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LAntorcha

Tessens, Breach of Etiquette?

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Posted (edited)

I wish to know what's your opinion in this situation.

"No Weapons Allowed" in a pre-wedding dinner party (at Shiro Kyoten).

Should a character (69 Honor) be allowed to openly bring a tessen (Core Rulebook page 235)? Would it be a Breach of Etiquette? As for the description, I consider it not to, my G.M. says yes. He argues that as it comes in the Weapons Section, it is so. ūüôĄ

Should be Honor/Glory punished for it?

Tessen:
Carried by courtiers and military leaders alike, tessen
are fans specially built for fighting. However, they are
not commonly viewed as weapons, and can be openly
carried even into formal court chambers or negotiations.
Usually made of wood with steel tines, they generally
serve as defensive weapons, but wielders can also use
them to deliver clubbing blows or to reinforce a punch.

 

Edited by LAntorcha

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1 hour ago, JBento said:

Do Tessen have the Ceremonial property? If yes, then they should be kosher.

They do. Also, the argument of the chapter the item is found in should not be the thing we latch onto... fists legs and mouth are referenced in the same chapter and nobody expects you to cut them off to attend a wedding ūüėõ

There is actually a fiction where the imperial chancellor attends court with a tessen openly displayed while sitting next to the Emperor. His interior monologue mentions that this could be seen as borderline but nobody will dare tell him off due to his status unless the Emperor himself takes offense - which he does not.

So sure, that guy is the imperial chancellor, but being in presence of the Emperor is even a greater reason to forbid weapons... so I’d say this is comparable to the OP situation. The character may draw a few sideways looks, but this won’t be seen as a blatant breach of etiquette. The very description of the item mentions it is not commonly seen as a weapon so unless the character starts swinging it like a butterfly knife, it should be fine. 

Now, if someone is looking for an excuse to confront the character, this could perfectly be used as a pretext ;)

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I would agree that normally it shouldn't be considered a weapon. 

BUT the one comment I would make, being devil's advocate, is that normally, you wouldn't be being barred from bringing at least your personal wakizashi into a room, either. So I guess it depends on the circumstances.

The presiding lord (or their representative) politely objecting to you having one is possible, but it's a little petty unless they have a specific reason to want to bar anything which would be used offensively. If the GM is speaking on behalf of an unjustifiably paranoid (or worse, justifiably paranoid) noble, that's a different situation to the general question of "is it a weapon?".

When talking about honour breaches, too, a lot comes down to intent. Are you bringing the Tessen because it's your characters' distinctive item and a big part of their personal appearance? To whisper subtly to people behind or as part of a plan to flirt your backside off whilst fluttering eyelids over the fan? Or are you bringing it so you have a weapon but one that you hope people shouldn't object to? Because if it's the latter, your honour score should take the hit.

Glory is about public perception, and as noted, a Tessen is generally not perceived as a weapon unless you have a reason to do so* so your glory should not be affected.

Honour is about internal perception of yourself, and clutching at rules loopholes do not make that go away if you know, deep down, that you're trying to violate the intent of the rules. 

 

* if you're famous for beating someone in a fight with a Tessen, for example.

 

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We haven't played that adventure yet, so I don't know: does the adventure object to bringing, say, a katana? Because it shouldn't. Telling a samurai "you can't bring your katana" is a major insult. A katana (and/or wakizashi) is a samurai's soul - objecting to it is basically objecting to the samurai. It's not "I don't trust you with a weapon here", it's "I don't trust the very core of your being." Duels have been called for less.

Note that if you actually use the tessen (or katana or wakizashi or etc.) as a weapon, even just to intimidate or even as a means to defend yourself, you immediately breach Bushido. You fail Courtesy (obviously) and Honesty (because by carrying it into an event where no weapons are allowed you have, in fact, stated that it isn't a weapon). If it's an official event where you are in representation of your lord/family/clan/whatever, you also breach Duty. And that's just off the top of my head.

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6 hours ago, JBento said:

We haven't played that adventure yet, so I don't know: does the adventure object to bringing, say, a katana? Because it shouldn't. Telling a samurai "you can't bring your katana" is a major insult. A katana (and/or wakizashi) is a samurai's soul - objecting to it is basically objecting to the samurai. It's not "I don't trust you with a weapon here", it's "I don't trust the very core of your being." Duels have been called for less.

The wakizashi is the soul, in principle. There are actual examples in the setting of not being allowed to bring your katana to meetings with lords of high status, and in City of Lies you're not alowed to enter the pleasure district with your katana either (although there at least a social excuse is made).

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9 hours ago, nameless ronin said:

ThereÔĽŅ are actual¬†examples in the setting of not being allowed to bring your katana to meetings with lords of high status

Absolutely. It is also customary when entering someone else‚Äôs estate to leave your Katana to be ‚Äúsharpened‚ÄĚ while you‚Äôre here. This allows to save face by giving a reasonable excuse why you would deprive another samurai of their prized weapon.¬†

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::Laughing::

It's Rokugan. So of course "No Weapons Allowed"  - a pretty simple statement - can have multiple interpretations! What does the highest ranked person present want it to mean? That's probably what it means in any given encounter. Be alert and always ready to look for the "social angles" that show things are out of place....

LAntorcha, I have some sympathy for you. I believe it's generally appropriate to carry a tessen even at a weaponless court or at a peaceful wedding. I believe that is the general cultural expectation as well in Rokugan. That said, the noble in charge can absolutely insist that tessen are weapons and have to be left in your room. It's possible that tensions are running really high (and that ban is a clue that something is up!!!). It's also possible that the noble risks his or her reputation being besmirched for being overly fussy and/or fearful. either way, that's potentially a useful data point.

Your GM is the arbiter.  You made your case. I'd trust that there is a reason for their ruling beyond just denying you a weapon in that scene...

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Posted (edited)

In this case, my tessen is my 7 rarity gift option. It's supposed to be a gift from the Fox Clan (art decoration and motives included) to a Kakita Duelist in exchange of a personal favor. My character is very proud of displaying it in public (even a little bit pretentious). And the character profile was made 2 adventures prior, so no Soshuro-engineery forwarded.

As a Duelist, he fears being killed out of duel (1 of the 20 Questions) bare-handed and acts paranoid accordingly.

On the other hand, he fears not to be capable of protecting his Tsume master (actual Daimyo) at the dinner. You never know... or you always...

I think it's totally not Out-of-Character atittude.

Edited by LAntorcha

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48 minutes ago, LAntorcha said:

In this case, my tessen is my 7 rarity gift option. It's supposed to be a gift from the Fox Clan (art decoration and motives included) to a Kakita Duelist in exchange of a personal favor. My character is very proud of displaying it in public (even a little bit pretentious). And the character profile was made 2 adventures prior, so no Soshuro-enginiery forwarded.

As a Duelist, he fears being killed out of duel (1 of the 20 Questions) bare-handed and acts paranoid accordingly.

On the other hand, he fears not to be capable of protecting his Tsume master (actual Daimyo) at the dinner. You never know... or you always...

I think it's totally not Out-of-Character atittude.

If it's in keeping with the character, definitely bring the tessen. Compared to the examples in the book, it's a trifling breach of courtesy at most. I probably wouldn't rule it a breach myself, but as @Void Crane said these things are rarely clear-cut: any such situation depends heavily on what the participants make of it. From what you say, it appears your character definitely considers the tessen a weapon in this context (doesn't want to be unarmed) - it's an interpretation, but your GM's decision is at least plausible.

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Basically I wear the tessen cause i think it's cool (the item and the flavour). My point is it's a defensive option. Looking the items game stats and taking drawing techniques into account, a duelist would prefer to draw his wakizashi for better results. So i couldn't understand why my GM bars the tessen. Let's put it straight, it's not a Tetsubo to double-tap my daimyo...

Besides my own high Honor should be enough to prove I'm not gonna hurt my master, but on the contrary, i would give my life for. And i think this is enough not to accept the Honor punishment in my very "deep down" as @Magnus Grendel said.

If that was the case (abruptly attacking somebody) merely a pair of chopsticks should be enough, or a dinner tray. Even i could asphyxiate a guest with my own obi between chambers, or a big rock in a dark corner of the garden. As i always say it's not a weapon what makes you dangerous, but the sheer desire of killing.

What pisses me is that if I accept the Honor punishment in this case, it sets precedent forever. So my character quits carrying the tessen at court chambers, and the item becomes useless (and that's what we don't want to happen, cause it's simply another rpg tool).

 

* In the end i didn't bring the tessen just not to break the game flow and to finish the argument, but still think it's unfair... Thanks for your replies to all.

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1 hour ago, LAntorcha said:

Besides my own high Honor should be enough to prove I'm not gonna hurt my master, but on the contrary, i would give my life for. And i think this is enough not to accept the Honor punishment in my very "deep down" as @Magnus Grendel said.

If that was the case (abruptly attacking somebody) merely a pair of chopsticks should be enough, or a dinner tray. Even i could asphyxiate a guest with my own obi between chambers, or a big rock in a dark corner of the garden. As i always say it's not a weapon what makes you dangerous, but the sheer desire of killing.

What pisses me is that if I accept the Honor punishment in this case, it sets precedent forever. So my character quits carrying the tessen at court chambers, and the item becomes useless (and that's what we don't want to happen, cause it's simply another rpg tool).

All I know about the situation is what you told us here, but I really don't think any honor forfeiture would be the result of you potentially posing a (greater) threat to your lord or anyone else present. As far as I can tell it would be a breach of courtesy, one of the tenets of bushido, by bringing a weapon to an occasion where you are expected to be unarmed (your wakizashi doesn't count, even if it's definitely a weapon, because in a social context it's the symbol of your status as a samurai - you can take it with you in the presence of the Emperor himself, in fact you're expected to as a samurai, whereas bringing a blunt fish knife would result in your death if found out). It's not about presenting a danger, it's about it being a social no-no.

This also means you should still be able to bring the tessen to other formal occasions, provided "no weapons allowed" is applied by society's regular standards there (meaning a tessen isn'y considered one) - since to me it seems it's applied to a more strict standard than normal.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, LAntorcha said:

In this case, my tessen is my 7 rarity gift option. It's supposed to be a gift from the Fox Clan (art decoration and motives included) to a Kakita Duelist in exchange of a personal favor. My character is very proud of displaying it in public (even a little bit pretentious). And the character profile was made 2 adventures prior, so no Soshuro-engineery forwarded.

And that qualifies as "I'm genuinely not thinking of it as a weapon" but as a personal status symbol. Which means I'd say 'go right ahead' except for....

14 hours ago, LAntorcha said:

As a Duelist, he fears being killed out of duel (1 of the 20 Questions) bare-handed and acts paranoid accordingly.

On the other hand, he fears not to be capable of protecting his Tsume master (actual Daimyo) at the dinner. You never know... or you always...

....That, on the other hand, is him(you) thinking of it as a weapon that he can have 'despite the rules'. Which is violating the intent, if not the wording, of the specific 'no weapons' rule.

10 hours ago, LAntorcha said:

What pisses me is that if I accept the Honor punishment in this case, it sets precedent forever. So my character quits carrying the tessen at court chambers, and the item becomes useless (and that's what we don't want to happen, cause it's simply another rpg tool).

Not really - it depends on what has specifically caused the GM to make a 'no weapons' ruling. A situation where samurai are being actively (if discretely) told to leave even their wakizashi behind is really, really rare and this shouldn't happen on a regular basis at all. Being made to do it once is wierd enough without a good reason, because as noted by @nameless ronin, even entering the presence of clan champions and the imperial family with a personal ceremonial blade is not unusual at all. 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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