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Archlyte

Byzantine Sickness

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My group is getting ready to play a game out of the Beta but I'm the only one who played the old RPG and that was a long time ago so I have forgotten a lot. The other players are talking about owning land and establishments and as I recall this isn't something that Samurai in this game have. I know the bit about handling money, but property stuff is less clear to me, what is the story here? Would the PC's have land or manor like European knights? Rokugan is it's own thing so I thought I would ask here. Thanks for any guidance. 

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In prior editions, the Gentry advantage granted lands (and the title Gokenin).

Owning establishments would be a violation of the social separation under the celestial hierarchy, where merchants are the lowest of the "half-people".... and all PCs available are samurai.

The hierarchy:

  • Kuge - Royals/Nobles
  • Buke 
    • Samurai
    • Ji-Samurai
  • Heimin ("Half-people")
    • Ji-Samurai (including Rōnin)
    • Farmers
    • Artisans
    • Merchants
  • Hinin ("non-people")
    • Geisha,
    • other entertainers
    • Eta
    • Criminals, Ninja

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While I do actually think economics and land owning is an important and interesting part of my Rokugan, I believe it's past the scope of this Beta. As @AK_Aramis said, basics of land owning mechanics came from advantages in core book and advanced from Way of the Daimyo and at the moment those options are lacking. Just tell your folks they are young retainer in service of their lord. Not in a position yet to hold such responsibilities.  

Edited by Nitenman

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4 minutes ago, Nitenman said:

basics of land owning mechanics came from advantages and at the moment those options are lacking

Extrapolating from the heritage table in the beta, my current guess is that the new game will handle estates as equipment.

Incidentally, that table already allows you to run a character with land holdings under the beta rules - it is just that there are no further mechanics attached to it yet, other than you being able to start with it (and select qualities for it, of which no estate-specific ones are available as of yet).

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So the options are lacking indeed. If it's just for flavor, it ain't really interesting, but it does add flavor. Maybe need to be combined with an advantage (eventually custom) reflecting wealth (or poverty, not every land is rich, for example Suzume lands). But then you have to have enough income to hire, feed and eventually train retainers. That's the basis of feudalism.

As a new GM with inexperienced folks, better stay clear of this until beta address it with rules. Makes more sense to be awarded lands at higher ranks as well. 

Playing Sim Rokugan is fun, but it needs clear rules. Probably a bother to homebrew right now with what's available in the beta. 

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Could have them work for a lord who owns some small land. Let's you run similar stories, helps define their lord (if mixed clans have him be some imperial) and keeps you in control of anything that would need mechanics.

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   If they want to manage land later in the game, tell them they can build to that, but for right now, it's going to be tough, for a lot of reasons ("We're new to the game, it's still in Beta, we're missing rules for a lot of things, and it's complicated").

   That said, I heartily recommended the group coming up with a small stronghold that they're all tied to.  What's its name, which clan controls it? There should be a village nearby, what do they produce?  Some of the PCs could be the children of the local lord, while others might represent interests of other clans.  While samurai aren't supposed to engage in commerce, they often extend their "protection" to merchant ventures.

  Let's say, for example that the group has two Lions, a Scorpion and a Dragon.  One Lion might be the eldest daughter of the Lord of the stronghold.  The other might be her loyal yojimbo.  The Dragon might be an ambassador to the lord, acting as his "spiritual advisor."  The Scorpion clan might own the sake works in the village, due to some treaty and legal chicanery in years past, and the Scorpion PC is there to oversee the quality (and make sure the Lion don't simply take it over).

  Are some of these kind of a stretch?  Sure, but it gives all the characters a place in the world, and reasons to work together.  There might be tension between the Scorpion and the Lion lord, but that doesn't mean there can't be a genuine friendship between the PCs.  What's more, if the Crane start making suspicious movements toward the region, all the characters would have good reason to oppose such aggression.

   It's a good way to have some local, small-scale conflicts and rivalries.  If and when you want to incorporate domain-management rules, you can introduce them bit by bit, as the lord hands off more of his duties to his children (because of course they need to learn, not because he may be dying. That's just a minor cough).

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