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Shiba Gunichi

Clan representation in the story-

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2 hours ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

I think that was the result of the Pheonix focus characters tending to be Shugenja* with a single passive Shiba yojimbo following rather than multiple active Shiba Yojimbos guarding one very valuable and very powerful shugenja. This tended to lead into situations where the Story team needed to suppressed magic as it is an easy way to solve any problem.

Oh, every Clan had a version of this problem (when they showed up... *hard glare at a few arcs*)- most Mantis seemed to be Yoritomo in nature if not in name, most Lion were brash Matsu-types, most Crab were Hida-esque...

Not to mention other clans horning in on the spotlight and plots that others could have used to get some exposure... The Shogun was a Unicorn during the Destroyer War, but who did we focus on as the overall general? Lion Clan Champion, with guest spots from the Utaku daimyo. There's a story of a tragic, ill-starred romance between a shugenja and her yojimbo... who gets that one? The friggin' Crane. The Army of Dark Fire slams into the Dragon, Phoenix, and,  to a lesser extent, Unicorn lands... who do we spend most of our army time with? A bunch of Lion and Crab. The Mantis have mainland holdings right in the path of the Destroyer Horde? Better make sure they don't show up until the final battle, lest they overshadow the Scorpion and Crab's territory loss narrative. A shugenja activates magical defenses across the entire front? Good thing we have a Crab on hand to do that.

Some stories ("Private lessons," "The Bad Death of Hida Amoro," "A Lion's Honor") rightly belong to the clans they feature. Others.... contributed to a deeply frustrated fanbase.

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Legend of the Five Rings stories are traditionally poor (to put it lightly), so I think we are not really at a loss here. 

Like, call me back when we have good L5R stories, and let's see if this problem persists. 

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The Beniha/Hideshi storyline was arguably a Courtier and her Yojimbo (aka Lady and her Knight) story so it does fit. Beniha just happened to be a Shugenja as well.

It would have been nice to have a story with a Shiba yojimbo and his/her Isawa shugenja charge caught in a love triangle.

4 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Legend of the Five Rings stories are traditionally poor (to put it lightly), so I think we are not really at a loss here. 

Like, call me back when we have good L5R stories, and let's see if this problem persists. 

Even if the stories were poor a fair amount of why they were poor could be linked to this kind of stuff.

Heck the Unicorn pretty much became Male Mongolians with Samurai horse maidens.

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10 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

The Beniha/Hideshi storyline was arguably a Courtier and her Yojimbo (aka Lady and her Knight) story so it does fit. Beniha just happened to be a Shugenja as well.

It was a yojimbo story, dude. They had a chance to give a Shiba something to do in a period where the Phoenix all but disappeared for several years of real-time fiction, and they threw it to the Crane.

Edited by Shiba Gunichi

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12 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Even if the stories were poor a fair amount of why they were poor could be linked to this kind of stuff.

Nah, they were poor in general. OP's problem is a symptom and not a cause. 

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7 minutes ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

It was a yojimbo story, dude. They had a chance to give a Shiba something to do in a period where the Phoenix all but disappeared for several years of real-time fiction, and they threw it to the Crane.

They also had the Isawa Mizuhiko hunting the Dark Oracles storyline during that same time period.  A perfect storyline where a Shiba yojimbo could have been the protagonist trying to keep a group of shugenja on a crazy mission alive.

Should there have been other Yojimbo focused stories? Yes, but that did not mean that the Crane were not a suitable clan for the storyline. Both Phoenix and Scorpion would have also worked.

If the storyline had been Crab, Dragon, Lion, Mantis, Unicorn or Spider you might have had an argument. A courtly love tragedy suited Crane well.

20 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Nah, they were poor in general. OP's problem is a symptom and not a cause. 

If you improve a story by changing a characters family name then it is not a symptom of a poorly written story but one of the causes of the story to be poorly written. Not the only cause but a regularly occurring one.

Writing Moshi and Tsuruchi as if the were Yoritomo was a reoccurring complaint.

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18 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

Should there have been other Yojimbo focused stories? Yes, but that did not mean that the Crane were not a suitable clan for the storyline. Both Phoenix and Scorpion would have also worked.

If the storyline had been Crab, Dragon, Lion, Mantis, Unicorn or Spider you might have had an argument. A courtly love tragedy suited Crane well.

The Crane were not a poor choice in a vacuum, but focusing on them was when others were sitting around twiddling their thumbs (seriously, what did the Dragon do between Heaven's Net and the IP sale? Get their faces pushed in by Chosai and babysit the Spider- ineffectually. Where were the Mantis between the Khan's March and Emperor Edition? Your guess is as good as mine.)- when you're trying to serve nine or more competing factions' demands for attention, giving all Courtly Romance character bits to the Crane is just silly. There was a fan-chosen love match between Yasuki Tono and Shosuro Kameyoi... how much time did it get? About half a fiction, even though a Crab and Scorpion courtier duo being allowed to marry for love should have been a Big Deal.

I would rather have had the yojimbo romance be Dragon or Mantis if couldn't be Phoenix, because at least then a faction lacking nuance in its typical portrayal would get some. Heck, if the Crab and Lion weren't almost as omipresent as the bluebirds, I'd give THEM a leg up, because it'd give them something to do besides talk about how much they love fighting.

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9 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

A shugenja activates magical defenses across the entire front? Good thing we have a Crab on hand to do that.

To be fair that Crab was Jade Champion. And everyone knows the Kuni and Asahina produce the strongest shugenja in the Empire.

7 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

what did the Dragon do between Heaven's Net and the IP sale? Get their faces pushed in by Chosai and babysit the Spider- ineffectually.

Iweko became Empress. The Togashi got sent to run damage control about Heaven's lack of care for the plight of mortals. Suikihime was using Kitsuki investigators to further her agenda. One was involved prominently in the 'Sins of the Father' story line.

8 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Where were the Mantis between the Khan's March and Emperor Edition?

There was 'Scenes of the Empire VII,' Kalani's expedition to the Ivory Kingdoms, and the Battle of Kyuden Ashinagabachi.

8 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

There was a fan-chosen love match between Yasuki Tono and Shosuro Kameyoi... how much time did it get? About half a fiction, even though a Crab and Scorpion courtier duo being allowed to marry for love should have been a Big Deal.

Again, to be fair that relationship got considerable attention prior to their actually getting married. Plus Tono became Yasuki Daimyo so it might have gotten revisited in the future.

And they weren't allowed to marry for love. They loved each other and their getting married just happened to be politically convenient.

 

 Overall I've never really noticed any disparity in representation. You always had a general sense of what everyone was up to even if they weren't the main characters of any particular fiction.

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9 hours ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

If you improve a story by changing a characters family name then it is not a symptom of a poorly written story but one of the causes of the story to be poorly written. Not the only cause but a regularly occurring one.

My point is that changing the characters' family name wouldn't improve the stories. 

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With regards to Tono and Kameyoi, I've always hated the fact that Kameyoi was loyal while Tono wasn't even though he had higher status as Yasuki daimyo and she was marrying in.

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2 hours ago, shineyorkboy said:

To be fair that Crab was Jade Champion. And everyone knows the Kuni and Asahina produce the strongest shugenja in the Empire.

 No, everyone knows that whoever the writers feel like throwing up there for a death or glory moment will be the best there is at what they do for the duration of a scene.

2 hours ago, shineyorkboy said:

Iweko became Empress. The Togashi got sent to run damage control about Heaven's lack of care for the plight of mortals. Suikihime was using Kitsuki investigators to further her agenda. One was involved prominently in the 'Sins of the Father' story line.

But what was the Clan doing? What, exactly, was the leadership up to? Mirumoto Kei's Championship can be summed up with "fought Yobanjin, sent the Togashi out to be weird teachers, break." Then Shikei had an endless engagement which he broke off for...reasons the Dragon fans I know seemed to find inadequate.

Only Kitsuki Kinaro really stuck out as a character for Dragon fans to root for during that time-more on this later.

2 hours ago, shineyorkboy said:

There was 'Scenes of the Empire VII,' Kalani's expedition to the Ivory Kingdoms, and the Battle of Kyuden Ashinagabachi.

So... three stories in almost as many years... you're kind of proving my point.

 

2 hours ago, shineyorkboy said:

Overall I've never really noticed any disparity in representation. You always had a general sense of what everyone was up to even if they weren't the main characters of any particular fiction.

Not really- you'd have a token guy show up here and there, but often they were just "oh crud, we need to show that the Flying Purple Hippo Clan cares about this issue, grab me a Flying Purple Hippo Courtier we'll ever see again."

Certainly, there are constraints- I didn't really mind the Phoenix and Dragon basically disappearing for the Destroyer War, because they'd just been (getting their butts kicked) all over the War of Dark Fire. But then... what did either Clan seek to achieve in Emperor Edition? Or Ivory? What lofty goals were they given, what aspirations did their members have? Which characters carried their Clan's story forward? Even their starter deck inserts were incredibly bland.

Moreover- aside from Kitsuki Kinaro, name me a character Dragon fans seemed to be rallying behind during this period? After Isawa Mizuhiko's (awesome, satisfying) tragic arc came to a close, can you name a Phoenix character with any traction by the end? Even AEG had admitted that there weren't any characters to root for in many clans by the end- witness the Least Satisfactory Kotei Season Ever, where you got to pick someone from your opponent's deck to kill, spare, or imprison- with mileage that varied considerably, because nobody was invested in anybody, and having peoplegetting killedleft and right was a terrible way to build any such foundation.

But if the Clan as a whole isn't getting macro-plot importance (which is realistically something that everybody should have to sit out at one point or another) then those small character-powered plotlines matter all the more to keep fans engaged. "Sure, this arc is all about the Crane and Mantis having a War in the Colonies, but every so often I get the Adventures of Hiruma Joe and Akodo Jenny, Buddy Cops At Large! I love those guys!"
 

1 hour ago, AtoMaki said:

My point is that changing the characters' family name wouldn't improve the stories. 

And his is that writing the characters to behave more in keeping with their own family culture would have.

It's largely moot- so far as I know, no one who handled AEG's story is going to be working on FFG's, so this whole thread is mostly me picking at some stubborn scabs for the edification of the three or four people who might give a toss, but I have to ask, since you appear to be of the opinion that qualitywise, nothing AEG produced for the narrative is worth a toss.... why are you still poking your nose into this thread? I calved it off of the "which timeline" thread because my tangent was starting to be more about story treatment than about broad historical strokes. If you don't care about the story treatment,"because it was all lousy," logically there's nothing for you here.

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Its a shame that Asako Karachu got killed off with that whole "There Will Be Blood" kotei IIRC. I enjoyed his scenes, esp with Suikihime; so much potential there IMO. 

P.S. Sins of the Father was one of my favorite fiction series. Then again, I've only kept up with the L5R storyline for a few years thanks to my full introduction to that setting with the 4th Ed RPG. 

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For what it's worth, I always really enjoyed the fictions.  Sure there was room for improvement, things could always have been done better, and some clans could have been given more attention - clearly the Phoenix being a prime example of that.  But overall this was a labor of love for AEG and the writers themselves.  Plenty of games get by without the incredibly deep back story that L5R has, and they could always have decided to do away with the fictions and let everyone get by with flavor text on the cards and the occasional story insert with a box set.  Instead they busted their collective asses to give us more than the bare minimum and to flesh out the world in a really incredible way.  I think we should be appreciative that they put so much effort into something that existed solely for the players/enthusiasts and didn't directly generate a dime a revenue. [I know that the stories kept a lot of people coming back, myself included, I'm just saying they didn't actually profit from putting out these fictions and that can be a difficult expense for a business to justify]

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Well said, Kaito. Devoting staff members solely to worldbuilding was actually quite extravagant for such a small company. I don't know of any other company that size that did that. I agree that the writing was uneven in quality and representation, but that it existed at all was pretty impressive.

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4 hours ago, YasukiKaito said:

For what it's worth, I always really enjoyed the fictions.  Sure there was room for improvement, things could always have been done better, and some clans could have been given more attention - clearly the Phoenix being a prime example of that.  But overall this was a labor of love for AEG and the writers themselves.  Plenty of games get by without the incredibly deep back story that L5R has, and they could always have decided to do away with the fictions and let everyone get by with flavor text on the cards and the occasional story insert with a box set.  Instead they busted their collective asses to give us more than the bare minimum and to flesh out the world in a really incredible way.  I think we should be appreciative that they put so much effort into something that existed solely for the players/enthusiasts and didn't directly generate a dime a revenue. [I know that the stories kept a lot of people coming back, myself included, I'm just saying they didn't actually profit from putting out these fictions and that can be a difficult expense for a business to justify]

Oh, for all of my griping, I sure as heck didn't stick around through Ivory because I liked playing the Phoenix decks available at the start of that edition- and I do feel the Story Team catches crap for things that Brand mandated entirely too often (exhibit A: "There Will Be Blood," Least Satisfying Kotei Season Ever. You cannot tell me that with the team down to Shawn and Spooky that having to write something for every single Kotei was Shawn's idea). Only the Story Lead drew any pay at all- everybody else was working for merch and the dubious prestige that came with the job.

Part of what had my psyched for Onyx? Not the plot, but the things I was hearing about HOW they were going to present the story- as a little tidbit, gleaned from my interactions with The Hand (C.Thomas Hand, for those of you who don't get the joke) was that every Clan was going to get a couple of dedicated POV characters so that even if the Clan itself was doing ZILCH, you'd have a Mizuhiko or Kinaro-esque person to rally behind.

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I liked that idea a lot.  And I really liked the way Hand approached stories too.  He was my GM in winter court (if I remember correctly) and he was fantastic in there.  I would've loved to see more fictions authored by him! 

In general I loved the idea that the fictions were effected by players and events, but I feel like that is also what led to some of the less than spectacular stories.  It can be hard enough to craft a compelling narrative as it is without working to satisfy tourney rewards A, B, and C (which can make it difficult to plan anything long term), while trying to move forward a main story line, give each clan some love and flesh out the world as a whole.  That's a pretty big ask of any writer. 

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If you are looking for non-shugenja Phoenix who got story time?

Shiba Aikune and the Last Wish.

Personally, the death of Shiba Aikune still remains one of those moments at the end of the Toturi dynasty that made me feel.

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Oh, Aikune... I loved the guy, and his death was poignant, but he was essentially a walking plot device for a good deal of his time with us....

Kind of like how everyone says they loved the Clan War when they really mean they loved the Day of Thunder. ;)

 

His arc (from petulant jerk to dying beside a Mantis and a Dragon to buy time for everyone else)  is worth looking over, though. What gave him staying power? We kept getting stories about the guy. We knew who his parents were (and whaddya know, one of them was a beloved Phoenix from the previous story arc, fancy that!). We knew WHY he started off as such a jerk. Wealso knew, from these repeated appearances, that he was Important in way poor "we need a Phoenix in this court scene, what courtiers have they got?" Asako Kanta never managed in his many appearacnes during the bridge between Samurai and Celestial Edition- why? Yeah, having a terrified demigod grafted to him was part of it, but we also saw Aikune doing things BESIDES being a rock 'em sock 'em Shiba bushi. Who knew who he was, not just what he was.

 

Getting people invested in characters CAN happen almost overnight, but a good pay-off usually requires some time investment.

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