there seemed to be some slight misunderstanding of my position, no doubt due to my own lack of clarity, so it seems worthwhile clearing that up.
  9. This is symptomatic of a wider discussion that comes up with regards to the setting from time to time. Some people like the supernatural elements of the setting, and place high priority on them; others prefer the setting to be primarily (nearly solely) about the people. I fall firmly in the latter camp. To be clear, I like that the various spirits and nonhuman creatures exist- they add richness to the world, make it more distinct from our own, and can provide handy plot devices if necessary. I am also a big fan of increasing the proportion of neutral spirits in the world, at the expense of the predominance of gribblies from Jigoku. But I also think that the more often they appear, the less importance is attached to them. Kenku (I don't care whether they're called kenku or tengu) should exist, certainly but it should also be a big deal when one of them appears, and that works much better when they're relatively rare. Likewise bakaneko, baku, and numerous others. In my view, Rokugan as a setting is compelling enough in its human interactions, and anything that distracts attention from those human interactions is to be downplayed. With that said, I don't claim to be the sole arbiter of how Rokugan should be or anything. If people like kappa and shiyokai and kuchisake-onna and so on, there are rules for many of them, and there's absolutely no reason they can't increase their prevalence in their own games. If you're not having fun with L5R, there's no point getting into it at all, so everyone can and should do what works for them in their own games. Sometimes, a fluidly-defined setting is a good thing.
  10. There have been a couple of threads of this kind, but they usually go off the rails fairly quickly, so I appreciate the intent of refreshing it from time to time. For me: 1) It has to be fun to play. 2) It has to feel like L5R (it doesn't have to have identical rules, nor does every faction has to be identical, but if it feels like a totally different game and/or different setting, I probably wouldn't play it, however good it is). 3) I have to feel some investment in it- story progression is the natural way of doing this, but if FFG has other ways of doing it, that's fine by me. Though other things are also important, of course, they are mostly negotiable.
  11. Re: the issue with Paths breaking up the Elemental progression of the Tamori school- surely the easiest way to get around that is to make sure each Path is itself associated with a given Element, and having it replace the appropriate Rank? eg, Hanabi are clearly associated with Fire, so make the Hanabi path replace the Fire rank (this may require reshuffling the Ranks of the School itself, since I doubt you'd want the Hanabi path at R4, but that seems a reasonably small price to pay); if Water Hammer smiths are a thing, have their Path replace the Water-related Rank. And so on and so forth. Otherwise, the techs seem good. I'm a little uneasy about the Agasha school being entirely internal - it seems much more appropriate for a monk school than a shugenja school - but since that seems to be what you were aiming for in the first place, I guess that's more a problem with conception than with implementation, and I don't know what exactly I'd do with them myself, so whatever. Going back a couple of steps, a part of me wants to see the Unicorn shugenja, or at least the Death Priests, be more like C. Asian shaman, in both flavour and role - in which case they would end up looking quite similar to the Kitsu, albeit from an entirely different angle - but that's mostly just my own personal field of interest speaking. All in all, great work!
  12. Re: Mappers of the Heart- I agree that mind-reading is a very un-Asahina thing to do. I think I would focus on this passage from their 4e write-up: At a minimum, Mappers of the Heart should get a bonus to contesting Deceit rolls, and they should have some capacity to gauge people's general inclinations towards a given person/faction (as with the RAW Kakita Artisan techs, that works better with NPCs than PCs, but it should still be possible to make something work). Tangentially, the Mappers write-up (pp. 85-87, Book of Air) is also one of the relatively few places that explicitly states that calling on the kami in court is seen as a breach of etiquette. You seem to have made the decision to ignore that, which is a perfectly defensible position, but it is a thing to consider at least. Re: Asahina pacifism- I think the current School Tech can be made a lot more flavourfully appropriate (not perfect, but better) if the damage reduction applies to all damage, regardless of source or target. It's still useful, especially for the shugenja themselves (and is, of course, abusable, as it can be circumvented by simply making more rolls than your opponent... which is one of the reasons it's still not ideal), but is no longer the single best combat-shugenja technique in the game. Perhaps something along those lines, which penalises friend as well as foe?
  13. Nice work, as always Not totally sure that I agree with everything, but you have at least put something on the table. For the Asahina paths, I think I'd like to see Tsangusuri represented, and possibly the Mappers of the Heart as well (as a slight variant of your husband's suggestion, possibly?). On the one hand, I like like that the Asahina are no longer the single most useful shugenja to have in a fight, as that always seemed more than a little perverse... on the other, there is a part of me that would like to see their commitment to pacifism reflected in some way before IR5. The Yogo, I neither know nor care about enough to have a sensible opinion on.
  14. Many thanks for your input, Karasu! I like the ideas a lot. Will have to consider them some more. I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that it allows people to focus on only a couple of the Tenets, while suffering no penalty for ignoring the others... but in principle, it has a lot of potential. Much appreciated!
  15. If I missed your point, I apologise sincerely- any misapprehension is the fault of incompetence, rather than malice, on my part. I do think I understand what you're saying more clearly now, but please correct me if I am still wrong. I agree, as I said in the previous post, that there are possibilities for honourable behaviour outside Bushido. I'm not convinced that Honour is, or should be, a matter of external perception, though. Perceived Honour is certainly a thing, but the starting point is still the internal measure- Perceived Honour means people think you're a better person than you are, but that doesn't affect the actual measure of your Honour. Likewise, if you ninja-poison your own daimyo, you obviously lose honour- even if nobody ever saw you do it, and so societal perceptions remain identical. Part of the problem here, as Kinzen pointed out in the Expanding the Honour Chart thread ( https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/198070-expanding-the-honor-chart/), is that the term 'honour' is used to refer both to the specific virtue of Meyo, and to one's overall level of adherence to Bushido. I actually really like the idea of having a separate measure for how well you are seen to adhere to societal norms, distinct from how well you actually adhere to them (and distinct from Glory/Infamy as well), although implementation could get messy quickly. You're quite right about traditions being markedly different - for the Unicorn, eating red meat is tradition; for the Scorpion, assassinating enemy commanders is 'tradition' - but if the question is one of perceptions anyway, then that's relatively easily addressed by having how actions are seen depend on who is doing the seeing. At least, I think so, though more clarity certainly couldn't be a bad thing. Again, I apologise for missing the point earlier, and thank you for setting me right.
  • Create New...