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[New fiction]In The Garden of Lies

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46 minutes ago, Rawls said:

I hope that FFG never does this with the Promised Land sect. That is, I hope they never definitively show that their theology/philosophy is wrong and that there is no potential paradise in the afterlife for non-Samurai.

Orthodox Shinseism doesn't say you have to be a samurai to achieve enlightenment. In fact, quite a lot of monks were born heimin.

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I'm not inherently for or against either way on whether a particular philosophy is identified as 'wrong.' It depends on what sort of story you're trying to tell. Stories can be interesting without a lot of moral ambiguity, or moral ambiguity can be found in different places.

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On 9/7/2017 at 10:42 AM, suburbaknght said:

- Two-sword drawing in iaijutsu is still a thing apparently?  *sigh*  Physically impossible but never mind.

Yaaaas, so much this!
Easily one of my biggest pet peeves was L5R writers never bothered to work out exactly how Niten works in an iai duel (draw both swords when you know you're only using one? Are the Mirumoto *trying* to give every opponent a handicap? Are they really saying, "I'm so much better than you, even you Kakita, that drawing two swords won't slow me down enough to lose?" I don't buy it, never have, never will).
I'm sad to see that trend will continue. :(

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On 9/7/2017 at 10:46 AM, WHW said:

...and that Scorpion can see a win in a lose, and sometimes are even willing to lose on purpose (. hate that trope, way too overused) to achieve that secret win condition.

I think, over the years, that trope has been used so few times that you can count them on one hand and still have fingers left over. I think what happens is when it does happen, the playerbase has traditionally HUGELY blown it out of proportion.

Yes, Bayushi Ogoe threw a battle on purpose for devious political reasons. That doesn't in-turn make the entire Scorpion Clan Jazzy Jeff from the Fresh Prince ("All a part of my plan!"). :rolleyes::lol:

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1 hour ago, Kinzen said:

Orthodox Shinseism doesn't say you have to be a samurai to achieve enlightenment. In fact, quite a lot of monks were born heimin.

But only Samurai get to go to Yomi, no? Don't Heimin have to hope they get reincarnated as Samurai?

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9 minutes ago, Rawls said:

But only Samurai get to go to Yomi, no? Don't Heimin have to hope they get reincarnated as Samurai?

Becoming an ancestor in Yomi and achieving enlightenment are separate things. It's true that samurai are higher in the Celestial Order than heimin, and I don't know of any heimin in Yomi, but enlightenment is a different matter entirely. The heterodoxy of the Perfect Land Sect lies in how they say enlightenment is achieved (among other things), not in saying that it's available to everybody.

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I thought Promised Land was about paradise in the afterlife, not enlightenment. I imagine starving peasants are far more interested in the former than the latter. 

Also, Kami/Ancestor worship and Shinseism really are two different religions with different theologies. Rokugani simply choose to pretend they are compatible. 

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Of corpse you can do whatever you want with the concept. It's not like Kirichan will kirikiri you  for doing so. 

 

It's worth noting that in general, "paradise" and "afterlife" are not the endgame of Rokugani religion (in fact, majority of the afterlifes are the "you ****** up" scenarios). And yes, Shinseis thing is insanely egalitarian, which is probably why Akodo was really distrustful of it and considered it to be incompatible with the samurai social order. It was the Hantei who really fell in love with the Shinteism, made himself and all future emperors basically a Pope of Shinseism, and made it into a state religion.

Kind of good move, considering how devoted to the Little Teacher peasants can get...

 

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On 9/7/2017 at 2:03 AM, Laurence J Sinclair said:

Best fiction yet?  I think it is.

It's the first to be neither expository set-up nor "here's how that tournament went, here's the winning story."

On 9/7/2017 at 6:46 AM, WHW said:

- The religious segment was fun. You can see that Dragon person is really into it, and Hiroue is all like "TACTICAL RETREAT, ABORT, DAMAGE CONTROL, REGROOOOOOUP" :P.

I think a lot of conversations with the Dragon go that way...

 

Re: Kolat- They've always been selfish scumbags, no matter what they tell the rubes. They've also historically been a godawful story element, since they either do nothing and survive, or they try to do everything and get killed in massive heaps.

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19 hours ago, WHW said:

It was the Hantei who really fell in love with the Shinteism, made himself and all future emperors basically a Pope of Shinseism, and made it into a state religion.

Kind of good move, considering how devoted to the Little Teacher peasants can get...

It makes you question how honest Hantei was being regarding his passion for shinseism...

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On 9/7/2017 at 9:47 AM, TheItsyBitsySpider said:

No, the Kolat is about a bunch of black market crime bosses with brainwashed servants PRETENDING they are taking the Tao to its logical conclusion, when really they are just protecting their own personal best interests.

 

So they're Team Galactic, without the dazzling retro sci-fi costumes, but with the willingness to upend the universe itself for the alleged betterment of everyone.

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On 9/8/2017 at 8:35 PM, Rawls said:

But only Samurai get to go to Yomi, no? Don't Heimin have to hope they get reincarnated as Samurai?

Heimin can go to Yomi too, they just keep being heimin there. 

20 hours ago, Mirumoto Saito said:

It makes you question how honest Hantei was being regarding his passion for shinseism...

It was Hantei II who made shinseism a state religion. And he was throughoutly tutored by Togashi, so there you go. 

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On 9/7/2017 at 2:25 PM, WHW said:

Other thing I like about Hiroue - instead of focusing on him as a Stupid Sexy Scorpion who is just that attractive and compelling, the fiction portrays him as a great listener first and foremost. He isn't just brute forcing his way by spamming Seduction +50 rolls, so to speak; he also isn't commanding the Marty Stu Effect of Being Universally Attractive. He does his job by doing research, then analyzing, then setting the mark up, then damage controlling his mistake, and then realizing unpredicted and fleeting window of opportunity to gain some ground. 

*nod* This was my biggest takeaway from the fiction as well (because I'm not familiar enough with this period of  the previous lore - and too skeptical of its relevance - to delve too deeply into the implications of any of the namedrops being made here). This story does a good job of showing how skill-dependent the role of seducer actually is. 

This is also why Steve Argyle's more submissive, demure take on Bayushi Kachiko has never struck me as unfaithful to the character, despite its frequent criticism. Kachiko may be a dominant figure, as shown in all of her other visual depictions, but she is also a master seductress, and if she appears supple and vulnerable on a single card it is only the role she is playing for the sake of manipulating whoever her unseen target may be in that moment. Similarly, Kachiko stresses an image of elegance and refinement in her interactions with Doji Hotaru (who has now been confirmed as a deliberate victim of Kachiko's and not merely an extracurricular love interest), and it makes sense that the Crane Champion would be drawn to someone who carries herself this way. Only in Shoju's presence do we get to see the real Kachiko, if even then. I suspect the same is true of Yogo Hiroue, and hopefully we will see this come out more in his future scenes. Well, assuming the conclusion to this fiction doesn't kill him off prematurely, which L5R fans both new and old know is possible for even named characters (I'm looking at you, Hida Tomonatsu).

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The mask-behind-a-mask-ad-infinitum type characters frustrate/bore me. When a character is whatever her motives require but her motives are are totally opaque, what is there to really care about? I think this is a category of lazy villain writing. Basically, you have a problem in serial fiction where the villain has to lose but a villain who always loses isn't very threatening. So somewhere down the line, some lazy writer invented the concept of a villain who wants to lose because losing is all part of her master plan. Lose the battle but win the war muahahaha! Similarly, a character that is always deceiving everyone and never gets caught, or when she does get caught, it is because she wanted to get caught in order to perpetrate some further deception, it's just not very interesting, especially because it tends to rely on everyone else being dumber than her.

This portrayal of Yogo Hiroue is so much more interesting than the usual portrayal of Kachiko. I especially hate the idea that Kachiko is playing Hotaru because it makes Hotaru - a Crane Champion - seem like a "dumb jock" instead of a someone intensely aware of the tells in other people. I get it, Hotaru loves Kachiko so lets her guard down - but how did this begin? How did Kachiko worm her way into Hotaru's inner life? That's why I like this story about Hiroue at work: the outcome is uncertain, the methods are all risks. Kachiko's handiwork is just a fait accompli. Of course she pulled it off, she's super awesome, right? Yawn.

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18 hours ago, Ide Yoshiya said:

Similarly, Kachiko stresses an image of elegance and refinement in her interactions with Doji Hotaru (who has now been confirmed as a deliberate victim of Kachiko's and not merely an extracurricular love interest),...

While I am pretty sure everyone suspected this, has it been confirmed?  I clearly missed the confirmation.  Where did that appear?

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29 minutes ago, Yogo Gohei said:

While I am pretty sure everyone suspected this, has it been confirmed?  I clearly missed the confirmation.  Where did that appear?

There might be some reading between the lines, but it's there for sure. From "The World, A Stage":

The Phoenix are of little consequence,” Kachiko said, shrugging slightly, “and there will be no alliance permitted between the Crane and the Unicorn. Moreover, her clan’s loss of the Emerald Championship can be our gain. Your brother, Aramoro, would be an excellent candidate, I think.”

“Perhaps...but Kakita Yoshi is still the Imperial Chancellor. He will likely be most accommodating when Hotaru wishes to advance her clan’s agenda in the courts.”

“You can rest assured that you needn’t worry about Hotaru or, by extension, the Crane, my husband.”

Shoju looked down into the water, taking note of the certainty in Kachiko’s tone. After a brief pause to allow her to see he had noted it, he continued. 

 

 

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