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The Grand Falloon

Kitsu Tsubasa from the Beginner game

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Warning: this is largely just some rambling thoughts about a very minor character.  It doesn't really have much of a point.  

   When we played the Beginner Game, our group took a liking to the NPC, Kitsu Tsubasa.  Partly because one of the players was playing the Lion PC, so naturally wanted to help out his Clanmate.  Unfortunately, things got a little out of hand during a duel, and our Phoenix Shugenja ended up blasting Tsubasa with a bit more fire than she intended.  We had a bit of confusion about the exact results of that critical strike, as the Core Book hadn't released yet, the Beginner Box had very mild Crit results, and the Beta rules changed a few times.  We eventually decided he basically got the Prince Zuko treatment, and now has a badly burned face.

   Well, this guy is now suddenly more interesting.  Our Phoenix now has a nemesis who is mostly a decent fellow, so I need to flesh him out a bit.  And every bit of thought I put into him makes his story seem more and more strange.

   First things first: it's stated that Tsubasa has failed his gempukku several times, and if he fails again, he'll have to commit seppuku.

  What what WHAT?  I know the Lion are harsh, but the more I think about it, the more it blows my mind.  If he hasn't passed his gempukku, Tsubasa is technically a child, right?  He's not even allowed to wear the Daishō, so he sure as heck can't be ordered to kill himself with it.

   Second, if he were a Bushi, I could understand a little better.  But no, he's a Kitsu Medium, the rarest form of Shugenja in the Empire.  Even if he's a bit of a screw-up, you don't waste these guys.

   Third, how the heck did he get sent to the Topaz Championship if he's failed multiple times already?

   The way I figure, someone has it in for this poor kid, but I don't know who or why.  Maybe his father believes his wife had an affair, and that Tsubasa is an illegitimate child?  We're getting into PC levels of backstory now, and I almost want to play him as one (not that I ever get to be a player).

   So we have a black sheep Lion who's been kicked around his whole life, who can speak to ancestors, and has a messed up face.  You know who would love to take this guy in?  The Yogo.  He would hate the idea at first (what Lion wouldn't?), but marrying this guy into the Yogo would be a sweet deal for both parties.  As soon as he puts on the mask, people stop looking at his face.  As a Kitsu, he has unique insight into ancestral magic, so he would be put to work straightaway researching ways to mitigate the Yogo curse.  He'll likely get much more respect as a Scorpion than he ever did as a Lion.  And let's face it, this is not the guy that you're going to use when you need some Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

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I really like the way you've approached and developed this. It's a great example of taking a minor story element and building it into something much bigger and more interesting. It's really cool when that happens. If you remember, in "The World, A Stage", Bayushi Shoju spars with Bayushi Yunako in a dojo; their fight becomes one to the death (at Shoju's order), with Yunako possibly only being saved by the arrival of Kachiko. We later learn Shoju is considering Yunako as commander of the Bayushi Elite Guard. In my very first cut at this story, none of that happened. Yunako wasn't even in the story. The story opened with a later scene, Shoju musing over some koi in a pond. It was too "passive" a scene to me, and I went looking for something else. It was seeing the Commander Trait on Yunako's card that made me think...hmm, commander of  WHAT, exactly? He candidacy for command of a very special Scorpion unit, one very close to the Champion, fell out of that, and out of THAT came the whole scene with her and Shoju.

I admit, though, it does seem a little odd that Tsubasa gets to attend the Topaz Championship after failing his gempukku repeatedly. I've run that module a few times, now, and although I remember reading that and going, huh? it never came up during play. Take as written, it DOES suggest something more is going on with this guy...

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On 3/17/2019 at 10:11 PM, The Grand Falloon said:

...

   First things first: it's stated that Tsubasa has failed his gempukku several times, and if he fails again, he'll have to commit seppuku.

...  

I must have missed that. The only reference to his „special situation“ I found, was on p.12 as he "has been instructed to successfully become samurai, or commit ritual suicide to atone for the shame." Are his repeated failures mentioned somewhere else? 

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Posted (edited)

It's kind of a call back to the 1e Topaz Championship, but it's the wrong family.  Matsu did that sort of thing. Kitsu not so much--especially Kitsu Shugenja because of the rarity of their ancestor magic and for (lack of a better term) breeding.  all of which are now non-canonical until more lion info hits.

I also don't recall the multiple gempukku failures aspect of the background.

Edited by NeoSamurai

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