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Lord of the Seal

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  1. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel ! My group and I played a magistrate game with a character that was an hinin forensic expert. It was enjoyable, the key was to be mature about status. Then again, it is true to almost all L5r campaign. See you in the Sands.
  2. I have done that with my jackal necromancer :) As it turned out, he was pretty incensed despite the fact it was a nice untainted killing machine.... Rokugani.....
  3. Samurai are quite anal-retentive, this would be our chance to have one that is the opposite. Honestly, I do not know how I would resolve this. Since we have no indications by RAW, I suppose I would go with what is the most appropriate story-wise.
  4. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Just a fridge question, what would you think would happen if a Kitsune Impersonator use its mastery ability to devour the soul of a Deadly Bloodspeaker (core rulebook p 317) ? See you in the Sands
  5. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! The best I could think off the top of my head would be to use the base statistics for a crossbow and houserule that firearms ignore part or all physical resistance. Hope it helps. See you in the Sands.
  6. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Since my knowedge of the 5th edition is somewhat lacking, I turn to the collective wisdom of the Community. Is there a 5th edition fire invocation equivalent to the big KABOOM fire spell of the 4th like Destructive Wave and Beam of the Inferno ? Thanks for your time and answers. See you in the Sands.
  7. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Oopsy, my mistake. The use of title for single element specialist make sense. Speaking of Elemental Guard, do you think we will have a bushi title for their elemental legions buddies. It could be done and it can make sense, however 5th edition shugenja are more generalist than specialist. So I don't know how this would fit in the 5th lore about shugenja. Maybe we should wait and see what the Phoenix book have to say about it. It may also be relevant that, at far as I know, there are no equivalent in 5th to the 4th advantages Friendly Kami and Friend of the Elements. These advantages have make very powerful specialist shugenja back in 4th. See you in the Sands.
  8. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Usually there is just one school per clan per book, so I hope they make a Tensai school so we can have a Elemental Guard title. I kinda miss the Firestorm Legion, such a nice and polite bunch of pyromaniacs. They used to incinerate my ghuls wholesale, but they where always so courteous and considerate about it. See you in the Sands.
  9. At that point I will be quoting you: It seems to me that it is pretty explicit these are questions about enlightenment. That leads us to: In case you are unaware this is a forum from a game company, you might want to reassess your expectation here. More to the point, you posted this thread is the ******* LORE DISCUSSION section, I can not believe I was so insensitive to come up with a bit of Lore. What was I thinking !!! Actually, this is exactly what you are doing. You post questions in (I can not believe I actually have to said that again) the LORE DISCUSSION SECTION OF A GAMING FORUM, and every times people answer you with the lore of the game, you basically tell us: "but historical studies does not prove the correctness of the lore". You might as well barge into the Star Wars forum, as a question about how gravity works into starships and when given an answer, tell them that it cannot to true because the nonsymmetric gravitational theory of Moffat states otherwise. I am sure they will be very happy about it.
  10. Dear OP, For once I will not be using my semi-humorous introduction from Pratchett. You did ask several questions abour enlightenment. Since enlightenment there is no empirical evidence of enlightenment in Real World, I tried to clarify the debate by using a quote from the rulebook to provide us with a common starting point for the debate. It goes without saying that, had you made a query on rain or gravity I would not have bothered since I assume we all are well acquaintaned with the concept. That been said, in my answer I merely tried to: 1. Provide a Recap: I happen to have a large collection of L5R book/pdf and I assume everyone doesn't bother to buy obscure book from previous edition especially new players. I just try to share. 2. Give you my point of view, which you can obviously disregard. In the end I would like to point out that: 1. This is a public forum. You might not be interested, but it is not all about YOU. The questions were interesting, and might make a good starting point for an adventure. I just try to provide the community, especially the newer player, with a bit of lore. 2. If you do not agree with my views, stay calm, it isn't a problem. You and your group will play the game as you want to play it. No one will care. Neither FFG, nor I, will send a squad of inquisitors into your house to tell you how to play it. As long as your gaming group have fun, well kudos ! That's the point ! 3. I have a nasty feeling this thread will end up like your previous Crab/Hiruma thread. Please keep in mind in mind that for most of us it a game, we are doing for leisure, to have fun. Have a good game, and remember, have fun.
  11. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Introductory remarks: The excerpts comes from the Book of Void (4th) p109-110. As it is 4th edition material, it might not be current. Before tackling the issues at hands, I will try to answer a question the OP haven't asked but that might be relevant: what is Enlightenment. "Enlightenment is something no one agrees on, but almost everyone recognizes. Enlightened individuals are clearly and recognizably serene, humble, and compassionate, yet possess an inner strength and stoicism that seems impossible by human standards. An Enlightened soul is wise and insightful, never seems angry or hateful, does not desire anything or cling to anything in the mortal world. Yet Enlightened individuals do not lose their personalities, nor do they “assimilate” into some singular worldview." Back to the OP questions. Both have been known to happen. "It is also known that anyone can become Enlightened. Lineage, status, and station are unnecessary. It may not even be required for one to follow Shinsei’s teachings – Shinsei himself did not have the benefit of his own teachings, after all!" In 4th lore a nezumi has reached Enlighenment, and a Hinin girl has been chosen to become Oracle of Fire. "Those who have awakened have purified themselves of all earthly desires, banished all delusions, and thereby shattered the cycle of reincarnation and worldly suffering." That's about it, where they go afterward ii is not said. There is no conclusive lore about it, you will have to decide what apply to your game. Shinsei was unique because he (allegedly) was the first Human to achieve it. Other have been known to follow in its step, including some Grand Master of the Elements, but there are a precious few. I cannot remember an instance of a "fallen enlightened", the closer thing we have is "enlightened madness". From The Great Clan (4th) p96 "Enlightened Madness is the Dragon Clan’s term for what happens when an individual finds enlightenment but is unable to accept or endure the burden of clarity and truth which it places on the mind and spirit." "It may be noted, in passing, that Enlightened Madness is not the same thing as normal insanity [...] Rather, Enlightened Madness is a specific response to the unique burdens of the enlightened state. Those who become enlightened attain great spiritual insight, but if they have any imbalances in their soul or body, these can sometimes become magnifi ed to the point of danger" "Why this afflicts some and not others is not well known—plenty of flawed individuals have attained enlightenment without ill effects" "Regardless, those who succumb to Enlightened Madness generally live brief and tragic lives, as these poor souls kill themselves or are killed by others during spasms of mad and destructive behavior, spurred by their minds’ inability to fully handle their potent new vision of the world." "Their heightened perceptions and unbalanced minds may cause them to succumb to the whispered voices of kansen, embracing the Taint and its powers. All of these things and more have befallen those whose minds snapped under the impact of enlightenment." Since Shinsei himself gathered the Seven Thunders to kick Fu-Leng ***, I would suppose some voilence is acceptable. However, enlightened are said to be serene and compassionate, so I would possit that for enlightened violence isn't the preferred mode of action.
  12. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! My academic knowledge of historical Japan is lacking, so I will take your word on that. Desertion have never been stated to be a major problem in rokugan. The main source of lore we have on the subject is the various books on ronin. This is the whole point of my post. It is established in lore that there is no mass desertion (except maybe the Yasuki), yet you raised a valid question about why wouldn't a hiruma desert. I tried to provide you with a reasonable in-setting explanation. As I said, I am not the history expert around here, and you might want to check this with more learned people around such a Diogo Salazar, but IIRC the roman legion had very harsh punishement for deserter, they had a "military police" and a "contractual obligation" and that was more than 2000 years ago. Also you might have a "modern thinking" bias. For desertion to be punished, you do not need a parliement, a judge, a lawyer, a warrant or whatever. You just need to bash the head of anyone who try to leave. That have been around for quite some time. Actually samurai do swear featly to their daimyo on gempukku, so yes, there is a binding contract. Ronin are "at will day laborers". The common samurai is a sworn vassal. By the way, just a question, if I am wrong and samurai are "at will day laborers", what is the difference between a samurai vassal and a ronin ? Why do a lord even bother with vassal in the first place ? Yep. How about having your head chopped off ? The lion clan and the imperial legions don't fight wars on foreign lands. They are internal security forces. Preventing it to reach critical mass, is a good reason for the "power that be" to come down hard on anyone who doesn't "fall in line". I am not an expert on history but I have played RPG for decades. "nitty-gritty" isn't a big thing in RPG, it is a GAME. There is no "Amazing Accountant RPG" or Garbage collector RPG". By the way, I was looking for a deckplan for a YT transport for Star Wars game on the internet. They all have guns, but many of them don't have toilets, showers or bunks. Helping each other and sharing ideas is the point of these boards, however you have to remember that rokugan IS NOT medieval Japan.
  13. FYI, we don't call them "bushido fanatic" but Loud Obnoxious Ignorant Nutcase, or LION for short.
  14. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Indoctrination: Every Crab is brainwashed from birth to believe they are the only Men with Big Kaiu-Steel Balls and everyone north are useless whelps and fops that lives at their sufferance. They do not shy away from hardship, they wallow in it as the proof of their superiority. Disassociation: To leave behind your duty is to sever all previous ties with friends and family. This means you will not be allowed at your parents funerals or your siblings weddings. Your friends will shun you, and you will be branded as an oathbreaker until your death. New Daimyo: To leave your clan is to become ronin. Even in best case scenario, great clan do not just freely hand out joining paper. You have to earn you place, that means years after years of gruesome jobs, like regularly being at the vanguard of every battle. Chances of survival are not good. And that's for "ordinary" ronin, you are an oathbreaker who willfully leave your lord. Obviously, you are not reliable. You come with a bagage, as nobody will looks kindly to a lord hire oathbreakers. Why would a daimyo bother hire you rather that a simple ronin. Even if you are a Crab/Hiruma, and know as a fact that you will spend your days at war with the Taint, at least if you stay you know you family and friends will be there and look out for you. You can have a future, a wife, and your children place is assured. I will not speak about having your oathbreaker soul sent to Jigoku after you die, because given the time you spend in the shadowlands, having your soul sent to Jigoku is always a possibility anyway. At that's for the Hiruma, who have the shitiest job of all. Of samurai of other clans, it is even more unthinkable. Comes to think of it, the only reason I can think of for a starving Hiruma to leave its lord would not be to try to find a better, more comfortable life elsewhere (there is no chance of that), but to give a Big Fat Finger to the whole system and become a brigand. Leave the Crab lands and go away from the hire off your clan. Find a hideout in the northern shinomen forest and rob the scorpion villages. After all, you are a trained scout and warrior, you can survive in the shadowlands so a forest won't be much of a challenge, and better to face a scorpion bushi in battle than a oni. You will not live long, marry and have children, but at least your belly will be full and you will have coin to spare on booze and whores.
  15. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Good thinking ! Since German unification was in 1871, the Holy Roman Empire seems a really good match. My apologies. I didn't meant there wasn't any innovation whatsoever, just that I have come to understand that innovation was very slow and any improvement would not spread very fast. It is worth considering that according to some studies during the Industrial Revolution the GDP growth of the UK was 0.5%/year. The thing is that it was 0.5% every year for a century. So after 100 years that is quite significant, especially compared to the preceding period. Fully agreed. L5R have decades of lore, obviously FFG have not updated all of it. My quotes where only the latest "official" take on the subject.
  16. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! I have come to think that rokugan isn't a nation in the modern sense. All clans have their own army, police, bureaucracy, intelligence services, .... . Each clan even have there own culture and traditions. (eg.: A Crab marriage ceremony do not looks like a Phoenix one.). They are 7 separate kingdoms at each others throats, united only by a common language, respect for the 9 Kami and fear of the imperial legions. As for the "Duties of the Clans", to my mind it is political ploy. The dragon have no true duty. The crab share a border with the Shadowlands. Whatever duty hantei might have potentialy given them they would have fight the Taint. Given the position of their lands at the south of the empire, they have no choice. As for the lion, their "duty" is just sugar-coating the fact they are here to be the hantei bullies and strongmen. A good and valid point. Sounds reasonable. True. To be fair, the Real World Middle Ages europe didn't innovate much between the fall of the western roman empire (5th century) and the renaissance (15th century). There is a reason it have been called the Dark Ages. I have to disagree with you on this one. The samurai population is educated. They are all literate and have a good grasp of their clan history. A good education is the shugenja and courtier stock in trade and most of the clan expect their bushi to be more that mere warrior. Heimin and hinin population on the other hand seems largely illiterate. No village in lore have a school, usually they have a shrine with no monk on a permanent basis. City-dwellers are more likely to be literate, and merchant must be numerate. But there is no large scale education for the heimin, at best a wealthy commoner hire a personnal tutor to teach is children. From Naishou Province (4th) p12: the peasantry of Naishou Province [...] have an unusually high rate of literacy for commoners. This is particularly true in Toshi no Naishou, where nearly half of the heimin can read and write. While most of them rarely have idle time to dedicate to reading and thus can never match the education of the average samurai, they still maintain their proficiency and pass their skill along to their children. All things considered. No that much, the main clan: Lion, Crane and Scorpion (the 3 hands) do not care much about the world outside the imperial court. Some have trouble caring about the clans far from the capital like the dragon and the crab. Kaiu produce engineer and Agasha scholar produce alchemist but that's it. At the Second Council of the Lateran in 1139, the pope banned the use of bows and crossbows against christians. So much for innovation in real world. Back to rokugan, samurai despise innovation because the bulk of their knowledge was given by the 9 kami. Finding a better way to do things is to say the kamis were flawed. Moreover samurai fear innvoation because innovation means change which leads to social discordance. Keeping social harmony, and themselves in power is far more appealing. For heimin, the traditional ways have given them food to centuries. Why risk famine with innovation ? Also please remember that after the battle of white stag: "the Emperors prohibited contact between Rokugan and proclaimed shipbuilding to be a “perfected art” with no need for further development. Technologies such as the triangular fore-and-aft rigged sail, one of the features which allowed gaijin ships to easily traverse the far seas, were thus effectively forbidden by Imperial Edict." As far as "realistic" goes, I often find reality to be utterly insane. Open an history book (or Wikipedia), it is amazing how many momentous events are the result of dumbass decisions, sheer luck, spite or jealousy. Granted, the game setting has some flaws but as a way to sustain the "suspension of disbelief" and to preserve the internal consistency of the setting it is useful and possible to explain them in a way that is reasonable in-setting. Language ! Please ! Which provide me with an opportunity to thank you for the good work. I have learned to read with RPG book in the 80s and I have spent countless hours enjoying your works. Thank You.
  17. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! I think you might be underestimating how insane and messed up samurai are. From an out-setting point of view samurai are monsters. The perfect samurai have no Fear, no Desire and no Regret (the 3 Sins) and they are duty-bound to obey their lord utterly and to the death. The perfect samurai is a robot, no a human being. The Terminator would be a good samurai. One of my musing on the setting is that the reason the rokugani society is so ******-up is because of the founding Kami. The kami were divine beings born in tengoku with vast power, an alien mindset, and a poor knowledge of humanity and human nature. When they crashed on ningen-do they simply copy/paste the organisation of tengoku upon their followers. But their followers were human being with human feelings and needs and were unable to measure up to the requirements of tengoku. To compound the mistake of the kami, human have corrupted a system that was inappropriate to begin with. That the tragedy of the rokugani, trapped by tradition to cleave to an inhumane system I have a different understanding of the vassal familes. Kotagama are a vassal family of the Doji, so like the Kakita they are vassal of the Doji. Yet they are not equal as Kakita swore fealty to the kami Doji in the earliest days of the empire and the Kotagama were created in the 5th century as internal security following the Yajinden debacle. To my mind the Great Families are those who swore fealty to the Kami, the Vassal Families were created later on to answer a new need or as a reward for a worthy samurai. That being said, vassal families have a castle, the town that comes with it, (more or less) farmable lands and so on. But it is just my view on it. You might be overestimating the role of rice as food. I have come to understand that only senior member of the aristocraty eat rice at every meal. The common ji-samurai that guard the gates of Friendly Traveler Village do not eat rice at every meal or even every day and his diet comprise other grains. The main reason behind the value of rice is its role as currency since the koku is backed by rice and imperial taxes are paid up with rice. Also of note is that there are many daimyo whose lands is unsuitable for rice farming or even just farming. They have to make up with other trading goods like ore or woods. If he can't, he is a dirt-poor lord of a backwater village too poor to afford the trappings of the aristocraty or just sustain soldiers. He is the subject to ridicule and become a joke for the courtiers. A high ranking hatamoto is a well respected, politicaly powerful man that dine of rice and fresh fish evry meals and spend his time with other pampered courtier. A poor daimyo is just a cruel joke who can barely afford to feed a small houseguard with millet and have not bought a new kimono in 5 years. He is shamed and scorned. In-setting realpolitik is the reason the scorpion are still alive. By all accounts everyone loathe and despise them, a concerted extermination by all the other clans armies would seems logical. Yet they endure because every lord know that a time will come when **** will hit the fan, they will have not honorable way out except the scorpion. When that time come you can always have a little chat with a scorpion courtier to have things "taken care of". You do not have to be explict, you do not have to know what will be done and you can keep your reputation and reasonable deniability. Of course, one day the scorpion will come with a "request", but that the price. Speaking of realpolitik, you might what to consider this: the rokugani society is messed-up, yet the senior nobility are at the top of this heap of manure. They don't want to get their hands dirty by plunging into the heap, and they don't want to stick out (and becoming a target) by trying to fix it. Any change means death. Better to stay safe and comfortable at the top where the air is fresh(er). See you in the Sands.
  18. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! From Emeral Empire (4th edition) Regional supply and demand p136: The Crab lands are mostly rugged and barren, and relatively little of their territory is well-suited to agriculture. It doesn’t help them, of course, that so much of the Hiruma and Kuni lands were lost to the Shadowlands or devastated by exposure to the Taint. Even in a good year, the Crab barely produce enough food to feed themselves, especially since the enormous standing garrison of the Great Carpenter Wall is a perpetual drain on their food supplies. The clan therefore exports no rice, and often has to rely on food imports to get by. [...] The Crab’s most important commodity, however, is without a doubt the abundant and high-quality iron ore mined in the Hida lands, which in turn is used to create the clan’s most valued export: Kaiu steel and the weapons, armor, and tools made from it. [...] The Crab can never have enough jade to satisfy the needs of their armies, and during eras of shortage, when jade production falls, the Crab often are forced to trade other goods for more jade in order to keep their armies fully supplied. To sum up: - The Crab Clan need food and jade, the Yasuki buy it by selling Tea & Ore. From Emeral Empire (4th edition) Regional supply and demand p138: The Lion Clan’s only significant import needs are iron (usually supplied by the Crab) and sometimes food [...] this has often worked to their detriment when a poor harvest coincides with a war against the Crane.
  19. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! 1. I think it have been established that some Great Clan, especially clan with large standing armies like the Crab or the Lion are not self-sufficient when it comes to food. It have long been a staple of the Crane power that having large and productive farmlands they are able to starve their enemies. It is also the whole point of the Yasuki, if the Crab were self-sufficient they would not need them. Feeding the vast Crab war machine which have been on a war footing for 1000 years require resources that the Crab lands alone can not provide, hence the need for a quartermaster family that are known for their dubious deals and cutthroat commercial acumen. 2. The lack of lands have been stated as a sore point for the Hiruma. Fearing that they have become a burden for the Crab is a deep wound for them. To quote the Shadowlands book: "The Hiruma live in silent shame." & "To speak of the Hiruma holdings is a grave insult." See you in the Sands.
  20. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! 1. The Hiruma have no lands whatsoever. 2. The Kuni have lost most of their lands but they still have significat holdings such as the Kuni Castle and some farmable lands. They are probably supported by the yasuki endeavor but they still have some lands. I find important to remind you that the Kuni Wastelands are not a neat incident that blasted the Kuni lands and stop conviently at the border of their province. It happened in the Kuni territories and blasted most of them but that still leaves them some. Last but not Least 3. "realistically" has nothing to do with it. Your point are perfectly reasonable, it is just that rokugani culture does not care about "realistically" or "truth". All that matters is keeping alive their social charade. Rokugani cares about keeping their on/face, about honor, about tradition. "realistically" a Shoji screen has never prevented anyone to hear what happen on the other side. Yet rokugani pretend otherwise, and openly doing differently is to invite social censure. Back to the Hiruma, you are right about their inability to perform the basic duties of a feudal lord. However, to demote them to vassal family of the Hida you would have to find an emperor that makes a Huge finger to tradition and countermand the decision of a two Kami: Hantei and Hida. To my knowledge that has never happened. Quite simply, Emperors are supposed to have the blessings of heavens and so always being right. To go against a edict of the very first emperor and his brother, both divine sons of the Sun would severely undermine the rokugani social and power structure. Also of note is the fact that most rokugani sleep quietly at night secure in the knowledge that the Crab keeps the darkness at bay. They may not be appreciative of it, considering it a distastful task, and the Crab little better than guard dogs, yet they also enjoy the fact that tomorrow will be as today and tradition will be upheld. They want to keep that illusion alive. See you in the Sands.
  21. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Kingdom Season 2 is on Netflix. Happy Watching.
  22. Dear Santa, My name unpronounceable, i am 421 years old. This year, I have been naughty (come on, what did you expect !). For Christmas I would like a Necromancer school, a Khadi title, and a Ghul creature. Merry Christmas.
  23. Greetings from the Sands, Evil-Smelling Brother-in-Law of a Camel! Thank you for your time and answers. I hope FFG will keep the "commune with the Void stance" rather than the void kami bull****. See you in the Sands. P.S. By the way, good job on the Book of Void, it was a my favourite in the "Book of "series.
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