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35 minutes ago, Manchu said:

This whole tangent demonstrates why posters should avoid snarky blank statements like this. Plus, I already demonstrated that the RPG starter adventure material is extremely questionable.

True, but Schmoozies is nevertheless correct in that element; the Kolat is described as existing in narrator-omniscient-information for the GM boxouts. So to all intents and purposes its existence can be considered unarguable - whatever debates we might have over its membership, immediate goals, connection to the Perfect Land Sect, etc.

35 minutes ago, Manchu said:

Shoju seems an unlikely suspect, especially if the purported motive is highly visible centralized Scorpion power. 

Plus he seems to be genuinely surprised by/wary of the edict - he obviously does know what's in it, but if he was the one advocating for it I think he'd be less.....I dunno....nervous of it?

And yes, given his desire for the scorpion to slink back into the shadows, even if he advocated the regency to the Emperor, I'm sure he didn't have himself in mind as the person to be stuck with the job. Of course, that may not have been his choice. I can imagine a "No! I didn't mean ME!" conversation...

Besides which, the "Friend and Peer", rather than Satsume, is the one who's definitely Kolat (in so far as anyone is), and given his "dutiful" tagline, making Shoju secretly plotting to burn it all would feel like a bit of a rug-pull for the personality we've been told to assign to the Bayushi Daimyo. I mean yes, Scorpion Clan coup in previous version, but even then, that was to try and stop it all falling down.

I'm not sure who really qualifies, to be honest. The recipient is:

  • Someone who is a 'Friend'
    • Implies someone he's met and knows reasonably well if it's not just verbiage. We don't know his history, but given that I think I remember one fiction saying he's responsible for ruling against the clan in the Osawari Plains dispute, that probably rules out most Lion Clan members.
  • Someone who is a 'Peer'
    • Basically Clan Champions, and Major Imperial Appointees like the Chancellor
    • Technically other Jewelled Champions, but it's hardly like he's going to consider the Topaz Champion a 'peer', the Ruby Champion is definitely his legal subordinate, the Jade Champion isn't an extent post (and won't be for as long as the Phoenix can keep it so).
  • Someone who is in Otosan Uchi
    • Probably rules out Shinjo Altansarnai, Yoritomo, Hida Kisada, Kakita Toshimoko and most of the Elemental Council.

 

If I had to stick a pin in a board, I'd wonder about Kakita Yoshi. He's a Crane who could credibly have known Satsume well for any number of reasons, and whilst the Imperial Chancellor is technically more just secretary to the council, it's still an influential post because he controls access for petitioners. He's inner circle enough to have visibility of the Heirs unbiased by pomp and circumstance, and can be assumed to be in the Capital at basically all times.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Well certainly the Kolat “exists” — but in what sense, ultimately? Is there really a conspiracy to destroy the Celestial Order or could this be an illusion to manipulate people with a grudge against The Powers That Be? Along these lines, I’m also thinking of the PLS. I have no doubt many PLS cultists truly believe the teachings BUT do the people funding it also believe?

The criteria you set out above point directly at Kachiko. We also know from her own POV she has questioned the Celestial Order.

Yoshi is extremely unlikely, especially if you are saying he actually believes the Kolat line. 

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1 hour ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I'm not sure who really qualifies, to be honest. The recipient is:

  • Someone who is a 'Friend
  • Someone who is a 'Peer'
  • Someone who is in Otosan Uchi
    • Kakita Toshimoko.

I am cutting out a lot of what you said earlier to highlight the points I'm interested in, but I think Toshimoko is actually a prime contender.  He fits the friend (brother-in-law) and peer can be taken from his role as head of the Kakita Academy (most prestigious dueling school of the Crane).  His presence in Otosan Uchi can be explained away as we know that his duties do sometimes call him there (he runs into Yoshi at the Crane Embassy in the capital during the Court Games fiction).

Given his behavior I can see him being a solid choice for a Kolat Master, unhappy with the Celestial Order after seeing the way his sister was treated by Satsume.  It would also be a great swerve to have him instead of Kage as the sensei master.

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There are 3 big names that fit the peer & Otosan Uchi criteria:  Ikoma Ujiaki, Bayushi Kachiko, Kakita Yoshi.

Ikoma Ujiaki is very likely not a friend, given his mad-on for the Crane.

We see Bayushi Kachiko's thoughts, and while they are very suspect, they do not seem to indicate that she's already a cunning Kolat cell leader assassinating the Emerald Champion.

So, Kakita Yoshi. His brother-in-law, doesn't seem to hate him the way Toshimoko does, is daimyo of the Kakita & Imperial Chancellor making him definitely a peer.  With Teinko being dead, 'friend' may be preferable in correspondence to 'dead wife's brother'.  Given his priggish nature, he & Satsume might have gotten along well, all things considered.

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1 hour ago, Manchu said:

It’s so obviously Kachiko that the best argument against it being Kachiko is how obvious it is.

Yep.  Every time I consider this question, step one is 'Assume it's not Kachiko'.  That being said, if it is Kachiko, I'm fine with that.  She works perfectly well as a Gozoku-esque villain.

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Yeah I would rather have something unfold that makes sense but is not a shock than something shocking that has not really organically developed in the story. (It was Toturi all along!)

All I really mean by “obvious” is that we have seen Kachiko suggest to Shoju that he could become Emperor, we have seen her pressure the Emperor on filling the Emerald Champion position, we have seen her try to rig the tournament, we have seen her manipulating Satsume’s heir Hotaru, we have seen her questioning the legitimacy of Hantei XXXVIII, and so on.

Edited by Manchu

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1 minute ago, Manchu said:

Yeah I would rather have something unfold that makes sense but is not a shock than something shocking that has not really organically developed in the story. (It was Toturi all along!)

All I really mean by “obvious” is that we have seen Kachiko suggest to Shoju that he could become Emperor, we have seen her pressure the Emperor on filling the Jade Champion position, we have seen her try to rig the tournament, we have seen her manipulating Satsume’s heir Hotaru, we have seen her questioning the legitimacy of Hantei XXXVIII, and so on.

On the other hand every one of the schemes above were efforts to further Scorpion power so could be just as easily ambition and her thinking I can do it better

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Well that is what I am saying, the “Kolat plot” in this case may actually have been a Scorpion op to vacate the Emerald and/or Ruby Champion offices.

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Kachiko does - obviously - have several things in her favour, too, aside from her questioning the order:

  • She was a close friend of Satsume's eldest daughter - so despite the age and clan difference it's not unreasonable to assume he might have considered her a friend, especially since her talent is in persuading everyone that she's their special friend.
  • She is imperial advisor, also qualifying for the Peer
  • She has had a not-exactly-explained assassination attempt on her recently (A Simple Test), which may be written off as "oh, people try to have important people killed all the time", but might be more than that.

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On ‎2‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 9:59 PM, Manchu said:

Satsume was idolized by his son and his adoptive daughter felt gratitude and love for him. Sumiko seems to have held him in high regard. The same is true of the Imperial Chancellor. Of course, respect is not affection.

The Smiling Crane was not an easy man to get along with but he was not a social pariah or a crackpot

Just an observation - I feel the general view of him is implied in In the palace of the Emerald Champion is that most people have a negative view of him - though I accept that:

  1. That doesn't make him a crackpot
  2. Being a social pariah whilst Emerald Champion is almost impossible given the way society in Rokugan works
  3. You can hate someone's guts and still respect them

"Despite public shows of respect and mourning for the late Emerald Champion, Satsume’s death is still a hot topic of (whispered) discussion. Speculation abounds that it was actually a murder, given how many people had motives. Very few people genuinely liked him, no one is sincerely mourning him, and no one is terribly sorry he’s gone—not even the Crane Champion, his eldest daughter Doji Hotaru, it seems. However, no one would openly admit to harboring these sentiments, and everyone still behaves “properly” when pressed for honest opinions."

GM notes

"Since the death of his wife, Satsume was not very well liked, even among his own clan. Everyone secretly blamed him for her untimely end, his daughter Hotaru most of all."

Asahina Tadane

"Sumiko would often grumble about Satsume’s secrets, frustrated with how he felt no obligation to keep her informed of his efforts and whereabouts. She absolutely did not trust him."

Mirumoto Tanetsu

"Satsume was an aggressive sparring partner, at times needlessly injuring his soldiers during martial practices in the training yard. He was often very harsh in his criticisms, and demanded more from everyone around him."

Kitsu Tsuguri

 

 

It's rather ironic, given the prevailing characteristic of a (sometimes needlessly or excessively) harsh critic and instructor, that he doesn't appear to have applied any of that to his primary student - Hantei Sotorii (given Sumiko's assessment of him in Wildcats and Dragon's Teeth).

Obviously there are few options to criticise an arrogant child who's not really listening when they're also vastly your social superior, but he doesn't seem to have done it at all. I have a private suspicion that that may be directly a result of him 'giving up' on the Heir Primary as a viable emperor.

"Yes, Yes, Sotorii-Sama. You are the finest swordsman in history.....you're amazing....whatever you say......and I will be buggered if I let you plant your unworthy backside on the Chrysanthemum Throne..."

"What was that last bit Satsume-Sensei?"

"Oh....nothing. Just working on a minor legal problem, your highness."

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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@Magnus Grendel take a look at the quotations from various stories, each from the characters’ own POV, which I posted above contradicting statements published in the RPG starter adventure. It says Sumiko absolutely doesn’t trust him; but from her POV, they respected one another and always worked well together. It says he was indifferent to his daughters and barely spoke to Hotaru; but from Shizue’s POV, he was a typical father who was never unkind; and from Hotaru’s POV, he was incessant in his training and harsh criticism, demanding perfection from her because she was his heir. It says he was only somewhat less indifferent to Kuwanan; but from Shizue’s POV, Satsume lavished all his love on Kuwanan and from Kuwanan’s POV he did not share Hotaru’s view of Satsume as a cold taskmaster. It says few liked him and everyone blamed him for Teinko’s death; but from Yoshi’s POV, Teinko’s suicide stemmed from her own weakness and he remembered Satsume as a great man and leader.

The RPG starter adventure has the practical agenda of making everybody seem like a potential suspect in Satsume’s murder. Unfortunately, it goes way too far and exaggerates dislike of Satsume to the point of contradicting the fiction. This is a shame and FFG should maybe ask their editors to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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As I recall in Old5R the Kolat would occasionally set up bandit gangs or minor criminal organizations with the intention of having them wiped out to dispel rumors of their existence and sow confusion over what the Kolat actually is among the authorities. Plus there's the Kolat agents with positions as magistrates leading highly public hunts of Kolat members that turn up nothing.

I kind of doubt Satsume was fully recruited into the Kolat, but regardless his personal desire to keep the Empire stable conflicting with the Kolat's intentions hardly makes him opposed to their agenda. It's more an argument over means rather than ends.

Kachiko being Kolat would be so hot. It makes me wonder if her push for more overt power for the Scorpion is an intentional effort to reduce their ability to oppose the Kolat.

I have to roll my eyes that we've begun arguing over the semantics of "everyone" and "everyone except Yoshi".

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You don’t have to take my word for it:

His [Tomo’s] Kolat superiors at Otosan Uchi  determined  Satsume  must  be  eliminated,  for  though  Satsume didn't want either Imperial heir on the throne, he did want to keep the Empire secure—something they are against.

As to opinions about Satsume,

Of his immediate family: The minority position (2/5) holds him responsible for Teinko’s death and views him negatively. The majority position (3/5) does not blame him for Teinko’s death and views him positively.

The only other person whose opinion we know is Sumiko, who respected and “always” worked well with him.

It’s hardly ‘everyone but Yoshi’ — the Imperial Chancellor’s view is simply instructive as to the larger political context, in which there is no indication, beyond the starter adventure, which cobtradicts other sources on its face, that Satsume was universally loathed.

The RPG starter adventure simply gets it wrong.

Satsume’s chief critic is also chiefly the target of Satsume harshest criticisms, namely Hotaru. Her daddy complex should never have been attributed to Rokugan at large.

Edited by Manchu

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5 hours ago, Manchu said:

@Magnus Grendel take a look at the quotations from various stories, each from the characters’ own POV, which I posted above contradicting statements published in the RPG starter adventure. It says Sumiko absolutely doesn’t trust him; but from her POV, they respected one another and always worked well together. It says he was indifferent to his daughters and barely spoke to Hotaru; but from Shizue’s POV, he was a typical father who was never unkind; and from Hotaru’s POV, he was incessant in his training and harsh criticism, demanding perfection from her because she was his heir. It says he was only somewhat less indifferent to Kuwanan; but from Shizue’s POV, Satsume lavished all his love on Kuwanan and from Kuwanan’s POV he did not share Hotaru’s view of Satsume as a cold taskmaster. It says few liked him and everyone blamed him for Teinko’s death; but from Yoshi’s POV, Teinko’s suicide stemmed from her own weakness and he remembered Satsume as a great man and leader.

I feel like you're seeing more contradiction than is actually there. For example, the RPG says of Hotaru that she's not sincerely mourning him and isn't terribly sorry he's gone, that he was a strict father and hardly spoke to her, and that he "never appeared to care much for his daughters;" your counter to that is . . . that Hotaru sees him as a "cold taskmaster," and that she tells Kuwanan "Father did not expect of you what he expected of me. You never failed him, because your success didn’t matter." Seems consistent to me, allowing for some wiggle room on the "hardly spoke to her" side; I'd interpret that as meaning that he basically only spoke to her in order to criticize her, rarely to have more pleasant conversations. For Shizue, your counter is that he was "never unkind to her" -- but you can easily not care much for someone without being unkind to her. Indifference will suffice. Yoshi's actual line re: Satsume, as you quoted elsewhere, was " a strong leader ... and, yes, a demanding one," which a) acknowledges that his behavior may not have been well-liked by other people even if Yoshi thinks it's effective and b) isn't the same thing has having warm feelings toward the man himself. I don't see a contradiction in saying "yep, that guy was an effective and an honorable servant" (implied: "and a jerkface, but eh, whatevs, so long as he gets the job done"). Kuwanan is about the only one we can't really speak to with authority, because I haven't seen any direct quotations from his perspective; only Hotaru's opinion of his perspective.

The one place I would agree on a contradiction is between "[Sumiko] had never questioned his loyalty, nor he hers. She had respected him, and they always worked well together" and "Sumiko would often grumble about Satsume’s secrets, frustrated with how he felt no obligation to keep her informed of his efforts and whereabouts. She absolutely did not trust him." Those two descriptions don't reconcile with each other well at all, I will grant you that.

But apart from Sumiko, I don't see the RPG contradicting the stories at all, and certainly not to the degree you do, wherein you justify tossing out the RPG's information as untrustworthy. The RPG emphasizes the dislike for Satsume, sure -- but that makes sense for materials that focus on the possibility that he was murdered, ergo that somebody disliked him enough to kill him. Everything consistently points to a cold, critical, demanding man who was respected by those around him, but not liked when he was there or mourned when he was gone.

Edited by Kinzen
fixing a typo

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ITT we have people interpreting the starter adventure text to argue that Satsume was universally and particularly loathed.

So for example, yes there does not necessarily need to be a contradiction between “indifferent” and “not unkind.” But as a writer, it is certain you understand they actually mean different and opposing things. The former emphasizes coldness while the latter minimizes it.

Similarly, the adventure text connotes that Satsume’s indifference was notable. Directly opposing this is Shizue’s POV that Satsume was actually a typical father.

Regarding Hotaru, there is no sense in the fiction that Satsume was either indifferent to her or hardly spoke to her. To the contrary, he never let up on her and demanded perfection — absolutely the opposite of indifference and neglect.

I agree with you about why the adventurr text paints Satsume so negatively, as I already posted above.

Even so, that depiction does not really coincide with the fiction.

BTW we have both Shizue and Hotaru POV on Kuwanan’s feelings about Satsume, and they agree.

Also Yoshi directly stated that Satsume was a great abd honorable man. Also quoted above.

Edited by Manchu

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On 2/1/2019 at 6:11 PM, DGLaderoute said:

"Interesting" is, indeed, pretty subjective. A character one person finds "interesting" may be completely uninteresting to someone else. So, when I wrote earlier that Sotorii is a work-in-progress and that we'll ensure he's interesting and will become more so as his story unfolds, I actually used a subjective term. A better way of putting it is that the character must serve a dramatic role in the story that engages the reader's attention, while contributing to the development of other characters and advancing the story's plot. And the story will aim to do that with Sotorii (and, again, with every other character in the story).

I think that you ought to be congratulated for carrying out your aim in the very next piece of fiction released by FFG.

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14 hours ago, Manchu said:

Similarly, the adventure text connotes that Satsume’s indifference was notable. Directly opposing this is Shizue’s POV that Satsume was actually a typical father.

In this point, I think you’re twisting Shizue’s thoughts to fit your views. Her exact thoughts were:

”He had been a gruff and distant father figure, as so many parents were, but he had never been unkind to her.”

Saying that your father is gruff and distant is certainly not “seeing him positively” (nor negatively, I’ll give you that). And the fact that she thinks that the majority of fathers are “gruff and distant” (which is not true, even in Rokugan) I think speaks volume of how weird* Satsume’s relationship with their son and daughters was to make her think that was the norm.

And in “The stories we tell” fiction, which you quoted, there’s no statement of Shizue not blaming Satsume for  Teinko’s death, as you happily stated. In fact, the whole story revolves around her having doubts about which version of Satsume she must believe, Hotaru’s or Kuwanan’s. So I would put her on the middle ground here.

*this isn’t the word that I wanted to use, but I’m incapable of finding a better one to convey my thoughts. My lack of English knowledge foils me again. 

Edited by Tabris2k

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8 hours ago, Tabris2k said:

*this isn’t the word that I wanted to use, but I’m incapable of finding a better one to convey my thoughts. My lack of English knowledge foils me again.

I think dysfunctional works.

For Hotaru abusive too, emotionally if not physically. Think Claude Frollo and Quasimodo's relationship from Hunchback of Notre Dame.

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It’s true there is no explicit statement from Shizue’s POV stating she does not blame Satsume for Teinko’s death.

But The Stories We Tell isn’t about some kind of political spectrum vis-a-vis Satsume’s family. Narratively, Shizue serves as a foil for Hotaru in that story. Hotaru is characterized as potentially compromised by her emotions, both in terms of her resentment for her dead father and her infatuation with her lover Kachiko. Shizue’s reflection on Kuwanan’s POV shows us that another of Satsume’s children feels exactly opposite to Hotaru about him, supporting the idea that Hotaru is acting on her personal feelings, rather than living up to her duties. But the point here is that Shizue is characterized as neither biased by being the subject of her father’s harsh expectations or his lavish affections. The author presented her as more objective than her siblings. And even so, her opinion is certainly positive.

Shizue knows very well what parents in Rokugan are like so she can certainly accurately explain that Satsume is like many other parents in being gruff and distant. And as mentioned above, the phrase “not unkind” is meant as an objective counterpoint to Hotaru’s much stronger feelings because, again, Shizue acts as a foil to Hotaru in this story. More personally, Shizue also reflects on how, where others might stigmatize her handicap, her father did not see it as a source of shame or weakness but as a potential source of strength. If Shizue did blame Satsume for Teinko committing suicide, it would be massively odd for her not to reflect on it while meditating on Satsume’s character.

Edited by Manchu

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