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About DGLaderoute

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  1. DGLaderoute

    A Tiger Stalks His Prey Lore Discussion

    What's unusual about Hantei XXXVIII isn't how old he is now (for reasons Kinzen so aptly covered above.) What's unusual is that he ended up fathering children so late in his life. He's probably in his 60s and probably pushing 70, which means he didn't father Sotorii until he was in his mid-50s. Why, we don't know; we don't know if, like Henry VIII of England, he had previous children who didn't survive childbirth or infancy or if he simply didn't "get around to it" until then. All that we know is that he's "old", his health is failing in ways that Rokugani medicine, supernatural or otherwise, can't or won't fix, and that his oldest son is 14-15-ish. However we ended up getting here, it's here where we are.
  2. DGLaderoute

    A Tiger Stalks His Prey Lore Discussion

    Interestingly enough, there WAS a definitive answer as to who's counteroffensive it was that was swinging the balance of power, and in what direction. But that got removed during editing, leaving the open-ended statement that somebody's counteroffensive was swinging the balance of power in somebody's favor. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure Katrina and the other folks at FFG have their reasons, so the statement stands as is, I guess (meaning that I'm not really entirely sure how the balance of power is/was swinging around Toshi Ranbo). I'm going to preface this by saying that, as a freelance writer, I have a broad-strokes knowledge of the "big picture" story going forward, but really nothing about the specifics of what's going with each clan in the upcoming cycle(s). So I'm saying this as a fan/reader, rather than a writer...just want to be clear on that. I think the Scorpion are in an increasingly dangerous situation. Yes, they are THE political powerhouse in Rokugan. They hold the position of Imperial Advisor, they wield enormous influence in the Imperial Court, they've largely sidelined the Otomo, they're going to be getting some form of control over Toshi Ranbo and, now, the Emperor intends to make their Champion the Imperial Regent. This all sounds awesome from a Scorpion perspective...especially if you're someone like Bayushi Kachiko. BUT...as Shoju muses in "The World, A Stage", this isn't what the Scorpion are supposed to be about. They exist to protect the Empire from hidden and insidious threats, both internal and external, to prevent the clans from uniting against the Throne (a job they came to share with the Otomo, thank you very much Gozoku conspirators) and generally do the things that need to be done to keep the Empire safe and functioning, that nobody else wants to do. However, as more and more of the clan gets enmeshed in the Empire's power structures and the enormous, bloated bureaucracy that has grown around them, there are fewer and fewer resources available to do all of those sneaky, schemy, shadowy things that the Scorpion are SUPPOSED to be doing. I image Shoju lying in bed at night, worrying that something is going to slip through, enormous damage and harm is going to result, and it will be because the Scorpion aren't doing the job they're supposed to be doing. The Scorpion are effectively supplanting the Crane and the Imperial families in Rokugan's political landscape, but they're increasingly risking shirking their "real" job to do it. It may LOOK like the Scorpion are the big winners in the Empire right now, but in a pretty fundamental way, they're actually facing trials and complications as much as any of the other clans are...they're just less obvious.
  3. DGLaderoute

    A Tiger Stalks His Prey Lore Discussion

    When it comes to the Emperor, the concept of "cannot" applies only VERY rarely. The Emperor can marry whomever he pleases, and the Empire will accept it as just fine (unless they're prepared to rebel and overthrow him, but that's an EXTREME outside possibility in Rokugan). Now, that doesn't mean it won't end up being tragic or even terrible...but he CAN do essentially whatever he wants.
  4. DGLaderoute

    A Swift End

    That's still conflict, and conflict (the basis of stories) has to come from somewhere. One could argue (in fact, I think it has been argued, earlier in this thread) that all conflict in Rokugan is "white on white"...at least from the perspective of each clan. There's a certain amount of righteousness to the clans' actions throughout the game, even when they're in conflict and both sides can't possibly be the "good guys". And they often DON'T vilify one another, treating worthy enemies with honor and respect (as long as they're part of the Celestial Order, of course, and not gaijin, Shadowlands monstrosities, etc.) Again, I don't really want to get too far into an actual debate about this; that was never my intent. Rather, I'm interested (as a writer, and as a fan of the setting) in the perspectives others have of the stories, and why they have them.
  5. DGLaderoute

    A Swift End

    Well, if all of the clans always did the most sensible thing in every situation, were transparent with one another and just focused on the effective and efficient governance of Rokugan, the fictional citizens of that Empire would be way better. We, on the other hand, would have no interesting stories to tell.
  6. DGLaderoute

    A Swift End

    Okay, cool. Like I said, I was just wondering what prompted you to say that. Not saying I agree or disagree with you, but it's an interesting observation...thanks!
  7. DGLaderoute

    A Swift End

    I'm curious what you mean by this. I hasten to add I'm not being judgmental, or am about to get all defensive about the writing...I just find this statement intriguing. In what way do you find the Lion "villainous"?
  8. DGLaderoute

    FFG just spoiled themselves

    Sorry...what is the source for this "list"? Edit: Never mind, I found it. Yeah, those are rumors, to be used "in game" to add...well, rumors, to things like Court. They're for the GM's use in his/her game, in any case, and should NOT be taken as anything "canon".
  9. DGLaderoute

    Between the Lines - Dragon Fiction

    I'd note that what constitutes "war" in terms of whether a clan can all it that or not is being left deliberately vague. There's actually PROBABLY an Imperial scroll somewhere that says a clan may mobilize up to this many legions or that many ashigaru without Imperial sanction, but those numbers will probably never be specified in the narrative. So look at this way--a clan isn't "at war" in terms of defying the Imperial edict as long as they can convince the Emperor they're not. That leads to a LOT of potential politics going on among multiple clans, the Imperial families, the Emperor, etc. One clan may get away with calling an army of, say, 20 legions a skirmish force, while at another time another clan may not get away with more than 10. Like everything in Rokugan, it's complicated, largely subjective and the focus of a great deal of political effort.
  10. DGLaderoute

    Heart of the Garden - Unicorn Fiction

    I must admit to some actual alarm over...inferences, or musings, or whatever you want to call them, about Doji Satsume being...let's call it "grossly inappropriate" in his behavior towards Hotaru, Shizue or anyone else. As the writer of both "Her Father's Daughter" and "A Crane Takes Flight", I'm going to go on record as saying that that sort of leap is entirely unwarranted and needs to be put to rest so that it never comes up again. Accordingly, you can take this as canon--Doji Satsume was a profoundly demanding father when it came to Hotaru. He set standards for her performance of her duties as a future Clan Champion that were far greater than whatever standards he set for either Kuwanan or Shizue. He did so out of what he believed to be his duty to his family, clan and Empire to ensure the Crane had the best leader possible once he passed down the succession. When it came to Hotaru, he was uncompromising, setting expectations for her performance and achievements that were difficult for her to meet. When it came to Kuwanan or Shizue, he didn't set the same sorts of expectations for them because he really didn't HAVE expectations for them, or at least didn't have expectations of the same scope as he did for Hotaru. And that's it. There was absolutely nothing inappropriate or violent about his relationship with his children (or with his wife, whose suicide was probably as much about her as it was about him). So, for those who might be tempted to raise this again in the future, please don't, because THAT'S the inappropriate thing happening here--suggesting this sort of thing in the first place. I trust this matter has now been resolved and never needs to be brought up or discussed again.
  11. DGLaderoute

    Dreams of Shadow

    I know I've been writing under the assumption that this still holds true. The testimony of spirits can be distorted by the fact that they're, well, spirits, and not (or no longer) of the mortal realm, and the fact that intermediaries are required to obtain and report it. It's really not much different than a Scorpion samurai showing up in Court to provide testimony "on behalf of Doji Hotaru". It's probably not unreasonable there'd be at least some doubts regarding this person's testimony on behalf of not just someone from another clan, but also a Champion from another clan. Substitute "Kitsu spiritcaller" for Scorpion samurai and "spirit of the dead Emerald Champion" for "Doji Hotaru" and you have essentially the same problem. Not to mention that, from a dramatic point of view, being able to talk to the spirit of every dead person to find out how they died would suck as far as storytelling goes.
  12. DGLaderoute

    Dreams of Shadow

    Essentially correct, yes.
  13. DGLaderoute

    Dreams of Shadow

    Re the Nothing and the Void, since I wrote the chapter about the Nothing in "Enemies of the Empire", I'd offer the following as a bit of clarification of the OLD canon (I'm not saying any of this relates to the new canon, in which all we know about "the Shadow" is really only what's revealed in this story). The Nothing is the existential void (note the small "v") that predates creation. To put it in more modern terms, it's whatever existed before our universe was created via the "Big Bang"...that is, something essentially unknowable, and expressible in human terms only as a complete lack of anything. At some point, the Nothing became "aware" in some fashion, enough that it experienced (and effectively defined) the three great sins--it realized it was all there was and was afraid; in response, it desired that something more existed, so it wouldn't be alone; this caused creation and the beginning of material existence, which the Nothing then regretted, because it made itself less perfect and complete. So the Nothing is still out there, the vast expanse of whatever unknowable "things or stuff" that exists OUTSIDE creation. The Lying Darkness was the vestigial remnant of the Nothing left INSIDE creation--essentially a fragment, left over after the Sun and Moon had named everything else. Ever since material existence came into being, the Nothing--and its "avatar" inside creation, the Lying Darkness (and later the Shadow Dragon)-- has sought to return things to what they once were i.e. Nothing, everywhere. Okay, that's the big picture. As noted by others, the Scorpion became aware of the Lying Darkness, but only insofar as it seemed to be another...power, or force, or even an element, which they called "Shadow". Shosuro brought this awareness back to the Empire after the First Day of Thunder, then she subsequently "died", but actually became a "new" follower of the Kami Bayushi, named Soshi. Since then, the Soshi and Shosuro families have fiddled with this very useful thing called "Shadow", finding they could incorporate it into physical imprints on their agents, in a form called Shadow Brands. This allowed the agents imprinted with Brands to execute preternatural feats of stealth...BUT, there was a terrible cost. The process of imprinting Shadow Brands is extremely difficult, excruciatingly painful and sometimes kills the recipient (which is why they don't just stick Shadow Brands on all of their shinobi). It also seems to, over time, erode away the identity of the Shadow Branded, and sometimes they mysteriously just disappear altogether. It wasn't until the war against the Lying Darkness in the old canon that the Scorpion realized what they were actually screwing around with, whereupon they gave up the use of "shadow magic" and Shadow Brands and focused, instead, on figuring out how to combat the Lying Darkness. So, what about the relationship between the Nothing and Void? In "Enemies of the Empire", we introduced some speculation that there was some sort of connection between these two things. For example, there were high-Rank Void spells that could effectively erase things from existence, which sounds like a Nothing sort of thing to do. The Void is believed to encompass all of creation, much like the Nothing, and is even taken to be "everything and nothing" both at once. There was also speculation that the Nothing may have sought to influence pre-historical civilizations; for example, powerful Nezumi had the ability to strip away an individuals "Name" (i.e. their identity), which again sounds like something the Nothing might do. Notably, we never established that there WAS a relationship of any sort between the Nothing and the Void, only that there APPEARED to be some commonalities that the Rokugani had noted. So, that encapsulates the OLD canon. I can't get into the new canon about this, beyond what's in the story, so you'll need to draw your own conclusions from "Dreams of Shadow" and whatever future fictions, card flavor, etc. that happens be published about/including the "Shadow" (which is actually a Keyword on Shosuro Sadako's LCG card).
  14. DGLaderoute

    Wasp and Fox confirmed

    While the focus of the story is squarely on the Great Clans (and one Minor Clan, the Mantis), the inclusion of the Minor Clans helps flesh out the world and give more narrative options for storytelling. It allows, for example, the inclusions of samurai as characters who aren't from the Great Clans or the Imperial Families, permitting a different perspective on events in the Empire that's external to the ones we usually use. What you'll likely see is various Minor Clans being occasionally mentioned, and characters from them putting in occasional appearances. It's probably not likely that you'll see many stories specifically about Minor Clans, unless there's a good narrative reason to do it. Now, I say this from the perspective of a freelance writer with only a broad knowledge of the story going forward; the FFG story folks may have good reasons to do some stuff specifically about some of the Minor Clans--they're the boss, when it comes to the story--and if they, then the writers will write them. The Mantis are somewhat different. They're also a Minor Clan but, because of their prominence in the previous incarnation of L5R (when it was owned by AEG)--including their elevation to Great Clan status--there are a fair number of players who became quite dedicated to them. To put it another way, there are some expectations regarding the Mantis that don't really apply to the other Minor Clans. Yes, the Wasp and Fox and Sparrow and so on all have their fans, and that's great...but the same level of engagement isn't there. The Mantis and their Champion, Yoritomo, are very popular (and, to some, very controversial!) so you'll probably keep seeing considerably more involvement of the Mantis in the story compared to, say, the Badger, Dragonfly, or any of the other Minor Clans. Again, I have to add that FFG might decide to involve the Minor Clans, either individually or as a group(s) in the story in a bigger way. That, of course, is their prerogative! In the short-term, though, any of them aside from the Mantis will probably appear more in the background and around the margins of stories about the Great Clans (and the Imperial Families, especially the Hantei i.e. the Emperor and his family).
  15. DGLaderoute

    Let the arguing begin!

    I was surprised to find Kachiko is pronounced like "CATCH-koh", with that "i" almost being not pronounced at all. For the longest time, while playing the CCG, I pronounced it "kah-CHEEK-koh". One of the writers speaks Japanese and has been helpful in ensuring we get the pronunciations reasonably correct.