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Derk_g

Multiple clans/family characters under one daimyo

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Hi folks,

Right now I'm running the Beginner's Game for 4 players and we're about to wrap up and then move into them making their own characters. Beginner's game proved to be quite fun and has everyone well amped up.

I plan to run a game with all the players working for one daimyo - probably but not 100% sure Crab.

Now, I have pretty much figured out how to work anyone from outside the Crab clan into it. But I'm not 100% sure how it'd work within the clan.

Would a daimyo almost entirely have samurai of his own family reporting to him, or from other families as well? If from own family, would they have attended schools outside the family (but within the clan)? Otherwise, wouldn't things get awfully one dimensional awfully quick?

I'm probably missing a major clue here, so please help me out of my misery!

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.... cards... Hmmm. Nope. Don't have.

I'm trying to figure out at what level you would still have this mix. And whether it'd be a mix of:

* Clans, families and schools

* Families within the clan, and schools

* Own family, but mix of school

And I can handwave all I like, but before I start handwaving I'd like to understand the norm...

 

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Short answer: you can mix anything and everything as you wish.  Long answer, keep reading :)

In most Clans, the various families are specialists in particular areas, and it would not be unusual to have members of a different family providing their expertise on a particular topic.  For example, a Hida Daimyo would probably have a Kuni as his court shugenja, and a Yasuki running his logistics.  That said, it isn't impossible for their to be a Hida merchant or a Yasuki shugenja.

It is less likely, but not impossible, for samurai to end up working for someone from a different Clan, often as a result of some sort of negotiation, resulting in marriage or exchanging of hostages.  On odd occasions, it is purely an assignment for a special reason, like life favour or punishment.

Practically, here are some examples from official scenarios:

  • The Tower in A Ronin's Path from the beta had a Hida commander, Kuni shugenja, Yasuki quartermaster, Hiruma scout officer and Kaiu siege master.
  • The titular castle in Wedding at Kyotei Castle had most of the positions filled by members of the same vassal family (Tsume) and the general was a Phoenix.  By the end of the official version of the events, the Daimyo is effectively a Phoenix (the old Daimyo's widow), now ruling a castle owned by the Crane.
  • The castle the PCs pass through the wall in Mask of the Oni has a Yasuki quartermaster and a Bayushi from the Scorpion as an officer.

If you have reasonable players, suggest that maybe no more than one or two are out-of-clan, and let them decide between them.

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Well keep in mind that there are several "levels" of Daimyo.  If we were talking about the crab clan daimyo, Hida Kisada, the answer would be that everyone in crab lands listens to him.  Obviously all crab are obligated to follow Kisada regardless of family.  Even foreign visitors like Daidoji Uji, the Daidoji family daimyo (a crane), would follow Hida Kisada's orders..  this is both because Daidoji knows that Hida Kisada understands the shadowlands threat better than anyone, and also because the bushido tenet of courtesy dictates that a guest should respect the rules of the host. It's not entirely unheard of for high ranking samurai to ignore the dictates of the crab daimyo, such as Moto Tsume did when he led the Moto charge into the shadowlands, but the average samurai would consider it foolish and rude.

  I assume that we're not talking about the PC's working for Kisada directly though..  or even for one of the great family daimyos..  but I'm guessing we're talking about one of the nameless daimyos that serve as the lord of a region within crab territories.  If that's the case, the fact that courtesy demands respect for one's host should cause most samurai to follow the order of their host.. at least until they have some reason not to.  In addition, it's likely that a PC's lord, when assigning them to the wall, would tell a samurai to follow the orders and rules of the crab while in crab lands. it's possible that a foreign samurai who refuses to follow a crab daimyo at the wall may face a death sentence from their own clan's lord.

  One thing to consider is that clans will send samurai wandering around to fend for themselves so they don't have to pay those samurai. (at least that was the case in 2nd edition.)  The crab however are always looking for more trained samurai to put on the wall and will gladly keep those samurai fed, clothed, and sheltered in exchange for their services.  Perhaps the pc's aren't commanded by their lord to help the crab, but instead are forced to do so in order to survive.

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5 hours ago, Derk_g said:

If from own family, would they have attended schools outside the family (but within the clan)?

As the posters above have outlined, samurai from outside the clan are possible but would be exceptions and inside the clan it's largely a function of what kind of daimyo we're talking about. As for this specific question, training outside the family but within the clan can be somewhat uncommon but certainly not odd, and depending on the family and the kind of training it'll even be common - the majority of samurai from a "shugenja family" don't have the necessary connection to the kami to be able to become a shugenja, so they'll likely get schooling elsewhere in the clan or they have to be content training outside a formal school. Training outside the clan is very uncommon: it takes large favours, a willing sponsor and possibly a relatively wealthy backer to bankroll several years of schooling - typical examples would be shugenja from minor clans without a shugenja school of their own, political hostages, or exceptionally gifted students being admitted to a particularly prestigious dojo. 

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As explained above you have various levels of "leadership" even within the Daimyo ranks and the chains of command need not be, and in fact won't be, stricly based of fealty.

A basic example is one based on field commands. Hida Kisada has, under him, the major Crab Family daimyo, the minor Hida vassal family daimyo, and a vast array of unlanded low rank samurai and assorted footmen. Now most of the say, Hiruma will be serving under their own Daimyo, but there is nothing preventing Kisada from putting the Hiruma Daimyo and their troops under his own heir Yakamo (except maybe to molify some pricly, over-important daimyo) . By the same token Kisada can also put some of his own low ranking troops or minor daimyo under the Hiruma daimyo for a battle. Troops under a Gunso are not in fealty to him and can come from any family.

 

Even if you want to handle it strictly in terms of fealty it is unlikely a daimyo will only have someone from his own family under him. A classical example of this would be the second and third sons of mid to low rank families that couldn't really expect to be assured of some kind of inheritance. They may however, with some luck, be found a position in another family.

Training will be even more varied as you also have to take into account hostage exchanges and fosterings. For example Doji Kuwanan, in the old lore, had trained both with the Hida and with the Akodo. Shiba Tsukune trained with the Akodo. Hida Kisada's niece, Hida Rohiteki was trained as a Kuni shugenja.

 

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And it'd be surprising if a major town didn't have people nominally from multiple clans living there, regardless of 'whose' town it technically is. All of them will be answerable to the Governor of the Town as well as their own Family Daimyo and Clan Champion. 

14 hours ago, Derk_g said:

I plan to run a game with all the players working for one daimyo - probably but not 100% sure Crab.

Now, I have pretty much figured out how to work anyone from outside the Crab clan into it. But I'm not 100% sure how it'd work within the clan.

Absolutely fine. As noted, they could be fostered or hostaged guests, embedded allies serving with the clan, advisors, ambassadors, imperial officials (representing the Emerald Magistrature or Imperial Legions), you name it. 

In a more practical way; what are you planning to have them do, and which other clans are we talking about?

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I agree with the many posts above that there is no shortage of opportunities to have "foreign" samurai acting heroically in some other Clan's lands. They probably represent a very small minority. Perhaps no more than 10% of the total population of "interesting" characters in the area. Everyone else would be Crab, and a decent majority of the Crabs (65?) are of the same family for the local lord. So in reasonably cosmopolitan Yasuki province that might make the breakdown look like 60+% Yasuki, 30ish% other Crab & maybe 10% other. My best guess for a rule of thumb. If that sounds wrong you could easily tweak those numbers. A more remote province is probably skewed a lot more toward the family who rules the province.

The Crab lands are especially appropriate because of the Wall and the defense against the Shadowlands. As has been stated, the Crab is always looking for more troops and supplies. A Dragon samurai on the Wall? Might bee the only one in the area, but no one bats an eye that they are there. Every Clan sends people to the Wall. The Yasuki also deserve mention because their trade network covers Rokugan. That a Yasuki lord or lady has deep connections with other people in other clans is barely worth noting. LOTS of "foreign" samurai (or Ronin) could be plausibly involved in a campaign that starts in the court of a Yasuki.

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Thanks all for all the helpful responses!

I will give my players the following options:

  • Samurai from within Family, attended Family school or other Clan school
  • Samurai from within Clan, attended their own Family school (preferred) or other Clan school  I will need a story from them why they now serve this daimyo
  • Samurai from outside the Clan, will need a reason why they joined the Crab and this Family in particular

I am leaning towards Yasuki or a minor family within the Yasuki - primarily because this seems to offer a more diverse range of adventure options

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I ran one game that started out based in a Dojo.

Everyone was required to pick a Lion school, regardless of Clan origin. I gave non-Lion the "different school" advantage for free (this was 3e), and the Lion got something, but I don't remember what. Gave everyone their Rank One abilities, and went from there straight into the Hidden Emperor storyline.

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I ran the boxed set beginner game at my FLGS, and had 5 dedicated players who each bought the core book, and wanted to return and run together for a campaign. Next week we did a 'session 0' Character building night, and ended up with all manner of characters.

Specifically:

Crane Doji diplomat

Crab Hida 'Glass-Tank' ( sorry inside joke )

Dragon Kitsuki Investigator

Dragon Murimoto 2 Sword adept

Phoenix Kaito Shrine Keeper

So after brainstorming what to do with these people for a week, and knowing only 3 had any RPG experience, and only 1 had ever even heard of Rokugan my idea was they all were seeded into one of the Minor Clans. So we began back at Tsuma, on the eve of the Topax championship from the beginner box game, and watched with glee as their faces all wrapped around the understanding of the Imperial edict that sent them to the lands of the Hare. GM screen adventure later, and now wrapping up the Mask of the Oni adventure, it's been a great ride as they feel the strength of the Hare Clan in thwarting the evil Bloodspeakers...

Oh if they only knew what is in store next...

Since starting we have added 2 additional players An Isawa Elementalist with the Curiosity quirk ( new to RPG player, but man is she giving me material ) and a Kuni 'witch hunter'

My long rambling point is...

ABSOLUTELY you can have multiple Clan/Families under one lord. Also you can mix an match other clans into your clan of story under all manner of political maneuvering, marriage arrangements, etc.

You should have seen my Hida players face, when after boasting on his martial prowess he was assigned as Yojimbo to the Crane Diplomat. "Oh yeah, big strong Crab needs to protect the weak lil Crane, so his feathers don't get ruffled"

Thwack down, Thwack, Down, Thwack, Down. Hida's gone down so often in combat the Kuni has jokingly called him 'Sleeping Beauty'  I'll say Roll Initiative, and she points to the map, and asks him where is he gonna take his nap.

 

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Don't forget out of clan options.  Married in, adopted, fostered, even a hostage (if not in name then in reality.  Think Theon Greyjoy).  Daimyo is an uncle/aunt via interclan marriage and your parents died recently, daimyo claims precedence of loyalty which your current master agrees to (perhaps while intending to use you as a spy in the other clan)

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