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OneThatFishes

Beastmasters, Tacticians and Deathseekers.. oh my!

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Breeder was a thematic fail. It in no way reflected what ancestor worship is supposed to be in Rokugan. Ancestors stepping in to fight the battle of the living is not it.

It honestly felt more like how the Shiba are supposed to...

 

But without knowing more about how FFG is gonna do things mechanically, it's hard to say how they might capture the feel of the Lion's ancestor veneration

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Lion stuff! Hooray!

 

I agree that the Beastmasters are unique, and perhaps evocative - when you see a Beastmaster, you immediately think "Lion" - but they are VERY niche. I would be happy to see them, but not at the expense of anything else, and given the premium that it seems will be placed on card slots, I'm more than willing to wait several expansions/cycles/whatever LCG releases are measured in to get them.

 

The problem with Ancestor-worship as a theme for Lion is that the Kitsu are pacifistic- or at least believe in not using the kami to inflict direct harm, though they have no problem accompanying armies in a supporting role. Given how militant the Lion are as a whole, it's hard to design a deck that explicitly refuses to participate in combat (they kind of tried it with the Asahina in EE, but a) the Crane already have/had a lot of support for non-military win conditions, and b) they weren't very good). It's hard to say how anything could work without knowing overall mechanics (I'll be posting my own thoughts on that thread in a while, but it's purely hypothetical at this stage), but I think Kitsu ancestor worship would be better represented by having cards that gains honour each turn while in play, but cannot be committed to combat- and inflicts honour loss if lost, or something of that sort. I would like to see them referenced in some faction - much more so than the Beastmasters - but not as a deck of their own, unless it runs entirely on unopposed honour gain and force denial, because the Kitsu are just special, and as others have said, having them used to generate infinite faceless spud personalities deeply misrepresents Lion reverence for their Ancestors.

 

Tacticians should obviously be a thing. I don't particularly mind if it's a weighted keyword, or just a flavour keyword for a suite of actions Lion do better than others, or some combination of the above, but it is necessary, and shouldn't be too hard to implement.

 

Deathseekers were super-cool when they were a deck type of their own, and I wouldn't mind seeing a comeback of some sort. Although I wouldn't expect much if any additional support for them specifically beyond the personality base, it wouldn't be impossible to splash some support for Berserkers more generally, which could include Crab Berserkers, and even the Bitter Lies Swordsmen. Either way, I'd like to see a couple of them, even if it isn't possible to make a deck out of them initially.

 

Another thing I would very much like to see out of Lion is Honour-based military abilities (preferably incorporating some form of dishonour protection, a la Shamate Keep). The Lion embody Bushido, and the philosophy that Honour is Stronger than Steel, more strongly than anyone else, and their ability to hone their honour into a weapon is a strong aspect of their character. Paragons forever!

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The strange thing with Deathseeker is that the general concept of doing cool things with dishonored personalities, could be a thing for many Clans.

Scorpions have a track record of using dishonored persons to archive a goal.

The Legion of the Damned forn the Crab side but that would be more of a Shadowlands thing that dishonored thing.

The Spider obviously...

 

So card which gain momentum due to being dishonored could be a universal theme.

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They had a few implementation. They had the Ancestor card type which served as attachment you could put on a personality while recruiting.

The later got a breeder box which could create ancestor personalities pretty similar to the one box that could pop out Undeads.

 

Huh. Neither of those really grabs me.

 

I do agree that ancestor veneration is significant in setting.

 

This seems like the kind of thing that would be good for a themed cycle of packs, to me, maybe with token support in core. Ummm, meaning a little support, not support in the shape of tokens. :)

 

Although I rather suspect the first cycle after the core is going to be like... "More Powerful than Steel," or maybe just, "Stronger than Steel," and focus on honor stuff. With the core box being more straight ahead mil and less politics. Not to say honor won't be supported in core, because I'm sure it will.

 

Thinking of expansion, "Focus Packs" and "Strike Boxes" would be a neat little themed nod. ;)

 

 

The Sodan Senzo (Lion shugenja) are almost completely based around magic that communicates with ancestors.  They also have a hangup about using magic offensively, so as a rule the Lion don't.  The breeder honor box had some mechanics that weren't bad, but I don't feel like it captured that facet of the Clan perfectly.  I liked the idea of having expendable personalities that you could explode defensively to gain honor, but I don't really want to see that exact mechanic come back.  

 

It should be represented in some other way though, it's important to the clan identity as a whole.

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Beastmasters were one of the strangest and most disjointed ideas ever attached to the Lion.  When I think of quintessential samurai - romanticized career soldiers - I don't think of people training wild beasts to fight for them.  Kept, observed, and experimentally emulated... but trained?  They showed up after the samurai flavor of the game had become a pretty thin coating on top of the waters.

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Beastmasters were one of the strangest and most disjointed ideas ever attached to the Lion.  When I think of quintessential samurai - romanticized career soldiers - I don't think of people training wild beasts to fight for them.  Kept, observed, and experimentally emulated... but trained?  They showed up after the samurai flavor of the game had become a pretty thin coating on top of the waters.

When I think of samurai I also do not think of fire magic and yet L5R is doing that too. So, why does you bother this but not the other things that have as much to do with samurai?

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Beastmasters were one of the strangest and most disjointed ideas ever attached to the Lion.  When I think of quintessential samurai - romanticized career soldiers - I don't think of people training wild beasts to fight for them.  Kept, observed, and experimentally emulated... but trained?  They showed up after the samurai flavor of the game had become a pretty thin coating on top of the waters.

When I think of samurai I also do not think of fire magic and yet L5R is doing that too. So, why does you bother this but not the other things that have as much to do with samurai?

 

 

I can't speak for him, but for me it was because the Matsu typified the brash, head first, all in, samurai.  Other families have iconic archetypes, but early Matsu really nailed this one, and it's a big one in the genre.  The beastmasters felt like a port of the Unicorn hunting dogs to me.

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Beastmasters were one of the strangest and most disjointed ideas ever attached to the Lion.  When I think of quintessential samurai - romanticized career soldiers - I don't think of people training wild beasts to fight for them.  Kept, observed, and experimentally emulated... but trained?  They showed up after the samurai flavor of the game had become a pretty thin coating on top of the waters.

When I think of samurai I also do not think of fire magic and yet L5R is doing that too. So, why does you bother this but not the other things that have as much to do with samurai?

 

 

I can't speak for him, but for me it was because the Matsu typified the brash, head first, all in, samurai.  Other families have iconic archetypes, but early Matsu really nailed this one, and it's a big one in the genre.  The beastmasters felt like a port of the Unicorn hunting dogs to me.

 

I can understand that comparision, and even though I like the beastmaster more, I think that Unicorn wardogs and even Yasuki taskmaster are things that should be more common than Matsu beastmaster. The beastmaster have been from the fluff a rather small group, and they rarely have been in the frontlines of any battles, since they are so hard to control (not just the warcats, but the beastmasters themselves to, since it is usually teh feral ones that have the connection to the warcats). Like I mentions, I really like the idea of Beastmaster, have played them in the RPG, but I a fine not having them in the LCG. Still, my point why the Beastmaster are seen as an outlandish idea when all the other non-samurai stuff is taken without even a blink of an eye still stands.

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Beastmasters were one of the strangest and most disjointed ideas ever attached to the Lion.  When I think of quintessential samurai - romanticized career soldiers - I don't think of people training wild beasts to fight for them.  Kept, observed, and experimentally emulated... but trained?  They showed up after the samurai flavor of the game had become a pretty thin coating on top of the waters.

When I think of samurai I also do not think of fire magic and yet L5R is doing that too. So, why does you bother this but not the other things that have as much to do with samurai?

 

 

A few reasons.

Shugenja have never not been a part of the setting.

Mundane lions didn't even exist in Rokugan for the first several years that the game was around.  The Lion clan are named after the Kitsu, who are extinct in their leonine shapes.

Beastmasters showed up during that stint where clans were being given things/ideas that were bizarre and "un-samurai."  While a few of the other things of that day which were added seemed part of a larger thing, Beastmasters kind of seemed meaningless and went nowhere.  The sort of thing that struck me as an RPG school released to fill a quota.

For a culture with a hygiene obsession, vast aversion to physical contact, rigid caste system, and fear that one's soul can be tarnished by touching dead flesh, training lions sounds near impossible without being labeled as insane.

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Beastmasters were one of the strangest and most disjointed ideas ever attached to the Lion.  When I think of quintessential samurai - romanticized career soldiers - I don't think of people training wild beasts to fight for them.  Kept, observed, and experimentally emulated... but trained?  They showed up after the samurai flavor of the game had become a pretty thin coating on top of the waters.

When I think of samurai I also do not think of fire magic and yet L5R is doing that too. So, why does you bother this but not the other things that have as much to do with samurai?

 

 

A few reasons.

Shugenja have never not been a part of the setting.

Mundane lions didn't even exist in Rokugan for the first several years that the game was around.  The Lion clan are named after the Kitsu, who are extinct in their leonine shapes.

Beastmasters showed up during that stint where clans were being given things/ideas that were bizarre and "un-samurai."  While a few of the other things of that day which were added seemed part of a larger thing, Beastmasters kind of seemed meaningless and went nowhere.  The sort of thing that struck me as an RPG school released to fill a quota.

For a culture with a hygiene obsession, vast aversion to physical contact, rigid caste system, and fear that one's soul can be tarnished by touching dead flesh, training lions sounds near impossible without being labeled as insane.

 

You are aware that the culture of rokugan has no issues with war, and that taking the heads of the enemies is not unusual either. So, maybe the idea of training warcats is not that foreign as you want to believe. Anyway, L5R is a fantasy setting, and so it contains fantasic elements.

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Beastmasters showed up during that stint where clans were being given things/ideas that were bizarre and "un-samurai."  

 

False.

 

Matsu Imura, Imperial Edition, Lion Clan Beastmaster who bowed to train animals, giving himself 1F followers. I mean, he wasn't a very good card (okay, he was a real bad one), but he was there. 

 

Beastmasters are just as much Original Lion/Matsu flavor as the Gohei-style brash samurai or Tacticianing (the only lion Tactician in Imperial was the Champion), and actually predate Deathseekers by several years. Likewise predating Unicorn war dogs by several years. 

Edited by Himoto

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Beastmasters showed up during that stint where clans were being given things/ideas that were bizarre and "un-samurai."  

 

False.

 

Matsu Imura, Imperial Edition. Beastmasters are just as much Original Lion/Matsu flavor as the Gohei-style brash samurai, and actually predate both Deathseeker and Tactician as a Lion thing. 

 

I mean, he wasn't a very good card (okay, he was a reall bad one), but he was there. 

 

 

Oh my god, I had forgotten about Imura, the only one until Lotus.  I actually tried to make him work in a deck once, too.  The RPG pretty much disavowed him, since animal lions aren't mentioned until second edition, even if the minis game had a fig for him.  I'll concede that point, but stand by the rest.

Heads aren't taken by hand.  A stick (or two) is tangled in their hair to deposit them in a bag so no direct contact has to be made.  I'm not decrying fantasy elements in L5R, but the use of it as a blanket excuse for any exception to established clan generalizations.  Tacticians were always a thing.  Legions of Zukos running around shouting "honorururu" is a goofy example, but at least it doesn't force a large deformation of the Venn Diagram of "What is Lion" while simultaneously sliding it around so that parts of it are resting outside the circle of "What is Rokugani."

With the opportunity for FFG to start things over with a clean slate, concepts that cleanly mesh with the existing over-arching philosophy of a clan take vastly higher priority for me over ones that require special snowflake exceptions.  They have a chance to distill the clans back down and shed some of the silly baggage that's shown up over two decades of spotty elaborations.  So help me if they start by identifying the Daidoji family as "specialsts in winning battles when outnumbered and outmatched," - a.k.a. specializing in somehow always being the victorious underdog, which means the bookies really aren't paying attention to trends - I will walk to an Ikea outlet and flip every freaking table in the building.

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That identification of the Daidoji was down to certain people wanting to make Crane military a viable option. My opinion on that...the less said, the better.

The Daidoji are specialist in delaying actions and generally making life a pain for superior forces, weakening them and giving time for Crane political clout to come into play. They're Rokugan's "guerilla tactics" (so to speak) experts, but they're not super-soldiers.

 

(There was also Lion Warcats in the CCG, printed at the same time as the Moto Wardogs, that kept the Beastmaster tradition alive until they became a "theme" (STILL hate that stupid notion).)

 

 Tacticians were always a thing.

 

 

I'd say that to me, Lion = Tactician is a concept that really emerged with Kitsu Motso. So that would put the start of the theme around Shadowlands :-p

 

(Which, granted, amount to "always a thing")., 

Edited by Himoto

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I'd like to see the Akodo as Tactician/Commanders. The Matsu as Kensai or some other way to show them as weapon experts and the best trained warriors in the Empire. The Kitsu defensive honor with ancestors works well for them. I liked the Ikoma more when they were shown as Courtiers rather then scouts

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Beastmasters showed up during that stint where clans were being given things/ideas that were bizarre and "un-samurai."  

 

False.

 

Matsu Imura, Imperial Edition, Lion Clan Beastmaster who bowed to train animals, giving himself 1F followers. I mean, he wasn't a very good card (okay, he was a real bad one), but he was there. 

 

Beastmasters are just as much Original Lion/Matsu flavor as the Gohei-style brash samurai or Tacticianing (the only lion Tactician in Imperial was the Champion), and actually predate Deathseekers by several years. Likewise predating Unicorn war dogs by several years. 

 

 

 

I don't know if you can call one existing the same as being a major theme.  I mean Scorpion had the original duelist if you want to get right down to it.  That doesn't make it one of our central themes, or even a major part of the Scorpion as a whole.  

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I don't know if you can call one existing the same as being a major theme.  I mean Scorpion had the original duelist if you want to get right down to it.  That doesn't make it one of our central themes, or even a major part of the Scorpion as a whole.  

 

 

One existing, and sometime not quite under the same name, was all there was for most anything in Imperial Edition. 

 

Battle Maidens? One. Crane "duelists" (Iaijutsu Master)? One (and unique). Phoenix fire shugenja? One (and unique). Crab Berserkers? One. Non-champion Lion tacticians? None, that had to wait until Shadowlands. Dragon Tatooed Men? One (and unique).

 

And most of these had to wait years for more. 

Edited by Himoto

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Beastmasters showed up during that stint where clans were being given things/ideas that were bizarre and "un-samurai."  

 

False.

 

Matsu Imura, Imperial Edition, Lion Clan Beastmaster who bowed to train animals, giving himself 1F followers. I mean, he wasn't a very good card (okay, he was a real bad one), but he was there. 

 

Beastmasters are just as much Original Lion/Matsu flavor as the Gohei-style brash samurai or Tacticianing (the only lion Tactician in Imperial was the Champion), and actually predate Deathseekers by several years. Likewise predating Unicorn war dogs by several years. 

 

 

 

I don't know if you can call one existing the same as being a major theme.  I mean Scorpion had the original duelist if you want to get right down to it.  That doesn't make it one of our central themes, or even a major part of the Scorpion as a whole.  

 

 

There were no such things as "major themes" until around Lotus anyway and especially Celestial. At which point, Beastmasters DID become more common for Lions. 

 

 

This is still not true.  There was one beastmaster in Celestial - Benika xp2.  Zero in Emperor, and one in Ivory.  Half of all beastmasters appeared in Twenty Festivals.

 

And there were major themes in all the clans, they just weren't as pigeonholed as they became.  Scorpion have always had ninja and courtiers.  Dragons have always had tattooed monks and dual wielding samurai.  Doing "Clan Themes" was a bad move for the game, but theme in the sense of identities has been good.  

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I don't think that clan themes were a bad idea - just trying too hard to make too many at once, and releasing sets with those themes insufficiently supported so that a deck utilizing a theme is mechanically inferior to a deck ignoring them.

 

My biggest issue is that it did strange things to deck building.  They could print a very good samurai personality and a completely average magistrate.  If I was running magistrates I had to really think hard about whether I could put the samurai in my deck over the magistrate.  It got so much worse if there was also a magistrate * courtier in the same lineup.  There were so many good basic samurai that went into the binder that shouldn't have.  At a few points in the later arcs they literally weren't printing any run-of-the-mill everyday clan samurai.  Everything needed a theme keyword.  That was my issue.  

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I don't think that clan themes were a bad idea - just trying too hard to make too many at once, and releasing sets with those themes insufficiently supported so that a deck utilizing a theme is mechanically inferior to a deck ignoring them.

 

For me, the issue was that, in various arcs, designing themes took precedence over design clans and the overall meta. Cards would be printed that were designed for specific, prefabricated decks into which they were expected to go, with little consideration for making the cards work in broader contexts.

 

I like to tinker. I like to come up with new builds and combinations. Cards that are designed to be powerful in specific combinations are harder to design such that they are still useful in broader contexts without being too powerful where they have the most synergy.

 

While FFG does use keywords and they do have clear notions about the "normal" state of play for each faction, they tend to have a more open design philosophy in this regard than AEG. "Themes" and even factions can be effectively mixed and matched. That's interesting to me, much more so than, "Choose a theme, a suite of cards designed to go with that theme, and maybe throw in a few outliers if you have spare deck slots."

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I don't think that clan themes were a bad idea - just trying too hard to make too many at once, and releasing sets with those themes insufficiently supported so that a deck utilizing a theme is mechanically inferior to a deck ignoring them.

 

For me, the issue was that, in various arcs, designing themes took precedence over design clans and the overall meta. Cards would be printed that were designed for specific, prefabricated decks into which they were expected to go, with little consideration for making the cards work in broader contexts.

 

I like to tinker. I like to come up with new builds and combinations. Cards that are designed to be powerful in specific combinations are harder to design such that they are still useful in broader contexts without being too powerful where they have the most synergy.

 

While FFG does use keywords and they do have clear notions about the "normal" state of play for each faction, they tend to have a more open design philosophy in this regard than AEG. "Themes" and even factions can be effectively mixed and matched. That's interesting to me, much more so than, "Choose a theme, a suite of cards designed to go with that theme, and maybe throw in a few outliers if you have spare deck slots."

 

 

100% agree.  The other side effect this had was when someone did actually find a way to put together something that defied the theme it seemed to completely blindside everyone.  Back before the push to Themes I used to love playing Scorpion that were military with a splash of courtier control.  In Gold I made a silly deck that included shugenja, dueling, ways to get tactician, and all 3-5 focus value cards.  No one raised an eyebrow.  It was silly and casual, but fun and surprisingly effective.  In recent arcs I felt like 3/4 of my deck was built by the cardpool.   

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This is still not true.  There was one beastmaster in Celestial - Benika xp2.  Zero in Emperor, and one in Ivory.  Half of all beastmasters appeared in Twenty Festivals.

 

 

Fair enough, although I will point out that there were at least two beastmasters (including basic Benika) in Lotus. I didn't pay much attention to which got printed where.

 

 

 

  Dragons have always had tattooed monks and dual wielding samurai. 

 

If by "always" you mean "Starting in Jade Edition" and "starting in Shadowlands" respectively. So, not quite always.

 

(the first personality with both Tattooed and Monk was the Jade Edition reprint/errata of Togashi Mitsu ; prior versions were tattooed but not monk. This was quickly followed up on thanks to the Dragon civil war and the Hoshi hiding in the brotherhood plotline going on at the time. The first dual-wielder was Mirumoto Taki, and the NEXT one after that had a Gold Edition bug on him (Mirumoto Tokeru in HoR). After Taki (and his soul of), the next Non-unique dual wielder had to actually wait until Dark Allies. 

 

Which is pretty much my point. Themes were not "always" there. A lot of themes took an eternity to develop properly, and most themes were later extrapolations from a single card. Beastmasters are no different in that regard. 

Edited by Himoto

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I like themes, but I don't think we should have too many for a few years. The idea of a Beastmaster theme was puke-fest, I hope FFG uses this as fluff only, or not at all.

 

Deathseeker, would be nice if cards keyed off them as well(or something like Brutal in 40k), but I too doubt this, and would consider this fluff/falvor text only.

 

Tactician should be a strong keyword. Lions w/o Tactician are just a bunch of rice farmers.

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This is still not true.  There was one beastmaster in Celestial - Benika xp2.  Zero in Emperor, and one in Ivory.  Half of all beastmasters appeared in Twenty Festivals.

 

 

Fair enough, although I will point out that there were at least two beastmasters (including basic Benika) in Lotus. I didn't pay much attention to which got printed where.

 

 

 

  Dragons have always had tattooed monks and dual wielding samurai. 

 

If by "always" you mean "Starting in Jade Edition" and "starting in Shadowlands" respectively. So, not quite always.

 

(the first personality with both Tattooed and Monk was the Jade Edition reprint/errata of Togashi Mitsu ; prior versions were tattooed but not monk. This was quickly followed up on thanks to the Dragon civil war and the Hoshi hiding in the brotherhood plotline going on at the time. The first dual-wielder was Mirumoto Taki, and the NEXT one after that had a Gold Edition bug on him (Mirumoto Tokeru in HoR). After Taki (and his soul of), the next Non-unique dual wielder had to actually wait until Dark Allies. 

 

Which is pretty much my point. Themes were not "always" there. A lot of themes took an eternity to develop properly, and most themes were later extrapolations from a single card. Beastmasters are no different in that regard. 

 

 

That does make me wonder if new themes will be devised for the clans.

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