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Isawa Miyu

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  1. lol, good catch. Didn't mean fiat though, meant arbitrary, in the context of whim (as in, whatever fits the idea, rather than caring about a reliable system), but fiat works just as well. That's what I get for posting tired. The fact some follow it, and others don't, just enhances the arbitrariness of the whole section. The way I see it, for our purposes as players, it's a good idea to just stick to the formulae for NPCs, until the moment it doesn't make sense, and then feel free to ignore it (except when dealing with PCs obviously).
  2. Yeah, NPCs don't follow PC character creation restrictions. An NPC with Void 1 (and no Void points), isn't a problem. Similarly, for NPCs, the derived statistics aren't actually derived, but are caveat, so an NPC can have low Fire or Earth as necessary for their attitude/style, but still have high Endurance, for example (something Avatar111 pointed out as well).
  3. This isn't accurate. Samurai can decide to join a monastery, and particularly the Togashi brotherhood, at any point in time. Retirement is when they are expected to do so, and childhood is a method of palming off orphans/extra children/fulfilling obligations, but there's nothing stopping Bayushi Bob (for example) joining the Brotherhood because he's 25, a trained shinobi, and tired of killing people in the name of his clan, feeling that his spirit may well be sullied by his worldly life, and decide to become a monk. A good 'ole tale was also the pair of young lovers, separated due to any of the classic reasons, when one dies, and the other joins a monastery, forsaking worldly attachments, becoming a monk/nun, out of sadness/loyalty. The Togashi in particular are called out as having members from all over, many of whom are samurai, who were driven by feelings they don't understand to seek out their own path to the Order. Oh, 100% agreed, you just need that story.
  4. If you mean family, you are correct. That said, the Togashi are a bit strange as a school, in that they are all from the same family. So RAW, you can no problem be from another family, and join the Togashi monk school, but lore-wise, a GM should require you to justify that (with the most obvious being that you joined the Togashi much later in life than normal, probably after time in school or even working as full samurai of that other family). Just keep that little nuance of the school in mind (the Utaku school has a similar thing, in that only women of the Unicorn clan, and mainly the Utaku family, would have justification to attend).
  5. The easiest way to do this is make a clan samurai, and then count all purchases as outside of curriculum, and use the Worldly Ronin's capstone ability for when they get that far. There is no multi-schooling, as mentioned above, so there's currently no way that makes sense to start with one clan school ability, but use another curriculum; but using another capstone to represent where the bulk of someone's training has ultimately come from (in this case, the school of hard knocks) makes perfect sense to me. This was somewhat true in older editions, but there's no hint of it in 5th. Geisha are definitely GEISHA now, and not prostitutes.
  6. Please expand on your monk comment, because there are schools for non-tattooed monks (and I'm not counting the Kaito). They're in Emerald Empire.
  7. Totally agree on over-use of -chan, -kun. Though I'd add some areas they can be used (used on people you've known since their early childhood for example), but not many. For the most part they should definitely go unused. You're using Japanese in the first place, because Rokugan is inspired by Japan, and it is used to add a flavour artifact. Why call DnD entities demons/angels, why call a dragon Tiamat, why have golems/naga/trolls/oni/dragons/[insert any type of named creature here] when you could use/make your own new entity type, or name, that conveys personal flavour, and is something you can define to be what you want? Because the artifacts from real world history/culture/language add flavour to the setting, as well as act as shorthand symbology connecting your invention with the concept people already know/understand, even when those two things are not identical. The ambiguity of Japanese is something that makes roleplaying in Rokugan difficult, because a lot of its cultural mores and traditions, like poetry, and asking questions without actually asking questions, takes advantage of that language's potential, and is trickier to impossible in English. It's actually an argument to include Japanese, particularly at the table, by groups who know what they're doing, for such things when possible. Demands caution however, and I'd like it if we could see more research put into the Japanese used. I agree that using a word only like it can be used in English is, if not hack-y, is lazy (either personally, or due to apathy that you have no expectations of the audience). They're definitely using a pseudo-Japanese as their language, with the assumption of a translation convention. That's just a fact. Rokugani is not English. When they explain stuff, sometimes they do it in a way that isn't as straightforward as your example (and in fact, they're rarely explaining an idiom, so much as a definition, so that example is flawed in that way as well), but yeah, it comes off as lazy when they do it. They're doing it for the reader's benefit, but can't find a way to do it naturally, and apparently aren't allowed, or are too mindless (I really hope it's the former) to use footnotes. Some of the writers for the L5R fiction are definitely better than others. 'Hai' is definitely one of the more obvious examples of a word they should either use for its broader uses as well, or stop using, because just using it as 'yes' is lazy. Despite all that though, it undeniably adds a flavour to the text lending itself to a specific aesthetic, no differently than the word samurai, or katana, or the way Rokugani dress in kimono, add to a certain aesthetic, flavour, and feel of their universe. Weasel words is harsh. Sure he's using them to be vague, but in the creation of a game entity where vague-ness is commonly accepted, due to variations from table-to-table. Also, how linked 1st ed is to Japan isn't the greatest technique for analysis of the current state of the game. Japan and 1st ed didn't have female daimyo common enough that a third or more of the family daimyo in the current game being female can be associated with either of them. Let alone the same-sex marriage according to sexual preferences being something matchmakers care about element of the setting, or the samurai-ko being bushi is common element, or the men marrying into women's families widely based on personal status element.
  8. Are your players Phoenix? Are you going to make this occur before the 'recent' destruction of the Perfect Land sect heretics in Phoenix lands by the clan? Because the sect is officially heresy to the Phoenix, in setting as-is currently: something they determined, and then enforced with deaths. Personally, I find the 'skipping the line' aspect of the sect to be clearly a deviation from Shinseism, and the Perfect Land sect looks a lot like something the Kolat would inspire (with the idea that mortals can basically seize their destiny in death, not altogether different than the Kolat desire for mortals to seize their destiny in life). Other than that specific teaching though, the sect has a lot that does indeed inspire questions of philosophy, such as if samurai are doing enough to help teach the peasantry, since by teaching them, they imply that they should be taught, which if it is true, should be the samurai class's responsibility.
  9. Well first, as someone else noted (UnitOmega), you can't take any shuji due to being a Kuni Purifier (ignore this if you changed your character without telling us). Fire is a powerful social ring in my opinion, as long as you're getting people emotionally invested in your argument, and strifing out your opposition with opportunities. Earth isn't bad either, it just doesn't have the adaptability of water, though it allows you to logically argue the facts, which can be a strong play. I see Intrigues as more of a team game, where your team (PCs, maybe some NPCs you've convinced already), are playing against another team that you can deal with in a number of ways. You can interfere with their arguments and abilities, by adding strife to them with fire, and taking advantage when they're Compromised/Unmask. You can spread rumours with Air to undermine your opponent (or just to spread your argument more quickly), and there's a specific Shuji whose name I can't recall off the top of my head, that helps with that. You can just try to be more successful than your opponent, with a ton of assistance/skill dice/explosions hopefully. I'm sure someone has crunched all the numbers, or is in the process of doing so, and knows for sure what the most effective approach to Intrigues is, but I'm not that guy.
  10. Sorry, but you did. Failing is not a process as such, as a working-failure can result in success, and while doing well for a while, you can end up failing. To fail, is to not accomplish your goal. Your goal was to convince the city governor of an artifact's evil, take it from him, not succumb to its whispers/Taint, deliver it to those who will destroy it. That's likely a rough plot outline, some or all of which you'll be informed of initially. If you don't convince the governor, you've failed at that part of your quest, and the rest is altered. You can still succeed at your ultimate goal (or an altered goal, like minimizing the damage the artifact does in the hands of the governor), but you still failed. This is not mere semantics. In this case the failures grow the plot, maybe develop your characters, and is otherwise useful to a story, but that's because stories are BUILT ON FAILURE. There are four narrative approaches to resolve conflict: "Yes." "Yes, but." "No, but" "No." These answer the question "did the protagonist accomplish x?" The most interesting answers are "Yes, but", and "No, but". Arguably, roleplaying should never use the first or last options, except when ending a campaign, and even then, that means no extra plot hooks for future campaigns. "No, but" is a failure, with a chance for ultimate success at either your ultimate goal, or related goal, or a new goal, but the failure(s) involved in the process are real, and will and should haunt you. If they weren't failures, things would not get worse (just as in "Yes, but" things would not get better if it wasn't a success). "Yes, but" is a success, but one that has consequences you either have to live with, or which you may then need to resolve. These are the two ideal answers, because they push a plot forward, and allow for more growth. The tone of a story can also be determined by the ratio of these two, because more successes is more idealistic, while fewer is commonly referred to as 'dark' or 'gritty', especially when capped with an ultimate "No". The result is distinctly not the same. If you think a corrupt governor who starts sacrificing his ji-samurai to the kansen to increase his power as he seeks to awaken Iuchiban is the same result as one of your party carrying the object and then committing seppuku when you arrive to deliver it because he can't tone out the whispers is the same, then I don't know what you would call different. After all, Fu Leng conquering the Empire and ruling it forever with the divine right of his blood is the same as the line of the Hantei Emperors continuing forever into the future, ruling with the divine right of their blood, right?
  11. I am not exclusively talking about bad anime. Japanese society sees English, and a number of other languages, as 'cool', and randomly insert words into stuff. Ads use English words that make no sense. Songs include random English. Plenty of non-bad anime have characters use English words erratically, because that's how a number of Japanese use English, or speak (both when being hacky, like when interrogating the one transfer student, and not). Most of the time there's no accent involved (in the songs, ads, anime use where it's not mockery either in-character or out). Also not talking about American characters, good or not, though yeah, having a character who is supposed to be from America/Britain use some more English does add a touch of authenticity to the character, with an earnestness that's almost painful, considering the character will basically never sound like they were raised speaking the language, but only almost: the honest attempt undermines the cringe to me, and to many others. Besides that, it's the stereotypes (all Americans are blonde, all American girls have large breasts, they're all 'rude' relatively speaking, etc...) that are far more common, and offensive, than naive attempts to use language to emphasize a part of the character (their foreign-ness in this case), and arguably all of Rokugan/L5R is a bunch of stereotypes moulded into a system designed to explore human characters living within those constraints, both internalized, and those expected/imposed upon them. If these interactions between cultures insult you so personally that they ruin your enjoyment of things that are meant with no ill intent, then so be it, and I feel bad for you. Stasis isn't a realistic state for existence however, and change and sharing, mutation, adoption, and adaptation, are natural consequences of communication, and cultural exchange (not to mention enhanced by the internet). Trying to maintain a purity artificially isn't very effective (just ask the French), and since Rokugan is explicitly NOT-Japan, there's no reason to act as if it should be some exacting identical language-detailed culture, or completely ignore the language of the cultural inspiration, with no middle ground. Do what you want, and what your group enjoys, and what you think adds flavour to your game. Leaving them out is fine, but I find ignoring the social nuance you get from using -san, -sama, the occasional -chan or -kun, and of course -sensei, and referring to some people by first name, others by last, or title, does a disservice to the setting. For the record, I don't use the honorifics I'm not familiar with as commonly used in samurai fiction, and L5R like: the aforementioned -ue, but also -dono, which I can't seem to get good answers about, and I'm more likely to use Prince/Princess/Emperor, than honorifics; 'lord' doesn't feel right when a character can actually bow and otherwise treat someone as a lord, and use -san as a dig, or hint of equality, and it doesn't feel right when I want to use -sama to refer to someone who is clearly not a 'lord' as a sign of respect.
  12. First, since the disadvantages are actually a form of advantage in this game (they're how you get Void points), encourage your player to trigger and use it. If that doesn't work, then maybe don't trigger it in short combats, or physical exertions, but definitely DO if anything goes on for a while. Chase scene into combat? Fair game, seems to me. The player chose it. If they aren't willing to activate it themselves, and they're unhappy when you use it, it's time to talk to them about altering their character (or in a dark worse case scenario, letting them die if that's the outcome, and rerolling). There is NO point in taking a character element, and then ignoring it like a red-headed step child (to use a hilariously outdated, and awful, expression, altered slightly).
  13. Or they regularly fail, but in the form of "no, but" (its a narrative concept). Instead of failing and it being a dead-end, failure leads to further action (fail to convince the city governor that the artifact is evil? Now the governor's corrupted, and working with maho-tsukai, but has become reclusive because he's not quite himself). Failed to convince the governor's court of his corruption? Now you're imprisoned, where a strange shinobi rescues you, and takes you to their lord to reveal your information. The failure just leads to other paths, that ultimately lead to you succeeding through social, or perhaps your more talented martial, means. There is a difference between failing, but not permanently, and succeeding, but less effectively (mainly its the consequences: if you'd succeeded with the governor, he wouldn't be corrupted, for example).
  14. Yes you can. That said, you'll never be as good as a courtier, just like a courtier is never going to be as good as a bushi at martial skills. The way school curriculum ranks work is enough to make sure of that, but school abilities, and your capstone (if you ever reach it), also contribute to that reality. I would suggest getting together with the other players, and encouraging everyone to grab 1 in courtesy or command, and 1 in composition/aesthetics. Maybe encourage the Soshi to get at least one in ALL of performance/composition/aesthetics/courtesy. Then make heavy use of assistance in social scenes. If the soshi is doing your courtesy/aesthetics, someone else is doing command, and someone else is the best writer, when your powers combine (I couldn't resist) you'll be giving each other extra kept and skill dice, which are not to be sneezed at. While some scenarios are likely to keep the numbers of assistants down, in an actual Intrigue, everyone can get in on the assistance, to give one person god rolls (or two people decent rolls, if you find that a single actor isn't effective enough).
  15. Nice analysis. I deleted everything I mostly agree with, to focus on what I'd argue out. I'll start at the end. 4 is addressed by Emerald Empire. You are certainly committing a minor offense if you kill a peasant. If that peasant committed a serious or grave offense, which would likely result in a death sentence, then you're probably fine (as in 4a), but if you acted according to 4b and 4c, you'd be punished, probably with a fine and apology, at minimum. Another section of EE points out that peasants ARE considered people, so there is some innate crime in murdering one, and the harm to the peasant's lord is in addition to this. In 4b I'd also point out that if your clans are at war, even if you're some neutral representative, you'd probably be considered a combatant by killing the peasant, and be imprisoned until the war is over as a result. 4c is basically right as to the lord's response (making your life harder), but with the addition from my argument above that you'd also receive some minimal punishment for the murder: especially since if it was a clear insult from the peasant, the lord should have been given the right to punish him, instead of you resorting to deadly violence. (ZERO): I like this, makes sense, seems like the basic idea behind conflict in general. Just thought I'd mention it. 1b: All correct, with the addition that traveling papers being subverted by people in conflict with you, or trying to get a favour from you, is a nice little plot hook. 3: As to cash, I've been discussing how it's valued/treated, and paid out, but not really how it's spent. Spending wise, peasants have no recourse: what samurai ask for, they should receive, anywhere: the exception is ronin, who will likely only be able to get exotic or rare things due to threats or fear, as they are likely owed to the peasant's lord. If your characters choose to leave behind a 'gift', to pay for the services and goods, that's good manners, but any village, or inn, or teahouse, will have a ledger somewhere where they record when/what samurai use, and present it for tax purposes. One thing that bugs me is that Dark Tides (the GM kit adventure) specifically says to make the value of gaijin/illicit goods outside the purchasing power of the PCs, but of course, koku are worth a LOT, and samurai don't barter or haggle, so they'd normally take what they want, and 'gift' what they think it is valued at (perhaps with a hint from the merchant, though not if the samurai in question is likely to take offense). So in effect, unless FFG expects samurai to both handle money more like a common person (or modern person), and ask about value (a really big no-no), their whole 'the goods are too expensive' thing does not make sense.
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