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Vulcan646

Story Discussion - Tactical Maneuvers

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8 minutes ago, Schmoozies said:

Not a fan of the constant use of the Lion as the Worf of L5R, when in doubt have them beat up on the Lion.  Probably some baggage from O5R where they tended to get the same treatment

'scuse me?  The Lion are winning on the Military side.  Having them outmaneouverd politically is not treating them as Worf.  Having them beaten in a military conflict would be, but the Crane are basically being whupped by the Lion that way.

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12 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

'scuse me?  The Lion are winning on the Military side.  Having them outmaneouverd politically is not treating them as Worf.  Having them beaten in a military conflict would be, but the Crane are basically being whupped by the Lion that way.

Really cause Lion seem to have lost out to the Crane more then they are actually winning.  First fiction where Hotaru gunned Arasou down and they were then outmaneuvered from being able to reclaim Toshi Ranbo which the Crane took from them by military force in the first place.  They've lost to the Unicorn over Hisu Mori Torride (admittedly part of the "plan" but we'll see how well that plays out) and when they ran into the Dragon "army" they got out maneuvered by Mitsu's quick thinking to get his army a pass through their territory.  Now we have stupid Matsu (and his Ikoma advisor) to blind to see Asami scheming around him and Kage Sensei who is supposed to be one of the clans more politically minded individuals out maneuvered by Hotaru's husband.  

Yes, we've been told they were winning that war and the Crane are in desperate straights, but not much seems to have come from it as at every turn it seems to have lead to actual losses for the Lion and nothing too bad for the Crane.  They lost the city, lost the surrounding territory as its now Scorpion running the show there and things are supposed to remain status quo (i.e. Crane get the benefit of the city).  The Unicorn war is  about to kick off big time and who knows how that will turnout as the build up seems to be Lion kicked a hornets nest and the Moto are about to come knocking, and now we have the Fox getting cozier with the Crane.

Lion have been, outside of Toturi, on the receiving end of most of the real loses this story and don't really have many tangible wins to show for it.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

'scuse me?  The Lion are winning on the Military side.  Having them outmaneouverd politically is not treating them as Worf.  Having them beaten in a military conflict would be, but the Crane are basically being whupped by the Lion that way.

It may feel to some like the Lion are getting worfed because they got defeated in the last military story by the Unicorn and they were driven back by the Crane in their first story. In story battles have been mostly defeats while out of story combat is where the victories are.

It is a show not tell problem.

Edited by Ultimatecalibur

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Ultimatecalibur said:

It may feel to some like the Lion are getting worfed because they got defeated in the last military story by the Unicorn and they were driven back by the Crane in their first story. In story battles have been mostly defeats while out of story combat is where the victories are.

It is a show not tell problem.

That and there don't seem to have been any real gains from any of the Lion's victories, even when we are told that they have the Crane on the ropes.

Edited by Schmoozies

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Besides, Lion curbstomping Crane on the battlefield, then having those victories stolen in court? That's like, the old-school canon justification for why the Crane still exist.

Anyway. Crane story, never needed to read another one as long as I loive, yadda yadda, Gunichi boilerplate... but it was a change from recent events to see a story where the Crane use what they've actually got, instead of acting like they're still as wealthy and powerful as they were before the previous Master of Water screwed up

 

Kinda liked the Kakita's little faux pas. One does not just kill things in the Kitsune Mori.

Given Kage's prior history, one wonders how much of a defeat this really was for him- although the Lion being oafs around the minor clans is also par for the course...

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Just now, Schmoozies said:

Really cause Lion seem to have lost out to the Crane more then they are actually winning.  First fiction where Hotaru gunned Arasou down and they were then outmaneuvered from being able to reclaim Toshi Ranbo which the Crane took from them by military force in the first place.  They've lost to the Unicorn over Hisu Mori Torride (admittedly part of the "plan" but we'll see how well that plays out) and when they ran into the Dragon "army" they got out maneuvered by Mitsu's quick thinking to get his army a pass through their territory.  Now we have stupid Matsu (and his Ikoma advisor) to blind to see Asami scheming around him and Kage Sensei who is supposed to be one of the clans more politically minded individuals out maneuvered by Hotaru's husband.  

Yes, we've been told they were winning that war and the Crane are in desperate straights, but not much seems to have come from it as at every turn it seems to have lead to actual losses for the Lion and nothing too bad for the Crane.  They lost the city, lost the surrounding territory as its now Scorpion running the show there and things are supposed to remain status quo (i.e. Crane get the benefit of the city).  The Unicorn war is  about to kick off big time and who knows how that will turnout as the build up seems to be Lion kicked a hornets nest and the Moto are about to come knocking, and now we have the Fox getting cozier with the Crane.

Lion have been, outside of Toturi, on the receiving end of most of the real loses this story and don't really have many tangible wins to show for it.

I would have to disagree with you on the notion that the Lion were not doing well militarily in their "skirmish" with the Crane.

For Proof, I would direct you to the "A Crane Takes Flight" story that FFG released.

It talks about how the Lion were winning battles against the Crane on the Osari Plains.

The story also lets us know that the extended conflict was putting considerable strain the Crane's Finances.

This was thus forcing the Crane to sell some of their most valuable works of art in order to employ large bands of undisciplined mercenaries.

Overall, one of the purposes of "A Crane Takes Flight"'s was to show just how good the Lion are at extended warfare.

I invite you to read the story, if you have not already, for further context.

 

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Besides, Lion curbstomping Crane on the battlefield, then having those victories stolen in court? That's like, the old-school canon justification for why the Crane still exist.

Anyway. Crane story, never needed to read another one as long as I loive, yadda yadda, Gunichi boilerplate... but it was a change from recent events to see a story where the Crane use what they've actually got, instead of acting like they're still as wealthy and powerful as they were before the previous Master of Water screwed up

 

Kinda liked the Kakita's little faux pas. One does not just kill things in the Kitsune Mori.

Given Kage's prior history, one wonders how much of a defeat this really was for him- although the Lion being oafs around the minor clans is also par for the course...

Another thing that the story draws attention to is the fact that none of the Crane know for sure know that the person calling himself Akodo Kage was actually Akodo Kage. 

I find it interesting that the story really focused on that idea in regards to Akodo Kage.

 

Edited by Vulcan646

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5 minutes ago, Vulcan646 said:

I would have to disagree with you on the notion that the Lion were not doing well militarily in their "skirmish" with the Crane.

For Proof, I would direct you to the "A Crane Takes Flight" story that FFG released.

It talks about how the Lion were winning battles against the Crane on the Osari Plains.

The story also lets us know that the extended conflict was putting considerable strain the Crane's Finances.

This was thus forcing the Crane to sell some of their most valuable works of art in order to employ large bands of undisciplined mercenaries.

Overall, one of the purposes of "A Crane Takes Flight"'s was to show just how good the Lion are at extended warfare.

I invite you to read the story, if you have not already, for further context.

 

Except that nothing of note has come from this.  No apparent actual lessening of Crane power, they still control the plains and with the Scorpion now in charge of Toshi Ranbo taking the excuse for the conflict away from the Lion there is now no way for the Lion to press that front (thus why they were looking at this alternate option for an excuse to press that front)

Lion victories have been examples of we're told they are doing great and are a threat but at every important turn there is nothing coming of it.  Even "A Crane Takes Flight" leaves us with signs that the Crane are actually doing well as despite the apparent disaray in their command structure the Lion can't "close" the skirmish on them.

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Posted (edited)

I really liked it.  I think the court scene in the first half was my favorite part.  Two thumbs up for effectively showing a Crane Courtier getting herself out of a jam with a diplomatic solution (with the help of a sympathetic Scorpion).  I feel like I want more of this stuff from the Crane fiction. 

I agree that unfortunately it seems like the Lion (other than Toturi) are often painted as antagonists, and are too often shown losing conflicts.  I do hope they rectify that in future fictions.  Clearly that can't be the status quo in Rokugan.  People fear the Lion armies for a reason in the fiction.  Even forced into only border skirmishes they should be performing at least equally as well as the other clans.  I feel like they don't seem to focus on their victories enough in the fictions. We mostly see them from other clan POVs.  Maybe we just need more fictions from sympathetic Lion POVs.  We mostly get Toturi who is removed from the day to day Lion plight considering his position and Tsuko who usually isn't very sympathetic.  I think their position is understandable.  They feel like their neighbors are encroaching on territory that rightfully belongs to them.  They also look to solve those solutions using their strongest option which is their military prowess. 

Edited by phillos

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Nice to see the Crane getting their feet under themselves again.

As for the Lion not getting any advantage out of winning battles, that's kind of how the Lion work. That's how they managed to control two Clan's worth of territory for several centuries and not leverage it into compete domination of Rokugan.

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Well, as far as the Lion's portrayal in terms of how much fun it is to fight them:

 

Even with Kaede's marriage to Toturi, fear of Lion opportunism is a major factor in the Phoenix Clan's keeping a tight lid on their problems.
The Crane's only appreciable battlefield win came with a Clan Champion shooting another (reckless) Clan Champion- otherwise the Lion have been pushing them around pretty handily.
The Dragon marching through their lands pointedly played nice.
The Unicorn... well, you've got some, like Kamoko, who see it as a good time, and some, like Shono, who don't- and the Unicorn as a whole are one of the more militarized clans.
The Scorpion might well be one bad afternoon away from discovering just how bad things can get.

Really, only the Crab (another highly militarized clan) don't seem to have vocally expressed respect or even fear for the Lion's capabilities.

 

As far as being aggressive hotheaded jerkwads nobody particularly likes? Yeah. They're the Lion Clan. That has historically been their role. If you like the Crane? For most of AEG's run, the Lion were your enemy. If you like Minor Clans? The Lion bullying them is an established trait. It wasn't really until the Crane/Lion reconciliation over Toshi Ranbo in the old lore that the Lion got anything CLOSE to a reliable ally, because fighting people is kind of their whole schtick

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I agree with all that, which is why I think we need more POVs inside the Lion.  We always see them on the attack so it colors our perception.  We see them mostly as the other clans see them.  I kinda what some more fiction showing the Lion as they see themselves if that makes sense.  I feel that's not touched on enough.

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1 minute ago, phillos said:

I agree with all that, which is why I think we need more POVs inside the Lion.  We always see them on the attack so it colors our perception.  We see them mostly as the other clans see them.  I kinda what some more fiction showing the Lion as they see themselves if that makes sense.  I feel that's not touched on enough.

Well, bit early for Matsu Domotai's seppuku, but a few more Akodo Toturi channeling Akodo Dairuko (my favorite Lion Clan Champion in the old lore hands down) might help... the catch is, right now, the Lion are kinda schismatic- Matsu Tsuko is trouble. The real hangup, thus far, is that Toturi seems to be literally the only Lion in his camp- everybody else seems to be merrily marching along with Tsuko's worldview.

Some of that's been presentation- in terms of POV characters, the Lion are extremely limited at present... they basically have Toturi and Tsuko- and while that means they have both broad categories of Lion represented, Toturi is generally presented as a man apart, with his strongest known supporter being a married-in Phoenix. (Note that the Lion aren't really alone there- only the Phoenix and Scorpion really seem to have a varied slate of major characters on offer, although the Unicorn are catching up- some of that's the novellas, of course, but even without them, the Phoenix and Scorpion have just done a better job of sharing story time around a variety of characters). Even if you move beyond first-person perspectives, the Lion are largely represented by scheming Ikoma and "God I hope he's not a Kolat again so they can actually surprise us with the character" Kage.

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So, as far as I can see, there were 3 specific decision points addressed in this story. Scorpion control of Toshi Ranbo, a Kakita being sent with Kuzunobu, and that Kakita being Kaezin.

Out of that, we get Asami winning in court and Kaezin causing as much trouble for the Fox as helping Kuzunobu. And at the same time, we see that the absence of the Ikoma is necessary for her ploy to work, and the Akodo Kage situation is both a subtle way for the Lion to outflank the Crane, and a chance to add a shine of mystery to the sensei.

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3 hours ago, phillos said:

People fear the Lion armies for a reason in the fiction.

 

Yes, and to address the point about Mitsu above: the whole reason he had to do a verbal tap-dance to get the Dragon out of that situation with Tsanuri was because he knew the Lion would stomp them into the mud if it came to actual violence. (Hitomi may have been willing to go for it, but, well . . . Hitomi.) It's not the Lion being Worfed if somebody deliberately chooses a non-military solution to a problem because they know the Lion would win in a military confrontation.

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Posted (edited)

This is the first time I feel let down by the new L5R fiction.

This story does not show the Crane as graceful and clever. Rather, both Asami and Kuzunobu act more like Crab courtiers — saying blunt, rude things because they can count on other, more courteous samurai being too embarassed to sink to the same level.

As usual, the Lion are meant to be the butt of a joke, which is irritating enough. But ironically, it is actually the Crane who end up coming off poorly in a story apparently meant to spotlight their talent for parlay.

Edited by Manchu

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1 hour ago, Manchu said:

This story does not show the Crane as graceful and clever. Rather, both Asami and Kuzunobu act more like Crab courtiers — saying blunt, rude things because they can count on other, more courteous samurai being too embarassed to sink to the same level.

Asami calls the Lion on the pathetic lie that she isn't a hostage, and does so when his best courtier isn't present and after spending her captivity forming good relations with the other courtiers present by allowing them more grace and ease than the spartan court normally afforded. Had the Lion been honest about the reason for the length of her stay, that option wouldn't have been available. How awkward for them.

As for Kuzunobu... that wasn't a matter of "other, more courteous samurai being too embarrassed to sink to the same level." That was tossing some status into Kage's rude behavior toward the Fox, and then making it abundantly plain that his side of the argument was backed by a superior duelist. Which is Crane Courtly Bullying 101, and clearly easier to get away with when someone's talking out of his rear to a bunch of Minor Clanners.

Neither is in any way out of character for the Crane.

1 hour ago, Manchu said:

As usual, the Lion are meant to be the butt of a joke, which is irritating enough. But ironically, it is actually the Crane who end up coming off poorly in a story apparently meant to spotlight their talent for parlay.

Opinion is divided on the subject.

In Asami's case, a rather straight-laced fellow is caught offguard and cedes the point rather than making his situation worse. Or do we really want to get into Asami's protracted stay when what's going on isn't a war by the legal standards of Rokugan?

In Kuzunobu's, an attempt at conversational bullying is met with the rules of etiquette some idiot back at the dawn of the Empire let the Crane write.

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11 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

The Crane's only appreciable battlefield win came with a Clan Champion shooting another (reckless) Clan Champion- otherwise the Lion have been pushing them around pretty handily.

And, to be fair, happened whilst Arasou was chasing Crane who were running away back into the city after being beaten outside it. 

8 hours ago, Kinzen said:

Yes, and to address the point about Mitsu above: the whole reason he had to do a verbal tap-dance to get the Dragon out of that situation with Tsanuri was because he knew the Lion would stomp them into the mud if it came to actual violence. (Hitomi may have been willing to go for it, but, well . . . Hitomi.) It's not the Lion being Worfed if somebody deliberately chooses a non-military solution to a problem because they know the Lion would win in a military confrontation.

Indeed. What was supposed to be the largest Dragon Army in living memory was still massively outnumbered by a detachement of the Lion. What proportion of the two forces may be Ashigaru Levy as opposed to Ise Zuma, we don't know, but being outnumbered several times over by a relatively minor sub-commander is a pretty drastic enditement of the respective military force of the two clans.

12 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

The Unicorn... well, you've got some, like Kamoko, who see it as a good time, and some, like Shono, who don't- and the Unicorn as a whole are one of the more militarized clans.

Very much so. The Lion, Crab and Unicorn are the three clans with distinctly militaristic bias. Utaku Kamoko is (amongst other things) the commander of the Shiotome Elite - essentially she's Shinjo Altansarnai's highest ranking bushi vassal, making her essentially the Unicorn equivalent of Matsu Tsuko; a "war now!" viewpoint from her is pretty much what you'd expect since it's basically her purpose.

6 hours ago, Suzume Chikahisa said:

The Lion now have holdings bordering the Fox? I think that's new.

Part of the reason Genji put them in Kitsune Mori was to keep them as far away from the Lion as possible.

Based on the map of Rokugan, not directly - they're still shown as border Crab and Scorpion lands. That said, individual castles and minor settlements around the borders of any given clan heartland are owned by a whole patchwork of relatives, vassals and treaty-partners. I'm sure there's someone nearby who can be broadly identified as 'lion' - or if not, then a punitive expedition* can be mounted which would give the lion a stronghold in the south - something I'm sure they wouldn't mind even if it didn't come with the bonus opportunity to hoof a crane ally in the unmentionables. It's not like you'd need a major force (by lion clan standards) to knock over a minor clan, provided someone can keep the Imperial Court's nose out of the matter. 

That said, they do specifically talk about having the lion clan for a neighbour.

3 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

Asami calls the Lion on the pathetic lie that she isn't a hostage, and does so when his best courtier isn't present and after spending her captivity forming good relations with the other courtiers present by allowing them more grace and ease than the spartan court normally afforded. Had the Lion been honest about the reason for the length of her stay, that option wouldn't have been available. How awkward for them.

Asami's actions there I have no problem with. Accepting that she's leaving because she failed is a blow to her status in the public eye, after all, but ultimately timing it so Ikoma Eiji wasn't there was the main thing. 

The scene does reflect poorly on Matsu Seishin's court, though. If you're planning to keep her there, then he and Ikoma Eiji could have put their heads together and figured out the pretext ahead of time whether the Lion courtier was there or not. Realising you might need to do that was part of Eiji's job, and leaving your boss to improvise in front of multiple clan's ambassadors isn't doing it.

"Ensuring her security" - after all, as the fighting winds up a lot of near-brigand ronin are wandering away from the front - is one option, albeit at the risk of implying in front of other clan diplomats that Matsu Seishin is not able to garuantee the safety of lone travellers - meaning he'd have to back it up by providing large guards to everyone. 

Actually coming up with something to negotiate about is another - after all, whilst Toshi Ranbo is now off the table (the Emperor having taken the two clan's toys away until they learn to play nice), there must still be standing issues around the plains; after all, they talk about the lion 'being very busy not having a war with the crane', the lines are still ill-defined at best and I don't believe there's been a formal ruling on where the border should be now. 

 

3 hours ago, Shiba Gunichi said:

As for Kuzunobu... that wasn't a matter of "other, more courteous samurai being too embarrassed to sink to the same level." That was tossing some status into Kage's rude behavior toward the Fox, and then making it abundantly plain that his side of the argument was backed by a superior duelist. Which is Crane Courtly Bullying 101, and clearly easier to get away with when someone's talking out of his rear to a bunch of Minor Clanners.

Kunuzobu was being deliberately quite rude - but as noted, it was mostly a matter of pointedly getting Kenshinzen and Akihiro to glare at one another. It wasn't really 'conversational bullying' - Akodo Kage wasn't specifically trying to get anyone to agree with him; quite the reverse - everyone's in-story assumption is that he wanted to create an 'incident' where one of the Fox lost it. As noted, they can't call him on either status or by having a duellist (at least not one in Akihiro's leage)  stare them down, but Kunuzobu (as a great clan member, even if only by marriage, with a Kakita in tow) can. 

That wasn't being diplomatic, because the subtext was basically "Shut up. Now."

 

 

* Not a "war", obviously, since Great Clans are forbidden from declaring war on Minor Clans. So it's not a war. It's just....a very strenuous discussion. With some stabbing, and quite a lot of fire.

 

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