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Scorpion bushi (or lack there of)

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I just finished the Whispers of Shadow and Steel novel and I was wondering something, but before I continue Spoiler!!!!

 

So we learn in that novel that Bayushi Aramoro, One of the most exposed scorpion bushi in the new canon of FFG was trained in ninjutsu and would have probably became a shinobi like his friend if he had not been from more noble blood. So do you think it was made on purpose? That in fantasy flight new canon scorpion bushi are just schemers with martial training or ninjas with katana and armor or do you think we will see a more traditional bushi school ?

 

 

 

Edited by vilainn6

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54 minutes ago, vilainn6 said:

I just finished the Whispers of Shadow and Steel novel and I was wondering something...

SPOILERS SPOILERS!!!!!  from Whispers of Shadow and Steel.

Not sure Aramoro was being honest in that conversation with Yojiro (why should he?). Prolly only told Yojiro part of the truth. I mean. He IS a Shinobi, right? He is probably even shadow branded aswell... Unless they decided to make him a bushi in this edition (and that would be lame imho). Tbh I think they have treated Aramoro terribly in this reboot. He went from being a cunning, shadowy figure that was instrumental in having the Scorpion return from their exile to.... cutting fruit in front of the imperial court and getting mocked by Toturi (Tournament of the Emerald Champion) and acting like a spoiled child and a bully (A Simple Test fiction).

What really bothered me from the novel was the students (Aoi and Takao) cooperating with Yojiro in the end... Aoi "Yes... I will sacrifice for Aramoro" Wtf? You were trained and raised out of the Clan Schools... You are not even samurai... And Aramoro killed your sensei...??? Makes absolutely no sense. 

I like the Sword and the Spirits a lot more, and I dont specially fancy the Phoenix clan.

 

 

Edited by Shosur0

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On 10/17/2018 at 2:50 PM, Wyrmdog said:

So my first shot at making a test Scorpion Bushi using the Manipulator shook out as follows...

Techniques: All Shuji, didn't pay tons of attention.

It's serviceable, but it also fails to capture any stand-out feel for the speed and duplicitous fighting style of the earlier edition Bayushi bushi characters...

There's a number of shuji that can give you that feel. Feigned Opening, Sensational Distraction, Fanning the Flames, Slippery Maneuvers, Ebb and Flow, and All Arts are One are all combat-focused techniques and are IMO decent 'sneaky scorpion bushi' choices. 

I'm in the "want a Bayushi bushi school" camp, but to be honest, what FFG has done in breaking down the barriers between past edition bushi and courtier schools is a really good thematic fit for the Bayushi.  I always kind of envisioned them as flexible jacks-of-all-trades, and the ability to build a school which functions as both is perfect for them. All IMO, of course.  Same thing to a lesser extent with the shosuro; it's much easier to 'hide in plain sight' when your infiltrator can grab a bunch of actual bushi and courtier techniques.

Edited by easl

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On 10/11/2018 at 11:46 PM, GM81 Protocol Droid said:

Despite being a courtier, the Shosuro Infiltrator is a fairly effective warrior based on trickery and poison.

The Bayushi Manipulator do gain enough combat capability in their curriculum to not fall behind in gaining rank when picking up combat skills. Their mastery ability can be crazy in combat if an opponent falls for it. I imagine we will see more kata that create scheme actions, which will enable their school ability as well. The classic Scorpion Feint (Pincers and Tails) would make a great Scorpion only kata that is a scheme action.

On 10/12/2018 at 9:12 AM, KveldUlfr said:

The Infiltrator has some crazy good potential even for Duels. 

 

This. The Shosuro school is the warrior school in the core book for Scorpion. Aside from having full access to kata they are the only Scorpion school to start with a daisho. The school says you prefer to avoid straight-up fights, but you can still win them. You're just even better at backstabbing.

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Well sure, Infiltrators can parade as bushi - that’s what they usually do in broad daylight. It may even work mechanically, but the bulk of the military-oriented Scorpions hail from the Bayushi bushi school. Most Scorpion bushi never get even close to using Ninjutsu techniques. It is a big thematic gap.

Nobody would suggest that since Kakita bushi have access to Shuji and are overall well educated, we don’t need to have Crane courtiers in the core rules. 

And before this is brought up again, the “one school per family” excuse is a lazy one. The Bayushi happen to have two iconic and widely attended schools and there should have been room to show both of them. 

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13 hours ago, Franwax said:

It is a big thematic gap.

And this is probably my biggest problem with the lack of it. Using Worldly Ronin, Manipulator, or Infiltrator all feels off, even if it is a mechanical option to use one of them. The bulk of Scorpion are not ninja, nor are they shugenja, yet those are the schools that get the most attention for the clan. As a great clan, they really do deserve a dedicated and openly acknowledged bushi school with it's own special techniques. It's kind of a staple of the genre and setting. The previous edition Scorpion may not have been Kakita or Mirumoto, but they were still feared and respected swordsmen with a unique fighting style. Now? Not so much. Now the Scorpion either have a standing army composed of 11,000 trained ninja or that is composed of talkers and lovers rather than fighters, or who are trained in a school of swordsmanship available to any and all.

Yes, I can work around it, but I shouldn't have to. Only players of Scorpion have this conceptual and mechanical obstacle, this deterrent. I have primarily played Bayushi Bushi since 1998 when I first discovered the game and have played one in every iteration of the rules to date. They have been in the core of every set of rules making their absence here quite a disappointment. It's not a deal-breaker, and I'm not discarding the system over it. I am, however, curious what I am supposed to take from the absence of the school. After all, the rules influence the fiction and vice-versa. The lack of them is not just a mechanical or balance decision, but one that says something about the setting. By excluding the Bayushi Bushi and not replacing it with another option, FFG is basically saying that the Scorpion bushi are not only unimportant mechanically, but that they are an afterthought in the setting as well.

I appreciate that the special techniques are limited and not super crazy powerful and that makes not having a true bushi school less mechanically punishing, but there is a message in its absence (intended or not) that I am disappointed to see.

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4 hours ago, Wyrmdog said:

And this is probably my biggest problem with the lack of it. Using Worldly Ronin, Manipulator, or Infiltrator all feels off, even if it is a mechanical option to use one of them. The bulk of Scorpion are not ninja, nor are they shugenja, yet those are the schools that get the most attention for the clan. As a great clan, they really do deserve a dedicated and openly acknowledged bushi school with it's own special techniques. It's kind of a staple of the genre and setting. The previous edition Scorpion may not have been Kakita or Mirumoto, but they were still feared and respected swordsmen with a unique fighting style. Now? Not so much. Now the Scorpion either have a standing army composed of 11,000 trained ninja or that is composed of talkers and lovers rather than fighters, or who are trained in a school of swordsmanship available to any and all.

Yes, I can work around it, but I shouldn't have to. Only players of Scorpion have this conceptual and mechanical obstacle, this deterrent. I have primarily played Bayushi Bushi since 1998 when I first discovered the game and have played one in every iteration of the rules to date. They have been in the core of every set of rules making their absence here quite a disappointment. It's not a deal-breaker, and I'm not discarding the system over it. I am, however, curious what I am supposed to take from the absence of the school. After all, the rules influence the fiction and vice-versa. The lack of them is not just a mechanical or balance decision, but one that says something about the setting. By excluding the Bayushi Bushi and not replacing it with another option, FFG is basically saying that the Scorpion bushi are not only unimportant mechanically, but that they are an afterthought in the setting as well.

I appreciate that the special techniques are limited and not super crazy powerful and that makes not having a true bushi school less mechanically punishing, but there is a message in its absence (intended or not) that I am disappointed to see.

So, would you say that Bayushi should have been the only family in Core to get two schools, or would you say that the Scorpion should not have had a primarily-courtier school?

I feel like the way they approached the Core, giving every family one school, but also giving EVERY family one, was a good way to do it. And I think that between the two, Manipulator was a better option than denying the clan a true courtier.

Also, it's not like FFG has said that Scorpion Bushi don't exist, but they can't really give one family a bonus school. I'm sure there's going to be a book that adds at least one school per clan, and the Bayushi Bushi will get their turn then.

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They could have started with the Bayushi Bushi and Shosuro Actor. That also would have neatly left the Shosuro Infiltrator for later on in the fifth edition cycle - where they could be given general access to a larger pool of Ninjutsu techniques.

It still wouldn't have made everyone happy straight away.

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13 minutes ago, Hida Jitenno said:

but they can't really give one family a bonus school

They could have and it would have been a preferable option. Other clans have 5 major families and have 5 schools as a result. It’s not like it would have been a huge “favor” to the Scorpion and would have been truer to the setting. 

Also for the record, it would have been equally bad to omit the Bayushi courtier. That each family gets one school is good, but taking this approach to a dogmatic level and “forget” a very central school in the clan just because they’re unlucky enough to have both functions in the same family is lazy. 

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18 minutes ago, Hida Jitenno said:

So, would you say that Bayushi should have been the only family in Core to get two schools, or would you say that the Scorpion should not have had a primarily-courtier school?

The former. Honestly, I would have dropped one of the shugenja schools and not worried so much about each family getting a school out of the gate. I feel it would be better to give each clan a Courtier, Bushi and Shugenja, then one specialist school as a baseline. I don't see the relationship of school to family as important as filling the school roles for each clan.

This is just my opinion. I am not getting after anyone for seeing it differently, just trying to explain why I don't like the design decision and what I'd rather was done, I guess. Griping. 😃

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19 minutes ago, Franwax said:

They could have and it would have been a preferable option. Other clans have 5 major families and have 5 schools as a result. It’s not like it would have been a huge “favor” to the Scorpion and would have been truer to the setting. 

Also for the record, it would have been equally bad to omit the Bayushi courtier. That each family gets one school is good, but taking this approach to a dogmatic level and “forget” a very central school in the clan just because they’re unlucky enough to have both functions in the same family is lazy. 

Pretty much this. I'm not losing any sleep over it, but two Bayushi schools so there would be five Scorpion schools total would have been perfectly fine. What was FFG thinking would be a problem with this?

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23 minutes ago, BitRunr said:

They could have started with the Bayushi Bushi and Shosuro Actor. That also would have neatly left the Shosuro Infiltrator for later on in the fifth edition cycle - where they could be given general access to a larger pool of Ninjutsu techniques.

It still wouldn't have made everyone happy straight away.

Well no, because you'd have had the scorpion starting without any iconic ninjas (The sneaky backstabbing sort rather than disguise people). I don't think going 'There are no ninjas in rokugan' as heavily as the in-setting people would have been great for getting a feel for the clan. Which I think is the issue the Bayushi bushi has...it's not even the most iconic Bushi within the Scorpion (That's the Bitter Lies school, which doesn't exist yet). If I had to pick something to drop, I'll admit I'd have likely made the same decision as the devs if my intention was to cover the important thematic bases for each clan.

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3 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

Pretty much this. I'm not losing any sleep over it, but two Bayushi schools so there would be five Scorpion schools total would have been perfectly fine. What was FFG thinking would be a problem with this?

Likely wanting a school to show what each family does in fluff to new players, instead of having one sort of sitting there going 'I theoretically exist and give stats'.

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1 minute ago, Ikiry0 said:

Likely wanting a school to show what each family does in fluff to new players, instead of having one sort of sitting there going 'I theoretically exist and give stats'.

If they want a school to show what each family does in the fluff, two schools for the Bayushi would still be fine (and doing a little bit more than stick the [Artisan] tag on the Kakita school would have been appropriate as well). There's nothing theoretical about the Bayushi bushi school.

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No but if you're going to be doing schools for families, having one family purely exist as stat bonuses without a school wouldn't be much fun and I think would have been a worse decision (Especially for helping new players understand the schools and families).  You can't really lose the Manipulator, the Infiltrator or any of the schools for families without multiple schools so the Bayushi bushi was the weak link as the least thematically important. It's not unimportant but it was the most expendable school if one needed to be lost as it means each family gets a school and the major thematic bases of the Scorpion are covered.

Edited by Ikiry0

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11 minutes ago, Ikiry0 said:

No but if you're going to be doing schools for families, having one family purely exist as stat bonuses without a school wouldn't be much fun and I think would have been a worse decision (Especially for helping new players understand the schools and families).  You can't really lose the Manipulator, the Infiltrator or any of the schools for families without multiple schools so the Bayushi bushi was the weak link as the least thematically important. It's not unimportant but it was the most expendable school if one needed to be lost as it means each family gets a school and the major thematic bases of the Scorpion are covered.

But I'm not suggesting having another family exist without associated school? Just give the Bayushi 2 schools, leave everything else as is (or throw the Kakita an artisan bone as well). Maybe clarify that the Infiltrators are a rather small and secret school too, because right now it almost appears the Scorpion run a massive circus school and everybody else thinks this is normal and totally not suspicious.

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31 minutes ago, Ikiry0 said:

Well no, because you'd have had the scorpion starting without any iconic ninjas (The sneaky backstabbing sort rather than disguise people).

If you don't think Shosuro Actors do any sneaking or backstabbing (the ones who become ninja -there's plenty who are "just" skilled actors), I don't know what to tell you. No.

34 minutes ago, Ikiry0 said:

it's not even the most iconic Bushi within the Scorpion (That's the Bitter Lies school, which doesn't exist yet)

In terms of numbers, the Bitter Lies are a minor footnote for almost their entire history, and likely are better served through literally anything other than being a full school.

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There is a false dichotomy in saying: it was either the Bayushi bushi or the manipulator. The specificity of the Bayushi family is that it does both. 

Bitter Lies aside (as much as I love those lunatics, they are more anecdotal in the history of the bushi school as a whole), the standard Bayushi bushi are precisely not expendable. 

I do agree that having the infiltrator over the actors was the right call for the Shosuro. While the actors school did have the Ninja tag in 4e, they are more of a niche. I also understand the feeling that it would be a pity for the Yogo not to have a school in their name (if that’s what was meant by “theoretically exist and giving stats”). 

But there should have been no problem having a 5th school in that particular instance. Fluff justifies it. 

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1 minute ago, BitRunr said:

In terms of numbers, the Bitter Lies are a minor footnote for almost their entire history, and likely are better served through literally anything other than being a full school.

I said Iconic, rather than numerous. I'm talking about this all from a thematic perspective, where the Bayushi Bushi was the least key to getting a holistic view of the scorpion clan as a whole. I tend to run on a variation of a quote by Stan Lee: Every game is someone's first. Working with the '1 school per family' idea, what was the least key of the schools in the clan for getting a solid overview of what they do that is different to other clans.

2 minutes ago, BitRunr said:

If you don't think Shosuro Actors do any sneaking or backstabbing (the ones who become ninja -there's plenty who are "just" skilled actors), I don't know what to tell you. No.

They do but the Actors are a very different style of ninja to the infiltrators and not really the main view of what a ninja is.

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So I finally got the FFG L5R core rulebook last night and I noticed the lack of Bushi in the scorpion clan as well.  This concerns me for a couple of reasons..

  One reason this concerns me is that, Bushi isn't like a class.. it's just a role.   What I don't understand is why FFG didn't use their own rules..  they set up the idea of "roles" being something that's more or less just a guide to how members of a school are generally used by their lords.  So it shouldn't be so tough to say "when the scorpion Daimyo wants something/someone guarded, who does he call?"  Then you mark that school as a Bushi school for the scorpion.  By not marking any school as Bushi, it's like saying that the scorpion has no need for anyone to fill that role.

  The second reason not having Bushi in the scorpion clan concerns me is that players are naturally going to filter out all of scorpion schools if they want to play "a warrior character".    It's about how players conceive their characters.  most players have an idea of what type of characters they think they like before they even start playing this game. If a person wants to play a combative character, they're going to see that Bushi are the warriors, then they're going to ignore everything that isn't Bushi. (at least for their first campaign/character)

  In all honesty, I have to wonder if leaving the Bushi out of the scorpion clan was intentional. the two issues above are concerning, but what if FFG didn't simply "overlook" those facts or "make a mistake"?  What if FFG is intentionally steering people away from the scorpion clan or.. more likely IMO, they are trying to get people to play scorpion characters that will be very good at hiding or ingratiating themselves into other clans?  This might become necessary as the Scorpion clan coup takes off..  the fact is, the Scorpion Bushi would be clear villains in this storyline, without any real hope of convincing people otherwise. The scorpion have an army, and it's pretty good considering it's relative size and inexperience, but Bayushi Shoju wouldn't have the luxury of leaving his best warriors behind while he invades Otusan Uchi..  on the other hand, he has to leave his courtiers in place so they can distract the scorpion's opponents and help the scorpion army sneak around  (so basically the scorpion Bushi are going to be off being badguys and getting themselves killed in a massive battle, while the courtiers and shinobi would largely be left out of the initial bloodshed..  Moreover, any scorpion character who survives the coup (like the PC's) would need to be adept at hiding and/or have friends that would take them in.

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3 minutes ago, Ikiry0 said:

They do but the Actors are a very different style of ninja to the infiltrators and not really the main view of what a ninja is.

I disagree, unless you solely want to talk about ninja in terms of their first year pre-gempukku gauntlet.

4 minutes ago, Ikiry0 said:

I said Iconic, rather than numerous. I'm talking about this all from a thematic perspective, where the Bayushi Bushi was the least key to getting a holistic view of the scorpion clan as a whole.

From a setting perspective, there's only a handful of them for such a long time that placing them before the Bayushi bushi they derive from just doesn't make sense to me.

I also don't agree they should be the iconic Bayushi bushi, and that if the Bayushi bushi wasn't particularly useful in understanding the Scorpion clan as a whole, then they should be developed further.

31 minutes ago, Franwax said:

While the actors school did have the Ninja tag in 4e, they are more of a niche.

I would suggest the Infiltrator is in more of a niche as a "combat ninja" archetype than the more generalised Actor.

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27 minutes ago, Ikiry0 said:

I said Iconic, rather than numerous. I'm talking about this all from a thematic perspective, where the Bayushi Bushi was the least key to getting a holistic view of the scorpion clan as a whole. I tend to run on a variation of a quote by Stan Lee: Every game is someone's first. Working with the '1 school per family' idea, what was the least key of the schools in the clan for getting a solid overview of what they do that is different to other clans.

Instead of asking what would be needed least, maybe we should be asking what's needed at minimum. Whatever's needed least is still needed. Presenting the Bayushi as courtiers only is not going to give a correct view of the Scorpion clan. The other families bring their specialist expertise, but the Bayushi are the might of the Scorpion. More to the point, the '1 school per family' idea has no merit to begin with. It serves no purpose.

Edited by nameless ronin

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3 hours ago, BitRunr said:

I would suggest the Infiltrator is in more of a niche as a "combat ninja" archetype than the more generalised Actor.

Yeah maybe the term niche was not ideal; but for beginning players who want to try out a textbook ninja (rooftop running, shuriken chucking, black pyjamas rocking stealth killer), the infiltrator more foots the bill. Actors is a bit harder to get used to in terms of gameplay and character concept. I am fine to leave it for a more belated publication. 

3 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

Instead of asking what would be needed least, maybe we should be asking what's needed at minimum. Whatever's needed least is still needed. Presenting the Bayushi as courtiers only is not going to give a correct view of the Scorpion clan. The other families bring their specialist expertise, but the Bayushi are the might of the Scorpion. More to the point, the '1 school per family' idea has no merit to begin with. It serves no purpose.

Fully agree with this, although I would temper the last bit. The idea is not completely without merit if it becomes “at least one school per family”. If it becomes a hard dogma to the detriment of an accurate representation of the clan, then it loses its purpose. 

Besides, the principle was slightly bent in order to give the Phoenix a 4th school: the Kaito are cool, but I would never have considered them “core” ;)

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1 hour ago, Franwax said:

Fully agree with this, although I would temper the last bit. The idea is not completely without merit if it becomes “at least one school per family”. If it becomes a hard dogma to the detriment of an accurate representation of the clan, then it loses its purpose. 

Besides, the principle was slightly bent in order to give the Phoenix a 4th school: the Kaito are cool, but I would never have considered them “core” ;)

The Horiuchi already existed at this point in the AEG timeline, I believe - I don't think it'd have been a problem had they been given family stats in the 5th ed core book but no school. In fact, I hope they show up in EE to give us an actual example of the creation of a new family. I agree with @Ikiry0 that it's important to represent the great clans properly in the core book, but I disagree that this necessitates some kind of arbitrary rules regarding the school to family ratio. I also don't think FFG did a stellar job introducing the great clans regardless, but that's probably best left for another discussion.

I don't see any need for every family to have a separate school, nor for every school to be part of a separate family. I want the identity of the clans to be clear, and the role of each family within their clan, and I want however many schools that takes, associated with whichever family makes sense.

The Kaito are core, since they're a great clan family. That's ok, I think it's fair FFG didn't want to stick the Phoenix with being the only clan with 3 schools and coming up with a 4th school as part of one of the other 3 families would likely have changed that family too much. Not sure the concept of priests that rarely travel outside Phoenix lands is really a great addition to a roleplaying game that usually has travelling parties, but ok.

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2 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

The Kaito are core, since they're a great clan family.

I think they were in fact a vassal family of the Isawa, and we are just now witnessing the beginning of their emancipation by the good graces of Shiba Tsukune in the current fictions... not even sure they were named in the core books of past editions (at least not as a major GC family).

But they’re alright ;)

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