Question: What are the Imperial Families and how do they work? Have you ever played one, seen them played, or encountered one as an NPC? Are their schools even any good?
What's the story behind Seppun Slabhuge?
They kinda suck, Seppun Guardsman is notoriously weaker than nearly all other schools in the book.
I've not had any experience with any others but a friend of mine said the Miya school was fun to play if a little confining.
I'm making an Ikoma Lion's Shadow and reading up on their heritage. I'm highly amused by Ikoma basically becoming Akodo's right hand man purely by bullshitting as hard as possible (and his Ancestor bonus helping that along), but I can't find much about the school itself other than not many people know about it. If an Ikoma Lion's Shadow was traveling around with a bunch of other samurai, what would he say he was? A historian?
He only has Strength 3 and Stamina 3 according to his official rules. He is the walking evidence that steroids are real in Rokugan.
>I'm highly amused by Ikoma basically becoming Akodo's right hand man purely by bullshitting as hard as possible
Actually, it is heavily implied that Ikoma was not bullshitting at all. His crazy tales were 100% truth, but he was so good at telling them that they sounded like fables.
The classic 2E-3E style Ikoma Spymaster, was essentially a courtier trained in espionage that gathered information in enemy courts while posing as an omoidasu.
The 4E Lion's Shadow is more or less a re-imagining of the spymaster as more of an active, James Bond type agent who might do a wider variety of espionage work in and out of a court setting and thus has the skills to pose as either a courtier or a bushi.
Most likely, based on how the rest of the setting works, they would announce their school, dojo, and sensei exactly the same as anyone else would, but nobody else would recognize it as a major School with major Techniques. They'd simply think of it as one of the "generic" shitty schools that most ji-samurai have to settle for.
How do kids even get sent to ninja schools, when they're so secretive? Like, unless your parents were also ninjas, why would they send you to what appears for all intents and purposes to be rinky-dink two-bit dojo? Or does your Daimyo, who is presumably in the know, come and tell your parents "Hey, I know you're thinking about sending your kid to be a bushi, but I'm telling you it's your duty to enroll him at this dojo instead, never mind that it doesn't look like much"?
Most of them are disguised as simpler schools. The Shosuro Actors, for example, are considered to be artisans in the same category as the Kakita artisan/actor schools.
And yes, what school you get sent to is usually a combination of your parents and your lord deciding things together. If you end up in a disguised ninja school, it's possible they didn't know. If you end up in a super secret ninja school, it's probable that they were told to send you there.
I guess presumably there would also be people who go to the the "front" school and just learn to do whatever the pretense is without knowing that there's ninja stuff going on in the back rooms. Like, presumably there are Shosuro-trained actors who really ARE just performers, having never been sent with the enroll-me-as-a-ninja paperwork and never having been pulled out of the general classes on merit or anything.
It's not really 'enroll me as a ninja' paperwork. Training in L5R is stereotypically wise old sensei Karate Kid type stuff. You're told a certain way to paint the fence, wash the car, and so on, and then eventually it ties together when you're ready to learn the next technique.
>What are the Imperial Families and how do they work?
They're supposed to be the stand-in's for the Kuge (the aristocratic families related to the Tenno in Japan), and the Otomo family even does the same thing the Emperor's did where only the heir gets the Imperial last name.
AEG fucks it up a bit by making the Kuge also the Clan Champions, likely so that nobody who isn't in the CCG is more important then what's going on in the CCG.
How they work is mostly do the empire's boring but crucial bureaucratic functions that are needed for it to work but can't be trusted to be left to the Great Clans because that's a poor idea organizationally and because the Great Clans most often interpret "loyalty to the throne" as "making my Clan as strong and as influential as possible so that I can be the one the throne relies on most".
It was just a figure of speech, I mean whatever mark or letter of introduction or word in a sensei's ear distinguishes a kid meant for ninja training from one who's only going to become an actor or a bushi or whatever the shool's cover story is.
The thing about the Seppun Guardsman School is that it's a one-trick pony, and its one trick is to defend the Emperor and the imperial family.
They work exactly as intended when there are many of them (Good luck ambushing or surprising them when they all have bonuses to detect them and any at rank 3 or higher can see through all disguises and illusions with a simple roll), and there are always many of them around the Emperor.
If you want to go by Japan (which unless Rokugan deliberately states otherwise on a subject is not a bad idea in any relevant subject), it's probably a family thing.
Most "ninja" groups were relatively small inter-related families because that way the spy shit done by them could be kept relatively confidential, much like children often took up their father's positions as warriors and the like.
And since 50% of ninjas in the setting are Scorpion family and loyalty are already really important to them anyway. Ikoma are more the regular kind of spies (information and informants, not stealth and ninja gear) and Daidoji Harriers have this whole commando thing going on. The Kolat use ninja too, as does the Lying Darkness/Shadow Dragon, but both of those use religious/power-seeking individuals with loyalty and make them ninja rather then going for the sustainable family like thing.
Found this low-res version of main map from Atlas of Rokugan.
So I've been picturing a story about a Kakita playwright trying to seduce the Shosuro leading lady from his troupe, so he starts acting secretive and dropping subtle hints about a super secret manuscript he's working on that's only meant to be read, never performed, and how it's very subversive and he would be shamed if it ever saw a wider audience. And then when she breaks into his office in the middle of the night to read it for Scorpion blackmail material, it turns out to be a play about a Kakita artisan trying to seduce a Shosuro actress by writing a play for her and pretending it's a shameful secret to pique her interest.
I noticed some too. All in all its lower quality than I would've expected for a major RPG. Just take a look at the artists portfolio, not who I would've hired. They really should've hired one if the guys who posts a lot to the cartographers guild.
It actually tells you what's changed between era of the provinces at least; it mentions where the second Festering Pit is in later eras but otherwise describes the province, tells you which districts of Toshi Ranbo are around before it'a the Imperial Capitol, and gives you a full map and details about Otosan Uchi even though by Iweko's era it's still a nearly empty urban blight.
>Do most people actually play in that setting?
Impossible to know the answer to that question, but what I hear on here is that most people play custom or alternate timeline or earlier ones.
I know some people like to do pre-Clan War, but as someone with zero emotional attachment to the CCG I'm fairly stick and tired of it's "iconic personalities" and when GMing and playing would rather have the GM (be he me or another) put some actual effort into coming up with his own politics for the setting rather just using someone else's.
Have they (They being someone with gunpowder) ever used it in the shadowlands? Because as far as I know, fire doesn't work right there and is very difficult to ignite, and even when it is ignited, doesn't burn like it should. And because you can't really burn things, you can't set off gunpowder, and even if you did, it would just fizzle out into a nauseous green smoke.
The art does match the fluff. The fluff is that cartography in Rokugan is sketchy, with a hierarchy of sources that places actually looking at the location and drawing it somewhere near the bottom.
>be in the mood for some wuxia weeaboo shit
Well that was your first mistake right there.
You might have HEARD that Rokugan was "Asia in general", but it takes 99% of it's inspiration from Japan and samurai dramas (which it says right in the back of the book), which was pretty popular stuff in the decade in which it was made.
Wuxia stuff has other systems; Feng Shui, Qin, Legends of the Wulin.
I don't see why they would.
They'd need a high-ranking Clan official to cast doubt on a Seppun family member's claim, and a lot might not do that out of fear of offending the Imperial court directly.
Seriously, is it even psychologically POSSIBLE for AEG's staff to not use "Super Special Plot Important Characters"? Is it like how sociopaths can't actually form decent emotional attachments even if they want to?
Because they don't seem to be capable of it, from a historical standpoint.
Says it fairly explicitly in the front of the book, too.
>Rokugan is a fictional kingdom, a vast Empire whose history, myths, and culture draw heavily upon the real-life history and culture of ancient and medieval Asia, primarily Japan but also including China and Korea, among others. It is a land where samurai, honorable servants of the Divine Emperor, wage war and forge peace in the name of their lords. It is a land where mighty Great Clans, each comprised of multiple ancient families, work together and against one another in hopes of accomplishing their political and military agendas. It is a land where valiant warriors, or bushi, struggle to win the day for their clans on the field of battle. It is a land where pious shugenja priests offer prayers to the multitude of Fortunes in hopes of achieving the blessings of Heaven for their lands. It is a land where courtier politicians wage an endless war of words, seeking any possible advantage for their clans. Rokugan is an Empire of honor and glory, of strife and adventure, of horror and mystery
Yeah, but this is the company that uses "Rokugan Your Way" whenever anyone asks for ruled errata or corrections on continuity errors. Also page 384 of the core rulebook lists direct inspirations, only one of which is Chinese in origin and actually was used by samurai even more then it was by Chinese generals (hell, one of Japan's most famous generals took it as his personal flag). The rest are Japanese literature of different types and samurai films.
It's like a black guy going to a KKK meeting; he can say he's white as many times as he likes, all anyone needs to do is look under the hood and a bit deeper and use a quarter of their brain to notice that he's full of shit.
>only one of which is Chinese in origin and actually was used by samurai even more then it was by Chinese generals (hell, one of Japan's most famous generals took it as his personal flag).
I used to think this was odd until I read more about Confucianistic philosophy, which is one of the major influences on Chinese governments in history.
Since during most of China's prosperous periods use Confucinist ideals, soldiers and generals were kinda looked down upon and it was scholar-bureaucrats that held most operating political power, with military being simply used to uphold the status quo or as a promotion tool for relatively irrelevant nobles who would never be allowed to reach high positions anyway.
Meanwhile Japan was ruled by a warrior caste for centuries and Sun Tzu's book is all about how theories used in warfare by warriors is equally applicable to politics, which I imagine greatly appealed to the samurai.
True, but complaining about what the game started as at the very beginning and what it was always intended to be is kinda pointless, unless you've got a Flux Capacitor handy to go back to 1993 or whenever the started working on the setting before publishing it.
It's like bitching about how D&D has both Dungeons AND Dragons.
A bushi is always a samurai caste member, period. Nobody else is a bushi.
A kenshi or kenkyaku is like saying "a swordsman" in different ways (like saying "fencer" or "swordsman"). They actually weren't necessarily samurai. Also, didn't necessarily need to use swords which sounds kinda odd; could use other weapons like a spear.
A Kengo is an expert or master swordsman. Generally they were samurai because only samurai got enough respect to be considered worthy of fame, but from what I can tell it can apply to pretty much anyone.
Well, we might finally get the hard-reset the setting needs from FFG. I hope they purge the shitty and edgy samurai drama and replace it with meaningful and heroic samurai drama.
I thought you were talking about removing the "samurai" aspect entirely.
I agree with you; a lot of the drama set up by the initial beginnings of the setting is very 90's Generation X-ish and in some ways hasn't aged well at all.
There were a couple of TRPG's like that in the mid-90's, actually.
Also, while I agree with you that it could a bit of fat-cutting, I'm not sure I'd call most of the suggestions they put up as "edgy" samurai drama; their suggestions for reading are actually great samurai stories. One of the main problems (from an RPG standpoint anyway) is that the setting itself pretty much takes nothing from their themes at all beyond the fact that there are samurai in it who die, occasionally for honor-based reasons.
>You might have HEARD that Rokugan was "Asia in general", but it takes 99% of it's inspiration from Japan and samurai dramas (which it says right in the back of the book), which was pretty popular stuff in the decade in which it was made.
L5R claims to be 99% Samurai, but at most only 60% of it is inspired by Japan. You have Mongols, mystical Wuxia monks, Chinese Celestial Bureaucracy and Dragons, a creation story stolen from Greek Mythology, Hindu Naga and along with a lot of 90s American Orientalism confusion.
Hopefully they purge a lot of the Wickisms.
A think many of the problems stem from all the junk kludged into what is nominally a samurai game. After a point you stop seeing the samurai stuff and only see the "foreign" elements.
It's not explicitly common, but illicit love and unsanctioned suicides for honor happen all the time (And are both romanticized by in-setting media), so combining them isn't very far fetched.
>90s American Orientalism confusion.
This probably sums up most of the game's thematic problems right there.
That said, I don't particularly mind that the cosmology is so different; Japanese creation myths sometimes don't particularly jive with the rest of Japanese religious and folkloric beliefs mostly because by the time Japan had moved onto the whole "having an actual Empire" phase they were already well on their way to being a Buddhist majority nation and instead weird shit like Susano-O cutting off Yamata-no-Orichi's heads and Yamatodake dying fighting a snake kami is "stuff that happened".
Which is kinda like China, actually; the farther back you go in Chinese history the line between mythic allegory and actual history increasingly begins to blur, to the point of the allegory stuff becoming the official historical explanation in some periods of history.
>A think many of the problems stem from all the junk kludged into what is nominally a samurai game.
I know what you mean.
A lot of the core of samurai drama comes from the FLAWS in the feudal system (a shitload of samurai stories end in a semi-downbeat note) and Rokugan's "not quite Edo, not quite Heian" government while creating a central authority in-setting kinda removes or dumps water on a lot of the elements found in traditional Jidaigeki.
The big-time war stuff is pretty much the only thing that gets dumped. If a little lordling is being a complete shitbag within the bounds of his own authority, the Emperor isn't going to come down and tell him to knock it off. Most likely, a higher lord within his clan won't either, because they've got more important things to do.
If two little lords decide to get pissy with each other, they can do all the nasty things to each other that the feudal system allows, up to and including little tiny wars between whatever forces they can drum up on their own.
I was thinking like the overall lack of Daimyo and lords stuff.
The main daimyo in the setting are the daimyo of the known CCG families, and there's supposed to be lesser daimyo but they're HEAVILY underplayed; are they rulers of cities? Towns? Provinces? Wealthy? Poor? Armed or not? All of the above or none at all?
Sometimes you hear on one book about provincial daimyo or city daimyo and then in others you hear that provinces and cities have governers instead, which begs the question what does a lesser daimyo do? Be the head of vassal families?
This isn't inherently a bad thing, but right now there's only feudal lords in Rokugan on a scale that makes it ideal for CCG stuff but the whole "one lord betrays another lord for another group of lords who fight each other while framing each other or spread rumors and compete for influence" only works if you basically ignore everything about the CCG because the CCG decided who the Family Daimyo are and what their personalities, rivalries, and skills are like. Even if you remove the war element and focus on the intrigue the same problem crops up; a lot of the FEUDING of feudalism can't happen without Clan Champion (and therefore CCG) permission.
In my experience, it's why the two other groups of L5R RPG players I've met use their own timelines, so there's an actual element of political flexibility enough to tell those kinds of stories.
Well, that and dissatisfaction with the Spider Clan. I don't think I've ever met even a single person who likes them.
They're pretty explicit on what daimyo exist. It's also pretty obvious that the title is actually used for many different positions that are not all related to each other.
The head of the clan is the Clan Champion (And functionally the daimyo of the entire clan), but also the daimyo of their family in general. Each family has a daimyo in charge of it, and each vassal family beneath them have daimyo, although their title seems to be ceremonial more than anything, and is equivalent to being the head of a major bloodline within the core family.
Provincial daimyo exist, as do daimyo for individual cities and very large towns (Often the same thing, since nobody bothers to update the names even after the population changes).
A lot of the "needs special permission" stuff is rubber stamped unless there's pressing need for the relevant lesser lords to work together or pitch in for a larger effort. The Lion in particular have always been bad at hiding their large campaigns before they happen because everybody knows what it means when most of the Lion's ever-present internal fueds are suddenly and inexplicably resolved through meetings with their higher lords.
It's all in there if you dig through the RPG stuff, it's just usually glossed over in favor of the CCG viewpoint.
Oh, and when they say "governor", they actually mean provincial or municipal daimyo. They've literally used both titles for the same guy in the same position in two different sources.
Well, that's not quite true. Sometimes it's the same title, but a few times, there are Imperially appointed governors (Or administrators, but they do the exact same thing under a different name), but they're usually just a temporary posting to cool off a major clan conflict before it gets completely fucked. The Naishou province is a good example. The Lion, Crane, and Phoenix were going to fuck that province's shit up, so the Emperor sent a Miya and told the clans to sit down, shut up, and accept whoever the administrator eventually picked to rule the place.
Basically, a provincial or municipal daimyo inherited his position, whereas a provincial or municipal governor was appointed to his position. The closer a place is to a hotly contested border, the more likely you're going to get a governor (Either because the clan wanted someone with proven military ability in charge or because the Imperials decided to force the issue closed).
Otherwise, they have very similar authority and reach.
Yeah, pretty much. If you've got authority over a family or anything bigger than a thorp, you're a daimyo. Probably a really shitty daimyo with less political pull than the average courtier, but still a daimyo.
You know what I'd love to see FFG do, actually? Bring back Clan War.
It doesn't have to be Clan War specifically, but I'd love to see a new L5R miniatures war game. Either a skirmish scale or big battle scale, doesn't matter, though preferably both would be cool.
It's just sad what they turned an awesome legacy into; the first Asahina was skilled in air, fire and crafting magical fetishes.
They kept the air and crafting but lost the fire and became even worse pacifists than the Isawa.
Depends on what your players are playing as. Never completely go without one or the other, but adjusting depending on how many squishy Courtiers or facemurdering Bushi there are is unlikely to get you complaints.
Depends entirely on what kind of campaign you're doing.
Assuming standard emerald magistrates, they'll probably be near court a lot (Because courts are where the major inter-clan crimes that require EM intervention generally tend to happen), but not always directly involved because they're just there to investigate and solve problems.
A bushi with an Awareness of 3 and a few points into courtier and etiquette can function as a courtier just fine.
A courtier with an Agility of 3 and a few points into Defense and a weapon skill can fight.
Skills and Stats (And Rings) are more important than Techniques or Schools in most cases. Techniques are extra boosts to give you just that little bit more edge. They are not the sum total of your possible abilities and activities.
I once heard it described that in any cases except those when you are fighting a person of equal skill or ability techniques are largely irrelevant, since they tend to just slightly improve what you are already doing or give you bonuses in a specific area.
We had a courtier (a Kasuga Smuggler of all things) in my group that keeps dumping points into Kejutsu, and though he's never as good at combat as everyone else he could still quite reliably contribute some damage or injure all but the most powerful enemies with his short sword.
Plus it's always kinda funny him being this gross slightly gut-heavy guy with a nasty greasy Fu Manchu mustache walk up and slam a sword into someone's guts and then he laughs like Jabba the Hutt.
I need your help, /l5g/.
After a couple of years, I've decided to step out of my Kurosawa comfort zone and finally play a shugenja, and I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.
How do I roleplay one well? What are some mandatory/expected prayers to take? Are there any mandatory/insanely useful dis/advantages?
I'm researching them now but I honestly feel out of my depth without a length of my grandfather's honour in my hand.
It depends on what kind of shugenja you are. The different elements obviously have different spells, and most families don't have "mandatory" ones.
There are a few spells that are very, very common, however.
Jade Strike is one such spell (Because it has only one use, and that use is to destroy things that are anathema to everything Rokugan holds dear) and is freely taught by pretty much every shugenja that knows it. Kuni in particular are literally not allowed to not know it and actively go out of their way to teach it to anyone who doesn't know it, even ronin shugenja. Outright refusing to learn it when offered is generally taken as a sign of corruption by proper shugenja everywhere.
Path to Inner Peace is also extremely common because it does good in the world and generally can't come back to bite you if you teach it to someone who becomes your enemy. There are dedicated healers in many clans who will happily share it.
Most other spells are not freely shared, although they have ended up propagating through scholastic exchanges and creating functionally identical rip-offs, so they're in the libraries of every family.
I guess to add to this, are my stereotypes of the various shugenja affinities close?
Air: Capricious, whimsical, aloof, playful
Fire: Impetuous, restless, excitable
Water: Calm, perceptive, er... friendly?
Earth: Stoic, pragmatic, jaded (Kuni pun not intended)
The Yogo wardmaster isn't good for combat - at least, not unless you want your complex action paper placement to be negated by a simple action to tear the paper up. If you can handle that, and generally be sneaky in tagging people with spells, then it's a decent school
A shugenja's elemental affinity pretty much has nothing to do with his temperament and personality the same way a warrior's school has nothing to do with his; it's really just a list of skills and techniques he learned and he was taught to use in a certain way.
If you want stereotypes to play off/subvert, look no further than the shugenja families.
Honestly, three ranks of Lucky.
The re-rolls can be used on ANYTHING, which is pretty handy when you think about it, and Prodigy is just one skill.
I tend to pick my Advantages/Disadvantages more for flavor then for function though, so if it really fits the character I'll take Prodigy.
>Would rokugan be the same if we removed Shugenja?
Not really; it removes a heavy bit of the fantasy element of the setting.
I'm all for fixing up Rokugan's details to make it at least slightly more authentically Japanese, but I don't want the fantastic elements removed at all. Maybe rename shugenja to something that actually means what they use it to mean in Rokugan, like onmiyoji.
>I personally don't like them and my friend makes the worst characters ever, but I want to DM again.
What you're asking is basically someone to agree with a problem that has basically arisen because of a specific situation in your own life.
That said, I totally understand where you're coming from and if he's that problematic a player either kick him out, ask him to not play a shugenja or just tell him no shugenja's in the game.
You don't need anyone's blessing or agreement with you to do something in your home game; just do what you need to do.
I think it could be interesting to remove the school type that can cast spells directly, (or turn it into something like the Brotherhood monks) and play up the angle that the kami aren't the automatons the default setting paints them as. Spells could still exist, but separated from PCs by having to curry favour with inhuman, elemental spirits to indirectly employ them.
Am I better off as a shugenja at IR3 with my rings at 5(affinity) 3 3 2 3(void)
or at IR4 with rings at 4(affinity) 3 3 2 4(void)?
Is the extra +1k1 on my affinity rolls worth the loss of an insight rank? And are spells generally that much more powerful at higher mastery?
>Spells could still exist
Actually they already do.
Most of the gaijin cultures show pretty much no knowledge of the kami at all and many have their own form of magic, including Yobanjin shamanism and the meishodo that the Kolat taught the Iuchi family. Yobanjin shamanism is supposed to be comparatively primitive (they never had the Isawa or Phoenix and whatnot to research and develop it over time), but meishodo actually can replicate any magical effect communing with the kami can, albeit with different limitations.
Furthermore when you get outside Rokugan's borders the Magic a shugenja practices becomes completely non-functional (the kami outside Rokugan either don't exist or are entirely non-communicative), showing that their path isn't necessarily the "correct" one; it's more like how island-dwelling cultures tend to know a bit about boating because their environment is highly condusive towards learning that particular skill.
>the kami outside Rokugan either don't exist or are entirely non-communicative
It's the latter, actually.
That spell that "purifies" land of the Taint but leaves everything a lifeless desert? The material from Legend of the Burning Sands heavily suggests that the reason there even IS a Burning Sands is because something like that happened on a catastrophic scale (accorded in most of the local creation myths to their version of Amaterasu), so the reason shugenja have no power in the Burning Sands is because there's no kami.
That said there ARE other types of magic that clearly work in the Burning Sands region (Medinaat al-Salam has an entire sorcerer's guild there after all), so you're still correct; the Rokugani path of magic is just one way to do it.
No, the Champion is always the Daimyo of the ruling family of the Clan as far as I can ever recall; that would be why the lists of Lion Champions are always Akodo right up until they loose their titles and the Matsu become the ruling family instead.
Not necessarily; Doji Hatori's father gave him lordship of the Doji family while he was emerald champion but was technically still clan champion.
Then there's clans that have non-standard championships but still have family daimyos.
Well for one he's have a very healthy respect for martial strength and skill.
The Mirumoto are, as Dragon families go, relatively traditional in outlook; they want to serve and die for their Clan, desire glory in battle, value honor and face, etc.
Where they tend to differ is their sort of askew viewpoint of the Celestial Order and a lack of any real strong bias towards the rest of the Clans as an institutionalize for thing; Dragon stereotypes of other Clans mostly seem to revolve around respecting their strengths and being more aware of their weaknesses then they themselves tend to be. Any prejudices a Dragon samurai has basically comes from personal experience rather then things like sensei and okaa-san and oyaji-san telling you all Scorpions are shit-eating bastards or whatever.
So basically the kid's viewpoints would be heavily slanted towards whatever Clan he came from and his parent's viewpoints and his own life experiences rather then just a random-ass combination of their personalities.
>Hugely overconfident in their own technique and kind of a smug idiot.
Mostly what I get from the average Mirumoto is that they are, in a word, boring. They have generic bushi views and generic bushi goals and generic bushi refeverence towards the sword.
They're just mildly more self-aware about some shit, but other then that they seem to lack the weirdness of other Dragon samurai because they aren't magical tattoo ascetic monks who don' seem to give a shit that being a monk AND a bushi doesn't make sense to anyone else.
Instead they just follow those guys orders, however weird and inscrutable they may often end up being.
I wasn't really saying it's bad.
Arguably aside from the Daidoji and Akodo they're the most bushi (in the traditional real-life Japanese sense) of the families in Rokugan; stoic, obedient, unflinching when it comes to hardship, poetic in an understated sort of way, revering the sword, and acting like good soldiers.
The wild and open diversity found among the various clan families would be considered pretty audacious and even tasteless in Japan; they practically INVENTED social conformity pressure and the generic ideal bushi was something every samurai was supposed to pretend to be every day of their life until they died without exception, in theory. I doubt many succeeded honestly, but open acceptance of your differences is something Japan is STILL not very good at even today for a very good reason.
What I've always gotten from them is that they're very practical and don't believe so much in all the flowery shit a lot of other bushi schools believe in. The Kakita, for example, talk about "One soul, one sword" and all that, while the Mirumoto think "You can do more with two swords than one". They're confident, yeah, but that's because the book one of their most famous ancestors wrote specifically said "Be confident in your ability, or you've already lost".
They're not really boring, they're just very practical when it comes to sword fighting.
The Ninten-ryu thing that the Mirumoto are very obviously aping isn't really "dual-wielding", it's basically using that second sword other guys only use indoors to parry, which isn't really a bad idea in one-on-one duels at all and why you see it in other parts of the world with heavily developed fencing cultures.
Now, using a cutting sword against metal armor on the other hand as your primary battlefield weapon IS universally retarded and in real life as soon as their armor started to not suck samurai varied their strategies, but Rokugan's military stuff is a clusterfuck anyway.
>in one-on-one duels
Perhaps I should have clarified 'live combat' as 'open warfare.'
I'm aware of the beneifts of a main gauche in regards to duelling, but those skills rarely carry over well to pitched battle between whole armies.
No they do not.
But most of the things they talk about in Rokugani warfare don't translate into open warfare very well, so the Dragon once again don't really stand out much there.
I like that there is such a variety to them though; that most small spells call on the little kami who at best can make a small breeze or move a rock.
But when it comes to either more powerful shugenja/spells or they spent a lot of time together (I think there is a merit or something along the lines of this; friendly spirit?) the kami should have more personality.
Right like one of my favorite Isawa wasn't all that powerful spell wise but she was a good dancer. In order to get the kami to do what she needed them to do she danced for them and that was how they worked.
There needs to be more somewhat weird things like this to make kami more interesting.
Oh. Unfortunate, because I generally like to pay for books when I actually play a game rather than collecting them like a magpie as I do for most things. But also only use pdf, so...scan when?
A couple of weeks back some of us put forth the notion that shugenja ladies should be stacked do to their connection with the elements. If you end up playing a lady, give her big momos.
A couple weeks back someone also started arguing about whether tanka were better than haiku or not. Tankanon, this is for you.
I have heard it said
Tanka is poetry's peak
and I believe it.
Yet when I was told
it was Haiku's syllables
that were the true art
he who so spoke did not lie
and this I believe also.
Rokugan actually knows of many kinds of magic. Only two are "correct" though.
Standard kami calling: Ask nicely in a very specific way and get a very specific result. This is what most shugenja use
Invoke a sense of duty in the kami instead of asking nicely: This is what some shugenja use (Kuni). It's functionally identical to asking nicely, but can spark theological arguments about why it works or whether it's heretical to be so demanding.
Demanding the kami do what you want for no particular reason: Actually does work, but it makes the kami angry, which has later repercussions. The Unicorn experimented with this, and it didn't end well, so they stopped. Probably counts as heretical and will get an Inquisitor on your ass.
Kansen casting: If you're near the shadowlands and try to cast, but fail sometimes Kansen will offer to complete the spell even though you fucked up. Not technically Maho, but very close, and nobody really cares that it's different. Also, it will still taint you. Don't do it on purpose
Maho: Asking tainted kami (Kansen) to do their own special brand of magic. Works a lot like normal casting, except they will listen to literally anyone who knows the words and can spill blood. Very heretical, always taints you
Tsuno soultwister magic: This is a lot like the kami demanding, but never comes with repercussions for some reason. Humans could theoretically learn it, but it's not going to happen due to mutual hate. Probably heretical if you did learn it.
Nezumi name magic: This shit draws on destiny itself or something. The power over names is vague, but doesn't run on kami
Shadow magic: Servants of the Shadow get to cast spells through it, and a small faction of the Scorpion were actually using it (Or being used by it) for quite a while before the whole War against the Darkness thing.
And then there's all the gaijin magic which is fairly well known, if not understood.
And Naga pearl magic, spirit magic (Which is usually self-powered and not calling on elemental kami), dragon empowered magic (Not framed as spells, but still unique and only available to the Oracles).
And the Tsuno actually go into spirit realms and steal magic from spirits, so a human probably couldn't learn it. Maybe a member of the Kitsu family with a very strong blood relation to the central line who gets stuck in toshigoku could potentially learn a very, very basic version of it, but other than that, no. There's also Yumeji, but that's only usable on Yume-do.
Kind of, but it actually can be used regularly instead of just at important destiny junctures.
The nezumi also have "memory sticks", which kind of function like externally triggered kiho. A nezumi examines the stick (With touch, sight, and smell) and it triggers semi-mystical abilities, often in the form of racial memory.
Probably a good reason why the humans don't practice name magic is because once you use it you can no longer speak to the kami.
At least that is what happens when the Unicorn learn it.
There may be more than one type of name magic.