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Vulcan64

Why Would an Adventuring Party Have Different Clan Members?

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I am new to the L5R RPG. This topic is a two-part question:

1) Why would an adventuring party be comprised of characters from different clans?

2) Which L5R books contain ideas or reasons for an adventuring party to set forth in Rokugan?

 

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There are three main types of adventuring parties in Rokugan.

Emerald Magistrates and their assistants. They are Imperial troubleshooters.

Clan Samurai with a few allies/friends/observers/guests from other Clans doing Samurai stuff.

Ronin who don't belong to a Clan just trying to survive.

Emerald Empire is the sourcebook with lore and adventure seeds.

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You could also form a party of samurai on their musha shugyō (warrior's pilgrimage), which technically makes them rōnin but lets them travel and visit all of Rokugan as a way of learning and growing. I'd say that having them still have clan schools is fair play for such a group.

Or go all-in on "special snowflakes" (as opposed to a bit, which is true of all PCs) and have the Emperor force some/all clans to send a joint group for some reason.

Another way to do it would be extending the timeframe. The party meets at, say, a Winter Court, part of their clan's respective delegations. Then they meet again, months later, because their paths lead them all to the same town. Etc.

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Hostages and relatives, too.

Yes, Isawa Kaede is technically Akodo Kaede since she married the lion clan champion, but if she needed a party of samurai to go poke something, it'd be quite feasible to find the odd relative from her old family in the group too.

It's far from unheard of to have a samurai from another clan who lives in another clan's city - as a representative, ambassador, relative of a clan member (current or deceased) or an artisan of some kind who set up shop there for whatever reason (a Kakita smith who petitioned the local not-crane-but-not-hostile-to-the-crane-either lord to establish a forge there because of the quality of the local iron ore, for the sake of argument).

 

Obviously the bigger the 'problem', the more clans naturally get drawn into it. Bandits on the border of both clans are arguably dealt with by a force from both clans so there's no room for misunderstanding, gloating and hard feelings afterwards. A threat to the entire empire like a maho-sensei.....well, that's the entire Empire's problem to solve.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Another reason is a a shared mission.  Like if Clan A (or allied clans A and B) send two party members out to investigate and solve a big problem, and then get in trouble, Clan C (or allied clans C and D), who have been sent on the same mission/to solve the same problem, can find the others in trouble, rescue them, learn they have a mutual interest, and decide to team up together.  Pairing two pairs is easier than pairing 4 individuals.

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Its like any RPG. You have to work with your players so that the story/party make sense. You are not going to have a sith lord and a jedi pc in the same team...

Same in this game. You can definitely have alliances between clans for multiple reasons though. A lot of people mentioned many reasons already.

Also, I'd work with my players to make sure we are all on the same page, and then assign them Giri that have importance in the main story. Do not do as the corebook mentions and let all your players take the Giri they want, it just doesn't work. You can "discuss" with them so that everybody agrees on the Giri, but as a GM, you need to give them inputs and options for what type of Giri would make sense with the campaign you are planning.

Edited by Avatar111

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19 minutes ago, Avatar111 said:

You are not going to have a sith lord and a jedi pc in the same team...

Not with both sides being aware of the other, anyway.... :ph34r:

Which is actually a perfectly valid point in this setting, too. If one PC's character is a Scorpion Shinobi, a perfectly valid question is "and what do the other PCs think your character is?". 

We actually had that in a few high-level games I ran, with a Bayushi-born Infiltrator deliberately taking "Whispers of Failure", and using the ability to only keep enough successes to juuust pass or to fail a check that didn't matter, in the fashion of what he describes as "Bruce Wayne Fighting"*, whilst saving terrifying stuff like The Final Silence** for when there was no audience.

 

 

* i.e. when he's forced to fight but isn't in character as batman, and wants to look largely inept but still end up with the opponent on the floor.

** which as a narrative scene tool is utterly terrifying, especially when the respective players were only encountering one another's rank 6 abilities for the first time. Sneaking through a fortress, and kicking in the doors of a barracks they couldn't avoid to find Bayushi Nobunaga sat in the middle of the room surrounded by an entire guntai's worth of dead soldiers trying to compose a haiku around the word 'exsanguination' really got their attention...

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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56 minutes ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Not with both sides being aware of the other, anyway.... :ph34r:

Which is actually a perfectly valid point in this setting, too. If one PC's character is a Scorpion Shinobi, a perfectly valid question is "and what do the other PCs think your character is?". 

We actually had that in a few high-level games I ran, with a Bayushi-born Infiltrator deliberately taking "Whispers of Failure", and using the ability to only keep enough successes to juuust pass or to fail a check that didn't matter, in the fashion of what he describes as "Bruce Wayne Fighting"*, whilst saving terrifying stuff like The Final Silence** for when there was no audience.

 

 

* i.e. when he's forced to fight but isn't in character as batman, and wants to look largely inept but still end up with the opponent on the floor.

** which as a narrative scene tool is utterly terrifying, especially when the respective players were only encountering one another's rank 6 abilities for the first time. Sneaking through a fortress, and kicking in the doors of a barracks they couldn't avoid to find Bayushi Nobunaga sat in the middle of the room surrounded by an entire guntai's worth of dead soldiers trying to compose a haiku around the word 'exsanguination' really got their attention...

Yeah, my example was more of a general guideline! Obviously, everything is doable with the right group of PC and expectations.

Good stuff your batman PC though. I like that.

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On 12/17/2019 at 11:46 AM, Vulcan64 said:

1) Why would an adventuring party be comprised of characters from different clans?

All of the previous answers are great but I wanted to add one thing. As a new player you're actually hitting a major theme right on the head; namely that it's less common for samurai in the broader sense to engage others outside their clan. For PCs participating in an interesting story, multiclan parties are a common exception, but remember that "independent adventuring parties" that you'd find in other rpgs don't really exist- unless we're talking about a band of ronin. PCs are tied to lords and it's less common for lords to command samurai across clans, and less likely that lords of diverse clans would encourage their noble servants to collaborate together without a purpose.

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9 hours ago, T_Kageyasu said:

For PCs participating in an interesting story, multiclan parties are a common exception, but remember that "independent adventuring parties" that you'd find in other rpgs don't really exist- unless we're talking about a band of ronin. PCs are tied to lords and it's less common for lords to command samurai across clans, and less likely that lords of diverse clans would encourage their noble servants to collaborate together without a purpose.

Or the Lord in question is an Imperial Family.  There are all sorts of reasons why a clan samurai has been given over to an Otomo or Miya Lord.

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1 hour ago, neilcell said:

Or the Lord in question is an Imperial Family.  There are all sorts of reasons why a clan samurai has been given over to an Otomo or Miya Lord.

Like the:

Once per year the Miya fund the Emperor's Blessing, a caravan of builders, artisans and shugenja who traveled to areas in Rokuganrequiring assistance. They repaired landmarks, built schools and did other good deeds.

It offers another alternative to a magistrates game.

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One option I was looking at doing, which is a sort of radical departure, is loosening the legal requirements of clans to only serve that clan and instead make clan identity more akin to a cultural identity.

Then it isn't weird for a Lord to seek the services of a variety of individuals who may be from all over Rokugan. 

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I allowed my players to create whatever they wanted and we ended up with 4 different clans represented.  The way I got them all together was to have a mysterious samurai arrive at each of their genpuku celebrations and speak with the diamyo.  The PCs each in turn were told that they needed to fulfill an obligation on behalf of the diamyo and were given letter with instructions and sent on their way.  The letter included the names of each of the PC samurai and instructions to complete a task.  This got the group together, and gave them a mutual starting giri.  As an aside, the mysterious samurai was the jade champion (in my game the position was filled) and they group is well on their way to being recruited as jade magistrates. 

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7 hours ago, Nheko said:

Like the:

Once per year the Miya fund the Emperor's Blessing, a caravan of builders, artisans and shugenja who traveled to areas in Rokuganrequiring assistance. They repaired landmarks, built schools and did other good deeds.

It offers another alternative to a magistrates game.

Exactly!  It is entirely possible that the favored or most gifted student(ie the player) of a sensei is sent in his or her place at the request of the Miya.  Thank you for fleshing out what I could not effectively quantify.

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One thing I had done as a reason was: The PC's are all seconded for the honor and glory and face of their Clans to a ranking Seppun. This Seppun is sort of the head of advanced teams for security of high ranking Imperials, the Emperor's Chosen, and Emperor/Empress themselves. They basicly arrive first, and deal with anything that could be...problematic. Whether this be someone unwitting unleashed a dangerous Kansen in the area, or someone is doing bad things to courtiers from other clans, or even something potentially politically embarrassing is going on. The Pc's job is to have everything smoothly handled and completely safe for the visiting Important Person. It is also a great way to introduce players to all areas of Rokugani society without having them have to be Emerald Magistrates, and it gives them a superior that have to report to who is important, and they all share, and their actions reflect directly upon! To make it even more fun, you have that Seppun kind of looked at askance by other Seppun, because he doesn't just use Seppun for his Advanced Teams(and he will out right state: "While a Seppun will always be neutral, we are sheltered too much. We look for threats we know..These samurai, who's actions, successes, and failures reflect on their Clans, think different, and will see threats we would not. And, of course, if they are competing for the favour of the Seppun by trying to find and resolve the threats the soonest, to make their Clan look the better one, so much the better..." Seppun Hideyoshi is a ripe bastard, really..)

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Another option that might work for some groups is tugging at familial connections and favors owed. Marriages and favors often cross clan lines, and sometimes they provide a junior samurai with a reason to go somewhere else and hep someone not of the clan. For example, what if Ide Sayo's uncle married into the Scorpion and now asks his sister, Sayo's mother, for a favor - perhaps his niece could be so kind to visit her cousins, who have heard so much of her exploits, and maybe have a chat with uncle who has a small issue he'd like her help with? Trading favors is a big part of a courtier's game, and sometimes the services of a (junior, usually) clan member are part of the deal. After all, the clans are not at war at present, so sometimes a samurai can serve their lord by aiding an ally - not to mention earning a name for themselves beyond the clan's boundaries.

Edited by The_Shaman

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