Jump to content
Coyote Walks

Curved Blades - Unicorn Fiction

Recommended Posts

"free horses are worth ten times a chained mountain cat"  - best line of the fiction, hands down.

I enjoyed it. It let me understand the Unicorn clan much better as a newcomer to L5R. I love their philosophy. If the preview looks good next week.. maybe I found myself the clan I'll represent at Gen Con. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So we have the Crane and Lion fighting, with the Unicorn possibly taking battle as well now. The Dragon armies are on The march for that area, where I'm guessing the Phoenix will show up when the Unicorn magic reportedly causes issues. Or the Phoenix just see an opportunity. This may be due to the Shadowlands breaking through - bringing along the Crab.

So. What draws the Scorpion in?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Klawtu said:

Who do you think facilitated all these conflicts?

Perhaps, but why will they be met on the field? Does someone work it out? Do they just oppose the Shadowlands, and plans get ruined as a result?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, JJ48 said:

Interesting aside:  it appears that it wasn't until the Nambokucho Period that the waviness (whatever it's called) started to be incorporated into the blade. 

Are you thinking of the "hamon?" 

Here's a Wikipedia article about it, which is woefully inadequate in the amount of information about hamon, but seems to imply hamon were in use at least by the 8th century (though maybe not in wave patterns.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamon_(swordsmithing)

I have a book somewhere with more information about hamon but can't be bothered to dig it out right now. A katana nerd thread might be worth starting some time in the future, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been hesitating between Unicorn and Crab for a couple of months now — I'm definitely a fan of the Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! trope, and both the Crab ("We defend the Wall, no matter what the rest of Rokugan thinks of us") and the Unicorn ("Our ways are different, but not wrong") appeal to me. But that story was the quintessence of "Screw the rules, I'm doing what's right!"

I think I just found my clan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Shu2jack said:

Perhaps, but why will they be met on the field? Does someone work it out? Do they just oppose the Shadowlands, and plans get ruined as a result?

Maybe they won't be met in the field but in the courts? The brief lore description did seem to indicate that they were a clan that was currently at very high position at the courts and had a tenuous alliance with the Lion. The talk of Scorpion being the ones that set up the marriage in the first place seems quite possible as the Lion would likely have wanted to shore that conflict up before moving onto the Crane and who better to set that up than the, at least to my own recollection, on again off again semi allies of the Unicorn, the Scorpion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JJ48 said:

I'd just like to point out that "Clan X is usually the one associated with Y" doesn't necessarily mean "Clan X is the ONLY CLAN IN ALL OF ROKUGAN that does Y".

Could also point out that it speaks ill of their Ikoma, who are very good political manipulators.

(And why you'd talk down your own clan's abilities, I have no idea.) Can't convince me Ide are the best pols, and Shinjo/Utaku aren't the best mil. ^_^

Edited by RandomJC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I guess Scorpion are the clan that will get their previews and fiction in the same week? I thought it was implied we'd get a fiction and cards for the unicorn this week, but perhaps I was just assuming the combined Unicorn/Phoenix L5R Live to mean that we'd have cards from both to look at.

As for the fiction, I think it was actually one of the weakest, for the same reasons that other posters have already posted about. I felt there was a lot of clunky exposition and the whole Ikoma marriage thing did not make sense (seriously, nobody realized she'd take the Ikoma name until just now? That had to have come up at some point already.) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, Suzume Tomonori said:

Are you thinking of the "hamon?" 

Here's a Wikipedia article about it, which is woefully inadequate in the amount of information about hamon, but seems to imply hamon were in use at least by the 8th century (though maybe not in wave patterns.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamon_(swordsmithing)

I have a book somewhere with more information about hamon but can't be bothered to dig it out right now. A katana nerd thread might be worth starting some time in the future, though.

Ah, yes.  I was referring to the hamon, but specifically the wave pattern.  You can see the hamon in all the swords pictured at least from the Kamakura Period on, but the wave pattern doesn't pick up until the Nambokucho Period.  I thought I recalled reading somewhere that in addition to being decorative, the wave pattern helped stop cracks from spreading along the blade.  I never formally studied smithing, though, so I could easily be misremembering that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Suzume Tomonori said:

So I guess Scorpion are the clan that will get their previews and fiction in the same week? I thought it was implied we'd get a fiction and cards for the unicorn this week, but perhaps I was just assuming the combined Unicorn/Phoenix L5R Live to mean that we'd have cards from both to look at.

As for the fiction, I think it was actually one of the weakest, for the same reasons that other posters have already posted about. I felt there was a lot of clunky exposition and the whole Ikoma marriage thing did not make sense (seriously, nobody realized she'd take the Ikoma name until just now? That had to have come up at some point already.) 

Did it say that they didn't realize it until now?  I figured they had known about it already, but they decided to go along with it because they had already agreed to the marriage before finding out.  It just wasn't until this situation arose that they thought to back out of the deal, justifying it by saying that the deal had been altered by the Lion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, JJ48 said:

Ah, yes.  I was referring to the hamon, but specifically the wave pattern.  You can see the hamon in all the swords pictured at least from the Kamakura Period on, but the wave pattern doesn't pick up until the Nambokucho Period.  I thought I recalled reading somewhere that in addition to being decorative, the wave pattern helped stop cracks from spreading along the blade.  I never formally studied smithing, though, so I could easily be misremembering that.

The Wikipedia article talks briefly about the practical effects of making sure the different parts of the blade cool at different rates. If I recall correctly, the different cooling rates make the blade side harder and the "core" back side of the blade softer. The softer core gives the blade more ability to bend and resist breaking (which katana did a lot) and the harder blade is better for sharpening and keeping an edge, but it's been a while since I've really read about this stuff.

The hamon is a visual side-effect of the process, which smiths began using at some point to add an artistic flair to their blades. Hamon styles vary wildly based on smithing school and period, though, I believe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Suzume Tomonori said:

So I guess Scorpion are the clan that will get their previews and fiction in the same week? I thought it was implied we'd get a fiction and cards for the unicorn this week, but perhaps I was just assuming the combined Unicorn/Phoenix L5R Live to mean that we'd have cards from both to look at.

As for the fiction, I think it was actually one of the weakest, for the same reasons that other posters have already posted about. I felt there was a lot of clunky exposition and the whole Ikoma marriage thing did not make sense (seriously, nobody realized she'd take the Ikoma name until just now? That had to have come up at some point already.) 

She knew the name thing before the fiction, the Crane Courtier makes a reference to it. It's only stated that they did not know about it until AFTER the marriage proposal was accepted. And considering the bending over backward that Altarnasai is doing to try to bring peace, she could not break off without serious consequences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

Did it say that they didn't realize it until now?  I figured they had known about it already, but they decided to go along with it because they had already agreed to the marriage before finding out.  It just wasn't until this situation arose that they thought to back out of the deal, justifying it by saying that the deal had been altered by the Lion.

That was something I wasn't clear on. I remember being confused about it a bit while I was reading, so it might be something that I had missed. But in the fiction it sounds like talking to Akari brought new information to light about the deal that the unicorn didn't like, and I thought that was giving up their name, but I may have read it wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Suzume Tomonori said:

That was something I wasn't clear on. I remember being confused about it a bit while I was reading, so it might be something that I had missed. But in the fiction it sounds like talking to Akari brought new information to light about the deal that the unicorn didn't like, and I thought that was giving up their name, but I may have read it wrong.

It was the divorce of the previous wife, and that she would committ seppuku (Not the name.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, RandomJC said:

She knew the name thing before the fiction, the Crane Courtier makes a reference to it. It's only stated that they did not know about it until AFTER the marriage proposal was accepted. And considering the bending over backward that Altarnasai is doing to try to bring peace, she could not break off without serious consequences.

Thanks for the clarification.

Then it begs the question; why are they just discussing breaking off the marriage now? It seems like this is something Altarnasai and her advisors would have discussed and decided by now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Suzume Tomonori said:

Thanks for the clarification.

Then it begs the question; why are they just discussing breaking off the marriage now? It seems like this is something Altarnasai and her advisors would have discussed and decided by now...

Because the Unicorn are very pragmatic when it comes to life, they mention in the story about how seppuku is very rare, because you need the bodies. So the idea that Altanarsai marrying the Ikoma would lead to the death of another human being is the anathema of what the Unicorn believe in. It's very unrokugani.

Edited by RandomJC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Suzume Tomonori said:

The Wikipedia article talks briefly about the practical effects of making sure the different parts of the blade cool at different rates. If I recall correctly, the different cooling rates make the blade side harder and the "core" back side of the blade softer. The softer core gives the blade more ability to bend and resist breaking (which katana did a lot) and the harder blade is better for sharpening and keeping an edge, but it's been a while since I've really read about this stuff.

The hamon is a visual side-effect of the process, which smiths began using at some point to add an artistic flair to their blades. Hamon styles vary wildly based on smithing school and period, though, I believe.

Right.  And as I recall, the harder steel is more brittle, and prone to cracks, which can spread through the harder steel.  By having a wavy pattern, if a crack develops and starts to spread up and down the blade, it'll meet the softer steel and be stopped.

The book I read it in had a picture to illustrate it, but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But then she realizes that backing out of the marriage is going to cause a war, that will cause even more loss of life, but that's okay because it's on the field of battle?

But I guess that's L5R.

Anyway, the whole "marry off the frickin' clan champion" bit also seemed weird to me. I don't know, the whole situation seemed a bit contrived and forced.

But I guess that's L5R, too.

Edited by Suzume Tomonori

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

Right.  And as I recall, the harder steel is more brittle, and prone to cracks, which can spread through the harder steel.  By having a wavy pattern, if a crack develops and starts to spread up and down the blade, it'll meet the softer steel and be stopped.

The book I read it in had a picture to illustrate it, but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Found it!

It wasn't just for cracks, but to make sure the steel didn't separate!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

Did it say that they didn't realize it until now?  I figured they had known about it already, but they decided to go along with it because they had already agreed to the marriage before finding out.  It just wasn't until this situation arose that they thought to back out of the deal, justifying it by saying that the deal had been altered by the Lion.

A lot of old lore (early RPG books for sure) imply that the Unicorn in general are somewhat naive when it comes to non-Unicorn customs in the Empire.  It's quite plausible that the Unicorn assumed things would work one way while the Lion would take advantage of that assumption.  It's shady to use honor and tradition to trick someone into a deal that's not as beneficial as expected at face value but it's really dishonorable to break a deal once it's done. Kudos to the Ikoma for coming up with such a dastardly scheme.  I look forward to trampling their armies into the ground over it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Suzume Tomonori said:

But then she realizes that backing out of the marriage is going to cause a war, that will cause even more loss of life, but that's okay because it's on the field of battle?

But I guess that's L5R.

Anyway, the whole "marry off the frickin' clan champion" bit also seemed weird to me. I don't know, the whole situation seemed a bit contrived and forced.

But I guess that's L5R, too.

Kamako also, rightly, pointed out that Altansarnai leaving the Unicorn would truly cripple the spirit of the clan, and ultimately could lead to it's death as a whole. This is a no win situation for our Clan champion, but she cannot act in a way that will definitely cause death that day of an innocent. Backing out may cause a war, but continuing this course will cause the death of this woman. (Add in that a war with Lion, if the Unicorn were to win would shore up their own support within Rokugan and their right to those lands, more so than the marriage or peace would)

It's called the Lion refused to accept anyone else besides Altansarnai after a marriage was already agreed to have taken place. And with the way Altansarnai was bending over backwards for peace, I can see them relenting. After all, this entire marriage is a ploy by the Lion (probably specifically cooked up by the Ikoma) the ultimately weaken the Unicorn, and make them subservient to the Lion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Suzume Tomonori said:

So I guess Scorpion are the clan that will get their previews and fiction in the same week? I thought it was implied we'd get a fiction and cards for the unicorn this week, but perhaps I was just assuming the combined Unicorn/Phoenix L5R Live to mean that we'd have cards from both to look at.

As for the fiction, I think it was actually one of the weakest, for the same reasons that other posters have already posted about. I felt there was a lot of clunky exposition and the whole Ikoma marriage thing did not make sense (seriously, nobody realized she'd take the Ikoma name until just now? That had to have come up at some point already.) 

Is this actually a thing?  I've not been the closest follower of L5R, but I've been around the game for a bit.  I've never heard of the Ikoma being a patriarchal family, or that the male's name is always taken in marriage.  If you look at the L5R wiki it states in Marriage and the Matsu that the males will always take the females name - and through the rest of Rokugan it is always dependent on glory / rank, not gender.  Even the Utaku who are matriarchal don't force their name on the men who marry them...

Did anyone here think "Oh, marriage to an Ikoma, of course she should have expected to lose her name"?  I'm seriously wondering because this is the first I've heard of it...  If we didn't know it, I don't think we could possibly fault Altensarnai for not knowing it at first either...  and why would the Lion mention it?  Its their hidden clause in the contract, they certainly wouldn't point it out.

-----

Of course it will be Scorp with the fiction + cards week.  No reason to spoil anything ahead of schedule until the last moment.  Dumping too much early can weaken enthusiasm when the normal release schedule resumes...  They want it to be boiling at Gencon, not simmering.

Edited by shosuko

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...