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Magnus Grendel

Non-Great-Clan and gift-giving

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Just a question to well-read individuals. (especially any FFG writers like @DGLaderoute or @GM Hooly)

Obviously the formal rules for the gift-giving ceremony in Rokugan only really includes the seven founding Kami, with the recipient taking the part of Hantei.

This is a big plot point in The Topaz Championship, as the lack of a Mantis "slot" is the final straw that causes Hitoshi to lose his cool.

Now, irking a minor clan nobody who isn't even a legal adult yet is fine. 

(If people knew he was the Clan Champion's cousin it might have been a bigger deal)

 

 

But next up for my PCs is Winter's Embrace. Yoritomo, Mantis Clan Champion, is there, with a valid invitation agreed by the Imperial Families. He's presenting someone who - depending on how the adventure goes - has a credible shot at being the next empress. There would need to be some protocol established in advance, and the PCs might end up getting asked to advise on what to do.

Now, whilst in the current fictions this isn't a thing, it's quite possible that there is some sort of general "others" slot mentioned in some earlier fiction or sourcebook somewhere.

The Mantis might not get to formal court often, but, for example, Monks give up their family name, and there are territories administrated by Imperially sponsored Ronin (like City of the Rich Frog), and I'm sure an Imperial governor would have at least a local improvisation to include their trusted subordinate in the ceremony. 

Can anyone think of any appropriate precedents in previous editions of the RPG?

 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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I can't think of any precedents, actually. In fact, formal gift-giving has, as far as I can remember, been portrayed as being doable by anyone attending a court, Imperial or otherwise. I'm aware of the Topaz Championship thing, but I really can't recall any other instance in which that has really been made a thing.

In this case, I would suggest three possible answers. First, you could ignore it and just specify that was something unique to the Topaz event, a teaching sort of thing, as it were, that's not otherwise rigorously adhered to. Second, if you DO want to adhere to this, you could say that the Mantis delegation is being sponsored by a Great Clan (probably the Crab), and is part of their gift-giving "slot". Third, you could simply say that the pre-Court negotiations specified that the Mantis would be allowed to participate in the gift-giving ceremony regardless because, if the Emperor (actually, more likely the Chancellor, on behalf of the Emperor) approves it, then it's suddenly okay (which might have implications, in your game, for the whole "Mantis should/shouldn't be a Great Clan" thing, if that works for you and your particular story).

My suggestions, anyway!

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If I'm not mistaken, the Great Clan gift-giving order is in the order they fell in the Tournament of the Kami? Assuming I'm right (Topaz Championship is the only thing published that I don't have), it could therefore be said it is in the order they became Clans.

By that logic, Minor Clans would present in order of age as well. Remember that the differences in status between a Great Clan Champion and Minor Clan Champion are largely just because of the smaller territory and lesser influence they have. However, each Clan Champion is a direct servant of the Emperor, administering land on his behalf. That, theoretically, puts them as equals before Heaven.

So Fox would present first among Minor Clans (dodges the angry kama of the Mantis), then the Mantis, then... Badger? So on and so forth.

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2 hours ago, DGLaderoute said:

I can't think of any precedents, actually.

Thanks. I couldn't either, but someone who knows the setting on a professional basis saying "you know, I can't think of one" makes me fairly confident I've not overlooked something somewhere....

2 hours ago, DGLaderoute said:

First, you could ignore it and just specify that was something unique to the Topaz event, a teaching sort of thing, as it were, that's not otherwise rigorously adhered to

I'm thinking I'd have it be a thing. THE winter court is protocol-level-ridiculous, and completely ignoring the traditional rules of etiquette in Kyuden Doji in front of the Emperor is the no-no of all no-nos.

Working out a socially acceptable  workaround,  on the other hand, provides an interesting social conundrum.

 

Slotting them into the Crab 'slot' as @DGLaderoute suggests they don't 'rate' being presented to the Emperor as their own entity. Kakita Ryoku (Who's a bit scandalized they're there at all) would be happy, but Yoritomo would be spitting feathers. On the other hand, tacking them on last using the 'order of creation of the clans' as suggested by @Hida Jitenno puts Yoritomo in the prime position of offering the final gift of the ceremony (which he'd love), displacing the Ikoma delegate from the Lion (and who gets the fun of telling THEM that?).

I don't actually mind TOO much what the eventual solution IS. Miya Satoshi (via Bunji) has used the PCs as someone to drop awkward problems on before (Miya Masayo's adoption in The Scroll Or The Blade) so he doesn't get his own hands dirty.

The PCs can work through the ethical, philosophical and political impact of whatever solution they come up with, and deal with character (and actual) assassination attempts from whoever they decide to irritate with their final plan.

I just want to check there isn't a 'correct' solution floating out there, and "Well, what do they do for shinseist abbots/influential ronin generals/minor clan born jewelled champions?" feels like an obvious thing to check.

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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1 hour ago, Hida Jitenno said:

If I'm not mistaken, the Great Clan gift-giving order is in the order they fell in the Tournament of the Kami? Assuming I'm right (Topaz Championship is the only thing published that I don't have), it could therefore be said it is in the order they became Clans.

By that logic, Minor Clans would present in order of age as well. Remember that the differences in status between a Great Clan Champion and Minor Clan Champion are largely just because of the smaller territory and lesser influence they have. However, each Clan Champion is a direct servant of the Emperor, administering land on his behalf. That, theoretically, puts them as equals before Heaven.

So Fox would present first among Minor Clans (dodges the angry kama of the Mantis), then the Mantis, then... Badger? So on and so forth.

Technically, Togashi refused to participate and so did not fall at all.  However, since the Dragon are usually the first to present, it may have been decided that to recognize him effectively "tapping out" before it started, they were granted the honor of going first.

I do agree with your suggestion that the minor clans go in order of when they were formed, similar to the department secretaries in US Presidential succession starting with Department of State.  And of course, the minor clans all go after the major clans.

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Or alternatively, if the argument is that the descendants of Dragon Clan's founder go first due as he did not participate in the tournament, the same argument could apply to the Mantis' founder.

You can probably come up with an argument to justify more or less any position in the queue. But you'll be upsetting someone whatever you do. And insisting on niche rules of archaic ettiquette to punish a rival feels like exactly the sort of thing the Crane would do....

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7 hours ago, okuma said:

You could have the minor clans go in chronological order before the great clans, making the cheapest gifts go first and be done.

Or after the Dragon but before the Crab.  Regardless, I like the suggestion made above that the exact order can be haggled out as an intrigue per the core rule book guidance.

To your point, an early gift presenter can easily set the stage for the whole process, either by attempting to show everyone up by giving a high significance/value item to shame and embarrass everyone else or to set expectations low so as to be gracious to the other gift givers by intentionally being humble.  And that more than anything would play to the Dragon Clan's strength by going first.

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18 hours ago, UnitOmega said:

Sounds like a Social Agenda in a pre-gift Intrigue - though perhaps one PCs might never see. Hammering out the specifics in an ambiguous framework are the bread and butter of diplomancers. 

Exactly. I think it's a small but interesting problem to throw at them on a quieter day...

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Posted (edited)

By-the-by, Minor Clan recognition order according to my notes (NB, this is the date that the Emperor recognised them, since that is what would matter to the Imperials)

  • Fox - 91
  • Badger - 110
  • Tanuki - ???
  • Snake - 330
  • Centipede - 347
  • Sparrow - 400
  • Mantis - 429
  • Tortoise - 442
  • Boar - 447
  • Shark - 4??
  • Moth - ???
  • Deer - 621
  • Dragonfly - 704
  • Hare - 750
  • Falcon - 834
  • Firefly - ???
  • Wasp - 1109

And that's up to date.  There are a couple of named clans we have no idea about the founding of: Bat and Cat.  As well s some others that were provisional in the old lore: Bee, Crow and Salamander.  Finally there are two that are in the future of the old lore: Monkey and Ox.

 

Edited by Tonbo Karasu

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2 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

And Deer.

Well, we know the founders of what would be the Deer clan split off from the Crane in Rokugan's 5th century  But it was 621 (3 years after the first Shika advised the Court) when they were officially declared  a minor clan.  It can be found in Courts of Stone, chapter 2 page 82.

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16 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

And Deer.

 

13 hours ago, neilcell said:

Well, we know the founders of what would be the Deer clan split off from the Crane in Rokugan's 5th century  But it was 621 (3 years after the first Shika advised the Court) when they were officially declared  a minor clan.  It can be found in Courts of Stone, chapter 2 page 82.

That's embarrassing.  I've updated the post to put them in the correct place.

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22 hours ago, neilcell said:

Well, we know the founders of what would be the Deer clan split off from the Crane in Rokugan's 5th century  But it was 621 (3 years after the first Shika advised the Court) when they were officially declared  a minor clan.  It can be found in Courts of Stone, chapter 2 page 82.

Great, thank you! I just noticed they were off the list but didn't have the book handy to see what was said about their founding. Appreciated.

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23 hours ago, Tonbo Karasu said:

 

That's embarrassing.  I've updated the post to put them in the correct place.

 

13 hours ago, Hida Jitenno said:

Great, thank you! I just noticed they were off the list but didn't have the book handy to see what was said about their founding. Appreciated.

No worries.  Glad to provide you the information so as yo save you the time and trouble of looking it up.

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If you want to /really/ dis the minor clans in a period appropriate way, you disallow them from presenting to the Emperor at all. The major clans give their gifts in order, Lion last, and then the chancellor steps forward and the minor clans present their gifts to the emperor in reverse order of their founding, and then the chancellor turns and offers all the gifts of all the minor clans together to the Emperor as a tribute on behalf of the minor clans.

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