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Curved Blades - Unicorn Fiction

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1 minute ago, RandomJC said:

The latter does not prevent dabbling with Maho. Just that you are aware of the power, and the potential downsides, and embrace it anyway.

Yeah, that's called unintelligent storytelling. "I go maho, even though I know well I shouldn't, because of reasons. Maho yay!" This is what ruined the Phoenix in Old5R. 

3 minutes ago, RandomJC said:

But my opinion, that good story involves conflict, and conflict isn't "I know I shouldn't do this, so I won't."

Well then, it looks like the Phoenix has one source of conflict out. A source pretty much no Phoenix fan liked, so I guess we aren't at a loss here. They can still do a bazillion things, including having conflict with those who aren't as smart as them. I can't see the problem here. 

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7 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Yeah, that's called unintelligent storytelling. "I go maho, even though I know well I shouldn't, because of reasons. Maho yay!" This is what ruined the Phoenix in Old5R. 

Well then, it looks like the Phoenix has one source of conflict out. A source pretty much no Phoenix fan liked, so I guess we aren't at a loss here. They can still do a bazillion things, including having conflict with those who aren't as smart as them. I can't see the problem here. 

It could be unintelligent, it could be intelligent. It depends on the story and writer. Many of good stories are told about people making the wrong choices while in the search of power, for the right reasons. It's all about how the story is told, not what the story is.

My problem is the outright dismissal of the idea of it ever being going, or the hubris in the idea that a very concept for a story is "Unintelligent". It is a matter of opinion, and should not be taken as objective fact. That I can state my opinion, and not only be called selfish, but unintelligent for it, is quite unsettling.

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1 minute ago, RandomJC said:

It could be unintelligent, it could be intelligent. It depends on the story and writer. 

My problem is the outright dismissal of the idea of it ever being going, or the hubris in the idea that a very concept for a story is "Unintelligent". 

I gotta admit, I base my opinion on my rather low expectations when it comes to L5R stories. 

So let me rephrase it: in my opinion, a "price of power" story for the Phoenix Clan in L5R can't be good, because it will be either unintelligent, unenjoyable, or straight-out insulting, and will only undermine the Phoenix Clan again, because we apparently didn't have enough of that in Old5R. Similarly, just because you would still like to have this story it doesn't mean that it would be automatically a good idea for the reasons listed above, objectively speaking. 

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3 minutes ago, Kuni Katsuyoshi said:

I for one would be perfectly happy to not see another 'Kuni gets too close. Kuni falls to the taint. Kuni gets eaten by zombies/oni/squirrels' story.

Will I? Probably.

But, I am perfectly happy not to.

An Isawa shugenja married into Kuni family gets too close. Falls to the taint. Gets eaten by squirrels.

Sounds like a plan. ^_^

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2 minutes ago, Kuni Katsuyoshi said:

I for one would be perfectly happy to not see another 'Kuni gets too close. Kuni falls to the taint. Kuni gets eaten by zombies/oni/squirrels' story.

Will I? Probably.

Hey, don't be so hapless about it! Looks like the Phoenix won't get a maho story either or the fans will burn down the FFG HQ, so you can make a difference too for the Kuni :)!

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5 minutes ago, Wintersong said:

An Isawa shugenja married into Kuni family gets too close. Falls to the taint. Gets eaten by squirrels.

Sounds like a plan. ^_^

Hmmm I'd read that once.?

 

5 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Hey, don't be so hapless about it! Looks like the Phoenix won't get a maho story either or the fans will burn down the FFG HQ, so you can make a difference too for the Kuni :)!

Affecting Story Goals through arson for the win!!??

oh and *likes* for both 

Edited by Kuni Katsuyoshi

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23 hours ago, Kuni Katsuyoshi said:

Oooooo a flamberge.

*like*⚔️

But I'd call that 'wavy' rather than 'curved '?

Me too, but don't let the bronies hear it. :P

 

23 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

The problem of gunpowder points beyond the samurai. If you have gunpowder, then you have cannons. If you have cannons, you have actual, honest-to-goodness sieges. If sieges become a major concern, then star forts (and other complex defense structures) and ballistics also become a thing. Cue in a massive advancement in architecture, mathematics, geography, physics, metallurgy, and chemistry. 

Not necessarily.

1. Look how long those changes took to affect Japan. I recommend giving a good look at the Nioh game, which is set during the Sengoku period, culminating with the battle of Sekigahara. You have magical samurai side-by-side with rifles and cannons without raising any eyebrows. Well, not until you meet an Oni ninja with a hand-cannon cartwheeling your face off.

2. And you are not even considering what is the effect of enchanted (or awakened) stone walls can have against cannons. Or enchanted weapons and armor against rifles.

3. And if the sieges and the result of them changing society is your concern, then gunpowder shouldn't be what worry you. The presence of a single shugenja in the world should make castles irrelevant anyway, just like D&D settings with mages and dragons having anything even resembling the medieval times is absurd.

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4 minutes ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

Not necessarily.

Ah, you misunderstand. I'm not saying that cannons and such would crash the setting with no survivors, only that their effect would be a lot more widespread than "deepening concerns for fantasy samurai" ;).  And once you take this into consideration, you have a lot to revise above "samurai can deflect bullets now". 

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10 hours ago, Anemura said:

Actually, I think you're critique is more about your inability to imagine a writer using Maho in a story well, rather than Maho as a story device itself.

In twenty years, I never saw a maho story that was made better by the inclusion of maho.

I can imagine all day long. I can imagine reinventing all Rokugani magic so that maho doesn't exist, but elemental magic is unstable and dangerous in even the most capable hands. I can imagine maho being a case of "it's actually fine, but society objects so it's icky." I can imagine all Rokugani magic being maho, and those who practice it both feared for their dark power and honored for the sacrifices of the soul they make to aid their clans.

I can imagine all day long, but since it doesn't look like FFG has totally rewritten the basic physics of the setting...

 

12 hours ago, Anemura said:

The price of power is a Phoenix theme.

A poorly-executed one. The Phoenix have been shown paying the price for over two decades of real-world time. The power? That's a lot less evident.

Moreover- I would much rather see any such story pursued through the examination of Ishiken. The Phoenix try to train every single one who arises, in part because it's a hard thing to be. And while most of the time they just show up as cards of varying utility (or dropping Flower-bombs, go Ningen!), there is plenty to be mined in an Ishiken who cannot be helped by the best efforts of the best-intentioned Phoenix- or by one who "sees clearly now," and sets out to unmake the world.

"Oo, I cut myself to cast the Bad Mojo!" is worthy of a yawn.

"Seven Fortunes protect me, I keep unmaking things if I look at them too long!" is a **** of a lot scarier because it's less understood- even the Phoenix don't really "get" the Void, they just have more practice working with it than the other Clans.

In one case, the Phoenix dabble in things they know **** well are going to corrode their very spiritual essence.
In the other... they try to help, but fail as teachers, even as their hubris prevents them from admitting as much.

 

8 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

The Isawa should know better however, and they should be THE people who say "no" to the temptations of greater power because they are not willing to pay the price for it (exactly like what Isawa did) and know better than to dabble with the forbidden.

Bingo.

"We invented this, and, uh... yeah, best stay away from it. It doesn't work like we thought it did when we cobbled it up."

 

The guys who never won a war in the old story because they weren't willing to go all-out (never mind the fact that they sometimes did, shhhh) and actually use the firepower they possess should NOT be the ones scurrying off to use even more dangerous tools.

6 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

Yeah, that's called unintelligent storytelling. "I go maho, even though I know well I shouldn't, because of reasons. Maho yay!" This is what ruined the Phoenix in Old5R. 

Well then, it looks like the Phoenix has one source of conflict out. A source pretty much no Phoenix fan liked, so I guess we aren't at a loss here. They can still do a bazillion things, including having conflict with those who aren't as smart as them. I can't see the problem here. 

Actually, there's an ardently pro-maho wing of the Phoenix fanbase, for reasons that completely escape me. Of course... those guys want the Phoenix getting away with it and toasting their foes and giggling all the way to the bank, so...

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33 minutes ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

In twenty years, I never saw a maho story that was made better by the inclusion of maho.

I can imagine all day long. I can imagine reinventing all Rokugani magic so that maho doesn't exist, but elemental magic is unstable and dangerous in even the most capable hands. I can imagine maho being a case of "it's actually fine, but society objects so it's icky." I can imagine all Rokugani magic being maho, and those who practice it both feared for their dark power and honored for the sacrifices of the soul they make to aid their clans.

I can imagine all day long, but since it doesn't look like FFG has totally rewritten the basic physics of the setting...

 

A poorly-executed one. The Phoenix have been shown paying the price for over two decades of real-world time. The power? That's a lot less evident.

Moreover- I would much rather see any such story pursued through the examination of Ishiken. The Phoenix try to train every single one who arises, in part because it's a hard thing to be. And while most of the time they just show up as cards of varying utility (or dropping Flower-bombs, go Ningen!), there is plenty to be mined in an Ishiken who cannot be helped by the best efforts of the best-intentioned Phoenix- or by one who "sees clearly now," and sets out to unmake the world.

"Oo, I cut myself to cast the Bad Mojo!" is worthy of a yawn.

"Seven Fortunes protect me, I keep unmaking things if I look at them too long!" is a **** of a lot scarier because it's less understood- even the Phoenix don't really "get" the Void, they just have more practice working with it than the other Clans.

In one case, the Phoenix dabble in things they know **** well are going to corrode their very spiritual essence.
In the other... they try to help, but fail as teachers, even as their hubris prevents them from admitting as much.

 

Bingo.

"We invented this, and, uh... yeah, best stay away from it. It doesn't work like we thought it did when we cobbled it up."

 

The guys who never won a war in the old story because they weren't willing to go all-out (never mind the fact that they sometimes did, shhhh) and actually use the firepower they possess should NOT be the ones scurrying off to use even more dangerous tools.

Actually, there's an ardently pro-maho wing of the Phoenix fanbase, for reasons that completely escape me. Of course... those guys want the Phoenix getting away with it and toasting their foes and giggling all the way to the bank, so...

We just got or second arguably Phoenix-centric story and we already have three ishiken introduced, in addition to the master of Void and the apprentice (plus one of them as one of the first Phoenix uniques) so you might be lucky. Personally I did find the portrayal of void shugenja quite interesting and mysterious, and wouldn't mind if they were explored more in depth.

So far I'm enjoying the Phoenix fictions.

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12 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

THE people who say "no" to the temptations of greater power 

 

Like Toturi attempting to ascend to the throne when the Hantei heir was still alive?

 

14 hours ago, AtoMaki said:

When "uncovering foul rituals and gleaning their secrets" is discovering how to do Jade Strike +1, then yes, I don't mind it that much. Especially if it happens offscreen. It is definitely leagues below opening the Black Scrolls and summoning an oni and giving it your name. 

Again, according to his RPG stats, he has nothing. Pre-Black Scrolls, he has a meager Taint Rank of 0.8, not even enough to trigger anti-Taint effects like Jade Strike. Even his later Taint Rank of 2.8 is meager, especially with him not having any Shadowlands powers/mutations at all. Tadaka was fine when he first returned from the Shadowlands. Despite going to awful places and doing fishy businesses, his only loss was... I dunno... he became edgy I guess? 

Aren't they the family who always dabble with forbidden things because they (arrogantly) think they can totally control it, but they totally can't in the end? 

This sounds like a Kuni thing too. I think you are mixing up the two. 

 

1. Are you actually assuming that all of Tadaka's discoveries in the Shadowlands culminated to improving Jade Strike? I can't tell if you're being serious. 

2. According to the 1E RPG, he had the Taint, period. In the 1E RPG write up, he was covered all over to hide it. You are attempting to dismiss/diminish these facts without refuting their existence. That's what you have to do first, not discuss the degree to which the Taint affects people. Why does Tadaka have the taint at all? And is that "normal" for Shugenja of the empire? Is it normal for Shugenja to go to the darkest parts of the Shadowlands and learn from all manner of "foul rituals"?  If this behaviour is atypical (not the norm), and you think there's nothing wrong with it, then your perception of this is also atypical (not the norm). 

3. The Kuni are charged with studying the Shadowlands to try and understand how it can be fought. That's a dangerous, but necessary duty. How you extrapolate that to be "arrogance" is... odd. 

4. The Phoenix mandate is to pursue knowledge. That knowledge invariably leads to power. Sometimes, that power comes at a cost. It's definitely a Phoenix motif. They have the most powerful Shugenja in the empire through study and innate ability. Sometimes, this manifests in error... like a small shrine burning down (see the Phoenix LCG story).  This goes hand in hand with pushing the boundaries of knowledge and always getting better at their craft. Mistakes happen.

Edited by Anemura

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3 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Moreover- I would much rather see any such story pursued through the examination of Ishiken. The Phoenix try to train every single one who arises, in part because it's a hard thing to be. And while most of the time they just show up as cards of varying utility (or dropping Flower-bombs, go Ningen!), there is plenty to be mined in an Ishiken who cannot be helped by the best efforts of the best-intentioned Phoenix- or by one who "sees clearly now," and sets out to unmake the world.


"Oo, I cut myself to cast the Bad Mojo!" is worthy of a yawn.

"Seven Fortunes protect me, I keep unmaking things if I look at them too long!" is a **** of a lot scarier because it's less understood- even the Phoenix don't really "get" the Void, they just have more practice working with it than the other Clans.

In one case, the Phoenix dabble in things they know **** well are going to corrode their very spiritual essence.
In the other... they try to help, but fail as teachers, even as their hubris prevents them from admitting as much.

 

Now that would be interesting to see.

Of course, it's also contingent on Void magic being depicted as sufficiently weird and dangerous, instead of just another flavor of normal magic. I would get behind that in a hot second if it happened, but it has to actually happen for the story you describe to be interesting.

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4 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

In twenty years, I never saw a maho story that was made better by the inclusion of maho.

I can imagine all day long. I can imagine reinventing all Rokugani magic so that maho doesn't exist, but elemental magic is unstable and dangerous in even the most capable hands. I can imagine maho being a case of "it's actually fine, but society objects so it's icky." I can imagine all Rokugani magic being maho, and those who practice it both feared for their dark power and honored for the sacrifices of the soul they make to aid their clans.

I can imagine all day long, but since it doesn't look like FFG has totally rewritten the basic physics of the setting...

A poorly-executed one. The Phoenix have been shown paying the price for over two decades of real-world time. The power? That's a lot less evident.

...


"Oo, I cut myself to cast the Bad Mojo!" is worthy of a yawn.

...

In one case, the Phoenix dabble in things they know **** well are going to corrode their very spiritual essence.

 

And it appears we can't leave it there...

1. Changing the power level of Maho =/= FFG has totally rewritten the basic physics of the setting. Interesting that you think that's the dichotomy though.

2. I thought Iuchiban's resurrection started well (for the most part). It included Maho (as did his backstory). 

3. I'm getting the impression that even if you did eventually see a well written Maho story, per your own impossible standards for a Maho-driven story, that you would be loathe to admit it. 

I'm not trying to convince you of anything Gunichi. Our opinions on this differ. Let's just wait and see what they do with the Phoenix and Maho. It's inevitable that these magical forces will be included within the same story, at some point. We can revisit this then. 

 

 

Edited by Anemura

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28 minutes ago, Kinzen said:

 

Now that would be interesting to see.

Of course, it's also contingent on Void magic being depicted as sufficiently weird and dangerous, instead of just another flavor of normal magic. I would get behind that in a hot second if it happened, but it has to actually happen for the story you describe to be interesting.

Do you think they approached that threshold in Smokless Fire?

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28 minutes ago, Anemura said:

And it appears we can't leave it there...

'Tis the internet. Nothing ever ends.

28 minutes ago, Anemura said:

1. Changing the power level of Maho =/= FFG has totally rewritten the basic physics of the setting. Interesting that you think that's the dichotomy though.

Doesn't it? The changes you propose to the spiritual fabric of the setting are far greater than anything they've done thus far. If maho stops being inherently tainted blood sorcery that binds the soul to Jigoku, then that is a rewriting of the setting's basic physics on a grand scale.

28 minutes ago, Anemura said:

2. I thought Iuchiban's resurrection started well (for the most part). It included Maho (as did his backstory). 

Iuchiban is practically the poster boy for maho's narrative failings. From the overblown  hype to his failure to live up to it, to his niftiest trick being foreign sorcery instead of Rokugani maho...

28 minutes ago, Anemura said:

3. I'm getting the impression that even if you did eventually see a well written Maho story, per your own impossible standards for a Maho-driven story, that you would be loathe to admit it.

Considering that I find maho conceptually idiotic and literarily lazy, convincing me that a story relying on it is well-written is a tall friggin' order. It would have to use maho to tell an interesting story that no other mechanism exists to tell.

So predictively accusing me of being "loathe to admit" the quality of any such potential tale is pretty silly, because any story that could pull that off would be a masterwork.

28 minutes ago, Anemura said:

I'm not trying to convince you of anything Gunichi. 

You have a very funny way of demonstrating this.

28 minutes ago, Anemura said:

Our opinions on this differ.

After so many pages, I would assume that is abundantly clear.

 

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3 minutes ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

'Tis the internet. Nothing ever ends.

Doesn't it? The changes you propose to the spiritual fabric of the setting are far greater than anything they've done thus far. If maho stops being inherently tainted blood sorcery that binds the soul to Jigoku, then that is a rewriting of the setting's basic physics on a grand scale.

Iuchiban is practically the poster boy for maho's narrative failings. From the overblown  hype to his failure to live up to it, to his niftiest trick being foreign sorcery instead of Rokugani maho...

Considering that I find maho conceptually idiotic and literarily lazy, convincing me that a story relying on it is well-written is a tall friggin' order. It would have to use maho to tell an interesting story that no other mechanism exists to tell.

So predictively accusing me of being "loathe to admit" the quality of any such potential tale is pretty silly, because any story that could pull that off would be a masterwork.

You have a very funny way of demonstrating this.

After so many pages, I would assume that is abundantly clear.

 

Maho and hearts in a box aside. I think Iuchiban has a lot of unrealized potential. If it were to do something similar to his first go round (I.e hiding in plain sight.) I think he could make a great 'insidious ' kind of a villain.

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I was in a campaign. And we found some major ritualists, but what surprised us was that the child we thought was going to be sacrificed was the sensei. Then he blew us up and walked away while we tried not to die. 

In the end we could not tell if he was giving power to his students or taking it. But he was very likely body snatching or eternal youth or something. 

I enjoyed our run ins with him and the hunt.

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8 hours ago, Anemura said:

Like Toturi attempting to ascend to the throne when the Hantei heir was still alive?

Toturi did not take the throne for the power, but to save Rokugan from total anarchy. And it was a reasonable move, with a clear cause-and-effect connection. He wouldn't have done that if the Phoenix had told him that the Hantei heir was alive. Quite a different story than a vain quest for power, isn't it?

Quote

1. Are you actually assuming that all of Tadaka's discoveries in the Shadowlands culminated to improving Jade Strike? I can't tell if you're being serious. 

He did not discover anything big, that's for sure. That's why he became Master of Earth, to learn the real stuff like how to maho and summon an oni. 

Quote

That's what you have to do first, not discuss the degree to which the Taint affects people. 

Why not? Anybody can catch the Taint, and still be perfectly fine with it. Tadaka's Taint was at such a degree, it might have not existed at all. You can get 0.8 Taint from entering the Shadowlands or just spending a lot of time around it (things Tadaka certainly did). In fact, it is laughable even for background exposure.

Quote

Is it normal for Shugenja to go to the darkest parts of the Shadowlands and learn from all manner of "foul rituals"? 

 Supposedly, it is. All shugenja should be able to fight maho and the Shadowlands, and this includes going to the darkest parts of the Shadowlands and learning "foul rituals". The point is, however, that no shugenja should think that this is something below them or that they can play around with these things without serious consequences. The first is what your average Rokugani shugenja does most of the time, out of fear and revulsion. The later is what the Kuni does, and Tadaka did, out of arrogance and stupidity. 

Quote

The Kuni are charged with studying the Shadowlands to try and understand how it can be fought.

They charged themselves with the job, that kinda undermines the whole point of having that duty. "I like playing with this very dangerous thing, so from now on, my job is to play with this very dangerous thing!" :rolleyes:

Quote

The Phoenix mandate is to pursue knowledge. That knowledge invariably leads to power. Sometimes, that power comes at a cost.

The Phoenix also refrains from using their power, and put special effort into minimizing the cost. So despite knowledge being their specialty, they are still the least likely to "pay its cost" because they know how to do it best and when to say "no". 

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19 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

Why not? Anybody can catch the Taint, and still be perfectly fine with it. Tadaka's Taint was at such a degree, it might have not existed at all. You can get 0.8 Taint from entering the Shadowlands or just spending a lot of time around it (things Tadaka certainly did). In fact, it is laughable even for background exposure.Kuni does, and Tadaka did, out of arrogance and stupidity. 

 

Wasn't Tadaka's taint advanced enough that he got taken out of the fight with Fu Leng by jade magic himself?  He was easily disposed of and achieved very little in the Second Day of Thunder due entirely to the fact that he was tainted.

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Just now, Laurence J Sinclair said:

Wasn't Tadaka's taint advanced enough that he got taken out of the fight with Fu Leng by jade magic himself?

That was after opening the Black Scrolls - an event that turned most of the other Masters full-on Lost. 

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2 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

That was after opening the Black Scrolls - an event that turned most of the other Masters full-on Lost. 

But how much did that little 0.8 contribute?  Every little helps!  If he hadn't had that already, would he have been quite so bad off!  A little taint here and there doesn't seem so bad to start with...

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9 hours ago, Kinzen said:

 

Now that would be interesting to see.

Of course, it's also contingent on Void magic being depicted as sufficiently weird and dangerous, instead of just another flavor of normal magic. I would get behind that in a hot second if it happened, but it has to actually happen for the story you describe to be interesting.

Well, the depictions so far in Smokeless Fire show a couple of the most powerful Phoenix Ishiken being ignorant of some of what's going on with it.

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