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Everything posted by TheHobgoblyn

  1. The Yasuki are basically the "carp" family and the old L5R had a semi-official "Frog" family of merchants, I don't think they have been confirmed as existing yet. I could kind of get no samurai family picking up any fish except for the Carp/Koi/Goldfish-- because basically any other type of fish would be considered food. Fish names are actually used in Japan when nearly no other animals are, but by people whose ancestors were fishermen. Same with squid and octopus. As such, if peasants in Rokugan got family names I could totally see a bunch of fish based families spring up based on what kind of fish the particular fishermen connected to that family or group specialized in catching. Now, if we were to expand the cultural influence of Rokugan and expand out so there are more island off the coast than just the Mantis ones, I think it would be possible to maybe have a Whale Clan to the northeast of the Phoenix lands and maybe given them some allusions to Hokkaido and/or the Ainu. An volcanic forested island that is famous for its snowy winters and the waters surrounding it are inhabited by whales. And maybe there could be an island southeast of the Mantis Isles with some mix of Kyushu and Polynesian influences that is known for being warm to hot all year round, whose surrounding waters are inhabited with the most colorful of aquatic life and the appex predator is the shark. There could be a Shark Clan that rules there that would come across as so very uncultured, irresponsible, lazy and superstitious to the mainlanders, but who are basically just used to living in what is a paradise to those who live on the mainland.
  2. I completely agree with this. Ideally all playable factions should be shades of grey, and maybe some black for the total edge-lords (of which I certainly was at some point). You can't really have violent conflict if the sides are going to be totally above-board and without flaw. But, that being said, there probably was something amiss with having only a singular faction have its entire identity be that it was the edge-lord black faction then trying to redeem it so that it was sensible that other factions would accept it but also generally keeping all the other factions without any true villains or flaws (outside of being related to the single bad-guy faction). Ideally, every faction should have a "I like them because they are this, this and this... but they do this and I can see it is kind of messed up even if I get how they feel it is necessary or is generally in their nature, but I want to fight for them anyway because they are my guys and I don't want them to lose and die." And ideally, the game should be working off of conflicts that cannot just be resolved with a word and a wave of the hand. And the Imperial power is an impediment to that. But, I also don't want them to be killed off and waved dismissively out-of-hand like in the original story, because I really feel the concept of "We used to rule this land and did it for 1000 years of peace, now everything is at war and we are using what influence we have to try to get by" as well as the individual concepts of Hantei, Seppun, Otomo, Miya and Kasuga as a faction are interesting enough that I feel like they would make a better Clan than what we saw pieced together out of the Mantis, which generally saw the Centipede and Wasp merged in so tightly that there wasn't a good division between them, or what one could do with a "Spider Clan" which just incorporates every bad guy faction and necessitates either redeeming those evil groups or creating whole new groups of of thin air as to have a redeemed dark clan can really provide in the long term. I am not saying that there can and should never be a fully realized Mantis or a Spider (although I feel the later should never be a fully realized and accepted clan except in a Rokugan where there is no central power and every clan is effectively a semi-sovereign nation), but the 8th clan should really be the out-of-power Hantei Clan that still aims to emulate Hantei and not the Fu Leng Clan that tries to emulate Fu Leng.
  3. The whole "let's resolve the whole Fu Leng thing favorably" and the fact that they realized that the writers realized they really couldn't commit to that and have all their magical baddies become either good or even just neutral and having to go back on that and needing each storyline to be more epicly destructive to Rokugan than the last... it really destroyed the whole setting. So I can't really see the writers, especially given how things are set up now for far less god-tier magical resolving of everything, diving into the whole "Let's cleanse Fu Leng and make him a good guy!" Also, it kind of cheapens Jigoku's whole power, the fact that he is even called "Fu Leng" and no one remembers his actual original name because it has been erased by all minds across all realms of existence is something to be feared. Jigoku can not only corrupt one, it can not only mimic people, but it can literally erase the identity of a god from the minds of even other gods. If there is any allusion to a Spider Clan, at this point I can't imagine it being anything beyond Daisetsu being killed or mortally injured and Shahai escaping with him or his body into the Shadowlands. And maybe some indication that the Goju, Chuda, Dark Moto, Noriaki and the Order of Spider are out there and ready to be united under the banner of the avatar of Fu Leng. I would much rather see the Imperials lose their status, become the "Owl Clan" with an unclear indication of whether the other clans even regard them as a proper Great Clan or a Minor Clan, but basically leave them with the former capital and surrounding provinces as each clan pulls their forces back to their own lands and each clan becomes its own independent nation with any former imperial edicts only being respected as far as they are useful to peace between the clans, but otherwise nothing left to stop clans from going full-out open war against one another besides the concern that the other clans will see they have devoted all of their forces against another clan and use that opportunity to attack them from a different front. The game mechanic of "Imperial Favor" would go from being "Favor of the Emperor" to "Favor of the people of the Empire". Thus being honest, forthright and brave in one's actions and kind to the common people would gain one honor and favor. An honor victory would indicate that the people favor you to such a degree that peasant rebellions, even the enemy's own ashigaru turning on them, on your behalf cripple the enemy's ability to continue to war against you leading to a victory while a dishonor defeat would mean the opposite occurs. The throne losing all power to force a status quo within the realm would mean that the actual in-story Rokugan would be able to far better reflect what we are told the mechanics of the card game and the board game Battle of Rokugan represent. It would also create a situation where the minor clans might very well be keen to create an Alliance for protection, leading to the opportunities for Yoritomo to rise to power. And, as noted above, readers would know in the back of their minds that the Shadowlands forces are out there in the darkness and the more the clans tear at each other, the greater threat those forces will be when they finally do choose to act-- something the characters in the story likely will remain unaware of. But if and when the whole "Rokugani Civil War" status becomes burdensome, the Shadowlands Forces can be introduced into the setting as a proper threat that requires the clans to unite. After that point perhaps some sort of orderly determination of the new Imperial Line can take place.
  4. I think I ran through the quiz before and I can't really say that it was the greatest. I mean-- yeah, which color scheme and which animal avatar the clans have could be all that is needed to appeal to one. If the team is your favorite color or they have your favorite animal icon, I think a lot of people would adapt to everything else. But beyond that it is difficult to get really into what makes a clan without being too reductive. Like I feel people are too quick to describe the Crab as "Big, burly, rough and without much care for social graces or artistic or intellectual pursuits" and while that may be true of the Hida and more or less true of the Hiruma, it really doesn't seem to be all that fitting for the Kaiu, Kuni or Yasuki-- which means that the number of families that do not conform to the stereotype outnumber those that do. And it means that one is only pointing those who would favor the Hida/Hiruma stereotype to the Crab-- which means the other families don't get much represented, and those who favor the Hida/Hiruma stereotype could fit in with the Matsu or Moto which means they don't get much represented either because players don't get pushed in their direction. Similarly, the whole "gaijin" thing gets automatically pushed towards the Unicorn. But the Shinjo and Utaku generally don't really embody that image entirely. Furthermore, the Unicorn are associated with a particular kind of non-Japanese-- the Mongolians. And the fact that the Dragon's Nepalese aspects, the Phoenix's Korean aspects, the Mantis's Chinese and Thai aspects, the Imperials Han Chinese aspects and such aren't considered "gaijin" aspects per se within the setting so much as the Unicorn's Mongolian aspects are is merely an accident of the setting rather than truly saying that the only thing not pure Japanese in the setting are the Unicorn. In fact, hammering the whole "gaijin" aspect too much without noting that one is particularly talking about Mongolians isn't really going to mean anything to a new player. Anyway, I am certain that a quiz that could help people decide what clan to play could be incredibly useful, I just feel that it wasn't ideally constructed. Rather than one where it is simply a question and 7 ways the most "stereotypical" member of that clan (which usually is only based on 1 family) might answer the question and then tallying which a player chose the most of-- a far better sort of quiz might be one where you have a question and maybe 4 answers that might be typical of a number of families across various clans or would be a "typical" answer of a couple clans and by choosing those answers one would gain points towards the most relevant families. Then in the end instead of a single answer, you could see which family and thus Clan is most similar to your answers and then how similar or different you would be from the most typical member of other families in Rokugan.
  5. To be honest, this game's design is probably far more complicated than it should be and the way the company has decided to errata and restrict cards is maybe not the absolute best way possible (granted, I have seen worse). It really isn't terribly surprising that new players are getting tripped up like this and breaking so many rules accidentally. In fact, and given how difficult it can be to find opponents since our playerbase is so small and the fact that the restricted list is being updated constantly, I guess "new" would more or less extend over the majority of the playerbase. Not much we can really do about is besides just be as lenient as possible with one another. Which isn't always the easiest thing given the fundamentally competitive nature of the game. But, in the very least, we should all try to avoid becoming like the MtG players where the primary strategy for winning is to either cheat or constantly call the judge on the opponent for every pedantic thing you can imagine with the hopes the judge will accept one of those as an excuse to disqualify someone.
  6. Schmoozie, I think you are putting WAY too much stock into everything being 100% exactly like the old story without any meaningful alterations and you haven't even accounted for the most basic things that are already quite different. Kachiko seems to be considerably older than Sotorii, even if she is ridiculously young to hold the station she is holding, and she isn't some sexpot whose title is "seductress" and whose every artwork shows her clothes falling off. Moreover, they have really underlined Sotorii's general youth and immaturity. By not being THE sex symbol of the whole setting, the entire impact of Sotorii demanding her is completely lost. The dynamic wouldn't make the least bit of sense now. Just because there was an Empress Kachiko in the old version in no way guarantees or even demands that the new version be exactly the same. Toturi becoming "the Black Lion"? I really don't know that is remotely necessary. He is currently the legitimate Emerald Champion. And his personality seems to better reflect what we can glean as the character of Hantei Kami rather than Akodo Kami. It isn't difficult to imagine him being a rallying point for the Imperials should the succession go wrong-- whether that be because the Scorpions took over or because a prince went off the rails, killed the former Emperor and tried to claim the throne. And given that their members are scattered across the empire, I would expect any independent Imperial Family force to be heavily reliant on ronin and mercenary forces if the other clans aren't just going to lend them their forces. So that angle is already well set up without it being exactly necessary for things to be exactly as they were before. And certainly things that were ultimately detrimental to the game and had to be sloppily undone later, such as exiling the entire Scorpion Clan, that isn't likely to happen. While undoubtedly certain things in the setting are moving in a similar direction as the old story, I really suspect that the writers will intentionally avoid doing anything that is nearly as identical to the previous version as the things you suggested there. If just on the basic principle of the thing, that it would be silly to have a whole new story if we are all just going to tour through every one of the same ill-considered plot beats that happened the first time around.
  7. You do realize that the fiction, like nearly all fictions so far, are being told not from an omnipresent, omniscient narrator who is the ultimate objective word on the actions, but instead told through the flawed and unreliable narrators of individual characters who have a narrow perspective on the situation and their own internal biases. And regardless of how Daisetsu acted in that particular moment, the whole dispute was caused by Daisetsu caring very little about the general values or customs of his culture, or even being able to show people proper decorum or respect. He wildly misreads situations, makes unfounded assumptions about the motives of those around him and does perhaps the worst possible things to fuel the fires of people's worst behaviors. And this isn't the first story in which that has been shown. That being said-- Toturi is still Lion Clan champion and he "owns" this whole "let's make Daisetsu the next Emperor" decree more than anyone but the Emperor himself does. As such, I don't think it is very likely that he is going to go against it, and if the Clan Champion doesn't go against it-- then his clan certainly isn't likely to go against it.... Or, at least, that would be the obvious thought process if it weren't for the fact that we just got a new Toturi card printed that was a neutral personality instead of a Lion Clan personality. Given that his clan wasn't showing the most confidence in his actions prior to his appointment of Emerald Champion, whomever he passes his post onto might actually want to take some big stand in opposition to him in order to demonstrate their own independence from him. But outside of that, I don't think it is likely that the Lion are going to side against the Emperor's decree. And even though the cycle is being called the "Inheritance Cycle", there is currently no in-game story reason that would make it compelling for any clan to decide to try to act against the Imperial Decree and try to force Sotorii on the throne in opposition to the still living Emperor's wishes. It has already been indicated that the Emperor's decision here might be unusual, but it is far from unprecedented. Given that it comes across that everyone who has met Sotorii has disliked him and virtually everyone who has met Daisetsu has a positive opinion of him, this doesn't seem primed for any sort of civil war at all. Before there can be any reason for that to happen, we would need to have a compelling reason to want Sotorii to succeed and to believe Daisetsu is a danger-- ideally one that could be disputed and isn't 100% solid. But at least one that people could have reason to side with like was done with the 4 Winds story in the previous L5R incarnation. What they have here is a set up for a good story, but a terrible set up for the story that the marketing team seems to wish to push as the story they intend to tell. The good story this is a set up for is one in which we have the status of an exiled prince everyone dislikes who grows, learns and changes and a supposed prodigy who gets thrust into a situation he can't handle and with everyone's hopes riding on him, starts making terrible mistakes and really has to struggle to find his footing with these responsibilities he had always assumed he would never have.
  8. It would be fun to see Sotorii lose his temper, throw a fit, be entirely ineffective and ultimately get tossed out and exiled from the Hidden City and handed some menial, routine task. Then we just don't hear about him for a while until all of the other clan novels are out. And then at the very end of the Clan Pack series, we get an Imperial Clan novel with Sotorii as the main character and all about an adventure that brings him from an ineffectual, unstable and ineffectual teen to being a respectable character, making plenty of mistakes and failing several times along the way. Also, if Togashi's prophecy from the old version still exists in this version-- stating that right about this year the Hantei line is cursed to end and that will ring in the return of Fu Leng to the land... it might be interesting to see what will happen if either of the brothers finds out about it and what they might try to do in order to avoid it. Because them causing it by taking actions to try to prevent it makes a lot more sense than the Scorpion Clan reacting to "Fu Leng will come back if all the Hantei die" by acting against everything they have ever stood for and specifically acting to wipe out the entire Hantei line.
  9. Yeah, keywords that had actual mechanical effects was something that was negative in the old version of the game and it kind of sucks to see the new game barreling down the same route. There are now maybe 4-6 keyword effects in the game now that everyone is just supposed to just "know"-- meanwhile the majority of keywords we see still have no inherent effect. That doesn't really feel like good game design to me, both the fact that any beginner to the game is going to need a little clarification sheet sitting by them that explains which keywords matter on their own without needing an additional card to trigger off of it and what those effects are. Probably one of the worst in the old game was "Naval", which was a keyword that only mattered if every single character in the army had the keyword (meaning that basically every single Mantis Clan card HAD to be printed with the keyword and probably no card outside of the Mantis Clan was ever printed with it) and if they all did well... I think the most common version was that you got the first round, but I feel like it changed a couple times. And that, in addition to that, basically all Mantis cards were ALSO printed with ranged attacks meaning there was 2 different keyword traits that appeared universally on a single clan's personality cards. I suppose the original version of that was "cavalry", but at least the cavalry trait did something on its own and even though 95% of the cards ever printed with that trait were in Unicorn, other clans would occasionally have a character with that trait because a character with that trait on its own did something. But in this version of the game, the Cavalry trait doesn't do anything and now we are getting a bunch of traits that do have an in-game effect that is not printed on the card.
  10. In addition to the above, there is also the Bushi Builder site. https://bushibuilder.com/ Like FiveRings DB, people posts decks here. But you can also use the Stats function to see which cards are included in the majority of decks.
  11. I agree with these sentiments to an extent. The primary issue with this mechanic, as others identified, is that it allows one to replace a bowed character with a more powerful unbowed character. If it weren't for that singular issue then there really wouldn't be any power creep involved with paying extra fate to give a boost and a different ability to a card in a conflict. And it is a bit weird that Lion is the first card we see this mechanic on. But, that being said, as much as clans really pride themself on the particular image upheld by their most iconic family, I have also always felt that all clans likely have all sorts of tools at their disposal. I would think that there is not a single clan that is entirely without heavy infantry, cavalry, scouts, archers, assassins/saboteurs, diplomats, scholars, magistrates, governors, architects, artisans, etc., etc. It just happens that they are more iconic and have more clout in some clans than others. But each clan is functionally a self-sufficient nation within the overall empire and if it feels silly to say that an entire self-sufficient nation and its military absolutely would not have any individuals trained in a particular skillset, then somewhere within each clan must be someone who has that skillset. Even if it is not what the clan most celebrates, you got to figure that may have just fallen into that gap because they happened to be better at it than their peers and weren't as good at whatever the clan more favors as those peers.
  12. Thank you for giving additional information. Also, thanks for engaging with the community rather than removing oneself from all input and criticism. I can be really harsh in some of my posts, especially if I have been drinking heavily before writing, but ultimately I realize I couldn't do any better. I just get frustrated when I see missed opportunity or when I realize that a literary tool is being used in such a way that takes me out of the setting when there are more appropriate times for it to be used, and I would want someone who is a professional and has studied and practiced the art to use their tools better.
  13. Oh, that is true. My thought always goes towards increasing the numbers on the table, I often overlook the tricks involved in decreasing those numbers.
  14. That image of Sotorii is some sort of massive spoiler. I mean, technically he did cut his new swordsmanship teacher, but it read as a minor wound that wouldn't have left that much blood on his sword at all. Otherwise, by all indication, he has never successfully enough in a sword fight in order to cut anyone like that. So that feels like it is a scene from a story we haven't seen yet. And there is a pretty short list of people he might slice up. And that he still says "crown prince" even though he was specifically stated to no longer be so in the most recent stories also suggests a short list of targets. And generally the artwork has been lagging well behind the fiction, so it is odd that they would spoil the outcome of the events the most recent fictions have been focused on like this. And beyond that, the indication in recent fiction has been that his stats wouldn't have been so high either. Anyway, I am not sure giving a +3 glory is a particularly good ability at this point in the game when it is so much easier to dishonor someone than honor someone, in fact the Crane exclusively have enough ways to honor cards to make use of it, and the Phoenix are the only clan that have the ability to weaponize glory directly-- and even that is only 1 or 2 event cards in their whole deck. Although he can use his ability on himself. So if you can win one battle with him, he'll be honored and then be a 7/6 and will be able to boost himself to a 10/9 using his ability. Couple him with one of the imperial cards that negate opponent's events so they can't send him home or destroy him using a card from hand and he'll be able to steam-roll stuff. Which is really far beyond what I would have expected from the character has he has been portrayed in the fiction so far.
  15. I would say the Mantis Clan would have more in common with Nagasaki, really. Or, if we were to say Rokugan relates to China, Taiwan. Nagasaki was considered a kind of wild place in Japan with lots of foreign influence that was known for trading with foreign nations and even adopting foreign religions even though both were outlawed.
  16. Here is a new version based on what the current sets have given. I am trying as much as possible to eliminate as many non-Imperial and non-neutral cards as possible. The current basic goal is to try to negate as many actions and eliminate as many of their cards as possible, take and hold the favor and either honor out using the Way of Chrysanthemum or just try to honor my characters and have enough raw military and political power to defeat them at whatever they happen to be weaker at. I don't expect it to be too successful since I acknowledge I am effectively taking a -1/-1 hit on each neutral character I am using and that really only gets made up for when I use Seppun Ishikawa or if I can get them honored. Anyway, if there are any ideas for what I should switch out in order to make it more effective without losing my theming, I would appreciate it. Shiro Shinjo Seeker of Fire Air - Before the Throne Earth - Public Forum Fire - Night Raid Void - Shameful Display Water - Rally to the Cause Dynasty Deck (40) Character (34) 3x Akodo Toturi 3x Hantei XXXVIII 3x Humble Magistrate 3x Imperial Librarian 3x Miya Mystic 3x Miya Satoshi 3x Otomo Courtier 3x Seppun Guardsman 3x Seppun Hidden Guard 3x Seppun Ishikawa 3x Seppun Truthseeker 1x Swift Magistrate Holding (6) 3x Imperial Storehouse 1x Miwaku Kabe 1x Miya Library 1x The Imperial Palace Conflict Deck (40) Event (35) 3x Breach of Etiquette 3x Censure 3x Court Games 3x Gaijin Customs 3x Good Omen 3x Outwit 3x Policy Debate 3x Ride Them Down 3x Spies at Court 3x Trading on the Sand Road 2x Warm Welcome 3x Way of the Chrysanthemum Attachment (5) 3x Finger of Jade 2x Ornate Fan
  17. I've never really felt that made any sense. The Seppun was the first tribe to join the empire and the Otomo was maybe the second. So they started off with a sizeable population. And the Miya family was probably made up of mostly a bunch of peasants/ronin when it was spun off from the Otomo in the first generation. When you consider how most of the clan families formed, there can be little doubt that they were initially larger than many of the standard clan families. Exactly how many Yogo can there really be, for example, given that the Yogo blood curse means specifically that any Yogo have to be descended from the first and not just merely retainers and probably causes a ton of them to do stupid, suicidal things before they even get old enough to have children. In addition to that, the Imperial families are the absolutely least likely to be slaughtered in mass in battles with the Shadowlands or in inter-clan conflicts. One really has to wonder how there can be any members of the Crab clan left given that they daily fight bloody, brutal battles with the Shadowlands and die faster than they can breed and only adopt people once a year and only /if/ those people can find and kill 7 goblins in the Shadowlands before getting tainted. And population in the game was highly variable. The Mantis Clan was a "big" Minor Clan, but stated to be smaller than any main Great Clan family-- and the Wasp and Centipede were stated to have only maybe 100 members each. But somehow the moment they become a main faction in the game, they are no less than maybe 20% smaller than the smallest Great Clan and can match any of them in skill and easily have equal representation to any Great Clan in any given field. The Spider Clan was made up of the maybe dozen people who wandered into the Shadowlands and managed not to be slaughtered or turn undead or go entirely insane. Oh, and didn't get slaughtered off when the collective Great Clans beat the Shadowlands forces again and again and again in a short couple generations. But the moment they become a major faction, there are thousands of them that can easily match the force of any Great Clan. And the moment they get recognized but are likely to have to face all the Great Clans? Well, suddenly they can match even the greatest of the Great Clans in numbers and have more than enough power and force to face off with and fend off the entire united forces of the other Great Clans if need be. So population within Rokugan is entirely variable and directly related to how much the writers felt like a given faction deserved attention. And it could easily swell up to 10, even 1000 times its previously stated size in the matter of a singe story arc if that was what was needed to progress the story. The sole reason the size of Hantei's Children was unreasonably and exaggeratedly small was simply because the writers had 0 interest on focusing on those families. In fact, they weren't really even written into the story as something that existed originally. There was no thought about there being an Imperial "clan" at all. And probably the initial conception was that all Seppun and Otomo and Miya were all descendants of some Hantei sometime in the past. And within that concept, particularly after the slaughter by the Scorpion Clan, it made sense that they would be collectively no larger than the Akodo or Hida or Bayushi or so on. However, as the setting developed, backstories for these families were developed and based on the new backstories it no longer made sense to claim that they were smaller than a Great Clan family. In fact, that metric isn't even particularly useful because given the backstory for some of the Great Clan families, it would make all the sense in the world that they would be considerably smaller than just about any other Great Clan family. And those families are no doubt smaller than any Imperial Family to boot-- maybe even smaller than some of the Minor Clans. Any family whose nature causes them to self-destruct or charge head-first into lethal situations or dissuades them from breeding is clearly going to lag well behind the other families. Now, that being said, given that the Imperial families have to oversee the entire empire and they have duties that are going to drag them half-way across the land-- whether it be that every puny Brotherhood Monastery gets at least 1 Seppun family to guard them and the rest of them are on either Magistrate duty where they have to deal not only with inter-clan matters but also entirely handle unaligned lands or Imperial Legion duty that means they need to go be a show of force everywhere the clans are misbehaving and they might need to intervene, that the Miya's whole job is to deliver messages from province to province and update all their maps and census and negotiate peace deals and that the Otomo make up the basic workers of the entire imperial governmental offices as well as serving as the official imperial envoys to each of the courts across the land.... Well, that means they are going to be the most diffused family in the entire empire. They are so scattered to the corners of the empire that any attempt for them to gather any real force together would be out-and-out pathetic if they actually had to fight any of the Great Clan's armies without being able to call upon the other Great Clans. Likely even the Fox or Badger Clan could put up a better military resistance than the Imperials could on their own unless they had nearly an entire year to prepare and call back and gather their forces from across the empire. But, regardless, that there are no Imperial Family members that Sotorii and Daisetsu interact with. The fact that the only time we have seen either of them interact with a member of their own faction was when Daisetsu was kind and polite to a girls face, then nasty and cruel behind her back-- it is very odd and something I would think is atypical of previous generation's relation to the other Imperial Families. The story says the Emperor is surrounded by others from Imperial Families at times but they are speechless decorations thus far, and his sole interactions have been with Shoju and Toturi and at court he relies fully on Kachiko and Yoshi. There has been no indication that he takes any counsel from those families meant to be closest to him.
  18. Other than the fact that he allowed his anger to overwhelm all other senses, something plenty of samurai do often enough, he really wasn't really wrong. Well, not regarding that one narrow situation in which he found himself in at that moment. When he stated that he would be involved in something, which is something he had every right to do, he was not only refused but gravely insulted. And by the rules of Rokugan, he had no choice but to issue a duel. And instead of facing Sotorii himself even though he is the one who made the insult, he hid behind the superior skills of Dairu. Sotorii had been told all his life that if you do a duel, the person who is in the right will win. Not that whomever wins the duel is right because they win, but if they are in the right, as he was, then he would certainly win. He bought into the fundamental lies of Rokugani society and had the lies laid bare before him. It is why he snapped. In fact, I would think that quite a lot of samurai in Rokugan will have such idiotic lies that underpin their society laid bare to them at some point. Although probably most of them have it laid bare for them a lot sooner in life. They don't end up so naive, because they aren't so coddled. We have already seen in a previous story why his swordsmanship sucks. He gets the best swordsmen in the land as his teachers, but rather than correcting his technique or just flat out beating him in a spar so he can see how much farther he has to go to reach the level he wants to be at-- they just out and out let him win no matter how sloppy his technique is. People expect him to be psychic in order to read the other person's mind in order to realize they let him win? Or to even perceive that when his entire focus is on trying to hit them? Naturally that isn't going to be possible. In the very least he would need to know what it looks like when someone doesn't let you win in order to know what it looks like when someone does. And so he walks away from such scenarios having bested the best of the best in the empire, naturally he would think that he is more skillful than he really is. And that's probably not just swordsmanship. That probably extends to all teachers of all subjects who have always given him top marks even when he deserved failing marks. And without failure, he would never be able to learn from failure. And with nothing but success, he would ultimate put in less and less effort because people don't generally put more effort into things than necessary to achieve success. And that's why he fully bought into the lies of his society and never questioned him. Because all the lies he was told about the society ultimately favored him instead of challenged him, so why wouldn't he have bought in fully? And this is why he massively overestimates his own abilities, this is why he feels upon hearing that the Empire is falling apart, that he could just fix it if he had the opportunity because he has never been allowed to have the experience of facing a scenario that he could not win. What we are seeing here is actually quite well-written and is not possession of an evil god of Jigoku. It is a character whose failures all stem from simply being a human put in the particular situation he has been put with only a limited amount of life experience, none of which would have prepared him to act any differently than he currently is. And he is certainly not sociopathic like others have suggested-- this isn't Hantei the XVI at 6 years old killing his older brother and stuffing his body in a vase to become "heir" before he even knows what that is. It is a very human, though wildly deluded and misguided teen. And, really, "paragon of Bushido" is insulting a senior and then hiding behind your more dangerous buddy when they try to get back at you? Again, the favorable reading of Daisetsu by all the other characters is beyond ridiculous. But what virtues Daisetsu does have come from having Sotorii in his life. He has a better assessment of his own strengths and weaknesses because he has someone to measure himself against. Also, since all the lies underpining Rokugan society were already slanted against him, he had every reason to question them. In fact, it seems he questions them more than the average member of the noble caste does. Which means he can cut through those illusions and choose the more practical, rational and grounded choices (which is what I thought was typical of Imperial Family members anyway). But there is definitely an arrogance and darkness about him too, it is just more subtle than with Sotorii. And I guess side-by-side, those sinister aspects of Daisetsu can just be entirely overlooked. I think the one world-building question remaining in this though is the issue of how it is that not every generation of Hantei has turned out exactly like Sotorii if the way he has been treated is typical. As long as one is never challenged, always told one is perfect and wins at everything without any effort, they are never going to simply wake up one day and instantly be a more humble, polite, thoughtful and considerate person. They will retain the temperament of a spoiled toddler until the day they die should that never be changed. I would think the answer in most generations would be that the Hantei heir would usually be surrounded by a cadre of Otomo, Miya and Seppun who would be free, if not outright encouraged, to best the heir at whatever subjects they happen to be best at. So there would always be competition for the prince and he would always have to strive to be better. And when he ascended to the throne, all his childhood buddies/rivals could take positions as his ministers, generals and champions at whatever they happened to be better than the Emperor at in order to act on his behalf in those capacities. That is how it would typically work in a society such as Rokugan. And if such a thing was typical, and nothing has outright said it isn't what happened for the majority of the other 36 generations of Hantei heirs we haven't seen, then it gets back to the point I made in my comment on the last story-- why exactly are Daisetsu and Sotorii looking for validation from the Scorpion heir rather than being surrounded by a gang of kids from the "Imperial Clan"? What exactly made this particular generation such the exception that no one else in the Imperial Families sent their kids to go train, study and socialize with the princes? We know they are followed about by adult Seppun, but nothing has been said about those their own age. Because that really seems to be the key missing element that would have prevent the situation from turning out the way it has. Maybe it has to do with this empress who was mentioned once and has never been seen or mentioned again? Maybe she had some grudge against the Imperial Families that meant she used what influence she has to keep all the ones who son's own age far away from her precious kids? Maybe she made not-so-subtle threats against any teacher or appointee who might ever think to fail or discipline her kids? Maybe she is even part of the whole Kolat conspiracy actively working to take down the Imperial system, having been drawn into it by the Emerald Champion? The lack of any mention of the boys mother is quite odd. Because Sotorii and Daisetsu both exhibit the kind of personalities you get from when you have a helicopter mother who constantly praises her kid and refuses to allow anything outside of her personal influence to ever reach or affect them. I really wonder how much of the ideas about the characters the writers are leaving off the page here. Because what is on the page reads pretty genuine. And that hasn't always been true of L5R characters who are often 2-dimensional or simply never put into situations where more aspects of their personality or psychology can be explored. In fact, historically within this setting we have had characters whose actions and motivations have simply not even tracked from story to story. Best thing that could happen to Daisetsu would be to take almost all rank from him, make him a magistrate or some other basic task that means he actually has to face real challenges and keep busy and has to take care of himself. And maybe assign a few people to him who don't have to obey him or be gentle with him, but are ultimately tasked with keeping him alive and stopping him from committing criminal acts.
  19. I had pretty much guessed by his second story that this sort of thing was going on with Sotorii. It seemed like the POV characters in the other stories were all too quick to judge him rather too rashly and harshly when it seemed like there weren't such terrible motivations behind his actions. Generally I think there might be a redemption arc there. In order to have a redemption arc, you need to have a character initially be seemingly unreasonably bad. Ideally in a way that they would be ignorant or naive of their bad behavior or their circumstances are causing or feeding it, so either by gaining awareness or changing their circumstances then they can want to become better and then try to become better and then become better. And all of that seems to line up with what has been presented for the character. Seems like the best possible thing to happen for the character is to lose everything that seems important but is just poisoning him before he can gain the things he needs that will help him balance out. Or it could be that they are just showing there is more depth to him so that there can be even the mildest sense of loss when they already tipped their hand far too much in marking him out as the "bad guy". Just because the character was infected by Fu Leng in the previous incarnation does not mean this version has the same Sword of Damocles hanging above his head. In fact, if he does, it was a huge mistake to present the character in the way they did. A character falling to supernatural corruption or even just regular corruption is not a very interesting story if the reader is told by all the POV characters to hate them before that even happens. There just is no story arc there, nothing dynamic or interesting-- you may as well have the character openly calling himself Fu Leng from day 1 for all it matters. If you were going to write a story of a character falling and becoming the puppet of a dark god, then the best thing to do would be have that character come across as likable, charming, relateable and sympathetic from their very first appearance. You'd want the audience to really like the character so that there is some feeling of loss at them being corrupted. So if someone is going to turn out to be the vessel of Fu Leng, I would suggest it would be the character that all the other characters are telling the reader that they should like, spin all their actions in the most favorable light and are told that they are the best at everything. Especially if when you take a mental step back and examine their words and actions you are presented, they don't exactly match up with this "best and most ethical person in all the land" image that the PoV characters are trying to paint for you. Although I also think it is weird how even when writing from the PoV of the Imperials, the Imperial family members are treated as nothing more than set dressing. Why would the Hantei need to go looking for buddies in the Scorpion or Crane or Unicorn or such when they are surrounded by Seppun, Otomo, and Miya who are explicitly more trustworthy, definitely have interests that align closer to their own and have a status closer to their own? Seriously-- it is like seeing the Hida heir claim that even though he has all these Yasuki, Hiruma, Kaiu and Kuni around him all the time that are part of his own clan, the only people he could possibly be friends with are the children of the Crane and Lion daimyo and if they don't like him, he can't possibly have any friends and definitely never met anyone who ever liked him in his life. It is just extraordinarily weird. And its not just Sotorii, but also Daisetsu and Jodan both show nothing but cruelty, condescension, neglect and contempt towards their own de-facto "clan" while spending time exclusively with daimyo or children of daimyo or wives of daimyo from other clans and insisting they are the only people "in the world" they can confide in-- despite the fact that those are exactly the least trustworthy, most naturally aligned against them, most likely to benefit from their destruction people in the entire empire.
  20. I think it would be fair to say he slightly overstated, but-- well-- split the difference. Yes, it was a "fan creation from someone's personal canon", but that fan was assigned to write for an actual official RPG and we generally accept that whatever is written in the RPG product, no matter how ridiculous, is generally considered to be official canon. And when that person got the opportunity to write them up in such a book, they wrote them up as something that possibly existed. But then that book was a book of alternate universes and even in that context they were described as something that could have existed and not as something that definitively did. So within the official, mainline canon the clan either didn't exist or it is just not relevant to anything that happened within any of the stories that they existed if they happened to exist. That being said-- as in my earlier post, what has been written about the minor clans thus far indicates that FFG's new canonical world is one in which it has been stated that there are "countless" minor clans and along with noting all the ones that existed at this time in the previous canon, they have also mentioned a new one and one that did not exist at this time in the previous canon and the events that led up to their creation have not and will not happen within this canon-- and statements to the effect that this is not at all a complete list, but simply a sample of notable ones. I feel like right now we should be approaching the current version of Rokugan in terms of minor clans with the mentality "if the old version stated it exists or existed or may have existed, then in the new version it no doubt exists or existed-- maybe not the most powerful or influential version, but some version? Yeah-- sure, why not." And, really, once you consider it? Once there was an active story within the world, we see a new minor clan pop up once every decade or two on average. And there have been 1200 years of Rokugani history previous to the start of the story. So there easily could be between 60 to 120 minor clans that have existed at some point in the history. Of course, by the same token, it is weird that the clan families are limited only to those that were founded within the lifetime of the original Kami and that we don't have more like 20-30 families in any given clan. But I guess a Rokugan that has more than 5 families people are expected to recognize in any given clan would just be far too overwhelming for players to keep track of. Though if I were running a Rokugan RPG, I think I would heavily consider taking all of those vassal families that were named in previous L5R products and simply say that they all exists as families within clans and all use their vassal family name openly even with other clans. Because such a thing adds a whole new level of depth to the setting that makes it feel like it has been lived in before the start of the current story and was not artificially ordered perfectly at the start of the story and only allowed to change, grow and become disordered after that starting point.
  21. I think it has already been subtly indicated that the new canon is going with the idea that there are just so many minor clans out there that come and go with such frequency that no can really be expected to keep up with the most current list. It would certainly make a lot more sense as to why anyone wouldn't have heard of all of them. If there were 10 and absolutely only 10 and each is a third the size of a Great Clan, well.. it was silly that anyone wouldn't know about them all. It wouldn't have ever taken anyone more than 30 minutes to have learned them from illustrations. But if the current list is such that it is always in flux with the possibility one or two was created or disbanded in any given year, then it is quite reasonable that samurai wouldn't recognize them. And it means that any time a new minor clan is dropped into the narrative, instead of having to have it created on the spot by recent events, it can always be stated that it has always been around and it just hasn't been relevant until now. Just like most of what is going on in the empire isn't story relevant and we don't hear about that either.
  22. The thing is that as long as they are considered part of the same faction, regardless of what that faction is called, it is inevitable that their identities be somewhat merged together. Which I guess is potentially better than having effectively no identity at all. But fundamentally, even the idea that there could be a "minor clan alliance" suggests that the minor clans would have more in common than they would have with any of the great clans and be able to communicate and coordinate in some way despite being scattered across the empire with various Great Clan lands between them. To be honest, given their lack of resources and manpower, thus how few diplomats and courtiers and scholars they are going to have-- I find it highly improbable that any sort of alliance between all or even most of the minor clans could ever take place. Such a thing only makes sense when you erase the geographical and practical constraints entirely from your mind, throw immersion and world building out entirely and instead think of all the clans as a bunch of people standing inside the same room or maybe even just words on a page to be organized however is convenient. But within the realistic constraints of Rokugan, it is very likely that minor clan members have never even heard of any minor clans that aren't in their general vicinity much less have any diplomatic ties with them. It is probably that a Great Clan samurai would be able to name more Minor Clans than a minor clan samurai would simply because someone from a minor clan has other things that are of more pressing concern than what the name or spirit animal of a group of samurai living on the other side of two Great Clan territories that they are likely to never encounter is. There could certainly be, and I wouldn't be surprised for there to be, several different regional alliances between minor clans that all have to deal with the looming threat of the same Great Clan. Especially among those that live close to lands of Great Clans known to be particularly aggressive or sadistic (i.e. Lion and Scorpion), but not some grand empire-spanning alliance between every single minor clan.
  23. Oh, its got to go deeper than that. One has to figure that every clan has an array of different Bushi schools. The idea that only the Unicorn clan trains people to use horses or that only the Crane Clan trains dueling specialists or that only the Crab clan trains scouts can't hold up to any real scrutiny. And I am sure courtiers could be broken down the same way. Is it really reasonable that only one clan has people trained in mercantile arts or only one clan has "loremasters" or "storytellers" or "artisans" or "engineers"? Surely not. Every clan is going to need some number of people with specialist training in all the various sorts of political/educated work. Even if the clan is only 100 people, you are going to have someone who handles the economics and someone who handles the horses and so forth. Even if some clans put extra emphasis on certain specialties, the land just wouldn't function if a lot of these things were absolutely exclusive. Really, the system introduced in the current edition of the game works so much better than the rather rigid version that assigned 5 absolutely distinct and unique abilities to every school that no other bushi in the entire game could ever hope to mechanically make up the difference from was just way too crazy.
  24. I wrote "kind of", you are being pedantic. The previous Seppun, Miya and Otomo characters in the Clan War era were mostly printed with that "Toturi's Army" trait. And we already have Toturi as the emerald champion. Almost none were printed with the "Imperial" trait until maybe Gold edition. So while the faction may not be relying on a bunch of ronin yet, the Scorpion's coup has also been a thus far bloodless affair.
  25. The stats are a bit too high for a neutral card. All neutral cards effectively have a -1 across the board on stats. I think eventually they will make a role or stronghold that will give certain neutral personalities like Imperial or Mantis Clan a net +1 to stats across the board to those cards instantly making them all more viable. Also, there is a term for the elite guards from the Seppun family-- Miharu. The fact that there are Seppun Shugenja and Seppun Courtiers (more rare) makes the "Elite" a bit unclear. It would be like having a card called "Bayushi Elite" or "Yoritomo Elite" and expecting that alone to convey what the card does.
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