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locust shell

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  1. Yesss, this is great! Is it yours, or do you know who we should thank if not?
  2. Oh gosh, that would be amazing! Name + title description if they have one ("castellan," "elder Crane" etc), a reference page, and maybe their conflict ranks? Since listing CRs would make it easy to look for NPCs by power level, at least approximately, but wouldn't actually obviate the need for the books (I'm sure FFG would prefer it that way 😆).
  3. Ah, yep, sorry if that didn't come through clearly--I meant NPCs with already existing stat blocks for the RPG! For example, randomly grabbing Courts of Stone and flipping through just now, on p. 46 I land on "Shika Katsuteru, Castellan" conflict rank 2/5, with a full adversary stat block (rings, social attributes, abilities, etc). He isn't in the book's TOC and it has no index. I'm not at all sure I'm going to remember in several months, when I'm looking for a castle steward to toss into a scenario, that there already is a set of stats I could use with minor tweaking instead of building something from scratch. Now multiply that by four books and a good lot of published adventures, all with a few NPCs per chapter... I guess I could assemble a list myself (though I don't have all the books), but it'd be a waste of time if someone else already has.
  4. Now that there are a respectable handful of sourcebooks/modules/etc, I've been wondering if anyone has a list somewhere of all the NPCs that are scattered throughout all of those publications? They tend not to be listed in the TOC, so you really just have to hunt through every chapter for them--fine if you're browsing or using one of the adventure seeds as-is, less convenient when you're like "I need to generate a monk adversary to interact on a fairly even basis with my rank 1 player group; is there already an existing one I can tweak?" If there is such a list I'd love to find it...
  5. Battle in the Mind isn't on my radar as much, I confess, because I'm looking at lower level PCs and it's a Rank 3 tech, so players are presumably going to fight a respectable number of duels before it ever even comes up. But I think it would be easy, and change almost nothing else, to add an initiative roll before the duel if techs and Distinctions that key off initiative were relevant (or if a duel of this kind were going to be incorporated into a battle scene--in that case I'd do as 4E does and have the strike round take place on the slower PC's initiative). The strike in the one-roll duel as it's included in the RAW is more or less the same as the Finishing Blow from the multi-round duel, and both of those also ignore Earth stance and endurance, so I can't really take any credit for that. 😆 Thinking of how a variety of builds could work in this mechanic... I think there's still a payoff to all stances--Air increases defensive TN and Fire gives you bonus successes, so those are obvious. Void will always still be good if you're low on Composure coming in. Earth lets you spend opportunity to weaken crits against you, which matters a lot if the strike roll ties, and it still stops the other person from hitting you with conditions using their techs (also, the Earth approach really shouldn't be especially favored in a duel format based on quickness, reaction, and misdirection, imo). Water lets you draw and cut if you haven't got the specialized training for it, and otherwise lets you de-strife yourself and potentially do other stuff with your extra action. But if folks have suggestions for ways to tweak them, I'd be interested. Several other School Abilities and techniques could be applied to the attack roll as well (basically anything that would otherwise be useful in a single-round combat against one opponent). RE: composure and endurance... to be honest, one of the things I dislike most about the RAW duel mechanic is that as written, characters heavy on Earth and Water--Crab etc--end up doing better in an actual iai duel than, say, Kakita Duelists, because Composure is designed such that classic Crane style courtier-duelists are terrible at it. (Their higher Vigilance doesn't really save them, because for every 1-point leg up they get in initiative, their opponent probably has a 2-point advantage in strife threshold....). So yes, I've purposefully swapped Composure for Focus as the derived attribute taking center stage in the duel, because that makes more sense to me. Endurance, imo, shouldn't be of much relevance in a first touch/first blood iaijutsu duel, since it's meant to be over in one cut. In my experience so far, using the RAW lower-level PCs mostly just flail around wildly, doing minimum or no Fatigue damage at all to their opponents, as they fish desperately for opportunity symbols until somebody runs out of strife. 🤣
  6. I'm not super satisfied with the RAW for dueling when it comes to Iaijutsu duels to first strike/first blood. These are supposed to be the most common types of duel fluff-wise, with the goal of "one perfect cut," but as written, starting characters seem to mostly end up swinging wildly and whiffing for several rounds, in quite a time-consuming way... In any case, I've been messing around with a way to use the one-roll rules for single-strike Iaijutsu duels, but make it a bit more crunchy, so people who've invested in being good at the rings and techniques associated with "duelists" actually benefit from that. Here's what I've got at the moment. I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm not sure whether it has weird bugs hiding somewhere that I haven't noticed yet. Thoughts?
  7. This is so cool! Thank you! I downloaded the OSX build, but have been getting a similar error prompt on startup to the one ruronin had for the Windows build: "The local data is missing or older than the bundled data. Do you want to overwrite local data?" Clicking "yes" or "no" doesn't seem to do anything different as far as I can see (have investigated both). The program then starts, but when I try to begin creating a new character the clan/family/etc dropdowns are all blank. I suspect a similar problem creating the local data directory? Especially since when I navigate to Tools > Open Application Data Directory, nothing actually opens. Will head over to Bootcamp and dl the Windows version now just to play with it sooner...
  8. FWIW we had a thread on kanji for Rokugani names on the old AEG forum, the results of which I reconstructed over here a couple of years ago: A bit out of date insofar as it has things like the Spider Clan and the Toturi dynasty that aren’t in the reboot, but we ended up with a quite complete list.
  9. Oh, this is definitely me, too. I was introduced to the RPG sometime during 2nd Edition, in 2003 or so, and while our GM had CCG cards to wave at us to represent various NPCs, CCGs weren't really on my radar. So I loved the base setting but didn't get a sense of the whole metaplot thing existing until I bought the 3rd Edition book for myself a few years later--and found the timeline at the front of the book was all cluttered up with half a dozen competing Dark Lords, moons and suns falling out of the sky, etc. Too much to want to work with. I think I explained my choice of an earlier time period to my first group of players by telling them that I didn't want them to have to know the plural of "apocalypse" just to write a character background. I've usually set campaigns sometime in the window between the return of the Unicorn and the Scorpion Coup. For the last few years I've mostly lacked a local playgroup for L5R but have got by with some of the various large play-by-post games that happen now and then--including, early on, the second AEG Winter Court--so although I was never involved with the CCG I've become a bit more well-versed in the metaplot somewhat in spite of myself. But I'm not at all sorry to have a setting reset (including the bit where they seem to be retconning the more gender-egalitarian version of Rokugan that had gradually evolved by 4E back on to the 1E time period--because I actually liked some of the early metaplot, but much prefer the later arcs' atmosphere in that one respect). Fingers crossed for the new-flavor RPG; I'll probably get time to look through it this weekend...
  10. This is me as well. I like an RPG setting to be a bit more of a blank canvas which GM and players can paint on, or at least color liberally between the lines, so post-Clan-Wars Rokugan has too many close-together Gambit Pile-ups and world-shaking crises for my taste. Relatedly but somewhat separately... I also prefer it when players don't have to know the plural of "apocalypse" just to figure out the backstory for a PC in young adulthood, y'know? In any case, I figure that as soon as the player characters start doing stuff, a campaign becomes our own version of the universe. If that involves bringing on the Second Day of Thunder in the 6th century with the PCs as the Thunders or whatever, so be it--just because a period is noted as being "peaceful" or its events are described as having resolved a certain way in the official timeline, doesn't mean a home campaign has to adhere to that. (For me this is another motive for steering clear of the plottier bits of the official timeline--I'd rather players not have too firm a notion of how things are "supposed" to go.) I'm not super familiar with FFG's other RPGs, so I don't really know how they are about timelines (I do vaguely remember EotE working okay for different points within the Star Wars canon). But either way, isn't L5R the first they've had that is wholly owned, not licensed? That probably allows them considerably more wiggle room to do what they want than they've had with the Star Wars or GW lines. I kinda suspect they will plot out some kind of equilibrium configuration/calm point for their Rokugan at which to set the beginning of their new LCG, even if it's a calm-before-the-storm sort of calm point, and that that will be the default setting if we get a new RPG. But "timeline neutrality" was one of the better-received innovations in 4E, and all it really meant in design terms was "write the rules and stats so that they don't precisely straightjacket home RPG gamers into one exact moment in the card game plot." I'd be more surprised if FFG doesn't adopt some version of that principle, especially since at the outset they won't have years of card game storyline of their own to which they're closely committed.
  11. I will probably be quite grouchy if FFG actually tries to release different eras as standalone lines that make you buy a whole new core book for each, when the mechanical difference between playing in, say, Clan Wars and Toturi Dynasty settings is no more than the addition/subtraction of a couple of minor-in-importance schools here and there. But I might buy era-centered splatbooks, and I'd definitely buy a new edition of something like Imperial Histories, so I'll answer your question in that spirit instead. Anyway, in rough order of priority-- I agree that I'd obviously like to see a Clan Wars/pre-Scorpion Coup setting, preferably one that's easily generalizable to any time between the return of the Unicorn and the SCC. (I don't care intensely about the exact NPCs who were around in the early days of L5R and wouldn't want an information overload about them, though I assume you'd need a bit as some people really do like them.) Generic Toturi or early Iweko-dynasty setting seems an obvious one. Pick a period of relative calm within those times as a baseline, though. (Hard especially for the Toturi period, I know.) Here you could fit Mantis (and maybe Spider depending on your timing) as a Great Clan and all the newish Minor Clans and stuff. Age of Exploration is another obvious choice, but it doesn't interest me personally very much, so skipping onward... Dawn of the Empire and/or the run-up to the First Day of Thunder and/or the reign of Hantei Genji would be cool. An earlier setting from after Hantei Genji but before the Unicorn came back would be neat as well--around when the Kaiu Wall was first built, the first battle against Iuchiban, right before the Unicorn return, or something else like that. Very different alternate settings like 10KYD or Togashi Dynasty are lots of fun, but I imagine might be lower priority for porting to a new system.
  12. I don't usually like to get too fussy/wanky about "accuracy" in RPG weapon stats, but I think the Ono:Masakari analogy doesn't quite work. You don't want to get hit by an axe because... it's sharp. A little extra weight and length in the shaft, and a bit of extra force from a two-handed swing, will make it hurt a bit more, but in the end it is sharp regardless of how much weight and leverage there is behind the blade. You don't want to get hit by a tetsubo because it's long and heavy. That's it. Making a tetsubo shorter and one-hand-able causes it to weigh less and hit with less momentum--i.e., subtracts from the only characteristics that allow it to do damage. So if you really want to have separate stats for such a weapon, it should probably reduce the DR more than when you scale down an axe from ono to masakari size. As a tangent, I kind of get the impression from its description in the rulebook that a masakari is only a "heavy weapon" because the system doesn't have (and to be clear, doesn't need) separate weapon skill categories for Axes, Hammers, etc. They didn't have anywhere else to stick a medium sized axe, so it went in the same skill category as the big one. If I had a player that wanted a small iron club/studded short stave, I'd probably let them wield it with either Heavy Weapons or Staves depending which skill they had/how they used it. Tl;dr: I agree with other posters that if you want to make a heavy club weapon that's one-handed it's probably easier to just add a few rolled dice to a tonfa or jo. In any case 5k2 seems way off to me--that's the DR of a dai-tsuchi, which is an enormous two-handed hammer. Nothing else in the core book gives more than +3 rolled dice to damage, I believe.
  13. Others have already given some great advice, so I'll just chime in with a couple of things: 1) In addition to the one AtoMaki gave, there are a couple of links to help with coming up with personal names in this thread. I'd especially recommend the Sengoku one for NPCs since it has tables you can straight-up roll a D100 on. 2) The L5R games I've run haven't ever been "sandboxy," per se, but I like to start out with a set of NPCs who have problems/puzzles/secrets (the "challenge"), plus a vague sense of how these will advance over time ("focus"), and then tailor the specifics to the ways the PCs dig into it and what they seem interested in ("strike"). That doesn't mean making the NPCs the stars of the show, of course, but one thing I like about L5R is that the setting feels concrete enough to support NPCs whose motives for helping the PCs or getting in their way are easy to flesh out. Like CoC, L5R can also lend itself quite well to solving mysteries with a supernatural element, so GM tricks and habits that work for you in CoC might translate over well. TBH I often haven't done a lot of concrete prep for GMing L5R--think for a while and scribble some notes about what's going on this week and what the NPCs want, make sure I have the statlines for anyone/thing the PCs might likely decide to rumble with, make sure I've got my improv hat on, and that's about it. But if you want an example of a GM who does more detailed prep you might search for Kinzen's GM threads on this forum. (Sadly, the old AEG forums took a lot of other people's campaign chronicles and GM notes down when they were perma-locked last year. This blog has another one that I know of, though!) 3) Keep us posted! I'm sure I'm not the only one here who'd be interested to hear how your first session goes, and happy to chime in with further advice/brainstorming help if you want it.
  14. suburbaknight, can you share the ones you've found? Might be handy for others as well. Thanks!
  15. Try the adventure AEG released for Free RPG Day when the system had just come out a few years back: https://www.l5r.com/files/2012/03/L5R-Free-RPG-Day.pdf Running it or just reading it should give you a sense of the elements of a 'complete' L5R game. If you are used to the dungeon-crawly side of Pathfinder or D&D, L5R's system and setting have a bit more room for investigation and intrigue by default, but it should not be overwhelming. The Topaz Championship is another good starting adventure to play or run (it's a coming-of-age competition for young samurai)--there should be a thread with links if you search this very forum. Heroes of Rokugan (don't remember the address just now, but Google has your back) also has many, many adventures written up which one can download and use. As folks have said, the core book truly is all you need to get started. Enemies of the Empire would actually be my #2 purchase/read for a new GM, as it gives you lots of ready-made adversaries and such. From a player's perspective Emerald Empire will give you more flavor detail and a few new character options, as will Great Clans, but you certainly don't need them to get rolling. For setting lore, there actually is a wiki: http://l5r.wikia.com/wiki/Legend_of_the_Five_Rings_Wiki The information on some of the pages is not always organized in the most intuitive of ways, but it's good if you see some noun dropped as you're going along and are like "no, really, what is X again?" As someone who's never played the CCG, I'd say don't get too hung up on all the history stuff! It only will impinge on your home game as much as you want it to. (If you set your game between about the mid 9th century and the 11th century, OR just "at the end of the Core Book timeline" ignoring everything that happened in later CCG developments, you'll have more or less the "generic" Rokugan. Technically there'd be no Mantis Clan if you choose the former option, I guess, but that's not a big deal one way or another for a home game.) And definitely do not think of the two Imperial Histories as books you NEED to read to properly understand L5R. They're best understood as splatbooks presenting a bunch of alternate setting variations in which you might choose to set a campaign. Some of 'em are great, while some are meh. Maybe skim the tables of contents and see if one of those settings seems like you'd actually want to use it; otherwise you don't need to worry about it right now. I'd be surprised if somebody somewhere in the NYC area isn't playing it! I'm in the LA area sometimes and haven't found a group there yet, but also LA is sprawly and due to logistics I haven't looked super hard. Now and then, if you keep an eye out, you can also find online playgroups of various sizes, from 4-5 people to PbPs of 20+.
  16. Thing about Japanese is... often when you have a word that comes from two kanji, the second kanji gets a dark sound. Yep, we went back and forth about the rendaku issue on the old forum, hence my comment above about also checking "kotsu." It's a bigger problem with the names that had to be made up from whole cloth, and thus a major reason I tried to stick to matching or building off of existing names instead--c.f. Kitsuki (anyway you write it could, and perhaps should, be read "kizuki" instead), Daigotsu (-->daigozu), etc. Trouble is there are no hard and fast rules for rendaku, other than "when it happens, it happens," so. That's why I grabbed a compound for Daigotsu in which I knew the "go" was at least definitely "go" (and not "ko"), even if then adding the "tsu" kanji on the end was a bit dodgy. Miya may be the least royal of the Imperial families in some ways of looking at Rokugan (kinda debatable; for my part I wouldn't say they're less "royal" than the Seppun in any meaningful way) but they're still much more so than everyone else in the Empire. And it seems pretty obviously likely that 宮 is the word whomever originally named the family had in mind. In the surname dictionary I originally used (which I linked in the OP), it's also listed as being significantly more common in actual use than any of the ones you've suggested (the only more-common way of writing it is apparently 三谷*), and none of the handful of other writings seemed notably more fitting in terms of meaning/implications, so I ran with it. Miya are the Emperor's mouths across the empire, after all. When you hear a Miya herald proclaiming ex cathedra, you are in fact, in a sense, hearing the voice of the Imperial Palace. *edit: and now that I've looked back/googled around at more leisure, 三谷 is more often pronounced mitani and not miya anyhow. 三矢, the third most common, is actually usually pronounced mitsuya. So the Miya-version that ended up on the list is indeed by far the most typical surname with that pronunciation, as far as I can tell.
  17. Somebody (Kinzen? Not sure) had a fun homebrew school for geisha on the old AEG forums. All five ranks, too, IIRC. *pours one out in memoriam* Perhaps that person will see this thread and still has it on their hard drive?
  18. Wow, haven't checked here in a while! kita can indeed be a pronunciation of 北 = North. I don't have the slightest idea what character meaning "man" the ka could possibly be if the kita in Kakita was "north," though. Sometimes 家 (variously meaning "home" "family," or "a person who practices a particular skill") can be read ka--like in aikidō-ka, an aikido expert--but then it would fall at the end of the word. It just looks too weird at the beginning. I'm guessing that wherever you heard this, it's a back-formation--somebody at AEG looked through a phone book (or whatever) to come up with "Kakita," and sometime later someone else who knew a little Japanese mapped the last two syllables of this name as a common kanji they knew, 北. If I could come up with a satisfactory ka I might run with it--though I've never heard anything about the original Kakita coming from the north of Rokugan--but for now this list uses a "real" version (one that exists in modern Japan). Neither of these is true in "real" Japanese AFAIK. I even double-checked the dictionary! In particular there are basically no kanji read gotsu (there's kotsu, "bone," but that's actually not very impressive-sounding), which is why we struggled rather with that entry on the old forum. On the other hand, Rokugan Is Not Japan, and by extension the language of Rokugan isn't really Japanese. So names can mean whatever you want when you're in charge! Kanji are a fun tool to play with but definitely not something that's ever been integral to the setting (or even very well integrated, for that matter). Thanks!
  19. Update! Personal name resources Tracked down links to a couple of the resources for choosing a character's personal/given name that had circulated on the old boards in various forms. So: Society for Creative Anachronism page on medieval Japanese nomenclature, with kanji (scroll about halfway down for the section on men's given names and further down for women's) PDF of lists of suggested names from the RPG Sengoku (again, scroll down to p. 2 and beyond for given names--they're numbered, so you could even roll up some NPCs with a D100) And as I mentioned in the first post, if you want to kanji-fy any of these names, you can head to the WWWJDIC, enter the name (in the latin alphabet) in the search box, and select "Japanese Names (ENAMDICT)" from the drop-down. If you want to control your search a bit more to make sure you don't accidentally end up with the name of an obscure train station instead of a person (unlikely, but not impossible!), add "(f)" for a feminine name or "(m)" for a masculine one to your search string.
  20. As an appendix to the list, here are the best of the crop of online generators for seal/chop images: #1: http://www.chinese-tools.com/tools/seal.html This one has a nice selection of fonts and other options and produces a good-looking graphic. Some more obscure kanji aren't available in the fancier fonts (they'll show up as blank spaces), but the font options in box 4 should cover almost everything--including the second character of "Togashi," for example, in the seal on the right. It is a bit buggy, however. If you have multiple columns of characters, it will lay them out in zigzag order: 5 4 1 6 3 2 which is silly and not like any seal I've ever seen. But it's not that hard to compensate by scrambling the order in which you input your kanji ("1 2 4 3 5..." instead of "1 2 3 4 5...") so that the seal comes out in the "right" order. It also seems to be impossible to de-select "Use traditional seal characters to fill in the empty spaces," which sticks an extra character (印 - in - "seal/stamp") at the end if you've got an odd number of kanji, so that the text reads "Seal of (name)." See the left-hand example above. This doesn't bother me, since it's common enough in the "real" thing--though for a three-character name you might want to input your kanji as "1 2 印 4" so that the 印 appears in the correct place at the lower left. #2: http://sca.scripts.mit.edu/inshou/ This one can only handle names up to 4 kanji long, with a single choice of font. If you input a character not supported by that font, and it can't find a close enough match, it will leave a blank space. You'll also have to screencap the result as there's no way to save it directly. But it puts the kanji in the correct order without help, and does a fancier job arranging three-character text strings, as you can see above. #3: DIY If you are good (or moderately skilled but patient) with graphics programs, you can of course make your own graphic, which can be customized to your heart's content. Free fonts for various calligraphy styles, including "seal script," are out there for the Google-ing, though as above, the more exotic fonts might not support all characters. Here's a site offering some fancy Japanese fonts for free download. (That one ought to support hiragana and katakana too, for all your Gaijin Name needs.) Here's one of the many Chinese seal script fonts. (I just downloaded that one to test it out and found it requires Simplified Chinese character variants in some cases, though.) Some of the Heidelberg Chinese fonts are very lovely, but I haven't figured out how to get them to play nice on my computer yet. And so on and on. Probably a good idea to type out your text in a plainer, more legible font and make sure you've got all the kanji right before converting to one of these fonts...
  21. Yep, dearth of plausible kanji read "nu" was part of the motivation, as I remember. The other major reason, of course, was that using the "nin-" (忍) of "ninja" and "ninjutsu" seemed too good to pass up. I also figured the distinction in pronunciation between nin-u-be and ni-nu-be is pretty negligible (if it's detectable/reproducible at all) to most speakers of european languages, unless they've already studied a foreign language that requires thinking of sound in syllables...
  22. Writing Rokugani Names in Kanji 緑岩人の苗字の書き方 (Rokugan-jin no myōji no kakikata) A while ago I posted a version of this list of family name kanji on the AEG forum, filled in mostly by me but with a lot of interesting discussion and input from other posters there. Most foolishly, I made updates right in the original post and didn't keep an offline copy, so the whole thing is stuck behind the Great Wall of Mystery/Apathy now. It took a while, but my annoyance at not having access to the list has eventually come to outweigh my annoyance at having to type it all out again, and I've reconstructed it as best I could from memory--fortunately a bit faster than creating it in the first place. The original list was a work in progress, and that's definitely still true. Let me know if I've missed anything, or if you have any suggestions for more optimal renderings. Disclaimers - I'm not a native speaker of Japanese (and on a basic level my kanji reading is probably pretty inflected by Chinese). - Rokugan Is Not Japan anyway, and using kanji probably isn't entirely canonical (sources differ). This is just for funsies. - Please please don't use this to get a kanji tattoo ("don't get a kanji tattoo" is almost never not good advice, anyway). So what is this good for? I originally started working on it because I wanted to create "seal" graphics for RPG characters. (EDIT: see this post downthread for some tools for generating seals.) You can use names in kanji to sign in-character letters as gaming table props, decorate character sheets, make deck backers, in artwork, whatever. These days I sometimes even use name kanji as part of my brainstorming process when coming up with NPCs and the like. But what about given (personal) names? EDIT: see this post downthread for some more personal name resources. In the original version of this post I was able to link to a bunch of threads on the AEG forum full of advice and inspiration for choosing given names for L5R characters. Alas, all fallen behind the veil of oblivion now. If you've got favorite resources, please share! I might try to dig up some links as I've got time/inclination later. Once you have got a name, in general, as long as it is pronounceable in Japanese (that is, it would be possible to write it out in the syllabic alphabet), you'll be able to represent it with kanji one way or another, even if—like some of the names below—you end up with a purely phonetic transliteration. Try taking your character name to WWWJDIC and typing the English spelling into the search box (for this purpose, don't tick the "Search using romanized Japanese" button), then select "Japanese Names (ENAMDICT)" from the drop-down menu. You'll get a list of names that match all or part of the pronunciation you've used. Names marked with (s) are surnames, (m) are masculine, (f) are feminine, (p) are places and so on. You can select entries to examine the meanings of individual component kanji. If you don't find what you're looking for right away, try varying the length of vowels in your search word (o/ou, u/uu, i/ii, e/ei). A Note on Methods For L5R families whose names come from "real" modern Japanese ones, I generally grabbed the most commonly used written form according to this surname dictionary. For some families less common versions have been used, if they seemed much more apropos to me or other posters on the last version of this thread. For the most part, to avoid unintentionally doing something ridiculous, I tried to stick to "real," existing names whenever possible--including place- and personal names if necessary. When fabricating kanji for names that just don't exist in the real world, I played around with WWWJDIC and the surname dictionary to try to make sure I was (as much as possible) using kanji that are reasonably common in personal and family names, with plausible pronunciations. Some are... probably more plausible than others, but so it goes. Pronunciation of kanji used in names is often very idiosyncratic in any case. Key Entries are in the format: Name - kanji - pronunciation (if different from the L5R spelling) – meaning I've also included the kanji for the clans' totem animals, except when that's exactly the same as a Minor Clan's ruling family name, in which case I didn't bother to put it in twice. The Great Clans ones weren't made up by me; they're from... Great Clans. † = this is a "real" name or word, but not actually a surname (might be the name of a place, a personal name, or other noun) * = this kanji combo is totally made-up (and would probably be gibberish to a Japanese reader) In the pronunciations, long O and U vowels are written with macrons (ō, ū), but you might also have seen the same sounds written "ou" and "uu." Couldn't remember which spelling convention I used in the original list... If for some reason the kanji don't display properly, try changing your browser's text encoding (usually in the "View" menu). Unicode should work, as long as your OS is new enough to have Asian fonts installed by default. Okay, here we go! _____________________ Great Clans Crab - 蟹 - kani Hida - 飛騨 - "flying gray horse" (there are many ways of writing "Hida" as a surname and this is far from the most common, but last time around other posters preferred it since it uses more dramatic kanji and was the name of a Warring States province) Hiruma - 昼間 - "daylight room, dawn room" Kaiu - * 界宇 - kaiyū - "boundary + building" Kuni - 邦 – "country, kingdom, one's homeland, " (some posters last time preferred a bit more thematic set of kanji, so we collectively came up with the made-up alternative *究迩 - "study + get near to") Yasuki - 安喜 - peace and happiness (or, at a slant, "happiness on the cheap") Crane - 鶴 - tsuru A sahina - 朝比奈 - morning + compare + what? Daidoji - 大道寺 - daidōji - great way temple Doji - 堂路 - dōji - temple path Kakita - 柿田 - persimmon field Dragon - 竜 - ryū Kitsuki - * 木月 - tree + moon Mirumoto - * 実留本 - "truth/fruit/substance + stay + root or essence" (modeled on the real name "Kurumoto 久留本") Tamori - 多森 - thick forest Togashi - 富樫 - abundant evergreen oak Lion - 獅子 - shishi Akodo - * 赤穂堂 - akōdō - "red grain-ear shrine" (Akō is a place-name) Ikoma - 生駒 - the "horse" piece in Shogi; a noble clan during the Warring States period Kitsu - 吉 - good fortune, auspicious divination result Matsu - 松 - pine Shimizu - 清水 - pure water Mantis - 蟷螂 - kamakiri Kitsune - † 狐 - fox Moshi - † 虫 - mushi - bug/insect Tsuruchi - * 弦知 - "bowstring + wisdom" (there is a real surname "Tsuruchi," but it incorporates the character for "crane," which seemed unnecessarily confusing) Yoritomo - † 頼朝 - "reliant on the dawn" or "reliant on the dynasty" (personal name of a famous historical figure) Phoenix - 不死鳥 - fushichō - "undying bird" (not really sure why they didn't go with the 鳳凰 hō-ō native to East Asian mythology--it's not fire-y enough, perhaps?) Agasha - * 阿賀沙 - "ah + celebrate + sand" (totally phonetic, though "Aga" is a place-name) Asako - 朝古 - "facing the ancient past; ancient dawn" Isawa - 石和 - "peace of stones" Shiba - 柴 - "firewood, brush, fuel" (common written form of this surname). (However, some posters last time preferred the much-less-common "Shiba" - 司馬 - name of a Warring States clan; surname of a famous ancient Chinese historian, meant "minister of war" in very ancient China) Scorpion - 蠍 - sasori Bayushi - * 倍勇士 - baiyūshi - "twofold hero" Shosuro - * 晶朱露 - shōsuro – "crystal scarlet dew" (totally phonetic, but used a long O since the original Shosuro is supposed to have named herself after the verb 称する shōsuru "to call oneself") Soshi - 曽志 - "ambition of former times." (The most common name with this pronunciation is曾雌, lit. "once-upon-a-time female," but I didn't use that one because it actually seemed too on-the-nose for the identity-shifting Shosuro/Soshi--whom we know to have had a weakness for homophones and puns.) Yogo - 余語 - "my speech/words" Spider - 蜘蛛 - kumo Chuda - 忠田 - chūda - "field of loyalty" Daigotsu - * 大悟津 - "great enlightenment harbor" ("Daigo" or "Daigorō" is a somewhat archaic personal name) Goju - † 剛柔 - gōjū - "firmness and softness," a real-world karate style Kokujin - * 黒人 - this is actually the word used for real-world humans of African descent, so… nice going there, guys. >_< Ninube - * 忍宇部 - "nin" (endurance) from "忍者 ninja" + place name "Ube" Susumu - † 進 - "advancing" (personal name) Order of the Spider - * 蜘蛛宗 - kumo shū - I'm afraid I don't remember which poster suggested using "shū" (which often designates Buddhist sects) here, but it was a good call! Order of Venom - * 毒宗 - doku shū Unicorn - 一角獣 - ikkakujū - lit. "one-horned beast" (or, in the Dawn of the Empire setting, Ki-rin 麒麟) Horiuchi - 堀内 - "canal + within" Ide - 井出 - "well + come out" Iuchi - 井内 - "well + within" Moto - * 元 - "source, basic element"; same kanji as the name of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty which ruled China in the 13-14th centuries Otaku - 小宅 - "small house" Shinjo - 新城 - shinjō - "new castle" (However, with the same pronunciation there's also神成 "divine achievement"—it's less than 1/3 as common, and much more likely to be pronounced "Kannari" instead, but perhaps more thematically suitable?) Utaku - * 宇宅 - "building + house" Minor Clans: Badger - 穴熊 - anaguma Ichiro - † 一郎 - ichirō - "firstborn son" (personal name) Bat Komori - † 蝙蝠 - kōmori Boar - 猪 - inoshishi Heichi - 平地 - "plains" or "peaceful land" Centipede - 蜈蚣 - mukade Moshi - † 虫 - mushi - bug Dragonfly Tonbo - 蜻蛉 Falcon - 鷹 - taka Toritaka - * 鳥鷹 - "bird + falcon" Fox Kitsune - † 狐 - fox Hare Usagi - † 兎 - rabbit Ujina - † 宇品 - a place name Monkey - 猿 - saru Toku - † 徳 - "virtue" (which of course makes the original Toku "Mr. Virtue, the Fortune of Virtue," but anyway) Oriole - 鶯 - uguisu Tsi - † 智 - there is no "tsi" sound in Japanese or Chinese, so best guess. Chinese "zhr"/Japanese "chi" - wisdom Ox - 牛 - ushi Morito - 森藤 - moritō - forest wisteria Snake - 蛇 - hebi Chuda - 忠田 - chūda - "field of loyalty" Sparrow Suzume - 雀 - tree sparrow Tortoise - 亀 - kame Kasuga - 春日 - spring sun Wasp - 蜂 - hachi Tsuruchi - * 弦知 - "bowstring + wisdom" (there is a real surname "Tsuruchi," but it incorporates the character for "crane," which seemed unnecessarily confusing) Imperial families - 皇族 - kōzoku Miya - 宮 - "palace," "royal personage" Otomo - 大友 - ōtomo - "great friend"; a historical noble clan Seppun - *節雰 - "section/season/moral integrity + mist" (in fact, I gather this family name was originally a play on 接吻 "kiss" for a sycophantic courtier character, but here's a rather more elegant possible homophone) Hantei - * 范定 - pattern or law + establish, so "establishing the patterns [of society]." Rather loosely modeled on Chinese reign-period names Toturi - 鳥取 - tottori - "bird + take"; both a surname, and the name of a feudal domain ruled by the Ikeda clan and later of a modern prefecture (there is no "tu" sound in Japanese, so the best we can do is something close-enough) Iweko - † 依恵子 (1) or 為恵子 (2) - ieko - personal name which would have been written "Iweko" before spelling reform dispensed with the "we" syllable. I like these writing forms, which mean "reliant upon blessing" (1) and "acting for/embodying blessing" (2), depending on just how much divine mojo Iweko I has in your version of Rokugan. Ronin families - 浪人の氏 Kaeru - † 蛙 - frog Yotsu - 四津 - "four harbors" ( the original Yotsu could have gone by simply 四つ "Four," but if so, this would have been a nice way to pretty it up into a proper surname)
  23. This is mostly how I feel about it, though with the additional note that as long as each edition keeps giving us crafting rules subsystems that hinge upon money and item cost (IIRC price alone determines materials cost, crafting time, TN difficulty), the price list that's been copied and pasted unchanged from one edition to the next does desperately need revision, because as it stands now it's a perfect case of Garbage In, Garbage Out. Actually, the current version of crafting rules is even odder because it makes so much of the denomination of coin in which the price is given, with no regard for convertibility ratios. I guess you could theorize that this is connected to the fact that some items have prices of 5+ bu (instead of converting to koku) or 10+ zeni (instead of 1+ bu)--if not for the fact that which specific items have those prices seems almost entirely random. (Adding even more different types of coinage for players to track certainly wouldn't make this aspect of play easier, or, by my lights, more fun.) OR, of course, just come up with crafting rules unrelated to price and sidestep the whole problem! As most people don't play RPGs primarily as financial management simulations (old-school D&D and its clones aside), that'd be preferable. *I almost wrote "an arrow" but, of course, that gets into a whole other dimension of silliness, which I've opted to avoid...
  24. ... I guess I do tend to do that, then? Or one in which "samurai" are a sufficiently small fraction of the population, at least, and have enough other duties to handle relative to their numbers. To each her own, however, definitely. I'll freely admit to drawing on the model I know the most about, which isn't Japan at all anyway,* to get a picture in my head which hangs together and makes sense for me personally. Surprisingly (well, it was kind of a surprise to me to figure it out first-hand, though maybe it shouldn't have been...) you actually don't even need an enormously high level of literacy to do a lot of the stuff that goes into premodern paper-pushing! The more routinized the tasks, language-wise, the more that's true. Just a couple of hundred words/kanji under your belt and you're more than ready to do budget or land transaction records, for example. Judicial records dealing with commoner issues are going to have a bigger but equally formulaic vocabulary, one you could still probably be fully capable of scribing out without having nearly enough education to produce or fully comprehend, say, a court letter or philosophical treatise. That doesn't get to the trust issue, but we do know Rokugan has peasant village headmen, merchants employed to handle parts of the wealth of samurai houses, magistrates' doshin and so on, so there's definitely at least some stuff samurai are willing to delegate. Management when any of those underlings take advantage of their positions probably is an issue sometimes, but hey, that's where plot comes from! *Rather, China, in the final couple of dynasties, where you've got a relatively small set of imperially-qualified officials who freely depend on local help of various sorts to get it all done... anyway, Rokugan Is Not any of those places, it's bits and pieces of all of them sewn together with European romances, so.
  25. Neat. I would probably pull bits of this for flavor at relevant intervals rather than drop big chunks of it on to a playgroup, but it could be useful! I'd just add as a side note that one needn't necessarily imagine that holding a bureaucratic title in a society like Rokugan's entails spending forty hours a week at regularly scheduled times behind a desk at the office. A post entitles you to a certain level of status and a stipend (which may or may not be even remotely equal to the expense of keeping up appearances in the job!), and it gives you an excuse to hang around at court, get through doors you otherwise couldn't, and gain introductions to people in positions of influence. There are generally going to be commoner scribes and such around who can and should fill out the TPS reports while you stick to making the big decisions. Some people holding a particular title may be overly dedicated bureaucrats who spend a lot of time working diligently to personally micromanage their corner of the organization; others may treat the post as a sinecure and spend most of their time doing their own things while their ji-samurai subordinates and heimin scribes work pretty independently; still others may be good delegators who successfully offload much of the day-to-day work to trustworthy underlings while keeping a hand on the reins (and those, not the first kind, will probably be viewed most positively). So a) a PC who gets a promotion should still have time for adventures! and b) one can play around with NPCs who are any of the above types of administrators, as adventure hooks, obstacles, allies, etc.
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