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Gamiel

Looking for suggestions for an adventure through Badger land

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I’m right now GM:ing an adventure where the PC:s (a Scorpion courtier and his ronin yojimbo) have been given the mission to travel openly to the Badger clan daimyo and there give him gifts and ask for permission to continue to the land of the Yobanjin Mountain Wind tribe and there prepare for a larger group of Scorpion traders who the courtier’s master want to begin a small trade between his people and Mountain Wind tribe. Unless the courtier really fumbles or do something stupid my plan was that the request would be granted.

 

The adventure takes place in around 4th ed. era, and as can probably be seen by my synopsis so do I play a bit fast and loose with the L5R lore – My Rokuga don’t have any problem with trading with outsiders (it’s just that outsiders don’t have much that interest Rokuga) so the Bader, Dragon and Phoenix all have small trade with the Yobanjin already.

Some other changed that can be of matter is:

* the game take place during the autumn

* the Badger uses shugenja (I just think that not using them is like having a clan that don’t believe in having healers or people who know how to handle animals).

* the Badger’s main territory is the rout which with exiles are transported out of Rokuga. I will try to make some references to that the whole Scorpion clan passed here through from time to time.

* my version of the Yobanjin is a combination of the Ainu and the non-monastic parts of Tibet

* I’m ignoring Ryoshun’s grave and The War of Dark Fire, they are just extra work for the story I’m trying to tell.

* the PC:s travel with a small yak caravan of traders and samurai (they are not allowed to go out on their own) and it will take them around a week to get to Shiro Ichiro (still being rebuilt) and one to three weeks to get them to the trade town just beyond Badger territory inside Mountain Wind land.

* I play Badgers as few worded and straight forward.

 

I’m looking for suggestions for what could happen along the road, in the villages and similar. Monk orders, festivals or similar that could exist within the Badger’s land are also welcome.

 

If people also have any suggestions on what kind of people the Badger clan daimyo should have around him I’m all ears. I was thinking there should be representatives from: the Mountain Wind tribe and the Crab but don't know if I should have any others.

 

Also, if people have any suggestions of secret secondary missions for the Scorpion to suddenly be informed he should do I’m interested.

 

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22 hours ago, Gamiel said:

If people also have any suggestions on what kind of people the Badger clan daimyo should have around him I’m all ears. I was thinking there should be representatives from: the Mountain Wind tribe and the Crab but don't know if I should have any others.

Dragon and Unicorn clans would inevitably have representatives there. If you have a major clan sat on your doorstep, you need someone to act as ambassador - that goes double for the Unicorn because essentially anything and anyone you want to send to or bring from the rest of the empire comes across their lands.

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Dragon and Unicorn clans would inevitably have representatives there. If you have a major clan sat on your doorstep, you need someone to act as ambassador - that goes double for the Unicorn because essentially anything and anyone you want to send to or bring from the rest of the empire comes across their lands.

I feel stupid now. Of some reason I just forgot about Unicorn and Dragon representatives and I should not have done that since I'm having the PC begin in Unicorn land and have plans of adding a Dragon to a encounter table.

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I'd imagine you'd have a small imperial presence, too. Badger territory is essentially the border, not just between two clans, but Rokugan and 'outside' - where the Empire ends and meets......whatever the heck comes out of the steppe beyond. Who might need to have treaties of trade or borders recognised between them and the Empire as a state.

It's hardly going to be a high-profile or popular posting - liason to a cold, forbidding fortress in the buttock-end of nowhere in the frozen north with only minor clans (and minor clans of uncouth, uncultured Crab descent, to boot) for company is not going to be exactly fought over in the Seppun, Miya and Otomo courts (except "to avoid it"), but someone does have to do it.

Someone with delegated Imperial authority and a massive chip on their shoulder for being stuck up there in the first place.

Not that a GM with an evil mind could contrive to place complications in the PC's path with such a character, obviously.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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The Badger is scribed as being one of the more conservative/backward/old fashion clans but do anybody know what that means in Rokuga where different eras of historical Japan is represented by different clans living side by side?

 

On ‎1‎/‎31‎/‎2019 at 5:43 PM, Magnus Grendel said:

I'd imagine you'd have a small imperial presence, too. Badger territory is essentially the border, not just between two clans, but Rokugan and 'outside' - where the Empire ends and meets......whatever the heck comes out of the steppe beyond. Who might need to have treaties of trade or borders recognised between them and the Empire as a state.

It's hardly going to be a high-profile or popular posting - liason to a cold, forbidding fortress in the buttock-end of nowhere in the frozen north with only minor clans (and minor clans of uncouth, uncultured Crab descent, to boot) for company is not going to be exactly fought over in the Seppun, Miya and Otomo courts (except "to avoid it"), but someone does have to do it.

Someone with delegated Imperial authority and a massive chip on their shoulder for being stuck up there in the first place.

Not that a GM with an evil mind could contrive to place complications in the PC's path with such a character, obviously.

Oh that's an idea. But at the same time so is my impression that non of the other clans (large or minor) have a permanent imperial presence so it would feel strange that the Badger has it.

 

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8 hours ago, Gamiel said:

The Badger is scribed as being one of the more conservative/backward/old fashion clans but do anybody know what that means in Rokuga where different eras of historical Japan is represented by different clans living side by side?

That's likely to cause some issues, given that they're essentially a 'pocket' on the northern border of the Unicorn, who have adopted a lot of Gaijin traditions that they found useful, and their next biggest neighbour is the individualistic and iconoclastic Dragon clan.

In fact, that may be part of why they're like that - as a means of distinguishing themselves from their larger neighbours.

8 hours ago, Gamiel said:

Oh that's an idea. But at the same time so is my impression that non of the other clans (large or minor) have a permanent imperial presence so it would feel strange that the Badger has it.

In a sense of "This is Your Imperial Overlord" that's a formal position, no.

But you'd be hard pressed to find a major clan court that doesn't have a mid-to-low ranking Otomo or Miya advisor or courtier floating about somewhere, just like you'll often find members of other clans living in a clan's territory as a "guest". How welcome they are would depend on the clan's standing in and relations with the Imperial Court.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 9:52 AM, Magnus Grendel said:

That's likely to cause some issues, given that they're essentially a 'pocket' on the northern border of the Unicorn, who have adopted a lot of Gaijin traditions that they found useful, and their next biggest neighbour is the individualistic and iconoclastic Dragon clan.

In fact, that may be part of why they're like that - as a means of distinguishing themselves from their larger neighbours.

I was more thinking about how to present the Badger as conservative/backward/old fashion to the PC:s

 

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In previous editions, Badger clan had no shugenja but one, trained in another clan. They were very old-fashioned.

Badger samurai used to say hello in the following way:

"Hi there, samurai-san! You seem pretty frail, don't you ? I bet you cannot lift this rock over 20 feet like I do!"

Yep. They made you lift some rock or something to prove you're strong enough. Welcome to the Badger.

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 12:09 PM, eScoub said:

In previous editions, Badger clan had no shugenja but one, trained in another clan.

I know and I utterly ignore that. It just feel stupid and not really fitting with the in 'verse world building. Feels more like the RL idea that some groups in fantasy setting of some reason distrust magic (usually dwarfs of some reason) and the creators decided that the Badger fit the bill of how those people usually are and therefore decided that the Badger don't have people that can speak with the spirits.

 

On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 12:09 PM, eScoub said:

They were very old-fashioned.

But what dose that mean in Rokuga where different clans represent different historical Japanese eras? And how should that be role-played?

 

On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 12:09 PM, eScoub said:

Badger samurai used to say hello in the following way:

"Hi there, samurai-san! You seem pretty frail, don't you ? I bet you cannot lift this rock over 20 feet like I do!"

Yep. They made you lift some rock or something to prove you're strong enough. Welcome to the Badger.

To my understanding so was that how they greeted each other, outsiders was more likely to be threated like criminals until proven different.

 

My players PC are travelling with a trade/inspection caravan; they have shown their papers talked with the Badger representative at the boarder and are allowed to travel with them; once they have time to actually be social the yojimbo will most likely be asked to show of her strength

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7 hours ago, Gamiel said:

I know and I utterly ignore that. It just feel stupid and not really fitting with the in 'verse world building. Feels more like the RL idea that some groups in fantasy setting of some reason distrust magic (usually dwarfs of some reason) and the creators decided that the Badger fit the bill of how those people usually are and therefore decided that the Badger don't have people that can speak with the spirits.

But people do not choose to speak to kamis. It's a "gift" very few people have. Half of the Empire's shugenja are born within the Isawa family. There is nothing strange for having only a few shugenja (or even just one or two) within a minor clan: if no one can detect the Gift, how would people know and teach you how to develop it ?

For the "old fashion" style, you can describe things like clothings, architecture and expressions that would be out-of-date for a Crane or a Scorpion. A traditionalist Phoenix might like it :)

Mechanic-wise, you might tell (or not) your PCs that Badger are not fond of people using Fire ring, and that Earth or Water might fit the clan a bit more.

I really like the mechanic for this kind of thing!

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3 hours ago, eScoub said:

But people do not choose to speak to kamis. It's a "gift" very few people have. Half of the Empire's shugenja are born within the Isawa family. There is nothing strange for having only a few shugenja (or even just one or two) within a minor clan: if no one can detect the Gift, how would people know and teach you how to develop it ?

But the books present it like a conscious decision from the Badger not to have a shugenja-school nor any shugenja, and that they even look down on people from their own clan who go to other clans to train to be shugenja.

Also the badger is not just "a minor clan" its one of the three oldest, only one or some generation/s younger then the great clans

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29 minutes ago, Gamiel said:

But the books present it like a conscious decision from the Badger not to have a shugenja-school nor any shugenja, and that they even look down on people from their own clan who go to other clans to train to be shugenja.

Also the badger is not just "a minor clan" its one of the three oldest, only one or some generation/s younger then the great clans

Ok, I had not this in mind.

Openly dispising shugenja is weird, but it could be because they rely only on pure strengh (and then you can play them likewise, they have a real particularity in the Empire).

Concerning Minor clans, they have less people, and lss samurai than the Great ones, so it would not be a surprise that they have less shugenja.

If you don't like the "we dispise shugenja" way, you could play it "we had very few shugenja within our clan, so we're not familiar with them"-style. But I know I like my Badger clan the way I like my coffee: without shugenja in it.

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I don't know a lot about how the Badger have been displayed in past editions beyond the "gruff guys who guard the northern passes" but I do have some ideas on how to present conservatism.

One is how you portray the teachings of Shinsei. Emerald Empires goes into this at some detail. Religious conservatives would think of Shinsei as an enlightened philosopher and his core work would be regarded as the Tao of Shinsei. That's at odds with the other more liberal traditions - like the more "heroic" tradition centered around the later Thunder Dialogues. The Crane love this version as it's dynamic and leads to great action-packed art...(instead of just a monk who talks). Conservatism is also *really* at odds with the Perfect Land sect that essentially think Shinsei was/is a god and you can get to heaven just by chanting a mantra. Given the Badger's closeness to the Dragon Lands, the Perfect Land sect may be a big deal to them.

A second is how you portray food. Obviously they are growing or importing rice. But I'm guessing there isn't a lot of fish in the area. Probably the Badger eat more red meat than most samurai, and this can be a source of prejudice from many Great Clan samurai. If you want something a little more whimsical you can have a younger generation of samurai who have found "rebellion" in the appreciation of noodles...perhaps acquired with other culinarily "oddities" from interaction with the Unicorn Clan. Older more hidebound samurai decry this dietary drifting from the proven "true" way. 

A last thing you might try is to incorporate a distain for pragmatism and a valuation of their ancestors. Have the Badgers do things that outsiders might judge to be sub-optimal in some way. Maybe it might make sense to build a new bridge across a mountain stream that is closer to two villages ... but "honorable ancestor X" put the first bridge in an out of the way spot. So THAT'S where the new bridge goes whenever it needs to be rebuilt. Players should be given reasons to ask the question, "that's odd. Why don't they do X?" And the answer should always be, "Honorable ancestor "Bob" did Y so we now always do X."

Good luck

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