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Integrating the Spider

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1) From a CCG meta perspective, the switch from Shadowlands to Spider was good. Having a matchup where a Dishonour player would basically be obliged to scoop as soon as they saw the opposing SH was bad for the game, and removing a primarily (almost entirely) Nonhuman/Undead faction from the game simplified card design by tightening the focus on Samurai (including shugenja and monks). However, the Forgotten Temple provided an interesting instance of how a faction's resistance to dishonour could be represented, without rendering it totally immune. I confess myself unsure how well-balanced it was, because I just don't get to play in a broad enough environment, but it was a start, and I'm sure there are other potential methods of resolving the issue (including outright changing the victory conditions, as discussed in various other threads). Given the framework AEG was working with, it made sense, but 'immunity to CCG Dishonour' is ultimately not a reason to ditch the Horde in favour of the Spider.

 

While I played the CCG with Scorpion, I never got to play Dishonor, and given the talk about Honor/Dishonor as a victory condition in other thread, I'm throwing a question here: Is the situation referenced above, of Shadowlands immunity to Dishonor, really a flaw of the faction in the CCG, or would it be more a flaw of Dishonor as a Victory Condition?

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What I'm saying is that other factions shouldn't be changed specifically to benefit the Spider. That would be unfair.

please for God's sake stop acting like this is is a thing

 

 

But it is a thing. People have suggested that the Empire just get used to the presence of tainted individuals. This would be a major change to the mindset of almost everyone, but the honorable clans in particular.

There's been a suggestion to change the nature of Jigoku. This would affect the Crab.

There's been a suggestion that the Spider's job be to placate Jigoku. This would also affect the Crab, whose job has always been to fight Jigoku.

Any attempt to change the setting to fit the spider will affect the other factions. And since the sole purpose of these changes is to prevent the Spider from having to give something up, I call foul.

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This thread. Wow.

 

It seems that battle-lines have been drawn, and we now have two groups of people repeating the same things at each other at increasingly high volume rather than engaging in productive discussion.

 

I am going to step away from IC arguments about whether or not the Spider work or can be made to work in the setting, because ultimately different people have different visions of what Rokugani can consider acceptable, and we don't know how much - if any - of the storyline, or established cosmology, prejudices, attitudes, etc., will be retained. Instead, I will make some OOC observations.

 

1) From a CCG meta perspective, the switch from Shadowlands to Spider was good. Having a matchup where a Dishonour player would basically be obliged to scoop as soon as they saw the opposing SH was bad for the game, and removing a primarily (almost entirely) Nonhuman/Undead faction from the game simplified card design by tightening the focus on Samurai (including shugenja and monks). However, the Forgotten Temple provided an interesting instance of how a faction's resistance to dishonour could be represented, without rendering it totally immune. I confess myself unsure how well-balanced it was, because I just don't get to play in a broad enough environment, but it was a start, and I'm sure there are other potential methods of resolving the issue (including outright changing the victory conditions, as discussed in various other threads). Given the framework AEG was working with, it made sense, but 'immunity to CCG Dishonour' is ultimately not a reason to ditch the Horde in favour of the Spider.

 

2) Part of the problem with the Spider is that their fanbase (and the base of their opponents) is divided among people who see them as misunderstood and mistreated, but not inherently evil; people who see them as evil, but able to work within the system; and others who see them as committedly evil, and only able to work within the system until they have the power to take it over. All of these positions are flawed in one way or another, because the ST itself never quite worked out what it was doing with the Spider. Without having a coherent picture of who the Spider are and what they want, it's impossible to make a coherent argument for or against them, and we may not have that for some time, depending on how forthcoming FFG decides it wants to be.

 

3) This kind of antagonism ALWAYS arises in every thread about the Spider, and several that weren't supposed to be. It reinforces the 'siege mentality' of Spider players, with some justification; but the more defensive the Spider players get about their faction, the more other people find their existence objectionable. It's a vicious circle, which has to be broken. One way to do it would be to say "Spider are a thing, deal with it". This clearly doesn't work. One way to do it would be to say "Spider are not a thing, deal with it". This would make some people happy, but plenty of others very upset, and that is not good. Ultimately, the only way forward is to deal with each other civilly, remember that we all love the same game, and that the intensity of our feelings on the matter should be a source of strength, not internal division. In the absence of any formally supported game, L5R is only as good as its community, and we need to hang together.

 

 

 

With all that said, I will dip a toe back into the debate itself, to restate my position on the Spider (it was on the AEG forums, but).

 

The Spider in their 'current' form (ie, as AEG left them) are clearly not workable. Changes must be made, either to the setting or to the Spider themselves. Since enough complaints have already been made about changing the setting to suit the Spider, here is my list of what the Spider would have to lose in order to be acceptable within Rokugan (if they want to quit Rokugani society and revert to pure antagonism, that's fine - I was a Horde player originally - but that's a different kettle of fish entirely):

 

1) Worship of Jigoku. Worship of Fu Leng is possibly all right, with some fiddling, since he was after all a Kami, but worship of Jigoku itself - or Daigotsu and the Dark Fortunes, since they are creatures of Jigoku alone, with no inherent divinity - runs too strongly against the setting's religious establishment to be acceptable. This includes the Family names.

 

2) Use of Taint/Maho/Undead/Nonhumans/Whatever-the-hell-Kinuye-is-doing/Nothing. This shouldn't really need to be said.

 

3) Pride in their history. Yes, every Clan has skeletons in its cupboard. However, everyone else has suffered for theirs (the Scorpion were exiled twice, the Akodo Family was disbanded, Toturi ordered the Unicorn to attack the Lion in Storms Over Matsu Palace, Shiro Moto was razed in revenge for the Khan's Defiance, etc.), AND everyone else also has a strong history of loyal service. The Spider have an almost uniformly despicable track record - far worse than anyone else's, especially if one includes pre-Spider Daigotsu, but even if restricted to the time since they became a Clan - with virtually nothing good to balance it, and have never been punished for it in any meaningful way. The Spider need to either make a totally clean break from their past, or spend a long, long, long, time atoning for it.

 

4) Explicit rejection of Bushido/promotion of Shourido. If they want to keep Shourido on some level, that's fine, and if they want to privately consider Bushido a code for fools and weaklings, that's also perfectly ok. Bushido, however, is known with certainty to be of divine origin, and no other code of ethics can be compared its equal without approaching blasphemy. The Tsuruchi had to more or less give up the Wasp Code in exchange for acceptance as legitimate members of society, and even the Scorpion pay some degree of lipservice to Bushido in public, however much they might snicker at it among themselves. Shourido can be retained, but not promoted as an equal or equivalent to Bushido.

While I overall agree with you that the Spider has to face some changes, I do not agree on how you think it has to happen. Let me go through the four points you make and address each on of them:

 

1) Yes, the worship of Jigoku has to stop, the Spider has to realise that that realm is not giving them what they want in itself, but it actually eating away their souls, but with that said, I think they still could keep a healthy respect for Daigotsu. I mean in a wrathful god kind of way, which you do not really worship, but try to appease so it doesn't bring suffering to you.

 

2) Again I agree, the things that are basically are means of destroying the reality itself should be not be thrown around carefree. But I think the stigmata of having the people who are tainted is something that is part of the clan, So, instead of having the Spider as a clan that indulges the destruction of the world, I would rather love to see them as a clan that struggles with their own inner darkness, and thus always has to worry about going to Jigoku after death and for that reason is thinking about methods on how to avoid that fate. This tragic hero feeling is what has appeal to many people, and some of the greatest most epic stories are about redemption, so that theme should definitly stay with the Spider, since no other clan provides that.

 

3) There I disagree with you, if they break with everything then it wouldn't be the Spider any more, but a new and different clan. The Spider should just make the step from villains to anti-heroes. Sure, the Spider did many horrible things, but they are also the most welcoming clan of them all, even more welcoming then the Unicorn. They don't care about who you have been, they look at who you are now, what you are willing to do for the clan. The Spider definitly have things to be proud about!

 

4) Regarding the Bushido/shourido thing, I thin the biggest issue there is the perception of the players, not the characters in the setting. Since ideologies are nothing people have written on their foreheads. So, it becomes just how is Bushido and Shourido be seen. And I think it was stupid from Aldreac to call Shourido as an egostical way of life, when it clearly is not. Sure, Bushido is more altruistic and has welfare concerns in it, but that doesn't make Shourido egoistical. Shourido is as much a social contract as Bushido is, it just works under the assumption that a society is just as strong as the weakest link, and thus it a meritocraty that pushes everybody to always iprove oneself. Look at all the Shourido virtues! And that is just natural, since having to carry the wight of others would just have gotten them all killed when they lived back in the shadowlands where an oni simply could decide they look like a nice snack (and thus would have eaten them like popcorn). This ideological difference is actually something that could be used for great stories, to bad AEG never used that potential there, even with all their talk about themes in decks, they seemed to not get how to put themes into stories.

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1) From a CCG meta perspective, the switch from Shadowlands to Spider was good. Having a matchup where a Dishonour player would basically be obliged to scoop as soon as they saw the opposing SH was bad for the game, and removing a primarily (almost entirely) Nonhuman/Undead faction from the game simplified card design by tightening the focus on Samurai (including shugenja and monks). However, the Forgotten Temple provided an interesting instance of how a faction's resistance to dishonour could be represented, without rendering it totally immune. I confess myself unsure how well-balanced it was, because I just don't get to play in a broad enough environment, but it was a start, and I'm sure there are other potential methods of resolving the issue (including outright changing the victory conditions, as discussed in various other threads). Given the framework AEG was working with, it made sense, but 'immunity to CCG Dishonour' is ultimately not a reason to ditch the Horde in favour of the Spider.

 

While I played the CCG with Scorpion, I never got to play Dishonor, and given the talk about Honor/Dishonor as a victory condition in other thread, I'm throwing a question here: Is the situation referenced above, of Shadowlands immunity to Dishonor, really a flaw of the faction in the CCG, or would it be more a flaw of Dishonor as a Victory Condition?

 

 

It was definitely a flaw in the SLH faction.  It wasn't just dishonor that they were immune to.  They ignored entire sections of the rulebook.  All of their Strongholds required a huge boilerplate of text to cover all the rules that didn't apply to them, so much so that if you weren't paying attention you could miss info that changed between editions in it.  Corrupt gold (not just the free version) was a huge problem because they sidestepped all of the downsides, and at some point their costing curve didn't reflect that.  

 

I was a big fan of SLH, but they definitely warped design in the CCG, and not just because they were immune to an entire faction's victory condition.  My wife started with SLH, and once she got the hang of it I had a really tough time teaching her any of the clans because she had gotten used to ignoring so many rules.  

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To shift the conversation a bit here from the traditional progression of this argument, a major factor that will determine how the Spider or Shadowlands function in the setting rests in the way that the game and universe is framed.  If FFG goes with the theme of Rokugan vs. Jigoku as the main frame for the game world, then I see the Spider shifting swiftly back to the Shadowlands, and even possibly to a non-playable faction (similar to the Shadow deck in the LotR LCG).  They will be the obvious villains and likely assume their more monstrous characteristics, likely with Oni and other nasties.

 

If the frame surrounds the various Clans/factions jockeying for the throne or the power behind it, then the Spider have to reframed as a distinct power aimed at the throne.  How to reframe them in this way still remains the question.  The infilitrator theme could work pretty well in this instance, especially if they shift the Scorpion toward Ninjas or Dishonorable Politics as their primary themes (Note:  I am working under the assumption that each Clan/faction will start with one primary theme).

 

Again, until we know how FFG plans to frame the game world, there is no easy way to integrate the Spider into the setting in one form or another.  Once we know that frame, we can better gauge how FFG might reshape the Clan.

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What do the spider want? (And I'm not suggesting it's an Oni Tea Party.) Like seriously, what's their deal? What's their ultimate goal?

Even better, can you link me to something current and (until recently) official?

 

 

From this thread, what I gather is that the Spider mainly want to be the bad guys, and to have a major effect on the story. It's not current, though, so maybe attitudes have changed.

 

 

This thread. Wow.

 

It seems that battle-lines have been drawn, and we now have two groups of people repeating the same things at each other at increasingly high volume rather than engaging in productive discussion.

 

 

It's gotten to the point where you can almost guess what someone said without reading their post, just by looking at who liked it. It's kind of sad.

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What do the spider want? (And I'm not suggesting it's an Oni Tea Party.) Like seriously, what's their deal? What's their ultimate goal?

Even better, can you link me to something current and (until recently) official?

 

 

From this thread, what I gather is that the Spider mainly want to be the bad guys, and to have a major effect on the story. It's not current, though, so maybe attitudes have changed.

 

 

 

Cheers, but I was thinking more like box text. Like basic, "Welcome to L5R! This is your clan."

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What I'm saying is that other factions shouldn't be changed specifically to benefit the Spider. That would be unfair.

please for God's sake stop acting like this is is a thing

 

 

But it is a thing. People have suggested that the Empire just get used to the presence of tainted individuals. This would be a major change to the mindset of almost everyone, but the honorable clans in particular.

There's been a suggestion to change the nature of Jigoku. This would affect the Crab.

There's been a suggestion that the Spider's job be to placate Jigoku. This would also affect the Crab, whose job has always been to fight Jigoku.

Any attempt to change the setting to fit the spider will affect the other factions. And since the sole purpose of these changes is to prevent the Spider from having to give something up, I call foul.

 

The sole purpose of these changes is not to prevent the spider from giving something up. I have said this like nine times and every time I do I am told "yes, but, have you considered that the sole purpose of these changes is to give the spider something/prevent the spider from giving something up?" The sole purpose of these changes is not to give the spider anything. It is not even the primary purpose of them. 

 

The purpose of these changes, when they help the spider, is to help the spider better do the thing the setting needs the spider to do. Having a faction do what the setting needs it to do helps the whole setting. Refusing to allow a faction to do what the setting needs it to do because you are stuck in a mindset wherein you can't give "another" faction (you do not have a faction at this point) too many nice things damages the setting for nothing in return.

 

Every faction will be changed and every faction will be affected. The crab will have to change regardless, because keeping things at "the status quo" (there is no status quo) makes a state where the Crab have to fail at their job constantly, to the extent that either THEY really suck, or that they never should have been one single clan to begin with. 

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Be unapologetically evil but allowed to participate in society because they Follow The Rules and The Rules do not actually align with good and evil; be a potential threat to Rokugan that can be interacted with on a meaningful level through the apparati of politics and culture; provide means for players who want to play Evil Guys to be able to do so without undermining a game model where all players and thus all decks participate in courtliness. 

 

You can just as easily argue this is all for the "sole benefit" of the Crane, since this allows them to combat the Spider in the most Cranely, cultural, political, and artistical ways. And the benefit the Crane get out of it is far, far more than the benefit the Spider get out of it.

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I thought the Spider Clan was pretty cool on it's inception and out with the Rat they came, make it a game of Clans and anyone being able to be dishonored out.

 

But over time it's been a bit of a mess. Much like the other weird factions; Ninja, Spirits, The Horde, even Brotherhood and Naga. I like having an antagonist faction but let us not forget the Scorpion. I'm sure i'll upset some people but add me to the list of people who would rather just see the Spider Clan scraped as a faction and the Horde along with it. That being said, I don't want to see them removed as elements from the storyline or loss of card support. I just feel the game would be better if Taint came at a real cost to the basic Clans, shadowlands nasties like goblins more cost, big oni even more cost. The antagonist factions just seem to be too much of a mess, or now. Kick the game off with 8 Clans and then ask how we want to move forward on the more controversial factions. ill they be a faction in their own right? Or a stronghold attachment? A bunch of grimdark cards you really have to ask yourself if you want to use, because that 12F/12C Oni just cost you a 10 honor hit and his card states on the next turn you hand him over to your opponent.

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"I don't want Spider or Horde" is a much more coherent and respectable position to me than just "Don't give the Spider things, go back to the Horde", but to make it work, the only time any oni or goblins appear would have to be when they were summoned and employed by Great Clans -- if you don't, then you run into the same problem as the Destroyer War, "the story right now is about a conflict the game is not capable of depicting". 

 

And hey, I am down for oni and goblins only appearing when summoned by Great Clans and a lack of Spider or Shadowlands Horde, but that is a change you can't do halfway, you got to completely commit to it and make sure everything else fits with it.

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Be unapologetically evil but allowed to participate in society because they Follow The Rules and The Rules do not actually align with good and evil; be a potential threat to Rokugan that can be interacted with on a meaningful level through the apparati of politics and culture; provide means for players who want to play Evil Guys to be able to do so without undermining a game model where all players and thus all decks participate in courtliness. 

 

You can just as easily argue this is all for the "sole benefit" of the Crane, since this allows them to combat the Spider in the most Cranely, cultural, political, and artistical ways. And the benefit the Crane get out of it is far, far more than the benefit the Spider get out of it.

 

I hate to keep flogging my own idea, but the conspiracy plan can do all of those things without forcing the other clans to get chummy with the tentacle. As long as they don't know that their fellow courtiers are secretly Spider, then it's all golden.

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Be unapologetically evil but allowed to participate in society because they Follow The Rules and The Rules do not actually align with good and evil; be a potential threat to Rokugan that can be interacted with on a meaningful level through the apparati of politics and culture; provide means for players who want to play Evil Guys to be able to do so without undermining a game model where all players and thus all decks participate in courtliness. 

 

You can just as easily argue this is all for the "sole benefit" of the Crane, since this allows them to combat the Spider in the most Cranely, cultural, political, and artistical ways. And the benefit the Crane get out of it is far, far more than the benefit the Spider get out of it.

 

I feel that your desire for the Spider points out the inherent problem with being Evil and having everyone just deal with it.  To quote a line from a video I once watched, this definition has the Spider having their cake, eating it too, and rubbing what's left on every other Clan's face.  Aside from the problem with being irredeemably evil openly without some sort of justice from the forces of "good," it is also incredibly boring.  Strong villains and morally gray characters truly work when their motivations and agency are sufficient narrow and compelling.  Being the super evil bad guys, while certainly appealing to some, does not easily fit into a narrative outside of the BBEG.

 

To truly revise the Spider, the first thing to do is create a focused motivation and an avenue to enact that motivation without it seeming like they are twirling their mustaches and laughing at everyone.  As many have pointed out, and in a vein that could potentially work, the Spider take the Kolat's role:  attempting to infiltrate and control the Empire through evil, twisted means hidden in the background rather than in everyone's face.  This premise would need work, but it gives us a way of consider alternative avenues for the faction, which prior to the almost Onyx arc, had languished due to a lack of strong writing and overall vision about what to do with them.

Edited by Osmo

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While I overall agree with you that the Spider has to face some changes, I do not agree on how you think it has to happen. Let me go through the four points you make and address each on of them:

 

1) Yes, the worship of Jigoku has to stop, the Spider has to realise that that realm is not giving them what they want in itself, but it actually eating away their souls, but with that said, I think they still could keep a healthy respect for Daigotsu. I mean in a wrathful god kind of way, which you do not really worship, but try to appease so it doesn't bring suffering to you.

 

2) Again I agree, the things that are basically are means of destroying the reality itself should be not be thrown around carefree. But I think the stigmata of having the people who are tainted is something that is part of the clan, So, instead of having the Spider as a clan that indulges the destruction of the world, I would rather love to see them as a clan that struggles with their own inner darkness, and thus always has to worry about going to Jigoku after death and for that reason is thinking about methods on how to avoid that fate. This tragic hero feeling is what has appeal to many people, and some of the greatest most epic stories are about redemption, so that theme should definitly stay with the Spider, since no other clan provides that.

 

3) There I disagree with you, if they break with everything then it wouldn't be the Spider any more, but a new and different clan. The Spider should just make the step from villains to anti-heroes. Sure, the Spider did many horrible things, but they are also the most welcoming clan of them all, even more welcoming then the Unicorn. They don't care about who you have been, they look at who you are now, what you are willing to do for the clan. The Spider definitly have things to be proud about!

 

4) Regarding the Bushido/shourido thing, I thin the biggest issue there is the perception of the players, not the characters in the setting. Since ideologies are nothing people have written on their foreheads. So, it becomes just how is Bushido and Shourido be seen. And I think it was stupid from Aldreac to call Shourido as an egostical way of life, when it clearly is not. Sure, Bushido is more altruistic and has welfare concerns in it, but that doesn't make Shourido egoistical. Shourido is as much a social contract as Bushido is, it just works under the assumption that a society is just as strong as the weakest link, and thus it a meritocraty that pushes everybody to always iprove oneself. Look at all the Shourido virtues! And that is just natural, since having to carry the wight of others would just have gotten them all killed when they lived back in the shadowlands where an oni simply could decide they look like a nice snack (and thus would have eaten them like popcorn). This ideological difference is actually something that could be used for great stories, to bad AEG never used that potential there, even with all their talk about themes in decks, they seemed to not get how to put themes into stories.

 

 

 

I respect your opinions, and appreciate the effort to engage. I will preface this by repeating that we really don't know what FFG is going to do with the IP, so if things change dramatically, all of this might be irrelevant. But hey, it's fun in the meantime! So, assuming the setting remains more or less as AEG left it (but ignoring Kanpeki's decision to unleash Jigoku):

 

1) I have no issue with their keeping a wary eye on Daigotsu, and taking steps to placate him and the Realm. No problem.

 

2) Having Tainted people is part of the Clan at the moment- but if we agree that the Spider shouldn't be seeing conscious acceptance of the Taint as a good thing, or even acceptable, those people will die out eventually. I also strongly disagree with your assertion that no other Clan can provide the 'tragic anti-hero' archetype (the Scorpion had a lock on that until the Spider showed up, and would happily resume their role), or redemption stories (look at Ginawa, or Yakamo, or any of a large number of other famous samurai). Nobody else might have redemption as a core aspect of the Clan, but everyone else can still do it- and at the moment, the Spider aren't even providing redemption, since they remain determinedly evil, so for that to be a thing - which it could be, and it could be fun - they would need to undergo some fairly major changes.

 

3) I agree that it would be a fundamentally different Clan. That's basically the point- the Spider, qua Spider, are not workable (also, becoming full anti-heroes only exacerbates their existing problem of being Scorpion-lite (or the Scorpion being Spider-lite). You do, however, seem to have the core of a potentially interesting place for the Spider to go- becoming the Clan that accepts everyone, regardless of background, as long as they have a clearly-demonstrated interest in improving themselves (and with the Spider presumably keeping a watchful eye over them). Ronin, worthy peasants, monks who can't join the Togashi for whatever reason - all sorts of people who have earned a right to elevation in the social order, but can't join any other Clan - the Spider (to whom I would give a new name) could take them in, and give them a productive outlet for their energies, while allowing everyone else to keep tabs on these potentially disruptive elements. It could work. However, the basis of such a faction would be not pride in their beginnings, but a willingness to cut themselves off from it entirely. The Spider could be proud of who they are, in other words... but still not of who they were.

 

4) I don't mind particularly whether either set of virtues is altruistic or virtuous, and I agree that there's room for interesting tension between belief/ethical systems, as there already is between the Clans on a range of issues. What is important is that Bushido is divine, and Shourido is at best human, at worst of hellish origin. Officially and publicly, there can be no question of which set of values takes precedence, whatever they might think among themselves.

 

Thank you again for the considered reply, and if you think I've misunderstood or misrepresented you, please correct me.

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Be unapologetically evil but allowed to participate in society because they Follow The Rules and The Rules do not actually align with good and evil; be a potential threat to Rokugan that can be interacted with on a meaningful level through the apparati of politics and culture; provide means for players who want to play Evil Guys to be able to do so without undermining a game model where all players and thus all decks participate in courtliness. 

 

You can just as easily argue this is all for the "sole benefit" of the Crane, since this allows them to combat the Spider in the most Cranely, cultural, political, and artistical ways. And the benefit the Crane get out of it is far, far more than the benefit the Spider get out of it.

If the Spider Need to keep the shadowlands taint to be unapologetically evil, that would mean the taint and by extension jigoku is the actual evil in that situation. With tengoku being the diametric opposite of jigoku in the setting, Tengoku Would in fact, be considered good. There are even several items that were gifted to The clans by iweko I who has tengoku's divine blessing that have the descriptor "heavenly", and numerous titles bestowed to emperors with similar line. With the emperor/ess being the voice of The celestial heavens in the mortal realm, all the laws and edicts(or the rules as you put it) they create by rokugani perspective would be "good". So the assertion that the rules aren't good or evil don't work.

Either the taint isn't necessary to be evil, in which case arguing that the spider need to keep it for the good of the setting doesn't hold merit, or it is necessary in which case your description of what you want in the spider is a direct contradiction.

If it was unintentional, that's fine but it still makes your assessment wrong. If it was intentional, the have your cake(be unapologetically evil) and eat it too(allowed to participate in society) argument is actually valid.

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Spider = Bad guys

Shouldn't be labeled as good in any way.

Kanpeki's father is Daigotsu, in turn which whose is Fu Leng.

>.> People just expect too much

 

Many people want Spider to survive. But they do it in a way like trying to fit a circle piece into a square block. Just won't happen the way they want it. I'd leave it to the story tellers to figure it out to be honest. Its a mess as it is at the moment.

So if they're that incompatible with the setting, why not discard them and make up some story about them being unceremoniously obliterated? There has to come a time when a decision can be made, and people have been getting impatient with the Spider being repeatedly given options that they either try to dodge or that are then not committed to.

 

And I think it's been explained a few times, but ‘bad guys’ is not a purpose that one factions should be given in the setting, but someone whose identity should be determined by the story currently being told. It was bad when they did it with the Scorpion Clan and it was doubly so when the Spider Clan showed up, barely bothering to hide its desire to rule/destroy Rokugan. Sorry, an openly evil Spider Clan is dumb and the alternative (Horde) is a pain from a storyline/design perspective. The Spider Clan playerbase can't make up its mind about which element to give up when asked, waddling back and forth between their prized possessions like a weeping toddler, clutching them tightly as they are alternately pointed out and the players beseeched: ‘May we take this one, then?’ I don't know what FFG's plan is, but the smart move is to steer clear of this nonsensical back-and-forth (to use your own analogy, the Spider being a square peg and Rokugan a round hole) and either change the Spider or throw it out.

 

Edit: I guess my point could be summarized as, “Moral turpitude is not a job.”

 

 

They're already there, it's already past the point of no return.

 

Minor nitpick: Daigotsu's father is Hantei XXXVIII. Other than that, agreed.

 

Oh thank you for that.

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Be unapologetically evil but allowed to participate in society because they Follow The Rules and The Rules do not actually align with good and evil; be a potential threat to Rokugan that can be interacted with on a meaningful level through the apparati of politics and culture; provide means for players who want to play Evil Guys to be able to do so without undermining a game model where all players and thus all decks participate in courtliness.

 

To be honest, I'm still not seeing how this is "for the entire game" and not just "so the Spider can have their evil and eat their courtly at the same time."

 

The setting (and honestly any future RPG) needs nothing of the sort.   If some group is unapologetically evil by a society's standards, then very few in that society are going to tolerate them just walking about freely, showing up to private functions, etc.  To the Rokugani, "The Rules" are quite aligned with their view of morality, ethics, and propriety.  The Spider do and believe things that are morally reprehensive and against The Rules of the society, and everyone knows it; their ultimate master, Jigoku, stands in direct opposition to everything the Rokugani hold sacred and desires only to consume and corrupt all of reality while wiping out everything pure and good and right in the eyes of Rokugan.

 

And I don't want to derail things by using real-life examples, but... this "but they follow The Rules" thing is like saying "(insert almost unimaginably terrible real-world faction here) can come visit as long as they remember to take their shoes off and bow correctly when they do." 

 

If that's what's needed to fit The Spider into the card game, then the overarching totality of Rokugan is better off without the Spider at all. 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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While I overall agree with you that the Spider has to face some changes, I do not agree on how you think it has to happen. Let me go through the four points you make and address each on of them:

 

1) Yes, the worship of Jigoku has to stop, the Spider has to realise that that realm is not giving them what they want in itself, but it actually eating away their souls, but with that said, I think they still could keep a healthy respect for Daigotsu. I mean in a wrathful god kind of way, which you do not really worship, but try to appease so it doesn't bring suffering to you.

 

2) Again I agree, the things that are basically are means of destroying the reality itself should be not be thrown around carefree. But I think the stigmata of having the people who are tainted is something that is part of the clan, So, instead of having the Spider as a clan that indulges the destruction of the world, I would rather love to see them as a clan that struggles with their own inner darkness, and thus always has to worry about going to Jigoku after death and for that reason is thinking about methods on how to avoid that fate. This tragic hero feeling is what has appeal to many people, and some of the greatest most epic stories are about redemption, so that theme should definitly stay with the Spider, since no other clan provides that.

 

3) There I disagree with you, if they break with everything then it wouldn't be the Spider any more, but a new and different clan. The Spider should just make the step from villains to anti-heroes. Sure, the Spider did many horrible things, but they are also the most welcoming clan of them all, even more welcoming then the Unicorn. They don't care about who you have been, they look at who you are now, what you are willing to do for the clan. The Spider definitly have things to be proud about!

 

4) Regarding the Bushido/shourido thing, I thin the biggest issue there is the perception of the players, not the characters in the setting. Since ideologies are nothing people have written on their foreheads. So, it becomes just how is Bushido and Shourido be seen. And I think it was stupid from Aldreac to call Shourido as an egostical way of life, when it clearly is not. Sure, Bushido is more altruistic and has welfare concerns in it, but that doesn't make Shourido egoistical. Shourido is as much a social contract as Bushido is, it just works under the assumption that a society is just as strong as the weakest link, and thus it a meritocraty that pushes everybody to always iprove oneself. Look at all the Shourido virtues! And that is just natural, since having to carry the wight of others would just have gotten them all killed when they lived back in the shadowlands where an oni simply could decide they look like a nice snack (and thus would have eaten them like popcorn). This ideological difference is actually something that could be used for great stories, to bad AEG never used that potential there, even with all their talk about themes in decks, they seemed to not get how to put themes into stories.

 

 

 

I respect your opinions, and appreciate the effort to engage. I will preface this by repeating that we really don't know what FFG is going to do with the IP, so if things change dramatically, all of this might be irrelevant. But hey, it's fun in the meantime! So, assuming the setting remains more or less as AEG left it (but ignoring Kanpeki's decision to unleash Jigoku):

 

1) I have no issue with their keeping a wary eye on Daigotsu, and taking steps to placate him and the Realm. No problem.

 

2) Having Tainted people is part of the Clan at the moment- but if we agree that the Spider shouldn't be seeing conscious acceptance of the Taint as a good thing, or even acceptable, those people will die out eventually. I also strongly disagree with your assertion that no other Clan can provide the 'tragic anti-hero' archetype (the Scorpion had a lock on that until the Spider showed up, and would happily resume their role), or redemption stories (look at Ginawa, or Yakamo, or any of a large number of other famous samurai). Nobody else might have redemption as a core aspect of the Clan, but everyone else can still do it- and at the moment, the Spider aren't even providing redemption, since they remain determinedly evil, so for that to be a thing - which it could be, and it could be fun - they would need to undergo some fairly major changes.

 

3) I agree that it would be a fundamentally different Clan. That's basically the point- the Spider, qua Spider, are not workable (also, becoming full anti-heroes only exacerbates their existing problem of being Scorpion-lite (or the Scorpion being Spider-lite). You do, however, seem to have the core of a potentially interesting place for the Spider to go- becoming the Clan that accepts everyone, regardless of background, as long as they have a clearly-demonstrated interest in improving themselves (and with the Spider presumably keeping a watchful eye over them). Ronin, worthy peasants, monks who can't join the Togashi for whatever reason - all sorts of people who have earned a right to elevation in the social order, but can't join any other Clan - the Spider (to whom I would give a new name) could take them in, and give them a productive outlet for their energies, while allowing everyone else to keep tabs on these potentially disruptive elements. It could work. However, the basis of such a faction would be not pride in their beginnings, but a willingness to cut themselves off from it entirely. The Spider could be proud of who they are, in other words... but still not of who they were.

 

4) I don't mind particularly whether either set of virtues is altruistic or virtuous, and I agree that there's room for interesting tension between belief/ethical systems, as there already is between the Clans on a range of issues. What is important is that Bushido is divine, and Shourido is at best human, at worst of hellish origin. Officially and publicly, there can be no question of which set of values takes precedence, whatever they might think among themselves.

 

Thank you again for the considered reply, and if you think I've misunderstood or misrepresented you, please correct me.

 

At least I can agree fully with you on that it fun to talk about the things while we wait. Honestly, I start to think FFG should throw the story completely out and make a timeline neutral game, and people can project then whatever they want unto the cards... but until then, let's continue our conversation:

 

1) seems like we can agree there.

 

2) Sure, other clans have occationally tragoc heros, but for the Spider that is the default, it part of the clan identity. Every clan is a package that comes with a core identity, like the crab being the pragmatic defenders of the empire, sure not every single Crab is that way, but it is the core concept that we tell others about when we try to explain what  clan is about. And I think the Spider are at its core, about the outcast of society that cannot play by the rules of society but still would enrich it to have them around, that is inherently tradigcal, like the heroes of greek saga, who all had their hybris that brought doom, and it is an interesting aspect for samurai drama, which often enough has the heroes to be turn against certain social values to uphold society as a whole. So, I see plenty of great story potential with the Spider as they are. And so I think having them around with this mentality to question the the ways of the empire is healthy for the empire too, so we have the Spider who want to change the empire, but will fail to make the empire as they want it to be, while at the same time the empire can grow because of the attampts of the Spider. So, the friction between them and the other clans should stay.

 

3) The thing would be on what do the Spider focus there pride on. Or to make a real world example, do you think the USA should rename themselves and be shamed for their past? I mean plenty of US citizens are rather proud about their nation, and still it has many things in the past that are nothing to be proud of. And I think the same would go for the Spider, sure they should be shamed for their eagerness to throw their souls away, but they can be proud about having survived against all odds. So, of course they would be proud that they found together and could build a clan in the shadowlands, thus in an absolute hostile environment. So, I want them to keep a certain core of their identity, but I agree that their energy should find a different focus, so that they no longer try to bring the empire down, but instead direct their aggression against things that threaten them and the empire.

 

4) I disagree with you that bushido is divine. At the beginning of the game it felt like Bushido is mostly a product of shinsei's teachings, but that seems to have changed to become later more a product of Akodo's teachings. So, let's look at both possible origins: Shinsei was just a human and his teachings have been mostly about enlightenment, but were not inherently divine. Akodo lost like his siblings the divine nature when tehy fell to ningendo, he made mistakes just like any human would do (do I have you to remind of the story with the Kitsu?). So, even if the Bushido is based on Akodo, it is still not divine, since it dealt with the realities of ningendo, and thus was just the social contract for this realm, not one for tengoku or other realms and it was just for humans, since animals and spirits are not bound by it. And the same goes for Shourido, it is a social contract that makes only sense in ningendo and for humans. So, both pretty much the same, ideologies which people can follow to build a society on it. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean that some characters in the setting can believe that one is divine and one is hellish, but from an neutral persepctive outside the game, they are both just social contracts (which can even work both at the same time, I mean they are not even opposites, it is possible to unite them, just like one can be a christian and a capitalist, they are not mutual exclusive).

 

Don't worry, you try at least to understand from where I am coming from, so I enjoy our discussion, since it is open. And we are on a few things quite similar in opinion, it is mostly just details where we diverge.

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If the Spider Need to keep the shadowlands taint to be unapologetically evil, that would mean the taint and by extension jigoku is the actual evil in that situation. With tengoku being the diametric opposite of jigoku in the setting, Tengoku Would in fact, be considered good. There are even several items that were gifted to The clans by iweko I who has tengoku's divine blessing that have the descriptor "heavenly", and numerous titles bestowed to emperors with similar line. With the emperor/ess being the voice of The celestial heavens in the mortal realm, all the laws and edicts(or the rules as you put it) they create by rokugani perspective would be "good". So the assertion that the rules aren't good or evil don't work.

 

This is a good point, and I'd like to elaborate on it.

 

The empire's founders were of Tengoku, and they tried to build a society that reflects it. The closest thing the empire has to a purpose is to emulate the divine order of Tengoku. Even the Scorpion do it in their own way, they just believe that since humans are flawed, dubious methods are sometimes required to force society into shape. Is Rokugan successful in building a divine society? Not particularly. They fail at it all the time. But the impossible struggle to build a "perfect" society is at the empire's core.

 

If you force the rest of society to tolerate Jigoku among them, that purpose goes out the window. It changes everything about the empire. Its purpose becomes to... just exist, I guess? But that's boring.  It hardly seems like a change that's good for the setting.

 

I agree with Huitzil that antagonists having access to the courts is a good thing, especially from a mechanics perspective. But there are other ways to achieve that, that don't make the setting less compelling as a whole.

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If the Spider Need to keep the shadowlands taint to be unapologetically evil, that would mean the taint and by extension jigoku is the actual evil in that situation. With tengoku being the diametric opposite of jigoku in the setting, Tengoku Would in fact, be considered good. There are even several items that were gifted to The clans by iweko I who has tengoku's divine blessing that have the descriptor "heavenly", and numerous titles bestowed to emperors with similar line. With the emperor/ess being the voice of The celestial heavens in the mortal realm, all the laws and edicts(or the rules as you put it) they create by rokugani perspective would be "good". So the assertion that the rules aren't good or evil don't work.

 

This is a good point, and I'd like to elaborate on it.

 

The empire's founders were of Tengoku, and they tried to build a society that reflects it. The closest thing the empire has to a purpose is to emulate the divine order of Tengoku. Even the Scorpion do it in their own way, they just believe that since humans are flawed, dubious methods are sometimes required to force society into shape. Is Rokugan successful in building a divine society? Not particularly. They fail at it all the time. But the impossible struggle to build a "perfect" society is at the empire's core.

 

If you force the rest of society to tolerate Jigoku among them, that purpose goes out the window. It changes everything about the empire. Its purpose becomes to... just exist, I guess? But that's boring.  It hardly seems like a change that's good for the setting.

 

I agree with Huitzil that antagonists having access to the courts is a good thing, especially from a mechanics perspective. But there are other ways to achieve that, that don't make the setting less compelling as a whole.

 

Rokugan society reflecting Tengoku? Strange I don't the the dual leadership in Rokugan that Sun & Moon have in Tengoku. And I don't Tengoku is as perferct as so many here want to believe. The original Moon ate most of his children, and one tried to commit patricide. Sorry, but Tengoku breeds as much flawed beings as Ningendo does... so no perfect society there not here. Just saying.

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It's not about being GOOD good, like a D&D alignment. It's about what's culturally accepted as good. Rokugsn is a theocracy. The emperor is and always has been the religious and spiritual leader of an empire that worships Tengoku. He's effectively the magic super pope to rokugan. That's why when the emperor decrees someone a fortune, they Actually become one. They don't have to be nice or kind to be "good". You can do despicable things so long as you adhere to the faith. By openly accepting and worshipping jigoku, you're doing the one thing that you can't do.

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I'm not saying Tengoku is perfect from our perspective. There are definite problems with the place from a modern, Western point of view. That's why I put "perfect" in quotation marks.

 

And it really wasn't a dual leadership situation. Amaterasu deferred to Onnotangu. Heck, she was so passive she didn't even try to stop him when he began eating all their children! If they were equals, she would have at least tried.

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I'm not saying Tengoku is perfect from our perspective. There are definite problems with the place from a modern, Western point of view. That's why I put "perfect" in quotation marks.

 

And it really wasn't a dual leadership situation. Amaterasu deferred to Onnotangu. Heck, she was so passive she didn't even try to stop him when he began eating all their children! If they were equals, she would have at least tried.

Being equal in power doesn't mean both have to be equally active. If Rokugan would be truely interested in refelcting Tengoku, they would have been obligated to create two equally powerful positions, if the holders of that power would use it to the equal amount is then an entirely different thing, but the Kami didn't do that, they made up a duel contest instead, and thus not followed Tengoku but create a different system on Ningendo.

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