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Bayushi Tsubaki

So is this another edition where low honor is mechanically punished?

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14 hours ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

That might be true for the ideal Scorpion, but recent fictions show powerful Scorpions that this is not true for. Don't try to "no true Scotsman" this since the two Scorpion who are letting their Ninjos control them are Aramoro (desire to be with Kachiko) and Kachiko (ambition) while Yojiro had a Giri (order from Kachiko to make Aramoro win) and Ninjo (desire to be the best a good Emerald Magistrate) conflict where the Ninjo won.

This entire game is a No True Scotsman. That's basically when bushido and samurai drama is.
(Also I was more talking mostly about Shosuro specifically for that post, but I said Scorpion in the line for some reason, so sorry for any confusion.)

I like your point, but Kachiko is the daimyo, she can do what she wants. If she lets her ninjo get way out of hand and has the clan attack the ocean because her uncle drown, then that's her thing. It's the Scorpion samurai's job to obey, obey, obey.

The Scorpion are neat. They're just real tough to grasp for new players. It's like bringing a soccer ball to a baseball game. If you're clever you can still figure out score somehow, but you should definitely understand baseball before you try or everyone is just going to send you home.
It's like how everyone who has never played DnD wants to play an evil necromancer or dark elf assassin or something. It is definitely doable but most of the time it's like "That doesn't really fit here, and it's going to be pretty tough to not have you guys killing each other."
Especially if the Scorpion is actually plotting against the other characters behind their backs. You need some mature-*** players to not get mad and go along with it like they know nothing in game.


 

Edited by GhostSanta

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26 minutes ago, GhostSanta said:

This entire game is a No True Scotsman. That's basically when bushido and samurai drama is.
(Also I was more talking mostly about Shosuro specifically for that post, but I said Scorpion in the line for some reason, so sorry for any confusion.)

I like your point, but Kachiko is the daimyo, she can do what she wants. If she lets her ninjo get way out of hand and has the clan attack the ocean because her uncle drown, then that's her thing. It's the Scorpion samurai's job to obey, obey, obey.

The Scorpion are neat. They're just real tough to grasp for new players. It's like bringing a soccer ball to a baseball game. If you're clever you can still figure out score somehow, but you should definitely understand baseball before you try or everyone is just going to send you home.
It's like how everyone who has never played DnD wants to play an evil necromancer or dark elf assassin or something. It is definitely doable but most of the time it's like "That doesn't really fit here, and it's going to be pretty tough to not have you guys killing each other."
Especially if the Scorpion is actually plotting against the other characters behind their backs. You need some mature-*** players to not get mad and go along with it like they know nothing in game.


 

Why would every Scorpion be actively plotting against the other PCs? Is it somehow mandatory for Scorpion PCs to have standing orders to betray every other PC first chance they get? Unless Duty tells them so, they have no reason to stab the other samurai who are ostensibly helping him win honor and glory (which is typically the consequence of adventuring through a module together) in the back.

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7 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Why would every Scorpion be actively plotting against the other PCs? Is it somehow mandatory for Scorpion PCs to have standing orders to betray every other PC first chance they get? Unless Duty tells them so, they have no reason to stab the other samurai who are ostensibly helping him win honor and glory (which is typically the consequence of adventuring through a module together) in the back.

That's a crazy extrapolation from the word 'if'

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12 minutes ago, GhostSanta said:

That's a crazy extrapolation from the word 'if'

The point is that it doesn’t have to be so überdifficult to play a Scorpion. “Play a regular samurai except for placing duty above all else, including your honor” is not the roleplaying equivalent of brain surgery. Especially compared to figuring our how to play a regular samurai in Rokugan in the first place. That’s the real mountain to climb for new players, the extra specifics concerning clan, family and school are merely a small molehill.

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7 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

The point is that it doesn’t have to be so überdifficult to play a Scorpion. “Play a regular samurai except for placing duty above all else, including your honor” is not the roleplaying equivalent of brain surgery. Especially compared to figuring our how to play a regular samurai in Rokugan in the first place. That’s the real mountain to climb for new players, the extra specifics concerning clan, family and school are merely a small molehill.

The hardest part of the setting for most people I've run for (over 20 now - almost a statistically valid sample) has been understanding Sincerity. 

The western equivalent is the "How are you? I'm Fine." rote. You're socially expected to say, "I'm fine, thank you, and you?" It's becoming less and less common, but it's still a broad social expectation to lie.

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21 minutes ago, AK_Aramis said:

The hardest part of the setting for most people I've run for (over 20 now - almost a statistically valid sample) has been understanding Sincerity. 

The western equivalent is the "How are you? I'm Fine." rote. You're socially expected to say, "I'm fine, thank you, and you?" It's becoming less and less common, but it's still a broad social expectation to lie.

Sincerity is a big one. Truth in general, really. Might (status) makes right usually gets through quickly enough though.

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To be fair on the Scorpion, they are best when used as an example of how the system of Bushido can be abused and pushed outside its functioning capacities.

My best example came from a game I was GMing. Scorpion PC, in his backstory, worked as a premiere scout and assassin for a Scorpion general who had become the Scorpion Clan Champion during a war with the Lion Clan. PC was currently working as a yojimbo for an Emerald Magistrate, who was another PC. During this war, the Lion Clan sent a pair of emissaries to the Scorpion Clan Champion, charging the Magistrate PC with, explicitly, "see them to the Scorpion Clan Champion safely" (the Lion Clan knew the likelihood of outcomes, and did not want to place the Magistrate in a position where she was obligated to their safety AFTER that point).

In response to the emissaries' offered terms of surrender to the Scorpion Clan, which were, frankly, insulting, the Scorpion Clan Champion ordered the emissaries executed by his henchman present, and the Scorpion PC. The Scorpion PC, being as he was just ordered by his Clan Champion, did so.

This led to the wonderful moment of realization by the entire table that, if the Magistrate said ANYTHING, the Scorpion PC's life would be forfeit. Either he had to kill himself for disobeying his Champion or kill himself for disobeying his Magistrate. The Magistrate and the other yoriki had to stand there, while their friend murdered an emissary in a courtroom, if they wanted him to live, because the highest ranking man in the room was a lord without honor, but Bushido demanded him obeyed.

In response to the original query, mechanically, low Honor was never punished that I can think of, save through a few mechanics which ran off the difference between your Honor and your opponent's Honor, and the denial of the Test of Honor and "Add your Honor to your rolls against Fear, Seduction, etc". 

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23 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

That's not how I interpreted the Scorpion clan's material in 1E, 2E, nor 3E. It's too unsubtle an approach to match the clan.

Note the use of the word "need" back there. It's an important one, and doesn't brook with stupidity.

The Scorpion are commonly careful to follow Bushido in the same way they follow etiquette - so other clans have nothing to use against them.

23 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

None of the virtues are anathema to the Scorpion.

I don't believe I said they were equivalent to anathema. There's no point at which the Scorpion in general will recoil from any required part of following Bushido. They simply do not appreciate its' guidance, and will break the code as necessary to succeed. If this were not the case, the Scorpion would not be sitting around 1.5 - 2.5 honour average over the span of four editions.

None of your virtuous examples deny that a Scorpion would break them in a heartbeat should they further a cause or prove easier to manage.

On 12/9/2017 at 9:59 PM, BitRunr said:

Anyone born Scorpion that actually adheres to Bushido properly ...

Merely outwardly upholding Bushido while you wait to break or undermine the code's tenets is unlike truly following the code, heart and soul. Only one of these can be called holding a tenet in esteem.

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14 hours ago, AK_Aramis said:

The hardest part of the setting for most people I've run for (over 20 now - almost a statistically valid sample) has been understanding Sincerity. 

The western equivalent is the "How are you? I'm Fine." rote. You're socially expected to say, "I'm fine, thank you, and you?" It's becoming less and less common, but it's still a broad social expectation to lie.

Especially since it's also socially awkward to answer honestly if you know or suspect the answer will upset the listener. Hence the important courtier's skill even today, of being able to speak openly, entirely honestly, and convincingly, without actually saying anything, without the listener noticing the fact.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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On 12/9/2017 at 0:58 AM, BitRunr said:

 Why should the Shosuro Infiltrator who does dastardly things only on behalf of their clan actually be honourable unless they actually behave honourably?

Well to me the advantage spoke to the shosuro considering themselves honorable for placing duty above their own personal feelings.  Kind of like the alfred/batman "he's <I>not</i> being the hero" discussion from Dark Knight.  Though I will fully admit, that sort of logic doesn't necessary work well in a setting where honor is supposed to be some objective detectable quality of the universe. Those sorts of advantages make honor more subjective.  But in any event, as I said in my original post, one of the reasons I liked it was because it wasn't as mechanically bland as many techniques; it added flavor and flexibility, rather than just making them mechanically slightly better at some roll.

 

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On 12/10/2017 at 7:51 AM, nameless ronin said:

Perhaps I never understood the subtleties, but for me the Scorpion consider all aspects of bushido important. All of them. Just like the other clans - not individuals - do. For the Scorpion however, Duty outweighs all else if there is a conflict between tenets.

The flavor in the callout sections of pages 26-29 seems to me to support the notion that each of the clans have particular aspects of bushido that they value more than others. Granted the scorps may be a more extreme case since they are the 'underhand,' however my original point (and i didn't mean to start a big argument) was that I like the concept of advantages that give the characters flexibility on how they interpret and obey the tenets of bushido, and give the clans, families, or school distinctiveness by changing what they emphasize as values rather than making clans/familiies/schools distinctive via the "I get an extra die with swords, you get it with fists" approach.  That's okay with some schools (i.e., the kakita should be mechanically good at dueling), but it gets boring pretty rapidly. I'd rather have advantages that encourage me to play differently rather than ones that let me reroll a die on my attack, for instance.

Edited by easl

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On 12/11/2017 at 6:17 AM, BitRunr said:

Merely outwardly upholding Bushido while you wait to break or undermine the code's tenets is unlike truly following the code, heart and soul. Only one of these can be called holding a tenet in esteem.

And yet mechanically, honor scores measure character acts, not inner states of belief. That may be a necessity for fair game play, but it means the scorpion who  is simply "playing along" with great courtesy in the face of adversity will see their honor score go up just as much as a lion who is being courteous in the face of adversity because he deeply believes its the right way to act.

In terms of whether scorpions are too hard or not for beginner players, I think the real determining factor is the sort of game the group wants to play.  Just as some groups might really love intrigue-heavy games while others prefer more 'how many dice does I get' combat games, some groups are going to like 'ooh, what's that scorpion got up his sleeve' hidden plots while other groups won't. Scorpions can play in either; in the latter, the clan's flavor may come out more in terms of plot hooks that drag the entire group in, rather than coming out as within-party conflicts or betrayals.

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4 minutes ago, easl said:

it means the scorpion who  is simply "playing along" with great courtesy in the face of adversity will see their honor score go up

Not really how it works if they're using false courtesy, either for advantage or as they wait for the opportunity to gain advantage.

At best, when your honour is already 0-2 ranks, you won't see further drops from this, but for anyone that actually follows the guidance of Bushido (ie; rank 3-6) it's a drop, and for anyone that seriously adheres to Bushido (rank 7-10) it's a full rank loss.

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9 hours ago, BitRunr said:

Not really how it works if they're using false courtesy, either for advantage or as they wait for the opportunity to gain advantage.

At best, when your honour is already 0-2 ranks, you won't see further drops from this, but for anyone that actually follows the guidance of Bushido (ie; rank 3-6) it's a drop, and for anyone that seriously adheres to Bushido (rank 7-10) it's a full rank loss.

Yes, you have to reward (or penalize) the actions based on intent. You can gain Glory for faking Honor well enough to impress your lord, but you can’t fake your way into gaining Honor ranks that way.

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