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17th Knight

The Big Question - Which Clans Make The Cut?

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What about the Marvel movies? Marvel comics have decades of continuity that lock out older fans, the movies ignore them and focus on what attracted people. They don't make the mistake of assuming that if they change anything ever at all, the result will not be "what people liked". And they are wildly successful, among existing Marvel fans, and among people who never read comic books.

 

Which is good, because comic books are absolutely moribund right now. Just like L5R was right before the sale.

While transition to a different media, I agree, then it is best to just take what worked and drop the rest. But if you stay within the same medium, I think a reboot is kinda bad. DC comics did that, multiple times, and I hate them for doing that, since all their character now feel shallow and some of the greatest stories they had are now just a dream, the reboot never can live that down. Marvel did that a little more clever, with their ultimate universe, that didn't simply have thrown out all continuety, since people still could and can read the classic 616 marvel universe. Technically FFG could go with a paralel unverse approach too for L5R, after all with KYD we basically have that option already, but I am not sure how happy people would be with that.

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Ok, if you don't think the Star Wars prequels were a good example consider the Hobbit movies vs the Lord of the Rings films or the remade Clash of the Titans vs the old one.  There are tons of possible examples.  I picked that one because it's one that everyone recognizes.

 

I don't think most of us are advocating rehashing 20 years of the story - in fact most of us are advocating for the opposite, refocus, reforge, drive one.  The clan identities are one of the things that most fans of the game feel is core to the brand.  I really don't get your argument that they aren't.  

 

 

Lord of the Rings made a lot of smart changes for the first trilogy of films, that made them better films than they would have otherwise been. The Hobbit trilogy were simply bad films, or at least the first one was, regardless of their relationship to the books.

 

Clash of the Titans is based on an "IP" that is, uh, somewhat older than L5R. :P

 

You can mess with and even rewrite clan identities to make them and the world better and more consistent without touching their cores. And frankly, many people probably disagree on what constitutes "the core" of each clan, anyway, not least because they've all shifted and changed over 20 years.

 

I never said the clans weren't important. But nor should they, or their histories, be inviolate for their own sake.

 

All we know is that things are going to change. I think the difference between recofusing and rewriting (or retconning) and the importance of some inviolable continuity is being hugely overemphasized over FFG making the best game they can, as well as the best setting from which to launch more games, and even novels, come to that.

 

 

Ok, then maybe I'm confused.  I agree with pretty much everything that you said here, but the response of mine that you quoted was about how multiple clans (eg Phoenix and Dragon) should be merged Voltron style.  Or maybe more like mixing green and red playdough.  Is that the kind of thing you're advocating or not?  

 

 

Not really, no. All I was pointing out was the difference between that, cutting clans, or keeping the same clans and only tweaking their respective focuses (and adding alliances, for game purposes) is a matter of degrees, not a qualitatively *different* change.

 

Everyone draws that line at a different place.

 

I think a lot of discussion here would be more productive if people argued from, "That's more/less change than I would like," on whatever subject, than from, "The thing you're proposing to change is uniquely sacred in the history of L5R," or, "Yes, that can be changed because it doesn't matter at all, whereas my hangups are important."

 

I mean, to the extent that we're being productive, as opposed to just shouting into the wind. :P

 

 

Yeah, at the end of the day there is only one set of opinions that matter.  I just couldn't tell from the quoting exactly what your position was on that particular topic.    

 

I'm here because I loved L5R, and hope that I'll be able to find something in the new product I can love too.  My posts here ultimately are as much to determine for myself what that would be as they are to spark debate with other people.  The debate can be helpful towards that sometimes, but not always.  I've already softened my position on a couple things, but there are definitely lines that would be too far for me. Some of them I might not really recognize unless they are crossed.    

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 Some of them I might not really recognize unless they are crossed.    

 

 

I think this is definitely a thing, too, and works both ways.

 

I think for everyone (myself included) there are things that are core, without which, it won't be a game we care about, and we may not yet realize what they are. There are also things, for each of us, that if stripped away or radically altered, might make us love the game all the more, even though we think the game is irrevocably altered without them.

 

To expand a bit, one of the tricky things about my job is that you get a lot of feedback, but a lot of it comes from people who are experts in different things and *think* they know about what you do. So the trick is to look at the "note behind the note," and give them what they don't even know they're asking for.

 

I think FFG would be wise to apply that principle to anything said about L5R. There's what people *say* they want, and what they actually want, but don't really know how to express because they're fans and not game designers (or storytellers, or whatever).

Edited by BD Flory

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What about the Marvel movies? Marvel comics have decades of continuity that lock out older fans, the movies ignore them and focus on what attracted people. They don't make the mistake of assuming that if they change anything ever at all, the result will not be "what people liked". And they are wildly successful, among existing Marvel fans, and among people who never read comic books.

 

Which is good, because comic books are absolutely moribund right now. Just like L5R was right before the sale.

While transition to a different media, I agree, then it is best to just take what worked and drop the rest. But if you stay within the same medium, I think a reboot is kinda bad. DC comics did that, multiple times, and I hate them for doing that, since all their character now feel shallow and some of the greatest stories they had are now just a dream, the reboot never can live that down. Marvel did that a little more clever, with their ultimate universe, that didn't simply have thrown out all continuety, since people still could and can read the classic 616 marvel universe. Technically FFG could go with a paralel unverse approach too for L5R, after all with KYD we basically have that option already, but I am not sure how happy people would be with that.

 

 

The failure of DC's numerous reboots aren't really an indictment of rebooting within the same medium, it's an indictment of DC and the stuff they keep doing that makes them NEED to reboot the entire continuity every few years.

 

L5R's playerbase was dwindling. If it continued, without the FFG purchase, it was just going to be plain ol' dead. And it wasn't really explicitly the fault of what was going on with the setting, but the setting wasn't helping. Sticking to the old continuity will please a small portion of people who hadn't yet jumped off the ship, and the opportunity cost is "you weren't making it a new thing designed to appeal to people, rather than something John Wick designed to appeal to himself based on his let's say colorful interpretation of East Asian cultures".

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If you're going to make a new continuity, and change large parts of the setting, why bother actually paying for a dwindling, dying brand when you could just design yours from the ground up and save the money (and the association with a dying brand)? Trademarks and Copyrights wouldn't have stopped them (they don't apply), and a patent as broad as "A card game about Samurai" likely wouldn't have done much either.

 

The fact is, a complete reboot and redesign of the setting make sense if you already own the setting and are trying to giving it a new lease of life. If you want to make what's essentially a new setting, you might as well actually make a new setting and not shackle yourself to the memories of the dwindling game. 

 

If you're buying the setting, then either A)you're sufficiently interested in the setting to actually want THAT setting (as opposed to a different one), or B)you're sufficiently interested in the setting's existing reputation and fans and/or C)You want to tap into the old, lapsed fans nostalgia. In both of the later case, it's in your best interest to keep the setting very familiar to them. 

 

That FFG actually bothered to spend hard money on L5R speaks volume about their feelings on the setting. 

 

Again, that doesn't mean all factions will be playable when the game release or present in the story off the bat. The Dragon could be in seclusion from the empire. The Unicorn could have gone on a second journey beyond the empire. The MAntis could have isolated themselves on their island to protest imperial taxes. The Scorpion could be back in exile. etc, etc, etc. There are plenty of ways to write this or that clan out of the story for a time. Some might even stay out of the story permanently, for all we know. 

 

But it's a far cry from that to retconing a clan out of existence altogether as part of a largely unnecessary cosmic reboot (since the same effect - starting the game fresh - can be achieved by a sufficient jump forward in the story). 

Edited by Himoto

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Legend of the Five Rings, as a brand, has a lot more power than the elements that make it up. That's the power of brands -- they have power separate from their constituent parts.

 

I'm not generally advocating clan removal, but I'd venture that many people have heard of L5R and would give it a shot at FFG who've never heard of, nor care about, any of the specific clans.

 

It's been around for 20 years. Pretty much everyone who plays LCGs probably knows someone who's played it some time in that lifespan.

 

*That's* why you buy the brand. Because all those people are your potential market not only for the CCG, but for an entire line of products.

 

Settings can be changed for the better. Games can be revised for the better. That doesn't change that they are the current incarnation of Legend of the Five Rings, and that has power above and beyond the specific incarnation.

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Legend of the Five Rings, as a brand, has a lot more power than the elements that make it up. That's the power of brands -- they have power separate from their constituent parts.

 

I'm not generally advocating clan removal, but I'd venture that many people have heard of L5R and would give it a shot at FFG who've never heard of, nor care about, any of the specific clans.

 

It's been around for 20 years. Pretty much everyone who plays LCGs probably knows someone who's played it some time in that lifespan.

 

*That's* why you buy the brand. Because all those people are your potential market not only for the CCG, but for an entire line of products.

 

Settings can be changed for the better. Games can be revised for the better. That doesn't change that they are the current incarnation of Legend of the Five Rings, and that has power above and beyond the specific incarnation.

 

Exactly.

 

I'm one of those players. I've been involved with CCGs/LCGs since SWCCG in 95. I am aware of L5R but never got into it. I was aware of Netrunner, and that awareness lead to me picking up that game. If my finances were better last year, I might've picked up Doomtown when it was revived. My general awareness, combined with me becoming a big fan of FFG, is what has got my attention for the next few years. 

 

And I hate to break it to some, but the fact that it will be a FFG game will almost be as big of a draw as it being L5R. 

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Oh, I have no doubt of that. FFG is a powerful brand in and of itself.

 

And, in that light, I question how much a damaged, dying brand really helps FFG if they intend to use the name only. Lots of people, you say, know someone who have played the game in that timeline? Possible. But that mean these people can tell them:  "This game has nothing to do with the one I played. They gutted everything important about the setting." Brand recognition is about more than just a name. 

 

Frankly, to me, the "Reboot the entire setting with whole clans wiped out view seems more like wishful thinking by people whose view of the setting ("John Wick's appeal to himself based on his, let,s say, colorful interpretation of east asian cultures")...well, I can't call that a positive view. 

 

Clan removal could be made to work (though I don't advocate it), but like I said, it should be made to work in a way that fits the setting. The way DTR did it (factions destroyed in cataclysmic events in the interregnum), not the way Huitzil propose doing it (completely rebooting the setting). 

 

You want merged Dragon/Phoenix? Fine. Post-Wrath-of-Kanpeki (ie, in the hiatus between the two games) the emperor merge the two clans due to their ghastly losses and the fact that the Dragon failed horribly at the "supervise the Spider" job. You want the Mantis gone? They got wiped out, and even a century later there are only remnants of the clan left around, barely struggling back to their feet. Or they've gone with the merchants path, eschewing great clan status entirely. 

 

"100-years-Post-Onyx empire" is a much more effective (and much less dangerous) reset button than "Retcon the Empire". 

Edited by Himoto

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Oh, I have no doubt of that. FFG is a powerful brand in and of itself.

 

And, in that light, I question how much a damaged, dying brand really helps FFG if they intend to use the name only. Lots of people, you say, know someone who have played the game in that timeline? Possible. But that mean these people can tell them:  "This game has nothing to do with the one I played. They gutted everything important about the setting." Brand recognition is about more than just a name. 

 

Frankly, to me, the "Reboot the entire setting with whole clans wiped out view seems more like wishful thinking by people whose view of the setting ("John Wick's appeal to himself based on his, let,s say, colorful interpretation of east asian cultures")...well, I can't call that a positive view. 

 

Clan removal could be made to work (though I don't advocate it), but like I said, it should be made to work in a way that fits the setting. The way DTR did it (factions destroyed in cataclysmic events in the interregnum), not the way Huitzil propose doing it (completely rebooting the setting). 

 

Off screen deaths are generally bad.  Off screen clan demotions and obliterations were worse.  

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Off screen deaths are generally bad.  Off screen clan demotions and obliterations were worse.  

 

Usually, I'd agree. But given the 2 year gap and the change in company, I think it's a solution that is doable. It'll be hard to swallow, no doubt, but easier than if it happened over a month or a kotei season.

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Off screen deaths are generally bad.  Off screen clan demotions and obliterations were worse.  

 

Usually, I'd agree. But given the 2 year gap and the change in company, I think it's a solution that is doable. It'll be hard to swallow, no doubt, but easier than if it happened over a month or a kotei season.

 

 

I was actually talking about AEG's plan, and the way they've handled some of the things in the past.  Not what may or may not be in store with FFG.

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Off-screen deaths may be bad (though that's hardly a universal rule), but they're an unavoidable part of any time jump, and off-screen clan demotion and setting changes that are actually explained are infinitely preferable (in terms of established fan reaction) than a pure retcon/all-out reboot. 

 

Still, I don't advocate clan removal. I'm merely outlining a better way of achieving it.

Edited by Himoto

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Frankly, to me, the "Reboot the entire setting with whole clans wiped out view seems more like wishful thinking by people whose view of the setting ("John Wick's appeal to himself based on his, let,s say, colorful interpretation of east asian cultures")...well, I can't call that a positive view. 

 

You are right, it is not a universally positive view. It is like the view I have (and, I think, a lot of people had) of Inuyasha: a view where you are shouting at the screen "You had so much potential! I wanted you to be good SO MUCH! How do you KEEP BUNGLING IT?"

 

Skipping ahead 20 or 100 years still ties the game down to loads of baggage that damage the setting's ability to tell relatable stories. There are things baked into the setting that players are considering sacred unassailable cows that don't actually make sense, don't serve any productive function, and the game would work better without. The existing audience was very small and dying; the future of the setting as AEG had it was not going to last very long anyway because the game was going to die. FFG is much better served by picking out the parts that made people care and removing the parts that tried to drive them away, than by assuming that because some people cared, the parts that made them care and the parts that drove people away must be inseparable and the history inviolate.

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FFG is best served by not wasting energy on past information and working to tell a compelling story by emphasizing what they like and allowing the things they dont to just fade into history rather than retconning it.  As there will be no setting or story forum nor response by staff, complaints about it will likely go unnoticed and will eventually fade into a handful of grumblers being ignored. Spending time picking through 20 years of history is a waste of their time when they could be polishing amazing plots and story to go along with their new game.

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Frankly, to me, the "Reboot the entire setting with whole clans wiped out view seems more like wishful thinking by people whose view of the setting ("John Wick's appeal to himself based on his, let,s say, colorful interpretation of east asian cultures")...well, I can't call that a positive view. 

 

You are right, it is not a universally positive view. It is like the view I have (and, I think, a lot of people had) of Inuyasha: a view where you are shouting at the screen "You had so much potential! I wanted you to be good SO MUCH! How do you KEEP BUNGLING IT?"

 

Skipping ahead 20 or 100 years still ties the game down to loads of baggage that damage the setting's ability to tell relatable stories. There are things baked into the setting that players are considering sacred unassailable cows that don't actually make sense, don't serve any productive function, and the game would work better without. The existing audience was very small and dying; the future of the setting as AEG had it was not going to last very long anyway because the game was going to die. FFG is much better served by picking out the parts that made people care and removing the parts that tried to drive them away, than by assuming that because some people cared, the parts that made them care and the parts that drove people away must be inseparable and the history inviolate.

 

 

Your wishes are best served by that. 

 

Your wishes are, essentially by your own admission, for something that isn't L5R

 

That FFG is best served by fulfilling your wishes is hardly self-evident. 

Edited by Himoto

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Your wishes are best served by that. 

 

Your wishes are, essentially by your own admission, for something that isn't L5R

 

That FFG is best served by fulfilling your wishes is hardly self-evident. 

 

 

There's literally nothing in that post that says, "not L5R." Are you referring to something else? Huitzil makes a specific suggestion to jump 20 or 100 years, which hardly means, "not L5R." Everything else is general, "Don't be afraid to make changes."

 

So, I suppose if L5R to you is, "Nothing changes," then sure.

 

But that's not L5R. Things have already changed over the course of a 20 year history.

 

I'm sure they'll change some more, especially in the next couple years. It may seem abrupt.

 

But it's still L5R, because only FFG gets to decide what that means.

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Lot of water under the bridge since I was last anywhere near a functional computer, it seems...

 

Pity, then, the water is circling, like that in a toilet bowl, going from the "we like the setting we had crowd" to the "we apparently like the setting so little we'd rather just go scorched earth and flush it all away to create something that's only called L5R because the name happens to be available* subset," with most people falling on a continuum somewhere between the two.

 

 

And much like the squabbling samurai in-setting during the Iweko succession storyline, we're losing sight of the most important thing:

We can jabber all we want about how much we liked it.

We can say "since the game died, clearly, Fantasy Flight needs to do everything as differently as possible in-setting."

We can stick our fingers in our ears and go LA LA LA.

 

It will all make the same amount of difference in the end. FFG is gonna do what FFG is gonna do.

 

For my part, I hope they preserve the existing canon, but don't slavishly revisit it. Wanna remove a Clan? Blow it up! Find the accumulated history too convoluted and uneven? Then don't cite it specifically, just Easter Egg the bits you like. Find the nine-clan model hard to design for but want to keep them? Start from a standpoint of inter-clan alliances.

Whatever happens, clearly, somebody in this thread is going to be disappointed.

 

It very well could be me. *shrug* In any event, Tarkin said it best. "This bickering is pointless."

 

* If you think I'm being unfair, please, cite something from the extant setting that you actually like that isn't just "fantasy samurai," 'cause... seriously.

Edited by Shiba Gunichi

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Your wishes are best served by that. 

 

Your wishes are, essentially by your own admission, for something that isn't L5R

 

That FFG is best served by fulfilling your wishes is hardly self-evident. 

 

 

There's literally nothing in that post that says, "not L5R." Are you referring to something else? Huitzil makes a specific suggestion to jump 20 or 100 years, which hardly means, "not L5R." Everything else is general, "Don't be afraid to make changes."

 

So, I suppose if L5R to you is, "Nothing changes," then sure.

 

But that's not L5R. Things have already changed over the course of a 20 year history.

 

I'm sure they'll change some more, especially in the next couple years. It may seem abrupt.

 

But it's still L5R, because only FFG gets to decide what that means.

 

 

Uh, if you re-read his post, he says that a 20 or 100 year jump (which I already said would be a legitimate way of shaking the statu quo and making changes) is not sufficient for him because it still ties L5R with too much backgroudn material it would be better off without. 

 

What he's proposing is a complete retooling of the setting to get rid of elements that were present from the start and elements that were added since that he feels get in the way of what he feels L5R should have been (which is something different than John Wick's original creation)

 

Again, all those are things that he actively stated in his posts. 

Edited by Himoto

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Uh, if you re-read his post, he says that a 20 or 100 year jump (which I already proposed) is not sufficient for him because it still ties L5R with too much backgroudn material it would be better off without. 

 

 

Fair enough. I still don't think that pushes Huitzil into, "it's no longer L5R," territory, given that they didn't make much in the way of specific suggestions. It was a lot of general, "Don't be afraid to change things." That's hardly damning stuff.

 

And frankly, people are too eager to shout, "No longer XX!" when something goes through some change.

 

It'll still be L5R if there are 7 clans. It'll still be L5R if the Empire has dissolved the Clans and united the Empire (whether in a reboot, or in a 100 year break after Onyx).

 

Will there be people who will hate that? Sure. Honestly, I think that would be silly. But it'd still be L5R.

There is going to be change. I guarantee it. How much is a matter of degree. So I wish people would stop throwing around, "It's not L5R!" and just give FFG a chance to do something cool with the game. They love the game, too.

 

And chances are, everyone who's here loves the game. We just love different things about it, or even different potential things. Not everyone's going to be happy come 2017. So it goes.

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I'm not sure how I'd feel about canning the Great Clans. Reducing their numbers is fine. So long as it's done with an in-story rational that explain how Rokugan went from this to that, anyway. Even if just a passing one-line reference.

 

But if in 2017 FFG arrives and tell us "There has never been a Dragon or Scorpion clan. This is a new setting without them."...then it will be a new setting. Not Rokugan, and not L5R. 

 

I feel Huitzil's desires are quite plain considering:

-his insistence toward a complete setting reboot (rather than a soft reset by moving the storm forward several decades)

-his openly stated opinion on John Wick's rokugan,

-his admission that the setting has always disappointed him. 

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But if in 2017 FFG arrives and tell us "There has never been a Dragon or Scorpion clan. This is a new setting without them."...then it will be a new setting. Not Rokugan, and not L5R. 

 

I feel Huitzil's desires are quite plain considering:

-his insistence toward a complete setting reboot (rather than a soft reset by moving the storm forward several decades)

-his openly stated opinion on John Wick's rokugan,

-his admission that the setting has always disappointed him. 

 

L5R could be entirely about the minor clans (whether or not the majors ever existed). Still L5R.

 

"John Wick's Rokugan" could mean lots of things. It could be the period of time he was in charge, it could be the RPG material in particular. *shrug* John Wick's contributions to the original setting are somewhat overstated, while others are completely forgotten. To me, someone saying they want "John Wick's Rokugan" is someone who wants something very different from canon Rokugan. But it'd still be L5R.

 

Whether someone's disappointed in something about the game or setting is pretty much immaterial to whether what they want in the future "is L5R" or not. I've loved various thing about the game at various times, but there have never not been disappointments with it.

 

"Not L5R," is pretty much a non-argument, because all the game and setting need to do to be L5R is for us to recognize it as some version of such. I would hazard that the vast majority of things anyone on this board has suggested would make it, "not L5R," wouldn't prevent that recognition.

 

Suggesting that one particular aspect, even a big one, being removed or changed makes L5R suddenly not L5R is pretty self-centered, IMO, because it's identifying someone's personal likes and dislikes with what defines a setting, and it doesn't belong to any one person. (In the legal sense, of course, it belongs to FFG, but you know, not a person.)

 

Actually, in a weird way, the Shadowlands are probably more essential than any of the clans.

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I'm not sure how I'd feel about canning the Great Clans. Reducing their numbers is fine. So long as it's done with an in-story rational that explain how Rokugan went from this to that, anyway. Even if just a passing one-line reference.

 

But if in 2017 FFG arrives and tell us "There has never been a Dragon or Scorpion clan. This is a new setting without them."...then it will be a new setting. Not Rokugan, and not L5R. 

 

I feel Huitzil's desires are quite plain considering:

-his insistence toward a complete setting reboot (rather than a soft reset by moving the storm forward several decades)

-his openly stated opinion on John Wick's rokugan,

-his admission that the setting has always disappointed him. 

 

Saying that disliking John Wick's contributions means I hate L5R is like saying I hate all of Star Wars because I think George Lucas is terrible. Star Wars was great not because George Lucas was such an amazing visionary, but because he had a bunch of people that could save him from his own bad ideas. When he got too popular to be vetoed, we got the Prequels, and look where that landed us. 

 

John Wick had some wrong, wacky ideas he used to build the setting. He baked in some things that really don't make sense. (The entire conception of honor and social caste as he saw them, for example.) Authors since him have salvaged it as best they could, de-emphasizing the parts that didn't make sense, and dealing in the parts they could make work. But it was still there, in the foundation, rotting away, undermining the stability of the whole thing. Wick drew "honor" as this insane, ludicrous system that nobody could live up to, not because nobody is perfect, but because doing so would burn society down. Subsequent authors focused on "honor" primarily in the situations where people behaved like the audience would expect the broader concept of "honor" to dictate, and had to avoid where it went all wonky. So now L5R has a bunch of players who like the concept of a society bound by honor, as a force stronger than steel -- but there's more people who like the concept of honor as a force stronger than steel, who saw how it worked in Rokugan when it got near the wonky areas, and went "Wait, that's not how that works, that's crazy" and left.

 

When it comes to the ruling classes vs the underclasses, Wick made the ruling classes incredibly unsympathetic -- moreso than even actual history allowed -- and expected us to sympathize. Later authors rarely, if ever, cover that sort of area, so it's out of focus and can't repulse people with modern sensibilities. And some people, when they investigate the setting in more detail, can put up with that, which is fine. But a lot of people don't want to, and digging deeper into the setting shouldn't dig up awful, repulsive stuff.

 

And, like, on the most basic level, John Wick started the story with the Crab allying with the Shadowlands. The Crab identity is "We never, ever, ever, ever, under any circumstances, do that." The Crab playerbase identified with and then built up their identity based on the idea that appealed to them, not what Wick gave them.

 

 

L5R is a setting where honor is stronger than steel. The current setting's interpretation of "honor stronger than steel" includes things like "honor demands ritual suicide from people so often that it needs to be an innate ability possessed by all samurai in the card game" and "honor says to hold grudges for a thousand years". Removing those things would not cause L5R to stop being L5R. A game where Honor demanded your behavior be Buddhalike would still be L5R as long as that honor gave people and society strength, was something to look up to, and was difficult or impossible to uphold.

 

L5R is a game about the samurai class and what it means to be samurai. The current setting's interpretation of what it means to be a samurai focuses entirely on subordination to the authority ABOVE you and almost nothing on responsibility for those BELOW you. Balancing that focus would not cause L5R to stop being L5R. A game where honor bound samurai in responsibility for their lessers would still be L5R because being samurai is about the bonds of duty.

 

L5R is a game about the Clans of Rokugan, who are distinct groups of samurai all with a distinct way of viewing the world and culture of their own that is nonetheless part of the larger culture of Rokugan, of which they remain proud members. The current setting's implementation of this has one of those Clans (Dragon)not really knowing what to do with themselves, another (Phoenix) unable to do meaningful things that affect the world, another (Crab) forced to continually fail at the only duty that defines them, and two others (Unicorn and Mantis) who can look and act differently but whose main conceptual appeals are constantly stepping on each other's toes. Fixing those things would not make it not L5R. A game that did not have ANY of the nine Clans we know would still be L5R, though it would be a bit of a stretch, so long as the new Clans it did have were distinct, united by a particular culture and outlook on the world, and still considered themselves part of the larger shared culture of the Empire.

 

L5R lasted as long as it did because people saw things they liked in it. That doesn't mean everything was perfect and inviolate. L5R did a lot to try to push people away; that it didn't entirely succeed just goes to show the things that people did like in it were very likeable. Building the setting from the ground up to appeal to those things is always going to wind up better than salvaging as much as you could from an existing setting that screwed them up.

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