Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Vulcan646

Wind Through Falling Leaves - New L5R Fiction Story Discussion

Recommended Posts

12 hours ago, DarkHorse said:

Pretty much everyone else in the Empire is portrayed as a fool, an idiot or no better than an ignorant child. Only the Scorpion (the whole clan to a man) get to be smart, clever, have a scheme that works or know what is going on.
The Dragon are jumping at shadows and will have a wacky misundertanding (that leads to all out war) because Yokuni cannot tell them straight up what to do or they don't know how to play the game. The Crane are masters of politics but they have Yoshi the fool on the back foot all the time and soft hearted Hotaru compromised (by a Scorpion), the Lion are masters of war and will stake all on their honour but they keep losing battles to the Unicorn and are now fine with a dog act coup, the Unicorn are gaijin barbarians that just can't seem to get ahead in this here Rokugan if only they could stop making goofy social mistakes for just one second (Ide, master diplomats I am looking at you), the Crab...well they are doing nothing because it would take screen time to tell their story but will inevitably get goofed by Kuni Yori's peekaboo "bad guys are good guys" mind game trick, the Phoenix keep chasing their own tails and losing important NPCs in the middle of the night because reasons. And the Scorpion, well they have two masterminds each steepleing their fingers, muttering "all according to my plan..." and the only thing to stop them is each other.

I really like the idea of the Shoju vs Kachiko proxy shadow war for the fate of the clan and the Empire. It would just be nice if there was another adult allowed at that table rather than them be the two puppet masters pulling all the strings.

While I hate the Kolat as an idea, I at least like the Master Chrysanthemum reveal (if it is indeed canon) because there is at least then *someone* who knows something that Kachiko and Shoju don't...before Seppun Ishikawa gets punked because of course he has to be an idiot who is terrible at his job and ninja are the best at everything.

That's an enormously unsympathetic way of looking at everything that's going on, except the Scorpion, as well as a number of massive assumptions about the future of the story (eg "the Crab... will inevitably get goofed").  

You do realise that at least 2 of the writers are involved in this conversation?  If you keep insulting them like this (I can't see this as anything but an insult), it's likely they'll stop participating.  I, for one, would be very sad if that happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, while the way DarkHorse is saying it is a bit exaggerated, I also kinda feel like that. I can totally relate to the list he has written to explain this feeling.

Overall, I'd guess the main reason for that is not the writing itself but the pacing of story updates. It's been 2 years since the release, almost 2,5 years since the beginning of the storyline publication, and it feels like that during that time, not much happened that has changed things (excepted the emperor's death obviously). For me (maybe because I've have been spoiled with AEG storyline tempo), it's far too long for a status quo situation and for build up time. At that pace, assuming the Clan War doesn't go poof and isn't rushed, how long before a potential Day of Thunder* ? 5-6 years?

I also feel that it's too long for major storywise domination for 1 clan and I think it's a big part of why DarkHorse feels that way. Contrary to the 6 others, the Scorpion Clan had basically no real struggle during those 2 years (or did I forgot something?). I know it's a "greatness before the fall" situation, but then again, 2 and an half year and that "fall" is still not there. It may come soon, it may come in a year, but, maybe unfairly, with the previous pacing, I'd bet more on "in 1 year" than on "in a few weeks".

* I know that FFG may decide to not go that way, I'm just using it as a well-known milestone for the story.

Edited by KerenRhys

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We could quibble over the degree to which @DarkHorse exaggerated for rhetorical effect but his basic point is not wrong.

One issue is that, making everyone else look dumb is always a pitfall of writing smartest-guy-in-the-room characters and factions. This is why I tend to hate the Scorpion. It’s far easier to write their dupes as being rubes rather than to write them as being genuinely clever. The other irritating aspect is the constant “just according to plan” sneer.

Now let me hasten to add that this can add up to a character we “love to hate” — which is usually a villain and that villain usually gets their comeuppance.

But first, there’s an argument being advanced that Kachiko’s actions are morally defensible in-setting, so she has not even done anything villainous really and, second, nothing she has done has meaningfully caught up with her. She inwardly sneers even as Shoju stops just short of executing her.

I enjoy hating this villain, Kachiko. But it is time for her to get knocked down a peg for real; in the same way that Kakita Yoshi needs a scene where he is allowed to be cool, for once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

 If you keep insulting them like this (I can't see this as anything but an insult), it's likely they'll stop participating.  I, for one, would be very sad if that happened.

It’s certainly not an insult. It’s critical and that is tougher to hear than praise. But the fact that we are here discussing about this, and with such devotion, is already praise. The authors aren’t made of spun glass. And they are not amateurs who have never had editors with tons of notes. They are professionals who can easily take a little push back from their most avid readers.

Edited by Manchu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure the Scorpion are shown in any better light to be honest.  Everyone has been allowed to fail in this story line.  Aramoro fails to become Emerald Champion and fails to assassinate Toturi.  Kachiko and Shoju fail to work together to find the best solution to the Sotorii issue.  Kachiko fails to hold onto Daisetsu.  Kachiko is failing to keep her affair with Hotaru a secret. 

In contrast lets look at Agasha Sumiko.  She steps up both when Satsume dies and when Toturi disappears.  She seems to be making moves that would lead to the least chaos in the capital by securing law and order.  She seems to act quickly with the information she has and doesn't come off as a bumbling idiot.  How about Shizue in our last story who more or less calmly handles her situation and correctly looks to inform her sister on Yoshi's actions.  Also how about my boy Yasuki Taka.  The story continues to throw stones at him and he manages to turn things around for himself and his clan.  I wouldn't call any of these characters foolish or childish.

I think maybe some Scorpion personalities like to believe they are the only adults in the room, but I don't feel like the narrative is telling us that.  I feel like people are making moves based on their motivations and the information they have currently.

9 minutes ago, Manchu said:

I enjoy hating this villain, Kachiko. But it is time for her to get knocked down a peg for real; in the same way that Kakita Yoshi needs a scene where he is allowed to be cool, for once.

Shoju did pull a knife on her and tell her if she crossed him again she'll be sent to Traitor's Grove.  Then he basically exiled her from the capital.   Whether that neutralizes her or not is yet to be seen obviously, but he certainly did attempt to take her down a notch.

Edited by phillos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just mentioned that in the same post you quoted. Her response was just to immediately start scheming against Shoju, starting by withholding information about the assassination of the Emerald Champion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aramoro successfully assassinated Toturi. Kaede used powerful magic to save him.

Kachiko’s relationship with Hotaru was not a secret on her part, at least not from Shoju.

Kachiko did not fail to prevent Daisetsu’s flight; the Seppun Guard did.

Kachiko misreading Shoju has not yet led to a meaningful negative consequence for; looks like she will just plot Shoju’s fall from afar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, believe me, you guys are far from the hardest audience I've ever had to face with my writing. Frankly, you can't BE a writer--at least one who's stuff is published and put out to an audience--without having a fairly thick skin. To put it another way, if you don't want your writing to be scrutinized and criticized, then you pretty much have to not let anyone ever read it.

As for the actual substance of the comments, I don't even necessarily disagree with...well, at least some of them. However, in the interests of my NDA, and the fact that I'm involved in creating this stuff, I tend to stay out of specific debates about what characters are doing, or not doing, or who's being portrayed how. Frankly, the fact that these debates even occur in the first place is really encouraging. To me, the worst fate for a story and its characters is indifference. Saying you love something is great, but saying you hate the way something has been depicted still means that you care about it enough to take the time and effort to say so, which is great! (It also serves as one of admittedly several inputs into how things might be depicted in the future...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, DGLaderoute said:

Frankly, the fact that these debates even occur in the first place is really encouraging. To me, the worst fate for a story and its characters is indifference. Saying you love something is great, but saying you hate the way something has been depicted still means that you care about it enough to take the time and effort to say so, which is great!

Thank you so much for taking the time to say this.  So many pointless arguments are caused when people can't take constructive criticism, or assume that another person can't.  Opinions on how to improve things come out of caring about them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

L5R definitely has an involved and engaged fan base.  the only other fiction fan bases that I participate in that scrutinizes the story to this level is the ASOIAF crowd and I guess to a certain extent LOTR. 

Edited by phillos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with KerenRhys that much of the perceived problem might come not from the actual stories but from the pacing. Up until the story (I dont remember the name) where Jodan has Toturi write the edict, every story felt to me like an introduction to the world, or setting the stage, and it took way too long to do that. As others have said, I don't expect FFG to publish at the same rate as the old 5R stories came out, but the fact they took so long just "presenting the world" without anything really happening is a problem, imo. I hope they increase the rate at which new stories come out, and make them come out in a regular basis instead of by bursts. But thats just my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, phillos said:

Also how about my boy Yasuki Taka.  The story continues to throw stones at him and he manages to turn things around for himself and his clan.

Maybe I missed something but as far as I'm aware the only time Taka "achieved" something was when Yoritomo just showed up and handed him everything he wanted on a silver platter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

That's an enormously unsympathetic way of looking at everything that's going on, except the Scorpion, as well as a number of massive assumptions about the future of the story (eg "the Crab... will inevitably get goofed").  

You do realise that at least 2 of the writers are involved in this conversation?  If you keep insulting them like this (I can't see this as anything but an insult), it's likely they'll stop participating.  I, for one, would be very sad if that happened.

I am making assumptions about the Crab because that is all I have to work with what with them not getting any screen time (and I agree that Taka just fell backwards into Yoritomo's plan in a potato sack rather than initiating anything himself). I do very much look forward to being wrong though as I am an untainted Crab fanboi.

As to the writers, yes I am quite aware. I very much appreciate their input here which is why when one directly asked me to elaborate on my opinion I did so but rather than force anyone to read (or at least scroll passed) my treatise on the geopolitics of Rokugan and drama and conflict through the lens of character consistency and personal agency in a work of fiction as contrasted with a historical record, I summarised my opinion into one sentence per clan. As to perception of insult, I am an editor by training and have served my time around many authors. I will let DGLaderoute speak for himself which he has done above.

The enemy of any creative work is indifference and apathy. There is a cavernous difference between "I want to see the bad guy taken down a peg because I hate them so much", "I don't like how this character is being portrayed, it does not seem to be internally consistent" and "I just don't care about any of this, what else is on?" Dark Hands of Fate reminded me why I once loved Kisada as a character, stoking the ember of my affinity for L5R long swamped by disappointment and smothered into indifference. This new version of L5R got me to do something I would have doubted ever possible; sympathise with Shoju and want to see *more* of his personal story. But I digress...

-----

I agree with you @Manchu, even the opportunity for Yoshi to prove himself equal to his reputation. As a spitball, it would be nice to see something like Yoshi ask the fake Kachiko where the real Kachiko is. When she tries to bluff her way through it and be indignant, have Yoshi calmly explain that he has had many, many hours to study her rotten face and he has known for years that she uses a body double when she thinks a task or business is beneath her and he has politely ignored her insults but now he has real business to conduct so who will it be with, an imposter he can expose or the real deal who is far away?

Edited by DarkHorse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, phillos said:

I'm not sure the Scorpion are shown in any better light to be honest.  Everyone has been allowed to fail in this story line.  Aramoro fails to become Emerald Champion and fails to assassinate Toturi.  Kachiko and Shoju fail to work together to find the best solution to the Sotorii issue.  Kachiko fails to hold onto Daisetsu.  Kachiko is failing to keep her affair with Hotaru a secret.

I must say I loved Aramoro's inner monologue during the assassination attempt, going on about how he is so superior to Toturi. Meanwhile I was like ‘He literally beat you with his eyes closed. I doesn’t get much more obvious than that’.

Definitely hoping for a tragic downfall brought on by his arrogance and all that good stuff (so basically the same thing I’m hoping for Yoshi).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@DarkHorse

I like where your heart is at about Yoshi but if he says, look I have known for a long time, then the hashtag crowd will say, he knew but still managed to constantly get played by her. 

I’m looking for a moment where Yoshi actually shows himself to be one of the two or three most clever schemers in the world. Because so far, people could say he got his job as a strict matter of nepotism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My take on Yoshi is a little different. You may or may not agree with it, but if I was going to write the character again, this is probably where I'd put his "head-space".

Kakita Yoshi is the consummate politician. He has been raised in, and has lived, slept, even breathed Imperial politics all of his life. He has come to understand EVERYTHING about the political systems and schemes and machinations of Rokugan, which were all invented by Lady Doji at the dawn of the Empire. Politics are orderly. They are predictable. The Imperial bureaucracy is an intricate, smoothly-running machine of inefficiency. The Court is a battlefield whose every maneuver, thrust and counter-thrust he understands. To the extent that there is friction and chaos in Imperial politics, Yoshi resents it; you may recall that in Court Games, he spent a moment envying the gardener pruning dead blossoms from a bush in the Crane Embassy gardens, wishing it was as easy to cull and shape people, so he could always know exactly what everyone was thinking, and what they would do. In this environment, Kakita Yoshi is an unparalleled master.

And then the summer of 1123 came along, and everything went to crap.

The Crane suffered from the tsunamis that devastated their farmlands and, with them, a great deal of the political clout the clan maintained from producing excess food. Doji Satsume died, and was replaced by a Lion, a fairly obscure tactician who had never been in the political spotlight, or really even on Yoshi's radar, before. The Lion-Crane squabbles over Toshi Ranbo was ended--with the Scorpion taking stewardship of the city. Then the Emperor died, apparently upending his own succession and placing Bayushi Shoju--SHOJU--on the Throne as Regent. Out of nowhere, the Lion seize Kakita Castle and take his family hostage. None of this makes any sense; it doesn't conform to Yoshi's neat, orderly view of how the world is supposed to work. Imperial politics are suddenly a disorderly, chaotic free-for-all. Yoshi is out of his environment and, for the moment, anyway, out of his depth. If you play the rp game then, yes, Yoshi's Strife has exceeded his Composure, but dealing with that isn't as simple as Unmasking or getting a good night's sleep to remove Strife. He is Compromised, and it shows in his erratic, impulsive and even irrational behavior.

The question then, of course, is if he can adapt--and do it quickly--and regain at least some measure of control over Imperial politics, or if he simply lacks the mental and emotional flexibility, and will ultimately just crash and burn. 

Now, I DO agree that we need to start seeing a resolution to Yoshi's angst--he either needs to step up and prove himself capable of swimming in these new, turbulent and shark-infested political waters, or he needs to be devoured and lost. I sincerely hope it's not the latter, because I think a story about Yoshi rising above his own limitations on his world-view and turning into a big shark himself would be really interesting (and, depending on how he goes about it, could also be very satisfying to read, if you want to see Yoshi finally prevail).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@DGLaderoute

I have some reservations about that treatment but, for the sake of argument, let's assume that Yoshi is a master of the unseen politics previous to the fiction and totally unprepared for 1123. Then why isn't anyone else similarly limited? For example, why isn't Kachiko shown in every one of her appearances, as Yoshi is, to be arrogantly confidant that she understands stuff that the fiction makes abundantly clear she absolutely doesn't? It is a little strange that Yoshi is limited by historical contingency but Kachiko apparently isn't.

To me, the answer is obvious. Someone chose to portray Yoshi as a rube.

Edited by Manchu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Manchu said:

@DGLaderoute

I have some reservations about that treatment but, for the sake of argument, let's assume that Yoshi is a master of the unseen politics previous to the fiction and totally unprepared for 1123. Then why isn't anyone else similarly limited? For example, why isn't Kachiko shown in every one of her appearances, as Yoshi is, to be arrogantly confidant that she understands stuff that the fiction makes abundantly clear she absolutely doesn't? It is a little strange that Yoshi is limited by historical contingency but Kachiko apparently isn't.

To me, the answer is obvious. Someone chose to portray Yoshi as a rube.

Maybe. Or, maybe it's because Kachiko is a different character than Yoshi. She seems to thrive on things that upend the order and rigidity of the political system; one only has to look at her downright impulsive response to the Emperor's death. And now, as a result of that, she has been consigned to the political oblivion of Toshi Ranbo. If she still is Imperial Advisor, it's an utterly meaningless title, because she's got no one who wants or needs her advice, and she's not in a position to give to anyone anyway. This doesn't mean Kachiko is now out of the picture for good; I'm sure she's going to be a pivotal player in the future. But her ability to influence Imperial politics has been dramatically diminished, which is deeply ironic, since its her own Clan Champion and freakin' HUSBAND who now runs those politics. At what should be the moment of Kachiko's political pinnacle, off she goes to Toshi Ranbo, to chill with Bayushi Yojiro doing...Toshi Ranbo stuff, I guess.

Yoshi, in the meantime, is still Chancellor and still in Otosan Uchi. For the moment, he is proving largely ineffective, which means he's also appearing entirely unthreatening to anyone. Yes, this in itself doesn't mean he's going to ever accomplish anything more, but he has an opportunity to do so, which is currently more than Kachiko has. Yoshi has nowhere to go but up; Kachiko has nowhere to go but down (and "down" is now where she's started to go).

As for why "anyone else isn't similarly limited", well, aside from Kachiko, who have we actually seen responding to the Imperial political turmoil? Aside from Shoju himself, we've seen Sumiko, who seems to be doing a decent job as Acting Emerald Champion, is going to support Shoju and, well, that's about it, and Kuwanan, who undertook what might have been an ill-advised and brashly impulsive attempt to enter the Imperial political fray by trying to rescue Sotorii. Anyone else we've seen since the edict was announced and Imperial politics have truly gone awry has just been background characters.

Oh, and as for the idea that someone "chose to portray Yoshi as a rube"...well, let's assume for the moment that that's true. The question then becomes, why? Do you really think it's because someone calling the shots for the story has some sort of irrational hatred for a fictional character? Or could there be another reason for it? And if so, then what would that reason be?

BTW I'm not asking you to agree with me. Not my place to do so. Everyone brings stuff to, and takes stuff away from any story above and beyond what the writers may have intended or even envisioned. Stories really are collaborations between writer and reader. This is just how I see Yoshi, and would probably  approach the character were I ever asked to do so again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, DGLaderoute said:

Or, maybe it's because Kachiko is a different character than Yoshi.

Sure but as a fellow human, she would be just as bound by history as Yoshi. Right? If Kachiko thrives on chaos and Yoshi on order then why are they peers at the outset? Surely, Yoshi would have ran circles around someone like Kachiko previous to 1123 if your theory of his character is correct. Unless the rules that apply to Yoshi simply don't apply to Kachiko.

If Kachiko is actually portrayed as politically stymied in Toshi Ranbo, I for one will be shocked. I think everyone expects her to set up a shadow capital from which to run a "pro-Scoprion" (read: anti-Shoju/pro-Kachiko) network.

Shoju and Sumiko are both portrayed very positively. Yoshi is not. Nor can Yoshi plead youth and inexperience like Kuwanan.

Why is Yoshi portrayed as a rube?

Certainly not because an editor or writer hates him. No more so than Kachiko always being so cool and competent means she's some writer's waifu. I suspect both of these characters are hard to write because, within the setting, they are much smarter than the people writing them or us readers. It's hard to write genius. It's even harder to write a genius who consistently gets things wrong.

Edited by Manchu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah for Kachiko chaos is a ladder. She doesn't care about norms or how things should be done. She will thrive in this environment, which is also why I think Shoju will ultimately lose. Going by how things should be done, have always been done, rebuking her and banishing her from the halls of power should work. But the center is crumbling and we already have two people who think they can just declare themselves Clan Champion and do what they want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If chaos is her ladder then how does she start at the top? Pre-1123, this was Yoshi's World of Order.

But yeah I fully expect the next year of fiction to show us Kachiko triumphing over Shoju and everyone else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Manchu said:

If chaos is her ladder then how does she start at the top? Pre-1123, this was Yoshi's World of Order.

But yeah I fully expect the next year of fiction to show us Kachiko triumphing over Shoju and everyone else.

Her flaw is not that she can't work with the old system. She can manipulate it just as well. That does make her on some level just better at this than Yoshi. Her flaw is too much ambition. She doesn't know when to stop. Going by the first Scorpion fiction she probably was well on the road to going too far and ending up in Traitors Grove or getting Ides of Marched by the rest of the court. If the central authority was strong she would eventually cross the line and get cut down. But then everything blew up leaving a huge power vacuum and Shoju while realizing the problem that Kachiko presents does not realize that the world has changed.

Yoshi is portrayed as a fool because he is a traditionalist who doesn't realize how invalidated his understanding of things is.

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...