Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Vulcan646

Across the Burning Sands Discussion

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

So I finished the book and I got to say that it was definitely very different than the normal L5R fiction.

This was because the story was essentially a bunch of Rokugani (Unicorn) forced to go on a journey to meet the in universe equivalent of a Muslim Caliphate. 

Long story short, the Caliphate and Rokugan's cultures are very different from one another.

It was hilarious to learn that the Unicorn handshaking custom came from the Caliphate's culture though.

Also, we seem to have gotten confirmation that Kami don't exist outside the emerald empire.

Instead it looks like jinn are one of the main spiritual "things" in the Caliphate.

 

Edited by Vulcan646

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, FFG didn't get LBS rights, for Medinaat etc..., so they are making up some of it. Ivory Kingdoms is still in, I think but rest is not. I've generally liking the novellas, but was really looking forward to this one. I love LBS, due to a GM and some awesome games, so very curious what FFG will be doing with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Ivory Kingdoms are definitely still a thing in Rokugan as the novel confirms this.

The novel explains that one of the reasons for the Unicorn mission to the Caliphate is due to the fact that the Unicorn territory, outside the Empire, is a trade route to the Ivory Kingdoms.

Share this post


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

See, that's a thing which is completely new at this point in the timeline - Clan territory outside the Empire.  If I'm right, there are three Clans who have extra-Imperial territory - Unicorn, Tortoise and Mantis.

Mantis and Unicorn had extensive holdings outside the Empire in the old edition as well, they just weren't played up as much in the early story.  But the Moto were a thing in the LBS game and when Shinjo returned at the end of the Hidden Emperor arc she brought a whole army of them with her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not gonna lie...I was not expecting to find out the Unicorn are Jewish (jk...but not really). I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of familiar near eastern mythology worked into the story and the fluff section in the back. I'd say despite being set entirely outside of Rokugan, this novella has done the most in establishing world building. 

Phoenix novella is still better though. 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Kaito Kikaze said:

Not gonna lie...I was not expecting to find out the Unicorn are Jewish (jk...but not really). I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of familiar near eastern mythology worked into the story and the fluff section in the back. I'd say despite being set entirely outside of Rokugan, this novella has done the most in establishing world building. 

Phoenix novella is still better though. 😉

I agree that the Phoenix novel was still the best.

All of the novels have been good so far though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Kaito Kikaze said:

Not gonna lie...I was not expecting to find out the Unicorn are Jewish (jk...but not really). I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of familiar near eastern mythology worked into the story and the fluff section in the back. I'd say despite being set entirely outside of Rokugan, this novella has done the most in establishing world building. 

Phoenix novella is still better though. 😉

Early in the old lore Unicorn had quite a bit of Tuko-Arabic influence which was shed once the Moto took over and it was all faux-Pop-Mongol-Barbarian crap everywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I enjoyed this quite a bit. It looked almost as if they were going to set up a faction split (especially with what just happened in "Last Stone Played") but I'm glad they didn't do that.

Also, I enjoyed how much world building this book did. So much more detail on what is outside of Rokugan. I like that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was liking Shono from his first story....yes, he is mopey here, but for an understandable reason. 

 

But man....he needs to let his inner sarcasm out moar. MOAR! Shono believes in Chagatai who believes in Shono!

 

I think they really managed to hit the right tone for Shono, being a hybrid of Rokugan and everything else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I truly did enjoy Chagatai as a character. He was refreshing, and kept the story moving with surprising speed. I was impressed with how Daniel Lovat Clark was able to incorporate so many tiny pieces of Unicorn lore into the narrative. Don't get me wrong, I truly do love Spooky's fiction, but I think that this novella is the best yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am biased towards this, as an LBS fan.

 

I like the "conflict" between Unicorn and the Caliph: the Unicorn claim the people via blood relation (Rokugani custom) while the Caliph claims via religion. And Shono outplaying the djinn was hilarious, even if the djinn was helping. I hope to see him show up in the future. I'm just worried we won't be seeing any further updates on this for a while :(

Share this post


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

I like the "conflict" between Unicorn and the Caliph: the Unicorn claim the people via blood relation (Rokugani custom) while the Caliph claims via religion. And Shono outplaying the djinn was hilarious, even if the djinn was helping. I hope to see him show up in the future. I'm just worried we won't be seeing any further updates on this for a while :(

On the plus side the Phoenix book had a few follow up short stories pretty soon after release that set up future events for the characters involved (the duel between Tadaka and the old Master of Earth and Kossori teaming with the Unicorn Shugenja to purge the Djinn from the temple) and Yojiro being named governor (or was it chief magistrate) of Toshi Ranbo was fall out from the Scorpion book (informed by the season 1 kotei results).  It may take a little time but I'm sure we'll see some follow up. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing I like a lot....Shono is a badass. Like, he is sad, and grieving and confused...but when he fights? He fights. He's a great rider, archer and swordsman, can wrestle, and picks up quickly the quirks of the djinn. I appreciate him kicking asses and taking names.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Kaito Kikaze said:

#JusticeForShoan

Seems like he's giving names too, wonder how Rokugan is going to react to his new gaijin Qamarist anti-magic bride...

I am more curious how she is going to react to the Phoenix Clan and their screams of "HERESY!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, what's with FFG and eyes? I'm kinda surprised Yojiro got out with both of his xD

 

I mean...despite cries of Heresy, what is the Rokugani stance on religion? The issue with the Perfect Land is that they consider it a heretical sect of their own religion...not sure what they think of Qamarist stuff. Then again, I think there is a difference between kami magic and djinn, so I wonder what she'll think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Horvagab said:

I mean...despite cries of Heresy, what is the Rokugani stance on religion? The issue with the Perfect Land is that they consider it a heretical sect of their own religion...not sure what they think of Qamarist stuff. Then again, I think there is a difference between kami magic and djinn, so I wonder what she'll think.

Well considering that outsiders are technically barred from the Empire and the Celestial Order with the Emperor as its divine representative on Earth is the official religion of the Empire I'm guessing it won't go over well.

Edited by Schmoozies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There’s been an interesting trend in the first 3 novella. The Phoenix showed us the northern border and interactions with yobanjin. The Scorpion takes us to Ryoko Owari, the cosmopolitan city where the caste system is weakest. And now the Unicorn giving us Khanbulak, the Ganzu, and international politics.  While the regular fiction is concerned with life in the Empire under Bushido, the books have been remarkably good at putting the Empire in the context of a larger world. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a cast of big characters I really like how Yumino was written in this book.  She was a nice contrast to the bombastic Chagatai and the self loathing Shono.  Also I like how the horses are given as much character work as many of the characters.  Certainly fitting for a Unicorn fiction.  I'm really happy with how much Moto and talk of the lords of death we got in the book since that's my favorite part of the Unicorn clan.  Also it was nice to get all those world building articles at the end to give us some clarification on the Unicorn's past in the new continuity.  I think I still like the Phoenix book best, but this book was very entertaining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

In my humble opinion;

The Phoenix Novella is much better than the other two and is the only really GOOD book among the three. Great characters, great story that keeps momentum throughout but still feel tight. Thumbs up here.

Scorpion one is okay. The clan lore and the great images of the city she is able to convey, and ninjas, make up for the average story. Still, some cool characters and moments in there. But what stick with me was her images, it gives great inspiration on how to describe cities in Rokugan, especially shady ones.


The Unicorn book is by far the worst. Mostly just "gaijin" lore thrown on paper for most of the book. No real good storytelling at all, nothing tight. Aside the two last chapters, everything feels like the same, it is almost on the level as a lore description column in the RPG book. The story doesn't even need to be there. And then it ends in a few pages. Still, I would recommend to pick it up if you want to learn about gaijin, or Unicorns a bit. It is in then end, MORE L5R LORE :D and this book does a good job at lore.

Edited by Avatar111

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More than the other two books it feels like the Unicorn book works better if you read the short stories before it.  He explains what happened to Shono in the book, but it's better if you experienced it.  He kinda runs down Chagatai and his motivations, but again it's better if you see it directly from him and the Moto in that short story.   It feels like a very real extension of the stories that came before it rather than it's own story and that's sort of how I treated it.  As a much longer entry in the regular fictions.  The other two did feel more like complete stories.

I think this book did a good job of showing you what it's like to travel down the Sand Road, and what the outside perspective is of Rokugan.  Since that is a big part of the Unicorn identity then this was the most appropriate place to explore that.  Now when they talk about the Sand Road, Qamarist, the Caliphate, Djinn and/or Sorcery we have a much better idea of what that actually looks like in the setting.  I was certainly crying out for that.

I feel like the Phoenix book concentrated on characters more that setting, and that may be why I responded to it more.  The Scorpion and Unicorn both did heavy lifting in the setting and lore arenas and then chose to really only concentrate on a single lead.  I feel like Yojiro and Shono both get a good arc.  In the Phoenix book I feel like Spooky gave enough time to all three leads to give them an arc as well as flesh out some secondary characters.  Though at the same time I don't feel like that book did alot of setting and lore heavy lifting.  We are introduce to the Kaito, but that's shown through Kosori mostly and then the appendix stuff.  So it doesn't really take up too much away from the story and character work.

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...