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My Thoughts on Shadowlands in L5R Card Game

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Not every clan need to have to fit into all the themes.  So for Shadowlands I would go for Warfare with tainted Samurai, Shadowland Creatures and Goju/ Ninube Ninjas. For Magic with Maho and Gaijin Magic supported by the Chuda and for nobility with the theme of Shurido and the Dark Mirror of the empire with a heavy dark Virtue emphasis. Basicly let them get their own nobility and ruling class and than go for the mirror approach here. Intresting would be if a twisted Honor approach would be intresting so that the Spider get something like Dark honor which behaves completly different and also have other causes to gain but I think there just will be no Honor theme for them.
Intrigue could work with Ninja and Infiltrators and I think a dishonor theme for the Spider could work well.

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Starting with Kinzen's idea from the old forums, maybe the Spider should be made the clan of "second chances and lost causes".  Split them down the middle, send the hell-worshiping taint-embracing part back to being "the Shadowlands horde", and make the other half that embraces loyalty to Rokugan into the place where people end up when they have no where to go, where exiles and fleeing peasants and disgraced monks and people who want to be forgotten rather than dead and whoever else ends up.  While the Scopion are viewed as something between "loyal opposition", "honorable villains", and "traitors but we can't prove it" depending on who you ask, the Spider are viewed as less than that even, but through tremendous effort they make themselves useful and grudgingly accepted. 

 

Any thoughts?  Hopefully Kinzen will drop by to expand on her original suggestion.  ;)

 

Summoned, I appear! :lol:

 

In all honesty, I don't know what more I can say on that, because I don't play the CCG (LCG, whatever). I can talk until I'm blue in the fact about what I would do with them from the standpoint of setting, but since I know bupkiss about the card mechanics, I'm no help at figuring out how to make it work in play.

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Not every clan need to have to fit into all the themes.  So for Shadowlands I would go for Warfare with tainted Samurai, Shadowland Creatures and Goju/ Ninube Ninjas. For Magic with Maho and Gaijin Magic supported by the Chuda and for nobility with the theme of Shurido and the Dark Mirror of the empire with a heavy dark Virtue emphasis. Basicly let them get their own nobility and ruling class and than go for the mirror approach here. Intresting would be if a twisted Honor approach would be intresting so that the Spider get something like Dark honor which behaves completly different and also have other causes to gain but I think there just will be no Honor theme for them.

Intrigue could work with Ninja and Infiltrators and I think a dishonor theme for the Spider could work well.

 

Much of that can exist within the current structure of the Spider clan, without the problems of the Shadowlands Hordes had. 

 

Depending on how FFG does the clan, they might have both honor/dishonor. I mean, the brother of the Emperor is a Spider. Of course much of this has to do with what honor and dishonor actually do in the new game. Regardless, I could see dishonor as simply a control type of deck, but changed to not be a player elimination method.

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Not every clan need to have to fit into all the themes.  So for Shadowlands I would go for Warfare with tainted Samurai, Shadowland Creatures and Goju/ Ninube Ninjas. For Magic with Maho and Gaijin Magic supported by the Chuda and for nobility with the theme of Shurido and the Dark Mirror of the empire with a heavy dark Virtue emphasis. Basicly let them get their own nobility and ruling class and than go for the mirror approach here. Intresting would be if a twisted Honor approach would be intresting so that the Spider get something like Dark honor which behaves completly different and also have other causes to gain but I think there just will be no Honor theme for them.

Intrigue could work with Ninja and Infiltrators and I think a dishonor theme for the Spider could work well.

 

Much of that can exist within the current structure of the Spider clan, without the problems of the Shadowlands Hordes had. 

 

Depending on how FFG does the clan, they might have both honor/dishonor. I mean, the brother of the Emperor is a Spider. Of course much of this has to do with what honor and dishonor actually do in the new game. Regardless, I could see dishonor as simply a control type of deck, but changed to not be a player elimination method.

 

Again, the only problems shadowlands horde had were with a fundamentally broken victory condition, that up until very very recently, only 1 clan could do well.

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As you might be able to tell, I like the Spider Clan. If we cease to be a playable faction (even if just until some deluxe expansion) I will be sad, but I'll be looking for a new clan to join up with for a short time. One of the beautiful things about the game becoming an LCG is that you don't have to chase the cards for your clan. You just buy everything and then you have the cards to play whatever clan you want for a time. I would not hate a return to the Horde. I would be very happy if we had some kind of "corruption" choice especially at the beginning of the game during deckbuilding. Maybe it can be like Warhammer 40,000: Conquest where you have certain alliances allowed - or maybe starting with a certain stronghold/faction means you're working for the Shadowlands (or my dad?) BUT you have to have a smaller starting hand or less gold or something?

It's an exciting time to be an L5R fan, and even more exciting for those of us who are Spiders -- who knows what the future holds? But you can't kill that which is already dead...

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As you might be able to tell, I like the Spider Clan. If we cease to be a playable faction (even if just until some deluxe expansion) I will be sad, but I'll be looking for a new clan to join up with for a short time. One of the beautiful things about the game becoming an LCG is that you don't have to chase the cards for your clan. You just buy everything and then you have the cards to play whatever clan you want for a time. I would not hate a return to the Horde. I would be very happy if we had some kind of "corruption" choice especially at the beginning of the game during deckbuilding. Maybe it can be like Warhammer 40,000: Conquest where you have certain alliances allowed - or maybe starting with a certain stronghold/faction means you're working for the Shadowlands (or my dad?) BUT you have to have a smaller starting hand or less gold or something?

It's an exciting time to be an L5R fan, and even more exciting for those of us who are Spiders -- who knows what the future holds? But you can't kill that which is already dead...

 

I think the whole "corruption" route is the best initial way to really focus on the embodiment of Shadowlands "evil". Make the Oni and other creatures all neutral, while certain clan personalities are corrupted. Maybe just start with Shugenja because they can easily control the baddies through magic. Better yet, have these shugenja all belong to some loose organisation where you can make an easy Sensei or two to base them around.  Then, just let the players decide on where the clan might go. Votes for purity and votes for corruption.

 

Even in this situation, the Spider can easily exist as just another clan fighting to determine its direction. Does it continue to try and fit in, with an emphasis on the courtiers and monks. Or does it go back towards the Hordes route? Goju ninja would simply be Goju ninja.

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Let's keep this in mind when thinking about the Shadowlands:

 

"Legend of the Five Rings is an upcoming Living Card Game® that invites players to journey to the mythical land of Rokugan. Although the LCG version of Legend of the Five Rings will have significant mechanical differences from previous versions, it is fully our intention to maintain the spirit and emotional impact that’s so inherent to this setting. Throughout the development of the LCG, our developers will ensure that the game maintains its connection to Rokugan and the Colonies, as well as the game’s pervasive themes of honor, nobility, magic, intrigue, duty, and warfare. Look for the Legend of the Five Rings LCG at Gen Con Indy 2017!"

 

I bolded the themes portion of the details (taken from the description of the base game on FFG's site) because I feel that the Shadowlands needs to be able to take part in those themes to be successful. That means having some tie in with honor, nobility, magic, intrigue, and duty besides just warfare. How it achieves these can different wildly (bog hags or Susumu couriters dealing with "honor", the sort of nobility with the dark bushi, Goju with intrigue, and so on). 

 

If the Shadowlands Hordes or other monster factions cannot tie in well with the basic mechanics of the game, then it shouldn't be really be there. This goes with factions like the Naga or Ratlings as well.

 

This is why I want Spider instead of Shadowlands Horde -- so that honor and intrigue and courtliness can be a core mechanic everyone participates in. But I talked about that at length already.

 

I wouldn't mind seeing Naga, reinterpreted to work in this framework too. While reworking ratlings to the point that they can do intrigue stuff would move them so far afield they'd not really be ratlings and you might as well make them something else, Naga wouldn't need too much change to do it. Mysterious and secretive snake-people who deal with humans to advance Important Duties The Fate Of The World Rests Upon, that they never quite actually explain to you, seem like they'd be a good fit for courtiering.

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Random thought: The Dishonor VS Shadowlands problem would pretty much vanish if the Shadowlands went (as plenty suggested) from a Stronghold faction to a Sensei modifying a faction.

 

It would make sense from a setting/in-game perspective too. For all intents and purposes, Dishonor represents your opponent revealing the dirt on you and/or your personalities. When you got to -20, you were forced to "commit seppuku" and therefore lost the game.

 

Add a Shadowlands Sensei that gave access to Shadowlands creatures/cards and negated the honor loss from said cards (along with, say, a cost reduction for Shadowlands Cards)... but that doesn't protect you from others' cards causing you honor losses.

 

Now a Dishonor deck would work as usual... by revealing your association with the Shadowlands/Taint. When you got to -20, it was an indisputable claim, and you would be forced to "commit seppuku"/"flee", and therefore losing the game.

 

 

Wouldn't such a solution please both Shadowlands players and Dishonor ones?

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They wouldn't want to play a Crane, Unicorn, or other Great clan with Oni in them. Shadowlands Horde players really just want a new Shadowlands Horde box. For everyone else, the solution is fine. Hell, it was just done in Evil Portents.

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More or less what Kubernes said. Why would The Maw care about the prattling of some courtier? Immunity to Dishonour, while game-breaking, was a vivid illustration of the fact that the Shadowlands Horde simply did not care about the rules everyone else played by. Variations of the idea, as in the Forgotten Temple SH, tried to replicate that flavour without being quite so environment-deforming. Moreover, with or without regard to Dishonour... having the Shadowlands represented by a Sensei(-like mechanic) might well be a good idea in game terms, but it still means the Shadowlands isn't a faction in its own right. If that's what balance requires, so be it, but if that was the only way to 'play Shadowlands', I would stick with my pure Lion.

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On the other hand if it's a Sensei that interacts with spider in such a way that by default the Spider box is the 'broody antihero with a dark past', and then the, I dunno, Oni no Akuma Sensei turns it into 'No I am actually just huge and evil' I'd be ok with that.

Edited by Terraneaux

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Alternately be rid of dishonor as a victory condition entirely as its proven to be an overcomplicated mess and revert shadowlands horde to shadowlands horde.

 

Dishonor is a BAD victory conditon, it is one of the BAD mechanics of the game that will either need to be reworked into unrecognizeability from its former form in order to be a workable, fair, victory condition that doesn't just grind games to time regularly vs honor matchups. 

 

Shadowlands horde as shadowlands horde has another benefit.  They're the ONLY group of players that doesn't mind being actual bad guys doing bad things in the story.  You cannot count on a single other factions playerbase not to drop rage poops all over the internet community when their faction is portrayed as bad, wrong, or weak.

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... Shadowlands horde as shadowlands horde has another benefit.  They're the ONLY group of players that doesn't mind being actual bad guys doing bad things in the story.  You cannot count on a single other factions playerbase not to drop rage poops all over the internet community when their faction is portrayed as bad, wrong, or weak.

 

I don't consider myself good enough at the game to know if Dishonour per se is worth keeping. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was subsumed into a more generic 'political' victory condition, as discussed in various other threads, but I don't know, and it may not be worth worrying about in any case.

 

To address your last paragraph, though, you raise a valid point about having an in-built antagonist faction... the problem, however, lies in your last word- ultimately, however powerful the Shadowlands may be presented as being, they have to lose, or the setting dies. After all, Oni don't want to take over Rokugan: they want to annihilate it; so a victory for the Shadowlands isn't just a loss for all the other factions, it's a loss for the setting as a whole. Do the benefits of having an antagonist faction ready to hand outweigh the drawbacks of having a faction who cannot be allowed to actually win anything of importance (thereby substantially reducing the scope of tournaments/RP events to determine outcomes)? I'm not sure, but it's worth considering, I would think.

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The benefits absolutely do outweigh the drawbacks, as their playerbase put up with it and were even content with their story role for 15+ years, knowing full well that they'd never crush the empire utterly, that their big wins would mean a city is sacked or a hero killed or corrupted rather than an empire conquered.

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Good points.

 

A question though (and playing the devil's advocate a bit here) - wasn't part of the creation and rise of the Spider Clan motivated due to the desire of having such an antagonist faction actually win (and as was being the case in Onyx, take over the Empire)? 

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No, it was motivated because of interactions with a mechanically poorly implemented victory condition.

 

And interactions with story prizes -- Shadowlands always required something different and more high-impact than any other Clan's reward.

 

So really, it could be fairly summarized as desire to have an antagonist faction that CAN win without causing so much wackiness.

Edited by Huitzil37

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No, it was motivated because of interactions with a mechanically poorly implemented victory condition.

 

And interactions with story prizes -- Shadowlands always required something different and more high-impact than any other Clan's reward.

 

So really, it could be fairly summarized as desire to have an antagonist faction that CAN win without causing so much wackiness.

 

 

That's not really how it worked out though. Shadowlands prizes were never really "wacky." They just corrupted something instead of achieving something. On the other hand, having an antagonist or semi-antagonist faction that won "normal" story prizes did cause a variety of problems.

 

I don't know if I agree that either the story prize thing or the dishonor thing was a significant reason for the switch away from straight-up Shadowlands, but regardless neither is a reason now for not having it. I think it's not reasonably disputable that dishonor as a deck victory condition focus (as opposed to a restriction on what you could do with your own deck for fear of dishonoring out) caused a number of problems, and that interaction with Shadowlands could fairly be characterized as one of them. But that wasn't the most fundamental issue, and I don't see how dishonor decks could possibly transition as-is to a new game anyway, so I think that issue is pretty moot. And there wasn't really a problem with the story prizes to begin with, and changing away from Shadowlands caused problems.

 

So, as I asserted earlier, I continue to think that there's no valid reason to per se not have Shadowlands as a faction (they would still lose out to core Great Clan factions if the question was which X factions get to stay, but that's a different question). I will admit that, as others have argued, if you want every faction to fully participate in court, then a Jigoku-based faction doesn't work in that paradigm. So that's a reason not to have Shadowlands. However, while it is a logically valid reason to exclude Shadowlands, I do not find it a persuasive one, because I disagree with the underlying premise that every single faction has to be able to fully participate in courtly intrigue. But while that is a valid (if unpersuasive) reason, dishonor decks and story prizes aren't at all a reason for excluding Shadowlands.

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No, it was motivated because of interactions with a mechanically poorly implemented victory condition.

 

And interactions with story prizes -- Shadowlands always required something different and more high-impact than any other Clan's reward.

 

So really, it could be fairly summarized as desire to have an antagonist faction that CAN win without causing so much wackiness.

 

 

That's not really how it worked out though. Shadowlands prizes were never really "wacky." They just corrupted something instead of achieving something. On the other hand, having an antagonist or semi-antagonist faction that won "normal" story prizes did cause a variety of problems.

 

I don't know if I agree that either the story prize thing or the dishonor thing was a significant reason for the switch away from straight-up Shadowlands, but regardless neither is a reason now for not having it. I think it's not reasonably disputable that dishonor as a deck victory condition focus (as opposed to a restriction on what you could do with your own deck for fear of dishonoring out) caused a number of problems, and that interaction with Shadowlands could fairly be characterized as one of them. But that wasn't the most fundamental issue, and I don't see how dishonor decks could possibly transition as-is to a new game anyway, so I think that issue is pretty moot. And there wasn't really a problem with the story prizes to begin with, and changing away from Shadowlands caused problems.

 

So, as I asserted earlier, I continue to think that there's no valid reason to per se not have Shadowlands as a faction (they would still lose out to core Great Clan factions if the question was which X factions get to stay, but that's a different question). I will admit that, as others have argued, if you want every faction to fully participate in court, then a Jigoku-based faction doesn't work in that paradigm. So that's a reason not to have Shadowlands. However, while it is a logically valid reason to exclude Shadowlands, I do not find it a persuasive one, because I disagree with the underlying premise that every single faction has to be able to fully participate in courtly intrigue. But while that is a valid (if unpersuasive) reason, dishonor decks and story prizes aren't at all a reason for excluding Shadowlands.

 

 

Right, but we weren't talking about why to have or not have it now, we were talking about why they made the switch. 

 

The reasons to make the switch THEN are not identical to the reasons to do the same switch NOW, but they come from the same fundamental place: the problems arising from how you have the interactions between factions, or decks, or story prizes, etc. all set up as working within a system of rules, and then having one of the parts of the game that ignores most of those rules. It's better if you can find a way to do what it needs to do that does not require it to ignore most of those rules!

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No, it was motivated because of interactions with a mechanically poorly implemented victory condition.

 

And interactions with story prizes -- Shadowlands always required something different and more high-impact than any other Clan's reward.

 

So really, it could be fairly summarized as desire to have an antagonist faction that CAN win without causing so much wackiness.

 

 

 

No, it was motivated because of interactions with a mechanically poorly implemented victory condition.

 

And interactions with story prizes -- Shadowlands always required something different and more high-impact than any other Clan's reward.

 

So really, it could be fairly summarized as desire to have an antagonist faction that CAN win without causing so much wackiness.

 

I dont know what kind of insider info you have, but MY insider info had nothing to do with that.  The reason you give was the reason they got rid of nonhuman factions like ratling according to my source.  "Story Problems" had nothing to do with Shadowlands going away.  Wanting to expand the dishonor conditon out of one solitary clan and SLH spokeing the wheels of dishonor was pretty much the sum total of reasons spider came about.

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It's too bad, Ratlings were a pretty unique and interesting nonhuman race to have in a fantasy setting, and they had a pretty big following iirc. But some of the higher-ups in AEG found them annoying, I guess.

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It's too bad, Ratlings were a pretty unique and interesting nonhuman race to have in a fantasy setting, and they had a pretty big following iirc. But some of the higher-ups in AEG found them annoying, I guess.

 

 

Looking at the history of the games and the internal history of the setting, I get the idea that AEG as a whole went back and forth and all around, over and over, when it came to non-humans, Naga, Ratlings, and others. 

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I thought Shadowlands went away mostly because they wanted to move the brand towards a focus on humans. If the main thing was dishonor interaction and wanting to expand dishonor, I'm not sure why they immediately printed Maw's Grave in Samurai Edition (Maw's Grave was printed as a rare Stronghold while Spider took over as a faction with a starter deck), which had the old school total prevention of honor loss (and which was tournament relevant). And did anyone but Scorpion actually do dishonor in Samurai Edition?

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I thought Shadowlands went away mostly because they wanted to move the brand towards a focus on humans. If the main thing was dishonor interaction and wanting to expand dishonor, I'm not sure why they immediately printed Maw's Grave in Samurai Edition (Maw's Grave was printed as a rare Stronghold while Spider took over as a faction with a starter deck), which had the old school total prevention of honor loss (and which was tournament relevant). And did anyone but Scorpion actually do dishonor in Samurai Edition?

 

For the same reason they removed ratling then a few arcs later made noises about bringing back naga. Factions have fanbases and the company was prone to throwing them a bone. 

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It's too bad, Ratlings were a pretty unique and interesting nonhuman race to have in a fantasy setting, and they had a pretty big following iirc. But some of the higher-ups in AEG found them annoying, I guess.

 

Ratlings had good stuff to them on their own, but were a really poor match for the rest of the setting. Personally, I'm not sure how the Naga got cut before the Ratlings did.

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