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Kinzen

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  1. Kinzen

    I'm disappointed with the wiki

    Echoing Dave, I will say that a well-made wiki is a godsend for the writers. We're constantly having to check previously-established details, and having a resource that tracks such things for us makes our jobs so much easier. So my heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributes to such things.
  2. Okay, I have to speak up here, because that is not what I said, and I could get in trouble with FFG if they think it is -- like, "I have violated my NDA and am no longer welcome to write for them" levels of trouble. I asked you to stop perpetually calling Daisetsu "not!Daigotsu," because I feel it's kind of insulting to the writers who have put effort into telling this story -- it implies that what's being told here is only a flimsy paint job over the old story, and that the alterations in this character's life story aren't meaningful. I do not know what the long-term plan is for Daisetsu, and whether it involves the Taint or not. I just know that this character's mother was not kidnapped by Bloodspeakers before his birth, his soul was not bound to that of an oni, and he was raised in the Imperial Palace rather than Jigoku. And I think that even if those changes weren't substantial, it's still courteous to at least call the character by his name, rather than treating him as the old character in a cheap paper mask. Please do not read anything more into that. I did not give you Secret Special Behind-the-Scenes Knowledge; I only asked you to use the character's name.
  3. Kinzen

    Coiled Snake

    I don't find it entirely strange that the imperial children are socializing mostly with Great Clan samurai. I don't know if old canon ever quoted population numbers for the Otomo, Miya, and Seppun (and given the track record on that front, they were probably wildly implausible), but my impression was always that they were much, much smaller than any Great Clan families. So first of all, you would have many fewer children of suitable age to hang out with the heirs. You also don't necessarily have enough of them to run the entire imperial bureaucracy -- and since it's well-established as a canonical fact that positions like Emerald Champion, Imperial Advisor, and so forth are routinely filled by Great Clan samurai instead of members of the imperial families, then it makes perfect sense that Sotorii and Daisetsu should be building social ties to those groups instead of remaining insular. Now, does it make sense to have Great Clan samurai running things instead of the "imperial clan"? Eh, six of one, half a dozen of the other -- I can see arguments both ways. Since Rokugani clans are different beasts from real-world clans in any society I'm aware of, there isn't a good historical parallel; certainly for a while there in Heian Japan you couldn't turn around in the imperial bureaucracy without tripping over a Fujiwara, and they're a blatant model for the Crane, but that's one family instead of a conglomeration of multiple families, and the population numbers for the clan as a whole weren't nearly so high. Also, as previous discussions have chewed over, the way Rokugan essentially runs as a federation of separate nations all paying homage to a "high king" is different from Japanese history. So in the end, it's its own thing. But taking that thing as a given, then no -- I wouldn't expect to see Sotorii and Daisetsu socializing with and building ties to only the Otomo, Miya, and Seppun. They should be doing exactly as they're doing, and making sure they have connections among the people they will both rule and be working with, when one or both of them wind up taking the throne. (Realistically, yes, some imperial samurai kids should be around them, too, as well as children from multiple Great Clans. But story space is always limited.) As for "how did all the Hantei not wind up this bad" -- the people around Sotorii have resoundingly failed him. It is entirely possible to educate someone properly even while showing him respect: if the Emperor tells you to do so, then it is not only your right but your obligation to correct the heir's failings. Politely, of course, but you serve your Emperor very poorly if you praise everything the heir does and let his mistakes pass unremarked. The amount of kid-glove treatment Sotorii has apparently gotten is egregious . . . and at this point, the next best thing to irreparable. But I don't think that has much to do with whether it's Great Clan samurai or members of the imperial families they hang out with.
  4. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    I know. I'm saying, that is how I would reconcile the two statements, if I were dealing with that end of the story and had to find a way to harmonize them somehow. I would prefer that to throwing one of them out entirely, especially since the whole "he was keeping secrets from her" thing from the RPG is presumably going to remain true in the storyline in general.
  5. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    Eh, I'm with Manchu where Sumiko is concerned. It isn't just the trust part; the full quote is "Sumiko would often grumble about Satsume’s secrets, frustrated with how he felt no obligation to keep her informed of his efforts and whereabouts. She absolutely did not trust him." If she's not just distrustful but also grumbling and frustrated that he's not keeping her informed of stuff she thinks she needs to know, that isn't "they always worked well together." Reconciling those two things requires not merely looking at them from the right angle, but taking both of them with enough grains of salt to find a middle ground where Sumiko trusted and worked well with Satsume some of the time but also had serious problems with him some of the time. Given the Kolat stuff, my take would be that a previously good relationship had begun to sour in more recent days, because Satsume was definitely keeping the secret of his new friend and his plans for the Hantei line from her, and also probably his declining health.
  6. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    That's the first thing you've cited that persuades me Shizue's feelings toward him are warmer than "he's okay I guess." I still wouldn't say it merits chucking the RPG materials out as being totally contradictory, but it does argue in favor of Shizue actually thinking positively of Satsume, rather than neutrally.
  7. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    I feel like you're seeing more contradiction than is actually there. For example, the RPG says of Hotaru that she's not sincerely mourning him and isn't terribly sorry he's gone, that he was a strict father and hardly spoke to her, and that he "never appeared to care much for his daughters;" your counter to that is . . . that Hotaru sees him as a "cold taskmaster," and that she tells Kuwanan "Father did not expect of you what he expected of me. You never failed him, because your success didn’t matter." Seems consistent to me, allowing for some wiggle room on the "hardly spoke to her" side; I'd interpret that as meaning that he basically only spoke to her in order to criticize her, rarely to have more pleasant conversations. For Shizue, your counter is that he was "never unkind to her" -- but you can easily not care much for someone without being unkind to her. Indifference will suffice. Yoshi's actual line re: Satsume, as you quoted elsewhere, was " a strong leader ... and, yes, a demanding one," which a) acknowledges that his behavior may not have been well-liked by other people even if Yoshi thinks it's effective and b) isn't the same thing has having warm feelings toward the man himself. I don't see a contradiction in saying "yep, that guy was an effective and an honorable servant" (implied: "and a jerkface, but eh, whatevs, so long as he gets the job done"). Kuwanan is about the only one we can't really speak to with authority, because I haven't seen any direct quotations from his perspective; only Hotaru's opinion of his perspective. The one place I would agree on a contradiction is between "[Sumiko] had never questioned his loyalty, nor he hers. She had respected him, and they always worked well together" and "Sumiko would often grumble about Satsume’s secrets, frustrated with how he felt no obligation to keep her informed of his efforts and whereabouts. She absolutely did not trust him." Those two descriptions don't reconcile with each other well at all, I will grant you that. But apart from Sumiko, I don't see the RPG contradicting the stories at all, and certainly not to the degree you do, wherein you justify tossing out the RPG's information as untrustworthy. The RPG emphasizes the dislike for Satsume, sure -- but that makes sense for materials that focus on the possibility that he was murdered, ergo that somebody disliked him enough to kill him. Everything consistently points to a cold, critical, demanding man who was respected by those around him, but not liked when he was there or mourned when he was gone.
  8. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    Which should be possible. I mean, it should take some luck or else carelessness on the part of sect members -- but show me a large-scale conspiracy where nobody's ever careless and lets evidence slip, and I'll show you a fantasy far less plausible than shugenja and gods falling to earth. 😛
  9. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    Some people have speculated that George R.R. Martin will do or has done exactly this. God, I hope not. There's a difference between "ugh, this is so predictable" and "based on my knowledge of narrative structure and close reading of what you've said so far, I predict that XYZ is going to happen." The former is bad; the latter is not. And throwing out perfectly good foreshadowing and plot development just for the sake of surprising the audience is rarely going to produce good results. Doing the unexpected is easy. Doing the unexpected in a fashion that is ultimately satisfying is much, much harder. Which is to say: it is a delight to read all the speculation here, popcorn in hand, and I hope FFG never changes things because oh noes, somebody guessed where we were going. Me, I don't actually know the answers to all these questions; some things fall within the range of my headlights (how far ahead in the story I can see, based on the work we're doing), but some of them don't. I generally stay out of these kinds of discussions because I don't want the knowledge I have to influence how I respond; if I do chime in, it probably means I know nothing about where that aspect of the plot is headed -- e.g. what FFG has in mind for Sotorii in the long run.
  10. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    People can definitely mean several different things when they say "interesting." Sometimes they mean "I like them and I hope they succeed." Sometimes they mean "I don't like them, but I like the role they're serving in the story." Sometimes they mean "I can't look away from the trainwreck." I'll admit that I have personal difficulty, as a reader, with characters who are serving a vital role in the story but I don't actually enjoy spending time with them. When a book spends too long in villain pov showing me what they're up to, I check out. Or Baltar in Battlestar Galactica -- I hit a point where I just wanted to turn the TV off every time he came on screen. There's a fine line between "love to hate them" and just straight-up "hate them."
  11. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    There are period documents criticizing the efficacy of torture (at least there were in the context of witch trials, which is what I was studying) . . . but in general, yes, you're right. People believed it worked, or didn't care if it worked because their actual goal was to get the answers they wanted rather than the truth.
  12. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    Yes -- but that's what I mean about leaning on "but magic." Totally true that yes, there is more overt manifestation of divine interference in Rokugan than there was in the real world (though . . . bear in mind that real-world people saw, and still see, overt manifestations of divine interference all the time, and the fact that you and I might say they're wrong doesn't change how they perceive those things). On the other hand, people are also AMAZINGLY good at coming up with justifications for doing what they need to do within the confines of their belief system. Sotorii is of divine blood? Yes, indeed he is, which means he's obviously much too precious to risk by putting him into contact with many people. Far better for him to be safely protected by the Seppun in a nice isolated palace, and not burdened with all the unpleasant worldly tasks of running the Empire. I mean, it isn't like he shows a lot of interest in XYZ anyway, so clearly you're just obeying his will by not bothering him with that stuff. Etc. Step by step, a disliked Emperor finds himself respected and revered and utterly irrelevant. Plus, it is literally built into the setting that not everybody fully buys into Bushido and its associated tenets. Sotorii might be able to control everybody who says "welp, he's the Son of Heaven" after he ascends to the throne -- but in the meanwhile he's alienated all the people who are prone to choosing pragmatism, the greater good, or their own interests over lockstep loyalty to the line of Hantei, while building absolutely no power base that obeys him for any reason other than teeth-gritting duty. Usually the people who aspire to be jerkwad tyrants take steps to get somebody on their side, by promising and delivering lots of benefits for their cronies . . . but Sotorii isn't even doing that.
  13. Kinzen

    Children of Bushidō

    In theory, sure. But in practice, rulers who behave that way have problems in a hurry. Yes, in Rokugan there's this whole "you're the descendant of a divine figure" thing -- but the same's been true of many real-world rulers in history, and they've found out the hard way that if you try to say "it doesn't matter if I'm a vicious idiot and none of you like me; I'm in power and I can obliterate anybody who opposes me," you don't get very far. There are all kinds of methods both great and small to make life difficult for such a ruler. . . and that's before you get to things like just straight-up assassinating him, or announcing that he's gone into "seclusion" and appointed somebody else to handle all those tedious day-to-day affairs. Not saying this couldn't be Sotorii's grand plan. Just that you have to lean pretty bloody hard on "but magic!!!" to make it a viable plan.
  14. The fiction at the beginning of Emerald Empire is mine, so I can say with certainty that it isn't meant to go anywhere in the timeline of the broader story. It's just an illustration of certain aspects of Rokugani life for players, and could take place at nearly any point in the Empire's history.
  15. Kinzen

    A question for the writers

    No . . . but we will be, if we answer in too much detail. 🙂 One thing to make clear up front: there is the Story Team, and then there are the writers, and these are not the same groups. The Story Team are employees of FFG (for the most part; I can't swear if that's 100% true), while the writers are freelancers. The Story Team are the ones in charge of long-term planning, because they're interfacing with the rest of the company about things like cards and tournaments and so forth. The writers are the ones in charge of stringing words together in (hopefully) entertaining fashion. Without going into specifics that would probably violate our non-disclosure agreements . . . every fiction starts out with some kind of Story-Team-provided prompt, e.g. (this is totally made up) "the next Lion story is going to reveal that the Emperor Hantei has a secret lover from the Burning Sands." Sometimes the prompts are fairly detailed; sometimes they're brief. We get to ask questions, because sometimes we have to in order to write the story. We usually get a lot of leeway over how to structure the story itself, within the constraints of the prompt and the wordcount limit -- and in the course of that, I know that I, at least, can and do suggest stuff like worldbuilding details or character background incidents or ways to use this fiction to lay the groundwork for some future development. So while the Story Team are the ones in charge of long-term development, we do get opportunities to influence that plan. I just can't give you examples of that, because see above re: NDA. 😛 But as for "how much of the story is your own part" -- in most ways, virtually all of it. Think of it like those cooking shows: we get handed a basket with one or more ingredients we have to use, but it's up to us to decide what kind of dish to make with them.
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