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Toqtamish

A TLDR of the L5R storyline

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http://www.kazenoshiro.com/2015/07/12/the-story-so-far-from-dawn-of-the-empire-to-a-brothers-destiny/

 

Figured this might be of use for those who have not up to now been aware of this game and it's amazing story. I think I fixed all the spelling mistakes after I copied and pasted it below. For more details Kaze No Shiro has all the fictions ever made for L5R.

 

Dawn of the Empire

 

As the mortal realm is formed by the actions of the Lady Sun and the Lord Moon, their children become the object of their father’s burning jealously. Lord Moon consumes nine of the ten children, but Hantei frees his siblings at the cost of sending them plummeting to the mortal realm. There, the Kami discover the world of men and women, and soon Hantei becomes the first Emperor of Rokugan even as his brothers and sisters form the seven Great Clans to serve him. The Crab, the Crane, the Dragon, the Ki-Rin, the Lion, the Phoenix, and the Scorpion clans all swear to serve the Emperor so long as the Empire remains. Unfortunately, one of the Kami fell apart from his siblings. Emerging from a festering pit far south of Rokugan, Fu Leng is much changed by exposure to the Realm of Evil. Monstrously powerful, Fu Leng raises an army of inhuman creatures and wages a surprise attack against the Empire that very nearly destroys it. Fu Lengs army very nearly succeeds, and is only stopped by the Little Prophet, Shinsei, Seven Thunders, exceptional individuals drawn from all seven clans. The Thunders defeat and bind Fu Leng’s power, but at the cost of their own lives.

 

Scorpion Clan Coup

 

Fearing a terrible prophecy that calls for the end of the Empire to come at the hands of the Hantei Dynasty and succumbing to the seductive whispers of the Bloodsword, Ambition, the Scorpion Clan Champion Bayushi Shoju plots to seize control of Rokugan from his friend and lord, the Emperor Hantei XXXVIII. Secretly moving troops into the Imperial City by the thousands, Shoju meticulously plans every aspect of his usurpation, including poisoning the Lion Clan Champion Akodo Toturi, the one man that Shoju fears can bring his efforts to ruin. With less regret in his heart than he had anticipated, Shoju kills the Emperor and seizes control of Otosan Uchi. All does not go as Shoju had planned. The attempt on the Lion Champion’s life fails, and the Crab, whom Shoju had hoped would join him in his effort to depose the weak and ineffectual Hantei XXXVIII, side with the other Creat Clans to break his stranglehold. In the end, the Great Clans defeat the Scorpion forces holding the city and Shoju is killed by Toturi in a duel. Hantei XXXIX, who survived the coup, disbands the Scorpion Clan for Shoju’s crimes.

 

The Clan Wars

 

Crippled by a terrible plague, the Empire languishes as the Imperial families are decimated and even the Emperor, secretly poisoned by his Scorpion bride, is stricken by the wasting disease. Disgusted by the weakness he sees in the Empire’s rulers, the Crab Champion is manipulated into an alliance with the Shadowlands in order to seize the throne, and leads a massive army north bent on conquest. The ambition of the Crab, combined with the wrathful vengeance of the Scorpion who have remained in hiding since their clan was dissolved, soon throw the Empire into a state of all-out war, a war that the forces of Fu Leng use to great advantage in order to advance their own agenda. As the war advances, the Emperor is possessed by the spirit of Fu Leng. Almost too late, the Great Clans unite against this new threat, and the reincarnation of the Seven Thunders are led by the descendant of Shinsei, the Little Prophet, to defeat the Dark Lord once again. The ronin Toturi, former Lion Champion and the Lion Thunder, takes the throne as the new Emperor, Toturi I, elevating the Mantis to a position as a Great Clan for their valor in the battle for the throne.

 

Hidden Emperor

 

The Emperor Toturi disappears suddenly, prompting chaos in the courts as speculation runs rampant as to who could be responsible for such a thing. Fingers are quickly pointed at the Scorpion Clan, who are soon banished from the Empire for their assumed complicity. What none suspect, however, is the hand of an entity older than mankind itself: the Lying Darkness, a being of the primordial nothingness that existed before the mortal realm was created, and which desires only to return all that is into absolute oblivion. With its ability to consume the identity of others, to absorb them into itself and create duplicates to take their place, the Darkness soon pits the Great Clans against one another in a deadly game of war and intrigue. When it seems that the Great Clans are on the brink of discovering the truth, the Lying Darkness takes steps to ensure that its destruction of the realms is complete. By opening the ancient gateway between worlds known as Oblivion’s Gate, the Darkness will destroy the ancestral spirits of the Empire, crippling and demoralizing the samurai caste and rendering them far easier to subvert. In the end, however, Darkness is defeated, and while the mortal realm suffers significant damage, it remains intact.

 

The Four Winds

 

The Splendid Emperor, Toturi I, is unexpectedly attacked by a force of oni while visiting the Scorpion lands and is slain, never having formally recognized which of his children he chose to succeed him. Many speculate that Toturi was en route to finally acknowledge Akodo Kaneka, long having claimed to be the Emperor’s illegitimate son, as one of his children. Speculation among the clans immediately begins as to which of the Emperor’s four children is most fit to succeed him, and an entire generation of samurai, having grown complacent after a generation of relative peace, begins to factionalize to support the one that they believe most worthy to sit upon the Emerald Throne. The honorable Toturi Tsudao, the bitter Akodo Kaneka, the cunning Hantei Naseru, and the powerful but unhinged Toturi Sezaru spend two years gathering power and plotting against one another, some more overtly than others, before the fifth contender for the throne, the last true scion of the Hantei bloodline, the Dark Lord of the Shadowlands, Daigotsu, threatens the whole of Rokugan. The Four Winds unite against Daigotsu and kill him, albeit briefly. Toturi Tsudao perished in the battle, Hantei Naseru becomes the new Emperor of Rokugan, and both Kaneka and Sezaru join the Phoenix, the clan of Toturi’s wife, Isawa Kaede.

 

Reign of Blood

 

Throughout Rokugans history, there have been few threats more terrifying than that of Iuchiban, the Bloodspeaker. Born of royal blood and possessed of a singular desire to shape the world in a manner of his choosing, the dreaded blood sorcerer escapes once again and quickly displaces the Dark Lord of the Shadowlands as head of the forces threatening to destroy the Empire. Manipulated by the Shadow Dragon, a creature of pure deceit and malevolence, Iuchiban brings a Rain of Blood to the Empire, corrupting hundreds and turning the clans against their own ranks in an effort to contain the new evil within themselves. Iuchiban’s influence further exacerbares the imbalance created by the opening of Oblivion’s Gate, and ultimately culminates in a new spirit realm, the Realm of Thwarted Destiny, being created. The legendary hero Hida Kisada emerged from the Gate to end Iuchiban’s threat and restore the proper balance, allowing the Realm of Thwarted Destiny to stabilize without the corruption of the Bloodspeaker or his twisted advisor, the Shadow Dragon, to take hold.

 

Age of Enlightenment

 

As the Righteous Emperor, Toturi III, reigns over Rokugan, a sort of spiritual malaise afflicts its people. Aware that the clans are losing their way, the descendant of Shinsei, a man named Rosoku, return to the Empire prematurely. Rosoku is assassinated by the Shadowlands, but not before he conceals five sacred tomes throughout the Empire. A search takes place, with the five samurai who finally find the books taking on the mantle of the Keepers of the Elements, tasked with guiding the spiritual development of the Empire. Under their direction, the search for enlightenment becomes something of a fad among the people of the Emerald Empire. The Age of Enlightenment comes to an end as the Emperor and many of his servants convene at the formerly-mythical Tomb of the Seven Thunders, deep within the Shadowlands. There, the Emperor discovers many ancient artifacts that are essential to the Empire’s survival. He sacrifices himself to allow his servants to bring these artifacts back to the Empire, with many great servants perishing alongside him, although their sacrifice obliterates legions of oni bent on their destruction.

 

Race for the Throne

 

The death of the Righteous Emperor at the Battle for the Tomb in the Shadowlands was a terrible blow to the Empire, and in its aftermath, the Unicorn Clan Khan, Moto Chagatai, attempts to take the Throne to give the Empire a strong ruler, a gambit that failed, and led to the death of every member of the Toturi line. Recognizing that fate had thrust them once again into a position where the throne of Rokugan was available for the taking, the Great Clans immediately began to seek a means by which they could host the next Imperial Dynasty. As they did so, the former minions of the Shadowlands conspired to create a new conspiracy, masquerading as the nascent Spider Clan. Even as the clans plotted, however, the Celestial Heavens moved to restore a balance that had been disturbed for generations. The former mortals occupying the position of the Sun and Moon were cast down, replaced by the Jade Dragon and Obsidian Dragon, respectively. The Heavens demanded a return to the traditions of old, and convened a Celestial Tournament to remind the mortals of their origins. At its conclusion, the samurai Kitsuki Iweko was chosen, and ascended to the position of the Divine Empress Iweko I.

 

The Destroyer War

 

The malevolent intelligence that is Jigoku, the Realm of Evil, loses faith in its champion Fu Leng after his repeated failures, and withdraws its support. Instead, it chooses the demon goddess Kali-Ma, an entity that has destroyed the other members of her pantheon and brought complete ruination on the entire nation of the Ivory Kingdoms. With an unimaginably vast army of soulless, ironclad destroyers at her command, Kali-Ma marches upon Rokugan, entering from the south and shortly overwhelming the Crab defenses to push farther into the Empire. United by an enemy so dire it threatens the entire Empire, the Great Clans unite and face the forces of the Destroyer goddess in the Scorpion lands, which are soon churned into a blood-soaked wasteland by the constant warfare. Manipulated by the mortal incarnation of Fu Leng, a small group of young samurai inadvertently release the last bit of Kali-Ma’s power, making her stronger but also mortal, and although she kills Fu Leng, she is destroyed by Daigotsu after he takes his own life in an agreement with the Empress. The Destroyer is killed, the Spider Clan is formed, and the Empire for the first time sets its sights upon new lands: the former Ivory Kingdoms.

 

The Age of Exploration

 

Twenty-five years after the conclusion of the Destroyer War, the Empire is a much different place. The former Ivory Kingdoms have been heavily settled by Rokugani interests. Now known as the Colonies, the former kingdoms are adjudicated by an Imperial Governor, one of the most powerful people in the world other than the Divine Empress herself, and their boundaries are constantly pushed forward by the Empresses servants among the Spider Clan, Tainted warriors no longer welcome in the Empire but permitted to serve in the Colonies. Alongside the Mantis and Unicorn clans, the Spider form the bulk of the Empress forces in the Colonies. Within the Colonies, the clans encounter the Fudo cult, a sect of the Brotherhood of Shinsei long since banished from the Empire. Although they do not realize it at first, the samurai of the Colonies quickly become embroiled within a confiict between the Fudoists and the mad dragon, P’an Ku, a celestial force of absolute insanity that has plagued the Empire on occasion throughout history. Many fall to the heretical philosophy, and even more to the dragon’s seductive insanity, before order can be restored. In the end, the dragon is banished from the mortal realm and the cult is driven into hiding, but the damage done in the process is substantial.

 

A Brother’s Destiny

 

The gulf between the Empire and the Colonies grows ever wider, and when fate conspires to bring both sons of the Divine Empress to the Colonies, the samurai there quickly fall into two camps: one supporting the traditionalist Iweko Seiken, trained among many different clans, and another supporting the more progressive and less conventional Iweko Shibatsu, reared by the Spider Clan in the most sacrificial of Iweko I’s concessions to the Dark Lord to establish peace at the end of the Destroyer War. Although at odds with one another philosophically, the brothers do not wish to wage war upon one another. Unfortunately, their supporters do not share such reservations. Far from the watchful eyes of the Empire, the samurai in the Colonies quickly fall to skirmishing and then to all-out war with one another over their divided loyalties. The Crab and Lion immediately take the field for Seiken, while the Spider and Mantis support Shibatsu, with the other clans divided almost evenly between them. Several major battles are fought before the Empress emerges from seclusion to declare which of her sons she has chosen to succeed her, beginning a great period of celebration throughout both the Empire and the Colonies.

Edited by Toqtamish

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I new abit from the story back in the 90's (Think teh last thing i heard about was the scorpion getting exiled).

 

Fast forward to a few years ago when i got "back" into L5R at the tail end of the destroyer war, and my jaw dropped.

 

The crab have been thrown off the wall? Whaaa? That has never happened before! That blew my mind.

 

Been a big Spider fan ever since...

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I would respectfully suggest a small adjustment to your Destroyer War section. caveat: this is my jam. i will get wordy.

 

Daigotsu did not merely take his own life. Fu Leng took to his dragon form to fight Kali-Ma, but was overmatched. Before he died, he gave up his power to his "Little Brother". As Daigotsu took his own life, now possessing the power of his god, he descended (as was always going to be his fate) into Jigoku. But rather than be damned to that realm, or even become its new champion, he CONQUERED it. For no man knew that realm as he had. He had lived much of his childhood in it, spent nearly his entire life corrupted by it, worshipped it's Champion. No living man, perhaps no creature short of Fu Leng, knew Jigoku like Daigotsu. And now he became the Dark Lord of Jigoku. He tore a Second Pit up from Jigoku into the scorpion lands and proceeded to consume Kali-Ma like she wasn't even there. He then returned to his new realm, taking with him two new Dark Fortunes (his wife Shahai as the Dark Fortune of blood and Susumu as the Dark Fortune of deception.) His bargain with the Empress changed the nature of the Taint in exchange for the purification of his Son and the placement of him (when he was an adult) as Champion of the newly created Spider Clan. 

Edited by cielago

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The text in Kazenoshiro of each Arc come written in bonus cards released with the Twenty Festival set, so them all is AEG stuff. Sorry for the typos, if any, as I expected to just "copy paste" the text fom the bonus cards to the web. I will double check.

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That stuff is why I actually hate the Spider clan.  Their lore breaks the established metaphysics of the setting and turns them into junk.

 

They turned the Shadowlands Taint from something terrifying into a source of superpowers.  The pre-Spider lore on the nature of Jigoku and the by extension the Taint was way more interesting.

 

For those that do not know here's the short version.

 

There are a bunch of realms of existence, most of L5R's story takes place in Ningen-do, the Mortal Realm.  Other realms include, Tengoku (the Heavenly Realm), Jigoku (the Realm of Evil), Yume-do (the Realm of Dreams), and Yomi (the Realm of Blessed Ancestors).  Some realms are pretty permeable, for instance everything that sleeps enters Yume-do when they dream.  Others are distant and hard to enter, Sakaku, the Realm of Mischief is hard to enter unless you are a native of that realm.  Some of Realms are Jealous Realms which means they try to claim everything that comes into contact with it.  This manifests by changing foreign components into something more suitable for that realm.  The most Jealous Realms are Jigoku followed by Ningen-do.  The Shadowlands Taint is Jigoku infecting Ningen-do and trying to turn it into more Jigoku.  Mortality is Ningen-do's "taint," and that is why the Kami could not return to Tengoku until they died (and incidentally why Fu-Leng could be killed on the Second Day of Thunder).  Another example of the effects of a Realm's Jealousy is the Golden Glow that Returned Spirits from Yomi had after the Battle for Oblivion's Gate.  This also explains why the Nezumi could not get the Shadowlands Taint, the Nezumi were natives of Yume-do and thus were not subject to Jigoku's effects on Ningen-do.  

 

On Jigoku.  Fu-Leng was not Jigoku's Master, he was as much its slave as any other being it came to control.  Jigoku did as it pleased.  He could not withdraw or grant the powers of Jigoku, the realms itself did that and Fu-Leng could not chose what powers manifested in a newly tainted being.  If it felt for whatever reason to allow a person to keep some semblance of sanity it did, if not they were overwhelmed by the madness the realm.  Fu-Leng had his position because he was powerful, not because his position granted him power.  Other Oni-Lords and denizens of Jigoku vied for power against him, none were a match for him so he kept his place.  The only respites from Jigoku were exotic magics that carried their own costs, for mortals, most of those magics killed them in exchange for saving their souls.  Ultimately though, Jigoku itself was a sort of semi-sentient Realm that followed its own imperatives.

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They turned the Shadowlands Taint from something terrifying into a source of superpowers.  The pre-Spider lore on the nature of Jigoku and the by extension the Taint was way more interesting.

I think it is a matter of taste. In my opinion the change was great. I like the evil that comes with a choice, and not the mindless evil Jigoku has been. Now, you cannot be tainted just for having bad luck, but you only get tainted when you decide to give in to the dark side. I think both are equally good ways to tell horror stories, but I think the stories that are about the decisions we huamns make are a little more powerful then those that basically just are about senseless cruelty. And in a samurai game that delve so much into samurai drama and thus the situation of making decisions for the lesser of two evils all to often, the taint not as cosmic evil but as personal dilemma is much more fitting.

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The text in Kazenoshiro of each Arc come written in bonus cards released with the Twenty Festival set, so them all is AEG stuff. Sorry for the typos, if any, as I expected to just "copy paste" the text fom the bonus cards to the web. I will double check.

Hey if you need any help I used to have access to write and post to the Kaze and kept it for a while but then kinda got out of the game. Not sure if I still have my access but I'd be happy to help.

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For that write up to be perfect it only needs mention to what expansions/years are related...

or something like "the Rich Wulf years" and "the Shawn Carman years"...

Edited by GranSolo

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The text in Kazenoshiro of each Arc come written in bonus cards released with the Twenty Festival set, so them all is AEG stuff. Sorry for the typos, if any, as I expected to just "copy paste" the text fom the bonus cards to the web. I will double check.

Hey if you need any help I used to have access to write and post to the Kaze and kept it for a while but then kinda got out of the game. Not sure if I still have my access but I'd be happy to help.

 

Any help in Kazenoshiro is welcomed. I have already fixed the spelling mistakes.

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They turned the Shadowlands Taint from something terrifying into a source of superpowers.  The pre-Spider lore on the nature of Jigoku and the by extension the Taint was way more interesting.

I think it is a matter of taste. In my opinion the change was great. I like the evil that comes with a choice, and not the mindless evil Jigoku has been. Now, you cannot be tainted just for having bad luck, but you only get tainted when you decide to give in to the dark side. I think both are equally good ways to tell horror stories, but I think the stories that are about the decisions we huamns make are a little more powerful then those that basically just are about senseless cruelty. And in a samurai game that delve so much into samurai drama and thus the situation of making decisions for the lesser of two evils all to often, the taint not as cosmic evil but as personal dilemma is much more fitting.

 

 

I think a lot of people had issue with the way it was handled, more than the result of what happened. A less sinister Taint was preferred to "radioactive" taint, but the lack of "consequence" for choosing to be tainted, tainted it.

 

Overall, the Spider were going to be. That much has to be accepted (despite how bad non-spiders hate it) much like the Mantis were going to be a Great clan after the Clan War. The problem is not the result, the problem is how the result came to be. Yoritomo and Daigotsu are two sides of a Coin when it comes to their leadership within their respective clans and how they secured Great Clan status in and out of Character and it flavors the player base's acceptance.

Yoritomo was a badass Underdog. When he demanded Great Clan status for the work he and his clan (mostly He) did for the good of the Empire, he was expecting right then and there to go to war despite his clan being decimated and sacrificed for the good of all. He knew he might die then and there, but his demand, as arrogant as it was, was legitimate.

 

Daigotsu on the other hand, was handled relatively poorly. 

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I only learned about Daigotsu's involvement when i read Imperial Histories II. What i got from the CCG was the impression that some clans (Lions up front ofcourse) wanted to attack and finish of the Spider, but the Empress forbade it because doing so at a time when the empire was so weakened would only drive the Spider back underground as a dangerous and vengefull enemy. Much better to make them a great clan and ship' em off to the colonies to do their stuff far away and for the good of Rokugan.

 

I kinda liked that explanation...

Edited by Robin Graves

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They turned the Shadowlands Taint from something terrifying into a source of superpowers.  The pre-Spider lore on the nature of Jigoku and the by extension the Taint was way more interesting.

I think it is a matter of taste. In my opinion the change was great. I like the evil that comes with a choice, and not the mindless evil Jigoku has been. Now, you cannot be tainted just for having bad luck, but you only get tainted when you decide to give in to the dark side. I think both are equally good ways to tell horror stories, but I think the stories that are about the decisions we huamns make are a little more powerful then those that basically just are about senseless cruelty. And in a samurai game that delve so much into samurai drama and thus the situation of making decisions for the lesser of two evils all to often, the taint not as cosmic evil but as personal dilemma is much more fitting.

 

 

I think a lot of people had issue with the way it was handled, more than the result of what happened. A less sinister Taint was preferred to "radioactive" taint, but the lack of "consequence" for choosing to be tainted, tainted it.

 

Overall, the Spider were going to be. That much has to be accepted (despite how bad non-spiders hate it) much like the Mantis were going to be a Great clan after the Clan War. The problem is not the result, the problem is how the result came to be. Yoritomo and Daigotsu are two sides of a Coin when it comes to their leadership within their respective clans and how they secured Great Clan status in and out of Character and it flavors the player base's acceptance.

Yoritomo was a badass Underdog. When he demanded Great Clan status for the work he and his clan (mostly He) did for the good of the Empire, he was expecting right then and there to go to war despite his clan being decimated and sacrificed for the good of all. He knew he might die then and there, but his demand, as arrogant as it was, was legitimate.

 

Daigotsu on the other hand, was handled relatively poorly. 

 

I completely agree, Daigotsu was handled very poorly, but I would have accepted it if the story team would have at least made then a great story about how his son has to struggle to keep the clan together after this charismatic alomost saviour like figure of his father was gone. A story, they also failed to pull of with Yoritomo's daughter, but at least with Aramasu we got some good stuff there. The Spider had so much ptotential for great stories, and the used none of it, instead we got this ploy from the empress that still lets her look like an idiot in my opinion, and not like divine inspired leader she was build up to. I really would have liked if we would have got stories about how the two different philosophies, Bushido and Shourido can be work together, or to use these personal morality issues in the focus for stories, but no all we got was just another useless metaplot.

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I only learned about Daigotsu's involvement when i read Imperial Histories II. What i got from the CCG was the impression that some clans (Lions up front ofcourse) wanted to attack and finish of the Spider, but the Empress forbade it because doing so at a time when the empire was so weakened would only drive the Spider back underground as a dangerous and vengefull enemy. Much better to make them a great clan and ship' em off to the colonies to do their stuff far away and for the good of Rokugan.

 

I kinda liked that explanation...

 

That would be a better explanation than the reality. The reality of the situation is that Daigotsu blackmailed an idiot. He basically reneged on a benevolent offer, then gave an "Offer you can't refuse" that had little to do with the Spider. With a second Pit in the middle of the Empire (Which should not have happened, and was a result of a giant Scorpion hosejob from the Destroyer war), and radioactive Taint a serious problem, Super Saiyan Daigotsu was essentially saying "Let my son become the next Emperor, or I'll let Jigoku do what Jigoku does best." And instead of being Defiant against the forces of Jigoku and earning her title of Empress sanctioned by Heaven by letting the Clans do what the Clans do best, she folded and let Daigotsu bluff her out of the pot. And the Heavens, they did nothing. At all.

 

edit: I take that back. The Heavens did one thing: They showed her every Spider in the Empire. So she could have, with a word, killed or push out all of them.

Edited by Sashmiel

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They turned the Shadowlands Taint from something terrifying into a source of superpowers.  The pre-Spider lore on the nature of Jigoku and the by extension the Taint was way more interesting.

I think it is a matter of taste. In my opinion the change was great. I like the evil that comes with a choice, and not the mindless evil Jigoku has been. Now, you cannot be tainted just for having bad luck, but you only get tainted when you decide to give in to the dark side. I think both are equally good ways to tell horror stories, but I think the stories that are about the decisions we huamns make are a little more powerful then those that basically just are about senseless cruelty. And in a samurai game that delve so much into samurai drama and thus the situation of making decisions for the lesser of two evils all to often, the taint not as cosmic evil but as personal dilemma is much more fitting.

 

 

But the will of Jigoku wasn't mindless, it always gave you enough rope to hang yourself.  Also it the "old" Taint meant the Crab took a real spiritual risk every time they fulfilled their duty.  That made their sacrifices all the more important.  It made things like retaking the Kuni and Hiruma lands poignant as they had to literally destroy the spirit of the land to save it from Jigoku.  I liked the fact that those that fought the monsters risked becoming monsters themselves.

 

The same applies to the now mostly defunct Nothing.  Merely knowing the threat made you more vulnerable to that threat.  When you thought about it that stuff was scary as hell.  

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They turned the Shadowlands Taint from something terrifying into a source of superpowers.  The pre-Spider lore on the nature of Jigoku and the by extension the Taint was way more interesting.

I think it is a matter of taste. In my opinion the change was great. I like the evil that comes with a choice, and not the mindless evil Jigoku has been. Now, you cannot be tainted just for having bad luck, but you only get tainted when you decide to give in to the dark side. I think both are equally good ways to tell horror stories, but I think the stories that are about the decisions we huamns make are a little more powerful then those that basically just are about senseless cruelty. And in a samurai game that delve so much into samurai drama and thus the situation of making decisions for the lesser of two evils all to often, the taint not as cosmic evil but as personal dilemma is much more fitting.

 

 

But the will of Jigoku wasn't mindless, it always gave you enough rope to hang yourself.  Also it the "old" Taint meant the Crab took a real spiritual risk every time they fulfilled their duty.  That made their sacrifices all the more important.  It made things like retaking the Kuni and Hiruma lands poignant as they had to literally destroy the spirit of the land to save it from Jigoku.  I liked the fact that those that fought the monsters risked becoming monsters themselves.

 

The same applies to the now mostly defunct Nothing.  Merely knowing the threat made you more vulnerable to that threat.  When you thought about it that stuff was scary as hell.  

 

I guess we have to agree to disagree on the matter of Jigoku. While I agree, with you on how important the sacrifice is the crab bring for Rokugan, it is basically the same decision as going into a radioactive location to prevent the radiation from conterminating more (thanks Sashmiel for bringing up radiation). That can be a powerful (and frightening) story, but it doesn't work well when you plan to do a game at the imperial winter court. So, I see Jigoku and the shadowlands as two different things, one is the realm of mindless evil and the other is a setting for survival horror. If you read some japanese fairy tales, you would see that oni are rarely about combat, but often about decide and temptation, they offer you things for a price, and that is the whole point that makes maho interesting in L5R, you gain some powerful spells, but risk your own sanity or are risking to become a monster yourself.

 

The nothing is more or less cosmic horror in the vein of Cthulhu. Yes, can be very scary, but is in my opinion yet another kind of horror one can have. It is not survival horror and only very distant has it some connections to the psychological and body horror aspects that taint can have. It is more about alienation from reality, and thus very existential horror. And I feel like the story team had for a long time no right idea how to use that properly (but in their defense, it feels like many horror authors fall back on other horror approaches too since this kind of horror is hard to pull off well, I would say even Lovecraft failed in half his works to get it right and he is the guy who basically invented that horror sub-genre).

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