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7 hours ago, PlaguedOne said:

I would assume that if the Mantis are introduced as a full playable faction they'd end up with a sea-green or teal color.

Nah we'll just take over Gold.  It is our second favorite colour after all and the Dragon aren't using it anymore.

Jon Schmidt

Yoritomo Kaji

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On ‎28‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 4:38 PM, Tonbo Karasu said:

Well, what Minor clans are there around, and what do they do and are they suitable for an alliance -

  • Centipede - Shugenja - Too closely aligned to Phoenix
  • Dragonfly - Shugenja/Courtier - Too closely aligned to Dragon
  • Hare - Bushi
  • Falcon - Spirit hunters
  • Fox - Shugenja
  • Mantis - Bushi/Merchants - Not on the mainland
  • Sparrow - Bushi/Storytellers
  • Tortoise - Courtier/Merchants - Too tied to the emperor
  • Wasp - Archers

The relevant mainland clans are actually pretty close to each other, IIRC.  If the three Man Alliance were to add the Hare and Falcon, that's quite a nice combo.

Wasn't there also an Oriole clan? They were smiths and weaponmakers, right?

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On ‎28‎/‎04‎/‎2017 at 5:05 PM, Tonbo Karasu said:

Because they're semi-apocryphal, and would be dead now even if they did exist?  Along with the Bee, Crow, Firefly, Shark and Tanuki.

I would like a Tanuki Clan!

"We got the balls." - Tanuki clan motto. :)

But seriously, they sound interesting, and I wouldn't mind seeing some cards in the new game.

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Go ahead and put on a helmet for this. Why not just make some new minor clans for the Alliance to possibly bring in? Heck, why not completely revise the old minor clans? Not like FFG couldn't do it either since they own the IP now.

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This is a completely reset world... Why must everyone completely forget that?

Not every minor clan that existed in the previous setting needs to be in this setting, much less so being presented in exactly the same way. You are all going off the presumption that all situations and all characters absolutely must happen precisely as previously designed.

A lot of the minor clans had next to no thought put into them at all-- they were just random whims people had... worse, to be honest, a lot of them were invented for the Way of the Minor Clans book printed in the 1st Edition RPG and the designers clearly struggled for any random half-baked ideas to toss into it just to fill up page space.

The Tonbo for instance were incredibly odd and senseless. None of the origin story makes sense given how common inter-clan marriages surely are, and their role in the world would have been better filled by simply inventing a new Dragon Clan courtier family (vassal family?) that just hadn't been previously mentioned. Given that in the new game there are going to be military and political conflicts and we can be certain the Dragon won't be lacking in either-- their whole flimsy justification for existing has become entirely moot.

The Falcon had barely been invented as a minor clan for a year or two RL before they got incorporated into the very crowded Crab Clan. What impact they ever had on the game was entirely as a family of the Crab-- and, even then, they had so little impact it is doubtful that they would be missed. Exactly what could possibly be gained by insisting on incorporating them as a minor clan into the new setting?

The Kasuga perhaps shouldn't even be a Minor Clan. Not under the traditional sense anyway. They had no lands of their own and instead were situated in the Imperial city and could be understood to be acting under Imperial authority. The very first Kasuga card printed in the game was an unaligned Imperial Librarian. Why not just have the Kasuga be an Imperial/Ronin family instead of "The Tortoise Minor Clan". They could even keep the turtle as their mon (although, really, their mon was rather lame and they could use a new one anyway). The Yasuki don't have to be the "Carp Clan" to have a Carp theme to them. One can have an Imperial family that has a Turtle theme to them and lose nothing out of it.

The Usagi are a clear example of 0 real effort being put into them. They even just named them "Rabbit" in Japanese. Their only purpose was to be one of, at the time it could be understood, DOZENS of minor clans in the land and happened to have been targeted by the setting standard bad guys, the Scorpion, for elimination being framed and then exterminated... and the last living one was left to try to clear the name of his clan with help by the PCs. The loss of the Hare was meant to be tragic and final.... of course, it turned out that as soon as the writers had named anything a Minor Clan, it became immortal and even those invented as already being dead returned eventually.

Beyond this, so much of what made Minor Clans up may as well have just been vassal families within a single clan as that is all they were ever really relevant to. There doesn't need to be a "Boar Clan", it can just be a much of Crab Clan miners up there who got slaughtered to feed the Anvil of Despair. The Chuda? It could have just been a Phoenix Clan vassal family/school designed to specialize in Maho-Hunting. The Ox? Just one Moto and a bunch of his cohorts who happen to be Kolat (if there even is a Kolat to speak of!).  Similarly, whatever legs the concept of the "Sparrow" had-- they may as well just be a Crane Clan vassal family, they were of no importance to the story until the Spider infiltrated and then exterminated them... all they really served to do was to take an aspect of the Crane Clan (storytelling) away from them. It would only serve to make the Crane Clan deeper and more diverse to make the "Suzume" (by some far less lame name) an eccentric vassal family.
 

Honestly, the Fox and the Mantis.... maybe the Badger... those are about the only ones worth keeping within the setting. Beyond that, it is just unnecessarily limiting creativity to insist that all the other ones exist exactly as previously imagined and that none beyond that exist. The Badger and the Fox both tie into the result of the Unicorn pretty much up and abandoning their duties for 800 years which is why their existences just aren't nearly as superfluous as the others. The Fox are those that got left behind and the Badger are the ones that inherited the duty to do what the Unicorn were supposed to be doing. One could practically combine them into a single clan for greater effect! Just have the previous "Badger" be the bushi and the previous "Fox" be the shugenja/courtiers. Beyond them, and the Kasuga that I noted should just be Imperials, all the others could just be scrapped and they can be replaced with new ideas-- presuming it is even necessary to inject Minor Clans beyond the Mantis into the game in the first place and specify the precise number and name of all of them.
 

The "Wasp Clan" and the "Centipede Clan" could even be reimagined as being part of the Mantis Clan from the very beginning and you don't lose out on much of anything. Just have the Moshi be a Mantis Clan shugenja family (allowing one to skip over the oddity of the one Mantis family being the only family in the world to have its own bushi, shugenja and courtier schools) and Tsuruichi can be reinvented as a prolific Mantis Clan mercenary from the get-go-- with maybe him and his squad being known as "The Wasps". Again, his origin story makes little sense once one gets the idea that inter-clan marriages simply could not be a once in a century event. And the idea that his parents could just randomly declare themselves a "minor clan" and have their own castle that popped into existence out of thin air for it? Or that he had enough men to have a band and then, once joining the Mantis, they were so legion they could be a defining family of a Great Clan-- within a single generation no less? Just skip over all the nonsense and make him be a Mantis in the first place, the founder of his own school within the Clan.

 

Edited by TheHobgoblyn

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2 hours ago, TheHobgoblyn said:

This is a completely reset world... Why must everyone completely forget that?

Not every minor clan that existed in the previous setting needs to be in this setting, much less so being presented in exactly the same way. You are all going off the presumption that all situations and all characters absolutely must happen precisely as previously designed.

A lot of the minor clans had next to no thought put into them at all-- they were just random whims people had... worse, to be honest, a lot of them were invented for the Way of the Minor Clans book printed in the 1st Edition RPG and the designers clearly struggled for any random half-baked ideas to toss into it just to fill up page space.

The Tonbo for instance were incredibly odd and senseless. None of the origin story makes sense given how common inter-clan marriages surely are, and their role in the world would have been better filled by simply inventing a new Dragon Clan courtier family (vassal family?) that just hadn't been previously mentioned. Given that in the new game there are going to be military and political conflicts and we can be certain the Dragon won't be lacking in either-- their whole flimsy justification for existing has become entirely moot.

The Falcon had barely been invented as a minor clan for a year or two RL before they got incorporated into the very crowded Crab Clan. What impact they ever had on the game was entirely as a family of the Crab-- and, even then, they had so little impact it is doubtful that they would be missed. Exactly what could possibly be gained by insisting on incorporating them as a minor clan into the new setting?

The Kasuga perhaps shouldn't even be a Minor Clan. Not under the traditional sense anyway. They had no lands of their own and instead were situated in the Imperial city and could be understood to be acting under Imperial authority. The very first Kasuga card printed in the game was an unaligned Imperial Librarian. Why not just have the Kasuga be an Imperial/Ronin family instead of "The Tortoise Minor Clan". They could even keep the turtle as their mon (although, really, their mon was rather lame and they could use a new one anyway). The Yasuki don't have to be the "Carp Clan" to have a Carp theme to them. One can have an Imperial family that has a Turtle theme to them and lose nothing out of it.

The Usagi are a clear example of 0 real effort being put into them. They even just named them "Rabbit" in Japanese. Their only purpose was to be one of, at the time it could be understood, DOZENS of minor clans in the land and happened to have been targeted by the setting standard bad guys, the Scorpion, for elimination being framed and then exterminated... and the last living one was left to try to clear the name of his clan with help by the PCs. The loss of the Hare was meant to be tragic and final.... of course, it turned out that as soon as the writers had named anything a Minor Clan, it became immortal and even those invented as already being dead returned eventually.

Beyond this, so much of what made Minor Clans up may as well have just been vassal families within a single clan as that is all they were ever really relevant to. There doesn't need to be a "Boar Clan", it can just be a much of Crab Clan miners up there who got slaughtered to feed the Anvil of Despair. The Chuda? It could have just been a Phoenix Clan vassal family/school designed to specialize in Maho-Hunting. The Ox? Just one Moto and a bunch of his cohorts who happen to be Kolat (if there even is a Kolat to speak of!).  Similarly, whatever legs the concept of the "Sparrow" had-- they may as well just be a Crane Clan vassal family, they were of no importance to the story until the Spider infiltrated and then exterminated them... all they really served to do was to take an aspect of the Crane Clan (storytelling) away from them. It would only serve to make the Crane Clan deeper and more diverse to make the "Suzume" (by some far less lame name) an eccentric vassal family.
 

Honestly, the Fox and the Mantis.... maybe the Badger... those are about the only ones worth keeping within the setting. Beyond that, it is just unnecessarily limiting creativity to insist that all the other ones exist exactly as previously imagined and that none beyond that exist. The Badger and the Fox both tie into the result of the Unicorn pretty much up and abandoning their duties for 800 years which is why their existences just aren't nearly as superfluous as the others. The Fox are those that got left behind and the Badger are the ones that inherited the duty to do what the Unicorn were supposed to be doing. One could practically combine them into a single clan for greater effect! Just have the previous "Badger" be the bushi and the previous "Fox" be the shugenja/courtiers. Beyond them, and the Kasuga that I noted should just be Imperials, all the others could just be scrapped and they can be replaced with new ideas-- presuming it is even necessary to inject Minor Clans beyond the Mantis into the game in the first place and specify the precise number and name of all of them.
 

The "Wasp Clan" and the "Centipede Clan" could even be reimagined as being part of the Mantis Clan from the very beginning and you don't lose out on much of anything. Just have the Moshi be a Mantis Clan shugenja family (allowing one to skip over the oddity of the one Mantis family being the only family in the world to have its own bushi, shugenja and courtier schools) and Tsuruichi can be reinvented as a prolific Mantis Clan mercenary from the get-go-- with maybe him and his squad being known as "The Wasps". Again, his origin story makes little sense once one gets the idea that inter-clan marriages simply could not be a once in a century event. And the idea that his parents could just randomly declare themselves a "minor clan" and have their own castle that popped into existence out of thin air for it? Or that he had enough men to have a band and then, once joining the Mantis, they were so legion they could be a defining family of a Great Clan-- within a single generation no less? Just skip over all the nonsense and make him be a Mantis in the first place, the founder of his own school within the Clan.

 

The majority of the minor clans were created to as members of the Yoritomo's Alliance during the Crimson and Jade release or were previously unaligned characters who were errata-ed to be a minor clan to fill out the character pool for a late cycle clan release.  They were always intended to be a mixed style force and the alternate Lowe Powers force to contrast the Toturi's Army Ronin force.

And you are ignoring one of the primary reasons that many of the Minor Clans were created was to act as a buffer between competing clan interests or as a reward for individuals who have performed great deeds for them Empire as their elevation to the status of Minor Clan gives them enormous personal power relative to that of a minor clan, the greatest being the right of taxation.  And by Imperial decree no great clan can go to war with a minor clan without Imperial consent so they are protected from their neighbors in ways that they can not be as a vassal family.

The Hare clan actually were a central part of the first RPG adventure so they did actually serve a purpose there and to say they used Usagi as the name is cheap ignores that the same convention was well in use for other clans and characters prior to that.  After all Kitsune are Japaneses Fox spirits.  Nd many of the minor clans are actually referenced in source materials well before the Way of the Minor Clans book came ou, they were merely fleshed out at that poin and due to higher page count we had an opportunity to learn more about them than the limited space that card fluff and Side Bar entries in RPG books permitted prior to that

Having the minor clans actually serves to make the setting more real as not everyone can fall into the 7 great clan stereotypes.

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Honestly, I'm in favor of more Minor Clans, not less. I think the setting is more interesting when there are a bunch of little playing pieces on the board to serve as a political and geographical buffer between the Great Clans: individually they're bugs that only avoid being crushed because of Imperial edict, but their cooperation or opposition can tilt the balance of power when two Great Clans come into conflict with one another.

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6 hours ago, Schmoozies said:

The majority of the minor clans were created to as members of the Yoritomo's Alliance during the Crimson and Jade release or were previously unaligned characters who were errata-ed to be a minor clan to fill out the character pool for a late cycle clan release.  They were always intended to be a mixed style force and the alternate Lowe Powers force to contrast the Toturi's Army Ronin force.

And you are ignoring one of the primary reasons that many of the Minor Clans were created was to act as a buffer between competing clan interests or as a reward for individuals who have performed great deeds for them Empire as their elevation to the status of Minor Clan gives them enormous personal power relative to that of a minor clan, the greatest being the right of taxation.  And by Imperial decree no great clan can go to war with a minor clan without Imperial consent so they are protected from their neighbors in ways that they can not be as a vassal family.

The Hare clan actually were a central part of the first RPG adventure so they did actually serve a purpose there and to say they used Usagi as the name is cheap ignores that the same convention was well in use for other clans and characters prior to that.  After all Kitsune are Japaneses Fox spirits.  Nd many of the minor clans are actually referenced in source materials well before the Way of the Minor Clans book came ou, they were merely fleshed out at that poin and due to higher page count we had an opportunity to learn more about them than the limited space that card fluff and Side Bar entries in RPG books permitted prior to that

Having the minor clans actually serves to make the setting more real as not everyone can fall into the 7 great clan stereotypes.

 

I think you really missed my point entirely.

None of the Minor Clans were truly essential for the setting or even very well integrated. As you mention, the Hare existed for the first adventure of the RPG... and could he understood to be wiped out after it. As for any of them being mentioned or printed before the Way of the Minor Clans book was written-- you may be right. It might have just started with someone decided to print a random unaligned card up with "_______ Clan" as one of its traits and that was the extent of any idea they had for them.

 

I didn't say I was entirely against the idea of "minor clans" entirely as a concept. But given the sheer flimsy justification of nearly all of the existing ones to exist, I see no reason that every single minor clan that AEG ever thought up necessarily being transferred exactly as they were without the slightest alteration nor that the entire list of minor clans should consist solely of those that AEG established existed at the time of the Scorpion Clan Coup.

 

Also, no... the minor clans do not do that. Or rather they shouldn't be needed for that. The 7 Great Clans should not have "stereotypes" that every single last member falls into. Expanding the number of established (vassal) families for a clan and showing greater variation in the personalities, beliefs and methods of the members of any given clan does more to give the story breadth and depth than saying "He's the Aardvark Clan and because the Japanese word for Aardvark is 'Adobaku' that is his family name and he and all other members of the Aardvark Clan act like.. uh... Aardvarks."

In fact, minor clans with their lazily chosen names, nonsense backstories which either involve "people from two clans got married" as if that is such an unusual event that it is not understood or established how that works or some random person either assisted or helped the Emperor in some minor way that must make one question how every last Magistrate Champion doesn't end up with their own minor clan... It really is a bad idea, or at least badly implemented idea.

The Mantis clan works because they were a bunch of Crab rebels who fled to a previously unclaimed lands that had enough of a natural defense that it wasn't beneficiary for any clan to go try to chase them down and go to war with them.

The Fox Clan (as much as they follow into that lazy pattern of simply giving them the animal's name in Japanese) having been just Unicorn clan members left behind by the Kirin to take care of their lands-- only to find themselves far too weak to defend those lands from the aggressiveness of the other Great Clans and thus driven off the lands and having to form a new identity outside of the Kirin clan.... and having been separated for 800 years to forge a new identity. That one makes sense.

The Badger Clan (again, terrible family name aside) being those who now took up defense of the path in and out of the empire, what should have been the Unicorn's duty-- but one they had abandoned, while at the same time the Emperor didn't want to have the Crab extend their territory clear across the entire border of the empire... well, their origin also makes a good deal of sense.

The Tortoise Clan also has justification because they served the Emperor in a particularly unusual way that caused the other Great Clans to want them dead. Unless they were given some sort of recognition and special status, they would have just been wiped out. They had tenuous ties to their original clans anyway, to the extent it wasn't until Celestial Edition that it was mentioned that Kasuga was an Agasha and the rest of his people were basically Yasuki. But, again, I think dubbing them "minor clan" rather than "imperial vassal" was unnecessary. They should have fallen into the same category as the Tsi and the Yotsu (which, yeah, some writer eventually dubbed to be "minor clans" as well-- because everyone needs their own animal avatar to form the megazord!).

 

None of the other origins for the minor clans makes the least bit of sense. Every single one either was a conflict where there should have been no conflict, an example of someone who should have just been made into a new (vassal) family for a clan, someone who should have been given an imperial office-- such as legion commander or imperial magistrate, or a group that just cut off contact with the rest of the clan for no particular reason and then up and stopped serving their own clan... in which case, they should just be considered ronin who abandoned their duty and not elevated to a special status.

Every single instance really comes across as "Well, we decided there was going to be a ______ clan and now are coming up with a weak backstory justification for them to exist. The Imperials named them a minor clan because well... we decided that there was going to be that minor clan and thus it was done." Once again, the various situations given for the creation of these clans would have happened far too frequently for dubbing a group a new clan distinct from their own clan being the general way the situations are handled.

 

And since a lot of them-- the Falcon, the Centipede and the Wasp-- spent the vast majority of their time as part of the setting, being primarily written and defined as, families of a Great Clan.. it seems quite odd to take a step back and try to force them into the mold of distinct minor clans again. They were written and drawn as families of a great clan for about 8 times as long as they were ever written as a minor clan.

 

Basically... it is fine to have Minor Clans, but have a reason for them to actually exist beyond "I want clan of animal X!" or "I want a samurai who wears color Y". Because any minor clan that is not going to have a major role adds less to the story than a Great Clan adding a new family. Come up with an actual feasible reason for this group to actually have to be a distinct group outside of their clan rather than a group within a clan that achieved some level of prestige or notoriety and expands the concept of a clan to incorporate some new ideas and elements.

 

Because pretty much every single Minor Clan idea is something half-baked that almost certainly should have been just an interesting subgroup within a Great Clan rather than being its own clan. But you know... people want to be "special snowflakes" so they have to have their own little clan that contains themselves and only themselves.

Also... the idea that Imperial decree prevents the Great Clans from gobbling up the Minor Clans is a joke. The Emperor simply does not have the sort of concentrated force available everywhere in the empire to prevent such a thing nor hardly the ability to properly punish any Great Clan for doing so-- given that any alienation he does of any Great Clan over a now extinct Minor Clan is going to hurt his position more than help it. The Minor Clans ought to have a lifespan of about a month unless there is good reason they have been left be for long enough to have a strong foothold... or that they provide a service to all their neighbors that is worth more than those neighbors lose by not simply annexing them in a day like they could.

 

So just because AEG once, on a random whim, printed some card with the trait Clan Z on it and expanded on the idea, badly, in future fiction does NOT mean that every single one of them needs to be reprinted as cards and incorporated into the new setting unaltered and that they represent the full extent of existing minor clans. Both abandoning previously established minor clans and coming up with brand new ones are perfectly acceptable options... particularly if one can come up with better justifications for the new ones to even be "minor clans" and to have somehow not been gobbled up within a month of having been granted the status.

Edited by TheHobgoblyn

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I personally hope that in general FFG chooses to make changes rather than keep things identical to the old when the change works better with the themes and internal logic of the game. Minor clans are potentially one aspect of this, but there are lots of other things that could potentially be changed -- the Kolat and the Lying Darkness are two examples of things where I think you want a version of them in the story, but it would probably work better if they were reimagined a fair amount.

I would personally be extremely surprised if the Mantis Clan are not introduced at some point, but I think there would be a lot of room to reimagine them in interesting ways. I don't see any special reason they would have to begin as an alliance of minor clans.

As an aside, here's a random idea about reimagining minor clans: - a 'minor clan' is the colloquial name for a family that has territory inside one clan's holdings but owes allegiance to a different clan. This sort of mixed allegiance happens all the time in feudal society when the direct line of descent dies out. So you get a distinct group of Samurai, who are in many respects functionally independent, and have to get along with their surrounding neighbours, but have the support and protection of a major clan (their actual lieges). So, for example, the Falcon could be a family of originally Phoenix who inherited lands inside Crab territory, and over the years developed their own sort of hybrid traditions, and adopt their own animal and heraldry to distinguish themselves from their crab neighbours.

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3 hours ago, TheHobgoblyn said:

Also... the idea that Imperial decree prevents the Great Clans from gobbling up the Minor Clans is a joke. The Emperor simply does not have the sort of concentrated force available everywhere in the empire to prevent such a thing nor hardly the ability to properly punish any Great Clan for doing so-- given that any alienation he does of any Great Clan over a now extinct Minor Clan is going to hurt his position more than help it. The Minor Clans ought to have a lifespan of about a month unless there is good reason they have been left be for long enough to have a strong foothold... or that they provide a service to all their neighbors that is worth more than those neighbors lose by not simply annexing them in a day like they could.

 

So just because AEG once, on a random whim, printed some card with the trait Clan Z on it and expanded on the idea, badly, in future fiction does NOT mean that every single one of them needs to be reprinted as cards and incorporated into the new setting unaltered and that they represent the full extent of existing minor clans. Both abandoning previously established minor clans and coming up with brand new ones are perfectly acceptable options... particularly if one can come up with better justifications for the new ones to even be "minor clans" and to have somehow not been gobbled up within a month of having been granted the status.

I guess part of it comes from how exactly we are to understand the governance of Rokugan.  Just as the Imperial Legions can't actually police the entire Empire, so the Great Clans can't necessarily directly govern all the territory they claim.  On a map, there are lines drawn separating the clans from each other, with a different color on each side of the line.  Does this mean that in reality each clan actually controls the entirety of the region?  Or are they more focused around major cities and important regions, with other parts being effectively lawless?  If the Emperor declared that a region now belonged to the Tanuki Clan, it could well be too far from any Great Clan's center of power for them to bother trying to conquer and govern it, especially if it offered little direct benefit to the Great Clan to do so.

And I don't think we can entirely write off the importance of the Imperial decree, either.  No, the Emperor can't directly punish clans who go against him, but if a Great Clan were to challenge the Emperor's authority to that extent, rival clans could easily seize on the opportunity to their own benefit and to the transgressor's sorrow. 

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17 hours ago, Robin Graves said:

Wasn't there also an Oriole clan? They were smiths and weaponmakers, right?

That is the Tsi ronin family and they were made a minor clan during lotus.

The bat clan also was created rather late.

Boar clan also existed but was destroyed.

Strangely enough the Kaeru family never became the Frog Clan.

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4 hours ago, JJ48 said:

I guess part of it comes from how exactly we are to understand the governance of Rokugan.  Just as the Imperial Legions can't actually police the entire Empire, so the Great Clans can't necessarily directly govern all the territory they claim.  On a map, there are lines drawn separating the clans from each other, with a different color on each side of the line.  Does this mean that in reality each clan actually controls the entirety of the region?  Or are they more focused around major cities and important regions, with other parts being effectively lawless?  If the Emperor declared that a region now belonged to the Tanuki Clan, it could well be too far from any Great Clan's center of power for them to bother trying to conquer and govern it, especially if it offered little direct benefit to the Great Clan to do so.

And I don't think we can entirely write off the importance of the Imperial decree, either.  No, the Emperor can't directly punish clans who go against him, but if a Great Clan were to challenge the Emperor's authority to that extent, rival clans could easily seize on the opportunity to their own benefit and to the transgressor's sorrow. 

Well we have to remember that Rokugan is not always perfectly realistic, to say the least. The Emperor is literally divine and the majority of samurai live their lives trying to emulate other divine beings. The Imperial decrees carry more weight than they realistically should. As an example the Sparrow clan and their peasants literally face famine often while they watch over the most fertile land in the Empire and they don't use any of it for farming. All because one Emperor declared those lands sacred.

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12 hours ago, TheHobgoblyn said:

None of the other origins for the minor clans makes the least bit of sense. Every single one either was a conflict where there should have been no conflict, an example of someone who should have just been made into a new (vassal) family for a clan, someone who should have been given an imperial office-- such as legion commander or imperial magistrate, or a group that just cut off contact with the rest of the clan for no particular reason and then up and stopped serving their own clan... in which case, they should just be considered ronin who abandoned their duty and not elevated to a special status.

Every single instance really comes across as "Well, we decided there was going to be a ______ clan and now are coming up with a weak backstory justification for them to exist. The Imperials named them a minor clan because well... we decided that there was going to be that minor clan and thus it was done." Once again, the various situations given for the creation of these clans would have happened far too frequently for dubbing a group a new clan distinct from their own clan being the general way the situations are handled.

And since a lot of them-- the Falcon, the Centipede and the Wasp-- spent the vast majority of their time as part of the setting, being primarily written and defined as, families of a Great Clan.. it seems quite odd to take a step back and try to force them into the mold of distinct minor clans again. They were written and drawn as families of a great clan for about 8 times as long as they were ever written as a minor clan.

Basically... it is fine to have Minor Clans, but have a reason for them to actually exist beyond "I want clan of animal X!" or "I want a samurai who wears color Y". Because any minor clan that is not going to have a major role adds less to the story than a Great Clan adding a new family. Come up with an actual feasible reason for this group to actually have to be a distinct group outside of their clan rather than a group within a clan that achieved some level of prestige or notoriety and expands the concept of a clan to incorporate some new ideas and elements.

But the point of many of the Minor clans is that they were created as a direct result of the inter clan conflicts.  The Dragonfly as an example were given power to serve as a buffer between the Dragon/Phoenix and Lion during a period of conflict between the two groups.  Sometimes its actually about spiting your political enemies as many of the Minor Clans are the direct result of meddling from Imperial officials, the Wasp are a perfect example of this.  Doji Satsumi used the actions of Tsuruchi and his vendetta against his uncle to tweak the noses of the Scorpion and Lion by taking what should have been a strategic fortress for either of them and took it out of their hands and at the same time did it in such a public way that it weakened their positions in court thus elevating his own families.  Many of the clans follow this sort of tradition.  At other times its a geography issue or as was pointed out with the Sparrow its about putting a group in control of an area so that it can not be under the auspice of a particular great clan.  The politics of the world actually play a big role in the rise and "importance" of the minor clans. 

And you can't dismiss the importance of an Imperial Decree.  Its power lies not in the power of the throne to enforce it, but in the fact that the enemies of the clan who breaks one are quick to act to punish them on behalf of the emperor to curry favor and reap rewards for their service from the offending clans.  Look at how the Unicorn gained and lost control of Ryoko Owari due to Imperial dictates and negotiation with the Scorpion to regain control.  

Edited by Schmoozies

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The existence of the minor clans may well be illogical.  But nations, regions etc aren't logical, even in the real world.

  • There's an island in a river  the Balkans that was somehow left out of both Croatia and Serbia, so some enterprising group of people (varying from idealistic to conmen) are trying to create a new state on it.
  • Within the capital city of Italy, there exists an entire separate nation.
  • The middle east is partly such a mess because historically powerful empires of the time decided to put the borders where they felt like.

The concept that a Minor clan would be created because of a broken marriage treaty and political machinations seems reasonable compared to that.

I'd also point out that, if you are willing to include the newest 'Dead' clans, there are more Minor clans that haven't survived to the present time than have survived.  The possibility exists that even more Minor clans have come and gone, without being as noteworthy or mentioned.  The 8 (or 9, if you count the Hare) that we know are just the ones that have found a niche, or protection, or just plain luck to not be destroyed by a Great clan.  And one of those isn't even a generation old.  Look and see:

  • Centipede - nearest Great clan is pacifist
  • Dragonfly - gained protection of Dragon
  • Falcon -undesirable territory
  • Fox - had their land stolen by the Lion, and moved to somewhere undesirable
  • Hare - it was destroyed, and its continued existence is shaky
  • Mantis - not on the mainland
  • Sparrow - buffer state between Crab and Crane and undesirable territory
  • Tortoise - have protection of the Imperial line
  • Wasp - created within living memory

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10 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:
  • Sparrow - buffer state between Crab and Crane and undesirable territory

Actually Sparrow holdings are some of the most desirable land in he Empire however due to an Imperial Decree they are forbidden from using most of the their land for agriculture so the potential is wasted.

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2 minutes ago, Schmoozies said:

Actually Sparrow holdings are some of the most desirable land in he Empire however due to an Imperial Decree they are forbidden from using most of the their land for agriculture so the potential is wasted.

While the Imperial Decree exists, the very fertile plains are really undesireable.

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Just now, Tonbo Karasu said:

While the Imperial Decree exists, the very fertile plains are really undesireable.

What's actually worse is that they were made to guard those lands as a joke since the decree was enough to protect them.  

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