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My Thoughts on Shadowlands in L5R Card Game

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3 hours ago, Stone37 said:

The simple reason (but there are many others) that Shadowlands cannot and should not be its own clan is the honor system.  In the game, the clans via for the favor of the Emperor.  This would make no sense for the Shadowlands.  How would a Shadowlands deck lose (theme wise) if it ran out of honor?  Even more ridiculous is winning by way of honor! 

 

How is flavor a problem? Shadowlands has always been about monsters bashing at the wall of Rokugan and bloodspeaker cults and hidden goju silently infiltrating and manipulating the clans of Rokugan. If you want flavor and narrative its very easy.

First off, the honor number is not flavor wise reflecting your CLAN'S honor, that is just where you start with, its reflecting your own personal honor. When you gain or lose honor, its reflecting the way YOU play and the means by which you play.

So when you are playing a shadowlands faction you are an infiltrator using the powers of Jigoku to aid in achieving victory. If a Shadowlands deck loses honor and drops to 0, that is the flavorable equivalent of the opponent exposing the shadowlands player for the monster they truly are, enough to get the emperor to notice and condemn them. If Shadowlands wins by Honor its the opposite, the opponent has failed to stop the shadowlands player from earning the emperor's favor and any critique from them is silenced by the emperor, who now trusts this ill-seeking infiltrator.

In the same way, being destroyed by the shadowlands players armies in provinces leaves few survivors to report of the ways they were destroyed, history is written by the victor after all. ;) 

 

I mean, if the game held perfectly to flavor then just playing Goblin Sneak in any of the clans should pretty much make you lose, but this is a game, it doesn't have to always force itself into perfect lore representation.

 

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I'd note that playing a Goblin Sneak into your own otherwise undefended province in fact saves you from losing honor. Wrap your head around that.

I'll be really surprised if we don't get a way to play Shadowlands eventually. The CCG kept it around for a long time for a reason - it's not like they never purged playable factions. Some people like playing the bad guys. I'm not going to declare that wrongbadfun.

I'd say the main reason the old Shadowlands strongholds generally turned off Honor as a mechanic was due to the fact that every SL card caused honor loss, so a player could rapidly lose to dishonor. Our one example Shadowlands card we have now does not cost honor for the person playing it. That means there may be no mechanical reason to exclude the faction from the honor system. Start them low, like at a 5 or so, and have their cards have low glory so honoring/dishonoring doesn't mean much to them. Conceptually, getting to 25 means that even your horde of monsters has managed to impress their worthiness upon the empire and gains official recognition, sort of like the formation of the Spider Clan. Falling to 0 honor means you have demonstrated such a threat that the empire gangs up on you and wipes out the Shadowlands. It's not really that tricky. Starting at a low honor number with few ways to gain honor means most SL decks will province focused, but they will have to watch their honor amount just like anyone else.

That's just one way to potentially handle it. I'm sure there are many other ways to introduce the faction without destroying the game.

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14 hours ago, Stone37 said:

The simple reason (but there are many others) that Shadowlands cannot and should not be its own clan is the honor system.  In the game, the clans via for the favor of the Emperor.  This would make no sense for the Shadowlands.  How would a Shadowlands deck lose (theme wise) if it ran out of honor?  Even more ridiculous is winning by way of honor! 

1) By being exposed publicly as being in league with the forces of Jigoku.

2) By infiltrating the courts with Pekkle no Oni and similar servants to advance one's agenda.

 

It's really not hard to think of ways that it could work.

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15 hours ago, TheItsyBitsySpider said:

 

First off, the honor number is not flavor wise reflecting your CLAN'S honor, that is just where you start with, its reflecting your own personal honor. When you gain or lose honor, its reflecting the way YOU play and the means by which you play.

 

This is an interesting way of looking at Honor, and I kinda like it. It's not what the game tells you - the Honor does represent the behaviour of a player's clan, but it is a way of viewing the situation that makes Honor a little less of a thematic problem for a potential Shadowlands faction. 

Ultimately I'd much rather Spider than Shadowlands, but I would still love a Shadowlands raid style deck. 

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I'm fairly certain we'll see the Shadowlands return, though maybe not as a Stronghold.

The Shadowlands exist in the fiction, and the Wall exists for a reason. The first cycle is focused on the human clans and their conflicts, but I don't see them ignoring it forever. The big question which a bunch have people have pointed out is integrating them into the rules. A number of tainted characters and neutrals might work better than a true faction.

Spider I'm less sure on. They have rights to a large amount of art, and the IP as well, but the Spider was a product of the previous storyline that isn't guaranteed to repeat.

A new Spider, with a Daigotsu who isn't a kidnapped heir is possible in the story now, but that loses their reason to be a clan. 

I really wish Spider do return, I started in Celestial with Spider Kensai monks, so there's a lot that I miss, but the end of the Destroyer War marks the beginning of the end of o5r to me. 

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1 hour ago, DrDevidents said:

This is an interesting way of looking at Honor, and I kinda like it. It's not what the game tells you - the Honor does represent the behaviour of a player's clan, but it is a way of viewing the situation that makes Honor a little less of a thematic problem for a potential Shadowlands faction. 

Ultimately I'd much rather Spider than Shadowlands, but I would still love a Shadowlands raid style deck. 

The players honor in relations to the clan is mainly in their starting honor, because the player is supposed to be a lord of that clan. So if you are playing lion, the idea is that you are a Lion lord and thus have the basic honor of the clan starting out. But in the conflict with the opponent, your honor is your specific honor.

Cards like Obstinate Recruit fit this narrative as they refuse to serve the less honorable lord.

Its just how I see it playing out.

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21 minutes ago, TheItsyBitsySpider said:

The players honor in relations to the clan is mainly in their starting honor, because the player is supposed to be a lord of that clan. So if you are playing lion, the idea is that you are a Lion lord and thus have the basic honor of the clan starting out. But in the conflict with the opponent, your honor is your specific honor.

Cards like Obstinate Recruit fit this narrative as they refuse to serve the less honorable lord.

Its just how I see it playing out.

Yeah, I can see that. I do like your way of thinking about it.

The Learn to Play and Rules Reference do both say that Honor represents the behaviour of the Clan, and the perception of that behaviour.  So you would have to redefine it in a similar manner as you suggest to make the honor work thematically with Shadowlands.  Since I can't see anyone's perception of the Shadowlands as a whole rising to the point of awarding an Honor Victory. But you could see people having respect for a particular General.

Edited by DrDevidents

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On 11/15/2017 at 2:30 AM, Vlad3theImpaler said:

1) By being exposed publicly as being in league with the forces of Jigoku.

2) By infiltrating the courts with Pekkle no Oni and similar servants to advance one's agenda.

 

It's really not hard to think of ways that it could work.

But they are not "posing" as part of one of the clans.  It makes sense for them to be neutral cards that are infecting a clan... but not one on their own.  I think you could stretch to try and make them fit into the current system... but they don't fit naturally.  A BIG part of this game now is vying for the favor of the Emperor, to promote your clan over others.  A "corrupted" clan would make for an interesting story arch... but a win by a straight Shadowland clan would mean death for Rokugan.

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1 hour ago, Stone37 said:

But they are not "posing" as part of one of the clans.  It makes sense for them to be neutral cards that are infecting a clan... but not one on their own.  I think you could stretch to try and make them fit into the current system... but they don't fit naturally.  A BIG part of this game now is vying for the favor of the Emperor, to promote your clan over others.  A "corrupted" clan would make for an interesting story arch... but a win by a straight Shadowland clan would mean death for Rokugan.

Most bloodspeakers ARE posing as part of clans, that's how they get their power and influence in the first place. Goju Ninja literally take people's places in society and Bog hags are all about infiltration. Any shadowlands creature beyond the wall exists because they are adept at remaining concealed.  

Shadowlands can of course be neutral cards, the original faction was entirely composed of neutral cards after all. But we already have a game where I play phoenix, deploy a goblin to steal fate from my opponent, use my Stronghold to increase his glory to 2 and stole the Imperial favor from the crane with a goblin. Flavorwise that  makes 100% no sense, most cases of shadowlands creatures being thrown into decks don't, which is why them as a faction works helps make them more relevant. Sure you can run a tainted deck, but the faction means that they matter more then just anti-flavor splash cards.

And the scale of these battles in the LCG is not canon to the actual story, you will have games where both players are fighting in a combat with the same named unique character, the game is flavored by the story, but it is clear that it is not meant to perfectly follow it. Having shadowlands in the game as a faction doesn't break anything lore wise, because the game already allows unrealistic scenarios to occur.

 

Edited by TheItsyBitsySpider

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48 minutes ago, TheItsyBitsySpider said:

But we already have a game where I play phoenix, deploy a goblin to steal fate from my opponent, use my Stronghold to increase his glory to 2 and stole the Imperial favor from the crane with a goblin. Flavorwise that  makes 100% no sense........

Everything about this scenario makes perfect sense to me.

Glory Goblins FTW!  

 

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