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Author Topic: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)  (Read 1556 times)

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Offline kckolbeTopic starter

L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« on: July 16, 2015, 10:56:47 AM »
The War of Spirits has just ended.  Hantei XVI, also known as the Steel Chrysanthemum, has surrendered, and Toturi I once again rules unopposed.  The circumstances of this changed slightly, with Hantei forces being slightly stronger at the time of negotiation, leading to a slightly different treaty.

The details are many, but here are the highlights:

 - Hantei XVI is now simply Hantei Ochukeo, and renounces all claims to the throne. 
 - A new Great Clan, the Stag, has been formed, with Hantei Ochukeo at the head
 - All spirits will undergo a Phoenix ritual that severs their connection to the Spirit Realms or commit seppuku.

Shortly after the treaty was signed, Winter Court was held in Mantis lands, and Toturi decreed the founding of a new Minor Clan, the Owl.  The purpose of this Clan would be to hunt down Shadowlands creatures within the Empire.  There were, however, two details of this decree that raised eyebrows.  The daimyo of this clan would be a hero from the Spirit Wars, and the sensei of the Clan school a member of the Toritaka family.

Your characters will be part of this new Minor Clan, denoted by the blue outline between Crab and Crane.  The Stag Clan, for reference, is outlined in silver.



This game, which will make use of a couple of modules, will focus on the struggle of a new, small Minor Clan with few resources, bordered by two Great Clans.  There will be a focus on adventure, followed by political implications of the setting, and eventually decisions regarding your clan, as your characters will all have opportunities to shape its development as well as the lives and careers of the less significant samurai that make up the bulk of your clan.

The expected posting is one IC post per week, with OOC questions and rolls every 24 hours.  In addition, I expect a lot of participation in this thread from those who are interested.  This game is not first come/first serve, and players will be chosen on what they bring to the game as much as their characters.

Offline Annaamarth

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2015, 02:53:18 AM »
Yes.  Yes please.

I just caught up on the six pages of the prior thread you have, and I know you hate the Scorpion, so get ready to hate me.

I would like to play a Scorpion- a Shosuro by preference but a Bayushi might be even more interesting- who was sent to another clan's school as part of a political maneuver.  My first inclination is the Kakita Bushi school, but I would also be willing to go with the Mirumoto Taoist Swordsman or the Tsuruchi Archer school (each of which would influence the character differently).

Rather than being the classic designated-villain Scorpion, who is villainous and dishonorable because that is what Kami Bayushi requires, Shosuro... Maseko serves the Scorpion and the Bayushi (as the Shosuro have ever done) loyally and obediently... but honorably and in accordance with Bushido whenever possible.  Courteous and unusually cheerful, Maseko completed her gempukku at the age of fourteen (early, but not especially or unusually so) and has spent a few years performing tasks for the Scorpion.  Whilst not Junshin, her behaviour was just barely odd and unpredictable enough that they said "screw it" and sent her to join the Owl with instructions to keep an eye on them.

In any event, the characters perspective will be a mash of several different clans- because Scorpion, whichever clan she studied with, and whoever in that school was willing to associate with her (which probably means another student from a third clan who had been accepted- they would bond over being outsiders).  For example, if a Kakita duelist (which would mean two duelists in the party, which might allow for interesting conflict and either a prior rivalry or friendship), she would have befriended a Dragon, let's say, and therefore have a small amount of exposure to those odd thoughts and ideas common to the Dragon (Kitsuki method? What do you mean look for evidence rather than testimony?  That's absurd!).

If we currently suffer from a dearth of Shugenja and such a thing would be necessary, I'd be up for adjusting as required, but I typically like the idea of Bushi that try very, very hard to pretend they are Courtiers or Monks.

Offline Muse

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Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2015, 07:17:16 AM »
  Oooh.  :)   A new player?  Nice. 

  I'm playing a Unicorn clan shugenja.   Will be interesting to find out if I wind up being the only one in the group. 

Offline HopeFox

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2015, 08:11:35 AM »
I'm definitely keen, and would love to play my Matsu bushi. What would you like to see from us at this point? Concepts, backgrounds, sheets?

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2015, 08:54:08 AM »
Annaamarth - I actually have no problem with Scorpion characters.  In a system game there is far more accountability, after all.  I am, admittedly, not too keen on chars with Different Schools.  The way I see it, that is something of an investment for a Clan, especially the Scorpion, to acquire, meaning that they would be loath to give up a person with that experience and insight into another clan's training.  I'm not saying no...just convince me.  You started on a description of her being viewed as a wasted investment, so you may already have something.  And I am a big fan of playing one class like another as well. 

A couple of minor notes as well.  We currently don't have a duelist or one in the works.  I do have an NPC duelist, but that is more for flavor, not a significant character.  So no competition there yet.  Also, the Kitsuki method has been around for over 3 centuries.  For context, they were founded just 7 years after the Unicorn returned.  It just isn't weird any more.  The courtier school for it, kind of is, but all the courtier schools suck royal ass (genuinely my only "problem" with this system), so there you go.

HopeFox - At this point, still in the concept phase.  There are some rules decisions that I didn't want to set in stone until players in this thread had a chance to weigh in.

Online Chulanowa

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2015, 12:25:35 PM »
I'm interested - I do prefer "early period" stuff, but hey, I'm down with emperor Toturi, at least i know who he is :D

So is this like a clan grab-bag, where your characters are from assorted clans, and have all joined the Owl?

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2015, 01:53:22 PM »
Hey there, was wondering what happened to you.  And yes, all characters would have belonged to another Clan, gotten that initial training, then been sent to the Owl Clan.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2015, 04:11:31 PM »
I am, of course, interested. Not sure just what concept I want to run with at the moment - need to get access to my books again - but should have a build together before long.

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2015, 04:19:56 PM »
A full build isn't needed, just a school, rough age, and any interesting details, mechanical or flavor.

Offline hellrazoromega

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2015, 09:05:07 PM »
Still going with a Hiruma scout in her 20s, I can repost the 20 questions here if needed.

Offline Empyrean

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2015, 10:03:11 PM »
How would you feel about a Kitsune or Phoenix shugenja, 18-21, and male. Nice kid, never been far from home. He has a naive and idealized view of the samurai life and their obligations to the lower classes.

Or if the shujenga angle is already covered I could try making a Crane duelist with the same basic character traits as above. In both cases, he'd have a secret love he was unaware of and that could be a NPC run by the GM to cause complications. I was thinking that he attracted the attention of a beautiful young woman, possibly Scorpion, Spider (if they exist in this era; I'm away from my books), a Shadowlands spy, or ronin. And even though he doesn't know of her, she's determined to have him. Leaving open all sorts of possible in-game hijinks. What do you think?

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2015, 10:12:09 PM »
Not crazy about the obsessive love angle, especially for someone who hasn't really accomplished anything.   

Offline Empyrean

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2015, 10:28:11 PM »
So taking out the obsessive love angle, does he work as either a Shujenga or a Duelist?

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2015, 10:29:17 PM »
Would like to know a little more first.  Not sold on him yet. 

Offline Muse

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Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2015, 11:04:47 PM »
  I've been saying I'd enjoy not being the only shugenja anymore.  Though I was hoping for one who wasn't defecient in water? 

Offline Annaamarth

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2015, 02:34:44 AM »
Alright, (one of the) short version(s) on the Scorpion weirdo.  I'm revising the character a bit after reading the thread- you want a Water Shugenja?  Done.

***
Kosaru Maseko, from a vassal family of the Soshi, was sent to Mantis lands for schooling as a hostage and to pay homage to the Mantis (one of the few clans that respects the Scorpion perspective, even if they scoff at the Scorpion for being so obvious about it- which is intentional, but I think that's still mostly unknown by Rokugan at large?).  Unusually, it was determined that she had the gift of being able to speak to spirits, and was allowed to attend the Yoritomo Shugenja school. This was, naturally, precisely what the Scorpion had desired, so that she might be able to provide insight on the Mantis traders- and raiders.

While there she learned a great deal about the Mantis perspective, and has returned with a lackadaisical attitude towards the bulk of Bushido and a fine appreciation for self-interest... though through the Scorpion lens of "in benefit for the Empire."  She was betrothed to one Kuni Tora as part of a deal to improve ties between the Kuroiban and the Kuni witchhunters, and was dispatched to Crab lands to travel with her betrothed, policing the farmlands shielded by the Wall for a time.  During this time, Maseko notably improved fields by ensuring near-ideal weather conditions.

Unfortunately, Jigoku's reach is long. A cell of Fu Leng worshipers (notably NOT Bloodspeakers) succeeded in summoning an Oni into a township while the bulk of the Crab were distracted by the Spirt War.  The Oni was banished and the cell annihilated with the assistance of additional Kuni reinforcements and a contingent of Bushi and ashigaru from the Wall, but Kuni Tora gave his life in the process- he bound the Oni to himself, then sacrificed himself to banish the Oni.

Inspired by her betrothed's sacrifice for the good of all and ashamed by her failure to keep her betrothed alive (and therefore failure to be used as a political pawn), Maseko petitioned the Kosaru daimyo (and through him, the Soshi daimyo) to allow her to join them, citing her experience in Crab lands and her multicultural background as reasons to be dispatched as a part of Emperor Toturi's tithe.  They agreed- though the Scorpion still watches closes, considering whether to induct her into the secretive Blackwatch.  The Soshi and Yogo families both hope that the new Owl Clan will be a useful ally in the eradication of subversive elements and whatever tainted beings they are able to summon.  The Bayushi have little to say on the matter, embroiled in their own plots and leaving the Shugenja families to their own devices.
***

Yeah, that's the short version.  Any thoughts?  I might have a common background with our Hiruma scout.

Also, while the Kitsuki Method has been around a long time, I (and the groups I usually play with) always assumed that it was still mostly limited to the Dragon (and to a lesser degree the Scorpion, because it works so well against them, so why not study it) due to the conservative nature of Rokugan and the fact that it flies in the face of the Celestial Order.  Because normally if a Samurai says a thing and a bunch of Heimin say a different thing, you believe the Heimin first.  Unless, perhaps, you're Dragon, Scorpion, Mantis or Unicorn.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 02:39:17 AM by Annaamarth »

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2015, 10:13:08 AM »
Muse wanted a Water shugenja, but I don't really have a preference. 

As I mentioned, I'm not crazy about the thought of any clan sending someone off to train with another clan and then sending that person away.  It's a complete waste of an investment.  Also, was she part of the Kuroiban?  Nothing about it was mentioned.  How long was she back in Scorpion lands before being betrothed?  You mentioned a few years in an earlier post.  Also, I'd like to know more about her as a person...beliefs, ambitions, political stances, etc. 

Quote
Whilst not Junshin, her behaviour was just barely odd and unpredictable enough that they said "screw it" and sent her to join the Owl with instructions to keep an eye on them.

This is really what intrigued me.  Not a seventeen year-old girl who trained with another clan and then was betrothed to an antagonistic clan, then petitioned the family daimyo to be moved closer to said clan afterward...to me that sounds like someone spoiled and of fickle loyalty.  Incidentally, if you do want to play up that angle, I am ALL for it, but I don't think that's what you were going for.

I get that samurai stories are generally over the top, but that's because they are normally about the well-connected.  Try to imagine your char as one of the 1.4 million nobodies, living in a land where only about 15% get to attend one of the noteworthy schools. 
***

Regarding the importance of the Celestial Order, let's look at the past 25 years.  One emperor was assassinated by a mortal.  A different mortal became the new emperor.  THAT emperor gets kidnapped and becomes tainted, killing himself.  He returns, along with ANOTHER emperor, this one the direct descendant of Hantei, both claiming the throne.  The emperor orders them to sever their ties or kill themselves, and pretty much ALL OF THEM say no...to the emperor.  As if that act of defiance isn't enough, outright rebellion is declared, and most of Rokugan sides with the mortal not of Kami descent.  The non-descendant's forces win, and NO ONE is executed for defying the emperor or raising arms against him.

Does this sound like a land where place in the Celestial Order trumps everything?  People adapt.  No matter how weird something is, we are talking about something that was formally sanctioned over three hundred years ago.  It wasn't even (according to the writing) that big a deal when it was new. 

Offline Annaamarth

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2015, 06:49:38 PM »
Regarding the importance of the Celestial Order, let's look at the past 25 years.  One emperor was assassinated by a mortal.  A different mortal became the new emperor.  THAT emperor gets kidnapped and becomes tainted, killing himself.  He returns, along with ANOTHER emperor, this one the direct descendant of Hantei, both claiming the throne.  The emperor orders them to sever their ties or kill themselves, and pretty much ALL OF THEM say no...to the emperor.  As if that act of defiance isn't enough, outright rebellion is declared, and most of Rokugan sides with the mortal not of Kami descent.  The non-descendant's forces win, and NO ONE is executed for defying the emperor or raising arms against him.

Does this sound like a land where place in the Celestial Order trumps everything?  People adapt.  No matter how weird something is, we are talking about something that was formally sanctioned over three hundred years ago.  It wasn't even (according to the writing) that big a deal when it was new. 

That... makes a lot of sense.  In my defense, I'm used to the pre-coup era, and my impression is that the rate of upheaval increased at a damn-near exponential rate from there.  Bear with me, please, I'm readjusting my perspective on the fly- and as a person who forms strong opinions this is not a simple process.  If you're familiar with confirmation bias, you probably get that.

Muse wanted a Water shugenja, but I don't really have a preference. 

As I mentioned, I'm not crazy about the thought of any clan sending someone off to train with another clan and then sending that person away.  It's a complete waste of an investment.  Also, was she part of the Kuroiban?  Nothing about it was mentioned.  How long was she back in Scorpion lands before being betrothed?  You mentioned a few years in an earlier post.  Also, I'd like to know more about her as a person...beliefs, ambitions, political stances, etc. 

This is really what intrigued me.  Not a seventeen year-old girl who trained with another clan and then was betrothed to an antagonistic clan, then petitioned the family daimyo to be moved closer to said clan afterward...to me that sounds like someone spoiled and of fickle loyalty.  Incidentally, if you do want to play up that angle, I am ALL for it, but I don't think that's what you were going for.

I get that samurai stories are generally over the top, but that's because they are normally about the well-connected.  Try to imagine your char as one of the 1.4 million nobodies, living in a land where only about 15% get to attend one of the noteworthy schools. 
***

As mentioned, the previous post was the short version.  Let me try to take these things in order, and let's see if we can cooperate to build a better story.

1) Was she a member of the Kuroiban?  Oh Heavens no.  She probably doesn't even know it exists (again though, that comes from my perspective where the Scorpion KEEP their secret societies secret, but I don't know the official lore there, or your stance), and it's a Shugenja rank 4 entry requirement anyway.  She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and got exposure to some bad juju (bad maho?), which means now the Kuroiban have a dossier on her- just in case.  Whether it's just in case she needs to be recruited or just in case she needs to be eliminated after being corrupted by that exposure is up to you, the GM, and circumstances that transpire.

2) She was betrothed as part of a political maneuver to try to get Scorpion ties to the Kuni as part of an effort to improve the clan's ability to conduct spiritual warfare.  As a political betrothal, it was probably made almost simultaneously to her gempukku, with political overtures made in that direction while she was still with the Mantis.  The Crab, being Crab, would actually appreciate that she was taught in Mantis lands, because they kind of like the Mantis, which makes her a useful pawn in that move.  Sending her there was not about fickle loyalty- it was about her doing her duty to the Scorpion and following orders.  This betrothal, and the manner of it being broken through the Kuni's death, was only really heartbreaking as a failure of duty- it wasn't a Blissful Betrothal and I'm not taking Lost Love or anything.  That said, a Scorpion (who prize Loyalty) trained by Mantis (who prize Loyalty) losing value to the clan hurts, and a broken betrothal means that any new betrothal will have less political pull- because the new party will know that they were the second choice, not the first choice.

3) She's 19, not 17.

4) She didn't petition her Daimyo to be moved closer to the Crab, she saw the creation of a new minor Clan as an opportunity for the Scorpion to use her to get their hooks in early, for the same sort of purpose that the Scorpion had originally intended to use her vis-a-vis the Kuni.  This is an attempt to recover her (real or perceived) lost value to the Scorpion as a political tool.

5) Slightly out of order here, but on the nature of Maseko-as-an-investment- An investment is only worth what you can get out of it.  In this case, Maseko was used as a pawn in a minor political move for improving certain ties to the Mantis (check), an opportunity to learn about the Yoritomo Shugenja tradition and see what value it might have to Scorpion operations (check), and insight into Mantis raiding practices (that last one?  A little bit wobbley, because it takes more than a few years at sea to really learn what the Mantis know about that sort of thing.  However, that's not her fault and knowing that is still useful data.  Also, got some intelligence back on certain trade routes, more than likely).  Now, once she comes back from Mantis lands... what do you do with her?  She's not useful to the Shosuro network except as a way of ensuring favourable weather conditions or possibly advising on smuggling techniques, she's not a social-fu political weapon the way a Kakita-trained duelist would have been (which is part of why I didn't go the duelist route- a Kakita bushi would have been too valuable to willingly let go), so either you leave her to tend a shrine somewhere (which might have been a waste of such an investment) or you find political value in this oddball you've got.

That was the point about her mentality being odd and unpredictable- it's odd and unpredictable in a way that is not immediately, obviously useful to the Scorpion.

So, who likes that blunt, Mantis perspective?  Well, the Crab and the Unicorn.  Who has something the Soshi want?  Well, the Soshi might like to be on better terms with the Kuni, but the Kuni won't trust most Soshi.  Well, we have this one here- she's almost a Mantis!  She can't lie for shit, and she can ensure favourable weather for your farmlands OR call down the thunder as required!

The long game here is getting her exposure to the world so that she gains insight rank so that she might train more Scorpion in the Yoritomo Shugenja school- IF that's what the Scorpion decides they need.  Just another tool in the toolbox.  If the Owl can be made to be friendly to the Scorpion, that's fantastic too- who doesn't like having a Taint-hunting minor clan in their pocket, right?

It's important to recognize that most of the reasons why Maseko has been used as she has been are not clear to her- she just follows orders like a good Scorpion, or a good Mantis for that matter.  Petitioning to be a part of the tithe to the Owl?  That's the big departure for her.

Now, this was all put together pretty slap-dash and I've been fleshing out the concept a very little bit, but I think it hangs together.  Also, it will be weird for me playing a Shugenja because I've never done that before, but I like the idea of trying it out.  A Kuni shugenja would be more powerful for the whole tainthunting schtick, but I bring healing, weather control, and lightning bolts, so I think I'll manage.  Also, considering being trained in Kyujutsu.  Specifically NOT Kenjutsu, because not bushi- but Kyujutsu is a perfectly respectable Samurai art and not even a Lion could look askance upon me for practicing it.

Edit:  Hm.  It occurs to me that I haven't really looked at it through the lens of being one of the 85% (we are the 85%?  Nah, doesn't have the same ring to it).  I'm not sure whether that really affects my background all that much or not.  Free-thought brain-to-text follows, so forgive any disjointedness please.

Hailing from a minor vassal family (I even made the name up), I figure most of the political shenanigans they've been up to have been emphasized on supporting the Soshi- and indirectly, possibly the Shosuro.  But they need to have a specific purpose, because that seems to be the common thread in vassal families.  If they were making overtures toward the Kuni then either they focus on hunting tainted people and things already OR they perform a function similar to the Dragonfly for the Dragon- they are a public face providing diplomatic support.

Now, in either case, why would they be involved with the Mantis?  Why would they care?  If their role is primarily diplomatic in nature, then trading hostages makes sense, in which case there may have been several Scorpion children that went along- she may have just been the one who happened to be gifted as a Shugenja, and the rest went either to "support," administrative study or went to the Yoritomo Bushi or Courtier schools.  In any event, those students would be more useful to the Scorpion in the long run, because it would give them a corps they could draw upon for smuggling work or supporting coastal Shosuro operations.  If this is the case, then there might be an actual Bayushi or Shosuro (or whatever) who got the Mantis training and did particularly well aboard ship.  To the Scorpion, he would be the golden boy of this information gathering campaign, while Maseko would just be a side-note.

On the other hand, if their role is primarily oriented towards hunting the taint, it could be that the initial overture towards the Mantis was the start of an effort to hunt down Garen's fleet  hanging out in the Sea of Shadows- the lore I've seen seems to suggest that while he has not been excessively active these past seven-hundred years, nor has he been making any real effort to lay low.  Again, in this case there may have been several Koseru, and again there may be some who finished the Yoritomo Bushi school who have been prized as the successes of that program.

In either way, Maseko's primary purpose in being sent to Mantis lands would have been fulfilled and/or overshadowed upon her gempukku, and hence political marriages.  I think that all still tracks.

2nd Edit: It's also possible, or even more likely, that Maseko didn't petition to be tithed to the Owl, but the Scorpion leadership decided that this would be a good use of her politically- which could mean that Maseko herself might be loyally going along with it, while at the same time harbouring some negative feelings about being shoved all over the freaking empire instead of being allowed to help with Scorpion things!
« Last Edit: July 18, 2015, 07:18:04 PM by Annaamarth »

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2015, 07:21:44 PM »
Well, since you read the initial thread you know how I feel about post-coup history.  This game is largely an attempt to "fix" it, taking the most ridiculous event in Rokugan history and showing something slightly more believable and engaging.  Yes, the lore as written as though certain values and beliefs are sacrosanct, but the actions don't line up with that.  It makes more sense if you read the history as though it were written with strongly political agenda, and with the Imperial Families proofreading it first.

We can talk about Kuroiban in PM, just in case we make up some secrets.

As for her value, she was both insight into the Mantis (philosophically as well as tactically) and an ambassador to them.  With her joining the Owl Clan, that is now gone.  She can no longer teach a Yoritomo shugenja school, nor can the Scorpion order her to visit the Mantis on their behalf. 

Quote
so either you leave her to tend a shrine somewhere (which might have been a waste of such an investment) or you find political value in this oddball you've got.

Again, this is what I want to hear more of.  Why would they consider her an oddball?

So, was joining Owl still her idea?  If so, given the reason you mentioned, is she still Scorpion at heart.  If it wasn't her idea, are the Scorpion expecting her to be loyal to them first?

Offline Annaamarth

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2015, 07:48:02 PM »
[snip]

Again, this is what I want to hear more of.  Why would they consider her an oddball?

So, was joining Owl still her idea?  If so, given the reason you mentioned, is she still Scorpion at heart.  If it wasn't her idea, are the Scorpion expecting her to be loyal to them first?

Re: Oddball- This may have been borne out of a flawed perspective on my end, because I previously understood attending the initial school as a thing that was done before gempukku, and it seems that I may have been mistaken in this- I just checked the wiki's article on "ryu" to see what it said, and it says that joining such schools happened after gempukku.  Hm.  Well, the hostage angle works out.

If Maseko spent a decade or so living amongst the Mantis, then attended a Mantis school, then she thinks more like a Mantis than a Scorpion, but is still more Scorpion than a Mantis, if that makes any sense.  It's like nurture vs nature.  She doesn't have the subtle political instincts that the Scorpion usually prefer, she never picked up a talent for deceit or any more than the most basic schooling in etiquette and court.  As far as most Scorpion would be concerned, she would be nearly useless in a plot- hence while she may not be Junshin, she still can't be trusted with any of the real work.

Re: still her idea and is she Scorpion at heart- still her idea is in the air right now- I'm not sure if you caught the edits.  As to whether she is still Scorpion at heart... well.  That's a trickier thing to answer.  Being raised among the Mantis, some would argue that she has always been a Mantis at heart, serving and loyal to the Scorpion.  Some would argue that she is Scorpion underneath a veneer of Mantis behavior and culture.  This is, in the end, irrelevant.

The Scorpion and the Mantis both value Loyalty very highly.  In the Scorpion, it's because of the harsh compartmentalization they use for plots and the people who actually know what the hell is going on, and for the Mantis it's because aboard ship you obey or everyone dies.  Well, at least potentially.  Ships have a very rigid hierarchy, and that's necessary to the environment.

Maseko views the Empire through a naval analogy- the empire is a flotilla of ships, and each clan is a ship unto itself.  Each ship needs to function, which requires obedience and discipline, and each ship needs to be able to work together for the flotilla to survive a war- or even to keep from getting lost at sea.

This means that she would view the Owl clan as a new ship, with her serving a new captain, and therefore the Owl would hold her primary loyalty- this is necessary.  However, she would also feel loyalty and a duty to serve the interests of the Scorpion, if for no other reason than to improve the inter-ship communication within the flotilla.  In this extended metaphor.

Does that make sense?

Edit: Also, I hope you like text.

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2015, 08:08:49 PM »
No, your char can be part of the minority, but I mentioned it to show how most Rokugani samurai aren't mentioned or given second thoughts.  Your char has potential, clearly, and the Scorpion appear to be wasting it.

Minor vassal families, like Minor Clans, are often created as a reward rather than for a purpose. 

It is possible that multiple samurai were sent, and that she received no credit and was deemed worthless as a Mantis liaison.  Perhaps she simply failed to gain the confidence of any noteworthy samurai.  Still, her knowledge isn't nothing, and I would want a reason why the move was ordered.  Here are a couple of suggestions.  Despite not impressing any important Mantis, she *did* get the chance to meet a minor official expected to be appointed a position of moderate importance.  An Ally (advantage) in the Owl Clan might make the Scorpion think she had value there.  This might also come with Obligation (disadvantage) to funnel certain information or enact certain influence.  Additionally, she could have simply been deemed a failure.  Black Sheep, maybe?

Quote
If Maseko spent a decade or so living amongst the Mantis, then attended a Mantis school, then she thinks more like a Mantis than a Scorpion, but is still more Scorpion than a Mantis, if that makes any sense.

It makes sense, but is not only not enough of a reason to send her away, but rather a reason to keep her close.  Also, there's nothing odd about coming back from another Clan having been influenced by them.  That is kind of standard.  If they think she's odd, I want an oddness that wouldn't be expected.  Also, as you pointed out, the Mantis aren't worlds apart from the Scorpion in mentality. 

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2015, 09:48:52 PM »
So, I am considering a lot of House rules, the most noteworthy of which involves Taint.  Mainly, I don't like how predictable it is.  I want every encounter with Taint to be a gamble.  For example, here is what I am considering for maho spells.  The normal rule is 1 point of taint per mastery level of the spell, minus 1 (minimum of 1).  Here is what I am considering.

Taint: Roll 1d8.  Roll Ring used to cast the spell against the TN of spell-5.  For every successful raise, take 1 point from the 1d8 roll.  Whatever is left is how much taint your character accrues from the spell.  It is not possible to have negative taint.  Advantages that grant bonuses against taint do not apply to this roll.

The average Taint accrual would be about 3.5 per spell, though a powerful samurai casting a rank 1 spell could very easily end up with 0.  That makes it easy for overconfident types to risk it.

Offline HopeFox

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2015, 02:47:33 AM »
Matsu Keitaro

Background
Matsu Sakurako was born under auspicious omens and raised to be a great warrior. She was the most brilliant student among her peers in the Matsu Bushi School, and after her gempukku she quickly rose to be the leader of a squad of the Lion's Eyes, a Matsu scouting regiment that was commonly seen as a stepping stone towards the elite Lion's Pride. She took a year out of her meteoric rise to marry Matsu Keitaro, a bushi from another branch of the Matsu family, to honour an agreement that had been made when she was very young. They were soon blessed with a daughter, and then she was back in the field, fighting in the War of Spirits for the honour of the Lion Clan and the safety of the Empire. Perhaps she would have become a great general and an important figure in the Lion's military might, if she had not died to ensure her squad's escape from a deadly spirit ambush.

Matsu Keitaro was not born under any particularly significant omens, and was an average student of kenjutsu (by Lion standards). He was a passionate young man, and took his duty to his parents and to his Clan seriously, never backing down from a challenge to prove his loyalty or uphold his family's good name. His family was fairly wealthy as Lion samurai go, and they secured a betrothal for him to Matsu Sakurako, trading gold for prestige. When he was old enough to understand the terms of his betrothal, he became fiercely devoted to his future wife as well, sending her poems and performing daring feats in her name even before he had met her. His gempukku showed him to be an adequate swordsman with a knack for military organisation, and he was considered to have a decent future ahead of him as an officer of modest rank one day.

His marriage to Matsu Sakurako was to be the happiest day of his life, but then surpassed only by the birth of their daughter, Kiriko. Keitaro served in some campaigns while Sakurako was pregnant, and then took on the responsibility of raising her and managing their household while Sakurako fought in the War of Spirits. Every week, letters would arrive telling him of the great victories the Lion armies achieved, and the role that his wife played in them, and he read these letters to their daughter with great pride.

One day, Sakurako's friend Matsu Shiori, a soldier in her squad, arrived at the manor, bearing not a letter, but Sakurako's daisho, and the tale of her noble sacrifice. That was the day Matsu Keitaro's world ended.

Keitaro did his best to continue to serve his clan in spite of his grief. Certainly he needed no prompting to take the field against the spirit armies, and he slew many foes, embracing the Matsu rage and taking his revenge against the creatures that had slain his wife. But once the war was won and there was no more fighting to be done, his life was empty. Honour, glory and talent had granted his wife nothing more than an early death, and no matter what honours were heaped upon her grave, they could not give her one more day of life.

He sank into a deep depression, and his performance as a samurai suffered for it. His kenjutsu became lackluster and joyless, merely a repetition of learned motions. His tactical talent faded, and bushi who had once come to him for advice soon learnt that he had none to give. Finally, his wife's family came to take Kiriko to be raised by her aunts, and he knew in his heart that they were right to do so. He petitioned his liege for permission either to retire to a monastery or to commit seppuku, as he was no longer of any value to the Clan as a bushi.

Instead, his liege sent him as his tithe to the fledgling Owl Clan, believing that a new start under a new family would give him a chance to move on, make new connections to the world, and become an asset to his new clan and the Empire once more.

Twenty Questions
WHAT CLAN DOES YOUR CHARACTER BELONG TO?
Owl (former Lion)

HOW WOULD OTHERS DESCRIBE YOUR CHARACTER’S APPEARANCE?
He has a soft, almost feminine face, but certainly has the body of a warrior. I guess he's sort of pretty? Dresses very rigidly along clan and family lines, not much ornamentation.

IS YOUR CHARACTER A BUSHI, SHUGENJA, MONK, OR COURTIER?
Bushi, now and forever.

WHAT FAMILY DOES YOUR CHARACTER BELONG TO?
Reijiro now. He may be a Matsu at heart, but that life is behind him.

WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S MAIN MOTIVATION?
Duty: to the Empire, to his new Clan (as soon as he can understand exactly what they are and what they represent), and to his wife's memory.

WHO IS THE PERSON YOUR CHARACTER TRUSTS MOST?
Matsu Koniriko, his former liege in the Lion Clan. She guided him in his military career and in his marriage, and sent him to the Owl Clan when it was what he needed.

WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S GREATEST STRENGTH? GREATEST WEAKNESS?
Keitaro's greatest strength is his passion. He is fiercely devoted to the ideal of bushido and to serving the Empire, and to the people who hold important places in his life. This is also his greatest weakness.

WHAT DOES YOUR CHARACTER THINK OF BUSHIDO?
Bushido is the reason samurai exist. If a samurai loses sight of bushido, he should fall upon his sword rather than consume a single grain of rice that could be used to feed a pig or an eta.

WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S OPINION OF HER OWN CLAN?
The Lion are the Emperor's glorious right hand. They protect the Empire and mete out Imperial will. In their own time, they capture land that other clans are too weak or incompetent to deserve to keep.

The Owl? Uh... well, the Emperor saw fit to create them, so it was definitely a good idea, and I am their vassal now, so I will serve them faithfully. Wthether this turns out to be a waste of everyone's time is yet to be seen, but I have high hopes.

IS YOUR CHARACTER MARRIED?
*muffled sobbing*

DOES YOUR CHARACTER HAVE ANY PREJUDICES?
Shugenja and courtiers should probably try harder to be useful in combat, but everyone has their proper place, I guess. It's not their fault.

TO WHOM DOES YOUR CHARACTER OWE THE MOST LOYALTY?
The Emperor. All honour and right descends, ultimately, from the Crysanthemum Throne.

WHAT ARE YOUR CHARACTER’S FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE THINGS?
Favourite: The opportunity to prove himself in battle and achieve important victories in the Emperor's name. Off-duty, he is fond of poetry.
Least favourite: Taking orders from samurai who have never seen battle.

DOES YOUR CHARACTER HAVE ANY RECURRING MANNERISMS?
He has an unfortunate habit of daydreaming, and can sometimes be spotted staring at nothing in the middle of training.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER’S EMOTIONS?
Keitaro is a very passionate man, and when either joy or anger takes hold of him, will speak - and act - a great deal in defence of what he holds dear.

HOW WOULD YOUR CHARACTER HANDLE A SUBORDINATE’S IMPROPER BEHAVIOR?
Fists are an appropriate disciplinary measure for insubordination off the battlefield. Particularly harsh offenses may be met with the threat of making their dishonour public. Disobedience on the battlefield is punished by death.

HOW WOULD YOUR CHARACTER’S PARENTS DESCRIBE HIM?
He wears his heart on his sleeve, and is so delicate.

WHAT IS YOUR CHARACTER’S HIGHEST AMBITION?
I DON'T CARE ANYMORE, ALRIGHT? WHAT'S THE POINT? I'LL FIGHT AND THEN I'LL DIE, AND THAT'S ALL THAT ANY OF US CAN HOPE FOR!
I mean, I hope one day to lead an army of my new clan in battle for the glory of the Emperor.

HOW RELIGIOUS IS YOUR CHARACTER?
Religious enough. The Fortunes watch over us and give us strength, and our ancestors guide us with their wisdom. But deep contemplation is for monks, and my ultimate loyalty is to the Emperor.

IF YOU COULD, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR CHARACTER?
It's not the end of the world.

Offline hellrazoromega

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2015, 04:46:19 PM »
So, I am considering a lot of House rules, the most noteworthy of which involves Taint.  Mainly, I don't like how predictable it is.  I want every encounter with Taint to be a gamble.  For example, here is what I am considering for maho spells.  The normal rule is 1 point of taint per mastery level of the spell, minus 1 (minimum of 1).  Here is what I am considering.

Taint: Roll 1d8.  Roll Ring used to cast the spell against the TN of spell-5.  For every successful raise, take 1 point from the 1d8 roll.  Whatever is left is how much taint your character accrues from the spell.  It is not possible to have negative taint.  Advantages that grant bonuses against taint do not apply to this roll.

The average Taint accrual would be about 3.5 per spell, though a powerful samurai casting a rank 1 spell could very easily end up with 0.  That makes it easy for overconfident types to risk it.
My main question is if the House Rules would change how exposure to the Shadowlands or other Taint sources works, if it does this is very harsh. L5R is already a deadly enough game for bushi but if being exposed to taint is going to get worse as well... nasty in would be a gross understatement, IMO. That said, in conjunction with the TNs getting more difficult as one's taint level increases those involved with taint would become Lost very quickly. If all Taint is going to be worse, and this is just my two Kiho, but due to the rapid way in will get ugly I would suggest the Shadowlands Taint Disadvantage be worth another point or two.

Offline kckolbeTopic starter

Re: L5R: Two Dead Emperors (Slight AU)
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2015, 06:50:19 PM »
Well, I did mess up in that it was supposed to be 1d4 and not 1d8, which kinda makes a difference.  Bear in mind that this rule (with the right die type) significantly reduces the average amount of taint gained on higher level maho spells.  For example, right now EVERY 5th level maho spell grants 4 taint.   And exposure rules will change as well, but nowhere near as significantly.