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mortthepirate

[RPG] Shugenja (huh!) what are you good for?

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So there you go! According to this thesaurus, six of the seven tenets of bushido all mean the same thing.

 

Jokes on you because I do think that all seven tenets of the Bushido mean the same thing  :)

 

Even so, if those battles were typical, you still might have a point. But those battles are only remembered after so long because they were fluke victories that no one expected. 

 

Well, the winning commanders expected victory, and they won through deliberately exploiting their own advantages while directly countering the enemy advantages. It is really just a question of competence. 

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Actually, just for the fun of it, let's take this thesaurus thing to its logical conclusion. According to thesaurus.com, "fair" is synonymous with "courteous" and "honest", and also some other weird stuff, like "clean", "pious", "generous", "benevolent", "trustworthy", and "honorable". "Trustworthy" is also synonymous with "sincere". "Benevolent" is also synonymous with "compassionate" and "chivalrous", and "chivalrous" is also synonymous with "courageous".

 

And at this point Iam happy that my mother tounge is german cause no these 7 tenets are notg meaning the same.

They all are different and are standing for different positive aspects of the way of the Samurai.

Cause fair or in German Gerecht is not the Same as honest or ehrlich because only cause you are fair does not mean you are honest or courteous (höflich). Because actually you can be very dishonest and still be courteous.

Also honorable is not a single aspect but more the conqsequence out of the other 6 so when you are following the 6 other tennets you are a  honorable Samurai. Honorable translates Ehre in German and actually describes a person which incooperates courage, courteousness, hontesty, loyality,compession, sincerity. 

Than we have Courage or in German Mut, which actually stands for the aspect to face danger and be able to do what has to be done.

Next one is Courteousness. this translates to Höflichkeit and is different from honesty cause to be fair most of the time if you are honest you are no longer courteous.

Than we have loyality with translates to Loylalität. This means that you are staying true to the people that trust you and is different from honesty because honesty relating to the spoken word while loyality is relating to the deeds done by you.

Now we go for compession or MItgefühl in german. This says that you care for others and protect the weakers people. This again is different from the rest cause it is not self centered but is the tenet that makes sure aSamurai protects the helpless first and himself later.

Last but not least lets look at sincerity which best is tranlated as Ernsthaftigkeit in German. This means that independent if your word you have spoken is honest or not if you say you do something you do it even if you lied you will do what you said.

I think sincerity is the most complicated concept of the 7 tenets and is the one which most western people fail to understand cause it is easily mistaken for a synonym of honesty which is actually isn´t.

So in teh end no the 7 tenets don´t all have the same meaning but actually display different aspects of the Bushido and the way of an honorable Samurai.

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Yeah, that was my point: that the thesaurus lies. The 7 tenets clearly don't all have the same meaning. Otherwise, why would they bother with seven, instead of just one? Also, if they all mean the same thing then they can't conflict, and the self-conflicting nature of bushido is at the heart of any good samurai drama.

 

AtoMaki, if you really think the seven tenets of bushido are synonymous with each other, I'm not sure discussion will be helpful. Your version of Rokugan is so far away from canon that it really doesn't seem worthwhile to try to bridge that gap.

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Dude, no part of Bushido, be it Courtesy, Honesty, or anything else, requires you to inform your opponent in a war of where you have placed all your troops and what you intend to do with them during the fight. Nor does it require you to equalize your numbers, position, equipment, tactical acumen, or anything else with that of your opponent, lest you be seen as "dishonorable." We have a bunch of statements on why shugenja don't participate in war: it has to do with avoiding worldly entanglements, showing respect to the kami, and not risking their very valuable necks, not because their magic counts as cheating under the principles of Bushido.

 

Kakita Nobraenu: "Cheerio, my good Crab. We're here to do battle. No, don't get up, we're not in a rush, and to attack without letting your troops finish their breakfast would be uncivilized. Also, I see we brought more troops than you have. How silly of us. I'll have Companies Two and Three sit out this battle."

 

Daidoji troops: *Utterly horrified*

 

Kakita Nobraenu: "Egads, we're also on higher ground than you are. That would have been an embarrassing faux pas, by Jiminy! When you finish your repast, we'll go over to that flat land to fight, so no one will have the high ground. Much more sporting that way."

 

Hida Notokku: *Stares incredulously*

 

Kakita Nobraenu: "Oh, and let's keep this a clean fight. No magic and no stabbing below the belt, eh wot?"

 

 

 

(Yes, the "Perfectly Honorable General" sounds like a Victorian gentleman. No, I don't know why.)

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So there you go! According to this thesaurus, six of the seven tenets of bushido all mean the same thing.

 

Jokes on you because I do think that all seven tenets of the Bushido mean the same thing  :) .

That would be entirely your own head-canon, then, and really doesn't have anything to do with the game as published.

Or with the actual meanings of the words.

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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Also, if they all mean the same thing then they can't conflict, and the self-conflicting nature of bushido is at the heart of any good samurai drama.

 

Nowhere I said that the Bushido - as presented in the game as per the seven quotes - supports the kind of samurai drama the game wants so badly. The seven quotes do not contradict in any way or form, and if a samurai follow only them letter-by-letter, then he will never, ever face a situation where the Bushido contradicts itself. In this regard, the game is fairly poorly written, as it relies on strange additions to make the drama work. Like how it explicitly establishes from the start that no samurai  follow all the tenets equally, even though they really-really should. I mean, if one doesn't follow the Bushido properly, then don't be surprised that it won't work. 

 

And this isn't even my headcanon... it is right in the rulebook. If you put the quotes together, then they are pretty much indistinguishable from each other and only shed a different light on the same thing. One can distill Bushido into a single virtue (Honor/Conscientiousness) but then it would make all shortcuts and "shades of honor" non-existent, thus pretty much eliminating not just drama, but conflict too (by making every samurai think the exact same way). And, well, yeah... from a roleplaying viewpoint, that is not a way to go. 

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Yeah, that was my point: that the thesaurus lies. The 7 tenets clearly don't all have the same meaning. Otherwise, why would they bother with seven, instead of just one? Also, if they all mean the same thing then they can't conflict, and the self-conflicting nature of bushido is at the heart of any good samurai drama.

 

AtoMaki, if you really think the seven tenets of bushido are synonymous with each other, I'm not sure discussion will be helpful. Your version of Rokugan is so far away from canon that it really doesn't seem worthwhile to try to bridge that gap.

 

 

I wouldn't say that the thesaurus lies, but yes, the core-meaning of those tenets is a different meaning for every word. But maybe it helps to get a grasp of Bushido if one looks to the virtues of chivalry for the knights of medieval Europe? They are different, yet there are some similarities...

 

 

 

And regarding the discussion if the use of Shugenja in war would be honorable or not...well...there is an heroic oportunity for attacking the enemy-Shugenja...so at least that implies that some leaders might use Shugenja in war.

They may be stationed somewhere in the camp to help the healers in taking care of the wounded, they may pray for the souls of the dead, they may bless the warriors with some simple prayers to instill courage (without bothering the kami), they may purify the battlefields beforehand so that no evil-spirit may influence the warriors or they just simply support their Bushi through listening to their worries before and after the battle or advice the military leaders or something like this without involving themselves into the battle. 

And I don't think that any of these examples would be a dishonorable use of Shugenja in a war.

 

Sword and Fan:

 

p17

...

For example, in the year 1150 the Emperor Toturi I launched his forces on a campaign designed to achieve a final decisive victory over those of his opponent in the War of Spirits, the Steel Chrysanthemum. This campaign involved three individual battles — the Battle of Drowned Honor, the Battle of Quiet Winds, and the Battle of Beiden Pass.

The effect of the campaign was to convince the Steel Chrysanthemum that the Scorpion Clan, after years of relative neutrality, had finally decided to join his forces.

The spirit army, emboldened by their victory at the Battle of Quiet Winds, chased Toturi’s withdrawing forces into Beiden Pass. However, this was a trap; shugenja loyal to Toturi collapsed the pass on the spirit army, destroying it and forcing the Steel Chrysanthemum to sue for peace.

This had been Toturi’s ultimate strategic goal: forcing the Steel Chrysanthemum to abandon his decade-long effort to assert his claim to the Throne of Rokugan.

...

p21

...

The Phoenix maintain several unusual military units that employ magical power in battle. These include the Hurricane Initiates, also known as the Fifth Legion of the Phoenix army, an Elemental Guard unit of shugenja specialized in Air magic. The Sixth Legion, a force of bushi known as the Legion of Wind, is trained to work closely with the Hurricane Initiates. A similar relationship exists between the Third Legion, Fire shugenja known

as the Firestorm Legion, and the Fourth Legion, called the Legion of Flame. Given the specialized nature of these Legions, it should not be surprising that they are kept in a state of permanent muster.

...

p26

...

Control is the mechanisms that allow those commands to be implemented. The commander’s staff, the use of devices like drums, horns, flags, and banners to pass along orders and instructions, the messengers and couriers who carry information and orders, and in a few cases more esoteric means, such shugenja importuning the Elemental kami to assist in communications. Even the arrangement of forces along the march is an aspect

of Control.

...

 

So Shugenja are used in mutliple ways while a war is fought. And this would imply that it can't be that big of a problem to do so. If it would be a major breach of Bushido, I don't think that the Dragon and the Phoenix Clan would have so many mentioned formations including Shugenja listed in the Sword and Fan book.

It would be dishonorable to use the Shugenja to cast illusion-spells, fog or some other magic which would give the opponents a disadvantage, at least in my opinion, but I don't see an issue with supporting the Bushi, relaying informations or help to get the badly wounded to survive.

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