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About Kinzen

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  1. I'll freely admit that the Owl Clan there were built primarily with an eye toward "what would be an interesting clan identity to have in this version of Rokugan, that isn't already covered by one of the existing clans?"
  2. Nobody "gets an assignment to cover all clans." We get to say what things we're interested in writing every time a new round begins. Me, I don't volunteer for the things that are Lion or Crane or Crab-centric because I know I'm less enthusiastic for those unless the right idea comes along, and the framework of the overall narrative means each fiction has one or more specific things it needs to accomplish, i.e. not free rein to make up whatever we like. My usual rundown is that I'm most interested in Dragon, followed by Phoenix, followed by Scorpion depending on what the story is; I'm not deeply embedded in the Shoju/Kachiko end of things, so when I write Scorpion (e.g. "In the Garden of Lies") it's the other stuff the clan is doing. I don't know the decision-making process for other writers and I can't vouch for how enthusiastic they are about anything, but there's a big enough pool of people that the odds of someone getting stuck with a thing they don't really care about are low -- it would only happen if nobody else wanted to write that one, which isn't likely.
  3. Yeah, I don't know about anybody else, but I can vouch for the fact that every time the call goes out for us freelancers to call dibs on fics, Dragon is the top of my list. I didn't have one in the previous cycle due to other work commitments, but I've definitely written or am about to write more Dragon-focused stuff. The math of how the packs get released means that a couple of clans will get the short end of the stick each round; there were six packs and six web previews, for a total of twelve fictions to cover seven clans. I think the two that got only one fic apiece this time were Dragon and Phoenix, though there's also other stuff going on that can make up for that -- I'm not precisely sure which fictions got counted in which sets, I think there were some extras, and fics can sort of double-count when they bring clans into contact with each other, especially as the story builds up steam. But it'll cycle around.
  4. Imperial Census

    Just wanted to say thank you so much for maintaining this: it helps a lot when I'm planning out a future fiction and need to double-check what's been said so far about a given character. :-)
  5. Am I Blind (No New Fiction)?

    What Dave has said. I can say that I have a piece coming up (don't know when), and I'm on deck for more that haven't yet been assigned; there is definitely more on its way. It's just that FFG gave you guys six months' worth of material all at once, and so there's a gap left where those things ought to have been. Like when you eat all your Girl Scout cookies in a week instead of rationing them out like you swore you would, and have to wait until next year to get more. :-)
  6. 'New' Official Map

    I don't mind "because magic" as an answer when that is the answer in canon. FFG could release a card with an upside-down mountain depicted on it, and so long as there was also a canonical story about how Togashi decided he wanted to be way up high but also have room to put a temple on top so he flipped the mountain over, I'd love it. What gets up my nose is when I have to supply the reason myself, and the only available in-story answer is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ "magic???" That isn't building magic and its effects into the world; that's using magic to spackle over holes. I honestly prefer to say "this doesn't make sense; let's move on."
  7. 'New' Official Map

    We've got a decent percentage of the people here going "augh, I know, right, the rivers are terrible" -- so while it's still probably true that the vast majority don't notice the problem, it's tripping up enough people to be annoying. As for the "speaking as a writer" angle -- that's honestly one of the reasons I wish we could have taken this opportunity to fix the problem. Because now I feel like I can't write things that deal very much with the river geography of Rokugan (e.g. trade, which ought to be a pretty big deal), because the foundation I'm standing on isn't solid enough to support that. Whereas if it were better-designed, we could have stories about how certain castles control important confluences, or the Lion and the Unicorn squabble back and forth over the banks of a given waterway so they can dominate trade along it, or the drying-up of a particular minor river means the kami in a neighboring family's lands that contain the headwaters has been offended and now you need to politick your way through fixing that. But when there's only a handful of rivers and their behavior makes no sense, it's a lot more difficult to do that kind of thing in a compelling fashion.
  8. 'New' Official Map

    I don't expect everybody to go to great lengths on this front, no. (I wound up working with some geologists and climatologists -- the guys who did the geological history of Westeros -- to work out the plate tectonics of the world for the Memoirs of Lady Trent, but that's because I was writing about a globetrotting scientist, so had a higher-than-usual degree of need for it all to hang together.) But I don't think it's too much to ask that people grasp the basic concept of a drainage basin, which can be explained in less than five minutes -- more like one minute, if you provide an explanatory picture. :-P And yes, you can say "in a world with magic, anything goes." But the more I have to not just suspend but strangle my disbelief on matters of nature, without an explicit in-world background saying "yes, here's the point in Rokugani history where some rogue Isawa did a number on the waterways of the Empire," the more I'm having to work to stay in the headspace of the story. Any time matters of trade or travel come up that involve the rivers, I'm going to stumble.
  9. 'New' Official Map

    Oh, sweet kami. The more I look at the new map, the more hydrologically nonsensical it gets. I'm too lazy to root around for the names of rivers and lakes, but the old map had that lake up in Phoenix lands draining to the west, where it joined up around the City of the Rich Frog and then proceeded southeast to the sea, with the aforementioned Lake of Shining Glass draining into it along the way. I could draw an elevation scheme that would make that reasonable (albeit a little weird). But the new map helpfully provides that river draining the Phoenix lake with a new branch leading directly southeast, through another mountain range . . . while the other branch still goes west and then hangs a turn to go southeast as well . . . with the Lake of Shining Glass draining both north and south . . . the entirety of Lion territory is a freaking island now, surrounded on all sides by water. And the tiny little river near Otosan Uchi now both feeds into a lake/bay/thing and somehow has enough flow to also go south and make itself the biggest delta in the entire Empire. I had hoped the new map might make things better. Instead it's made them worse.
  10. 'New' Official Map

    Deltas happen at the mouth of a river. They're essentially a giant mudflat, in which the water branches apart because "the path of least resistance" is pretty much anywhere it wants to be -- and moreover changes on a regular basis, unless you have modern engineering forcing the branches of the delta to stay put rather than shifting. Rokugan's rivers somehow branch . . . everywhere. Middle of a plain, edge of a mountain range, wherever they like. And the branches are almost always in a direction that implies the water is getting divided instead of collected, which is the entire concept behind a watershed/drainage basin. I don't think it's possible to draw an elevation map of Rokugan that would make sense of the river system. If the water is flowing from high elevation to low, why does only half the water go one way and half the other? Even if the elevation at the spot of the branch happens to be exactly the same, the river would eventually carve out a deeper channel along one path (the one with a softer bed, probably, or the one that drops off more steeply later, leading to more rapid water flow), and then it would send all its flow along that channel. This is how the Mississippi used to jump its bed, before the Army Corps of Engineers poured huge amounts of money and effort into keeping it where it is right now. I mean, off on the eastern coast, you have the Lake of Sorrows and the Lake of Shining Glass on opposite sides of a MOUNTAIN RANGE that are somehow connected. Yes, sure, there's a pass . . and apparently that pass is at the same elevation as the eastern shore of the northern lake, because the water can't make up its mind whether it would like to take a short jaunt to the sea or . . . Okay, I just realized that as pretty as this map is, it made things worse. In every other map I'm looking at, the Lake of Shining Glass feeds only into the Lake of Sorrows. Which makes sense from an elevation standpoint, even if I wonder how one of the biggest lakes in Rokugan apparently just arises from a spring up in the mountains, with no rivers to feed it. But here, it also has an outlet to the sea. Plus the one that crosses the mountain range. That just . . . what . . . I can't even.
  11. 'New' Official Map

    There should be many small rivers inland joining together to make a bigger river as they flow toward the sea. Not a river somehow getting bigger as it splits into multiple rivers and forming what amount to islands all along the coastline. The map of Rokugan is the equivalent of a lovely painting of a mountain where the pointy top is in the ground and the wide base is in the air.
  12. 'New' Official Map

    Fixed that for you. :-P
  13. 'New' Official Map

    Nonsensical rivers aside, I should say that it's a lovely map. I like the style, which suggests ink paintings a bit.
  14. 'New' Official Map

    Alas. I had my fingers crossed that with the reboot, we might get a redesigned map that has *any* comprehension of how rivers work. (Hint: NOT LIKE THAT.)
  15. Kaito family

    Yup -- both of these reasons are why I made much greater use of vassal families in my campaign.