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I've been wondering about something since I read story released about Lion clan. In it we read about Lion clan attacking Toshi Ranbo (city currently controlled by Crane clan), lot of people dying including Akodo Arasou. There is even mentioning of a war between those two clans. If I'm correct Ranbo was built by Crane, than Lion attacked and took over yada yada... since ever Crane and Lion are fighting for it.

So, my question is this; what is Emperor doing about that, why is he letting two clans kill each other? Shouldnt he keep order in Rokugan? Especially between clans.

Is it because fighting and war is considered honorable thing in Rokugan? That's the only reason I can think of that supports constant clan rivalries.

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Open war is actually not allowed without the Emperor's approval.

Skirmishes however, always happen and I believe the Emperor uses those skirmishes to judge the martial prowess of the clans involved.

A Clan must be capable of defending their province or they are not worthy of it in the first place.

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1 minute ago, Doji Makoto said:

Divide et Impera

That's funny.

I think Rokugan really needs Shadowlands forces as a common enemy. Ozymandias did it with alien/dr. Manhattan (depending on what your sorce is) and united the world. Maybe someone (hint* Scorpions ?) should let Shadowland forces into Rokugan, unite clans and finally bring peace to its people!

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1 hour ago, Kuni Katsuyoshi said:

The conflict between clans only bolsters the emperor's authority by keeping the clans divided and himself as the 'neutral' party of appeal.  It also allows the clans an outlet for their aggression.

When you consider that samurai in our world had no historical analogue to the Crusades with which to get them happily elsewhere as with the knights of western Europe, this explanation actually makes a good bit of sense.

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4 hours ago, Bayushi Kec said:

I think Rokugan really needs Shadowlands forces as a common enemy.

You'd think that, but recognizing the threat for what it is might distract the stuffed shirts from their tea parties and walks through the gardens. They've been able to treat the Shadowlands as the Crab's problem for the last 1000 years, no reason to change policy now.

2 hours ago, Ide Yoshiya said:

When you consider that samurai in our world had no historical analogue to the Crusades with which to get them happily elsewhere as with the knights of western Europe, this explanation actually makes a good bit of sense.

Wasn't their attempted invasion of China essentially that?

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The clans also genuinely have competing interests. Conflict is inevitable. As was mentioned, though, actual "war" is allowed only with Imperial approval. That's why the term "war" is used with great care. Clans may have "disagreements", "difficulties" and so on, and these may involve bloodshed--sometimes lots of bloodshed--but they only occasionally go to "war".

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11 hours ago, Bayushi Kec said:

That's funny.

I think Rokugan really needs Shadowlands forces as a common enemy. Ozymandias did it with alien/dr. Manhattan (depending on what your sorce is) and united the world. Maybe someone (hint* Scorpions ?) should let Shadowland forces into Rokugan, unite clans and finally bring peace to its people!

What is funny to me is that in fictional universes (Dune, L5R) the rulers encurage internal conflicts so that their subjects don't unite and overthrow them...

In history, kings struggled really hard to ban internal wars (and even tournaments) between nobles. Philippe IV the Fair achieved this and it was one of the highest points of his rule. When he died, his sons were not able to keep the law in function and the internal squabbles started again.

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Well, wars are one thing, but rivalries and conflicts are another (especially when bloodshed is kept to a minimum). I'm sure you could find plenty of rulers who encouraged conflicts between various factions so they wouldn't unite against them.

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1 hour ago, Doji Makoto said:

What is funny to me is that in fictional universes (Dune, L5R) the rulers encurage internal conflicts so that their subjects don't unite and overthrow them...

In history, kings struggled really hard to ban internal wars (and even tournaments) between nobles. Philippe IV the Fair achieved this and it was one of the highest points of his rule. When he died, his sons were not able to keep the law in function and the internal squabbles started again.

Well, I guess internal conflicts is less problematic when the loss of ressources it causes (mainly population) has no consequences (Dune's millions of worlds, Rokugan's ability to compensate for (hundred of?) thousands of death in just a few years or its ability to harvest/prevent famine even with most of the peasants at war or fields burned).

Sadly, our medieval countries didn't have the same abilities. :lol:

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28 minutes ago, Doji Makoto said:

What is funny to me is that in fictional universes (Dune, L5R) the rulers encurage internal conflicts so that their subjects don't unite and overthrow them...

In history, kings struggled really hard to ban internal wars (and even tournaments) between nobles. Philippe IV the Fair achieved this and it was one of the highest points of his rule. When he died, his sons were not able to keep the law in function and the internal squabbles started again.

You've encapsulated two differing schools of thought there. There were plenty of historical leaders who encouraged the perception of the external threat to keep their unruly subjects from gathering together and noticing they could possibly revolt, as well. Divide and rule is an option that weaker overlords can pursue; you have to have the ability to enforce the law (regarding internecine strife, as well as the normal 'courts') before you can create a peaceful realm without necessarily prosecuting conflict against an external threat. An overlord without their own military or moral force in sufficient quantity will struggle against united subjects, so must play them off against each other. Not that any of these approaches are exclusive with one another; you can promote discord between your vassals while using your power to maintain the rule of law, and prosecute external wars at the same time...

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1 hour ago, Doji Makoto said:

It probably also has something to do with external threats. You want your nobles to focus on external wars so they don't have time and reasons to go against you. Hard to do during long periods of peace.

North Korea hasn't been attacked in any material way since the Armistice, ditto modern-day Russia. They still manage to arrange to demonise the 'not we', to distract their population from the regime's shortcomings... With a good enough propaganda machine, there can always be an external threat. "We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia..."

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9 minutes ago, Battleruss said:

North Korea hasn't been attacked in any material way since the Armistice, ditto modern-day Russia. They still manage to arrange to demonise the 'not we', to distract their population from the regime's shortcomings... With a good enough propaganda machine, there can always be an external threat. "We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia..."

  True enough, but one significant difference is that the Nork and Russian regimes are the biggest military powers in their countries. At least fictionally, the Emperor of Rokugan is weaker than most (all?) of the clans. A better analogy might be French kings - Henry IV of "Paris vaut une messe" fame on to some of the late Louis's - XV and XVI especially. Louis XV was well known for either allowing or encouraging (depending on whether the biographer is on his side or not) division among his nobles and advisers. Now, even those who dislike him most don't think he encouraged the open warfare we supposedly get in Rokugan, but that's part of the fun of fiction, exaggerating historical examples. 

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3 hours ago, Battleruss said:

North Korea hasn't been attacked in any material way since the Armistice, ditto modern-day Russia. They still manage to arrange to demonise the 'not we', to distract their population from the regime's shortcomings... With a good enough propaganda machine, there can always be an external threat. "We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia..."

Well, I was speaking about medieval nobles, not modern masses of commoners.

And at least in Russia the government was practically overthrown some years ago.

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Also remember that peasants are in many cases utterly devoted to the Emperor as a god figure. "Blame the local government, deify and idealize the far away overlord" was a tactic used for many years in China and Japan. Emperor might not have the loyalty of the samurai forming clan armies, but I'm pretty sure the peasants would 8 times out of 10 side with the Imperial forces - out of religious indoctrination and out of spite towards their local lords who probably have been mistreating them for years. 

I also wouldn't blink an eye if some of the peasants revolts were aimed against the *Great Clan in question* but not against *the Emperor and the Empire itself*. 

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On 29/8/2017 at 1:13 PM, KerenRhys said:

Dune's millions of worlds, Rokugan's ability to compensate for (hundred of?) thousands of death in just a few years or its ability to harvest/prevent famine even with most of the peasants at war or fields burned).

Just as a note, in the Old5R, burning a rice field was one of the biggest crimes a clan could commit. You want to fight your neighbour clan's army? Ok with that. But don't you dare touch a single crop from the fields. All the rice in the Empre belong to the Emperor, the Clans merely collect them for Him, and are allowed to keep a part. The rest goes to the Imperial City (So basically, taxes, but worded in a more beautiful manner). So attacking a rice field and/or its farmers is the same as attacking the Emperor himself.

Now, about the topic at hand: The beautiful thing about Rokugan is that you need to justify every agression you make against other clan in front of the Emperor. So it can be seen as a fair claim. "The unicorn came and occupied this lands, which were Lion's lands before, so we are in our right to attack them!" -"Yeah, but the Unicorn claimed those lands as a part of an ancient agreement, and the Lion must honor it!" That's why battles are as often won in court as they are in the battlefield.

As long as there is not an all-out war between two clans, the Emperor will allow it.

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Also, out of curiousity, what would the Emperor do if he wanted to stop them, really?

His standing army is the Lion.  He can't order the Lion to stop the Lion from doing their Lion Thing.  The rest of his authority comes in the form of social pressure, so if loyalty to the clan is greater than loyalty to the Emperor, his rule falls apart once too many people are loyal to their clan rather than the Emperor.  So it is better if he doesn't do anything, and doesn't really demonstrate this weakness in his authority.

In AEG L5R, the purpose of one of the Imperial families was to keep the clans squabbling to keep the Imperials in power (Otomo).

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14 minutes ago, Mirith said:

Also, out of curiousity, what would the Emperor do if he wanted to stop them, really?

His standing army is the Lion.  He can't order the Lion to stop the Lion from doing their Lion Thing.  The rest of his authority comes in the form of social pressure, so if loyalty to the clan is greater than loyalty to the Emperor, his rule falls apart once too many people are loyal to their clan rather than the Emperor.  So it is better if he doesn't do anything, and doesn't really demonstrate this weakness in his authority.

In AEG L5R, the purpose of one of the Imperial families was to keep the clans squabbling to keep the Imperials in power (Otomo).

the Crane, Phoenix, and Scorpion derive much of their power and legitimacy from the 'imperial' system. So if the Lion went off their nut. These three would be first in line to do something about it. I'd add the Unicorn to the list. The only reason they didn't get pushed out of Rokugan is because the Crane vouched for them, and the emperor accepted that.

Edited by Kuni Katsuyoshi

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5 minutes ago, Mirith said:

Also, out of curiousity, what would the Emperor do if he wanted to stop them, really?

His standing army is the Lion.  He can't order the Lion to stop the Lion from doing their Lion Thing.  The rest of his authority comes in the form of social pressure, so if loyalty to the clan is greater than loyalty to the Emperor, his rule falls apart once too many people are loyal to their clan rather than the Emperor.  So it is better if he doesn't do anything, and doesn't really demonstrate this weakness in his authority.

In AEG L5R, the purpose of one of the Imperial families was to keep the clans squabbling to keep the Imperials in power (Otomo).

This is true to a point. Remember, though, that is a world in which the Emperor is LITERALLY descended from a divine figure, the Kami Hantei. When the Kami concluded their tournament to determine who among them would rule, they all (well, except for Fu Leng, but he was kinda tied up in Jigoku) acceded to Hantei as their Emperor. By subjugating themselves to him, they established the subjugation of their followers to him as well. The Emperor of Rokugan is generally accepted to an actual scion of the Celestial Heavens...there's nothing metaphorical or symbolic about it. So, if the Emperor decrees that hostilities between two clans--even if it's just border "skirmishes"--then they stop. If they don't, the Champions of those clans are guilty of what amounts to treason not just against the Emperor, but against the Kami and the Fortunes, of whom the Emperor is an embodiment. And for a people that accepts reincarnation in accordance with the Celestial Order as a thing, turning against the Emperor--and, by extension, the Heavens themselves--is not something to be taken lightly!

Which is not to say, of course, that they won't do it anyway. If you're familiar with the AEG story, then Hantei XVI, the Steel Chrysanthemum, was a paranoid schizophrenic who made the Empire so miserable that his own guards (and some clan samurai) finally killed him (we currently have no indication that FFG doesn't have this in their history of the setting, incidentally). Samurai--even Champions--are people, and can certainly turn against the Emperor, whether in a calculated way, or in a fit of passionate emotion. If this happens, then what can the Emperor do about it?

Well, he can declare the Champions of the Clans in question traitors, and expect their followers to dump them. Or, he can call upon the Imperial legions--an admittedly small army, by the standards of the Empire, but still formidable. Or he can even call upon the other clans to crush what amounts to a rebellion. So he has options. As to how effective these would be...that's a good question. But there ARE actual things he can do.

As you say, though, there are measures in place to try to prevent these things from happening the first place. The Otomo pretty much exist to destabilize the clans, and keep them that way, so they can never turn against the Emperor. The Scorpion Clan fills a similar role, as the Empire's "villains" (though they lost a lot of credibility in that regard during the whole Gozoku Conspiracy--again, something that happened in the AEG history and, at least until we know otherwise, presumably happened in the FFG history as well. For those not familiar, in the Empire's early history, the Crane, Phoenix and Scorpion conspired to turn the Emperor into a figurehead and run the Empire themselves. It didn't last long, but it's pretty much the reason the Otomo were given their job as foils for the clans.)

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As you say, the Emperor actually has more reason for authority (Literal Divinity) than say our real world, and it would take a lot to actually force a change, but its still something that while the emperor is 'divine' its not like he has significant direct special powers.  Its just the point of the difference between direct power vs granted power (I forget where I pulled this terminology from), where the Emperor really is just granted power, not because he can whoop everyone's butts.

Edited by Mirith

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9 minutes ago, Mirith said:

As you say, the Emperor actually has more reason for authority (Literal Divinity) than say our real world, and it would take a lot to actually force a change, but its still something that while the emperor is 'divine' its not like he has significant direct special powers.  Its just the point of the difference between direct power vs granted power (I forget where I pulled this terminology from), where the Emperor really is just granted power, not because he can whoop everyone's butts.

Well, yes, this is true. If the majority of the Empire, or all of it, turned against the Emperor, there really isn't much he could do to prevent his own downfall (see Hantei XVI). The only mitigation is that the Empire would be accepting the risk of the Celestial Heavens disfavoring the "miscreants", which is an admittedly indirect, but still pretty potent incentive to not depose the big guy. 

Of course, this isn't a bad thing. I think we actually WANT a setting in which the Emperor--along with everyone else--is vulnerable. If the Emperor could wave his hand and simply incinerate everyone who stood against him, then, well, so much for stories about the clans turning against the Throne, or doing anything else that he didn't like. That's a pretty severe constraint on storytelling.

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