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The original is: "Gesetz und Freiheit ohne Gewalt"

However the German 'Gewalt' is so much more then force. You can translate it as violence, control, might or authority.

I think in this specific context authority might be the best translation, so "Law and freedom without authority".

However we have a clear figure of authority in Jigoku which is Daigotsu or in DnD terms Jigoku is lawful evil!

 

Only after Daigotsu.  Before, thanks to the WotC acquisition forcing d20 books, we know that Jigoku was definitely Chaotic Evil.

Edited by Matsu Domotai

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 Only after Daigotsu.  Before, thanks to the WotC acquisition forcing d20 books, we know that Jigoku was definitely Chaotic Evil.

We also "know" elves and gnomes live in Rokugan, but they don't.

 

It is still an interesting point. 

Many people discussing the Taint here obviously have their preferences. 

 

But since Daigotsu's ascension Jigoku and the Taint changed, from a mindless extension of Jigoku in Ningen-do to a tool controlled by one mind.

In the end the taint can be whatever Daigotsu wants it to be. Perhaps he goes with the seasons. It is contagious in Summer and non-contagious in Winter.

 

Actually it like that. 

 

Since he can do whatever he wants with Taint it looses all rules. Each writer can explore its own version of the taint and is not even wrong.

Daigotsu is the artist and everybody can taste his own personal kind of hell, perfectly crafted to temp, to make suffer, to spread and to corrupt.

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Only after Daigotsu.  Before, thanks to the WotC acquisition forcing d20 books, we know that Jigoku was definitely Chaotic Evil.

We also "know" elves and gnomes live in Rokugan, but they don't.

 

 

They never said that, ever. They said, if you want a Rokugan that fits standard D&D more easily, then you can add elves and gnomes in these places. It was always presented as a house rule, not canon, and outside of one paragraph nothing assumed you would be doing that.

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The point is: if you have to quote dictionaries and Kant when discussing any part of this game, you're wrong.

 

 

the point is when you actually can´t refer to any real argument don´t post cause this is only wasted space.Saying you are wrong without rbing a real argument is not helpful.

 

Look we qoute Kant and dictionaries cause we are talking about some very abstract concepts which are not understood by all people in the same manner. So to have a good and open discussion how to apply these concepts to the world

of Rokugan in which they are used or which of the Definitions people use fits best it is actually a good Idea to restort to allready exsiting definitions to reinforce the view and perspective of you argument on this topic.

this actually is a logical way or arguening and is using different thesis and antithesis to ceat a synthesis as solution.

 

this actually is how discussion should go and therefore is not wrong but the right way to go for a discussion about so abstract topics as order and chaos. 

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Feh, Ningen do as a realm influences as well.  This explains why the portions of Jigoku that encounter it have more order than a "realm of chaos and entropy" would by a purists sense. Remember that Oni don't have form or much power until they are given a name and linked to ningen do. 

 

Likely as jigoku seeps into ningen do from the two festering pits, ningen do inflences jigoku to a more ordered form.

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The point is: if you have to quote dictionaries and Kant when discussing any part of this game, you're wrong.

 

 

the point is when you actually can´t refer to any real argument don´t post cause this is only wasted space.Saying you are wrong without rbing a real argument is not helpful.

 

Look we qoute Kant and dictionaries cause we are talking about some very abstract concepts which are not understood by all people in the same manner. So to have a good and open discussion how to apply these concepts to the world

of Rokugan in which they are used or which of the Definitions people use fits best it is actually a good Idea to restort to allready exsiting definitions to reinforce the view and perspective of you argument on this topic.

this actually is a logical way or arguening and is using different thesis and antithesis to ceat a synthesis as solution.

 

this actually is how discussion should go and therefore is not wrong but the right way to go for a discussion about so abstract topics as order and chaos. 

 

 

No, not actually. You people are getting so worked up about something that have no actual definition, except those inconsistently put to paper by a series os people that didn't agree with each other, let alone considered the dictionary definitions of order and chaos or the writings of Kant. Hell, I have a hard time even believing that any one of the writhers for the L5R universe have ever read Kant.

 

The only valid philosofic movement worth considering in a discussion like this is the venerable "we wrote some sh!t we thought would be fun" School. But wen you start to say that your version of how to be a samurai is "righter" than everyone else's and start reciting Kant and Merrian-Webster... Sorry, that's delusional.

 

 

 

Feh, Ningen do as a realm influences as well.  This explains why the portions of Jigoku that encounter it have more order than a "realm of chaos and entropy" would by a purists sense. Remember that Oni don't have form or much power until they are given a name and linked to ningen do. 

 

Likely as jigoku seeps into ningen do from the two festering pits, ningen do inflences jigoku to a more ordered form.

 

That's an interpretation I always liked to use as well. Actually, Ningen-do seems to me to be a "transitional realm": not as chaotic as Jigoku, not as orderly as Tengoku; not as ephemeral as the Realm of Dreams nor as static as the Realm of the Dead... so on and so forth.

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Feh, Ningen do as a realm influences as well.  This explains why the portions of Jigoku that encounter it have more order than a "realm of chaos and entropy" would by a purists sense. Remember that Oni don't have form or much power until they are given a name and linked to ningen do. 

 

Likely as jigoku seeps into ningen do from the two festering pits, ningen do inflences jigoku to a more ordered form.

 

That's an interpretation I always liked to use as well. Actually, Ningen-do seems to me to be a "transitional realm": not as chaotic as Jigoku, not as orderly as Tengoku; not as ephemeral as the Realm of Dreams nor as static as the Realm of the Dead... so on and so forth.

 

 

 

From my PoV (analyzing it as worldbuilding, writing, etc), that's not because Ningen-do is a transition or blend of the other realms -- it's because each of the other realms represents an exagerated or rarified aspect of the "real world". 

 

It's not unlike the way "non-human races" or "alien species" are often depicted as representing some aspect of humanity, turned up to 11.  The Horde Aliens, The Peace-Worshipping Aliens, the Assassin Aliens, etc.  (Not the way of creating non-humans that I favor in any way, but that's how it's often done.) 

 

 

Typo

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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From my PoV (analyzing it as worldbuilding, writing, etc), that's not because Ningen-do is a transition or blend of the other realms -- it's because each of the other realms represents an exagerated or rarified aspect of the "real world". 

 

It's not unlike the way "non-human races" or "alien species" are often depicted as representing some aspect of humanity, turned up to 11.  The Horde Aliens, The Peace-Worshipping Aliens, the Assassin Aliens, etc.  (Not the way of created non-humans that I favor in any way, but that's how it's often done.) 

 

And I think you are absolutely spot on with this. 

 

This reminds me of the one numberphile video Tom Scott has done: 

Edited by Yandia

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Feh, Ningen do as a realm influences as well.  This explains why the portions of Jigoku that encounter it have more order than a "realm of chaos and entropy" would by a purists sense. Remember that Oni don't have form or much power until they are given a name and linked to ningen do. 

 

Likely as jigoku seeps into ningen do from the two festering pits, ningen do inflences jigoku to a more ordered form.

 

That's an interpretation I always liked to use as well. Actually, Ningen-do seems to me to be a "transitional realm": not as chaotic as Jigoku, not as orderly as Tengoku; not as ephemeral as the Realm of Dreams nor as static as the Realm of the Dead... so on and so forth.

 

 

 

From my PoV (analyzing it as worldbuilding, writing, etc), that's not because Ningen-do is a transition or blend of the other realms -- it's because each of the other realms represents an exagerated or rarified aspect of the "real world". 

 

It's not unlike the way "non-human races" or "alien species" are often depicted as representing some aspect of humanity, turned up to 11.  The Horde Aliens, The Peace-Worshipping Aliens, the Assassin Aliens, etc.  (Not the way of creating non-humans that I favor in any way, but that's how it's often done.) 

 

 

Typo

 

 

Sure, that is the explaination from a OOC and design viewpoint. I was talking more about the IC viewpoint, how a scholar of the setting might analyze his own world.

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Taint in the RPG

Taint was mostly a condition on how to lose your character. It was meant as element of horror, but I think most often it was just an annoyance, since it was mostly something the GM could use to break a character concept and rarely something that actually lead to an interesting story. Since, lets be honest here, it mostly reduces player agency and so if the player expects an epic game, but then gets just to play a tradegy, it will become an issue. And in my experience far to few GMs are transparent enough to tell the players in advance what kind of game they want to make. With the approach that one can only become tainted if one wants to, the game could suddenly be about how far is a character willing to go for the goals, and thus one could use it for samurai drama, where the samurai sacrifices his soul to eternal damnation to perform the duty to the clan or empire, that is the kind of stories that have the epic feel to it and do not remove player agency.

 

Remember, though, Wick's influence in the RPG - he *hated* player agency, at least back then, and legitimately tried to make the game unfun. The fact that the game still exists is a testament to people ignoring him, more than anything else.

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Taint in the RPG

Taint was mostly a condition on how to lose your character. It was meant as element of horror, but I think most often it was just an annoyance, since it was mostly something the GM could use to break a character concept and rarely something that actually lead to an interesting story. Since, lets be honest here, it mostly reduces player agency and so if the player expects an epic game, but then gets just to play a tragedy, it will become an issue. And in my experience far to few GMs are transparent enough to tell the players in advance what kind of game they want to make. With the approach that one can only become tainted if one wants to, the game could suddenly be about how far is a character willing to go for the goals, and thus one could use it for samurai drama, where the samurai sacrifices his soul to eternal damnation to perform the duty to the clan or empire, that is the kind of stories that have the epic feel to it and do not remove player agency.

 

Better job than I've usually done, expressing some of the reasons I don't like "radioactive" / "contagious-like-a-virus" Taint. 

 

 

Remember, though, Wick's influence in the RPG - he *hated* player agency, at least back then, and legitimately tried to make the game unfun. The fact that the game still exists is a testament to people ignoring him, more than anything else.

 

Good point.

(And I've seen no sign that he's changed...)

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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If you have a situation where an amoral action (being exposed to spooky radiation) can have 'moral' consequences (becoming evil, somehow), the cosmological order is fundamentally unjust. But that's Rokugan and its greater multiverse - the gods are petty, evil, and tyrannical, and the demons are the same thing just more honest. The society, or god/cosmological structure, that agitates for an infant exposed to taint to be killed or abandoned is an unjust one, and should be torn down. 

 

One of the other things that I find amusing is that Shadowlands taint is really more of an analogy for people who don't buy into the Mandate of Heaven BS - the literal translation of the Chinese word 'gwailo' (derogatory slang for a foreigner) is 'dead' or 'damned' (the latter often being a word to describe the people tainted in the Rokugan setting... hmmm). I have no particular reason to believe that the actual rpg writing team intended it that way, it's more likely that it was literally intended as an unfun way to destroy people's characters. But in the greater context... it's very jarring to say that morality literally works differently in this setting. Being exposed to radiation can't make you evil in the real world, and having that be the case in a fantasy setting is a really questionable decision... and I'm saying this as someone who played Shadowlands when that was still a thing.

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That's the (one of many) points of cosmic/existential horror. Things are unjust at the cosmic level and you can't do anything about it.  If you are using Taint as the Horror Tool, it's why it's Horror Tool. 

As for killing Infants - remember that Infant isn't a person. Infants don't have souls. Soul enters Little Babbbies, so if you kill it fast enough, you literally killed meat sack ;). And, because Reincarnation Is A Confirmed Thing, even if you kill a Little Babby With A Soul, it's better to kill it now and spare it from the Taint, making it "go restart at next life", instead of dooming it to a life of pain and constant "Evil Spirits Want Me To Kill My Family Help".

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I feel as if I have come way late into a conversation and I am confused. I will just post my thoughts on the Taint.

The Taint is the sentient will of Jigoku. It only seeks to kill, and to destroy. There maybe those who at times the Taint will align itself with while they share similiar goals. (Mainly the destruction of Rokugan). No one actually controls the Taint per sae, more like an alliance of mutual interest. Once the taint is done with someone it will abandon them to damnation.

I would like to add in here that the Kolat are unwitting servants of Jigoku. They serve Jigoku by seperating mortals from the will of heaven. Mortals who are seperated from heaven have little or no hope of having a soul find rest in Tengoku. They are left without redemption. Making their best hope to reach meido and be re-incarnated. Any mortal soul going to Jigoku is only fated for consumption. The Kolat help insure more souls end up in Jigoku.

This is only my perspective, how I view the Taint. If you like it use it, if you don't ignore it.

Shinjo Yosama

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To split this conversation off from the Shugenja thread...

 

I'm not sure why there are ongoing references to the "tragedy" enabled by contagious Taint.  There's nothing "tragic" about contagious Taint.  Mainly it's just a "samurai spin" on the "epidemic horror" subgenre. 

 

If one wants to explore a tragic character, then "Taint by choice" is actually more fitting.  Someone who accepts the Taint in an attempt to save their village or Clan, who does the worst possible thing for selfless, noble reasons, and ends up destroying himself, or even the very thing he wanted to save, would be tragic.  

 

Someone who is randomly inflicted with contagious Taint isn't a tragic figure, they're just a random victim.  

 

"Tragedy" in the sense of fictional style or genre is much more specific than "some bad stuff happens to some people". 

 

 

I would also point back to the original post in this thread, the section on Taint in the RPG. 

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"Tragedy" in the sense of fictional style or genre is much more specific than "some bad stuff happens to some people". 

Most people agree with this. None of them agree what "tragedy" actually means, so it's probably helpful if you define it.

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"Tragedy" in the sense of fictional style or genre is much more specific than "some bad stuff happens to some people". 

Most people agree with this. None of them agree what "tragedy" actually means, so it's probably helpful if you define it.

 

 

In the strictest sense it involves the fall of a great person through their own deeds or faults.

 

Someone who is Tainted and falls because they chose it, for selfless reasons, is tragic. 

 

Someone who is Tainted and falls because they randomly came in contact with a Tainted person is just victim X in a "samurai epidemic horror". 

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I know I said this topic bored me before (and all that culturally essentialist side of it still does, believe me), but I still found myself thinking about this on my commute earlier, trying to figure out why I quite like the Taint in its infectious version while the voluntary version feels dull and pointless. Eventually I put my finger on at least part of it: for me, L5R on the whole does a better job than many other games of capturing/simulating some feeling of what it might be like to adventure in a premodern "demon-haunted world" full of supernatural wonders, mysteries, and dangers which you know have their own rules and logic--but that doesn't mean you yourself can hope to fathom them all. And along with all the miracles and trickster spirits and inexplicable natural phenomena and whatnot, disease and mortality were an enormous part of what made the premodern world so mysterious and perilous to its inhabitants; you could try to avoid "miasma" or bathe only at the right astrological dates or call in the exorcist when your baby got sick or whatever, but your grasp of the rules and formulae was always incomplete and death could strike from around any corner--that made survival, also, a greater miracle than it is for us now. Life is like the falling cherry blossom, etc. etc. (Fun fact: one colloquial term for smallpox in Chinese was/is literally "heavenly blossoms.")

What does that have to do with the Taint? Well, let's face it, simulating, say, cholera and tuberculosis in RPGs is boring, pointless, and no fun. If your GM says to you, "your character didn't know that he had to boil that drinking water for a full ten minutes to sterilize it, so everyone in the party roll Earth vs. TN 30 to not succumb to bloody dysentery," I will be totally on your side when you flip the table and walk. And it doesn't capture the sense of danger, fragility, and wonder-at-life anyway, because everyone at the table knows how germs and the immune system and modern first aid and all that work, there's magical healing (which is generally a good thing in fantasy games with fighting!), etc. It's hard to ask people to really truly suspend disbelief for all that, and not a great use of everyone's limited mental energy anyway. So the Shadowlands Taint, to me, ends up being a pretty neat legendary-level stand-in for the medieval world's justifiable fear of contagion and mortality--it does work in somewhat mysterious ways, though there are rules you can follow to ward yourself, and some obvious signs/places that signal greater danger; it does take the good as well as the bad sometimes, though you can also get it quickest through doing evil and the good may successfully resist its advance for quite a while through strength of spirit; it really is out to get you in opposition to the will of Heaven.
 
A GM who's not a jerk won't expose player characters to it "randomly," without plenty of warning and recourse, anyway--the same as plagues or poison--and even when it's completely offstage it adds an interesting poignancy and sense of wonder (some dark, some light) to the setting that's absent in a lot of other fantasy games in supposedly premodern settings. I think that's especially fitting in Rokugan, where "life is fleeting" is a religious truism and honor rests on the edge of a knife. 
 
By comparison, voluntary Taint doesn't feel like it adds much to the setting as a whole. I guess it's like Dark Side Points, sort of? Except there aren't any Light Side Points for interesting contrast. And it does leave the poor Crab and their thousand-year rearguard action rather hanging in the breeze. 

In any event, all that is an emotional reaction, the same way that revulsion at the concept of involuntary Taint is; and I'm perfectly at peace with the fact that I can't expect to logic anyone into agreeing with an emotion. 
 
Edit: Now that I think of it, this realization probably brought to you by way of binge-watching Victorian Pharmacy, Tudor Monastery Farm, etc. Hah. :D 

Edited by locust shell

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A GM who's not a jerk won't expose player characters to it "randomly," without plenty of warning and recourse, anyway--the same as plagues or poison--and even when it's completely offstage it adds an interesting poignancy and sense of wonder (some dark, some light) to the setting that's absent in a lot of other fantasy games in supposedly premodern settings. I think that's especially fitting in Rokugan, where "life is fleeting" is a religious truism and honor rests on the edge of a knife.

 

This sums up how to deal with most of the problems people are saying about Taint / Shadowlands / Jikogu / Global Warming. The Setting could change entirely, a little or not at all, but there will always be problems. The rule #1 in a RPG: If you don't like it, change it to adapt the style of your group. There's even a section about that in the "GM's Tool Chapter" of the Corebook. Gamedesigners know that whatever they end up with, it will not satisfy everyone. That's just impossible. This is why they also encourage to modify it so it will be enjoyable.

 

I just can't understand why it's sooo hard to do such of things. Specially when it's about the Setting of a game. For examples, you don't like how the Taint works? Then build a game that doesn't have Taint or play in the Timeline where Daigotsu is the Master of Jigoku and the Taint is gained only when the person wants the Taint to grow. You don't like Shugenja? Play a game where the players cannot play Shugenja. You don't like Spirit Realms? Don't use them. In the end, build a campaign as you like.

 

Some people thinks it's the apocalypse when their character gained a single point of Taint. It's far from being the end of the world, in fact there's a few ways to prevent the effect of the Taint when it's still low. They exist for that and they are very well accepted in the Setting. A player in the campaign is tainted and screams that's unfair? Build an epic quest that will end up cleansing him at the end by the Jade Dragon. Be imaginative, the world of L5R is filled with a lot of hooks for such of things. Of course, if someone just sees the downside, he will never fully enjoy the game.

 

I'm sorry if someone has a jerk Storyteller/GM maybe instead of bashing on the Setting/System/Mechanics, he could build his own campaign as he pleases, with the modification he wants and runs it. I know that some people are afraid to be a bad Storyteller/GM, most of the Storyteller/GM were bad at their start, it just needs a start somewhere and feedbacks to get better. I prefer someone that tries at someone that just give up.

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I know I said this topic bored me before (and all that culturally essentialist side of it still does, believe me), but I still found myself thinking about this on my commute earlier, trying to figure out why I quite like the Taint in its infectious version while the voluntary version feels dull and pointless. Eventually I put my finger on at least part of it: for me, L5R on the whole does a better job than many other games of capturing/simulating some feeling of what it might be like to adventure in a premodern "demon-haunted world" full of supernatural wonders, mysteries, and dangers which you know have their own rules and logic--but that doesn't mean you yourself can hope to fathom them all. And along with all the miracles and trickster spirits and inexplicable natural phenomena and whatnot, disease and mortality were an enormous part of what made the premodern world so mysterious and perilous to its inhabitants; you could try to avoid "miasma" or bathe only at the right astrological dates or call in the exorcist when your baby got sick or whatever, but your grasp of the rules and formulae was always incomplete and death could strike from around any corner--that made survival, also, a greater miracle than it is for us now. Life is like the falling cherry blossom, etc. etc. (Fun fact: one colloquial term for smallpox in Chinese was/is literally "heavenly blossoms.")

What does that have to do with the Taint? Well, let's face it, simulating, say, cholera and tuberculosis in RPGs is boring, pointless, and no fun. If your GM says to you, "your character didn't know that he had to boil that drinking water for a full ten minutes to sterilize it, so everyone in the party roll Earth vs. TN 30 to not succumb to bloody dysentery," I will be totally on your side when you flip the table and walk. And it doesn't capture the sense of danger, fragility, and wonder-at-life anyway, because everyone at the table knows how germs and the immune system and modern first aid and all that work, there's magical healing (which is generally a good thing in fantasy games with fighting!), etc. It's hard to ask people to really truly suspend disbelief for all that, and not a great use of everyone's limited mental energy anyway. So the Shadowlands Taint, to me, ends up being a pretty neat legendary-level stand-in for the medieval world's justifiable fear of contagion and mortality--it does work in somewhat mysterious ways, though there are rules you can follow to ward yourself, and some obvious signs/places that signal greater danger; it does take the good as well as the bad sometimes, though you can also get it quickest through doing evil and the good may successfully resist its advance for quite a while through strength of spirit; it really is out to get you in opposition to the will of Heaven.

 

A GM who's not a jerk won't expose player characters to it "randomly," without plenty of warning and recourse, anyway--the same as plagues or poison--and even when it's completely offstage it adds an interesting poignancy and sense of wonder (some dark, some light) to the setting that's absent in a lot of other fantasy games in supposedly premodern settings. I think that's especially fitting in Rokugan, where "life is fleeting" is a religious truism and honor rests on the edge of a knife. 

 

By comparison, voluntary Taint doesn't feel like it adds much to the setting as a whole. I guess it's like Dark Side Points, sort of? Except there aren't any Light Side Points for interesting contrast. And it does leave the poor Crab and their thousand-year rearguard action rather hanging in the breeze. 

In any event, all that is an emotional reaction, the same way that revulsion at the concept of involuntary Taint is; and I'm perfectly at peace with the fact that I can't expect to logic anyone into agreeing with an emotion. 

 

Edit: Now that I think of it, this realization probably brought to you by way of binge-watching Victorian Pharmacy, Tudor Monastery Farm, etc. Hah. :D 

 

If Taint were just a physical malady, I would be inclined to agree with you.  But it isn't.  It's a spiritual and moral affliction that spreads like a physical disease, and can end up with a soul ripped from the cosmic cycle, stripped of any chance to fulfill its destiny, and condemned to Jigoku's embrace. 

 

It bothers me beyond any "fairness" to the players in a game, beyond any issue with one particular GM.

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If Taint were just a physical malady, I would be inclined to agree with you.  But it isn't.  It's a spiritual and moral affliction that spreads like a physical disease, and can end up with a soul ripped from the cosmic cycle, stripped of any chance to fulfill its destiny, and condemned to Jigoku's embrace. 

 

This is actually pretty overblown, and mostly present to give an obvious source of cheap drama and lift the burden of writing complex evil characters. Otherwise, the Tainted character can just have some sort of "divine intervention" and get rid of her Taint by killing a random oni or he can just climb out of Jigoku and return as a 100% pure spirit-samurai to fulfill his destiny. 

 

Also, I would like to point out that while Locust Shell has a fair point, being reminded to one's "mortality" can be quite counter-productive in a fantasy samurai game. You are supposed to piss all over your mortality in this genre, after all. 

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If Taint were just a physical malady, I would be inclined to agree with you.  But it isn't.  It's a spiritual and moral affliction that spreads like a physical disease, and can end up with a soul ripped from the cosmic cycle, stripped of any chance to fulfill its destiny, and condemned to Jigoku's embrace. 

 

This is actually pretty overblown, and mostly present to give an obvious source of cheap drama and lift the burden of writing complex evil characters. Otherwise, the Tainted character can just have some sort of "divine intervention" and get rid of her Taint by killing a random oni or he can just climb out of Jigoku and return as a 100% pure spirit-samurai to fulfill his destiny. 

 

Also, I would like to point out that while Locust Shell has a fair point, being reminded to one's "mortality" can be quite counter-productive in a fantasy samurai game. You are supposed to piss all over your mortality in this genre, after all. 

 

 

Do you mean that you think my comment is overblown, or the way Taint is handled as largely incurrable is overblown on the part of the writers?

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