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Manic Modron

Metaplot handling expectations

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I've been a fan of the RPG for some time.  I ran a pretty fun campaign with City of Lies that wound up ending in the Tomb of Iuchiban.  I was never into the card game so much, so I don't know the particulars of how the card game affected the RPG, but I do like how the first big FFG tournament handled things.

For those who have more knowledge of how the previous card games affected the metaplot of the game and who have seen or heard of how FFG is doing it now, an overview might help some of us have a better idea of what to expect out of major events in the new timeline.

Thank you all for those who participate!

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I would bet you want to bank more on the people who know what's going on with the new tournaments than the AEG method. Metaplot handling is going ot be much different now than it used to be.

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in Old5r, the level of player interaction became very intense. players ended up being able to name personalities, decide which personalities would fill which positions in the empire every year (one of my personal least favorite things, as it made no sense for something like the emerald champion to churn that frequently), all the way up to things like which clan would exist at the end of a mega-tournament (except not? they kind of headfaked everyone on that one, as well as the next big mega-tournament. its a whole thing). the short version is AEG gave the players an ENORMOUS amount of control of the storyline, which was AMAZING but also led to a fair bit of chaos in the story. 

its WAYYYYY too early to know if thats the fate of FFG's l5r, as so far we've only had two kinds of player interaction, one storyline one mechanical. the storyline vote was as follows:

in the story Smokeless Fire (pdf link) it was setup that the phoenix clan had become suspicious of the unicorn's use of a gaijin magic called meishodo. this existed in the old story but its pretty apparent from the clues in this story and the unicorn clan fiction that its functioning somewhat differently now. the option was given in the tournament to all those who went undefeated on the first day to vote if they wanted the emperor to ban the magic, or allow it with the provision that the unicorn teach it to his personal guards, the seppun. this is different in so much as its a choice made by a vote amongst the top players, and its an A or B choice. they voted to allow the magic. the story that resulted is in the fiction a most suitable teacher. the name of the fiction is a reference to the hostage the seppun demand at the end. you can learn a bit about who she was in the old story here and maybe understand why her appearance is "suitable"

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The RPG supplements used the CCG story as a backdrop, but they usually explored specific aspects in more depth. For instance City of Lies and Tomb of Iuchiban were both cards in the CCG, but never much more than that. The characters were all there, each new edition would catch the RPG story up to the CCG. There were a few RPG books dedicated to playing specific settings or times as well (I remember the Clan War book was one of my favorites).  

AEG had their hands tied for a while with the story (up through Spirit Wars). WotC controlled the CCG and the story, so AEG had to work with whatever they came up with.

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The amount of player influence early in the game was good.  The creators had a clear storyline planned, and allowed the results of tournaments to determine how small events shifted. This culminated eventually in the Day of Thunder tournament, which resulted in a Lion Clan player's victory and Toturi being named the new Emperor.

 It definitely got out of control later in the game, and was part of the reason why I and most players in my area slowly drifted out of L5R. Will be interesting to see how or if FFG allows players to influence the course of their game.  Turning the clock back on the setting to just before its most popular era (and thus containing many of the most popular and classic personalities) is a double-edged sword.  On the up-side, you will get the most out of the returning player-base.  On the downside, those players already have expectations for what the story looks like.  Drastically re-writing it could put a lot of people off.  The original L5R story is pretty well-liked, and it hinges on a lot of characters doing very specific things. Even some of the minor characters gained a large amount of affection just based on their popularity in the card game itself.

I'm going to guess that FFG doesn't mess with the story too drastically. I'd guess they'll have considered the classic Ian Malcom dilemma of what you could versus what you should.

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I'm actually kinda hoping that FFG scales back on the metaplot.

Or at the very least, they reduce the amount of influence the card game tournaments have on it.  Little things like naming or introducing new major personalities for the setting as a prize is one thing, but using tournament results to direct the overall storyline caused way too many problems in the AEG days, to a point where it was fairly common for L5R GMs to say "anything after the ascension of Toturi I to the throne is being ignored" for just how outlandish and frankly cartoony it got.

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Ooh! Like that time that Toturi I went and disappeared while leaving his FOUR CHILDREN without telling anyone who was supposed to be the next Emperor? (You had ONE Job, man.)

Or the time that all four said children decided to go and beat up a dark god, thus putting their entire line in immediate danger to possibly leave the Empire without a royal family AGAIN? (Seriously, ONE job.)

Or the part where the second emperor (but really the third one, but really the second one?) got himself booted out of the positions by the heavens themselves so they could promote an office worker/ detective to the Imperial Throne?

Super classy. :P

 

But yeah, that is all obviously a result of weird tournament player decisions when AEG didn't really know how to reign in their own prizes.

#HanteisgonnaHan

Edited by Aedo
Errant comma

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11 hours ago, Aedo said:

Ooh! Like that time that Toturi I went and disappeared while leaving his FOUR CHILDREN without telling anyone who was supposed to be the next Emperor? (You had ONE Job, man.)

This.  He didn't just sneak off with his geisha to a seaside resort, either.  He chris-traeger-literally.jpg went to Heck (because apparently the other word gets censored) to "seek enlightenment."  

Pretty ambitious there, how did that work out for you? anigif_enhanced-12493-1440799036-6.gif

Edited by The Grand Falloon

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 Toturi is the Ned Stark of L5R. He wanted the ... illegitimate (since words get censored) son to win, but no Kaede just had to be a jerk about it (like some other K named lady). And Naseru wasn't dethroned, he sacrificed himself heroically! he had an heir, Chags and the Kolat didn't like that he had an Heir.

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Ok, I checked, and you are right. He was not dethroned. He left in the middle of his tenure. Again without telling anyone, and without saying that there should be like a chancellor, or regent, or an heir. Then he also went galavanting off into danger (I presume there were musical numbers) and when he did die he whispered a clue to his buddy about how to figure out who the next Emperor would be, instead of...say, announcing his heir as loudly as possible to anyone within hearing. But that guy also died and apparently Toturi III had no kids to take up the mantle of Emperor?

I mean, even Iweko (and there is a LOT of stuff to dislike about Iweko, not the least of which is her hat) had three kids with two on deck for her job for when she got bored of being empress.

We have a common joke that the real problem with the throne of Rokugan (and this applies to every storied character, from the last Hantei to the last Iweko) that once you sit down on it, no matter how awesome you were before, you immediately become some kind of stupid person who can't handle the basic job of looking after an empire that already has a system set up to basically run itself. Somebody's always gotta screw it up.

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Naseru was following Tradition!!!!! That's the way things go in rokugan! no toturi emperor ever clearly decided an heir! it's like all hantei marry a doji! if you break from tradition you're little better than the monsters of the shadowlands! :P

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2 hours ago, llamaman88 said:

Naseru was following Tradition!!!!! That's the way things go in rokugan! no toturi emperor ever clearly decided an heir! it's like all hantei marry a doji! if you break from tradition you're little better than the monsters of the shadowlands! :P

I'll concede that point. You have won the day, sir.

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I mean... other than wrestling a cat for it, that was a tasty burger.

But really, I do hope the fan interaction with the story is measured. I can see where a ton of plots went crazy because of giving too much power to us (grumbles about the rain of blood). I really liked how the first tournament went down. Another thing I hope is that the cycles can take place at similar times, story wise, so that it's several crazy things going on at once, not just 3 decades of insanity.

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Reading this discussion brings back fond memories of all the stories, characters, and events that came out of aeg's L5R run. 

I only hope that regardless of how FF decides to go forward with the plot of the card game and hopefully the RPG as well that it feels as Alive as we remember.

Also putting the Mantis clan back into its proper seat as a Great Clan.

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@Shiba Rana, why do you think the Mantis should be a Great Clan? I'm seriously, genuinely asking. I want to know your opinion. I'm not trying to say that your argument is invalid.

As a matter of personal taste (and therefore not as something I can stand behind as a moral principle of the setting), I think the Mantis were really out of their element as a Great Clan. I thought that as a Minor Clan, they were THE best minor clan and a great story rallying point for so many neat things to happen that upset the system. They were the rebels that did what they wanted despite constant pressure from their betters (and yes, because of the way the Celestial Order does things, we can make an actual argument for objectively better) and couldn't be stopped because they broke through the lines of rules to get stuff done.  They were always bucking to become something great and they carved out their own path in the world.

"Hey, Yoritomo, you seem like a stand-up guy. Wanna be the emperor?"

"Nah. I'm good."

And then, when they become a Great Clan, it all kind of falls apart. I mean, they're still trying to be the rebels without a cause but because they're sitting at the big kid table now, it's kind of hard to buy. It's a lot of trying to **** the Man when you are the Man. And then this whole thing happens where they become the home for lost puppies for all the other minor clans and then the story team can't really decide what to do with them as far as roles in the empire so they just start stealing a piece of every one else's. Two weapons, eh, Mr. Dragon? I'll take some of that. Exploring beyond the borders of Rokugan as per the Divine Mandate of Lady Shinjo? Yoink. Scoprion-esque disregard for social manners? F you, man! Being Rich like the Crane? I'll take two. The Color Green? Yes, indeed, sir. So then they just got kind of watered down to being really piratey pirates in a Japanese setting. But also, archers, animal shugenja, fire worshippers, and money grubbing merchants. It was really a mixed bag.

Now a lot of this seems to have been a result of story writing by tournament result, which seems to be the agreed condemnable action theme of this thread. I just wish...I don't even know. I wish they were significantly different some how that more logically followed from the actions of Yoritomo and the spirit of Kaimetsu-Uo. And that's probably one of the bigger weaknesses of my argument, is that I don't really have a solution that I think would satisfy anyone, even me.

Anyway, best Minor Clan, second worst Great Clan. (I've got my eye on you, Daigotsu!)

But seriously, I do want to hear your reasoning. I'm willing to be totally wrong about this. I can delve further into what I like about the Mantis and what I would potentially like to see in the Mantis, if you like.

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You bring up some good points Aedo and im eager to discuss this with you.

I've GMd several 4th edition games in my time, falling in love with the setting during my own 1st experience playing this very character Shiba Rana.

They have most all taken place in the rokugani modern era for me thats 1169 forward right at the end of toturi III reign do as you can see ove never known a rokugan without the mantis.

They easily have claim to the great clan status by their founder being a child of a fortune and a direct lineage to Hida and the Thunder Dragon, the latter of which took up shelter in their own clan lands after freeing her spot in heavens for the mantis.

As far as theur originality goes in filling a role they are the only clan with a truely capable navy, and spiritualy i feel represent the essence of thunder aka the heroics and spark of humanity the most since they are the only great clan that earned and built their own place in the empire rather than came into by the laurels of their founding kami.

Sorry about the grammar. Writing this by phone ^^;

Edited by Shiba Rana
Grammar

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agree with Aedo, Mantis shouldn't be again a Mary Sue great clan. They should stay a powerful minor clan, and the Tsuruchi, Moshi and Kitsune should stay independent, despite the three man alliance.

Mantis low level allows to create atypical characters who are still Samurai, with a twist. Like Okinawa/ryuku islands for Japan

Edited by Nitenman

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I can see how they lost a bit of coolness from becoming a great clan. Maybe a compromise would be to make the Mantis one of the biggest contributors to the minor clan alliance this time around. Give the awesome flavor the Mantis, Wasp, Fox and Centipede brought as a Great Clan to the rather bland MCA. 

Cuz seriously once the Fox finally joined up with the Mantis the minor clans weren't nearly as cool.

Make the 3 man Alliance and Yoritomo's alliance the precursor to the minor clans mattering. Could even make them a faction in the LCG and future games.

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20 hours ago, Shiba Rana said:

so as you can see I've never known a rokugan without the mantis.

Spiritually I feel represent the essence of thunder aka the heroics and spark of humanity the most since they are the only great clan that earned and built their own place in the empire rather than came into by the laurels of their founding kami.

@Shiba Rana I think these are your two best points, and are the ones I will address first. I think they're all pretty good, but these are the cream of the crop. Don't worry about your phone posts. I know how those go. I think you did pretty well in making yourself understood despite the presence of baleful autocorrect.

To your first point, that informs a lot of how you see Rokugan, and informs a lot of how I see Rokugan, and it tells me a lot about where you're coming from. We all came to L5R at different points in story development and that is probably the era we are all most comfortable with. It will be hard for any of us to overcome the biases that come with when we came into L5R. Like many people who started playing the RPG in 1st Edition, it was strange to seer the Mantis become a Great Clan and my knee jerk reaction was that they didn't deserve it and that they were upsetting a carefully balanced environment that I enjoyed. Obvioulsy this was not actually the case because the environment was never carefully balanced and the game seems to have gone pretty well despite the changes, but it was my first feeling. I have worked hard to try and overcome that. I'm not sure I've entirely succeeded  but I'm still working to be fair to everyone. I can understand how when the game changes and suddenly, something you are familiar with gets wiped away it can be jarring at best.

Your second argument is actually the single best argument I've ever heard for why the Mantis deserve great clan status. It really fits the theme of "we're going to make our own destiny" for the Mantis origins and Yoritomo's bold and hard headed approach. That said, I think there are probably some ways to make the Mantis more consistent with that theme than making them a gathering house for all the minor clans. As Nitenman noted, it kind of gives them a  Mary Sue demeanor. For starters, you would think that if the Mantis really did that and found a way to force the Heavens into reorganizing for them, that the Kolat would suddenly pour all their hopes and dreams into the Mantis, as opposed to trying to sneak around and get one upped when Lady Shinjo reincarnates and does her purge. Also, the idea that mortal man can basically break ranks entirely and shove his way into the samurai caste would make the Mantis a major rallying point for any Ronin uprising in Rokugan and the Mantis would be flooded with requests to swear fealty. That is going to be an interesting definition point right there for the new clan. There's going to be a three way split between the traditional strong-arm tactic nobility which traces its proud roots back to Kaimetsu-uo, the aspiring newcomers who are trying to show that they can be absolute paragons of Bushido, and the hangers on who are trying to cash in on free food an fancy clothes. I kind of like the feel of the middle group. I like to imagine that they could (not necessarily would, but certainly it is a possibility) form a school or order around a sort of knight errant theme. Mantis paladins on are encouraged to go on Musha Shugyo aroudn the empire and spread the good name of the Mantis and then bring back what they have learned about the virtues of Bushido and the happenings of the empire. All with that special Mantis flair of cinematics and being a little rough around the edges.

Just spit balling.

@Nitenman What? A small set of island separated from the main empire and to the warm watered south where there are tropical locales and volcanoes inhabited by samurai who can make their own mini-empire governed by the same rules but with a distinctly laid back feel because there's tons of fish and goats everywhere supported by the warm weather which sometimes devolves into super nasty storms that lead the samurai to build concrete houses, and also pineapples? Get out of town. The Mantis would never in a million years fall into anything like that on the islands of Spice and Silk. Unless...

Yes, you have stumbled onto my dream interpretation of the Mantis Clan. Wild Limes, Bitter Melon, and Lion Dogs for everyone! (I may or may not have lived on Okinawa for a while. >.>)

Get out of my head.

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29 minutes ago, llamaman88 said:

I can see how they lost a bit of coolness from becoming a great clan. Maybe a compromise would be to make the Mantis one of the biggest contributors to the minor clan alliance this time around. Give the awesome flavor the Mantis, Wasp, Fox and Centipede brought as a Great Clan to the rather bland MCA. 

Cuz seriously once the Fox finally joined up with the Mantis the minor clans weren't nearly as cool.

Make the 3 man Alliance and Yoritomo's alliance the precursor to the minor clans mattering. Could even make them a faction in the LCG and future games.

Agree. Agree. And, mostly agree.

Good on you @llamaman88. I'm not sure about more LCG factions as that made the AEG CCg kind of wonky sometimes, but seriously, important minor clans sounds like a huge win.

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