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Ryoshun Higoka

All Aboard the Nostalgia Train - Who's Your Guy?

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I came in as a Unicorn player at the beginning of Emperor, and Utaku Liu-Xeung did so much work out of the box that she became a favorite of mine for no other reason. Then I got a playset of Utaku Ji-Yun, and my battle maiden dreams became reality. 

Much to my enjoyment, they both got fabulous EXPs :). And story time! I miss my Paragirls...

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19 hours ago, Susumu Jackson said:

I came in as a Unicorn player at the beginning of Emperor, and Utaku Liu-Xeung did so much work out of the box that she became a favorite of mine for no other reason. Then I got a playset of Utaku Ji-Yun, and my battle maiden dreams became reality. 

Much to my enjoyment, they both got fabulous EXPs :). And story time! I miss my Paragirls...

Ah, my friend that I played the most against ran a Battle Maiden Military/Honor switch deck with those two that was just infuriating to play against! Stupid rich ponies!

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Now that some information's been released, which characters would you like to see make a triumphant reappearance to the battlefields of Rokugan? Any era, any clan - Spider and Mantis are fair game - and go for the characters that you liked the most, not necessarily the ones that had the best in-game abilities. Try to keep it to a top-5 list.

1) Toku. I want to see this little guy pick himself up and become a samurai through sheer force of will again.

2) Isawa Tsuke. Show us why messing with Black Scrolls is bad.

3) Moto Gaheris. Bring the Moto home and crush the Dark Moto. Become Khan. Die gloriously and keep fighting in the afterlife. All in a day's work.

4) Hida Kuon. Be the Wall.

5) Yoritomo. Make your minor clan into a Major clan through sheer determination and refusal to back down. Be your twenty strongest.

 

Anyway, those are my five off the top of my head. What are yours?

 

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Oh man, Too many. Since I started at the beginning, tons of the IE and Clan War era cards.

Bayushi Kachiko, Matsu Gohei, Togashi Yokuni, Isawa Tsuke, Isawa Tadaka, Hida Kisada, Hida O-Ushi, etc. 

But Matsu Tsuko, man I loved her card and character. The Lion uniting at the Day of Thunder, rallying to the cry of, "For Tsuko"!

So then I loved Nimuro too. His art and ark were great to me. The Golden Lion of Toshi Ranbo that fell to hubris and then rose again as the Black Lion. His Gold art is my PC desktop, his Black Lion Tamago art - my phone's. Man. 

Matsu_Tsuko.jpg

nimuro.jpg

Tamago_(False_Nimuro).jpg

Edited by nimuro

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Bayushi Kwanchai.

I fell in love with the little bugger day one of Gold Edition.  I played him twice at official AEG LARPs, and the second time I made it my mission to spread the Bitter Lies style to as many eager converts as I could.  I still have the Kwanchai mask that I wore as part of my costume hanging on my wall, flanked by two versions of his original artwork.  If we get Tangen back, he's an auto-include for me forever.

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Hisa.  OG 1/3 Unaligned Hisa from Imperial ed.

Mostly because I played corrupt decks from the very beginning and he had all the important stats for every deck I was playing.  No honor requirement, check. 3 chi for Superior Tactics, check. Mysterious Scorpion clan border but still unaligned.......interesting, go on. Then I read his flavor text and was like this guy is the best ever.

"Do not be wary of men who take risks with titles and lands, be wary of men who have nothing to lose."

In my mind Hisa was the military backbone of the empire.

Edited by Ishi Tonu

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Isawa Mizuhiko.

My almost-got-carded-but-the-IP-got-sold Winter Court character, Isawa Taisho.

Matsu Domotai

 

That's...about it for people I have enough nostalgia for to endure a do-over. (And in Taisho's case, it's pure will-not-be-gratified-but-I-can-dream vanity)

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1 minute ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Isawa Mizuhiko.

My almost-got-carded-but-the-IP-got-sold Winter Court character, Isawa Taisho.

Matsu Domotai

 

That's...about it for people I have enough nostalgia for to endure a do-over. (And in Taisho's case, it's pure will-not-be-gratified-but-I-can-dream vanity)

What was Taisho like?

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29 minutes ago, Ryoshun Higoka said:

What was Taisho like?

Conceptually, I built him as a shameless ripoff of Sand dan Glokta mixed with a dash of Caul Shivers from Joe Abercrombie's books.

When he debuted, he was an Isawa shugenja Fire affinity) who served as a Jade Magistrate, horribly burn-scarred on one side of his body and face from the Scorpion attack at Kyuden Agasha during the War of the Twins, and he walked with a cane thanks to some rubble crushing one of his legs in the same incident (which happened right after he completed his gempukku). He was twenty years old, deeply cynical about humanity, had a hefty dose of self-loathing, despised the Council's handling of the Moto Curse situation,* took a pretty dim view of both Seiken and Shibatsu, but he was also pretty good at aggressively pursuing his assigned objectives. For example, despite sympathizing with the Unicorn (he asked Moto Khedai, a Death Priest, to preside at his wedding), he was pretty instrumental in getting the Crab to support the Phoenix in their upcoming war with the Unicorn.

So, sardonic, cynical, caustic, and still basically a kid- at twenty years old, he wasn't really as mature as he thought he was, despite all of the monsters he'd hunted down and the things he'd seen. His bum leg got cured by direct exposure to the light of Tengoku (long story, it was a kinda intense Court) and he fell in love with a Scorpion girl and basically pulled the requisite strings to be allowed to marry her, which calmed him down some.

He also had a recurring theme where his poor Shiba yojimbo were like Spinal Tap drummers- he spent a lot of Court trying to get Shiba Mako, his then-current yojimbo, reassigned so the poor guy's daughter wouldn't wind up an orphan. When I was asked for flavor text suggestions, one of the shorter ones I offered was, "I grow weary of outliving better men."

 

 

* In part because he spent part of his hitch as a Jade Magistrate in Unicorn lands and really liked the Unicorn- he wore a deel to court more than once, and when Ide Doboru gave him leather boots, he wore them enthusiastically.

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I have a few. I'll always love Mitsu and Satsu. I'm pretty fond of Jimen, Isawa Mizuhiko, and a few other dudes.

 

However... I wrote this in 2004:

 

Quote


Why Sanzo?

For years, people have asked me "Why do you like Sanzo so much?"

Why such an insignificant character? Why promote a personality that hasn't seen much play? He's not big and tough. No high force, double chi, or tactician for him. He's kind of snooty - his 5 honor requirement keeps him from joining many of the clans in the game (it was even higher than the original starting honor for the Dragon, his original clan!). He never had a deck built around him - in fact, he never appeared in a successful, major-event-winning deck, ever. He doesn't even seem too bright - he devoted his life to killing Ogres, and everyone assumes that an Ogre, with its 6F bulk and 4C dueling ability, would smash poor Sanzo into the dust.

 

Despite this, when I saw Sanzo for the first time, I knew that L5R was the game for me. Togashi Mitsu got me to play the game. Sanzo made me stay.

 

Sanzo had two things going for him - a fantastic piece of art, created by CCG art legend Doug Shuler (the artist behind a ton of iconic Magic cards, like Serra Angel, Hypnotic Specter, Force of Nature, Prodigal Sorceror, Benalish Hero, and Demonic Tutor), and one of the *best* pieces of flavor text in the world of L5R.

 

"When you have seen your home and family destroyed by the Shadowlands, you too will know why I chase death with blind fury."

 

Pathos, death, and revenge. THAT'S a samurai story - and Sanzo remains one of the best Samurai stories in L5R.

 

I was first exposed to the philosphies of Samurai culture when I was in seventh grade (which, oddly enough, was the year I started playing Magic) when I read a famous Japanese play about the 47 Ronin. The story of the 47 Ronin is one of the most famous in Japanese history (a short summary can be found here - http://www.samurai-archives.com/ronin.html ). In that one line of flavor text, I saw the roots of a story of revenge that mirrored that of the Ronin.

 

When I first became involved with the online L5R community, as a callow youth of 16, I liked posting on the L5R Story forum. Several L5R influential figures in the L5R storyline posted there regularly - among them, the then-head writer, Ree Soesbee, and future story guy Rich Wulf (although no one really suspected that at the time - the old L5R drinking game had you take multiple drinks for unlikely events, the most unlikely being Rich becoming head story writer). I had the annoying habit of replying to every post that caught my fancy with a question about Sanzo. One of my first questions on the Story list was, as a joke, the name of Sanzo's horse. Ree, to my surprise, answered - Musha. Lo and behold, 5 years later, Musha appeared in the Thousand Years of Darkness story.

Another message was responded to by Rich:

 

---Evillukai@aol.com wrote:

> > Any story from the mighty past of mighty 1/1 mighty samurai mighty lord mighty

> Sanzo, who is so mighty, may he live for a decently long time, may he always

> get good baked goods with his milk, would be welcome.

rwulf wrote:

Sanzo's an okay guy and all but he can be kind of a jerk if you let him so I give him trouble. I mean, if you let him he'll just go on and on and on about "Oh, well, Garou, if your family had been destroyed by the Dark One like mine, you would know why I chase death with such blind fury!"

And I'm like, "Yeah, Sanzo. I know your family was eaten by zombies. Okay, so whose family *HASN'T* been eaten by zombies, huh?"

And Sanzo would just get quiet.

 

Thus began the largely amusing road towards Rich's future employment.

 

Yet people still ask me - "Why Sanzo?"

 

Because he deserves it. People point out Toku - "now there's a weenie worth celebrating!" They assume that I only like Sanzo to be "cool" or "alternative" or whatever the hipster kids today want to be.

 

Sanzo doesn't have the fan favorite, "everyman" appeal of Toku. Toku's main draw is that he showed one man, even one man with a minimum of ability, who started with no advantages, could make a difference (also, he was free). Toku started his life with nothing, and made himself a hero.

Sanzo started his life as a samurai. He had a village, a family, a life. He had it all taken away from him. He was reduced to nothing, and was forced to *become* a hero. Toku had nowhere to go but up - he knew that, if he worked hard enough, things would get better.

Ask yourself, what's worse - starting with nothing, or having everything taken away from you?

Most assuredly the former - because Toku didn't start with nothing. He started with *hope*. Sanzo could never hope to even get back to where he once was. He was doomed, fate's fool, living a fool's quest.

 

Despite this, Sanzo never gave up. He was looked down upon, mostly ignored. He struggled against adversity, taking on foes stronger, faster, and deadlier than he was, and triumphed.

 

Triumphed in all cases but one - the only one that mattered. The one beast that stole his Father's blade. He was beaten, his body broken, left for dead.

 

But he DID NOT GIVE UP.


Sanzo's experienced version in Hidden Emperor is, obviously, one of my favorite cards. Oddly enough, I have only owned three copies of it since it was first released - compared to the number of Ambitions (in the double digits) and Musha's (47) I've collected, that's kind of odd. But it's appropriate - determination that strong is rare. I love his ability - he will be repeatedly beaten by a foe stronger than him, he will be crushed, but will not be destroyed. He will be sent home bowed, but not broken. He's the Cool Hand Luke of L5R. He comes out for box honor!

 

Finally, Sanzo gave up the one thing he had left to regain his father's sword - himself. He did not simply throw his life away; to a samurai, that is no real sacrifice - a samurai is not afraid to die. He gave up his soul, his mind, his sanity to the endless hunger of Ambition - the blade and the idea.

 

Much like Shoju, Ambition's previous owner, it can be argued that the sword had no true part its owner's downfall - Sanzo would have gone mad even without the whispers of the Bloodsword. His goal achieved, Sanzo had nothing left to live for. The Empire that never helped him simply continued to ignore him, despite finally winning back his family's blade - and his family's honor.

 

Toku, a man that sacrificed his life for the Empire, was mourned for eight days by the Emperor, and is being given a Shrine so that future generations can learn from his example.

Sanzo, a man who sacrificed his soul for honor - sacrificed his soul for what is certainly the soul of the Empire - was forgotten and ignored; was forced to wander the Empire as a shell of his former self, with no one willing to hear or believe his story; was captured and likely killed by the Phoenix, who put his skull on display as some sort of macabre museum piece.

 

Our heroes - fictional or real - deserve better.

Sanzo deserves better.

 

There are many heroes in the Legion of the Dead. Most of them are beloved by the fans of the game: Kisada, the unstoppable Great Bear, the first personality to make me say "HOLY ****" when I saw his card; Yoritomo, the Champion my play-group considered to be better (and cooler) than all the Thunders together; Isawa Tsuke, the only Phoenix I ever respected; Oni No Akuma, the most hated military personality ever; Doji Kuwannan, the Champion that made me respect the Crane; Oni No Okura, an oni that joined the Lion or something.

(I'm not sure about that one. :P)

 

All of these heroes taught us that if we were strong, or skilled, or big enough, we could triumph.

 

So, then, why Sanzo?

 

I can tell you the obvious, in-story reasons - he has a history of fighting the Shadowlands. He has intimate knowledge of how the Bloodswords, the deadliest creations of Yajinden and Iuchiban, work. He refuses to give up, give in, or lose. He has cav, so he's pretty fast and can get Tokei's message to people quickly. :)

 

But the in-story reasons, while some of the most logical and appropriate in the Legion, are superficial.

 

Because I want to be able to tell my friends who don't play cards why this little guy was brought back. I want to be able to say that L5R players don't always choose the guy who is the coolest, or the biggest, or would be the best addition to their clan.

Sanzo could have given up, become an ordinary ronin, selling his services to the highest bidder. But that's not what honor is about. That's not what L5R is about.

L5R is about making sacrifices for something that doesn't seem to be the most advantageous choice, it's not about doing what gives you the most obvious material gain. It's about honor. It's about the principal of the thing.

"Sanzo was chosen because L5R players are about principle. They hold charity tournaments. They play to meet new people, to have a good time with their friends. They play for the competition - not the reward. They understand sacrifice."

That's what I want to say.


 

 

 

I made it to the Top 4 of that World Championship, lost in game 3 after hitting 40 honor (with my military deck) and I tied a battle that destroyed all of our armies except for just enough force to take my province after my opponent played a specific Unique fate card (which, BTW, was the last card in his hand). 

 

They chose Hida Kisada to return to life over Sanzo. As a result of the tournament, he, uh, mostly hung around until punching a bad guy to death. Sanzo then named an entire spirit realm after his horse. The rest is history.

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I'll always love Ikoma Otemi, for his story arc that did a pretty good job of using some pretty classic themes in Japanese literature (giri vs ninjo and all that jazz).  

And I'll always have a soft spot for Yoritomo Utemaro.  Poor guy... he was surrounded by idiots...

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On 22/04/2017 at 1:50 AM, Shiba Gunichi said:

Isawa Mizuhiko.

My almost-got-carded-but-the-IP-got-sold Winter Court character, Isawa Taisho.

Matsu Domotai

 

That's...about it for people I have enough nostalgia for to endure a do-over. (And in Taisho's case, it's pure will-not-be-gratified-but-I-can-dream vanity)

I wish Taisho had gotten carded. He was one of the greatest characters in all of Winter Court IV. I would've played Phoenix just to use him.

Yoritomo Rumi never had a chance to get a card, but at least she got a story mention in one of the fictions that got leaked.

...By being missing, presumed dead, with all that happened to Mantis, but hey.

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On 21.04.2017 at 10:23 PM, nimuro said:

So then I loved Nimuro too. His art and ark were great to me. The Golden Lion of Toshi Ranbo that fell to hubris and then rose again as the Black Lion. His Gold art is my PC desktop, his Black Lion Tamago art - my phone's. Man. 

 

nimuro.jpg

Tamago_(False_Nimuro).jpg

http://www.lowfierce.com/nimuro/ !!!

Edited by kempy

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Omoni!!

He-it has such a interesting background. Half goblin - half mam, always wondering if still a man at all and loyal friend and servant of Daigotsu. Reflesh the goblin species in a way that even the crab clan felt worrisome.

Plus its exp and sensei card were such a monsters. Still having and open deck that is just hilarious to play.

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Top 5...

1. Tsuruchi - Tsuruchi embodies what I liked about the Mantis.  They take the situation they're in (getting betrayed by the Lion and Scorpion) and use it to become something greater.  Tsuruchi became a master archer, killed his uncle, and was given the right to create his own family, the Wasp.

2. Noritoshi/Jimen - I liked the story of these two.

3. Togashi Satsu - Satsu was a man, maybe he was a dragon-man, or maybe he was just a dragon...

4. Yoritomo Naizen - blunt, intimidating, and calm.  I liked the time he was our clan champion.

5. Yoritomo Aramasu - "And I am twenty-one."

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