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Everything posted by Kinzen

  1. Yes, that's the point at which she really started to go awry. She could have paused to take a breath, but at that point she was panicking more than thinking things through clearly, and continuing with the principle of "hide the bodies" rather than "what is proper procedure in this situation?" As for not telling Shoju after the fact . . . well, yeah, in her shoes I wouldn't have, either. He'd already put a literal knife to her throat, so adding "and by the way, I sent somebody to kill the Emerald Champion" would be suicide. I disagree that she's acting first and foremost for herself, though. I do believe that Kachiko thinks what she's doing is for the greater good of both clan and empire. She's wrong about that, but, well, self-delusion: it's a thing. At that point, though, we're firmly enough into differing interpretations that I don't expect to argue anybody around to my side.
  2. I'm actually sympathetic to Kachiko. If you remove the edict from the scenario, then her actions made a lot of sense: it would have massively destabilized the Empire to know that the Crown Prince, now Emperor presumptive, committed both patricide and regicide. Covering up the murder so that it appears 38 died of natural causes was the right move; this is not a society that would reward telling the truth in that situation. And since without the edict there's no grounds for bypassing Sotorii in the succession, you either ~take steps~ to make sure he doesn't wind up on the throne . . . or you make sure you have leverage over the homicidal teenager (who, let's not forget, could order your death if you don't make him feel grateful to you for your help, because he knows you know what he did). Up until the edict appears, Kachiko made all the right decisions. The problem is that those decisions committed her irrevocably to a course of action that runs directly counter to the edict, and she didn't know that until it was too late. (Plus, it would still massively destabilize the Empire to know a Hantei son killed the Emperor, even if that son doesn't then become Emperor herself.) But now she isn't protecting the next Emperor; she's protecting a disinherited murderer. At that point there aren't any good choices: letting the edict go ahead risks exposing the truth, because the odds that Sotorii will go along with it quietly are about nil. Not to mention that an edict putting the Scorpion in charge of the younger, manipulable son right after the Emperor ~conveniently~ keels over of natural causes/gets stabbinated makes them look really, really bad. And, as Kachiko says in this story, the Empire is in a bad state right now: lifetime leverage over an Emperor you know you can manipulate is probably more effective than a year or two of regency for an Emperor who's either a lesser known quantity or disenchanted with the whole society, depending on how familiar Kachiko is with Daisetsu's attitude. But to make that work, you've got to remove Toturi from the equation, so . . . I mean, no, her decisions are not having good effects, nor are they remotely honorable. But her reasoning is sound, and as much about preserving the Empire as it is about helping the Scorpion get ahead. And honestly, the whole thing would have played out very differently if Shoju had just shared that information with her. It was going to be public soon anyway, and it would have delighted her -- more power for the Scorpion, yay! -- so while I understand him holding it back, this is the cluster**** that results. Which is why I'm really enjoying this setup. It's all about the unforeseen consequences of decisions that look much better in isolation than in the full context of the situation. And for everybody saying Kachiko deserves to go to the Traitors' Grove . . . she hasn't betrayed the Scorpion, and that's the main reason people get sent there. If she'd destroyed the edict, then as Shoju says, yeah, she'd be toast -- that would be the point at which she'd be showing disloyalty. But the Traitors' Grove isn't for people who make mistakes. It's for those who put themselves or someone else ahead of their clan. Which Kachiko has not done.
  3. Because I'm sympathetic to this gripe, I do want to point out this: The crypticness does, in this iteration, have a reason.
  4. They're also ideally self-contained stories, or at least mostly so -- not just longer episodes from the ongoing narrative. Which means they need a degree of narrative resolution Daisetsu and Shahai are unlikely to get in the near term.
  5. What happens to them on the road is likely to be too load-bearing to come out as a novella or a novel, i.e. in a place where a large number of the players wouldn't see it.
  6. Forget shugenja; this is where I think Rokugan is clearly a fantasy land. There have been plenty of times in history where the ruler's own son and heir is EXACTLY who he needs to be protected from. 😛
  7. (Also me just musing) I'm not as sanguine as you are. Yeah, taken off-guard by an unexpected and extreme situation -- but when your duty is that important, failure kind of becomes unacceptable. If an Elemental Dragon comes down to kill the Emperor, you can rightfully say a higher power was at work, but in this case it was a teenaged boy. Right now nobody will call for the seppuku of the Emperor's guards because he tragically died of natural causes, but once the fact of the assassination becomes known? Yeah, I'd expect it.
  8. It takes place before the main timeline begins (i.e. before "The Rising Wave").
  9. The natural home of a Kitsuki investigator is in a Scorpion's business.
  10. "Like Seeds on the Wind" takes place roughly five years before the main timeline.
  11. I suspect that's at least partly because battles eat up a lot of words for not a lot of plot or character development. The skirmish in "Between the Lines" accounts for about 20% of the story, and that was with me trying to keep it as short as possible so I'd have room for other things. We only get about 3,000 words to work with on most stories; given that a short story is defined (for award purposes) as anything up to 7,500 words, 3K keeps us on a very tight leash. Given a choice between showing a battle and mentioning that one happened while showing its consequences, the latter is often the more efficient choice.
  12. Yes, and to address the point about Mitsu above: the whole reason he had to do a verbal tap-dance to get the Dragon out of that situation with Tsanuri was because he knew the Lion would stomp them into the mud if it came to actual violence. (Hitomi may have been willing to go for it, but, well . . . Hitomi.) It's not the Lion being Worfed if somebody deliberately chooses a non-military solution to a problem because they know the Lion would win in a military confrontation.
  13. It's a worldbuilding issue, among other things. It cheapens the idea that the Son of Heaven is a hugely important and revered figure in Rokugan if a single person -- even the Imperial Adviser -- can claim that oh yeah, he decided he was going to wander off on his own (somehow getting past all the guards on the palace without them noticing), and no, he didn't take any guards or make any arrangements for how things should run in his absence . . . and people just swallow that without question. It cheapens the Seppun and all the imperial guards, treating their duty as completely irrelevant and discarded at the drop of a hat. It also makes everybody who accepts that story without a shred of supporting evidence look phenomenally gullible, because this isn't about questioning the Emperor, it's about questioning somebody who claims to be speaking for the Emperor, while saying things that fly in the face of all logic and tradition. Even the most upstanding Lion would have trouble getting that to fly; coming from Kachiko, it would stink to high heaven. This may be a fictional world, but if it undercuts its own principles like that, it won't be telling a very good story.
  14. This x1000. The Emperor cannot simply up and vanish -- not for a few months, not for a few days; not even for a few hours -- without setting off a spectacular panic in the Imperial Palace. Anything other than immediately moving forward with proper rites etc. would be infinitely more suspicious than "oh, what a shame; I guess his bad health overcame him at last."
  15. I'm not sure why you're so energetically pursuing this, but: for this scenario to make sense, Toturi -- the Emerald Champion -- needs to go for a day or two without hearing that the Emperor is dead, long live the Emperor, and then when he finds out at last, he needs to believe Jodan's passing happened recently rather than days ago, and therefore is completely unrelated to his own near-death experience. This is profoundly implausible. It's implausible because it means funerary preparations need to be postponed, secretly, for days. It's implausible because it means the Empire has no ruler, secretly, for days. It's implausible because the crowd of people involved in caring for the Emperor -- bringing him his meals, bathing him, clothing him, etc -- all need to somehow not notice the guy they serve is missing, or notice but stay quiet about it. Kachiko can't kill them all, especially if she wants it to look like there's nothing suspicious to see here, nope, just an old man passing and his eldest son inheriting as expected. Will Toturi know something's happened before Aramoro catches up with him? Very likely not. But the plausible scenario is this: Aramoro tries to kill Toturi and fails, and then shortly thereafter Toturi finds out the Emperor is dead. At that point either the edict becomes public and people might accept that Jodan died naturally but Daisetsu takes the throne with Shoju as regent, or the edict is ~mysteriously missing~ and also the Emperor died and coincidentally on that same night somebody tried to murder Toturi, the man who wrote the edict on Jodan's behalf. Toturi might not know why all of that happened. But he's not likely to write it off as total coincidence, regardless of his personal history with Aramoro. And, as before: whether he figures out precisely why Aramoro was trying to murder him or not, he's still highly likely to oppose Sotorii, because he knows about the edict. He may not instantly go ronin -- in fact, that would be a pretty useless first move, the Emerald Champion rage-quitting and instantly making himself a person nobody needs to listen to -- but he will take action, with or without Aramoro's assassination attempt to give him extra reason.
  16. But the duel was six months ago. And I seem to recall something about an incident at Sotorii's gempuku, though I have no idea where that got mentioned. (You can tell which corner of the story I'm not responsible for writing . . .)
  17. Hasn't Sotorii passed his gempuku? If so, he is a legal adult, and doesn't need a regent.
  18. Yes, if Aramoro chooses to honorably confront Toturi then it wouldn't be unusual within Rokugani society. But that's pretty much the only scenario where the confrontation isn't "something big." Even if it's an indirect strike, e.g. poison, Toturi is unlikely to shrug and say "welp, I survived, so I guess it doesn't matter who was behind this." An indirect strike probably just means you get an investigation plotline before the whole thing blows up. And let's not forget, this entire branch of the discussion started with you saying Toturi never stands up for himself and therefore probably won't go against Sotorii unless "something big" happens with Aramoro. Given that Toturi knows about the Emperor's edict, the notion that it will require a blatant assassination attempt before Toturi does anything to oppose Sotorii seems weak at best. Even if he doesn't stand up for himself, standing up for the Empire is an entirely different matter. That's literally why Kachiko's sending Aramoro after him in the first place.
  19. I dunno; it might be that more often than you think. 🙂 But regardless, Aramoro trying to murder Toturi would not be the kind of thing Toturi is likely to shrug off as normal Rokugani behavior and nothing to get worked up about.
  20. In honorable duels or on the battlefield, sure. Assassination attempts, especially against the Emerald Champion, are a different matter.
  21. I wouldn't say he's the Messiah, no. He's not seen as their savior, nor as someone whose appearance they're waiting for (why would they, when he's right there?). The Perfect Land Sect holds messianic beliefs; the Brotherhood as a whole does not.
  22. "Because shock value!" is an abysmally bad reason to write anything into a story. This isn't about it being a trope -- pretty much anything can be seen that way, as TV Tropes has proved, and I'm a card-carrying folklorist; I'm well aware of the value of a Motif Index -- but rather a trope which, at its core, is about devaluing and throwing away a powerful female character purely for shock and to motivate some man in her life. Deploying it here would be bad storytelling: it doesn't tell us anything about Aramoro we don't already know (we're already well aware that he's a murderous jerk), it doesn't meaningfully change Toturi's trajectory (he's already very thoroughly motivated, and will have plenty of reason to go after Aramoro), and it completely scraps Kaede's characterization, abilities, and agency, not to build anything narratively important in the longer term, but simply to surprise the players. Ned Stark's death worked because it added depth to the story, showing you that the bad guys were more vicious and petty than you'd realized, making it clear that ASOIAF was the kind of story in which honor pretty much just buys you an early grave, providing sufficient casus belli for the North to revolt, and decentralizing the plot so that his children could fully develop into protagonists in their own right, rather than him being the "main character" while others played supporting roles. All without in any way violating what we'd known about Ned up until that point -- in fact, it was more like a Greek tragedy, watching his greatest flaw (which was also his greatest strength) bring him down. He played as much of a role in creating his own demise as anybody else did, rather than being collateral damage in somebody else's plot. None of that would be true here.
  23. No, it really isn't. Fridging a guy's pregant love interest just to motivate him is an incredibly tired and overused trope seen in a thousand novels, movies, and TV series, and in this case it would require Kaede inexplicably forgetting how to shugenja and just lying there passively while Aramoro murders her. It's bad storytelling all around. If you want a ballsy option that isn't falling face-first into utter stereotype, have Aramoro butcher Toturi with an ambush attack while Kaede watches helplessly through a Void vision. Turn him into the "sacrificial lamb" to propel her into motion. Players would lose their minds even more.
  24. This story was actually written to take place before the main timeline begins -- hence the reference to Ichiro being new to the PLS. I thought there was going to be some kind of note on it marking the difference, but that appears to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Anyway, the answer to "what happened with her" is "nothing yet, including her being sent to infiltrate them." 🙂
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