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  1. So, in summary, the party has been split to go meet some of the most important people they will likely have access to, who definitely don't have any grudges or ulterior motives or indeed rivalries between themselves, and who are all deeply enmeshed within the Rokugani political scene. And who most definitely won't prevail upon them to perform mutually exclusive tasks in their capacity as Emerald Magistrates. Also! They may have possibly already messed up in ways they don't yet understand, and the Seppun Hidden Guard Clearly don't have an interest in the parentage of Horonigai. Not at all. Things can't possibly go wrong! On the upside, I get the feeling though that Kakita Ryoku and Goriate might actually get along, somewhat, depending on how terrifyingly hilariously innappropriate Ryoku decides to be. The fact that he has a potentially fascinating tale of delving deep into the shadowlands (depending on how much truth he decides to share) would certainly warm Ryoku up to him personally, with it being something she wouldn't be likely to hear from any other source.
  2. I would be interested to see how Sins of Regret would work with non-ronin PCs - I would imagine they would have easier access to the castle and Lord, for example.
  3. Fairly sure that spare Hantei children are adopted into the other Imperial families, and then potentially married out that way. It would still be rare to claim Hantei heritage, but it would be possible.
  4. Perhaps Sotorii had been denied the jewelry at first (has expressed interest in it, for example, only for his father/mother/brother to chide him for his greed perhaps? Or perhaps Daisetsu recieved a similar looking gift and Sotorii believes he must be entitled to one as well and if he must rectify this oversight himself then so be it), then has it 'conveniently disappeared' by a servant? It would provide a reason for suspicion to be directed towards him - "On an entirely unrelated matter, it would appear that the young prince had expressed an interest in the piece before its disappearance". As for wards, wouldn't it be in the realm of possibility that the Emperor might have a secret passage connected to his wife's quarters? Perhaps one that is warded to be invisible/inaccessible to any not of the Hantei blood? Of course, the group wouldn't necessarily know that it's a blood-ward (Horonigai is a Kaito, so it should be easy for them to infer that it was a shugenja/kami thing), though Ishikawa would probably be aware of the passage's existence. The issue with that idea is that it draws prominence to the secret passage's existence; it would literally be the first thing I'd want to investigate and I doubt Ishikawa would simply let them.
  5. I really like how very much in his father's shadow Kuwanan is - every decision he seems to make is ran by his idea of how Satsume would act/approve.
  6. Strictly speaking, as per the RPG book, disobeying your Lord for their own greater interests/safety is a breach of Duty - The Samurai is expected to carry out their Lords instructions and orders regardless of any other factor, and if the samurai is opposed to these orders then the only honourable action they can take is to offer to (or just go ahead and) commit seppuku in protest. It's even highlighted in the Castle Kyotei adventure that the Crane samurai at the castle would be expected to follow their Lord even should he defect to the Lion (or commit seppuku to show their displeasure). An example would be Daisetsu's yojimbo, whom he ordered away the night he and Shahai legged it - their duty was to see to Daisetsu's safety and yet they (after protests) obeyed Daisetsu's command to leave. Of course, how a samurai should behave and how they will behave are two seperate things, and the higher up the status/glory ladder you go the more you can get away with (it'll be an absurdly brave person who would call Tsuko out on her actions, for example).
  7. I dunno - The Crane might like having such a figure on hand to throw at the Lion....
  8. It's interesting (at least to me), now that I re-read the story, that Sotorii starts the skirmish mounted and yet at some point (after the Dragon appear - Kuwanan remarks that the figure that answers his shouts loomed over him on horseback, and that Sotorii gapes down at him (as an aside, does he positively identify the figure as Sotorii, or just assume they must be since they are answering him?)) he must have dismounted for his horse to be left behind. I wonder why? Cowardice would have seen him simply urge the horse to bolt, surely? It's also apparent that the melee involves mounted and dismounted Samurai, and broadly speaking remaining mounted provides him more advantages (assuming he is thinking logically of course). It's curious, in that the duel between Hitomi and Kuwanan, whilst undoubtedly requiring both of their full focus, seems to have finished relatively quickly (a minute, maybe two?). So when did he escape? Why did he escape? Why did it have to be on foot? (It would be incredibly interesting to see this from his perspective as well, given that he was trained by both Satsume and Sumiko and should be familiar with both styles. What was his reaction to watching an actual fight with the intent to kill, rather than Sumiko's show-spar with him to first blood? Does it cause him to reflect further on his own inadequacies? Re-trench his own self-regard? Has he decided to go Ronin and attempt to find forgiveness (and eventually realise the true forgiveness will be the friends he makes along the way?)?) Lots of things to think about.
  9. This kinda puts things in perspective, doesn't it? On a side note, I wonder who Sotorii will inevitably run into?
  10. You're missing the point. Kakita Yoshi saying that the edict is false is enough for people to take interest - the actual, verifiable truth no longer matters. Who will Kachiko support, for example? We know who she should support, as we know that Matsu Tsuko's actions are inherently dishonourable, as we know that Doji Kuwanan's actions are inherently dishonourable, as we know that the Crab's decision to tacitly support the Mantis' piracy against the Crane is dishonourable. The 'truth' will end up being whatever the victor decides it to be. If the edict is 'false', (and that Kakita Yoshi is able to believably say that he had not discussed it with the Emperor, as will Bayushi Kachiko (should she decide to)) then what must be true? That the Emperor intended for Sotorii to be Emperor? For that matter, has the court actually sat (as in, how much time has passed)? As far as I'm aware, it is Shoju who sent for Sumiko who again, suddenly has an army at her disposal. Shoju's position as regent (and legitimacy) is based on the Edict being unchallenged. How might the disappearance of the Edict's 'supposed' author look to those willing to make an issue of it? We already know how skilled the Scoprion can be at forgery (and part of the plot of the RPG adventure Winter's Embrace involves another forgery in the Emperor's name), and Yoshi has demonstrated how uncertainty can be twisted into certainty (He is uncertain about the letter's veracity, but claims the opposite to Kuwanan). Again, who placed the seal on the edict? Was it the Emperor (as we know it was) or will others argue that Bayushi Shoju took advantage of their 'friendship' death to gain access to it? Kakita Yoshi saying the edict is interesting, as a curiousity. The Imperial Chancellor saying it (and who actually outranks who here? Shouldn't the Imperial Chancellor know about the Emperor's wishes on succession? Shouldn't it be the Chancellor who is pre-eminent on matters of governance? Is the edict simply a matter of law, as you suggest?) is interesting, as a political moment. To quote from the story; "... Like the courtiers who had merely fluttered their fans that morning and waited to see how the wind would blow next. Shoju had sent for Yoshi because he knew the court waited to see what the chancellor would do." Suggests that Shoju's position is not as strong as it theoretically should be. It's reminiscent of the fact that theoretically the Emerald magistrates have vast amounts if power (they are appointed by the Emperor, or on Their behalf), yet practically they must move very carefully. (This must, of course, be taken with a pinch of salt - It is Kakita Yoshi who is the viewpoint character after all. Maybe he simply believes it to be true?) In the end, with the waters muddied enough by opportunists and circumstance, how many will believe Bayushi Shoju, Master of Secrets?
  11. Isn't that what makes this so interesting? Sumiko may 'outrank' him to us, but both the Champion and the Chancellor are of sufficiently high status that strictly speaking only the Emperor (Yoshi 'technically' outranks his Clan champion) stands above them - technically as well it is Toturi that may 'outrank' Yoshi; others may decide that it is Yoshi that holds the political clout (remember that Sumiko is explicitly described as still wearing her Ruby Champion gear). And Toturi's disappearance is unfortunately timed. And the seal is immaterial, or rather what matters is when the seal was affixed. Was it before or after Jodan was killed/died? Is Shoju/Kachiko the kind of person who could commit that level of Heresy? (We know, and Yoshi knows that Kachiko would do that if she could get away with it).
  12. I would like to add to this that Yoshi doesn't actually have to prove it is a forgery - the fact that one of the highest status people in the room says it's a forgery is all that matters. Only the Dragon (or maybe even only the Kitsuki) really care about 'proof'. To prhase that another way - Kakita Yoshi, the Imperial Chancellor, saying that the edict is a forgery is proof enough by the standards of the society he lives in.
  13. I'm fairly sure that the Shadowlands book mentioned that some in the Crab looked to the Scorpion as a potential ally in their 'shadow war' with the Crane (due to the Crane/Scorpion political mess), though the Kuni on the whole opposed it as they didn't want to lose access to the Phoenix. This could lead to a Crab split, beyond Yori's madness. The Crane/Crab fracas makes the Scorpion natural allies (As well as the Lion, especially given the fact that the Crab have historical reasons to dislike the Unicorn). Things get especially interesting if Tadaka's interest in the Shadowlands is enough to convince some of the Crab's higher ups that maybe conflict with the Crane wouldn't necessarily isolate the Phoenix (at least, in a way that functionally matters beyond courtly denunciations that the Crab have little time for). The Crab wouldn't even have to deploy many bodies to support military action, simply threaten both the Unicorn and Crane flanks with enough siege equipment/Ashigaru (who aren't routinely deployed to the Wall anyway due to fears over their suitability) to force both clans to keep badly needed military forces on that border. It would be hilarious if this potential alliance is destroyed by Kachiko and Aramarou threatening the Jade mines. I do wonder how far Tsuko would be willing to go for her 'true victory' over the Crane, given that it seems that how victory is achieved (Striking as soon as possible - and consequently when the enemy is better able to fight - rather than when it could do the most damage) matters far more to her than actually achieving victory. Would she accept Scorpion allies? Crab? (Especially if doing so places the Lion under an obligation to them, and she feels that the 'gift' of Toshi Ranbo should have been the Lion's.) An interesting way for the Unicorn to spin Shahai's flight with Daisetsu could be to claim that she left to protect the Prince from Shoju's manipulations if the Unicorn side with Yoshi's assertion that the Edict is a forgery. (And therefore that the Unicorn and Crane act to preserve the rightful succession against the Scorpion attempting to subvert the natural order of things, using the youngest Prince for political advantage.) Doing so could lead to interesting things.
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