Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Hida Jitenno

Ancient Daisho

Recommended Posts

So here's a question: it's been established in L5R 5e that the katana doesn't exist at the Dawn of the Empire (given that Yasurugi literally does not believe that steel can be folded). On top of that, we've got it officially that Shiba's sword is a chokuto, and Yasurugi (Yasarugi? I didn't check myself) made a tsurugi for Emperor Hantei.

Unofficially, DGL has suggested that the katana was invented some time in the 4th Century IC, and I would infer that the wakizashi didn't really pre-date the katana, or at least not significantly.

Now while this would normally be just an interesting "oh it happened 700-1,000 years ago" trivia bit, the game I'm currently running is set in Dawn of the Empire era, year 39. My players are going to be receiving their daisho soon when they are officially inducted into their clans.

So what represents the "Soul of the Samurai" and the "Honor of the Samurai" during this era? What weapons did Akodo choose to be so important that for a peasant to touch it meant execution?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take this with a grain of salt, but according to Wikipedia, Daisho actually just describes a long sword (daito) and short sword (shoto) worn together. It's mentioned that a tachi and a tanto were a popular pairing, but it's just one possibility. A Chokuto and Tanto pairing might work, particularly if you want to emphasize that this is before curved blades were widespread - plus the tachi is primarily a horseback weapon, and having it be the primary weapon implies things about warfare which may or may not be true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/31/2019 at 5:41 PM, Hida Jitenno said:

Unofficially, DGL has suggested that the katana was invented some time in the 4th Century IC, and I would infer that the wakizashi didn't really pre-date the katana, or at least not significantly.

Is DGL me? If so, did I suggest that? I don't recall doing that, because the discussion around the origins of the katana were, as I recall, rather intimidating...there are some folks on here who are obviously real experts on this subject (i.e. Japanese swords). I'm not unfamiliar with this stuff, but I'm hardly an expert...so I stayed clear of all that and just followed along.

If this is me, can you point where I said that, because I honestly don't remember it. And if it's not me and you're referring to someone else, well...carry on, then!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/31/2019 at 11:41 PM, Hida Jitenno said:

So here's a question: it's been established in L5R 5e that the katana doesn't exist at the Dawn of the Empire (given that Yasurugi literally does not believe that steel can be folded)

That would be awkward because his dad (Kakita) was running around with a real billion-times-folded katana he had made before winning Hantei's tournament. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/2/2019 at 10:49 AM, DGLaderoute said:

Is DGL me? If so, did I suggest that? I don't recall doing that, because the discussion around the origins of the katana were, as I recall, rather intimidating...there are some folks on here who are obviously real experts on this subject (i.e. Japanese swords). I'm not unfamiliar with this stuff, but I'm hardly an expert...so I stayed clear of all that and just followed along.

If this is me, can you point where I said that, because I honestly don't remember it. And if it's not me and you're referring to someone else, well...carry on, then!

Sorry, memory hiccup. It was Spooky, not you. Sorry for the misunderstanding!

Edit: and in reference to the Agasha, who invented the specific steel-folding technique, and I'm not sure where 4th century came from.

Edited by Hida Jitenno

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/3/2019 at 10:35 AM, AtoMaki said:

That would be awkward because his dad (Kakita) was running around with a real billion-times-folded katana he had made before winning Hantei's tournament. 

I'm pretty sure that this hasn't been established yet in this setting, and the main rulebook pretty clearly says that the oldest nemuranai in the various clans are generally chokutos.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

I'm pretty sure that this hasn't been established yet in this setting, and the main rulebook pretty clearly says that the oldest nemuranai in the various clans are generally chokutos.

It would be kinda surprising if it wasn't the case. Kakita carrying around a proper katana like the coolest guy around the town is half his character :D

Edited by AtoMaki

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Except, in the old setting, all the Kami had katanas in their Dawn of the Empire art.  I feel that the whole progression of swordsmithing is new to this edition.  That doesn't mean that Kakita didn't have the best and coolest sword of the technology available at the time, but it may be that it is only the equal of today's master sword, (not taking into account any cool nemuranai abilities it would have now).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, AtoMaki said:

It would be kinda surprising if it wasn't the case. Kakita carrying around a proper katana like the coolest guy around the town is half his character :D

Not to mention, his own son had no idea that steel could even be folded into a sword. That kinda puts a "probably not" kibosh on Kakita having a katana.

It does make me wonder how Akodo's Leadership defined the katana and wakizashi and two of the six weapons proper for samurai to use (sidebar in the 5e Core Book, p.230).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Hida Jitenno said:

Not to mention, his own son had no idea that steel could even be folded into a sword. That kinda puts a "probably not" kibosh on Kakita having a katana.

It does make me wonder how Akodo's Leadership defined the katana and wakizashi and two of the six weapons proper for samurai to use (sidebar in the 5e Core Book, p.230).

My bet is that he said 'long sword' and 'short sword' and some helpful scribe at some point thought "Since we use katanas as long swords these days, I might as well just write katana here". :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

Except, in the old setting, all the Kami had katanas in their Dawn of the Empire art.  I feel that the whole progression of swordsmithing is new to this edition. 

To me, this isn't mutually exclusive. That literal gods carried these weapons from the Heavens has no bearing on whether mortals could craft with similar technique/skill.

Which I suppose could be the way to reconcile Leadership with reality.

"These swords are best swords. Can't make 'em yet? Git gud, skrub." ~ Akodo's Leadership*.

 

*- As paraphrased by Shosuro Ke.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leadership is easy to get around, in the sidebar it just says general terms like "long sword" and "short sword" which have generic terms in Japanese (daito and shoto if my quick wikipedia is right). The whole "katanas since the dawn of time" thing is hopefully something I think FFG is hopefully addressing, as noted in the Imperial Gifts fiction Doji Yasurugi when making Kunshu (which is a tsurugi-pattern) does not seem to think much folding of steel is possible (Kaiu is up to 3 folds, the Tengu wants him to fold 5 times - I believe the optimal folding for a katana is 20), and most ancient blades (like Ofushikai) being referred to as chokuto. The technological stasis in Rokugan seems like it's usually been a sticking point, and it would be good to just actually apply some lessons from history besides just "all Japanese swords are katanas forever".

That said, I would also believe that the Kami and other founders were possibly such generational geniuses that their immediate descendants were not able to replicate their techniques right away and thus it took some trial and error to effectively mass produce. We have actually lost some ancient techniques and materials which were not properly recorded. There is also the possibility that since the katana is technically an improvement over some earlier sword patterns (I'll mention in some history below) nobody in the modern times wants to be so rude as to imply that Kakita or any other honored ancestor produced or was using an "inferior" weapon, thus clearly, he invented the katana and Rokugan was just lazy for a few centuries. 

In real historical context, the shift from the tachi and chokuto type blades to the katana was after the two mongol invasions of Japan, where the former blades weren't as effective or durable against the mongol forces' armor, leading to the refinement of the sword to ultimately become the katana. My personal inclination to run with is to just transpose this into Rokugan, and the evolution was a result of encountering the returning Unicorn, and their own sharply curved swords and horseback tactics. This could also explain why Altansarnai and the Unicorn still think of Rokugani swords as "straight" (ala the appropriately named Curved Swords fiction) when the katana is actually a nice gentle curve, though not as sharply curved as the scimitar pattern. 

Edited by UnitOmega

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...