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darthkwandoh

RPG - Running Intro Game for Noobs

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I'm putting together a game for some friends with zero exposure to the setting, probably pre-coup. Are there any things you guys have found helpful for getting people acclimated?

I read a thread on this in the past and people had things like, two refusals, forcing them to kill a peasant, etc. I'm looking for things like that.

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Run the Topaz Championship adventure. That's pretty much the go-to "baby's first L5R game".

Also, don't run for the details if you don't have to, and just roll with your own stuff rather than stick to the setting. Some stuff is pretty... rough along the edges and it is hard to handwave things away with "muh exotic culture", especially for new players. For example, you shouldn't mind the strict caste system (at all), neither should you dwell into Rokugani etiquette (unless you absolutely have to). Your game can get swamped by these things very easily, and once you are there, confusion will reign. 

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The issue I always had with running that was each iteration seemed to involve people sitting around and rolling the dice ten times for the ten questions in each section of the championship.

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Just now, darthkwandoh said:

The issue I always had with running that was each iteration seemed to involve people sitting around and rolling the dice ten times for the ten questions in each section of the championship.

That's supposedly a feature and not a bug. 

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27 minutes ago, darthkwandoh said:

The issue I always had with running that was each iteration seemed to involve people sitting around and rolling the dice ten times for the ten questions in each section of the championship.

You could... let them choose the answer.  Or not.

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7 minutes ago, Mirith said:

You could... let them choose the answer.  Or not.

I suppose. I would prefer something that didn't feel like such a heavy-handed way of demonstrating laws and such. Or at least something with a bit more immediate tension.

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26 minutes ago, darthkwandoh said:

I suppose. I would prefer something that didn't feel like such a heavy-handed way of demonstrating laws and such. Or at least something with a bit more immediate tension.

I misread the question, yes, I suppose that makes sense.  Or you could just make it easy to begin with.

Is there a decent guide to basic etiquette anywhere?  I thought someone said there was, and it might be have been on these forums.

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Playing yorikis (assistants to a magistrate) works wonder as well.

They have a clear goal (solving a crime) and a boss that can help and guide them as a sort of GM's voice of reason.

Have them interact with peasants first and move up the ranks, with the magistrates warning them about the basic do's and don'ts of a specific crowd.

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52 minutes ago, Mirith said:

I misread the question, yes, I suppose that makes sense.  Or you could just make it easy to begin with.

Is there a decent guide to basic etiquette anywhere?  I thought someone said there was, and it might be have been on these forums.

I am so happy I coped and save this while the Winter Court 4 forum were up. :D 

I also use this for new players too. 

Quote

A Guide to Rokugan Etiquette and Culture.

 

Credit to all the GMs from Winter Court 4 for putting this together. Added a few things here and there.

 

A quick overview of the etiquette basics.

The First Encounter

  • If two samurai meet each other and their stations, clan or family are unknown, they are expected to refer to each other as samurai-sama.

  • If one knows the Status or Glory of the other to be equal or lesser, then they may address the other as samurai-san.

  • If one knows the clan of the other, they may address the other with clan-sama, or if they know the Status or Glory to be equal or less, clan-san.


Presenting One's Heart

  • The mon, or heraldic crest, worn nearest to the heart shows what a samurai holds dearest. Should a samurai carry a mon close to their heart, it is no offense to address them using family-sama or clan-sama. As long as you refer to the mon they present closer to their heart, you show them respect.

  • The mon close to a samurai's heart may not even be that of their family, but using it to call a samurai is still a signal of respect.


Before Presentations

  • If two samurai know each other’s' family, clan and name, but are yet to be formally presented to each other, they may refer to each other as family-sama. Still, the greatest compliment one can do is to refer to them as [family name] [given name]-sama.

  • For a daimyo, it would be appropriate to use Lord or Lady, and to use My Lord/Lady if you belong to the same clan or family.

  • If you refer to someone as -san without being aware of their Status or Glory, you are barely acknowledging the other samurai and preventing them from introducing themselves properly. Brash samurai may take insult, while honorable or proud samurai will try to give you a strong lesson in manners.


Later Encounters

  • If two samurai meet each other and know each other on sight, they are expected to use their names.

  • Most of the time, you use both names, using only the given name in a private and relaxed environment.

  • Using [family] [given name]-san is often allowed with no shame, unless there is a great difference in Status between samurai. Even so, it shows reverence if addressing the other using -sama without need.

  • Two good friends may use their given names without need for additional suffixes (i.e. no more -sama or -san). Samurai that address each other in this way without cause are doing each other great dishonor.


Other Suffixes

  • -hime; "princess", used to address young women of a powerful family.

  • -mi; female suffix, "beautiful"

  • -ko; female suffix, "little"

  • -gozen, spouse of a bushi.

  • -sensei, to a venerable teacher

  • -kun, to a male child

  • -chan, to a female child

  • -dono, for one's own lord


Inflicting Insult

  • Referring to someone clearly identifiable with mons as just 'samurai' is a clear insult: you are ignoring all his family, ties and ancestors.

  • Failure to use the proper suffix when addressing other samurai is bound to get on their nerves and dishonorable for both parties, causing both to lose honor.

  • The more Status or Glory a samurai has, the more likely they are to punish a faux pas. They worked hard to attain their position, and cannot allow disrespect.

  • Should a samurai subjected to rude behavior be unable to reproach the offender or chooses not to do so, odds are that they will ignore the offender and anyone related to them. Because people that rude simply just -don't- exist, right?


Gift-Giving

  • Depending on the situation, it may be appropriate to give a gift to a host. Gifts are also offered during weddings, gempukku ceremonies, or any other formal social occasions, as well as festivals.

  • The importance and sincerity of a gift is determined by the effort placed into into it. Something may be given as a gift if it had personal meaning to the giver, or has significance to the recipient. Gifts with religious significance are also popular.

  • When a samurai is offered a gift, they are expected to refuse it twice. This allows the giver to offer it three times, showing their sincerity in giving the gift.

  • Cutting the ritual of refusing a gift twice is considered a major breach of etiquette.

  • Gifts can also be used to deliver a severe insult when it is richly extravagant that the recipient cannot return the sentiment, or when it is used to imply that a samurai is lacking in something, or that their lord does not provide adequately for them.

  • How a gift is presented also determines whether a gift is perceived as a compliment or an insult to the recipient. “Akodo-san, there is no greater treasure for a samurai than the wisdom and honor of his ancestors, and so I would like to present you with this copy of Akodo’s Leadership as a token of my esteem,” is a compliment. “Akodo-san, I would like to present you with a copy of this book, Leadership. I am sure it will help guide you through your life,” is an insult.

  • For Colonial samurai, the meaning of a gift is different. The importance of a gift is based more on scarcity than artistic value or symbolism. Soy sauce and other Rokugani seasonings are often in high demand, as are other products made from soybeans. Traditional Rokugani art and literature are also valued.


Guests and Hosting

  • When a samurai wishes to visit another samurai at home, the visitor must first announce themselves by presenting a copy of their personal seal (chop), while also explaining who they are and what their visit is for.

  • If a host does not wish to see a visitor, a polite excuse is to tell the visitor to come back tomorrow.

  • If received by the host, a visitor is shown into the house. Friends of the host will leave their daisho on a rack near the entrance of the house, while acquaintances, strangers or enemies will usually keep their swords with them.

  • What a visitor does with their swords when greeted by their host will set the tone of the meeting. See Sword Etiquette.


Sword Etiquette

  • If a visitor places their sword to the right, they are expressing trust in the host.

  • If a visitor places their sword to the left, they are indicating that they do not trust the host, or that their host should not trust them.

  • If a visitor's sword sword is laid with the hilt facing the host, the visitor is hinting they don't think much of their host's skill with a sword.

  • In many cases, samurai are permitted to carry a sword into court, but it is considered unacceptable to draw them (pretty much all swords within the Imperial Court fall under this category).

  • A samurai who wishes to demonstrate they have absolutely no violent intentions may peace knot their swords.


Dealing with Peasants

  • In the Empire, peasants are extremely wary of samurai and most heimin (half-people) will prefer to give them as wide a berth as possible.

  • When a samurai comes to a village, the headman will be fetched to greet them, in the center of the village if possible, or otherwise in his hut. The headman will always ask if the samurai has eaten, and offer food if necessary.

  • It is generally expected that a samurai will interact with the headman almost exclusively, addressing any concerns with him. It is rude for a samurai to avoid meeting the headman, and samurai who do so are probably an enemy.

  • Samurai visiting a village are freely offered anything they may want - bedding, food, drink, anything they may require. However, the headman keeps a record of the costs of the visit, so it can be written off on the yearly taxes.

  • A peasant will never address a samurai on their own. Samurai always speak first, and the peasant replies. A peasant will also try not to waste a samurai's time, and will give the most direct, correct and polite answer possible.

  • Samurai who associate frequently with heimin are regarded strangely by their peers, and is seen as lowering oneself. However, this attitude is relaxed in the more rural areas of the Empire and the Colonies, and amongst some Minor Clan samurai.

  • Many samurai do feel that heimin are worthy of respect and believe it is worthy to protect and value one's peasants, but this is often likened to protecting or caring for horses or other livestock. Treating a peasant as an equal is doing them a disservice by confusing them and leading them into future mistakes when dealing with other samurai.


 

Etiquette (more detail).

There are many different customs in Rokugan, all of which if not followed correctly can destroy a samurai’s reputation or worse, have them meet their ancestors in an untimely manner. Everything has a meaning; everything is significant. A single action can start a war, and the right one can stop it. There are unwritten rules that a samurai goes by, many of which are taught early in life. I will only detail a few here, but I could probably write an entire book about Rokugani etiquette and still never cover all of it.

Gifts

In Rokugan, gifts are given to celebrate good service, to announce favor or disfavor with an individual, and to recognize service or honor. The value of a gift is not chosen for its monetary expense, but rather for its sentimental value. If a daimyo wanted to make a very public statement of favor toward his loyal servant, he’d probably give them something dear to his heart, like his father’s fan, or the kimono that the Emperor Hantei 13th once wore while resting in his palace for the weekend. While many Western economies are based on the bartering system, Rokugani’s is based on gift giving. While this may not seem to be a great difference, it is one of the most fundamental differences between western cultures and Rokugan. The way a Rokugani gives you a gift can tell you if he respects you, if he is a friend, or if he is your deadliest enemy. Because samurai are given everything they reasonably need, giving something for its usefulness is considered impolite, if not an outright insult to the samurai and his daimyo. Armor, weapons, horses – all are provided by a samurai’s clan (or, by the Emperor or Emerald Champion, if they are in direct service to the Throne). A samurai’s response to being given money would be “Are you implying that my daimyo doesn’t provide for me?”

Similarly, a gift of money is a veiled insult. If a samurai needs something, he asks his Lord: unless it is impossible or impractical, the samurai gets it. What the samurai cannot ask for is the honor of owning the favorite fan of Lady Kachiko, which she held at the coronation of Hantei the 38th… now that’s a gift!

Purchasing gifts can be an equally difficult task. Bartering or haggling over an item is considered dishonorable for a samurai, and often, if something must be purchased, a servant is sent to do so. However, if he is attempting to purchase a gift for, say the daimyo of the land, certain things must be taken into consideration. A daimyo can simply take anything in his province that he wishes. It’s all ‘his’ anyway; he just has to decide he wants it. Once he does, the heimin merchant is only too honored to give it to him (after all, it’s good for business when the daimyo selects your wares for his personal use). So, buying something as a gift isn’t going to make too much of an impact. It’s not a bad idea, but it is not going to get you into the Empress’ Winter Court.

Literally, in Rokugan, it’s the thought and presentation that counts, more than anything else. Significance, personal meaning, and enlightenment are all key words for gift-choices.

Gift giving has its own special rules, and if not followed, can insult the samurai in the most extreme fashion. Gift giving has an order, a very specific order, that must be followed before the gift can be accepted. When a samurai gives another a gift, the recipient must refuse it in a polite manner. The samurai giving the gift then offer it again, but with words explaining why the gift should be received. The recipient must then refuse once more, explaining why he is unworthy of such a gift. The samurai then presents the gift a third and final time, demonstrating his sincerity by continuing to offer it. Only after refusing the gift twice may the recipient accept the gift. This ‘game’ is known to all samurai, but the Crab and Unicorn place less importance upon something they find to be so trivial, however even they follow customs when dealing with samurai outside their clan. (One of the my favorite stories with gift giving in it is the story of Akasha and how she came to be.)


Presenting Oneself

A samurai may formally present himself before a ranking individual if he has been introduced by an adviser or retainer to that noble lord. Often, if a lord wishes to see another daimyo's retainer, he will have his adviser request that the retainer ask for an appointment with the lord. Then, the lord immediately sets the appointment date (often within hours) and has the meeting.

If the samurai is approaching the lord, he must first present himself, a copy of his chop or personal mon, and his questions to the house adviser. If this adviser is the lord's wife or the first courtesan, it is sometimes appropriate for the asking samurai to provide a gift for her, as well as his information.

In court, it is extremely impolite to simply insert oneself into a conversation. The proper courtly protocol for introducing oneself to another individual, or several individuals already engaged in conversation, is to move to a position a short distance away, where you can be seen, and wait to be recognized, usually by the ranking courtier in the case of groups. You then step forward, bow appropriately and introduce yourself. Likewise, when leaving a conversation, etiquette requires that announce your intention to leave, bow appropriately, back away several paces, then turn and discretely depart.

Entering and Exiting

A samurai's house is a sacred place, filled with the spirit of his house and family, and respected by all members of the samurai caste. This respect even extends to enemies of the family, and people the samurai would consider 'untrustworthy'. By carrying their weapons into another samurai's house, they disrespect a thousand years' worth of ancestors, and risk angering their own. Moreover, they imply that their host is incapable of seeing to the needs and protection of his guests. Accordingly, weapons will normally be taken and held in trust, near the door, by a retainer appointed to the task. The exception is the wakizashi, which is normally retained if already being carried. However, a polite samurai will bind it into its saya (sheath) with a "peace knot", a tied cord which cannot be quickly undone.
When a samurai arrives at another samurai's home, he is expected to announce himself to the gate man (usually a peasant or ji-samurai), and await the reception of his host or hostess. If the host is not at home, the game man will politely offer the visitor a cup of cha, telling them that host is unavailable, and will be back tomorrow. This is the conventional response, even if the samurai is away for several weeks. It is considered inappropriate to inquire the host's whereabouts, as the host may be in fact home with a more prestigious visitor.
The common way to announce yourself when you arrive at the home of another samurai is to present a copy of your chop or personal mon to the gate man, with a short speech identifying yourself, any positions or rank you hold, and your business inside the home. Even if the host is not at home, the samurai's mon will be kept so that the host knows who his visitor is.

Asking to see a Lord

If a samurai have need to speak with their lord, it is proper for them to speak to the lord's adviser or karo, or a similar retainer, and make an 'appointment' to formally discuss the matter. In this Winter Court, however, within the confines of the Clan embassies, one can reasonable expect to speak one's Lord, if he or she is present, immediately. However, even if the samurai sees his lord on a daily basis, any important or formal questions (such as permission to commit seppuku, get married, or journey away) must be handled in the formal manner.

Fans

One might think that on a cold winter's night a fan has little use. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fan has many many uses, and cooling oneself is just the least imaginative of them. fans come in to basic types: flat fans that are always open, called uchiwa, and fans that folds, known as sunsu. Although both have their origins and primary functions as cooling devices or a means to fan the flames of a cook fire, they have developed other purposes as well. Samurai who lead troops into battle use a special type of flat fan when at war known as a tessen. There are even tales of a samurai using their tessen and even their paper fans as weapons.

It is however, the paper fan that finds the most use at Winter Court and in Rokugan society. As with every aspects of a samurai's possessions, his or her fan is an important symbol of his importance and place in the world. Artists use the paper surface of the fan as a canvas for their craft, creating beautiful works of utilitarian art of their patrons. The fan's decorations can consist of anything from clan symbols to landscapes to elegantly written poems in the finest calligraphy. One tale tells of a lord who had hundred of folding fans, each with a different poem written upon it. When a supplicant came before him he would hear the man out in silence, then draw forth a fan from his kimono, unfold it, and fan himself. The poem revealed gave the answer to the supplicant's request. The lord, who despised dealing with such matters, never spoke a word.

The fan has other uses as well. Many at court, particularly women, use fans to hide their mouths while they speak. Those looking on from across a room or gardens cannot know whether she is speaking or not. The nobles at court have developed an entire body language of fan gestures. From the simple way a samurai waves his fan, unfolds it, points it or lets it rest in his hand, he conveys messages to others. Some of these are widely known, such as the habit of opening and then closing a fan when one becomes bored of a certain speaker, or the quick crack of a fan snapping open in anger at a perceived insult. Others are particular to clans or families, allowing them to communicate secrets in the open without others grasping their meaning. The Crane clan and Doji family in particular have a detailed and precise "fan language".

Hairstyles. Core Book p. 35. Extra info added.

 

The traditional hairstyle for a male samurai is a shaved pate and a topknot, doubled forward over the oiled crown. Female samurai (and geisha) traditionally wear their hair very long, never cutting it, and if they are unmarried, they tie it back in a so-called “maiden’s foxtail,” a ponytail or piled up in elaborate braids and loops high on the skull, secured by combs and pins. A woman never cuts her hair unless she is widowed or otherwise in mourning. Alternatively, the hair is wrapped with a ribbon so that it sticks out and up, like a brush; with this style, the crown may or may not be shaved for a male samurai. Many helmets have an opening on the back of the head through which the hair can be pulled. There are many samurai in Rokugan who eschew these conventional styles and instead use their hair to identify themselves with their clan. Crane samurai, both men and women, are known for dying their hair white and wearing it long, with only a loose topknot or ponytail to constrain it. Many Lion samurai dye their hair gold, in honor of the beasts whose name their clan bears. Dragon, whose clan contains many monastic and ascetic samurai, sometimes shave their heads bald like monks, while Crab who spend their lives on the Kaiu Wall may either shave their heads or allow their hair to grow long and wild. Unicorn bushi, especially those of the Moto family, are also known for letting their hair go loose and untethered. Monks themselves, of course, shave their heads as a symbol of their ascetic lifestyle, and samurai who retire to the Brotherhood of Shinsei will likewise shave their heads to symbolize their transformation. Rokugani men tend to have only modest facial hair, and usually keep themselves clean-shaven, especially when they are young men. Beards and mustaches, when they do appear, are kept carefully trimmed, and the goatee is the most common type of beard. As for female samurai, pale skin is prized, and even peasant women never expose their faces to the sun if they can help it.


 

Clothing. Core Book p. 35-36

The inhabitants of Rokugan dress according to their station, and it is usually possible to tell someone’s social status and profession simply by looking at their garments. Rokugani clothing is a mixture of silk and cotton, varying by season – silks are worn during the heat of summer, heavier cotton garments during fall and winter. The traditional samurai garment is the kimono, a robe-like outfit with full sleeves. It is kept closed with a belt called an obi, and small pouches and items can be tucked under the obi or hung from it. If a samurai carries swords, these are traditionally tucked under the obi, keeping them ready to hand. Many samurai wear an outer vest or jacket, called a kataginu, over their kimono, and bushi also wear hakama, a sort of pleated, divided skirt, taking the place of pants. In court or other social situations, samurai garments show considerable variety in color, design, and embroidery, and bitter competitions and rivalries can arise over the latest trends in fashion. Samurai often incorporate their clan colors into their clothing, but they are by no means restricted to wearing only those colors, and artistic or pretentious samurai will make very creative use of color, embroidery, and design to draw attention. However, all samurai take precautions not to solely wear another clan’s colors, since doing so can be construed as an insult. Women’s kimono usually differ from men’s in several ways. Typically, a woman’s obi will be significantly wider than a man’s, and tied in an elaborate bow. Her kimono sleeves are often round, compared to a man’s more squared sleeves. An unmarried woman will wear kimono with very long flowing sleeves, often reaching the knees or even dragging on the floor, whereas a married woman’s sleeves are shorter (but are still considerably longer than a man’s). All samurai (except ronin) wear mon, unique circular symbols of their clan, family, and school. These are embroidered onto their garments in specific locations, according to longstanding social convention. Typically, samurai will wear a large mon for their clan on the back of their kimono or kataginu. The family and school symbols will be worn on the front, but the choice of which side – left or right – has great significance. The mon closest to the right is there to guide the samurai’s sword, while the mon on the left is that which is closest to his heart. Peasants dress in simpler and less decorative garments than samurai, although most peasant women will try to have at least one colorful kimono they can wear to festivals and celebrations. A peasant woman will wear a very simple, practical kimono, often with a shorter skirt that offers less obstruction to walking and labor. A peasant man will wear short cotton leggings, extending down to the knee or slightly below, and a cotton overcoat known as a haori. Monks of the Brotherhood wear only a loincloth and simple robes, usually tan or saffron in color, and seldom carry anything more than a walking stick


 

On Nudity

Nudity isn't a taboo in Rokugan, as compared to Western society. It has it's place in Rokugani art, daily lives and the beauty of the human body is just another of the wonders samurai are supposed to appreciate. Most samurai are warriors and the demands of military life don't discriminate sex. Most bath houses and dojos don't make distinction between sexes and when they do it isn't born of religious or social guilt - it is as a way to show wealth. Note: Bathing is extremely important in Rokugan. A samurai who is unclean and does not take proper care of their body, armor and weapons is treated no better than a mere peasant with a title.

So, why your magical samurai isn't supposed to go around half-naked like pin-up art that sneaks all over L5R material? It comes down to the same reason why you don't stick your katana in higher Status samurai just because they give you an order you disagree with or walk around in armor in the lands of other clans. Nobody gives a Nezumi's bottom about what your characters wants to dress or undress; it all comes down to the same everything in Rokugan comes down to: how your actions reflect upon your Lord and everyone else above you in the Celestial Order. Your body isn't your own, and it belongs to your lord, as well as your choice of garb. Clothing isn't just silk and needlework, it a canvas of communication. It states affiliation, political standings, support for fashion, are by itself a show of art and wealth. Failure to dress properly is as shameful to your superiors as keeping your katana unkempt and your armor in disrepair. Since the issue comes down from your position, clothing also reflect your Status. Even the most bold Scorpion actress out of gempukku and with an entire clan above her will show proper respect and cloth herself neck to toes. As one goes upwards in the Celestial Order, one has more autonomy and can pick personal tastes and even try some bolder fashions. And when you're at the top and have a couple of men and women above you... well, who is going to tell the wife of the Scorpion Clan Champion she can't wear that?

This is the same reason why Togashi monks often have very loose garb standards; their superiors often disregard such things and they only dress like other Rokugani when attending court, due to personal taste or to avoid giving offense to a non-Dragon host. Ronin and nuns? They're outside the Celestial Order, and besides, if they don't dress properly or elegantly it is because they can't afford it! That is another failure on its own.

In short, like everything else, remember: think about what your presentation says about you and how it reflects upon your betters.


 

On Sexuality

Men and women come together for different reasons. The life of samurai is one of loyalties, bloodlines, Honor and rigid etiquette and social norms. Status is power, and matrimony and progeny is how these things are secured - even in the afterlife, one's progeny secures better chances of reincarnation and a place amongst the Honored Ancestors.

That sort of life is not ideal for everyone, though. The oaths of samurai commit one for duty to his lord, his family, his clan and his spouse. Intimacy and friendship are sometimes of an obstacle to Duty, and an invitation for Sin. Still, courtly romance is like the courtier equivalent of a skirmish; just like everything else in Rokugan, as long as discretion and proper etiquette are obeyed, men and women are allowed to enjoy each other company without compromising their Honor. It is when a lover's interests start to be conflicting with one's lord, family, clan and spouse interests and becomes more than a tool or idle distraction to honor Benten that things enter a dangerous and Sinful road.

In Rokugan homosexuality is not viewed in anything like the way modern Western society sees them. Close same-sex relationships are common and expected throughout society, and what defines a friendship or an affair is pretty ambiguous, and many relationships float in one direction or another over time. Physical intimacy in relationships is also uncommon and unexpected, but even that is politely ignored as long as discretion and proper romance protocol are respected, but a sure path for disgrace and dishonor should it come to public attention - no matter the gender of those involved. Sexual intimacy is an act, not an identity, and exists apart from and alongside same-sex bonding within Rokugani society. So long as personal attachments and preferences don't interfere in the way of the samurai and proper behavior, it's no one's business.

In short, you can demonstrate your intimacy in a myriad way, as long as both sides are consensual and you keep your On and your behavior pristine.


 

 

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Another option is to have them all play as ronin for the first game and give the an outside-looking-in experience, as not everyone will enjoy the very restricted life style of samurai (and ronin are effectively Adventurers, so if your group has knowledge or experience in any kind of rpg it will give them something familiar to grab on to). From there you can can showcase the various elements of samurai etiquette and ease them into the mindset at their on pace without having to having to backpedal latter and give excuse as to why these things didnt apply before.

 

And if anyone doesnt find the samurai lifestyle appealing they will have an option to still keep playing (if you start with samurai and some become ronin, others may follow suit and you have to restart your campaign again).

 

Above all just remember your Players and dont be afraid of asking what they want to do in the game

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2 hours ago, Magus Black said:

Above all just remember your Players and dont be afraid of asking what they want to do in the game

Although Blindsamurai13-sensei his guidelines are invaluable this piece of advice is probably more important. I ran a game of Agot and it also has some social strictness (although much less then L5R) and this can be a severe hinderance to players unfamilair/new to roleplaying or a setting.

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For scenes, I'd try to include at least one each of skirmish, deal, and duel. A pretty easy approach might be to escort a courtier and yojimbo through bandit infested lands. Then, at their destination, the courtier can't make it to an important meeting (illness, time conflict, can't be seen together, lingering poison from an arrow, whatever.), and implores the PCs to go in their stead. When the PCs make a deal, whoever gets screwed over blames them and challenges them to a duel. For bonus points, throw in some hidden love drama and call it a session!

Also, I haven't ever run the adventure out of the book, but when I ran L5R for the first time, it looked a little daunting to me. Too many clans involved, IIRC (it's been awhile since I read it).

I'd definitely recommend having everyone be from one clan--possibly even one family. Then, involve one or two more clans in the conflict. It'll be a little easier for new players to keep track of the perspective of three clans than all of them. 

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