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Favorite Lion stories?

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The PCs in my campaign have recently had a lot of experience with both the good and the bad sides of the Scorpion approach to honor, and I'd like to run some stuff that gives microphone time to the Lion perspective. To that end: please share with me your favorite Lion stories! From canon or from home games; either suits my purposes. I'm looking for stories about how honor is a good thing that gives you strength and leads to better results than the less honorable approach -- not for "and then she committed seppuku with a wooden sword thus totally shaming her jerk of a lord and this is what we call a happy ending." (Hi, Ikoma Arimi; how ya doin'?) Basically, the kind of thing that makes you go "yeah, Lion can be pretty awesome people."

 

Bring on the noble kitties! :-)

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The PCs in my campaign have recently had a lot of experience with both the good and the bad sides of the Scorpion approach to honor, and I'd like to run some stuff that gives microphone time to the Lion perspective. To that end: please share with me your favorite Lion stories! From canon or from home games; either suits my purposes. I'm looking for stories about how honor is a good thing that gives you strength and leads to better results than the less honorable approach -- not for "and then she committed seppuku with a wooden sword thus totally shaming her jerk of a lord and this is what we call a happy ending." (Hi, Ikoma Arimi; how ya doin'?) Basically, the kind of thing that makes you go "yeah, Lion can be pretty awesome people."

 

Bring on the noble kitties! :-)

Here is my favourite.

 

Okura No Oni :D

 

http://l5r.wikia.com/wiki/Okura_no_Oni

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That one where they all ended up corrupted (Or maybe it was just the Kitsu?)and they came with that weird ass shadowlands/Kitsu shugenja deck. It was so bizzare it felt like playing corrupted Phoenix or Shadowlands maho. I figured I was just buying some Lion blitz deck with a bit of baked in tactical cards, boy was I mistaken.

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The PCs in my campaign have recently had a lot of experience with both the good and the bad sides of the Scorpion approach to honor, and I'd like to run some stuff that gives microphone time to the Lion perspective. To that end: please share with me your favorite Lion stories! From canon or from home games; either suits my purposes. I'm looking for stories about how honor is a good thing that gives you strength and leads to better results than the less honorable approach -- not for "and then she committed seppuku with a wooden sword thus totally shaming her jerk of a lord and this is what we call a happy ending." (Hi, Ikoma Arimi; how ya doin'?) Basically, the kind of thing that makes you go "yeah, Lion can be pretty awesome people."

 

Bring on the noble kitties! :-)

Here is my favourite.

 

Okura No Oni :D

 

http://l5r.wikia.com/wiki/Okura_no_Oni

 

 

I'd second Okura, she was quite a different Lion hero than the others. I really liked that Kitsu Tombs stronghold too, as my first real foray into the Lion clan.

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I'm surprised no one has put their vote behind a specific story. I mean, I can think of my favourite Dragon or Crab tale (though the latter wasn't an official fiction), and a few other stories that I've enjoyed, so I would have thought people would be linking Kaze no Shiro already.

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It's because there are no Lion stories where they come out looking good. =)

 

Nonsense; there are plenty of great Lion stories.  

My favorite? 

Matsu Tsuko choosing seppuku so that Toturi can retake leadership of the Lion and save the Empire.

 

'The winter is bleak 

Shadows are long with despair 

My eyes are the dawn'

          Tsuko's death poem.

 

And, there's the original Matsu Domotai story

I also liked Legacies by Nancy Sauer, which followed up part of that.

Edited by Azamiko

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It's because there are no Lion stories where they come out looking good. =)

 

Oh, sure there are. It's just that all the ones I can think of come in two flavors:

 

1) "Here's a Lion who was an awesome general and won lots of battles yay!"

 

2) "Here's a Lion who died horribly! Isn't it awesome that they died in the name of honor?"

 

The former isn't about honor, and the latter doesn't make a very good sales pitch. :-)

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Lion stories?!? My favourite! My kitties! :wub:

 

I am going to have to start this off by dissenting from the apparently prevailing opinion on Okura, though. As superficially cool as it is that the Lion are SO honourable that they can turn Oni into guardians of Tengoku is... I'm not keen on the idea that Oni can be redeemed. It messes with the whole cosmology, and turns the noble struggle of the Crab into a pointless war against creatures that are only evil and destructive because they know no other way to be. Which can be a cool premise, but doesn't work for L5R, in my view. Also, getting teasers along the lines of, "You'll get a Stronghold that produces 4 gold!", then having it make all our people corrupted... jerk move. Funny, in retrospect, but jerk move. So, not a fan of Okura. But if that's what people like, cool.

 

In terms of Lion stories, though, I'll put in a shameless plug for my earlier thread here, and add to it this list of Lion heroes/important historical figures, which I initially wrote up for the benefit of the Lion players in WCIV, then in FRO7. I've tried to edit out the explicit RP-advice elements of it, but its origins sill probably show. Not all of these characters are admirable, and some have been mentioned elsewhere, but they represent a reasonable cross-section of notable Lion personages from throughout their history, and provide a reasonable mosaic of the Clan. Apologies in advance for length!

 

***

 

Akodo

Akodo.
Really, nothing more need be added to his name, as I assume everyone here is familiar with his deeds and doings, save to remind everyone that he brought down the Seikitsu Pass with a shout (though sources are conflicted as to whether it was literally his voice that triggered the landslide, or if he was calling on his mother Amaterasu to close it for him), killing himself and the Tsuno who were trying to attack the Hall of Ancestors. The fact that even their Kami, at the dawn of the Empire, was willing to die to preserve the memory of Ancestors who were yet to be born, let alone die, says a lot about the Lion reverence for their Ancestors.

Akodo Tsetsu.
Not so much a hero as a cautionary tale. Tsetsu led a unit to Kosaten Shiro as part of the incessant cycle of Crane/Lion wars, and sent a messenger (Ikoma Yuri, though that is of no significance) back to inform the Clan that he was within sight of victory, but while Yuri was on his way back, the Crane exploded the Lion back at the camp (gaijin pepper: though it wasn't known/couldn't be proven at the time, this is likely something the War College people realised once the existence of the Harriers was made public), then sent a rider to catch up to Yuri, and threw Tsetsu's head at him in a bag. Though he couldn't have expected gaijin pepper, Tsetsu's name subsequently became a byword for an overconfident lack of care in securing one's position.

Akodo Meikuko (listed as a Matsu in some sources).
Like Tsetsu, Meikuko's name is one that is rememembered, but not honoured, though her mistake was on a much larger scale, as she was Clan Champion. Driven by the Bloodsword Revenge, she attempted to attack the Dragon in winter, and her army was predictably demolished. Realising too late what madness she had been driven to, she dictated an account to an Ikoma (Seikuko) with the army, then committed seppuku. The Ikoma wrote a play about it, which is performed pretty much only for Lion audiences, to warn them against repeating the error.

Akodo Minobe.
An Imperial Legionnaire (or Emerald Magistrate - sources conflict) at the time of Iuchiban/Yajinden's first attempt (the Battle of Stolen Graves), Minobe was instrumental in hunting the Bloodspeakers after their initial assassinations, and forcing them to give battle, at which point, standing in defence of the Imperial Palace, he was also the first to discover that reanimated corpses could be killed by decapitation, and spread that knowledge rapidly to everyone else who might need to know. Following his term of service in the Legions he became hatamoto to various Lion commanders, advising them on various things but especially Bloodspeakers and the undead when necessary. A useful reminder that the Lion have always played an important role in combating enemies of the Empire as a whole, not just people they dislike.

Akodo Masaumi.
Commander of the Lion forces on the Dragon border (and son of the Champion) during the Great Famine, Masaumi had to deal with the influx of starving Dragon refugees trying to cross into Lion territories. He fought a brief skirmish with the Mirumoto, but swiftly realised that it wasn't a real attack, and called off the battle as a unit of Shiba arrived, which allowed for negotiations to occur and a treaty to be worked out. Perhaps not the most glorious of exploits, but a handy reference point for the Lion being reasonable when reason is called for.

Akodo Yokutsu.
The unfortunate betrothed of Isawa Maroko. Seven years after the establishment of the Dragonfly, he attacked the Dragon (skirting around the lands of the Dragonfly themselves in honour of a vow he had been made to swear at the time of their foundation), and beat them back to Kyuden Agasha (what would become Kyuden Kitsuki), where he demanded a duel with Mirumoto Asijin (the one who had stolen Maroko from him), which he won, and killed Asijin in the process. Once Asijin and Maroko's son had grown, however, he dueled Yokutsu in turn, and killed him- Yokutsu knew he could not win, but allowed himself to fight and die in the hope of ending the feud. The Dragonfly are often cited as an example of the Lion being unreasonably vindictive, but it is worth noting here (as with the Wasp, explained immediately below) that Yokutsu had very good reason to be angry with Asijin, adhered to his oaths, and did everything by the book. If anything, it's an illustration of the Lion's commitment to doing things right.

Tsuruchi's Uncle.
For whatever reason, Tsuruchi's uncle is not named, though his superior is (Matsu Kajitoko). The only notable thing he did was the retaking of Kyuden Ashinagabachi, so that is what I will talk about. Tsuruchi condemned his uncle (and the samurai caste more generally) for breaching faith by attacking Kyuden Ashinagabachi when Tsuruchi was just about to surrender, but they miss a very important fact: the terms of surrender had been that Tsuruchi and his followers would be allowed to live; Kajitoko's orders were to kill everyone within the castle- and Tsuruchi's uncle fulfilled both conditions, by massacring the castle's defenders in accordance with his orders, but sparing Tsuruchi and the seventy who followed him. The idea of a group of seventy people - who had been about to surrender, therefore were close to the Lion army, and were close enough to see Tsuruchi's uncle receive and read his orders, escaping a full-scale Lion army including cavalry and scouts is, frankly, ludicrous; the much more sensible explanation is that Tsuruchi's uncle was doing his best to fulfil both the orders of his lord and the terms of surrender he had offered Tsuruchi. While Tsuruchi's vendetta was understandable, it was misguided. (nb: I do not recommend making this case to anyone else unless asked directly, as the mind of most of the Empire regarding the fall of Kyuden Ashinagabachi is already made up, but it's a nice thing to keep in mind.)

Akodo Hari.
Preferring contemplation of Bushido to battle and bloodshed, but a thoughtful and skilled leader of men nonetheless, Hari rose quickly to the rank of Taisa, then refused any further promotion, on the basis that he would not be able to know all his men if he commanded any more, and he had no wish to lead men whom he did not know, and who did not know him. He proved extremely successful as a Taisa, leading his men through multiple wars without a defeat to his name. During the Scorpion Clan coup, however, he refused a direct order to charge a routing unit, saying there was no honour in fighting defeated enemies; instead, he requested, and was granted, permission to commit seppuku on the field.

Akodo Arasou.
Brother of Toturi, and betrothed of Matsu Tsuko. I would normally consider him sufficiently well-known not to merit inclusion in a list like this, but since we have so many non-Lions here, I might as well. In life, his achievements were relatively few - sufficient to earn him a reputation as a skilled and valiant warrior, but with few actual accomplishments to his name - until he was killed attacking Toshi Ranbo (during one of the Lion/Crane wars). Unfortunately for him, his soul was misled by a traitorous Sodan-Senzo, Kitsu Goden, and he didn't make it to Yomi initially. Making the best of a bad situation, he guided a group of samurai to a scroll capable of stopping the Legacy of the Forge (some Kitsu research that had gone awry, channeling Toshigoku rather than Yomi, which had been taken by Goden and was being used to manipulate the Lion into self-destruction), and gave them directions on how to use it, as a yorei. The samurai successfully put an end to the Legacy of the Forge, and acquired a Nemuranai mirror, which Arasou had them give to Tsuko. Arasou became a major hero among the Lion for his valour, and among the Kitsu especially for ending the Legacy of the Forge and killing (indirectly) Goden, earning a massive statue in the Hall of Ancestors, another one at Shiro Sano Ken Hayai (being a joint Kitsu/Akodo holding), and a shrine in Toshi Ranbo itself (which contains his armour, though it isn't on public display). Someone all Lion should know about, in other words.

Akodo Sarasa.
Initially little more than a scout and member of the Ikoma Wardens, Sarasa found herself quite suddenly appointed commander of the Eighth Imperial Legion during the War of Dark Fire, being one of the youngest ever to receive appointment as Shireikan of an Imperial Legion. During the battle of Shiro Morito, her signalman died, and she took it upon herself to take the exposed position relaying information and orders to the arriving reinforcements, which got her killed, but also secured victory for the Empire in the battle.

Akodo Hiroshi.
A cavalry officer of relatively little importance during the wars that immediately followed Iweko's ascension. In the course of fighting zombies, he and his men acquired the plague, so they rode north to where the Dragon were fighting Chosai's forces, passed through the lines, and shattered the army. The Dragon had initially taken offence at Hiroshi's refusal to allow any contact between himself or his men and the Dragon, but subsequently realised his reason, and let it be known that he died a hero.

Ikoma

Ikoma Noritobe.
The man who came up with the idea for the Ikoma Records, and had them sanctioned by Akodo as well as Hantei Genji, securing the position as official historians of the Empire for the Ikoma. He wrote and collated several of the records of the dawn of the Empire himself, as well as being given charge of the libraries' construction, and his ashes were interred at the base of the rack that holds his works (which was, not coincidentally, one of the few parts of the library unaffected by the Lying Darkness' attempt to destroy the Records).

Ikoma Komori.
A son of Ikoma, Komori spent a good part of his life in a rivalry with a Bayushi named Karitono, which culminated in the Scorpion forcing Komori to choose between dying to save his family, or living to warn a Matsu general of an assassination plot; Komori duped Karitono into thinking he had died, but then suddenly appeared at the time and place of the intended assassination, and managed to carry both himself over a cliff to their deaths.

Ikoma Genmuro.
Chief general of the Rokugani forces at White Stag, while Kurojin (who has been discussed elsewhere) stayed with Yugozohime. He learned from the gaijin by observation, allowing him to turn their tactics against them without fully adopting them himself (a useful model for us with regards to De Bellis), and would have destroyed them entirely if not for Agasha Kasuga's secret assistance to Hawthorne's forces.

Unnamed Escort-Riders.
During the War of Dark Fire, Shiro Shinjo came under siege, and the Unicorn were too badly beaten up to defend themselves properly (this being only a year since the Lion had marched on Shiro Moto). Things looked very bleak until Shinjo Dun (who had studied at the Akodo War College, in happier times) arrived, accompanied by an escort of 500 elite Lion cavalry, who saved the castle and its defenders, although the city surrounding it was trashed. Not a major engagement, nor the most heroic thing the Lion have ever done, but a signal of their willingness to aid even those they had just fought a bitter series of wars with, against the enemies of the Empire itself. (Of additional note is that the overall Unicorn commander was Shinjo Genki, Shono's widow, who otherwise held a considerable grudge against the Lion, demonstrating that the Unicorn were equally willing to work together if necessary.)

Kitsu

Kitsu Chiyoko.
The first human Sodan-Senzo, Chiyoko devoted the better part of her life to exploring her abilities, and writing down the definitive guides to the ways of the Sodan-Senzo for all Kitsu to come. When that was done, she departed Ningen-do to explore the Spirit Realms, and is reputed to still be mapping them.

Kitsu Hariko.
Mentioned very briefly elsewhere, but worth mentioning again here. Hariko was famous for her unsurpassed memory (she was supposedly able to recite not only her own full lineage, but also those of all her sensei), but much more so as the Kitsu who came up with the idea of building Shinden Yuisho (the temple in Yomi). She became utterly obsessed with building it, against the opposition of several others within the Kitsu and outside, as well as inevitable logistical problems, but managed to see it done (refusing the aid of the Ancestors themselves on the basis that it was supposed to be an offering to them), at which point she was immediately praised by all, and secured her legacy as a hero of the Family and the shiryo, albeit virtually unknown to other living Rokugani.

Kitsu Motso.
The Kitsu, being by nature reclusive, do not give rise to many heroes. Motso became a hero precisely because he lacked the blood-purity to become a Sodan-Senzo, or any talent as a shugenja, and explicitly refused the guidance of his ancestors. Training with the Matsu instead, he rose quickly through the ranks partly by virtue of the Akodo's dissolution, and aligned himself first with Matsu Tsuko, serving as her tactician while she led from the front lines, until the Lion Clan civil war broke out with the possession of Hantei XXXIX by Fu Leng, at which point he took the side of purity against the side of obedience. After several skirmishes between his forces and those of Ikoma Tsanuri (discussed elsewhere) and Ikoma Ujiaki, who was taking the position that the Emperor was above question by definition, they were sort-of reconciled by Toturi. Motso was involved in Tsanuri's march into the Shadowlands, but he survived while she didn't, at which point he became de facto leader of the Lion, and led them in conjunction with Ikoma Sume through the Spirit Wars until his death at the conclusion of those wars, in the collapse of the Beiden Pass (likely, though not explicitly, a throwback to Akodo sacrificing himself in the collapse of the Seikitsu Pass).

Matsu

Lady Matsu.
What more need be said? Her prowess and honour are legendary, as is her rejection of Akodo (which, incidentally, provides a handy precedent for defying the representative of the Heavens if absolutely necessary). Although everyone knows she was the Lion Thunder, though, there is still quite a bit of background story to play with, that doesn't get enough play. When Shinsei sent out the call for Thunders, Matsu was the first to step forward; when Ikoma Jujinin attempted to take her place, she knocked him out to prove that she was the one who should go. Also of interest, she left without telling Akodo (either to save him the pain of allowing it, or forcing her to break an order if he attempted to forbid her), but left her wakizashi (which, obviously, became one of the Family's - and Clan's - most precious relics) behind.

Matsu Kyoda.
When it came time for Hida Osano-Wo to find a wife, he naturally settled on the Matsu as the only women fit for him. Matsu Kyoda was Matsu Daimyo at the time. When Osano-Wo sent a messenger to ask for Kyoda's hand, the messenger came back on a stretcher, with most of their bones broken. Osano-Wo being who he was, this only confirmed his intention to marry Kyoda, and eventually he prevailed upon various people to make it happen. Kyoda gave birth to Kaimetsu-Uo, but on the same day a peasant gave birth to a boy named Kenzan, whom Osano-Wo claimed as his own. Kyoda tolerated this for the sake of wifely duties until Kenzan was named heir to the Hida Daimyo, at which point she cut her hair in a rage and took Kaimetsu-Uo to the Isles of Silk and Spice, where he eventually established the Mantis (really, given that history, it's amazing they're as friendly with the Crab as they are). This experience confirmed the Matsu in their determination never to marry out, and turned a vague understanding that they shouldn't give away their names into a firm tradition very rarely broken, as well as giving the Matsu a smouldering grudge against Osano-Wo and his line for a long time afterwards (notably, given the overlap in interests one might have expected, there are traditionally no shrines to him in Matsu territory, and this is why).

Unnamed Standard Bearer.
During the Battle of Sleeping River, the Lion's Pride were targeted specifically and heavily by the Bloodspeakers and their forces, as they held the key position on the battlefield. They were inspired to hold the line by the war-cries of the bearer of the Banner of the Roaring Tempest (aka, Ancestral Standard of the Lion), who died holding it upright just as the Akodo turned the Bloodspeakers' flank, thereby securing victory, and their soul entered the standard, turning it into a Nemuranai. This person presumably had a name, but, contrary to standard Lion practice, it was deliberately left unrecorded; the point being that they represented the courage and staunchness of the Lion as a whole, and that every Lion should emulate their example, rather than their being a singular hero. (For bonus points: Matsu Yukari was one of the officers of the Lion's Pride at the battle, and it gave her such a deep and enduring hatred of the undead that she subsequently retired her post (with permission), and spent the rest of her life hunting and destroying the undead wherever they could be found.)

Matsu Aigito.
Commander of the armies that assaulted and took Shiro no Yojin from the Crane in the Night of Falling Stars. Besides being an effective commander, he was eminently practical- after two and a half weeks of siege, he realised the Crane must be sneaking supplies into the castle somehow, and hired ronin to find out- when the ronin discovered the network of supply tunnels the Crane had been using, he smoked them out, making them unusable, and prompting the mass suicide by Crane defenders that gave the battle its name. Just as importantly, however, Aigito held the castle against repeated and determined attempts by the Crane to take it back off the Lion, proving that he was just as capable of holding castles as he was of taking them, even when the Crane knew said fortifications inside out.

Matsu Yuniri (and family.).
In keeping with the general Lion preference not to use shugenja in combat, Yuniri made a statement in court that there was no need for shugenja in the Emperor's armies. The Phoenix, unsurprisingly, replied that they had the greatest shugenja in the Empire, and that an army of Isawa shugenja would be able to defeat an army of Matsu bushi. Yuniri, equally unsurprisingly, took them up on the challenge. When the time came for battle, the Master of Water transported eight Shiba bushi into Yuniri's command tent at night, and succeeded in killing him, but failed to kill his wife, when Matsu Tsuko (their daughter, ten years old at the time) killed the would-be assassin with her bokken (Yuniri also killed three Shiba before actually dying, because that is how the Matsu roll). Thus, come the morning, the Matsu were urged on by Tsuko and led by Yunaki (Yuniri's wife), but enraged by Yuniri's assassination, and butchered the Phoenix. (Note, however, that the opposite occurred at Three Stone River, where Matsu Shouko and her unit were annihilated by a small group of Phoenix shugenja in an advantageous position.)

Matsu Agetoki.
One of the most gifted cavalry leaders of the Lion, and of the Empire (second only to a few Unicorn), Agetoki fought heroically through the Clan Wars and War Against the Shadow, leaving legends in his wake (during one battle in the Clan Wars, he fortuitously cut an arrow directed at him out of the air with the katana he was using to signal his troops, a story which quickly turned into him cutting the arrow out of the air deliberately, then into him catching the arrow bare-handed: untrue, but believed by some, and testament to how awesome he was that they could be told at all (also justifying his cards in the CCG being invulnerable against ranged attacks!). Another legend says he could outrace the Utaku, though the origin of that story is less clear, and it may actually be true as a one-off event). Besides the legends of his heroics - and, really, feel free to make up your own - Agetoki was famous as a childhood friend of Bayushi Yojiro's, instilling in the young Yojiro an abiding admiration for Bushido and the Lion Clan. All-round cool guy, really.

Matsu Yukimira
Born a Kitsu, and with strong Sodan-Senzo blood, Yukimira chose not to accept his destiny, preferring to take action in the world rather than simply remaining in isolation the temples, and took up the sword. Outraged, his relatives forced him to marry into the Matsu (given how precious his bloodline was, this is a SERIOUS matter), which he did, although neither he nor his wife ever found happiness in the marriage, and he remained faithful, in his own eyes, to his Kitsu lineage, even if he had been cast out. Yukimira was one of the first to join Toturi's cause, and died with Kitsu Motso (see above) holding the spirits at Beiden Pass for the Phoenix to collapse on them, at which point his parents and wife (who had been loyal to Tsuko rather than Toturi) had his name stricken from the records, and it was never reinstated. Yukimira is thus known only to the Kitsu, and they generally prefer not to talk about him.

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Hmmmm. I'm not sure if I've been insufficiently clear about what I'm looking for, or if what I'm looking for is sufficiently rare that I'm not the only one having trouble coming up with examples.

It's easy to make lists of Lion who did important or impressive things. What I'm hoping for, though, are the personal moments, which may not be great achievements: the moments where one of the Lion faced a difficult ethical choice, chose honor in the face of great temptation or even logic that said the other choice would be better, and had it turn out well. There are lots of stories where a Lion chose the honorable path in the form of seppuku/death in battle/some other sticky end (Ikoma Arimi, etc). And there are lots of stories where a Lion chose the honorable path even though it made things worse (Akodo Yokutsu). My campaign is in the Togashi Dynasty setting, where the Lion, even more than usual, are the standard-bearers for the idea that humans don't need supernatural aid; their honor is their greatest source of strength, and although the path may be more difficult, in the end it will lead to a better place. They've got their share of the "and then he died isn't that wonderful" stories, and also of the "we're sure his choice was the right one even though it caused a war that killed a lot of people" sort -- all of which are classically Lion! -- but I need leavening, stories that show honor as a thing truly worth aspiring to, from the perspective of people who have not already drunk the Bushido kool-aid.

So what are those stories? Or is it impossible to truly prove your honor unless it carries a cost in the form of your life or somebody else's?

I don't think it has to involve death. Saving the life of your mortal enemy because it's the right thing to do, giving up something other than your life that you truly value, doing the hard-but-honorable thing with sufficient flair that somebody less honorable has a "come to Jesus Akodo" moment . . . that's the kind of thing I have in mind, but examples are (so far) thin on the ground. (In fact, the best example I can come up with is from the real world, not L5R.)

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The best Lion stories seem to always involve a Matsu getting disemboweled: Tsuko, Domotai, etc.

 

The story of that little scrap of cloth enshrine in the Temple of the Ancestors next to Lady Matsu is particularly compelling.

 

Marty Lund

Monkey Clan * Random * Grognard

Edited by mlund

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I think this one usually gets tossed around as one of the best Lion fics - http://www.kazenoshiro.com/2008/11/01/a-lions-honor/

 

This one too - http://www.kazenoshiro.com/2009/03/13/legacies/

 

It's short, but I've always really liked http://www.kazenoshiro.com/2007/06/15/the-death-of-tsuko/

 

It's hard to isolate individual stories because I think many of the best Lion characters were good for their long-form arcs rather than any individual moment.  A good number of the best Lion characters also spent a lot of time not as Lions.

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I'll toss out some love to Akodo Dairuko- because she was the first Lion I really considered a personal favorite.

 

http://www.kazenoshiro.com/2012/03/19/emperor-edition-starter-fiction-lion-clan/

 

Right there. A glimpse behind the proud, unshakable mask. For my money, taking up the role of Clan Champion in earnest is the bravest thing she'll ever do.

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Let me start this by saying that the Lion are my favorite clan of the entire game, and am about to play one starting next month in a LARP I'm in.  (if anyone is in the DC/MD/VA area and is interested hit me up and I'll give you the details /shameless plug) So allow me to share some of the Lions stories from our game.

 

Kitsu Shinobu:  A Lion shugenja who had become clan daimyo in the colonies we are playing in.  Discovered that the Gaijin in the area had an artifact of rokugani origin that was believed to be the final robe of lady Doji.  While the other clans talked, allied, and negotiated with the local gaijin, he staged a raid on their city where they kept this artifact and brought the clan great glory and honor by seeing it not only returned, but sent back to the homeland (and eventually back to the crane there).  He chose to honor his clans most hated enemies (the crane) by returning to them what is considered the greatest find in our rokugan's recent history.  He chose honor by heeding the emperors command by not having dealing with gaijin, and in so doing struck a decisive blow against the new enemy in the new land.  (perhaps a bit too large scale for what you want, but I have more!)

 

Ikom Iazu: One of my previous characters. He came into the game with the True Love flaw attached to a Mantis character.  It was a back and forth with him for a while, as he knew the mantis girl was involved in quite a few shady dealings though he never had proof.  When it came time to clear out the docks of the Imperial Colonial Capital of criminal and heretical elements the Lion were chosen for the job.  He forced the issue of being the one to lead the troops in as he feared exposing his love, and if she was involved he could (hopefully) offer her a swift death instead of a drawn out trial.  Turned out it was a small band of Maho Sukai who had gotten to the colonies, not the mantis as they had feared.  In taking this duty upon himself, he was able to clear the name of his beloved. 

 

More later, have to go cook dinner

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I would put Kitsu Hariko's determination to get Shinden Yuisho built on the list of "hard but honourable things to do that don't involve dying". One could also cite two of Shigetoshi's decisions later in life- firstly, not to commit seppuku in protest at the Spider, much as he wanted to, because the Clan needed him (though he signalled his displeasure by lending his wakizashi to Otemi for his seppuku); and secondly, the decision to unilaterally call off the feud with Naizen, even though Naizen was being a total jerk, because it wasn't helping the Clan and he didn't want his children to inherit it. Given how seriously the Lion take slights to their honour, that was a fairly difficult thing to do, but he did it. The Lion also have a history of successfully fighting on the side of their very recent enemies- riding to rescue Shiro Shinjo from the Army of Dark Fire, within a year of having themselves fought a series of ferocious wars against the Unicorn and razed Shiro Moto, also probably comes under that rubric, as does Ikoma Otemi leading the defence against the Army of Dark Fire in Tonbo lands themselves (even if the logic there was more along the lines of, "If anyone is going to wipe out the Dragonfly, it's **** well going to be us").

 

Ultimately, though, what you're asking for is constrained by the limits of storytelling within the setting. The easiest way of showing how hard a decision is, is to put a price on it; the easiest way to show how high the price is, is to make it death. Akodo Hari and Akodo Hiroshi didn't need to die for their actions to be honourable and demonstrate their awesomeness, but having them die as a result is a fairly common standard storytelling technique to raise the stakes, and Lion suffer worse from that than most, I think. Also, a good death is all a good samurai can ask, and Lion are the ultimate samurai (for good and for ill), so it makes sense for them to fall, like the cherry blossom, in the moment of perfection.

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Well, as maligned as he might be at times, Toturi's original arc is a terrific story complete with both successes and failures.

 

He falls in love--inappropriately in a geisha--and as in all good samurai drama, that love causes him problems.  It leads him to being out of reach when the Emperor needs him, but he rallies to take back the capitol from the Scorpion.  Then . . . he's punished for his actions by the next Emperor and doesn't just give up, he works to bring together one of the oddest collections of personalities and groups in the game to save the Empire from Fu Leng--becoming Emperor in the process.

 

It's a great story until then. . . .

 

It's afterwards he and the story sort of fall into . . . an odd portrayal of a formerly competent person.

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It's afterwards he and the story sort of fall into . . . an odd portrayal of a formerly competent person.

Did this not happen every time someone assumed the position? I think they built it over a leaking gas pipe or something.

 

Just once I'd like to see an emperor whose problem is not being saddled with the idiot throne. I believe the argument against that ever happening is that a competent emperor makes for a boring Rokugan.

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I believe the argument against that ever happening is that a competent emperor makes for a boring Rokugan.

 

 

Which is nonsense, of course. Ambitious people will be ambitious no matter the qualifications of those they would usurp.

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Surprised no mentioned Akodo Godaigo. He is also an exemplary example of a tainted Samurai not succumbing to being Lost and persuing an honorable finish despite the three cuts. More Spider should have been in his vein.

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