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Which "sacred cows" are you hoping get abandoned?

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1 minute ago, BitRunr said:

I dare say some limitations will remain, regardless of individual opinion here, but even if they keep the general concept for the Utaku, I don't see why the title couldn't shift from "battle maiden" to something more neutral, and the restriction become something other than your sex.

Might even be time to find an epithet for the Ise Zumi that isn't "tattooed man".

I don't mind Battle Maidens that much because they have kind of a counterbalance, so it's not that bad. It's just that they have roots in a problematic trope that can easily go ugly ("Female warriors who have supernatural powers because of virginity and purity" is basically at best overfocusing on and at worst reducing women to their sexuality, making it their defining feature - and even possibly the only reason that "elevates them" to be men's equal)

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6 minutes ago, WHW said:

Why? What makes an all-female unit more badass than all-male unit? 

Whoa - was never trying to say they were more badass than a male unit, or anything like that.  Just said I thought they were cool.

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9 minutes ago, WHW said:

I don't mind Battle Maidens that much because they have kind of a counterbalance, so it's not that bad. It's just that they have roots in a problematic trope that can easily go ugly ("Female warriors who have supernatural powers because of virginity and purity" is basically at best overfocusing on and at worst reducing women to their sexuality, making it their defining feature - and even possibly the only reason that "elevates them" to be men's equal)

It's definitely a problematic trope, especially if FFG is trying to move the setting even further from the sexism of a faux-feudal society. It's bad enough to have notes about women being in 'absolute complete danger' when having affairs compared to men in ruining their eligibility for marriage (enough so that it should probably be toned down or removed), especially since the obvious and unavoidable fact that women always have to worry about getting pregnant in an affair, which given Rokugan's setting could never be socially acceptable even with zero sexism, just because it interferes in an almost cataclysmic way with the woman's duty (unmarried=still has non-household duties most of the time; pregnant= loses more and more ability to do strenuous activities over time). Although I'd like the setting to introduce a form of seclusion as a formal/official way to deal with that kind of situation, with the addition of a new little samurai largely making up for the otherwise dishonorable action (maybe even tie the mother's personal standing somewhat to how her child does in the future, that could make for interesting plot hooks, and encourage the culture to avoid stigmatizing bastards by default).

 

Angry Matsu is a terrible trope-filled flat character canvas that has to go as the schtick of an entire group. Make it that the Matsu are strong and tall for women in Rokugan, fighting in an arena still dominated by men, so they are often harsh, aggressive, and otherwise, but not to the point where it turns into caricature, or a universal characteristic. If it's felt that it has to be fairly universal (for some reason), then make it a thing that many Matsu do cross-schooling with the Ikoma, or Akodo, because their parents find the Matsu way to be oppressive (this way you make it more of a philosophical approach ingrained since youth, than some weird 'Matsu women are always born angry' thing).

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6 hours ago, Anemura said:

 

To Clarify: 

- By saying there "are no formal duels to the death," are you saying that participants have the option to withdraw/submit?

- Yes, in the fiction not every champion duelist was a Kakita or a Mirumoto. Their training implies an expertise, not dominance. Just like the Akodo and warfare (written by the Ikoma). Expertise, not dominance. 

- I wouldn't say a Bayushi or Akodo are "just as likely to come out on top". I think it makes more sense to say that the probability favours the Kakita or Mirumoto, but this does not deny the possibility. Meaning, the average Kakita's training probably garner's a 50%+ probability (let's say 55%). So, better than average in the duels they enter.  

 

Speaking strictly with regards to the fiction, and not the RPG mechanics: I think wanting to see more interplay in formal duels is fair. WHW may just be looking for more during that interaction. However, that interplay has to account for the damage done on the first strike. Or, account for why the expert duelist will relinquish his/her advantage in said duels in order to begin a kenjutsu match. 

Yeah, with regard to 'live' duels, the duel is over when it is over, and concession is legit. Usually that means one guy dead, but you can, for example, concede such a duel if your opponent's stance tells you you cannot win, or if the opponent, say, cuts off your sword hand and chooses not to decapitate you immediately afterward. Or if one duelist just falls unconscious or clearly cannot continue. The winner will generally have the option to then slay the opponent, depending on the circumstances, , but might not, and in any case need not.

With regard to odds: I don't think there is any way in the real world to actually determine this, but I would suggest that generally speaking school will realistically be a pretty minor factor. The most important factor will be experience, followed by natural talent. Compare it to tennis. Tennis has player rankings, down into the rec level. If two tennis players are playing each other, it might give you some information to know that one of them was coached by a famous coach, or went to a prestigious tennis school. But it probably tells you more to know how old they are and how long they have been playing seriously. And the thing that tells you the most is their ranking, whether it is a rec ranking or pro. A 3.5 rec player who is taking private lessons from Andre Agassi is still going to get wrecked by a 5.0 with no formal instruction. And a duel between two bushi is, in my opinion, going to be probably won by whoever has practiced the most and has the most natural talent, and this factor will dominate what school they went to generally speaking. Saying that a Kakita duelist has a 55% chance of winning is to me basically meaningless: if what, the bushi are of equal skill? No, in that case the chances are even. If both Bushi have practiced the same amount? Well, what are the odds of that? And what about natural talent? 

The realistic thing to say, I think, is that in a duel between two bushi, it is very likely that one of them has a big advantage over the other, because it is very unlikely that two randomly chosen people who practice a particular skill will be close to each other in ability. If you were to pick a random member from each of two tennis clubs, or from each of two MMA gyms, the odds of it being an even match are very slim. And the individual variation within each club, gym, or dojo dwarfs any systematic advantage that one gym, club or dojo might have over another.

That's the way I think about it, anyway. Even if there is a real superiority to the Kakita and Mirumoto schools, it doesn't make that big a difference in the 'real' world: the bigger advantage is these schools have a reputation that it is advantageous to have. Probably much like prestigious schools in the real world.

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17 minutes ago, Eugene Earnshaw said:

Yeah, with regard to 'live' duels, the duel is over when it is over, and concession is legit. Usually that means one guy dead, but you can, for example, concede such a duel if your opponent's stance tells you you cannot win, or if the opponent, say, cuts off your sword hand and chooses not to decapitate you immediately afterward. Or if one duelist just falls unconscious or clearly cannot continue. The winner will generally have the option to then slay the opponent, depending on the circumstances, , but might not, and in any case need not.

With regard to odds: I don't think there is any way in the real world to actually determine this, but I would suggest that generally speaking school will realistically be a pretty minor factor. The most important factor will be experience, followed by natural talent. Compare it to tennis. Tennis has player rankings, down into the rec level. If two tennis players are playing each other, it might give you some information to know that one of them was coached by a famous coach, or went to a prestigious tennis school. But it probably tells you more to know how old they are and how long they have been playing seriously. And the thing that tells you the most is their ranking, whether it is a rec ranking or pro. A 3.5 rec player who is taking private lessons from Andre Agassi is still going to get wrecked by a 5.0 with no formal instruction. And a duel between two bushi is, in my opinion, going to be probably won by whoever has practiced the most and has the most natural talent, and this factor will dominate what school they went to generally speaking. Saying that a Kakita duelist has a 55% chance of winning is to me basically meaningless: if what, the bushi are of equal skill? No, in that case the chances are even. If both Bushi have practiced the same amount? Well, what are the odds of that? And what about natural talent? 

The realistic thing to say, I think, is that in a duel between two bushi, it is very likely that one of them has a big advantage over the other, because it is very unlikely that two randomly chosen people who practice a particular skill will be close to each other in ability. If you were to pick a random member from each of two tennis clubs, or from each of two MMA gyms, the odds of it being an even match are very slim. And the individual variation within each club, gym, or dojo dwarfs any systematic advantage that one gym, club or dojo might have over another.

That's the way I think about it, anyway. Even if there is a real superiority to the Kakita and Mirumoto schools, it doesn't make that big a difference in the 'real' world: the bigger advantage is these schools have a reputation that it is advantageous to have. Probably much like prestigious schools in the real world.

 

I'm ok with Kakita and Mirumoto Bushi having a (deserved) rep for being dominant Iaijutsu duelists. To further the sports analogy, it would be like acknowledging that, all else being equal, a young professional soccer player from Brazil is likely better than one from Mexico.

That said, I do like the notion that the highly formalized single-strike duel is reserved for minor offenses in polite society. And that major feuds are settled with duels of a far more visceral nature.

Edited by Rawls
Grammar and spelling

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I like the Brazil vs. Mexico analogy. It is also compatible with what I said (and also, in my view, setting appropriate) that a disproportionate percentage of the very best Iaijutsu duelists in Rokugan trained at the Kakita or Mirumoto schools. But that doesn't mean that those duelists have any particular advantage over the (proportionately fewer, but probably absolutely more numerous) elite duelists who come from different schools.

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In third edition, I had the impression that, of every possible skill / training focus, either there were two clans that couldn't be distinguished for a clear top spot, or most/all clans had some unique speciality while the top spot was more generic. Fourth edition made that feel less correct (esp. with the Mirumoto/Kakita), but it's still my favourite perspective.

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There's a few that I would like to see altered/changed. As a disclaimer I have only played the card game for a few weeks like a decade ago. 

1: Spider Clan being accepted into the Empire. This was a horrible idea in my opinion, leave them as a perverse mockery down below the wall. 

2: Mantis Clan Absorbing and destroying the fluff of multiple Minor Clans. 

3: Mantis Clan getting away with **** near everything they do.

4: Toturi Proclaiming himself as Emperor, Now I don't disagree with him seizing power to avert civil war, but I think and in My Rokugan, I believe he'd proclaim himself Shogun, activate that most ancient Title and rule as Regent until a suitable heir can be found or the Clan Champions can agree upon something. 

5: Scorpion Exile. This just doesn't make sense... Lets take the shiftiest and most underhanded group in the Empire and just toss them over the hill and hope they stay there?

6: Apocalypses and Massive scale wars every other year or so...who the hell was left to fight come the Destroyer War? THe clans had been at war for ages. How did anyone find time to do anything?

7: Make some better Advanced Schools for the rest of the Clans, seriously the Mantis get so many, same with the Crane. 

8: Improve the quality of the Minor Clan schools as most of them are kind of ****. 

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Sacred cows...hmm...

I'd like to see the majority of bad guys as clan personalities and ones where you can justifiably pick either of them.  I liked the Noritoshi/Jimen arc that kind of fizzled, but while most people would say that Jimen was the bad guy, good writing could make both of them have plenty of supporters.

Scrap the need to have all clans in all fictions.  Remember the Samurai edition comic, Death at Koten?  I have a copy and some of it feels like they needed to throw in a few personalities from a certain clan (Mantis) for the cards.  Let the story be more organic and not feel like we're checking off boxes to make sure that there's a Phoenix reference every story.

 

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I really want to see the story go into a new direction. No coup, no Second Day of Thunder, no world changing events every other day.

Let's keep the current dynasty around. I really don't want to see any of the clans (including Crane) to take over. Let's avoid world changing events for at least a fear years (real time).

So far the stories make me think they will just repeat things we've seen with minor changes. I'd rather see something completely new.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Yogo Gohei said:

I think Daigotsu could work if his Mary Sue tendencies were removed.  I think the character himself is fine, it's the way he was written (especially during his introduction) that was the problem.  Give him real weaknesses, and have him lose for real reasons and not always by deus ex machina and he could be fine.

Either way, FFG has a few years to figure out if they want to do anything with him.  If he exists at all in this setting, he is currently an infant. 

He could be any age at all given a complete reboot. Regardless, I think the well's poisoned at this point -- his fans would still love him, but nobody owes FFG the time to show that this version of Daigotsu isn't the all-consuming monstrosity he eventually became. I don't know that it's worth the risk to trot him out again. Better, IMO, to just thoroughly reboot Iuchiban and introduce that character gradually before revealing his true nature.

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1 minute ago, SirEuain said:

He could be any age at all given a complete reboot. 

If his backstory isn't the same, then he isn't Daigotsu.  He's just some bloodspeaker in the shadowlands with a fun mask.

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Just now, Yogo Gohei said:

If his backstory isn't the same, then he isn't Daigotsu.  He's just some bloodspeaker in the shadowlands with a fun mask.

Which would still be an improvement. ;) 

Regardless, it depends on the age of Hantei XXXVIII. Making that character older would change nothing of substance.

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46 minutes ago, TechnoGolem said:

I really want to see the story go into a new direction. No coup, no Second Day of Thunder, no world changing events every other day.

Let's keep the current dynasty around. I really don't want to see any of the clans (including Crane) to take over. Let's avoid world changing events for at least a fear years (real time).

So far the stories make me think they will just repeat things we've seen with minor changes. I'd rather see something completely new.

 

 

I think the Second Day of Thunder was pretty cool.  I wouldn't mind it happening again...  Just tell the story better.  As for the Coup - I hope that stays out.

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Another:
- Tendency to present things as absolutes. This is not honorable, ergo no samurai does it ever, and if they do, they are terrible and should suicide ASAP. Or they are literally evil.  I'm not sure how much of this came from the 90's zeitgeist of everything being RADICAL and TO THE LIMIT, and how much of it came from simple misinterpretation of the source material (Japan etc), but I dislike this a lot, especially when it comes to "never would do X". A samurai will touch a dead body. A magistrate will distrust people. A medic will touch blood and flesh. Magistrate will examine the body, if not do the autopsy. Some samurai will care for commerce. Some samurai will surrender. Samurai should put their duty first, and personal honor second, so if doing your job requires  you to swim through a river of blood, you swim it. If it requires you to run the pockets of a dead man, you do it. If it requires you to sleep with a sweetheart of your best friend, you do it.

You might feel like **** about it. You might feel dirty. Other people might give you a look. However, as long as you follow the protocol and cleanse yourself, you are forgiven. Being unclean is temporary and can be removed. Getting dirty for the sake of your duty is noble. 

The problems, rumors and **** talking start to become a problem when you don't purify yourself, when you remain dirty for extended stretches of time, when you approach others while still dirty, and when you end up dirty suspiciously often.  Examining a body when it's absolutely needed is noble; examining a body every other week is suspicious. People will start thinking and whispering,

"this magistrate ends up suspiciously often without an assistant to help him, maybe he just likes touching dead bodies?"

"Right? I thought the same, let's not hang around him"

"Right, who knows what he does in his spare time, he could be unclean even right now in the middle of a tea party!"

"Ewww, let's not invite him anymore"

And so on.

Absolutes are bad. 

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1 minute ago, WHW said:

Another:
- Tendency to present things as absolutes. This is not honorable, ergo no samurai does it ever, and if they do, they are terrible and should suicide ASAP. Or they are literally evil.  I'm not sure how much of this came from the 90's zeitgeist of everything being RADICAL and TO THE LIMIT, and how much of it came from simple misinterpretation of the source material (Japan etc), but I dislike this a lot, especially when it comes to "never would do X". A samurai will touch a dead body. A magistrate will distrust people. A medic will touch blood and flesh. Magistrate will examine the body, if not do the autopsy. Some samurai will care for commerce. Some samurai will surrender. Samurai should put their duty first, and personal honor second, so if doing your job requires  you to swim through a river of blood, you swim it. If it requires you to run the pockets of a dead man, you do it. If it requires you to sleep with a sweetheart of your best friend, you do it.

You might feel like **** about it. You might feel dirty. Other people might give you a look. However, as long as you follow the protocol and cleanse yourself, you are forgiven. Being unclean is temporary and can be removed. Getting dirty for the sake of your duty is noble.

Especially when you stop to consider that bushi are, by dint of their duties, going to frequently come into contact with blood and corpses. You can't tell me Akodo Hajime goes wading into the battlefield and somehow comes out the other side without having polluted himself -- but that's what purification rites are for.

(And as a corollary, in my home game, many shugenja and monks maintain a vegetarian diet, so as to keep themselves spiritually undefiled.)

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3 minutes ago, Kinzen said:

Especially when you stop to consider that bushi are, by dint of their duties, going to frequently come into contact with blood and corpses. You can't tell me Akodo Hajime goes wading into the battlefield and somehow comes out the other side without having polluted himself -- but that's what purification rites are for.

(And as a corollary, in my home game, many shugenja and monks maintain a vegetarian diet, so as to keep themselves spiritually undefiled.)

 

"Right, right, but I heard that Hajime-kun enjoys the feel of the blood on his face, and takes as much time as possible before getting purified!"

"Ehh, what a weirdo!"

"I bet he enjoys it!"

"Eww, so disgusting. You know what, let's tell Emi's nakado this! I bet she will reconsider him after hearing it!!"

<a blood feud over a broken marriage promise ensues, all because Hajime-kun spent extra 30 minutes after battlefield, because he wanted to tell goodbye to his fallen comrade>

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You know, this absolute-thingie really ties back to another big flaw of the setting as far as I'm concerned: samurai being huge drama queens. Absolutes are only a problem because everyone and their kitten is throwing a massive fit about them. I would like to see more free shrugs/zero f*cks given kind of behavior from samurai. 

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That's IMHO because original story was trying to emulate a greek tragedy set in faux-samurai setting. One part of that was blowing everything out of proportions for dramatic reasons. Check how the classic L5R characters and plots are constructed and compare that to the classic greek stories. 

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1 hour ago, WHW said:

Another:
- Tendency to present things as absolutes. This is not honorable, ergo no samurai does it ever, and if they do, they are terrible and should suicide ASAP. Or they are literally evil.  I'm not sure how much of this came from the 90's zeitgeist of everything being RADICAL and TO THE LIMIT, and how much of it came from simple misinterpretation of the source material (Japan etc), but I dislike this a lot, especially when it comes to "never would do X". A samurai will touch a dead body. A magistrate will distrust people. A medic will touch blood and flesh. Magistrate will examine the body, if not do the autopsy. Some samurai will care for commerce. Some samurai will surrender. Samurai should put their duty first, and personal honor second, so if doing your job requires  you to swim through a river of blood, you swim it. If it requires you to run the pockets of a dead man, you do it. If it requires you to sleep with a sweetheart of your best friend, you do it.

You might feel like **** about it. You might feel dirty. Other people might give you a look. However, as long as you follow the protocol and cleanse yourself, you are forgiven. Being unclean is temporary and can be removed. Getting dirty for the sake of your duty is noble. 

The problems, rumors and **** talking start to become a problem when you don't purify yourself, when you remain dirty for extended stretches of time, when you approach others while still dirty, and when you end up dirty suspiciously often.  Examining a body when it's absolutely needed is noble; examining a body every other week is suspicious. People will start thinking and whispering,

"this magistrate ends up suspiciously often without an assistant to help him, maybe he just likes touching dead bodies?"

"Right? I thought the same, let's not hang around him"

"Right, who knows what he does in his spare time, he could be unclean even right now in the middle of a tea party!"

"Ewww, let's not invite him anymore"

And so on.

Absolutes are bad. 

I agree with this - I think the Samurai honor system is highly romanticized without the reality being acknowledged.  There are some times when it happened that people died for their honor, or died from being dishonored, but I think there wouldn't be many people left if everyone literally lived or died by each honor or dishonor they faced.  

I prefer to see it more as a superficial aspect of life - people are derided by their adversaries for being unclean, and if it sticks too hard they may become shamed and need to kill themselves to absolve it...  But if they can overcome the shame by having a strong personality and displaying their honor, then the small talk can be forgotten.

But then... I prefer low fantasy and believe most of the "honor" and "taint" aren't even real, but more natural human action driving the narrative.

Edited by shosuko

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A lot of it was also romanticized without trying to understand the driving reasons behind "why things were this way', too, imho. But again, this is a game where it's famous lethality comes from the anecdote about John Wick thinking about how to do the combat in the game and asking a swordsmanship instructor "how many times can i get hit by a sword" and hearing "once, lol", and then designing the whole system around that conversation. 

IMHO the question itself, if the anecdote is true, wasn't a very good question from the game design standpoint. If anything, he should be asking how the combat looks and feels, not how many times you need to hit me with a sword to kill me :P. 

So I imagine that a lot of things got designed in similar way, including setting elements that go beyond RPG book. 

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7 hours ago, WHW said:

Another:
 

- Sticking to the "sons of" form. Crabs, sons of Hida; Son of Heavens; sons of blablabla. In many of these cases "Child, Children, etc" would work as well, but wouldn't exclude women and paint any given thing as a predominantly male. 

And death to the term 'samurai-ko'.  If Rokugan is properly into gender neutrality, there should be no need for a term that distinguishes a woman as being different from a man, what with female bushi not being an outlier.

Also, let us never hear a nezumi described as a 'ratling' ever again.

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