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Ryoshun Higoka

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

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I was a Hoturi/ Kachiko fanboy from the get-go. That gorgeous Carl Frank TotV artwork- you look at it and realize- omg Hoturi has an unnaturally long neck so he even looks like a Crane! Hoturi just had an amazing story, from being featured in some of the earliest L5R fiction (The Way of the Crane, Way of the World, Private Lessons) to No Regrets. I even made an ancient Hoturi fansite years ago that amazingly is mirrored here: http://www.geocities.ws/kakitadairu/hoturishrine.html

So anyone who doesn't know these stories should definitely check them out! He also really exemplified early L5R's story-driven card design- he had an evil doppleganger, the False Hoturi, and then his experienced version got an ability: Bow to challenge a Scorpion personality - so that he could actually redeem his honor by fighting the False Hoturi in a duel! In fact this ended up being the best personality version of Hoturi in Open since killing Scorpion personalities (Yogo Asami, Bayushi Goshiu) became increasingly useful for Crane decks as the Scorpion became stronger! But of course the BEST version of Hoturi was actually Shiryo no Hoturi, one of the best cards in any Open Crane deck, a free card that could gain 12+ honor by itself!

I will give Hotaru a chance but she has a lot to live up to!

However, the single most flavorful card in L5R, maybe the greatest example of L5R card design, was Emerald Edition's Toturi, the fallen Lion champion. He enter played dishonored and caused you to lose 5 honor, and you gained 5 honor when he was rehonored, and had the most perfect flavor text: One must bow to offer aid to a fallen man. When Toturi appeared in your provinces, you got to tell an epic story- would you risk your reputation to offer Toturi a chance to redeem himself, and if and how would this fallen man be restored to his former self? So many things could happen at that point, and it seemed as if the rules of the game were designed around telling the story of this one card. You could pay 9 gold, recruit him, and immediately command him to commit seppuku (by the rulebook)- this would reduce his honor loss to 1, and you would immediately gain 5 honor for giving him a quick honorable death! (and each your poets could write poems about the tragic tale of this honorable fallen man for 4 more honor!) OR, if you had an Honorable Seppuku card in your hand, you could play it, reduce the honor loss to 0 and gain a ridiculous 9  honor instead. OR, you could risk keeping him in play. You could use the Imperial Favor to absorb his honor loss, but then you wouldn't be able to rehonor him imediately by using the favor for a pardon from the Emperor. But if you keep the Favor, you chance even greater disaster. If your opponent had the card Remorseful Seppuku, he could immediately kill Toturi as his first Limited action and your investment would be for naught. Worse, your opponent could kill dishonored Tutori in a duel, with a Kolat Assassin, or even fall prey to a Kolat Master- then not only would you lose your personality, but you would lose 4 honor as Toturi never got to redeem himself. But if Toturi's story didn't end in a quick death, how would he be redeemed? Would he be pardoned by the Emperor himself? Would he rediscover his soul in battle? Would he regain his name by winning an epic duel?

I have told ALL of these stories with this single card. A single card that could end in either +25 honor gain or a 9 honor loss- I've done both!

I guess the third character I really cared about, and that wasn't a major character, was Kakita Kyruko, the Crane Temptress. When she was printed, she was much maligned, not just for her card but also for her art! People complained that her picture, which was drawn by Crane maestro April Lee, didn't look Asian enough! And she had a funny strange ability that Crane players were reluctant to use: it caused an honor loss, created a duel that could be refused, and she was personally a mediocre duelist with only 3 chi. But for some reason I always had a soft spot for her- maybe since she was printed in Soul of the Empire, the last set printed by FRPG, and she was a survivor who had survived the apocalyptic events of Soul of the Empire, through the controversial Spirit War expansion and the tumultuous ownership change from AEG to WotC Gold Edition. As loyal L5R players suffered through the early mediocre WotC expansions like A Perfect Cut and An Oni's Fury, she was a remnant from happier times (I had just started college and those were some of the happiest times I had of playing L5R, travelling to events like the Y2C by myself and meeting L5R players from all across the state and the US for the first time). She was still considered a bad card that no other Crane player used, but then a small miracle happened for Kyruko: the Crane got a new stronghold: Kyuden Doji. This stronghold was dismissed by many Crane players since we were all accustomed and addicted to the raw $$$ power of Kosaten "FREAKING" Shiro- but this new stronghold turned Kyruko into a powerhouse. Kyruko became "I challenge you! You accept? Well, I would fight you but Kurohito would like to fight instead!"

I got to create an awesome new decktype for Crane, and it even featured a character that most players had dismissed but always had a place in my heart. That's living the dream as a L5R player.

One more honorable mention: Bayushi Sunetra. I love that she became the most beloved of Scorpion Clan champions, but most Scorpion players I talked to never realized or knew the story of why she had Crane blue eyes. But I knew the story and it broke my heart since it made me feel guilty for all those times that I intentionally fed The Scorpion Children to Kyoso no Oni.

I guess we wont be able to tell these old stories anymore with a story reset and a completely different game. But these old stories will still always exist in our memory; and I hope for new stories to join them.

Edited by kakitadairu

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