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PsiNorm

How I Would Implement the Spiders

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Rather "that guy is EVIL because he's an unappologetic agent for the otherworldly power that seeks to tear down everything and bathe the world in blood, fire, and flith". 

 

So... like Shosuro, Mirumoto Hitomi, Hida "muh FEELZ" Kisada or Fu "I got it for the fourth time!" Leng? I must admit, most of the evil guys in the setting fill the "spineless *sshole" bill rather than the "agent of darkness" one, but I'm not exactly sure if the former is better than the latter. I mean, an obviously evil guy gives you a straightforward fight, but you can't put down people like Isawa "zeeerooooo reeeegreeeets" Tadaka without causing a big mess - if you even get the chance to deal with them. 

 

 

Any issues with those characters don't in any way mitigate the issues with attempts to make the Spider servants of literal hell AND a clan-in-good-standing of the Emerald Empire at the same time.

 

(And issues with Fu Leng REALLY don't mitigate issues with the Spider... ) 

 

 

Looking at the direction of the clan in AEG's Obsidian notes, the part about servants of hell doesn't really work that well in reality. The idea of hell on earth is simply over blown by fear or ignorance. It more along the lines of a forced change and possible time of some upheaval in Rokugan, similar to that of the death of the emperor by Shoju. This also doesn't take into account many different parts of the clan. In particular, a number of spider monks.

 

Again, just read the Spider Obsidian notes. They pretty much discount everything that's been argued against the clan.

Edited by Kubernes

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Rather "that guy is EVIL because he's an unappologetic agent for the otherworldly power that seeks to tear down everything and bathe the world in blood, fire, and flith". 

 

So... like Shosuro, Mirumoto Hitomi, Hida "muh FEELZ" Kisada or Fu "I got it for the fourth time!" Leng? I must admit, most of the evil guys in the setting fill the "spineless *sshole" bill rather than the "agent of darkness" one, but I'm not exactly sure if the former is better than the latter. I mean, an obviously evil guy gives you a straightforward fight, but you can't put down people like Isawa "zeeerooooo reeeegreeeets" Tadaka without causing a big mess - if you even get the chance to deal with them. 

 

 

Any issues with those characters don't in any way mitigate the issues with attempts to make the Spider servants of literal hell AND a clan-in-good-standing of the Emerald Empire at the same time.

 

(And issues with Fu Leng REALLY don't mitigate issues with the Spider... ) 

 

 

Looking at the direction of the clan in AEG's Obsidian notes, the part about servants of hell doesn't really work that well in reality. The idea of hell on earth is simply over blown by fear or ignorance. It more along the lines of a forced change and possible time of some upheaval in Rokugan, similar to that of the death of the emperor by Shoju. This also doesn't take into account many different parts of the clan. In particular, a number of spider monks.

 

Again, just read the Spider Obsidian notes. They pretty much discount everything that's been argued against the clan.

 

 

 

I'll go with what's in the actual books. 

 

And really, I'm not sure what's in those notes that's going to change WHAT the Spider ultimately serve, and what ITS ultimate goal is.

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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This sounds like of like the "leper colony" clan -- which I think is potentially interesting!

 

Personally, I wouldn't treat them as a "clan" as such, since that term implies a social role in Rokugan that I don't think Team Taint would have. Instead I'd treat them as a faction a la the Brotherhood or the Naga: they have their own internal organization, but aren't integrated into the normal fabric of samurai society. Rokugan accepts their existence because the Empire likes having a place to dump everybody who gets Tainted, mostly out of sight and out of mind, and there are stories about members of this group who rose above their ill fortune to do wondrous things -- but there are also stories about members of this group who embraced their corruption and became unholy monsters. So the Phoenix and Unicorn kind of patronizingly try to help those unfortunates, the Lion leave them to sink or swim on their own merits,the Scorpion keep one eye on them at all times, the Crane wish they could forget such a group exists, and the Crab form an alliance with those among them who want to go down swinging. (In other words, the Damned and the Deathseekers stop being groups within the Crab and the Lion, and start being traditions in the Brotherhood of Taint formed largely of ex-Crab and ex-Lion samurai.) Sometimes one of their less-Tainted number shows up at court, but only with a samurai watchdog to make sure they don't infect anybody else.

 

It could make for great stories!

 

Hello,

 

I am really digging this idea of a Leper faction. Definitely in sync with a Rokugani mindset "If you can not see it does not exist". They would make for an excellent psychological adventure, not as graphically frightening as the classical horrors from the Shadowlands and the Pit of Fu-Leng, however they would be even more terrifying given the circumstances.

Great idea!

Edited by Mirumoto Kuroniten

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Regarding monks and the new idea for the Spider, I think they would have a big role to play. A section of the clan would use strict meditation to cleanse the land and other sufferers, and to stave off their own corruption (or attempt to control it for their own use).

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Rather "that guy is EVIL because he's an unappologetic agent for the otherworldly power that seeks to tear down everything and bathe the world in blood, fire, and flith". 

 

So... like Shosuro, Mirumoto Hitomi, Hida "muh FEELZ" Kisada or Fu "I got it for the fourth time!" Leng? I must admit, most of the evil guys in the setting fill the "spineless *sshole" bill rather than the "agent of darkness" one, but I'm not exactly sure if the former is better than the latter. I mean, an obviously evil guy gives you a straightforward fight, but you can't put down people like Isawa "zeeerooooo reeeegreeeets" Tadaka without causing a big mess - if you even get the chance to deal with them. 

 

 

Any issues with those characters don't in any way mitigate the issues with attempts to make the Spider servants of literal hell AND a clan-in-good-standing of the Emerald Empire at the same time.

 

(And issues with Fu Leng REALLY don't mitigate issues with the Spider... ) 

 

 

Looking at the direction of the clan in AEG's Obsidian notes, the part about servants of hell doesn't really work that well in reality. The idea of hell on earth is simply over blown by fear or ignorance. It more along the lines of a forced change and possible time of some upheaval in Rokugan, similar to that of the death of the emperor by Shoju. This also doesn't take into account many different parts of the clan. In particular, a number of spider monks.

 

Again, just read the Spider Obsidian notes. They pretty much discount everything that's been argued against the clan.

 

 

 

I'll go with what's in the actual books. 

 

And really, I'm not sure what's in those notes that's going to change WHAT the Spider ultimately serve, and what ITS ultimate goal is.

 

 

Because they are hinting that they the thing they ultimately serve is not the realm of evil but Daigotsu and that his ultimate Goal is not the destruction of everthing but to amke sure his son can take his rightful place as emperor of Rokugan and fond a save place for the people Daigotsu actually cared for ? It is not like things can´t change or people can deceive others to get their help as long as they need it. So who is saying that the spider actually are wanting what the realm of evil wants? I say it is more liekly they want what Daigotsu wants (who controls the realm and might not share the goals of it) and that might differ greatly form the goals of the realm.

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Daigotsu was rejected as heir for a reason. I see Daigotsu as a power hungry spoiled brat who just wants his own way. He does not see a grander picture than just serving his own selfish desires. His son Kanpeki is really no better. He is a spoiled brat running to daddy when he does not get his way. Why then would anyone desire to have Mr. Tempertantrum in charge of the Empire?

As I said before though, the "Leper Colony Clan" with a hope and focus on redemption sounds like a nice idea. You could also have the shadowlands horde wielding the power if jigoku as a whole seperate faction. Then the Empire that serves Tengoku fighting back against jigoku, and giving aide to the fallen but not forgotten of the Leper Colony.

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Frankly, the easiest way to have solved this problem would've been to have the clans fight for it after Goddesses. It's all well and good to say that nobody had the energy to fight at that point, but Crab, Phoenix, Lion, and Scorpion all had reason to tell the Empress that she'd betrayed her position in bargaining with Jigoku. Easy to say in hindsight, of course.

 

The existing problem is that what makes the Spider popular among the Spider players are the exact qualities that really should place them on the public enemy #1 list. Keep them as they are pre-Evil Portents, and you've got several clans' players upset with having to sit at the same table as the guy whose only goal is knocking the able over. Remove that motive, and the Spider lose their most interesting qualities.

 

Without issuing retcons or upending existing story wins and elements, I think the best outcome is to have the Spider officially lose their clan status, but retain enough power that it doesn't matter much. The Susumu still make bargains and political alliances, the other clans are tempted or seek to stamp the Spider out, and the Spider have a presence (via bribery/intimidation) at functions where nobody's allowed to kill anyone else out of hand. In exchange, yeah, nobody's fooled by the pretenses that the Spider have changed.

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I missed this topic when going through the forum earlier.

 

Personally I'd return to the Imperial model of Shadowlands creatures: it's a keyword for various effects to key off, but not a faction.

 

The Spider as a clan would need to have a purpose.  Even the most minor of clans have a purpose given to them by the Emperor/ress.  Conquerors doesn't work for me as a purpose, because that ought to be the Lion Clan's raison d'etre.

 

Spider as a non-clan faction of outcast and rejects does kind of work, but the question becomes 'how do they have holdings and/or provinces if they're not an official part of the Empire?'

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Hoard as a stand-alone faction (with dishonor immunity) doesn't work in the card game IF Dishonor as a win condition exists.  The two really are mutually exclusive.  Tangentially, (in the interest of game length) the same is true for Honor and Dishonor, while they both modify the same value anyway.

My solution would be to have Dishonor (in the traditional sense) go away.  Replacing it with a "stained honor" mechanic.  Essentially, you pick an arbitrary number of "Stain" counters, when you accumulate that number your Base Province Strength is permanently and irrevocably reduce to zero and you can no longer win an honor victory (representing basically the entire Empire hunting you down, cutting off your support and supply lines and generally regarding you as an outlaw for your evil deeds).  Or conversely, if that is your intention, that you have accumulated sufficient power to flaunt your allegiance to Jigoku openly, depending on how you look at it. :-)    You could even have Shadowlands cards that become better once you are "stained" representing no longer holding back Jigoku's true power.

 

If done right it means both honor and Dishonor instead of concentrating on Turbo (which would essentially loose to a faster turbo of the opposite type) have to respect the military game as well.  Dishonor, because you do eventually have to crush provinces, and honor because you may find yourself in a situation where honor isn't enough.  "Stain" decks might take the form of classic Magistrate decks where you get the opponent to choose something bad + dishonor of a personality, vs something even worse, and have other effects that when targeting a dishonored personality cause "stain" tokens.

Either way, Hoard as a stand-alone faction does not exist, BUT hoard as a corrupting influence inside a clan does(hearkening back to how things worked in Imperial).  Spider clan becomes the clan of outcasts, lost, and corrupted seeking redemption, with an even greater struggle to avoid using the readily accessible corruption within to accomplish short term goals.  Other clans both despise and loath having to work with the Spider, but as they have first hand knowledge of dealing with Jigoku, their expertise is indispensable.  So they have a place, just not a very comfortable one.

 

Honor losses still have a place in this fictional environment, just not as a win condition in and of themselves, but more as an adjunct to one of the other arch-types.

 

Anyway, just some random thoughts on what could be done to "fix the Spider", instead of relegating them to the dustbin of history.

 

The Spider as a clan would need to have a purpose.  Even the most minor of clans have a purpose given to them by the Emperor/ress.  Conquerors doesn't work for me as a purpose, because that ought to be the Lion Clan's raison d'etre.

Actually, this is a pretty good fit for the Spider, because historically the Lion were NOT allowed to wage war outside the boarders of Rokugan.  The Lion are more akin to the US National Guard, than to the Army in Rokugan society.  Repelling invaders and injecting themselves into inter-clan military conflicts when the conflict is not sanctioned by the emperor.
 

Spider as a non-clan faction of outcast and rejects does kind of work, but the question becomes 'how do they have holdings and/or provinces if they're not an official part of the Empire?'

This is exactly, why the conquerors thing works.  I'd say they have a limited number of monasteries in remote areas of Rokugan where folks retire (to try and "avoid" needing to call on the power of Jigoku, or to learn how to harness it), and also basically giving them defacto control of frontier territories, building additional "monasteries" then moving on when the more "civilized" parts of Rokugan catch up to them.  Becoming the Rokugani equivalent of an expeditionary force of semi-expendable shock troops.  They don't own territory in the traditional "clan" sense, but are ceded small parcels throughout all of Rokugan.

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I think that the Spider's role cannot be discussed outside of its context of the bigger underlying theme of a game set in a medieval Sino-Japanesque setting inspired by the movies of Akira Kurosawa. I think it would be much better if the Spider felt as if they fit the setting, and not be bolted on with their own incompatible code of ethics. I like that the original poster makes the struggle of the Spider the same struggle all clans face, one of what it means to retain a personal code of honor in the face of poverty and vulnerability to senseless violence (themes that evoke Seven Samurai) or political corruption and the cycle of violence and endless suffering (e.g. Throne of Blood etc.)

 

I am insisting that the Spider fit a unifying theme of the setting since I felt that AEG botched this more or less. The Spider (and to a lesser degree, the Mantis) were for players who weren't that into Kurosawa, more or less. In my eyes, they represent the protest vote against the setting. That constantly caused problems, problems that AEG was never able to tackle.

 

What I like about the OP is it reintegrates the Spider's struggle into the setting as part of a story of honor and morality, making full use of this great opportunity to rethink how they fit into the greater whole. I think the original poster's idea is an excellent idea, and it allows of to steer clear of the bolt-on characteristics (Shourido?) that the Spider acquired while they were looking to find a place for them that fit.

 

To me, the genesis of the idea of the Spider is (paradoxically) in the Crab Clan. The Crab were the original Faustian clan, but they were also the clan that had the Damned. To me, these two ideas are what the Spider should be all about - willingly allowing corruption to enter your own ranks for the greater good, but also being ostracized because of it.

 

If you focus on these elements, they evoke themes that fit the setting. What should be avoided, though, is allowing clans to do their own cool thing that has nothing to do with the overall theme. The clans should speak a common language - they should care about the same things. The setting will be more cohesive and much more enjoyable because of it.

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I like that the original poster makes the struggle of the Spider the same struggle all clans face, one of what it means to retain a personal code of honor in the face of poverty and vulnerability to senseless violence (themes that evoke Seven Samurai) or political corruption and the cycle of violence and endless suffering (e.g. Throne of Blood etc.)

 

I dunno, but L5R doesn't really display any of those themes. It is more about self-inflicted misery, spitefulness, incompetence and ignorance. I mean, just look at the Second Thunders... Their whole life can be compressed into those four things (except maybe Toturi's). 

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I like that the original poster makes the struggle of the Spider the same struggle all clans face, one of what it means to retain a personal code of honor in the face of poverty and vulnerability to senseless violence (themes that evoke Seven Samurai) or political corruption and the cycle of violence and endless suffering (e.g. Throne of Blood etc.)

 

I dunno, but L5R doesn't really display any of those themes. It is more about self-inflicted misery, spitefulness, incompetence and ignorance. I mean, just look at the Second Thunders... Their whole life can be compressed into those four things (except maybe Toturi's). 

 

Well then FFG should probably work on that.

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I like that the original poster makes the struggle of the Spider the same struggle all clans face, one of what it means to retain a personal code of honor in the face of poverty and vulnerability to senseless violence (themes that evoke Seven Samurai) or political corruption and the cycle of violence and endless suffering (e.g. Throne of Blood etc.)

 

I dunno, but L5R doesn't really display any of those themes. It is more about self-inflicted misery, spitefulness, incompetence and ignorance. I mean, just look at the Second Thunders... Their whole life can be compressed into those four things (except maybe Toturi's). 

 

Well then FFG should probably work on that.

 

They would need to re-haul the whole setting for that IMHO. 

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How I Would (you) Implement the Spiders?

 

I wouldn't :). I am part of the (very) vocal members of the playerbase that find the creation, the forced acceptance and continual refusal from Alderac to man up their choices regarding the Spider to be insulting.

 

I found the Lost concept incredible in the L5R, and as a Dishonor player I would have preferred from AEG to make it a more viable option instead of shoehorning the lore of a faction. Daigotsu was cool, at least before AEG decided to ruin him, because he rejected the Empire. If L5R story were a book, I would have nothing but respect for the Story Team to manage to turn this prideful samurai, completely obsessed on making his own Empire into a Deux-ex-machina that wants his son to be emperor of the "losers" side. As a CCG/RPG player though, I find insulting that AEG forced SH players for this, that AEG didn't disbanded the Clan after RftT or that the SH simply dissipated.

 

So, no. I wouldn't put them in the game. They are, in my opinion (as the rest of this post), a fundamental part of the what made Emperor and beyond the worst epoch of L5R.

Edited by Soshi Narumo

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I would implement the Spider as the clan of people who sacrifice their spiritual wellbeing to benefit themselves. If this were the case, I can see the other clans not minding them so much, or any less than the Scorpion, because they don't see the Spider's folly as a danger to themselves. Obviously, contagious taint means that this would often be a foolish idea, so if the Spider were implemented like this, taint could not be contagious or the Spider would only be defiled in other ways.

There should be more ways to be defiled than just the taint or the Lying Darkness.

Some people might be suspicious of the Spider due to a fear that they want to take over Rokugan, but I wouldn't have most of the Spider actually wanting to take over Rokugan any more than the other clans.

Edited by Metalrift

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@Kinzen -

 

I just wanted to provide the full information on the origin of the Spider Clan from both an in-setting and an out-of-setting way. More information is never a bad thing, and making a different kind of Spider Clan still carries with it some of the baggage.

 

Regarding the main topic of the Clan of the Damned -

 

The numbers of samurai who become Tainted were never truly that great, barring two fairly sizable disasters in (documented) Rokugani history. Yes, you would have your Tainted Crab in sufficient numbers to constitute a faction within their Clan. See the Damned for more information. However, your other Clans would only on rare occasion become Tainted, and then it was usually the socially acceptable thing to either retire and drink Jade Petal Tea or commit seppuku and save your soul.

 

So, what happened in the world of Rokugan to create a large enough population of Tainted samurai that they have their own Clan? Here are some possible answers...

 

1) The Fu Leng Solution - The First Day of Thunder was not as resounding of a success as had been planned. The Seven Thunders succeeded in weakening Fu Leng, but not killing him. It is enough to allow for peace, however, and in time, Fu Leng dies but not before having an heir. This heir (lets call him Daigotsu) kills his father, however, and presents his head to the Emperor. Hantei Genji allows there to be a peace agreement between them. Daigotsu is acknowledged as the leader of a Great Clan, and they claim control of the land to the south of the Crab lands, literally the Shadowlands. The human followers of Fu Leng (of which there were many) form a sustainable set of families in this region, and samurai who fall to the Taint are expected to swear fealty.

 

2) The Rain of Blood - What happens when the entire Empire has to make an Earth roll or become Tainted? That's practically what happened during the Rain of Blood, and a possible side effect could be the creation of the Spider Clan to handle all the Tainted Samurai who wish to still serve.

 

3) The Demonic Foreign Legion - This was one of the directions of the Spider Clan under WC IV that got some traction. The idea is that as it is illegal to be Tainted within Rokugan's borders, those who did become Tainted would become an army which would fight in foreign lands.

 

 

That's an interesting notion. I'll be running a 4th Ed game for my friends soon, and am planning to make the Rain of Blood a pivotal concept in their story. This gives me some notions about how to fit the Spider into it.

 

Outside of that here are my observations about the Spider (and mind you I'm not a library of established lore, so these thoughts reflect my own spin on what I've read; how I view and use the Spider):

 

They are similar to the dichotomy of the Sith and the Jedi. The Sith focused inwards (Shourido) and the Jedi focused on others (Bushido). As such the Spider existed as something a samurai could fall to the lure of. Selfishness, fear, and ambition driving some samurai to embrace self-serving ways, which could lead them to fall to the lures of the Spider. I treat the Spider as (much like the fluff suggests) as a dark reflection of the clans, the samurai, and bushido. Something formally institutionalized by Daigotsu in his Shadowlands Empire, and a clan peopled by the tainted and the "sinful" who found themselves drawn to it by their own internal corruption. A home that reflected the customs they knew all their lives, but warped by Shourido and everything it symbolizes, their own sin made manifest. Never openly accepted as a great clan by the Empire, but conversely (because of Daigotsu) a legitimate threat of doing so. Daigotsu understood the Empire and its ways and sought to undermine it, and create an opportunity for himself to legitimately seize power in the Empire by using bushido and the laws of the Empire against it (thus forcing the Empire to recognize himself and the Spiders as true samurai).

 

For me, I use it as a way to play with certain parallel themes. The desire of Fu Leng and Daigotsu to have been recognized as sons of the heavens and the Empire, but far too warped and evil to do so in any acceptable and legitimate way without resorting brute force or immaculate scheming. The Spider were a product of both aims.

 

The Star Wars/Jedi-Sith parallel. The Spider being analogous to the Sith Empire, and the Clans being (sort of) the Jedi, with shourido and bushido being the philosophical (and spiritual) dividing line between them. And just like the Jedi, some go dark and fall prey to their own failings, drawn inevitably to the "dark side", aka shourido and the Spider, the Shadowlands, and service to Daigotsu even if just to legitimize their own ambitions and flaws.

 

And just like the Sith (the Spider), power over the Republic (Rokugan) having been sometimes sought through brute force (war) and ultimately the elegant cunning of Palpatine (Daigotsu).

 

As such the Spider within the empire are spies, provocateurs, assassins, and corruptors. Always working in the shadows and/or under false pretenses to undermine the Empire and engineer Daigotsu's master plan, weaving a web as it were. And where those weak samurai fall to sin, the Spider wait to embrace them.

Edited by Deathseed

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I know I'm chiming in a bit late but what the hell why not. 

 

Personally for me I handle the Spider Clan as pure villains. I've left them down in the Shadowlands and have more or less abandoned Canon for their origins. For my game I'm having them as the creation of Doji Nashiko in a twisted perversion of what she saw as the true Rokugan beneath the facade of Honor. I've also incorporated the Dark Moto into their numbers as well. I've made their whole organization strictly forbidden for the Player Characters to ever be a member of as I like having just a designated villain beyond just rampaging oni and Maho. At some point I'm going to drag my players down to their 'Empire' and have some fun. 

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I am sorry to chime in late too, but wanted to add my two zeni.

This topic was the trigger to implement the Spider in a new direction, as the wardens of the tainted. Their duty is to keep tabs on the tainted individuals and relocate to a safe environment in their lands, and if necessary terminate them in case they become a threat. They do have an agreement with the Crab to transport those tainted samurai who wanted to join the Damned. We included a new shugenja family the Akemi.

In our Rokugan, the Akemi are a ronin shugenja family descendants of the original Chuda who ramained in hiding watching over the Dragon Heart Plain for any trespassers and taint outbreaks.

Edited by Daigotsu Masanori

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I am sorry to chime in late too, but wanted to add my two zeni.

This topic was the trigger to implement the Spider in a new direction, as the wardens of the tainted. Their duty is to keep tabs on the tainted individuals and relocate to a safe environment in their lands, and if necessary terminate them in case they become a threat. They do have an agreement with the Crab to transport those tainted samurai who wanted to join the Damned. We included a new shugenja family the Akemi.

In our Rokugan, the Akemi are a ronin shugenja family descendants of the original Chuda who ramained in hiding watching over the Dragon Heart Plain for any trespassers and taint outbreaks.

I am planning to run this as a test scenario in all Spider game.

The premise will be that it was the Spider who solve the political dispute at the Naishou Province and they were assigned to take care of it. It will be fun to see them work this, especially where they going to place the tainted barracks.

PS Sorry for the topic hijack PsiNorm.

Edited by Miya Takumi

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I am weighing in late, and I don't care.

 

The entire premise of the Spider has been an intriguing one. They have come close to being to the card game, what the Kolat were to the RPG. They are an "evil" force that are used when needed, and are completely malleable in their motivations as far as why they even interact with the Empire. At least, that's my knowledge of them in broad strokes.

 

As for what can be done with them? Consider the following, if you will:

 

Historically speaking, there has always been a Champion of Jigoku, the personification of Jigoku's will to have more control over Ningen-do than Tengoku. Tengoku or Ningen-do itself has always won this battle to stave off Jigoku. This is point 1.

 

Point 2, is another thing of history. There have been several clans and factions that have divided themselves along philosophical lines. This is what is known as Schism, and it has actually occurred in the game during TotV (Schism Phoenix, Schism Crab mechanically, and storyline wise, the Lion also had a Schism until Toturi reunited them). Technically, the Yasuki Family underwent a schism following the first Crab-Crane war, according to First Edition lore, or at least, it could have been interpreted as such.

 

These two points taken together can be the path for the future of the Spider within the Card Game. The Spider undergo a Schism, wherein those who are tainted or not, but desire to serve the empire as a whole decide to split from those who desire to see the empire under the foot of Daigotsu or his Heir (Admittedly, I haven't kept up with Spider Clan Shenanigans). This brings to the forefront the underlying Mechanics of the Card Game, as well as the RPG. You have Honor, Dishonor, Bushido, Shourido, and Taint.

 

Honor and Dishonor go hand in hand with the premise of Bushido and Shourido. However, Taint is a wholly separate thing. Whether it is Shadow Taint or Shadowlands Taint, both have physical manifestations, and each serves as a physically corruptive or destructive force that serves no end save to corrupt or destroy. Some people might find that phrase reiterative, and to some extent it is. However, it also highlights the fact that Bushido and Shourido are philosophies that influence physical action. Neither philosophy is completely seated in Honor or Dishonor. It is told that Lion cavalry overrun peasantry without a second thought if they are in the way. Where is the compassion in that? And even if one is selfish in one's motivations toward perfection or strength, if one is using the philosophy of Shourido while serving one's Lord, is one still not serving one's lord to the best of their abilities, and maybe even doing better than someone who uses Shourido?

 

The concept of Honor and Dishonor is an outdated premise within the confines of the Card Game. One would think that with the creation of Glory, Infamy and Status by the RPG would have seen a renaming of that mechanic. Afterall, it wasn't honor that saw Toturi named and coronated as the Emperor. It was the Glory that came from his Honorable actions. At least, they were honorable in the eyes of the populace. However, he did just lead a coup against the man who had him and his family struck from the Lion Clan, even if said person was possessed by a Dark God. See how things can so easily be twisted? Dealing with the mechanics of Honor, Dishonor, Shourido, or Bushido are not so easily defined.

 

Taint is. Taint doesn't care about honor or dishonor. Generally speaking, sources of taint are self sufficient and don't rely on anyone or anything for their core existence. They are not held to the same standards. Even Glory means little to the sources of Taint, and truth be told, they would rather not be known. They are, however, chaotic, and once they pervade too far, there is this nasty habit of everything aligning against them. Their chaos works against them as well. It makes them unable to cohesively unify for long, even given an outside threat that could potentially destroy them. An example would be a war between oni lords. If one of the Oni Lords can do something to get another Oni Lord destroyed, he will do so if it means his own power is elevated. The Oni Lord that is targeted is left to fend for himself as an army decimates him. As such, taint in and of itself can only lose through Disharmony, which is Evil Feeding Upon Itself.

 

Now, to the root of this post, as long as it has taken to get here. Rather than having Honor as a guiding mechanic, Glory can be the replacement. Honor and Dishonor,in the eyes of the public, define whether one's actions are Glorious or Infamous. As such, Honor and Dishonor can run on a scale (-10 to 10, 0 being the balancing point). Each turn that you are positive in honor, you gain that much glory, with the cap being 100 (so at full honor, it would take you 10 turns to win through a glory victory). However, each turn you are below 0, you lose that much Glory, to a minimum of -50. At -50, you lose support, which is symbolized by your province strength and gold production of your stronghold and all holdings being halved. Paying the full cost for a clan aligned personality adds to your Glory, rather than your Honor. Only certain deeds can add to your Honor. However, personalities would still have an honor requirement, if they have one at all.

 

How Bushido and Shourido add to this? As the lord of a samurai who practices Bushido, that samurai will automatically have all of his glorious deeds attributed to you. Shourido personalities are a different thing. Their actions say that while they are working within the context of the Feudal System, their actions are for their own glory. As such, while they may be more powerful, they give little or no Glory to their Lord. Unless, their Lord too follows Shourido.

 

Taint shouldn't be touched by this at all. As they operate outside of the system. The forces of taint, as described above, thrive in Ambiguity and Chaos. When noone is paying them attention, they can accrue power, and they become a threat. Thus, They should have a meter as well, based upon that threat. It would be measured much like the Honor scale and Glory as defined above. As a Horde Player destroys a province, all Horde players would gain threat. The larger the monsters they spit out, the more threat they generate globally. This Threat would give bonuses to anyone deciding to attack them.

 

Looking back at this overly large post, I realize that I completely derailed myself by latching onto this (what I think) is an awesome mechanical idea. It might be a bit more bookkeeping, but it has the potential for some great things I think.

 

Anyway, yeah. Spider Schism.

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The Spider Clan would have been a good thing if the game could have started with a Spider Clan.

 

But the way it was implemented took a lot of illogical stretching and people acting counter to what had been previously established. It also required taking the big bad of the game and making him good and well... fanfic mary sue Daigatsu garbage.

 

But let's say... let us say for instance that we were going to rewrite the history and restart everything with the understanding that we want to have 9 Great Clans and one of those is going to be the Spider Clan.

 

Well then, it works a bit better. One could work into their history how they have always been, how maybe they are the result of either a bunch of tainted ronin coming together or something. Or maybe a once honorable clan that secretly fell. That their whole concept is that they are willing to take in the darkness to empower themselves if that is what it requires to meet their ends. They could be the clan desperately hanging on by their fingernails to survival and thus their desperation would be justified to an extent.

 

But also, let's not have them be the bad guys necessarily all the time. Sure, they can represent the absolutely lowest the clans will stoop to in order to find victory, but they can count themselves among the ranks of the Scorpion and the Mantis as "screw your moralizing 'high ethical' values! We'll do whatever we must to survive!" Which doesn't mean they must or should be aligned, but rather that you have a selection of low honor clans as well as your mid honor clans and your high honor clans. In fact, maybe you could end up with 3 factions with 3 clans each with different levels of ethical values involved.

 

Really though, the Shadowland stuff always took away from the human drama of the setting to at least some degree. It was one thing to say that one individual or another was totally taken in by corruption that manifested itself physically... it was another for one of the 9 factions to always be the bad guys and be more or less behind everything bad that happened. It was particularly murky when you had that faction of players representing both the bad guys and some faction of the good guys to some degree. I mean that is just a fundamental failure right there....

 

It shouldn't be one faction that is dealing with the whole "tainted or not tainted" thing. That used to be a choice all clans could make and I think realistically it is a choice all clans should be able to make. Moreover, if the Spider Clan is meant to be the only tainted clan... why are there those who want to play it as straight? You have 8 other clans you can choose from, so what exactly are you doing? Why would you choose the "I don't care if I get a hunchback and tumors, I am going to use the power of hell itself to defeat my enemies" faction if you wanted to be anything else? What else could there be?

 

 

Really though, I feel like maybe... now that a new company owns the game, a complete reset of the game back to the fall of the Hantei and maybe including the Spider Clan rather a faction of goblins, trolls and skeletons could probably do quite a lot for the game.... or, it might drive away lots of fans who feelings are way too invested in what has been built that turning to an alternate timeline and restarting from scratch would drive the few players left away.

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