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DavidJDance

Eunuchs in Rokugan?

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One of my players is in the process of creating a (secondary) character. and has just asked whether the character can be a eunuch. (He's been watching a Korean TV show and it has given him some ideas...)

Is there a tradition of eunuchs in Rokugan? I can see nothing in the 5E canon, and I can easily imagine there is no such tradition, given what I know so far of the culture, how gender plays in it etc

But I thought I should ask!

(All this putting aside the fact that I do not think being a eunuch fits naturally with the rest of his background - Kitsu Medium school shugenja. So if the player does want to do something along these lines, we might have to come up with some exceptional narrative. Perhaps he is not a eunuch via surgical intervention, but via chance medical condition, for example, and is quite a rarity. I can imagine a distinction representing  trustworthiness in certain scenarios, perhaps. and/or not easily distracted by sexual ploys.  Or perhaps I might just dissuade them from this route. But either way, I wanted to gather the facts about Rokugan first!)

I'm a pretty much a noob on this world, so any pointers welcome...

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14 hours ago, DavidJDance said:

(All this putting aside the fact that I do not think being a eunuch fits naturally with the rest of his background - Kitsu Medium school shugenja. So if the player does want to do something along these lines, we might have to come up with some exceptional narrative. Perhaps he is not a eunuch via surgical intervention, but via chance medical condition, for example, and is quite a rarity. I can imagine a distinction representing  trustworthiness in certain scenarios, perhaps. and/or not easily distracted by sexual ploys.  Or perhaps I might just dissuade them from this route. But either way, I wanted to gather the facts about Rokugan first!)

I could see representing it well with advantages or disadvantages; relating to self-control, if desired.

We've not seen them mentioned in the new background, and (outside of references to the Arabic-themed Burning Sands) honestly I don't expect to.

Since the Empire doesn't have the multiple-empresses of feudal china you don't really have the classic place you'd expect to see them; of a 'ladies palace'. Plus, the setting is shown as somewhat more gender-equal than much of real world history, and many (most) of the major female character are samurai-ko, perfectly capable of kicking your backside on their own behalf in the case of unwanted advances.

The other reason would be to remove the temptation of acting in family interest in a high official, but since we know the Imperial Chancellor, Imperial Advisor and Emerald Champion - the biggest non-imperial posts -  are all clan family members, I can't see it mattering by comparison for a minor post. The "I don't trust the clan nobles with this" idea is basically what the Otomo, Seppun and Miya are for.

Plus, pre-emptively castrating someone is basically saying "I don't think you're capable of self-control", which is essentially a massive slap in the face to the honour of the whole bloodline, so would be a much bigger deal for a samurai culture.

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Rokugan is almost entirely based on Japan whose government was mostly based in webs of family power brokers and which historically didn't resort to castration, favouring instead martial, viril, ability.

Eunuchs are more of a thing on, supposedly, bureaucratic regimes which is why you see it mostly in China, Imperial Greece and at some points in different Caliphates. So the Lion would be about the last clan where I can picture it.

Theoretically I can see the Unicorn picking up the practice on a small scale to produce neutral mediators or maybe some esoteric Dragon sect as a further way to shed attachment through mortification of the flesh. Outside of that I have a hard time seeing any clan picking on it particularly with the ritual tabboos against bloodspilling.

 

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There's definitely nothing in canon, and I'd be awfully surprised if there ever was. I'd say, if you think eunuchs would be a good addition to the game for your particular version of Rokugan, well, go for it. It could be an interesting subject for your players to deal with. Just make sure everyone is comfortable with the idea...you don't want to put off someone, or make them uncomfortable, because it's obviously a potentially controversial topic. 

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On 6/11/2019 at 8:08 PM, Suzume Chikahisa said:

Rokugan is almost entirely based on Japan whose government was mostly based in webs of family power brokers and which historically didn't resort to castration, favouring instead martial, viril, ability.

Eunuchs are more of a thing on, supposedly, bureaucratic regimes which is why you see it mostly in China, Imperial Greece and at some points in different Caliphates. So the Lion would be about the last clan where I can picture it.

Theoretically I can see the Unicorn picking up the practice on a small scale to produce neutral mediators or maybe some esoteric Dragon sect as a further way to shed attachment through mortification of the flesh. Outside of that I have a hard time seeing any clan picking on it particularly with the ritual tabboos against bloodspilling.

 

Not entirely based on Japan.  The Kaiu Wall is clearly an analogy of the Great Wall of China.  The Lion clan is easily the Chinese Imperial Legions.  The Unicorn are basically the Mongolians.  The Scorpion are a mix of the Japanese Yakuza and Chinese Tongs and Triads as well as some of the Thai criminal elements.  The Dragon clan Monks and their monasteries are effectively Xaiolin among other Kung-Fu martial monasteries.  The Kaito family of the Phoenix have lots of Korean overtones.

I  would argue more that the Imperial bureaucracy is Nanjing China with Japanese Shinto as the national religion.  The martial tradition is Japanese though the government and the organization of the military is more Chinese based.  The families are more Japanese clans while the day to day food is more Chinese, particularly inland away from the coast.

In effect the setting is an Asian fusion taking something from all of the East Asian cultures.  Though to the original point, I doubt that the Chinese practice of Eunuchs is reflected in Rokugan.  If it were, then Miya Satoshi would be a Eunuch as would Kakita Yoshi; their respective positions in the Imperial Chinese government were held by Eunuchs.  And your point about bloodspilling makes it hard to justify the practice outside of the monks of the Dragon Clan.

Edited by neilcell
misspelled Chinese and left out the triad gangs

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Eunuchs are definitely not an element in the current canon L5R setting. There's nothing in the background materials we use to even hint that they are, nor would I expect there ever to be such a thing introduced. IMO, it simply adds a controversial component into the story for no clear or reasonable dramatic pay-off. That said, as always, if it appeals to a GM and their players as an interesting thing to have in their particular version of the game, well...go for it, of course. But I'd be REALLY surprised if it ever gets introduced into the canon, for a lot of both in-setting and real-world reasons.

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Historically in East Asia eunuchs could be created as punishment for crimes or castration could be inflicted upon war captives.  They were also given to monarchs as gifts by other monarchs.  They were also employed as diplomats/spies.  So any of these could be used as a backstory to bring a eunuch into the game.  Maybe some neighboring land uses eunuchs and one ended up at court or working for some daimyo.  ****, the most famous naval commander in Ming dynasty China, Zheng He, was a eunuch.

Edited by Masakiyo

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